October 2007


Because it’s Hump-day, we thought the video fitting

Kabul, Oct 31 (Xinhua) Afghan troops backed by NATO forces launched an operation in the north-central Afghanistan Wednesday, capturing 17 Taliban insurgents and their commander, a statement of the Afghan defence ministry said here.

‘In the operation launched this (Wednesday) morning, 17 terrorists, including their commander Mullah Abdul Qayum, were captured and two militants were killed in the Badghis province,’ the statement said.

A large cache of arms and ammunition was also seized from the insurgents, the statement said.

CNN — Strong words from Democratic presidential contender Dennis Kucinich may be nothing new, but his comments to a newspaper Tuesday questioning President Bush’s mental health are raising a few eyebrows.

“I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," the Ohio congressman told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "There’s something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact."

Kucinich’s comments were in reference to the president’s recent remarks on Iran, in which he suggested World War III could occur if the country obtained nuclear capabilities.

“I’ve told people that, if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," Bush said at a news conference earlier this month.

The Democratic presidential candidate later said he does not consider questioning the Bush’s mental health inappropriate, according the Inquirer’s Web site.

“You cannot be a President of the United States who’s wanton in his expression of violence," Kucinich said. "There’s a lot of people who need care. He might be one of them. If there isn’t something wrong with him, then there’s something wrong with us. This, to me, is a very serious question."

A Republican National Committee spokesman called the comments "absurd and irresponsible."

 Kucinich-Elf2.jpg

Kucinich: I saw a UFO

PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — So if there are space aliens, can they register to vote?

Perhaps Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is courting their support, discussing a UFO sighting in Tuesday night’s debate.

He confirmed an account in actress Shirley MacLaine’s book that he saw a UFO at her home in Washington state. Though he didn’t address the rest of her description, that the Ohio congressman “felt a connection in his heart and heard directions in his mind.”

Kucinich said to moderator Tim Russert’s question, “It was an unidentified flying object, OK? It’s, like, it’s unidentified. I saw something.”

To laugher, he added, “I’m also going to move my campaign office to Roswell, New Mexico, and other one in Exeter, New Hampshire, OK? And also, you have to keep in mind that more — that Jimmy Carter saw a UFO and also that more people in this country have seen UFOs than I think approve of George Bush’s presidency.”

Rival candidate Barack Obama, asked if he believes in life on other planets, responded, “You know, I don’t know. And I don’t presume to know. What I know is there is life here on Earth, and that we’re not attending to life here on Earth.”

“We’re not taking care of kids who are alive and unfortunately are not getting health care," Obama continued. "We’re not taking care of senior citizens who are alive and are seeing their heating prices go up. So, as president, those are the people I will be attending to first."

"There may be some other folks on their way," he added.

In this propaganda piece, Sons of Whores (Lying POS Iraqis) continue to spoon feed the Leftist MSM. 

 Via The LA Slimes:

BAGHDAD — FBI agents investigating the September shooting incident involving security contractor Blackwater USA in which 17 people died appear focused on whether anyone fired first on the American convoy and have been aggressively gathering ballistic evidence, according to witnesses interviewed by the agents.

In Washington, State and Justice Department officials said the investigation would not be derailed by a reported offer of immunity to the guards. But it remained unclear whether they could be prosecuted under U.S. law for the shooting.

And as anger continued to simmer in Iraq, the government introduced legislation Tuesday stripping American contractors of the immunity from Iraqi law they were granted in 2004 by the U.S.-led authority set up to govern Iraq shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

The FBI team dispatched from Washington this month specializes in investigations outside the United Statessuch as the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, which targeted U.S. military housing in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American servicemen and one Saudi.

When its investigation is complete, the FBI will submit evidence to Justice Department officials, who will determine whether to prosecute, said a U.S. official familiar with the investigation.

Whether the convoy was fired upon or threatened in some way before the guards hired to protect it began shooting in west Baghdad’s Nisoor Square on Sept. 16 is likely to be key to that decision, said Scott Silliman, a former military lawyer who is executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University.

"I think what they’re trying to do is build a case showing the use of force by Blackwater was not justified, and they can do that through witness statements to show that Blackwater and the convoy were not fired upon," Silliman said.

A U.S. source said the FBI team left Baghdad on Sunday after conducting dozens of interviews with witnesses. The FBI declined to comment on the case, as did a spokeswoman for Blackwater. The North Carolina-based security company has said previously that the guards were responding to what they believed to be enemy fire.

