Monday, June 23, 2008

Neo-Con Rage
Jim Lobe

A very good summary of how hard-line neo-conservatives see the world — and especially Israel’s place in it — can be found in an interview at the National Review Online’s (NRO’s) website by Kathryn Jean Lopez of Caroline Glick, the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post who also serves as the Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (CSP). What comes through the interview is how hard-liners like Glick see the relationship between the U.S. and Israel (”the war against Israel and the war against the U.S. are one and the same”); the Manichean nature of the world (”freedom” versus “the forces of slavery and jihad,” “good” versus “evil”); how they conflate different threats (”al Qaeda and Iran” as a single “enemy” whose “ultimate aim …is global domination and the destruction of the U.S.”); their contempt for Europe (its “refusal to accept the true lessons of the Holocaust”); their Islamophobia (”genocidal anti-Semitism …has taken over the Islamic world”); and their need for an “enemy” to give order to their world (Obama “refuses to acknowledge that there is such a thing as an ‘enemy’ in international affairs. And as a consequence, he is unable to understand what an ally is.”) Glick is also furious with Condoleezza Rice and the State Department for their presumed influence over Bush and efforts to force Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians. The title of the interview is “Shackled Warrior: Israel in Bondage.”

It’s worth repeating: Glick is the senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at CSP, an organization whose board of advisers have included over the years, among many other senior Bush foreign-policy officials, the current deputy national security adviser charged with Middle East policy, Elliott Abrams. Now I don’t think Abrams is quite as radical as Glick or Gaffney, but the association is not one he’s ever renounced or distance himself from). Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy and protege of Richard Perle (another member of CSP’s board of advisers), has rejoined the board, and John Lehman, an adviser to John McCain, has long served on it. (Gaffney, Abrams, Feith, Perle and Lehman all worked in the office of former Washington State Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson” at one time or another during the 1970s.)...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Author: Rove 'helped arrange' Swiftboat attacks on Kerry
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Friday June 20, 2008

MSNBC's Morning Joe welcomed Paul Alexander, the author of Machiavelli's Shadow: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove, to dig through Rove's legacy of scandal.


Alexander explained further that "there were a number of issues that were still potential landmines," including the US Attorneys scandal, "leftover" Abramoff stuff, and the Plame affair.

Asked by Pat Buchanan whether Rove had "a hand in the Swiftboat thing," Alexander replied, "Sure, absolutely. He helped arrange the sort of message, arranged the funding. ... That was probably the key smear in the 2004 campaign."

Alexander said that Rove almost certainly knew Kerry suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which makes it very difficult for him to talk about his Vietnam experiences. "They attacked him in such a way that they knew he couldn't respond in an effective manner. ... He went 30 days without responding. ... He didn't know what to say or what to do."...[Open in new window]
All scum. Every last member of the Bush administration: scum.
It's my fondest wish that they all go to jail. But they probably won't because the majority of American citizens are so stupid.
The Return of the Neocons
Bush Hawks Aggressively Working to Rewrite Accepted Iraq War History

By James Risen 06/19/2008 |

Ever since the Rumsfeld era at the Pentagon ended abruptly in the aftermath of the Democratic victory in the 2006 mid-term elections, the civilian hawks who ruled the Defense Dept. during the early years of the Iraq war have remained largely silent. They have not engaged publicly even as their culpability for the Iraq war's myriad failures has congealed into accepted wisdom.

But for the Pentagon troika most identified with Iraq – former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith -- silence has not equaled happiness. It certainly has not meant acceptance of their fate at the hands of the many journalists, former generals and assorted ex-members of the Bush administration who have taken to the cable talk fests and the nation’s media outlets to reject and denounce them. Nor does it mean they walk the aisles at Barnes & Noble with equanimity while scanning shelves filled with books that lay the fault for George W. Bush’s failed presidency at their doorstep.

This anti-Pentagon historical narrative is straightforward and seems well established: Wolfowitz and Feith ran a neoconservative frat house while an arrogant, fiddling Rumsfeld roared against anyone who dared try to bring him the truth.

Neoconservatives -- a loose association of pundits, politicians and analysts who put a right-wing spin on American exceptionalism and coupled that with an embrace of the doctrine of pre-emptive war -- began pushing for regime change in Iraq in the 1990s. Wolfowitz and Feith brought this desire to oust Saddam Hussein with them when they joined the Bush administration.

After 9/11, neoconservatives inside and outside the administration argued for war; Washington must act because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and might share them with terrorists. Inside the government, Rumsfeld, not a neoconservative himself, embraced and advanced these arguments, following the lead of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Perhaps Rumsfeld also sensed that the war in Afghanistan had been too quick and remote to serve as a true demonstration of U.S. power in the Middle East.

And so, during the critical 18 months between the Sept. 11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith were united at the forefront of the administration's march to war...[Open in new window]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

US N-weapons parts missing, Pentagon says

By Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington

Published: June 19 2008 05:13 | Last updated: June 19 2008 05:13

The US military cannot locate hundreds of sensitive nuclear missile components, according to several government officials familiar with a Pentagon report on nuclear safeguards.

Robert Gates, US defence secretary, recently fired both the US Air Force chief of staff and air force secretary after an investigation blamed the air force for the inadvertent shipment of nuclear missile nose cones to Taiwan.

According to previously undisclosed details obtained by the FT, the investigation also concluded that the air force could not account for many sensitive components previously included in its nuclear inventory.

One official said the number of missing components was more than 1,000.

The disclosure is the latest embarrassing episode for the air force, which last year had to explain how a bomber mistakenly carried six nuclear missiles across the US. The incidents have raised concerns about US nuclear safeguards as Washington presses other countries to bolster counter-proliferation measures...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It Was Top Down, Stupid

The Bush administration's "bad apples" theory goes sour.
By Phillipe Sands
Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2008, at 1:19 PM ET

Former Defense Department General Council William Haynes II

When the Abu Ghraib scandal hit in the summer of 2004, two of the administration's most senior lawyers—White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and the Defense Department's General Counsel Jim Haynes—stood before the world's media and laid out the official explanation for newly aggressive interrogation within the U.S. military: It was the result of a bottom-up request from an aggressive combatant commander at Guantanamo; it was implemented within the law and on the basis of careful legal advice; and it produced useful and important results. These new techniques had been essential in getting vital security information from men they labeled "the worst of the worst."

