July 19, 2005

LNS Articles of Impeachment, No. 2, Part I -- TRAITORGATE

At least 1,768 US soliders have died in the Bush abomination's foolish military adventure in Iraq. That's at least 48 more than at the time of the last LNS posting one month ago. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. Nothing more...Meanwhile, psy war rages on in the homeland...Do not fall for the Corporatist news media's canonization of US Supreme Court InJustice Sandra Day O'Connor. Remember that, as Vincent Bugliosi wrote, the Rehnquist gang's ruling on Bush v. Gore was treasonous, and that O'Connor was the "swing vote." That abysmal wrong cancels out all the half-goods in her long career. Do not fall for the Corporatist news media's hand-wringing over the imprisonment of the NYTwits' Judith Miller. Remember that she is not in jail to protect a whistleblower, but to protect political operatives who breached national security to intimidate and harm a whistleblower and his family. Remember too, when thinking of Judith Miller, who has been disgraced not only by involvement in blowing the cover of a CIA agent but also with pre-invasion war-mongering under the guise of journalism, that the Rwandan radio announcers who incited genocide over the air waves were convicted of war crimes...Do not be distracted...Remember 2+2=4. Remember, and resist! As the battle of the Bush abomination's Supreme Injustice intensifies all anyone needs to know is that Roberts was nominated by an illegitimate, incompetent and corrupt regime that was itself installed UNconstituionally by a rogue court. If that is not enough for you to block the nomination (and it should be) than consider this passage from the Washington Post: "The president is a man of his word," said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. "He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done." And, if that is not enough for you to block the nomination (and it should be) just remember that this white male corporate lawyer, working in the Solicitor General's office, drafted a GHW Bush administration legal argument against Roe v. Wade as well as a brief in defense of "Operation Rescue." [For more information, go to http://www.independentjudiciary.com/resources/docs/John_Roberts_Report.pdf] Any Democrat in the US Senate that votes for confirmation (of course, many of them will) should be expelled from the caucus and asked to leave the Party (of course, it won't happen). It is that simple (even though the Party establishment is still living in denial)...And yes, if the Senate Democrats use the filibuster (they probably won't) the Neo-Totalitarian Right will invoke the "nuclear option," but this time the Democrats should not blink or turn away from the confrontation with a phoney one-sided compromise (yes, of course, they probably will)...There is no backing down when your back is to the wall...Everything is very simple now (if you have the courage to open your eyes and your heart)...The only agenda that makes any sense is a very simple one: impeachment for treason and war crimes, a return to fair elections and a free press, and emergency legislative action to mitigate the impact of the economic and environmental disasters that the Bush adomination has wrought...Remember and resist...Listen to Air America -- in particular Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes and Janeane Garafalo. Subscribe to The Nation. Support Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! Support the bastions of the Internet-based information rebellion, e.g. www.buzzflash.com, www.truthout.org, www.mediamatter.org, etc. Participate in MoveOn.org. Print yourself up a bumper sticker that says: “No Statute of Limitations,” because there isn’t any such statute on war crimes or treason…

NOTE: The LNS will issue "Articles of Impeachment" from time to time...Stay tuned...

LNS Articles of Impeachment, No. 2, Part I

Special Supplement: The London Attacks & TRAITORGATE

Death of the Republic?

The London Attacks

Hasan Suroor, Report links U.K. policies to terror threat, The Hindu, 7/19/05: Prime Minister Tony Blair's bid to shrug off any connection between the July 7 London bombings and the U.S.-led British invasion of Iraq was dealt an embarrassing blow on Monday after one of the country's most respected independent think-tanks declared that "riding pillion'' with America in its war on terror had "proved costly'' for Britain.
In a report, which was immediately seized upon by critics of Mr. Blair's Iraq policy, the Royal Institute for International Affairs — also known as Chatham House — said the invasion had given a "boost'' to the Al-Qaeda's "propaganda, recruitment and fund-raising'' activities.
Without directly linking the "7/7'' attacks to the Iraq war, it said there was "no doubt'' that the situation in Iraq had created "difficulties'' for Britain, and its military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq had put the country at "particular risk.”
"The attacks on the transport system in London on July 7 represent precisely the nature of the threat from international terrorism that the U.K. authorities have been concerned about since 9/11,'' said the report co-authored by two academic specialists on terrorism, Frank Gregory of Southampton University and Paul Wilkinson of St. Andrews University.
They said a "key problem'' for Britain in fighting terrorism was its alliance with Washington as a junior partner.
"A key problem... is that the Government has been conducting counter-terrorism policy shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States, not in the sense of being an equal decision-maker but rather as a pillion passenger compelled to leave the steering to the ally in the driving seat,'' they said, adding that "riding pillion'' had proved costly not only in terms of military lives but also caused "damage'' to the counter-terrorism campaign.

