August 29, 2003

Blix Felt U.S. Intimidating Him Before Iraq War

Several more US GIs have died in Iraq over the last few days. (For what?) Another savage bombing, set off on the street outside the Iraqis' most sacred site, has killed at least 125 people, including the most prominent Shia leader and fueled the chaos. The first political head has rolled because of this foolish military adventure. Alistair Campbell, implicated in the cooked intel scandal that blew up after the "suicide" of Dr. Kelly has "resigned" from the government of the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair. Will Hoon or even Blair be next? The UN's Mohammed ElBaradei has spoken out with astonishing candor and disturbing insights. The BBC, unlike the "US mainstream news media" understands ElBaradei's remarks are indeed very newsworthy. MEANWHILE, here in the US, a Zogby poll commissioned for the Draft Wesley Clark committee reveals Clark (D-NATO) would defeat the _resident 48%-40% right now...Keep one eye open for reich-wingers bearing Trifecta tickets...We are
heading into an even darker, more dangerous period...

Published on Friday, August 29, 2003 by Reuters
Blix Felt U.S. Intimidating Him Before Iraq War

VIENNA - Former chief U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix
felt Washington was intimidating him to produce
reports that would justify military action in the
run-up to the Iraq war, the head of the U.N. nuclear
watchdog said on Friday.

Former United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans
Blix felt Washington was intimidating him to produce
reports that would justify military action in the
run-up to the Iraq war, the head of the U.N. nuclear
watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei said in a BBC interview on
August 29, 2003. Blix is shown delivering a report on
Iraq to members of the Security Council at the United
Nations March 19, hours before the start of the war.
(Chip East/Reuters)

In an interview on BBC television's Hardtalk,
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief
Mohamed ElBaradei also said he believed Iraq had not
tried to revive its clandestine nuclear weapons
program as the United States and Britain insist.

Blix and ElBaradei led the hunt for Iraq's alleged
weapons of mass destruction for nearly four months
late last year and early this year. The IAEA hunted
for nuclear weapons, while Blix's UNMOVIC monitoring
agency looked for chemical, biological and ballistic

Asked if the administration of President Bush had
tried to intimidate him to produce reports support
their case for a war on Iraq, ElBaradei said it had

"I think there were probably more efforts to
intimidate Hans Blix, because there were more serious
concerns about chemical and biological (weapons)," he

"Hans complained a lot about the media campaign, some
of the administration's efforts to put pressure on

The Bush administration sharply criticized Blix before
the war for refusing to back U.S. and British
assertions about Iraq's weapons programs in his
reports to the U.N. Security Council.

U.N. weapons inspectors never found the massive
stockpiles of banned weapons that Britain and the U.S.
claimed President Saddam Hussein possessed. Neither
have the U.S. and British forces who took over the
hunt for his arsenal after the war.

ElBaradei said a lesson should be learned about the
dangers of cutting short weapons inspections.

"If anything comes out from the war in Iraq, it's that
inspections take time and that we should not jump to
conclusions, because jumping to conclusions on such a
vital issue that determines war and peace is very
reckless and irresponsible in my opinion," he said.

ElBaradei added that he would like to see the
situation in Iraq "coming to a closure soon and put an
end to that tragic situation."

Regarding U.S. and British insistence that Saddam had
tried to revive his secret atomic weapons program,
which the IAEA says it destroyed in the 1990s,
ElBaradei was certain this allegation is unfounded.

"I would be very surprised if we were to discover that
there was a nuclear weapons program restarted in
Iraq," he said.

Blix, who headed the IAEA for 16 years until 1997,
retired as the director of UNMOVIC at the end of June.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Ltd


Posted by richard at 05:22 PM

The head of a company vying to sell voting

The LNS has made note of what we term the
"triple-lock" that the _resident and "all the
_resident's men" seek for 2004: lock #1 - overhwleming
dominance in campaign $$$, lock #2 - cooperation from
the corporatist "US mainstream news media," lock #3 -
control of the voting process itself...Well, lock #3
(i.e. "black box voting") becomes ever more important
to them as the _resident slides badly in the polls due
to his foolish military adventure in Iraq, his
credibility gap, his mishandling of the economy, etc.
Why? Because as he grows increasingly unpopular even
the propapunditgandists in the news media will become
harder to control, oh excuse me, I should say "sway"
and it is quite plausible that even the flow of
campaign $$$ may start to slow down...Consider the following news stories
from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It is quite shocking.
And it would be a miracle if you hear about it on
AnythingButSee, SeeBS, SeeNotNews, etc.
tonight...Please go to (if you
haven't already) purchase the book and refer others to
the site...Remember, 2+2=4

Voting machine controversy


Julie Carr Smyth
Plain Dealer Bureau

Columbus - The head of a company vying to sell voting
machines in Ohio told Republicans in a recent
fund-raising letter that he is "committed to helping
Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next

The Aug. 14 letter from Walden O'Dell, chief executive
of Diebold Inc. - who has become active in the
re-election effort of President Bush - prompted
Democrats this week to question the propriety of
allowing O'Dell's company to calculate votes in the
2004 presidential election.

O'Dell attended a strategy pow-wow with wealthy Bush
benefactors - known as Rangers and Pioneers - at the
president's Crawford, Texas, ranch earlier this month.
The next week, he penned invitations to a
$1,000-a-plate fund-raiser to benefit the Ohio
Republican Party's federal campaign fund - partially
benefiting Bush - at his mansion in the Columbus
suburb of Upper Arlington.

The letter went out the day before Ohio Secretary of
State Ken Blackwell, also a Republican, was set to
qualify Diebold as one of three firms eligible to sell
upgraded electronic voting machines to Ohio counties
in time for the 2004 election.

Blackwell's announcement is still in limbo because of
a court challenge over the fairness of the selection
process by a disqualified bidder, Sequoia Voting

In his invitation letter, O'Dell asked guests to
consider donating or raising up to $10,000 each for
the federal account that the state GOP will use to
help Bush and other federal candidates - money that
legislative Democratic leaders charged could come back
to benefit Blackwell.

They urged Blackwell to remove Diebold from the field
of voting-machine companies eligible to sell to Ohio

This is the second such request in as many months.
State Sen. Jeff Jacobson, a Dayton-area Republican,
asked Blackwell in July to disqualify Diebold after
security concerns arose over its equipment.

"Ordinary Ohioans may infer that Blackwell's office is
looking past Diebold's security issues because its CEO
is seeking $10,000 donations for Blackwell's party -
donations that could be made with statewide elected
officials right there in the same room," said Senate
Democratic Leader Greg DiDonato.

Diebold spokeswoman Michelle Griggy said O'Dell - who
was unavailable to comment personally - has held
fund-raisers in his home for many causes, including
the Columbus Zoo, Op era Columbus, Catholic Social
Services and Ohio State University.

Ohio GOP spokesman Jason Mauk said the party
approached O'Dell about hosting the event at his home,
the historic Cotswold Manor, and not the other way
around. Mauk said that under federal campaign finance
rules, the party cannot use any money from its federal
account for state- level candidates.

"To think that Diebold is somehow tainted because they
have a couple folks on their board who support the
president is just unfair," Mauk said.

Griggy said in an e-mail statement that Diebold could
not comment on the political contributions of
individual company employees.

Blackwell said Diebold is not the only company with
political connections - noting that lobbyists for
voting-machine makers read like a who's who of
Columbus' powerful and politically connected.

"Let me put it to you this way: If there was one
person uniquely involved in the political process,
that might be troubling," he said. "But there's no one
that hasn't used every legitimate avenue and bit of
leverage that they could legally use to get their
product looked at. Believe me, if there is a political
lever to be pulled, all of them have pulled it."

Blackwell said he stands by the process used for
selecting voting machine vendors as fair, thorough and

As of yesterday, however, that determination lay with
Ohio Court of Claims Judge Fred Shoemaker.

He heard closing arguments yesterday over whether
Sequoia was unfairly eliminated by Blackwell midway
through the final phase of negotiations.

Shoemaker extended a temporary restraining order in
the case for 14 days, but said he hopes to issue his
opinion sooner than that.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 1-800-228-8272

© 2003 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.

Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved.

Posted by richard at 05:21 PM

How FOXNews, Owned by Rupert Murdoch and Managed by RepublicaOperative Roger Ailes, Tries to Trivialize The Deaths of Our American Soldiers

How can Britt Hume sleep at night? Perhaps he lives in Stepford or, even more likely, the Valley of the Dolls.

"Brit Hume was an apologist for Bush the Elder, playing
tennis with the administration back then. Can you see
the collar around his neck, with the leash being held
by the White House? The right wing shills don't give a
damn about our soldiers dying. That's just the bottom
line. They just want to protect their power base and
their careers, at the cost of our young men and women
in Iraq."

How FOXNews, Owned by Rupert Murdoch and Managed by RepublicaOperative Roger Ailes, Tries to Trivialize The Deaths of Our American Soldiers

Plus, A BuzzFlash Reader Proves Brit Hume is Dead


From Brit Hume's War Time "Grapevine" on FOXNews

California Roughly Same Size As Iraq

Two hundred and seventy seven U.S. soldiers have now
died in Iraq, which means that, statistically
speaking, U.S. soldiers have less of a chance of dying
from all causes in Iraq than citizens have of being
murdered in California...which is roughly the same
geographical size. The most recent statistics indicate
California has more than 2,300 homicides each year,
which means about 6.6 murders each day. Meanwhile,
U.S. troops have been in Iraq for 160 days, which
means they are incurring about 1.7, including illness
and accidents, each day.

This, by the way, is straight from the Pentagon and
proves that FOXNews is just a megaphone for the
administration. A few weeks back, Rumsfeld used a
similarly thoughtless comparison, but just not with

Brit Hume was an apologist for Bush the Elder, playing
tennis with the administration back then. Can you see
the collar around his neck, with the leash being held
by the White House? The right wing shills don't give a
damn about our soldiers dying. That's just the bottom
line. They just want to protect their power base and
their careers, at the cost of our young men and women
in Iraq.


* * *

I'd Rather Be in California
A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary


Reshaping the dialogue to ask the real question --
Which is safer, a soldier fearing combat death or
death from an accident in Iraq or a person fearing
homocide in California?

6.6 average daily murders in California with
38,000,000 people at risk.
(6.6/38,000,000 = probability is 0.0000002)

1.7 average DAILY military related deaths in Iraq with
150,000 solders at risk (1.7/150,000 = probability is


= 67.5 (when done on a calculator)




Lets send Brit Hume to Iraq, in any military uniform.

Also, now you see why FOX News is technically correct
and unfair and unbalanced in saying that most of
American voted for Bush in 2000 -- this is true if you
are counting acreage or square miles (red versus blue
on the map) and not people.

Have a great day,

Harry Piotrowski
Oak Park

Posted by richard at 05:19 PM

Bush Has Not Attended Even One Funeral Of A U.S. Soldier Killed In Iraq

Three more US GIs died yesterday in Iraq. For what?
Meanwhile, the _resident, a *chickenhawk* who taunts
the enemy ("Bring 'em on!") and vows "no retreat," has
not attended the burial of even one of the men and
women who have given their lives in this foolish,
ill-conceived military adventure...The Vogels names
will go on the John 0'Neill Wall of Heroes...

Bush Has Not Attended Even One Funeral Of A U.S. Soldier Killed In Iraq
Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2003 by symbolman

George W Bush to Barbara Walters, ABC "20/20,"

"There's only one person who is responsible for making
that decision , and that's me. And there's only one
person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives
and the kids on the death of their loved ones. Others
hug, but having committed the troops, I've got an
additional responsibility to hug, and that's me, and I
know what it's like."

Family of soldier displaying outrage toward president

With their 23-year-old son serving as an Army
reservist in Iraq, Pat and Paul Vogel are trying as
best they can to support the work he and his fellow
soldiers are doing. But the Barrington residents are
finding it much more difficult to endorse Aaron's
commander in chief.

The Vogels accuse President George Bush of using
fabricated information about former Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein's ties with Osama bin Laden, the
mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks,
and Hussein's potential use of weapons of mass
destruction against the United States as the basis for
declaring war on Iraq.

"Our primary concern with the president is we feel
like a lot of bad decisions have been made leading up
to our son's and a lot of other troops' being
involved," Paul Vogel said.

Vogel just attended the funeral of a 40-year-old
reservist from Aaron's unit, a Wisconsin man who was
killed and whose three children are fatherless after
the truck he was driving in convoy was hit by a
rocket-propelled grenade.

To show their disdain, the Vogels have hung a sign
outside their business, Assured Staffing, on Main
Street, stating: "Proud of our soldier! Ashamed of our
president!" ---

Where's George? He's out GOLFING. He has no time for
SOLDIERS. Men who served their country. BUSH has
DESERTED The Military THREE TIMES. First: When he went
AWOL for a year. That's Documented. Second: When he
allowed the Troops and Veterans to have their benefits
CUT, even while they are DYING in the field - Combat
Pay reduced from $250 to $100. And that's just the

YOU call that a LEADER? We call it the COWARD FROM
CRAWFORD. The Yellow STAIN from Texas. He has NO
SHAME. Impeach this Crook. Get a REAL President in the
People's House. Send ALI BABA BUSH and his FORTY

Posted by richard at 05:15 PM

Graham to Cheney: "Pattern of Deception Must End"

(8/26/03)Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fraudida) persists in his remarkable quest for the truth, and he has expanded his scope beyond 9/11 and Iraq. In the last two weeks, he has blasted both Ashcroft and the VICE _resident on the arrogance of power, Consider how rare such powerful words are from a national politician:
"It comes as no surprise that under the Bush/Cheney
Administration, big oil companies have greater access
to the White House than at any point in American
history. What does come as a surprise are the lengths
to which this Administration is willing to go to hide
this cozy relationship." 26, 2003 ALERT ARCHIVES

Graham to Cheney: "Pattern of Deception Must End"

Calls on Vice President to Release Energy Task Force


(Tallahassee, FL) – Democratic Presidential Candidate,
Senator Bob Graham, today issued the following
statement in response to recent news reports that the
White House – and particularly Vice President Dick
Cheney -- continues to refuse Congressional requests
for details about how much energy companies and
industry groups have influenced energy policy.

"It comes as no surprise that under the Bush/Cheney
Administration, big oil companies have greater access
to the White House than at any point in American
history. What does come as a surprise are the lengths
to which this Administration is willing to go to hide
this cozy relationship.

"Congressional investigators have found that the Vice
President’s Energy Task Force relied heavily on
‘petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, electricity
industry representatives and lobbyists, while seeking
limited input from academic experts, environmentalists
and policy groups.’ But the Vice President’s office
refuses to fully cooperate with investigators seeking
to find out the extent of this influence.

"If the Bush/Cheney team has nothing to hide, then why
are they hiding documents? There can be only one
answer – they don’t want the American people to know
just how much influence the big oil companies have
over U.S. energy policy.

"This is the latest example of how the Bush
Administration is willing to hang every day citizens
like farmers, commuters, and truck drivers out to dry
in order to help their campaign donors. First, he
saddles Americans with a tax cut given to the rich
which leaves middle income people having to pay the
bills, and now he hits them again every day at the gas
pumps so his rich campaign contributors can pad their

"The pattern of deception from this administration
must end. It’s time to come clean with the American
people. And it’s time to develop an energy policy that
looks out for the American people – not the
Halliburton’s of the world."


Posted by richard at 05:12 PM

GAO: EPA Lacked Data for Pollution Claims

(8/26/03) The US General Accounting Office (GAO), Congress'
investigative arm, has pursued the ugly truths
concealed with this illegitimate, incompetent and
corrupt administration's web of lies on several
subjects For example, the U.S. GAO debunked their
false claims that the Clinton-Gore staff trashed the
White House on their way out. More importantly, the
U.S. GAO has sued VICE _resident Cheney to shed the
light on his secret meetings from the Bush cabal's
Enron-infused "Energy plan" was produced. Now they
have revealed the prostituting of the EPA. If they do not blink, when the
history of this grim period of US history is written,
these dedicated public servants will be revered as
resistance fighters and defenders of the US

GAO: EPA Lacked Data for Pollution Claims
Tue Aug 26, 8:51 AM ET Add Politics - AP to My Yahoo!

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Congressional investigators say the
Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites)
relied on anecdotes from industries it regulates, not
comprehensive data, when it claimed that relaxing air
pollution rules for industrial plants would cut
emissions and reduce health risks.

The General Accounting Office (news - web sites), the
investigative arm of Congress, said in a report Monday
that EPA lacked scientific evidence for its claims
that the Clean Air Act's "new source review" program
needed revising because it discourages
energy-efficiency improvements at plants.

EPA eased pollution-control requirements for
utilities, oil companies and manufacturers in December
but is reconsidering parts of those final rules now.

"Because it lacked comprehensive data, EPA relied on
anecdotes from the four industries it believes are
most affected," the GAO said. "Because the information
is anecdotal, EPA's findings do not necessarily
represent the program's effects across the industries
subject to the program."

EPA planned to announce more changes to the program
Wednesday to allow many of the nation's dirtiest
coal-burning power plants and other industrial
facilities to claim more upgrades as "routine
maintenance" that do not require more
emissions-cutting devices.

Agency officials agreed with the report's
recommendation that they should find appropriate data
to track results of rule changes as federal and state
authorities implement them. Agency spokeswoman Lisa
Harrison said EPA intends "to establish and strengthen
mechanisms" for judging the program's success.

"The bottom line is that EPA remains committed to
improving the NSR program, and our improvements will
make the Clean Air Act work better to protect public
health," she said.

Jeffrey Marks, director of air quality policy for the
National Association of Manufacturers (news - web
sites), said better data generally leads to better
regulation, but his group believes EPA was correct to
conclude its rule changes provided economic,
environmental and energy efficiency benefits despite
the lack of data.

Sen. James Jeffords (news - web sites), I-Vt., the No.
2 senator on the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee, said the report was another indication that
the Bush administration's weakening of the Clean Air
Act was unwarranted.

Environmentalists and some states legally challenged
the rules, saying the effects on air quality and
public health were unacceptable. Richard Blumenthal,
Connecticut's attorney general, said the GAO report
confirms the rule changes weren't supported by
scientific evidence and showed the administration has
sold out to special interests.

"This report should be the final nail in the coffin of
environmental credibility for this administration," he

EPA said cost-benefit analysis wasn't required since
less than $100 million in economic and environmental
impacts were at stake. Jeffords and some Senate
Democrats said more analysis was needed because EPA
documents indicate that keeping the program intact
would provide more than $2 billion in annual health


On the Net:

EPA New Source Review:


Posted by richard at 05:07 PM

August 28, 2003

EPA Exempts Plants From Clean-Air Rule

The _resident gave a speech in the State of Misery
(formerly Missouri, where Carnahan was Wellstoned
before Wellstone was, and from which Ashcroft emerged
to transform the Justice Dept. into the Just Us
Dept.), in his speech, the _resident said there will
be no retreat in Iraq. So true to form. Answer the
question that was not asked instead of the one that
was. When there is regime change in Washington, as
Sen. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) has called for, we can
repair our relationships and rebuild trust with our
historic alliance and with the UN Security Council
swiftly and move toward an international consensus
once again. Speaking from a similar neo-con bubble of
the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair was
quoted in the Times of London saying he would fight
the French-German initiative for an EU military force
outside of NATO because NATO should not be undermined.
Yes, it is true that NATO should be not undermined, BUT it
is the _resident and
the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair who
have undermined it...MEANWHILE...

EPA Exempts Plants From Clean-Air Rule
2 hours, 21 minutes ago Add Politics - AP to My

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Wednesday made
it easier for thousands of older power plants,
refineries and factories to avoid having to install
costly clean air controls when they replace aging

In a major revision to its air pollution rules, the
Environmental Protection Agency will allow up to 20
percent of the costs of replacing each plant's
production system to be considered "routine
maintenance" not requiring expensive anti-pollution
controls, according to agency documents and interviews
with EPA officials.

The new rule signed Wednesday by the EPA's acting
administrator, Marianne L. Horinko, could be applied
to about 17,000 facilities nationwide and culminates
decades of debate over a controversial Clean Air Act
program. Electric utilities and oil companies have
been urging the White House to revise the program,
saying the costs prohibit them from making
energy-efficiency improvements.

The change represents a fundamental shift away from a
long-problematic 1971 maintenance standard. "We're
going to really, I think, create certainty going
forward for industrial facilities, by spelling out
what specific replacement is exempt," Horinko told The
Associated Press.

Environmentalists say the exemption will allow power
plants in the Midwest and South to continue emitting
millions of tons of pollutants that cause health
problems for people living downwind, particularly in
the Northeast.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer immediately
threatened to sue the Bush administration in an effort
he said would include other states. Spitzer and other
attorneys general have already filed suits challenging
earlier changes the administration made to the

"If allowed to stand, this flagrantly illegal rule
will ensure that, under the watch of the Bush
administration, Americans will breathe dirtier air,
contract more respiratory disease and suffer more
environmental degradation caused by air pollution,"
said Spitzer, a Democrat.

Jeff Holmstead, the EPA's assistant administrator in
charge of air quality, said the rule was meant to let
a plant replace a piece of equipment with something
identical or functionally equivalent, as long as the
plant remains within its pollution permit limits and
the basic operating design remains the same.

"We can say categorically that pollution will not
increase as a result of this rule," he said.

Congress put the Clean Air Act's "new source review"
program into law in 1977. The agency has had mixed
success in enforcing the maintenance provision.

Until now, operators have been required to add more
pollution-cutting devices if they do anything more
than "routine maintenance" on a plant and cause
emissions to increase significantly.

The White House-led reworking of the maintenance
standard essentially allows industries — including
manufacturers, chemical plants and pulp and paper
mills — to modernize one-fifth of a facility's
essential production systems at a time.

They can do so even if the upgrades increase
emissions, and with no apparent restrictions on time
intervals between modernization. Horinko, Holmstead
and other top EPA officials said the plants still must
comply with overall pollution permit limits and other
state and federal programs for pollutants.

Environmentalists and health advocates, however, said
emissions could increase and still be within the
plant's permitted limits. They described the new
changes as disastrous for people's health and said the
EPA ignored concerns expressed by hundreds of
thousands of Americans opposed to the new regulations.

"EPA is throwing in the towel to industry just as its
own enforcement of the existing rules has proven
successful in the courts," said John Kirkwood,
president of the American Lung Association. "EPA
policy should be based on protecting public health,
not bolstering industry profits."

During the Clinton administration, the federal
government began suing 51 aging power plants and
succeeded in forcing several to install hundreds of
millions of dollars of pollution-control equipment.

Just this month, the first ruling against a utility in
those cases came from a federal judge in Ohio who said
Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. violated the law when it
upgraded seven coal-fired power plants in the name of
routine maintenance without installing anti-pollution

Sen. James Inhofe (news, bio, voting record), R-Okla.,
who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee, said the new rule actually makes it easier
for companies to invest in state-of-the-art pollution
controls and to make upgrades and repairs that will
"ensure greater electricity reliability."

Scott Segal, a lobbyist and attorney for six large
utilities, said the efficiency gains from plant
upgrades will benefit the environment. "Over the last
two decades, emissions from the power sector have
significantly declined. That trend will continue," he


On the Net:

Environmental Protection Agency:

American Lung Association:

Posted by richard at 03:00 PM

And thanks to its cozy relationship with President Bush, FirstEnergy may get a free pass. The company is a big donor to the White House.

(825/03) Two car bombs went off in Mumbai today, killing at
least fifty innocent people. It is of course more of
the violence that is spreading widely across the
planet from Jakarta to Moscow to Tunisia to Bali to
Jerusalem to Baghdad to Kabul to Chechnya. Violence
for which the _resident and Sharon are just as
responsible as the suicide bombers sponsors. The
maniacs are striking soft targets everywhere. Of
course, the UN HQ in Baghdad and the streets of the
commercial center of Mumbai have something else in
common beside the softness of the targets --neither
the UN or the Indian government are not coooperating
with Secretary of Stone Calm ´Em Powell´s attempts to
legitimize the _resident´s foolish military adventure
in Iraq (and his irresponsibility in Afghanistan) by
shedding blood under other flags but still under US
control. Hmmm. The very twisted logic of Bin Laden
(who, BTW, is called the Contractor) continues to
getting murkier and murkier. Meanwhile, in the US,
even Newsweak, perhaps in search of its own post-Bush
future has acknowledged the growing dislike, distrust
and distaste for the _resident and his brain trusse of
neo-con wet dreamers. Newsweak reports: "At the same
time Mr Bush's approval rating dropped to 53%, down
18% since April. ...But the most jarring statistic for
the White House looked forward to the 2004 election.
Some 49% of Americans questioned in yesterday's poll
said they did not want him re-elected, against only
44% prepared to give him a second term. The
corresponding figures in April were 52% backing
re-election with 38% opposed." WELL, here is some
fascinating background on the _resident and
FirstEnergy from

FirstEnergy Woes

Wenonah Hauter is Director of the Critical Mass Energy
and Environment Program at Public Citizen.

On mid-day Thursday, Aug. 14, a coal-fired power plant
in northeastern Ohio stopped running. In response,
FirstEnergy, which owns the plant, began to pull 20
percent of its electricity load out of Michigan. This
transfer overloaded several transmission lines,
causing them to trip. Non-FirstEnergy plants in
Ontario, Canada, began supplying energy to the
underpowered Michigan market, leading to an overload
on those transmission lines. This movement of power in
Canada sapped New York of power, within hours leading
to the largest blackout in U.S. history.

Electricity deregulation was the catalyst, but
FirstEnergy was the immediate culprit for the massive
power blackout that shut down much of the Midwest and
Northeast last week. FirstEnergy delivers electricity
to more than 4 million people in Ohio, Pennsylvania
and New Jersey. Although industry analysts blame the
Ohio-based energy conglomerate for the power outage,
the Bush administration is silent. FirstEnergy's
strong ties to the president helps to explain why the
Department of Energy (DOE) may downplay the company's
role in the blackout.

Why Bush Won't Blame FirstEnergy

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham thinks consumers
should cough up the $50 billion needed to upgrade the
strained transmission system. “Ratepayers,” Abraham
told CBS's Face the Nation,”will pay the bill because
they're the ones who benefit.”

FirstEnergy started the problem, why shouldn't the
company be held responsible? Because the Bush
administration wants to absolve corporate America from

And thanks to its cozy relationship with President
Bush, FirstEnergy may get a free pass. The company is
a big donor to the White House. In June, the company’s
CEO hosted a fundraiser that brought in $600,000 for
the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. Another
FirstEnergy executive, president Anthony J. Alexander,
gained distinction in 2000 by raising $100,000 for the
Bush-Cheney campaign and personally donating another
$100,000. When Bush took office, Alexander was
included on the Energy Department's transition team.
In the electricity utility industry, FirstEnergy's PAC
and its top executives are the sixth-largest
contributors to political campaigns, giving more than
$1 million to federal candidates in 2001-2002, with 70
percent of the money going to Republicans. FirstEnergy
wields enormous lobbying influence in Congress as
well. In 2001-2002, the company spent nearly $3.8
million lobbying Congress and the Bush administration.

FirstEnergy, Deregulation and the Bush Administration

FirstEnergy may have spurred the power outage, but
deregulation deserves the overall blame. Long before
the August blackout, the Bush administration pursued a
policy of energy deregulation, and now that policy has
come back to haunt us.

Bush's energy deregulation makes America vulnerable
for two reasons. First, the United States'
transmission system was designed to accommodate local
electricity markets. Under deregulation, however,
companies trade electricity and move power over much
longer distances and wider areas. This freewheeling
approach to sending power strains a transmission
system designed to serve local utilities.

Second, deregulation leads to inadequate investment in
infrastructure. Deregulation at the state level means
that utilities are no longer required to reinvest
ratepayer money back into the transmission system, as
this orderly planning has been replaced with reliance
on "the market." But the market has been unwilling to
make the necessary investments in transmission.

In particular, the market has not functioned properly
since lawmakers punched loopholes in the federal law
intended to protect electricity consumers. Now, the
Public Utility Holding Company Act(PUHCA) faces the
likelihood of full repeal by Republicans in Congress.
PUHCA regulates giant energy companies by requiring
them to disclose crucial financial details and
limiting the types of non-electricity investments they
may make. If PUHCA is repealed, a wave of mergers will
likely result, leaving a handful of companies (like
Southern Co., ExxonMobil and FirstEnergy) in control
of our electricity -- with no effective regulators
looking over their shoulders.

In the case of the August blackouts, the deregulated
wholesale markets of the Midwest and Northeast --
typically cited as models for national deregulation by
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) --
failed in their ability to provide reliable and
affordable power. As a result, wholesale prices remain
higher than under regulation, and nearly 96 percent of
the 40 million residential consumers in the remaining
15 deregulated states lack access to competitive
electricity suppliers.

This is the world of energy the Bush administration
and its financial supporters envisioned. Of course, no
one wanted a regional blackout. But no one was there
to prevent it, either.

Posted by richard at 02:48 PM

August 23, 2003

EPA Watchdog Rips White House on NYC Air

Two more US GIs died in Iraq overnight. (For
what?)Meanwhile, in one of many numerous attempts to
exploit the 9/11 tragedy for political gain, the
_resident and his Brain (Rove) choose to hold their
2004 national convention in NYC. Yes, come to NYC, Mr.
_resident, go to "ground zero" and read the latest
batch of lies from those index cards. I am beginning
to believe that the welcome you receive will indeed be
loud and massive, BUT not what your handlers and its
captive "US mainstream news media" imagined...Maybe
the Dixie Chicks will be waiting for you, maybe Merle
Haggard will be waiting for you, maybe the familes of
the 9/11 victims will be waiting for you, maybe the
families of the US GIs who have died in your foolish
military adventure will be waiting for you, maybe
those who lost their life savings in the Enron debacle
will be waiting for you, maybe the Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity will be waiting
for you, maybe some of the millions of have lost their
jobs in the economy that you trashed will be waiting
for you, maybe the millions of New Yorkers who were deceived about the environmental hazards post9/11 will be waiting for you, maybe Wesley Clark (D-NATO) will be waiting
for you...
EPA Watchdog Rips White House on NYC Air
Sat Aug 23, 5:40 AM ET Add U.S. Government - AP to My

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - At the White House's direction, the
Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites)
gave New Yorkers misleading assurances that there was
no health risk from the debris-laden air after the
World Trade Center collapse, according to an internal

President Bush (news - web sites)'s senior
environmental adviser on Friday defended the White
House involvement, saying it was justified by national

The White House "convinced EPA to add reassuring
statements and delete cautionary ones" by having the
National Security Council control EPA communications
in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according
to a report issued late Thursday by EPA Inspector
General Nikki L. Tinsley.

"When EPA made a Sept. 18 announcement that the air
was 'safe' to breathe, the agency did not have
sufficient data and analyses to make the statement,"
the report says, adding that the EPA had yet to
adequately monitor air quality for contaminants such
as PCBs, soot and dioxin.

In all, the EPA issued five press releases within 10
days of the attacks and four more by the end of 2001
reassuring the public about air quality. But it wasn't
until June 2002 that the EPA determined that air
quality had returned to pre-Sept. 11 levels — well
after respiratory ailments and other problems began to
surface in hundreds of workers cleaning dusty offices
and apartments.

The day after the attacks, former EPA Deputy
Administrator Linda Fisher's chief of staff e-mailed
senior EPA officials to say that "all statements to
the media should be cleared" first by the National
Security Council, which is Bush's main forum for
discussing national security and foreign policy
matters with his senior aides and Cabinet, the
inspector general's report says.

Approval from the NSC, the report says, was arranged
through the White House Council on Environmental
Quality, which "influenced, through the collaboration
process, the information that EPA communicated to the
public through its early press releases when it
convinced EPA to add reassuring statements and delete
cautionary ones."

For example, the inspector general found, EPA was
convinced to omit guidance for cleaning indoor spaces
and tips on potential health effects from airborne
dust containing asbestos, lead, glass fibers and

James Connaughton, chairman of the environmental
council, which coordinates federal environmental
efforts, said the White House directed the EPA to add
and delete information based on how it should be
released publicly. He said the EPA did "an incredible
job" with the World Trade Center cleanup.

"The White House was involved in making sure that we
were getting the most accurate information that was
real, on a wide range of activities. That included the
NSC — this was a major terrorist incident,"
Connaughton said.

"In the back and forth during that very intense period
of time," he added, "we were making decisions about
where the information should be released, what the
best way to communicate the information was, so that
people could respond responsibly and so that people
had a good relative sense of potential risk."

Andy Darrell, New York regional director of
Environmental Defense, an advocacy group, said the
report is indicative of a pattern of White House
interference in EPA affairs. "For EPA to do its job
well, it needs to be allowed to make decisions based
on the science and the facts," he said.

Marianne L. Horinko, EPA's acting administrator, said
the White House's role was mainly to help the EPA sift
through an enormous amount of information.

"We put out the best information we had, based on just
the best data that we had available at the time," said
Horinko, who headed the agency's Office of Solid Waste
and Emergency Response, which oversaw the World Trade
Center environmental monitoring and cleanup.

"And it was using our best professional judgment; it
was not as a result of pressure from the White House,"
she said. "The White House's role was basically to
say, 'Look, we've got data coming in from everywhere.
What benchmarks are we going to use, how are we going
to communicate this data? We can't have this Tower of
Babel on the data.'"

The EPA inspector general recommended that EPA adopt
new procedures so its public statements on health
risks and environmental quality are supported by data
and analysis. Other recommendations include developing
better procedures for indoor air cleanups and asbestos
handling in large-scale disasters.


On the Net:

EPA Inspector General:

National Security Council:

Council on Environmental Quality:

Posted by richard at 06:44 PM

Many Deaths Left Out of Iraq Story

Here is powerful and shameful evidence of the
Corporatist (remember, that's what Mussolini said
"fascism" would be more aptly named) "US mainstream
news media" collaboration with the illegitimate,
incompetent, corrupt regime in the White House. Yet
despite the fact that they really halve the death toll
for US troops and utterly ignore the death tol of
Iraqis (and Afghanis, BTW), Non-Plusse Radio (NPR),
Anything But See (ABC), Must Not Be Seen (MSNBC) still
must report some death toll and its impact is damning
on the _resident's hope for election (he can't be
"re-elected" since he lost in 2000)...FAIR is doing
very important work, I support them financially, and
if you do not already, I encourage you too and of
course at the very least write the protests they
suggest, it does count. Their Web site is listed in
"Vital Links" on the LNS home page..Remember, now more
than ever, 2+2=4

FAIR Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting 112 W. 27th
Street New York, NY 10001
Many Deaths Left Out of Iraq Story

August 20, 2003

With U.S. forces under consistent attack in Iraq,
months after George W. Bush declared "major combat"
over on May 1, media routinely refer to the number of
American soldiers killed. But many of those reports
dramatically undercount the actual number of U.S.
deaths since Bush's May 1 address.

A recent NPR report (8/7/03) was typical: "These two
deaths bring to 55 the number of U.S. forces killed in
combat since May 1st, when President Bush declared
major fighting had ended." A survey of transcripts
from some leading broadcast news outlets--ABC World
News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News and
National Public Radio-- found numerous reports that
used the same phrasing. These media are making a
distinction-- one rarely explained to audiences--
between combat and non-combat deaths, choosing in most
cases to only report the former.

NPR used this formulation earlier this month (8/3/03):
"The U.S. has suffered more than 50 combat fatalities
since major fighting ended in May." The following day
(8/4/03), it omitted the usual qualifier, rendering
the report inaccurate: "So far, 52 American soldiers
have died since major combat officially ended in Iraq"
(8/4/03). In reality, the total U.S. dead was about
twice that figure, as tallied by the website Iraq
Coalition Casualty Count

The broadcast TV networks tend to feature the lower
number in their reports as well. "The total killed
since President Bush declared the major combat over:
56 Americans," declared Campbell Brown (NBC Nightly
News, 8/8/03). In another reference to Bush's May 1
speech, ABC's John Cochran reported (World News
Tonight, 8/8/03): "Since the president gave that
assurance, 59 Americans have been killed, 399
wounded." CBS Evening News reported (8/8/03) that
since Bush's comments, "56 U.S. troops have been
killed, including one last night, a guard from the
82nd Airborne, shot while on patrol in Baghdad."

Some might suggest that using a casualty figure that
includes non-combat deaths would portray the war as
more deadly and dangerous than it really is. But
non-combat fatalities clearly include deaths that are
a result of the war; car accidents are often a result
of speeding to avoid ambushes, for example, and the
heavy battle gear troops are forced to wear
contributes to heat-related fatalities. As Editor &
Publisher's Greg Mitchell wrote (7/17/03), "Even if
killed in a non-hostile action, these soldiers are no
less dead, their families no less aggrieved. And it's
safe to say that nearly all of these people would
still be alive if they were still back in the States."

In a few unusual reports, news outlets have tallied up
all the U.S. military deaths in Iraq. On July 28, NPR
reported that "the number of Americans killed in
action since President Bush declared an end to major
combat on May 1 now stands at about 50. An equal
number of U.S. troops have died from other causes
during that time." In an August 9 report on CBS
Evening News, CBS anchor Thalia Assuras reported that
"since the proclaimed end of major combat, 119
soldiers have died in the line of duty." ABC World
News Tonight (7/21/03) reported that "95 U.S. troops
now have died in Iraq since President Bush declared
the end of major combat on May 1st, 38 of them in what
the military calls hostile acts."

Iraqi casualties, especially since Bush's May 1
declaration, are barely on the media radar. Most
references to life in Iraq since then offer few
details on the number of Iraqi dead or injured.
"Fifty-four American troops killed in the last 100
days. There's no exact count of the Iraqis killed, or
robbed, or raped," reported NBC's Richard Engle
(8/9/03). While an exact total is impossible to
verify, the website Iraq Body Count
( lists dozens of Iraqi
deaths since May 1, many of whom were killed by U.S.

Asked to describe Iraqi perceptions of the United
States, NPR reporter Anne Garrels said: "Rightly or
wrongly, Iraqis believe their lives count for little
in the eyes of the Americans, who dutifully tally the
Americans killed, but give no numbers on Iraqis who
were killed, whether they're guilty or innocent"
(8/3/03). While the Iraqis may be right about the
higher priority given to U.S. vs. Iraqi deaths, not
even all U.S. casualties are being fully
acknowledged-- and that shortcoming applies not just
to the Pentagon, but to media as well.


Contact media outlets and encourage them to report the
complete totals for U.S. soldiers who have died in
Iraq, and not just those labeled "hostile fire" or
"combat" deaths by the Pentagon. Encourage journalists
to attempt to count Iraqi losses as well.

ABC World News Tonight
Phone: 212-456-4040

CBS Evening News
Phone: 212-975-3691

NBC Nightly News
Phone: 212-664-4971

National Public Radio
Jeffrey Dvorkin, Ombudsman
Phone: 202-513-3245

As always, please remember that your comments are
taken more seriously if you maintain a polite tone.
Please cc with your correspondence.


FAIR Home | Search | Contact Us | Activism | How to
Write a Letter
Join FAIR's e-mail list & receive news, action alerts

Posted by richard at 06:38 PM

Intelligence Veterans Challenge Colleagues to Speak Out

It is a strange time. The Bush cabal's Secretary of
Stone Calm 'Em Powell swaggers into the UN, and with
arrogance and deceit, calls on the UN to offer
credibility and blood, but under US command, to bail
tthe _resident and Rumsfeld out of their foolish
military adventure. How preposterous. Luckily, the
French reminded the UN Security Council and the world community itself that
we would not be at this juncture at all without the
neo-con wet dreamers violation of the UN Charter. What
could be scarier than contemplating whether or not
that "terrorist strike" on the UN HQ in Baghdad was another sort of Trifecta
ticket? Well, that scene down in Alabama, with
fundamentalists getting whopped up for holy war over
the Ten Commandments in a land that is being prodded
to forget the separation between right-wing
fundamentalist church and state is even creepier.
Meanwhile, on the street corner, if you had some time
to spare and the discipline to read three-quarters of
the way into a very long NYTwits article on the energy
company responsible for the most massive black out in
US history, you would find buried there the fact that
First Energy's corporate executives were among the
_resident's top fund-raisers, you would also find
buried there the quid pro qou for that loot. But, as I
said, you would have to exercise the discipline and
have the time to read through to it. Of course, had it
been Clinton or Gray Davis or Al Gore or John Kerry
(D-Mekong Delta), Howard Dean (D-Jeffords) or Bob
Graham (D-Fraudida), it would have been the lead of
the article as well as the headline: Energy company
that triggered black out got favors from ___ Well,
here is something real and righteous from patriots
whose brave deeds will be given their due when the
history of this dark time is written by those safe
enough to write...

Published on Friday, August 22, 2003 by
Now It’s Your Turn
Intelligence Veterans Challenge Colleagues to Speak Out

MEMORANDUM FOR: Colleagues in Intelligence

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Now It’s Your Turn

Sixty-four summers ago, when Hitler fabricated Polish
provocations in his attempt to justify Germany’s
invasion of Poland, there was not a peep out of senior
German officials. Happily, in today’s Germany the
imperative of truth telling no longer takes a back
seat to ingrained docility and knee-jerk deference to
the perceived dictates of “homeland security.” The
most telling recent sign of this comes in today’s
edition of Die Zeit, Germany’s highly respected
weekly. The story, by Jochen Bittner holds lessons for
us all.

Die Zeit’s report leaves in tatters the “evidence”
cited by Secretary of State Colin Powell and other
administration spokesmen as the strongest proof that
Iraq was using mobile trailers as laboratories to
produce material for biological weapons.

German Intelligence on Powell’s “Solid” Sources

Bittner notes that, like their American counterparts,
German intelligence officials had to hold their noses
as Powell on February 5 at the UN played fast and
loose with intelligence he insisted came from “solid
sources.” Powell’s specific claims concerning the
mobile laboratories, it turns out, depended
heavily—perhaps entirely—on a source of the
Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s equivalent to
the CIA. But the BND, it turns out, considered the
source in no way “solid.” A “senior German security
official” told Die Zeit that, in passing the report to
US officials, the Germans made a point of noting
“various problems with the source.” In more diplomatic
language, Die Zeit’s informant indicated that the
BND’s “evaluation of the source was not altogether

German officials remain in some confusion regarding
the “four different sources” cited by Powell in
presenting his case regarding the “biological
laboratories.” Berlin has not been told who the other
three sources are. In this context, a German
intelligence officer mentioned that there is always
the danger of false confirmation, suggesting it is
possible that the various reports can be traced back
to the same original source, theirs—that is, the one
with which the Germans had “various problems.”

Even if there are in fact multiple sources, the
Germans wonder what reason there is to believe that
the others are more “solid” than their own. Powell
indicated that some of the sources he cited were Iraqi
émigrés. While the BND would not give Die Zeit an
official comment, Bittner notes pointedly that German
intelligence “proceeds on the assumption that émigrés
do not always tell the truth and that the picture they
draw can be colored by political motives.”


Despite all that, in an apparent bid to avoid taking
the heat for appearing the constant naysayer on an
issue of such neuralgic import in Washington, German
intelligence officials say that, the dubious sourcing
notwithstanding, they considered the information on
the mobile biological laboratories “plausible.”

In recent weeks, any “plausibility” has all but
evaporated. Many biological warfare specialists in the
US and elsewhere were skeptical from the start. Now
Defense Intelligence Agency specialists have joined
their counterparts at the State Department and
elsewhere in concluding that the two
trailer/laboratories discovered in Iraq in early May
are hydrogen-producing facilities for weather balloons
to calibrate Iraqi artillery, as the Iraqis have said.

Perhaps it was this DIA report that emboldened the BND
official to go public about the misgivings the BND had
about the source.

Insult to Intelligence

What do intelligence analysts do when their
professional ethic—to tell the truth without fear or
favor—is prostituted for political expedience?
Usually, they hold their peace, as we’ve already noted
was the case in Germany in 1939 before the invasion of
Poland. The good news is that some intelligence
officials are now able to recognize a higher
duty—particularly when the issue involves war and
peace. Clearly, some BND officials are fed up with the
abuse of intelligence they have witnessed—and
especially the trifling with the intelligence that
they have shared with the US from their own sources.
At least one such official appears to have seen it as
a patriotic duty to expose what appears to be a
deliberate distortion.

This is a hopeful sign. There are indications that
British intelligence officials, too, are beginning to
see more distinctly their obligation to speak truth to
power, especially in light of the treatment their
government accorded Ministry of Defense biologist Dr.
David Kelly, who became despondent to the point of

Even more commendable was the courageous move by
senior Australian intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie
when it became clear to him that the government he was
serving had decided to take part in launching an
unprovoked war based on “intelligence” information he
knew to be specious. Wilkie resigned and promptly
spoke his piece—not only to his fellow citizens but,
after the war, at Parliament in London and Congress in
Washington. Andrew Wilkie was not naïve enough to
believe he could stop the war when he resigned in
early March. What was clear to him, however, was that
he had a moral duty to expose the deliberate deception
in which his government, in cooperation with the US
and UK, had become engaged. And he knew instinctively
that, in so doing, he could with much clearer
conscience look at himself in the mirror each morning.

What About Us?

Do you not find it ironic that State Department
foreign service officers, whom we intelligence
professionals have (quite unfairly) tended to write
off as highly articulate but unthinking apologists for
whatever administration happens to be in power, are
the only ones so far to resign on principle over the
war on Iraq? Three of them have—all three with very
moving explanations that their consciences would no
longer allow them to promote “intelligence” and
policies tinged with deceit.

What about you? It is clear that you have been
battered, buffeted, besmirched. And you are painfully
aware that you can expect no help at this point from
Director George Tenet. Recall the painful morning when
you watched him at the UN sitting squarely behind
Powell, as if to say the Intelligence Community
endorses the deceitful tapestry he wove. No need to
remind you that his speech boasted not only the bogus
biological trailers but also assertions of a “sinister
nexus” between Iraq and al-Qaeda, despite the fact
that your intense, year-and-a-half analytical effort
had turned up no credible evidence to support that
claim. To make matters worse, Tenet is himself under
fire for acquiescing in a key National Intelligence
Estimate on “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq that
included several paragraphs based on a known forgery.
That is the same estimate from which the infamous 16
words were drawn for the president’s
state-of-the-union address on January 28.

And not only that. In a dramatic departure from
customary practice, Tenet has let the moneychangers
into the temple—welcoming the most senior policymakers
into the inner sanctum where all-source analysis is
performed at CIA headquarters, wining and dining Vice
President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin
Powell, National Security Assistant Condoleezza Rice,
and even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (now
representing the Pentagon) on their various visits to
make sure you didn’t miss anything! You have every
right to expect to be protected from that kind of
indignity. Small wonder that Gingrich, in a recent
unguarded moment on TV, conceded that Tenet “is so
grateful to President Bush that he will do anything
for him.” CIA directors have no business being so
integral a “part of the team.”

Powell, who points proudly to his four day-and-night
cram course at the CIA in the days immediately prior
to his February 5 UN speech, seems oblivious to the
fact that personal visitations of that frequency and
duration—and for that purpose—are unprecedented in the
history of the CIA. Equally unprecedented are Cheney’s
“multiple visits.” When George H. W. Bush was vice
president, not once did he go out to CIA headquarters
for a working visit. We brought our analysis to him.
As you are well aware, once the subjects uppermost in
policymakers’ minds are clear to analysts, the
analysis itself must be conducted in an unfettered,
sequestered way—and certainly without the direct
involvement of officials with policy axes to grind.
Until now, that is the way it has been done; the
analysis and estimates were brought downtown to the
policymakers—not the other way around.

