January 06, 2006

LNS Articles of Impeachment Jan. '06 Pt. 6

Cindy Sheehan & The Long Hot Summer

Nathan Diebenow, I'm Not Budging, Says Soldier's Mother Camped at Bush's Door, President Bush Ditches Mother of Slain Soldier, The Lone Star Iconoclast, 8-10-05: The mother of a US soldier slain in Iraq was denied a face-to-face meeting with President Bush here Saturday after she walked through a ditch-like path in the August heat to the President's Prairie Chapel Ranch. "I didn't come all this way from California to stand here in a ditch," said Cindy Sheehan, 48, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, attempting to continue her trek to the ranch. Even though two of the President's aides later agreed to deliver her message to him, Sheehan said that she would remain in Crawford for the whole month, if need be, until she is granted a private audience with the commander-in-chief to ask him for what "noble cause" did her son die overseas. "If he doesn't come out to talk to me in Crawford, I'll follow him to D.C., and I'll camp out on his lawn," she said, to a round of applause from her supporters. "I'll go to prison. I don't want to live in a country where people are treated this way." Sheehan's actions, she said, were sparked by President Bush's comments like those made last Wednesday in Grapevine to about 1,800 members of the American Legislative Exchange Council: "Our men and women who've lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and in this war on terror have died in a noble cause and a selfless cause." "We all know by now that that's not true, and I want to ask George Bush, 'Why did my son die? What was the noble cause that he died for?'" said Sheehan. "I don't want [President Bush] to use my son's name or my family name to justify any more killing or to exploit my son's name, my son's sacrifice, or my son's honor to justify more killing. As a mother, why would I want one more mother to go through what I'm going through, Iraqi or American? And I want to tell him that the only way to honor my son's sacrifice is to bring the troops home now." Her son, Casey Sheehan, 24, of Vacaville, Calif., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on April 4, 2004, when his unit was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Bush's comments Wednesday coincided with the deaths of 12 Marine reservists from Ohio who were killed in perhaps the deadliest roadside bombing of US troops in Iraq. So far, the lives of about 1,821 Americans in uniform have been taken since the 2003 invasion. Pollsters indicate that Bush's approval ratings are declining in relation to the rise in US casualties in Iraq. Sheehan, joining anti-war activists at the Crawford Peace House, arrived with a busload of veterans from the Veterans for Peace convention which was held in Irving, near Dallas, since Thursday. The total group of activists there numbered over 50 and included members of Veteran's for Peace (VFP), Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), CodePink, and the Crawford Peace House. Vietnam veteran Jim Waters, not affiliated with any activist group, said that he drove overnight from Lubbock alone in support of Sheehan and the Gold Star Families for Peace because he is "very concerned" about the war in Iraq and wants to ask President Bush, "Why aren't his daughters there? One of the principles of leadership is you don't ask people to do what you yourself don't have the courage to do, and [President Bush] is asking people to fight to their deaths when he himself and most of the architects of this war never served," said Waters, a retired Navy commander and former hospital administrator. "[President Bush] served, but he jumped over 10,000 people to get into the National Guard Champagne Unit, so he could avoid duty in Vietnam. I had to go to Vietnam, and now he's sending them to their deaths - over 1,800 so far.

"I'm sick and tired of what's happening to our country," he continued. "To me it's almost like the White House operation is a mob operation. These guys are scary, and they're dangerous, in my opinion.”

Greg Mitchell, 'Vanity Fair' Rips Media 'Conspiracy' in Covering Up Role in Plame Scandal, Editors & Publishers, 8-11-05: In an article in the September issue of Vanity Fair (not yet online), Michael Wolff, in probing the Plame/CIA leak scandal, rips those in the news media -- principally Time magazine and The New York Times -- who knew that Karl Rove was one of the leakers but refused to expose what would have been “one of the biggest stories of the Bush years.” Not only that, “they helped cover it up.” You might say, he adds, they “became part of a conspiracy.” If they had burned this unworthy source and exposed his “crime,” he adds, it would have been “of such consequences that it might, reasonably, have presaged the defeat of the president, might have even -- to be slightly melodramatic -- altered the course of the war in Iraq.” In doing so they showed they owed their greatest allegiance to the source, not their readers. And their source was no Deep Throat, not someone with dirt on the government -- the source “was the government.” So in the end, he concludes, “the greatest news organizations in the land had a story about a potential crime that reached as close as you can get to the president himself and they punted, they swallowed it, they self-dealt.” And why did they do it? Well, “a source is a source who, unrevealed, will continue to be a source.” Even after the news first emerged last month that Rove had leaked to Cooper, the media still waited days to even ask the White House press secretary about it. It was a story, "in full view, the media just ignored." The title of the Wolff article is "All Roads Lead to Rove." Wolff mocks Time’s Matt Cooper and Norman Pearlstine and can’t seem to make heads or tails of “genuinely spooky” Robert Novak. He holds off full judgment on the Times’ jailed reporter Judith Miller, while noting the "baloney" she retailed for the White House. But he pointedly notes, concerning Miller, that reporters are born “blabbermouths” and even when they don’t write or print a certain story they are prone to “serve it up to everybody they know.” He closes with a frontal blast at the media, many members of which will soon be exposed, he predicts, for having “lined up for these lies” spun by the White House.

