Saturday, July 08, 2006

Medical Experimentation Continues...

The Blotter

Artificial Blood Experiment Hits 27 U.S. Cities

July 07, 2006 10:10 AM

Brian Ross and Joseph Rhee Report:

Polyheme_nrIn 27 cities across the United States, seriously injured accident victims could end up in a medical experiment, without their knowledge or consent.

The experiment involves an artificial blood called Polyheme.

The federal government has given the company that makes it approval to use badly bleeding accident victims as test subjects, without the subjects informed consent.

The only way out is to wear a blue bracelet provided by the company.

The company says it's the only way to test such a product.

But others, including Pastor Paul Burleson of a Denver church alliance, say it turns Americans into human guinea pigs.

"If I'm in accident and I just don't happen to have this particular wristband, that I'd be a guinea pig is unconscionable," he said.

Check to see if your city is among those participating in the Polyheme experiment.

A Bully Mentality by Charley Reese**excellent article**

A Bully Mentality

by Charley Reese

Back in the 1970s, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, one of the giants of the 20th century, gave a commencement address at Harvard. It was, I believe, the last public address he gave in America. His criticism was so dead-on that he quickly became persona non grata.

I've always thought that it is a permanent disgrace that this great man, whom many Russians credit with bringing down the Soviet Union, was never invited to the White House, while all sorts of two-bit communists and other poltroons have been fĂȘted and dined there.

At any rate, apropos of the current headlines, one of the criticisms he levied was that we as a country had become cowards. He made it clear that he did not mean the American people; he meant the American government and the American Establishment. He said they bullied small and weak countries and appeased the powerful. That was true then, and it's true today.

Look, for example, at the contrast between George Bush's rhetoric directed at North Korea and his rhetoric directed at Saddam Hussein. Saddam, he said, had been given enough chances. He had run out of time. There was no point in any more talk. Blah, blah, etc. Saddam, of course, didn't have nuclear weapons, or even chemical or biological weapons.

With North Korea, the president says we must seek a diplomatic solution, and diplomacy, of course, takes a lot of time, etc. and so forth. Gosh, we hate to see North Korea so isolated.

What's the difference? Saddam was weak, his regime was a toothless old hag, and Bush and his war hawks knew it. We could bully and invade him without fear. North Korea, however, is a regime with very sharp teeth. It has a fully equipped standing army of more than one million men. It has artillery wheel-to-wheel along the demilitarized zone. Even without its missiles, nuclear or conventional, war with North Korea would produce casualties in the tens of thousands, and would do it in a matter of days.

So you're darn right Bush wants to use diplomacy, though his diplomacy is so inept that it is not likely to work. We are not going to attack North Korea or even try a "surgical strike," and North Korea knows this. It has a deterrent sufficiently strong to persuade us to let the sleeping dog lie on the Korean Peninsula.

You will notice, too, that all the tough rhetoric about Iran has suddenly quieted down. I think both the U.S. and Israel have finally realized that we have no military option with Iran. Iran is in a position to cause us unimaginable problems all over the Middle East. Our failure in Iraq and the Israelis' failure to cower the Palestinians have reminded both countries that the Middle East is not a good place to cause trouble. It is a place where conventional forces can win tactical victories, but not strategic ones.

T.E. Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia if you prefer, noted a characteristic of the Arabs: They can be suddenly seized with an idea so passionately, he said, that they will willingly lose everything for it. That's all the explanation you need for suicide bombers. There is a line in their psyche that Westerners would do well not to cross.

At any rate, our government and our Establishment remain as cowardly as they were in the 1970s. Look at the great military "triumphs" in recent years – invading Panama and Grenada, bombing Libya and Serbia, fighting two wars with Iraq. Any general who wanted a triumphal procession in Rome after victories that petty would have been limited to a single cart pulled by a donkey.

Probably, we don't have a real peace movement in this country because one isn't needed. We're not going to fight anybody who has half a chance of drawing real blood. We are never going to launch a preventative war against North Korea or Iran, and God knows not against China or Russia. Perhaps, if Bush ever extricates himself from Iraq and Afghanistan, we might have another go at Somalia.

We are, just as Solzhenitsyn said, the bully of weak countries and an appeaser of strong ones.

July 8, 2006

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.

© 2006 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Canada won't join missile defense, for now

Canada won't join missile defense, for now
By Pamela Hess
UPI Pentagon Correspondent
Jul. 7, 2006 at 8:57AM

Despite North Korea's missile launches Canada has no plans to join the United States missile defense system, the prime minister said Thursday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper also expressed his desire that a new border identification law passed by the U.S. Congress be delayed if not scrapped outright.

"The government of Canada is not prepared to open the issue of missile defense at this time," he said.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin told the United States in February 2005 Canada would not endorse the nascent ground-based missile interceptor system meant to protect the United States from an enemy ballistic missile. This announcement came after U.S. President George W. Bush surprised Martin with a broad request to support the program.
Bush did not raise the issue in his morning meeting with Harper.

"I didn't bring it up. I figured if he was interested he would bring it up," Bush said. "This is a particularly difficult political issue inside Canada."

Harper also criticized the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, part of a broader initiative by the U.S. Congress to tighten security at the borders.

Canada is worried the new requirement for North Americans crossing borders to have passports -- involving time and expense for people who can otherwise travel with different documents -- will harm trade, tourism and cultural relations.

"The president and I agree that the implementation of the provisions of the WHTI must not unduly hinder cross-border travel or tourism or trade," Harper said. "If the fight for security ends up meaning that the United States becomes more closed to its friends, then the terrorists have won."

More than 300,000 people travel between Canada and the United States every day, and the overwhelming majority are considered low-risk travelers, according to the Canadian government.

"I would hate to see a law go into place that has the effect of not just limiting or endangering trade or tourism, but endangering all those thousands of social interactions that occur across our border every day and are the reasons why Canada and the United States have the strongest relationship of any two countries not just on the planet, but in the history of mankind," Harper said.

"We're prepared to cooperate, and also urge the Congress to apply some flexibility in reaching their objective of security," Harper said.

U.S. chambers of Congress have also opposed the plan, citing the potential loss of jobs and personal income in the border region, as well as a decrease in gross product and housing values.

Monterey County Herald | 07/07/2006 | Soldier's kin say troops shot son

Monterey County Herald
Soldier's kin say troops shot son

DINUBA (AP) - The shot in the chest that killed a 22-year-old soldier in Southern Iraq wasn't fired by the enemy, but by someone on his base, his parents said.

Even as they mourn the death of their son, 22-year-old Airman 1st Class Carl Jerome Ware Jr., Carl and Rosalie Ware are trying to find out who shot him, and why.

They said military officers said their son was killed Saturday by personnel from his base at Camp Bucca, an internment center for captured insurgents, as he made his way back to his barracks at the end of his shift.

Carl Ware Jr. was a military security officer with the 886th Expeditionary Security Squadron.

Military officers told the family they were investigating the shooting to try to determine if it was accidental or deliberate.

“I Was a Mouthpiece for the American Military” (

“I Was a Mouthpiece for the American Military”
An embedded TV producer's frank assessment
Posted on Friday, July 7, 2006. By Ken Silverstein.

In an interesting interview published this week in Foreign Policy, Newsweek's Rod Nordland spoke about the difficulties of reporting from Iraq. He said that the Bush Administration has been largely successful in managing the news “to the extent that most Americans are not aware of just how dire it is and how little progress has been made” and revealed that some embedded reporters “have been blacklisted because the military wasn’t happy with [their] work.”

Many embedded reporters have managed to do fine work from Iraq, but there are significant obstacles for even the best and most determined journalists. I recently spoke with a former senior TV producer for Reuters who worked in Iraq between 2003 and 2004. The producer, who asked that she not be identified by name, arrived in Tikrit soon after the capture of Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003, and was embedded with American troops for 45 days. She told me that, over the years, she has worked closely with the French army, NATO troops in the Balkans, and UN peacekeepers in covering war and conflict, but she said had never faced the sorts of restrictions imposed by the Pentagon on journalists in Iraq. “I was,” she said, “a mouthpiece for the American military.”

In Tikrit, she was based with U.S. troops at a military compound established at one of Saddam's former palaces, where she provided pool coverage for Reuters TV and AP TV (which was fed to other media outlets). When insurgents attacked civilians, she told me, the American military would rush her to the scene so she could record the carnage and get shots of grieving Iraqis.

