January 06, 2006

LNS Articles of Impeachment Jan. '06 Pt. 1

Over two thousand two hundred US military men and women have sacrificed their lives in the Mega-Mogadishu of Iraq -- over four hundred more than at the time of our last posting, six months ago. And for what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. Nothing more.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Calm ‘Em Powell’s top aide for sixteen years, has denounced Cheney, Rumsfeld and the so-called neo-cons: “They are not neo-cons. They are not new conservatives. They're Jacobins. Their predecessor is French Revolution leader Maximilien Robespierre. And to say that these people are dead, dormant or lying quiescent is not encouraging because there are enough of them left. And it's going to be incumbent on the rest of us, in this country at least, to watch these trends and make sure that their ugly head doesn't rise up and cause more problems in the future…” (SPIEGEL ONLINE. 12-6-05). Brent Scowcroft, Poppy Bush’s National Security Adviser, has also denounced them: “The first Gulf War was a success, Scowcroft said, because the President knew better than to set unachievable goals. ‘I'm not a pacifist,’ he said. ‘I believe in the use of force. But there has to be a good reason for using force. And you have to know when to stop using force.’ Scowcroft does not believe that the promotion of American-style democracy abroad is a sufficiently good reason to use force. ‘I thought we ought to make it our duty to help make the world friendlier for the growth of liberal regimes," he said. "You encourage democracy over time, with assistance, and aid, the traditional way. Not how the neo-cons do it.’” (New Yorker, 10-23-05). Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady of the Falklands War, has chastised the Bush regime over the war in Iraq: "I was a scientist before I was a politician. And as a scientist I know you need facts, evidence and proof - and then you check, recheck and check again...The fact was that there were no facts, there was no evidence, and there was no proof. As a politician the most serious decision you can take is to commit your armed services to war from which they may not return." (Independent/UK, 10-14-05). Zbigniew Brezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, one of the architects of the Afghan guerilla war against the Soviet Union, writes of Bush’s “suicidal statesmanship:” "Sixty years ago, Arnold Toynbee concluded, in his monumental 'Study of History,' that the ultimate cause of imperial collapse was 'suicidal statecraft.' Sadly for President George W. Bush's place in history but - much more important - ominously for America's future, it has lately seemed as if that adroit phrase might be applicable to the policies pursued by the United States since the cataclysm of 9/11”. ( International Herald Tribune, 10-13-05). Gen. William Odom, Ronald Reagan’s NSA Director, has termed the war in Iraq “the worst strategic disaster in American history” and called for withdrawal: “The invasion of Iraq may well turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in American history. In any event, the longer we stay, the worse it will be. Until that is understood, we will make no progress with our allies or in devising a promising alternative strategy. ‘Staying the course’ may make a good sound bite, but it can be disastrous for strategy. Several of Hitler's generals told him that ‘staying the course’ at Stalingrad in 1942 was a strategic mistake…He refused, lost the Sixth Army entirely, and left his commanders with fewer forces to defend a wider front…the Middle East is not a pottery store. It is the site of major military conflict with several different forces that the United States is galvanizing into an alliance against America. To hang on to an untenable position is the height of irresponsibility. Beware of anyone, including the president, who insists that this is ‘responsible’" or ‘the patriotic thing to do” (Neiman Watchdog, 11-11-05).