A memo Gonzales and Haynes made public that day sketched out this move to military cruelty. Written by Haynes and signed by Donald Rumsfeld on Dec. 2, 2002, the document discarded a military prohibition on cruelty promulgated by President Lincoln as long ago as 1863. Haynes' memo recommended 15 new techniques, including nudity and forced grooming, humiliation and deception, dogs, sleep deprivation, and stress positions like standing for up to four hours. Three other techniques—including water-boarding—were not given blanket approval, although their future use in individual cases was not rejected, either. Rumsfeld approved the memo, scribbling next to his signature authorizing these techniques the observation, "However, I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"

Four years after that memo became public, Congress has moved to examine the accuracy of the administration's account of the circumstances under which it was prepared. The author of the Rumsfeld memo became the subject of extensive questioning Tuesday before the Senate armed services committee. Many will say it is too little and too late. I disagree. Congress has a vital role to play in establishing accountability for the American torture policy, although yesterday's faltering efforts to jog Jim Haynes' memory hardly inspire confidence that it can do so.


Unless the United States takes remedial actions, it is likely there will be criminal investigations abroad. Why? Because, as acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo once told Congress, "a crime is a crime." The same point was made to me by a European judge and a prosecutor who have looked at the materials. There can be no doubt that the aggressive interrogation of Mohammed al-Qahtani (aka Detainee 063, alleged to be the 20th hijacker) amounted to torture and violated Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions (prohibiting cruelty and torture) and the 1984 Convention Against Torture. As a war crime and an act of torture, it can thus be prosecuted anywhere in the world.

Haynes' performance also left no doubt about the cover-up that had been perpetrated. The new materials that have emerged confirmed his early involvement in the decision-making process, as well as his role in truncating the proper assessment of the new techniques by military lawyers. Testimony on Tuesday from Jane Dalton, former general counsel to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will surely come to be decisive in demonstrating Haynes' knowing and direct effort to short-circuit contradictory legal advice. She testified that after she attempted to conduct a legal review of the proposed techniques, she was shut down. This is not just the story of a crime. It is also a cover-up—how the administration spun a false narrative, seeking to blame those on the ground at Guantananmo...[Open in new window]
Larisa Alexandrovna

And War Crimes for All....
Posted June 17, 2008 | 11:40 PM (EST)

...Yes, we will be judged by history and in the harshest possible light.

Moreover, we now know that Bush administration proxies essentially held mostly innocent people, whom they tortured and who subsequently after their release became radicalized.

In other words, they built Manchurian candidates- terrorists- either knowingly or as a symptom of their illegal torture program. However you choose to view this staggering revelation it does not change the reality we are now faced with. Namely, the Bush administration has created the very monsters they claimed to be fighting against. They created an enemy, a global enemy, that did not exist in such numbers and across so many geographical boundaries. They have put us in danger and they have made this country less safe than it has ever been.

Consider this too, that if the cabal that has taken over our government did indeed knowingly create a program in which they manufactured terrorists to go along with their faux war on terror, then this would be a whole new level of evil that I have no words left through which to vent my anger. There are not enough words, not in any language, to explain or justify or likely even deal with this possibility. But it is a possibility that should nevertheless be considered, given what we now know about the people of the Bush regime.

For me, the only question left is this: now what?...[Open in new window]
New US military contractor overbilling scandal in Iraq looms

WASHINGTON (AFP) — A civilian Pentagon official in charge of the largest US military contract in Iraq was removed from his job in 2004 after refusing to pay one billion dollars to KBR Inc. because the company was unable to credibly justify its expenses, the New York Times reported Tuesday. KBR is an engineering, construction and services company that until April 2007 was a subsidiary of the Houston-based energy firm Halliburton, which was formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney.

"They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn't justify," the official, Charles Smith, told The New York Times. "Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn't going to do that."

According to Smith, the funds were released to KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root), the main US company in charge of providing food and housing for US forces in Iraq.
The US army denied that Smith was removed because of the dispute, the newspaper reported.

Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton on Tuesday called for a congressional probe into contracts allocated by the US administration to KBR. "This is the latest in a series of staggering reports that the (George W. Bush) administration has turned a blind eye while private contractors run amok in Iraq," Clinton said in a statement...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Documents confirm U.S. hid detainees from Red Cross

Warren P. Strobel | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: June 17, 2008 08:49:47 PM

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military hid the locations of suspected terrorist detainees and concealed harsh treatment to avoid the scrutiny of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to documents that a Senate committee released Tuesday.

"We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques," Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer who's since retired, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison to discuss employing interrogation techniques that some have equated with torture. Her comments were recorded in minutes of the meeting that were made public Tuesday. At that same meeting, Beaver also appeared to confirm that U.S. officials at another detention facility — Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan — were using sleep deprivation to "break" detainees well before then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved that technique. "True, but officially it is not happening," she is quoted as having said.

A third person at the meeting, Jonathan Fredman, the chief counsel for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, disclosed that detainees were moved routinely to avoid the scrutiny of the ICRC, which keeps tabs on prisoners in conflicts around the world.

"In the past when the ICRC has made a big deal about certain detainees, the DOD (Defense Department) has 'moved' them away from the attention of the ICRC," Fredman said, according to the minutes.

The document, along with two dozen others, shows that top administration officials pushed relentlessly for tougher interrogation methods in the belief that terrorism suspects were resisting interrogation.

It's unclear from the documents whether the Pentagon moved the detainees from one place to another or merely told the ICRC they were no longer present at a facility...[Open in new window]

Tim Russert and the decay of the American media
By David North and David Walsh
16 June 2008


One has only to consider certain of the events that occurred “on his watch”: the Clinton impeachment, the stolen 2000 election, September 11, the Iraq war and its aftermath. None of these events evoked from Russert a critical examination of the claims of the state and its representatives.

In each case, Russert’s essential role was to bolster the establishment and lull the population to sleep. His role in the Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal, an episode that did a great deal for his career, was particularly filthy. In the first days of the crisis, Russert breathlessly asserted that if the allegations about Clinton’s sexual impropriety were true, the president would have to resign. “Whether it will come to that,” Russert continued, “I don’t know, and I don’t think it’s right or fair to be in the speculation game. But I do not underestimate anything happening at this point. The next 48 to 72 hours are critical.” The population largely rejected the media campaign.

For example, Russert asked Cheney: “What do you think is the most important rationale for going to war with Iraq?” The vice president replied, “Well, I think I’ve just given it, Tim, in terms of the combination of his development and use of chemical weapons, his development of biological weapons, his pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Russert responded: “And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said he does not have a nuclear program, we disagree?”

Cheney: “I disagree, yes. And you’ll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of our intelligence community disagree. ... And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency and this kind of issue, especially where Iraq’s concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don’t have any reason to believe they’re any more valid this time than they’ve been in the past.” That matter being settled, Russert was on to the next question.

It is revealing, in its own way, that Russert’s celebrity credentials were burnished with a bestseller about his father, “Big Russ.” It is worth recalling that William Shirer—the old CBS hand who worked with Edward R. Murrow in the 1930s and 1940s—established his reputation with Berlin Diary, his account of Germany in the first years of the Nazi regime. He later went on to write (after he had been witch-hunted out of the broadcast media) The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Other reporters from that era, such as Eric Sevareid, left behind memoirs that contained interesting social commentary.

