Friday, September 02, 2005
If they actually used the word "lie" or "lies" or "fucking liars", I'd be even more astounded.
The Big Disconnect On New Orleans -The official version; then there's the in-the-trenches version
Friday, September 2, 2005; Posted: 3:34 p.m. EDT (19:34 GMT)
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Diverging views of a crumbling New Orleans emerged Thursday. The sanitized view came from federal officials at news conferences and television appearances. But the official line was contradicted by grittier, more desperate views from the shelters and the streets.
These conflicting views came within hours, sometimes minutes of each of each other, as reflected in CNN's transcripts. The speakers include Michael Brown, chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, evacuee Raymond Cooper, CNN correspondents and others. Here's what they had to say:
Conditions in the Convention Center
Violence and civil unrest
The federal response:
Friday, September 2nd, 2005
Vacation is Over... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush
Friday, September 2nd, 2005
Dear Mr. Bush:
Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.
Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?
Last Thursday I was in south Florida and sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then but it was pretty nasty. Eleven people died and, as of today, there were still homes without power. That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know you didn't want to interrupt your vacation and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!
I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this -- after all, the hurricane was over and what the heck could you do, put your finger in the dike?
And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway because you had a much more important construction job for them -- BUILDING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!
On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds as you flew over New Orleans so you could catch a quick look of the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn and stand on some rubble and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.
There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.
No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race has nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!
You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.
P.S. That annoying mother, Cindy Sheehan, is no longer at your ranch. She and dozens of other relatives of the Iraqi War dead are now driving across the country, stopping in many cities along the way. Maybe you can catch up with them before they get to DC on September 21st.
Thu Sep 1st, 2005 at 23:10:11 PDT
Katrina may be destroying more than countless lives and communities.
Amid all the agony of the hurricane's aftermath, we may well be witnessing the moment of this country's decisive pivot away from the course of conservative folly it has been pursuing since at least 1980.
For like the shattered foundations of houses, the foundational premises that have dominated our public life for a quarter of a century have been uprooted by a mighty and terrible wind.
Among the lies now hideously exposed: . . .
"Cutting taxes and shrinking government budgets is an absolute and inarguable desideratum." (Wrong: first fund what needs to be funded, such as coastal wetlands restoration and levee repair.)
"The only legitimate priority for government spending is national/homeland security."
(Wrong: terrorists don't cause hurricanes.)
"The poor don't need a baseline government-funded resource infrastructure of support and assistance--just vague lip service to economic opportunity."
(Wrong: people who live paycheck to paycheck and can't afford cars can't evacuate a doomed city on their own.)
"The National Guard is just another branch of the military, to be used legitimately for overseas invasions of choice."
(Wrong: we need every one of them at home, where they will be ready to respond to a disaster.)
"Big government is the problem."
(Wrong: big government is the solution when only a massive and efficient government effort stands between masses of desperate humanity and imminent death.)
"Environmental protection is the fraudulent shibboleth of a bunch of selfish leftist elitists opposed to property rights."
(Wrong: environmental protection is what keeps coastlines, barrier islands, and coastal wetlands able to withstand hurricanes and buffer inland settlements by absorbing storm surges and subsequent floods.)
"Environmental regulation of private enterprise by government is morally, economically, and politically illegitimate."
(Wrong: environmental regulation with real teeth in it is the only thing that will keep your piggish chemical and petroleum companies from storing their toxins so carelessly that they permeate the waters in a matter of hours when a city floods, depositing contaminants that will linger in the region's soil and water for decades.)
"Global warming is an evil leftwing lie designed to destroy America's economic strength."
(Wrong: global warming is real and may already be contributing to the strengthening of hurricanes through rising temperatures in tropical waters.)
"The private sphere alone has true moral legitimacy, and must be increased and expanded at the expense of any public sphere or commons."
(Wrong: the private sphere cannot mobilize effectively in real disaster, and the failure to nurture a broad and deep sense of community, commons, and commonweal bred by such an attitude is what leaves thousands of poor black people trapped in a drowned city that the wealthy and the middle class have fled.)
"George W. Bush is a great leader."
(Wrong. George W. Bush failed to respond with either efficiency or compassion as an unspeakable calamity unfolded amidst his people, and by the time he showed up for business from his luxuriously indolent and self-indulgent vacation, a great city and God knows how many of its people had been destroyed.)
And last but not least, this:
"The untrammeled individual is society's greatest good."
(Wrong: when the floodwaters rise, we have only one another.)
With Friends Like These.... Who Needs Enemies. FEMA director Blames Victims for Hurricane Disaster. Michael Brown should be fired.
True to the Republican Conservative philosophy, Michael Brown decided to blame the victim. This bastard should be fired immediately.
FEMA chief: Victims bear some responsibility
Brown pleased with effort: 'Things are going relatively well'
(CNN) -- The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday those New Orleans residents who chose not to heed warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina bear some responsibility for their fates.
Michael Brown also agreed with other public officials that the death toll in the city could reach into the thousands.
"Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN.
"I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans," he said.
"And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.
"So, we've got to figure out some way to convince people that whenever warnings go out it's for their own good," Brown said. "Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them."
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin have both predicted the death toll could be in the thousands.
Nagin issued a "desperate SOS" Thursday as violence disrupted efforts to rescue people still trapped in the flooded city and evacuate thousands of displaced residents living amid corpses and human waste.
Residents expressed growing frustration with the disorder evident on the streets, raising questions about the coordination and timeliness of relief efforts.
Sniper fire prevented Charity Hospital from evacuating its patients Thursday. The hospital has no electricity or water, food consists of a few cans of vegetables, and the patients had to be moved to upper floors because of looters.
Brown was upbeat in his assessment of the relief effort so far, ticking off a list of accomplishments: more than 30,000 National Guard troops will be in the city within three days, the hospitals are being evacuated and search and rescue missions are continuing.
"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans -- virtually a city that has been destroyed -- that things are going relatively well," Brown said.
Nevertheless, he said he could "empathize with those in miserable conditions."
Asked later on CNN how he could blame the victims, many of whom could not flee the storm because they had no transportation or were too frail to evacuate on their own, Brown said he was not blaming anyone.
"Now is not the time to be blaming," Brown said. "Now is the time to recognize that whether they chose to evacuate or chose not to evacuate, we have to help them."
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, whose father was a longtime New Orleans mayor, said there was "plenty of blame to go around," citing underinvestement by federal authorities over many years "despite pleas and warnings by officials."
Earlier on CNN, Brown was asked why authorities had not prepared for just such a catastrophe -- given that the levees were designed to withstand only a Category 3 hurricane and Katrina was stronger than that.
"Government officials and engineers will debate that and figure that out," he replied. "Right now, I'm trying to focus on saving lives. I think we should have that debate, but at an appropriate time."
Brown said Katrina was unlike other hurricanes in which the magnitude of the disaster typically subsides after the initial blow. That was not the case Monday, when the Category 4 storm blew ashore.
"What we had in New Orleans is a growing disaster: The hurricane hit, that was one disaster; then the levees broke, that was another disaster; then the floods came; that became a third disaster."
Brown said he had to be careful about getting rescue teams to the site earlier.
"Otherwise, we would have faced an even higher death toll," he said.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
That is why people are looting for food, diapers, and clothes but our stupid "liberal" media will never reveal that side of the story. If people that are already barely able to feed themselves and pay rent lose what little they have because of, let's say, some natural disaster, they do what is necessary to survive. Remember, these people have a right to life...that is what the religious right tells us...thus they need food and clothing to live. I wish someone would punch Bill O'Rielly in the fucking mouth a couple-a-hundred times.
COMING SOON TO A STATION NEAR YOU
"What I think the president ought to do is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots. ... if in fact there is collusion amongst big oil, he ought to intercede there as well. I used to be in the oil business. ... And so I understand what can happen in the marketplace." George W. Bush
The Perfect Storm
by Chris Floyd
"The river rose all day,
The river rose all night.
Some people got lost in the flood,
Some people got away all right.
The river have busted through clear down to Plaquemine:
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline.
They're trying to wash us away,
They're trying to wash us away…."
-- Randy Newman, Louisiana 1927
The destruction of New Orleans represents a confluence of many of the most pernicious trends in American politics and culture: poverty, racism, militarism, elitist greed, environmental abuse, public corruption and the decay of democracy at every level.
Much of this is embodied in the odd phrasing that even the most circumspect mainstream media sources have been using to describe the hardest-hit victims of the storm and its devastating aftermath: "those who chose to stay behind." Instantly, the situation has been framed with language to flatter the prejudices of the comfortable and deny the reality of the most vulnerable.
It is obvious that the vast majority of those who failed to evacuate are poor: they had nowhere else to go, no way to get there, no means to sustain themselves and their families on strange ground. While there were certainly people who stayed behind by choice, most stayed behind because they had no choice. They were trapped by their poverty - and many have paid the price with their lives.
Yet across the media spectrum, the faint hint of disapproval drips from the affluent observers, the clear implication that the victims were just too lazy and shiftless to get out of harm's way. There is simply no understanding - not even an attempt at understanding - the destitution, the isolation, the immobility of the poor and the sick and the broken among us.
This is from the "respectable" media; the great right-wing echo chamber was even less restrained, of course, leaping straight into giddy convulsions of racism at the first reports of looting in the devastated city. In the pinched-gonad squeals of Rush Limbaugh and his fellow hatemongers, the hard-right media immediately conjured up images of wild-eyed darkies rampaging through the streets in an orgy of violence and thievery.
Not that the mainstreamers ignored the racist angle. There was the already infamous juxtaposition of captions for wire service photos, where depictions of essentially the same scene - desperate people wading through flood waters, clutching plastic bags full of groceries - were given markedly different spins. In one picture, a white couple are described as struggling along after finding bread and soda at a grocery store. But beneath an almost identical photo of a young black man with a bag of groceries, we are told that a "looter" wades through the streets after robbing a grocery store. In the photo I saw, this evil miscreant also had a - gasp! - pack of diapers under his arm.
Almost all of the early "looting" was like this: desperate people - of all colors - stranded by the floodwaters broke into abandoned stores and carried off food, clean water, medicine, clothes. Perhaps they should have left a check on the counter, but then again - what exactly was going to happen to all those perishables and consumer goods, sitting around in fetid, diseased water for weeks on end? (The mayor now says it could be up to 16 weeks before people can return to their homes and businesses.) Obviously, most if not all of it would have been thrown away or written off in any case. Later, of course, there was more organized looting by criminal gangs, the type of lawless element - of every hue, in every society - whose chief victims are, of course, the poor and vulnerable. These criminal operations were quickly conflated with the earlier pilferage to paint a single seamless picture of the American media's favorite horror story: Black Folk Gone Wild.
But here again another question was left unasked: Where were the resources - the money, manpower, materiel, transport - that could have removed all those forced to stay behind, and given them someplace safe and sustaining to take shelter? Where, indeed, were the resources that could have bolstered the city's defenses and shored up its levees? Where were the National Guard troops that could have secured the streets and directed survivors to food and aid? Where were the public resources - the physical manifestation of the citizenry's commitment to the common good - that could have greatly mitigated the brutal effects of this natural disaster?
"President Coolidge came down here in a railroad train,
With a little fat man with a notebook in his hand.
The president say, "Little fat man, isn't it a shame
What the river has done to this poor cracker's land?"