US Army Captain Ian Fishback, a West Point graduate, turned to Human Rights Watch, after he had “tried for more than a year to get his commanding officers to pay attention to reports of widespread abuses of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops,” and reported that “the abuses committed by Army enlisted soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which sparked an international furor, ‘were not isolated.’” (USA Today, 9-27-05) U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison released despite government claims that they could damage America's image (AP, 9-28-05). Meanwhile, the Bush regime still refuses to allow the International Red Cross access to some detainees: “The United States said Friday that it would continue to deny the International Committee of the Red Cross access to "a very small, limited number" of prisoners who are held in secret around the world, saying they are terrorists being kept incommunicado for reasons of national security and are not guaranteed any rights under the Geneva Conventions.) (NY Times, 12-10-05)
Lewis Libby, the VICE-_resident’s Chief of Staff has been indicted on five counts (obstruction of justice, perjury, etc.) Rove and perhaps others will also be indicted in the outing of Valerie Plame, a CIA covert operative, and the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson. David Safavia, “the top administrator at the federal procurement office in the White House Office of Management and Budget” has resigned and been arrested (WP, 9-2-05). Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) the Senate Majority Leader is under SEC investigation. Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX), the House Majority Leader has been indicted on money-laundering and conspiracy charges. The vast right-wing conspiracy’s ace fund-raiser Jack Abramhoff has made a deal with prosecutors: “In a plea agreement with government prosecutors, Abramhoff agreed to tell the FBI about alleged bribes to lawmakers and their aides on issues ranging from Internet gambling to wireless phone service in the House. The full extent of the investigation is not yet known, but Justice Department officials said they intended to make use of the trove of e-mails and other material in Abramoff's possession as part of a probe that is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and aides.” (AP, 1-4-06). Another House Republican has already fallen: “A tearful, trembling Rep. Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe) resigned Monday after pleading guilty to receiving $2.4 million in bribes from military contractors and evading more than $1 million in taxes.” (LAT, 11-29-05) In Ohio, Tom Noe, “whose failed rare-coin deal with the state has triggered multiple investigations and rocked Ohio’s Republican leadership,” has been indicted for “illegally funneling $45,400 to President Bush’s re-election campaign.” (Toledo Blade, 10-28-05) Furthermore, “Federal and state authorities are investigating the Bush Pioneers and Rangers, individuals who raised at least $100,000 or $200,000 for President Bush's re-election, for bribery, money laundering, stock manipulation, and extortion.” (Toledo Blade, 12-18-05) “Follow the money,” as Deep Throat said (an FBI agent who upheld his oath to the U.S. Constitution) “follow the money…” And there is more to come…for example, whether or not US Justice Department concerns about violations of the Voting Rights Act during the redistricting of Texas were suppressed for political gain…
Furthermore, whether or not there was criminal negligence or worse involved in the Hurricane Katrina debacle has yet to be investigated by any independent, duly empowered entity. Both the evidence already available in open source publications, and devastating impact are both damning to the Bush regime. Michael Brown, FEMA Director of the Federal Office of Emergency Management, whose prior experience was as an Arabian horse association commissioner, has resigned in disgrace after losing New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and lied under oath, in Congressional hearings, about why Bush omitted New Orleans from a critical letter authoring a federal response (although his testimony remains unchallenged by the Democratic leadership and the US mainstream news media). Thousands of Americans, including hundreds of children, who disappeared during the disaster, are still missing.
The _resident’s approval ratings, even in the cooked corporatist news media polls, have sunk to unprecedented lows, i.e. below 40%.
Cindy Sheehan’s long hot summer “Camp Casey” protest in Crawford exposed them for what they are, and the Hurricane Katrina debacle further exposed them for what they are; soon, hopefully, Patrick Fitzgerald and other career prosecutors will continue to expose them for what they are.
We are witnessing a revolt of the professionals – federal prosecutors, military officers, intelligence officials, career diplomats throughout the U.S. government are reasserting the rule of law – from below. Meanwhile, the political commissars of the would-be One Party State are purging those who have not gulped down the Kool-Aid, one by one…We are all in a race against time…
A few Democratic leaders have acted with courage: notably Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) on withdrawal from Iraq, former President Jimmy Carter on torture, the war and the danger of the religious right, former Vice-President Al Gore on global warming, the news media and the war, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) on the 2004 election and the war, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) on the US Constitution, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on the 2004 election, and former Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT), DNC chairman, on a range of issues, including Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. But many elected officials from the Democratic Party are still sheepish, in denial, or simply playing the role of a faux opposition. Where should we begin the litany of disappointments and embarrassments? With Sen. John Kerry’s political cowardice in conceding the stolen election of 2004, Sen. Russ Feingold’s vote to confirm Roberts, a corporatist thug, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, an odious lapse which detracts from his principled opposition to the war in Iraq and the so-called PATRIOT Act, and Sen. Hillary Clinton’s self-serving, weak and politically MIS-calculating pro-war stance on Iraq.
But there is no alternative--yet.
Certainly not the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader, who said there was no difference between Bush and Gore in 2000, cavorted with Grover Norquist and accepted “vast right-wing conspiracy” money in 2004.
The US mainstream news media, in particular the cable and network news organizations, have lost all credibility on issues of national security, economic security and environmental security. Numerous examples – from Bob Woodward and Judith Miller to Armstrong Williams and Jeff Gannon – have verified our claim that they are clearly complicit and compromised – perhaps beyond redemption. If they were not complicit and compromised, if they had provided the context and the continuity that the LNS and other bastions of the Internet-based information rebellion have provided over the past five years, masses of outraged citizens would have already descended on the Capitol and the White House to demand an end to this illegitimate, incompetent and corrupt regime.
