May 31, 2004

Dated March 5, 2003, the e-mail says "action" on a multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was "coordinated" with Cheney's office.

The LNS has said over and over again that the 2004 election is a national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the incredible shrinking _resident and the entire Bush abomination. But now as attacks on their utter lack of CREDIBILITY (e.g., WMD and Medifraud) and almost incomprehensible INCOMPETENCE (e.g. the pre-9/11 failures that Richard Clark and others have brought to light, and their failed plan for the conquest and occupation of Iraq, that Gen. Zinni and others have brought to light) flow into attacks on the DISTURBING CHARACTER (e.g., Abu Ghraib, Gen. Boykin, Rush Limbaugh, the Chickenhawk status of the _resident and the VICE _resident, etc.), there is a fourth "C" that will finally come into play...CORRUPTION...Evidence suggesting it brought to light by US Army Corp of Engineers. Published, admirably, in TIME Magazine. Why do you think the LNS dubbed in VICE _resident? Oh, there has been plenty of evidence of war-profiteering and crony-coddling from before the beginning -- but this evidence was publishhed in TIME, indicating deepening fracturing of the Bush cabal's stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media."

Timothy Burger, Adam Zagorin, Time Magazine: Cheney's
relationship with Halliburton has been nothing but
trouble since he left the company in 2000. Both he and
the company say they have no ongoing connections. But
TIME has obtained an internal Pentagon e-mail sent by
an Army Corps of Engineers official-whose name was
blacked out by the Pentagon-that raises questions
about Cheney's arm's-length policy toward his old
employer. Dated March 5, 2003, the e-mail says "action" on a multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was "coordinated" with Cheney's office. The e-mail
says Douglas Feith, a high-ranking Pentagon hawk, got
the "authority to execute RIO," or Restore Iraqi Oil,
from his boss, who is Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz. RIO is one of several large contracts the
U.S. awarded to Halliburton last year.

Cleanse the White House of the Chickenhawk Coup and
the War Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/053104E.shtml

The Paper Trail
By Timothy J. Burger and Adam Zagorin
Time

Sunday 30 May 2004

Did Cheney Okay a Deal?

Vice President Dick Cheney was a guest on NBC's Meet
the Press last September when host Tim Russert brought
up Halliburton. Citing the company's role in
rebuilding Iraq as well as Cheney's prior service as
Halliburton's CEO, Russert asked, "Were you involved
in any way in the awarding of those contracts?"
Cheney's reply: "Of course not, Tim ... And as Vice
President, I have absolutely no influence of,
involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form
of contracts led by the [Army] Corps of Engineers or
anybody else in the Federal Government."

Cheney's relationship with Halliburton has been
nothing but trouble since he left the company in 2000.
Both he and the company say they have no ongoing
connections. But TIME has obtained an internal
Pentagon e-mail sent by an Army Corps of Engineers
official-whose name was blacked out by the
Pentagon-that raises questions about Cheney's
arm's-length policy toward his old employer. Dated
March 5, 2003, the e-mail says "action" on a
multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was
"coordinated" with Cheney's office. The e-mail says
Douglas Feith, a high-ranking Pentagon hawk, got the
"authority to execute RIO," or Restore Iraqi Oil, from
his boss, who is Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz. RIO is one of several large contracts the
U.S. awarded to Halliburton last year.

The e-mail says Feith approved arrangements for the
contract "contingent on informing WH [White House]
tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has
been coordinated w VP's [Vice President's] office."
Three days later, the Army Corps of Engineers gave
Halliburton the contract, without seeking other bids.
TIME located the e-mail among documents provided by
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group.

Cheney spokesman Kevin Kellems says the Vice
President "has played no role whatsoever in
government-contract decisions involving Halliburton"
since 2000. A Pentagon spokesman says the e-mail means
merely that "in anticipation of controversy over the
award of a sole-source contract to Halliburton, we
wanted to give the Vice President's staff a heads-up."


Cheney is linked to his old firm in at least one
other way. His recently filed 2003
financial-disclosure form reveals that Halliburton
last year invoked an insurance policy to indemnify
Cheney for what could be steep legal bills "arising
from his service" at the company. Past and present
Halliburton execs face an array of potentially costly
litigation, including multibillion-dollar asbestos
claims.

-------

Posted by richard at 10:55 AM

May 30, 2004

A terrible truth, still unacknowledged by the New York Times, is that the newspaper did not "fall for misinformation" as much as eagerly jump for it. And no amount of self-examination, genuine or otherwise, can possibly make up for the carnage in Iraq tha

It should be a weekend of DISGUST in America, but is it? Did any of the network news organizations or their propapunditgandists dare to comment this morning on the bitter irony of the incredible shrinking _resident, who avoided the war of his generation and did not even perform his National Guard service without raising serious questions, and who has launched an unprecendented, unnecessary, unilateral and pre-emptive war predicated on LIES, speaking at the opening of the WWII Memorial, a monument dedicated to those who served and fought and died in a war to defeat a real Axis of Evil? Did any of the network news organizations or their propapunditgandists dare to comment this morning on the bitter irony of Rumsfeld lecturing West Point cadets about "moral clarity" on their graduation day?

It's STILL the Media, Stupid.

Norman Solomon, www.commondreams.org: But in many respects the Times editors were no more "taken in" or "misled" than Bush administration officials were. They wanted to trumpet what they were told by certain dubious sources, and they proceeded accordingly. For the readers of the Times, that meant disinformation -- on behalf of a war agenda -- was served up on the front page, time after time, in the guise of journalism.
Tardy by more than a year, the semi-mea-culpa article by the Times editors -- while failing to provide any forthright explanation of Chalabi's role as a chronic source for Miller's prewar stories -- appeared a week after the U.S. government turned definitively and publicly against its exile ally Chalabi. Only then were the top New York Times editors willing to turn definitively and publicly against key Times stories spun by the Chalabi-Miller duo.
A terrible truth, still unacknowledged by the New York Times, is that the newspaper did not "fall for misinformation" as much as eagerly jump for it. And no amount of self-examination, genuine or otherwise, can possibly make up for the carnage in Iraq that the Times facilitated.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0528-12.htm

Published on Friday, May 28, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
Major 'Liberal' Outlets Clog Media Diets
by Norman Solomon

For many years, health-conscious Americans avidly consumed margarine as a wholesome substitute for artery-clogging butter. Only later did research shed light on grim effects of the partially hydrogenated oil in margarine, with results such as higher incidences of heart disease.

Putting our trust in bogus alternatives can be dangerous for our bodies. And for the body politic.

For many years, staples of the highbrow American media diet have included NPR News and the New York Times. Both outlets are copious and seem erudite, in contrast to abbreviated forms of news. And with conservative spin widespread in news media, NPR and the Times appeal to listeners and readers who prefer journalism without a rightward slant.

Recent developments, however, add weight to evidence that it would be unwise to have faith in news coverage from NPR or the New York Times.

The myth of "liberal" National Public Radio has suffered a big blow. Days ago, the media watch group FAIR (where I'm an associate) released a detailed study of NPR indicating that the network's overall news coverage leans to the right. The documentation is extensive and devastating.

Consider a key aspect of the research:

"FAIR's study recorded every on-air source quoted in June 2003 on four National Public Radio news shows: 'All Things Considered,' 'Morning Edition,' 'Weekend Edition Saturday' and 'Weekend Edition Sunday.' ... Altogether, the study counted 2,334 quoted sources, featured in 804 stories."

The findings on news coverage debunk the persistent claims that NPR is a liberal network. "Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR, and FAIR's latest study gives it no support. Looking at partisan sources -- including government officials, party officials, campaign workers and consultants -- Republicans outnumbered Democrats by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent)."

The new results are in line with a previous FAIR study, released in 1993. Back then, the Republican tilt in sourcing was also pronounced: "A majority of Republican sources when the GOP controls the White House and Congress may not be surprising, but Republicans held a similar though slightly smaller edge (57 percent to 42 percent) in 1993, when Clinton was president and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress."
Every day, millions of Americans listen to NPR News -- and many presumably trust it as a balanced source of information and analysis. Likewise, millions of people are in the habit of relying on the New York Times each day, whether they're reading the newspaper itself or Times news service articles that appear in daily papers around the country.

On May 26 -- a year and a half after publishing front-page articles that boosted the momentum toward an invasion of Iraq -- the New York Times printed a 14-paragraph "From the Editors" note that finally acknowledged there was something wrong with the coverage. But the unusual new article, appearing under the headline "The Times and Iraq," indicated that top editors at the newspaper still refuse to face up to its pivotal role in moving the war agenda.

The Times semi-apology is more self-justifying than self-critical. Assessing a page-one December 2001 article that promulgated a bogus tale about biological, chemical and nuclear weapons facilities in Iraq, the editors' note says that "in this case it looks as if we, along with the administration, were taken in." The same tone echoes through an internal memo to the Times newsroom from the paper's executive editor, Bill Keller, on May 26: "The purpose of the [published] note is to acknowledge that we, like many of our competitors and many officials in Washington, were misled on a number of stories by Iraqi informants dealing in misinformation."

But in many respects the Times editors were no more "taken in" or "misled" than Bush administration officials were. They wanted to trumpet what they were told by certain dubious sources, and they proceeded accordingly. For the readers of the Times, that meant disinformation -- on behalf of a war agenda -- was served up on the front page, time after time, in the guise of journalism.

Keller's internal memo explains that the editors' public article "is not an attempt to find a scapegoat or to blame reporters for not knowing then what we know now." The phrasing was seriously evasive. A comment from FAIR, posted in the "Media Views" section of its website, pointed out: "If Keller thinks the problem with Judith Miller's reporting was her lack of clairvoyance rather than her failure to exercise basic journalistic skepticism, then it's clear that he didn't learn much from this fiasco. He describes the publication of the editor's note as 'a point of journalistic pride' -- as if a publication should be proud of acknowledging egregious errors that other people have been pointing out for more than a year."

Unnamed in the Times editors' note was Judith Miller, the reporter who wrote or co-wrote four of the six articles singled out as flawed. Miller often didn't let her readers know that she was relying on the Pentagon's pet Iraqi exile, Ahmad Chalabi.

Tardy by more than a year, the semi-mea-culpa article by the Times editors -- while failing to provide any forthright explanation of Chalabi's role as a chronic source for Miller's prewar stories -- appeared a week after the U.S. government turned definitively and publicly against its exile ally Chalabi. Only then were the top New York Times editors willing to turn definitively and publicly against key Times stories spun by the Chalabi-Miller duo.

More revealing than they evidently intended, the editors' article repeatedly lumped together two institutions -- the New York Times and the U.S. government -- as though they were somehow in comparable situations during the lead-up to the war. The excuses for both were sounding remarkably similar. So, the Times editors insinuated that they, along with top officials in Washington, were victims rather than perpetrators: "Administration officials now acknowledge that they sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile sources. So did many news organizations -- in particular, this one."

While the May 26 article "From the Editors" took a step toward setting the record straight, it did so while sidestepping responsibility. There's some symbolism in the fact that -- unlike the indefensible front-page Times stories it belatedly critiqued -- the editors' note appeared back on page A-10.

A terrible truth, still unacknowledged by the New York Times, is that the newspaper did not "fall for misinformation" as much as eagerly jump for it. And no amount of self-examination, genuine or otherwise, can possibly make up for the carnage in Iraq that the Times facilitated.

Norman Solomon is co-author, with foreign correspondent Reese Erlich, of "Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You."

Background links:

FAIR's new study, "How Public is Public Radio?"

Greg Mitchell, of Editor & Publisher, on the Times editors' note.

###


Posted by richard at 12:08 PM

May 29, 2004

“The only thing they haven't claimed credit for recently is the cicada invasion of Washington,” said expert Roger Cressey, former chief of staff of the critical infrastructure protection board at the White House and now an analyst for NBC News.

The Three Stooges in Ministry of Fear.

Lisa Meyers, NBC: “The only thing they haven't claimed credit for recently is the cicada invasion of Washington,” said expert Roger Cressey, former chief of staff of the critical infrastructure protection board at the White House and now an analyst for NBC News. Cressey also served as deputy to former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke. A senior U.S. intelligence official previously told NBC News that this group has no known operational capability and may be no more than one man with a fax machine...
Senior intelligence and homeland security officials tell NBC News they were surprised by Ashcroft's claims and know of no credible intelligence that al-Qaida is 90 percent ready to attack. But all agree there is plenty of credible intelligence that al-Qaida has plans in the works, and they hope Ashcroft's use of questionable information doesn’t undermine public trust.
Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge issued an unusual joint statement Friday, assuring the American people that “we are working together" against terror. Some critics have suggested there's a disconnect, that the Justice Department did not collaborate with Homeland Security before issuing this week's terror warning.

Cleanse the White House of the Chickenhawk Coup, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5087301/

Terror threat
source called
into question
Ashcroft cites al-Qaida plan, but how credible
is the information?
By Lisa Myers
Senior investigative correspondent
NBC News
Updated: 6:57 p.m. ET May 28, 2004WASHINGTON - Earlier this week Attorney General John Ashcroft warned of an attack planned on America for sometime in the coming months. That may happen, but NBC News has learned one of Ashcroft’s sources is highly suspect.

In warning Americans to brace for a possible attack, Ashcroft cited what he called “credible intelligence from multiple sources,” saying that “just after New Year's, al-Qaida announced openly that preparations for an attack on the United States were 70 percent complete.… After the March 11 attack in Madrid, Spain, an al-Qaida spokesman announced that 90 percent of the arrangements for an attack in the United States were complete.”

But terrorism experts tell NBC News there's no evidence a credible al-Qaida spokesman ever said that, and the claims actually were made by a largely discredited group, Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, known for putting propaganda on the Internet.

“This particular group is not really taken seriously by Western intelligence,” said terrorism expert M.J. Gohel of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, an international policy assessment group. “It does not appear to have any real field operational capability. But it is certainly part of the global jihad movement — part of its propaganda wing, if you like. It likes to weave a web of lies; it likes to put out disinformation so that the truth is deeply buried. So it is a dangerous group in that sense, but it is not taken seriously in terms of its operational capability.”

The group has claimed responsibility for the power blackout in the Northeast last year, a power outage in London and the Madrid bombing. None of the claims was found to be credible.

“The only thing they haven't claimed credit for recently is the cicada invasion of Washington,” said expert Roger Cressey, former chief of staff of the critical infrastructure protection board at the White House and now an analyst for NBC News. Cressey also served as deputy to former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke. A senior U.S. intelligence official previously told NBC News that this group has no known operational capability and may be no more than one man with a fax machine.

Friday, Ashcroft's spokesman blamed the FBI, and the FBI admitted claims that terrorists were 90 percent ready to attack came not from al-Qaida, but from the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades’ statements.

That the FBI apparently took the group seriously also troubles experts.

“To give this group any type of credibility is reckless,” said terrorism expert and NBC analyst Steve Emerson, “because it simply doesn't represent anything but one person claiming credit for attacks that has no control or not connected to, but simply trying to jump on the publicity bandwagon.”

He believes it reflects a larger failing on the part of the FBI.

“Portraying this group seriously is simply a reflection of the FBI's continued failures since 9/11 to basically develop an analytic capability at headquarters in assessing terrorist intelligence,” Emerson said.

Senior intelligence and homeland security officials tell NBC News they were surprised by Ashcroft's claims and know of no credible intelligence that al-Qaida is 90 percent ready to attack. But all agree there is plenty of credible intelligence that al-Qaida has plans in the works, and they hope Ashcroft's use of questionable information doesn’t undermine public trust.

Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge issued an unusual joint statement Friday, assuring the American people that “we are working together" against terror. Some critics have suggested there's a disconnect, that the Justice Department did not collaborate with Homeland Security before issuing this week's terror warning.

© 2004 MSNBC Interactive

Posted by richard at 01:03 PM

An analysis of recently released figures from Arbitron, the radio ratings service, showed that in New York Air America beat Rush Limbaugh's station among 25 to-54-year-olds during the period that Limbaugh and Al Franken, the host of the flagship show...

It's the Media, Stupid.

John Cook, Chicago Tribune: Despite ongoing financial woes, Air America Radio appears to have garnered a significant audience during its first month on the air, particularly among the younger listeners sought by advertisers.
An analysis of recently released figures from Arbitron, the radio ratings service, showed that in New York Air America beat Rush Limbaugh's station among 25 to-54-year-olds during the period that Limbaugh and Al Franken, the host of the flagship show "The O'Franken Factor," go head-to-head.
In Chicago, even though the network was available for only 28 days in April, Air America increased the average share of 25-to-54-year-old listeners on WNTD-950 AM from a 0.1 percent share in February to a 2 percent share in April.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-0405270273may27,1,6621136.story

Franken factors in younger listeners
Air America radio network does well among group that advertisers covet

By John Cook
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 27, 2004

Despite ongoing financial woes, Air America Radio appears to have garnered a significant audience during its first month on the air, particularly among the younger listeners sought by advertisers.

An analysis of recently released figures from Arbitron, the radio ratings service, showed that in New York Air America beat Rush Limbaugh's station among 25-to-54-year-olds during the period that Limbaugh and Al Franken, the host of the flagship show "The O'Franken Factor," go head-to-head.

In Chicago, even though the network was available for only 28 days in April, Air America increased the average share of 25-to-54-year-old listeners on WNTD-950 AM from a 0.1 percent share in February to a 2 percent share in April.

Air America was pulled off WNTD-950 AM due to a billing dispute. The network is seeking a new home in Chicago.

"We're actually doing very well despite everything we've managed to do to ourselves," Franken said on Saturday in an address to the Talkers Magazine New Media Seminar in New York.

He was referring to the network's failure to meet payroll earlier this month and the departure of no fewer than six key executives in its first eight weeks on the air.

"If this is how we're doing now, imagine what things will be like when we actually know what we're doing," Franken said.

The April audience estimates, which are the first data indicating whether or not Air America's brand of liberal talk radio can find an audience, come from a third-party analysis of Arbitron data, called "extrapolations."

Insiders cautioned that, while it is standard to use extrapolations as a guide to the performance of a station, they are preliminary and prone to a certain margin of error.

"They're like a second-inning score in a baseball game," said Tom Taylor, the editor of Inside Radio, a trade publication. "But you have to say that the visitors are on the scoreboard."

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a period that includes Franken's show, WNTD pulled in 3 percent of 25-to-54-year-old listeners in Chicago. That number puts the fledgling network in the same league as WGN-720 AM, which scored a 2.1 percent share of the same demographic, according to the extrapolation of April figures. WLS-890 AM, which airs Rush Limbaugh during the same period, beat WNTD with a 4.8 share.

But in New York, where Air America still broadcasts over WLIB-1190 AM, the network beat Limbaugh's station, Disney-owned WABC, among both 25-to-54-year-olds and 18-to-34-year-olds during the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. period. In the 25-to-54 demographic, WLIB garnered a 3.4 share to WABC's 3.1; among 18-to-34-year-olds, WLIB won sevenfold with a 2.9 share to WABC's 0.4.
Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune


Posted by richard at 11:14 AM

"The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorist attacks against the United States, " said Gore, Bush's Democratic rival in the 2000 election

No, you did not imagine it. Al Gore delivered a
transcendentally truthful and righteous speech this
week. Those of us who have lived this struggle for
four long years of the Bush cabal's incomprehensible
ignorance and cruelty should keep it alive in the
psyche of the US electorate...SeeNotNews did not give
the story the respect it deserved (i.e. lead headline
and endless debate among talking heads), afterall it
was a former two-term Vice President of the US calling
for the resignation of numerous high-ranking
abomination officials, and challenging the CHARACTER,
CREDIBILITY and COMPETENCE of the incredible shrinking
_resident himself, BUT at least they ran a story, and
selected the most powerful passages to include in it.
I doubt, however, that Gore's speech (remarkable for a
US statesmen in modern times) will be the subject of
propapunditgandists on the Week In Revision, SeeBS
Fork the Nation, NotBeSeen Meat The Press or
SeeNotNew's Lost Edition with Wolf Bluster, but it
should be...Al Gore, the man elected President of the
US in 2000, has done several fascinating and inspiring
deeds over the last few months. He has delivered
powerful speeches articulating the hell into which the
Bush cabal is dragging America. He even brought the
vital term "Orwellian" into the mainstream dialogue.
He endorsed Howard Dean (D-Jeffords) at an important
moment, offering respect and support to the only
viable candidate who was demonstrating the political
courage to excoriate the Bush cabal and take a direct
and defiant stand against the war in Iraq. Gore also
recently donated $6 million to the Democratic campaign
and led a group of investors in the successful
purchase of a cable TV network. Al Gore is alive and
well and on his game, and if the unthinkable happens,
Al Gore is ready to lead in the UNcivil war that
will follow.

CNN: In a searing indictment, Gore said President
Bush's "arrogance, willfulness and bungling" in Iraq
have put Americans at risk around the world, and urged
voters to oust him in November.
"The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter
incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous
place and dramatically increased the threat of
terrorist attacks against the United States," said
Gore, Bush's Democratic rival in the 2000 election.
"He planted the seeds of war. He harvested a
whirlwind," Gore added. "And now the corrupt tree of a
war waged on false premises has brought us the evil
fruit of Americans torturing and sexually humiliating
prisoners who are helpless in their care."
Gore said soldiers who abused prisoners in the Abu
Ghraib prison scandal were acting on policies
"designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House,"
including attempts to evade the Geneva Conventions'
rules on the treatment of prisoners. The scandal, he
said, has dragged America's reputation "through the
mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison."

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/05/26/gore.iraq/index.html

Gore calls for resignations in Bush administration
Former veep blasts 'utter incompetence'
Thursday, May 27, 2004 Posted: 11:28 AM EDT (1528 GMT)


Vice President Al Gore speaks before an audience at
New York University on Wednesday.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former Vice President Al Gore on
Wednesday called for the immediate resignations of
several Bush administration figures, blaming them for
"the catastrophe that we are facing in Iraq."

In the speech at New York University, Gore singled out
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and national
security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

He also included his former Clinton administration
colleague, CIA Director George Tenet, even though he
called Tenet "a personal friend" and "a good and
decent and honorable man." But he said the U.S.
intelligence community needs new leadership as well.

In a searing indictment, Gore said President Bush's
"arrogance, willfulness and bungling" in Iraq have put
Americans at risk around the world, and urged voters
to oust him in November.

"The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter
incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous
place and dramatically increased the threat of
terrorist attacks against the United States," said
Gore, Bush's Democratic rival in the 2000 election.

"He planted the seeds of war. He harvested a
whirlwind," Gore added. "And now the corrupt tree of a
war waged on false premises has brought us the evil
fruit of Americans torturing and sexually humiliating
prisoners who are helpless in their care."

Gore said soldiers who abused prisoners in the Abu
Ghraib prison scandal were acting on policies
"designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House,"
including attempts to evade the Geneva Conventions'
rules on the treatment of prisoners. The scandal, he
said, has dragged America's reputation "through the
mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison."

Gore speech was sponsored by the MoveOn.org Political
Action Committee, which has said it hopes to raise $50
million to beat Bush in November. Gore urged his
audience to vote for Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive
Democratic nominee.

GOP reaction
The Republican National Committee shot back with a
statement saying that Gore's association with the
group "cast serious doubt on his credibility."

The GOP noted that two ads -- out of more than 1,000
-- submitted to MoveOn's anti-Bush advertising contest
last year compared the president to Nazi leader Adolf
Hitler. At least one of those ads was temporarily
posted on the Web site MoveOn.org, but the group took
it down and disassociated itself from the ad.

The GOP statement also noted that the group's
executive director called for a non-military response
to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

And in a second written statement, RNC Communications
Director Jim Dyke highlighted terrorist attacks,
including the first bombing of the World Trade Center,
that occurred during the Clinton administration.

"Al Gore's attacks on the president today demonstrate
that he either does not understand the threat of
global terror, or he has amnesia," Dyke said.

Gore's broadside marked the second time in two weeks
that a leading Democratic figure has described Bush as
incompetent. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,
D-California, drew sharp criticism from Bush's fellow
Republicans when she offered a similar
characterization last week.

Gore said faulty intelligence about Iraq's suspected
weapons program, the decision to commit fewer than
150,000 U.S. troops to occupy the country after the
invasion and the trust placed in Iraqi National
Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi back up his language. So
does "a growing library" of books by former government
officials who have worked with the Bush
administration, he said.

In the process, he said Bush "has built a durable
reputation as the most dishonest president since
Richard Nixon."


Posted by richard at 09:27 AM

Unlike Blair's deceptions, Miller's lies provided the pretext for war. Her lies cost lives.

No, you did not imagine it. The feirce and brilliant
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was indeed quoted in USA Today on a subject close to our spleens here at the
LNS, the complicity and deceits of the NYTwits, that
institution formerly known as the "paper of record"
and after Fraudida (and their shameless cover-up of
what happened there) re-named by the LNS as the "paper
of revision."

Thank you, George Soros.

Amy Goodman and David Goodman, The Exception to the
Rulers: When George W. Bush and Tony Blair made their
fraudulent case to attack Iraq, The Times, along with
most corporate media outlets in the United States,
became cheerleaders for the war. And while Jayson
Blair was being crucified for his journalistic sins,
veteran Times national security correspondent and
best-selling author Judith Miller was filling The
Times' front pages with unchallenged government
propaganda. Unlike Blair's deceptions, Miller's lies provided the pretext for war. Her lies cost lives.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.democracynow.org/print.pl?sid=04/05/26/1610213


Online Exclusive...Fatal Error: Lies of The Times,
Their Lies Took Lives
Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/05/26/1610213

By Amy Goodman and David Goodman

In our new book, The Exception To the Rulers: Exposing
Oily Politicians, War Profiteers and the Media That
Love Them, we titled one chapter "The Lies of Our
Times" to examine how The New York Times coverage on
Iraq and its alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass
destruction helped lead the country to war. Today, The
New York Times, for the first time, raised questions
about its own coverage in an 1,100-word editor's note.
Here is an excerpt from our section of the book on the
New York Times and Iraq.

"From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce
new products in August."
-- Andrew H. Card, White House Chief of Staff
speaking about the Iraq war P.R. campaign, September
6, 2002
In the midst of the buildup to war, a major scandal
was unfolding at The New York Times-the paper that
sets the news agenda for other media. The Times
admitted that for several years a 27-year-old reporter
named Jayson Blair had been conning his editors and
falsifying stories. He had pretended to be places he
hadn't been, fabricated quotes, and just plain lied in
order to tell a sensational tale. For this, Blair was
fired. But The Times went further: It ran a
7,000-word, five-page expose on the young reporter,
laying bare his personal and professional escapades.

The Times said it had reached a low point in its
152-year history. I agreed. But not because of the
Jayson Blair affair. It was The Times coverage of the
Bush-Blair affair.

When George W. Bush and Tony Blair made their
fraudulent case to attack Iraq, The Times, along with
most corporate media outlets in the United States,
became cheerleaders for the war. And while Jayson
Blair was being crucified for his journalistic sins,
veteran Times national security correspondent and
best-selling author Judith Miller was filling The
Times' front pages with unchallenged government
propaganda. Unlike Blair's deceptions, Miller's lies
provided the pretext for war. Her lies cost lives.

If only The New York Times had done the same kind of
investigation of Miller's reports as it had with
Jayson Blair.

The White House propaganda blitz was launched on
September 7, 2002, at a Camp David press conference.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair stood side by side
with his co-conspirator, President George W. Bush.
Together, they declared that evidence from a report
published by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) showed that Iraq was "six months away" from
building nuclear weapons.

"I don't know what more evidence we need," crowed
Bush.

Actually, any evidence would help-there was no such
IAEA report. But at the time, few mainstream American
journalists questioned the leaders' outright lies.
Instead, the following day, "evidence" popped up in
the Sunday New York Times under the twin byline of
Michael Gordon and Judith Miller. "More than a decade
after Saddam Hussein agreed to give up weapons of mass
destruction," they stated with authority, "Iraq has
stepped up its quest for nuclear weapons and has
embarked on a worldwide hunt for materials to make an
atomic bomb, Bush administration officials said
today."

In a revealing example of how the story amplified
administration spin, the authors included the phrase
soon to be repeated by President Bush and all his top
officials: "The first sign of a 'smoking gun,'
[administration officials] argue, may be a mushroom
cloud."

Harper's publisher John R. MacArthur, author of Second
Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War, knew
what to make of this front-page bombshell. "In a
disgraceful piece of stenography," he wrote, Gordon
and Miller "inflated an administration leak into
something resembling imminent Armageddon."

The Bush administration knew just what to do with the
story they had fed to Gordon and Miller. The day The
Times story ran, Vice President Dick Cheney made the
rounds on the Sunday talk shows to advance the
administration's bogus claims. On NBC's Meet the
Press, Cheney declared that Iraq had purchased
aluminum tubes to make enriched uranium. It didn't
matter that the IAEA refuted the charge both before
and after it was made. But Cheney didn't want viewers
just to take his word for it. "There's a story in The
New York Times this morning," he said smugly. "And I
want to attribute The Times."

This was the classic disinformation two-step: the
White House leaks a lie to The Times, the newspaper
publishes it as a startling expose, and then the White
House conveniently masquerades behind the credibility
of The Times.

"What mattered," wrote MacArthur, "was the
unencumbered rollout of a commercial for war."4

Judith Miller was just getting warmed up. Reporting
for America's most influential newspaper, Miller
continued to trumpet administration leaks and other
bogus sources as the basis for eye-popping stories
that backed the administration's false premises for
war. "If reporters who live by their sources were
obliged to die by their sources," Jack Shafer wrote
later in Slate, "Miller would be stinking up her
family tomb right now."

After the war, Shafer pointed out, "None of the
sensational allegations about chemical, biological, or
nuclear weapons given to Miller have panned out,
despite the furious crisscrossing of Iraq by U.S.
weapons hunters."

Did The New York Times publish corrections?
Clarifications? Did heads roll? Not a chance: Judith
Miller's "scoops" continued to be proudly run on the
front pages.

Here are just some of the corrections The Times should
have run after the year-long campaign of front-page
false claims by one of its premier reporters, Judith
Miller.

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Scoop: "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb
Parts," by Judith Miller and Michael R. Gordon,
September 8, 2002. The authors quote Ahmed al-Shemri
(a pseudonym), who contends that he worked in Iraq's
chemical weapons program before defecting in 2000. "
'All of Iraq is one large storage facility,' said Mr.
Shemri, who claimed to have worked for many years at
the Muthanna State Enterprise, once Iraq's chemical
weapons plant." The authors quote Shemri as stating
that Iraq is stockpiling "12,500 gallons of anthrax,
2,500 gallons of gas gangrene, 1,250 gallons of
aflatoxin, and 2,000 gallons of botulinum throughout
the country."

Oops: As UN weapons inspectors had earlier stated-and
U.S. weapons inspectors confirmed in September
2003-none of these claims were true. The unnamed
source is one of many Iraqi defectors who made
sensational false claims that were championed by
Miller and The Times.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scoop: "White House Lists Iraq Steps to Build Banned
Weapons," by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon,
September 13, 2002. The article quotes the White House
contention that Iraq was trying to purchase aluminum
pipes to assist its nuclear weapons program.

Oops: Rather than run a major story on how the United
States had falsely cited the UN to back its claim that
Iraq was expanding its nuclear weapons program, Miller
and Gordon repeated and embellished the lie.

Contrast this with the lead paragraph of a story that
ran in the British daily The Guardian on September 9:
"The International Atomic Energy Agency has no
evidence that Iraq is developing nuclear weapons at a
former site previously destroyed by UN inspectors,
despite claims made over the weekend by Tony Blair,
western diplomatic sources told The Guardian
yesterday." The story goes on to say that the IAEA
"issued a statement insisting it had 'no new
information' on Iraq's nuclear program since December
1998 when its inspectors left Iraq."

Miller's trumped-up story contributed to the climate
of the time and The Times. A month later, numerous
congressional representatives cited the nuclear threat
as a reason for voting to authorize war.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scoop: "U.S. Faulted Over Its Efforts to Unite Iraqi
Dissidents," by Judith Miller, October 2, 2002.
Quoting Ahmed Chalabi and Defense Department adviser
Richard Perle, this story stated: "The INC [Iraqi
National Congress] has been without question the
single most important source of intelligence about
Saddam Hussein."

Miller airs the INC's chief complaint: "Iraqi
dissidents and administration officials complain that
[the State Department and CIA] have also tried to cast
doubt on information provided by defectors Mr.
Chalabi's organization has brought out of Iraq."

Oops: Miller championed the cause of Chalabi, the
Iraqi exile leader who had been lobbying Washington
for over a decade to support the overthrow of Saddam
Hussein's regime. As The Washington Post revealed,
Miller wrote to Times veteran foreign correspondent
John Burns, who was working in Baghdad at the time,
that Chalabi "has provided most of the front page
exclusives on WMD [weapons of mass destruction] to our
paper."

Times readers might be interested to learn the details
of how Ahmed Chalabi was bought and paid for by the
CIA. Chalabi heads the INC, an organization of Iraqi
exiles created by the CIA in 1992 with the help of the
Rendon Group, a powerful public relations firm that
has worked extensively for the two Bush
administrations. Between 1992 and 1996, the CIA
covertly funneled $12 million to Chalabi's INC. In
1998, the Clinton administration gave Chalabi control
of another $98 million of U.S. taxpayer money.
Chalabi's credibility has always been questionable: He
was convicted in absentia in Jordan of stealing some
$500 million from a bank he established, leaving
shareholders high and dry. He has been accused by
Iraqi exiles of pocketing at least $4 million of CIA
funds.

In the lead-up to war, the CIA dismissed Chalabi as
unreliable. But he was the darling of Pentagon hawks,
putting an Iraqi face on their warmongering. So the
Pentagon established a new entity, the Office of
Special Plans, to champion the views of discredited
INC defectors who helped make its case for war.

As Howard Kurtz later asked in The Washington Post:
"Could Chalabi have been using The Times to build a
drumbeat that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass
destruction?"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scoop: "C.I.A. Hunts Iraq Tie to Soviet Smallpox," by
Judith Miller, December 3, 2002. The story claims that
"Iraq obtained a particularly virulent strain of
smallpox from a Russian scientist." The story adds
later: "The information came to the American
government from an informant whose identity has not
been disclosed."

Smallpox was cited by President Bush as one of the
"weapons of mass destruction" possessed by Iraq that
justified a dangerous national inoculation program-and
an invasion.

Oops: After a three-month search of Iraq, " 'Team Pox'
turned up only signs to the contrary: disabled
equipment that had been rendered harmless by UN
inspectors, Iraqi scientists deemed credible who gave
no indication they had worked with smallpox, and a
laboratory thought to be back in use that was covered
in cobwebs," reported the Associated Press in
September 2003.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scoop: "Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi
Scientist Is Said to Assert," by Judith Miller, April
21, 2003. In this front-page article, Miller quotes an
American military officer who passes on the assertions
of "a man who said he was an Iraqi scientist" in U.S.
custody. The "scientist" claims that Iraq destroyed
its WMD stockpile days before the war began, that the
regime had transferred banned weapons to Syria, and
that Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda.

Who is the messenger for this bombshell? Miller tells
us only that she "was permitted to see him from a
distance at the sites where he said that material from
the arms program was buried. Clad in nondescript
clothes and a baseball cap, he pointed to several
spots in the sand where he said chemical precursors
and other weapons material were buried."

And then there were the terms of this disclosure:
"This reporter was not permitted to interview the
scientist or visit his home. Nor was she permitted to
write about the discovery of the scientist for three
days, and the copy was then submitted for a check by
military officials. Those officials asked that details
of what chemicals were uncovered be deleted." No
proof. No names. No chemicals. Only a baseball cap-and
the credibility of Miller and The Times-to vouch for a
"scientist" who conveniently backs up key claims of
the Bush administration. Miller, who was embedded with
MET Alpha, a military unit searching for WMDs, pumped
up her sensational assertions the next day on PBS's
NewsHour with Jim Lehrer:

Q: Has the unit you've been traveling with found any
proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
JUDITH MILLER: Well, I think they found something more
than a smoking gun. What they've found...is a silver
bullet in the form of a person, an Iraqi individual, a
scientist, as we've called him, who really worked on
the programs, who knows them firsthand.

Q: Does this confirm in a way the insistence coming
from the U.S. government that after the war, various
Iraqi tongues would loosen, and there might be people
who would be willing to help?

JUDITH MILLER: Yes, it clearly does.... That's what
the Bush administration has finally done. They have
changed the political environment, and they've enabled
people like the scientists that MET Alpha has found to
come forth.

Oops: The silver bullet got more tarnished as it was
examined. Three months later, Miller acknowledged that
the scientist was merely "a senior Iraqi military
intelligence official." His explosive claims
vaporized.

A final note from the Department of Corrections: The
Times deeply regrets any wars or loss of life that
these errors may have contributed to.

UP IN SMOKE

Tom Wolfe once wrote about a war-happy Times
correspondent in Vietnam (same idea, different war):
The administration was "playing [the reporter] of The
New York Times like an ocarina, as if they were
blowing smoke up his pipe and the finger work was just
right and the song was coming forth better than they
could have played it themselves." But who was playing
whom? The Washington Post reported that while Miller
was embedded with MET Alpha, her role in the unit's
operations became so central that it became known as
the "Judith Miller team." In one instance, she
disagreed with a decision to relocate the unit to
another area and threatened to file a critical report
in The Times about the action. When she took her
protest to a two-star general, the decision was
reversed. One Army officer told the Post, "Judith was
always issuing threats of either going to The New York
Times or to the secretary of defense. There was
nothing veiled about that threat."

Later, she played a starring role in a ceremony in
which MET Alpha's leader was promoted. Other officers
were surprised to watch as Miller pinned a new rank on
the uniform of Chief Warrant Officer Richard Gonzales.
He thanked her for her "contributions" to the unit. In
April 2003, MET Alpha traveled to the compound of
Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi "at
Judy's direction," where they interrogated and took
custody of an Iraqi man who was on the Pentagon's
wanted list-despite the fact that MET Alpha's only
role was to search for WMDs. As one officer told the
Post, "It's impossible to exaggerate the impact she
had on the mission of this unit, and not for the
better."

After a year of bogus scoops from Miller, the paper
gave itself a bit of cover. Not corrections-just
cover. On September 28, 2003, Times reporter Douglas
Jehl surprisingly kicked the legs out from under
Miller's sources. In his story headlined AGENCY
BELITTLES INFORMATION GIVEN BY IRAQ DEFECTORS, Jehl
revealed:

An internal assessment by the Defense Intelligence
Agency has concluded that most of the information
provided by Iraqi defectors who were made available by
the Iraqi National Congress was of little or no value,
according to federal officials briefed on the
arrangement. In addition, several Iraqi defectors
introduced to American intelligence agents by the
exile organization and its leader, Ahmed Chalabi,
invented or exaggerated their credentials as people
with direct knowledge of the Iraqi government and its
suspected unconventional weapons program, the
officials said.
The Iraqi National Congress had made some of these
defectors available to...The New York Times, which
reported their allegations about prisoners and the
country's weapons program.

Posted by richard at 09:24 AM

"The truth has a force of its own"

"He fears you, Aragorn. He fears what you could
become."

Tim Grieve, www.salon.com: Over the course of the last
month, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee
has spoken out forcefully against the administration's
disastrous adventure in Iraq. Kerry has accused the
president of rushing to war, of failing to build
alliances, of alienating America's allies and of
misleading America's citizens. But the New York Times
wonders why he's being so cautious, and the Los
Angeles Times asks why he isn't doing more.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http:\\www.salon.com

"The truth has a force of its own"
In a Salon interview, John Kerry talks about Iraq, his
"personal" decision on a running mate and the "craven,
petty, childish and destructive" politics of his
opponents.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Tim Grieve

May 28, 2004 | GREEN BAY, WIS., May 28 -- Outside,
the motorcade is a noisy rumble of motorcycle engines
and squad-car sirens, a roaring spectacle that stops
traffic and pulls folks out of their homes to see
what's coming by. Inside the Secret Service's black
Chevy Suburban, it's almost impossibly quiet. Two
armed agents ride up front, the back flash of red and
blue emergency lights illuminating their faces. The
press secretary sits alone in the back, thumbing
e-mails into his Blackberry. John Kerry is in the
middle, waving now and then to well-wishers who can't
see him through the SUV's dark-tinted, bulletproof
glass.

Kerry knows what it's like to be invisible.

Over the course of the last month, the presumptive
Democratic presidential nominee has spoken out
forcefully against the administration's disastrous
adventure in Iraq. Kerry has accused the president of
rushing to war, of failing to build alliances, of
alienating America's allies and of misleading
America's citizens. But the New York Times wonders why
he's being so cautious, and the Los Angeles Times asks
why he isn't doing more.

As Kerry turns away from the window and starts to
talk, it's hard to know exactly what the media would
have him say that he isn't saying now. The Bush
administration's "arrogance" has "cost Americans
billions of dollars and too many lives," Kerry says.
Its deceptions about the war may have taken an even
greater toll. Kerry says the White House lacks "any
credibility" at home or abroad; indeed, the Bush
administration has misled the nation so often now that
Kerry says he has no way to know whether the new
terror threats John Ashcroft revealed this week
represent legitimate national security concerns or
simply a political ploy aimed at propping up a
foundering president.

Kerry launched an 11-day "focus" on national security
issues Thursday morning in Seattle, where he delivered
a speech in which he called on the United States to
enter a new era of alliance building even as it
preserves the right to strike -- preemptively and
unilaterally -- when necessary to prevent a terrorist
attack. By Thursday evening he was in Green Bay, where
he promised a crowd of veterans and military families
that he would "never send troops into harm's way
without sending enough troops to get the job done and
without a plan to win the peace."

Media second-guessing notwithstanding, Kerry's message
is starting to break through. Big crowds embraced him
in Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin this week --
thousands stood in the rain to see him on the Seattle
waterfront. Fundraisers in Oregon and Washington beat
the Kerry camp's expectations, and the Seattle event,
which brought in an estimated $2.2 million, is
believed to have set a record. National polls are
giving the first signs that Kerry may finally be
edging ahead of Bush, whose public approval ratings
have never been worse. Perhaps more encouraging for
Kerry is that he's edging out Bush in the battleground
states.

Kerry talked with Salon Thursday night as his
motorcade traveled through Green Bay, where he was to
campaign Friday before returning to Washington, D.C.,
for Saturday's dedication of the World War II
Memorial.

At the beginning of May, the New York Times all but
declared your candidacy dead. Now the polls -- and the
crowds you've drawn this week -- seem to suggest
you're very much alive. Has the tipping point come?

Well, we're five months away still, and that's a long
time in politics. We'll just keep working day to day.
You don't take anything for granted. You've got to go
out and meet people and talk to them and ask for their
votes and give them a reason why.

Do you have the sense that things are starting to
change?

Yeah. There's a lot of energy, a tremendous amount of
energy. I think people are beginning to wake up and
feel the broken promises of this administration. On
Iraq, on security, on schools, on healthcare, on jobs
-- they haven't paid attention. They haven't been
there for the working people.

You gave a major national security speech in Seattle
this morning, but you didn't talk a lot about your
specific plan for Iraq. Your staff suggested that
you'd done that before and maybe didn't feel the need
to do that again today. Do you need to do more to get
your plan in front of the public, or is this an issue
where you've decided to stay away and let Bush suffer
on his own?

It's not a question of staying away. I speak about it
every day. I think it's just a question of how much
you can fit in one speech. I made it very clear that
they've had a bad foreign policy, that they've broken
our alliances, that we shouldn't go to war just
because they want to go to war and that they haven't
done what they need to for the troops. And I will.
It's pretty clear.

What's the best outcome the United States can
reasonably hope for in Iraq now? Is there any hope
left of achieving the vision Bush set out for the
mission?

There is, if he [would do] it properly, if the
president leads and does what's necessary. But I think
he's made it far, far more complicated than it had to
be -- far more risky and tenuous -- and it's entirely
possible that they won't be able to do it.

Is the only real solution -- the only way to get the
world community fully involved -- a change in
administrations here?

I think it's going to take a new president to clear
the air, to turn over a new chapter for America, to
renew our relationships with the level of trust that's
necessary. I don't think this administration has any
credibility left.

What's the administration's credibility with you now?
Attorney General John Ashcroft issued warnings this
week of possible terrorist attacks over the summer.
Did something in the back of your mind say, "Gee, I
wonder if this is related to the campaign?" or did you
assume immediately that the warnings were legitimate?

I just have no way to measure it. Instead of feeling
absolutely confident, I have no way of measuring it.

And you should feel absolutely confident.

I should feel absolutely confident.

According to recent polls, more than 50 percent of the
American public now believes that the war in Iraq has
not been worth the cost. Do you agree with that
assessment?

I've always believed that the president went to war in
a way that was mistaken, that he led us too rapidly
into war, without sharing the cost, without sharing
the risk, without building a true international
coalition. He broke his promises about going as a last
resort. I think that was a mistake. There was a right
way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable and a wrong
way. He chose the wrong way.

But you voted in October 2002 to give Bush the
authority to use force in Iraq. Was that vote a
mistake?

No. My vote was the right vote. If I had been
president, I would have wanted that authority to
leverage the behavior that we needed. But I would have
used it so differently than the way George Bush did.

Would there have been a war in Iraq if you had been
president?

I can't tell you that. If Saddam Hussein hadn't
disarmed and all the world had decided that he was not
living up to the standards, who knows? You can't
answer that hypothetical. But I can tell you this. I
would never have rushed the process in a way that
undoes the meaning of going to war "as a last resort."


And that's what you thought you were authorizing --
war as a last resort?

Absolutely. You know, we got a set of promises: We're
going to build an international coalition, we're going
to exhaust the remedies of the U.N., respect that
process and go to war as a last resort. Well, we
didn't.

And not only [did we] not go to war as a last resort,
they didn't even make the plans for winning the peace.
They disregarded them. They disregarded [U.S. Army
General Eric] Shinseki's advice, disregarded Colin
Powell's advice, disregarded the State Department's
plan. The arrogance of this administration has cost
Americans billions of dollars and too many lives.

The argument that the administration disregarded and
disrespected the military seems to resonate strongly
with the people who come to see you.

Well, the truth is the truth. The truth has a force of
its own. I'm just going out there and telling the
truth.

Are the media letting you get your version of the
truth out there? Are you frustrated with what Bush
would call "the filter"?

I don't have any way to measure it. I haven't seen
enough of it or felt enough of it. I think people are
beginning to look at this thing with a great deal of
focus.

The campaign or the war?

The war, and the war's consequences, and the campaign
because the campaign has a direct impact on it.

Al Gore and Ralph Nader have both spoken recently
about the consequences of this war -- particularly,
the consequences that should be suffered by those who
orchestrated the war. Gore has called for the
resignation of Bush's entire Iraq team. Nader has
called for the impeachment of Bush himself. Do you
believe there should be consequences for the
architects of the war, above and beyond the
possibility that their leader may not be reelected?

Under normal circumstances, for some people, the
answer is yes. I called for Rumsfeld's resignation
months ago over his miscalculations. But I'm running
for president to replace all of them. And the fastest
way to deal with it is to do that.

Are you surprised that the Rumsfeld issue has
disappeared so quickly? There were calls for his
resignation, and then -- almost overnight -- there was
nothing.

I'm not surprised, but it doesn't make any difference
to me. I called for it five months ago, and it was off
the table until the prison problem. I think the impact
is sinking in for the American people, and I think the
American people will hopefully opt for a forced
resignation.

The Bush campaign has spent some $80 million on
television advertisements, most of them negative spots
attacking you. The president has mocked you as a
flip-flopper, and his surrogates are out there
attacking you every day. Do you ever find yourself in
disbelief over the way you and your record have been
treated?

I find it about as craven, petty, childish and
destructive in terms of America's hopes in politics as
anything I've ever seen.

When you were first thinking of entering the race, did
it occur to you that the Bush campaign would use your
Vietnam record as a campaign issue? You must have
thought, knowing the difference between your record
and the president's, that at least the question of
service in Vietnam would be off the table for them.

No, no, no. No, I knew what they do. I knew they'd try
to do anything. I saw what they did to John McCain and
I saw what they did to Max Cleland. So, you know, we
were ready, and I think we beat them back. And the
more they want to bring it up, the happier I am. I'm
happy to go anywhere in the nation with Dick Cheney
and George Bush and have a debate about what they did
and what I did during that period of time. Let's have
that debate.

The Republicans did it to McCain again last week, when
House Speaker Dennis Hastert suggested that McCain
didn't really know what sacrifice meant. I would have
thought that rank-and-file Republicans would have been
outraged, that they would have called for Hastert to
resign or at least apologize. But it didn't happen.

There is a kind of turnoff factor-slash-powerlessness
that people know exists until the day they get to walk
into a voting booth. So I think they just process it,
put it in the ledger. And as we get into September and
October, I think you'll see that it will bubble up to
the surface.

How do you break through all that? How do you keep
people from just throwing up their hands and saying,
"Well, both sides are lying about everything"?

I think we're doing it. I think we're doing very well.
If you look at the battleground states, I'm told that
we're ahead in every one of them. That's how you break
through, by going out and campaigning, talking to real
people. I intend to continue to do that. I love going
out and meeting people and talking to them, like we
did tonight.

You know, we're having more of a conversation than a
shouting match. I think that's important. I want to
talk to people about real choices. I do not want to
run for president and not have used that special
moment of opportunity to talk about real things with
people. So I'm going to lay it out as it is.

Wednesday night in Seattle, you gave a speech at a
fundraiser that was almost Reaganesque. The room was
very quiet after your wife, Teresa, spoke. And you
talked less about the failings of this administration
and more about the need to restore faith and hope in
America, the need for this country to serve as an
example for the rest of the world. It was a speech --
at least 85 or 90 percent of it -- that a lot of
Republicans probably would have liked, if only you
hadn't been the one giving it.

I think there's some truth to that. I understand what
you're saying. But I think we're breaking through with
a lot of them. I can't tell you how many Republicans
have come up to me and said, "Can't vote for the guy,
gonna vote for you." There's a huge move over of
Republicans, and I'm very pleased with that.

The biggest "move over" would be that of John McCain.
Is there even a possibility that he will be your
vice-presidential pick?

I have just made it as clear as I can that I'm not
going to discuss any aspect of this -- process, time,
possibilities, hypotheticals. I'm just not going to
contribute to any of this. I'm just going to keep it
personal.

As you know, the Republican line on you is that you're
a "flip-flopper." Do you think the White House really
views you that way, or is this just an intellectually
dishonest political exercise?

Of course it is. It's not only intellectually
dishonest, it's shallow beyond belief. It's exactly
what they said about Bill Clinton, it's exactly what
they said about Al Gore, it's exactly what they said
about John McCain. It is the standard operating
approach of Republicans who have nothing to say for
themselves, so all they do is try to brand somebody
else.

Well, it's not exactly what they did to McCain.
Nobody's accused you of having an illegitimate love
child.

Not yet. I'm waiting for those. That's probably August
or September.

I'll tell you what. What's really so craven about it
is that they pick something that they implement badly
and screw up, like Iraq or No Child Left Behind or the
Patriot Act. And when you point out that they screwed
it up, they say that you're "flip-flopping."

But they, on the other hand, break a promise to have
no deficit, break a promise not to invade Social
Security, break a promise to fund No Child Left
Behind, break a promise to introduce the
four-pollutant bill and move forward on the
environment, break a promise to deal with the real
health issues and prescription drugs, break a promise
of humility in American foreign policy. I mean, you
start running down the list -- I've never seen a
grander array of flip-flops. This is the biggest "say
one thing, do another" administration in modern
history.

So maybe when you voted to authorize the use of force
in Iraq, you were agreeing to never raise any
questions about how the president used the power he
was given.

I didn't sign off on that. This is the biggest "my way
or the highway" crowd we've ever had in Washington.
They have no interest in legitimate governance. They
have all the interest in power, favor, privilege,
perks and reelection.

Does Bush understand what's going on here? Does he
have the capacity to understand that people change
their minds when confronted with new circumstances? Or
is he so consumed with consistency, with staying the
course, that he can't see that?

You have to go ask him. I'm not making any judgments
about him on a personal level. I'm simply talking
about the differences we have in terms of policy.

I think it's important to talk about my vision of the
country. I'm offering real plans, real options and
choices to make American stronger. And they're real.
My healthcare plan really does lower the cost of
healthcare for Americans. My education plan is going
to liberate communities from the burden of special
needs and help them afford after-school programs and
things they need to do. My foreign policy plan is
going to make America stronger in the world and deal
with terror more effectively. These are the things
Americans want, and that's exactly what I'm going to
do.

But how are you going to do that in Iraq? For the guy
on the barstool who's watching it all on TV, how do
you explain the difference between what you would do
in Iraq and what the Bush administration is already
trying to do?

I'm going to keep faith with America's honor and our
obligation to our troops. I will not allow their
contribution to be wasted or in vain. I'm going to
stand up for them, and not extend them in some
stubborn, inappropriate way. I'm going to bring other
countries to the table. You know, we're going to find
a resolution that doesn't have this sort of endless
exposure to danger, leaving our troops overdeployed,
overextended and undersupported.

Is there a unique opportunity in this campaign for
Democrats to seize the high ground on national
security and foreign policy in a way they haven't for
a long time?

Well, look, I think Democrats have always been strong
on national security. We had Franklin Roosevelt, Harry
Truman, John Kennedy. You know, Bill Clinton was tough
on Kosovo, tough in Bosnia, tough in Haiti. I think we
have a great record. I'm not going to let the
Republicans pretend they're doing something better or
have the better ability to do that.

But this is the first time in a long time that a
Democrat will lead with that punch.

You bet I'm going to lead with it. I'm not shy about
it one iota. I think these guys have made America less
safe, and I think I have a plan to make us stronger.


- - - - - - - - - - - -

About the writer
Tim Grieve is a senior writer for Salon based in San
Francisco.

Posted by richard at 09:21 AM

Michael Moore Film Nears Release as Disney Sells

"Every day Frodo draws closer to Mordor..."

Peter Henderson, Reuters: Michael Moore's
controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" moved a
step closer to U.S. theaters on Friday as Miramax film
studio founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein personally
bought rights to the picture from Walt Disney Co.
Miramax had funded the film but Disney, which owns the
art-house studio, had declined to distribute the
movie, saying the documentary and its criticism of
President Bush's war on Iraq were too politically
charged...
By clinching a deal now, the movie could still be on
track to get into theaters by the middle of this
summer, despite a crowded field of U.S. releases,
distributors have said.
That fast-track release would capitalize on the recent
surge of interest in the film and give Moore a chance
to influence the November presidential election with
his unflattering portrait of Bush...

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=5291682

Michael Moore Film Nears Release as Disney Sells
Fri May 28, 2004 05:26 PM ET

By Peter Henderson
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michael Moore's controversial
documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" moved a step closer to
U.S. theaters on Friday as Miramax film studio
founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein personally bought
rights to the picture from Walt Disney Co. .

Miramax had funded the film but Disney, which owns the
art-house studio, had declined to distribute the
movie, saying the documentary and its criticism of
President Bush's war on Iraq were too politically
charged.

After more than three weeks of talks, the Weinsteins
bought rights to the film for costs to date, estimated
at about $6 million, and will arrange for theatrical
and home video distribution, both sides said in a
statement issued on Friday.

By clinching a deal now, the movie could still be on
track to get into theaters by the middle of this
summer, despite a crowded field of U.S. releases,
distributors have said.

That fast-track release would capitalize on the recent
surge of interest in the film and give Moore a chance
to influence the November presidential election with
his unflattering portrait of Bush.

The Weinsteins would probably turn to a third-party
distributor to handle the film, and talks with such
companies already were under way while the brothers
negotiated with Disney, one distributor said.

Moore sparked interest in the film in early May by
saying Disney had backed down from distributing the
documentary out of fear of political repercussions.

Disney hotly denied that charge and in turn accused
the director of the anti-gun documentary "Bowling for
Columbine" of staging a publicity stunt to promote his
film.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" won this month the Palme d'Or, the
highest award of France's Cannes film festival, with
its portrayal of families affected by the war and U.S.
government policies in the aftermath of the Sept. 11,
2001 attacks that felled the World Trade Center.

It is also expected to meet or beat the box-office
performance of "Columbine," which set a record for a
U.S. documentary with $21.6 million in ticket sales.

Talks are already under way between the Weinsteins and
U.S. distributors, with top contenders seen including
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Focus Features, a unit
of General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal., and
privately held Newmarket Films. Smaller ThinkFilm is
also in the running for the U.S. rights and deals have
already been made for releases outside the United
States.

Disney said that it could still profit if the film did
well but that it would donate any profit to charity.
It did not name the charity.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but a person
familiar with it said that the charity component
assured that neither Disney nor the Weinsteins would
do better under the deal than if Disney had
distributed it.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.



Posted by richard at 09:17 AM

History Lesson: GOP Must Stop Bush

In the end, Carl Bernstein will have a lot less
explaining to do than Bob Woodward. Of course, that's
why Woodward has superstar status...The questions
Bernstein raises is very real and of course not heard
on the air waves...Do the Republicans care about
saving the Republic? Do they care about the familes of
the 800 US soldiers who have died so far in this
foolish military adventure? Do they care about losing
their majority in the US Senate? Are they willing to
forsake their own political futures in backing this
failed regime?

Carl Bernstein, USA Today: "What did the president
know and when did he know it?" a Republican senator -
Howard Baker of Tennessee - famously asked of Nixon 30
springtimes ago.
Today, confronted by the graphic horrors of Abu
Ghraib prison, by ginned-up intelligence to justify
war, by 652 American deaths since presidential
operatives declared "Mission Accomplished," Republican
leaders have yet to suggest that George W. Bush be
held responsible for the disaster in Iraq and that
perhaps he, not just Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, is ill-suited for his job.
Having read the report of Major Gen. Antonio
Taguba, I expect Baker's question will resound again
in another congressional investigation. The equally
relevant question is whether Republicans will,
Pavlov-like, continue to defend their president with
ideological and partisan reflex, or remember the
example of principled predecessors who pursued truth
at another dark moment.
Today, the issue may not be high crimes and
misdemeanors, but rather Bush's failure, or inability,
to lead competently and honestly.
"You are courageously leading our nation in the
war against terror," Bush told Rumsfeld in a
Wizard-of-Oz moment May 10, as Vice President Cheney,
Secretary of State Colin Powell and senior generals
looked on. "You are a strong secretary of Defense, and
our nation owes you a debt of gratitude." The scene
recalled another Oz moment: Nixon praising his
enablers, Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, as "two of
the finest public servants I've ever known."

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/052904G.shtml

History Lesson: GOP Must Stop Bush
By Carl Bernstein
USA TODAY

Monday 24 May 2004

Will Republicans continue to defend their president
with ideological and partisan reflex, or remember the
example of principled predecessors?
Thirty years ago, a Republican president, facing
impeachment by the House of Representatives and
conviction by the Senate, was forced to resign because
of unprecedented crimes he and his aides committed
against the Constitution and people of the United
States. Ultimately, Richard Nixon left office
voluntarily because courageous leaders of the
Republican Party put principle above party and acted
with heroism in defense of the Constitution and rule
of law.

"What did the president know and when did he know
it?" a Republican senator - Howard Baker of Tennessee
- famously asked of Nixon 30 springtimes ago.

Today, confronted by the graphic horrors of Abu
Ghraib prison, by ginned-up intelligence to justify
war, by 652 American deaths since presidential
operatives declared "Mission Accomplished," Republican
leaders have yet to suggest that George W. Bush be
held responsible for the disaster in Iraq and that
perhaps he, not just Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, is ill-suited for his job.

Having read the report of Major Gen. Antonio
Taguba, I expect Baker's question will resound again
in another congressional investigation. The equally
relevant question is whether Republicans will,
Pavlov-like, continue to defend their president with
ideological and partisan reflex, or remember the
example of principled predecessors who pursued truth
at another dark moment.

Today, the issue may not be high crimes and
misdemeanors, but rather Bush's failure, or inability,
to lead competently and honestly.

"You are courageously leading our nation in the
war against terror," Bush told Rumsfeld in a
Wizard-of-Oz moment May 10, as Vice President Cheney,
Secretary of State Colin Powell and senior generals
looked on. "You are a strong secretary of Defense, and
our nation owes you a debt of gratitude." The scene
recalled another Oz moment: Nixon praising his
enablers, Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, as "two of
the finest public servants I've ever known."

Sidestepping the Constitution
Like Nixon, this president decided the
Constitution could be bent on his watch. Terrorism
justified it, and Rumsfeld's Pentagon promoted
policies making inevitable what happened at Abu Ghraib
- and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The legal justification
for ignoring the Geneva Conventions regarding humane
treatment of prisoners was enunciated in a memo to
Bush, dated Jan. 25, 2002, from the White House
counsel.

"As you have said, the war against terrorism is a
new kind of war," Alberto Gonzales wrote Bush. "In my
judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's
strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners
and renders quaint some of its provisions." Quaint.

Since January, Bush and Rumsfeld have been aware
of credible complaints of systematic torture. In
March, Taguba's report reached Rumsfeld. Yet neither
Bush nor his Defense secretary expressed concern
publicly or leveled with Congress until photographic
evidence of an American Gulag, possessed for months by
the administration, was broadcast to the world.

Rumsfeld then explained, "You read it, as I say,
it's one thing. You see these photographs and it's
just unbelievable. . . . It wasn't three-dimensional.
It wasn't video. It wasn't color. It was quite a
different thing." But the report also described
atrocities never photographed or taped that were,
often, even worse than the pictures - just as Nixon's
actions were frequently far worse than his tapes
recorded.

It was Barry Goldwater, the revered conservative,
who convinced Nixon that he must resign or face
certain conviction by the Senate - and perhaps jail.
Goldwater delivered his message in person, at the
White House, accompanied by Republican congressional
leaders.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee
likewise put principle above party to cast votes for
articles of impeachment. On the eve of his mission,
Goldwater told his wife that it might cost him his
Senate seat on Election Day. Instead, the courage of
Republicans willing to dissociate their party from
Nixon helped Ronald Reagan win the presidency six
years later, unencumbered by Watergate.

Another precedent is apt: In 1968, a few
Democratic senators - J. William Fulbright, Eugene
McCarthy, George McGovern and Robert F. Kennedy -
challenged their party's torpor and insisted that
President Lyndon Johnson be held accountable for his
disastrous and disingenuous conduct of the Vietnam
War, adding weight to public pressure, which,
eventually, forced Johnson not to seek re-election.

Today, the United States is confronted by another
ill-considered war, conceived in ideological zeal and
pursued with contempt for truth, disregard of history
and an arrogant assertion of American power that has
stunned and alienated much of the world, including
traditional allies. At a juncture in history when the
United States needed a president to intelligently and
forcefully lead a real international campaign against
terrorism and its causes, Bush decided instead to
unilaterally declare war on a totalitarian state that
never represented a terrorist threat; to claim
exemption from international law regarding the
treatment of prisoners; to suspend constitutional
guarantees even to non-combatants at home and abroad;
and to ignore sound military advice from the only
member of his Cabinet - Powell - with the most
requisite experience. Instead of using America's moral
authority to lead a great global cause, Bush
squandered it.

In Republican cloakrooms, as in the Oval Office,
response to catastrophe these days is more concerned
with politics and PR than principle. Said Tom DeLay,
House majority leader: "A full-fledged congressional
investigation - that's like saying we need an
investigation every time there's police brutality on
the street."

When Politics Topples Principles
To curtail any hint of dissension in the ranks,
Bush scheduled a "pep rally" with congressional
Republicans - speaking 35 minutes, after which,
characteristically, he took no questions and lawmakers
dutifully circled the wagons.

What did George W. Bush know and when did he know
it? Another wartime president, Harry Truman, observed
that the buck stops at the president's desk, not the
Pentagon.

But among Republicans today, there seems to be
scant interest in asking tough questions - or honoring
the example of courageous leaders of Congress who, not
long ago, stepped forward, setting principle before
party, to hold accountable presidents who put their
country in peril.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carl Bernstein's most recent book is a biography
of John Paul II, His Holiness. He is co-author, with
Bob Woodward, of All the President's Men and The Final
Days.
-------

Jump to TO Features for Saturday May 29, 2004
Today's TO Features -------------- U.S. Retreats From
Najaf After Failing to Capture al-Sadr Allawi Named by
Iraqi Council - France, China Want Powers Defined Hugo
Chavez | Ready for a Recall Vote Fears of Violence
Mount Ahead of Bush Rome Visit J. Sri Raman | India's
'No' to 9/11 Legacy Bob Herbert | A Speech That's No
Joke Carl Bernstein | History Lesson: GOP Must Stop
Bush Greenpeace Lands in Oregon Forests Dominique
Dhombres | Errare humanum, perseverare diabolicum Paul
Krugman | To Tell the Truth Report: 1 of Every 75 U.S.
Men in Prison Kerry Surges Ahead in 12 Crucial Swing
States as Bush Poll Ratings Plummet t r u t h o u t
Home

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational
purposes. t r u t h o u t has no affiliation
whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is
t r u t h o u t endorsed or sponsored by the
originator.)

Posted by richard at 09:14 AM

May 28, 2004

Things fall apart: the military, loyal and lumbering, betrayed and embittered; the general in the field, General Sanchez, disgraced and cashiered; the intelligence agencies abused and angry, their retired operatives plying their craft with the press corps

At least four more US soldiers have died in Iraq over
the last 48 hours. For what? The Emperor has no
uniform. The woods have come to the castle walls...

Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian: Washington, just weeks
ago in the grip of neoconservative orthodoxy, absolute
belief in Bush's inevitability and righteousness, is
in the throes of being ripped apart by investigations.
Things fall apart: the military, loyal and lumbering, betrayed and embittered; the general in the field, General Sanchez, disgraced and cashiered; the intelligence agencies abused and angry, their retired operatives plying their craft with the press corps, seeping dangerous truths; the press, hesitating and wobbly, investigating its own falsehoods; the neocons,
publicly redoubling defence of their hero and deceiver
Chalabi, privately squabbling, anxiously awaiting the
footsteps of FBI agents; Colin Powell, once the most
acclaimed man in America, embarked on an endless quest
to restore his reputation, damaged above all by his
failure of nerve; everyone in the line of fire
motioning toward the chain of command, spiralling
upwards and sideways, until the finger pointing in a
phalanx is directed at the hollow crown.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1225688,00.html

The Bush orthodoxy is in shreds

A series of investigations has shattered neocon
self-belief

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday May 27, 2004
The Guardian

At a conservative thinktank in downtown Washington,
and across the Potomac at the Pentagon, FBI agents
have begun paying quiet calls on prominent
neoconservatives, who are being interviewed in an
investigation of potential espionage, according to
intelligence sources. Who gave Ahmed Chalabi
classified information about the plans of the US
government and military?
The Iraqi neocon favourite, tipped to lead his
liberated country post-invasion, has been identified
by the CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency as an
Iranian double-agent, passing secrets to that citadel
of the "axis of evil" for decades. All the while the
neocons cosseted, promoted and arranged for more than
$30m in Pentagon payments to the George Washington
manque of Iraq. In return, he fed them a steady diet
of disinformation and in the run-up to the war sent
various exiles to nine nations' intelligence agencies
to spread falsehoods about weapons of mass
destruction. If the administration had wanted other
material to provide a rationale for invasion, no doubt
that would have been fabricated. Either Chalabi
perpetrated the greatest con since the Trojan horse,
or he was the agent of influence for the most
successful intelligence operation conducted by Iran,
or both.

The CIA and other US agencies had long ago decided
that Chalabi was a charlatan, so their dismissive and
correct analysis of his lies prompted their
suppression by the Bush White House.

In place of the normal channels of intelligence
vetting, a jerry-rigged system was hastily
constructed, running from the office of the vice
president to the newly created Office of Special Plans
inside the Pentagon, staffed by fervent neocons. CIA
director George Tenet, possessed with the survival
instinct of the inveterate staffer, ceased protecting
the sanctity of his agency and cast in his lot.
Secretary of state Colin Powell, resistant internally
but overcome, decided to become the most ardent
champion, unveiling a series of neatly manufactured
lies before the UN.

Last week, Powell declared "it turned out that the
sourcing was inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases,
deliberately misleading. And for that I'm
disappointed, and I regret it". But who had
"deliberately" misled him? He did not say. Now the FBI
is investigating espionage, fraud and, by implication,
treason.

A former staff member of the Office of Special Plans
and a currently serving defence official, two of those
said to be questioned by the FBI, are considered
witnesses, at least for now. Higher figures are under
suspicion. Were they witting or unwitting? If those
who are being questioned turn out to be misleading,
they can be charged ultimately with perjury and
obstruction of justice. For them, the Watergate
principle applies: it's not the crime, it's the
cover-up.

The espionage investigation into the neocons'
relationship with Chalabi is only one of the
proliferating inquiries engulfing the Bush
administration. In his speech to the Army War College
on May 24, Bush blamed the Abu Ghraib torture scandal
on "a few American troops". In other words, there was
no chain of command. But the orders to use the abusive
techniques came from the secretary of defence, Donald
Rumsfeld.

The trials and investigations surrounding Abu Ghraib
beg the question of whether it was an extension of the
far-flung gulag operating outside the Geneva
conventions that has been built after September 11.
The fallout from the Chalabi affair has also
implicated the nation's newspaper of record, the New
York Times, which published yesterday an apology for
running numerous stories containing disinformation
that emanated from Chalabi and those in the Bush
administration funnelling his fabrications. The
Washington Post, which published editorials and
several columnists trumpeting Chalabi's talking
points, has yet to acknowledge the extent to which it
was deceived.

Washington, just weeks ago in the grip of
neoconservative orthodoxy, absolute belief in Bush's
inevitability and righteousness, is in the throes of
being ripped apart by investigations. Things fall
apart: the military, loyal and lumbering, betrayed and
embittered; the general in the field, General Sanchez,
disgraced and cashiered; the intelligence agencies
abused and angry, their retired operatives plying
their craft with the press corps, seeping dangerous
truths; the press, hesitating and wobbly,
investigating its own falsehoods; the neocons,
publicly redoubling defence of their hero and deceiver
Chalabi, privately squabbling, anxiously awaiting the
footsteps of FBI agents; Colin Powell, once the most
acclaimed man in America, embarked on an endless quest
to restore his reputation, damaged above all by his
failure of nerve; everyone in the line of fire
motioning toward the chain of command, spiralling
upwards and sideways, until the finger pointing in a
phalanx is directed at the hollow crown.

· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to
President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of
Salon.com

Sidney_Blumenthal@yahoo.com

Posted by richard at 10:22 AM

When the full history of the Iraq war is written, one of its most scandalous chapters will be about how American journalists, in particular those at the New York Times, so easily allowed themselves to be manipulated...

It's the Media, Stupid.

James Moore, www.salon.com: When the full history of the Iraq war is written, one of its most scandalous chapters will be about how American journalists, in particular those at the New York Times, so easily allowed themselves to be manipulated by both dubious sources and untrustworthy White House officials into running stories that misled the nation about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Break the Bush Cabal's Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004"
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/05/27/times/index.html

Not fit to print
How Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraq war lobby used New York
Times reporter Judith Miller to make the case for
invasion.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By James C. Moore

May 27, 2004 | When the full history of the Iraq war
is written, one of its most scandalous chapters will
be about how American journalists, in particular those
at the New York Times, so easily allowed themselves to
be manipulated by both dubious sources and
untrustworthy White House officials into running
stories that misled the nation about Saddam Hussein's
weapons of mass destruction. The Times finally
acknowledged its grave errors in an extraordinary and
lengthy editors note published Wednesday. The editors
wrote:

"We have found ... instances of coverage that was not
as rigorous as it should have been ... In some cases,
the information that was controversial then, and seems
questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or
allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish
we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims
as new evidence emerged -- or failed to emerge ... We
consider the story of Iraq's weapons, and of the
pattern of misinformation, to be unfinished business.
And we fully intend to continue aggressive reporting
aimed at setting the record straight."

The editors conceded what intelligence sources had
told me and numerous other reporters: that Pentagon
favorite Ahmed Chalabi was feeding bad information to
journalists and the White House and had set up a
situation with Iraqi exiles where all of the
influential institutions were shouting into the same
garbage can, hearing the same echo. "Complicating
matters for journalists, the accounts of these exiles
were often eagerly confirmed by United States
officials convinced of the need to intervene in Iraq.
Administration officials now acknowledge that they
sometimes fell for misinformation from these exile
sources. So did many news organizations -- in
particular, this one."

The reporter on many of the flawed stories at issue
was Judith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter
and authority on the Middle East. The Times, insisting
that the problem did not lie with any individual
journalist, did not mention her name. The paper was
presumably trying to take the high road by defending
its reporter, but the omission seems peculiar. While
her editors must share a large portion of the blame,
the pieces ran under Miller's byline. It was Miller
who clearly placed far too much credence in unreliable
sources, and then credulously used dubious
administration officials to confirm what she was told.


And of all Miller's unreliable sources, the most
unreliable was Ahmed Chalabi -- whose little
neocon-funded kingdom came crashing down last week
when Iraqi forces smashed down his door after U.S.
officials feared he was sending secrets to Iran.

Even before the latest suspicions about Chalabi, a
reporter trying to convince an editor that the
smooth-talking exile was a credible source would have
a difficult case to make. First, he was a convicted
criminal. While living in exile from Iraq, Chalabi was
accused of embezzling millions from his Petra Bank in
Amman, Jordan. Leaving the country in the trunk of a
car reportedly driven by Crown Prince Hassan of
Jordan, Chalabi was convicted in absentia and still
faces 22 years in prison, if he ever returns. Evidence
presented in the trial indicated Chalabi's future
outside of Jordan was secured by $70 million he stole
from his depositors. Chalabi maintains his innocence
and has suggested his prosecution was political
because he was involved in efforts to overthrow
dictator Saddam Hussein in neighboring Iraq.

Even more damning, Chalabi was a player, an interested
party with his own virulently pro-war agenda -- a fact
that alone should have raised editorial suspicions
about any claims he might make that would pave the way
to war. He was also a highly controversial figure, the
subject of bitter intra-administration battling. He
was the darling of Richard Perle and his fellow neocon
hawks, including such ardent advocates of the war as
Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, but was viewed with
deep suspicion by both the State Department and the
CIA. State in particular had turned its back on
Chalabi after his London-based Iraqi National Congress
spent $5 million and an audit was unable to account
for most of its expenditure.

One might have hoped that American journalists would
have been at least as skeptical as the State
Department before they burned their reputations on
Chalabi's pyre of lies. But even the most seasoned of
correspondents and the most august of publications,
including the Times and the Washington Post, appear to
have been as deftly used by Chalabi as were the CIA,
the Department of Defense and the Bush administration.


Miller, however, is the only journalist whose reliance
on Chalabi became a matter of public debate. An e-mail
exchange between the Times' Baghdad bureau chief, John
Burns, and Miller was published in the Washington
Post. In the exchange, Miller said Chalabi "had
provided most of the front page exclusives for our
paper" and that she had been "reporting on him for
over ten years." Miller later told the New York Review
of Books that she had exaggerated her claims to Burns
in order to make a point. However, in an earlier
interview with me, Miller did not discount the value
of Chalabi's insight.

"Of course, I talked with Chalabi," she said. "I
wouldn't have been doing my job if I didn't. But he
was just one of many sources I used while I was in
Iraq."

Miller refused to say who some of those other sources
were, claiming their identities were sacrosanct.
Nonetheless, her reportage appeared to reflect
Chalabi's intelligence gathering and his political
cant. At his behest, she interviewed defectors from
Hussein's regime, who claimed without substantiation
that there was still a clandestine WMD program
operating inside Iraq. U.S. investigators now believe
that Chalabi sent these same Iraqi expatriates to at
least eight Western spy agencies as part of a scheme
to persuade them to overthrow Saddam. An unknown
number of them appear to have stopped along the way to
speak with Miller.

If the double-agent spy business had a trophy to hold
up and show neophyte spooks what happens when their
craft is perfectly executed, it would be a story by
Judith Miller and Michael Gordon that appeared on the
front page of the New York Times on a Sunday morning
in September 2002. The front-page frightener was
titled "Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; US Says
Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts." Miller
and Gordon wrote that an intercepted shipment of
aluminum tubes, to be used as centrifuges, was
evidence Hussein was building a uranium gas separator
to develop nuclear material. The story quoted national
security advisor Condoleezza Rice invoking the image
of "mushroom clouds over America."

The story had an enormous impact, one amplified when
Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Vice
President Dick Cheney all did appearances on the
Sunday morning talk shows, citing the first-rate
journalism of the liberal New York Times. No single
story did more to advance the political cause of the
neoconservatives driving the Bush administration to
invade Iraq.

But Miller's story was wrong.

It turned out that the aluminum tubes were covered
with an anodized coating, which would have been
machined off to make them usable in a centrifuge. But
that change in the thickness of the tube wall would
have rendered the tubes useless for a centrifuge,
according to a number of nuclear scientists who spoke
publicly after Miller's story. Aluminum, which has not
been used in uranium gas separators since the 1950s,
has been replaced by steel. The tubes, in fact, were
almost certainly intended for use as rocket bodies.
Hussein's multiple-launch rocket systems had rusted on
their pads and he had ordered the tubes from Italy.
"Medusa 81," the Italian rocket model name, was
stamped on the sides of the tubes, and in a factory
north of Baghdad, American intelligence officers later
discovered boxes of rocket fins and motors awaiting
the arrival of the tubes of terror.

The probable source for Miller's story, in addition to
U.S. intelligence operatives, was Adnan Ihsan Saeed,
an Iraqi defector Miller was introduced to by Chalabi.
Miller had quoted him in a December 2001 report when
Saeed had told her he had worked on nuclear operations
in Iraq and that there were at least 20 banned-weapons
facilities undergoing repairs. Of course, no such
facilities have been found -- meaning Saeed was either
lying or horribly uninformed.

"I had no reason to believe what I reported at the
time was inaccurate," Miller told me. "I believed the
intelligence information I had at the time. I sure
didn't believe they were making it up. This was a
learning process. You constantly have to ask the
question, 'What do you know at the time you are
writing it?' We tried really hard to get more
information and we vetted information very, very
carefully."

But Miller's entire journalistic approach was flawed.
A few months after the aluminum tubes story, a former
CIA analyst, who has observed Miller's professional
products and relationships for years, explained to me
how simple it was to manipulate the correspondent and
her newspaper.

"The White House had a perfect deal with Miller," he
said. "Chalabi is providing the Bush people with the
information they need to support their political
objectives with Iraq, and he is supplying the same
material to Judy Miller. Chalabi tips her on something
and then she goes to the White House, which has
already heard the same thing from Chalabi, and she
gets it corroborated by some insider she always
describes as a 'senior administration official.' She
also got the Pentagon to confirm things for her, which
made sense, since they were working so closely with
Chalabi. Too bad Judy didn't spend a little more time
talking to those of us in the intelligence community
who had information that contradicted almost
everything Chalabi said."

Long after the fact, Miller conceded in her interview
with me that she was wrong about the aluminum tubes,
but not that she had made a mistake.

"We worked our asses off to get that story," she said.
"No one leaked anything to us. I reported what I knew
at the time. I wish I were omniscient. I wish I were
God and had all the information I had needed. But I'm
not God and I don't know. All I can rely on is what
people tell me. That's all any investigative reporter
can do. And if you find out that it's not true, you go
back and write that. You just keep chipping away at an
assertion until you find out what stands up."

In that description of her methodology, Miller
described a type of journalism that publishes works in
progress, and she raises, inadvertently, important
questions about the craft. If highly placed sources in
governments and intelligence operations give her
information, is she obligated to sit on it until she
can corroborate? How does a reporter independently
confirm data that even the CIA is struggling to nail
down? And what if both the source and the governmental
official who "corroborates" it are less than
trustworthy?

According to Todd Gitlin of Columbia University's
school of journalism, a reporter in that position
needs to ladle on an extra helping of doubt.
"Independent corroboration is very hard to come by.
Since she's been around, if you're aware that such
echo-chamber effects are plausible, what do you do? I
think you write with much greater skepticism, at
times. I think you don't write at all unless you can
make a stronger case when you are aware that people
are playing you and spinning you for their purposes."

More than skepticism, though, Gitlin believes that
news organizations have a responsibility to explain
possible motivations for whoever is leaking the
information to reporters. This can be done without
identifying the source, he insists, and the Times, as
well as a few other papers, is supposedly in the midst
of adopting this protocol.

Miller's centrifuge story, although the most
influential, was not the most egregious of her pieces.
A story titled "Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an
Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert" was based on a
source she never met or even interviewed. For that
story, Miller watched a man in a baseball cap from a
distance, who pointed at the desert floor, and used
that as a basis for filing a piece that confirmed the
U.S. had discovered "precursors to weapons of mass
destruction." According to her sources in the Mobile
Exploitation Team Alpha of the U.S. Army, this unnamed
scientist from Hussein's WMD program had told them the
"building blocks" of WMD were buried in that spot.
Miller explained to me several months later that she
had seen a letter from the man, written in Arabic and
translated for her, that gave his claims credence.

"I have a photograph of him," she explained. "I know
who he is. There's no way I would have gone forward
with such a story without knowing who my source was,
even if I got it from guys in my unit. You know, maybe
it turns out that he was lying or ill-informed or
cannot be independently verified."

The next day she was on national television, including
PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," proclaiming that
what had been discovered was "more than a smoking gun"
and was a "silver bullet in the form of an Iraqi
scientist." In an interview with Ray Suarez, Miller
began using the plural "scientists" and implied there
was more than one source. She gave the Bush
administration credit for creating a "political
atmosphere where these scientists can come forward."
The story was trumpeted by conservative talk-show
hosts like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and, once
it was zapped off to regional newspapers via the Times
wire service, it acquired even more dramatic purchase.
"Illegal Material Spotted," the Rocky Mountain News
blared with a subhead that distorted even more: "Iraqi
Scientist Leads U.S. Team to Illicit Weapons
Location." "Outlawed Material Destroyed by the Iraqis
Before the War" was the headline of the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer.

Unfortunately, none of it was true.

In its editors note, the Times admitted Miller's
"informant also claimed that Iraq had sent
unconventional weapons to Syria and had been
cooperating with Al Qaeda -- two claims that were
then, and remain, highly controversial. But the tone
of the article suggested that this Iraqi 'scientist'
-- who in a later article described himself as an
official of military intelligence -- had provided the
justification the Americans had been seeking for the
invasion. The Times never followed up on the veracity
of this source or the attempts to verify his claims."

Miller, who knew all of this already at the time I
interviewed her, remained righteously indignant,
unwilling to accept that she had goofed in the
grandest of fashions.

"You know what," she offered angrily. "I was proved
fucking right. That's what happened. People who
disagreed with me were saying, 'There she goes again.'
But I was proved fucking right."

Even though the Times has been, by its own admission,
deluged with e-mails and letters criticizing Judith
Miller and the paper's coverage of WMD, management has
consistently defended her and refused to make
statements about her work in impartial public forums.
The only time there has been any hint that Miller's
journalism was being deconstructed by editors was in a
note posted on an obscure blog run by the paper's new
ombudsman, Daniel Okrent. Times Executive Editor Bill
Keller wrote that a "fair amount of the mail on this
subject seemed to me to come from people who had not
actually read the coverage, but had heard about it on
the cyber-grapevine." Keller, who was not executive
editor at the time Miller was filing her questionable
dispatches, said, "I did not see a prima facie case
for recanting or repudiating the stories. The brief
against the coverage was that it was insufficiently
skeptical, but that is an easier claim to make in
hindsight than in context." Rather than scrutinize his
correspondent's work, Keller chose to base his
assessment of Miller's WMD work on her past
performances. Describing her as "smart, well-sourced,
industrious and fearless," Keller dismissed criticisms
that her work was fatally flawed.

Until this week, the Times blamed everyone other than
its own editors and reporters for its lapsed
journalism. As late as May 21, in an editorial on the
disgraced Chalabi titled "Friends Like This," the
paper contradicted its own behavior and amplified its
hypocrisies by an order of magnitude. "There's little
to recommend Mr. Chalabi as a politician, or certainly
as an informer. But he can't be made a scapegoat. The
Bush administration should have known what it was
doing when it gave enormous credence to a questionable
character whose own self-interest was totally invested
in getting the Americans to invade Iraq."

All true -- but the paper failed to point out that
much of its reporting was dependent on Chalabi and
Iraqi defectors provided through the exiled Iraqi
National Congress, the same operation that was getting
the Bush White House to gobble up its lies and
distortions. Why weren't Times editors as
intellectually disciplined on the subject of Chalabi
when Miller and other reporters were trotting in with
stories based on spurious allegations from the Iraqi
National Congress and Chalabi's merry band of
defectors?

The fact that Chalabi was able to feed disinformation
to America's most widely recognized publication and
have it go relatively unchallenged as the electorate
was whipped into a get-Saddam frenzy ought to be
keeping Times editors awake all night. Nobody wanted a
war against Iraq more than Ahmed Chalabi -- and the
biggest paper in the U.S. gave it to him almost as
willingly as the White House did.

The failures of Miller and the Times' reporting on
Iraq are far greater sins than those of the paper's
disgraced Jayson Blair. While the newspaper's
management cast Blair into outer darkness after his
deceptions, Miller and other reporters who contributed
to sending America into a war have been shielded from
full scrutiny. The Times plays an unequaled role in
the national discourse, and when it publishes a
front-page piece about aluminum tubes and mushroom
clouds, that story very quickly runs away from home to
live on its own. The day after Miller's tubes
narrative showed up, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News went
on national TV to proclaim, "They were the kind of
tubes that could only be used in a centrifuge to make
nuclear fuel." Norah O'Donnell had already told the
network's viewers the day before of the "alarming
disclosure," and the New York Times wire service
distributed Miller's report to dozens of papers across
the landscape. Invariably, they gave it prominence.
Sadly, the sons and daughters of America were sent
marching off to war wearing the boots of a well-told
and widely disseminated lie.

Of course, Judy Miller and the Times are not the only
journalists to be taken by Ahmed Chalabi. Jim
Hoagland, a columnist at the Washington Post, has also
written of his long association with the exile. But no
one was so fooled as Miller and her paper.

Russ Baker, who has written critically of Miller for
the Nation, places profound blame at the feet of the
reporter and her paper. "I am convinced there would
not have been a war without Judy Miller," he said.

The introspection and analysis of America's rush to
war with Iraq have turned into a race among the ruins.
Few people doubt any longer that the agencies of the
U.S. government did not properly perform. No
institution, however, either public or private, has
violated the trust of its vast constituency as
profoundly as the New York Times.


- - - - - - - - - - - -

About the writer
James C. Moore, a longtime journalist in Texas, is the
coauthor of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George
W. Bush Presidential" and author of the recently
published "Bush's War for Reelection: Iraq, the White
House and the People."


Posted by richard at 10:19 AM

It's outrageous to have a simple editor's note buried on page A10, while their repetition of the administrations' lies was consistently given top billing on the front pages of the paper."

It's the Media, Stupid.

USA Today: "Unlike Blair's deceptions, Miller's lies provided the
pretext for war. Her lies cost lives. If only the
Times had done the same kind of investigation of
Miller's reports as it had with Blair," says Amy
Goodman, author of The Exception to the Rulers, which
takes Miller to task for her stories. "It's outrageous to have a simple editor's note buried on page A10, while their repetition of the administrations' lies was consistently given top billing on the front pages of the paper."
Harvard media analyst Alex Jones, a former Times
reporter, said that because of the Times' place in
American journalism — many media outlets follow its
lead — "when it gets something wrong, it is obliged to
do a self-examination and tell the people who read it
what went wrong and why. I don't think the Times has
done that," and in the short-term, at least, may have
harmed its credibility.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.usatoday.com/life/columnist/mediamix/2004-05-26-media-mix_x.htm

Posted 5/26/2004 9:30 PM Updated 5/27/2004 12:35
AM

'N.Y. Times' criticized for quiet mea culpa
For the second time in a year, the nation's so-called
paper of record, The New York Times, has admitted that
the record was flawed.

Judith Miller's reports — whose unnamed sources
frequently included Ahmad Chalabi — have been widely
challenged.
The New York Times via AP

But unlike the Jayson Blair scandal, in which the
paper detailed how the reporter fabricated and
plagiarized a string of stories, the note "from the
editors" published in Wednesday's newspaper did not
single out anyone at theTimes for blame. Instead, in
an 1,100-word note, editors said it was "past time"
the Times examined its reporting in the lead-up to the
Iraq war.

The note called some reports about supposed stockpiles
of weapons of mass destruction "flawed" because they
relied too heavily on now-suspect sources with
insufficient corroboration. A major source was Ahmad
Chalabi, an Iraqi exile (and former favorite of the
Bush administration) who, along with others, had an
interest in seeing the United States topple Saddam
Hussein.

The administration then used the reports to help
bolster the case for war.

The note said editors "fully intend to continue
aggressive reporting aimed at setting the record
straight."

But, while some in the news industry praised the paper
for coming clean, others said the note fell far short
of full disclosure, that it was long overdue, and that
its message was obtuse at best.

"The Times' exercise would leave any
less-than-knowledgeable reader wondering what the hell
they were talking about," says former Newsweek chief
Osborn Elliot.