Warming Hits 'Tipping Point,' Guardian/UK, 8-11-05: Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of permafrost spanning a million square kilometers - the size of France and Germany combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. The area, which covers the entire sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, is the world's largest frozen peat bog and scientists fear that as it thaws, it will release billions of tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. It is a scenario climate scientists have feared since first identifying "tipping points" - delicate thresholds where a slight rise in the Earth's temperature can cause a dramatic change in the environment that itself triggers a far greater increase in global temperatures. The discovery was made by Sergei Kirpotin at Tomsk State University in western Siberia and Judith Marquand at Oxford University and is reported in New Scientist today. The researchers found that what was until recently a barren expanse of frozen peat is turning into a broken landscape of mud and lakes, some more than a kilometer across. Dr Kirpotin told the magazine the situation was an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He added that the thaw had probably begun in the past three or four years. Climate scientists yesterday reacted with alarm to the finding, and warned that predictions of future global temperatures would have to be revised upwards.
"When you start messing around with these natural systems, you can end up in situations where it's unstoppable. There are no brakes you can apply," said David Viner, a senior scientist at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. "This is a big deal because you can't put the permafrost back once it's gone. The causal effect is human activity and it will ramp up temperatures even more than our emissions are doing."

Sidney Blumenthal, The Informer, Salon.com, 8-11-05: For nearly 50 years, Robert Novak badgered and bullied his way to the top of Washington. His disgrace in the Valerie Plame affair has brought him crashing down - and he has only himself to blame. The tension of possibly being asked an impertinent question about Valerie Plame was unbearable for Robert Novak. Before it could be posed on CNN's Aug. 4 "Crossfire," Novak growled a vulgarism, threw off his microphone, and stalked off the set. Within an hour, a CNN spokesperson announced that the Washington columnist, who had been one of CNN's original marquee attractions, had engaged in "inexcusable and unacceptable" behavior and was suspended: "We've asked Mr. Novak to take some time off." …The self-described "prince of darkness" appears blinded by the light. He cannot see himself as everyone else does. He has called so much attention to himself that he casts no shadow at all. He is completely exposed. He has become a fugitive who cannot find a safe house in the town that he thought was his bailiwick. His craven torment and wild flailing at his inability to halt his self-destruction might cast him as a Dostoevskian figure. But his absence of doubt deprives him of the depth of existential crisis. Bob Novak now resembles Gypo Nolan, the Judas of John Ford's classic 1935 movie, "The Informer," an IRA traitor on the run, used to the comfort of matey sycophants, but whom no one will shield and who unwittingly betrays himself in the end.

Robert Dreyfuss, Bigger Than AIPAC, www.zmag.org, 8-10-05: Important new details of the U.S.-Israeli espionage case involving Larry Franklin, the alleged Pentagon spy, two officials of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, and an intelligence official at the Embassy of Israel emerged last week. Two AIPAC officials -who have left the organization- were indicted along with Franklin on charges of "communicat[ing] national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it." In plain English, if not legal-speak, that means spying. But as the full text of the indictment makes clear, the conspiracy involved not just Franklin and the AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, but at least several other Pentagon officials who played intermediary roles, at least two other Israeli officials, and one official at a "Washington, D.C. think tank." It's an old-fashioned spy story involving the passing of secret documents, hush-hush meetings and outright espionage, along with good-old-boy networking. But the network tied to the "Franklin case"-which ought to be called the "AIPAC case," since it was AIPAC that was really under investigation by the FBI- provides an important window into a shadowy world. It is clear that by probing the details of the case, the FBI has got hold of a dangerous loose end of much larger story. By pulling on that string hard enough, the FBI and the Justice Department might just unravel that larger story, which is beginning to look more and more like it involves the same nexus of Pentagon civilians, White House functionaries, and American Enterprise Institute officials who thumped the drums for war in Iraq in 2001-2003 and who are now trying to whip up an anti-Iranian frenzy as well.