Those who prattle on about health care, education and social security, or critique the communications skills of the Democratic Party, are missing the point. We are in a state of national emergency – whether you accept it or not. Let’s put it in simple terms. The elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen. Pre-9/11 negligence and post-9/11 incompetence have snatched defeat from victory in the “war on terrorism.” The budget surplus has been gutted for an unnecessary tax cut and the US government has been plunged deep into debt. The occupation Iraq is worse than immoral and illegal, it is stupid. (Indeed, as LNS foreign correspondent Dunston Woods remarks, it is the kind of stupendous folly that brings about the collapse of regimes and even entire nations.) We have lost five years we could not afford to lose in the struggle against global warming. The Western alliance is fractured. Our prestige in the world is at an all-time low. War crimes, including torture and the use of chemical weapons, have been committed in our name. The U.S. Constitution (in particular the Bill of Rights and the principles of checks and balances, and separation of church and state) has been suspended in all but open declaration at the imperial whim of two men who cannot even lay clear claim to having been duly elected.
Here is an agenda that is relevant to our circumstances:
Restore fair elections (e.g., voting according to international standards, and 100% public financing of campaigns) and a free press (e.g., constraints on media monopolization, and a revived “fairness doctrine”)
Embrace the Kyoto Accords and lead the world on global warming
Mandate a national commitment (industry, government and consumer) to alternate and renewable energy resources
Restore fiscal responsibility, i.e. balance the budget by rolling back Bush tax cuts
Withdraw from Iraq, and concentrate on avenging 9/11 (e.g. capturing or killing Bin Laden, Zawahiri, etc.) and mitigating the risk of future attacks (through an intensive multilateral approach to regional conflicts and WMD proliferation, a significantly reduced dependency on foreign oil and a serious investment in real homeland security)
The Liberation News Service was started as a response to installation of an illegitimate government in 2000, and has continued ever since – in one form or another. Here, today, it wraps up. This posting will stand as a time capsule capturing an extraordinary moment in U.S. history.
Perhaps in a year or two, Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker of the U.S. House of Representative, and on the verge of ascending to the Presidency because of the imminent impeachment of the _resident and the VICE _resident. Hopefully, in a year or two, we will not be languishing under martial law after another terrorist strike, e.g., an attack on Capitol Hill or the destruction of a U.S. city.
Perhaps those who thirst for WWIII can be thwarted, perhaps not.
The U.S. is at a crossroads. We are in the throes of a political crisis that overshadows both Watergate and Vietnam. Throughout this national emergency, LNS has been a shaman’s drumbeat, and a rain dance. We vowed to keep it going until the U.S. Presidential election of 2004, and we did. In the aftermath, we continued to post periodically, so that we could provide you with some context and continuity concerning the theft of that election, and to prepare for the inevitable impeachment struggle and other Constitutional confrontations to come. We had hoped that this nightmare, for our nation and for the world, would have ended in 2004, but we also feared that they would simply refuse to leave—and, indeed, they have simply refused to leave.
This last posting of the LNS, and the whole of the LNS archive, as I said, will remain posted as a time capsule.
If you come across in the future, you will be able to look back and say “yes, this was written just before the beginning of the restoration of the Republic,” or “yes, this was written just before the death of the Republic.”
The U.S. has to return to the healthiest of its original impulses and its guiding principles -- it is, at its best, a revolutionary, secular, progressive, democratic, free market agent of change in the world.
This renewal of the vision and passion that inspired the Founders may have already started in state houses and city halls all across the countries, as local governments adopt the Kyoto Accords, and challenge the Bush regime both on Iraq and their anti-Constitutional, anti-American actions.
Meanwhile, we will be focusing on the interdependent issues of security, sustainability and spirit on a planetary scale. You can keep in touch with us through www.wordsofpower.net and http://words-of-power.blogspot.com.
When the LNS started, the information rebellion was just get started. But now it is vibrant and expanding. Those with financial, creative, spiritual and intellectual resources should dedicate some significant percent of the rest of their lives to its growth and its security. Listen to Air America. Support the bastions of the Internet-based information rebellion, in particular, www.buzzflash.com, www.truthout.org, and www.mediamatters.org, as well as the heroic investigative and analytic efforts of the bloggers, in particular, www.bradblog.com. Read Mark Crispin Miller’s Fooled Again (ISBN: 0465045790) and buy it for all your friends. Work with www.moveon.org. Stay in touch with Cindy Sheehan (www.gsfp.org) and Michael Moore (www.michaelmoore.com). Support the men and women of the U.S. military at Iraq and Afganistan Veterans of America (www.iava.org/index2.html). Get it on with World Can't Wait (www.worldcantwait.net). Remember, the oath is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Remember, and resist.

