July 31, 2004

Zogby: The most recent Zogby poll shows deeper trouble for President George W. Bush beyond just the horserace. Mr. Bush has fallen in key areas while Senator John Kerry has shored up numerous constituencies in his base.

The LNS does not, as you have probably observed, spend much time posting or distributing poll numbers. Of course, the LNS does spend considerable energy refuting their frequent misrepresentation to promote a deceptive reading of the political temperature of the country, or worse, their frequent misconstruction to promote a deceptive reading of the political temperature of the country. Although the LNS does not spend much time posting or distributiong poll numbers, we do spend a lot of time studying them (many of them), and as everyone who studies them seriously knows Zogby is the most accurate...Now, being an astute critic of the "US mainstream news media" you are probably not surprised that the major network news organizations are not *running* with this glimpse into the US electorate's thinking less than 100 days before the national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, CHARACTER and COMPETENCE of the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident...And remember, it is worse for the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident than even Zogbydetects...Yes, there is an Electoral Uprising coming...

John Zogby and Christopher Conroy, www.zogby.com: The most recent Zogby poll shows deeper trouble for President George W. Bush beyond just the horserace. Mr. Bush has fallen in key areas while Senator John Kerry has shored up numerous constituencies in his base. The Bush team’s attempted outreach to base Democratic and swing constituency has shown to be a failure thus far, limiting his potential growth in the electorate.
The most important group in this election now is the
undecideds and Mr. Bush’s standing among them is weak.
He is generally well liked among the undecideds,
having a strong favorability (56%), but his job
performance is another story. Only 32% approve of
Bush’s job in office and only 31% believe the country
is headed in the right direction...
There are three factors contributing to Senator
Kerry’s lead in the electorate; first is President
Bush’s eroding base, second is his failure in outreach
to swing groups and base Democratic constituencies,
and third is Mr. Kerry’s strengthening of his base.
Mr. Kerry also has the potential to open a bigger lead
in two areas. First, among the undecided voters, if
Mr. Kerry can sell himself as a viable alternative to
Mr. Bush, he stands to make large gains amongst the
small, but significant chuck of undecideds. Second is
in the turnout arena, Mr. Kerry’s large leads amongst
Hispanics – who will potentially make up a great
portion of the electorate than they did in 2000 – and
young voters – who numerous non-partisan groups like
Rock the Vote and MTV are targeting – will stand to
boost his total share of the vote with every point
their turnout increases. Mr. Kerry is showing a
2-to-1 lead (50% to 25%) amongst voters who didn’t
vote in 2000, while winning three-quarters (75%) of
Ralph Nader’s voters and stealing twice as many (8% to
4%) of Mr. Bush voters in 2000 than Bush is stealing
of Gore voters in 2000.

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

http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=849

The Race Is On: An Analysis of the Post-Convention
Zogby Poll By John Zogby and Christopher Conroy

The most recent Zogby poll shows deeper trouble for
President George W. Bush beyond just the horserace.
Mr. Bush has fallen in key areas while Senator John
Kerry has shored up numerous constituencies in his
base. The Bush team’s attempted outreach to base
Democratic and swing constituency has shown to be a
failure thus far, limiting his potential growth in the
electorate.

The most important group in this election now is the
undecideds and Mr. Bush’s standing among them is weak.
He is generally well liked among the undecideds,
having a strong favorability (56%), but his job
performance is another story. Only 32% approve of
Bush’s job in office and only 31% believe the country
is headed in the right direction. The undecideds are
not yet sold on Mr. Kerry, with only 49% having a
favorable opinion of him. But Mr. Kerry can still
sell his message to them: over a quarter (28%) are
either not familiar enough or are not sure of their
opinion yet. These undecided voters are generally
dissatisfied with the President, but are still not
acquainted enough with the Senator from Massachusetts
to support him.

The Bush campaign’s efforts to court voters in the
Hispanic, Jewish, and Catholic communities seem to
have fallen flat. Mr. Kerry is leading Mr. Bush by a
similar margin to that which former Vice-President Al
Gore won among Jewish voters in 2000. Mr. Bush is
also running far behind his 2000 Hispanic total, with
only 19% of the Hispanic voters supporting him, while
Mr. Kerry is beating Mr. Gore’s total with 69%. Mr.
Kerry is also running very strong among Catholics,
topping Mr. Bush, 52% to 37%, showing that not only
has Bush’s courting of them failed, but his use of
wedge issues like gay marriage and partial birth
abortion have failed to separate Catholic voters from
Kerry.

The Senator’s lead among Catholics is similar to the
Clinton margins of the 1990s.

Mr. Bush has also shown weakness in what is considered
to be his best region, the South. While Kerry’s
choice of Senator John Edwards gives him his biggest
boost, his economic populism and courting of veterans
are also key in his eroding of Mr. Bush’s support.
Not only has Kerry now come to a tie with Bush in
favorability in the South (55% for both), the
Kerry-Edwards ticket has pulled ahead, 48% to 46% in
the South. President Bush’s job performance is down
to only 44% in the South, and only 43% of Southerners
think the country is headed in the right direction.

Mr. Kerry is also performing well in Blue states,
among Young voters and among Single voters. In the
Blue states, Mr. Kerry is winning 50% to 38%, while in
the Red States, Mr. Bush is only winning 48% to 46%.
Among Single voters, Mr. Kerry is winning huge by a
total of 69% to 19%. And among young voters – 18-29
year olds – a group Al Gore only won by 2 points in
2000, Kerry is winning in a landslide, 53% to 33%.

There are three factors contributing to Senator
Kerry’s lead in the electorate; first is President
Bush’s eroding base, second is his failure in outreach
to swing groups and base Democratic constituencies,
and third is Mr. Kerry’s strengthening of his base.
Mr. Kerry also has the potential to open a bigger lead
in two areas. First, among the undecided voters, if
Mr. Kerry can sell himself as a viable alternative to
Mr. Bush, he stands to make large gains amongst the
small, but significant chuck of undecideds. Second is
in the turnout arena, Mr. Kerry’s large leads amongst
Hispanics – who will potentially make up a great
portion of the electorate than they did in 2000 – and
young voters – who numerous non-partisan groups like
Rock the Vote and MTV are targeting – will stand to
boost his total share of the vote with every point
their turnout increases. Mr. Kerry is showing a
2-to-1 lead (50% to 25%) amongst voters who didn’t
vote in 2000, while winning three-quarters (75%) of
Ralph Nader’s voters and stealing twice as many (8% to
4%) of Mr. Bush voters in 2000 than Bush is stealing
of Gore voters in 2000.

John Zogby is President of Zogby International.
Christopher Conroy is Political Research Associate at
Zogby International.


Posted by richard at 11:52 AM

U.S. Economy Slows Drastically in Spring, White House Projects Highest Deficit Ever

Way back in the 1992 presidential campaign, James
Carville coined the term "It's the Economy, Stupid."
The LNS says, "It's the Media, Stupid." Of course,
both axioms are political truths. Here is a compelling
example...Yesterday, while the increasingly unhinged
and incredibly shrinking _resident tried out his new
campaign themes "Results Matter" and "We've turned the
corner, and we are not turning back" in the state of
Misery, the US Department of Commerce released the
lastest BAD, BAD, BAD economic news safe in the
presumption that the major network news organizations
would misplace in their coverage of the Bush post-DNC
counterattack, which they dutifully did...never
mentioning the BAD, BAD, BAD economi news or the BAD,
BAD, BAD Zogby poll numbers...No CONTINUITY, no
CONTEXT...whether they are reporting on high crimes,
war crimes, treason or even political campaigns...Oh
but look, the White House also reported that the
federal DEFICIT (which the increasingly unhinged and
incredibly shrinking _resident's tax cuts created out
of the Clinton-Gore SURPLUS) will soar to $445 billion
this year...Yes, "RESULTS MATTER," but where are the
propapunditgandists now? Will they dish on it on the
Sunday morning news shows, Fork the Nation, Meat The
Press and This Week In Revision? Nah, they will stay
on message, and probably talk about how "small" a
"bounce" Kerry-Edwards will have gotten in their
cooked polls, never mentioning of course how limited,
more limited than ever before, the major network news
media coverage was...and, of course, they won't be quoting the Zogby poll numbers...

MARTIN CRUTSINGER, Associated Press: The U.S. economy
slowed dramatically in the spring to an annual growth
rate of 3 percent, as consumers, worried about higher
gasoline prices, cut back their spending to the
weakest pace in three years, the Commerce Department
reported Friday.
The April-June advance in the gross domestic product,
the country's output of goods and services, was below
the 3.8 percent increase many economists had expected
and was significantly down from a revised 4.5 percent
growth rate in the first three months of the year...
Private economists were troubled that the
second-quarter slowdown could develop into something
worse, especially if job growth fails to rebound after
a disappointing rise of just 112,000 payroll jobs in
June. The July jobs data will be released next Friday.
"All in all, the GDP was a disappointing report," said
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com. "All the
surprises were on the downside."
The weaker-than-expected GDP number gave Wall Street
more to worry about in terms of how strong the economy
will perform in the second half of this year. The Dow
Jones industrial average managed to finish the day up
a slight 10.47 points at 10,139.71, not enough to wipe
out steep losses for July.

Associated Press: This year's federal deficit will
soar to a record $445 billion, the White House
projected Friday in a report provoking immediate
election-season tussling over how well President Bush
has handled the economy...
Democrats contrasted the $445 billion projection
with the $262 billion surplus for this year that Bush
projected in 2001, when he was persuading Congress to
approve the first of his tax cuts.
The shortfall will be the third consecutive - and
ever-growing - deficit under Bush, following four
consecutive annual surpluses under President Clinton.
Democrats said the turnabout underscored the damage
done by Bush's tax cuts and his poor stewardship of
the economy, and criticized the White House praise for
the report.

Restore Fiscal Responsibility to the White House, Show
Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/business/9281921.htm

Posted on Fri, Jul. 30, 2004


U.S. Economy Slows Drastically in Spring

MARTIN CRUTSINGER

Associated Press


WASHINGTON - The U.S. economy slowed dramatically in
the spring to an annual growth rate of 3 percent, as
consumers, worried about higher gasoline prices, cut
back their spending to the weakest pace in three
years, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The April-June advance in the gross domestic product,
the country's output of goods and services, was below
the 3.8 percent increase many economists had expected
and was significantly down from a revised 4.5 percent
growth rate in the first three months of the year.

The administration, counting on a rebounding economy
to bolster President Bush's re-election prospects,
insisted the second-quarter slowdown was only
temporary and forecast that growth would rebound in
the second half of the year.

Treasury Secretary John Snow noted the upward revision
of the first-quarter GDP figures with the
lower-than-expected second quarter figure. If the two
figures were averaged together, he said, it gave
evidence of an economy growing at a solid 3.75 percent
rate.

"We're on a positive track, and the fundamentals are
solid for the future," Snow said in a statement.

Private economists were troubled that the
second-quarter slowdown could develop into something
worse, especially if job growth fails to rebound after
a disappointing rise of just 112,000 payroll jobs in
June. The July jobs data will be released next Friday.

"All in all, the GDP was a disappointing report," said
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com. "All the
surprises were on the downside."

The weaker-than-expected GDP number gave Wall Street
more to worry about in terms of how strong the economy
will perform in the second half of this year. The Dow
Jones industrial average managed to finish the day up
a slight 10.47 points at 10,139.71, not enough to wipe
out steep losses for July.

The biggest drag on second quarter GDP came from
consumer spending, which rose by just 1 percent in the
second quarter, the weakest showing since a similar 1
percent rise in the second quarter of 2001, when the
economy was in recession. Consumer spending, a main
driver of the recovery, accounts for two-thirds of
American economic activity.

The weakness came from a 2.5 percent decline in
spending on big-ticket items such as automobiles.

Analysts noted, however, that auto sales, after a bad
June, have improved in July as dealers resumed
offering incentives to boost sales. Economists said
they still expect GDP growth to come in at 4 percent
or better rate in the second half of the year, which
would be strong enough to generate new jobs and
maintain the decline in unemployment.

Campaigning for a second term, Bush talks often of the
economy's creation of 1.5 million new jobs in the past
10 months. His Democratic challenger, John Kerry,
argues that this still leaves the country with 1.1
million fewer jobs than when Bush took office in
January 2001.

Kerry contends Bush is pursuing a failed economic
policy that has produced the worst jobs record of any
president since Herbert Hoover and is subjecting
Americans to a "middle-class squeeze" of falling wages
and rising costs for health care and education.

Friday's GDP report was the latest indication that the
economy, which had been racing ahead in recent months,
hit what Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan
described as a "soft patch" in June.

Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at Wells Fargo in
Minneapolis, said the problem was that many of the
factors that had provided stimuli, such as Bush's tax
cuts and low interest rates supplied by the Fed, were
beginning to wane. The Fed raised interest rates for
the first time in four years on June 30 with more rate
hikes expected in coming months.

Sohn said the GDP report provided evidence that other
sectors were beginning to take up the slack, with
business investment rising at a solid 8.9 percent
rate, propelled by a 10 percent increase in sales of
equipment and software.

Inflation remained tame in the second quarter, as
reflected by a GDP inflation gauge favored by
Greenspan: excluding energy and food, prices rose at
an annual rate of just 1.8 percent, down slightly from
a 2.1 percent increase in the first quarter.

As long as inflation is under control, Greenspan told
Congress last week, the Fed will move rates upward at
a measured pace.

The 3 percent GDP growth rate in the second quarter
was the slowest growth in more than a year, since the
economy expanded at a lackluster 1.9 percent rate in
the first quarter 2003.

Over the succeeding four quarters, the economy turned
in sizzling performances with consecutive GDP growth
rates of 4.1 percent, 7.4 percent, 4.2 percent and 4.5
percent.

The 7.4 percent rate for last year's third quarter was
revised from an original 8.2 percent. All the
quarterly GDP figures over the past three years were
revised Friday as part of the government's annual
update to reflect new source data.

ON THE NET

Commerce Department: http://www.commerce.gov/

Treasury secretary's statement:
http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/js1817.htm

Posted on Fri, Jul. 30, 2004


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/080104Z.shtml

White House Projects Highest Deficit Ever
By The Associated Press
The New York Times

Saturday 31 July 2004

Washington - This year's federal deficit will soar
to a record $445 billion, the White House projected
Friday in a report provoking immediate election-season
tussling over how well President Bush has handled the
economy.

The administration's annual summertime budget
update forecast shortfalls falling to $331 billion
next year, then fading to $229 billion by 2009. For
each year, the red ink was smaller than the White
House envisioned six months ago.

The analysis was released the same day the
Commerce Department said economic growth slowed this
spring to an annual rate of 3 percent, well below the
3.8 percent spurt that many economists expected. The
slowdown was caused by a spending cutback by consumers
in the face of high gasoline costs, the department
said.

Administration officials hailed the budget figures
as a solid improvement over the deficits analysts
forecast early this year, and said they were on their
way to their goal of halving this year's shortfall in
five years. The White House estimated a $521 billion
budget gap for 2004 in February, while the nonpartisan
Congressional Budget Office predicted a $477 billion
deficit.

"This improved budget outlook is the direct result
of the strong economic growth the president's tax
relief has fueled," said White House budget director
Joshua Bolten.

He conceded that the red ink remained at
"unwelcome" levels, but said the report was still
"good news" because of the reduction from earlier
estimates.

Democrats contrasted the $445 billion projection
with the $262 billion surplus for this year that Bush
projected in 2001, when he was persuading Congress to
approve the first of his tax cuts.

The shortfall will be the third consecutive - and
ever-growing - deficit under Bush, following four
consecutive annual surpluses under President Clinton.
Democrats said the turnabout underscored the damage
done by Bush's tax cuts and his poor stewardship of
the economy, and criticized the White House praise for
the report.

"What we've got now is a president of the United
States who is actively misleading the American people
on the financial condition of the country," said Sen.
Kent Conrad of North Dakota, top Democrat on the
Senate Budget Committee. "Shame on him."

The White House attributed this year's improvement
to the collection of $82 billion more in revenue than
anticipated, reflecting stronger economic activity.
That was partly offset by $6 billion more in spending
than expected, largely for Medicaid and Medicare.

The projection, if accurate, would mean the
government will have to borrow 19 percent of the $2.32
trillion it expects to spend this year.

Last year's $375 billion deficit was the largest
ever. When adjusted for the loss of purchasing power
caused by inflation, only the shortfalls during World
War II have exceeded the projected $445 billion
shortfall.

The Concord Coalition and the Committee for a
Responsible Federal Budget, bipartisan groups that
advocate balanced budgets, said the report showed
deficits must be controlled.

"We cannot continue to allow this burden to
multiply for our children and our children's
children," said Maya MacGuineas, the committee's
executive director.

The White House said this year's actual deficit
could well be smaller because federal agencies often
overestimate expected spending. The government's
budget year runs through Sept. 30, so the final
figures will be in shortly before the Nov. 2
elections.

Administration officials say a $445 billion
deficit would be manageable because it would be 3.8
percent the size of the economy - well under the 6
percent ratio during the worst of the red ink under
President Reagan.

"I am pleased with the direction we are moving
in," said House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle,
R-Iowa. Continuing a Republican theme, he and others
said the numbers showed spending must be constrained.

Democrats said by only extending five years, the
projections ignored the longer-term budget crisis
looming as the baby boom generation starts retiring
later this decade.

The report included the $25 billion Congress
recently approved for U.S. action in Iraq and
Afghanistan. But Democrats noted it ignored the next
request for those wars the White House will make early
next year, and the costs of easing the alternative
minimum tax's effect on middle-income families.

"There's no shock, there's no shame and there's no
solution" from the White House, said Rep. John Spratt
of South Carolina, lead House Budget Committee
Democrat.

The report also boosted the estimate of Medicare
spending by $67 billion over the next five years. It
said $26 billion was to correct costs left out of
Bush's budget last February, with the rest reflecting
new estimates for the program's spending.

Medicare, the government's health insurance
program for the elderly and disabled, spends about
$300 billion a year. It already faces questions about
its solvency because of the burden the baby boomers
will place on it, and growing medical costs.

The report was released a day after the Democratic
National Convention and the same day Congress began
hearings on the Sept. 11 commission's final report.
The deficit projection was due July 15, a date often
ignored by administrations of both parties.

Bolten said the report was not ready earlier, but
Democrats said the timing was aimed at hiding it.

-------


Posted by richard at 11:47 AM

Ron Reagan: The Case Against George W. Bush

Extraordinary...The increasingly unhinged and
incredibly shrinking _resident is toast (politically),
unless, of course, a significant number of us are
toasted (physically), and he can once again proclaim, "Lucky me, I
hit the Trifecta!"

Ron Reagan, Esquire: It may have been the guy in the
hood teetering on the stool, electrodes clamped to his
genitals. Or smirking Lynndie England and her leash.
Maybe it was the smarmy memos tapped out by
soft-fingered lawyers itching to justify such
barbarism. The grudging, lunatic retreat of the
neocons from their long-standing assertion that Saddam
was in cahoots with Osama didn't hurt. Even the Enron
audiotapes and their celebration of craven sociopathy
likely played a part. As a result of all these
displays and countless smaller ones, you could feel, a
couple of months back, as summer spread across the
country, the ground shifting beneath your feet...
Oddly, even my father's funeral contributed.
Throughout that long, stately, overtelevised week in
early June, items would appear in the newspaper
discussing the Republicans' eagerness to capitalize
(subtly, tastefully) on the outpouring of affection
for my father and turn it to Bush's advantage for the
fall election. The familiar "Heir to Reagan" puffballs
were reinflated and loosed over the proceedings like
(subtle, tasteful) Mylar balloons...

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

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/073104Y.shtml
The Case Against George W. Bush
By Ron Reagan
Esquire

September 2004 Issue

It may have been the guy in the hood teetering on
the stool, electrodes clamped to his genitals. Or
smirking Lynndie England and her leash. Maybe it was
the smarmy memos tapped out by soft-fingered lawyers
itching to justify such barbarism. The grudging,
lunatic retreat of the neocons from their
long-standing assertion that Saddam was in cahoots
with Osama didn't hurt. Even the Enron audiotapes and
their celebration of craven sociopathy likely played a
part. As a result of all these displays and countless
smaller ones, you could feel, a couple of months back,
as summer spread across the country, the ground
shifting beneath your feet. Not unlike that scene in
The Day After Tomorrow, then in theaters, in which the
giant ice shelf splits asunder, this was more a
paradigm shift than anything strictly tectonic. No
cataclysmic ice age, admittedly, yet something was in
the air, and people were inhaling deeply. I began to
get calls from friends whose parents had always voted
Republican, "but not this time." There was the staid
Zbigniew Brzezinski on the staid NewsHour with Jim
Lehrer sneering at the "Orwellian language" flowing
out of the Pentagon. Word spread through the usual
channels that old hands from the days of Bush the
Elder were quietly (but not too quietly) appalled by
his son's misadventure in Iraq. Suddenly, everywhere
you went, a surprising number of folks seemed to have
had just about enough of what the Bush administration
was dishing out. A fresh age appeared on the horizon,
accompanied by the sound of scales falling from
people's eyes. It felt something like a demonstration
of that highest of American prerogatives and the most
deeply cherished American freedom: dissent.

Oddly, even my father's funeral contributed.
Throughout that long, stately, overtelevised week in
early June, items would appear in the newspaper
discussing the Republicans' eagerness to capitalize
(subtly, tastefully) on the outpouring of affection
for my father and turn it to Bush's advantage for the
fall election. The familiar "Heir to Reagan" puffballs
were reinflated and loosed over the proceedings like
(subtle, tasteful) Mylar balloons. Predictably, this
backfired. People were treated to a side-by-side
comparison - Ronald W. Reagan versus George W. Bush -
and it's no surprise who suffered for it. Misty-eyed
with nostalgia, people set aside old political gripes
for a few days and remembered what friend and foe
always conceded to Ronald Reagan: He was damned
impressive in the role of leader of the free world. A
sign in the crowd, spotted during the slow roll to the
Capitol rotunda, seemed to sum up the mood - a
portrait of my father and the words NOW THERE WAS A
PRESIDENT.

The comparison underscored something important.
And the guy on the stool, Lynndie, and her grinning
cohorts, they brought the word: The Bush
administration can't be trusted. The parade of Bush
officials before various commissions and committees -
Paul Wolfowitz, who couldn't quite remember how many
young Americans had been sacrificed on the altar of
his ideology; John Ashcroft, lip quivering as, for a
delicious, fleeting moment, it looked as if Senator
Joe Biden might just come over the table at him -
these were a continuing reminder. The Enron creeps,
too - a reminder of how certain environments and
particular habits of mind can erode common decency.
People noticed. A tipping point had been reached. The
issue of credibility was back on the table. The L-word
was in circulation. Not the tired old bromide liberal.
That's so 1988. No, this time something much more
potent: liar.

Politicians will stretch the truth. They'll
exaggerate their accomplishments, paper over their
gaffes. Spin has long been the lingua franca of the
political realm. But George W. Bush and his
administration have taken "normal" mendacity to a
startling new level far beyond lies of convenience. On
top of the usual massaging of public perception, they
traffic in big lies, indulge in any number of
symptomatic small lies, and, ultimately, have come to
embody dishonesty itself. They are a lie. And people,
finally, have started catching on.

None of this, needless to say, guarantees Bush a
one-term presidency. The far-right wing of the country
- nearly one third of us by some estimates - continues
to regard all who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid
(liberals, rationalists, Europeans, et cetera) as
agents of Satan. Bush could show up on video
canoodling with Paris Hilton and still bank their
vote. Right-wing talking heads continue painting
anyone who fails to genuflect deeply enough as a
"hater," and therefore a nut job, probably a
crypto-Islamist car bomber. But these protestations
have taken on a hysterical, almost comically desperate
tone. It's one thing to get trashed by Michael Moore.
But when Nobel laureates, a vast majority of the
scientific community, and a host of current and former
diplomats, intelligence operatives, and military
officials line up against you, it becomes increasingly
difficult to characterize the opposition as fringe
wackos.

Does anyone really favor an administration that so
shamelessly lies? One that so tenaciously clings to
secrecy, not to protect the American people, but to
protect itself? That so willfully misrepresents its
true aims and so knowingly misleads the people from
whom it derives its power? I simply cannot think so.
And to come to the same conclusion does not make you
guilty of swallowing some liberal critique of the Bush
presidency, because that's not what this is. This is
the critique of a person who thinks that lying at the
top levels of his government is abhorrent. Call it the
honest guy's critique of George W. Bush.

The most egregious examples OF distortion and
misdirection - which the administration even now
cannot bring itself to repudiate - involve our
putative "War on Terror" and our subsequent foray into
Iraq.

During his campaign for the presidency, Mr. Bush
pledged a more "humble" foreign policy. "I would take
the use of force very seriously," he said. "I would be
guarded in my approach." Other countries would resent
us "if we're an arrogant nation." He sniffed at the
notion of "nation building." "Our military is meant to
fight and win wars. . . . And when it gets
overextended, morale drops." International cooperation
and consensus building would be the cornerstone of a
Bush administration's approach to the larger world.
Given candidate Bush's remarks, it was hard to imagine
him, as president, flipping a stiff middle finger at
the world and charging off adventuring in the Middle
East.

But didn't 9/11 reshuffle the deck, changing
everything? Didn't Mr. Bush, on September 12, 2001,
awaken to the fresh realization that bad guys in
charge of Islamic nations constitute an entirely new
and grave threat to us and have to be ruthlessly
confronted lest they threaten the American homeland
again? Wasn't Saddam Hussein rushed to the front of
the line because he was complicit with the hijackers
and in some measure responsible for the atrocities in
Washington, D. C., and at the tip of Manhattan?

Well, no.

As Bush's former Treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill,
and his onetime "terror czar," Richard A. Clarke, have
made clear, the president, with the enthusiastic
encouragement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and
Paul Wolfowitz, was contemplating action against Iraq
from day one. "From the start, we were building the
case against Hussein and looking at how we could take
him out," O'Neill said. All they needed was an excuse.
Clarke got the same impression from within the White
House. Afghanistan had to be dealt with first; that's
where the actual perpetrators were, after all. But the
Taliban was a mere appetizer; Saddam was the entrée.
(Or who knows? The soup course?) It was simply a
matter of convincing the American public (and our
representatives) that war was justified.

The real - but elusive - prime mover behind the
9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, was quickly relegated
to a back burner (a staff member at Fox News - the
cable-TV outlet of the Bush White House - told me a
year ago that mere mention of bin Laden's name was
forbidden within the company, lest we be reminded that
the actual bad guy remained at large) while Saddam's
Iraq became International Enemy Number One. Just like
that, a country whose economy had been reduced to
shambles by international sanctions, whose military
was less than half the size it had been when the U. S.
Army rolled over it during the first Gulf war, that
had extensive no-flight zones imposed on it in the
north and south as well as constant aerial and
satellite surveillance, and whose lethal weapons and
capacity to produce such weapons had been destroyed or
seriously degraded by UN inspection teams became, in
Mr. Bush's words, "a threat of unique urgency" to the
most powerful nation on earth.

Fanciful but terrifying scenarios were introduced:
Unmanned aircraft, drones, had been built for missions
targeting the U. S., Bush told the nation. "We don't
want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," National
Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice deadpanned to CNN.
And, Bush maintained, "Iraq could decide on any given
day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a
terrorist group or individual terrorists." We "know"
Iraq possesses such weapons, Rumsfeld and
Vice-President Cheney assured us. We even "know" where
they are hidden. After several months of this mumbo
jumbo, 70 percent of Americans had embraced the
fantasy that Saddam destroyed the World Trade Center.

All these assertions have proved to be baseless
and, we've since discovered, were regarded with
skepticism by experts at the time they were made. But
contrary opinions were derided, ignored, or covered up
in the rush to war. Even as of this writing, Dick
Cheney clings to his mad assertion that Saddam was
somehow at the nexus of a worldwide terror network.

And then there was Abu Ghraib. Our "war president"
may have been justified in his assumption that
Americans are a warrior people. He pushed the envelope
in thinking we'd be content as an occupying power, but
he was sadly mistaken if he thought that ordinary
Americans would tolerate an image of themselves as
torturers. To be fair, the torture was meant to be
secret. So were the memos justifying such treatment
that had floated around the White House, Pentagon, and
Justice Department for more than a year before the
first photos came to light. The neocons no doubt
appreciate that few of us have the stones to practice
the New Warfare. Could you slip a pair of women's
panties over the head of a naked, cowering stranger
while forcing him to masturbate? What would you say
while sodomizing him with a toilet plunger? Is keeping
someone awake till he hallucinates inhumane treatment
or merely "sleep management"?

Most of us know the answers to these questions, so
it was incumbent upon the administration to pretend
that Abu Ghraib was an aberration, not policy.
Investigations, we were assured, were already under
way; relevant bureaucracies would offer unstinting
cooperation; the handful of miscreants would be
sternly disciplined. After all, they didn't "represent
the best of what America's all about." As anyone who'd
watched the proceedings of the 9/11 Commission could
have predicted, what followed was the usual
administration strategy of stonewalling, obstruction,
and obfuscation. The appointment of investigators was
stalled; documents were withheld, including the full
report by Major General Antonio Taguba, who headed the
Army's primary investigation into the abuses at Abu
Ghraib. A favorite moment for many featured John
McCain growing apoplectic as Donald Rumsfeld and an
entire table full of army brass proved unable to
answer the simple question Who was in charge at Abu
Ghraib?

The Bush administration no doubt had its real
reasons for invading and occupying Iraq. They've
simply chosen not to share them with the American
public. They sought justification for ignoring the
Geneva Convention and other statutes prohibiting
torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners but were
loath to acknowledge as much. They may have ideas
worth discussing, but they don't welcome the rest of
us in the conversation. They don't trust us because
they don't dare expose their true agendas to the light
of day. There is a surreal quality to all this:
Occupation is liberation; Iraq is sovereign, but we're
in control; Saddam is in Iraqi custody, but we've got
him; we'll get out as soon as an elected Iraqi
government asks us, but we'll be there for years to
come. Which is what we counted on in the first place,
only with rose petals and easy coochie.

This Möbius reality finds its domestic analogue in
the perversely cynical "Clear Skies" and "Healthy
Forests" sloganeering at Bush's EPA and in the
administration's irresponsible tax cutting and other
fiscal shenanigans. But the Bush administration has
always worn strangely tinted shades, and you wonder to
what extent Mr. Bush himself lives in a world of his
own imagining.

And chances are your America and George W. Bush's
America are not the same place. If you are dead center
on the earning scale in real-world
twenty-first-century America, you make a bit less than
$32,000 a year, and $32,000 is not a sum that Mr. Bush
has ever associated with getting by in his world.
Bush, who has always managed to fail upwards in his
various careers, has never had a job the way you have
a job - where not showing up one morning gets you
fired, costing you your health benefits. He may find
it difficult to relate personally to any of the nearly
two million citizens who've lost their jobs under his
administration, the first administration since Herbert
Hoover's to post a net loss of jobs. Mr. Bush has
never had to worry that he couldn't afford the best
available health care for his children. For him,
forty-three million people without health insurance
may be no more than a politically inconvenient
abstraction. When Mr. Bush talks about the economy, he
is not talking about your economy. His economy is
filled with pals called Kenny-boy who fly around in
their own airplanes. In Bush's economy, his world,
friends relocate offshore to avoid paying taxes. Taxes
are for chumps like you. You are not a friend. You're
the help. When the party Mr. Bush is hosting in his
world ends, you'll be left picking shrimp toast out of
the carpet.

All administrations will dissemble, distort, or
outright lie when their backs are against the wall,
when honesty begins to look like political suicide.
But this administration seems to lie reflexively, as
if it were simply the easiest option for busy folks
with a lot on their minds. While the big lies are more
damning and of immeasurably greater import to the
nation, it is the small, unnecessary prevarications
that may be diagnostic. Who lies when they don't have
to? When the simple truth, though perhaps embarrassing
in the short run, is nevertheless in one's long-term
self-interest? Why would a president whose calling
card is his alleged rock-solid integrity waste his
chief asset for penny-ante stakes? Habit, perhaps. Or
an inability to admit even small mistakes.

Mr. Bush's tendency to meander beyond the bounds
of truth was evident during the 2000 campaign but was
largely ignored by the mainstream media. His untruths
simply didn't fit the agreed-upon narrative. While
generally acknowledged to be lacking in experience,
depth, and other qualifications typically considered
useful in a leader of the free world, Bush was
portrayed as a decent fellow nonetheless, one whose
straightforwardness was a given. None of that "what
the meaning of is is" business for him. And, God
knows, no furtive, taxpayer-funded fellatio sessions
with the interns. Al Gore, on the other hand, was
depicted as a dubious self-reinventor, stained like a
certain blue dress by Bill Clinton's prurient
transgressions. He would spend valuable weeks
explaining away statements - "I invented the Internet"
- that he never made in the first place. All this left
the coast pretty clear for Bush.

Scenario typical of the 2000 campaign: While
debating Al Gore, Bush tells two obvious - if not
exactly earth-shattering - lies and is not challenged.
First, he claims to have supported a patient's bill of
rights while governor of Texas. This is untrue. He, in
fact, vigorously resisted such a measure, only
reluctantly bowing to political reality and allowing
it to become law without his signature. Second, he
announces that Gore has outspent him during the
campaign. The opposite is true: Bush has outspent
Gore. These misstatements are briefly acknowledged in
major press outlets, which then quickly return to the
more germane issues of Gore's pancake makeup and
whether a certain feminist author has counseled him to
be more of an "alpha male."

Having gotten away with such witless falsities,
perhaps Mr. Bush and his team felt somehow above
day-to-day truth. In any case, once ensconced in the
White House, they picked up where they left off.

In the immediate aftermath and confusion of 9/11,
Bush, who on that day was in Sarasota, Florida,
conducting an emergency reading of "The Pet Goat," was
whisked off to Nebraska aboard Air Force One. While
this may have been entirely sensible under the chaotic
circumstances - for all anyone knew at the time,
Washington might still have been under attack - the
appearance was, shall we say, less than gallant. So a
story was concocted: There had been a threat to Air
Force One that necessitated the evasive maneuver.
Bush's chief political advisor, Karl Rove, cited
"specific" and "credible" evidence to that effect. The
story quickly unraveled. In truth, there was no such
threat.

Then there was Bush's now infamous photo-op
landing aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and his
subsequent speech in front of a large banner
emblazoned MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. The banner, which
loomed in the background as Bush addressed the crew,
became problematic as it grew clear that the mission
in Iraq - whatever that may have been - was far from
accomplished. "Major combat operations," as Bush put
it, may have technically ended, but young Americans
were still dying almost daily. So the White House
dealt with the questionable banner in a manner
befitting a president pledged to "responsibility and
accountability": It blamed the sailors. No surprise, a
bit of digging by journalists revealed the banner and
its premature triumphalism to be the work of the White
House communications office.

More serious by an order of magnitude was the
administration's dishonesty concerning pre-9/11 terror
warnings. As questions first arose about the country's
lack of preparedness in the face of terrorist assault,
Condoleezza Rice was dispatched to the pundit arenas
to assure the nation that "no one could have imagined
terrorists using aircraft as weapons." In fact,
terrorism experts had warned repeatedly of just such a
calamity. In June 2001, CIA director George Tenet sent
Rice an intelligence report warning that "it is highly
likely that a significant Al Qaeda attack is in the
near future, within several weeks." Two intelligence
briefings given to Bush in the summer of 2001
specifically connected Al Qaeda to the imminent danger
of hijacked planes being used as weapons. According to
The New York Times, after the second of these
briefings, titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack
Inside United States," was delivered to the president
at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, in August, Bush
"broke off from work early and spent most of the day
fishing." This was the briefing Dr. Rice dismissed as
"historical" in her testimony before the 9/11
Commission.

What's odd is that none of these lies were worth
the breath expended in the telling. If only for
self-serving political reasons, honesty was the way to
go. The flight of Air Force One could easily have been
explained in terms of security precautions taken in
the confusion of momentous events. As for the carrier
landing, someone should have fallen on his or her
sword at the first hint of trouble: We told the
president he needed to do it; he likes that stuff and
was gung-ho; we figured, What the hell?; it was a
mistake. The banner? We thought the sailors would
appreciate it. In retrospect, also a mistake. Yup, we
sure feel dumb now. Owning up to the 9/11 warnings
would have entailed more than simple embarrassment.
But done forthrightly and immediately, an honest
reckoning would have earned the Bush team some respect
once the dust settled. Instead, by needlessly
tap-dancing, Bush's White House squandered vital
credibility, turning even relatively minor gaffes into
telling examples of its tendency to distort and evade
the truth.

But image is everything in this White House, and
the image of George Bush as a noble and infallible
warrior in the service of his nation must be
fanatically maintained, because behind the image lies
. . . nothing? As Jonathan Alter of Newsweek has
pointed out, Bush has "never fully inhabited" the
presidency. Bush apologists can smilingly excuse his
malopropisms and vagueness as the plainspokenness of a
man of action, but watching Bush flounder when
attempting to communicate extemporaneously, one is
left with the impression that he is ineloquent not
because he can't speak but because he doesn't bother
to think.

George W. Bush promised to "change the tone in
Washington" and ran for office as a moderate, a
"compassionate conservative," in the
focus-group-tested sloganeering of his campaign. Yet
he has governed from the right wing of his already
conservative party, assiduously tending a "base" that
includes, along with the expected Fortune 500 fat
cats, fiscal evangelicals who talk openly of doing
away with Social Security and Medicare, of shrinking
government to the size where they can, in tax radical
Grover Norquist's phrase, "drown it in the bathtub."
That base also encompasses a healthy share of
anti-choice zealots, homophobic bigots, and assorted
purveyors of junk science. Bush has tossed bones to
all of them - "partial birth" abortion legislation,
the promise of a constitutional amendment banning
marriage between homosexuals, federal roadblocks to
embryonic-stem-cell research, even comments suggesting
presidential doubts about Darwinian evolution. It's
not that Mr. Bush necessarily shares their worldview;
indeed, it's unclear whether he embraces any coherent
philosophy. But this president, who vowed to eschew
politics in favor of sound policy, panders nonetheless
in the interest of political gain. As John DiIulio,
Bush's former head of the Office of Community and
Faith-Based Initiatives, once told this magazine,
"What you've got is everything - and I mean everything
- being run by the political arm."

This was not what the American electorate opted
for when, in 2000, by a slim but decisive margin of
more than half a million votes, they chose . . . the
other guy. Bush has never had a mandate. Surveys
indicate broad public dissatisfaction with his
domestic priorities. How many people would have voted
for Mr. Bush in the first place had they understood
his eagerness to pass on crushing debt to our children
or seen his true colors regarding global warming and
the environment? Even after 9/11, were people really
looking to be dragged into an optional war under false
pretenses?

If ever there was a time for uniting and not
dividing, this is it. Instead, Mr. Bush governs as if
by divine right, seeming to actually believe that a
wise God wants him in the White House and that by
constantly evoking the horrible memory of September
11, 2001, he can keep public anxiety stirred up enough
to carry him to another term.

Understandably, some supporters of Mr. Bush's will
believe I harbor a personal vendetta against the man,
some seething resentment. One conservative
commentator, based on earlier remarks I've made, has
already discerned "jealousy" on my part; after all,
Bush, the son of a former president, now occupies that
office himself, while I, most assuredly, will not.
Truth be told, I have no personal feelings for Bush at
all. I hardly know him, having met him only twice,
briefly and uneventfully - once during my father's
presidency and once during my father's funeral. I'll
acknowledge occasional annoyance at the pretense that
he's somehow a clone of my father, but far from
threatening, I see this more as silly and pathetic. My
father, acting roles excepted, never pretended to be
anyone but himself. His Republican party, furthermore,
seems a far cry from the current model, with its
cringing obeisance to the religious Right and its
kill-anything-that-moves attack instincts. Believe it
or not, I don't look in the mirror every morning and
see my father looming over my shoulder. I write and
speak as nothing more or less than an American
citizen, one who is plenty angry about the direction
our country is being dragged by the current
administration. We have reached a critical juncture in
our nation's history, one ripe with both danger and
possibility. We need leadership with the wisdom to
prudently confront those dangers and the imagination
to boldly grasp the possibilities. Beyond issues of
fiscal irresponsibility and ill-advised militarism,
there is a question of trust. George W. Bush and his
allies don't trust you and me. Why on earth, then,
should we trust them?

Fortunately, we still live in a democratic
republic. The Bush team cannot expect a cabal of
right-wing justices to once again deliver the White
House. Come November 2, we will have a choice: We can
embrace a lie, or we can restore a measure of
integrity to our government. We can choose, as a
bumper sticker I spotted in Seattle put it, SOMEONE
ELSE FOR PRESIDENT.

Redefining 'Mainstream' Florida Election Anxieties:
Recounts and Erased Ballots Hundreds of Millions
Missing in Iraq Ron Reagan | The Case Against George
W. Bush U.S. and Israeli Embassies Struck in Tashkent
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Posted by richard at 11:42 AM

July 30, 2004

Ruth Lopez, Buzzflash Reader Note to Tom Brokaw: Why I get my hard news from Jon Stewart

The increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident did not "stay up" to hear Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) sound the battle cry last night. Since he took most of the summer before 9/11 off, it is not hard to believe he would miss his rival's first prime-time speech to the nation. And, he is, according to Beltwayistan insiders, under heavy anti-depressants, etc. these day. But the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident was on the stump in the state of Misery this morning, saying "results matter." Yes, results like turning an unprecedented federal surplus into a multi-trillion dollar federal deficit, 900+ died US soldiers, no WMDs, isolated, outnumbered and ill--equipped in the Mega Mogadishu of Iraq, a Medifraud plan that was passed on bribes, threats and lies and works better for the Pharmaceutical industry thanfor the elderly, and that's only three examples of all he has "accomplishmed," yes, "results matter." The LNS is delighted that the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident is going to run on his record...Too bad the "US mainstream news media" will not provide any CONTEXT or CONTINUITY...Yes, it's the Media, Stupid....The Corporatist Media, and its Orwellian "news organizations" is a greater threat, and a more potent force than the Bush cabal itself...

Ruth Lopez, www.buzzflash.com: As for why young people
think that The Daily Show is a good source of real
news, ask yourself this: When the vice-president of
the United States is caught, on TV, publicly lying
about leading this country into a war where almost
1000 of our young people have needlessly died, and
then later states, again on TV, that he never said
what he said, why is it that the only "news" show to
play the side by side tapes of him lying, and then
denying what he said, is The Daily Show? Why wasn't
that headline news on every news show? " Vice
President denies saying what we have him on tape
saying, soldiers dying every day because of it."
That's news, but I have to watch Comedy Central to see
it. What's wrong with this picture, Mr. Brokaw?

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

http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/04/07/con04315.html

July 27, 2004

Note to Tom Brokaw: Why I get my hard news from Jon
Stewart

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Ruth Lopez

Sunday morning, wanting to see some of the run-up to
the Democratic convention, I turned on CNN. There was
Judy Woodruff, talking to a Kerry spokesperson. In
thanking him for the interview, for her closing line,
she said, "Spoken like a true, loyal Kerry man." Did I
hear that right, I thought? Because it sounded to me
like a backhanded way to imply that he said what he
said just because he works for Kerry? A sly way to
discredit the speaker; slip in the line, close the
segment.

Then, because the Republicans have a "rapid response
war room" at the Dems' convention, Ms. Woodruff
interviewed one of the ex-Enron lobbyists that now
have jobs shilling for Cheney/Bush. I waited to see
how she would close the interview with him. First, I
had to listen to the same old tired list of Republican
"talking point" lies: Kerry voted to raise taxes 350
times (lie), Kerry is a flip flopper (lie), Kerry is
the most liberal senator (lie, but I wouldn't care if
he was). On and on, and not once did Ms. Woodruff
challenge or question the statements made. When he was
done, she thanked him sweetly for his time, as if it
had been a burden for him to have had to do all that
heavy lifting for lil ol' her. Yuck. I turned to
MSNBC. No better. They were all so excited to have a
"rabid response team" throwing them treats that they
were practically salivating on their mics.

Later in the day, while watching CSPAN, there was Ms.
Woodruff again, along with a panel of other esteemed
TV news professionals: Brokaw, Jennings, Rather. They
were discussing the sad state of news reporting during
the lead up to war. Yes, they admitted that they all
reported the war build-up wrong. They didn't ask hard
enough questions. They were cowed by an aggressive and
hostile administration. They were afraid to buck the
hyper patriotism in the lead-up to the war.

