Two Sides of the Same Coin… Heads-Heads

"In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill...we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one." -- Plato

During the campaign, amid their state of elation, many disregarded Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama's past record and took any criticism of these past actions as partisan attacks deserving equally partisan counterattacks. Some continued their reluctant support after candidate Obama became grand finalist and prayed for the best. And a few still continue their rationalizing and defense, with illogical excuses such as 'He's been in office for only 20 days, give the man a break!' and 'He's had only 50 days in office, give him a chance!' and currently, 'be reasonable - how much can a man do in 120 days?!' I am going to give this logic, or lack of, a slight spicing of reason, then, turn it around, and present it as: If 'the man' can do this much astounding damage, whether to our civil liberties, or to our notion of democracy, or to government integrity, in 'only' 120 days, may God help us with the next [(4 X 365) - 120] days.

I know there are those who have been tackling President Obama's changes on change; they have been challenging his flipping, or rather flopping, on issues central to getting him elected. While some have been covering the changes comprehensively, others have been running right and left like headless chickens in the field - pick one hypocrisy, scream a bit, then move on to the next outrageous flop, the same, and then to the next, basically, looking and treating this entire mosaic one piece at a time.

Despite all the promises Mr. Obama made during his campaign, especially on those issues that were absolutely central to those whose support he garnered, so far the President of Change has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor. Not only that, his administration has made it clear that they intend to continue this trend. Some call it a major betrayal. Can we go so far as to call it a 'swindling of the voters'?

On the State Secrets Privilege

Yes, I am going to begin with the issue of State Secrets Privilege; because I was the first recipient of this 'privilege' during the now gone Administration; because long before it became 'a popular' topic among the 'progressive experts,' during the time when these same experts avoided writing or speaking about it; when many constitutional attorneys had no idea we even had this "law" - similar to and based on the British 'Official Secret Act; when many journalists did not dare to question this draconian abuse of Executive Power; I was out there, writing, speaking, making the rounds in Congress, and fighting this 'privilege' in the courts. And because in 2004 I stood up in front of the Federal Court building in DC, turned to less than a handful of reporters, and said, 'This, my case, is setting a precedent, and you are letting this happen by your fear-induced censorship. Now that they have gotten away with this, now that you have let them get away, we'll be seeing this 'privilege' invoked in case after case involving government criminal deeds in need of cover up.' Unfortunately I was proven right.

So far The Obama administration has invoked the state secrets privilege in three cases in the first 100 days: Al Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, Mohammed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, and Jewel v. NSA.

In defending the NSA illegal wiretapping, the Obama administration maintained that the State Secrets Privilege, the same draconian executive privilege used and abused voraciously by the previous administration, required the dismissal of the case in courts.

Not only has the new administration continued the practice of invoking SSP to shield government wrongdoing, it has expanded its abuses much further. In the Al Haramain case, Obama's Justice Department has threatened to have the FBI or federal marshals break into a judge's office and remove evidence already turned over in the case, according to the plaintiff's attorney. Even Bush didn't go this far so brazenly. In a well-written, disgust-provoking piece plaintiff's attorney Jon Eisenberg, poses the question: "The president's lawyers continue to block access to information that could expose warrantless wiretapping. Is this change we can believe in?"

This is the same President, the same well-spoken showman, who went on record in 2007, during the campaign shenanigans, and said the following:

"When I am president we won't work in secret to avoid honoring our laws and Constitution." --Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, 2007

Yes, this is the same President who had frowned upon and criticized the abuses and misuse of the State Secrets Privilege.

On NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

The new Administration has pledged to defend the Telecommunications Industry by giving them immunity against any lawsuit that may involve their participation in the illegal NSA wiretapping program. In 2007, Obama's office released the following position of then Senator Obama: "Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies ... Senator Obama will not be among those voting to end the filibuster." But then Senator Obama made his 180 degree flip, and voted to end the filibuster. After that, along with other colleagues in Congress, he tried to placate the critics of his move by falsely assuring them that the immunity did not extend to the Bush Administration - the Executive Branch who did break the law. Another flip was yet to come, awaiting his presidency, when Obama's Justice Department defended its predecessor not only by using the State Secrets Privilege, but taking it even further, by astoundingly granting [PDF] the Executive Branch an unlimited immunity for any kind of 'illegal' government surveillance.

Let me emphasize, the Obama Administration's action in this regard was not about 'being trapped' in situations created and put in place by the previous administration. These were willful acts fully reviewed, decided upon, and then implemented by the new president and his Justice Department.

