Friday, September 24, 2004

what WE stand for.....

David says it beautifully. it is clear that bush was a screw up back then. he has screwed up and been bailed out of every venture he has embarked on in his adult life. what is critical is his latest disaster. he and his crime family have stolen our country. practically everything they say is lie and the press repeats it without a question. i think the repugnicans like to keep the guard discussion alive so they can show the young bush in his pilot dress-up costume.....enough! let's focus on what we have to offer.
September 24, 2004
Terry McAuliffe, Please Shut Up....About Bush and the Guard

their guy mr. allawi

as the bush crime family tried to put a sunny face on their crimes in Iraq they featured their guy (appointed) to lie to the American people....The New York Times says it all very succinctly.

.........Since he was appointed interim prime minister in June, Mr. Allawi has not tried very hard to remake himself as a democrat. He has armed himself with the power to declare martial law and reinstated the death penalty, and he closed the Baghdad offices of Al Jazeera when it refused to adjust its editorial policies to his liking. His main appeal to Iraqis rests on the notion that he may be the only politician ruthless enough to hold the fragmenting country together.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

not in my name!!!!!

Be sure to go up and read the shameless pack of lies bush spewed at the United Nations. Six of his paragraphs begin with...."Because we believe in human dignity,"......the nicest thing you can say about his performance is, as an American, i was sooooo embarrassed.....

When he said......"A democratic Iraq has ruthless enemies, because terrorists know the stakes in that country. They know that a free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will be a decisive blow against their ambitions for that region.".......i thought we finally had the answer to why we are there.......

hey bush!!!! let us have a look at the CIA analysis so we can make an informed decision in november!!!!

Bush Says Iraq Is Going Great, but the Facts Say Otherwise... You Can Help Get the Facts Out

President Bush tells us that “Our strategy is succeeding … Iraq is headed toward democracy ... Freedom is on the march.” This from the guy who told us that American troops would be greeted with parades as liberators and “Mission Accomplished.” The facts say otherwise. Bush’s own CIA recently reported to him that the best case in Iraq is a protracted quagmire and the worst case is a full-blown civil war. Yet Bush continues the sunny spin.
In a democracy, the people are entitled to know what’s going on so that we can form our own opinions and take action. No wonder this government seeks to keep the facts from the people. But U.S. senators, both Democrats and Republicans, are calling for the public release of the facts in that CIA analysis, known as the National Intelligence Estimate. Respected senators Bob Graham (D-FL) and John McCain (R-AZ) have read it and know that Americans deserve to know what’s in it too. Of course, it would have the secret stuff taken out; no one wants to make things worse. But the truth of how we got into this mess, what’s happening on the ground there now and how this is going to play out should all be available to the people.
Here’s what you can do. Together with our friends at MoveOn and Working Assets, TrueMajority is pushing for public disclosure of the facts about the quagmire in Iraq. We’re working to get this issue into the media, and a great way to get it widely read is through the Letters to the Editor section of your local paper. Letters to the editor are heavily read and really help to get people thinking and acting. And we’ve made it really easy for you to get your views published.
To send a letter to the editor of your paper (either one we’ve helped write or, better yet, one of your own, perhaps using the talking points we provide), just click here:
Yours in uncovering the truth, Ben

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Assault weapons ban ends. Why?

Bush didn't raise a finger to stop the assault weapons ban from expiring. Frist, Delay and Hastert agreed any extension of the ban would be killed in conference.

You've just got to wonder who's benefiting from an end to the assault weapons ban. Gun manufacturers and dealers, sure. What about the Private prison industry? the Republican leadership is mighty chummy with them. Remember; Bush sent a private prisons industry executive over to Iraq to run the prisons. The logic is there, private prisons would benefit from an increase in violent crime... wouldn't they.

But maybe others would benefit too. What about Drug Cartels? They've already reaped big benefits from the way the Bush Administration handled the invasion of Afghanistan. You know, record poppy harvests ever since the U.S. dislodged the Taliban and then stopped short.
Defunding the 1994 crime bills '100K cops on the street' provision and freely available assault weapons would make it much easier to get a drug dealer back on every urban street corner. After all with bumper poppy crops, there's a lot of "merchandise" to move.

We already know that Bill Frist and his family have lots of Drug connections and there's nothing like plenty of gun shot wounds to keep an emergency-room bustling. But what about DeLay and Hastert? Where does there money come from? Who backs their campaigns?

