Wow! I was blown away by Saturday's events in NYC and around the country

  • Bob Fertik's picture
    Bob Fertik
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Everyone please take a bow - because WE DID IT!

The Downing Street Minutes 3rd Anniversary events organized by Rep. John Conyers and were an amazing, incredible success.

Reports from around the country are pouring in to

I had the privilege and thrill of hosting the New York City event featuring Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), former Rep. Liz Holtzman, and Randi Rhodes.

Much to my amazement, people started arriving two hours before the doors opened. By 1:30 the New York Society for Ethical Culture - which seats 820 - was filled to capacity, and we sadly had to turn several hundred more people away.

I was surprised to see so many people on a beautiful summer afternoon. So I began my remarks by thanking everyone for coming, and suggested that they probably had better ways to spend a lovely summer day. The reaction was immediate, loud, and clear:


That certainly wasn't what I expected. So I shook my head and said, "OK, then you've come to the right place!"

And from that moment on, there was electricity in the air.

In the coming days, I will blog on more of the details, especially the follow-up activities. But for now, let me share some terrific links:

Pacifica Radio audio archive, courtesy of Jon Almeleh

Nero Fiddled by Noah Diamond pried open his falling eyelids to watch as Liz Holtzman

stressed the importance of the little-discussed War Crimes Act of 1996, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. Seeking to adopt laws "for full compliance international torture statute, and an international torture treaty, and the Geneva Conventions," Congress passed "a statute making it a U.S. crime to engage in torture." Two years later, the War Crimes Act was law. "Basically," Holtzman said, "it makes grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions a federal crime, just like kidnapping, or interstate burglary, or child pornography. It is a federal crime.

"And interestingly," she said with an ironic smile, "there's a death penalty."

[Helpful link to Title 18 > Part I > Chapter 118 > § 2441. War crimes.]

The War Crimes Act, Holtzman concluded, "means that if any high level official violates the War Crimes Act, and somebody died, they can be prosecuted...there is no statute of limitations." She said that in accordance with a declassified 2002 memo by Alberto Gonzales, the Bush administration chose to "opt out" of the War Crimes Act during the invasion of Afghanistan. However, they did not opt out prior to invading Iraq.


Read Noah's complete blog and keep an eye out for his upcoming show, Burning Bush: A Faith-Based Musical.


Kudos, Bob

  • CitizenJane's picture
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were the attendees that spilled over able to hear the speakers?

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. Dorothy Day

Well not far away, the BORIQUA Festival was about to begin, and

  • tekki2k's picture
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there were plenty of those hundred who were unable to get in that fell into Prospect Park for the festival...

Eddie Palmieri highlighted the evening, food, drink and a good time with the Brooklynites in the summer park festivals.

FixedIntelGate .. the pressure is on

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I am so proud of everyone for keeping the pressure on! Pressure is what turns the perfect opacity of coal into the perfect clarity of diamond. Here's my weekend Update on FixedIntelGate:

I saw Mr. McCain on BeachBall when he lost even the seed-corn of his soul. He parrots the RNC (Reptilian National Committee) Talking Points as if he had a key to turn in his yellow-striped back. He lived through prisoner of war camp hell to throw away his moral compass now? The bloodsplatter of corruption this White House has despoiled so many people with is boschian.
As Jay Inslee (D Washington) said about our going to Iraq under false pretences which is the hub of this wheel, “In Watergate, nobody died.”)

I vividly remember a candidates' panel that Larry King had on after South Carolina in the run-up to the 2000 coronation. John McCain was so angry at George Bush for the pushpolling character assassination orchestrated by the utterly ugly of souless Karl Rove and other vicious early proto-swiftboatian tactics that he was leaning white-faced and hissing across the anchor desk, "You should apologize, George. You know what I mean. You should apologize, George." etc. Then on BeachBall, he just shrugs it off!?

I terrified the cats so much rage did I hurl at the tv. I stamped around the living room slavering I gotta say. I thought maybe McCain or Hagel would have a vertebra if not a spine.

The two missing pieces I am crazed to know are who asked Marc Grossman to ask Carl Ford to do the State Department Memo? (I recall a long time ago that Joe Wilson said that he still had friends in the 'business' who told him that 'the White House had asked for a work-up on Wilson' -- I sort of recall the work-up being posited as being that March or April 2003, not the June 10 date?) My gloss on the idea of 'work-up' is that it sounded like some j:edgar:hoovery Get The Dirt or the Lever kind of thing. That's the piece I want to know about.

And who in the heck is Judy Miller protecting? Whoever it is is just letting her stew in jail. Could it be whoever foie-gras force-fed her that convincing villain Chalabi to whom we really owe all of this fantasy cum nightmare in the Cradle?

I heard as a total rumor that Fitzgerald knows who her source is but needs her to say it in order to prosecute?