When it came to other stories that were clearly sympathetic to the U.S. side, such as funerals for American soldiers killed in combat, the U.S. military was extremely helpful—indeed, encouraging. In such cases, she was granted full access and allowed to film speeches by officials honoring the dead, the posthumous awarding of medals, and other aspects of the ceremony.

But when this producer wanted to pursue a story that might have cast the war effort in an unfavorable light, the situation was entirely different. Every few days, she said, she would receive a call from the Reuters bureau in Baghdad and discover that reporters there had heard, via local news reports or from the bureau's network of Iraqi sources, about civilians being killed or injured by American troops. But when she asked to leave the compound to independently confirm such incidents, her requests were invariably turned down.

“Reuters had an armored car,” she told me, “and we wanted to go out on our own, but I would ask the PIO [Public Information Officer] for permission and he would say he needed to get more information before we could go. Hours would pass, it would get dark—and in the end we were never able to get to the scene.” Even getting an on-camera comment from a military spokesman was impossible in such cases, she said.

The producer said that it was impossible to pursue stories frowned upon by the military—for example, on how the local population viewed the occupation and American troops—because she was not permitted to leave the base on her own. The height of absurdity came when the Tikrit compound came under serious attack one evening and the producer was asked by the Reuters bureau in Baghdad to phone in a report on the situation. “We couldn't find out anything [from the U.S. military],” she said, so Reuters had to cover the fighting from Baghdad, despite having a TV producer and reporter on the ground at the compound in Tikrit.

The producer frequently filmed foot patrols and nighttime raids. She said that for the latter, the military and the embedded journalists would drive for long stretches in pitch darkness. The raids themselves, she said, were blurry and confusing, and afterwards soldiers would round up suspected insurgents and sympathizers for interrogation. It was routine for the producer to wait in one room of a house while detainees were questioned in another. “Not always, but there were times when I would hear detainees screaming during the questioning,” she said. “I'm not sure what was happening but they were screaming loudly—they weren't just being slapped around.” Because she obviously was not permitted to film the interrogations, none of that material could be included in her pool feeds.

She and the other journalists stationed at the base in Tikrit grew cynical about their work and came to believe that they were being used. “Other reporters in Iraq,” she said, “especially local Iraqis [working for Western outlets], were able to get both sides of the story, but we were getting only one side.” During her 45 days in Tikrit, she told me, she didn't file a single story critical of the American project in Iraq. “There was no balance,” she said. “What we were doing wasn't real journalism.”

Say 'No' to War Candidates - by Daniel Ellsberg
Say 'No' to War Candidates
by Daniel Ellsberg

According to recent opinion polls, most Iraqis don't believe that we're making things better or safer in their country. What does that say about the legitimacy of prolonged occupation, much less permanent American bases in Iraq? What does it mean for continued American armored patrols such as the one last November in Haditha, which, we now learn, led to the deaths of a Marine and 24 unarmed civilians?

Questions very much like these nagged at my conscience at the height of the Vietnam War, and led, eventually, to the publication of the first of the Pentagon Papers in June of 1971, 35 years ago.

As a former Marine Commander and defense analyst in 1970, I had exclusive access to highly classified defense documents for research purposes. They came to be known as the Pentagon Papers and constituted a 47-volume, top-secret Defense Department history of American involvement in Vietnam titled, "U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68." The Pentagon Papers made it very clear that I, like the rest of the American public, had been misled about the origins and purposes of the war I had participated in – just as are the 85% of the troops in Iraq today who still believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 and that he was allied with al-Qaeda.

That period had several similarities to this one. Congress was debating the withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Indochina while President Nixon was making secret plans to expand, rather than exit from, the ongoing war in Southeast Asia – including a major air offensive against North Vietnam, possibly using nuclear weapons. Today, the Bush administration's threats to wage war against Iran are explicit, with officials reiterating regularly that the nuclear "option" is "on the table." Americans saw the color photographs of the My Lai massacre; now we are seeing photographs eerily similar to those from Haditha: women, children, old men and babies, all shot at short range.

What was it that prompted me to begin copying 7,000 pages of highly classified documents – an act that I fully expected would send me to prison for life? I came to the conclusion that the system I had been part of, giving my unquestioning loyalty to for 15 years, as a Marine, a Pentagon official and a State Department officer in Vietnam, was a system that lies reflexively, at every level, from sergeant to commander in chief, about murder. And I had the evidence to prove it.

The papers showed very clearly how we had become engaged in a reckless war of choice in someone else's country – a country that had not attacked us – for our own domestic and external purposes. It became clear to me that the justifications that had been given for our involvement were false. And if the war itself was unjust, then all the victims of our firepower were being killed without justification.

That's murder.

Today, there must be, at the very least, hundreds of civilian and military officials in the Pentagon, CIA, State Department, National Security Agency and White House who have in their safes and computers comparable documentation of intense internal debates – so far carefully concealed from Congress and the public – about prospective or actual war crimes, reckless policies and domestic crimes: the Pentagon Papers of Iraq, Iran or the ongoing war on U.S. liberties. Some of those officials, I hope, will choose to accept the personal risks of revealing the truth – earlier than I did – before more lives are lost or a new war is launched.

Haditha holds a mirror up not just to American troops in the field, but to our whole society. Not just to the liars in government but to those who believe them too easily. And to all of us in the public, in the administration, in Congress and the media who dissent so far ineffectively or who stand by as murder is being done and do nothing to stop it or expose it.

Americans must summon the civil courage to face what is being done in their name and to refuse to be accomplices. The Voters' Pledge is one way to do this. The Voters' Pledge is a project comprising many of the major organizations in the antiwar movement, United for Peace and Justice, Peace Action, Gold Star Families for Peace, Code Pink, and Democracy Rising, as well as groups with broader agendas like the National Organization for Women, Progressive Democrats of America,, and magazines including the American Conservative and The Nation. The goal of this coalition is to build a base of antiwar voters that cannot be ignored by anyone running for office in the United States. We want millions of voters to sign the pledge and say no to pro-war candidates.

You can help right now by visiting www.VotersForPeace.US and immediately signing the Voters' Pledge.

Daniel Ellsberg is a former American military analyst who helped bring about an end to the Vietnam War when he released the Pentagon Papers, the US military's account of its scandalous activities during that war.

Marines Failed to Probe Haditha Massacre

Report Finds Marines Failed to Probe Haditha: Media
Friday 07 July 2006

Baghdad - A US military report found that senior Marine officers failed to investigate conflicting and false reports of the killings of up to 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha last year, US media reported on Friday.

Despite evidence that initial reports the civilians died in a roadside bomb attack were false, the investigation found that no Marine officer in the chain of command questioned the original account despite several "red flags," CBS News said.

The New York Times quoted two Defense Department officials as saying that Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, head of ground forces in Iraq, had faulted senior staff of the Second Marine Division and recommended unspecified disciplinary action for some officers.

"He concludes that some officers were derelict in their duties," the Times quoted one of the officials as saying.

Iraqi officials accuse Marines of shooting dead up to 24 people in Haditha, including women and children in their homes, after a Marine was killed in a roadside bomb attack. It would be the worst known case of US military abuse in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

The military said earlier on Friday that Gen. George Casey, the top US military commander in Iraq, had been sent the report on whether there was a cover-up of Marines' involvement in the killings. The findings have not been released officially.

"Chiarelli completed his findings and recommendations today and forwarded copies of the report to the commander Multi-National Forces-Iraq," the military said in a statement.

The report is separate from a Naval Criminal Investigative Service probe that US politicians privy to some evidence have said seems likely to lead to charges of premeditated murder.

CBS said the report found there was no effort to correct an inaccurate US military press release, which repeated the initial false report that civilians were killed by a roadside bomb. In fact, they were all killed by gunshot wounds.

The distribution by one Marine officer of $38,000 in compensation payments to the victims' families was another clear signal that the original report was wrong, CBS cited the investigation as saying.

"Room For Improvement"

A US military official in Baghdad said the report found room for improvement in areas "from reporting, to training to the command environment" but stressed the report was "purely administrative" and not a basis for criminal proceedings.

Chiarelli received the findings of the investigative team headed by Major General Eldon Bargewell three weeks ago.

