February 17, 2005

John P. O誰eill Wall of Heroes Update

John P. O誰eill Wall of Heroes

Susan G interviews Ambassador Joe Wilson, www.dailykos.com: How did the interview with Gannon come about, given that it was a small-time conservative news outlet?
Gannon called me and identified himself as the White House Correspondent from Talon News, a conservative news organization. He wanted to do a wide-ranging interview on my position on the war as well as the Niger mission and the leak.
While I had never heard his name or the name of his organization before, I was happy to do it. I have long felt that it is readers and viewers of conservative media who could benefit from a more balanced discussion of what is at stake in our policy and the actions of our government. At one point I recall Gannon as saying he was a traditional conservative (distinguishing himself from the neoconservatives, who in my judgement have totally captured our foreign policy). Speaking to the Times and other mainstream media is fine but those readers and viewers are generally better informed and often of the same perspective. It is those on the other side to whom we need to address the issues even more than to those with whom we already share views.
Did you enter the interview fearful of "landmines" being set by the other side?
I never thought that I had anything to fear from landmines. I told the truth from the beginning. There was never anything to hide.
Were you struck immediately during the course of the interview by the fact that he discussed the internal memo?
As to the memo, I knew nothing about it other than a Post journalist had told me there was one circulating which he characterized as having been written by somebody who was not at the meeting where I was asked if I would be willing to go to Niger. The fact is Valerie was not at that meeting. Neither she nor I had any ulterior motive in this. It was not until almost six months later that I began to speak out on the war question and even when I did, I always believed that WMD was a legitimate reason to be tough on Saddam. The trip to Niger is only relevant because of the 16 words and the fact that the only evidence to support the yellowcake charge the US turned over to the IAEA (as they were required by Article 10 of USUN 1441) were those forged documents relating to Niger. The only information the British apparently shared with the IAEA was a trip to the region by an Iraqi diplomat a couple of years previously. As it turned out, the CIA had told both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the White House almost four months before the State of the Union address that it believed the British had "stretched" or "exaggerated" the yellowcake allegation. All of that was in the Senate report but unfortunately, was overlooked by the mainstream media.
Back to the memo, when Gannon mentioned it to me, I told him I knew nothing about it but
repeated that my wife was not at the meeting at which the subject of a trip to Niger was broached with me. I may have mentioned that I had heard that there was a memo out there but had no other knowledge about it. I still don't.
Are you comfortable letting it be known that you've spoken with me?
I have no problem with your saying you have spoken with me. I have no reason not to ensure that the truth is told and I am tired of the way in which the Republicans have smeared my family and myself for no reason other than to perpetuate their lies to the American people. I did not like fascists when I fought them as a diplomat for 23 years and I don't like them now in my own country
When I mentioned landmines above, I wasn't thinking of being caught out in a lie, rather I was wondering if you were concerned about having your words twisted or taken out of context in order to add fuel to a smear campaign.
I understand what you meant by landmines, but frankly, when somebody presents himself as a journalist, even one with a conservative bent, I don't(or didn't) think that landmines (or entrapment) would be what he was about. Most journalists who have interviewed me will tell you that I am careful with my use of words any way, and I certainly try to be. Clearly, I was mistaken in that assumption, given the smear campaign that was waged against me, based on lies and distortions of what I said and wrote.
That said, if we allow ourselves to be intimidated and silenced by the liars, our democracy will not survive. We have to continue to confront them.
My complaint is not so much about the smear campaign as it is about the laziness of so-called objective journalists who failed to even do basic research. If Susan Schmidt, the Post reporter, had bothered to call the CIA or check the written record, she would have learned that mere days after the Novak article appeared, the CIA (under the guise of an unnamed senior intelligence official) told Newsday that Valerie was not responsible for the decision to send me to Niger. The CIA repeated the same thing to every reporter who bothered to ask over the subsequent year.
If reporters had bothered to read the Senate report, they would have learned that not only
the White House but also the Senate Select committee itself was told by CIA management nearly four months before the State of the Union address that American intelligence did not believe the British claim. Unless the press is prepared to work at it we will continue to be bamboozled by administrations, and people like me who are prepared to speak out will become rare species indeed. Why do you think he was on the subpoena list with such other prominent media players when he was so small time?
I have never seen the list. Didn't even know it was public information. Remember that the case is between the USG and whoever leaked Valerie's name. Although our names are tied to it, we are not victims, the government is.
I didn't understand why Novak used her name in the first place and I don't understand the smear campaign other than as an attempt to provide a proactive defense if a crime was committed. As to my alleged incompetence, the Senate Select intelligence report makes my bona fides for the trip clear. I had a track record, having made a previous trip to Niger on behalf of the government in 1999 to look into uranium related matters. But the truth is an unfortunate victim in this matter.
My knowledge of Africa and of Niger is almost unparalleled in US policy circles. This was not an inquiry into nuclear weapons but an inquiry into mining practices in Africa. And, whatever the administration and its hired guns try to say, the fact remains, the White House acknowledged the day after my article appeared in the Times that "the sixteen words did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union." Within days, Stephen Hadley offered
his resignation and Condi did a mea culpa since, lo and behold, they "found" memos from the CIA saying not to use the information months before the State of the Union
What do you think of the process of research that's going on at Daily Kos on this issue? How does it fit into your view of the role of citizens versus the role of official media in information gathering and reporting?
I think that in the absence of a responsible national media, the blogs play an important role in trying to shed light on various issues, including the bona fides of so-called White House correspondents as well as tackling questions overlooked or ignored by the national journalists. I also believe that the nature of the profession has changed to the detriment of good investigative journalism. No longer is there a quest for the truth so much as there is this apparent need to present both sides of an issue even if one is nothing but lies and distortions. Giving the same value to fiction as to fact in the interest of so-called fairness is to mislead the American people and the press has become party to that.

Bloomberg: Billionaire investor George Soros, the biggest financial contributor to the failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush in November's election, said Democratic challenger John Kerry was a flawed candidate.
Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, spent $26 million in last year's campaign that he said was undermined by the candidate he supported.
``Kerry did not, actually, offer a credible and coherent alternative,'' Soros, 74, said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. ``That had a lot to do with Bush being re-elected.''
The comments by the Hungarian-born Soros marked his sharpest criticism of Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran who later spoke against the war and focused his campaign against Bush on the war in Iraq. Republicans gained four seats in the Senate, including the defeat of the Senate's highest-ranking Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Republicans have 55 seats in the 100-seat chamber.
The Kerry campaign ``tried to emphasize his role as a Vietnam War hero and downplay his role as an anti-Vietnam War hero, which he was,'' said Soros. ``Had he admitted, owned up to it, I think actually the outcome could have been different.''
Soros said he also now questions ``what the Democratic party stands for.'' Democrats need to counter ``a very effective conservative message machine,'' he said. ``There really needs to be an alternative.''
Still, Soros said the money he spent was worthwhile, and that he will remain active in U.S. politics.

Steven Wine, Associated Press: Carlos Delgado is willing to stand up for his beliefs -- or, in his case, not stand up.
At his introductory news conference Thursday with the Florida Marlins, Delgado said he'll continue to not stand up this season during the playing of "God Bless America."
An opponent of the war in Iraq, Delgado refused to stand when "God Bless America" was played last season at games involving his Toronto Blue Jays. Instead, he would stay on the bench or go into the dugout tunnel.
"I wouldn't call it politics, because I hate politics," Delgado said Thursday after finalizing his $52 million, four-year contract. "The reason why I didn't stand for `God Bless America' was because I didn't like the way they tied `God Bless America' and 9-11 to the war in Iraq in baseball.
"I say God bless America, God bless Miami, God bless Puerto Rico and all countries until there is peace in the world."

Armando, www.dailykos.com: Thanks to Senator Jeffords.
For those Democratic Senators who vote yes on Gonzales, a vote that inescapably endorses the torture policies of the Bush Administration, I can only express the deepest disappointment in your vote. You have betrayed the ideals of the Democratic Party and of our Country. I cannot support you. This issue goes to the very heart of what we are as Democrats and Americans. I simply cannot support a person who can condone the Bush Administration policy of torture.
The Democrats voting Yes on Gonzales were:
(1) Senator Ken Salazar (Colorado)
(2) Senator Joseph Lieberman (Conn.)
(3) Senator Ben Nelson (Neb.).
(4) Senator Mary Landrieu (La.)
(5) Senator Pryor (Ark)
(6) Senator Bill Nelson (Fla.)
Some of us [formerly we] will remember.