Well, we all know what happened to those vital resources. They had been cut back, stripped down, gutted, pilfered - looted - to pay for a war of aggression, to pay for a tax cut for the wealthiest, safest, most protected Americans, to gorge the coffers of a small number of private and corporate fortunes, while letting the public sector - the common good - wither and die on the vine. These were all specific actions of the Bush Administration - including the devastating budget cuts on projects specifically designed to bolster New Orleans' defenses against a catastrophic hurricane. Bush even cut money for strengthening the very levees that broke and delivered the deathblow to the city. All this, in the face of specific warnings of what would happen if these measures were neglected: the city would go down "under 20 feet of water," one expert predicted just a few weeks ago.
But Bush said there was no money for this kind of folderol anymore. The federal budget had been busted by his tax cuts and his war. And this was a deliberate policy: as Bush's mentor Grover Norquist famously put it, the whole Bushist ethos was to starve the federal government of funds, shrinking it down so "we can drown it in the bathtub." As it turned out, the bathtub wasn't quite big enough -- so they drowned it in the streets of New Orleans instead.
But as culpable, criminal and loathsome as the Bush Administration is, it is only the apotheosis of an overarching trend in American society that has been gathering force for decades: the destruction of the idea of a common good, a public sector whose benefits and responsibilities are shared by all, and directed by the consent of the governed. For more than 30 years, the corporate Right has waged a relentless and highly focused campaign against the common good, seeking to atomize individuals into isolated "consumer units" whose political energies - kept deliberately underinformed by the ubiquitous corporate media - can be diverted into emotionalized "hot button" issues (gay marriage, school prayer, intelligent design, flag burning, welfare queens, drugs, porn, abortion, teen sex, commie subversion, terrorist threats, etc., etc.) that never threaten Big Money's bottom line.
Again deliberately, with smear, spin and sham, they have sought - and succeeded - in poisoning the well of the democratic process, turning it into a tabloid melee where only "character counts" while the rapacious policies of Big Money's bought-and-sold candidates are completely ignored. As Big Money solidified its ascendancy over government, pouring billions - over and under the table - into campaign coffers, politicians could ignore larger and larger swathes of the people. If you can't hook yourself up to a well-funded, coffer-filling interest group, if you can't hire a big-time Beltway player to lobby your cause and get you "a seat at the table," then your voice goes unheard, your concerns are shunted aside. (Apart from a few cynical gestures around election-time, of course.) The poor, the sick, the weak, the vulnerable have become invisible - in the media, in the corporate boardroom, "at the table" of the power players in national, state and local governments. The increasingly marginalized and unstable middle class is also fading from the consciousness of the rulers, whose servicing of the elite gets more brazen and frantic all the time.
When unbridled commercial development of delicately balanced environments like the Mississippi Delta is bruited "at the table," whose voice is heard? Not the poor, who, as we have seen this week, will overwhelmingly bear the brunt of the overstressed environment. And not the middle class, who might opt for the security of safer, saner development policies to protect their hard-won homes and businesses. No, the only voice that matters is that of the developers themselves, and the elite investors who stand behind them.
They're trying to wash us away"
The destruction of New Orleans was a work of nature - but a nature that has been worked upon by human hands and human policies. As global climate change continues its deadly symbiosis with unbridled commercial development for elite profit, we will see more such destruction, far more, on an even more devastating scale. As the harsh, aggressive militarism and brutal corporate ethos that Bush has injected into the mainstream of American society continues to spread its poison, we will see fewer and fewer resources available to nurture the common good. As the political process becomes more and more corrupt, ever more a creation of elite puppetmasters and their craven bagmen, we will see the poor and the weak and even the middle class driven further and further into the low ground of society, where every passing storm - economic, political, natural - will threaten their homes, their livelihoods, their very existence.
They're trying to wash us away
They're trying to wash us away
They're trying to wash us away
They're trying to wash us away"
*To give aid, please contact the Red Cross.*
Chaos after Katrina; Where's the Leadership? And why is the Air National Guard Playing Basketball? Is this President Bush's Champagne Unit?
By Greg Mitchell
Published: August 31, 2005 10:15 PM ET
NEW YORK The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss., in an editorial today, criticized the relief effort in its ravaged area so far, and told officials and the nation-at-large: "South Mississippi needs your help."
It angrily revealed: "While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order. People are hurting and people are being vandalized.
"Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?"
Pointedly, it declared that earlier today, "reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics."
It added: "We need the president to back up his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with that disaster."
The newspaper has managed to publish two print editions this week as well as keep its Web site updated.
Here is the text of the editorial.
The coastal communities of South Mississippi are desperately in need of an unprecedented relief effort.
We understand that New Orleans also was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but surely this nation has the resources to rescue both that metropolitan and ours.
Whatever plans that were in place to deal with such a natural disaster have proven inadequate. Perhaps destruction on this scale could not have been adequately prepared for.
But now that it has taken place, no effort should be spared to mitigate the hurricane's impact.
The essentials -- ice, gasoline, medicine -- simply are not getting here fast enough.
We are not calling on the nation and the state to make life more comfortable in South Mississippi, we are calling on the nation and the state to make life here possible.
We would bolster our argument with the number of Katrina casualties confirmed thus far, but if there is such a confirmed number, no one is releasing it to the public. This lack of faith in the publics' ability to handle the truth is not sparing anyone's feelings, it is instead fueling terrifying rumors.
While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order.
People are hurting and people are being vandalized.
Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?
On Wednesday reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics.
Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!
When asked why these young men were not being used to help in the recovery effort, our reporters were told that it would be pointless to send military personnel down to the beach to pick up debris.
Litter is the least of our problems. We need the president to back up his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with that disaster.
We need the governor to provide whatever assistance is at his command.
We certainly need our own county and city officials to come together and identify the most pressing needs of their constituents and then allocate resources to meet those needs. We appreciate the stress that theses elected and appointed officials have been under since the weekend but they must do a better job restoring public confidence in their ability to meet this challenge.
Our Nearsighted President: Maybe Bush should have paid attention. 50 million sooner would have saved us 50 BILLION later.
By Will Bunch
Published: August 31, 2005 9:00 PM ET
PHILADELPHIA- Even though Hurricane Katrina has moved well north of the city, the waters may still keep rising in New Orleans. That's because Lake Pontchartrain continues to pour through a two-block-long break in the main levee, near the city's 17th Street Canal. With much of the Crescent City some 10 feet below sea level, the rising tide may not stop until it's level with the massive lake.
New Orleans had long known it was highly vulnerable to flooding and a direct hit from a hurricane. In fact, the federal government has been working with state and local officials in the region since the late 1960s on major hurricane and flood relief efforts. When flooding from a massive rainstorm in May 1995 killed six people, Congress authorized the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, or SELA.
Over the next 10 years, the Army Corps of Engineers, tasked with carrying out SELA, spent $430 million on shoring up levees and building pumping stations, with $50 million in local aid. But at least $250 million in crucial projects remained, even as hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin increased dramatically and the levees surrounding New Orleans continued to subside.
Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.
Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune Web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming. ... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."
In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.
On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us."
Also that June, with the 2004 hurricane season starting, the Corps' project manager Al Naomi went before a local agency, the East Jefferson Levee Authority, and essentially begged for $2 million for urgent work that Washington was now unable to pay for. From the June 18, 2004 Times-Picayune:
"The system is in great shape, but the levees are sinking. Everything is sinking, and if we don't get the money fast enough to raise them, then we can't stay ahead of the settlement," he said. "The problem that we have isn't that the levee is low, but that the federal funds have dried up so that we can't raise them."
The panel authorized that money, and on July 1, 2004, it had to pony up another $250,000 when it learned that stretches of the levee in Metairie had sunk by four feet. The agency had to pay for the work with higher property taxes. The levee board noted in October 2004 that the feds were also now not paying for a hoped-for $15 million project to better shore up the banks of Lake Pontchartrain.
The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history. Because of the proposed cuts, the Corps office there imposed a hiring freeze. Officials said that money targeted for the SELA project -- $10.4 million, down from $36.5 million -- was not enough to start any new jobs.
There was, at the same time, a growing recognition that more research was needed to see what New Orleans must do to protect itself from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. But once again, the money was not there. As the Times-Picayune reported last Sept. 22:
"That second study would take about four years to complete and would cost about $4 million, said Army Corps of Engineers project manager Al Naomi. About $300,000 in federal money was proposed for the 2005 fiscal-year budget, and the state had agreed to match that amount. But the cost of the Iraq war forced the Bush administration to order the New Orleans district office not to begin any new studies, and the 2005 budget no longer includes the needed money, he said."
The Senate was seeking to restore some of the SELA funding cuts for 2006. But now it's too late.
One project that a contractor had been racing to finish this summer: a bridge and levee job right at the 17th Street Canal, site of the main breach on Monday.
The Newhouse News Service article published Tuesday night observed, "The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. ... In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need."
Local officials are now saying, the article reported, that had Washington heeded their warnings about the dire need for hurricane protection, including building up levees and repairing barrier islands, "the damage might not have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be."
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled,"
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A high-ranking Food and Drug Administration official resigned Wednesday in protest over the agency's refusal to allow over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception.
Susan Wood, director of FDA's Office of Women's Health, announced her resignation in an e-mail to colleagues at the agency. The e-mail was released by contraception advocates.
The FDA last Friday postponed indefinitely its decision on whether to allow the morning-after pill, called Plan B, to be sold without a prescription. The agency said it was safe for adults to use without a doctor's guidance but was unable to decide how to keep it out of the hands of young teenagers without a prescription -- a decision contrary to the advice of its own scientific advisers.
"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled," wrote Wood, who also was assistant commissioner for women's health. "The recent decision announced by the Commissioner about emergency contraception, which continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions, is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health."
Plan B's maker has been trying for two years to begin nonprescription sales, and the FDA's latest postponement of its fate was a surprise: Commissioner Lester Crawford won Senate confirmation to take his job only after promising members of Congress to make a final decision by September 1.
Crawford announced Friday that the agency considered over-the-counter sales to women 17 and older fine, but that younger teens would still need a prescription -- and that the agency was unable to decide how pharmacies could enforce an age limit, or even if it was legal to have such dual sales.
editors note: Aaron Brown, you still suck!
Nero Fiddles while New Orleans Burns
George W. Bush, fresh back from vacation, must be wondering why he cut the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s budget and ignored all those who claimed that New Orleans would be a disaster if a class 4 hurricane ever actually hit.
The Republican controlled Congress must be wondering why Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi had to ask for other states to send their national guards to help. (sssh.. the reason is because they have too many troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.)
But the best comments come from those who glorify the Bush Administration. We have unconfirmed anonymous sources who confirm anonymously that this is what some prominent Republicans really think about what’s happening in New Orleans.
“My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform said on the 700 club. “The Federal Government does no good, and private enterprise should be geared up to help those who can afford to pay in New Orleans.”
The Federalist Society came forward with a statement: “Those people in New Orleans need to realize that they shouldn’t expect handouts.”
Ann Coulter added “Get a job.”
The Heritage Foundation claimed credit for Bush’s decision to cut FEMA funding by stating that it came “straight out of the Heritage play book.”
Louis Sheldon and the Traditional Values Coalition applauded the President’s position by stating that only “the elderly, infirm and godless stayed in New Orleans and they paid God’s ultimate price for electing a Democrat Mayor.”