Greg Palast, George and Tony Get their al-Qaeda Fix, 7/11/05: Al-Qaeda this ain't. All the evidence is that this half-assed attack was the work of some poor young Muslim schmucks, possibly whipped into a frenzy by the mewling mullah of Finsbury Park, Omar Bakri Mohammed, a cleric who enjoyed the comfortable middle-class dullness of England during the week while on weekends preaching, "a 9/11, day after day after day" to punish his Western hosts.
It's not al-Qaeda, but for George and Tony, it's good enough. Blair's Foreign Secretary dramatically dashed out to tell us that the explosions had the "hallmarks of al-Qaeda." Our Commander in Chief, looking as commanding as possible (no reading of kiddie stories this time), could not have been more satisfied.
The "hallmarks of al-Qaeda"? That's not true and Blair knows it. And Bush knows it. And that's no little matter, my friends. Because Blair and Bush are al-Qaeda junkies. They've sold us on everything from fingerprinting five-year olds to invading Baghdad to tolerating plummeting paychecks all on the slick line that we are under attack by a well-trained, well-armed, well-funded hidden army called al-Qaeda.
But our War President and War Prime Minister are having a little problem with their war on terror. The enemy's gone AWOL. Except when we go looking for trouble -- as in invading a Mesopotamian country -- trouble pretty much stopped looking for us.
Even September 11. Forgive me for pointing this out, but no matter how horrific, it was in the end the deed of a couple dozen fundamentalist fruitcakes with box-cutters hankering for a hot time with virgins in the next life who got "lucky."
Yes, unlike the London attack, the "luck" of the September 11 hijackers required the sick genius of monied operatives and a Washington administration that operated with eyes wide shut toward Saudi gangsterism…
Now, with world media all jumped up on its latest fear high, Bush and Blair can resume their sales pitch: more weaponry, less liberty.
FDR calmed a nation when he said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." But the Bush and Blair slogan is, "We have nothing to sell but fear itself."

Robert Fisk, Blair's Alliance with Bush Bombed, Seattle Post Intelligencer, 7/8/05: "If you bomb our cities," Osama bin Laden said in a recent videotape, "we will bomb yours."' It was clear Britain would be a target ever since British Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to join President Bush's "war on terror" and his invasion of Iraq. We had, as they say, been warned. The G-8 summit was obviously chosen, well in advance, as Attack Day.
It's no use Blair telling us, "They will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear." They are not trying to destroy "what we hold dear." They are trying to get public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, out of his alliance with the United States, out of his adherence to Bush's policies in the Middle East. The Spanish paid the price for their support for Bush -- and Spain's subsequent retreat from Iraq proved that the Madrid bombings achieved their objectives -- while the Australians were made to suffer in Bali.
It is easy for Blair to call yesterday's bombings "barbaric"' -- they were -- but what were the civilian deaths of the Anglo American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the children torn apart by cluster bombs, the innocent Iraqis gunned down at American military checkpoints. When they die, it is "collateral damage"; when "we" die it is "barbaric terrorism."
If we are fighting insurgency in Iraq what makes us believe insurgency won't come to us? One thing is certain: If Blair really believes that by "fighting terrorism"' in Iraq we could more efficiently protect Britain, this argument is no longer valid.

Juan Cole, "The Time of Revenge Has Come," www.salon.com, 7/8/05: Although US President George W. Bush maintains that al-Qaida strikes out at the industrialized democracies because of hatred for Western values, the statement said nothing of the sort. The attack, the terrorists proclaimed, was an act of sacred revenge for British "massacres" in "Afghanistan and Iraq," and a punishment of the United Kingdom for its "Zionism" (i.e., support of Israel)…
From the point of view of a serious counterinsurgency campaign against al-Qaida, Bush has made exactly the wrong decisions all along the line. He decided to "unleash" Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rather than pressing for Israeli-Palestinian peace and an end to Israeli occupation of the territories it captured in 1967. Rather than extinguishing this most incendiary issue for Arabs and Muslims, he poured gasoline on it. His strategy in response to Sept. 11 was to fight the Afghanistan War on the cheap. By failing to commit American ground troops in Tora Bora, he allowed bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to escape. He reneged on promises to rebuild Afghanistan and prevent the reemergence of the Taliban and al-Qaida there, thus prolonging the US and NATO military presence indefinitely. He then diverted most American military and reconstruction resources into an illegal war on Iraq. That war may have been doomed from the beginning, but Bush's refusal to line up international support, and his administration's criminal lack of planning for the postwar period, made failure inevitable.
Conservative commentators argue that Iraq is a "fly trap" for Muslim terrorists. It makes much more sense to think of it as bin Laden's fly trap for Western troops. There, jihadis can kill them (making the point that they are not invulnerable), and can provoke reprisals against Iraqi civilians that defame the West in the Muslim world. After Abu Ghraib and Fallujah, many Muslims felt that Bin Laden's dire warnings to them that the United States wanted to occupy their countries, rape their women, humiliate their men, and steal their assets had been vindicated…
George Bush is sure to try to use the London bombings to rally the American people to support his policies. If Americans look closer, however, they will realize that Bush's incompetent crusade has made the world more dangerous, not less.

