February 13, 2004

Trolling for Truth

Over 500 US soldiers, over $500 billion in federal
debt..the _resident's *real* poll numbers in free
fall...So let's change the subject...Gay marriage,
illegal drug use among athletes, yes,
yes...NO...Sorry, Mr. Rove...We are on message...This
campaign is going to be waged on the issues of the

Bob Fertik, www.democrats.com: Burkett's story is also
confirmed by Warrant Officer Harvey Gough (ret.), who
says Dan Bartlett and Danny James scrubbed "quite a
bit. I think all his time in Alabama." Bush's files
were tampered with in 1999 by Col. Albert Lloyd Jr.
(ret.), who wrote a memo analyzing Bush's new "pay"

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


Trolling for Truth

Bob Fertik
February 12, 2004

On Tuesday, Scott McClellan was relentlessly
challenged by the White House press corps over Bush's
AWOL, as David Corn brilliantly documents. On
Wednesday, McClellan launched a counter-offensive.
According to FOX News, McClellan started the day by

"I think what you're seeing is gutter politics. The
American people deserve better. There are some who are
not interested in the facts. They are simply trolling
for trash" for political gain.

The counter-attack was echoed at the Bush-Cheney
campaign, where Terry Holt claimed the only people
asking about this are "Socialist" Michael Moore and
"Political Hack" Terry McAuliffe. McClellan insists
that the White House was not getting into the politics
of this issue, but it is directly coordinating its
strategy with the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Amazingly, even FOX noted the contradiction between
McClellan's Wednesday stonewalling, only days after
George Bush's weekend promise to release "everything":

Bush said in a television interview over the weekend
that he would be willing to open up his entire
military file, and would "absolutely" be willing to
authorize the release of anything that would settle
the controversy over his service in the Texas Air
National Guard during the Vietnam War.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan appeared
to step back from that pledge, telling reporters: "If
there is new information that comes to our attention
we will let you know - if it's relevant to this

During McClellan's Wednesday afternoon briefing, the
AWOL question came up again. And seven times,
McClellan repeated his mantra-du-jour: "trolling for

For McClellan, "this issue" is very narrow: was Bush
AWOL or a Deserter?

But for the American people, "this issue" is whether
Bush is telling the truth about his military service,
or lying once again.

For McClellan, the answer to "this issue" begins and
ends with the "pay" records he released on Tuesday -
records that do not show Bush actually reported for
duty in Alabama or Texas after April 1972, no matter
how McClellan tries to spin them.

But for McClellan, any attempt to examine these
documents in greater detail - or to find out what Bush
actually did after April 1972 - is "trolling for

By accident, McClellan may have revealed the "trash"
that really scares the White House. A NY Daily News
reporter named Elisabeth innocently asked McClellan
about Bush's failed flight physical - which is at the
heart of explanation for why Bush went AWOL in April

One of the questions that remain after the release of
the documents yesterday involves the President's
physical in 1972. Are you guys talking about what
happened there and why he didn't take --

McClellan interrupted her repeatedly, refused to
answer her question, and repeated his "trolling for
trash" and "gutter politics" mantras five times.

Clearly, Elisabeth struck a raw nerve.

Hey Scott, let's get something straight: we are the
taxpayers who pay your salary. You work for us, as you
will quickly discover if you are handed a subpoena.
And we, the taxpayers, are trolling for truth.

So when you accuse us of "gutter politics" and
"trolling for trash," we're not going to be
intimidated. In fact, you're just inspiring us to dig
deeper into the facts you want to hide: lies, dirty
tricks, drinking, drugs, arrests, coverups, and
criminal conspiracy.


The central lie begins with George W. Bush's campaign
biography, "A Charge to Keep," in which he said that
after completing his flight training, ''I continued
flying with my unit for the next several years."

The truth is, Bush only flew for 22 months before he
walked away from his plane. And he never flew in a
military jet again - until he landed on the deck of
the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 and declared
the "end of major combat operations" in front of a
massive sign that read "Mission Accomplished" that he
insisted was not produced by a White House staffer.

In May 2000, Walter Robinson of the Boston Globe was
the first reporter to discover that Bush's biography
was a lie. And ever since, Robinson and the rest of us
have been "trolling for truth."

Dirty Tricks

We know Bush wasn't flying in Alabama because he was
grounded. So what was he doing?