Then, I almost choked on my pretzel, Brokaw bemoaned
the fact that so many young people think that The
Daily Show is an acceptable way to get real news.

Note to Brokaw, Jennings, et al. You didn't just
misreport the insane drive to start an unnecessary,
pre-emptive war, you were part of the hyper patriotic,
jingoistic drumbeat. And it isn't just that you didn't
do enough to question it, it's that you didn't do
anything. And you still aren't. Your pathetic CSPAN
mea culpa, seen by less than 1% of the country, is
even less impressive when you go right back to your
studio and keep carrying water for the Bush
Administration, ala Ms. Woodruff.

As for why young people think that The Daily Show is a
good source of real news, ask yourself this: When the
vice-president of the United States is caught, on TV,
publicly lying about leading this country into a war
where almost 1000 of our young people have needlessly
died, and then later states, again on TV, that he
never said what he said, why is it that the only
"news" show to play the side by side tapes of him
lying, and then denying what he said, is The Daily
Show? Why wasn't that headline news on every news
show? " Vice President denies saying what we have him
on tape saying, soldiers dying every day because of
it." That's news, but I have to watch Comedy Central
to see it. What's wrong with this picture, Mr. Brokaw?

And it isn't just young people who are turning to Jon
Stewart for news dressed up as comic relief. I'm old
enough to remember another time when we had a VP like
Cheney. Spiro Agnew, Nixon's VP, pleaded no contest to
charges of tax fraud and resigned. Apparently, Agnew
had illegal payments -- which he called legitimate
political contributions (in unmarked envelopes
containing as much as $20,000 at a time) -- delivered
directly to his vice presidential office! Sound like
anyone we know? Somewhere from Hell I'm sure Agnew is
smiling up at Cheney.

Every one of the top news people sitting on that CSPAN
panel should remember Agnew's disgrace; they're old
enough, they were all around then. And then, like now,
the news media toadied up to the Nixon Administration
until the weight of evidence in Watergate became
unavoidably massive.

Now it's gotten so bad that flacks like CNN's Kelli
Arena can proclaim that Osama Bin Laden is a Kerry
supporter and she still has a job. (Kelli, how often
do you and Osama talk?)

What's it going to take this time, Mr. Brokaw? Because
apparently you news guys have forgotten. Today, once
again, you and the other infotainment anchors posing
as news people dither and dawdle and pander to this
corrupt administration and cry hot little tears of
self-recrimination in the quiet corners of CSPAN and
then trot right back to your "news" desks and do it
all again.

One good hour of self-flagellation in the desert of
CSPAN and you feel so refreshed!

Meanwhile this country is again taken for a ride, one
that puts Nixon and Agnew to shame, and now, like
then, more of our young people die every day for lies.

You know, Mr. Brokaw, you guys aren't kids any more.
What are you afraid of? You've made your fortunes.
Even if you got fired today, you'll never be out on
the street starving. How about finding your courage,
and speaking some cold, hard facts: This country was
lied into war. The vice president is a war profiteer
who is being investigated for taking bribes and doing
illegal business with sanctioned countries. Try it.
Walter Cronkite could give some advice on this. Bill
Moyers is out there trying to do it, I bet he'd like
some company. Try grabbing yourself by your manly
parts and standing up for the truth.

I bet you'd find an audience then. Hell, I'd watch
every day.

Ruth Lopez
Orlando, FL

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION

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articles, BuzzFlash cannot verify or guarantee the
accuracy of every word. We strive to correct
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Posted by richard at 01:16 PM

"I will be a commander-in-chief, who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a secretary of defense who will..."

Here are, first, perhaps the most important sound bytes from the 2004 Democratic National Convention...since AnythingButSee (ABC), SeeBS (CBS), NotBeSeen (NBC) and SeeNotNews (CNN) selected *none* of them as sound bytes for their lead news stories of either speech...and second, numerous important speeches from the 2004 Democratic Convention...The LNS has already posted (and distributed via e-mail) the speeches of former President Jimmy Carter, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Rev. Al Sharpton and US Navy swift boat veteran Rev. David Alston because they so beautiful epitomized the seriousness of the threat to this Republic and of the importance of this struggle toward Election Day 2004. Here, in response to the requests of LNS foreign correspondent Dunston Woods and the many ex-pats he is in touch with, are the speeches of Jim Rassman, Max Cleland, Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton…Each of them is poignant, each of them is powerful, each of them articulates the profound implications of the choices we will all make in this dire moment in the life of our nation...spread them far and wide…”the US mainstream media” has not and will not…Nor sadly it seems apparent will you hear the TRUTH about this race from *progressive* news media like KPFA (Pacifica) in Berkeley or www.commondreams, both of which are in deep denial about what has become of the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader...Dennis Kucinich (D-Future) and even Noam Chomsky understand what time it is in America...We are locked in a struggle in which every vote may not get counted, therefore it is imperative that no vote be wasted..."Let us not talk falsely now the hour is getting late."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) on Iraq:
"Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the
cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission
accomplished certainly doesn't make it so."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) on the Bush Cabal:
"I will be a commander-in-chief, who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a secretary of defense who will listen to the best advice of the military leaders. And I will appoint an attorney general who will uphold the Constitution of the United States."

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) on Energy:
We value an America that controls its own destiny
because it's finally and forever independent of
Mideast oil. What does it mean for our economy and our
national security when we only have three percent of
the world's oil reserves, yet we rely on foreign
countries for fifty-three percent of what we consume?
I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and
innovation - not the Saudi royal family.
And our energy plan for a stronger America will invest
in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars
of the future -- so that no young American in uniform
will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil
from the Middle East.

Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) on Terrorism:
We will safeguard and secure our weapons of mass
destruction. We will strengthen our homeland security,
protect our ports, protect our chemical plants, and
support our firefighters, police officers, EMTs. We
will always use our military might to keep the
American people safe.
And we, John and I, we will have one clear
unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these
terrorists: You cannot run. You cannot hide. We will
destroy you.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) on Health Care:
The story of people struggling for health care is the
story of so many Americans. But you know what, it's
not the story of senators and members of Congress.
Because we give ourselves great health care and you
get the bill. Well, I'm here to say, your family's
health care is just as important as any politician's
in Washington, D.C.
And when I'm President, America will stop being the
only advanced nation in the world which fails to
understand that health care is not a privilege for the
wealthy, the connected, and the elected - it is a
right for all Americans.

Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) on Racism:
"From the time I was very young, I saw the ugly face
of segregation and discrimination. I saw young,
African-American kids being sent upstairs in movie
theaters.
I saw "white only" signs on restaurant doors and
luncheon counters.
I feel such an enormous personal responsibility when
it comes to issues of race and equality and civil
rights.
And I've heard some discussions and debates around
America about where and in front of what audiences we
ought to talk about race and equality and civil
rights. I have an answer to that questions:
Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.
This is not an African-American issue. This is not a
Latino issue. This is not an Asian-American issue.
This is an American issue.
It is about who we are, what our values are and what
kind of country we live in.
Everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere."

Save the US Consitution, Save the Environment, Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies, Break the Corporatist Stranglehold on the "Mainstream News Media," Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

Scroll through to the speech you are looking for..Rassmann, Cleland, Clark, Graham, Albright, Obama, Kerry, Edwards, Gore and the Clintons are all here...in complete transcripts...

US NAVY SWIFT BOAT CREW, JIM RASSMAN AND FORMER SEN. MAX CLELAND (D-GEORGIA)
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Swift Boat Crew, Max Cleland Introduce John Kerry
Aired July 29, 2004 - 21:49 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. They are introducing now the members of that swift boat crew, the men who served with John Kerry aboard that swift boat in Vietnam. Let's listen in there.
JIM RASSMANN, RESCUED BY JOHN KERRY IN VIETNAM: You know, there was a time when I thought I'd never see these guys again. A lot of our friends never made it home. We still miss them, especially on a night like this. We're all proud and honored to be here.

But let me say something important right up front: Nobody asked me to join this campaign. I volunteered.

(APPLAUSE)

And not just because, 35 years ago, John Kerry saved my life.

RASSMANN: I volunteered because I've seen John Kerry in action. I know his character. I've witnessed his bravery and leadership under fire. And I know he will be a great commander in chief.

(APPLAUSE)

Any one of these 12 brave men will tell you that in a tight situation, when your whole future, your whole life, depends on the decisions of one man, you can count on John Kerry.

(APPLAUSE)

And that's why this band of brothers is here tonight. That's why this band of brothers is still fighting for America. And that's why we are working so hard to elect the next president of the United States: John Kerry.

(APPLAUSE)

RASSMANN: There's another soldier here tonight, one who, like John, knows the trials of war and the true meaning of courage.

This man nearly lost his life in Vietnam, but he never lost his will, his sense of duty, or his devotion to country. Whether in state government, the United States Senate, the head of the VA, he has always been a leader of courage and conviction.

And no matter how low the attacks, he has always taken the high road, inspiring us all with his strength and patriotism.

(APPLAUSE) Please welcome a great American: Max Cleland.

MAX CLELAND, FMR. GEORGIA SENATOR: Thank you so much, Jim.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

My fellow Americans, I'd like to share with you tonight my story of how I came to know and love John Kerry.

(APPLAUSE)

It was April 1968. I was being airlifted out of Vietnam on a stretcher. At that moment, Ensign John Kerry was headed in a different direction. He was on a Navy ship in the Pacific requesting transfer into Vietnam, into the line of fire.

(APPLAUSE)

He had graduated from college. The world was his oyster. There were a lot of other things he could have done with his life. But he wanted to serve because he had been raised to believe that service to one's country is honorable, is noble and is good.

(APPLAUSE)

CLELAND: While John Kerry was earning a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts, I was being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. I was 25 years old. My body was broken, and my faith was shattered.

I remember, one day, on leave from the hospital, a friend on mine was pushing me, and we were going around the city. I was in my new wheelchair.

Right there in front of the White House, we hit a little bump and it dumped me right on the street, right there on the curb. There were cigarette butts and trash all around me. And I remember trying to lift myself up off the street. I was angry in those days at war, saddened that veterans were not getting good care, and frustrated that people in power were not listening.

CLELAND: Those were difficult days for me. Those were difficult days for my country.

But I ultimately realized that although I had lost a lot, I still had a lot left.

(APPLAUSE)

I resolved to make something of my life.

(APPLAUSE)

I decided to run for the State Senate in my home state of Georgia.

(APPLAUSE)

I won, but when I got there, in 1971, I was a lone voice.

Then I heard this young veteran on TV speaking about the war. It was John Kerry. He put everything I was feeling into words.

CLELAND: Tonight, I'd like to let you know, that even before I met John Kerry, he was my brother.

(APPLAUSE)

Even before I knew John Kerry, he was my friend. Even before I spoke with John Kerry, he gave me hope.

(APPLAUSE)

The Bible tells me that no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. John Kerry's fellow crewmates -- the men I am honored to share the stage with -- are living testimony to his leadership, his courage under fire, and his willingness to risk his life for his fellow Americans.

(APPLAUSE)

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no greater act of patriotism than that.

(APPLAUSE)

CLELAND: As I look back over the last 36 years, I realize John Kerry's service to his country did not end in Vietnam; it began there.

(APPLAUSE)

Since Vietnam, John Kerry's life has become an object lesson in what was once described as the true definition of patriotism -- the long and steady dedication of a lifetime.

(APPLAUSE)

And when we make John Kerry our next president of the United States, he will put America back on the long and steady road toward the vision of the country we fought for, a vision of the country we can become once again, a country that doesn't alienate our allies, but works with them...

(APPLAUSE)

... a country that doesn't lose jobs, but creates them...

(APPLAUSE)

... a country that doesn't limit educational opportunity, but expands it..

(APPLAUSE) ... a country that doesn't make health care less available, but more affordable, a country that doesn't spoil our environment, but protects it. A country that is strong a country that is respected, a country that is worthy of generations of sacrifice, and our children's highest hopes.

CLELAND: That is the America John Kerry volunteered to fight for. That is the America John Kerry will lead.

(APPLAUSE)

When John Kerry declared he was going to be a candidate for the highest office in our land, the presidency of the United States, on a hot, steamy day in Charleston, South Carolina, a little less than a year ago, I joined the band of brothers at his side.

CLELAND: After the ceremony, I grabbed his John's are and pressed a Bible into his hand. It was the Bible I once read from as a child. I knew that he would need the strength that it provided, the guidance it provided, and the comfort it had to offer in the days ahead.

At first, he said he was afraid he might lose it, he refused to take it. But I insisted. I told him: "Hold on to this. You'll need it like your country needs you now."

(APPLAUSE)

He looked with those kind of long sad eyes, and said, "I won't let you down."

My fellow Americans, John Kerry has never let me down. And he won't let you down either.

(APPLAUSE)

Why? Why? Because he is an authentic American, an authentic American hero. He is the next captain of our ship of state. And he will be the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

AUDIENCE: Kerry, Kerry, Kerry...

CLELAND: In every hour of challenge our country has faced, in every hour of danger, there have been American heroes who have answered this country's call.

Just blocks from where we are tonight, some 230 years ago, a little group, a small group called the Sons of Liberty assembled to demand democracy and a voice in their future. Mere steps from where we are now, a former slave named Crispus Attucks gave his life for freedom.

(APPLAUSE)

And around the corner from where we are tonight, a beacon of light shows -- and showed on that fateful day -- from the old North Church that set Paul Revere on a mission to save this country's people from danger.

CLELAND: Those were fateful hours for our young country.

Tonight I am honored to introduce to you another son of liberty, a brother in arms, a man called by destiny at this fateful hour in our nation's history.

He is my brother. He is my friend. He is my hero.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight, John Kerry is able to answer this nation's call.

(APPLAUSE)
WESLEY CLARK (D-NATO)
Clark: Kerry has moral courage born in battle
Thursday, July 29, 2004 Posted: 10:25 PM EDT (0225 GMT)
BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a former Democratic presidential candidate, gave a prime time speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. This is a transcript of his remarks.
CLARK: I am an American soldier. Our country has been attacked. We are at war. Our nation is at risk. And we are engaged in a life-and-death struggle against terrorists who are seeking nuclear and biological weapons.
As we are gathered here tonight, our armed forces are in combat.
Our freedoms were won in war. Our freedoms have been protected by generation after generation by the selfless service and sacrifice of men and women in uniform.
From Bunker Hill to Bastogne, from the frozen hills of Korea to the steaming jungles of Vietnam, from Kabul to Baghdad, American men and women in uniform have served with honor. They've given us so much; they've asked for so little.
Tonight, please give them a round of applause. Honor them, our veterans, our families. Give them a round of applause. We love our men and women in uniform.
They have given so much.
I want all America to see our party and how we respect the men and women who serve.
And I want to thank my wife, Gert; my son, Wesley; his wife Astrid; their son; and all of the military families especially who've stood year after year behind those who have served in uniform.
But I ask you now to observe with me just a moment of silence to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could have the freedoms that we exercise here tonight.
War. War. I've been there. So has John Kerry. I've heard the thump of enemy mortars. I've seen the tracers fly. Bled on the battlefield. Recovered in hospitals. Received and obeyed orders. Sent men and women into battle. Awarded medals, comforted families, attended funerals.
And this soldier has news for you tonight. Anyone who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the best defense of our nation is committing a fraud on the American people.
Franklin Roosevelt said it best. Franklin Roosevelt said: "Repetition does not transform a lie into the truth."
This hall, this Democratic Party are filled with veterans who have served under the American flag. And this is our flag. Right there, that flag, we saluted this flag. We rose up in the morning and stood reveille to this flag. We fought for that flag. We've seen brave men and women buried under that flag. That flag is ours, and nobody, nobody will take it away from us.
But we've got to tell the truth. And the truth is this: The safety of our country demands urgent and innovative measures to strengthen our armed forces. The safety of our country demands credible intelligence. The safety of our country demands cooperation with our allies. The safety of our country demands making more friends and fewer enemies.
The safety of our country demands an end to the doctrinaire, ineffective policies that currently grip Washington.
Enough is enough.
A safe America, a just America, that's what we want, that's what we need. And with John Kerry and John Edwards, that is what we will achieve.
John Kerry has heard the thump of enemy mortars.
He's seen the flash of the tracers. He's lived the values of service and sacrifice. In the Navy, as a prosecutor, as a senator, he proved his physical courage under fire. And he's proved his moral courage too.
John Kerry fought a war, and I respect him for that. And he came home to fight a peace. And I respect him for that, too.
John Kerry's combination of physical courage and moral values is my definition of what we need as Americans in our commander in chief. And John Edwards with his leadership and extraordinary intelligence, he's going to be a great member of that command team.
John Kerry is a man who in time of war can lead us as a warrior, but in times of peace, he will heed the call of scripture to lead us in beating swords into plowshares.
John Kerry will lead America with strength and wisdom. He has the will to fight. He has the moral courage born in battle to pursue and secure a strong peace. Under John Kerry, I have no doubt -- and neither should any American -- that we are going to attack and destroy the terrorist threat to America.
John Kerry will join that pantheon of great wartime Democrats: great Democrats like Woodrow Wilson, who led us to victory in World War I; great Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, who turned back the tide of fascism to win World War II; great Democrats like John Kennedy, who stood firm and steered us safely through the Cuban Missile Crisis; and great Democrats like Bill Clinton, who confronted ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, and with diplomacy, backed by force, brought peace to a shattered land.
My fellow Americans, Democrats are leaders, and Democrats are fighters. And John Kerry is a leader, a fighter, and he will be a great commander in chief.
You see, John Kerry knows that the power of America is not just our armed forces and our weaponry.
It's really the power of our values and ideals.
And John Kerry knows that members of our armed forces embody the best of America's values: service, sacrifice, courage, compassion.
He knows that the members in the armed forces are serving to build something greater than themselves. They're serving to build something worth fighting for. They're serving to build something worth dying for.
John Kerry knows that the men and women who serve and our veterans are a company of heroes. And everyone who fights for the best in American life is also a hero: firemen, police officers, teachers and so many others.
I say to you tonight: John Kerry's time to lead this company of heroes has arrived. Right here, right now, in this town, tonight, from this place, we set out together to put our country back on track to security and freedom and opportunity.
America, hear this soldier.
Choose a leader whose physical courage, moral values and sound judgment, with the grace of God and our determined commitment, will strengthen our country, protect our liberty, renew our spirit and secure a future for our children that is worthy of our heritage.
Make John Kerry the next president of the United States

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FRAUDIDA)
Senator Bob Graham
Fellow Democrats, thank you. And most especially, fellow Floridians, thank you for granting me the honor and privilege of serving you for nearly four decades. My family and I are so grateful to all of you for the wonderful adventure of public service you have made possible. Florida, you’ve made the difference for me; I know you’re going to make the difference for John Kerry and John Edwards. And this time, when the votes are counted, fellow Floridians, we are going to make a huge difference for America.
My fellow Americans, I want to tell you why I am casting my vote for John Kerry and John Edwards. The preamble to the Constitution tells us that one of the most important responsibilities of the government is to “provide for the common defense.” It has now been over one thousand days since the September 11th terrorist attacks changed our nation. One thousand days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, America had already landed on the beaches of Normandy and was rolling to victory in World War II. In that same amount of time in this new war on terror, we have not yet secured the beachhead. John Kerry and John Edwards will.
In this new century, we have seen the rise of perilous new threats. And yet we have not stopped them; we haven’t even stood up to them. John Kerry and John Edwards will. At a time when all freedom-loving people are looking for leadership to unite the world in a war against terrorism, America has not provided it. My friends, John Kerry and John Edwards will.
As Governor of Florida, I learned how little the FBI and CIA communicate with the state and local law enforcement agencies that are our first line of defense against terrorist attack. As Florida’s senator, I saw seaports where the greatest security was often little more than a chain-link fence. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have seen the places in the world where the worst biological weapons were manufactured, where nuclear materials go unprotected, and where the next generation of terrorists is being recruited. And as chairman of that committee, I investigated the September 11th attacks and saw how they should have been prevented.
From all of my service, I’ve come to this conclusion: Yes, there are real threats. But there are also real solutions.
Just last week, the September 11th commission was the latest to recommend major changes in the way we fight the war on terror. Few of these are new. Most are obvious. Sadly, over one thousand days after September 11th, none of them are in place. The ideas are there. It’s the leadership that has been missing.
We know that North Korea and Iran have nuclear aspirations, if not nuclear weapons. And yet only John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to keep the world’s deadliest weapons from falling into the world’s most dangerous hands. We know that money is the terrorists’ lifeline, and yet it was John Kerry, long before September 11th, who had a plan to cut off the sources of terrorist funding.
We know that our bridges, tunnels, trains, buses, chemical plants, food and water supplies, are still vulnerable to attack, and yet only John Kerry and John Edwards are willing to make the investments we need to truly be safe. And we know that Iraq didn’t attack the United States on September 11th; Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda did.
And that is why John Kerry and John Edwards will not only win the peace in Iraq, but will fight the war on terror wherever it needs to be fought: the palaces of the Middle East, the banks of Europe, the ports in Florida, the firehouses of Boston. John Kerry recognizes that victory in the war on terror requires all of the resources of the United States—diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military.
Today, “recruiting billboards” for al Qaeda are being erected on the main streets of the Middle East. We need to work with our allies and like-minded people of the Islamic world to tear down those billboards and drain the swamp of terror. Providing for the common defense is not a piece of rhetoric from a founding document – it is the most solemn responsibility we entrust to our leaders. This is a war that demands new resources and new ideas. But most of all, it is a war that demands new leadership.
And when Americans ask, “Who will provide that leadership?” I can tell you, John Kerry and John Edwards will. For our children and grandchildren, for our security, for our country, we must elect John Kerry the next president of the United States.

FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT


STATE SENATOR BARAK OBAMA (D-ILL) keynote address

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Barack Obama, who is running for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, gave the keynote speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention. This is a transcript of his remarks.
On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deepest gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely.
My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.
But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.
While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas.
Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor my grandfather signed up for duty, joined Patton's army and marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA, and moved west, all the way to Hawaii, in search of opportunity.
And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream, born of two continents.
My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or "blessed," believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success.
They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential.
They're both passed away now. And yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with pride.
And I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my two precious daughters.
I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on Earth, is my story even possible.
Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted -- or at least, most of the time.
This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers and the promise of future generations.
And fellow Americans -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents -- I say to you tonight: we have more work to do. More work to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour. More to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits that he counted on. More to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn't have the money to go to college.
Now don't get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to.
Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon.
Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach our kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. They know those things.
People don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice.
In this election, we offer that choice. Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. And that man is John Kerry.
John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and service, because they've defined his life. From his heroic service in Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we've seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. His values and his record affirm what is best in us.
John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded. So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he'll offer them to companies creating jobs here at home.
John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves.
John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren't held hostage to the profits of oil companies or the sabotage of foreign oil fields.
John Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties nor use faith as a wedge to divide us.
And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world, war must be an option sometimes, but it should never be the first option.
You know, a while back, I met a young man named Shamus at the VFW Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, 6-2 or 6-3, clear eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week.
And as I listened to him explain why he'd enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all that any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us?
I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who will not be returning to their hometowns. I thought of families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were reservists.
When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.
Now let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated.
John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure.
John Kerry believes in America. And he knows that it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga. A belief that we are all connected as one people.
If there's a child on the South Side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child.
If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandparent.
If there's an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief -- it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper -- that makes this country work.
It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America.
There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America -- there is the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?
John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here-the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it.
That's not what I'm talking [about]. I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a mill worker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.
Hope in the face of difficulty, hope in the face of uncertainty, the audacity of hope.
In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; a belief in things not seen; a belief that there are better days ahead.
I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity.
I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair.
I believe that we have a righteous wind at our backs, and that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us.
America, tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do, if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president. And John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president. And this country will reclaim its promise. And out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come.
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. Thank you.
SEN. JOHN F. KERRY (D-MEKONG DELTA)

(AP) We are here tonight because we love our country.

We are proud of what America is and what it can become.

My fellow Americans: we are here tonight united in one simple purpose: to make America stronger at home and respected in the world.

A great American novelist wrote that you can't go home again. He could not have imagined this evening. Tonight, I am home. Home where my public life began and those who made it possible live. Home where our nation's history was written in blood, idealism, and hope. Home where my parents showed me the values of family, faith, and country.

Thank you, all of you, for a welcome home I will never forget.

I wish my parents could share this moment. They went to their rest in the last few years, but their example, their inspiration, their gift of open eyes, open mind, and endless world are bigger and more lasting than any words.

I was born in Colorado, in Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, when my dad was a pilot in World War II. Now, I'm not one to read into things, but guess which wing of the hospital the maternity ward was in? I'm not making this up. I was born in the West Wing!

My mother was the rock of our family as so many mothers are. She stayed up late to help me do my homework. She sat by my bed when I was sick, and she answered the questions of a child who, like all children, found the world full of wonders and mysteries.

She was my den mother when I was a Cub Scout and she was so proud of her fifty year pin as a Girl Scout leader. She gave me her passion for the environment. She taught me to see trees as the cathedrals of nature. And by the power of her example, she showed me that we can and must finish the march toward full equality for all women in our country.

My dad did the things that a boy remembers. He gave me my first model airplane, my first baseball mitt and my first bicycle. He also taught me that we are here for something bigger than ourselves; he lived out the responsibilities and sacrifices of the greatest generation to whom we owe so much.

When I was a young man, he was in the State Department, stationed in Berlin when it and the world were divided between democracy and communism. I have unforgettable memories of being a kid mesmerized by the British, French, and American troops, each of them guarding their own part of the city, and Russians standing guard on the stark line separating East from West. On one occasion, I rode my bike into Soviet East Berlin. And when I proudly told my dad, he promptly grounded me.

But what I learned has stayed with me for a lifetime. I saw how different life was on different sides of the same city. I saw the fear in the eyes of people who were not free. I saw the gratitude of people toward the United States for all that we had done. I felt goose bumps as I got off a military train and heard the Army band strike up "Stars and Stripes Forever." I learned what it meant to be America at our best. I learned the pride of our freedom. And I am determined now to restore that pride to all who look to America.

Mine were greatest generation parents. And as I thank them, we all join together to thank that whole generation for making America strong, for winning World War II, winning the Cold War, and for the great gift of service which brought America fifty years of peace and prosperity.

My parents inspired me to serve, and when I was a junior in high school, John Kennedy called my generation to service. It was the beginning of a great journey - a time to march for civil rights, for voting rights, for the environment, for women, and for peace. We believed we could change the world. And you know what? We did.

But we're not finished. The journey isn't complete. The march isn't over. The promise isn't perfected. Tonight, we're setting out again. And together, we're going to write the next great chapter of America's story.

We have it in our power to change the world again. But only if we're true to our ideals - and that starts by telling the truth to the American people. That is my first pledge to you tonight. As President, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House.

I ask you to judge me by my record: As a young prosecutor, I fought for victim's rights and made prosecuting violence against women a priority. When I came to the Senate, I broke with many in my own party to vote for a balanced budget, because I thought it was the right thing to do. I fought to put a 100,000 cops on the street.

And then I reached across the aisle to work with John McCain, to find the truth about our POW's and missing in action, and to finally make peace with Vietnam.

I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a Vice President who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a Secretary of Defense who will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.

My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime. The stakes are high. We are a nation at war - a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we have ever known before. And here at home, wages are falling, health care costs are rising, and our great middle class is shrinking. People are working weekends; they're working two jobs, three jobs, and they're still not getting ahead.

We're told that outsourcing jobs is good for America. We're told that new jobs that pay $9,000 less than the jobs that have been lost is the best we can do. They say this is the best economy we've ever had. And they say that anyone who thinks otherwise is a pessimist. Well, here is our answer: There is nothing more pessimistic than saying America can't do better.

We can do better and we will. We're the optimists. For us, this is a country of the future. We're the can do people. And let's not forget what we did in the 1990s. We balanced the budget. We paid down the debt. We created 23 million new jobs. We lifted millions out of poverty and we lifted the standard of living for the middle class. We just need to believe in ourselves - and we can do it again.

So tonight, in the city where America's freedom began, only a few blocks from where the sons and daughters of liberty gave birth to our nation - here tonight, on behalf of a new birth of freedom - on behalf of the middle class who deserve a champion, and those struggling to join it who deserve a fair shot - for the brave men and women in uniform who risk their lives every day and the families who pray for their return - for all those who believe our best days are ahead of us - for all of you - with great faith in the American people, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

I am proud that at my side will be a running mate whose life is the story of the American dream and who's worked every day to make that dream real for all Americans - Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. And his wonderful wife Elizabeth and their family. This son of a mill worker is ready to lead - and next January, Americans will be proud to have a fighter for the middle class to succeed Dick Cheney as Vice President of the United States.

And what can I say about Teresa? She has the strongest moral compass of anyone I know. She's down to earth, nurturing, courageous, wise and smart. She speaks her mind and she speaks the truth, and I love her for that, too. And that's why America will embrace her as the next First Lady of the United States.

For Teresa and me, no matter what the future holds or the past has given us, nothing will ever mean as much as our children. We love them not just for who they are and what they've become, but for being themselves, making us laugh, holding our feet to the fire, and never letting me get away with anything. Thank you, Andre, Alex, Chris, Vanessa, and John.

And in this journey, I am accompanied by an extraordinary band of brothers led by that American hero, a patriot named Max Cleland. Our band of brothers doesn't march together because of who we are as veterans, but because of what we learned as soldiers. We fought for this nation because we loved it and we came back with the deep belief that every day is extra. We may be a little older now, we may be a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country.

And standing with us in that fight are those who shared with me the long season of the primary campaign: Carol Moseley Braun, General Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, Bob Graham, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Lieberman and Al Sharpton.

To all of you, I say thank you for teaching me and testing me - but mostly, we say thank you for standing up for our country and giving us the unity to move America forward.

My fellow Americans, the world tonight is very different from the world of four years ago. But I believe the American people are more than equal to the challenge.

Remember the hours after September 11th, when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran up the stairs and risked their lives, so that others might live. When rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon. When the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation's Capitol. When flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.

I am proud that after September 11th all our people rallied to President Bush's call for unity to meet the danger. There were no Democrats. There were no Republicans. There were only Americans. How we wish it had stayed that way.

Now I know there are those who criticize me for seeing complexities - and I do - because some issues just aren't all that simple. Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn't make it so.

As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system - so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics. And as President, I will bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.

I know what kids go through when they are carrying an M-16 in a dangerous place and they can't tell friend from foe. I know what they go through when they're out on patrol at night and they don't know what's coming around the next bend. I know what it's like to write letters home telling your family that everything's all right when you're not sure that's true.

As President, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: "I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people, fundamental American values from a threat that was real and imminent." So lesson one, this is the only justification for going to war.

And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.

I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a President who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That's the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

Here is the reality: that won't happen until we have a president who restores America's respect and leadership -- so we don't have to go it alone in the world.

And we need to rebuild our alliances, so we can get the terrorists before they get us.

I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security. And I will build a stronger American military.

We will add 40,000 active duty troops - not in Iraq, but to strengthen American forces that are now overstretched, overextended, and under pressure. We will double our special forces to conduct anti-terrorist operations. We will provide our troops with the newest weapons and technology to save their lives - and win the battle. And we will end the backdoor draft of National Guard and reservists.

To all who serve in our armed forces today, I say, help is on the way.

As President, I will fight a smarter, more effective war on terror. We will deploy every tool in our arsenal: our economic as well as our military might; our principles as well as our firepower.

In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words. After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals.

We need to make America once again a beacon in the world. We need to be looked up to and not just feared.

We need to lead a global effort against nuclear proliferation - to keep the most dangerous weapons in the world out of the most dangerous hands in the world.

We need a strong military and we need to lead strong alliances. And then, with confidence and determination, we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose and we will win. The future doesn't belong to fear; it belongs to freedom.

And the front lines of this battle are not just far away - they're right here on our shores, at our airports, and potentially in any town or city. Today, our national security begins with homeland security. The 9-11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9-11 families. As President, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission. We shouldn't be letting ninety-five percent of container ships come into our ports without ever being physically inspected. We shouldn't be leaving our nuclear and chemical plants without enough protection. And we shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in the United States of America.

And tonight, we have an important message for those who question the patriotism of Americans who offer a better direction for our country. Before wrapping themselves in the flag and shutting their eyes and ears to the truth, they should remember what America is really all about. They should remember the great idea of freedom for which so many have given their lives. Our purpose now is to reclaim democracy itself. We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism.

You see that flag up there. We call her Old Glory. The stars and stripes forever. I fought under that flag, as did so many of you here and all across our country. That flag flew from the gun turret right behind my head. It was shot through and through and tattered, but it never ceased to wave in the wind. It draped the caskets of men I served with and friends I grew up with. For us, that flag is the most powerful symbol of who we are and what we believe in. Our strength. Our diversity. Our love of country. All that makes America both great and good.

That flag doesn't belong to any president. It doesn't belong to any ideology and it doesn't belong to any political party. It belongs to all the American people.

My fellow citizens, elections are about choices. And choices are about values. In the end, it's not just policies and programs that matter; the president who sits at that desk must be guided by principle.

For four years, we've heard a lot of talk about values. But values spoken without actions taken are just slogans. Values are not just words. They're what we live by. They're about the causes we champion and the people we fight for. And it is time for those who talk about family values to start valuing families.

You don't value families by kicking kids out of after school programs and taking cops off our streets, so that Enron can get another tax break.

We believe in the family value of caring for our children and protecting the neighborhoods where they walk and play.

And that is the choice in this election.

You don't value families by denying real prescription drug coverage to seniors, so big drug companies can get another windfall.

We believe in the family value expressed in one of the oldest Commandments: "Honor thy father and thy mother." As President, I will not privatize Social Security. I will not cut benefits. And together, we will make sure that senior citizens never have to cut their pills in half because they can't afford life-saving medicine.

And that is the choice in this election.

You don't value families if you force them to take up a collection to buy body armor for a son or daughter in the service, if you deny veterans health care, or if you tell middle class families to wait for a tax cut, so that the wealthiest among us can get even more.

We believe in the value of doing what's right for everyone in the American family.

And that is the choice in this election.

We believe that what matters most is not narrow appeals masquerading as values, but the shared values that show the true face of America. Not narrow appeals that divide us, but shared values that unite us. Family and faith. Hard work and responsibility. Opportunity for all - so that every child, every parent, every worker has an equal shot at living up to their God-given potential.

What does it mean in America today when Dave McCune, a steel worker I met in Canton, Ohio, saw his job sent overseas and the equipment in his factory literally unbolted, crated up, and shipped thousands of miles away along with that job? What does it mean when workers I've met had to train their foreign replacements?

America can do better. So tonight we say: help is on the way.

What does it mean when Mary Ann Knowles, a woman with breast cancer I met in New Hampshire, had to keep working day after day right through her chemotherapy, no matter how sick she felt, because she was terrified of losing her family's health insurance.

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when Deborah Kromins from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania works and saves all her life only to find out that her pension has disappeared into thin air - and the executive who looted it has bailed out on a golden parachute?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when twenty five percent of the children in Harlem have asthma because of air pollution?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

What does it mean when people are huddled in blankets in the cold, sleeping in Lafayette Park on the doorstep of the White House itself - and the number of families living in poverty has risen by three million in the last four years?

America can do better. And help is on the way.

And so we come here tonight to ask: Where is the conscience of our country?

I'll tell you where it is: it's in rural and small town America; it's in urban neighborhoods and suburban main streets; it's alive in the people I've met in every part of this land. It's bursting in the hearts of Americans who are determined to give our country back its values and its truth.

We value jobs that pay you more not less than you earned before. We value jobs where, when you put in a week's work, you can actually pay your bills, provide for your children, and lift up the quality of your life. We value an America where the middle class is not being squeezed, but doing better.

So here is our economic plan to build a stronger America:

First, new incentives to revitalize manufacturing.

Second, investment in technology and innovation that will create the good-paying jobs of the future.

Third, close the tax loopholes that reward companies for shipping our jobs overseas. Instead, we will reward companies that create and keep good paying jobs where they belong - in the good old U.S.A.

We value an America that exports products, not jobs - and we believe American workers should never have to subsidize the loss of their own job.

Next, we will trade and compete in the world. But our plan calls for a fair playing field - because if you give the American worker a fair playing field, there's nobody in the world the American worker can't compete against.

And we're going to return to fiscal responsibility because it is the foundation of our economic strength. Our plan will cut the deficit in half in four years by ending tax giveaways that are nothing more than corporate welfare - and will make government live by the rule that every family has to follow: pay as you go.

And let me tell you what we won't do: we won't raise taxes on the middle class. You've heard a lot of false charges about this in recent months. So let me say straight out what I will do as President: I will cut middle class taxes. I will reduce the tax burden on small business. And I will roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who make over $200,000 a year, so we can invest in job creation, health care and education.

Our education plan for a stronger America sets high standards and demands accountability from parents, teachers, and schools. It provides for smaller class sizes and treats teachers like the professionals they are. And it gives a tax credit to families for each and every year of college.

When I was a prosecutor, I met young kids who were in trouble, abandoned by adults. And as President, I am determined that we stop being a nation content to spend $50,000 a year to keep a young person in prison for the rest of their life - when we could invest $10,000 to give them Head Start, Early Start, Smart Start, the best possible start in life.

And we value health care that's affordable and accessible for all Americans.

Since 2000, four million people have lost their health insurance. Millions more are struggling to afford it.

You know what's happening. Your premiums, your co-payments, your deductibles have all gone through the roof.

Our health care plan for a stronger America cracks down on the waste, greed, and abuse in our health care system and will save families up to $1,000 a year on their premiums. You'll get to pick your own doctor - and patients and doctors, not insurance company bureaucrats, will make medical decisions. Under our plan, Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors. And all Americans will be able to buy less expensive prescription drugs from countries like Canada.

The story of people struggling for health care is the story of so many Americans. But you know what, it's not the story of senators and members of Congress. Because we give ourselves great health care and you get the bill. Well, I'm here to say, your family's health care is just as important as any politician's in Washington, D.C.

And when I'm President, America will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which fails to understand that health care is not a privilege for the wealthy, the connected, and the elected - it is a right for all Americans.

We value an America that controls its own destiny because it's finally and forever independent of Mideast oil. What does it mean for our economy and our national security when we only have three percent of the world's oil reserves, yet we rely on foreign countries for fifty-three percent of what we consume?

I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation - not the Saudi royal family.

And our energy plan for a stronger America will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future -- so that no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

I've told you about our plans for the economy, for education, for health care, for energy independence. I want you to know more about them. So now I'm going to say something that Franklin Roosevelt could never have said in his acceptance speech: go to johnkerry.com.

I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush: In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity; let's respect one another; and let's never misuse for political purposes the most precious document in American history, the Constitution of the United States.

My friends, the high road may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And that's why Republicans and Democrats must make this election a contest of big ideas, not small-minded attacks. This is our time to reject the kind of politics calculated to divide race from race, group from group, region from region. Maybe some just see us divided into red states and blue states, but I see us as one America - red, white, and blue. And when I am President, the government I lead will enlist people of talent, Republicans as well as Democrats, to find the common ground - so that no one who has something to contribute will be left on the sidelines.

And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country.

These aren't Democratic values. These aren't Republican values. They're American values. We believe in them. They're who we are. And if we honor them, if we believe in ourselves, we can build an America that's stronger at home and respected in the world.

So much promise stretches before us. Americans have always reached for the impossible, looked to the next horizon, and asked: What if?

Two young bicycle mechanics from Dayton asked what if this airplane could take off at Kitty Hawk? It did that and changed the world forever. A young president asked what if we could go to the moon in ten years? And now we're exploring the solar system and the stars themselves. A young generation of entrepreneurs asked, what if we could take all the information in a library and put it on a little chip the size of a fingernail? We did and that too changed the world forever.

And now it's our time to ask: What if?

What if we find a breakthrough to cure Parkinson's, diabetes, Alzheimer's and AIDs? What if we have a president who believes in science, so we can unleash the wonders of discovery like stem cell research to treat illness and save millions of lives?

What if we do what adults should do - and make sure all our children are safe in the afternoons after school? And what if we have a leadership that's as good as the American dream - so that bigotry and hatred never again steal the hope and future of any American?

I learned a lot about these values on that gunboat patrolling the Mekong Delta with young Americans who came from places as different as Iowa and Oregon, Arkansas, Florida and California. No one cared where we went to school. No one cared about our race or our backgrounds. We were literally all in the same boat. We looked out, one for the other - and we still do.

That is the kind of America I will lead as President - an America where we are all in the same boat.

Never has there been a more urgent moment for Americans to step up and define ourselves. I will work my heart out. But, my fellow citizens, the outcome is in your hands more than mine.

It is time to reach for the next dream. It is time to look to the next horizon. For America, the hope is there. The sun is rising. Our best days are still to come.

Goodnight, God bless you, and God bless America.

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

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-SOUTH CAROLINA)
BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina addressed the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night. Here is a transcript of his speech.
Thank you. Now you know why Elizabeth is so amazing, right?
I am a lucky man: to have the love of my life at my side. Both of us have been blessed with four extraordinary children: Wade, Cate, who you heard from, Emma Claire, and Jack.
We are having such an extraordinary time, myself and my entire family, at this convention.
And by the way, how great was Teresa Heinz Kerry last night?
My father and mother, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards, are here tonight.
You taught me the values that I carry in my heart: faith, family, responsibility, opportunity for everyone. You taught me that there's dignity and honor in a hard day's work. You taught me to always look out for our neighbors, to never look down on anybody, and treat everybody with respect.
Those are the values that John Kerry and I believe in. And nothing makes me prouder than standing with him in this campaign. I am so humbled to be your candidate for vice president of the United States.
I want to talk about our next president. For those who want to know what kind of leader he'll be, I want to take you back about 30 years. When John Kerry graduated college, he volunteered for military service, volunteered to go to Vietnam, volunteered to captain a swift boat, one of the most dangerous duties in Vietnam that you could have. As a result, he was wounded, honored for his valor.
If you have any question about what he's made of, just spend three minutes with the men who served with him then and who stand with him now. They saw up close what he's made of.
They saw him reach into the river and pull one of his men to safety and save his life. They saw him in the heat of battle make a decision in a split second to turn his boat around, drive it through an enemy position, and chase down the enemy to save his crew. Decisive, strong: Is this not what we need in a commander in chief?
You know, we hear a lot of talk about values. Where I come from, you don't judge somebody's values based upon how they use that word in a political ad. You judge their values based upon what they've spent their life doing.
So when a man volunteers to serve his country, the man volunteers and puts his life on the line for others, that's a man who represents real American values.
This is a man who is prepared to keep the American people safe, to make America stronger at home and more respected in the world.
John is a man who knows the difference between right and wrong. He wants to serve you. Your cause is his cause. And that is why we must and we will elect him the next president of the United States.
You know, for the last few months, John's been traveling around the country talking about his positive, optimistic vision for America, talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction.
But what have we seen? Relentless negative attacks against John. So in the weeks ahead, we know what's coming, don't we? More negative attacks -- aren't you sick of it?
They are doing all they can to take the campaign for the highest office in the land down the lowest possible road.
But this is where you come in: Between now and November, you, the American people, you can reject the tired, old, hateful, negative politics of the past. And instead you can embrace the politics of hope, the politics of what's possible because this is America, where everything is possible.
I am here tonight for a very simple reason: because I love my country. And I have every reason to love my country. I have grown up in the bright light of America.
I grew up in a small town in rural North Carolina, a place called Robbins.
My father, he worked in a mill all his life, and I still remember vividly the men and women who worked in that mill with him. I can see them. Some of them had lint in their hair; some of them had grease on their faces. They worked hard, and they tried to put a little money away so that their kids and their grand-kids could have a better life.
The truth is, they're just like the auto workers, the office workers, the teachers and shop keepers on main streets all across this country.
My mother had a number of jobs. She worked at the post office so she and my father could have health care. She owned her own small business. She refinished furniture to help pay for my education.
I have had such incredible opportunities in my life. I was blessed to be the first person in my family to go to college. I worked my way through, and I had opportunities beyond my wildest dreams.
And the heart of this campaign -- your campaign, our campaign -- is to make sure all Americans have exactly the same kind opportunities that I had no matter where you live, no matter who your family is, no matter what the color of your skin is.
This is the America we believe in.
I have spent my life fighting for the kind of people I grew up with.
For two decades, I stood with kids and families against big HMOs and big insurance companies.
When I got to the Senate, I fought those same fights against the Washington lobbyists and for causes like the patients' bill of rights.
I stand here tonight ready to work with you and John to make America stronger. And we have much work t

Posted by richard at 01:14 PM

David Alston: The 27th Psalm tells us, "Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear. Though war break out against me, even then I will be confident" I stand before you tonight alive, while many of our brothers never made it home...

