February 11, 2004

AWOL-Gate: 'Untorn' Document Scandal Exposes Need for a Special Prosecutor

Incredible. Over 500 dead US soldiers. Over 500
billion dollars in federal debt. And at last...The
Bush Cabal is on the defensive. It was forced to offer
"proof" of the _resident didn't go AWOL from the
Alabama National Guard, just to slow the bleeding. But
you know what? They didn't really resolve the issue.
It is not going to go away. Even though the _resident
never fired off a gun in defense of his country, there
are smoking guns in this political space. Who is going to say it? They lied about WMDs, and they are lying about the _resident's past. ..I am curious to hear what Michael Moore and Terry McAuliffe do with this "proof"? I am also curious to see if the "US mainstream news media" will allow the story to continue to unfold? Maybe, maybe not. But maybe...
Here is the truth from www.democrats.com...and remember, as
Al Gore said the other night in his Tennessee ("He
betrayed this country..." burn-burner: "The truth
shall rise again!"

Bob Fertik, www.democrats.com: To make a long story
short, Bush apparently blew off drills beginning in
May 1972, failed to show up for his physical, and was
then grounded and transferred to ARF as a disciplinary
measure. He didn't return to his original Texas Guard
unit and cram in 36 days of active duty in 1973 as
Time magazine and others continue to assert based on a
mistaken interpretation of Bush's 1973-74 ARF record
but rather accumulated only ARF points during that
period. In fact, it's unclear even what the points on
the ARF record are for, but what is clear is that
Bush's official records from Texas show no actual duty
after May 1972, as his Form 712 Master Personnel
Record from the Texas Air National Guard clearly
indicates.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://democrats.com/display.cfm?id=328

AWOL-Gate: 'Untorn' Document Scandal Exposes Need for a Special Prosecutor
by Bob Fertik
February 10, 2004
http://democrats.com/display.cfm?id=328

Three weeks after Election 2000, Democrats.com
received the first "untorn" version of the retirement
points awarded to Lt. George W. Bush in his 5th year
of service in the Texas Air National Guard. This new
document exposes contradictions in Bush's account of
his AWOL years (1972-73) and highlights the need for a
Special Prosecutor to investigate criminal tampering
with George W. Bush's military records.

On May 23, 2000, Walter Robinson of the Boston Globe
discovered a "One Year Gap in Bush's National Guard
Duty."

In his final 18 months of military service in 1972 and
1973, Bush did not fly at all. And for much of that
time, Bush was all but unaccounted for: For a full
year, there is no record that he showed up for the
periodic drills required of part-time guardsmen.

Ever since Robinson's article appeared, Internet
researchers (including Democrats.com) have tried to
discover the truth about George Bush's military
service.

Bush's campaign offered an immediate rebuttal.

Bush, who declined to be interviewed on the issue,
said through a spokesman that he has ''some
recollection'' of attending drills that year, but
maybe not consistently.

For nearly four years, the truth has eluded
researchers. The overwhelming weight of the evidence -
both in documents and in witnesses - suggests Bush
never attended drills after April 1972, either at his
home base in Texas or in Alabama, where he spent the
fall of 1972.

But Bush's spokesmen have ferociously contested the
AWOL charge by citing a single document, which first
appeared mysteriously in George Magazine in October
2000.

Democrats.com immediately challenged the significance
of the document, in part because it lacked George
Bush's name, as well as any date or official
signature. But our argument did not rest there.

Even if it is accepted at face value, it raises a
whole new set of questions.

If Bush reported for duty in Alabama on November 29,
1972, then according to this "document" he also
reported for duty on eight other occasions between
December 14, 1972 and May 24, 1973. But where?

The Bush campaign has never claimed that Bush returned
to Alabama after November 1972. Everyone agrees that
Bush returned to Houston, where he worked in a
community service project [Operation P.U.L.L.].

But Bush was last seen at Ellington Air Force Base in
Houston in May 1972. As cited above, Bush's friend
Maj. Gen. Hodges didn't even know he was in Houston.
And in Bush's annual report, Lt. Col. William Harris
and Lt. Col. William Killian affirmed that "Lt. Bush
has not been observed at this unit during the period
of report," which covered the period from May 1, 1972
to April 30, 1973.

So if George Magazine wants to use this "document" as
the conclusive proof that Bush was in Alabama, then it
must explain the rest of the document as well, and
disprove Bush's official military record and the
testimony of witnesses in Houston.

On November 2, 2000, Senators Bob Kerrey (D-NE),
Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and Max Cleland (D-GA) held a
press conference to urge George Bush to release his
full military records. Bush was then - and remains -
the first President in history not to release his full
records. In its immediate rebuttal to the NY Times,
the Bush campaign once again cited the "torn document"
as proof that Bush had indeed reported for duty in the
5th and 6th years of his National Guard duty.