Bush was working for Republican Senate candidate
Winston Blount, who was challenging incumbent
Democratic Senator John Sparkman. According to Gynn

Bush was recruited for the Blount campaign by another
Texan and Bush family friend named Jimmy Allison.

In several documented accounts, Allison is described
as the original Republican political pro who may have
inspired Lee Atwater, Ronald Reagan's gung-ho
political director, and Karl Rove, who is credited
with orchestrating Bush's successful run for the White
House in 2000.

It's no surprise to learn that Bush was involved with
dirty tricks. Allison's counterpart, Lewis Odom, was
running Sparkman's campaign. Odom, a veteran, had
served as a JAG officer in Korea and as a member of
the Alabama Air National Guard. And Odom remembers the
dirty tricks. According to Glynn Wilson,

Sparkman was forced to deny a series of false charges
linking him with McGovern, the South Dakota
presidential candidate who became the first in the
modern era to be tainted and stomped as a "liberal."
The pamphlet distributed to campaign workers and
leaked to the press charged Sparkman with favoring
drastic defense cuts, big federal spending, abandoning
American POWs in Vietnam, a guaranteed wage for every
American, relaxing drug laws, amnesty for draft
dodgers and "forced busing."

The Birmingham News ran the transcript of the doctored
radio tape on November 6, the day before the election,
which made it appear Sparkman was in favor of busing
black and white children miles across towns to "mix"
the public schools. The literature of the campaign
echoed the winning conservative Senate race of Ed
Gurney in Florida, also dreamed up by Allison and
company. Blount's campaign, awash in cash with twice
the money of Sparkman's, paid for billboards across
the state proclaiming: "A vote for Red Blount is a
vote against forced busing . . . against coddling
criminals . . . against welfare freeloaders."

That's pretty nasty stuff, if you ask us. Was Bush
practicing "gutter politics"? We report, you decide.

Drinking and Drugs

When Bush wasn't engaging in dirty tricks, he was busy
drinking - and allegedly doing illegal drugs too.
According to Glynn Wilson,

Those who encountered Bush in Alabama remember him as
an affable social drinker who acted younger than his
26 years. Referred to as George Bush, Jr. by
newspapers in those days, sources say he also tended
to show up late every day, around noon or one, at
Blount's campaign headquarters in Montgomery. They say
Bush would prop his cowboy boots on a desk and brag
about how much he drank the night before.

They also remember Bush's stories about how the New
Haven, Connecticut police always let him go, after he
told them his name, when they stopped him "all the
time" for driving drunk as a student at Yale in the
late 1960s. Bush told this story to others working in
the campaign "what seemed like a hundred times," says
Red Blount's nephew C. Murphy Archibald, now an
attorney in Charlotte, N.C., who also worked on the
Blount campaign and said he had "vivid memories" of
that time.

"He would laugh uproariously as though there was
something funny about this. To me, that was pretty
memorable, because here he is, a number of years out
of college, talking about this to people he doesn't
know," Archibald said. "He just struck me as a guy who
really had an idea of himself as very much a child of
privilege, that he wasn't operating by the same


Many of those who came into close contact with Bush
say he liked to drink beer and Jim Beam whiskey, and
to eat fist-fulls of peanuts, and Executive burgers,
at the Cloverdale Grill. They also say he liked to
sneak out back for a joint of marijuana or into the
head for a line of cocaine.

According to Cathy Donelson, a daughter of old
Montgomery but one of the toughest investigative
reporters to work for newspapers in Alabama over the
years, the 1960s came to Old Cloverdale in the early
1970s about the time of Bush's arrival.

"We did a lot of drugs in those days," she said. "The
1970s are a blur."


The gap in Bush's military records for 1972, and his
lack of a full answer to the question about his drug
use, generated stories during the 2000 campaign. Bush
refused for months to say whether he had ever used
illegal drugs. Then he changed his stance, according
to the Boston Globe, saying he had not used illegal
drugs "since 1974."

Does that mean he used drugs in 1974, 1973, 1972, and

For Lt. Bush, alcohol and drug abuse suddenly became a
career-threatening problem in April 1972 - the exact
month he stopped flying. That was the month when the
National Guard announced the start of random drug

It appears Lt. Bush faced a tough choice, possibly a
defining choice for his life: partying or flying?

As the record makes clear, he did not choose flying.

In May 1972, Bush asked for a transfer to a non-flying
ANG unit in Alabama. Was that just an accident? Or did
Bush deliberately request a transfer to a non-flying
unit so he could stop... flying?