John Nichols, The Nation: When Rice appeared on January 18 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on which Boxer sits, it was the California Senator who did the heavy lifting. She began by announcing that, "I will...not shrink from questioning a war that was not built on truth." And she then detailed the role that Rice played in creating the foundation of lies for the war.
"Perhaps the most well known statement you have made was the one about Saddam Hussein launching a nuclear weapon on America, with the image of a 'mushroom cloud.' That image had to frighten every American into believing that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of annihilating them if he was not stopped," said Boxer, who then announced that, "I will be placing into the record a number of other such statements which have not been consistent with the facts nor the truth."
Then Boxer hammered home the point that really mattered: That when Rice and her team lied, people died.
"This war was sold to the American people--as Chief of Staff to President Bush Andy Card said--like a 'new product.' You rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people, and as you made your case, I personally believe that your loyalty to the mission you were given overwhelmed your respect for the truth," Bixer calmly declared. "That was a great disservice to the American people. But worse than that, our young men and women are dying. So far, 1,366 American troops have been killed in Iraq. More than 25 percent of those troops were from California. More than 10,372 have been wounded."
When Boxer read out the statistics, it was a devastating moment -- and a rare one. Seldom do Senators accuse prospective Cabinet members of lying. Rice knew she was taking a harder hit than anyone had expected. The nominee tried to get the upper hand with classic Washington spin. "Senator," Rice whined, "I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It's not in my nature. It's not in my character. And I would hope we could have this conversation...without impugning my credibility or my integrity."
Rice's problem was that her credibility and integrity had been impugned--not by Boxer but by the nominee herself. All Boxer did was bring Rice's deceptions to light and, perhaps most significantly, to link them to the continuing crisis in Iraq. In so doing, she shamed a number of her fellow Democrats into joining her in opposition not just to Rice but to the Administration's entire approach to the war.
Tuesday's Senate debate was distinguished by the bluntness of the criticism of Rice's record. "She exaggerated and distorted the facts," said Michigan's Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton announced that he was opposing Rice's nomination in order to hold the Administration accountable for its lies. "I don't like impugning anyone's integrity," Dayton said. "But I really don't like being lied to--repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally."
"My vote against this nominee is my statement that this administration's lies must stop now," the Minnesotan explained.

US Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV): Dr. Rice is responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the Administration used to scare the American people into believing that there was an imminent threat from Iraq. On September 8, 2002, Dr. Rice conjured visions of American cities being consumed by mushroom clouds. On an appearance on CNN, she warned: 典he problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
But Dr. Rice痴 statements in 2002 were not only wrong, they also did not accurately reflect the intelligence reports of the time. Declassified portions of the CIA痴 National Intelligence Estimate from October 2002 make it clear that there were disagreements among our intelligence analysts about the state of Iraq痴 nuclear program. But Dr. Rice seriously misrepresented their disputes when she categorically stated, 展e do know that [Saddam] is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.
Dr. Rice痴 role in the war against Iraq was not limited to building the case for an unprecedented, preemptive invasion of a country that had not attacked us first. Her role also extends to the Administration痴 failed efforts to establish peace in Iraq. In October 2003, five months after he declared "Mission Accomplished," the President created the Iraq Stabilization Group, headed by Dr. Rice. The task of the Iraq Stabilization Group was to coordinate efforts to speed reconstruction aid to help bring the violence in Iraq to an end
There are also many unanswered questions about Dr. Rice痴 record as National Security Advisor. Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism advisor, has leveled scathing criticism against Dr. Rice and the National Security Council for failing to recognize the threat from Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in the months leading up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In particular, Mr. Clarke states that he submitted a request on January 25, 2001, for an urgent meeting of the National Security Council on the threat of al Qaeda.
However, due to decisions made by Dr. Rice and her staff, that urgent meeting did not occur until too late: the meeting was not actually called until September 4, 2001. Mr. Clarke, who is widely acknowledged as one of the leading authorities on terrorism in government at that time, told the 9-11 Commission that he was so frustrated with those decisions that he asked to be reassigned to different issues, and the Bush White House approved that request.
Dr. Rice appeared before the 9-11 Commission on April 8, 2004, but if anything, her testimony raised only more questions about what the President and others knew about the threats to New York City and Washington, D.C. in the weeks before the attacks, and whether more could have been done to prevent them.
Why wasn稚 any action taken when she and the President received an intelligence report on August 6, 2001, entitled, 釘in Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States? Why did Dr. Rice and President Bush reassign Richard Clarke, the leading terrorism expert in the White House, soon after taking office in 2001? Why did it take nine months for Dr. Rice to call the first high-level National Security Council meeting on the threat of Osama bin Laden? As the Senate debates her nomination today, we still have not heard full answers to these questions.
In addition to Mr. Clarke痴 criticism, Dr. David Kay, the former CIA weapons inspector in Iraq, also has strong words for the National Security Council and its role in the run up to the war in Iraq. When Dr. Kay appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on August 18, 2004, to analyze why the Administration痴 pre-war intelligence was so wrong about weapons of mass destruction, he described the National Security Council as the "dog that didn稚 bark" to warn the President about the weakness of those intelligence reports. Dr. Kay continued: 摘very president who has been successful, at least that I know of, in the history of this republic, has developed both informal and formal means of getting checks on whether people who tell him things are in fact telling him the whole truth. The recent history has been a reliance on the NSC system to do it. I quite frankly think that has not served this president very well.
What Dr. Kay appears to state was his view that the National Security Council, under the leadership of Dr. Rice, did not do a sufficient job of raising doubts about the quality of the intelligence about Iraq. On the contrary, based upon Dr. Rice痴 statements that I quoted earlier, her rhetoric even went beyond the questionable intelligence that the CIA had available on Iraq, in order to hype the threats of aluminum tubes, mushroom clouds, and connections between Iraq and September 11.
In light of the massive reorganization of our intelligence agencies enacted by Congress last year, shouldn稚 this nomination spur the Senate to stop, look, and listen about what has been going on in the National Security Council for the last four years? Don稚 these serious questions about the failings of the National Security Council under Dr. Rice deserve a more through examination before the Senate votes to confirm her as the next Secretary of State?
US Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV): When asked whether those who are charged with conducting interrogations have been apprised of the Administration痴 repudiation of sections of the Bybee memo and the Administration痴 attendant change in policy, Judge Gonzales did not know the answer.
Judge Gonzales continues to deny responsibility for many of the policies and legal decisions made by this Administration. But the Fay and Schlesinger reports corroborate the fact that policy memos on torture, ghost detainees and the Geneva Conventions, which Judge Gonzales either wrote, requested, authorized, endorsed, or implemented, appear to have contributed to detainee abuses in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and Iraq, including those that occurred at Abu Ghraib.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has told us that abuse of Iraqi detainees has been widespread; not simply the wrongdoing of a few, as the White House first told us. And the abuse occurred not only at Abu Ghraib. Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that documents released last Monday by the Pentagon disclosed that prisoners had lodged dozens of abuse complaints against U.S. and Iraqi personnel who guarded detainees at another location a little-known palace in Baghdad that was converted into a prison. The documents suggest, for the first time, that numerous detainees were also abused at one of Saddam Hussein's former villas in eastern Baghdad. The article noted that, while previous cases of abuse of Iraqi prisoners had focused mainly on Abu Ghraib, allegations of abuse at this new location included that guards had sodomized a disabled man and killed his brother, then 鍍ossed his dying body into a cell, on top of his sister.
Judge Gonzales admits that he was physically present at discussions regarding whether acts of this nature constitute torture, but don稚 expect him to take responsibility for them.
Don稚 hold me accountable, he says. It wasn稚 I. And he doesn稚 just point fingers at the Justice Department. He spreads the blame around. While he admitted he壇 made some mistakes, he attempted to further deflect responsibility for his actions by saying the 登perational agencies also had responsibility to make decisions on interrogation techniques -- not him
Well, at the end of the day, one can only wonder then, what legal advice, if any, he actually gave the President. Does Judge Gonzales have an opinion on the question of what constitutes torture? Does the President? Does he or does the President have an opinion on the related question of whether it is legal to 途elocate detainees to 吐acilitate interrogations? Do they believe it is morally or constitutionally right? Do we know?
According to Art. II, Sec. 3 of the United States Constitution, as head of the Executive Branch, the President has a legal duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. The Constitution does not say that the President 都hould or 杜ay undertake that responsibility: it clearly states that the President 都hall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed. He is duty-bound to undertake that responsibility under the Constitution of the United States. And the President and his Counsel must be held accountable for not only failing to faithfully execute our laws, but for trying to undermine, contravene, and gut them.
With such a track record, how can we possibly trust this man to be the Attorney General of the United States? What sort of judgment has he exhibited?
As I stated with respect to Dr. Rice, there needs to be accountability in our government. There needs to be accountability for the innumerable blunders, bad decisions, and warped policies that have led the United States to the position in which we now find ourselves: trapped in Iraq amid increased violence; disgraced by detainee abuses first in Guantanamo, then in Afghanistan, Iraq, and probably in locations we have yet to discover; shunned by our allies; and perceived by the world community, rightly, as careening down the wrong path.
I do not believe our nation can rely on the judgment of a public official with so little respect for the rule of law. We cannot rely on the judgment of someone with so little regard for our constitutional system of government. I simply cannot support the nomination of someone who, despite his assertions to the contrary, obviously contributed in large measure to the atrocious policy failures and the contrived and abominable legal decisions that have flowed from this White House over the past four years. For all of these reasons, I have no choice but to vote against the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be the next Attorney General of the United States.