In the following days, Democrats.com tried to
determine the truth about this "torn document." If the
document was authentic, then Bush received some kind
of credit during his 5th year. But what kind of credit
was it? Was it real National Guard duty - or was it
"gratuitous" no-show credit awarded by friendly
officers to keep Bush from being declared AWOL or
worse?

On November 6 - the day before the election -
Democrats.com filed a FOIA request for Bush's pay
records and his retirement records, hoping against
hope that we would receive an immediate response. That
didn't happen; three weeks later, on December 1, we
received a fax responding to our FOIA request.

By then the 2000 election was over, and Democrats.com
was trying to get to the bottom of a far greater
mystery: who actually received more votes in Florida.
Amidst the recount frenzy, the FOIA documents were
forgotten.

In January 2004, the AWOL issue was suddenly revived -
not because of Bush's critics, but because ABC's Peter
Jennings challenged Wesley Clark to denounce his
supporter Michael Moore for calling Bush a "deserter."
Jennings was quickly joined by other media
heavyweights, including David Broder and Tim Russert.

Democrats.com began publishing follow-up stories, and
in the course of our research we discovered the FOIA
documents that were forgotten in 2000. As we tried to
evalute the significance of these documents, we shared
our documents with other Internet researchers.

Calpundit

On 2-8-04, Calpundit posted our "untorn" document
along with a detailed analysis. Calpundit noted that
the document was not an Air National Guard document,
but rather "ARF" (Air Reserve Forces). Calpundit
interviewed retired Air National Guard pilot Robert A.
Rogers and concluded:

ARF is the reserves, and among other things it's where
members of the guard are sent for disciplinary
reasons. As we all know, Bush failed to show up for
his annual physical in July 1972, he was suspended in
August, and the suspension was recorded on September
29. He was apparently transferred to ARF at that time
and began accumulating ARF points in October.

ARF is a "paper unit" based in Denver that requires no
drills and no attendance. For active guard members it
is disciplinary because ARF members can theoretically
be called up for active duty in the regular military,
although this obviously never happened to George Bush.

To make a long story short, Bush apparently blew off
drills beginning in May 1972, failed to show up for
his physical, and was then grounded and transferred to
ARF as a disciplinary measure. He didn't return to his
original Texas Guard unit and cram in 36 days of
active duty in 1973 as Time magazine and others
continue to assert based on a mistaken interpretation
of Bush's 1973-74 ARF record but rather accumulated
only ARF points during that period. In fact, it's
unclear even what the points on the ARF record are
for, but what is clear is that Bush's official records
from Texas show no actual duty after May 1972, as his
Form 712 Master Personnel Record from the Texas Air
National Guard clearly indicates.

Many of the comments that followed this analysis were
remarkable in their dogged pursuit of the truth. Many
doubted the view that "ARF" credits were no-show
disciplinary credits. So what were they?
On the other hand, Bush's defenders insisted the
documents proved Bush had performed his required duty
in Alabama in 1972 and in Texas in 1973. So why does
all of the other evidence point to the opposite
conclusion?

Bush's official service record shows no active duty
after 5-26-1972. If he performed active duty after
that, it would appear on this record:

No Alabama Guardsmen - including his commanding
officer, William Turnipseed - saw him in the fall of
1972
No Texas Guardsmen - including his superior officers -
saw him before April 30, 1973, even though he
accumulated 16 points on January 4-6, January 8-10,
and April 7-8. Annual Officer Effectiveness Report for
May 1, 1972 through April 30, 1973 reads, "Lt. Bush
has not been observed at this unit for the period of
report."

No Texas Guardsmen - including his superior officers,
saw him after May 1, 1973. The commander, Major
General Bobby W. Hodges (ret.), told Walter Robinson
in 2000: ''If [Bush] had come back to Houston, I would
have kept him flying the 102 until he got out,'' said
Hodges, a Bush admirer. ''But I don't recall him
coming back at all.''
The most likely explanation for the "untorn" document
is that Bush was given "points" towards his retirement
- without ever attending actual drills - from senior
officers who committed fraud on Bush's behalf so he
could qualify for an "honorable discharge."

If Bush actually attended his drills, there would be
far more definitive records in his files - including
sign-in sheets and pay records. These have all
mysteriously disappeared - if they ever existed in the
first place.

It's possible that Bush's superior officers decided to
give him credits on his retirement record - rather
than his service record - because they would have had
to pay him for service time. If they forged pay
records on Bush's behalf, it is much more likely that
they would have been caught - and punished. As Lt.
Col. Bill Burkett (ret.) told Bob Rogers:

(15) Those critical two documents which answer the
questions and allegations of AWOL or satisfactory
completion of the six year commitment are easily and
OFFICIALLY answered by the pay records and the
retirement points records.

(16) But these documents also can indict any actions
by senior leaders to attempt to cover such an action
by the award of retirement points without pay, for
example.

If Bush wasn't attending drills in 1972-73 either in
Alabama or Texas, then where was he? The most likely
explanation is that Bush was having problems with
alcohol or drugs.