Others blasted the paper for not singling out and
sanctioning Times reporter Judith Miller, whose
reports — which often used unnamed sources, frequently
Chalabi — have been widely challenged.

"Unlike Blair's deceptions, Miller's lies provided the
pretext for war. Her lies cost lives. If only the
Times had done the same kind of investigation of
Miller's reports as it had with Blair," says Amy
Goodman, author of The Exception to the Rulers, which
takes Miller to task for her stories. "It's outrageous
to have a simple editor's note buried on page A10,
while their repetition of the administrations' lies
was consistently given top billing on the front pages
of the paper."

Miller could not be reached. Times' public editor
Daniel Okrent says he plans to write about the note in
his Sunday column, but would not discuss its content.

The reporting in question occurred under former
executive editor Howell Raines, who lost his job after
the Blair scandal. In a note posted on Jim Romenesko's
media Web site Wednesday, Raines said he disagreed
with the contention "that problems in the WMD stories
came about because some editors felt pressured to get
scoops into the paper before the necessary checking
had taken place."

Raines' replacement at the Times, Bill Keller, could
not be reached. In a staff memo, he said the editor's
note was "not an attempt to find a scapegoat or to
blame reporters for not knowing then what we know now.
... (It) will not satisfy our most vociferous critics,
but it is not written for them. It is an attempt to
set the record straight, something we do as a point of
journalistic pride."

Harvard media analyst Alex Jones, a former Times
reporter, said that because of the Times' place in
American journalism — many media outlets follow its
lead — "when it gets something wrong, it is obliged to
do a self-examination and tell the people who read it
what went wrong and why. I don't think the Times has
done that," and in the short-term, at least, may have
harmed its credibility.

Others noted that misinformation flowed before, during
and after the war, and that blame can't be laid solely
at the Times' doorstep. But "there's no question that
when the Times reports something on the front page,
without skepticism, it carries weight," Jones says.

The Times' reports on WMD did just that for policy
makers and media alike, says David Paletz, a Duke
University political science professor. "The Times has
a reputation for being skeptical and critical of those
in power. Its reports may explain in part Democrats'
docility in the run-up to the war. If the Times had
been publishing more skeptical stories, some Democrats
could have been emboldened to challenge the run-up."

George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC's This Week, said
the note "was the brave and right thing to do.
Everyone has been wondering how we got it so wrong,
not just the media but also intelligence agencies, the
Bush administration, Congress, even the U.N."

Martin Kaplan, dean of the Norman Lear Center at the
University of Southern California's Annenberg School
for Communication, says that "for people who are
serious and thoughtful, the Times is a gatekeeper of
quality in terms of what's credible and believable.
When it published those pieces, it sent signals which
legitimized our going to war and calmed people's fears
that we were rushing. It turns out that the Times was
hoodwinked just like the rest of the country."

Perhaps, but for anyone to suggest that the Times
reports led us to war is "absurd," says
Stephanopoulos. The former Clinton administration
communications chief says the newspaper's influence is
sometimes exaggerated. "In this Internet age, there is
so much information. ... No single newspaper has that
much power or influence. People aren't waiting for a
single newspaper to hit their doorstep at 6 a.m. to
set the agenda."

Contributing: Gary Strauss


Posted by richard at 10:16 AM

"At some point, someone has to say that the Beltway media has to be more skeptical about being spoon-fed by the Bush administration."

It's the Media, Stupid.

Joe Strupp, Editors and Publishers: Many editors were
critical of the fact that the admission appeared on
Page A10, with no Page One teaser and only a short
refer from the corrections page. Others offered mixed
reactions about how damaging the revelations might be,
or whether the paper needs to make an example of any
employees...
David Yarnold, editor of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury
News, echoed that view. "It was long and pretty
thorough, but the issue is that this is not the first
time," he said, citing the paper's mistakes regarding
its Wen Ho Lee coverage in 2000 that produced a
similar correction. "At some point, someone has to say that the Beltway media has to be more skeptical about being spoon-fed by the Bush administration."
One editor at a leading daily, who requested
anonymity, said simply, "I don't know how Judy Miller
can walk into the building today."

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000519819

Editors Weigh in on 'N.Y. Times' Admission on Iraq Reporting

By Joe Strupp

Published: May 27, 2004 12:01 AM EST

NEW YORK The New York Times' editors' note that called
attention to problems with several of its Iraq-related
stories elicited mixed reactions from newspaper
editors and journalism observers alike. Most supported
the effort to come clean, but they differed in opinion
about the severity of the Times' reporting gaffes and
the way the newspaper revealed its mistakes. Some said
the episode was worse than the Jayson Blair scandal.

Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Washington
Post, declined to comment on the editors' note
specifically, but indirectly took a swipe at the
paper's flawed reporting. "If you look back over the
history of our reporting on this issue, you will see
that it differed from theirs," he said, pointing out
that his paper was "detailing how and why they were
not finding [weapons of mass destruction] and why
their intelligence about it was misinformed."

The note, which appeared Wednesday, admitted errors in
the paper's coverage of several issues related to the
Iraq War, including failing to question some sources
and Bush Administration officials thoroughly. Six
articles are singled out as being particularly
unfortunate, including four written or co-written by
star reporter Judith Miller.

Many editors were critical of the fact that the
admission appeared on Page A10, with no Page One
teaser and only a short refer from the corrections
page. Others offered mixed reactions about how
damaging the revelations might be, or whether the
paper needs to make an example of any employees.

"The criticisms [cited in the editor's note] have been
going on for very long, and the Times has been very
stiff-armed about it," said Doug Clifton, editor of
The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. "I don't know if this
went far enough, I don't know how bad the reporting
was."

David Yarnold, editor of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury
News, echoed that view. "It was long and pretty
thorough, but the issue is that this is not the first
time," he said, citing the paper's mistakes regarding
its Wen Ho Lee coverage in 2000 that produced a
similar correction. "At some point, someone has to say
that the Beltway media has to be more skeptical about
being spoon-fed by the Bush administration."

Yarnold and Clifton were among several editors who
said the mistakes, in some ways, were worse than the
Jayson Blair affair. "It's worse because it speaks to
the essence of the reporting and editing process,"
Clifton said. "That is worse than one guy screwing
around and playing fast and loose."

One editor at a leading daily, who requested
anonymity, said simply, "I don't know how Judy Miller
can walk into the building today."

But Brian Toolan, editor of The Hartford Courant, took
the focus off of Miller. "I don't think that the
United States has its army in Iraq because of Judith
Miller's reporting," he said.

Other editors said the Times' move sheds important
light on dealing with unnamed sources. "This raises
the whole issue of relying on anonymous sources," said
Ellen Soeteber, editor of the St. Louis (Mo.)
Post-Dispatch. Added Roger Oglesby, editor and
publisher of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "We
should be using them much more sparingly."

Most of the three dozen editors contacted about this
issue either declined to comment, or failed to return
calls to E&P. Some had not read the note, while others
said they did not want to criticize another newspaper.

Others, however, supported the Times' effort to
explain itself, saying it can never hurt to admit
mistakes.

"It doesn't surprise me that a paper run by (Executive
Editor) Bill Keller and (Managing Editor) Jill
Abramson would be introspective about what they put in
the paper," said David M. Shribman, editor of the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "They are people of clarity
and conscience." Phil Bronstein, editor of the San
Francisco Chronicle, agreed. "I'm pretty stunned that
they would do it," he said. "But I think it is good,
it's valuable."

Martin Kaiser, senior vice president/editor of the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, added, "I'm glad they're
trying to be transparent with their readers. This is a
remarkable self-examination of their coverage, and I
commend them for it."

Tom Wicker, a respected former Times writer and
columnist, also praised the editor's note, but said it
did not explain enough about the paper's overall
problems with editorial oversight or who specifically
is to blame. "The fact that they publicize this
suggests there are some fairly serious journalistic
mistakes," he said. "But I don't know how widespread
the errors were."

The Courant's Toolan agreed with the Times' decision
not to publish the names of reporters involved in the
stories. "The New York Times' note was not intended or
should have been intended to hang individuals out to
dry."

Miller, Keller and Abramson did not return calls
seeking comment.

None of those who spoke with E&P were ready to call
for the firing of any Times employees or criticize the
paper for not naming specific employees who were at
fault. "In the way this piece was structured, they did
not need to name reporters," said Kaiser. Rex Seline,
managing editor/news for the Fort Worth (Texas)
Star-Telegram, added, "It is hard for an outsider to
say that this was all Judy Miller or all somebody
else."

Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent, who is working on a
column about the issue for Sunday's paper, said he did
not know when editors had decided to run the editor's
note, adding that he had not asked for it. "People
know I was writing about it and I knew they were doing
something on Tuesday, but we work separately," he
said.

Charles Geraci contributed to this report.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joe Strupp (Jstrupp@editorandpublisher.com) is senior
editor of E&P.

Posted by richard at 10:13 AM

May 27, 2004

How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison...

The "war on terror" is not the strength of the Bush abmoniation, it is the SHAME of the Bush abomination. One night in Tennessee, during the Democratic primary campaign, Al Gore went beyond even those vital and HISTORIC speeches that he has made over the last two years and unleashed a speech of real prophetic power. Gore declared, "HE BETRAYED THIS COUNTRY!" Gore promised, "Truth shall rise again." Today, he cleansed a national wound, and administered a healing balm. Today, he delivered a speech from beyond history, a speech from the ineffable atmosphere that pervades the Memorials of Jefferson and Lincoln.
The campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) embodies the redemption of this republic, the personal witness of Al Gore is the herald of its coming.

Al Gore, www.moveonpac.org: George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has he brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world...
How did we get from September 12th , 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib...
How dare they blame their misdeeds on enlisted personnel from a Reserve unit in upstate New York. President Bush owes more than one apology. On the list of those he let down are the young soldiers who are themselves apparently culpable, but who were clearly put into a moral cesspool. The perpetrators as well as the victims were both placed in their relationship to one another by the policies of George W. Bush.
How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people. How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison...
He asked the nation , in his State of the Union address, to "imagine" how terrified we should be that Saddam was about to give nuclear weapons to terrorists and stated repeatedly that Iraq posed a grave and gathering threat to our nation. He planted the seeds of war, and harvested a whirlwind. And now, the "corrupt tree" of a war waged on false premises has brought us the "evil fruit" of Americans torturing and humiliating prisoners.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.moveonpac.org/goreremarks052604.html/

Remarks by Al Gore
May 26, 2004

As Prepared
George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has he brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.

How did we get from September 12th , 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib.

To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat - and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.

More disturbing still was their frequent use of the word "dominance" to describe their strategic goal, because an American policy of dominance is as repugnant to the rest of the world as the ugly dominance of the helpless, naked Iraqi prisoners has been to the American people. Dominance is as dominance does.

Dominance is not really a strategic policy or political philosophy at all. It is a seductive illusion that tempts the powerful to satiate their hunger for more power still by striking a Faustian bargain. And as always happens - sooner or later - to those who shake hands with the devil, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul.

One of the clearest indications of the impending loss of intimacy with one's soul is the failure to recognize the existence of a soul in those over whom power is exercised, especially if the helpless come to be treated as animals, and degraded. We also know - and not just from De Sade and Freud - the psychological proximity between sexual depravity and other people's pain. It has been especially shocking and awful to see these paired evils perpetrated so crudely and cruelly in the name of America.

Those pictures of torture and sexual abuse came to us embedded in a wave of news about escalating casualties and growing chaos enveloping our entire policy in Iraq. But in order understand the failure of our overall policy, it is important to focus specifically on what happened in the Abu Ghraib prison, and ask whether or not those actions were representative of who we are as Americans? Obviously the quick answer is no, but unfortunately it's more complicated than that.

There is good and evil in every person. And what makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our natural distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have lead us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations more than the people any other nation.

Our founders were insightful students of human nature. They feared the abuse of power because they understood that every human being has not only "better angels" in his nature, but also an innate vulnerability to temptation - especially the temptation to abuse power over others.

Our founders understood full well that a system of checks and balances is needed in our constitution because every human being lives with an internal system of checks and balances that cannot be relied upon to produce virtue if they are allowed to attain an unhealthy degree of power over their fellow citizens.

Listen then to the balance of internal impulses described by specialist Charles Graner when confronted by one of his colleagues, Specialist Joseph M. Darby, who later became a courageous whistleblower. When Darby asked him to explain his actions documented in the photos, Graner replied: "The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the Corrections Officer says, 'I love to make a groan man piss on himself."

What happened at the prison, it is now clear, was not the result of random acts by "a few bad apples," it was the natural consequence of the Bush Administration policy that has dismantled those wise constraints and has made war on America's checks and balances.

The abuse of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from the abuse of the truth that characterized the Administration's march to war and the abuse of the trust that had been placed in President Bush by the American people in the aftermath of September 11th.

There was then, there is now and there would have been regardless of what Bush did, a threat of terrorism that we would have to deal with. But instead of making it better, he has made it infinitely worse. We are less safe because of his policies. He has created more anger and righteous indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in the 228 years of our existence as a nation -- because of his attitude of contempt for any person, institution or nation who disagrees with him.

He has exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every U.S. town and city to a greater danger of attack by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness, and bungling at stirring up hornet's nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us. And by then insulting the religion and culture and tradition of people in other countries. And by pursuing policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children, all of it done in our name.

President Bush said in his speech Monday night that the war in Iraq is "the central front in the war on terror." It's not the central front in the war on terror, but it has unfortunately become the central recruiting office for terrorists. [Dick Cheney said, "This war may last the rest of our lives.] The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorism against the United States. Just yesterday, the International Institute of Strategic Studies reported that the Iraq conflict " has arguable focused the energies and resources of Al Qaeda and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition." The ISS said that in the wake of the war in Iraq Al Qaeda now has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks.

The war plan was incompetent in its rejection of the advice from military professionals and the analysis of the intelligence was incompetent in its conclusion that our soldiers would be welcomed with garlands of flowers and cheering crowds. Thus we would not need to respect the so-called Powell doctrine of overwhelming force.

There was also in Rumsfeld's planning a failure to provide security for nuclear materials, and to prevent widespread lawlessness and looting.

Luckily, there was a high level of competence on the part of our soldiers even though they were denied the tools and the numbers they needed for their mission. What a disgrace that their families have to hold bake sales to buy discarded Kevlar vests to stuff into the floorboards of the Humvees! Bake sales for body armor.

And the worst still lies ahead. General Joseph Hoar, the former head of the Marine Corps, said "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss."

When a senior, respected military leader like Joe Hoar uses the word "abyss", then the rest of us damn well better listen. Here is what he means: more American soldiers dying, Iraq slipping into worse chaos and violence, no end in sight, with our influence and moral authority seriously damaged.

Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, who headed Central Command before becoming President Bush's personal emissary to the Middle East, said recently that our nation's current course is "headed over Niagara Falls."

The Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Army Major General Charles H. Swannack, Jr., asked by the Washington Post whether he believes the United States is losing the war in Iraq, replied, "I think strategically, we are." Army Colonel Paul Hughes, who directed strategic planning for the US occupation authority in Baghdad, compared what he sees in Iraq to the Vietnam War, in which he lost his brother: "I promised myself when I came on active duty that I would do everything in my power to prevent that ... from happening again. " Noting that Vietnam featured a pattern of winning battles while losing the war, Hughes added "unless we ensure that we have coherence in our policy, we will lose strategically."

The White House spokesman, Dan Bartlett was asked on live television about these scathing condemnations by Generals involved in the highest levels of Pentagon planning and he replied, "Well they're retired, and we take our advice from active duty officers."

But amazingly, even active duty military officers are speaking out against President Bush. For example, the Washington Post quoted an unnamed senior General at the Pentagon as saying, " the current OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) refused to listen or adhere to military advice." Rarely if ever in American history have uniformed commanders felt compelled to challenge their commander in chief in public.

The Post also quoted an unnamed general as saying, "Like a lot of senior Army guys I'm quite angry" with Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush Administration. He listed two reasons. "I think they are going to break the Army," he said, adding that what really incites him is "I don't think they care."

In his upcoming book, Zinni blames the current catastrophe on the Bush team's incompetence early on. "In the lead-up to the Iraq war, and its later conduct," he writes, "I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility, at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption."

Zinni's book will join a growing library of volumes by former advisors to Bush -- including his principal advisor on terrorism, Richard Clarke; his principal economic policy advisor, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who was honored by Bush's father for his service in Iraq, and his former Domestic Adviser on faith-based organizations, John Dilulio, who said, "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything, and I mean everything, run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."

Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." But because Rumsfeld and Bush did not want to hear disagreement with their view that Iraq could be invaded at a much lower cost, Shinseki was hushed and then forced out.

And as a direct result of this incompetent plan and inadequate troop strength, young soldiers were put in an untenable position. For example, young reservists assigned to the Iraqi prisons were called up without training or adequate supervision, and were instructed by their superiors to "break down" prisoners in order to prepare them for interrogation.

To make matters worse, they were placed in a confusing situation where the chain of command was criss-crossed between intelligence gathering and prison administration, and further confused by an unprecedented mixing of military and civilian contractor authority.

The soldiers who are accused of committing these atrocities are, of course, responsible for their own actions and if found guilty, must be severely and appropriately punished. But they are not the ones primarily responsible for the disgrace that has been brought upon the United States of America.

Private Lynndie England did not make the decision that the United States would not observe the Geneva Convention. Specialist Charles Graner was not the one who approved a policy of establishing an American Gulag of dark rooms with naked prisoners to be "stressed" and even - we must use the word - tortured - to force them to say things that legal procedures might not induce them to say.

These policies were designed and insisted upon by the Bush White House. Indeed, the President's own legal counsel advised him specifically on the subject. His secretary of defense and his assistants pushed these cruel departures from historic American standards over the objections of the uniformed military, just as the Judge Advocates General within the Defense Department were so upset and opposed that they took the unprecedented step of seeking help from a private lawyer in this city who specializes in human rights and said to him, "There is a calculated effort to create an atmosphere of legal ambiguity" where the mistreatment of prisoners is concerned."

Indeed, the secrecy of the program indicates an understanding that the regular military culture and mores would not support these activities and neither would the American public or the world community. Another implicit acknowledgement of violations of accepted standards of behavior is the process of farming out prisoners to countries less averse to torture and giving assignments to private contractors

President Bush set the tone for our attitude for suspects in his State of the Union address. He noted that more than 3,000 "suspected terrorists" had been arrested in many countries and then he added, "and many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United States and our allies."

George Bush promised to change the tone in Washington. And indeed he did. As many as 37 prisoners may have been murdered while in captivity, though the numbers are difficult to rely upon because in many cases involving violent death, there were no autopsies.

How dare they blame their misdeeds on enlisted personnel from a Reserve unit in upstate New York. President Bush owes more than one apology. On the list of those he let down are the young soldiers who are themselves apparently culpable, but who were clearly put into a moral cesspool. The perpetrators as well as the victims were both placed in their relationship to one another by the policies of George W. Bush.

How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney Administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people. How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace. How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison.

David Kay concluded his search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq with the famous verdict: "we were all wrong." And for many Americans, Kay's statement seemed to symbolize the awful collision between Reality and all of the false and fading impressions President Bush had fostered in building support for his policy of going to war.

Now the White House has informed the American people that they were also "all wrong" about their decision to place their faith in Ahmed Chalabi, even though they have paid him 340,000 dollars per month. 33 million dollars (CHECK) and placed him adjacent to Laura Bush at the State of the Union address. Chalabi had been convicted of fraud and embezzling 70 million dollars in public funds from a Jordanian bank, and escaped prison by fleeing the country. But in spite of that record, he had become one of key advisors to the Bush Administration on planning and promoting the War against Iraq.

And they repeatedly cited him as an authority, perhaps even a future president of Iraq. Incredibly, they even ferried him and his private army into Baghdad in advance of anyone else, and allowed him to seize control over Saddam's secret papers.

Now they are telling the American people that he is a spy for Iran who has been duping the President of the United States for all these years.

One of the Generals in charge of this war policy went on a speaking tour in his spare time to declare before evangelical groups that the US is in a holy war as "Christian Nation battling Satan." This same General Boykin was the person who ordered the officer who was in charge of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay to extend his methods to Iraq detainees, prisoners. ... The testimony from the prisoners is that they were forced to curse their religion Bush used the word "crusade" early on in the war against Iraq, and then commentators pointed out that it was singularly inappropriate because of the history and sensitivity of the Muslim world and then a few weeks later he used it again.

"We are now being viewed as the modern Crusaders, as the modern colonial power in this part of the world," Zinni said.

What a terrible irony that our country, which was founded by refugees seeking religious freedom - coming to America to escape domineering leaders who tried to get them to renounce their religion - would now be responsible for this kind of abuse..

Ameen Saeed al-Sheikh told the Washington Post that he was tortured and ordered to denounce Islam and after his leg was broken one of his torturers started hitting it while ordering him to curse Islam and then, " they ordered me to thank Jesus that I'm alive." Others reported that they were forced to eat pork and drink alcohol.

In my religious tradition, I have been taught that "ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

The President convinced a majority of the country that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11th. But in truth he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The President convinced the country with a mixture of forged documents and blatantly false assertions that Saddam was in league with Al Qaeda, and that he was "indistinguishable" from Osama bin Laden.

He asked the nation , in his State of the Union address, to "imagine" how terrified we should be that Saddam was about to give nuclear weapons to terrorists and stated repeatedly that Iraq posed a grave and gathering threat to our nation. He planted the seeds of war, and harvested a whirlwind. And now, the "corrupt tree" of a war waged on false premises has brought us the "evil fruit" of Americans torturing and humiliating prisoners.

In my opinion, John Kerry is dealing with this unfolding tragedy in an impressive and extremely responsible way. Our nation's best interest lies in having a new president who can turn a new page, sweep clean with a new broom, and take office on January 20th of next year with the ability to make a fresh assessment of exactly what our nation's strategic position is as of the time the reigns of power are finally wrested from the group of incompetents that created this catastrophe.

Kerry should not tie his own hands by offering overly specific, detailed proposals concerning a situation that is rapidly changing and unfortunately, rapidly deteriorating, but should rather preserve his, and our country's, options, to retrieve our national honor as soon as this long national nightmare is over.

Eisenhower did not propose a five-point plan for changing America's approach to the Korean War when he was running for president in 1952.

When a business enterprise finds itself in deep trouble that is linked to the failed policies of the current CEO the board of directors and stockholders usually say to the failed CEO, "Thank you very much, but we're going to replace you now with a new CEO -- one less vested in a stubborn insistence on staying the course, even if that course is, in the words of General Zinni, "Headed over Niagara Falls."

One of the strengths of democracy is the ability of the people to regularly demand changes in leadership and to fire a failing leader and hire a new one with the promise of hopeful change. That is the real solution to America's quagmire in Iraq. But, I am keenly aware that we have seven months and twenty five days remaining in this president's current term of office and that represents a time of dangerous vulnerability for our country because of the demonstrated incompetence and recklessness of the current administration.

It is therefore essential that even as we focus on the fateful choice, the voters must make this November that we simultaneously search for ways to sharply reduce the extraordinary danger that we face with the current leadership team in place. It is for that reason that I am calling today for Republicans as well as Democrats to join me in asking for the immediate resignations of those immediately below George Bush and Dick Cheney who are most responsible for creating the catastrophe that we are facing in Iraq.

We desperately need a national security team with at least minimal competence because the current team is making things worse with each passing day. They are endangering the lives of our soldiers, and sharply increasing the danger faced by American citizens everywhere in the world, including here at home. They are enraging hundreds of millions of people and embittering an entire generation of anti-Americans whose rage is already near the boiling point.

We simply cannot afford to further increase the risk to our country with more blunders by this team. Donald Rumsfeld, as the chief architect of the war plan, should resign today. His deputies Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and his intelligence chief Stephen Cambone should also resign. The nation is especially at risk every single day that Rumsfeld remains as Secretary of Defense.

Condoleeza Rice, who has badly mishandled the coordination of national security policy, should also resign immediately.

George Tenet should also resign. I want to offer a special word about George Tenet, because he is a personal friend and I know him to be a good and decent man. It is especially painful to call for his resignation, but I have regretfully concluded that it is extremely important that our country have new leadership at the CIA immediately.

As a nation, our greatest export has always been hope: hope that through the rule of law people can be free to pursue their dreams, that democracy can supplant repression and that justice, not power, will be the guiding force in society. Our moral authority in the world derived from the hope anchored in the rule of law. With this blatant failure of the rule of law from the very agents of our government, we face a great challenge in restoring our moral authority in the world and demonstrating our commitment to bringing a better life to our global neighbors.

During Ronald Reagan's Presidency, Secretary of Labor Ray Donovan was accused of corruption, but eventually, after a lot of publicity, the indictment was thrown out by the Judge. Donovan asked the question, "Where do I go to get my reputation back?" President Bush has now placed the United States of America in the same situation. Where do we go to get our good name back?

The answer is, we go where we always go when a dramatic change is needed. We go to the ballot box, and we make it clear to the rest of the world that what's been happening in America for the last four years, and what America has been doing in Iraq for the last two years, really is not who we are. We, as a people, at least the overwhelming majority of us, do not endorse the decision to dishonor the Geneva Convention and the Bill of Rights....

Make no mistake, the damage done at Abu Ghraib is not only to America's reputation and America's strategic interests, but also to America's spirit. It is also crucial for our nation to recognize - and to recognize quickly - that the damage our nation has suffered in the world is far, far more serious than President Bush's belated and tepid response would lead people to believe. Remember how shocked each of us, individually, was when we first saw those hideous images. The natural tendency was to first recoil from the images, and then to assume that they represented a strange and rare aberration that resulted from a few twisted minds or, as the Pentagon assured us, "a few bad apples."

But as today's shocking news reaffirms yet again, this was not rare. It was not an aberration. Today's New York Times reports that an Army survey of prisoner deaths and mistreatment in Iraq and Afghanisatan "show a widespread pattern of abuse involving more military units than previously known.'

Nor did these abuses spring from a few twisted minds at the lowest ranks of our military enlisted personnel. No, it came from twisted values and atrocious policies at the highest levels of our government. This was done in our name, by our leaders.

These horrors were the predictable consequence of policy choices that flowed directly from this administration's contempt for the rule of law. And the dominance they have been seeking is truly not simply unworthy of America - it is also an illusory goal in its own right.

Our world is unconquerable because the human spirit is unconquerable, and any national strategy based on pursuing the goal of domination is doomed to fail because it generates its own opposition, and in the process, creates enemies for the would-be dominator.

A policy based on domination of the rest of the world not only creates enemies for the United States and creates recruits for Al Qaeda, it also undermines the international cooperation that is essential to defeating the efforts of terrorists who wish harm and intimidate Americans.

Unilateralism, as we have painfully seen in Iraq, is its own reward. Going it alone may satisfy a political instinct but it is dangerous to our military, even without their Commander in Chief taunting terrorists to "bring it on."

Our troops are stretched thin and exhausted not only because Secretary Rumsfeld contemptuously dismissed the advice of military leaders on the size of the needed force - but also because President Bush's contempt for traditional allies and international opinion left us without a real coalition to share the military and financial burden of the war and the occupation. Our future is dependent upon increasing cooperation and interdependence in a world tied ever more closely together by technologies of communications and travel. The emergence of a truly global civilization has been accompanied by the recognition of truly global challenges that require global responses that, as often as not, can only be led by the United States - and only if the United States restores and maintains its moral authority to lead.

Make no mistake, it is precisely our moral authority that is our greatest source of strength, and it is precisely our moral authority that has been recklessly put at risk by the cheap calculations and mean compromises of conscience wagered with history by this willful president.

Listen to the way Israel's highest court dealt with a similar question when, in 1999, it was asked to balance due process rights against dire threats to the security of its people:

"This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it, and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it. Although a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand. Preserving the Rule of Law and recognition of an individual's liberty constitutes an important component in its understanding of security. At the end of the day they (add to) its strength."

The last and best description of America's meaning in the world is still the definitive formulation of Lincoln's annual message to Congress on December 1, 1862:

"The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise - with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history...the fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation...We shall nobly save, or meanly lose the last best hope of earth...The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."

It is now clear that their obscene abuses of the truth and their unforgivable abuse of the trust placed in them after 9/11 by the American people led directly to the abuses of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison and, we are now learning, in many other similar facilities constructed as part of Bush's Gulag, in which, according to the Red Cross, 70 to 90 percent of the victims are totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

The same dark spirit of domination has led them to - for the first time in American history - imprison American citizens with no charges, no right to see a lawyer, no right to notify their family, no right to know of what they are accused, and no right to gain access to any court to present an appeal of any sort. The Bush Admistration has even acquired the power to compel librarians to tell them what any American is reading, and to compel them to keep silent about the request - or else the librarians themselves can also be imprisoned.

They have launched an unprecedented assault on civil liberties, on the right of the courts to review their actions, on the right of the Congress to have information to how they are spending the public's money and the right of the news media to have information about the policies they are pursuing.

The same pattern characterizes virtually all of their policies. They resent any constraint as an insult to their will to dominate and exercise power. Their appetite for power is astonishing. It has led them to introduce a new level of viciousness in partisan politics. It is that viciousness that led them to attack as unpatriotic, Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in combat during the Vietnam War.

The president episodically poses as a healer and "uniter". If he president really has any desire to play that role, then I call upon him to condemn Rush Limbaugh - perhaps his strongest political supporter - who said that the torture in Abu Ghraib was a "brilliant maneuver" and that the photos were "good old American pornography," and that the actions portrayed were simply those of "people having a good time and needing to blow off steam."

This new political viciousness by the President and his supporters is found not only on the campaign trail, but in the daily operations of our democracy. They have insisted that the leaders of their party in the Congress deny Democrats any meaningful role whatsoever in shaping legislation, debating the choices before us as a people, or even to attend the all-important conference committees that reconcile the differences between actions by the Senate and House of Representatives.

The same meanness of spirit shows up in domestic policies as well. Under the Patriot Act, Muslims, innocent of any crime, were picked up, often physically abused, and held incommunicado indefinitely. What happened in Abu Ghraib was difference not of kind, but of degree.

Differences of degree are important when the subject is torture. The apologists for what has happened do have points that should be heard and clearly understood. It is a fact that every culture and every politics sometimes expresses itself in cruelty. It is also undeniably true that other countries have and do torture more routinely, and far more brutally, than ours has. George Orwell once characterized life in Stalin's Russia as "a boot stamping on a human face forever." That was the ultimate culture of cruelty, so ingrained, so organic, so systematic that everyone in it lived in terror, even the terrorizers. And that was the nature and degree of state cruelty in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

We all know these things, and we need not reassure ourselves and should not congratulate ourselves that our society is less cruel than some others, although it is worth noting that there are many that are less cruel than ours. And this searing revelation at Abu Ghraib should lead us to examine more thoroughly the routine horrors in our domestic prison system.

But what we do now, in reaction to Abu Ghraib will determine a great deal about who we are at the beginning of the 21st century. It is important to note that just as the abuses of the prisoners flowed directly from the policies of the Bush White House, those policies flowed not only from the instincts of the president and his advisors, but found support in shifting attitudes on the part of some in our country in response to the outrage and fear generated by the attack of September 11th.

The president exploited and fanned those fears, but some otherwise sensible and levelheaded Americans fed them as well. I remember reading genteel-sounding essays asking publicly whether or not the prohibitions against torture were any longer relevant or desirable. The same grotesque misunderstanding of what is really involved was responsible for the tone in the memo from the president's legal advisor, Alberto Gonzalez, who wrote on January 25, 2002, that 9/11 "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

We have seen the pictures. We have learned the news. We cannot unlearn it; it is part of us. The important question now is, what will we do now about torture. Stop it? Yes, of course. But that means demanding all of the facts, not covering them up, as some now charge the administration is now doing. One of the whistleblowers at Abu Ghraib, Sergeant Samuel Provance, told ABC News a few days ago that he was being intimidated and punished for telling the truth. "There is definitely a coverup," Provance said. "I feel like I am being punished for being honest."

The abhorrent acts in the prison were a direct consequence of the culture of impunity encouraged, authorized and instituted by Bush and Rumsfeld in their statements that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. The apparent war crimes that took place were the logical, inevitable outcome of policies and statements from the administration.

To me, as glaring as the evidence of this in the pictures themselves was the revelation that it was established practice for prisoners to be moved around during ICRC visits so that they would not be available for visits. That, no one can claim, was the act of individuals. That was policy set from above with the direct intention to violate US values it was to be upholding. It was the kind of policy we see - and criticize in places like China and Cuba.

Moreover, the administration has also set up the men and women of our own armed forces for payback the next time they are held as prisoners. And for that, this administration should pay a very high price. One of the most tragic consequences of these official crimes is that it will be very hard for any of us as Americans - at least for a very long time - to effectively stand up for human rights elsewhere and criticize other governments, when our policies have resulted in our soldiers behaving so monstrously. This administration has shamed America and deeply damaged the cause of freedom and human rights everywhere, thus undermining the core message of America to the world.

President Bush offered a brief and half-hearted apology to the Arab world - but he should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions. He also owes an apology to the U.S. Army for cavalierly sending them into harm's way while ignoring the best advice of their commanders. Perhaps most importantly of all, he should apologize to all those men and women throughout our world who have held the ideal of the United States of America as a shining goal, to inspire their hopeful efforts to bring about justice under a rule of law in their own lands. Of course, the problem with all these legitimate requests is that a sincere apology requires an admission of error, a willingness to accept responsibility and to hold people accountable. And President Bush is not only unwilling to acknowledge error. He has thus far been unwilling to hold anyone in his administration accountable for the worst strategic and military miscalculations and mistakes in the history of the United States of America.

He is willing only to apologize for the alleged erratic behavior of a few low-ranking enlisted people, who he is scapegoating for his policy fiasco.

In December of 2000, even though I strongly disagreed with the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to order a halt to the counting of legally cast ballots, I saw it as my duty to reaffirm my own strong belief that we are a nation of laws and not only accept the decision, but do what I could to prevent efforts to delegitimize George Bush as he took the oath of office as president.

I did not at that moment imagine that Bush would, in the presidency that ensued, demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law and work at every turn to frustrate accountability...

So today, I want to speak on behalf of those Americans who feel that President Bush has betrayed our nation's trust, those who are horrified at what has been done in our name, and all those who want the rest of the world to know that we Americans see the abuses that occurred in the prisons of Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and secret locations as yet undisclosed as completely out of keeping with the character and basic nature of the American people and at odds with the principles on which America stands.

I believe we have a duty to hold President Bush accountable - and I believe we will. As Lincoln said at our time of greatest trial, "We - even we here - hold the power, and bear the responsibility."


Posted by richard at 08:48 PM

May 26, 2004

Why is it that in our ports all across this country, we still don’t have the inspection of containers that are coming into our nation? Why is it that our trains and other forms of transportation do not have the protections that we know would make us safer

NOTE to the Bush Abomination: The US electorate is painfully aware that Al Qaeda is planning to strike America very hard in the near future. And a growing majority of the US electorate is also painfully aware that you are not working as hard to protect it from Al Qaeda as you are using the fear of Al Qaeda to protect you from the US electorate, and its decision in the upcoming national referendum on your CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER...

NOTE TO JOHN F. KERRY (D-MEKONG DELTA): "Lay on MacDuff..."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta): "Every administration official since September 11th has said to us that it is not a question of if - it is a question of when. And if it is a question of when, then my question – and the question of most Americans is - why are we cutting COPS programs in the United States of America? Why is it that in our ports all across this country, we still don’t have the inspection of containers that are coming into our nation? Why is it that our trains and other forms of transportation do not have the protections that we know would make us safer? Why is it that chemical plants and nuclear facilities still don’t have the plans and protections in place that are necessary? We deserve a President of the United States who doesn’t make homeland security a photo opportunity and the rhetoric of a campaign. We deserve a President who makes America safer.”

Defend America from Its Foes Both Foreign and Domestic, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/releases/pr_2004_0526d.html

Kerry Statement on Homeland Security and New Terror Warnings


May 26, 2004

For Immediate Release
Seattle, WA

Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry made the following statement on homeland security and the new terror warnings today while speaking in Seattle, WA:

“Yesterday we were again reminded that we do live in dangerous times. For the first time since Christmas, the administration has warned us about the possibility of terrorist attacks in our nation. I know that every American who watched the news last night or picked up the paper this morning was struck by the seriousness and the concern coming from this administration.
“The key word is when. Every administration official since September 11th has said to us that it is not a question of if - it is a question of when. And if it is a question of when, then my question – and the question of most Americans is - why are we cutting COPS programs in the United States of America? Why is it that in our ports all across this country, we still don’t have the inspection of containers that are coming into our nation? Why is it that our trains and other forms of transportation do not have the protections that we know would make us safer? Why is it that chemical plants and nuclear facilities still don’t have the plans and protections in place that are necessary? We deserve a President of the United States who doesn’t make homeland security a photo opportunity and the rhetoric of a campaign. We deserve a President who makes America safer.”


Posted by richard at 11:09 PM

Report: al-Qaida Ranks Swelling Worldwide

The 2004 campaign is a national referendum on the COMPETENCE, CREDIBILITY and CHARACTER of the incredible shrinking _resident. The central issue is SECURITY: National Security, Economic Security and Environment Security. Are you safer today than you were four years ago? Remember the powerful critique of the Bush abomination offered former National Security Council official Richard Clark (R-Reality). Not only did they fail to confront the severity of the Al-Qaeda thre-Reality)at prior to 9/11, Clark TESTIFIED, but in the aftermath, they not only drained away vital resources from the pursuit of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and into thier follish military adventure in Iraq, allowing Al Qaeda to get off the floor, but they also swelled the ranks of Al Qaeda by enraging the Arab Street with a unilateral, pre-emptive war, predicated on lies and by a bloody occupation which has features kinky war crime pornography. Remember Richard Clark's righteous rebuke of the failures of incredible shrinking _resident's "national security team" both pre- and post-9/11? I hope so. Because the "US Mainstream News Media" and its propapunditgandists are not going to provide any CONTEXT or CONTINUITY. No, the "war on terrorism" is not the strength of the Bush abomination, it is the SHAME of the Bush abomination.

Associated Press: Far from being crippled by the U.S.-led war on terror, al-Qaida has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq (news - web sites) is swelling its ranks, a report said Tuesday.
Al-Qaida is probably working on plans for major attacks on the United States and Europe, and it may be seeking weapons of mass destruction in its desire to inflict as many casualties as possible, the International Institute of Strategic Studies said in its annual survey of world affairs.

Repudiate the 9/11 CoverUp and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=6&u=/ap/20040525/ap_on_re_eu/al_qaida_6

Report: al-Qaida Ranks Swelling Worldwide

Tue May 25, 4:15 PM ET Add Top Stories - AP to My Yahoo!

By BARRY RENFREW, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - Far from being crippled by the U.S.-led war on terror, al-Qaida has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq (news - web sites) is swelling its ranks, a report said Tuesday.

Al-Qaida is probably working on plans for major attacks on the United States and Europe, and it may be seeking weapons of mass destruction in its desire to inflict as many casualties as possible, the International Institute of Strategic Studies said in its annual survey of world affairs.


Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s network appears to be operating in more than 60 nations, often in concert with local allies, the study by the independent think tank said.


Although about half of al-Qaida's top 30 leaders have been killed or captured, it has an effective leadership, with bin Laden apparently still playing a key role, it said.


"Al-Qaida must be expected to keep trying to develop more promising plans for terrorist operations in North America and Europe, potentially involving weapons of mass destruction," IISS director Dr. John Chipman told a press conference releasing "Strategic Survey 2003/4."


At the same time it will likely continue attacking "soft targets encompassing Americans, Europeans and Israelis, and aiding the insurgency in Iraq," he added.


The report suggested that the two military centerpieces of the U.S.-led war on terror the wars in Afghanistan (news - web sites) and Iraq may have boosted al-Qaida.


Driving the terror network out of Afghanistan in late 2001 appears to have benefited the group, which dispersed to many countries, making it almost invisible and hard to combat, the story said.


And the Iraq conflict "has arguably focused the energies and resources of al-Qaida and its followers while diluting those of the global counterterrorism coalition that appeared so formidable" after the Afghan intervention, the survey said.


The U.S. occupation of Iraq brought al-Qaida recruits from across Islamic nations, the study said. Up to 1,000 foreign Islamic fighters have infiltrated Iraqi territory, where they are cooperating with Iraqi insurgents, the survey said.


Efforts to defeat al-Qaida will take time and might accelerate only if there are political developments that now seem elusive, such as the democratization of Iraq and the resolution of conflict in Israel, it said.


It could take up to 500,000 U.S. and allied troops to effectively police Iraq and restore political stability, IISS researcher Christopher Langton told the news conference.


Such a figure appeared impossible to meet, given political disquiet in the United States and Britain and the unwillingness of other nations to send troops, he said.


The United States is al-Qaida's prime target in a war it sees as a death struggle between civilizations, the report said. An al-Qaida leader has said 4 million Americans will have to be killed "as a prerequisite to any Islamic victory," the survey said.


"Al-Qaida's complaints have been transformed into religious absolutes and cannot be satisfied through political compromise," the study said.


The IISS said its estimate of 18,000 al-Qaida fighters was based on intelligence estimates that the group trained at least 20,000 fighters in its camps in Afghanistan before the United States and its allies ousted the Taliban regime. In the ensuing war on terror, some 2,000 al-Qaida fighters have been killed or captured, the survey said.


Al-Qaida appears to have successfully reconstituted its operations by dispersing its forces into small groups and through working with local allies, such as the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front in Turkey, the report said.

"Al-Qaida is the common ideological and logistical hub for disparate local affiliates, and bin Laden's charisma, presumed survival and elusiveness enhance the organization's iconic drawing power," it said.


Posted by richard at 09:59 PM

"Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge," according to a report accompanying the survey, "individual Republicans were NPR's most popular sources overall, taking the top seven spots in frequency of appearance." In addition, representatives of

The sad truth about Pretty Bland Stuff (PBS) and Non-Plusse Radio (NPR).
It's the Media, Stupid.

Peter Goodman, Newday: Despite a perception that National Public Radio is politically liberal, the majority of its sources are actually Republicans and conservatives, according to a survey released today by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a left-leaning media watchdog.
"Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge," according to a report accompanying the survey, "individual Republicans were NPR's most popular sources overall, taking the top seven spots in frequency of appearance." In addition, representatives of right-of-center think tanks outnumbered their leftist counterparts by more than four to one, FAIR reported.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media,"Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0525-11.htm

Published on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 by the Long Island, NY Newsday
Watchdog Group Report: Most NPR Sources are Conservative
by Peter Goodman

Despite a perception that National Public Radio is politically liberal, the majority of its sources are actually Republicans and conservatives, according to a survey released today by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a left-leaning media watchdog.

"Republicans not only had a substantial partisan edge," according to a report accompanying the survey, "individual Republicans were NPR's most popular sources overall, taking the top seven spots in frequency of appearance." In addition, representatives of right-of-center think tanks outnumbered their leftist counterparts by more than four to one, FAIR reported.

Citing comments dating to the Nixon administration in the 1970s, the report said, "That NPR harbors a liberal bias is an article of faith among many conservatives." However, it added, "Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR."

The study counted 2,334 sources used in 804 stories aired last June for four programs: "All Things Considered," "Morning Edition," "Weekend Edition Saturday" and "Weekend Edition Sunday." For the analysis of think tanks, FAIR used the months of May through August 2003.

Overall, Republicans outnumbered Democrats by 61 percent to 38 percent, a figure only slightly higher now, when the GOP controls the White House and both houses of Congress, than during a previous survey in 1993, during the Clinton administration.

"Some people may think is too left of center because they are contrasting it to the louder, black-and-white sloganeering of talk radio," said FAIR's Steve Rendall, a co-author of the report. "It could be that, just by contrast, the more dulcet [tone] and slower pace and lower volume of NPR makes many people think it must be the opposite of talk radio."

NPR spokeswoman Jenny Lawhorn responded, "This is America - any group has the right to criticize our coverage. That said, there are obviously a lot of intelligent people out there who listen to NPR day after day and think we're fair and in-depth in our approach."

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

###

Posted by richard at 09:56 PM

“No matter how exalted the aims of the US in that war, in the final analysis it was a colonial war very similar to the wars conducted by the ex-colonial powers when they went out to conquer the rest of the world...,” Prince Turki said.

Of course, the "US mainstream news media" has almost wholly ignored these explosive remarks from an important Saudi diplomat. What is happening in this country? The incredible shrinking _resident launched a pre-emptive, unilateral war predicated on LIES, fueled by a neo-con wet dream and resulting in a Mega Mogadishu and revelations of war crimes perpetrated IN YOUR NAME...Yes, there is an Electoral Uprising coming in November...Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) is a skilled, determined and courageous hunter. He is not going to fail to bring regime change to the US. Michael Moore is a brilliant and audacious promoter. He is not going to be foiled in the release of Fahrenheit 911. The end is near for the Bush abomination.

Reuters: The US-led invasion of Iraq was a colonial war and there were some in the United States who saw it as a means of getting their hands on Iraqi oil, Prince Turki Al-Faisal was quoted as saying yesterday.
The ambassador to Britain and Ireland told the Irish Independent newspaper Washington’s stated aims in going to war in Iraq masked a more cynical reality.
“No matter how exalted the aims of the US in that war, in the final analysis it was a colonial war very similar to the wars conducted by the ex-colonial powers when they went out to conquer the rest of the world...,” Prince Turki said.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=45623&d=25&m=5&y=2004


The Middle East's Leading English Language Daily

Tuesday, 25, May, 2004 (06, Rabi` al-Thani, 1425)


Iraq War Colonial and About Oil, Says Turki
Reuters —

DUBLIN, 25 May 2004 — The US-led invasion of Iraq was a colonial war and there were some in the United States who saw it as a means of getting their hands on Iraqi oil, Prince Turki Al-Faisal was quoted as saying yesterday.

The ambassador to Britain and Ireland told the Irish Independent newspaper Washington’s stated aims in going to war in Iraq masked a more cynical reality.

“No matter how exalted the aims of the US in that war, in the final analysis it was a colonial war very similar to the wars conducted by the ex-colonial powers when they went out to conquer the rest of the world...,” Prince Turki said.

“What we have heard from American sources (is that) they were there to remove the weapons of mass destruction which Saddam Hussein was supposed to have acquired.”

Saudi Arabia opposed the war despite tensions with Iraq since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

“What we read and hear from our commentators in America and sometimes congressional sources, if you remember going back a year ago, there was the issue of the oil reserves in Iraq and that in a year or two they would be producing so much oil in Iraq that, as it were, the war would pay for itself,” the envoy said.

“(This) indicated that there were those in America who were thinking in those terms of acquiring the natural resources of Iraq for America.” Prince Turki said US pledges to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq remained “still just aims.”

“The individual Iraqi, until he can actually declare that his government is truly representative of his wishes and aspirations must still consider himself occupied,” he said.

On the wider conflict in the Middle East, Prince Turki described Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as “a living martyr”, persecuted by an Israel “that is ruthless and generally devoid of any human considerations (toward the Palestinians).”

The prince described Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network as “not so much an organization as a cult with a cult leader and a cult philosophy...”

“One of the main drawbacks of the operations in Afghanistan is that Bin Laden has not been caught,” he said. “To bring Bin Laden to justice will go a long way to removing some of his mystique.”




Copyright: Arab News © 2003 All rights reserved. Site designed by: arabix and powered by Eima IT

Posted by richard at 04:02 AM

We might start investigating which Bush official arranged for this hustler already on the lam for a decade from major banking fraud convictions in Jordan — to sit behind First Lady Laura Bush during this year's State of the Union speech.

At least 800 US soldiers have died in the incredible shrinking _resident's foolish military adventure in Iraq. For what? The US intelligence community is going after Chalabi, yes, but is it's real target the Bush cabal itself?
Just as the Abu Ghraib scandal should be understood as the US military fighting back against those that have perverted its mission and squandered the lives of its young soldiers, the Chalabi scandal should be understood as another front opened in a hidden struggle to bring down the Bush abomination.

Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times: Can it get any more bizarre? Only a few weeks before Washington's long-promised hand-over of the keys to Iraq, we discover that the lackey the Pentagon only recently had in mind to manage this very valuable property for the United States is suspected by us of being a world-class con artist and, worse, a spy for America's enemies in Iran. Nobody is speaking on the record yet, but U.S. intelligence officials are making it clear to a variety of preeminent news sources that Ahmad Chalabi, a longtime darling of the neoconservatives who dragged the U.S. into this war, not only fed Western intelligence sources false information about Saddam Hussein's Iraq but is accused of having passed on U.S. secrets to Iran, possibly through his security and intelligence chief, who is now a fugitive.
We might start investigating which Bush official arranged for this hustler already on the lam for a decade from major banking fraud convictions in Jordan — to sit behind First Lady Laura Bush during this year's State of the Union speech. Was the Secret Service watching her purse?
Too harsh? Not by a long shot. The CIA had stopped using Chalabi as a source in the mid-1990s after his political organization of exiles was accused of deception and incompetence. However, over the last four years, Chalabi was shamelessly resurrected inside the Beltway by neoconservatives, including Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and other Bush officials who were leading the campaign to invade Iraq.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0525-03.htm

Published on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 by the Los Angeles Times
Chalabi's Long, Costly Charade
by Robert Scheer

Can it get any more bizarre? Only a few weeks before Washington's long-promised hand-over of the keys to Iraq, we discover that the lackey the Pentagon only recently had in mind to manage this very valuable property for the United States is suspected by us of being a world-class con artist and, worse, a spy for America's enemies in Iran.

Nobody is speaking on the record yet, but U.S. intelligence officials are making it clear to a variety of preeminent news sources that Ahmad Chalabi, a longtime darling of the neoconservatives who dragged the U.S. into this war, not only fed Western intelligence sources false information about Saddam Hussein's Iraq but is accused of having passed on U.S. secrets to Iran, possibly through his security and intelligence chief, who is now a fugitive.

"This is a very, very serious charge," Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said on Sunday, noting that his Senate Intelligence Committee will be investigating it. "There were a number of us who warned this administration about [Chalabi]…. But the fact is, there were some in this administration, some in Congress who were quite taken with him."

We might start investigating which Bush official arranged for this hustler — already on the lam for a decade from major banking fraud convictions in Jordan — to sit behind First Lady Laura Bush during this year's State of the Union speech. Was the Secret Service watching her purse?

Too harsh? Not by a long shot. The CIA had stopped using Chalabi as a source in the mid-1990s after his political organization of exiles was accused of deception and incompetence. However, over the last four years, Chalabi was shamelessly resurrected inside the Beltway by neoconservatives, including Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and other Bush officials who were leading the campaign to invade Iraq.

Granted more than $33 million in taxpayer money over that four-year period — funding that was cut off only days before Iraqi police backed by U.S. troops raided his home and office last week — Chalabi was the key window into Iraq for the White House, as well as top reporters such as the New York Times' Judith Miller. She mined him for a long string of now-discredited front-page scoops on Iraq's much-touted weapons of mass destruction. Chalabi is now suspected of having "gamed" the intelligence agencies of eight nations using phony or tricked-up sources and documents, according to intelligence sources cited in the Los Angeles Times.

Yet even as post-invasion searches and interrogations proved Chalabi's hoary claims completely wrong, and even as Chalabi continued his longtime practice of cozying up to the ayatollahs in Iran during frequent visits to Tehran, the Bush political appointees in charge of Iraq allowed Chalabi to run wild. Chalabi and his family and cronies have been granted control over Iraq's banking system and the crucial de-Baathification process, as well as the upcoming trial of Saddam Hussein. The result? At least seven Chalabi aides are wanted on charges of blackmail, fraud and other crimes.

So now we can watch a familiar drama unfold as the United States turns on a lout whom it tried to sell as Iraq's George Washington.

But being a wily survivor, Chalabi apparently decided that after embarrassing his Beltway backers so badly on the question of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and realizing that he was about as popular as the occupation itself, he had better make some new friends. Now he is playing the role of a populist Moses to President Bush's Pharaoh, chanting in Baghdad last week to "let my people go." He says his aides are innocent of spying for Iran but won't turn themselves in because "there is no justice in Iraq. There is Abu Ghraib prison."

So was Uncle Sam played for a sucker by Iran, the fulcrum of what the president has called the "axis of evil"? Was the U.S. maneuvered into unseating Iran's hated enemy, Hussein, whom Washington backed in the 1980s against Iran's holy warriors? We'll see as the scandal unfolds.

But even if this outrage proves true, it is unlikely that anyone high up will be held responsible for coddling Chalabi. After all, nobody of any stature has yet been held accountable for the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the prison torture scandal or the poor planning for the occupation. Certainly not President Bush, who is touring the nation bragging that the obvious disaster in Iraq is actually a great victory for the free world.

Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times


Posted by richard at 03:50 AM

May 25, 2004

Networks pull plug on Bush speech

The most newsworthy story related to the incredible shrinking _resident's speech last night is that the three major networks didn't televise it live. It was billed as a very important speech, it was a prime-time speech, it was being positioned as one that would be carried by the networks -- just as the incredible shrinking _resident's recent embarrassing press conference was broadcast live. So what happened? Were they doing the White House a favor by NOT broadcasting it? Did Rove get second-thoughts? Or has the US electorate distrust, disapproval and disappointment in the incredible shrinking _resident soared so high that the networks are thinking about their own damaged credibility or more like their ratings? It was, afterall, one of the last "sweep" nights. It's the Media, Stupid.

CNN: When the White House requests the networks set aside time for a presidential address, it's unusual for them to refuse. But it's a difficult decision for the networks, forced to weigh the newsworthiness of the event, when it is left up to them. In that case, the three networks often take their cues from one another. Monday was one of the last nights of the May "sweeps" period, when television ratings are used to set local advertising rates.

Break the Bush Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/05/24/speech.tv.ap/

Networks pull plug on Bush speech

NEW YORK (AP) -- ABC, CBS and NBC decided not to offer live coverage of President Bush's speech about Iraq Monday, although the cable news networks planned to pre-empt their regular programming for the address.

Bush is to deliver the first in a series of speeches about the future of Iraq at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC all said they would carry the speech live.

The broadcast networks took an unusual amount of time to tell viewers their plans for Bush's speech -- ABC did not decide until Monday afternoon -- because the Bush administration did not formally request the time.

When the White House requests the networks set aside time for a presidential address, it's unusual for them to refuse.

But it's a difficult decision for the networks, forced to weigh the newsworthiness of the event, when it is left up to them. In that case, the three networks often take their cues from one another.

Monday was one of the last nights of the May "sweeps" period, when television ratings are used to set local advertising rates.

NBC had two editions of "Fear Factor" scheduled on Monday. CBS had season finales of its popular Monday-night comedies and ABC was showing the theatrical release "A Beautiful Mind."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.





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Posted by richard at 09:06 PM

Raid on Chalabi Puts 'NYT' Even More on the Spot: Still waiting for that corrective editor's note.

Another compelling example of how the NYTwits hide their spineless and skewed news (ala Fraudida, Enron, 9/11 and Iraq) reporting behind sanctimonious editorials, and another powerful reminder of just one of the numerous reasons that we refer to them as the "NYTwits" and the "newspaper of revision." It's the Media, Stupid.

Editors and Publishers: In a front page New York Times article this morning, David E. Sanger quotes a senior U.S. intelligence official's assessment of Ahmad Chalabi's information on weapons of mass destruction, which was distributed so avidly by the Times itself in the run-up to the Iraq war: "useless at best, and misleading at worst."
Yesterday, American and Iraqi forces raided and ransacked the Iraqi National Congress leader's office in Baghdad, completing his fall from grace as what the Times terms a "favorite" of the Bush administration. Today, two front-page articles in the paper, and an editorial titled "Friends Like This," take a harsh view of Chalabi. One would never know that the Times itself once relied on him heavily for its "scoops" on Saddam's WMD stockpiles.
In fact, one must painfully recall the now famous May 1, 2003, e-mail to the paper's Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns from star Times reporter in Iraq, Judith Miller, who wrote: "I've been covering Chalabi for about 10 years, and have done most of the stories about him for our paper. ... He has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to our paper."
Oh, how quickly the Times forgets its friends, Chalabi must be thinking today.

Break the Bush Cabal Strangehold on the "US Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/columns/shoptalk_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000516946

Raid on Chalabi Puts 'NYT' Even More on the Spot: Still waiting for that corrective editor's note.

By William E. Jackson Jr.

(May 21, 2004) -- In a front page New York Times article this morning, David E. Sanger quotes a senior U.S. intelligence official's assessment of Ahmad Chalabi's information on weapons of mass destruction, which was distributed so avidly by the Times itself in the run-up to the Iraq war: "useless at best, and misleading at worst."

Yesterday, American and Iraqi forces raided and ransacked the Iraqi National Congress leader's office in Baghdad, completing his fall from grace as what the Times terms a "favorite" of the Bush administration. Today, two front-page articles in the paper, and an editorial titled "Friends Like This," take a harsh view of Chalabi. One would never know that the Times itself once relied on him heavily for its "scoops" on Saddam's WMD stockpiles.

In fact, one must painfully recall the now famous May 1, 2003, e-mail to the paper's Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns from star Times reporter in Iraq, Judith Miller, who wrote: "I've been covering Chalabi for about 10 years, and have done most of the stories about him for our paper. ... He has provided most of the front page exclusives on WMD to our paper."

Oh, how quickly the Times forgets its friends, Chalabi must be thinking today.

Describing Chalabi, Sanger wrote today: "He became a master of the art of the leak, giving new currency to the suspicions about Mr. Hussein's weapons." Leaks? Who was his favored drop? Miller of the Times, although there were many others.

And in today's Times editorial: "Before the war, Ahmad Chalabi told Washington hawks exactly what they wanted to hear about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction ... Much of the information Mr. Chalabi had produced was dead wrong. He was one of the chief cheerleaders for the theory that Iraq had vast quantities of weapons of mass destruction. ... But he can't be made a scapegoat.

"The Bush administration should have known what it was doing when it gave enormous credence to a questionable character whose own self-interest was totally invested in getting the Americans to invade Iraq. ..."

Left unsaid is that the Times should have known better, as well. Yet, incredibly, the paper of record has never run a corrective editor's note to clean up the mess that Miller made for the Times' integrity.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
William E. Jackson Jr. has been covering this subject for E&P since last spring. He was executive director of President Jimmy Carter's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control, 1978-80. After affiliations with the Brookings Institution and the Fulbright Institute of International Relations, Jackson writes on national security issues from Davidson, N.C.

Posted by richard at 09:05 PM

May 24, 2004

President Bush has installed more than 100 top officials who were once lobbyists, attorneys or spokespeople for the industries they oversee....

Here is a powerful, DAMNING expose, an example of real journalism, from the Denver Post. Of course, it has not been mentioned once on the air waves by the network news organization or their propapunditgandists. (It's the Media, Stupid.) This Denver Post story is also a COMPELLING example what anyone voting for the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader is really voting for...

Anne C. Mulkern, Denver Post: President Bush has installed more than 100 top officials who were once lobbyists, attorneys or spokespeople for the industries they oversee....
In at least 20 cases, those former industry advocates
have helped their agencies write, shape or push for
policy shifts that benefit their former industries.
They knew which changes to make because they had
pushed for them as industry advocates.
The president's political appointees are making or
overseeing profound changes affecting drug laws, food
policies, land use, clean-air regulations and other
key issues.
Government watchdogs call it a disturbing trend, not
adequately restrained by existing ethics laws.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0523-02.htm


Published on Sunday, May 23, 2004 by the Denver Post

When Advocates Become Regulators
President Bush has installed more than 100 top
officials who were once lobbyists, attorneys or
spokespeople for the industries they oversee.
by Anne C. Mulkern

WASHINGTON -- In a New York City ballroom days before
Christmas, a powerful Bush administration lawyer made
an unprecedented offer to drug companies, one likely
to protect their profits and potentially hurt
consumers.

Daniel E. Troy, lead counsel for the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration, extended the government's help in
torpedoing certain lawsuits. Among Troy's targets:
claims that medications caused devastating and
unexpected side effects.

Pitch us lawsuits that we might get involved in, Troy
told several hundred pharmaceutical attorneys, some of
them old friends and acquaintances from his previous
role representing major U.S. pharmaceutical firms.

The offer by the FDA's top attorney, made Dec. 15 at
the Plaza Hotel, took the agency responsible for food
and drug safety into new territory.

"The FDA is now in the business of helping lawsuit
defendants, specifically the pharmaceutical
companies," said James O'Reilly, University of
Cincinnati law professor and author of a book on the
history of the FDA. "It's a dramatic change in what
the FDA has done in the past."

Troy's switch from industry advocate to industry
regulator overseeing his former clients is a hallmark
of President Bush's administration.

Troy is one of more than 100 high-level officials
under Bush who helped govern industries they once
represented as lobbyists, lawyers or company
advocates, a Denver Post analysis shows.

In at least 20 cases, those former industry advocates
have helped their agencies write, shape or push for
policy shifts that benefit their former industries.
They knew which changes to make because they had
pushed for them as industry advocates.

The president's political appointees are making or
overseeing profound changes affecting drug laws, food
policies, land use, clean-air regulations and other
key issues.

Government watchdogs call it a disturbing trend, not
adequately restrained by existing ethics laws.

Among the advocates-turned-regulators are a former
meat-industry lobbyist who helps decide how meat is
labeled; a former drug-company lobbyist who influences
prescription-drug policies; a former energy lobbyist
who, while still accepting payments for bringing
clients into his old lobbying firm, helps determine
how much of the West those former clients can use for
oil and gas drilling.

"When you go to work in lobbying, it is clearly
understood and accepted that your job is to advocate
for the interests of those who hired you," said Terry
L. Cooper, a University of Southern California ethics
and government professor. "When you go to work in
government, you are supposed to be responsible for
upholding and maintaining whatever you can identify as
the public interest."

The Bush administration says the regulators were
chosen for their abilities.

"The president appoints highly qualified individuals
who make their decisions based on the best interests
of the American people," said White House spokesman
Jim Morrell. "Any individual serving in the
administration must abide by strict legal and ethical
guidelines, including full disclosure of past lobbying
activities."

Six of the former industry advocates have faced ethics
investigations or resigned amid conflict-of-interest
charges. Those and at least 14 others have been
lambasted by public-interest groups.

Government ethics standards are part of the problem
because they don't fully address the kind of issues
that now permeate Washington, Cooper and some inside
government say. The rules focus mainly on direct
financial conflicts. Other, more nuanced conflicts
aren't addressed

"There are so many ways around, over and under these
(ethics) bans ... they almost never work," said Paul
Light, who for decades has studied the appointment
process for the Brookings Institution, a think tank in
Washington. "There're more screen doors than steel
doors."

A March 16 report from the Interior Department's
inspector general, for example, concluded that
department's "byzantine" conflict-of-interest rules
were "wholly incapable" of addressing ethical
questions involving a former energy lobbyist, J.
Steven Griles, as the department's No. 2 official.

The report called the department's ethics system "a
train wreck waiting to happen."

Bringing bias to a federal job isn't new. Presidents
of all political persuasions have appointed people who
shared their party's values.

As president, Bill Clinton peppered the federal
bureaucracy with Democratic state officials, lawyers
and advocates from various environmental or
public-interest groups.

Only a handful of registered lobbyists worked for
Clinton, however.

Bush's embrace of lobbyists marks a key difference
because it allows "those who are affected by the
regulations to determine what the ground rules should
be," said David Cohen, co-director of the Advocacy
Institute, which helps teach nonprofits how to lobby
in Washington.

While previous Republican presidents hired lobbyists,
"the Bush administration has made it rise in geometric
proportions," Cohen said, meaning Bush is "capturing
the instruments of government and using them for the
ends" that favor Bush's political supporters.

"In the Bush administration," said U.S. Sen. Joe
Lieberman, D-Conn., "the foxes are guarding the foxes,
and the middle-class hens are getting plucked."

Republicans and their lobbying allies reject the idea
that industry is embedded in the administration.

"Foxes? No," Vice President Dick Cheney told The
Denver Post. "I think we have a good track record."

The clout of industry is balanced by the power of
labor unions, trial lawyers and public-interest
groups, said Jerry Jasinowski, chairman of the
National Association of Manufacturers.

"The notion that somehow business gets everything and
we've gotten a free ride is absurd," he said.

Still, the lobbyists-turned-policymakers control or
influence health care, food safety, land use, the
environment and other issues touched by government.

HEALTH CARE

Ann-Marie Lynch

The drug-industry lobbyist who fought price controls
joined the Health and Human Services Department and
has helped drug companies avoid the limits.

Top aides in the Department of Health and Human
Services provide analysis and advice to the president
on key consumer issues, including prescription-drug
policies. In doing so, they consider the needs of
pharmaceutical companies seeking revenue for future
research, and consumers struggling to afford
increasingly costly medications.

In June 2001 Bush installed Ann- Marie Lynch, a
lobbyist for the drug- company trade group
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America,
to help set those policies.

As a lobbyist, Lynch fought congressional attempts to
cap prices for drugs. Price controls, she argued,
would hamper medical innovation.

Thirteen months after Lynch became deputy assistant
secretary in the office of policy, her division issued
a report that praised brand- name drugs. It warned
that "government-controlled restrictions on the
coverage of new drugs could put the future of medical
innovation at risk and may retard advances in
treatment."

Consumer advocates say that's nonsense. Other
countries innovate despite price controls, said Gail
Shearer, director of health policy analysis for
Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer
Reports.

"They haven't taken as seriously their job of making
medicines affordable to all Americans," Shearer said.
"When you talk about the need for (drug) innovation,
you have to put it in the context of, will people get
the wonder drugs?"

Critics say the report influenced congressional debate
over a Medicare drug policy that, among other things,
banned government from using Medicare's buying power
to cut drug prices. The legislation will mean an extra
$139 billion in profit over eight years to drug
companies, Boston University researchers said.

Republicans in Congress used arguments that came
"directly out of Ann-Marie Lynch's mouth" and from the
trade group she previously worked for, said Rep.
Sherrod Brown of Ohio, lead Democrat on the Energy and
Commerce Committee's health subcommittee.

Lynch declined to talk to a reporter. HHS spokesman
Bill Pierce said the report was not intended to sway
Congress. Provisions banning Medicare from negotiating
drug prices date to 2000, he said.

Lynch also blocked the release of about a dozen
completed research reports that challenge drug-company
claims, three former employees said. Pierce said Lynch
decides research topics and which reports are
released.

One 2001 report, for example, criticizes Medicare plus
Choice (now known as Medicare Advantage). Its findings
suggested that running the Medicare prescription-drug
benefit through private health companies - the method
the administration ultimately chose - would be more
expensive and would not serve rural areas well.

"Very few of (the private companies) manage to bring
in the benefit cost effectively," said Mark Merlis,
the private health policy consultant who wrote the
report.

Thomas A. Scully

The former hospital lobbyist presided over an agency
that helped a chain he once represented win a
favorable settlement in a Medicare fraud case.

Thomas A. Scully represented the nation's for-profit
hospitals as a lobbyist before being hired by the Bush
administration in June 2001 to head the federal
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Eight months after Scully arrived at the Medicare and
Medicaid agency, it moved to settle final claims
involving HCA Inc., a hospital chain that was the
biggest member of Scully's former employer, the
Federation of American Hospitals. HCA Inc. faced
allegations it fraudulently overbilled the government
for Medicare cases.

Under the terms agreed to in June 2002 by Scully's
agency, HCA would have settled for $250 million.
Medicare fraud cases typically are ironed out with
Justice Department participation, but Scully agreed to
those terms on his own, said John R. Phillips, an
attorney who represented whistle-blowers in the case.

"The $250 million was a total sellout by Scully, who
totally negotiated it behind Justice's back," Phillips
said.

It also was handled in a way that protected the
company from a full review of its cost reports and the
triple- damage civil fines that can be imposed in
fraud cases, he said.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked Justice in
October 2002 if that deal was "too lenient."

Justice delayed the settlement until June 2003.

HCA, the nation's biggest for-profit hospital company,
eventually paid that $250 million, plus $631 million
in civil penalties and damages and $17.5 million to
states.

Scully's ethics agreement did not require him to
officially avoid cases involving HCA. But Scully said
he steered clear.

"I recused myself from everything involving
HCA-specific issues or policy and was not involved in
any way, shape or form," Scully said. "Every time
anything came up (regarding) HCA, I left it to my
deputies."

But Grassley in a June 25, 2002, letter to a Justice
Department lawyer said comments by Scully "have given
me great concern that there is an active, ongoing
effort underway to change or modify enforcement (on
Medicare fraud) policy that in my view could
significantly undermine the (law)."

Scully has since left the administration for
consulting jobs with a lobbying firm and an investment
company that represent Medicare providers.

Daniel E. Troy

The lawyer who represented major drug companies still
fights for causes that benefit them as chief counsel
at the Food and Drug Administration.

Daniel E. Troy was well-known at the FDA before he
arrived in summer 2001 to work as chief counsel, the
top legal position in the department.

As a lawyer in private practice, Troy repeatedly sued
the FDA, arguing that it had only limited ability to
regulate drug companies. He filed those suits through
the Washington Legal Foundation, a group funded by
businesses, including drug companies. Donors include
charitable foundations run by Pfizer Inc., Procter &
Gamble Co. and Eli Lilly & Co.

Troy also represented Pfizer through his firm, Wiley,
Rein & Fielding. Troy said in an e-mail to a reporter
that his Pfizer work was mainly communications and
insurance law, and averaged only 80 hours a year.

At the FDA, Troy still is fighting for causes that
benefit drug companies.

It's unclear whether any of pharmaceutical firms
responded to his December request for lawsuits the FDA
might get involved in.

By the time Troy made that offer, he had already
intervened in three drug-company cases as FDA chief
counsel. One involved Pfizer.

In court briefs, the FDA argued that it determines
which warnings a drug company must give consumers.
Lawsuits filed in state courts arguing that
drug-company warnings are inadequate therefore were
invalid, the FDA says. One of the cases Troy
challenged involves thousands of consumers who say
they were harmed by painful withdrawal from an
antidepressant.

Lawsuits accusing drug companies of telling consumers
too little about side effects constitute the largest
category of cases against drug companies, law
professor O'Reilly said.

If Troy's legal position prevails, O'Reilly said, it
would be catastrophic for consumers hurt by drugs. He
said it would bar cases like the one filed against the
makers of fen-phen, the combination of diet
medications tied to heart problems. The makers of
those drugs are settling with consumers for $14
billion. That case predates Troy's policy.

Troy, who declined to be interviewed, said in a
written statement that the FDA is intervening in the
lawsuits to protect "the safety, effectiveness and
availability of important medical products."

He said that would be "adversely affected if judges
and juries acting under state law had the power to
substitute their judgment for the expert
determinations made by FDA scientists."

Clinton's Justice Department, he added, took the same
legal position, arguing that federal law pre-empts
state law.

But prior to Troy, professor O'Reilly and one FDA
official said, the government got involved only when a
judge asked. Troy, in contrast, is seeking cases in
which to intervene.

And the FDA now is staking a new legal claim, experts
say: that its authority to determine drug labeling
always trumps any claims made in state court.

The FDA is "taking sides in private litigation," said
Thomas McGarity, a University of Texas Law School
professor and president of the Center for Progressive
Regulation, which supports government regulation on
health and safety issues.

The FDA asks drug-company attorneys to alert the
agency to cases because otherwise "our rules might be
undermined by contrary state findings" the agency is
unaware of, said Peter Pitts, an FDA spokesman.

He added: "For people to infer that (FDA) decisions
are made with anything but the public health as our
focus is untrue, unfair and very ill-considered."

FDA officials also say they want to discourage
frivolous lawsuits, which drive up costs.

A former FDA chief counsel in the Nixon
administration, Peter Barton Hutt, said he supported
the FDA's legal position but added, "I probably
wouldn't be out there encouraging" lawsuits.

Troy oversees other FDA changes that provoked
accusations that he is siding with drug companies.

In October 2001, the Health and Human Services
Department gave Troy's office final approval over
warnings telling companies they could be in violation
of FDA rules. Those had previously been sent out by
the FDA's drug-marketing division and district
offices.

After that change, the number of warnings of
questionable claims by pharmaceutical companies
quickly dropped from an average of seven a month to
two.

FDA spokesman Pitts said fewer letters were sent
because the process was centralized.

"If you torture statistics long enough," Pitts said,
"they confess to anything."

Others see this as dangerous to the public.

"This ... may be a welcome development for the drug
industry, but it poses serious dangers to public
health," Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the top
Democrat on the House Committee on Government Reform,
said in an Oct. 1, 2002, letter to HHS Secretary Tommy
Thompson.

Waxman said the bad policy decision was "exacerbated
by the appointment of Daniel Troy."

The investigative arm of Congress, the General
Accounting Office, in October 2002 also found that,
under the new system, warning notices "have taken so
long that misleading advertisements may have completed
their broadcast life cycle before FDA issued the
letters."

Waxman described the delays as "a development that
benefits the powerful pharmaceutical industry at the
expense of consumers."

FOOD SAFETY

Charles Lambert

As a USDA official, the former lobbyist for the meat
industry who opposed labeling told a hearing that mad
cow disease was not a threat.

Mad cow disease had yet to surface in the United
States last June when a U.S. Department of Agriculture
official - a meat-industry lobbyist only eight months
earlier - bet his job on the promise that the ailment
couldn't sneak into the country through imports.

Congress had just passed a law requiring meat labels
to state which country a cow lived in before
slaughter. Food safety groups say those labels could,
among other things, help consumers avoid buying beef
from countries with mad cow disease.

The USDA opposed such labeling. The person making the
agency's case, Deputy Undersecretary Charles Lambert,
knew the arguments against such labels. He'd made them
as a lobbyist for the National Cattlemen's Beef
Association.

Lambert spent 15 years at the Cattlemen's Association
working in Denver before coming to Washington, D.C.,
where he worked as lobbyist and chief economist. He
left in December 2002 to join the USDA as
undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

When asked about mad cow and the labels, Lambert said
mad cow disease wasn't a threat.

"Is there a possibility that it could get through?"
Rep. Joe Baca, a California Democrat, asked Lambert at
a hearing last June.

Lambert answered, "No, sir."

"None at all?" Baca asked.

"No," Lambert replied.

"You would bet your life on it - your job on it,
right?"

Lambert answered, "Yes, sir."

The disease was discovered in the U.S. six months
later - apparently brought here by a cow from Canada.

Lambert now says, "I overstated my case."

More than a dozen other high-ranking USDA officials
appointed under Bush also have ties to the meat
industry.

"Whether it's intentional or not, USDA gives the
impression of being a wholly owned subsidiary of
America's cattlemen," said Carol Tucker Foreman,
director of the Consumer Federation of America's Food
Policy Institute. She served as a USDA assistant
secretary in the Carter White House. "Their interests
rather than the public interests predominate in USDA
policy."

When he came to the USDA, Lambert signed an agreement
stating that in his first year he would "not
participate personally and substantially in any
particular matter involving specific parties in which
(Cattlemen's) is a party or represents a party, unless
I am authorized to participate."

During that period he met at least 12 times with
current or former members of Cattlemen's and its
affiliates, an office calendar obtained by The Denver
Post shows.

Lambert said that at any meeting where policy was
discussed, he acted only as a facilitator and that
another USDA person was present. The calendar shows
meetings where other USDA people were present,
although it is not always clear what was discussed.

The rest of those meetings were at social settings, he
said.

"You're not required to sever all personal and past
relationships ... when you come to federal
employment," Lambert said in an interview.

ENVIRONMENT

Jeffrey Holmstead

The EPA official, a lawyer, formerly worked for a firm
that represents utility companies, which are among the
biggest air polluters.

When the Environmental Protection Agency issued
proposed changes to air pollution rules Jan. 30, the
wording troubled Martha Keating, a scientist with
environmental advocacy group Clear the Air.

"It struck me that I had seen this before," Keating
said.

At least 12 paragraphs were identical to or closely
resembled a Sept. 4, 2003, proposal given to the Bush
administration by Latham & Watkins, a law firm that
represents utility companies.

The EPA official overseeing the proposed changes is
Jeffrey Holmstead, who until he joined the EPA in
October 2001 had worked as a lawyer at Latham &
Watkins. His clients included a chemical company and a
trade group for utility companies. Power plants are
among the biggest air polluters.

Holmstead oversees the EPA division that governs air
pollution.

Environmental groups say the rewrite poses a health
threat because it slows the reduction of mercury
emissions by as much as 11 years. Those emissions can
end up in water where they contaminate fish.
Forty-three states have issued advisories about fish
consumption because of mercury pollution, the U.S.
Public Interest Research Group said.

One effect of the proposal would be that 168 of 236
Western-based plants, including those in Colorado,
would not be required to reduce those emissions at
all, Keating said.

Lobbyists commonly suggest wording for legislation.
But even EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt objects to how
this language was lifted.

"To take something from a source without noting it
doesn't seem to be the normal course of business, and
it shouldn't have been done," EPA spokeswoman Cynthia
Bergman said, speaking for Leavitt.

Holmstead declined to comment.

Six Democratic senators are asking for an
investigation. Ten attorneys general and 45 senators -
including three Republicans - have asked Leavitt to
void the proposed rule because of undue industry
influence.

The inspector general hasn't decided whether to
investigate. Bergman said the final pollution rule is
still under development.

LAND USE

J. Steven Griles

The tenure of the veteran energy lobbyist at the
Interior Department was labeled an "ethical quagmire"
by the agency's inspector general.

At the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees
some 507 million acres of national parks, refuges and
rangeland, top officials weigh the competing merits of
resource conservation and development.

Bush named J. Steven Griles, a veteran energy industry
lobbyist, as the department's second-highest official
in June 2001.

Griles earned $585,000 a year as a lobbyist,
representing an array of oil, gas and other energy
interests. As Interior's deputy secretary, he
continues to receive $284,000 a year for four years to
pay him for the value he had created for the firm by
bringing in clients.

Upon entering the government, Griles had pledged to
remove himself from deliberations that affected his
former clients.

This year, the department's inspector general called
Griles' tenure an "ethical quagmire."

"Mr. Griles' lax understanding of his ethics agreement
and attendant recusals, combined with the lax
dispensation of ethics advice given to him, resulted
in lax constraint over matters in which the deputy
secretary involved himself," the inspector general
concluded.

That report or a subsequent review by the U.S. Office
of Government Ethics found other issues:

A former business partner of Griles' hosted a party
for Griles and top Interior officials for land and
mining.

Also, a former Griles client, Advanced Power
Technologies Inc., won some $2 million in no-bid
contracts from his department after two people Griles
supervised pressed APTI's case.

And Griles urged the EPA not to press concerns over a
plan to open 8 million acres in Wyoming and Montana to
gas drilling by companies including six of his former
clients. The project is proceeding while a task force
studies the matter.

The investigations of Griles found no illegalities.
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced that
her right-hand man had been "cleared."

Review of ethics guidelines

Neither the Bush administration nor Congress has
called for a systematic review of government's ethics
guidelines.

They should, says Stuart Gilman, president of the
Ethics Resource Center, a nonprofit group in
Washington that works with companies and government
groups.

"The question is, are we dealing with the problems
we're currently confronting in government?" Gilman
said.

Complaints about ethical breaches within government in
some cases can be politically motivated, said Gilman,
who also worked in the Office of Government Ethics
under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton.

At the same time, Gilman said, governmental leaders
have a responsibility to eliminate both real and
perceived conflicts of interest.

"For government to function, government must have the
confidence of people," Gilman said. "If people don't
believe the government is acting fairly, it encourages
everyone to cheat."

Denver Post staff writers John Aloysius Farrell and
Mike Soraghan and researchers Tamania Davis, Barbara
Hudson and Regina Avila contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2004 The Denver Post

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Posted by richard at 11:39 PM

Astonishingly, the secret inquiry launched by the US military in January, headed by Major General Antonio Taguba, has confirmed that the letter smuggled out of Abu Ghraib by a woman known only as "Noor" was entirely and devastatingly accurate.

Not in your name?

The Washington Post reports that Gen. Ricardo Sanchez
was present during abuses committed at Abu Ghraib:

The lawyer, Capt. Robert Shuck, said he was told that
Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez and other senior
military officers were aware of what was taking place
on Tier 1A of Abu Ghraib. Shuck is assigned to defend
Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick II of the 372nd
Military Police Company. During an April 2 hearing
that was open to the public, Shuck said the company
commander, Capt. Donald J. Reese, was prepared to
testify in exchange for immunity. The military
prosecutor questioned Shuck about what Reese would say
under oath.
"Are you saying that Captain Reese is going to testify
that General Sanchez was there and saw this going on?"
asked Capt. John McCabe, the military prosecutor.
"That's what he told me," Shuck said. "I am an officer
of the court, sir, and I would not lie. I have got two
children at home. I'm not going to risk my career."

Associated Press and TIME report that 2,000 pages were
"missing" from the copy of Gen. Taguba's expose
delivered to the US Senate:

Something may be missing from the Senate's copy of the
Army report on the treatment of Iraqi prisoners.
Two-thousand pages or more.
Time magazine says Senate aides discovered about a
third of the pages were missing as they were putting
the report into binders.
It was supposed to be six-thousand pages.
The report by Major General Antonio Taguba
(tuh-GOO'-buh) was the basis for this month's hearings
by the Senate Armed Services Committee. Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had the report with him when
he testified before the committee. Copies were
delivered to the committee afterward.

BUT the "US Mainstream News Media" still hasn't dealt
with the worst of the incredible shrinking _resident's
foolish military adventure in Iraq...

Guardian: The scandal at Abu Ghraib prison was first exposed not by a digital photograph but by a letter. In December 2003, a woman prisoner inside the jail west of Baghdad managed to smuggle out a note. Its contents were so shocking that, at first, Amal Kadham Swadi and the other Iraqi women lawyers who had been trying to gain access to the US jail found them hard to believe...
Astonishingly, the secret inquiry launched by the US military in January, headed by Major General Antonio Taguba, has confirmed that the letter smuggled out of Abu Ghraib by a woman known only as "Noor" was entirely and devastatingly accurate. While most of the focus since the scandal broke three weeks ago has been on the abuse of men, and on their sexual humilation in front of US women soldiers, there is now incontrovertible proof that women detainees - who form
a small but unknown proportion of the 40,000 people in
US custody since last year's invasion - have also been
abused. Nobody appears to know how many. But among the
1,800 digital photographs taken by US guards inside
Abu Ghraib there are, according to Taguba's report,
images of a US military policeman "having sex" with an
Iraqi woman.
Taguba discovered that guards have also videotaped and
photographed naked female detainees. The Bush
administration has refused to release other
photographs of Iraqi women forced at gunpoint to bare
their breasts (although it has shown them to Congress)
- ostensibly to prevent attacks on US soldiers in
Iraq, but in reality, one suspects, to prevent further
domestic embarrassment.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.guardian.co.uk/women/story/0,3604,1220673,00.html

The other prisoners

Most of the coverage of abuse at Abu Ghraib has
focused on male detainees. But what of the five women
held in the jail, and the scores elsewhere in Iraq?
Luke Harding reports

Thursday May 20, 2004
The Guardian

The scandal at Abu Ghraib prison was first exposed not
by a digital photograph but by a letter. In December
2003, a woman prisoner inside the jail west of Baghdad
managed to smuggle out a note. Its contents were so
shocking that, at first, Amal Kadham Swadi and the
other Iraqi women lawyers who had been trying to gain
access to the US jail found them hard to believe.
The note claimed that US guards had been raping women
detainees, who were, and are, in a small minority at
Abu Ghraib. Several of the women were now pregnant, it
added. The women had been forced to strip naked in
front of men, it said. The note urged the Iraqi
resistance to bomb the jail to spare the women further
shame.

Late last year, Swadi, one of seven female lawyers now
representing women detainees in Abu Ghraib, began to
piece together a picture of systemic abuse and torture
perpetrated by US guards against Iraqi women held in
detention without charge. This was not only true of
Abu Ghraib, she discovered, but was, as she put it,
"happening all across Iraq".

In November last year, Swadi visited a woman detainee
at a US military base at al-Kharkh, a former police
compound in Baghdad. "She was the only woman who would
talk about her case. She was crying. She told us she
had been raped," Swadi says. "Several American
soldiers had raped her. She had tried to fight them
off and they had hurt her arm. She showed us the
stitches. She told us, 'We have daughters and
husbands. For God's sake don't tell anyone about
this.'"

Astonishingly, the secret inquiry launched by the US
military in January, headed by Major General Antonio
Taguba, has confirmed that the letter smuggled out of
Abu Ghraib by a woman known only as "Noor" was
entirely and devastatingly accurate. While most of the
focus since the scandal broke three weeks ago has been
on the abuse of men, and on their sexual humilation in
front of US women soldiers, there is now
incontrovertible proof that women detainees - who form
a small but unknown proportion of the 40,000 people in
US custody since last year's invasion - have also been
abused. Nobody appears to know how many. But among the
1,800 digital photographs taken by US guards inside
Abu Ghraib there are, according to Taguba's report,
images of a US military policeman "having sex" with an
Iraqi woman.

Taguba discovered that guards have also videotaped and
photographed naked female detainees. The Bush
administration has refused to release other
photographs of Iraqi women forced at gunpoint to bare
their breasts (although it has shown them to Congress)
- ostensibly to prevent attacks on US soldiers in
Iraq, but in reality, one suspects, to prevent further
domestic embarrassment.

Earlier this month it emerged that an Iraqi woman in
her 70s had been harnessed and ridden like a donkey at
Abu Ghraib and another coalition detention centre
after being arrested last July. Labour MP Ann Clwyd,
who investigated the case and found it to be true,
said, "She was held for about six weeks without
charge. During that time she was insulted and told she
was a donkey."

In Iraq, the existence of photographs of women
detainees being abused has provoked revulsion and
outrage, but little surprise. Some of the women
involved may since have disappeared, according to
human rights activists. Professor Huda Shaker
al-Nuaimi, a political scientist at Baghdad University
who is researching the subject for Amnesty
International, says she thinks "Noor" is now dead. "We
believe she was raped and that she was pregnant by a
US guard. After her release from Abu Ghraib, I went to
her house. The neighbours said her family had moved
away. I believe she has been killed."

Honour killings are not unusual in Islamic society,
where rape is often equated with shame and where the
stigma of being raped by an American soldier would,
according to one Islamic cleric, be "unbearable". The
prospects for rape victims in Iraq are grave; it is
hardly surprising that no women have so far come
forward to talk about their experiences in US-run
jails where abuse was rife until early January.

One of the most depressing aspects of the saga is
that, unaccountably, the US military continues to hold
five women in solitary confinement at Abu Ghraib, in
cells 2.5m (8ft) long by 1.5m (5ft) wide. Last week,
the military escorted a small group of journalists
around the camp, where hundreds of relatives gather
every day in a dusty car park in the hope of news.

The prison is protected by guard towers, an outer
fence topped with razor wire, and blast walls. Inside,
more than 3,000 Iraqi men are kept in vast open
courtyards, in communal brown tents exposed to dust
and sun. (Last month, nearly 30 detainees were killed
in two separate mortar attacks on the prison; about a
dozen survivors are still in the hospital wing,
shackled to their beds with leather belts.) As our bus
pulled up, the men ran towards the razor wire. They
unfurled banners and T-shirts that read: "Why are we
here?" "When are you going to do something about this
scandal?" "We cannot talk freely."

The women, however, are kept in another part of the
prison, cellblock 1A, together with 19 "high-value"
male detainees. It is inside this olive-painted block,
which leads into a courtyard of shimmering green
saysaban trees and pink flowering shrubs, that the
notorious photographs of US troops humiliating Iraqi
prisoners were taken, many of them on the same day,
November 8 2003. A wooden interrogation shed is a
short stroll away. As we arrived at the cellblock, the
women shouted to us through the bars. An Iraqi
journalist tried to talk to them; a female US soldier
interrupted and pushed him away. The windows of the
women's cells have been boarded up; birds nest in the
outside drainpipe. Captain Dave Quantock, now in
charge of prisoner detention at Abu Ghraib, confirmed
that the women prisoners are in solitary confinement
for 23 hours a day. They have no entertainment; they
do have a Koran.

Since the scandal first emerged there is general
agreement that conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved.
A new, superior catering company now provides the
inmates' food, and all the guards involved in the
original allegations of abuse have left.

Nevertheless, there remain extremely troubling
questions as to why these women came to be here. Like
other Iraqi prisoners, all five are classified as
"security detainees" - a term invented by the Bush
administration to justify the indefinite detention of
prisoners without charge or legal access, as part of
the war on terror. US military officials will only say
that they are suspected of "anti-coalition
activities".

Two of the women are the wives of high-ranking and
absconding Ba'ath party members; two are accused of
financing the resistance; and one allegedly had a
relationship with the former head of Iraq's secret
police, the Mukhabarat. The women, in their 40s and
50s, come from Kirkuk and Baghdad; none has seen their
families or children since their arrest earlier this
year.

According to Swadi, who managed to visit Abu Ghraib in
late March, the allegations against the women are
"absurd". "One of them is supposed to be the mistress
of the former director of the Mukhabarat. In fact,
she's a widow who used to own a small shop. She also
worked as a taxi driver, ferrying children to and from
kindergarten. If she really had a relationship with
the director of the Mukhabarat, she would scarcely be
running a kiosk. These are baseless charges," she adds
angrily. "She is the only person who can provide for
her children."