Accountability on Torture

President Obama's action and inaction on Torture can be summarized very clearly as follows: First give an absolute pass, under the guise of 'looking forward not backward,' to the ultimate culprits who had ordered it. Next, absolve all the implementers, practitioners and related agencies, under the excuse of 'complying with orders without questioning,' and then start giving the 'drafters' of the memos an out by transferring the decision for action to the states.

After granting the 'untouchable' status to all involved in this shameful chapter in our nation's dangerous downward slide, he now refuses to release the photos, the incriminating evidence, and is doing so by using the exact same justification used repeatedly by his predecessors: 'Their release would endanger the troops,' as in 'the revelation on NSA would endanger our national security' and 'stronger whistleblower laws would endanger our intelligence agencies' and so on and so forth.

Not only that, he goes even further to shove his secrecy promotion down other nations' courts throat. In the case of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen and a legal resident in Britain who was held and tortured in Guantanamo from 2004 to 2009, and filed lawsuits in the British courts to have the evidence of his torture released, Mr. Obama's position has been to threaten the British Government in order to conceal all facts and related evidence. This case involves the brutal torture and so very 'extraordinary' rendition practices of the previous administration, the same practices that 'in words' were strongly condemned by the President during his candidacy.

Today he and his administration unapologetically maintain the same Bush Administration position on extraordinary rendition, torture, and related secrecy to cover up. Here is Ben Wizner's, the attorney who argued the case for the ACLU, response "We are shocked and deeply disappointed that the Justice Department has chosen to continue the Bush administration's practice of dodging judicial scrutiny of extraordinary rendition and torture. This was an opportunity for the new administration to act on its condemnation of torture and rendition, but instead it has chosen to stay the course." Yes indeed, President Obama has chosen to protect and support the course involving torture, rendition and the abuse of secrecy to cover them all up.

The Revival of Bush Era Military Commission

After all the talk and pretty speeches given during his presidential campaign on the 'failure' of Bush era military tribunals of Guantanamo inmates, Mr. Obama has decided to revive the same style military commission, albeit with a little cosmetic tweak here and there to re-brand it as his own. Many former supporters of Mr. Obama who've been vocal and active on Human Rights fronts have expressed their 'total shock' by this move and its pretense of being different and improved, "As a constitutional lawyer, Obama must know that he can put lipstick on this pig - but it will always be a pig," said Zachary Katznelson, legal director of Reprieve.

Thankfully the 'on the record' statements of Candidate Obama in 2008 on this issue, contradicting his action today, are accessible to all:

"It's time to better protect the American people and our values by bringing swift and sure justice to terrorists through our courts and our Uniform Code of Military Justice."

Suspect terrorists (emphasis on 'suspect') cannot have just trials consistent/in line with our 'courts and Uniform Code of Military Justice' via military commissions. It's almost an oxymoron! And if you add to that the other Obama-approved ingredients such as secrecy, rendition, and evidence obtained under torture, what have we got? Anything resembling our courts and Uniform Code of Military Justice system?

On War and Bodies Piling Up

Here is the first paragraph in a New York Times report on May 15, 2009:

"The number of civilians killed by the American air strikes in Farah Province last week may never be fully known. But villagers, including two girls recovering from burn wounds, described devastation that officials and human rights workers are calling the worst episode of civilian casualties in eight years of war in Afghanistan."

The report also includes the disagreement over the exact number of 'Civilian Casualties' in Afghanistan by our military airstrike:

"Government officials have accepted handwritten lists compiled by the villagers of 147 dead civilians. An independent Afghan human rights group said it had accounts from interviews of 117 dead. American officials say that even 100 is an exaggeration but have yet to issue their own count."

Does it really matter - the difference between 147 and 117 or just 100 when it comes to children, grandmothers…innocent lives lost in a war with no well-defined objectives or plans? If for some it indeed does matter, then here is a more specific and detailed report:

"A copy of the government's list of the names, ages and father's names of each of the 140 dead was obtained by Reuters earlier this week. It shows that 93 of those killed were children -- the youngest eight days old -- and only 22 were adult males."

Maybe releasing the photographs of the nameless unrepresented victims of these airstrikes should be as important as those of torture. Because, from what I see, they and their loss of lives have been reduced to some petty number to fight about.