The military official said it was Chiarelli's goal to make public the report's findings as soon as possible, with the goal of "full and total disclosure."

The probe was one of a series into alleged misconduct by US troops in Iraq. The Haditha case in particular has drawn comparisons with the 1968 My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

The Marine Corps has instructed commanders to retain documents related to the killing of Iraqi civilians both in Haditha and Hamdania, both in western Anbar province, because Congress will likely hold hearings and request the information, according to a memo obtained by Reuters.

Seven Marines and a Navy medic have been charged with premeditated murder and other crimes in the April killing of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdania, a village west of Baghdad.

The July 6 memo instructs all commanders to retain and preserve documents and e-mail messages related to those incidents, "their planning, execution and subsequent reporting and any documents referring to any aspect of them."

"The alleged events at Haditha and Hamdania have generated intense interest both in the media and Congress," the memo stated. "We can reasonably anticipate that Congress will hold hearings regarding those events and will request the production of records that pertain to them."

Friday, July 07, 2006

After two reports of massive security lapses in two months, will the media begin to question Bush's national security recor

Media Matters

On July 6, The Washington Post reported that"[a] government consultant, using computer programs easily found on the Internet, managed to crack the FBI's classified computer system and gain the passwords of 38,000 employees, including that of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III." This article followed the Post's May 23 report that "[a]s many as 26.5 million veterans were placed at risk of identity theft when intruders stole an electronic data file this month containing their names, birth dates and Social Security numbers from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee."

As Media Matters for America has noted, the conventional wisdom among the media is that the Bush administration and Republicans are "stronger" on national security issues than are Democrats, and this narrative has endured despite abundant evidence of lapses and missteps. Now that it has been reported twice in the past two months that lapses in security placed the personal information of millions of veterans and the integrity of the FBI's computer system in jeopardy, will the media finally begin to question the national security credentials of the White House and the GOP?

The Post reported on July 6 that, in 2004, a consultant working for the FBI easily and inappropriately gained access to "records in the Witness Protection Program and details on counterespionage activity," and that this was not the first major obstacle the FBI has encountered in bringing its computer systems up to date. According to the Post:

The break-ins, which occurred four times in 2004, gave the consultant access to records in the Witness Protection Program and details on counterespionage activity, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Washington. As a direct result, the bureau said it was forced to temporarily shut down its network and commit thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars to ensure no sensitive information was lost or misused.

The government does not allege that the consultant, Joseph Thomas Colon, intended to harm national security. But prosecutors said Colon's "curiosity hacks" nonetheless exposed sensitive information.

Colon, 28, an employee of BAE Systems who was assigned to the FBI field office in Springfield, Ill., said in court filings that he used the passwords and other information to bypass bureaucratic obstacles and better help the FBI install its new computer system. And he said agents in the Springfield office approved his actions.

The incident is only the latest in a long string of foul-ups, delays and embarrassments that have plagued the FBI as it tries to update its computer systems to better share tips and information. Its computer technology is frequently identified as one of the key obstacles to the bureau's attempt to sharpen its focus on intelligence and terrorism.

On May 23, the Post reported that a laptop computer and an external hard drive containing veterans' personal data were stolen on May 3, and that the employee from whom the information was stolen was not authorized to take the data home. According to the Post:

The theft represents the biggest unauthorized disclosure ever of Social Security data, and it could make affected veterans vulnerable to credit card fraud if the burglars realize the value of the data, one expert said.

"In terms of Social Security numbers, it's the biggest breach," said Evan Hendricks, publisher of the Privacy Times newsletter and author of the book "Credit Scores and Credit Reports." "As long as you've got that exact Social, most of the time the credit bureaus will disclose your credit report, and that enables the thief to get credit."

For years, the VA inspector general has criticized the department for lax information security, chiefly concerning the ease with which hackers might penetrate VA computer systems. "VA has not been able to effectively address its significant information security vulnerabilities and reverse the impact of its historically decentralized management approach," acting Inspector General Jon A. Wooditch wrote in a November 2005 report.

Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee issued a statement calling on the department to restrict access to sensitive information to essential personnel and to enforce those restrictions. "It is a mystifying and gravely serious concern that a VA data analyst would be permitted to just walk out the VA door with such information," the statement said. Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said his panel will hold hearings on information security at the department.

The Post reported on June 30 that the laptop and hard drive had been recovered, and that the data had apparently not been accessed.

Gangs claim their turf in Iraq



May 1, 2006

BY FRANK MAIN Crime Reporter

The Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings and Vice Lords were born decades ago in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods. Now, their gang graffiti is showing up 6,400 miles away in one of the world's most dangerous neighborhoods -- Iraq.

Armored vehicles, concrete barricades and bathroom walls all have served as canvasses for their spray-painted gang art. At Camp Cedar II, about 185 miles southeast of Baghdad, a guard shack was recently defaced with "GDN" for Gangster Disciple Nation, along with the gang's six-pointed star and the word "Chitown," a soldier who photographed it said.

The graffiti, captured on film by an Army Reservist and provided to the Chicago Sun-Times, highlights increasing gang activity in the Army in the United States and overseas, some experts say.

Military and civilian police investigators familiar with three major Army bases in the United States -- Fort Lewis, Fort Hood and Fort Bragg -- said they have been focusing recently on soldiers with gang affiliations. These bases ship out many of the soldiers fighting in Iraq.

"I have identified 320 soldiers as gang members from April 2002 to present," said Scott Barfield, a Defense Department gang detective at Fort Lewis in Washington state. "I think that's the tip of the iceberg."

Of paramount concern is whether gang-affiliated soldiers' training will make them deadly urban warriors when they return to civilian life and if some are using their access to military equipment to supply gangs at home, said Barfield and other experts.

'They don't try to hide it'

Jeffrey Stoleson, an Army Reserve sergeant in Iraq for almost a year, said he has taken hundreds of photos of gang graffiti there.

In a storage yard in Taji, about 18 miles north of Baghdad, dozens of tanks were vandalized with painted gang symbols, Stoleson said in a phone interview from Iraq. He said he also took pictures of graffiti at Camp Scania, about 108 miles southeast of Baghdad, and Camp Anaconda, about 40 miles north of Baghdad. Much of the graffiti was by Chicago-based gangs, he said.

In civilian life, Stoleson is a correctional officer and co-founder of the gang interdiction team at a Wisconsin maximum-security prison. Now he is a truck commander for security escorts in Iraq. He said he watched two fellow soldiers in the Wisconsin Army National Guard 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, die Sept. 26 when a roadside bomb exploded. Five of Stoleson's friends have been wounded.

Because of the extreme danger of his mission in Iraq, Stoleson said he does not relish the idea of working alongside gang members, whom he does not trust. Stoleson said he once reported to a supervisor that he suspected a company of soldiers in Iraq was rife with gang members.

"My E-8 [supervising sergeant] told me not to ruffle their feathers because they were doing a good job," he said.

Stoleson said he has spotted soldiers in Iraq with tattoos signifying their allegiance to the Vice Lords and the Simon City Royals, another street gang spawned in Chicago.

"They don't try to hide it," Stoleson said.

Army doesn't see significant trend

Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, did not deny the existence of gang members in the military, but he disputed that the problem is rampant -- or even significant.

In the last year, the Criminal Investigation Command has looked into 10 cases in which there was credible evidence of gang-related criminal activity in the Army, Grey said. He would not discuss specific cases.

"We recently conducted an Army-wide study, and we don't see a significant trend in this kind of activity, especially when you compare this with a million-man Army," Grey said.

'Lowering our standards'

"Sometimes there is a definition issue here on what constitutes gang activity. If someone wears baggy pants and a scarf, that does not make them a gang member unless there is evidence to show that person is involved in violent or criminal activity," Grey said.

Barfield said Army recruiters eager to meet their goals have been overlooking applicants' gang tattoos and getting waivers for criminal backgrounds.

"We're lowering our standards," Barfield said.

"A friend of mine is a recruiter," he said. "They are being told less than five tattoos is not an issue. More than five, you do a waiver saying it's not gang-related. You'll see soldiers with a six-pointed star with GD [Gangster Disciples] on the right forearm."

Fort Lewis offers free tattoo removal, but few if any soldiers with gang tattoos have taken advantage of the service, Barfield said.

In interviews with the almost 320 soldiers who admitted they were gang members, only two said they wanted out of gangs, Barfield said.