That transfer was approved by Bush's officer buddies
in Houston, but rejected by officers in Washington who
were trying to keep expensively trained pilots flying
to defend America's borders.

Soon came July 6, 1972, when Bush should have reported
to a military surgeon in Texas or Alabama for his
annual flight physical. But something happened: either
Bush took the physical and failed it, or he just
didn't show up. Either way, he knew he would be
grounded. He made his choice.

Elisabeth wants to know why. But McClellan says "sorry
Elisabeth, you're 'trolling for trash.'"


Bush was no stranger to the inside of a jail room. He
was arrested at least twice while at Yale - once for
stealing a Christmas decoration in New Haven, and once
for pulling down a goalpost at a Princeton game. He
was also arrested in 1974 for DUI in Kennebunkport
Maine, which triggered a media frenzy at the end of
the 2000 campaign - and caused him to lose the popular
vote nationally, after leading in all the pre-election

When Bush entered the National Guard in 1968 he was
not yet completely above the law, so he had to list
his prior arrests. How many were there? We don't know
yet, because these entries have been blacked out in
response to every FOIA request. If Bush wants to honor
his promise to Tim Russert to release "everything," he
could easily waive his privacy protections so the
military could release "unredacted" records.

Bush's pre-Guard arrest record is important. According
to USA Today,

The nature of what was blacked out in Bush's records
is important because certain legal problems, such as
drug or alcohol violations, could have been a basis
for denying an applicant entry into the Guard or pilot
training. Admission to the Guard and to pilot school
was highly competitive at that time, the height of the
Vietnam War.
But the release of 1968 records will not answer the
big mystery: whether Bush was arrested in 1972-3 in
Alabama or Texas. According to Glynn Wilson,

Two books now contain the charge that Bush was
arrested for possession of cocaine in 1972 in Texas,
most likely in late November or December after his
stint in Alabama. Bush was allowed to perform
community service in 1973 by working for a minority
children's program in Houston, Professionals United
for Leadership League (PULL), chaired by his father.
The record of that arrest was expunged, meaning he
apparently received the equivalent of Youthful
Offender status at the age of 26.

One of these books was J.H. Hatfield's 1999 biography
"Fortunate Son," which claimed "Bush was arrested for
cocaine possession in 1972, but had his record
expunged with help from his family's political
connections." Hatfield cited sources close to Bush,
specifically Karl Rove and Clay Johnson. Hatfield's
shocking revelations led to a vicious counterattack by
the Bush campaign, including the leaking of Hatfield's
own criminal record, which persuaded St. Martin's
press to destroy all copies of the book. ("Fortunate
Son" was then reissued by Sander Hicks' Softskull
Press, but the saga ended in tragedy with Hatfield's
suicide in July 2001. The story was poignantly told in
the documentary "Horns and Halos.")

Hatfield's claim was seconded by Toby Rogers in
January 2000:

In an April 1998 interview with Houston Public News
reporter Toby Rogers, former President George Bush's
Chief of Staff Michael C. Dannenhauer2 admitted that
G. W. Bush "was out of control since college. There
was cocaine use, lots of women, but the drinking was
the worst." According to Dannenhauer, Bush's use of
cocaine started "sometime before 1977" and that former
President Bush told him that George W. even
experienced some "lost weekends in Mexico."

The Dannenhauer admission was published in a Web
magazine called The Greenwich Village Gazette on
September 13, 1999. However, the story, which did not
mention Dannenhauer by name, was pulled only hours
after going up because of fear of lawsuits and the
publisher's worry about there not being a second
source for George W. Bush's cocaine use.

In October 1999, Dannenhauer denied he had given the
interview to Rogers, then called the charges
attributed to him "a total lie."

Bush likes to brag about his work with these children,
which is apparently the only community service work he
ever performed. But Americans are prohibited from
knowing the circumstances by which he ended up working
in this program, and whether it was alternative
service for an arrest. Of course there are no court
records to look at, since the powerful Bush family
could arrange for them to be sealed or purged. The
only trace might have been recorded on his driver's
license. But that trace disappeared when Bush issued
himself a brand new driver's license when he became
Texas governor in 1995.


If Bush was indeed arrested - and had his records
scrubbed - that would be consistent with events
throughout his entire life. Bush has been linked to
innumerable scandals - from his youthful arrests, to
his insider trading at Harken (infinitely worse than
Martha Stewart's alleged crime), to the warnings he
received about September 11.