Rev. David Alston of Columbia, South Carolina, is one of the "Band of Brothers" that speak out for Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta), and this speech is from the first night of this most remarkable Democratic Convention. It is, in our view, perhaps the most powerful of several powerful speeches that have been delivered in this historic (and trans-historic) gathering of tribes and summoning of the Force...Therefore, the LNS has held it until the final night of the convention, in the hope that it stays with you through the tumult and trials that are to come...

David Alston: Once, he even directed the helmsman to
beach the boat, right into the teeth of an ambush, and
pursued our attackers on foot, into the jungle. In the
toughest of situations, Lieutenant Kerry showed
judgment, loyalty and courage. Even wounded, or
confronting sights no man should ever have to see, he
never lost his cool.
And when the shooting stopped, he was always there
too, with a caring hand on my shoulder asking,
"Gunner, are you OK?" I was only 21, running on fear
and adrenaline. Lieutenant Kerry always took the time
to calm us down, to bring us back to reality, to give
us hope, to show us what we truly had within
ourselves. I came to love and respect him as a man I
could trust with life itself.
I am a man of faith, and I did not come here tonight
to glorify what we did. I came here to share my
personal knowledge of a young naval officer who rose
to the challenges and responsibilities of leadership,
and who has always shown the courage to speak truth to
power.
The 27th Psalm tells us, "Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear. Though war break out against me, even then I will be confident" I stand before you tonight alive, while many of our brothers never made it home. I am grateful to have lived to enjoy my children, to see them grow up. But I stand here before you only because almighty God saw our boat safely through those rivers of death and destruction, by giving us a brave, wise, and decisive leader named John Kerry.
Today, 30 years after Vietnam, American soldiers are
once again fighting and dying on distant battlefields,
at war with an elusive enemy. We pray for these brave
men and women. They are our friends, our neighbors,
our loved ones. Their loss brings all of us sadness
beyond measure...
Friends, here in this city more than two centuries
ago, patriots launched a revolution that changed
history. Generations since have marched, fought, and
died to defend the sacred ideals of life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness-and to make these ideals a
reality for every American.
It is now our turn to defend these ideals. It is our
time to speak out. It is our duty to exercise our most
precious right as Americans: the right to vote.

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

David Alston


Good evening.

My name is David Alston, and I am a minister from
Columbia, South Carolina. I join you here tonight in
Boston-birthplace of the American Revolution-to
celebrate the bedrock ideals on which our nation was
founded-freedom, equality, and democracy.

I also come here tonight to honor a friend of mine, a
man of courage and conviction who has fought for these
ideals his entire life: John Kerry. Many of you in
this hall already know John Kerry well. Others across
this land are still learning about his long and
distinguished record of public service.

I know him from a small boat in Vietnam, where we
fought and bled together, serving our country. There
were six of us aboard PCF-94, a 50-foot, twin-engine
craft known as a "Swift Boat." We all came from
different walks of life, but all of us-including our
skipper, John Kerry-volunteered for combat duty. And
combat is what we got.

We usually patrolled the narrow waterways of the
Mekong delta, flanked on both sides by thick jungle.
As our crewmate Gene Thorson put it, we were a
traveling bulls-eye. And we often came under sudden
attack from the enemy, hidden in the shadows.
Machine-gun fire, rocket-propelled grenades, it all
came fast and furious, and Lieutenant Kerry had to
make quick, life-or-death decisions for the entire
boat.

You have to realize, a Swift Boat isn't armored. The
hull is aluminum, about as thick as two nickels. And
in the middle of a narrow river or canal, with no
cover at all, even small-caliber bullets could punch
right through it-and often did.

Manning the deck guns, most of us got wounded sooner
or later, including Lieutenant Kerry. It would have
been easiest, in an ambush, to simply rake the shore
with return fire and roar on down the river to safety.
But Lieutenant Kerry was known for taking the fight
straight to the enemy. I can still see him now,
standing in the doorway of the pilothouse, firing his
M-16, shouting orders through the smoke and chaos.

Once, he even directed the helmsman to beach the boat,
right into the teeth of an ambush, and pursued our
attackers on foot, into the jungle. In the toughest of
situations, Lieutenant Kerry showed judgment, loyalty
and courage. Even wounded, or confronting sights no
man should ever have to see, he never lost his cool.

And when the shooting stopped, he was always there
too, with a caring hand on my shoulder asking,
"Gunner, are you OK?" I was only 21, running on fear
and adrenaline. Lieutenant Kerry always took the time
to calm us down, to bring us back to reality, to give
us hope, to show us what we truly had within
ourselves. I came to love and respect him as a man I
could trust with life itself.

I am a man of faith, and I did not come here tonight
to glorify what we did. I came here to share my
personal knowledge of a young naval officer who rose
to the challenges and responsibilities of leadership,
and who has always shown the courage to speak truth to
power.

The 27th Psalm tells us, "Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear. Though war break out against
me, even then I will be confident" I stand before you
tonight alive, while many of our brothers never made
it home. I am grateful to have lived to enjoy my
children, to see them grow up. But I stand here before
you only because almighty God saw our boat safely
through those rivers of death and destruction, by
giving us a brave, wise, and decisive leader named
John Kerry.

Today, 30 years after Vietnam, American soldiers are
once again fighting and dying on distant battlefields,
at war with an elusive enemy. We pray for these brave
men and women. They are our friends, our neighbors,
our loved ones. Their loss brings all of us sadness
beyond measure.

In a few short months, we will choose our next
President. I believe we need to elect a man of faith,
experience, and wisdom. A man who knows that defending
America means defending our most fundamental rights. A
man who knows that leadership is not just about
telling others what to do, but inspiring them to do
it. A man who knows the true meaning of freedom,
equality, and democracy. And that man is my former
skipper, my friend, and our next commander-in-chief,
John Kerry.

Friends, here in this city more than two centuries
ago, patriots launched a revolution that changed
history. Generations since have marched, fought, and
died to defend the sacred ideals of life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness-and to make these ideals a
reality for every American.

It is now our turn to defend these ideals. It is our
time to speak out. It is our duty to exercise our most
precious right as Americans: the right to vote.

So come November 2nd, join me in casting your ballot
for a new, principled, and courageous leader-America's
next president-John Kerry.

Thank you.








Posted by richard at 01:08 PM

July 29, 2004

Al Sharpton: Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs...

Two more US soliders died in Iraq last night. For
what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges
Reich...Meanwhile, for the third consecutive night,
the Democratic Party's all-out assault on the failed
_residency of George W. Bush, i.e. the Bush
abomination, continued unrelentingly -- for the rescue
of our military personnel stranded in Iraq and
Afghanistan, the restoration of the US Constitution
and the redemption of America's soul...

Al Sharpton (D-Hood): We are here 228 years after
right here in Boston we fought to establish the
freedoms of America. The first person to die in the
Revolutionary War is buried not far from here, a black
man from Barbados, named Crispus Attucks...
We are also faced with the prospect of in the next
four years that two or more of the Supreme Court
Justice seats will become available. This year we
celebrated the anniversary of Brown v. the Board of
Education.
This court has voted five to four on critical issues
of women's rights and civil rights. It is frightening
to think that the gains of civil and women rights and
those movements in the last century could be reversed
if this administration is in the White House in these
next four years.
I suggest to you tonight that if George Bush had
selected the court in '54, Clarence Thomas would have
never got to law school...
Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if
both parties got our votes, but we didn't come this
far playing political games. It was those that earned
our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights
Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act
under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under
Democrats.
Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, soaked in the blood of four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred to us.
This vote can't be bargained away.
This vote can't be given away.
Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read
my lips: Our vote is not for sale.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/28/dems.sharpton.transcript/index.html



Sharpton answers Bush in speech


BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton
brought down the house with a passionate speech to
Democratic National Convention delegates about what's
wrong with the Bush administration and how Sen. John
Kerry will help fulfill America's promise. This is a
transcript of his remarks:

Thank you.

Tonight I want to address my remarks in two parts.

One, I'm honored to address the delegates here.

Last Friday, I had the experience in Detroit of
hearing President George Bush make a speech. And in
the speech, he asked certain questions. I hope he's
watching tonight. I would like to answer your
questions, Mr. President.

To the chairman, our delegates, and all that are
assembled, we're honored and glad to be here tonight.

I'm glad to be joined by supporters and friends from
around the country. I'm glad to be joined by my
family, Kathy, Dominique, who will be 18, and Ashley.

We are here 228 years after right here in Boston we
fought to establish the freedoms of America. The first
person to die in the Revolutionary War is buried not
far from here, a black man from Barbados, named
Crispus Attucks.

Forty years ago, in 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer and the
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party stood at the
Democratic convention in Atlantic City fighting to
preserve voting rights for all America and all
Democrats, regardless of race or gender.

Hamer's stand inspired Dr. King's march in Selma,
which brought about the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Twenty years ago, Reverend Jesse Jackson stood at the
Democratic National Convention in San Francisco,
again, appealing to the preserve those freedoms.

Tonight, we stand with those freedoms at risk and our
security as citizens in question.

I have come here tonight to say, that the only choice
we have to preserve our freedoms at this point in
history is to elect John Kerry the president of the
United States.

I stood with both John Kerry and John Edwards on over
30 occasions during the primary season. I not only
debated them, I watched them, I observed their deeds,
I looked into their eyes. I am convinced that they are
men who say what they mean and mean what they say.

I'm also convinced that at a time when a vicious
spirit in the body politic of this country that
attempts to undermine America's freedoms -- our civil
rights, and civil liberties -- we must leave this city
and go forth and organize this nation for victory for
our party and John Kerry and John Edwards in November.

And let me quickly say, this is not just about winning
an election. It's about preserving the principles on
which this very nation was founded.

Look at the current view of our nation worldwide as a
results of our unilateral foreign policy. We went from
unprecedented international support and solidarity on
September 12, 2001, to hostility and hatred as we
stand here tonight. We can't survive in the world by
ourselves.

How did we squander this opportunity to unite the
world for democracy and to commit to a global fight
against hunger and disease?

We did it with a go-it-alone foreign policy based on
flawed intelligence. We were told that we were going
to Iraq because there were weapons of mass
destruction. We've lost hundreds of soldiers. We've
spent $200 billion dollars at a time when we had
record state deficits. And when it became clear that
there were no weapons, they changed the premise for
the war and said: No, we went because of other
reasons.

If I told you tonight, "Let's leave the FleetCenter,
we're in danger," and when you get outside, you ask
me, Reverend Al, "What is the danger?" and I say, "It
don't matter. We just needed some fresh air," I have
misled you and we were misled.

We are also faced with the prospect of in the next
four years that two or more of the Supreme Court
Justice seats will become available. This year we
celebrated the anniversary of Brown v. the Board of
Education.

This court has voted five to four on critical issues
of women's rights and civil rights. It is frightening
to think that the gains of civil and women rights and
those movements in the last century could be reversed
if this administration is in the White House in these
next four years.

I suggest to you tonight that if George Bush had
selected the court in '54, Clarence Thomas would have
never got to law school.

This is not about a party. This is about living up to
the promise of America. The promise of America says we
will guarantee quality education for all children and
not spend more money on metal detectors than computers
in our schools.

The promise of America guarantees health care for all
of its citizens and doesn't force seniors to travel to
Canada to buy prescription drugs they can't afford
here at home.

The promise of America provides that those who work in
our health care system can afford to be hospitalized
in the very beds they clean up every day.

The promise of America is that government does not
seek to regulate your behavior in the bedroom, but to
guarantee your right to provide food in the kitchen.

The issue of government is not to determine who may
sleep together in the bedroom, it's to help those that
might not be eating in the kitchen.

The promise of America that we stand for human rights,
whether it's fighting against slavery in the Sudan,
where right now Joe Madison and others are fasting,
around what is going on in the Sudan; AIDS in Lesotho;
a police misconduct in this country.

The promise of America is one immigration policy for
all who seek to enter our shores, whether they come
from Mexico, Haiti or Canada, there must be one set of
rules for everybody.

We cannot welcome those to come and then try and act
as though any culture will not be respected or treated
inferior. We cannot look at the Latino community and
preach "one language." No one gave them an English
test before they sent them to Iraq to fight for
America.

The promise of America is that every citizen vote is
counted and protected, and election schemes do not
decide the election.

It, to me, is a glaring contradiction that we would
fight, and rightfully so, to get the right to vote for
the people in the capital of Iraq in Baghdad, but
still don't give the federal right to vote for the
people in the capital of the United States, in
Washington, D.C.

Mr. President, as I close, Mr. President, I heard you
say Friday that you had questions for voters,
particularly African- American voters. And you asked
the question: Did the Democratic Party take us for
granted? Well, I have raised questions. But let me
answer your question.

You said the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln
and Frederick Douglass. It is true that Mr. Lincoln
signed the Emancipation Proclamation, after which
there was a commitment to give 40 acres and a mule.

That's where the argument, to this day, of reparations
starts. We never got the 40 acres. We went all the way
to Herbert Hoover, and we never got the 40 acres.

We didn't get the mule. So we decided we'd ride this
donkey as far as it would take us.

Mr. President, you said would we have more leverage if
both parties got our votes, but we didn't come this
far playing political games. It was those that earned
our vote that got our vote. We got the Civil Rights
Act under a Democrat. We got the Voting Rights Act
under a Democrat. We got the right to organize under
Democrats.

Mr. President, the reason we are fighting so hard, the
reason we took Florida so seriously, is our right to
vote wasn't gained because of our age. Our vote was
soaked in the blood of martyrs, soaked in the blood of
Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, soaked in the blood of
four little girls in Birmingham. This vote is sacred
to us.

This vote can't be bargained away.

This vote can't be given away.

Mr. President, in all due respect, Mr. President, read
my lips: Our vote is not for sale.

And there's a whole generation of young leaders that
have come forward across this country that stand on
integrity and stand on their traditions, those that
have emerged with John Kerry and John Edwards as
partners, like Greg Meeks, like Barack Obama, like our
voter registration director, Marjorie Harris, like
those that are in the trenches.

And we come with strong family values. Family values
is not just those with two-car garages and a
retirement plan. Retirement plans are good. But family
values also are those who had to make nothing stretch
into something happening, who had to make ends meet.

I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me.
She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a
cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in
Brooklyn so I would have food on the table.

But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that
life is about not where you start, but where you're
going. That's family values.

And I wanted somebody in my community -- I wanted to
show that example. As I ran for president, I hoped
that one child would come out of the ghetto like I
did, could look at me walk across the stage with
governors and senators and know they didn't have to be
a drug dealer, they didn't have to be a hoodlum, they
didn't have to be a gangster, they could stand up from
a broken home, on welfare, and they could run for
president of the United States.

As you know, I live in New York. I was there September
11th when that despicable act of terrorism happened.

A few days after, I left home, my family had taken in
a young man who lost his family. And as they gave
comfort to him, I had to do a radio show that morning.
When I got there, my friend James Entome (ph) said,
"Reverend, we're going to stop at a certain hour and
play a song, synchronized with 990 other stations."

I said, "That's fine."

He said, "We're dedicating it to the victims of 9/11."

I said, "What song are you playing?"

He said "America the Beautiful." The particular
station I was at, the played that rendition song by
Ray Charles.

As you know, we lost Ray a few weeks ago, but I sat
there that morning and listened to Ray sing through
those speakers, "Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for
amber waves of grain, for purple mountains' majesty
across the fruited plain."

And it occurred to me as I heard Ray singing, that Ray
wasn't singing about what he knew, because Ray had
been blind since he was a child. He hadn't seen many
purple mountains. He hadn't seen many fruited plains.
He was singing about what he believed to be.

Mr. President, we love America, not because all of us
have seen the beauty all the time.

But we believed if we kept on working, if we kept on
marching, if we kept on voting, if we kept on
believing, we would make America beautiful for
everybody.

Starting in November, let's make America beautiful
again.

Thank you. And God bless you.





Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/28/dems.sharpton.transcript/index.html

Posted by richard at 10:10 AM

Bush Using Drugs to Control Depression, Erratic Behavior

Yes, the increasinlgy unhinged and incredibly
shrinking _resident stalked off the stage several
weeks ago, shortly after the indictment of Kenny Boy
Lay, abruptly and prematurely ending a press
briefing-- because he did not want to answer questions
about Enron, Lay, etc. Agence France Press noted it,
and distributed a photo of the increasinlgy unhinged
and incredibly shrinking _resident walking off, BUT,
of course, the "US Mainstream News Media" deep-sixed
the incident...But in a controlled environment in
which the existence of video-tapes depicting the
sodomizing of young boys while in the custody of the
US military can go unmentioned on the air waves or in
print, that shouldn't surprise you...

TERESA HAMPTON, Capitol Hill Blue: President George W.
Bush is taking powerful anti-depressant drugs to
control his erratic behavior, depression and paranoia,
Capitol Hill Blue has learned.
The prescription drugs, administered by Col. Richard
J. Tubb, the White House physician, can impair the
President’s mental faculties and decrease both his
physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a
crisis, administration aides admit privately.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” says one aide. “We can’t
have him flying off the handle at the slightest
provocation but we also need a President who is alert
mentally.”
Angry Bush walked away from reporter's questions.
Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a
clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8,
refusing to answer reporters' questions about his
relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J.
Lay.
“Keep those motherfuckers away from me,” he screamed
at an aide backstage. “If you can’t, I’ll find someone
who can.”

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


http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_4921.shtml

From Capitol Hill Blue

Bush Leagues
Bush Using Drugs to Control Depression, Erratic Behavior
By TERESA HAMPTON
Editor, Capitol Hill Blue
Jul 28, 2004, 08:09

President George W. Bush is taking powerful
anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior,
depression and paranoia, Capitol Hill Blue has
learned.

The prescription drugs, administered by Col. Richard
J. Tubb, the White House physician, can impair the
President’s mental faculties and decrease both his
physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a
crisis, administration aides admit privately.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” says one aide. “We can’t
have him flying off the handle at the slightest
provocation but we also need a President who is alert
mentally.”


Angry Bush walked away from reporter's questions.
Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after a
clearly-upset Bush stormed off stage on July 8,
refusing to answer reporters' questions about his
relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J.
Lay.

“Keep those motherfuckers away from me,” he screamed
at an aide backstage. “If you can’t, I’ll find someone
who can.”

Bush’s mental stability has become the topic of
Washington whispers in recent months. Capitol Hill
Blue first reported on June 4 about increasing concern
among White House aides over the President’s wide mood
swings and obscene outbursts.

Although GOP loyalists dismissed the reports an
anti-Bush propaganda, the reports were later confirmed
by prominent George Washington University psychiatrist
Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside
the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the
President as a “paranoid meglomaniac” and “untreated
alcoholic” whose “lifelong streak of sadism, ranging
from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode
frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state
executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the
bombing of Baghdad” showcase Bush’s instabilities.

“I was really very unsettled by him and I started
watching everything he did and reading what he wrote
and watching him on videotape. I felt he was
disturbed,” Dr. Frank said. “He fits the profile of a
former drinker whose alcoholism has been arrested but
not treated.”

Dr. Frank’s conclusions have been praised by other
prominent psychiatrists, including Dr. James
Grotstein, Professor at UCLA Medical Center, and Dr.
Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus at Stanford
University Medical School.

The doctors also worry about the wisdom of giving
powerful anti-depressant drugs to a person with a
history of chemical dependency. Bush is an admitted
alcoholic, although he never sought treatment in a
formal program, and stories about his cocaine use as a
younger man haunted his campaigns for Texas governor
and his first campaign for President.

“President Bush is an untreated alcoholic with
paranoid and megalomaniac tendencies,” Dr. Frank adds.

The White House did not return phone calls seeking
comment on this article.

Although the exact drugs Bush takes to control his
depression and behavior are not known, White House
sources say they are “powerful medications” designed
to bring his erratic actions under control. While Col.
Tubb regularly releases a synopsis of the President’s
annual physical, details of the President’s health and
any drugs or treatment he may receive are not public
record and are guarded zealously by the secretive
cadre of aides that surround the President.

Veteran White House watchers say the ability to
control information about Bush’s health, either
physical or mental, is similar to Ronald Reagan’s
second term when aides managed to conceal the
President’s increasing memory lapses that signaled the
onslaught of Alzheimer’s Disease.

It also brings back memories of Richard Nixon’s final
days when the soon-to-resign President wondered the
halls and talked to portraits of former Presidents.
The stories didn’t emerge until after Nixon left
office.

One long-time GOP political consultant who – for
obvious reasons – asked not to be identified said he
is advising his Republican Congressional candidates to
keep their distance from Bush.

“We have to face the very real possibility that the
President of the United States is loony tunes,” he
says sadly. “That’s not good for my candidates, it’s
not good for the party and it’s certainly not good for
the country.”

© Copyright 2004 Capitol Hill Blue

Posted by richard at 10:07 AM

Hunter S. Thompson: My own whim at the moment says that John Kerry will win big in November, and that the Colts will finally win the Super Bowl. Why not? This is the year of the monkey, and George Bush will be lucky to get out of Washington without being

Of course, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's name has been on
the John O'Neill Wall of Heroes since the beginning,
scrawled in invisible ink...

Hunter S. Thompson, ESPN: Ah, but we live in a new
century now, and the president is not a football fan.
The first real game of the season will be a huge event
for most of us; but for young George Bush, it will
mean nothing. He will feel no relief, no escape from
the same sense of doom that fell on his father, only
12 years ago. The old man failed when he tried to get
re-elected, and so will his son. They both peaked too
soon, about six months before football season; and
after that, they sank like punctured fish.
So the time has come to get busy on what we call "the
summer book" in the business of gambling on
presidential elections. And right now the London/Vegas
numbers are about 51-49 percent for Bush, if only
because he is the filthy-rich incumbent and the son of
a global oil-industry magnate.
That is big in the politics business; but this year,
it will not be enough to make up for all the wretched,
disastrous failures of the Bush administration.
Betting on George Bush to win this coming election
would be like betting the Denver Broncos to win the
Super Bowl.
My own whim at the moment says that John Kerry will
win big in November, and that the Colts will finally
win the Super Bowl. Why not? This is the year of the
monkey, and George Bush will be lucky to get out of
Washington without being put on trial for treason.

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


http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=thompson/040727


By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2

Sean Penn called me last night and said he was
quitting the movie business until after the football
season.


"I am going on the road with Brett Favre and the
boys," he said. "The Packers will kick ass this year,
and I want to be part of it. I love Brett Favre."


His voice sounded strange, so I goaded him.


"The football season has been cancelled this year. The
White House just announced it."


"No!" he shouted. "That's impossible! Football season
will never be canceled in America -- not in an
election year. There would be riots."


"Exactly," I replied. "Horrible riots every Sunday
afternoon, in cities all over the country. Football
fans will go crazy. I already feel the Fear."
It's true, but not because of our football season
being canceled. No. We must have football. What would
this country be without football in October?

That is a dangerous question, so I try not to worry.
Only an imbecile would alienate every football freak
in the country at a time like this.

What would we do without Brett Favre and NFL football
this fall?
It would be political suicide.

Would the President do a thing like that?

Who knows for sure? He is already muttering about
"postponing" the whole election, and that is almost as
ugly as canceling a football season.

These rumors are dark and disturbing, especially for a
football addict in July. Take my word for it, because
I am a certified addict. It makes me feel crazy on
some days, and this is one of them.

I am a football addict, and I am not alone in this
country. We are legion, and we must have football ...
Yes. It is righteous, and only a jackass would cancel
it.


Election years are always weird in America, and they
always happen in football season. That is a fact of
life. The President will always be elected on the
first Tuesday in November, for good or ill, and not
even Richard Nixon could change it. He hated anything
that stood between him and a Green Bay Packers game,
especially on Monday nights.


Nixon was a bad loser. He hated losing worse than
death, and that is why I enjoyed him. We were both
football fans, both addicts; and on some days, nothing
else mattered.


But that was yesterday, and George Bush is now.
Where is Richard Nixon, now that we need him? He was
crooked in every way and his hands were covered with
blood -- but he was a rabid, high-rolling football fan
with a sly taste for gin; and on some nights, he could
be good company.

Ah, but we live in a new century now, and the
president is not a football fan. The first real game
of the season will be a huge event for most of us; but
for young George Bush, it will mean nothing. He will
feel no relief, no escape from the same sense of doom
that fell on his father, only 12 years ago. The old
man failed when he tried to get re-elected, and so
will his son. They both peaked too soon, about six
months before football season; and after that, they
sank like punctured fish.

So the time has come to get busy on what we call "the
summer book" in the business of gambling on
presidential elections. And right now the London/Vegas
numbers are about 51-49 percent for Bush, if only
because he is the filthy-rich incumbent and the son of
a global oil-industry magnate.

That is big in the politics business; but this year,
it will not be enough to make up for all the wretched,
disastrous failures of the Bush administration.
Betting on George Bush to win this coming election
would be like betting the Denver Broncos to win the
Super Bowl.

My own whim at the moment says that John Kerry will
win big in November, and that the Colts will finally
win the Super Bowl. Why not? This is the year of the
monkey, and George Bush will be lucky to get out of
Washington without being put on trial for treason.

Yes sir, we are coming around to some bold visions
now, but my time is running out. Next week, I will
tell you what happens in America if Kerry loses this
election, along with the current odds on whether there
will be an election this year. Okay. Mahalo.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in
Louisville, Ky. His books include "Hell's Angels,"
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing:
On the Campaign Trail '72," "The Great Shark Hunt,"
"The Curse of Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of
the Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex," "The
Proud Highway," "The Rum Diary," and "Fear and
Loathing in America." His latest book, "Kingdom of
Fear," has just been released. A regular contributor
to various national and international publications,
Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen,
Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears regularly on
Page 2.

Posted by richard at 10:05 AM

July 28, 2004

Teresa Heinz Kerry: In America the true patriots are those who dare speak truth to power.

The Democratic Party's all-out assault on the failed _residency of George W. Bush, i.e. the Bush abomination, continued into the second night of the 2004 convention, with more powerful, haunting speeches that underscore the profound significance of the election this November. The language of these speeches are worthy of the state of national emergency, i.e. the national security, economic security and environmental security crisis..."Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

Barak Obama (D-Illinois) on Iraq:
And as I listened to him explain why he'd enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all that any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us?
I thought of the 900 men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who will not be returning to their hometowns. I thought of families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were reservists.
When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.
Now let me be clear. Let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated.
John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure.

Barak Obama (D-Illinois) on *Civil* War:
If there's an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.
It is that fundamental belief -- it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper -- that makes this country work.
It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes.
Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America.
There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America -- there is the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states; red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.
We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states.
There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope?

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Camelot) on National Security:
The eyes of the world were on us and the hearts of the world were with us after September 11th until this administration broke that trust.
We should have honored, not ignored, the pledges that we made.
We should have strengthened, not scorned, the alliances that won two world wars and the Cold War.
Most of all, we should have honored the principle so fundamental that our nation's founders placed it in the very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, that America must give a decent respect to the opinions of mankind. We failed top do that in Iraq.
And more than 900 of our service men and women have already paid the ultimate price. Nearly 6,000 have been wounded in this misguided war.
The administration has alienated longtime allies.
Instead of making America more secure, they have made us less so. They have made it harder to win the real war on terrorism and the war against al Qaeda.
And none of this had to happen.
How could any president have possibly squandered the enormous goodwill that flowed to America from across the world after September 11th? Most of the world still knows what we can be, what only we can be, and they want us to be that nation again. America must be a light to the world. And under John Kerry and John Edwards that's what America will be.

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Camelot) on *Civil* War:
Across this region are burial grounds -- many so humble. You find them without intending to. You're in a town like Concord, Massachusetts, or Hancock, New Hampshire. You're visiting the old church there, and behind the chapel you find a small plot, simple stones bearing simple markers. The markers say "War of 1776."
They do not ask for attention, but they command it all the same. These are the patriots who won our freedom. These are the first Americans who enlisted in a fight for something larger than themselves, for a shared faith in the future, for a nation that was alive in their hearts, but not yet part of their world.
They and their fellow patriots won their battle, but the larger battle for freedom and justice and equality and opportunity is our battle, too, and it's never fully won.
Each new generation has to take up the cause, sometimes with weapons in hand, sometimes armed only with faith and hope, like the marches in Birmingham and Selma four decades ago.
Sometimes the fight is waged in Congress or the courts, sometimes on foreign shores, like the battle that called one of my brothers to war in the Pacific and another to die in Europe.
Now, it is our turn to take up the cause. Our struggle is not with some monarch named George who inherited the crown, although it often seems that way.
Our struggle is with the politics of fear and favoritism in our own time, in our own country. Our struggle, like so many others before, is with those who put their own narrow interest ahead of the public interest.

Teresa Heinz Kerry? Yes, she told one of Richard Scaife's "reporters" to
"shut up, and shove it," and she did not apologize in
the ensuing "US mainstream news media"
brouhaha...Bravo!...But there is so much more to her,
and to this struggle..

Teresa Heinz Kerry: I grew up in East Africa, in
Mozambique, in a land that was then under a
dictatorship. My father, a wonderful, caring man who
practiced medicine for 43 years, and who taught me how
to understand disease and wellness, only got to vote
for the first time when he was 73 years old.
That's what happens in dictatorships...
John believes in a bright future. He believes that we
can and will invent the technologies, the new
materials and the conservation methods of the future
He believes that alternative fuels will guarantee that
not only will no American boy or girl go to war
because of our dependence on foreign oil...but also
that our economy will forever become independent of
this need.
We can, and we will, create good, competitive and
sustainable jobs while still protecting the air we
breathe, the water we drink, and the health of our
children, because good environmental policy is good
economics...
And John is a fighter. He earned his medals the
old-fashioned way by putting his life on the line for
his country.
And no one will defend this nation more vigorously
than he will.
And he will always, always be first in the line of
fire.
But he also knows the importance of getting it right.
For him, the names of many friends inscribed on the
Vietnam Memorial -- that cold stone -- testify to the
awful toil exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness
for strength.
And that is why as president my husband will not fear
disagreement or dissent. He believes that our voices
-- yours and mine -- must be the voices of freedom.
And if we do not speak, neither does she.
In America the true patriots are those who dare speak truth through power.
And the truth that we must speak now is that America
has responsibilities that it is time for us to accept
again.
With John Kerry as president, the alliances that bind
the community of nations and that truly make our
country and the world a safer place, will be
strengthened once more.
With John Kerry as president, global climate change
and other threats to the health of our planet will
begin to be reversed.
With John Kerry as president, the alliances that bind
the community of nations and that truly make our
country and the world a safer place, will be
strengthened once more...
In his first inaugural, speaking to a nation on the
eve of war, Abraham Lincoln said, "We must not be
enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not
break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of
memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot
grave to every living heart and hearth stone all over
this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the
union when again touched, as surely they will be, by
the better angels of our nature."
Today, the better angels of our nature are just
waiting to be summoned.
We only require a leader who is willing to call on
them, a leader willing to draw again the mystic cords
of our national memory and remind us of all that we as
a people, everyday leaders, can do, of all that we as
a nation stand for, and of all the immense possibility
that still lies ahead.
I think I've found that guy.

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

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/27/dems.teresa.transcript/index.html

Heinz Kerry advocates speaking out, taking a stand

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- My name is Teresa Heinz
Kerry.

And by now, I hope it will come as no surprise that I
have something to say.

And tonight, as I have done throughout this campaign,
I would like to speak to you from my heart. Y a todos
los Hispanos y los Latinos...

a tous les Franco-Americain...

a tutti Italiani...

a toda a familia Portugesa e Brazileria...

and to all the continental Africans living in this
country...

and to all new Americans in our country, I invite you
to join our conversation and together with us work
toward the noblest purpose of all: a free, good and
democratic society.

I am grateful -- I am so grateful for the opportunity
to stand before you and to say a few words about my
husband, John Kerry, and why I firmly believe that he
should be the next president of the United States.

This is such a powerful moment for me. Like many other
Americans, like many of you, and like even more your
parents and grandparents, I was not born in this
country.

And as you have seen, I grew up in East Africa, in
Mozambique, in a land that was then under a
dictatorship. My father, a wonderful, caring man who
practiced medicine for 43 years, and who taught me how
to understand disease and wellness, only got to vote
for the first time when he was 73 years old.

That's what happens in dictatorships.

As a young woman, I attended Witwatersrand University
in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was then not
segregated.

But I witnessed the weight of apartheid everywhere
around me. And so with my fellow students, we marched
in the streets of Johannesburg against its extension
into higher education.

This was the late 1950s at the dawn of civil rights
marches in America. And, as history records, our
efforts in South Africa failed, and the Higher
Education Apartheid Act passed. Apartheid tightened
its ugly grips. The Sharpeville Riots followed. And
Nelson Mandela was arrested and sent to Robben Island.

I learned something then. And I believe it still.
There is a value in taking a stand, whether or not
anybody may be noticing it, and whether or not it is a
risky thing to do.

And if even those who are in danger can raise their
lonely voices, isn't it more that is required of all
of us, in this land where liberty had her birth?

I have a very personal feeling about how special
America is, and I know how precious freedom is. It is
a sacred gift, sanctified by those who have lived it
and those who have died defending it.

My right to speak my mind, to have a voice, to be what
some have called "opinionated"...

is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish.

And my only hope is that one day soon, My only hope is
that, one day soon, women, who have all earned their
right to their opinions...

instead of being labeled opinionated will be called
smart and well informed, just like men.

Tonight I want to remember my mother's warmth,
generosity, wisdom and hopefulness, and thank her for
all the sacrifices she made on our behalf, like so
many other mothers.

And this evening, I want to acknowledge and honor the
women of this world whose wise voices for much too
long have been excluded and discounted.

It is time -- it is time for the world to hear women's
voices in full and at last.

In the past year, I have been privileged to meet with
Americans all across this land. They voiced many
different concerns, but one they all share was about
America's role in the world, what we want this great
country of ours to stand for.

To me, one of the best faces America has ever
projected is the face of a Peace Corps volunteer.

That face symbolizes this country: young, curious,
brimming with idealism and hope, and a real, honest
compassion.

Those young people convey an idea of America that is
all about heart, creativity, generosity and
confidence, a practical, can-do sense, and a big, big
smile.

For many generations of people around this globe, that
is what America has represented: a symbol of hope, a
beacon brightly lit by the optimism of its people,
people coming from all over the world.

Americans believed that they could know all there is
to know, build all there is to build, break down any
barrier, tear down any wall. We sent men to the moon.
And when that was not far enough, we sent Galileo to
Jupiter, we sent Cassini to Saturn, and Hubble to
touch the very edges of the universe in the very dawn
of time.

Americans showed the world what can happen when people
believe in amazing possibilities. And that, for me, is
the spirit of America, the America you and I are
working for in this election.

It is the America that people all across this nation
want to restore, from Iowa to California...

from Florida to Michigan...

and from Washington state to my home of Pennsylvania.

It is the America the world wants to see: shining,
hopeful, and bright once again. And that is the
America that my husband John Kerry wants to lead.

John believes in a bright future. He believes that we
can and will invent the technologies, the new
materials and the conservation methods of the future

He believes that alternative fuels will guarantee that
not only will no American boy or girl go to war
because of our dependence on foreign oil...

but also that our economy will forever become
independent of this need.

We can, and we will, create good, competitive and
sustainable jobs while still protecting the air we
breathe, the water we drink, and the health of our
children, because good environmental policy is good
economics.

John believes that we can and we will give every
family and every child access to affordable health
care, a good education and the tools to become
self-reliant.

And John believes that we must and we should recognize
the immense value of the caregivers in our country,
those women and men who nurture and care for children,
for elderly parents, for family members in need. These
are the people who build and support our most valuable
assets, our families.

Isn't it time -- isn't it time that we begin working
to give parents more opportunity to be with their
children, and wouldn't it be wonderful for parents to
be able to afford a full and good family life?

With John Kerry as president, we can, and we will
protect our nation's security without sacrificing our
civil liberties.

In short, John believes that we can and we must lead
the world as America, unique among nations, always
should by showing the face not of its fear, but of our
hopes.

And John is a fighter. He earned his medals the
old-fashioned way...

by putting his life on the line for his country.

And no one will defend this nation more vigorously
than he will.

And he will always, always be first in the line of
fire.

But he also knows the importance of getting it right.
For him, the names of many friends inscribed on the
Vietnam Memorial -- that cold stone -- testify to the
awful toil exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness
for strength.

And that is why as president my husband will not fear
disagreement or dissent. He believes that our voices
-- yours and mine -- must be the voices of freedom.
And if we do not speak, neither does she.

In America the true patriots are those who dare speak
truth through power.

And the truth that we must speak now is that America
has responsibilities that it is time for us to accept
again.

With John Kerry as president, global climate change
and other threats to the health of our planet will
begin to be reversed.

With John Kerry as president, the alliances that bind
the community of nations and that truly make our
country and the world a safer place, will be
strengthened once more.

And the Americans John and I have met in the course of
this campaign all want America to provide hopeful
leadership again. They want America to return to its
moral bearings.

And It is not -- it is not a moralistic America they
seek; it is a moral nation that understands and
willingly shoulders its obligations, a moral nation
that rejects thoughtless and greedy choices in favor
of thoughtful and generous actions.

And it is a moral nation that leads through the power
of its ideas and the power of its example.

We can and we should join together to make the most of
this great gift that we have all been given, this gift
of freedom and this gift of America.

In his first inaugural, speaking to a nation on the
eve of war, Abraham Lincoln said, "We must not be
enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not
break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of
memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot
grave to every living heart and hearth stone all over
this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the
union when again touched, as surely they will be, by
the better angels of our nature."

Today, the better angels of our nature are just
waiting to be summoned.

We only require a leader who is willing to call on
them, a leader willing to draw again the mystic cords
of our national memory and remind us of all that we as
a people, everyday leaders, can do, of all that we as
a nation stand for, and of all the immense possibility
that still lies ahead.

I think I've found that guy.

And I'm married to him.

John Kerry will give us back our faith in America. He
will restore our faith in ourselves. And in the sense
of limitless opportunity that has always been
America's gift to the world, together we will lift
everyone up. We have to. It's possible. And do you
know what? It's the American thing to do.

Good night. And God bless you.





Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/27/dems.teresa.transcript/index.html


Posted by richard at 12:26 PM

12 Generals and Admirals Endorse John Kerry

Here is some more background on why AnythingButSee
(ABC), SeeBS (CBS) and NotBeSeen (NBC) are only show
three hours (total) coverage of the entire four days
of the Democratic National Convention...You will not
hear this story on the evening news...The Emperor has
no uniform...

Kerry-Edwards, U.S. Newswire: In an unprecedented display of support
from the military establishment, twelve retired
generals and admirals endorsed John Kerry for
president of the United States on Wednesday. These
distinguished flag officers join the ranks of tens of
thousands of veterans -- including over 500 veteran
delegates in Boston -- who want a stronger, more
secure America and their fellow veteran John Kerry to
be the next Commander-in-Chief.
The endorsement comes on the day the convention is
focused on the Kerry-Edwards plan to make a stronger,
more secure America. General John Shalikashvili (Ret.)
will speak at the Convention on Wednesday evening and
be introduced by Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy
(Ret.). There will be a special video tribute to John
Kerry featuring distinguished flag officers talking
about what is at stake in this election and why they
support John Kerry to build a strong America,
respected in the world.
"My son is a Navy sailor, my son-in-law is a Navy
sailor, and my nephew is a Navy sailor. I want them,
and all of America's sons and daughters in uniform to
have a new, wiser, better, and courageous
commander-in-chief in John Kerry," said Vice Admiral
Lee F. Gunn (USN, Ret.)

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


http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=109-07282004

12 Generals and Admirals Endorse John Kerry; Military Leaders to Speak and Take Part in Video Tribute in
Boston Wednesday

7/28/2004 9:00:00 AM


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

To: National Desk, Political Reporter

Contact: Mark Kitchens of the Kerry-Edwards Campaign,
617-654-0066, Web: http://www.johnkerry.com

BOSTON, July 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- In an unprecedented
display of support from the military establishment,
twelve retired generals and admirals endorsed John
Kerry for president of the United States on Wednesday.
These distinguished flag officers join the ranks of
tens of thousands of veterans -- including over 500
veteran delegates in Boston -- who want a stronger,
more secure America and their fellow veteran John
Kerry to be the next Commander-in-Chief.

The endorsement comes on the day the convention is
focused on the Kerry-Edwards plan to make a stronger,
more secure America. General John Shalikashvili (Ret.)
will speak at the Convention on Wednesday evening and
be introduced by Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy
(Ret.). There will be a special video tribute to John
Kerry featuring distinguished flag officers talking
about what is at stake in this election and why they
support John Kerry to build a strong America,
respected in the world.

"My son is a Navy sailor, my son-in-law is a Navy
sailor, and my nephew is a Navy sailor. I want them,
and all of America's sons and daughters in uniform to
have a new, wiser, better, and courageous
commander-in-chief in John Kerry," said Vice Admiral
Lee F. Gunn (USN, Ret.)

"Success in the global war on terror requires
enlightened U.S. leadership - leadership that knows
the importance of listening to and working with other
countries. Senator Kerry is such a leader, and as
Commander-in-Chief, he will adapt our military to the
unprecedented security demands faced by our country
and its armed forces," said Lieutenant General Daniel
Christman (USA, Ret.)

Kerry arrives in Boston for the convention Wednesday
morning where he will be met by 13 crewmates and
fellow veterans from Vietnam. Many of these
individuals will also participate in the convention
program on Thursday night before Kerry accepts the
Democratic nomination.

At the 2004 convention, veterans are playing a
historic, unprecedented role with over 500 delegates
who are veterans in attendance. On Monday, the first
ever Veterans Caucus was held. Led by notable veterans
like Wesley Clark, former Senator Max Cleland and
former Senator Bob Kerrey, over 2,000 veterans and
members of military families attended. Veterans have
also held grassroots 'Basic Training' sessions to
learn how they can help organize veterans in their own
communities and help elect John Kerry.

The Kerry-Edwards campaign has set a goal of
organizing one million veterans by Election Day.
Recruited through the 50 state- level Veterans for
Kerry organizations, these one million veterans will
be used in grassroots, veteran-to-veteran operations,
including phone-banks, canvassing and GOTV efforts.

John Kerry and John Edwards offer the right plan for
our troops and the right plan for our country. They
have proposed expanding America's active duty forces
by 40,000 to relieve the strain on today's military,
doubling America's special forces capability and
increasing other specialized personnel to improve
America's ability to conduct counterterrorism
operations, perform reconnaissance missions and gather
intelligence. John Kerry and John Edwards will ensure
that our troops have everything they need to
accomplish their mission.

------

The flag officers endorsing John Kerry are:

Lieutenant General Edward D. Baca (United States Army,
Retired)

Baca served as Chief of the National Guard Bureau in
Washington, D.C. where he was responsible for
formulating, developing, and coordinating all
policies, programs and plans affecting Army and Air
National Guard personnel. During his tenure as head of
the National Guard, Baca was one of the
highest-ranking Latinos in the U.S. military. A native
of New Mexico, Baca enlisted in the New Mexico Army
National Guard in 1956, volunteered for service in
Vietnam, and retired as a three-star general officer.
Baca also served as the Adjutant General of the New
Mexico National Guard where he exercised joint command
over both the Army and Air National Guard of New
Mexico.

"I am proud to have served our country in the military
for over 41 years. I am even prouder that 4 of my
children have worn the uniform of our armed forces.
Three are still serving. As a combat veteran and
proven leader, I know that John Kerry will never send
them in harm's way, without exhausting all means of
diplomacy. Even then, it will be a last resort. God
forbid if he ever has to, he will make sure that they
are part of an armed force as best equipped, best
training, and most respected in the world." - LTG
Edward Baca (USA, Ret.)

Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman (United States
Army, Retired)

Christman served as the Superintendent of the U.S.
Military Academy at West Point. He also served for two
years as Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, during which time he represented the U.S. as
a member of NATO's Military Committee in Brussels,
Belgium. He is a combat veteran of Southeast Asia
where he commanded a company in the 101st Airborne
Division. Christman was born on May 5, 1943 and is a
native of Hudson, Ohio.