The shooting has prompted an intense debate about the role that foreign private armed security contractors have played in the Iraq war and the ambiguous legal environment in which they operate.

If the Justice Department decides to prosecute, experts say it would face serious legal hurdles. The Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act permits contractors to be prosecuted for actions in foreign lands if they are working in support of a Defense Department mission.

But prosecutors would have to convince a judge that the act also applies to contractors working for the civilian-led State Department.

Since the shooting, Congress has passed legislation that would clearly make all security contractors accountable in American courts, and the State Department has issued new restrictions that will subject their operations to more oversight.

The FBI investigation, undertaken at the request of the State Department, is one of four underway into the shooting, which also wounded 24 people.

Iraqi police, the Pentagon and a joint panel of the U.S. Embassy and the Iraqi government have also undertaken inquiries. In a preliminary report, the Iraqi government concluded that the Blackwater guardsbegan firing when a vehicle they believed to be attempting a suicide bombing advanced on the convoy.

Three witnesses who spoke with The Times after their debriefings with the FBI said the investigators emphasized the importance of whether the security team was fired upon first.

Witnesses said the interviews lasted about two hours. Agents referred them to a large aerial image of Nisoor Square, and asked them to explain how they arrived at the scene, what their vantage point was when the shooting occurred, their detailed recollection of events, and what the shooters looked like.

"They were focusing mainly on one thing," said Mohammed Hafidh Abdul-Razzaq, 37, whose 10-year-old son, Ali, was shot and killed as he sat in the back seat of their car. "They asked me several times in each interview whether [the guards] were shot at or not."

Baraa Sadoon Ismail, 29, who still has two bullets and 60 bullet fragments in his abdomen from the shooting, agreed that the agents focused on whether the Blackwater guards shot first.

All the witnesses interviewed by The Times said they told investigators they did not see anyone fire on the security guards.

"They asked me whether they were exposed to fire," said Hassan Jabbar Salman, a lawyer who said he was about 20 yards from the guards and was shot four times. "I replied to them that they were never exposed to any kind of fire."

Investigators have taken possession of at least three cars to gather ammunition rounds, the witnesses said. Ismail said investigators also took three bullet fragments that had been removed from his body.

Collection of the ballistic evidence, legal experts said, was another way to determine whether Blackwater guards were responding to a threat.

"If the only shell casings found anywhere in the square were those of weapons used by Blackwater, that would tend to support the finding that there was no use of force against the convoy before Blackwater opened fire," Silliman said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters that although State Department investigators could offer witnesses limited protection, they "cannot immunize an individual from federal criminal prosecution."

"We would not have asked the FBI and the Department of Justice to get involved in a case that we did not think that they could potentially prosecute," he said.

A Justice Department spokesman, Dean Boyd, concurred. "Any suggestion that the Blackwater employees in question have been given immunity from federal criminal prosecution is inaccurate," he said.

The interviews have also produced some of the most detailed witness accounts to date.

Trapped on all sides by stopped cars, Abdul-Razzaq said he was helpless as gunfire peppered his car. When the security guards left the scene, he said, he ran to another car to check on a shooting victim, only to have his nephew, who had been riding in his car, run up and tell him Ali had been killed.

Abdul-Razzaq ran back. He said he had glimpsed his son earlier through the rear-view mirror, slumped against the door in the back seat, and assumed he must have fainted. But when he opened the door, blood and brain tissue poured from his son’s head. He slammed the door shut in disbelief. Then he jumped into the car, feeling his 10-year-old son’s chest to see whether his heart was still beating. The race to the hospital was futile.

Salman and Abdul-Razzaq said they told the FBI they saw victims shot as they tried to turn their cars around and drive away or even after they had jumped out and run.

The American investigators bore the brunt of Iraqi rage, and the Iraqis said the agents apologized for the shooting.

"My sister gave them a piece of advice," said Abdul-Razzaq, whose sister was in the car with him and also gave an interview to the FBI agents. "She said that it would be better for them to bomb Iraq with an atomic bomb rather than kill one or two people on a daily basis. ‘Kill us all in a matter of seconds so that we may be free of this torment.’ "

Witnesses said they found the agents professional and considerate, and that they seemed determined to get to the bottom of what happened.

"To tell you the truth, I felt they were truly sorry," Abdul-Razzaq said.

Still, he added: "I told them that if the investigation was not fair, this incident will . . . put a brand of shame on the forehead of Americans."
—-

"The American investigators bore the brunt of Iraqi rage, and the Iraqis said the agents apologized for the shooting."