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Great news from peckerheadville!!!!!

Michael's (on right)back from Iraq......boy what a welcome site.
He has some state of the art titanium in his arm and wears a purple heart. He plans to finish his time here at home and go to school. I want us to honor his service to his country by keeping faith with him and fully funding existing programs for our veterens and be quick to respond to needs we may not even know of yet. We are so happy to see you michael and you go!!!

Arianna Huffington rock!!

Thank you, thank you for being out there telling the truth......we have so much work to do. their conspiracy machine is humming and grazing on green.....and it is stinking vast!!!! we must send these cowardly, mean, greedy scum away......we the people need to come together for the sake of the people that will come after us, as many did before us.....these people do not have our interests in their plan....a couple of questions come to my mind...1.why do they want cheap assault weapons on the streets of america?? they are arriving here now to go on the shelves on monday when the ban expires.......and 2.why would the vice president threaten americans that they better vote the right way...or else....we need the leadership of mature, intelligent wise people.....i'm sick of these adolescent, swaggering, bullies and their neo-con wet dream.......let's all keep talking and listening and doing everything we can to secure the go Arrianna!!!!

.............The storyline of this campaign is really about heroes and villains. John Kerry and John Edwards are running because they are committed to the most important and heroic task facing our country: the building of one indivisible nation. They desperately want to make us one America. Bush and Cheney are running so they can continue to make life easier, plusher, and more privileged for the only America they choose to see. To succeed, they have to convince enough people between now and Election Day that the Other America is somehow a pessimistic figment of the Democratic imagination.

Time for a Change

What Bush says:

"The United States is determined to stay on the offensive and to pursue the terrorists wherever they train or sleep or attempt to set down roots," Mr Bush said in a live radio address.

What His General says:

U.S. general says bin Laden, al-Zawahri still directing attacks
BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AP)
The trail has gone cold in the hunt for suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden three years after the audacious attacks, but the al-Qaeda chief and his No. 2 are still orchestrating strikes like the recent suicide car bombing of a U.S. security firm in Kabul, a top American commander said Saturday.
Maj. Gen. Eric Olson told The Associated Press the military had not intercepted any radio traffic or instructions from either bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. But he said the involvement of well-trained foreign fighters in attacks near the Pakistani border convinced him that the fugitive leaders were pulling the strings. ......

Come November, It's time for a Change

After three years, Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri are carrying on business as usual. The situations in Iraq and Afghanistan are deteriorating. It's obvious that Bush and his Neo-Con's have failed. They have no idea how to solve the problems that confront the United States. All they've got is bluster and lies!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

A look at those who have died

so many faces of young americans make this mother's heart break.....when will America wake up to the criminal incompetency masquerading as leadership....what they are doing in our name is beyond comprehension.....and that half the people are drinking the kool-aid is unexplainable.....what will it take to wake them up?

America's future.....

Oh, this is beautiful, President Bush gets credit for being willing, but hell, no rubber will meet the road on this one. These people are lying cowards and that's the nicest thing i have to say about them. My question, if i got to ask them one, would be "why do you want these weapons back on the streets of America?"

Renewal of assault weapon ban shot down in Senate
With president on the sidelines, its sponsor says, bill has no chance
By GEBE MARTINEZCopyright 2004 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

No, Senator Frist two-thirds of the american people do not want it to expire.

Valley observers split on effectiveness of soon-to-expire federal gun law.
Bee staff and news services
(Updated Thursday, September 9, 2004, 5:38 AM)

"I think the will of the American people is consistent with letting it expire, so it will expire," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., told reporters.

Scum runs the Congress

Isn't it about time for a revolt inside the Republican party? Are Republican Senators and Representatives all wimps? Why don't they rebel and replace leader's that are consistently acting against the wishes of a majority of Republicans? What kind of Congress is it when a handful of southern white-guys get to decide the course of the Nation without consulting anyone else?

House Votes to Block Bush Overtime Regulations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives defied President Bush on Thursday and voted to block his administration's controversial new overtime regulations for white-collar workers.

In a rare election-year victory for organized labor on Capitol Hill, the House approved an amendment to a spending bill to deny funds to administer the regulations that opponents say would cost an estimated 6 million white- and blue-collar workers overtime pay.

Republican leaders rejected those claims and, aides said, would seek to kill the amendment once the $142.5 billion funding bill for the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services reached a House-Senate conference committee.