What Happens When You Remain Silent?

There is no more telling example than Vietnam. CIA
analysts were prohibited from reporting accurately on
the non-incident in the Tonkin Gulf on August 4, 1964
until the White House had time to use the “furious
fire-fight” to win the Tonkin Gulf resolution from
Congress—and eleven more years of war for the rest of

And we kept quiet.

In November 1967 as the war gathered steam, CIA
management gave President Lyndon Johnson a very
important National Intelligence Estimate known to be
fraudulent. Painstaking research by a CIA analyst, the
late Sam Adams, had revealed that the Vietnamese
Communists under arms numbered 500,000. But Gen.
William Westmoreland in Saigon, eager to project an
image of progress in the US “war of attrition,” had
imposed a very low artificial ceiling on estimates of
enemy strength.

Analysts were aghast when management caved in and
signed an NIE enshrining Westmoreland’s count of
between 188,000 and 208,000. The Tet offensive just
two months later exploded that myth—at great human
cost. And the war dragged on for seven more years.

Then, as now, morale among analysts plummeted. A
senior CIA official made the mistake of jocularly
asking Adams if he thought the Agency had “gone beyond
the bounds of reasonable dishonesty.” Sam, who had not
only a keen sense of integrity but first-hand
experience of what our troops were experiencing in the
jungles of Vietnam, had to be restrained. He would be
equally outraged at the casualties being taken now by
US forces fighting another unnecessary war, this time
in the desert. Kipling’s verse applies equally well to
jungle or desert:

If they question why we died, tell them because our
fathers lied.

Adams himself became, in a very real sense, a casualty
of Vietnam. He died of a heart attack at 55, with
remorse he was unable to shake. You see, he decided to
“go through channels,” pursuing redress by seeking
help from imbedded CIA and the Defense Department
Inspectors General. Thus, he allowed himself to be
diddled for so many years that by the time he went
public the war was mostly over—and the damage done.

Sam had lived painfully with the thought that, had he
gone public when the CIA’s leaders caved in to the
military in 1967, the entire left half of the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial would not have had to be built.
There would have been 25-30,000 fewer names for the
granite to accommodate.

So too with Daniel Ellsberg, who made the courageous
decision to give the Pentagon Papers on Vietnam to the
New York Times and Washington Post for publication in
1971. Dan has been asked whether he has any regrets.
Yes, one big one, he says. If he had made the papers
available in 1964 or 65, this tragically unnecessary
war might have been stopped in its tracks. Why did he
not? Dan’s response is quite telling; he says the
thought never occurred to him at the time.

Let the thought occur to you, now.

But Isn’t It Too Late?

No. While it is too late to prevent the misadventure
in Iraq, the war is hardly over, and analogous
“evidence” is being assembled against Iran, Syria, and
North Korea. Yes, US forces will have their hands full
for a long time in Iraq, but this hardly rules out
further adventures based on “intelligence” as spurious
as that used to argue the case for attacking Iraq.

The best deterrent is the truth. Telling the truth
about the abuse of intelligence on Iraq could
conceivably give pause to those about to do a reprise.
It is, in any case, essential that the American people
acquire a more accurate understanding of the use and
abuse of intelligence. Only then can there be any hope
that they can experience enough healing from the
trauma of 9/11 to be able to make informed judgments
regarding the policies pursued by this
administration—thus far with the timid acquiescence of
their elected representatives.

History is littered with the guilty consciences of
those who chose to remain silent. It is time to speak


Gene Betit, Arlington, VA
Pat Lang, Alexandria, VA
David MacMichael, Linden, VA
Ray McGovern, Arlington, VA

Steering Group
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Ray McGovern (, a CIA analyst
from 1964 to 1990, regularly reported to the vice
president and senior policy-makers on the President's
Daily Brief from 1981 to 1985. He now is co-director
of the Servant Leadership School, an inner-city
outreach ministry in Washington.


Posted by richard at 06:29 PM

Kelly's chilling words: 'I'll be found dead in the woods'

(8/21/03) The strange, sad tale of Dr. David Kelly is getting
"curiouser and curiouser." Six months before he died
he predicted the circumstances of his death. A few
hours before he died he sent a warning to a NYTwit
journalist. Will we get to read the full text of that
e-mail? Was Dr. Kelly WELLSTONED or simply FOSTERED?,13822,1027372,00.html

Kelly's chilling words: 'I'll be found dead in the woods'

Diplomat reveals inspector's pre-war doubts

Ewen MacAskill, Nicholas Watt and Vikram Dodd
Friday August 22, 2003
The Guardian

The weapons specialist, Dr David Kelly, said six
months ago that he would "probably be found dead in
the woods" if the American and British invasion of
Iraq went ahead, Lord Hutton's inquiry was told
His chilling prediction of his own death during a
conversation with the British diplomat David Broucher
in Geneva in February, throws new light on his state
of mind about the row over Britain's role in the Iraq

In a startling string of revelations yesterday, Lord
Hutton's inquiry was told that Dr Kelly:

· confirmed there had been a "robust" debate between
Downing Street and the intelligence services about the
September dossier on weapons of mass destruction

· expressed scepticism about British claims that
Iraq's weapons capability could be deployed quickly

· had been in direct contact with senior Iraqi
scientists and officials he knew, promising them the
war could be avoided

· feared he had "betrayed" these contacts and that the
invasion had left him in a "morally ambiguous"

The latest twists came as Lord Hutton announced that
Tony Blair would give evidence on Thursday and the
defence secretary, Geoff Hoon, on Wednesday. Both will
be pressed about the September dossier and about the
way the government helped put Dr Kelly's name into the
public domain.

The disclosure of Dr Kelly's unease about the Iraq war
even before the invasion on March 20 undermines
assumptions that his apparent suicide was tied to
recent events, principally the pressure he came under
last month over his conversations with the BBC
reporter, Andrew Gilligan.

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods near his home last

Towards the end of Lord Hutton's inquiry yesterday, Mr
Broucher, British ambassador to the disarmament
conference in Geneva, made a surprise appearance.

He said he had sent an email to Patrick Lamb, his boss
at the Foreign Office, on August 5, recalling a chance
conversation with Dr Kelly at disarmament talks in
February, in which he set out his concerns.

Elaborating on the email yesterday, Mr Broucher said
that Dr Kelly had told him the government had
pressured the intelligence community to make the
September dossier as "robust as possible, that every
judgment [in the dossier] had been robustly fought

Contrary to a claim in the dossier that biological and
chemical weapons could be deployed within 45 minutes,
Dr Kelly said he thought the weapons and the material
to be placed inside them "would be kept separately
from the munitions and that this meant that the
weapons could not be used quickly".

It emerged this week that the MoD knew that Dr Kelly's
views on Iraq could make uncomfortable reading for the
government, and the conver sation with Mr Broucher
bears out why the MoD - in particular, Mr Hoon - was
so keen to prevent any disclosures.

A government memo published yesterday showed that Mr
Hoon tried to stop Dr Kelly talking about weapons of
mass destruction when he appeared before the Commons
foreign affairs select committee.

Mr Broucher said that Dr Kelly thought that the UN
weapons inspectors could gain a good idea of the state
of the Iraqi arsenal because the Iraqis had learned
during the British colonial days to keep full written
records. That assessment runs counter to the US, which
insisted inspectors were wasting their efforts.

A crucial point in the conversation with Mr Broucher
was Dr Kelly's revelation about continued links with
Iraqis after working in Iraq in the 90s as a UN
weapons inspector. He had retained contacts with Iraqi
scientists and officials, and told Mr Broucher he had
tried to persuade them to comply with the inspectors
in order to avoid invasion.

In his email, Mr Broucher said Dr Kelly's concern was
that "if an invasion now went ahead, that would make
him a liar and he would have betrayed his contacts,
some of whom might be killed as a direct result of his

Mr Broucher added: "I asked what would happen then,
and he replied, in a throwaway line, that he would
'probably be found dead in the woods'."

His interpretation of this was Dr Kelly feared a
personal attack by the Iraqis: "I did not think much
of this at the time, taking it to be a hint that the
Iraqis might try to take revenge against him,
something that did not seem at all fanciful then. I
now see that he may have been thinking on rather
different lines."

Barney Leith, secretary of the National Spiritual
assembly of Britain, who knew Dr Kelly and will
testify before the Hutton inquiry about the impact of
the Baha'i faith had on him, said he could not know
whether the scientist might have taken his own life
because of guilt. But he added: "The teachings of the
Baha'i faith strongly emphasise the importance of ...
keeping one's word."

Posted by richard at 06:25 PM

August 21, 2003

Four 9/11 Moms Battle Bush

Meanwhile, here are the familes of 9/11 victims doing
the heavy lifting, asking the hard questions, keeping
alive the story of what didn't happen before 9/11 and
it is finally given the respect and the attention it
deserves -- an in-depth piece on the front page, but
not of the NYTwits or the WASHPS, no, the New York
Observer...Oh, they have little articles they can
point to in the archive, "Yes, we covered that..." But
think of the consequences, think of the implications.
The White House is stalling, even former Gov. Thomas
Kean (R-NJ), the head of the "independent" 9/11
commission has said so..and yet, it is business as
usual...Please read this story and pass it on. It is a
stunning indictment of the _resident's failed
leadership and incompetent regime. Listen, the
_resident and his Brain (Rove) have scheduled the
"Republican" 2004 convention for NEW YORK CITY in
SEPTEMBER, A Rove powerpoint presentation on how to
exploit 9/11 for political advantage was "found" in a
Washington, D.C. park over a year ago (that's not
something Oliver Stone or I made up, it's a documented
fact) and yet, here we are with the victims' loved
ones investigating and the New York Observer giving
the story the attention it is due. If the Democrats
have anything left (like courage or a spine) they will
put these women on in prime time and make it one of
the central themes of the 2004 Presidential campaign.
They can be introduced by Enron workers who lost their
life savings, they can be escorted by retired military
and intelligence professionals who have spoken out and
the Dixie Chicks can sing the National Anthem before
they are introduced...

This concerns the refusal of the country’s leadership
to be held accountable for the failure to execute its
most fundamental responsibility.

Four 9/11 Moms Battle Bush
by Gail Sheehy

In mid-June, F.B.I. director Robert Mueller III and
several senior agents in the bureau received a group
of about 20 visitors in a briefing room of the J.
Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. The director
himself narrated a PowerPoint presentation that
summarized the numbers of agents and leads and
evidence he and his people had collected in the
18-month course of their ongoing investigation of
Penttbom, the clever neologism the bureau had invented
to reduce the sites of devastation on 9/11 to one
word: Pent for Pentagon, Pen for Pennsylvania, tt for
the Twin Towers and bom for the four planes that the
government had been forewarned could be used as
weapons—even bombs—but chose to ignore.

After the formal meeting, senior agents in the room
faced a grilling by Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow
whose cohorts are three other widowed moms from New

"I don’t understand, with all the warnings about the
possibilities of Al Qaeda using planes as weapons, and
the Phoenix Memo from one of your own agents warning
that Osama bin Laden was sending operatives to this
country for flight-school training, why didn’t you
check out flight schools before Sept. 11?"

"Do you know how many flight schools there are in the
U.S.? Thousands," a senior agent protested. "We
couldn’t have investigated them all and found these
few guys."

"Wait, you just told me there were too many flight
schools and that prohibited you from investigating
them before 9/11," Kristen persisted. "How is it that
a few hours after the attacks, the nation is brought
to its knees, and miraculously F.B.I. agents showed up
at Embry-Riddle flight school in Florida where some of
the terrorists trained?"

"We got lucky," was the reply.

Kristen then asked the agent how the F.B.I. had known
exactly which A.T.M. in Portland, Me., would yield a
videotape of Mohammed Atta, the leader of the attacks.
The agent got some facts confused, then changed his
story. When Kristen wouldn’t be pacified by evasive
answers, the senior agent parried, "What are you
getting at?"

"I think you had open investigations before Sept. 11
on some of the people responsible for the terrorist
attacks," she said.

"We did not," the agent said unequivocally.

A month later, on the morning of July 24, before the
scathing Congressional report on intelligence failures
was released, Kristen and the three other moms from
New Jersey with whom she’d been in league sat
impassively at a briefing by staff director Eleanor
Hill: In fact, they learned, the F.B.I. had open
investigations on 14 individuals who had contact with
the hijackers while they were in the United States.
The flush of pride in their own research passed
quickly. This was just another confirmation that the
federal government continued to obscure the facts
about its handling of suspected terrorists leading up
to the Sept. 11 attacks.

So afraid is the Bush administration of what could be
revealed by inquiries into its failures to protect
Americans from terrorist attack, it is unabashedly
using Kremlin tactics to muzzle members of Congress
and thwart the current federal commission
investigating the failures of Sept. 11. But there is
at least one force that the administration cannot
scare off or shut up. They call themselves "Just Four
Moms from New Jersey," or simply "the girls."

Kristen and the three other housewives who also lost
their husbands in the attack on the World Trade Center
started out knowing virtually nothing about how their
government worked. For the last 20 months they have
clipped and Googled, rallied and lobbied, charmed and
intimidated top officials all the way to the White
House. In the process, they have made themselves
arguably the most effective force in dancing around
the obstacle course by which the administration
continues to block a transparent investigation of what
went wrong with the country’s defenses on Sept. 11 and
what we should be doing about it. They have no
political clout, no money, no powerful husbands—no
husbands at all since Sept. 11—and they are up against
a White House, an Attorney General, a Defense
Secretary, a National Security Advisor and an F.B.I.
director who have worked out an ingenious
bait-and-switch game to thwart their efforts and those
of any investigative body.

The Mom Cell

The four moms—Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza,
Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie van Auken—use tactics more
like those of a leaderless cell. They have learned how
to deposit their assorted seven children with select
grandmothers before dawn and rocket down the Garden
State Parkway to Washington. They have become experts
at changing out of pedal-pushers and into proper
pantsuits while their S.U.V. is stopped in traffic, so
they can hit the Capitol rotunda running. They have
talked strategy with Senator John McCain and Senate
Minority Leader Tom Daschle. They once caught
Congressman Porter Goss hiding behind his office door
to avoid them. And they maintain an open line of
communication with the White House.

But after the razzle-dazzle of their every trip to
D.C., the four moms dissolve on the hot seats of
Kristen’s S.U.V., balance take-out food containers on
their laps and grow quiet. Each then retreats into a
private chamber of longing for the men whose lifeless
images they wear on tags around their necks. After
their first big rally, Patty’s soft voice floated a
wish that might have been in the minds of all four

"O.K., we did the rally, now can our husbands come

Last September, Kristen was singled out by the
families of 9/11 to testify in the first televised
public hearing before the Joint Intelligence Committee
Inquiry (JICI) in Washington. She drew high praise
from the leadership, made up of members from both the
House and Senate. But the JICI, as the moms called it,
was mandated to go out of business at the end of 2003,
and their questions for the intelligence agencies were
consistently blocked: The Justice Department has
forbidden intelligence officials to be interviewed
without "minders" among their bosses being present, a
tactic clearly meant to intimidate witnesses. When the
White House and the intelligence agencies held up the
Congressional report month after month by demanding
that much of it remain classified, the moms’ rallying
cry became "Free the JICI!"

They believed the only hope for getting at the truth
would be with an independent federal commission with a
mandate to build on the findings of the Congressional
inquiry and broaden it to include testimony from all
the other relevant agencies. Their fight finally
overcame the directive by Vice President Dick Cheney
to Congressman Goss to "keep negotiating" and, in
January 2003, the National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States—known as the 9/11
Commission—met for the first time. It is not only for
their peace of mind that the four moms continue to
fight to reveal the truth, but because they firmly
believe that, nearly two years after the attacks, the
country is no safer now than it was on Sept. 11.

"O.K., there’s the House and the Senate—which one has
the most members?"

Lorie laughed at herself. It was April 2002, seven
months after she had lost her husband, Kenneth. "I
must have slept through that civics class." Her friend
Mindy couldn’t help her; Mindy hadn’t read The New
York Times since she stopped commuting to Manhattan,
where she’d worked as a C.P.A. until her husband,
Alan, took over the family support. Both women’s
husbands had worked as securities traders for Cantor
Fitzgerald until they were incinerated in the World
Trade Center.

Mindy and Lorie had thought themselves exempt from
politics, by virtue of the constant emergency of
motherhood. Before Sept. 11, Mindy could have been
described as a stand-in for Samantha on Sex and the
City. But these days she felt more like one of the
Golden Girls. Lorie, who was 46 and beautiful when her
husband, Kenneth van Auken, was murdered, has acquired
a fierceness in her demeanor. The two mothers were
driving home to East Brunswick after attending a
support group for widows of 9/11. They had been fired
up by a veteran survivor of a previous terrorist
attack against Americans, Bob Monetti, president of
Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie. "You can’t sit back
and let the government treat you like shit," he had
challenged them. That very night they called up Patty
Casazza, another Cantor Fitzgerald widow, in Colt’s
Neck. "We have to have a rally in Washington."

Patty, a sensitive woman who was struggling to find
the right balance of prescriptions to fight off
anxiety attacks, groaned, "Oh God, this is huge, and
it’s going to be painful." Patty said she would only
go along if Kristen was up for it.

Kristen Breitweiser was only 30 years old when her
husband, Ron, a vice president at Fiduciary Trust,
called her one morning to say he was fine, not to
worry. He had seen a huge fireball out his window, but
it wasn’t his building. She tuned into the Today show
just in time to see the South Tower explode right
where she knew he was sitting—on the 94th floor. For
months thereafter, finding it impossible to sleep,
Kristen went back to the nightly ritual of her married
life: She took out her husband’s toothbrush and
slowly, lovingly squeezed the toothpaste onto it. Then
she would sit down on the toilet and wait for him to
come home.

The Investigation

Kristen was somewhat better-informed than the others.
The tall, blond former surfer girl had graduated from
Seton Hall law school, practiced all of three days,
hated it and elected to be a full-time mom. Her first
line of defense against despair at the shattering of
her life dreams was to revert to thinking like a

Lorie was the network’s designated researcher, since
she had in her basement what looked like a NASA
command module; her husband had been an amateur
designer. Kristen had told her to focus on the
timeline: Who knew what, when did they know it, and
what did they do about it?

Once Lorie began surfing the Web, she couldn’t stop.
She found a video of President Bush’s reaction on the
morning of Sept. 11. According to the official
timeline provided by his press secretary, the
President arrived at an elementary school in Sarasota,
Fla., at 9 a.m. and was told in the hallway of the
school that a plane had crashed into the World Trade
Center. This was 14 minutes after the first attack.
The President went into a private room and spoke by
phone with his National Security Advisor, Condoleezza
Rice, and glanced at a TV in the room. "That’s some
bad pilot," the President said. Bush then proceeded to
a classroom, where he drew up a little stool to listen
to second graders read. At 9:04 a.m., his chief of
staff, Andrew Card, whispered in his ear that a second
plane had struck the towers. "We are under attack,"
Mr. Card informed the President.

"Bush’s sunny countenance went grim," said the White
House account. "After Card’s whisper, Bush looked
distracted and somber but continued to listen to the
second graders read and soon was smiling again. He
joked that they read so well, they must be sixth

Lorie checked the Web site of the Federal Aviation
Authority. The F.A.A. and the Secret Service, which
had an open phone connection, both knew at 8:20 a.m.
that two planes had been hijacked in the New York area
and had their transponders turned off. How could they
have thought it was an accident when the first plane
slammed into the first tower 26 minutes later? How
could the President have dismissed this as merely an
accident by a "bad pilot"? And how, after he had been
specifically told by his chief of staff that "We are
under attack," could the Commander in Chief continue
sitting with second graders and make a joke? Lorie ran
the video over and over.

"I couldn’t stop watching the President sitting there,
listening to second graders, while my husband was
burning in a building," she said.

Mindy pieced together the actions of Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He had been in his Washington
office engaged in his "usual intelligence briefing."
After being informed of the two attacks on the World
Trade Center, he proceeded with his briefing until the
third hijacked plane struck the Pentagon. Mindy
relayed the information to Kristen:

"Can you believe this? Two planes hitting the Twin
Towers in New York City did not rise to the level of
Rumsfeld’s leaving his office and going to the war
room to check out just what the hell went wrong."
Mindy sounded scared. "This is my President. This is
my Secretary of Defense. You mean to tell me Rumsfeld
had to get up from his desk and look out his window at
the burning Pentagon before he knew anything was
wrong? How can that be?"

"It can’t be," said Kristen ominously. Their network
being a continuous loop, Kristen immediately passed on
the news to Lorie, who became even more agitated.

Lorie checked out the North American Aerospace Defense
Command, whose specific mission includes a response to
any form of an air attack on America. It was created
to provide a defense of critical command-and-control
targets. At 8:40 a.m. on 9/11, the F.A.A. notified
NORAD that Flight No. 11 had been hijacked. Three
minutes later, the F.A.A. notified NORAD that Flight
No. 175 was also hijacked. By 9:02 a.m., both planes
had crashed into the World Trade Center, but there had
been no action by NORAD. Both agencies also knew there
were two other hijacked planes in the air that had
been violently diverted from their flight pattern. All
other air traffic had been ordered grounded. NORAD
operates out of Andrews Air Force Base, which is
within sight of the Pentagon. Why didn’t NORAD
scramble planes in time to intercept the two other
hijacked jetliners headed for command-and-control
centers in Washington? Lorie wanted to know. Where was
the leadership?

"I can’t look at these timelines anymore," Lorie
confessed to Kristen. "When you pull it apart, it just
doesn’t reconcile with the official storyline." She
hunched down in her husband’s swivel chair and began
to tremble, thinking, There’s no way this could be.
Somebody is not telling us the whole story.

The Commission

The 9/11 Commission wouldn’t have happened without the
four moms. At the end of its first open hearing, held
last spring at the U.S. Customs House close to the
construction pit of Ground Zero, former Democratic
Congressman Tim Roemer said as much and praised them
and other activist 9/11 families.

"At a time when many Americans don’t even take the
opportunity to cast a ballot, you folks went out and
made the legislative system work," he said.

Jamie Gorelick, former Deputy Attorney General of the
United States, said at the same hearing, "I’m
enormously impressed that laypeople with no powers of
subpoena, with no access to insider information of any
sort, could put together a very powerful set of
questions and set of facts that are a road map for
this commission. It is really quite striking. Now,
what’s your secret?"

Mindy, who had given a blistering testimony at that
day’s hearing, tossed her long corkscrew curls and
replied in a voice more Tallulah than termagant,
"Eighteen months of doing nothing but grieving and
connecting the dots."

Eleanor Hill, the universally respected staff director
of the JICI investigation, shares the moms’ point of

"One of our biggest concerns is our finding that there
were people in this country assisting these
hijackers," she said later in an interview with this
writer. "Since the F.B.I. was in fact investigating
all these people as part of their counterterroism
effort, and they knew some of them had ties to Al
Qaeda, then how good was their investigation if they
didn’t come across the hijackers?"

President Bush, who was notified in the President’s
daily briefing on Aug. 6, 2001, that "a group of
[Osama] bin Laden supporters was planning attacks in
the United States with explosives," insisted after the
Congressional report was made public: "My
administration has transformed our government to
pursue terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks."

Kristen, Mindy, Patty and Lorie are not impressed.

"We were told that, prior to 9/11, the F.B.I. was only
responsible for going in after the fact to solve a
crime and prepare a criminal case," Kristen said.
"Here we are, 22 months after the fact, the F.B.I. has
received some 500,000 leads, they have thousands of
people in custody, they’re seeking the death penalty
for one terrorist, [Zacarias] Moussaoui, but they
still haven’t solved the crime and they don’t have any
of the other people who supported the hijackers." Ms.
Hill echoes their frustration. "Is this support
network for Al Qaeda still in the United States? Are
they still operating, planning the next attack?"

Civil Defense

The hopes of the four moms that the current 9/11
Commission could broaden the inquiry beyond the
intelligence agencies are beginning to fade. As they
see it, the administration is using a streamlined
version of the tactics they successfully employed to
stall and suppress much of the startling information
in the JICI report. The gaping hole of 28 pages
concerning the Saudi royal family’s financial support
for the terrorists of 9/11 was only the tip of the
900-page iceberg.

"We can’t get any information about the Port
Authority’s evacuation procedures or the response of
the City of New York," complains Kristen. "We’re
always told we can’t get answers or documents because
the F.B.I. is holding them back as part of an ongoing
investigation. But when Director Mueller invited us
back for a follow-up meeting—on the very morning
before that damning report was released—we were told
the F.B.I. isn’t pursuing any investigations based on
the information we are blocked from getting. The only
thing they are looking at is the hijackers. And
they’re all dead."

It’s more than a clever Catch-22. Members of the 9/11
Commission are being denied access even to some of the
testimony given to the JICI—on which at least two of
its members sat!

This is a stonewalling job of far greater importance
than Watergate. This concerns the refusal of the
country’s leadership to be held accountable for the
failure to execute its most fundamental
responsibility: to protect its citizens against
foreign attack.

Critical information about two of the hijackers,
Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, lay dormant
within the intelligence community for as long as 18
months, at the very time when plans for the Sept. 11
attacks were being hatched. The JICI confirmed that
these same two hijackers had numerous contacts with a
longtime F.B.I. counterterrorism informant in
California. As the four moms pointed out a year ago,
their names were in the San Diego phone book.

What’s more, the F.B.I.’s Minneapolis field office had
in custody in August 2001 one Zacarias Moussaoui, a
French national who had enrolled in flight training in
Minnesota and who F.B.I. agents suspected was involved
in a hijacking plot. But nobody at the F.B.I.
apparently connected the Moussaoui investigation with
intelligence information on the immediacy of the
threat level in the spring and summer of 2001, or the
illegal entry of al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi into the
United States.

How have these lapses been corrected 24 months later?
The F.B.I. is seeking the death penalty for Mr.
Moussaoui, and uses the need to protect their case
against him as the rationale for refusing to share any
of the information they have obtained from him. In
fact, when Director Mueller tried to use the same
excuse to duck out of testifying before the Joint
Committee, the federal judge in the Moussaoui trial
dismissed his argument, and he and his agents were
compelled to testify.

"At some point, you have to do a cost-benefit
analysis," says Kristen. "Which is more important—one
fried terrorist, or the safety of the nation?" Patty
was even more blunt in their second meeting with the
F.B.I. brass. "I don’t give a rat’s ass about
Moussaoui," she said. "Why don’t you throw him into
Guantánamo and squeeze him for all he’s worth, and get
on with finding his cohorts?"

The four moms are demanding that the independent
commission hold a completely transparent
investigation, with open hearings and
cross-examination. What it looks like they’ll get is
an incomplete and sanitized report, if it’s released
in time for the commission’s deadline next May. Or
perhaps another fight over declassification of the
most potent revelations, which will serve to hold up
the report until after the 2004 Presidential election.
Some believe that this is the administration’s end

Kristen sees the handwriting on the wall: "If we have
an executive branch that holds sole discretion over
what information is released to the public and what is
hidden, the public will never get the full story of
why there was an utter failure to protect them that
day, and who should be held accountable."

You may reach Gail Sheehy via email at:

back to top
This column ran on page 1 in the 8/25/2003 edition of
The New York Observer.

Posted by richard at 11:49 AM

British press reports Schwarzenegger’s groping and affair with former child actress

The sexual life of the Terminator is being discussed
openly and in detail in the British news media, as
well as throughout the world, everyone EXCEPT in here
in the "US mainstream news media" and in particular in
California. Another very disturbing example of the
corporatist control of the flow of news on network and
cable TV, on AM radio and even in the big city
newspapers. Yesterday, they dutifully reported on his
photo op with his "economic advisers," this morning
they are reporting on "bad polling news for Gov. Gray
Davis." The major British expose (in the London
Evening Standard) has been around for over a week. I
suppose they are "checking sources," i.e. looking for
a reason to not report it...

British press reports Schwarzenegger’s groping and affair with former child actress
by Jackson Thoreau • Tuesday August 19, 2003 10:19 AM

The British media reports on Schwarzenegger's gropings
and affair with a former Little House on the Prairie
actress. Meanwhile, the U.S. media continues to ignore
reports of the Groping Governor Wannabe’s extramarital
affairs and groping sessions.

By Jackson Thoreau

Say what you want about the British media’s
fascination with sexual scandals, but at least the
press there is consistent, giving fairly equal
coverage to the extramarital affairs by both
Republicans and Democrats. Meanwhile, the U.S. media
continues to ignore reports of California Gov. Wannabe
and Groper Arnold Schwarzenegger’s extramarital
affairs and groping sessions.

That gives more credence to the notion that the
American media reports on such aspects of a
politician’s character mostly if they involve
Democrats. If Schwarzenegger was a Democrat running
for office and not a Republican with the blessing of
the White House, CNN and Fox and MSNBC and others
would be doing 24-hour coverage on his extracurricular
sexual activities.

The London Evening Standard laid out Schwarzenegger’s
history of groping and sexual harassment against women
nicely on Monday [see].
The Standard was one of many newspapers I contacted
and sent information after I wrote some columns on
that same subject for various Internet sites [such as
about a week ago. Has anyone seen any other similar
stories in U.S. newspapers? I have not.

The Standard’s story is by Wendy Leigh, author of
Arnold: An Unauthorised Biography. It’s important to
note that TV cameras actually recorded Robot Man
putting his hand on Terminator 3 co-star Kristanna
Loken’s butt while they waved to the crowds from a
balcony with Maria close by them a mere few weeks ago.
Not even Packwood would be that bold. And Republicans
and some Democrats still think this “family man” is
fit to be governor of California?

Leigh says that when Robot Man came to London in 2000,
his behavior led insiders to label him “the octopus.”
When TV interviewer Anna Richardson interviewed
Schwarzenegger about his recent movie, he reportedly
asked her pointblank if her breasts were real. “He
then pulled her onto his knee, circled her nipple with
his finger, squeezed it and announced: ‘Yeah, they are
real,’” Leigh reported.

And when Denise Van Outen interviewed him, Robot Man
“slapped her bottom, then brushed his arm against her
breast. Afterwards, he smirked: ‘It was a handful. I
never know if my wife’s watching. I’ll tell her it was
a stuntman,’” Leigh reported.

There was another interesting bit about
Schwarzenegger’s alleged affair with Gigi Goyette, who
Leigh says was a former Little House on the Prairie
actress [I couldn’t find another report confirming
that – did Goyette change her name? I’m not exactly an
expert on that TV series]. In 2001, the National
Enquirer [see]
reported on this affair, naming Goyette. That report
said the couple met when she was 16 and he was 28 and
unmarried, and they had sex. That would be a crime, I
believe, to have sex with an under-aged girl, even in
California. They separated, only to meet again in 1989
and continue the affair for some seven years.

Schwarzenegger and his handlers have denied such
affairs and even the on-camera gropings, which are
recorded for all to see. To them, the gropings are
just friendly banter.

Still, Robot Man soon dropped out of the California
governor’s race after that report, which was not
exactly over-covered by the mainstream media [the New
York Post was among the few to mention it]. To keep
Shriver from leaving, Schwarzenegger reportedly gave
her a Mercedes SUV, a convertible Lexus, a diamond
bracelet and spa treatments worth tens of thousands of

Of course, Kennedy women are used to such treatment
and bribes to stay married; Leigh says that Jackie
Kennedy accepted a whopping $1 million from Joe
Kennedy to stay with JFK after she tired of his
extramarital affairs. For the record, I didn’t like
the Kennedys doing that kind of crap and covering up
their affairs with bribes – that at least borders on
criminal behavior. [See, I’m actually criticizing a
Democrat.] But not even JFK was brazen enough to hold
another woman’s butt in front of his wife, as
Schwarzenegger has done on camera.

The 2001 National Enquirer did not have Goyette
confirming the affair, as Leigh’s story and a column a
week earlier in The Guardian did. The latter British
newspaper’s column at,4284,1015989,00.html
said Goyette made the claim on a TV program called
“Arnold Schwarzenegger - Made In Britain.”

On that show, Goyette described herself as not so much
a mistress, but as Robot Man’s “avenue of relaxation.”
She also explained Schwarzenegger’s fondness for
groping this way: “Sure, he will sometimes grab a
woman’s ass and say, like, ‘Hey, you’ve got a nice
ass.’ But it is just, like, his way of making them
feel better. Every woman likes to get a compliment
from time to time.”

I’ve never tried giving a woman a “compliment” by
grabbing her butt myself, but the men I know who do
usually get slapped or scolded – real fast. Some
states even arrest men for sexual assault for doing

Leigh says that the roots of Schwarzenegger’s
attitudes on women date to his Austrian teen-age
years. His father, Gustav, worried about Robot Man’s
sexuality since he was obsessed with bodybuilding, an
activity that, rightly or wrongly, has gay
connotations. [As a former high school and college
hoopster, I have been in my share of gyms without
turning gay. But I admit I received my share of
propositions from gay men while there.]

So Gustav encouraged his son to bring girls to their
home in Graz. That paid off, Leigh reported. “By the
time Arnold was 19 and had come to England to compete
in the Mr Universe contest, his appetite for women was
well-developed — as was his crude approach to them.
Newcastle bodybuilder John Citrone told me: ‘Any time
we were in hotels or bars, he’d ask girls straight
out: ‘Do you want to come to bed with me?’ He was very
forward,’” Leigh reported. So again, why should I care
if the Republican candidate for governor of California
is a hypocritical adulterer and groper? Isn’t that
only the business of Schwarzenegger and Maria and God,
as we Clinton defenders said during the Monica days?

For one thing, the accusations against Schwarzenegger
include some that are not just extramarital affairs
between consenting adults. Some involve sexual
harassment towards women who wanted nothing to do with
Robot Man; at least one report involves him slamming
the woman against a wall after she said no. That’s a
crime in most states, even California.

That’s the most important reason for me pursuing this.
Then, I repeat what I wrote in an earlier column: If
Schwarzenegger wasn’t hypocritically campaigning as a
good family man, taking Maria and the kids with him on
campaign stops, I might give him a break. If he was
running for mayor of Brentwood, not the most populous
U.S. state with the most electoral votes in the
life-and-death 2004 presidential race in which we HAVE
to kick Bush out of the White House, I might cut him
some slack.

If Republicans hadn’t wasted millions in the 1990s
investigating President Clinton’s private life and
trying to oust him over lying about an affair, I might
say “hasta la vista” to my campaign to publicize
Republican Schwarzenegger’s extramarital affairs and
bold gropings that at least border on sexual assault.
If we knew something about what Schwarzenegger might
do as California governor, I might back off. If
Schwarzenegger would – or could – tell us his vision
for the state or speak about exactly how he will solve
California’s earthquake-sized budget woes, I might
stop writing right here.

If Bush racketeer Rove hadn’t cynically and secretly
engineered this recall after their guy, Richard
Riordan, lost in 2002, I might keep my nose in Texas.
You really think arch-conservative Rep. Darrell Issa
wanted to drop out of this race after spending $2
million of his own bucks to get the damn recall

You really think Riordan just decided on his own not
to run, especially after Schwarzenegger burned him by
giving him indications he might not run and lied about
how they both supposedly worked together to maintain
suspense? You really think people like former Gov.
Pete Wilson just happen to become this political
neophyte’s campaign co-chairman? Fox News even
reported that Republican leaders – they mentioned Rove
in the story but mostly blamed a Republican California
politician in the story at,2933,94955,00.html -
are pressuring more conservative Republicans like Bill
Simon, who was the Republican nominee last year
against Gov. Gray Davis, and state Sen. Tom McClintock
to get out of the race to make it easier for
Schwarzenegger. So far, they have resisted the
strong-arm tactics, but you wonder how long they can
put up with cell phone calls by Rove and others who do
his dirty work.

After my columns on Schwarzenegger ran, I have
received many emails and read many other reports from
people who say they know women who were sexually
harassed or had an affair with the Terminator. Someone
who contacted me is trying to organize a group that
will speak out publicly. If you know a woman who has
been sexually harassed by Schwarzenegger and would
like to join others in speaking out, contact

Finally, it was expected that someone like Rob Lowe,
who once video-taped a sexual session of him in bed
with two women – one of whom was under-aged - during a
Democratic National Convention, would join
Schwarzenegger’s campaign. After all, they can go out
together hunting for under-aged girls to grope. [See,
I’m criticizing a Democrat twice in the same column –
a record for me.]

But Oprah Winfrey is considering endorsing Robot Man,
which would really help his support among women. If
you don’t think she should, contact the Oprah Show at

And you can also sign a petition to totally recall
Schwarzenegger at
More than 600 people already have signed it in the
first few days. If Robot Man does get elected
governor, I plan to forward the petition to California
Democrats who hopefully will initiate a real recall
effort themselves. To sign a petition to oppose the
recall, go to

While some support me on this campaign, even fellow
progressives have told me to lay off this sex stuff
and focus on issues like Iraq and the economy. My
response is that enough people are focusing on Iraq
and the economy. Polls show that most American voters
support what Bush is doing in Iraq but not on the
economy. So if anything, we should be focusing more on
the lousy economy and Bush’s inability to do anything
to improve it as he takes another month-long vacation.
Oh wait, that’s how Bush is improving the economy, by
getting the hell out of the White House and going on
vacation. That might work better than tax cuts for the
super wealthy.

And I still think that if voters know that Republicans
like Schwarzenegger have extramarital affairs and
might have even committed assault while publicly
acting like good family men, it will affect the way
most Americans vote more than most other issues.
That’s just the way the game is played these days. I’m
not making up the rules, I’m just trying to take full
advantage of them.

Jackson Thoreau is an American writer and co-author of
We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White
House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can
be downloaded on his Internet site at
Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier
version at

Posted by richard at 11:47 AM

Bob Graham Blasts Ashcroft as Unjust and Bad for America

“I feared John Ashcroft would become just this kind of
Attorney General when I voted against his confirmation
in 2001. His Justice Department has demonstrated a
willful lack of commitment to the basic fairness and
equality of opportunity that has made this country all
that it is today. “I, along with 98 other United States Senators,
supported the passage of the Patriot Act. Never did I
expect it to be implemented the way it has. Mr.
Ashcroft has chosen to destroy our civil liberties
under the premise of personal security and safety; the
true spirit in which the law was written.”

BUZZFLASH REPORT Wednesday August 20, 2003 at 12:42:55

Bob Graham Blasts Ashcroft as Unjust and Bad for America
August 21, 2003



(Atlanta, GA) – “I’m glad Attorney General John
Ashcroft has left behind his cozy confines in
Washington and is traveling the country to meet with
regular folks for once. Hopefully, it will do the
Attorney General some good to hear from the American
people on how his extreme policies have hurt this
nation. I only wish that he would actually listen to
the people of America as he tours the country and upon
returning to Washington straighten up his far-right
Justice Department.

“I feared John Ashcroft would become just this kind of
Attorney General when I voted against his confirmation
in 2001. His Justice Department has demonstrated a
willful lack of commitment to the basic fairness and
equality of opportunity that has made this country all
that it is today. “I, along with 98 other United States Senators,
supported the passage of the Patriot Act. Never did I
expect it to be implemented the way it has. Mr.
Ashcroft has chosen to destroy our civil liberties
under the premise of personal security and safety; the
true spirit in which the law was written.”


Posted by richard at 11:45 AM

Annan blames US for Iraq blast

(8/20/03) The _resident's regime is illegitimate (ala Fraudida),
incompetent (Where is Osama bin Laden?) and corrupt
(Where is Ken Lay?), BUT it is something even
worse...Remember, as you ponder this painful and
puzzling attack, "all the _resident's men" recently
declared that they are "no longer seeking a major UN
role in the occupation of Iraq, and will instead try
to enlist individual countries to help the US-led
occupation forces." What a disgrace. Remember too,
though, that you are not alone and that Kofi Annan and
Nelson Mandela are standing shoulder to shoulder with

Annan blames US for Iraq blast


20 August 2003 15:12

United Nations chief Kofi Annan insisted on Wednesday
that the UN had no plans to pull out of Iraq despite
the bombing of its Baghdad headquarters, taking a
swipe at the United States-led coalition, which he
said was responsible for security.

"We will carry on our mandate that has been given to
us by the Security Council," the secretary general
said at a news conference at Stockholm airport shortly
before he was due to board a flight to New York.

Asked whether the UN was planning to withdraw staff
from Iraq, Annan said: "We do not intend to do this.
We are assessing the situation."

The truck bombing, which killed at least 24 people at
the UN headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday, came on the
heels of a wave of attacks on coalition forces in
recent months.

"The least we owe them is to ensure that their deaths
have not been in vain. We shall continue," he said.

Annan criticised the US for failing to secure the
situation in Iraq for international humanitarian
workers: "The occupying power is responsible for law
and order and the security of the country," he said.
"We had hoped that by now the coalition forces would
have secured the environment for us to be able to
carry on the essential work of political and economic
reconstruction, institution-building and for Iraqis to
carry on with their work," he said.

"That has not happened," he said, while acknowledging
that it was difficult to prevent such an attack.

A US military spokesperson disagreed with Annan,
saying the UN was in charge of its own security.

"It was a UN issue to provide their own security,"
said Lieutenant Peter Rekers.

"They had a private security company providing
security around the [UN] compound," Rekers said.

The UN and the US have been at loggerheads over the
question of security in Iraq, and the UN's role in

According to a report last week in the New York Times,
Washington is no longer seeking a major UN role in the
occupation of Iraq, and will instead try to enlist
individual countries to help the US-led occupation

The report said the US government had specifically
opted against giving the UN any authority over
security in Iraq.

Other reports have indicated that Secretary of State
Donald Rumsfeld is strongly opposed to any dilution of
military authority over Iraq by involving the UN.

It is feared, the reports said, that a UN role might
actually hamper US operations, including against
guerrillas or terrorists in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the US-led coalition said it would
re-evaluate its security procedures following the

Annan said the UN would also review its security in
Iraq and the rest of the world, adding that the
Security Council would meet later on Wednesday to
discuss its next moves.

The UN's mandate in Iraq includes coordinating
humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, promoting
the safe return of refugees and facilitating the
reconstruction of key infrastructure.

The top UN envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, was
among those killed in Tuesday's truck bombing, which
Annan qualified as a "brutal act of senseless

"Yesterday was a dark Tuesday for the UN, Iraq and
international solidarity. On that day the United
Nations lost some of its most outstanding public
servants, including Sergio Vieira de Mello," said
Annan, with tears in his eyes.

Annan said he believed Tuesday's bombing and recent
attacks against the coalition were the result of an
organised rebellion and not independent acts carried
out by disgruntled Iraqis.

"Obviously it seems to be much more organised and much
deeper than one thought at the beginning," he said.

"I do not know who they are, what their cause is or
what god they pray to, but what they did yesterday
will not serve their cause nor their goal," he said, a
day after cutting short his holiday in Finland to
return to New York. -- Sapa-AFP

Posted by richard at 11:39 AM

August 20, 2003

This recall is bigger than California. What's happening here is part of an ongoing national effort to steal elections Republicans cannot win. It started with the impeachment of President Clinton, when the Republicans could not beat him in 1996.

During the early days of his first campaign for
Governor of California, I met Gray Davis. I was
walking out of the gym, he was passing through the
lobby (incognito) with two aides. I stopped him, shook
his hand and told him I was voting for him. I was
surprised by what I saw in his eyes. There was blue
steel. What's in there is very different from the
public perception of Davis. He went on to win the
race. Yesterday, years later, I was leaving the gym
and glanced up at the TV screen. Gray Davis was on
*local* TV live from UCLA pulling the pin and hurling
the political grenade that had to be launched...There
have been a few very important speeches in recent
years (at least for posterity): those of Maxine Waters
(D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Cynthia McKinney
(D-GA) and other members of the Congressional Black
Caucus as Al Gore presided over the validation of
electoral college results skewed by the phoney count
from Fraudida in Jan. 2000, several concerning Iraq,
etc. from Sen. Byrd on the floor of the US Senate over
the last few months, Al Gore's recent speech to and now this blistering, brave condemnation
of the putsch from Gray Davis (Democrat, Vietnam vet
and duly elected Governor of California)...Davis's
blue steel might just come through this fire...Oh, the
propapunditgandists will mock and villify him. Indeed,
they have already begun...The blow-dry TV anchors are
calling it "conspiracy theory" already...Of course,
but the people know, the people will respond if
someone takes *them* on and Gray Davis has just spoken
the supposedly unspeakable...Just watch...,1,898145.story?coll=la-home-headlines

August 19, 2003 E-mail story Print

Text of Gov. Gray Davis' Speech at UCLA
By Associated Press

August 19, 2003

Following is the text of Gov. Gray Davis' speech
Tuesday at the University of California, Los Angeles:

Thank you, my friends.

Viva California. Thank you, my friends, for coming
here tonight, and those of you watching at home. I
know California is going through a difficult time, and
this is a challenging moment for all of us. I come
here to take responsibility and set the record
straight and to talk about our future.

Let's first talk about energy. I know many of you feel
that I was too slow to act during the energy crisis.

I got your message and I accept that criticism. I
played the hand I was dealt as best I could. I
inherited the energy deregulation scheme which put all
of us at the mercy of the big energy producers.

We got no help from the federal government. In fact,
when I was fighting Enron and the other energy
companies, these same companies were sitting down with
Vice President Cheney to draft a national energy

Recent federal investigations have proven that
California was victimized by a massive fraud. Energy
executives are on their way to jail.

Three years ago, I refused to give in to the pressure
to raise rates astronomically. Everyone I talked to
said "raise rates, raise rates, raise rates." I would
not do it. And I also couldn't let our homes, our
businesses, our schools go dark. So I went to work,
bought power, built new plants, encouraged
conservation for the good people of this state and
encouraged the use of clean energy.

My friends, last Friday, 50 million Americans lost
electricity for 29 hours. In California, not a single
light has gone out in the last two years.

I'm not looking for praise. We made our share of
mistakes. And, like you, I wish I had known then all I
know now. But my friends, if any of the Republicans in
this recall campaign criticized the way we dealt with
the energy crisis, you ask them specifically what they
would have done to keep the lights on.

Now let's talk about the budget. I'm not happy with
the budget I signed recently. I said so then, I repeat
that today. But it was the best we could do given the
position of Republican legislators who would not
compromise and who wanted to strip away health
insurance benefits from 400,000 children of working
parents rather than increase taxes on the wealthiest

But as everyone considers how we got into this
situation, let me put our situation into perspective.
The American economy has tanked. Over the last couple
years, it has shed 3 million jobs and gone from record
surpluses to record deficit; 46 other states are
facing similar problems.

Yes, I could have been tougher in holding down
spending when we had big surpluses. But let's be
clear. Our increases on my watch went to education and
health care, and I make no apology for that.

When I took office, we ranked near the bottom in
per-pupil spending, 43rd to be specific. We are now
26, and we're making progress. In fact, just last
week, just last Friday, the superintendent of public
instruction announced dramatic improvement in student
test scores for the fifth year in a row.

Let me just say that the thanks should just go to the
teachers, parents, school board members, principals
and all the hard-working people in education.

Let me tell you something else about the budget. In
California, the Constitution prohibits spending a
dollar unless you get a two-thirds vote of the
Legislature. So those spending increases I mentioned
during the early part of my term -- health care and
education -- those increases were supported by
Democrats and Republicans in Sacramento. And one more
point about the budget: Some Republicans accuse me of
hiding the deficit. That is preposterous, my friends.
In California, state finances are a matter of public
record. They're available to anyone who wants to see.