The women appear to have been arrested in violation of
international law - not because of anything they have
done, but merely because of who they are married to,
and their potential intelligence value. US officials
have previously acknowledged detaining Iraqi women in
the hope of convincing male relatives to provide
information; when US soldiers raid a house and fail to
find a male suspect, they will frequently take away
his wife or daughter instead.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, whose
devastating report on human rights abuses of Iraqi
prisoners was delivered to the government in February
but failed to ring alarm bells, says the problem lies
with the system. "It is an absence of judicial
guarantees," says Nada Doumani, spokesperson for the
ICRC. "The system is not fair, precise or properly
defined."

During her visit to Abu Ghraib in March, one of the
prisoners told Swadi that she had been forced to
undress in front of US soldiers. "The Iraqi translator
turned his head in embarrassment," she said. The
release of detainees, meanwhile, appears to be
entirely arbitrary: three weeks ago one woman prisoner
who spoke fluent English and who had been telling her
guards that she would sue them was suddenly released.
"They got fed up with her," another lawyer, Amal
Alrawi, says.

Last Friday, about 300 male prisoners were freed from
Abu Ghraib, the first detainees to be released since
the abuse scandal first broke. A further 475 are due
to be released tomorrow, although it is not clear if
any of the women will be among them. General Geoffery
Miller, who is responsible for overhauling US military
jails in Iraq, has promised to release 1,800 prisoners
across Iraq "within 45 days". Some 2,000 are likely to
remain behind bars, he says. Iraqi lawyers and
officials aredemanding that the US military hands the
prisons over to Iraqi management on June 30, when the
coalition transfers limited powers to a UN-appointed
caretaker Iraqi government. Last week, Miller said
"negotiations" with Iraqi officials were ongoing.

Relatives who gathered outside Abu Ghraib last Friday
said it was common knowledge that women had been
abused inside the jail. Hamid Abdul Hussein, 40, who
was there hoping to see his brother Jabar freed, said
former detainees who had returned to their home town
of Mamudiya reported that several women had been
raped. "We've know this for months," he said. "We also
heard that some women committed suicide."

While the abuse may have stopped, the US military
appears to have learned nothing from the experience.
Swadi says that when she last tried to visit the women
at Abu Ghraib, "The US guards refused to let us in.
When we complained, they threatened to arrest us."

Posted by richard at 11:36 PM

Carlos Fuentes in Le Monde: The Adventures of Bush the Crackpot

The Mexican, Carlos Fuentes is one of the great
writers of our time. He spoke out early on in the Bush
abomination, and here he is speaking out close to the
end of the Bush abomination.

Carlos Fuentes, Le Monde: Since God has no channel to answer Bush's absurdities in words, He does it through acts. One year after having declared the end of major military operations in Iraq - "Mission Accomplished" -, Bush confronts the brutal and naked reality of the war he on his own initiative needlessly unleashed. Chaos reigns in Iraq. The Bush government was not prepared for the war after the war: the violent peace in an occupied and resistant country...
The policies aimed at deterrence and containment have
been abandoned. The barbarous principle of preemptive
attack has been instituted. The competent authority
(the UN Security Council) has been treated with
contempt. The United States has snapped its fingers at
the principle of war as the last recourse by
unleashing its Shakespearean dogs without any legal
authority whatsoever. The requirement of a just motive
has been sidestepped in favor of the oil motive and
the contractual largesse showered on friends of
Bush...
How to exit this disaster? By eating one's hat. The
despised UN offers a new way, uncertain, but unique.
France's foreign policy, elaborated by Jacques Chirac
and put into motion by Dominique de Villepin, proposed
a political way out that is legal and rational. The
United States alone cannot assure a political
transition in Iraq. This task reverts to the UN and
consists in establishing a technocratic provisional
government that replaces the present puppet Council,
convokes a Constitutional Assembly, and allows the
real forces in Iraq, religious and secular, tribal and
nationalist, to express themselves.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://truthout.org/docs_04/052304H.shtml

The Adventures of Bush the Crackpot
By Carlos Fuentes
Le Monde

Wednesday 19 May 2004

"April is the cruelest month." Here we are; May 1st,
just a little over a year ago on the bridge of an
aircraft carrier close to the California coast, George
W. Bush, dressed up as an aviator declared: "Mission
Accomplished." One year later, the famous opening of
T.S. Eliot's Wasteland applies. The month of April
just past has been the cruelest of a "selected
presidency" (to use Susan Sontag's expression) that
owes its election more to the Supreme Court than to
voters.

While he was governor of Texas, Bush, according to
Richard A. Clarke in his best-seller Against All
Enemies, declared: "God wants me to be President."
Guided by the Almighty from the Highest Heavens, Bush
has recently confirmed his Messianism by asserting
that he does not obey his father, former president
George H. W. Bush, but the Most High: God in person.

Since God has no channel to answer Bush's
absurdities in words, He does it through acts. One
year after having declared the end of major military
operations in Iraq - "Mission Accomplished" -, Bush
confronts the brutal and naked reality of the war he
on his own initiative needlessly unleashed. Chaos
reigns in Iraq. The Bush government was not prepared
for the war after the war: the violent peace in an
occupied and resistant country.

The North American proconsul in Iraq, Paul Bremer,
aggravated the initial mistakes. He dismissed 30,000
officials of the Saddam regime, for the most part
members of the official Baath party. So from then on,
as long as it was not replaced, the bureaucracy ceased
to function, with chaotic consequences for the
country's administration.

That was May 16, 2003. On May 22, 2003, Bremer
proceeded to dissolve the Iraqi army, persuaded that
the "coalition" forces dominated by the United States
were going to impose the post-war order he expected.
Result: a half-million unemployed Iraqis, armed and
ready to fight, should the opportunity arise, on the
side of forces recruited against the occupier.

Bremer committed another colossal mistake when he
divided the Shi'ite majority's clerics who had opposed
Saddam Hussein's Sunni regime.

Such is the summary picture of post-war Iraq: a
North American occupation force confronts a tribal and
religious insurrection. The technological air war, the
master card in the Bush offensive, turned into what we
Mexicans, Central Americans, Vietnamese, Algerians,
Central Europeans and all people who have suffered the
rigor and disgrace of a foreign occupation know well:
the street by street, house by house fighting, with
growing losses for the invader. Today, gangs occupy
whole neighborhoods of Baghdad.

The invaders believed themselves to be liberators,
but the occupied people do not want "to be seen as a
United States' ally", according to the Polish Defense
Minister. This benefits chaos, as those Iraqis who
don't join the guerillas also don't fight against
them. Under such conditions, the North American
political plan has lost all credit.

A man without any local political support, Ahmed
Chalabi, a pure United States' marionette, was called
back from exile. The real forces on the ground -
Shi'ites, Sunnis, and Kurds - didn't put off their
demonstration that there would be no new government in
Iraq without them. Impotent and pushed to the side,
Chalabi has also ended up turning against the United
States. The occupation itself has become untenable.
The United States can do nothing now but eat its hat;
in other words: admit it made a mistake.

Unbridled arrogance, "hubris" in Greek, is
expensive. "Take it or leave it," Bush declared as he
launched the war against Iraq. "With us or against us.
It doesn't matter. The United States can and will act
alone." A half-century earlier another rabid
imperialist, John Foster Dulles, had said: "The United
States doesn't have friends. It has interests." Today,
Advisor Condoleezza Rice echoes him. To hear her tell
it, the United States looks after its own interests
and not those of an "illusory international
community." This pride finds expression in acts that
are deadly for the "illusory" international community.


The policies aimed at deterrence and containment
have been abandoned. The barbarous principle of
preemptive attack has been instituted. The competent
authority (the UN Security Council) has been treated
with contempt. The United States has snapped its
fingers at the principle of war as the last recourse
by unleashing its Shakespearean dogs without any legal
authority whatsoever. The requirement of a just motive
has been sidestepped in favor of the oil motive and
the contractual largesse showered on friends of Bush.

One reason after another for going to war has melted
away. Saddam didn't have, had not had, and would never
have weapons of mass destruction. These, as the
disconcerting Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
has admitted, were invoked to go to war for
"bureaucratic reasons". Once that pretext was
uncovered, a second was invented: to overthrow the
infamous Saddam Hussein, the United States' own
Frankenstein monster. However, why Saddam and not some
other of the dozens of big and little tyrants in our
world: Mugabe in Zimbabwe, the Burmese military junta,
the Korean despot Kim Jong-Il, the brutal Khadafi,
specialist in the art of bringing down airplanes full
of civilians and Washington's favorite son today as
Saddam was yesterday... ?

It's an oil war in which strategic appetites
prevailed over every other consideration.
Unsurprisingly, Bechtel, George Schulz's company,
obtained the first construction contract in Iraq.

An unjust and unnecessary war has lead to a long and
costly post-war: close to 800 Americans dead in
battle; 4,000-11,000 Iraqi civilians killed, a
monstrous regimen of humiliation and torture practiced
by United States' citizens in the prisons that were
once Saddam Hussein's deadly jails. I shall evoke
Kurtz words in Conrad's Heart of Darkness: "The
horror...the horror."

How to exit this disaster? By eating one's hat. The
despised UN offers a new way, uncertain, but unique.
France's foreign policy, elaborated by Jacques Chirac
and put into motion by Dominique de Villepin, proposed
a political way out that is legal and rational. The
United States alone cannot assure a political
transition in Iraq. This task reverts to the UN and
consists in establishing a technocratic provisional
government that replaces the present puppet Council,
convokes a Constitutional Assembly, and allows the
real forces in Iraq, religious and secular, tribal and
nationalist, to express themselves.

The Iraqi National Conference proposed by Chirac is
realistic. It doesn't exclude the occupying powers.
However, it does demand of the United States a high
level of that "humility" G. W. Bush made his 2000
electoral slogan. The task is not easy. The unity of
Iraq is at stake. In order to save it, the UN as well
as the United States must return to the path of
international law, so manhandled today, and
acknowledge that while there may be military
unilateralism, on the legal and economic fronts, there
can be no salvation without multilateralism.

This was the message delivered with vigorous clarity
by Mexico's former President, Ernesto Zedillo, at
Harvard in 2003. This was the message of former
Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to the
French National Assembly: terrorism can be vanquished
only by a global cooperation sensitive to the wounds
that serve as its growth medium. This was the message
of Dominique de Villepin, for whom "only respect for
the law gives strength legitimacy and legitimacy
strength ". This was Harry Truman's message when he
founded the UN in San Francisco: "We must all
acknowledge that however great our power, we must deny
ourselves the freedom of doing whatever we want." This
was the Bill Clinton's message in 1999: "Let us
abandon the illusion that we may forever reserve for
ourselves that which we refuse to others."

And-referring to Pascal's timeless wisdom -
incapable of making what is right, strong; let us make
whatever is strong, right.

By attacking a tyrant who had no connections to
al-Qaeda or bin Laden, Bush put the struggle against
the terrorists off for later and gave them the
opportunity to grow stronger and to strike Morocco and
Spain. He easily conquered a weakened Iraq, brought to
its knees by the sanctions and embargo stemming from
the Gulf War. Moreover, he allowed Islamic
fundamentalists to gain strength even as he pushed
them towards the mosques. Because US-backed
authoritarian regimes had monopolized local political
power, the fundamentalists had few competitors.

The greatest paradox of all is that the North
American victory has found expression in a weakening
of the United States both inside and outside Iraq. Its
most solid alliances have been cracked, its policy has
been rejected by a great majority of the world and it
will have to pay an enormous economic bill for the
adventures of George W. Bush, the Crackpot.

North American military expenditures have risen to
350 billion dollars a year, some 36 % of world
military expenses, and more than that of the sum of
nine next highest nations on the list. Nonetheless,
such sums are insufficient to subjugate and govern one
country, Iraq, let alone to open new possible and
probable fronts.

Who is paying for the war? A class-based economic
policy, according to economist Paul Krugman. A
right-wing Keynesianism that converts a surplus into a
deficit through an increase in military expenditures,
tax reduction, protectionism, and the rescue of
failing companies.

Unilateralism damages the United States politically
and economically. It hurts the standard of living
since the country is too dependent on foreign energy
and capital. The society's internal demands are too
great to allow endless expenditures for military
domination.

The Democratic candidate, John Kerry, tackles these
subjects belatedly and slowly only. The Massachusetts
senator represents above all a major opportunity for
North American diplomacy: to provide the United States
with the credibility Bush's mistaken policies have
lost it. Who will be able to believe Bush again the
next time he cries: "Wolf!"

-------

Carlos Fuentes is a writer.

Carmen Val Julian translated the original (Mexico)
Spanish into French.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Translation: t r u t h o u t French language
correspondent Leslie Thatcher.

Posted by richard at 11:32 PM

May 23, 2004

He believes these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy.

Of course, Gen. Zinni spoke out bravely during the year-long ramp up to this foolish military adventure. It is not only tragic, it is unforgivable that his scathing remarks at that time did not lead to greater introspection and critical thinking in the "US Mainstream News Media."

Here we are in the midst of a Mega-Mogadishu...

CBS News: Accusing top Pentagon officials of
"dereliction of duty," retired Marine Gen. Anthony
Zinni says staying the course in Iraq isn't a
reasonable option.
"The course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it's
time to change course a little bit or at least hold
somebody responsible for putting you on this course,"
he tells CBS News Correspondent Steve Kroft in an
interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, May
23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The current situation in Iraq was destined to happen,
says Zinni, because planning for the war and its
aftermath has been flawed all along...
Zinni blames the poor planning on the civilian
policymakers in the administration, known as
neo-conservatives, who saw the invasion as a way to
stabilize the region and support Israel. He believes these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy.
"They promoted it and pushed [the war]... even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their needs. Then they should bear the responsibility," Zinni tells Kroft.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/21/60minutes/main618896.shtml

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'
May 21, 2004


Accusing top Pentagon officials of "dereliction of
duty," retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni says staying
the course in Iraq isn't a reasonable option.

"The course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it's
time to change course a little bit or at least hold
somebody responsible for putting you on this course,"
he tells CBS News Correspondent Steve Kroft in an
interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, May
23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

The current situation in Iraq was destined to happen,
says Zinni, because planning for the war and its
aftermath has been flawed all along.

"There has been poor strategic thinking in this...poor
operational planning and execution on the ground,"
says Zinni, who served as commander-in-chief of the
U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000.

Zinni blames the poor planning on the civilian
policymakers in the administration, known as
neo-conservatives, who saw the invasion as a way to
stabilize the region and support Israel. He believes
these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary
of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy.

"They promoted it and pushed [the war]... even to the
point of creating their own intelligence to match
their needs. Then they should bear the
responsibility," Zinni tells Kroft.

In his upcoming book, "Battle Ready," written with Tom
Clancy, Zinni writes of the poor planning in harsh
terms. "In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later
conduct, I saw, at minimum, true dereliction,
negligence and irresponsibility; at worst, lying,
incompetence and corruption," he writes.

Zinni explains to Kroft, "I think there was
dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the
ground and [in not] fully understanding the military
dimensions of the plan."

He still believes the situation is salvageable if the
United States can communicate more effectively with
the Iraqi people and demonstrate a better image to
them.

The enlistment of the U.N. and other countries to
participate in the mission is also crucial, he says.
Without these things, says Zinni, "We are going to be
looking for quick exits. I don't believe we're there
now, and I wouldn't want to see us fail here."

Also central to success in Iraq is more troops, from
the United States and especially other countries, to
control violence and patrol borders, he says.

Zinni feels that undertaking the war with the minimum
of troops paved the way for the security problems the
U.S. faces there now, the violence Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld recently admitted he hadn't
anticipated.

"He should not have been surprised," says Zinni.
"There were a number of people who before we even
engaged in this conflict felt strongly that we
underestimated...the scope of the problems we would
have in [Iraq]."

The fact that no one in the administration has paid
for the blunder irks Zinni. "But regardless of whose
responsibility [it is]...it should be evident to
everybody that they've screwed up, and whose heads are
rolling on this?"


© MMIV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Posted by richard at 08:15 AM

Whatever you think of Mr. Moore, there's no question he's detonating dynamite here. From a variety of sources — foreign journalists and broadcasters (like Britain's Channel Four), freelancers and sympathetic American TV workers who slipped him illicit...

The 2004 campaign is a national referendum on the
CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the
incredible shrinking _resident...There is an electoral
uprising is coming...

Frank Rich, New York Times: In one of the several
pieces of startling video exhibited for the first time
in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," we catch a
candid glimpse of President Bush some 36 hours after
his mother's breakfast TV interview — minutes before
he makes his own prime-time TV address to take the
nation to war in Iraq. He is sitting at his desk in
the Oval Office. A makeup woman is doing his face. And
Mr. Bush is having a high old time. He darts his eyes
about and grins, as if he were playing a peek-a-boo
game with someone just off-camera. He could be a
teenager goofing with his buds to relieve the passing
tedium of a haircut.
"In your wildest dreams you couldn't imagine Franklin
Roosevelt behaving this way 30 seconds before
declaring war, with grave decisions and their
consequences at stake," said Mr. Moore in an interview
before his new documentary's premiere at Cannes last
Monday. "But that may be giving him credit for
thinking that the decisions were grave." As we spoke,
the consequences of those decisions kept coming. The
premiere of "Fahrenheit 9/11" took place as news
spread of the assassination of a widely admired
post-Saddam Iraqi leader, Ezzedine Salim, blown up by
a suicide bomber just a hundred yards from the
entrance to America's "safe" headquarters, the Green
Zone, in Baghdad.
Whatever you think of Mr. Moore, there's no question he's detonating dynamite here. From a variety of sources — foreign journalists and broadcasters (like Britain's Channel Four), freelancers and sympathetic American TV workers who slipped him illicit video — he supplies war-time pictures that have been largely shielded from our view.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/23/arts/23RICH.html?ex=1086307690&ei=1&en=9478737ff2721eb7

FRANK RICH
Michael Moore's Candid Camera

Published: May 23, 2004


ut why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and
how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many
this or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's, it's
not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind
on something like that? And watch him suffer."
— Barbara Bush on "Good Morning America,"
March 18, 2003


SHE needn't have worried. Her son wasn't suffering. In
one of the several pieces of startling video exhibited
for the first time in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit
9/11," we catch a candid glimpse of President Bush
some 36 hours after his mother's breakfast TV
interview — minutes before he makes his own prime-time
TV address to take the nation to war in Iraq. He is
sitting at his desk in the Oval Office. A makeup woman
is doing his face. And Mr. Bush is having a high old
time. He darts his eyes about and grins, as if he were
playing a peek-a-boo game with someone just
off-camera. He could be a teenager goofing with his
buds to relieve the passing tedium of a haircut.

"In your wildest dreams you couldn't imagine Franklin
Roosevelt behaving this way 30 seconds before
declaring war, with grave decisions and their
consequences at stake," said Mr. Moore in an interview
before his new documentary's premiere at Cannes last
Monday. "But that may be giving him credit for
thinking that the decisions were grave." As we spoke,
the consequences of those decisions kept coming. The
premiere of "Fahrenheit 9/11" took place as news
spread of the assassination of a widely admired
post-Saddam Iraqi leader, Ezzedine Salim, blown up by
a suicide bomber just a hundred yards from the
entrance to America's "safe" headquarters, the Green
Zone, in Baghdad.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" will arrive soon enough at your
local cineplex — there's lots of money to be made — so
discount much of the squabbling en route. Disney
hasn't succeeded in censoring Mr. Moore so much as in
enhancing his stature as a master provocateur and
self-promoter. And the White House, which likewise
hasn't a prayer of stopping this film, may yet fan the
p.r. flames. "It's so outrageously false, it's not
even worth comment," was last week's blustery opening
salvo by Dan Bartlett, the White House communications
director. New York's Daily News reported that
Republican officials might even try to use the Federal
Election Commission to shut the film down. That would
be the best thing to happen to Michael Moore since
Charlton Heston granted him an interview.

Whatever you think of Mr. Moore, there's no question
he's detonating dynamite here. From a variety of
sources — foreign journalists and broadcasters (like
Britain's Channel Four), freelancers and sympathetic
American TV workers who slipped him illicit video — he
supplies war-time pictures that have been largely
shielded from our view. Instead of recycling images of
the planes hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11 once
again, Mr. Moore can revel in extended new close-ups
of the president continuing to read "My Pet Goat" to
elementary school students in Florida for nearly seven
long minutes after learning of the attack. Just when
Abu Ghraib and the savage beheading of Nicholas Berg
make us think we've seen it all, here is yet another
major escalation in the nation-jolting images that
have become the battleground for the war about the
war.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" is not the movie Moore watchers,
fans or foes, were expecting. (If it were, the foes
would find it easier to ignore.) When he first
announced this project last year after his boorish
Oscar-night diatribe against Mr. Bush, he described it
as an exposé of the connections between the Bush and
bin Laden dynasties. But that story has been so
strenuously told elsewhere — most notably in Craig
Unger's best seller, "House of Bush, House of Saud" —
that it's no longer news. Mr. Moore settles for a
brisk recap in the first of his film's two hours. And,
predictably, he stirs it into an over-the-top, at
times tendentious replay of a Bush hater's greatest
hits: Katherine Harris, the Supreme Court, Harken
Energy, AWOL in Alabama, the Carlyle Group,
Halliburton, the lazy Crawford vacation of August
2001, the Patriot Act. But then the movie veers off in
another direction entirely. Mr. Moore takes the same
hairpin turn the country has over the past 14 months
and crash-lands into the gripping story that is
unfolding in real time right now.

Wasn't it just weeks ago that we were debating whether
we should see the coffins of the American dead and
whether Ted Koppel should read their names on
"Nightline"? In "Fahrenheit 9/11," we see the actual
dying, of American troops and Iraqi civilians alike,
with all the ripped flesh and spilled guts that the
violence of war entails. (If Steven Spielberg can
simulate World War II carnage in "Saving Private
Ryan," it's hard to argue that Mr. Moore should shy
away from the reality in a present-day war.) We also
see some of the 4,000-plus American casualties: those
troops hidden away in clinics at Walter Reed and at
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Fort Campbell,
Ky., where they try to cope with nerve damage and
multiple severed limbs. They are not silent. They talk
about their pain and their morphine, and they talk
about betrayal. "I was a Republican for quite a few
years," one soldier says with an almost innocent air
of bafflement, "and for some reason they conduct
business in a very dishonest way."

Posted by richard at 08:11 AM

May 22, 2004

The October 12 memorandum, reported in the Washington Post, is a potential "smoking gun" linking prisoner abuse to the US high command. It represents hard evidence that the maltreatment was not simply the fault of rogue military police guards.

The Emperor has no uniform...

Julian Borger, Guardian: Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, head of coalition forces in Iraq, issued an order last October giving military intelligence control over almost every aspect of prison conditions at Abu Ghraib with the explicit aim of manipulating the detainees' "emotions and weaknesses", it was reported yesterday.
The October 12 memorandum, reported in the Washington Post, is a potential "smoking gun" linking prisoner abuse to the US high command. It represents hard evidence that the maltreatment was not simply the fault of rogue military police guards.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1222301,00.html

US general linked to Abu Ghraib abuse

Leaked memo reveals control of prison passed to military intelligence to 'manipulate detainees'

Julian Borger in Washington
Saturday May 22, 2004
The Guardian

Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, head of coalition forces in Iraq, issued an order last October giving military intelligence control over almost every aspect of prison conditions at Abu Ghraib with the explicit aim of manipulating the detainees' "emotions and weaknesses", it was reported yesterday.
The October 12 memorandum, reported in the Washington Post, is a potential "smoking gun" linking prisoner abuse to the US high command. It represents hard evidence that the maltreatment was not simply the fault of rogue military police guards.

The memorandum came to light as more details emerged of the extent of detainee abuse. Formal statements by inmates published yesterday describe horrific treatment at the hands of guards, including the rape of a teenage Iraqi boy by an army translator.

At present, one prison guard has pleaded guilty to abuse of detainees, and six more are facing courts martial. A separate inquiry is underway into the role of military intelligence, but it is unclear whether any private contractors implicated will face prosecution.

The October memorandum also calls into question General Sanchez's sworn testimony to the US Senate. At a hearing this week of the Senate armed services committee, he was questioned about an order he had given in November placing Abu Ghraib prison under the command of a military intelligence brigade. He insisted the order referred only to the defence of the jail.

"All of the other responsibilities for continuing to run the prison for logistics, training, discipline and the conduct of prison operations remained with the 800th [military police] Brigade commander," General Sanchez told senators.

He specifically rejected the findings of the official report into the Abu Ghraib abuse by Major General Antonio Taguba, who concluded that military intelligence officers had told the guards "to set the conditions" for interrogations.

However, according to the leaked memorandum, General Sanchez had explicitly given military intelligence interrogators control over the "lighting, heating ... food, clothing and shelter" of the detainees being questioned.

It also called for military intelligence officials to work more closely with the military police guards at the prison to "manipulate an internee's emotions and weaknesses".

The New York Times yesterday reported that the military intelligence brigade that took control of the interrogation centre was deployed direct from Afghanistan and brought with it harsh procedures it had developed there. The US military deems US military prisons in Afghanistan to be outside the jurisdiction of the Geneva conventions because it defines al-Qaida and Taliban fighters as "unlawful combatants".

In the Washington Post report, one detainee, Kasim Hilas, describes the rape of an Iraqi boy by a man in uniform, whose name has been blacked out of the statement, but who appears to be a translator working for the army.

"I saw [name blacked out] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15-18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn't covered and I saw [blacked out], who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid's ass," Mr Hilas told military investigators. "I couldn't see the face of the kid because his face wasn't in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures."

It is not clear from the testimony whether the rapist de scribed by Mr Hilas was working for a private contractor or was a US soldier. A private contractor was arrested after the Taguba investigation was completed, but was freed when it was discovered the army had no jurisdiction over him under military or Iraqi law.

Another inmate, Thaar Dawod, describes more abuse of teenage Iraqis. "They came with two boys naked and they were cuffed together face to face and Grainer [Corporal Charles Graner, one of the military policemen facing court martial] was beating them and a group of guards were watching and taking pictures from top and bottom and there was three female soldiers laughing at the prisoners," he said.

According to most inmate statements, Cpl Graner ran the night shift at Abu Ghraib's interrogation wing, and dealt out the worst of the abuse.

Ameen al-Sheikh testified that: "The night guard came over, his name is Graner, open the cell door, came in with a number of soldiers. They forced me to eat pork and put liquor in my mouth. The second night Graner came and hung me on the cell door. I told him I have a broken shoulder. I am afraid it will break again ... the doctor told me 'don't put your arms behind your back'. He said : 'I don't care.' Then he hung me to the door far more than eight hours."

Mr al-Sheikh's testimony suggests military intelligence interrogators were also directly involved in the abuse. When he fails to identify a picture of a man suspected of giving him some pistols, he said the interrogators "point a weapon to my head and threaten they will kill me; sometime with dogs and they hang me to the door allowing the dogs to try to bite me."

Posted by richard at 08:10 AM

Continuing the Cover-Up?: Military Takes Action Against Key Witness in Abu Ghraib Abuse Scandal

It is encouraging to see ABC News shed light on the attempt to silence and punish this US soldier. But it would be more encouraging if it provided CONTEXT and CONTINUITY by connecting Sgt. Provance to the long list of others throughout the US government, who like Paul O'Neill, Richard Clark, Roger Cressey, Eric Schaeffer, Greg Thielman, Karen Kwiatowski, Joseph Wilson, etc., have stood up to refute the Bush abomination's lies -- and not only in regard to Iraq, but also 9/11, the Economy, the Environment and Medicaire.
Remember, 2+2=4.

Brian Ross and Alexandra Salomon, ABC News: A witness who told ABCNEWS he believed the military was covering up the extent of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison was today stripped of his security clearance and told he may face prosecution because his comments were "not in the national interest."
Sgt. Samuel Provance said in addition to his revoked security clearance, he was transferred to a different platoon, and his record was officially "flagged," meaning he cannot be promoted or given any awards or honors.
Provance said he was told he will face administrative action for failing to report what he knew at the time and for failing to take steps to stop the abuse.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/WNT/Investigation/abu_ghraib_cover_up_040521.html

Continuing the Cover-Up?: Military Takes Action Against Key Witness in Abu Ghraib Abuse Scandal
By Brian Ross and Alexandra Salomon
ABCNEWS.com
May 21, 2004— A witness who told ABCNEWS he believed the military was covering up the extent of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison was today stripped of his security clearance and told he may face prosecution because his comments were "not in the national interest."
Sgt. Samuel Provance said in addition to his revoked security clearance, he was transferred to a different platoon, and his record was officially "flagged," meaning he cannot be promoted or given any awards or honors.
Provance said he was told he will face administrative action for failing to report what he knew at the time and for failing to take steps to stop the abuse.

"I see it as an effort to intimidate Sgt. Provance and any other soldier whose conscience is bothering him, and who wants to come forward and tell what really happened at Abu Ghraib," said his attorney Scott Horton.

Provance Alleges Cover-Up

A key witness in the military investigation into prisoner mistreatment at Abu Ghraib, Provance told ABCNEWS earlier this week that dozens of soldiers — in addition to the seven military police reservists who have been charged — were involved in the abuse at the prison, and he said there is an effort under way in the Army to hide it.

"There's definitely a cover-up," Provance said. "People are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet."

Provance, 30, was part of the 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion stationed at Abu Ghraib last September. He spoke to ABCNEWS despite orders from his commanders not to.

"What I was surprised at was the silence," said Provance. "The collective silence by so many people that had to be involved, that had to have seen something or heard something."

Provance, now stationed in Germany, ran the top-secret computer network used by military intelligence at the prison.

He said that while he did not see the actual abuse take place, the interrogators with whom he worked freely admitted they directed the MPs' rough treatment of prisoners.

"Anything [the MPs] were to do legally or otherwise, they were to take those commands from the interrogators," he said.

Top military officials have claimed the abuse seen in the photos at Abu Ghraib was limited to a few MPs, but Provance says the sexual humiliation of prisoners began as a technique ordered by the interrogators from military intelligence.

"One interrogator told me about how commonly the detainees were stripped naked, and in some occasions, wearing women's underwear," Provance said. "If it's your job to strip people naked, yell at them, scream at them, humiliate them, it's not going to be too hard to move from that to another level."

According to Provance, some of the physical abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib included U.S. soldiers "striking [prisoners] on the neck area somewhere and the person being knocked out. Then [the soldier] would go to the next detainee, who would be very fearful and voicing their fear, and the MP would calm him down and say, 'We're not going to do that. It's OK. Everything's fine,' and then do the exact same thing to him."

Provance also described an incident when two drunken interrogators took a female Iraqi prisoner from her cell in the middle of the night and stripped her naked to the waist. The men were later restrained by another MP.

Pentagon Sanctions Investigation

Maj. Gen. George Fay, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, was assigned by the Pentagon to investigate the role of military intelligence in the abuse at the Iraq prison.

Fay started his probe on April 23, but Provance said when Fay interviewed him, the general seemed interested only in the military police, not the interrogators, and seemed to discourage him from testifying.

Provance said Fay threatened to take action against him for failing to report what he saw sooner, and the sergeant said he feared he would be ostracized for speaking out.

"I feel like I'm being punished for being honest," Provance told ABCNEWS on Tuesday. "You know, it was almost as if I actually felt if all my statements were shredded and I said, like most everybody else, 'I didn't hear anything, I didn't see anything. I don't know what you're talking about,' then my life would be just fine right now."

In response, Army officials said it is "routine procedure to advise military personnel under investigative review" not to comment. The officials said, however, that Fay and the military were committed to an honest, in-depth investigation of what happened at the prison.

But Provance believes many involved may not be as forthcoming with information.

"I would say many people are probably hiding and wishing to God that this storm passes without them having to be investigated [or] personally looked at," he said.

Posted by richard at 07:59 AM

By attacking Ahmed Chalabi, who was for so long its protégé and confidence man, the Bush administration confirmed once again (as if there were a need for it) the failure of its Iraq strategy.

The Emperor has no uniform...

Le Monde Editorial: By attacking Ahmed Chalabi, who was for so long its protégé and confidence man, the Bush administration confirmed once again (as if there were a need for it) the failure of its Iraq strategy.
After the prison tortures scandal, the horrible
blunder of the bloody nuptials at al-Qaem, the
permanent guerilla war being waged by Sunni and
Shi'ite opponents, now the man who was the
neo-conservatives' hero in their obsessional fight
against Saddam Hussein has become, in his turn, an
enemy...
What remains of the ambitious policy to
democratize Iraq that was announced by George Bush
with such fanfare and picked up by Tony Blair? The
question is all the more pertinent as the worst
appears to be yet to come. Not only on the ground,
where, according to a poll published Thursday by the
Financial Times, 90 % of Iraqis consider the Americans
as occupiers. The financial daily writes that
Washington has succeeded in transforming a delinquent
- the Shi'ite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr - into a hero.
However, the nearly daily revelations of new
photos of the atrocities perpetrated in the prisons
and of information about the existence of new camps
where top-secret units gave themselves over to acts
even more contrary to the laws of war and humanity
risk turning into an explicit condemnation of
President Bush's strategy. As Washington Post
editorialist Jim Hoagland asks, recalling the Vietnam
precedent, "is this the 'democracy' President Bush
promised Iraq?"

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/052204H.shtml

Iraq: One More Failure
Le Monde Editorial

Friday 21 May 2004

By attacking Ahmed Chalabi, who was for so long
its protégé and confidence man, the Bush
administration confirmed once again (as if there were
a need for it) the failure of its Iraq strategy. After
the prison tortures scandal, the horrible blunder of
the bloody nuptials at al-Qaem, the permanent guerilla
war being waged by Sunni and Shi'ite opponents, now
the man who was the neo-conservatives' hero in their
obsessional fight against Saddam Hussein has become,
in his turn, an enemy.

Certainly, there are few who would feel sorry for
this man who is better at manipulating than at taking
action, condemned some time ago in Jordan for a
fraudulent bankruptcy, this long-time exile who
claimed he could play a major role in the Baghdad
dictator's overthrow. If it was obvious to all those
in Washington who remained convinced that his
popularity in Iraq was essentially non-existent; that
his army was phantasmorgic; his Iraqi National
Congress, a sham; and the information he furnished,
fabricated; he was, nonetheless, up until recently,
judged to be trustworthy by the Pentagon "hard-liners"
and Vice President Cheney.

With friends like Chalabi who told the
administration everything it wanted to hear, it was
obvious that American strategists could never come to
grips with the complexities of the real Iraq. The
mistakes, the offences, the blunders, the crimes which
have proliferated since Baghdad's fall may be
understood - but not justified - in the context of
this ideological blindness. And however they may dress
up getting rid of Mr. Chalabi - spying for Iran... -,
his failure is above all a failure of the United
States.

Scapegoat today, Ahmed Chalabi will also show
those few Iraqis who trust Washington that they too
may one day, like him, be discarded once they've lost
their utility. "It's an insult and it could happen to
any member of the Governing Council," declared its
President.

What remains of the ambitious policy to
democratize Iraq that was announced by George Bush
with such fanfare and picked up by Tony Blair? The
question is all the more pertinent as the worst
appears to be yet to come. Not only on the ground,
where, according to a poll published Thursday by the
Financial Times, 90 % of Iraqis consider the Americans
as occupiers. The financial daily writes that
Washington has succeeded in transforming a delinquent
- the Shi'ite leader Moqtada Al-Sadr - into a hero.

However, the nearly daily revelations of new
photos of the atrocities perpetrated in the prisons
and of information about the existence of new camps
where top-secret units gave themselves over to acts
even more contrary to the laws of war and humanity
risk turning into an explicit condemnation of
President Bush's strategy. As Washington Post
editorialist Jim Hoagland asks, recalling the Vietnam
precedent, "is this the 'democracy' President Bush
promised Iraq?"


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Translation: t r u t h o u t French language
correspondent Leslie Thatcher.

Posted by richard at 07:24 AM

May 21, 2004

Campaign Double Standards: Kerry "Missteps" Get Lavish Media Attention, While Bush Falsehoods Ignored

IF the "US Mainstream News Media" provided even a modicum of CONTEXT and CONTINUITY on 9/11 or Iraq or the Environment, there would be angry mobs mulling around outside the White House, and there would be US military among them, and the incredible shrinking _resident would be looking more like Benito Mussolini every day. And, of course, Mussolini met an ignoble end...It was Mussolini, BTW, who remarked that "Fascism" would be more aptly termed "Corporatism." And what you are seeing now, from the "US Mainstream News Media" and its propapunditgandists, for the second Presidential election in a row, is pure unadulterated "Corporatism."

It's the Media, Stupid.

FAIR: While the press corps applies microscopic scrutiny to Kerry's statements, looking for evidence of misstatements or "flip-flops," Bush gets little criticism for making blatantly false assertions. Last July (7/14/03), Bush revised the history of the run-up to the Iraq war, claiming that Saddam Hussein refused to allow weapons inspectors into Iraq in late 2002: "Did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in." Of course, Iraq did allow U.N. weapons inspectors into the country in November 2002; they were withdrawn when war was imminent in March 2003.
Few reporters ever mentioned this substantive falsehood. NPR reporter Mara Liasson (7/17/03) called it "revisionist history," while the Washington Post (7/15/03) timidly noted: "The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring." But most major news sources chose not to bring up Bush's false statement-- the New York Times was silent on the issue, as were the nightly newscasts of ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/news2004/0520-10.htm

Campaign Double Standards: Kerry "Missteps" Get Lavish Media Attention, While Bush Falsehoods Ignored

WASHINGTON - May 20 - Recent media coverage of Democratic presidential contender John Kerry has often focused on alleged gaffes or misstatements, ranging from convoluted explanations of his Senate voting record to whether or not he owns a sports utility vehicle. But while these relatively trivial aspects of John Kerry's record have come under intense and prolonged media scrutiny, journalists have shown a reluctance to highlight much more significant falsehoods or "gaffes" by Kerry's main rival, George W. Bush.

Time magazine's May 10 story, "What Kerry Meant to Say," is a typical example of recent Kerry coverage. After noting Kerry's opportunities to score points against a White House besieged by questions about Iraq, the September 11 commission and the Supreme Court, reporter Karen Tumulty asks, "'But what did the challenger find himself talking about for three days?' The answer is whether or not Kerry threw away his medals or his ribbons in the early 1970s."

Tumulty attributes this story line to a personal flaw in Kerry: The campaign has been largely about the "traps that the Bush campaign is adept at setting for Kerry, and the personality trait that makes Kerry walk right into them." In fact, of course, it's up to the media to decide what questions to ask candidates and which issues to run stories about. And again and again, the press corps has latched onto stories of dubious importance in order to portray Kerry as faltering or changing course.

After Kerry pledged on NBC's Meet the Press to release medical records from his service in Vietnam, ABC World News Tonight (4/21/04) reported that Kerry's service "has become the subject of controversy" because some of his critics were raising doubts about his first Purple Heart. When the medical records did little to bolster their case, the press corps switched to another GOP spin point: Kerry didn't get the records out fast enough. ABC's report included a soundbite from Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie: "When President Bush committed to release all his military records on the same program, he kept his word. John Kerry should do the same." The fact that Bush took five days after his Meet the Press appearance to get his full records out while Kerry took three did not deter media outlets from doing stories on this nonexistent issue.

While the press corps applies microscopic scrutiny to Kerry's statements, looking for evidence of misstatements or "flip-flops," Bush gets little criticism for making blatantly false assertions. Last July (7/14/03), Bush revised the history of the run-up to the Iraq war, claiming that Saddam Hussein refused to allow weapons inspectors into Iraq in late 2002: "Did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in." Of course, Iraq did allow U.N. weapons inspectors into the country in November 2002; they were withdrawn when war was imminent in March 2003.

Few reporters ever mentioned this substantive falsehood. NPR reporter Mara Liasson (7/17/03) called it "revisionist history," while the Washington Post (7/15/03) timidly noted: "The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring." But most major news sources chose not to bring up Bush's false statement-- the New York Times was silent on the issue, as were the nightly newscasts of ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.

Bush's record is full of similar untrue statements: His claim that Enron's Ken Lay supported Bush's opponent in his 1994 gubernatorial race, when Lay actually contributed three times as much to Bush (ABC World News Tonight, 1/10/02); his insistence that the White House was not responsible for the "Mission Accomplished" banner on the U.S.S. Lincoln (New York Times, 10/29/03); his statement that in 2002 the economy "was pulling out of a recession that began before I took office" (when it actually started in March 2001-- Slate, 12/30/02); his assertion in a 2000 debate that in his tax cut plan, "by far the vast majority of the help goes to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder," when the bottom 50 percent really got roughly 10 percent of the benefits (Extra!, 1-2/01); his boast that "I've been to war" (Associated Press, 1/27/02)-- to list just a few.

In 2000, journalists seemed to be tailoring their coverage to a well-defined theme: "The story line is Bush isn't smart enough and Gore isn't straight enough," explained pundit Cokie Roberts (Washington Post, 10/15/00). The coverage so far in 2004 suggests that Kerry is now getting the Gore treatment (Daily Howler, 5/4/04).

But for Bush, the story line has changed; now reporters consider resolution to be Bush's defining trait. A day after a Bush press conference, New York Times reporter David Sanger (4/14/04) wrote that Bush's "singlemindedness" is the "hallmark of his presidency," seen by admirers as "his greatest strength" and by his critics as "a dangerous, never-change-course stubbornness." Washington Post columnist David Broder agreed, writing (4/15/04) that while Bush "will not be deflected from his chosen course by criticism or evidence of public doubts about the wisdom of his policies," that could be a good thing, since "this idealism forms an image of resolute leadership."

The idea of a leader who friends and foes alike say never changes his mind bears little resemblance to the actual George W. Bush, who has taken diametrically opposed stands on the need for a Homeland Security Department (Time, 4/26/04), an independent September 11 commission (Baltimore Sun, 3/31/04) and a patients' bill of rights (Political Animal, 3/21/04; Washington Post, 4/5/04). His flip-flop on "nation-building" was so pronounced that Comedy Central's Daily Show (4/30/03) once staged a debate on the subject with taped statements from Bush taking both sides. But if it doesn't match reality, the media image of a resolute Bush does conform remarkably well to Karl Rove's 2004 campaign slogan: "Steady Leadership in a Time of Change."

###

Posted by richard at 02:55 PM

"What the F.B.I. is up to here is ludicrous," Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said in an interview. "To classify something that's already been out in the public domain, what do you accomplish? It does harm to transparency in government...

Will the 9/11 Commission speak out in its final report or will it fail this country just as the Bush abomination failed this country pre-9/11? Will the 9/11 Commission tell the truth about the incompetence (at best) of the incredible shrinking _resident's "national security team" or will it participate in the Bush abomination's 9/11 cover-up? We will know, when that final report is leaked, sometime in July.

Eric Lichtblau, New York Times: The Justice Department has taken the unusual step of retroactively classifying information it gave to Congress nearly two years ago regarding a former F.B.I. translator who charged that the bureau had missed critical terrorist warnings, officials said Wednesday.
Law enforcement officials say the secrecy surrounding the translator, Sibel Edmonds, is essential to protecting information that could reveal intelligence-gathering operations. But some members of Congress and Congressional aides said they were troubled by the move, which comes as critics have accused the Bush administration of excessive secrecy.
"What the F.B.I. is up to here is ludicrous," Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said in an interview. "To classify something that's already been out in the public domain, what do you accomplish? It does harm to transparency in government, and it looks like an attempt to cover up the F.B.I.'s problems in translating intelligence."

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/20/politics/20classify.html

May 20, 2004
Material Given to Congress in 2002 Is Now Classified
By ERIC LICHTBLAU

ASHINGTON, May 19 - The Justice Department has taken the unusual step of retroactively classifying information it gave to Congress nearly two years ago regarding a former F.B.I. translator who charged that the bureau had missed critical terrorist warnings, officials said Wednesday.

Law enforcement officials say the secrecy surrounding the translator, Sibel Edmonds, is essential to protecting information that could reveal intelligence-gathering operations. But some members of Congress and Congressional aides said they were troubled by the move, which comes as critics have accused the Bush administration of excessive secrecy.

"What the F.B.I. is up to here is ludicrous," Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said in an interview. "To classify something that's already been out in the public domain, what do you accomplish? It does harm to transparency in government, and it looks like an attempt to cover up the F.B.I.'s problems in translating intelligence."

F.B.I. officials gave Senate staff members two briefings in June and July of 2002 concerning Ms. Edmonds, who said the F.B.I.'s system for translating intelligence was so flawed that the bureau missed chances to spot terrorist warnings.

But the F.B.I. now maintains that some of the information discussed was so potentially damaging if released publicly that it is now considered classified, according to a memorandum distributed last week within the Senate Judiciary Committee. The material could also play a part in pending lawsuits, including Ms. Edmonds's wrongful termination suit and a lawsuit brought by hundreds of families of Sept. 11 victims who have sought to take testimony from her.

"Any staffer who attended those briefings, or who learns about those briefings, should be aware that the F.B.I. now considers the information classified and should therefore avoid further dissemination,'' the Judiciary Committee memorandum said.

An F.B.I. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the decision to classify the material was made by the Justice Department, which oversees the bureau. The Justice Department declined to comment on Wednesday.

The F.B.I. told Congressional officials that it was classifying topics including what languages Ms. Edmonds translated, what types of cases she handled, and what employees she worked with, officials said. Even routine and widely disseminated information - like where she worked - is now classified.

Ms. Edmonds, who is Turkish-American, began working for the F.B.I. shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks as a translator in the F.B.I.'s Washington field office with top-secret security clearance, but she was let go in the spring of 2002. She first gained wide public attention in October of that year when she appeared on "60 Minutes'' on CBS and charged that the F.B.I.'s translation services were plagued by incompetence and a lack of urgency and that the bureau had ignored her concerns. The Justice Department's inspector general is investigating her claims.

The F.B.I. has taken steps to improve its translation operations, including hiring more linguists. But Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, wrote in March to the Justice Department that he still had "grave concerns'' about the F.B.I.'s ability to translate vital counterterrorism material.

Ms. Edmonds testified in a closed session this year before the Sept. 11 commission, and she has made increasingly vehement charges about the F.B.I.'s intelligence failures, saying the United States had advance warnings about the attacks. Families of the Sept. 11 victims - who are suing numerous corporate and Saudi interests whom they accuse of having links to the attacks - have sought to depose her as a witness, but the Justice Department has blocked the move by saying her testimony would violate "the state secret privilege.'' Her lawyer could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

While some Congressional officials said they were confident the Justice Department had followed proper procedure in classifying the information, others said they could not remember any recent precedents and were bothered by the move.

"I have never heard of a retroactive classification two years back,'' said an aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because the subject is classified.

"It would be silly if it didn't have such serious implications,'' the aide said. "People are puzzled and, frankly, worried, because the effect here is to quash Congressional oversight. We don't even know what we can't talk about.''

Senator Grassley said, "This is about as close to a gag order as you can get."

The F.B.I. denied the accusation.

"We're not imposing a gag order,'' the F.B.I. official said. Members of Congress have the information, but have to treat it as classified, the official said. "The problem is that while these pieces of information may look innocuous on their own, you put them all together and it reveals a picture of sensitive intelligence collection, and that's a security problem.''

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Posted by richard at 02:53 PM

May 20, 2004

Saving General Boykin seemed like a strange sideshow last October...

When will the "US mainstream news media" revisit the
disgraceful story of how the Bush cabal protected the wacko General Boykin, now that questions about his character and competence have taken on new significance in the harsh light of his role in the shame of Abu Ghraib? When will the "US mainstream news media" start asking the hard questions about the incredible shrinking _resident disturbing religious beliefs, and those of his hard-core fundamentalist brown shirted supporters, and how they have influenced his disasterous policies in Iraq and the Middle East? Remember, doggedly, day after day, although banished from the air waves, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta), is campaigning in one red state after another, with determination and discipline, contrasting himself as "mainstream" and the incredible shrinking _resident as "radical" and "partisan." And it is resonating with the US electorate, JFK currently leads in almost all major polls.

Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian: Saving General Boykin seemed like a strange sideshow last October. After it was revealed that the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence had been regularly appearing at evangelical revivals preaching that the US was in a holy war as a "Christian nation" battling "Satan", the furore was quickly calmed...Boykin was not removed or transferred. At that moment, he was at the heart of a secret operation to "Gitmo-ize" (Guantánamo is known in the US as Gitmo) the Abu Ghraib prison. He had flown to Guantánamo, where he met Major General Geoffrey Miller, in charge of Camp X-Ray. Boykin ordered Miller to fly to Iraq and extend X-Ray methods to the prison system there, on Rumsfeld's orders.

Save the US Consitution, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0520-03.htm

Published on Thursday, May 20, 2004 by the Guardian/UK

The Religious Warrior of Abu Ghraib
An Evangelical US General played a Pivotal Role in
Iraqi Prison Reform

by Sidney Blumenthal

Saving General Boykin seemed like a strange sideshow
last October. After it was revealed that the deputy
undersecretary of defense for intelligence had been
regularly appearing at evangelical revivals preaching
that the US was in a holy war as a "Christian nation"
battling "Satan", the furore was quickly calmed.

Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, explained that
Boykin was exercising his rights as a citizen: "We're
a free people." President Bush declared that Boykin
"doesn't reflect my point of view or the point of view
of this administration". Bush's commission on public
diplomacy had reported that in nine Muslim countries,
just 12% believed that "Americans respect Arab/Islamic
values". The Pentagon announced that its inspector
general would investigate Boykin, though he has yet to
report.

Boykin was not removed or transferred. At that moment,
he was at the heart of a secret operation to
"Gitmo-ize" (Guantánamo is known in the US as Gitmo)
the Abu Ghraib prison. He had flown to Guantánamo,
where he met Major General Geoffrey Miller, in charge
of Camp X-Ray. Boykin ordered Miller to fly to Iraq
and extend X-Ray methods to the prison system there,
on Rumsfeld's orders.

Boykin was recommended to his position by his record
in the elite Delta forces: he was a commander in the
failed effort to rescue US hostages in Iran, had
tracked drug lord Pablo Escobar in Colombia, had
advised the gas attack on barricaded cultists at Waco,
Texas, and had lost 18 men in Somalia trying to
capture a warlord in the notorious Black Hawk Down
fiasco of 1993.

Boykin told an evangelical gathering last year how
this fostered his spiritual crisis. "There is no God,"
he said. "If there was a God, he would have been here
to protect my soldiers." But he was thunderstruck by
the insight that his battle with the warlord was
between good and evil, between the true God and the
false one. "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I
knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

Boykin was the action hero side of his boss, Stephen
Cambone, a conservative defense intellectual appointed
to the new post of undersecretary of intelligence.
Cambone is universally despised by the officer corps
for his arrogant, abrasive and dictatorial style and
regarded as the personal symbol of Rumsfeldism. A
former senior Pentagon official told me of a
conversation with a three-star general, who remarked:
"If we were being overrun by the enemy and I had only
one bullet left, I'd use it on Cambone."

Cambone set about cutting the CIA and the state
department out of the war on terror, but he had no
knowledge of special ops. For this the rarefied
civilian relied on the gruff soldier - a melding of
"ignorance and recklessness", as a military
intelligence source told me.

Just before Boykin was put in charge of the hunt for
Osama bin Laden and then inserted into Iraqi prison
reform, he was a circuit rider for the religious
right. He allied himself with a small group called the
Faith Force Multiplier that advocates applying
military principles to evangelism. Its manifesto -
Warrior Message - summons "warriors in this spiritual
war for souls of this nation and the world ... "

Boykin staged a traveling slide show around the
country where he displayed pictures of Bin Laden and
Saddam Hussein. "Satan wants to destroy this nation,
he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to
destroy us as a Christian army," he preached. They
"will only be defeated if we come against them in the
name of Jesus". It was the reporting of his remarks at
a revival meeting in Oregon that made them a subject
of brief controversy.

There can be little doubt that he envisages the global
war on terror as a crusade. With the Geneva
conventions apparently suspended, international law is
supplanted by biblical law. Boykin is in God's chain
of command. President Bush, he told an Oregon
congregation last June, is "a man who prays in the
Oval Office". And the president, too, is on a divine
mission. "George Bush was not elected by a majority of
the voters in the US. He was appointed by God."

Boykin is not unique in his belief that Bush is God's
anointed against evildoers. Before his 2000 campaign,
Bush confided to a leader of the religious right: "I
feel like God wants me to run for president ... I
sense my country is going to need me. Something is
going to happen."

Michael Gerson, Bush's chief speechwriter, tells
colleagues that on September 20 2001, after Bush
delivered his speech to the Congress declaring a war
on terror, he called Gerson to thank him for writing
it. "God wants you here," Gerson says he told the
president. And he says that Bush replied: "God wants
us here."

But it's Bush who wants Rumsfeld, Cambone and Boykin
here.

· Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior advisor to
President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of
Salon.com

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

###

Posted by richard at 02:07 PM

"I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss," General Joseph Hoar, a former commander in chief of US central command, told the Senate foreign relations committee.

The Emperor has no uniform...

Julian Borger, Guardian: "I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure. We are looking into the abyss," General Joseph Hoar, a former commander in chief of US central command, told the Senate foreign relations committee.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0520-01.htm

Published on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 by the
Guardian/UK
Hostilities Force Bush into Deep Hole
Strategy Pushing US into 'Abyss'

by Julian Borger in Washington

The Pentagon was attempting the difficult task of
digging itself out of the hole dug by the Abu Ghraib
prison outrage when it suffered yet another
potentially serious setback in Iraq.

As in Najaf and Falluja and at other flashpoints, US
forces appeared to have been sucked in by the
insurgents' strategy: fighting back, killing civilians
and in turn strengthening the rebels' support base.

George Bush continued to paint a determinedly
optimistic picture, insisting that "a lot of progress"
had been made towards the transfer of sovereignty on
June 30, despite the assassination at the weekend of
the head of the US-appointed governing council, Abdul
Zahra Othman, also known as Izzadine Salim.

He also claimed that 11 ministries were being "capably
run by Iraqi citizens".

But across town in Congress even those instinctively
sympathetic to the US military cause in Iraq were
warning that America was facing a strategic disaster.

"I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure.
We are looking into the abyss," General Joseph Hoar, a
former commander in chief of US central command, told
the Senate foreign relations committee.

The apocalyptic language is becoming increasingly
common here among normally moderate and cautious
politicians and observers.

Larry Diamond, an analyst at the conservative Hoover
Institution, said: "I think it's clear that the United
States now faces a perilous situation in Iraq.

"We have failed to come anywhere near meeting the
post-war expectations of Iraqis for security and
post-war reconstruction.

"There is only one word for a situation in which you
cannot win and you cannot withdraw - quagmire."

The growing fear is that the US will able neither to
defeat the insurgents in Iraq nor to find an honorable
means of withdrawal, while every week there will be an
hemorrhaging of US credibility in the Arab world and
far beyond.

"With at least 82% of the Iraqis saying they oppose
American and allied forces, how long do you think it
will be before the Iraqi government asks our
departure?" said Senator Joseph Biden, the senior
Democrat on the foreign relations committee.

Meanwhile, traditional conservatives who see American
interests in the Middle East as focused on a regular
supply of oil are anxious because it has pulled its
troops out of one big producer, Saudi Arabia, without
establishing a sustainable military presence in
another, Iraq.

"Anyway you look at this, outside the most extreme
optimistic assessments, we end up weaker," a senior
Republican international strategist said.

The conservatives' growing awareness that failure may
be imminent has generated a backlash against the more
radical "neo-conservatives" such as Paul Wolfowitz and
Douglas Feith at the Pentagon, who are blamed for
persuading President Bush that an invasion would be
relatively easy.

Anthony Cordesman, a military scholar at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies, said the most
serious problem in US government was "the fact that a
small group of neo-conservative ideologues were able
to substitute their illusions for an effective
planning effort by professionals".

General Hoar was equally scathing about the caliber of
the Bush administration.

"The policy people in both Washington and Baghdad," he
said, "have demonstrated their inability to do a job
on a day-to-day basis this past year."

Administration critics, as well as a growing number of
Republican moderates, are arguing that to salvage the
situation in Iraq the administration will have to
jettison many of its other policy goals and political
ambitions.

For example, it will have to give up all hope of
establishing permanent military bases in Iraq,
securing advantages for US firms, and staying out of
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Phebe Marr, an Iraq expert at the National Defense
University, says the minimal US goals should include
"a state free of terrorism, a state free of weapons of
mass destruction, a government, if not friendly, at
least not hostile to the US and Israel", and a clear
intention not to have "long-term designs on military
bases or control of oil".

First, the US has to be seen to be transferring at
least some power to Iraqis. Mr Bush predicted
yesterday that the leaders of a new caretaker
government would be picked "in the next couple of
weeks".

But Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy who is supposed to
select that government, is reported to be facing
extreme difficulties in finding fresh faces to fill
the top jobs, particularly since the assassination of
Mr Salim.

There is increasing speculation that, in the absence
of any better options by the transfer date of June 30,
nominal sovereignty will be handed to the governing
council, which has very limited credibility with
ordinary Iraqis.

Meanwhile, the head of US central command, John
Abizaid, warned that the period after the handover
could be even more violent than the present, perhaps
requiring the deployment of more US troops.

That would be politically damaging for the president,
but so would a descent into more chaos in Iraq.

As Mr Bush nears re-election, the burden of Iraq grows
heavier with every passing week.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

###


Posted by richard at 02:01 PM

May 19, 2004

"There's definitely a cover-up," the witness, Sgt. Samuel Provance, said. "People are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet."

Well, the name of Sgt. Samuel Provance will be
scrawled on the John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...Meanwhile, when will the network news organizations face up to the crisis of CREDIBILITY, CHARACTER and COMPETENCE that is rapidly mushrooming in D.C., Iraq and Afghanistan? The bloggers understand where it leads, why don't the propapunditgandists or the nightly news anchormen? This government has collapsed in on itself after leading us into a foolish military adventure on the heels of its pre-9/11 failure in
national security leadership and its post-9/11 coverup...

Slate's Fred Kaplan understands the implications of the Abu Graib scandal:
"Bush knew about it. Rumsfeld ordered it. His
undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Steven
Cambone, administered it. Cambone's deputy, Lt. Gen.
William Boykin, instructed Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller,
who had been executing the program involving al-Qaida
suspects at Guantanamo, to go do the same at Abu
Ghraib. Miller told Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who
was in charge of the 800th Military Brigade, that the
prison would now be dedicated to gathering
intelligence. Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of
defense for policy, also seems to have had a hand in
this sequence, as did William Haynes, the Pentagon's
general counsel. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander
of U.S. forces in Iraq, learned about the improper
interrogations from the International Committee of the
Red Cross, if not from anyone else but said or did
nothing about it for two months, until it was clear
that photographs were coming out. Meanwhile, those
involved in the interrogations included officers from
military intelligence, the CIA, and private
contractors, as well as the mysterious figures from
the Pentagon's secret operation.
That's a lot more people than the seven low-grade
soldiers and reservists currently facing
courts-martial."

Why are the network news organizations pretending that
the focus of this scandal remains at the level of those currently facing court martials?

Brian Ross and Alexandra Solomon, ABC: "There's definitely a cover-up," the witness, Sgt. Samuel Provance, said. "People are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet."
Provance, 30, was part of the 302nd Military
Intelligence Battalion stationed at Abu Ghraib last
September. He spoke to ABCNEWS despite orders from his
commanders not to.
"What I was surprised at was the silence," said
Provance. "The collective silence by so many people
that had to be involved, that had to have seen
something or heard something."

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http://abcnews.go.com/sections/WNT/Investigation/abu_ghraib_cover_up_040518.html


Military intelligence analyst Sgt. Samuel Provance
told ABCNEWS that the sexual humiliation of Iraqi
prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison began as a technique
ordered by military intelligence interrogators.
ABCNEWS.com

‘Definitely a Cover-Up’: Former Abu Ghraib Intel Staffer Says Army Concealed Involvement in Abuse Scandal
By Brian Ross and Alexandra Salomon
ABCNEWS.com
May 18, 2004— Dozens of soldiers — other than the
seven military police reservists who have been charged
— were involved in the abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib
prison, and there is an effort under way in the Army
to hide it, a key witness in the investigation told
ABCNEWS.


"There's definitely a cover-up," the witness, Sgt.
Samuel Provance, said. "People are either telling
themselves or being told to be quiet."
Provance, 30, was part of the 302nd Military
Intelligence Battalion stationed at Abu Ghraib last
September. He spoke to ABCNEWS despite orders from his
commanders not to.

"What I was surprised at was the silence," said
Provance. "The collective silence by so many people
that had to be involved, that had to have seen
something or heard something."

Provance, now stationed in Germany, ran the top secret
computer network used by military intelligence at the
prison.

He said that while he did not see the actual abuse
take place, the interrogators with whom he worked
freely admitted they directed the MPs' rough treatment
of prisoners.

"Anything [the MPs] were to do legally or otherwise,
they were to take those commands from the
interrogators," he said.

Top military officials have claimed the abuse seen in
the photos at Abu Ghraib was limited to a few MPs, but
Provance says the sexual humiliation of prisoners
began as a technique ordered by the interrogators from
military intelligence.

"One interrogator told me about how commonly the
detainees were stripped naked, and in some occasions,
wearing women's underwear," Provance said. "If it's
your job to strip people naked, yell at them, scream
at them, humiliate them, it's not going to be too hard
to move from that to another level."

According to Provance, some of the physical abuse that
took place at Abu Ghraib included U.S. soldiers
"striking [prisoners] on the neck area somewhere and
the person being knocked out. Then [the soldier] would
go to the next detainee, who would be very fearful and
voicing their fear, and the MP would calm him down and
say, 'We're not going to do that. It's OK.
Everything's fine,' and then do the exact same thing
to him." Provance also described an incident when two
drunken interrogators took a female Iraqi prisoner
from her cell in the middle of the night and stripped
her naked to the waist. The men were later restrained
by another MP.

Pentagon Sanctions Investigation

Maj. Gen. George Fay, the Army's deputy chief of staff
for intelligence, was assigned by the Pentagon to
investigate the role of military intelligence in the
abuse at the Iraq prison.

Fay started his probe on April 23, but Provance said
when Fay interviewed him, the general seemed
interested only in the military police, not the
interrogators, and seemed to discourage him from
testifying.

Provance said Fay threatened to take action against
him for failing to report what he saw sooner, and the
sergeant fears he will be ostracized for speaking out.


"I feel like I'm being punished for being honest,"
Provance told ABCNEWS. "You know, it was almost as if
I actually felt if all my statements were shredded and
I said, like most everybody else, 'I didn't hear
anything, I didn't see anything. I don't know what
you're talking about,' then my life would be just fine
right now."

In response, Army officials said it is "routine
procedure to advise military personnel under
investigative review" not to comment.

The officials said, however, that Fay and the military
were committed to an honest, in-depth investigation of
what happened at the prison.

But Provance believes many involved may not be as
forthcoming with information.

"I would say many people are probably hiding and
wishing to God that this storm passes without them
having to be investigated [or] personally looked at."

Posted by richard at 05:31 PM

Could Bush administration officials be prosecuted for 'war crimes' as a result of new measures used in the war on terror? The White House's top lawyer thought so...

CONTINUITY and CONTEXT is the problem now. The tragic
flow of events and the rebellion of significant and
formidable elements within the US government itself
(i.e., US military, intelligence, State Dept, etc.)
has FORCED the "US Mainstream News Media" to report
the truth, but it is handing it to you in jigsaw
puzzle pieces...Here is the BIG PICTURE: the stench of
Abu Ghraib is in the White House, the stench of the
White House is in Abu Ghraib, and it is worse than
that...The incredible shrinking _resident has brought
us Mega-Mogadishu and more...

Micheal Ishikoff, Newsweek: The White House's top
lawyer warned more than two years ago that U.S.
officials could be prosecuted for "war crimes" as a
result of new and unorthodox measures used by the Bush
administration in the war on terrorism, according to
an internal White House memo and interviews with
participants in the debate over the issue.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4999734

Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings
Could Bush administration officials be prosecuted for 'war crimes' as a result of new measures used in the war on terror? The White House's top lawyer thought so
Suspected Taliban and al Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo
Bay Naval Base kneel down before military police as
prisoners are processed into the detention facility in
January 2002
WEB EXCLUSIVE
By Michael Isikoff
Investigative Correspondent
Newsweek
Updated: 1:21 p.m. ET May 18, 2004May 17 - The White
House's top lawyer warned more than two years ago that
U.S. officials could be prosecuted for "war crimes" as
a result of new and unorthodox measures used by the
Bush administration in the war on terrorism, according
to an internal White House memo and interviews with
participants in the debate over the issue.

The concern about possible future prosecution for war
crimes—and that it might even apply to Bush
adminstration officials themselves— is contained in a
crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, memo
by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by
NEWSWEEK. It urges President George Bush declare the
war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban
and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of
the Geneva Convention.

In the memo, the White House lawyer focused on a
little known 1996 law passed by Congress, known as the
War Crimes Act, that banned any Americans from
committing war crimes—defined in part as "grave
breaches" of the Geneva Conventions. Noting that the
law applies to "U.S. officials" and that punishments
for violators "include the death penalty," Gonzales
told Bush that "it was difficult to predict with
confidence" how Justice Department prosecutors might
apply the law in the future. This was especially the
case given that some of the language in the Geneva
Conventions—such as that outlawing "outrages upon
personal dignity" and "inhuman treatment" of
prisoners—was "undefined."

advertisement


One key advantage of declaring that Taliban and Al
Qaeda fighters did not have Geneva Convention
protections is that it "substantially reduces the
threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War
Crimes Act," Gonzales wrote.

"It is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors
and independent counsels who may in the future decide
to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441
[the War Crimes Act]," Gonzales wrote.

THE WAR CRIME MEMOS
• Click here to read the Gonzales Memo

• Click here to read Colin Powell's response


The best way to guard against such "unwarranted
charges," the White House lawyer concluded, would be
for President Bush to stick to his decision—then being
strongly challenged by Secretary of State Powell— to
exempt the treatment of captured Al Qaeda and Taliban
fighters from Geneva convention provisions.

"Your determination would create a reasonable basis in
law that (the War Crimes Act) does not apply which
would provide a solid defense to any future
prosecution," Gonzales wrote.

The memo—and strong dissents by Secretary of State
Colin Powell and his chief legal advisor, William
Howard Taft IV—are among hundreds of pages of internal
administration documents on the Geneva Convention and
related issues that have been obtained by NEWSWEEK and
are reported for the first time in this week's
magazine. Newsweek made some of them available online
today.

RELATED STORY
A Secret History: How Torture Took Root



The memos provide fresh insights into a fierce
internal administration debate over whether the United
States should conform to international treaty
obligations in pursuing the war on terror.
Administration critics have charged that key legal
decisions made in the months after September 11, 2001
including the White House's February 2002 declaration
not to grant any Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters
prisoners of war status under the Geneva Convention,
laid the groundwork for the interrogation abuses that
have recently been revealed in the Abu Ghraib prison
in Iraq.

As reported in this week's magazine edition, the
Gonzales memo urged Bush to declare all aspects of the
war in Afghanistan—including the detention of both Al
Qaeda and Taliban fighters—exempt from the strictures
of the Geneva Convention. In the memo, Gonzales
described the war against terorrism as a "new kind of
war" and then added: "The nature of the new war places
a high premium on other factors, such as the ability
to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists
and their sponsors in order to avoid further
atrocities against American civilians, and the need to
try terrorists for war crimes such as wantonly killing
civilians."

But while top White House officials publicly talked
about trying Al Qaeda leaders for war crimes, the
internal memos show that administration lawyers were
privately concerned that they could tried for war
crimes themselves based on actions the administration
were taking, and might have to take in the future, to
combat the terrorist threat.

The issue first arises in a January 9, 2002, draft
memorandum written by the Justice Department's Office
of Legal Counsel (OLC) concluding that "neither the
War Crimes Act nor the Geneva Conventions" would apply
to the detention conditions of Al Qaeda or Taliban
prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Cuba. The memo includes a
lengthy discussion of the War Crimes Act, which it
concludes has no binding effect on the president
because it would interfere with his Commander in Chief
powers to determine "how best to deploy troops in the
field." (The memo, by Justice lawyers John Yoo and
Robert Delahunty, also concludes—in response to a
question by the Pentagon—that U.S. soldiers could not
be tried for violations of the laws of war in
Afghanistan because such international laws have "no
binding legal effect on either the President or the
military.")

But while the discussion in the Justice memo revolves
around the possible application of the War Crimes Act
to members of the U.S. military, there is some reason
to believe that administration lawyers were worried
that the law could even be used in the future against
senior administration officials.

One lawyer involved in the interagency debates over
the Geneva Conventions issue recalled a meeting in
early 2002 in which participants challenged Yoo, a
primary architect of the administration's legal
strategy, when he raised the possibility of Justice
Department war crimes prosecutions unless there was a
clear presidential direction proclaiming the Geneva
Conventions did not apply to the war in Afghanistan.
The concern seemed misplaced, Yoo was told, given that
loyal Bush appointees were in charge of the Justice
Department.

"Well, the political climate could change," Yoo
replied, according to the lawyer who attended the
meeting. "The implication was that a new president
would come into office and start potential
prosecutions of a bunch of ex-Bush officials," the
lawyer said. (Yoo declined comment.)

This appears to be precisely the conce

Posted by richard at 05:23 PM

Enron Corp. employees spoke of "stealing" up to $2 million a day from California during the 2000-01 energy crisis and suggested that their market-gaming ploys would be presented to top management, possibly including Jeffrey K. Skilling and Kenneth L. Lay

Remember Enron? Remember the phoney "California energy
crisis"? Remember that mysterious choking-on-a-pretzel
incident? Remember Kenny Boy Lay? That huge POLITICAL SCANDAL (billed as "bigger than the Teapot Dome") was all about to hit HARD prior to the catastrophic DISTRACTION of 9/11. Of course, after 9/11, as you know, the incredible shrinking _resident declared, on numerous occasions, "Lucky me, I hit the Trifecta!" Well, the corpse of the Enron scandal may yet float to the surface of this lake of LIES...

Jonathan Peterson, Los Angeles Times: Enron Corp. employees spoke of "stealing" up to $2 million a day from California during the 2000-01 energy crisis and suggested that their market-gaming ploys would be presented to top management, possibly including Jeffrey K. Skilling and Kenneth L. Lay, according to documents released Monday...
In a Sept. 14, 2000, conversation, an employee named
"Sue" from Enron's governmental affairs operation
checks in with a trader named "Bob" for information
that could be used in an in-house presentation to
corporate executives. "This is the time of year when
government affairs has to prove how valuable it is to
Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling," Sue said, according to the
transcript.

Free Martha Stewart, Prosecute the Real Corporate
Criminals, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush
(again!)


http://truthout.org/docs_04/051904F.shtml

Enron Tapes Hint Chiefs Knew About Power Ploys
By Jonathan Peterson
Los Angeles Times

Tuesday 18 May 2004

Washington - Enron Corp. employees spoke of
"stealing" up to $2 million a day from California
during the 2000-01 energy crisis and suggested that
their market-gaming ploys would be presented to top
management, possibly including Jeffrey K. Skilling and
Kenneth L. Lay, according to documents released
Monday.

The evidence of apparent scheming - in one
recorded conversation, traders brag about taking money
from "Grandma Millie" in California - is in a filing
by a utility in Snohomish County, Wash. The municipal
power unit north of Seattle wants refunds for alleged
overcharges made by Enron during the electricity
market meltdown.

The utility obtained transcripts of routinely
recorded trader discussions from the Justice
Department, which seized them in its Enron
investigation.

While it has long been established that Enron
engaged in market-gaming tactics - two top traders
have pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges for
manipulating California's energy market and a third
awaits trial - the 450 pages of recorded conversations
provide another vivid look into the organization's
exploitive subculture.

They also suggest that knowledge of alleged
wrongdoing may have reached the level of Skilling,
Enron's former chief executive, and Lay, the former
chairman.

In a Sept. 14, 2000, conversation, an employee
named "Sue" from Enron's governmental affairs
operation checks in with a trader named "Bob" for
information that could be used in an in-house
presentation to corporate executives.

"This is the time of year when government affairs
has to prove how valuable it is to Ken Lay and Jeff
Skilling," Sue said, according to the transcript.

The Snohomish utility identified Sue as Susan J.
Mara, Enron's California director of regulatory
affairs until December 2001, when she and thousands of
others lost their jobs as the result of Enron's
financial collapse.

In talking with Bob, whose identity couldn't
immediately be learned, Mara touts Enron's success in
delaying a lowering of energy price caps by state
officials.

Then, still seeking helpful material for the
planned executive presentation, she asks: "Do you know
when you started overscheduling load and making
buckets of money on that?"

Overscheduling load - a tactic that Enron traders
famously dubbed "Fat Boy" - involved purposely
overstating how much electricity would be needed in
the future, creating the appearance of power shortages
and leading to inflated prices.

Mara, who is now an energy consultant, said Monday
that the recorded conversation came about as she
gathered information for a budget presentation to be
made to executives at corporate headquarters in
Houston. "We had to show what our accomplishments were
for the year," she said.

Mara said she didn't recall what the final
presentation contained or which executives heard it.
The presentation was not prepared expressly for
Skilling and Lay, she said, even though her statement
in the recorded conversation implied that they would
hear it.

The trading tactics discussed on the recording
weren't considered illegal or manipulative by Enron,
Mara added.

Asked Monday about the transcripts, Enron
spokeswoman Karen Denne declined to comment, save to
say: "We have been and we're continuing to cooperate
with all investigations."

Skilling's lawyer, Bruce Hiler, declined to
comment. Earl J. Silbert, an attorney for Lay, could
not immediately be reached.

Federal prosecutors in February brought a range of
fraud charges against Skilling for his actions when he
was at the helm at Enron, but none was related to
trading in the California market. Lay has not been
charged.

In a different conversation in the transcripts,
Enron's West Coast trading chief, Timothy N. Belden,
discusses the profitability of the company's
strategies in California, particularly those executed
by a trading desk led by Jeffrey S. Richter:

"Well he makes - between one and two [million] a
day, which never shows up on any curve shift?. He
steals money from California to the tune of about a
million? "

At this point the other speaker interrupts, asking
Belden to rephrase what he just said.

"OK," Belden says. "He, um, he arbitrages the
California market to the tune of a million bucks or
two a day."

Asked about the transcript Monday, Belden's
lawyer, Chris Arguedas, said that it was not possible
to draw conclusions about the meaning of Belden's
remarks without a better sense of the whole
conversation. "You can't understand words spoken
unless you see the context in which they are spoken,"
she said.

In October 2002, Belden pleaded guilty to a
federal conspiracy charge and has been cooperating
with the government. Richter pleaded guilty to similar
charges the following February.

A spokesman for California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer
said the state was continuing to investigate Enron.
"The comments made in these transcripts, if they're
accurate, contain the kind of information that could
bolster" a case against Enron, said spokesman Tom
Dresslar.

Eric Christensen, a lawyer for the Snohomish
utility, said the transcripts strongly suggest top
Enron executives knew of the trading ploys used in
California.

"It was common knowledge at least in the
government relations unit, and they reported to upper
management in Houston," he said.

-------


Posted by richard at 05:20 PM

'Fahrenheit 9/11" documents the long association of the Bush clan and Saudi oil billionaires, and reveals that when Bush released his military records, he blotted out the name of another pilot whose flight status was suspended on the same day...

The woods have come to the castle walls...Roger Ebert,
Don Imus and Howard Stern trump Rush Limbaugh and Sean
Hannity in this culture...

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times: "Fahrenheit 9/11" documents the long association of the Bush clan and Saudi oil billionaires, and reveals that when Bush released his military records, he blotted out the name of another pilot whose flight status was suspended on the same day for failure to take a physical exam. This was his good friend James R. Bath, who later became
the Texas money manager for the bin Laden family
(which has renounced its terrorist son).
When a group of 9/11 victims sued the Saudi government
for financing the terrorists, the Saudis hired as
their defense team the law firm of James Baker, Bush
Sr.'s secretary of state. And the film questions why,
when all aircraft were grounded after 9/11, the White
House allowed several planes to fly around the country
picking up bin Laden family members and other Saudis
and flying them home.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.suntimes.com/output/eb-feature/cst-ftr-cannes18.html
Print this page


Less is Moore in subdued, effective '9/11'

May 18, 2004

BY ROGER EBERT FILM CRITIC
CANNES, France -- Michael Moore the muckraking wiseass
has been replaced by a more subdued version in
"Fahrenheit 9/11," his new documentary questioning the
anti-terrorism credentials of the Bush regime. In the
Moore version, President Bush, his father and members
of their circle have received $1.5 billion from Saudi
Arabia over the years, attacked Iraq to draw attention
from their Saudi friends, and have lost the hearts and
minds of many of the U.S. servicemen in the war.

The film premiered Monday at the Cannes Film Festival
to a series of near-riot scenes, as overbooked
screenings were besieged by mobs trying to push their
way in. The response at the early morning screening I
attended was loudly enthusiastic. And at the official
black-tie screening, it was greeted by a standing
ovation; a friend who was there said it went on "for
at least 25 minutes," which probably means closer to
15 (estimates of ovations at Cannes are like estimates
of parade crowds in Chicago).

But the film doesn't go for satirical humor the way
Moore's "Roger & Me" and "Bowling for Columbine" did.
Moore's narration is still often sarcastic, but
frequently he lets his footage speak for itself.

The film shows American soldiers not in a prison but
in the field, hooding an Iraqi, calling him Ali Baba,
touching his genitals and posing for photos with him.
There are other scenes of U.S. casualties without arms
or legs, questioning the purpose of the Iraqi invasion
at a time when Bush proposed to cut military salaries
and benefits. It shows Lila Lipscomb, a mother from
Flint, Mich., reading a letter from her son, who urged
his family to help defeat Bush, days before he was
killed. And in a return to the old Moore
confrontational style, it shows him joined by a Marine
recruiter as he encourages congressmen to have their
sons enlist in the services.

Despite these dramatic moments, the most memorable
footage for me involved President Bush on Sept. 11.
The official story is that Bush was meeting with a
group of pre-schoolers when he was informed of the
attack on the World Trade Center and quickly left the
room. Not quite right, says Moore. Bush learned of the
first attack before entering the school, "decided to
go ahead with his photo op," and began to read My Pet
Goat to the students. Informed of the second attack,
he incredibly remained with the students for another
seven minutes, reading from the book, until a staff
member suggested that he leave. The look on his face
as he reads the book, knowing what he knows, is
disquieting.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" documents the long association of
the Bush clan and Saudi oil billionaires, and reveals
that when Bush released his military records, he
blotted out the name of another pilot whose flight
status was suspended on the same day for failure to
take a physical exam. This was his good friend James
R. Bath, who later became the Texas money manager for
the bin Laden family (which has renounced its
terrorist son).

When a group of 9/11 victims sued the Saudi government
for financing the terrorists, the Saudis hired as
their defense team the law firm of James Baker, Bush
Sr.'s secretary of state. And the film questions why,
when all aircraft were grounded after 9/11, the White
House allowed several planes to fly around the country
picking up bin Laden family members and other Saudis
and flying them home.

Much of the material in "Fahrenheit 9/11" has already
been covered in books and newspapers, but some is new,
and it all benefits from the different kind of impact
a movie has. Near the beginning of the film, as
Congress moves to ratify the election of Bush after
the Florida and Supreme Court controversies, it is
positively eerie to see 10 members of Congress --
eight black women, one Asian woman and one black man
-- rise to protest the move and be gaveled into
silence by the chairman of the session, Al Gore.

On the night before his film premiered, Moore, in
uncharacteristic formalwear, attended an official
dinner given by Gilles Jacob, president of the
festival. Conversation at his table centered on the
just-published New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh
alleging that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
personally authorized use of torture in Iraqi prisons.

Moore had his own insight into the issue: "Rumsfeld
was under oath when he testified about the torture
scandal. If he lied, that's perjury. And therefore I
find it incredibly significant that when Bush and
Cheney testified before the 9/11 commission, they
refused to swear an oath. They claimed they'd sworn an
oath of office, but that has no legal standing. Do you
suppose they remembered how Clinton was trapped by
perjury and were protecting themselves?"

Would something like that belong in the film?

"My contract says I can keep editing and adding stuff
right up until the release date," Moore said. He said
he expects to sign a U.S. distribution deal this week
at Cannes; the film's producer, Miramax, was forbidden
to release it by its parent company, Disney.

After the first press screening on Monday, journalists
noted on their way out that Moore was more serious in
this film and took fewer cheap shots. But there are a
few. Wait until you see Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz preparing for a TV interview. First he puts
a pocket comb in his mouth to wet it and combs down
his hair. Still not satisfied, he spits on his hand
and wipes the hair into place. Catching politicians
being made up for TV is an old game, but this is a
first.


Copyright © Chicago Sun-Times Inc.


Copyright © The Sun-Times Company
All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Posted by richard at 05:17 PM

"There was an across-the-board failure of every possible warning, prevention, interception and defense system simultaneously that made 9/11 possible. This goes beyond simple incompetence or failure of agencies to cooperate."

"Out, out damn spot!"

www.911citizenswatch.org: "There was an across-the-board failure of every possible warning, prevention, interception and defense system simultaneously that made 9/11 possible. This goes beyond simple incompetence or failure of agencies to cooperate. Routine procedures were breached that had
the potential to save thousands of lives, and systems
were inexplicably blind to known threats. Standard
defenses were never mobilized on 9/11," said Kyle
Hence, the group's co-founder.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.911citizenswatch.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=258&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

Press Releases: 9/11: Foreign Policy, Advance Response
and Emergency Preparedness
Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 12:34 AM
Posted by: khence For immediate release:

Contacts:
Kyle Hence
401-935-7715

John Judge
202-277-1992

9/11 Disaster Could Have Been Prevented by Advance
Responses
Emergency Preparedness and Massive Security Are Much
More Costly

(Washington, DC) 9/11 CitizensWatch, a public group
working to monitor the national 9/11 Commission and
demand transparency, accountability and a thorough
investigation agrees with Commission Chair Gov. Thomas
Kean that 9/11 "was not something that had to happen".
"If normal procedures had been followed by FAA and
NORAD, numerous and specific warnings and forewarnings
had been acted on, and investigative leads had been
allowed to be properly followed, it is certainly
possible that the plot could have been foiled," notes
John Judge, a co-founder of CitizensWatch.
"There was an across-the-board failure of every
possible warning, prevention, interception and defense
system simultaneously that made 9/11 possible. This
goes beyond simple incompetence or failure of agencies
to cooperate. Routine procedures were breached that
had the potential to save thousands of lives, and
systems were inexplicably blind to known threats.
Standard defenses were never mobilized on 9/11," said
Kyle Hence, the group's co-founder.

* FBI, CIA and US Military Intelligence agencies were
alerted by over a dozen foreign intelligence agencies
as well as their own assets and agents about the
possibility of such an attack. These agencies were on
a state of high alert in the months preceding the
event. FBI field agents suggested or began
investigations that could easily have led to the
plotters or those backing them. Several FBI
investigations were called off. Reporting procedures
were violated across agency lines. Leads and warnings
that should have led to full investigations were never
followed up.

* FAA and NORAD regulations and procedures for simple
air emergencies were never implemented. NORAD was on
full alert at the time due to an exercise, yet no
planes were scrambled in timely fashion to intercept
multiple commercial airliners that had violated
communication and command procedures. These
interceptions do not require hijackings or shootdown
orders, and they routinely occur within minutes of the
first sign of trouble. Both NORAD and the Pentagon had
planned exercises and simulations regarding the use of
planes as weapons against the actual targets of 9/11,
well in advance of the event. The Pentagon and the
Secret Service had taken special precautions against
such an attack as early as 1998 and as recently as the
Genoa summit meeting in the summer of 2001.

* Airline security procedures were apparently lax, but
had they been followed that day there were
opportunities to foil the plotters. Warning lists and
profiling could have identified several of the
plotters in advance of boarding, and regular
procedures caused a few of them some delay.

US foreign policy in the past decades, as well as US
funding of covert operations abroad led to the arming
and training of many of the terrorist groups that are
attacking the US today. Ongoing military and covert
interventions and operations continue to create new
enemies abroad. Nothing condones the acts of
terrorists against innocent civilians, but these
actions have not prevented ongoing covert funding and
arming of these groups by US intelligence agencies
over the years.

"A full investigation of the history of Osama bin
Laden, the Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the mujehaddin
resistance inside Afghanistan to the Soviet Union will
reveal ties to Pakistani intelligence (ISI), the Bank
of Credit and Commerce International (now defunct),
certain Saudi royal families and intelligence links,
the bin Laden family, and illegal drug profits and
operations in the region. These connections continue
up to the attacks of 9/11 and beyond. We hope the
Commission will pick up where the Congressional Joint
Inquiry left off on these matters. Our current foreign
policy has as much to do with the prevention of future
attacks and the growth of terrorism as does any
security precautions taken now," Judge noted.

The families of victims of 9/11 have raised legitimate
questions about the emergency response of 9/11, The
courageous rescue workers, and police and fire
prevention teams that risked and lost their lives to
save others that day deserve our praise. Improper
building structure and fire systems, poor
communication equipment, and inadequate protection
from toxic chemical waste created by the fire and the
collapse hampered their efforts. "A complete forensic
investigation into the collapse of the Trade Center
towers, including Building 7, should be required by
the Commission in order to understand and prevent
future disasters," Hence said.

CitizensWatch supports adequate funding and equipment
for building safety and local emergency response to
disasters, as well as legal liability for failures.
"However," Hence said, "massive and costly security
procedures that invade privacy and incur on basic
civil liberties and a foreign policy that does not
gain international support and cooperation, and
increases hostility will not prevent future attacks.
Common sense precautions, unhampered investigations,
and sharing of intelligence information can uncover
criminal plots, create reasonable precautions, and
alert adequate defenses. The breakdown of these
standard procedures is what allowed 9/11 to happen.
Holding those accountable responsible and restoring a
healthy ability to respond in advance will do more to
protect us than excessive security measures, and it
will obviate the need for an emergency response."

9/11 CitizensWatch will continue to pursue a thorough
and transparent investigation. We have called many
times for the public testimony under oath of key
officials in the last several administrations. We have
called for full release of all forensic evidence
collected to the public, since films, photos and
evidence reports should not be classified data. "We
were disappointed by the limitations placed on the
Commission regarding access to documents as well as
witnesses, and surprised to learn that two of the
Commissioners left the closed testimony of presidents
Bush and Cheney before they concluded. We are also
aware that the Commissioners had to agree to allow
only one person to take notes, Director Philip
Zelikow, and that these notes were confiscated by
White House counsel for editing before release to the
Commission," Judge noted.

9/11 CitizensWatch, PO Box 772, Washington, DC 20004 -
www.911citizenswatch.org

#####

Posted by richard at 05:13 PM

May 18, 2004

Atrocities in Iraq: 'I killed innocent people for our government'

Remember the 2004 campaign? No, you didn't miss it. It
is still going on. The last you heard about it from
the "US Mainstream News Media" and its
propapunditgandists was that even though the
incredible shrinking _resident was in free fall in
many polls, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) was
just so "ineffectual" and "lackluster" and "inept"
that he just couldn't "capitalize" on it. Well, of
course, that was before poll results came in from
after the most recent revelations of the Bush cabal's
failed and foolish military adventure in Iraq. Now JFK
is ahead (beyond the margin of error) in almost every
major poll (of course, in reality and in the Electoral
College math, he was already significantly ahead), and
THEREFORE, the 2004 campaign has DISAPPEARED from the air waves. You won't be hearing any JFK sound bytes
from the stump, you won't be seeing any headlines
about his MOMENTUM...Nah, instead, you will hear about
how Hurricane season is going to come early, and how
the incredible shrinking _resident may have stumbled
on an incredible shrinking WMD in Iraq...The truth
from the campaign trail is the JFK is a smart, tough,
resilient and determined hunter, and that he has
already gone ahead in in curcial "red states" like
Ohio, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire and is
threatening to in some others...And here, tragically,
is the truth from Iraq...

US Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey talks to Paul
Rockwell of the Sacramento Bee: The Iraq war changed
Massey. The brutality, the sheer carnage of the U.S.
invasion, touched his conscience and transformed him
forever. He was honorably discharged with full
severance last Dec. 31 and is now back in his
hometown, Waynsville, N.C.
When I talked with Massey last week, he expressed his
remorse at the civilian loss of life in incidents in
which he himself was involved...
Q: What does the public need to know about your
experiences as a Marine?
A: The cause of the Iraqi revolt against the American
occupation. What they need to know is we killed a lot
of innocent people. I think at first the Iraqis had
the understanding that casualties are a part of war.
But over the course of time, the occupation hurt the
Iraqis. And I didn't see any humanitarian support.
Q: What experiences turned you against the war and
made you leave the Marines?
A: I was in charge of a platoon that consists of
machine gunners and missile men. Our job was to go
into certain areas of the towns and secure the
roadways. There was this one particular incident - and
there's many more - the one that really pushed me over
the edge. It involved a car with Iraqi civilians. From
all the intelligence reports we were getting, the cars
were loaded down with suicide bombs or material.
That's the rhetoric we received from intelligence.
They came upon our checkpoint. We fired some warning
shots. They didn't slow down. So we lit them up.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/story/9316830p-10241546c.html

Atrocities in Iraq: 'I killed innocent people for our government'
By Paul Rockwell -- Special to The Bee
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, May 16, 2004
"We forget what war is about, what it does to those
who wage it and those who suffer from it. Those who
hate war the most, I have often found, are veterans
who know it."