Two weeks ago, a former NSA intelligence officer publicly announced that he wants to testify before Congress. His name is Russell Tice. For the past two decades he has worked in the intelligence field both inside and outside government, most recently with the National Security Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency. He was fired in May 2005 after he spoke out as a whistleblower. In his letter, Tice wrote, "It is with my oath as a US intelligence officer weighing heavy on my mind that I wish to report to Congress acts that I believe are unlawful and unconstitutional. The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a
AMY GOODMAN: What made you decide to come forward? You worked for the top-secret agency of this government, one that is far larger and even more secret than the C.I.A.
RUSSELL TICE: Well, the main reason is, you know, I'm involved with some certain aspects of the intelligence community, which are very closely held, and I believe I have seen some things that are illegal. Ultimately it's Congress's responsibility to conduct oversight in these things. I don't see it happening. Another reason is there was a certain roadblock that was sort of lifted that allowed me to do this, and I can't explain, but I will to Congress if allowed to…
AMY GOODMAN: Russell Tice, you have worked for the National Security Agency. Can you talk about your response to the revelations that the Times, you know, revealed in -- perhaps late, knowing the story well before the election, yet revealing it a few weeks ago -- the revelation of the wiretapping of American citizens?
RUSSELL TICE: Well, as far as an intelligence officer, especially a SIGINT officer at N.S.A., we're taught from very early on in our careers that you just do not do this. This is probably the number one commandment of the SIGINT Ten Commandments as a SIGINT officer. You will not spy on Americans. It is drilled into our head over and over and over again in security briefings, at least twice a year, where you ultimately have to sign a paper that says you have gotten the briefing. Everyone at N.S.A. who’s a SIGINT officer knows that you do not do this. Ultimately, so do the leaders of N.S.A., and apparently the leaders of N.S.A. have decided that they were just going to go against the tenets of something that’s a gospel to a SIGINT officer…
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of the Justice Department launching an investigation into the leak, who leaked the fact that President Bush was spying on American citizens?
RUSSELL TICE: Well, I think this is an attempt to make sure that no intelligence officer ever considers doing this. What was done to me was basically an attempt to tell other intelligence officers, ‘Hey, if you do something like this, if you do something to tick us off, we're going to take your job from you, we're gonna do some unpleasant things to you.’
So, right now, the atmosphere at N.S.A. and D.I.A., for that matter, is fear. The security services basically rule over the employees with fear, and people are afraid to come forward. People know if they come forward even in the legal means, like coming to Congress with a concern, your career is over. And that's just the best scenario. There’s all sorts of other unfortunate things like, perhaps, if someone gets thrown in jail for either a witch-hunt or something trumping up charges or, you know, this guy who is basically reporting a crime…
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to play for you the clip that we ran of President Bush earlier and get your response. This is President Bush on Sunday.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I can say that if somebody from al-Qaeda is calling you, we'd like to know why. In the meantime, this program is conscious of people's civil liberties, as am I...
AMY GOODMAN: President Bush. Russell Tice, you’re with the National Security Agency, or you were until May 2005. If al-Qaeda's calling, the U.S. government wants to know. Your response?
RUSSELL TICE: Well, that's probably a good thing to know. But that's why we have a FISA court and FISA laws. The FISA court – it’s not very difficult to get something through a FISA court. I kinda liken the FISA court to a monkey with a rubber stamp. The monkey sees a name, the monkey sees a word justification with a block of information. It can't read the block, but it just stamps “affirmed” on the block, and a banana chip rolls out, and then the next paper rolls in front of the monkey. When you have like 20,000 requests and only, I think, four were turned down, you can't look at the FISA court as anything different.
So, you have to ask yourself the question: Why would someone want to go around the FISA court in something like this? I would think the answer could be that this thing is a lot bigger than even the President has been told it is, and that ultimately a vacuum cleaner approach may have been used, in which case you don't get names, and that's ultimately why you wouldn't go to the FISA court. And I think that’s something Congress needs to address. They need to find out exactly how this system was operated and ultimately determine whether this was indeed a very focused effort or whether this was a vacuum cleaner-type scenario.