Russert’s Big Russ, on the other hand, was nothing but a saccharine account of an America were “traditional” values were honored, where “men were men,” etc. In other words, a fictionalized America, conceived in the mind of a conformist. The book is part of a marketable genre, which includes Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation, a self-deluding slap-on-the-back account of life in post-war America. It was fitting, in its own way, that Brokaw broke the news of Russert’s death...[Open in new window]

Full Metal McCain

Haunted by the ghosts of Vietnam, the one-time maverick has transformed himself into just another liberal-bashing fearmonger

MATT TAIBBI Posted Jun 26, 2008

A few paces away, I catch up with a man named Ron Saucier and a woman who would only identify herself as Mary. Ron says his problem with Obama is the integrity thing. "He exaggerates too much," Ron says. "He's not honest."

"OK," I say. "What does he exaggerate about?"

"Well, like that time he was saying he had a white mother and a white grandmother," he says.

I ask him how this is an exaggeration.

"Well, he was saying . . ." he begins. "As if that qualifies him to . . ."

Despite my repeated prodding, Ron seems unable or unwilling to say aloud exactly what he means. Finally, his friend Mary, a grave-looking blonde with fierce anger lines around her eyes, jumps in, points a finger and blurts out one of the all-time man-on-the-street quotes.

"Look, you either are or you aren't," she says. "And he aren't," Ron says, nodding with relief.
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Monday, June 16, 2008

What cell phones are for: If you see this man approaching a playground CALL THE COPS!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

From 1/9/02


By David Podvin

In 1992, shortly after being named moderator of Meet The Press, Tim Russert was having lunch with a broadcast executive. The mealtime conversation was about the pros and cons of working for General Electric’s NBC subsidiary. Russert expounded on how being employed by GE had brought him to the realization that things functioned better when Republicans were in charge.

“You know, Tim, you used to be such a rabid Democrat when you worked for Pat Moynihan,” said the executive. “But now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of who’s handing out the money in this business, you’ve become quite the Jaycee. Were you wrong about everything you used to believe so strongly?”

“I still believe,” Russert said, leaning across the table. “I believe in everything I ever did. But I also know that I never would have become moderator on Meet The Press if my employers were uncomfortable with me. And, given the amount of money at stake, millions of dollars, I don’t blame them. This is business.”

The executive agreed. “But are you concerned about losing yourself? You know, selling out?”

Russert pounded the table. “Integrity is for paupers!”

When Tim Russert joined NBC News in 1984, he began a personal transformation from Democratic congressional aide to broadcaster-in-charge of General Electric’s political interests...[Open in new window]
The Importance of Scott McClellan's Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee -- Including Possible New Obstruction of Justice Charges for Scooter Libby and Karl Rove


Friday, Jun. 13, 2008

Former Bush White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has agreed to testify before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on June 20. He was invited, of course, because of his revelatory new book What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.


If McClellan’s testimony suggests that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, for any reason, gave Karl Rove and Dick Cheney a pass when, in fact, there was a conspiracy – which is still ongoing – to obstruct justice, then these hearings could trigger the reopening of the case. But this is a pretty large “If.”

The Evidence Necessary to Reopen the Plame Investigation: Though Special Counsel Fitzgerald Cannot Talk About the Grand Jury, Witness McClellan Can Share What His Testimony Was

Patrick Fitzgerald conducted his investigation behind closed doors. Other than Fitzgerald and his staff, no one knows what they found or did not find, because they conducted the investigation through a federal grand jury. Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure has sealed this information in secrecy, and cut off any ability of Fitzgerald and his staff to talk about what occurred.

No one believes that Fitzgerald (and his team) were anything less than vigorous in investigating the effort to discredit former Ambassador Joe Wilson by revealing that his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a CIA operative. Yet since no one knows what Fitzgerald learned, except those who cannot speak of what they know, it is not possible to determine whether he might have been outfoxed by the White House. As experienced a prosecutor as Fitzgerald is, he was playing in a very different league when investigating the Bush White House. These folks make Nixon’s White House look like Little Leaguers – and based on what is known about the Plame investigation, I have long suspected that Fitzgerald was playing out of his league. (See, for example, here and here.)...[Open in new window]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Talk Radio's Last Stand?

By Rory O'Connor, AlterNet
Posted on June 11, 2008, Printed on June 13, 2008

Editor's note: Make sure to check out Rory O'Connor's new book, "Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio" (AlterNet Books, 2008).


The email alert read "Breaking from," the conservative online news site that also publishes Newsmax Magazine. One item in particular caught my attention -- "Special: Will President Obama Ban O'Reilly, Rush?"

One click, however, reveals this "breaking" news is simply old wine poured into a "special" new anti-Obama bottle: a ridiculous recycled report titled "Talk Radio's Last Stand," offered with a subscription to Newsmax magazine and a "Dynamo Emergency World Band Radio" -- all for just $35!

Leading hard-right conservatives, led by their talk radio "shock jock" troops, have been worrying aloud about the supposed return of the long-defunct Fairness Doctrine ever since their stunning success last year in defeating bipartisan immigration reform. The latest salvo is the Newsmax report, headlined "Battle for Talk Radio: Powerful Foes Want to End the Gabfest," which cleverly combines the usual talk radio tropes of pugnacity and victimization. The text of the "special offer" supplies the details:

"The 2008 election has yet to be decided, but one thing is clear: If the Democrats win the White House, expect an all-out attack on talk radio. Political talk, as we know it, could end. If they win, Rush, Imus, Savage, Beck, and dozens of other major hosts will be muzzled by using federal regulations to control political talk. So, what's their plan of attack?"

As Newsmax sees it, "leading liberals in Congress, the Democratic presidential candidates, and even some Republicans speak openly of their plans to end conservative talk radio using federal regulations. Their weapon: a revived Fairness Doctrine, which would once again require stations to air divergent points of view -- a clever ruse that makes station owners leery of airing controversial talk-radio hosts, fearing lawsuits and federal sanctions. With a new Fairness Doctrine, you could see many top conservative radio hosts canned."

As further evidence, Newsmax offers "an exclusive interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly," assuring us there is "no question" a plan is being hatched. "The far-left kooks will try, but they will fail," O'Reilly says.

Well, the far-right kooks like O'Reilly are certainly succeeding once again in ginning up outrage and false controversy -- while simultaneously pushing up their ratings. As detailed in my new book, "Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio," this putative threat to the First Amendment simply isn't real -- nor is the far-right's existential fear that conservative talk radio will somehow be wiped from the media landscape.

What is real is that the Reagan-era demise of the doctrine was in fact "the decision that launched a thousand lips," as Los Angeles Times reporter Jim Puzzanghera once phrased it. ...[Open in new window]


I think all the right wing snarling heads should be taken off the air waves.