- Chris Hedges, New York Times reporter and author of
"War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning"


For nearly 12 years, Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey was a
hard-core, some say gung-ho, Marine. For three years
he trained fellow Marines in one of the most grueling
indoctrination rituals in military life - Marine boot
camp.
The Iraq war changed Massey. The brutality, the sheer
carnage of the U.S. invasion, touched his conscience
and transformed him forever. He was honorably
discharged with full severance last Dec. 31 and is now
back in his hometown, Waynsville, N.C.

When I talked with Massey last week, he expressed his
remorse at the civilian loss of life in incidents in
which he himself was involved.

Q: You spent 12 years in the Marines. When were you
sent to Iraq?

A: I went to Kuwait around Jan. 17. I was in Iraq from
the get-go. And I was involved in the initial
invasion.

Q: What does the public need to know about your
experiences as a Marine?

A: The cause of the Iraqi revolt against the American
occupation. What they need to know is we killed a lot
of innocent people. I think at first the Iraqis had
the understanding that casualties are a part of war.
But over the course of time, the occupation hurt the
Iraqis. And I didn't see any humanitarian support.

Q: What experiences turned you against the war and
made you leave the Marines?

A: I was in charge of a platoon that consists of
machine gunners and missile men. Our job was to go
into certain areas of the towns and secure the
roadways. There was this one particular incident - and
there's many more - the one that really pushed me over
the edge. It involved a car with Iraqi civilians. From
all the intelligence reports we were getting, the cars
were loaded down with suicide bombs or material.
That's the rhetoric we received from intelligence.
They came upon our checkpoint. We fired some warning
shots. They didn't slow down. So we lit them up.

Q: Lit up? You mean you fired machine guns?

A: Right. Every car that we lit up we were expecting
ammunition to go off. But we never heard any. Well,
this particular vehicle we didn't destroy completely,
and one gentleman looked up at me and said: "Why did
you kill my brother? We didn't do anything wrong."
That hit me like a ton of bricks.

Q: He spoke English?

A: Oh, yeah.

Q: Baghdad was being bombed. The civilians were trying
to get out, right?

A: Yes. They received pamphlets, propaganda we dropped
on them. It said, "Just throw up your hands, lay down
weapons." That's what they were doing, but we were
still lighting them up. They weren't in uniform. We
never found any weapons.

Q: You got to see the bodies and casualties?

A: Yeah, firsthand. I helped throw them in a ditch.

Q: Over what period did all this take place?

A: During the invasion of Baghdad.


'We lit him up pretty good'
Q: How many times were you involved in checkpoint
"light-ups"?
A: Five times. There was [the city of] Rekha. The
gentleman was driving a stolen work utility van. He
didn't stop. With us being trigger happy, we didn't
really give this guy much of a chance. We lit him up
pretty good. Then we inspected the back of the van. We
found nothing. No explosives.

Q: The reports said the cars were loaded with
explosives. In all the incidents did you find that to
be the case?

A: Never. Not once. There were no secondary
explosions. As a matter of fact, we lit up a rally
after we heard a stray gunshot.

Q: A demonstration? Where?

A: On the outskirts of Baghdad. Near a military
compound. There were demonstrators at the end of the
street. They were young and they had no weapons. And
when we rolled onto the scene, there was already a
tank that was parked on the side of the road. If the
Iraqis wanted to do something, they could have blown
up the tank. But they didn't. They were only holding a
demonstration. Down at the end of the road, we saw
some RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) lined up against
the wall. That put us at ease because we thought:
"Wow, if they were going to blow us up, they would
have done it."

Q: Were the protest signs in English or Arabic?

A: Both.

Q: Who gave the order to wipe the demonstrators out?

A: Higher command. We were told to be on the lookout
for the civilians because a lot of the Fedayeen and
the Republican Guards had tossed away uniforms and put
on civilian clothes and were mounting terrorist
attacks on American soldiers. The intelligence reports
that were given to us were basically known by every
member of the chain of command. The rank structure
that was implemented in Iraq by the chain of command
was evident to every Marine in Iraq. The order to
shoot the demonstrators, I believe, came from senior
government officials, including intelligence
communities within the military and the U.S.
government.

Q: What kind of firepower was employed?

A: M-16s, 50-cal. machine guns.

Q: You fired into six or ten kids? Were they all taken
out?

A: Oh, yeah. Well, I had a "mercy" on one guy. When we
rolled up, he was hiding behind a concrete pillar. I
saw him and raised my weapon up, and he put up his
hands. He ran off. I told everybody, "Don't shoot."
Half of his foot was trailing behind him. So he was
running with half of his foot cut off.

Q: After you lit up the demonstration, how long before
the next incident?

A: Probably about one or two hours. This is another
thing, too. I am so glad I am talking with you,
because I suppressed all of this.

Q: Well, I appreciate you giving me the information,
as hard as it must be to recall the painful details.

A: That's all right. It's kind of therapy for me.
Because it's something that I had repressed for a long
time.

Q: And the incident?

A: There was an incident with one of the cars. We shot
an individual with his hands up. He got out of the
car. He was badly shot. We lit him up. I don't know
who started shooting first. One of the Marines came
running over to where we were and said: "You all just
shot a guy with his hands up." Man, I forgot about
this.


Depleted uranium and cluster bombs
Q: You mention machine guns. What can you tell me
about cluster bombs, or depleted uranium?
A: Depleted uranium. I know what it does. It's
basically like leaving plutonium rods around. I'm 32
years old. I have 80 percent of my lung capacity. I
ache all the time. I don't feel like a healthy
32-year-old.

Q: Were you in the vicinity of of depleted uranium?

A: Oh, yeah. It's everywhere. DU is everywhere on the
battlefield. If you hit a tank, there's dust.

Q: Did you breath any dust?

A: Yeah.

Q: And if DU is affecting you or our troops, it's
impacting Iraqi civilians.

A: Oh, yeah. They got a big wasteland problem.

Q: Do Marines have any precautions about dealing with
DU?

A: Not that I know of. Well, if a tank gets hit, crews
are detained for a little while to make sure there are
no signs or symptoms. American tanks have depleted
uranium on the sides, and the projectiles have DU in
them. If an enemy vehicle gets hit, the area gets
contaminated. Dead rounds are in the ground. The
civilian populace is just now starting to learn about
it. Hell, I didn't even know about DU until two years
ago. You know how I found out about it? I read an
article in Rolling Stone magazine. I just started
inquiring about it, and I said "Holy s---!"

Q: Cluster bombs are also controversial. U.N.
commissions have called for a ban. Were you acquainted
with cluster bombs?

A: I had one of my Marines in my battalion who lost
his leg from an ICBM.

Q: What's an ICBM?

A: A multi-purpose cluster bomb.

Q: What happened?

A: He stepped on it. We didn't get to training about
clusters until about a month before I left.

Q: What kind of training?

A: They told us what they looked like, and not to step
on them.

Q: Were you in any areas where they were dropped?

A: Oh, yeah. They were everywhere.

Q: Dropped from the air?

A: From the air as well as artillery.

Q: Are they dropped far away from cities, or inside
the cities?

A: They are used everywhere. Now if you talked to a
Marine artillery officer, he would give you the
runaround, the politically correct answer. But for an
average grunt, they're everywhere.

Q: Including inside the towns and cities?

A: Yes, if you were going into a city, you knew there
were going to be ICBMs.

Q: Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons. They are
not precise. They don't injure buildings, or hurt
tanks. Only people and living things. There are a lot
of undetonated duds and they go off after the battles
are over.

A: Once the round leaves the tube, the cluster bomb
has a mind of its own. There's always human error. I'm
going to tell you: The armed forces are in a tight
spot over there. It's starting to leak out about the
civilian casualties that are taking place. The Iraqis
know. I keep hearing reports from my Marine buddies
inside that there were 200-something civilians killed
in Fallujah. The military is scrambling right now to
keep the raps on that. My understanding is Fallujah is
just littered with civilian bodies.


Embedded reporters
Q: How are the embedded reporters responding?
A: I had embedded reporters in my unit, not my
platoon. One we had was a South African reporter. He
was scared s---less. We had an incident where one of
them wanted to go home.

Q: Why?

A: It was when we started going into Baghdad. When he
started seeing the civilian casualties, he started
wigging out a little bit. It didn't start until we got
on the outskirts of Baghdad and started taking
civilian casualties.

Q: I would like to go back to the first incident, when
the survivor asked why did you kill his brother. Was
that the incident that pushed you over the edge, as
you put it?

A: Oh, yeah. Later on I found out that was a typical
day. I talked with my commanding officer after the
incident. He came up to me and says: "Are you OK?" I
said: "No, today is not a good day. We killed a bunch
of civilians." He goes: "No, today was a good day."
And when he said that, I said "Oh, my goodness, what
the hell am I into?"

Q: Your feelings changed during the invasion. What was
your state of mind before the invasion?

A: I was like every other troop. My president told me
they got weapons of mass destruction, that Saddam
threatened the free world, that he had all this might
and could reach us anywhere. I just bought into the
whole thing.

Q: What changed you?

A: The civilian casualties taking place. That was what
made the difference. That was when I changed.

Q: Did the revelations that the government fabricated
the evidence for war affect the troops?

A: Yes. I killed innocent people for our government.
For what? What did I do? Where is the good coming out
of it? I feel like I've had a hand in some sort of
evil lie at the hands of our government. I just feel
embarrassed, ashamed about it.


Showdown with superiors
Q: I understand that all the incidents - killing
civilians at checkpoints, itchy fingers at the rally -
weigh on you. What happened with your commanding
officers? How did you deal with them?
A: There was an incident. It was right after the fall
of Baghdad, when we went back down south. On the
outskirts of Karbala, we had a morning meeting on the
battle plan. I was not in a good mindset. All these
things were going through my head - about what we were
doing over there. About some of the things my troops
were asking. I was holding it all inside. My
lieutenant and I got into a conversation. The
conversation was striking me wrong. And I lashed out.
I looked at him and told him: "You know, I honestly
feel that what we're doing is wrong over here. We're
committing genocide."

He asked me something and I said that with the killing
of civilians and the depleted uranium we're leaving
over here, we're not going to have to worry about
terrorists. He didn't like that. He got up and stormed
off. And I knew right then and there that my career
was over. I was talking to my commanding officer.

Q: What happened then?

A: After I talked to the top commander, I was kind of
scurried away. I was basically put on house arrest. I
didn't talk to other troops. I didn't want to hurt
them. I didn't want to jeopardize them.

I want to help people. I felt strongly about it. I had
to say something. When I was sent back to stateside, I
went in front of the sergeant major. He's in charge of
3,500-plus Marines. "Sir," I told him, "I don't want
your money. I don't want your benefits. What you did
was wrong."

It was just a personal conviction with me. I've had an
impeccable career. I chose to get out. And you know
who I blame? I blame the president of the U.S. It's
not the grunt. I blame the president because he said
they had weapons of mass destruction. It was a lie.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the Writer
---------------------------

Paul Rockwell ( rockyspad@hotmail.com) is a writer who
lives in Oakland.

Posted by richard at 03:38 PM

"I have a lot to say about Disney. It is very dangerous to give someone like me a peek behind the curtain. I will tell all as soon as the [distribution] negotiations have ended," he said on Saturday.

Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 911" received a 20
minute standing ovation in Cannes yesterday. Like Gary
Unger's best-selling "House of Bush, House of Saud,"
an explosive book now banned in the UK, Michael
Moore's new feature film explores the Bush-Bin
Laden-Saud family business relationships among other
explosive story lines. But what will the "US
mainstream news media" do with this story? Will they
give it the overexposure they gave to Mel Gibson's
"Passion"? Nah.

It's the Media, Stupid.

Charlotte Higgins, Guardian: Michael Moore's
Fahrenheit 9/11 is without doubt the most flaming-hot
ticket at the Cannes film festival. And with good
reason: Moore hopes that it will bring down the US
government...There has already been a complicated saga
over the distribution of the film. At the start of the
month it became clear that Disney, the parent company
of Miramax - which made Fahrenheit 9/11 - was refusing
to distribute it in the US...Moore is clearly furious
with the company. "I have a lot to say about Disney. It is very dangerous to give someone like me a peek behind the curtain. I will tell all as soon as the [distribution] negotiations have ended," he said on Saturday.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0517-10.htm

Published on Monday, May 17, 2004 by the Guardian/UK
Fahrenheit 9/11 Could Light Fire Under Bush
by Charlotte Higgins

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is without doubt the
most flaming-hot ticket at the Cannes film festival.
And with good reason: Moore hopes that it will bring
down the US government.

The American film-maker has hitherto kept a tight lid
on the contents of the documentary, saying only that
it includes evidence of alleged links between the Bush
and Bin Laden families. However, in two appearances in
Cannes at the weekend before its premiere today, he
revealed that the movie contains shocking footage from
Iraq.

Yesterday he said: "When you see the movie you will
see things you have never seen before, you will learn
things you have never known before. Half the movie is
about Iraq - we were able to get film crews embedded
with American troops without them knowing that it was
Michael Moore. They are totally fucked."

On Saturday he said: "The film is only partly to do
with the Bin Ladens and Bush. I was able to send three
different freelance film crews to Iraq. Soldiers had
written to me to express their disillusionment with
the war. It's a case of our own troops not being in
support of their commander-in-chief."

He said that at the few low-key preview screenings
that have already taken place in the midwest "the
reactions were overwhelming. People who were on the
fence - undecided voters - suddenly weren't on the
fence any more."

Moore was unequivocal about his desire to do
everything in his power to help oust President George
Bush in this November's elections.

"We thought, 'We cannot leave this to the Democrats
this time to fuck it up and lose.'" He wants, he said,
to "inspire people to get up and vote in November."

There has already been a complicated saga over the
distribution of the film. At the start of the month it
became clear that Disney, the parent company of
Miramax - which made Fahrenheit 9/11 - was refusing to
distribute it in the US.

The film currently has distribution, according to
Moore, in every other country except Taiwan.

After a baffling series of rumors and counter-rumors
last week, it was revealed that Disney was allowing
Bob and Harvey Weinstein, who run Miramax, to buy back
their interest in the film so they could seek an
alternative distributor. After a fortnight, none has
yet been found.

The reasons for Disney's refusal, Moore claimed, were
purely political, aimed at delaying the film's release
and thus preventing Americans from seeing the
explosive material it contains before the election.

"The past year we knew that Michael Eisner [CEO of
Disney] was not happy about Miramax making the film
but they kept on sending the money every month," Moore
said on Saturday. "At the end of April they sent an
executive to look at the film. They had a board
meeting and five days later they decided not to
distribute it, because of its political content."

Yesterday he said: "That's the reason for the
blocking: so that Americans don't see it before the
election."

He added: "I won't let that happen, and neither will
Harvey [Weinstein]. People will see this film, by hook
or by crook. I will get this out if it means breaking
the law or committing an act of civil disobedience."

Eisner has previously denied that there was anything
sinister about Disney's decision to block
distribution. "We're such a nonpartisan company," he
said. "[People] do not look for us to take sides."

The contract between Disney and Miramax states that
Disney can refuse to distribute a film in certain
cases, for instance if it has an NC-17 rating - the US
equivalent of an 18 certificate. Under such
circumstances Miramax has in the past found
alternative distribution - for Dogma, a 1999 satire on
the Catholic church, and Larry Clark's Kids,
eventually released in 1995, which shocked many with
its frank depiction of sex among teenagers.

Moore is clearly furious with the company. "I have a
lot to say about Disney. It is very dangerous to give
someone like me a peek behind the curtain. I will tell
all as soon as the [distribution] negotiations have
ended," he said on Saturday.

The film-maker is also unhappy with the way the
controversy has been handled in the media.

"The press have said, 'Isn't it great for the movie?'
But the last two times this happened - with Dogma and
Kids - you only have to look at the box office to see
that the controversy didn't help. No film-maker wants
this to happen.

"I don't like the message this sends, which is, 'Don't
even think of making a movie like [Fahrenheit 9/11] -
it won't get distributed.' This is a chilling effect
it will have. Five men and one woman [the Disney
board] make a decision about what Americans can see.
This is not a sign of an open and healthy society."

Moore's position has not met with universal sympathy.
A piece in the Los Angeles Times last week accused his
last film, Bowling for Columbine, of being "a torrent
of partial truths, pointed omissions and deliberate
misimpressions" and called him a "virtuoso of
fictions".

But Moore has no plans to shut up shop just yet. He is
planning films "on the Israelis and Palestinians, and
the oil industry and lack of oil we are going to be
faced with".

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

###


Posted by richard at 03:36 PM

The Bush administration has refused to answer repeated requests from the Sept. 11 commission about who authorized flights of Saudi Arabian citizens, including members of Osama bin Laden’s family, from the United States immediately after the attacks of 200

"Out, out damn spot!"

Alexander Bolton, The Hill: The Bush administration has refused to answer repeated requests from the Sept. 11 commission about who authorized flights of Saudi Arabian citizens, including members of Osama bin Laden’s family, from the United States immediately after the attacks of 2001. Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), vice chairman of the independent, bipartisan commission, disclosed the administration’s refusal to answer questions on the sensitive subject during a recent closed-door meeting with a group of Democratic senators, according to several Democratic
sources....Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she
asked Hamilton and Lehman if they were able to find
out who in the administration authorized the Saudi
Arabian flights.
“Who did this? Why would the Saudis want to get out of
the country? They said [those questions have] been
part of their inquiry and they haven’t received
satisfactory answers yet and they were pushing,” Boxer
said.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.thehill.com/news/051804/binladen.aspx

Who let bin Ladens leave U.S.?
By Alexander Bolton

The Bush administration has refused to answer repeated requests from the Sept. 11 commission about who authorized flights of Saudi Arabian citizens, including members of Osama bin Laden’s family, from the United States immediately after the attacks of 2001.

Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), vice chairman of
the independent, bipartisan commission, disclosed the
administration’s refusal to answer questions on the
sensitive subject during a recent closed-door meeting
with a group of Democratic senators, according to
several Democratic sources.

However, former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a
Republican appointee who also attended the meeting,
said in an e-mail to The Hill that he told the
senators the White House has been fully cooperative.

Democrats suspect President Bush, who met privately
with the Saudi Arabian ambassador, Prince Bandar bin
Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, on the morning of Sept. 13,
2001, may have personally authorized the controversial
flights, several of which took place when all other
U.S. commercial air travel had been halted.

The White House communications office did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.

If Bush or members of his inner circle are shown to
have approved the flight of the prominent Saudi
Arabian citizens, it could be damaging to Bush, who
has staked his re-election campaign in large measure
to his carefully built image as the steady leader of
the war against terrorism.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she asked Hamilton
and Lehman if they were able to find out who in the
administration authorized the Saudi Arabian flights.
“Who did this? Why would the Saudis want to get out of
the country? They said [those questions have] been
part of their inquiry and they haven’t received
satisfactory answers yet and they were pushing,” Boxer
said.

Another Democrat in the meeting who confirmed Boxer’s
account reported that Hamilton said, “We don’t know
who authorized it. We’ve asked that question 50
times.”

Boxer said she obtained a commitment from Hamilton
that the commission will state in its final report if
the White House refused to answer questions about who
authorized the Saudi flights after the 2001 attacks.

Hamilton, who was traveling to New York for commission
hearings scheduled for today and tomorrow, could not
be reached for comment.

Al Felzenberg, the commission’s spokesman, declined to
comment because he said he was not familiar with the
discussions with the Democratic senators.

Last month, the Sept. 11 commission released a
statement declaring that six chartered flights that
rushed the Saudi citizens out of the country were
handled properly by the Bush administration.

In a recent interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,”
Prince Bandar said he did not discuss with Bush the
need to evacuate Saudi citizens from the U.S. after
Sept. 11. He said he asked the FBI for permission.

However, John Iannarelli, the FBI’s spokesman on
counterterrorism activities, has denied the FBI had
any “role in facilitating these flights one way or
another.”

Bill Harvey, a member of the Families Steering
Committee, which represents the families of the
victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, said the lack of
White House cooperation on identifying who authorized
the Saudi flights, fit into a pattern.

Pressure from the Families Steering Committee was one
of several factors that prompted the White House to
agree to the creation of the Sept. 11 commission.

“I stopped being surprised about this a long time
ago,” said Harvey, whose wife died in the attack on
the World Trade Center. “They’ve not been cooperative.
There’s cooperation and then there’s cooperation. Are
they doing things under possible threat of subpoena?
Yes. Are they actively fulfilling the spirit of the
commission’s requests? No.”

“The White House was opposed to the formation of this
commission in the first place,” said Harvey. “They did
everything to neuter it. Earlier this spring when we
tried to get more time for [the commission to complete
its report], the White House was an obstacle.”

On the afternoon of Sept. 13, 2001, three Saudi men in
their early 20s flew in a Lear jet from Tampa, Fla.,
to Lexington, Ky., where they boarded a Boeing 747
with Arabic writing on it waiting to take them out of
the country. The flight from Tampa to Lexington was
first reported in the Tampa Tribune in October 2001.

Earlier that day, the FAA had issued a notice that
private aviation was banned and that three private
planes that had violated the ban had been forced to
land by military aircraft, according to an article
late last year in Vanity Fair.

The flight from Tampa to Lexington was one of several
flights that Saudi Arabian citizens took in the
immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, when the rest of the
country was prohibited from flying. Many of the Saudis
were members of the Saudi royal family or the bin
Laden family.

The New York Times has reported that bin Laden family
members were driven or flown under FBI supervision to
a secret meeting in Texas and then to Washington, from
where they left the country when airports were allowed
to open Sept. 14, 2001.
Overall, close to 140 Saudis left the U.S. days after
the attacks, even though 15 of the 19 terrorists who
carried out the Sept. 11 attacks were Saudi Arabian.

By contrast, prominent Americans such as former
President Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore
were stranded overseas during the crisis because of
the freeze on air travel, Craig Unger wrote in his
2004 book, House of Bush, House of Saud.

Bin Laden’s family has long disassociated itself from
Osama bin Laden, head of the al Qaeda terrorist
network, which was behind the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11. The family has condemned the attacks.

Nevertheless, many critics believe that law
enforcement officials should have questioned the
family members for any leads they might have been able
to provide about bin Laden’s whereabouts, his
connection to the attacks, or about possible future
attacks.

The commission is scheduled to deliver its final
report at the end of July.


Posted by richard at 03:35 PM

Army, CIA want torture truths exposed

Why does this level of CONTINUITY and CONTEXT have to
be provided by UPI and not by network news organizations and their propapunditgandists? Yes, as the LNS has been reporting all along, the US military and the US intelligence community want the scalps of Cambone and the rest of Rumsfeld's "political commisars," as LNS Foreign Correspondent Dunston Woods calls them, as well as Rumsfeld's, of course...Meanwhile, the Newsweek story that the LNS sent out yesterday is DAMNING. It underscores what Sy Hirsch and The New Yorker also published yesterday, and it takes it straight into the Oval Office and yet it has been wholly ignored by the rest of the "US mainstream news media." Why? Because the "Pentagon" (i.e. more of Rumsfeld's "political commisars") blasted the Hirsh story as "journalistic malpractice"? Well, is that a story? Why don't you explore it? Who is telling the truth? Hirsch or Rumsfeld and his "political commisars"? Either you discredit one of the most important American journalists of our time or you bring down the Secretary of Defense along with Woefullwits and the others.

Martin Sieff, UPI: Efforts at the top level of the
Bush administration and the civilian echelon of the
Department of Defense to contain the Iraq prison
torture scandal and limit the blame to a handful of
enlisted soldiers and immediate senior officers have
already failed: The scandal continues to metastasize
by the day...Even worse for Rumsfeld and his coterie
of neo-conservative true believers who have run the
Pentagon for the past 3½ years, three major
institutions in the Washington power structure have
decided that after almost a full presidential term of
being treated with contempt and abuse by them, it's
payback time. Those three institutions are: The United
States Army, the Central Intelligence Agency and the
old, relatively moderate but highly experienced
Republican leadership in the United States Senate.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20040518-064124-9605r


Army, CIA want torture truths exposed
By Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Published 5/18/2004 7:16 AM


WASHINGTON, May 18 (UPI) -- Efforts at the top level
of the Bush administration and the civilian echelon of
the Department of Defense to contain the Iraq prison
torture scandal and limit the blame to a handful of
enlisted soldiers and immediate senior officers have
already failed: The scandal continues to metastasize
by the day.

Over the past weekend and into this week, devastating
new allegations have emerged putting Stephen Cambone,
the first Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence,
firmly in the crosshairs and bringing a new wave of
allegations cascading down on the head of Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when he scarcely had time
to catch his breath from the previous ones.


None of those groups is chopped liver: Taken together
they comprise a devastating Grand Slam.

The spearhead for the new wave of revelations and
allegations - but by no means the only source of them
- is veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.
In a major article published in the New Yorker this
week and posted on to its Web-site Saturday, Hersh
revealed that a high-level Pentagon operation
code-named Copper Green "encouraged physical coercion
and sexual humiliation" of Iraqi prisoners. He also
cited Pentagon sources and consultants as saying that
photographing the victims of such abuse was an
explicit part of the program meant to force the
victims into becoming blackmailed reliable informants.

Hersh further claimed in his article that Rumsfeld
himself approved the program and that one of his four
or five top aides, Cambone, set it up in Baghdad and
ran it.

These allegations of course are anathema to the White
House, Rumsfeld and their media allies. In a highly
unusual step for any newspaper, the editorially
neo-conservative tabloid New York Post ran an
editorial Monday seeking to ridicule and discredit
Hersh. However, it presented absolutely no evidence to
query, let alone discredit the substance of his
article and allegations.

Instead, the New York Post editorial inadvertently
pointed out one, but by no means all, of the major
sources for Hersh's information. The editorial alleged
that Hersh had received much of his material from the
CIA.

Based on the material Hersh quoted, his legendary
intelligence community contacts were probably sources
for some of his information. However, Hersh has also
enjoyed close personal relations with many now
high-ranking officers in the United States Army, going
all the way back to his prize-winning coverage and
scoops in Vietnam more than 30 years ago.

Indeed, intelligence and regular Army sources have
told UPI that senior officers and officials in both
communities are sickened and outraged by the
revelations of mass torture and abuse, and also by the
incompetence involved, in the Abu Ghraib prison
revelations. These sources also said that officials
all the way up to the highest level in both the Army
and the Agency are determined not to be scapegoated,
or allow very junior soldiers or officials to take the
full blame for the excesses.

President George W. Bush in his weekly radio address
Saturday claimed that the Abu Ghraib abuses were only
"the actions of a few" and that they did not "reflect
the true character of the Untied States armed forces."

But what enrages many serving senior Army generals and
U.S. top-level intelligence community professionals is
that the "few" in this case were not primarily the
serving soldiers who were actually encouraged to carry
out the abuses and even then take photos of the
victims, but that they were encouraged to do so, with
the Army's well-established safeguards against such
abuses deliberately removed by high-level Pentagon
civilian officials.

Abuse and even torture of prisoners happens in almost
every war on every side. But well-run professional
armies, and the U.S. Army has always been one, take
great pains to guard against it and limit it as much
as possible. Even in cases where torture excesses are
regarded as essential to extract tactical information
and save lives, commanders in most modern armies have
taken care to limit such "dirty work" to very small
units, usually from special forces, and to keep it as
secret as possible.

For senior Army professionals know that allowing
patterns of abuse and torture to metastasize in any
army is annihilating to its morale and tactical
effectiveness. Torturers usually make lousy combat
soldiers, which is why combat soldiers in every major
army hold them in contempt.

Therefore, several U.S. military officers told UPI,
the idea of using regular Army soldiers, including
some even just from the Army Reserve or National
Guard, and encouraging them to inflict such abuses ran
contrary to received military wisdom and to the
ingrained standards and traditions of the U.S. Army.

The widespread taking of photographs of the victims of
such abuses, they said, clearly revealed that civilian
"amateurs" and not regular Army or intelligence
community professionals were the driving force in
shaping and running the programs under which these
abuses occurred.

Hersh has spearheaded the waves of revelations of
shocking abuse. But other major U.S. media
organizations are now charging in behind him to
confirm and extend his reports. They are able to do so
because many senior veteran professionals in both the
CIA and the Army were disgusted by the revelations of
the torture excesses. Now they are being listened to
with suddenly receptive ears on Capitol Hill.

Republican members in the House of Representatives
have kept discipline and silence on the revelations.
But with the exception of the increasingly isolated
and embarrassed Senate Republican Leader, Bill Frist
of Tennessee, other senior mainstream figures in the
GOP Senate majority have refused to go along with any
cover-up.

Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of
Utah, Richard Lugar of Indiana, Pat Roberts of Kansas
and John Warner of Virginia have all been outspoken in
their condemnation of the torture excesses. And they
did so even before the latest, most far-reaching and
worst of the allegations and reports surfaced. Warner,
chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, lost
no time in hauling Rumsfeld before it to testify.

The pattern of the latest wave of revelations is
clear: They are coming from significant numbers of
senior figures in both the U.S. military and
intelligence services. They reflect the disgust and
contempt widely felt in both communities at the
excesses; and at long last, they are being listened to
seriously by senior Republican, as well as Democratic,
senators on Capitol Hill.

Rumsfeld and his team of top lieutenants have
therefore now lost the confidence, trust and respect
of both the Army and intelligence establishments. Key
elements of the political establishment even of the
ruling GOP now recognize this.

Yet Rumsfeld and his lieutenants remain determined to
hang on to power, and so far President Bush has shown
every sign of wanting to keep them there. The scandal,
therefore, is far from over. The revelations will
continue. The cost of the abuses to the American
people and the U.S. national interest is already
incalculable: And there is no end in sight.


Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International

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Posted by richard at 03:32 PM

May 17, 2004

George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, respective authors of 1984 and Brave New World, novels that forecast a future of government by huge corporations and mind control, would have recognized Fox News as anticipation of their grim predictions.

Get mentally, emotionally, spiritually prepared for what's coming...

Consider this chilling bit of dish is from US News and World Report:
Washington Whispers
From the White House, a nightmare scenario
White House officials say they've got a "working premise" about terrorism and the presidential election: It's going to happen. "We assume," says a top administration official, "an attack will happen leading up to the election." And, he added, "it will happen here." There are two worst-case scenarios, the official says. The first posits an attack on Washington, possibly the Capitol, which was believed to be the target of the 9/11 jet that crashed in Pennsylvania. Theory 2: smaller but more frequent attacks in Washington and other major cities leading up to the election. To prepare, the administration has been holding secret antiterrorism drills to make sure top officials know what to do. "There was a sense," says one official involved in the drills, "of mass confusion on 9/11. Now we have a sense of order." Unclear is the political impact, though most Bushies think the nation would rally around the president. "I can tell you one thing," adds the official sternly, "we won't be like Spain," which tossed its government days after the Madrid train bombings.

And, remember, millions of your fellow citizens will have their eyes and ears glued to FAUX News. Here is a brave, and inspiring OP-ED piece from a free man writing and getting published in a Red state...

Ron Formisano, Lexington (KENTUCKY) Herald-Leader: Ailes' greatest gift to Bush-Cheney was hiring John Ellis, President Bush's "I'm loyal to my cousin" cousin, to work its 2000 election desk. Ellis was already well-established among the rabid Gingrich wing of Clinton-Gore haters, and regarded President Bill Clinton as "loathsome," first lady Hillary Clinton as "immoral" and Vice President Al Gore as a practitioner of "stupid politics."
After the polls closed on election night in 2000 and uncertainty gradually took hold among the TV networks, Ellis was on the phone continually with his two cousins, candidate George Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. At 2:16 a.m., Fox, at Ellis' insistence, called the election for Cousin George. Within four minutes, NBC, CBS, CNN and ABC followed suit....
High percentages of folks who watched Fox News believed that a close link existed between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida (there was none), that most people in other countries backed the U.S. war in Iraq (huge majorities in Europe opposed it and still do, not to mention the Islamic world), and that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq (news flash: none to date). A whopping 80 percent of Fox viewers believed at least one of these non-facts; 45 percent believed all three.
Want to see Sen. John Kerry trashed? Or get "news" spun to re-elect Bush-Cheney? Just surf on over to the Big Brother/Animal Farm network. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, respective authors of 1984 and Brave New World, novels that forecast a future of government by huge corporations and mind control, would have recognized Fox News as anticipation of their grim predictions.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/opinion/8673882.htm

Posted on Mon, May. 17, 2004

Fox News a slave to Murdoch's agenda

By Ron Formisano


The question is not whether but why Fox News is a right-wing propaganda machine, arm of the Republican Party and a vital part of the Bush-Cheney campaign.

The answer begins with ownership by the Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose empire includes 130 newspapers, TV Guide, 25 other magazines, HarperCollins and satellite companies spanning the globe.

Murdoch and most of his media outlets are somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan, except when it comes to China. When China shoots people to quiet dissension or holds Americans hostage, Fox ignores it because of Murdoch's desire to gain and maintain satellite access to a mega-market.

Murdoch's Republican allies give him tax breaks in return, and with most of his corporations registered offshore, the owner of the super-patriotic Fox pays an effective tax rate of 7.8 percent.

When Murdoch founded Fox News in 1996, he brought in Roger Ailes to run it. Ailes -- a right-wing Republican adviser to presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and an architect of the 1988 Willie Horton campaign against Michael Dukakis -- purged all liberals from the network and loaded its political shows with conservative commentators (and one token mouse of a liberal), and former Republican congressmen, notably Newt Gingrich.

Ailes' greatest gift to Bush-Cheney was hiring John Ellis, President Bush's "I'm loyal to my cousin" cousin, to work its 2000 election desk. Ellis was already well-established among the rabid Gingrich wing of Clinton-Gore haters, and regarded President Bill Clinton as "loathsome," first lady Hillary Clinton as "immoral" and Vice President Al Gore as a practitioner of "stupid politics."

After the polls closed on election night in 2000 and uncertainty gradually took hold among the TV networks, Ellis was on the phone continually with his two cousins, candidate George Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. At 2:16 a.m., Fox, at Ellis' insistence, called the election for Cousin George. Within four minutes, NBC, CBS, CNN and ABC followed suit.

That call, labeled by one neutral observer as "wrong, unnecessary, misguided, foolish," created the sense of Bush's having rightfully won, which he did not, and was exploited to the hilt by a well-organized, raging machine of Bush partisans angrily attacking Florida recounts and demanding Gore's exit and Bush's "restoration."

Fox News' star bully is Bill O'Reilly, who pretends to be a tough, no-nonsense, "no spin" purveyor of fact and opinion. In fact, as Al Franken demonstrated in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, O'Reilly should be call "O'Liely."

Among other things, O'Reilly claimed he was a political independent when hired by Fox, but he was actually a registered Republican. He claimed to have grown up in a working-class district, but in fact he came from an affluent suburb and attended private schools.

Although O'Reilly looks like the kind of person who used to be a Democrat -- Irish surname, blunt-speaking champion of the average guy -- most of the time he promotes a Republican agenda and manipulates a phony populist shtick to champion the interests of the rich and powerful, above all his masters Ailes and Murdoch.

Some weeks ago, researchers from the Program on International Policy Attitudes, a consortium involving several universities and a polling firm published a report, to little media notice, showing that people who watch Fox News tended to be more misinformed than those who got their news elsewhere.

High percentages of folks who watched Fox News believed that a close link existed between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida (there was none), that most people in other countries backed the U.S. war in Iraq (huge majorities in Europe opposed it and still do, not to mention the Islamic world), and that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq (news flash: none to date). A whopping 80 percent of Fox viewers believed at least one of these non-facts; 45 percent believed all three.

Want to see Sen. John Kerry trashed? Or get "news" spun to re-elect Bush-Cheney? Just surf on over to the Big Brother/Animal Farm network. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, respective authors of 1984 and Brave New World, novels that forecast a future of government by huge corporations and mind control, would have recognized Fox News as anticipation of their grim predictions.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Formisano holds the William T. Bryan Chair of American History at the University of Kentucky. Reach him by e-mail at rform2@uky.edu.


Posted by richard at 11:51 AM

Russert responded: "I don't know who did that. I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary." The host added: "I don't think that's appropriate."

Numerous LNS readers who caught the HONORABLE Gen.
Taguba's Senate testimony last week, despite the decapitation of Nick Berg (an increasingly bizarre story, BTW), were struck by how
spooky it was to see the Bush cabal equivalent of a
Soviet-style "political commisar" sitting there next
to him to make sure that their spin would be
immediately applied to everything he said. But
yesterday morning's NBC Meet the Press was even
spookier, read this story...BTW, thanks to
www.buzzflash.com and www.ariannaonline.com, we know
"Emily" formerly worked for Tom DeLay (R-Roach Hotel)
and was involved in the brown shirt riot at in
Miami-Dade during the aborted Fraudida recount....It
wasn't all that long ago that the Bush cabal did not
have to worry about the questions their minions were
asked, now they not only have to worry about the
questions they have to worry about the answers...

Jennifer C. Kerr, Associated Press: In the broadcast,
aired several hours after the interview was conducted,
Powell abruptly disappears from view. Briefly seen are
swaying palm trees and the water, backdrops for the
interview.
Powell can be heard saying to the aide, "He's still
asking a question." The secretary then told Russert,
"Tim, I'm sorry I lost you."
NBC identified the aide as Emily Miller, a deputy
press secretary.
Russert responded: "I don't know who did that. I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary." The host added: "I don't think that's appropriate."

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/05/16/national1257EDT0457.DTL

Powell scolds aide after talk show interview
interrupted

JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press Writer
Sunday, May 16, 2004

(05-16) 12:11 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --

Secretary of State Colin Powell chastised a press aide
for trying to cut short the taping of a television
interview Sunday.

Powell, speaking from a Dead Sea resort in Jordan, was
listening to a final question from moderator Tim
Russert, who was in the Washington studio of NBC's
"Meet the Press."

In the broadcast, aired several hours after the
interview was conducted, Powell abruptly disappears
from view. Briefly seen are swaying palm trees and the
water, backdrops for the interview.

Powell can be heard saying to the aide, "He's still
asking a question." The secretary then told Russert,
"Tim, I'm sorry I lost you."

NBC identified the aide as Emily Miller, a deputy
press secretary.

Russert responded: "I don't know who did that. I think
that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary." The host
added: "I don't think that's appropriate."

With the cameras still on the water, Powell snapped,
"Emily get out of the way." He then instructed the
crew to "bring the camera back," and told Russert to
go ahead with the last question.

After Powell answered, Russert thanked the secretary
for his "willingness to overrule his press aide's
attempt to abruptly cut off our discussion."

State Department spokeswoman Julie Reside said Powell
had scheduled five interviews, one after another, and
that NBC went over the agreed upon time limit. She
said every effort was made to get NBC to finish up,
but that other networks had booked satellite time for
interviews with Powell.

The executive producer of "Meet the Press," Betsy
Fischer, said Powell was 45 minutes late for the
interview and that "everyone's satellite schedules
already had to be rescheduled" anyway.

She said the exchange was not edited out because most
taped interviews are not altered before airing.

Fischer said Miller called right after the taping to
"express her displeasure" that the interview ran long.
Fischer also said Powell called Russert a few hours
later to apologize.

The State Department would not confirm either call or
that Miller was the aide addressed by Powell.

Posted by richard at 08:34 AM

Cut out of the process, as usual, was Colin Powell's State Department. So were military lawyers for the uniformed services. When State Department lawyers first saw the Yoo memo, "we were horrified," said one.

Yesterday, on CBS Face the Nation, the New Yorker's Seymour Hirsch turned to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and said:
"On--on the classified aspects of moving them, yes, th--this would have been something briefed. But obviously I wasn't, you know, a fly on the wall. I--I am told that Rumsfeld did get authority for this from Condoleezza Rice, and al- setting up the original program and also from the president. That doesn't mean necessarily they were kept up and informed.
"Let me just say this, though, to the senators, which is I--I--believe me, I know our military is full of really dedicated people, and they can be very rough when they have to be. But the kind of stuff that's gone on in this prison and in--and in -and with this program has really offended some very senior people. And you guys have a great staff, both the majority and minority. You've got a lot of professional people there. If you convene a serious is--hearing and I assure you some senior officers will come and--if you give them enough protection, and tell you things that will really knock your socks off. So go for it.

The Emperor has no uniform...

John Barry, Michael Hirsh and Michael Isikoff,
Newsweek: The White House put up three soldiers for
court-martial, saying the pictures were all the work
of a few bad-apple MPs who were poorly supervised. But
evidence was mounting that the furor was only going to
grow and probably sink some prominent careers in the
process...Cut out of the process, as usual, was Colin Powell's State Department. So were military lawyers for the uniformed services. When State Department lawyers first saw the Yoo memo, "we were horrified," said one. As State saw it, the Justice position would
place the United States outside the orbit of
international treaties it had championed for years.
Two days after the Yoo memo circulated, the State
Department's chief legal adviser, William Howard Taft
IV, fired a memo to Yoo calling his analysis
"seriously flawed." State's most immediate concern was
the unilateral conclusion that all captured Taliban
were not covered by the Geneva Conventions. "In
previous conflicts, the United States has dealt with
tens of thousands of detainees without repudiating its
obligations under the Conventions," Taft wrote. "I
have no doubt we can do so here, where a relative
handful of persons is involved."
The White House was undeterred. By Jan. 25, 2002,
according to a memo obtained by NEWSWEEK, it was clear
that Bush had already decided that the Geneva
Conventions did not apply at all, either to the
Taliban or Al Qaeda. In the memo, which was written to
Bush by Gonzales, the White House legal counsel told
the president that Powell had "requested that you
reconsider that decision." Gonzales then laid out
startlingly broad arguments that anticipated any
objections to the conduct of U.S. soldiers or CIA
interrogators in the future. "As you have said, the
war against terrorism is a new kind of war," Gonzales
wrote to Bush. "The nature of the new war places a
—high premium on other factors, such as the ability to
quickly obtain information from captured terrorists
and their sponsors in order to avoid further
atrocities against American civilians." Gonzales
concluded in stark terms: "In my judgment, this new
paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations
on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint
some of its provisions."

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4989481/

The Roots of Torture
The road to Abu Ghraib began after 9/11, when
Washington wrote new rules to fight a new kind of war.
A NEWSWEEK investigation
Tough tactics: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
pushed for a Gitmo style approach to prisoner
interrogations in Iraq
By John Barry, Michael Hirsh and Michael Isikoff
Newsweek InternationalMay 24 - It's not easy to get a
member of Congress to stop talking. Much less a room
full of them. But as a small group of legislators
watched the images flash by in a small, darkened
hearing room in the Rayburn Building last week, a
sickened silence descended. There were 1,800 slides
and several videos, and the show went on for three
hours. The nightmarish images showed American soldiers
at Abu Ghraib Prison forcing Iraqis to masturbate.
American soldiers sexually assaulting Iraqis with
chemical light sticks. American soldiers laughing over
dead Iraqis whose bodies had been abused and
mutilated. There was simply nothing to say. "It was a
very subdued walk back to the House floor," said Rep.
Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House
Intelligence Committee. "People were ashen."

The White House put up three soldiers for
court-martial, saying the pictures were all the work
of a few bad-apple MPs who were poorly supervised. But
evidence was mounting that the furor was only going to
grow and probably sink some prominent careers in the
process. Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John
Warner declared the pictures were the worst "military
misconduct" he'd seen in 60 years, and he planned more
hearings. Republicans on Capitol Hill were notably
reluctant to back Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
And NEWSWEEK has learned that U.S. soldiers and CIA
operatives could be accused of war crimes. Among the
possible charges: homicide involving deaths during
interrogations. "The photos clearly demonstrate to me
the level of prisoner abuse and mistreatment went far
beyond what I expected, and certainly involved more
than six or seven MPs," said GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham,
a former military prosecutor. He added: "It seems to
have been planned."

Indeed, the single most iconic image to come out of
the abuse scandal—that of a hooded man standing naked
on a box, arms outspread, with wires dangling from his
fingers, toes and penis—may do a lot to undercut the
administration's case that this was the work of a few
criminal MPs. That's because the practice shown in
that photo is an arcane torture method known only to
veterans of the interrogation trade. "Was that
something that [an MP] dreamed up by herself? Think
again," says Darius Rejali, an expert on the use of
torture by democracies. "That's a standard torture.
It's called 'the Vietnam.' But it's not common
knowledge. Ordinary American soldiers did this, but
someone taught them."

Who might have taught them? Almost certainly it was
their superiors up the line. Some of the images from
Abu Ghraib, like those of naked prisoners terrified by
attack dogs or humiliated before grinning female
guards, actually portray "stress and duress"
techniques officially approved at the highest levels
of the government for use against terrorist suspects.
It is unlikely that President George W. Bush or senior
officials ever knew of these specific techniques, and
late last —week Defense spokesman Larry DiRita said
that "no responsible official of the Department of
Defense approved any program that could conceivably
have been intended to result in such abuses." But a
NEWSWEEK investigation shows that, as a means of
pre-empting a repeat of 9/11, Bush, along with Defense
Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft,
signed off on a secret system of detention and
interrogation that opened the door to such methods. It
was an approach that they adopted to sidestep the
historical safeguards of the Geneva Conventions, which
protect the rights of detainees and prisoners of war.
In doing so, they overrode the objections of Secretary
of State Colin Powell and America's top military
lawyers—and they left underlings to sweat the details
of what actually happened to prisoners in these
lawless places. While no one deliberately authorized
outright torture, these techniques entailed a
systematic softening up of prisoners through
isolation, privations, insults, threats and
humiliation—methods that the Red Cross concluded were
"tantamount to torture."

The Bush administration created a bold legal framework
to justify this system of interrogation, according to
internal government memos obtained by NEWSWEEK. What
started as a carefully thought-out, if aggressive,
policy of interrogation in a covert war—designed
mainly for use by a handful of CIA
professionals—evolved into ever-more ungoverned
tactics that ended up in the hands of untrained MPs in
a big, hot war. Originally, Geneva Conventions
protections were stripped only from Qaeda and Taliban
prisoners. But later Rumsfeld himself, impressed by
the success of techniques used against Qaeda suspects
at Guantanamo Bay, seemingly set in motion a process
that led to their use in Iraq, even though that war
was supposed to have been governed by the Geneva
Conventions. Ultimately, reservist MPs, like those at
Abu Ghraib, were drawn into a system in which fear and
humiliation were used to break prisoners' resistance
to interrogation.

"There was a before-9/11 and an after-9/11," as Cofer
Black, the onetime director of the CIA's
counterterrorist unit, put it in testimony to Congress
in early 2002. "After 9/11 the gloves came off." Many
Americans thrilled to the martial rhetoric at the
time, and agreed that Al Qaeda could not be fought
according to traditional rules. But it is only now
that we are learning what, precisely, it meant to take
the gloves off.

The story begins in the months after September 11,
when a small band of conservative lawyers within the
Bush administration staked out a forward-leaning legal
position. The attacks by Al Qaeda on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon, these lawyers said, had
plunged the country into a new kind of war. It was a
conflict against a vast, outlaw, international enemy
in which the rules of war, international treaties and
even the Geneva Conventions did not apply. These
positions were laid out in secret legal opinions
drafted by lawyers from the Justice Department's
Office of Legal Counsel, and then endorsed by the
Department of Defense and ultimately by White House
counsel Alberto Gonzales, according to copies of the
opinions and other internal legal memos obtained by
NEWSWEEK.

The Bush administration's emerging approach was that
America's enemies in this war were "unlawful"
combatants without rights. One Justice Department
memo, written for the CIA late in the fall of 2001,
put an extremely narrow interpretation on the
international anti-torture convention, allowing the
agency to use a whole range of techniques—including
sleep deprivation, the use of phobias and the
deployment of "stress factors"—in interrogating Qaeda
suspects. The only clear prohibition was "causing
severe physical or mental pain"—a subjective judgment
that allowed for "a whole range of things in between,"
said one former administration official familiar with
the opinion. On Dec. 28, 2001, the Justice Department
Office of Legal Counsel weighed in with another
opinion, arguing that U.S. courts had no jurisdiction
to review the treatment of foreign prisoners at
Guantanamo Bay. The appeal of Gitmo from the start was
that, in the view of administration lawyers, the base
existed in a legal twilight zone—or "the legal
equivalent of outer space," as one former
administration lawyer described it. And on Jan. 9,
2002, John Yoo of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel
coauthored a sweeping 42-page memo concluding that
neither the Geneva Conventions nor any of the laws of
war applied to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Cut out of the process, as usual, was Colin Powell's
State Department. So were military lawyers for the
uniformed services. When State Department lawyers
first saw the Yoo memo, "we were horrified," said one.
As State saw it, the Justice position would place the
United States outside the orbit of international
treaties it had championed for years. Two days after
the Yoo memo circulated, the State Department's chief
legal adviser, William Howard Taft IV, fired a memo to
Yoo calling his analysis "seriously flawed." State's
most immediate concern was the unilateral conclusion
that all captured Taliban were not covered by the
Geneva Conventions. "In previous conflicts, the United
States has dealt with tens of thousands of detainees
without repudiating its obligations under the
Conventions," Taft wrote. "I have no doubt we can do
so here, where a relative handful of persons is
involved."

The White House was undeterred. By Jan. 25, 2002,
according to a memo obtained by NEWSWEEK, it was clear
that Bush had already decided that the Geneva
Conventions did not apply at all, either to the
Taliban or Al Qaeda. In the memo, which was written to
Bush by Gonzales, the White House legal counsel told
the president that Powell had "requested that you
reconsider that decision." Gonzales then laid out
startlingly broad arguments that anticipated any
objections to the conduct of U.S. soldiers or CIA
interrogators in the future. "As you have said, the
war against terrorism is a new kind of war," Gonzales
wrote to Bush. "The nature of the new war places a
—high premium on other factors, such as the ability to
quickly obtain information from captured terrorists
and their sponsors in order to avoid further
atrocities against American civilians." Gonzales
concluded in stark terms: "In my judgment, this new
paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations
on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint
some of its provisions."

Gonzales also argued that dropping Geneva would allow
the president to "preserve his flexibility" in the war
on terror. His reasoning? That U.S. officials might
otherwise be subject to war-crimes prosecutions under
the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales said he feared
"prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the
future decide to pursue unwarranted charges" based on
a 1996 U.S. law that bars "war crimes," which were
defined to include "any grave breach" of the Geneva
Conventions. As to arguments that U.S. soldiers might
suffer abuses themselves if Washington did not observe
the conventions, Gonzales argued wishfully to Bush
that "your policy of providing humane treatment to
enemy detainees gives us the credibility to insist on
like treatment for our soldiers."

When Powell read the Gonzales memo, he "hit the roof,"
says a State source. Desperately seeking to change
Bush's mind, Powell fired off his own blistering
response the next day, Jan. 26, and sought an
immediate meeting with the president. The proposed
anti-Geneva Convention declaration, he warned, "will
reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practice"
and have "a high cost in terms of negative
international reaction." Powell won a partial victory:
On Feb. 7, 2002, the White House announced that the
United States would indeed apply the Geneva
Conventions to the Afghan war—but that Taliban and
Qaeda detainees would still not be afforded
prisoner-of-war status. The White House's halfway
retreat was, in the eyes of State Department lawyers,
a "hollow" victory for Powell that did not
fundamentally change the administration's position. It
also set the stage for the new interrogation
procedures ungoverned by international law.

What Bush seemed to have in mind was applying his
broad doctrine of pre-emption to interrogations: to
get information that could help stop terrorist acts
before they could be carried out. This was justified
by what is known in counterterror circles as the
"ticking time bomb" theory—the idea that when faced
with an imminent threat by a terrorist, almost any
method is justified, even torture.

With the legal groundwork laid, Bush began to act.
First, he signed a secret order granting new powers to
the CIA. According to knowledgeable sources, the
president's directive authorized the CIA to set up a
series of secret detention facilities outside the
United States, and to question those held in them with
unprecedented harshness. Washington then negotiated
novel "status of forces agreements" with foreign
governments for the secret sites. These agreements
gave immunity not merely to U.S. government personnel
but also to private contractors. (Asked about the
directive last week, a senior administration official
said, "We cannot comment on purported intelligence
activities.")

The administration also began "rendering"—or
delivering terror suspects to foreign governments for
interrogation. Why? At a classified briefing for
senators not long after 9/11, CIA Director George
Tenet was asked whether Washington was going to get
governments known for their brutality to turn over
Qaeda suspects to the United States. Congressional
sources told NEWSWEEK that Tenet suggested it might be
better sometimes for such suspects to remain in the
hands of foreign authorities, who might be able to use
more aggressive interrogation methods. By 2004, the
United States was running a covert charter airline
moving CIA prisoners from one secret facility to
another, sources say. The reason? It was judged
impolitic (and too traceable) to use the U.S. Air
Force.

At first—in the autumn of 2001—the Pentagon was less
inclined than the CIA to jump into the business of
handling terror suspects. Rumsfeld himself was
initially opposed to having detainees sent into DOD
custody at Guantanamo, according to a DOD source
intimately involved in the Gitmo issue. "I don't want
to be jailer to the goddammed world," said Rumsfeld.
But he was finally persuaded. Those sent to Gitmo
would be hard-core Qaeda or other terrorists who might
be liable for war-crimes prosecutions, and who would
likely, if freed, "go back and hit us again," as the
source put it.

In mid-January 2002 the first plane-load of prisoners
landed at Gitmo's Camp X-Ray. Still, not everyone was
getting the message that this was a new kind of war.
The first commander of the MPs at Gitmo was a one-star
from the Rhode Island National Guard, Brig. Gen. Rick
Baccus, who, a Defense source recalled, mainly "wanted
to keep the prisoners happy." Baccus began giving
copies of the Qur'an to detainees, and he organized a
special meal schedule for Ramadan. "He was even
handing out printed 'rights cards'," the Defense
source recalled. The upshot was that the prisoners
were soon telling the interrogators, "Go f—- yourself,
I know my rights." Baccus was relieved in October
2002, and Rumsfeld gave military intelligence control
of all aspects of the Gitmo camp, including the MPs.

Pentagon officials now insist that they flatly ruled
out using some of the harsher interrogation techniques
authorized for the CIA. That included one
practice—reported last week by The New York
Times—whereby a suspect is pushed underwater and made
to think he will be drowned. While the CIA could do
pretty much what it liked in its own secret centers,
the Pentagon was bound by the Uniform Code of Military
Justice. Military officers were routinely trained to
observe the Geneva Conventions. According to one
source, both military and civilian officials at the
Pentagon ultimately determined that such CIA
techniques were "not something we believed the
military should be involved in."

But in practical terms those distinctions began to
matter less. The Pentagon's resistance to rougher
techniques eroded month by month. In part this was
because CIA interrogators were increasingly in the
same room as their military-intelligence counterparts.
But there was also a deliberate effort by top Pentagon
officials to loosen the rules binding the military.

Toward the end of 2002, orders came down the political
chain at DOD that the Geneva Conventions were to be
reinterpreted to allow tougher methods of
interrogation. "There was almost a revolt" by the
service judge advocates general, or JAGs, the top
military lawyers who had originally allied with Powell
against the new rules, says a knowledgeable source.
The JAGs, including the lawyers in the office of the
chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Richard Myers,
fought their civilian bosses for months—but finally
lost. In April 2003, new and tougher interrogation
techniques were approved. Covertly, though, the JAGs
made a final effort. They went to see Scott Horton, a
specialist in international human-rights law and a
major player in the New York City Bar Association's
human-rights work. The JAGs told Horton they could
only talk obliquely about practices that were
classified. But they said the U.S. military's 50-year
history of observing the demands of the Geneva
Conventions was now being overturned. "There is a
calculated effort to create an atmosphere of legal
ambiguity" about how the conventions should be
interpreted and applied, they told Horton. And the
prime movers in this effort, they told him, were DOD
Under Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith and DOD
general counsel William Haynes. There was, they
warned, "a real risk of a disaster" for U.S.
interests.

The approach at Gitmo soon reflected these changes.
Under the leadership of an aggressive, self-assured
major general named Geoffrey Miller, a new set of
interrogation rules became doctrine. Ultimately what
was developed at Gitmo was a "72-point matrix for
stress and duress," which laid out types of coercion
and the escalating levels at which they could be
applied. These included the use of harsh heat or cold;
—withholding food; hooding for days at a time; naked
isolation in cold, dark cells for more than 30 days,
and threatening (but not biting) by dogs. It also
permitted limited use of "stress positions" designed
to subject detainees to rising levels of pain.

While the interrogators at Gitmo were refining their
techniques, by the summer of 2003 the "postwar"
insurgency in Iraq was raging. And Rumsfeld was
getting impatient about the poor quality of the
intelligence coming out of there. He wanted to know:
Where was Saddam? Where were the WMD? Most
immediately: Why weren't U.S. troops catching or
forestalling the gangs planting improvised explosive
devices by the roads? Rumsfeld pointed out that Gitmo
was producing good intel. So he directed Steve
Cambone, his under secretary for intelligence, to send
Gitmo commandant Miller to Iraq to improve what they
were doing out there. Cambone in turn dispatched his
deputy, Lt. Gen. William (Jerry) Boykin—later to gain
notoriety for his harsh comments about Islam—down to
Gitmo to talk with Miller and organize the trip. In
Baghdad in September 2003, Miller delivered a blunt
message to Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was then in
charge of the 800th Military Police Brigade running
Iraqi detentions. According to Karpinski, Miller told
her that the prison would thenceforth be dedicated to
gathering intel. (Miller says he simply recommended
that detention and intelligence commands be
integrated.) On Nov. 19, Abu Ghraib was formally
handed over to tactical control of
military-intelligence units.

By the time Gitmo's techniques were exported to Abu
Ghraib, the CIA was already fully involved. On a daily
basis at Abu Ghraib, says Paul Wayne Bergrin, a lawyer
for MP defendant Sgt. Javal Davis, the CIA and other
intel officials "would interrogate, interview
prisoners exhaustively, use the approved measures of
food and sleep deprivation, solitary confinement with
no light coming into cell 24 hours a day.
Consequently, they set a poor example for young
soldiers but it went even further than that."

Today there is no telling where the scandal will
bottom out. But it is growing harder for top Pentagon
officials, including Rumsfeld himself, to absolve
themselves of all responsibility. Evidence is growing
that the Pentagon has not been forthright on exactly
when it was first warned of the alleged abuses at Abu
Ghraib. U.S. officials continued to say they didn't
know until mid-January. But Red Cross officials had
alerted the U.S. military command in Baghdad at the
start of November. The Red Cross warned explicitly of
MPs' conducting "acts of humiliation such as
[detainees'] being made to stand naked... with women's
underwear over the head, while being laughed at by
guards, including female guards, and sometimes
photographed in this position." Karpinski recounts
that the military-intel officials there regarded this
criticism as funny. She says: "The MI officers said,
'We warned the [commanding officer] about giving those
detainees the Victoria's Secret catalog, but he
wouldn't listen'." The Coalition commander in Iraq,
Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, and his Iraq command didn't
begin an investigation until two months later, when it
was clear the pictures were about to leak.

Now more charges are coming. Intelligence officials
have confirmed that the CIA inspector general is
conducting an investigation into the death of at least
one person at Abu Ghraib who had been subject to
questioning by CIA interrogators. The Justice
Department is likely to open full-scale criminal
investigations into this CIA-related death and two
other CIA interrogation-related fatalities.

As his other reasons for war have fallen away,
President Bush has justified his ouster of Saddam
Hussein by saying he's a "torturer and murderer." Now
the American forces arrayed against the terrorists are
being tarred with the same epithet. That's unfair:
what Saddam did at Abu Ghraib during his regime was
more horrible, and on a much vaster scale, than
anything seen in those images on Capitol Hill. But if
America is going to live up to its promise to bring
justice and democracy to Iraq, it needs to get to the
bottom of what happened at Abu Ghraib.

With Mark Hosenball and Roy Gutman in Washington, T.
Trent Gegax and Julie Scelfo in New York and Melinda
Liu, Rod Nordland and Babak Dehghanpisheh in Baghdad

© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.

Posted by richard at 08:31 AM

May 16, 2004

A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld's long-standing desire to wrest control of America's clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

At least five more US soldiers died in Iraq over the last 48 hours. For what?

Seymour Hersh, New Yorker: The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld's decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America's prospects in the war on terror.
According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon's operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld's long-standing desire to wrest control of America's clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

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The Gray Zone
By Seymour M. Hersh
The New Yorker

Saturday 15 May 2004

How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib.

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld's decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America's prospects in the war on terror.

According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon's operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld's long-standing desire to wrest control of America's clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

Rumsfeld, during appearances last week before Congress to testify about Abu Ghraib, was precluded by law from explicitly mentioning highly secret matters in an unclassified session. But he conveyed the message that he was telling the public all that he knew about the story. He said, "Any suggestion that there is not a full, deep awareness of what has happened, and the damage it has done, I think, would be a misunderstanding." The senior C.I.A. official, asked about Rumsfeld's testimony and that of Stephen Cambone, his Under-Secretary for Intelligence, said, "Some people think you can bullshit anyone."

The Abu Ghraib story began, in a sense, just weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks, with the American bombing of Afghanistan. Almost from the start, the Administration's search for Al Qaeda members in the war zone, and its worldwide search for terrorists, came up against major command-and-control problems. For example, combat forces that had Al Qaeda targets in sight had to obtain legal clearance before firing on them. On October 7th, the night the bombing began, an unmanned Predator aircraft tracked an automobile convoy that, American intelligence believed, contained Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban leader. A lawyer on duty at the United States Central Command headquarters, in Tampa, Florida, refused to authorize a strike. By the time an attack was approved, the target was out of reach. Rumsfeld was apoplectic over what he saw as a self-defeating hesitation to attack that was due to political correctness. One officer described him to me that fall as "kicking a lot of glass and breaking doors." In November, the Washington Post reported that, as many as ten times since early October, Air Force pilots believed they'd had senior Al Qaeda and Taliban members in their sights but had been unable to act in time because of legalistic hurdles. There were similar problems throughout the world, as American Special Forces units seeking to move quickly against suspected terrorist cells were compelled to get prior approval from local American ambassadors and brief their superiors in the chain of command.

Rumsfeld reacted in his usual direct fashion: he authorized the establishment of a highly secret program that was given blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate "high value" targets in the Bush Administration's war on terror. A special-access program, or sap-subject to the Defense Department's most stringent level of security-was set up, with an office in a secure area of the Pentagon. The program would recruit operatives and acquire the necessary equipment, including aircraft, and would keep its activities under wraps. America's most successful intelligence operations during the Cold War had been saps, including the Navy's submarine penetration of underwater cables used by the Soviet high command and construction of the Air Force's stealth bomber. All the so-called "black" programs had one element in common: the Secretary of Defense, or his deputy, had to conclude that the normal military classification restraints did not provide enough security.

"Rumsfeld's goal was to get a capability in place to take on a high-value target-a standup group to hit quickly," a former high-level intelligence official told me. "He got all the agencies together-the C.I.A. and the N.S.A.-to get pre-approval in place. Just say the code word and go." The operation had across-the-board approval from Rumsfeld and from Condoleezza Rice, the national-security adviser. President Bush was informed of the existence of the program, the former intelligence official said.

The people assigned to the program worked by the book, the former intelligence official told me. They created code words, and recruited, after careful screening, highly trained commandos and operatives from America's élite forces-Navy seals, the Army's Delta Force, and the C.I.A.'s paramilitary experts. They also asked some basic questions: "Do the people working the problem have to use aliases? Yes. Do we need dead drops for the mail? Yes. No traceability and no budget. And some special-access programs are never fully briefed to Congress."

In theory, the operation enabled the Bush Administration to respond immediately to time-sensitive intelligence: commandos crossed borders without visas and could interrogate terrorism suspects deemed too important for transfer to the military's facilities at Guantánamo, Cuba. They carried out instant interrogations-using force if necessary-at secret C.I.A. detention centers scattered around the world. The intelligence would be relayed to the sap command center in the Pentagon in real time, and sifted for those pieces of information critical to the "white," or overt, world.

Fewer than two hundred operatives and officials, including Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were "completely read into the program," the former intelligence official said. The goal was to keep the operation protected. "We're not going to read more people than necessary into our heart of darkness," he said. "The rules are 'Grab whom you must. Do what you want.'"

One Pentagon official who was deeply involved in the program was Stephen Cambone, who was named Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence in March, 2003. The office was new; it was created as part of Rumsfeld's reorganization of the Pentagon. Cambone was unpopular among military and civilian intelligence bureaucrats in the Pentagon, essentially because he had little experience in running intelligence programs, though in 1998 he had served as staff director for a committee, headed by Rumsfeld, that warned of an emerging ballistic-missile threat to the United States. He was known instead for his closeness to Rumsfeld. "Remember Henry II-'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?'" the senior C.I.A. official said to me, with a laugh, last week. "Whatever Rumsfeld whimsically says, Cambone will do ten times that much."

Cambone was a strong advocate for war against Iraq. He shared Rumsfeld's disdain for the analysis and assessments proffered by the C.I.A., viewing them as too cautious, and chafed, as did Rumsfeld, at the C.I.A.'s inability, before the Iraq war, to state conclusively that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction. Cambone's military assistant, Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin, was also controversial. Last fall, he generated unwanted headlines after it was reported that, in a speech at an Oregon church, he equated the Muslim world with Satan.

Early in his tenure, Cambone provoked a bureaucratic battle within the Pentagon by insisting that he be given control of all special-access programs that were relevant to the war on terror. Those programs, which had been viewed by many in the Pentagon as sacrosanct, were monitored by Kenneth deGraffenreid, who had experience in counter-intelligence programs. Cambone got control, and deGraffenreid subsequently left the Pentagon. Asked for comment on this story, a Pentagon spokesman said, "I will not discuss any covert programs; however, Dr. Cambone did not assume his position as the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence until March 7, 2003, and had no involvement in the decision-making process regarding interrogation procedures in Iraq or anywhere else."

In mid-2003, the special-access program was regarded in the Pentagon as one of the success stories of the war on terror. "It was an active program," the former intelligence official told me. "It's been the most important capability we have for dealing with an imminent threat. If we discover where Osama bin Laden is, we can get him. And we can remove an existing threat with a real capability to hit the United States-and do so without visibility." Some of its methods were troubling and could not bear close scrutiny, however.

By then, the war in Iraq had begun. The sap was involved in some assignments in Iraq, the former official said. C.I.A. and other American Special Forces operatives secretly teamed up to hunt for Saddam Hussein and-without success-for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But they weren't able to stop the evolving insurgency.

In the first months after the fall of Baghdad, Rumsfeld and his aides still had a limited view of the insurgency, seeing it as little more than the work of Baathist "dead-enders," criminal gangs, and foreign terrorists who were Al Qaeda followers. The Administration measured its success in the war by how many of those on its list of the fifty-five most wanted members of the old regime-reproduced on playing cards-had been captured. Then, in August, 2003, terror bombings in Baghdad hit the Jordanian Embassy, killing nineteen people, and the United Nations headquarters, killing twenty-three people, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the head of the U.N. mission. On August 25th, less than a week after the U.N. bombing, Rumsfeld acknowledged, in a talk before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, that "the dead-enders are still with us." He went on, "There are some today who are surprised that there are still pockets of resistance in Iraq, and they suggest that this represents some sort of failure on the part of the Coalition. But this is not the case." Rumsfeld compared the insurgents with those true believers who "fought on during and after the defeat of the Nazi regime in Germany." A few weeks later-and five months after the fall of Baghdad-the Defense Secretary declared,"It is, in my view, better to be dealing with terrorists in Iraq than in the United States."

Inside the Pentagon, there was a growing realization that the war was going badly. The increasingly beleaguered and baffled Army leadership was telling reporters that the insurgents consisted of five thousand Baathists loyal to Saddam Hussein. "When you understand that they're organized in a cellular structure," General John Abizaid, the head of the Central Command, declared, "that . . . they have access to a lot of money and a lot of ammunition, you'll understand how dangerous they are."

The American military and intelligence communities were having little success in penetrating the insurgency. One internal report prepared for the U.S. military, made available to me, concluded that the insurgents'"strategic and operational intelligence has proven to be quite good." According to the study:

"Their ability to attack convoys, other vulnerable targets and particular individuals has been the result of painstaking surveillance and reconnaissance. Inside information has been passed on to insurgent cells about convoy/troop movements and daily habits of Iraqis working with coalition from within the Iraqi security services, primarily the Iraqi Police force which is rife with sympathy for the insurgents, Iraqi ministries and from within pro-insurgent individuals working with the CPA's so-called Green Zone."

The study concluded, "Politically, the U.S. has failed to date. Insurgencies can be fixed or ameliorated by dealing with what caused them in the first place. The disaster that is the reconstruction of Iraq has been the key cause of the insurgency. There is no legitimate government, and it behooves the Coalition Provisional Authority to absorb the sad but unvarnished fact that most Iraqis do not see the Governing Council"-the Iraqi body appointed by the C.P.A.-"as the legitimate authority. Indeed, they know that the true power is the CPA."

By the fall, a military analyst told me, the extent of the Pentagon's political and military misjudgments was clear. Donald Rumsfeld's "dead-enders" now included not only Baathists but many marginal figures as well-thugs and criminals who were among the tens of thousands of prisoners freed the previous fall by Saddam as part of a prewar general amnesty. Their desperation was not driving the insurgency; it simply made them easy recruits for those who were. The analyst said, "We'd killed and captured guys who had been given two or three hundred dollars to 'pray and spray'"-that is, shoot randomly and hope for the best. "They weren't really insurgents but down-and-outers who were paid by wealthy individuals sympathetic to the insurgency." In many cases, the paymasters were Sunnis who had been members of the Baath Party. The analyst said that the insurgents "spent three or four months figuring out how we operated and developing their own countermeasures. If that meant putting up a hapless guy to go and attack a convoy and see how the American troops responded, they'd do it." Then, the analyst said, "the clever ones began to get in on the action."

By contrast, according to the military report, the American and Coalition forces knew little about the insurgency: "Human intelligence is poor or lacking . . . due to the dearth of competence and expertise. . . . The intelligence effort is not coördinated since either too many groups are involved in gathering intelligence or the final product does not get to the troops in the field in a timely manner." The success of the war was at risk; something had to be done to change the dynamic.

The solution, endorsed by Rumsfeld and carried out by Stephen Cambone, was to get tough with those Iraqis in the Army prison system who were suspected of being insurgents. A key player was Major General Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the detention and interrogation center at Guantánamo, who had been summoned to Baghdad in late August to review prison interrogation procedures. The internal Army report on the abuse charges, written by Major General Antonio Taguba in February, revealed that Miller urged that the commanders in Baghdad change policy and place military intelligence in charge of the prison. The report quoted Miller as recommending that "detention operations must act as an enabler for interrogation."

Miller's concept, as it emerged in recent Senate hearings, was to "Gitmoize" the prison system in Iraq-to make it more focussed on interrogation. He also briefed military commanders in Iraq on the interrogation methods used in Cuba-methods that could, with special approval, include sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of cold and heat, and placing prisoners in "stress positions" for agonizing lengths of time. (The Bush Administration had unilaterally declared Al Qaeda and other captured members of international terrorist networks to be illegal combatants, and not eligible for the protection of the Geneva Conventions.)

Rumsfeld and Cambone went a step further, however: they expanded the scope of the sap, bringing its unconventional methods to Abu Ghraib. The commandos were to operate in Iraq as they had in Afghanistan. The male prisoners could be treated roughly, and exposed to sexual humiliation.

"They weren't getting anything substantive from the detainees in Iraq," the former intelligence official told me. "No names. Nothing that they could hang their hat on. Cambone says, I've got to crack this thing and I'm tired of working through the normal chain of command. I've got this apparatus set up-the black special-access program-and I'm going in hot. So he pulls the switch, and the electricity begins flowing last summer. And it's working. We're getting a picture of the insurgency in Iraq and the intelligence is flowing into the white world. We're getting good stuff. But we've got more targets"-prisoners in Iraqi jails-"than people who can handle them."

Cambone then made another crucial decision, the former intelligence official told me: not only would he bring the sap's rules into the prisons; he would bring some of the Army military-intelligence officers working inside the Iraqi prisons under the sap'sauspices. "So here are fundamentally good soldiers-military-intelligence guys-being told that no rules apply," the former official, who has extensive knowledge of the special-access programs, added. "And, as far as they're concerned, this is a covert operation, and it's to be kept within Defense Department channels."

The military-police prison guards, the former official said, included "recycled hillbillies from Cumberland, Maryland." He was referring to members of the 372nd Military Police Company. Seven members of the company are now facing charges for their role in the abuse at Abu Ghraib. "How are these guys from Cumberland going to know anything? The Army Reserve doesn't know what it's doing."

Who was in charge of Abu Ghraib-whether military police or military intelligence-was no longer the only question that mattered. Hard-core special operatives, some of them with aliases, were working in the prison. The military police assigned to guard the prisoners wore uniforms, but many others-military intelligence officers, contract interpreters, C.I.A. officers, and the men from the special-access program-wore civilian clothes. It was not clear who was who, even to Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, then the commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade, and the officer ostensibly in charge. "I thought most of the civilians there were interpreters, but there were some civilians that I didn't know," Karpinski told me. "I called them the disappearing ghosts. I'd seen them once in a while at Abu Ghraib and then I'd see them months later. They were nice-they'd always call out to me and say, 'Hey, remember me? How are you doing?'" The mysterious civilians, she said, were "always bringing in somebody for interrogation or waiting to collect somebody going out." Karpinski added that she had no idea who was operating in her prison system. (General Taguba found that Karpinski's leadership failures contributed to the abuses.)

By fall, according to the former intelligence official, the senior leadership of the C.I.A. had had enough. "They said, 'No way. We signed up for the core program in Afghanistan-pre-approved for operations against high-value terrorist targets-and now you want to use it for cabdrivers, brothers-in-law, and people pulled off the streets'"-the sort of prisoners who populate the Iraqi jails. "The C.I.A.'s legal people objected," and the agency ended its sap involvement in Abu Ghraib, the former official said.

The C.I.A.'s complaints were echoed throughout the intelligence community. There was fear that the situation at Abu Ghraib would lead to the exposure of the secret sap, and thereby bring an end to what had been, before Iraq, a valuable cover operation. "This was stupidity," a government consultant told me. "You're taking a program that was operating in the chaos of Afghanistan against Al Qaeda, a stateless terror group, and bringing it into a structured, traditional war zone. Sooner or later, the commandos would bump into the legal and moral procedures of a conventional war with an Army of a hundred and thirty-five thousand soldiers."

The former senior intelligence official blamed hubris for the Abu Ghraib disaster. "There's nothing more exhilarating for a pissant Pentagon civilian than dealing with an important national security issue without dealing with military planners, who are always worried about risk," he told me. "What could be more boring than needing the coöperation of logistical planners?" The only difficulty, the former official added, is that, "as soon as you enlarge the secret program beyond the oversight capability of experienced people, you lose control. We've never had a case where a special-access program went sour-and this goes back to the Cold War."

In a separate interview, a Pentagon consultant, who spent much of his career directly involved with special-access programs, spread the blame. "The White House subcontracted this to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon subcontracted it to Cambone," he said. "This is Cambone's deal, but Rumsfeld and Myers approved the program." When it came to the interrogation operation at Abu Ghraib, he said, Rumsfeld left the details to Cambone. Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable, the consultant added, "but he's responsible for the checks and balances. The issue is that, since 9/11, we've changed the rules on how we deal with terrorism, and created conditions where the ends justify the means."

Last week, statements made by one of the seven accused M.P.s, Specialist Jeremy Sivits, who is expected to plead guilty, were released. In them, he claimed that senior commanders in his unit would have stopped the abuse had they witnessed it. One of the questions that will be explored at any trial, however, is why a group of Army Reserve military policemen, most of them from small towns, tormented their prisoners as they did, in a manner that was especially humiliating for Iraqi men.

The notion that Arabs are particularly vulnerable to sexual humiliation became a talking point among pro-war Washington conservatives in the months before the March, 2003, invasion of Iraq. One book that was frequently cited was "The Arab Mind," a study of Arab culture and psychology, first published in 1973, by Raphael Patai, a cultural anthropologist who taught at, among other universities, Columbia and Princeton, and who died in 1996. The book includes a twenty-five-page chapter on Arabs and sex, depicting sex as a taboo vested with shame and repression. "The segregation of the sexes, the veiling of the women . . . and all the other minute rules that govern and restrict contact between men and women, have the effect of making sex a prime mental preoccupation in the Arab world," Patai wrote. Homosexual activity, "or any indication of homosexual leanings, as with all other expressions of sexuality, is never given any publicity. These are private affairs and remain in private." The Patai book, an academic told me, was "the bible of the neocons on Arab behavior." In their discussions, he said, two themes emerged-"one, that Arabs only understand force and, two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation."

The government consultant said that there may have been a serious goal, in the beginning, behind the sexual humiliation and the posed photographs. It was thought that some prisoners would do anything-including spying on their associates-to avoid dissemination of the shameful photos to family and friends. The government consultant said, "I was told that the purpose of the photographs was to create an army of informants, people you could insert back in the population." The idea was that they would be motivated by fear of exposure, and gather information about pending insurgency action, the consultant said. If so, it wasn't effective; the insurgency continued to grow.

"This shit has been brewing for months," the Pentagon consultant who has dealt with saps told me. "You don't keep prisoners naked in their cell and then let them get bitten by dogs. This is sick." The consultant explained that he and his colleagues, all of whom had served for years on active duty in the military, had been appalled by the misuse of Army guard dogs inside Abu Ghraib. "We don't raise kids to do things like that. When you go after Mullah Omar, that's one thing. But when you give the authority to kids who don't know the rules, that's another."

In 2003, Rumsfeld's apparent disregard for the requirements of the Geneva Conventions while carrying out the war on terror had led a group of senior military legal officers from the Judge Advocate General's (jag) Corps to pay two surprise visits within five months to Scott Horton, who was then chairman of the New York City Bar Association's Committee on International Human Rights. "They wanted us to challenge the Bush Administration about its standards for detentions and interrogation," Horton told me. "They were urging us to get involved and speak in a very loud voice. It came pretty much out of the blue. The message was that conditions are ripe for abuse, and it's going to occur." The military officials were most alarmed about the growing use of civilian contractors in the interrogation process, Horton recalled. "They said there was an atmosphere of legal ambiguity being created as a result of a policy decision at the highest levels in the Pentagon. The jag officers were being cut out of the policy formulation process." They told him that, with the war on terror, a fifty-year history of exemplary application of the Geneva Conventions had come to an end.

The abuses at Abu Ghraib were exposed on January 13th, when Joseph Darby, a young military policeman assigned to Abu Ghraib, reported the wrongdoing to the Army's Criminal Investigations Division. He also turned over a CD full of photographs. Within three days, a report made its way to Donald Rumsfeld, who informed President Bush.

The inquiry presented a dilemma for the Pentagon. The C.I.D. had to be allowed to continue, the former intelligence official said. "You can't cover it up. You have to prosecute these guys for being off the reservation. But how do you prosecute them when they were covered by the special-access program? So you hope that maybe it'll go away." The Pentagon's attitude last January, he said, was "Somebody got caught with some photos. What's the big deal? Take care of it." Rumsfeld's explanation to the White House, the official added, was reassuring: "'We've got a glitch in the program. We'll prosecute it.' The cover story was that some kids got out of control."

In their testimony before Congress last week, Rumsfeld and Cambone struggled to convince the legislators that Miller's visit to Baghdad in late August had nothing to do with the subsequent abuse. Cambone sought to assure the Senate Armed Services Committee that the interplay between Miller and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, had only a casual connection to his office. Miller's recommendations, Cambone said, were made to Sanchez. His own role, he said, was mainly to insure that the "flow of intelligence back to the commands" was "efficient and effective." He added that Miller's goal was "to provide a safe, secure and humane environment that supports the expeditious collection of intelligence."

It was a hard sell. Senator Hillary Clinton, Democrat of New York, posed the essential question facing the senators:

"If, indeed, General Miller was sent from Guantánamo to Iraq for the purpose of acquiring more actionable intelligence from detainees, then it is fair to conclude that the actions that are at point here in your report [on abuses at Abu Ghraib] are in some way connected to General Miller's arrival and his specific orders, however they were interpreted, by those MPs and the military intelligence that were involved.... Therefore, I for one don't believe I yet have adequate information from Mr. Cambone and the Defense Department as to exactly what General Miller's orders were . . . how he carried out those orders, and the connection between his arrival in the fall of '03 and the intensity of the abuses that occurred afterward."

Sometime before the Abu Ghraib abuses became public, the former intelligence official told me, Miller was "read in"-that is, briefed-on the special-access operation. In April, Miller returned to Baghdad to assume control of the Iraqi prisons; once the scandal hit, with its glaring headlines, General Sanchez presented him to the American and international media as the general who would clean up the Iraqi prison system and instill respect for the Geneva Conventions. "His job is to save what he can," the former official said. "He's there to protect the program while limiting any loss of core capability." As for Antonio Taguba, the former intelligence official added, "He goes into it not knowing shit. And then: 'Holy cow! What's going on?'"

If General Miller had been summoned by Congress to testify, he, like Rumsfeld and Cambone, would not have been able to mention the special-access program. "If you give away the fact that a special-access program exists,"the former intelligence official told me, "you blow the whole quick-reaction program."

One puzzling aspect of Rumsfeld's account of his initial reaction to news of the Abu Ghraib investigation was his lack of alarm and lack of curiosity. One factor may have been recent history: there had been many previous complaints of prisoner abuse from organization like Human Rights Watch and the International Red Cross, and the Pentagon had weathered them with ease. Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had not been provided with details of alleged abuses until late March, when he read the specific charges. "You read it, as I say, it's one thing. You see these photographs and it's just unbelievable. . . . It wasn't three-dimensional. It wasn't video. It wasn't color. It was quite a different thing." The former intelligence official said that, in his view, Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials had not studied the photographs because "they thought what was in there was permitted under the rules of engagement," as applied to the sap. "The photos," he added, "turned out to be the result of the program run amok."

The former intelligence official made it clear that he was not alleging that Rumsfeld or General Myers knew that atrocities were committed. But, he said, "it was their permission granted to do the sap, generically, and there was enough ambiguity, which permitted the abuses."

This official went on, "The black guys"-those in the Pentagon's secret program-"say we've got to accept the prosecution. They're vaccinated from the reality." The sap is still active, and "the United States is picking up guys for interrogation. The question is, how do they protect the quick-reaction force without blowing its cover?" The program was protected by the fact that no one on the outside was allowed to know of its existence. "If you even give a hint that you're aware of a black program that you're not read into, you lose your clearances," the former official said. "Nobody will talk. So the only people left to prosecute are those who are undefended-the poor kids at the end of the food chain."

The most vulnerable senior official is Cambone. "The Pentagon is trying now to protect Cambone, and doesn't know how to do it," the former intelligence official said.

Last week, the government consultant, who has close ties to many conservatives, defended the Administration's continued secrecy about the special-access program in Abu Ghraib. "Why keep it black?" the consultant asked. "Because the process is unpleasant. It's like making sausage-you like the result but you don't want to know how it was made. Also, you don't want the Iraqi public, and the Arab world, to know. Remember, we went to Iraq to democratize the Middle East. The last thing you want to do is let the Arab world know how you treat Arab males in prison."

The former intelligence official told me he feared that one of the disastrous effects of the prison-abuse scandal would be the undermining of legitimate operations in the war on terror, which had already suffered from the draining of resources into Iraq. He portrayed Abu Ghraib as "a tumor" on the war on terror. He said, "As long as it's benign and contained, the Pentagon can deal with the photo crisis without jeopardizing the secret program. As soon as it begins to grow, with nobody to diagnose it-it becomes a malignant tumor."

The Pentagon consultant made a similar point. Cambone and his superiors, the consultant said, "created the conditions that allowed transgressions to take place. And now we're going to end up with another Church Commission"-the 1975 Senate committee on intelligence, headed by Senator Frank Church, of Idaho, which investigated C.I.A. abuses during the previous two decades. Abu Ghraib had sent the message that the Pentagon leadership was unable to handle its discretionary power. "When the shit hits the fan, as it did on 9/11, how do you push the pedal?" the consultant asked. "You do it selectively and with intelligence."

"Congress is going to get to the bottom of this," the Pentagon consultant said. "You have to demonstrate that there are checks and balances in the system." He added, "When you live in a world of gray zones, you have to have very clear red lines."

Senator John McCain, of Arizona, said, "If this is true, it certainly increases the dimension of this issue and deserves significant scrutiny. I will do all possible to get to the bottom of this, and all other allegations."

"In an odd way," Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said, "the sexual abuses at Abu Ghraib have become a diversion for the prisoner abuse and the violation of the Geneva Conventions that is authorized." Since September 11th, Roth added, the military has systematically used third-degree techniques around the world on detainees. "Some jags hate this and are horrified that the tolerance of mistreatment will come back and haunt us in the next war," Roth told me. "We're giving the world a ready-made excuse to ignore the Geneva Conventions. Rumsfeld has lowered the bar."

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Posted by richard at 03:13 PM

With the camera pointing at the ocean, Powell was heard saying off camera, "Get out of the way, Emily." On the split screen, Russert says, "This is highly inappropriate, Mr. Secretary."

Are they worried that Secretary of Stone Calm 'Em Powell will remember that he swore to uphold the US Constitution and not the incredidble shrinking _resident and the neo-con cabal? "There is something rotten in the state of..."

www.buzzflash.com: Did you guys see what just happened on Meet the Press?
On the West Coast rebroadcast, Russert showed an unedited tape of his interview with Colin Powell, who was in the Middle East, that was interrupted by a member of Powell's staff.
Russert's last question was about the false info in Powell's speech to the UN in Feb 2003 - but before Powell could answer someone pushed the camera off Powell. With the camera pointing at the ocean, Powell was heard saying off camera, "Get out of the way, Emily." On the split screen, Russert says, "This is highly inappropriate, Mr. Secretary." There's more off-camera muffled scuffling, then the camera moves back to Powell and he answers the question (sort of).


Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.buzzflash.com/buzzscripts/buzz.dll/content

BUZZFLASH REPORT Sunday May 16, 2004 at 1:49:37 PM


Colin Powell Aide Tries to Censor Tim Russert Interview on "Meet the Press" By Pushing Camera Away
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION

May 17, 2004

BuzzFlash Note: Several readers wrote us and said that they saw this bizarre attempt at Soviet-Style censorship on "Meet the Press," courtesy of a Colin Powell staff member.

Did you guys see what just happened on Meet the Press?

On the West Coast rebroadcast, Russert showed an unedited tape of his interview with Colin Powell, who was in the Middle East, that was interrupted by a member of Powell's staff.

Russert's last question was about the false info in Powell's speech to the UN in Feb 2003 - but before Powell could answer someone pushed the camera off Powell. With the camera pointing at the ocean, Powell was heard saying off camera, "Get out of the way, Emily." On the split screen, Russert says, "This is highly inappropriate, Mr. Secretary." There's more off-camera muffled scuffling, then the camera moves back to Powell and he answers the question (sort of).

Ater the tape, Russert thanks Powell in absentia for over-ruling "his press aide" and answering the question.

- Jon

BuzzFlash Note: Even Russert objected:

Russert: I'm right here, Mr. Secretary. I would hope they would put you back on camera. I don't know who did that.

Powell: We really...

Russert: I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary. I don't think that's appropriate.

Powell: Emily, get out of the way.

Emily: OK.

Powell: Bring the camera back, please. I think we're back on, Tim. Go ahead with your last question.

See [LINK]

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION

Posted by richard at 03:06 PM

May 15, 2004

The New Yorker said the CIA, which approved using high-pressure interrogation tactics against senior al Qaeda leaders after the 2001 attacks, balked at extending them to Iraq and refused to participate.

Who will stand up for these US soldiers being court-martialed for carrying out the orders of the Bush cabal? There was a time when you read the New Yorker for its poetry, its cartoons and its dish, and you read the New York Times (then the "Newspaper of Record") for the hard-edged brutal truth about your government. Now you read the New Yorker for the brutal hard-edged truth about your government, because the NYTwits (now the "Newspaper of Revision") seeks to hide its limp-wristed reporting behind its santimonious editorials. Remember, to a great extent, the US military establishment, the US intelligence establishment and the US foreign policy establishment stands against the incredible shrinking _resident and his cabal of neo-con wet dreamers. You know this to be true because of the LNS and the many information rebellion sites on the Internet, bringing news from the European press, the alternative press here, etc. When will the "US mainstream news media" and its propapunditgandists acknowledge this to be true?