AMY GOODMAN: Did you support the President, Russell Tice? Did you vote for President Bush?
RUSSELL TICE: I am a Republican. I voted for President Bush both in the last election and the first election where he was up for president. I’ve contributed to his campaign. I get a post -- I mean, a Christmas card from the White House every year, I guess, because of my nominal contributions. But – so, you know, it’s not like, you know -- I think you’re going to find a lot of folks that are in the Department of Defense and the intelligence community are apt to be on the conservative side of the fence. But nonetheless, we're all taught that you don't do something like this… the question has to be asked: What did the President know? What was the President told about this? It's just -- there's just too many variables out there that we don't know yet. And, ultimately, I think Congress needs to find out those answers. If the President was fed a bill of goods in this matter, then that's something that has to be addressed. Or if the President himself knew every aspect of what’s going on, if this was some sort of vacuum cleaner deal, then it is ultimately, I would think, the President himself that needs to be held responsible for what’s going on here.
AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think should happen to him?
RUSSELL TICE: Well, you know, it’s certainly not up to me, but I've heard all of the talk about impeachment and that sort of thing. You know, I saw our last president get impeached for what personally I thought should have been something between his wife and his family, and the big guy upstairs. It’s not up to me, but if the President knew, if this was a vacuum cleaner job and the President knew exactly what was going on -- and ultimately what we're hearing now is nothing but a cover-up and a whitewash -- and we find that to be the case, then I think it should cause some dire consequences for even the President of the United States, if he indeed did know exactly what was going on and if it was a very large-scale, you know, suck-up-everything kind of operation…
AMY GOODMAN: And your colleagues at the N.S.A. right now, their feelings, the National Security Agency?
RUSSELL TICE: Boy, I think most folks at N.S.A. right now are just running scared. They have the security office hanging over their head, which has always been a bunch of vicious folks, and now they've got, you know, this potential witch hunt going on with the Attorney General. People in the intelligence community are afraid. They know that you can't come forward. You have no protections as a whistleblower. These things need to be addressed.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean you have no protection?
RUSSELL TICE: Well, like I said before, as a whistleblower, you're not protected by the whistleblower laws that are out there. The intelligence community is exempt from the whistleblower protection laws.
AMY GOODMAN: So why are you doing it?
RUSSELL TICE: Well, ultimately, I don't have to be afraid of losing my job, because I have already lost my job, so that's one reason. The other reason is because I made an oath when I became an intelligence officer that I would protect the United States Constitution, not a president, not some classification, you know, for whatever, that ultimately I'm responsible to protect the Constitution of the United States. And I think that’s the same oath the President takes, for the most part. So, something like -- imagine if something -- if we were like, I don't know, taking Americans and assassinating them for suspicions of suspicions of terrorism, and then we just put some classification on it and said, ‘Well, this is super top secret, so no one can say anything about that.’ Well, at what point do you draw the line and say enough is enough. We have to say something here.
Amy Goodman Interviews Russell Tice, National Security Agency Whistleblower Warns Domestic Spying Program Is Sign the U.S. is Decaying Into a “Police State,” 1-3-06

Recently, President Bush has admitted to carrying out surveillance on U.S. citizens in the interest of national security. He unabashedly admits to doing it. He offers no apologies. With his bellicose swagger, he once again uses 9/11 as his justification for breaking our constitutional laws. The President's justification of 9/11 to carry out such surveillance begs a closer examination. President Bush should be stopped in his tracks with regard to his use of 9/11 scare tactics to circumvent constitutional laws that are meant to protect U.S. citizens. His justification for doing so -- the inability to conduct surveillance on the 9/11 hijackers -- is a red herring. History will bear out the truth -- our intelligence agencies held a treasure trove of intelligence on the 9/11 hijackers, intelligence that was gathered through their initially unencumbered surveillance. President Bush should busy himself by investigating why that information was then stymied and not capitalized upon to stop the 9/11 attacks…
Respectfully, President Bush, before you fecklessly dissolve our constitutional rights in the name of national security and invoke the failures of 9/11, the following questions should be answered:
1. Who ordered the alleged Able Danger special operation to be shut down in May 01? What were the reasons? The individuals involved in the operation have testified that it was not shut down for reasons of posse comitatus. What reasoning was responsible for shutting down a successful surveillance operation on terrorist cells planning terrorist activities within the United States a mere 5 months before 9/11?
2. Was any information gleaned in the alleged Able Danger operation used as the basis for the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing that mentioned "patterns of suspicious activities" by sleeper cells within the United States that indicated possible hijackings?