Now let's talk about the recall. This recall is bigger
than California. What's happening here is part of an
ongoing national effort to steal elections Republicans
cannot win. It started with the impeachment of
President Clinton, when the Republicans could not beat
him in 1996. It continued in Florida, where they
stopped the vote count, depriving thousands of
Americans of the right to vote. This year, they're
trying to steal additional congressional seats in
Colorado and Texas, overturning legal redistricting
plans. Here in California, the Republicans lost the
governor's race last November. Now they're trying to
use this recall to seize control of California just
before the next presidential election.

They spent $3 million to put this recall on the
ballot, but you're going to have to spend $65 million
of your hard-working tax dollars to conduct that
election. I'm sure you'll agree with me that money
could be better spent educating our children.

Call me old fashion, and I am. Call me old fashion,
but I believe when an election is over, the people
have spoken and it's time to get to work and do the
public's business. There are many reasons to be
against this recall. It's expensive, it's
undemocratic, it's a bad precedent, and it almost
certainly will breed more recalls. The end result will
be more campaigning, not less, more politics, not
less, and less time to do the public's business.

The Republicans behind this recall say they want you
to oust me for past mistakes. My friends, they don't
give a rip about past mistakes. This is all about
control in the future, seizing back the governor's
chair and believing with so many candidates running
they can do it with just a handful of California
voters. That's what this is all about.

In the next seven weeks, my highest priority will be
doing the job you elected me to do. But make no
mistake, I am going to fight this recall and the
right-wing forces behind it. Take that to the bank.

My friends, from day one I have fought to improve our
schools. This year in Sacramento, believe it or not,
the Republicans wanted to kick 110,000 kids out of
kindergarten. But we worked together and we stopped
it. Our schools are getting better, and I pledge you
to work every day to improve them further.

That's my highest priority. I said from the very
beginning, my three highest priorities are education,
education, education. The schools are getting better,
kids are learning more, teachers are better trained,
doing a fabulous job, parents are more involved. We're
on the right path.

I'm also proud to tell you I signed some of the
toughest environmental laws in America over the last
five years. Laws that clean up our air, clean up our
water and protect our magnificent coastline.
California has become a national leader again on the
environment, and I will never allow California's
strong environmental record to be reversed -- not by
Republicans, not by anyone. I'm going to fight to
protect this environment. The same is true for
reproductive rights, privacy rights and civil rights.

We passed the toughest laws in the nation, bar none,
on all three subjects. And while the Bush
administration spends its time peering into our
bedrooms, our homes and our libraries, I have been
working with Democratic legislators in Sacramento to
pass the toughest financial privacy law in America. My
friends, no one, no one should look at your bank
balances, your spending habits or your personal
financial data unless you give them permission to do
so. I will sign a bill this year that will protect
your financial privacy whether I'm governor for
another seven weeks or another three years.

Now let me speak about another issue that will be on
the ballot, Proposition 54.

Proposition 54 is another Republican effort to divide
Californians over race. I am going to fight this
initiative, and I'm going to fight every day to make
equal opportunity a reality for every person living in
this great state.

Thank you. Thank you.

Now the budget problems we've been dealing with need a
long-term fix. I have signed the budget. But we need a
long-term fix. And I will soon appoint a distinguished
commission of knowledgeable people to propose changes
in our budget structure to avoid the wild fluctuations
we've seen the last four years and which we saw in the
early '90s.

I also want to make this state better. I want to make
it better to work and to do business, whether you are
in the private sector, the public sector or the
nonprofit world. Wherever you're working, you are
experiencing skyrocketing increases in worker
compensation rates, and I pledge to you that I will
sign a bill this year that will stop those increases.

There is much more that needs to be done in
California. This election is about your future. I
intend to fight for it, and I need your help.

Now this is not going to shock you. I may not be the
warmest TV personality in politics, but I am warming
to this fight. And I will go all over this state, talk
to all comers, answer all their questions, and I might
have one or two of my own to ask them.

Now the Republicans say this recall is about ousting
me for past problems. But my friends, we're getting
over our past problems. California did not go dark. I
signed a budget. The schools are getting better, and
our economy will turn around.

But this right-wing power grab is something we won't
get over. It will do lasting damage to our state, our
environment and the very fabric of our democracy.

This is a fight worth making and I need your help.

My friends, if you give me your help, I'll do
everything in my power over the next three-and-a-half
years to represent everyone in this great state --
Democrats, Republicans and independents -- to give our
children the future they deserve.

Thank you for coming here tonight. God bless you, and
God bless America."

If you want other stories on this topic, search the
Archives at
Click here for article licensing and reprint options


Copyright 2003 Los Angeles Times

Posted by richard at 07:50 AM

August 19, 2003

No. 10 knew: Iraq no threat

Another US soldier died in Iraq overnight (for what?), and yes,
just now, at least 15 UN workers (including the UN
envoy) were killed in a car bombing in Iraq. Couple the carnage in Iraq escalating daily with the escalating violence and chaos in Afghanistan and the ruin of the Israel/Palestine peace process once shepherded by duly elected US Presidents, as opposed to malignly neglected by an illegitimate _resident...But what will the "US mainstream news media" do with this
story? Will it connect the HUGE dots that lead to the
painful and irrefutable fact that this military
adventure was foolish and unnessecary? Here is the
latest from America's best newspaper, the U.K.
Guardian on the investigation into the circumstances
surrounding the death of Dr.
has an awful lot to answer for, so does the
_resident...The British press will do it part in
responsible for his role (it already has ripped the
facade of the lies), but will the US press to the same
with the _resident? Please read this story and share
it with others so that the hundred of our own precious
US GIs killed so far and these noble UN workers killed
today have not died completely in vain...There must be
a day of political reckoning for the Bush cabal....,13747,1021534,00.html

No 10 knew: Iraq no threat

Richard Norton-Taylor and Nicholas Watt
Tuesday August 19, 2003
The Guardian

One of the prime minister's closest advisers issued a
private warning that it would be wrong for Tony Blair
to claim Iraq's banned weapons programme showed Saddam
Hussein presented an "imminent threat" to the west or
even his Arab neighbours.

In a message that goes to the heart of the
government's case for war, the Downing Street chief of
staff, Jonathan Powell, raised serious doubts about
the nature of September's Downing Street dossier on
Iraq's banned weapons.

"We will need to make it clear in launching the
document that we do not claim that we have evidence
that he is an imminent threat," Mr Powell wrote a week
before the document was finally published on September

His remarks urging caution contrasted with the
chilling language used by Mr Blair in a passionate
speech in the Commons as he launched the dossier a
week later.

He described Iraq's prog-ramme for weapons of mass
destruction as "active, detailed, and growing... It is
up and running now."

Mr Powell's private concerns came in the form of an
email which was copied to Alastair Campbell, Downing
Street's director of communications, and Sir David
Manning, Tony Blair's foreign policy adviser.

The fact the three closest men to the prime minister
knew of this information strongly suggests Mr Blair
would have been aware.

Downing Street also faced severe embarrassment
yesterday when the Hutton inquiry was told the prime
minister's official spokesman in an email had
described the government's battles with the BBC as a
"game of chicken".

The email revealed how senior Downing Street officials
- and on occasion Mr Blair himself - became intimately
involved in the events which led to the death of the
government scientist David Kelly.

Mr Powell was the first Downing Street official to
appear before the inquiry. Within minutes of taking
the witness stand, he was asked about his explosive
email to John Scarlett, chairman of the joint
intelligence committee. Writing on September 17, he
said he believed the arms dossier "does nothing to
demonstrate a threat, let alone an imminent threat
from Saddam".

He added: "In other words, it shows he has the means
but it does not demonstrate he has the motive to
attack his neighbours, let alone the west."

The case the government was making, said Mr Powell,
was that "he has continued to develop WMD since 1998,
and is in breach of UN resolutions".

The Hutton inquiry heard last week that the final
version contained claims that a senior defence
intelligence official agreed were "noticeably"
hardened up.

They included a claim in the dossier's foreword,
signed by Mr Blair, that Iraqi chemical and biological
weapons would be "ready" within 45 minutes of an order
to deploy them.

Mr Blair also described Iraq as posing a "serious and
current threat".

Documents disclosed by the inquiry yesterday reveal
the close interest Mr Blair and Mr Campbell showed in
the dossier as it was being prepared.

On September 5, Mr Campbell's office emailed Mr Powell
with the message: "Re dossier, substantial rewrite.
Structure as per TB [Tony Blair] discussion." The
email refers to the need for "real intelligence
material". Mr Powell responds by asking, "will 'TB'
have something he can read" on the plane on his way to
meet President George Bush.

The Hutton inquiry yesterday revealed that top
officials in the Ministry of Defence and Downing
Street - and Mr Blair himself - made it clear they
wanted Dr Kelly to give evidence both in private to
the parliamentary intelligence and security committee
(ISC) and in public to the Commons foreign affairs
committee (FAC) despite the intense personal pressure
he was under.

The government was worried about what Dr Kelly, who
had criticised the language in the dossier, would tell

In an email to Clare Sumner, one of the prime
minister's private secretaries, Mr Powell wrote: "We
tried the prime minister out on Kelly before FAC and
ISC next Tuesday. He thought he probably had to do
both but need to be properly prepared beforehand."

Three days earlier, on July 7, Mr Blair asked his
closest advisers what they "knew of Dr Kelly's views
on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, what would he
say if he appeared before the ISC or the FAC".

Sir Kevin Tebbit, the top civil servant at the
Ministry of Defence, warned that Dr Kelly might say
some "uncomfortable" things.

The inquiry heard that the Downing Street press office
was kept closely in touch with the MoD's strategy
which led to Dr Kelly's name being made public. On the
day he was named, July 10, one of those officials, Tom
Kelly, wrote his devastating email to Mr Powell.

"This is now a game of chicken with the Beeb - the
only way they will shift is they see the screw
tightening," he wrote.

He was referring to plans to make the scientist appear
before the committees in the hope of forcing the BBC
to confirm that Dr Kelly was its source.

Posted by richard at 01:53 PM

August 18, 2003

Clark talks like candidate, bashes Bush, Ex-NATO commander: Iraq shouldn't be center of war on terror

On the surface, it is a very bad day for the _resident
and his Brain (Rove). In an interview with
SeeNotNnews, Wesley Clark (D-NATO) blasts the
_resident for leading the US into war on "false
pretenses," saying "You'd be taking them to the
Better Business Bureau if you bought a washing machine
the way we went into the war in Iraq." (Full story
below). BUT THERE'S MORE...SeeNotNews is also
reporting the release of a new tape reaffirming the
fact that Osama ("Wanted: Dead or Alive") bin Laden
and Mullah Omar are alive and engaged at least in
fanning the flames of hatred against the US (made
remarkably easy for them by the Bush Cabal).
MEANWHILE, in bread and butter politics, an
Ipsos-Public Affairs/Cook Political Report Poll of
1,532 registered voters conducted July 22-24, 2003,
and August 5-8, 2003, underscores the _resident's
political hemmoraghing: i.e., his overall approval
rating has "declined significantly, particularly with
groups identified as "swing voters," including
Hispanics ("the difference between right direction and
wrong track has gone from a net positive (+25) in late
April to a net negative (-14) in early August, a shift
of 39 points")and "Non-College Educated Men" (the
difference between right direction and wrong track has
gone from a net positive (+30) in late April to a net
negative (-10) in early August, a shift of 40 points).
For more info on this study, go to
ran a piece today on the unraveling of the "Solid
South," an electoral strategy essential to every
right-wing Republican White House victory from Nixon
on...Of course, the triangle of NY, CA and FLA cancel
it out as it did in 2000 (which is why Florida became
Fraudida), but I digress...The point is that the
NYTwit story carries dire warning signs for the
_resident, including the following: "Asked for a show
of hands in Spartanburg [S.C.] to indicate how many of
the executives voted for Mr. Bush in 2000, all
indicated they had. Asked for a show of hands of how
many would be willing to abandon him in 2004, all
indicated they would." For the full story, click on
(at least until someone gets wind of it...)
Yes, on the surface, it is a very bad day for the
_resident and his Brain (Rove), but be careful...The
cabal is not going to go quietly, and expect another
Trifecta ticket or two to be submitted for winnings
between now and 2004...

Clark talks like candidate, bashes Bush, Ex-NATO commander: Iraq shouldn't be center of war on terror

WASHINGTON (CNN) --Wesley Clark, who once served as
NATO commander and might have presidential
aspirations, attacked the Bush administration Sunday
for launching a war with Iraq on "false pretenses" and
spreading the military too thin amid the global war on

"You'd be taking them to the Better Business Bureau if
you bought a washing machine the way we went into the
war in Iraq," Clark said on CNN's "Late Edition with
Wolf Blitzer."

Clark, who led the alliance during the 1999 Kosovo
conflict, has been increasingly critical of the Iraq
war. His criticism could be a prelude to an
announcement that he will run for president.

Clark, a retired Army general, said more than half of
the Army's deployable strength is committed to
stabilizing Iraq, where American and allied soldiers
face continuing attacks four months after Saddam
Hussein's government collapsed.

"We've made America more engaged, more vulnerable,
more committed [and] less able to respond," he said.
"We've lost a tremendous amount of goodwill around the
world by our actions and our continuing refusal to
bring in international institutions."

He said that if Iraq "is the centerpiece of the war on
terror, it shouldn't be."

A mostly U.S. and British force invaded Iraq in March
after accusing Saddam of maintaining stockpiles of
chemical and biological weapons and long-range
missiles. The coalition also accused Iraq of trying to
obtain nuclear weapons. All allegations, if true,
would be violations of U.N. resolutions.

So far, no evidence of weapons of mass destruction
have been found in Iraq. U.S. officials have said
evidence found since the war began suggests that Iraq
was still trying to produce them.

Clark has called on Congress to investigate
allegations that the Bush administration overstated
intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs.

The Bush administration has acknowledged that a
16-word passage should not have been included in the
State of the Union Address as part of the pitch to
wage war. The statement was based on British
intelligence that could not be corroborated by the CIA
and had been struck from a previous presidential

Bush has dismissed the criticism regarding the
statement and other intelligence.

"It's just pure politics," Bush said earlier this
month. "The American people know that we laid out the
facts. We based the decision on sound intelligence.
And they also know we've only been there 100 days."

Clark also lashed out at House Majority Leader Tom
DeLay, a Texas Republican.

Early in the Iraq war, Delay criticized what he called
the corps of "blow-dried Napoleons" who appeared on
television to analyze the progress of the coalition
invasion. Clark was a CNN military analyst during the
conflict but no longer works for the network.

"When our airmen were flying over Kosovo, Tom DeLay
led House Republicans to vote not to support their
activities -- when American troops were in combat,"
Clark said. "To me, that's a real indicator of a man
who's motivated not by patriotism or support for the
troops but by partisan political purposes."

Decision likely within weeks
Clark said Sunday that he will decide whether to run
for president in two to three weeks.

"This is a very tough call for someone who hasn't been
climbing the political ladder," Clark said. "I've been
in public service my whole life, but it's been in the
military. You're dealing with a new language, new
groups, new issues, new ways of thinking about how to
do this."

Clark has not declared his party affiliation, but said
earlier this year that he had not considered
challenging Bush as a Republican. Nine Democrats have
entered the 2004 presidential race.

Supporters of a presidential draft campaign have
broadcast television spots in New Hampshire, Iowa and
Clark's home state of Arkansas to drum up support for
a Clark bid. Clark said he has nothing to do with the
effort, which he called "an authentic expression of
political feeling," but would do nothing to discourage

Clark would have to scramble to raise money to
campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, where primary
elections will be held in January. Clark said money
should not be an issue.

"The issue is the issues," he said. "What does America
stand for? How do we want to behave in the world? What
does it take to fulfill America's dreams at home?"

Posted by richard at 11:33 AM

Fellow journalists accused U.S. troops of negligence

More bitter evidence on the lack of credibility in "US
mainstream news media," none of them have been killed
by US fire in Iraq...Who has been killed
*accidentally* by US forces in Iraq? Reuters
correspondents, Al-Jazeera correspondents...Reuters,
of course, is a UK-owned news service of remarkable
professionalism in contrast to AP, etc. in the US; and
Al-Jazeera is, well, Al-Jazeera...It is a very sad,
disturbing trend...Bravo to SeeBS for running the
story on the airwaves back home here in Oceania...

Reporters: U.S. Troops Negligent
BAGHDAD, Aug. 18, 2003

Fellow journalists accused U.S. troops of negligence
in the shooting death of a Reuters cameraman, saying
it was clear the victim was a newsman when soldiers on
two tanks opened fire. Press advocacy groups called
for an investigation.

Mazen Dana, 43, was shot and killed by U.S. soldiers
Sunday while videotaping near a U.S.-run prison on the
outskirts of Baghdad. The U.S. Army said its soldiers
mistook his camera for a rocket-propelled grenade

Press advocacy groups Reporters Without Borders and
the U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists
demanded a full investigation into the shooting.

Reporters Without Borders urged Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld to conduct an "honest, rapid"
investigation. The group also noted that there have
been isolated cases in which soldiers in Iraq have
been hostile to the news media.

"Such behavior is unacceptable and must be punished.
It is essential that clear instructions and calls for
caution are given to soldiers in the field so that
freedom of movement and work of journalists is
accepted in Iraq," the group said in a statement.

The film Dana shot showed a tank driving toward him.
Six shots were heard, and the camera appeared to tilt
forward and drop to the ground after the first shot.

Dana was working outside the Abu Ghraib prison after a
mortar attack there Sunday in which six prisoners were
killed and about 60 wounded. Witnesses said Dana was
dressed in civilian clothes.

"We were all there, for at least half an hour. They
knew we were journalists. After they shot Mazen, they
aimed their guns at us. I don't think it was accident.
They are very tense. They are crazy," said Stephan
Breitner of France 2 television.

Breitner said soldiers tried to resuscitate Dana but

A U.S. military official said on condition of
anonymity that American soldiers saw Dana from a
distance and mistook him for an Iraqi guerrilla, so
they opened fire. When the soldiers came closer, they
realized Dana was a journalist, the official said.

"This is clearly another tragic incident, it is
extremely regrettable," Central Command spokesman Sgt.
Maj. Lewis Matson said.

Dana's driver, Munzer Abbas, said Dana had got out of
the car when he saw the tanks approaching.

"We saw a tank, 50 meters away. I heard six shots and
Mazen fell to the ground. One of the soldiers started
shouting at us, but when he knew we were journalists,
he softened. One of the soldiers told us they thought
Mazen was carrying a rocket-propelled grenade," said

"There were many journalists around. They knew we were
journalists. This was not an accident," he said.

Reuters quoted soundman Nael al-Shyoukhi, who was with
Dana, as saying that the U.S. soldiers "saw us and
they knew about our identities and our mission.

"After we filmed we went into the car and prepared to
go when a convoy led by a tank arrived and Mazen
stepped out of the car to film. I followed him and
Mazen walked three to four meters (yards). We were
noted and seen clearly," al-Shyoukhi said.

"A soldier on the tank shot at us. I lay on the
ground. I heard Mazen and I saw him scream and
touching his chest.

"I cried at the soldier, telling him you killed a
journalist. They shouted at me and asked me to step
back and I said 'I will step back but please help,
please help and stop the bleed."'

He said they tried to help him but Dana was bleeding

"Mazen took a last breath and died before my eyes."

At the Reuters headquarters in Baghdad, the mood was
gloomy, and journalists from different organizations
converged to express condolences. Dana's camera lay on
the floor in the editing room.

"Mazen was one of Reuters' finest cameramen and we are
devastated by his loss. He was a brave and an award
winning journalist who had worked in many of the
world's hotspots," said Stephen Jukes, Reuters' global
head of news, in a statement.

Dana's death brings to 13 the number of journalists
who were killed in Iraq since the start of the war on
March 20. Two Independent Television News journalists,
cameraman Fred Nerac of France and translator Hussein
Osman of Lebanon, have been missing since shooting
incident March 22 in southern Iraq in which
correspondent Terry Lloyd was killed.

An outspoken critic of the Israeli government's
treatment of journalists, Dana was honored by the
Committee to Protect Journalists with an International
Press Freedom Award in November 2001 for his work
covering conflict in his hometown of Hebron in the
West Bank. He was shot at least three times in 2000,
according to the citation on the group's web site.

Dana was married and had four children.

"Words and images are a public trust and for this
reason I will continue with my work regardless of the
hardships, even if it costs me my life," Dana said
after accepting the award.

"He was committed to covering the story wherever it
was and he was an inspiration to friends and
colleagues at Reuters and throughout the industry,"
Jukes said.

Abbas, the driver, recalled how Dana was telling
al-Shyoukhi of the war stories he had covered over the

"He said he wanted to take a shot of the prison from a
house with a vantage point. Nael told him to be
careful because of the Americans. Mazen said he wasn't
too worried as long as they don't shoot him."

©MMIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,
or redistributed.

Posted by richard at 11:27 AM

August 17, 2003

AWOL senators continue calendar countdown

Here is a Frank Capra story of courage and street
smarts. Here is a shining example of how the Democrats
must fight in this *civil war* against corporatism
(i.e. fascism)...These are names to be scrawled on the
John O'Neill Wall of Heroes..If Gray Davis (Democrat,
Vietnam veteran and duly elected Governor of
California) does not come to grips with what he is
really struggling against, and raise his fist and
declare this "recall vote" to be a referendum not on
his governance but on the _resident, the VICE
_resident, Kenny Boy Lay and their big business
sponsors and their brown shirt Christian Kulchur shock
troops, then California, one of the last bulwarks of
this Republic, will be lost...Democrats are constantly
cautioned by the propapunditgandists, "Oh, don't start
the culture war." Democrats are always cautioned by
the propapunditgandists, "Oh, don't start the class
war." Meanwhile, relentless class war is being waged
in the US, unremmiting culture war is being waged in the
US...The reality is that *civil war* is being waged in
the US...The struggle in the Texas state legislature
is one front, the California "recall" is another
front, the fight to overturn the pro-media-monopoly
ruling of the FCC is a front, the post-Fraudida
struggle over the electoral process itself is a front,
the Presidential campaign of 2004 is a front. It is
beyond ideologies now, it is beyond Left versus Right
or Republican versus Democrat. It is a struggle to
restore the Center really. It is a fight for human
decency and common sense...Read this encouraging story
and share it with others... -- | Section: Politics

Aug. 16, 2003, 12:33AM

AWOL senators continue calendar countdown
Democrats say they miss families but won't cave in to
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A handmade sign scrawled on
butcher paper on the wall of a hotel meeting room
Friday said it all: "Aug. 15 -- 11 days left in
special session."

Eleven Texas state senators have been marking the time
since July 28, when they fled Austin to break the
Senate quorum and keep the body from taking up a
Republican-backed congressional redistricting bill.

Facing their third weekend away from home, they say
they will return only if Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
restores a traditional Senate rule requiring that
two-thirds of senators agree to bring a bill to the
floor. Dewhurst, presiding officer of the Senate,
refused to maintain that rule during the current
special session -- the second that Gov. Rick Perry has
called to consider redistricting.

The Democratic senators say they are holding out in
New Mexico at financial and family sacrifice.

Detractors describe these claims as ploys for
sympathy, and Republican leaders say the Democrats can
solve the problem by returning to the Senate, where
they almost certainly would lose a vote on

One senator left for Albuquerque a week after his
daughter was born and hasn't seen her since; another
has not seen his newborn grandson; and a third worries
about his aging father, seriously ill in the hospital.
If the senators returned to Texas, they could face
being arrested and forcibly returned to the Capitol.

A few family members have come to New Mexico to spend
time with the senators. Some children came for visits
before school starts next week.

Last weekend, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio
secretly left New Mexico for Colorado to join her
husband, whom she had not seen since leaving Austin.

Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo, who has family in
Albuquerque and got a visit from her son two weeks
ago, will see her husband this weekend for the first
time since she packed for the trip to New Mexico.

Her husband, Carlos, is one of the attorneys involved
in a lawsuit Democrats filed in Laredo federal court
to compel Dewhurst to restore the two-thirds rule.

The senators spend most of their time during the day
meeting behind closed doors contemplating responses to
actions in Austin, talking with reporters and
developing strategies.

Many rise early for a ride on a bike trail along the
Rio Grande, to work out in the hotel fitness room, or
to answer e-mails from staff and constituents.

They have visited the University of New Mexico, joined
New Mexico senators on a tour of a Hispanic cultural
center, dined with the mayor of Albuquerque and with
state senators from Colorado, and visited a local
Indian reservation.

At night, most spend their time on the phone with
family members and staff.

"On the weekends I try to go out to see what's in the
area," said Sen. Elliot Shapleigh of El Paso. "But
there's no substitute for being with your family." -- | Section: Politics
This article is:

Posted by richard at 09:15 PM

August 16, 2003

Ex-Parks Employees Take Aim at Bush, Ex-National Park Bosses Blast Bush

Here is a story from the Salt Lake Tribune that puts
those ridiculous, Orwellian
_resident-as-caring-about-the-environment photo ops
into their proper context. This story also provides
several new names to be scrawled on the John O'Neill
Wall of Heroes…Of course, "conventional [i.e.,
*convenient*] wisdom" among the propapunditgandists
(e.g., Bill Schnooker of SeeNotNews) is that the
Environment is not a top tier issue, but I think they
are very wrong, especially as the reality and dramatic
impact (economic, medical, etc.) of global warming is
ever more unavoidable as a news story...The anti-Bush,
whoever it turns out to be, need to run on SECURITY --
National Security (both a restoration of geopolitical
alliances and a real homeland defense program),
Economic Security (e.g, rolling back the _resident’s
disasterous and unfair tax cuts to fight the trillion
dollar debt he has plunged us into), Energy Security
(i.e. alternative fuel, re-regulation and a new power
grid), Social Security (yes, retirement income, but
also health care insurance and education) AND
Environmental Security (e.g., returning the US to
international leadership on the Kyoto accords,
restoring the credibility of the EPA and tending to
the now neglected national park system). Yes, the
truth about the Environment should be a loud and
central aspect of the campaign to oust this
illegitimate, incompetent and corrupt regime. The
anti-Bush must shed harsh light on the _resident as
radical right wing hit man for corporate interests
that want to deep six the decades old largely
bi-partisan environmental commitment of the US federal
government…That's why the LNS focuses not only on
stories about Fraudida, 9/11, Iraq, Enron,
corporatism, the capitulation of the US mainstream
news media, the batttle for the judiciary, and the nature of the Bush cabal itself,
but also on Global Warming and other vital
environmental issues...

Published on Saturday, August 16, 2003 by the Salt
Lake Tribune
Ex-Parks Employees Take Aim at Bush, Ex-National Park Bosses Blast Bush
by Joe Baird

A group of former high-ranking National Park Service
employees -- including five with Utah ties -- took a
Yellowstone-sized swipe at the Bush administration

President Bush speaks to supporters, Friday, Aug. 15,
2003, at the Santa Monica Mountains National
Recreation Area in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Bush reported
advances Friday on his campaign promise to spend
nearly $5 billion on upgrading national parks, but
critics said he was exaggerating the progress and
lambasted his environmental record. (AP Photo/Mark J.

Their charge: that the president and his Interior
Department have not put their money where their mouths
are when it comes to funding the National Park system.
And that their policies -- from privatizing more park
functions to allowing gas and oil drilling near park
boundaries -- are threatening the system from inside
and out.

"I've spent 32 years in the National Park Service, and
I'm not a particularly partisan person," said Don
Castleberry, a retired NPS regional director from
Omaha. "But in recent years, it appears that support
for the National Park Service has been politicized to
a degree that I never saw when I was working.

"The current staffing situation and operating budgets
are inadequate, and as such will continue to stymie
the park service from carrying out its mission."

The Washington-based Campaign to Protect America's
Lands spearheaded the release of Friday's letter,
signed by more than 120 former National Park Service
(NPS) administrators, including directors, deputy
directors, regional directors and park

Former Utah NPS administrators, including John
Lancaster (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area), Don
Gillespie (Utah state director), Fred J. Fagergren
(Bryce Canyon National Park) and William Herr (Golden
Spike National Historic Site) and Helen Dionne (Glen
Canyon), were among the signees.

"Never before have so many former employees come
together to voice their concern for the state of the
park service," said Bill Wade, a former superintendent
of Virginia's Shenandoah National Park.

In the Aug. 12 letter to Interior Secretary Gale
Norton, Wade and other participants criticized the
administration for failing to adequately address the
maintenance backlog -- which Bush vowed to tackle
during his 2000 presidential campaign. They also
protested what they call Interior's propensity for
"disregarding professional, scientific and public
opinion" in decisions and policies affecting the
parks. Finally, the letter panned administration plans
to privatize an increasing number of park service

Despite the goals and claims of Bush's "National Parks
Legacy Project," the letter says, "We are growing
increasingly concerned that in your policies and
actions, you are not living up to your promises, nor
to the ideals described in the mission of the National
Park Service; and most importantly, you are not living
up to the intent of the law."

The former park administrators took particular aim at
the park service's maintenance backlog -- estimated at
$4.9 billion, according to a 1998 report by the
General Accounting Office, and now estimated as high
as $6.8 billion.

The Bush administration claims it has spent $2.9
billion so far to address the backlog and has promised
to eliminate it over a four-year span. But critics say
most of that money was already earmarked for annual
maintenance, and that the administration's
contribution of additional funding was closer to $200
million to $300 million. The backlog has not been
reduced "in any significant way," said the letter.

NPS spokesman Dave Barna said Friday that he had not
seen the letter, and would not comment on it until
Norton's office was ready to respond. But at least in
terms of the maintenance backup, he thinks Bush
critics are off-base.

"There has been a shift in how the money in the [NPS]
budget is spent," said Barna. "The Democrats
historically have tended to grow the park system, to
spend the money on land acquisition. This president
wants to spend that money on maintenance. So the total
budget didn't go up, but the budget has changed."

© Copyright 2003, The Salt Lake Tribune.


Posted by richard at 04:05 PM

Huffington blasts Schwarzenegger as Bush Republican

Two observations on this story...
1) I am delighted that she attacked the Terminator, I
wish Gray Davis (a Democrat, a Vietnam veteran and the
duly elected Governor of California) had hurled this
political grenade, I wish Cruz Bustamente had hurled
this political grenade. If they do not go on the
offensive and define this race as a struggle with the
Bush cabal, if they do not define it as culture war,
class war and *civil* war with the "vast right wing
conspiracy," they will lose in this abomination
disguised as a constitutional process...Bravo for
Arriana Huffington...BUT remember...
2) If Gray Davis or Cruz Bustamente had indeed hurled
this political grenade at the Terminator, there would
be no significant SeeNotNews coverage of it.
Huffington blasts Schwarzenegger as Bush Republican
Taking aim at GOP front-runner

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) --Seeking to defuse the
campaign of Republican rival Arnold Schwarzenegger,
California gubernatorial hopeful Arianna Huffington on
Thursday blasted the movie star as a "good friend of
the Bush administration" beholden to special

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Bush Republican through
and through," said the best-selling author, who is
running as an independent in the October 7 special
election to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.

Huffington then ran through a litany of questions she
wants the GOP front-runner to answer, focusing on what
she described as ties to Enron chief Ken Lay and
various Republicans.

The name Enron resonates in California because the
failed energy giant -- which collapsed amid reports of
shady accounting -- was accused of taking advantage of
the state's energy crisis in 2001 to make money.

"Clearly, Schwarzenegger is a very good friend of the
Bush administration," Huffington said. "But this
administration is no friend to the people of
California. Indeed, at times, it seems as if the Bush
administration has declared war on California."

During a stop at a Los Angeles middle school,
Schwarzenegger said he didn't recall the meeting with

"I can't remember every meeting I've had over the last
10 years," he said.

He also said he was adding George Shultz, the U.S.
secretary of state during the Reagan administration,
to his economic team, which is being headed up by
billionaire Warren Buffet, a Democrat.

Wednesday, President Bush told reporters that
Schwarzenegger "would be a good governor, as would
others running for governor of California." (Full

Huffington criticized Schwarzenegger for attacking
Davis for being fiscally irresponsible, "while he's
actually ignoring the orgy of fiscally
irresponsibility going on in Washington by the
Republican Congress."

Recall supporters have blamed Davis for California's
budget deficit -- which until a recent budget deal had
stood at $38 billion, but is now at $8 billion -- and
his handling of a severe energy crisis which led to
rolling blackouts throughout the state in 2001.

Democrats in turn blame Bush for the weak economy and
for federal policies that made the energy crisis much

Huffington urged journalists to pose tough questions
to Schwarzenegger "whenever he decides to start
answering questions."

At Thursday's news conference, Huffington, who lives
in a house worth more than $1 million, was asked how
an affluent person like herself could speak for all

"I think it is very important for people who are
blessed with a lot of privileges to take up the causes
of those who need to have a greater voice in our
democracy," she said. "I think this has been a great
tradition in American democracy. I'm proud to be part
of it."

Huffington and Schwarzenegger are among the better
known of the 135 candidates who qualified for the
recall ballot. The list of candidates was released
Wednesday night by the California Secretary of State's

Other well-known candidates on the list include
Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante; Republicans Bill
Simon -- who lost to Davis nine months ago in the
general election -- and former baseball commissioner
Peter Ueberroth; Hustler magazine publisher Larry
Flynt, a Democrat. (Complete list)

In a two-part ballot, voters will be asked whether
Davis should be recalled and if so, who should replace
him as governor. Davis' name will not be listed among
the possible replacement candidates.

If the governor is recalled, whoever wins a plurality
of votes would serve out the remainder of Davis' term.

Posted by richard at 04:01 PM

August 15, 2003


Well, if
the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair is
really on his way out, we hope that the _resident and
Australian PM John Howard, both of whom have increased
the danger to their own peoples, as well as Spain's
Azana (who contributed little but a photo op to the
bogus "coalition") soon follow
the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair into
political oblivion. They can all gather together for a
Carlyle Group barbeque at the fake "ranch" (yes, it
was built for the 2000 campaign and for a man who
cannot ride a horse) in Waco (yes, "Crawford" is in
Waco)and leave the geopolitical body of the world too
slowly painfuly overcome the deep wounds their
foolishness, arrogance and greed have inflicted...


Paul Routledge

THE net is closing on the merchants of death in
Downing Street as witness after witness gives damning
testimony to the Hutton inquiry.

None was more damning yesterday than the voice of Dr
David Kelly.

His taped conversation with Newsnight journalist Susan
Watts establishes beyond doubt that Alastair Campbell
is in the frame for exaggerating the Government's case
for war against Iraq.

It was an eerie moment at the Royal Courts of Justice
when the expert hounded to his death was heard again.
The tape must have made Campbell's blood run cold -
and that of Tony Blair and his Defence Secretary Geoff
Hoon. They may be on holiday thousands of miles away,
but their reputation is in the dock right here in the

On past form, they are getting minute by minute
briefings on the progress of their trial. The No 10
communications machine is nothing if not efficient.

Too efficient, by half. Dr Kelly's testimony shows the
original intelligence case for invading Iraq WAS given
top spin by New Labour media managers.

Intelligence experts have given evidence of their
doubts about the final dossier published by the PM as
his pretext to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Yesterday, Dr Kelly's "unease" about the overstated
claims was confirmed in his ghostly testimony.

People in Government saw what they wanted to see, he
suggested. "They will see it from their own
standpoint. They may not even appreciate quite what
they were doing."

Even under fire, Dr Kelly was typically generous to
his tormentors. As a scientist, wedded to facts, he
was unwilling to believe politicians would be so
reckless, self-serving and manipulative of
intelligence for their own ends.

We know better, now. The September dossier drew
heavily on intelligence material. It also drew on the
unrivalled spin abilities of Alastair Campbell.

It had to. If the facts were not frightening enough,
they had to be made so.

A FEW days of evidence have destroyed the myth of
"clean hands in Downing Street." And the investigation
is barely in its stride.

Tony Blair must be wondering what more there is to
come. Of course, there is his testimony and that of
Alastair Campbell. Geoff Hoon will also seek to
justify his actions in allowing Dr Kelly's name to be
disclosed to the media.

But this quasi-judicial process is already beyond
their control. Lord Hutton's terms of reference may be
as tight as a knot. But this inquiry is taking on its
own life. Witnesses stray at will.

We are witnessing the slow motion death of this

Who can now believe there was not something dodgy
about the dossier that claimed Saddam could fire
weapons of mass destruction at 45 minutes' notice?

Dr Kelly insisted this just "popped up" during spooks'
deliberations. But it was clearly music to No10. Music
to which they could set a seductive theme.

Now the lyrics are exposed as phoney. It will take a
miracle of spin to restore faith in Tony Blair's case
for war.

What else did we learn yesterday from the Dr Kelly
tape? "They would not pick on me I don't think," he

Oh yes they would. Oh yes they did. He was the perfect
fall guy.

For the first time Blair knows what it is like for his
actions and those of his cohorts to be examined
independently, judiciously and without the covert help
of media backers. It could prove fatal.

Posted by richard at 11:53 AM


You do not have to indulge in conspiracy theory to
connect some dots between the _resident's illegitmate,
incompetent and corrupt regime and yesterday's
unprecedented power outage in major metropolitan areas
of the US and Canada. And, of course, the great Greg
Palast has provided some essential background. (But do
not be surprised if there is even more to the

Tale of The Brits Who Swiped 800 Jobs From New York,
Carted Off $90 Million, Then Tonight, Turned Off Our
Friday, August 15, 2003
by Greg Palast

I can tell you all about the ne're-do-wells that put
out our lights tonight. I came up against these
characters -- the Niagara Mohawk Power Company -- some
years back. You see, before I was a journalist, I
worked for a living, as an investigator of corporate
racketeers. In the 1980s, "NiMo" built a nuclear
plant, Nine Mile Point, a brutally costly piece of hot
junk for which NiMo and its partner companies charged
billions to New York State's electricity ratepayers.

To pull off this grand theft by kilowatt, the NiMo-led
consortium fabricated cost and schedule reports, then
performed a Harry Potter job on the account books. In
1988, I showed a jury a memo from an executive from
one partner, Long Island Lighting, giving a lesson to
a NiMo honcho on how to lie to government regulators.
The jury ordered LILCO to pay $4.3 billion and,
ultimately, put them out of business.

And that's why, if you're in the Northeast, you're
reading this by candlelight tonight. Here's what
happened. After LILCO was hammered by the law, after
government regulators slammed Niagara Mohawk and
dozens of other book-cooking, document-doctoring
utility companies all over America with fines and
penalties totaling in the tens of billions of dollars,
the industry leaders got together to swear never to
break the regulations again. Their plan was not to
follow the rules, but to ELIMINATE the rules. They
called it "deregulation."

It was like a committee of bank robbers figuring out
how to make safecracking legal.

But they dare not launch the scheme in the USA.
Rather, in 1990, one devious little bunch of operators
out of Texas, Houston Natural Gas, operating under the
alias "Enron," talked an over-the-edge free-market
fanatic, Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,
into licensing the first completely deregulated power
plant in the hemisphere.

And so began an economic disease called "regulatory
reform" that spread faster than SARS. Notably, Enron
rewarded Thatcher's Energy Minister, one Lord Wakeham,
with a bushel of dollar bills for 'consulting'
services and a seat on Enron's board of directors. The
English experiment proved the viability of Enron's new
industrial formula: that the enthusiasm of politicians
for deregulation was in direct proportion to the
payola provided by power companies.

The power elite first moved on England because they
knew Americans wouldn't swallow the deregulation snake
oil easily. The USA had gotten used to cheap power
available at the flick of switch. This was the legacy
of Franklin Roosevelt who, in 1933, caged the man he
thought to be the last of the power pirates, Samuel
Insull. Wall Street wheeler-dealer Insull creator of
the Power Trust, and six decades before Ken Lay, faked
account books and ripped off consumers. To frustrate
Insull and his ilk, FDR gave us the Federal Power
Commission and the Public Utilities Holding Company
Act which told electricity companies where to stand
and salute. Detailed regulations limited charges to
real expenditures plus a government-set profit. The
laws banned "power markets" and required companies to
keep the lights on under threat of arrest -- no
blackout blackmail to hike rates.

Of particular significance as I write here in the
dark, regulators told utilities exactly how much they
had to spend to insure the system stayed in repair and
the lights stayed on. Bureaucrats crawled along the
wire and, like me, crawled through the account books,
to make sure the power execs spent customers' money on
parts and labor. If they didn't, we'd whack'm over the
head with our thick rule books. Did we get in the way
of these businessmen's entrepreneurial spirit? Damn
right we did.

Most important, FDR banned political contributions
from utility companies -- no 'soft' money, no 'hard'
money, no money PERIOD.

But then came George the First. In 1992, just prior to
his departure from the White House, President Bush
Senior gave the power industry one long
deep-through-the-teeth kiss good-bye: federal
deregulation of electricity. It was a legacy he wanted
to leave for his son, the gratitude of power companies
which ponied up $16 million for the Republican
campaign of 2000, seven times the sum they gave

But Poppy Bush's gift of deregulating of wholesale
prices set by the feds only got the power pirates
halfway to the plunder of Joe Ratepayer. For the big
payday they needed deregulation at the state level.
There were only two states, California and Texas, big
enough and Republican enough to put the electricity
market con into operation.

California fell first. The power companies spent $39
million to defeat a 1998 referendum pushed by Ralph
Nadar which would have blocked the de-reg scam.
Another $37 million was spent on lobbying and
lubricating the campaign coffers of legislators to
write a lie into law: in the deregulation act's
preamble, the Legislature promised that deregulation
would reduce electricity bills by 20%. In fact, when
San Diegans in the first California city to go
"lawless" looked at their bills, the 20% savings
became a 300% jump in surcharges.

Enron circled California and licked its lips. As the
number one life-time contributor to the George W. Bush
campaign, it was confident about the future. With just
a half dozen other companies it controlled at times
100% of the available power capacity needed to keep
the Golden State lit. Their motto, "your money or your
lights." Enron and its comrades played the system like
a broken ATM machine, yanking out the bills. For
example, in the shamelessly fixed "auctions" for
electricity held by the state, Enron bid, in one
instance, to supply 500 megawatts of electricity over
a 15 megawatt line. That's like pouring a gallon of
gasoline into a thimble -- the lines would burn up if
they attempted it. Faced with blackout because of
Enron's destructive bid, the state was willing to pay
anything to keep the lights on.

And the state did. According to Dr. Anjali Sheffrin,
economist with the California state Independent System
Operator which directed power movements, between May
and November 2000, three power giants physically or
"economically" withheld power from the state and
concocted enough false bids to cost the California
customers over $6.2 billion in excess charges.

It took until December 20, 2000, with the lights going
out on the Golden Gate, for President Bill Clinton,
once a deregulation booster, to find his lost
Democratic soul and impose price caps in California
and ban Enron from the market.

But the light-bulb buccaneers didn't have to wait long
to put their hooks back into the treasure chest.
Within seventy-two hours of moving into the White
House, while he was still sweeping out the inaugural
champagne bottles, George Bush the Second reversed
Clinton's executive order and put the power pirates
back in business in California. Enron, Reliant (aka
Houston Industries), TXU (aka Texas Utilities) and the
others who had economically snipped California's wires
knew they could count on Dubya, who as governor of the
Lone Star state cut them the richest deregulation deal
in America.

Meanwhile, the deregulation bug made it to New York
where Republican Governor George Pataki and his
industry-picked utility commissioners ripped the lid
off electric bills and relieved my old friends at
Niagara Mohawk of the expensive obligation to properly
fund the maintenance of the grid system.

And the Pataki-Bush Axis of Weasels permitted
something that must have former New York governor
Roosevelt spinning in his wheelchair in Heaven: They
allowed a foreign company, the notoriously incompetent
National Grid of England, to buy up NiMo, get rid of
800 workers and pocket most of their wages - producing
a bonus for NiMo stockholders approaching $90 million.

Is tonight's black-out a surprise? Heck, no, not to us
in the field who've watched Bush's buddies flick the
switches across the globe. In Brazil, Houston
Industries seized ownership of Rio de Janeiro's
electric company. The Texans (aided by their French
partners) fired workers, raised prices, cut
maintenance expenditures and, CLICK! the juice went
out so often the locals now call it, "Rio Dark."

So too the free-market cowboys of Niagara Mohawk
raised prices, slashed staff, cut maintenance and
CLICK! -- New York joins Brazil in the Dark Ages.

Californians have found the solution to the
deregulation disaster: re-call the only governor in
the nation with the cojones to stand up to the
electricity price fixers. And unlike Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Gov. Gray Davis stood alone against
the bad guys without using a body double. Davis called
Reliant Corp of Houston a pack of "pirates" --and now
he'll walk the plank for daring to stand up to the
Texas marauders.

So where's the President? Just before he landed on the
deck of the Abe Lincoln, the White House was so
concerned about our brave troops facing the foe that
they used the cover of war for a new push in Congress
for yet more electricity deregulation. This has a
certain logic: there's no sense defeating Iraq if a
hostile regime remains in California.

Sitting in the dark, as my laptop battery runs low, I
don't know if the truth about deregulation will ever
see the light --until we change the dim bulb in the
White House.

See Greg Palast's award-winning reports for BBC
Television and the Guardian papers of Britain at Contact Palast at his New York

Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times
bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy"
(Penguin USA) and the worstseller, "Democracy and
Regulation," a guide to electricity deregulation
published by the United Nations (written with T.
MacGregor and J. Oppenheim).

Posted by richard at 11:49 AM

August 14, 2003

Global Warming is Choking the Life Out of Lake Tanganyika

Let's take stock of our situation...The real war on
terrorism is being lost while the Ashcroft Just Us
Dept. concocts penny-anty arms merchant stings for "US
mainstream media" consumption, the Homeland
Insecurity Dept. doodles with its Crayola crayon
"Alert system," and US military and intelligence
resources are squandered in the quagmire of Iraq
(where is Osama bin Laden?). The real Middle East
peace process was allowed to languish and die through
the _resident's policy of "malign neglect" only to be
replaced by a roadmap to oblivion half-heartedly
promoted by a foolish little man who cannot
distinguish the West Bank from the East Bank. The
_resident's economic quackery has led to the gutting
of the US budget surplus and the tanking of the US
economy (where is Ken Lay?)...AND, just as Nero
fiddled while Rome burned, the _resident struts around
Waco on his "vacation," posturing for the 2004
"election," while the planet itself begins to
burn...Read the news from Europe (the Alps are
metling) and people are dying in Paris...Consider the
implications of this powerful and disturbing story on
Lake Tanganyika from the UK...

Published on Thursday, August 14, 2003 by the
Global Warming is Choking the Life Out of Lake Tanganyika
by Steve Connor

Lake Tanganyika in central Africa - where Henry
Stanley delivered his immortal question, "Dr
Livingstone, I presume?" - is in ecological crisis as
a result of global warming.

Studies by two independent teams of scientists have
found local temperature rises and climate change have
dramatically altered the delicate nutrient balance of
the lake, Africa's second largest body of fresh water.

This NASA satellite file image shows Lake Tanganyika
in East Africa. Global warming is wrecking Africa's
Lake Tanganyika, inflicting a catastrophic decline in
fish catches, a study says. They have discovered that
the surface of the lake is getting warmer and that has
meant the mixing of vital nutrients in the lake has
diminished and cut the lake's fish population.

The effect has had a dramatic impact on the local
economy, with fishing yields plummeting by a third or
more over the past 30 years and further decreases

Lake Tanganyika has traditionally supplied between 25
and 40 per cent of the protein needs of the local
people, citizens of the four countries bordering the
lake, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia and the Democratic
Republic of Congo.

As a tropical lake accustomed to high year-round
temperatures, Tanganyika was not obviously vulnerable
to the effects of global warming yet this is what the
scientists have discovered.