John Pilger, Lest We Forget; These Were Blair's Bombs, www.truthout.org, 7/10/05: In all the coverage of last week's bombing of London, a basic truth is struggling to be heard. It is this: no one doubts the atrocious inhumanity of those who planted the bombs, but no one should also doubt that this has been coming since the day Tony Blair joined George Bush in their bloody invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are "Blair's bombs", and he ought not be allowed to evade culpability with yet another unctuous speech about "our way of life", which his own rapacious violence in other countries has despoiled…
While the two men responsible for the carnage in Iraq, Bush and Blair, were side by side at Gleneagles, why wasn't the connection of their fraudulent "war on terror" made with the bombing in London? And when will someone in the political class say that Blair's smoke-and-mirrors "debt cancellation" at best amounts to less than the money the government spent in a week brutalising Iraq, where British and American violence is the cause of the doubling of child poverty and malnutrition since Saddam Hussein was overthrown (Unicef)…
In our free societies, the unmentionable is that "the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people", as Arthur Miller once wrote, "and so the evidence has to be internally denied." Not only denied, but distracted by an entire court: Geldoff, Bono, Madonna, McCartney et al, whose "Live 8" was the very antithesis of 15 February 2003 when two million people brought their hearts and brains and anger to the streets of London. Blair will almost certainly use last week's atrocity and tragedy to further deplete basic human rights in Britain, as Bush has done in America. The goal is not security, but greater control. Above all this, the memory of their victims, "our" victims, in Iraq demands the return of our anger. And nothing less is owed to those who died and suffered in London last week, unnecessarily.

F.A.I.R., Lessons from London Bombings show right was right all along, pundits say www.fair.org. 7/11/05: Many pundits insisted that "partisanship" should play no part in the discussion of the July 7 terrorist attacks in London. But it seemed like business as usual in the right-wing media--as commentators used the attacks to score political points for their side and promote their pet agendas.
On Fox News Channel's Special Report (7/7/05), Jeff Birnbaum seemed hopeful that the attacks would mean a rise in the polls for George W. Bush:
"I think that there has been a plunging poll rating for Bush's policies in Iraq and even for the president's job performance overall, in part because the American people forgot that there really is a war on terror, or they didn't believe Bush's oft-repeated reminders from the stump that, in fact, we were in war and we had to act that way. I think this will--it takes away all of the credibility problems that the president has been having. And popular support, I think, will begin to rise for him again." On the Wall Street Journal's editorial page (7/8/05), Daniel Henninger seized the moment to back the White House's candidate for U.N. ambassador: "If the U.S. Senate wanted to send a signal of resolve and seriousness to whoever bombed London, Democrats would join with Republicans their first day back to dispatch proven anti-terror warrior John Bolton straight to the U.N. They won't. They'll keep playing political fiddles while London burns."
Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly was more hopeful that the London killings would change the minds of those he disagrees with. "My first thought was Al-Qaeda trying to disrupt the G-8 summit in Scotland," explained O'Reilly (7/7/05). "My second thought was now maybe Europe will wise up. The terrorists are the evildoers, not the USA."
(In contrast, Fox's Brit Hume said his "first thought" when he heard about the attack was: "Hmmm, time to buy" stock market futures--Media Matters, 7/7/05.)
When O'Reilly wasn't criticizing the governments of France and Germany for being soft on terrorism, he was blaming the press: "The anti-American press both here and in Europe is actually helping the terrorists by diminishing their threat." To make his point even clearer, O'Reilly asked one guest, "Have you read The Guardian lately? I mean, it might be edited by Osama bin Laden. I mean, that's how bad that paper is."
O'Reilly seemed to almost be blaming the victims, wondering why Islamist terrorists would even bother attacking Europe: "What good does it do to Al-Qaeda to alienate Europe when Europe has basically been, not on their side but certainly putting the U.S. as the big villain and de-emphasizing, as I say sanitizing, what Al-Qaeda has done. What good does it do Al-Qaeda to alienate, you know, the BBC and all of these major organizations that have basically not dealt with the threat in a realistic way?" O'Reilly's guest, Steven Emerson, expanded on that: "In certain respects, BBC almost operates as a foreign registered agent of Hezbollah and some of the other jihadist groups."