That is what Republican leaders did last year with an earlier bipartisan attempt by both chambers to stop the regulations drafted by Bush's Labor Department and which took effect last month.
Complete Article

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

cheney threatens america

does he know something he's not sharing with us??? interesting that he thinks kerry would be a wrong choice(i'm assuming that is his meaning) since 911 happened on their watch???

Cheney: Kerry Victory Is Risky
Democrats Decry Talk as Scare Tactic
By Dana Milbank and Spencer S. HsuWashington Post Staff WritersWednesday, September 8, 2004

.........In Des Moines, Cheney went beyond previous restraints to suggest that the country would be more vulnerable to attack under Kerry. "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again," the vice president said, "that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind-set, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we are not really at war.".........

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

President Bush Flubs His Speech


"We need to do something about these frivolous lawsuits that are running up the cost of your health care and running good docs out of business," Bush said. "We've got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

US Death Toll in Iraq Hits 1,000

I don't know what to say, as I write this the death count has already gone to 1002. The invasion of Iraq was wrong; there never was an imminent threat to the United States. The evidence of the Administrations lies is finally coming out in the mainstream media. But, it's too late those 1002 Americans; they were sent to their deaths by a cold, callous, immoral Administration. Bush and his friends are just as responsible for these death as if they had personally pulled the trigger.

A Tragic Milestone in Iraq
As the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq passed 1,000 today, John Kerry issued the following statement:

“Today marks a tragic milestone in the war in Iraq. More than one thousand of America’s sons and daughters have made the ultimate sacrifice. Our nation honors their service and joins with their families and loved ones in mourning their loss. We must never forget the price they have paid. And we must meet our sacred obligation to all our troops to do all we can to make the right decisions in Iraq so that we can bring them home as soon as possible.”

Statement from John Kerry on Iraq
“George W. Bush wishes he and I had the same position on Iraq but wishing doesn’t make it so. I have said repeatedly that when it comes to Iraq, I wouldn’t have done just one thing differently, I would have done almost everything differently. George Bush’s wrongheaded, go-it-alone Iraq policy has created a quagmire, costing us $200 billion and counting. As a result, George Bush is shortchanging America on everything from education to health care to job creation – making it more difficult to meet our needs here at home.”

US Death Toll in Iraq Hits 1,000
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. death toll in Iraq on Tuesday reached 1,000 nearly 18 months after American-led forces invaded the country to topple the government of former President Saddam Hussein, the White House said.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the latest Pentagon figures showed that 997 American troops and three civilian employees of the Defense Department had been killed in Iraq. A defense official confirmed the milestone toll.

The rising death toll includes more than a dozen U.S. troops killed in fighting and attacks by insurgents since Friday. Nearly 7,000 American troops have also been wounded since the invasion. .... Source:

Monday, September 06, 2004

Winning the War?

Seven more U.S. Marines died today. So far, Bush's war of conquest against Iraq has cost 990 dead and 7000 wounded U.S. troops. When they get home, wounded soldiers face a system that wants them to just go away. AND - Yet another of Bush's excuses to go to war is proven to be a LIE!

Car bomb kills seven Marines in Iraq
Monday, September 6, 2004 · Last updated 1:39 p.m. PT

A destroyed vehicle lies at the site of a massive car bomb attack on the outskirts of Fallujah, 65kms(40 miles) north west of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday Sept. 6, 2004. Seven U.S. marines and 3 Iraqi National Guard soldiers died in the apparent suicide attack, US military officials said. (AP Photo/Abdul Khader Sadi)
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A suicide attacker sped up to a U.S. military convoy outside Fallujah and detonated an explosives-packed vehicle on Monday, killing seven Marines and three Iraqi soldiers, U.S. military officials said. It was the deadliest day for American forces in four months. ....

Many wounded in Iraq war now battle medical system
Nicholas K. Geranios, The Associated Press

SPOKANE - Lance Cpl. Ian Anderson of Spokane was a gung-ho Marine who was shot five times while serving his country in Iraq.

Now he is an embittered 23-year-old coping with his wounds, angry at his medical care, and unsure what he will do with the rest of his life.

One of more than 130 Washington residents who have been wounded so far in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Anderson personifies a hard truth about war: Enthusiastic patriotism often gives way to shattered lives. ....