None has been arrested for a gang-related felony on the base, Barfield said. But some are suspected of criminal activity off base, he said.

"They're not here for the red, white and blue. They're here for the black and gold," he said, referring to the gang colors of the Latin Kings.

Barfield said most of the gang members he has identified are black and Latino. He has linked white soldiers to racist groups such as the Aryan Nations.

Barfield acknowledged that the soldiers he pegged as gang members represent a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of soldiers based at Fort Lewis in the period he reviewed. But he stressed that he only investigates a fraction of the soldiers on base.

Barfield said he normally identifies gang members during barracks inspections requested by unit commanders. He interviews them about possible gang affiliation when he sees gang graffiti in their rooms, photos of a soldier flashing gang hand signals or a soldier with gang tattoos.

Learning urban warfare

"I know there is a lot more going on here," he said. "I don't inspect off-base housing or married soldiers' housing."

The Gangster Disciples are the most worrisome street gang at Fort Lewis because they are the most organized, Barfield said.

Barfield said gangs are encouraging their members to join the military to learn urban warfare techniques they can teach when they go back to their neighborhoods.

"Gang members are telling us in the interviews that their gang is putting them in," he said.

Joe Sparks, a retired Chicago Police gang specialist and the Midwest adviser to the International Latino Gang Investigators Association, said he is concerned about the military know-how that gang-affiliated soldiers might bring back to the streets here.

"Even though they are 'bangers, they are still fighting for America, so I have to give them that," Sparks said. "The sound of enemy gunfire is nothing new to them. I'm sure in battle it's a truce -- GDs and P Stones are fighting a common enemy. But when they get home, forget about it."

Barfield said he knows of an Army private who fought valiantly in Iraq but still maintained his gang affiliation when he returned home.

The private, a Florencia 13 gang member from Southern California, spoke to Barfield of battling a 38th Street Gang member when they were civilians.

Then the 38th Street Gang member became a sergeant in the Army and the Florencia 13 member became a private. They served in Iraq together, Barfield said.

"They had exchanged blows in Inglewood [a city near Los Angeles], but in the Army, they did get the mission done," he said. "The private is a decorated war veteran with a Purple Heart."

The private still has his gang tattoos and identifies himself as a Florencia 13, Barfield said.

Marine killed cop in California

Barfield said a big concern is what such gang members trained in urban warfare will do when they return home.

He pointed to Marine Lance Cpl. Andres Raya, a suspected Norteno gang member who shot two officers with a rifle outside a liquor store in Ceres, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2005, before police returned fire and killed him. One officer died, and the other was wounded by the 19-year-old Raya, who was high on cocaine. Raya had spent seven months in Iraq before returning to Camp Pendleton near San Diego.

Photos of Raya wearing the gang's red colors and making gang hand signs were reportedly found in a safe in his room.

Hunter Glass, a Fayetteville, N.C., police detective, said he has seen an increase in gang activity involving soldiers from nearby Fort Bragg. A Fort Bragg soldier -- a member of the Insane Gangster Crips -- is charged with a gang-related robbery in Fayetteville that ended in the slaying of a Korean store owner in November, said Glass, a veteran of the elite 82nd Airborne based at Fort Bragg.

He estimated that hundreds of gang members are stationed at the base as soldiers.

"I have talked to guys who say 'I'm a SUR 13 [gang member], but I am a soldier,' " Glass said. "Although I see the [gang] problem as a threat, I do believe the majority of the military are good people and that many of those [military officials] that I have made aware of the situation have expressed concern in dealing with it. It is safe to say that I am less worried about a gang war in the sand box [Iraq] but more about the one on our streets upon its end."

Glass has given presentations to military leaders in Washington, D.C., about gang members in the military.

Sending flak jackets home

A law enforcement source in Chicago said police see some evidence of soldiers working with gangs here. Police recently stopped a vehicle and found 10 military flak jackets inside. A gang member in the vehicle told investigators his brother was a Marine and sent the jackets home, the source said.

Barfield said he knows of civilian gang members in the Seattle area who also have been caught with flak jackets that he suspects were stolen from Fort Lewis.

Barfield said he has documented gang-affiliated soldiers' involvement in drug dealing, gunrunning and other criminal activity off base. More than a year ago, a soldier tied to a white supremacy group was caught trying to ship an assault rifle from Iraq to the United States in pieces, he said.

In Texas, the FBI is bracing for the transfer of gang-connected soldiers from Fort Hood in central Texas to Fort Bliss near El Paso as part of the nation's base realignments. FBI Special Agent Andrea Simmons said gang-affiliated soldiers from Fort Hood could clash with civilian gang members in El Paso.

"We understand that [some] soldiers and dependents at Fort Hood tend to be under the Folk Nation umbrella, including the Gangster Disciples and Crips," Simmons said. "In El Paso, the predominant gang, without much competition, is the Barrio Azteca. We could see some kind of turf war between the Barrio Aztecas and the Folk Nation."

FBI agents have visited Fort Hood to learn about the gang activity on the base, Simmons said.

"We found most of the police departments say they do see gang activity due to the military -- soldiers and dependents," she said. "Our agents also have been in contact with Fort Bliss to discuss the issue."

Simmons said investigators may conduct background checks on soldiers relocating from Fort Hood to Fort Bliss to assess the level of the potential gang problem.

Barfield said he welcomes the FBI's scrutiny of gang members in the Army.

"Investigators as a whole across the military aren't getting the support to remove gang members from the ranks," he said.

But Grey, the spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Command, said the unit is open to any tips about gang activity in the Army.

"If anyone has any information, we strongly recommend they bring it to our attention," he said.

Copyright © The Sun-Times Company

Olbermann hosted plagiarism expert to spell out allegations against Coulter]

On the July 5 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann called right-wing pundit Ann Coulter "clueless" when highlighting the alleged "textbook plagiarism" in Coulter's book Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, June 2006). Olbermann interviewed plagiarism expert John Barrie about Barrie's claim that at least three passages from Coulter's book were copied from other sources. Before the interview, Olbermann said "Coulter's latest screech" was "No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction," but "we can debate how much of it is 'non' and how much of it is 'fiction.' " In the segment, Olbermann noted the allegations that Coulter "stole" from such publications as the San Francisco Chronicle and the Portland Press Herald. Barrie likened the examples of plagiarism to "the same sort of things that would flunk an English 1A student."

Olbermann also asked Barrie about a July 2 New York Post report that Barrie "discovered verbatim lifts in Coulter's weekly column." When asked to clarify the allegations, Barrie said, "This is not Ann Coulter ... these are works from third parties that were used without citation."

Olbermann asked Barrie if he had seen "anything in there by her about Jayson Blair," the former New York Times reporter who resigned amid allegations that he fabricated facts and lifted others' work without attribution; Barrie noted that "from my understanding, she pretty much skewered Mr. Blair for what he did back at The New York Times." Media Matters for America has found numerous instances of Coulter attacking Blair for plagiarism and invoking him to attack the Times and score conservative political points.

From the July 5 edition of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann:

OLBERMANN: Ann Coulter's latest screech, Godless, has reached No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. We can debate just how much of it is "non" and how much of it is "fiction." But there's a more pressing issue: How much of it did she write, and how much of it did she steal? Our third story on the Countdown: An expert on the subject says Coulter is guilty of "textbook plagiarism" and has concluded that she's passing off, as her own writing, the works of people at the L.A. Times, the Heritage Foundation, even Planned Parenthood, without giving any of them even a footnote's worth of credit. That expert, John Barrie, will join us presently. His company took Coulter's book and ran it through a program called iThenticate.

Apparently Coulter is not godless, but clueless when it comes to ripping off other people's writing. In a chapter entitled "The Holiest Sacrament, Abortion" there's a 25-word passage straight out of literature from Planned Parenthood. It had been taken virtually word-for-word, it is factual, concerns the president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, but there is no credit given. In another chapter, entitled "The Creation Myth," Coulter manages another long passage, this one 24 words, that is neither hers nor attributed, this time in a passage about the galactic ruler Xenu. She steals from the San Francisco Chronicle, though she did change two of the words, and we have highlighted them in italics, as you see.