James Dobson founder of Focus on the Family and friend to Republicans who have appointed him to government posts from Reagan to Bush II said “Christians have made arguments on both sides of this question. I certainly believe that God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. However, rather than trying to forge a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the Hurricane and America’s abandonment of biblical principles, which I think is wrong, we need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. "The wages of sin is death," as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.
“I can say this because I'm not an elected official: the most selfish group in America today is senior citizens down there in New Orleans. They should have known that Hurricane was coming. And now their demands on Washington are: 'Give us more and more and more.' They have become the new welfare state, and given the size and political clout of this constituency, it's very dangerous. One of the biggest myths in politics today is this idea that grandparents care about their grandkids. What they really care about is that that Social Security check and those Medicare payments are made on a timely basis.” – Steve Moore of the Club for Growth.
Rush Limbaugh decided to do a story on the United Nations spending $300 on paperclips rather than address the devastation in New Orleans.
John Gibson "Faux" News Anchor said "I'm really upset about this Hurricane thing. I really wish it had destroyed the French quarter."
Tucker Carlson added "That's what they get in Louisiana for keeping such close ties to the French."
When asked for comment Bill O’Reilly simply stated “Shut Up.”
Brit Hume, another Faux News anchor, said "I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this Hurricane and I saw real estate values on the gulf this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, Hmmm, time to buy."
Ernie Fletcher: Republican Governor of Kentucky: Here's What Kentucky Newspaper Editorials are saying about your Pardons.
Fletcher can't lead, might as well resign
Governor's contempt for law nullifies his moral authority (Herald-Leader)
In a partisan, made-for-TV address before a hand-picked crowd Monday night, Gov. Ernie Fletcher talked away his ability to lead by force of character. While he's not likely to do so, Fletcher should resign rather than leave the state with two more years of a damaged chief executive.
Fletcher waded into the vocabulary of excuse and denial like a guilty 5-year-old: indictable offenses are "mistakes;" misdemeanors aren't really crimes; the kids just got out of hand; he didn't "knowingly" break any laws; and it's better to put this behind us.
As a crowd of supporters clapped at the applause lines, Fletcher accepted responsiblity for the assault on the merit system only to blame the law and the prosecutor and to invoke the age-old excuse of "everybody does it."
He never said he was sorry or that he would stop it.
Whatever Fletcher promised voters, his is now all about protecting himself and those who can take care of him. The man who lectured on "how to create an ethical government" at his inauguration presided over a staff that ignored the merit law and took away the livelihoods of hard-working people because they didn't support him. Now, he's trying to guarantee that no one pays the legal consequences for those actions.
Fletcher's still governor, but he's dealt a death blow to the moral authority that would allow him to lead.
Fletcher's Pardons (Courier-Journal)
The Governor insulted the intelligence of all Kentuckians and the loyalty of thousands of state employees by comparing the criminal charges resulting from merit law violations to illegal fishing.
Actually, administration records and e-mail communications show a systematic, calculated effort to ignore a law designed to ensure that state jobs are filled on the basis of qualifications, not politics.
Illegal hiring, firing, promotions and transfers undermined established efforts to increase employment of minorities and veterans. Moreover, the Governor's cavalier dismissal of the trauma of losing a job showed a gross disconnection to ordinary people's lives.
While the Governor talked the talk about taking personal responsibility, he actually dove for cover.
Fletcher Abuses Pardon Powers (Kentucky Enquirer)
Kentuckians may be at a loss to decide which was more offensive: Gov. Ernie Fletcher's pre-emptive pardon of his indicted aides, or his remarks justifying such arrogant actions.
The governor didn't just pardon nine indicted current or former aides. No, he tried to "grant amnesty to all persons who might otherwise be charged with violating the merit system laws." This, from the man who in his 2003 campaign promised merit workers he would end "good old boy politics" and maintain a strong merit system.
The Republican governor made much of not pardoning himself, but Tuesday he invoked his right not to testify against himself, calling the grand jury is a political tool of Attorney General Greg Stumbo, a Democrat.
Fletcher is wrong to turn the merit system into a partisan issue. Some aides in e-mails or notes mention the governor promising someone a merit job, although Fletcher insists as governor he has never "knowingly" violated any laws.
Other Kentucky governors have pardoned aides before trial, but that doesn't excuse Fletcher's abuse of his pardoning powers. His Fifth Amendment plea and the pardons just add to this administration's record of contempt for the merit law.
The Fifth (Glasgow Daily Times)
He also has responsibilities to those who elected him, to the people of Kentucky who looked to him to be better. He should ponder what his obligations are to Republicans who suffered in Kentucky's political wilderness for 32 years, who worked so hard for his election and who held such high hopes for his administration.
Finally, he should think of how he will be remembered: as a governor who lacked political guile and experience and made mistakes but owned up to them - or as a politician who promised to be different but wasn't and tried to hide it.
Premature Pardons (Ashland Daily-Independent)
By issuing the blanket pardons, Fletcher has told members of the special grand jury that has been meeting in Frankfort since May that their work has been an irrelevant waste of time. Indeed, he has all but called them political pawns of Stumbo and his team of investigators. But the members of that grand jury are not political hacks - just ordinary citizens chosen by lot to do a rather thankless and time-consuming job.
Call us naïve, but we thought that was the type of "politics as usual" that Ernie Fletcher, the candidate, was promising to end in Frankfort. Instead, he simply changed the system to reward Republican loyalists rather than Democrats. The word soon went out in Frankfort that if you wanted to get ahead in the state government, you had better change your registration from Democrat to Republican. It is clear that people were placed in key positions in Frankfort simply to assure that Republicans were hired over Democrats for even menial jobs.
In short, this governor has treated the Merit System as an obstacle to securing jobs for Republicans instead of an essential job protection system for rank-and-file state workers. Fletcher's efforts to undermine the Merit System continue, only this time he may try to change the law instead of just ignoring it.
Iraq War Rationale Continues to Shift. This time Bush quietly tells the truth. It's about control of Oil. I'm so shocked.
On Tuesday, Bush gave his third speech in just over a week defending his Iraq policies as the White House scrambled to counter growing public concern about the war.
Standing against a backdrop of the imposing USS Ronald Reagan at a naval air station near San Diego, the president gave a fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting: protection of the Iraq's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorists.
Bush said the Iraqi oil industry, already suffering from sabotage and lost revenues, must not fall under the control of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida forces led in Iraq by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. "They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition."
A one-time oilman, Bush has rejected charges that the war in Iraq is a struggle to control the nation's vast oil wealth. The president has avoided making links between the war and Iraq's oil reserves, but the soaring cost of gasoline has focused attention on global petroleum sources.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
In Defense of Looting
People on the Gulf Coast are dying. They have no food. They have no water. That is why they are "looting" grocery stores, not the Circuit Cities. The poorest of the poor, the sick, the elderly, the homeless were either left to drown or herded into the obviously unsafe SuperDome, which is now being evacuated...to where, we don't know.
Why does the main stream media consistently underplay actual disasters, and overplay fake disasters, like social security?
How about instead of using the prescious few helicopters we have (thanks, George W. Bush) to "stop looting", why don't we land them on grocery stores, fill them with food and water, and drop them to people in need.
This is a lot fucking worse than it is being portrayed on television.
If the national guard wasn't in Iraq, we could be saving people.
I blame George...
Let them loot....they are only trying to survive, you stupid cunts.
update: Aaron Brown - Yes, you, the Aaron Brown at CNN. This is not a law enforcement story. This is a disaster story. "How lawless is New Orleans right now"? How fucking lawless do you think it is, you dim-witted thirty-watt bulb? It's completely lawless, you stupid vapid fuck....
These people are trying to survive. They have lost everything. They need help, not law enforcement.
update 2: Why the fuck do you think these people stayed in New Orleans? Could it be that they couldn't afford to miss the next day's work, if the storm missed them entirely? Do you think they could just call in a "sick day", if it turned out to be nothing? Could it be that they had nowhere to go? Could it be that they had no means of getting anyplace else?
Anderson Cooper....how "cool" is this now? Why don't you go down and pose with a few floaters ....you, your network, and the entire MSM are complicit in this demonization of the desperate citizens of New Orleans . Why don't you use this opportunity to fucking help people for a change? Instead, you blame the victims...
I'll never forgive any of you.
Hurricane Global Warming Hits Gulf Coast; The Bush Administration and their Big Energy Contributors have spent millions making you doubt it.
Katrina's Real Name
by Ross Gelbspan
The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming.
When the year began with a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the cause was global warming.
When 124-mile-an-hour winds shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and the United Kingdom, the driver was global warming.
When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the Missouri River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the reason was global warming.
In July, when the worst drought on record triggered wildfires in Spain and Portugal and left water levels in France at their lowest in 30 years, the explanation was global warming.
When a lethal heat wave in Arizona kept temperatures above 110 degrees and killed more than 20 people in one week, the culprit was global warming.
And when the Indian city of Bombay (Mumbai) received 37 inches of rain in one day -- killing 1,000 people and disrupting the lives of 20 million others -- the villain was global warming.
As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms.
Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.
The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying.
Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.
The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.
In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal industry had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were public dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more than $13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public relations and lobbying campaign.
In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest electoral victory yet when President George W. Bush was elected president -- and subsequently took suggestions from the industry for his climate and energy policies.
As the pace of climate change accelerates, many researchers fear we have already entered a period of irreversible runaway climate change.
Against this background, the ignorance of the American public about global warming stands out as an indictment of the US media.
When the US press has bothered to cover the subject of global warming, it has focused almost exclusively on its political and diplomatic aspects and not on what the warming is doing to our agriculture, water supplies, plant and animal life, public health, and weather.
For years, the fossil fuel industry has lobbied the media to accord the same weight to a handful of global warming skeptics that it accords the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the United Nations.
Today, with the science having become even more robust -- and the impacts as visible as the megastorm that covered much of the Gulf of Mexico -- the press bears a share of the guilt for our self-induced destruction with the oil and coal industries.
As a Bostonian, I am afraid that the coming winter will -- like last winter -- be unusually short and devastatingly severe. At the beginning of 2005, a deadly ice storm knocked out power to thousands of people in New England and dropped a record-setting 42.2 inches of snow on Boston.
The conventional name of the month was January. Its real name is global warming.
Ross Gelbspan is author of ''The Heat Is On" and ''Boiling Point."
Bushworld: If you speak the truth about the government's use of racial profiling: You get Demoted. I think we've seen this before.
Profiling Report Leads to a Demotion
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 - The Bush administration is replacing the director of a small but critical branch of the Justice Department, months after he complained that senior political officials at the department were seeking to play down newly compiled data on the aggressive police treatment of black and Hispanic drivers.
The demotion of the official, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, whom President Bush named in 2001 to lead the Bureau of Justice Statistics, caps more than three years of simmering tensions over charges of political interference at the agency. And it has stirred anger and tumult among many Justice Department statisticians, who say their independence in analyzing important law enforcement data has been compromised.
Officials at the White House and the Justice Department said no political pressure had been exerted over the statistics branch. But they declined to discuss the job status of Mr. Greenfeld, who told his staff several weeks ago that he had been asked to move on after 23 years of generally high marks as a statistician and supervisor at the agency. Mr. Greenfeld, who was initially threatened with dismissal and the possible loss of some pension benefits, is expected to leave the agency soon for a lesser position at another agency.
