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11 February 2005

Rep. Slaughter Calls on President Bush to Explain Emerging White House Briefing Room Scandal 

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For Immediate Release
February 9, 2005 Contact: Eric Burns 202-225-3615


Washington, DC - Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28), long time champion of media reform and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules, sent a letter to President George W. Bush today asking him to explain how discredited "reporter" Jeff Gannon was credentialed as a member of the legitimate media by the White House.



The letter follows:

Wednesday, February 9, 2005




The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:


In light of the mounting evidence that your Administration has, on several occasions, paid members of the media to advocate in favor of Administration policies, I feel compelled to ask you to address a matter brought to my attention by the Niagara Falls Reporter (article attached), a local newspaper in my district, regarding James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon) of Talon News.

According to several credible reports, "Mr. Gannon" has been repeatedly credentialed as a member of the White House press corps by your office and has been regularly called upon in White House press briefings by your Press Secretary Scott McClellan, despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials, is known for plagiarizing much of the "news" he reports, and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel.

Several weeks ago when it was revealed that radio/TV host Armstrong Williams had received payment from your Administration in exchange for his vocal support of the 'No Child Left Behind' initiative, I was stunned. For years now I have been leading the fight in Congress for fairness and accountability in the media; the Williams revelation only underscored the need for a media that has integrity, is balanced and expresses the local interests and concerns of its consumers.

Since that time, two more members of the media have been found to have received money from your Administration in exchange for their vocal, yet undisclosed support of Administration policies.

And just this morning we have learned that "Mr. Gannon" has resigned his post at the, so called, Talon News amid growing concerns over his controversial background and falsified qualifications. In fact, it appears that "Mr. Gannon's" presence in the White House press corps was merely as a tool of propaganda for your Administration.

Mr. President, I am sure we both agree the White House Press Corps is an honored institution in America that should be beyond the scope of partisan meddling, and that a free and independent media is the cornerstone of our success as a democracy. Likewise, I am sure we can both agree the American people have the right to expect that journalists who question their President everyday are experienced, independent, and perhaps most importantly, unbiased in their approach.

I was already concerned about what appears to be an organized campaign to mask partisan propaganda as legitimate news by your Administration. That we have now learned this same type of deception is occurring inside the White House briefing room itself is even more disturbing.

That is why I am asking you to please explain to the Congress and to the American people how and why the individual known as "Mr. Gannon" was repeatedly cleared by your staff to join the legitimate White House press corps?

Mr. President, your Administration has driven the so-called "values" debate in this country. But the most important value for those of us in public service should always be honesty and integrity, particularly when considering the manner in which we conduct our affairs of state.

I would appreciate your prompt response on this matter.



Respectfully,


/LMS


Louise M. Slaughter
Ranking Member, House Committee on Rules


From the Niagara Falls Reporter on Monday, February 7, 2005

AN OPEN LETTER TO LOUISE SLAUGHTER

Dear Rep. Slaughter,

As a small newspaper located in your district, we are asking for your help. It has come to our attention that an individual who calls himself "Jeff Gannon" has been credentialed by the White House to attend press briefings and presidential news conferences.

He is affiliated with an organization called Talon News, and is frequently called on by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and President Bush. This individual has no background in journalism whatsoever, and his "syndicated column" appears solely on his personal Web site, www.jeffgannon.com. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, "Jeff Gannon" isn't even his real name.

In his biography at the Talon News site, where he holds the title of "Washington Bureau Chief," he claims to be a graduate of the "Pennsylvania State University System" and the Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism.

While the 23 schools in the Penn State system award diplomas, the system itself does not, and the Daily News investigation has thus far failed to turn up a "Jeff Gannon" who holds a degree in education from Penn State, as this person claims he does. Furthermore, the Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism is a right-wing diploma mill where anyone with $50 and two days to waste can receive a degree.

As for Talon News itself, it seems to consist solely of a Web site that links directly to a Republican site called www.gopusa.com. Both Talon and GOPUSA have the same mailing address, a private residence in Texas. It isn't clear whether anyone at Talon News is paid, as one portion of its site asks, "Want to join the Talon News team? Click here to find out more about being a volunteer reporter for Talon News."

Looking at the staff biography section of the site, none of the 10 individuals listed appear to have any training or previous experience in journalism, although all list credentials as Republican activists.

We respectfully ask your office to look into how a partisan political organization and an individual with no credentials as a reporter -- and apparently operating under an assumed name -- landed a coveted spot in the White House press corps.

Sincerely,

Bruce Battaglia, publisher, Mike Hudson, editor in chief, Rebecca Day, senior editor, David Staba, sports editor, Bill Gallagher, national correspondent, John Hanchette, senior correspondent, Frank Thomas Croisdale, contributing editor, Bill Bradberry, contributing editor, Niagara Falls Reporter.


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08 February 2005

Paranoia grips the U.S. capital 

"Rumsfeld has skillfully used terrorism hysteria to wrest control of intelligence and make the Pentagon supreme in Washington's bureaucratic power struggles."

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Sun, February 6, 2005


By Eric Margolis -- Contributing Foreign Editor Toranto Sun

The film Seven Days In May is one of my all-time favourites. The gripping 1964 drama, starring Burt Lancaster, depicts an attempted coup by far rightists in Washington using a top-secret Pentagon anti-terrorist unit called something like "Contelinpro."

Life imitates art. This week, former military intelligence analyst William Arkin revealed a hitherto unknown directive, with the Orwellian name "JCS Conplan 0300-97," authorizing the Pentagon to employ special, ultra-secret "anti-terrorist" military units on American soil for what the author claims are "extra-legal missions."

In other words, using U.S. soldiers to kill or arrest Americans, acts that have been illegal since the U.S. Civil War.