"Success in the global war on terror requires
enlightened U.S. leadership - leadership that knows
the importance of listening to and working with other
countries. Senator Kerry is such a leader, and as
Commander-in-Chief, he will adapt our military to the
unprecedented security demands faced by our country
and its armed forces." - LTG Daniel Christman (USA,
Ret.)

General Wesley K. Clark (United States Army, Retired)

Wesley Clark was born December 23rd 1944 in Chicago,
Illinois, and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He
graduated first in his class from the United States
Military Academy at West Point in 1966 and received
his Masters degree in Philosophy, Politics and
Economics from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes
Scholar. In the Army, Clark rose steadily through the
ranks, culminating in his service as the
Commander-in-Chief of US Southern Command from 1996 to
1997 and NATO Supreme Allied Commander from 1997 to
2000. He retired from the Army in 2000. Clark and his
wife Gert live in Little Rock, Arkansas and have one
son. "I ask you to join me in standing up for an
American who has given truly outstanding service to
his country in peace and in war. John Kerry has the
right message and right character to bring the nation
forward. Both John and I served in Vietnam -- and know
what it is to be tested on the battlefield, fighting
for your country. John Kerry never quit fighting for
his country." - GEN Wesley K. Clark (USA, Ret.)

Admiral William J. Crowe (United States Navy, Retired)

Crowe served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
the highest ranking officer in the U.S. military.
Prior to serving as Chairman, he served as Commander
in Chief in several areas, including the U.S. Pacific
Command, Allied Forces in Southern Europe, U.S. Naval
Forces in Europe and the Middle East Forces. He was
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1985 until
his retirement from the Navy in 1989.

"The current administration has an overly simplistic
view of how and when to use our military. By not
bringing in our friends and allies, they have created
a mess in Iraq and are crippling our forces around the
world. John Kerry has a realistic understanding of the
requirements of our military and the threats that we
face." - ADM William J. Crowe (USN, Ret.)

Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (United States Navy, Retired)

Gunn served as the Inspector General of the Department
of the Navy until his retirement in August 2000. Gunn
commanded the USS BARBEY and the Destroyer Squadron
"Thirty-one," a component of the U.S. Navy's
Anti-Submarine Warfare Destroyer Squadrons. Gunn is
from Bakersfield, California and is a graduate of the
University of California, Los Angeles. He received his
commission from the Naval ROTC program at UCLA in June
1965.

"My son is a Navy sailor, my son-in-law is a Navy
sailor, and my nephew is a Navy sailor. I want them,
and all of America's sons and daughters in uniform to
have a new, wiser, better, and courageous
commander-in-chief in John Kerry." - VADM Lee F. Gunn
(USN, Ret.)

General Joseph Hoar (United States Marine Corps,
Retired)

Hoar served as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Central
Command. After the first Gulf War, Hoar led the effort
to enforce the naval embargo in the Red Sea and the
Persian Gulf, enforce the no-fly zone in the south of
Iraq. He oversaw the humanitarian and peacekeeping
operations in Kenya and Somalia and also led the U.S.
Marine Corps support for operations in Rwanda, and the
evacuation of U.S. civilians from Yemen during the
1994 civil war. Hoar was the Deputy for Operations for
the Marine Crops during the Gulf War and served as
General Norman Schwartzkopf's Chief of Staff at
Central Command. General Hoar was born in Boston,
Massachusetts and graduated from Tufts University
where he received his commission through the ROTC
program.

"Sen. Kerry has demonstrated his courage in combat and
his broad knowledge of international relations while
in the Senate. He's a leader who is not afraid to
lead." - GEN Joseph Hoar (USMC, Ret.)

Lieutenant General Claudia J. Kennedy (United States
Army, Retired)

Kennedy is the first and only woman to achieve the
rank of three-star general in the United States Army.
Kennedy also served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Army
Intelligence, Commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting
Command, and as Commander of the 703d military
intelligence brigade in Kunia, Hawaii. She was born in
Frankfurt, Germany, and earned her commission as a
second lieutenant in June 1969 through the Women's
Army Corps.

"John Kerry understands the future as it is framed by
the international community and by the people at home.
He will make the right decisions about education,
defense, intelligence, economic development both
foreign and domestic, and sustaining international
relationships. He is a leader I trust." - LTG Claudia
J. Kennedy (USA, Ret.)

Lieutenant General Donald Kerrick (United States Army,
Retired)

Kerrick served as Deputy National Security Advisor to
the President of the United States where he was
responsible for developing, implementing, and managing
United States foreign and national security policies.
He was a principal negotiator on the international
Bosnia Peace Delegation that ended the Bosnian War,
and served on the Steering Committee for the
Protection of United States Critical Infrastructure.
Kerrick holds a Masters degree from the University of
Southern California and a Bachelors degree from
Florida Southern College. He was awarded an honorary
Doctor of Diplomacy from Florida Southern College.
Kerrick was born on April 1949 in Bethesda, Maryland
and was raised in Islamorada, Florida.

"The miscalculations of the last three years have
severely stressed our armed forces both around the
world and here at home. John Kerry understands the
military and war. He is the right leader at the right
time to restore America's credibility around the
world." - LTG Donald Kerrick (USA, Ret.)

General Merrill "Tony" A. McPeak (United States Air
Force, Retired)

McPeak served as the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air
Force. Previously, McPeak served as Commander in Chief
of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces. He is a command pilot,
having flown more than 6,000 hours, principally in
fighter aircraft. General McPeak was born January 9,
1936 in Santa Rosa, California and entered the Air
Force in 1957 as a distinguished graduate of the San
Diego State College ROTC program.

"I'm a registered independent, but I like and admire
John Kerry. He simply has a great record of brave and
skillful service to the country. He is sure to be a
fine Commander-in-Chief, one we can all be proud of,
and proud to follow." - GEN Merrill "Tony" A. McPeak
(USAF, Ret.)

General John M. Shalikashvili (United States Army,
Retired)

Shalikashvili served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, the highest ranking officer in the U.S.
military. Prior to serving as Chairman, he served as
the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and also as the
Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. European Command. He
served as Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army
in Europe and during the first Gulf War in 1991,
assumed command of Operation Provide Comfort, the
relief operation that returned hundreds of thousands
of Kurdish refugees to Northern Iraq. Shalikashvili is
a naturalized U.S. citizen and was born in Warsaw,
Poland on June 27, 1936.

"I believe in John Kerry. As a young man, he heeded
his country's call to service when it needed him. He
commanded in combat and did so with bravery and
distinction. He knows from experience a commander's
responsibility to his troops. He stands with our
troops and with their families." - GEN John M.
Shalikashvili (USA, Ret.)

Admiral Stansfield Turner (United States Navy,
Retired)

Turner served as the Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency from 1977-1981. Previously, he
served in the U.S. Navy as Commander of the U.S.
Second Fleet and NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic. Turner
also served as the Commander-in-Chief of NATO's
Southern Flank, and as President of the Naval War
College. Before promotion to Admiral in 1970, he
served on destroyers off the shores of Korea and
Vietnam, and as executive assistant and naval aide to
two Secretaries of the Navy. A native of Highland
Park, Illinois, Turner received his commission from
the United States Naval Academy and was a Rhodes
Scholar.

"George Bush as the Commander-in-Chief has got us into
a morass in both Iraq and Afghanistan. John Kerry is a
true veteran, and would be a much better
commander-in-chief." - ADM Stansfield Turner (USN,
Ret.)

General Johnnie E. Wilson (United States Army,
Retired)

Wilson served as the Commanding General of the U.S.
Army Material Command, and was responsible for the
Army's wholesale logistics, acquisition and technology
generation operations. He was born on February 4, 1944
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and raised in Lorain, Ohio.
He entered the Army in August 1961 as an enlisted
soldier and retired n 1999 as a four-star general.
Wilson is one of just four African-Americans to earn
four stars in the U.S. Army's more than 200-year
history. Wilson held a wide variety of important
command and staff positions including Deputy Chief of
Staff for Logistics, and Chief of Staff of the U.S.
Army Materiel Command.

"Senator Kerry is a principled, patriotic leader with
the requisite skills to lead America in the 21st
century." - GEN Johnnie E. Wilson (USA, Ret.)

Paid for by John Kerry for President, Inc.


http://www.usnewswire.com/

-0-

/© 2004 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/


Posted by richard at 12:09 PM

Robert Scheer: An Excuse-Spouting Bush Is Busted by 9/11 Report

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) remarked yesterday
that the 9/11 Commission should stay on the job for
another year and a half, ostensibly to see that their
recommendations are really implemented, but, of
course, it occurs to the LNS that if they are still in
business that could go back and take a deeper and
unrestricted look at some of these painful and
disturbing issues...
MEANWHILE, Robert Scheer, as usual, is doing the work
that NotBeSeen, SeeBS and AnythingButSee should be
doing, and Scheer is not paid the millions of dollars
each (quite literally) that Brokaw, Jennings and
Rather are paid to feign objectivity, knowingness and
a commitment to keeping you informed.

Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times: Without dissent,
five prominent Republicans joined an equal number of
their Democratic Party peers in stating unequivocally
that the Bush administration got it wrong, both in its
lethargic response to an unprecedented level of
warnings during what the commission calls the "Summer
of Threat," as well as in its inclusion of Iraq in the
war on terror.
Although the language of the commission's report was
carefully couched to obtain a bipartisan consensus,
the indictment of this administration surfaces on
almost every page.
Bush was not the first U.S. president to play footsie
with Muslim extremists in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia
and Pakistan, nor was the Clinton administration
without fault in its fitful and ineffective response
to the Al Qaeda threat. But there was simply no excuse
for the near-total indifference of the new president
and his top Cabinet officials to strenuous warnings
from the outgoing Clinton administration and the
government's counter-terrorism experts that something
terrible was coming, fast and hard, from Al Qaeda.
Osama bin Laden's gang, they said repeatedly, was
planning "near-term attacks," which Al Qaeda
operatives expected "to have dramatic consequences of
catastrophic proportions."

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

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-scheer27jul27,1,7719764.column

ROBERT SCHEER
An Excuse-Spouting Bush Is Busted by 9/11 Report
Robert Scheer

July 27, 2004

Busted! Like a teenager whose beer bash is interrupted
by his parents' early return home, President Bush's
nearly three years of bragging about his "war on
terror" credentials has been exposed by the bipartisan
9/11 commission as nothing more than empty posturing.

Without dissent, five prominent Republicans joined an
equal number of their Democratic Party peers in
stating unequivocally that the Bush administration got
it wrong, both in its lethargic response to an
unprecedented level of warnings during what the
commission calls the "Summer of Threat," as well as in
its inclusion of Iraq in the war on terror.

Although the language of the commission's report was
carefully couched to obtain a bipartisan consensus,
the indictment of this administration surfaces on
almost every page.

Bush was not the first U.S. president to play footsie
with Muslim extremists in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia
and Pakistan, nor was the Clinton administration
without fault in its fitful and ineffective response
to the Al Qaeda threat. But there was simply no excuse
for the near-total indifference of the new president
and his top Cabinet officials to strenuous warnings
from the outgoing Clinton administration and the
government's counter-terrorism experts that something
terrible was coming, fast and hard, from Al Qaeda.
Osama bin Laden's gang, they said repeatedly, was
planning "near-term attacks," which Al Qaeda
operatives expected "to have dramatic consequences of
catastrophic proportions."

As early as May 2001, the FBI was receiving tips that
Bin Laden supporters were planning attacks in the
U.S., possibly including the hijacking of planes. On
May 29, White House counter-terrorism chief Richard
Clarke wrote national security advisor Condoleezza
Rice that "when these attacks [on Israeli or U.S.
facilities] occur, as they likely will, we will wonder
what more we could have done to stop them." At the end
of June, the commission wrote, "the intelligence
reporting consistently described the upcoming attacks
as occurring on a calamitous level." In early July,
Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft was told "that preparations
for multiple attacks [by Al Qaeda] were in late stages
or already complete and that little additional warning
could be expected." By month's end, "the system was
blinking red" and could not "get any worse," then-CIA
Director George Tenet told the 9/11 commission.

It was at this point, of course, that George W. Bush
began the longest presidential vacation in 32 years.
On the very first day of his visit to his Texas ranch,
Aug. 6, Bush received the now-infamous two-page
intelligence alert titled, "Bin Laden Determined to
Attack in the United States." Yet instead of returning
to the capital to mobilize an energetic defensive
posture, he spent an additional 27 days away as the
government languished in summer mode, in deep denial.

"In sum," said the 9/11 commission report, "the
domestic agencies never mobilized in response to the
threat. They did not have the direction, and did not
have a plan to institute. The borders were not
hardened. Transportation systems were not fortified.
Electronic surveillance was not targeted against a
domestic threat. State and local law enforcement were
not marshaled to augment the FBI's efforts. The public
was not warned."

In her public testimony to the commission, Rice argued
that the Aug. 6 briefing concerned vague "historical
information based on old reporting," adding that
"there was no new threat information." When the
commission forced the White House to release the
document, however, this was exposed as a lie: The
document included explicit FBI warnings of "suspicious
activity in this country consistent with preparations
for hijackings or other types of attacks, including
recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York."
Furthermore, this briefing was only one of 40 on the
threat of Bin Laden that the president received
between Jan. 20 and Sept. 11, 2001.

Bush, the commission report also makes clear,
compounded U.S. vulnerability by totally misleading
Americans about the need to invade Iraq as a part of
the "war on terror."

For those, like Vice President Dick Cheney, who
continue to insist that the jury is still out on
whether Al Qaeda and Iraq were collaborators, the
commission's report should be the final word, finding
after an exhaustive review that there is no evidence
that any of the alleged contacts between Bin Laden and
Saddam Hussein "ever developed into a collaborative
operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence
indicating that Iraq cooperated with Al Qaeda in
developing or carrying out any attacks against the
United States."

So, before 9/11, incompetence and sloth. And after?
Much worse: a war without end on the wrong
battlefield.


If you want other stories on this topic, search the
Archives at latimes.com/archives.

Article licensing and reprint options


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


Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times

Posted by richard at 12:02 PM

July 27, 2004

Jimmy Carter: At stake is nothing less than our nation's soul.

Last night, the Democratic Party launched a powerful,
all-out assault on the failed _residency of George W.
Bush, and they did it, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Hillary
Clinton and Bill Clinton, one after another, with
eloquence and spiritual force. Therefore, of course,
the morning's lead story on NotBeSeen News is "Losing
Ground: Amid Convention Extravaganza, Poll Show Kerry
Slipping vs. Bush." But, as the Big Dog said last
night, "Remember the Scripture, Be Not Afraid..."
Anyone who has been following the dozen or so major
polls, as the LNS has, over the past few months knows
that Sen. John F. Kerry is ahead both in most one on one
match-ups and in most Electoral College projections -- a position of unprecendented strength against an incumbent. Of course, you have never seen -- in all these months -- a NotBeSeen lead story about the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident being farther behind at this late point than any other incumbent in modern history...Do you really think the
fact that there is less prime time coverage this convention year than ever before (a measly three hours total for each of the major networks) is a
coincidence? Please. Get a grip on yourself and face the reality of what has happened in America...Have you taken the time to analyze the embarrassing distortions that the Associated Press is distributing? Well,
really, we shouldn't have expected anything else...The
"US mainstream news media" could not add up the real, simple addition
numbers in its own post-Fraudida Gore vs. Bush NORC study, so
we really shouldn't expect them to correctly add up
the Electoral College projections for Kerry vs. Bush.
Buzzflash, one of the bastions of the Information
Rebellion, has a running blog for the DNC, its first
entry was prescient:

"Salaries of Leading TV Pandering Pundits
Not that we would be the ones to think that the large
salaries of the TV anchor person pundits pumping up
Bush's image everyday have anything to do with their
pro-White House bias. I mean, who could suspect such
a thing? These people are touted as unbiased, neutral
talking heads full of non-partisan hot air, but could
their salaries and class influence their coverage? Or
is it just that General Electric, Disney, Viacom,
Rupert Murdoch, Time-Warner and the like sign their
paychecks?
As we watched some of the Sunday morning coverage of
the upcoming Democratic convention, we couldn't help
but be struck by how seriously these blowhards take
the Bush administration, as if they have no memory of
his failings and lies. Today's spin was that the 9/11
Commission warned that a big terrorist attack was
coming soon, so wouldn't that make voters more likely
to stick with Bush?
Excuse us, but Bush didn't protect us from the last
one did he, even though he and Condi were warned about
terrorists hijacking planes in the U.S. And terrorist
incidents have risen since Bush's "war on terrorism"
commenced. And Iraq has become a haven for attracting
and creating terrorists.
But the news anchors know that they are safe going
with the White House/GOP spin. Their big fat
paychecks will keep coming. If they happened to give
some context to the news and point out the failings of
the Bush administration, its daily contradictions and
lies, its failure to protect America, well they might
be out of job.
And if they were fired for telling the truth and
giving some honest perspective to the ineptitude and
deception of the White House, how much money would
they lose?
According to the book "News Flash" (2004), by Bonnie
Anderson, here are examples of some of the salaries
that would be at risk if mainstream television news
personalities told us the truth:
Peter Jennings
$10- 11 million
Dan Rather
$7 million
Tom Brokaw
$7 -8 million
Katie Couric
$12-15 million
Paula Zahn
$2 million
Don't expect these folks to be rubbing shoulders with
the working people of America. They travel strictly
first class and expect to be treated like stars.
Their wealth is dependent upon continued employment by corporations that support the Republicans and the Bush Cartel at the expense of our national security. BuzzFlash can't say conclusively that their salaries
influence their biased punditry, but we'll just ask
you to use the common sense test and make your own
judgments as you listen to them continue to provide
Bush with credibility as someone who can protect our
national security, when he puts this country at grave
risk everyday because of his rash, politcally and
ideologically motivated actions...
You do the math as you watch these elitists perched on
chairs high above the Fleet Convention Center acting
as if they are professional journalists.
"

It's the Media, Stupid. Yes, and the "US mainstream
news media," along with the Corporatist monopolies it
serves, and the Bush cabal that fronts for those
monopolies, are going to have an Electoral Uprising to
deal with in November 2004 that simply will not jibe
with the Orwellian fantasy they are attempting to
construct before our eyes. Will the Republic survive
this coming confrontation? The LNS believes that the
Kerry-Edwards ticket and the Electoral Uprising it
embodies is going to bust open the Bush cabal's TRIPLE
LOCK. The LNS does not believe they were as successful
as they needed to be on the Black Box Voting front,
the LNS does not believe that their overwhelming
advantage in campaign cash is going to cancel out the
negative impression that the nakedness of the Emperor
and the farcical nature of his Three Stooges Reich
have made on the America people, the LNS believes the
the complicity of the "US Mainstream News Media" and
its propapunditgandists over Iraq, 9/11, Enron, the
phoney "California energy crisis," Halliburton, Abu
Ghraib, Plame, Chalabi, the prostitution of the EPA,
Medifraud, the multi-trillion dollar deficit, etc. is
transparent and that the US Electorate has turned them
off. Michael Moore's $100 million BLOCKBUSTER
Fahrenheit 911 and Bill Clinton's No. 1 BESTSELLER My
Life are the proof...

Here is TRUTH from the podium of the oldest political
party in the world...

Former US Pres. Jimmy Carter: As many of you may know, my first chosen career was in the United States Navy, where I served as a submarine
officer. At that time, my shipmates and I were ready
for combat and prepared to give our lives to defend
our nation and its principles. At the same time, we
always prayed that our readiness would preserve the
peace.
I served under two presidents, Harry Truman and Dwight
Eisenhower, men who represented different political
parties, both of whom had faced their active military
responsibilities with honor.
They knew the horrors of war. And later as commanders
in chief, they exercised restraint and judgment, and
they had a clear sense of mission.
We had a confidence -- we had a confidence that our
leaders, both military and civilian, would not put our
soldiers and sailors in harm's way by initiating wars
of choice unless America's vital interests were in
danger.
We also were sure that these presidents would not
mislead us when issues involved our national security.
Today, our Democratic Party is led by another former
naval officer, one who volunteered for military
service. He showed up when assigned to duty...
... and he served with honor and distinction. He also
knows the horrors of war and the responsibilities of
leadership. And I am confident that next January, he
will restore the judgment and maturity to our
government that nowadays is sorely lacking...
After 9/11, America stood proud -- wounded, but
determined and united. A cowardly attack on innocent
civilians brought us an unprecedented level of
cooperation and understanding around the world. But in
just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as
all this good will has been squandered by a virtually
unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations.
Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United
States from the very nations we need to join us in
combating terrorism.
Let us not forget that the Soviets lost the Cold War
because the American people combined the exercise of
power with adherence to basic principles, based on
sustained bipartisan support.
We understood the positive link between the defense of
our own freedom and the promotion of human rights.
But recent policies have cost our nation its
reputation as the world's most admired champion of
freedom and justice.
What a difference these few months of extremism have
made.
The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed
its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies
by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of
preemptive war.
With our allies disunited, the world resenting us, and
the Middle East ablaze, we need John Kerry to restore
life to the global war against terrorism...
Ultimately, the basic issue is whether America will
provide global leadership that springs from the unity
and the integrity of the American people, or whether
extremist doctrines, the manipulation of the truth,
will define America's role in the world.
At stake is nothing less than our nation's soul.

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

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
My name is Jimmy Carter, and I'm not running for
president.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

But here's what I will be doing: everything I can to
put John Kerry in the White House with John Edwards
right there beside him.

(APPLAUSE)

Twenty-eight years ago I was running for president.
And I said then, "I want a government as good and as
honest and as decent and as competent and as
compassionate as are the American people."

I say this again tonight, and that's exactly what we
will have next January with John Kerry as president of
the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

As many of you may know, my first chosen career was in
the United States Navy, where I served as a submarine
officer. At that time, my shipmates and I were ready
for combat and prepared to give our lives to defend
our nation and its principles. At the same time, we
always prayed that our readiness would preserve the
peace.

I served under two presidents, Harry Truman and Dwight
Eisenhower, men who represented different political
parties, both of whom had faced their active military
responsibilities with honor.

(APPLAUSE)

They knew the horrors of war. And later as commanders
in chief, they exercised restraint and judgment, and
they had a clear sense of mission.

We had a confidence -- we had a confidence that our
leaders, both military and civilian, would not put our
soldiers and sailors in harm's way by initiating wars
of choice unless America's vital interests were in
danger.

(APPLAUSE)

We also were sure that these presidents would not
mislead us when issues involved our national security.


(APPLAUSE)

Today, our Democratic Party is led by another former
naval officer, one who volunteered for military
service. He showed up when assigned to duty...

(APPLAUSE)

... and he served with honor and distinction. He also
knows the horrors of war and the responsibilities of
leadership. And I am confident that next January, he
will restore the judgment and maturity to our
government that nowadays is sorely lacking.

(APPLAUSE)

I am proud to call Lieutenant John Kerry my shipmate,
and I am ready to follow him to victory in November.

(APPLAUSE)

As you all know, our country faces many challenges at
home involving energy, taxation, the environment,
education and health. To meet these challenges, we
need new leaders in Washington whose policies are
shaped by working American families instead of the
super- rich and their armies of lobbyists in
Washington.

(APPLAUSE)

But the biggest reason to make John Kerry president is
even more important. It is to safeguard the security
of our nation.

(APPLAUSE)

Today, our dominant international challenge is to
restore the greatness of America, based on...
(APPLAUSE)

... based on telling the truth, a commitment to peace,
and respect for civil liberties at home and basic
human rights around the world.

(APPLAUSE)

Truth is the foundation of our global leadership, but
our credibility has been shattered and we are left
increasingly isolated and vulnerable in a hostile
world.

Without truth, without trust, America cannot flourish.
Trust is at the very heart of our democracy, the
sacred covenant between a president and the people.

When that trust is violated, the bonds that hold our
republic together begin to weaken.

After 9/11, America stood proud -- wounded, but
determined and united. A cowardly attack on innocent
civilians brought us an unprecedented level of
cooperation and understanding around the world. But in
just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as
all this good will has been squandered by a virtually
unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations.

(APPLAUSE)

Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United
States from the very nations we need to join us in
combating terrorism.

Let us not forget that the Soviets lost the Cold War
because the American people combined the exercise of
power with adherence to basic principles, based on
sustained bipartisan support.

We understood the positive link between the defense of
our own freedom and the promotion of human rights.

But recent policies have cost our nation its
reputation as the world's most admired champion of
freedom and justice.

(APPLAUSE)

What a difference these few months of extremism have
made.

The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed
its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies
by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of
preemptive war.

With our allies disunited, the world resenting us, and
the Middle East ablaze, we need John Kerry to restore
life to the global war against terrorism.

(APPLAUSE)

In the meantime, the Middle East peace process has
come to a screeching halt. For the first time since
Israel became a nation, all former presidents,
Democratic and Republican, have attempted to secure a
comprehensive peace for Israel with hope and justice
for the Palestinians.

The achievements of Camp David a quarter century ago
and the more recent progress made by President Bill
Clinton are now in peril.

Instead, violence has gripped the Holy Land, with the
region increasingly swept by anti-American passions.
This must change.

(APPLAUSE)

Elsewhere, North Korea's nuclear menace, a threat far
more real and immediate than any posed by Saddam
Hussein, has been allowed to advance unheeded, with
potentially ominous consequences for peace and
stability in Northeast Asia.

These are some of the prices of our government has
paid for this radical departure from the basic
American principles and values that are espoused by
John Kerry.

(APPLAUSE)

In repudiating extremism, we need to recommit
ourselves to a few common-sense principles that should
transcend partisan differences.

First, we cannot enhance our own security if we place
in jeopardy what is most precious to us, namely the
centrality of human rights in our daily lives and in
global affairs.

(APPLAUSE)

Second, we cannot maintain our historic
self-confidence as a people if we generate public
panic.

(APPLAUSE)

Third, we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots
if we pursue an agenda that polarizes and divides our
country.

(APPLAUSE)

Next, we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat
others.

And finally, in the world at large, we cannot lead if
our leaders mislead.

(APPLAUSE)

You can't be a war president one day and claim to be a
peace president the next, depending on the latest
political polls.

(APPLAUSE)

When our national security requires military action,
John Kerry has already proven in Vietnam that he will
not hesitate to act. And as a proven defender of our
national security, John Kerry will strengthen the
global alliance against terrorism while avoiding
unnecessary wars.

(APPLAUSE)

Ultimately, the basic issue is whether America will
provide global leadership that springs from the unity
and the integrity of the American people, or whether
extremist doctrines, the manipulation of the truth,
will define America's role in the world.

At stake is nothing less than our nation's soul.

(APPLAUSE)

In a few months, I will, God willing, enter my 81st
year of my life.

(APPLAUSE)

And in many ways, the last few months have been some
of the most disturbing of all. But I am not
discouraged. I really am not. I do not despair for our
country. I never do. I believe tonight, as I always
have, that the essential decency and compassion and
common sense of the American people will prevail.

(APPLAUSE)

And so I say to you...

(APPLAUSE)

And so I say to you and to others around the world,
whether they wish us well or ill: Do not underestimate
us Americans.

(APPLAUSE)

We lack neither strength nor wisdom. There is a road
that leads to a bright and hopeful future. What
America needs is leadership.

(APPLAUSE)

Our job, my fellow Americans, is to ensure that the
leaders of this great country will be John Kerry and
John Edwards.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, and God bless America.

(APPLAUSE)

Posted by richard at 11:15 AM

July 26, 2004

Ted Turner: When media companies dominate their markets, it undercuts our democracy.

If you have not viewed Robert Kane Pappas' DVD, "Orwell Rolls in His Grave," you must...Like "OutFoxed," it is one of the DOCS advancing the Information Rebellion within the US...In it, the brilliant Mark Crispin Miller and numerous other brave dissenters, including Charles Lewis, the personification of real journalism, reveal the whole sordid truth...The government doesn't control the media, the media (along with other poweful monopolies, e.g., energy and weapons) controls the government...There is an Electoral Uprising coming in November 2004, it will sweep the Bush cabal out of office, and then the "US mainstream news media" must be dealt with directly. Otherwise, this Republic is finished. Some argue, it is already finished. We'll see in 99 days...It's the Media, Stupid.

Ted Turner, Washington Monthly: When media companies dominate their markets, it undercuts our democracy. Justice Hugo Black, in a landmark media-ownership case in 1945, wrote: "The First Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public."
These big companies are not antagonistic; they do billions of dollars in business with each other. They don't compete; they cooperate to inhibit competition. You and I have both felt the impact. I felt it in 1981, when CBS, NBC, and ABC all came together to try to keep CNN from covering the White House. You've felt the impact over the past two years, as you saw little news from ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Fox, or CNN on the FCC's actions. In early 2003, the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans had heard "nothing at all" about the proposed FCC rule changes. Why? One never knows for sure, but it must have been clear to news directors that the more they covered this issue, the harder it would be for their corporate bosses to get the policy result they wanted.
A few media conglomerates now exercise a near-monopoly over television news. There is always a risk that news organizations can emphasize or ignore stories to serve their corporate purpose. But the risk is far greater when there are no independent competitors to air the side of the story the corporation wants to ignore. More consolidation has often meant more news-sharing. But closing bureaus and downsizing staff have more than economic consequences. A smaller press is less capable of holding our leaders accountable. When Viacom merged two news stations it owned in Los Angeles, reports The American Journalism Review, "field reporters began carrying microphones labeled KCBS on one side and KCAL on the other." This was no accident. As the Viacom executive in charge told The Los Angeles Business Journal: "In this duopoly, we should be able to control the news in the marketplace."
This ability to control the news is especially worrisome when a large media organization is itself the subject of a news story. Disney's boss, after buying ABC in 1995, was quoted in LA Weekly as saying, "I would prefer ABC not cover Disney." A few days later, ABC killed a "20/20" story critical of the parent company.

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

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0407.turner.html

My Beef With Big Media
How government protects big media--and shuts out upstarts like me.

By Ted Turner
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


In the late 1960s, when Turner Communications was a business of billboards and radio stations and I was spending much of my energy ocean racing, a UHF-TV station came up for sale in Atlanta. It was losing $50,000 a month and its programs were viewed by fewer than 5 percent of the market.
I acquired it.

When I moved to buy a second station in Charlotte--this one worse than the first--my accountant quit in protest, and the company's board vetoed the deal. So I mortgaged my house and bought it myself. The Atlanta purchase turned into the Superstation; the Charlotte purchase--when I sold it 10 years later--gave me the capital to launch CNN.

Both purchases played a role in revolutionizing television. Both required a streak of independence and a taste for risk. And neither could happen today. In the current climate of consolidation, independent broadcasters simply don't survive for long. That's why we haven't seen a new generation of people like me or even Rupert Murdoch--independent television upstarts who challenge the big boys and force the whole industry to compete and change.

It's not that there aren't entrepreneurs eager to make their names and fortunes in broadcasting if given the chance. If nothing else, the 1990s dot-com boom showed that the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in America, with plenty of investors willing to put real money into new media ventures. The difference is that Washington has changed the rules of the game. When I was getting into the television business, lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took seriously the commission's mandate to promote diversity, localism, and competition in the media marketplace. They wanted to make sure that the big, established networks--CBS, ABC, NBC--wouldn't forever dominate what the American public could watch on TV. They wanted independent producers to thrive. They wanted more people to be able to own TV stations. They believed in the value of competition.

So when the FCC received a glut of applications for new television stations after World War II, the agency set aside dozens of channels on the new UHF spectrum so independents could get a foothold in television. That helped me get my start 35 years ago. Congress also passed a law in 1962 requiring that TVs be equipped to receive both UHF and VHF channels. That's how I was able to compete as a UHF station, although it was never easy. (I used to tell potential advertisers that our UHF viewers were smarter than the rest, because you had to be a genius just to figure out how to tune us in.) And in 1972, the FCC ruled that cable TV operators could import distant signals. That's how we were able to beam our Atlanta station to homes throughout the South. Five years later, with the help of an RCA satellite, we were sending our signal across the nation, and the Superstation was born.

That was then.

Today, media companies are more concentrated than at any time over the past 40 years, thanks to a continual loosening of ownership rules by Washington. The media giants now own not only broadcast networks and local stations; they also own the cable companies that pipe in the signals of their competitors and the studios that produce most of the programming. To get a flavor of how consolidated the industry has become, consider this: In 1990, the major broadcast networks--ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox--fully or partially owned just 12.5 percent of the new series they aired. By 2000, it was 56.3 percent. Just two years later, it had surged to 77.5 percent.

In this environment, most independent media firms either get gobbled up by one of the big companies or driven out of business altogether. Yet instead of balancing the rules to give independent broadcasters a fair chance in the market, Washington continues to tilt the playing field to favor the biggest players. Last summer, the FCC passed another round of sweeping pro-consolidation rules that, among other things, further raised the cap on the number of TV stations a company can own.

In the media, as in any industry, big corporations play a vital role, but so do small, emerging ones. When you lose small businesses, you lose big ideas. People who own their own businesses are their own bosses. They are independent thinkers. They know they can't compete by imitating the big guys--they have to innovate, so they're less obsessed with earnings than they are with ideas. They are quicker to seize on new technologies and new product ideas. They steal market share from the big companies, spurring them to adopt new approaches. This process promotes competition, which leads to higher product and service quality, more jobs, and greater wealth. It's called capitalism.

But without the proper rules, healthy capitalist markets turn into sluggish oligopolies, and that is what's happening in media today. Large corporations are more profit-focused and risk-averse. They often kill local programming because it's expensive, and they push national programming because it's cheap--even if their decisions run counter to local interests and community values. Their managers are more averse to innovation because they're afraid of being fired for an idea that fails. They prefer to sit on the sidelines, waiting to buy the businesses of the risk-takers who succeed.

Unless we have a climate that will allow more independent media companies to survive, a dangerously high percentage of what we see--and what we don't see--will be shaped by the profit motives and political interests of large, publicly traded conglomerates. The economy will suffer, and so will the quality of our public life. Let me be clear: As a business proposition, consolidation makes sense. The moguls behind the mergers are acting in their corporate interests and playing by the rules. We just shouldn't have those rules. They make sense for a corporation. But for a society, it's like over-fishing the oceans. When the independent businesses are gone, where will the new ideas come from? We have to do more than keep media giants from growing larger; they're already too big. We need a new set of rules that will break these huge companies to pieces.

The big squeeze

In the 1970s, I became convinced that a 24-hour all-news network could make money, and perhaps even change the world. But when I invited two large media corporations to invest in the launch of CNN, they turned me down. I couldn't believe it. Together we could have launched the network for a fraction of what it would have taken me alone; they had all the infrastructure, contacts, experience, knowledge. When no one would go in with me, I risked my personal wealth to start CNN. Soon after our launch in 1980, our expenses were twice what we had expected and revenues half what we had projected. Our losses were so high that our loans were called in. I refinanced at 18 percent interest, up from 9, and stayed just a step ahead of the bankers. Eventually, we not only became profitable, but also changed the nature of news--from watching something that happened to watching it as it happened.

But even as CNN was getting its start, the climate for independent broadcasting was turning hostile. This trend began in 1984, when the FCC raised the number of stations a single entity could own from seven--where it had been capped since the 1950s--to 12. A year later, it revised its rule again, adding a national audience-reach cap of 25 percent to the 12 station limit--meaning media companies were prohibited from owning TV stations that together reached more than 25 percent of the national audience. In 1996, the FCC did away with numerical caps altogether and raised the audience-reach cap to 35 percent. This wasn't necessarily bad for Turner Broadcasting; we had already achieved scale. But seeing these rules changed was like watching someone knock down the ladder I had already climbed.

Meanwhile, the forces of consolidation focused their attention on another rule, one that restricted ownership of content. Throughout the 1980s, network lobbyists worked to overturn the so-called Financial Interest and Syndication Rules, or fin-syn, which had been put in place in 1970, after federal officials became alarmed at the networks' growing control over programming. As the FCC wrote in the fin-syn decision: "The power to determine form and content rests only in the three networks and is exercised extensively and exclusively by them, hourly and daily." In 1957, the commission pointed out, independent companies had produced a third of all network shows; by 1968, that number had dropped to 4 percent. The rules essentially forbade networks from profiting from reselling programs that they had already aired.

This had the result of forcing networks to sell off their syndication arms, as CBS did with Viacom in 1973. Once networks no longer produced their own content, new competition was launched, creating fresh opportunities for independents.

For a time, Hollywood and its production studios were politically strong enough to keep the fin-syn rules in place. But by the early 1990s, the networks began arguing that their dominance had been undercut by the rise of independent broadcasters, cable networks, and even videocassettes, which they claimed gave viewers enough choice to make fin-syn unnecessary. The FCC ultimately agreed--and suddenly the broadcast networks could tell independent production studios, "We won't air it unless we own it." The networks then bought up the weakened studios or were bought out by their own syndication arms, the way Viacom turned the tables on CBS, buying the network in 2000. This silenced the major political opponents of consolidation.

Even before the repeal of fin-syn, I could see that the trend toward consolidation spelled trouble for independents like me. In a climate of consolidation, there would be only one sure way to win: bring a broadcast network, production studios, and cable and satellite systems under one roof. If you didn't have it inside, you'd have to get it outside--and that meant, increasingly, from a large corporation that was competing with you. It's difficult to survive when your suppliers are owned by your competitors. I had tried and failed to buy a major broadcast network, but the repeal of fin-syn turned up the pressure. Since I couldn't buy a network, I bought MGM to bring more content in-house, and I kept looking for other ways to gain scale. In the end, I found the only way to stay competitive was to merge with Time Warner and relinquish control of my companies.

Today, the only way for media companies to survive is to own everything up and down the media chain--from broadcast and cable networks to the sitcoms, movies, and news broadcasts you see on those stations; to the production studios that make them; to the cable, satellite, and broadcast systems that bring the programs to your television set; to the Web sites you visit to read about those programs; to the way you log on to the Internet to view those pages. Big media today wants to own the faucet, pipeline, water, and the reservoir. The rain clouds come next.

Supersizing networks

Throughout the 1990s, media mergers were celebrated in the press and otherwise seemingly ignored by the American public. So, it was easy to assume that media consolidation was neither controversial nor problematic. But then a funny thing happened.

In the summer of 2003, the FCC raised the national audience-reach cap from 35 percent to 45 percent. The FCC also allowed corporations to own a newspaper and a TV station in the same market and permitted corporations to own three TV stations in the largest markets, up from two, and two stations in medium-sized markets, up from one. Unexpectedly, the public rebelled. Hundreds of thousands of citizens complained to the FCC. Groups from the National Organization for Women to the National Rifle Association demanded that Congress reverse the ruling. And like-minded lawmakers, including many long-time opponents of media consolidation, took action, pushing the cap back down to 35, until--under strong White House pressure--it was revised back up to 39 percent. This June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit threw out the rules that would have allowed corporations to own more television and radio stations in a single market, let stand the higher 39 percent cap, and also upheld the rule permitting a corporation to own a TV station and a newspaper in the same market; then, it sent the issues back to the same FCC that had pushed through the pro-consolidation rules in the first place.

In reaching its 2003 decision, the FCC did not argue that its policies would advance its core objectives of diversity, competition, and localism. Instead, it justified its decision by saying that there was already a lot of diversity, competition, and localism in the media--so it wouldn't hurt if the rules were changed to allow more consolidation. Their decision reads: "Our current rules inadequately account for the competitive presence of cable, ignore the diversity-enhancing value of the Internet, and lack any sound bases for a national audience reach cap." Let's pick that assertion apart.

First, the "competitive presence of cable" is a mirage. Broadcast networks have for years pointed to their loss of prime-time viewers to cable networks--but they are losing viewers to cable networks that they themselves own. Ninety percent of the top 50 cable TV stations are owned by the same parent companies that own the broadcast networks. Yes, Disney's ABC network has lost viewers to cable networks. But it's losing viewers to cable networks like Disney's ESPN, Disney's ESPN2, and Disney's Disney Channel. The media giants are getting a deal from Congress and the FCC because their broadcast networks are losing share to their own cable networks. It's a scam.

Second, the decision cites the "diversity-enhancing value of the Internet." The FCC is confusing diversity with variety. The top 20 Internet news sites are owned by the same media conglomerates that control the broadcast and cable networks. Sure, a hundred-person choir gives you a choice of voices, but they're all singing the same song.

The FCC says that we have more media choices than ever before. But only a few corporations decide what we can choose. That is not choice. That's like a dictator deciding what candidates are allowed to stand for parliamentary elections, and then claiming that the people choose their leaders. Different voices do not mean different viewpoints, and these huge corporations all have the same viewpoint--they want to shape government policy in a way that helps them maximize profits, drive out competition, and keep getting bigger.

Because the new technologies have not fundamentally changed the market, it's wrong for the FCC to say that there are no "sound bases for a national audience-reach cap." The rationale for such a cap is the same as it has always been. If there is a limit to the number of TV stations a corporation can own, then the chance exists that after all the corporations have reached this limit, there may still be some stations left over to be bought and run by independents. A lower limit would encourage the entry of independents and promote competition. A higher limit does the opposite.

Triple blight

The loss of independent operators hurts both the media business and its citizen-customers. When the ownership of these firms passes to people under pressure to show quick financial results in order to justify the purchase, the corporate emphasis instantly shifts from taking risks to taking profits. When that happens, quality suffers, localism suffers, and democracy itself suffers.

Loss of Quality
The Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans exerts a negative influence on society, because it discourages people who want to climb up the list from giving more money to charity. The Nielsen ratings are dangerous in a similar way--because they scare companies away from good shows that don't produce immediate blockbuster ratings. The producer Norman Lear once asked, "You know what ruined television?" His answer: when The New York Times began publishing the Nielsen ratings. "That list every week became all anyone cared about."

When all companies are quarterly earnings-obsessed, the market starts punishing companies that aren't yielding an instant return. This not only creates a big incentive for bogus accounting, but also it inhibits the kind of investment that builds economic value. America used to know this. We used to be a nation of farmers. You can't plant something today and harvest tomorrow. Had Turner Communications been required to show earnings growth every quarter, we never would have purchased those first two TV stations.

When CNN reported to me, if we needed more money for Kosovo or Baghdad, we'd find it. If we had to bust the budget, we busted the budget. We put journalism first, and that's how we built CNN into something the world wanted to watch. I had the power to make these budget decisions because they were my companies. I was an independent entrepreneur who controlled the majority of the votes and could run my company for the long term. Top managers in these huge media conglomerates run their companies for the short term. After we sold Turner Broadcasting to Time Warner, we came under such earnings pressure that we had to cut our promotion budget every year at CNN to make our numbers. Media mega-mergers inevitably lead to an overemphasis on short-term earnings.

You can see this overemphasis in the spread of reality television. Shows like "Fear Factor" cost little to produce--there are no actors to pay and no sets to maintain--and they get big ratings. Thus, American television has moved away from expensive sitcoms and on to cheap thrills. We've gone from "Father Knows Best" to "Who Wants to Marry My Dad?", and from "My Three Sons" to "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance."

The story of Grant Tinker and Mary Tyler Moore's production studio, MTM, helps illustrate the point. When the company was founded in 1969, Tinker and Moore hired the best writers they could find and then left them alone--and were rewarded with some of the best shows of the 1970s. But eventually, MTM was bought by a company that imposed budget ceilings and laid off employees. That company was later purchased by Rev. Pat Robertson; then, he was bought out by Fox. Exit "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Enter "The Littlest Groom."

Loss of localism
Consolidation has also meant a decline in the local focus of both news and programming. After analyzing 23,000 stories on 172 news programs over five years, the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that big media news organizations relied more on syndicated feeds and were more likely to air national stories with no local connection.

That's not surprising. Local coverage is expensive, and thus will tend be a casualty in the quest for short-term earnings. In 2002, Fox Television bought Chicago's Channel 50 and eliminated all of the station's locally produced shows. One of the cancelled programs (which targeted pre-teens) had scored a perfect rating for educational content in a 1999 University of Pennsylvania study, according to The Chicago Tribune. That accolade wasn't enough to save the program. Once the station's ownership changed, so did its mission and programming.