When I was around twelve years old, in Iran, during the Iran-Iraq war, my father, a surgeon in charge of a hospital specializing in burns and reconstructive surgery, decided to take me to the hospital to teach me an unforgettable lesson on war. I think one of the factors that prompted him was my new obsession with classic war movies; you know, ones like 'the Great Escape.' Anyhow, he took my hand and we entered a 'transition ICU Unit.' In that room, on a standard size hospital bunk bed, laid an infant of eight or nine months of age, or what was remaining of her. Over eighty percent of her body was burned; to a degree that the skin had melted and absorbed the melting clothing on top -impossible to remove without removing the skin with it. Instead of a nose two holes were drilled in the middle of her face with tubes inserted allowing breathing, the upper eyelids were melted and glued to the lower ones, and…I am not going to go further - I believe you get the picture.

This baby was the victim of an air strike, a bombing that killed her entire family and leveled her modest home to the ground. My father pointed at this heartbreaking baby and said, "Sibel, this is war. This is the real face of war. This is the result of war. Do you think anything can justify this? I want to replace the glamorous exciting phony images of those war movies in your head. I want you to remember this for the rest of your life and stand against this kind of destruction…"

And I do. This is why I am offended by those petty numbers when it comes to civilian deaths. This is the reason I believe some may need pictures of these atrocities as much as those of torture to replace those 'Shock & Awe' footages fed to them by our MSM.

All this death and destruction is carried out while the administration's Afghan policy is still murky and confused, and it's strategy ambiguous. Sure, our so-called 'New' Afghan Strategy includes more troops and asks for a much larger budget allocation; nothing new there. It is another war with no time table. It is the continuation of the same abstract 'War on Terror' without any definition of what would constitute an 'accomplished mission.' One minute there is pondering on possible 'reconciliation' with the Taliban, and the next minute seeking to topple it. In fact, to confuse the matter even further, we now hear this distinction between 'Good Taliban, Bad Taliban, and the Plain Ugly Taliban.' As stated by Karzai on Meet the Press on May 10, 2009, not all Taliban are equal!!

I can go on listing cases of Mr. Obama's change on change. Whether it is his reversal on protection for whistleblowers, despite his campaign promise to the contrary, or his expansion of the Un-American title of 'Czardom,' where we now have more czars than ever: Border Czar, Energy Czar, Cyber Security Czar…Car Czar…maybe even a Bicycle Czar!. Or…But for now I'll stick with the major promises that were 'Central' to him getting elected, all of which he has flipped on in less than 150 days in office, a track record indeed.

What I want the readers to do is to read the extremely important cases above, step back in time to those un-ending campaign trail days, and answer the following questions:

How would Senator McCain have acted on these same issues if he had been elected? How would Senator Hilary Clinton? Do you believe there would have been any major differences? Weren't their records almost identical to Senator Obama's on these issues? If you are like me, and answer 'same,' 'same,' 'no,' and 'yes,' then, why do you think we ended up with these exact same candidates, those deemed 'viable' and sold to us as such?

With too much at stake, too many unfinished agendas for the course of our nation, and too many skeletons in the closet in need of hiding for self-preservation, the 'permanent establishment' made certain that they took no risk by giving the public, via their MSM tentacles, a coin that no matter how many times flipped would come up the same - Heads, Heads.

"Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favor of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be." -- Marshall Mcluhan

Cross-posted at The BRAD BLOG...Brad Blog

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A little over a year ago I considered Barack Obama a rhetorical wizard.
    He has the ability to spellbind using reasonable words that painted a sane sociocultural image.
    His words painted hope to many.

    His actions do not follow…. and by their actions ye shall know them.

    One hopeful scenario is that Obama truly believes his own rhetoric but finds himself in an untenable position unable to effect the change he desires…. at least not yet.

    On the other hand a complete cynic would say he was only in it for the power and said what he needed to in order to get elected President.

    I am still hanging onto hope… a hope that is being shredded one new injustice and coverup at a time.


    (for some reason my google account password sign in is not working… and I even reset the password.)

  2. Obama is Bush in Blackface.

    You people keep electing (not really, you’re vote counting systems are riggable) Democrats and Republicans and expect things to change.

    If you voted Democrat or Republican in the last election, you’re a g***mn fool.

    Those two Political Traitorous Parties are bought and owned by the same Plutocrats. The Democrats are in their left back pocket and the Republicans are in their right back pockets.

    The SANE people in this country are Independents.