This frightening news comes as Washington is gripped by reborn, Cold-War-style paranoia, ominous threats of war against Iran from the real president, Dick Cheney, and a titanic bureaucratic battle just won by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Instead of being fired for the grotesque military-political fiasco in Iraq and the shameful torture scandals, Rumsfeld has just managed to create a new, Pentagon spy/special ops organization, blandly named "Strategic Support Branch," that will replace or duplicate many of the CIA's tasks.

The CIA has been sent to the doghouse. Too many CIA veterans criticized or contradicted Bush's and Cheney's phony claims over Iraq and terrorism. So Bush has imposed a new, yes-man director on the agency, slashed its budgets, purged its senior officers, and downgraded CIA to third-class status.

Rumsfeld's new, massively funded SSB will become the Pentagon's CIA, complete with commando units, spies, mercenary forces, intelligence gathering and analysis, and a direct line to the White House. The Pentagon has just effectively taken over the spy business.

Used terrorism hysteria

Mind you, the Pentagon and its Defence Intelligence Agency have been deeply involved in intelligence around the globe for 50 years. U.S. Army intelligence and its covert sub-branches have long conducted "black ops," including missions in the U.S. as well as assassinations and sabotage abroad. The Pentagon consumes three-quarters of the total U.S. intelligence budget.

Rumsfeld has skillfully used terrorism hysteria to wrest control of intelligence and make the Pentagon supreme in Washington's bureaucratic power struggles.

The Pentagon's new spy arm will be largely excluded from Congressional oversight or media examination. Its special operations teams will roam the globe, all under cover of "deep black" missions of which no records will be kept, and no questions asked.

Equally worrying, the Pentagon's new special-ops units are headed up by notorious religious fanatic, Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who calls the U.S. Army "the house of God" and Islamic insurgents "agents of Satan." He warned Muslims, "my God is bigger than your god, which is an idol."

Boykin's command will now dispatch post-modern Christian crusaders to cleanse the world of Satanic Muslims and other miscreants. The Pentagon's new special forces will be able to run operations of which the CIA knows nothing.

The 9/11 Commission called for improved intra-agency co-operation and data sharing -- instead, the U.S. will get far less co-operation, as the Pentagon goes its own, secret way.

Now, George W. Bush, who clearly believes he holds the mandate of heaven after being re-elected by the less mentally active half of American voters, has decided to "unleash" special forces and all sorts of irregular units, including mercenaries, uniformed bounty hunters, and mutants sporting t-shirts proclaiming "kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out." These militarized thugs and video arcade Rambos are sure to run amok, dragging America's once good name ever deeper into the mud.

We have evidently learned nothing from the wars in Indochina and Central America.

Have we reached Seven Days in May?

Not yet, but the second Bush administration has been taking dangerous steps that continue to curtail personal rights, further emasculate the supine, cowardly U.S. Congress, and empower ideological or religious extremists and shadowy agencies with unrestrained powers that endanger Americans at home, and all abroad suspected of troubling the Pax Americana.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Enigmatic Flea has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Enigmatic Flea endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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06 February 2005

Freedoms Lost Under G.W. Bush 

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"Anyone who dares to oppose or even question Bush must be regarded as enemies of America or even as enemies of God."

February 1, 2005

Supporters and apologists for President G.W. Bush will often assail my assertion that the Bush administration has done more to dismantle constitutional protections of our liberties than any president in modern memory. It seems that these people believe that until federal Storm Troopers knock down the doors of their homes and drag them off to the gulags, they have lost no freedoms. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If history is any teacher, it instructs us in the incremental process that elitists use to implement their totalitarian agenda. The first step is to use an incessant, highly orchestrated propaganda. For all practical purposes, the major media in the United States is providing that propaganda. At the national level, there is hardly any investigative journalism going on. Instead, the national press corps has become little more than lazy lackeys for the White House.

The second step is to lay the foundation for totalitarianism by passing legislation that may later be used against the citizenry. And that is exactly what the Bush administration has very successfully accomplished. It very adroitly succeeded where the Clinton administration failed.

For example, most conservatives would be surprised to learn that the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security was the brainchild of one William Jefferson Clinton. However, a recalcitrant Republican Congress denied Clinton the opportunity to implement these plans. Of course, with the Republican, G.W. Bush, serving as President, that same Republican Congress was all too eager to pass these bills into law.

The third step is to demonize and marginalize anyone and everyone who opposes the government's plans and ambitions. Such opponents are characterized as "unpatriotic," "obstructionist," "uncompassionate," or even "ungodly." Once again, the Bush minions have very skillfully done just that. Anyone who dares to oppose or even question Bush must be regarded as enemies of America or even as enemies of God.

Of course, the last step is to begin using the power and force of government to physically silence or remove those who are determined to require such treatment. And, as Germany's National Socialists proved, by the time this happens, there is no one around who is capable of coming to the assistance of such people.

For those who are willing to objectively analyze Bush's actions and policies, the truth is clearly seen: this President has systematically put in place laws, policies, and bureaucracies that can, are, and will continue to strip the American citizenry of the constitutional protections of their liberties.

Following are examples of freedoms which President Bush and his fellow Republicans in Congress have already expunged (as reported by the Associated Press):

*FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigations.

*FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once- public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records questions.

*FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.

*RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

*FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

*RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

*RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.

These rights have already been lost! Whether individual Americans have been personally subjected to the resultant tyranny or not doesn't change the fact that they have already lost these freedoms! This fact, alone, should be enough for any studious lover-of-liberty to be outraged!

That good men are compliant and unconcerned regarding G.W. Bush's propensity to trample constitutional freedoms bespeaks a great ignorance or a great apathy, or both!

Chuck Baldwin
http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Enigmatic Flea has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Enigmatic Flea endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

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