Jeremy Pelofsky, Reuters: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a plan that brought unconventional interrogation methods to Iraq to gain intelligence about the growing insurgency, ultimately leading to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, the New Yorker magazine reported on Saturday...The New Yorker said the CIA, which approved using high-pressure interrogation tactics against senior al Qaeda leaders after the 2001 attacks, balked at extending them to Iraq and refused to participate.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=578&e=5&u=/nm/20040515/ts_nm/iraq_abuse_pentagon_dc

Rumsfeld Approved Iraq Interrogation Plan -Report

2 hours, 9 minutes ago Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a plan that brought unconventional interrogation methods to Iraq (news - web sites) to gain intelligence about the growing insurgency, ultimately leading to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, the New Yorker magazine reported on Saturday.

Rumsfeld, who has been under fire for the prisoner abuse scandal, gave the green light to methods previously used in Afghanistan (news - web sites) for gathering intelligence on members of al Qaeda, which the United States blames for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the magazine reported on its Web site.


Pentagon (news - web sites) spokesman Jim Turner said he had not seen the story and could not comment. The article hits newsstands on Monday.


U.S. interrogation techniques have come under scrutiny amid revelations that prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad were kept naked, stacked on top of one another, forced to engage in sex acts and photographed in humiliating poses.


Rumsfeld, who has rejected calls by some Democrats and a number of major newspapers to resign, returned on Friday from a surprise trip to Iraq and Abu Ghraib prison, calling the scandal a "body blow." Seven soldiers have been charged.


The abuse prompted worldwide outrage and has shaken U.S. global prestige as President Bush (news - web sites) seeks re-election in November. Bush has backed Rumsfeld and said the abuse was abhorrent but the wrongful actions of only a few soldiers.


The U.S. military has now prohibited several interrogation methods from being used in Iraq, including sleep and sensory deprivation and body "stress positions," defense officials said on Friday.


SPECIAL ACCESS PROGRAM


The New Yorker said the interrogation plan was a highly classified "special access program," or SAP, that gave advance approval to kill, capture or interrogate so-called high-value targets in the battle against terror.


Such secret methods were used extensively in Afghanistan but more sparingly in Iraq -- only in the search for former President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) and weapons of mass destruction. As the Iraqi insurgency grew and more U.S. soldiers died, Rumsfeld and Defense Undersecretary for Intelligence Stephen Cambone expanded the scope to bring the interrogation tactics to Abu Ghraib, the article said.


The magazine, which based its article on interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, reported the plan was approved and carried out last year after deadly bombings in August at the U.N. headquarters and Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad.


A former intelligence official quoted in the article said Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, approved the program but may not have known about the abuse.


'DO WHAT YOU WANT'


The rules governing the secret operation were "grab whom you must. Do what you want," the unidentified former intelligence official told the New Yorker.


Rumsfeld left the details of the interrogations to Cambone, the article quoted a Pentagon consultant as saying.


"This is Cambone's deal, but Rumsfeld and Myers approved the program," said the Pentagon consultant in the article.


U.S. officials have admitted the abuse may have violated the Geneva Convention, which governs treatment of prisoners of war.

The New Yorker said the CIA (news - web sites), which approved using high-pressure interrogation tactics against senior al Qaeda leaders after the 2001 attacks, balked at extending them to Iraq and refused to participate

After initiating the secret techniques, the U.S. military began learning useful intelligence about the insurgency, the former intelligence official was quoted as saying.


Posted by richard at 04:43 PM

May 14, 2004

It is, all in all, an awkward time to be pursuing a foreign policy that promises a radical transformation of the Middle East — let alone to be botching the job so completely.

The 2004 campaign is nothing less than a national
referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and
CHARACTER of the incredible shrinking _resident, and
his VICE _resident...The central issue is SECURITY:
not only NATIONAL SECURITY, but ECONOMIC SECURITY and
ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY as well. Are you safer today
than you were four years ago?

Paul Krugman, New York Times: Let me put it a bit
differently: the last time oil prices were this high,
on the eve of the 1991 gulf war, there was a lot of
spare capacity in the world, so there was room to cope
with a major supply disruption if it happened. This
time there isn't.
The International Energy Agency estimates the world's
spare oil production capacity at about 2.5 million
barrels per day, almost all of it in the Persian Gulf
region. It also predicts that global oil demand in
2004 will be, on average, 2 million barrels per day
higher than in 2003. Now imagine what will happen if
there are more successful insurgent attacks on Iraqi
pipelines, or, perish the thought, instability in
Saudi Arabia. In fact, even without a supply
disruption, it's hard to see where the oil will come
from to meet the growing demand...
Still, if there is a major supply disruption, the
world will have to get by with less oil, and the only
way that can happen in the short run is if there is a
world economic slowdown. An oil-driven recession does
not look at all far-fetched.
It is, all in all, an awkward time to be pursuing a foreign policy that promises a radical transformation of the Middle East — let alone to be botching the job so completely.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0514-04.htm

Published on Friday, May 14, 2004 by the New York
Times
A Crude Shock
by Paul Krugman

So far, the current world oil crunch doesn't look at
all like the crises of 1973 or 1979. That's why it's
so scary.

The oil crises of the 1970's began with big supply
disruptions: the Arab oil embargo after the 1973
Israeli-Arab war and the 1979 Iranian revolution. This
time, despite the chaos in Iraq, nothing comparable
has happened — yet. Nonetheless, because of rising
demand that is led by soaring Chinese consumption, the
world oil market is already stretched tight as a drum,
and crude oil prices are $12 a barrel higher than they
were a year ago. What if something really does go
wrong?

Let me put it a bit differently: the last time oil
prices were this high, on the eve of the 1991 gulf
war, there was a lot of spare capacity in the world,
so there was room to cope with a major supply
disruption if it happened. This time there isn't.

The International Energy Agency estimates the world's
spare oil production capacity at about 2.5 million
barrels per day, almost all of it in the Persian Gulf
region. It also predicts that global oil demand in
2004 will be, on average, 2 million barrels per day
higher than in 2003. Now imagine what will happen if
there are more successful insurgent attacks on Iraqi
pipelines, or, perish the thought, instability in
Saudi Arabia. In fact, even without a supply
disruption, it's hard to see where the oil will come
from to meet the growing demand.

But wait: basic economics says that markets deal
handily with excesses of demand over supply. Prices
rise, producers have an incentive to produce more
while consumers have an incentive to consume less, and
the market comes back into balance. Won't that happen
with oil?

Yes, it will. The question is how long it will take,
and how high prices will go in the meantime.

To see the problem, think about gasoline. Sustained
high gasoline prices lead to more fuel-efficient cars:
by 1990 the average American vehicle got 40 percent
more miles per gallon than in 1973. But replacing old
cars with new takes years. In their initial response
to a shortfall in the gasoline supply, people must
save gas by driving less, something they do only in
the face of very, very high prices. So very, very high
prices are what we'll get.

Increasing production capacity takes even longer than
replacing old cars. Also, major new discoveries of oil
have become increasingly rare (although in my last
column on the subject, I forgot about two large fields
in Kazakhstan, one discovered in 1979, the second in
2000).

Petroleum engineers continue to squeeze more oil out
of known fields, but a repeat of the post-1973
experience, in which there was a big increase in
non-OPEC production, seems unlikely.

So oil prices will stay high, and may go higher even
in the absence of more bad news from the Middle East.
And with more bad news, we'll be looking at a real
crisis — one that could do a lot of economic damage.
Each $10 per barrel increase in crude prices is like a
$70 billion tax increase on American consumers, levied
through inflation. The spurt in producer prices last
month was a taste of what will happen if prices stay
high. By the way, after the 1979 Iranian revolution
world prices went to about $60 per barrel in today's
prices.

Could an oil shock actually lead to 1970's-style
stagflation — a combination of inflation and rising
unemployment? Well, there are several comfort factors,
reasons we're less vulnerable now than a generation
ago. Despite the rise of the S.U.V., the U.S. consumes
only about half as much oil per dollar of real G.D.P.
as it did in 1973. Also, in the 1970's the economy was
already primed for inflation: given the prevalence of
cost-of-living adjustments in labor contracts and the
experience of past inflation, oil price increases
rapidly fed into a wage-price spiral. That's less
likely to happen today.

Still, if there is a major supply disruption, the
world will have to get by with less oil, and the only
way that can happen in the short run is if there is a
world economic slowdown. An oil-driven recession does
not look at all far-fetched.

It is, all in all, an awkward time to be pursuing a
foreign policy that promises a radical transformation
of the Middle East — let alone to be botching the job
so completely.

©Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

###

Posted by richard at 07:47 PM

''He could have chosen an easy life -- some people who went to Yale did," Clark said of Kerry and of Yale graduate Bush at the fund-raiser in Little Rock Wednesday night, a jab he repeated at the two other events.

NOTE TO SEN. JOHN F. KERRY (D-MEKONG DELTA): Do it,
John. Do it. Run with Wesley Clark (D-NATO)...Take
Arkansas, Ohio and more...BTW, after JFK campaigned
with Wes Clark in Little Rock, he flew back to D.C.
and quietly and unexpectedly slipped into the secure
location at the Capitol and viewed the prisoner abuses
images from Iraq. He made no comment...Do it, John,
run with Wes Clark and make your announcement at the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial...The first Presidential
ticket with two Vietnam veterans, the first
Presidential ticket with any Vietnam veteran, with a
"band of brothers" marching with it, to rescue a
younger generation from its catastrophic blunder: the
wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place...We
won't second-guess you, but do it...

Boston Globe: ''He could have chosen an easy life -- some people who went to Yale did," Clark said of Kerry and of Yale graduate Bush at the fund-raiser in Little Rock Wednesday night, a jab he repeated at the two other events. ''He could have pulled on those cowboy boots and put his feet up on the desk. But John Kerry didn't do that. John Kerry made decisions in his life that reflect who he is, and that shaped him and his values."
Campaign aides would not describe the two men's
private conversations, yet some signs of a Kerry-Clark
fit were clearly evident. Both men are combat
veterans, modest about their own heroism in public
speeches, and they enjoy assailing Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney for ''wrapping themselves in the
flag," in Kerry's words, when neither Republican
served in Vietnam.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/articles/2004/05/14/in_arkansas_kerry_assails_bush_on_health_care/


In Arkansas, Kerry assails Bush on health care
Clark's help is viewed as hint at a ticket
By Patrick Healy, Globe Staff | May 14, 2004

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Senator John F. Kerry joined
yesterday with doctors and veterans in accusing
President Bush of shortchanging the nation's medical
care system, as the presumptive Democratic nominee
campaigned in Arkansas, a Southern state that Bush won
four years ago.

Kerry also set off a burst of chatter in the state's
capital that he may look to the South for a running
mate by campaigning yesterday and Wednesday evening
alongside native son Wesley K. Clark, who is now being
considered by the Kerry camp for a possible spot on
the ticket. The retired four-star general huddled with
Kerry and campaign chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen for an
hour yesterday.

In remarks at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging,
part of the University of Arkansas for Medical
Sciences, the presumptive Democratic nominee made an
appeal to Southerners that Republican priorities in
Washington were not improving medical care or the
economic lot of average Americans and military
families.

''We have the greatest health care in the world, the
best, but we also have a system in crisis," Kerry told
150 medical professionals and veterans. ''It's an
incredible contradiction. We deserve leadership that
doesn't just kind of stiff-arm it, pretend it's not
there, and shove it off to the side. We deserve
leadership that wants to sit with doctors, to sit with
healthcare delivery businesses, and bring people to
the table and say, ''How do we do this smart?"'

Hershel Gober, a former secretary for veterans'
affairs in the Clinton administration, expressed
bitterness about the Bush presidency and also the
plight of those elderly and veterans who have had
trouble getting medical care.

''I can't even walk by the White House now -- I turn
my head the other way -- because Al Gore should be
there. We're not going to let them steal this one,
John," Gober said, a reference to the bitterly
contested 2000 election.

Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign spokesman, charged in
response that Kerry and his allies were playing
politics with veterans' benefits. He asserted that
federal funding for veterans programs had increased by
40 percent under Bush.

Clark served as the warm-up act for Kerry at a rally,
a town hall forum, and a $500,000 fund-raiser,
ridiculing President Bush as a laconic good-old-boy,
while praising Kerry's two tours of duty in Vietnam
and 25 years of public service. It was the first
extended, up-close look Kerry has had of the way Clark
carries himself on the stump, and Kerry laughed and
clapped during Clark's introductory remarks.

''He could have chosen an easy life -- some people who
went to Yale did," Clark said of Kerry and of Yale
graduate Bush at the fund-raiser in Little Rock
Wednesday night, a jab he repeated at the two other
events. ''He could have pulled on those cowboy boots
and put his feet up on the desk. But John Kerry didn't
do that. John Kerry made decisions in his life that
reflect who he is, and that shaped him and his
values."

Campaign aides would not describe the two men's
private conversations, yet some signs of a Kerry-Clark
fit were clearly evident. Both men are combat
veterans, modest about their own heroism in public
speeches, and they enjoy assailing Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney for ''wrapping themselves in the
flag," in Kerry's words, when neither Republican
served in Vietnam. Clark, who is a head shorter than
Kerry, does not emit the kind of magnetism that might
upstage him, and Clark's unadorned speaking style does
not invite unfavorable comparisons with Kerry.

''It's hard not to see this as an audition for Wes
Clark," said Ann Burton Portis, an Arkansas cotton
farmer and former Clark for President supporter who
attended the fund-raiser. ''But I think Clark would
prefer to be in charge of something in his specialty,
like defense or homeland security."

Clark, speaking to reporters on Kerry's campaign plane
yesterday, did not respond directly to most questions
about his relationship with Kerry. Asked how many
times they spoke, Clark repeated his strong support
for the presumptive nominee. Of their campaigning in
Arkansas, Clark said: ''I think when people in the
South meet him, they like him."

The candidate briefly mingled with reporters on board
and took a glancing shot at the Bush campaign. ''I
would rather be where we are, growing, rather than
where they are," Kerry said, making a shrinking motion
with his hands in an apparent reference to public
opinion polls.

Kerry, who usually says ''no comment" when asked about
a running mate, was a mite more open when an audience
member asked if he would consider putting Clark on the
ticket.

''Do you know this guy?" Kerry said to Clark, sitting
on a stool a few feet away.

''No, but that's my cousin up there," Clark replied.

''Folks, I have huge respect for General Clark, I
think all of you know that. We're becoming great
friends in this process," Kerry said, before declining
to answer the man's question.

After campaigning in Arkansas, Kerry returned to
Washington, D.C., last night and spent 50 minutes in a
secure room in the US Capitol looking at images of
abuse of Iraqi prisoners that have been made public.
Kerry did not comment, as he left the building, but
nodded when asked by reporters if he was outraged.

Patrick Healy can be reached at phealy@globe.com.


© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/articles/2004/05/14/in_arkansas_kerry_assails_bush_on_health_care/

THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING


In Arkansas, Kerry assails Bush on health care
Clark's help is viewed as hint at a ticket
By Patrick Healy, Globe Staff | May 14, 2004

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Senator John F. Kerry joined
yesterday with doctors and veterans in accusing
President Bush of shortchanging the nation's medical
care system, as the presumptive Democratic nominee
campaigned in Arkansas, a Southern state that Bush won
four years ago.

Kerry also set off a burst of chatter in the state's
capital that he may look to the South for a running
mate by campaigning yesterday and Wednesday evening
alongside native son Wesley K. Clark, who is now being
considered by the Kerry camp for a possible spot on
the ticket. The retired four-star general huddled with
Kerry and campaign chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen for an
hour yesterday.

In remarks at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging,
part of the University of Arkansas for Medical
Sciences, the presumptive Democratic nominee made an
appeal to Southerners that Republican priorities in
Washington were not improving medical care or the
economic lot of average Americans and military
families.

''We have the greatest health care in the world, the
best, but we also have a system in crisis," Kerry told
150 medical professionals and veterans. ''It's an
incredible contradiction. We deserve leadership that
doesn't just kind of stiff-arm it, pretend it's not
there, and shove it off to the side. We deserve
leadership that wants to sit with doctors, to sit with
healthcare delivery businesses, and bring people to
the table and say, ''How do we do this smart?"'

Hershel Gober, a former secretary for veterans'
affairs in the Clinton administration, expressed
bitterness about the Bush presidency and also the
plight of those elderly and veterans who have had
trouble getting medical care.

''I can't even walk by the White House now -- I turn
my head the other way -- because Al Gore should be
there. We're not going to let them steal this one,
John," Gober said, a reference to the bitterly
contested 2000 election.

Steve Schmidt, a Bush campaign spokesman, charged in
response that Kerry and his allies were playing
politics with veterans' benefits. He asserted that
federal funding for veterans programs had increased by
40 percent under Bush.

Clark served as the warm-up act for Kerry at a rally,
a town hall forum, and a $500,000 fund-raiser,
ridiculing President Bush as a laconic good-old-boy,
while praising Kerry's two tours of duty in Vietnam
and 25 years of public service. It was the first
extended, up-close look Kerry has had of the way Clark
carries himself on the stump, and Kerry laughed and
clapped during Clark's introductory remarks.

''He could have chosen an easy life -- some people who
went to Yale did," Clark said of Kerry and of Yale
graduate Bush at the fund-raiser in Little Rock
Wednesday night, a jab he repeated at the two other
events. ''He could have pulled on those cowboy boots
and put his feet up on the desk. But John Kerry didn't
do that. John Kerry made decisions in his life that
reflect who he is, and that shaped him and his
values."

Campaign aides would not describe the two men's
private conversations, yet some signs of a Kerry-Clark
fit were clearly evident. Both men are combat
veterans, modest about their own heroism in public
speeches, and they enjoy assailing Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney for ''wrapping themselves in the
flag," in Kerry's words, when neither Republican
served in Vietnam. Clark, who is a head shorter than
Kerry, does not emit the kind of magnetism that might
upstage him, and Clark's unadorned speaking style does
not invite unfavorable comparisons with Kerry.

''It's hard not to see this as an audition for Wes
Clark," said Ann Burton Portis, an Arkansas cotton
farmer and former Clark for President supporter who
attended the fund-raiser. ''But I think Clark would
prefer to be in charge of something in his specialty,
like defense or homeland security."

Clark, speaking to reporters on Kerry's campaign plane
yesterday, did not respond directly to most questions
about his relationship with Kerry. Asked how many
times they spoke, Clark repeated his strong support
for the presumptive nominee. Of their campaigning in
Arkansas, Clark said: ''I think when people in the
South meet him, they like him."

The candidate briefly mingled with reporters on board
and took a glancing shot at the Bush campaign. ''I
would rather be where we are, growing, rather than
where they are," Kerry said, making a shrinking motion
with his hands in an apparent reference to public
opinion polls.

Kerry, who usually says ''no comment" when asked about
a running mate, was a mite more open when an audience
member asked if he would consider putting Clark on the
ticket.

''Do you know this guy?" Kerry said to Clark, sitting
on a stool a few feet away.

''No, but that's my cousin up there," Clark replied.

''Folks, I have huge respect for General Clark, I
think all of you know that. We're becoming great
friends in this process," Kerry said, before declining
to answer the man's question.

After campaigning in Arkansas, Kerry returned to
Washington, D.C., last night and spent 50 minutes in a
secure room in the US Capitol looking at images of
abuse of Iraqi prisoners that have been made public.
Kerry did not comment, as he left the building, but
nodded when asked by reporters if he was outraged.

Patrick Healy can be reached at phealy@globe.com.


© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


Posted by richard at 07:45 PM

May 13, 2004

Donald Rumsfeld has a new war on his hands - the U.S. officer corps has turned on the government

What the "US Mainstream News Media," anf the network news organizations in particular, do not have the courage to tell you...The Emperor has no uniform...

Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian: One high-level military strategist told me that Rumsfeld is "detested", and that "if there's a sentiment in the army it is: Support Our Troops, Impeach Rumsfeld". In 1992, General Colin Powell, chairman of the joint chiefs, awarded the prize for his strategy essay competition at the National Defence University to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Dunlap for The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012. His cautionary tale imagined an incapable civilian government
creating a vacuum that drew a competent military into a coup disastrous for democracy. The military, of course, is bound to uphold the constitution. But Dunlap wrote: "The catastrophe that occurred on our watch took place because we failed to speak out against policies we knew were wrong. It's too late for me to do any more. But it's not for you."
The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012 is today circulating among top US military strategists.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/051404A.shtml
America's Military Coup
By Sidney Blumenthal
The Guardian U.K.

Thursday 13 May 2004

Donald Rumsfeld has a new war on his hands - the U.S. officer corps has turned on the government
Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, told George Bush in February about torture at Abu Ghraib prison. From the limited detail Rumsfeld recalled of that meeting, it can be deduced that Bush gave no orders, insisted on no responsibility, did not ask to see the already commissioned Taguba report. If there are exculpatory facts, Rumsfeld has failed to mention them.

For decades, Rumsfeld has had a reputation as a great white shark of the bureaucratic seas: sleek, fast-moving and voracious. As counsellor to Richard Nixon during the impeachment crisis, his deputy was the young Dick Cheney, and together they helped to right the ship of state under Gerald Ford.

Here they were given a misleading gloss as moderates; competence at handling power was confused with pragmatism. Cheney became the most hardline of congressmen, and Rumsfeld informed acquaintances that he was always more conservative than they imagined. One lesson they seem to have learned from the Nixon debacle was ruthlessness. His collapse confirmed in them a belief in the imperial presidency based on executive secrecy. One gets the impression that, unlike Nixon, they would have burned the White House tapes.

Under Bush, the team of Cheney and Rumsfeld spread across the top rungs of government, drawing staff from the neoconservative cabal and infusing their rightwing temperaments with ideological imperatives. The unvarnished will to power took on a veneer of ideas and idealism. Iraq was not a case of vengeance or power, but the cause of democracy and human rights.

The fate of the neoconservative project depends on Rumsfeld's job. If he were to go, so would his deputy, the neoconservative Robespierre, Paul Wolfowitz. Also threatened would be the cadres who stovepiped the disinformation that neoconservative darling Ahmed Chalabi used to manipulate public opinion before the war. In his Senate testimony last week, Rumsfeld explained that the government asking the press not to report Abu Ghraib "is not against our principles. It is not suppression of the news." War is peace.

Six National Guard soldiers from a West Virginia unit who treated Abu Ghraib as a playpen of pornographic torture have been designated as scapegoats. Will the show trials of these working-class antiheroes put an end to any inquiries about the chain of command? In an extraordinary editorial, the Army Times, which had not previously ventured into such controversy, declared that "the folks in the Pentagon are talking about the wrong morons ... This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountabilty here is essential - even if that means relieving leaders from duty in a time of war."

William Odom, a retired general and former member of the National Security Council who is now at the Hudson Institute, a conservative thinktank, reflects a wide swath of opinion in the upper ranks of the military. "It was never in our interest to go into Iraq," he told me. It is a "diversion" from the war on terrorism; the rationale for the Iraq war (finding WMD) is "phoney"; the US army is overstretched and being driven "into the ground"; and the prospect of building a democracy is "zero". In Iraqi politics, he says, "legitimacy is going to be tied to expelling us. Wisdom in military affairs dictates withdrawal in this situation. We can't afford to fail, that's mindless. The issue is how we stop failing more. I am arguing a strategic decision."

One high-level military strategist told me that Rumsfeld is "detested", and that "if there's a sentiment in the army it is: Support Our Troops, Impeach Rumsfeld".

The Council on Foreign Relations has been showing old movies with renewed relevance to its members. The Battle of Algiers, depicting the nature and costs of a struggle with terrorism, is the latest feature. The seething in the military against Bush and Rumsfeld might prompt a showing of Seven Days in May, about a coup staged by a rightwing general against a weak liberal president, an artifact of the conservative hatred directed at President Kennedy in the early 60s.

In 1992, General Colin Powell, chairman of the joint chiefs, awarded the prize for his strategy essay competition at the National Defence University to Lieutenant Colonel Charles Dunlap for The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012. His cautionary tale imagined an incapable civilian government
creating a vacuum that drew a competent military into a coup disastrous for democracy. The military, of course, is bound to uphold the constitution. But Dunlap wrote: "The catastrophe that occurred on our watch took place because we failed to speak out against policies we knew were wrong. It's too late for me to do any more. But it's not for you."

The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012 is today circulating among top US military strategists.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Clinton, is Washington bureau chief of Salon.com

Posted by richard at 09:31 PM

Berg Died for Bush, Rumsfeld 'Sins' - Father

Remember, 2+2=4

Jon Hurdle, Reuters: The father of Nick Berg, the American beheaded in Iraq, directly blamed President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday for his son's death. "My son died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. This administration did this," Berg said in an interview with radio station KYW-AM.
Berg described the Patriot Act as a "coup d'etat." He added: "It's not the same America I grew up in."
On April 5, the Bergs filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, naming Rumsfeld and alleging their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military in Iraq. The next day, he was released.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20040513/ts_nm/iraq_usa_beheading_family_dc

Berg Died for Bush, Rumsfeld 'Sins' - Father

1 hour, 59 minutes ago Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The father of Nick Berg, the American beheaded in Iraq (news - web sites), directly blamed President Bush (news - web sites) and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday for his son's death.

"My son died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. This administration did this," Berg said in an interview with radio station KYW-AM.

In the interview from outside his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, a seething Michael Berg also said his 26-year-old son, a civilian contractor, probably would have felt positive, even about his executioners, until the last minute.

"I am sure that he only saw the good in his captors until the last second of his life," Berg said. "They did not know what they were doing. They killed their best friend."

Two days after the publication of a video showing the execution of his son by five masked men, Berg attacked the Bush administration for its invasion of Iraq and its sponsorship of the Patriot Act, which gives sweeping powers of surveillance to the federal government.


Berg described the Patriot Act as a "coup d'etat." He added: "It's not the same America I grew up in."


The criticism came amid finger-pointing between Berg's family, U.S. military officials and Iraqi police over the young businessman's imprisonment before his execution.


Michael Berg rejected U.S. government claims that his son had never been held by American authorities in Iraq. The Iraqi police chief in the city of Mosul has also contradicted statements by the U.S.-led coalition concerning the younger Berg's detention.


"I have a written statement from the State Department in Baghdad ... saying that my son was being held by the military," Berg said. "I can also assure you that the FBI came to my house on March 31 and told me that the FBI had him in Mosul in an Iraqi prison."

Dan Senor, spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, said this week that Nick Berg was arrested in Mosul by Iraqi police on March 24 and released on April 6.


Senor said the FBI visited Berg three times during his detention by Iraqi police and determined that he was not involved in criminal or terrorist activities.


Brig.-Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said American military police had seen Berg during his detention to make sure he was being fed and treated properly.


Berg returned to Baghdad from Mosul in April and went missing on April 9, during a chaotic period when dozens of foreigners were snatched by guerrillas west of the capital.


His body was discovered by a road near Baghdad on Saturday. The video of his decapitation was posted on the Internet on Tuesday.


Berg had been in Baghdad from late December to Feb. 1 and returned to Iraq in March. He did not find work and planned to return home at the end of March, according to his parents.


Berg's communications to his parents stopped on March 24 and he told them later he was jailed by Iraqi officials after being picked up at a checkpoint in Mosul.

On April 5, the Bergs filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, naming Rumsfeld and alleging their son was being held illegally by the U.S. military in Iraq. The next day, he was released.

Posted by richard at 03:09 PM

The final sentence of his memoirs completed, Bill Clinton is back, ripping into President George Bush's handling of the crisis in Iraq, and signalling that he intends to play a role in the race for the White House.

NOTE TO SEN. JOHN F. KERRY (D-MEKONG DELTA): The
propapunditgandists of the "US mainstream news media"
will spin Bill Clinton's 900 page book (yes, he really
did write it himself) as somehow damaging or a
distraction to your campaign, but you should
unreservedly, unequivocally embrace Clinton and the good
that he stands for: fiscal responsibility,
environmentalism, multilateral security relationships,
the aggressive pursuit of terrorists, international
law, full engagement in the Middle East as a fair and
honest broker, etc. Clinton's book and more
importantly Clinton's book tour will be one of your
most powerful weapons leading up to the convention. Do
not hesitate to use it. Do not make the mistake Al
Gore made in the 2000 campaign.]

Rupert Cornwell, Independent: The final sentence of
his memoirs completed, Bill Clinton is back, ripping
into President George Bush's handling of the crisis in
Iraq, and signalling that he intends to play a role in
the race for the White House. Liberated from
literature, the old master is limbering up anew for
political action. On Tuesday evening, he ripped into
his successor for neglecting the real menace of Osama
bin Laden to go after Saddam Hussein, and for
gratuitously turning world opinion against America.
"We had unanimous support for going into Afghanistan,
they [the United Nations] participated in the hunt for
Bin Laden and supported giving an ultimatum to Saddam
Hussein to open his country to weapons inspections,"
Mr Clinton told a business gathering in New York on
Tuesday night. "We were in good shape. What happened?"
What happened was the Bush team's obsession with
toppling Saddam, he claimed, regardless of the facts
about Iraq's WMD and Baghdad's non-involvement in the
11 September attacks.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=520732

He's back, and this time Clinton is getting personal about Bush
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
13 May 2004


The final sentence of his memoirs completed, Bill Clinton is back, ripping into President George Bush's handling of the crisis in Iraq, and signalling that he intends to play a role in the race for the White House.

Liberated from literature, the old master is limbering
up anew for political action. On Tuesday evening, he
ripped into his successor for neglecting the real
menace of Osama bin Laden to go after Saddam Hussein,
and for gratuitously turning world opinion against
America.

"We had unanimous support for going into Afghanistan,
they [the United Nations] participated in the hunt for
Bin Laden and supported giving an ultimatum to Saddam
Hussein to open his country to weapons inspections,"
Mr Clinton told a business gathering in New York on
Tuesday night. "We were in good shape. What happened?"

What happened was the Bush team's obsession with
toppling Saddam, he claimed, regardless of the facts
about Iraq's WMD and Baghdad's non-involvement in the
11 September attacks.

It was an unprecedented volley. Former presidents
largely follow a code that sees them keep quiet about
the performance of their successors. But Mr Clinton
appears ready to re-enter the fray and his book will
give him the platform to do so.

"I've been in writer's jail," he told his audience.
"For three months I've been reliving my life - and it
was hard enough the first time." But now, the 900-page
volume My Life is ready. In barely three weeks, the
hoopla will start, at a convention in Chicago. Then
comes a worldwide tour to accompany publication in
late June.

The early signs are that the tome will even eclipse
his wife's Living History, which broke records for
political memoirs when it hit the bookstores exactly a
year ago. The former president is receiving a larger
advance than Hillary, a rumoured $12m (£7m) compared
with $8m. The initial print run is also larger: 1.5
million against 1 million for Hillary. And, dare one
hope, it will be better-written than her pedestrian
exercise in political boilerplate.

Unlike earlier political books of 2004, by the
journalist Bob Woodward, the former intelligence chief
Richard Clarke and others, Mr Clinton's memoirs will
not dish dirt on the Bush administration. Instead, if
he is halfway true to form, it will be an opus of
self-justification. Readers looking for juicy stuff
about Monica Lewinsky are likely to be disappointed.

For students of modern history, there may be new
material about Northern Ireland and the Middle East,
in which Mr Clinton was deeply involved. There will
surely be plenty about what Hillary called the "vast
right-wing conspiracy" against her husband, including
the pseudo-scandal of Whitewater.

Some talk of "score settling". In fact, if Clinton
rather than his ghostwriter is in charge of the
narrative, the bits about his early career in Arkansas
could be the most entertaining.

But whatever the content, the mere name of its
larger-than-life author will ensure the impact of My
Life. The timing of publication has thus been crucial
- and explains why Mr Clinton's editor even took to
sleeping overnight at his home in Chappaqua, New York,
to make sure his undisciplined charge finished the
job, so the book could appear next month.

Any later, and publication might have stolen the
thunder of John Kerry's coronation at the Democratic
convention in the last week of July. Or the book could
have been delayed until after the 2 November election
- by which time the country's attentions might have
shifted to an incoming Democratic president, and
Clinton's memoirs would be ancient history.

But the deeper question is, now Bill Clinton has his
life back, what will he do with it? In 2000 Al Gore,
anxious not to be tarred with the Clinton scandals,
barely allowed his boss to put a foot on the campaign
trail. The earnest Mr Kerry, however much he risks
being lost in the Clinton dazzle, is unlikely to make
the same mistake.

The former president will not win over wavering
Republicans, for whom he is still Bubba-cum-Beelzebub.
But he remains the Democrats' brightest star, and the
party's most potent fundraiser. For African Americans
and other core constituencies, he is a talisman.
Victory in 2004, it is said, will go to the side which
most effectively gets out the vote. And no one can do
that like Bill Clinton.

But his longer-term future is a mystery. Mr Clinton is
only 57, three years younger than Mr Kerry. Thanks to
speeches at up to $100,000 a go, and now the book, the
$5m legal debts from Whitewater are a distant memory.
For the first time in his life, he is rich. But then
again, money never much interested him.

Since leaving office, he toyed with - but rejected -
offers of a talk show. He briefly had a joint TV
commentary slot with his old sparring partner Bob
Dole. It has been suggested he might be UN secretary
general, mayor of New York, global anti-Aids supremo,
or even Mr Kerry's running mate. Who knows? All that
is certain is that after the travails of authorship,
Bill Clinton is back.
13 May 2004 12:59

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Posted by richard at 02:53 PM

ALAN GREENSPAN is a gold-plated hypocrite.

The 2004 election is a national referendum on the
CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the
incredible shrinking _resident. The central issue is
SECURITY: NATIONAL SECURITY, ECONOMIC SECURITY and
ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY. Are safer today than you were
four years ago? No. And Alan Greenspan knows it.

Robert Kuttner, Boston Globe: ALAN GREENSPAN is a gold-plated hypocrite. Last week the Federal Reserve
chairman, speaking at a conference in Chicago, warned
that the endless federal deficits had become "a
significant obstacle to long-term security because the
budget deficit is not subject to correction by market
forces." What does Greenspan think caused the deficit
-- sunspots? He doesn't deign to say. But everyone
else knows. While increased military spending is part
of the story, the huge imbalances that rightly worry
the Fed chairman are mainly the predictable result of
President Bush's immense tax cuts.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0512-10.htm

Published on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 by the Boston
Globe
What Greenspan Won't Admit About Deficit
by Robert Kuttner

ALAN GREENSPAN is a gold-plated hypocrite. Last week
the Federal Reserve chairman, speaking at a conference
in Chicago, warned that the endless federal deficits
had become "a significant obstacle to long-term
security because the budget deficit is not subject to
correction by market forces." What does Greenspan
think caused the deficit -- sunspots? He doesn't deign
to say. But everyone else knows. While increased
military spending is part of the story, the huge
imbalances that rightly worry the Fed chairman are
mainly the predictable result of President Bush's
immense tax cuts.

At the time of their enactment, not only did Greenspan
fail to warn against the danger; he even gave tax cuts
his support. Greenspan's early ideological moorings as
a far-right Republican accolyte of Ayn Rand continued
to trump his current responsibilities as chief central
banker.

It's one thing to deliberately run a deficit during a
recession. It's quite another to deliberately blow a
huge hole in the government's revenue structure.
Greenspan should surely know the difference. But like
Bush, Greenspan uses the immense deficits as a
rationale to keep cutting social outlays.

The deficits are now projected at $400 billion this
year and at comparably destructive levels for the
indefinite future. The tax cuts are responsible for
more than $3 trillion in long-term revenue losses over
10 years. And Greenspan hasn't even spoken out against
the president's campaign to make the cuts permanent.

Just imagine the outcry from Greenspan, Wall Street,
and the Republican Party if these deficits had been
the result of social spending rather than tax cuts for
America's wealthiest. For half of the cost of the
projected deficits -- $200 billion a year -- we could
have universal, high-quality child care and health
insurance for all Americans. Think of that.

But if some Democratic president had managed to
persuade Congress to enact such a program, the right
would be going nuts at the fiscal irresponsibility.
Clearly the right's fiscal ethics are entirely
situational. If deficits are caused by tax cuts for
corporations and the rich, well, this is a manageable
problem that can be solved by reduced social spending.
But if deficits result from spending, Wall Street and
the right would have us believe the economy is about
to collapse.

Indeed, if the gold medal for hypocrisy goes to
Greenspan, Wall Street deficit hawks get the silver
medal. Remember the Concord Coalition -- that
bipartisan group of worthies concerned about federal
deficits? It's still there, and a few of its members
are actually principled conservatives. You just don't
hear as much from it when the deficits are Bush's.

The one recent president, of course, who took deficits
seriously was Bill Clinton. Presidents Reagan, Bush I,
and Bush II have all been all fiscally reckless. Yet
somehow the conservative press would have us believe
that it's Democrats who have to live down a reputation
of being deficit-happy.

Other notable situational ethicists who get bronze
awards for hypocrisy are deficit hawks in the
administration. The White House economic policy czar,
Steve Friedman, was a prominent investment banker and
one of Wall Street's leading critics of fiscal
imprudence. Now that he's on the inside, we haven't
heard so much as a bleat from him. If he's advising
Bush to resist tax cutting for the larger good of the
economy, he certainly is having no effect. One wonders
how Friedman can look in the mirror.

Likewise Greg Mankiw, the Harvard economist whose
best-selling textbook warns that prolonged deficits
will raise interest rates and slow economic growth. It
is a tradition that eminent economists punch their
career tickets by doing a prestigious stint at the
Council of Economic Advisers, which Mankiw chairs for
Bush. But at what cost?

It would be one thing if Mankiw were a pure technocrat
who stayed in the back rooms and crunched numbers. But
Mankiw's appointment is a political one, and part of
his job is to go out front and vouch for an
administration and policies that he knows are
deplorable.

What gets lost is the fact that taxing and spending
involve political choices. One path involves slightly
higher tax rates on America's most privileged in order
to pay for decent public services. The other path
allows the deserving rich, such as the children of the
wealthiest 2 percent of families, to forgo taxation at
the expense of needed social outlay. This is the real
national choice that is cynically obscured by the
running up of endless deficits.

Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect.

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

###

Posted by richard at 02:50 PM

This dream of engineering events in the Middle East to follow those of the Soviet Union has led to an almost unprecedented geostrategic blunder.

NOTE TO SEN. JOHN F. KERRY (D-MEKONG DELTA): Run with
him, John, run with Gen. Wesley Clark (D-NATO). We won't second-guess you, BUT a Kerry-Clark ticket underscores the Myth ("Band of
Brothers") and strengthens the Math (Electoral College
impact of Republicans and Independents)...Running with
Wes Clark provides you with an expert witness on 9/11
and Iraq, running Wes Clark sends a atrong message to
our allies (help is on the way) and to our enemies
(the party is over), running with Wes Clark let's
everyone know that you are serious, that you are
playing for keeps and that you have back-up...

Wesley Clark (D-NATO), Washington Monthly: This dream of engineering events in the Middle East to follow those of the Soviet Union has led to an almost unprecedented geostrategic blunder. One crucial reason
things went wrong, I believe, is that the
neoconservatives misunderstood how and why the Soviet
Union fell and what the West did to contribute to that
fall. They radically overestimated the role of
military assertiveness while underestimating the value
of other, subtler measures. They then applied those
theories to the Middle East, a region with very
different political and cultural conditions. The truth
is this: It took four decades of patient engagement to
bring down the Iron Curtain, and 10 years of deft
diplomacy to turn chaotic, post-Soviet states into
stable, pro-Western democracies. To achieve the same
in the Middle East will require similar engagement,
patience, and luck.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0405.clark.html

Broken Engagement: The strategy that won the Cold War could help bring democracy to the Middle East-- if only the Bush hawks understood it.

By Gen. Wesley Clark
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

During 2002 and early 2003, Bush administration
officials put forth a shifting series of arguments for
why we needed to invade Iraq. Nearly every one of
these has been belied by subsequent events. We have
yet to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq;
assuming that they exist at all, they obviously never
presented an imminent threat. Saddam's alleged
connections to al Qaeda turned out to be tenuous at
best and clearly had nothing to do with September 11.
The terrorists now in Iraq have largely arrived
because we are there, and Saddam's security forces
aren't. And peace between Israel and the Palestinians,
which prominent hawks argued could be achieved "only
through Baghdad," seems further away than ever.
Advocates of the invasion are now down to their last
argument: that transforming Iraq from brutal tyranny
to stable democracy will spark a wave of democratic
reform throughout the Middle East, thereby alleviating
the conditions that give rise to terrorism. This
argument is still standing because not enough time has
elapsed to test it definitively--though events in the
year since Baghdad's fall do not inspire confidence.
For every report of a growing conversation in the Arab
world about the importance of democracy, there's
another report of moderate Arabs feeling their
position undercut by the backlash against our
invasion. For every example of progress (Libya giving
up its WMD program), there's an instance of
backsliding (the Iranian mullahs purging reformist
parliamentarians).

What is certainly true is that any hope for a "domino
theory" rests with Iraq's actually becoming something
that resembles a stable democracy. But here, too,
there has been little progress. Despite their heroic
efforts, American soldiers have been unable to make
the country consistently stable and safe. Iraq's
various ethnic entities and political factions remain
deeply divided. Even the administration has concluded
that the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council lacks
credibility with the ordinary Iraqis it is intended to
represent. The country's reconstituted security forces
have been ineffectual--indeed, in some cases, they
have joined the armed resistance to our occupation.
The ease with which the demagogue Muqtada al-Sadr
brought thousands to the streets and effectively took
over a key city for weeks has sparked fears that an
Iranian-style theocracy will emerge in Iraq. And the
American and Iraqi civilian death tolls continue to
mount.

Whether or not you agreed with the president's
decision to invade Iraq--and I did not--there's no
doubt that America has a right and a duty to take
whatever actions are necessary, including military
action, to protect ourselves from the clear security
threats emanating from this deeply troubled part of
the world. Authoritarian rule in these countries has
clearly created fertile ground for terrorists, and so
establishing democratic governance in the region must
be seen as one of our most vital security goals. There
is good reason, however, to question whether the
president's strategy is advancing or hindering that
goal.

President Bush's approach to Iraq and to the Middle
East in general has been greatly influenced by a group
of foreign-policy thinkers whose defining experience
was as hawkish advisors to President Reagan and the
first President Bush, and who in the last few years
have made an explicit comparison between Middle
Eastern regimes and the Soviet Union. These
neoconservatives looked at the nest of problems caused
by Middle East tyranny and argued that a morally
unequivocal stance and tough military action could
topple those regimes and transform the region as
surely as they believed that Reagan's aggressive
rhetoric and military posture brought down the Soviet
Union. In a March 2002 interview on CNN, Deputy
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, one of the main
architects of the Iraq war, argued that the moral
judgment that President Bush made "very clear, crystal
clear in his State of the Union message" in which he
laid out the Axis of Evil is "exactly the same kind of
clarity, I think, that Ronald Reagan introduced in
understanding the Soviet Union." In a speech last
year, Defense Department advisor Richard Perle made
the comparison even more explicit: "I have no doubt
that [Bush] has the vision that Ronald Reagan had, and
can envision, can contemplate change on a very large
scale in Iraq and elsewhere across the region."

This dream of engineering events in the Middle East to
follow those of the Soviet Union has led to an almost
unprecedented geostrategic blunder. One crucial reason
things went wrong, I believe, is that the
neoconservatives misunderstood how and why the Soviet
Union fell and what the West did to contribute to that
fall. They radically overestimated the role of
military assertiveness while underestimating the value
of other, subtler measures. They then applied those
theories to the Middle East, a region with very
different political and cultural conditions. The truth
is this: It took four decades of patient engagement to
bring down the Iron Curtain, and 10 years of deft
diplomacy to turn chaotic, post-Soviet states into
stable, pro-Western democracies. To achieve the same
in the Middle East will require similar engagement,
patience, and luck.

Inspiring smoke screens

Just as they counseled President Bush to take on the
tyrannies of the Middle East, so the neoconservatives
in the 1980s and early 1990s advised Presidents Reagan
and George H.W. Bush to confront the Soviet Union and
more aggressively deploy America's military might to
challenge the enemy. As an Army officer in and out of
Washington, I met many who would later star in the
neoconservative movement at conferences and briefings.
They're rightly proud of serving under Ronald Reagan,
as I am. And as someone who favored a strong U.S. role
abroad, I received a good deal of sympathy from them.
As has been well documented, even before September 11,
going after Saddam had become a central issue for
them. Their Project for a New American Century seemed
intent on doing to President Clinton what the
Committee on the Present Danger had done to President
Carter: push the president to take a more aggressive
stand against an enemy, while at the same time
painting him as weak.

September 11 gave the neoconservatives the opportunity
to mobilize against Iraq, and to wrap the mobilization
up in the same moral imperatives which they believed
had achieved success against the Soviet Union. Many of
them made the comparison direct, in speeches and
essays explicitly and approvingly compared the Bush
administration's stance towards terrorists and rogue
regimes to the Reagan administration's posture towards
the Soviet Union.

For them, the key quality shared by Reagan and the
current President Bush is moral clarity. Thus, for
instance, long-time neoconservative writer and editor
Norman Podhoretz, after noting approvingly that Bush's
stark phrase "Axis of Evil" echoes Reagan's "Evil
Empire," wrote in Commentary magazine: "The rhetorical
echoes of Reagan reflected a shared worldview that
Bush was bringing up to date now that the cold war was
over. What Communism had been to Reagan in that war,
terrorism was to Bush in this one; and as Reagan had
been persuaded that the United States of America had a
mission to hasten the demise of the one, Bush believed
that we had a mission to rid the world of the other."

In the neoconservative interpretation, Reagan's moral
absolutism allowed him to take on the Soviet Union by
any means necessary: Because he recognized the supreme
danger the Soviets posed, he was willing to challenge
it with a massive military buildup. In this
understanding, the moral equivocation of Carter and
his predecessors left them satisfied with the failed,
halfway strategy of containment. Only when Reagan
changed the moral template of the conflict, their
argument goes, was America able to get past the weak
pieties of containment and rid the world of Soviet
tyranny.

Likewise, as Perle has argued, Bush's moral certainty
allowed him to recognize Islamic tyranny for what it
was (a manifestation of evil) and unfetter American
might to defeat it, which meant deploying the military
to enact regime change. "Had we settled for
containment of the Soviet Union," Perle wrote in
December 2002, "it might still be in business today.
Are we--and millions of former Soviet citizens--not
better off because the United States went beyond mere
containment and challenged the legitimacy of a
totalitarian Soviet Union? The ideological and moral
challenge to the Soviet Union that was mounted by the
Reagan administration took us well beyond containment.
If containment means that a country such as Iraq, that
is capable of doing great damage, is left unhindered
to prepare to do that damage, then we run unnecessary,
foolish and imprudent risks."

In justifying his policy towards Iraq, Bush himself
echoed Perle.

"Moral clarity," President Bush said in his 2002
commencement address to the U.S. Military Academy,
"was essential to our victory in the cold war. When
leaders like John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan refused
to gloss over the brutality of tyrants, they gave hope
to prisoners and dissidents and exiles and rallied
free nations to a great cause ... We are in a conflict
between good and evil, and America will call evil by
its name. By confronting evil and lawless regimes, we
do not create a problem, we reveal a problem." Never
mind that the regime the administration was most
intent on confronting was the one in the region that
had perhaps the least to do with the events of
September 11 or the immediate terrorist threat.

And the neoconservative goal was more ambitious than
merely toppling dictators: By creating a democracy in
Iraq, our success would, in the president's words,
"send forth the news from Damascus to Tehran--that
freedom can be the future of every nation," and Iraq's
democracy would serve as a beacon that would ignite
liberation movements and a "forward strategy of
freedom" around the Middle East.

This rhetoric is undeniably inspiring. We should have
pride in our history, confidence in our principles,
and take security in the knowledge that we are at the
epicenter of a 228-year revolution in the
transformation of political systems. But recognizing
the power of our values also means understanding their
meaning. Freedom and dignity spring from within the
human heart. They are not imposed. And inside the
human heart is where the impetus for political change
must be generated.

The neoconservative rhetoric glosses over this truth
and much else. Even aside from the administration's
obvious preference for confronting terrorism's alleged
host states rather than the terrorists themselves, it
was a huge leap to believe that establishing
democracies by force of Western arms in old Soviet
surrogate states like Syria and Iraq would really
affect a terrorist movement drawing support from
anti-Western sentiment in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and
elsewhere.

Perhaps most fundamentally, the conditions of the
Middle East today are vastly different from those
behind the Iron Curtain in 1989. And the fact is that
the Soviet Union did not fall the way the
neoconservatives say it did.

Red herring

The first thing to remember about American policy
towards the Soviet Union is that we never directly
invaded any nation under Soviet control. In the early
1950s, some in America saw the expansion of communism
as an inevitability which must not only be resisted by
force but also rolled back. And for a time during the
Eisenhower administration, there was brave rhetoric
about such an effort. Struggling resistance movements
survived from year to year in the Baltics, Romania,
and the Ukraine. And immigrant dissident groups in the
United States kept up the political pressure on
Washington to consider a more confrontational
strategy. But any real prospect of rollback died as
Soviet tanks crushed the Hungarian Revolution in 1956.


Instead, the foreign policy consensus coalesced around
containment, an idea which had been in the air since
the early post-war period, when George Kennan, then a
veteran American diplomat, published his seminal
Foreign Affairs article "The Sources of Soviet
Conduct." Kennan argued that the Soviet system
contained within it "the seeds of its own decay."
During the 1950s and 1960s, containment translated
that observation into policy, holding the line against
Soviet expansion with U.S. military buildups while
quietly advancing a simultaneous program of cultural
engagement with citizens and dissidents in countries
under the Soviet thumb.

These subtler efforts mattered a great deal. The 1975
Helsinki Accords proved to be the crucial step in
opening the way for the subsequent peaceful
democratization of the Soviet bloc. The accords,
signed by the Communist governments of the East,
guaranteed individual human and political rights to
all peoples and limited the authority of governments
to act against their own citizens. However flimsy the
human rights provisions seemed at the time, they
provided a crucial platform for dissidents such as
Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov. These dissidents,
though often jailed and exiled, built organizations
that publicized their governments' many violations of
the accords, garnering Western attention and support
and inspiring their countrymen with the knowledge that
it was possible to stand up to the political powers
that be.

With the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland in
the 1980s, it became clear once more that it would be
the demands of native peoples, not military
intervention from the West, that would extend
democracy's reach eastward. Step by step, the
totalitarian governments and structures of the East
lost legitimacy in the eyes of their own citizens and
elites. The United States and Western Europe were
engaged, of course, in assisting these indigenous
political movements, both directly and indirectly.
Western labor unions, encouraged by their governments,
aided the emergence of a democratic trade union
movement, especially in Poland. Western organizations
provided training for a generation of human-rights
workers. Western broadcast media pumped in culture and
political thought, raising popular expectations and
undercutting Communist state propaganda. And Western
businesses and financial institutions entered the
scene, too, ensnaring command economies in Western
market pricing and credit practices. The Polish-born
Pope John Paul II directed Catholic churches in
Eastern Europe and around the world to encourage their
congregants to lobby for democracy and liberal
freedoms.

Such outreach had profound effects, but only over
time. In his new book, Soft Power, the defense
strategist Joseph Nye tells the story of the first
batch of 50 elite exchange students the Soviet Union
allowed to the United States in the 1950s. One was
Aleksandr Yakovlev, who became a key advocate of
glasnost under Gorbachev. Another, Oleg Kalugin, wound
up as a top KGB official. Kalugin later said:
"Exchanges were a Trojan horse for the Soviet Union.
They played a tremendous role in the erosion of the
Soviet system...they kept infecting more and more
people over the years."

Of course, military pressure played a vital role in
making containment work. But we applied that pressure
in concert with allies in Europe. In the 1980s, for
instance, President Reagan began the deployment of
intermediate range missiles in Europe as part of NATO.
It was a political struggle in the West, but we
engaged NATO and made it work.

Rising Soviet defense spending aimed at competing with
the United States may have hastened the economic
decline in the Soviet Union, helped convince the
Russian generals that they couldn't compete with U.S.
military technology, and strengthened Gorbachev's hand
as he pushed for glasnost. But this end-game challenge
of Reagan's would have been ineffective had 40 years
of patient Western containment and engagement not
helped undermine the legitimacy of the Communist
regime in the eyes of its subjects. It was popular
discontent with economic, social, and political
progress, and people's recognition of an appealing
alternative system, that finished off the repressive
regimes of Eastern Europe, and eventually the whole
Soviet Union. No Western threat of force or military
occupation forced their collapse. Indeed, subsequent
examination by Germany's Bundeswehr has shown that the
East German military remained a disciplined conscript
organization that could have effectively responded to
Western intervention. But these governments were
unable to resist focused, strongly-articulated popular
will.

What the West supplied to the people of the East was,
as former Solidarity leader and Polish Foreign
Minister Bronislaw Geremek told me, very simple: hope.
They knew there was a countervailing force to the
occupying Soviet power which had repressed them and
subjugated their political systems. Democracy could
reemerge in Central and Eastern Europe because of a
several decades-long dance between popular resistance
and cautious Western leaders who moved ever so
carefully to provide support and encouragement without
provoking the use of repressive force by the Communist
governments in reaction or generating actual armed
conflict between East and West.

So, when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an
"Evil Empire," or stood before crowds in Berlin and
proclaimed "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," he
was reaching a receptive audience on the other side of
the wall. The neoconservatives persist in seeing a
vast difference between Reagan's policy of confronting
the Soviets and previous American administrations'
tack of containing it. In fact, it was precisely those
decades of containment and cultural engagement that
made Reagan's challenge effective.

A long way from Prague

Bush, of course, has accompanied his invasion of Iraq
with similarly bold and eloquent rhetoric about the
prospect of peace and democracy throughout the Arab
world. But it is hard to exaggerate how differently
his words and deeds have been received in the Middle
East, compared to Reagan's behind the Iron Curtain.
While heartening some advocates of democracy, Bush's
approach has provoked perhaps the fiercest and most
alarming anti-American backlash in history. To take
but one example, a March poll conducted by the Pew
Center found that the percentage of people in Muslim
countries who think suicide bombings are justified has
grown by roughly 40 percent since the American
occupation of Iraq. Even the most Western-friendly,
pro-democratic media outlets in countries such as
Jordan and Lebanon now openly question whether the
Americans are anti-Islamic crusaders bent on assisting
the Israeli occupiers of Palestine. This is a long way
from Prague, circa 1989.

The reaction of the Middle East to America's invasion
of Iraq should hardly have been surprising. Only
willful blindness could obscure the obvious fact that
the political and cultural conditions in the Middle
East are profoundly different than those in the states
of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. To one
degree or another, the values and forms of democracy
were part of the historic culture of the states of
Central and Eastern Europe: There were constitutions
and parliaments, in one form or another, in the Baltic
States, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere before
World War II. In some cases, these precedent
experiences with democracy dated back into the 19th
century.

This is evidently not the case in the Middle East. The
Enlightenment never much penetrated the Ottoman
frontiers, and so the great conflicts of faith versus
reason and the value of each individual and his
conscience which defined Western civilization were
largely screened out there. Modern states in the
Middle East emerged after the Ottoman Empire crumbled,
and except in the cases of Turkey and Lebanon, there
was nothing comparable to a Western democracy.
Instead, "state socialism" was eventually imposed upon
tribal and colonial heritages in many Arab
states--replacing the Ottoman Empire with
Western-drawn boundaries, authoritarian rulers, and,
at best, pseudo-democratic institutions. Through it
all, Islam--with its commingling of secular and
religious authorities, and the power of its mullahs
and its more fundamentalist, anti-Western
sects--remained a significant force. As the example of
Iran shows, elections and parliaments can be subverted
by other means of control.

Nor is the desire for Western culture anywhere near as
pronounced in the Middle East as it was behind the
Iron Curtain. At the height of glasnost, American
rock'n'roll bands toured the Soviet Union, playing to
sold-out arenas of fans. By contrast, even many
educated Muslims, who resent the yoke of tyranny under
which they live, find much of American culture
shocking and deplorable. Central European countries
had enjoyed a culture of secular education and Western
music and art dating at least to the late Renaissance,
privileges and luxuries that ordinary citizens fought
for centuries to gain access to. For much of the
population of Central Europe, the Soviet darkness
which descended in the late 1940s was something so
fundamentally alien to the underlying culture that its
overthrow can in hindsight be seen as close to
inevitable. In the Middle East, periods of cultural
openness can only be found in the fairly distant past.


Finally, the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe,
the Caucasus, and Central Asia felt the extra sting of
being ruled by an outside imperial force--Russia. By
contrast, the tyrants of the Middle East, like Assad
in Syria, the Al Sa'ud dynasty in Saudi Arabia and,
indeed, Saddam Hussein, are all locally grown and can
draw on some amount of nationalism for support. The
imperial powers that most residents of the Middle East
remember are, in fact, Western powers. And today's
Western governments, including the United States, have
long supported these Middle East strongmen. Whether we
should have or should continue to do so is open to
debate. What is not is that our sponsorship of these
regimes has made the citizens less willing to believe
our intentions are honorable. This is made all the
more difficult because our strongest ally in the
region, Israel, is seen by most Arabs as the enemy. It
is then perhaps not surprising that opinion poll after
opinion poll has shown that Osama bin Laden is far
more popular among potential voters in Islamic states
than George W. Bush.

Arab people power

Seeking to intervene and essentially impose a
democracy on a country without real democratic
traditions or the foundations of a pluralist society
is not only risky, it is also inherently
self-contradictory. All experience suggests that
democracy doesn't grow like this. But we are where we
are, and we must pull together to try to help this
project succeed.

First, and most obviously, we need to avoid an
impending disaster in Iraq. The current situation
there is not only alarming in itself, but may also be
creating a negative rather than positive dynamic for
democracy in the Middle East. In the short term, we
must significantly increase U.S. troop strength to
restore and maintain stability. In the medium term,
our European allies must share the burden--which will
only happen if we share decision-making with them. And
in the long term, we must draw down U.S. troops. A
massive American military presence in the heart of the
Middle East, after all, can only increase support for
terrorism and undercut the position of indigenous
pro-Western reformers.

We must also recommit ourselves to a real peace
process between Israelis and Palestinians. We should
measure success on the progress we make, not merely on
final resolution. We must also recognize that here,
the neoconservatives had it backwards: The "road to
Jerusalem" didn't run through Baghdad at all; rather,
until real progress is made towards resolving the
Israeli-Palestinian issue in a way that respects both
sides, all American efforts to work within the region
will be compromised.

Democracy and freedom have been ascendant in most
parts of the world for at least the last 15 years, and
it's hard to imagine that they aren't also destined to
take root in the Middle East. But to play a
constructive role in bringing this about, we must
understand the facts on the ground and the lessons of
history clearly. Our efforts should take into account
not just the desire for freedom of those in the Middle
East, but also their pride in their own culture and
roots and their loyalty to Islam. We should work
primarily with and through our allies, and be patient
as we were during the four decades of the Cold War.
More than anything else, we should keep in mind the
primary lesson of the fall of the Soviet Union:
Democracy can come to a place only when its people
rise up and demand it.

Instead of brandishing military force and slogans
about democracy, we must recognize what our real
strengths and limitations are. In this part of the
world, American power and rhetoric tend to produce
countervailing reactions. Demands and direct action
are appropriate in self-defense, but in a region
struggling to regain its pride after centuries of
perceived humiliation by the West, we should speak
softly whenever possible. If we really want to
encourage forms of government to emerge which we
believe will better suit our own interests, then we
have to set a powerful example and act indirectly and
patiently--even while we take the specific actions
truly necessary for our self-defense.

We should also recognize that it is not merely
democracy itself--a popular vote to elect a
government--that we seek for the Middle East, but
rather more enlightened, tolerant, and moderating
decisions and actions from governments. The tolerance,
aversion to aggression, and openness which we hope to
see emerge from a democratic transformation in the
Middle East will require much more than just censuses,
election registers, polling booths, and accurate
ballot counts. We must avoid what Fareed Zakaria calls
"illiberal democracy," governments which are elected
but which routinely ignore constitutional limits on
their power and deprive their citizens of basic rights
and freedoms. Only by creating a system of pluralistic
and overlapping structures and institutions that check
the power of their leaders can the nations of the
Middle East avoid this fate.

Any attempt to build democracy in the Islamic world
must begin by taking into account Islam itself, the
region's major source of culture, values, and law.
There has been no "Protestant reformation" within the
Muslim world. The teachings of the Koran tend to
reflect an absolutism largely left behind in the West.
When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced
that he would not accept the emergence of a theocratic
state within Iraq, he gave voice to a profound
concern: that even in Iraq, one of the more
secularized Arab states, the majority of people look
to Islam for their values and beliefs. (Indeed, Saddam
himself in his final years in power increasingly
turned to religious rhetoric to shore up support among
his impoverished people). Inevitably, any lasting
constitution there must entail compromises that
reflect popular values. Hopefully, a form of
government can emerge that reflects Islamic notions of
rights, responsibilities, and respect but that is also
representative in nature, reflects popular
sovereignty, and retains the capacity to make
pragmatic decisions.

There are, after all, some reasons to be optimistic.
One Islamic country in the Middle East that has made
the transition to democracy is Turkey. But it did not
do so overnight. After decades of tight military
supervision of the political process, during which the
United States and Western Europe embraced the country
as part of NATO and urged subtle reforms, Turkey has
only within the last few years overcome the last
obstacles to full democracy. Spurred by a broad
national desire to join the European Union, Turkish
voters approved constitutional amendments which, among
other things, separated the Turkish military from
politics, and today an avowedly democratic but openly
religious party runs the government and enjoys strong
popular support. Algeria, a country only recently
racked by fundamentalist violence, has taken tentative
steps in this direction, as have Jordan and Bahrain.

Nowhere in the Middle East has the public demand for
freedom been more striking than in Cyprus, 60 miles
from the Syrian coast. For 30 years, the Christian
Greek and Muslim Turkish sides of the island have been
divided by a 120-mile "green line," the equivalent of
the Berlin Wall. Last month, 40,000 Turkish citizens
(a fifth of the population of the Turkish portion of
the island) marched against their long-time
authoritarian leader, Rauf Denktash, in favor of a
U.N.-drafted unification plan with the Greek side.
This upwelling of popular demand was not the result of
American military action; the protests were only the
latest in a series that started long before the U.S.
invasion of Iraq. What motivated the Turkish Cypriots
was a simple desire for a better life. The Greek side
of the island will be joining the European Union next
month. Citizens on the Turkish side didn't want to be
left behind. Indeed, 65 percent of them voted for the
U.N. plan (though the Greek side rejected it). We must
do everything we can to encourage others in the Middle
East to do as the Turks of Cyprus have: to step
forward and demand change. We must strengthen the
liberal institutions in these countries and aid
embryonic pro-democracy movements, using every tool we
have and creating some new ones. In this effort, we
will have to rely heavily on the proven capacities of
groups one step removed from the U.S. government, such
as the National Endowment for Democracy, the National
Democratic Institute, and the International Republican
Institute. But I also believe there is a need for a
cabinet- or sub-cabinet level agency designed to
support and evaluate the kind of political and
economic development efforts that can prevent later
crises and conflicts. This will require substantial
budget authority as well as research, development, and
operational responsibilities.

We must also recognize that to be successful, we're
going to need our European allies. Europe is closer to
the Middle East geographically and more enmeshed with
it economically. It is home to millions of Middle
Eastern immigrants, who are a natural bridge across
the Mediterranean. It is not so strongly associated
with Israel in the minds of Arabs as we are. And yet,
its very proximity gives Europe at least as much
incentive as we have to fight terrorism and work for a
stable, democratic Middle East. This makes the Bush
administration's belittling and alienating of Europe
all the more perplexing.

With Europe as our partner, we can also think more
ambitiously and inventively than we can alone. One
possibility is to offer select Middle Eastern
countries the chance at membership in our most
valuable alliances and organizations--the incentive
that roused the Turkish Cypriots. The desire for the
benefits of joining alliances like the European Union
are there. I remember a conversation I had in 1998
with King Hassan of Morocco. He told me of his desire
to join the European Union in order to have the
European highway system extended into his country.
Realistically, neither the European Union nor NATO
will be in a position to expand for many years to
come, having recently added many new members. But it
should be possible to create adjunct regional
organizations or associate memberships, such as the
"Partnership for Peace" program that brought former
Warsaw Pact countries into NATO's orbit. Middle East
countries that sign up would get certain commercial
and security benefits in return for shouldering
responsibilities and making democratic reforms.

The Bush administration seems to understand the
potential of this approach, even as its own
unilateralist impulses undermine the possibility. Late
last year, senior administration officials began
talking about a "Greater Middle East Initiative" in
which Western nations would offer Arab and South Asian
countries aid and membership in organizations such as
the WTO in exchange for those countries' making
democratic reforms. It was exactly the right tack but
required a subtle, consensus-building approach to
implement. Yet instead of consulting with Islamic
countries and with European allies who had been making
similar plans, the administration developed the plan
all on its own, in secret, and when a copy was leaked
to the Arab press, it caused a predictable backlash.
Europeans groused and Arab leaders with no interest in
democratic reform used the fact that America had
developed the plan unilaterally as a convenient excuse
to reject it out of hand. The State Department had to
send diplomats out to do damage control so that the
president can talk about the idea in a series of
speeches next month.

We need to take the American face off this effort and
work indirectly. But there are some American faces
that can be enormously useful. Among our greatest
assets during the Cold War were immigrants and
refugees from the captive nations of the Soviet Union.
Tapping their patriotism toward America and love of
their homelands, we tasked them with communicating on
our behalf with their repressed countrymen in ways
both overt and covert, nursing hopes for freedom and
helping to organize resistance. America's growing
community of patriotic Muslim immigrants can play a
similar role. They can help us establish broader,
deeper relationships with Muslim countries through
student and cultural exchange programs and
organizational business development.

We can't know precisely how the desire for freedom
among the peoples of the Middle East will grow and
evolve into movements that result in stable democratic
governments. Different countries may take different
paths. Progress may come from a beneficent king, from
enlightened mullahs, from a secular military, from a
women's movement, from workers returning from years
spent as immigrants in Western Europe, from privileged
sons of oil barons raised on MTV, or from an
increasingly educated urban intelligentsia, such as
the nascent one in Iran. But if the events of the last
year tell us anything, it is that democracy in the
Middle East is unlikely to come at the point of our
gun. And Ronald Reagan would have known better than to
try.

Gen. Wesley Clark, U.S.A. (Ret.), was Supreme Allied
Commander, Europe, from 1997-2000, and a candidate for
the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.




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Posted by richard at 02:48 PM

May 12, 2004

Beheaded Man's Firm Was On Right-Wing 'Enemies' List

Curioser and curioser...Have you heard the hate radio shock jocks last night or today? Not only did the decapitation of Berg blow Taguba off the lead on the nightly network news broadcasts, and provide political cover for Rumsfeld and the incredible shrinking _resident, it has given these vile mini-Goebbels of the "vast reich-wing conspiracy" a way to spin the prisoner abuse scandal brought to light by Gen. Taguba, the Red Cross, Sy Hersch, the New Yorker and CBS 60 Minutes...Curioser and curiouser...

Fintan Dunne, www.breakfornews.com: The family firm of beheaded American Nick Berg, was named by a conservative website in a list of 'enemies' of the Iraq occupation. That could explain his arrest by Iraqi police --a detention which fatally delayed his planned return from Iraq and may have led directly to his death...And why he was cruelly murdered soon after that release, like many others around the world who suffer such a fate at the hands of state-condoned death squads --sometimes just hours after their release from official detention.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.breakfornews.com/NickBergEnemiesList.htm

Beheaded Man's Firm Was On Right-Wing 'Enemies' List
http://www.BreakForNews.com/NickBergEnemiesList.htm
by Fintan Dunne, Editor
BreakForNews.com EXCLUSIVE
Research by Kathy McMahon
12th May, 2004 10amET

NICK BERG

LIVE AUDIO
INTERVIEW
12th May 3pmET

Fintan Dunne
live today with
Alex Merklinger on
Mysteries of the Mind
discussing the latest
on Nick Berg case


Listen: mp3
Streaming mp3 on
Win Media Player

Duration 20 mins

The family firm of beheaded American Nick Berg, was named by a conservative website in a list of 'enemies' of the Iraq occupation. That could explain his arrest by Iraqi police --a detention which fatally delayed his planned return from Iraq and may have led directly to his death.

Nick Berg, 26 disappeared into incommunicado detention after his arrest by Iraqi police in March, 2004. He vanished again after his release 13 days later. His body was found last Saturday in Baghdad, and a video of his beheading --supposedly by a radical Islamic group-- was posted on the Internet on Tuesday.

The official story of his gruesome murder has many dubious aspects, not least the real reason why Iraqi police detained the young man at a checkpoint. New research by BreakForNews has uncovered a plausible explanation.


The FreeRepublic.com web site and forum has a reputation for right-wing views, fanatical Republicanism and relentless pro-war activism.

On 7th March, 2004, just three weeks before the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, an 'enemies' list of anti-war groups and individuals was posted on the Free Republic forum.

It began: "Here you are, FReepers. Here is the enemy."

The list had been copied from publicly available endorsements of a call to action for an imminent anniversary antiwar protest on 20th March, 2004. The protest was being organized under the banner of the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism).

Among those listed as having endorsed the call to action was this entry: "Michael S. Berg, Teacher, Prometheus Methods Tower Service, Inc."

That's Nick Berg's father, Michael who acts as business manager for his son in their family radio communications firm, Prometheus Methods Tower Service.

Both father and son cared deeply about Iraq. But they were on opposite sides of opinion on the occupation --though you would never know that from reading the New York Times.

Michael was ardently antiwar, whereas his Bush-supporting son was in favor of the war to the extent that he had already visited Iraq seeking to help with rebuilding efforts.

Just seven days after "Michael Berg" and "Prometheus Methods Tower Service" had come up on that Iraq war 'enemies' list, his son Nick Berg returned to Iraq under the business name of Prometheus Methods Tower Service.

The scene was set for tragically mistaken suspicions --which were to end in the horrifying death of an honorable and blameless American. A humanitarian who had traveled several times to Third World countries --such as Ghana, to teach villagers construction techniques.


The web traffic to the Free Republic forum --and it's forum membership-- include significant numbers of serving and former US military.

Many members take their online activism very seriously. Some delight in causing mischief for those they think are identified as "enemies."

Within minutes of getting their hands on the antiwar names, one was boasting of having contacted the military about active service personnel who were on the list:


"I forwarded the list to the ISC (the command you listed), the district officer... the district legal office and the investigative services office."

The response:

"The poor moron is not going to know what hit him. Is this being mean-spirited? NO! Someone against our military does not belong in the military!"

Another was already investigating a member of the Coast Guard on the list:

"I took a look at his yahoo and he has a site which is not real fond of the war on drugs OR the war on terrorism.... That particular coastie needs some serious trouble to come his way...."

" I spoke on the phone to a senior chief yesterday in Virginia.... [who] could not believe what the guy was doing. He was both astounded and angry. I think [he] is in for some big, big trouble."

If that list could end up on an Internet forum, then it could just as readily end up with the FBI, and eventually in the hands of those in Iraq who are keen to track or harass antiwar activists entering the country.

Alternatively, the enthusiasts on Free Republic have the contacts and the clear determination to have ensured the list quickly got to the right places.

At the time the list was posted, Nick Berg had just come back from an Iraq trip lasting from late December to Feb. 1. He had reported no problems whatsoever with Iraqi police during that visit.

Yet, within two weeks of the list being posted, Nick Berg --back in Iraq on his final fatal trip-- was reportedly detained in Mosul at an Iraqi police checkpoint. The official explanation is that authorities thought his identification might have been forged and were checking his authenticity.

But a more likely reason is that by then authorities in Iraq had discovered that a 'Berg' of Prometheus Methods Tower Service was in the country, and issued a detention instruction to Iraqi police because they misidentified Nick Berg as an antiwar activist entering Iraq to work for the 'enemy'.

That could explain why he was held incommunicado for 13 days, without recourse to a lawyer; why US officialdom was singularly unheeding of his mother's pleas; why the FBI visited his family to question them; why it took a US court order secured by the family to pressure his release.

And why he was cruelly murdered soon after that release, like many others around the world who suffer such a fate at the hands of state-condoned death squads --sometimes just hours after their release from official detention.

That's the final sordid twist in this grisly story.

If the world was an uncomplicated place, then this tale would end with the mistaken arrest of Nick Berg.

We could finish by noting that Nick's father is reportedly accusing the US government of contributing to his son's death. Unable to find work in Iraq, Nick Berg's last trip was set to be a short one. He planned to return to the US on the 30th of March.

Michael Berg charges that his son's detention until 5th April, was a violation of civil rights which fatally delayed his exit from Iraq and instead left him dangerously stranded in the middle of the explosion of violence which erupted in early April, 2004.

But there are much graver aspects to all this. Another chilling perspective is best summarized by the wry cynicism of Michael Rivero at WhatReallyHappened.com

In a commentary on the beheading of Nick Berg, Rivero writes:


"How wonderfully lucky for Bush and the NeoCons that such a great piece of pro-war distract-from-the-torture-scandal event happens at this particular moment."
Rivero's world-weary realism strikes a chord with his popular website's visitors, but will undoubtedly shock unseasoned observers. However he is far from alone in questioning the official line. Others have noted the too-white hands and military at-ease stance of the hooded captors in the video.

The killing has certainly eased the international discomfiture of the US.

The problem with assumptions that al-Queda is responsible for Berg's beheading, is that Musab al-Zarqawi is mentioned in a caption on the videotape of the killing.

Al-Zarqawi came to our attention in January, 2004 when the US military claimed to have intercepted a letter of his written to the al-Queda leadership. But the content of the letter read like a US military propaganda statement on the situation in Iraq.

In the letter al-Zarqawi wrote of Iraqis coming to welcome the US presence in Iraq, and about how al-Queda was loosing ground in it's war against the US.

In February, 2004 an article "The Zarqawi Gambit," by Greg Weiher on Counterpunch was deeply skeptical of the letter:

"..if you were Karl Rove, you couldn't design a better scenario to validate the administration's slant on the war than this. That's a good reason to maintain a healthy skepticism. In fact, there are a number of good reasons to take this story with a grain of salt (maybe a three- or four-pounder)."
The US has been keen to paint the opposition to the occupation as composed of many foreign fighters tied to al-Queda. The letter was clearly fabricated for propaganda purposes, with al-Zarqawi as it's new al-Queda star.

But if al-Zarqawi is merely a flimsy propaganda creation, then what confidence can we have in the official line that al-Zarqawi and al-Queda murdered Berg.

The only plausible alternative is a covert, black operation orchestrated as part of the seedier arm of US foreign policy --which generally only come to light when candid photographs, for example, reach the public domain.

But that's an explanation which many would reject on the grounds that no force allied to the US --no matter how black its operations-- would have members so callous as to even countenance the cold-blooded beheading of a US citizen.

However, there is a mindset amplified by war passions and found among the gung-ho brutes who beat Iraqis to death; found among the thuggish mercenary death squads who roam to slay at will; and found among the cold-blooded sociopaths who have planted bombs for political strategic reasons.

It's war. And war begets a wartime mindset.

Nick Berg's detention indicates that authorities regarded him an an antiwar activist and possibly also as an 'enemy.'

That original post on Free Republic contains a telling indication of a mindset, which in the heat of war could well kill an American it regards as the "enemy."

A mindset which has now reacted to Michael Berg's loss of his son like this:

"I wonder what he thinks about his Muslim buddies now... "

A mindset displayed by the search keywords used on Free Republic to categorize the list of antiwar supporters. The keywords are:

APPEASENIKS; DAMNCOMMIES; ENEMYWITHIN; LEFTISTS; PEACENIKS; RATS; SCUMBAGS; TRAITORS; TREASONOUSSCUM; USEFULIDIOTS; WARONTERROR


See Related:
The Sham Saddam Scam

Copyright © 2004 BreakForNews.com
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Posted by richard at 07:03 PM

Playing Bin Laden's Game: The West is losing the War on Terror on a Global Scale

The "war on terrorism" is NOT the strength of the
incredible shrinking _resident's administration, it is
the SHAME of the incredible shrinking _resident's
administraton. Are you safer today than you were four
years ago? No. The incredible shrinking _resident has
not destroyed Al Qaeda, he has succeeded in making it
almost mainstream on the Arab Street. Incredible. But
when will you hear it on the SeeBS Fork the Nation,
NotBeSeen Meat The Press or AnythingButSee Week in
Revision instead of reading it in the Guardian? It is
CONTINUITY and CONTEXT that is missing from the "US
Mainstream News Media." Al Qaeda is stronger today
than it was two years ago. Why? Richard Clark
(R-Reality) has already answered the question (under
oath): the incredible shrinking _resident's foolish
military adventure in Iraq...

Michael Meacham, Guardian: Nor has al-Qaida been
broken. US intelligence estimates that it still
operates terror cells in as many as 65 countries, with
a 50,000-strong pool of cadres from two generations of
Afghan war veterans. It is resilient for two main
reasons: it is the symbol of resistance in the Islamic
world against western domination, and it has built
strategic depth by keeping operational links with some
of the largest and deadliest Middle Eastern and Asian
terror groups. Soon after 9/11, al-Qaida had lost 16
of its 25 key leaders, but it adapted and rapidly
transformed itself into a more mobile, flexible and
elusive force than before. Despite the "war on
terror", over the past two years, in at least 18
attacks across the world, al-Qaida seems to have been
more effective than in the two years before 9/11.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0511-13.htm


Published on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 by the Guardian/UK

Playing Bin Laden's Game: The West is losing the War on Terror on a Global Scale

by Michael Meacher

Despite the revelations of torture, the US-British
policy is unchanged: see this historic struggle
through to its conclusion for the sake of democracy
and civilization; apply overwhelming force against
terrorists and extremists; and show unremitting
resolve to root out resistance wherever it is found.
Whether it is Americans in Iraq, Israelis in Palestine
or the west against al-Qaida, the approach is the
same: a policy proclaimed in the name of freedom,
tolerance and a decent world order that, ironically,
could hardly be better calculated to produce the
opposite.

The policy is lethally flawed by its unwillingness to
contemplate what lies behind the hatred: why scores of
young people are prepared to blow themselves up, why
19 highly educated young men were ready to destroy
themselves and thousands of others in the 9/11
hijackings, and why resistance is growing despite the
likelihood of insurgents being killed. To deal with
this reality, we first have to understand it.

The appeal of Osama bin Laden lies in his capacity to
radicalize and mobilize the world's Muslims. His
denunciation of the US military occupation of the holy
land of Saudi Arabia, his condemnation of repressive,
corrupt Arab states - often seen as western inspired -
his invective against US domination of the Middle East
and protection of Israel, and his capacity to fight
back have all resonated in the Arab street.

There are essentially three strategic responses to
this. One, which President Bush has come dangerously
close to voicing, is that this is a clash between
western and Muslim values. In fact, this would play
into Bin Laden's hands. He wants further attacks by
the US and its allies to draw in more Muslims and
perhaps trigger the collapse of secularist traditions
and western tendencies in the Islamic world. It would
also have a dangerous impact in western countries with
large Muslim populations.

A second approach, advocated by leading neocons,
focuses on military and economic power. The Afghan and
Iraqi wars were both geopolitical - focused on the
establishment of bases in central Asia and the Middle
East - and oil-centered (securing the two largest
remaining sources of hydrocarbons in the world). But
this again is a losing strategy. Afghanistan is
gradually slipping from US hands, with resistance
clearly mounting as the Taliban reorganize and Russian
influence steadily grows. Two years after the war is
supposed to have ended, violence still grips much of
the country and there is no sight of an Afghan army
capable of offering security.

The Iraq imbroglio is even worse. The death of more
than 10,000 civilians, with 20,000 injured and even
higher Iraqi military casualties, is exacerbated, one
year on, by the failure to deliver key public
services, the rushed disbanding of the Iraqi army,
rampant unemployment and a gratuitously heavy-handed
US military.

Nor has al-Qaida been broken. US intelligence
estimates that it still operates terror cells in as
many as 65 countries, with a 50,000-strong pool of
cadres from two generations of Afghan war veterans. It
is resilient for two main reasons: it is the symbol of
resistance in the Islamic world against western
domination, and it has built strategic depth by
keeping operational links with some of the largest and
deadliest Middle Eastern and Asian terror groups. Soon
after 9/11, al-Qaida had lost 16 of its 25 key
leaders, but it adapted and rapidly transformed itself
into a more mobile, flexible and elusive force than
before. Despite the "war on terror", over the past two
years, in at least 18 attacks across the world,
al-Qaida seems to have been more effective than in the
two years before 9/11.

Military control, despite significant successes, shows
little sign of being able to eradicate al-Qaida -
indeed, the more it is cut back, the more it springs
up elsewhere. But there is a third, alternative
approach. Above all, the political dimension must now
be given much greater prominence if the real and deep
grievances that drive al-Qaida are to be addressed.
That will undoubtedly require some contentious policy
changes to be made. In Iraq it means a clear UN
mandate to cover coalition forces and an early date
for their withdrawal. It means the US making clear
that it will not maintain a long-term de facto
occupation by retaining military bases, with effective
control over oil, security and the economy.

After America's decision to withdraw most of its
troops from Saudi Arabia, must it still permanently
station ground forces on the Arabian peninsula, or is
there some alternative for power projection and force
structure?

The al-Qaida threat will never be resolved until the
US adopts a more balanced Middle East policy and is
prepared to put the necessary pressure on Israel to
secure a viable Palestinian state. And rather than
pursue a self-defeating policy of enforced regime
change against suspect countries, it would be much
better to identify countries where conditions are
likely to encourage the proliferation of terrorism,
and to try to pre-empt this by well-structured
international economic aid programs.

These are not utopian objectives, but the US will not
budge without much more pressure from friendly
governments. Britain needs to make the case strongly
that continued British support cannot be
unconditional. Given Bush's acute concern for Tony
Blair's political survival - as revealed in Bob
Woodward's latest book - it is a message that should
be well understood in Washington.

If the road from Bali, Kikambala (in Kenya),
Casablanca, Riyadh, Jakarta, Istanbul and Madrid is
not to pass through London or Boston, those policies
would provide a much better defense than continuing to
rely exclusively on military control or advance
intelligence, vital though both are.

· Michael Meacher was UK environment minister,
1997-2003

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

###

Posted by richard at 12:34 PM

Berg family angry with American government over son's brutal death

Curioser and curioser...The story of the Al Qaeda decapitation of Nick Berg (a US citizen, wrongly detained and eventually lost by the US and its Iraqi "police") has bumbed or at least split the lead with the US prisoner abuse story in the "US Mainstream News Media," timed as it was with Gen. Taguba's testimony. It will probably provide Rumsfeld and the incredible shrinking _resident the cover they need to survive this fire storm...There are some very strange and disturbing aspects to the Berg story. Stay tuned. "There is something rotten in the state of..."

Jason Straziuso, Associated Press: Michael Berg said
he blamed the U.S. government for creating
circumstances that led to his son's death. He said if
his son hadn't been detained for so long, he might
have been able to leave the country before the
violence worsened.
"I think a lot of people are fed up with the lack of
civil rights this thing has caused," he said. "I don't
think this administration is committed to democracy."

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/all-islamicsite-side-051104,0,7401208.story?coll=ny-homepage-big-pix

Berg family angry with American government over son's brutal death

By Jason Straziuso
Of The Associated Press

May 11, 2004, 2:34 PM EDT


WEST CHESTER, Pa. | -- The family of an American
civilian shown beheaded on an Islamic militant Web
site huddled in in tears Tuesday after learning of the
existence of the graphic videotape.

The video showed Nick Berg, 26, in a staged execution
carried out by an al-Qaida affiliated group. The video
said the killing was to avenge the abuse of Iraqi
prisoners by American soldiers.

"My name is Nick Berg, my father's name is Michael, my
mother's name is Suzanne," the man said on the video
before being killed. "I have a brother and sister,
David and Sara. I live in ... Philadelphia."

Berg's family said U.S. State Department officials on
Monday had told them Berg was decapitated. The family,
though, had wanted that information to remain private.

When told about news of the Web site Nick Berg's
father, brother and sister, collapsed to the ground in
a tearful hug in their front yard.

"I knew he was decapitated before," said the father,
Michael Berg. "That manner is preferable to a long and
torturous death. But I didn't want it to become
public."

Michael Berg lashed out at the U.S. military and Bush
administration, saying his son might still be alive
had he not been detained by U.S. officials in Iraq
without being charged and without access to a lawyer.

Nick Berg, a small telecommunications business owner,
spoke to his parents on March 24 and told them he
would return home on March 30. But Berg was detained
by Iraqi police at a checkpoint in Mosul on March 24.
He was turned over to U.S. officials and detained for
13 days.

His father, Michael, said his son wasn't allowed to
make phone calls or contact a lawyer.

FBI agents visited Berg's parents in West Chester on
March 31 and told the family they were trying to
confirm their son's identity. On April 5, the Bergs
filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia,
contending that their son was being held illegally by
the U.S. military. The next day Berg was released. He
told his parents he hadn't been mistreated.

Michael Berg said he blamed the U.S. government for
creating circumstances that led to his son's death. He
said if his son hadn't been detained for so long, he
might have been able to leave the country before the
violence worsened.

"I think a lot of people are fed up with the lack of
civil rights this thing has caused," he said. "I don't
think this administration is committed to democracy."

The Bergs last heard from their son April 9, when he
said he would come home by way of Jordan.

Berg had traveled several times to Third World
countries to help spread technology, his family said.
He had previously traveled to Kenya and Ghana, where
they said he had purchased a $900 brick-making press
for a poor village, the family said.

Berg's mother, Suzanne Berg, said her son was in Iraq
to help rebuild communication antennas.

"He had this idea that he could help rebuild the
infrastructure," she said.

Michael Berg described himself as fervently anti-war,
but said his son disagreed with him.

"He was a Bush supporter," Berg said. "He looked at it
as bringing democracy to a country that didn't have
it."

Suzanne Berg said she was told her son's body would be
transported to Kuwait and then to Dover, Del. She said
the family had been trying for weeks to learn where
their son was but that federal officials had not been
helpful.

"I went through this with them for weeks," she said.
"I basically ended up doing most of the investigating
myself."
Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press


Posted by richard at 12:31 PM

Thread of Abuse Runs to the Oval Office

CBS News (at least this morning) is looking beyond the
US soldiers currently being singled out at Abu Ghraib:
"...several senators questioned whether low-ranking
soldiers would have created the sexually humiliating
scenarios by themselves."
"It implies too much knowledge of what would be
particularly humiliating to these Muslim prisoners,"
said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. "And that is why,
even though I do not yet have the evidence, I cannot
help but suspect that others were involved, that
military intelligence personnel were involved, or
people further up the chain of command."
In an interview with reporter Brian Maass of Denver
CBS station KCNC, Army Pvt. Lynndie England, a
21-year-old who is four months pregnant and features
in some of the abuse pictures, blames the abuse on
order from superior officers.
"I didn't really, I mean, want to be in any pictures,"
England said. "I was instructed by persons in higher
rank to stand there and hold this leash and look at
the camera. And they took a picture for psy-op
(psychological warfare operations). And that's all I
know."
"They'd come back and they'd look at the pictures, and
they'd state, 'Oh, that's a good tactic, keep it up.
That's working. This is working. Keep doing it. It's
getting what we need.'"

But will they follow the trail to the OSD and the White House? Because that's where it leads...Robert Scheer provides CONTEXT and CONTINUITY, will the "US
Mainstream News Media"?

Robert Scheer, www.alternet.org: I'd like to know who
was the one that was giving instructions to the
military intelligence personnel to turn up the heat,"
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the nominal head of Abu
Ghraib during the time in question, said in an
interview on NBC. Unfortunately, that question needs
to be addressed to the president of the United States.

Support Our Soldiers, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18663

SCHEER: Thread of Abuse Runs to the Oval Office

By Robert Scheer, AlterNet
May 11, 2004

Someone's lying – big-time – and neither Congress nor
the media have begun to scratch the surface. The
several low-ranking alleged sadists charged in the
Iraq torture scandal did not control the wing of the
prison in which they openly and proudly did the
devil's work.


That power was in the hands of high-ranking U.S.
military intelligence officers who established abusive
conditions that were condemned by the Red Cross in a
complaint to U.S. authorities well before the horrid
incidents that recently shocked the nation.


The Red Cross complaint – and a follow-up report that
was made available to the administration in February
and obtained by the Wall Street Journal this week –
raises the sobering possibility that these low-level
members of the military police in Iraq may be right in
claiming that they were just following orders of their
superiors.


According to the report, the organization's delegates
visited Abu Ghraib in October 2003 and witnessed "the
practice of keeping persons deprived of their liberty
completely naked in totally empty concrete cells and
in total darkness" for days.


"Upon witnessing such cases, the [Red Cross]
interrupted its visits and requested an explanation
from the authorities. The military intelligence
officer in charge of interrogation explained that this
practice was 'part of the process.'" The report said
that what Red Cross representatives saw "went beyond
exceptional cases" and was "in some cases tantamount
to torture."


The Red Cross complained directly to the authorities
at that time, two months before the now-infamous
photographs were taken.