Then we should make public stupidity illegal.

Anytime someone says something stupid in public they should be summarily executed by the Seven Liberal Arts Special Police Force.

We'll get the over-population problem fixed real quick. It'll practically depopulate some states over night. Those states can be returned to wilderness.

Ah, dreams...

'NYT' Sunday Preview: Gore Vidal Questions McCain's Time in Prison Camp

By Greg Mitchell

Published: June 12, 2008 10:40 AM ET
NEW YORK In an interview for this Sunday's edition of The New York Times Magazine, famed novelist/essayist Gore Vidal appears to question Sen. John McCain's account of being imprisoned by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam war.

Asked what he thinks of McCain, Vidal calls him a "disaster," then tells Deborah Solomon, "Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside from himself? About his suffering in the prison war camp?"

Solomon replies: "Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam." To which Vidal responds: "That’s what he tells us."...
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Everything that was done to Kerry in '06 should be done to McCain. 'Swiftboating' to the max.

All the gibbering old weasel McCain did in Viet Nam was bomb innocents from 35,000 feet & collaborate with the enemy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Elizabeth Holtzman
An Analysis of Kucinich's Impeachment Case Against Bush
Posted June 11, 2008 | 10:22 PM (EST)


The House should commence an impeachment inquiry forthwith. In fact, in a sense, it is already beginning. Rep. Kucinich introduced the articles, the House has referred them to the Judiciary Committee and the Senate Intelligence Report goes a long way toward furnishing the investigative work Congress needs to do in the course of impeachment, at least as regards the run-up to the war (Congress should also look at other serious abuses of power, including President Bush's refusal to obey duly enacted laws, as evidenced by hundreds of signing statements, his violations of the laws on wiretapping and mistreatment of detainees).

The next step is to start asking, what did the president actually know and when did he know it? Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has stated that President Bush seemed determined to overthrow Saddam Hussein at the beginning of his administration, well before 9/11. There was also the British "Downing Street" memo written in the summer of 2002 stating that President Bush was going to "fix" the intelligence to fit the policy of overthrow. It's now incumbent on Congress to take these matters up in impeachment hearings.

Yes, even at the end of their terms, President Bush and Vice President Cheney can still be impeached and removed from office. There might just be sufficient time to finish impeachment before they leave office, and technically they could be impeached even after that. This administration can still be held accountable for the consequences of the unnecessary Iraq War and other grave abuses. The American people still have a chance to witness the Constitution in action as it appropriately limits the powers of this president, preventing further abuses by him (such as bombing Iran without approval of Congress) or by his successors.

This would be an important lesson in democracy. We last learned it 34 years ago during the Nixon impeachment process, which reminded Americans how the Constitution works. But our collective memory of those far-off events may have faded, especially after the past eight years of President Bush asserting extreme claims for presidential power, coupled with the failure of Congress to respond forcefully. As a result, as a nation we may have a diminished level of constitutional literacy compared to 1974. It's time to reinvigorate that literacy. We need to understand once again that acquiescing in this president seriously deceiving us into war means ignoring what the Constitution says, and jeopardizing our democracy...[Open in new window]
BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions
By Jane Corbin
BBC News

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.

The BBC's Panorama programme has used US and Iraqi government sources to research how much some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding.

A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations.

The order applies to 70 court cases against some of the top US companies.

War profiteering

While Presdient George W Bush remains in the White House, it is unlikely the gagging orders will be lifted.

To date, no major US contractor faces trial for fraud or mismanagement in Iraq.

The president's Democratic opponents are keeping up the pressure over war profiteering in Iraq.

Henry Waxman, who chairs the House committee on oversight and government reform, said: "The money that's gone into waste, fraud and abuse under these contracts is just so outrageous, it's egregious.

"It may well turn out to be the largest war profiteering in history."

In the run-up to the invasion, one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth $7bn that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president.

Unusually only Halliburton got to bid - and won...[Open in new window]

Stan Goff
The disposable oath

Posted June 11, 2008 | 06:55 AM (EST)

When I joined the army and when I reenlisted five times, I did something that every member of Congress does. I took an oath to defend the Constitution as the core commitment of my service. Then the army sent me to eight different conflict areas to attack, or assist others in attacking, people who were not even remotely the enemies of the Constitution. Oddly enough, that oath said I was obliged to "defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.

I'm retired now; and since I got out of the army I've had more opportunities to oppose the domestic enemies of the Constitution, because they are mostly those who were or worked for my former Commanders-in-Chief. I was employed by scofflaws from Nixon through Clinton (Clinton violated the UN Charter when he bombed Yugoslavia... the US is a signatory, therefore the Charter has the force of the Constitution).

Yesterday, Congressmember Dennis Kucinich fulfilled his duty according to that oath by listing articles of impeachment before the House of Representatives that detailed the serial and blatant Constitutional violations by our current President. Kucinich made a prima facie case, but that's not news to anyone with an attention span greater than a goldfish.

What's news is that Congress is obliged by their primary duty -- to which they took a solemn oath before God -- to defend the Constitution; and that means voting to impeach anyone who has blatantly undermined it at every turn. The reason only a handful of Democrats will do so is that the Democratic Party leadership -- which has enabled the Bush administration at every turn by refusing to take action or even investigate most of these crimes and misdemeanors -- is more interested in winning elections than they are doing their sworn duty.

Today, Congress will refuse to even hear these articles of impeachment...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why does the phrase, "Republican dirty tricks" just seem to roll off the tongue?

Email from the Kucinich for Congress Committee:

Dear Friend:

Under circumstances that can best be described as "suspicious," the website was crippled early this morning a few hours after Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 extensively documented Articles of Impeachment against President George W. Bush.

Until we can restore the website and implement additional security measures, you can find the full list and detailed Articles at

If you would like to show your support for the Congressman's efforts, please go to to offer your comments and provide us with contact information so that we can continue to keep you informed.

Thank you
Committee to Re-Elect Congressman Kucinich

Abramoff met Bush at least 6 times, House panel confirms

Marisa Taylor | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: June 09, 2008 08:25:59 PM

WASHINGTON — Convicted superlobbyist Jack Abramoff influenced White House actions while his firm wooed administration officials over expensive meals and plied them with box tickets to sporting events, according to a House of Representatives committee report released Monday.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said Monday that it had received new White House documents and testimony that confirmed 80 White House contacts with Abramoff and uncovered 70 others despite White House assertions that Abramoff had vastly overblown his administration connections. Abramoff, who's cooperating with federal prosecutors after pleading guilty in an expanding corruption investigation, previously reported that his former firm had more than 400 contacts with White House officials.

The House report obtained photos of Abramoff meeting President Bush on six occasions, including political receptions. Bush has said he doesn't remember Abramoff, and the White House has refused to release the photos. The committee posted low-quality versions of them on its Web site Monday after receiving them from the White House.