U.N.: Iraqi Drones Were No Threat
Aircraft Could Not Deliver Weapons
By Colum LynchWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, September 5, 2004; Page A28
UNITED NATIONS -- The United Nations' chief weapons inspector has concluded there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein's government ever developed unpiloted drones capable of dispersing chemical and biological weapons agents on enemy targets. ....

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Reconstructing one day on a Swift boat

By ROBERT PRICE, Californian staff columnist

Bill Means needed to talk to me, he said. Right away.
I didn't ask why; I figured it had something to do with Vietnam. We'd talked briefly a couple of months earlier about the war and about Swift boats. Thirty-five years ago, as a Navy seaman, Means had patrolled the southern coastline of the South China Sea and the mangrove-dense rivers of the country's interior -- 12 months in all, mostly spent in the pilot house of one of those 55-foot, aluminum-hulled Navy fighting boats.
About a week ago, we made tentative plans to talk again. Then I didn't hear from him until he called abruptly, urgency in his voice.
We sat down together and, agitated and emotional, he laid it all out for me.
It bothered him, seeing Vietnam brought back into play as a political game piece. The left had done it to war veterans three decades ago. Returning servicemen had been vilified -- spat upon, in fact, as if they'd been the architects of U.S. foreign policy rather than just the young men and women obligated by law and duty to carry it out.
Now the right had seized upon the Vietnam War, too -- specifically the role, in uniform and out, of Sen. John Kerry. And to Means, it seemed just as wrong.
Means, a 55-year-old investigator for several Bakersfield law firms, was particularly annoyed by the words of one retired admiral. Roy F. "Latch" Hoffman, one of the co-founders of the pro-George W. Bush group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, had publicly criticized Kerry, a former Swift boat commander, for having brought back stories about alleged war crimes by U.S. forces -- often carried out, Kerry said in 1971, "with the full awareness of officers at all levels."
Seemed to him, Means said, his own Swift boat crew had come close to committing a war crime themselves one day. A senior officer, hitching a ride up the coast aboard their Swift boat, had ordered the crew to fire on a small group of unarmed Vietnamese fishermen working their nets in unrestricted waters, Means said. The boat's commanding officer had refused to comply.
Was that the way the boat's commander remembered the incident too, all these years later? Means had to know.
So he got on the Internet and hunted down Thomas W.L. "Tad" McCall, the retired Navy captain who'd commanded Means' boat, PCF 88, as a newly minted ensign. Means called him.
Not only did McCall remember the day in question, and that confrontation off the coast of South Vietnam, he remembered the name of the officer who had given the command to shoot: "Latch" Hoffman himself, then a Navy captain in charge of the entire Swift boat task force in Vietnam.
The next morning Means told me the whole story. Then I called McCall myself.
McCall, now 60, remembers March 14, 1969, because it was his 25th birthday. He'd only been running a Swift boat for a few weeks, having arrived in Vietnam in January 1969, the same month as Means.
At the time, McCall said, the Navy was having trouble finding qualified officers to command those hazardous-duty patrol boats; lieutenant j.g.'s were in increasingly short supply. McCall, the son of Oregon's sitting governor, Republican Tom McCall, was only an ensign. That, the Navy was beginning to realize, would have to do.
"I was really green," said McCall, who joined the Navy as an enlisted man in 1967 and retired in March 1992 as a captain and a JAG, or military attorney.
McCall's crew was supposed to be off duty that day. But McCall was told Hoffman needed a ride up the coast to the base at Nha Trang to visit a seriously wounded Navy SEAL.
"I was excited, nervous and kind of pleased we were going to get to take the commander of the task force up the coast, an hour and a half each way," McCall said. "A beautiful trip, an honor for us. The crew didn't think it was an honor, though. They thought it was a pain in the butt."
Hoffman got to the boat at mid-morning, a distinguished-looking officer in brown camouflage.
From the start, Hoffman made it clear the trip would be no pleasure cruise. He wanted to search every Vietnamese boat they passed, it seemed. McCall protested mildly; he knew many of those boats from having patrolled those same waters almost daily.
Then Hoffman set his attention on a small cluster of fishing boats, four small vessels with perhaps 10 fishermen, about 1,000 yards offshore. "We had seen them in the water there many, many times," McCall said. "They were fishing at a good fishing place ... in traditional fishing waters. 'Another patrol is coming up behind us soon,' I told him. 'We're taking you for a ride, not patrolling.'"
But Hoffman ordered a crewman to hail the fishing boats on a bullhorn. The fishermen didn't respond. So Hoffman ordered a crewman to fire his M-16 in their direction, splashing the water around them. The fishermen, perhaps not understanding what they were supposed to do, still didn't respond.
"Shoot closer," McCall remembers Hoffman saying.
"I can't shoot closer, sir, I'll hit them," the crewman said.
"Well, do it," Hoffman said.
The meaning of those words were clear to everyone aboard PCF 88, McCall said. Hoffman was ordering the fishing party destroyed, the fishermen killed.
The officers argued policy; McCall realized it was ultimately his call.
He ordered his men to stand down, leave the fishermen alone and move on. He sent Hoffman below deck, and the captain, cursing, complied.
"From that day on," said Means, who witnessed the exchange from his post at the wheel, "McCall was our hero."
When McCall got back to the base at Cam Ranh Bay, he was told he would receive an administrative punishment -- a 30-day benching known as being "in hack," for which official records were not kept.
"There was no animosity afterward," McCall said, noting that when Hoffman left Vietnam, the sailors at Cam Ranh Bay threw him a party.
"I think, if I remember right, he gave me a hug," McCall said. "He was a rascal, a colorful guy. We had an amicable parting of the ways. I just thought his leadership at the time was misguided."
Hoffman did not return my e-mail message asking for his comment.
After leaving the Navy, McCall served as a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force, a civilian post, from 1994 to 2001. Since that time he has worked as a consultant to the Army on environmental matters.
He has been approached by representatives of the Kerry campaign about telling his story, he said. He's not particularly political, so he's not interested.
Means feels the same -- to a point.
"We weren't Republicans and Democrats on those Swift boats," he said. "We were (expletive) trying to stay alive. (Things) happened, but we can't go back and reconstruct it from 35 years ago."
But if others, whatever their motivation, insist on trying to do so now, Means is willing to try too. In his view, his commanding officer did the right thing 35 years ago by speaking up. Speaking up himself, Bill Means believes, is the least he can do today.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Bush Administration, swarming with traitors!

