Monday the Supreme Court took our country back to the mid 20th century -- a time when people were criminally prosecuted and professionally persecuted for pure political advocacy and association (or suspected association) with the Communist Party. In a 6-3 opinion, in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project (HLP), the court upheld prohibitions on providing "material support" to foreign organizations designated as terrorist groups by the State Department, without due process -- even when that "support" is innocently rendered in the form of advice on peaceful conflict resolution and other human rights advocacy.
The democracy we once believed in appears no more. This is a shocking decision, an appalling finding. And please note 'liberal lion' (ha!) John Paul Stevens. Thank goodness that piece of crap is leaving the Court. Though Elena Kagan probably won't be much better. In fact, she won't be. The New York Times' Adam Liptak reports:
The decision was a victory for Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who argued the case in February and whose confirmation hearings for a seat on the court are scheduled to start next week. But Chief Justice Roberts said the government had advanced a position that was too extreme and did not take adequate account of the free-speech interests at stake.
And for the cheesy punks who will immediately insist, "She was doing her job!" -- who asked her to argue that? That's right Barack.
Only Justices Bryer, Sotomayor and Ginsburg voted against that appalling finding. And while the Court abused democracy and our rights, they found time to reward Monsanto today.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:
Allawi first spoke publically of the alleged assassination plot at a public gathering Saturday after the pan-Arab newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat published a report about the threat, citing unnamed security sources. He said a sniper planned to shoot him on the road to the Baghdad airport or inside the compound.
Allawi said Sunday that he was warned that the plot would be preceded by a government order barring all politicians from flying into and out of the Muthanna airfield, a restricted military base in Baghdad from which Allawi had traveled exclusively since 2004. The order came down last week.
Parker also notes that the US military put in writing (last April -- and Parker saw it and the military confirmed it to him) that they had heard reports that there would be an attempt on Allawi's life. Oliver August (Times of London via the Australian -- Rupert, work on your firewalls) reminds, "Members of Mr Allawi's Iraqiya bloc has been the target of repeated assassination attempts since the March election" and he quotes Allawi stating, "When they want to assassinate a person they have different ways. I was told there are reasons to believe there is a plan to assassinate me by sticking a bomb in my car at a checkpoint, perhaps a temporary one that is set up illegally." UAE's National Newspaper adds, "The Iraqi government will be the first to be held accountable in the event of a security shortfall, for the safety of party leaders remains the government's responsibility. That was basically Mr Allawi's message: the Iraqi government isn't doing enough to protect the Iraqi people's choice."
Turkey is repeating its big mistake as just Iraq and Sudan did. Turkey, like Saddam Hussein's Iraq previously, should learn that you cannot deny people their basic human rights. What are the Kurds in Turkey and for that matter the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) are asking for is only basic recognition of the fact that they are a people who are different and want to enjoy their cultural identity.
Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Baghdad, said the location of the attack would be viewed as another sign that the Iraqi army and police are struggling to provide basic security.
"If you walk 150 metres, you will have an Iraqi army checkpoint there," he said. "So it's kind of a blow to the security forces."
Kim Gamel (AP) reports, "Hours later, a man wearing an explosives vest blew himself up as police and onlookers responded to a roadside bomb apparently set as a trap in the northern city of Tikrit. At least five people were killed and 12 wounded in the late night attack, according to police and hospital officials."
In other violence today, Reuters notes a Baiji motorcycle bombing injured six people, a Shirqat suicide bomber took his/her own life and claimed the lives of 8 other people (with ten more wounded), 1 person shot dead in Mosul and, dropping back to last night, a Mosul roadside bombing which left three police officers injured.
The Post's recent editorial on U.S. funding for Iraq's defense ministry ["Poor transition," June 18] accused the Senate Armed Services Committee of ignoring "a few facts" in trimming $1 billion from the administration's request of $2 billion for Iraq security funding. That's funny, because The Post ignored plenty of facts in its editorial.
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June 16, 2010
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, chairing a hearing of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, today secured a commitment from the Veterans Administration (VA) to a high level meeting in the next three months with officials from the Indian Health Services (IHS) to focus on ways to improve care for rural veterans.
The topic of the hearing was VA Health Care in Rural Areas and included testimony from three Alaska witnesses directly involved in health care delivery to Alaska's veterans.
"I am pleased the VA recognizes the challenges faced by Alaska's veterans, particularly in rural areas, in accessing affordable and easily available health care services," Begich said. "The more we can coordinate and find ways to improve the system, the better off Alaska's veterans will be."
The committee heard testimony from Dan Winkelman, Vice President and General Counsel at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation; Brigadier General Deborah McManus, Assistant Adjutant General and Commander, Alaska National Guard; and Verdie Bowen, Director, Office of Veterans Affairs, Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
All of the Alaska witnesses testified about the difficulty in providing efficient services for veterans in rural parts of the state.
Winkelman testified that high energy, food and personnel costs add to the enormous disparity rural veterans have in accessing health care, a problem compounded by the fact there are few veterans health facilities in rural areas.
"To lack access upon their return from duty to culturally appropriate and quality health care services by the VA is a shame," Winkelman said.
Witnesses talked about the possibility and need for allowing rural veterans to access care at IHS funded facilities and have the VA reimburse the provider later, in many cases saving money and time by not forcing veterans to travel to Alaska's larger cities where VA facilities are located.
In response to the testimony and under questioning from Sen. Begich, VA Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management, William Schoenhard agreed to organize a high level meeting between VA and IHS officials in the next few months.
"We should collaborate. I would certainly welcome how we can better serve and get veterans engaged with IHS," Schoenhard testified.
Schoenhard admitted the VA doesn't have a thorough understanding of some of the obstacles faced by rural veterans and is looking at ways to revitalize the Rural Pilot Project, an outreach program designed to enroll more rural Alaska veterans in the VA health system.
"Hundreds of demonstrators from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area set up early morning picketlines in front of four gates into the SSA terminal in the , as a ship carrying Israeli cargo was preparing to dock. Demonstrators were protesting the Israeli attack on the flotilla that sought to break the blockade of Gaza, in which Israeli troops killed nine people. In response to the picketline, members of Local 10 of the decided not to go into the terminal and unload the cargo. In the afternoon, with picketlines again in front of the gate, the stevedoring company decided not to ask for a crew of longshosre workers to unload the ship, in the expectation that the crew would again not enter the terminal."
David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. Bacon can be heard on KPFA's The Morning Show (over the airwaves in the Bay Area, streaming online) each Wednesday morning (begins airing at 7:00 am PST).
the washington post
the new york times
the new york times
khalid d. ali
the associated press