But the longest, apparently stolen passage on page five of Coulter's book, 33 words long, from a 1999 article in the Portland Press [sic]. Again, the four words that were, in fact, changed in Coulter's book, we have highlighted in italics. And in Coulter's Universal Press [Syndicate] columns for the past 12 months, the iThenticate program found her borrowing from an L.A. Times article and the Heritage Foundation. As promised, the CEO and founder of iParadigms, creator of a leader -- plagiarism recognition system, John Barrie joins us now. Thank you for your time, sir.

BARRIE: Hey, Keith, how's it going?

OLBERMANN: You have called this textbook plagiarism. Is that because the theft that you have located is virtually word-for-word, or what's the definition of this?

BARRIE: Well, that's right. I mean, we analyze between 50 and 60,000 works every single day from all over the country, from, actually, all over the world. And, you know, in a situation like this where you have that much text used without citation or reference to anybody, and passed off as actually Ann Coulter's own words, that's pretty much textbook plagiarism.

OLBERMANN: The book is one thing, but you have found a column from August of 2005 that had six different passages from an L.A. Times article, and they were even in the same order in Coulter's book. Is that -- if the other thing is textbook plagiarism, is this advanced plagiarism? What is this called?

BARRIE: Right. Well, the New York Post came to us and wanted us to analyze Ann Coulter's book, Godless, and the last 12 months of her syndicated column, and we found multiple examples of this sort of thing. It is -- I guess I would agree with you, it is sort of advanced plagiarism. But I got to tell you, after a while we just gave up, we said "Look, there's enough of it, there you go. You know, we're done reading Ann Coulter's work."

OLBERMANN: We're not -- I mean, clarifying here, we're not accusing her of recycling materials from her own columns in the book. This is the work of other writers?

BARRIE: No. This is not Ann Coulter, this is a work -- these are works from third parties that were used without citation. That's right.

OLBERMANN: The column from June 2005, "Facts from the National Endowment for the Arts," but they were taken from a Heritage Foundation report, also presented in the same order. Is -- would any question of the authenticity of doing this, I mean, people quote other people's work and use long passages in books and columns all the time, under any circumstances has nothing to with a political point of view or the nature of the work -- are we talking about somebody who just would not put a footnote in or a credit? Is that what this boils down to?

BARRIE: Look, I think the examples you've given today are the same sort of things that would flunk an English 1A student, you know, writing some term paper on the same type of subjects.

OLBERMANN: The sloppiness aside or the failure aside, you also say that you've discovered that when Ms. Coulter did cite sources in her book, the citations were misleading. Explain what that means.

BARRIE: Well, it's interesting because as the Post asked us to go through her book and through her articles, it was extremely unclear what the citations were referring to. She had citations, maybe three or four paragraphs later but, you know, the preceding four paragraphs were all quoted from the same source. So, you know, it was that sort of free and loose use of citations that made it very, very difficult to try to determine whether Ann Coulter was citing that material or whether she was just trying to pass it off as her own, but again, just playing free and loose with the citations.

OLBERMANN: In going through the material in the book or in any of the columns, did you see anything in there by her about Jayson Blair, by any chance?

BARRIE: You know what? I've read a little bit about what Ann Coulter had to say about Jayson Blair, and from my understanding, she pretty much skewered Mr. Blair for what he did back at The New York Times.

OLBERMANN: Maybe somebody can get him to write an op-ed and return the favor. Plagiarism expert John Barrie, CEO of the iParadigms Company. Great thanks for joining us.

BARRIE: Thank you, Keith.


This pioneering, groundbreaking expose of 9-11, now two years old, painted a stark and accurate picture of our world today and TOMMORROW. Mike's new introduction "connects the dots."

Other search word: Conpiracy

Rape, murder -- and conspiracy
Rape, murder -- and conspiracy
Joseph Cannon, Cannonfire
July 6, 2006

Most of you know about Steven Green, the soldier accused of raping a 15-year-old girl and then murdering both her and her family last March. Green hails from Midland, Texas, the same town the Bush family used to call home.

Even progressives seem to have accepted the official version of the event. Unfortunately, something larger, even more disturbing seems to be going on here.

Green was dismissed due to an unspecified "personality disorder," diagnosed after the crime came to light. Or so we have been told. But evidence suggests that military officials knew all about the massacre the night that it occurred.

We also have good reason to suspect that someone made the decision to scapegoat Green. Initial reports in the American press, as well as detailed reports in the foreign media, reveal that Green had plenty of accomplices. Why have no other names floated to the surface? Why do all fingers point to one guy?

I find this eyewitness account persuasive:

On an afternoon in March 2006, a force of 10 to 15 American troops raided the home of Qasim Hamzah Rashid al-Janabi, who was born in 1970 and who worked as a guard at a state-owned potato storehouse. Al-Janabi lived with his wife, Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, and their four children - 'Abir (born 1991), Hadil (born 1999), Muhammad (1998), and Ahmad (1996).

Abir, also spelled Abeer, was the rape victim. By all accounts, she was a pretty girl. Her youthful beauty was the family's undoing.

The FBI says that the murder party consisted of but four men (including Green), and that the incident came to light only after one of the other perpetrators spoke of it during psychological therapy. (I guess patients don't have confidentiality rights in the military.)

I do not dismiss the higher figure, and I refuse to believe that one man -- one private -- could order soldiers into such an action. Who led the unit? This matter must involve someone of higher rank. At the end of this piece, I will suggest one reason why someone higher-up may have wanted this act of barbarism to occur.

Even if we posit a highly unlikely scenario in which the commanding officer had no advance knowledge of an attack of this kind, the person in charge still must take responsibility for the actions of his unit. Why does this officer's name remain unknown?

The Americans took Qasim, his wife, and their daughter Hadil and put them in one room of their house. The boys Ahmad and Muhammad were at school since the time the Americans invaded the home was about 2pm. The Americans shot Qasim, his wife, and their daughter in that room. They pumped four bullets into Qasim's head and five bullets in to Fakhriyah's abdomen and lower abdomen. Hadil (7 years old) was shot in the head and shoulder.

After that, the Americans took 'Abir into the next room and surrounded her in one corner of the house. There they stripped her, and then the 10 Americans took turns raping her. They then struck her on the head with a sharp instrument - according to the forensic medical report - knocking her unconscious - and smothered her with a cushion until she was dead. Then they set fire to her body.

The following account comes from a neighbor who saw the aftermath:

"Then I went into 'Abir's room. Fire was coming out of her. Her head and her chest were on fire. She had been put in a pitiful position; they had lifted her white gown to her neck and torn her bra. Blood was flowing from between her legs even though she had died a quarter of an hour earlier, and in spite of the intensity of the fire in the room. She had died, may God rest her soul. I knew her from the first instant. I knew she had been raped since she had been turned on her face and the lower part of her body was raised while her hands and feet had been tied. By God, I couldn't control myself and broke into tears over her, but I quickly extinguished the fire burning from her head and chest. The fire had burned up her breasts, the hair on her head, and the flesh on her face. I covered her privates with a piece of cloth, God rest her soul. And at that moment, I thought to myself that if I go out talking and threatening, that they would arrest me, so I took control of myself and resolved to leave the house calmly so that I could be a witness to tell the story of this tragedy.

Hiding emotion under such conditions must have taken a superhuman act of will. The "piece of cloth" is a detail which coincides with the crime scene photo, as described by various news reports.

Here's the part of the story most Americans do not yet know: The authorities soon put a (rather threadbare) cover-up into place.

"After three hours the [American] occupation troops surrounded the house and told the people of the area that the family had been killed by terrorists because they were Shi'ah. Nobody in town believed that story because Abu 'Abir was known as one of the best people of the city, one of the noblest, and no Shi'i, but a Sunni monotheist. Everyone doubted their story and so after the sunset prayers the occupation troops took the four bodies away to the American base.

If Steve Green was the only guilty party -- if we must place all blame on a classic "lone nut" -- then who authorized the official lie? How can we believe the claim that the crime remained unknown until after Green was diagnosed, when an official falsehood went out within hours of the massacre? Are we really supposed to believe that four privates could initiate such a strike and put a cover-up in place?

The American media has carried hints that the Iraqi resistance (we are allowed to use that term now) killed American soldiers in retaliatory strikes. The neighbor's account would seem to verify this notion:

The neighbor went on: "Then we decided that we must not be silent so we asked the mujahideen to respond as quickly as possible. They responded with 30 attacks on the occupation in two days, bringing down more than 40 American soldiers.