PAUL BONNER, Herald-Sun: In the spirit of the civil rights era, black people must forge a new political vision, Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., told members of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People on Sunday.
McKinney was the keynote speaker for the Durham Committee's annual meeting at White Rock Baptist Church. The organization, one of Durham's most influential and venerable political groups, is beginning its 70th year.
McKinney, who represents Georgia's 4th Congressional District east of Atlanta, described how she had been castigated by many and betrayed by some in Washington for her insistence on calling the Bush administration to account for lapses in intelligence and security leading up to the terrorist hijackings of Sept. 11, 2001
McKinney drew her biggest applause when she faulted "the corporate media and Uncle Toms" for not truly representing black Americans' plight.
"We need to go back to the blueprint we already have," she said, citing the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Critical mass for a new movement is in place, but it lacks "authentic" black leadership, she said.
"It's time for us to rise to greatness again," she said.

John O誰eill Wall of Heroes

Plame & Propagannon: Joe Wilson Speaks Out
by SusanG
Wed Feb 9th, 2005 at 08:45:52 PST

(From the diaries -- kos )
Yes, Kossacks, while you all were out linking to military porn sites and fraternity house pages and checking out friendster (you sordid crew, you), I've been spending my past few days in a leisurely, wide-ranging email discussion with Ambassador Joseph Wilson, asking him the questions we've all been dying to ask him.
Now did I get the better deal, or what?
Mr. Wilson has been incredibly gracious and generous with his time, and we are deeply indebted to him as a community for the insight he's offering us into our research into Gannon, Talon News and propaganda. He's a Daily Kos reader, and while not a registered user, is willing to answer additional questions we may have; I'll compile them from this thread, forward them to him and post a follow-up diary.
So without further ado, the incredible truth-speaker, Mr. Wilson:
How did the interview with Gannon come about, given that it was a small-time conservative news outlet?
Gannon called me and identified himself as the White House Correspondent from Talon News, a conservative news organization. He wanted to do a wide-ranging interview on my position on the war as well as the Niger mission and the leak.
While I had never heard his name or the name of his organization before, I was happy to do it. I have long felt that it is readers and viewers of conservative media who could benefit from a more balanced discussion of what is at stake in our policy and the actions of our government. At one point I recall Gannon as saying he was a traditional conservative (distinguishing himself from the neoconservatives, who in my judgement have totally captured our foreign policy). Speaking to the Times and other mainstream media is fine but those readers and viewers are generally better informed and often of the same perspective. It is those on the other side to whom we need to address the issues even more than to those with whom we already share views.
Did you enter the interview fearful of "landmines" being set by the other side?
I never thought that I had anything to fear from landmines. I told the truth from the beginning. There was never anything to hide.
Were you struck immediately during the course of the interview by the fact that he discussed the internal memo?
As to the memo, I knew nothing about it other than a Post journalist had told me there was one circulating which he characterized as having been written by somebody who was not at the meeting where I was asked if I would be willing to go to Niger. The fact is Valerie was not at that meeting. Neither she nor I had any ulterior motive in this. It was not until almost six months later that I began to speak out on the war question and even when I did, I always believed that WMD was a legitimate reason to be tough on Saddam. The trip to Niger is only relevant because of the 16 words and the fact that the only evidence to support the yellowcake charge the US turned over to the IAEA (as they were required by Article 10 of USUN 1441) were those forged documents relating to Niger. The only information the British apparently shared with the IAEA was a trip to the region by an Iraqi diplomat a couple of years previously. As it turned out, the CIA had told both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the White House almost four months before the State of the Union address that it believed the British had "stretched" or "exaggerated" the yellowcake allegation. All of that was in the Senate report but unfortunately, was overlooked by the mainstream media.
Back to the memo, when Gannon mentioned it to me, I told him I knew nothing about it but
repeated that my wife was not at the meeting at which the subject of a trip to Niger was broached with me. I may have mentioned that I had heard that there was a memo out there but had no other knowledge about it. I still don't.
Are you comfortable letting it be known that you've spoken with me?
I have no problem with your saying you have spoken with me. I have no reason not to ensure that the truth is told and I am tired of the way in which the Republicans have smeared my family and myself for no reason other than to perpetuate their lies to the American people. I did not like fascists when I fought them as a diplomat for 23 years and I don't like them now in my own country.
When I mentioned landmines above, I wasn't thinking of being caught out in a lie, rather I was wondering if you were concerned about having your words twisted or taken out of context in order to add fuel to a smear campaign.
I understand what you meant by landmines, but frankly, when somebody presents himself as a journalist, even one with a conservative bent, I don't(or didn't) think that landmines (or entrapment) would be what he was about. Most journalists who have interviewed me will tell you that I am careful with my use of words any way, and I certainly try to be. Clearly, I was mistaken in that assumption, given the smear campaign that was waged against me, based on lies and distortions of what I said and wrote.
That said, if we allow ourselves to be intimidated and silenced by the liars, our democracy will not survive. We have to continue to confront them.
My complaint is not so much about the smear campaign as it is about the laziness of so-called objective journalists who failed to even do basic research. If Susan Schmidt, the Post reporter, had bothered to call the CIA or check the written record, she would have learned that mere days after the Novak article appeared, the CIA (under the guise of an unnamed senior intelligence official) told Newsday that Valerie was not responsible for the decision to send me to Niger. The CIA repeated the same thing to every reporter who bothered to ask over the subsequent year.
If reporters had bothered to read the Senate report, they would have learned that not only
the White House but also the Senate Select committee itself was told by CIA management nearly four months before the State of the Union address that American intelligence did not believe the British claim. Unless the press is prepared to work at it we will continue to be bamboozled by administrations, and people like me who are prepared to speak out will become rare species indeed.
Now that there are a lot of questions about Gannon's identity and the legitimacy of Talon News, in retrospect, do you think you were being set up?
I frankly have not followed him more than what I occasionally see in the blogs. It is possible the interview was a setup. I don't believe I spoke to him more than twice at most by phone, by the way. I don't know who all knew about the so-called memo. I heard of its supposed existence from only one other reporter. I doubt he was repeating hearsay, since only one other journalist mentioned it to me.
Why do you think he was on the subpoena list with such other prominent media players when he was so small time?
I have never seen the list. Didn't even know it was public information. Remember that the case is between the USG and whoever leaked Valerie's name. Although our names are tied to it, we are not victims, the government is.
I didn't understand why Novak used her name in the first place and I don't understand the smear campaign other than as an attempt to provide a proactive defense if a crime was committed. As to my alleged incompetence, the Senate Select intelligence report makes my bona fides for the trip clear. I had a track record, having made a previous trip to Niger on behalf of the government in 1999 to look into uranium related matters. But the truth is an unfortunate victim in this matter.
My knowledge of Africa and of Niger is almost unparalleled in US policy circles. This was not an inquiry into nuclear weapons but an inquiry into mining practices in Africa. And, whatever the administration and its hired guns try to say, the fact remains, the White House acknowledged the day after my article appeared in the Times that "the sixteen words did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union." Within days, Stephen Hadley offered
his resignation and Condi did a mea culpa since, lo and behold, they "found" memos from the CIA saying not to use the information months before the State of the Union.
When did the interview with Gannon actually take place? It was published October,28, 2003, but we're trying to nail down the precise date you talked to him.
I don't recall but it couldn't have been more than a week earlier.
On the Daily Show on July 24, 2003, you showed a letter from Bush/Cheney '04 asking you to participate in the re-election campaign. What was the date on that letter?
The date of the letter was after the appearance of my article on July 6, 2003. The point of my showing the letter was to make a joke about bygones being bygones since Cheney had signed a letter asking me to be a co-chairman of the DC committee to reelect Bush/Cheney.
As far as you are aware, was your wife's name and status "common knowledge" inside the beltway as claimed by Clifford May in the National Review Online on Sept. 29, 2003?
If it was common knowledge that could only be because the conspiracy to leak her name was broader and deeper than currently understood. I have only laid eyes on May once in my life, we are not habitu駸 of the DC cocktail circuit (I think we have been to two so-called A list parties in seven years here and one of those was to celebrate the Declaration of Independence.) When the leak occurred nobody in our circle of friends or colleagues outside Valerie's place of employment knew what she did for a living. If our closest friends and family (my brother did not know) were unaware, the only way our political adversaries would know is if somebody from the administration spread the story.
In March 2003, you published an article in The Nation and appeared on CNN. Did these have repercussions from inside the administration?
Not to my knowledge. The first article I wrote appeared in the San Jose Mercury News in October, 2002. Brent Scowcroft called me after it appeared and asked if he could take it over to the White House and share it with officials there. I subsequently got a letter from President Bush's father (Bush 41) saying he "agreed with almost everything I wrote. My Nation article was an attack on the Neoconservatives and on the signatories of the PNAC for their misguided notions of an American Empire and how to propagate democracy around the world.
Approximately when did Chris Matthews contact you to say, "Rove says your wife is fair game?" Was it before or after Novak's July 14, 2003, article?
It was after. I think the date was July 21, 2003. The date is in my book, The Politics of Truth, which I recommend to everybody. It describes my career in American diplomacy as well as the way in which the 16 words and the subsequent leak played out.
What do you think of the process of research that's going on at Daily Kos on this issue? How does it fit into your view of the role of citizens versus the role of official media in information gathering and reporting?
I think that in the absence of a responsible national media, the blogs play an important role in trying to shed light on various issues, including the bona fides of so-called White House correspondents as well as tackling questions overlooked or ignored by the national journalists. I also believe that the nature of the profession has changed to the detriment of good investigative journalism. No longer is there a quest for the truth so much as there is this apparent need to present both sides of an issue even if one is nothing but lies and distortions. Giving the same value to fiction as to fact in the interest of so-called fairness is to mislead the American people and the press has become party to that.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/9/94615/61143