The truth will out. The facts about the corruption and immorality of the Bush administration are leaking out. Bush political hacks placed in positions of responsibility within the Pentagon have be giving away our national secrets... and the highest levels of the Administration knew about it and did nothing to stop it! Apparently it served their short term goals and our national security didn't matter to them!

Source: Bush administration briefed about spy probe early
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI first briefed senior White House officials early in the Bush administration about an investigation into whether a major pro-Israel lobbying organization was providing U.S. intelligence information to Israel, officials said Friday.
President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleeza Rice, and her top deputy, Stephen Hadley, were informed of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee probe not long after Bush took office in 2001, according to two administration officials speaking on condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity. ......

Wider FBI Probe Of Pentagon Leaks Includes Chalabi
By Robin Wright and Thomas E. RicksWashington Post Staff WritersFriday, September 3, 2004; Page A01
FBI counterintelligence agents are investigating whether several Pentagon officials leaked classified information to Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, according to a law enforcement official and other people familiar with the case.
Senior White House officials, including national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, have been apprised that Chalabi is part of the investigation, according to a senior U.S. official. The inquiry is part of the larger counterintelligence probe that was disclosed last week -- the scope of which is not yet clear. .....

George Bush - Killer!!!

Because of the inflexible arrogant policies of the Bush administration, millions of woman's lives are at risk. Who knows how many woman and children have already died. Obviously, Bush and his sicko anti-choice allies are ready to murder millions of woman and children to uphold there "moral" stance. They're entirely ready to throw the babies out with the bath-water!

U.S. Policies 'Hurt Poor Women's Health' -Advocates
Thu Sep 2, 2004 02:51 PM ET
By Patricia Reaney
LONDON (Reuters) - The United States is endangering the lives of millions of women because of its policy of teaching that sexual abstinence is the best way to fight AIDS, women's health experts said on Thursday.
They also accused the United States of putting women at risk by cutting funding to groups Washington says promote abortion.
Delegates at a meeting in London to gauge progress since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development said policies backed by President Bush had hurt their cause.
"As the U.S. attacks the efficacy of condoms, as the U.S. refuses to put its shoulder behind making sure that women have the ability to protect themselves, it is becoming responsible in effect for the deaths of tens of thousands, in fact of millions, of women," said Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation and a former U.S. senator. ....