Loss of localism also undercuts the public-service mission of the media, and this can have dangerous consequences. In early 2002, when a freight train derailed near Minot, N.D., releasing a cloud of anhydrous ammonia over the town, police tried to call local radio stations, six of which are owned by radio mammoth Clear Channel Communications. According to news reports, it took them over an hour to reach anyone--no one was answering the Clear Channel phone. By the next day, 300 people had been hospitalized, many partially blinded by the ammonia. Pets and livestock died. And Clear Channel continued beaming its signal from headquarters in San Antonio, Texas--some 1,600 miles away.

Loss of democratic debate
When media companies dominate their markets, it undercuts our democracy. Justice Hugo Black, in a landmark media-ownership case in 1945, wrote: "The First Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public."

These big companies are not antagonistic; they do billions of dollars in business with each other. They don't compete; they cooperate to inhibit competition. You and I have both felt the impact. I felt it in 1981, when CBS, NBC, and ABC all came together to try to keep CNN from covering the White House. You've felt the impact over the past two years, as you saw little news from ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Fox, or CNN on the FCC's actions. In early 2003, the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans had heard "nothing at all" about the proposed FCC rule changes. Why? One never knows for sure, but it must have been clear to news directors that the more they covered this issue, the harder it would be for their corporate bosses to get the policy result they wanted.

A few media conglomerates now exercise a near-monopoly over television news. There is always a risk that news organizations can emphasize or ignore stories to serve their corporate purpose. But the risk is far greater when there are no independent competitors to air the side of the story the corporation wants to ignore. More consolidation has often meant more news-sharing. But closing bureaus and downsizing staff have more than economic consequences. A smaller press is less capable of holding our leaders accountable. When Viacom merged two news stations it owned in Los Angeles, reports The American Journalism Review, "field reporters began carrying microphones labeled KCBS on one side and KCAL on the other." This was no accident. As the Viacom executive in charge told The Los Angeles Business Journal: "In this duopoly, we should be able to control the news in the marketplace."

This ability to control the news is especially worrisome when a large media organization is itself the subject of a news story. Disney's boss, after buying ABC in 1995, was quoted in LA Weekly as saying, "I would prefer ABC not cover Disney." A few days later, ABC killed a "20/20" story critical of the parent company.

But networks have also been compromised when it comes to non-news programs which involve their corporate parent's business interests. General Electric subsidiary NBC Sports raised eyebrows by apologizing to the Chinese government for Bob Costas's reference to China's "problems with human rights" during a telecast of the Atlanta Olympic Games. China, of course, is a huge market for GE products.

Consolidation has given big media companies new power over what is said not just on the air, but off it as well. Cumulus Media banned the Dixie Chicks on its 42 country music stations for 30 days after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush for the war in Iraq. It's hard to imagine Cumulus would have been so bold if its listeners had more of a choice in country music stations. And Disney recently provoked an uproar when it prevented its subsidiary Miramax from distributing Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11. As a senior Disney executive told The New York Times: "It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle." Follow the logic, and you can see what lies ahead: If the only media companies are major corporations, controversial and dissenting views may not be aired at all.

Naturally, corporations say they would never suppress speech. But it's not their intentions that matter; it's their capabilities. Consolidation gives them more power to tilt the news and cut important ideas out of the public debate. And it's precisely that power that the rules should prevent.

Independents' day

This is a fight about freedom--the freedom of independent entrepreneurs to start and run a media business, and the freedom of citizens to get news, information, and entertainment from a wide variety of sources, at least some of which are truly independent and not run by people facing the pressure of quarterly earnings reports. No one should underestimate the danger. Big media companies want to eliminate all ownership limits. With the removal of these limits, immense media power will pass into the hands of a very few corporations and individuals.

What will programming be like when it's produced for no other purpose than profit? What will news be like when there are no independent news organizations to go after stories the big corporations avoid? Who really wants to find out? Safeguarding the welfare of the public cannot be the first concern of a large publicly traded media company. Its job is to seek profits. But if the government writes the rules in a way that encourages the entry into the market of entrepreneurs--men and women with big dreams, new ideas, and a willingness to take long-term risks--the economy will be stronger, and the country will be better off.

I freely admit: When I was in the media business, especially after the federal government changed the rules to favor large companies, I tried to sweep the board, and I came within one move of owning every link up and down the media chain. Yet I felt then, as I do now, that the government was not doing its job. The role of the government ought to be like the role of a referee in boxing, keeping the big guys from killing the little guys. If the little guy gets knocked down, the referee should send the big guy to his corner, count the little guy out, and then help him back up. But today the government has cast down its duty, and media competition is less like boxing and more like professional wrestling: The wrestler and the referee are both kicking the guy on the canvas.

At this late stage, media companies have grown so large and powerful, and their dominance has become so detrimental to the survival of small, emerging companies, that there remains only one alternative: bust up the big conglomerates. We've done this before: to the railroad trusts in the first part of the 20th century, to Ma Bell more recently. Indeed, big media itself was cut down to size in the 1970s, and a period of staggering innovation and growth followed. Breaking up the reconstituted media conglomerates may seem like an impossible task when their grip on the policy-making process in Washington seems so sure. But the public's broad and bipartisan rebellion against the FCC's pro-consolidation decisions suggests something different. Politically, big media may again be on the wrong side of history--and up against a country unwilling to lose its independents.

Ted Turner is founder of CNN and chairman of Turner Enterprises.




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Posted by richard at 11:10 AM

2,000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq: Russian expert

Another US soldier died in Iraq yesterday. For what? The
neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. Meanwhile, the "US mainstream news media" is not telling you about the Bush cabal's handpicked Iraqi strongman Allawi executing six handcuffed, blindfolded
*suspects* with his own pistol in front of witnesses,
nor are they telling you about what Seymour Hersh has
been speaking out on publicly at universities around
the country (i.e. Abu Ghraib video tapes of young boys
being sodomized while in the custody of the US
military), nor have they told you that more US
soldiers have already died in Iraq in July (i.e.
post-"handover") than in all of June (i.e.,
pre-"handover"), nor are they telling you what the
free press of India is reporting (i.e. the US death
toll in Iraq is much higher than the official number
of 900+)...

Vladimir Radyuhin, The Hindu: The actual U.S. military
losses in Iraq may have reached 2,000 personnel, more
than twice the official figure of 900, as Washington
badly understates its casualty statistics, a military
diplomatic source told the Itar-Tass news agency.
"Official statistics do not include casualties among
non-U.S. nationals who sign up to serve in the
American armed forces in order to get a U.S. `green
card.' According to reliable information the share of
non-Americans in the U.S. force in Iraq may be as high
as 60 per cent," the source said. "The real number of
U.S. losses may be as high as 2,000 casualties and up
to 12,000 wounded," the military diplomat said.

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

http://www.hindu.com/2004/07/24/stories/2004072402401400.htm

International

2,000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq: Russian expert

By Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW, JULY 23. The United States suffers far heavier
casualties in Iraq than it officially admits, a Russia
military diplomat claimed.

The actual U.S. military losses in Iraq may have
reached 2,000 personnel, more than twice the official
figure of 900, as Washington badly understates its
casualty statistics, a military diplomatic source told
the Itar-Tass news agency.

"Official statistics do not include casualties among
non-U.S. nationals who sign up to serve in the
American armed forces in order to get a U.S. `green
card.' According to reliable information the share of
non-Americans in the U.S. force in Iraq may be as high
as 60 per cent," the source said. "The real number of
U.S. losses may be as high as 2,000 casualties and up
to 12,000 wounded," the military diplomat said.

Posted by richard at 09:34 AM

...two C.I.A. analysts involved in preparing the brief had wanted to make clear to Mr. Bush that, far from being only a historical threat, the threat that Al Qaeda would strike on American soil was "both current and serious"

How could the Bush abomination survive the political
fall-out from the implications of the August 6, 2001
PDB? It's the Media, Stupid.

PHILIP SHENON, www.democrats.com: In testimony this April to the Sept. 11 commission, before it was made public, Ms. Rice insisted that the report was "historical."
"It did not, in fact, warn of attacks inside the United States," she testified. "It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information.''
But there were gasps in the audience in the hearing room when she disclosed the name of the two-page briefing paper: "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in U.S."
The document was made public several days later and contained passages referring to F.B.I. reports of "suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York." It noted that a caller to the United States Embassy in the Unitedar Lies, Arab Emirates that May had warned that "a group of bin Laden supporters was in the U.S.," planning attacks with explosives.
The commission's final report revealed that two C.I.A. analysts involved in preparing the brief had wanted to make clear to Mr. Bush that, far from being only a historical threat, the threat that Al Qaeda would strike on American soil was "both current and serious."

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

http://www.democrats.com/view.cfm?id=22732

Correcting the Record on Sept. 11, in Great Detail
July 25, 2004 By PHILIP SHENON
This article was reported by Philip Shenon, Douglas
Jehl and David Johnston and written by Mr. Shenon.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/25/national/25PANE.html
[Note: only parts of the article below were published
on the Times web site]
WASHINGTON, July 24 - When the National Commission on
Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States set to work
early last year to prepare the definitive history of
the events of Sept. 11, 2001, it seemed that much of
the hard work of the so-called 9/11 commission was
already done, because so much of the horrifying story
seemed to be known.

At the time, it was understood that all of the
hijackers had entered the country legally and done
nothing to draw attention to themselves; Osama bin
Laden had underwritten the plot with his personal
fortune but had left the details to others; American
intelligence agencies had no warning that Al Qaeda was
considering suicide missions using planes; President
Bush had received a special intelligence briefing
weeks before Sept. 11 about Al Qaeda threats that
focused on past, not current, threats.

But 19 months later, the commission released a final,
unanimous book-length report last Thursday that, in
calling for a overhaul of the way the government
collects and shares intelligence, showed that much of
what had been common wisdom about the Sept. 11 attacks
at the start of the panel's investigation was wrong.

In meticulous detail, the 567-page report, including
116 pages of detailed footnotes in tiny, eye-straining
type, rewrote the history of Sept. 11, 2001,
correcting the historical record in ways large and
small and shattering myths that might otherwise have
been accepted as truth for generations.

The commission's report found that the hijackers had
repeatedly broken the law in entering the United
States, that Mr. bin Laden may have micromanaged the
attacks but did not pay for them, that intelligence
agencies had considered the threat of suicide
hijackings, and that Mr. Bush received an August 2001
briefing on evidence of continuing domestic terrorist
threats from Al Qaeda.

"Our work, we believe, is the definitive work on
9/11," said Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican
governor of New Jersey who was chairman of the
commission, and whose consensus-building talents are
credited by other commissioners as the reason the
panel's report was unanimous. If there are unanswered
questions, Mr. Kean said, it is mostly because "the
people who were at the heart of the plot are dead."

The Hijackers

For the commission of five Democrats and five
Republicans, the work of correcting the record began
with an understanding of how 19 young Arab terrorists
managed to enter the United States unnoticed, hiding
in plain sight in the weeks and months before they
joined in an attack that left more than 3,000 people
dead.

This was the subject of the first of what would be
series of riveting public hearings held by the
commission this year. The first fact-finding hearing
in January showed just how wrong - and self-serving
-much of the government's information about the Sept.
11 plot had been. And it suggested just how aggressive
the commission intended to be in setting the record
straight.

Immediately after Sept. 11 and in the months that
followed, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and other
counterterrorism agencies defended their failure to
detect the plot by insisting that the hijackers had
gone out of their way to enter the United States
legally and to avoid detection in the months preceding
the attacks.

"Each of the hijackers, apparently purposely selected
to avoid notice, came easily and lawfully from
abroad," Louis J. Freeh, the former director of the
F.B.I., testified to Congress in October 2002. "While
here, the hijackers effectively operated without
suspicion, triggering nothing that alerted law
enforcement."

But in its final report, the commission found that as
many as 13 of the hijackers had entered the United
States with passports that had been fraudulently
altered, using criminal methods previously associated
with Al Qaeda.

The commission found that the visa applications of
many of the hijackers had been filled out improperly;
in several cases, the hijackers had provided
demonstrably false information on the forms. The names
of at least three of the terrorists were found after
Sept. 11 in the databases of American intelligence and
counterterrorism agencies.

After entering the United States, several of the
hijackers should have drawn the attention of law
enforcement agencies but did not.

Mohamed Atta, the plot's Egyptian-born ringleader,
overstayed his tourist visa. One of the terrorist
pilots, Ziad al-Jarrah, attended school in 2000 in
violation of his immigration status, which should have
been enough to block him from re-entering the United
States; he left and re-entered the country at least
six more times before Sept. 11.

Imagining the Unimaginable

In trying to explain why the nation had left itself so
vulnerable on Sept. 11, the leaders of the nation's
law enforcement and intelligence agencies have
insisted publicly that they never considered the
nightmare of passenger planes turned into guided
missiles.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these
people would take an airplane and slam it into the
World Trade Center," Condoleezza Rice, President
Bush's national security adviser, said in May 2002. As
recently as this April, in testimony to the Sept. 11
commission, Mr. Freeh said that he "never was aware of
a plan that contemplated commercial airliners being
used as weapons."

But in its investigation, the commission found that an
attack described as unimaginable had in fact been
imagined, repeatedly. The commission said that several
threat reports circulated within the government in the
late 1990's raised the explicit possibility of an
attack using airliners as missiles.

Most prominent among those reports, the commission
said, was one circulated in September 1998, based on
information provided by a source who walked into an
American consulate in East Asia, that ''mentioned a
possible plot to fly an explosives-laden aircraft into
a U.S. city." In August of the same year, it said, an
intelligence agency received information that a group
of Libyans hoped to crash a plane into the World Trade
Center.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command had gone
so far as to develop exercises to counter the threat
and, according to a Defense Department memorandum
unearthed by the commission, planned a drill in April
2001 that would have simulated a terrorist crash into
the Pentagon.

Bin Laden's Role

American intelligence agencies had known for years
that the United States had much to fear from Osama bin
Laden, but it was fear based more on Mr. bin Laden's
power as a global symbol of Islamic fundamentalist
rage than as a terrorist logistician.

A senior State Department official testified to the
Senate in 2001 that the bin Laden terror network was
"analogous to a multinational corporation, bin Laden
as C.E.O.," leaving the details of the terrorist
attacks to others.

But the commission found that far from being the
disengaged leader of his terror network, Mr. bin Laden
was described by captured Qaeda colleagues as a
hands-on executive who wanted to be involved in almost
every detail of the Sept. 11 plot, choosing the
hijacking team himself and selecting targets. He was
reported to have been eager to hit the White House.

The report describes information obtained from the
interrogation of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mr. bin
Laden's former chief of operations, who said that "bin
Laden could assess new trainees very quickly, in about
10 minutes, and that many of the 9/11 hijackers were
selected in this manner."

American intelligence analysts had long believed that
Mr. bin Laden had a vast personal fortune that
bankrolled Al Qaeda; news accounts described the bin
Laden fortune as totaling as much as $300 million,
with real estate holdings in London, Paris and the
C�´te d'Azur.

But the commission reached a far different conclusion,
finding that Mr. bin Laden was cut off from his
family's wealth after the early 1990's and that he
financed Al Qaeda's operations through a core group of
wealthy Muslim donors, mainly in the Persian Gulf. The
report said that from 1970 to 1994, Mr. bin Laden
received about $1 million a year from family funds - a
sizable sum, but not nearly enough to finance such an
ambitious terrorist network.

The Iraq Connection

The Bush administration has long maintained that there
was a close working relationship between Al Qaeda and
Iraq. In October 2002, with the invasion of Iraq only
months away, President Bush said in a speech in
Cincinnati that ''high-level contacts" between Iraq
and Al Qaeda "go back a decade," and that "we've
learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in
bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."

As recently as last month, Vice President Dick Cheney
said there was reason to believe a disputed Czech
intelligence report that Mohamed Atta had met with a
senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in April
2001, suggesting a tie between Iraq and the Sept. 11
plot.

But in its most contentious effort to set the record
straight about the origins of the plot, the bipartisan
commission's final report found no evidence of close
collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda,
appearing to undermine a justification for the Iraq
war.

The commission found no credible evidence to suggest
that the Prague meeting took place and no evidence of
any kind to show Iraqi involvement in attacks by Al
Qaeda against the United States. While there had
indeed between periodic contacts in the late 1990's
between Al Qaeda representatives and Iraqi officials,
principally in Sudan, the commission found, those
contacts did not amount to much.

"To date we have seen no evidence that these or the
earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative
operational relationship," the commission wrote.

A footnote buried on page 470 of the commission's
report provided a clue to some of the false claims:
"Although there have been suggestions of contacts
between Iraq and Al Qaeda regarding chemical weapons
and explosive trainings, the most detailed information
alleging such ties came from an Al Qaeda operative who
recanted much of his original information."

The commission attempted to lift suspicion that the
leaders of another Arab government, that of Saudi
Arabia, had underwritten Al Qaeda, and to knock down
widely circulated theories that the Bush
administration had improperly assisted the Saudis by
allowing members of the extended bin Laden clan to
flee the United States on charter flights at a time
when all commercial air traffic was shut down after
the attacks.

''Saudi Arabia has long been considered the principal
source of Al Qaeda financing," the commission wrote in
its final report. "But we have found no evidence that
the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi
officials individually funded the organization."

The Evidence

In the first hours after the Sept. 11 attacks and ever
since, the White House has consistently insisted that
President Bush and his deputies had no credible
evidence before the attacks to suggest that Al Qaeda
was about to strike on American soil.

But the assertion has been questioned as a result of
the commission's digging. After its most heated
showdown with the Bush administration over access to
classified information, the commission pressured the
White House to declassify and make public a special
intelligence briefing that had been presented to the
president at his Texas ranch on Aug. 6, 2001, a month
before the attacks.

The existence of the document - but not its detailed
contents - had been known about since 2002, when the
White House confirmed news reports that President Bush
had received an intelligence report before Sept. 11
warning of the possibility that Al Qaeda might hijack
American passenger planes.

In testimony this April to the Sept. 11 commission,
before it was made public, Ms. Rice insisted that the
report was "historical."

"It did not, in fact, warn of attacks inside the
United States," she testified. "It was historical
information based on old reporting. There was no new
threat information.''

But there were gasps in the audience in the hearing
room when she disclosed the name of the two-page
briefing paper: "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in
U.S."

The document was made public several days later and
contained passages referring to F.B.I. reports of
"suspicious activity in this country consistent with
preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks,
including recent surveillance of federal buildings in
New York." It noted that a caller to the United States
Embassy in the United Arab Emirates that May had
warned that "a group of bin Laden supporters was in
the U.S.," planning attacks with explosives.

The commission's final report revealed that two C.I.A.
analysts involved in preparing the brief had wanted to
make clear to Mr. Bush that, far from being only a
historical threat, the threat that Al Qaeda would
strike on American soil was "both current and
serious."




Democrats.com: The aggressive progressives!



Posted by richard at 09:32 AM

Failures of the Sept. 11 Commission

Throughout the 9/11 Commission's investigation, the LNS hoped that another duo like Sens. Sam Ervin (D-SC) and Howard Baker (R-TN), who during the Watergate crisis were willing to put the high principles embodied in the US Constitution above their own creature comfort and its roots in partisan politics, would emerge and lead the 9/11 Commission to where it should have gone, but no one on either side of the 9/11 Commission was willing to go as far as the death of 3K innocent people on American soil really demands, and so the end product is Beltwayistan goobley-gook...Oh the TRUTH is in the final report, but it is buried, not trumpeted, and it is left open to obsfucation and denial, and afterall, obsfucation and denial is what the machinery of Beltwayistan is greased with...Which is not to say that the story is over, or even the investigation is over, if Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) sticks to his hunter's instincts and his prosecutors skills, the open, festering wound of 9/11, just like the open, festering wounds of Abu Ghraib, Plame, Chalabi, Niger Green Cake, Halliburton, Medifraud, Enron, the phoney "California energy crisis," the prostitution of the EPA, the hundreds of billions of dollars spilled into the desert in Iraq, and the lives of 900+ US soldiers lost in that foolish military adventure, as well as the gutting of the US surplus and the creation of a massive new federal deficit, will throb, swell, ache and intensify all the way through the next 99 days...Yes, yes, the LNS understands that this week the rhetoric is going to be very upbeat and very positive, BUT that will end, and the national emergency, the failed administration and the Mega-Mogadishu in Iraq will still be with us, the most illegitimate, incompetent and corrupt regime in the US history will still be with us, and it must be made starkly clear to everyone that the November election is nothing more or less than a national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking resident (whoever shares the ticket with him)..."Let's us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

William Raspberry, Washington Post: For all its somber-faced seriousness, the report of the Sept. 11 commission turns out to be a childlike explanation of what went so tragically wrong nearly three years ago. It acknowledges the obvious, but it manages to avoid any semblance of individual responsibility. "The lamp broke," a child might say. Or, as the report would have it, the "system" failed.
Which surprises Ray McGovern not a whit.
"The whole name of the game is to exculpate anyone in the establishment," says McGovern, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and a member of a group of former agents called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. " 'Mistakes were made,' but no one is to blame. Why is it that after all this evidence and months and months of testimony, the commission found itself unable even to say if the attacks could have been prevented?

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

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/opinion/columns/raspberrywilliam/

washingtonpost.com
Failures of the Sept. 11 Commission


By William Raspberry

Monday, July 26, 2004; Page A11

For all its somber-faced seriousness, the report of the Sept. 11 commission turns out to be a childlike explanation of what went so tragically wrong nearly three years ago.

It acknowledges the obvious, but it manages to avoid any semblance of individual responsibility. "The lamp broke," a child might say. Or, as the report would have it, the "system" failed.

Which surprises Ray McGovern not a whit.

"The whole name of the game is to exculpate anyone in the establishment," says McGovern, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and a member of a group of former agents called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. " 'Mistakes were made,' but no one is to blame. Why is it that after all this evidence and months and months of testimony, the commission found itself unable even to say if the attacks could have been prevented?"

McGovern has no doubt they could have been. He cites the FBI report of "all those Arab fellows training on aircraft but with no interest in learning how to land them." The report was rejected, unread, he says, by an FBI official, Spike Owen, who nonetheless "received a $20,000 cash award from the administration for his duties in safeguarding the American people."

McGovern cites as well the President's Daily Brief titled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US" as evidence that President Bush and his top advisers had information on which they might have acted to prevent the attacks. Instead, he said in an interview Thursday, "the president went off to chop wood in Texas."

The combination of neglecting credible information and acting precipitously on highly questionable intelligence is something he'd not previously encountered in his government service, says McGovern, whose wife's cousin died in one of the World Trade Center towers. He is speaking out now "simply to spread a little truth around," he says.

And the truth as he sees it is that the commission has made two errors in judgment -- first, the refusal to place responsibility for intelligence shortcomings on particular individuals and, second, the attempt to repair the damage by proposing creation of a super spy chief, perhaps with Cabinet rank.

Both errors stem from the same impulse to politicize things that ought to be outside politics, according to McGovern, who has a chapter in a forthcoming book from the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation: "Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense: Restoring America's Promise at Home and Abroad."

Take the legal memorandum prepared by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales saying, in effect, that the president wasn't bound by the Geneva Convention in his treatment of certain war prisoners.

"Not a lawyer in the country believes that opinion holds water," McGovern said. "It was essentially a political document, one that told the president what he wanted to hear."

Much the same thing happened with the intelligence services, which strained to give the president what he clearly wanted to hear -- only to watch the administration stretch that already strained intelligence into a pretext for war.

Putting the top intelligence officer in the Cabinet would only exacerbate that problem, says McGovern. "Being in the Cabinet automatically politicizes the post. The director of central intelligence need not be above the battle, but he should certainly be apart from it."

The failure to remain apart from the battle may be the chief failing of the Sept. 11 commission, McGovern believes. "This commission is not representative of America or of the families of those who died in 9/11. It is an archetypically establishment body, consisting of people who, with the exception of a token white woman, look exactly like me. They are all lawyers or politicians, or both -- and all acceptable to Vice President Cheney, who didn't want a commission in the first place. The result is facile, mischievous and disingenuous. The families deserve better."

willrasp@washpost.com


© 2004 The Washington Post Company



DM_tag();

Posted by richard at 09:28 AM

July 25, 2004

Joe Conason: The commission confirms Clinton's widely reported "obsession" with al-Qaida, describing in detail his efforts to raise international awareness, increase spending on counterterrorism and homeland security long before that phrase became fashion

The botched, bungled "war on terrorism" is NOT the strength of the Bush abomination, it is the SHAME of the Bush abomination...And the blurring of the distinction between the real, intensive, well-documented counter-terrorism efforts of the Clinton-Gore administration versus the apalling (and well-documented) lack of such effort from the Bush-Cheney abomination is the SHAME of the "US mainstream news media" and its propapunditgandists as well as at the very least an embarrassing admission of weakness from the 9/11 Commission itself...

Joe Conason, Salon: The commission confirms Clinton's widely reported "obsession" with al-Qaida, describing in detail his efforts to raise international awareness, increase spending on counterterrorism and homeland security long before that phrase became fashionable, and to demand action by the nation's covert forces. Indeed, their report credits Clinton with ignoring a serious threat to his own safety to seek foreign assistance in the struggle against bin Laden.
In early 2000, immediately following the millennium crisis, Clinton was scheduled to visit India. He insisted on visiting Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf as well - despite the fact that both the Secret Service and the CIA had "warned in the strongest terms that visiting Pakistan would risk the President's life." Musharraf made promises that were never carried out, despite carrots and sticks brandished at him by American diplomats.
The contrast with the Bush administration could scarcely be clearer. On that score, the report's most relevant section is Chapter 8, "The System Was Blinking Red." And the most damning paragraphs of that report involve the notorious Presidential Daily Brief of Aug. 6, 2001. Under the bold headline, "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S.," the briefing states the al-Qaida leader "would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and 'bring the fighting to America.'"

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

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/072504C.shtml

The President Who Took Bin Laden Seriously
By Joe Conason
Salon.com

Saturday 24 July 2004

Republicans are trying to blame 9/11 on Clinton, but the official report shows that he responded to al-Qaida threats far more effectively than Bush.
While the nonpartisan members of the 9/11 commission have sounded excruciatingly even-handed as they issued their final report, the Republican congressional leadership - which has always tried to thwart the 9/11 investigation - blatantly insists on blaming Clinton or the intelligence failures that resulted in the fateful attacks.

Two days before the report appeared, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and his leadership team exploited a briefing on the report to mount a partisan assault.

Their script, repeated by Hastert and his whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., suggested that "eight months of the Bush administration" couldn't make up for the policies established during "eight years of the Clinton administration."

Readers of the report will also note its sharp criticism of the inadequacy and inattention to the real "gathering threat" during the '90s in Congress, where the "overall attention ... to the terrorist threat was low ... [and] not impressive." Of course, the Republican caucus has exercised iron control over the nation's legislative agenda since 1995.

"Beginning in 1999," the 9/11 report notes, various expert and well-intended commissions "made scores of recommendations to address terrorism and homeland security but drew little attention from Congress." Hastert's colleagues are too busy preparing an investigation of Sandy Berger to act on the report's recommendations - in an obvious attempt to deflect attention from its findings.

That's an understandable tactic, because anyone who reads the report's actual text may well conclude that in confronting the terrorist threat, the Clinton administration was considerably more serious and alert than its successor. Consider the critical chapters devoted to the Millennium plot and the months preceding 9/11.

"President Clinton was deeply concerned about [Osama] Bin Ladin," remarks the opening section of Chapter 6, titled "From Threat to Threat." It goes on to note that by the summer of 1998, Clinton and his national security advisor Sandy Berger "ensured that they had a special daily pipeline of reports feeding them the latest updates on Bin Ladin's reported location."

Stopping the Millennium plot - in which al-Qaida operatives planned to bomb Los Angeles International Airport and other major targets at the end of 1999 - was in great measure the result of a lucky break, as the report acknowledges. An alert customs agent arrested al-Qaida operative Ahmed Ressam, who was bringing a carload of explosives into the United States from British Columbia.

Along with other intelligence alarms, Ressam's arrest spurred Clinton and his aides, including Berger and counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, into a desperate, unrelenting effort to prevent disaster. To Clinton, the Millennium alert required what one commissioner called "knocking heads together" every day in the CIA, the FBI, the Justice Department and the National Security Council.

Among the effects of that daily head-knocking, according to the 9/11 report, was to force usually reticent FBI officials to disgorge the kind of critical information that they habitually held back from other federal agencies. Ordered to appear in person before a committee of Cabinet-rank officials, "it was hard for FBI officials to hold back information." Operations were mounted simultaneously in eight countries to disrupt the Islamist conspiracies. After Ressam's arrest, more wiretaps than ever before were authorized to find the sleeper cells that Clarke warned were preparing attacks here.

Again and again, the report takes careful note of Clinton's active, personal participation in the effort against al-Qaida during the Millennium alert, exploding myths about his supposed distraction by domestic scandals. Clarke spoke directly with the president on several occasions that month. "In mid-December," the report reveals, "President Clinton signed a Memorandum of Notification (MON) giving the CIA broader authority to use foreign proxies to detain Bin Ladin lieutenants, without having to transfer them to U.S. custody. The authority was to capture, not kill, although lethal force might be used if necessary."

The commission confirms Clinton's widely reported "obsession" with al-Qaida, describing in detail his efforts to raise international awareness, increase spending on counterterrorism and homeland security long before that phrase became fashionable, and to demand action by the nation's covert forces. Indeed, their report credits Clinton with ignoring a serious threat to his own safety to seek foreign assistance in the struggle against bin Laden.

In early 2000, immediately following the millennium crisis, Clinton was scheduled to visit India. He insisted on visiting Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf as well - despite the fact that both the Secret Service and the CIA had "warned in the strongest terms that visiting Pakistan would risk the President's life." Musharraf made promises that were never carried out, despite carrots and sticks brandished at him by American diplomats.

The contrast with the Bush administration could scarcely be clearer. On that score, the report's most relevant section is Chapter 8, "The System Was Blinking Red." And the most damning paragraphs of that report involve the notorious Presidential Daily Brief of Aug. 6, 2001. Under the bold headline, "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S.," the briefing states the al-Qaida leader "would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and 'bring the fighting to America.'"

Before examining the report's findings about the PDB, however, another usually ignored aspect of this story is worth noting in Chapter 6, where the drumbeat of warnings about an impending al-Qaida attack in spring 2001 first comes up. By then, Richard Clarke's hair was on fire, as was that of CIA director George Tenet. Enter Vice President Dick Cheney, whose important contributions during the months preceding the disaster merit a single paragraph:

"In May, President Bush announced that Vice President Cheney would himself lead an effort looking at preparations for managing a possible attack by weapons of mass destruction and at more general problems of national preparedness," the report says on page 204. (Remember that the comprehensive, bipartisan Hart-Rudman report on those issues had been published and ignored by the new administration a few months earlier.) "The next few months were mainly spent organizing the effort and bringing an admiral from the Sixth Fleet back to Washington to manage it. The Vice President's task force was just getting under way when the 9/11 attack occurred."

For reasons best known to the commissioners, they made little effort to learn why Cheney did so little for so long, or what his role was in dealing with the terrorist threat before that fateful September. That was the sole reference to the Cheney task force that I could find in the report, which contains no index.

While the report describes repeated chances to thwart the 9/11 plot, its authors were deeply reluctant to say that it could have been stopped. But the report adds a significant new detail to the tale of the famous briefing that the president received while on vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

What Bush and his national security advisor Condoleezza Rice dismissively termed a "historical document" - before its stunning contents were declassified - was dispatched to Texas with far more urgent intentions. So testified the two CIA analysts who authored it. The two analysts - one of whom is identified in the report's voluminous footnotes only as "Barbara S." - told the commission bluntly that they regarded the PDB as "an opportunity to communicate their view that the threat of a Bin Ladin attack in the United States remained both current and serious." While the Aug. 6 PDB was the 36th in a series dealing with al-Qaida or bin Laden, it was the first one given to the president in 2001 that was "devoted to the possibility of an attack in the United States."

Unfortunately, the alarmed analysts were unable to pinpoint the time, date, place or method by which bin Laden's minions would wreak bloody havoc on us. Without such specific data, the president responded complacently to their warning. The commission's report says that he never discussed the threat of a domestic attack with any of his aides, including the attorney general - although the PDB highlighted the news that the FBI was then conducting "approximately 70 full field operations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related."

The report records what President Bush told the commission about the Aug. 6 PDB during his closed interview, without additional comment. Perhaps none is required:

"He ... remembered thinking that it was heartening that 70 investigations were under way ... He said that if his advisers had told him there was a cell in the United States, they would have moved to take care of it. That never happened."


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

Posted by richard at 10:26 AM

Richard Clarke: Among the obvious truths that were documented but unarticulated were the facts that the Bush administration did little on terrorism before 9/11, and that by invading Iraq the administration has left us less safe as a nation...

Remember, because the "US mainstream news media" will not remind you, and, unfortunately, elected officials in the Democratic Party may not dare too either, that the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident was against the establishment of the 9/11 Commission, then he tried to appoint Henry Kissinger as its chairman, then he fought every request for documents (e.g., the August 6, 2001 PDB, etc.) or testimony (e.g., his own and Condescencia Rice's) that might shed light on his pre-9/11 failures, his minions went so far as trying to deep-six many thousands of Clinton Gore national security documents, and, of course, in the end, he was even afraid to testify alone and embarrassingly had the VICE _resident testify with him, and yes, they even tried to limit those present to Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton (who wimped out on the October Surprise so long ago), and refused to allow the 9/11 Commissioners to take their notes away with them...The LNS was waiting for Richard Clarke's public statement on the 9/11 Commission's final report, as anxiously as it waited for his book, and his sworn testimony...Here it is, and he has not let us down, nor has he let John O'Neill down...He has stayed true...Makes me wonder how long he can hold out at AnythingButSee (ABC) as their "national security analyst"? The LNS has one objection to Clarke's statement though: the American people "owe a deep debt of gratitute" to the 9/11 Families for standing up for the Truth when the 9/11 Commission did not, the American people "owe a deep debt of gratitute" to Richard Clarke for bringing REALITY to the proceedings, the American people "owe a deep debt of gratitute" to Sibel Edmonds and others who bravely came forward, the American people "owe a deep debt of gratitute" to John O'Neill for what he tried to do and sacrificed his life for, but the 9/11 Commission...Well, the LNS expected more from Richard Ben-Veniste. Quite possibly he wrung as much out of the process as he could. But we see no reason to glorify this group of Beltwayistan insiders for gilding the naked truth of the Bush cabal's pre-9/11 incompetence (or perhaps "criminal negligence" would be a more apt term).

P.S. And, of course, John Ashcroft certainly owes a public apology to Jamie Gorelick, but it ain't gonna happen either.

Richard Clarke, New York Times: Americans owe the 9/11
commission a deep debt for its extensive exposition of
the facts surrounding the World Trade Center and
Pentagon attacks. Yet, because the commission had a
goal of creating a unanimous report from a bipartisan
group, it softened the edges and left it to the public
to draw many conclusions.
Among the obvious truths that were documented but unarticulated were the facts that the Bush administration did little on terrorism before 9/11, and that by invading Iraq the administration has left us less safe as a nation (Fortunately, opinion polls show that the majority of Americans have already come to these conclusions on their own. )

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

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/25/opinion/25clar.html?hp--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 25, 2004
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Honorable Commission, Toothless Report
By RICHARD A. CLARKE

Americans owe the 9/11 commission a deep debt for its
extensive exposition of the facts surrounding the
World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Yet, because
the commission had a goal of creating a unanimous
report from a bipartisan group, it softened the edges
and left it to the public to draw many conclusions.

Among the obvious truths that were documented but
unarticulated were the facts that the Bush
administration did little on terrorism before 9/11,
and that by invading Iraq the administration has left
us less safe as a nation. (Fortunately, opinion polls
show that the majority of Americans have already come
to these conclusions on their own. )

What the commissioners did clearly state was that Iraq
had no collaborative relationship with Al Qaeda and no
hand in 9/11. They also disclosed that Iran provided
support to Al Qaeda, including to some 9/11 hijackers.
These two facts may cause many people to conclude that
the Bush administration focused on the wrong country.
They would be right to think that.

So what now? News coverage of the commission's
recommendations has focused on the organizational
improvements: a new cabinet-level national
intelligence director and a new National
Counterterrorism Center to ensure that our 15 or so
intelligence agencies play well together. Both are
good ideas, but they are purely incremental. Had these
changes been made six years ago, they would not have
significantly altered the way we dealt with Al Qaeda;
they certainly would not have prevented 9/11. Putting
these recommendations in place will marginally improve
our ability to crush the new, decentralized Al Qaeda,
but there are other changes that would help more.

First, we need not only a more powerful person at the
top of the intelligence community, but also more
capable people throughout the agencies - especially
the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central
Intelligence Agency. In other branches of the
government, employees can and do join on as mid- and
senior-level managers after beginning their careers
and gaining experience elsewhere. But at the F.B.I.
and C.I.A., the key posts are held almost exclusively
by those who joined young and worked their way up.
This has created uniformity, insularity,
risk-aversion, torpidity and often mediocrity.

The only way to infuse these key agencies with
creative new blood is to overhaul their hiring and
promotion practices to attract workers who don't
suffer the "failures of imagination" that the 9/11
commissioners repeatedly blame for past failures.

Second, in addition to separating the job of C.I.A.
director from the overall head of American
intelligence, we must also place the C.I.A.'s analysts
in an agency that is independent from the one that
collects the intelligence. This is the only way to
avoid the "groupthink" that hampered the agency's
ability to report accurately on Iraq. It is no
accident that the only intelligence agency that got it
right on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was the
Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the State
Department - a small, elite group of analysts
encouraged to be independent thinkers rather than
spies or policy makers.

Analysts aren't the only ones who should be
reconstituted in small, elite groups. Either the
C.I.A. or the military must create a larger and more
capable commando force for covert antiterrorism work,
along with a network of agents and front companies
working under "nonofficial cover'' - that is, without
diplomatic protection - to support the commandos.

Even more important than any bureaucratic suggestions
is the report's cogent discussion of who the enemy is
and what strategies we need in the fight. The
commission properly identified the threat not as
terrorism (which is a tactic, not an enemy), but as
Islamic jihadism, which must be defeated in a battle
of ideas as well as in armed conflict.

We need to expose the Islamic world to values that are
more attractive than those of the jihadists. This
means aiding economic development and political
openness in Muslim countries, and efforts to stabilize
places like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Restarting the Israel-Palestinian peace process is
also vital.

Also, we can't do this alone. In addition to "hearts
and minds" television and radio programming by the
American government, we would be greatly helped by a
pan-Islamic council of respected spiritual and secular
leaders to coordinate (without United States
involvement) the Islamic world's own ideological
effort against the new Al Qaeda.

Unfortunately, because of America's low standing in
the Islamic world, we are now at a great disadvantage
in the battle of ideas. This is primarily because of
the unnecessary and counterproductive invasion of
Iraq. In pulling its bipartisan punches, the
commission failed to admit the obvious: we are less
capable of defeating the jihadists because of the Iraq
war.

Unanimity has its value, but so do debate and dissent
in a democracy facing a crisis. To fully realize the
potential of the commission's report, we must see it
not as the end of the discussion but as a partial
blueprint for victory. The jihadist enemy has learned
how to spread hate and how to kill - and it is still
doing both very effectively three years after 9/11.


Richard A. Clarke, former head of counterterrorism at
the National Security Council, is the author of
"Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror."

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Posted by richard at 09:35 AM

July 24, 2004

Ashcroft Publicly Misleads 9/11 Commission

Buried deep in the 9/11 Commission's final report, i.e. wimped out on by the milk-toast, limp-wristed Commissioners, and wholly ignored by the "US Mainstream News Media." [Remember, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) was the only Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee who had the courage to vote against Ashcroft's confirmation.] Of course, this embarrassing and disturbing glimpse into Ashcroft's psychogical state pales in comparsion to the significance of his sworn testimony in contradiction to that of FBI official Thomas Pickering. But you won't hear about it from the propapunditgandists...

www.misleader.org: In their final report released yesterday, the bi-partisan 9/11 commission concluded that Ashcroft's public testimony was false and misleading...
The commission bluntly stated that Ashcroft's public testimony did not "fairly or accurately reflect the significance of the 1995 documents and their relevance to the 2001 discussions."2 Specifically, "The Gorelick memorandum applied to two particular criminal cases, neither of which was involved in the summer 2001 information-sharing discussions." Any barriers between the law enforcement and intelligence communities were not created from written guidelines by internal Justice Department conflicts which "neither Attorney General [Ashcroft or Reno] acted to resolve" prior to 9/11.

Save the US Constituion, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.misleader.org/daily_mislead/Read.asp?fn=df07232004.html

July 23, 2004 | |


Ashcroft Publicly Misleads 9/11 Commission


During his public testimony before the 9/11 commission, Attorney General John Ashcroft attempted to deflect criticism from his own lackluster counterterrorism efforts by pinning the blame on a 1995 memo written by former deputy Attorney General (and current 9/11 commissioner) Jamie Gorelick. Ashcroft said, "The 1995 guidelines and the procedures developed around them imposed draconian barriers, barriers between the law enforcement and intelligence communities. The wall effectively excluded prosecutors from intelligence investigations. The wall left intelligence agents afraid to talk with criminal prosecutors or agents."1 Ashcroft called the memo "the single greatest structural cause for the September 11 problem." In their final report released yesterday, the bi-partisan 9/11 commission concluded that Ashcroft's public testimony was false and misleading.

The commission bluntly stated that Ashcroft's public testimony did not "fairly or accurately reflect the significance of the 1995 documents and their relevance to the 2001 discussions."2 Specifically, "The Gorelick memorandum applied to two particular criminal cases, neither of which was involved in the summer 2001 information-sharing discussions." Any barriers between the law enforcement and intelligence communities were not created from written guidelines by internal Justice Department conflicts which "neither Attorney General [Ashcroft or Reno] acted to resolve" prior to 9/11.

Even Ashcroft himself has recently backed away from his April testimony before the commission. In a recent document released by the Justice Department, Ashcroft conceded that Gorelick's memo permitted "interaction and information sharing between prosecutors and intelligence officers" and allowed the FBI to use the fruits of an intelligence investigation "in a criminal prosecution."3 Ashcroft failed to mention that guidelines issued by his own deputy Attorney General, Larry Thompson, were more restrictive because they affirmed the Gorelick memo and added additional requirements.4

Sources:
"Transcript: 9/11 Commission Hearing," The Washington Post, 04/13/04.
9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 539.
Report from the Field: The USA PATRIOT Act at Work, U.S. Department of Justice, July 2004.
"Thompson Memo," U.S. Department of Justice, 08/06/01.

Posted by richard at 01:44 PM

Pentagon Finds Bush's Guard Records

Two more US soldiers died in Iraq yesterday. For what?
The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich.

The "US mainstream news media" does not want you to
know that more US soldiers have died in Iraq in July,
already, i.e. post-"handover," than in all of June,
i.e. pre-"handover."

The Emperor has no uniform...

Matt Kelley, Associated Press: The Pentagon on Friday
released newly discovered payroll records from
President Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National
Guard, though the records shed no new light on the
future president's activities during that summer.
A Pentagon official said the earlier contention that
the records were destroyed was an ``inadvertent
oversight.''
Like records released earlier by the White House, the
newly released computerized payroll records show no
indication Bush drilled with the Alabama unit during
July, August and September of 1972. Pay records
covering all of 1972, released previously, also
indicated no guard service for Bush during those three
months.

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


http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4344593,00.html

Pentagon Finds Bush's Guard Records

Friday July 23, 2004 10:46 PM


AP Photo MIPM104

By MATT KELLEY

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon on Friday released
newly discovered payroll records from President Bush's
1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, though the
records shed no new light on the future president's
activities during that summer.

A Pentagon official said the earlier contention that
the records were destroyed was an ``inadvertent
oversight.''

Like records released earlier by the White House, the
newly released computerized payroll records show no
indication Bush drilled with the Alabama unit during
July, August and September of 1972. Pay records
covering all of 1972, released previously, also
indicated no guard service for Bush during those three
months.

The records do not give any new information toward
determining whether Bush kept his National Guard
commitments during 1972, when he transferred to the
Alabama National Guard unit so he could work on the
U.S. Senate campaign of a family friend.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Bush kept his
service commitments, pointing to the fact that Bush
was honorably discharged in 1973.

The release came days before Democrats began their
national convention in Boston to officially nominate
Sen. John Kerry as their presidential candidate.
Military veterans are being tapped at the convention
to help tell Kerry's story as he prepares to accept
the party's nomination next week.