    You can take the Democrats and Republicans and DROWN ALL OF THEM and I’d declare a national f**king holiday.

    GET RID OF THEM and you also rid yourselves of these phantoms of terror they murder you and others ALL OVER THE GLOBE with ALL DAY.

    Have they BOTH not proven to you now that they BOTH are GUILTY of HIGH TREASON against the American AND OTHER People?

    I you are not convinced by now, you never will be.

    May God have mercy on you, because I sure wouldn’t.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Too early to tell. Let’s give it another Friedman unit.

  4. Anonymous says:


    It might interest you to know that “spellbinder” has been proposed as term to identify a particular role in the formation of a psychopathic social structure, be it a street gang or a government. In Political Ponerology (, Dr. Andrew Lobeczewski writes:

    […]Everything becomes subordinated to the spellbinder’s over-compensatory conviction that they are exceptional, sometimes even messianic. An ideology emerges from this conviction, true in part, whose value is supposedly superior. However, if we analyze the exact functions of such an ideology in the spellbinder’s personality, we perceive that it is a nothing other than a means of self-charming, useful for repressing those tormenting self-critical associations into the subconscious. The ideology’s instrumental role in influencing other people also serves the spellbinder’s needs.

    The spellbinder believes that he will always find converts to his ideology, and most often, they are right. However, they feel shock (or even paramoral indignation) when it turns out that their influence extends to only a limited minority, while most people’s attitude to their activities remains critical, pained and disturbed. The spellbinder is thus confronted with a choice: either withdraw back into his void or strengthen his position by improving the effectiveness of his activities.
    Such activity is always necessarily characterized by the inability to foresee its final results, something obvious from the psychological point of view because its substratum contains pathological phenomena, and both spellbinding and selfcharming make it impossible to perceive reality accurately enough to foresee results logically. However, spellbinders nurture great optimism and harbor visions of future triumphs similar to those they enjoyed over their own crippled souls. It is also possible for optimism to be a pathological symptom.Even if Obama really was what he represented himself to be, he seriously underestimated the forces that actually run the country. We are seeing the results now.
    Every good luck to you brave Sibel. You are cross-linked.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Sibel, at this point, anyone who doesnt understand they have been hoodwinked is just hopeless. Although second guessing motive is probably less important I wonder if you have any insight or knowledge of just WHY this is happening. Was Obama an insider from the start who BS’d his way through an election endearing himself to those who truly hoped for change or is he a good guy who has been compromised. As I noted previously, I hate feeling cynical but at this point I find it impossible to believe that there is NOT a very large conspiracy going on, the magnitude of which makes it almost impossible for the average rational mind to comprehend. I think J. Edgar Hoover said something to this degree in the past….that even men of power and business in this country would not dare to speak of it.

    “The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a Conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst.”

  6. I agree with everything you wrote. Excellent analysis. My only question is, if their ‘base’ get restless enough, will Obama and the Democratic Party be forced to change course and actually stick to their promises? So far the answer is not encouraging, but I do hold out some small hope that the grassroots will push these guys in the right direction.

  7. It seems there are many among us who consider it a duty to sacrifice their vote on the altar of fear. Others might say those folks are complicit in the crimes committed by the recipients of those sacrificed votes.

    I tried, during the campaigning, to discuss the decision to vote “least worse” with a couple friends who were very convinced that there was no other choice. I wasn’t able to change their minds, but I, at least, gained their respect for my decision to go independent. Thinking back on it all, I honestly believe the fear of LOSING is just as great or greater than the fear of having the “worst worse” candidate.

    I tried to say to them: “When will instant run-off elections, voting holiday, paper-trail, etc. happen?” “Who’s going to make that happen?” “Forever is a long time to wait, so that you can finally vote for the candidate you want.” “You’re being duped!”

    It didn’t work and I imagine they’re still clinging on to how bad it could have been if McCain were elected.

    If we weren’t so afraid of losing, we might realize what is gained by having more integrity in our principled votes. To me there is no other choice.