With some 50 employees, the Bureau of Justice Statistics is a low-profile agency within the sprawling Justice Department. But it produces dozens of reports a year on issues like crime patterns, drug use, police tactics and prison populations and is widely cited by law enforcement officials, policy makers, social scientists and the news media. Located in an office separate from the Justice Department, it strives to be largely independent to avoid any taint of political influence.
The flashpoint in the tensions between Mr. Greenfeld and his political supervisors came four months ago, when statisticians at the agency were preparing to announce the results of a major study on traffic stops and racial profiling, which found disparities in how racial groups were treated once they were stopped by the police.
Political supervisors within the Office of Justice Programs ordered Mr. Greenfeld to delete certain references to the disparities from a news release that was drafted to announce the findings, according to more than a half-dozen Justice Department officials with knowledge of the situation. The officials, most of whom said they were supporters of Mr. Greenfeld, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss personnel matters.
Mr. Greenfeld refused to delete the racial references, arguing to his supervisors that the omissions would make the public announcement incomplete and misleading. Instead, the Justice Department opted not to issue a news release on the findings and posted the report online.
Some statisticians said that decision all but assured the report would get lost amid the avalanche of studies issued by the government. A computer search of news articles found no mentions of the study.
Congressional opponents of racial profiling, who have criticized what they see as an ambivalent stance on the issue by the Bush administration, said they were frustrated to learn that the Justice Department had completed the Congressionally mandated study without announcing its findings or briefing members of Congress on it. They accused the Justice Department of effectively burying the findings to play down new data that would add grist to the debate over using racial and ethnic data in law enforcement and terrorism investigations.
"My suspicions always go up if a report like this is just deep-sixed," said Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan, who is dean of the Congressional Black Caucus and plans to introduce legislation this fall that would ban the use of racial or ethnic police profiling.
The April study by the Justice Department, based on interviews with 80,000 people in 2002, found that white, black and Hispanic drivers nationwide were stopped by the police that year at about the same rate, roughly 9 percent. But, in findings that were more detailed than past studies on the topic, the Justice Department report also found that what happened once the police made a stop differed markedly depending on race and ethnicity.
Once they were stopped, Hispanic drivers were searched or had their vehicles searched by the police 11.4 percent of the time and blacks 10.2 percent of the time, compared with 3.5 percent for white drivers. Blacks and Hispanics were also subjected to force or the threat of force more often than whites, and the police were much more likely to issue tickets to Hispanics rather than simply giving them a warning, the study found.
The authors of the study said they were not able to draw any conclusions about the reason for the differing rates, but they said the gaps were notable. The research "uncovered evidence of black drivers having worse experiences - more likely to be arrested, more likely to be searched, more likely to be have force used against them - during traffic stops than white drivers," the report concluded.
In April, as the report was being completed, Mr. Greenfeld's office drafted a news release to announce the findings and submitted it for review to the office of Tracy A. Henke, who was then the acting assistant attorney general who oversaw the statistics branch.
The planned announcement noted that the rate at which whites, blacks and Hispanics were stopped was "about the same," and that finding was left intact by Ms. Henke's office, according to a copy of the draft obtained by The New York Times.
But the references in the draft to higher rates of searches and use of force for blacks and Hispanics were crossed out by hand, with a notation in the margin that read, "Do we need this?" A note affixed to the edited draft, which the officials said was written by Ms. Henke, read "Make the changes," and it was signed "Tracy." That led to a fierce dispute after Mr. Greenfeld refused to delete the references, officials said.
Ms. Henke, who was nominated by Mr. Bush last month to a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security, said in a brief telephone interview that she did not recall the episode.
Brian Rohrkasse, a spokesman for the Justice Department, declined to discuss Mr. Greenfeld's job status, citing confidential personnel matters, but said that "there was no effort to suppress information since the report was released in its entirety." Mr. Rohrkasse said the department had also posted on its Web site a number of other statistical reports without issuing news releases.
Mr. Greenfeld declined to discuss the handling of the traffic report or his departure from the statistics agency. But he emphasized in an interview that his agency's data had never been changed because of political pressure and added that "all our statistics are produced under the highest quality standards."
As a political appointee named to his post by Mr. Bush in 2001, "I serve at the pleasure of the president and can be replaced at any time," Mr. Greenfeld said. "There's always a natural and healthy tension between the people who make the policy and the people who do the statistics. That's there every day of the week, because some days you're going to have good news, and some days you're going to have bad news."
When asked if those political pressures had grown worse for his agency lately, as many of his employees asserted in interviews, he said: "I don't want to comment on that. It's just a fact of life."
Disputes between statisticians and policy makers at the Justice Department have flared occasionally over the years, particularly over the question of what credit if any the administration in power could take for dips in national crime rates. But a senior statistician, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that "in this administration, those tensions have been even greater, and the struggles have been harder."
Another veteran statistician said: "Larry wanted to ensure that the integrity of the data was not compromised, and that's what's causing a lot of anxiety. We've seen a desire for more control over B.J.S. from the powers that be, and that's what seemed to get Larry in trouble."
Amid the debate over the traffic stop study, Mr. Greenfeld was called to the office of Robert D. McCallum Jr., then the third-ranking Justice Department official, and questioned about his handling of the matter, people involved in the episode said. Some weeks later, he was called to the White House, where personnel officials told him he was being replaced as director and was urged to resign, six months before he was scheduled to retire with full pension benefits, the officials said.
After Mr. Greenfeld invoked his right as a former senior executive to move to a lesser position, the administration agreed to allow him to seek another job, and he is likely to be detailed to the Bureau of Prisons, the officials said.
The administration has already offered the director's job at the statistics agency to a former official there, Joseph M. Bessette, but he turned it down, officials said. In an interview, Mr. Bessette declined to discuss his conversations with the administration but was quick to praise Mr. Greenfeld's work.
"I've never met a finer public servant," Mr. Bessette said, "and I think the agency has been taken to new heights by Larry."
Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam.
The Vietnamization of Bush's Vacation
by Frank Rich
Another week in Iraq, another light at the end of the tunnel. On Monday President Bush saluted the Iraqis for "completing work on a democratic constitution" even as the process was breaking down yet again. But was anyone even listening to his latest premature celebration?
We have long since lost count of all the historic turning points and fast-evaporating victories hyped by this president. The toppling of Saddam's statue, "Mission Accomplished," the transfer of sovereignty and the purple fingers all blur into a hallucinatory loop of delusion. One such red-letter day, some may dimly recall, was the adoption of the previous, interim constitution in March 2004, also proclaimed a "historic milestone" by Mr. Bush. Within a month after that fabulous victory, the insurgency boiled over into the war we have today, taking, among many others, the life of Casey Sheehan.
It's Casey Sheehan's mother, not those haggling in Baghdad's Green Zone, who really changed the landscape in the war this month. Not because of her bumper-sticker politics or the slick left-wing political operatives who have turned her into a circus, but because the original, stubborn fact of her grief brought back the dead the administration had tried for so long to lock out of sight. With a shove from Pat Robertson, her 15 minutes are now up, but even Mr. Robertson's antics revealed buyer's remorse about Iraq; his stated motivation for taking out Hugo Chávez by assassination was to avoid "another $200 billion war" to remove a dictator.
In the wake of Ms. Sheehan's protest, the facts on the ground in America have changed almost everywhere. The president, for one, has been forced to make what for him is the ultimate sacrifice: jettisoning chunks of vacation to defend the war in any bunker he can find in Utah or Idaho. In the first speech of this offensive, he even felt compelled to take the uncharacteristic step of citing the number of American dead in public (though the number was already out of date by at least five casualties by day's end). For the second, the White House recruited its own mom, Tammy Pruett, for the president to showcase as an antidote to Ms. Sheehan. But in a reversion to the president's hide-the-fallen habit, the chosen mother was not one who had lost a child in Iraq.
It isn't just Mr. Bush who is in a tight corner now. Ms. Sheehan's protest was the catalyst for a new national argument about the war that managed to expose both the intellectual bankruptcy of its remaining supporters on the right and the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats who had rubber-stamped this misadventure in the first place.
When the war's die-hard cheerleaders attacked the Middle East policy of a mother from Vacaville, Calif., instead of defending the president's policy in Iraq, it was definitive proof that there is little cogent defense left to be made. When the Democrats offered no alternative to either Mr. Bush's policy or Ms. Sheehan's plea for an immediate withdrawal, it was proof that they have no standing in the debate.
Instead, two conservative Republicans - actually talking about Iraq instead of Ms. Sheehan, unlike the rest of their breed - stepped up to fill this enormous vacuum: Chuck Hagel and Henry Kissinger. Both pointedly invoked Vietnam, the war that forged their political careers. Their timing, like Ms. Sheehan's, was impeccable. Last week Mr. Bush started saying that the best way to honor the dead would be to "finish the task they gave their lives for" - a dangerous rationale that, as David Halberstam points out, was heard as early as 1963 in Vietnam, when American casualties in that fiasco were still inching toward 100.
And what exactly is our task? Mr. Bush's current definition - "as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down" - could not be a better formula for quagmire. Twenty-eight months after the fall of Saddam, only "a small number" of Iraqi troops are capable of fighting without American assistance, according to the Pentagon - a figure that Joseph Biden puts at "fewer than 3,000." At this rate, our 138,000 troops will be replaced by self-sufficient locals in roughly 100 years.
For his part, Mr. Hagel backed up his assertion that we are bogged down in a new Vietnam with an irrefutable litany of failure: "more dead, more wounded, less electricity in Iraq, less oil being pumped in Iraq, more insurgency attacks, more insurgents coming across the border, more corruption in the government." Mr. Kissinger no doubt counts himself a firm supporter of Mr. Bush, but in Washington Post this month, he drew a damning lesson from Vietnam: "Military success is difficult to sustain unless buttressed by domestic support." Anyone who can read a poll knows that support is gone and is not coming back. The president's approval rating dropped to 36 percent in one survey last week.
What's left is the option stated bluntly by Mr. Hagel: "We should start figuring out how we get out of there."
He didn't say how we might do that. John McCain has talked about sending more troops to rectify our disastrous failure to secure the country, but he'll have to round them up himself door to door. As the retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey reported to the Senate, the National Guard is "in the stage of meltdown and in 24 months we'll be coming apart." At the Army, according to The Los Angeles Times, officials are now predicting an even worse shortfall of recruits in 2006 than in 2005. The Leo Burnett advertising agency has been handed $350 million for a recruitment campaign that avoids any mention of Iraq.
Among Washington's Democrats, the only one with a clue seems to be Russell Feingold, the Wisconsin senator who this month proposed setting a "target date" (as opposed to a deadline) for getting out. Mr. Feingold also made the crucial observation that "the president has presented us with a false choice": either "stay the course" or "cut and run." That false choice, in which Mr. Bush pretends that the only alternative to his reckless conduct of the war is Ms. Sheehan's equally apocalyptic retreat, is used to snuff out any legitimate debate. There are in fact plenty of other choices echoing about, from variations on Mr. Feingold's timetable theme to buying off the Sunni insurgents.