3. Why did the State Department order its agents to "not detain" al Mihdhar on September 5, 2001? Who is responsible for issuing that order?
4. Regarding the State Department entry on September 5, 2001, what FBI investigation was al Mihdhar thought to be a witness in?
5. At what time did the U.S. government have in its possession actionable intelligence regarding the identity of the terrorists who carried out the USS Cole bombing? Was that information gleaned from any alleged Able Danger analysts? When was it shared with the CIA? Was that the information used to justify the alleged "taking out of the cells" in the Able Danger operation between January 01 and May 01? If so, why did certain governmental officials in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations lie to the 9/11 Commission in stating that they did not have in their possession conclusive evidence linking al Qaeda to the bombing of the USS Cole until after the 9/11 attacks?
6. What is the interpretation of "taking out of cells"? Is it merely apprehension and detention or more severely elimination of the cells?
7. What countries were linked to the targets identified in the alleged Able Danger program? Was Iraq one of those countries?
8. Why was the Able Danger chart allegedly destroyed immediately after 9/11 (and prior to your decision to attack Iraq)? Who is responsible for the alleged destruction of this chart and other vital documents relating to this successful, cutting edge program? Who were the Congressional officials and Executive Branch officials present in this meeting? Are any of the targets allegedly contained on the Able Danger chart still within this country and planning or participating in terrorist acts?
9. In March 2001, an internal debate ignited at the Justice Department and the FBI over wiretap surveillance of certain terrorist groups. Prompted by questions from Royce C. Lamberth, the Chief Judge of the FISA court, the Justice Department opened an inquiry into Michael Resnick, an FBI official who coordinated the FISA acts applications. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Robert Mueller (then deputy Attorney General) ordered a full review of all foreign surveillance authorizations.
Justice Department and FBI officials have since acknowledged the existence of this internal investigation, and said that the inquiry forced officials to examine their monitoring of several suspected terrorist groups--including al Qaeda. And while senior FBI and Justice Department officials contend that the internal investigation did not affect their ability to monitor al Qaeda, other officials have acknowledged that the inquiry might have hampered electronic surveillance of terror groups pre-9/11.
Where is the final report of this inquiry? And, what effect did this investigation have on our nation's ability to carry out surveillance on al Qaeda prior to 9/11? Perhaps, receiving such answers would eliminate your current need to circumvent constitutional law?
Kristen Breitweiser found herself widowed at age thirty when her husband Ron died at Tower Two of the World Trade Center on September 11. Along with four other widows (nicknamed the "Jersey Girls"), Breitweiser fought tirelessly for the 9/11 Commission, in spite of initial opposition from President Bush, whom she voted for in 2000.
Kristen Breitweiser, The King's Red Herring, Huffington Post, 12-20-05

Americans have been stunned at the recent news of the abuses of power by an overzealous President. It has become apparent that this Administration has engaged in a consistent and unrelenting pattern of abuse against our Country's law-abiding citizens, and against our Constitution.
We have been stunned to hear reports about the Pentagon gathering information and creating databases to spy on ordinary Americans whose only sin is choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. Those Americans who choose to question the Administration's flawed policy in Iraq are labeled by this Administration as "domestic terrorists."