  8. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Miguel,Ian, Imhotep, and Zica: All good points. Here is the concept I have problem with, big time problem: This exercised belief of ‘Voting for the lesser of two evils.’ In fact I will go ahead and post this as a discussion topic on this op-ed piece. Another one: ‘Not wanting to waste a vote.’ Think about it, if a deserved candidate who is labeled as ‘nonviable’ by the establishment gets, let’s say 10% of the votes out there this time, that gives more people encouragement and hope, and next time around a ‘people’s’ candidate may do 15% or 20%, …and the next time enough to win. As much as the MSM and the establishment we need to change the mindset of the people…

  9. I cant help to think that the shape of this Presidency is being molded by his fear of the “Ghost of Presidents Past”
    Can you say “22,November,1963”

  10. Bill Bergman says:

    I think an early red flag on the new administration was the appointment of Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Geithner was the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2003-2008, during the flowering of our financial crisis. Now he’s administering the medicine/bailout, and it seems worth of scrutiny why the same people who helped get us into this mess are now designing and administering solutions.

  11. Kathleen M. Dickson says:

    Yer shaking up the MSM and even the old fashioned GOP.

    Great Job.


  12. Anonymous says:

    I have recently come to the conclusion that most, if not all, of the candidates put before us represent one gang faction or another. Be they Bilderbergers, financial exploitation interests, oil & drug interests, big pharma medical interests, the military congressional industrial complex, the sex trade, or a combination thereof.
    After all these have been a part of every country's national interests and policy for some time.

    Some of these gangs are more symbiotic than parasitic. The trick is to know who is behind which candidate.
    Sibel's intellectual challenge is a good one to think on.
    I voted for John Anderson over Jimmy Carter and we got Ronald Reagan.
    Who was to know that Bill Clinton was a front for the drug interests…. even back then the MSM did not report on his overlooking (and many would say facilitating) the Mena, Arkansas, Iran-Contra CIA cocaine operation.
    Our choice then was Bill against GHWB… an even scarier person.
    It's still scary times.

    One thing that they are afraid of is a populist.
    The last really threatening populist (even tho Edwards was making noises) was Bobby Kennedy.
    And we know how that played out.
    I wonder if Bobby's assassin, Caesar, died an old man in Hawaii?

    We are a long way from having a working democratic republic.

    (still having log-in difficulties)

  13. arealjeffersonian says:

    Very timely and thought provoking post. Obama should be held accountable for his actions – just as we’ve wanted Bush to be held accountable for his. No double standard – and certainly Sibel doesn’t have one – she’s calling it as she see it. Maybe if enough join in with critizism of Obama’s actions it will have some effect in tempering his future actions – maybe that’s wishful thinking, but at least it is action that we can take. Sibel is taking the lead here – lets give her support.

  14. eric zaetsch says:

    Memorial Day.

    One party gets the official spoils. For a time. Office arrangements on K Street get altered as spoils on the other side of the revolving door are allotted and taken, or taken as previously alloted future payment.

    What beyond debasing the currency and bloating the money supply is the nation’s economic “policy?”

    Is there one other than that country club tees and greens get watered regularly without regard to changing prices of water?

    “Credit crunch” as popular vocabulary? That means somebody’s getting screwed while somebody else is prospering. That’s something we can believe in, but it’s not change. Daddy Warbucks never dies and Sandy the dog only says, “Arf.”

    Are we the mutt, saying “Arf” to one another?

    Given a Clinton State Department, how different were Bush I years, Clinton years, Bush II, then Obama? We invaded Panama and remember that was such a nice little contained war. A happy-pappy ending.

    Lost in any press analysis I have ever seen, is how Bill Clinton was attacked by some in Congress over “leakage” of “secret” technological capabilities having military value to the Chinese, taking Bhudist temple money from there, and then, first thing in the Bush II administration is giving the Chinese that spy plane to pick apart and reverse engineer – as if fufilling a promise from the past dressed up and reported as an incident where Bush talked tough, got the crew home, and then flew out the plane as cargo, in parts.

    So who were the Chinese going to use this technological gain against, for what?

    The press did a great job on that one. Hainan, remember the name?

    Do the Google = china spyplane bush

    From a time-distanced perspective, how legitimate vs. contrived does that entire situation appear now?

    Leave ALL 9/11 complications out of consideration; only consider the rest:

    Kyoto was puffed against while, in fact, the economy was downsized with pump prices manipulated, and then on the way out the door the bank/credit situation was dropped to inflame, disorient and divert people’s worries and attention. The press citing chapter and verse.

    Something similar has been posted by a dark horse GOP congressional write-in candidate where I live, a candidate in opposition to Michele Bachmann.

    His most recent post is about continuity in fact trumping press-inflated rehtoric to the contrary.