"The new documents and testimony show that Mr. Abramoff had personal contact with President Bush, that high-level White House officials held Mr. Abramoff and his associates in high regard and solicited recommendations from Mr. Abramoff on policy matters," the committee said...[Open in new window]

From American Conservative Magazine:

The Road to Kuwait

Iraq War advocates overstate the difficulties of withdrawal.

by Lawrence Korb

Any doubts about whether the United States should begin to withdraw completely from Iraq’s multiple internal conflicts should have been dispelled by the recent testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker and the Iraqi government’s foray into Basra.

Neither the general nor the ambassador could say how and when American involvement will end, or why the Iraqi government is not making meaningful political progress. The best example of progress that Crocker could point to was agreement on a new national flag. General Petraeus kept repeating that the security environment was fragile, uneven, and reversible. He could not give a satisfactory answer to the question of whether the war in Iraq is making us safer.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s ill-timed and ham-handed invasion of Basra showed that his dysfunctional and corrupt government is primarily interested in improving his own electoral prospects against Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The Iraqi Security Forces, moreover, performed so poorly—many deserted—that the U.S. was forced to intervene in this Shia civil war to prevent Maliki’s government from collapsing. In the process, U.S. forces killed hundreds of Iraqis, undermined the counterinsurgency strategy, and gave Sadr the justification to end his ceasefire. Finally, Iran enhanced its strategic position by brokering a truce between the warring Shi’ite leaders.

Yet when people argue that the U.S. should withdraw expeditiously, those like President Bush and Senator McCain who support an endless military commitment raise three objections: it cannot be done quickly; the situation will go to hell in a hand-basket when we leave; and our military commanders will oppose it. Each of these points is without merit...[Open in new window]

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rep. Kucinich introduces Bush impeachment resolution

2 hours, 40 minutes ago

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a former Democratic presidential contender, said Monday he wants the House to consider a resolution to impeach President Bush.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi consistently has said impeachment was "off the table."

Kucinich, D-Ohio, read his proposed impeachment language in a floor speech. He contended Bush deceived the nation and violated his oath of office in leading the country into the Iraq war.

Kucinich introduced a resolution last year to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. That resolution was killed, but only after Republicans initially voted in favor of taking up the measure to force a debate.

Kucinich won 50 percent of the vote in a five-way House Democratic primary in March, beating back critics who said he ignored business at home to travel the country in his quest to be president....[Open in new window]

Sunday, June 08, 2008

McClellan's 'Matrix' moment

Bush's former press secretary has stumbled out of a White House that lets political rhetoric shape reality.
By Mark Dery
June 7, 2008

...Sure, sure, truth is the first casualty of war, and politics is just war with a smile and a starched collar. But the burgeoning genre of Bush administration tell-alls, of which McClellan's is only the latest, paints a portrait of a White House utterly unconcerned with facts yet fervently attentive to public opinion polls. It is a White House whose solution to every unhappy turn of events -- the Iraqi insurgency, Hurricane Katrina, a moribund economy -- is to treat it not as a real-world problem requiring a real-world solution but as a glitch in the Matrix, "a perception problem" to be handled with the Message of the Day and the Theme of the Week.

The deeper story here is the shift from the Enlightenment worldview, whose commitment to reasoned debate and empirical truth used to be the cornerstone of our little experiment in democracy, to the faith-based worldview of fundamentalism -- not just the fundamentalism of the religious right but fundamentalisms of every sort. The Iraq war came about, in large part, through a harmonic convergence of personal passions, political agendas and ideological crusades, all faith-based rather than fact-driven. Bush, McClellan tells us, is a man who "convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment" and who "to this day ... seems unbothered by the disconnect between the chief rationale for war and the driving motivation behind it, and unconcerned about how the case was packaged."

Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and other saber-rattling superhawks were on a Mission From God to democratize the Middle East, police the globe and, not incidentally, found a star-spangled imperium. And Karl Rove's psy-ops team, of which McClellan was a part, intuitively embraced the postmodern proposition that the story shapes the reality.

As an unnamed Bush aide put it in a 2004 New York Times Magazine article by Ron Suskind, there are those who still live in "what we call the reality-based community," people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality," and then there are those who understand that "that's not the way the world really works anymore. ... We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."...[Open in new window]

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Laura Ingraham: Right-Wing Radio's High Priestess of Hate

By Rory O'Connor, AlterNet Books
Posted on June 7, 2008, Printed on June 7, 2008

The following is an excerpt from Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio by Rory O'Connor with Aaron Cutler (AlterNet Books, 2008).

Laura Ingraham is ... different. Not only is Ingraham younger than many other conservative radio personalities (at 45, she's more than a decade from Limbaugh's cohort), and the only female among them, but she also brings to the airwaves a snarky brand of aggressive humor fused with an attack-dog sensibility that she expresses with a chalk-on-gravel voice. Her goal is not to assert her own glory, but to rip apart her enemies, which include everyone from liberals and "elites" to, from time to time, even President George W. Bush and presidential hopeful John McCain. Her style of argumentation is bare-bones simple; in a 1997 piece for, Eric Alterman wrote that Ingraham just laughed in response to a position he took on television during the 1996 election. How could he counter that?

Ingraham often uses laughter as a weapon. One of her show's most popular parodies, "But ... Monkey," interposes the sound of a screeching monkey over a sound bite from a political figure. Victims have included Democratic senators Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer as well as conservative gurus like columnist Charles Krauthammer. Other regular segments include "Deep Thought of the Day" and "Lie of the Day." Ingraham also makes great use of pop culture clips (she plays the theme song from the television show "Flipper" when discussing John Kerry), and her production values are generally superb. Like many other successful hosts, she is often very funny, and her rapid-fire pacing and easy banter with her younger male producers (all three are in their early 20s) has more in common with the liberal "Stephanie Miller Show" than the hard-line commentary sometimes heard on conservative talk shows. At a deeper level, however, despite the comedy, Ingraham takes what she does quite seriously.

The rabid nature of her assault against immigration reform is a good example. Ingraham has perhaps been more strongly anti-immigration than any other talk personality except Michael Savage. Her show even features a regular segment called "The Illegal Immigration Sob Story" alert, in which she reads news pieces she feels are biased toward illegal immigrants. When she had White House spokesman Tony Snow on her program, she began by asking him why the Bush administration was dragging its heels on immigration reform. After sarcastically apologizing for interrupting his talking points, she said, "69 percent of Americans, 85 percent of the GOP, 55 percent of the Democrats want the border enforced. Does that affect you guys, or do you guys just blow it off?"