Why in the world would agents apologize for the shooting when there is still an ongoing investigation? Apologizing is an admission of guilt which hasn’t been proven. Lying POIraqiS.

"Trapped on all sides by stopped cars, Abdul-Razzaq said he was helpless as gunfire peppered his car. When the security guards left the scene, he said, he ran to another car to check on a shooting victim, only to have his nephew, who had been riding in his car, run up and tell him Ali had been killed.

Abdul-Razzaq ran back. He said he had glimpsed his son earlier through the rear-view mirror, slumped against the door in the back seat, and assumed he must have fainted. But when he opened the door, blood and brain tissue poured from his son’s head. He slammed the door shut in disbelief. Then he jumped into the car, feeling his 10-year-old son’s chest to see whether his heart was still beating. The race to the hospital was futile".

He’d have us believe that even though he said his car had been peppered with bullets he thought his son had simply fainted and decided to forgo actually checking on his son and check on someone else in another car first? Right. Why would he do that? Lying POIraqiS.

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SANTA ANA, Calif. — Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona was once seen as a rising star in state Republican politics and had been mentioned as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor.

But the head of the nation’s fifth largest sheriff’s department has been indicted on federal corruption charges and is now fighting to save his career and stay out of prison.

Carona was expected to turn himself over to authorities Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana ahead of an afternoon arraignment, U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek said. The three-term sheriff faces seven counts, including conspiracy, mail fraud and witness tampering, according to a sweeping indictment unsealed a day earlier.

Also charged were Carona’s wife of 27 years, Deborah, and attorney Debra Victoria Hoffman, identified in court papers as his "longtime mistress."

Carona rejected the allegations and said he would not step down as the case moved forward.

"I have never misused the office of the sheriff of Orange County for financial gain," Carona said in a statement. "Any fair review of the evidence can only lead to that conclusion.

"And I am offended that similar accusations have been made about my wife, which are also patently false," he said.

Hoffman does not have an attorney yet, Mrozek said. A call to her law office after business hours Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Two former assistant sheriffs, Donald Haidl and George Jaramillo, previously pleaded guilty to related charges as part of a deal with prosecutors. Jaramillo, who is currently serving a 12-month term on state charges, cooperated with federal investigators to bring the case against Carona, his attorney said.

If convicted on all counts, Carona could face a maximum sentence of 105 years in prison, plus thousands of dollars in fines.

Carona and others allegedly accepted $350,000 in gifts and cash in exchange for political favors in a scheme that began as early as 1998, the year he was first elected, federal prosecutors allege.

According to prosecutors, the scheme began when Haidl solicited donations to Carona’s election campaign and then reimbursed donors to hide the money trail.

After Carona was elected, Haidl, a wealthy businessman, paid for a Lake Tahoe vacation for Carona and Jaramillo and their spouses, officials said.

He also gave Carona a boat and boat trailer valued at more than $5,000 in 2001 and the personal use of Haidl’s yacht and private plane, the indictment claims. Additionally, Haidl made monthly $1,000 payments to Carona for "full access to sheriff’s department resources" and a "get out of jail free card" for friends and family members, authorities said.

Haidl also appointed Carona and Jaramillo to the board of directors of a company owned by Haidl’s uncle and gave a $110,000 loan to Carona’s girlfriend and Jaramillo to help rescue their floundering law firm.

In return, the indictment alleges, Carona appointed Haidl to the position of assistant sheriff for reserves in 1999 and made Haidl’s family, friends and business associates reserve deputies.

When Haidl’s teenage son, Gregory, was arrested in a 2002 rape case, Carona is accused of asking Jaramillo to lobby the county district attorney to charge the teen as a juvenile instead of as an adult.

When Gregory Haidl was arrested on a drug charge a year later, he received "preferential treatment" from the sheriff’s department with Carona’s consent, the indictment said.

Carona gained national attention during an investigation into the 2002 kidnapping and murder of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion. CNN’s Larry King called him "America’s Sheriff," a nickname that appears on Carona’s official biography.

Source

Critics charge he established ‘magnet’ for illegals financed by citizens, U.S. businesses

By Jerome R. Corsi

A lingering controversy over the role former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee played in establishing a Mexican consulate office in Little Rock financed by taxpayers and local businesses continues to follow the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign, even as he enjoys a surge in polls.

Critics in Arkansas contend Huckabee worked with some of the state’s most prominent and politically powerful businesses to draw illegal immigrants to the state to accept low-paying jobs.

Huckabee strongly denied the charges in a telephone interview with WND yesterday.