    Are we waiting for Obama to start issuing signing statements? Does he need to, or is the tool crib sufficiently loaded to quell that? He can expand things – issuing signing statements made secret immediately upon signng, or before signing, for national security reasons.


    Sibel, there still are more questions than answers. Aside from discussing this, how can it be fixed?

    Ship of state on a true path, all that?

    Facing the questions squarely is a first thing, but it’s like “lite” beer, a watered down version of something real and potentially pleasant.

  15. Rady Ananda says:

    As one of the commenters said above, we have no hope of changing who’s in government since elections are run on software – a technology that is undetectably mutable.

    When ballots don’t work, we’re left with difficult alternatives.

    I don’t envy our children – we’re leaving them with a world where psychopaths are in power, where every action of citizens is monitored, where food is genetically modified, where the environment is poisoned in pursuit of corporate profits, where mass media and public education continually deceives and distracts.

    Thank you for your courage in continuing to speak out, Sibel.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am amazed that intelligent people just don’t get it.Let me frame it this way. If you think Professional wrestling is a legitimate sport you will always be searching for political rationale. If Obama’s performance is shocking you………..,I will let you fill in the blanks.

  17. eric zaetsch says:
  18. Anonymous says:

    /the war on terror becomes the overseas contingency operation. No troops home yet?except in body bags. 50 people killed in suicide attacks two days running in iraq.Ongoing. A surge into Pakistan, Afghanistan.How many refugees? A million and a half?? A Nigerian slaughter in the shell killing fields of the delta.Stocks will rise. The tamils murdered out of site of camera.So many burned children in just this one past week alone unseen. Maybe Guantanamo won’t close so soon.Maybe it will’ but where is habeas corpus in the meantime? The Geneva conventions? It is almost impossible to square the reality of military tribunal and expanding secrecy provisions with a President/lawyer selling the ideals concerned with liberty and constitutional freedoms. I realize he is surrounded by a nest of thieves and that a deal was made with clinton , but I guess the deals went further. McChrystals choice leading the next phase Afghanistan, having been outed as cheneys killing machine, is stunning. Is a crowd stopper.Leaves the slender chance of reversal of madness a fools errand. It is not happening.The names change but the game remains the same.

  19. Ray Beckerman says:

    Thank you for an excellent, thoughtful article. I have had my reservations about Mr. Obama since January 6, 2005, when he voted to seat the Ohio electors despite knowing that they had been illegally appointed, and in his speech to the Joint Session falsely said that Bush won Ohio “fair and square”.

    His administration does not appear to offer the “change” he had promised.

    In addition to the things you mention, I would add, for example, (a) authorizing the lopping off of 42 mountaintops for coal; (b) appointing a polluters’ attorney to head the environmental section of the Justice Dept.; (c) appointing RIAA lawyers to high positions in the DOJ; and (d) expending taxpayer resources to attempt to persuade judges that the RIAA is correct to seek as much as $150,000 in “statutory damages” for infringement of a single mp3 file.

    In the appointment making process, the one “litmus test” he seems to have is that the appointee have attended his alma mater (Harvard Law School) at around the same time he attended.

  20. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Ray: First, welcome. Next, thank you for providing the additional areas of ‘Changes on Change.’ Finally, for almost 8 years I’ve written and spoken on these issues and the lack of accountability, and it is so sad to see ‘some’ supporters who backed and screamed with me when the target was the previous administration, now seem to get offended since the culprits have changed from ‘R’ to ‘D.’ I hope more people will set their partisan hats aside and view the facts, the truth.

  21. Ishmael says:

    Ms. Edmonds,

    Thanks to you, kudos and a tip of the Hatlo hat to you. I am a 28-year telecommunications professional who can categorically state, after reading Mark Klein's EFF affadavit, that the only way the Warrantless Wiretap Program can work, BY DESIGN, is to monitor ALL voice and data traffic. Since I also know that Qwest was involved in NSA projects from as far back as 1998 in the Los Angeles Area, it would seem they have no clean hands in this either.

    When I started working in Telecomm in 1980 for A.T.&T., I had to sign documents under the Communications Act of 1934 acknowledging that I was liable for job dismissal, civil and criminal penalties if I revealed the substance of ANY communications I overheard in the performance of my job. So it would seem we have gone from one extreme to the other. That's why Telecomm immunity was so necessary. They were also eavesdropping on other telecom companies' customers who used A.T.&T. service.