In the two-for-one combination that all too often serves conservative radio well, Ingraham once claimed that the immigration bill was an attempt by the mainstream media to make more people liberals. Anyone who still wonders whether talk radio had an influence on the bill's defeat should look at Ingraham's numbers; with more than 5 million weekly listeners, she is tied with Glenn Beck as the fourth most listened to radio talk show host in America. Alterman wrote that Ingraham's popularity is due to her having "something more important than knowledge or experience. ... She has star quality." She is also fearless: She once confronted CNN host John Roberts for calling her "outspoken," saying, "Do you guys introduce liberal commentators that way?"

She's more aggressive than Limbaugh, more blatant than Hannity, and more rational than Beck or Savage, and although she often supports many of them (erroneously stating, for example, that Limbaugh never claimed the Clintons murdered Vince Foster), she is equally willing to call them out. She walked out of a "Hannity & Colmes" installment after the Don Imus "nappy-headed ho's" controversy was twisted into a discussion of Democratic vices, and once asked on her radio program after an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor," "Why is Bill O'Reilly afraid of George Soros?" (In the same broadcast, Ingraham accused columnist Helen Thomas of working for Hezbollah, which has been identified by the U.S. government as a terrorist group.)...[Open in new window]

Robert Fisk: The West's weapon of self-delusion

There are gun battles in Beirut – and America thinks things are going fine

Saturday, 7 June 2008

So they are it again, the great and the good of American democracy, grovelling and fawning to the Israeli lobbyists of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), repeatedly allying themselves to the cause of another country and one that is continuing to steal Arab land.

Will this ever end? Even Barack Obama – or "Mr Baracka" as an Irish friend of mine innocently and wonderfully described him – found time to tell his Jewish audience that Jerusalem is the one undivided capital of Israel, which is not the view of the rest of the world which continues to regard the annexation of Arab East Jerusalem as illegal. The security of Israel. Say it again a thousand times: the security of Israel – and threaten Iran, for good measure.

Yes, Israelis deserve security. But so do Palestinians. So do Iraqis and Lebanese and the people of the wider Muslim world. Now even Condoleezza Rice admits – and she was also talking to Aipac, of course – that there won't be a Palestinian state by the end of the year. That promise of George Bush – which no-one believed anyway – has gone. In Rice's pathetic words, "The goal itself will endure beyond the current US leadership."

Of course it will. And the siege of Gaza will endure beyond the current US leadership. And the Israeli wall. And the illegal Israeli settlement building. And deaths in Iraq will endure beyond "the current US leadership" – though "leadership" is pushing the definition of the word a bit when the gutless Bush is involved – and deaths in Afghanistan and, I fear, deaths in Lebanon too.

It's amazing how far self-delusion travels. The Bush boys and girls still think they're supporting the "American-backed government" of Fouad Siniora in Lebanon. But Siniora can't even form a caretaker government to implement a new set of rules which allows Hizbollah and other opposition groups to hold veto powers over cabinet decisions.

Thus there will be no disarming of Hizbollah and thus – again, I fear this – there will be another Hizbollah-Israeli proxy war to take up the slack of America's long-standing hatred of Iran. No wonder President Bashar Assad of Syria is now threatening a triumphal trip to Lebanon. He's won. And wasn't there supposed to be a UN tribunal to try those responsible for the murder of ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005? This must be the longest police enquiry in the history of the world. And I suspect it's never going to achieve its goal (or at least not under the "current US leadership"). ...[Open in new window]
Ledeen: It’s 1938-1941, Hitler is Hezbollah, al Qaeda, Iranian Khomeinists, Saudi Wahabis, Etc.
Jim Lobe

Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal editorial page is as hard-line as ever, today featuring a lengthy and by now familiar meditation by AEI “Freedom Scholar” and perennial intrigue entrepreneur Michael Ledeen on “Iran and the Problem of Evil.” Actually, the headline is a bit of a distortion because, in typical neo-conservative fashion, Ledeen compares the conflated threats emanating from the Arab world and Iran — or, as Ledeen puts it, “from Hezbollah and al Qaeda to the Iranians Khomeinists and the Saudi Wahabis” — to those posed by Mussolini’s fascism, Hitler’s Germany, and Stalin’s Russia. To his credit, Ledeen decided to forgo the use of “Islamofascism,” a decision which no doubt will get him in trouble with David Horowitz, Frank Gaffney, and James Woolsey, among others of his hard-line fellow-neo-cons. But, of course, by putting “Iran” and the other assorted threats in the same context, he really doesn’t have to use the word itself. In any event, the lesson — and I guess here is where the headline that features “Iran” alone — is clear enough: “As it did in the 20th century, it means war.”

Ledeen often describes himself as a historian, and, as such, I would expect Ledeen to be scrupulously careful of his facts, but one assertion about anti-Semitism in Iran in his essay really stuck out at me; namely, that “The Protocol of the Elders of Zion” is now circulating in a Farsi edition. I did a quick Nexis search for the “Protocol” and “Protocols”, “Iran”, and “Farsi” and could find only two articles that appeared to corroborate Ledeen’s statement. One was a 2005 article in the Likudist New York Sun by Benny Avni, who asserted that “‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ the classic anti-Semitic fraud, is a best seller in Iran…” No further evidence to support that assertion was offered. A second article, which appeared in the November 2006 edition of Playboy, by frequent New Republic contributor Joseph Braude, also asserted that the notorious forgery had been translated into Farsi with the financial help of the Islamic Republic. Again, however, he offered no supporting evidence.

I also checked with the State Department’s nearly 100-page “Global Anti-Semitism Report” published less than three months ago and could find no mention of a Farsi edition of the Protocols, although it did note that new editions had appeared in English, Ukrainian, Indonesian, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, and Serbian since 2003. The report also noted that the Protocols had recently become “best sellers” in Turkey (a strong ally of Israel’s and hence, presumably, irrelevant to Ledeen thesis on “evil”) and Syria.

Now, it is true that the Iranian delegation to the 2005 Frankfurt International Book Fair displayed an English-language edition of the Protocols among its wares, but I doubt that it would have become a ”best seller” in Iran in that form, as the Sun’s Avni had asserted.