So. A number of troops -- perhaps as many as 15 -- planned a horrifying rape and mass murder, which officialdom tried to cover up with a transparent lie. The all-too-predictable result: Vengeance attacks on 40 other Americans. (That number seems high. Of course, it includes non-fatal casualties.) Green's unit has Iraqi and American blood on its hands.

Apparently, Green's unit targeted poor Abir about a week before the atrocity:

"I personally wasn't surprised that Umm 'Abir ['Abir's mother] came to me on 9 March 2006 and asked that 'Abir be allowed to spend the night with my daughters. She was afraid because of the way the occupation troops looked at her when she went out to feed the cows..."

Who are Green's co-conspirators?

Another mystery: What happened to Abir's body, which could divulge important DNA evidence? According to the account given above, the bodies were taken away to an American base. However, NPR has said that the military is "working with the family" to get the body. (Or so reports a DU poster, whose word I see no reason to doubt.) Have you seen any reports of a funeral?

The semen in that poor girl's corpse would identify her assailants. The perpetrators understood that fact -- thus, the attempt to burn the evidence. The conflicting accounts of the body's whereabouts will lead many to suspect a cover-up.

More mystery: Initial reports said that Green and the others changed into civilian clothes before the attack. Why? Obviously, they did not intend to pass as American tourists. Obviously, authorites would not give a cover story for an atrocity commit by four Americans disguised as civilians. Obviously, the soldiers hoped to pass as Iraqis -- as mujahideen.

Was this whole operation a bungled psy-op? Were the soldiers instructed to commit an atrocity while posing as insurgents? That theory may be speculative -- but to me, it makes more sense than does the official story.

Think about it. A group of Ameican soldiers leave base -- supposedly without their commanding officer's knowledge. They are dressed as insurgents. They commit a despicable act. They return. Other military men immediately come to the scene and ascribe the crime to the insurgency. The cover story falls apart because the Americans foolishly got the victims' religion wrong.

If you don't like the psy-op theory, feel free to come up with another one that covers all of these facts.

By the way, the above picture comes from an Army News Service article which appeared last December. The caption: "Pfc. Steven Green, B Co. 1-502 prepares to blast a lock off the gate of an abandoned home during a search of homes in Mullah Fayed on Dec. 2." The original article seems to have been changed; you can read about it here.

Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military, Group Asserts - New York Times

New York Times

July 7, 2006

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, "That's a problem."

A Defense Department spokeswoman said officials there could not comment on the report because they had not yet seen it.

The center called on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to appoint a task force to study the problem, declare a new zero tolerance policy and strictly enforce it.

The report said that neo-Nazi groups like the National Alliance, whose founder, William Pierce, wrote "The Turner Diaries," the novel that was the inspiration and blueprint for Timothy J. McVeigh's bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, sought to enroll followers in the Army to get training for a race war.

The groups are being abetted, the report said, by pressure on recruiters, particularly for the Army, to meet quotas that are more difficult to reach because of the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq.

The report quotes Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator, saying, "Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members."

Mr. Barfield said Army recruiters struggled last year to meet goals. "They don't want to make a big deal again about neo-Nazis in the military," he said, "because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they'll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists."

The 1996 crackdown on extremists came after revelations that Mr. McVeigh had espoused far-right ideas when he was in the Army and recruited two fellow soldiers to aid his bomb plot. Those revelations were followed by a furor that developed when three white paratroopers were convicted of the random slaying of a black couple in order to win tattoos and 19 others were discharged for participating in neo-Nazi activities.

The defense secretary at the time, William Perry, said the rules were meant to leave no room for racist and extremist activities within the military. But the report said Mr. Barfield, who is based at Fort Lewis, Wash., had said that he had provided evidence on 320 extremists there in the past year, but that only two had been discharged. He also said there was an online network of neo-Nazis.

"They're communicating with each other about weapons, about recruiting, about keeping their identities secret, about organizing within the military," he said. "Several of these individuals have since been deployed to combat missions in Iraq."

The report cited accounts by neo-Nazis of their infiltration of the military, including a discussion on the white supremacist Web site Stormfront. "There are others among you in the forces," one participant wrote. "You are never alone."

An article in the National Alliance magazine Resistance urged skinheads to join the Army and insist on being assigned to light infantry units.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identified the author as Steven Barry, who it said was a former Special Forces officer who was the alliance's "military unit coordinator."

"Light infantry is your branch of choice because the coming race war and the ethnic cleansing to follow will be very much an infantryman's war," he wrote. "It will be house-to-house, neighborhood-by-neighborhood until your town or city is cleared and the alien races are driven into the countryside where they can be hunted down and 'cleansed.' "

He concluded: "As a professional soldier, my goal is to fill the ranks of the United States Army with skinheads. As street brawlers, you will be useless in the coming race war. As trained infantrymen, you will join the ranks of the Aryan warrior brotherhood."

AlterNet: The Top 10 Power Brokers of the Religious Right

The Top 10 Power Brokers of the Religious Right
By Rob Boston, Church and State
Posted on July 7, 2006, Printed on July 7, 2006

The United States is home to dozens of Religious Right groups. Many have small budgets and focus on state and local issues; the most powerful organizations conduct nationwide operations, command multi-million-dollar bank accounts and attract millions of followers. They have disproportionate clout in the halls of Congress, the White House and the courts, and they wield enormous influence within the political system.

What follows is a list of the nation’s Top Ten Religious Right groups, as determined by publicly available financial data and political prominence. Additional information describes the organizations’ leaders, funding and activities.

1. Christian Broadcasting Network
Founder, CEO and Director: The Rev. Pat Robertson
2004 Revenue: $186,482,060
Location: Virginia Beach, Va.
Web site:

Overview: The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) airs Robertson’s “700 Club,” an incendiary daily mix of Pentecostal faith-healing, lifestyle advice and far-right politics. He calls church-state separation a “lie of the left” and thinks Christians like him should lead the world. With his withdrawal from the Christian Coalition in 2001, Robertson uses CBN as his primary political soapbox. The show, which according to Nielsen Media Research has 830,000 daily viewers, opens with a “newscast” that parrots Robertson’s views, often followed by commentary from the televangelist himself. Top leaders of the conservative movement regularly pontificate on the program, and Republican members of Congress appear to tout legislative goals.

Robertson, 76, has a history of controversy. His 1991 book The New World Order was based on a host of anti-Semitic sources, although Robertson has always been pro-Israel for end-times theological reasons. The same book opines that former presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush may have been unwitting dupes for Lucifer. On his TV show, Robertson once charged that Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians represent “the spirit of the Antichrist.” In a Sept. 13, 2001, diatribe, he asserted that the terrorist attacks on America happened because of the Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of church-state separation. In the ensuing controversy, Robertson shifted the blame to Jerry Falwell, who had been on the show with him.

Over the years, the failed presidential candidate has often dallied with brutal dictators. He celebrated Guatemala’s Pentecostal strongman Efrain Rios Montt, lauded Frederick Chiluba of Zambia as a model for American politicians, hunted for gold with Liberia’s Charles Taylor and did business with Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire. (He was caught using relief airplanes owned by his charity, Operation Blessing, to ferry diamond-mining equipment in and out of Zaire.)

Despite all of this, Robertson retains a close relationship with the Republican Party establishment. Operation Blessing has received $1.5 million in taxpayer funding through the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

CBN is Robertson’s flagship tax-exempt operation. He also founded and runs the American Center for Law and Justice, a Religious Right legal group (see below); Operation Blessing and Regent University, a school offering degrees in law, business, journalism, theology and other disciplines. Added up, Robertson-related groups brought in $461,475,115 in tax-free donations in 2004.

Robertson Quote: “The fact that [the courts] are trying to ignore this country’s religious heritage is just horrible. They are taking our religion away from us under the guise of separation of church and state. There was never any intention that our government would be separate from God Almighty. Never, never, never in the history of this land did the founders of this country or those who came after them think that was the case.” (“700 Club,” July 19, 2005)

2. Focus on the Family

Founder and chairman: Dr. James C. Dobson
2005 Revenue: $137,848,520
Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Web site:

Overview: Although sometimes mistakenly identified as a minister, James Dobson is a child psychologist who founded Focus on the Family in 1977. Dobson, 70, rose to national prominence after the release of his first book, Dare to Discipline, a controversial volume that lauded corporal punishment for children at a time when many child-rearing experts were recommending against it. He came to the attention of aides to President Ronald Reagan and during the 1980s served on various White House commissions, including a 1985-86 stint on Attorney General Edwin Meese’s Commission on Pornography.