Needless to say, all of this got short shrift from the mainstream media when it was revealed last week…It is an important story, arguably one that has greater implications for national security than the scandal involving the churlish outing of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. So far, at least, the media frenzy attending to the Plame affair is matched by nearly total silence about the Franklin-AIPAC affair. Can it be true that reporters are more courageous about pursuing a story that involves the White House than they are about plunging into a scandal that involves Israel, our No. 1 Middle East ally?

Marjorie Cohn, Abu Ghraib General Lambastes Bush Administration, www.truthout.org, 8-24-05: Army Reserve Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was in charge of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq when the now famous torture photographs were taken in fall of 2003. She was reprimanded and demoted to Colonel for her failure to properly supervise the prison guards. Karpinski is the highest ranking officer to be sanctioned for the mistreatment of prisoners. On August 3, 2005, I interviewed Janis Karpinski. In the most comprehensive public statement she has made to date, Karpinski deconstructs the entire United States military operation in Iraq with some astonishing revelations…
The first time Karpinski got any clarification about the photographs was January 23, 2004. The criminal investigator, Colonel Marcelo, came into Karpinski's office and showed her the pictures. "When I saw the pictures I was floored," Karpinski said. "Really, the world was spinning out of control when I saw those pictures, because it was so far beyond and outside of what I imagined. I thought that maybe some soldiers had taken some pictures of prisoners behind barbed wire or in their cell or something like that. I couldn't imagine anything like what I saw in those photographs."
Marcelo told her, "Ma'am, I'm supposed to tell you after you see the photographs that General Sanchez wants to see you in his office." So Karpinski went over to see Sanchez. She said that "before I even saw the photographs, I was preparing words to say in a press conference - to be up front, to be honest about this, that an investigation is ongoing and there are some allegations of detainee abuse."
But Sanchez told Karpinski, "'No, absolutely not. You are not to discuss this with anyone.' And I should have known then," she said, "and I know that Sanchez was hopeful for a four-star promotion even then, in January of 2004. And I thought it had probably most to do with the election coming up in November 2004, and that this could really move the Administration out of the White House if it was exploited. So naively, I just thought, you know, they're going to let this investigation go and they're going to handle it the way it should be handled."
Karpinski said, however, "The truth has been uncovered, but it's been suffocated and it has not been released with the results of the investigation." She added, "McClellan and Rumsfeld can get up on their high horse and say that there've been no fewer than 15 investigations that were conducted. But every one of those investigations is under the control of the Secretary of Defense. And every one of those investigations is run and led by a person who can lose their job under Rumsfeld's fist."
"We're never going to know the truth until they do an independent commission or look into this independently," Karpinski maintains. "This is about instructions delivered with full authority and knowledge of the Secretary of Defense and probably Cheney. I don't know if the President was involved or not. I don't care. All I know is, those instructions were communicated from the Secretary of Defense's office, from the Pentagon, through Cambone, through Miller, to Abu Ghraib."
Karpinski describes what happened when General Geoffrey Miller arrived at Abu Ghraib: "The most pronounced difference was when Miller came to visit. He came right after Rumsfeld's visit ... And he said that he was going to use a template from Guantánamo Bay to 'Gitmo-ize' the operations out at Abu Ghraib."

Robert Scheer, Mortgaged to the House of Saud, LA Times, 8/9/05: The only evidence you need that President Bush is losing the "war on terror" is this: On Sunday, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia said that relations with the United States "couldn't be better." Tell that to the parents of those who have died in two wars defending this corrupt spawning ground of violent extremism. Never mind the ugly facts: We are deeply entwined with Saudi Arabia even though it shares none of our values and supports our enemies. Yet on Friday, Bush's father and Vice President Dick Cheney made another in a long line of obsequious American pilgrimages to Riyadh to assure the Saudis that we continue to be grateful for the punishment they dish out…We protect the repressive kingdom that spawned Osama bin Laden, and most of the 9/11 hijackers, in exchange for the Saudis keeping our fecklessly oil-addicted country lubricated…Our president loves to use the word "evil" in his speeches, yet throughout his life he and his family have had deep personal, political and financial ties with a country that represents everything the American Revolution stood against: tyranny, religious intolerance, corrupt royalty and popular ignorance. This is a country where women aren't allowed to drive and those who show "too much skin" can be beaten in the street by officially sanctioned mobs of fanatics. A medieval land where newspapers routinely publish the most outlandish anti-Semitic rants. A place where executions are held in public, torture is the norm in prison and the most extreme and expansionist version of Islam is the state religion…As the drumbeat of devastating terrorist attacks in Baghdad, London and elsewhere continue, Bush prattles on - five times in a speech last Wednesday - about his pyrrhic victories in the "war on terror." This is a sorry rhetorical device that disguises the fact that the forces of Islamic fanaticism in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the world are stronger than ever.