But don't expect any of Mr. Feingold's peers to join him or Mr. Hagel in fashioning an exit strategy that might work. If there's a moment that could stand for the Democrats' irrelevance it came on July 14, the day Americans woke up to learn of the suicide bomber in Baghdad who killed as many as 27 people, nearly all of them children gathered around American troops. In Washington that day, the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held a press conference vowing to protect American children from the fantasy violence of video games.
The Democrats are hoping that if they do nothing, they might inherit the earth as the Bush administration goes down the tubes. Whatever the dubious merits of this Kerryesque course as a political strategy, as a moral strategy it's unpatriotic. The earth may not be worth inheriting if Iraq continues to sabotage America's ability to take on Iran and North Korea, let alone Al Qaeda.
As another politician from the Vietnam era, Gary Hart, observed last week, the Democrats are too cowardly to admit they made a mistake three years ago, when fear of midterm elections drove them to surrender to the administration's rushed and manipulative Iraq-war sales pitch. So now they are compounding the original error as the same hucksters frantically try to repackage the old damaged goods.
IN the new pitch there are no mushroom clouds. Instead we get McCarthyesque rhetoric accusing critics of being soft on the war on terrorism, which the Iraq adventure has itself undermined. Before anyone dare say Vietnam, the president, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld drag in the historian David McCullough and liken 2005 in Iraq to 1776 in America - and, by implication, the original George W. to ours. Before you know it, Ahmad Chalabi will be rehabilitated as Ben Franklin.
The marketing campaign will crescendo in two weeks, on the anniversary of 9/11, when a Defense Department "Freedom Walk" will trek from the site of the Pentagon attack through Arlington National Cemetery to a country music concert on the Mall. There the false linkage of Iraq to 9/11 will be hammered in once more, this time with a beat: Clint Black will sing "I Raq and Roll," a ditty whose lyrics focus on Saddam, not the Islamic radicals who actually attacked America. Lest any propaganda opportunity be missed, Arlington's gravestones are being branded with the Pentagon's slogans for military campaigns, like Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Associated Press reported last week - a historic first. If only the administration had thought of doing the same on the fallen's coffins, it might have allowed photographs.
Even though their own poll numbers are in a race to the bottom with the president's, don't expect the Democrats to make a peep. Republicans, their minds increasingly focused on November 2006, may well blink first. In yet another echo of Vietnam, it's millions of voters beyond the capital who will force the timetable for our inexorable exit from Iraq.
Triangulation for War
by Norman Solomon
Over the weekend, a spectrum of liberal responses to Cindy Sheehan came into sharper focus.
The message is often anti-Bush... but not necessarily anti-war.
Frank Rich spun out his particular style of triangulation in the New York Times. While deriding President Bush's stay-the-course stance, Rich also felt a need to disparage the most visible advocate for quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
Putting down Sheehan -- and, by implication, the one-third of the U.S. public that wants all American troops to exit Iraq without delay -- Rich's column on Sunday mocked "her bumper-sticker politics" and "the slick left-wing political operatives who have turned her into a circus."
Rich criticized "the utter bankruptcy of the Democrats who had rubber-stamped this misadventure in the first place." Yet, in effect, he was willing to help rubber-stamp continuation of the "misadventure" in the present tense.
The president, Rich lamented, "pretends that the only alternative to his reckless conduct of the war is Ms. Sheehan's equally apocalyptic retreat."
Equating what George W. Bush is doing with what Cindy Sheehan is advocating? Is there really an option for non-reckless "conduct of the war" that would be better than ending the U.S. war effort in Iraq?
Rich praised Sen. Russell Feingold's "timetable theme" -- along the lines of getting U.S. Troops out of Iraq by the end of next year. That would be a "target date," Rich explained approvingly, "as opposed to a deadline."
But no realistic explanation is available as to what conditions will exist in December 2006 that won't exist in December 2005 in Iraq. Are we supposed to believe that all the Americans who die next year -- and all the Iraqis they kill and all the Iraqis who die at the hands of other Iraqis incensed by the U.S. occupation -- should be ultimately sacrificed so that pundits, politicians and their reliable sources can wait a decent interval before (in Rich's words) "our inexorable exit from Iraq"?
For that matter, we should question just how "inexorable" a U.S. exit from Iraq is. After all, it's hardly certain that the worst and dumbest or the best and brightest in Washington will opt for evacuation of the U.S. military bases in Iraq. And can we really assume that the president will order complete withdrawal from a country with so many billions of barrels of oil under the sand?
While many anti-GOP pundits insist that a fast withdrawal is no way to go, numerous leaders of the Democratic Party are even more eager to triangulate. "Senior Democrats sought to distance themselves Sunday from Sheehan's protest," the Washington Post reports. On a Fox network show, Sen. Byron Dorgan said: "If we withdrew tomorrow, there would be a bloodbath in Iraq. We can't do that." Yet a bloodbath is already well underway in Iraq and shows no sign of abating under the U.S. Occupation
Meanwhile, a more overt pro-war position is explicit from the Washington Post, which seems bent on replicating its blood-soaked history of editorial support for the Vietnam War.
In August 1966 the Post's owner, Katharine Graham, discussed the war with a writer in line to take charge of the newspaper's editorial page. "We agreed that the Post ought to work its way out of the very supportive editorial position it had taken, but that we couldn't be precipitate; we had to move away gradually from where we had been," Graham was to write in her autobiography. Many more deaths resulted from such unwillingness to "be precipitate."
In August 2005, while noting the latest setbacks for the U.S. agenda in Iraq, the Post's editorial on the last Saturday of the month did not waver -- and was certainly not precipitate: "There is no cause for despair, or for abandoning the basic U.S. strategy in Iraq, which is to support the election of a permanent national government and train security forces capable of defending it with continuing help from American troops. But it is dispiriting, and damaging to the chances for success, that President Bush still refuses to speak honestly to the country about the challenges the United States now faces, or how he intends to address them."
This is an inventive proclivity of the Washington Post and many other corporate media outlets that are eager to advise the president on how to build a better war trap.
Meanwhile, by any measure in this country, the summer has brought a grassroots upsurge of insistence that the Iraq war is not suitable for tinkering or for a long goodbye. On Monday, two days after the Post published its editorial claiming that "there is no cause for despair," a news article in the paper quoted one of the activists who has been working for years against this war. Nancy Lessin, a co-founder of Military Families Speak Out, is working on preparations for bus tours that will soon depart from Crawford and travel various routes to Washington, with activists aboard from MFSO, Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Veterans for Peace.
"The questions that Cindy Sheehan has for George Bush are now questions for members of Congress and decision-makers across the country," Lessin said. "We are not here to make deals with the lives of our children. We will be calling on all decision-makers to bring the troops home now."
Commentators who dismiss such a plea as "bumper-sticker politics" have failed to truly grasp the significance of the Vietnam War and its somber memorials, including the one in Washington. Those pundits do not comprehend the writing on the wall.
Norman Solomon is the author of the new book "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." For information, go to: www.WarMadeEasy.com
August 29, 2005
NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union today released an FBI document that designates a Michigan-based peace group and an affirmative action advocacy group as potentially "involved in terrorist activities." The file was obtained through an ongoing nationwide ACLU effort seeking information on the FBI's use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces to engage in political surveillance.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union today released an FBI document that designates a Michigan-based peace group and an affirmative action advocacy group as potentially "involved in terrorist activities." The file was obtained through an ongoing nationwide ACLU effort seeking information on the FBI's use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces to engage in political surveillance.
"This document confirms our fears that federal and state counterterrorism officers have turned their attention to groups and individuals engaged in peaceful protest activities," said Ben Wizner, an ACLU staff attorney and counsel in a lawsuit seeking the release of additional FBI records. "When the FBI and local law enforcement identify affirmative action advocates as potential terrorists, every American has cause for concern."
The document released today is an FBI report labeled, "Domestic Terrorism Symposium," and describes a meeting that was intended to "keep the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies apprised of the activities of the various groups and individuals within the state of Michigan who are thought to be involved in terrorist activities."
Among the groups mentioned are Direct Action, an anti-war group, and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), a national organization dedicated to defending affirmative action, integration, and other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The FBI acknowledges in the report that the Michigan State Police has information that BAMN has been peaceful in the past.
"Labeling political advocacy as 'terrorist activity' is a threat to legitimate dissent which has never been considered a crime in this country," said Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. "Spying on people who simply disagree with our government's policies is a tremendous waste of police resources."
The FBI report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the ACLU of Michigan on behalf of nine local organizations and individuals, including Direct Action. ACLU affiliates in 15 additional states have filed similar requests on behalf of more than 100 groups and individuals.
"We're disturbed and dismayed that the FBI is misusing its power by spying on anti-war groups and monitoring political dissent to target activist groups," said 23-year-old Sarah McDonald, a member of Direct Action and recent graduate of Michigan State University. "We've protested the war, racial discrimination and the military recruitment of the high school students, but we're certainly not a terrorist group."
In addition to the state FOIAs, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court to expedite its request for FBI surveillance files on its own organization as well as other national groups including Greenpeace, United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. In response to the lawsuit, the FBI has revealed that it has thousands of pages of documents that mention those groups.
The ACLU launched its nationwide effort last year in response to widespread complaints from students and political activists who said they were questioned by FBI agents in the months leading up to the 2004 political conventions. The FOIAs seek two kinds of information: 1) the actual FBI files of groups and individuals targeted for speaking out or practicing their faith; and, 2) information about how the practices and funding structure of the task forces, known as JTTFs, may be encouraging rampant and unwarranted spying.
Documents previously obtained by the ACLU in response to the FOIAs include an FBI memo on Food Not Bombs, a Colorado group that provides free vegetarian food to hungry people and protests war and poverty, and a report on United for Peace and Justice, a national peace organization that coordinates non-violent protests.
For more information on the national lawsuit and the FOIA requests, go to www.aclu.org/spyfiles.
While the Bush Administration Investigates Left-Wing "Terrorists" with no history of violence, it ignores the growing terror threat from the Right.
Almost 60 terrorist plots uncovered in the U.S.
By Andrew Blejwas, Anthony Griggs and Mark Potok
Southern Poverty Law Center: Intelligence Report
Ten years after the Oklahoma City bombing left 168 people dead, the guardians of American national security seem to have decided that the domestic radical right does not pose a substantial threat to U.S. citizens.
A draft internal document from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that was obtained this spring by The Congressional Quarterly lists the only serious domestic terrorist threats as radical animal rights and environmental groups like the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. But for all the property damage they have wreaked, eco-radicals have killed no one — something that most definitely cannot be said of the white supremacists and others who people the American radical right.
In the 10 years since the April 19, 1995, bombing in Oklahoma City, in fact, the radical right has produced some 60 terrorist plots. These have included plans to bomb or burn government buildings, banks, refineries, utilities, clinics, synagogues, mosques, memorials and bridges; to assassinate police officers, judges, politicians, civil rights figures and others; to rob banks, armored cars and other criminals; and to amass illegal machine guns, missiles, explosives, and biological and chemical weapons. What follows is a list of key right-wing plots of the last 10 years.
July 28, 1995
Antigovernment extremist Charles Ray Polk is arrested after trying to purchase a machine gun from an undercover police officer, and is later indicted by a federal grand jury for plotting to blow up the Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, Texas. At the time of his arrest, Polk is trying to purchase plastic explosives to add to the already huge arsenal he's amassed. Polk is sentenced to almost 21 years in federal prison, with a projected release date in 2009.