But each time the records were scrubbed so no traces
could be found. Indeed, record scrubbing is an
integral part of the Bush family history, including
grandfather Prescott Bush's dealing with the Nazi's
during World War II and George Herbert Walker Bush's
role in numerous scandals, including the sale of WMD's
to Saddam Hussein during the Reagan and Bush
administrations (Iraqgate), and the Iran-Contra

That is why reporters are having so much trouble
"trolling for the truth" about Bush's military record
- and why the story won't go away until the truth is

At the moment, reporters around the country are
looking for hard evidence. While McClellan believes
his "pay" records answer all questions, pay records
prove nothing. As Washington Post columnist Richard
Cohen made clear, Guardsmen were getting paid for
service they did not perform.

Moreover, Bush's records are contradictory, since he
received retirement points and possibly pay for "duty"
in his 5th and 6th years, but that "duty" never
appeared on his service record - and no one saw him
perform it.

The definitive records would be the sign-in sheets
that every Guardsman must sign for every half-day of
duty. Where are these?

Criminal Conspiracy

According to two witnesses, Bush's records were
scrubbed while Bush was Governor of Texas, in
preparation for his run for President. Today the
Dallas Morning News reported:

Retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett said
Tuesday that in 1997, then-Gov. Bush's chief of staff,
Joe Allbaugh, told the National Guard chief to get the
Bush file and make certain "there's not anything there
that will embarrass the governor."

Col. Burkett said that a few days later at Camp Mabry
in Austin, he saw Mr. Bush's file and documents from
it discarded in a trash can. He said he recognized the
documents as retirement point summaries and pay forms.

This is an extremely serious charge - a conspiracy to
alter federal records. And it brought a firm rebuttal
from each of the accused:

Bush aides denied any destruction of records in Mr.
Bush's personnel file. "The charges are just flat-out
not true," said Dan Bartlett, White House
communications director.

Mr. Allbaugh, now a Washington lobbyist, called Col.
Burkett's assertions "hogwash."

"The alleged discussion never happened," said James,
who appointed by the president in 2002 to lead the Air
National Guard. "I have never been involved in, nor
would I condone any discussion or any action to
falsify any record in any circumstance for anyone."

Later in the story, Burkett provided more details:

Col. Burkett, who has voted in both GOP and Democratic
primaries in the past, said he was disturbed over how
the Bush file was handled. He initially made his
assertions on a Web site two years ago, and they are
reported in detail in a forthcoming book, Bush's War
for Re-Election, by James Moore.

"I would like it that everybody sees the honest and
fair picture here," he said.

According to Col. Burkett, he was at headquarters in
the summer 1997 when he heard the conversation between
Gen. James and Mr. Allbaugh. He said the Guard
commander had the conversation about eliminating
"embarrassments" on a speakerphone.

About 10 days later, he said, he saw Texas Gen. John
Scribner going through the Bush file.

"I looked down and saw files on the table and of that
sort of stuff, and in the wastecan there is a
retirement points document that has the name Bush,
George W. lLt on it," he said. "There were both
originals and Xerox copies in the stack."

Gen. Scribner, now retired, denied the episode. "I
sure don't know anything about what he's talking
about," he said.

Burkett provided more details to USA Today, which
contacted the participants for more details, and ran
into a buzzsaw:

In an interview, Burkett said he recalled Allbaugh's
words: "We certainly don't want anything that is
embarrassing in there." Burkett said he immediately
told two other officers about the conversation and
noted it in a daily journal he kept. The two officers,
George Conn and Dennis Adams, confirmed to USA TODAY
in 2002 that Burkett told them of the conversation
within days.

Soon afterward, there was a series of meetings of top
commanders at Texas Guard headquarters at Camp Mabry.
Bush's records were carried between the base archives
and the headquarters building, according to Burkett
and the second Guard official, who was there.

The meetings were confirmed in a 2002 interview by USA
TODAY with William Leon, who was the state Guard's
freedom-of-information officer in the 1990s. He was
involved in discussions about what to release. Leon
declined to comment on the substance of the meetings
except to say, "We were making sure we released it
properly and made sure we did it in a timely manner."

Contacted at home Wednesday night, he refused to talk
to a reporter. He said: "Don't ever call me again at
home. I'll call your publisher and sue you."