All deep freshwater lakes rely on nutrients in the
lower depths periodically coming to the surface where
aquatic plants and algae live. This is particularly
critical in tropical lakes which have steep
temperature gradients that tend to keep the warm, less
dense layers on top of the colder, denser water in the
lake's depths where the nutrients are stored.

Lake Tanganikya is the second-deepest lake in the
world and the second richest in terms of biological
diversity; it has 350 species of fish with new ones
being discovered regularly. Nutrient mixing has been
vital for its biodiversity.

Piet Verburg, of the University of Waterloo, in
Canada, and Catherine O'Reilly of the University of
Arizona, in Tucson, who led the studies, found warmer
temperatures and less windy weather in the region is
starving the lake's life of essential salts that
contain nitrogen and sulphur.

Dr O'Reilly's study, in the journal Nature, suggests
the lake's productivity, measured by the amount of
photosynthesis its plant life has done, has diminished
by 20 per cent, which could easily account for the 30
per decrease in fish yields.

The scientists say climate change rather than
overfishing is largely responsible for the collapse in
Tanganyika's fish stocks and the position is likely to
get much worse.

"The human implications of such subtle, but
progressive, environmental changes are potentially
dire in this densely populated region of the world,
where large lakes are essential natural resources for
regional economies," the scientists say. Dirk
Verschuren, a freshwater biologist at Ghent University
in Belgium, said both studies could explain why
sardine fishing has declined by between 30 and 50 per
cent since the late 1970s.

"Since overexploitation is at most a local problem on
some fishing grounds, the principal cause of this
decline has remained unknown," Dr Verschuren writes in
an accompanying Nature article. "Taken together ...
the data in the two papers provide strong evidence
that the effect of global climate change on regional
temperature has had a greater impact on Lake
Tanganyika than have local human activities. Their
combined evidence covers all the important links in
the chain of cause and effect between climate warming
and the declining fishery."

© 2003 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd


Posted by richard at 11:57 AM

Germany tipped CIA about Sept 11 pilot

This story, from the German press, is a reminder of
how irrelevant the coverage of the "US mainstream news
media" has become on the issue of what did not happen
prior to 9/11...The questions are quite simple...What
did the _resident hear in the August 6th 2001 daily
intelligence briefing? What did White House au pair
Condi Rice do with the Clinton-Gore national security
council plan to crush Al-Qaeda? Has the _resident ever
heard the name of John 0'Neil and does he have any
comment for the record on the PBS Frontline
documentary "The Man Who Knew Too Much"? There's just
a few...You will not hear them from the Sunday morning
propapunditgandists or from the Stepfordized White
House "press corp.",205,&item_id=33442

Germany tipped CIA about Sept 11 pilot

13 August 2003 HAMBURG - The US Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) had one of the September 11, 2001 terror
pilots under surveillance as early as March 1999 after
a tip from German security services, according to
joint investigative reports in Germany.

The weekly magazine Stern and the first German public
television channel ARD, in reports to be published and
aired on Thursday, focus on Marwan Alshehhi, who
piloted the Boeing plane which crashed into the south
tower of the World Trade Centre.

How Alshehhi then managed to slip from the view of the
CIA is the focus of the reports by ARD and Stern,
details of which were provided Deutsche
Presse-Agentur, DPA in advance on Wednesday.

The joint investigative reports said that in January
1999, Germany's security agency BfV first noted the
name of a man named "Marwan" after he had placed calls
with Haydar Sammar, a German-Syrian living in Hamburg,
who had been under surveillance since 1993.

Two months later, in March 1999, the BfV passed the
information about Marwan on to the CIA, which then
also began keeping surveillance on him, ARD and Stern

The reports said the CIA had detailed information
about Marwan Alshehhi, and the fact that he was from
the United Arab Emirates and studying in Germany.

The CIA had his cellphone number and knew that he was
in contact with Haydar, whom the Americans had
suspected of being al-Qaeda's contact man in Germany.

The reports add to the growing evidence of mistakes
made at the CIA and other security agencies in the
United States in failing to detect the plot by the
suicide plane hijackers.


Posted by richard at 11:55 AM

Bush Eats Barbecue... Soldiers Starve

Despite the kid glove coddling of the "US mainstream
news medi," the _resident is finally starting to sink
in the *published* polls (that's means the deep
polling, the data never released, is really, really
bad for him), BUT imagine what the numbers would look
like if AnythingButSee or SeeBS or NotBeSeen drew this
contrast on the evening news...

Bush Eats Barbecue... Soldiers Starve
August 13, 2003
By Barbara O'Brien

As our soldiers suffer in Iraq with inadequate water,
food, sanitation, and shelter, President George W.
"Bring 'em On" Bush treated his top fundraisers to a
private barbecue near his ranch.

The Bush re-election campaign shuttled about 350 top
fund-raisers to Crawford, Texas, for the event. The
favored few had collected $50,000 each for the
privilege of chowing down with the President and his
advisor, Karl Rove.

But even as he enjoyed the best of Texas cuisine
during his month-long vacation, the President assured
the nation he is focused on Iraq.

On Friday, the President stood in the driveway of his
ranch home with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
and declared there had been "good progress. Iraq is
more secure."

Mr. Bush would not say whether he shared the
assessment of the commander of coalition forces in
Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who said Thursday
that U.S. forces will remain in Iraq at least two
Mr. Bush would only say "I will do what's necessary to
win the war on terror." Mr. Bush said Americans have
"got to understand I will not forget the lessons of
Sept. 11," when America was hit with its worst ever
terrorist attack.

The president also would not say whether he had an
estimate on how many more soldiers would die. Nor did
he answer a question on future costs of the American
presence in Iraq. ["Bush Sees Iraq Progress," CBS
News, August 8, 2003 ]

It's a good thing he's focused on Iraq. If he were
less focused he might forget the war entirely.
To be fair, one reason the President can't estimate
cost is that logistics in Iraq became the Mother of
All Snafus. Soldiers have lived for months in
primitive shelters without windows or air
conditioning. Some are without fresh food and showers
and telephones and toilets. For a time they weren't
even getting their mail. Although news stories say
conditions have improved, soldiers continue to write
to Stars and Stripes and David Hackworth's web site
with tales of deprivation.

This soldier wrote to Hackworth in mid-June that
troops were so desperate for water they had to
purchase water of dubious quality from Iraqis. They
also have been short of food. "Soldiers are trying, in
vain, to keep mosquitoes from consuming them nightly,
and using hoses from an Iraqi latrine stall to get
water enough to maintain their hygienic needs," he
writes. "There are soldiers, to this day, that live in

Another soldier wrote,

While the Army did a great in winning the war, what is
not being covered is how broke the Army logistics
system is and the damage it is doing to the long term
readiness and moral of the Army. The Army seems to
have this NTC rotation mentality, which consists of
fuck it live in the dirt and filth you only have to be
here for a month. That works at NTC, but it seems no
one has thought of how to sustain an Army in the field
for weeks and months at a time.
... Our supply lines are clear. There is no excuse why
basic health and safety issues and moral issues like
mail cannot be addressed. They are not being addressed
because the army doesn't know how anymore. Units spend
their lives preparing for 2 week warfighters and one
month NTC rotations and never think, "okay, how are we
going to live out here for six months or a year." Its
just not part of the Army's thinking anymore and it s
a shame. ["Everything Is Just Peachy Keen in Iraq,"
Soldiers for the Truth, June 11, 2003]

This letter from Stars and Stripes is dated July 27:
During the day the temperature reaches 127 degrees in
the shade.... Due to a lack of bottled water, each
soldier has been limited to two 1.5 liter bottles a
day. We’ve had two soldiers drop out due to
heat-related injuries. A person with common sense
knows that a normal person can’t survive on three
liters of water a day."
- Pfc. John Bendetti, stationed in Tallil, Iraq,
letter in Stars and Stripes.

There's No Business Like War Business
Behind the logistical breakdown in Iraq is a Pentagon
team with no personal experience on a battlefield and
only a theoretical view of battle. Throughout American
military history, most of the work of supplying troops
in the field was performed by the military itself.
But, beginning in the Clinton Administration, supply
and support personnel were shifted into combat jobs
and defense contractors were hired to take their
place. And, writes David Wood of Newhouse News
Service, "This shift has accelerated under relentless
pressure from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to
make the force lighter and more agile."

"When you turn these services over to the private
market, you lose a measure of control over them," said
[Peter] Singer, a foreign policy researcher at the
Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington. ...

Thanks to overlapping contracts and multiple
contracting offices, nobody in the Pentagon seems to
know precisely how many contractors are responsible
for which jobs - or how much it all costs. That's one
reason the Bush administration can only estimate that
it is spending about $4 billion a month on troops in
Iraq. White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten said
this week he could not even estimate the cost of
keeping troops in Iraq in fiscal 2004, which begins
Oct. 1. [David Wood, "Some of Army's Civilian
Contractors Are No-Shows in Iraq," Newhouse News
Service, July 31, 2003]

Can we say, "this is the fault of management?" I think
we can.
Long-time CEO Rumsfeld and his civilian lackeys are
running the military like a corporation. And, as in
most corporations, the Suits at the top of the ladder
and the worker bees in the cubicles and factories live
on different planets. The Suits concern themselves
with profits and growth but forget the product.
Employees? Employees are cost, and employees in Asia
work cheaper.

Next we'll hear the Navy is being outsourced to India.

To see clearly what went wrong with logistics in Iraq,
look no further than Dick Cheney's old outfit, Kellogg
Brown & Root. Last fall the Army hired the
Houston-based contractor to draw up the master plan
for supporting U.S. troops in Iraq with civilian
contractors. But KB&R failed to deliver on its own
contracts. The modular barracks, showers, bathroom
facilities, and kitchens it had been paid to deliver
were AWOL.

Part of the blame lies with the cost of insuring
civilians in a combat zone. Rates skyrocketed by 300
and 400 last March as the contractors waited in Kuwait
for the war to start. And civilians cannot be ordered
to go into a combat zone. Many of them, sensibly,

'Course, you'd think the well-paid geniuses who drew
up the master plan and greedily anticipated record
profits from the war would have anticipated this.
Guess not.

Warfare 101

Military historian Martin van Creveld defines
logistics as "minutely coordinating the movements of
troops...and such a way as to make
everything and everybody...appear at exactly the right
moment" (Supplying War, 1977). Any sensible person can
see that military logistics are a little more
complicated than running a McDonald's. However, we're
dealing with CEOs, so "sensible" is not an operative
word. "Greedy," maybe.

According to van Creveld, throughout military history
logistics have been nine-tenths of the business of
war. Unfortunately, there's no glory in it, and people
with a CEO mindset look at logistics and think, cost.
A common metaphor is the "teeth to tail" ratio. The
thinking is that an effective military beast should
have more teeth and less tail. Therefore, the military
should focus on teeth - the ability to kill - and not
waste its time with mundane support details. The
problem with this metaphor is that food and water and
soap and bug spray and spare parts are not "tail";
they are legs and torso as well, and the beast will
die without them.

However, anyone who has done time in a factory or in a
honeycomb of office cubicles will recognize the CEO
philosophy at work. In business, marketing and finance
are the "teeth"; products and the employees who create
them are the "tail." Hi ho, hi ho, to India we go.

What happened to the professional military? Rummy and
his minions have shoved them to the margins. In a
recent op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, retired Air
Force lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatowski described
what she observed during three years of service in the
Pentagon. She described functional isolation of the
professional corps, who were kept out of the loop of
policy decisions; cross-agency ideological cliques who
made the real decisions; and groupthink that elevated
opinion into "fact."

Saddam is not yet sitting before a war crimes
tribunal. Nor have the key decision-makers in the
Pentagon been forced to account for the odd set of
circumstances that placed us as a long-term occupying
force in the world's nastiest rat's nest, without a
nation-building plan, without significant
international support and without an exit plan.
Neither may ever be required to answer their accusers,
thanks to this administration's military as well as
publicity machine, and the disgraceful political
compromises already made by most of the Congress.
Ironically, only Saddam Hussein, buried under tons of
rubble or in hiding, has a good excuse. [Karen
Kwiatowski, "The Pentagon Has Some Explaining to Do,"
The Houston Chronicle, August 3, 2003 ]
But last Friday, the Commander in Chief and the
Secretary of Defense stood together in Texas, on the
other side of the world from the mess they made, and
congratulated each other on how focused they were and
how well their plans were turning out. And, dutifully,
the news media reported this.
Fortunately for Rummy, media attention has been
diverted to Ah-nold's gubernatorial campaign. The
troops in Iraq couldn't get media coverage today if
they chipped in and paid for it.

In times like these, I ask myself, WWTD - What Would
Truman Do? Harry, I think, would have ordered Rummy to
haul his butt to Iraq to straighten out the mess, now.
Instead, for the next few years we will see armies of
consultants who've never set foot on a battlefield
make big bucks explaining how to avoid the mistakes of

It's the American CEO way.

Please visit Barbara O'Brien at The Mahablog.

© Democratic Underground, LLC

Posted by richard at 11:36 AM

Military Families and Veterans Demand End to the Occupation of Iraq; Immediate Return of All U.S. Troops to Home Duty Stations

(8/13/03) Will you see and hear these brave families on the
eveing news tonight? Or will SeeNotNews,
AnythingButSee, MustNotBeSeen, SeeBS,
PrettyBlandStuff, etc. ignore their poignant and
powerful declaration? Why not ignore them? The 9/11 families have
been shunted aside. The victims of Enron have been
shunted aside...If you do not see prominent and
unskewed coverage of this action on the evening news
tonight...Well, just remember Mussolini called it
"corporatism," not "fascism," thinking "corporatism'
more apt (about that much he was correct), and it is
"corporatism" that controls the "US mainstream news
media." I predict sadly you will hear more about the
_resident's ridiculous, feeble attempts to sound
credible on the nation's forests, or perhaps more
softballs lobbed for the Terminator...

AUGUST 13, 2003
11:02 AM
CONTACT: Bring Them Home Now
Ryan Fletcher 202-232-8997
Nancy Lessin 617-320-5301

Military Families and Veterans Demand End to the Occupation of Iraq; Immediate Return of All U.S. Troops to Home Duty Stations

WASHINGTON - August 13 - Galvanized to action by
George W. Bush's inane and reckless "Bring 'em on"
challenge to armed Iraqi's resisting occupation,
Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace and
other organizations based in the military community
will launch Bring Them Home Now, a campaign aimed at
ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq and returning
troops to their home bases at a press conference on
August 14 at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C.
US military casualties from the occupation of Iraq
have been more than twice the number most Americans
have been led to believe because of an extraordinarily
high number of accidents, suicides and other
non-combat deaths in the ranks that have gone largely
unreported in the media. The other underreported cost
of the war for US soldiers is the number of American
wounded-827, officially, since Operation Iraqi Freedom
began. (Unofficial figures are in the thousands.)
About half have been injured since Bush's triumphant
claim on board the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln at the
beginning of May that major combat was over.

The mission of the Bring them Home Now campaign is to
unite the voices of military families, veterans, and
GIs themselves to demanding: an end to the occupation
of Iraq and other misguided military adventures and an
immediate return of all US troops to their home duty
stations. On August 14 at Fort Bragg, Veterans and
Military Families will raise concerns about current
conditions in Iraq that their loved ones and other
troops are facing such as the lack of planning and
support troops are receiving, as well as questions
about the justifications used to send troops to Iraq
in the first place.

WHO: Military Families and Veterans (See list of
speakers below)

WHAT: Press Conference to launch the Bring Them Home
Now Campaign

WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Quaker House 223 Hillside Ave. Fayetteville NC
28301, 910-323-3912

Speakers Include:

Moderators: Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson,
co-founders, Military Families Speak Out, an
organization of families opposed to the U.S. invasion
and now occupation of Iraq who all have loved ones in
the military. Their son Joe is a Marine who was
deployed in August 2002 and who returned from Iraq on
Memorial Day 2003.

Susan Schuman, from Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, is
the mother of Justin C. Schuman, a sergeant in the
Massachusetts National Guard. Justin was deployed to
Iraq from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on March 29,
2003, and is stationed in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

Michael T. McPhearson, a native of Fayetteville, North
Carolina was a field artillery officer of the 24th
Mechanized Infantry Division during Desert
Shield/Desert Storm. His military career includes 6
years of reserve service and 5 years active duty
service. Now living in Bloomfield, NJ and a member of
Veterans For Peace, Michael works as an activist and
facilitator to help bring about social and economic
justice. He is the father of an eighteen-year-old son
who is planning to join the Army in September.

Fernando Suarez del Solar, of Escondido, Calif., is
the father of Marine Lance Cpl Jesus Suarez, one of
the first U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq (March 27,
2003). Suarez is seeking the truth behind why his son
and others were sent to their deaths in Iraq.

Stan Goff, of Raleigh, N.C., began a military carrier
in the U.S. Army in 1970 and retired as a Special
Forces Master Sergeant in 1996. He served in Ranger,
Airborne and Special Forces counter-terrorist units,
in eight conflict areas. He has become an astute
commentator on military matters and an outspoken
critic of the US occupation of Iraq. His son Jessie
serves in the U.S. Army and has just been deployed to

Other military family members and veterans will be
present and available for questions.


Posted by richard at 07:59 AM

Republicans are running it as a shell game to distract from their misdeeds -- don't play along

(8/13/03) The _resident had to have the 2000 election stolen for
him, by his brother and cronies in Fraudida and on the
Supreme Court. And what happened afterwards in
America? Well, two terms of Clinton-Gore had shaped a
powerful electoral college triangle: California, New
York and Florida, which when combined with the
Northwest, New England and even half of the
"battleground states" (e.g. Michigan, Illinois,
Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc.) beat out the "Southern
Strategy" concocted in the Nixon era and perfected in
the Bush cabal's "Expanded Confederacy strategy." So
what happened once the cabal seized the keys to the
kingdom? Well, what does a plastic surgeon do to
recontructive surgery? Break all the bones in the
face. Florida was morphed into Fraudida by James Baker,
Katherine Harris, brother Jeb and the Fraudida Five on
the Supreme Just Us, California was hit by a phoney
"energy crisis" that could have been thwarted by the
FERC and finally New York was brought to its knees by
the 9/11 terrorist attack which was precided by
numerous and disturbingly specific warnings from
allies. Another dimension to the _resident's grisly
declaration, "Lucky me, I hit the Trifecta!" Here is
an incredible piece on the ugly hidden agenda behind
what has happened to the fifth largest economy in the
world, and the most potent electoral college bulwark
against the advance of the "vast right-wing
conspiracy." Please read it and share it with others.
Robert Scheer is one of the bravest among the few
brave individuals remaining in the "US mainstream news
media." His column runs in the LA Times, one of better
major city newspapers in the US (by degrees(. The
other worthy of honorable mention is the Chicago
Tribune (by degrees). Yes, they have the same


Make the Recall Count
Republicans are running it as a shell game to distract from their misdeeds -- don't play along
Robert Scheer

August 12, 2003

"Take him, he's yours."

That was my initial response to the California recall,
aimed at a conservative Democratic governor who often
has betrayed the state's large progressive base of
voters — the same folks who held their noses to elect
and then reelect him.

But now I don't buy it. However you feel about Gray
Davis, the fact is, this recall has become a shell
game, led and paid for by Republicans, that
conveniently distracts from the alarming failures and
frauds of the White House. That includes the Bush
administration's blind eye to the energy sting that
robbed the California government of a good chunk of
its past budget surplus.

The giddy media spectacle of porn stars and action
heroes seeking to lead the world's sixth-largest
economy should not divert us from the fact that the
key black marks on Davis' resume — the energy crisis
and the budget shortfall — were both messes created by
deregulating, tax-cutting Republicans. In dealing with
both, Davis has not pulled any rabbits out of his hat,
but he has been a competent leader who minimized the
damage. The red ink in California is a mere needle
prick compared with the hemorrhaging of trillions in
future debt thanks to President Bush's tax cuts for
the rich, the invasion of Iraq and other disasters.

In fact, despite the hysteria, California's current
problems are no more serious than that of many states,
including New York and Texas, both run by Republican
governors. The underlying problem for all states is a
national economy brought to its knees by the epic fall
of a panoply of corrupt companies, firms like Enron
that used the Republican mantra of deregulation as a
convenient cover for looting consumers, stockholders
and employees. It is true that California has paid a
particularly heavy price for the machinations of Enron
and other energy companies.

How dare Arnold Schwarzenegger or any Republican now
ignore the well-documented gaming of the California
energy market by Bush's Texas cronies, many of whom
landed high posts in his administration? Was Davis
responsible for manufacturing spikes in energy prices
that nearly bankrupted the state? Of course not — but
he took the political hit when the lights went out.
It's a safe bet that Schwarzenegger and the other
Republicans running will offer not a word of criticism
of Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous meetings with
top energy executives that excluded consumer
representatives. The minutes of those meetings are
still secret, yet we know that the policy that emerged
benefited the con artists who caused California's
energy crisis in the first place.

Nor will the Republicans who bought this recall delve
into the role of the Bush-dominated Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission. That's the agency that failed
in its obligation to bring the energy pirates to heel
and force them to properly compensate California for
creating artificial shortages.

Davis failed in paying too much to get the lights back
on, but I dare any of the Republican candidates for
his job to step forward and tell us that they would
not have bailed out PG&E and Southern California
Edison. They will not because they have no real
solutions to the energy problems or any other problems
the state faces. Certainly they will not curtail the
heavy influences of the prison guards and other law
enforcement unions that are milking the state budget
and that form Davis' most reliable base of support.
Clearly Davis' fundraising is obscenely obsessive, but
it's minor compared with Bush's nonstop money machine.

Were the Republicans not hypocrites, they would
applaud Davis for implementing so much of their
pro-big-business and harsh law-and-order agenda. Like
other conservative Democrats, Davis wanted to appear
tough, but a party led by poll-watching chameleons
will always make for an easy target.

Ironically, Schwarzenegger is as "liberal" as Davis on
the hot-button issues of abortion, gun control and gay
rights. And can anyone suggest that Hollywood bon
vivant Schwarzenegger better typifies Christian values
than squeaky-clean Davis — a decorated officer in
Vietnam when his peers were demonstrating in the
streets, a guy who has never been known to indulge a
moment of decadent pleasure? Didn't the puritans of
the right squirm just a bit when their new candidate
told Jay Leno that the toughest decision in his life
prior to announcing his candidacy was whether or not
to have a bikini wax?

Suddenly the Republicans care not a whit about those
social values they have been prattling about, or
anything else but defeating a prominent Democrat. They
brook no opposition, even from a conservative
Democrat; their goal is a one-party system.

If you think politics is all a joke anyway, then vote
for whichever opportunist makes you laugh the most.
But if you think that meaningful representative
democracy requires the scrutiny of the serious primary
and election process that Davis has twice weathered,
then for a small "d" democrat, a "no" vote on the
recall is an obligation.

If you want other stories on this topic, search the
Archives at
Click here for article licensing and reprint options

Posted by richard at 07:53 AM

Accused scientist says letter links to anthrax mailers

(8/12/03) It is the saddest commentary of all, perhaps, that you must read about the latest developments in the Anthrax snail mail terrorist case in the Washington Times instead of the WASHPs or the NYTwits. Well, actually, there is something even sadder: what you read in the Washington Times might be more accurate or more germaine to the life of the story that what you would read in the WASHPs or the NYTwits...After two years, we really know very little about it except that the Anthrax snail mail terrorist tried to take out (or at least intimidate) the Democratic leadership at a time when it still had control of the Senate (it lost control in the mysterious election of 2002, in which Georgia and Minnesota ended up on the wrong side of the late minute pre-election polling). We know the anthrax snail mail terrorist had access to the product of US bio weapons lab. We know that many respected scientists, led by Barbara Rosenberg, are unimpressed with the Ashcroft Just Us Dept. investigation (cover-up?). We know little else...We surmise that the anthrax snail mailer terrorist wil surface again -- at the worst possible moment...

Accused scientist says letter links to anthrax mailers

By Guy Taylor

The FBI won't release an anonymous letter, which
in the days before the 2001 fatal anthrax mailings,
accused an Egyptian-born scientist of plotting
biowarfare against the United States, saying it would
divulge secret sources in the continuing
In a July 7 note citing the sources, the FBI
denied Ayaad Assaad, the letter's subject, access to
the evidence. Mr. Assaad said he's convinced it is
linked to a person or a group responsible for the
anthrax mailings that killed five persons.
"They know damn well that this letter is connected
to the anthrax sender," he said, adding that the FBI's
refusal to provide a copy suggests "they're trying to
protect whoever sent it." He said he suspects it led
investigators to the Army's biodefense lab at Fort
Asked about the anonymous letter Friday, a
spokeswoman at the FBI's Washington field office said
it is "unrelated to the anthrax mailings."
However, that assertion hasn't stopped the bureau
from withholding it for nearly two years from Mr.
Assaad. According to the July 7 note to him, in which
the Justice Department denied his latest request for a
copy of the letter, releasing it "could reasonably be
expected to disclose the identities of confidential
sources and information by such sources."
About two weeks before the anthrax mailings became
known, the FBI was given the unsigned letter
describing Mr. Assaad, who once worked at Fort
Detrick, as an anti-American religious fanatic with
the means and expertise to unleash a bioweapons
He has been seeking a copy of the letter ever
since agents with the FBI's Washington field office
questioned him about it on Oct. 3, 2001.
The Hartford Courant first reported the FBI's
continued refusal to release it last month. During an
interview with The Washington Times on Thursday, Mr.
Assaad said he's baffled by what he calls the FBI's
contradictory actions.
"They're trying to protect someone who hurt me,"
he said, explaining that from what he saw of the
letter it was laden with false and negative statements
about him. While it didn't specify his religion, he
said it called him a "religious fanatic."
Mr. Assaad, who holds graduate degrees from Iowa
State University and has lived in the United States
since the mid-1970s, claims he was discriminated
against when he worked at the Army's Medical Research
Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. He
now works as a toxicologist for the Environmental
Protection Agency.
He said when the FBI questioned him about the
anonymous letter, agents told him he could file a
Freedom of Information-Privacy Acts request to get a
copy of it. When the interview was completed, the
agents cleared him and said he was free to go.
However, he said when he made repeated calls to
the FBI asking if agents wanted to speak with him
again or if his past work with bioweapons could assist
in their investigation, he was turned away.
Meanwhile, he said, the FBI had given him a wrong
case number for filing the request to obtain a copy of
the letter.
FBI agents recently were seen near Fort Detrick
unsuccessfully squishing through the muck at the
bottom of a drained pond in search of evidence in the
anthrax mailings. They reportedly were hunting for
something tangible to connect the anthrax mailings to
scientist Steven Hatfill, whom authorities have called
a "person of interest" in the case.
No charges have been filed against Mr. Hatfill,
but investigators who searched his apartment twice
last year are said to have him under 24-hour
Mr. Hatfill denies involvement in the anthrax
mailings. He worked at Fort Detrick for two years,
until 1999, before taking a job with defense
contractor Science Applications International Corp.,
where he worked as a senior scientist until March
According to a report last month in The New York
Times, he was involved in building mock biological
weapons labs to train special operations personnel on
what to look for in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Posted by richard at 07:51 AM

Bush's scary message control

Brave editorial from the Roanoke Times...
"This White House has gone beyond mastering damage
control to making pre-emptive strikes that distort
unfavorable information or keep it hidden from public
THE PICTURE emerging of the Bush White House is
that of a radical administration so certain of its
ideological rightness that it will distort and
manipulate information as needed to soothe moderates
and silence critics.
And beware of telling truths that stymie
administration aims or contradict its spin. That
offense can endanger loved ones."
Saturday, August 09, 2003

Bush's scary message control
This White House has gone beyond mastering damage
control to making pre-emptive strikes that distort
unfavorable information or keep it hidden from public

THE PICTURE emerging of the Bush White House is
that of a radical administration so certain of its
ideological rightness that it will distort and
manipulate information as needed to soothe moderates
and silence critics.

And beware of telling truths that stymie
administration aims or contradict its spin. That
offense can endanger loved ones.

This latest and, to date, most chilling allegation
comes from retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV,
whose wife was exposed by conservative columnist
Robert Novak as a CIA operative. Novak says he got his
information from senior administration officials.

If so, someone high in the administration broke
the law. Wilson is sure the disclosure is meant to
warn off anyone who can reveal information on the
administration's possible misuse of intelligence
during the run-up to the Iraq war.

Wilson was in a position to do so because, at the
behest of the CIA, he had traveled to Niger in
February 2002 to check the reliability of a document
that contended Iraq was trying to buy nuclear weapons

Wilson found no basis for the report - bad enough,
from the perspective of a White House building its
case for war. But Wilson ran truly afoul of the
administration only last month, when he wrote an op-ed
article in The New York Times that revealed both his
role and the duplicity of senior administration
officials in contending that only low-level
intelligence officials knew of his findings.

The White House was forced at last to admit that
it knowingly included in President Bush's State of the
Union address in January a justification for war that,
in Wilson's words, was "so transparently

Outing an undercover operative would escalate
hardball politics to political suppression. And
Wilson's frightening portrayal of an administration in
which "spin" is spinning wildly out of control is all
too credible.

Bush shows time and again his willingness to
censor, distort or simply ignore scientific evidence
contrary to his policy objectives - including data on
global warming, on Arctic oil drilling and wildlife,
on stem-cell research, on tax cuts and budget
deficits, on abortion, on condoms and "abstinence
only" sex education.

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman's 40-page report
detailing administration manipulations might be
dismissed as partisan politics - except that, in
recent months, the editors of a list of prestigious
scientific journals have sounded the same alarm.

Every modern president's penchant for controlling
the message has metastasized during this presidency
into controlling the free flow of information that is
the lifeblood of a self-governing society. Bush and
his advisers are heading beyond partisanship onto
dangerous new ground.

Posted by richard at 07:29 AM

August 12, 2003

CIA disclosure is dangerous

According to the Associated Press, "the U.S. bill for
rebuilding Iraq and maintaining security there is
widely expected to far exceed the war's price tag, and
some private analysts estimate it could reach as high
as $600-billion (U.S.)" For what? Meanwhile,
SeeNotNews reports "Sen. Joe Lieberman attacked the
left wing of his party Sunday, saying Democrats "don't
deserve to run the country" if they move left and
embrace "the failed solutions of the past." I expected
yesterday's attack on "left-wing Democrats" from Sen.
Joe Lieberman ("D"-Sanctimonicutt)His politics are an
abomination. But I did not expect the disgraceful
WASHP editorial which President-Elect Al Gore's speech
last week provoked. The WASHP Editorial Board wrote of
the Democratic candidates: "Some of the candidates are
more off course than others. If they listen to former
vice president Al Gore, who took it upon himself last
week to suggest a theme of attack for the nine
candidates, they will all go off the cliff." Do the
people who wrote this "editorial" live on the same
planet as you and I and Nelson Mandela? Does night
follow day for them? Does blood flow in their veins?
Have they ever actually read the US Constitution or
the UN Charter? Lately, some WASHPs news stories on
Iraq and 9/11 have had edge and depth. Indeed, the LNS
recently forwarded you a remarkable piece on the
cooking of intel on Iraq. It is a sad and painful time
in America. I do not know if the American people will
rise up in November '04 and vote to purge itself of
the Bush cabal and its heinious offenses against human
decency and common sense, I do not know if the deep
fix in the corporate news media will deteriorate, I do
not know if the conscience of individuals within the
corporate news media's elite will force them to break
the spell, connect the dots and start to tell the
truth about the illegitimate incompetent and corrupt
regime, I do not know if the eventual Democratic
nominee will follow the lead of Gore, Sen. Robert Byrd
(D-WV), Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fraudida) and former Gov.
Howard Dean (D-Jeffords) and "pick a fight" with the
little bully in the White House, but if we want to
rescue the future then the eventual Democratic
presidential nominee must bite into the twisted,
malignant "advice" of the WASHPs Editorial Board and
their favorite momma's boy from Sanctimonitcutt, taste
its acridness and its foulness, spit it from his
mouth, damn the consequences, cast his fortune, his
life and honor into the fire, if he does the
electorate will respond to him, whether the corporate
news media elite snaps out of its denial or not, and
the future can be snatched from the Orwellian oblivion
into which we are hurtling...Bravo. The Seattle
Post-Intelligencer has demonstrated courage and
clarity of mind...

Sunday, August 10, 2003

CIA disclosure is dangerous

cancer somewhere in the Bush administration. Two
officials revealed national security information to
embarrass or scare critics of the administration's
mishandling of Iraqi intelligence.

Columnist Robert Novak wrote recently that the wife of
former Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- the man who blew
the whistle on the Niger uranium fraud -- is a Central
Intelligence Agency operative, specializing in weapons
of mass destruction. Novak attributed his information
to two senior administration officials. Time magazine
has said officials provided similar information.

It's illegal for government officials to reveal the
identities of CIA operatives who have worked overseas
within the preceding five years.

In carefully discussing what he called the
hypothetical possibility his wife is a CIA employee,
Wilson noted that the use of her maiden name would
compromise work done before their marriage five years

Properly, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has asked the
FBI to look into the disclosures. But Congress must
vigorously examine whether there is an organized
effort to suppress information about the
administration's handling of pre-war intelligence on

In a discussion broadcast on C-Span last week, Wilson
said he believed Novak's sources wanted CIA analysts
to fear that their families could be affected if they
tell Congress that Vice President Dick Cheney or his
aides had pressured them to slant intelligence.

It's easy to understand the emotional nature of the
pressure -- just look at the suicide of a British
intelligence agent who was a news media source and was
pressured by the Blair government.

Wilson said the suicide and the administration leaks
force CIA employees to think, "Do I really want to run
the risk of going up and talking to (Sens.) Pat
Roberts and Jay Rockefeller?"

Roberts, a Kansas Republican, is chairman of the
Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and Rockefeller,
a West Virginia Democrat, is vice chairman. Their
committee is looking into the intelligence on Iraqi

The White House has said it doesn't condone leaking an
agent's identity. But the administration must try to
identify, fire and, possibly, prosecute those

Abuse of national security for political aims is
wrong. Until Congress and the public know that there
has been an unfettered inquiry into the handling of
intelligence, the administration will face growing

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Posted by richard at 07:58 PM

August 11, 2003

Bring us home: GIs flood US with war-weary emails

Another US soldier died in Iraq overnight. For what? We are spending billions of dollars a month in Iraq. For what? You should not have to read this story in the U.K. Guardian, but then again, it is America's best newspaper... "Susan Schuman is angry. Her GI son is serving in the Iraqi town of Samarra, at the heart of the 'Sunni triangle', where American troops are killed with grim regularity. Breaking the traditional silence of military families during time of war, Schuman knows what she wants - and who she blames for the danger to her son, Justin. 'I want them to bring our troops home. I am appalled at Bush's policies. He has got us into a terrible mess, ' she said. ",6903,1015684,00.html

'Bring us home': GIs flood US with war-weary emails

An unprecedented internet campaign waged on the
frontline and in the US is exposing the real risks for
troops in Iraq. Paul Harris and Jonathan Franklin
report on rising fears that the conflict is now a
desert Vietnam

Sunday August 10, 2003
The Observer

Susan Schuman is angry. Her GI son is serving in the
Iraqi town of Samarra, at the heart of the 'Sunni
triangle', where American troops are killed with grim
regularity. Breaking the traditional silence of
military families during time of war, Schuman knows
what she wants - and who she blames for the danger to
her son, Justin. 'I want them to bring our troops
home. I am appalled at Bush's policies. He has got us
into a terrible mess,' she said.

Schuman may just be the tip of an iceberg. She lives
in Shelburne Falls, a small town in Massachusetts, and
says all her neighbours support her view. 'I don't
know anyone around here who disagrees with me,' she

Schuman's views are part of a growing unease back home
at the rising casualty rate in Iraq, a concern coupled
with deep anger at President George W. Bush's plans to
cut army benefits for many soldiers. Criticism is also
coming directly from soldiers risking their lives
under the guns of Saddam Hussein's fighters, and they
are using a weapon not available to troops in previous
wars: the internet.

Through emails and chatrooms a picture is emerging of
day-to-day gripes, coupled with ferocious criticism of
the way the war has been handled. They paint a vivid
picture of US army life that is a world away from the
sanitised official version.

In a message posted on a website last week, one
soldier was brutally frank. 'Somewhere down the line,
we became an occupation force in [Iraqi] eyes. We
don't feel like heroes any more,' said Private Isaac
Kindblade of the 671st Engineer Company.

Kindblade said morale was poor, and he attacked the
leadership back home. 'The rules of engagement are
crippling. We are outnumbered. We are exhausted. We
are in over our heads. The President says, "Bring 'em
on." The generals say we don't need more troops. Well,
they're not over here,' he wrote.

One of the main outlets for the soldiers' complaints
has been a website run by outspoken former soldier
David Hackworth, who was the army's youngest colonel
in the Vietnam war and one of its most decorated
warriors. He receives almost 500 emails a day, many of
them from soldiers serving in Iraq. They have sounded
off about everything from bad treatment at the hands
of their officers to fears that their equipment is

The army-issue gas mask 'leaks under the chin. This
same mask was used during Desert Storm, which accounts
for part of the health problems of the vets who fought
there. My unit has again deployed to the Gulf with
this loser,' ranted one army doctor.

Some veterans have begun to form organisations to
campaign to bring the soldiers home and highlight
their difficult conditions. Erik Gustafson, a veteran
of the 1991 Gulf war, has founded Veterans For Common
Sense. 'There is an anger boiling under the surface
now, and I, as a veteran, have a duty to speak because
I am no longer subject to military discipline,' he

A recent email from Iraq passed to Gustafson, signed
by 'the Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd
Infantry Division', said simply: 'Our men and women
deserve to see their loved ones again and deserve to
come home. Thank you for your attention.'

Another source of anger is government plans to reverse
recent increases in 'imminent danger' pay and a family
separation allowance. These moves have provoked
several furious editorials in the Army Times, the
normally conservative military newspaper. The paper
said the planned cuts made 'the Bush administration
seem mean-spirited and hypocritical'.

Tobias Naegele, its editor-in-chief, said his senior
staff agonised over the decision to attack the
government, but the response to the editorials from
ordinary soldiers was overwhelmingly positive.

A further critical editorial is planned for this week.
'We don't think lightly of criticising our
Commander-in-Chief,' Naegele said 'The army has had a
rough couple of years with this administration.'

Mainstream veterans' groups too are angry about cuts
being proposed at a time when politicians have heaped
praise on the army's performance in Afghanistan and
Iraq and want to launch a recruitment drive.

Veterans plan protests to highlight the issue. 'We are
going to show them that veterans are people who know
how to vote,' said Steven Robinson, a veteran and
executive director of the National Gulf War Resource
Centre, one of the websites where veterans' issues are

Susan Schuman too is planning a protest. This week she
plans to join members of a new group, Military
Families Speak Out, who will travel to Washington to
make their case for their sons, daughters, husbands
and wives, to be brought home from Iraq.

With soldiers dying there almost daily, comparisons
have already been drawn with the Vietnam war and the
birth of the protest movements there that divided
America in the Sixties and Seventies.

Political scientists, however, think the war will have
to get much worse before anything similar happens over
Iraq. 'To put it crudely, I think the country can
accept this current level of casualties,' said
Professor Richard Stoll, of Rice University in
Houston, Texas.

That is little comfort to Schuman, who says she just
wants to see her son, Justin, return alive from a war
she believes is unjust. 'It is a quagmire and it is
not going to be easy to get out,' she said. 'That's
where the parallel with Vietnam is.'

Posted by richard at 12:12 PM

Voting machine review ordered

As already noted, we are in the midst of a *civil*
war, and this as yet *civil* war has several fronts,
including the battle to thwart the "recall" Terminator
attack on the duly elected Governor of California, the
heroic struggle against "re-districting" by Democrats
in the Texas state legislation, the fight to overturn
the Bush-infected FCC's pro-monopoly ruling on media
ownership and of course the life and death contest to
preserve the sanctity of the voting process
itself...Read this article from the Baltimore Sun, but
even more importantly go to or
search here on the LNS database...Learn about who
actually controls Diebold...Remember, 2+2=4
"In the wake of a study revealing security flaws in the costly touch-screen voting machines Maryland has agreed to buy, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ordered an outside review yesterday of the electronic system scheduled to be in place for next spring's presidential primary election. ",0,1419965.story

Voting machine review ordered

Hopkins study of flaws in security prods action;
Purchase no longer 'a certainty'; California firm to analyze touch-screen system

By David Nitkin
Sun Staff

August 7, 2003

In the wake of a study revealing security flaws in the
costly touch-screen voting machines Maryland has
agreed to buy, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ordered an
outside review yesterday of the electronic system
scheduled to be in place for next spring's
presidential primary election.

Science Application International Corp. of San Diego
will complete the evaluation in four weeks, delivering
findings that will determine whether Maryland moves
forward with the $55.6 million purchase of new
machines for 19 counties, asks for alterations to
improve accuracy or scuttles the plan altogether.

"The governor's first and foremost concern is public
confidence in the system," said Henry Fawell, an
Ehrlich spokesman. "If ensuring public confidence
means conducting an independent review, then he
believes that is the appropriate step to take."

With the analysis pending, the state's purchase of the
new machines "is not a certainty," Fawell said.

Ehrlich's order occurs less than two weeks after Johns
Hopkins University researchers concluded that the
AccuVote-TS machines built by Diebold Election Systems
of McKinney, Texas, were vulnerable to hackers,
multiple votes and vote-switching.

Maryland recently agreed to buy more than 11,000 of
the machines, placing the state on the leading edge of
a movement to upgrade voting technology after the
error-ridden 2000 presidential election in Florida.

The researchers based their results on a review of the
computer code that runs the system. Diebold has
countered that the study used an outdated version of
the code and did not account for real-world safeguards
that protect against abuse.

Diebold officials said yesterday that the company will
cooperate with the evaluation, which they said was the
first of its kind among the several states using the
touch-screen terminals and software.

In Maryland, four counties - Allegany, Dorchester,
Montgomery and Prince George's - used the machines for
last year's election, largely without incident.

"We are confident that no problems will arise from the
review," said Diebold spokesman Michael A. Jacobsen.
"Should the third-party review require action on our
part, we are going to work closely with the customer,
in this case Maryland, to make sure their needs are

While praising the quality and reputation of the
California company that will perform the evaluation,
Aviel Rubin, technical director of Hopkins'
Information Security Institute, said he was troubled
that neither Diebold nor Maryland officials have
contacted him or his colleagues to talk about their

"I am really surprised that they are not having SAIC
talk to us. I'm very disappointed in that," Rubin
said. "No one from the state of Maryland has talked to

Fawell said the California company would review the
Hopkins report, but said the researchers would not be
contacted directly to keep the evaluation as
independent as possible.

He also said that Diebold has agreed to allow SAIC to
review the proprietary code for the voting system, a
condition that Rubin called important to a thorough

The Hopkins study has stoked an intense national
debate over whether electronic voting machines are
secure and accurate enough to justify expensive
federal and state efforts to replace older technology.

Some say Ehrlich should use the latest findings to
pull the plug on the state's impending investment.

"The state was a guinea pig in this whole process,"
said former Del. Cheryl C. Kagan, a Montgomery County
Democrat who has criticized the Glendening
administration's selection of Diebold to provide the

"The [19 counties] should keep what they've got,
rather than going headlong into a new process that has
yet to be successfully tested.

"Especially in bad fiscal times, $55 million in new
technology that might be flawed is irresponsible, if
not obscene," Kagan said.

In Baltimore County, where chief technology officer
Thomas G. Iler was part of a state panel that raised
questions about the new system, officials have asked
for the new system to be delayed. The state has denied
the request.

"The [governor's] decision underscores our stated
concerns about the newness of the technology, and the
caution that needs to be taken when applying a new
technology to a critical function of government," Iler
said yesterday.

"The governor is making a good step."

Administration and state elections board officials
have shown little willingness to delay buying the
machines, saying Maryland is required under state and
federal law to upgrade its voting technologies.

State board of elections administrator Linda Lamone
has said the Diebold machines performed well enough in
the four counties last year to justify their
widespread introduction.

"We at the state board have confidence in the Diebold
system," said board chairman Gilles Burger in a
statement yesterday.

"We hold the utmost value in voter integrity and
security and take credible claims of vulnerability

Maryland has an existing two-year $2.6 million
contract with SAIC to analyze software the state is
buying and security associated with it.

The review ordered by Ehrlich will not cost the state
additional money, Fawell said.

Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun

Posted by richard at 08:09 AM

Business as Usual for Chemical Plants

Here is the latest brave screed from Gary Hart...The
work that used to be done by aggressive reporting for
the front page is now being done by statesman citizens
for the Op-Ed pages...Yes, the names of Gary Hart and
Warren Rudman, of course, belong on the John O'Neil
Wall of Heroes..."As hard as it is to believe, the chemical industry has refused to take adequate precautions to safeguard its facilities and surrounding communities...The Bush administration's homeland security efforts since the Sept. 11 attacks have ignored this highly vulnerable sector. The White House was silent last summer while industry lobbyists scuttled federal legislation that would have required chemical companies to address their vulnerability to attack."
Business as Usual for Chemical Plants

By Gary Hart

Monday, August 11, 2003; Page A17

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush
administration, working with Congress, moved quickly
to shore up homeland security in some of our most
critical areas. Airports are now safer, and some
municipal water supplies are better protected. But the
government has failed to plug a gaping hole in
homeland security: our vulnerable chemical plants.

The 15,000 facilities around the country that produce,
use or store significant quantities of toxic chemicals
present attractive targets for terrorists. According
to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 100
of these plants, especially those near urban areas,
could endanger a million or more Americans if
attacked. In 2001 the Army's surgeon general
reportedly ranked this health risk second only to a
widespread biological attack. Earlier this year the
National Infrastructure Protection Center warned that
al Qaeda might target chemical facilities in the
United States as part of its terror campaign. And
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has said that
the administration is concerned that terrorists could
turn a chemical facility "into a weapon."

These assessments are alarming but not surprising.
Three years ago former senator Warren Rudman and I
co-chaired a commission assessing America's national
security. Our bipartisan investigation found, among
other things, that the "critical infrastructure upon
which so much of the U.S. economy depends can now be
targeted by non-state and state actors alike."
Chemical facilities are among the potentially most
dangerous components of our critical infrastructure.
Securing them requires urgent action.

As hard as it is to believe, the chemical industry has
refused to take adequate precautions to safeguard its
facilities and surrounding communities. Some plants
have strengthened on-site security by adding guards,
building fences or installing surveillance cameras.
Others have committed to reducing or phasing out their
use of highly hazardous processes or chemicals in
favor of safer ones. Unfortunately, however, it is
still business as usual at most plants. They continue
to deal with high volumes of dangerous chemicals --
even when safer materials or processes are readily
available. That is why the government must require
industry cooperation in homeland security.
The Bush administration's homeland security efforts
since the Sept. 11 attacks have ignored this highly
vulnerable sector. The White House was silent last
summer while industry lobbyists scuttled federal
legislation that would have required chemical
companies to address their vulnerability to attack.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), died
in Congress without a vote, even though a bipartisan
Senate committee had passed it unanimously. Meanwhile,
in March of this year, the General Accounting Office
issued a report urging passage of legislation to
require the industry to assess its vulnerability to
terrorism and, where necessary, require corrective

The Bush administration and its congressional allies
nevertheless ignore Corzine's security solution. Even
worse, the White House and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.)
are pushing a separate and far weaker bill, one that
would leave millions of Americans vulnerable to
chemical terrorism.