We now know that the F.B.I.'s use of National Security Letters on American citizens has increased one hundred fold, requiring tens of thousands of individuals to turn over personal information and records. These letters are issued without prior judicial review, and provide no real means for an individual to challenge a permanent gag order. Through news reports, we have been shocked to learn of the CIA’s practice of rendition, and the so-called "black sites," secret locations in foreign countries, where abuse and interrogation have been exported, to escape the reach of U.S. laws protecting against human rights abuses. We know that Vice President Dick Cheney has asked for exemptions for the CIA from the language contained in the McCain torture amendment banning cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. Thank God his pleas have been rejected by this Congress. Now comes the stomach-churning revelation through an executive order, that President Bush has circumvented both the Congress and the courts. He has usurped the Third Branch of government -- the branch charged with protecting the civil liberties of our people -- by directing the National Security Agency to intercept and eavesdrop on the phone conversations and e-mails of American citizens without a warrant, which is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. He has stiff-armed the People's Branch of government. He has rationalized the use of domestic, civilian surveillance with a flimsy claim that he has such authority because we are at war. The executive order, which has been acknowledged by the President, is an end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which makes it unlawful for any official to monitor the communications of an individual on American soil without the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. What is the President thinking? Congress has provided for the very situations which the President is blatantly exploiting…I continue to be shocked and astounded by the breadth with which the Administration undermines the constitutional protections afforded to the people, and the arrogance with which it rebukes the powers held by the Legislative and Judicial Branches. The President has cast off federal law, enacted by Congress, often bearing his own signature, as mere formality. He has rebuffed the rule of law, and he has trivialized and trampled upon the prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizures guaranteed to Americans by the United States Constitution. We are supposed to accept these dirty little secrets. We are told that it is irresponsible to draw attention to President Bush's gross abuse of power and Constitutional violations. But what is truly irresponsible is to neglect to uphold the rule of law. We listened to the President speak last night on the potential for democracy in Iraq. He claims to want to instill in the Iraqi people a tangible freedom and a working democracy, at the same time he violates our own U.S. laws and checks and balances? President Bush called the recent Iraqi election "a landmark day in the history of liberty." I dare say in this country we may have reached our own sort of landmark. Never have the promises and protections of Liberty seemed so illusory. Never have the freedoms we cherish seemed so imperiled. These renegade assaults on the Constitution and our system of laws strike at the very core of our values, and foster a sense of mistrust and apprehension about the reach of government…These astounding revelations about the bending and contorting of the Constitution to justify a grasping, irresponsible Administration under the banner of "national security" are an outrage. Congress can no longer sit on the sidelines. It is time to ask hard questions of the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the CIA. The White House should not be allowed to exempt itself from answering the same questions simply because it might assert some kind of "executive privilege" in order to avoid further embarrassment. The practice of domestic spying on citizens should halt immediately. Oversight hearings need to be conducted. Judicial action may be in order. We need to finally be given answers to our questions: where is the constitutional and statutory authority for spying on American citizens, what is the content of these classified legal opinions asserting there is a legality in this criminal usurpation of rights, who is responsible for this dangerous and unconstitutional policy, and how many American citizens' lives have been unknowingly affected?
Senator Byrd: No President is Above the Law, www.byrd2006.com, 12-19-05

Calls for Censure of President Bush and Vice President Cheney
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement regarding today's release of a staff report entitled "The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retributions and Cover-ups in the Iraq War." The Report is my best effort to examine all of the charges of misconduct by the Bush Administration concerning the Iraq War.
Conyers Report: http://www.house.gov/judiciary_democrats/iraqrept.html
"In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration. There is at least a prima facie case that these actions that federal laws have been violated - from false statements to Congress to retaliating against Administration critics. In response to the Report, I have already taken several initial steps. First, I have introduced a resolution (H. Res. 635) creating a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war and report on possible impeachable offenses. In addition, I have introduced Resolutions regarding both President Bush (H. Res. 636) and Vice-President Cheney (H. Res. 637) proposing that they be censured by Congress based on indisputable evidence of unaccounted for misstatements and abuse of power in the public record. There are a number of additional recommendations in the Report that I expect to be taking up in the coming weeks and months.
The Report rejects the frequent contention by the Bush Administration that there pre-war conduct has been reviewed and they have been exonerated. No entity has ever considered whether the Administration misled Americans about the decision to go to War, and the Senate Intelligence Committee has not yet conducted a review of pre-war intelligence information, while the Silberman-Robb report specifically cautioned, that intelligence manipulation "was not part of our inquiry." There has also not been any independent inquiry concerning torture and other legal violations in Iraq; nor has there been an independent review of the pattern of cover-ups and political retribution by the Bush Administration against its critics, other than the very narrow and still ongoing inquiry of Special Counsel Fitzgerald."
Conyers Releases Report on Misconduct of Bush Administration Concerning Iraq War; Calls for Censure of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, www.buzzflash.com, 12-5-05

Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act…GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. “I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”
“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”
“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”
And, to the Bush Administration, the Constitution of the United States is little more than toilet paper stained from all the shit that this group of power-mad despots have dumped on the freedoms that “goddamned piece of paper” used to guarantee.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, while still White House counsel, wrote that the “Constitution is an outdated document.”
Put aside, for a moment, political affiliation or personal beliefs. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent. It doesn’t matter if you support the invasion or Iraq or not. Despite our differences, the Constitution has stood for two centuries as the defining document of our government, the final source to determine – in the end – if something is legal or right.