Democrats have sought to contrast Bush's National
Guard service with Kerry's Vietnam War record. Kerry
enlisted in the Navy, volunteered for combat in
Vietnam and earned several medals including a Silver
Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. After
returning from Vietnam, Kerry became a prominent
anti-war activist.

The Associated Press had asked a federal judge on July
16 to order the Pentagon to quickly turn over a copy
of the pay records. The AP had sued under the Freedom
of Information Act to obtain the records from a state
library records center in Texas.

Records of Bush's National Guard service released
previously did not conclusively show whether Bush
fulfilled his service requirements in 1972 and 1973,
during the Vietnam War.

Bush had transferred to an Alabama National Guard unit
while he worked on the U.S. Senate campaign of
Republican Winton Blount.

The Pentagon had said that the payroll records for
that time period had been inadvertently destroyed.

``Previous attempts to locate the missing records at
the Federal Records Center had been unsuccessful due
to the incorrect records accession numbers provided,''
the Pentagon's Office of Freedom of Information chief
C.Y. Talbott said in a letter Friday to The Associated
Press.

``The correct numbers were obtained ... and the
records were found.''

Talbott wrote that the Defense Department ``regrets
this inadvertent oversight during the initial search
and the delay it caused in your receipt of these
materials.''

(UPDATES throughout with records shedding no new light
on Guard service question; corrects name of Pentagon
official to Talbott, sted Talbot; DELETES outdated
final graf. No pickup.)





Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Posted by richard at 10:37 AM

Puzzled & Curious [from Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds]

"Out, out damn spot!"

Sibel Edmonds, www.911citizenwatch.org: This puzzles
me, knowing the detailed information, I, myself,
provided to the commission during a three and a half
hour tape-recorded briefing; yet, finding only one
footnote (footnote 25) briefly stating insufficient
translation capability within the Bureau. It is highly
curious that the report mentions nothing regarding the
intentionally blocked translations by certain Middle
Eastern Translators, who also breached FBI security,
as confirmed by the Senate Judiciary; nothing
regarding adamant resistance to investigations of
certain terrorist and criminal activities; refusing to
transfer them to Counterterrorism from existing
counterintelligence investigations, solely based on
the vague notion of protecting certain foreign
relations’; nothing regarding continued efforts to
cover up certain highly specific information received
prior to September 11, even now, years after 9/11; or
nothing regarding knowingly allowing certain
individuals, directly or indirectly related to
terrorist activities, to leave the United States
months after 9/11, without any interrogation, and per
the State Department’s request. I am highly
puzzled and curious.

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=354&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

Puzzled & Curious [from Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds]

Commentary / Current News about 9-11
Date: Jul 24, 2004 - 12:09 AM
By Sibel Edmonds
July 23, 2004


The countdown is finally over, and a five hundred
sixty seven-page Commission report is out. According
to the Commission Chairman, they have seen every
single document and have interviewed every single
relevant witness and authority.

According to all Commission members, this report
should be considered a resounding success, since it
encompasses all information relevant to the terrorist
attacks of 9/11, and very little, almost none, has
been redacted, classified, or glossed over. Yet we
have heard no one screaming "classification",
"sensitive diplomatic relations", "highly sensitive
foreign business relations", or "national security
implications." This is highly puzzling and curious.

This puzzles me, considering that every investigation
by the Congress and the IG into my issues, every
report involving my already confirmed allegations
involving serious lapses within the FBI, and every
legal procedure and due process dealing with my case
alone, has been blocked, gagged, entirely classified,
and stopped. It is extremely curious that while
investigations and reports on one case alone has
created so much havoc, a massive investigation and a
report involving all intelligence agencies and other
government bodies, including the State Department, has
evoked zero objections based on "sensitive foreign
relations," "highly classified intelligence matters",
and/or "ongoing intelligence investigations." I am
highly puzzled and curious.

This puzzles me, knowing the detailed information, I,
myself, provided to the commission during a three and
a half hour tape-recorded briefing; yet, finding only
one footnote (footnote 25) briefly stating
insufficient translation capability within the Bureau.
It is highly curious that the report mentions nothing
regarding the intentionally blocked translations by
certain Middle Eastern Translators, who also breached
FBI security, as confirmed by the Senate Judiciary;
nothing regarding adamant resistance to investigations
of certain terrorist and criminal activities; refusing
to transfer them to Counterterrorism from existing
counterintelligence investigations, solely based on
the vague notion of protecting certain foreign
relations’; nothing regarding continued efforts to
cover up certain highly specific information received
prior to September 11, even now, years after 9/11; or
nothing regarding knowingly allowing certain
individuals, directly or indirectly related to
terrorist activities, to leave the United States
months after 9/11, without any interrogation, and per
the State Department’s request. I am highly
puzzled and curious.

This puzzles me, having first hand knowledge of on
going intelligence received and processed by the FBI
since 1997, which contained specific information
implicating certain high level government and elected
officials in criminal activities directly and
indirectly related to terrorist money laundering,
narcotics, and illegal arms sales. It is highly
curious that the report omitted all this information,
knowing that others in the Congress have been briefed
on these issues, having been given the names of
targets involved, Special Agents, translators, field
offices, and files. I am highly puzzled and curious.

After the many public hearings shows, where the
Commissioners very skillfully played their "good
cop—bad cop" routine, and displayed their life-long
mastery of the political art of saying, but not
saying, and asking, but not asking, all parties and
all agencies have readily accepted this report. The
President apparently considered the report rosey and
appropriately symbolized its presentation in his "rose
garden." The previous administration sighed with
relief, having scored a negative 4, compared to the
current administration’s negative 6, in the blame
game. The notorious Attorney General, John Ashcroft,
left his over-secrecy and classification guns in their
holsters. It is highly puzzling and curious to see
that this report ended up being blessed by all those
responsible for our nation’s security and interests,
which were severely violated on September 11. I, for
one, am highly puzzled and curious, how about you?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This article comes from 9/11 CitizensWatch
http://www.911citizenswatch.org/

The URL for this story is:
http://www.911citizenswatch.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=354


Posted by richard at 10:35 AM

During an average evening newscast in June, the networks were nearly four times as likely to mention President Bush as the Democratic presidential candidate...

Of course, it is worse than this study indicates...because in recent weeks the lockdown in on AnythingBuSee (ABC), SeeBS (CBS), NotBeSeen (NBC), etc. has extended to the deteriorating political and military circumstances in Iraq, and the mounting death toll for US soldiers there, as well as Abu Ghraib, Plame, Chalabi, the Alabama National Guard and other scandals...And, of course, Michael Eisner's AnythingButSee (remember Disney refused to release Fahrenheit 911) is the worst offender...It's the Media, Stupid.

Timothy Karr, www.mediachannel.org: During an average evening newscast in June, the networks were nearly four times as likely to mention President Bush as the Democratic presidential candidate...
ABC World News Tonight gave the least attention to Kerry and his campaign in June, devoting only 15.8 percent of its candidate coverage to the Massachusetts senator. In June, the half-hour newscast devoted 83.2 percent of its candidate coverage to Bush, according to the Media Tenor/Media for Democracy data.

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

Big Three Networks Dim Their Lights on Kerry

By Timothy Karr
MediaChannel.org

A new study of network TV election coverage over the first half of 2004 reveals a dimming spotlight for Democratic candidate John Kerry. Meanwhile, the Bush campaign has made impressive strides in placing their own candidate before the cameras. Can Kerry recapture the attention of American viewers before voters go to the polls in November?

NEW YORK, July 22, 2004 -- The Kerry campaign's share of network news coverage has been on a steady slide since the Massachusetts senator all but clinched his party nomination after the March 2 "Super Tuesday" primaries. According to a survey of media election coverage during the first half of 2004, President George W. Bush's share of the nightly newscasts has risen steadily through the year, while Senator John Kerry's image and words faded from network screens.

The study, released today by Media for Democracy and Media Tenor, is based on daily monitoring of network evening newscasts from January 1 through June 30, 2004.

During an average evening newscast in June, the networks were nearly four times as likely to mention President Bush as the Democratic presidential candidate. By contrast, in March of this year, network mention of Senator Kerry (40 percent of all coverage of Kerry, Bush and Ralph Nader) nearly rivaled coverage of incumbent Bush (59 percent).

ABC World News Tonight gave the least attention to Kerry and his campaign in June, devoting only 15.8 percent of its candidate coverage to the Massachusetts senator. In June, the half-hour newscast devoted 83.2 percent of its candidate coverage to Bush, according to the Media Tenor/Media for Democracy data. (Get the full Media Tenor / Media for Democracy study)

Continuing analysis into July shows that Kerry enjoyed a jump in network coverage following his selection of Senator John Edwards as his running mate, but that this attention flattened to June levels during the last week surveyed -- July 12 through 16.

Alarm Bells?

"John Kerry has had an increasingly hard time competing with the president for television news coverage," said Media Tenor President Roland Schatz. "Bush, as head of state, was expected to have a natural edge in coverage, but our study shows a precipitous decline in focus on Kerry, which should be ringing alarms at the Democratic contender's campaign headquarters."

Four years earlier, Democratic frontrunner Al Gore captured an even share (50.1 percent) of the network spotlight in June 2000, by comparison to then Texas Governor George Bush's portion (49.9 percent) of all coverage devoted to the candidates, according to the study.

"Voters are reluctant to vote a standing president out of office unless his opponent maintains high visibility," Says Schatz. "John Kerry has not been able to consistently attract network attention since the primaries."

The Media Tenor data support a New York Times/CBS June 27 poll in which 36 percent of Americans said that they were undecided or had not heard enough about Kerry to form an opinion about whether to support him in the November ballot.

The Democratic Party's plans to leverage next week's Democratic National Convention to showcase their candidate for undecided Americans suffered a setback earlier this month when ABC, CBS and NBC elected to cut back network coverage of the conventions to an average of three hours per network, per convention. In 1976, each of the three major commercial networks provided on average more than nine hours of live
broadcasts from each convention.

But even factoring in the number of new cable stations devoting their primetime coverage to the conventions this year, overall television viewership has been in steady decline since the 1970s. That means that candidates have to make aggressive use of whatever coverage opportunities they can get, analysts say.

"For Kerry to cross the threshold and his image to become clearer to the public, he does need to get more coverage," Carroll Doherty, editor for the Pew Research Center, said. "The television lull between the primaries and the conventions is always tough for the challenger."

Good Coverage Is Often Bad News

Though many voters may not have a well-defined view of the Democratic candidate yet, Kerry is still running neck-in-neck with Bush in the many presidential preference polls that Pew Research Center monitors throughout the year. Doherty notes that while candidate Bush gets more attention from the networks' coverage, the coverage is not always positive.

Media Tenor's study shows network news stories about Bush had a more negative tone than stories about Kerry. Of the nearly 1,176 statements made about Bush during the networks' half-hour newscasts in the first six months of the year, Media Tenor classified 24.1 percent (or 284 statements) as negative. Stories that had a particularly negative cast included coverage tying Bush to terrorism advisor Richard Clarke's 9-11 Commission testimony, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and escalating violence in Iraq.

On average, this negative cast receded in June, largely due to positive coverage of Bush's appearances as head of state during the D-Day celebrations in France and the G-8 conference in the US.

The study categorizes only 13.1 percent of Kerry's January through June network coverage as negative.

Buying Ad Time to Take Up the Slack

Many voters now learn more about candidates from the tidal wave of political ads that have come to dominate primetime viewing in many swing-voter states this year. Kerry's camp has already spent more than $80 million on political ads to put their candidate before voters, a massive windfall for eager local broadcasters.

In western Michigan, on an average night in July television viewers are 13 times more likely to hear about candidates and their positions from political ads than from the 5:30, 6 and 11 O'clock local newscasts, according to a recent study by the Grand Rapids Institute of Information Democracy. A similar picture is emerging in other hotly contested election states where political ads do more to educate (or in many cases misinform) voters about federal candidates than the local news.

For the Kerry campaign, coverage by the national networks of the primaries and convention was the hoped-for antidote to the dearth of local political coverage.

With the networks planning to scale back on convention coverage, the campaigns are now turning to the three televised debates scheduled to begin in September to regain mainstream airtime denied their candidates in the first half of the year.

"The first debate is crucial for Kerry," Doherty said, but he remains skeptical that mainstream network coverage has the ability to influence voters as it had in the past.

"We're looking at a new media universe where mainstream political coverage is missing a lot of people, especially younger voters," Doherty said. "As a result, the broad public is much harder to reach for campaigns."

-- Timothy Karr is the executive director of MediaChannel.org.

© MediaChannel.org, 2004. All rights reserved.


Posted by richard at 10:32 AM

July 23, 2004

The 9/11 Report: Bad News for Bush

Here are, first, the LNS's seven points of dispute with the 9/11 Commission and the "US Mainstream News Media" *coverage* of its final report,
and second, a powerful analysis of what actually is
IN the report, and can therefore be drawn on by
Kerry-Edwards and their champions (in particular, Max
Cleland (D-GA), Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fraudida) and Gen.
Wesley Clark (D-NATO)...
First, our seven points of dispute with 9/11 Commission's milk-toast final report:
1. Either Clinton or Bush is Lying. Bill Clinton says
that he and the increasingly unhinged and incredibly
shrinking _resident discussed national security and
that he (Bubba) warned the increasingly unhinged and
incredibly shrinking _resident that Osama Bin Lsden
and Al Qaeda was the greatest threat that the US faced
in 2001. The increasingly unhinged and incredibly
shrinking _resident, of course, remembers the
conversation differently and does not recall Osama Bin
Lsden and Al Qaeda being mentioned. (These conflicting
recollections are in the final report.) Either Bubba
or the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident is lying. Do you think that we will see a
national poll on which one of the two versions of the
encounter the US Electorate believes?
2. The problems concerning intelligence sharing and
analysis are well-known and systemic. That's why the
Clinton-Gore national security team had regular and
frequent "principles meeting" to "shake the tree" for
intelligence on Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. It was a
triage-fix, a work-around, to overcome these
well-known and systemic problems. The Clinton-Gore
national security team's approach contributed
significantly, according to Richard Clarke and others,
the thwarting of Al Qaeda's so-called "Millenium
plot." This approach was terminted by the Bush cabal
after the seized the White House, and, indeed, the
threat of Osama Bin Lsden and Al Qaeda was given a
much lower priority than in the Clinton-Gore
administration.
3. The legend of John O'Neill (to whom Richard Clarke
dedicated his book, Against All Enemies) remains
unacknowledged and unsanctified by the government and the country he gave his life trying to protect. The French bestseller, Forbidden Truth, a PBS Frontline Document, "The Man Who Knew," and a New Yorker
Magazine feature article provide ample reason for a
serious inquiry, but, disgracefully, his name was only
mentioned briefly in passing by 9/11 Commmissioner
Richard Ben-Veniste. For more information on John
O'Neill, and what he tried to do and what happened to
him. refer to the LNS searchable database.
4. The 9/11 Commission also wimped out on the case of
whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in its final product. It
simply refers the reader to the [DoJ] Inspector
General's report, but, of course, this document has
been classified. For more information on Sibel Edmons
and her heroic witnessing, refer to the LNS searchable
database. (It has not been classified, yet.)
5. In perhaps of its most ludricrous twists of the
truth, the 9/11 Commission's report gives a free pass
to the governments of Saudia Arabia and Pakistan.
Incredible. What will Danny Pearl's wife say? He was
decapitated in his attempt to explore the Pakistani
ISI's links to Al Qaeda. And concerning the
Saudis...Well, really, there is no need to
elaborate...[In today's other posting, the LNS will provide you with a very important analysis by Micheal Meacher, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton, and formerly Environment Minister in the government of the
shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair, published in the Guardian (UK) on these issues.]
6. The 9/11 Commission also limp-wristed the issue of
the Saudi flights cleared by the White House. And no,
we do not care that Richard Clarke has taken
responsibility for authorizing them. Fortunately,
Craig Unger is on his game, and Sen. Frank Lautemberg
(D-New Jersey) has courage. Here is Unger's posting on
the latest developments in this outrageous breach: For
months we’ve known that approximately two dozen
members of the bin Laden family were among the 142
passengers on the White House-approved Saudi
evacuation, but exactly which members of the family
were on the flights? This week, Senator Frank
Lautenberg (D-NJ) released the passenger list for the
September 19, 2001, Boston to Paris flight, showing
who was on the flight for the first time. Two names in
particular might be of interest to investigators. The
documents show that Khalil Binladin boarded in
Orlando. According to the German wire service Deutsche
Presse-Agentur, Khalil, who had business interests in
the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, had won the
attention of Brazilian investigators because of his
visits to the Minas Gerais capital, Belo Horizonte,
which was allegedly a Hezbollah training center.
Another passenger, Omar Awad bin Laden, a nephew of
Osama’s, lived with his brother Abdullah, who was a
key figure in forming the American branch of the World
Assembly of Muslim Youth. Federal agents raided WAMY
this spring. The FBI has described the group as a
“suspected terrorist organization.”
7. And, of course, there is the day that John Ashcroft
testified...Did either Ashcroft or Thomas Pickering of
the FBI, perjuried themselves during those hearings?
Just like the increasingly unhinged and incredibly
shrinking _resident's selective memory about his
conversation with Bill Clinton, Ashcorft's memory
seems to have misplaced an awful lot of relevant
information about the threat from Al Qaeda in the
summer of 2001. But, wait, we're not finished...Don't
forget Ashcroft's sliming of 9/11 Commissioner Jaime
Gorelick (D-DoJ) in his testimony (look it up in the
LNS searchable database). It was spooky, deceitful and
embarrassingly revealing about Ashcroft's own psychological state, and certainly deserved to have been rebuked by the full Commission
in its final report. Why is Ashcroft alone allowed to make partisan attacks without political repercussion? And now, here's David Corn's excellent analysis...

David Corn, The Nation: The final report of the 9/11
commission confirms many of the panel's preliminary
findings that have--or should have--embarrassed the
Bush administration. The commission does note, "Our
aim has not been to assign individual blame. Our aim
has been to provide the fullest possible account of
the events surrounding 9/11 and to identify lessons
learned." And it is true that the report does point to
screw-ups and negligent policymaking committed during
both the Bush II and Clinton administrations. But
George W. Bush is the incumbent president who has to
face the voters in November. Although Republicans in
recent days have been highlighting the mistakes of the
Clinton years, it is not inappropriate for voters to
focus on what report tells us about Bush and his
administration. As a public service, here is a look at
several of those critical portions...
Within the first few days after Bush's inauguration,
Clarke approached [national security adviser
Condoleezza] Rice in an effort to get her--and the new
President--to give terrorism very high priority and to
act on the agenda that he had pushed during the last
few months of the previous administration. After Rice
requested that all senior staff identify desirable
major policy reviews or initiatives, Clarke submitted
an elaborate memorandum on January 25, 2001. He
attached to it his [anti-al Qaeda] 1998 Delenda Plan
and the December 2000 strategy paper. "We urgently
need ...a Principals level review on the al Qida
network," Clarke wrote.
He wanted the Principals Committee to decide whether
al Qaeda was "a first order threat" or a more modest
worry being overblown by "chicken little" alarmists.
Alluding to the transition briefing that he had
prepared for Rice, Clarke wrote that al Qaeda "is not
some narrow, little terrorist issue that needs to be
included in broader regional policy." Two key
decisions that had been deferred, he noted, concerned
covert aid to keep the Northern Alliance alive when
fighting began again in Afghanistan in the spring, and
covert aid to the Uzbeks. Clarke also suggested that
decisions should be made soon on messages to the
Taliban and Pakistan over the al Qaeda sanctuary in
Afghanistan, on possible new money for CIA operations,
and on "when and how... to respond to the attack on
the USS Cole."
The national security advisor did not respond directly
to Clarke's memorandum. No Principals Committee
meeting on al Qaeda was held until September 4, 2001
(although the Principals Committee met frequently on
other subjects, such as the Middle East peace process,
Russia, and the Persian Gulf ).
The lack of response to Clarke does appear to indicate
that for Rice, at least, the al Qaeda threat was not a
high priority. The report details the many steps the
Bush administration did take in its first eight months
to establish a counterterrorism policy aimed at al
Qaeda. By no means were Rice and others doing nothing.
But counterterrorism was not on the fast track.

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

http://thenation.com/capitalgames/index.mhtml?bid=3&pid=1594

The 9/11 Report: Bad News for Bush
07/23/2004 @ 07:40am

The final report of the 9/11 commission confirms many
of the panel's preliminary findings that have--or
should have--embarrassed the Bush administration. The
commission does note, "Our aim has not been to assign
individual blame. Our aim has been to provide the
fullest possible account of the events surrounding
9/11 and to identify lessons learned." And it is true
that the report does point to screw-ups and negligent
policymaking committed during both the Bush II and
Clinton administrations. But George W. Bush is the
incumbent president who has to face the voters in
November. Although Republicans in recent days have
been highlighting the mistakes of the Clinton years,
it is not inappropriate for voters to focus on what
report tells us about Bush and his administration. As
a public service, here is a look at several of those
critical portions.

* Bush's initial reaction. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit
9/11 has made famous--or infamous--the scene when
Bush, after having been told that a second airliner
had hit the World Trace Center, sits for seven minutes
in a Florida classroom, as the kids read a book. The
9/11 report says,

The President was seated in a classroom when, at 9:05,
Andrew Card whispered to him: "A second plane hit the
second tower. America is under attack." The President
told us his instinct was to project calm, not to have
the country see an excited reaction at a moment of
crisis. The press was standing behind the children; he
saw their phones and pagers start to ring. The
President felt he should project strength and calm
until he could better understand what was happening.

In the Moore film, Bush hardly looks as if he is
projecting "calm." To me--and, of course, this is a
highly subjective view--he has a
what-the-hell-should-I-do expression on his face. But
Bush backers and detractors are likely to see what
they want to in that seven-minute performance. Bush's
reaction, though, cannot be judged on the basis of
what is now known about the 9/11 attacks. Consider
this: when Bush was told about the second plane, it
was obvious that the United States was under attack.
Today we know that attack involved four planes. But at
the moment that Card whispered into his ear, Bush (and
everyone else) had no idea about the full extent of
the assault. There could have been twenty airliners
hijacked. There could have been WMD attacks coming.
Perhaps minutes mattered. So how was it a projection
of strength and calm for Bush to remain in a
classroom--doing nothing--when who-knew-what was
happening? He could have easily excused himself,
especially as pagers and cell phones were sounding.
His explanation rings hollow.

* Terrorism as a priority for the Bush administration.
Former counterterrorism Richard Clarke triggered a
fierce, partisan debate earlier this year when he
wrote in a book that the Bush administration pre-9/11
did not take the threat of al Qaeda seriously enough.
The Bush administration challenged Clarke's account
and attacked him vigorously. The 9/11 commission's
report does suggest the terrorism was not an A-list
topic for the Bush White House:

Within the first few days after Bush's inauguration,
Clarke approached [national security adviser
Condoleezza] Rice in an effort to get her--and the new
President--to give terrorism very high priority and to
act on the agenda that he had pushed during the last
few months of the previous administration. After Rice
requested that all senior staff identify desirable
major policy reviews or initiatives, Clarke submitted
an elaborate memorandum on January 25, 2001. He
attached to it his [anti-al Qaeda] 1998 Delenda Plan
and the December 2000 strategy paper. "We urgently
need ...a Principals level review on the al Qida
network," Clarke wrote.

He wanted the Principals Committee to decide whether
al Qaeda was "a first order threat" or a more modest
worry being overblown by "chicken little" alarmists.
Alluding to the transition briefing that he had
prepared for Rice, Clarke wrote that al Qaeda "is not
some narrow, little terrorist issue that needs to be
included in broader regional policy." Two key
decisions that had been deferred, he noted, concerned
covert aid to keep the Northern Alliance alive when
fighting began again in Afghanistan in the spring, and
covert aid to the Uzbeks. Clarke also suggested that
decisions should be made soon on messages to the
Taliban and Pakistan over the al Qaeda sanctuary in
Afghanistan, on possible new money for CIA operations,
and on "when and how... to respond to the attack on
the USS Cole."

The national security advisor did not respond directly
to Clarke's memorandum. No Principals Committee
meeting on al Qaeda was held until September 4, 2001
(although the Principals Committee met frequently on
other subjects, such as the Middle East peace process,
Russia, and the Persian Gulf ).

The lack of response to Clarke does appear to indicate
that for Rice, at least, the al Qaeda threat was not a
high priority. The report details the many steps the
Bush administration did take in its first eight months
to establish a counterterrorism policy aimed at al
Qaeda. By no means were Rice and others doing nothing.
But counterterrorism was not on the fast track. An
example from the report:

In May, President Bush announced that Vice President
Cheney would himself lead an effort looking at
preparations for managing a possible attack by weapons
of mass destruction and at more general problems of
national preparedness. The next few months were mainly
spent organizing the effort and bringing an admiral
from the Sixth Fleet back to Washington to manage it.
The Vice President's task force was just getting under
way when the 9/11 attack occurred.

And another example:

The Bush administration did not develop new diplomatic
initiatives on al Qaeda with the Saudi government
before 9/11. Vice President Cheney called Crown Prince
Abdullah on July 5, 2001, to seek Saudi help in
preventing threatened attacks on American facilities
in the Kingdom. Secretary of State Powell met with the
crown prince twice before 9/11. They discussed topics
like Iraq, not al Qaeda.U.S.-Saudi relations in the
summer of 2001 were marked by sometimes heated
disagreements about ongoing Israeli-Palestinian
violence, not about Bin Ladin.

Even when the Bush administration eventually finalized
a "three-phase, multiyear plan to pressure and perhaps
ultimately topple the Taliban leadership"--on
September 10, 2001--the plan was not ready for
implementation. The report notes, "Funding still
needed to be located. The military component remained
unclear. Pakistan remained uncooperative. The domestic
policy institutions were largely uninvolved."

Is it fair to hold the Bush crowd to a post-9/11
standard? In a way, yes. Presidents are responsible
for what happens on their watch. When the economy
improves or declines, they get the credit or the
blame. In this case, though, the Bush administration
can be faulted for establishing the wrong priorities.
For instance, Bush and his lot said that missile
defense was a top need because a ballistic missile
attack from a rogue state was a top threat.
(Intelligence community analysts disagreed with this
threat assessment.) Well, the Bushies got that wrong,
and a political punishment would not be unreasonable.

* The Bush administration's reaction to the threat
reports of 2001. The 9/11 commission's final report
elaborately details the flood of intelligence reports
received in the spring and summer of 2001 indicating
something big was coming from al Qaeda. The report
backs up the CYA assertion made by administration
officials that most of the reports appeared to suggest
the target for such an attack would be outside the
United States. Nevertheless, one question has been how
the Bush administration responded to the high state of
alert. One of his cabinet members comes out
particularly poorly in the commission's report.

Attorney General Ashcroft was briefed by the CIA in
May and by [acting FBI chief Thomas] Pickard in early
July about the danger [being indicated in the
intelligence reporting]. Pickard said he met with
Ashcroft once a week in late June, through July, and
twice in August. There is a dispute regarding
Ashcroft's interest in Pickard's briefings about the
terrorist threat situation. Pickard told us that after
two such briefings Ashcroft told him that he did not
want to hear about the threats anymore. Ashcroft
denies Pickard's charge. Pickard says he continued to
present terrorism information during further briefings
that summer, but nothing further on the "chatter" the
U.S. government was receiving.

The Attorney General told us he asked Pickard whether
there was intelligence about attacks in the United
States and that Pickard said no. Pickard said he
replied that he could not assure Ashcroft that there
would be no attacks in the United States, although the
reports of threats were related to overseas targets.
Ashcroft said he therefore assumed the FBI was doing
what it needed to do. He acknowledged that in
retrospect, this was a dangerous assumption. He did
not ask the FBI what it was doing in response to the
threats and did not task it to take any specific
action. He also did not direct the INS, then still
part of the Department of Justice, to take any
specific action.

In sum, the domestic agencies never mobilized in
response to the threat. They did not have direction,
and did not have a plan to institute. The borders were
not hardened. Transportation systems were not
fortified. Electronic surveillance was not targeted
against a domestic threat. State and local law
enforcement were not marshaled to augment the FBI's
efforts. The public was not warned. The terrorists
exploited deep institutional failings within our
government. The question is whether extra vigilance
might have turned up an opportunity to disrupt the
plot. As seen in Chapter 7, al Qaeda's operatives made
mistakes. At least two such mistakes created
opportunities during 2001, especially in late August.

The commission, then, is suggesting that Ashcroft's
"dangerous assumption" contributed to a situation in
which the FBI was not able to take advantage of al
Qaeda's mistakes and thwart the 9/11 plot. In many
other nations, if the chief law enforcement officer
made a wrong assumption--even in good faith--that
placed the nation at risk, he or she would resign or
be canned. Yet Ashcroft has continued to enjoy the
benefits of government employment.

How Bush and his senior White House advisers responded
to the hair-raising "chatter" has been a critical
issue. The report shows that the intelligence
reporting in mid-2001 was indeed damn frightening.
Here's a sampling:

On June 25, Clarke warned Rice and Hadley that six
separate intelligence reports showed al Qaeda
personnel warning of a pending attack. An Arabic
television station reported Bin Ladin's pleasure with
al Qaeda leaders who were saying that the next weeks
"will witness important surprises" and that U.S. and
Israeli interests will be targeted. Al Qaeda also
released a new recruitment and fund-raising tape.
Clarke wrote that this was all too sophisticated to be
merely a psychological operation to keep the United
States on edge, and the CIA agreed. The intelligence
reporting consistently described the upcoming attacks
as occurring on a calamitous level, indicating that
they would cause the world to be in turmoil and that
they would consist of possible multiple--but not
necessarily simultaneous--attacks.

On June 28, Clarke wrote Rice that the pattern of al
Qaeda activity indicating attack planning over the
past six weeks "had reached a crescendo." "A series of
new reports continue to convince me and analysts at
State, CIA, DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency], and NSA
that a major terrorist attack or series of attacks is
likely in July," he noted. One al Qaeda intelligence
report warned that something "very, very, very, very"
big was about to happen, and most of Bin Ladin's
network was reportedly anticipating the attack. In
late June, the CIA ordered all its station chiefs to
share information on al Qaeda with their host
governments and to push for immediate disruptions of
cells. The headline of a June 30 briefing to top
officials was stark: "Bin Ladin Planning High-Profile
Attacks." The report stated that Bin Ladin operatives
expected near-term attacks to have dramatic
consequences of catastrophic proportions. That same
day, Saudi Arabia declared its highest level of terror
alert. Despite evidence of delays possibly caused by
heightened U.S. security, the planning for attacks was
continuing.

On July 2, the FBI Counterterrorism Division sent a
message to federal agencies and state and local law
enforcement agencies summarizing information regarding
threats from Bin Ladin. It warned that there was an
increased volume of threat reporting, indicating a
potential for attacks against U.S. targets abroad from
groups "aligned with or sympathetic to Usama Bin
Ladin." Despite the general warnings, the message
further stated, "The FBI has no information indicating
a credible threat of terrorist attack in the United
States." However, it went on to emphasize that the
possibility of attack in the United States could not
be discounted. It also noted that the July 4 holiday
might heighten the threats. The report asked
recipients to "exercise extreme vigilance" and "report
suspicious activities" to the FBI. It did not suggest
specific actions that they should take to prevent
attacks....

In mid-July, reporting started to indicate that Bin
Ladin's plans had been delayed, maybe for as long as
two months, but not abandoned. On July 23, the lead
item for CSG [Counterterrorism Security Group]
discussion was still the al Qaeda threat, and it
included mention of suspected terrorist travel to the
United States.

But at least one prominent Bush aide was not worried
about al Qaeda. The commission writes,

[CIA director George] Tenet told us that in his world
"the system was blinking red." By late July, Tenet
said, it could not "get any worse." Not everyone was
convinced. Some asked whether all these threats might
just be deception. On June 30, the SEIB [Senior
Executive Intelligence Brief] contained an article
titled "Bin Ladin Threats Are Real." Yet Hadley told
Tenet in July that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul
Wolfowitz questioned the reporting. Perhaps Bin Ladin
was trying to study U.S. reactions. Tenet replied that
he had already addressed the Defense Department's
questions on this point; the reporting was convincing.
To give a sense of his anxiety at the time, one senior
official in the Counterterrorist Center told us that
he and a colleague were considering resigning in order
to go public with their concerns.

Which brings us to the infamous August 6, 2001,
Presidential Daily Brief. Bush received this report
after months of harrowing intelligence reporting.
True, the "chatter" had diminished in recent weeks,
but, as the commission notes, some of that "chatter"
had caused some officials to be concerned about the
possibility of a domestic attack. It was within this
context that Bush received a PDB titled, "Bin Ladin
Determined To Strike in US." The 9/11 commission,
which interviewed Bush (after the White House first
tried to limit the session and then insisted on a
single, joint interview with Bush and Cheney) notes,

The President told us the August 6 report was
historical in nature. President Bush said the article
told him that al Qaeda was dangerous, which he said he
had known since he had become President. The President
said Bin Ladin had long been talking about his desire
to attack America. He recalled some operational data
on the FBI, and remembered thinking it was heartening
that 70 investigations were under way. As best he
could recollect, Rice had mentioned that the Yemenis'
surveillance of a federal building in New York had
been looked into in May and June, but there was no
actionable intelligence. He did not recall discussing
the August 6 report with the Attorney General or
whether Rice had done so. He said that if his advisers
had told him there was a cell in the United States,
they would have moved to take care of it. That never
happened.

Bush's explanation was disingenuous. The report was
not merely "historical in nature." It provided
information about the current threat. It said,

FBI information since that time [1998] indicates
patterns of suspicious activity in this country
consistent with preparations for hijackings or other
types of attacks, including recent surveillance of
federal buildings in New York.

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field
investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin
Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a
call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a
group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning
attacks with explosives.

It turns out the PDB overstated the number of ongoing
investigations. But ponder this episode. Bush is told
that al Qaeda is involved in "suspicious activity in
this country," to the extent that there are 70 "full
field investigations," and he did not make any further
inquiries or ask the attorney general about any of
this. Perhaps he was confident that the FBI and others
were on the case. But a serious-minded president might
have poked and prodded the agencies on the basis of
this news. Ashcroft, for one, could have used some
goosing. But Bush goosed no one.

******************************

After you read this article, check out David Corn's
NEW WEBLOG by going to www.davidcorn.com.

******************************

* The alliance (or lack thereof) between al Qaeda and
Iraq. The 9/11 commission created a firestorm not too
long ago when it released an interim report that said
the commission had found no evidence of a
"collaborative relationship" between Saddam Hussein's
brutal regime and al Qaeda. In response, Bush and
Cheney declared there had been a "relationship." After
all, Bush had argued before the war that Hussein was
"a threat because he is dealing with al Qaeda."
Without that connection and without the (still
missing) WMDs, Bush's primary case for war--Hussein as
an "immediate" threat--would fall apart. Thus,
Bush-backers and neocon advocates of the war have
relentlessly tried to keep alive the supposed
connection between Hussein and al Qaeda, even as the
Senate intelligence committee report on the prewar
intelligence says the intelligence community was
correct to conclude there was no confirmation of a
working relationship between the two.

After the 9/11 commission released that interim
report, there was talk that its final report might shy
away from this matter. But the commission hang tough.
These are the relevant portions:

Bin Ladin was also willing [in the early 1990s] to
explore possibilities for cooperation with Iraq, even
though Iraq's dictator, Saddam Hussein, had never had
an Islamist agenda--save for his opportunistic pose as
a defender of the faithful against "Crusaders" during
the Gulf War of 1991. Moreover, Bin Ladin had in fact
been sponsoring anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi
Kurdistan, and sought to attract them into his Islamic
army. To protect his own ties with Iraq, Sudanese
leader Husan al] Turabi reportedly brokered an
agreement that Bin Ladin would stop supporting
activities against Saddam. Bin Ladin apparently
honored this pledge, at least for a time, although he
continued to aid a group of Islamist extremists
operating in part of Iraq (Kurdistan) outside of
Baghdad's control....

With the Sudanese regime acting as intermediary, Bin
Ladin himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence
officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995. Bin
Ladin is said to have asked for space to establish
training camps, as well as assistance in procuring
weapons, but there is no evidence that Iraq responded
to this request. As described below, the ensuing years
saw additional efforts to establish connections.....

Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin
or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period
of some reported strains with the Taliban. According
to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a
safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently
judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained
more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports
describe friendly contacts and indicate some common
themes in both sides' hatred of the United States. But
to date we have seen no evidence that these or the
earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative
operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence
indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in
developing or carrying out any attacks against the
United States.

Isn't it time to say "case closed"? No doubt, the
neocons will claim the 9/11 report, the CIA, and the
Senate intelligence committee are all wrong on this
subject. But at some point, doesn't good manners
compel them to hoist the white flag? Speaking of
which....

* Mohamed Atta in Prague. Cheney and others have not
been able to let go of the allegation--long deemed
unlikely by the CIA and the FBI--that Atta, the
ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers, met with an Iraqi
intelligence officer in Prague several months before
the September 11 attacks. When the 9/11 commission
issued a preliminary finding declaring there was no
evidence to substantiate the allegation, Cheney
insisted the Prague meeting remained an open question.
In its final report, the commission tries to bury this
charge once and for all. Will Cheney accept the
panel's verdict? Probably not, but maybe he will stop
talking about a meeting that probably never happened.
This is what the commission reports:

Mohamed Atta is known to have been in Prague on two
occasions: in December 1994, when he stayed one night
at a transit hotel, and in June 2000, when he was en
route to the United States. On the latter occasion, he
arrived by bus from Germany, on June 2, and departed
for Newark the following day. The allegation that Atta
met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in
April 2001 originates from the reporting of a single
source of the Czech intelligence service. Shortly
after 9/11, the source reported having seen Atta meet
with Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al Ani, an Iraqi
diplomat, at the Iraqi Embassy in Prague on April 9,
2001, at 11:00 A.M. This information was passed to CIA
headquarters.

The U.S. legal attache ("Legat ") in Prague, the
representative of the FBI, met with the Czech
service's source. After the meeting, the assessment of
the Legat and the Czech officers present was that they
were 70 percent sure that the source was sincere and
believed his own story of the meeting. Subsequently,
the Czech intelligence service publicly stated that
there was a 70 percent probability that the meeting
between Atta and Ani had taken place. The Czech
Interior Minister also made several statements to the
press about his belief that the meeting had occurred,
and the story was widely reported.

The FBI has gathered evidence indicating that Atta was
in Virginia Beach on April 4 (as evidenced by a bank
surveillance camera photo), and in Coral Springs,
Florida on April 11, where he and Shehhi leased an
apartment. On April 6, 9, 10, and 11, Atta's cellular
telephone was used numerous times to call various
lodging establishments in Florida from cell sites
within Florida. We cannot confirm that he placed those
calls. But there are no U.S. records indicating that
Atta departed the country during this period. Czech
officials have reviewed their flight and border
records as well for any indication that Atta was in
the Czech Republic in April 2001, including records of
anyone crossing the border who even looked Arab. They
have also reviewed pictures from the area near the
Iraqi embassy and have not discovered photos of anyone
who looked like Atta. No evidence has been found that
Atta was in the Czech Republic in April 2001.

According to the Czech government, Ani, the Iraqi
officer alleged to have met with Atta, was about 70
miles away from Prague on April 8 –9 and did not
return until the afternoon of the ninth, while the
source was firm that the sighting occurred at 11:00
A.M. When questioned about the reported April 2001
meeting, Ani--now in custody--has denied ever meeting
or having any contact with Atta. Ani says that shortly
after 9/11, he became concerned that press stories
about the alleged meeting might hurt his career.
Hoping to clear his name, Ani asked his superiors to
approach the Czech government about refuting the
allegation. He also denies knowing of any other Iraqi
official having contact with Atta.

These findings cannot absolutely rule out the
possibility that Atta was in Prague on April 9, 2001.
He could have used an alias to travel and a passport
under that alias, but this would be an exception to
his practice of using his true name while traveling
(as he did in January and would in July when he took
his next overseas trip). The FBI and CIA have
uncovered no evidence that Atta held any fraudulent
passports. KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] and [Ramzi]
Binalshibh both deny that an Atta-Ani meeting
occurred. There was no reason for such a meeting,
especially considering the risk it would pose to the
operation. By April 2001, all four pilots had
completed most of their training, and the muscle
hijackers were about to begin entering the United
States. The available evidence does not support the
original Czech report of an Atta-Ani meeting.

To recap, then: no working relationship between
Hussein and al Qaeda, no Prague meeting, no strong
reaction from Bush to the pre-9/11 warnings of a
pending al Qaeda attack, no more than routine
attention devoted to the al Qaeda threat by the Bush
team in the months before September 11. GOPers can wag
their fingers at Bill Clinton, who also did not do
enough (obviously). But there is no denying this
report is bad news for Bush and his crew. If Bush
wants this election to be a referendum on how he has
handled the threat posed by al Qaeda, this
report--available now in local bookstores and online
at the 9/11 commission's site--ought to be read by
those 49 swing voters in Ohio who will be deciding the
election for the rest of us.

********************

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! An
UPDATED and EXPANDED EDITION is NOW AVAILABLE in
PAPERBACK. 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." And GEORGE W.
BUSH SAYS, "I'd like to tell you I've read [ The Lies
of George W. Bush], but that'd be a lie."

For more information and a sample, go to the official
website: www.bushlies.com. And check out Corn's blog
on the site.

************


Posted by richard at 01:30 PM

There is evidence of foreign intelligence backing for the 9/11 hijackers. Why is the US government so keen to cover it up?

"Out, out damn spot!"

Michael Meacher, Guardian: A fourth witness is Sibel
Edmonds. She is a 33-year-old Turkish-American former
FBI translator of intelligence, fluent in Farsi, the
language spoken mainly in Iran and Afghanistan, who
had top-secret security clearance. She tried to blow
the whistle on the cover-up of intelligence that names
some of the culprits who orchestrated the 9/11
attacks, but is now under two gagging orders that
forbid her from testifying in court or mentioning the
names of the people or the countries involved. She has
been quoted as saying: "My translations of the 9/11
intercepts included [terrorist] money laundering,
detailed and date-specific information ... if they
were to do real investigations, we would see several
significant high-level criminal prosecutions in this
country [the US] ... and believe me, they will do
everything to cover this up"...
It has been rumoured that Pearl was especially
interested in any role played by the US in training or
backing the ISI. Daniel Ellsberg, the former US
defence department whistleblower who has accompanied
Edmonds in court, has stated: "It seems to me quite
plausible that Pakistan was quite involved in this ...
To say Pakistan is, to me, to say CIA because ... it's
hard to say that the ISI knew something that the CIA
had no knowledge of." Ahmed's close relations with the
CIA would seem to confirm this. For years the CIA used
the ISI as a conduit to pump billions of dollars into
militant Islamist groups in Afghanistan, both before
and after the Soviet invasion of 1979.
W ith CIA backing, the ISI has developed, since the
early 1980s, into a parallel structure, a state within
a state, with staff and informers estimated by some at
150,000. It wields enormous power over all aspects of
government. The case of Ahmed confirms that parts of
the ISI directly supported and financed al-Qaida, and
it has long been established that the ISI has acted as
go-between in intelligence operations on behalf of the
CIA.
Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate select
committee on intelligence, has said: "I think there is
very compelling evidence that at least some of the
terrorists were assisted, not just in financing ... by
a sovereign foreign government." In that context,
Horst Ehmke, former coordinator of the West German
secret services, observed: "Terrorists could not have
carried out such an operation with four hijacked
planes without the support of a secret service."

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/comment/story/0,3604,1266317,00.html

Comment

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Pakistan connection

There is evidence of foreign intelligence backing for the 9/11 hijackers. Why is the US government so keen to cover it up?

Michael Meacher
Thursday July 22, 2004
The Guardian

Omar Sheikh, a British-born Islamist militant, is
waiting to be hanged in Pakistan for a murder he
almost certainly didn't commit - of the Wall Street
Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002. Both the US
government and Pearl's wife have since acknowledged
that Sheikh was not responsible. Yet the Pakistani
government is refusing to try other suspects newly
implicated in Pearl's kidnap and murder for fear the
evidence they produce in court might acquit Sheikh and
reveal too much.
Significantly, Sheikh is also the man who, on the
instructions of General Mahmoud Ahmed, the then head
of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), wired
$100,000 before the 9/11 attacks to Mohammed Atta, the
lead hijacker. It is extraordinary that neither Ahmed
nor Sheikh have been charged and brought to trial on
this count. Why not?