Incredibly, the Inhofe bill provides for virtually no
oversight or enforcement of safety requirements.
Unlike Corzine's proposal, it would not allow the
government to demand emergency action by companies
that it has reason to believe are terrorist targets,
nor would it insist on government review of facility
security plans. (The latter failure is akin to the
Internal Revenue Service's telling companies to fill
out their tax forms but not to bother to file them.)
The Inhofe bill prohibits the federal agency with the
most expertise on chemicals, the EPA, from putting its
skills to good use. And unlike the Corzine bill, the
Inhofe bill would not require companies to replace
dangerous chemicals -- which might pose tempting
terrorist targets -- even when safer technologies are
available and affordable. The chemical manufacturers
say that they will consider making their processes
safer. But we did not just ask airlines to simply
consider improving security -- we made them do it.

If Inhofe's bill were to become law, only the chemical
industry would breathe easier. But the Bush
administration has an obligation to all Americans to
do more than simply permit industry to write its own
rules. We need legislation that keeps us safer by
requiring chemical companies to reduce their risks and
that ensures accountability through government

The writer is a former Democratic senator from

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Posted by richard at 08:06 AM

Americans Pay Price for Speaking Out

Register to vote, share the LNS with others,
contribute to those organizations that resist the Bush
cabal and as Mark Crispin Miller says, "Pick a fight!"
Who else will protect the US GIs speaking out from the
quagmire in Iraq? The "US mainstream news media"? Not
bloodly likely if their kid glove treatment (to date)
of the Terminator is any indication. I saw his face on
the cover of USA TooLate the other day, I saw a
political profile of him in the WASHPs the other day.
But to get to the truth about the Terminator (at least
in this last week) you had to go to America's best
newspaper, the U.K. Guardian, which reported that his
father was a Nazi (literally) and that he "loves" Kurt
Waldheim disgraced and exposed as being involved in
Nazi war crimes. It also quoted some of his numerous
sexist remarks degrading women, in particular from a
Playboy interview. I wonder if anyone in the "US
mainstream news media" will ask the Terminator about
steriod drug use? Will they push him for his medical
records? (I am not insinuating anything, it just seems
to me like a worthy question from an aggressive press
to any body builder running for high office.)
Meanwhile, distinguished military officers are being
slimed for opposing the _resident's foolish and
unnecessary military adventure in Iraq...and, of course, here is the story from the Toronto Star via one of the leading sites in the Information Rebellion:

GW Bush's America: Americans Pay Price for Speaking Out
Dissenters Face Job Loss, Arrest, Threats But
Activists not Stopped by Backlash

by Kathleen Kenna

He's a Vietnam War hero from a proud lineage of
warriors who served the United States, so he never
expected to be called a traitor. After 39 years in the
Marines, including commands in Somalia and Iraq, Gen.
Anthony Zinni never imagined he would be tagged

The epithets are not from the uniforms but the suits —
"senior officers at the Pentagon," the now-retired
general says from his home in Williamsburg, Va.

"They want to question my patriotism?" he demands

To question the Iraq war in the U.S. — and individuals
from Main St. merchants to Hollywood stars do — is to
be branded un-American.

Dissent, once an ideal cherished in the U.S.
Constitution's First Amendment, now invites media
attacks, hate Web sites, threats and job loss.

After Zinni challenged the administration's rationale
for the Iraq war last fall, he lost his job as
President George W. Bush's Middle East peace envoy
after 18 months.

"I've been told I will never be used by the White
House again."

Across the United States, hundreds of Americans have
been arrested for protesting the war. The American
Civil Liberties Union has documented more than 300
allegations of wrongful arrest and police brutality
from demonstrators at anti-war rallies in Washington
and New York.

Even the silent, peaceful vigils of Women in Black —
held regularly in almost every state — have prompted
threats of arrest by American police.

Actors and spouses Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon have
publicly denounced the backlash against them for their
anti-war activism.

Robbins said they were called "traitors" and
"supporters of Saddam" and their public appearances at
a United Way luncheon in Florida and the Baseball Hall
of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., this spring were
cancelled in reaction to their anti-war stance.

Actor/comedian Janeane Garofalo was stalked and
received death threats for opposing the war in
high-profile media appearances.

MSNBC hosts asked viewers to urge MCI to fire actor
and anti-war activist Danny Glover as a spokesperson —
the long-distance telephone giant refused to fire him
despite the ensuing hate-mail campaign — and one host,
former politician Joe Scarborough, urged that anti-war
protesters be arrested and charged with sedition.

"There's no official blacklisting," says Kate McArdle,
executive director of Artists United, a new group of
120 actors devoted to progressive causes.

"This is Hollywood, so there are always rumours
starting up. Mostly it was producers saying, `We know
your position — do you have to be so vocal?'"

Internet chat rooms have spouted "tons and tons of
vitriol aimed at us," says McArdle, a former network
TV executive.

"Things like, `Tell me where Tim Robbins lives and
I'll go bash out his brains,'" she says.

"Or, `If you don't like America, why don't you move to
Iraq? Why don't you move to Canada?'

"The real backlash comes from the right wing, from
America's talk radio guys — when their ratings are
down — not from the industry," McArdle says. "We get
the `You're either with us or agin' us.'"

Comes with the territory, she adds.

"We're a nation of dissenters."

The Dixie Chicks country pop group won worldwide
attention for their anti-Bush comments, which were met
with widespread radio station bans against playing
their music. Their fans have responded by circulating
petitions on the Internet objecting to the "chill"
that has tried to silence free speech in the U.S.

And opposition to the war has spawned many new songs —
some remixes of old Vietnam protest songs — and Web
sites devoted to anti-war lyrics.

Dozens of fans walked out of a Pearl Jam concert in
Denver, Colo., last spring when lead singer Eddie
Vedder hoisted a Bush mask on a microphone stand and
sang, "He's not a leader, he's a Texas leaguer."

But musician Carlos Santana was cheered in Australia —
a key U.S. ally in the Iraq war and recent proponent
of the "Bush doctrine" of intervention in smaller
states' affairs — when he spoke against the war and
American foreign policy.
Copyright 1996-2003. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited


Posted by richard at 08:03 AM

Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence

(8/10/03) "Many in the US intelligence community, both active and retired, both on the record and off-the-record, have struggled heroically to get the facts about Iraq and 9/11 to the American people...Here is another extraordinary glimpse via the WASHPS (who seem to be slowly warming to the dangerous task at hand)..."The new information indicates a pattern in which President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their subordinates -- in public and behind the scenes -- made allegations depicting Iraq's nuclear weapons program as more active, more certain and more imminent in its threat than the data they had would support. On occasion administration advocates withheld evidence that did not conform to their views. The White House seldom corrected misstatements or acknowledged loss of confidence in information upon which it had previously relied..."
Depiction of Threat Outgrew Supporting Evidence

By Barton Gellman and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, August 10, 2003; Page A01

His name was Joe, from the U.S. government. He carried
40 classified slides and a message from the Bush

An engineer-turned-CIA analyst, Joe had helped build
the U.S. government case that Iraq posed a nuclear
threat. He landed in Vienna on Jan. 22 and drove to
the U.S. diplomatic mission downtown. In a conference
room 32 floors above the Danube River, he told United
Nations nuclear inspectors they were making a serious

At issue was Iraq's efforts to buy high-strength
aluminum tubes. The U.S. government said those tubes
were for centrifuges to enrich uranium for a nuclear
bomb. But the IAEA, the world's nuclear watchdog, had
uncovered strong evidence that Iraq was using them for
conventional rockets.

Joe described the rocket story as a transparent Iraqi
lie. According to people familiar with his
presentation, which circulated before and afterward
among government and outside specialists, Joe said the
specialized aluminum in the tubes was "overspecified,"
"inappropriate" and "excessively strong." No one, he
told the inspectors, would waste the costly alloy on a

In fact, there was just such a rocket. According to
knowledgeable U.S. and overseas sources, experts from
U.S. national laboratories reported in December to the
Energy Department and U.S. intelligence analysts that
Iraq was manufacturing copies of the Italian-made
Medusa 81. Not only the Medusa's alloy, but also its
dimensions, to the fraction of a millimeter, matched
the disputed aluminum tubes.

A CIA spokesman asked that Joe's last name be withheld
for his safety, and said he would not be made
available for an interview. The spokesman said the
tubes in question "are not the same as the Medusa 81"
but would not identify what distinguishes them. In an
interview, CIA Director George J. Tenet said several
different U.S. intelligence agencies believed the
tubes could be used to build gas centrifuges for a
uranium enrichment program.

The Vienna briefing was one among many private and
public forums in which the Bush administration
portrayed a menacing Iraqi nuclear threat, even as
important features of its evidence were being
undermined. There were other White House assertions
about forbidden weapons programs, including biological
and chemical arms, for which there was consensus among
analysts. But the danger of a nuclear-armed Saddam
Hussein, more potent as an argument for war, began
with weaker evidence and grew weaker still in the
three months before war.

This article is based on interviews with analysts and
policymakers inside and outside the U.S. government,
and access to internal documents and technical
evidence not previously made public.

The new information indicates a pattern in which
President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their
subordinates -- in public and behind the scenes --
made allegations depicting Iraq's nuclear weapons
program as more active, more certain and more imminent
in its threat than the data they had would support. On
occasion administration advocates withheld evidence
that did not conform to their views. The White House
seldom corrected misstatements or acknowledged loss of
confidence in information upon which it had previously

• Bush and others often alleged that President Hussein
held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists,
but did not disclose that the known work of the
scientists was largely benign. Iraq's three top gas
centrifuge experts, for example, ran a copper factory,
an operation to extract graphite from oil and a
mechanical engineering design center at Rashidiya.

• The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of October
2002 cited new construction at facilities once
associated with Iraq's nuclear program, but analysts
had no reliable information at the time about what was
happening under the roofs. By February, a month before
the war, U.S. government specialists on the ground in
Iraq had seen for themselves that there were no
forbidden activities at the sites.

• Gas centrifuge experts consulted by the U.S.
government said repeatedly for more than a year that
the aluminum tubes were not suitable or intended for
uranium enrichment. By December 2002, the experts said
new evidence had further undermined the government's
assertion. The Bush administration portrayed the
scientists as a minority and emphasized that the
experts did not describe the centrifuge theory as

• In the weeks and months following Joe's Vienna
briefing, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and
others continued to describe the use of such tubes for
rockets as an implausible hypothesis, even after U.S.
analysts collected and photographed in Iraq a
virtually identical tube marked with the logo of the
Medusa's Italian manufacturer and the words, in
English, "81mm rocket."

• The escalation of nuclear rhetoric a year ago,
including the introduction of the term "mushroom
cloud" into the debate, coincided with the formation
of a White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, a task force
assigned to "educate the public" about the threat from
Hussein, as a participant put it.

Two senior policymakers, who supported the war, said
in unauthorized interviews that the administration
greatly overstated Iraq's near-term nuclear potential.

"I never cared about the 'imminent threat,' " said one
of the policymakers, with directly relevant
responsibilities. "The threat was there in [Hussein's]
presence in office. To me, just knowing what it takes
to have a nuclear weapons program, he needed a lot of
equipment. You can stare at the yellowcake [uranium
ore] all you want. You need to convert it to gas and
enrich it. That does not constitute an imminent
threat, and the people who were saying that, I think,
did not fully appreciate the difficulties and effort
involved in producing the nuclear material and the
physics package."

No White House, Pentagon or State Department
policymaker agreed to speak on the record for this
report about the administration's nuclear case.
Answering questions Thursday before the National
Association of Black Journalists, national security
adviser Condoleezza Rice said she is "certain to this
day that this regime was a threat, that it was
pursuing a nuclear weapon, that it had biological and
chemical weapons, that it had used them." White House
officials referred all questions of detail to Tenet.

In an interview and a four-page written statement,
Tenet defended the NIE prepared under his supervision
in October. In that estimate, U.S. intelligence
analysts judged that Hussein was intent on acquiring a
nuclear weapon and was trying to rebuild the
capability to make one.

"We stand behind the judgments of the NIE" based on
the evidence available at the time, Tenet said, and
"the soundness and integrity of our process." The
estimate was "the product of years of reporting and
intelligence collection, analyzed by numerous experts
in several different agencies."

Tenet said the time to "decide who was right and who
was wrong" about prewar intelligence will not come
until the Iraqi Survey Group, the CIA-directed, U.S.
military postwar study in Iraq of Hussein's weapons of
mass destruction programs is completed. The Bush
administration has said this will require months or

Facts and Doubts

The possibility of a nuclear-armed Iraq loomed large
in the Bush administration's efforts to convince the
American public of the need for a preemptive strike.
Beginning last August, Cheney portrayed Hussein's
nuclear ambitions as a "mortal threat" to the United
States. In the fall and winter, Rice, then Bush,
marshaled the dreaded image of a "mushroom cloud."

By many accounts, including those of career officials
who did not support the war, there were good reasons
for concern that the Iraqi president might revive a
program to enrich uranium to weapons grade and
fabricate a working bomb. He had a well-demonstrated
aspiration for nuclear weapons, a proficient
scientific and engineering cadre, a history of covert
development and a domestic supply of unrefined uranium
ore. Iraq was generally believed to have kept the
technical documentation for two advanced German
centrifuge designs and the assembly diagrams for at
least one type of "implosion device," which detonates
a nuclear core.

What Hussein did not have was the principal
requirement for a nuclear weapon, a sufficient
quantity of highly enriched uranium or plutonium. And
the U.S. government, authoritative intelligence
officials said, had only circumstantial evidence that
Iraq was trying to obtain those materials.

But the Bush administration had reasons to imagine the
worst. The CIA had faced searing criticism for its
failures to foresee India's resumption of nuclear
testing in 1998 and to "connect the dots" pointing to
al Qaeda's attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Cheney, the
administration's most influential advocate of a
worst-case analysis, had been powerfully influenced by
his experience as defense secretary just after the
Persian Gulf War of 1991.

Former National Security Council official Richard A.
Clarke recalled how information from freshly seized
Iraqi documents disclosed the existence of a "crash
program" to build a bomb in 1991. The CIA had known
nothing of it.

"I can understand why that was a seminal experience
for Cheney," Clarke said. "And when the CIA says [in
2002], 'We don't have any evidence,' his reaction is .
. . 'We didn't have any evidence in 1991, either. Why
should I believe you now?' "

Some strategists, in and out of government, argued
that the uncertainty itself -- in the face of
circumstantial evidence -- was sufficient to justify
"regime change." But that was not what the Bush
administration usually said to the American people.

To gird a nation for the extraordinary step of
preemptive war -- and to obtain the minimum necessary
support from allies, Congress and the U.N. Security
Council -- the administration described a growing,
even imminent, nuclear threat from Iraq.

'Nuclear Blackmail'

The unveiling of that message began a year ago this

Cheney raised the alarm about Iraq's nuclear menace
three times in August. He was far ahead of the
president's public line. Only Bush and Cheney know,
one senior policy official said, "whether Cheney was
trying to push the president or they had decided to
play good cop, bad cop."

On Aug. 7, Cheney volunteered in a question-and-answer
session at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco,
speaking of Hussein, that "left to his own devices,
it's the judgment of many of us that in the
not-too-distant future, he will acquire nuclear
weapons." On Aug. 26, he described Hussein as a "sworn
enemy of our country" who constituted a "mortal
threat" to the United States. He foresaw a time in
which Hussein could "subject the United States or any
other nation to nuclear blackmail."

"We now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to
acquire nuclear weapons," he said. "Among other
sources, we've gotten this from firsthand testimony
from defectors, including Saddam's own son-in-law."

That was a reference to Hussein Kamel, who had managed
Iraq's special weapons programs before defecting in
1995 to Jordan. But Saddam Hussein lured Kamel back to
Iraq, and he was killed in February 1996, so Kamel
could not have sourced what U.S. officials "now know."

And Kamel's testimony, after defecting, was the
reverse of Cheney's description. In one of many
debriefings by U.S., Jordanian and U.N. officials,
Kamel said on Aug. 22, 1995, that Iraq's uranium
enrichment programs had not resumed after halting at
the start of the Gulf War in 1991. According to notes
typed for the record by U.N. arms inspector Nikita
Smidovich, Kamel acknowledged efforts to design three
different warheads, "but not now, before the Gulf

'Educating the Public'

Systematic coordination began in August, when Chief of
Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. formed the White House Iraq
Group, or WHIG, to set strategy for each stage of the
confrontation with Baghdad. A senior official who
participated in its work called it "an internal
working group, like many formed for priority issues,
to make sure each part of the White House was
fulfilling its responsibilities."

In an interview with the New York Times published
Sept. 6, Card did not mention the WHIG but hinted at
its mission. "From a marketing point of view, you
don't introduce new products in August," he said.

The group met weekly in the Situation Room. Among the
regular participants were Karl Rove, the president's
senior political adviser; communications strategists
Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson;
legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; and policy
advisers led by Rice and her deputy, Stephen J.
Hadley, along with I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of

The first days of September would bring some of the
most important decisions of the prewar period: what to
demand of the United Nations in the president's Sept.
12 address to the General Assembly, when to take the
issue to Congress, and how to frame the conflict with
Iraq in the midterm election campaign that began in
earnest after Labor Day.

A "strategic communications" task force under the WHIG
began to plan speeches and white papers. There were
many themes in the coming weeks, but Iraq's nuclear
menace was among the most prominent.

'A Mushroom Cloud'

The day after publication of Card's marketing remark,
Bush and nearly all his top advisers began to talk
about the dangers of an Iraqi nuclear bomb.

Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair conferred at Camp
David that Saturday, Sept. 7, and they each described
alarming new evidence. Blair said proof that the
threat is real came in "the report from the
International Atomic Energy Agency this morning,
showing what has been going on at the former nuclear
weapon sites." Bush said "a report came out of the . .
. IAEA, that they [Iraqis] were six months away from
developing a weapon. I don't know what more evidence
we need."

There was no new IAEA report. Blair appeared to be
referring to news reports describing curiosity at the
nuclear agency about repairs at sites of Iraq's former
nuclear program. Bush cast as present evidence the
contents of a report from 1996, updated in 1998 and
1999. In those accounts, the IAEA described the
history of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program that arms
inspectors had systematically destroyed.

A White House spokesman later acknowledged that Bush
"was imprecise" on his source but stood by the crux of
his charge. The spokesman said U.S. intelligence, not
the IAEA, had given Bush his information.

That, too, was garbled at best. U.S. intelligence
reports had only one scenario for an Iraqi bomb in six
months to a year, premised on Iraq's immediate
acquisition of enough plutonium or enriched uranium
from a foreign source.

"That is just about the same thing as saying that if
Iraq gets a bomb, it will have a bomb," said a U.S.
intelligence analyst who covers the subject. "We had
no evidence for it."

Two debuts took place on Sept. 8: the aluminum tubes
and the image of "a mushroom cloud." A Sunday New York
Times story quoted anonymous officials as saying the
"diameter, thickness and other technical
specifications" of the tubes -- precisely the grounds
for skepticism among nuclear enrichment experts --
showed that they were "intended as components of

No one knows when Iraq will have its weapon, the story
said, but "the first sign of a 'smoking gun,' they
argue, may be a mushroom cloud."

Top officials made the rounds of Sunday talk shows
that morning. Rice's remarks echoed the newspaper
story. She said on CNN's "Late Edition" that Hussein
was "actively pursuing a nuclear weapon" and that the
tubes -- described repeatedly in U.S. intelligence
reports as "dual-use" items -- were "only really
suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge

"There will always be some uncertainty about how
quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons," Rice added,
"but we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom

Anna Perez, a communications adviser to Rice, said
Rice did not come looking for an opportunity to say
that. "There was nothing in her mind that said, 'I
have to push the nuclear issue,' " Perez said, "but
Wolf [Blitzer] asked the question."

Powell, a confidant said, found it "disquieting when
people say things like mushroom clouds." But he
contributed in other ways to the message. When asked
about biological and chemical arms on Fox News, he
brought up nuclear weapons and cited the "specialized
aluminum tubing" that "we saw in reporting just this

Cheney, on NBC's "Meet the Press," also mentioned the
tubes and said "increasingly, we believe the United
States will become the target" of an Iraqi nuclear
weapon. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, on CBS's
"Face the Nation," asked listeners to "imagine a
September 11th with weapons of mass destruction,"
which would kill "tens of thousands of innocent men,
women and children."

Bush evoked the mushroom cloud on Oct. 7, and on Nov.
12 Gen. Tommy R. Franks, chief of U.S. Central
Command, said inaction might bring "the sight of the
first mushroom cloud on one of the major population
centers on this planet."

'Literary License'

In its initial meetings, Card's Iraq task force
ordered a series of white papers. After a general
survey of Iraqi arms violations, the first of the
single-subject papers -- never published -- was "A
Grave and Gathering Danger: Saddam Hussein's Quest for
Nuclear Weapons."

Wilkinson, at the time White House deputy director of
communications for planning, gathered a yard-high
stack of intelligence reports and press clippings.

Wilkinson said he conferred with experts from the
National Security Council and Cheney's office. Other
officials said Will Tobey and Susan Cook, working
under senior director for counterproliferation Robert
Joseph, made revisions and circulated some of the
drafts. Under the standard NSC review process, they
checked the facts.

In its later stages, the draft white paper coincided
with production of a National Intelligence Estimate
and its unclassified summary. But the WHIG, according
to three officials who followed the white paper's
progress, wanted gripping images and stories not
available in the hedged and austere language of

The fifth draft of the paper was obtained by The
Washington Post. White House spokesmen dismissed the
draft as irrelevant because Rice decided not to
publish it. Wilkinson said Rice and Joseph felt the
paper "was not strong enough."

The document offers insight into the Bush
administration's priorities and methods in shaping a
nuclear message. The white paper was assembled by some
of the same team, and at the same time, as the
speeches and talking points prepared for the president
and top officials. A senior intelligence official said
last October that the president's speechwriters took
"literary license" with intelligence, a phrase
applicable to language used by administration
officials in some of the white paper's most emotive
and misleading assertions elsewhere.

The draft white paper precedes other known instances
in which the Bush administration considered the
now-discredited claim that Iraq "sought uranium oxide,
an essential ingredient in the enrichment process,
from Africa." For a speechwriter, uranium was valuable
as an image because anyone could see its connection to
an atomic bomb. Despite warnings from intelligence
analysts, the uranium would return again and again,
including the Jan. 28 State of the Union address and
three other Bush administration statements that month.

Other errors and exaggerations in public White House
claims were repeated, or had their first mention, in
the white paper.

Much as Blair did at Camp David, the paper attributed
to U.N. arms inspectors a statement that satellite
photographs show "many signs of the reconstruction and
acceleration of the Iraqi nuclear program." Inspectors
did not say that. The paper also quoted the first half
of a sentence from a Time magazine interview with U.N.
chief weapons inspector Hans Blix: "You can see
hundreds of new roofs in these photos." The second
half of the sentence, not quoted, was: "but you don't
know what's under them."

As Bush did, the white paper cited the IAEA's
description of Iraq's defunct nuclear program in
language that appeared to be current. The draft said,
for example, that "since the beginning of the
nineties, Saddam has launched a crash program to
divert nuclear reactor fuel for . . . nuclear
weapons." The crash program began in late 1990 and
ended with the war in January 1991. The reactor fuel,
save for waste products, is gone.

'Footnotes and Disclaimers'

A senior intelligence official said the White House
preferred to avoid a National Intelligence Estimate, a
formal review of competing evidence and judgments,
because it knew "there were disagreements over details
in almost every aspect of the administration's case
against Iraq." The president's advisers, the official
said, did not want "a lot of footnotes and

But Bush needed bipartisan support for war-making
authority in Congress. In early September, members of
the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence began
asking why there had been no authoritative estimate of
the danger posed by Iraq. Sen. Richard J. Durbin
(D-Ill.) wrote Sept. 9 of his "concern that the views
of the U.S. intelligence community are not receiving
adequate attention by policymakers in both Congress
and the executive branch." When Sen. Bob Graham
(D-Fla.), then committee chairman, insisted on an NIE
in a classified letter two days later, Tenet agreed.

Explicitly intended to assist Congress in deciding
whether to authorize war, the estimate was produced in
two weeks, an extraordinary deadline for a document
that usually takes months. Tenet said in an interview
that "we had covered parts of all those programs over
10 years through NIEs and other reports, and we had a
ton of community product on all these issues."

Even so, the intelligence community was now in a
position of giving its first coordinated answer to a
question that every top national security official had
already answered. "No one outside the intelligence
community told us what to say or not to say," Tenet
wrote in reply to questions for this article.

The U.S. government possessed no specific information
on Iraqi efforts to acquire enriched uranium,
according to six people who participated in preparing
for the estimate. It knew only that Iraq sought to buy
equipment of the sort that years of intelligence
reports had said "may be" intended for or "could be"
used in uranium enrichment.

Richard J. Kerr, a former CIA deputy director now
leading a review of the agency's intelligence analysis
about Iraq, said in an interview that the CIA
collected almost no hard information about Iraq's
weapons programs after the departure of IAEA and U.N.
Special Commission, or UNSCOM, arms inspectors during
the Clinton administration. He said that was because
of a lack of spies inside Iraq.

Tenet took issue with that view, saying in an
interview, "When inspectors were pushed out in 1998,
we did not sit back. . . . The fact is we made
significant professional progress." In his written
statement, he cited new evidence on biological and
missile programs, but did not mention Hussein's
nuclear pursuits.

The estimate's "Key Judgment" said: "Although we
assess that Saddam does not yet have nuclear weapons
or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent
on acquiring them. Most agencies assess that Baghdad
started reconstituting its nuclear program about the
time that UNSCOM inspectors departed -- December

According to Kerr, the analysts had good reasons to
say that, but the reasons were largely "inferential."

Hussein was known to have met with some weapons
physicists, and praised them as "nuclear mujaheddin."
But the CIA had "reasonably good intelligence in terms
of the general activities and whereabouts" of those
scientists, said another analyst with the relevant
clearances, and knew they had generally not
reassembled into working groups. In a report to
Congress in 2001, the agency could conclude only that
some of the scientists "probably" had "continued at
least low-level theoretical R&D [research and
development] associated with its nuclear program."

Analysts knew Iraq had tried recently to buy magnets,
high-speed balancing machines, machine tools and other
equipment that had some potential for use in uranium
enrichment, though no less for conventional industry.
Even assuming the intention, the parts could not all
be made to fit a coherent centrifuge model. The
estimate acknowledged that "we lack specific
information on many key aspects" of the program, and
analysts presumed they were seeing only the tip of the

'He Made a Name'

According to outside scientists and intelligence
officials, the most important factor in the CIA's
nuclear judgment was Iraq's attempt to buy
high-strength aluminum tubes. The tubes were the core
evidence for a centrifuge program tied to building a
nuclear bomb. Even circumstantially, the CIA reported
no indication of uranium enrichment using anything but

That interpretation of the tubes was a victory for the
man named Joe, who made the issue his personal
crusade. He worked in the gas centrifuge program at
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the early 1980s. He
is not, associates said, a nuclear physicist, but an
engineer whose work involved the platform upon which
centrifuges were mounted.

At some point he joined the CIA. By the end of the
1990s, according to people who know him casually, he
worked in export controls.

Joe played an important role in discovering Iraq's
plans to buy aluminum tubes from China in 2000, with
an Australian intermediary. U.N. sanctions forbade
Iraq to buy anything with potential military
applications, and members of the Nuclear Suppliers
Group, a voluntary alliance, include some forms of
aluminum tubing on their list of equipment that could
be used for uranium enrichment.

Joe saw the tubes as centrifuge rotors that could be
used to process uranium into weapons-grade material.
In a gas centrifuge, the rotor is a thin-walled
cylinder, open at both ends, that spins at high speed
under a magnet. The device extracts the material used
in a weapon from a gaseous form of uranium.

In July 2001, about 3,000 tubes were intercepted in
Jordan on their way to Iraq, a big step forward in the
agency's efforts to understand what Iraq was trying to
do. The CIA gave Joe an award for exceptional
performance, throwing its early support to an analysis
that helped change the agency's mind about Iraq's
pursuit of nuclear ambitions.

"He grabbed that information early on, and he made a
name for himself," a career U.S. government nuclear
expert said.

'Stretches the Imagination'

Doubts about Joe's theory emerged quickly among the
government's centrifuge physicists. The intercepted
tubes were too narrow, long and thick-walled to fit a
known centrifuge design. Aluminum had not been used
for rotors since the 1950s. Iraq had two centrifuge
blueprints, stolen in Europe, that were far more
efficient and already known to work. One used maraging
steel, a hard steel alloy, for the rotors, the other
carbon fiber.

Joe and his supporters said the apparent drawbacks
were part of Iraq's concealment plan. Hussein's
history of covert weapons development, Tenet said in
his written statement, included "built-in cover

"This is a case where different people had honorable
and different interpretations of intentions," said an
Energy Department analyst who has reviewed the raw
data. "If you go to a nuclear [counterproliferation
official] and say I've got these aluminum tubes, and
it's about Iraq, his first inclination is to say it's
for nuclear use."

But the government's centrifuge scientists -- at the
Energy Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and
its sister institutions -- unanimously regarded this
possibility as implausible.

In late 2001, experts at Oak Ridge asked an alumnus,
Houston G. Wood III, to review the controversy. Wood,
founder of the Oak Ridge centrifuge physics
department, is widely acknowledged to be among the
most eminent living experts.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Wood said in an
interview that "it would have been extremely difficult
to make these tubes into centrifuges. It stretches the
imagination to come up with a way. I do not know any
real centrifuge experts that feel differently."

As an academic, Wood said, he would not describe
"anything that you absolutely could not do." But he
said he would "like to see, if they're going to make
that claim, that they have some explanation of how you
do that. Because I don't see how you do it."

A CIA spokesman said the agency does have support for
its view from centrifuge experts. He declined to

In the last week of September, the development of the
NIE required a resolution of the running disagreement
over the significance of the tubes. The Energy
Department had one vote. Four agencies -- with
specialties including eavesdropping, maps and foreign
military forces -- judged that the tubes were part of
a centrifuge program that could be used for nuclear
weapons. Only the State Department's Bureau of
Intelligence and Research joined the judgment of the
Energy Department. The estimate, as published, said
that "most analysts" believed the tubes were suitable
and intended for a centrifuge cascade.

Majority votes make poor science, said Peter D.
Zimmerman, a former chief scientist at the Arms
Control and Disarmament Agency.

"In this case, the experts were at Z Division at
Livermore [Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory] and
in DOE intelligence here in town, and they were
convinced that no way in hell were these likely to be
centrifuge tubes," he said.

Tenet said the Department of Energy was not the only
agency with experts on the issue; the CIA consulted
military battlefield rocket experts, as well as its
own centrifuge experts.


On Feb. 5, two weeks after Joe's Vienna briefing,
Powell gave what remains the government's most
extensive account of the aluminum tubes, in an address
to the U.N. Security Council. He did not mention the
existence of the Medusa rocket or its Iraqi
equivalent, though he acknowledged disagreement among
U.S. intelligence analysts about the use of the tubes.

Powell's CIA briefers, using data originating with
Joe, told him that Iraq had "overspecified"
requirements for the tubes, increasing expense without
making them more useful to rockets. That helped
persuade Powell, a confidant said, that Iraq had some
other purpose for the tubes.

"Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional
weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't
think so," Powell said in his speech. He said
different batches "seized clandestinely before they
reached Iraq" showed a "progression to higher and
higher levels of specification, including in the
latest batch an anodized coating on extremely smooth
inner and outer surfaces. . . . Why would they
continue refining the specification, go to all that
trouble for something that, if it was a rocket, would
soon be blown into shrapnel when it went off?"

An anodized coating is actually a strong argument for
use in rockets, according to several scientists in and
out of government. It resists corrosion of the sort
that ruined Iraq's previous rocket supply. To use the
tubes in a centrifuge, experts told the government,
Iraq would have to remove the anodized coating.

Iraq did change some specifications from order to
order, the procurement records show, but there is not
a clear progression to higher precision. One tube
sample was rejected because its interior was
unfinished, too uneven to be used in a rocket body.
After one of Iraq's old tubes got stuck in a launcher
and exploded, Baghdad's subsequent orders asked for
more precision in roundness.

U.S. and European analysts said they had obtained
records showing that Italy's Medusa rocket has had its
specifications improved 10 times since 1978.
Centrifuge experts said in interviews that the
variations had little or no significance for uranium
enrichment, especially because the CIA's theory
supposes Iraq would do extensive machining to adapt
the tubes as rotors.

For rockets, however, the tubes fit perfectly. Experts
from U.S. national labs, working temporarily with U.N.
inspectors in Iraq, observed production lines for the
rockets at the Nasser factory north of Baghdad. Iraq
had run out of body casings at about the time it
ordered the aluminum tubes, according to officials
familiar with the experts' reports. Thousands of
warheads, motors and fins were crated at the assembly
lines, awaiting the arrival of tubes.

"Most U.S. experts," Powell asserted, "think they are
intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to
enrich uranium." He said "other experts, and the
Iraqis themselves," said the tubes were really for

Wood, the centrifuge physicist, said "that was a
personal slam at everybody in DOE," the Energy
Department. "I've been grouped with the Iraqis, is
what it amounts to. I just felt that the wording of
that was probably intentional, but it was also not
very kind. It did not recognize that dissent can

Staff writers Glenn Kessler, Dana Priest and Richard
Morin and staff researchers Lucy Shackelford, Madonna
Lebling and Robert Thomason contributed to this

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Posted by richard at 08:00 AM

CIA warned administration of postwar guerrilla peril

(8/10/03) It occured to me in the middle of the night that the _resident actually said something that was true the other day...He said, "The intelligence I get is darn good," or something to that effect. Well, he was being truthful in that particular statement, and accurate. The intel has been excellent, the problem is that when the VICE _resident and the neo-con wet dreamers who think for the _resident do not like the intel they are given because it does not lead to the conclusions required to fit their appetites and fantasies, they cook or it bury it.
"In February, the CIA gave a formal briefing to the National Security Council, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President Bush himself: ''A quick military victory in Iraq will likely be followed by armed resistance from remnants of the Ba'ath Party and Fedayeen Saddam irregulars.'' The administration seemed unmoved. In the weeks leading up to the Iraq war, top Bush administration officials made glowing predictions that Iraqis would welcome US troops with open arms, while behind the scenes they did little to prepare for a guerrilla war."

CIA warned administration of postwar guerrilla peril

Officials defend rebuilding plan

By Bryan Bender, Globe Correspondent, 8/10/2003

ASHINGTON - In February, the CIA gave a formal
briefing to the National Security Council, including
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Vice President
Dick Cheney, and President Bush himself: ''A quick
military victory in Iraq will likely be followed by
armed resistance from remnants of the Ba'ath Party and
Fedayeen Saddam irregulars.'' The administration
seemed unmoved. In the weeks leading up to the Iraq
war, top Bush administration officials made glowing
predictions that Iraqis would welcome US troops with
open arms, while behind the scenes they did little to
prepare for a guerrilla war.

''My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as
liberators,'' Cheney said on NBC's ''Meet the Press''
on March 16. ''I've talked with a lot of Iraqis in the
last several months myself, had them to the White

''I imagine they will be welcomed,'' Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, a key architect of the
White House's Iraq strategy, said in an interview
April 3, two weeks into the war, with CBS's ''60
Minutes II.''

''I think there's every reason to think that huge
numbers of the Iraqi population are going to welcome
these people ... provided we don't overstay our
welcome, provided we mean what we say about handing
things back over to the Iraqis,'' Wolfowitz said.

The February report was not the only warning Bush
received that a guerrilla war was in the offing.
According to US intelligence officials who compiled or
contributed to the reports, and provided excerpts to
the Globe, on multiple occasions in the months before
the war the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency
warned that fighting would probably continue after the
formal war. The assessments went so far as to suggest
that guerrilla tactics could frustrate reconstruction

But intelligence officials, former military officers,
and national security specialists say the
administration instead clung to the optimistic
predictions of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile
group headed by Ahmed Chalabi, who left Iraq in 1958.
Chalabi, who is now a member of Iraq's US-backed
Governing Council, is a close Rumsfeld and Cheney ally
who had the ears of top administration officials in
the months before the war.

''I think there was a general sense of how the
postconflict phase would go, and it didn't work out
that way,'' said a former deputy defense secretary,
John J. Hamre, who recently returned from a Pentagon
fact-finding mission to Iraq. ''That general sense
probably caused them to pass over intelligence
assessments that differed from expectations.''

''The obvious critique is that they ignored this
beforehand because it didn't fit their expectations,''
Hamre said. But he cautioned against definitive
conclusions about the warnings. ''The great problem I
see these days is a tendency to take a single report
or document and use it as proof to make a point,'' he
said. ''When it comes to the world of intelligence,
you have to take a much wider sampling of many inputs
and make a reasoned judgment.''

The National Security Council did not respond to a
request for a comment.

Last month, Wolfowitz defended the administration's
planning for the aftermath of the war. ''There's been
a lot of talk that there was no plan,'' he said.
''There was a plan, but as any military officer can
tell you, no plan survives first contact with reality.
Inevitably, some of our assumptions turned out to be

Wolfowitz acknowledged that the administration had
expected Iraqi military units to defect. ''No army
units, at least none of any significant size, came
over to our side so that we could use them as Iraqi
forces with us today,'' he said. ''Second, the police
turned out to require a massive overhaul. Third, and
worst of all, it was difficult to imagine before the
war that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters
who have run Iraq for 35 years would continue

Yet the CIA in particular forewarned policymakers of
some of the problems likely to arise, according to one
intelligence official who asked not to be identified.
The reports, for example, predicted that armed
insurgents would attack coalition forces. One prewar
report, he said, forecast that after the war ''things
would get worse before they get better'' and that
there would be a high likelihood of ''backsliding'' -
progress followed by setbacks.

In the early days of the war, the Defense Intelligence
Agency, the Pentagon's internal spy agency, warned
that Ba'ath Party loyalists - many of whom escaped the
major invasion - were showing signs of regrouping,
said an intelligence official who asked not to be
identified. ''We wrote in early April that we were
picking up hints of guerrilla forces gearing up,'' the
official said.

Since President Bush declared an end to major
hostilities on May 1, at least 118 US soldiers have
been killed, nearly half of them in ambushes, sniper
and rocket attacks, and by improvised explosives.
Nearly half of the 256 US soldiers who have died since
the war began on March 20 have been killed since major
hostilities ended.

Still, many Iraqis have expressed relief to see the
brutal dictatorship of Hussein recede into history.
News dispatches from Iraq focus on US troop
casualties, and therefore do not always reflect the
progress and milestones reached, according to a
government consultant who returned recently from Iraq.
The consultant pointed to the local city councils that
are up and running in many parts of the country and
the relative stability in the Shi'ite Muslim regions
of southern Iraq.

But the precarious security situation in the so-called
Sunni Triangle - which has been a drag on efforts to
restore water, electricity, and other basic services -
raises questions about whether the Bush administration
could have been better prepared to address what its
own spies said American forces might have to contend
with, according to specialists.

''I think that what you might have done differently
would have been to put more civil affairs units, more
military police, and the training of the Iraqi police
forces in place much faster,'' said John Pike of, a think tank based in Alexandria,
Va. He said US officials had a model: the NATO war
against Serbia in 1999, which placed early emphasis on
deploying civil affairs and police units into the
province of Kosovo to fill the void.

''I would have thought that they would have had every
military police unit in the Guard and Reserve just
sitting and waiting to go in'' to Iraq, Pike said.

Hamre, who as president of the Center for Strategic
and International Studies last month completed a
report for the Pentagon on postwar challenges, said
that his assessment was that the troops in Iraq feel
they were not sufficiently prepared to tackle the
postwar problems. ''The reaction over there from folks
closer to the ground was that they were not given very
good preparation for what they encountered,'' he said.

A senior Pentagon official, who asked not to be
identified, bristled at the suggestion that Bush
administration leaders had ignored the intelligence
about postwar challenges, noting that they had bigger
things on their minds. ''We worried about the
catastrophic stuff,'' he said, including the fear of
massive oil fires, the use of weapons of mass
destruction by Iraqi forces, and a widespread
humanitarian disaster. ''None of those things

Four months after the US invaded Iraq, the guerrilla
attacks, amid growing concerns that terrorists are
going on the offensive, have tempered the views of
administration officials, who are now describing the
US commitment to Iraq as requiring many years of work.

The national security adviser, Condoleeza Rice, on
Thursday likened the rebuilding of Iraq and the Middle
East region to the postwar efforts in Europe after
World War II.

''The historical analogy is important,'' she said in a
speech to the National Association of Black
Journalists in Dallas. ''We must have the patience and
perseverance to see it through.''

This story ran on page A25 of the Boston Globe on
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

Posted by richard at 07:55 AM

August 09, 2003

The Retired Colonel calls Donald Rumsfeld an "Asshole" Whose Bad Planning Mired U.S. troops in an Ugly

The _resident and his cabal are desperately trying to
spin the quagmire in Iraq, and the "US mainstream news
media" is doing what it can to help them. Retired US
Army Colonel David Hakworth was one of TV's military
analysts...until, of course, he the truth of what was
unfolding in Iraq becam painfully apparent to him and
he began to challenge the thinking of Rumsfeld, et
al...Now his views are available only on the Internt,
but the Inernet is, afterall, the medium of the
Information Rebellion itself, which is the greatest
threat to the _resident and his cabal. They are using
industrial age Corporatist (Mussolini's synonym for
"fascism" not mine) propaganda methods in a
post-industrial age. Eventually, they will be
defeated. The Internet does not serve them well. It
cannot be controlled, filtered to any exhaustive
extent, or really even taken down for very long. TV is
their greatest weapon. America needs a second Boston
Tea Party, a Boston TV Party in which families of 9/11
victims, families soldiers in Iraq and folks who lost
their life savings in the Enron debacle hurl their TVs
into the harbor. TV can mesmerize, intoxicate or liberate (think about Sen. Sam Ervin (D-SC) and Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN) in the Watergate hearings). If the thought control enforced through corporate Kulchur is ever loosened, and real journalists are allowed to follow real stories (for example, not just "sixteen words" on Niger uranium in the SOTU, but the hundred plus words of exaggeration and disinformation in the SOTU), this illegitimate regime and the cabal it fronts for will collapse politically...David Hackworth's name is going on
the John O'Neil Wall of Heroes...Meanwhile, where is
Osama "Wanted: Dead or Alive) Bin Laden?
Published on Tuesday, August 5, 2003 by

The War According to David Hackworth
The Retired Colonel calls Donald Rumsfeld an "Asshole" Whose Bad Planning Mired U.S. troops in an Ugly
Guerrilla Conflict in Iraq. His Sources? Defiant
Soldiers Sending Dispatches from the Front.

by Jonathan Franklin

Retired U.S. Army Col. David Hackworth is a cocky
American military commander who for half a century was
at the front lines of the Army's most important
battles. Most recently, though, Hackworth has been at
the front lines of a domestic war: the debate over
U.S. military strategy in Iraq, and whether the Bush
administration planned well enough to achieve a
decisive military victory and keep the postwar peace.

Hackworth was everywhere on cable television during
the first days of the war, when early military
setbacks convinced him and other retired military
leaders that the administration, whose backers sold
the conflict as a "cakewalk," hadn't sent enough
troops to quell Iraqi resistance. He wrote a widely
quoted column headlined "Stuck in the Quicksand" in
early April -- just as the tide seemed to turn and the
pace of victory picked up again. Though he is a
colonel by rank, Hackworth was counted among the
so-called "television generals" the administration
blasted after Baghdad fell, and many conservative
admirers turned against him.

But now, with American soldiers still dying almost
daily in Iraq, the tide of opinion may be turning
again, in favor of Hackworth's argument that the
administration was unprepared for what's turning out
to be a long-term guerrilla resistance in Iraq. Today
the primary front of Hackworth's war of opinion isn't
cable television, but a pair of Web sites -- Soldiers
for the Truth and his own site, -- where
he's campaigning to document the dire fate of U.S.
troops in Iraq. The sites have quickly become a
repository for the gripes and fears of America's
beleaguered combat troops.

On a typical day Hackworth receives hundreds of
e-mails, letters and faxes from American soldiers,
complaining about everything from silk-weight
underwear to the weapons they've been assigned.
"Pistols suck," wrote one soldier. "Bring and use
every weapon. Shotguns are great at close ranges." At
a time when soldiers have been disciplined for griping
to the media, Hackworth is providing a fascinating
outlet for what they're really experiencing. Among the
more evocative messages:

"Soldiers are living in the dirt, with no mail, no
phone, no contact with home, and no break from the
daily monotony at all. I practically got in a fist
fight with this captain over letting my private send
an e-mail over his office's internet. This clown
spends his days sending flowers to his wife and
surfing the net. Fucking disgraceful and all too
typical of today's Army."

"Soldiers get literally hundreds of flea or mosquito
bites and they can't get cream or Benadryl to keep the
damn things from itching ... .I am not talking about
bringing in the steak and lobster every week. I am
talking about basic health and safety issues that
continue to be neglected by the Army."

"We did not receive a single piece of parts-support
for our vehicles during the entire battle ... not a
single repair part has made to our vehicles to date
... my unit had abandoned around 12 vehicles ... .I
firmly believe that the conditions I just described
contributed to the loss and injury of soldiers on the

"We have done our job and have done it well, we have
fulfilled our obligation to this operation, but we are
still here and are still being mistreated and misled.
When does it end? Do we continue to keep the
liberators of Iraq here so they can continue to lose
soldiers periodically to snipers and ambushes? My unit
has been here since September and they have no light
at the end of the tunnel. How many of my soldiers need
to die before they realize that we have hit a wall?"

Although the controversial Hackworth has his critics,
no one disputes his half-century of military
accomplishment. During World War II the 15-year-old
Hackworth lied about his age to fight in Italy. During
Vietnam he designed and implemented unconventional
warfare tactics -- allegedly including a private
brothel for his troops -- and wrote the Vietnam
Primer, considered by many to be the leading book on
guerrilla warfare tactics in Vietnam. Wounded eight
times (his left leg still carries a bullet from the
Vietnam War), he racked up enough medals, he says, to
declare himself the "Army's Most Decorated Soldier" --
though he admits the U.S. Army has no such title. No
one denies that Hackworth has seen more combat and
taken more bullets than almost any American soldier
still alive.

Today, the bestselling author -- his books include
"Steel my Soldiers' Hearts," "Price of Honor" and
"About Face" -- writes a column for the conservative
site World Net Daily.

He's starting to feel his years. His bullet-ridden leg
propped up on pillows at his home in suburban
Connecticut, Hack is far from the action. So he chose
another tactic: He brought the front home. In a
conversation with Salon, he termed Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld an "asshole" who "misunderstood the
whole war" and he predicted that American troops could
be stuck in Iraq for "at least" another 30 years.

How long do you think U.S. troops will be needed in

God only knows, the way things are going. At least 30
years. Tommy Franks [recently retired commander of
U.S. troops in Iraq] said four to 10 years. Based on
Cyprus and other commitments in this kind of warfare,
it is going to be a long time -- unless the price gets
too heavy. We say it is costing the U.S. $4 billion a
month; I bet it is costing $6 billion a month. Where
the hell is that money going to come from?

How do you see the combat situation evolving in Iraq?

There is no way the G [guerrilla] is going to win; he
knows that, but his object is to make us bleed. To
nickel and dime us. This is Phase 1. But what he is
always looking for is the big hit -- a Beirut [-style
car-bomb attack] with 242 casualties, something that
gets the headlines! The Americans have their head up
their ass all the time. All the advantages are with
the G; he will be watching. He is like an audience in
a darkened theater and the U.S. troops are the actors
on stage all lit up, so the G can see everything on
stage, when they are asleep or when his weapons are
dirty. The actor can't see shit in the audience.