Every federal official – including the President – who takes an oath of office swears to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Doug Thompson, Capitol Hill Blue, Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper,' 12-09-05

The immense significance of Rep John Murtha's November 17 speech calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq is that it signals mutiny in the US senior officer corps, seeing the institution they lead as "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth", to use the biting words of their spokesman, John Murtha, as he reiterated on December his denunciation of Bush's destruction of the Army.
A CounterPuncher with nearly 40 years experience working in and around the Pentagon told me this week that "The Four Star Generals picked Murtha to make this speech because he has maximum credibility." It's true. Even in the US Senate there's no one with quite Murtha's standing to deliver the message, except maybe for Byrd, but the venerable senator from West Virginia was a vehement opponent of the war from the outset , whereas Murtha voted for it and only recently has turned around.
So the Four-Star Generals briefed Murtha and gave him the state-of-the-art data which made his speech so deadly, stinging the White House into panic-stricken and foolish denunciations of Murtha as a clone of Michael Moore.
It cannot have taken vice president Cheney, a former US Defense Secretary, more than a moment to scan Murtha's speech and realize the import of Murtha's speech as an announcement that the generals have had enough.
Listen once more to what the generals want the country to know:
"The future of our military is at risk. Our military and our families are stretched thin. Many say the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on a third deployment. Recruitment is down even as the military has lowered its standards. They expect to take 20 percent category 4, which is the lowest category, which they said they'd never take. They have been forced to do that to try to meet a reduced quota.
"Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We cannot allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared.
"The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls in our bases at home. I've been to three bases in the United States, and each one of them were short of things they need to train the people going to Iraq.
"Much of our ground equipment is worn out.
"Most importantly -- this is the most important point -- incidents have increased from 150 a week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over a time when we had additional more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revolution at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled."
What happened on the heels of this speech is very instructive. The Democrats fell over themselves distancing themselves from Murtha, emboldening the White House to go one the attack.
From Bush's presidential plane, touring Asia, came the derisive comment that Murtha was of "endorsing the policies of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party."
It took the traveling White House about 48 hours to realize that this was a dumb thing to have said. Murtha's not the kind of guy you can slime, the way Bush and Co did the glass-jawed Kerry in 2004. The much decorated vet Murtha snapped back publicly that he hadn't much time for smears from people like Cheney who'd got five deferments from military service in Vietnam.
By the weekend Bush was speaking of Murtha respectfully…
Ten days after Murtha's speech commentators on the TV Sunday talk shows were clambering aboard the Bring ‘em home bandwagon. Voices calling for America to “stay the course" in Iraq were few and far between. On December 1 Murtha returned to the attack in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, telling a civic group there that he was wrong to have voted for the war and that most U.S. troops will leave Iraq within a year because the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth.”
The stench of panic in Washington that hangs like a winter fog over Capitol Hill intensified. The panic stems from the core concern of every politician in the nation's capital: survival. The people sweating are Republicans and the source of their terror is the deadly message spelled out in every current poll: Bush's war on Iraq spells disaster for the Republican Party in next year's midterm elections…
Amid this potential debacle, the Republicans' only source of comfort is the truly incredible conduct of the Democrats. First came the Democrats' terrified reaction to Murtha, symbolized by Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi's cancellation of a press conference supporting Murtha…
Alexander Cockburn, Revolt of The Generals, www.counterpunch.com, 12-3-05

These haven't been a good couple of months for President Bush.
His approval ratings have plummeted so far that even staunch members of his own party are admitting they disagree with him on several key issues and some are now openly challenging some of his policies…But Bush's personal political problems are nothing compared to the problems that now face our country, problems brought on by a reckless administration that seems to have little regard for the country's future.
In a word, it's scandalous.
A front page of USA Today last week showed it all in graphic detail. If we continue on the same track we are today, our annual $319 billion deficit will be more than $4 trillion in 2050, when our grandkids are nearing retirement.
"We face a demographic tsunami," insists David Walker, the U.S. comptroller general. He compares the United States to Rome before the fall of the empire. The country faces deficits in its budget, its balance of payments, its savings and its leadership, he told USA Today.
And he's far from alone. Both conservative and liberal economic experts are starting to sound the alarm. We can't keep spending on everything from an incredibly expensive war to a Medicare drug program that mainly benefits insurance companies and cut taxes by hundreds of billions at the same time…
There's going to come a time - perhaps earlier than we realize - that foreign lenders are going to stop funding that deficit we keep growing.
Dave Zweifel, The cost of Bush will be huge, lasting, Capitol Times (Madison, WI), 11-25-05

Posted by richard at January 6, 2006 06:57 PM