Soros Says Kerry's Failings Undermined Campaign Against Bush
Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire investor George Soros, the biggest financial contributor to the failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush in November's election, said Democratic challenger John Kerry was a flawed candidate.
Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, spent $26 million in last year's campaign that he said was undermined by the candidate he supported.
``Kerry did not, actually, offer a credible and coherent alternative,'' Soros, 74, said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. ``That had a lot to do with Bush being re-elected.''
The comments by the Hungarian-born Soros marked his sharpest criticism of Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran who later spoke against the war and focused his campaign against Bush on the war in Iraq. Republicans gained four seats in the Senate, including the defeat of the Senate's highest-ranking Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Republicans have 55 seats in the 100-seat chamber.
The Kerry campaign ``tried to emphasize his role as a Vietnam War hero and downplay his role as an anti-Vietnam War hero, which he was,'' said Soros. ``Had he admitted, owned up to it, I think actually the outcome could have been different.''
Alternative Needed
Soros said he also now questions ``what the Democratic party stands for.'' Democrats need to counter ``a very effective conservative message machine,'' he said. ``There really needs to be an alternative.''
Still, Soros said the money he spent was worthwhile, and that he will remain active in U.S. politics.
``I don't feel it's an investment that's gone bad, because when you stand up for principles you have to do it whether you win or lose,'' Soros said. ``I'm distressed that Bush was re-elected, but I don't feel that I wasted my money.''
Soros donated millions to the Media Fund, a group that ran television, print and radio advertisements against Bush, and America Coming Together, a group that mobilized voters in battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.
He also personally bought anti-Bush ads in newspapers around the country, and went on a 12-city speaking tour to criticize Bush's foreign policy.
Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, said in a Newsweek interview that he lost because he failed to connect with voters, the magazine reported in its Jan. 10 issue. He also attributed his loss to Bush's head start in organizing and fund-raising, and Bush's advantage of incumbency, particularly at a time of war, the article said.
Spreading Democracy
Soros criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan for cutting the benchmark U.S. interest rate to a four decade low of 1 percent, saying he gave Bush's re-elected chances a boost. ``So as far as I'm concerned, (Greenspan) lost credibility.''
Federal Reserve spokeswoman Michelle Smith declined to comment on Soros's remarks.
While he's not decided whether he'll continue to support candidates, Soros said he wants to raise the issue of America's role in the world. He questioned Bush's call in his inaugural address that the U.S. would seek to spread democracy.
``My conclusion is that America is an open society, the most successful, the most powerful in the world, that doesn't understand the first principle of an open society, namely that we may be wrong,'' he said. ``And as long as we have that position, we are not really qualified to propagate democracy all over the world.''
`Conspicuous' Absence
The Bush administration was ``conspicuous by its absence'' at the World Economic Forum, avoiding a growing consensus that much more needs to be done to alleviate world poverty, eradicate disease, and deal with global warming, Soros said.
``I think if the rest of the world succeeds in getting together to address these problems, reluctantly the Bush administration will have to go along. Because I think American public opinion will push them to do it,'' Soros said.
In a Davos speech, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, the closest U.S. ally in Europe, called on the U.S. to cooperate more with other nations. ``If America wants the rest of the world to be part of the agenda it has set, it must be part of their agenda, too,'' he said Jan. 26.
Soros said he's no longer actively investing and is primarily interested only in earning enough to support $300 million in annual spending on philanthropic and political projects.
Quantum Endowment
``We converted the Quantum Fund into the Quantum Endowment Fund. It's meant to be more like an endowment fund,'' Soros said. ``It's a very different objective from when I was active, trying to make money.''
Mark Schwartz, Soros Fund Management's chief executive officer, left the firm Jan. 3, the sixth senior executive to leave Soros Fund Management since 2000.
Schwartz oversaw a reorganization that involved shedding the real estate, credit and lending units and putting Soros's sons in charge. The sons, Robert, 41, and Jonathan, 34, in October were named co-deputy chairmen of the New York-based firm, which manages about $8.3 billion.
They are in charge of ``overall management, and maybe developing an internal team,'' Soros said. For now, Soros Fund Management is using outside investment managers, he said.