Ledeen also wrote that “calls for the destruction of Jews appear regularly on Iranian ….television,” and, while Ahmadinejad’s periodic calls for the elimination of Israel (from the pages of time, from history, from the map — depending on the translation), not to mention the “Death to Israel” sloganeering that has been staple of government rallies in Iran since the Revolution, I don’t have enough knowledge or research time to assess the truthfulness of this assertion. I would note, however, that Iran continues to boast by far the largest Jewish community in the region outside Israel; that Jews are an officially recognized minority free to worship as they wish; that the vast majority have shunned substantial financial inducements to emigrate to Israel; and that, despite Ahmadinejad’s well-publicized Holocaust scepticism, the government television station has broadcast a popular series about the Holocaust based on a true story about an Iranian diplomat in Paris who helped Jews escape Nazi-occupied France. That doesn’t mean anti-Semitism in Iran does not exist; on the contrary, most experts believe it is indeed on the rise there, spurred in considerable part by regional tensions and the crescendo of threats and counter-threats between the Israel and Iran. But lumping Iran in with more clearly anti-Semitic movements and governments — not to mention his blithe assertions about the popularity of the Protocols’ Farsi edition — does not enhance Ledeen’s — or the Journal’s op-ed fact-checkers’ — credibility...[Open in new window]
The Age of Oprah, Cultural Icon For the Neoliberal Era

If you work hard enough, if you prepare long enough, if you visualize astutely and pray on it resolutely, it really can happen for you. At least that's the way it works in the world of Oprah Winfrey. In the Age of Oprah, author Janice Peck explains, there's no such thing as collective problem-solving; there are only individual, market-driven and spirit-centered solutions. Water polluted? Buy it bottled. Dissatisfied with your kids' school? Find a private one or home school. Dead-end job with no respect and no benefits? Polish that resume and assume an attitude of gratitude, or get ready to start your own business. House falling down? Maybe you can qualify for an extreme makeover. Is the world view of Oprah really uplifting after all? Or does it disempower individuals and disarm communities?

Bruce Dixon interviews Janice Peck, author of The Age of Oprah, Cultural Icon for the Neoliberal Era...[Open in new window]
What can I say? I hate Oprah. She gave us Dr. Phil. I may hate Dr. Phil more than I hate Oprah. Oprah is a moronic shopping machine, Dr. Phil is a fat headed doofus. They're what's wrong with the US.

Them & the fact that there's sugar in toothpaste.

"Maverick"--or so say TV whores like Russert, Matthews, Gregory, etc. Millionaires who work for Gazillionaires who tell them what to say. Don't pay any attention to what they say, look at McCain's record & recent statements. The guy is a fucking nut.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors

By Patrick Cockburn
Thursday, 5 June 2008

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq – a victory that he says Mr Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal.

America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 – 10 000 more than when the military "surge" began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

The precise nature of the American demands has been kept secret until now. The leaks are certain to generate an angry backlash in Iraq. "It is a terrible breach of our sovereignty," said one Iraqi politician, adding that if the security deal was signed it would delegitimise the government in Baghdad which will be seen as an American pawn.

The US has repeatedly denied it wants permanent bases in Iraq but one Iraqi source said: "This is just a tactical subterfuge." Washington also wants control of Iraqi airspace below 29,000ft and the right to pursue its "war on terror" in Iraq, giving it the authority to arrest anybody it wants and to launch military campaigns without consultation.

Mr Bush is determined to force the Iraqi government to sign the so-called "strategic alliance" without modifications, by the end of next month. But it is already being condemned by the Iranians and many Arabs as a continuing American attempt to dominate the region. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful and usually moderate Iranian leader, said yesterday that such a deal would create "a permanent occupation". He added: "The essence of this agreement is to turn the Iraqis into slaves of the Americans."...[Open in new window]

Pipes: Bush Will Attack Iran If A Democrat Wins The White House»

Daniel Pipes, a far right-wing pseudo scholar who called the NIE report on the halting of Iran’s nuclear program a “shoddy, politicized, outrageous parody of a piece of propaganda,” said he believes that President Bush will attack Iran if a Democrat wins the White House in November. During an interview posted at the National Review Online, Pipes said that the U.S. and its allies should tell Tehran to “watch out” for “an American attack”:

What I suspect will be the case is, should the Democratic nominee win in November, President Bush will do something. And should it be Mr. McCain that wins, he’ll punt, and let McCain decide what to do.

Pipes also said that countries like Russia and China should aid the U.S. in pressuring Iran, if they want to prevent America attacking unilaterally:

Look, if you don’t want an American attack, then you have to join us in being very serious with the Iranians and making clear to them we will attack if they don’t stop.

Pipes, who has a history of what The Nation calls “signature distortions,” is just the latest in a rising chorus of voices advocating that Bush attack Iran before his term ends. The Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot reported that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert planned to encourage Bush to prepare an attack against Iran during his meeting with the President yesterday.

The White House denies any intent to strike Iran, but that hasn’t stopped Vice President Dick Cheney or former U.N. ambassador John Bolton from promoting the idea.


Bush & Cheney should be impeached now to prevent them from attacking Iran with nuclear weapons. It's a humanitarian issue. All the nuts must be removed from the world stage, they're dangerous. Whatever it takes...

Senate committee: Bush knew Iraq claims weren't true

Nancy A. Youssef and Mark Seibel | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: June 05, 2008 02:17:52 PM

WASHINGTON— A long-awaited Senate Select Intelligence Committee report made public Thursday concludes that President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney made public statements to promote an invasion of Iraq that they knew at the time were not supported by available intelligence.

A companion report found that a special office set up by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld undertook "sensitive intelligence activities" that were inappropriate "without the knowledge of the Intelligence Community or the State Department."

“Before taking the country to war, this administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence,” said committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, D- W. Va.

It's long been known that the administration's claims in the runup to the Iraq war, from Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to al Qaida to whether Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program, were incorrect, and White House spokeswoman Dana Perino suggested the problems were faulty intelligence...[Open in new window]


Links to Pdf of the complete report at link.

Press Release of Intelligence Committee

Senate Intelligence Committee Unveils Final Phase II Reports on Prewar Iraq Intelligence

-- Two Bipartisan Reports Detail Administration Misstatements on Prewar Iraq Intelligence, and Inappropriate Intelligence Activities by Pentagon Policy Office --