HERBERT P. BIX, Showa Scholar Supreme, Japan Times, 8/7/05: Do you see any similarities between the way Hirohito and his key advisers went about their business and the conduct of today's world leaders? If we look at Japan today -- certainly since the rise of the Koizumi Cabinet -- we see a world shaped by a new militarism that has arisen in the United States, a new imperialism, a government in Washington composed of ideological extremists and demonstrable war criminals who have initiated wars of aggression. The United States after 9/11 launched a war against Afghanistan and then a few years later against Iraq. It has spread bases now throughout Central Asia, the Persian Gulf and Iraq. It is distrusted; it has lost all ideological legitimacy in the eyes of most people in the world -- especially in the Middle East and across Central Asia and the whole Islamic world. So we have this government, headed by George W. Bush, in 2003 ignoring the Security Council and launching an illegal war against Iraq. Here, you can bring in Japan -- you might say the Americans' preventive war against Iraq was worse, in many ways far worse, than Japan's attack on an American military base, in an American colony, in December 1941 -- far worse than Pearl Harbor. Stop and think about it: It [Pearl Harbor] was an act of aggression and it initiated the Pacific War, but here was the world's only hyperpower initiating the same type of infamous act of aggression against a defenseless country, and doing so for reasons that are truly despicable. Oil and revenge were factors, certainly, in the decision of the Bush administration. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. But in the new 21st century, in the era of the new militarism, the new imperialism and the rise of the ideological extremists in decision-making positions in the United States, we can look back on the Asian-Pacific War. If we do so carefully, we won't be justifying what Japan did and what Japan's war leaders were punished for doing -- all except for Hirohito -- but we can see that in both cases government, individuals in positions of official power, planned and prepared and initiated and waged wars of aggression. The problem is -- and this really upsets many Japanese regardless of whether they're from the left or right -- Japan's leaders were subjected at the [International Military Tribunal for the Far East] Tokyo trials to charges of crimes against "civilization." They were punished for crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and of course, war crimes. But there was a double standard, because the Americans didn't apply the same standards to themselves. This rankles. This civilization theme is a myth. But I still think the Tokyo tribunal wasn't wrong. It had shortcomings by contemporary standards and it operated with a view of history that wasn't always correct. But by and large, it did more good than harm. Of course, the right has a different view.
William Rivers Pitt, Bush's Soviet State, 722/05: The defining events of the last fifty years all centered around the Cold War and the eventual demise of the Soviet system. Toward the end of the Soviet regime, their government was often forced to grossly overstate the size of grain harvests or the preparedness of their military in order to maintain an illusion of strength and order. In other words, intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy. In essence, fixing the facts became the policy. Self-deception was piled upon self-deception. Rather than address the systemic problems within the nation, the Soviet regime chose instead to massage the illusions until the problems became too huge to overcome. Pretending everything was fine became the chosen course of action, and the state's ability to manufacture a pleasing reality became a perfect circle of inaction and delusion…A recent article from the Associated Press titled "Experts Fear Endless Terror War" noted, "An Associated Press survey of longtime students of international terrorism finds them ever more convinced, in the aftermath of London's bloody Thursday, that the world has entered a long siege in a new kind of war. They believe that al-Qaida is mutating into a global insurgency, a possible prototype for other 21st-century movements, technologically astute, almost leaderless. And the way out is far from clear. In fact, says Michael Scheuer, the ex-CIA analyst, rather than move toward solutions, the United States took a big step backward by invading Iraq." The article continues, "Scheuer, who headed the CIA's bin Laden unit for nine years, sees a different way out - through US foreign policy. He said he resigned last November to expose the US leadership's 'willful blindness' to what needs to be done: withdraw the US military from the Mideast, end 'unqualified support' for Israel, sever close ties to Arab oil-state 'tyrannies.'" Willful blindness is an appropriate phrase. It captures not only the fact that we are manufacturing threats to our security every day we remain in Iraq, but the fact that virtually everything associated with Bush administration policy depends on self-delusion and the manipulation of data to fulfill political desires. Even the most fundamental underpinnings of conservative political philosophy have been ground up in the gears of this grand fantasy. Truth no longer matters. Ethics no longer matter. Facts are there for the twisting. Decades-old conservative ideals regarding the budget and the size of the Federal government have been thrown under the bus because they are no longer convenient, and get in the way of the manufacture of reality. Soviet self-delusion led that nation into Afghanistan and disaster. The Bush administration’s self-delusion has led us into Iraq. Res ipsa loquitor. The parallel between this Bush administration and the old, failed Soviet regime can be taken one step further. One of the main reasons the Soviet government was able to stagger on for years making up facts out of whole cloth was that the leaders of that regime were accountable to no one. The Politburo said it, and so it must be true, and if it wasn't true, there was no authority or check to their power that could blow a whistle, throw a flag or demand an investigation. The old Soviet government lived in a bubble, free from the fear that they might be called to the carpet for lying, getting a lot of people killed and putting the State in mortal danger. Sound familiar? Bush and his people have managed to walk through the raindrops since 2001, managed to pull off more than a few impeachable crimes, for no other reason than that they are accountable to no one in government ... or, more properly, no one in government who has the power to call them to account has done so. Congress is run by Bush allies, the Justice Department is run by his longest-standing hatchet man, and all of them prefer to maintain the pleasant fictions over any attempt to fix what has gone so drastically and demonstrably wrong. We watched the Soviets smash themselves to pieces because they refused to deal with what ailed them, because lies made life easier on the powerful, because actually attempting to address a problem might expose the powerful to censure or even removal...