The White House and Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld have for months stubbornly ignored and kept
from the public the conclusions of both the Red Cross
report and the even more damning internal report done
by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba for the Pentagon
in March.


The Taguba report clearly stated that the MPs had been
instructed to "set physical and mental conditions for
favorable interrogation of witnesses" and were using
sexual humiliation, attack dogs and beatings to break
prisoners.


It would appear that the Pentagon still doesn't want
to admit the seriousness of the problem, having now
assigned Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller to run Abu Ghraib
despite the fact that it was Miller who last summer
officially reported on conditions in Abu Ghraib and
seems to have enabled, if not authorized, the torture
that ensued in the autumn.


According to Taguba's report, Miller "stated that
detention operations must act as an enabler for
interrogation" and "it is essential that the guard
force be actively engaged in setting the conditions
for successful exploitation of the internees."


That would seem to support the contention of the
accused MPs that they were just doing their duty. The
Washington Post quotes an e-mail from Spc. Sabrina
Harman in which she wrote: "If the prisoner was
cooperating, then the prisoner was allowed to keep his
jumpsuit, mattress, and was allowed cigarettes on
request or even hot food. But if the prisoner didn't
give what they wanted, it was all taken away until
[military intelligence] decided. The job of the MP was
to keep them awake, make it hell so they would talk."


On Monday, President Bush reiterated his unyielding
support for Rumsfeld, even as the influential Army
Times newspaper called for heads to roll "even if that
means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of
war." The abuses of Iraqi prisoners in Baghdad are "a
failure that ran straight to the top," argued the
newspaper.


And all of this does flow from the top. With the
occupation itself built on a web of lies – that
invading Iraq was part of the war on terror, that Iraq
had threatening weapons of mass destruction, that
anybody who resisted the occupation was a "terrorist"
or "thug" – it can only be assumed that those
interrogators dealing with the nearly 50,000 Iraqi
detainees in the last year were under enormous
pressure to produce statements that fit these phony
"facts."


"I'd like to know who was the one that was giving
instructions to the military intelligence personnel to
turn up the heat," Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the
nominal head of Abu Ghraib during the time in
question, said in an interview on NBC. Unfortunately,
that question needs to be addressed to the president
of the United States.


The big lie that the United States is merely a
selfless battler against terrorists, with no other
agendas, opens the door for brutality against any who
dare resist. Bush has exercised an arrogance unmatched
by any U.S. president in a century and brandished
God's will as his carte blanche. His unilateral,
preemptive "nation-building" – and the settling of old
scores in the name of fighting terror – grants license
to treat anybody, including U.S. citizens, in a
barbaric manner that cavalierly sweeps aside all
standards of due process.


Posted by richard at 12:28 PM

Most 'Arrested by Mistake': Coalition intelligence put numbers at 70% to 90% of Iraq prisoners, says a February Red Cross report, which details further abuses.

According to the incredible shrinking _resident, we all "owe" Donald Rumsfeld "a debt of gratitude" for this...and so much more...

Bob Drogin, Los Angeles Times: Coalition military
intelligence officials estimated that 70% to 90% of
prisoners detained in Iraq since the war began last
year "had been arrested by mistake," according to a
confidential Red Cross report given to the Bush
administration earlier this year.
One man's mother was brought in, "and the policeman
threatened to mistreat her." Another detainee "was
threatened with having his wife brought in and raped."
Yet the report described a wide range of prisoner
mistreatment — including many new details of abusive
techniques — that it said U.S. officials had failed to
halt, despite repeated complaints from the
International Committee of the Red Cross.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0511-04.htm

Published on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 by the Los Angeles
Times
Most 'Arrested by Mistake': Coalition intelligence put numbers at 70% to 90% of Iraq prisoners, says a February Red Cross report, which details further abuses.

by Bob Drogin

WASHINGTON — Coalition military intelligence officials
estimated that 70% to 90% of prisoners detained in
Iraq since the war began last year "had been arrested
by mistake," according to a confidential Red Cross
report given to the Bush administration earlier this
year.

One man's mother was brought in, "and the policeman
threatened to mistreat her." Another detainee "was
threatened with having his wife brought in and raped."


Yet the report described a wide range of prisoner
mistreatment — including many new details of abusive
techniques — that it said U.S. officials had failed to
halt, despite repeated complaints from the
International Committee of the Red Cross.

ICRC monitors saw some improvements by early this
year, but the continued abuses "went beyond
exceptional cases and might be considered as a
practice tolerated" by coalition forces, the report
concluded.

The Swiss-based ICRC, which made 29 visits to
coalition-run prisons and camps between late March and
November last year, said it repeatedly presented its
reports of mistreatment to prison commanders, U.S.
military officials in Iraq and members of the Bush
administration in Washington.

The ICRC summary report, which was written in
February, also said Red Cross officials had complained
to senior military officials that families of Iraqi
suspects usually were told so little that most arrests
resulted "in the de facto 'disappearance' of the
arrestee for weeks or even months."

The report also described previously undocumented
forms of abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. In
October, for example, an Iraqi prisoner was "hooded,
handcuffed in the back, and made to lie face down" on
what investigators believe was the engine hood of a
vehicle while he was being transported. He was
hospitalized for three months for extensive burns to
his face, abdomen, foot and hand, the report added.

More than 100 "high-value detainees," apparently
including former senior officials in Saddam Hussein's
regime and in some cases their family members, were
held for five months at the Baghdad airport "in strict
solitary confinement" in small cells for 23 hours a
day, the report said.

Such conditions "constituted a serious violation" of
the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, which set
minimum standards for treatment of prisoners of war
and civilian internees, the report said. U.S.
intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the
Defense Intelligence Agency, conducted interrogations
at the site, but Army units were in charge of custody
operations, officials said Monday.

Portions of the ICRC report were published last week.
The full 24-page report, which The Times obtained
Monday, cites more than 250 allegations of
mistreatment at prisons and temporary detention
facilities run by U.S. and other occupation forces
across Iraq.

The report also referred to, but provided no details
of, "allegations of deaths as a result of harsh
internment conditions, ill treatment, lack of medical
attention, or the combination thereof."

Spokesmen at the Pentagon and at U.S. Central Command
headquarters said they had not seen the ICRC report
and could not comment on specific charges. ICRC
officials in Geneva said they regretted that the
document became public. The ICRC usually shares its
findings only with governments or other authorities to
maintain access to detainees held in conflicts around
the world.

Among the abusive techniques detailed in the report
was forcing detainees to wear hoods for up to four
consecutive days.

"Hooding was sometimes used in conjunction with
beatings, thus increasing anxiety as to when blows
would come," the report said. "The practice of hooding
also allowed the interrogators to remain anonymous and
thus to act with impunity."

In some cases, plastic handcuffs allegedly were so
tight for so long that they caused long-term nerve
damage. Men were punched, kicked and beaten with
rifles and pistols; faces were pressed "into the
ground with boots." Prisoners were threatened with
reprisals against family members, execution or
transfer to the U.S. lockup at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The report also provides new details about the
now-notorious Abu Ghraib prison, the focus of the
prisoner abuse scandal.

During a visit to the "isolation section" of Abu
Ghraib prison in October, ICRC delegates witnessed
prisoners "completely naked in totally empty concrete
cells and in total darkness, allegedly for several
consecutive days."

A military intelligence officer, who is not identified
in the report, told the ICRC monitors that such
treatment was "part of the process" in which prisoners
were given clothing, bedding, lights and toiletries in
exchange for cooperation.

The ICRC sent its report to the military police
brigade commander in charge of Abu Ghraib after the
October visit, and the commander responded Dec. 24, a
senior Pentagon official said last week. But the
Pentagon did not launch a formal investigation into
abuses at the prison until a low-ranking U.S. soldier
approached military investigators Jan. 13 and gave
them a computer disc of photos.

The ICRC report also describes torture and other
brutal practices by Iraqi police working in Baghdad
under the U.S.-led occupation.

It cites cases in which suspects held by Iraqi police
allegedly were beaten with cables, kicked in the
testicles, burned with cigarettes and forced to sign
confessions.

In June, a group of men arrested by Iraqi police
"allegedly had water poured on their legs and had
electrical shocks administered to them with stripped
tips of electrical wires," the report notes.

One man's mother was brought in, "and the policeman
threatened to mistreat her." Another detainee "was
threatened with having his wife brought in and raped."


"Many persons deprived of their liberty drew parallels
between police practices under the occupation with
those of the former regime," the report noted.

© Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times

###

Posted by richard at 12:23 PM

May 11, 2004

Army Times: A failure of leadership at the highest levels

Irony. Bitter irony. Yesterday, AFTER viewing as yet unreleased photos of war crimes perpetrated in our name, the incredible shrinking resident (with the VICE _resident close enough to pull the strings of this wooden would-be "war president") scolded us all and told us we owed "a debt of gratitude" to Donald Rumself. Today, as the HONORABLE Gen. Taguba testifies, the video taped beheading of a US citizen in Iraq has been posted Al Qaeda web site. The beheading, according to these madmen, was in retaliation for the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by the US occupation forces. Al Qaeda, of course, as apparently everyone EXCEPT the "US mainstream news media," its propapunditgandists and those who rely on them for the "news" knows, was not a force at all in Iraq PRIOR to this foolish military adventure. Bitter, bitter irony...MEANWHILE, here is a BLOCKBUSTER story, which is, of course, wholly ignored on the air waves...for the LNS, this story stands alone on this sad day...The Bush cabal has only made these madmen stronger...Do not falter on your way to the voting booth in November. It may be your last opportunity. These men, Rumsfeld, Gen. Mires, the incredible shrinking _resident and the rest of the Bush cabal, are what the Army Times calls them: MORONS. They have placed your future and the future of the children in the gravest peril...needlessly...

Army Times Editorial: But while responsibility begins with the six soldiers facing criminal charges, it extends all the way up the chain of command to the highest reaches of the military hierarchy and its civilian leadership...On the battlefield, Myers’ and Rumsfeld’s errors would be called a lack of situational awareness — a failure that amounts to professional negligence...This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability here is essential — even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2903288.php

Published: May 17, 2004

Editorial: A failure of leadership at the highest levels

Around the halls of the Pentagon, a term of caustic derision has emerged for the enlisted soldiers at the heart of the furor over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal: the six morons who lost the war.
Indeed, the damage done to the U.S. military and the nation as a whole by the horrifying photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees at the notorious prison is incalculable.

But the folks in the Pentagon are talking about the wrong morons.

There is no excuse for the behavior displayed by soldiers in the now-infamous pictures and an even more damning report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba. Every soldier involved should be ashamed.

But while responsibility begins with the six soldiers facing criminal charges, it extends all the way up the chain of command to the highest reaches of the military hierarchy and its civilian leadership.

The entire affair is a failure of leadership from start to finish. From the moment they are captured, prisoners are hooded, shackled and isolated. The message to the troops: Anything goes.

In addition to the scores of prisoners who were humiliated and demeaned, at least 14 have died in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army has ruled at least two of those homicides. This is not the way a free people keeps its captives or wins the hearts and minds of a suspicious world.

How tragically ironic that the American military, which was welcomed to Baghdad by the euphoric Iraqi people a year ago as a liberating force that ended 30 years of tyranny, would today stand guilty of dehumanizing torture in the same Abu Ghraib prison used by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen.

One can only wonder why the prison wasn’t razed in the wake of the invasion as a symbolic stake through the heart of the Baathist regime.

Army commanders in Iraq bear responsibility for running a prison where there was no legal adviser to the commander, and no ultimate responsibility taken for the care and treatment of the prisoners.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also shares in the shame. Myers asked “60 Minutes II” to hold off reporting news of the scandal because it could put U.S. troops at risk. But when the report was aired, a week later, Myers still hadn’t read Taguba’s report, which had been completed in March. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also failed to read the report until after the scandal broke in the media.

By then, of course, it was too late.

Myers, Rumsfeld and their staffs failed to recognize the impact the scandal would have not only in the United States, but around the world.

If their staffs failed to alert Myers and Rumsfeld, shame on them. But shame, too, on the chairman and secretary, who failed to inform even President Bush.

He was left to learn of the explosive scandal from media reports instead of from his own military leaders.

On the battlefield, Myers’ and Rumsfeld’s errors would be called a lack of situational awareness — a failure that amounts to professional negligence.

To date, the Army has moved to court-martial the six soldiers suspected of abusing Iraqi detainees and has reprimanded six others.

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who commanded the MP brigade that ran Abu Ghraib, has received a letter of admonishment and also faces possible disciplinary action.

That’s good, but not good enough.

This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability here is essential — even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.

— Military Times editorial, May 17 issue

Published: May 17, 2004

Editorial: A failure of leadership at the highest levels

Around the halls of the Pentagon, a term of caustic derision has emerged for the enlisted soldiers at the heart of the furor over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal: the six morons who lost the war.
Indeed, the damage done to the U.S. military and the nation as a whole by the horrifying photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees at the notorious prison is incalculable.

But the folks in the Pentagon are talking about the wrong morons.

There is no excuse for the behavior displayed by soldiers in the now-infamous pictures and an even more damning report by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba. Every soldier involved should be ashamed.

But while responsibility begins with the six soldiers facing criminal charges, it extends all the way up the chain of command to the highest reaches of the military hierarchy and its civilian leadership.

The entire affair is a failure of leadership from start to finish. From the moment they are captured, prisoners are hooded, shackled and isolated. The message to the troops: Anything goes.

In addition to the scores of prisoners who were humiliated and demeaned, at least 14 have died in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army has ruled at least two of those homicides. This is not the way a free people keeps its captives or wins the hearts and minds of a suspicious world.

How tragically ironic that the American military, which was welcomed to Baghdad by the euphoric Iraqi people a year ago as a liberating force that ended 30 years of tyranny, would today stand guilty of dehumanizing torture in the same Abu Ghraib prison used by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen.

One can only wonder why the prison wasn’t razed in the wake of the invasion as a symbolic stake through the heart of the Baathist regime.

Army commanders in Iraq bear responsibility for running a prison where there was no legal adviser to the commander, and no ultimate responsibility taken for the care and treatment of the prisoners.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also shares in the shame. Myers asked “60 Minutes II” to hold off reporting news of the scandal because it could put U.S. troops at risk. But when the report was aired, a week later, Myers still hadn’t read Taguba’s report, which had been completed in March. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also failed to read the report until after the scandal broke in the media.

By then, of course, it was too late.

Myers, Rumsfeld and their staffs failed to recognize the impact the scandal would have not only in the United States, but around the world.

If their staffs failed to alert Myers and Rumsfeld, shame on them. But shame, too, on the chairman and secretary, who failed to inform even President Bush.

He was left to learn of the explosive scandal from media reports instead of from his own military leaders.

On the battlefield, Myers’ and Rumsfeld’s errors would be called a lack of situational awareness — a failure that amounts to professional negligence.

To date, the Army has moved to court-martial the six soldiers suspected of abusing Iraqi detainees and has reprimanded six others.

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who commanded the MP brigade that ran Abu Ghraib, has received a letter of admonishment and also faces possible disciplinary action.

That’s good, but not good enough.

This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability here is essential — even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.

— Military Times editorial, May 17 issue

Posted by richard at 01:25 PM

May 10, 2004

Eisner's Fantasyland Excuse for Censorship

Here's the truth about AnythingButSee from F.A.I.R.
BTW, at this hour, AnythingButSee's lead story reads: "Rule of Law -- President Bush endorsed Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, saying he's doing a "superb job." He added that America is "squarely" facing fallout from the "cruel and disgraceful" abuse of Iraqi prisoners."
Well, OK, all we can say is "Long Live Big Brother!"
(Psst, It's the Media, Stupid.)

www.FAIR.org: Almost all of Disney's major talk radio stations-- WABC in New York, WMAL in D.C., WLS in Chicago, WBAP in Dallas/Ft. Worth and KSFO in San Francisco-- broadcast Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Indeed, WABC is considered the home station for both of these shows, which promote an unremitting Republican political agenda. (Disney's KABC in L.A. carries Hannity, but has Bill O'Reilly instead of Limbaugh.) Disney's news/talk stations are dominated by a variety of other partisan Republican hosts, both local and national, including Laura Ingraham, Larry Elder and Matt Drudge.
Disney's Family Channel carries Pat Robertson's 700 Club, which routinely equates Christianity with Republican causes. After the September 11 attacks, Robertson's guest Jerry Falwell (9/13/01) blamed the attacks on those who "make God mad": "the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America." Robertson's response was, "I totally concur." It's hard to imagine that anything in Moore's film will be more controversial than that.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.fair.org/activism/disney-moore-update.html

FAIR Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting 112 W. 27th Street New York, NY 10001
ACTIVISM UPDATE:
Eisner's Fantasyland Excuse for Censorship


May 7, 2004

On the television network that his company owns, Disney CEO Michael Eisner dismissed the idea that forbidding Disney subsidiary Miramax to distribute a controversial new documentary by Michael Moore was a form of censorship. "We informed both the agency that represented the film and all of our companies that we just didn't want to be in the middle of a politically-oriented film during an election year," he told ABC World News Tonight (5/5/04), referring to Moore's Fahrenheit 911, which examines the connections between the Bush family and the House of Saud that rules Saudi Arabia.

On its face, Eisner's statement will have a chilling effect. A major movie studio with an announced policy of only releasing apolitical films, in an election year or any other year, will discourage filmmakers from tackling important themes and impoverish the American political debate. (That Moore and Miramax were given advance warning of this policy hardly mitigates its censorious impact.)

But Eisner's statement cannot be taken at face value, because Disney, through its various subsidiaries, is one of the largest distributors of political, often highly partisan media content in the country-- virtually all of it right-wing. Consider:


Almost all of Disney's major talk radio stations-- WABC in New York, WMAL in D.C., WLS in Chicago, WBAP in Dallas/Ft. Worth and KSFO in San Francisco-- broadcast Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Indeed, WABC is considered the home station for both of these shows, which promote an unremitting Republican political agenda. (Disney's KABC in L.A. carries Hannity, but has Bill O'Reilly instead of Limbaugh.) Disney's news/talk stations are dominated by a variety of other partisan Republican hosts, both local and national, including Laura Ingraham, Larry Elder and Matt Drudge.

Disney's Family Channel carries Pat Robertson's 700 Club, which routinely equates Christianity with Republican causes. After the September 11 attacks, Robertson's guest Jerry Falwell (9/13/01) blamed the attacks on those who "make God mad": "the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America." Robertson's response was, "I totally concur." It's hard to imagine that anything in Moore's film will be more controversial than that.

Disney's ABC News prominently features John Stossel, who, though not explicitly partisan, advocates for a conservative philosophy in almost all his work: "It is my job to explain the beauties of the free market," he has explained (Oregonian, 10/26/94). No journalist is allowed to advocate for a balancing point of view on ABC's news programs.
Given the considerable amount of right-wing material distributed by Disney, much of it openly promoting Republican candidates and issues, it's impossible to believe that Disney is preventing Miramax from distributing Fahrenheit 911 because, as a Disney executive told the New York Times (5/5/04), "It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle." Disney, in fact, makes a great deal of money off of highly charged partisan political battles, although it generally provides access to only one side of the war.

So what is the real reason it won't distribute Moore's movie? The explanation that Moore's agent said he was offered by Eisner-- that Disney was afraid of losing tax breaks from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush-- is more persuasive than Eisner's obviously false public rationale. But more relevant may be Disney's financial involvement with a member of the same Saudi family whose connections to the Bush dynasty are investigated by Moore. Prince Al-Walid bin Talal, a billionaire investor who is a grandson of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, became a major investor in Disney's Eurodisney theme park when it was in financial trouble, and may be asked to bail out the troubled project again.

It's not unprecedented for Disney to respond favorably to a political request from its Saudi business partner; when Disney's EPCOT Center planned to describe Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in an exhibit on Israeli culture, Al-Walid says that he had personally asked Eisner to intervene in the decision. That same week, Disney announced that the pavilion would not refer to Jerusalem as Israel's capital (BBC, 9/14/99).

Whatever the true motive of Disney's decision to reject Moore's film, it's not the one that Eisner and other company spokespersons are advancing in public. Journalists covering the issue should go beyond Disney's transparent PR stance and explore the real motivations involved.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

See the original action alert, "Michael Moore Film Faces Disney Censorship" at http://www.fair.org/activism/disney-moore.html .

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Posted by richard at 11:42 AM

A senior general at the Pentagon tells the Washington Post he believes the United States is on the path to defeat – and Rumsfeld and his advisers are to blame.

How they ran against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the
Carolina primary should have told the "US Mainstream
News Media" and its propapunditgandists a lot. How
they came to power thru Fraudida and Supreme InJustice
should have told the "US Mainstream News Media" and
its propapunditgandists a lot. How they folded their
arms and did nothing during the phoney "California
energy crisis" should have told the "US Mainstream
News Media" and its propapunditgandists a lot. What
was revealed about Kenny Boy Lay and Enron should have
told the "US Mainstream News Media" and its
propapunditgandists a lot. The gutting of the Federal
surplus for a inappropriate, ill-timed tax cut for the
wealthiest of the wealthiest should have the "US
Mainstream News Media" and its propapunditgandists a
lot. How they blew off the Hart-Rudman commission, and
drove FBI counterterror expert John O'Neill out of the
government, and then fought the 9/11 Commission and
insisted on the 28 blanked out pages from the
Congressional 9/11 report should have told the "US
Mainstream News Media" and its propapunditgandists a
lot. How they have fought every important request from
the 9/11 Commission, despite the pleading of the 9/11
families, should have told the "US Mainstream News
Media" and its propapunditgandists a lot. How they
went to war unilaterally and pre-emptively without our
allies,on a pretext of lies and in contempt of
international law and the UN Security Council should
have told the "US Mainstream News Media" and its
propapunditgandists a lot. But the "US mainstream news
media" and its propapunditgandists kept carrying their
filthy water for them. Precious military and
intelligence resources that should have been focused
on Osama bin Laden have been squandered in Iraq. Not
even the deaths of over 700 US soldiers in this
foolish military adventure turned the "US
mainstream news media" and its propapunditgandists
against them. Not even the published denunciations of
Richard Clark (R-Reality), Paul O'Neill (R-Alcoa),
Joseph Wilson (R-Niger) and many other brave public
servants turned the "US mainstream news media" against
them. Have the war crimes and perversion perpetrated
at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere turned them against
the Bush Cabal? Maybe, maybe not. Will they
ask how high it goes? Will they bring every White
House press briefing to a standstill with peircing
questions about Abu Ghraib, the chain of command, the
cover-up and oh yes even more importantly will they
ask tenacious questions about the DAMNING statements
of high-ranking US military officers concerning the
facts on the ground in Iraq? Even now less ink and
less air waves have been spent on the Bush Cabal's
glaring INCOMPETENCE, disturbing CHARACTER and
utter lack of CREDIBILITY than on Monica Lewinsky's
blue dress. IF the "US mainstream news media" had lived
up to its responsibilities months or years ago, by
leveling with the US electorate about the kind of
people that had seized power, how they had seized
power and what they were even then signaling that they
were going to do with it, many hundreds of US soldiers
would be alive, tens of thousands of Iraqs would be
alive, and yes, even the three thousand victims of
9/11 itself as well as tens of thousands of Afghanis
killed in the aftermath might well be alive.
Here is yesterday's news. DON'T BOTHER TO CLICK ON THE
URL BECAUSE THE STORY HAS ALREADY BEEN RE-WRITTEN...Go
look at the web sites of the major networks news
organizations. Where are the explosive story lines
brought together in this CBS News posting from just last night?
Where is the Army Times editorial? Where is there any discussion of the "senior general" who told the WASHPs we are on the verge of DEFEAT in Iraq? What is happening in this country? Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) draws a powerful and explosive contrast between himself and the incredible shrinking _resident but you don't get to hear it. You only hear propapunditgandists saying, "Why isn't Kerry saying anything?" Remember, 2+2=4...

CBS News: A senior general at the Pentagon tells the Washington Post he believes the United States is on the path to defeat – and Rumsfeld and his advisers are to blame. The Post reports great anger is building at Rumsfeld and his top advisers among career Army officers.
“The current OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense]
refused to listen or adhere to military advice," the
general said on the condition his name not be used, in
part out of fear of punishment. "It is doubtful we can
go on much longer like this," he added. "The American
people may not stand for it - and they should not."
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Times, the
civilian-owned trade papers of the military sold at
every U.S. military installation, accuse Rumsfeld and
Myers of professional negligence in their handling of
Iraqi detainees in a new editorial. “Accountability
here is essential - even if that means relieving top
leaders from duty in a time of war.”

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/09/iraq/main616398.shtml?cmp=EM8707

‘On The Edge’ In Iraq
May 9, 2004

A senior general and a Republican senator say the
United States could lose in Iraq, and are pointing the
finger at Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

“I think we are right on the edge in Iraq right now,”
says Sen. Chuck Hagel.

Rumsfeld and his staff didn’t listen to military
planners, and now the United States is “in a mess,”
the Nebraska Republican said on CBS News’ Face The
Nation.

“What is our policy? What are we doing? What is the
possibility of us winning? That's all still in
question,” said Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee. “I think it's still in question
whether Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and, quite
frankly, General [Richard] Myers, [the chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff,] can command the respect and
the trust and the confidence of the military of the
American people to lead this country.”

A senior general at the Pentagon tells the Washington
Post he believes the United States is on the path to
defeat – and Rumsfeld and his advisers are to blame.
The Post reports great anger is building at Rumsfeld
and his top advisers among career Army officers.

“The current OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense]
refused to listen or adhere to military advice," the
general said on the condition his name not be used, in
part out of fear of punishment. "It is doubtful we can
go on much longer like this," he added. "The American
people may not stand for it - and they should not."

The top U.S. commander in the war told the Post that
the United States is winning tactically. However, Army
Gen. John Abizaid stopped short of projecting an
overall victory. Rather, he said, "strategically, I
think there are opportunities."

The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Times, the
civilian-owned trade papers of the military sold at
every U.S. military installation, accuse Rumsfeld and
Myers of professional negligence in their handling of
Iraqi detainees in a new editorial. “Accountability
here is essential - even if that means relieving top
leaders from duty in a time of war.”

Earlier in the week, a senior State Department
official indicated that Secretary of State Colin
Powell repeatedly warned the Pentagon about the
treatment of detainees, but to no avail.

Sen. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign
Relations Committee, called for Rumsfeld’s resignation
on Face The Nation and warned the United States would
“lose Iraq” unless the Bush administration shifts
gears and starts working closely with the United
Nations and other countries.

Democrats John Kerry, House minority leader Nancy
Pelosi, and Sen. Tom Harkin have also called for
Rumsfeld’s resignation.

President Bush has supported Rumsfeld, saying last
week, "He'll stay in my Cabinet." Mr. Bush ordered his
press staff to squelch chatter about Rumsfeld getting
fired, Newsweek reports. But the president and
Rumsfeld are "not buddies," a senior administration
official tells Newsweek, and if Rumsfeld hurts the
president’s re-election chances, those orders could
change.

Sen. John McCain says it’s too early to call for
Rumsfeld’s resignation, but he did not rule out the
idea.

The former prisoner of war was among the most forceful
interrogators of Rumsfeld at a Senate hearing last
week that examined reports of abuse of Iraqi
prisoners.

The Arizona Republican pressed Rumsfeld to lay out the
line of authority through which procedural rules were
laid down. When Rumsfeld started to say the documents
were left at the Pentagon, McCain interrupted, told
Rumsfeld a telephone call could get the information,
and said: “You have to answer this question.”

McCain said on a Sunday morning talk show that he
still has no answers to all the questions he asked but
said it would be premature to demand Rumsfeld's
resignation.

“I did not get answers to some fundamental, and
perhaps, the fundamental aspect of this, and that is,
what was the chain of command that allowed the abuse
at Abu Ghraib to occur?”

“We can make a much better judgment after we have
gotten a lot of the answers,” McCain said, “but I
certainly think it would be terribly premature to call
for his resignation at this time.”

©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,
or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to
this report.

Posted by richard at 10:44 AM

The official chain of command flows from General Sanchez, in Iraq, to Abizaid, and on to Rumsfeld and President Bush. “You’ve got to match action, or nonaction, with interests,” the Pentagon official said. “What is the motive for not being forthcoming? Th

The Emperor has no uniform...

Seymour M. Hersh, New Yorker: The Pentagon official
told me that many senior generals believe that, along
with the civilians in Rumsfeld’s office, General
Sanchez and General John Abizaid, who is in charge of
the Central Command, in Tampa, Florida, had done their
best to keep the issue quiet in the first months of
the year. The official chain of command flows from General Sanchez, in Iraq, to Abizaid, and on to Rumsfeld and President Bush. “You’ve got to match action, or nonaction, with interests,” the Pentagon official said. “What is the motive for not being forthcoming? They foresaw major diplomatic problems.”

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040517fa_fact2

May 10, 2004 | home

CHAIN OF COMMAND
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
How the Department of Defense mishandled the disaster
at Abu Ghraib.
Issue of 2004-05-17
Posted 2004-05-09
In his devastating report on conditions at Abu Ghraib
prison, in Iraq, Major General Antonio M. Taguba
singled out only three military men for praise. One of
them, Master-at-Arms William J. Kimbro, a Navy dog
handler, should be commended, Taguba wrote, because he
“knew his duties and refused to participate in
improper interrogations despite significant pressure
from the MI”—military intelligence—“personnel at Abu
Ghraib.” Elsewhere in the report it became clear what
Kimbro would not do: American soldiers, Taguba said,
used “military working dogs to frighten and intimidate
detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance
actually biting a detainee.”

Taguba’s report was triggered by a soldier’s decision
to give Army investigators photographs of the sexual
humiliation and abuse of prisoners. These images were
first broadcast on “60 Minutes II” on April 28th.
Seven enlisted members of the 372nd Military Police
Company of the 320th Military Police Battalion, an
Army reserve unit, are now facing prosecution, and six
officers have been reprimanded. Last week, I was given
another set of digital photographs, which had been in
the possession of a member of the 320th. According to
a time sequence embedded in the digital files, the
photographs were taken by two different cameras over a
twelve-minute period on the evening of December 12,
2003, two months after the military-police unit was
assigned to Abu Ghraib.


An Iraqi prisoner and American military dog handlers.
Other photographs show the Iraqi on the ground,
bleeding.
One of the new photographs shows a young soldier,
wearing a dark jacket over his uniform and smiling
into the camera, in the corridor of the jail. In the
background are two Army dog handlers, in full
camouflage combat gear, restraining two German
shepherds. The dogs are barking at a man who is partly
obscured from the camera’s view by the smiling
soldier. Another image shows that the man, an Iraqi
prisoner, is naked. His hands are clasped behind his
neck and he is leaning against the door to a cell,
contorted with terror, as the dogs bark a few feet
away. Other photographs show the dogs straining at
their leashes and snarling at the prisoner. In
another, taken a few minutes later, the Iraqi is lying
on the ground, writhing in pain, with a soldier
sitting on top of him, knee pressed to his back. Blood
is streaming from the inmate’s leg. Another photograph
is a closeup of the naked prisoner, from his waist to
his ankles, lying on the floor. On his right thigh is
what appears to be a bite or a deep scratch. There is
another, larger wound on his left leg, covered in
blood.

There is at least one other report of violence
involving American soldiers, an Army dog, and Iraqi
citizens, but it was not in Abu Ghraib. Cliff Kindy, a
member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, a
church-supported group that has been monitoring the
situation in Iraq, told me that last November G.I.s
unleashed a military dog on a group of civilians
during a sweep in Ramadi, about thirty miles west of
Fallujah. At first, Kindy told me, “the soldiers went
house to house, and arrested thirty people.” (One of
them was Saad al-Khashab, an attorney with the
Organization for Human Rights in Iraq, who told Kindy
about the incident.) While the thirty detainees were
being handcuffed and laid on the ground, a firefight
broke out nearby; when it ended, the Iraqis were
shoved into a house. Khashab told Kindy that the
American soldiers then “turned the dog loose inside
the house, and several people were bitten.” (The
Defense Department said that it was unable to comment
about the incident before The New Yorker went to
press.)

When I asked retired Major General Charles Hines, who
was commandant of the Army’s military-police school
during a twenty-eight-year career in military law
enforcement, about these reports, he reacted with
dismay. “Turning a dog loose in a room of people?
Loosing dogs on prisoners of war? I’ve never heard of
it, and it would never have been tolerated,” Hines
said. He added that trained police dogs have long been
a presence in Army prisons, where they are used for
sniffing out narcotics and other contraband among the
prisoners, and, occasionally, for riot control. But,
he said, “I would never have authorized it for
interrogating or coercing prisoners. If I had, I’d
have been put in jail or kicked out of the Army.”

The International Red Cross and human-rights groups
have repeatedly complained during the past year about
the American military’s treatment of Iraqi prisoners,
with little success. In one case, disclosed last month
by the Denver Post, three Army soldiers from a
military-intelligence battalion were accused of
assaulting a female Iraqi inmate at Abu Ghraib. After
an administrative review, the three were fined “at
least five hundred dollars and demoted in rank,” the
newspaper said.

Army commanders had a different response when, on
January 13th, a military policeman presented Army
investigators with a computer disk containing graphic
photographs. The images were being swapped from
computer to computer throughout the 320th Battalion.
The Army’s senior commanders immediately understood
they had a problem—a looming political and
public-relations disaster that would taint America and
damage the war effort.

One of the first soldiers to be questioned was Ivan
Frederick, the M.P. sergeant who was in charge of a
night shift at Abu Ghraib. Frederick, who has been
ordered to face a court-martial in Iraq for his role
in the abuse, kept a running diary that began with a
knock on his door by agents of the Army’s Criminal
Investigations Division (C.I.D.) at two-thirty in the
morning on January 14th. “I was escorted . . . to the
front door of our building, out of sight from my
room,” Frederick wrote, “while . . . two unidentified
males stayed in my room. ‘Are they searching my
room?’” He was told yes. Frederick later formally
agreed to permit the agents to search for cameras,
computers, and storage devices.

On January 16th, three days after the Army received
the pictures, Central Command issued a blandly worded,
five-sentence press release about an investigation
into the mistreatment of prisoners. Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld said last week that it was
then that he learned of the allegations. At some point
soon afterward, Rumsfeld informed President Bush. On
January 19th, Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez,
the officer in charge of American forces in Iraq,
ordered a secret investigation into Abu Ghraib. Two
weeks later, General Taguba was ordered to conduct his
inquiry. He submitted his report on February 26th. By
then, according to testimony before the Senate last
week by General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, people “inside our building” had
discussed the photographs. Myers, by his own account,
had still not read the Taguba report or seen the
photographs, yet he knew enough about the abuses to
persuade “60 Minutes II” to delay its story.

At a Pentagon news conference last week, Rumsfeld and
Marine General Peter Pace, the Vice-Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, insisted that the investigation
into Abu Ghraib had moved routinely through the chain
of command. If the Army had been slow, it was because
of built-in safeguards. Pace told the journalists,
“It’s important to know that as investigations are
completed they come up the chain of command in a very
systematic way. So that the individual who reports in
writing [sends it] up to the next level commander. But
he or she takes time, a week or two weeks, three
weeks, whatever it takes, to read all of the
documentation, get legal advice [and] make the
decisions that are appropriate at his or her level. .
. . That way everyone’s rights are protected and we
have the opportunity systematically to take a look at
the entire process.”

In interviews, however, retired and active-duty
officers and Pentagon officials said that the system
had not worked. Knowledge of the nature of the
abuses—and especially the politically toxic
photographs—had been severely, and unusually,
restricted. “Everybody I’ve talked to said, ‘We just
didn’t know’—not even in the J.C.S.,” one
well-informed former intelligence official told me,
emphasizing that he was referring to senior officials
with whom such allegations would normally be shared.
“I haven’t talked to anybody on the inside who
knew—nowhere. It’s got them scratching their heads.” A
senior Pentagon official said that many of the senior
generals in the Army were similarly out of the loop on
the Abu Ghraib allegations.

Within the Pentagon, there was a spate of
fingerpointing last week. One top general complained
to a colleague that the commanders in Iraq should have
taken C4, a powerful explosive, and blown up Abu
Ghraib last spring, with all of its “emotional
baggage”—the prison was known for its brutality under
Saddam Hussein—instead of turning it into an American
facility. “This is beyond the pale in terms of lack of
command attention,” a retired major general told me,
speaking of the abuses at Abu Ghraib. “Where were the
flag officers? And I’m not just talking about a
one-star,” he added, referring to Brigadier General
Janis Karpinski, the commander at Abu Ghraib who was
relieved of duty. “This was a huge leadership
failure.”

The Pentagon official told me that many senior
generals believe that, along with the civilians in
Rumsfeld’s office, General Sanchez and General John
Abizaid, who is in charge of the Central Command, in
Tampa, Florida, had done their best to keep the issue
quiet in the first months of the year. The official
chain of command flows from General Sanchez, in Iraq,
to Abizaid, and on to Rumsfeld and President Bush.
“You’ve got to match action, or nonaction, with
interests,” the Pentagon official said. “What is the
motive for not being forthcoming? They foresaw major
diplomatic problems.”

Secrecy and wishful thinking, the Pentagon official
said, are defining characteristics of Rumsfeld’s
Pentagon, and shaped its response to the reports from
Abu Ghraib. “They always want to delay the release of
bad news—in the hope that something good will break,”
he said. The habit of procrastination in the face of
bad news led to disconnects between Rumsfeld and the
Army staff officers who were assigned to planning for
troop requirements in Iraq. A year ago, the Pentagon
official told me, when it became clear that the Army
would have to call up more reserve units to deal with
the insurgency, “we had call-up orders that languished
for thirty or forty days in the office of the
Secretary of Defense.” Rumsfeld’s staff always seemed
to be waiting for something to turn up—for the problem
to take care of itself, without any additional troops.
The official explained, “They were hoping that they
wouldn’t have to make a decision.” The delay meant
that soldiers in some units about to be deployed had
only a few days to prepare wills and deal with other
family and financial issues.

The same deliberate indifference to bad news was
evident in the past year, the Pentagon official said,
when the Army conducted a series of elaborate war
games. Planners would present best-case,
moderate-case, and worst-case scenarios, in an effort
to assess where the Iraq war was headed and to
estimate future troop needs. In every case, the number
of troops actually required exceeded the worst-case
analysis. Nevertheless, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
civilian officials in the Pentagon continued to insist
that future planning be based on the most optimistic
scenario. “The optimistic estimate was that at this
point in time”—mid-2004—“the U.S. Army would need only
a handful of combat brigades in Iraq,” the Pentagon
official said. “There are nearly twenty now, with the
international coalition drying up. They were wildly
off the mark.” The official added, “From the
beginning, the Army community was saying that the
projections and estimates were unrealistic.” Now, he
said, “we’re struggling to maintain a hundred and
thirty-five thousand troops while allowing soldiers
enough time back home.”

In his news conference last Tuesday, Rumsfeld, when
asked whether he thought the photographs and stories
from Abu Ghraib were a setback for American policy in
Iraq, still seemed to be in denial. “Oh, I’m not one
for instant history,” he responded. By Friday,
however, with some members of Congress and with
editorials calling for his resignation, Rumsfeld
testified at length before House and Senate committees
and apologized for what he said was “fundamentally
un-American” wrongdoing at Abu Ghraib. He also warned
that more, and even uglier, disclosures were to come.
Rumsfeld said that he had not actually looked at any
of the Abu Ghraib photographs until some of them
appeared in press accounts, and hadn’t reviewed the
Army’s copies until the day before. When he did, they
were “hard to believe,” he said. “There are other
photos that depict . . . acts that can only be
described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman.”
Later, he said, “It’s going to get still more
terrible, I’m afraid.” Rumsfeld added, “I failed to
recognize how important it was.”

NBC News later quoted U.S. military officials as
saying that the unreleased photographs showed American
soldiers “severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to
death, having sex with a female Iraqi prisoner, and
‘acting inappropriately with a dead body.’ The
officials said there also was a videotape, apparently
shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping
young boys.”

No amount of apologetic testimony or political spin
last week could mask the fact that, since the attacks
of September 11th, President Bush and his top aides
have seen themselves as engaged in a war against
terrorism in which the old rules did not apply. In the
privacy of his office, Rumsfeld chafed over what he
saw as the reluctance of senior Pentagon generals and
admirals to act aggressively. By mid-2002, he and his
senior aides were exchanging secret memorandums on
modifying the culture of the military leaders and
finding ways to encourage them “to take greater
risks.” One memo spoke derisively of the generals in
the Pentagon, and said, “Our prerequisite of
perfection for ‘actionable intelligence’ has paralyzed
us. We must accept that we may have to take action
before every question can be answered.” The Defense
Secretary was told that he should “break the
‘belt-and-suspenders’ mindset within today’s military
. . . we ‘over-plan’ for every contingency. . . . We
must be willing to accept the risks.” With operations
involving the death of foreign enemies, the memo went
on, the planning should not be carried out in the
Pentagon: “The result will be decision by committee.”

The Pentagon’s impatience with military protocol
extended to questions about the treatment of prisoners
caught in the course of its military operations. Soon
after 9/11, as the war on terror got under way, Donald
Rumsfeld repeatedly made public his disdain for the
Geneva conventions. Complaints about America’s
treatment of prisoners, Rumsfeld said in early 2002,
amounted to “isolated pockets of international
hyperventilation.”

The effort to determine what happened at Abu Ghraib
has evolved into a sprawling set of related
investigations, some of them hastily put together,
including inquiries into twenty-five suspicious
deaths. Investigators have become increasingly
concerned with the role played not only by military
and intelligence officials but also by C.I.A. agents
and private-contract employees. In a statement, the
C.I.A. acknowledged that its Inspector General had an
investigation under way into abuses at Abu Ghraib,
which extended to the death of a prisoner. A source
familiar with one of the investigations told me that
the victim was the man whose photograph, which shows
his battered body packed in ice, has circulated around
the world. A Justice Department prosecutor has been
assigned to the case. The source also told me that an
Army intelligence operative and a judge advocate
general were seeking, through their lawyers, to
negotiate immunity from prosecution in return for
testimony.

The relationship between military policing and
intelligence forces inside the Army prison system
reached a turning point last fall in response to the
insurgency against the Coalition Provisional
Authority. “This is a fight for intelligence,”
Brigadier General Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st
Armored Division, told a reporter at a Baghdad press
briefing in November. “Do I have enough soldiers? The
answer is absolutely yes. The larger issue is, how do
I use them and on what basis? And the answer to that
is intelligence . . . to try to figure out how to take
all this human intelligence as it comes in to us [and]
turn it into something that’s actionable.” The Army
prison system would now be asked to play its part.

Two months earlier, Major General Geoffrey Miller, the
commander of the task force in charge of the prison at
Guantánamo, had brought a team of experts to Iraq to
review the Army program. His recommendation was
radical: that Army prisons be geared, first and
foremost, to interrogations and the gathering of
information needed for the war effort. “Detention
operations must act as an enabler for interrogation .
. . to provide a safe, secure and humane environment
that supports the expeditious collection of
intelligence,” Miller wrote. The military police on
guard duty at the prisons should make support of
military intelligence a priority.

General Sanchez agreed, and on November 19th his
headquarters issued an order formally giving the 205th
Military Intelligence Brigade tactical control over
the prison. General Taguba fearlessly took issue with
the Sanchez orders, which, he wrote in his report,
“effectively made an MI Officer, rather than an MP
officer, responsible for the MP units conducting
detainee operations at that facility. This is not
doctrinally sound due to the different missions and
agenda assigned to each of these respective
specialties.”

Taguba also criticized Miller’s report, noting that
“the intelligence value of detainees held at . . .
Guantánamo is different than that of the
detainees/internees held at Abu Ghraib and other
detention facilities in Iraq. . . . There are a large
number of Iraqi criminals held at Abu Ghraib. These
are not believed to be international terrorists or
members of Al Qaeda.” Taguba noted that Miller’s
recommendations “appear to be in conflict” with other
studies and with Army regulations that call for
military-police units to have control of the prison
system. By placing military-intelligence operatives in
control instead, Miller’s recommendations and
Sanchez’s change in policy undoubtedly played a role
in the abuses at Abu Ghraib. General Taguba concluded
that certain military-intelligence officers and
civilian contractors at Abu Ghraib were “either
directly or indirectly responsible” for the abuses,
and urged that they be subjected to disciplinary
action.

In late March, before the Abu Ghraib scandal became
publicly known, Geoffrey Miller was transferred from
Guantánamo and named head of prison operations in
Iraq. “We have changed this—trust us,” Miller told
reporters in early May. “There were errors made. We
have corrected those. We will make sure that they do
not happen again.”

Military-intelligence personnel assigned to Abu Ghraib
repeatedly wore “sterile,” or unmarked, uniforms or
civilian clothes while on duty. “You couldn’t tell
them apart,” the source familiar with the
investigation said. The blurring of identities and
organizations meant that it was impossible for the
prisoners, or, significantly, the military policemen
on duty, to know who was doing what to whom, and who
had the authority to give orders. Civilian employees
at the prison were not bound by the Uniform Code of
Military Justice, but they were bound by civilian
law—though it is unclear whether American or Iraqi law
would apply.

One of the employees involved in the interrogations at
Abu Ghraib, according to the Taguba report, was Steven
Stefanowicz, a civilian working for CACI
International, a Virginia-based company. Private
companies like CACI and Titan Corp. could pay salaries
of well over a hundred thousand dollars for the
dangerous work in Iraq, far more than the Army pays,
and were permitted, as never before in U.S. military
history, to handle sensitive jobs. (In a briefing last
week, General Miller confirmed that Stefanowicz had
been reassigned to administrative duties. A CACI
spokeswoman declined to comment on any employee in
Iraq, citing safety concerns, but said that the
company still had not heard anything directly from the
government about Stefanowicz.)

Stefanowicz and his colleagues conducted most, if not
all, of their interrogations in the Abu Ghraib
facilities known to the soldiers as the Wood Building
and the Steel Building. The interrogation centers were
rarely visited by the M.P.s, a source familiar with
the investigation said. The most important
prisoners—the suspected insurgency members deemed to
be High Value Detainees—were housed at Camp Cropper,
near the Baghdad airport, but the pressure on soldiers
to accede to requests from military intelligence was
felt throughout the system.

Not everybody went along. A company captain in a
military-police unit in Baghdad told me last week that
he was approached by a junior intelligence officer who
requested that his M.P.s keep a group of detainees
awake around the clock until they began talking. “I
said, ‘No, we will not do that,’” the captain said.
“The M.I. commander comes to me and says, ‘What is the
problem? We’re stressed, and all we are asking you to
do is to keep them awake.’ I ask, ‘How? You’ve
received training on that, but my soldiers don’t know
how to do it. And when you ask an eighteen-year-old
kid to keep someone awake, and he doesn’t know how to
do it, he’s going to get creative.’” The M.I. officer
took the request to the captain’s commander, but, the
captain said, “he backed me up.

“It’s all about people. The M.P.s at Abu Ghraib were
failed by their commanders—both low-ranking and high,”
the captain said. “The system is broken—no doubt about
it. But the Army is made up of people, and we’ve got
to depend on them to do the right thing.”

In his report, Taguba strongly suggested that there
was a link between the interrogation process in
Afghanistan and the abuses at Abu Ghraib. A few months
after General Miller’s report, Taguba wrote, General
Sanchez, apparently troubled by reports of wrongdoing
in Army jails in Iraq, asked Army Provost Marshal
Donald Ryder, a major general, to carry out a study of
military prisons. In the resulting study, which is
still classified, Ryder identified a conflict between
military policing and military intelligence dating
back to the Afghan war. He wrote, “Recent intelligence
collection in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
posited a template whereby military police actively
set favorable conditions for subsequent interviews.”

One of the most prominent prisoners of the Afghan war
was John Walker Lindh, the twenty-one-year-old
Californian who was captured in December, 2001. Lindh
was accused of training with Al Qaeda terrorists and
conspiring to kill Americans. A few days after his
arrest, according to a federal-court affidavit filed
by his attorney, James Brosnahan, a group of armed
American soldiers “blindfolded Mr. Lindh, and took
several pictures of Mr. Lindh and themselves with Mr.
Lindh. In one, the soldiers scrawled ‘shithead’ across
Mr. Lindh’s blindfold and posed with him. . . .
Another told Mr. Lindh that he was ‘going to hang’ for
his actions and that after he was dead, the soldiers
would sell the photographs and give the money to a
Christian organization.” Some of the photographs later
made their way to the American media. Lindh was later
stripped naked, bound to a stretcher with duct tape,
and placed in a windowless shipping container. Once
again, the affidavit said, “military personnel
photographed Mr. Lindh as he lay on the stretcher.” On
July 15, 2002, Lindh agreed to plead guilty to
carrying a gun while serving in the Taliban and
received a twenty-year jail term. During that process,
Brosnahan told me, “the Department of Defense insisted
that we state that there was ‘no deliberate’
mistreatment of John.” His client agreed to do so,
but, the attorney noted, “Against that, you have that
photograph of a naked John on that stretcher.”

The photographing of prisoners, both in Afghanistan
and in Iraq, seems to have been not random but,
rather, part of the dehumanizing interrogation
process. The Times published an interview last week
with Hayder Sabbar Abd, who claimed, convincingly, to
be one of the mistreated Iraqi prisoners in the Abu
Ghraib photographs. Abd told Ian Fisher, the Times
reporter, that his ordeal had been recorded, almost
constantly, by cameras, which added to his
humiliation. He remembered how the camera flashed
repeatedly as soldiers told to him to masturbate and
beat him when he refused.

One lingering mystery is how Ryder could have
conducted his review last fall, in the midst of the
prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, without managing to
catch it. (Ryder told a Pentagon press briefing last
week that his trip to Iraq “was not an inspection or
an investigation. . . . It was an assessment.”) In his
report to Sanchez, Ryder flatly declared that “there
were no military police units purposely applying
inappropriate confinement practices.” Willie J.
Rowell, who served for thirty-six years as an agent of
the C.I.D., told me that Ryder was in a bureaucratic
bind. The Army had revised its command structure last
fall, and Ryder, as provost marshal, was now the
commanding general of all military-police units as
well as of the C.I.D. He was, in essence, being asked
to investigate himself. “What Ryder should have done
was set up a C.I.D. task force headed by an 0-6”—full
colonel—“with fifteen agents, and begin interviewing
everybody and taking sworn statements,” Rowell said.
“He had to answer questions about the prisons in
September, when Sanchez asked for an assessment.” At
the time, Rowell added, the Army prison system was
unprepared for the demands the insurgency placed on
it. “Ryder was a man in a no-win situation,” Rowell
said. “As provost marshal, if he’d turned a C.I.D.
task force loose, he could be in harm’s way—because
he’s also boss of the military police. He was being
eaten alive.”

Ryder may have protected himself, but Taguba did not.
“He’s not regarded as a hero in some circles in the
Pentagon,” a retired Army major general said of
Taguba. “He’s the guy who blew the whistle, and the
Army will pay the price for his integrity. The
leadership does not like to have people make bad news
public.”

Posted by richard at 10:42 AM

The photos from Abu Ghraib prison show that we, like Saddam Hussein, torture and humiliate the Iraqi people. Worst of all, we do this in the same prison Hussein used to do his torturing.

The Emperor has no uniform...

William Rivers Pitt, www.truthout.org: And here, now,
is the final excuse destroyed. We have killed more
than 10,000 innocent Iraqi civilians in this invasion,
and maimed countless others. The photos from Abu Ghraib prison show that we, like Saddam Hussein, torture and humiliate the Iraqi people. Worst of all, we do this in the same prison Hussein used to do his torturing. The "rape rooms," often touted by Bush as justification for the invasion, are back. We are the killers now. We are the torturers now. We have
achieved a moral equivalence with the Butcher of
Baghdad.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,Show
Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/051004A.shtml

The War is Lost
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 10 May 2004

We have traveled a long, dark, strange road since
the attacks of September 11. We have all suffered, we
have all known fear and anger, and sometimes hatred.
Many of us have felt –– probably more than we are
willing to admit it –– at one time or another a desire
for revenge, so deep was the wound inflicted upon us
during that wretched, unforgettable Tuesday morning in
September of 2001.

But we have come now to the end of a week so awful,
so terrible, so wrenching that the most basic moral
fabric of that which we believe is good and great ––
the basic moral fabric of the United States of America
–– has been torn bitterly asunder.

We are awash in photographs of Iraqi men –– not
terrorists, just people –– lying in heaps on cold
floors with leashes around their necks. We are awash
in photographs of men chained so remorselessly that
their backs are arched in agony, men forced to
masturbate for cameras, men forced to pretend to have
sex with one another for cameras, men forced to endure
attacks from dogs, men with electrodes attached to
them as they stand, hooded, in fear of their lives.

The worst, amazingly, is yet to come. A new battery
of photographs and videotapes, as yet unreleased,
awaits over the horizon of our abused understanding.
These photos and videos, also from the Abu Ghraib
prison, are reported to show U.S. soldiers gang raping
an Iraqi woman, U.S. soldiers beating an Iraqi man
nearly to death, U.S. troops posing, smirks affixed,
with decomposing Iraqi bodies, and Iraqi troops under
U.S. command raping young boys.

George W. Bush would have us believe these horrors
were restricted to a sadistic few, and would have us
believe these horrors happened only in Abu Ghraib. Yet
reports are surfacing now of similar treatment at
another U.S. detention center in Iraq called Camp
Bucca. According to these reports, Iraqi prisoners in
Camp Bucca were beaten, humiliated, hogtied, and had
scorpions placed on their naked bodies.

In the eyes of the world, this is America today. It
cannot be dismissed as an anomaly because it went on
and on and on in the Abu Ghraib prison, and because
now we hear of Camp Bucca. According to the British
press, there are some 30 other cases of torture and
humiliation under investigation. The Bush
administration went out of its way to cover up this
disgrace, declaring secret the Army report on these
atrocities. That, pointedly, is against the rules and
against the law. You can’t call something classified
just because it is embarrassing and disgusting. It was
secret, but now it is out, and the whole world has
been shown the dark, scabrous underbelly of our
definition of freedom.

The beginnings of actual political fallout began to
find its way into the White House last week.
Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the House
Democrats’ most vocal defense hawk, joined Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi to declare that the conflict is
“unwinnable.” Murtha, a Vietnam veteran, rocked the
Democratic caucus when he said at a leader’s luncheon
Tuesday that the United States cannot win the war in
Iraq.

“Unwinnable.” Well, it only took about 14 months.

Also last week, calls for the resignation of Defense
Secretary Don Rumsfeld became strident. Pelosi accused
Rumsfeld of being "in denial about Iraq," and said
U.S. soldiers "are suffering great casualties and
injuries, and American taxpayers are paying an
enormous price" because Rumsfeld "has done a poor job
as secretary of defense." Representative Charlie
Rangel, a leading critic of the Iraq invasion, has
filed articles of impeachment against Rumsfeld.

So there’s the heat. But let us consider the broader
picture here in the context of that one huge word:
"Unwinnable." Why did we do this in the first place?
There have been several reasons offered over the last
16 months for why we needed to do this thing.

It started, for real, in January 2003 when George W.
Bush said in his State of the Union speech that Iraq
was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000
liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard
and VX, 30,000 munitions to deliver this stuff, and
that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger to build
nuclear bombs.

That reason has been scratched off the list because,
as has been made painfully clear now, there are no
such weapons in Iraq. The Niger claim, in particular,
has caused massive embarrassment for America because
it was so farcical, and has led to a federal
investigation of this White House because two
administration officials took revenge upon Joseph
Wilson’s wife for Wilson’’s exposure of the lie.

Next on the list was September 11, and the
oft-repeated accusation that Saddam Hussein must have
been at least partially responsible. That one
collapsed as well –– Bush himself had to come out and
say Saddam had nothing to do with it.

Two reasons down, so the third must be freedom and
liberty for the Iraqi people. Once again, however,
facts interfere. America does not want a democratic
Iraq, because a democratic Iraq would quickly become a
Shi’ite fundamentalist Iraq allied with the Shi’ite
fundamentalist nation of Iran, a strategic situation
nobody with a brain wants to see come to pass. It has
been made clear by Paul Bremer, the American
administrator of Iraq, that whatever the new Iraqi
government comes to look like, it will have no power
to make any laws of any kind, it will have no control
over the security of Iraq, and it will have no power
over the foreign troops which occupy its soil. This
is, perhaps, some bizarre new definition of democracy
not yet in the dictionary, but it is not democracy by
any currently accepted definition I have ever heard
of.

So...the reason to go to war because of weapons of
mass destruction is destroyed. The reason to go to war
because of connections to September 11 is destroyed.
The reason to go to war in order to bring freedom and
democracy to Iraq is destroyed.

What is left? The one reason left has been
unfailingly flapped around by defenders of this
administration and supporters of this war: Saddam
Hussein was a terrible, terrible man. He killed his
own people. He tortured his own people. The Iraqis are
better off without him, and so the war is justified.

And here, now, is the final excuse destroyed. We
have killed more than 10,000 innocent Iraqi civilians
in this invasion, and maimed countless others. The
photos from Abu Ghraib prison show that we, like
Saddam Hussein, torture and humiliate the Iraqi
people. Worst of all, we do this in the same prison
Hussein used to do his torturing. The "rape rooms,"
often touted by Bush as justification for the
invasion, are back. We are the killers now. We are the
torturers now. We have achieved a moral equivalence
with the Butcher of Baghdad.

This war is lost. I mean not just the Iraq war, but
George W. Bush's ridiculous “War on Terror” as a
whole.

I say ridiculous because this “War on Terror” was
never, ever something we were going to win. What began
on September 11 with the world wrapping us in its
loving embrace has collapsed today in a literal orgy
of shame and disgrace. This happened, simply, because
of the complete failure of moral leadership at the
highest levels.

We saw a prime example of this during Friday’s farce
of a Senate hearing into the Abu Ghraib disaster which
starred Don Rumsfeld. From his bully pulpit spoke
Senator Joe Lieberman, who parrots the worst of Bush’s
war propaganda with unfailingly dreary regularity.
Responding to the issue of whether or not Bush and
Rumsfeld should apologize for Abu Ghraib, Lieberman
stated that none of the terrorists had apologized for
September 11.

There it was, in a nutshell. There was the idea, oft
promulgated by the administration, that September 11
made any barbarism, any extreme, any horror brought
forth by the United States acceptable, and even
desirable. There was the institutionalization of
revenge as a basis for policy. Sure, Abu Ghraib was
bad, Mr. Lieberman put forth. But September 11
happened, so all bets are off.

Thus fails the “War on Terror.” September 11 did not
demand of us the lowest common denominator, did not
demand of us that we become that which we despise and
denounce. September 11 demanded that we be better,
greater, more righteous than those who brought death
to us. September 11 demanded that we be better, and in
doing so, we would show the world that those who
attacked us are far, far less than us. That would have
been victory, with nary a shot being fired.

Our leaders, however, took us in exactly the
opposite direction.

Every reason to go to Iraq has failed to retain even
a semblance of credibility. Every bit of propaganda
Osama bin Laden served up to the Muslim world for why
America should be attacked and destroyed has been
given credibility by what has taken place in Iraq.
Victory in this “War on Terror,” a propaganda war from
the beginning, has been given to the September 11
attackers by the hand of George W. Bush, and by the
hand of those who enabled his incomprehensible
blundering.

The war is lost.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead
writer for t r u t h o u t. He is a New York Times and
international bestselling author of two books - 'War
on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and
'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'

-------


Posted by richard at 10:39 AM

May 09, 2004

The truth is President Bush has made mistake after mistake as Commander-in-Chief, taking us first into a war we didn't have to fight alone and under false pretenses and now managing it so poorly.

NOTE to John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta): Run with
Wesley Clark (D-NATO)...Run on the foolish military
adventure in Iraq, run on the pre-Iraq lies, run on
Abu Ghraib, run on the "post-war" failure, run on the
"post-war" failure in Afghanistan, run on 9/11 itself,
the pre-9/11 White House failures, the post-9/11 White
House cover-up, but also run on the Federal deficit
and global warming. Throw the book(s) at the
incredible shrinking _resident: Richard Clarke's book,
Paul O'Neill's book, Joe Wilson's book...these three
men served in the Bush abomination...Read the
INCITMENT...Run on SECURITY: not only NATIONAL
SECURTY, but ECONOMIC SECURITY and ENVIRONMENTAL
SECURITY. Ask "are you safer today than you were four
years ago?" Osama bin Laden is offering bounties for
the assasination of the UN General Secretary. Say, "I
am running with Wesley Clark, because we are in a war
and this administration does not know how to win wars,
it only knows how to start them." By choosing Wes
Clark you are telling all of them, the House of Bush,
the House of Bin Laden, the House of Saud and the
House of Sharon: "You better hope nothing happens to
me." AND, you will win Arkansas, Arizona and maybe
even Oklahoma...Kerry-Clark underscores the Myth ("band of brothers") and strengthens the Math (Electoral College victories in Red States). Clark will do the political wet work. He will be your expert witness on 9/11 and Iraq. And most importantly, he will have your back. Make the daring move, John.

Wesley Clark (D-NATO): The truth is President Bush has made mistake after mistake as Commander-in-Chief, taking us first into a war we didn't have to fight alone and under false pretenses and now managing it so poorly.

Repdudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/releases/pr_2004_0508.html

Democratic Radio Address to the Nation by Wesley Clark


May 12, 2004

For Immediate Release


Good Morning. This is General Wesley Clark, United
States Army retired

This week the world has been shocked and angered, and
America’s moral leadership’s been undercut, by the
terrible pictures of a small number of our US military
people abusing Iraqi prisoners

The President apologized; he’s recognized and stated
that these acts were 'stains on our honor'. And it’s
right that he’s done so.

But apologies are not enough. These criminal acts of
abuse must be investigated fully and those responsible
must be held accountable under law. We must fix our
training and procedures so this cannot happen again.
Amends must be made to Iraqis who suffered these
humiliations through real and symbolic gestures, such
as the dismantling of Abu Ghraib prison itself.

The issues at stake here go to the very heart of the
American mission in Iraq. For, by our own claims,
we’re different. We came to liberate, not to occupy.
We came to 'free', not to imprison. With our
character, we don't torture, or maim, or coerce. And
if the mission was endangered by the prospects of our
use of heavy force against insurgents in Fallujah and
Najaf – and it was so endangered. It is no less
endangered by the loss of credibility caused by the
misconduct of a few American soldiers. This is a
mission in trouble.

At this time, my thoughts go out to our soldiers, our
Marines, their families. Because they've served so
courageously and so well. And at great cost. Over 700
have died; more than 4,000 have been wounded. And just
this week the Administration announced that it must
keep 135,000 troops in Iraq through 2005. What this
means is repetitive tours, repetitive family
separations and more fears that one's husband, or
wife, or child, won't make it safely home.

We owe the men and women in the Armed Forces a
tremendous debt of gratitude. But we also owe them the
proper equipment – the armored vests, the armored
vehicles, the radios that they need so they can do the
job safely. Yet, more than a year after the President
sent them into battle, they still don't have this
equipment. Some 200 lives might have been spared had
they had the protective gear and armored equipment
that the mission actually requires. 200 Lives. It’s an
inexcusable loss. The Bush Administration should have
addressed this issue long ago. It must do so
immediately.

But the larger picture is also disturbing. Our
President took us to war with exaggerated, hyped
intelligence. He took us to war in Iraq without an
imminent threat to our country. He took us to war
before all the diplomatic options were exhausted. He
took us to war before our allies were fully on board,
and before we had a realistic plan or adequate forces
to deal with what would happen after we reached
Baghdad. And all of this campaign was a distraction
from our pursuit of Osama bin Laden, who was after all
our real enemy.

The truth is President Bush has made mistake after
mistake as Commander-in-Chief, taking us first into a
war we didn't have to fight alone and under false
pretenses and now managing it so poorly.

The mission itself in danger as the self-imposed June
30th deadline for transfer of sovereignty to the
Iraqis approaches. If we’re to prevent Iraq from
becoming a failed state that breeds new terrorists,
America must change course. Enough of the
unilateralism and over reliance on the men and women
in uniform. We must bring in our allies, give them a
seat at the decision making table and together create
an international organization to provide economic and
political assistance as Iraqis form their own
government. The United States must not bear so much of
the burden. And we’re unlikely to succeed if we
continue to do so.

With new American leadership we can gain real help
from our NATO allies - and from countries in the
region. With their help, we can create the conditions
for free and fair elections, transition to a secure
and free Iraq, and bring home much of our military.

My fellow Americans this is an election year. It is
our duty as citizens to use the power of the vote and
hold accountable our President. I believe we need new
leadership in America to keep us safe at home, to win
the war on terror and to regain respect for America
abroad.

Thank you.

Posted by richard at 11:23 AM

But I'm also distressed by the deception coming from the Nader campaign. We keep being told that Nader will draw votes away from the Evildoer-in-Chief, George W. Bush; yet poll after poll shows the Nader vote depleting Kerry and helping Bush, and tipping

In this very important piece, Jeff Cohen, someone with excellent bona fides as founder of FAIR and recently communications director for Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), makes the case very strongly. Share it with any friends and colleagues who still live in La La Land...Remember, even Noam Chomsk has endorsed Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta), remarking that even though from his perspective the differences between JFK and the incredible shrinking _resident are only degrees, degees when dealing with such magnitude of military power translates into many thousands (if not millions)
of lives...Where is the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader draw his
resources?

Jeff Cohen, www.commondreams.org: But I'm also distressed by the deception coming from the Nader campaign. We keep being told that Nader will draw votes away from the Evildoer-in-Chief, George W. Bush; yet poll after poll shows the Nader vote depleting Kerry and helping Bush, and tipping swing states and their electoral votes to Bush.
In my view, Kerry vs. Bush is not Coke vs. Pepsi. It's
more like Coke vs. Arsenic (quite literally, in the
environmental sense). The Bush/Rumsfeld/Ashcroft
regime is far more dangerous than the regimes of
Nixon/Kissinger/Mitchell or Reagan/Weinberger/Meese.
There can be no greater imperative for progressives
this year than to Vote Bush Out. In the 17 or so
competitive states, that means building the Kerry vote
to defeat Bush.

Save the US Constitution, Save the Environment,
Restore the Timeline, Repudiate the 9/11 over-Up and
the Iraq War Lies, Support Our Troops, Thwart the
Theft of a Second Presidential Election, Break the
Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US Mainstream News
Media," Clease the White House of the Chickenhawk
Coup, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush
(again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0507-15.htm


Published on Friday, May 7, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
A Progressive Response to the Nader Campaign
by Jeff Cohen

I am ideologically aligned with Ralph Nader, not John
Kerry. I agree with Nader on virtually every issue,
while agreeing with only about half of Kerry's
positions (or what can be deciphered as Kerry's
positions). Like other peace and justice activists, I
am distressed that Kerry -- who spoke so eloquently
decades ago against a war based on racism and lies --
has given support to the current war that is based on
racism and lies.

But I'm also distressed by the deception coming from
the Nader campaign. We keep being told that Nader will
draw votes away from the Evildoer-in-Chief, George W.
Bush; yet poll after poll shows the Nader vote
depleting Kerry and helping Bush, and tipping swing
states and their electoral votes to Bush.

In my view, Kerry vs. Bush is not Coke vs. Pepsi. It's
more like Coke vs. Arsenic (quite literally, in the
environmental sense). The Bush/Rumsfeld/Ashcroft
regime is far more dangerous than the regimes of
Nixon/Kissinger/Mitchell or Reagan/Weinberger/Meese.

There can be no greater imperative for progressives
this year than to Vote Bush Out. In the 17 or so
competitive states, that means building the Kerry vote
to defeat Bush.

But our work doesn't end on Nov. 2. After we mobilize
to oust Bush in '04, progressives must stay mobilized
in '05 to ensure that our agenda is heard by the Kerry
White House. If the Iraq war drags on under the Kerry
administration, I'll be in the frontlines of peace
protests.

Progressives seemed to demobilize in 1993 after Bill
Clinton ended 12 years of Republican rule. In the
absence of powerful and independent networks of
activists, we saw that a Democratic White House was
capable of enacting pro-corporate Republican-oriented
policies. We won't be fooled again. Thanks to the
Internet and the youth-infused antiwar and global
justice movements of recent years, it will be easier
to sustain progressive activism in '05 and after to
hold a Democratic White House accountable.

Progressives need to understand that Franklin
Roosevelt was elected president in 1932 on a
wishy-washy platform no bolder than the Kerry
platform. But powerful social movements, especially
militant unions, propelled the New Deal agenda and
pushed FDR to being the most progressive president of
the last century.

2004 is a crucial juncture in our country's history,
with millions of people in our evenly divided country
-- especially people of color, labor, feminists,
enviros -- yearning for a path to end the national
nightmare of George Bush. Progressives need to be a
bridge forward, not an obstruction. Noam Chomsky has
described the choice we face: "Help elect Bush, or do
something to try to prevent it."

Ralph Nader has long set a standard for public
integrity: speaking truth to power no matter what the
consequences. But in recent months, he's sounding more
like a politician, making promises that he must know
he can't deliver on -- like his claim that he will
help defeat Bush by pulling "more votes away from Bush
than the Democrats." And Nader is being ridiculed as
just another politician: "Conservatives for Nader,"
scoffed Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. "Not a large
group. About the same size as 'Retarded Death Row
Texans for Bush.'"

This election is not about Kerry. Nor Nader. It's
about putting Bush out to pasture before he does any
more damage.

Jeff Cohen (jeffco@ulster.net) founded the media watch
group FAIR and was communications director of Kucinich
for President. The views expressed here are his own.

###

Posted by richard at 11:18 AM

Nowadays, these mega-media conglomerates relieve government of the need for censorship by doing it themselves. So we're reminded once again that journalism's best moments have come not when journalists make common cause with the state but stand fearlessly

It's the Media, Stupid.

Bill Moyers, PBS Now: Nowadays, these mega-media conglomerates relieve government of the need for censorship by doing it themselves. So we're reminded once again that journalism's best moments have come not when journalists make common cause with the state but stand fearlessly independent of it. A free press remains everything to a free society.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://truthout.org/docs_04/050804I.shtml

The Media, Politics and Censorship
By Bill Moyers
PBS

Friday 07 May 2004

The war in Iraq has become also a war of images.
This week, we were troubled by pictures of tortured
Iraqi prisoners. Last week, it was photographs of
American soldiers who have given their lives there.

On Friday a week ago on Nightline, Ted Koppel read
the names of the dead and showed their photographs.
But their faces and names were blacked out on ABC
stations owned by Sinclair Broadcasting. Sinclair
accused Koppel of "...doing nothing more than making a
political statement."

But what about Sinclair's own political agenda?
With 62 stations the company is the biggest of its
kind in the country and has lobbied successfully in
Washington for permission to grow even bigger. Its
executives are generous contributors to the Republican
party.

After 9/11, there were reports their on-air talent
had been required to read statements affirming a
station's 100% support for the President. And the
company's Vice President for Corporate Communications,
Mark Hyman, doubles as the on-air commentator on The
Point, a daily commentary segment that airs in cities
across the country via Sinclair's News Central
channel. Hyman is known to regularly "stimulate public
discourse" with statements like, "Clinton was too busy
chasing skirts to chase terrorists."

Earlier this year, he was sent to Iraq to
editorialize on the good things happening there.

That's Sinclair's prerogative, of course. Every
news organization has First Amendment rights, just as
I'm exercising mine right now. But speaking out is one
thing, keeping others from being heard is another.
Sinclair censored Koppel.

And when the Democratic National Committee wanted
to buy time for a spot critical of the President,
Sinclair's station in Madison, Wisconsin, said no.

Sinclair's not alone with cozy ties to Washington.
Clear Channel, the biggest radio conglomerate in the
country (with twelve hundred stations plus), was a big
winner in the deregulation frenzy triggered by
Congress in 1996. Last year Clear Channel was a
cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq with pro-war
rallies.

Rupert Murdoch's a big Washington winner, too.
Congress and the Republican controlled Federal
Communications Commission let him off the hook even
though his News Corp. owned more stations than the
rules allowed.

Murdoch also controls Fox News, another big
cheerleader for American policy in Iraq, the New York
Post. For a week, the Post refused to publish
photographs of those tortured Iraqi prisoners saying
the pictures would "reflect poorly" on the troops
risking their lives there.

Again, it's their right. Freedom of the press, it
has been famously said, is guaranteed only to those
who own one.

That's just the point. These media giants can be
within their rights even while doing wrong. It's the
system, dear Brutus, the system...a cartel, in effect,
of big companies and big government scratching each
other's back.

It wasn't supposed to be that way. The founders of
our government didn't think it a good idea for the
press and state to gang up on public opinion. So they
added to the Constitution a Bill of Rights whose First
Amendment was to be a kind of firewall between the
politicians who hold power and the press that should
hold power accountable. The very first American
newspaper was a little three-page affair whose editor
said he wanted to "cure the spirit of lying..." The
government promptly shut him down on grounds he didn't
have the required state license.

Nowadays, these mega-media conglomerates relieve
government of the need for censorship by doing it
themselves. So we're reminded once again that
journalism's best moments have come not when
journalists make common cause with the state but stand
fearlessly independent of it. A free press remains
everything to a free society.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill Moyers is host of the public affairs series
NOW with Bill Moyers, which airs weekly on Friday
nights on PBS
(check local listings at
http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html).
-------

Jump to TO Features for Saturday May 8, 2004
Today's TO Features -------------- New York Times |
Donald Rumsfeld Should Go Private Contractors
Investigated for Torture at Abu Ghraib, Iraq U.S. Must
Leave Fallujah, Iraq General Says $25 Billion More
Sought to Fund Iraq War Robert Fisk | Smoke Them 'Bin
Laden' Offers Gold for Killing Bremer, Annan
Companies, Economists Address Climate Change America
and Its Moral Superiority Complex Bill Moyers | The
Media, Politics and Censorship Soldiers Back in U.S.
Tell of More Iraqi Abuses t r u t h o u t Home

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this
material is distributed without profit to those who
have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational
purposes. t r u t h o u t has no affiliation
whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is
t r u t h o u t endorsed or sponsored by the
originator.)

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Posted by richard at 11:15 AM

A Cronkite Moment?

Another name to be scrawled in the Media section of
the John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...Rick Reilly of
Sports Illustrated...

Jonathan Tasini, www.tompaine.com: "I experienced a
Walter Cronkite moment last week that signaled to me
that something is in the air about what people feel
about the Iraq war. No, it didn't come from Ted
Kopple's reciting of the Iraq war dead, nor the polls
showing declining support for the war, nor from any of
the other pundits, prognosticators, analysts and
experts who fill the airwaves and pages of what we see
and read. My moment came after reading Rick Reilly's
column in Sports Illustrated. Yes, SI, magazine to the
sports-obsessed (to which I proudly belong).
In the May 3 issue of SI, Reilly, in his regular
back-page column "The Life of Reilly," wrote a piece
under the headline "The Hero and the Unknown Soldier."
The hero in Reilly's column was Pat Tillman, the
former star football player who was killed in
Afghanistan. After 9/11, Tillman had given up a
multimillion-dollar contract to volunteer for the Army
Rangers. He was lionized throughout the country for
his sacrifice.
The Unknown Soldier was Todd Bates. Bates drowned in
Iraq. His death went virtually unnoticed except to his
family and friends. The man who raised Bates, Charles
Jones, refused to go to the funeral, refused to eat or
relate to others; he died just four weeks after the
funeral. "He died of a broken heart," Bates'
grandmother, Shirley, who also raised him, told
Reilly. "There was no reason for my boy to die. There
is no reason for this war. All we have now is a
Vietnam. My Toddie's life was wasted over there. All
this war is a waste. Look at all these boys going home
in coffins. What's the good in it?" Reilly, in barely
controlled rage, concludes his piece about Tillman and
Bates:
"Both did their duty for their country, but I wonder
if their country did its duty for them. Tillman died
in Afghanistan, a war with no end in sight and not
enough troops to finish the job. Bates died in Iraq, a
war that began with no just cause and continues with
no just reason. Be proud that sports produce men like
this. But I, for one, am furious that these wars keep
taking them."

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/10353
A Cronkite Moment?


Jonathan Tasini is president of the Economic Future Group.


I experienced a Walter Cronkite moment last week that signaled to me that something is in the air about what people feel about the Iraq war. No, it didn't come from Ted Kopple's reciting of the Iraq war dead, nor the polls showing declining support for the war, nor from any of the other pundits, prognosticators, analysts and experts who fill the airwaves and pages of what we see and read. My moment came after reading Rick Reilly's column in Sports Illustrated. Yes, SI, magazine to the sports-obsessed (to which I proudly belong).

A quick history reminder: On Feb. 27 1968, Cronkite anchored a CBS special on the Vietnam War, concluding that: "To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To say that we are mired in a bloody stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory conclusion." Bill Moyers, at the time President Lyndon Johnson's press secretary, reported later that Cronkite's statement led Johnson to believe that, if he had lost Cronkite's support, he had lost the support of middle America.

In the May 3 issue of SI, Reilly, in his regular back-page column "The Life of Reilly," wrote a piece under the headline "The Hero and the Unknown Soldier." The hero in Reilly's column was Pat Tillman, the former star football player who was killed in Afghanistan. After 9/11, Tillman had given up a multimillion-dollar contract to volunteer for the Army Rangers. He was lionized throughout the country for his sacrifice.

The Unknown Soldier was Todd Bates. Bates drowned in Iraq. His death went virtually unnoticed except to his family and friends. The man who raised Bates, Charles Jones, refused to go to the funeral, refused to eat or relate to others; he died just four weeks after the funeral. "He died of a broken heart," Bates' grandmother, Shirley, who also raised him, told Reilly. "There was no reason for my boy to die. There is no reason for this war. All we have now is a Vietnam. My Toddie's life was wasted over there. All this war is a waste. Look at all these boys going home in coffins. What's the good in it?" Reilly, in barely controlled rage, concludes his piece about Tillman and Bates:


"Both did their duty for their country, but I wonder if their country did its duty for them. Tillman died in Afghanistan, a war with no end in sight and not enough troops to finish the job. Bates died in Iraq, a war that began with no just cause and continues with no just reason.
Be proud that sports produce men like this.

But I, for one, am furious that these wars keep taking them."

Reilly, in his eloquence, was expressing opinions already delivered in places like The Nation and op-ed pages around the country. But that's the point. With all due respect, The Nation,—of which I am a subscriber and supporter—and its ilk will not change the course of history because they speak to the already converted.

What's important here is that Reilly's audience is not the typical Nation reader. He speaks to the so-called NASCAR dads, the Sunday golfers, the Monday-morning quarterbacks and the couch-potato referees. He speaks, SI estimates, to 31 million people (3.1 million subscribe to the magazine, 21 million adults read the magazine as it is passed around the family and 10 million more see the column on SI's website). It's a sizable audience—of Cronkite-like size—which can fairly be described as generally mainstream, and, on the whole, slightly more conservative than the average America.


Well, it's an expensive magazine to get and, it being 50 years old, has a patina of Americana to it," [Reilly says via e-mail.] "I mean, everybody had an uncle or a grandad who kept every issue. The cover of SI is a sacrosanct place and Americans protect it. You should see the mail we get when we put something like a dog on it, or a wrestler. It's as though it belongs to the people and perhaps it does. The SI reader is generally pretty well-off and tends to be conservative. But the fact that they pay a pretty penny for a magazine that has gone down in history as one of the finest ever produced in terms of great photography and great writing, says that they're very literary and therefore, perhaps more open-minded than your basic conservative.
Indeed, Reilly is hearing from these types of conservatives that something is deeply troubling to them about the war. "I did a piece for Time on the Marine town of Jacksonville, N.C., which you'd think would be 100 percent pro-war, and I was amazed at how many people were packing their sons up for war and saying, 'I really don't understand why we're going over there,'" he says.

The response to Reilly's column has been overwhelming—both pro and con, he says. Reilly usually gets a couple hundred responses to his columns; so far, he's received more than 2,000—most of them messages of agreement. It may be an overstatement, today, to say Reilly's column had the same impact as Cronkite's national commentary more than 36 years ago. But, as Reilly told me, sports is a tightly woven part of the fabric of our lives, an activity through which we can converse and reach huge swaths of the public. Who knows who Reilly touched?

Posted by richard at 11:13 AM

"Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win every fight and lose the war, because we don't understand the war we're in."

Of course, this WASHPS story is disingenuous on two
vital points: it says "That view is far from
universal, but it is spreading and being voiced
publicly for the first time." That's simply not true.
The sentiment against this foolish military adventure
is widespread and vocal, among officers of all ranks,
and was widespread and vocal prior to the launching of
this foolish military adventure, among officers of all
ranks. The LNS database has many such stories. It is
also common knowledge among those of us with friends
and colleagues in the US military.

The Emperor has no uniform...

Thomas Ricks, Washington Post: Army Maj. Gen. Charles
H. Swannack Jr., the commander of the 82nd Airborne
Division, who spent much of the year in western Iraq,
said he believes that at the tactical level at which
fighting occurs, the U.S. military is still winning.
But when asked whether he believes the United States
is losing, he said, "I think strategically, we are."
Army Col. Paul Hughes, who last year was the first
director of strategic planning for the U.S. occupation
authority in Baghdad, said he agrees with that view
and noted that a pattern of winning battles while
losing a war characterized the U.S. failure in
Vietnam. "Unless we ensure that we have coherency in
our policy, we will lose strategically," he said in an
interview Friday.
"I lost my brother in Vietnam," added Hughes, a
veteran Army strategist who is involved in formulating
Iraq policy. "I promised myself, when I came on active
duty, that I would do everything in my power to
prevent that [sort of strategic loss] from happening
again. Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win every fight and lose the war, because we don't understand the war we're in."

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11227-2004May8.html

washingtonpost.com
Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy
U.S. May Be Winning Battles in Iraq But Losing the
War, Some Officers Say

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 9, 2004; Page A01


Deep divisions are emerging at the top of the U.S.
military over the course of the occupation of Iraq,
with some senior officers beginning to say that the
United States faces the prospect of casualties for
years without achieving its goal of establishing a
free and democratic Iraq.

Their major worry is that the United States is
prevailing militarily but failing to win the support
of the Iraqi people. That view is far from universal,
but it is spreading and being voiced publicly for the
first time.

Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., the commander
of the 82nd Airborne Division, who spent much of the
year in western Iraq, said he believes that at the
tactical level at which fighting occurs, the U.S.
military is still winning. But when asked whether he
believes the United States is losing, he said, "I
think strategically, we are."

Army Col. Paul Hughes, who last year was the first
director of strategic planning for the U.S. occupation
authority in Baghdad, said he agrees with that view
and noted that a pattern of winning battles while
losing a war characterized the U.S. failure in
Vietnam. "Unless we ensure that we have coherency in
our policy, we will lose strategically," he said in an
interview Friday.

"I lost my brother in Vietnam," added Hughes, a
veteran Army strategist who is involved in formulating
Iraq policy. "I promised myself, when I came on active
duty, that I would do everything in my power to
prevent that [sort of strategic loss] from happening
again. Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win
every fight and lose the war, because we don't
understand the war we're in."

The emergence of sharp differences over U.S. strategy
has set off a debate, a year after the United States
ostensibly won a war in Iraq, about how to preserve
that victory. The core question is how to end a
festering insurrection that has stymied some
reconstruction efforts, made many Iraqis feel less
safe and created uncertainty about who actually will
run the country after the scheduled turnover of
sovereignty June 30.

Inside and outside the armed forces, experts generally
argue that the U.S. military should remain there but
should change its approach. Some argue for more
troops, others for less, but they generally agree on
revising the stated U.S. goals to make them less
ambitious. They are worried by evidence that the
United States is losing ground with the Iraqi public.

Some officers say the place to begin restructuring
U.S. policy is by ousting Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld, whom they see as responsible for a series of
strategic and tactical blunders over the past year.
Several of those interviewed said a profound anger is
building within the Army at Rumsfeld and those around
him.

A senior general at the Pentagon said he believes the
United States is already on the road to defeat. "It is
doubtful we can go on much longer like this," he said.
"The American people may not stand for it -- and they
should not."

Asked who was to blame, this general pointed directly
at Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D.
Wolfowitz. "I do not believe we had a clearly defined
war strategy, end state and exit strategy before we
commenced our invasion," he said. "Had someone like
Colin Powell been the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff], he would not have agreed to send troops
without a clear exit strategy. The current OSD [Office
of the Secretary of Defense] refused to listen or
adhere to military advice."

Like several other officers interviewed for this
report, this general spoke only on the condition that
his name not be used. One reason for this is that some
of these officers deal frequently with the senior
Pentagon civilian officials they are criticizing, and
some remain dependent on top officials to approve
their current efforts and future promotions. Also,
some say they believe that Rumsfeld and other top
civilians punish public dissent. Senior officers
frequently cite what they believe was the vindictive
treatment of then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K.
Shinseki after he said early in 2003 that the
administration was underestimating the number of U.S.
troops that would be required to occupy postwar Iraq.

Wolfowitz, the Pentagon's No. 2 official, said he does
not think the United States is losing in Iraq, and
said no senior officer has expressed that thought to
him, either. "I am sure that there are some out there"
who think that, he said in an interview yesterday
afternoon.

"There's no question that we're facing some
difficulties," Wolfowitz said. "I don't mean to sound
Pollyannaish -- we all know that we're facing a tough
problem." But, he said, "I think the course we've set
is the right one, which is moving as rapidly as
possible to Iraqi self-government and Iraqi
self-defense."

Wolfowitz, who is widely seen as the intellectual
architect of the Bush administration's desire to
create a free and democratic Iraq that will begin the
transformation of the politics of the Middle East,
also strongly rejected the idea of scaling back on
that aim. "The goal has never been to win the Olympic
high jump in democracy," he said. Moving toward
democratization in Iraq will take time, he said. Yet,
he continued, "I don't think the answer is to find
some old Republican Guard generals and have them
impose yet another dictatorship in an Arab country."

The top U.S. commander in the war also said he
strongly disagrees with the view that the United
States is heading toward defeat in Iraq. "We are not
losing, militarily," Army Gen. John Abizaid said in an
interview Friday. He said that the U.S. military is
winning tactically. But he stopped short of being as
positive about the overall trend. Rather, he said,
"strategically, I think there are opportunities."

The prisoner abuse scandal and the continuing car
bombings and U.S. casualties "create the image of a
military that's not being effective in the
counterinsurgency," he said. But in reality, "the
truth of the matter is . . . there are some good
signals out there."

Abizaid cited the resumption of economic
reconstruction and the political progress made with
Sunni Muslims in resolving the standoff around
Fallujah, and increasing cooperation from Shiite
Muslims in isolating radical Shiite cleric Moqtada
Sadr. "I'm looking at the situation, and I told the
secretary of defense the other day I feel pretty
comfortable with where we are," he said.

Even so, he said, "There's liable to be a lot of
fighting in May and June," as the June 30 date for
turning over sovereignty to an Iraqi government
approaches.

Commanders on the ground in Iraq seconded that
cautiously optimistic view.

"I am sure that the view from Washington is much worse
than it appears on the ground here in Baqubah," said
Army Col. Dana J.H. Pittard, commander of a 1st
Infantry Division brigade based in that city about 40
miles north of Baghdad. "I do not think that we are
losing, but we will lose if we are not careful." He
said he is especially worried about maintaining
political and economic progress in the provinces after
the turnover of power.

Army Lt. Col. John Kem, a battalion commander in
Baghdad, said that the events of the past two months
-- first the eruption of a Shiite insurgency, followed
by the detainee abuse scandal -- "certainly made
things harder," but he said he doubted they would have
much effect on the long-term future of Iraq.

But some say that behind those official positions lies
deep concern.

One Pentagon consultant said that officials with whom
he works on Iraq policy continue to put on a happy
face publicly, but privately are grim about the
situation in Baghdad. When it comes to discussions of
the administration's Iraq policy, he said, "It's 'Dead
Man Walking.' "

The worried generals and colonels are simply beginning
to say what experts outside the military have been
saying for weeks.

In mid-April, even before the prison detainee scandal,
Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia,
wrote in the New York Review of Books that "patience
with foreign occupation is running out, and violent
opposition is spreading. Civil war and the breakup of
Iraq are more likely outcomes than a successful
transition to a pluralistic Western-style democracy."
The New York Review of Books is not widely read in the
U.S. military, but the article, titled "How to Get Out
of Iraq," was carried online and began circulating
among some military intellectuals.

Likewise, Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), a former Marine
who is one of most hawkish Democrats in Congress, said
last week: "We cannot prevail in this war as it is
going today," and said that the Bush administration
should either boost its troop numbers or withdraw.

Larry Diamond, who until recently was a senior
political adviser of the U.S. occupation authority in
Iraq, argued that the United States is not losing the
war but is in danger of doing so. "I think that we
have fallen into a period of real political difficulty
where we are no longer clearly winning the peace, and
where the prospect of a successful transition to
democracy is in doubt.

"Basically, it's up in the air now," Diamond
continued. "That's what is at stake. . . . We can't
keep making tactical and strategic mistakes."

He and others are recommending a series of related
revisions to the U.S. approach.