Buzzflash Editorial: In Plain Sight: Why the Betrayal of Our National Security by the Bush White House Matters, 7/5/05: In essence, whatever the legal outcome (which has been driven by political considerations -- that is why it has taken two years to move the "investigation" forward, if it is moving forward), this fact remains clear: In order to send a message to anyone who would expose that the White House lied America into war, the White House -- in an action that could have only been authorized by Karl Rove, perhaps with a nod and a wink from Bush -- deliberately endangered the national security of the United States.
As a warning to those who would expose Bush lies about WMDs -- or any of the daily Bush deceptions -- in July of 2003 the White House revealed to their newspaper water boy, Bob Novak, that Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, was a CIA operative, and she specialized in the illicit trafficking of Weapons of Mass Destruction. It is befitting the morally corrupt Bush Administration that they would neutralize an American asset in the war against the proliferation of WMDs, while fighting a war allegedly launched against WMDs, in order to make an example of a man, Joe Wilson, who had written a commentary in the New York Times arguing that the Bush Administration evidence claiming WMD evidence regarding a transaction between Niger and Saddam Hussein was false.
In short, the Bush Administration doesn't care if it endangers our national security by undercutting our efforts to curtail the very weapons that they claim they were saving us from. That is how dangerous the Bush Administration is to our national security -- and it is has been before us in plain sight for two years. But the mainstream media has focused on periodic reports that emerge about the "investigation" of the Chicago U.S. Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, who was appointed by John Ashcroft, then Attorney General, to see if any laws were broken…
But here is what we know even without legal indictments and what is getting lost in the latest round of speculation about a two-year old act of betrayal against the citizens of the United States by the Bush Administration: the Bush White House committed brazen treason by deliberately undercutting our national efforts to keep WMDs out of the hands of "bad guys." Why did they do this? Because Karl Rove wanted to prevent future whistleblowers from coming forward to expose Bush lies, in this case the courageous proof by Joe Wilson that another lie had been used to bolster the false claim that Iraq had WMDs.
The PlameGate affair is symbolic of how the Bush Administration puts its own interests of preserving power before the interests of the American people -- and in unbelievable irony, on the one issue that they have trumpeted their "expertise" at: national security.
How the Democrats have apologetically bolstered Bush's "national security credentials" when he has put -- and PlameGate is just the tip of the iceberg -- our nation at greater risk than before 9/11, and used his bumbling efforts to further consolidate power into a shadow, secret government run by Cheney and Rove, is what is in plain sight.
But the mainstream media -- and most of the Democrats in Congress -- can't even see it staring them in the face.

Robert Parry, Rove’s Leak Points to Bush Conspiracy, www.consortiumnews.com, 7/11/05: A key national security principle for dealing with top-secret information, such as the identity of undercover CIA officers, is strict compartmentalization, often called “the need to know” – which raises the question why George W. Bush’s chief political adviser Karl Rove would know anything about the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.
The answer to that mystery – why was Rove involved – may be more crucial to unraveling who was behind the illegal leaking of Plame’s name and the subsequent cover-up than even the identity of which Bush officials passed the information to right-wing pundit Robert Novak for his infamous column on July 14, 2003.
But rather than focusing on how and why Rove knew about Plame, the latest controversy around the case has centered on whether Rove explicitly used her name in an interview with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper three days before Novak’s column…
For two years now, what has been lacking from the White House is a coherent explanation of how the information about Plame’s identity got from the cloistered world of the CIA to White House meetings and then into the hands of political adviser Rove.
Long ago, there should have been answers to the following questions:
--What national security purpose was served by giving Karl Rove a sensitive secret that, if leaked, could endanger the lives of covert intelligence operatives?
--Who attended White House meetings at which Wilson’s disclosures and Plame’s identity were discussed? How was Plame’s identity brought into these talks? By whom?
--Was George W. Bush present at any of these meetings? As the president, who is ultimately responsible for decisions about national security secrets, did Bush say anything about Wilson and Plame? If so, what did he say and to whom?
--Did Bush or anyone else in the White House order Rove to disparage Wilson?
In a healthy democracy, the news media would have demanded answers before Election 2004, rather than focusing primarily on the plight of several journalists caught up in demands for testimony from prosecutor Fitzgerald.
Ironically, it was the caving in by Time magazine last week that has opened the door slightly into the long-running White House cover-up of the Plame case. But still the major news media misses the bigger picture.
The answer to the Plame mystery is not the Watergate advice of “follow the money” or even the obvious question of who spilled the beans to Novak. Instead, the route to the heart of this mystery is to follow the trail from who knew Plame’s identity at the CIA through the White House meetings to Karl Rove.
Larry Johnson, THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, www.tpmcafe.com: For starters, Valerie Plame was an undercover operations officer until outed in the press by Robert Novak. Novak's column was not an isolated attack. It was in fact part of a coordinated, orchestrated smear that we now know includes at least Karl Rove.
Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985. All of my classmates were undercover--in other words, we told our family and friends that we were working for other overt U.S. Government agencies. We had official cover. That means we had a black passport--i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity the black passport was a get out of jail free card.
A few of my classmates, and Valerie was one of these, became a non-official cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. If caught in that status she would have been executed.
The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O'Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey. Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.
The Republicans now want to hide behind the legalism that "no laws were broken". I don't know if a man made law was broken but an ethical and moral code was breached. For the first time a group of partisan political operatives publically identified a CIA NOC. They have set a precendent that the next group of political hacks may feel free to violate…
At the end of the day, Joe Wilson was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was the Bush Administration that pushed that lie and because of that lie Americans are dying. Shame on those who continue to slander Joe Wilson while giving Bush and his pack of liars a pass. That's the true outrage.