Ray McGovern, Preempting Cheney, www.tompaine.com, 8/3/05: Whatever plans Dick Cheney and his neo-conservatives may have had to conjure up a nuclear threat from Iran as "justification" for military action have been sharply undercut by some timely leaks to the Washington Post. In a redux of President George W. Bush's spin on the "grave and growing" danger from Iraq, Cheney protégé and newly appointed U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is on record warning that Iranian "deception" must not be allowed to continue much longer: "It will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons." Not for ten more years, report sources close to the U.S. intelligence community in yesterday's lead story in the Post . Several government officials with access to the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran have told journalist Dafna Linzer of its main judgments. By doing so, Linzer's sources seem determined not to sit idly by as our country is misled once again into a war favored only by "neo-conservatives" in Washington and their counterparts in the far-right Likud government in Israel who share a vision of remaking the map of the Middle East. Linzer has shown commendable tenacity on Iran and the nuclear issue—tenacity highly unusual by today's lax media standards. According to Linzer's sources, the National Intelligence Estimate states that, while there are credible signs that the Iranian military is doing some clandestine work, there is no information to connect that work directly to a nuclear weapons program. Moreover, U.N. inspectors have found no convincing proof that Iran is conducting a nuclear weapons program or that it has a nuclear warhead design. The NIE concludes that Iran will not be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon until "early to mid-next decade," with general consensus among intelligence analysts that 2015 would actually be the earliest.The exposure of these intelligence judgments is extremely well timed. It comes amid rumors that Vice President Cheney's office has ordered up contingency plans for a large-scale air assault on Iran using not only conventional weapons but also tactical nuclear weapons to take out hardened underground nuclear facilities. The action would be framed as a response to a terrorist act—whether sponsored by Iran or not—on the United States. According to former CIA operative Philip Giraldi, senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are appalled that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked attack but, sadly, no one wants to jeopardize a career by posing objections. Indeed, Cheney is once again leading the public charge, just as he did in 2002 in the lead up to invading Iraq. On the morning of Inauguration Day 2005 on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, Cheney warned that Iran has "a fairly robust new nuclear program." And, he added, it sponsors terrorism. The vice president said Iran's "objective is the destruction of Israel." Imus then brought up the possibility of preempting Iran, asking, "Why don't we make Israel do it?" Cheney responded: Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked, that if, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had significant capability, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.

Agence France Presse, Ex-Official: CIA knew Iraq was nuclear-free, 8/1/05: A former employee has claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency was told by an informant in the spring of 2001 that Iraq had abandoned a major element of its nuclear weapons programme, The New York Times reported. The New York Times reported on Monday that the agency did not share the information with other agencies or with senior policy- makers. In a lawsuit filed in the federal court in December, the former CIA officer, whose name remains secret, said the informant had told him that Iraq's uranium enrichment programme had ended years earlier and that the centrifuge components from the scuttled programme were available for examination and purchase. The paper said the officer, an employee at the agency for more than 20 years, was fired in 2004. In his lawsuit, he says his dismissal was punishment for his reports questioning the agency's assumptions on a series of weapons- related matters, according to The Times. He also charged that he had been the target of retaliation for his refusal to go along with the agency's intelligence conclusions.