To contact the report on this story: Michael McKee in New York mmckee@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story; Kevin Miller
in Washington kmiller@Bloomberg.net
Last Updated: January 30, 2005 06:54 EST
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=aqkoN4tLMDv8&refer=top_world_news


http://www.truthout.org/docs_05/012905Y.shtml

Published on Friday, January 28, 2005 by the Associated Press

Delgado Cleanly Fields Questions Regarding War Protest
by Steven Wine

Carlos Delgado is willing to stand up for his beliefs -- or, in his case, not stand up.
At his introductory news conference Thursday with the Florida Marlins, Delgado said he'll continue to not stand up this season during the playing of "God Bless America."
An opponent of the war in Iraq, Delgado refused to stand when "God Bless America" was played last season at games involving his Toronto Blue Jays. Instead, he would stay on the bench or go into the dugout tunnel.
"I wouldn't call it politics, because I hate politics," Delgado said Thursday after finalizing his $52 million, four-year contract. "The reason why I didn't stand for `God Bless America' was because I didn't like the way they tied `God Bless America' and 9-11 to the war in Iraq in baseball.
"I say God bless America, God bless Miami, God bless Puerto Rico and all countries until there is peace in the world."
Marlins officials, who gave Delgado the richest per-season contract in the team's 12-year history, made no objection to his war protest.
"The Marlins don't support it, and we don't not support it," team president David Samson said. "He's an adult. The club's position is that what he does is up to him."
Florida is mostly interested in Delgado producing runs the way he did with Toronto, where he hit at least 30 homers each of the past eight seasons. He's the kind of hitter the Marlins have long coveted -- a left-handed slugger capable of altering the balance of power in the NL East. He's also a box-office draw who boosted season-ticket sales at least fivefold this week.
The Marlins won out in the bidding over Texas, Baltimore and the New York Mets. Delgado wasn't surprised by the fervor with which he was pursued.
"What do you think I am, chopped liver?" he said with a grin.
Texas offered $48 million, then withdrew. The Mets offered $52 million and the Orioles $48 million.
"It wasn't that I came to the Marlins over the Mets. We were talking to a few different teams. It seems like the media made the Mets a bigger deal (than) what it actually was," he said. "I think this is the best fit for me to have a chance to win. And the fact that it's nice and warm here, the fact that it's only two hours from Puerto Rico, yeah, it is very nice as well, it's gravy."
His news conference took place at the Marlins' stadium in the Miami Dolphins locker room, and for a change the mood in the room was jovial. Among those in attendance were manager Jack McKeon and three of Delgado's new teammates -- Mike Lowell, Al Leiter and Jeff Conine.
As usual, McKeon drew the biggest laugh. He has lobbied for a left-handed power hitter ever since becoming the Marlins' manager in 2003.
"Jack, I guess now you know you've got the left-handed bat you want," owner Jeffrey Loria said.
"It's about time," McKeon responded with a playful grumble.
One factor influencing Delgado's choice of teams: He has yet to reach the postseason, while the Marlins own two World Series titles since 1997. The slugger said he noticed Loria's enormous 2003 championship ring.
"How can I miss it?" Delgado said. "He says he's going to make next year's bigger. ... This ballclub has a very, very good chance to make it to the playoffs. After being somewhere else for 10 years and not having the opportunity to smell the playoffs, I wanted to put myself on a team that had a chance to win."
During negotiations with the free agent, teams raised the issue of Delgado's stance regarding the Iraq war, said his agent, David Sloane. It wasn't an obstacle to a deal with any club because Delgado was willing to follow team policy regarding "God Bless America," Sloane said.
"He didn't like the politicization of baseball making use of the song," Sloane said. "But he told me, `I will never do anything to place myself above my teammates.' If you have a policy that everybody has to be on the top step, he'll be on the top step."
The Blue Jays had no such policy, and neither do the Marlins.
Even Toronto teammates who disagreed with Delgado accepted his right to refuse to rise for the song. Conine predicted there will be little reaction from Delgado's new teammates.
"That's an opinion of his, and you have to respect that," Conine said. "He's man enough to stand by it. I don't think there's going to be one thing said or one ill thought in the clubhouse."
While Delgado doesn't make a public show of his protest, he was the target of scattered jeers when he played last summer at Yankee Stadium, the only park in the majors where "God Bless America" has been played during every game since the Sept. 11 attacks.
But he said reaction to his stance has been mostly supportive.
"Probably 90 percent of the people I've talked to say they agree with that," he said. "I don't do stuff so people agree with me. But it's always nice to get some sort of support."
Regarding his war protest, Delgado fielded the questions cleanly. Word is he can also hit.
ゥ 2005 Associated Press
###
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0128-09.htm

Democrats Oppose Torture, Republicans Endorse Torture
by Armando
Thu Feb 3rd, 2005 at 14:01:36 PST

My thanks and congratulations to the Senate Democratic Leadership, our Leader, Senator Harry Reid, our Ranking Member in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy, the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sens. Kennedy, Biden, Feinstein, Durbin, Feingold, Schumer and Kohl, and the overwhelming majority of Democratic Senators.
You stood up for the values of our Democratic Party and of our Country. I salute you all.
Thanks to Senator Jeffords.
For those Democratic Senators who vote yes on Gonzales, a vote that inescapably endorses the torture policies of the Bush Administration, I can only express the deepest disappointment in your vote.
You have betrayed the ideals of the Democratic Party and of our Country. I cannot support you. This issue goes to the very heart of what we are as Democrats and Americans. I simply cannot support a person who can condone the Bush Administration policy of torture.
The Democrats voting Yes on Gonzales were:
(1) Senator Ken Salazar (Colorado).
(2) Senator Joseph Lieberman (Conn.).
(3) Senator Ben Nelson (Neb.).
(4) Senator Mary Landrieu (La.)
(5) Senator Pryor (Ark).
(6) Senator Bill Nelson (Fla.)
Some of us [formerly we] will remember.
As for the Republican Senators, who all voted yes, you merely confirm what the Republican Party has become in the era of George W. Bush - un-American.
http://dailykos.com/story/2005/2/3/17136/82734

Published on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 by The Nation

Boxer Rebellion Spreads
by John Nichols

Give Barbara Boxer credit for sparking the most engaged debate that the Senate has yet seen over the Bush Administration lies that led the United States into the quagmire that is Iraq.
Boxer, the California Democrat who has been increasingly vocal in her objections to the Administration's reign of error and excess, seized the opening provided by President Bush's nomination of Condoleezza Rice to serve as Secretary of State to try and force a necessary discussion about the misstatements, misconceptions and misdeeds that Rice and others in the Administration used to make the "case" for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And, to the surprise even of some war foes, she got it.
Yes, of course, Rice's confirmation was certain. In a Senate where the balance is now tipped 55-45 toward a Republican caucus that for the most part puts party loyalty above duty to country, and where there are still too many Democrats who continue to preach the failed "can't-we-all-just-get-along" mantra that has relegated the party to minority status, there was never any chance that the national security advisor's record of failure and deception would prevent her from taking change of the State Department.
But Rice's road to Foggy Bottom proved to be far rockier than had been expected. Tuesday's Senate debate on her nomination was one of the most charged that the chamber has seen in recent years, and while Rice survived, she did not finish the day unscathed. Senator after Senator rose to recall what Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, described as Rice's "false reasons" for going to war, and to charge, as Kennedy did, that had Rice told the truth "it might have changed the course of history."
Though he and others were eloquent in their critique of Rice on Tuesday, the person who changed the course of history with regard to the debate over the Bush Administration's nominee for Secretary of State was not Kennedy, nor West Virginia's Robert Byrd, nor any of the other more senior senators who ripped Rice. Rather, it was Barbara Boxer, the diligent if not always prominent senator from the Golden State.
When Rice appeared on January 18 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on which Boxer sits, it was the California Senator who did the heavy lifting. She began by announcing that, "I will...not shrink from questioning a war that was not built on truth." And she then detailed the role that Rice played in creating the foundation of lies for the war.
"Perhaps the most well known statement you have made was the one about Saddam Hussein launching a nuclear weapon on America, with the image of a 'mushroom cloud.' That image had to frighten every American into believing that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of annihilating them if he was not stopped," said Boxer, who then announced that, "I will be placing into the record a number of other such statements which have not been consistent with the facts nor the truth."
Then Boxer hammered home the point that really mattered: That when Rice and her team lied, people died.
"This war was sold to the American people--as Chief of Staff to President Bush Andy Card said--like a 'new product.' You rolled out the idea and then you had to convince the people, and as you made your case, I personally believe that your loyalty to the mission you were given overwhelmed your respect for the truth," Bixer calmly declared. "That was a great disservice to the American people. But worse than that, our young men and women are dying. So far, 1,366 American troops have been killed in Iraq. More than 25 percent of those troops were from California. More than 10,372 have been wounded."
When Boxer read out the statistics, it was a devastating moment -- and a rare one. Seldom do Senators accuse prospective Cabinet members of lying. Rice knew she was taking a harder hit than anyone had expected. The nominee tried to get the upper hand with classic Washington spin. "Senator," Rice whined, "I have never, ever lost respect for the truth in the service of anything. It's not in my nature. It's not in my character. And I would hope we could have this conversation...without impugning my credibility or my integrity."
Rice's problem was that her credibility and integrity had been impugned--not by Boxer but by the nominee herself. All Boxer did was bring Rice's deceptions to light and, perhaps most significantly, to link them to the continuing crisis in Iraq. In so doing, she shamed a number of her fellow Democrats into joining her in opposition not just to Rice but to the Administration's entire approach to the war.
Tuesday's Senate debate was distinguished by the bluntness of the criticism of Rice's record. "She exaggerated and distorted the facts," said Michigan's Carl Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Minnesota Democrat Mark Dayton announced that he was opposing Rice's nomination in order to hold the Administration accountable for its lies. "I don't like impugning anyone's integrity," Dayton said. "But I really don't like being lied to--repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally."
"My vote against this nominee is my statement that this administration's lies must stop now," the Minnesotan explained.
Other senators were equally pointed in their condemnations of the nominee.
"Dr. Rice is responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the administration used to scare the American people," thundered West Virginia's Byrd, who argued that, "Her confirmation will most certainly be viewed as another endorsement of the administration's unconstitutional doctrine of preemptive war, its bullying policies of unilateralism, and its callous rejection of long-standing allies."
Byrd remarks were, as always, historically rich and intellectually powerful. But the dean of the Senate did not hesitate to give credit where credit was due.
Recalling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee session at which his colleague from California had grilled Rice, the senior Senator said, "I was particularly impressed by Senator Boxer, who tackled her role on the committee with passion and forthrightness..."
Expressing his dismay with Republicans who have accused Senate Democrats of engaging in "petty politics" by demanding a debate on Rice's nomination, Byrd argued that, "Nothing could be further from the truth. The Senate's role of advice and consent to presidential nominations is not a ceremonial exercise."
Byrd was right to assert that the Senate's constitutionally dictated "advice and consent" duty "is not a function of pomp and circumstance" and that senators must never "acquiesce mutely to the nomination of one of the most important members of the President's Cabinet."
He was equally right to recognize the critical role that Boxer played in assuring that so many Democratic senators recognized their responsibility to assume that the consideration of Rice's nomination was something more that "a ceremonial exercise."
ゥ 2005 The Nation