More of Bush's Nothing Accomplished

I guess they thought nobody would notice. The Justice Departments Big Terrorist cell bust was a scam. Those arrested were only involved in petty crime and the Justice Dept. committed widespread prosecutorial misconduct. The AP reported it and the Guardian (UK) carried it, but no major U.S. paper seems to have noticed.

Judge Drops Charges in Mich. Terror Case
Thursday September 2, 2004 9:16 PM
AP Photo
DETROIT (AP) - Acting at the request of prosecutors, a federal judge on Thursday threw out the terrorism charges against two men convicted last year.
But U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen said the two, as well as a third man, must stand trial again on charges of document fraud.
The judge's decision came after the Justice Department admitted widespread prosecutorial misconduct in the case and asked the judge to dismiss the terrorism charges against two men accused of being part of a Detroit terror cell.
In a case the government once hailed as a victory against terrorism, Karim Koubriti, 26, and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi, 38, were convicted in June 2003 of conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism and to engage in fraud and misuse of visas and other documents.
A third man, Ahmed Hannan, 36, was convicted of only the fraud charge, and Farouk Ali-Haimoud, 24, was acquitted.
The government's change of heart, outlined in court papers Tuesday, came after a monthslong court-ordered review of documents connected to the case. The Justice Department uncovered several pieces of potentially exculpatory evidence that should have been given to the defense before trial.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

More Mission Nothing Accomplished

Here it is... a short little article that reveals another example of how dishonest and incompetent this administration is. The AP reported it and the Guardian (UK) picked it up but I wonder if you'd be able to find it in a U.S. paper. Originally there was big coverage of the capture of Terrorists here in the U.S.. And now; the reason for dismissing the case, widespread prosecutorial misconduct!

Judge Drops Charges in Mich. Terror Case
Thursday September 2, 2004 9:16 PM

DETROIT (AP) - Acting at the request of prosecutors, a federal judge on Thursday threw out the terrorism charges against two men convicted last year.
But U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen said the two, as well as a third man, must stand trial again on charges of document fraud.
The judge's decision came after the Justice Department admitted widespread prosecutorial misconduct in the case and asked the judge to dismiss the terrorism charges against two men accused of being part of a Detroit terror cell.
In a case the government once hailed as a victory against terrorism, Karim Koubriti, 26, and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi, 38, were convicted in June 2003 of conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism and to engage in fraud and misuse of visas and other documents.
A third man, Ahmed Hannan, 36, was convicted of only the fraud charge, and Farouk Ali-Haimoud, 24, was acquitted.
The government's change of heart, outlined in court papers Tuesday, came after a monthslong court-ordered review of documents connected to the case. The Justice Department uncovered several pieces of potentially exculpatory evidence that should have been given to the defense before trial.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Too Scary for the Classroom?

Too Scary for the Classroom?By TARIQ RAMADANAs a professor and a Muslim, I make no apologies for my critical look at both Islam and the West.Too Scary for the Classroom?By TARIQ RAMADAN
Published: September 1, 2004