The Nation, They Shall Be Released, 8/22/05: There's a new batch of photos from Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and these are reportedly far worse than the sickening originals. Naturally, the Pentagon is trying to block their release.The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in October 2003 to make public 87 photographs and four videos depicting prisoner abuse in Iraq. The Pentagon originally argued that releasing the images would violate the Geneva Convention rights of the detainees; a supreme irony considering that the US originally denied these very prisoners Geneva Convention protections. The ACLU agreed that the Pentagon could black out "identifying characteristics," but a federal judge in New York ruled last week that DoD must explain publicly why it's concealing the images. "By and large, I ruled for public disclosure," said US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein. A final ruling is expected on August 30.
In court proceedings, General Richard Myers argued that releasing the pictures and videos would give aid to the enemy: boosting Al Qaeda recruitment, destabilizing governments in Iraq and Afghanistan and inciting riots throughout the Muslim world. But a number of high-ranking officers and civil libertarians countered by noting that much of what Myers predicts is already occurring on the ground, fueled in large measure by past and present US behavior. "The attacks will continue regardless of whether the photos and tapes are released," testified former US Army Colonel Michael Pheneger. Myers, he said, "mistakes propaganda for motivation."
Last May members of Congress sat in a dark room and viewed the images. Their responses begged for further elaboration. "It was disgusting," said Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. "There were new ones that we hadn't seen before, and they're bad. I mean there's no doubt about that." Bad enough to show to Congress apparently, but not the American people.
The NewsHour's Ray Suarez said the images reportedly depict "assault, coerced sexual activity, rape, even dead bodies." Some may have originated outside of Abu Ghraib. Rep. Jane Harman said she saw videos of a prisoner banging his head against a wall and a group of men masturbating. "Some of the videos are more disturbing than the still photos that you've seen," added Sen. Bill Nelson.
Far from endangering American national security, the release of the horrific images could provide new impetus to the stalled Congressional investigations into prisoner abuse, and the Pentagon's failure to hold any high-ranking officers accountable for Abu Ghraib. An independent counsel with subpoena power is what's needed most right now to prevent images like these in the future.

Henry Waxman (D-CA), 11 Security Breaches in Plame Case, YubaNet.com, 7/22/05: On July 14, 2003, columnist Robert Novak revealed that the wife of Ambassador Josph Wilson, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a covert CIA agent. This disclosure of classified information has triggered a criminal investigation by a Special Counsel and led to calls for congressional investigations. The Novak column, however, appears to be only one of multiple leaks of Ms. Wilson's identity. As this fact sheet documents, there appear to be at least 11 separate instances in which Administration officials disclosed information about Ms. Wilson's identity and association with the CIA.
Under Executive Order 12958, the White House is required to investigate any reports of security breaches and take "prompt corrective action," such as suspending the security clearances of those involved. Unlike prosecutions for criminal violations, which require "knowing" and "intentional" disclosures, the executive order covers a wider range of unauthorized breaches, including the "negligent" release of classified information. There is no evidence that the White House has complied with its obligation to investigate any of the 11 reported instances of security breaches relating to Ms. Wilson or to apply administrative sanctions to those involved.
The Disclosures of Valerie Wilson's Identity
1. The Disclosure by Karl Rove to Columnist Robert Novak
2. The Disclosure by a "Senior Administration Official" to Columnist Robert Novak
3. The Disclosure by Karl Rove to TIME Reporter Matt Cooper
4. The Disclosure by Scooter Libby to TIME Reporter Matt Cooper
5. The Disclosure by an "Administration Official" to Washington Post Reporter Walter Pincus
6. The Disclosure by a "Top White House Official" to an Unidentified Reporter
(Press reports suggest that one of these unidentified reporters may be NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell.)
7. The Disclosure by a "Top White House Official" to an Unidentified Reporter
(Press reports suggest that one of these unidentified reporters may be NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert.)
8. The Disclosure by a "Top White House Official" to an Unidentified Reporter
(Press reports suggest that one of these unidentified reporters may be MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews.)
9. The Disclosure by an Unidentified Source to Wall Street Journal Reporter David Cloud
10. The Disclosure by an Unidentified Source to James Guckert of Talon News
11. The Disclosure by a "Senior Administration Official" to Washington Post Reporters Mike Allen and Dana Milbank

Carter: Guantanamo Detentions Disgraceful, Associated Press, 7-30-05: Former President Carter said Saturday the detention of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay Naval base was an embarrassment and had given extremists an excuse to attack the United States. Carter also criticized the U.S.-led war in Iraq as "unnecessary and unjust." "I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A.," he told a news conference at the Baptist World Alliance's centenary conference in Birmingham, England. "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts." "What has happened at Guantanamo Bay ... does not represent the will of the American people," Carter said Saturday. "I'm embarrassed about it, I think its wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people." Earlier this month, Carter called for the Guantanamo prison to be shut down, saying reports of abuses there were an embarassment to the United States. He also said that the United States needs to make sure no detainees are held incommunicado and that all are told the charges against them. Carter, who won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war. "I thought then, and I think now, that the invasion of Iraq was unnecessary and unjust. And I think the premises on which it was launched were false," he said Saturday…He praised British police and intelligence services for the swift arrests in connection with the July 21 failed bombing attempts on London's transit system. "I'm very proud to be in a nation that stands so stalwart against terrorism with us," he said. "The people of my country have united our hearts and sympathy for the tragedy that you have suffered from terrorism."