Attytude, Why this journalist thinks that Judy Miller should go to jail, www.pnionline.com: We're not happy that Judy Miller is going to jail, but we think -- in this case -- that if she won't cooperate with the grand jury, then it's the right thing.
That's because Judy Miller's actions in recent years -- a pattern that includes this case -- have been the very antithesis of what we think journalism is and should be all about. Ultimately, the heart and soul of real journalism is not so much protecting "sources" at any cost. It is, rather, living up to the 19th Century maxim set forth by Peter Finley Dunne, that journalists should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable…
But the Times' Judy Miller has not been afflicting the comfortable. She has been protecting them, advancing their objectives, and helping them to mislead a now very afflicted American public. In fact, thinking again about Watergate and Deep Throat is a good way to understand why Judy Miller should not be protected today. Because in Watergate, a reporter acting like Miller would not be meeting the FBI's Mark Felt in an underground parking garage. She would be obsessively on the phone with H.R. Haldeman or John Dean, listening to malicious gossip about Carl Bernstein or their plans to make Judge Sirica look bad.
In the run-up to the Iraq war, Miller -- working with her "sources" inside the Bush administration and their friends in the Iraqi exile community like the discredited Ahmed Chalabi -- wrote a number of stories that now seem meant to dupe the American people into to thinking Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were a threat..
Yet in the immediate aftermath of the war, Miller acted not so much as a journalist as someone working with the American side to prove there really were WMD in Iraq…
And rather than act humbled when the basis for many of her stories proved false, by this year she had adopted yet another pet cause of the Bush administration, the oil-for-food scandal at the United Nations.
Then, seemingly out of left field, comes her involvement in the case of Valerie Plame, the "outed" CIA operative. The facts of the case are still murky, and so we want to tread carefully as we write about it. What is clear is that Judy Miller wasn't on the side of the person seeking to expose government wrongdoing -- that would have been Plame's husband, ex-ambassador Joe Wilson, who revealed the White House's lies about uranium and Iraq.
Instead, the special prosecutor wants to know about conversations that Miller had with a person, or persons, who wanted to squash the whistleblowers. He wants to know if Miller, perhaps unwittingly, abetted what would have been a criminal act against the whistleblower and his family. In fact, there's a theory that Miller might even have been a person who told Bush administration officials that Plame was a CIA agent.
We don't know what it's all about, except we do know that this isn't really journalism. It's about whether she continued her longtime pattern of aiding those in power and spreading their propaganda. What ever it is, we don't think it's protected by the shield laws that are on the books.

William E. Jackson, Jr., What was Judith Miller Up To?, Editors & Publishers, 7/12/05: Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” even went so far as to compare Miller's sentence for refusing to reveal sources to a grand jury to Martin Luther King's civil disobedience…
Prosecutor Fitzgerald has insisted: “This case is not about a whistle-blower. It's about a potential retaliation against a whistle-blower.” Helping the government vindictively to leak--to “declare war” (as Cooper put it)--hardly counts as watching the government closely and aggressively. As reported by AP, when Times counsel Floyd Abrams was asked why prosecutors had sought Miller's testimony when she never wrote a story about Plame, he said: “We don't know, but most likely somebody testified to the grand jury that he or she had spoken to Judy.”
So Miller was fingered by an administration official back in the summer of 2004, and then she was subpoenaed? Then, one theory goes, she covers for him or her by claiming she was working on a story, hoping to throw the cloak of "reporter's privilege" over the conversation. By not agreeing to testify, Miller--along with that official--might thereby have been involved in obstruction of justice. It would require her oral testimony to confirm what games the White House-level official was playing.
Of course, this is just a theory; no one yet knows what actually happened. But since the New York Times was originally subpoenaed, as were Time and The Washington Post, and that subpoena has been dropped, it could be read that Miller was not working on a story, or took no notes--or destroyed them. Otherwise the New York Times would be on the hook for them.
A novel theme emerging in some press coverage of the Plame case raises the possibility of unnamed journalists being participants in a potential crime, and not just witnesses…
She may have just been helping to spin the neo-conservatives' gossip. Her "source" is incidental, as she wrote nothing. No evidence has been presented that she even contemplated writing a story. None of her colleagues at the newspaper that I have spoken to over the past two years have suggested that she was actively working on a story about Plame…
The New York Times should answer some questions. For example, have they contacted Miller's source[s] and asked for an explicit waiver of confidentiality -- and been denied? If so, would that not appropriately put the pressure back on the White House, where it belongs? Does the Times want her sources to come forward?

Paul Krugman, Karl Rove's America, New York Times, 7/15/05: John Gibson of Fox News says that Karl Rove should be given a medal. I agree: Mr. Rove should receive a medal from the American Political Science Association for his pioneering discoveries about modern American politics. The medal can, if necessary, be delivered to his prison cell. What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth. In particular, there are now few, if any, limits to what conservative politicians can get away with: the faithful will follow the twists and turns of the party line with a loyalty that would have pleased the Comintern…
Every time I read a lament for the post-9/11 era of national unity, I wonder what people are talking about. On the issues I was watching, the Republicans' exploitation of the atrocity began while ground zero was still smoldering.
Mr. Rove has been much criticized for saying that liberals responded to the attack by wanting to offer the terrorists therapy - but what he said about conservatives, that they "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," is equally false. What many of them actually saw was a domestic political opportunity - and none more so than Mr. Rove…
Ultimately, this isn't just about Mr. Rove. It's also about Mr. Bush, who has always known that his trusted political adviser - a disciple of the late Lee Atwater, whose smear tactics helped President Bush's father win the 1988 election - is a thug, and obviously made no attempt to find out if he was the leaker.
Most of all, it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?