Geneva — Right now, I am supposed to be in South Bend, Ind., beginning my term as a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame. After all, my petition for a work/residence visa in the United States was granted in May, after meticulous clearance procedures. But nine days before I was to move, I received an urgent message from the American Embassy: my visa had been revoked. If I wished to reapply, I was told, I was welcome to do so; but no reasons for the revocation were given. Classes have now begun at Notre Dame, while my wife and children and I wait here in a barren apartment.
The State Department's reasoning remains a mystery. For some time I have been considered a controversial figure in France; but this was well known by the American government when I received the visa in the spring. I have been accused of engaging in "double talk" - that is, of delivering a gentle message in French and English, and a radical, violent one in Arabic.
My detractors have tried to demonstrate that I have links with extremists, that I am an anti-Semite and that I despise women. Repeatedly I have denied these assertions, and asked my critics to show evidence from my writings and public comments. Their failure to do so has had little effect: I am repeatedly confronted with magazine articles and Web postings repeating these accusations as facts and fabricating new ones.
And now the web of lies has spread across the Atlantic Ocean. The most damaging accusations were in an article in Vanity Fair claiming that I had written the preface to a volume of essays that endorsed the stoning of women caught in adultery. Actually, the book condemned the practice as un-Islamic.
I admit that my intellectual project is inherently controversial. My goal is to foster communities within the Islamic world that are seeking a path between their often bitter experience with some American and European policies on the one hand, and the unacceptable violence of Islamic extremists on the other. I understand, share and publicly discuss many of the Muslim criticisms of "Western" governments, including the deleterious worldwide effects of unregulated American consumerism.
I find current American policies toward the Middle East misguided and counterproductive, a position I believe I share with millions of Americans and Europeans. Yet I have also criticized many so-called Islamic governments, including that of Saudi Arabia, for their human rights violations and offenses against human dignity, personal freedom and pluralism.
My more specific stances have also raised hackles in France. For example, I strongly oppose France's new law banning female students from wearing head scarves, although on general human rights grounds rather than because I am a Muslim. (I condemn the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq and think the French government should not submit to the blackmail of the kidnappers, who say they will kill the captives unless the ban is overturned.)
I was also accused of anti-Semitism after I criticized some leading French intellectuals - including Bernard-Henri Lévy and Alain Finkielkraut - for abandoning France's noble traditions of universalism and personal freedom because of their anxiety over Muslim immigration and their support for Israel.
The fact is, in the more than 20 books, 700 articles and 170 audio tapes I have produced, one will find no double talk, but a consistent set of themes, and an insistence that my fellow Muslims unequivocally condemn radical views and acts of extremism.
Just days after 9/11, I gave an interview calling on Muslims to condemn the attacks and to acknowledge that the terrorists betrayed the Islamic message. I have denounced anti-Semitism, criticizing Muslims who do not differentiate between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a political issue and the unacceptable rejection of individual Jews because of their religion and heritage. I have called for a spiritual reformation that will lead to an Islamic feminism. I reject every kind of mistreatment of women, including domestic violence, forced marriage and female circumcision. My opponents also accuse me of being the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt. I plead guilty to this charge. My response is: am I to be judged by the words and deeds of an ancestor?
Those critics obsessed with my genealogy ought to examine my intellectual pedigree, which includes advanced study of Descartes, Kant and Nietzsche, among others. They should examine the time I have spent working in poverty-stricken areas with the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and the Brazilian human-rights leader Dom Helder Camara, as well as with countless other Christians and Jews, agnostics and atheists.
For 20 years, I have dedicated myself to studying Islamic scripture, Western and Eastern philosophies and societies, and built an identity that is truly Western and truly Muslim. I make no apologies for taking a critical look at both Islam and the West; in doing so I am being true to my faith and to the ethics of my Swiss citizenship. I believe Muslims can remain faithful to their religion and be able, from within pluralistic and democratic societies, to oppose all injustices.
I also feel it is vital that Muslims stop blaming others and indulging in victimization. We are responsible for reforming our societies. On the other hand, blindly supporting American or European policies should not be the only acceptable political stance for Muslims who seek to be considered progressive and moderate.
In the Arab and Islamic world, one hears a great deal of legitimate criticism of American foreign policy. This is not to be confused with a rejection of American values. Rather, the misgivings are rooted in five specific grievances: the feeling that the United States role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unbalanced; the longstanding American support of authoritarian regimes in Islamic states and indifference to genuine democratic movements (particularly those that have a religious bent); the belief that Washington's policies are driven by short-term economic and geostrategic interests; the willingness of some prominent Americans to tolerate Islam-bashing at home; and the use of military force as the primary means of establishing democracy.
Instead of war, the Arab and Muslim worlds seek evidence of a lasting and substantive commitment by the United States to policies that would advance public education, equitable trade and mutually profitable economic and cultural partnerships. For this to occur, America first has to trust Muslims, genuinely listen to their hopes and grievances, and allow them to develop their own models of pluralism and democracy.
Simply sponsoring a few Arabic TV and radio channels will not lead to real changes in Muslims' perceptions. Instead, America's only chance of making peace with the Islamic world depends on consistency between words and actions, and the development of cross-cultural trust over time.
I believe Western Muslims can make a critical difference in the Muslim majority world. To do this, we must become full, independent Western citizens, working with others to address social, economic and political problems. However, we can succeed only if Westerners do not cast doubt on our loyalty every time we criticize Western governments. Not only do our independent voices enrich Western societies, they are the only way for Western Muslims to be credible in Arab and Islamic countries so that we can help bring about freedom and democracy. That is the message I advocate. I do not understand how it can be judged as a threat to America.
Tariq Ramadan is the author, most recently, of "Western Muslims and the Future of Islam."

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