law Politics

Another Stupid Anti-Terrorism Law

Brazillians are now finger printed, photographed, and are required to have travel visas to enter the United States. In a move to try and show the US how obtuse they have become Brazil is reciprocating.


A Poem By [George W. Bush]

In October of last year first lady of the United States of America, Laura Bush, related at a national book Festival Gala that her husband “Miserable Failure” George W. had written her the following poem.

Dear Laura,

Roses are red,
violets are blue
oh my lump in the bed,
how I’ve missed you.

Roses are redder,
bluer am I
seeing you kissed
by that charming French guy.

The dogs and the cat
they miss you too,
Barney’s still mad you dropped him,
he ate your shoe.

The distance my dear
has been such a barrier,
next time you want an adventure,
just land on a carrier.

Despite the fact that this poem seems like something of caliber that George W. Bush might actually be capable of, it turns out that in fact — he did not write it. The following is an excerpt from NBC NEWS’ MEET THE PRESS’s interview of Laura Bush by journalist Tim Russert.

MR. RUSSERT: Now, who could have written that poem, huh? I mean, what…

MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, he didn’t really write the poem. But a lot of people really believed that he did. That evening at the dinner, what some woman from across the table said: “You just don’t know how great it is to have a husband who would write a poem for you.”

MR. RUSSERT: Lump in the bed? What…

MRS. BUSH: Well, he did really call me that, of course, but…

MR. RUSSERT: Land on a carrier and you paid him back a little bit, huh?

MRS. BUSH: Yeah.

It’s not exactly like lying to congress and / or starting a war, and this is the first lady we are talking about here, not the President, but it stills makes me ponder — why the lie?


‘No President has lied so baldly and so often and so demonstrably’

“The presumption now has to be that he’s lying any time that he’s saying anything.” So says Ray McGovern, who worked as a CIA analyst for 27 years.

When are the people of the United States going to seriously start talking about impeachment? At least an election is just around the corner.


Maher Arar: Deadly Al Qaeda Terrorist or Innocent Computer Scientist?

Maher Arar, a dual Canadian-Syrian citizen who operated a computer consulting business — was arrested by US officials during a stopover at New York’s JFK airport, then and deported to Syria by the US government. The FBI flagged him as a “suspected terrorist.” Arar spent a year being tortured in Syrian prison, his was beaten with objects including shredded electrical cables, and living in a urine-filled, rat-infested 3’x6’x7′ “grave”. Then one day they seem to have just decided he was innocent and safe enough to ship back to Canada. From Joi Ito’s blog:

Obviously, it’s probably easier for a Syrian national to get on a “list” than a Japanese, but this really scary. They say he had had a relationship with another suspected terrorist who is also being imprisoned and tortured now in Syria. He says he barely knew the guy. So what does this mean for us? If we meet someone, we should not “become friendly” with them until we are certain that they are not a suspected terrorist. What does this mean? We need to make sure they don’t hang out with other suspected terrorists. So if you believe in six degrees, it’s likely at some point you will be a suspected terrorist.

How do they know if you hang out with someone? Friendster? LinkedIn? Your email? We need to be VERY careful about the privacy of not just the content of our communication, but the privacy of who we are in touch with, often called sigint, or signal intelligence. Seriously though, this will cause a chilling effect on meeting, calling, emailing or otherwise “being in touch with” anyone who you don’t know very well that could land you on the “suspected terrorist” list.

Among questions being raised by Arar’s advocates: why was he deported to Syria, notorious for violating the human rights of prisoners, instead of being returned back to Canada — where he lived for 15 years, and owned a technology company? There are now calls for an open investigation in Canada — and in the US.

Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chr├ętien, blames the United States for Arar’s deportation. In Commons yesterday, and with his fists clenched he declared, “The people who are responsible for the deportation of this gentleman to Syria are in the government of the United States, not the government of Canada.”

As far as being a Canadian citizen is concerned, an article from thinks it may have saved him from more severe punishment. Article has gone 404.

Update: Amnesty International has an updated brief on this story.