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0126-32.htm


Published on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
"Standing for the Founding Principles of the Republic"
by US Senator Robert C. Byrd
Remarks delivered Tuesday as the Senate debated the nomination of Dr. Condoleezza Rice to be Secretary of State. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the nomination on Wednesday.


The Constitution, in Article Two, Section Two, states that the President "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States..." Recognizing that the Senate痴 role of advice and consent is one of the few legislative powers explicitly cited in the Constitution, Senator Byrd believes that it is a power that Senators of both parties must rigorously protect. It is not a ceremonial exercise.
With regard to this nomination, Senator Byrd has been particularly concerned about Dr. Rice痴 role in crafting the Bush doctrine of preemption, or the first-strike war. No one denies that the President has the inherent authority to repel attacks against our country, but Senator Byrd believes that the doctrine of first-strike war against another country which does not pose an imminent threat to the United States is unconstitutional.
In Federalist Number 77, Alexander Hamilton wrote:
的t will readily be comprehended, that a man who had himself the sole disposition of offices, would be governed much more by his private inclinations and interests, than when he was bound to submit the propriety of his choice to the discussion and determination of a different and independent body, and that body an entire branch of the legislature. The possibility of rejection would be a strong motive to care in proposing.
Although Hamilton explains the importance of the role of the Senate in the appointment of officers of the United States, neither he, nor the Constitution, is specific about what criteria Senators must use to judge the qualifications of a nominee. The Constitution only requires that the Senate give its advice and consent. It is therefore left to Senators to use their own judgment in considering their vote. The factors involved in such judgments may vary among Senators, among nominees, and may even change in response to the needs of the times.
The position of Secretary of State is among the most important offices for which the Constitution requires the advice and consent of the Senate. It is the Secretary of State that sits at the right hand of the President during meetings of the Cabinet. The Secretary of State is all the more important today, considering the enormous diplomatic challenges our country will face in the next four years.
I must commend the Foreign Relations Committee for its work in bringing the nomination of Dr. Condoleezza Rice to the Floor of the Senate. Chairman Richard Lugar conducted two days of hearings for this nominee, and the debate that began in the committee on this nomination is now being continued here on the Floor of the Senate. Senator Biden also provided a voice of great foreign policy experience during those hearings. I was particularly impressed by Senator Boxer, who tackled her role on the committee with passion and forthrightness, as did Senator Kerry.
There is no doubt that Dr. Rice has a remarkable record of personal achievement. She obtained her bachelor痴 degree at the tender age of 19. Speaking as someone who did not earn a bachelor痴 degree until I had reached 77 years of age, I have a special appreciation for Dr. Rice痴 impressive academic achievement. She then obtained a doctorate in international studies, and quickly rose through the academic ranks to become Provost of Stanford University.
Dr. Rice has also gathered extensive experience in foreign policy matters. She is a recognized expert on matters relating to Russia and the former Soviet Union. She has twice worked on the National Security Council, once as the senior advisor on Soviet issues, and most recently, for four years as National Security Advisor. Dr. Rice has had ample exposure to the nuances of international politics, and by that measure, she is certainly qualified for the position of Secretary of State.
The next Secretary of State will have large shoes to fill. I have closely watched the career of Colin Powell since he served as National Security Advisor to President Reagan, and we worked together during the Senate consideration of the INF Treaty of 1988. He distinguished himself in his service as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, particularly during the 1991 Gulf War. When his nomination came before the Senate in 2001, I supported his confirmation based upon the strength of his record.
The vote that the Senate will conduct tomorrow, however, is not simply a formality to approve of a nominee痴 educational achievement or level of expertise. I do not subscribe to the notion that the Senate must confirm a President痴 nominees, barring criminality or lack of experience. The Constitution enjoins Senators to use their judgment in considering nominations.
I am particularly dismayed by accusations I have read that Senate Democrats, by insisting on having an opportunity to debate the nomination of Dr. Rice, have somehow been engaged in nothing more substantial than 菟etty politics or partisan delaying tactics. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Senate痴 role of advice and consent to presidential nominations is not a ceremonial exercise.
I have stood on this Senate floor more times than I can count to defend the prerogatives of this institution and the separate but equal with emphasis on the word 兎qual powers of the three branches of government. A unique power of the Legislative Branch is the Senate痴 role in providing advice and consent on the matter of nominations. That power is not vested in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or any other committee; nor does it repose in a handful of Senate leaders. It is not a function of pomp and circumstance, and it was never intended by the Framers to be used to burnish the image of a President on inauguration day.
And yet that is exactly what Senators were being pressured to do last week to acquiesce mutely to the nomination of one of the most important members of the President痴 Cabinet without the merest hiccup of debate or the smallest inconvenience of a roll call vote.
And so we are here today to fulfill our constitutional duty to consider the nomination of Dr. Rice to be Secretary of State. Mr. President, I have carefully considered Dr. Rice痴 record as National Security Advisor in the two months that have passed since the President announced her nomination to be Secretary of State. That record, I am afraid, is one of intimate involvement in a number of Administration foreign policies which I strongly oppose. These policies have fostered enormous opposition -- both at home and abroad -- to the White House痴 view of America痴 place in the world.
That view of America is one which encourages our Nation to flex its muscles without being bound by any calls for restraint. The most forceful explanation of this idea can be found in "The National Security Strategy of the United States," a report which was issued by the White House in September 2002. Under this strategy, the President lays claim to an expansive power to use our military to strike other nations first, even if we have not been threatened or provoked.
There is no question that the President has the inherent authority to repel attacks against our country, but this National Security Strategy is unconstitutional on its face. It takes the checks and balances established in the Constitution that limit the President痴 ability to use our military at his pleasure, and throws them out the window.
This doctrine of preemptive strikes places the sole decision of war and peace in the hands of the President and undermines the Constitutional power of Congress to declare war. The Founding Fathers required that such an important issue of war be debated by the elected representatives of the people in the Legislative Branch precisely because no single man could be trusted with such an awesome power as bringing a nation to war by his decision alone. And yet, that it exactly what the National Security Strategy proposes.
Not only does this pernicious doctrine of preemptive war contradict the Constitution, it barely acknowledges its existence. The National Security Strategy makes only one passing reference to the Constitution: it states that "America痴 constitution" -- that is "constitution" with a small C -- "has served us well." As if the Constitution does not still serve this country well! One might ask if that reference to the Constitution was intended to be a compliment or an obituary?
As National Security Advisor, Dr. Rice was in charge of developing the National Security Strategy. She also spoke out forcefully in support of the dangerous doctrine of preemptive war. In one speech, she argues that there need not be an imminent threat before the United States attacks another nation: "So as a matter of common sense," said Dr. Rice on October 1, 2002, "the United States must be prepared to take action, when necessary, before threats have fully materialized."
But that "matter of common sense" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution. For that matter, isn稚 it possible to disagree with this 杜atter of common sense? What is common sense to one might not be shared by another. What痴 more, matters of common sense can lead people to the wrong conclusions. John Dickinson, the chief author of the Articles of Confederation, said in 1787, 摘xperience must be our only guide; reason may mislead us. As for me, I will heed the experience of Founding Fathers, as enshrined in the Constitution, over the reason and 田ommon sense of the Administration痴 National Security Strategy.
We can all agree that the President, any President, has the inherent duty and power to repel an attack on the United States. But where in the Constitution can the President claim the right to strike at another nation before it has even threatened our country, as Dr. Rice asserted in that speech? To put it plainly, Dr. Rice has asserted that the President holds far more of the war power than the Constitution grants him.
This doctrine of attacking countries before a threat has 吐ully materialized was put into motion as soon as the National Security Strategy was released. Beginning in September 2002, Dr. Rice also took a position on the front lines of the Administration痴 effort to hype the danger of Saddam痴 weapons of mass destruction.
Dr. Rice is responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the Administration used to scare the American people into believing that there was an imminent threat from Iraq. On September 8, 2002, Dr. Rice conjured visions of American cities being consumed by mushroom clouds. On an appearance on CNN, she warned: 典he problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."
Dr. Rice also claimed that she had conclusive evidence about Iraq痴 alleged nuclear weapons program. During that same interview, she also said: 展e do know that he is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. We do know that there have been shipments going into Iraq, for instance, of aluminum tubes that are really only suited for nuclear weapons programs.
We now know that Iraq痴 nuclear program was a fiction. Charles Duelfer, the chief arms inspector of the CIA痴 Iraq Survey Group, reported on September 30, 2004: 鉄addam Husayn ended the nuclear program in 1991 following the Gulf war. [The Iraq Survey Group] found no evidence to suggest concerted efforts to restart the program.
But Dr. Rice痴 statements in 2002 were not only wrong, they also did not accurately reflect the intelligence reports of the time. Declassified portions of the CIA痴 National Intelligence Estimate from October 2002 make it clear that there were disagreements among our intelligence analysts about the state of Iraq痴 nuclear program. But Dr. Rice seriously misrepresented their disputes when she categorically stated, 展e do know that [Saddam] is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.
Her allegation also misrepresented to the American people the controversy in those same intelligence reports about the aluminum tubes. Again, Dr. Rice said that these tubes were 途eally only suited for nuclear weapons programs. But intelligence experts at the State Department and the Department of Energy believed that those tubes had nothing to do with building a nuclear weapon, and made their dissent known in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate. This view, which was at odds with Dr. Rice痴 representations, was later confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and our own CIA arms inspectors.
Dr. Rice made other statements that helped to build a case for war by implying a link between Iraq and September 11. On multiple occasions, Dr. Rice spoke about the supposed evidence that Saddam and Al Qaeda were in league with each other. For example, on September 25, 2002, Dr. Rice said on the PBS NewsHour:
哲o one is trying to make an argument at this point that Saddam Hussein somehow had operational control of what happened on September 11, so we don稚 want to push this too far, but this is a story that is unfolding, and it is getting clear, and we池e learning more. But yes, there clearly are contact[s] between Al Qaeda and Iraq that can be documented; there clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there is a relationship there.
What Dr. Rice did not say was that some of those supposed links were being called into question by our intelligence agencies, such as the alleged meeting between a 9-11 ringleader and an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague that has now been debunked. These attempts to connect Iraq and Al Qaeda appear to be a prime example of cherry-picking intelligence to hype the supposed threat of Iraq, while keeping contrary evidence away from the American people, wrapped up in the red tape of top secret reports.
Dr. Rice pressed the point even further, creating scenarios that threatened tens of thousands of American lives, even when that threat wasn稚 supported by intelligence. On March 9, 2003, just eleven days before the invasion of Iraq, Dr. Rice appeared on 擢ace the Nation and said:
哲ow the al-Qaida is an organization that's quite dispersed and --and quite widespread in its effects, but it clearly has had links to the Iraqis, not to mention Iraqi links to all kinds of other terrorists. And what we do not want is the day when Saddam Hussein decides that he's had enough of dealing with sanctions, enough of dealing with, quote, unquote, "containment," enough of dealing with America, and it's time to end it on his terms, by transferring one of these weapons, just a little vial of something, to a terrorist for blackmail or for worse.
But the intelligence community had already addressed this scenario with great skepticism. In fact, the CIA痴 National Intelligence Estimate from October 2002 concluded that it had 斗ow confidence that Saddam would ever transfer any weapons of mass destruction weapons that he did not have, as it turned out to anyone outside of his control. This is yet more evidence of an abuse of intelligence in order to build the case for an unprovoked war with Iraq.
And what has been the effect of the first use of the reckless doctrine of preemptive war? In a most ironic and deadly twist, the false situation described by the Administration before the war -- namely, that Iraq was a training ground for terrorists poised to attack us -- is exactly the situation that our war in Iraq has created.
But it was this unjustified war that created the situation that the President claimed he was trying to prevent. Violent extremists have flooded into Iraq from all corners of the world. Iraqis have taken up arms themselves to fight against the continuing U.S. occupation of their country. According to a CIA report released in December 2004, intelligence analysts now see Iraq, destabilized by the Administration痴 ill-conceived war, as the training ground for a new generation of terrorists. [Mapping the Global Future: Report of the National Intelligence Council痴 2020 Project, pp. 94] It should be profoundly disturbing to all Americans if the most dangerous breeding ground for terrorism shifted from Afghanistan to Iraq, simply because of the Administration痴 ill-advised rush to war in March 2003.
Dr. Rice痴 role in the war against Iraq was not limited to building the case for an unprecedented, preemptive invasion of a country that had not attacked us first. Her role also extends to the Administration痴 failed efforts to establish peace in Iraq. In October 2003, five months after he declared "Mission Accomplished," the President created the Iraq Stabilization Group, headed by Dr. Rice. The task of the Iraq Stabilization Group was to coordinate efforts to speed reconstruction aid to help bring the violence in Iraq to an end.
But what has the Iraq Stabilization Group accomplished under the leadership of Dr. Rice? When she took the helm of the stabilization efforts, 319 U.S. troops had been killed in Iraq. That number now stands at 1,368 as of today (Tuesday 1/25). More than 10,600 troops have been wounded. The cost of the war has spiraled to $149 billion, and the White House is on the verge of asking Congress for another $80 billion. Despite the mandate of the Iraq Stabilization Group, the situation in Iraq has gone from bad to worse. More ominously, the level of violence only keeps growing, week after week, month after month, and no Administration official, whether from the White House, the Pentagon, or Foggy Bottom, has made any predictions about when the violence will finally subside.
Furthermore, of the $18.4 billion in Iraqi reconstruction aid appropriated by Congress in October 2003, the Administration has spent only $2.7 billion. With these funds moving so slowly, it is hard to believe that the Iraq Stabilization Group has had any success at all in speeding the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. For all the hue and cry about the need to speed up aid to Iraq, one wonders if there should be more tough questions asked of Dr. Rice about what she has accomplished as the head of this group.
There are also many unanswered questions about Dr. Rice痴 record as National Security Advisor. Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism advisor, has leveled scathing criticism against Dr. Rice and the National Security Council for failing to recognize the threat from Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden in the months leading up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In particular, Mr. Clarke states that he submitted a request on January 25, 2001, for an urgent meeting of the National Security Council on the threat of al Qaeda.
However, due to decisions made by Dr. Rice and her staff, that urgent meeting did not occur until too late: the meeting was not actually called until September 4, 2001. Mr. Clarke, who is widely acknowledged as one of the leading authorities on terrorism in government at that time, told the 9-11 Commission that he was so frustrated with those decisions that he asked to be reassigned to different issues, and the Bush White House approved that request.
Dr. Rice appeared before the 9-11 Commission on April 8, 2004, but if anything, her testimony raised only more questions about what the President and others knew about the threats to New York City and Washington, D.C. in the weeks before the attacks, and whether more could have been done to prevent them.
Why wasn稚 any action taken when she and the President received an intelligence report on August 6, 2001, entitled, 釘in Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States? Why did Dr. Rice and President Bush reassign Richard Clarke, the leading terrorism expert in the White House, soon after taking office in 2001? Why did it take nine months for Dr. Rice to call the first high-level National Security Council meeting on the threat of Osama bin Laden? As the Senate debates her nomination today, we still have not heard full answers to these questions.
In addition to Mr. Clarke痴 criticism, Dr. David Kay, the former CIA weapons inspector in Iraq, also has strong words for the National Security Council and its role in the run up to the war in Iraq. When Dr. Kay appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on August 18, 2004, to analyze why the Administration痴 pre-war intelligence was so wrong about weapons of mass destruction, he described the National Security Council as the "dog that didn稚 bark" to warn the President about the weakness of those intelligence reports. Dr. Kay continued: 摘very president who has been successful, at least that I know of, in the history of this republic, has developed both informal and formal means of getting checks on whether people who tell him things are in fact telling him the whole truth. The recent history has been a reliance on the NSC system to do it. I quite frankly think that has not served this president very well.
What Dr. Kay appears to state was his view that the National Security Council, under the leadership of Dr. Rice, did not do a sufficient job of raising doubts about the quality of the intelligence about Iraq. On the contrary, based upon Dr. Rice痴 statements that I quoted earlier, her rhetoric even went beyond the questionable intelligence that the CIA had available on Iraq, in order to hype the threats of aluminum tubes, mushroom clouds, and connections between Iraq and September 11.
In light of the massive reorganization of our intelligence agencies enacted by Congress last year, shouldn稚 this nomination spur the Senate to stop, look, and listen about what has been going on in the National Security Council for the last four years? Don稚 these serious questions about the failings of the National Security Council under Dr. Rice deserve a more through examination before the Senate votes to confirm her as the next Secretary of State?
Accountability has become an old-fashioned notion in some circles these days, but accountability is not a negotiable commodity when it comes to the highest circles of our nation痴 government. The accountability of government officials is an obligation, not a luxury. And yet, accountability is an obligation that this President and his administration appear loath to fulfill.
Instead of being held to account for their actions, the architects of the policies that led our nation into war with Iraq, policies based on faulty intelligence and phantom weapons of mass destruction, have been rewarded by the President with accolades and promotions. Instead of admitting to mistakes in the war on Iraq and its disastrous aftermath, the President and his inner circle of advisers continue to cling to myths and misconceptions. The only notion of accountability that this President is willing to acknowledge is the November elections, which he has described as a moment of accountability and an endorsement of his policies. Unfortunately, after-the-fact validation of victory is hardly the standard of accountability that the American people have the right to expect from their elected officials. It is one thing to accept responsibility for success; it is quite another to accept accountability for failure.
Sadly, failure has tainted far too many aspects of our nation痴 international policies over the past four years, culminating in the deadly insurgency that has resulted from the invasion of Iraq. With respect to this particular nomination, I believe that there needs to be accountability for the mistakes and missteps that have led the United States into the dilemma in which it finds itself today, besieged by increasing violence in Iraq, battling an unprecedented decline in world opinion, and increasingly isolated from our allies due to our provocative, belligerent, bellicose, and unilateralist foreign policy.
Whether the Administration will continue to pursue these policies cannot be known to Senators today, as we prepare to cast our votes. At her confirmation hearing on January 18, Dr. Rice proclaimed that 徹ur interaction with the rest of the world must be a conversation, not a monologue. But two days later, President Bush gave an inaugural address that seemed to rattle sabers at any nation that he does not consider to be free. Before Senators cast their vote, we must wonder whether we are casting our lot for more diplomacy or more belligerence? Reconciliation or more confrontation? Which face of this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde foreign policy will be revealed in the next four years?
Although I do not question her credentials, I do oppose many of the critical decisions that Dr. Rice has made during her four years as National Security Advisor. She has a record, and the record is there for us to judge. There remain too many unanswered questions about Dr. Rice痴 failure to protect our country before the tragic attacks of September 11, her public efforts to politicize intelligence, and her often stated allegiance to the doctrine of preemption.
To confirm Dr. Rice to be the next Secretary of State is to say to the American people, and the world, that the answers to those questions are no longer important. Her confirmation will most certainly be viewed as another endorsement of the Administration痴 unconstitutional doctrine of preemptive war, its bullying policies of unilateralism, and its callous rejection of our long-standing allies.
The stakes for the United States are too high. I cannot endorse higher responsibilities for those who helped set our great country down the path of increasing isolation, enmity in the world, and a war that has no end. For these reasons, I shall cast my vote in opposition to the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice to be the next Secretary of State.
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http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0125-34.htm
Published on Wednesday, February 2, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Respecting the Spirit and Letter of the Law
On the Nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General of the United States