From modest origins, FOF has expanded into a huge ministry with a worldwide presence. Dobson’s radio broadcasts are heard daily by an estimated five million Americans. According to its Web site, “Focus on the Family has…become an international organization with more than 74 different ministries requiring nearly 1,300 employees” with a “daily broadcast heard on over 6,000 facilities worldwide.” FOF produces 10 magazines that are mailed to 2.3 million people and responds to as many as 55,000 letters per week. The ministry also produces various DVDs, books, pamphlets and other materials. It has political affiliates in 32 states that lobby and monitor state legislation.

A product of the strict Church of the Nazarene, Dobson is a hardcore fundamentalist who refers to church-state separation as the “phantom” clause in the Constitution. He frequently lambastes gays, legal abortion and the teaching of evolution in public schools. FOF sponsors controversial “Love Won Out” conferences run by an “ex-gay” ministry that seeks to convert homosexuals into fundamentalist Christian heterosexuals.

Although he poses as an avuncular family counselor, Dob­son and his empire spread Religious Right propaganda and ex­treme rhetoric. In a 1996 radio address, he attacked the concept of tolerance, calling it “kind of a watchword of those who reject the concepts of right and wrong….It’s kind of a desensitization to evil of all varieties.” Two years before that, an FOF magazine attacked the Girl Scouts for being agents of “humanism and radical feminism.”

More recently, Dobson lashed out at a pro-tolerance video produced for public schools that featured popular cartoon characters, among them SpongeBob SquarePants, because the group that produced it put a “tolerance pledge” on its Web site that included gays.

Dobson has promoted right-wing politics for a long time, but in 2004 he took the step of forming a more overtly political arm, Focus on the Family Action, and began personally endorsing candidates for public office. According to information on the FOF Action Web site, the group collected just under $25 million in 2005.

Figures such as these give Dobson major political clout. He regularly threatens Republicans with retaliation if they do not do his bidding and claims credit for knocking U.S. Sen. Tom Dashle (D-S.D.) out of the Senate in 2004. Dobson also issues regular threats to other Democratic senators representing “red states.” In June of 2004, during a visit to Colorado Springs to speak at the U.S. Air Force Academy, President George W. Bush took time out for a private half-hour meeting with Dobson.

Dobson Quote: “Do we as Christians need to be liked so badly that we choose to remain silent in response to the killing of babies, the spreading of homosexual propaganda to our children, the distribution of condoms and immoral advice to our teenagers, and the undermining of marriage as an institution? Would Jesus have ignored these wicked activities?... No, I am convinced that he would be the first to condemn sin in high places, and I doubt if he would have minced words in making the point.”(Christianity Today, June 19, 1995)

3. Coral Ridge Ministries
Founder and President: The Rev. D. James Kennedy
2005 Revenue: $39,253,882
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Web site:

Overview: D. James Kennedy, a former dance instructor who was converted to fundamentalist Christianity after hearing a sermon on the radio, founded Coral Ridge Ministries in 1974. Kennedy, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (PCA), is now seen on about 600 U.S. television stations on Sunday mornings. His “Coral Ridge Hour” mixes fundamentalism with strident attacks on public education, gays, evolution, legal abortion, “secular humanism” and other Religious Right targets.

Kennedy, 75, has a strong presence on radio as well through “Truths that Transform,” a daily half-hour commentary heard on 744 stations. In addition, he has authored several books that promote far-right views.

Kennedy is a big promoter of the “Christian nation” view of American history. Every year, his Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, hosts a major Religious Right conference in Fort Lauderdale. The event attracts a mix of activists and politicians. In 2006, Arkansas Gov. (and 2008 presidential hopeful) Mike Huckabee spoke.

In 1995, Kennedy decided he wanted a presence in Washington and opened the Center for Christian Statesmanship. The Center hosts regular events for Capitol Hill staffers to instruct them in the proper “biblical worldview” and works closely with far-right GOP lawmakers.

Kennedy Quote: “This is our land. This is our world. This is our heritage, and with God’s help, we shall reclaim this nation for Jesus Christ. And no power on earth can stop us.” (Character & Destiny: A Nation in Search of its Soul, 1997)

4. Alliance Defense Fund
President, CEO and General Counsel: Alan Sears
2004 Revenue: $17,921,146
Location: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Web site:

Overview: The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) was founded in 1993 by a coalition of 30 Religious Right leaders, among them James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Donald Wildmon and the late Marlin Maddoux and Bill Bright. The original idea was to create a funding pool that would subsidize the Religious Right’s courtroom activity, and as its Web site proclaims, “reclaim the legal system for Jesus Christ.” ADF head Alan Sears served under Reagan-era Attorney General Edwin Meese, leading the Meese Commission on Pornography.

While the ADF still supports lawsuits spearheaded by other groups, it has begun directly litigating in court as well. The org­anization also sends intimidating letters to government officials and public schools, containing thinly veiled threats to sue unless ADF demands are met. Last year, the group launched a campaign to derail the alleged “war on Christmas” and bragged that it had 800 attorneys standing by. (In the end, only one lawsuit was filed.)

Some ADF cases are filed merely to generate publicity. In 2005, the ADF sued a public school in California on behalf of a teacher who claimed he had been ordered to stop using the Declaration of Independence in class because of its reference to the “Creator.” The ADF arranged for intense media coverage of the case but quietly dropped the suit once it became obvious the teacher’s claims were not true.

Aside from threatening public schools, the ADF also diverts a lot of money into opposing same-sex marriage and what it calls the “radical homosexual agenda.” It also opposes legal abortion and supports cases filed by employees seeking the right to proselytize on the job.

The ADF sponsors regular training for lawyers under its National Litigation Academy. In exchange for free instruction, “each attorney pledges 450 hours of pro-bono time to the Body of Christ,” says the ADF Web site. More than 900 lawyers have reportedly participated. The group also sponsors Blackstone Legal Fellowships where law students “receive intensive training in Christian worldview principles and how they apply to the study and interpretation of law.”

Sears holds extreme views. He was the first Religious Right figure to assert that the cartoon character SpongeBob Square­Pants might be gay and has criticized the 1959 comedy film “Some Like It Hot” for promoting cross-dressing.

Sears Quote: “One by one, more and more bricks that make up the artificial ‘wall of separation’ between church and state are being removed and Christians are once again being allowed to exercise their constitutional right to equal access to public facilities and funding.” (January 2004 e-mail alert)

5. American Family Association
Founder and Chairman: The Rev. Donald Wildmon
2005 Revenue: $17,595,352
Location: Tupelo, Miss.
Web site:

Overview: Donald Wildmon, a Methodist minister, founded the American Family Association in 1977. Its original name was the National Federation for Decency. His goal, Wildmon boldly stated, was to rid the television airwaves of “anti-family” programming, mainly through boycotts and threats of boycotts of companies that advertised on shows Wildmon dislikes.

The AFA has since branched out, engaging in typical Reli­gious Right activities like attacking gays and bashing evolution. It now includes a lucrative radio empire with 176 affiliates in 34 states, a fundamentalist Christian news service and a legal group called the Center for Law and Policy. In 2000, Wildmon launched a nationwide campaign to urge states to pass laws mandating the display of “In God We Trust” posters in public schools.

Wildmon, 68, has flirted with anti-Semitism, suggesting that Jews control the entertainment industry. The AFA’s Journal has also reprinted articles from The Spotlight, an anti-Semitic newspaper. In December, Wildmon said evangelicals may stop supporting Israel if Jewish leaders don’t stop criticizing the Religious Right.

Wildmon Quote: “Anti-prayer/Anti-Christian groups – like the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State – have teamed up with liberal judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and are stripping away our religious freedom.” (Fall 2000 fund-raising letter)

6. American Center for Law and Justice
Founder and President: The Rev. Pat Robertson
Chief Counsel: Jay Sekulow
2005 Revenue: $14,485,514
Location: Virginia Beach, Va., and Washington, D.C.
Web site:

Overview: The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) was founded by TV preacher Pat Robertson in 1990, originally as a joint project of Robertson’s Christian Coalition and Regent University. Closely modeled on its nemesis, the American Civil Liberties Union – the organization whose name it mimics – the ACLJ was among the first Religious Right legal groups in the nation. Headed by Jay Sekulow, a Jewish convert to evangelical Christianity, the group seeks to roll back Supreme Court rulings upholding church-state separation, abortion rights and gay rights.