This week, as WND reported, Rasmussen Reports added Huckabee to its daily tracking of top tier GOP presidential candidates following a surge that pushed him past former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with the support of 13 percent of likely voters nationwide. In Iowa, a University of Iowa poll released Monday showed Huckabee surging to a virtual tie for second place in the key primary state with Rudy Giuliani at 13 percent.

One of Huckabee’s Arkansas critics, long-time border-security activist Joe McCutchen, told WND that Freedom of Information Act documents he obtained show unusual business practices and possible improprieties in a 2006 Huckabee decision to attract a Mexican consulate to Little Rock.

Space in an Arkansas government facility was leased for $1 a year to the Mexican government to establish the Mexican consulate until a permanent Mexican consulate facility could be built, at the expense of Arkansas citizens and corporations.

McCutchen charges that Huckabee made the deal with Mexico in order to attract illegal immigrants into the state to work in politically connected Arkansas businesses seeking to exploit low-cost immigrant workers.

"Huckabee is an open borders multi-culturalist who put the will and needs of Arkansas corporations before the needs of Arkansas citizens and taxpayers," McCutchen charged.

In his telephone interview with WND, Huckabee insisted his major goal in establishing a Mexican consulate office in Little Rock was to assist Arkansas companies in export-import business with Mexico.

He also contended the Mexican consulate in Little Rock would make it easier for Arkansas to determine that immigrants had legal status to work in the state.

"Wal-Mart is the largest private sector employer in Mexico," Huckabee told WND. "We also have a lot of small manufacturing companies you’ve never heard of that make things that are then used in Mexico in manufacturing in Mexico."

Huckabee explained that there were two basic reasons his administration wanted the Mexican consulate office in Little Rock.

"First, we wanted to accommodate the business that was increasing between Arkansas businesses and Mexican businesses," he said. "Second, if people were going to come to Arkansas, we wanted them to follow legal processes, rather than just be illegal. We wanted people to come to Arkansas and get the proper paper work and do things with a work permit and a visa. It’s so much easier to do that if you have a consulate where people can go to get proper documentation, rather than just accommodating people illegally."

McCutchen’s accusations trace back to an Oct. 3, 2003, trip Huckabee, as governor, took with economic development adviser Robert Trevino in a state airplane to visit with Mexico’s president at the time, Vicente Fox.

During the trip, Huckabee and Trevino explored with Fox the possibility of establishing a Mexican consulate in Little Rock.

Trevino served from 200-2004 as district president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, also known as LULAC, an activist group strongly advocating for rights of Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. In 2004, he was appointed commissioner of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, the state agency that subleased the space for the Mexican consulate.

McCutchen’s claims regarding the financial arrangements of establishing the Mexican consulate in Little Rock are backed up by Arkansas government documents he has obtained in numerous Freedom of Information requests. He provided copies to WND for examination.

A "Use of Facilities" agreement signed July 7, 2006, obtained in the FOIA request and posted on McCutchen’s website shows the Mexican consulate subleased at the cost of $1 per year a facility in an Arkansas Rehabilitation Services building designated as, "Administrative office space for limited purpose."

A July 21, 2006, memo from Trevino’s office also documents that a consortium of Arkansas corporations had agreed to "support the consular presence" during the first three years, including what appears to be the costs of building for Mexico a permanent consular facility in Little Rock.

The Trevino July 21, 2006, memo specifies that Mexico would not pick up the full costs of staffing the consulate and the mortgage on the new facility until the beginning of the fourth year, in 2010.

The memo explains the cost of purchasing the site and building the Mexican consulate would be sponsored by an unnamed group of Arkansas corporations which "have expressed an interest in supporting the consular presence during the first three years."

WND has obtained a copy of a memo detailing a letter Arkansas Assistant Attorney General Bishop Woosley sent to McCutchen’s attorney filling in the blanks of the redacted paragraphs of Trevino’s July 21, 2006, memo.

Woosley’s letter indicated the mortgage payment for the Mexican consulate was $7,500 per month, arranged by Arkansas real estate developer Bruce Burrow.

Burrow is the chairman of the board of Burrow Halsey Realty Group, Inc. and a principle in MBC-Holdings, in Jonesboro, Ark.

WND also has obtained copies of invoices from Arkansas construction contractor Baldwin & Shell charging $60,000 for building the new Mexican consulate at 3500 South University Avenue in Little Rock.

WND also has a copy of a check from the city of Little Rock, dated June 1, indicating Baldwin and Shell were paid $60,000 as requested.

Reporting by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette backs up McCutchen’s claims and adds further details to the FOIA documents WND has examined.