October 9, 1995
Saboteurs derail an Amtrak passenger train near Hyder, Ariz., killing one person and injuring scores of others. An antigovernment message, signed by the "Sons of Gestapo," is left behind. The perpetrators remain at large.
November 9, 1995
Oklahoma Constitutional Militia leader Willie Ray Lampley, his wife Cecilia and another man, John Dare Baird, are arrested as they prepare explosives to bomb numerous targets, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, gay bars and abortion clinics. The three, along with another suspect arrested later, are sentenced to terms of up to 11 years in 1996. An appeals court upholds Lampley's sentence the following year. Baird is released in August 2004, while Ray Lampley — who wrote letters from prison urging others to violence — is slated to be freed in January 2006.
December 18, 1995
An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee discovers a plastic drum packed with ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in a parking lot behind the IRS building in Reno, Nev. The device failed to explode a day earlier when a three-foot fuse went out prematurely. Ten days later, tax protester Joseph Martin Bailie is arrested. Bailie is eventually sentenced to 36 years in federal prison.
January 18, 1996
Peter Kevin Langan, the pseudonymous "Commander Pedro" who leads the underground Aryan Republican Army, is arrested after a shootout with the FBI in Ohio. Along with six other suspects arrested around the same time, Langan is charged in connection with a string of 22 bank robberies in seven Midwestern states between 1994 and 1996. After pleading guilty and agreeing to testify, conspirator Richard Guthrie commits suicide in his cell. Two others, Kevin McCarthy and Scott Stedeford, enter plea bargains and do testify against their co-conspirators. Eventually, Mark Thomas, a leading neo-Nazi in Pennsylvania, pleads guilty for his role in helping organize the robberies and agrees to testify against Langan and other gang members. Shawn Kenny, another suspect, becomes a federal informant. Langan is sentenced to a life term in one case, plus 55 years in another. Thomas is sentenced to eight years in prison, and is released in early 2004.
April 11, 1996
Antigovernment activist Ray Hamblin is charged with illegal possession of explosives after authorities find 460 pounds of the high explosive Tovex, 746 pounds of ANFO blasting agent and 15 homemade hand grenades on his property in Hood River, Ore. Hamblin is sentenced to almost four years in federal prison, and is released in March 2000.
April 12, 1996
Apparently inspired by his reading of a neo-Nazi tract, Larry Wayne Shoemake kills one black man and wounds seven other people, including a reporter, during a racist shooting spree in a black neighborhood in Jackson, Miss. As police close in on the abandoned restaurant he is shooting from, Shoemake, who is white, sets the restaurant on fire and kills himself. A search of his home finds references to "Separation or Annihilation," an essay on race relations by National Alliance leader William Pierce, along with an arsenal of weapons that includes 17 long guns, 20,000 rounds of ammunition, several knives and countless military manuals.
April 26, 1996
Two leaders of the Militia-at-Large of the Republic of Georgia, Robert Edward Starr iii and William James McCranie Jr., are charged with manufacturing shrapnel bombs for distribution to militia members. Later in the year, they are sentenced on explosives charges to terms of up to eight years. Another Militia-at-Large member, accused of training a team to assassinate politicians, is later convicted of conspiracy. Starr is released from prison in 2003, while McCranie gets out in 2001. The last member, Troy Allen Kayser (alias Troy Spain), draws six years in prison and is released in early 2002.
July 1, 1996
Twelve members of an Arizona militia group called the Viper Team are arrested on federal conspiracy, weapons and explosive charges after allegedly surveilling and videotaping government buildings as potential targets. All 12 plead guilty or are convicted of various charges, drawing sentences of up to nine years in prison. The plot participants are all released in coming years, with Gary Curds Baer, who drew the heaviest sentence, freed in May 2004.
July 27, 1996
A nail-packed bomb goes off at the Atlanta Olympics, which is seen by many extremists as part of a Satanic "New World Order," killing one person and injuring more than 100 others. Investigators will later conclude the attack is linked to 1997-1998 bombings of an Atlanta-area abortion clinic, an Atlanta gay bar and a Birmingham, Ala., abortion facility. Suspect Eric Robert Rudolph — a reclusive North Carolina man tied to the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology — flees into the woods of his native state after he is identified in early 1998 as a suspect in the Birmingham attack, and is only captured five years later. Eventually, he pleads guilty to all of the attacks attributed to him in exchange for life without parole.
July 29, 1996
Washington State Militia leader John Pitner and seven others are arrested on weapons and explosives charges in connection with a plot to build pipe bombs for a confrontation with the federal government. Pitner and four others are convicted on weapons charges, while conspiracy charges against all eight end in a mistrial. Pitner is later retried on that charge, convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. He is freed from prison in 2001.
October 8, 1996
Three "Phineas Priests" — racist and anti-Semitic Christian Identity terrorists who feel they've been called by God to undertake violent attacks — are charged in connection with two bank robberies and bombings at the two banks, a Spokane newspaper and a Planned Parenthood office. Charles Barbee, Robert Berry and Jay Merrell are eventually convicted and sentenced to life terms. Brian Ratigan, a fourth member of the group arrested separately, draws a 55-year term.
October 11, 1996
Seven members of the Mountaineer Militia are arrested in a plot to blow up the FBI's national fingerprint records center, where 1,000 people work, in West Virginia. In 1998, leader Floyd "Ray" Looker is sentenced to 18 years in prison. Two other defendants are sentenced on explosives charges and a third draws a year in prison for providing blueprints of the FBI facility to Looker, who then sold them to a government informant who was posing as a terrorist.
January 16, 1997
Two anti-personnel bombs — the second clearly designed to kill arriving law enforcement and rescue workers — explode outside an abortion clinic in Sandy Springs, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. Seven people are injured. Letters signed by the "Army of God" claim responsibility for this attack and another, a month later, at an Atlanta gay bar. Authorities later learn that these attacks, the 1998 bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, were all carried out by Eric Robert Rudolph, who is captured in 2003 after five years on the run. Rudolph avoids the death penalty by pleading guilty in exchange for a life sentence, but simultaneously releases a defiant statement defending his attacks.
January 22, 1997
Authorities raid the Martinton, Ill., home of former Marine Ricky Salyers, an alleged Ku Klux Klan member, discovering 35,000 rounds of heavy ammunition, armor piercing shells, smoke and tear gas grenades, live shells for grenade launchers, artillery shells and other military gear. Salyers was discharged earlier from the Marines, where he taught demolitions and sniping, after tossing a live grenade (with the pin still in) at state police officers serving him with a search warrant in 1995. Following the 1997 raid, Salyers, an alleged member of the underground Black Dawn group of extremists in the military, is sentenced to serve three years for weapons violations. He is released from prison in 2000.
March 26, 1997
Militia activist Brendon Blasz is arrested in Kalamazoo, Mich., and charged with making pipe bombs and other illegal explosives. Prosecutors say Blasz plotted to bomb the federal building in Battle Creek, the IRS building in Portage, a Kalamazoo television station and federal armories. But they recommend leniency on his explosives conviction after Blasz renounces his antigovernment beliefs and cooperates with them. In August, he is sentenced to more than three years in federal prison. Blasz is released in early 2000.
April 22, 1997
Three Ku Klux Klan members are arrested in a plot to blow up a natural gas refinery outside Fort Worth, Texas, after local Klan leader Robert Spence gets cold feet and goes to the FBI. The three, along with a fourth arrested later, expected to kill a huge number of people with the blast — authorities later say as many as 30,000 might have died — which was to serve, incredibly, as a diversion for a simultaneous armored car robbery. Among the victims would have been children at a nearby school. All four plead guilty to conspiracy charges and are sentenced to terms of up to 20 years. Spence enters the Witness Protection Program. Carl Jay Waskom Jr. is released in June 2004. Shawn and Catherine Adams, a couple, are expected to be freed in 2006, and Edward Taylor Jr. in early 2007.
April 23, 1997
Florida police arrest Todd Vanbiber, a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance's Tampa unit and the shadowy League of the Silent Soldier, after he accidentally sets off pipe bombs he was building, blasting shrapnel into his own face. He is accused of plotting to use the bombs on the approach to Disney World to divert attention from a planned string of bank robberies. Vanbiber pleads guilty to weapons and explosives charges and is sentenced to more than six years in federal prison. He is released in 2002. Within two years, Vanbiber is posting messages on neo-Nazi Internet sites boasting that he has built over 300 bombs successfully and only made one error, and describing mass murderer Timothy McVeigh as a hero.
April 27, 1997
After a cache of explosives stored in a tree blows up near Yuba City, Calif., police arrest Montana Freemen supporter William Robert Goehler. Investigators looking into the blast arrest two Goehler associates, one of them a militia leader, after finding 500 pounds of petrogel explosives — enough to level three city blocks — in a motor home parked outside their residence. Six others are arrested on related charges. Goehler, with previous convictions for rape, burglary and assault, is sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
May 3, 1997
Antigovernment extremists set fire to the IRS office in Colorado Springs, Colo., causing $2.5 million in damage and injuring a firefighter. Federal agents later arrest five men in connection with the arson, which is conceived as a protest against the tax system. Ringleader James Cleaver, former national director of the antigovernment Sons of Liberty group, is eventually sentenced to 33 years in prison, while accomplice Jack Dowell is sentenced in a separate trial to serve 30 years. Both are ordered to pay $2.2 million in restitution. Dowell's cousin is acquitted of all charges, while two other suspects, Ronald Sherman and Thomas Shafer, plead guilty to perjury charges in connection with the case.
July 4, 1997
Militiaman Bradley Playford Glover and another heavily armed antigovernment activist are arrested before dawn near Fort Hood, in central Texas, just hours before they planned to invade the Army base and slaughter foreign troops they mistakenly believed were housed there. In the next few days, five other people are arrested in several states for their alleged roles in the plot to invade a series of military bases where the group believes United Nations forces are massing for an assault on Americans. All seven are part of a splinter group of the Third Continental Congress, a kind of militia government-in-waiting. In the end, Glover is sentenced to two years on Kansas weapons charges, to be followed by a five-year federal term in connection with the Fort Hood plot. The others draw lesser terms. Glover is released in 2003, the last of the seven to get out.
December 12, 1997
A federal grand jury in Arkansas indicts three men on racketeering charges for plotting to overthrow the government and create a whites-only Aryan People's Republic, which they intend to grow through polygamy. Chevie Kehoe, Daniel Lee and Faron Lovelace are accused of crimes in six states, including murder, kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy. Kehoe and Lee will also face state charges of murdering an Arkansas family, including an 8-year-old girl, in 1996. Kehoe ultimately receives a life sentence on that charge, while Lee is sentenced to death. Lovelace is sentenced to death for the murder of a suspected informant, although in early 2005 he will be up for resentencing because of court rulings. Kehoe's brother, Cheyne, is convicted of attempted murder during a February 1997 Ohio shootout with police and sentenced to 24 years in prison, despite his key role in helping authorities find his fugitive brother in Utah in June 1997 after the shootout. Cheyne went to the authorities after Chevie began talking about murdering their parents and showing sexual interest in Cheyne's wife.