For many weeks your Web site has described conditions
in Iraq as being far more chaotic and unstable than
generally reported. Why did the Pentagon try to
downplay the problems instead of playing it straight
and saying this is a long- term problem for America?

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul
Wolfowitz made a very horrible estimate of the
situation. They concluded that the war would be Slam
Bam Goodbye Saddam, followed by victory parades with
local Iraqi folks throwing flowers and rice and
everything nice, then the troops would come home.

When I examined the task organization, my estimate was
totally contrary to this asshole Rumsfeld, who went in
light and on the cheap, all based upon this rosy
scenario. I never thought this would be a fight
without resistance. And there was another guy who
thought the same way I did; his name is Saddam
Hussein. He looked at the awesome array of forces
being set up against him and said, "Wait a minute, no
way can I prevail, I tried that in '91 and just saw in
Afghanistan what happened to Taliban and Al-Qaida, I
will run away for another day."

Saddam is saying, "I am going to copy Ho Chi Minh and
the Taliban and go into a guerrilla configuration." It
[the invasion of Baghdad] did go Slam Bam Goodbye
Saddam, but we are in there so light that we don't
have sufficient force to provide the stability after
the fall of the regime. We can't secure the banks, the
energy facilities, the vital installations, the
government, the ministry, the museums or the library.
The world was witness to this great anarchy, the
looting and rioting that set over Baghdad. There was
that wonderful quote by Rumsfeld. "Stuff happens," he
said. He flipped it off.

Do you see any similarities to the U.S. engagement in

The mistake in Vietnam was we failed to understand the
nature of the war and we failed to understand our
enemy. In Vietnam we were fighting World War II. Up to
now in Iraq we have been fighting Desert Storm with
tank brigade attacks. The tanks move into a village,
swoop down, the tank gunner sees a silhouette atop a
house, aims, fires, kills and it turns out to be a
12-year-old boy. Now, the father of that boy said, "We
will kill 10 Americans for this." This is exactly what
happened in Vietnam; a village was friendly, then some
pilot turns around and blows away the village, the
village goes from pro-Saigon to pro-Hanoi.

What kind of weapons would you be using in this war if
you were running it? Would you trade the pistols for
grenade launchers? Would you bring in more Apache
helicopters, more snipers, what?

You have to use surgical weapons, not weapons that can
reach out and strike innocents. The American Army is
trained to break things and kill people -- not the
kind of selective work that is needed. You don't use a
tank brigade to surround a village; instead, you set
up ambushes along the route. It is all so similar to
what I saw in Vietnam, this tendency to be mesmerized
by big-unit operations. But if you fight like a G,
everything is under the table, in the dark, done by
stealth and surprise; there is no great glory --
except the end result. America has never been capable
of fighting the G; from [Gen.] Custer who fucked it
up, you can fast-forward to today. [In Iraq] they are
proving it again. The U.S. military never, never
learns from the past. They make the same mistake over
and over again.

What other changes would you say need to happen in

Get rid of the conventional generals; these guys in
Iraq are tank generals, but they don't have any
experience in fighting an insurgency. Reminds me of
Vietnam when the artillery commanders wanted to build
bases everywhere to fire their cannons. These tactics
do not work against the G. I said in a recent piece:
"Fire these fuckers and get a snake eater."

Snake eater -- where does that term come from?

That is an old expression from the beginning of
Special Forces. They would have demonstrations at Fort
Bragg [U.S. Special Forces headquarters in North
Carolina] to demonstrate their animalism and they
would bite the head off a chicken or bite a snake in

Gen. John Abazid -- a snake eater -- has just come in
and admitted this is a classic guerrilla war. What
kind of new strategy can we expect to see?

The guy is extremely bright and a fighter -- a very
rare combination. Generally the fighters are Rambo
types who can't walk and chew gum at the same time.
There are on occasions the Rommel and Patton who are
brilliant fucking guys who can also duke it out with
you, they understand the street fighter. You got that
with Abazid.

How is it that you, a retired soldier in suburban
Connecticut, appear to have a better take on the
soldiers' mood than the generals in the Pentagon or in

I have incredible sources -- on average I get 500
e-mails a day from kids around the world that have
read my work and know that I am not going to blow the
whistle on them; a lot of that shit you see on my Web
site comes from those kids.

This is the first war with e-mail. You have asked U.S.
soldiers to emulate Winston Churchill and act as war
correspondents by sending you dispatches from the
front. What has been the response?

Very, very favorable. The soldiers know the traffic is
being monitored by the Pentagon, that Big Brother is
monitoring everything they write. But still my sources
keep coming from Afghanistan and Iraq. I very seldom
get direct sources -- remember before we deployed,
they [soldiers] were at home and could send e-mail
from personal Yahoo accounts, now they have to use
military accounts and are paranoid that these are
being read. The [direct] traffic I get now are from
guys who don't give a fuck, who are not going to stay
in [the military], who don't give a shit about the
consequences of sounding off. But remember -- you can
never outsmart a convict in prison or a soldier on the
battlefield. They both live by their wits, so what
they do is write home and say "Hey dad I love you, we
are having a few problems with tanks, etc. If this
letter should happen to find itself into the e-mail of
Hackworth at it wouldn't disappoint
me." I am getting 30 to 40 of these letters.

American troops in Iraq are complaining of basics like
clean clothes, hot food and mail from home. Is there
anything wrong with the Pentagon's famous supply

This goes back to the shitty estimate on the part of
Rumsfeld. He did not provide enough troops or the
logistical backup, because his Army was not staying,
it was coming home. So who needs a warehouse full of

One letter I got today, written by a sergeant in a
tank unit, said that of its 18 armored vehicles --
Bradley or Abrams -- only four are operational. The
rest were down because of burned-out transmissions or
the tracks eaten out. So it is not just the shitty
food and bad water -- a soldier can live with short
rations -- but spare parts, baby! If you don't have
them, your weapons don't work. Most of the resupply is
by wheeled vehicles, and the roads and terrain out
there is gobbling up tires like you won't believe.
Michelin's whole production for civilians has been
stopped [at certain plants] and have dedicated their
entire production to the U.S. military in Iraq -- and
they can't keep up!

Do you think there is any truth to the sense that
British soldiers are better at nation-building than
the Americans?

I would say so. They have a long history -- going back
to the days of the colonies. If you look at their
achievements in some places where they have
established solid governments -- in Africa, in India,
they have done a very good job. They were very good at
lining up local folks to do the job like operating the
sewers and turning on the electricity. Far better than
us -- we are heavy-handed, and in Iraq we don't
understand the people and the culture. Thus we did not
immediately employ locals in police and military
activities to get them to build and stabilize their
nation. (Pauses) Yeah, the Brits are better.

What would you tell Rumsfeld if you could talk to him?

In mid April, I wrote a piece that asks for Rumsfeld
to be fired, to be relieved. I took enormous heat for
that. He went in light, on the cheap, he has
misunderstood the whole war, he should go ... Rumsfeld
is an arrogant asshole. That's a quote, by the way.

Jonathan Franklin covered the first Gulf War from
inside the Pentagon's "Desert Storm" mortuary. He is a
reporter with the Guardian of London.

Copyright 2003


Posted by richard at 05:59 PM

August 08, 2003

U.S. Should Take the Shackles Off 9/11 Probe

Well, yes, the "recall" vote attack on Gray Davis (a
Democrat, a Vietnam veteran and the duly elected
Governor of California), has provided the "US
mainstream news media" with something it can handle --
a farce featuring Larry Flynt, Ariana Huffington and
the Terminator, a "summer blockbuster," as SeeNotNews
(CNN) calls it; just what Rove desperately needs to
keep the debacle of the _resident's reign (notably,
guerilla war in Iraq, what didn't happen before 9/11,
the staggering loss of jobs, the plunging of the
Federal government into deep debt, etc.) out of the
headlines. Of course, the "US mainstream news media
could make the California "recall" farce something
very meaningful indeed if it were to look into how
Davis went from being a powerful, big state Governor touted as
a potential Presidential candidate in 2004 to supposedly being a pariah.
Does the name Ken Lay ring a bell?
Where is Ken Lay? Perhaps he is on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with Osama "Wanted: Dead or Alive" Bin Laden.
Afterall, Lay and Bin Laden have a few striking things in common. One of Osama's siblings was long-time business associate of the
_resident, just like Ken Lay, and indeed his family
was involved in the Carlyle Group until shortly after
9/11. [NOTE: "Carlyle Group Inc., a private equity
firm whose senior executives include former U.S.
cabinet members and ex-President George H.W. Bush [as
well as James Baker, John Majors and others], has
turned a $180-million 1997 investment in United
Defense Industries Inc. into $1.2 billion." Bloomberg,
8/5/03] As you probably know, we are not supposed to
draw any *unpleasant* inferences from the association
between the Bush and Bin Laden families -- because
Osama, the "conventional wisdom" assures us, is the
"black sheep" of the family. Of course, the Saudi
government is on the record as being an ally of the US
and an enemy of Al-Qaeda and yet multiple credible
sources official and unofficial report that the Saudi
government is riff from top to bottom with Al-Qaeda
sympathizers and fellow-travelers. So...But I digress,
let us return to Ken Lay...One of the pivotal
post-coup, pre-9/11 events in the US was the phoney
"California energy crisis."
Among 10 as yet to be adequately answered questions
poised by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer
Rights (FTCR) are the following:
One question you won't hear from SeeNotNews'
"political analyst" Bill Schnooker as he "explains"
the "recall" story to you:
"How many contacts did Ken Lay have with members of
the Bush Administration or FERC, including any
meetings and phone calls between Ken Lay and President
Bush, the Vice-President, members of the Cabinet or
FERC Commissioners. What was the substance of those
[VICE _resident Cheney, as you probably know, despite
the best efforts of the "US mainstream news media" to
distract you, has tenaciously resisted civil suits
brought by advocacy groups on the right (Judicial
Watch) and the Left (Sierra Club) as well as the
edicts of Federal courts, the US GAO and the Senate.]
One question you will not hear from Tim Rushdirt of
Meat the Press or AnythingButSee's George
Stop&Laugh@Us: "What was the purpose and substance of
the May 11, 2001 meeting with then-Mayor Richard
Riordan, former junk bond king Michael Milken, and
Arnold Schwarzenegger? Lawmakers should obtain the
materials Ken Lay provided at that meeting."
Oh yeah, the Terminator tells Jay Leno he is going to
Sacramento to "clean house." Incredible.
"Among all the victims of Enron's shenanigans," says
the FTCR, "none have received as little attention as
the taxpayers and consumers of California, who were
squeezed out of billions of dollars by Enron and the
power industry as a result of energy deregulation."
[For more on the looting of California, by Bush
cronies in the Energy industry, check out]
Another striking thing that Osama and Kenny Boy (the
_resident's nick name for the man who raised him a lot
of campaign money) have in common is that "Trifecta"
ticket the _resident was so delighted to cash in.
(Remember, "Lucky me, I won the Trifect.") There was a
political nightmare developing for the _resident
during his first Waco vacation as our
"Demander-in-Chief." Afterall, he and his cabal had
talked down the economy (to justify their tax cut),
and meanwhile allowed their pro-Bush Texas energy
industry friends to price-gouge anti-Bush California,
which drove Silicon Valley through the floor, taking
the 5th Largest Economy in the World with it. Of
course, the perpetrators of the boondoggle lost
control and the boondoogle overtook itself. Enron
crashed and burned, dealing another devastating blow
to the economy. But by that time, George "Lucky me, I
hit the Trifecta!" Bush was riding a wave of fear into
the fog of war...In a political culture in which a
free, healthy press lived out journalistic principles
with vigor, the Enron debacle, i.e., the impact of its
"business practices" on the economy of California, the
impact of its corporate governance failure on the
economy of the nation, and the personal and
politically intimate relationship of the _resident,
Ken Lay and other Bush campaign "pioneers" in the
Enron world, would have brought down the Bush
administration...My sincere hope is that Larry
Flynt(who has filed to run in the "recall"
election)takes a long hard look at the *life and work*
of the Terminator...Meanwhile, remember, we are in the
midst of a *civil* war. The struggle in the Texas
state legislature is one front, the California
"recall" election is another front, what is happening
state by state to the voting process itself is another
front, the further monopolzation that Calm 'Em
Powell's bratty son Michael and the Bush-cooked FCC is
trying to allow for the corporate giants that already
ready control "the US mainstream news media" is
another front. Remember, too, that in this *civil*
war, we have gone far beyond ideology. This struggle
is no longer aboutn right versus left or Democrat
versus Republican, this struggle is about human
decency, common sense and the values with share with
our allies in the world. There is a Popular Front
emerging, it includes military men and women of all
ranks, as well as intelligence professionals both
active and retire, as well as business tycoons and
Nobel Prize laureates. There are Republicans of human
decency and common sense in the US Senate. It is Susan
Collins (R-ME)who said recently: "It is inexcusable
that I have not received answers already. The Treasury
Department's ... response was entirely
unsatisfactory." Collins, a Committee Chair, along
with Arlen Spectre (R-PA) and other honorable
Republicans, are seeking answers. They "want to know
how many times the department's Office of Foreign
Assets Control has recommended that Saudi entities be
sanctioned as terrorism financiers and how many times
those recommendations have been overruled at higher
levels of the government." Do not be surprised if at
some point between now and election day in 2004 you
finally learn about disturbing associations between
Saudi financiers, "charities," campaign contributions
and business deals.,0,4849578.column

Marie Cocco
U.S. Clamps Secrecy on Warnings Before 9/11
U.S. Should Take the Shackles Off 9/11 Probe
Jul 10, 2003

August 7, 2003

It's not just the Saudi secret that's being kept.

The recent report of the joint congressional committee
that probed intelligence failures before the terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
reveals what the Bush administration doesn't want
Americans to know about the American government.

You would not know this from media accounts about this
report. They have dwelled on what the Bush
administration doesn't want us to know about the Saudi

This is the famous 28-page chapter, a series of blank
lines across page after page, that the president
refuses to declassify despite the pleadings of the
bipartisan group of lawmakers and the Saudi government

The dustup over Saudi secrets is exquisitely
convenient. It obscures George W. Bush's relentless
hold on U.S. secrets and on information he maintains
should be secret, though it has not necessarily been
before now.

The report's appendix hints at what these secrets are,
and why they are kept. "Access Limitations Encountered
by the Joint Inquiry," the section is titled.

The White House refused to provide contents of the
president's daily brief. This would clear up questions
about how much specific information President Bush
received about an impending attack during the spring
and summer of 2001 - a period in which the
intelligence community was reporting with alarm that a
"spectacular" attack against the United States
involving "mass casualties" was in the works.

"Ultimately, this bar was extended to the point where
CIA personnel were not allowed to be interviewed
regarding the simple process by which the (brief) is
prepared," the panel said.

The committee managed, "inadvertently," it says, to
get some contents of a key briefing Bush received in
August 2001. It included "FBI judgments about patterns
of activity consistent with preparations for
hijackings or other types of attacks; as well as
information acquired in May 2001 that indicated a
group of Bin Ladin (sic) supporters was planning
attacks in the United States with explosives." In an
extraordinary footnote, the panel cites public
statements by National Security Adviser Condoleezza
Rice that characterized the August briefing as general
and having provided historical perspective on Osama
bin Laden's methods of terror.

The lawmakers, though, were barred from interviewing
Rice. They sought to "obtain a better understanding of
the development of counterterrorism policy in the Bush
administration before September 11, 2001." The panel
was forced to submit written questions to a deputy.

Lawmakers also were barred from getting information on
an intelligence reform commission chaired by former
National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. The
Scowcroft commission's findings already had been
widely reported in the press.

The administration blocked the congressional
investigators from obtaining information showing how
intelligence agency funding requests were handled by
the White House budget office, dating back to the
Reagan administration. The lawmakers were kept from
interviewing an FBI informant who had contact with two
of the Sept. 11 hijackers while they were living in
San Diego.

Not once, but twice, the panel was forced to tangle in
court with the Justice Department over information
about its handling of Zacarias Moussaoui.

Moussaoui was detained nearly a month before the
attack and now is charged as the "20th hijacker." The
Justice Department argued, to no avail, that Congress
is covered by a local rule in Virginia, where the
Moussaoui case is being heard, that bars prosecutors
and defense lawyers from making out-of-court
statements. The rule contains explicit language
stating that it doesn't cover "hearings or the lawful
issuance of reports" by legislative or investigative

The inquiry's report devotes 15 pages to describing a
pattern of Bush administration denials and delaying
tactics that prevented a fuller account of national
failure before the attack. Last month the independent
9/11 commission still probing the attack issued a
similar compendium of complaint. Worry, if you will,
about those 28 pages involving the Saudi sheiks. But a
deeper, darker problem is our own government's refusal
to fill in the blanks about itself.


Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.

Posted by richard at 09:22 AM

Former Vice President Al Gore Remarks to

(8/7/03) The man who was elected President of the US by Fraudida and the nation in November 2004, freed from the constraints of poliitcal campaigning, fund-raising and media-placating by renouncing his rightful claim to the 2004 nominatio, Al Gore, is telling like it is "...the global capital markets have begun to recognize the unprecedented size of this emerging fiscal catastrophe. In truth, the current Executive Branch of the U.S. Government is radically different from any since the McKinley Administration 100 years ago. "

Former Vice President Al Gore Remarks to
New York University
August 7, 2003


Ladies and Gentlemen:

Thank you for your investment of time and energy in
gathering here today. I would especially like to thank for sponsoring this event, and the NYU
College Democrats for co-sponsoring the speech and for
hosting us.

Some of you may remember that my last formal public
address on these topics was delivered in San
Francisco, a little less than a year ago, when I
argued that the President's case for urgent,
unilateral, pre-emptive war in Iraq was less than
convincing and needed to be challenged more
effectively by the Congress.

In light of developments since then, you might assume
that my purpose today is to revisit the manner in
which we were led into war. To some extent, that will
be the case - but only as part of a larger theme that
I feel should now be explored on an urgent basis.

The direction in which our nation is being led is
deeply troubling to me -- not only in Iraq but also
here at home on economic policy, social policy and
environmental policy.

Millions of Americans now share a feeling that
something pretty basic has gone wrong in our country
and that some important American values are being
placed at risk. And they want to set it right.

The way we went to war in Iraq illustrates this larger
problem. Normally, we Americans lay the facts on the
table, talk through the choices before us and make a
decision. But that didn't really happen with this war
-- not the way it should have. And as a result, too
many of our soldiers are paying the highest price, for
the strategic miscalculations, serious misjudgments,
and historic mistakes that have put them and our
nation in harm's way.

I'm convinced that one of the reasons that we didn't
have a better public debate before the Iraq War
started is because so many of the impressions that the
majority of the country had back then turn out to have
been completely wrong. Leaving aside for the moment
the question of how these false impressions got into
the public's mind, it might be healthy to take a hard
look at the ones we now know were wrong and clear the
air so that we can better see exactly where we are now
and what changes might need to be made.

In any case, what we now know to have been false
impressions include the following:

(1) Saddam Hussein was partly responsible for the
attack against us on September 11th, 2001, so a good
way to respond to that attack would be to invade his
country and forcibly remove him from power.

(2) Saddam was working closely with Osama Bin Laden
and was actively supporting members of the Al Qaeda
terrorist group, giving them weapons and money and
bases and training, so launching a war against Iraq
would be a good way to stop Al Qaeda from attacking us

(3) Saddam was about to give the terrorists poison gas
and deadly germs that he had made into weapons which
they could use to kill millions of Americans.
Therefore common sense alone dictated that we should
send our military into Iraq in order to protect our
loved ones and ourselves against a grave threat.

(4) Saddam was on the verge of building nuclear bombs
and giving them to the terrorists. And since the only
thing preventing Saddam from acquiring a nuclear
arsenal was access to enriched uranium, once our spies
found out that he had bought the enrichment technology
he needed and was actively trying to buy uranium from
Africa, we had very little time left. Therefore it
seemed imperative during last Fall's election campaign
to set aside less urgent issues like the economy and
instead focus on the congressional resolution
approving war against Iraq.

(5) Our GI's would be welcomed with open arms by
cheering Iraqis who would help them quickly establish
public safety, free markets and Representative
Democracy, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US
soldiers would get bogged down in a guerrilla war.

(6) Even though the rest of the world was mostly
opposed to the war, they would quickly fall in line
after we won and then contribute lots of money and
soldiers to help out, so there wouldn't be that much
risk that US taxpayers would get stuck with a huge

Now, of course, everybody knows that every single one
of these impressions was just dead wrong.

For example, according to the just-released
Congressional investigation, Saddam had nothing
whatsoever to do with the attacks of Sept. 11.
Therefore, whatever other goals it served -- and it
did serve some other goals -- the decision to invade
Iraq made no sense as a way of exacting revenge for
9/11. To the contrary, the US pulled significant
intelligence resources out of Pakistan and Afghanistan
in order to get ready for the rushed invasion of Iraq
and that disrupted the search for Osama at a critical
time. And the indifference we showed to the rest of
the world's opinion in the process undermined the
global cooperation we need to win the war against

In the same way, the evidence now shows clearly that
Saddam did not want to work with Osama Bin Laden at
all, much less give him weapons of mass destruction.
So our invasion of Iraq had no effect on Al Qaeda,
other than to boost their recruiting efforts.

And on the nuclear issue of course, it turned out that
those documents were actually forged by somebody --
though we don't know who.

As for the cheering Iraqi crowds we anticipated,
unfortunately, that didn't pan out either, so now our
troops are in an ugly and dangerous situation.

Moreover, the rest of the world certainly isn't
jumping in to help out very much the way we expected,
so US taxpayers are now having to spend a billion
dollars a week.

In other words, when you put it all together, it was
just one mistaken impression after another. Lots of

And it's not just in foreign policy. The same thing
has been happening in economic policy, where we've
also got another huge and threatening mess on our
hands. I'm convinced that one reason we've had so many
nasty surprises in our economy is that the country
somehow got lots of false impressions about what we
could expect from the big tax cuts that were enacted,

(1) The tax cuts would unleash a lot of new investment
that would create lots of new jobs.

(2) We wouldn't have to worry about a return to big
budget deficits -- because all the new growth in the
economy caused by the tax cuts would lead to a lot of
new revenue.

(3) Most of the benefits would go to average
middle-income families, not to the wealthy, as some
partisans claimed.

Unfortunately, here too, every single one of these
impressions turned out to be wrong. Instead of
creating jobs, for example, we are losing millions of
jobs -- net losses for three years in a row. That
hasn't happened since the Great Depression. As I've
noted before, I was the first one laid off.

And it turns out that most of the benefits actually
are going to the highest income Americans, who
unfortunately are the least likely group to spend
money in ways that create jobs during times when the
economy is weak and unemployment is rising.

And of course the budget deficits are already the
biggest ever - with the worst still due to hit us. As
a percentage of our economy, we've had bigger ones --
but these are by far the most dangerous we've ever had
for two reasons: first, they're not temporary; they're
structural and long-term; second, they are going to
get even bigger just at the time when the big
baby-boomer retirement surge starts.

Moreover, the global capital markets have begun to
recognize the unprecedented size of this emerging
fiscal catastrophe. In truth, the current Executive
Branch of the U.S. Government is radically different
from any since the McKinley Administration 100 years

The 2001 winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics,
George Akerlof, went even further last week in Germany
when he told Der Spiegel, "This is the worst
government the US has ever had in its more than 200
years of history...This is not normal government
policy." In describing the impact of the Bush policies
on America's future, Akerloff added, "What we have
here is a form of looting."

Ominously, the capital markets have just pushed U.S.
long-term mortgage rates higher soon after the Federal
Reserve Board once again reduced discount rates.
Monetary policy loses some of its potency when fiscal
policy comes unglued. And after three years of rate
cuts in a row, Alan Greenspan and his colleagues
simply don't have much room left for further

This situation is particularly dangerous right now for
several reasons: first because home-buying fueled by
low rates (along with car-buying, also a
rate-sensitive industry) have been just about the only
reliable engines pulling the economy forward; second,
because so many Americans now have Variable Rate
Mortgages; and third, because average personal debt is
now at an all-time high -- a lot of Americans are
living on the edge.

It seems obvious that big and important issues like
the Bush economic policy and the first Pre-emptive War
in U.S. history should have been debated more
thoroughly in the Congress, covered more extensively
in the news media, and better presented to the
American people before our nation made such fateful
choices. But that didn't happen, and in both cases,
reality is turning out to be very different from the
impression that was given when the votes -- and the
die -- were cast.

Since this curious mismatch between myth and reality
has suddenly become commonplace and is causing such
extreme difficulty for the nation's ability to make
good choices about our future, maybe it is time to
focus on how in the world we could have gotten so many
false impressions in such a short period of time.

At first, I thought maybe the President's advisers
were a big part of the problem. Last fall, in a speech
on economic policy at the Brookings Institution, I
called on the President to get rid of his whole
economic team and pick a new group. And a few weeks
later, damned if he didn't do just that - and at least
one of the new advisers had written eloquently about
the very problems in the Bush economic policy that I
was calling upon the President to fix.

But now, a year later, we still have the same bad
economic policies and the problems have, if anything,
gotten worse. So obviously I was wrong: changing all
the president's advisers didn't work as a way of
changing the policy.

I remembered all that last month when everybody was
looking for who ought to be held responsible for the
false statements in the President's State of the Union
Address. And I've just about concluded that the real
problem may be the President himself and that next
year we ought to fire him and get a new one.

But whether you agree with that conclusion or not,
whether you're a Democrat or a Republican -- or an
Independent, a Libertarian, a Green or a Mugwump --
you've got a big stake in making sure that
Representative Democracy works the way it is supposed
to. And today, it just isn't working very well. We all
need to figure out how to fix it because we simply
cannot keep on making such bad decisions on the basis
of false impressions and mistaken assumptions.

Earlier, I mentioned the feeling many have that
something basic has gone wrong. Whatever it is, I
think it has a lot to do with the way we seek the
truth and try in good faith to use facts as the basis
for debates about our future -- allowing for the
unavoidable tendency we all have to get swept up in
our enthusiasms.

That last point is worth highlighting. Robust debate
in a democracy will almost always involve occasional
rhetorical excesses and leaps of faith, and we're all
used to that. I've even been guilty of it myself on
occasion. But there is a big difference between that
and a systematic effort to manipulate facts in service
to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more
important than the mandates of basic honesty.

Unfortunately, I think it is no longer possible to
avoid the conclusion that what the country is dealing
with in the Bush Presidency is the latter. That is
really the nub of the problem -- the common source for
most of the false impressions that have been
frustrating the normal and healthy workings of our

Americans have always believed that we the people have
a right to know the truth and that the truth will set
us free. The very idea of self-government depends upon
honest and open debate as the preferred method for
pursuing the truth -- and a shared respect for the
Rule of Reason as the best way to establish the truth.

The Bush Administration routinely shows disrespect for
that whole basic process, and I think it's partly
because they feel as if they already know the truth
and aren't very curious to learn about any facts that
might contradict it. They and the members of groups
that belong to their ideological coalition are true
believers in each other's agendas.

There are at least a couple of problems with this

First, powerful and wealthy groups and individuals who
work their way into the inner circle -- with political
support or large campaign contributions -- are able to
add their own narrow special interests to the list of
favored goals without having them weighed against the
public interest or subjected to the rule of reason.
And the greater the conflict between what they want
and what's good for the rest of us, the greater
incentive they have to bypass the normal procedures
and keep it secret.

That's what happened, for example, when Vice President
Cheney invited all of those oil and gas industry
executives to meet in secret sessions with him and his
staff to put their wish lists into the
administration's legislative package in early 2001.

That group wanted to get rid of the Kyoto Treaty on
Global Warming, of course, and the Administration
pulled out of it first thing. The list of people who
helped write our nation's new environmental and energy
policies is still secret, and the Vice President won't
say whether or not his former company, Halliburton,
was included. But of course, as practically everybody
in the world knows, Halliburton was given a huge
open-ended contract to take over and run the Iraqi oil
fields-- without having to bid against any other

Secondly, when leaders make up their minds on a policy
without ever having to answer hard questions about
whether or not it's good or bad for the American
people as a whole, they can pretty quickly get into
situations where it's really uncomfortable for them to
defend what they've done with simple and truthful
explanations. That's when they're tempted to fuzz up
the facts and create false impressions. And when other
facts start to come out that undermine the impression
they're trying to maintain, they have a big incentive
to try to keep the truth bottled up if -- they can --
or distort it.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, the White House
ordered its own EPA to strip important scientific
information about the dangers of global warming out of
a public report. Instead, the White House substituted
information that was partly paid for by the American
Petroleum Institute. This week, analysts at the
Treasury Department told a reporter that they're now
being routinely ordered to change their best analysis
of what the consequences of the Bush tax laws are
likely to be for the average person.

Here is the pattern that I see: the President's
mishandling of and selective use of the best evidence
available on the threat posed by Iraq is pretty much
the same as the way he intentionally distorted the
best available evidence on climate change, and
rejected the best available evidence on the threat
posed to America's economy by his tax and budget

In each case, the President seems to have been
pursuing policies chosen in advance of the facts --
policies designed to benefit friends and supporters --
and has used tactics that deprived the American people
of any opportunity to effectively subject his
arguments to the kind of informed scrutiny that is
essential in our system of checks and balances.

The administration has developed a highly effective
propaganda machine to imbed in the public mind
mythologies that grow out of the one central doctrine
that all of the special interests agree on, which --
in its purest form -- is that government is very bad
and should be done away with as much as possible --
except the parts of it that redirect money through big
contracts to industries that have won their way into
the inner circle.

For the same reasons they push the impression that
government is bad, they also promote the myth that
there really is no such thing as the public interest.
What's important to them is private interests. And
what they really mean is that those who have a lot of
wealth should be left alone, rather than be called
upon to reinvest in society through taxes.

Perhaps the biggest false impression of all lies in
the hidden social objectives of this Administration
that are advertised with the phrase "compassionate
conservatism" -- which they claim is a new departure
with substantive meaning. But in reality, to be
compassionate is meaningless, if compassion is limited
to the mere awareness of the suffering of others. The
test of compassion is action. What the administration
offers with one hand is the rhetoric of compassion;
what it takes away with the other hand are the
financial resources necessary to make compassion
something more than an empty and fading impression.

Maybe one reason that false impressions have a played
a bigger role than they should is that both Congress
and the news media have been less vigilant and
exacting than they should have been in the way they
have tried to hold the Administration accountable.

Whenever both houses of Congress are controlled by the
President's party, there is a danger of passivity and
a temptation for the legislative branch to abdicate
its constitutional role. If the party in question is
unusually fierce in demanding ideological uniformity
and obedience, then this problem can become even worse
and prevent the Congress from properly exercising
oversight. Under these circumstances, the majority
party in the Congress has a special obligation to the
people to permit full Congressional inquiry and
oversight rather than to constantly frustrate and
prevent it.

Whatever the reasons for the recent failures to hold
the President properly accountable, America has a
compelling need to quickly breathe new life into our
founders' system of checks and balances -- because
some extremely important choices about our future are
going to be made shortly, and it is imperative that we
avoid basing them on more false impressions.

One thing the President could do to facilitate the
restoration of checks and balances is to stop blocking
reasonable efforts from the Congress to play its
rightful role. For example, he could order his
appointees to cooperate fully with the bipartisan
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, headed by
former Republican Governor Tom Kean. And he should let
them examine how the White House handled the warnings
that are said to have been given to the President by
the intelligence community.

Two years ago yesterday, for example, according to the
Wall Street Journal, the President was apparently
advised in specific language that Al Qaeda was going
to hijack some airplanes to conduct a terrorist strike
inside the U.S.

I understand his concern about people knowing exactly
what he read in the privacy of the Oval Office, and
there is a legitimate reason for treating such memos
to the President with care. But that concern has to be
balanced against the national interest in improving
the way America deals with such information. And the
apparently chaotic procedures that were used to handle
the forged nuclear documents from Niger certainly show
evidence that there is room for improvement in the way
the White House is dealing with intelligence memos.
Along with other members of the previous
administration, I certainly want the commission to
have access to any and all documents sent to the White
House while we were there that have any bearing on
this issue. And President Bush should let the
commission see the ones that he read too.

After all, this President has claimed the right for
his executive branch to send his assistants into every
public library in America and secretly monitor what
the rest of us are reading. That's been the law ever
since the Patriot Act was enacted. If we have to put
up with such a broad and extreme invasion of our
privacy rights in the name of terrorism prevention,
surely he can find a way to let this National
Commission know how he and his staff handled a highly
specific warning of terrorism just 36 days before

And speaking of the Patriot Act, the president ought
to reign in John Ashcroft and stop the gross abuses of
civil rights that twice have been documented by his
own Inspector General. And while he's at it, he needs
to reign in Donald Rumsfeld and get rid of that DoD
"Total Information Awareness" program that's right out
of George Orwell's 1984.

The administration hastened from the beginning to
persuade us that defending America against terror
cannot be done without seriously abridging the
protections of the Constitution for American citizens,
up to and including an asserted right to place them in
a form of limbo totally beyond the authority of our
courts. And that view is both wrong and fundamentally

But the most urgent need for new oversight of the
Executive Branch and the restoration of checks and
balances is in the realm of our security, where the
Administration is asking that we accept a whole
cluster of new myths:

For example, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
was an effort to strike a bargain between states
possessing nuclear weapons and all others who had
pledged to refrain from developing them. This
administration has rejected it and now, incredibly,
wants to embark on a new program to build a brand new
generation of smaller (and it hopes, more usable)
nuclear bombs. In my opinion, this would be true
madness -- and the point of no return to the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty -- even as we and our
allies are trying to prevent a nuclear testing
breakout by North Korea and Iran.

Similarly, the Kyoto treaty is an historic effort to
strike a grand bargain between free-market capitalism
and the protection of the global environment, now
gravely threatened by rapidly accelerating warming of
the Earth's atmosphere and the consequent disruption
of climate patterns that have persisted throughout the
entire history of civilization as we know it. This
administration has tried to protect the oil and coal
industries from any restrictions at all -- though
Kyoto may become legally effective for global
relations even without U.S. participation.

Ironically, the principal cause of global warming is
our civilization's addiction to burning massive
quantities carbon-based fuels, including principally
oil -- the most important source of which is the
Persian Gulf, where our soldiers have been sent for
the second war in a dozen years -- at least partly to
ensure our continued access to oil.

We need to face the fact that our dangerous and
unsustainable consumption of oil from a highly
unstable part of the world is similar in its
consequences to all other addictions. As it becomes
worse, the consequences get more severe and you have
to pay the dealer more.

And by now, it is obvious to most Americans that we
have had one too many wars in the Persian Gulf and
that we need an urgent effort to develop
environmentally sustainable substitutes for fossil
fuels and a truly international effort to stabilize
the Persian Gulf and rebuild Iraq.

The removal of Saddam from power is a positive
accomplishment in its own right for which the
President deserves credit, just as he deserves credit
for removing the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.
But in the case of Iraq, we have suffered enormous
collateral damage because of the manner in which the
Administration went about the invasion. And in both
cases, the aftermath has been badly mishandled.

The administration is now trying to give the
impression that it is in favor of NATO and UN
participation in such an effort. But it is not willing
to pay the necessary price, which is support of a new
UN Resolution and genuine sharing of control inside

If the 21st century is to be well started, we need a
national agenda that is worked out in concert with the
people, a healing agenda that is built on a true
national consensus. Millions of Americans got the
impression that George W. Bush wanted to be a "healer,
not a divider", a president devoted first and foremost
to "honor and integrity." Yet far from uniting the
people, the president's ideologically narrow agenda
has seriously divided America. His most partisan
supporters have launched a kind of 'civil cold war'
against those with whom they disagree.

And as for honor and integrity, let me say this: we
know what that was all about, but hear me well, not as
a candidate for any office, but as an American citizen
who loves my country:

For eight years, the Clinton-Gore Administration gave
this nation honest budget numbers; an economic plan
with integrity that rescued the nation from debt and
stagnation; honest advocacy for the environment; real
compassion for the poor; a strengthening of our
military -- as recently proven -- and a foreign policy
whose purposes were elevated, candidly presented and
courageously pursued, in the face of scorched-earth
tactics by the opposition. That is also a form of
honor and integrity, and not every administration in
recent memory has displayed it.

So I would say to those who have found the issue of
honor and integrity so useful as a political tool,
that the people are also looking for these virtues in
the execution of public policy on their behalf, and
will judge whether they are present or absent.

I am proud that my party has candidates for president
committed to those values. I admire the effort and
skill they are putting into their campaigns. I am not
going to join them, but later in the political cycle I
will endorse one of them, because I believe that we
must stand for a future in which the United States
will again be feared only by its enemies; in which our
country will again lead the effort to create an
international order based on the rule of law; a nation
which upholds fundamental rights even for those it
believes to be its captured enemies; a nation whose
financial house is in order; a nation where the market
place is kept healthy by effective government
scrutiny; a country which does what is necessary to
provide for the health, education, and welfare of our
people; a society in which citizens of all faiths
enjoy equal standing; a republic once again
comfortable that its chief executive knows the limits
as well as the powers of the presidency; a nation that
places the highest value on facts, not ideology, as
the basis for all its great debates and decisions.

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Posted by richard at 09:19 AM

Senate Remarks of Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV): Gathering Storm Clouds Over North Korea

(8/7/03) Another historic speech by one of the elders of the Popular Front, Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV): "In this moment of great potential peril, the President is preparing to retire for a month to his ranch in Texas. The question needs to be asked: Who's minding the White House? In a short time, the Senate will recess for the month of August. It is my belief that we should not go far. I hope that the international situation will remain stable, and that no new crises will erupt. But I do not pretend to be sanguine. I do not pretend to assume that all will be well."

For more information, contact 202-224-3904.

August 01, 2003

Senate Remarks of Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV): Gathering Storm Clouds Over North Korea

Weather forecasters have a name for one of their
worst nightmares, a violent atmospheric disturbance
triggered by an unusual convergence of weather
systems. They call it the perfect storm.

As the United States continues to be preoccupied with
quelling the postwar chaos in Iraq, I worry that the
elements of a perfect storm capable of wreaking
devastating damage to international stability are
brewing elsewhere in the world. The forces in play
are centered on the escalating nuclear threat from
North Korea, but they also include the emergence of
Iran as a nuclear contender, the violence and
desperate humanitarian situation in Liberia, the near
forgotten but continuing war in Afghanistan, and the
unrelenting threat of international terrorism. Just a
few days ago, the Department of Homeland Security
issued a chilling alert that al Qaeda operatives may
be plotting suicide missions to hijack commercial
aircraft in the coming weeks – possibly in the United

Weather forecasters can do little more than watch a
storm unfold. They cannot quiet the winds or calm the
seas. We require more from the President of the
United States when it comes to international crises.
The President cannot afford to merely plot the course
of the gathering storms over North Korea, Iran,
Liberia, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The President
needs to turn his attention to these countries and
work with the international community to diffuse the
emerging crises.

The challenge is formidable, and there are no easy
answers. But the price of inaction could be ruinous.
Of all the looming international threats, North Korea
is clearly the most worrisome. Recently, (July 14)
former Defense Secretary and Korean specialist William
Perry warned that the United States and North Korea
are drifting toward war, possibly as early as this
year. In an interview published in The Washington
Post, Dr. Perry said, "The nuclear program now
underway in North Korea poses an imminent danger of
nuclear weapons being detonated in American cities."

Surely, such a stark warning from an official so
deeply steeped in the political culture of North Korea
should be a wake up call to the President. And yet,
to date, the Administration has steadfastly refused to
engage in direct talks with North Korea or even to
characterize the threat of North Korea's nuclear
weapons program as a crisis. Instead, the President
and his advisers have continued to hurl invectives at
Kim Jong Il while shrugging off increasingly alarming
reports that North Korea is stepping up its pursuit of
nuclear weapons.

Since last October, when North Korea revealed that it
planned to reprocess plutonium fuel rods into fissile
material that could be used in nuclear weapons, the
President and his advisers have consistently
downplayed the nuclear threat from North Korea while
hyping the nuclear threat from Iraq. And yet, while
we have strong evidence that North Korea is working
feverishly to accelerate its nuclear programs, we
still have not found a shred of evidence that Saddam
Hussein's efforts to reconstitute Iraq's nuclear
weapons program were anything more than bluster and

It is time – if it is not already too late – to drop
the false bravado of indifference to the threat from
North Korea and engage in face-to-face negotiations
with the North Koreans. Multilateral negotiations are
fine, preferable even, but they are unlikely to be
productive unless the United States takes the lead.
We cannot wait for the Chinese or the Japanese or the
South Koreans to pave the way. We cannot brush off
the nuclear threat posed by North Korea as an annoying
irritant. There is a real threat to the United
States, and the United States must act fast to
neutralize it.

The news on Thursday (July 31) that North Korea has
expressed a willingness to engage in six-sided talks,
with the participation of Russia in addition to the
other players, offers a glimmer of opportunity that
the United States should seize before North Korea
changes its mind. As difficult as it is to predict or
understand the motivations of Kim Jong Il, one thing
is certain: no progress can be made in unraveling the
nuclear tangle on the Korean peninsula until the
parties involved start talking to each other.

Not only must the President come to terms with the
gravity of the situation in North Korea, but he must
also understand that this is not a one-man show, and
this is not the type of discussion that can be sealed
with a simple handshake. Under the Constitution, the
Senate has a unique and important role to play in
helping to frame the contours and context of
international treaties. Any agreement negotiated
between the United States and Korea will have far
reaching implications for the national security of the
United States, and as such should be subject to the
treaty advice and consent provision of Article II,
section 2 of the Constitution.

On a collision course with the nuclear threat from
North Korea is the question of how to deal with Iran's
increasingly aggressive nuclear posture. A month ago,
the President hinted darkly that he would not tolerate
the construction of a nuclear weapon in Iran, but he
has been largely silent on the issue in the ensuing
weeks. Asked during a rare press conference earlier
this week about the potential for war with Iran, the
President placed the burden for seeking a peaceful
solution squarely on the shoulders of the
international community without suggesting any role
for the United States beyond "convincing others" to
speak to the Iranian government. When it comes to
dealing with the threat from Iran's weapons of mass
destruction, it appears that the White House is
deferring to some of the same countries and
institutions, including the International Atomic
Energy Agency, that it dismissed as inconsequential
during the run up to war with Iraq.

Like North Korea, the options for dealing with Iran
are limited, but dodging engagement in favor of
sporadic saber rattling is scarcely the wisest course
of action. Equally unhelpful are ominous hints that
the United States is contemplating covert action to
precipitate regime change in Iran. Unlike North
Korea, Iran has not demanded direct negotiations with
the United States. Before it comes to that point, and
the United States is faced with the perception of
being blackmailed into negotiations, the
Administration should seize the initiative and not
abdicate its responsibility to other nations and other
institutions. Here again, the Administration cannot
afford to ignore the storm warnings and hope the
crisis will simply blow over.

The situation in Liberia raises a different, but no
less volatile, set of issues. Rent by violence and
reeling from the effects of a three-way conflict
between an illegitimate government and the warring
rebels who want to unseat it, Liberia is desperately
seeking help from the United States. The President
raised expectations for U.S. intervention during his
highly publicized visit to Africa earlier this month,
but it has been several weeks now since his return,
and still no clear policy with regard to Liberia has
emerged from the White House.

The question of whether the United States should
intervene in the Liberian crisis is fraught with
unknowns and uncertainties. The humanitarian crisis
calls out for relief. And yet, the solution is
elusive, and the danger of ensnaring U.S. military
troops in an intractable civil war is not to be
underestimated. Can the Economic Community of West
African States, known as ECOWAS, raise a force
sufficient to stabilize the unrest in Liberia? Could
the United States help without sending in ground
troops? Is the United Nations prepared to take over
peacekeeping operations once the situation is
stabilized? Can the United States afford to assist
Liberia? Can the United States afford to ignore

The questions are tough, but procrastination is not an
acceptable response. Hundreds of innocent civilians
are suffering and dying as a result of the conflict in
Liberia. Monrovia is in shambles. Last week (July 25),
the President took the tentative step of ordering
several thousand U.S. Marines to be positioned off the
coast of Liberia, but how or whether any of those
troops will be deployed remains unknown. Indecisive,
half-hearted gestures serve no purpose. As long as
there is an expectation that the United States will
intervene, African states are unlikely to take
independent action to deal with the situation in
Liberia. The President needs to determine a course of
action, he needs to consult with Congress and the
United Nations on pursuing that course, and he needs
to explain his reasoning and his strategy to the
American people.

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services
Committee last week, (July 24) General Peter Pace,
vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, termed
Liberia "potentially a very dangerous situation" that
poses "great personal risk" to American troops. Any
decision to send American troops into that war torn
country is a decision that must be carefully thought
through and be made in concert with Congress and the
international community, not simply presented to the
American people as an after-the-fact notification.

The situation in Liberia, and the other crises brewing
around the world, require more attention and more
explanation from the President than the usual
off-the-cuff comments tossed to reporters at the end
of photo ops. This is not a summer for the President
to spend riding around the ranch in his pick up truck.
This is not a time to play to the television cameras
with the "bring 'em on" school of rhetoric. The
problems confronting the United States require the
President's serious and undivided attention. The
American people deserve a full accounting from the
President of where he stands on critical international
issues, and how he intends to deal with them.

Against the backdrop of the war in Iraq and the
emerging crises in North Korea, Iran, and Liberia, the
largely forgotten war in Afghanistan continues to
grind on, more than a year and half after the United
States rousted the Taliban from power and obliterated
al Qaeda's terrorist training camps. Nearly 10,000
American troops remain in Afghanistan, with no end to
their mission in sight – and no clear mission to
accomplish – hunting the remnants of the Taliban and
al Qaeda organizations. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein's sons
have been killed, and one can only hope that we are
closing in on Saddam Hussein himself, but in the wider
war on terrorism, Osama bin Laden remains at large,
and his organization continues to spread its venom
throughout the Middle East and perhaps the world.

The alert issued earlier this week by the Homeland
Security Department is only the latest reminder that
the al Qaeda terrorist network remains a potent threat
to America and its allies. The warning included
specific details – such as the fact that targets might
include the East coast of the United States, the
United Kingdom, Italy, or Australia – and it raised
the possibility that at least one of the planned
highjackings or bombings could be executed before the
end of the summer.

In the face of such a frightening specter, it is
somewhat unsettling that on the subject of terrorism,
the President is talking tough to Iran and Syria, but
he seldom mentions Osama bin Laden anymore.

Is this another example of the President's efforts to
change his message to divert the attention of the
American people? The imminent and direct threat of
Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was used to
hoodwink the public into accepting the rush to war,
but now that no weapons have been found, the President
barely mentions them anymore. Instead, he is now
talking about how regime change in Iraq was really the
catalyst required to stabilize the Middle East. New
day, new message.

At the center of America's imperiled relations with
its friends and foes alike is the Bush doctrine of
preemption, which was first articulated in the
September 2002 National Security Strategy. This
unprecedented declaration that the United States has
the right to launch preemptive military attacks
against hostile nations in the absence of direct
provocation sent shockwaves throughout the
international community.

The doctrine of preemption was the justification for
attacking Iraq without provocation, but the
ramifications of the policy go far beyond that nation.
All so-called "rogue regimes" were put on notice that
the United States was prepared to act to deter the
development of weapons of mass destruction that could
be used against America.