On Oct. 18, 2006, the newspaper reported the $1-a-year lease offered by Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, commenting, "The Huckabee administration is giving virtually free temporary office space in Little Rock to Mexican consular officials while the Mexican government prepares to move into a permanent facility this fall."

The newspaper noted the Arkansas Building Authority, which handles leases for state agencies, valued the temporary office space at $572 per month.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported the opening of the newly built consulate office at 3500 South University Ave. in Little Rock on April 25 in a ceremony that included the signing of a sister-city agreement with Pachuca, in the Mexican state of Hidalgo.

When asked about the business arrangements, Huckabee told WND he did not dispute any of the details regarding the Mexican consulate sublease or the private financing of the construction of the Mexican consulate’s new building.

A legal analysis on McCutchen’s website suggests Huckabee violated Arkansas law in permitting the Arkansas Rehabilitation Services to sublease its property to the Mexican consulate.

Huckabee told WND the sublease was legal "under the auspices of economic development."

"There was nothing untoward or secretive about the sublease," Huckabee said. "We are proud of the efforts, because we were doing two things we thought were important – building economic capacity in the state, helping our businesses have economic opportunities and at the same time helping curb illegal immigration by making sure people had a greater level of access to get legal status."

Prominent Arkansas journalists in background briefings with WND painted a different picture, arguing Huckabee put out a subtle, but clear message to illegal immigrants from Mexico, "We wish you no ill in Arkansas. You are welcome to come here to live and to work."

Huckabee’s message was not hard to understand, an Arkansas source explained.

"Arkansas has a lot of low-skilled jobs, including a lot of chicken slaughter houses, and the employers wanted low-pay workers," the source said.

McCutchen put it more bluntly.

"When he was governor of Arkansas, Huckabee ran what amounted to a sanctuary state," he told WND.

"Huckabee’s real goal was to create the Mexican consulate as a magnet to bring illegal alien workers into the state," McCutchen said, "to benefit companies like Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart, OK Foods, Simmons Foods, George’s Farms, Inc. and a host of smaller operations who wanted to employ the illegals for their cheap labor."

Border-security activist Kenny John Wallis, who runs the Arkansas blog Keep Arkansas Legal, agrees with McCutchen.

"Huckabee wanted to attract the illegal immigrants for the employers in the state like Tysons Foods that wanted cheap labor," Wallis told WND.

"In a nutshell, Huckabee went to Mexico a little over three years ago to create a Mexican consulate," Wallis said. "He then had his deputy Bob Trevino work out a deal where the Mexican Consulate was allowed office space at the Arkansas Rehabilitation Center for $1 a year. The Mexican Consulate also had mobile consulates where Mexican officials in vans went across the state helping illegal immigrants stay and work in the state."

Huckabee denied that his goal was to attract illegal alien workers to Arkansas.

"It’s simply untrue," Huckabee told WND. "I know for a fact that John Tyson and others diligently tried to make sure that there was legal status to their employees. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t illegal immigrants working there, often with false documents.

"Just common sense tells you a multi-billion dollar multi-national company, whether it’s Wal-Mart or Tyson Foods, is not going to intentionally hire illegals and potentially have the kinds of problems they are going to have from it, just to have somebody picking the feathers off chickens," Huckabee told WND.

Still, in May, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported federal immigration agents arrested 21 illegal aliens during a raid on an Arkansas Mexican restaurant chain.

That followed federal immigration operations two weeks earlier that arrested more than 100 illegal aliens working at a George’s Farms poultry processing plant in Butterfield, Mo., just north of the Arkansas state line in Barry County, Mo.

Earlier this month, seven employees of George’s Farms in Missouri were arrested on federal charges of hiring illegal immigrants at the processing plant in Barry County.

George’s Farms is headquartered in Springfield, Ark

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Arkansas had a 2006 population of about 2.8 million people, including some 131,000 Hispanics, about half of whom were estimated to be illegal immigrants.

McCutchen estimates the number of illegal aliens currently in Arkansas is over 200,000.

"Arkansas has been known for low-skilled businesses, including animal slaughter houses," McCutchen said, "businesses that tend to attract Hispanic illegal immigrants with low educational levels, willing to work for minimal pay and virtually no benefits."

Huckabee faced criticism as governor for supporting pre-natal care for pregnant illegal immigrants and a proposal to allow illegal aliens who graduate from Arkansas high schools to apply for state college scholarships.