Ahmed, the paymaster for the hijackers, was actually
in Washington on 9/11, and had a series of pre-9/11
top-level meetings in the White House, the Pentagon,
the national security council, and with George Tenet,
then head of the CIA, and Marc Grossman, the
under-secretary of state for political affairs. When
Ahmed was exposed by the Wall Street Journal as having
sent the money to the hijackers, he was forced to
"retire" by President Pervez Musharraf. Why hasn't the
US demanded that he be questioned and tried in court?

Another person who must know a great deal about what
led up to 9/11 is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, allegedly
arrested in Rawalpindi on March 1 2003. A joint
Senate-House intelligence select committee inquiry in
July 2003 stated: "KSM appears to be one of Bin
Laden's most trusted lieutenants and was active in
recruiting people to travel outside Afghanistan,
including to the US, on behalf of Bin Laden."
According to the report, the clear implication was
that they would be engaged in planning
terrorist-related activities.

The report was sent from the CIA to the FBI, but
neither agency apparently recognised the significance
of a Bin Laden lieutenant sending terrorists to the US
and asking them to establish contacts with colleagues
already there. Yet the New York Times has since noted
that "American officials said that KSM, once
al-Qaida's top operational commander, personally
executed Daniel Pearl ... but he was unlikely to be
accused of the crime in an American criminal court
because of the risk of divulging classified
information". Indeed, he may never be brought to
trial.

A fourth witness is Sibel Edmonds. She is a
33-year-old Turkish-American former FBI translator of
intelligence, fluent in Farsi, the language spoken
mainly in Iran and Afghanistan, who had top-secret
security clearance. She tried to blow the whistle on
the cover-up of intelligence that names some of the
culprits who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, but is now
under two gagging orders that forbid her from
testifying in court or mentioning the names of the
people or the countries involved. She has been quoted
as saying: "My translations of the 9/11 intercepts
included [terrorist] money laundering, detailed and
date-specific information ... if they were to do real
investigations, we would see several significant
high-level criminal prosecutions in this country [the
US] ... and believe me, they will do everything to
cover this up".

Furthermore, the trial in the US of Zacharias
Moussaoui (allegedly the 20th hijacker) is in danger
of collapse apparently because of "the CIA's
reluctance to allow key lieutenants of Osama bin Laden
to testify at the trial". Two of the alleged
conspirators have already been set free in Germany for
the same reason.

The FBI, illegally, continues to refuse the to release
of their agent Robert Wright's 500-page manuscript
Fatal Betrayals of the Intelligence Mission, and has
even refused to turn the manuscript over to Senator
Shelby, vice-chairman of the joint intelligence
committee charged with investigating America's 9/11
intelligence failures. And the US government still
refuses to declassify 28 secret pages of a recent
report on 9/11.

It has been rumoured that Pearl was especially
interested in any role played by the US in training or
backing the ISI. Daniel Ellsberg, the former US
defence department whistleblower who has accompanied
Edmonds in court, has stated: "It seems to me quite
plausible that Pakistan was quite involved in this ...
To say Pakistan is, to me, to say CIA because ... it's
hard to say that the ISI knew something that the CIA
had no knowledge of." Ahmed's close relations with the
CIA would seem to confirm this. For years the CIA used
the ISI as a conduit to pump billions of dollars into
militant Islamist groups in Afghanistan, both before
and after the Soviet invasion of 1979.

W ith CIA backing, the ISI has developed, since the
early 1980s, into a parallel structure, a state within
a state, with staff and informers estimated by some at
150,000. It wields enormous power over all aspects of
government. The case of Ahmed confirms that parts of
the ISI directly supported and financed al-Qaida, and
it has long been established that the ISI has acted as
go-between in intelligence operations on behalf of the
CIA.

Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate select
committee on intelligence, has said: "I think there is
very compelling evidence that at least some of the
terrorists were assisted, not just in financing ... by
a sovereign foreign government." In that context,
Horst Ehmke, former coordinator of the West German
secret services, observed: "Terrorists could not have
carried out such an operation with four hijacked
planes without the support of a secret service."

That might give meaning to the reaction on 9/11 of
Richard Clarke, the White House counter-terrorism
chief, when he saw the passenger lists later on the
day itself: "I was stunned ... that there were
al-Qaida operatives on board using names that the FBI
knew were al-Qaida." It was just that, as Dale Watson,
head of counter-terrorism at the FBI told him, the
"CIA forgot to tell us about them".

· Michael Meacher is Labour MP for Oldham West and
Royton. He was environment minister 1997-2003

massonm@parliament.uk


Posted by richard at 01:26 PM

July 22, 2004

'Fahrenheit 9/11' Making GOP Nervous

Last night, the LNS editor-in-chief worked out, watching AnythingButSee (ABC)News with Peter Jennings, at the gym. Toward the tail end of a lead story on the day's bloodshed in Iraq, the reporter mentioned the death of one US solider (actually six had died in the previous 48 hours, and at least four that day), and then she went on to say that over one hundred or more Iraqis had died since the "handover," and how the number of US soldiers who had been killed was only a small percent of the number of Iraqis killed. But what she chose NOT to tell the US Electorate is that more US soldiers have died already in Iraq during the month of July (after the "handover") than in the whole month of June (before the "handover"). This misdirectional *spin* is worse than an outright lie, and it is a vivid example of the capitulation, complicity and cowardice of the "US mainstream news media." The LNS editor-in-chief cursed out loud and then sighed, gratefully, that he was finally going to see Fahrenheit 911 that night. Yes, he had already decided to see it that night because the long-awaited and probably infuriatingly mealy-mouthed 911 Commission report was due today. [Note: LNS will provide a thorough analysis in the days ahead.] Of course, America already received its real 911 report on June 25th when Fahrenheit 911 opened, America now knows everything it needs to know to cleanse the White House in November, and restore the Timeline: the wrong people were wrongly put into power and are weilding their power for the wrong reasons and toward wrong ends. End of story. Michael Moore's movie is more than a hypnotic cinematic polemic, it is MAGIC, it is a VERY powerful INCANTATION, just as the LNS is not just a news digest but also consciously a rain dance. Both are aimed at Election Day..After the performance, the LNS editor-in-chief got in his car, and checked his voice mail, and LNS foreign correspondent Dunston Woods was checking in -- to rant about, yes, AnythingButSee's disgraceful, deceptive spin on the carnage in Iraq on the evening broadcast, then as he drove out of the parking lot, the LNS editor-in-chief turned on SeeBS (CBS) All "News" Radio, just as the sound filled his car, the announcer said, "The time is now 9:11."

Mike Glover, Associated Press: Republicans initially dismissed "Fahrenheit 9/11" as a cinematic screed that would play mostly to inveterate Bush bashers. Four weeks and $94 million later, the film is still pulling in moviegoers at 2,000 theaters around the country, making Republicans nervous as it settles into the American mainstream...
Two senior Republicans closely tied to the White House said the movie from director Michael Moore is seen as a political headache because it has reached beyond the Democratic base. Independents and GOP-leaning voters are likely to be found sitting beside those set to revel in its depiction of a clueless president with questionable ties to the oil industry.
Based on a record-breaking gross of $94 million through last weekend, theaters already have sold an estimated 12 million tickets to "Fahrenheit 9/11." A Gallup survey conducted July 8-11 said 8 percent of American adults had seen the film at that time, but that 18 percent still planned to see it at a theater and another 30 percent plan to see it on video.

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

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=762&e=1&u=/ap/20040722/ap_en_ot/moore_film_politics

'Fahrenheit 9/11' Making GOP Nervous

Thu Jul 22, 7:01 AM ET

By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer

DES MOINES, Iowa - Republicans initially dismissed "Fahrenheit 9/11" as a cinematic screed that would play mostly to inveterate Bush bashers. Four weeks and $94 million later, the film is still pulling in moviegoers at 2,000 theaters around the country, making Republicans nervous as it settles into the American mainstream.

"I'm not sure if it moves voters," GOP consultant Scott Reed said, "but if it moves 3 or 4 percent it's been a success."

Two senior Republicans closely tied to the White House said the movie from director Michael Moore is seen as a political headache because it has reached beyond the Democratic base. Independents and GOP-leaning voters are likely to be found sitting beside those set to revel in its depiction of a clueless president with questionable ties to the oil industry.


"If you are a naive, uncommitted voter and wander into a theater, you aren't going to come away with a good impression of the president," Republican operative Joe Gaylord said. "It's a problem only if a lot of people see it."


Based on a record-breaking gross of $94 million through last weekend, theaters already have sold an estimated 12 million tickets to "Fahrenheit 9/11." A Gallup survey conducted July 8-11 said 8 percent of American adults had seen the film at that time, but that 18 percent still planned to see it at a theater and another 30 percent plan to see it on video.


More than a third of Republicans and nearly two-thirds of independents told Gallup they had seen or expected to see the film at theaters or on video.


"Fahrenheit 9/11" opened in June mainly in locally owned arts theaters that specialize in obscure films and tiny audiences. Drawn in part by the buzz surrounding the film, people packed the theaters and formed long lines for tickets. Within a week, it was appearing in chain-owned theaters along with "Spider-Man 2," "The Notebook" and other big summer attractions.


When he sat down to watch the film at the Varsity Theater in Des Moines last weekend, Rob Sheesley didn't harbor anti-Bush feelings. Two hours later, he left with conflicted emotions.


"You want to respect the president," Sheesley said. "It raised a lot of questions."


Bush's leadership in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks had impressed retired teacher Lavone Mann, another Des Moines moviegoer. After watching the film, Mann wanted to know more about its claims.


"I guess that I think it makes me want to pursue how much of it is accurate and not just get carried away with one film," she said. "I don't hear Bush and (Vice President Dick) Cheney saying that this is incorrect."


Retired college professor Dennis O'Brien, a Bush voter in 2000 and a movie buff who has seen other Moore films, said "Fahrenheit 9/11" hasn't changed his view of Bush but may well serve a larger purpose by sparking debate.


"Moore forces you to think about the role of oil in the politics of American life," O'Brien said. "This goes back a long way."


In GOP-strong Columbia, S.C., watching the movie last week at the Columbiana Grande tipped 26-year-old David Wood's support more to the left.


"I don't consider myself a Republican or a Democrat. I just vote for whoever is right for the job," the University of South Carolina student said. "I think most people don't bother to really research, and all they need is something popular to sway them."


Others at the screening in Columbia were put off by what they saw as the film's biased approach to examining Bush and the reasons he took the country to war. For Scott Campbell, 19, the movie reinforced his apathy toward politics.


"We didn't even stay to see the whole thing," Campbell said. "It was one-sided."

Former Iowa Republican Chairman Michael Mahaffey said the movie's impact could be dulled over time. "It's July," he said. "Conventional wisdom will change completely every four or five weeks."

Still, "Fahrenheit 9/11" is likely to gain an even wider audience when it's released on home video in the weeks before Election Day. The Gallup survey found that nearly half of the Republicans and independents who expect to see the film said they were likely to view it on video.

"In all honesty, in a very close election, who knows what will sway the public?" Mahaffey said.

___

Associated Press writer Jennifer Holland in Columbia, S.C., contributed to this report

___

On the Net:

Gallup survey: http://www.gallup.com

Michael Moore official Web site: http://www.michaelmoore.com


Posted by richard at 02:26 PM

July 21, 2004

In the end, as the primary results came in Tuesday night, she danced with a throng of supporters and declared that she was vindicated for her controversial remarks about President Bush in 2002.

Six more US soldiers have died in Iraq within the last 48
hours. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three
Stooges Reich. There have been over 900 US military
deaths in the increasingly unhinged and incredibly
shrinking _resident's foolish military adventure in
Iraq. Al Jazeera is now reporting the deaths of US
soldiers more accurately and more promptly than the
"US mainstream news media," which is a very disturbing
commentary on what is going on in this
country...MEANWHILE, the 9/11 Commission may have
wimped out, but Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), who lost her
Congressional seat to a Lierberman clone in the
Democratic primary after she dared to ask the
9/11-related questions that you and I and Michael
Moore and the 9/11 Families want answered, has been
VINDICATED. Her STUNNING political comeback is further
evidence (BLOCKBUSTER "Fahrenheit 911," and Bubba's
BESTSELLING "My Life," etc.) of the Electoral Uprising
that is coming in November 2004...Those who live in
denial in Beltwayistan, personified by the 9/11
Commission's apparent "bi-partisan" cowardice and the
"US mainstream news media" propapunditgandists that
enable it, had better come to grips with
reality..."The hour is getting late."

KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press: Former congresswoman
Cynthia McKinney danced to hip-hop music and shouted
"I'm back!" after surprising many by winning the
primary outright in her old congressional district.
The state's first black congresswoman, McKinney served
10 years in the House before losing the seat two years
ago. While in Congress, she dished out brash remarks
to both Republicans and Democrats she saw as too
conservative, and political watchers doubted she would
escape a runoff in her comeback bid in a crowded field
of six candidates.
In the end, as the primary results came in Tuesday night, she danced with a throng of supporters and declared that she was vindicated for her controversial remarks about President Bush in 2002. McKinney was
harshly criticized when she said on a talk radio show
then that Bush had advance warning of the Sept. 11
attacks but ignored them because his friends would
profit from a war.

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


http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/politics/9200864.htm?ERIGHTS=-3646784120222492330miami::rgpower@deloitte.com&KRD_RM=8opxrpwxwxtuvwwtuqtooooooo|r|Y&is_rd=Y


Posted on Wed, Jul. 21, 2004

McKinney moves closer to congressional comeback

KRISTEN WYATT

Associated Press


ATLANTA - Former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney danced
to hip-hop music and shouted "I'm back!" after
surprising many by winning the primary outright in her
old congressional district.

The state's first black congresswoman, McKinney served
10 years in the House before losing the seat two years
ago. While in Congress, she dished out brash remarks
to both Republicans and Democrats she saw as too
conservative, and political watchers doubted she would
escape a runoff in her comeback bid in a crowded field
of six candidates.

In the end, as the primary results came in Tuesday
night, she danced with a throng of supporters and
declared that she was vindicated for her controversial
remarks about President Bush in 2002. McKinney was
harshly criticized when she said on a talk radio show
then that Bush had advance warning of the Sept. 11
attacks but ignored them because his friends would
profit from a war.

"The American people appreciate being told the truth,"
McKinney said before claiming victory.

McKinney lost the 2002 primary to Denise Majette,
another black Democrat who previously was a
little-known state court judge. Majette left this year
to seek the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Zell
Miller, and she received the most votes in that race's
Democratic primary Tuesday, advancing to a runoff Aug.
10 against businessman Cliff Oxford.

McKinney said she never doubted she could win her
party's nomination outright, even though two of her
opponents raised more money and she did not run
television ads.

"I told you I'd be back. Tonight, I am back," she
said.

In the general election, she will face Republican
Catherine Davis, who is also black, in the heavily
Democratic district.

McKinney's comeback campaign appeared wobbly before
the primary. She raised just $214,000, much less than
opponents Cathy Woolard, a former Atlanta City Council
president, and state Sen. Liane Levetan.

McKinney concentrated on working the heavily black
neighborhoods that sent her to Congress for five
terms. Light turnout among her base was blamed for her
upset in 2002.

The tactic worked. Many voters said she was unfairly
drubbed for her comments about Bush.

"She did a great service and she's an extremely
courageous woman by calling George Bush on the
carpet," said 54-year-old Patricia Kilpatrick, a
Lithonia yoga teacher who voted for McKinney. "I know
a lot of people think she's out on the edge but I
think we need that. We need someone who looks out over
the precipice to see what's going on to forge that
path for us."

Emory University political scientist Merle Black said
there was a "huge sentiment that she was deprived of
her seat." He credited stronger black turnout and
McKinney's more positive campaign approach for her
win.

"She really changed her style. It wasn't
confrontational Cynthia McKinney. It was
representative-of-all-the-people Cynthia McKinney," he
said.

McKinney finished with 51 percent of the vote. Levetan
had 21 percent, while Woolard had 19 percent.

McKinney's impressive victory didn't soften criticism
from some.

"She's an embarrassment to our county," said DeKalb
County homemaker Vicki White, who considers herself a
Republican but voted in the Democratic primary Tuesday
just to vote against McKinney.

Bill King, a 19-year-old college student in Decatur,
said he felt McKinney would be ineffective in
Washington.

"I don't think any of the other congressmen take her
seriously," he said.

Two of Georgia's other open seats for Congress were
headed to runoffs.

In a Republican-leading district north of Atlanta,
state Sen. Tom Price will face state Sen. Robert
Lamutt. In another GOP district, running from the
southern suburbs of Atlanta to Columbus, voters will
pick between State Rep. Lynn Westmoreland and Dylan
Glenn, a former aide to Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue.

The other active race in Georgia was a Democratic
contest in the 12th District, which runs from Athens
to Augusta to Savannah. Former Clarke County
commissioner John Barrow defeated former state Sen.
Doug Haines to win without a runoff.

The 12th District is being closely watched by national
Democrats because they see it as their best chance in
Georgia to knock off a GOP incumbent. The district,
created by redistricting in 2002, is held by
Republican Rep. Max Burns, although the district was
thought to lean Democratic.

Democratic Rep. David Scott, who holds a suburban
Atlanta district, handily defeated challenger William
Ogletree with no Republican challenger in the fall.
With 102 of 165 precincts reporting, Scott led
Ogletree 82 percent to 18 percent.

The rest of Georgia's congressional delegates did not
face challenges in the primaries. Those are:
Republican Reps. Nathan Deal, Phil Gingrey, John
Linder, Charlie Norwood and Jack Kingston; and
Democrats John Lewis, Sanford Bishop and Jim Marshall.

Linder, Lewis, Deal and Kingston don't have opposition
in either the primary or the general election.

Posted by richard at 03:39 PM

Bush, CIA at Odds on Iran

There is a shaft of light breaking through the crack
between the Bush cabal and the CIA. Hopefully, that
crack and the shaft of light that is penetrating it
will widen in the days and weeks ahead...There is
still hope for our country...It resides in not only in
the US Electorate itself, but in the US military, the
US foreign policy establishment AND the US
intelligence community...."Let us not talk falsely
now, the hour is getting late."

Edwin Chen and Greg Miller, LA Times: President Bush
said Monday that his administration was investigating
possible links between Iran and the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks, a statement that distanced the president from
acting CIA Director John McLaughlin, who had
downplayed a possible connection a day earlier.
In a second sign of a potential rift between the White
House and the intelligence agency, White House Press
Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters that
McLaughlin was not speaking for the president when he
said it was unnecessary to create a new, more powerful
intelligence czar, despite faulty information before
the Iraq war.

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_04/072104A.shtml

Bush, CIA at Odds on Iran
By Edwin Chen and Greg Miller
Los Angeles Times

Tuesday 20 July 2004

The president's interest in a possible 9/11 link goes
against the agency leader's assessment. They also
disagree over intelligence reforms.
Washington - President Bush said Monday that his
administration was investigating possible links
between Iran and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a
statement that distanced the president from acting CIA
Director John McLaughlin, who had downplayed a
possible connection a day earlier.

"As to direct connections with Sept. 11, we're
digging into the facts to determine if there was one,"
Bush said of Iran.

In a second sign of a potential rift between the
White House and the intelligence agency, White House
Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters that
McLaughlin was not speaking for the president when he
said it was unnecessary to create a new, more powerful
intelligence czar, despite faulty information before
the Iraq war.

"The president is very much open to ideas that
build upon the reforms that we're already
implementing," McClellan said. "I think [McLaughlin]
was expressing his view."

McClellan's comments indicated that the White
House was receptive to the idea of fundamental reform
in the intelligence community, rather than the "modest
changes" McLaughlin had endorsed in an appearance on a
Sunday talk show.

The White House-CIA differences emerged as the
independent Sept. 11 commission prepared to release
its final report Thursday on the 2001 terrorist
attacks. The report is expected to contain
recommendations that could touch off a contentious
drive toward reforming the nation's
intelligence-gathering bureaucracy.

The independent commission is widely expected to
report that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers had
traveled freely between Iran and Afghanistan during
2000 and 2001. Last month, the panel's chairman,
former New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean, said in a
television interview that Al Qaeda had "a lot more
active contacts, frankly, with Iran and with Pakistan
than there were with Iraq."

Iran's emerging prominence in the Sept. 11
investigations looms as a potentially difficult issue
for the White House, because it could raise new
questions about why Bush led a war against Iraq but so
far has taken a distinctly less bellicose stance
toward Iran.

McClellan argued that the United States indeed had
been "confronting" the threat from Iran, which Bush in
2002 listed, along with Iraq and North Korea, as part
of an "axis of evil." He added, however, that Iraq was
"a unique situation" because it had invaded its
neighbors and had possessed and used weapons of mass
destruction.

McClellan also said the White House was eager to
learn what the Sept. 11 commission knew about any
connections between the hijackers and Iran.
"Apparently it's something that's evolved over time,"
he said.

The Iranian government has denied knowledge or
involvement in the Sept. 11 plot.

McLaughlin had said Sunday that although "about
eight" of the Sept. 11 hijackers may have passed
through Iran before their mission, the CIA had "no
evidence that there is some sort of official
connection between Iran and 9/11."

Bush on Monday noted McLaughlin's comments, but
said: "We will continue to look and see if the
Iranians were involved."

The president also renewed his accusation that
Iran's rulers were "harboring Al Qaeda leadership,"
and urged Tehran anew to dismantle its nuclear weapons
program. The United States has asked Iran to turn over
Al Qaeda members to their respective countries.

The president's spokesman dismissed weekend media
reports that Bush may delay naming a new CIA director
until after the Nov. 2 election as having "no basis in
fact."

In brief remarks to reporters after meeting with
Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, Bush said that he was
"still taking a good, hard look" at potential
successors to George J. Tenet as CIA director. Tenet
left the agency July 11.

As for the reforming the intelligence-gathering
apparatus, the president said he was looking forward
to seeing the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations.

"They share the same desires I share, which is to
make sure that the president and the Congress get the
best possible intelligence," Bush said.

"Some of the reforms, I think, are necessary: more
human intelligence, better ability to listen or to see
things, and better coordination amongst the variety of
intelligence-gathering services," he said. "And so
we'll look at all their recommendations, and I will
comment upon that, having studied what they say."

The commission is expected to recommend the
creation of a single Cabinet-level position overseeing
the 15 agencies that make up the nation's
intelligence-gathering community.

McLaughlin acknowledged on "Fox News Sunday" that
"a good argument" could be made for such
consolidation, but added that it was unnecessary
because the CIA already had taken steps toward reform
since Sept. 11 and because a restructuring would
impose additional bureaucracy on the system.

White House officials have described McLaughlin as
a capable leader, but have also indicated that they do
not see him as a permanent replacement.

That may be in part because McLaughlin was in a
senior position at the agency during a stretch that
included the failure to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks
and the erroneous assessments that Iraq had stockpiles
of biological and chemical weapons and had restarted
its nuclear weapons program.

But it also appears that the professorial
McLaughlin, who came up through the analytical side of
the CIA, doesn't have the sort of rapport with Bush
that the backslapping, gregarious Tenet did.

An anecdote in a recent book by Washington Post
reporter Bob Woodward describes McLaughlin giving a
key briefing to Bush and other senior White House
officials on the evidence against Iraq before the war.
Bush was unimpressed by the presentation and
complained that the evidence was weak, prompting Tenet
to call the case against Iraq a "slam dunk."

McClellan said Monday that McLaughlin was "someone
who is very capable and is doing a good job at the
CIA."

-------


Posted by richard at 03:36 PM

Russell Train, a Republican, was the EPA’s second chief under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. But he said Bush’s record is so dismal he’s casting his presidential vote for Democrat John Kerry in November.

Another true Republican has his name scrawled on the
John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...

Erik Stetson, Associated Press: One of the
Environmental Protection Agency’s earliest leaders,
flanked by Republican state politicians, blasted the
president’s record on the environment Monday during a
news conference organized by an anti-Bush
environmental group.
Russell Train, a Republican, was the EPA’s second
chief under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
But he said Bush’s record is so dismal he’s casting
his presidential vote for Democrat John Kerry in
November.
"It’s almost as if the motto of the administration
in power today in Washington is not environmental
protection, but polluter protection," he said. "I find
this deeply disturbing."

Save the Environment, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
Defeat Bush (again!)


Republicans Blast President Bush on Environment
By Erik Stetson
The Associated Press

Tuesday 20 July 2004

Concord, New Hampshire - One of the Environmental
Protection Agency’s earliest leaders, flanked by
Republican state politicians, blasted the president’s
record on the environment Monday during a news
conference organized by an anti-Bush environmental
group.

Russell Train, a Republican, was the EPA’s second
chief under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
But he said Bush’s record is so dismal he’s casting
his presidential vote for Democrat John Kerry in
November.

"It’s almost as if the motto of the administration
in power today in Washington is not environmental
protection, but polluter protection," he said. "I find
this deeply disturbing."

Bush supporters defended the president’s record.
Tom Thomson, owner of Thomson Family Tree Farm in
Orford, praised the Healthy Forests Initiative as good
legislation that protects loggers as well as forests.
He predicted current policies would have positive
long-term effects.

Bush "has made progress over the last four years
giving us cleaner air, water and land," Thomson said
in a statement.

Officials with the state’s Bush-Cheney campaign
said sulfur dioxide emissions are down 9 percent,
while nitrogen oxide emissions are down 13 percent.
They added that the 2002 Farm Bill set aside more than
$40 billion in conservation funding.

Environment2004, the environmental group, released
a report Monday titled "Damaging the Granite State."
It criticizes presidential policies on energy, global
warming, toxic waste and air and water pollution.

"It is the worst record in modern history,
unfortunately," said Aimee Christensen, the group’s
executive director. "They are systematically weakening
our keystone public health protections and undermining
decades of bipartisan leadership on the environment."

The report faults Bush’s energy policy, for
example, for slashing renewable energy funding.
According to the report, the cuts are holding back New
Hampshire, which could produce 43 percent of its
energy from wind power. The report also claims the
state could add 5,000 jobs by 2020 with more renewable
energy and efficiency investments.

The report cites such sources as federal and state
agency reports as well as newspaper articles and
advocacy-group studies.

The two Republican state politicians who spoke -
Rep. Jim Pilliod, a pediatrician, and former Sen. Rick
Russman, who once headed the Senate Environmental
Committee, did not endorse Kerry. They said they
participated to stress the importance of environmental
issues.

Russman said funding was cut for cleanup work at
two of the state’s 19 Superfund sites. He also said
the administration’s standards would delay mercury
emissions cleanup until at least 2018. Pilliod added
that mothers and children are particularly vulnerable
to mercury pollution.

Train also accused Bush of letting weakening the
Clean Air Act. The record, he added, falls short of
those set by former Republican presidents ranging from
Theodore Roosevelt, who advocated creating national
parks and forests, to George H.W. Bush, who supported
new anti-air-pollution standards.

The Bush record is "appalling, with very, very few
exceptions," Train said. He described presidential
policies as "geared to rolling back environmental
protections."

Environment2004 has been actively campaigning
against Bush policies and has released a national
report on its Web site criticizing them.

-------


Posted by richard at 03:34 PM

July 20, 2004

The Bush administration has cast itself in a new role in the Iraq fiasco: innocent victim.

Almost 900 US soldiers have died in the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident's foolish military adventure in Iraq. Indeed, more US soldiers died in the first half of July (post-"handover") than in all of June...The Emperor has no uniform...If only the propapunditgandists of the "US mainstream news media" had Linda McQuaig's "clarity of mind."

Linda McQuaig, Toronto Star: The Bush administration has cast itself in a new role in the Iraq fiasco: innocent victim. With Iraq expected to be key to President George Bush's re-election chances this fall, the rewriting of history has begun in earnest; events leading up to the war have been given an extensive nip and tuck, leaving them barely recognizable.
Perhaps you recall how eager the Bush administration was to invade Iraq last year?
If so, you're mistaken. Senior administration officials weren't determined to invade Iraq, they were simply the victims of faulty intelligence. There they were, just minding their own business, when incompetent underlings kept hounding them with false information showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and close links to Al Qaeda.
What choice did they have but to invade?
This notion of Bush officials as passive victims of faulty intelligence is being cultivated with the help of a recently-released U.S. Senate committee report, which documents how U.S. intelligence agencies erroneously exaggerated Iraq's weapons arsenal.

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

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1089973572092&call_pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795&tacodalogin=no


Jul. 18, 2004. 01:00 AM


Bushites are trying to rewrite history because they failed to see what millions did: There was no reason to attack Iraq


LINDA MCQUAIG

The Bush administration has cast itself in a new role in the Iraq fiasco: innocent victim. With Iraq expected to be key to President George Bush's re-election chances this fall, the rewriting of history has begun in earnest; events leading up to the war have been given an extensive nip and tuck, leaving them barely recognizable.

Perhaps you recall how eager the Bush administration was to invade Iraq last year?

If so, you're mistaken. Senior administration officials weren't determined to invade Iraq, they were simply the victims of faulty intelligence. There they were, just minding their own business, when incompetent underlings kept hounding them with false information showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and close links to Al Qaeda.

What choice did they have but to invade?

This notion of Bush officials as passive victims of faulty intelligence is being cultivated with the help of a recently-released U.S. Senate committee report, which documents how U.S. intelligence agencies erroneously exaggerated Iraq's weapons arsenal.

The report's value is limited, however, since the committee's Democrats and Republicans agreed in advance to restrict their investigation to the role played by the intelligence agencies, deferring until after the election the more pertinent question about the role played by the White House in distorting information about Iraq.

Needless to say, this is convenient for a president anxious to disassociate himself from the colossal misinformation used to justify a war that has already killed almost 900 Americans and thousands of Iraqis, as well as generating anti-American feeling around the world.

The theory of the Bush team's victimhood is going largely unchallenged by media commentators, who seem content to suggest we were all caught up in "groupthink" about Iraq.

That seemed to be the position taken by CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview last week on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which, although on the comedy network, is one of the most informative U.S. news programs.

"We should have been more skeptical," said Blitzer, suggesting a kind of collective responsibility for buying into theories about Iraq's WMD.

What do you mean "we," white man?

In fact, beyond the elite circle of political and media insiders that Blitzer inhabits, skepticism was rampant.

Among the skeptics was chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix, who clarified for the world — weeks before the U.S. invasion began — that there weren't any WMD in Iraq, at least not any that he or his team of experts could find after several months of intensive searching.

Blix made this point emphatically to the U.N. on Feb. 14, 2003, when he contradicted key aspects of the U.S. case. The U.N.'s top nuclear inspector, Mohammed ElBaradei, also reported that day that he'd failed to find evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iraq.

So, regardless of the flawed information the Bush team had been receiving from its own intelligence agencies — the CIA didn't have any undercover agents actually inside Iraq — the Blix and ElBaradei reports clearly alerted the administration to the possibility of serious problems with the information.

In fact, even some U.S. intelligence officials had expressed concerns to the administration about the reliability of information coming from the Iraqi exile community, which was the Bush team's favourite source of information on WMD. Furthermore, U.S. intelligence officials had warned that reports of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda were not credible.

But the administration — particularly Vice-President Dick Cheney — refused to hear such talk, constantly pushing intelligence officials to accentuate the Iraqi threat. All this is recounted in a detailed report by four investigative journalists on the run-up to war, published in the May issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

So, given the warning signals from both U.S. intelligence officials and the U.N. inspectors, Bush officials clearly had grounds for doubting the case against Iraq.

The solution seemed obvious — hold the bombs, give inspections more time. But the administration clearly wanted to get on with the war. When it refused to back down after Blix's powerful presentation to the U.N., the world practically choked in disbelief.

The next day, Feb. 15, more than 10 million people took part in protests worldwide. Without access to intelligence data, with nothing more than their own questioning minds, millions of ordinary people had figured out what journalists had been unable or unwilling to see — that there were glaring flaws in the U.S. case for war.

The Bush administration would have us believe that its reckless rush to war can be blamed on an intelligence failure, and on "groupthink."

Another possibility is that the Bush team willfully chose to blind itself to what millions of people around the world had no trouble spotting.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Linda McQuaig is a Toronto-based author and commentator. lmcquaig@sympatico.ca

Posted by richard at 01:29 PM

The era of trust and respect for conservative media is coming to an ugly, shameful end. The world can no longer tolerate this immoral insanity.

It's the Media, Stupid.

Scott McGlasson, www.buzzflash.com: I and millions of
others have seen Byron York in a CSPAN "Washington
Journal" interview a couple weeks ago saying that,
whatever the torture methods used in Abu Ghraib and
other US military prisons, "...it is, in fact,
working." He's said it more than once. The first
sentence of an article he wrote, shown on the same
program, was "Torture? Whatever it was, it worked."
Now we know that part of "whatever" was sodomizing
screaming Iraqi boys. York and nearly everyone else
already knew that it included forced masturbation and
sodomizing with light sticks, along with secret, old
techniques from Vietnam, and I'm sure many knew this
horrific story too. Certainly the Republicans privy to
the details of investigations knew it...
The era of trust and respect for conservative media is coming to an ugly, shameful end. The world can no longer tolerate this immoral insanity.

Crush the "Vast Reich-Wing Conspiracy," Show Up for
Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/04/07/con04301.html

Byron York: Sodomizing Children at Abu Ghraib "Worked"!

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Scott McGlasson

I and millions of others have seen Byron York in a
CSPAN "Washington Journal" interview a couple weeks
ago saying that, whatever the torture methods used in
Abu Ghraib and other US military prisons, "...it is,
in fact, working." He's said it more than once. The
first sentence of an article he wrote, shown on the
same program, was "Torture? Whatever it was, it
worked."

Now we know that part of "whatever" was sodomizing
screaming Iraqi boys. York and nearly everyone else
already knew that it included forced masturbation and
sodomizing with light sticks, along with secret, old
techniques from Vietnam, and I'm sure many knew this
horrific story too. Certainly the Republicans privy to
the details of investigations knew it.

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article6492.htm

York would not even flat condemn "interrogation
resulting in death." He dismissed it with comments
about possible "unknown medical conditions." This is
real, guys. It was done. There is more and more
evidence with every investigation, and now that
information is out, do you really think you can bury
this? It hasn't worked for other crimes of the Bush
administration, despite your best efforts to divert
public attention from it.

The support among conservatives for York is obvious.
Not a single major conservative figure has said
anything to disagree with York. They know his
opinions, and clearly agree. York and his conservative
comrades are beyond sick, and soon everyone will know
it.

I can't wait until the American people find this out,
and believe me, this is going to come out. I want to
see York defend his support for raping children in
interviews. I want to see clips of York saying "it
worked," along with the documentation showing that
"it" included raping children and other horrors. No
journalist or pundit would discuss the prison abuse
scandal without knowing what it was about, of course,
so York knew pre
cisely what he was talking about.

This is the inescapable fact that America needs to
know -- conservatives knew the stomach-turning details
of the prison abuse incidents, and they still defend
these practices.

I want it live, on prime time TV. I want to see how
much York gave to the Bush campaign, and clips showing
York praising Bush / Cheney. I want the world to see
him say "it worked." I want to see York explain to the
world his theory of raping children to make America
safer. Then we can see the ample documentation from
the International Red Cross showing that 70% to 90% of
Iraqi detainees are there "by mistake."

The era of trust and respect for conservative media is
coming to an ugly, shameful end. The world can no
longer tolerate this immoral insanity.

Scott McGlasson
Denver, CO

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION


Posted by richard at 01:22 PM

Clinton told Sir David Frost: "Let me just say one other thing. Now this doesn't apply to the UK, it applies to America. There is no evidence that the CIA told the president or the White House that Saddam Hussein had gotten uranium yellow cake from Niger,

Joe Wilson is under attack from the Orwellian REWRITE
division of the US Senate and the "US Mainstream News
Media," meanwhile, his wife, Valerie Plame is as yet
unavenged...So Bubba weighs in...on Niger yellow
cake...Of course, his remarks on this Iraq-related
scandal are *highlighted* on British TV and in the
British free press...And in regard to the 9/11-related
"investigation" of Sandy Berger, the LNS simply wants
to express its hope that he made duplicates...

Michael White, Guardian: Mr Clinton told Sir David Frost: "Let me just say one other thing. Now this doesn't apply to the UK, it applies to America. There is no evidence that the CIA told the president or the White House that Saddam Hussein had gotten uranium yellow cake from Niger, or was close to having a nuclear weapon, a representation that was made.
"Now the intelligence in the UK may have told Prime
Minister Blair but the evidence is to the contrary in
America. And there is no evidence that the CIA ever
said that Saddam Hussein was tied to al-Qaida and
could have had anything to do with September 11
directly or indirectly," he said.
The implication of his remarks was that untrustworthy
sources had briefed the White House and other
agencies.

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/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1264122,00.html

Clinton reopens book on Iraqi bid to buy uranium in
Africa

Michael White, political editor
Monday July 19, 2004
The Guardian

Tony Blair's ally and former US president Bill Clinton
yesterday reopened the sensitive issue of Saddam
Hussein's attempts to buy uranium in Africa.
Speaking on BBC1's Breakfast with Frost, Mr Clinton,
who is promoting his memoirs, said there was "no
evidence" the CIA had ever told George Bush about the
claim.

Though it has not been stated in the four official
inquiries into British intelligence, London's source
for its claims about Iraqi efforts to buy uranium -
widely repeated in the US until discredited - almost
certainly came from French intelligence.

France has much influence in Niger, the west African
state in which Iraq allegedly tried to buy the
so-called "yellow cake".

A convention between intelligence services allows a
provider of data shared with an ally to control
further dissemination. British sources say that Paris,
in this instance, refused further dissemination, even
when the US basis for a similar claim proved to come
from crudely forged documents.

The Butler report said "there was some evidence that
by 2002 an agreement for a sale had been reached", and
that statements in the UK government's dossier and by
the prime minister to the commons about Iraqi attempts
to buy such ore "were well-founded".

Mr Clinton told Sir David Frost: "Let me just say one
other thing. Now this doesn't apply to the UK, it
applies to America. There is no evidence that the CIA
told the president or the White House that Saddam
Hussein had gotten uranium yellow cake from Niger, or
was close to having a nuclear weapon, a representation
that was made.

"Now the intelligence in the UK may have told Prime
Minister Blair but the evidence is to the contrary in
America. And there is no evidence that the CIA ever
said that Saddam Hussein was tied to al-Qaida and
could have had anything to do with September 11
directly or indirectly," he said.

The implication of his remarks was that untrustworthy
sources had briefed the White House and other
agencies.

The moral, he said, was not to blame the CIA or other
agencies for things they had not done or got wrong.


Posted by richard at 01:14 PM

William Rivers Pitt: Torturing Children

How can Donald Rumsfeld, and his Torquemada, Mr. Cambione, still be in power as the Abu Ghraib scandal continues to unfold to expose the depth of hell and war crimes into which the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident's foolish military adventure has plunged us? To answer that question, you must ask some others...How can Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather sleep at night? What does Wolf Bluster tell himself when he looks in the mirror? What does the Editor-in-Chief of the NYTwits feel about his own humanity? What does the WASHPS Editor-in-Chief feel about the interior reality of the First Amendment to the US Constitution? The stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush White House, and the stench of the Bush White House is on Abu Ghraib. Is the "US Mainstream News Media" beyond redemption? Yes, tragically, it's the Media, Stupid.

William Rivers Pitt, www.truthout.org: The biggest
story of the Iraq war is not about missing weapons of
mass destruction, or about deep-cover CIA officers
getting their covers blown by vengeful White House
agents, or even about 896 dead American soldiers.
These have been covered to one degree or another, and
then summarily dismissed, by the American mainstream
news media. The biggest story of the Iraq war has not
enjoyed any coverage in America, though it has been
exploding across the international news media for
several weeks now.
The biggest story of the Iraq war is about the
torture of Iraqi children...
Seymour Hersh, the New Yorker reporter who first broke
the story of torture at Abu Ghraib, recently spoke at
an ACLU convention. He has seen the pictures and the
videotapes the American media has not yet shown. "The
boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling, and the
worst part is the soundtrack, of the boys shrieking,"
said Hersh. "And this is your government at war."
Hersh described the prison scene as, "a series of
massive crimes, criminal activity by the president and
the vice president, by this administration anyway,"
and that there has been, "a massive amount of criminal
wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command
out there, and higher."

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

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/072004A.shtml

Torturing Children
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 20 July 2004

The biggest story of the Iraq war is not about
missing weapons of mass destruction, or about
deep-cover CIA officers getting their covers blown by
vengeful White House agents, or even about 896 dead
American soldiers. These have been covered to one
degree or another, and then summarily dismissed, by
the American mainstream news media. The biggest story
of the Iraq war has not enjoyed any coverage in
America, though it has been exploding across the
international news media for several weeks now.

The biggest story of the Iraq war is about the
torture of Iraqi children.

A German TV magazine called 'Report Mainz'
recently aired accusations from the International Red
Cross, to the effect that over 100 children are
imprisoned in U.S.- controlled detention centers,
including Abu Ghraib. "Between January and May of this
year, we've registered 107 children, during 19 visits
in 6 different detention locations," said Red Cross
representative Florian Westphal in the report.

The report also outlined eyewitness testimony of
the abuse of these children. Staff Sergeant Samuel
Provance, who was stationed at Abu Ghraib, said that
interrogating officers had gotten their hands on a 15
or 16 year old girl. Military police only stopped the
interrogation when the girl was half undressed. A
separate incident described a 16 year old being soaked
with water, driven through the cold, smeared with mud,
and then presented before his weeping father, who was
also a prisoner.

Seymour Hersh, the New Yorker reporter who first
broke the story of torture at Abu Ghraib, recently
spoke at an ACLU convention. He has seen the pictures
and the videotapes the American media has not yet
shown. "The boys were sodomized with the cameras
rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the
boys shrieking," said Hersh. "And this is your
government at war."

Hersh described the prison scene as, "a series of
massive crimes, criminal activity by the president and
the vice president, by this administration anyway,"
and that there has been, "a massive amount of criminal
wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command
out there, and higher."

Reports of abuses at Abu Ghraib and other American
prisons have been public knowledge since the release
of the Taguba Report. Recently, however, some 106
annexes to the report, previously classified, have
also been released. U.S. News and World Report
detailed the sum of what is contained in these annexes
in an article titled 'Hell on Earth.'

In it, U.S. News says, "The abuses took place, the
files show, in a chaotic and dangerous environment
made even more so by the constant pressure from
Washington to squeeze intelligence from detainees.
Riots, prisoner escapes, shootings, corrupt Iraqi
guards, unsanitary conditions, rampant sexual
misbehavior, bug-infested food, prisoner beatings and
humiliations, and almost-daily mortar shellings from
Iraqi insurgents--according to the annex to General
Taguba's report, that pretty much sums up life at Abu
Ghraib." According to coalition intelligence officers
cited in a Red Cross report from last May, between 70%
to 90% of Iraqi detainees held in these prisons were
arrested "by mistake." That means they were innocent.

The orders to treat prisoners in this fashion were
not manufactured by the few "bad apples" we have heard
about, but came from up on high. Brig. Gen Janis
Karpinski, former commander of Abu Ghraib and now
scapegoat for the abuses, says the truth about where
the orders came from would be revealed in the trials
of the accused soldiers. Memos ordering the abuse of
prisoners were signed off on by Defense Secretary
Rumsfeld. The Justice Department and Mr. Bush's senior
legal advisor went out of their way to craft arguments
justifying this, claiming that torture isn't really
torture and that the President is basically above the
law.

Mr. Hersh will revisit this issue within the next
several weeks. In the meantime, the American news
media has an obligation to report on this situation.
Photographic and videotape evidence of this torture is
currently in the hands of the New Yorker, the
Washington Post, the U.S. Congress and the White
House. It must be released.

We invaded a country based upon the false claim
that Iraq was allied with al Qaeda. We invaded a
country based on the false claim that there were
weapons of mass destruction which needed to be
destroyed. We promised freedom and democracy, and
instead installed a CIA-trained strongman named Allawi
who has all but created a dictatorship in Iraq, and
who has been accused of killing Iraqi prisoners by his
own hand. 896 American soldiers have died so we could
do this.