Suddenly, the elite club of nations that formed the
President's "axis of evil" found itself caught in the
cross hairs of the U.S. military. And just as
quickly, the hollowness of the doctrine was exposed.
Iraq could be attacked at will because it did not have
nuclear capability. North Korea called for restraint
because it plausibly did have nuclear capability.
Iran was a question mark. Predictably, both North
Korea and Iran, seeing the writing on the wall, began
to scramble to accelerate their nuclear programs. In
retrospect, the doctrine of preemption is beginning to
look more and more like a doctrine of provocation.

Against this background, the storm clouds of
international instability are massing. America's
military forces are stretched thin in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Our military leadership is absorbed with
Iraq. Our military resources – both financial and
personnel – are strained to the breaking point. With
the exception of Britain, our allies are reluctant to
commit significant resources or manpower to an
operation in Iraq in which the United States has a
stranglehold on authority and decision making. The
Executive Branch is preoccupied with the occupation of
Iraq and seems paralyzed when it comes to meaningful
action to deal with North Korea or Iran or Liberia.
Afghanistan and the global war on terror have
seemingly been relegated to the status of
afterthoughts. America's foreign policy appears to be
adrift in an increasingly tumultuous sea of
international turmoil. Meanwhile, the national terror
threat continues to hover uneasily in the "elevated
range" amid new warnings of terrorist attacks being
plotted against commercial aircraft.

In this moment of great potential peril, the President
is preparing to retire for a month to his ranch in
Texas. The question needs to be asked: Who's minding
the White House? In a short time, the Senate will
recess for the month of August. It is my belief that
we should not go far. I hope that the international
situation will remain stable, and that no new crises
will erupt. But I do not pretend to be sanguine. I
do not pretend to assume that all will be well.

A rare combination of volatile and dangerous
international events are poised to converge in the
coming months. In large part, it is a storm of this
Administration's own making, fueled by the fear,
confusion, and instability caused by the unprecedented
and ill-advised doctrine of preemption. I only hope
that the President and his advisers can summon the
skill, the wit, and the leadership to engage and
attempt to tame the elements of international turmoil
before it is too late and we are swept up into the
vortex of the storm.


Posted by richard at 09:15 AM

August 07, 2003

Global Warming May Be Speeding Up, Fears Scientist

Condi Rice, the White House au pair, has told some
whoppers in the three years she has been doing the
_resident's homework for him, but she did speak one
powerful truth in the midst of the flap of the
_resident's foolish and unnecessary war in Iraq -- she
said that there was no challenge that Europe and the
US could not overcome if they work together. That's
the truth! Of course, it is a sad truth at this point
because the Western alliance is seriously fractured,
perhaps lost forever, due to the _resident's
unilateral military adventure and the disgraceful
bullying and lying that was done to *justify* it and
coerce others into joining the debacle. We did not
have to go into Iraq, not for the publicly stated
lies, not for the hidden agenda of having a launching
pad into Saudi ready for when it collapses, not in the
way in which we did it alone, urgently and in
violation of the UN charter. But here is a vital,
global issue that does require the immediate and
coordinated efforts of the US and Europe.
Unfortunately, when the man who lost the election was
sworn into office, the US veered from science, veered
from reality, veered from the consensus of the
international community and ran from its
responsibility. The Clinton-Gore team had identified
both global warming and AIDS in Africa as *national
security* issues, as indeed they are...Just another
terribly painful illustration of how wrong and craven
Ralph Nada's lie about there being no difference
between a vote for Gore and a vote for Bush really

Published on Wednesday, August 6, 2003 by the
Global Warming May Be Speeding Up, Fears Scientist
Alarm at 'unusual' heatwaves across northern

by John Vidal

One of Europe's leading scientists yesterday raised
the possibility that the extreme heatwave now settled
over at least 30 countries in the northern hemisphere
could signal that man-made climate change is

"The present heatwave across the northern hemisphere
is worrying. There is the small probability that
man-made climate change is proceeding much faster and
stronger than expected," said Professor John
Schellnhuber, former chief scientific adviser to the
German government and now head of the UK's leading
group of climate scientists at the Tyndall center.

Prof Schellnhuber said "the parching heat experienced
now" could be consistent "with a worst-case scenario
[of global warming] that nobody wants to come true".
He warned that several months' research would be
needed to analyze data from around the world before
scientists could say why the heatwaves are so intense
this year. "What we are seeing is absolutely unusual,"
said Prof Schellnhuber. "We know that global warming
is proceeding apace, but most of us were thinking that
in 20-30 years time we would be seeing hot spells
[like this]. But it's happening now. Clearly extreme
weather events will increase."

Other climate scientists across Europe suggested the
present heatwave was perhaps the most intense
experienced and linked to global warming.

"We've not seen such an extended period of dry weather
[in Europe] since records began," said Michael
Knobelsdorf, a meteorologist at the German weather
service. "What's remarkable is that these extremes of
weather are happening at such short intervals, which
suggests the climate is unbalanced. Last year in
Germany, we were under water. Now we have one of the
worst droughts in human memory."

Antonio Navarra, chief climatologist at Italy's
National Geophysics Institute, said the Mediterranean
region was 2-3C warmer than usual this summer.

Temperatures across parts of Europe have been a
consistent 5C warmer than average for several months,
but the heatwaves have extended across the northern
hemisphere. Temperatures in some Indian states reached
45-49C (113-120F), with more than 1,500 people dying
as a direct result. There have been near-record
temperatures in Canada and the US, Hawaii, China,
parts of Russia and Alaska.

The intense heat in some places has given way to some
of the most severe monsoon rains on record, a
phenomenon also consistent with climate change models
which predict extremes of weather. The heatwaves are
fueling concern that climatologists may have
underestimated the temperature changes expected with
global warming. According to the UN's
intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) - the
consensus of the world's leading 2,000 climatologists
- the expected increase is up to 5C over the next

But a recent conference of leading atmospheric
scientists in Berlin concluded that the IPCC's models
may have underestimated the cooling effect of
atmospheric soot, the airborne industrial waste of the
past. The upper limit of global warming, they
suggested, should range between 7C and 10C, which
would severely affect food and water supplies,
traumatize most economies, and fundamentally change
everyday life.

The UN's World Meteorological Organization warned last
month that extreme weather events would become more
frequent. Yesterday Ken Davidson, director of the
WMO's climate program, said: "The world is seeing a
change in general conditions and in extremes. We are
trying to understand if it's getting more frequent."

Climate scientists at the British government's Hadley
center. last week said they had new evidence that the
heatwave affecting Europe and North America could not
be explained by natural causes, such as sunspots or
volcanoes, but must be partly due to man-made

Yesterday Dr Peter Stott, who led the research team,
said: "Once we factor in the effects of human
activity, we find we can explain the warming that is
observed. Now we have gone a step further and shown
that the same thing is happening on the scale of

Europe battles drought and fire

· The death toll from Portugal's biggest wildfires in
decades rose to 11 after two bodies were found in
charred woodland, but cooler overnight temperatures
enabled firefighters to contain all but three major

· 13 Spaniards have died in the heatwave, and 30 taken
to hospital because of the heat in Cordoba, Seville
and Huelva in Andalusia

· Parisians thronged the bank of the river Seine which
has been turned into an urban beach with sand, cafes,
deckchairs and palm trees as the temperature in the
capital neared 40C (104F) again yesterday

· Amsterdam zoo fed its chimpanzees iced fruit and
sprayed ostriches with cold water to keep them cool as
temperatures in the Dutch capital edged towards 30C
(86F), the Dutch news agency ANP reported

· Italy's national electricity grid said it had cut
power to some big industrial customers amid soaring
demand from air conditioners

· Polish fire crews battled 35 forest fires on Monday
and about a quarter of the country's woodlands were at
serious risk of fire after temperatures topped 30C
(86F) for much of July, authorities said

· In southern Bosnia, mines left over from the 1992-95
war have barred firefighters from coming to grips with
a fire that has raged for three days near Mostar

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003


Posted by richard at 09:34 AM

Hiroshima Mayor Lashes Out at Bush on Atomic Bombing Anniversary

The populace and resources of the US are in greater
danger today than prior to 9/11 because of the damage
the _resident and his neo-con wet dreamers have done
to world stability, the Middle East peace process,
etc. The populace and resources of the US are aso in
greater danger today than prior to 9/11 because of
what the _resident and his cabal have failed to do on
the Homeland Security front. The atmosphere they have
created with the tearing up of treaties, the thumbing
of their noses at the international community, the
mishandling of the Korean penninsula, etc. is one of
unprecendeted volatility and chaos. It will only get
worse until they are removed from office in the 2004
election...Here is another name to scrawl on the John
O'Neil Wall of Heroes, Mayor Akiba of Hiroshima...

Published on Wednesday, August 6, 2003 by the Agence
France Presse
Hiroshima Mayor Lashes Out at Bush on Atomic Bombing Anniversary

HIROSHIMA, Japan - Hiroshima's mayor lashed out at the
United States' nuclear weapons policy during
ceremonies marking the 58th anniversary of the city's
atomic bombing, which caused the deaths of over
230,000 people.

Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba said the United States
worshipped nuclear weapons as "God" and blamed it for
jeopardizing the global nuclear non-proliferation

Demonstrators stage a 'die-in' before the gutted
A-bomb dome on the hour at which the atomic bomb was
dropped over Hiroshima August 6, 2003, the 58th
anniversary of the nuclear inferno. In an annual
ritual of remembrance for the more than 230,000 people
who ultimately died from the blast, thousands gathered
to pray at Peace Memorial Park, close to ground zero.
(Kyodo via Reuters)

"The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the central
international agreement guiding the elimination of
nuclear weapons, is on the verge of collapse," Akiba
said Wednesday in an address to some 40,000 people.
"The chief cause is US nuclear policy that, by openly
declaring the possibility of a pre-emptive nuclear
first strike and calling for resumed research into
mini-nukes and other so-called 'useable nuclear
weapons,' appears to worship nuclear weapons as God,"
he said.

The mayor also slammed as unjust the US-led war on
Iraq, which he blamed for killing innocent civilians.
"The weapons of mass destruction that served as the
excuse for the war have yet to be found," he said.

Akiba strongly urged US President George W. Bush and
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to personally visit
Hiroshima and "confront the reality of nuclear war".

As the clock clicked onto 8:15 am (2315 GMT Tuesday),
the exact time the United States dropped the bomb on
August 6, 1945, those at the ceremony at Hiroshima's
Peace Memorial Park bowed their heads for a minute's
silence in memory of the victims of the attack.

During the 45-minute ceremony, officials added 5,050
names to the register of victims who died immediately
or from the after-effects of radiation exposure in the
bombing, bringing the total toll to 231,920, an
official said.

The Hiroshima bombing was followed by the dropping of
a second atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki on August
9, 1945, which killed another estimated 74,000 people.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told the service that
Japan would stick by its pacifist constitution and its
non-nuclear principles because the tragedies of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki "can never be repeated."

This year's ceremony came ahead of six-nation talks
over North Korea's nuclear weapons development
program, which Pyongyang agreed to last week.

Koizumi told reporters after the ceremony that North
Korea's abduction of Japanese nationals would be a
high priority at the talks.

"At the six-nation talks, obviously, nuclear weapons
will be the focus, but for Japan, the abduction issue
is just as important," he said.

"We will naturally have close cooperation with the
United States and South Korea, but we must make
efforts to have China and Russia understand our
position as well," he said.

Last week, North Korea said it would accept six-way
talks to include North and South Korea, Russia, Japan,
China and the United States to end the nuclear crisis
that began in October last year.

Washington had accused the Stalinist state of reneging
on a 1994 bilateral nuclear freeze accord by running a
clandestine nuclear program based on enriched uranium.

Copyright 2003 AFP

Posted by richard at 09:32 AM

August 06, 2003

Insider fires a broadside at Rumsfeld's office

Here is the testimony of another brave patriot
insider, BUT will the "US mainstream media" highlight
these dramatic and unprecedented revelations? Very
unlikely. Remember how much you heard from Linda
Tripp? Well, the propapunditgandists won't take up the
story of Air Force Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski on Sunday
morning, nor will you see her interviewed in depth in
Larry Clueless Live...But her name will be scrawled on
the John O'Neil wall of heroes....

Insider fires a broadside at Rumsfeld's office
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - On most days, the Pentagon's "Early
Bird", a daily compilation of news articles on
defense-related issues mostly from the US and British
press, does not shy from reprinting hard-hitting
stories and columns critical of the United States
Defense Department's top leadership.

But few could help notice last week that the "Bird"
omitted an opinion piece distributed by the
Knight-Ridder news agency by a senior Pentagon Middle
East specialist, Air Force Lt Col Karen Kwiatkowski,
who worked in the office of Under Secretary of Defense
for Policy Douglas Feith until her retirement in

"What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to
good order and discipline," Kwiatkowski wrote. "If one
is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of
'intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential
speech, or why the post-Saddam [Hussein] occupation
[of Iraq] has been distinguished by confusion and
false steps, one need look no further than the process
inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense [OSD]."

Kwiatkowski went on to charge that the operations she
witnessed during her tenure in Feith's office, and
particularly those of an ad hoc group known as the
Office of Special Plans (OSP), constituted "a
subversion of constitutional limits on executive power
and a co-option through deceit of a large segment of
the Congress".

Kwiatkowski's charges, which tend to confirm reports
and impressions offered to the press by retired
officers from other intelligence agencies and their
still-active but anonymous former colleagues, are
likely to make her a prime witness when Congress
reconvenes in September for hearings on the
manipulation of intelligence to justify war against

According to Kwiatkowski, the same operation that
allegedly cooked the intelligence also was responsible
for the administration's failure to anticipate the
problems that now dog the US occupation in Iraq, or,
in her more colorful words, that have placed 150,000
US troops in "the world's nastiest rat's nest, without
a nation-building plan, without significant
international support and without an exit plan".

Kwiatkowski's comments echo the worst fears of some
lawmakers, who have begun looking into the OSP's role
in the administration's mistaken assumptions in Iraq.
Some are even comparing it to the off-the-books
operation run from the National Security Council (NSC)
during the Ronald Reagan administration that later
resulted in the Iran-Contra scandal.

"That office [OSP] was charged with collecting,
vetting, disseminating intelligence completely outside
the normal intelligence apparatus," David Obey, a
senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, said
last month. "In fact, it appears that the information
collected by this office was in some instances not
even shared with the established intelligence agencies
and in numerous instances was passed on to the
National Security Council and the president without
having been vetted with anyone other than [Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld]."

Little is known about OSP, which was originally
created by Rumsfeld and his top deputy, Paul
Wolfowitz, to investigate possible links between
Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist group.
While only a dozen people officially worked in the
office at its largest, scores of "consultants" were
brought in on contract, many of them closely
identified with the neo-conservative and pro-Likud
views held by the Pentagon leadership.

Headed by a gung-ho former navy officer, William Luti,
and a scholarly national-security analyst, Abram
Shulsky, OSP was given complete access to reams of raw
intelligence produced by the US intelligence community
and became the preferred stop, when in town, for
defectors handled by the Iraqi National Congress
(INC), led by Ahmed Chalabi.

It also maintained close relations with the Defense
Policy Board (DPB), which was then chaired by Richard
Perle of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI),
Feith's mentor in the Reagan administration. Perle and
Feith, whose published views on Israeli policy echo
the right-wing Likud party, co-authored a 1996 memo
for then-prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu that argued
that Saddam's ouster in Iraq would enable Israel to
transform the balance of power in the Middle East in
its favor.

The DPB included some of Perle's closest associates,
including former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
director James Woolsey and the former Republican
speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt
Gingrich, who played prominent roles in pushing the
public case that Iraq represented an imminent threat
to the United States and that it was closely tied to
al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks.

In her article, Kwiatkowski wrote that OSP's work was
marked by three major characteristics:

First, career Pentagon analysts assigned to Rumsfeld's
office were generally excluded from what were "key
areas of interest" to Feith, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld,
notably Israel, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. "In terms of
Israel and Iraq, all primary staff work was conducted
by political appointees; in the case of Israel, a desk
officer appointee from the Washington Institute for
Near Policy [a think tank closely tied to the main
pro-Israel lobby in Washington, the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee]."

Second, the same group of appointees tended to work
with like-minded political appointees in other
agencies, especially the State Department, the NSC,
and Vice President Dick Cheney's office, rather than
with those agencies' career analysts or the CIA. "I
personally witnessed several cases of staff officers
being told not to contact their counterparts at State
or the National Security Council because that
particular decision would be processed through a
different channel," Kwiatkowski wrote.

The CIA's exclusion from this network could help
explain why Cheney and his National Security Advisor,
I Lewis Libby, a long-time associate of Wolfowitz,
frequently visited the agency, in what analysts widely
regarded as pressure to conform to OSP assessments.

Third, this exclusion of professional and independent
opinions, both within the Pentagon and across
government agencies - according to Kwiatkowski -
resulted in "groupthink", a technical term defined as
"reasoning or decision-making by a group, often
characterized by uncritical acceptance of conformity
to prevailing points of view". In this case, the
prevailing points of view were presumably shaped by
neo-conservatives like Feith, Wolfowitz and Perle.

Kwiatkowski's broadside coincides with the appearance
in neo-conservative media outlets, notably the Wall
Street Journal, of defenses of Feith, who is widely
seen as the Pentagon's most likely fall guy if it is
forced to shoulder blame for bad intelligence and
planning. The government of British Prime Minister
Tony Blair has pressed President George W Bush to fire
Feith for several months, according to diplomatic

In a lengthy defense published on Tuesday, the
associate editor of the Journal's editorial page
described Feith's policy workshop as "the world's most
effective think tank".

(Inter Press Service)

Posted by richard at 05:52 PM

'We Don't Feel Like Heroes Anymore'

Here is an extraordinary message from a US GI with his
life and honor on the line in the _resident's foolish
military adventure in Iraq. Will the "US mainstream
news media" give these brave men and women the proper
forum on the airwaves and in the living rooms of their
fellow citizens? Perhaps more importantly, wil the "US
mainstream news media" protect the courageous GIs who
speak out? Will the "US mainstream news media" keep
track of them and thereby draw public scrutiny to any
punishment by the spiteful Bush cabal? Howard Dean
(D-Jeffords) is on the cover of TIME and Newsweak
because he is talking tough to the little bully in the
White House. It is not only resonating with the
"Democratic wng of the Democratic Party," it is
resonating with a wide cross-section of the
electorate. Indeed, as I have mentioned before, a
Popular Front is emerging. This widespread opposition
to the _resident's destructive economic and national
security "policies" is not about ideology, it is about
human decency, common , credibility and the principles
the US has traditionally shared with its friends and
allies in the international community...

'We Don't Feel Like Heroes Anymore'
By Pfc. Isaac Kindblade
The Oregonian

Tuesday 05 August 2003

I am a private first class in the Army's 671st
Engineer Company out of Portland. I just wanted to let
you know a little bit of what we are up to, maybe so
that you can have another opinion of what's going on
over here in Iraq.

We have been in country since Feb. 14 and were a
part of the Third Infantry Division's march into
Baghdad. In fact, as a result of some serious
miscommunications, we were the front line of the
charge on two very distinct occasions.

We haven't been a huge part of the war. We are
bridge builders, and we were here in the event that
the Iraqis blew up the bridges on their retreat. They
didn't, so we didn't have to do much.

We were scheduled for 13 missions at the start of
the war. We did three or four bridge-related missions.
We fill in where we are needed, whether it be guarding
enemy prisoners of war, operating traffic control
points, patrols on the Tigris River or guard duty of
police stations. Our primary mission at this point is
transportation, because we happen to drive very large

A lot is being said about poor morale. That seems to
be the case all over the place. It's hot, we've been
here for a long time, it's dangerous, we haven't had
any real down time in months and we don't know when
we're going home.

I think a big aspect has been the people here. When
the war had just ended, we were the liberators, and
all the people loved us. Convoys were like one long
parade. Somewhere down the line, we became an
occupation force in their eyes. We don't feel like
heroes anymore.

We are doing the best we can, trying to get this
place back on its feet so we can go home -- making
friends with the locals and trying to enforce peace
and stability.

A lot is made of our military's might. Our Abrams
tanks, our Apache helicopters, computers, satellites,
this and that. All that stuff is great, but it's
essentially useless in peacekeeping ops. It is up to
the soldiers on the ground armed with M-16s and a
precious few words of Arabic.

The task is daunting, and the conditions are
frightening. We can't help but think of "Black Hawk
Down" when we're in Baghdad surrounded by swarms of
people. Soldiers are being attacked, injured and
killed every day. The rules of engagement are
crippling. We are outnumbered. We are exhausted. We
are in over our heads.

The president says, "Bring 'em on." The generals say
we don't need more troops. Well, they're not over

It would take a group of supermen to do what's been
asked of us. Maybe people back home think we are.
Hell, maybe we are. I'm 20, and I can't help but think
that serving in a war is a rite of passage, earning my
generation a place in the history books.

I'm honored to be over here, and I realize that this
is the experience of a lifetime. All the same, we are
ready to come home.


Pfc. Isaac Kindblade of Cornelius enlisted in the Army
at age 17 before his graduation from Valley Catholic
High School in Beaverton.

Posted by richard at 05:49 PM

Bumbling Bush may have Given Osama an Open Goal

(8/5/03) Meanwhile, terrorists have bombed a hospital in Russia
and a hotel in Indonesia. Al-Qaeda and its allies are
alive and well, in large part due to the _resident's
moral bankruptcy on Isreal/Palestine and his foolish,
unnecessary invasion and occupation of Iraq. Yes, he
took his eye off the ball, yes, and he gutted the
Federal coffers for *two* disasterous tax cuts and an
expensive, no-win war in Iraq while vital Homeland
Security issues have gone underfunded or ignored. Here
is an excellent analysis from America's best
newspaper, the UK Guardian...

Published on Monday, August 4, 2003 by the Guardian/UK

Bumbling Bush may have Given Osama an Open Goal:
The Old-style Tactics used in the 'War on Terror' Won't Work on Al-Qaida

by Simon Tisdall

Fear of attack, rather than the attack itself, is the
terrorist's most potent weapon. And despite all the
declared successes of George Bush's "war on terror",
fear of major new outrages by al-Qaida and its
partners in mayhem is once again on the rise.

The immediate question, as ever, is how to prevent
such attacks before they happen. The larger question
is why, after Afghanistan and Iraq and everything else
that has been said and done by western leaders since
9/11, this threat apparently remains so omnipresent -
and so scary.

The past few days alone have brought fresh warnings
whose non-specific nature only intensifies the vague,
nagging sense of menace. In Washington, the Department
of Homeland Security raised the specter of renewed
suicide hijackings. Another 9/11-style attack "could
be executed by the end of the summer 2003", it said.
"Attack venues may include the United Kingdom ... or
the east coast of the United States."

US opinion polls indicating falling confidence in
Bush's conduct of the "war on terror" found an echo at
the UN. Heraldo Munoz, chairman of the al-Qaida
sanctions committee, said international collaboration
was slipping.

Only 30% of UN members were meeting their obligation
to report al-Qaida movements and financing, he said.
"Individuals or entities associated with al-Qaida"
were still able to acquire weapons and explosives
where and when they needed them, as shown by several
recent attacks.

Inocencio Arias, chief of the UN's counter-terrorism
committee, was hardly more encouraging in a week when
a Congressional inquiry criticized 9/11 intelligence
failures. "After two years, a lot of people are
sleeping again," Arias said. Withholding assistance
would be a less tactful way of putting it.

In London, meanwhile, the Commons foreign affairs
committee warned that Osama bin Laden still has the
capability "to lead and guide the organization towards
further atrocities". The committee also finally
reached a conclusion that opponents of the Iraq
invasion arrived at long ago: that "the war in Iraq
might in fact have impeded the war against al-Qaida",
in part by attracting recruits. In any event, threat
levels had not been significantly reduced.

The reasons why al-Qaida and like-minded groups have
survived the post-9/11 onslaught are discussed by
Harvard's Jessica Stern in the latest issue of Foreign
Affairs. Al-Qaida has shown a surprising ability to
adapt, she argues, by forging new local and regional
alliances, embracing additional objectives, changing
tactics and eschewing formal hierarchies to encourage
"leaderless resistance".

If they are ever to defang and defuse the
"totalitarian Islamist revivalism" that constitutes
al-Qaida's main inspiration and appeal, Stern says,
the US and its allies must exhibit similar
adaptability and innovation and more imaginative
remedies for east-west alienation.

It is at this point that the doubts about Bush's
divisive and frequently crude leadership of the "war
on terror" come more sharply into focus. Bush is
accused of many things - but never of being
imaginative. From the very start, and despite much
spin and waffle about fighting a new kind of conflict
by unconventional means, Bush has opted for the

In Afghanistan, nebulous al-Qaida networks posed a
complex and subtle challenge. Bush's solution? Invade
the country and overthrow its rulers. The Taliban may
have had it coming; but that is hardly the point. This
was the old-style "overwhelming force" approach long
favored by US presidents, Daddy Bush included.

The Iraq campaign was conducted, for whatever reason
(and many were given), on much the same principle:
kick the door down, then charge in - and to hell with
the wider consequences. While such behavior brings
quick, short-term results and may be superficially
gratifying, innovative or imaginative it definitely is

These tactics bear little relation to an effective
defense against terrorism in the round, let alone to
tackling its root causes. Many al-Qaida in Afghanistan
were merely dispersed; now they are returning. As for
Iraq, they were never there in the first place.

Deputy Pentagon chief Paul Wolfowitz still insists
that "Iraq is the central battle in the war on
terror". In reality, he is now trying disingenuously
to redefine all Iraqi opponents of US occupation as
"terrorists" - as somehow one and the same as the
people who blew up Manhattan. It won't wash.

The continuing cost of Iraq in terms of ruptured
alliances, global tension, economic disruption, Muslim
animosity and the daily grief of both occupiers and
occupied surely gives great comfort to America's true
ideological and cultural enemies. How they must gloat.

The UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, tried in his
usual calming way to put some pieces back together
last week. He called for a new sense of common
endeavor among nations repelled by Bush's policies in
order to meet the challenges posed by global
terrorism. Even as he spoke, Bush, discussing
Palestine with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon by
his side, was busy leading his terror crusade down its
next blind alley.

Sharon has long sought to portray Israel's conflict
with the Palestinians as part and parcel of the US-led
"war on terror". Judging by his latest comments, Bush
has entirely embraced this view. Terrorism was the
issue that overrode all others, he suggested; and
peace was conditional on the prior dismantling of all
terrorist groups - Sharon's position exactly.

The fundamental flaw in this approach is that, unlike
Bush and Sharon, most of the world does not regard
Palestinian resistance to occupation in the same light
as the activities of al-Qaida and allied transnational
groups with their much broader, insurrectionary aims.

Palestinian grievances are specific, easily understood
and well-rehearsed. The likes of Hamas and Islamic
Jihad are utterly wrong to attack Israeli civilians.
But by lumping together Palestinian hardliners with
far more virulent international terrorist gangs, Bush
confuses the two issues to the detriment of solutions
to both.

This blurring of distinctions actually fans extremism
and polarization and the sort of foreign meddling in
Palestine by Iran, Syria and Lebanon's Hizbullah that
the US so regularly decries. Crucially, by such
simplistic analysis, Bush further discredits and
undermines international support for his wider
anti-terror campaign.

Here once again is Bush's unimaginative "for us or
against us" approach, the "good guys v bad guys"
routine. Once again he fails to see how daft - and how
dangerous - this is. Little wonder that US senators
worry that the administration has taken its eye off
the ball. With the bumbling Bush as "war on terror"
team captain, little wonder if the dread Osama
believes he is again staring at an open goal.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Posted by richard at 05:46 PM

Whistleblower on Niger uranium claim accuses White House of launching 'dirty-tricks campaign'

(8/5/03) It is clear that significant elements of the US
military and intel community are resisting the foolish
and destructive adventurism of the _resident and his
neo-con wet dreamers, Paul Woefullwits, Richard
Puerile, etc...It is also painfully evident that the
"US mainstream news media" will only report what it is
forced to report and almost never connect the
dots...Here is more (from the British press of course)
on the saga of Joseph Wilson and his wife, victims of
White House "dirty tricks," with their names scrawled
on the John O'Neil wall of heroes...Remember, Wilson
was Poppy Bush's Ambassador to Iraq. Yes, here is a
Popular Front emerging in the U.S., a widespread
citizen's movement based not on left/right ideologies
but on common human decency and pillars of
long-standing US and international principles...

Whistleblower on Niger uranium claim accuses White House of launching 'dirty-tricks campaign'
By Kim Sengupta
04 August 2003

The former American diplomat who exposed false claims
that Iraq was trying to purchase uranium from Niger
has accused members of the Bush administration of a
dirty tricks campaign against him.

The revelation of Joseph Wilson's investigation in the
African state forced President George Bush to retract
claims about Iraq's attempts to buy uranium made in
his State of the Union speech two months before the
war began.

The Administration is alleged to have leaked the name
of Mr Wilson's wife, an undercover CIA operative in
the field of weapons of mass destruction, with the aim
of discrediting him. It is said that Mr Wilson was
selected to go on the trip to Niger last year only
after his wife, Valerie Plame, suggested him.

US intelligence officials and the Democrats are
furious about the move, arguing that it jeopardises Ms
Plame's work and undermines her husband. They have
called for an inquiry.

Her identity was revealed by Bob Novak, a syndicated
columnist, who said that he was given the information
by "two senior administration officials". They told
him that Ms Plame had suggested to her CIA colleagues
that her husband should be sent on the mission.

His report was followed by allegations on
neo-conservative websites that Mr Wilson was an
opponent of the Iraq war, and had an interest in
refuting the threat from Saddam Hussein's WMD.

Mr Wilson said yesterday that the naming of his wife
had parallels with the disclosure of the identity of
the British scientist David Kelly, the source of BBC
allegations that the British government "sexed up" an
dossier on Iraqi weapons.

"The Administration in Washington came in saying they
were going to restore honour and dignity to the
presidency," Mr Wilson said. "They have shown no sign
of it so far. "This is highly damaging to my wife's
career, and could be seen as a smear against me." But
it was also about discouraging "others who may have
information embarrassing to the administration from
coming forward," he said.

"It is absolutely untrue that my wife was responsible
for my trip to Niger. I met a number of senior members
of staff to discuss the visit."

Democrats have criticised the White House over
disclosing Ms Plame's identity, and Senator Charles
Schumer of New York has urged the FBI to investigate.

Former US intelligence officials have also attacked
the Administration for the leak, saying it put Ms
Plame at risk.

Frank Anderson, the former CIA station chief for the
Near East Division, said: "When it gets to the point
of an administration official acting to do career
damage, and possibly endanger someone's life, that's
mean, that's petty, it's irresponsible, and it ought
not to be sanctioned."

Mr Wilson, a former US ambassador to Gabon, revealed
his Niger mission, undertaken last year, in a recent
article in The New York Times. He reported to the
State Department and the CIA that tales of Iraqi
purchases of Niger uranium were without credence but
it was still used by Mr Bush in his speech, though
attributed to Britain.

Mr Bush said: "The British government has learned that
Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities
of uranium from Africa."

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, has acknowledged
that the CIA told Britain that there was no evidence
of Iraq attempting to acquire uranium from Niger. The
Government insists, however, that it has "separate
intelligence" about Iraq's attempts to acquire African
uranium. Ministers have refused to state what that is.
5 August 2003 09:30

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Posted by richard at 05:42 PM

August 04, 2003

Senator Gary Hart Talks about Terrorism, the Bush Administration and What's Not Being Done to Prevent Further Attacks

(8/4/03) Remember, not only where there numerous and specific
intelligence warnings from our allies about
impending attacks from Al-Qaeda that were not acted
upon by the _resident, the VICE _resident, the White
House au pair and the rest of the cabal, not only did
they shelve the Clinton-Gore national security team
plan on crushing Al-Qaeda handed to them with the keys
to the Oval Office, not only did they cause so much
frustration for counter-terrorism investigator John
O'Neal that he resigned to go to work as director of
security for the World Trade Center (and died there,
attempting to rescue others on 9/11), the _resident
and his cabal rejected the conclusions of the
Hart-Rudman commission (empowered by Clinton-Gore)
only to institute *some* of the Hart-Rudman
recommendations many months later as a political
distraction and in an incompetent and subverted way.
Of course, as with everything they touch, the concept
has been corrupted: we have a Department of Homeland
Insecurity, one that tracks Democratic state
legislators in Texas instead of a real Dept. of
Homeland Security that would have the money to secure
the ports, the air traffic, the railways, the water
system, etc. The money was spent instead on a foolish
and unfare tax cut and a foolish and unnecesary war in
Iraq...But who will tell this story to the American
people? Who will connect the dots of all this criminal
Here is a great Buzzflash interview with Gary Hart
(D-Reality), but I doubt Hart will have such
insightful questions to answer if you see him on
PrettyBlandStuff's Noose Hour...The names of Hart and
Rudman (R-Reality) are, of course, scrawled on the John O'Neal
Wall of Heroes...

August 4, 2003
Senator Gary Hart Talks about Terrorism, the Bush Administration and What's Not Being Done to Prevent Further Attacks

"And that was our first recommendation to the
President. And it was that failure to act -– to begin
to do that -– that I think permitted this event to


If anyone knows that the United States -– and the Bush
Administration -– should have seen September 11th
coming, it’s Gary Hart.

Former Colorado Senator Gary Hart co-chaired both the
U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century,
which issued three public reports forecasting the age
of terrorism and outlined a new, post-Cold War
national security policy, as well as the Council on
Foreign Relations task force on homeland security,
which recently released its report "America -- Still
Unprepared, Still in Danger."

Many of the issues Hart presciently raised and
discussed in the 1970s and 1980s -- including military
reform, intelligence reform, energy independence, and
a number of others -- have now begun to re-enter the
arena of national debate. In the late 1990s, Hart's
mastery of security issues and grasp of foreign policy
led him to make multiple and tragically unheeded
predictions -- one as late as September 5, 2001 --
that America would be attacked by terrorists using
weapons of mass destruction.

No longer a "prophet without honor" in the wake of
9-11, Gary Hart believes the United States is still
woefully unprepared to intercept and respond to
attacks on American territory. Like a latter-day Paul
Revere, he is continuing to provide direction to both
his party and his country in an age marred by

In the light of the recently released 9/11 report,
BuzzFlash turned to Senator Hart to provide some
insight into America's war on terrorism.

* * *

BUZZFLASH: First I wanted to ask you, before we get
into the Hart-Rudman report, on your
[LINK] of June 25th, you wrote, "Meanwhile" – and I’m
quoting – "the Administration’s efforts to remake the
Middle East to our liking, with all the ramifications
of benign imperialism, goes on. It just happens to
have little to do with the real war on terrorism." Can
you explain a little more what you meant by that?

SENATOR GARY HART: Well, I think when the history of
this military engagement is written, the real purposes
behind it will have to do much more with the politics
in the Middle East than with any war on terrorism. We
are not, in North Korea or anywhere else, preemptively
attacking nations whose governments we do not like, or
who are oppressive to their own people, or even in the
case of North Korea, which possesses weapons of mass
destruction and might use them against us. So all the
arguments used that were ostensibly the reason for war
in Iraq, I think, were efforts by the Administration
to bring Iraq under the umbrella of the war on
terrorism. They worked for the moment, but now that we
are trying to make the case, we’re not able to do so.
I think the real reasons, as I’ve said, had a lot more
to do with our long-range objectives in the Middle
East and the Arab world.

BUZZFLASH: Among the controversies about the
just-released 9/11 report, there are a couple things
we’d like your comments on. First of all, the missing
pages that allegedly have to do with support by
individuals within Saudi Arabia -- and perhaps within
the government -- for Al-Qaida. Do you have any
comment on that? Some would argue that the Bush
Administration has been covering up for Saudi Arabia,
and that there are far more indications of connections
between Saudi Arabia and al-Qaida than Iraq had.

HART: I gather you’re talking about the Congressional
report that just came out.


HART: Well, it’s very difficult for us to want to
withhold that portion of the report on the grounds of
protecting the Saudis, when the Saudi government
officially stated it wishes the report released. And I
gather the Saudi Foreign Minister made that case to
the President. So it puts us in a position of
protecting a government that claims it doesn't want to
be protected. I think frankly, if it looks like that,
we’re endangering the Saudi government in the region,
because essentially what we’re saying is we’re so
close to the Saudis we need to protect them in this.
And the Saudis don't want to be protected. And that
makes them look very beholden to us politically. And
so I don't see as it’s doing anybody any good. You can
blank out sources and methods – how you learned
something or who gave it to you – and still 95% of
that section could be released, and I think it should

BUZZFLASH: Now you co-chaired the Hart-Rudman report,
and it was officially released just about the time
that the Bush Administration came into office. And it
received some coverage – not a tremendous amount --
but some media attention was given to it. And I have a
CNN article in front of me from February 1st, 2001,
which says, in the introduction to an article about
the Hart-Rudman report, "While few officials doubt the
group’s research, some question whether these
suggestions are possible and necessary." How did you
feel at the time that the report received coverage,
but pretty much died down as much news does after
awhile if there’s no one to keep it alive?

HART: Well, first of all, there were three reports.
The first was issued sometime before the one you
mentioned. These are all public – rolled out in news
conferences with full notification to the press. And
the first report said that America would be attacked
by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, and
Americans would lose their lives on American soil,
possibly in large numbers. The date of that report was
September 15th, 1999 – two years, almost to the day,
before the attack on the World Trade Center.
Furthermore, a second report came out in the spring of
2000, and the third one is the one that you mentioned.
The first of fifty recommendations, all of which were
eminently doable, was to create a National Homeland
Security agency. And if CNN or anyone else was saying
that it wasn't feasible, well, two years later, we had
one finally created. So the question was: are you
going to do it before the terrorists attack, or
afterwards? And unfortunately, the Administration
waited until well afterwards.

I would point out also that the so-called newspaper of
record, the New York Times, didn't print one word
about that final report. Keep in mind this wasn't just
another federal commission. This was the most
comprehensive review of U.S. national security since
1947. And so we weren't competing with a thousand
other federal commissions. This was groundbreaking
stuff, and we had spent two and a half years putting
these recommendations and findings together.

BUZZFLASH: Because of that intensity of work that was
put into it, it covers a lot of ground. And I won't
ask you to try to review all of it. But let me ask you
about a couple of significant areas of discussion. One
was the issue of the National Security Council at the
White House, and that it had perhaps become too
imbalanced over the years – too reflective of a given
administration’s position, not necessarily just the
Bush Administration. We certainly saw that under Nixon
and his relationship with Kissinger, and your
commission recommended that more power should be
returned to the State Department. Do you feel that
events have borne out that finding?

HART: Yes, I think so, having very little to do with
9/11. But I think most of us felt, and many others
have felt, that the power of the National Security
Council has grown well beyond what its original
purposes were – that is, to coordinate the security
activities of major branches of government. It has
become a second State Department, and a competitor
with the State Department. That happened well before
the Bush Administration. It’s been going on for quite
some time. And it’s, in almost every administration,
been the source of friction and grievance and
confusion. So it seemed to all of us who had studied
the matter for some time that it made eminent sense to
reestablish a proper balance between a smaller and
more discrete national security staff and the State
Department, which is tasked with conducting the
foreign policy of the United States.

BUZZFLASH: The Hart-Rudman Report mentions the
importance of human intelligence gathering. Can you
explain that a little bit? Has our reliance in the
recent past been on gathering intelligence primarily
through technology?

HART: Well, in the latter days of the Cold War,
technology permitted us, through the use of overhead
satellites and very sophisticated listening stations
and devices, to acquire a great deal of information.
Indeed, at some points, more than we could ever
possibly digest. And, as our reliance and fascination
with those sources expanded, we more and more
neglected the agent on the ground, and particularly
the agent penetrating organizations that might pose a

And it was just very simple – if you believe that one
of the largest, if not the largest threat, of the
early 21st Century is going to be terrorism, these are
non-state organizations that do not lend themselves to
the kind of electronic surveillance that nation-states
do, with capitals and governments, and established
networks of communication and so on. So it’s just kind
of common sense that if you’re going to fight
terrorism in this new world, that you’re going to have
to get agents inside those organizations to tell you
when, where and how they intend to act.

BUZZFLASH: In a news story prior to the interview, we
were looking back on the history of the
recommendations from the Hart-Rudman reports. And one
news story mentioned that you had tried to warn the
Bush administration – I’m quoting from them. "Hart
pleaded with the Bush Administration to take the
Al-Qaida threat seriously, throughout the spring and
summer of 2001, with Hart even meeting personally with
Rice just one week before the Twin Towers were
attacked." Do you have any comment about this
interpretation of events?

HART: I’d put it differently. There were fourteen of
us, and not all of us agreed or shared the same degree
of urgency about this threat. We all concluded that it
existed. We all concluded that it was going to happen.
The question was: would it be sooner or later? I felt,
and I think a few others felt, a higher degree of
urgency about this. And in my case, I went around the
country. Keep in mind the mandate of the commission
required that it be dissolved by February 15th, 2001.
We got an extension because there were Congressional
committees that wanted testimony from us. But by and
large, once we delivered the reports, as a body, we
had pretty much completed our work.

But individually, I went around the country, gave
speeches and urged people to pay more attention to
this. I also urged reporters and journalists to pay
more attention. One of the speeches I gave was in
Montreal, ironically, to an International Air
Transportation Association meeting. And the next
morning, the Montreal papers’ headlines were: "Hart
Predicts Terrorist Attacks on America."

BUZZFLASH: And when was that?

HART: That was the day I went down to Washington and
met with Dr. Rice, whom I had known before. And I
said, "Please get going more urgently on the issue of
homeland security." And that was September the 6th,
2001 – five days before the attack.

BUZZFLASH: Rice has said that Bush was briefed, I
believe, on August 6th of 2001 – if that’s not the
exact date, it’s within a couple of days – that there
might indeed be serious bombings by Al-Qaida in the
United States, or hijackings, but that they couldn't
predict planes would be flown into the Twin Towers or
the Pentagon. Do you have any response to that?

HART: Our commission did not have the resources to
give detailed projections as to how, when and where.
But the fact is that for two years we had said this
was going to happen, and one major step that needed to
be taken was to coordinate existing federal assets,
particularly our border control agencies – Coast
Guards, Customs and Border Patrol, and Immigration and
Naturalization Service, and the Federal Emergency
Management Agency. We were very explicit about that,
and we had been. And that was our first recommendation
to the President. And it was that failure to act – to
begin to do that – that I think permitted this event
to happen. No one believes in absolute security. But
the goal is to make it as difficult for the attackers
as possible, and we had not done that. There had been
no – to my knowledge – no major step taken by this
administration in the period between January and
September to stop these attacks, including
coordinating the databases and communication systems
of the Board of Control Agency and the INS. Everybody
since 9/11 that’s looked at the situation has said the
porousness of that system is what permitted these
people to do what they did. And the question is: what,
if anything, did the administration do between January
31st and September the 11th? And the answer is: not
very much.

Now a commission of fourteen people cannot substitute
for the federal government of the United States. The
President had the power. The President controlled the
FBI and the CIA. And when the tragedy happened, no one
was fired. Why is that? Why was there no
accountability? So instead of pointing the finger at
us, and say: well, if you’d just told us they were
going to use airplanes, and that the target was the
World Trade Center, and it was going to be September
11th, maybe we could have done something. That’s total

BUZZFLASH: Well, we’ve pointed out on BuzzFlash on a
number of occasions that when Rice mentioned that they
knew of hijackings, but not hijackings into buildings,
that this was beyond ridiculous, because the way you
stop a hijacking into a building is the same way you
stop a hijacking.

HART: Right.

BUZZFLASH: And so though the ultimate destination
perhaps, according to her, was not known to them, the
means of preventing it was the same.

HART: Yes. I was told very recently that there was
somebody in the intelligence community that created a
scenario that did involve the use of airplanes. I
haven't seen that scenario or where it came from, but
I didn't know it existed until somebody said it – that
it had been in one or more scenarios.

BUZZFLASH: Your co-chairman of the Hart-Rudman
committee, former New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman,
headed the panel for the Council on Foreign Relations
that recently released a report that says – and I
quote – "The United States remains dangerously
ill-prepared to handle a catastrophic attack on
American soil." This was just released a short time
ago. And particularly that we were lacking in
equipping and training the so-called first responders.

HART: Yes.

BUZZFLASH: The Administration dismissed this as a
commission outside the government that didn't really
have access to enough information to make these
judgments. What do you think about that finding?

HART: Well, first of all, to complete the record, that
report succeeds one that Senator Rudman and I did for
the Council on Foreign Relations in October 25, 2002 –
last fall. We did one on the anniversary of the
attacks to assess how much progress had been made in
homeland security in the year following 9/11. Our
report was entitled, "America’s Still at Risk.
America’s Still Unprepared."

The members of that panel included two former
Secretaries of State, including George Shultz and
Warren Christopher, three Nobel Prize winners, some of
the top security experts in the country. And Warren
[Rudman] and I, who had, by now, spent three or four
years of our lives on this – to say we were outside
the government, and therefore couldn't know what was
going on, is nonsense. We talked to an awful lot of
first responders. I personally have talked with
mayors. I’ve talked with fire departments, police
departments. We talked with the City of New York. We
talked to an awful lot of people. And so this wasn't
wild speculation. Warren’s report absolutely tracks
what all of us have been reporting all along; that is,
that the integration of the federal, state and local
government simply has not taken place.

BUZZFLASH: Now something happened horrible on
September 11th. Surprised the Bush Administration.
Surprised us all. Terrified this country. Since that
time, the Bush Administration has said: trust us. If
you challenge us, you’re unpatriotic. Everyone’s
concerned about terrorism. I mean, this is a natural
human instinct. We want to protect ourselves, protect
our families. I hate to ask the proverbial question,
but if you were president, what would you be doing
that’s not being done? And what would you not do
that’s being done? In short, what are the gaps here
beyond the first responders?

HART: Well, the Administration has three massive tasks
of integration. The first is to integrate the 22
federal departments that are part of a new Homeland
Security Department. That’s a massive task. It’s going
to take quite awhile. And part of it’s happening, but
it’s not happening fast enough. The key word here is
urgency. There is no sense of urgency.

The second, as I’ve said, is to integrate the federal
system. The first responders are not federal forces.
They are state and local forces – by and large, local.
This is a test of the federal system, meaning the
national government, state governments – fifty state
governments – and thousands of local governments. The
federal government’s role is to train and equip, and
to provide the resources for those state and local
responders, particularly local. They are not doing
that. They are not doing it nearly fast enough. So
across the board, whether it’s a communication system,
whether it is databases, whether it is linking local
databases to the federal database and watch lists,
training emergency health workers, training and
equipping the National Guard, port security – the list
goes on. It’s contained in the first Council on
Foreign Relations report last fall and the second one
this summer, in considerable detail.

The third integration that no one -- almost no one –
ever talks about is to integrate the public and the
private sector. There is something called the critical
infrastructure. That’s composed of financial systems,
communication systems, transportation systems, and
energy production and distribution systems, all of
which are critical to the operation of our society and
our economy. Virtually none of those industries have
been hardened or prepared for cyberattack or any other
attack. And then you’ve got other industries,
including chemicals, food and so forth that also have
to be protected. And the federal government can't do
all this. Those industries themselves have to be
tasked, either by law or by Presidential leadership,
with making themselves less vulnerable to being used
as a means of attacking our society.