Huckabee defended the effort, telling WND, "Amendment 65 to the Arkansas constitution says that life begins at conception, and it is the duty and responsibility of the state to do everything possible to protect and preserve human life from conception until its natural conclusion."

"I took an oath to uphold the state constitution," Huckabee continued. "In addition to the civil obligation, I feel I have a moral obligation as a pro-life person to protect all life from the moment of conception.

"Besides, on a practical standpoint, we could give pre-natal care without regard to immigration status to virtually every unborn child in the state cheaper than we could afford the cost of taking care of one child born with serious birth complications," Huckabee argued. "So for us, it was both a constitutional matter as well as a practical matter. We don’t punish children for the sins of their parents."

In 2005, Huckabee called un-Christian, un-American and irresponsible a bill introduced by state Sen. Jim Holt that would have denied state benefits to illegal immigrants and would have required valid proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Huckabee told WND the senator’s legislation was unnecessary, because "Holt couldn’t point to illegal aliens in Arkansas who were getting benefits. It’s already against state law, and we could already prosecute any illegal aliens getting state benefits that Holt could point to."

In June 2005, addressing the 76th annual LULAC convention in Little Rock as keynote speaker, Huckabee told the 10,000 political, community and business leaders in attendance, "Pretty soon, Southern white guys like me may be in the minority."

Huckabee told LULAC that having their 2005 annual convention in Little Rock was important, because Arkansas had one of the fastest growing populations in the nation, and "Arkansas needs to make the transition from a traditional Southern state to one that recognizes and cherishes diversity ‘in culture, in language and in population.’"

McCutchen acknowledged Huckabee declares on his website that he now calls for closing the borders.

"But that’s 180 degrees from what he did as governor of Arkansas," McCutchen said. "Huckabee will say anything that he thinks is acceptable. He is a dangerous man."

McCutchen agrees with Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly’s view of Huckabee, cited last week by John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. Schlafly said Huckabee has "destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles. Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a ‘compassionate conservative’ are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee."

"My overall feeling is that Huckabee is a traitor to Arkansas citizens," McCutchen stressed. "He’s a multi-culturalist who has done more to damage this state than any other governor of Arkansas. During Huckabee’s tenure, we’ve had 150,000 bankruptcies, more than all previous governors put together. We’ve lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 manufacturing jobs. He has almost doubled the size of state government in his tenure and he is not a man of the people."

Huckabee’s campaign website lists his "number one immigration priority" as "to secure America’s border."

Huckabee says on his website, "We need to create a process to allow people to come here to do the jobs – plucking chickens, tarring roofs, picking fruits – that are going unfilled by our citizens."

"There’s nothing I’m ashamed of at all," Huckabee continued. "I would be happy to accommodate the Dutch government. I went to South Korea, Taiwan and Japan to pursue trade opportunities. Any time we can bring good paying jobs to the state, or when we can help keep jobs in our state that are doing business with companies in other countries, that’s what I assumed a governor was supposed to do."

WND asked Huckabee if he had exerted similar efforts to get consulate offices established for China or any other country with which Arkansas was doing business. He could not cite any other similar efforts.

WND contacted Burrow’s Jonesboro office for comment but received no reply.

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A deck of playing cards with messages about how U.S. troops can protect precious antiquities and archaeological sites in Iraq and Afghanistan has been created by Colorado State University and the Department of Defense.

Nearly 50,000 decks of cards are being distributed in Iraq and Afghanistan and at military installations in the United States. The playing cards are one tool in a wider effort by the Pentagon to prevent damage to ancient sites and to curb the illegal trade of stolen artifacts in Iraq.

Fort Carson, south of Colorado Springs, has received 3,500 decks of the cards, and distributed a handful of them to environmental officers assigned to units on post.

"They just thought these were great," said Pam Cowen, cultural resources manager for Fort Carson. "They opened them up, they were playing with them."

At the start of the Iraq war, locals looted museums and archaeological sites, which date to as early as 9,000 B.C.

The U.S. military received a public relations black eye after a British newspaper reported that military operations caused "widespread damage and severe contamination to the remains of the ancient city of Babylon."

The report said military vehicles crushed archaeological sites, and sand and earth were removed to fill sandbags.

The Pentagon responded by developing programs to create more cultural awareness among troops. Along with the cards, a website and training scenarios with mock archaeological sites and cemeteries have been developed.

Each card has a different image and a caption with a message. Some of the messages deal with the history of Iraq or Afghanistan, the nature of sensitive archaeological sites or reminders that Iraq is the cradle of civilization.

