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Current Topic: War on Terrorism

OPENING ARGUMENT: Ending Bush's War On Due Process (12/03/2007)
Topic: War on Terrorism 3:19 pm EST, Dec  3, 2007

There is a significant WOT Supreme Court hearing coming up.

Boumediene is an Algerian-born citizen of Bosnia with a Bosnian wife. He and five others were seized by police there in violation of Bosnian law on January 17, 2002, and handed over to the U.S. military. The six had previously been arrested on charges of plotting to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, but Bosnia's Supreme Court had ordered them released for lack of evidence just hours before their abduction.

The government has provided no evidence to the public, to any court, or to Boumediene that he has ever supported terrorism in any way. It has not allowed his volunteer lawyers to see the classified evidence against him, to call witnesses in his defense, or to appear at the cursory military hearing in which a three-officer, judge-free "combatant status review tribunal" -- which was free to consider evidence obtained by torture -- found him to be an enemy combatant. And the administration claims that it can hold Boumediene for as long as it wants no matter what the outcome of the cursory review of the tribunal decision by a federal Appeals Court in Washington provided for by a 2006 law.

OPENING ARGUMENT: Ending Bush's War On Due Process (12/03/2007) - The Truth About Oil and Iraq
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:09 pm EST, Nov 29, 2007

"The Iraq National Oil Company would have exclusive control of 17 of Iraq's 80 known oil fields, leaving two-thirds of known and as of yet undiscovered oil fields open to foreign control.

"The foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the Iraqi economy, partner with Iraqi companies, hire Iraqi workers, or share new technologies. They could even ride out Iraq's current 'instability' by signing contracts now, while the Iraqi Government is at its weakest, and then wait at least 2 years before even setting foot in the country. The vast majority of Iraq's oil would then be left underground for at least 2 years rather than being used for the country's economic development.

"The international oil companies could also be offered some of the most corporate-friendly contracts in the world, including what are called production-sharing agreements. These agreements are the oil industry's preferred model but are roundly rejected by all the top oil-producing countries in the Middle East because they grant long-term contracts, 20 to 35 years in the case of Iraq's draft law, and greater control, ownership, and profits to the companies than other models. In fact," this kind of contract is "used for only approximately 12 percent of the world's oil.

What if the left wing conspiracy theories about a war for oil turned out to be right? I mean, if you aren't paying attention, than whats to stop the oil companies from extracting the stuff from Iraq and unloading it on the international market without paying a lick of taxes to the Iraqi government and keeping all of the profits for themselves? Their honor?

I'm not completely sure, but it sounds like there might be something to this story.

What if the reason that we aren't seeing "political progress" to go along with the security progress is that the benchmark for "political progress" involves their agreement to hand over their natural resources to us, and they don't want to. - The Truth About Oil and Iraq

AFP: 'Unwelcoming' US sees sharp fall in visitors since 9/11
Topic: War on Terrorism 2:34 pm EDT, Nov  2, 2007

"Since September 11, 2001, the United States has experienced a 17 percent decline in overseas travel, costing America 94 billion dollars in lost visitor spending, nearly 200,000 jobs and 16 billion dollars in lost tax revenue," the Discover America advocacy campaign said in a statement.

AFP: 'Unwelcoming' US sees sharp fall in visitors since 9/11

FRONTLINE: cheney's law | PBS
Topic: War on Terrorism 11:05 pm EDT, Oct 21, 2007

For three decades Vice President Dick Cheney conducted a secretive, behind-closed-doors campaign to give the president virtually unlimited wartime power. Finally, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Justice Department and the White House made a number of controversial legal decisions. Orchestrated by Cheney and his lawyer David Addington, the department interpreted executive power in an expansive and extraordinary way, granting President George W. Bush the power to detain, interrogate, torture, wiretap and spy -- without congressional approval or judicial review.

This was widely discussed at Phreaknic. Watch online...

FRONTLINE: cheney's law | PBS

RE: Pre-9/11 wiretap bid is alleged - Los Angeles Times
Topic: War on Terrorism 8:38 pm EDT, Oct 15, 2007

noteworthy wrote:
Yes, though "apologists" is rather loaded language. I'm not particularly interested in an argument, but what part of Bin Laden determined to strike in US requires further explanation?