Like many in the Special Forces, defense consultant
Michael Vickers advocates radically trimming the U.S.
presence in Iraq, making it much more like the one in
Afghanistan, where there are 20,000 troops and almost
none in the capital, Kabul. The U.S. military has a
small presence in the daily life of Afghans.
Basically, it ignores them and focuses its attention
on fighting pockets of Taliban and al Qaeda holdouts.
Nor has it tried to disarm the militias that control
much of the country.

In addition to trimming the U.S. troop presence, a
young Army general said, the United States also should
curtail its ambitions in Iraq. "That strategic
objective, of a free, democratic, de-Baathified Iraq,
is grandiose and unattainable," he said. "It's just a
matter of time before we revise downward . . . and
abandon these ridiculous objectives."

Instead, he predicted that if the Bush administration
wins reelection, it simply will settle for a stable
Iraq, probably run by former Iraqi generals. This is
more or less, he said, what the Marines Corps did in
Fallujah -- which he described as a glimpse of future
U.S. policy.

Wolfowitz sharply rejected that conclusion about
Fallujah. "Let's be clear, Fallujah has always been an
outlier since the liberation of Baghdad," he said in
the interview. "It's where the trouble began. . . . It
really isn't a model for anything for the rest of the
country."

But a senior military intelligence officer experienced
in Middle Eastern affairs said he thinks the
administration needs to rethink its approach to Iraq
and to the region. "The idea that Iraq can be
miraculously and quickly turned into a shining example
of democracy that will 'transform' the Middle East
requires way too much fairy dust and cultural
arrogance to believe," he said.

Finally, some are calling for the United States to
stop fighting separatist trends among Iraq's three
major groups, the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds,
and instead embrace them. "The best hope for holding
Iraq together -- and thereby avoiding civil war -- is
to let each of its major constituent communities have,
to the extent possible, the system each wants,"
Galbraith wrote last month.

Even if adjustments in troop presence and goals help
the United States prevail, it will not happen soon,
several of those interviewed said. The United States
is likely to be fighting in Iraq for at least another
five years, said an Army officer who served there.
"We'll be taking casualties," he warned, during that
entire time.

A long-term problem for any administration is that it
may be difficult for the American public to tell
whether the United States is winning or losing, and
the prospect of continued casualties may prompt some
to ask of how long the public will tolerate the
fighting.

"Iraq might have been worth doing at some price,"
Vickers said. "But it isn't worth doing at any price.
And the price has gone very high."

The other key factor in the war is Iraqi public
opinion. A recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll found that
a majority of Iraqis want the United States to leave
immediately. "In Iraq, we are rapidly losing the
support of the middle, which will enable the
insurgency to persist practically indefinitely until
our national resolve is worn down," the senior U.S.
military intelligence officer said.

Tolerance of the situation in Iraq also appears to be
declining within the U.S. military. Especially among
career Army officers, an extraordinary anger is
building at Rumsfeld and his top advisers.

"Like a lot of senior Army guys, I'm quite angry" with
Rumsfeld and the rest of the Bush administration, the
young general said. He listed two reasons. "One is, I
think they are going to break the Army." But what
really incites him, he said, is, "I don't think they
care."

Jeff Smith, a former general counsel of the CIA who
has close ties to many senior officers, said, "Some of
my friends in the military are exceedingly angry." In
the Army, he said, "It's pretty bitter."

Retired Army Col. Robert Killebrew, a frequent
Pentagon consultant, said, "The people in the military
are mad as hell." He said the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers,
should be fired. A spokesman for Myers declined to
comment.

A Special Forces officer aimed higher, saying that
"Rumsfeld needs to go, as does Wolfowitz."

Asked about such antagonism, Wolfowitz said, "I wish
they'd have the -- whatever it takes -- to come tell
me to my face."

He said that by contrast, he had been "struck at how
many fairly senior officers have come to me" to tell
him that he and Rumsfeld have made the right decisions
concerning the Army.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company


Posted by richard at 11:10 AM

May 08, 2004

''We either have to mobilize or we have to get out,'' Murtha declared in an emotional press conference in which he disclosed the content of a series of written warnings he had sent to Bush and other top officials since his first of many visits to Iraq...

Yes, sadly, it is, as the LNS predicted, a Mega-Mogadishu...The "US Mainstream News Media" simply does not know what to do...it is almost impossible now to tell the story of Iraq without *telling the truth* so it is in quite a quandry, and it is stalling...The average is now four US soldiers dying per day in Iraq. The US Marines could not or would not take Fallujah. The South is rising in armed rebellion. There is much more...When will the "US mainstream news media" start talking about the big picture here? Right now, they are hiding behind their 24X7 coverage of the Abu Ghraib story. They are in a quandry. It is almost impossible now to tell the story of Iraq without *telling the truth* and that is something they hoped they could avoid...It's the Media, Stupid.

Jim Loeb, Inter Press Service: That question was put
front and center Thursday by Rep. John Murtha, a
conservative and highly influential Democrat close to
the Pentagon. In private meetings earlier this week,
he reportedly told fellow-Democrats that the war was
''unwinnable'' and Thursday issued a blistering attack
on the administration's strategy and
''miscalculations'' on Iraq.
''We either have to mobilize or we have to get out,'' Murtha declared in an emotional press conference in which he disclosed the content of a series of written warnings he had sent to Bush and other top officials since his first of many visits to Iraq since September last year.
''Today our forces in Iraq are undermanned,
under-resourced, inadequately trained and poorly
supervised. There's a lack of leadership, stemming
from the very top,'' he said, adding that the most
recent scandal should result in resignations ''right
up the chain of command''.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

Published on Friday, May 7, 2004 by the Inter Press
Service
Rummy on the Rocks
by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - With the scandal over the abuse of
prisoners in U.S. military custody in Iraq still
growing, the administration of President George W Bush
appears to be shaken to its very core.


Demonstrators disrupt the hearing on prisoner abuses
in Iraq during testimony by U.S. Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld, before the Senate Armed Services
Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 7, 2004.
Rumsfeld on Friday took responsibility for the abuse
of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. personnel and apologized to
the victims, the Iraqi people and Americans. The
scandal exploded last week with the release of
photographs showing the sexual humiliation of Iraqi
prisoners in a U.S.-run jail outside Baghdad.
REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

While the immediate question is whether Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could be sufficiently
persuasive in Congressional testimony scheduled Friday
to survive the fast-spreading calls for his
resignation, the larger issue has abruptly become
whether the U.S. occupation of Iraq, for which the
administration has just asked an additional 25 billion
dollars this year, is sustainable.

That question was put front and center Thursday by
Rep. John Murtha, a conservative and highly
influential Democrat close to the Pentagon. In private
meetings earlier this week, he reportedly told
fellow-Democrats that the war was ''unwinnable'' and
Thursday issued a blistering attack on the
administration's strategy and ''miscalculations'' on
Iraq.

''We either have to mobilize or we have to get out,''
Murtha declared in an emotional press conference in
which he disclosed the content of a series of written
warnings he had sent to Bush and other top officials
since his first of many visits to Iraq since September
last year.

''Today our forces in Iraq are undermanned,
under-resourced, inadequately trained and poorly
supervised. There's a lack of leadership, stemming
from the very top,'' he said, adding that the most
recent scandal should result in resignations ''right
up the chain of command''.

Murtha's fury reflected a growing sense that the
administration, whose internal splits are now more
apparent than ever before, has lost its way in Iraq.
This is a point underlined by the unexpected request
for 25 billion dollars more -- bringing total spending
on Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 to 191 billion
dollars.

That the Bush administration has very little idea
about what to do was made clear by the news -- printed
in bold across the front pages of the morning's
'Washington Post' and the 'New York Times' -- that
Bush had ''privately'' scolded Rumsfeld for not
warning him about the photographs before they were
broadcast.

While Bush insisted Thursday that the Defense
secretary will ''stay in my Cabinet'', the fact that
White House officials, presumably with the president's
authorization, briefed reporters on the ''private''
dressing-down was unprecedented.

It also encouraged Rumsfeld's State Department rivals
to pile on. State officials, who were also furious
that the Pentagon had kept them in the dark about its
own investigation, told reporters that they had
repeatedly warned Rumsfeld and his top aides about
problems relating to detainees, not only in Abu Ghraib
prison, but also in Afghanistan and at the detention
facility at the U.S. navy base in Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba.

''It's something Powell has raised repeatedly -- to
release as many detainees as possible -- and, second,
to ensure that those in custody are properly cared for
and treated,'' a ''senior State Department official''
was quoted as telling the 'Post'.

But Rumsfeld, an experienced bureaucratic infighter,
was not entirely defenseless. Without quoting a
source, the 'Los Angeles Times' reported a few hours
after the 'Post' went to press that Rumsfeld was
informed about abuses at Abu Ghraib in January and
personally told Bush about them shortly thereafter.

That in turn led to embarrassing questions at the
White House briefing Thursday about what Bush had done
with that information. The questions echoed those
raised by the revelation just a few weeks ago about
what the president had done after hearing an
intelligence briefing on al-Qaeda's intention to
hijack airplanes inside the United States one month
before the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the
Pentagon.

Both the White House and Rumsfeld are now insisting
that they had only been told about the abuses orally
and had never seen the photographs until CBS' Sixty
Minutes II broadcast them last week.

Whether that explanation will suffice to contain the
scandal, however, is highly doubtful, particularly in
light of reports that the photographs may only be the
tip of a very large iceberg.

In an interview on Fox News Wednesday night, Seymour
Hersh, the investigative reporter who broke the
prisoner story in 'The New Yorker', predicted that
''(I)t's going to get much worse. This kind of stuff
was much more widespread....I can tell you just from
the phone calls I've had in the last 24 hours,
...there are other photos out there. ...There are
videotapes of stuff that you wouldn't want to mention
on national television...''

Hersh based his prediction largely on the 53-page
report by Maj Gen Antonio Taguba, parts of which have
remained classified.

He investigated the abuses beginning in January, when
Rumsfeld was first informed about them, and finished
his report in early March. The report put much of the
responsibility for what had taken place at Abu Ghraib
prison on the application of interrogation tactics
used against Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects at
Guantanamo against captives in Iraq and Afghanistan
itself.

The fact that Rumsfeld -- who had the time to attend a
festive black-tie dinner of the White House
Correspondents Association Saturday night, two days
after the photos were first aired -- admitted to not
having read the full report as recently as Wednesday
this week has emboldened those, still mostly
Democrats, who are now calling on him to resign.

But Democrats are not alone. Republican lawmakers have
privately told reporters that they are fed up with his
arrogance and inflexibility, particularly on the issue
that Murtha is most angry about -- the
administration's failure to provide more troops to
secure Iraq, and their own safety, both during and
after the invasion.

Several leading Republican lawmakers, including some
who are considered very close to the White House, also
complained bitterly about not being informed about the
abuses or the investigation in advance.

Murtha, a decorated Marine veteran and senior member
of the subcommittee that deals with Pentagon
appropriations, poured scorn on the administration's
optimistic predictions about Iraq.

Without explicitly stating that the war was
''unwinnable'', he at one point said the public had
turned against it and that it was unlikely the
administration would provide the troops needed to
stabilize the situation to such an extent that other
countries would be willing to help out.

While Murtha's angry defection created shockwaves in
Congress, a stunning attack on Rumsfeld by the
generally hawkish 'Washington Post' spread through the
capital with unaccustomed force.

Entitled 'Mr. Rumsfeld's Responsibility', the lead
editorial of the 'Post' put the blame for the abuse
scandal squarely on his shoulders by arguing that his
policies on incommunicado detention and refusal to
apply the Geneva Conventions have created a ''lawless
regime in which prisoners in both Iraq and Afghanistan
have been humiliated, beaten, tortured, and murdered
-- in which, until recently, no one has been held
accountable''.

Rumsfeld's statements since the disclosure of the
abuses, moreover, suggested that ''(h)is message
remains the same: that the United States need not be
bound by international law and that the crimes Mr
Taguba reported are not, for him a priority. That
attitude has undermined the American military's
observance of basic human rights and damaged this
country's ability to prevail in the war on
terrorism'', the 'Post' observed.

© 2004 IPS - Inter Press Service

###

Posted by richard at 12:32 PM

The whole thing has taken on a certain shape: that of a monumental and tragic fiasco.

Vive le France!

Le Monde Editorial: By sticking with Mr. Sharon's
policy, Washington has departed from its traditional
role of honest broker between the Israelis and the
Palestinians. Egyptian President Hosni Moubarak
recently told Le Monde that he had never seen such
hatred of the United States in the region. Jordan's
King Abdullah delayed a visit to the White House so
that it not take place the day after Mr. Bush endorsed
the Sharon plan. This is the context in which the
devastating effect of the revelations of torture in
Iraq must be understood. They cap the total
discrediting of the image of the United States- an
image which had already been singularly undermined by
management of the post-war. The occupation has given
renewed motivation to Islamists, who are increasing
their attacks in Saudi Arabia.
The whole thing has taken on a certain shape: that of a monumental and tragic fiasco.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://truthout.org/docs_04/050704H.shtml

Mr. Bush and Chaos
Le Monde Editorial

Thursday 06 May 2004

The American Neo-Conservatives wanted a change in
the Middle East, by force if necessary. They imposed
that idea on President George W. Bush in the disarray
of the days immediately following the September 11,
2001 attacks. The disaster of these authoritarian
regimes, sometimes United States' allies, whose
brutality and incompetence fed radical Islam, came
from the status quo. In the absence of any ability to
promote eminently desirable, but necessarily slower,
internal development, an electroshock was necessary. A
salutary kick-start should be given, without fear of
temporary destabilization, an indispensable stage
before the reconstruction of a Middle Eastern order
more satisfactory to everyone. In economics, people
talk about a process of creative destruction.

This kick in the pants of the old order was the war
in Iraq. If the situation were not so tragic, it would
be seriously tempting to observe ironically that the
Neoconservatives seem to be in the process of
successfully achieving the first phase of their plan-
chaos.

Everywhere we look in this complex Middle East that
lends itself so poorly to sorcerer apprentices'
experimentation, pessimism is the order of the day:
not a single hot point, no conflict, has failed to get
worse under the impact of the policy conducted by the
Bush government.

The Israeli-Palestinian confrontation gives rise to
despair. The Bush administration has never made it a
priority. For cosmetic reasons, before starting the
war in Iraq, the administration made a pretence of
supporting a schedule for resumption of negotiations
between the two parties that was supposed to conclude
in the establishment of a Palestinian state in 2005.
That was called the "road map"; it never got off the
ground. Then, the administration lent its enthusiastic
support to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan
for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. For domestic
Israeli political reasons, there is no longer any
Sharon plan. There is, however, day after day, the
terribly normalized, virtually banal, daily
announcement of deaths in the occupied territories- or
in Israel- and the associated photos shown in endless
loop on every Arab television.

By sticking with Mr. Sharon's policy, Washington has
departed from its traditional role of honest broker
between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Egyptian
President Hosni Moubarak recently told Le Monde that
he had never seen such hatred of the United States in
the region. Jordan's King Abdullah delayed a visit to
the White House so that it not take place the day
after Mr. Bush endorsed the Sharon plan. This is the
context in which the devastating effect of the
revelations of torture in Iraq must be understood.
They cap the total discrediting of the image of the
United States- an image which had already been
singularly undermined by management of the post-war.
The occupation has given renewed motivation to
Islamists, who are increasing their attacks in Saudi
Arabia.

The whole thing has taken on a certain shape: that
of a monumental and tragic fiasco.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted by richard at 12:21 PM

"Current preoccupation is with terrorism, but in the long term climate change will outweigh terrorism as an issue for the international community. . . climate change is going to make some very fundamental changes to human existence on the planet."

Nero played fiddle while Rome burned, the incredible
shrinking _resident plays PNACkle while the planet
burns...

Kelpie Wilson, www.truthout.org: Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson said: "Current preoccupation is with terrorism, but in the long term climate change will outweigh terrorism as an issue for the international community. . . climate change is going to make some very fundamental changes to human existence on the planet." Anderson said that if
nothing is done to slow global warming, the
wheat-growing prairies of Canada and the Great Plains
of the United States would eventually no longer
produce enough food to support the population.
"Terrorism is unlikely to give us the strong
possibility of 500 million refugees. Climate change is
likely to give us that if it goes unchecked from
flooded areas ... in countries such as Bangladesh," he
said.

Save the Environment, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

Global Warming -- Facing Our Fears
By Kelpie Wilson
t r u t h o u t | Statement

Thursday 06 May 2004

Addressing a meeting of environment ministers last
week, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that the
Iraq war and terrorism have overshadowed critical
environmental problems. Global warming and dwindling
natural resources are losing the world's attention as
the focus shifts to war and terror.

"However understandable that focus might be, we
cannot lose any more time or ground in the wider
struggle for human well-being. Just as we need
balanced development, so do we need a balanced
international agenda," Annan said.

In recent months, others have made similar
statements.

Canadian Environment Minister David Anderson said:
"Current preoccupation is with terrorism, but in the
long term climate change will outweigh terrorism as an
issue for the international community. . . climate
change is going to make some very fundamental changes
to human existence on the planet." Anderson said that
if nothing is done to slow global warming, the
wheat-growing prairies of Canada and the Great Plains
of the United States would eventually no longer
produce enough food to support the population.
"Terrorism is unlikely to give us the strong
possibility of 500 million refugees. Climate change is
likely to give us that if it goes unchecked from
flooded areas ... in countries such as Bangladesh," he
said.

Sir David King, science advisor to UK prime minister
Tony Blair, said climate change was the most severe
problem faced by the world. He criticized the US for a
failure of leadership: "As the world's only remaining
superpower, the United States is accustomed to leading
internationally co-ordinated action. But at present
the US Government is failing to take up the challenge
of global warming."

He was later told by the prime minister's office to
hold his tongue.

Support for Sir David's view came from Hans Blix,
the former United Nations chief weapons inspector, who
said the environmental crisis was at least as
important a threat as global terrorism. Blix is in a
unique position to be able to weigh these relative
threats. Unlike the general public he has first hand
knowledge of Iraq's WMD program and was not fooled by
the Bush administration's lies and distortions about
the Iraq threat.

Meanwhile, it is still possible to find climate
change skeptics in the American media. The product of
a few industrial think tanks like the Competitive
Enterprise Institute and the Pacific Research
Institute, their broadsides uniformly accuse
environmental advocates and scientists of "fear
mongering."

The overwhelming majority of the world's climate
scientists agree that human-caused climate change is
real, but that is not enough evidence for media hit
men like John Stossel of ABC's 2020. In a 2001 piece
still posted on his website, Stossel says: "Despite
what we hear from the media, there is no consensus
that global warming is harming the planet." Stossel
asks, "Are we scaring ourselves to death?"

Still, the flood of climate change debunking has
definitely slowed. As people around the world begin to
believe the evidence of their senses, it becomes
harder to sell the happy talk about global warming.
Our fears are becoming reality:

Western forests are dying from drought and the fire
season in the west has come earlier than ever with
officials now reporting conditions in early May like
those not formerly seen until July.

Reservoir levels are dropping and we are told that
Lake Powell may go dry and stop producing
hydro-electricity in a few short years.

Those in the middle of the country are preparing for
another summer of severe storms and tornados.

In Europe, people are bracing for more catastrophic
floods and another summer of killing heat.

In Alaska, the permafrost is melting and roads and
foundations are buckling as the ground turns to mush.

Some Pacific islands are becoming uninhabitable as
rising seas sweep across them during storms.

Around the world, declines of wildlife and the
spread of invasive pests are linked to global warming.

Since 9/11 we have seen the Bush administration use
fear to motivate the public to support an unfounded
war on Iraq. Bush told lies that convinced Americans
that Saddam Hussein supported al-Qaeda terrorists and
that he was capable of launching missiles loaded with
nuclear and biological weapons against his neighbors.
None of this has turned out to be true, but the fear
was created.

Fear is a powerful force in human affairs that,
because of our psychological makeup, is easy to
manipulate. We are taught to fear our fears, and to
suppress them as we desperately seek ways to rid
ourselves of them. When our leaders tell us we can act
quickly to eliminate a fear, we usually jump on board
without a lot of questions.

George Lakoff calls this the "Strict Father" model
of politics. Lakoff is a professor of linguistics at
the University of California, Berkeley who has written
widely on the topic of "framing." In public debate, he
says, the winning side is the side that creates the
frame that defines the terms of the debate. Today the
conservatives are winning because they have framed
that debate according to a particular model of the
family. The conservative family model is based on the
"Strict Father" who supports and protects the family.
"He does it in only one way -- by strength and
punishment. Only punishment works. Only shows of
strength work," Lakoff said in a January 15 interview
with BuzzFlash. "When you have fear in the country,
fear evokes a strict father model. It's to the
conservatives' advantage to keep people afraid, to
keep having orange alerts, to keep having
announcements that they have secret information that
there might be a bombing somewhere in the country. As
long as you keep people afraid, you reinforce the
strict father model."

Lakoff contrasts this model with the "Nurturant
Parent" family model that liberals use as a frame.
This type of family and politics focuses on bringing
out the best in everyone. It is more about joy, love,
community and progress, but it has not coped
successfully with fear. Lakoff said we need "to be
positive, to break through the fear You have to
project an image of love and warmth, and happiness and
hope. That's the first thing. You don't feed the
fear."

But when it comes to environmental issues like
global warming, our fears are real. And no one is
providing us with easy answers like sending in the
troops to oust a dictator. Instead, we are being told
not to worry about climate change, pollution and
energy shortages and to carry on with business as
usual. So we suppress our fears and they add to the
general state of fear that is then used to get us to
agree to war and destruction.

In the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin
Delano Roosevelt said to America: "Let me assert my
firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is
fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified
terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert
retreat into advance." But FDR did not ask people to
suppress their fears. He said, "only a foolish
optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment,"
and called for moral vision and a plan of action.

Unaddressed fear leads to paralysis. We still have a
chance to head off some of the worst climate change
scenarios, but we must change our attitude toward fear
and come to see it as our best ally. Where would we be
today if our ancestors did not fear the predator, the
storm, the poor harvest, and take steps to protect
themselves? We must face our fears and act, in concert
with others, in joy and love. When we can do that, we
will be free.

-------

Kelpie Wilson kelpie.wilson@truthout.org is
Truthout's environment editor. A veteran forest
protection activist and mechanical engineer, she
writes from her solar-powered cabin in the Siskiyou
Mountains of southwest Oregon.

-------

_______________________________________________
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Website: http://www.mindspace.org/liberation-news-service/
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Posted by richard at 12:18 PM

May 07, 2004

Bush's "Christian" Blood Cult Concerns Raised by the Vatican

Of course, in the "US mainstream news media" you will hear more about how Sen. John F. Kerry is pro-abortion and should not receive communion because...because...because...
(Afterall, the "US Mainstream News Media" largely ignored the Pope's strong and unequivocal opposition to the incredible shrinking _resident's foolish military adventure in Iraq...The "US Mainstream News Media does the bidding of the "vast reich-wing conspiracy" by playing the Catholic card on Abortion, but they never play it on the Death Penalty or on the Middle East.)
But here at the LNS, this extraordinary story will live on in the searchable database...Indeed, it reminds me that Pope John Paul II is overdue to have his name scrawled on the John O'Neill Wall of Heroes for his outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq. Bravo, Mr. Madsen...

Wayne Madsen, Counterpunch: Bush's blood lust, his
repeated commitment to Christian beliefs, and his
constant references to "evil doers," in the eyes of
many devout Catholic leaders, bear all the hallmarks
of the one warned about in the Book of Revelations -
the anti-Christ. People close to the Pope claim that
amid these concerns, the Pontiff wishes he was younger
and in better health to confront the possibility that
Bush may represent the person prophesized in
Revelations. John Paul II has always believed the
world was on the precipice of the final confrontation
between Good and Evil as foretold in the New
Testament. Before he became Pope, Karol Cardinal
Wojtyla said, "We are now standing in the face of the
greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone
through. I do not think that wide circles of the
American society or wide circles of the Christian
community realize this fully. We are now facing the
final confrontation between the Church and the
anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel."
The Pope, who grew up facing the evils of Hitler and
Stalin, knows evil when he sees it. Although we can
all endlessly argue over the Pope's effectiveness in
curtailing abuses within his Church, his
accomplishments external to Catholicism are
impressive.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy: Defeat
Bush (again!)

http://www.counterpunch.org/madsen04222003.html

Bush's "Christian" Blood Cult Concerns Raised by the Vatican
by WAYNE MADSEN

George W. Bush proclaims himself a born-again
Christian. However, Bush and fellow self-anointed
neo-Christians like House Majority Leader Tom DeLay,
John Ashcroft, and sports arena Book of Revelations
carnival hawker Franklin Graham appear to wallow in a
"Christian" blood lust cult when it comes to
practicing the teachings of the founder of
Christianity. This cultist form of Christianity, with
its emphasis on death rather than life, is also
worrying the leaders of mainstream Christian
religions, particularly the Pope.

One only has to check out Bush's record as Governor of
Texas to see his own preference for death over life.
During his tenure as Governor, Bush presided over a
record setting 152 executions, including the 1998
execution of fellow born-again Christian Karla Faye
Tucker, a convicted murderer who later led a prison
ministry. Forty of Bush's executions were carried out
in 2000, the year the Bush presidential campaign was
spotlighting their candidate's strong law enforcement
record. The Washington Post's Richard Cohen reported
in October 2000 that one of the execution chamber's
"tie-down team" members, Fred Allen, had to prepare so
many people for lethal injections during 2000, he quit
his job in disgust.

Bush mocked Tucker's appeal for clemency. In an
interview with Talk magazine, Bush imitated Tucker's
appeal for him to spare her life - pursing his lips,
squinting his eyes, and in a squeaky voice saying,
"Please don't kill me." That went too far for former
GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer, himself an
evangelical Christian. "I think it is nothing short of
unbelievable that the governor of a major state
running for president thought it was acceptable to
mock a woman he decided to put to death," said Bauer.

A former Texas Department of Public Safety officer, a
devout Roman Catholic, told this reporter that
evidence to the contrary, Bush was more than happy to
ignore DNA data and documented cases of prosecutorial
misconduct to send innocent people to the Huntsville,
Texas lethal injection chamber. He said the number of
executed mentally retarded, African Americans, and
those who committed capital crimes as minors was proof
that Bush was insensitive and a "phony Christian."
When faced with similar problems in Illinois, Governor
George Ryan, a Republican, commuted the death
sentences of his state's death row inmates and
released others after discovering they were wrongfully
convicted. Yet the Republican Party is pillorying Ryan
and John Ashcroft's Justice Department continues to
investigate the former Governor for political
malfeasance as if Bush and Ashcroft are without sin in
such matters. Hypocrisy certainly rules in the
Republican Party.

Bush's blood lust has been extended across the globe.
He has given the CIA authority to assassinate those
deemed a threat to U.S. national interests. Bush has
virtually suspended Executive Orders 11905 (Gerald
Ford), 12306 (Jimmy Carter), and 12333 (Ronald Reagan)
which prohibit the assassination of foreign leaders.
Bush's determination to kill Saddam Hussein, his
family, and his top leaders with precision-guided
missiles and tactical nuclear weapon-like Massive
Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bombs is yet another
indication of Bush's disregard for his Republican and
Democratic predecessors. It now appears that in his
zeal to kill Hussein, innocent civilian patrons of a
Baghdad restaurant were killed by one of Bush's
precision Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs). Like
it or not, Saddam Hussein was recognized by over 100
nations as the leader of Iraq -- a member state of the
United Nations. Hussein, like North Korea' Kim Jong
Il, Syria's Bashir Assad, and Iran's Mohammed Khatami,
are covered by Executive Order 12333, which the Bush
mouthpieces claim is still in effect. Bush's
"Christian" blood cult sees no other option than death
for those who become his enemies. This doctrine is
found no place in Christian theology.

Bush has not once prayed for the innocent civilians
who died as a result of the U.S. attack on Iraq. He
constantly "embeds" himself with the military at
Goebbels-like speech fests and makes constant
references to God when he refers to America's
"victory" in Iraq, as if God endorses his sordid
killing spree. He makes no mention of the children,
women, and old men killed by America's
"precision-guided" missiles and bombs and
trigger-happy U.S. troops. In fact, Bush revels in
indiscriminate blood letting. Since he never
experienced such killing in Southeast Asia, when he
was AWOL from his Texas Air National Guard unit, Bush
just does not seem to understand the horror of a
parent watching one's children having their heads and
limbs blown off in a sudden blast of shrapnel or
children witnessing their parents burning to death
with their own body fat nurturing the flames.

Bush and his advisers, previously warned that Iraq's
ancient artifacts and collection of historical
documents and books were in danger of being looted or
destroyed, instead, sat back while the Baghdad and
Mosul museums and Baghdad Library were ransacked and
destroyed. Cult leaders have historically attempted to
destroy history in order to invent their own. The
Soviets tried to obliterate Russia's Orthodox
traditions, turning a number of churches into
warehouses and animal barns. Cambodia's Pol Pot tried
to wipe out Buddhism's famed Angkor Wat shrine in an
attempt to stamp out his country's Buddhist history.
In March 2001, while they were negotiating with the
Bush administration on a natural gas pipeline,
Afghanistan's Taliban blew up two massive 1600-year
old Buddhas in Bamiyan. The Bush administration,
itself run by fanatic religious cultists, barely made
a fuss about the loss of the relics. It would not be
the first time the cultists within the Bush
administration ignored the pillaging of history's
treasures.

The ransacking of Iraq's historical treasures is
explainable when one considers what the blood cult
Christians really think about Islam. Franklin Graham,
the heir to the empire built up by his anti-Semitic
father, Billy Graham, has decided being anti-Muslim is
far more financially rewarding than being anti-Jewish.
Billy Graham, history notes from the Nixon tapes,
complained about the Jewish stranglehold on the media
and Jews being responsible for pornography.

Franklin Graham continues to enjoy his father's
unfettered and questionable access to the White House.
But in the case of Bush, the younger Graham has a
fanatic adherent. Graham has called Islam a "very evil
and wicked" religion. He then announces he wants to go
to Iraq. Graham obviously sees an opportunity to
convert Muslims and unrepentant Eastern Christians,
who owe their allegiance to Roman and Greek prelates,
to his perverted form of blood cult Christianity.
Graham says he is ready to send his Samaritan's Purse
Well-informed sources close to the Vatican report that
missionaries into Iraq to provide assistance. Muslims
and mainstream Christians are wary that Graham wants
to exchange food, water, and medicine for the baptism
of Iraqis into his intolerant brand of Christianity.
In the last Gulf War, Graham could not get away with
his chicanery. The Desert Storm Commander, General
Norman Schwarzkopf, stopped dead in the tracks
Graham's plan to send 30,000 Arabic language Bibles to
U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. Today's Pentagon shows no
such compunction to put a rein on Graham. It invited
him to give a Good Friday sermon at the Pentagon to
the consternation of the Defense Department's Muslim
employees. To make matters worse, under Bush's "Faith
Based Initiative," Graham's Samaritan's Purse stands
to receive U.S. government funds for its proselytizing
efforts in Iraq, something that should be an affront
to every American taxpayer.

Bush's self-proclaimed adherence to Christianity
(during one of the presidential debates he said Jesus
Christ was his favorite "philosopher") and his
constant reference to a new international structure
bypassing the United Nations system and long-standing
international treaties are worrying the top leadership
of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II is
growing increasingly concerned about Bush's ultimate
intentions. The Pope has had experience with Bush's
death fetish. Bush ignored the Pope's plea to spare
the life of Karla Faye Tucker. To show that he was
similarly ignorant of the world's mainstream
religions, Bush also rejected an appeal to spare
Tucker from the World Council of Churches - an
organization that represents over 350 of the world's
Protestant and Orthodox Churches. It did not matter
that Bush's own Methodist Church and his parents'
Episcopal Church are members of the World Council.

Bush's blood lust, his repeated commitment to
Christian beliefs, and his constant references to
"evil doers," in the eyes of many devout Catholic
leaders, bear all the hallmarks of the one warned
about in the Book of Revelations - the anti-Christ.
People close to the Pope claim that amid these
concerns, the Pontiff wishes he was younger and in
better health to confront the possibility that Bush
may represent the person prophesized in Revelations.
John Paul II has always believed the world was on the
precipice of the final confrontation between Good and
Evil as foretold in the New Testament. Before he
became Pope, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla said, "We are now
standing in the face of the greatest historical
confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not
think that wide circles of the American society or
wide circles of the Christian community realize this
fully. We are now facing the final confrontation
between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel
versus the anti-Gospel." The Pope, who grew up facing
the evils of Hitler and Stalin, knows evil when he
sees it. Although we can all endlessly argue over the
Pope's effectiveness in curtailing abuses within his
Church, his accomplishments external to Catholicism
are impressive.

According to journalists close to the Vatican, the
Pope and his closest advisers are also concerned that
the ultimate acts of evil - the September 11 terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon - were
known in advance by senior Bush administration
officials. By permitting the attacks to take their
course, there is a perception within the Roman
Catholic Church hierarchy that a coup d'etat was
implemented, one that gave Bush and his leadership
near-dictatorial powers to carry out their agenda.

The Pope worked tirelessly to convince leaders of
nations on the UN Security Council to oppose Bush's
war resolution on Iraq. Vatican sources claim they had
not seen the Pope more animated and determined since
he fell ill to Parkinson's Disease. In the end, the
Pope did convince the leaders of Mexico, Chile,
Cameroon, and Guinea to oppose the U.S. resolution. If
one were to believe in the Book of Revelations, as the
Pope fervently does, he can seek solace in scoring a
symbolic victory against the Bush administration.
Whether Bush represents a dangerous right-wing
ideologue who couples his political fanaticism with a
neo-Christian blood cult (as I believe) or he is
either the anti-Christ or heralds one, the Pope should
know he has fought the good battle and has gained the
respect and admiration of many non-Catholics around
the world.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative
journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to
Forbidden Truth.

Madsen can be reached at: WMadsen777@aol.com


Today's Features


Posted by richard at 02:30 PM

So what should we be doing? Here's a hint: We can neither drill nor conquer our way out of the problem. Whatever we do, oil prices are going up. What we have to do is adapt.

The end, the last drop, is drawing nearer, and no neo-con wet dream is going to save us...It is a time for courage and vision, not fantasy and sadism...Sen. John F. Kerry offers courage and vision (JFK has proposed a national drive for 20% renewable energy resources by 2014, and that's just the beginning), the incredible shrinking _resident offers another four years of fantasy and sadism...Yes, the issue is SECURITY: not only NATIONAL SECURITY but ECONOMIC SECURITY and ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY as
well...

Paul Krugman, New York Times: Thanks to the mess in
Iraq — including a continuing campaign of sabotage
against oil pipelines — oil exports have yet to
recover to their prewar level, let alone supply the
millions of extra barrels each day the optimists
imagined. And the fallout from the war has spooked the
markets, which now fear terrorist attacks on oil
installations in Saudi Arabia, and are starting to
worry about radicalization throughout the Middle East.
(It has been interesting to watch people who lauded
George Bush's leadership in the war on terror come to
the belated realization that Mr. Bush has given Osama
bin Laden exactly what he wanted.)
Even if things had gone well, however, Iraq couldn't
have given us cheap oil for more than a couple of
years at most, because the United States and other
advanced countries are now competing for oil with the
surging economies of Asia.
So what should we be doing? Here's a hint: We can neither drill nor conquer our way out of the problem. Whatever we do, oil prices are going up. What we have to do is adapt.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/07/opinion/07KRUG.html


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

May 7, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Oil Crunch
By PAUL KRUGMAN

Before the start of the Iraq war his media empire did
so much to promote, Rupert Murdoch explained the
payoff: "The greatest thing to come out of this for
the world economy, if you could put it that way, would
be $20 a barrel for oil." Crude oil prices in New York
rose to almost $40 a barrel yesterday, a 13-year high.


Those who expected big economic benefits from the war
were, of course, utterly wrong about how things would
go in Iraq. But the disastrous occupation is only part
of the reason that oil is getting more expensive; the
other, which will last even if we somehow find a way
out of the quagmire, is the intensifying competition
for a limited world oil supply.

Thanks to the mess in Iraq — including a continuing
campaign of sabotage against oil pipelines — oil
exports have yet to recover to their prewar level, let
alone supply the millions of extra barrels each day
the optimists imagined. And the fallout from the war
has spooked the markets, which now fear terrorist
attacks on oil installations in Saudi Arabia, and are
starting to worry about radicalization throughout the
Middle East. (It has been interesting to watch people
who lauded George Bush's leadership in the war on
terror come to the belated realization that Mr. Bush
has given Osama bin Laden exactly what he wanted.)

Even if things had gone well, however, Iraq couldn't
have given us cheap oil for more than a couple of
years at most, because the United States and other
advanced countries are now competing for oil with the
surging economies of Asia.

Oil is a resource in finite supply; no major oil
fields have been found since 1976, and experts suspect
that there are no more to find. Some analysts argue
that world production is already at or near its peak,
although most say that technological progress, which
allows the further exploitation of known sources like
the Canadian tar sands, will allow output to rise for
another decade or two. But the date of the physical
peak in production isn't the really crucial question.

The question, instead, is when the trend in oil prices
will turn decisively upward. That upward turn is
inevitable as a growing world economy confronts a
resource in limited supply. But when will it happen?
Maybe it already has.

I know, of course, that such predictions have been
made before, during the energy crisis of the 1970's.
But the end of that crisis has been widely
misunderstood: prices went down not because the world
found new sources of oil, but because it found ways to
make do with less.

During the 1980's, oil consumption dropped around the
world as the delayed effects of the energy crisis led
to the use of more fuel-efficient cars, better
insulation in homes and so on. Although economic
growth led to a gradual recovery, as late as 1993
world oil consumption was only slightly higher than it
had been in 1979. In the United States, oil
consumption didn't regain its 1979 level until 1997.

Since then, however, world demand has grown rapidly:
the daily world consumption of oil is 12 million
barrels higher than it was a decade ago, roughly equal
to the combined production of Saudi Arabia and Iran.
It turns out that America's love affair with gas
guzzlers, shortsighted as it is, is not the main
culprit: the big increases in demand have come from
booming developing countries. China, in particular,
still consumes only 8 percent of the world's oil — but
it accounted for 37 percent of the growth in world oil
consumption over the last four years.

The collision between rapidly growing world demand and
a limited world supply is the reason why the oil
market is so vulnerable to jitters. Maybe we'll get
through this bad patch, and oil will fall back toward
$30 a barrel. But if that happens, it will be only a
temporary respite.

In a way it's ironic. Lately we've been hearing a lot
about competition from Chinese manufacturing and
Indian call centers. But a different kind of
competition — the scramble for oil and other resources
— poses a much bigger threat to our prosperity.

So what should we be doing? Here's a hint: We can
neither drill nor conquer our way out of the problem.
Whatever we do, oil prices are going up. What we have
to do is adapt.


Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home |
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Top


Posted by richard at 02:28 PM

As President, I will not be the last to know what is going on in my command. I will demand accountability from those who serve, and I will take responsibility for their actions, and I will do everything that I can in my power to repair the damage...

The Emperor has no uniform...

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta): "When I was in
the Navy, the captain of the boat was in charge, and
the captain always took responsibility. After the Bay
of Pigs invasion, John F. Kennedy told America 'I am
the responsible officer of this government.' Today, I
have a message for the men and women of our armed
forces: as Commander in Chief, I will honor your
commitment and I will take responsibility for the bad
as well as the good. As President, I will not be the last to know what is going on in my command. I will demand accountability from those who serve, and I will take responsibility for their actions, and I will do everything that I can in my power to repair the damage that this has caused to America, to our standing in the world, and to the ideals for which we stand. This is my promise to our troops and this is my promise to our nation."

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=170-05062004

Kerry Statement on Latest Iraqi Photos and Chain of
Command; Audio Advisory-Actuality Available

5/6/2004 5:55:00 PM


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To: National Desk and Political Reporter

Contact: Katie McCormick Lelyveld of John Kerry for
President, 202-712-3000, Web: http://www.johnkerry.com

COLTON, Calif., May 6 /U.S. Newsiwre/ -- Democratic
Presidential candidate John Kerry made the following
statement today on latest Iraqi photos:

The following actuality is available on
http://www.johnkerry.com and at the URLs listed below:

"I want to say a few words at the outset about the
appalling images of abuse that are flashing across the
television screens of the world. The pain and the
shame that we feel looking at these images is the
understanding that this is not who we are, that this
is not what we stand for, and that we are seeing
things that contradict everything that the brave men
and women of the armed forces of the United States of
America are fighting to defend. These despicable
actions have endangered the lives of our soldiers, and
they have, frankly, made their mission harder to
accomplish. America is stronger and our families are
safer and they are respected around the world when we
take actions that live up to our values and earn that
respect around the world. We cannot succeed in Iraq by
abandoning the values that define America.

"When I was in the Navy, the captain of the boat was
in charge, and the captain always took responsibility.
After the Bay of Pigs invasion, John F. Kennedy told
America 'I am the responsible officer of this
government.' Today, I have a message for the men and
women of our armed forces: as Commander in Chief, I
will honor your commitment and I will take
responsibility for the bad as well as the good. As
President, I will not be the last to know what is
going on in my command. I will demand accountability
from those who serve, and I will take responsibility
for their actions, and I will do everything that I can
in my power to repair the damage that this has caused
to America, to our standing in the world, and to the
ideals for which we stand. This is my promise to our
troops and this is my promise to our nation."

(Clip length: 2:50)

Streaming REAL
http://www.johnkerry.com/audio/050604_ca_iraqstatemen
t.ram

Streaming Windows
http://www.johnkerry.com/audio/050604_ca_iraqstatemen
t.asf

Download MP3
http://www.johnkerry.com/audio/050604_ca_iraqstatemen
t.mp3


http://www.usnewswire.com/

-0-

/© 2004 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


Posted by richard at 02:26 PM

May 06, 2004

The Red Cross Accuses: "The Photos are Shocking, but Our Reports are Worse"

Another US soldier has died in Iraq. For what?
Certainly not for "freedom of the press." The "US
Mainstream News Media" is WOEFULLY UNDER-REPORTING
this aspect of the Abu Ghraib story...

Afsane Bassir Pour, Le Monde:
The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC)
has known for a long time that "worse things than what
are shown in the photos" have been taking place at the
big Abou Ghraib prison, west of Baghdad. "We don't
need the photos to know what's going on and that it's
not acceptable," says the ICRC spokesperson, Antonella
Notari. According to her, the ICRC had already made
several reports and recommendations to the American
and British authorities in Iraq "in the first
instance" and to their superiors in Washington and
London "in the second place".

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://truthout.org/docs_04/050604E.shtml

The Red Cross Accuses: "The Photos are Shocking, but Our Reports are Worse"
By Afsane Bassir Pour
Le Monde

Wednesday 05 May 2004

Geneva - The International Committee for the Red
Cross (ICRC) has known for a long time that "worse
things than what are shown in the photos" have been
taking place at the big Abou Ghraib prison, west of
Baghdad. "We don't need the photos to know what's
going on and that it's not acceptable," says the ICRC
spokesperson, Antonella Notari. According to her, the
ICRC had already made several reports and
recommendations to the American and British
authorities in Iraq "in the first instance" and to
their superiors in Washington and London "in the
second place".

"The photos are certainly shocking, but our
reports are worse," says Mrs. Notari, who nonetheless
refuses to detail the contents of those reports, in
conformity with ICRC standard practice. That's the
price the group pays, she explains, for being able to
make "impromptu and regular" visits to the Abou Ghraib
prison every five or six weeks since Iraqi prisoners
have been held there, starting in October 2003.

"We knew and we had told the Americans that what
was going on at Abou Ghraib is reprehensible." Mrs.
Notari categorically denies the statements of General
Janis Karpinski, commander of the units responsible
for prisons in Iraq, according to which "military
intelligence men" prevented the detainees in cell
block 1A- where the tortures were practiced- from
seeing ICRC delegates. "We are not simpletons,"
retorts Antonella Notari, "our representatives are
extremely experienced and they speak to lots of people
inside the prison, we always end up knowing the truth
in all the world's prisons and the truth about Abou
Ghraib is shocking."

"Preventative Message"
The ICRC demands that the abuses committed against
Iraqi prisoners be punished by the law. "When there is
information about torture, sanctions must be quickly
enforced; it's extremely important; it makes the
people in charge of the prisoners responsible and
sends a very clear preventive message to others."

According to its representatives, if the ICRC has
remained "very discreet" about the abuses, it's only
because its reports "have been taken very seriously"
by the Americans. Relations between the United States
and the ICRC are more complicated on the Guantanamo
naval base. The "persistent" refusal of the United
States to respect the Geneva conventions on prisoners
of war has actually led the ICRC, for the first time,
to publicly condemn the "illegality" of the arbitrary
detention of the 600 prisoners who are there.

Since the fall of the Baathist regime in April
2003, the ICRC has recorded more than 11,000 Iraqi
prisoners in Iraq, some of whom have been released in
the mean time. According to the organization, there
were two categories of prisoner in the Abou Ghraib
prison: former fighters from Saddam Hussein's army,
who have prisoner of war status; and civilians
interned "for different reasons", but to whom the
Geneva conventions- of which the ICRC has been the
steward since 1949- equally well apply. The ICRC
concentrates on "the prisoners who are most
vulnerable, that is, those who are detained for
security reasons." The fact that the coalition used
the Abou Ghraib prison "shocked the Iraqi people very
much," says Antonella Notari, "because this prison was
famous for the atrocities the Saddam Hussein regime
committed there."

The NGOs Too...
The UN is also timidly mobilizing. Tuesday May 4,
the High Commission for Human Rights named "an
independent expert" to investigate the violations
committed by belligerents in Iraq. The Icelandic judge
Jakob Moller has been charged with conducting "an
evaluation exercise." His mandate and his resources
have yet to be defined. One of the strongest voices
against abuses in Iraq could be that of Theo van
Boven. A personage well-respected by human rights'
advocates, this Dutch magistrate is the UN's special
reporter on torture. In a communiqué on Tuesday, he
demanded "an inquiry, prosecutions, and punishment" as
well as reparations to the victims of these
violations.

Non-governmental organizations are also
multiplying their denunciations. The International
Federation for Human Rights has already called on the
Swiss government, as the depositary and agent for the
Geneva conventions, to assemble an international
conference, to, as the Federation's General Secretary
put it, "find solutions for the violations of
international humanitarian law committed in Iraq."
Human Rights Watch has demanded that the inquiry be
extended to "the superior authorities" so that it may
be known "whether they ordered or tolerated these
abuses, which are possibly war crimes."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Translation: Truthout French language
correspondent Leslie Thatcher.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Posted by richard at 02:25 PM

The Bush administration was well aware of the Taguba report, but more concerned about its exposure than its contents. General Richard Myers, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, was dispatched on a mission to CBS news to tell it to suppress its stor

The Emperor has no uniform...no honor...no common
sense...no understanding of the Geneva Accords, the UN
Charter, the Uniform Code of Military Justice or even
of the US Constitution (which he swore an oath to
defend)...

Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian: The Bush administration was well aware of the Taguba report, but more concerned about its exposure than its contents. General Richard Myers, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, was dispatched on a mission to CBS news to tell it to suppress its story and the horrifying pictures. For two weeks, CBS's 60 Minutes
II show complied, until it became known that the New
Yorker magazine would publish excerpts of the report.
Myers was then sent on to the Sunday morning news
programmes to explain, but under questioning
acknowledged that he had still not read the report he
had tried to censor from the public for weeks...

Save the US Constituion, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1210588,00.html

This is the new gulag

Bush has created a global network of extra-legal and secret US prisons with thousands of inmates

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday May 6, 2004
The Guardian

It was "unacceptable" and "un-American", but was it
torture? "My impression is that what has been charged
thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is
different from torture," said Donald Rumsfeld, the
secretary of defence on Tuesday. "I don't know if it
is correct to say what you just said, that torture has
taken place, or that there's been a conviction for
torture. And therefore I'm not going to address the
torture word."
He confessed he had still not read the March 9 report
by Major General Antonio Taguba on "abuse" at the Abu
Ghraib prison. Some highlights: " ... pouring cold
water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a
broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees
with rape ... sodomising a detainee with a chemical
light and perhaps a broom stick ... "

The same day that Rumsfeld added his contribution to
the history of Orwellian statements by high officials,
the Senate armed services committee was briefed behind
closed doors for the first time not only about Abu
Ghraib, but about military and CIA prisons in
Afghanistan. It learned of the deaths of 25 prisoners
and two murders in Iraq; that private contractors were
at the centre of these lethal incidents; and that no
one had been charged. The senators were given no
details about the private contractors. They might as
well have been fitted with hoods.

Many of them, Democratic and Republican, were
infuriated that there was no accountability and no
punishment and demanded a special investigation, but
the Republican leadership quashed it. The senators
want Rumsfeld to testify in a public hearing, but he
is resisting and the Republican leaders are blocking
it.

The Bush administration was well aware of the Taguba
report, but more concerned about its exposure than its
contents. General Richard Myers, the chairman of the
joint chiefs of staff, was dispatched on a mission to
CBS news to tell it to suppress its story and the
horrifying pictures. For two weeks, CBS's 60 Minutes
II show complied, until it became known that the New
Yorker magazine would publish excerpts of the report.
Myers was then sent on to the Sunday morning news
programmes to explain, but under questioning
acknowledged that he had still not read the report he
had tried to censor from the public for weeks.

President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and other officials,
unable to contain the controversy any longer, engaged
in profuse apologies and scheduled appearances on Arab
television. There were still no firings. One of their
chief talking points was that the "abuse" was an
aberration. But Abu Ghraib was a predictable
consequence of the Bush administration imperatives and
policies.

Bush has created what is in effect a gulag. It
stretches from prisons in Afghanistan to Iraq, from
Guantánamo to secret CIA prisons around the world.
There are perhaps 10,000 people being held in Iraq,
1,000 in Afghanistan and almost 700 in Guantánamo, but
no one knows the exact numbers. The law as it applies
to them is whatever the executive deems necessary.
There has been nothing like this system since the fall
of the Soviet Union. The US military embraced the
Geneva conventions after the second world war, because
applying them to prisoners of war protects American
soldiers. But the Bush administration, in an internal
fight, trumped its argument by designating those at
Guantánamo "enemy combatants". Rumsfeld extended this
system - "a legal black hole", according to Human
Rights Watch - to Afghanistan and then Iraq, openly
rejecting the conventions.

Private contractors, according to the Toguba report,
gave orders to US soldiers to torture prisoners. Their
presence in Iraq is a result of the Bush military
strategy of invading with a relatively light force.
The gap has been filled by private contractors, who
are not subject to Iraqi law or the US military code
of justice. Now, there are an estimated 20,000 of them
on the ground in Iraq, a larger force than the British
army.

It is not surprising that recent events in Iraq centre
on these contractors: the four killed in Falluja, and
Abu Ghraib's interrogators. Under the Bush legal
doctrine, we create a system beyond law to defend the
rule of law against terrorism; we defend democracy by
inhibiting democracy. Law is there to constrain
"evildoers". Who doubts our love of freedom?

But the arrogance of virtuous certainty masks the
egotism of power. It is the opposite of American
pragmatism, which always under stands that knowledge
is contingent, tentative and imperfect. This is a
conflict in the American mind between two claims on
democracy, one with a sense of paradox, limits and
debate, the other purporting to be omniscient, even
messianic, requiring no checks because of its purity,
and contemptuous of accountability.

"This is the only one where they took pictures," Tom
Malinowski, Washington advocate of Human Rights Watch,
and a former staff member of the National Security
Council, told me. "This was not considered a debatable
topic until people had to stare at the pictures."

· Sidney Blumenthal is former senior adviser to
President Clinton and Washington bureau chief of
Salon.com

Sidney_Blumenthal@yahoo.com

Posted by richard at 02:23 PM

May 05, 2004

The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush...The film, "Fahrenheit 911," links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis — including the family of Osama...

Three more US soldiers died in Iraq today...For what? MEANWHILE, here is STUNNING evidence of the "US mainstream news media" complicity...and of the dangers of corporatist media monopolies controlling the flow of information in a "free society." Yes, indeed...It's the Media, Stupid.

Jim Rutenberg, NY Times: The Walt Disney Company is
blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new
documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes
President Bush, executives at both Disney and Miramax
said Tuesday. The film, "Fahrenheit 911," links Mr.
Bush and prominent Saudis — including the family of
Osama bin Laden — and criticizes Mr. Bush's actions
before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The
Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division
from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore
that harshly criticizes President Bush, executives at
both Disney and Miramax said Tuesday. Th film,
"Fahrenheit 911," links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis
— including the family of Osama bin Laden — and
criticizes Mr. Bush's actions before and after the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks...Mr. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D.
Eisner, Disney's chief executive, asked him last
spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr.
Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern
that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for
its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida,
where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/05/national/05DISN.html?hp

Disney Forbidding Distribution of Film That Criticizes
Bush
By JIM RUTENBERG

Published: May 5, 2004


WASHINGTON, May 4 — The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush, executives at both Disney and Miramax said Tuesday.
The film, "Fahrenheit 911," links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis — including the family of Osama bin Laden — and criticizes Mr. Bush's actions before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Disney, which bought Miramax more than a decade ago,
has a contractual agreement with the Miramax
principals, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, allowing it to
prevent the company from distributing films under
certain circumstances, like an excessive budget or an
NC-17 rating.

Executives at Miramax, who became principal investors
in Mr. Moore's project last spring, do not believe
that this is one of those cases, people involved in
the production of the film said. If a compromise is
not reached, these people said, the matter could go to
mediation, though neither side is said to want to
travel that route.

In a statement, Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for
Miramax, said: "We're discussing the issue with
Disney. We're looking at all of our options and look
forward to resolving this amicably."

But Disney executives indicated that they would not
budge from their position forbidding Miramax to be the
distributor of the film in North America. Overseas
rights have been sold to a number of companies,
executives said.

"We advised both the agent and Miramax in May of 2003
that the film would not be distributed by Miramax,"
said Zenia Mucha, a company spokeswoman, referring to
Mr. Moore's agent. "That decision stands."

Disney came under heavy criticism from conservatives
last May after the disclosure that Miramax had agreed
to finance the film when Icon Productions, Mel
Gibson's company, backed out.

Mr. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D.
Eisner, Disney's chief executive, asked him last
spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr.
Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern
that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for
its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida,
where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.

"Michael Eisner asked me not to sell this movie to
Harvey Weinstein; that doesn't mean I listened to
him," Mr. Emanuel said. "He definitely indicated there
were tax incentives he was getting for the Disney
corporation and that's why he didn't want me to sell
it to Miramax. He didn't want a Disney company
involved."

Disney executives deny that accusation, though they
said their displeasure over the deal was made clear to
Miramax and Mr. Emanuel.

A senior Disney executive elaborated that the company
had the right to quash Miramax's distribution of films
if it deemed their distribution to be against the
interests of the company. The executive said Mr.
Moore's film is deemed to be against Disney's
interests not because of the company's business
dealings with the government but because Disney caters
to families of all political stripes and believes Mr.
Moore's film, which does not have a release date,
could alienate many.

"It's not in the interest of any major corporation to
be dragged into a highly charged partisan political
battle," this executive said.

Miramax is free to seek another distributor in North
America, but such a deal would force it to share
profits and be a blow to Harvey Weinstein, a big donor
to Democrats.

Mr. Moore, who will present the film at the Cannes
film festival this month, criticized Disney's decision
in an interview on Tuesday, saying, "At some point the
question has to be asked, `Should this be happening in
a free and open society where the monied interests
essentially call the shots regarding the information
that the public is allowed to see?' "

Mr. Moore's films, like "Roger and Me" and "Bowling
for Columbine," are often a political lightning rod,
as Mr. Moore sets out to skewer what he says are the
misguided priorities of conservatives and big
business. They have also often performed well at the
box office. His most recent movie, "Bowling for
Columbine," took in about $22 million in North America
for United Artists. His books, like "Stupid White
Men," a jeremiad against the Bush administration that
has sold more than a million copies, have also been
lucrative.

Mr. Moore does not disagree that "Fahrenheit 911" is
highly charged, but he took issue with the description
of it as partisan. "If this is partisan in any way it
is partisan on the side of the poor and working people
in this country who provide fodder for this war
machine," he said.

Mr. Moore said the film describes financial
connections between the Bush family and its associates
and prominent Saudi Arabian families that go back
three decades. He said it closely explores the
government's role in the evacuation of relatives of
Mr. bin Laden from the United States immediately after
the 2001 attacks. The film includes comments from
American soldiers on the ground in Iraq expressing
disillusionment with the war, he said.

Mr. Moore once planned to produce the film with Mr.
Gibson's company, but "the project wasn't right for
Icon," said Alan Nierob, an Icon spokesman, adding
that the decision had nothing to do with politics.

Miramax stepped in immediately. The company had
distributed Mr. Moore's 1997 film, "The Big One." In
return for providing most of the new film's $6 million
budget, Miramax was positioned to distribute it.

While Disney's objections were made clear early on,
one executive said the Miramax leadership hoped it
would be able to prevail upon Disney to sign off on
distribution, which would ideally happen this summer,
before the election and when political interest is
high.


Posted by richard at 10:39 PM

May 04, 2004

Now either the president was just not being serious when he made that statement, or else his senior staff is disobeying him, or else he doesn't have any authority over his senior staff.

NOTE TO SEN. JOHN F. KERRY (D-Mekong Delta): You must
make the case against the incredible shrinking
_resident for the US electorate, not with rhetoric and
new policies, NO...with the EVIDENCE in the public
record and the TESTIMONY of those who have fled his
own government...Somebody has to link Richard Clark
(R-Reality), Paul O'Neill (R-Alcoa), Joe Wilson
(R-Niger) and others from the National Security
Council (Beers, Cressey), the US State Dept.
(Theilman), the Pentagon (Kwiatowski), the FBI
(Rowley, Edmonds) and even the EPA (Schaffer,
etc.)...Somebody has to read the indictment, John, and
if you are waiting for the "US mainstream news media"
to do it, you will end up with Al Gore. But you are
not a "southern gentleman," you are a WARRIOR and a
PROSECUTOR, John, tap your skills and define yourself
by defining the incredible shrinking _resident as
utterly lacking in CREDIBILITY by the EVIDENCE in the
public record and TESTIMONY of those who have fled his
own government, define yourself by defining him as an
utter INCOMPETENT by the EVIDENCE in the public record
and TESTIMONY of those who have fled his own
government, challenge his CHARACTER by the EVIDENCE of
the public record and the TESTIMONY of those who have
fled his own government...indict him on 9/11,
Iraq, the Economy and the Environment, indict him on
NATIONAL SECURITY, ECONOMIC SECURITY and ENVIRONMENTAL
SECURITY...You cannot approach this national
referendum on the incredible shrinking _resident as if
it were a traditional campaign, it is not...We are at
the precipice. It is a NATIONAL EMERGENCY...
P.S. Do not let the DLC pick your VP for you. Do not follow "conventional wisdom." Do the Math (Electoral College), but do not sacrifice the Myth (i.e. "Band of Brothers")...You know the LNS short-list: Wesley Clark (D-NATO), Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fraudida), Sen. Mary Landreiux (D-Lousiana). We know you have to be comfortable with whoever it is, we know that person has to clear some background checks, we know you have deep polling to go on, BUT remember this too, whoever it is has to be capable of the political wet work ahead, and whoever it is has to be able to take over in a heart-beat, both now and after the election. We'll say it again, Kerry-Clark. Wesley will stick the banner of truth where the sun has not shone for a long time. He will be your expert witness on 9/11 and Iraq. Do it, John. Whoever you choose has to be able to weild the political hatchet, whoever you choose has to be able to amplify the Math and add to the Math...We will not second-guess you. We do not know Vilsack, and we could see scenarios in which Dick Gephardt (D-Misery) or John Edwards (D-Carolina) could perform capably, BUT...this campaign is being waged in the midst of a National Emergency, an unprecendented vacuum of CREDIBILITY, CHARACTER and COMPETENCE exists in the White House, and there is a Mega-Mogadishu brewing in Iraq...Choose well, John. Ask Clinton, ask Theresa, ask your own hunter's soul, ignore the others...

Joe Wilson in The Nation: I have all the confidence
that Pat Fitzgerald and the FBI investigators who are
working with him are proceeding aggressively and doing
everything they can to get to the bottom of this. At
the same time, I'm appalled that they haven't gotten
to the bottom of it yet, and I have to conclude that
the reason is because administration officials in the
know are simply stonewalling. The president made it
very clear in a public comment that he expected his
senior officials to cooperate with the investigation
because he wanted to get to the bottom of it. Now either the president was just not being serious when he made that statement, or else his senior staff is disobeying him, or else he doesn't have any authority over his senior staff. You take your pick. We have both spoken to the FBI. But we don't talk about the
investigation.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.thenation.com/capitalgames/index.mhtml?bid=3&pid=1413

An Interview With Joseph Wilson
04/30/2004 @ 3:38pm
E-mail this Post
On the morning of July 14, 2003, I was reading Bob
Novak's column in The Washington Post. He was doing
his best to defend the Bush administration from the
red-hot charge that George W. Bush had misled the
country during the State of the Union address when he
declared that "Saddam Hussein recently sought
significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Months
after the speech, this sentence triggered a
near-scandal, for it turned out there had been no
strong factual basis for the allegation, which was
meant to suggest Hussein was close to acquiring
nuclear weapons. The White House asserted it had had
no reason to be wary about using this piece of
information. Then, on July 6, 2003, former ambassador
Joseph Wilson wrote a piece in The New York Times and
publicly revealed that in February 2002 he had been
sent to Niger by the CIA to examine the allegation and
had reported back there was no evidence to support
this claim. Prior to his Times article, Wilson, the
last acting U.S. ambassador in Iraq, had been one of
the more prominent opponents of the Iraq war. Yet he
had not used the information he possessed about Bush's
misuse of the Niger allegation to score points while
debating the war. His much-noticed Times op-ed was a
blow for the White House, and Republicans and
conservatives struck back. One front in that
counterattack was the Novak column.

"His wife, Valerie Plame," Novak wrote, "is an Agency
operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior
administration officials told me Wilson's wife
suggested sending him to Niger to investigate" the
Niger charge. With this passage, Novak blew the cover
of Wilson's wife, who had worked clandestinely for the
CIA for years. I immediately called Wilson, whom I had
gotten to know over the past months and whom I had
recruited to write for The Nation. Somewhat jokingly,
I said, "You never told me Valerie was CIA." He
responded, "I still can't." As we discussed the Novak
column, it became clear to me that this
leak--apparently part of an effort to discredit and/or
punish Wilson for opposing the White House--had ruined
his wife's career as a clandestine officer, undermined
her work in the important field of
counterproliferation, and perhaps even endangered her
and her contacts. And it might have been against the
law. I told Wilson about the 1982 Intelligence
Identities Protection Act, which made it a serious
federal crime for a government official to reveal the
identity of a covert officer. He and his wife were
unaware of the law. The following day, I checked
further and concluded that it was possible that White
House officials--or "administration sources," as Novak
put it--had indeed broken the law.

On July 16, 2003, I wrote a piece that appeared in
this space noting that the Wilsons had been slimed by
the Bush administration and that this leak might have
harmed national security and violated the 1982 law. It
was the first article to report that the leak was a
possible White House crime. Few reporters in
Washington paid attention to the story, but the posted
piece received a tremendous flood of traffic. Not
until two months later, when the news broke that the
CIA had asked the Justice Department to conduct an
investigation, did the Wilson leak story go big-time.

Since then, Attorney General John Ashcroft has recused
himself from the matter, and Patrick Fitzgerald, the
U.S. attorney in Chicago, has been investigating.
Reporters and observers have spent months guessing and
theorizing about the identities of the leakers and
wondering whether the leak investigation is
progressing. In his new book, The Politics of Truth:
Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's
CIA Identity, Wilson writes that he was told by a
source that in March 2002 (months before he went
public on his Niger trip but while he was a vocal
critic of the march to war) the Office of the Vice
President held a meeting in which a decision was made
to do a "workup" on Wilson--that is, to dig up dirt on
him. As for the leakers, Wilson writes that after
talking to reporters and others he believes it was
"quite possibly" Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Dick Cheney's
chief of staff, who exposed his wife's identity. He
also writes, "The other name that has most often been
repeated to me in connection with the inquiry and
disclosure into my background and Valerie's is that of
Elliott Abrams, [a National Security Council aide] who
gained infamy in the Iran-Contra scandal during the
first Bush administration." Moreover, Wilson maintains
that Bush strategist Karl Rove was instrumental in
disseminating information about him and his wife.

Wilson doesn't have proof. He is essentially sharing
hunches and leads. (An April 30, 2004, New York Daily
News story, citing an "inside source," reports that
Fitzgerald's probe has been focused on Libby and
Rove.) But Wilson's book is far more than an account
of the leak affair and Nigergate. He writes breezily
about his years as a smooth and assertive foreign
service officer (including his rather dramatic
face-off against Saddam Hussein in 1990, when Wilson
was the last acting ambassador in Iraq before the
first Gulf War), and he passionately chronicles his
role in the public debate that preceded Bush's
invasion of Iraq. (Disclosure: he has several kind
references to me in the book.) The night before his
book was to be released, he talked with me about the
leak, his wife, the war, and what lies ahead in Iraq.

In 2000, you donated $1000 to George W. Bush's
presidential campaign. Why? Any regrets?

I thought he would be the better of the two Republican
presidential candidates then in the running. When he
talked about compassionate conservatism, it seemed as
if he was interested in reprising the first Bush
administration. I had been happy with parts of its
foreign policy. But after Bush lost the New Hampshire
primary and tacked hard to the right in South Carolina
to beat John McCain, it was clear to me he was not a
good choice. I declined to sign a letter of former
ambassadors supporting him. About that contribution--I
was wrong. I admit my error.

When I called you the morning of July 14, 2003, about
the Novak column, you initially said you were not
eager for anyone to write about the matter. Did you
believe that the impact of the leak could be
contained?

It was not that I thought it could be contained. I did
not want to add additional fuel to the fire. I
believed that the appropriate point of inquiry was the
CIA. When I first I read it, I realized that only if
150 people in the entire world had seen the column,
you could be sure that 149 of them were heads of
intelligence services here in D.C. I understood the
importance to Val's career and the security
implications. After all, CIA station chiefs in Beirut
and Greece had been assassinated.

You talked with Novak before the column appeared. Did
you ask him not to identify your wife?

He said he had it from a CIA source and he was looking
for a confirmation. I said I would not say anything
about my wife. He then wrote it had come from "two
senior administration officials." I then called him
and said, "Well which was it--a CIA source, or
administration sources?" He said he had misspoken the
first time. If you're a journalist who's been in this
town a long time, it seems to me you know your way in
and out of questions of sourcing. The serious
journalists I've spoken to over the years have all
been very precise about their sources. I did find this
lack of precision curious.

What do you think that means?

I have no idea. And then afterwards, Novak was quoted
as saying he had contacted the CIA and it had told him
not to go with the story. But apparently he didn't
understand some part of that no. [Editor's note: Novak
says he received what he considered to be a weak
request from the CIA not to publish Valerie Plame's
name.] Maybe because they didn't scream he assumed he
could get away with it. And it appears he has.

Why did the leak receive not a lot of notice at first?


I have no idea what drives the news cycle.

Did you try to bring it to the attention of other
reporters?

No. Principally because Valerie and I realized that
for all the hardship it may have imposed upon us, the
real crime was the crime against the national security
of the country and the responsibility for
investigating that crime lay with the appropriate
authorities. We have tried to avoid giving the
impression that we thought of ourselves as victims. We
thought that the country was the victim.

What's been the attitude at the CIA about the leak?

I only know what I've heard and what I've seen
publicly. I have not been in touch with the CIA since
I came back from Niger. Valerie has, of course, but we
don't talk about it. But I think it's safe to say that
those of her former colleagues who have spoken out
publicly have made it very clear that there has been a
breach of trust between the clandestine service of the
CIA and the White House.

Has CIA chief George Tenet said anything publicly
about the leak or the investigation?

I haven't seen anything. I don't know. I probably
would have noticed. But I might not have.

Is Valerie still working at the CIA?

She still works there. She still goes to work every
day. Obviously her job has changed and her ability to
do certain things has been lost. There are things she
will not be able to do in the future. And we'll see in
the long term how this works out.

Is she still working in the counterproliferation
field?

I can't tell you that.

Have you heard from the federal investigators
recently?

Not in a while. I have all the confidence that Pat
Fitzgerald and the FBI investigators who are working
with him are proceeding aggressively and doing
everything they can to get to the bottom of this. At
the same time, I'm appalled that they haven't gotten
to the bottom of it yet, and I have to conclude that
the reason is because administration officials in the
know are simply stonewalling. The president made it
very clear in a public comment that he expected his
senior officials to cooperate with the investigation
because he wanted to get to the bottom of it. Now
either the president was just not being serious when
he made that statement, or else his senior staff is
disobeying him, or else he doesn't have any authority
over his senior staff. You take your pick. We have
both spoken to the FBI. But we don't talk about the
investigation.

But in your book you speculate about the source of the
leak--

It's not so much that I'm voicing my speculation. It
is more that I am sharing with people outside the
Beltway what credible sources here in Washington have
shared with me. And what they have gleaned is that as
early as March there was a meeting in the offices of
the Vice President at which the decision was made to
do a workup on me. The cause of this was my appearance
on CNN when I was asked about forged documents [that
contained the allegation about Iraqi uranium-shopping
in Niger] and about the State Department spokesman's
statement that the United States had simply fallen for
these forgeries. I said that I believed that if the
U.S. government looked into its files it would find
that it knew far more about the Niger business than
the State Department spokesman was letting on. And I
went further and said that I thought that the State
Department spokesman was either being disingenuous or
else was so far out of the loop he didn't deserve to
pick up the meager salary that they pay those guys.
Typical hyperbole from me.

So you believe this signaled to the White House that
you knew--because of your trip to Niger a year
earlier--that the we-were-duped cover story was false?
And that because of this, White House officials felt
threatened by you and ordered a so-called "workup" on
Joe Wilson?

Which I interpreted to mean they basically mounted an
intelligence operation to find out everything they
could on me and my habits and everything else. Which
in and of itself I find rather appalling. Who's
responsible for running intelligence operations or
doing investigations on people? It certainly isn't the
White House.

Maybe in the Nixon administration.

Maybe that's where these guys learned this.

As you know, it is possible that Fitzgerald could
conduct a thorough investigation and still at the end
of the day conclude there is not enough evidence to
prosecute anyone. In that case, have you considered
calling for the release of a public report that would
describe what his investigators learned?

I haven't. I've had some chats with people up on the
Hill about this. Given that I'm not a victim, I have
no particular standing to make such a request. The
people who have standing to do so are members of
Congress. I think that some would be very interested
in doing this. I believe it's important to understand
that whether or not the special counsel finds evidence
of a crime that enables him to prosecute, it is an
irrefutable fact that the national security of the
United States has been violated. The person who did
this falls into the category of what George H.W. Bush
once called the "most insidious of traitors." So they
can hide behind a criminal investigation--which is
what of course the administration is doing--but that
does not get them out from under the charge that
somebody decided that his or her political agenda was
more important than the national security of my
country and that this person was prepared to betray a
national security asset to defend that agenda. And
that person could still be in their position and still
have security clearance.

Your detractors on the right say you're a publicity
hound who has tried to exploit the leak and cash in by
writing a book. Your response?

I don't know quite how to respond to that other than
to make the point that for the better part of six
months in 2003, I worked behind the scenes,
maintaining my anonymity, to try and encourage the
government to 'fess up to the [uranium-from-Niger]
falsehood that was in the president's State of the
Union Address. That was nothing more or less than
doing one's civic duty. I did not insert those sixteen
words into the president's speech, and I wasn't part
of the conspiracy to leak the name of a national
security asset. If you read the book, you find it is
far more than a diatribe against this administration.
It also recounts my career in some of the most
difficult places in the world, where I often was
working on issues of war and peace. I would submit to
you that it is probably far more substantive than the
recent book published by [Bush adviser] Karen Hughes.

Before the war, you were one of the few former
diplomats--establishment types--who were out there
vigorously and consistently opposing the Bush
administration on the question of war in Iraq. Why
were there not more? Were you lonely?

There were a number of people who offered thoughtful
commentary. But a number of very close friends of mine
found the stridency of the other side to be really
off-putting and found that it was extraordinarily
difficult to have the serious debate that this country
deserved before we went to war. They held back. Those
people are clearly smarter than I am. The people who
spoke out acted on their own consciences and on their
own sense of what was doable. But there was a sense in
some parts of this town that the deal was done and
that the key decisions had already been made--which in
retrospect seems to have been the case. I always
thought that a vigorous debate would have yielded what
I thought was the right approach: diplomacy backed by
the credible threat of force. You had to be prepared
to use force, but if you were going to use the force,
it needed to be targeted at the national security
objective you wanted to achieve. You needed to have in
the calculation some risk/reward, some cost/benefit
analyses. It always seemed to me that the invasion,
conquest and occupation of Iraq as a means of
disarming Hussein was the highest risk, lowest reward
option, particularly when it was clear that UN
Security Council Resolution 1441 [which led to revived
weapons inspections in Iraq] was working.

Recently, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that
no one a year ago--including himself--predicted that
the situation in Iraq would be so difficult today.
Before the war, weren't you, among others, warning
that instability and U.S. casualties could continue
for a long time after the invasion?

I think if you go back and you look at the interview
that I did with Bill Moyers in February of last year,
you will see that I suggested that this was a possible
outcome. That interview stands the test of time.

You are now an adviser to John Kerry's presidential
campaign. He has called for a more multilateral
approach to Iraq. But does he really have much of an
alternative plan for U.S. military action in Iraq? How
would he be handling the insurgency and instability
differently than Bush?

I don't speak on behalf of John Kerry. I sit on its
foreign policy advisory group, and I have the title of
senior foreign policy adviser. But the reason I don't
speak on behalf of the Kerry campaign is that I would
have to speak on their talking points and that is way
too constraining for me. So I support him, I speak in
support of him, and I offer the campaign my advice
privately. My own sense of where we are now is that
the speech that Kerry gave in September [urging a more
multilateral approach] is clearly where the
administration is beginning to move toward. That's a
good thing. Unfortunately, the situation is
deteriorating so fast that--and this is not Kerry's
position but my own--we need to take some steps rather
quickly. The first thing we need to do is stabilize
the situation. We need to realize that we are fighting
a multi-front war, one front against one or two
insurgencies, and a third to ensure public safety and
the provision of basic services.

If you contrast the way they did this war with the way
they did Bosnia--when I was political adviser to the
commander in chief of US forces in Europe--the
differences are absolutely striking. In Bosnia, we
went in heavy and in such an intimidating fashion that
nobody dared take a shot at us, and if they did it was
just going to bounce off the Bradley fighting
vehicles. We put 30,000 people--20,000 American--into
a tiny piece of real estate. In Iraq, we put in
130,000 into a vast piece of territory, and they're
all lightly armored because the Rumsfeld doctrine is
to move faster, further and more lethally. He didn't
factor in what it would take to occupy the territory.
Also, when you go in and you do an operation, you have
to separate the belligerents, and the first thing you
have to do is be responsible for the provision of all
the basic services, even if they are not core military
tasks. It's only when the situation becomes somewhat
stable and when people understand you mean business
that you can begin to transfer some of these non-core
activities to the NGO community, which is better
suited to do it but less able to provide logistical
support and security in an unstable situation. In
Iraq, we ended up using not the military but
contractors, and contractors were responsible for
their own security and their own logistical support.
This made it problematic because no American business
is better able to contend with a high-risk security
situation than the U.S. military.

But what should be done in the coming weeks and
months?

Given the way the situation is deteriorating, if we
don't get our arms around it pretty quickly, the
debate is going to turn serious over the question of
abandoning the whole project. For example, retired
general William Odom, the former chief of the National
Security Agency, is now advocating getting out of Iraq
and leaving it to the Europeans to get more involved.
In a way, I like that as a negotiating position. You
say this so the Europeans come to realize that their
interests are at stake. We need to have a new sense
that collective, international interests are at stake
in Iraq. I've always thought the Europeans would
eventually recognize that their interests are in play
in Iraq. Still, they need to be encouraged to
participate fully in the reconstruction. We have not
done that. And there are a number of things that need
to be done. We need to offer them a significant place
at the table. Senator Joe Biden has talked about a
multilateral board of directors for Iraq under a
general U.N. rubric, bringing together countries that
are prepared to put their military and economic assets
into play.

My own sense is that the first countries we should go
to are countries capable of projecting military force
such as--and I hate to say it--France. France can
project military force, and it has the political will
and can take casualties. It is a little stretched now
because it is doing two operations in Africa. But what
we do is go to France and other countries and
demonstrate to them that the leadership model has
changed and that they need to be part of the solution.
And we should make the points to them that the failure
of the United States in Iraq will mean that the U.S.
leadership is taken off the table the next time there
is a problem that involves their region and that
instability in the Middle East doesn't play very well
for restive populations at home. We should get rid of
this idea that the reconstruction contracts are
primarily for the United States, and see what these
other nations can bring to the table.

Do you have any aspirations to serve in the U.S.
government again?

It is not an ambition of mine. Now, if there was a
request, and it seemed to match my skill set and my
experience....

Could you be confirmed by a Republican-controlled
Senate?

I have done nothing to impugn my country, to denigrate
my country. I have insisted only, throughout the
run-up to the war, that we have a debate based on a
set of commonly accepted facts, on which we could base
a decision to send 130,000 of our sons and daughters
to kill and die for our country. I have also insisted,
as is the right of any citizen, that the U.S.
government be held accountable for what it has said to
the American people and to the Congress of the United
States. Neither of those are disqualifying positions.

*********

DON'T FORGET ABOUT DAVID CORN'S BOOK, The Lies of
George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception
(Crown Publishers). A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! The
Washington Post says, "This is a fierce polemic, but
it is based on an immense amount of research....[I]t
does present a serious case for the president's
partisans to answer....Readers can hardly avoid
drawing...troubling conclusions from Corn's
painstaking indictment." The Los Angeles Times says,
"David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush is as
hard-hitting an attack as has been leveled against the
current president. He compares what Bush said with the
known facts of a given situation and ends up making a
persuasive case." The Library Journal says, "Corn
chronicles to devastating effect the lies, falsehoods,
and misrepresentations....Corn has painstakingly
unearthed a bill of particulars against the president
that is as damaging as it is thorough." For more
information and a sample, check out the official
website: www.bushlies.com.

Posted by richard at 09:16 AM

Do you really see three brave young reporters? Or might you see three self-serving scribes, looking ahead to Millionaire Pundit Days, selling you straight down the river?

It's the Media, Stupid.

www.dailyhowler.com: Yes, it’s time to take a
searching look at the work of “younger journalists”
like these—to look at the “provocative” young scribes
who are “grabbing the attention of the media
establishment.” We were repulsed by their cowardice
four years ago, and we can’t help but notice them
drifting again. So read Kurtz’s column and tell us the
truth: Do you really see three brave young reporters? Or might you see three self-serving scribes, looking ahead to Millionaire Pundit Days, selling you straight down the river?

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh050304.shtml

THE THREE AMIGOS! Howard Kurtz profiles three
brilliant young scribes. How come they don’t seem so
brilliant?

MONDAY, MAY 3, 2004

THE THREE AMIGOS: Wow! Here at THE HOWLER, we are
always on the prowl for fresh new journalistic
talent—the kind of hot new blood which might shake up
our disordered, script-reading “press corps.” That’s
why our analysts all perked up when they saw Howard
Kurtz’ column this morning. “Fresh on The Page And Hot
On the Trail,” the headline said on his weekly piece.
Early on, the Post scribe promised to give us just
what we’ve been seeking:

KURTZ: Every presidential contest produces a crop of
younger journalists who grab the attention of the
media establishment through dogged reporting,
sparkling writing or provocative analysis—often in
multiple forums these days.
Wow! And Kurtz had found three such stars, he said.
Our analysts settled back in their seats, prepared to
enjoy the talented trio’s “dogged reporting” and
“provocative analysis.”
But their smiles quickly faded away when they saw what
Kurtz was actually pimping. One of his stars is Liz
Marlantes, a reporter for the Christian Science
Monitor. She “profiled the much-profiled [John] Kerry
in November,” Kurtz enthused. But here’s the kind of
“provocative analysis” this brilliant new star gave
her readers:

KURTZ: Marlantes rendered Kerry as “a product of
exclusive schools and a relatively blue-blooded
lineage,” with a “somewhat mannered style” and
“anchorman’s head of hair.” But rather than echo the
conventional wisdom that Kerry was a political corpse,
she wrote: “Under the glare and strain of a
hard-fought campaign, some say, Kerry’s preparedness
may start to pay off.”
Low, mordant chuckles filled our great halls. Yikes!
Marlantes’ “provocative analysis” included hackneyed
notes about Kerry’s hair and mannered style. Quickly,
Kurtz acknowledged the truth. “The 30-year-old writer
has caused a stir not for her Monitor articles but for
her appearance—and smooth performance—on a spate of
television programs,” he admitted. “She doesn’t deny
that being an attractive young woman helps.” In short,
Marlantes hasn’t “grabbed the attention of the media
establishment” because of any “provocative analyses.”
Marlantes has caught the press corps’ eye because she
is young and good-looking.
But then, when we checked out the rest of the Talented
Three, we found other puzzling problems. According to
Kurtz, the New Republic’s Ryan Lizza has also caught
the press corps’ eye. But here was one example of the
fresh new scribe’s brilliant analyses:

KURTZ: Lizza’s writing doesn’t always endear him to
his subjects. After writing “Free Fall” last summer—a
piece likening the Kerry campaign to a 1990s tech
stock—Lizza says he got an expletive-filled e-mail
from a Kerry staffer telling him never to call again.
(They’ve since made amends.)
Oops! Since Kerry went on to win the Democratic
nomination, Lizza’s “analysis” only had one small
flaw—it had been completely inaccurate! On the plus
side, when Lizza predicted the Kerry demise, he was
saying what the rest of the press corps was saying.
Does the press corps really love scribes who
“provoke?” Or does the press corps love scribes who
conform?
Finally, Kurtz gave us Slate’s Will Saletan. Frankly,
if the quoted analyses had been more provocative, we
would have put in a coma:

KURTZ: William Saletan specializes in what he calls
“spin analysis.” As Slate magazine’s chief political
correspondent, Saletan posts witty, attitude-filled
dispatches that critique, and often skewer, the
candidates. After the president’s last news
conference, Saletan wrote that Bush just “says the
same thing today that he said yesterday” and is
“blind” to external reality.
“I’m not burdened like a lot of daily folks by having
to appear objective,” says Saletan, 39, who has also
written for the Times, appeared on National Public
Radio and published a book on the battle over
abortion. “I feel at liberty to just say out loud what
other reporters are saying under their breath.”

Not that Saletan is easy on the Democrats: “I pounded
the hell out of Kerry during the primaries. I hit the
argument about his ‘electability’ for two or three
weeks, proving that people like me have no effect.
Kerry never walks into a sentence without leaving
himself a way out—‘I was for the war, but not this
war’—and he’s a lousy salesman.”

When it comes to Bush and Kerry, Kurtz finds Saletan
reciting pure conventional wisdom. How “provocative”
is the Slate scribe? By his own account, he “feels at
liberty” to say out loud what other reporters are
already thinking! Oh, freedom! Are you really
surprised when the corps loves a guy who says what
they already think?
For the record, we were struck by Kurtz’s piece
because we were going there anyway. All this week,
we’re going to offer an overview of the way this
election is now being covered. More specifically,
we’re going to look at the New York Times—at the odd
coverage it seems to be offering. Yes, we’re going to
watch as the paper of record seems to shout and
cheerlead for Bush. And we’re going to ask a question
you’ll rarely see asked by “provocative” scribes of
the type Kurtz describes. We’re going to ask why the
New York Times has now done this for two straight
elections.

Readers, you may know the background. Four years ago,
the press corps made a sick joke of your White House
election, trashing Gore for twenty straight months and
thereby putting Bush in the White House. And while
this happened, the “provocative” types Kurtz praises
today sat around and said nothing about it! The New
Republic never opened its mouth; Saletan (and Slate)
barely offered a peep. These “provocative” fellows sat
on their hands while the press made a joke of your
interests. We’re going to ask you why that
occurred—and why it seems to be happening again.

Yes, it’s time to take a searching look at the work of
“younger journalists” like these—to look at the
“provocative” young scribes who are “grabbing the
attention of the media establishment.” We were
repulsed by their cowardice four years ago, and we
can’t help but notice them drifting again. So read
Kurtz’s column and tell us the truth: Do you really
see three brave young reporters? Or might you see
three self-serving scribes, looking ahead to
Millionaire Pundit Days, selling you straight down the
river?

GOOD PUNDITS BELIEVED ALL THAT STUFF: Why does the
press corps love Ryan Lizza? Because he offered a
“provocative” prediction about Kerry’s campaign—which
turned out to be completely inaccurate! But so what!
This press corps doesn’t care if you’re right. As
we’ve seen again and again, the Washington “press
corps” only cares if you repeat their conventional
wisdom.

For the record, when it comes to bungled predictions,
Saletan can play the game too. In fact, he totally
bungled the 2000 race as late as October 2000:

KURTZ: Saletan says he isn’t “trying to break news”
and rarely hits the campaign trail: “My excuse is I’ve
got a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old. I plead guilty to
armchair quarterbacking.”
Instead, he delivers punch-in-the-nose commentary
(once writing that Dean can be a “jerk”) and bold
predictions—including one that blew up on him. “I’m
still humiliated by having said ‘Bush is toast’ four
years ago. I’m kind of embarrassed by my support for
the war. I believed all the stuff about WMD.” Still,
he says, “you’ve got to take risks.”

Yes, Saletan wrote that “Bush is toast” with weeks to
go in Campaign 2000. (We’ll examine the reasons later
this week.) But then, to judge from the passage above,
Saletan doesn’t just bungle elections. He also
“believed all the stuff about WMD,” the provocative
analyst sheepishly says. Meanwhile, Saletan seems to
think he was “taking a risk” about WMD when he said
what every insider said! Can you start to see why the
mainstream press just loves the scribe’s “dogged
reporting?”
Go ahead and read Kurtz’s piece. But ask yourselves
this: Are you reading about three “provocative”
scribes? Or is Kurtz describing compliant
script-readers? All week, we’ll examine the way the
coverage of Campaign 04 is unfolding. And we’ll wonder
why “provocative analysts” of this type never seem to
say one word about it.

Posted by richard at 09:07 AM

In November I talked to Mr Bremer about human rights violations in general and in jails in particular. He listened but there was no answer. At the first meeting, I asked to be allowed to visit the security prisoners, but I failed," Turki told AFP. "I tol

Will the "US mainstream news media" hold Bremer's feet to the fire? (Speaking metaphorically, of course.) Probably not...The psychological torture, humiliation and sexual molestation of Iraqis prisoners is not only in violation of international law and human decency, it is simply STUPID; which, of course, has the incredible shrinking _resident, the VICE _resident and their whole INCOMPETENT "national security team" written all over it...

Agence France Press: "In November I talked to Mr Bremer about human rights violations in general and in jails in particular. He listened but there was no answer. At the first meeting, I asked to be allowed to visit the security prisoners, but I failed," Turki told AFP. "I told him the news. He didn't take care about the information I gave him."

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1515&ncid=1515&e=16&u=/afp/20040503/wl_mideast_afp/iraq_us_politics_040503201219

Former human rights minister told Bremer about Iraq detainee abuse
Mon May 3, 4:12 PM ET Add Mideast - AFP to My Yahoo!


BAGHDAD (AFP) - Former Iraqi human rights minister Abdel Basset Turki said that US overseer Paul Bremer knew in November that Iraqi prisoners were being abused in US detention centres.


"In November I talked to Mr Bremer about human rights violations in general and in jails in particular. He listened but there was no answer. At the first meeting, I asked to be allowed to visit the security prisoners, but I failed," Turki told AFP. "I told him the news. He didn't take care about the information I gave him."


Coalition spokesman Gareth Bayley defended Bremer's commitment to human rights in Iraq (news - web sites).


"It is ... clear that Ambassador Bremer has always been concerned to ensure that human rights standards were and are observed throughout Iraq's prison system," Bayley told AFP.


He also said Bremer had initiated a process in January, along with Turki, of opening a human rights office at Abu Gharib to provide detainees with information about visits and to serve as a liaison with friends.


The coalition said the office had opened months ago, but Turki said it was due to open next week.


The former minister, whose resignation was formally accepted by the coalition on Sunday, said he told Bremer about his meetings with former detainees and the harsh treatment they had described.


"The prisoners I spoke to, they told me about how Iraqi prisoners were left in the sun on US bases for hours, prevented to pray and wash and left for two days on a chair and kicked at Abu Gharib," he said.


Abu Gharib is the largest prison in the country, located outside Baghdad, where a US Army enquiry has found that guards humiliated detainees, forced them to strip naked and perform mock fellatio and other sexual activities.


Since January, 17 people have been implicated in the scandal, including the woman brigadier general who ran the prison system in Iraq. Pictures of the abuse obtained by media outlets last week have caused outrage around the world.