Burkett's story is also confirmed by Warrant Officer
Harvey Gough (ret.), who says Dan Bartlett and Danny
James scrubbed "quite a bit. I think all his time in

Bush's files were tampered with in 1999 by Col. Albert
Lloyd Jr. (ret.), who wrote a memo analyzing Bush's
new "pay" documents.

Bush's files were altered in 2000, when Democrats.com
received an "untorn" version of the "torn" document.
As Democrats.com wrote in AWOL-Gate on 2-10-2004,

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.

After reviewing the powerful positions of those
implicated in this conspiracy, Democrats.com called
upon George W. Bush to appoint a Special Prosecutor to
investigate tampering with his official military
documents from 1972 until the present.

Fending off the Press

Faced with a demanding press corps, the White House is
desperately searching for any shred of evidence it can

Early Wednesday, the Moonie-owned Washington Times
found an old girlfriend from the Alabama campaign,
Emily Marks Curtis:

After that election, she said, Mr. Bush returned to
Texas. A few weeks later, he telephoned to say he was
returning to Montgomery to complete drilling days at
an Alabama squadron to which he had been transferred
that year.
It has been standard procedure for many years for
National Guard units to excuse members from scheduled
drills for employment reasons, with the stipulation
that missed drill time be made up.
"He called to tell me he was coming back to finish up
his National Guard duty," said Mrs. Curtis, who now
lives in New Orleans. "I can say categorically he was
there, and that's why he came back."
She said that he rented an apartment for a two-week
stay and that she met him for dinner several times.
"I didn't see him go to work. I didn't see him come
home from work," she said. "He told me that was why he
was in Montgomery. There is no other reason why he
would come back to Montgomery."

Of course this is just hearsay - not evidence - but
it's a nice try. But the alibi doesn't work: why would
Bush rent an apartment for two weeks and then serve
only 4 days from Nov. 11-14? It's just as likely that
Bush had another girlfriend from the campaign, and
didn't tell Emily about her.

Late Wednesday, McClellan announced the discovery of
records of a dental exam record in Alabama on Jan. 6,
1973. This raised a new set of questions:

Did Bush go back to Alabama after the Christmas
holidays, when he got drunk with his 16-year-old
brother Marvin and challenged his father to go "mano a
mano"? If so, this is the first time that trip has
ever been mentioned. According to the Washington Post,
Bush was in Houston "shortly after Christmas" working
for Project P.U.L.L. (see above).
January duty in Alabama would conflict with the
permission he sought and received for Alabama service,
which was only for Sept-Nov. After that period, he was
expected to return to his home base in Houston.
According to former ANG pilot Robert A. Rogers,
National Guard personnel are not entitled to dental
services by military doctors. "For the ordinary
Guardsman, this would be illegal and subject to
disciplinary action." Was Bush punished for this? This
is one more reason why we need to see Bush's
disciplinary records.
If the "pay" records are accurate and Bush got paid
for Guard duty on Jan. 6, did his actual duty consist
of getting a dental exam? The media wants to know what
Bush did after he stopped flying - this could be a
perfect symbol of Bush's last two years.
We know he was grounded by verbal orders on August 1,
1972, for not taking his flight physical. On September
29, 1972, official written orders issued by a major
general confirmed the grounding, and, most important,
ordered him to take a flight physical: "Off[icer] will
comply with para[graph] 2-10, AFM 35-13." There is no
evidence he ever complied with the order. Did he have
time to go for a dental exam but no time to carry out
a lawful order? In fact, there is no evidence that he
ever complied with this order, even after he returned
to Texas sometime in the winter 1972, after the
candidate he was working for lost the election.

Still, there is a useful aspect to the dental records
story: it was part of Bush's medical records, which
are clearly now in the hands of the White House. These
records could help answer the persistent questions
about Bush's failed physical and his alcohol and drug
abuse. Of course, there's one catch: the White House
refuses to release them. Instead, they had Bush's
current doctor declare Bush was "fit" for service.
Sure he was - when he was sober!


The researchers who are "trolling for truth" have
exposed a trail of lies, dirty tricks, drinking,
drugs, arrests, coverups, and criminal conspiracy.

As we get closer and closer to the truth - especially
the truth about Bush's failed physical and his
grounding from flight - Scott McClellan will attack us
even harder.

We will find the truth soon. Whether Bush will remain
in office afterwards remains to be seen.

Posted by richard at February 13, 2004 09:53 AM