Sidney Blumenthal, Rove's War, Salon.com, 7/14/05: This is Karl Rove's war. From his command post next to the Oval Office in the West Wing of the White House, he is furiously directing the order of battle. The Republican National Committee lobs its talking points across Washington, its chairman forays the no-man's-land of CNN. Rove's lawyer, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial board are sent over the top. Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay man the ramparts, defending Rove's character…
Rove is fighting his war as though it will be settled in a court of Washington pundits. Brandishing his formidable political weapons, he seeks to demonstrate his prowess once again. His corps of agents raises a din in which their voices drown out individual dissidents. His frantic massing of forces dominates the capital by winning the communications battle. Indeed, Rove may succeed momentarily in quelling the storm. But the stillness may be illusory. Before the prosecutor, Rove's arsenal is useless.
Can the special counsel be confounded by manipulation of the Washington chattering class? What's the obligation of a reporter to a source in this case? What game are Rove and his surrogates playing? What are the legal vulnerabilities of Rove and others in the White House?
Wilson's article provided the first evidence that the reasons given for the war were stoked by false information. But the attack on Wilson by focusing on his wife is superficially perplexing. Even if the allegation were true that she "authorized" his mission, as Rove told Cooper, it would have no bearing whatsoever on the Niger forgeries, or any indictment. But Rove's is a psychological operation intended to foster the perception that the messenger is somehow untrustworthy and that therefore his message is too. The aim is to distract and discredit. By creating an original taint on Wilson's motives, an elaborate negative image has been constructed…
The sound and fury of Rove's defenders will soon subside. The last word, the only word that matters, will belong to the prosecutor. So far, he has said very, very little. Unlike the unprofessional, inexperienced and weak Ken Starr, he does not leak illegally to the press. But he has commented publicly on his understanding of the case. "This case," he said, "is not about a whistle-blower. It's about a potential retaliation against a whistle-blower."

Death of the Republic?

Veterans for Peace, Veterans Group Issues "Declaration of Impeachment," 7/4/05: A national veterans' organization today issued a "Declaration of Impeachment" and announced it is beginning an online petition to remove President Bush from office for crimes committed during the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Using the same language as the original "Declaration of Independence," Veterans For Peace cited many of the same reasons to remove George Bush that Thomas Jefferson cited to separate from King George of England. And in a modern version of the signing of the Declaration, VFP announced the posting of its online impeachment petition…
"To sign the online petition, or to read the "Declaration of Impeachment" and VFP's documented case for removing George Bush, go to: www.veteransforpeace.org
Veterans For Peace is a national organization founded in 1985, with 123 chapters across the country.
Declaration of Impeachment
Issued by Veterans For Peace
Monday 04 July 2005
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are instituted to secure the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But
• " - whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
• - all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations - design(s) to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
• - The history of the present King (George) of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny - To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
• He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
• He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
• He has - deprive(ed) us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury - transport(ed) us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
• He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us -
• He is at this time transporting large Armies - to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty
• perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
• He has constrained our fellow Citizens - to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
• A (President) whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
We, therefore - do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People - solemnly publish and declare, That these - Free and Independent (People) - are Absolved from all Allegiance to the (Bush Administration), and that all political connection between them and (this Administration), is and ought to be totally dissolved - And for the support of this Declaration - we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
(Note: Except for the first two lines above and words in parentheses, this Declaration is quoted directly from the original Declaration of Independence.) www.veteransforpeace.org”

Thom Hartmann, Supreme Court - Media Ignore Possible "Fascist" Play, CommonDreams.org, 7/5/05: The Bush administration is spectacularly good at sleight-of-hand tricks, directing public attention in one direction while they're working diligently in another. The latest trial balloon of "probable" Supreme Court nominees is no exception.
While everybody is worried about abortion rights and corporate power, a far more insidious agenda may be at play.
Anti-abortion forces and women's rights groups alike are up in arms about the possibility that the next nominee may or may not have an opinion about the Court's interpretation of the Fourth Amendment (and others) in Roe v. Wade. This battle is being loudly played out in the mainstream corporate media, with every analysis and question ultimately turning back to Roe.
Because Alberto Gonzales isn't on the record with regard to abortion rights, both sides are wary of him.
At the same time, corporatist "conservatives" are salivating at the opportunity to pack the Court with judges who will further erode the rights of communities and increase the power of multinational corporations and the super-rich in America. On June 28, 2005 The Wall Street Journal ran a major story ("For a High Court Nomination, Business Has Its Own Agenda") on how corporate Republicans may be at odds with "social" Republicans, because the latter generally endorse states' rights. Corporatists prefer a strong federal government where all politicians can be bought centrally in Washington, DC, and federal rules and agencies can be used to back down states that may want clean air or water.
Because Alberto Gonzales has a very limited record in ruling or writing on corporate rights and powers, the corporatists are not as enthusiastic about him as they are about others.
What nobody seems to be noticing, though, is what may well be the real agenda of George W. Bush and those around him - neo-fascism.
For this agenda, Alberto Gonzales is the perfect man…
The new Federalists - Bush's Republicans - clearly fear We The People, and cherish their own power to rule independent of us. And if they can seize control of the Supreme Court before the next elections, their power may become nearly absolute.
Historically, when fascists have come to power they have used either the threat of enemies or social issues to get the people to agree to give them control of all branches of government. When their true agenda - raw power - comes out, it's too late for the people to resist. As Francisco Franco famously said, "Our regime is [now] based on bayonets and blood, not on hypocritical elections."
Thus, the nomination of Gonzales, or another candidate with strong fascistic leanings but no clear abortion record, will probably be trumpeted in the mainstream corporate media as a triumph of "moderation" on the part of Bush (or a tribute to his "stubbornness" or his "loyalty").
In fact, it could mark the end of our 200+ year American experiment in democracy.