by U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd

Senator Byrd delivered the following remarks regarding the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be the nation痴 next Attorney General. During the speech, Senator Byrd expressed strong concerns about Mr. Gonzales role in the prisoner abuse scandals that have arisen from cases in Iraq and Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, and the use of torture as an approved American interrogation policy. Senator Byrd also told his colleagues that the nominee, as the White House Counsel, has been responsible for programs and policies that undermine the principles of the Constitution of the United States.
Alberto Gonzales is Counsel to the President of the United States. For the past four years, Alberto Gonzales has served as the chief legal advisor to President Bush, housed in the West Wing of the White House, a stone痴 throw from the Oval Office.
The official biography of Alberto Gonzales on the White House website states that, before he was commissioned to be White House Counsel, Judge Gonzales was a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court. Prior to that, he served as the 100th Secretary of the State of Texas, where one of his many duties was to act as a senior advisor to then-Governor George W. Bush. Before that? He was General Counsel to Governor Bush for three years.
So, for over a decade, Alberto Gonzales has been a close confidante and advisor to George W. Bush, and the President has confirmed his personal and professional ties to Judge Gonzales on many occasions. The President has described him as both a 電ear friend and as 鍍he top legal official on the White House staff. When he nominated Alberto Gonzales to be the next Attorney General of the United States, the President began by asserting, 典his is the fifth time I have asked Judge Gonzales to serve his fellow citizens, and I am very grateful he keeps saying `yes . . . as the top legal official on the White House staff, he has led a superb team of lawyers.
In praising his nomination of Alberto Gonzales, the President specifically stressed the quintessential 斗eadership role that Alberto Gonzales has held in providing the President with legal advice on the war on terror. The President stated specifically that it was his 都harp intellect and sound judgment that 塗elped shape our policies in the war on terror. According to the President, Alberto Gonzales is one of his closest friends who, again in the words of the President, 殿lways gives me his frank opinion.
Imagine, then how perplexing and disheartening it has been to review the responses, or should I say, lack thereof, that were provided by Alberto Gonzales to Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing on January 6. It seemed as if, once seated before the committee, Judge Gonzales forgot that he had, in fact, been the President痴 top legal advisor for the past four years.
It was a strangely detached Alberto Gonzales who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Suddenly, this close friend and advisor to the President simply could not recall forming opinions on any number of key legal and policy decisions made by the Bush White House over the past four years. And this seemed particularly true when it came to decisions which, in retrospect, now appear to have been wrong.
When asked his specific recollection of weighty matters, Judge Gonzalez could provide only vague recollections of what might have been discussed in meetings of monumental importance, even during a time of war. He could not remember what he advised in discussions interpreting the U.S. law against torture, or the power of the president to ignore laws passed by Congress -- discussions which resulted in decisions that reversed over 200 years of legal and constitutional precedents relied on by 42 prior Presidents. That痴 pretty hard to believe.
In fact, if one did not know the true relationship between the President and this

Posted by richard at February 17, 2005 06:04 AM