Source 

The US military must further risk their lives during battle by being extra careful to protect these culturally sensitive historic sites so that the Iraqi sand monkeys cradle of civilization can continue to loot them? Brilliant! 

We’ve already asked our military to fight with its hands tied, let’s bind the feet now too!

By Fred Lucas
CNSNews

When the U.S. Supreme Court said in 1967 that the 4th Amendment protects telephone conversations in a phone booth from surveillance without a warrant, Justice Potter Stewart said in the majority opinion that the ruling did not address "a situation involving national security."

The following year, when Congress crafted a bill to comply with the court ruling on surveillance, the language said nothing in the new rules "shall limit the constitutional power of the president to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the nation against actual or potential attack or other hostile acts of a foreign power, to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States or to protect national security information."

In fact, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both utilized warrantless wiretapping against U.S. citizens on American soil to protect national security, and few people cried foul.

Still, warrantless surveillance of international communications has been a raging controversy in the nation’s capital for more than a year, as Congress has argued over how to hold the Bush administration accountable to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passed in 1978 to require a judicial review prior to surveillance done within the United States for national security reasons.

The latest dust-up over FISA came after revelations that the National Security Agency had collected data on suspected communications to and from the United States with suspected terrorists abroad.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a proposal to expand the surveillance powers of the executive branch while also granting immunity to telecommunications companies.

However, scholars and lawmakers question whether warrants – required under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution – apply to national security matters and if FISA is even constitutional given past legal precedent.

Besides the 1967 ruling in Katz v. United States , the high court also issued a notable ruling in United States v. United States District Court , better known as the "Keith decision."

In this case, the court ruled the Fourth Amendment applied to the surveillance of a domestic terrorist group, but the decision went on to say, "We have not addressed and express no opinion as to the issue which may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers and their agents."

The decision not to rule on foreign surveillance affirms the 1968 congressional action that put intelligence-gathering in the hands of the executive branch, said Robert F. Turner, co-founder of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Besides the Katz and Keith rulings, the court opted not to consider four other cases regarding foreign surveillance – in effect upholding their earlier rulings.

"The Supreme Court had six opportunities to say something on this and didn’t," Turner told Cybercast News Service . "There is a long history of Congress having nothing to do with intelligence and the courts have long excluded themselves."

Among the notable cases not to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court was United States v. Truong Dinh Hung , decided by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1980. The court upheld the government’s right to use a wiretap without a warrant for intelligence gathering, but not for criminal prosecution.

In its opinion, the court said always requiring a warrant would "in some cases delay executive response to foreign intelligence threats," and said the executive could be excused from securing a warrant when "the object of the search or surveillance is a foreign power, its agent or collaborators."

Nonetheless, in January, the Bush administration announced it would seek to comply with the FISA law in what the president called the "terrorist surveillance program" and what critics called "the NSA eavesdropping program."

The Senate intelligence committee approved a FISA bill earlier this month that would give immunity from lawsuits to telecommunications companies that assisted the government in data-mining.

However, some Democrats led by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) are trying to block the bill from coming to a vote in the full Senate.

"The president has no right to secretly eavesdrop on the conversations and activities of law-abiding American citizens, and anyone who has aided and abetted him in these illegal activities should be held accountable," Dodd, a presidential candidate, said in a statement.

"It is unconscionable that such a basic right has been violated, and that the president is the perpetrator. I will do everything in my power to stop Congress from shielding this president’s agenda of secrecy, deception and blatant unlawfulness," Dodd added.

Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-Mo.), ranking Republican on the Senate intelligence committee, said immunity is needed to encourage telecommunications companies to cooperate with the federal government during the war on terror.

He said lawsuits "with allegations and pleadings and other things could only open up more information" for the terrorist to exploit.

Further, Bond also had his doubts that the Fourth Amendment was applicable when the executive branch is gathering intelligence for national security reasons.

"I believe Article 2 of the Constitution gives the president important powers over foreign affairs, including – as the courts have recognized – the authority to use methods to collect foreign intelligence, which may otherwise be impeded by the Fourth Amendment," Bond told Cybercast News Service .

"Jimmy Carter’s administration intercepted Truong’s communications. Bill Clinton used his Article 2 powers in the Aldrich Ames (spy) case to conduct warrantless search of Aldrich Ames’s house," Bond continued.

"However, because of the concerns raised by Democrats on the House and Senate side and our friends in the media, the president in January of this year said he would conduct the terrorist surveillance program in accordance with the FISA law," he added.