Michael Smith, The Real News in the Downing Street Memos, LA Times. 6//23/05: I did not then regard the now-infamous memo — the one that includes the minutes of the July 23 meeting — as the most important…
American media coverage of the Downing Street memo has largely focused on the assertion by Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence, that war was seen as inevitable in Washington, where "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
But another part of the memo is arguably more important. It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the U.S. had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now realize was Plan B.
Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict.
British government figures for the number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq in 2002 show that although virtually none were used in March and April, an average of 10 tons a month were dropped between May and August.
But these initial "spikes of activity" didn't have the desired effect. The Iraqis didn't retaliate. They didn't provide the excuse Bush and Blair needed. So at the end of August, the allies dramatically intensified the bombing into what was effectively the initial air war.
The number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq by allied aircraft shot up to 54.6 tons in September alone, with the increased rates continuing into 2003.
In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.
The way in which the intelligence was "fixed" to justify war is old news.
The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress.

Thom Hartmann, They Died So Republicans Could Take the Senate, CommonDreams.org, 6/20/05: The real scandal of the Downing Street Memos, with the greatest potential to leave the Bush presidency in permanent disgrace, is their implication that lies may have been put forward to help Bush, Republicans, and Blair politically. If Bush lied to gain and keep political power, precedent suggests he and his collaborators in the administration may even be vulnerable to impeachment…
It was a lie of political expediency, with the war resolution carefully timed just before the 2002 elections to help the Republicans take back the Senate.
It was echoed and amplified and repeated over and over again to help him and other Republicans get elected in 2004.
It wasn't a war for oil - cheap oil was just a useful secondary benefit.
It wasn't a war against terrorism - that was just a convenient excuse.
It wasn't a war to enrich Bush's and Cheney's cronies - those were just pleasant by-products.
It wasn't a war to show Poppy Bush that Junior was more of a man than him - that was just a personal bonus for Dubya.
It was, pure and simple, well planned years in advance, a war to solidify Bush and the Republican Party's political capital.
It was a war for political power. That had to be first. Everything else - oil, profits, ongoing PATRIOT Act powers, easy manipulation of the media - all could only come if political power was seized and held through at least two decisive election cycles.
The Bush administration lied us into an invasion to get and keep political power. It's that simple…
Probably the only two things that could slow down the American electorate's growing realization of the magnitude and horror of Bush's political lies would be another attack on America or a new Bush-led war into Syria, Iran, or North Korea.
Bush has already shown, by lying us into Iraq, that he's at least capable of the latter. As Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison on February 8th 1776, "It should ever be held in mind that insult and war are the consequences of a lack of respectability in the national character."
And already the cons are working the talk-show circuit, threatening the US with a new attack, and recommending we strike now at Iran or Syria. "Be afraid. Be aggressive. Give us more political power."
But if Jefferson was right when he said that the best defense of democracy was an informed electorate, there is still a small window of opportunity for the American press to do the job they've been so carefully avoiding these past five years.
Instead of just reporting that the Downing Street Minutes and memos exist, they can highlight them against the timeline of Bush repeatedly lying during those days before the war. They can quote him saying that he had no plans for war, was working toward peace, and only wanted Congressional authorization to avoid a war, and point out that this was all after - months after - his administration had told the British that war was a sure thing.
Lying, in other words, to get us to go along with an invasion that would cement in Republican control of the Congress and the White House, and, thus, also the courts. Lying for nothing more than "political capital."
Let us hope our Fourth Estate is up to the task.