Marc Caputo, Roberts Had Larger 2000 Recount Role, Miami Herald, 7-27-05: US Supreme Court nominee John Roberts played a broader behind-the-scenes role for the Republican camp in the aftermath of the 2000 election than previously reported - as legal consultant, lawsuit editor and prep coach for arguments before the nation's highest court, according to the man who drafted him for the job. Ted Cruz, a domestic policy advisor for President Bush and who is now Texas' solicitor general, said Roberts was one of the first names he thought of while he and another attorney drafted the Republican legal dream team of litigation "lions" and "800-pound gorillas," which ultimately consisted of 400 attorneys in Florida. Until now, Gov. Jeb Bush and others involved in the election dispute could recall almost nothing of Roberts' role, except for a half-hour meeting the governor had with Roberts. Cruz said Roberts was in Tallahassee helping the Bush camp for "a week to 10 days," and that his help was important, though Cruz said it is difficult to remember specifics five years after the sleep-depriving frenetic pace of the 2000 recount. But one thing was certain, Cruz told The Herald: "There was no one better for the job."

Armando, Did Roberts Support Groups Who Bombed Abortion Clinics?, www.dailykos.com, 8-8-05: NARAL Pro-Choice America, the nation's leading advocate for personal privacy and a woman's right to choose, launched a nationwide television ad campaign drawing attention to one of the most disturbing episodes in Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' career - the brief he filed siding with groups like Operation Rescue and other anti-choice extremists who use bombings and other forms of intimidation against women, doctors, and nurses at women's health clinics. "We believe in a culture of personal freedom and personal responsibility. As an advocacy organization, it is our job to let the American people know that John Roberts's record demonstrates hostility toward these core values," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "This ad showing a disturbing part of Roberts' record is even more important since the White House decided to withhold critical information about Roberts from the public."
. . . The ad focuses on Roberts' amicus brief in 1991 on the side of the notorious Operation Rescue, convicted clinic bomber Michael Bray, and others in the Supreme Court case Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, as well as his 1992 efforts in a U.S. District Court to lift an injunction against Operation Rescue. The defendants in the Bray case included violent anti-choice activists Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue; Michael Bray, who had been convicted for his involvement in 10 bombings at health centers in the 1980s; and Patrick Mahoney, a consultant to Operation Rescue. Roberts argued the case before the Supreme Court and said that Operation Rescue's unlawful behavior did not amount to discrimination against women.
. . . [Nancy Keenan said] I want to be very clear that we are not suggesting Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence. I'm sure he finds bombings and murder abhorrent. But still his ideological view of the law compelled him to go out of his way to argue on behalf of someone like Michael Bray, who had already been convicted of a string of bombings."
The Right is up in arms:
Even by the standards of the pro-abortion movement, the new television ad that the group now calling itself NARAL Pro-Choice America has unleashed is particularly mendacious. The ad features a woman injured in the 1998 bombing of an abortion clinic, attempts to link her injury to an amicus brief that Roberts filed in 1991, and says that Americans should oppose a nominee "whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans." NARAL's press release disingenuously claims that "we are not suggesting Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence" when that of course is exactly what its ad does.
First, Whelan's outrage at this type of commentary is pretty disingenuous. To take one example, the Right's attacks on the ACLU have been much worse than this, and if Whelan (or any Right Winger) has protested, I have never heard it. Any words for O'Reilly, Whelan?
Second, while the ad is, how should I say this, inflammatory, it is not untruthful. While I am not that comfortable with it, I do think Keenan gets at an essential truth, Roberts has not been forthcoming on these key issues, and we are left to scrounge around for clues in his sparse public record. This is especially true when you consider the best evidence we could have, his policy work as Deputy Solicitor General, has not been released.
I'll make a deal with Whelan, demand the White House release the memos Roberts reviewed and his remarks on them while Deputy Solicitor General, and I'll demand NARAL withdraw this ad. This is rhetorical flourish of course. Whelan won't do it and the White House doesn't care what we say anyway. It will listen, however, to the American People, who need to know that the White House is in full stonewall mode.