Contact: Wendy Morigi (202) 224-6101
Thursday, June 5, 2008

Washington, DC -- The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, and a bipartisan majority of the Committee (10-5), today unveiled the final two sections of its Phase II report on prewar intelligence. The first report details Administration prewar statements that, on numerous occasions, misrepresented the intelligence and the threat from Iraq. The second report details inappropriate, sensitive intelligence activities conducted by the DoD’s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, without the knowledge of the Intelligence Community or the State Department.
“Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence,” Rockefeller said. “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”
“It is my belief that the Bush Administration was fixated on Iraq, and used the 9/11 attacks by al Qa’ida as justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. To accomplish this, top Administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and al Qa’ida as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11. Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.
“There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence. But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate.
“These reports represent the final chapter in our oversight of prewar intelligence. They complete the story of mistakes and failures – both by the Intelligence Community and the Administration – in the lead up to the war. Fundamentally, these reports are about transparency and holding our government accountable, and making sure these mistakes never happen again,” Rockefeller added.
The Committee’s report cites several conclusions in which the Administration’s public statements were NOT supported by the intelligence. They include:
Ø Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.
Ø Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.
Ø Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.
Ø Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.
Ø The Secretary of Defense’s statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.
Ø The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.
Additionally, the Committee issued a report on the Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. The report found that the clandestine meetings between Pentagon officials and Iranians in Rome and Paris were inappropriate and mishandled from beginning to end. Deputy National Security Advisor Steve Hadley and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz failed to keep the Intelligence Community and the State Department appropriately informed about the meetings. The involvement of Manucher Ghobanifer and Michael Ledeen in the meetings was inappropriate. Potentially important information collected during the meetings was withheld from intelligence agencies by Pentagon officials. Finally, senior Defense Department officials cut short internal investigations of the meetings and failed to implement the recommendations of their own counterintelligence experts.
Today’s reports are the culmination of efforts that began in March 2003, when, as Vice Chairman, Senator Rockefeller initially requested an investigation into the origin of the fraudulent Niger documents. In June 2003, he was joined by all Democrats on the Committee in pushing for a full investigation into prewar intelligence, which was eventually expanded by the Committee in February 2004 to include the five phase II tasks.
The Committee released its first report on July 9, 2004, which focused primarily on the Intelligence Community’s prewar assessments of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs and links to terrorism. Those findings helped lay the foundation for some of the intelligence reforms enacted into law in late 2004.
In September 2006, the Committee completed and publicly released two sections of Phase II: The Use by the Intelligence Community of Information Provided by the Iraqi National Congress; and Postwar Findings About Iraq’s WMD Programs and Links to Terrorism and How They Compare with Prewar Assessments.
In May 2007, the Committee released the third section of Phase II: Prewar Intelligence Assessments About Postwar Iraq.
Separately, in early 2007, the Pentagon Inspector General released its own report on the intelligence activities conducted by the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and also concluded that those activities were inappropriate.
AT the very least impeachment. Deliberately false intelligence was used to launch an illegal war that's killed over a million people. All of those involved should be on trial for war crimes. It's common sense. It's why we have laws.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

More BS from the Bush administration. Scientific information controlled by 'Heckuva job Brownies' & religious nuts. It will take the next administration years to root out all the moles from all the bureaus in DC. What a mess, what a diaster these people have been.

Climate Findings Were Distorted, Probe Finds

Appointees in NASA Press Office Blamed

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 3, 2008; A02

An investigation by the NASA inspector general found that political appointees in the space agency's public affairs office worked to control and distort public accounts of its researchers' findings about climate change for at least two years, the inspector general's office said yesterday.

The probe came at the request of 14 senators after The Washington Post and other news outlets reported in 2006 that Bush administration officials had monitored and impeded communications between NASA climate scientists and reporters.

James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and has campaigned publicly for more stringent limits on greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, told The Post and the New York Times in September 2006 that he had been censored by NASA press officers, and several other agency climate scientists reported similar experiences. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are two of the government's lead agencies on climate change issues.

From the fall of 2004 through 2006, the report said, NASA's public affairs office "managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public." It noted elsewhere that "news releases in the areas of climate change suffered from inaccuracy, factual insufficiency, and scientific dilution."

Officials of the Office of Public Affairs told investigators that they regulated communication by NASA scientists for technical rather than political reasons, but the report found "by a preponderance of the evidence, that the claims of inappropriate political interference made by the climate change scientists and career public affairs officers were more persuasive than the arguments of the senior public affairs officials that their actions were due to the volume and poor quality of the draft news releases."...[Open in new window]

Is George Bush A Psychopath?
by Dr. Kevin Barrett/Silvia Cattori

I make the effort to share this information because it gives me, at last, a plausible answer to a long-unanswered question: Why, no matter how much intelligent goodwill exists in the world, is there so much war, suffering and injustice? It doesn't seem to matter what creative plan, ideology, religion, or philosophy great minds come up with, nothing seems to improve our lot. Since the dawn of civilization, this pattern repeats itself over and over again.

The answer is that civilization, as we know it, is largely the creation of psychopaths. All civilizations, our own included, have been built on slavery and mass murder. Psychopaths have played a disproportionate role in the development of civilization, because they are hard-wired to lie, kill, cheat, steal, torture, manipulate, and generally inflict great suffering on other humans without feeling any remorse, in order to establish their own sense of security through domination. The inventor of civilization, "the first tribal chieftain who successfully brainwashed an army of controlled mass murderers," was almost certainly a genetic psychopath. Since that momentous discovery, psychopaths have enjoyed a significant advantage over non-psychopaths in the struggle for power in civilizational hierarchies -- especially military hierarchies.

Behind the apparent insanity of contemporary history, is the actual insanity of psychopaths fighting to preserve their disproportionate power. And as their power grows ever-more-threatened, the psychopaths grow ever-more-desperate. We are witnessing the apotheosis of the overworld -- the overlapping criminal syndicates that lurk above ordinary society and law just as the underworld lurks below it.

During the past fifty years, psychopaths have gained almost absolute control of all the branches of government. You can notice this if you observe carefully that no matter what illegal thing a modern politician does, no one will really take him to task. All of the so called scandals that have come up, any one of which would have taken down an authentic administration, are just farces played out for the public, to distract them, to make them think that the democracy is still working...[Open in new window]

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Frank Rich: McCain’s McClellan Nightmare

THEY thought they were being so slick. When the McCain campaign abruptly moved last Tuesday’s fund-raiser with President Bush from the Phoenix Convention Center to a private home, it was the next best thing to sending the loathed lame duck into the witness protection program. John McCain and Mr. Bush were caught on camera together for a mere 26 seconds, and at 9 p.m. Eastern time, safely after the networks’ evening newscasts. The two men’s furtive encounter on the Phoenix airport tarmac, as captured by a shaky, inaudible long shot on, could have been culled from a surveillance video.

But for the McCain campaign, any “Mission Accomplished” high-fives had to be put on hold. That same evening broke the news of Scott McClellan’s memoir, and it was soon All Bush All the Time in the mediasphere. Or more to the point: All Iraq All the Time, for the deceitful origins of the war in Iraq are the major focus of the former press secretary’s tell-all.

There is no news in his book, hardly the first to charge that the White House used propaganda to sell its war and that the so-called liberal media were “complicit enablers” of the con job. The blowback by the last Bush defenders is also déjà vu. The claims that Mr. McClellan was “disgruntled,” “out of the loop,” two-faced, and a “sad” head case are identical to those leveled by Bush operatives (including Mr. McClellan) at past administration deserters like Paul O’Neill, Richard Clarke, John DiIulio and Matthew Dowd.

So why the fuss? Mr. McClellan isn’t a sizzling TV personality, or, before now, a household name beyond the Beltway. His book secured no major prepublication media send-off on “60 Minutes” or a newsmagazine cover. But if the tale of how the White House ginned up the war is an old story, the big new news is how ferocious a hold this familiar tale still exerts on the public all these years later. We have not moved on.

Americans don’t like being lied to by their leaders, especially if there are casualties involved and especially if there’s no accountability. We view it as a crime story, and we won’t be satisfied until there’s a resolution...[Open in new window]