Sidney Blumenthal, A Broken Body, www.salon.com, 6/16/05: The House of Representatives of the 109th Congress suffers the classic symptoms of a decadent ancient régime. It seems an eon ago that the Republicans swept into power in 1994, after 40 years in the wilderness, on a "Contract With America" whose preamble promised: "To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace."
Day by day, week by week, spectacles unfold in its august chambers revealing new incidents of corruption, unaccountability and chaos…The Democrats have been prevented from debating legislation, attaching amendments and participating in conferences. Any gesture at dissent is gaveled out of order. Republican members too have been relegated to the sidelines, rubber-stamping what the leadership dictates…
Since the House has been in session this year, the ethics committee has met for exactly one day. On that day, in May, it decided under intense public pressure to reverse its fail-safe scheme to thwart any investigation of DeLay. The committee had announced rules by which a deadlock would lead to dismissal of any charge. Because the committee is the only one equally divided between majority and minority members, a deadlock was guaranteed, and so therefore was DeLay's escape…
So long as the ethics committee is in effect defunct, it cannot investigate any new cases, such as that involving Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., which emerged in the last week. Cunningham, an influential member of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, has helped a certain defense contractor named Mitchell Wade and his company, MZM Inc., win tens of millions of dollars in contracts. In 2003, Wade paid Cunningham $2.55 million for his house in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Wade resold it for a price that was $700,000 less than he paid Cunningham…
While DeLay was orchestrating the latest plot turn in the ethics committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., continued his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee as circus act. On June 10, he presided over a morning's hearing on the PATRIOT Act of witnesses invited by the Democratic minority. It was the one occasion the Democrats were allowed under the rules to give critics an official forum on the bill up for renewal. Sensenbrenner, whose routine demeanor is peeved and bilious, was on a hair trigger. He did not permit the ranking Democrat, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., to finish his opening statement. He refused to recognize Democrats on their points of order. Finally, he declared the hearings over. "Much of what has been stated is not irrelevant," he announced. "Point of order," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. "No, I will not yield," said Sensenbrenner. He cut off the microphones of Democrats as their words hung in the air: "Will the gentleman yield?" and "Point of order, Mr. Chairman." Sensenbrenner stormed out the door.
Sensenbrenner's highhandedness was hardly exceptional. This spring he barred Democrats from consultation on legislation that made drivers' licenses national identification cards…
At the same time, in April, Sensenbrenner rammed through a bill called the Child Interstate Notification Act, which applies federal criminal penalties to adults aiding and abetting minors who leave a state that imposes parental notification laws to get an abortion in another state. When Democrats on the Judiciary Committee submitted amendments, Sensenbrenner and his staff rewrote their captions in the official record without informing them. In every case, Sensenbrenner's language presented Democrats as defending "sexual predators."…
DeLay's system of centralization has Washington in its grip. Republican House members are factotums of the leadership group he dominates. The regular operation of House committees has been overthrown. Decisions are handed down by DeLay and his lieutenants. Lobbyists are convened in private to write legislation. What's more, lobbying firms are ordered to kick in campaign contributions and are under threat of losing preference if they hire Democrats..
On about 80 percent of the bills before the House, amendments are prohibited as a result of what are called "closed rules." By manipulation of so-called suspension bills -- for example, those that name federal buildings and praise civic groups -- the business of the House has become a playpen of trivialities. Instead of substantive debate, two-thirds of all the time on the House floor is devoted to these meaningless measures. By this means, the leadership concentrates power and frustrates the House from acting as deliberative body. The schedule of the House has been reduced to something like that of a small state legislature of the 19th century, with many of its lollygagging members turning up for work on Tuesday and leaving on Thursday.
The efforts to suppress the proper workings of the House on inquiries of corruption and to quell uneasy questions about legislation from Democrats are only increasing the public pressure on the Republican leadership. Ever more rigid control is producing sharper and deeper fissures in its façade. The desperation for order fosters greater disorder. Such is the state of democracy in America that the rest of the world is encouraged to emulate.

Medea Benjamin, Celebrating Independence in the Era of Empire, Commom Dreams, 7/3/05: Our nation was founded on a determination to be free of domination by the British empire…
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all warned that the invasion and occupation of other lands would turn America into precisely the sort of empire against which they had so recently rebelled. "We should have nothing to do with conquest," asserted Jefferson in 1791…
Building and maintaining a vast empire is expensive in both lives and money. The human cost in Iraq alone tops 1,700 US soldiers dead, tens of thousands severely injured both physically and psychologically, with much greater death and suffering endured by the Iraqi people.
Our out-of-control military budget will, by 2006, equal that of the rest of the world combined. This enormous cost is draining money from our schools, our hospitals, our public transportation...
The imperial ambitions of this administration have also cost us dearly in terms of international prestige. A survey of public opinion in 16 countries released by the Pew Global Attitudes Project on June 23 found a dismal opinion of the U.S. Most said the world was more dangerous after the downfall of Saddam Hussein, rated China more favorably than the U.S., and said the world would be better off if a group of countries emerged as a rival to U.S. military power...
Most Americans have come to understand that the cost of empire in lives, money and prestige is unacceptable. Recent polls show that the majority believes we should never have attacked Iraq, we should begin to withdraw our troops, and that the war in Iraq has not made us safer at home. Six out of ten Americans say that our nation is headed down the wrong path.
In 1821, then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams warned that if America went abroad in search of 'monsters to destroy - the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.' While she might become the dictatress of the world, he predicted, 'she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.'
This July 4, let us reflect on how empire-building is destroying the soul of our nation…

Posted by richard at July 19, 2005 11:51 PM