Why would Bush's superior officers treat Bush with
such favoritism? The answer to that is simple. Bush's
entire National Guard career was the product of
favoritism:

His admission to the Guard despite a national waiting
list of 100,000, thanks to string-pulling by friends
of his powerful father, then the Congressman from
Houston
His assignment as a pilot, despite the lowest possible
grade (25%) on the pilot aptitude exam (yet another
example of "affirmative action" for a rich white kid,
but that's a different story)
His commission as a Lieutenant, despite the lack of
all qualifications such as prior military service,
ROTC, or a medical degree
Thus, it would be completely consistent for Bush to be
given an "honorable discharge" that he did not earn -
or deserve.

In recent days, Senator John Kerry has drawn an
important distinction between receiving an honorable
discharge - and actually performing required duty.

"The issue here is, as I have heard it raised, is was
he present and active in Alabama at the time he was
supposed to be,'' said Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War
veteran. "I don't have the answer to that question and
just because you get an honorable discharge does not
in fact answer that question.''

Kerry is exactly right. The only way to determine the
truth is for Bush to fulfill his promise to Tim
Russert to release "everything" - including pay
records, tax records, medical records, and
disciplinary records.

Bush's Tampered Files

Besides the data on the document, it is essential to
analyze the paper it's printed on.

Democrats.com was the first FOIA researcher to receive
this "untorn" version. Were Bush's records altered,
either before our after our FOIA request?

There have been several serious accusations that
Bush's military records have been tampered with -
which is a federal crime. In a recent letter to Marty
Heldt, the National Personnel Records Center declared
there were "no changes or additions made to the
military records of George W. Bush" after 11-21-1974.
They also noted:

"It should be noted that tampering with or changing
Federal records is a criminal offense under Title 18,
Section 2071, and is punishable by fine or
imprisonment."

There are at least two witnesses who say Bush's top
aides removed documents from his military files after
he became Texas Governor.

According to Lt. Col. Bill Burkett (ret.), the Bush
campaign ordered the "scrubbing" of Bush's military
records in preparation for Bush's Presidential
campaign in 1997. The order was given over the phone
by then-Gov. Bush's chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh, and
his assistant, Dan Bartlett. The order was received by
Gen. Daniel James. Burkett says he watched James throw
crucial documents into the garbage. Here's one
version:

"As the State Plans Officer for the Texas National
Guard, I was on full-time duty at Camp Mabry when Dan
Bartlett was cleansing the George W Bush file prior to
GW's Presidential announcement. For most soldiers at
Camp Mabry, this was a generally known event.

The archives were closely scrutinized to make sure
that the Bush autobiography plans and the record did
not directly contradict each other. In essence it was
the script of the autobiography which Dan Bartlett and
his small team used to scrub a file to be released.
This effort was further involved by General Daniel
James and Chief of Staff William W. Goodwin at Camp
Mabry.

Warrant Officer Harvey Gough (ret.) says Dan Bartlett
and Danny James scrubbed "quite a bit. I think all his
time in Alabama."

In 1999, the Bush campaign gave Lt. Col. Albert Lloyd
Jr. (ret.) special access to these files, in order to
help explain them to journalists. Lloyd added several
documents to Bush's file - which is also a crime -
including the original "torn document."

Lloyd left one version of the "torn document"
unaltered, and provided that version to Marty Heldt,
Walter Robinson, and George Magazine.

Lloyd also added handwritten comments to the "torn
document," and provided that version to George
Magazine and (probably) Jo Thomas of the NY Times.

If Bush's files were tampered with in 1997 and 1999,
it is entirely possible that they were tampered with
again in 2000, either before or after the FOIA request
from Democrats.com.

It is also possible that Bush's records were tampered
with in 1972-73 - and that Bush was illegally given
credit for duty he never performed.

The Need for a Special Prosecutor

It is a crime to tamper with government documents. And
a crime involving planning by several individuals is a
criminal conspiracy - an even more serious charge.

Moreover, the participants in this possible conspiracy
are now extremely powerful individuals, with close
ties to President George W. Bush.

In 2000, Joe Allbaugh served as Campaign Manager of
the Bush-Cheney campaign. He was one of Bush's three
most powerful aides, along with Karl Rove and Karen
Hughes. After the election, he was appointed to head
FEMA. After the Iraq War, Allbaugh created a
consulting firm to help companies get lucrative
reconstruction contracts.

Dan Bartlett is now the White House Communications
Director - the very person who is coordinating the
White House "spin" of the AWOL controversy, and the
very person who will decide which documents are turned
over to the press in the coming days.

And Gen. Daniel James is now head of the National
Guard, which is currently assembling Bush's records to
hand over to Dan Bartlett.

Given the power and influence of these individuals, it
would be impossible for an ordinary District Attorney
to conduct an adequate investigation.

We therefore call upon George W. Bush to appoint a
Special Prosecutor to investigate tampering with his
official military documents from 1972 until the
present.

Posted by richard at February 11, 2004 02:17 PM