Although it claims to be non-partisan, the ACLJ works closely with far-right Republicans in Congress and even tried to intervene in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that awarded the 2000 election to George W. Bush. Sekulow has a close relationship with Bush, and several media accounts have reported that he is among a small group that helps select and promote Bush federal court nominees, including appointments to the Supreme Court.

Sekulow, 49, hosts a television show, “ACLJ This Week,” that airs on several Christian cable networks. (His son Logan hosts a Christian variety program as well.)

In November, Legal Times reported on a series of shady financial deals involving Sekulow. His salary at the ACLJ, for example, exceeds $600,000 per year and he is listed as an independent contractor so the figure does not have to appear on financial disclosure forms. Sekulow maintains control of a separate legal group, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, with annual revenues of $14 million, that also solicits donations. He often hires family members to help run his various operations, and the groups he works for have leased or purchased three homes for him.

Sekulow Quote: “The fact is the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ is not found in the U.S. Constitution, the framework of our freedom…. Too often, the ‘separation of church and state’ phrase is allowed to take the place of our actual constitutional provisions.” (Ministry Magazine, Fall 2004)

7. Family Research Council
Founder: James C. Dobson
President and CEO: Tony Perkins
2005 Revenue: $9,958,115
Location: Washington, D.C.
Web site:

Overview: The Family Research Council (FRC) was founded by religious broadcaster James C. Dobson in 1983 to give his views a presence in the nation’s capital. For many years, the group was merely an arm of Focus on the Family. In 1992, Dobson severed the official ties, although he says they remain “spiritually one.”

Gary Bauer, a former Reagan administration official, ran FRC for several years. The group’s current president is Tony Perkins, a 43-year-old former Louisiana state legislator and anti-abortion activist. The FRC focuses on culture war issues such as abortion, gay rights and end-of-life care. Recently, it has led the Religious Right effort to attack the federal courts and strip judges of their ability to hear church-state cases, sponsoring a series of anti-court rallies called “Justice Sunday.”

Headquartered in a 10-year-old building on the edge of D.C.’s Chinatown, FRC has become the leading Religious Right group in the nation’s capital and enjoys a close relationship with the GOP leadership. In March of 2005, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay spoke at an FRC briefing. DeLay made controversial remarks about Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman in a persistent vegetative state. (Americans United released a tape of the remarks to the media.)

Perkins Quote: “The [Supreme] Court has become increasingly hostile to Christianity. It represents more of a threat to representative government than any other force – more than budget deficits, more than terrorism.” (“Confronting the Judicial War on Faith” conference, March 7, 2005)

8. Jerry Falwell Ministries
Founder and Director: The Rev. Jerry Falwell
2005 Revenue: $8,950,480

Location: Lynchburg, Va.

Web site:

Overview: Jerry Falwell is perhaps the best-known Religious Right leader in America today, if only due to his long service to the cause. His Moral Majority is long gone, but Falwell remains on the scene and continues to attack church-state separation through several vehicles.

Falwell’s empire includes his congregation, the 20,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg; Liberty University; “The Old Time Gospel Hour” television program; the Liberty Alliance and a legal group headed by Mat Staver called Liberty Counsel. Although no longer in his prime, Falwell continues to be a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and regularly cranks out fund-raising mail touching on all the standard Religious Right themes.

Falwell, 72, has a long track record of intolerant and bizarre pronouncements. His newspaper labeled the children’s show character Tinky Winky a stalking horse for the gay-rights movement in 1999. He has asserted that the Antichrist is alive today and is Jewish. Two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Falwell appeared on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club” and opined that God had lifted his protection and allowed “the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.” The comments sparked nationwide revulsion.

Despite all of this, Falwell continues to be embraced by leaders of the Republican Party and makes regular media appearances.

Falwell Quote: “Separation of Church and State has long been the battle cry of civil libertarians wishing to purge our glorious Christian heritage from our nation’s history. Of course, the term never once appears in our Constitution and is a modern fabrication of discrimination.” (“Falwell Fax,” April 10, 1998)

9. Concerned Women for America
Founders: Tim and Beverly LaHaye
2005 Revenue: $8,484,108
Location: Washington, D.C.
Web site:

Overview: Formed in 1979 by Beverly and Tim LaHaye, Concerned Women for America brings “biblical principles into all levels of public policy.” It was originally intended to counter feminism, including opposing ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. When that issue died with the failure of the amendment, CWA focused on opposing communism. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the group has dealt mainly with culture war issues such as abortion, gay rights, sex education and alleged “secular humanism” in public schools, pornography and opposition to church-state separation. The group adds a heavy dose of United Nations-bashing to the list. It claims 500,000 members, although the figure is probably exaggerated.

CWA regularly brings volunteer lobbyists to Capitol Hill under an effort called “Project 535.” As the group Web site puts it, “These ladies fearlessly speak with the member or his staff to discuss a particular piece of pro-family legislation.”

Despite its name, men hold some leadership positions at CWA. Mike Mears is executive director of CWA’s political action committee. Bob Knight heads the group’s Culture & Family Institute. Wendy Wright, 43, serves as president. Now in semi-retirement, the LaHayes, now both 80, are less heavily involved with day-to-day operations.

Tim LaHaye has a long history of involvement in far-right politics. He lectured on behalf of the John Birch Society throughout the 1960s and ‘70s and later helped found the Council for National Policy. More recently, he is known to most Americans as the coauthor of the best-selling Left Behind novels. These apocalyptic potboilers have made LaHaye a very wealthy man.

Tim LaHaye Quote: “America’s public education is purposely designed to eradicate Jesus from the scene and replace Him with the likes of John Dewey, Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Wundt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and many more.” (Mind Siege: The Battle for Truth in the New Millen­nium, 2001)

10. Traditional Values Coalition
Founder and Chairman: The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
2005 Revenue: $6,389,448
Location: Anaheim, Calif. and Washington, D.C.
Web site:

Overview: The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon founded the Tradi­tional Values Coalition (TVC) in 1980 primarily to work on issues in California. The group later branched out, establishing a Washington beachhead. The D.C. office is run by Sheldon’s daughter, Andrea Lafferty. The organization is a 501(c)(4) group, which means donations to it are not tax deductible. However, it maintains a fully tax deductible arm called the TVC Education and Legal Institute. (Sheldon also runs a small political action committee that in 2006 gave all of its money to Republican candidates in California.)

Sheldon, 72, claims to represent 43,000 churches, but critics dispute that figure. In the world of the Religious Right, the Presbyterian minister has a reputation as something of a money-grubbing huckster. He has been criticized for acting as a front for gambling interests on at least two occasions. An aide to disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff once called Sheldon “Lucky Louie” in an e-mail when the two worked together on a lobbying project on behalf of the legalized gambling industry.

Sheldon’s rhetoric is shrill, even by Religious Right standards, and he makes no efforts to moderate his extreme goals. His daughter is equally florid, once claiming in a 1999 fund-raising letter that she had confronted a “witch” who had sown a “spirit of confusion” over the Senate.

For many years, Sheldon carved out a niche for TVC by engaging in unrelenting gay bashing. When other Religious Right groups began moving in on this turf in the 1990s, Sheldon diversified, ramping up his assaults on church-state separation, public education and the federal judiciary.

None of this has hurt TVC’s standing in Washington. After Bush’s re-election in 2004, Sheldon held a “Christian” inaugural event that drew White House strategist Karl Rove, Repub­lican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and others.

Sheldon Quote: “A dangerous Marxist/Leftist/Homo­sex­ual/Is­lamic coalition has formed – and we’d better be willing to fight it with everything in our power. These people are playing for keeps. Their hero, Mao Tse Tung, is estimated to have murdered upwards of 60 million people during his reign of terror in China. Do we think we can escape such persecution if we refuse to fight for what is right?” (“The War on Christianity,” column, TVC Web site, Dec. 13, 2005)

Lauren Smith, Americans United communications assistant, provided research for this article.