Amy Goodman, The Federalist (Society) Papers: John Roberts and the Right's Move to Take Control of the Judiciary, Democracy Now, 7-26-05: There is growing focus on an organization that Supreme Court justice nominee John Roberts claims he cannot remember if he joined or not: the Federalist Society. We speak with Alfred Ross of the Institute for Democracy Studies who uncovered John Roberts' membership in the right-wing organization…
Amy Goodman: It's good to have you with us. Can you tell us about what you know, what evidence you have that John Roberts is a member of the Federalist Society, and then, of course, what the Federalist Society is?
Alfred Ross: Well, Roberts, whether he's paid his dues or not, was prominently listed in the 1997/1998 leadership directory published by the Federalist Society itself. So it is very difficult to believe that he didn't have any membership. He was on the Steering Committee. The important question is not whether he paid dues as a member or not. The question really at stake here is where does Roberts and his Federalist Society cronies plan to steer our ship of state. If one looks at the history of the Federalist Society, which was established at the inspiration of Robert Bork in the early 1980s, their entire trajectory has been to move our judicial system in an extremely radically right wing direction. In order to effectuate this, the Federalist Society has established 15 practice groups which you can find on their own website which is fed-soc.org. These 15 practice groups are busy developing new legal theories for every area of American jurisprudence, from civil rights law to national security law, international law, securities regulations law, and so on. And if one goes through the publications of their practice groups, one can only gasp not only at the breadth of their agenda, but the extremism of their ideology. It is not insignificant that today Timothy Flanigan will have hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to be Deputy Attorney General of the United States. In the same leadership directory that lists John Roberts on the Steering Committee to the Federalist Society, it lists Timothy Flanigan on the Program Committee of the Federalist Society. And both men have their own personal track records in the right wing of American jurisprudence. In 1987 the Senate Judiciary decided that Robert Bork's ideology was so far outside the mainstream of American jurisprudence that he was not fit to serve on the Supreme Court. The same kind of strict scrutiny should be applied to John Roberts who is on the Steering Committee of the organization that Robert Bork inspired…
Amy Goodman: We're talking to Al Ross, head of the Institute for Democratic Studies, who got a hold of the document that said that John Roberts, the Supreme Court nominee, was on the -- in the directory of the Federalist Society in 1997/1998. Now, John Roberts claims he cannot remember if he joined or not. Your response to that, Al Ross?
Alfred Ross: Well, we can't yet do an MRI scan of his brain to see whether there is a memory cell there or not. But it would be very difficult, indeed, for him to deny his association with the organization. How does he get to be listed as a member of the Steering Committee? And I suppose the Senate Judiciary Committee could inquire and ask for whatever correspondence existed. But again the important point here is not this memory lapse, which is strange given his reputation as having one of the more spectacular memories in the legal community in Washington, D.C., but again the growth of this organization within the Bush Administration and the implementation of its views..
Amy Goodman: Al Ross, why the title Federalist Society? Why the name?
Alfred Ross: Well, it's interesting. At one of their recent conferences at Yale Law School, which was opened to anyone who wanted to attend, they actually chuckled about the fact that originally they were going to name it the Anti-Federalist Society, but it didn't sound very good, so they called it the Federalist Society. The point here is the -- this organization of extremist lawyers really has no principles about what they call themselves, whether they remember if they were members of the Steering Committee or not. The point is whatever sells and moves their agenda forward, they're prepared to use. And this debate over Federalist or the Anti-Federalist is really illustrative of the underlying cynicism and ruthlessness of this organization.
Amy Goodman: Are you saying that the White House called The Washington Post to get them to retract that Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society, which then they did and now with the documents they are reasserting that he was?
Alfred Ross: Well, that's clear. They not only called The Washington Post but they called a number of other prominent newspapers across the country. And the reason why they were doing it is they very much did not want the Senate Judiciary Committee or the American people to unravel the thread of the Federalist Society and begin to discover the incredible penetration of its membership throughout our judicial system and, more importantly, the underlying ideology that the group represents. Roberts himself has only sat on a federal court for basically about two years, which is amazing for someone to be appointed to the Supreme Court. And the question is how does one begin to access his underlying ideology? And this is a very important way for the Senate Judiciary and the American people to understand Roberts, Flanigan, and the Bush administration's goals for our legal system.
Amy Goodman: Al Ross, while you may not agree with the Federalist Society, apparently there are tens of thousands of members. Why doesn't, with conservatives in the ascendancy in the government, why don't they just say, 'Sure, he represents our ideology? What is wrong with that?'
Alfred Ross: Well, it's interesting. A number of conservatives actually were upset with the White House for trying to cover up the connection because they're quite proud of it. But I think the issue here is the, I believe, correct awareness by the Bush administration's spin masters, that the majority of the American people would not support the ideology of the Federalist Society, even though admittedly thousands of right wing lawyers are very glad to further their agenda.
Amy Goodman: Finally, do they take a stance on abortion?
Alfred Ross: Well, officially the Federalist Society, as an organization, doesn't take a stance on anything. But that's rather a sham. Throughout their literature and at their forums, they endorse not only anti-abortion ideology, but extremist ideology on civil rights, national security law, telecommunications law, and every other issue you can possibly imagine.

Posted by richard at January 6, 2006 06:49 PM