Simply put, the part where that justifies law breaking by the executive branch. In particular, many of the legal arguments for the power of the executive to do things like engage in warrantless surveillance are directly tied to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force which obviously did not exist at this time. I don't agree with those arguments anyway, but they are now completely irrelevant, and the executive is left with not even their own arguments for why these programs were legal.

This is not about whether or not the NSA should be survielling Al'Queda. Obviously they should be and obviously the law ought to allow them to. No one has ever, ever argued to the contrary.

This is about whether or not there are checks and balances in our system of government wherein the actions of the executive are reviewed or authorized by the judicial and or the legislature. Prior to this revelation the sentence beforehand included the minor caveat "during the war on terrorism." Now that caveat has been removed. We are now talking about whether or not the NSA needs court authorization to spy on Americans AT PEACE TIME.

RE: Pre-9/11 wiretap bid is alleged - Los Angeles Times

Pre-9/11 wiretap bid is alleged - Los Angeles Times
Topic: War on Terrorism 6:22 pm EDT, Oct 15, 2007

Former Chief Executive Joseph Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.

Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio's lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records.

This is something that I'd noticed but hadn't posted on yet. I've kind of been waiting for another shoe to drop, but the implication is that increased NSA spying was a policy of the Bush administration that was unrelated to 9/11. Apologists will argue that islamic terrorism was a threat prior to 9/11 and the government knew it was a threat, and now it is clear that this sort of program is necessary. Frankly, the same is basically true for the USA PATRIOT Act, which was a collection of various law and order wish lists that were easy to pass in the wake of 9/11 but designed and desired in advance.

Pre-9/11 wiretap bid is alleged - Los Angeles Times

Iraq: Better Numbers
Topic: War on Terrorism 9:38 pm EDT, Oct 14, 2007

In September, Iraqi civilian deaths were down 52 percent from August and 77 percent from September 2006, according to the Web site The Iraqi Health Ministry and the Associated Press reported similar results. U.S. soldiers killed in action numbered 43 -- down 43 percent from August and 64 percent from May, which had the highest monthly figure so far this year. The American combat death total was the lowest since July 2006 and was one of the five lowest monthly counts since the insurgency in Iraq took off in April 2004.

Iraq: Better Numbers

Reason Magazine - Be Angry—but Patient
Topic: War on Terrorism 8:30 pm EDT, Sep 14, 2007

The military schedule synchronizes with the political one. By this time next year, if Iraq has not turned the corner, a good guess is that the Republican presidential nominee will be facing a choice: Promise to wind down the war, or lose the election. Whichever choice the nominee makes, the die will be cast.

Democrats have every reason to be angry at Bush's evasion of political accountability for the mess he has made in Iraq. Democrats, Republicans, and all other Americans have every reason to be angry at Bush for making the mess to begin with.

But anger does not justify impatience. If Petraeus says he needs more time, he should get it. If he fails, a course correction won't be long in coming. The 22nd Amendment has seen to that.

Reason Magazine - Be Angry—but Patient

The War as We Saw It - New York Times
Topic: War on Terrorism 7:32 pm EDT, Sep 13, 2007

What soldiers call the “battle space”... is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army...

In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear....

Two of the authors of this essay were KIA on Monday.

The War as We Saw It - New York Times

The Iraq war | Why they should stay |
Topic: War on Terrorism 1:09 pm EDT, Sep 13, 2007

This newspaper was not wowed by either man. The spin General Petraeus put on the military achievements of the surge exaggerated the gains. Mr Crocker's claim to see a spirit of sectarian reconciliation bubbling just beneath the surface of Iraq's stalemated politics was even less convincing. But on one point Mr Crocker was surely right. If America removes its forces while Iraq remains in its present condition, the Iraqi future is indeed likely to be disastrous. For that reason above any other, and despite misgivings about the possibility of even modest success any time soon, our own view is that America (and Britain) ought to stay in Iraq until conditions improve.

The Iraq war | Why they should stay |

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