    I personally have come to the conclusion that elective government in the current political process has CEASED to be representative government. The only solution I can come up with to provide TRUE representative government is to replace ALL elective offices with random computer selection under current constitutional requirements from IRS tax rolls.

  22. RealityZone says:

    as soon as albright, and zbig were his foreign policy advisers, the cat was out of the bag. even kissinger applauded obama’s appointments. then kissinger was sent to russia by obama. neolibs are worst than neocons. at least with the neocons we knew what was coming. i hate surprises.

  23. Truth Parade says:

    Hi Sibel, glad to see you’ve started your own blog. Have seen your name mentioned in passages of a book I recently purchased about 9/11, and the coverup.

    Have recently created a blog of my own, where I can express my own sentiments about what is happening in this country, and about what it has become.

    I’m not able to speak as extensively and convincingly on these issues as you can, given your background and personal experience. My style is more along the lines of blistering sarcasm. Oh well, it makes me feel better.

    I am trying to spark some interest in a new focus for the next anniversary of 9/11; by not just honoring the dead, but calling out those who profited from it.

  24. Bill Bergman says:

    Here’s one real difference between Democrats and Republicans. A Democrat will come up to you, get into your face, and say they are taking your money to give it to their friends, and then they take it and give it to their friends. Republicans come up to you, tell you they care about limited government and low taxes, and then they take your money and give it to their friends.

    But there aren’t enough real differences. They (the two main parties and their enablers in the media) spoon feed us with the illusion of competition, and then take our money and give it to their friends.

    Oh, and not to forget, but a lot of lives are in the balance (and lost) as well.

  25. To Truth Parade:

    FYI, Many have learned not to trust those that dirty the water of 9/11 Truth with websites that contain links to UFO sitings.

  26. Hannah K. O'Luthon says:

    Thanks to Sibel for an excellent summary of the present position of the Obama administration, and for underlining the dnagers inherent in the Government Secrets
    Act. Retention of Robert Gates at Defense was another clear warning signal: Gates’ role in the October surprise and Iran Contra conspiracies (conjectural, but, I believe, quite likely) indicates a clear
    nexus between the “invisible government” which transcends changes of administration. One must also wonder why one of the few points on which Obama’s campaign rhetoric matches Presidential performance is his committment to stepping up the war in Afghanistan. The only plausible reason I can imagine for such obvious folly and criminality is that the “black funding” from the opium trade is being used to shore up tottering Western financial institutions, but, of course, this too
    is mere conjecture until such time as
    someone from the “deep state” breaks rank with his co-conspirators.

  27. Anonymous says:

    In support of this post, here is information from the Honorable (and I use that term with its full meaning) Cynthia McKinney. I was recently at a gathering where she spoke. Someone asked her what her thoughts are on the fact that we now have Obama in the White House. She said that in her view Glenn Ford and Bruce Dixon of The Black Agenda come up with some of the best analysis overall, and she referred us to Bruce Dixon's 100 days report card:

  28. Sibel Edmonds says:

    Hannah: Welcome. First, timely and very relevant point re: Gates retention. I really wanted to cover Pres. Obama’s choice of ‘people for positions’ but the piece was getting so lengthy. Right now I am working on my Part 3 of ‘Dissecting MSM’ and the focus is on ‘Iran Contra’ since it provides a perfect context/example. There are excellent analysis posted at FAIR.ORG and by Robert Parry…Your very appropriately used references to the ‘invisible government’ and ‘Deep State’ tells me a lot:-) You may already have, but if not, I recommend “terror Incorporated” by Loretta Napoleoni-I am reading it right now. I certainly hope to see you and your comments here. If you have a blog/site and have written on this topic I’d be very interested to visit and read further…

    Bill: Interesting point of view. Personally I can no longer distinguish between the two. And what’s the deal with this ‘Centrism’ motto anyway? I have a suggestion for them: Just integrate both and give them all ‘DR’ status, and be done with it…

    Truth Parade: ‘blistering sarcasm’- well, that can be very effective. Not many people are interested in reading way too dry scholarly articles/analysis, and I can see why. Combining solid research, sound analysis, with wit/humor/sarcasm, and a solid coherent simple English is the best recipe. During my organization’s congressional activities I had to go through so many darn footnotes under each proposed legislation; all written by attorneys and in a language that 95+% (including me!) of people wouldn’t understand. No wonder they get away with things!!