An example: legislation was introduced in the last
Congress to get the chemical industry to harden its
sites and protect them better. Every member of the
chemical industry lobbied against that legislation.
And no word was heard from President Bush, Vice
President Cheney, or Governor Ridge about the duty of
the chemical industry as good citizens to help protect
itself and the American people. And there was no
meeting in the White House chaired by the President
with the CEOs of any of these industries, saying:
"Ladies and gentlemen, here’s what I expect you to do
as loyal American citizens to help make this country
invulnerable. You are not doing it. Now does anybody
here have a problem with that? I want to see your
hand." No hand would be raised. That would be strong
Presidential leadership.

BUZZFLASH: Let's return to where we started, which is
the war in Iraq and the Middle East, and the quote
from your entry in, which is to say,
if you were president, would you have considered Iraq
a target to expend $4 billion a month and the loss of
so many lives as significant enough in the war on
terrorism to spend those costs and lose those lives?
Or were there other targets or uses of our limited
defense forces and funds that probably might have
better served to advance the war on terrorism?

HART: I don't think you put it in dollar terms. I
think you rather say where are the most immediate
threats to American security and American lives. And I
would not have put Iraq first in that war on
terrorism. North Korea comes ahead – possibly one or
two other places – Al-Qaida certainly. And I agree
with Bob Graham when he says that the war in Iraq took
our focus away from Al-Qaida. When was the last time
you heard anything about us finding any Al-Qaida
people? So by mistakenly or erroneously dragging Iraq
into the war on terrorism, or making it the highest
priority, we have, in fact, dispersed our resources
and taken our eye off the principal challenges that we
face. There was an alternative.

People say, well, so you were just willing to let
Saddam Hussein prepare to attack us. Of course not.
The alternative was coercive, intrusive, permanent
inspection, permanently keeping Saddam in his box. And
that could have been done totally with international
support. And instead, the administration was so hell
bent on regime change – getting rid of him – that they
overrode the international community on the grounds
this had to do with our security, when no proof had
been made that it did. In fact, the arguments that
were made for the war having to do with our security
have almost all turned out to be wrong.

BUZZFLASH: As a final question, Bush and the Attorney
General and Vice President Cheney have said and/or
implied that to challenge them on how they’re
conducting the war on terrorism is, in essence,
unpatriotic. Do you have any thoughts about that?

HART: Of course, it’s nonsense. This is kind of the
last refuge of scoundrels – to say that anybody who
disagrees with you is unpatriotic. It’s almost not
worthy of response. Anybody who says "my way or the
highway," including the President of the United
States, or any party that says "we define patriotism
and if you don't agree with us, you’re unpatriotic,"
hasn't read the Constitution or doesn't have a clue
about what the history of this country’s about.


Posted by richard at 07:43 AM

Getting to Know the General

(8/3/03) At least two more US GIs died overnight in Iraq. For
what? Meanwhile, back here it is important to remember
that we are already in the midst of a civil war. To
this point, it has been a *civil* civil war. Everyone
should pray to whatever gods or goddesses they
acknowledge that it remain a *civil* civil war. It has
many fronts: the Democrat blockade against the
_resident's right-wing nominees for the Federal
judiciary is one front, the resistance to the
right-wing attempt at installing one of their own as
Govennor of California less than a year after losing
the election there is another front, the struggle of
the Democrats in the Texas legislature to thwart
radical reconstructive surgery down there is another
front, the opposition to Calm 'Em Powell's bratty son
Michael's FCC decision to fork over more bandwidth and
air time for corporate shills pushing Stepford news
and programmming is yet another front...Indeed, the
one understandable albeit perhaps short-sighted reason
for Al Gore's mute retirement from the field of battle
after the disgraceful Supreme In Just Us decision in
Bush vs. Gore is his concern about civil
unrest...Well, if this country succumbs to what
amounts to a Fascist take-over (Remember, Mussolini
insightfully said "Fascism" would be more aptly named
"Corporatism'), we will be worse off than we would
have been with civil unrest and an ostracized
_residency in 2000. Now, we are on the verge of
long-term, irretrievable ruin and abasement of the
principles on which the U.S. is predicated (whoever
short of them it has fallen in its history, these are
still the principles for which the Republic declared
itself and what it has strived toward...until this
mockery and this coup)...Turning back this onslaught
on the US Constitution and the core values of the U.S.
in the 2004 election is all that matters now...As the
LNS has stated before, we need "offense in depth," we
need several Democratic leaders willing to risk grave
politicial and perhaps even physical danger in the
next year and several months, we need champions who
have each carved out distinct positions BECAUSE we do
not know what kind of counterfeit Trifecta ticket the
-resident might attempt to cash in, nor do we know
what is implied in Tim Rushdirt's eerie aside to Sen.
Bob Graham (D-Fraudida) on a recent Meat The Press --
as they were signing off, Rushdirt *warmly* said to
Graham: "Be careful out there on the campaign trail,
Senator." Here from the incomparable Gene Lyons
(co-author of Hunting of The President) and Arkansas
columnist, is a portrait of Wesley Clark, who is a)
one of the names scrawled on the John O'Neil wall of
heroes, and b) a person with a role to play in the
restoration of this Republic...Graham-Clark or
Clark-Graham sound very healthy for America and very palpable for
the Electoral College sweepstakes...

Getting to Know the General
by Gene Lyons
In a recent column urging Gen. Wesley Clark to run for
president, I
mentioned a friend who questioned his political
skills. Because Clark
failed to recognize her after a couple of meetings as
David Pryor or
Bill Clinton would have, she suspected he lacked the
personal charm to
which Arkansas voters respond. After it appeared, I
got a call from a
book publicist who'd helped Clark with his book Waging
Modern War.

At every appearance, she said, many in the audience
were veterans who'd
served under Clark during his three decades as an Army
officer. The
general, she said, recognized every single one,
greeting them by name.
She'd never seen him hesitate.

Given that Clark's willpower and ambition have been
recognized since he
graduated first in his West Point class in 1966, this
struck me as a telling
anecdote. Not every military hero earns the affection
and respect of his men.
I had two uncles who served as infantry grunts under
Gen. Douglas
MacArthur in the Phillipines and in Korea. They
thought him a vainglorious
megalomaniac who'd sacrificed soldier's lives to win
medals for himself
--not necessarily history's judgement, but theirs.

Interestingly, it's a theme Clark himself discussed
with the authors of
two recent magazine profiles, by Tom Junod in the
current Esquire
and Duncan Murrell in the May/June Oxford American.
Both are worth
looking up for anybody intrigued with the idea of a
Clark candidacy.

Clark told Murrell that Americans' current tendency to
lionize the military
is partly due to post-9/11 fear, partly to lack of
experience with the real thing.
"We've been the beneficiaries of that lack of
familiarity," he said,
sentimentalizing soldiers as patriotic icons without
feeling the necessity
of serving. One result, as Murrell writes, is
politicians who feel free
"to use the military as a symbol, sending soldiers off
to wars that don't
affect most American families directly by putting
their children in harm's way."

Hence the popularity of a manifest fraud like
President Junior--who used
his father's political connections to secure a cushy
spot in the Texas Air
National Guard, got himself grounded after finishing
flight school, and appears
never to have showed up in Alabama to complete his
across an aircraft carrier deck in a flightsuit with
"Commander in Chief"
emblazoned on the front. An earlier generation would
have laughed, but
millions who resented Bill Clinton's artfully
sidestepping Vietnam are thrilled
by George W. Bush's "Top Gun" theatrics.

Now hear Clark, who despite being one of the first
West Point cadets to ask
"Why are we in Vietnam?" his instructors say, earned a
Purple Heart and the
Silver Star in combat there: "I think a time like this
is an interesting point in
American history. Many of the things that we've taken
for granted, that have
shaped our international strategy, our domestic
environment--they're up for
grabs right now. We got walloped on 9/11, and now
Americans are asking
themselves what's out there. They're saying 'Hey! Man,
these people are
supposed to like us! And what happened with Russia and
the Soviet Union?
Where is China?' Ordinary Americans are now much more
interested in the
world beyond. And in combination with the war on
terror, you've got a sort
of rollback to a sort of imperial presidency., a
presidency that's much more
private, and an investigatory service with greater
authority to come after
ordinary Americans. We thought we put that to rest
after the excesses of
the Nixon administration and Vietnam. I believed that
when I fought in
Vietnam I represented the right of all Americansto
express their views.
So I'm concerned."

As a CNN military analyst, Clark opposed the rush to
substitute Saddam Hussein for Osama bin Laden as
Public Enemy #1. Like many Army generals, he thought
U.S. forces much too light on the ground--fearing
precisely the chaos that's enveloped Iraq since
Baghdad fell. The Bush administration, he warned in
April, had "gloated much too soon."

The great theme of the post-Vietnam military reforms
that transformed the
U.S. Army, he explained to Esquire, was personal
accountability. "In the Navy,
when a ship runs aground," he said "the commanding
officer is relieved of duty,
no matter what the reason. Now, I'm not saying we
ought to hold politicians to
that standard, but still..."

He didn't finish the thought, but he did say "the
ultimate consideration for anyone running for
president against George Bush [is] 'how much pain you
can bear.'" My hope is that watching this
administration of country club toughs stonewall a
proper 9/11 investigation, deceive the American people
about a non-existent Iraqi nuclear threat, then alibi
that it's not Junior's fault because the president and
his national security advisor failed to read the
"National Intelligence Estimate," will convince Clark
that his country needs him again.


back to

Posted by richard at 07:40 AM

August 02, 2003

Cheney Chicanery

SeeNotNews (CNN) "political analyst" Bill Schnooker
did a ridiculous piece yesterday claiming that the
"White House press corp" "forced news out" of the
_resident. No, I am not joking. Schnooker actually
portayed this milk toast Kabuki as a real press
conference in which the _resident was peppered with
tough questions. Yesterday, in the LNS, I provided
several real questions that the _resident should have
been asked. Here are some more indicators of the
return of integrity, courage, conscience in the "White
House press corp" -- The "White House press corp" will
have gotten in touch with reality when you hear the
name of John O'Neil in a _residential press
conference. The The "White House press corp" will
have gotten in touch with reality when you hear the
name of Ray McGovern in a _residential press
conference. The "White House press corp" will have
gotten in touch with reality when you hear the phrase
"President's Daily Briefing on August 6, 2001" in a
_residential press conference. The "White House press
corp" will have gotten in touch with reality when you
hear questions like, "Mr. _resident, it is widely
reported that the 28 pages of the Congressional 9/11
report, which have been kept from the public, relate
to the involvement of Al-Qaeda with the Saudi regime,
in the light of which, do you have anything you want
to say to the American people to reassure them about
your own family's involvement with the Saudi regime
and with the Bin Laden family in particular?" Here is
some more background on that August 6th, 2001 PDB
(i.e., insight into what didn't happen before 9/11)
and on the VICE _resident's role in cover up and
intimidation in regard to the debacles of both 9/11
and Iraq...

Cheney Chicanery
By Ray McGovern
Common Dreams

Tuesday 29 July 2003

When Vice President Dick Cheney comes out of
seclusion to brand critics “irresponsible,” you know
the administration is in trouble.

Cheney was enlisted to do so in the spring of 2002
amid reports that warning given to President Bush
before 9/11 should have prompted preventive action.
Cheney branded such commentary “irresponsible,” and
critics in the press and elsewhere were duly
intimidated. It will be interesting to see what
happens this time.

Sifting through the congressional report on 9/11, I
was reminded of the President’s Daily Brief item of
August 6, 2001 titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike
in US.” Dana Priest of the Washington Post has learned
that this PDB article stated “bin Laden had wanted to
conduct attacks in the United States for years and
that (his) group apparently maintained a support base
here.” According to Priest, the PDB went on to cite
“FBI judgments about patterns of activity consistent
with preparations for hijackings or other types of
attacks.” The president has cited executive privilege
in refusing to declassify the PDB item.

With the administration under fire once again, the
vice president came off the bench with a major
statement on July 24 in which he tried to hit two
birds with one speech: (1) distract attention from the
highly embarrassing 9/11 report released that same
day, and (2) arrest the plunge in administration
credibility caused by the absence of “weapons of mass
destruction” in Iraq and the use of spurious reporting
alleging that Iraq had been seeking uranium in Africa.
In the words of one Cheney aide, “We had to get out of
the hole we were in.”

But, alas, they have dug themselves in deeper by
pushing disingenuousness to new heights—or depths.
Cheney made the centerpiece of his speech a series of
quotes from the key National Intelligence Estimate,
“Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass
Destruction” published on October 1. 2002. The NIE
judgments he selected were adduced to prove that Iraq
posed such an urgent threat to the US that it would
have been “irresponsible” to shy away from making war.

Inconveniently, experience on the ground in Iraq for
more than four months now has cast great doubt on the
validity of those judgments. Worse still, as Cheney
knows better than anyone, it was largely the
unrelenting pressure he put on intelligence
analysts—for example, by his unprecedented “multiple
visits” to CIA headquarters — that rendered those
judgments so dubious.

Giving new meaning to chutzpah, Cheney quoted four
statements from the NIE:

1. “Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons…if
left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon
during this decade.” Where are the chemical and
biological weapons?

2. “All key aspects—the R&D, production, and
weaponization—of Iraq’s offensive (biological weapons)
program are active and most elements are larger and
more advanced than they were before the Gulf War.”
Where are they?

3. “Since inspections ended in 1998, Iraq has
maintained its chemical weapons effort, energized its
missile program, and invested more heavily in
biological weapons; in the view of most agencies,
Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons
program.” Where is the evidence of this in Iraq?

4. The Intelligence Community has “high confidence”
in the conclusion that “Iraq is continuing, and in
some areas expanding, its chemical, biological,
nuclear and missile programs contrary to UN

The last four months have shown that such
judgments—though stated to be marked by “high
confidence”—were far off the mark. I know from my own
experience that this is frequently the case when
analysts are put under pressure from policymakers who
have already publicly asserted, a priori, the
“correct” answers to key questions.

Cheney did so in the administration’s rollout of its
marketing strategy for war, when he charged in a major
address on August 26, 2002 “Saddam has resumed his
efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.” The intelligence
community spent the subsequent weeks in a desperate
search evidence to prove Cheney right. If he is
looking for something to label “irresponsible in the
extreme,” the extreme pressure he put on intelligence
analysts last September certainly qualifies.

Cheney did not mention in his speech that analysts
in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and
Research (INR) insisted on recording in the NIE their
strong dissent on the key nuclear issue. All signs
point to their having chosen the wiser approach. Their
diplomatically stated—but nonetheless biting—dissent
is worth a careful read:

“The activities we have detected do not, however,
add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently
pursuing…an integrated and comprehensive approach to
acquire nuclear weapons…INR considers available
evidence inadequate to support such a judgment.
Lacking persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched
a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons
program, INR is unwilling… to project a time line for
completion of activities it does not now see

It was also INR analysts who branded the infamous
Iraq-seeking-uranium-from-Niger story (widely
recognized as bogus but included in the estimate
anyway) “highly dubious.” One of the ironies here is
that the intelligence analysts at State, a department
steeped in politics, felt more secure in speaking
truth to power than their counterparts in the CIA. In
my day, CIA analysts were generally given the
necessary insulation from pressure from
policymakers—and career protection when it was
necessary to face them down.

Here the buck stops with CIA Director George Tenet.
And fresh light was thrown on his remarkable
malleability when Newt Gingrich (also a frequent
visitor to CIA over recent months) made this
gratuitous comment to ABC on July 27: “Tenet is so
grateful and loyal that he will do anything he can to
help President Bush.”


Ray McGovern chaired NIEs and prepared/briefed the
President’s Daily Brief during his 27-year career at
CIA. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence
Professionals for Sanity and co-director of the
Servant Leadership School, an inner-city outreach
ministry in Washington, DC.

Posted by richard at 10:12 AM

August 01, 2003

Senate Democrats Block Pryor Nomination to Bench

Former Blair cabinet minister Claire Short (who
resigned in protest over
misdeeds on Iraq) said publicly that Dr. Kelly's death
was the result of an "abuse of power" and that
the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair was
"implicated." And the peculiar and seemingly pointless
Department of Homeland Insecurity warning about the
possibility of suicide highjackings (duh? this is news
to who?)caused a strange row with the Australian
government, which forced the Homeland Insecurity Dept.
to issue a retraction about Australia being a target.
Tell me, which is more dangerous: to be on the
_resident's enemies list or to be counted as a
"trusted ally"? Oh, yes, here are some questions not
asked at the _resident's "press conference" earlier
this week: "Mr. _resident, since the death toll for US
GIs has increased significantly since you spoke to the
nation from an aircraft carrier, standing in front of
a banner that read 'Mission Accomplished' do you think
now that statement was rash or inopportune? Mr.
_resident, since the death toll for US GIs has
increased significantly since you remarked, 'Bring 'em
on' do you think now that the statement was perhaps
inappropriate? Mr. _resident, what do you say to those
critics who say this administration is in violation of
both the US Constitution and the UN Charter? Mr.
_resident, do you have any comment on the reports that
you received specific intelligence on imminent
Al-Qaeda attacks you in your August 6, 2001 briefing?
Mr. _resident, there has been widespread debate over
the so-called "sixteen words" on Niger uranium in your
SOTU speech earlier this year, what about some of the
other statements in that speech and others made by
your administration, for example would you like to
comment on former Senator Max Cleland's remarks about
the Congressional 9/11 report showing that your
administration knew prior to the SOTU that claims
about a connection between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein
were baseless? Mr. _resident,..." You get the idea.
Meanwhile, the Democrats continue their heroic
struggle (yes, it is heroic, yes, it is dangerous
politically, and yes, I said "the Democrats") to block
the _resident's chilling federal court nominations.
Here is an update on this largely ignored, but
profoundly important and principled stand (further
evidence of what Ralph Nada either cannot understand
or chooses to ignore)...
Senate Democrats Block Pryor Nomination to Bench
Jesse J. Holland
Associated Press Writer
Thursday, July 31, 2003; 10:54 AM

Senate Republicans on Thursday lost their third
attempt this week to push one of President Bush's
judicial nominees through the Senate, with Democrats
blocking conservative Alabama Attorney General William
Pryor from the U.S. Appeals Court.

Pryor could not get the 60 votes needed from the
100-member Senate to win a seat on the 11th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, leading
Republicans to immediately denounce the third
Democratic filibuster this week.

Pryor only got 53 votes in the Senate, which is split
with 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and one independent
senator, Jim Jeffords of Vermont. The only Democrats
to vote for him were Sens. Zell Miller of Georgia and
Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

"A majority of Democrats has made it clear to a
majority of senators that they are determined to deny
the Senate the right to vote and to deny a nominee
what he or she deserves, an up-or-down vote," Senate
Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said.

Democrats also have blocked Texas judge Priscilla Owen
and District of Columbia lawyer Miguel Estrada from
being confirmed this week.

Democrats say Hatch rushed Pryor's confirmation vote
before they could finish an investigation into his
fund-raising activities for a GOP attorneys general

Pryor also is an ardent opponent of abortion rights
for women, and has criticized the Supreme Court's Roe
v. Wade decision. But he has said he will follow the
current law if confirmed for the regional courts, one
step below the Supreme Court.

Democrats don't believe him. "Mr. Pryor's litigation
position, public statements and his writings leave
little doubt that he is committed to using the law,
not simply to advance a conservative agenda, but a
narrow and extremely ideological agenda," said Sen.
Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)

Republicans say Democrats' opposition to Pryor
demonstrates an anti-Catholic bias because of his
anti-abortion stance. "This litmus test that is being
applied is ultimately, is ultimately a religious one,"
said Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)

Democrats deny the charge. "These charges are false,
they are baseless, they are offensive, and they are
really beneath the dignity of a Senate committee
tasked with making very important decisions on the
future of a federal judiciary," said Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.)

A vote on Pryor's nomination was the latest in a
series of votes Republicans are pushing to highlight
Democrats' opposition to Bush's nominees.

On Wednesday, Senate Republicans lost a seventh
filibuster vote in their fight to make Estrada the
first Hispanic on the federal appeals court in the
nation's capital, falling five short of the 60 needed
to cut off debate. They also lost their third vote on
Tuesday to put Owen on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in New Orleans.

They will try on Friday to push California judge
Carolyn Kuhl, who wants a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Republicans have been pressuring Democrats to confirm
Bush's nominees.

"The American people deserve it," said Senate Majority
Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. "They understand that we
are not fulfilling our responsibility in this body
without an up-or-down vote. That is our job. That is
our responsibility in advise-and-consent."

But the GOP have fallen short of the 60 votes needed
to cut off debate and move any of these nominations to

Democrats also appear to be setting up another
filibuster for Henry Saad, an Arab-American judge from
Michigan whom Bush has nominated to the federal
appeals court.

Saad would be the first Arab American judge on the 6th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which
handles federal appeals from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky
and Tennessee.

Michigan has a large Arab population, but Michigan
Democrats Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow oppose Saad
because Republicans blocked their two nominees during
the Clinton administration. They want the White House
to compromise with them by setting up a bipartisan
nomination commission, and "we oppose moving forward
until that resolution is achieved," Levin said.

© 2003 The Associated Press

Posted by richard at 06:31 PM

The Theft of Your Vote Is Just a Chip Away

(7/31/03) Two more US GIs died over night in Iraq (for what?)
Meanwhile, Agence France Press (AFP) reports that the
latest Gallop/CNN/USA Today polling indicates that
"less than half of Americans surveyed -- only 47
percent -- would vote for President George W. Bush in
the 2004 election." Of course, you probably do not
find it surprising that SeeNotNews, USA TooLate, etc.
did not lead with this startling drop in the
_resident's alleged popularity. LNS is convinced that
the polls on the _resident have been deceptive from
the beginning and therefore if they are now saying
"less than half" would vote for him in 2004, the
reality is that his base itself -- 32%-35% of the
electorate - is deteriorating...hence the importance
and urgency that must be given to the article below
and similar ones surfacing throughout the
country...Remember, they are going for a triple lock:
lock #1 -- they will outspend the Democrats by
hundreds of millions of dollars (literally), lock #2
-- they will be able to count on the deep fix in the
"US mainstream news media," lock #3 -- they are going
after the voting process itself (i.e. black box
voting, the end of exit polls, etc.) The 2000 election
was stolen and there is good reason to question the
results in Georgia and elsewhere in 2002...Assume the
worst and start organizing now...get out the vote...if
it does not prevent another theft of the election
(which I believe it can and will) it will at least
make it painfully obvious...

The Theft of Your Vote Is Just a Chip Away
By Thom Hartmann

Are computerized voting machines a wide-open back door
to massive voting fraud? The discussion has moved from
the Internet to CNN, to UK newspapers, and the pages
of The New York Times. People are cautiously beginning
to connect the dots, and the picture that seems to be
emerging is troubling.

"A defective computer chip in the county's optical
scanner misread ballots Tuesday night and incorrectly
tallied a landslide victory for Republicans,"
announced the Associated Press in a story on Nov. 7,
just a few days after the 2002 election. The story
added, "Democrats actually won by wide margins."

Republicans would have carried the day had not poll
workers become suspicious when the computerized
vote-reading machines said the Republican candidate
was trouncing his incumbent Democratic opponent in the
race for County Commissioner. The poll workers were
close enough to the electorate – they were part of the
electorate – to know their county overwhelmingly
favored the Democratic incumbent.

A quick hand recount of the optical-scan ballots
showed that the Democrat had indeed won, even though
the computerized ballot-scanning machine kept giving
the race to the Republican. The poll workers brought
the discrepancy to the attention of the County Clerk,
who notified the voting machine company.

"A new computer chip was flown to Snyder [Texas] from
Dallas," County Clerk Lindsey told the Associated
Press. With the new chip installed, the computer then
verified that the Democrat had won the election. In
another Texas anomaly, Republican state Senator Jeff
Wentworth won his race with exactly 18,181 votes,
Republican Carter Casteel won her state House seat
with exactly 18,181 votes, and conservative Judge
Danny Scheel won his seat with exactly 18,181 votes –
all in Comal County. Apparently, however, no poll
workers in Comal County thought to ask for a new chip.

Startling Results

The Texas incidents happened with computerized
machines reading and then tabulating paper or
punch-card ballots. In Georgia and Florida, where
paper had been totally replaced by touch-screen
machines in many to most precincts during 2001 and
2002, the 2002 election produced some of the nation's
most startling results.

USA Today reported on Nov. 3, 2002, "In Georgia, an
Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows Democratic
Sen. Max Cleland with a 49%-to-44% lead over
Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss." Cox News Service,
based in Atlanta, reported just after the election
(Nov. 7) that, "Pollsters may have goofed" because
"Republican Rep. Saxby Chambliss defeated incumbent
Democratic Sen. Max Cleland by a margin of 53 to 46
percent. The Hotline, a political news service,
recalled a series of polls Wednesday showing that
Chambliss had been ahead in none of them."

Just as amazing was the Georgia governor's race.
"Similarly," the Zogby polling organization reported
on Nov. 7, "no polls predicted the upset victory in
Georgia of Republican Sonny Perdue over incumbent
Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes. Perdue won by a margin of
52 to 45 percent. The most recent Mason Dixon Poll had
shown Barnes ahead 48 to 39 percent last month with a
margin of error of plus or minus 4 points."

Almost all of the votes in Georgia were recorded on
the new touchscreen computerized voting machines,
which produced no paper trail whatsoever. And nobody
thought to ask for a new chip, although it was noted
on Nov. 8 by the Atlanta Constitution-Journal that in
downtown Atlanta's predominantly Democratic Fulton
County "election officials said Thursday that memory
cards from 67 electronic voting machines had been
misplaced, so ballots cast on those machines were left
out of previously announced vote totals." Officials
added that all but 11 of the memory cards were
subsequently found and recorded.

Similarly, as the San Jose Mercury News reported in a
Jan. 23, 2003 editorial titled "Gee Whiz, Voter
Fraud?" "In one Florida precinct last November, votes
that were intended for the Democratic candidate for
governor ended up for Gov. Jeb Bush, because of a
misaligned touchscreen. How many votes were miscast
before the mistake was found will never be known,
because there was no paper audit." ("Misaligned"
touchscreens also caused 18 known machines in Dallas
to register Republican votes when Democratic
screen-buttons were pushed: it's unknown how many
others weren't noticed.)

Apparently, nobody thought to ask for new chips in
Florida, either.

In Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported just a few
days before the election (Oct. 30, 2002) that,
"Dramatic political developments since Sen. Paul
Wellstone's death Friday have had little effect on
voters' leanings in the U.S. Senate race, according to
a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll taken Monday night.
Wellstone's likely replacement on the ballot, former
Vice President Walter Mondale, leads Republican Norm
Coleman by 47 to 39 percent – close to where the race
stood two weeks ago when Wellstone led Coleman 47 to
41 percent."

When the computerized machines were done counting the
vote a few days later, however, Coleman had beat
Mondale by 50 to 47 percent. If Mondale had asked for
new chips, would it have made a difference? We'll
never know.

One state where Republicans did ask for a new chip was
Alabama. Fox News reported on Nov. 8, 2002 that
initial returns from across the state showed that
Democratic incumbent Gov. Don Siegelman had won the
governor's race. But, overnight, "Baldwin County took
center stage when election officials released results
Tuesday night showing Siegelman with 19,070 votes –
enough for a narrow victory statewide. Later, they
recounted and reduced Siegelman's tally to 12,736
votes – enough to give Riley the victory."

What produced the sudden loss of about 6,000 votes?
According to the Fox report: "Probate Judge Adrian
Johns, a member of the county canvassing board, blamed
the initial, higher number on 'a programming glitch in
the software' that tallies the votes." All parties
were not satisfied with that explanation, however. Fox
added: "The governor claimed results were changed
after poll watchers left."

It turns out the "glitch in the software" in Alabama
was discovered by the Republican National Committee's
regional director Kelley McCullough, who, according to
a story in the conservative Daily Standard, "logged
onto the county's municipal website and confirmed that
[incumbent Democratic Governor] Siegelman had actually
only received 12,736 votes – not the 19,070 the
Associated Press projected for him. A computer glitch
had caused the error. The erroneous tally would have
put Siegelman on top by 3,582 votes, but the corrected
one gave Riley a 2,752-vote edge."

As the Murdoch-owned Daily Standard noted, "If it
hadn't been for one woman, the Republican National
Committee's regional director Kelley McCullough,
things might have gone terribly wrong for [Republican
Gubernatorial candidate] Riley."

Similarly, in Davison County, South Dakota, the
Democratic election auditor noticed the machines
double counting votes (it's not noted for which side)
and had a "new chip" brought in.

Hacking Democracy?

This is just the tip of the iceberg of '00 and '02
election irregularities, as reported by Either the system by which democracy
exists broke that November evening, or was hacked, or
American voters became suddenly more fickle than at
any time since Truman beat Dewey.

Maybe it's true that the citizens of Georgia simply
decided that incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland,
a wildly popular war veteran, was, as Republican TV
ads suggested, too unpatriotic to remain in the
Senate, even though his Republican challenger, Saxby
Chambliss, had sat out the Vietnam war with a medical

Maybe, in the final two days of the race, those voters
who'd pledged themselves to Georgia's popular
incumbent Governor Roy Barnes suddenly and
inexplicably decided to switch to Republican
challenger Sonny Perdue.

Maybe George W. and Jeb Bush, Alabama's new Republican
governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally
decisive handful of other long-shot Republican
candidates around the country really did win those
states where conventional wisdom and straw polls
showed them losing in the last few election cycles,
but computer controlled voting or ballot-reading
machines showed them winning.

Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit
polling to such a science that it's now used to verify
if elections are clean in Third World countries, it
really did suddenly become inaccurate in the United
States in the past few years and just won't work here
anymore. Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the
sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around
the same time corporate-programmed,
computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines
began recording and tabulating ballots.

But if any of this is true, there's not much of a
paper trail from the voters' hand to prove it.

You'd think in an open democracy that the government –
answerable to all its citizens rather than a handful
of corporate officers and stockholders – would
program, repair and control the voting machines. You'd
think the computers that handle our cherished ballots
would be open and their software and programming
available for public scrutiny. You'd think there would
be a paper trail of the actual hand-cast vote, which
could be followed and audited if there was evidence of
voting fraud or if exit polls disagreed with
computerized vote counts.

You'd be wrong.

Upsets In Nebraska

It's entirely possible that Nebraska Republican Chuck
Hagel – who left his job as head of an electronic
voting machine company to run as a long-shot candidate
for the U.S. Senate – honestly won all of his

Back when Hagel first ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996,
his own company's computer-controlled voting machines
showed he'd won stunning and unexpected victories in
both the primaries and the general election. The
Washington Post (1/13/1997) said Hagel's "Senate
victory against an incumbent Democratic governor was
the major Republican upset in the November election."
According to Bev Harris, author of "Black Box Voting,"
Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including
many largely black communities that had never before
voted Republican. Hagel was the first Republican in 24
years to win a Senate seat in Nebraska.

Six years later Hagel ran again, this time against
Democrat Charlie Matulka in 2002, and won in a
landslide. As his Website says, Hagel "was re-elected
to his second term in the United States Senate on
November 5, 2002 with 83% of the vote. That represents
the biggest political victory in the history of
Nebraska." What the site fails to disclose is that
about 80 percent of those votes were counted by
computer-controlled voting machines put in place by
the company affiliated with Hagel: built by that
company; programmed by that company; chips supplied by
that company.

"This is a big story, bigger than Watergate ever was,"
said Hagel's Democratic opponent in the 2002 Senate
race, Charlie Matulka
( "They
say Hagel shocked the world, but he didn't shock me."

Is Matulka the sore loser the Hagel campaign paints
him as, or is he democracy's proverbial canary in the
mineshaft? Between them, Hagel and Chambliss'
victories sealed Republican control of the Senate.
Odds are both won fair and square, the American way,
using huge piles of corporate money to carpet-bomb
voters with television advertising. But either the
appearance or the possibility of impropriety in an
election casts a shadow over American democracy.

"The right of voting for representatives is the
primary right by which all other rights are
protected," wrote Thomas Paine over 200 years ago. "To
take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery.."

That slavery, according to Hagel's last opponent
Charlie Matulka, is at our doorstep. "They can take
over our country without firing a shot," Matulka said,
"just by taking over our election systems."

Revolution by control of computer chips? Is that
really possible in the USA?

Who's Counting the Votes?

"Imagine it's Election Day 2004," says U.S.
Congressman Rush Holt, also a scientist with a Ph.D.
in physics who knows more than a little bit about both
politics and computers. "You enter your local polling
place and go to cast your vote on a brand-new
touchscreen voting machine. The screen says your vote
has been counted. As you exit the voting booth,
however, you begin to wonder. How do I know if the
machine actually recorded my vote?"

It's a question that probably hasn't occurred to many
Americans, even those who used the touchscreen
machines particularly notable in states where there
were "upsets" and "glitches" in the 2002 election. But
it occurred to Congressman Holt, and after looking at
the law, the voting machines and the companies that
produce them, he concluded that, "The fact is, you
don't [know if the machine actually recorded your

Bev Harris has studied the situation in depth and
thinks both Congressman Holt and candidate Matulka may
be on to something. The company with ties to Hagel
even threatened her with legal action when she went
public about the company having built the machines
that counted Hagel's landslide votes.

In the meantime, exit-polling organizations have
quietly gone out of business, and the news arms of the
huge multinational corporations that own our networks
are suggesting the days of exit polls are over.
Virtually none were reported in 2002, creating an odd
and unsettling silence that caused unease for the many
voters who had come to view exit polls as proof of the
integrity of their election systems.

As all this comes to light, many citizens and even a
few politicians are wondering if it's a good idea for
corporations to be so involved in the guts of our
voting systems. The whole idea of a democratic
republic was to create a common institution (the
government itself) owned by its citizens, answerable
to its citizens and authorized to exist and continue
existing solely "by the consent of the governed."

However, the recent political trend has moved us in
the opposite direction, with governments turning
administration of our commons over to corporations
answerable only to profits. The result is the
enrichment of corporations and the appearance that
democracy in America has started to resemble its
parody in banana republics.

Further frustrating those concerned with the sanctity
of our vote, the corporations selling and licensing
voting machines and voting software often claim Fourth
Amendment rights of privacy and the right to hide
their "trade secrets" – how their voting software
works and what controls are built into it – from both
the public and the government itself.

Secret Software

"If you want to make Coca-Cola and have trade secrets,
that's fine," says Harvard's Rebecca Mercuri, Ph.D.,
one of the nation's leading experts on voting
machines. "But don't try to claim trade secrets when
you're handling our votes."

The window into who owns whom among the various
companies – most of which are not publicly traded – is
equally opaque. One voting machine company was
partially funded at startup by wealthy Republican
philanthropists who belong to an organization that
believes the Bible instead of the Constitution should
govern America. Another is partly owned by a defense
contractor. Even the reincarnation of a company that
helped Enron cook their books has gotten into the act.

"There are several issues here," says reporter Lynn
Landis, who has written extensively about voting
machines. "First, there's the issue that the Voting
Rights Act requires that poll watchers be able to
observe the vote. But with computerized voting
machines, your vote vanishes into a computer and can't
be observed."

To solve this, many are calling for a return to paper
ballots that are hand-counted. It may be slower, but
temp-help precinct workers may even cost less than
electronic voting machines (which are a
multi-billion-dollar boon for corporate suppliers),
and will ensure that real humans are tabulating the

"Second," says Landis, "there's the issue of who
controls the information. Of all the functions of
government that should not be privatized, handling our
votes is at the top of the list. This is the core of
democracy, and must be open, transparent, and
available to both the public and our politicians of
all parties for full and open inspection."

Although Rush Holt is suggesting there be stringent
standards, he hasn't gone so far as to say
corporations shouldn't process our votes. But why not?
Most government functions – from our courts to our
fire departments – run fairly smoothly, despite
carping from the extreme right wing. Increasingly,
people across America are demanding that – like in
other democracies around the world – our system of
voting should be publicly owned.

Another point Dr. Rebecca Mercuri raises is that the
Help America Vote Act (HAVA) – passed after the 2000
election – calls for the President to appoint, as the
Act states, "with the advice of the Senate," members
to "an independent entity, the Election Assistance
Commission." The commission is then to create "the
Election Assistance Commission Standards Board, the
Election Assistance Commission Board of Advisors ...
and the Technical Guidelines Development Committee" to
establish standards and oversee compliance of the law
by voting machine companies.

"But the commission has not yet been established,"
says Mercuri, even though billions in federal dollars
have been distributed under HAVA for states to buy
electronic voting machines and license their software
from private corporations. "As a result," Mercuri
says, "there are currently no meaningful federal
standards for voting machines. Many of the machines
used in 2002 were built to industry guidelines that
many question and were established in 1990."

And those standards are problematic. In the course of
researching "Black Box Voting," Harris did a Google
search on one of the voting machine companies, Diebold
Election Systems, and found it maintained an open FTP
site on the internet apparently through the 2002
election. In it, she located computer code used to
tabulate elections and, apparently, actual vote count
files that could be downloaded or even replaced by any
visiting hacker.

A website for the New Zealand news publication The
Scoop has published Diebold's files on the Internet,
producing lively discussions among computer
enthusiasts and scientists who have apparently (and
perhaps unlawfully) cracked the company's various

The Scoop also performed a statistical analysis
comparing American polls and computer-controlled
voting machine results. In many states there were no
variations. In a few, however, they found that "the
Republican Party experienced a pronounced last minute
swing in its favour of between 4 and 16 points.
Remarkably this last minute swing appears to have been
concentrated in its effects in critical Senate races
(Georgia and Minnesota) where [the Republican Party]
secured its complete control of Congress."

Purging Voter Rolls

While corporate bungles or the potential for outright
vote fraud are a concern of many opposed to electronic
voting machines, another issue of concern is the
concentration of voter rolls in the hands of partisan
politicians instead of civil servants.

In most states, local precincts or counties maintain
their own voter rolls. Florida, however, had gone to
the trouble before the 2000 election to consolidate
all its voter rolls at the state level, and put them
into the custody and control of the state's elected
Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, who was also the
chairman of the Florida campaign to elect George W.

As described in disturbing detail in the documentary
"Unprecedented" and in Greg Palast's book "The Best
Democracy Money Can Buy," Harris spent millions to
hire a Texas company to clean up the Florida list by
purging it of all convicted felons – using a list of
felons who lived in the State of Texas.

One of the legacies of slavery is that a large number
of African Americans share the same or similar names,
and sure enough, when the Texas felon list was
compared with the Florida voter list over 94,000
matches or near-matches were found. Those registered
Florida voters – about half of them African Americans
(who generally vote Democratic) – with names identical
or even similar to Texas felons were deleted from the
Florida voter rolls, and turned away from the polls
when they tried to vote in 2000 and in 2002.

Now, under HAVA, states across the nation are
consolidating their voter lists and handing them over
to Harris's various peers to be cleaned and

Another concern is Internet voting, since it's
impossible to ensure its accuracy. Imagine if all the
time a voting machine was being used, it also had its
back door open and an unlimited number of technicians
and hackers could manipulate its innards before,
during and after the vote.

Activists suggest this is one of the reasons it's
dangerous that so many electronic voting machines
today are connected to company-access modems, but it's
an even stronger argument against the very core of
democracy – the vote – being handled out in the public
of cyberspace.

Nonetheless, the Pentagon is moving ahead with plans
to have a private corporation conduct Internet voting
for overseas GIs in 2004, and many fear it'll be used
as a beta test for more widespread Internet voting
across the nation. While many Americans think the
ability to vote from home or office over the computer
would be wonderfully convenient, the results could be
disastrous: even the CIA hasn't been able to prevent
hackers from penetrating parts of its computer systems
attached to the Internet.

Votes Are Sacred

On most levels, privatization is only a "small sin"
against democracy. Turning a nation's or community's
water, septic, roadway, prisons, airwaves or health
care commons over to private corporations has so far
demonstrably degraded the quality of life for average
citizens and enriched a few of the most powerful
campaign contributors, but it hasn't been the end of

Many citizens believe, however, that turning the
programming and maintenance of voting over to
corporations that can share their profits openly with
politicians (or, like Hagel, become the politicians),
puts democracy itself at peril.

A growing number of Americans are saying our votes are
too sacred to reside only on "chips," and that it's
critical that we kick corporations out of the commons
of our voting, and that we make sure we have a
human-verifiable vote paper trail that goes all the
way back to the original hand of the original voter.

If there are chips involved in the voting process,
these democracy advocates say, government civil
service employees who are subject to adversarial
oversight by both parties must program them in an
open-source fashion, and in a way that produces a
voter-verified paper trail.

Anything less, and our democracy may vanish as quickly
as a network of modem-connected election-counting
computers can reboot.

Thom Hartmann is a nationally syndicated daily talk
show host and the author of "Unequal Protection" and
"The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," among other
books. This article is copyright by Thom Hartmann, but
permission is granted for reprint in print, email,
blog or web media so long as this credit is attached
and the title remains the same.
originally published in AlterNet

Posted by richard at 06:30 PM

Voting systems 'can't be trusted'

(7/30/03) This morning, the _resident held a "press conference."
I caught most of it at the airport waiting for a
place. Although it was on the TV, no one in the
airline lounge was watching it. It could not bear to
hear the big fat pitches the "press corp" was serving
up for him. But it was astounding to read the crawls
at the bottom of the screen. "Bush: Marriage is
between a man and a women." "Bush: It was a shallow
recession." Yes, the _resident change the subject from
the debacles of 9/11 and Iraq to the hot button issue
of "gay marriage. Yes, the _resident wants to speak
about the economic collapse in the past tense. Yes,
the "US mainstream news media" is going to help him
out as much as it can...It is not the Saudis or
"ongoing investigations" the White House is covering
up by preventing the release of 28 pages that even Sam
Brownback (R-Kansas) wants the public to read, no...It
is the small-minded, mean-spirited little man himself
and his cronies they are protecting...How many
Americans realize that a Bush stayed in a Bin Laden's
house? How many Americans realize that the Bushes and
the Bin Ladens were business partners (in Carlyle)
until after 9/11? No, these tidbits are probably not
in the 28 pages, but there is something very
embarrassing that the White House is determined to
keep from the public...Meanwhile, consider this story
from the front page of the Denver Post, and then turn
to for vital information...,1413,36%7E23827%7E1540873,00.html#

Denver Post

Voting systems 'can't be trusted'
Machines at risk for fraud, hacking
By Susan Greene
Denver Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - Dangling chads, nothing.

Florida's voting snafus during the 2000 presidential
election pale in comparison to the vulnerabilities of
high-tech voting machines counties throughout the
nation are scrambling to buy in compliance with a new
federal law, several top computer scientists are

"What we know is that the machines can't be trusted.
It's an unlocked bank vault ..., a disaster waiting to
happen," said David Dill, a Stanford University
computer science professor who has prompted more than
110 fellow scientists to sign a petition calling for
more accountability in voting technology.

The researchers fear that problems with software
systems will result in hacking and voter fraud,
allowing people to cast extra votes and poll workers
to alter ballots undetected.

Others dismiss such warnings as paranoid conspiracy

"It's fear-mongering by a few people who want to go
back to the 19th century-way of voting," Adams County
Clerk and Recorder Carol Snyder said.

Techies and election bureaucrats are facing off in
Denver this week at the annual meeting of the
International Association of Clerks, Recorders,
Election Officials and Treasurers, where voting
security is a popular topic of discussion.

The scientists have convened a separate, side
conference in hopes of convincing those who control
the purse strings in local governments to hold off
buying billions of dollars in computerized voting
equipment until the federal government sets clear and
tough standards to ensure their security.

In Colorado, Secretary of State Donetta Davidson's
office is heeding their advice by asking Washington
for a two-year extension to the 2004 deadline set out
in the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

"There's a sense of urgency about complying with the
federal mandate. But we're urging counties not to rush
into buying expensive equipment before it's proven in
the interest of voter integrity," said spokeswoman
Lisa Doran.

In response to Florida's 2000 voting debacle, Congress
in 2002 passed the voting act to replace archaic
punch-card election systems and generally improve
voter accessibility nationwide.

Five Colorado counties - Boulder, Jefferson, Mesa,
Montrose and Pitkin - are replacing punch-card systems
such as those in Florida that made hanging and
dangling chads (not fully punched holes in paper
ballots) the subject of national headlines.

Statewide, all 64 counties are required to install at
least one electronic voting machine in every precinct
by 2004. That's at least 3,000 machines that must be
purchased within the next several months, unless the
feds grant Davidson's request for an extension.

"There's such a rush ... to buy this stuff, but people
don't have their acts together," said Dill, who calls
HAVA a "collection of back-room deals" that doesn't
address real security issues. He derides the law for
not requiring paper receipts that ensure voters their
ballots are counted exactly as they're cast.

"Why are we putting our democracy on computers that
aren't ready to go?" added Rebecca Mercuri, a computer
science professor at Bryn Mawr College and an expert
on electronic voting.

Meantime, the federal money promised the Centennial
State for such expenses has dwindled from $52 million
to $35 million. Of that, Davidson's office has
received only $7.2 million. The feds also have taken
much longer than expected setting technical standards
to guide states and counties in purchasing machines
that cost thousands of dollars a pop.

"The funds aren't there. The standards aren't there,"
Doran said. "We've advised counties not to buy
machinery that there's no standards for."

Though controversy over those standards has been
brewing for years, it heated up last week with news
that the software that runs many computerized voting
machines has serious flaws that would allow voters to
cast extra votes and poll workers to tamper with
ballots undetected.

A team at Johns Hopkins University's Information
Security Institute examined software from the
Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, which has about
33,000 voting machines in use throughout the nation.
The software could be manipulated and the outcome
changed by anyone with $100 worth of computer
equipment, researchers said.

According to Diebold executives, most Colorado
counties use that company's optical-scan units, which
help tally paper ballots. Those units are not the
subject of controversy. Instead, one of the company's
other machines, the AcuVoteTS touch-screen machine, is
at issue in the Hopkins study. Diebold executives say
there are about 120 AcuVoteTS units in Colorado -
including more than 100 in El Paso County, 10 in Weld
County and six in Broomfield.

Diebold Election Systems President Tom Swidarski
defended his technology Tuesday as the safest, "most
advanced out there." He dismissed the Hopkins study as
a "homework assignment" by a bunch of graduate
students aimed as a "misguided," personal attack" on
his company.

Swidarski called computer science election watchdogs
such as those gathered in Denver this week "fringe
organizations" "without much real practical knowledge
of the election process."

Others agree that scientists warnings are overblown.

"I have security in my office. It's not like I let any
Tom, Dick and Harry into my alarmed, camera-ed and
locked server room," said Snyder, who uses 220 Diebold
optical scanners for elections in Adams County.

Doran added that there have been no reports of
tampering or defrauding computerized election systems
in Colorado.

"Nobody has brought any evidence to us so we're not
considering it a problem," she said.

Executives with voting technology companies are
hawking their wares at this week's conference at
Denver's Adam's Mark Hotel, each plugging their
product as the safest from tampering and fraud and
booking as many private lunches and dinners with
election officials as they could.

"Now there's a big hubbub that the emperor has no
clothes," said Jim Adler, chief executive of VoteHere,
a voting software company. "The danger here is that
Americans don't need another excuse not to vote."

Watchdogs grumbled about the aggressive sales
techniques and close ties between voting machine
companies and the officials they're trying to woo. In
Colorado, for example, the executive director of the
Denver Election Commission resigned in 1998 to work
for Sequoia Pacific Voting Equipment, Inc., a company
that received $6.6 million in contracts from his own

"There's quite a cozy relationship between election
officials and salesmen," Dill said.

Posted by richard at 06:28 PM