Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Quick notes on the news

Also see: What did they know, and when did they know it? PreWar Intelligence--a review of current articles





Indented portions are excerpts from the news reports linked.
US to end 'catch and release' at Mexican border

But, as always with the Bush administration, it's going to take a looooooonnnnnnnnngggggg time.

This needs to be stopped ASAP!

Last year Chechens with ties to terrorists slipped over the border (they sneaked in but reports warn of terrorists posing as Brazilians --because immigration has few Portuguese speakers to identify their lack of fluency-- being caught and released as described by the Post article). Please see location for details.

Excerpt from report on Chechens slipping over the southern border (The original news reports appeared about a month after a warning was issued to American schools to be very cautious. If you remember, the government also said that there was no particular reason for that alert):

INTELLIGENCE reports that 25 Chechen terrorism suspects have illegally entered the US from Mexico have refocused attention on a porous border from which many believe the next major attack on Americans could come.

...few of these people had identification papers, and many lied and said they were from South America in order to evade attention and have a better chance of being released.

"We have heard from border patrol agents that they're being told to let people who look like they're from East Africa and the Middle East go because they say their name is Juan Pablo Garcia from Guatemala -- except that they don't speak a word of Spanish," she said.

Congressman Ortiz has said that intelligence shows al-Qa'ida working with El Salvadorean criminal gangs as well as reports of Brazilians being recruited to accompany Arabs to illegally cross the US border. If they are apprehended, the groups say they are Brazilian -- knowing there are few Portuguese-speaking border patrol agents -- and are usually released into the US.

Sheriff D'Wayne Jernigan, of Del Rio, Texas, last month publicly blasted the dubious policy after being ordered by the Homeland Security Department to release 17 captured Brazilians before they had been interrogated.

Congressmen Ortiz, a Democrat, and Henry Bonilla, a Republican, also of Texas, wrote to Mr Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge last month seeking an urgent solution.


What is it going to take, a school full of kids killed?


Excerpt from Post article:
The United States is closing a legal loophole which has allowed tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to slip into the country and join the estimated 11 million undocumented foreigners already here.

Under long-standing procedure along the U.S. border with Mexico, illegal crossers of nationalities other than Mexican -- dubbed OTMs by the Border Patrol -- have been entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge before they could be deported.


Because of a severe shortage of space to hold them until the hearing, they were released after being fingerprinted and given a "notice to appear," a document stating they had agreed to show up at court at a certain date.

The notice serves as a travel document allowing its holder past Border Patrol checkpoints on the roads leading from the border to the interior. Most OTMs do not show up for their hearing and meld into the population.





Padilla "The Dirty Bomber" Indicted
Washington Post hit it on the head in their editorial, that Jose Padilla's indictment was 3 years late. Also noted there was that the charges have shifted from "Dirty Bomber" after a conversation he had with an associate to supporting terrorism and "a conspiracy to kill and main overseas.

Post editorializes:
The government may at some time need to hold as an enemy combatant an American citizen who is fighting for the other side in a war but who, for one reason or another, cannot be tried in federal court. But it never needs to do what it did in Mr. Padilla's case -- that is, deprive someone of counsel and of any ability to defend himself after arresting him in a civilian setting in the territorial United States. And it should never perpetuate enemy-combatant status past the point of its necessity -- as it did here.
and that's well said. But they also note that Gonzalez is a former gang member without also reminding us that at one time before converting to Islam he was probably a church member and a grocery store shopper.

Both articles surmise that the indictment is an effort to head off or influence a Supreme Court fight which is likely to be unsuccessful. And that the new charges are ones the US thinks it can prove without resorting to evidence gained from Mr. Padilla 's interrogation during the last three years being held in a military brig without access to a lawyer.

But the important point to bring up here is that Mr. Padilla represents a severe threat to Americans and the world. Major actions on the "Dirty Bomber's case can also represent stage 1 in a severe "We can't stop our polls from tanking" alert. Stage 5 of that process involves starting another war. Last year it only took 6 weeks from Stage 1, the revelation more than 30 days after his capture of his arrest, to Stage 4, serious talk about attacking Iraq, which the Bush administration actually made good on despite nearly all their evidence being shown as false before the actual invasion.




DeLay Seeks Dismissal of Indictments

With time running out for Rep. Tom DeLay to regain his House majority leader post, the Republican is pushing for dismissal of his criminal indictments.

Senior Judge Pat Priest won't decide for two weeks whether to toss out DeLay's conspiracy and money laundering charges. The case probably would not go to trial before January, Priest said at a hearing Tuesday.

...The longer the House goes without a permanent majority leader, the more likely it is that Republicans will elect a new one.

"It's very, very important to Congressman DeLay because he's been required to step down from his leadership post simply because of the existence of an accusation," defense attorney Dick DeGuerin said.


Just a note here. I hope the first newsman to link 'DeLay' with 'delay' in a single sentence gets thrown out to obituary pasture. Cute wording is 'in' with some news circles, but please folks.

Bloggers will probably have a heyday with this though. (We have no obituary departments.)




CDC Proposal Would Help U.S. Track Travelers

Oh yes, I'm sure that a police state would cure a lot of ills! including that messy and slow acting thing called Democracy!!!!!

Every bit of news becomes a new reason for the Bush administration to seek to take away our rights.

Does anyone know why that is?

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a phone-book-thick proposed rule yesterday that would give the federal government new powers to track the comings and goings of individual travelers and expand the circumstances under which passengers exposed to a serious communicable disease could be isolated or quarantined.

The proposed changes are the latest in a series of preparatory moves aimed at solidifying federal health officials' legal authority to take actions aimed at slowing the spread of emerging contagious diseases, such as pandemic flu.

...greater scrutiny of passengers for signs of illness and greater efforts by airlines and others to obtain personal contact information from travelers. They also broaden the list of symptoms that would make people subject to quarantine.


Results of live discussion on this subject.



Murtha's Reality Check

Despite Rep. John Murtha's (D-Pa.) call to bring home the troops in Iraq, the consensus view in Washington is that the Democratic Party has no unified message on the war beyond criticizing the Bush administration's handling of it.


With all respect, Mr. Neal, Murtha's call for a measured pace of withdrawal is actually a solution. And, please remember, the right wing hands out talking points for free, but free advice is worth what you pay for it. And those who drink the Republican's koolaid end up, in the end, like Judith Miller wondering how long they can afford to keep his or her nice Aspen home.

In fact, it was such a good idea that the Bush administration started using it right away. This is similar to when the Bush administration took John Kerry's idea in asking for more international troops to help in Iraq and then said that Kerry didn't have any solutions.

The constant drinking of the Republicans' koolaid (talking points), whether official or what you guys talk about over the water color, drinks, etc. is one of the reasons that the Washington punditry tends to be a little dim.




Toon: Danziger on Schmidt




Toon: Oliphant on Woodward





Vatican Document Sets New Rules on Gays in Seminaries

Oh great! Now the the most rabid fundamentalists will have a fun holiday putting down Catholics. Funny, but then they cozy up to the same people other times telling them, they're their best allies. (They also say that to the people of Israel, though the ultimate aim in their program--taken directly from the Bible-- calls for the destruction of that nation.) Please people consider who your real friends are. They aren't the people working behind your back for harm to you and yours.

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