    Reality Zone: Good point re: Kissinger. Guess what? He also appointed Scowcroft!! These guys who head various lobbies (including foreign lobbies), serve special interest clients, have incredible past baggage….Do you think ‘R’ or ‘D’ matters? Just look at Kissinger: do you know of a single administration in the past 3 decades who had not appointed him! The Deep State is ‘party neutral.’

    Ishmael: Welcome. With your background you will have so much to contribute here, especially in the area related to NSA. You know, one of the good points Kline made had to do with having or not having ‘Clearance,’ That also is disappearing, especially in your sector. I live in DC area, and almost every one I meet who works for private companies who either have contract with the Fed gov. or simply work with them, has ‘Clearance.’ Even travel agencies who provide services for let’s say Dep of Agriculture.They say they have to. Many actually love it: they get pay increase and they think it gives them some kind of an edge (not limited to bragging in bars;-)…Most of them have no idea about the ‘negatives.’ That it can work as a hook, and show up as a major limiting factor in many areas…I;d like to hear your take on this.

  29. Ishmael says:

    Thank you for your kind comments. I have some passing familiarity with clearances over the years from my days working on Precision-guided weaponry and as a member of Nuclear Weapons Handling Teams. After my service was over, I swore I would never work on weapons again. In fact, I got INTO telecomm work precisely because I wanted to help people talk to each other instead of killing each other.

    You make a valid point about the "limiting factor" of security clearances though. Over my career in telecomm, I've seen the creeping growth of clearance requirements in the industry. It's as if the public communications network has been coopted into some kind of government-owned system where you need a Top Secret Crypto NOFORN clearance just to walk in the door. My actual job was predominantly in Broadband Carrier, meaning Klein's circuits all went onto my Fiber, satellite or Microwave systems; although I've worked in just about every part of the operations side of the business. For me, it was ALWAYS about keeping service working. Something I proved in 1989 when I was personally responsible for keeping A.T.&T.'s service working out of San Francisco in the immediate aftermath of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. You may not have been able to call across town, but you could call across the country because of me.

    On another note, I passed on what I've read about your Brewster/Jennings revelations to Valerie Plame last year at her book signing in Albuquerque. She said she would have her attorneys look into it to see what they could use in their lawsuit. Of course, reading her book was kind of like reading Jon Marks' and Victor Marchetti's, "The CIA and the Cult Of Intelligence" over 30 years ago.

    So a salute to you and all the other "Disgusted Patriots", as John Le Carre called all of those who inhabited "The Secret World".

  30. Bill Bergman says:

    Sibel — re: calling them DRs, here’s another sound bite/over-generalization. We’ve still got a two party system in America. We have Democrats and Republicans, and the rest of us.

    This perspective may shine one small pen-light on the validity of the 9/11 Commission report. We were told it was an ‘indpendent, bipartisan’ effort. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

  31. Anonymous says:

    The meme is moving–Resist the Blog. I have a graphics artist working on a watermark free mooshing of Bush-Obama (I have one but someone else created it), each with a Borg eyepiece, and I bought the two websites, and where I plan to start a meme bumber sticker campaign to put down the two criminal parties that front for Wall Street, and demand Electoral Reform in time for 2010. 39% are now Independent, but a virtual national movement has not taken off.

    PLEASE look at, enjoy, and spread the word on my free book with create cover graphics, ELECTION 2008: Lipstick on the Pig at The counterpart book, COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, is at and is really best bought in hardcover at cost (Amazon takes 55% of the selling price).

    You are on the right track. Resist the Borg and Free Obama.

  32. This is over a year old? A person that is co-opted by specific “groups” has emotional tendencies that transform their appearance. A frightful realization is the discernment of unexpected atrophy superimposed on real people. This is when freedom of speech takes a back seat. The who, what, when and wheres fall at the person’s feet. If Obama falls short on his words do we lie awake at night like an expected Mother? Are we imagining the bulge in a lady’s mid section to be nothing more than a dictionary or a Bible? Does Obama want to be chased around like a Pope or someone ecclesiastical? This is apparently something hormonal. Rank and file denial superimposed on free people by “groups”. Groups we try real hard to trust. Apparently words are shown as a backdrop. Do you know what they did for the power?

  33. ZicaTanka says:

    I have no idea. Almost but soon. Now I’ve got one. My physical therapist doesn’t mind beer. They’ve got quite the asphalt – fills great but no taste. They might have the whole shelf of self-help checked out. First lesson: There is no shelf. Only the poor earth kept bouncing from dead meeks hands to dead meeks hands.

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