Leaving intelligence gathering completely up to the executive branch would violate a key principle of separations of power, said Tim Lee, adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

"The line is traditionally drawn that surveillance on American soil requires a warrant. Surveillance outside the borders is not subject to American courts," Lee told Cybercast News Service .

"We really don’t know what the Bush administration is doing. You don’t let the executive branch unilaterally decide what international terrorism is. The concern with that is if the White House thinks getting a warrant is too much work through the courts, they’ll just call someone a terrorist," he added.

MIAMI (AP) — A group of men accused of plotting to destroy Chicago’s Sears Tower were in the final stages of forming a homegrown terrorist cell dedicated to waging an Islamic holy war before they were arrested, a prosecution terrorism expert testified Tuesday.

Raymond Tanter, a Georgetown University professor and terrorism scholar for 40 years, said suspected ringleader Narseal Batiste and the other six had nearly completed the "radicalization process" and moved toward acts of terrorism before their arrests in June 2006.

Hallmarks of this process include religious conversion, operation within a military-style hierarchy and adoption of goals shared by al-Qaida and other terrorist groups to destroy U.S. landmarks, Tanter said. The final stage – which he called "jihadization" – means the group is ready to plan, recruit and prepare for an attack.

"I believe that Mr. Batiste falls in the jihadization, or final stage of the radicalization process," Tanter said, adding the other members of the "Liberty City Seven" also fall into that category.

Evidence introduced at trial shows that Batiste "was talking only about violent jihad" and not other meanings of the Arabic word, such as self-examination, Tanter said.

The oath of allegiance to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden taken by the seven men – captured on an FBI videotape – "is the manner in which al-Qaida binds individuals to the organization," Tanter said.

The oath was administered by a man Batiste’s group knew as "Brother Mohammed" who claimed to be an emissary sent by al-Qaida to assist in the purported terror plot. In reality, "Mohammed" paid FBI informant Elie Assad, who testified earlier that he was playing a role under close watch of FBI agents.

Tanter also testified that al-Qaida uses affiliate groups in many countries that may have local concerns but also share the terrorist organization’s broader goals of imposing by force a strict form of Islamic fundamentalist government. Prosecutors say Batiste wanted to stage attacks that would create chaos and ultimately bring down the U.S. government.

"There probably are affiliate groups of al-Qaida in the United States. Al-Qaida would like to extend its reach into the United States," Tanter said.

Tanter’s testimony drew strong objections from defense attorneys, who unsuccessfully sought a mistrial from U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard. Albert Levin, attorney for defendant Patrick Abraham, said the jury could unfairly conclude that the group intended to commit terrorist acts based on the expert’s opinions.

"This testimony is extremely prejudicial, goes right to the heart of this case," Levin said. "His testimony has totally polluted this (jury) pool."

But Lenard concluded that the testimony did not violate her order prohibiting Tanter from giving an opinion about the group’s actual intentions or mental state.

Defense lawyers have sought to portray Batiste and the others as merely hoping to con "Mohammed" out of money by going along with all the terrorist talk. They say the group never intended to attack the Sears Tower or bomb FBI buildings, as the government claims, and never acquired the means to do so.

The defense is expected to begin cross-examination of Tanter on Wednesday, with the prosecution possibly resting its case by the end of the week.

The seven men each face as many as 70 years in prison if convicted of all four charges against them, including conspiracy to levy war against the United States and conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida.

Source

The number of babies with birth defects in China has increased by nearly 40 percent since 2001, according to data from the country’s birth deformity monitoring centre, reported the China Daily Tuesday.

‘A baby with defects is born every 30 seconds in China, and this situation has worsened year by year,’ said Jiang Fan, deputy head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, at a conference in Chengdu, in south-west China’s Sichuan province.

Birth deformities affect up to six percent of all children born in China, or nearly one in every 10 Chinese households.

The rate of defects among all Chinese infants rose from 104.9 per 10,000 births in 2001 to 145.5 in 2006. Jiang said of the 20 million babies born in China every year, 800,000 to 1.2 million of them are afflicted with defects, with as many as 300,000 of these ‘visible deformities’.

According to the statistics reported, only 20-30 percent of the babies can be cured or treated, about 40 percent suffer lifelong deformities, while the remaining 30-40 per cent die shortly after birth.

Jiang said the deformities generate costs of several hundreds of billion yuan.

Experts say there is enough evidence to correlate the high occurrence of birth defects to geographic, environmental and economic factors and noted that the coal-producing province of Shanxi now tops the nation in birth defect rates.

Source

Forget coal producing…they’re all lead tainted and thanks to our government, now so are we.

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