In an article in the Atlantic Nov 2004, Josh Green talks about Karl Rove’s willingness, as a few examples among many, to start a whisper campaign in Texas to smear Ann Richards as being a lesbian and lesbian sympathizer, [stupid] anathemas in the back country of the Lone Star State. A pushpolling in South Carolina calling Mrs. Cindy McCain a drug addict and Mr.McCain, the ‘father’ of a black baby. (They adopted a child from Bangladesh actually.) “‘What Rove does,’ says Joe Perkins, ‘is try to make something so bad for a family that the candidate will not subject the family to the hardship. Mark is not your typical Alabama macho, beer-drinkin', tobacco-chewin', pickup-drivin' kind of guy. He is a small, well-groomed, well-educated family man, and what they tried to do was make him look like a homosexual pedophile. That was really, really hard to take.’

“Rove seems to understand—indeed, to count on—the media's unwillingness or inability, whether from squeamishness, laziness, or professional caution, ever to give a full estimate of him or his work. It is ultimately not just Rove's skill but his character that allows him to perform on an entirely different plane. Along with remarkable strategic skills, he has both an understanding of the media's unstated self-limitations and a willingness to fight in territory where conscience forbids most others.”

“Where conscience forbids most others.”

Green's full article.

I think Miller

  • CitizenJane's picture
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is a covert propagandist, and a willing puppet. I always thought the timing of her 'Germs' was highly suspect.

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. Dorothy Day

Bob, Great job

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Great job Saturday--very inspiring!

And now, let's all call Sen. Frist's office about the following:

Heat rises over leak: 26 Democratic senators call for hearings
07/25/2005 @ 12:37 pm

Democrats are raising the heat on the White House's role in the outing of a CIA agent, issuing a letter to the press from 26 Democratic senators and holding a 4:30 press conference on the role of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

They're irritated that Congress has refused to hold hearings on the matter. Behind the scenes, Democratic staffers are privately expressing their frustration.

"Republicans in the House issued over a 1,000 subpoenas for information from the White House during the Clinton years," one aide told RAW STORY. "Today, those Republicans just sit there doing nothing to get to the bottom of a potential felony.

"If [Senate Majority Leader] Bill First's phones started ringing about it, demanding him to hold his own accountable, the Republicans in the House and Senate might just be shamed into action," the aide added.

The release for the letter issued to Republican Congressional leaders follows.

Senators Urge Congressional Investigation Into Leak of CIA Agent Valerie Plame's Name

Today, Senator John Kerry; Senator Carl Levin, Ranking Member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations; and 24 other Senators formally requested that Congress investigate the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity -- a leak a senior administration official described at the time as "meant purely and simply for revenge."

"Americans deserve a Congress that holds Washington accountable for the truth about our national security. Can anyone argue with a straight face that Congress has time to look at steroid use in baseball but doesn't have the will to provide congressional oversight of the leak of a CIA agent's name? It's long past time to stop putting politics ahead of the public good, get to the bottom of a national security breach and restore credibility to Washington," said John Kerry, who authored the letter.

Below is the text of the letter sent today:

Dear Mr. Speaker and Mr. Majority Leader:

The press has reported on information strongly suggesting that senior Administration officials, including White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and the Vice President's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby, exposed the identity of American intelligence operative Valerie Plame, despite the repeated denial of the White House at the time.

The public revelation of Ms. Plame's identity, whether it amounts to a crime or an irresponsible breach of security protocol that doesn't meet the standard of criminal conduct, almost certainly compromised her intelligence networks and may have compromised the safety and welfare of anyone who had worked with her overseas. As a group of respected former intelligence officials wrote in 2004: "Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources."

The United States Congress has a constitutional responsibility to provide oversight of the executive branch, whether a law has been broken or not. It is time for Congress to fulfill that constitutional responsibility in this matter by initiating a thorough investigation.

We recognize that a criminal investigation is underway and that a special prosecutor continues to present testimony before a grand jury. These actions in no way preclude Congress' responsibility to provide oversight. We urge you to exercise your authority as Congressional leaders by requesting the appropriate committees to begin oversight hearings and an investigation immediately.


Senators Kerry, Levin, Stabenow, Schumer, Lautenberg, Rockefeller, Reed, Feinstein, Dorgan, Harkin, Kohl, Durbin, Carper, Salazar, Boxer, Inouye, Corzine, Wyden, Mikulski, Obama, Murray, Bayh, Johnson, Clinton, Sarbanes, and Landrieu.


The calls to Frist's office ought to begin immediately. If everyone reading this called, it would make a difference.

Washington, D.C.:
Office of Senator Bill Frist
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-228-1264 (fax)

You can also send faxes.

Come on, let's go!

Very inspiring weekend- even at our little group in Miami

  • KaryninMiami's picture
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We gathered at my house (not as many as I'd hoped) and listened closely to the conference call which was truly inpsiring.

I loved reading the recap from NY Bob- you did a fabulous job- not quite as good as being there of course.

Now it's time for all of us to get to work. It's time to start hounding our elected officials (in both parties) and demand action. Keep bugging the media- write, fax, call -everyone from C-Span to your local papers. It's up to us to keep this story out there since we know the MSM is not going to do this on their own.

Treason is an impeachable offence. Period. Onwards and upwards!