January 29, 1998
An off-duty police officer is killed and a nurse terribly maimed when a nail-packed, remote-control bomb explodes outside a Birmingham, Ala., abortion facility, the New Woman All Women clinic. Letters to media outlets and officials claim responsibility in the name of the "Army of God," the same entity that took credit for the bombings of a clinic and a gay bar in the Atlanta area. The attack also will be linked to the fatal 1996 bombing of the Atlanta Olympics. Eric Robert Rudolph, a loner from North Carolina, is first identified as a suspect when witnesses spot his pickup truck fleeing the Birmingham bombing. But he is not caught until 2003. He ultimately pleads guilty to all four attacks in exchange for a life sentence.
February 23, 1998
Three men with links to a Ku Klux Klan group are arrested near East St. Louis, Ill., on weapons charges. The three, along with three other men arrested later, had formed a group called The New Order, patterned on a 1980s terror group called The Order (a.k.a. the Silent Brotherhood) that carried out assassinations and armored car heists. New Order members plotted to assassinate a federal judge and civil rights lawyer Morris Dees, blow up the Southern Poverty Law Center that Dees co-founded and other buildings, poison water supplies and rob banks. In the end, all six plead guilty or are convicted of weapons charges, drawing terms of up to seven years in federal prison. Wallace Weicherding, who came to a 1997 Dees speech with a concealed gun but turned back rather than pass through a metal detector, is freed in 2003. New Order leader Dennis McGiffen is released in July 2004, the last of the six to regain his freedom.
March 18, 1998
Three members of the North American Militia of Southwestern Michigan are arrested on firearms and other charges. Prosecutors say the men conspired to bomb federal buildings, a Kalamazoo television station and an interstate highway interchange, kill federal agents, assassinate politicians and attack aircraft at a National Guard base — attacks that were all to be funded by marijuana sales. The group's leader, Ken Carter, is a self-described member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations. Carter pleads guilty, testifies against his former comrades, and is sentenced to five years in prison. The others, Randy Graham and Bradford Metcalf, go to trial and are ultimately handed sentences of 40 and 55 years, respectively. Carter is released from prison in 2002.
May 29, 1998
A day after stealing a water truck, three men shoot and kill a Cortez, Colo., police officer and wound two other officers as they try to stop the suspects during a road chase. After the gun battle, the three — Alan Monty Pilon, Robert Mason and Jason McVean — disappear into the canyons of the high desert. Mason will be found a week later, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot. The skeletal remains of Pilon are found in October 1999 and show that he, too, died of a gunshot to the head, another apparent suicide. McVean is not found, but most authorities assume he died in the desert. Many officials believe the three men intended to use the water truck in some kind of terrorist attack, but the nature of their suspected plans is never learned.
July 1, 1998
Three men are charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction after threatening President Clinton and other federal officials with biological weapons. Officials say the men planned to use a cactus thorn coated with a toxin like anthrax and fired by a modified butane lighter to carry out the murders. One man is acquitted of the charges, but Jack Abbot Grebe, Jr., and Johnnie Wise — a 72-year-old man who attended meetings of the separatist Republic of Texas group — eventually are sentenced to more than 24 years in prison.
July 30, 1998
South Carolina militia member Paul T. Chastain is charged with weapons, explosives and drug violations after allegedly trying to trade drugs for a machine gun and enough C-4 plastic explosive to demolish a five-room house. The next year, Chastain pleads guilty to an array of charges, including threatening to kill Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh. He is sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
October 23, 1998
Dr. Barnett Slepian is assassinated by a sniper as he converses with his wife and children in the kitchen of their Amherst, N.Y., home. Identified as a suspect shortly after the murder, James Charles Kopp flees to Mexico, driven and disguised by friend Jennifer Rock, and goes on to hide out in Ireland and France. Two fellow anti-abortion extremists, Loretta Marra and Dennis Malvasi, make plans to help Kopp secretly return. Kopp, also suspected in the earlier sniper woundings of four other physicians in Canada and upstate New York, is arrested in France as he picks up money wired by Marra and Malvasi. He eventually admits the shooting to a newspaper reporter — claiming that he only intended to wound Slepian — and is sentenced to 25 years in prison. Marra and Malvasi go to prison for almost three years after pleading guilty to federal charges related to harboring a fugitive.
June 10, 1999
Officials arrest Alabama plumber Chris Scott Gilliam, a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, after he attempts to purchase 10 hand grenades from an undercover federal agent. Gilliam, who months earlier paraded in an extremist T-shirt in front of the Southern Poverty Law Center's offices in Montgomery, tells agents he planned to send mail bombs to targets in Washington, d.c. Agents searching his home find bomb-making manuals, white supremacist literature and an assault rifle. Gilliam pleads guilty to federal firearms charges and is sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is expected to be released in 2008.
July 1, 1999
A gay couple, Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, are shot to death in bed at their home near Redding, Calif. Days later, after tracking purchases made on Mowder's stolen credit card, police arrest brothers Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams. At least one of the pair, Matthew Williams (both use their middle names), is an adherent of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology. Police soon learn that the brothers two weeks earlier carried out three synagogue arsons in Sacramento, along with the arson of an abortion clinic there. Both brothers, whose mother at one point refers in a conversation to her sons' victims as "two homos," eventually admit their guilt — in Matthew's case, in a newspaper interview. But Matthew, who at one point badly injures a guard in a surprise attack, commits suicide in jail in late 2002. Tyler, who pleads guilty to an array of charges in the case, is not expected to be eligible for parole for some 50 years.
July 2, 1999
Infuriated that neo-Nazi leader Matt Hale has just been denied his law license by Illinois officials, follower Benjamin Nathaniel Smith begins a three-day murder spree across Illinois and Indiana, shooting to death a black former college basketball coach and a Korean doctoral student and wounding nine other minorities. Smith kills himself as police close in during a car chase. Hale, leader of the World Church of the Creator, at first claims to barely know Smith. But it quickly emerges that Hale has recently given Smith his group's top award and, in fact, has spent some 16 hours on the phone with him in the two weeks before Smith's rampage. Conveniently, Hale receives a registered letter from Smith just days after his suicide, informing Hale that Smith is quitting the group because he now sees violence as the only answer.
August 10, 1999
Buford Furrow, a former member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations who has been living with the widow of slain terrorist leader Bob Mathews, strides into a Jewish community center near Los Angeles and fires more than 70 bullets, wounding three boys, a teenage girl and a woman. He then drives into the San Fernando Valley and kills Filipino-American mailman Joseph Ileto. The next day, Furrow turns himself in, saying he intended to send "a wake-up call to America to kill Jews." Furrow, who has a history of mental illness, eventually pleads guilty and is sentenced to two life terms without parole, plus 110 years in prison.
November 5, 1999
FBI agents arrest James Kenneth Gluck in Tampa, Fla., after he wrote a 10-page letter to judges in Jefferson County, Colo., threatening to "wage biological warfare" on a county justice center. While searching his home, police find the materials needed to make ricin, one of the deadliest poisons known. Gluck later threatens a judge, claiming that he could kill 10,000 people with the chemical. After serving time in federal prison, Gluck is released in early 2001.
December 5, 1999
Two California men, both members of the San Joaquin Militia, are charged with conspiracy in connection with a plot to blow up two 12-million-gallon propane tanks, a television tower and an electrical substation in hopes of provoking an insurrection. In 2001, the former militia leader, Donald Rudolph, pleads guilty to plotting to kill a federal judge and blow up the propane tanks, and testifies against his former comrades. Kevin Ray Patterson and Charles Dennis Kiles are ultimately convicted of several charges in connection with the conspiracy. They are expected to be released from federal prison in 2021 and 2018, respectively.
December 8, 1999
Donald Beauregard, head of a militia coalition known as the Southeastern States Alliance, is charged with conspiracy, providing materials for a terrorist act and gun violations in connection with a plot to bomb energy facilities and cause power outages in Florida and Georgia. After pleading guilty to several charges, Beauregard, who once claimed to have discovered a secret map detailing a planned un takeover mistakenly printed on a box of Trix cereal, is sentenced to five years in federal prison. He is released in 2004, a year after accomplice James Troy Diver is freed following a similar conviction.
March 9, 2000
Federal agents arrest Mark Wayne McCool, the one-time leader of the Texas Militia and Combined Action Program, as he allegedly makes plans to attack the Houston federal building. McCool, who was arrested after buying powerful C-4 plastic explosives and an automatic weapon from an undercover FBI agent, earlier plotted to attack the federal building with a member of his own group and a member of the antigovernment Republic of Texas, but those two men eventually abandoned the plot. McCool, however, remained convinced the un had stored a cache of military materiel in the building. In the end, he pleads guilty to federal charges that bring him just six months in jail.
April 28, 2000
Immigration attorney Richard Baumhammers, himself the son of Latvian immigrants, goes on a rampage in the Pittsburgh area against non-whites, killing five people and critically wounding a sixth. Baumhammers had recently started a tiny white supremacist group, the Free Market Party, that demanded an end to non-white immigration into the United States. In the end, the unemployed attorney, who was living with parents at the time of his murder spree, is sentenced to death for targeting his victims because of their race.
March 1, 2001
As part of an ongoing probe into a white supremacist group, federal and local law enforcement agents raid the Corbett, Ore., home of Fritz Springmeier, seizing equipment to grow marijuana and weapons and racist literature. They also find a binder notebook entitled "Army of God, Yahweh's Warriors" that contains what officials call a list of targets, including a local federal building and the FBI's Oregon offices. Springmeier, an associate of the anti-Semitic Christian Patriots Association, is eventually charged with setting off a diversionary bomb at an adult video store in Damascus, Ore., in 1997 as part of a bank robbery carried out by accomplice Forrest Bateman Jr. Another 2001 raid finds small amounts of bomb materials and marijuana in Bateman's home. Eventually, Bateman pleads guilty to bank robbery and Springmeier is convicted of the same charges, and both are sentenced to nine years.
April 19, 2001
White supremacists Leo Felton and girlfriend Erica Chase are arrested following a foot chase that began when a police officer spotted them trying to pass counterfeit bills at a Boston donut shop. Investigators quickly learn Felton heads up a tiny group called Aryan Unit One, and that Chase and Felton, who had already obtained a timing device, planned to blow up black and Jewish landmarks and possibly assassinate black and Jewish leaders. They also learn another amazing fact: Felton, a self-described Aryan, is secretly biracial. Felton and Chase are eventually convicted of conspiracy, weapons violations and obstruction, and Felton is also convicted of bank robbery and other charges. Felton, who previously served 11 years for assaulting a black taxi driver, is sentenced to serve more than 21 years in federal prison, while his one-time sweetheart draws a lesser term.
Oct. 14, 2001
A North Carolina sheriff's deputy pulls over Steve Anderson, a former "colonel" in the Kentucky Militia, on a routine traffic stop as he heads home to Kentucky from a white supremacist gathering in North Carolina. Anderson, who has issued violent threats against officials for months via an illegal pirate radio station and is an adherent of racist Christian Identity theology, pulls out a semi-automatic weapon and peppers the deputy's car with bullets before driving his truck into the woods and disappearing for 13 months. Officials later find six pipe bombs in Anderson's abandoned truck and 27 bombs and destructive devices in his home. In the end, Anderson apologizes for his actions and pleads guilty. He is sentenced on a variety of firearms charges to 15 years in federal prison.