But Turki said he had not been aware of the activities uncovered in the US Army probe when he met Bremer.


That enquiry was initiated after a US soldier in the prison stepped forward and informed the army's Criminal Investigation Division some time after November 1.


The top US commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, then ordered a full criminal and administrative investigation that led to the suspension of 17 soldiers and officers.


A third investigation is now examining whether intelligence officers or civilian contractors encouraged the abuse to weaken prisoners ahead of interrogations.


Turki said he had also raised concerns about prisoner abuse to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), but they refused to share information.


"I had a meeting in March with the chief of the ICRC in Geneva and asked for the ICRC to give me documents on the situation in jails, and I never received anything," he said.


Turki resigned on April 8 in anger over the US military offensives on the towns of Najaf and Fallujah.

The US-dominated CPA has cited human rights as a motivating factor in the invasion last spring to oust the authoritarian regime of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).

The coalition demanded human rights protections be inserted into the transitional law that is expected to govern Iraq until a permanent constitution is drafted by the end of 2005.

But the scenes of intense street fighting when US forces assaulted Fallujah on April 5, in a hunt for insurgents who brutally murdered four US security contractors, triggered revulsion among pro-coalition Iraqis.


Posted by richard at 09:04 AM

May 03, 2004

The Iraqi general chosen to run a new security force in Falluja yesterday distanced himself from the US military by refusing American demands to give up foreign fighters supposedly hiding in the city.

Eleven US soldiers have died in the first 48 hours of
May. For what? But instead of leading with the grim
statistic, the 'US Mainstream News Media" wants you to
focus on the escape of one Red State (Mississippi)
trucker working for Halliburton who had been taken
hostage. The LNS does not begrudge the Hamill family
its relief, but dear God what about the eleven familes that
lost their loved ones this weekend? The "war on
terror" is NOT the strength of the incredible
shrinking _resident's abomination, excuse me, I mean
"administration," it is the SHAME of the incredible
shrinking _resident's abomination, again, excuse me, I
mean "administration." Yes, the November 2004
Presidential election is nothing less than a national
referendum on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and
COMPETENCE of the incredible shrinking _resident, who
is riding around Ohio and Michigan today, while his
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Dick Mires,
blunders his way through comments like this one:

"There's another general they're looking at," Gen
Myers told ABC's This Week. "My guess is, it will not
be General Saleh. It will not - he will not be their
leader ... He may have a role to play, but that
vetting has yet to take place."

What is happening in this country? The "US mainstream
news media" forfeited its responsibility to provide
the US electorate with facts in the ramp up to this
foolish military adventure. Now is it going to forfeit
its responsibility to provide the US electorate with
the facts of the DEBACLE in Iraq? We are on the verge
of a catastrophe. It is important to note at this
moment that much if not most of the miliary
establishment, much if not most of the intelligence
establishment and much if not most of the foreign
policy establishment was against this war at this time
under these conditions without eithe rour traditional
allies or a UN mandate...When will the "US Mainstream
News Media" wake up and defend the US Constitution
instead of providing cover for the incredible
shrinking _resident, Gen. Mires and the rest of this
INCOMPETENT "national security team"...The Guardian,
published in the UK, is still America's best
newspaper...Read it, and weep...

Rory McCarthy, Guardian: The Iraqi general chosen to run a new security force in Falluja yesterday distanced himself from the US military by refusing American demands to give up foreign fighters supposedly hiding in the city.
As a flood of civilians returned home after four weeks
of a ferocious assault on the city by American
marines, Major General Jasim Mohammed Saleh said the
US had provoked a backlash from ordinary Iraqis.
"The reasons for the resistance go back to the
American provocations, the raids and abolishing the
army, which made Iraqis join the resistance," he said.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0503-01.htm

Published on Monday, May 3, 2004 by the Guardian/UK
Iraqi General Refuses to Give Up Falluja Fighters
by Rory McCarthy in Falluja

The Iraqi general chosen to run a new security force
in Falluja yesterday distanced himself from the US
military by refusing American demands to give up
foreign fighters supposedly hiding in the city.

As a flood of civilians returned home after four weeks
of a ferocious assault on the city by American
marines, Major General Jasim Mohammed Saleh said the
US had provoked a backlash from ordinary Iraqis.

"The reasons for the resistance go back to the
American provocations, the raids and abolishing the
army, which made Iraqis join the resistance," he said.


American commanders say 200 foreign fighters are holed
up in Falluja and have demanded that the city hands
them over. But Gen Saleh, an ex-Republican Guard
officer who has been mooted to run a 1,000-strong
local security force, has refused. "There are no
foreign fighters in Falluja and the local tribal
leaders have told me the same," he said.

His remarks have put him at odds with the US-led
coalition.

Yesterday America's most senior military officer, the
chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard
Myers, added to the confusion about Gen Saleh's role
by denying that he had been put in charge of Falluja.

"There's another general they're looking at," Gen
Myers told ABC's This Week. "My guess is, it will not
be General Saleh. It will not - he will not be their
leader ... He may have a role to play, but that
vetting has yet to take place."

Gen Myers, who stressed that the marines were not
withdrawing from Falluja, did not respond to a
question earlier on Fox News about whether Gen Saleh,
one of Saddam Hussein's generals, had been involved in
brutally suppressing Iraq's Kurdish minority.

He told Fox: "The goals and objectives ... in Falluja
have been what they've been all along. We've got to
deal with the extremist and foreign fighters, we've
got to get rid of the heavy weapons and we've got to
find the folks that perpetrated the Blackwater
atrocity", in which four American contract workers
were killed and mutilated by a mob.

Yesterday Iraqi police and members of the new Iraqi
Civil Defense Corps were positioned along the main
street in the city, but many of the back roads were
still under the control of men with their faces
wrapped in scarves and armed with Kalashnikovs and
rocket-propelled grenades.

In a back street behind the ICDC's headquarters, young
recruits gave their names to register for the new
security force. Once approved by a local former Iraqi
army officer they received a uniform and a pair of
desert boots. Several tried to sell the boots almost
immediately, asking for 15,000 dinars (£8) a pair.

"What the people want now is security and that is what
we are providing," said Salah Noori, 22, a Fallujan
student who studies management at Baghdad University
and signed up yesterday to join the new force. "But
you know this big battle in Falluja wasn't just to get
the Americans out of our city, it was to get the
Americans out of Iraq. We have had a great victory in
Falluja. The Americans have all these weapons and we
had nothing, and we fought them."

Until now the police and civil Defense corps, both
created by the US military, have struggled to assert
any authority in Falluja. Marked out as collaborators,
they regularly face attack.

"The core of the problem is when you bring people to
provide security who have been chosen by the Americans
and not by the people of Falluja," said another
recruit, Ahmad Khudair, 32. "Gen Saleh is not chosen
by the Americans and he is supported by the people
here. He will bring the right solution."

Several of the families returning to the city called
at the football stadium, which at the start of the
fighting was turned into an impromptu graveyard. At
the entrance a white cloth banner hung from the wall,
leading to the "martyrs cemetery of Falluja". Doctors
say at least 600 Iraqis died in the fighting, and many
are buried here.

Yesterday each grave was marked with a simple concrete
slab for a headstone, a name and an epithet quickly
painted on. "The courageous martyr Nasser Hussein.
Killed doing his duty on April 15 and buried the same
day," read the first.

Others were unidentified. "Here lies an unknown
martyr, a big security guard with a blue shirt ...
found near the industrial area with a chain of keys,"
said one. A pair of brown boots stuck out from one mud
heap. The inscription on the stone read: "An unknown
worker from the industrial area, wearing a black shirt
with yellow pants, found inside a white Oldsmobile
car."

Some were women, while other graves held more than one
body. Many of those at the graveyard came not to
search for relatives, but just to look. "What can I
say?" said one man. "Just look for yourself at this."

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

###

Posted by richard at 02:14 PM

American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far up does the responsibility go?

The incredible shrinking _resident's Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, Gen. Dick Mires says he knows there is a
report on an internal army investigation, but he has
read it yet, it "hasn't made it" up to him yet. But
that shouldn't be surprising coming from a man who, in
one of the most chillingly Orwellian moments in this
Orwellian time, was insisting that the ceasefire was
holding in Fallujah even as SeeNotNews was airing live
images of a fierce Fallujah fire fight...Tragically,
this story is just beginning to unfold. Hopefully, it
will not be pinned on subordinates...Hersh promises
more...The candidacy of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong
Delta) is becoming more poignant, and more destined
with every painful day that passes...

Seymour Hersh, New Yorker: Taguba, in his report, was
polite but direct in refuting his fellow-general.
“Unfortunately, many of the systemic problems that
surfaced during [Ryder’s] assessment are the very same
issues that are the subject of this investigation,” he
wrote. “In fact, many of the abuses suffered by
detainees occurred during, or near to, the time of
that assessment.” The report continued, “Contrary to
the findings of MG Ryder’s report, I find that
personnel assigned to the 372nd MP Company, 800th MP
Brigade were directed to change facility procedures to
‘set the conditions’ for MI interrogations.” Army
intelligence officers, C.I.A. agents, and private
contractors “actively requested that MP guards set
physical and mental conditions for favorable
interrogation of witnesses.”

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/

May 3, 2004 | home

TORTURE AT ABU GHRAIB
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far up does the responsibility go?
Issue of 2004-05-10
Posted 2004-04-30
In the era of Saddam Hussein, Abu Ghraib, twenty miles
west of Baghdad, was one of the world’s most notorious
prisons, with torture, weekly executions, and vile
living conditions. As many as fifty thousand men and
women—no accurate count is possible—were jammed into
Abu Ghraib at one time, in twelve-by-twelve-foot cells
that were little more than human holding pits.

In the looting that followed the regime’s collapse,
last April, the huge prison complex, by then deserted,
was stripped of everything that could be removed,
including doors, windows, and bricks. The coalition
authorities had the floors tiled, cells cleaned and
repaired, and toilets, showers, and a new medical
center added. Abu Ghraib was now a U.S. military
prison. Most of the prisoners, however—by the fall
there were several thousand, including women and
teen-agers—were civilians, many of whom had been
picked up in random military sweeps and at highway
checkpoints. They fell into three loosely defined
categories: common criminals; security detainees
suspected of “crimes against the coalition”; and a
small number of suspected “high-value” leaders of the
insurgency against the coalition forces.

Last June, Janis Karpinski, an Army reserve brigadier
general, was named commander of the 800th Military
Police Brigade and put in charge of military prisons
in Iraq. General Karpinski, the only female commander
in the war zone, was an experienced operations and
intelligence officer who had served with the Special
Forces and in the 1991 Gulf War, but she had never run
a prison system. Now she was in charge of three large
jails, eight battalions, and thirty-four hundred Army
reservists, most of whom, like her, had no training in
handling prisoners.

General Karpinski, who had wanted to be a soldier
since she was five, is a business consultant in
civilian life, and was enthusiastic about her new job.
In an interview last December with the St. Petersburg
Times, she said that, for many of the Iraqi inmates at
Abu Ghraib, “living conditions now are better in
prison than at home. At one point we were concerned
that they wouldn’t want to leave.”

A month later, General Karpinski was formally
admonished and quietly suspended, and a major
investigation into the Army’s prison system,
authorized by Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez,
the senior commander in Iraq, was under way. A
fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker,
written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba and not
meant for public release, was completed in late
February. Its conclusions about the institutional
failures of the Army prison system were devastating.
Specifically, Taguba found that between October and
December of 2003 there were numerous instances of
“sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses” at Abu
Ghraib. This systematic and illegal abuse of
detainees, Taguba reported, was perpetrated by
soldiers of the 372nd Military Police Company, and
also by members of the American intelligence
community. (The 372nd was attached to the 320th M.P.
Battalion, which reported to Karpinski’s brigade
headquarters.) Taguba’s report listed some of the
wrongdoing:

Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric
liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked
detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a
chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing
a military police guard to stitch the wound of a
detainee who was injured after being slammed against
the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a
chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using
military working dogs to frighten and intimidate
detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance
actually biting a detainee.


There was stunning evidence to support the
allegations, Taguba added—“detailed witness statements
and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic
evidence.” Photographs and videos taken by the
soldiers as the abuses were happening were not
included in his report, Taguba said, because of their
“extremely sensitive nature.”

The photographs—several of which were broadcast on
CBS’s “60 Minutes 2” last week—show leering G.I.s
taunting naked Iraqi prisoners who are forced to
assume humiliating poses. Six suspects—Staff Sergeant
Ivan L. Frederick II, known as Chip, who was the
senior enlisted man; Specialist Charles A. Graner;
Sergeant Javal Davis; Specialist Megan Ambuhl;
Specialist Sabrina Harman; and Private Jeremy
Sivits—are now facing prosecution in Iraq, on charges
that include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty
toward prisoners, maltreatment, assault, and indecent
acts. A seventh suspect, Private Lynndie England, was
reassigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after
becoming pregnant.

The photographs tell it all. In one, Private England,
a cigarette dangling from her mouth, is giving a
jaunty thumbs-up sign and pointing at the genitals of
a young Iraqi, who is naked except for a sandbag over
his head, as he masturbates. Three other hooded and
naked Iraqi prisoners are shown, hands reflexively
crossed over their genitals. A fifth prisoner has his
hands at his sides. In another, England stands arm in
arm with Specialist Graner; both are grinning and
giving the thumbs-up behind a cluster of perhaps seven
naked Iraqis, knees bent, piled clumsily on top of
each other in a pyramid. There is another photograph
of a cluster of naked prisoners, again piled in a
pyramid. Near them stands Graner, smiling, his arms
crossed; a woman soldier stands in front of him,
bending over, and she, too, is smiling. Then, there is
another cluster of hooded bodies, with a female
soldier standing in front, taking photographs. Yet
another photograph shows a kneeling, naked, unhooded
male prisoner, head momentarily turned away from the
camera, posed to make it appear that he is performing
oral sex on another male prisoner, who is naked and
hooded.

Such dehumanization is unacceptable in any culture,
but it is especially so in the Arab world. Homosexual
acts are against Islamic law and it is humiliating for
men to be naked in front of other men, Bernard Haykel,
a professor of Middle Eastern studies at New York
University, explained. “Being put on top of each other
and forced to masturbate, being naked in front of each
other—it’s all a form of torture,” Haykel said.

Two Iraqi faces that do appear in the photographs are
those of dead men. There is the battered face of
prisoner No. 153399, and the bloodied body of another
prisoner, wrapped in cellophane and packed in ice.
There is a photograph of an empty room, splattered
with blood.

The 372nd’s abuse of prisoners seemed almost routine—a
fact of Army life that the soldiers felt no need to
hide. On April 9th, at an Article 32 hearing (the
military equivalent of a grand jury) in the case
against Sergeant Frederick, at Camp Victory, near
Baghdad, one of the witnesses, Specialist Matthew
Wisdom, an M.P., told the courtroom what happened when
he and other soldiers delivered seven prisoners,
hooded and bound, to the so-called “hard site” at Abu
Ghraib—seven tiers of cells where the inmates who were
considered the most dangerous were housed. The men had
been accused of starting a riot in another section of
the prison. Wisdom said:

SFC Snider grabbed my prisoner and threw him into a
pile. . . . I do not think it was right to put them in
a pile. I saw SSG Frederic, SGT Davis and CPL Graner
walking around the pile hitting the prisoners. I
remember SSG Frederick hitting one prisoner in the
side of its [sic] ribcage. The prisoner was no danger
to SSG Frederick. . . . I left after that.


When he returned later, Wisdom testified:

I saw two naked detainees, one masturbating to another
kneeling with its mouth open. I thought I should just
get out of there. I didn’t think it was right . . . I
saw SSG Frederick walking towards me, and he said,
“Look what these animals do when you leave them alone
for two seconds.” I heard PFC England shout out, “He’s
getting hard.”


Wisdom testified that he told his superiors what had
happened, and assumed that “the issue was taken care
of.” He said, “I just didn’t want to be part of
anything that looked criminal.”

The abuses became public because of the outrage of
Specialist Joseph M. Darby, an M.P. whose role emerged
during the Article 32 hearing against Chip Frederick.
A government witness, Special Agent Scott Bobeck, who
is a member of the Army’s Criminal Investigation
Division, or C.I.D., told the court, according to an
abridged transcript made available to me, “The
investigation started after SPC Darby . . . got a CD
from CPL Graner. . . . He came across pictures of
naked detainees.” Bobeck said that Darby had
“initially put an anonymous letter under our door,
then he later came forward and gave a sworn statement.
He felt very bad about it and thought it was very
wrong.”

Questioned further, the Army investigator said that
Frederick and his colleagues had not been given any
“training guidelines” that he was aware of. The M.P.s
in the 372nd had been assigned to routine traffic and
police duties upon their arrival in Iraq, in the
spring of 2003. In October of 2003, the 372nd was
ordered to prison-guard duty at Abu Ghraib. Frederick,
at thirty-seven, was far older than his colleagues,
and was a natural leader; he had also worked for six
years as a guard for the Virginia Department of
Corrections. Bobeck explained:

What I got is that SSG Frederick and CPL Graner were
road M.P.s and were put in charge because they were
civilian prison guards and had knowledge of how things
were supposed to be run.


Bobeck also testified that witnesses had said that
Frederick, on one occasion, “had punched a detainee in
the chest so hard that the detainee almost went into
cardiac arrest.”

At the Article 32 hearing, the Army informed Frederick
and his attorneys, Captain Robert Shuck, an Army
lawyer, and Gary Myers, a civilian, that two dozen
witnesses they had sought, including General Karpinski
and all of Frederick’s co-defendants, would not
appear. Some had been excused after exercising their
Fifth Amendment right; others were deemed to be too
far away from the courtroom. “The purpose of an
Article 32 hearing is for us to engage witnesses and
discover facts,” Gary Myers told me. “We ended up with
a c.i.d. agent and no alleged victims to examine.”
After the hearing, the presiding investigative officer
ruled that there was sufficient evidence to convene a
court-martial against Frederick.

Myers, who was one of the military defense attorneys
in the My Lai prosecutions of the nineteen-seventies,
told me that his client’s defense will be that he was
carrying out the orders of his superiors and, in
particular, the directions of military intelligence.
He said, “Do you really think a group of kids from
rural Virginia decided to do this on their own?
Decided that the best way to embarrass Arabs and make
them talk was to have them walk around nude?”

In letters and e-mails to family members, Frederick
repeatedly noted that the military-intelligence teams,
which included C.I.A. officers and linguists and
interrogation specialists from private defense
contractors, were the dominant force inside Abu
Ghraib. In a letter written in January, he said:

I questioned some of the things that I saw . . . such
things as leaving inmates in their cell with no
clothes or in female underpants, handcuffing them to
the door of their cell—and the answer I got was, “This
is how military intelligence (MI) wants it done.” . .
. . MI has also instructed us to place a prisoner in
an isolation cell with little or no clothes, no toilet
or running water, no ventilation or window, for as
much as three days.


The military-intelligence officers have “encouraged
and told us, ‘Great job,’ they were now getting
positive results and information,” Frederick wrote.
“CID has been present when the military working dogs
were used to intimidate prisoners at MI’s request.” At
one point, Frederick told his family, he pulled aside
his superior officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry
Phillabaum, the commander of the 320th M.P. Battalion,
and asked about the mistreatment of prisoners. “His
reply was ‘Don’t worry about it.’”

In November, Frederick wrote, an Iraqi prisoner under
the control of what the Abu Ghraib guards called
“O.G.A.,” or other government agencies—that is, the
C.I.A. and its paramilitary employees—was brought to
his unit for questioning. “They stressed him out so
bad that the man passed away. They put his body in a
body bag and packed him in ice for approximately
twenty-four hours in the shower. . . . The next day
the medics came and put his body on a stretcher,
placed a fake IV in his arm and took him away.” The
dead Iraqi was never entered into the prison’s
inmate-control system, Frederick recounted, “and
therefore never had a number.”

Frederick’s defense is, of course, highly
self-serving. But the complaints in his letters and
e-mails home were reinforced by two internal Army
reports—Taguba’s and one by the Army’s chief
law-enforcement officer, Provost Marshal Donald Ryder,
a major general.

Last fall, General Sanchez ordered Ryder to review the
prison system in Iraq and recommend ways to improve
it. Ryder’s report, filed on November 5th, concluded
that there were potential human-rights, training, and
manpower issues, system-wide, that needed immediate
attention. It also discussed serious concerns about
the tension between the missions of the military
police assigned to guard the prisoners and the
intelligence teams who wanted to interrogate them.
Army regulations limit intelligence activity by the
M.P.s to passive collection. But something had gone
wrong at Abu Ghraib.

There was evidence dating back to the Afghanistan war,
the Ryder report said, that M.P.s had worked with
intelligence operatives to “set favorable conditions
for subsequent interviews”—a euphemism for breaking
the will of prisoners. “Such actions generally run
counter to the smooth operation of a detention
facility, attempting to maintain its population in a
compliant and docile state.” General Karpinski’s
brigade, Ryder reported, “has not been directed to
change its facility procedures to set the conditions
for MI interrogations, nor participate in those
interrogations.” Ryder called for the establishment of
procedures to “define the role of military police
soldiers . . .clearly separating the actions of the
guards from those of the military intelligence
personnel.” The officers running the war in Iraq were
put on notice.

Ryder undercut his warning, however, by concluding
that the situation had not yet reached a crisis point.
Though some procedures were flawed, he said, he found
“no military police units purposely applying
inappropriate confinement practices.” His
investigation was at best a failure and at worst a
coverup.

Taguba, in his report, was polite but direct in
refuting his fellow-general. “Unfortunately, many of
the systemic problems that surfaced during [Ryder’s]
assessment are the very same issues that are the
subject of this investigation,” he wrote. “In fact,
many of the abuses suffered by detainees occurred
during, or near to, the time of that assessment.” The
report continued, “Contrary to the findings of MG
Ryder’s report, I find that personnel assigned to the
372nd MP Company, 800th MP Brigade were directed to
change facility procedures to ‘set the conditions’ for
MI interrogations.” Army intelligence officers, C.I.A.
agents, and private contractors “actively requested
that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for
favorable interrogation of witnesses.”

Taguba backed up his assertion by citing evidence from
sworn statements to Army C.I.D. investigators.
Specialist Sabrina Harman, one of the accused M.P.s,
testified that it was her job to keep detainees awake,
including one hooded prisoner who was placed on a box
with wires attached to his fingers, toes, and penis.
She stated, “MI wanted to get them to talk. It is
Graner and Frederick’s job to do things for MI and OGA
to get these people to talk.”

Another witness, Sergeant Javal Davis, who is also one
of the accused, told C.I.D. investigators, “I
witnessed prisoners in the MI hold section . . . being
made to do various things that I would question
morally. . . . We were told that they had different
rules.” Taguba wrote, “Davis also stated that he had
heard MI insinuate to the guards to abuse the inmates.
When asked what MI said he stated: ‘Loosen this guy up
for us.’‘Make sure he has a bad night.’‘Make sure he
gets the treatment.’” Military intelligence made these
comments to Graner and Frederick, Davis said. “The MI
staffs to my understanding have been giving Graner
compliments . . . statements like, ‘Good job, they’re
breaking down real fast. They answer every question.
They’re giving out good information.’”

When asked why he did not inform his chain of command
about the abuse, Sergeant Davis answered, “Because I
assumed that if they were doing things out of the
ordinary or outside the guidelines, someone would have
said something. Also the wing”—where the abuse took
place—“belongs to MI and it appeared MI personnel
approved of the abuse.”

Another witness, Specialist Jason Kennel, who was not
accused of wrongdoing, said, “I saw them nude, but MI
would tell us to take away their mattresses, sheets,
and clothes.” (It was his view, he added, that if M.I.
wanted him to do this “they needed to give me
paperwork.”) Taguba also cited an interview with Adel
L. Nakhla, a translator who was an employee of Titan,
a civilian contractor. He told of one night when a
“bunch of people from MI” watched as a group of
handcuffed and shackled inmates were subjected to
abuse by Graner and Frederick.

General Taguba saved his harshest words for the
military-intelligence officers and private
contractors. He recommended that Colonel Thomas
Pappas, the commander of one of the M.I. brigades, be
reprimanded and receive non-judicial punishment, and
that Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, the former
director of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing
Center, be relieved of duty and reprimanded. He
further urged that a civilian contractor, Steven
Stephanowicz, of CACI International, be fired from his
Army job, reprimanded, and denied his security
clearances for lying to the investigating team and
allowing or ordering military policemen “who were not
trained in interrogation techniques to facilitate
interrogations by ‘setting conditions’ which were
neither authorized” nor in accordance with Army
regulations. “He clearly knew his instructions equated
to physical abuse,” Taguba wrote. He also recommended
disciplinary action against a second CACI employee,
John Israel. (A spokeswoman for CACI said that the
company had “received no formal communication” from
the Army about the matter.)

“I suspect,” Taguba concluded, that Pappas, Jordan,
Stephanowicz, and Israel “were either directly or
indirectly responsible for the abuse at Abu Ghraib,”
and strongly recommended immediate disciplinary
action.

The problems inside the Army prison system in Iraq
were not hidden from senior commanders. During
Karpinski’s seven-month tour of duty, Taguba noted,
there were at least a dozen officially reported
incidents involving escapes, attempted escapes, and
other serious security issues that were investigated
by officers of the 800th M.P. Brigade. Some of the
incidents had led to the killing or wounding of
inmates and M.P.s, and resulted in a series of
“lessons learned” inquiries within the brigade.
Karpinski invariably approved the reports and signed
orders calling for changes in day-to-day procedures.
But Taguba found that she did not follow up, doing
nothing to insure that the orders were carried out.
Had she done so, he added, “cases of abuse may have
been prevented.”

General Taguba further found that Abu Ghraib was
filled beyond capacity, and that the M.P. guard force
was significantly undermanned and short of resources.
“This imbalance has contributed to the poor living
conditions, escapes, and accountability lapses,” he
wrote. There were gross differences, Taguba said,
between the actual number of prisoners on hand and the
number officially recorded. A lack of proper screening
also meant that many innocent Iraqis were wrongly
being detained—indefinitely, it seemed, in some cases.
The Taguba study noted that more than sixty per cent
of the civilian inmates at Abu Ghraib were deemed not
to be a threat to society, which should have enabled
them to be released. Karpinski’s defense, Taguba said,
was that her superior officers “routinely” rejected
her recommendations regarding the release of such
prisoners.

Karpinski was rarely seen at the prisons she was
supposed to be running, Taguba wrote. He also found a
wide range of administrative problems, including some
that he considered “without precedent in my military
career.” The soldiers, he added, were “poorly prepared
and untrained . . . prior to deployment, at the
mobilization site, upon arrival in theater, and
throughout the mission.”

General Taguba spent more than four hours interviewing
Karpinski, whom he described as extremely emotional:
“What I found particularly disturbing in her testimony
was her complete unwillingness to either understand or
accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th
MP Brigade were caused or exacerbated by poor
leadership and the refusal of her command to both
establish and enforce basic standards and principles
among its soldiers.”

Taguba recommended that Karpinski and seven brigade
military-police officers and enlisted men be relieved
of command and formally reprimanded. No criminal
proceedings were suggested for Karpinski; apparently,
the loss of promotion and the indignity of a public
rebuke were seen as enough punishment.

After the story broke on CBS last week, the Pentagon
announced that Major General Geoffrey Miller, the new
head of the Iraqi prison system, had arrived in
Baghdad and was on the job. He had been the commander
of the Guantánamo Bay detention center. General
Sanchez also authorized an investigation into possible
wrongdoing by military and civilian interrogators.

As the international furor grew, senior military
officers, and President Bush, insisted that the
actions of a few did not reflect the conduct of the
military as a whole. Taguba’s report, however, amounts
to an unsparing study of collective wrongdoing and the
failure of Army leadership at the highest levels. The
picture he draws of Abu Ghraib is one in which Army
regulations and the Geneva conventions were routinely
violated, and in which much of the day-to-day
management of the prisoners was abdicated to Army
military-intelligence units and civilian contract
employees. Interrogating prisoners and getting
intelligence, including by intimidation and torture,
was the priority.

The mistreatment at Abu Ghraib may have done little to
further American intelligence, however. Willie J.
Rowell, who served for thirty-six years as a C.I.D.
agent, told me that the use of force or humiliation
with prisoners is invariably counterproductive.
“They’ll tell you what you want to hear, truth or no
truth,” Rowell said. “‘You can flog me until I tell
you what I know you want me to say.’ You don’t get
righteous information.”

Under the fourth Geneva convention, an occupying power
can jail civilians who pose an “imperative” security
threat, but it must establish a regular procedure for
insuring that only civilians who remain a genuine
security threat be kept imprisoned. Prisoners have the
right to appeal any internment decision and have their
cases reviewed. Human Rights Watch complained to
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that civilians in
Iraq remained in custody month after month with no
charges brought against them. Abu Ghraib had become,
in effect, another Guantánamo.

As the photographs from Abu Ghraib make clear, these
detentions have had enormous consequences: for the
imprisoned civilian Iraqis, many of whom had nothing
to do with the growing insurgency; for the integrity
of the Army; and for the United States’ reputation in
the world.

Captain Robert Shuck, Frederick’s military attorney,
closed his defense at the Article 32 hearing last
month by saying that the Army was “attempting to have
these six soldiers atone for its sins.” Similarly,
Gary Myers, Frederick’s civilian attorney, told me
that he would argue at the court-martial that
culpability in the case extended far beyond his
client. “I’m going to drag every involved intelligence
officer and civilian contractor I can find into
court,” he said. “Do you really believe the Army
relieved a general officer because of six soldiers?
Not a chance.”

Posted by richard at 02:12 PM

More Agents Track Castro Than Bin Laden

Last week, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) charged
that the incredible shrinking _resident had failed to
demand greater chemical plant security because of
pressure from his fatcat campaign contributors in the
chemical industry lobby. That's a very serious, and
well-substantiated charge...Of course, the "US
mainstream news media" choose, instead, to focus its
campaign coverage on the fact that JFK's personal
assistant makes him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
and speaks to him in French and on how the lack of
"color" in JFK's "inner circle" has become an issue
(although it is not clear with whom it has become an
issue, certainly not with the NAACP or the CBC)...So
it should not be surprising to you if the cable news
network propapunditgandists and the Stepfordized White
House press corp do not spend much time this week on
why the incredible shrinking _resident has more
Treasury agents investigating Cuban embargo violations
than he has investigating the money of Bin Laden and
Saddam Hussein combined...

John Solomon, Associated Press: The Treasury
Department agency entrusted with blocking the
financial resources of terrorists has assigned five
times as many agents to investigate Cuban embargo
violations as it has to track Osama bin Laden's and
Saddam Hussein's money, documents show.

Start a Real Offensive against Global Terror, Show Up
for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/ap/20040429/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/terrorism_financing

More Agents Track Castro Than Bin Laden

Thu Apr 29, 7:23 PM ET Add White House - AP Cabinet &
State to My Yahoo!

By JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Treasury Department (news - web
sites) agency entrusted with blocking the financial
resources of terrorists has assigned five times as
many agents to investigate Cuban embargo violations as
it has to track Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s
and Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s money,
documents show.

In addition, the Office of Foreign Assets Control said
that between 1990 and 2003 it opened just 93
enforcement investigations related to terrorism. Since
1994 it has collected just $9,425 in fines for
terrorism financing violations.

In contrast, OFAC opened 10,683 enforcement
investigations since 1990 for possible violations of
the long-standing economic embargo against Fidel
Castro (news - web sites)'s regime, and collected more
than $8 million in fines since 1994, mostly from
people who sent money to, did business with or
traveled to Cuba without permission.


The figures, included in a lengthy letter OFAC sent to
Congress late last year and provided to The Associated
Press this week, prompted Republicans and Democrats
alike to question whether OFAC has failed to adjust
from the Cold War to the war on terrorism.


Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., threatened Thursday to
start an effort in Congress to eliminate some funding
for OFAC if more resources weren't put toward the bin
Laden and Saddam efforts.


"This is really astounding," Dorgan said. "I hope
somebody in the administration will soon come to his
or her senses and start directing our resources where
they are needed. Politics is clearly diverting
precious time, money and manpower away from the war on
terrorism here."


Sen. Max Baucus, the top Democrat on the Senate
Finance Committee, requested the figures, which showed
that at the end of 2003, OFAC had 21 full-time agents
working Cuba violations and just four full-time
workers hunting bin Laden's and Saddam's riches.


"Rather than spending precious resources to prevent
Americans from exercising their right to travel, OFAC
must realign its priorities and instead work harder to
keep very real terrorist threats out of our country,"
said Baucus, D-Mont.


Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the
tax-writing Senate panel, agreed.


"OFAC obviously needs to enforce the law with regard
to U.S. policy on Cuba, but the United States is at
war against terrorism, and al-Qaida is the biggest
threat to our national security," Grassley said.
"Cutting off the blood money that has financed Saddam
Hussein and Osama bin Laden must be a priority when it
comes to resources."


The Treasury Department, which oversees OFAC, said its
workers "fully utilize the resources and tools
available to us to protect our nation and the
good-willing people around the world from those who
seek to harm us, be they terrorist thugs or fascist
dictators."


In a statement, Treasury said the Bush administration
was "steadfast in fighting the financial war on terror
and honoring our commitment to the United States and
the United Nations (news - web sites) to uphold our
economic sanctions against rogue nations."


But the department last month signaled it wasn't
completely satisfied with its terror-fighting effort,
announcing a reorganization that placed four
historically autonomous offices — OFAC, the Financial
Crimes Enforcement Network, the Office of Asset
Forfeiture and the Office of Intelligence Support —
under the control of a new undersecretary for the
Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.


Treasury Secretary John Snow wrote Grassley that the
initiative will, by 2005, double the resources OFAC
had just four years ago if President Bush (news - web
sites)'s budget is approved. Still, Snow acknowledged
change was needed.


"In a post-Sept. 11 world it was crucial that we took
a good, hard look at the capabilities we had available
as well as question what changes needed to be made in
light of that attack," Snow wrote.


In its letter late last year to the Senate committee,
OFAC said it "has no information that any foreign
government is knowingly sheltering Saddam's personal
wealth." The agency added that the deposed Iraqi
dictator "almost certainly used front companies and
trusted associates outside Iraq (news - web sites) to
hold and manage assets."


As for bin Laden, OFAC wrote that its dealings with
Saudi officials and bin Laden's family since 1999 have
led it to conclude that the al-Qaida leader did not
have a fortune of $300 million or more, as some media
reports have suggested.

"He may have had some wealth, but not in this range,"
OFAC wrote. Instead, OFAC said bin Laden used his
status as a "trusted person" from a wealthy Saudi
family to collect and distribute charitable funds in
the name of radical Islam, essentially underwriting a
recruiting and training network that became al-Qaida.

OFAC is charged with freezing the bank accounts and
other financial assets of countries, companies and
individuals who are U.S. enemies. Though obscure to
most Americans, the office has encountered significant
controversy.

Last Christmas, Grassley and Baucus accused the agency
of failing on at least two occasions to freeze the
money of people identified by U.S. allies as terrorist
financiers.

Richard Newcomb, the career official who has run OFAC
for years under both Republican and Democratic
presidents, was the subject of an internal
investigation in the mid-1990s that concluded he
improperly met outside the office with representatives
of companies under investigation by his agency and
took uncoordinated enforcement actions that
potentially compromised criminal investigations.

__

On the Net:

Office of Foreign Assets Control:
http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/eotffc/ofac/

Posted by richard at 02:10 PM

Media Matters for America is prepared to go toe-to-toe with these right-wing media monitoring groups. We will comprehensively monitor a cross-section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets.

David Brock's explosive book, Blinded By The Right,
was a very important breakthrough. It corrborated much
that we had learned about the "vast reich-wing
conspiracy" in Hunting of the President
(Lyons/Conason), BUT from the inside...Now Brock is
offering a vital new resource to the Information
Rebellion: www.mediamatters.org...or as the LNS
says...It's the Media, Stupid...

David Brock, www.mediamatters.org: Media Matters for America is prepared to go toe-to-toe with these right-wing media monitoring groups. We will comprehensively monitor a cross-section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets. Our website will be the principal vehicle for
disseminating our research. On the left side of our
website, we will post rapid-response items documenting
conservative misinformation in each news cycle. The
right side of the site will feature longer research
and analytic reports. Two reports -- "Meet the New
Rush, Same as the Old Rush" and "Backdating the
Recession" -- can be found on our site today as Media
Matters for America kicks off.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://mediamatters.org/items/200405010001

Letter from David Brock, Founder of Media Matters for
America

Dear Friends,

Welcome to Media Matters for America, a new Web-based,
not-for-profit progressive research and information
center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring,
analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation
in the U.S. media. Because a healthy democracy depends
on public access to accurate and reliable information,
Media Matters for America is dedicated to alerting
news outlets and consumers to conservative
misinformation -- wherever we find it, in every news
cycle -- and to spurring progressive activism based on
standards and accountability in media.

In the mid-1990s, as a conservative media insider, I
saw firsthand (and participated in) the damage done to
our democracy when conservative misinformation
masquerades as journalism. In my book Blinded by the
Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative (2002), I
revealed how this misinformation -- deliberately
bought and paid for by covert political forces --
enveloped the media, poisoned public discourse, and
nearly toppled a president.

Today, the misinformation pumped out by the
conservative media machine -- a multibillion-dollar
network of talk radio shows, cable television, heavily
subsidized newspapers and magazines, political
pundits, partisan thinks tanks, and high-traffic
Internet sites -- is even more pervasive, spreading
like a virus into professional media venues. Rush
Limbaugh analyzed election night results for NBC News.
Ann Coulter marches through major TV studios with her
allegations of "treason" against half the American
populace. Rupert Murdoch's top-rated FOX News Channel
exerts pressure up and down the TV dial to compromise
standards. And it is an open secret that in newsrooms
across the country, the right-wing Drudge Report
website -- judged to be only 80 percent accurate by
its proprietor -- is the home page for many editors,
reporters, and TV and radio producers.

The net effect of these corrosive trends has been to
skew the media playing field to the right -- and, with
it, the public debate. With progressives focusing on
specific issues and public policy battles,
conservatives have been working for decades, subtly
amassing media power and influence. According to a new
poll conducted by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group
and commissioned by Media Matters for America, a
plurality of the American electorate has concluded
that conservatives have more power and influence in
the media today than do liberals.

The conservative media machine dominates our
discourse, not because it is based in fact or logic
but because it operates with almost total impunity.
That ends today, as Media Matters for America puts in
place, for the first time, the means to systematically
monitor the media for conservative misinformation --
every day, in real time -- in 2004 and beyond.

Media monitoring is not a novel idea. Since the 1960s,
the conservative movement has spent tens of millions
of dollars on four organizations to tar the nation's
foremost journalistic institutions -- such as The New
York Times and the broadcast TV networks -- with
thinly supported allegations of "liberal bias." These
right-wing media monitoring outfits are themselves
important cogs in the conservative media machine,
working to stigmatize legitimate journalistic inquiry
as politically motivated and to quash dissent from the
conservative line.

Media Matters for America is prepared to go toe-to-toe
with these right-wing media monitoring groups. We will
comprehensively monitor a cross-section of print,
broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets.
Our website will be the principal vehicle for
disseminating our research. On the left side of our
website, we will post rapid-response items documenting
conservative misinformation in each news cycle. The
right side of the site will feature longer research
and analytic reports. Two reports -- "Meet the New
Rush, Same as the Old Rush" and "Backdating the
Recession" -- can be found on our site today as Media
Matters for America kicks off.

In addition, Media Matters for America is inaugurating
four special projects for 2004. Our Democracy Project
will closely track and swiftly correct conservative
media misinformation on major current political
issues, with the goal of discouraging responsible news
outlets from giving it credence. Media Matters for
America's Radio Project will comprehensively monitor,
analyze, and correct targeted political talk radio
shows. We begin this month with Rush Limbaugh, who is
"more influential than ... Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw or
Peter Jennings," according to Washington Post media
critic Howard Kurtz. The premise of our Columnist
Project is that while opinion writers are entitled to
make up their views, they are not entitled to make up
their facts (click here for New York Times ombudsman
Daniel Okrent's recent column on the subject);
therefore, Media Matters for America will monitor to
ensure that dozens of syndicated columnists -- and the
newspapers that publish them -- maintain journalistic
standards in their opinion columns.

Finally, Media Matters for America will build a
community of activists who will take action against
conservative misinformation in the media. Our Activism
Project is in the planning stages, and I will report
back soon on how you can organize and mobilize
effectively, including through the use of Web-based
tools that Media Matters for America is developing to
keep the media free from malignant conservative
influence.

In conclusion, Media Matters for America's
truth-seeking perspective is one that all Americans --
liberal, moderate, and conservative -- are invited to
rally around. Among the many lessons I learned from
inside the conservative media is that lies and
falsehoods damage progressive interests. I also
recognize that conservative consumers of news are
victimized by the misinformation they receive from the
conservative media.

It is well past time that all Americans, regardless of
ideology, demand the accurate, reliable, and credible
information and views from the media upon which the
proper functioning of our democracy depends. I hope
you'll join me -- and the staff and supporters of
Media Matters for America -- in this vital cause.

David Brock

Posted to the web on Saturday May 1, 2004 at 1:05 PM
EST

Posted by richard at 02:08 PM

May 02, 2004

Shelley formally requested that state Attorney General Bill Lockyer consider taking civil and criminal action against Diebold for installing machines that were not properly certified and then lying about their status.

Kevin Shelley's name will be scrawled on the John
O'Neill Wall of Heroes...This story tells of a very
important victory in the struggle to save the US...

Jim Sanders, Sacremento Bee: Saying he is concerned
about the reliability of touch-screen voting machines,
California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley on Friday
decertified every model used in the state but left the
door open for 10 counties to win approval prior to the
November election.
Shelley's action is intended to force counties and
manufacturers to quickly implement nearly two dozen
security measures or risk losing their franchises for
the upcoming presidential election.Shelley said doubts
about the security and reliability of touch-screen
voting have "shaken public confidence." "It is my job,
my foremost responsibility, to take all steps
necessary to make sure every vote cast in California
will be accurately counted," Shelley said.
Shelley formally requested that state Attorney General Bill Lockyer consider taking civil and criminal action against Diebold for installing machines that were not properly certified and then lying about their status.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.sacbee.com/content/politics/ca/election/story/9134296p-10059947c.html


All voting machines decertified
But an official says 10 counties might be able to get
approval before the November election.
By Jim Sanders -- Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 2:15 am PDT Saturday, May 1, 2004

Saying he is concerned about the reliability of
touch-screen voting machines, California Secretary of
State Kevin Shelley on Friday decertified every model
used in the state but left the door open for 10
counties to win approval prior to the November
election.
Shelley's action is intended to force counties and
manufacturers to quickly implement nearly two dozen
security measures or risk losing their franchises for
the upcoming presidential election.

Shelley said doubts about the security and
reliability of touch-screen voting have "shaken public
confidence." "It is my job, my foremost
responsibility, to take all steps necessary to make
sure every vote cast in California will be accurately
counted," Shelley said.

Most of the measures ordered Friday were proposed this
week by a state advisory panel.

Shelley's sharpest attack was leveled at one
manufacturer, Diebold Election Systems, which has
installed its controversial TSx system in San Joaquin,
Solano, Kern and San Diego counties.

Shelley formally requested that state Attorney General
Bill Lockyer consider taking civil and criminal action
against Diebold for installing machines that were not
properly certified and then lying about their status.

"We will not tolerate deceitful tactics as engaged in
by Diebold," Shelley said.

Mark Radke, a Diebold spokesman, could not be reached
for comment Friday, but the firm has denied the
accusations in the past.

Shelley banned use of the Diebold TSx model outright,
meaning the company - unlike its competitors - cannot
win recertification this year.

Under Shelley's order, 10 counties that currently have
other touch-screen models potentially could use them
in November, provided that security measures are
implemented that include:

* Giving voters the option to use paper ballots.

* Allowing no connection to the Internet.

* Ensuring that printouts can be made of ballots cast
electronically.

* Allowing state officials to participate in technical
reviews of randomly chosen machines on Election Day.

* Submitting detailed documents to Shelley about
testing, software and inner workings of the machines.

The 10 counties that potentially could offer
touch-screen voting on Election Day are Alameda,
Merced, Napa, Orange, Plumas, Riverside, San
Bernardino, Santa Clara, Shasta and Tehama.

Counties that do not currently have touch-screen
machines will not be able to buy them unless there is
a verifiable paper trail.

Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation,
which has pushed for banning touch-screen voting, was
encouraged by Shelley's order.

"Requiring counties to provide voters with what I call
the 'paper or plastic' option ensures that those
voters who do not have confidence in electronic voting
still have the ability to cast a vote with
confidence," she said.

But supporters of touch-screen voting expressed doubt
that Shelley's conditions are practical.

"On the face, it sounds like a good thing, but I don't
think it will work," said Patricia Yeager, executive
director of the California Foundation for Independent
Living Centers.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the Writer
---------------------------

The Bee's Jim Sanders can be reached at (916) 326-5538
or jsanders@sacbee.com.

Posted by richard at 10:55 AM

My question for President Bush — who led the planning of this war so long ago is this: When will you take responsibility for the decisions you've made in Iraq and realize that something is wrong with the way things are going?

At least four more US soldiers and two more US sailors
have died in Iraq in the last 48 hours. For what?

The Emperor has no uniform...

Paul Rieckhoff, US army veteran of Operation Iraqi
Freedom: I don't expect an easy solution to the
situation in Iraq, I do expect an admission that there
are serious problems that need serious solutions.
I don't expect our leaders to be free of mistakes, I
expect our leaders to own up to them.
In Iraq, I was responsible for the lives of 38 other
Americans. We laughed together, we cried together, we
won together, and we fought together. And when we
failed, it was my job as their leader to take
responsibility for the decisions I made — no matter
what the outcome.
My question for President Bush — who led the planning of this war so long ago is this: When will you take responsibility for the decisions you've made in Iraq and realize that something is wrong with the way things are going?


Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


Transcript: Weekly Democratic Radio Address

Saturday, May 01, 2004

The following is a transcript of this week's
Democratic radio address, delivered by Paul Rieckhoff:

Good morning. My name is Paul Rieckhoff. I am
addressing you this morning as a US citizen and
veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I served with the
US Army in Iraq for 10 months, concluding in February,
2004.

I'm giving this address because I have an agenda, and
my agenda is this: I want my fellow soldiers to come
home safely, and I want a better future for the people
of Iraq. I also want people to know the truth.

War is never easy. But I went to Iraq because I made a
commitment to my country. When I volunteered for duty,
I knew I would end up in Baghdad. I knew that's where
the action would be, and I was ready for it.

But when we got to Baghdad, we soon found out that the
people who planned this war were not ready for us.
There were not enough vehicles, not enough ammunition,
not enough medical supplies, not enough water. Many
days, we patrolled the streets of Baghdad in 120
degree heat with only one bottle of water per soldier.
There was not enough body armor, leaving my men to
dodge bullets with Vietnam-era flak vests. We had to
write home and ask for batteries to be included in our
care packages. Our soldiers deserved better.

When Baghdad fell, we soon found out that the people
who planned this war were not ready for that day
either. Adamiyah, the area in Baghdad we had been
assigned to, was certainly not stable. The Iraqi
people continued to suffer. And we dealt with
shootings, killings, kidnappings, and robberies for
most of the spring.

We waited for troops to fill the city and military
police to line the streets. We waited for foreign aid
to start streaming in by the truckload. We waited for
interpreters to show up and supply lines to get fixed.
We waited for more water. We waited and we waited and
the attacks on my men continued…and increased.

With too little support and too little planning, Iraq
had become our problem to fix. We had
nineteen-year-old kids from the heartland interpreting
foreign policy, in Arabic. This is not what we were
designed to do. Infantrymen are designed to close with
and kill the enemy.

But as infantrymen, and also as Americans, we made do,
and we did the job we were sent there for — and much
more.

One year ago today, our President had declared that
major combat operations in Iraq were over. We heard of
a "Mission Accomplished" banner, and we heard him say
that "Americans, following a battle, want nothing more
than to return home."

Well, we were told that we would return home by July
4th. Parades were waiting for us. Summer was waiting
for us. I wrote my brother in New York and told him to
get tickets for the Yankees-Red Sox series in the
Bronx. Baseball was waiting for us. Our families were
waiting for us.

But three days before we were supposed to leave, we
were told that our stay in Iraq would be extended,
indefinitely. The violence intensified, the danger
persisted, and the instability grew. And despite what
George Bush said, our mission was not accomplished.

Our platoon had been away from their families for
seven months. Two babies had been born. Three wives
had filed for divorce and a fiancée sent a ring back
to a kid in Baghdad. 39 men missed their homes. And
they wouldn't see their homes for another eight
months.

But we pulled together — we took care of each other
and we continued our mission. The mission kept us
going. The mission was to secure Iraq and help the
Iraqi people. We saw first-hand the terrible suffering
that they had endured. We protected a hospital and
kept a school safe from sniper fire. We saw hope in
the faces of Iraqi children who may have the chance to
grow up as free as our own.

And still, we waited for help. And still, the people
who planned this war watched Iraq fall into chaos and
refused to change course.

Some men with me were wounded. One of my squad leaders
lost both legs in combat. But our platoon was lucky —
all 39 of us came home alive.

Too many of our friends and fellow soldiers did not
share that same fate. Since President Bush declared
major combat operations over, more than 590 American
soldiers have been killed. Over 590 men and women who
were waiting for parades. Who were waiting for summer.
Who were waiting for help.

Since I've returned, there are two images that
continue to replay themselves in my mind. One is the
scrolling list of American casualties shown daily on
the news — a list reminding me that this April has
become the bloodiest month of combat so far, with more
than 130 soldiers killed.

The other image is of President Bush at his press
conference 2 weeks ago. After all the waiting, after
all the mistakes we had experienced first hand over in
Iraq, after another year of a policy that was not
making the situation any better for our friends who
are still there, he told us we were staying the
course. He told us we were making progress. And he
told us that, "We're carrying out a decision that has
already been made and will not change."

Our troops are still waiting for more body armor. They
are still waiting for better equipment. They are still
waiting for a policy that brings in the rest of the
world and relieves their burden. Our troops are still
waiting for help.

I am not angry with our President, but I am
disappointed.

I don't expect an easy solution to the situation in
Iraq, I do expect an admission that there are serious
problems that need serious solutions.

I don't expect our leaders to be free of mistakes, I
expect our leaders to own up to them.

In Iraq, I was responsible for the lives of 38 other
Americans. We laughed together, we cried together, we
won together, and we fought together. And when we
failed, it was my job as their leader to take
responsibility for the decisions I made — no matter
what the outcome.

My question for President Bush — who led the planning
of this war so long ago — is this: When will you take
responsibility for the decisions you've made in Iraq
and realize that something is wrong with the way
things are going?

Mr. President, our mission is not accomplished.

Our troops can accomplish it. We can build a stable
Iraq, but we need some help. The soldiers I served
with are men and women of extraordinary courage and
incredible capability. But it's time we had leadership
in Washington to match that courage and match that
capability.

I worry for the future of Iraq and for my Iraqi
friends. I worry for my fellow soldiers still fighting
this battle. I worry for their families, and I worry
for those families who will not be able to share
another summer or another baseball game with the loved
ones they've lost. And I pledge that I will do
everything I can to make sure they have not died in
vain and that the truth is heard.

Thank you for listening.


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All market data delayed 20 minutes.

Posted by richard at 10:48 AM

For the past two weeks or so, we've watched as a largely press-manufactured story has made its way from a little noticed CNN.com column to The Washington Post op-ed page to an Associated Press dispatch to a Jodi Wilgoren-penned piece in today's New York T

It's The Media, Stupid.

Brian Montopoli, Columbia School of Journalism: For the past two weeks or so, we've watched as a largely press-manufactured story has made its way from a little noticed CNN.com column to The Washington Post op-ed page to an Associated Press dispatch to a Jodi Wilgoren-penned piece in today's New York Times. The central claim of most of these pieces -- that, as
CNN's Carlos Watson wrote two weeks ago, "Kerry's
Inner Circle Lacks Color" -- seems dubious at best,
but that hasn't stopped the national media from
turning the story into this week's tempest in the
teapot.
"It's mainly the media that's driving this story," he
says. "The media loves these kind of stories," he
continued dryly, "in part because they tend to ignore
stories about minorities. This gives them a chance to
write a story about the Kerry campaign and have it
count as a story about minorities."

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.campaigndesk.org/archives/000483.asp

Critique and analysis of 2004 campaign coverage
from Columbia Journalism Review


Echo Chamber
April 30, 2004
Follow the Bouncing Ball

For the past two weeks or so, we've watched as a
largely press-manufactured story has made its way from
a little noticed CNN.com column to The Washington Post
op-ed page to an Associated Press dispatch to a Jodi
Wilgoren-penned piece in today's New York Times. The
central claim of most of these pieces -- that, as
CNN's Carlos Watson wrote two weeks ago, "Kerry's
Inner Circle Lacks Color" -- seems dubious at best,
but that hasn't stopped the national media from
turning the story into this week's tempest in the
teapot.

Let's have a look at how we got here.

The Watson column kicked things off with the complaint
that Kerry's closest advisors are mostly white.
Whether or not that's correct depends upon how you
define what Watson calls the "inner circle." The six
people whom Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill
described in The Washington Post last week as "real
insiders" are indeed white, but beyond that there are
a number of minority advisors who are close to Kerry,
including Marcus Jardotte, Art Collins, and Paul
Rivera. In addition, according to Watson, other "key
advisors and people of color" close to Kerry are Rep.
Harold Ford, Greg Meeks, Rep. Juanita
Millender-MacDonald, and Henry Cisneros.

"Despite these facts," wrote Watson on April 16, "if
Kerry's inner leadership circle remains the same, do
not be surprised if Bush points out the inconsistency,
a more effective issue than many Democrats can
imagine."

As it happens, the Bush campaign had no need to point
out this "inconsistency." Watson's column bounced
right into the Campaign Press Echo Chamber (CPEC),
where variations of it have been appearing ever since,
like a houseguest who keeps coming back no matter how
often you show him to the door. And as the allegations
kept coming, in the form of news stories and op-ed
page commentaries, they gained a certain faux
legitimacy through little more than repetition.
Eventually, as we've noted before, this sort of thing
can become conventional wisdom, and at that point it
does do more damage than any rhetoric from an opposing
campaign.

Colbert King of The Washington Post op-ed page was the
first to pick up on the CNN story. On April 24, King
wrote that he called Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie
Cutter for a rebuttal to Watson's allegations, and
when she argued that the answer hinged on what was
meant by "inner circle," he complained that her answer
was "truly Clintonesque." Cutter, wrote King,
identified a number of minority senior staff members,
but King doesn't tell us who they are; he also employs
a mocking tone when discussing the campaign's
"community outreach senior leadership," which is made
up largely of minorities.

Once Watson and King had gotten the ball rolling, AP
gave it a kick, in the person of reporter Genaro C.
Armas, who wrote a piece asserting that Kerry was
being criticized for "a lack of minority
representation at the upper levels of [his]
presidential campaign." For evidence, Armas
highlighted a core group of seven key Kerry staffers
who talk strategy with the candidate each morning.
Whoops -- turns out, as Armas acknowledges, two of the
seven are black and one is Hispanic. That means the
group, as described by Armas, is over 40 percent
minority -- as compared to an American population that
is approximately one-third non-white. (He does mention
three more white Kerry advisors further down in the
story.)

Apparently unconcerned that he himself has just cited
real evidence to the contrary, Armas pursues the
story, repeating that nonetheless "some black
officials and independent analysts" have expressed
concern about the racial makeup of Kerry's campaign.
We spoke to one of the three Kerry critics Armas
cites, David Bositis, a political scientist at the
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a
think tank focused on black issues. He told us his
remarks in the AP story were "severely limited."

"It's mainly the media that's driving this story," he
says. "The media loves these kind of stories," he
continued dryly, "in part because they tend to ignore
stories about minorities. This gives them a chance to
write a story about the Kerry campaign and have it
count as a story about minorities."

Today The New York Times' Jodi Wilgoren picked up the
bouncing ball and, upon examination, found it actually
deflating. Fortunately, Wilgoren's piece takes a
deeper look at the issue than those that came before
it, noting that critics -- who she actually names and
interviews -- are as much concerned about Kerry's
modest minority outreach efforts as they are about the
makeup of his inner circle. She also quotes Paul
Rivera, a senior Kerry advisor, who is at pains to
note that Kerry already has made four campaign sweeps
through Harlem and that he won by large margins among
blacks in the Virginia, Tennessee and Missouri
primaries.

Wilgoren ends her piece with an interpretation from
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who attributes the complaints to
old rivalries extending as far back as Jesse Jackson's
1988 campaign against another Massachusetts
politician, Michael Dukakis. Sharpton slyly adds that
he's uncertain whether the critics really want to see
Kerry's inner circle more diversified or whether
they're just launching "a job application through the
media." (Since Sharpton is a man who has freely
acknowledged that he hopes to use his own candidacy in
the Democratic primaries to find a cushy job on cable
TV, it may be that he's on to something.)

Wilgoren's piece is just multifaceted enough that it
may finally silence the parrots of the echo chamber --
or at least reduce their screeching to a few muted
squawks.

It won't take long to find out.

--Brian Montopoli

Posted 04/30/04 at 03:38 PM

Posted by richard at 10:45 AM

Court Historian Woodward Disguises Bush Aims in Invading Iraq

It's the Media, Stupid.

Ray McGovern, www.commondreams.org: That the White
House has been promoting Woodward’s book (Rice wasted
no time in saying she is sure it is “terrific”)
reflects the administration’s determination to keep
the focus on the cover story for the war—WMD, and
obscure the actual motives regarding oil and Israel.
And if, with no WMD to be found, the U.S. media or
political opponents press home the point about going
to war on false pretenses, Woodward’s book will
provide useful yarn for White House spinners claiming
the president was misled by faulty intelligence. And
the slam-dunker can be left hanging on the rim of the
basket, twisting in the wind, so to speak, until he
falls of his own weight.

Break the Bush Cabal Stranglehold on the "US
Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0430-04.htm

Published on Friday, April 23, 2004 by
CommonDreams.org
Blowing Smoke for Bush
Court Historian Woodward Disguises Bush Aims in Invading Iraq

by Ray McGovern

Why is Bob Woodward’s latest book, “Plan of Attack,”
is being promoted by the administration? Because it
portrays an in-charge President Bush and presents him
as genuinely concerned (and seemingly misled) over the
threat posed by Iraq’s “weapons of mass-destruction.”
Unfortunately, the nation’s most-famous investigative
reporter got it wrong.

You would not know from Woodward’s book that the CIA’s
National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraqi weapons
of mass destruction – used with Congress to hype the
threat - was written several months after the
administration decided to make war on Iraq. That
decision had little to do with WMD or with supposed
ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda. It had everything to
do with the imperative seen by Bush’s neoconservative
advisers to gain dominant influence over strategic,
oil-rich Iraq and to eliminate any possible threat to
Israel’s security. With that twin aim, the rationale
was generally consistent with several decades of U.S.
policy objectives in the Middle East. Where the Bush
administration broke new ground was in its decision to
launch a preemptive war when there was nothing to
preempt.

To honest analysts—including some within the
“coalition of the willing”—the actual U.S. purpose was
a no-brainer. Australian intelligence analysts, for
example, had done their homework in reading the
neoconservatives’ rationale in the documents of the
Project for a New American Century and were able to
make confident judgments regarding underlying U.S.
motives. Senior Australian intelligence analyst Andrew
Wilkie has testified to his Parliament that Australian
intelligence gave his government “detailed assessments
in which it was made very clear that the U.S. was
intent on invading Iraq for more important reasons
than WMD and terrorism. Hence, all this talk about WMD
and terrorism was hollow.”

The U.S. Congress was not likely to acquiesce in
attacking Iraq on the basis of the strategic vision of
the neoconservatives. Rather, it was necessary to
coerce our lawmakers by conjuring up ominous specters
like the frequently adduced “mushroom cloud.” Enter
the NIE on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction
prepared hurriedly in September 2002. Secretary of
State Colin Powell has admitted that the target
audience for the Estimate was Congress. The NIE and
its various initial drafts became the centerpiece of a
successful campaign to persuade our elected
representatives to relinquish to the executive the
war-making power vested solely in them by the framers
of the Constitution.

Hyping the evidence on WMD in classified briefings for
Congress proved relatively easy; making a persuasive
public case for WMD in Iraq was a tougher challenge.
According to Bob Woodward—erstwhile junkyard dog of
Watergate and, more recently, domesticated
administration chronicler—CIA Director George Tenet
and his deputy were called to the White House on
December 21, 2002 to rehearse the case for weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq. In his book “Plan of
Attack,” Woodward reports that when the briefing was
over Bush turned to Tenet and remarked, “I’ve been
told all this intelligence about having WMD and this
is the best we’ve got?” Woodward writes that Tenet
assured the president that it was “a slam-dunk case,”
and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who
was there, has confirmed Woodward’s account.

The next 45 days were devoted to fortifying the
evidence in preparation for Colin Powell’s key speech
at the U.N. on February 5, 2003. But as in the case of
the earlier NIE, almost none of Powell’s assertions
regarding WMD in Iraq have stood the test of time.
Powell has even conceded publicly that he was misled
on the existence of the Iraqi “bio-trailers” to which
he gave such prominence, and says he has had
“discussions” with the CIA about this particular
embarrassment.

That the White House has been promoting Woodward’s
book (Rice wasted no time in saying she is sure it is
“terrific”) reflects the administration’s
determination to keep the focus on the cover story for
the war—WMD, and obscure the actual motives regarding
oil and Israel. And if, with no WMD to be found, the
U.S. media or political opponents press home the point
about going to war on false pretenses, Woodward’s book
will provide useful yarn for White House spinners
claiming the president was misled by faulty
intelligence. And the slam-dunker can be left hanging
on the rim of the basket, twisting in the wind, so to
speak, until he falls of his own weight.

By design, this would blow still more smoke over the
actual reasons for the war. But for Tenet it would
bring a certain poetic justice. For the unforgivable
sin in intelligence analysis is telling the
policymaker what he wants to hear—justifying with
cooked “intelligence” what he has already decided to
do. Sycophancy has no place in intelligence work—and
particularly not on issues of war and peace.

Ray McGovern’s (RRMcGovern@aol.com) responsibilities
during his 27-years as a CIA analyst included chairing
National Intelligence Estimates. He is on the Steering
Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

###

Posted by richard at 10:42 AM

May 01, 2004

Take Gadsden County. Of Florida's sixty-seven counties, Gadsden has the highest proportion of black residents: 58 percent. It also has the highest "spoilage" rate, that is, ballots tossed out on technicalities: one in eight votes cast but not counted.

There is an Electoral Uprising coming...The November
election is a national referendum on the CHARACTER,
CREDIBILITY and COMPETENCE of the incredible shrinking
_resident...But...

Greg Palast, The Nation: Take Gadsden County. Of Florida's sixty-seven counties, Gadsden has the highest proportion of black residents: 58 percent. It also has the highest "spoilage" rate, that is, ballots tossed out on technicalities: one in eight votes cast but not counted. Next door to Gadsden is
white-majority Leon County, where virtually every vote
is counted (a spoilage rate of one in 500). How do
votes spoil? Apparently, any old odd mark on a ballot
will do it. In Gadsden, some voters wrote in Al Gore
instead of checking his name. Their votes did not
count.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0430-10.htm
Published in the May 17, 2004 issue of The Nation
Vanishing Votes
by Gregory Palast

On October 29, 2002, George W. Bush signed the Help
America Vote Act (HAVA). Hidden behind its
apple-pie-and-motherhood name lies a nasty civil
rights time bomb.

First, the purges. In the months leading up to the
November 2000 presidential election, Florida Secretary
of State Katherine Harris, in coordination with
Governor Jeb Bush, ordered local election supervisors
to purge 57,700 voters from the registries, supposedly
ex-cons not allowed to vote in Florida. At least 90.2
percent of those on this "scrub" list, targeted to
lose their civil rights, are innocent. Notably, more
than half--about 54 percent--are black or Hispanic.
You can argue all night about the number ultimately
purged, but there's no argument that this electoral
racial pogrom ordered by Jeb Bush's operatives gave
the White House to his older brother. HAVA not only
blesses such purges, it requires all fifty states to
implement a similar search-and-destroy mission against
vulnerable voters. Specifically, every state must, by
the 2004 election, imitate Florida's system of
computerizing voter files. The law then empowers fifty
secretaries of state--fifty Katherine Harrises--to
purge these lists of "suspect" voters.

The purge is back, big time. Following the disclosure
in December 2000 of the black voter purge in Britain's
Observer newspaper, NAACP lawyers sued the state. The
civil rights group won a written promise from Governor
Jeb and from Harris's successor to return wrongly
scrubbed citizens to the voter rolls. According to
records given to the courts by ChoicePoint, the
company that generated the computerized lists, the
number of Floridians who were questionably tagged
totals 91,000. Willie Steen is one of them. Recently,
I caught up with Steen outside his office at a Tampa
hospital. Steen's case was easy. You can't work in a
hospital if you have a criminal record. (My copy of
Harris's hit list includes an ex-con named O'Steen,
close enough to cost Willie Steen his vote.) The NAACP
held up Steen's case to the court as a prime example
of the voter purge evil.

The state admitted Steen's innocence. But a year after
the NAACP won his case, Steen still couldn't register.
Why was he still under suspicion? What do we know
about this "potential felon," as Jeb called him?
Steen, unlike our President, honorably served four
years in the US military. There is, admittedly, a
suspect mark on his record: Steen remains an
African-American.

If you're black, voting in America is a game of
chance. First, there's the chance your registration
card will simply be thrown out. Millions of minority
citizens registered to vote using what are called
motor-voter forms. And Republicans know it. You would
not be surprised to learn that the Commission on Civil
Rights found widespread failures to add these voters
to the registers. My sources report piles of
dust-covered applications stacked up in election
offices.

Second, once registered, there's the chance you'll be
named a felon. In Florida, besides those fake felons
on Harris's scrub sheets, some 600,000 residents are
legally barred from voting because they have a
criminal record in the state. That's one state. In the
entire nation 1.4 million black men with sentences
served can't vote, 13 percent of the nation's black
male population.

At step three, the real gambling begins. The Voting
Rights Act of 1965 guaranteed African-Americans the
right to vote--but it did not guarantee the right to
have their ballots counted. And in one in seven cases,
they aren't.

Take Gadsden County. Of Florida's sixty-seven
counties, Gadsden has the highest proportion of black
residents: 58 percent. It also has the highest
"spoilage" rate, that is, ballots tossed out on
technicalities: one in eight votes cast but not
counted. Next door to Gadsden is white-majority Leon
County, where virtually every vote is counted (a
spoilage rate of one in 500). How do votes spoil?
Apparently, any old odd mark on a ballot will do it.
In Gadsden, some voters wrote in Al Gore instead of
checking his name. Their votes did not count.

Harvard law professor Christopher Edley Jr., a member
of the Commission on Civil Rights, didn't like the
smell of all those spoiled ballots. He dug into the
pile of tossed ballots and, deep in the commission's
official findings, reported this: 14.4 percent of
black votes--one in seven--were "invalidated," i.e.,
never counted. By contrast, only 1.6 percent of
nonblack voters' ballots were spoiled.

Florida's electorate is 11 percent African-American.
Florida refused to count 179,855 spoiled ballots. A
little junior high school algebra applied to
commission numbers indicates that 54 percent, or
97,000, of the votes "spoiled" were cast by black
folk, of whom more than 90 percent chose Gore. The
nonblack vote divided about evenly between Gore and
Bush. Therefore, had Harris allowed the counting of
these ballots, Al Gore would have racked up a
plurality of about 87,000 votes in Florida--162 times
Bush's official margin of victory.

That's Florida. Now let's talk about America. In the
2000 election, 1.9 million votes cast were never
counted. Spoiled for technical reasons, like writing
in Gore's name, machine malfunctions and so on. The
reasons for ballot rejection vary, but there's a
suspicious shading to the ballots tossed into the
dumpster. Edley's team of Harvard experts discovered
that just as in Florida, the number of ballots spoiled
was--county by county, precinct by precinct--in direct
proportion to the local black voting population.

Florida's racial profile mirrors the nation's--both in
the percentage of voters who are black and the racial
profile of the voters whose ballots don't count. "In
2000, a black voter in Florida was ten times as likely
to have their vote spoiled--not counted--as a white
voter," explains political scientist Philip Klinkner,
co-author of Edley's Harvard report. "National figures
indicate that Florida is, surprisingly, typical. Given
the proportion of nonwhite to white voters in America,
then, it appears that about half of all ballots
spoiled in the USA, as many as 1 million votes, were
cast by nonwhite voters."

So there you have it. In the last presidential
election, approximately 1 million black and other
minorities voted, and their ballots were thrown away.
And they will be tossed again in November 2004,
efficiently, by computer--because HAVA and other bogus
reform measures, stressing reform through complex
computerization, do not address, and in fact worsen,
the racial bias of the uncounted vote.

One million votes will disappear in a puff of very
black smoke. And when the smoke clears, the Bush clan
will be warming their political careers in the light
of the ballot bonfire. HAVA nice day.

Gregory Palast, a reporter and columnist for Britain's
Observer newspaper, is investigating the Florida vote
story for BBC television. Author of The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons,
Globalization and High-Finance Fraudsters

Copyright © 2004 The Nation

Posted by richard at 10:46 AM

"Your unqualified support of Sharon's extra-judicial assassinations, Israel's Berlin Wall-like barrier, its harsh military measures in occupied territories, and now your endorsement of Sharon's unilateral plan are costing our country its credibility, pres

More courageous citizens whose names will be scrawled
on the John O'Neill Wall of Heroes. And it is a
disgrace that you have to read about it in the
Financial Times of London instead on the front pages
of America's major city newspapers.

Guy Dinmore, Jean Eaglesham, Financial Times: Inspired
by the attack of their British colleagues on Tony
Blair's foreign policy, more than 20 former US
diplomats have so far signed a letter to President
George W. Bush protesting against his pro-Israeli
stance. "Your unqualified support of Sharon's extra-judicial assassinations, Israel's Berlin Wall-like barrier, its harsh military measures in occupied territories, and now your endorsement of Sharon's unilateral plan are costing our country its credibility, prestige and friends," the letter says.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1083180186465

Former US diplomats send protest letter to Bush
By Guy Dinmore in Washington and Jean Eaglesham in
London
Published: April 30 2004 1:15 | Last Updated: April 30
2004 1:15

Inspired by the attack of their British colleagues on
Tony Blair's foreign policy, more than 20 former US
diplomats have so far signed a letter to President
George W. Bush protesting against his pro-Israeli
stance.

The letter accuses Mr Bush of reversing long- standing
American policy in the Middle East by endorsing the
demands of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister,
that Israel retain big settlements in the occupied
West Bank and deny the right of return to Palestinian
refugees.

"Your unqualified support of Sharon's extra-judicial
assassinations, Israel's Berlin Wall-like barrier, its
harsh military measures in occupied territories, and
now your endorsement of Sharon's unilateral plan are
costing our country its credibility, prestige and
friends," the letter says.

The letter was drafted by Andrew Killgore, former
ambassador to Qatar, and Richard Curtiss, former chief
inspector of the US Information Agency. The letter was
to have been sent to the White House today, but an
organiser said it was being held to give more former
envoys the chance to sign.

Former ambassadors to Iraq, India, Saudi Arabia,
Syria, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have signed
so far.

Others include John Brady Kiesling, one of at least
three US diplomats who resigned last year in protest
against the war on Iraq, and Greg Thielmann, until
recently a senior State Department intelligence
analyst who has accused the Bush administration of
twisting intelligence on Iraq's weapons programmes and
alleged ties with terrorist groups.

The letter begins by applauding the 52 former British
diplomats who attacked the UK prime minister, and ends
by calling for a reassertion of "American principles
of justice and fairness in our relations with all the
peoples of the Middle East".

"A return to the time- honoured American tradition of
fairness will reverse the present tide of ill-will in
Europe and the Middle East, even in Iraq," it says.

While the former UK diplomats made the headlines at
home, the American letter has stirred little media
interest so far.

It is already well known in Washington that numerous
past and present officers of the US State Department,
especially Arabists, are distressed by what they see
as the cost in the region of Mr Bush's intimate
support of Mr Sharon. For this reason the White House
has effectively sidelined the State Department over
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who was Britain's most senior
coalition representative in Iraq until his retirement
last month, revealed on Thursday that he had been
consulted over the letter attacking Mr Blair's Middle
East policy.

The former envoy, however, stressed that he was not
consulted on the final draft and said he disagreed
with its "unbalanced and confrontational" stance on
Iraq. But the fact that he was approached over the
explosive missive was seen by some critics as evidence
of deep-seated establishment unease with the UK's
postwar strategy.

Posted by richard at 10:43 AM

The only question now is: Who will follow the Bush clan off this precipice, and who will refuse to jump?

The Emperor has no uniform...The Coalition of the
Witless is deteriorating rapidly. The Mega-Mogadishu
that the LNS predicted is upon us...How long will it
take for the Power Elite in this country to accept the
facts on the ground and move against the Bush cabal
politically on both sides of the aisle and editorially
in the "US mainstream news media"?

Naomi Klein, The Nation: The only question now is: Who will follow the Bush clan off this precipice, and who will refuse to jump? More and more are,
thankfully, choosing the second option. The last month
of inflammatory US aggression in Iraq has inspired
what can only be described as a mutiny: Waves of
soldiers, workers and politicians under the command of
the US occupation authority are suddenly refusing to
follow orders and abandoning their posts. First Spain
announced it would withdraw its troops, then Honduras,
Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Kazakhstan. South
Korean and Bulgarian troops were pulled back to their
bases, while New Zealand is withdrawing its engineers.
El Salvador, Norway, the Netherlands and Thailand will
likely be next.

Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and Iraq War Lies, Show Up
for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

This article can be found on the web at
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040517&s=klein


Lookout by Naomi Klein

Mutiny in Iraq
[from the May 17, 2004 issue]

Can we please stop calling it a quagmire? The United
States isn't mired in a bog or a marsh in Iraq
(quagmire's literal meaning); it is free-falling off a
cliff. The only question now is: Who will follow the
Bush clan off this precipice, and who will refuse to
jump?

More and more are, thankfully, choosing the second
option. The last month of inflammatory US aggression
in Iraq has inspired what can only be described as a
mutiny: Waves of soldiers, workers and politicians
under the command of the US occupation authority are
suddenly refusing to follow orders and abandoning
their posts. First Spain announced it would withdraw
its troops, then Honduras, Dominican Republic,
Nicaragua and Kazakhstan. South Korean and Bulgarian
troops were pulled back to their bases, while New
Zealand is withdrawing its engineers. El Salvador,
Norway, the Netherlands and Thailand will likely be
next.

And then there are the mutinous members of the
US-controlled Iraqi army. Since the latest wave of
fighting began, they've been donating their weapons to
resistance fighters in the South and refusing to fight
in Falluja, saying that they didn't join the army to
kill other Iraqis. By late April, Maj. Gen. Martin
Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division, was
reporting that "about 40 percent [of Iraqi security
officers] walked off the job because of intimidation.
And about 10 percent actually worked against us."

And it's not just Iraq's soldiers who have been
deserting the occupation. Four ministers of the Iraqi
Governing Council have resigned their posts in
protest. Half the Iraqis with jobs in the secured
"green zone"--as translators, drivers, cleaners--are
not showing up for work. And that's better than a
couple of weeks ago, when 75 percent of Iraqis
employed by the US occupation authority stayed home
(that staggering figure comes from Adm. David Nash,
who oversees the awarding of reconstruction
contracts).

Minor mutinous signs are emerging even within the
ranks of the US military: Privates Jeremy Hinzman and
Brandon Hughey have applied for refugee status in
Canada as conscientious objectors and Staff Sgt.
Camilo Mejia is facing court martial after he refused
to return to Iraq on the grounds that he no longer
knew what the war was about [see Christian Parenti, "A
Deserter Speaks," at www.thenation.com].

Rebelling against the US authority in Iraq is not
treachery, nor is it giving "false comfort to
terrorists," as George W. Bush recently cautioned
Spain's new prime minister. It is an entirely rational
and principled response to policies that have put
everyone living and working under US command in grave
and unacceptable danger. This is a view shared by
fifty-two former British diplomats, who recently sent
a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair stating that
although they endorsed his attempts to influence US
Middle East policy, "there is no case for supporting
policies which are doomed to failure."

And one year in, the US occupation of Iraq does appear
doomed on all fronts: political, economic and
military. On the political front, the idea that the
United States could bring genuine democracy to Iraq is
now irredeemably discredited: Too many relatives of
Iraqi Governing Council members have landed plum jobs
and rigged contracts, too many groups demanding direct
elections have been suppressed, too many newspapers
have been closed down and too many Arab journalists
have been murdered while trying to do their job. The
most recent casualties were two employees of Al
Iraqiya television, shot dead by US soldiers while
filming a checkpoint in Samarra. Ironically, Al
Iraqiya is the US-controlled propaganda network that
was supposed to weaken the power of Al Jazeera and Al
Arabiya, both of which have also lost reporters to US
guns and rockets over the past year.

White House plans to turn Iraq into a model
free-market economy are in equally rough shape,
plagued by corruption scandals and the rage of Iraqis
who have seen few benefits--either in services or
jobs--from the reconstruction. Corporate trade shows
have been canceled across Iraq, investors are
relocating to Amman and Iraq's housing minister
estimates that more than 1,500 foreign contractors
have fled the country. Bechtel, meanwhile, admits that
it can no longer operate "in the hot spots" (there are
precious few cold ones), truck drivers are afraid to
travel the roads with valuable goods and General
Electric has suspended work on key power stations. The
timing couldn't be worse: Summer heat is coming and
demand for electricity is about to soar.

As this predictable (and predicted) disaster unfolds,
many are turning to the United Nations for help: Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on the UN to support
his demand for direct elections back in January. More
recently, he has called on the UN to refuse to ratify
the despised interim constitution, which most Iraqis
see as a US attempt to continue to control Iraq's
future long after the June 30 "handover" by, among
other measures, giving sweeping veto powers to the
Kurds--the only remaining US ally. Spanish Prime
Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, before pulling
out his troops, asked the UN to take over the mission
from the United States. Even Muqtada al-Sadr, the
"outlaw" Shiite cleric, is calling on the UN to
prevent a bloodbath in Najaf. On April 18, Sadr's
spokesman, Qais al-Khazaali, told Bulgarian television
it is "in the interest of the whole world to send
peacekeeping forces under the UN flag."

And what has been the UN's response? Worse than
silence, it has sided with Washington on all of these
critical questions, dashing hopes that it could
provide a genuine alternative to the lawlessness and
brutality of the US occupation. First it refused to
back the call for direct elections, citing security
concerns. In retrospect, supporting the call back then
might have avoided much of the violence now engulfing
the country. After all, the UN's response weakened the
more moderate Sistani and strengthened Muqtada
al-Sadr, whose supporters continued demanding direct
elections and launched a vocal campaign against the US
transition plan and the interim constitution. This is
what prompted US chief envoy Paul Bremer to decide to
take Sadr out, the provocation that sparked the Shiite
uprising.

The UN has proved equally deaf to calls to replace the
US military occupation with a peacekeeping operation.
On the contrary, it has made it clear that it will
only re-enter Iraq if it is the United States that
guarantees the safety of its staff--seemingly
oblivious to the fact that being surrounded by
American bodyguards is the best way to make sure that
the UN will be targeted. "We have an obligation since
[the attack on UN headquarters] last summer to insist
on clarity and on what is being asked of us," Edward
Mortimer, a senior aide to Secretary General Kofi
Annan, told the New York Times. "What are the risks?
What kind of guarantees can you give us that we are
not going to be blown up? And is the job important
enough to justify the risk?"

Even in light of that horrific bombing, this is a
stunning series of questions coming from a UN
official. Do Iraqis have guarantees that they won't be
blown up when they go to the market in Sadr City, when
their children get on the school bus in Basra, when
they send their injured to a hospital in Falluja? Is
there a more important job for the future of global
security than peacemaking in Iraq?

The UN's greatest betrayal of all comes in the way it
is re-entering Iraq: not as an independent broker but
as a glorified US subcontractor, the political arm of
the continued US occupation. The post-June 30
caretaker government being set up by UN envoy Lakhdar
Brahimi will be subject to all the restraints on Iraqi
sovereignty that sparked the current uprising in the
first place. The United States will maintain full
control over "security" in Iraq, including over Iraq's
army. It will keep control over the reconstruction
funds. And, worst of all, the caretaker government
will be subject to the laws laid out in the interim
constitution, including the clause that states that it
must enforce the orders written by the US occupiers.
The UN should be defending Iraq against this illegal
attempt to undermine its independence. Instead it is
disgracefully helping Washington to convince the world
that a country under continued military occupation by
a foreign power is actually sovereign.

Iraq badly needs the UN as a clear, independent voice
in the region. The people are calling out for it,
begging the international body to live up to its
mandate as peacemaker and truth teller. And yet just
when it is needed most, the UN is at its most
compromised and cowardly.

There is a way that the UN can redeem itself in Iraq.
It could choose to join the mutiny, further isolating
the United States. This would help force Washington to
hand over real power--ultimately to Iraqis but first
to a multilateral coalition that did not participate
in the invasion and occupation and would have the
credibility to oversee direct elections. This could
work, but only through a process that fiercely
protects Iraq's sovereignty. That means:

Ditch the Interim Constitution. The interim
constitution is so widely hated in Iraq that any
governing body bound by its rules will immediately be
seen as illegitimate. Some argue that Iraq needs the
interim constitution to prevent open elections from
delivering the country to religious extremists. Yet
according to a February 2004 poll by Oxford Research
International, Iraqis have no desire to see their
country turned into another Iran. Asked to rate their
favored political system and actors, 48.5 percent of
Iraqis ranked a "democracy" as most important, while
an "Islamic state" received 20.5 percent support.
Asked what type of politician they favored, 55.3
percent chose "democrats," while only 13.7 percent
chose religious politicians. If Iraqis are given the
chance to vote their will, there is every reason to
expect that the results will reflect a balance between
their faith and their secular aspirations.

There are also ways to protect women and minority
rights without forcing Iraq to accept a sweeping
constitution written under foreign occupation. The
simplest solution would be to revive passages in
Iraq's 1970 Provisional Constitution, which, according
to Human Rights Watch, "formally guaranteed equal
rights to women and...specifically ensured their right
to vote, attend school, run for political office, and
own property." Elsewhere, the constitution enshrined
religious freedom, civil liberties and the right to
form unions. These clauses can easily be salvaged,
while striking the parts of the document designed to
entrench Baathist rule.

Put the Money in Trust. A crucial plank of managing
Iraq's transition to sovereignty is safeguarding its
national assets: its oil revenue and the remaining
oil-for-food program money (currently administered by
the United States with no oversight), as well as
what's left of the $18.4 billion in reconstruction
funds. Right now the United States is planning to keep
control of this money long after June 30; the UN
should insist that it be put in trust, to be spent by
an elected Iraqi government.

De-Chalabify Iraq. The United States has so far been
unable to install Ahmad Chalabi as the next leader of
Iraq--his history of corruption and lack of a
political base have seen to that. Yet members of the
Chalabi family have quietly been given control in
every area of political, economic and judicial life.
It was a two-stage process. First, as head of the
De-Baathification Commission, Chalabi purged his
rivals from power. Then, as director of the Governing
Council's Economic and Finance Committee, he installed
his friends and allies in the key posts of Oil
Minister, Finance Minister, Trade Minister, Governor
of the Central Bank and so on. Now Chalabi's nephew,
Salem Chalabi, has been appointed by the United States
to head the court trying Saddam Hussein. And a company
with close ties to Chalabi landed the contract to
guard Iraq's oil infrastructure--essentially a license
to build a private army.

It's not enough to keep Chalabi out of the interim
government. The UN must dismantle Chalabi's shadow
state by launching a de-Chalabification process on a
par with the now abandoned de-Baathification process.

Demand the Withdrawal of US Troops. In asking the
United States to serve as its bodyguard as a condition
of re-entering Iraq, the UN has it exactly backwards:
It should only go in if the United States pulls out.
Troops who participated in the invasion and occupation
should be replaced with peacekeepers--preferably from
neighboring Arab states--working under the extremely
limited mandate of securing the country for general
elections. With the United States out, there is a
solid chance that countries that opposed the war would
step forward for the job.

On April 25 the New York Times editorial board called
for the opposite approach, arguing that only a major
infusion of American troops and "a real long-term
increase in the force in Iraq" could bring security.
But these troops, if they arrive, will provide
security to no one--not to the Iraqis, not to their
fellow soldiers, not to the UN. American soldiers have
become a direct provocation to more violence, not only
because of the brutality of the occupation in Iraq but
also because of US support for Israel's deadly
occupation of Palestinian territory. In the minds of
many Iraqis, the two occupations have blended into a
single anti-Arab outrage, with Israeli and US soldiers
viewed as interchangeable and Iraqis openly
identifying with Palestinians.

Without US troops, the major incitement to violence
would be removed, allowing the country to be
stabilized with far fewer soldiers and far less force.
Iraq would still face security challenges--there would
still be extremists willing to die to impose Islamic
law as well as attempts by Saddam loyalists to regain
power. On the other hand, with Sunnis and Shiites now
so united against the occupation, it's the best
possible moment for an honest broker to negotiate an
equitable power-sharing agreement.

Some will argue that the United States is too strong
to be forced out of Iraq. But from the start Bush
needed multilateral cover for this war--that's why he
formed the "coalition of the willing," and it's why he
is going to the UN now. Imagine what could happen if
countries keep pulling out of the coalition, if France
and Germany refuse to recognize an occupied Iraq as a
sovereign nation. Imagine if the UN decided not to
ride to Washington's rescue. It would become an
occupation of one.

The invasion of Iraq began with a call to mutiny--a
call made by the United States. In the weeks leading
up to last year's invasion, US Central Command
bombarded Iraqi military and political officials with
phone calls and e-mails urging them to defect from
Saddam's ranks. Fighter planes dropped 8 million
leaflets urging Iraqi soldiers to abandon their posts
and assuring that no harm would come to them.

Of course, these soldiers were promptly fired when
Paul Bremer took over and are now being frantically
rehired as part of the reversal of the
de-Baathification policy. It's just one more example
of lethal incompetence that should lead all remaining
supporters of US policy in Iraq to one inescapable
conclusion: It's time for a mutiny.

Posted by richard at 10:40 AM

At that point, he stood up and, in a determined voice, said: ''There is no sovereignty, Mr Ambassador, if the U.S. continues to exercise security. Senators, please ask the ambassador about Battalion 316. Ask him about a death squad in Honduras that he sup

The incredible shrinking _resident says he "shares" in
the "disgust" generated by the photos of US soldiers
torturing Iraqis in one of the very prisons in which
Saddam used to tortured them. Does he really care?
Consider some other recent developments...One of
Saddam's generals, in his Republican guard uniform,
has just been hired to take control of Fallujah...And
then there is the incredible shrinking _resident's
choice for the first US ambassador to the new Iraq...

Jim Loeb, Inter Press: ''When it comes to issues like
(the siege of) Fallujah'', said Negroponte, currently
Washington's ambassador to the United Nations, ''I
think that is going to be the kind of situation that
is going to have to ... be the subject of real
dialogue between our military commanders, the new
Iraqi government, and, I think, the United States
mission as well''. That was too much for Andres Thomas
Conteris, a human rights and peace activist who was
sitting in the hearing room. At that point, he stood up and, in a determined voice, said: ''There is no sovereignty, Mr Ambassador, if the U.S. continues to exercise security. Senators, please ask the ambassador about Battalion 316. Ask him about a death squad in Honduras that he supported''.

Restore the Timeline, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0430-03.htm

Published on Friday, April 30, 2004 by the Inter Press
Service
Congress Ignores 'Dirty War' Past of New Iraq Envoy
by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - John Negroponte, the Bush
administration's nominee to become Washington's first
ambassador to Iraq since last year's invasion, was
talking about how much ''sovereignty'' the country's
new government will enjoy after Jun. 30, when U.S.
military forces will remain in control of security.

''When it comes to issues like (the siege of)
Fallujah'', said Negroponte, currently Washington's
ambassador to the United Nations, ''I think that is
going to be the kind of situation that is going to
have to ... be the subject of real dialogue between
our military commanders, the new Iraqi government,
and, I think, the United States mission as well''.

That was too much for Andres Thomas Conteris, a human
rights and peace activist who was sitting in the
hearing room.


John Negroponte

At that point, he stood up and, in a determined voice,
said: ''There is no sovereignty, Mr Ambassador, if the
U.S. continues to exercise security. Senators, please
ask the ambassador about Battalion 316. Ask him about
a death squad in Honduras that he supported''.

Security personnel quickly confronted Conteris and
escorted him from the room, while Senate Foreign
Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar gaveled the
hearing back to order, and Negroponte, the
smooth-as-silk career diplomat fluent in five
languages, went on as if nothing h