Dec. 5, 2001
Anti-abortion extremist Clayton Lee Wagner, who nine months earlier escaped from an Illinois jail while awaiting sentencing on weapons and carjacking charges, is arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio. Wagner's odyssey began in September 1999, when he was stopped driving a stolen camper in Illinois and told police he was headed to Seattle to murder an abortion provider. He escaped in February 2001 and, while on the lam, mailed more than 550 hoax anthrax letters to abortion clinics and posted an Internet threat warning abortion clinic workers that "if you work for the murderous abortionist, I'm going to kill you." Wagner is eventually sentenced to 30 years on the Illinois charges, including his escape. In Ohio, he is sentenced to almost 20 years more, to be served consecutively, on various weapons and car theft charges related to his time on the run. In late 2003, he also is found guilty of 51 federal terror charges, but his sentencing is deferred.
Dec. 11, 2001
Jewish Defense League chairman Irving David Rubin and a follower, Earl Leslie Krugel, are arrested in California and charged with conspiring to bomb the offices of U.S. Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) and the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City. Authorities say a confidential informant taped meetings with the two in which the bombings were discussed and Krugel said the jdl needed "to do something to one of their filthy mosques." Rubin later commits suicide in prison, officials say, just before he is to go on trial in late 2002. Krugel pleads guilty to conspiracy in both plots, and testifies that Rubin conspired with him. Krugel faces a mandatory 10-year sentence, and could receive up to life in federal prison.
Jan. 4, 2002
Neo-Nazi National Alliance member Michael Edward Smith is arrested after a car chase in Nashville, Tenn., that began when he was spotted sitting in a car with a semi-automatic rifle pointed at Sherith Israel Pre-School, run by a local synagogue. In Smith's car, home and storage unit, officials find an arsenal that includes a .50-caliber rifle, 10 hand grenades, 13 pipe bombs, binary explosives, semi-automatic pistols, ammunition and an array of military manuals. They also find teenage porn on Smith's computer and evidence that he carried out computer searches for Jewish schools and synagogues. In one of his e-mails, Smith wrote that Jews "perhaps" should be "stuffed head fIRSt into an oven." In the end, Smith is sentenced on weapons and explosives charges to more than 10 years in prison.
Feb. 8, 2002
The leader of a militia-like group known as Project 7 and his girlfriend are arrested after an informant tells police the group is plotting to kill judges and law enforcement officers in order to kick off a revolution. David Burgert, who has a record for burglary and is already wanted for assaulting police officers, is found in the house of girlfriend Tracy Brockway along with an arsenal that includes pipe bombs and 25,000 rounds of ammunition. Also found are "intel sheets" with personal information about law enforcement officers, their spouses and children. Although officials are convinced the Project 7 plot was real, Burgert ultimately is convicted only of weapons charges and draws a seven-year sentence; six others are also convicted of or plead guilty to weapons charges. Brockway gets a suspended sentence for harboring a fugitive.
July 19, 2002
Acting on a tip, federal and local law enforcement agents arrest North Carolina Klan leader Charles Robert Barefoot Jr. for his role in an alleged plot to blow up the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, the sheriff himself and the county jail. Officers find more than two dozen weapons in Barefoot's home. They also find bombs and bomb components in the home of Barefoot's son, Daniel Barefoot, who is charged that same day with the arson of a school bus and an empty barn. The elder Barefoot — who broke away from the National Knights of the KKK several months earlier to form his own harder-line group, the Nation's Knights of the KKK — is charged with weapons violations and later sentenced to more than two years. In 2003, Barefoot's wife and three men are charged with the murder of a former associate. Police say the murder may have been related to the alleged bombing plot.
Aug. 22, 2002
Tampa area podiatrist Robert J. Goldstein is arrested after police, called by Goldstein's wife after he allegedly threatened to kill her, find more than 15 explosive devices in their home, along with materials to make at least 30 more. Also found are homemade C-4 plastic explosives, grenades and mines, a .50-caliber rifle, semi-automatic weapons, and a list of 50 Islamic worship centers in the area. The most significant discovery is a three-page plan detailing plans to "kill all 'rags'" at the Islamic Society of Pinellas County. Eventually, two other local men are also charged in connection with the plot, and Goldstein's wife is arrested for possessing illegal destructive devices. In the end, Goldstein pleads guilty to plotting to blow up the Islamic Society and is sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison.
Oct. 3, 2002
Officials close in on long-time antigovernment extremist Larry Raugust at a rest stop in Idaho, arrest him and charge him with 16 counts of making and possessing destructive devices, including pipe bombs and pressure-detonated booby traps. He is accused of giving one explosive device to an undercover agent, and is also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot with colleagues in the Idaho Mountain Boys militia to murder a federal judge and a police officer, and to break a friend out of jail. A deadbeat dad, Raugust is also accused of helping plant land mines on property belonging to a friend whose land was seized by authorities over unpaid taxes. He eventually pleads guilty to 15 counts of making bombs and is sentenced to federal prison. Raugust is expected to be released in 2008.
Jan. 8, 2003
Federal agents arrest Matt Hale, the national leader of the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator (WCOTC), as he reports to a Chicago courthouse in an ongoing copyright case over the name of his group. Hale is charged with soliciting the murder of the federal judge in the case, Joan Humphrey Lefkow, who he has publicly vilified as someone bent on the destruction of his group. (Although Lefkow originally ruled in wcotc's favor, an appeals court found that the complaint brought by an identically named church in Oregon was legally justified, and Lefkow reversed herself accordingly.) In guarded language captured on tape recordings, Hale is heard agreeing that his security chief, an FBI informant, should kill Lefkow. Hale is eventually found guilty and sentenced to serve 40 years in federal prison.
Jan. 18, 2003
James D. Brailey, a convicted felon who once was selected as "governor" of the state of Washington by the antigovernment Washington Jural Society, is arrested after a raid on his home turns up a machine gun, an assault rifle and several handguns. One informant tells the FBI that Brailey was plotting to assassinate Gov. Gary Locke, both because Locke was the state's real governor and because he was Chinese-American. A second informant says that Brailey actually went on a "dry run" to Olympia, carrying several guns into the state Capitol building to test security. Eventually, Brailey pleads guilty to weapons charges and is sentenced to serve 15 months in prison. He is released in February 2004.
Feb. 13, 2003
Federal agents in Pennsylvania arrest David Wayne Hull, imperial wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and an adherent of the anti-Semitic Christian Identity theology, alleging that Hull has arranged to buy hand grenades to blow up abortion clinics. The FBI says Hull also illegally instructed followers on how to build pipe bombs. In addition, Hull published a newsletter in which he urged readers to write Oklahoma bomber Tim McVeigh "to tell this great man goodbye." Hull eventually is found guilty of weapons violations and sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.
April 3, 2003
Federal agents arrest antigovernment extremist David Roland Hinkson in Idaho and charge him with trying to hire an assassin on two occasions in 2002 and 2003 to murder a federal judge, a prosecutor and an IRS agent involved in a tax case against him. Hinkson, a businessman who earned millions of dollars from his Water Oz dietary supplement company but refused to pay almost $1 million in federal taxes, is convicted in 2004 of 26 counts related to the tax case. In early 2005, a federal jury finds him guilty in the assassination plot as well.
April 10, 2003
The FBI raids the Noonday, Texas, home of William Krar and storage facilities he rented in the area, discovering an arsenal that includes more than 500,000 rounds of ammunition, 65 pipe bombs and remote-control briefcase bombs, and almost two pounds of deadly sodium cyanide. Also found are components to convert the cyanide into a bomb capable of killing thousands, along with white supremacist and antigovernment material. Investigators soon learn Krar was stopped earlier in 2003 by police in Tennessee, who found in his car several weapons and coded documents that seemed to detail a plot. Krar refuses to cooperate, and details of that alleged plan are never learned. Eventually, he pleads guilty to possession of a chemical weapon and is sentenced to more than 11 years in prison.
June 4, 2003
Federal agents in California announce that former accountant John Noster, in prison since November 2002 for car theft, is under investigation for plotting a major terrorist attack. Noster was first arrested as part of a car theft ring investigation, but officials who found incendiary devices in his stolen camper continued to probe his activities. Eventually, they find in various storage facilities three pipe bombs, six barrels of jet fuel, five assault weapons, cannon fuse, a large amount of ammunition and $188,000 in cash. Law enforcement officials, who describe Noster as an "antigovernment extremist," allege at a press conference that he "was definitely planning" on an attack, but they do not elaborate.
Oct. 10, 2003
Police arrest Norman Somerville after finding a huge weapons cache on his property in northern Michigan that includes six machine guns, a powerful anti-aircraft gun, thousands of rounds of ammunition, hundreds of pounds of gunpowder, and an underground bunker. They also find two vehicles Somerville calls his "war wagons," and on which prosecutors later say he planned to mount machine guns as part of a plan to stage an auto accident and then massacre arriving police. Officials describe Somerville as an antigovernment extremist enraged over the death of Scott Woodring, a Michigan Militia member killed by police a week after Woodring shot and killed a state trooper during a standoff. Somerville eventually pleads guilty to weapons charges and is sentenced to six years in prison.
April 1, 2004
Neo-Nazi Skinhead Sean Gillespie videotapes himself as he firebombs Temple B'nai Israel, an Oklahoma City synagogue, as part of a film he is preparing to inspire other racists to violent revolution. In it, Gillespie boasts that instead of merely pronouncing the white-supremacist "14 Words" slogan ("We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children"), he will carry out 14 violent attacks. A former member of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations, Gillespie is found guilty of the attack and faces a minimum 35-year sentence without parole.
Oct. 13, 2004
Ivan Duane Braden, a former National Guardsman discharged from an Iraq-bound unit after superiors noted signs of instability, is arrested after checking into a mental health facility and telling counselors about plans to blow up a synagogue and a National Guard armory in Tennessee. The FBI reports that Braden told them he'd planned to go to a synagogue wearing a trench coat stuffed with explosives and get himself "as close to children and the rabbi as possible," a plan Braden also outlined in notes found in his home. In addition, he intended to take and kill hostages at the Lenoir City Armory, before blowing the armory up. Eventually, Braden, who also possessed neo-Nazi literature and reportedly hated blacks and Jews from an early age, pleads guilty to conspiring to blow up the armory. He faces a mandatory 10-year minimum prison sentence on two separate charges.
Oct. 25, 2004
FBI agents in Tennessee arrest farmhand Demetrius "Van" Crocker after he allegedly tried to purchase ingredients for deadly sarin nerve gas and C-4 plastic explosives from an undercover agent. The FBI alleges that Crocker, who local officials say was involved in a white supremacist group in the 1980s, tells the agent that he admires Hitler and hates Jews and the government. He allegedly also says "it would be a good thing if somebody could detonate some sort of weapon of mass destruction on Washington, D.C." Crocker is charged with trying to get explosives to destroy a building and other charges, and faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted.
May 20, 2005
Officials in New Jersey arrest two men they say asked a police informant to build them a bomb. Craig Orler, who has a history of burglary arrests, and Gabriel Garafa, said to be a leader of the neo-Nazi World Church of the Creator and a member of a racist Skinhead group called The Hated, were charged with illegally selling 11 guns to police informants. Carafa allegedly gave one informant 60 pounds of urea to use in building him a bomb, but never said what the bomb was for. Police say they moved in before the alleged bombing plot developed further because they were concerned about the pair's activities. They taped Orler saying in a phone call that he was seeking people in Europe to help him go underground.