We took thousands of innocent civilians off the
streets in Iraq and threw them into hellhole prisons,
where they were beaten, raped, and killed. This story
has faded from public view because no new pictures of
the abuses have come out in the last several weeks.
Those pictures are out there, and they show the rape
and torture of children. The international media is
reporting on it. Coalition ally Norway may be
preparing to flee Iraq because of the allegations
regarding these children.

Where is the American news media? Where are the
pictures? Who is responsible for this abomination?
Torturing children in the name of freedom? Is this
what we have become?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and
international bestseller 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 10:46 AM

Krugman: Mr. Bush's "war on terror" has, however, played with eerie perfection into Osama bin Laden's hands - while Mr. Bush's supporters, impressed by his tough talk, see him as America's champion against the evildoers.

Who will have the courage to say that the Iraqis, the
Americans, the Afghanis, the Israelis and the
Palestinians are all worse off and less safe today
than they were four years ago? Certainly, not the
propapunditgandists of the "US mainstream news media."
The lead stories, this morning, on all of the major
network news organization, even those stthat feign to
cover aspects of 9/11 or Iraq, are no more than innane
drivel...MEANWHILE the compelling testimony of Richard
Clarke, David Kay, Joe Wilson, Greg Thielman, Roger Cressey, Rand Beers and other dedicated professionals is put aside for the scapegoating of the CIA and saber-rattling about Iran, AND the haunting legend of John O'Neill,
the FBI counterterrorism expert who resigned in
frustration with the Bush cabal, went to work as World
Trade Center security director, and died, attempting
to save others, on 9/11, has never even been
acknowledged in the "US mainstream news media" -- with
the exeption of one PBS Frontline documentary two
years ago. What has the 9/11 Commission decided to do
about the serious issues of incompetence and
negligence that were raised by Richard Clarke in his
testimony? Nothing? What has the 9/11 Commission
decided to do about the issue of whether John Ashcroft
or Thomas Pickering committed perjury since their
testimony is in direct contradiction? Nothing? What
has the 9/11 Commission decided to do about Ashcroft's
savage and deceitful attack on 9/11 panel member Jaime
Gorelick? Nothing? AND these questions are only a few
of the MANY that are being left unanswered...The
botched, bungled "war on terrorism" is NOT the
strength of the Bush White House, it is the SHAME of
the Bush White House...and the SHAME of the "US
mainstream news media" AND the 9/11 Commission is that
they are going to give them a pass...What will the
9/11 Families do now?

Paul Krugman, New York Times: O.K., end of conceit.
President Bush isn't actually an Al Qaeda mole, with
Dick Cheney his controller. Mr. Bush's "war on terror" has, however, played with eerie perfection into Osama bin Laden's hands - while Mr. Bush's supporters, impressed by his tough talk, see him as America's champion against the evildoers. Last week, Republican officials in Kentucky applauded
bumper stickers distributed at G.O.P. offices that
read, "Kerry is bin Laden's man/Bush is mine."
Administration officials haven't gone that far, but
when Tom Ridge offered a specifics-free warning about
a terrorist attack timed to "disrupt our democratic
process," many people thought he was implying that Al
Qaeda wants George Bush to lose. In reality, all
infidels probably look alike to the terrorists, but if
they do have a preference, nothing in Mr. Bush's
record would make them unhappy at the prospect of four
more years.

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

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/20/opinion/20krug.html?hp

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

July 20, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Arabian Candidate
By PAUL KRUGMAN

n the original version of "The Manchurian Candidate,"
Senator John Iselin, whom Chinese agents are plotting
to put in the White House, is a right-wing demagogue
modeled on Senator Joseph McCarthy. As Roger Ebert
wrote, the plan is to "use anticommunist hysteria as a
cover for a communist takeover."

The movie doesn't say what Iselin would have done if
the plot had succeeded. Presumably, however, he
wouldn't have openly turned traitor. Instead, he would
have used his position to undermine national security,
while posing as America's staunchest defender against
communist evil.

So let's imagine an update - not the remake with
Denzel Washington, which I haven't seen, but my own
version. This time the enemies would be Islamic
fanatics, who install as their puppet president a
demagogue who poses as the nation's defender against
terrorist evildoers.

The Arabian candidate wouldn't openly help terrorists.
Instead, he would serve their cause while pretending
to be their enemy.

After an attack, he would strike back at the terrorist
base, a necessary action to preserve his image of
toughness, but botch the follow-up, allowing the
terrorist leaders to escape. Once the public's
attention shifted, he would systematically squander
the military victory: committing too few soldiers,
reneging on promises of economic aid. Soon, warlords
would once again rule most of the country, the heroin
trade would be booming, and terrorist allies would
make a comeback.

Meanwhile, he would lead America into a war against a
country that posed no imminent threat. He would
insinuate, without saying anything literally false,
that it was somehow responsible for the terrorist
attack. This unnecessary war would alienate our allies
and tie down a large part of our military. At the same
time, the Arabian candidate would neglect the pursuit
of those who attacked us, and do nothing about regimes
that really shelter anti-American terrorists and
really are building nuclear weapons.

Again, he would take care to squander a military
victory. The Arabian candidate and his co-conspirators
would block all planning for the war's aftermath; they
would arrange for our army to allow looters to destroy
much of the country's infrastructure. Then they would
disband the defeated regime's army, turning hundreds
of thousands of trained soldiers into disgruntled
potential insurgents.

After this it would be easy to sabotage the occupied
country's reconstruction, simply by failing to spend
aid funds or rein in cronyism and corruption. Power
outages, overflowing sewage and unemployment would
swell the ranks of our enemies.

Who knows? The Arabian candidate might even be able to
deprive America of the moral high ground, no mean
trick when our enemies are mass murderers, by creating
a climate in which U.S. guards torture, humiliate and
starve prisoners, most of them innocent or guilty of
only petty crimes.

At home, the Arabian candidate would leave the nation
vulnerable, doing almost nothing to secure ports,
chemical plants and other potential targets. He would
stonewall investigations into why the initial
terrorist attack succeeded. And by repeatedly issuing
vague terror warnings obviously timed to drown out
unfavorable political news, his officials would ensure
public indifference if and when a real threat is
announced.

Last but not least, by blatantly exploiting the
terrorist threat for personal political gain, he would
undermine the nation's unity in the face of its
enemies, sowing suspicion about the government's
motives.

O.K., end of conceit. President Bush isn't actually an
Al Qaeda mole, with Dick Cheney his controller. Mr.
Bush's "war on terror" has, however, played with eerie
perfection into Osama bin Laden's hands - while Mr.
Bush's supporters, impressed by his tough talk, see
him as America's champion against the evildoers.

Last week, Republican officials in Kentucky applauded
bumper stickers distributed at G.O.P. offices that
read, "Kerry is bin Laden's man/Bush is mine."
Administration officials haven't gone that far, but
when Tom Ridge offered a specifics-free warning about
a terrorist attack timed to "disrupt our democratic
process," many people thought he was implying that Al
Qaeda wants George Bush to lose. In reality, all
infidels probably look alike to the terrorists, but if
they do have a preference, nothing in Mr. Bush's
record would make them unhappy at the prospect of four
more years.


E-mail: krugman@nytimes.com

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Posted by richard at 10:40 AM

US media kills story that Iraqi PM executed 6 prisoners

The "US mainstream news media" is not only choosing
keep you uninformed about the video tapes that
document the sodomizing of young boys in the custody
of the US military at Abu Ghraib, it is also choosing
to keep you uninformed about this very disturbing story from the Bush cabal's "liberation" of Iraq...

Khalid Hasan, Daily Times (Pakistan): The US media has
surprisingly failed to pick up the shocking disclosure
by Sydney Morning Herald, Australia’s leading
newspaper, that the Irqai Prime Minister Iyad Allawi
personally executed six suspected insurgents in a
Baghdad police station.
The story by award-winning Australian journalist Paul
McGeough said that the prisoners were handcuffed and
blindfolded, lined up against a courtyard wall and
shot by the Iraqi PM. Dr Allawi is alleged to have
told those around him that he wanted to send a clear
message to the police on how to deal with insurgents.
Two people allege they witnessed the killings and
there are also claims the Iraqi interior minister and
four American men were present.

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


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_19-7-2004_pg1_2

US media kills story that Iraqi PM executed 6 prisoners

By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: The US media has surprisingly failed to
pick up the shocking disclosure by Sydney Morning
Herald, Australia’s leading newspaper, that the Irqai
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi personally executed six
suspected insurgents in a Baghdad police station.

The story by award-winning Australian journalist Paul
McGeough said that the prisoners were handcuffed and
blindfolded, lined up against a courtyard wall and
shot by the Iraqi PM. Dr Allawi is alleged to have
told those around him that he wanted to send a clear
message to the police on how to deal with insurgents.
Two people allege they witnessed the killings and
there are also claims the Iraqi interior minister and
four American men were present.

An Australian television channel interviewed the
reporter who is in Iraq telling him that the Allawi
family had denied the story. He replied, “Well it’s a
very contentious issue. What you have is two very
solid eyewitness accounts. Each witness is not aware
that the other spoke.”

The Australian journalist said, “Well, I’ll take you
through what the two witnesses said to give you the
full chronology as I understand it. There was a
surprise visit at about 10:30am to the police centre.
The PM talked to policemen and then toured the
complex. They came to a courtyard where six, sorry
seven prisoners were lined up against a wall. They
were blindfolded, they were described to me as an
Iraqi colloquialism for the fundamentalist foreign
fighters who came to Baghdad. They have that classic
look that you see with many of the Osama Bin Laden
associates of the scraggly beard and the very short
hair and they were a sort of ... took place in front
of them as they were up against this wall was an
exchange between the interior minister and Dr Allawi,
saying that he felt like killing them on the spot.

The interior minister expressed the wish that he would
like to kill all these men on the spot. The PM is said
to have responded that they deserved worse than death.
At that point, he is said to have pulled a gun and
proceeded to aim at and shoot all seven. Six of them
died, the seventh, according to one witness, was
wounded in the chest. On the incident date, the
correspondent said, “It happened on or around the
weekend of June 19/20 — three weeks after Dr Allawi
was named PM and one week before the handover.”


Posted by richard at 10:37 AM

July 19, 2004

The e-mails circulated among Enron officials in 2000 and 2001, before the collapse of the Houston energy company, are under review by the House...

Do you remember how much taxpayer's money, newspaper
ink, broadcast time and political capital was expended
over Whitewater? Contrast Whitewater to Enron...Even
the baseless, thoroughly refuted accusations involved
in Whitewater did not rise to the level of the
periphery of Enron-related filth seeping from the Bush
abomination, and its running dogs, including both
Conan the Deceiver and Tom DeLay...Do you remember
what the apologists for the "US mainstream news media"
said after the Impeachment debacle, "Oh, well, the
press will go after anyone, it's dirt that they want,
it's scandal they are after, they don't care which
side of the aisle its own." Really...The NYTwits ran
this AP story in their "Business" section, if it had
been about a Democratic leader, it would have been on
the front page...Of course, in the time before the
NYTwits succumbed to whatever they succumbed to, they
would have put their best investigative reporters on
Enron and the Bush cabal and would have broken the
complex of scandals that they are now struggling to
avoid covering...Did you know that the increasingly
unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident stalked
out of a press briefing the day after his friend and
benefactor Kenny Boy was indicted -- because all the
questions (for a change) were about Enron and Kenny
Boy? No? Well, that's probably because only Agence
France Press reported it. Did you know Jim Sharp is
workng for both Kenny Boy on his criminal case and for
the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident, as his personal lawyer in the Plame
investigation? No? Gee, hard to imagine that the
"rapid press corp" didn't pick up on that disturbing
coincidence. Yes, indeed, it's the Media, Stupid...

Suzanne Gamboa, Associated Press: In only a few
e-mails, Enron employees laid bare the reality of
politics: the money trail from companies seeking
favors from lawmakers with the power to grant them.
The e-mails circulated among Enron officials in 2000 and 2001, before the collapse of the Houston energy company, are under review by the House ethics
committee, which is considering whether to investigate the fund-raising activities of the No. 2 leader in the House, Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas.
Enron officials map out in the e-mail how to get
the most for their financial contributions, while
politicians compete for credit in securing large
campaign donations from the company.

Free Martha Stewart, Investigate the Bush-Cheney Enron
Connection, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush
(again!)

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/071904Y.shtml

Enron E-Mail a Window on Political Money
By Suzanne Gamboa
The Associated Press

Sunday 18 July 2004

Washington - In only a few e-mails, Enron
employees laid bare the reality of politics: the money
trail from companies seeking favors from lawmakers
with the power to grant them.

The e-mails circulated among Enron officials in
2000 and 2001, before the collapse of the Houston
energy company, are under review by the House ethics
committee, which is considering whether to investigate
the fund-raising activities of the No. 2 leader in the
House, Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

Enron officials map out in the e-mail how to get
the most for their financial contributions, while
politicians compete for credit in securing large
campaign donations from the company.

The e-mails "really do pull the curtain back and
give you a view of how it's done," said Larry Noble,
executive director of the Center for Responsive
Politics, which tracks political contributions and
spending.

Attention has refocused on the e-mails since a
Texas Democrat filed an ethics complaint last month
against DeLay. Rep. Chris Bell accused the majority
leader of soliciting and accepting political
contributions from a Kansas energy company, Westar
Energy Inc., in return for legislative favors.

DeLay's office denies there was any quid pro quo.
DeLay contends Bell filed the complaint because Bell
is bitter over losing his primary race in March.

What DeLay and other politicians cannot deny is
that the Enron e-mails illustrate the nature of
political fund raising.

"The e-mails are an indication of what goes on
behind closed doors," said Tom Fitton, president of
Judicial Watch, an ethics watchdog group that has
filed suits over political fund-raising.

Both Democrats and Republicans, he said, "engage
in a shell game that from outside may look at times
technically legal, but when you get these
communications on contributions solicited for the
campaign, their technical arguments fall apart."

In an e-mail from May 31, 2001, Enron lobbyists
Rick Shapiro and Linda Robertson discuss a $50,000
contribution solicited by Republican organizations for
a dinner saluting President Bush and Vice President
Dick Cheney.

"With the assistance of Congressman Tom DeLay we
were able to apply our previously contributed soft
money toward this dinner. Consequently, we will be
credited as giving $250,000 to this event, even though
we are being asked to give only $50,000 in new soft
money," according to the e-mail sent to Enron's now
ex-chairman, Kenneth Lay, and a second executive.

Soft money contributions are made by companies and
individuals to political parties. These donations to
parties were outlawed by a campaign finance law that
went into effect in 2002. Other organizations still
can accept soft money dollars but are limited in how
they can spend them.

The e-mails show "pretty clearly corporations were
being asked for contributions by members of Congress
who held the fate of legislation important to
corporations in their hands," said Trevor Potter,
president and general counsel of the Campaign Legal
Center, a campaign finance monitoring group.

"There's always a risk this will creep back into
the system, and politicians will again try to raise
it. These e-mails point out the dangers of that to an
ethical form of government," said Potter, a former
member of the Federal Elections Commission, which
regulates political fund raising and spending.

Just as Enron wanted credit for its contribution,
Republican lawmakers vied for credit in raising the
money, e-mails show.

Bringing in lots of political money helps raise a
politician's stature in the party, said Edwin Bender,
executive director of the Institute on Money in State
Politics, based in Helena, Mont.

The Enron lobbyists said in the e-mail they would
split credit for $100,000 of the contribution among
DeLay; former House Majority Leader Dick Armey,
R-Texas; Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who is now chairman
of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; and Rep.
Billy Tauzin, R-La.

The lobbyists said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison,
R-Texas, "has requested that Enron give her some of
the credit" for the other $100,000 in the
contribution.

The e-mails have raised questions about whether
the contributions were being used to influence state
races in Texas. The state bans corporate money from
elections except for administrative purposes such as
paying rent.

An e-mail from July 24, 2000, says Lay and Enron's
president at the time, Jeffrey Skilling, received
"notes from Tom DeLay about designating portions of
their contributions for use in Texas." The e-mail says
DeLay has provided a letter for the company to use
when making a $100,000 contribution.

"They clearly are orchestrating this and trying to
thread the needle in terms of how to couch the
letters," Noble said. "But that goes on all the time.
People are told you have to do it this way if you want
to be legal."

-------


Posted by richard at 03:00 PM

He told Britain's ITV network that Bush and Blair "should have been able to tell before the war that the evidence did not exist for drawing the conclusion that Iraq presented a clear, present and imminent threat...

The LNS often speaks of the failure of the "US
mainstream news media" to provide sufficient CONTEXT
and CONTINUITY...The increasingly unhinged and
incredibly shinking _resident APPOINTED David Kay to
find the WMDs in Iraq, not only did he deduce that
there were none, he said so bluntly and unequivocally,
confirming that Hans Blix and Scott Ritter were right,
and that the Bush cabal and the
shell-of-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair was
wrong...Now in the throes of this disgusting
scapegoating of the CIA, as the "US mainsteam news
media" capitulates to the Bush abomination and its
running dogs in control of the US Senate, carrying
their filthy water, blaming the CIA for Iraq, just as
it is about to scapegoat the CIA for 9/11, Kay speaks
out again forcefully and plainly...Kay, Richard
Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Joe Wilson -- all Republicans,
all former supporters of Bush and officials of the
Bush abomination...But you have not seen one lead
story on a major network news organization broadcast
showing their faces, their pedigrees and their
corroborating stories (CONTEXT and CONTINIUTY) linked
to show a compelling, DAMNING portrait of a failed
administration, marked by sheer INCOMPETENCE, serious
CHARACTER flaws and an utter ABSENCE OF
CREDIBILITY...You have not seen David Kay or Joe
Wilson on SeeBS Fork The Nation or NotBeSeen Meat The
Press, dissecting the US Senate Intelligence Committee
whitewash on Iraq, nor will you see Richard Clarke I
believe, or the 9/11 Families, for that matter, on the
sunday morning propapunditgandist shows talking about
the 9/11 Commission whitewash...

BETH GARDINER, Associated Press: David Kay resigned
from the CIA (news - web sites) in January and his
conclusion then that Iraq did not have stockpiles of
forbidden weapons caused serious problems for both
Bush and Blair, undercutting their main justification
for war.
He told Britain's ITV network that Bush and Blair "should have been able to tell before the war that the evidence did not exist for drawing the conclusion that Iraq presented a clear, present and imminent threat on the basis of existing weapons of mass destruction."

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=/ap/20040718/ap_on_re_eu/britain_iraq_kay_1


Kay Criticizes Bush, Blair on Iraq Intel

Sun Jul 18, 3:28 PM ET

By BETH GARDINER, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - President Bush (news - web sites) and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) should
have realized before going to war that intelligence on
Iraqi weapons was weak and did not indicate Saddam
Hussein (news - web sites) posed a danger to the West,
America's former chief weapons inspector in Iraq (news
- web sites) said Sunday.

David Kay resigned from the CIA (news - web sites) in
January and his conclusion then that Iraq did not have
stockpiles of forbidden weapons caused serious
problems for both Bush and Blair, undercutting their
main justification for war.

He told Britain's ITV network that Bush and Blair
"should have been able to tell before the war that the
evidence did not exist for drawing the conclusion that
Iraq presented a clear, present and imminent threat on
the basis of existing weapons of mass destruction."


"That was not something that required a war," he said.

He said the leaders may not have been sufficiently
critical of intelligence on Saddam's alleged weapons
of mass destruction.


"WMD was only one and I think in their mind, not
really the most important one," he said. "And so the
doubts about the evidence on weapons of mass
destruction was not as serious to them as it seemed to
be to the rest of the world."


Kay said two recent reports on intelligence failures
in Iraq showed that American and British
information-gathering and analyzing systems were
"broken."


"I think they are a scathing indictment," he said of
the reports from the U.S. Senate Intelligence
Committee and a British commission headed by former
senior civil servant Lord Butler.


Butler's report, published Wednesday, said Iraq had no
stockpiles of useable chemical or biological weapons
before the war and British intelligence to the
contrary had been drawn in part from "seriously
flawed" or "unreliable" sources.


He absolved Blair's government of deliberately
distorting the evidence and did not blame any
individuals for the failure. But he said the
government had pushed its case to the limits of
available intelligence and solidified analysts'
hedged, tentative assessments of Iraqi arms into
definite statements.


The U.S. report agreed that intelligence on Iraq was
flawed and placed much of the blame on the CIA, which
it accused of succumbing to "group think" and
interpreting all evidence according to its presumption
that Iraq had banned weapons.


Kay said analysts were facing pressure to support the
belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.


"Anything that showed Iraq didn't have weapons of mass
destruction had a much higher gate to pass because if
it were true, all of U.S. policy towards Iraq would
have fallen asunder," he said in the interview.


Posted by richard at 02:57 PM

"The Secret Services were Used"

If the NYTwits, or the WASHPs, had been serious in
their *mea culpas* about failing to serve the TRUTH in
the run-up to the increasingly unhinged and incredibly
shrinking _resident's foolish military adventure in
Iraq, you wouldn't have to rely on this kind of
analysis being translated from the French
"Liberation," you would be reading in the pages of the
NYTwits, or the WASHPs, but the painful reality is
that they are still carrying the filthy water of the
Bush abomination on Iraq and as you will see again
this week, 9/11 as well...

Jean-Dominique Merchet interviews Eric Denécé,
Liberation: How did that happen?
In two ways. First, there was the establishment of
new tightly controlled offices outside of the CIA,
such as the Office of Strategic Plans and the Office
of Strategic Influence. They produced syntheses that
went in the direction the powers-that-be wanted. In
the heart of the CIA, some young guys took advantage
of the windfall to draw up their reports to match what
they thought the powers-that-be wanted to read! It's a
company where the internal quarrels are very intense
and which has evolved profoundly since the end of the
Cold War. The former generation had a very European
culture, very New England. Now you meet more boorish
people, often from the South or from Texas, whose
world view is, let us say, more limited.

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_04/071904H.shtml

"The Secret Services were Used"
By Jean-Dominique Merchet
Libération

Friday 16 July 2004

Eric Denécé, an intelligence expert, analyzes the CIA
and MI6 Iraqi arsenal fiasco.
In Washington as in London, two official reports
have just called the secret services into question
over the weapons of mass destruction (wmd) affair in
Iraq. In the United States, a Senate report accuses
the CIA of having exaggerated the threat; while in the
United Kingdom, Lord Butler deems that MI6 has
committed serious mistakes. In both cases, political
responsibilities have been spared. Are the secret
services "scapegoats" to protect George W. Bush and
Tony Blair? Eric Denécé, Director of the French Center
for Intelligence Research (CF2R), provides his
analysis.

Were the American and British secret services
really fooled about the Iraqi threat?
Less than is believed. Before the summer of 2002,
they had never been caught in any flagrant mistake and
had not stopped telling political officials that they
had no proof of the existence of wmd. However, from
the moment the White house decided to go to war
against Iraq, pressure on the CIA became intense
because what the agency was saying did not suit the
neoconservative team. Something very similar happened
in Great Britain with Tony Blair's spin doctors' team.


How did that happen?
In two ways. First, there was the establishment of
new tightly controlled offices outside of the CIA,
such as the Office of Strategic Plans and the Office
of Strategic Influence. They produced syntheses that
went in the direction the powers-that-be wanted. In
the heart of the CIA, some young guys took advantage
of the windfall to draw up their reports to match what
they thought the powers-that-be wanted to read! It's a
company where the internal quarrels are very intense
and which has evolved profoundly since the end of the
Cold War. The former generation had a very European
culture, very New England. Now you meet more boorish
people, often from the South or from Texas, whose
world view is, let us say, more limited.

How do these intelligence services work?
There are numerous filters between the agent who
collects the intelligence on the ground and the memo
that arrives on the President's desk. At the core of
the CIA, intelligence is given form by Operations
Management, which transmits it to Intelligence
Management, where the analysts in their turn draw up
syntheses they transmit to the Director, who assumes
political responsibility. Afterwards, all that is
milled again with what comes from the other agencies,
such as electronic surveillance (NSA) or military
intelligence (DIA). The conditional phrases and the
cautions that you find at the beginning of the chain
get transformed into assertions that point in the
direction desired by the powers-that-be.

Always?
When you look for one thing, you don't find
something else! The way a question is asked partially
induces the answer. They were looking for wmd; they
found clues to their existence. In an ideal world and
to have a more balanced view, two teams should have
been set to work simultaneously; the one looking for
wmd, the other playing devil's advocate, looking for
proof of their disappearance.

Will this affair leave its mark on the
relationship between political power and the
intelligence services?
Undoubtedly, and especially in England where they
enjoyed a high level of trust. The secret services run
the risk of losing a part of their soul in all this
because they feel they have been totally used. This is
even the first time ever that democracies justify a
war with the argument: "Our intelligence services told
us..."

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

-------

Posted by richard at 02:56 PM

But it is the campaign of Mr. Kerry that appears to be doing the most to apply lessons from the Florida recount and that is adopting the more fiercely partisan posture in the early going. Its plans include setting up SWAT teams...

More encouraging news from the SMASH-MOUTH campaign of
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta)...

David Halbdfinger, New York Times: Mindful of the
election problems in Florida four years ago, aides to
Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic
presidential nominee, say his campaign is putting
together a far more intricate set of legal safeguards
than any presidential candidate before him to monitor
the election.
Aides to Mr. Kerry say the campaign is taking the
unusual step of setting up a nationwide legal network
under its own umbrella, rather than relying, as in the
past, on lawyers associated with state Democratic
parties. The aides said they were recruiting people
based on their skills as litigators and election
lawyers, rather than rewarding political connections
or big donors.
Lawyers for the campaign are gathering intelligence
and preparing litigation over the ballot machines
being used and the rules concerning how voters will be
registered or their votes disqualified. In some cases,
the lawyers are compiling dossiers on the people
involved and their track records on enforcing voting
rights. The disputed 2000 presidential election
remains a fresh wound for Democrats, and Mr. Kerry has
been referring to it on the stump while assuring his
audiences that he will not let this year's election be
a repeat of the 2000 vote.
"A million African-Americans disenfranchised in the
last election," he said at the N.A.A.C.P. convention
in Philadelphia on Thursday. "Well, we're not just
going to sit there and wait for it to happen. On
Election Day in your cities, my campaign will provide
teams of election observers and lawyers to monitor
elections, and we will enforce the law."
Lawyers for nonpartisan advocacy groups conducting
voter registration drives are also working behind the
scenes and in court to ensure that their new
registrants make it onto the rolls and that their
ballots are counted.
But it is the campaign of Mr. Kerry that appears to be doing the most to apply lessons from the Florida recount and that is adopting the more fiercely partisan posture in the early going. Its plans include setting up SWAT teams of specially trained lawyers, spokesmen and political experts to swoop into any state where a recount could be needed.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/19/politics/campaign/19VOTE.html

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

July 19, 2004
Kerry Building Legal Network for Vote Fights
By DAVID M. HALBFINGER

Mindful of the election problems in Florida four years
ago, aides to Senator John Kerry, the presumptive
Democratic presidential nominee, say his campaign is
putting together a far more intricate set of legal
safeguards than any presidential candidate before him
to monitor the election.

Aides to Mr. Kerry say the campaign is taking the
unusual step of setting up a nationwide legal network
under its own umbrella, rather than relying, as in the
past, on lawyers associated with state Democratic
parties. The aides said they were recruiting people
based on their skills as litigators and election
lawyers, rather than rewarding political connections
or big donors.

Lawyers for the campaign are gathering intelligence
and preparing litigation over the ballot machines
being used and the rules concerning how voters will be
registered or their votes disqualified. In some cases,
the lawyers are compiling dossiers on the people
involved and their track records on enforcing voting
rights. The disputed 2000 presidential election
remains a fresh wound for Democrats, and Mr. Kerry has
been referring to it on the stump while assuring his
audiences that he will not let this year's election be
a repeat of the 2000 vote.

"A million African-Americans disenfranchised in the
last election," he said at the N.A.A.C.P. convention
in Philadelphia on Thursday. "Well, we're not just
going to sit there and wait for it to happen. On
Election Day in your cities, my campaign will provide
teams of election observers and lawyers to monitor
elections, and we will enforce the law."

The Kerry campaign's legal efforts are hardly
occurring in a vacuum.

The Bush-Cheney campaign says it will have party
lawyers in every state, covering 30,000 precincts. An
affiliated group, the Republican National Lawyers
Association, held a two-day training session in
Milwaukee over the weekend on "how to promote ballot
access to all qualified voters," according to the
group's Web site.

Lawyers for nonpartisan advocacy groups conducting
voter registration drives are also working behind the
scenes and in court to ensure that their new
registrants make it onto the rolls and that their
ballots are counted.

But it is the campaign of Mr. Kerry that appears to be
doing the most to apply lessons from the Florida
recount and that is adopting the more fiercely
partisan posture in the early going.

Its plans include setting up SWAT teams of specially
trained lawyers, spokesmen and political experts to
swoop into any state where a recount could be needed.

"The U.S. has had a policy of being able to fight two
regional conflicts and still defend the homeland,"
said Marc E. Elias, the Kerry campaign's general
counsel. "We want to be able to fight five statewide
recounts and still have resources available to the
campaign."

The lessons of Florida include fairly mundane ones.
Democratic lawyers said, for example, that they had
such a hard time obtaining office space in
Tallahassee, presumably because landlords in the state
capital feared antagonizing Gov. Jeb Bush, a
Republican and brother of President Bush.

This time, Kerry aides say, they are recruiting not
only specialists in election law who work in small law
firms or alone, but also litigators at large firms in
every state who have the resources and office space to
support a long-term, large-scale and pro bono recount
operation.

"We don't want a situation where we wake up the next
day and are scrambling to think of what our legal team
looks like," Mr. Elias said.

The Kerry campaign has already enlisted lead lawyers
in all 50 states, and those lawyers are recruiting
lawyers at the county and the precinct level.

"It's our intention to have lawyers in one fashion or
another covering all of Iowa's 99 counties," said
Brent Appel, the Kerry lawyer in Des Moines.

Kerry aides say the campaign has set up a national
steering committee with task forces tackling different
issues: one on ballot machines, another on voter
education, and a third on absentee, early, and
military voting, to name a few..

At the Democratic convention next week in Boston, they
say, any lawyers interested in volunteering will be
offered training. And dozens of the lawyers already
recruited by the Kerry organization will hold two days
of intensive meetings to finalize strategy, tactics
and assignments.

Democrats say they learned from the Florida vote, and
from the Supreme Court rulings that arose from it,
that the most important legal battles are those fought
before Election Day, over how election laws are to be
carried out, who is allowed to register and who will
be allowed to vote.

Robert Bauer, a partner of Mr. Elias's who is
overseeing the Kerry legal effort, took a historical
view of what he called "warfare over the electoral
franchise." The first phase, he said, concerned who
was entitled to vote and included the all-white
primary, literacy tests and poll taxes that were
eliminated in the mid-20th century. The second phase
was fought largely over the dilution of the vote along
racial lines and used the Voting Rights Act, he said.

"Now, we're into a third phase, that was exemplified
by Bush-Gore, of franchise restrictions that are
accomplished through manipulations of the elections
administration process or of the law," Mr. Bauer said.
"It's about people who somehow can't register, or
can't vote, or their vote isn't counted, and it's done
not frontally, but through legal manipulations."

Those can include the seemingly picayune. In
Minnesota, a lawyer for the Kerry campaign is
protesting a ruling by the secretary of state — Mary
Kiffmeyer, a Republican — that every registrant must
provide identification that matches "with certainty" a
state database containing registered voters' names,
birthdates and driver's license numbers or partial
Social Security numbers. "It doesn't take into account
a transposition of a number by a data-entry person,"
said Jim Rubenstein, the Kerry lawyer in Minneapolis.
In an interview, Ms. Kiffmeyer said local officials
would have the discretion to overlook an obvious
typographical error.

Republicans are not trumpeting their efforts nearly as
much, though Benjamin Ginsberg, the national counsel
for the Bush-Cheney campaign, said he expected lawyers
to cover 30,000 precincts on Election Day.

He noted that the chairman of the Republican National
Committee, Ed Gillespie, had been rebuffed by his
Democratic counterpart when he proposed recently that
the two parties agree on a list of pivotal precincts
and send bipartisan pairs of lawyers to monitor them.
"Obviously the goal in this is to have every valid
vote counted," Mr. Ginsberg said, "and to not allow
the sort of rhetorical overkill, on either
intimidation or fraud, to be used in a tainted fashion
to interfere with the get-out-the-vote operation."

Mr. Bauer of the Kerry campaign said: "There's not
much interest in depending on Republican agents to
police the polls."

Apart from the two campaigns, a host of advocacy and
civil-rights groups, which often act in parallel with
Democrats when it comes to expanding ballot access,
are stepping up their own election-law efforts this
year.

America's Families United, a racial-justice advocacy
group that is registering thousands of people, has set
up a "voter protection project" to ensure that its new
registrants make it onto the rolls, by comparing each
new voter list to its own list. Penda D. Hair, the
project director, said her goal was to recruit 6,000
lawyers in 20 states who could challenge registrars
when they reject applications improperly.

In South Dakota, Native American officials are suing
for clarification of new election rules. In 2002, they
say, a dramatic increase in voting by tribal members —
who often lack driver's licenses or other accepted
forms of picture identification — made the difference
in the Senate race that Tim Johnson won by fewer than
600 votes. The state has since revised its
identification rules, and in the special Congressional
election there last month, Native Americans reported
widespread discrepancies in the application of the
rules, said Jacqueline Johnson, executive director of
the National Congress of American Indians.

In some places, Ms. Johnson said, signs went up at
polling places warning, "No I.D., no vote," even
though the law allows voters to sign an affidavit if
they do not have valid identification. Elsewhere, she
said, people living as far as 60 miles from polling
places were sent home to get identification, and
partisan poll watchers sometimes insisted that voters
instead fill out provisional ballots. Ms. Johnson said
such ballots were more likely to be disqualified on
challenges.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, meanwhile,
has made a Freedom of Information Act request to
review the Justice Department's communications to
local and state election authorities during this
election cycle. "We're being proactive, trying to head
off any problems at the pass," said Nancy Zirkin, the
conference's deputy director.

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Posted by richard at 02:54 PM

July 18, 2004

LNS Special Edition: All Along The Watchtower

NOTE to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta): Another US soldier has died in Iraq. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. The hour is getting late. There is a massive build-up of US Navy vessels in the Taiwan straits to participate in a huge “military exercise.” There is a credible rumor that Vladimir Putin will commit 40K Russian troops to Iraq in the Fall to influence the US Presidential Election in favor of Bush (although we are skeptical). John Negroponte (whose shirt sleeve cuffs are red from Latin America) has been named the Bush cabal’s ambassador to Iraq, and Iyed Allawi, a paid US operative, who recently executed six blindfolded, handcuffed *suspects* with his own pistol in front of witnesses, has been installed as the Iraqi strong man. The now apparently soul-less Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has appeared on TV ads, extolling the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident’s “moral clarity,” and also campaigned in person with the VICE _resident in Michigan, which McCain won in the 2000 Republican primary season, despite the Bush cabal’s hate-filled dirty tricks. Bush supporters in Louisiana are distributing bumper stickers that read: "Kerry is Bin Laden’s man, Bush is mine.” The Republican candidate for Senate in Oklahoma says that he favors the death penalty for abortionists. AnythingButSee (ABC), SeeBS (CBS) and NotBeSeen (NBC) have decided that the national conventions are “infotainment” (as opposed to staged, scripted White House “press conferences”?) and will severely limit their prime time coverage. The deceitful, destructive campaign of the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader, who couldn’t win the Green Party nomination, has been buoyed by both disproportionate media attention and one third (at least) of his financial contributions coming from Bush supporters. The Diebolic black box voting scheme has been thwarted in many states, but remains a factor in several crucial ones. The final report of the 9/11 Commission is beginning to look like a real whitewash for the Bush cabal, just like the Senate Intelligence Committee’s reports on the “intelligence failures” leading up to the war in Iraq. The compelling witnessing of whistleblowers like Joe Wilson and Sibel Edmonds has been marginalized, ridiculed and misrepresented. And as the publicly available evidence of US atrocities at Abu Ghraib turns unspeakable, the “US mainstream news media” coverage of the war crimes (and the high officials implicated by the published paper trail) have gone almost silent. Yes, the “US mainstream news media” seems to be in almost total lockdown, ignoring the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and carry the Bush abomination’s filthy water on 9/11, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Enron and a host of other nightmares and outrages. Furthermore, it has been reported that the Bush cabal has been pressuring Pakistan to deliver Bin Laden or his number one sometime before the US Presidential Election. There have been repeated warnings by high government officials of significant terrorist attacks planned in this time leading up to Election Day. There is talk of providing emergency legislation for the canceling of the Presidential Election should another significant terrorist attack be launched (while at the same time of course there is legislation to block the UN from sending monitors at the request of duly elected members of the US House of Representatives). Will the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident cash in another Trifecta ticket? And how will you maneuver this ghastly landscape? What will you do if a catastrophe in the coming days blows the Democratic Convention off the air waves and the front pages? The LNS knows that you understand how late it is, and understand why you are running with Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) instead of the LNS favorite son, Gen. Wesley Clark (D-NATO). In a sick climate, in which the pink-ribbon 9/11 Commission, the “US mainstream news media” and the US Senate itself (even the minority leadership) are covering up for criminal negligence and a failed administration, you have to run on more than just Iraq and 9/11. You and Edwards are marching straight down Main Street, with the townspeople swelling behind you, and you are going to take City Hall. Of course, so much depends on the US Electorate, i.e. on the townspeople falling in behind you on your way to the showdown. The LNS believes the US Electorate understand the suffering of the US soldiers, and the scapegoating of the US intelligence community…The November 2004 election is a national referendum on the CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and CHARACTER of the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident. The central issue of this struggle is SECURITY: not just National Security, but also Economic Security, Environmental Security, Healthcare Security and Social Security. You have run a flawless campaign since the Iowa caucuses. You have been right to keep your powder dry. The LNS believes in your hunter’s soul, your prosecutorial skills, your timing, your discipline and especially your brain trust…But John, we can see the white of their eyes now…Unleash the dogs of war…Almost 900 US soldiers have died so far in Iraq, the deaths of 3K innocent people on 9/11 could have been avoided if the Bush cabal had not been so arrogant and blind to the expertise of Richard Clark and the counter-terror triage that Clinton-Gore left behind them, AND the Federal Surplus has been gutted and replaced with hundreds of billions of dollars in Federal Deficit, AND we have lost four years in the global effort to counteract global warming and AIDS in Africa, and the EPA has been prostituted, AND please, John, talk about the Draft, put America in touch with what that power would mean in the hands of the Neo-Con Chickenhawks of the Bush adomination, you must declare over and over again everyday that no young US soldier will die unnecessarily for oil or anything else. John, you cannot reaffirm American values, without going NEGATIVE on the Bush abomination – because their agenda and their methods are antithetical to American values, and to the US Constitution, and to the traditions of the US military, and to the mainstream of America’s religious life. There is a time, as warriors understand, when you have to look up at the sky and stomp the earth, and say "if it today for which there is no tomorrow, than it is today, but nothing will be held back." John, that time is here...

JOHN McCARTHY, Associated Press: Three counties that were considering electronic voting machines made by Ohio-based Diebold Inc. cannot switch by November because tests have shown security problems, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell said Friday.
Hardin, Lorain and Trumbull counties will stick with their current systems, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said. Mercer County decided earlier this week to stick with its current system — punch-card ballots...
Thirty-one Ohio counties had planned to replace their machines, but most backed out as the November election neared. Most of those counties use punch-card ballots, the type that plagued the Florida vote in the 2000 presidential election.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040716/ap_on_re_us/ohio_voting_machines_1

Ohio Counties Can't Switch Vote Machines

Fri Jul 16, 7:27 PM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!

By JOHN McCARTHY, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Three counties that were considering electronic voting machines made by Ohio-based Diebold Inc. cannot switch by November because tests have shown security problems, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell said Friday.

Hardin, Lorain and Trumbull counties will stick with their current systems, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo said. Mercer County decided earlier this week to stick with its current system — punch-card ballots.


Some of the state's 88 counties already were using electronic voting machines, and the decision does not affect them.


Thirty-one Ohio counties had planned to replace their machines, but most backed out as the November election neared. Most of those counties use punch-card ballots, the type that plagued the Florida vote in the 2000 presidential election.


A first round of security tests found 57 problems, mostly security related, in machines made by three vendors — Diebold, Electronic Systems and Software, and Hart Intercivic.


Blackwell said his decision was based on preliminary results of a second round of tests.


Diebold was the only vendor to undergo the retesting, and Blackwell's office said the results would be released when the full study was complete.


"The counties were told several months ago to make contingency plans," LoParo said. "There was disappointment that the system did not obtain our security requirements, but an understanding that our systems must be secure."


Mark Radke, director of marketing for Diebold Election Systems, said the company had received no information from Blackwell on any remaining security problems.


"We are anxious to learn the areas where the consultant believes additional work is needed," Radke said in a statement.


Posted by richard at 04:58 PM

July 17, 2004

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fraudida): What I believe is needed is a neutral party (like the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who has incidentally, said they will send preliminary observers in September) to oversee and

The remarks of Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fraudida) are particularly poignant to the LSN, because it is what happened in Duval County that offended us most, more so even than what happened in Broward or Miami-Dade or Palm Springs or even Leon, and what happened in Duval County was almost WHOLLY ignored in the "US mainstream news media" cover-up of the 2000 coup. Every time some propunditgandist or some defeatist Democrat or some self-deceiving Republican tells you it all came down to a few hundred votes (and as the LNS has observed even the math of that distorted view does not add up to a Bush victory in Fraudida), just remember Duval County, and remember the courage and integrity of the Congressional Black Caucus in general and Rep. Corrine Brown in particular...

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fraudida): "Striking my words from the House floor is just one more example of the Republican Party's attempt to try and cover up what happened during the 2000 election and of their activities this year in the state of Florida in preparation for stealing this year’s election as well. What is the Republican Party so afraid of? Let me tell you what I'm afraid of: another stolen election and four more years of the Bush administration. When the words of Corrine Brown are stricken from the floor, so is the voice of her 600,000 constituents in Florida's third congressional district.
Let me refresh your memories of what occurred during the 2000 elections, in my district alone (Duval County) there were approximately 27,000 ballots that were spit out by faulty machines. A disproportionately large percentage of these votes came from City Council Districts 7, 8, 9 and 10, primarily African American residential areas. Even more disturbing to me was that the Supervisor of Elections’ office didn’t release these figures to local officials until after the 72 hour deadline had passed. As a result, there were no legal avenues to demand a recount...
What I believe is needed is a neutral party (like the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who has incidentally, said they will send preliminary observers in September) to oversee and monitor our elections in an unbiased manner, just as they monitor other elections throughout the world, often at the urging of The United States."

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.house.gov/corrinebrown/press108/pr040715.htm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2004 CONTACT: David Simon
(202) 225-0123 or (202) 225-0115

Congresswoman Brown Speaks Out on the House Floor



(Washington, DC) Congresswoman Corrine Brown made the following statement:

"Striking my words from the House floor is just one more example of the Republican Party's attempt to try and cover up what happened during the 2000 election and of their activities this year in the state of Florida in preparation for stealing this year’s election as well. What is the Republican Party so afraid of? Let me tell you what I'm afraid of: another stolen election and four more years of the Bush administration. When the words of Corrine Brown are stricken from the floor, so is the voice of her 600,000 constituents in Florida's third congressional district.

Let me refresh your memories of what occurred during the 2000 elections, in my district alone (Duval County) there were approximately 27,000 ballots that were spit out by faulty machines. A disproportionately large percentage of these votes came from City Council Districts 7, 8, 9 and 10, primarily African American residential areas. Even more disturbing to me was that the Supervisor of Elections’ office didn’t release these figures to local officials until after the 72 hour deadline had passed. As a result, there were no legal avenues to demand a recount.

Moreover, it often goes unpublished that Florida Governor Jeb Bush spent $4 million of taxpayer money to purge a list of suspected felons from the rolls across the state: but whether or not this list was accurate was of little importance to Governor Bush. Apparently, it was the responsibility of the accused citizen to correct his or her status. Only later did we learn that the reason many of the people were incorrectly purged (estimates go as high as 50-57,000) was merely because their name was the same as, or similar to, one of the purged felons. For this reason, during the 2000 elections, some of the local election supervisors went so far as to refuse to purge names from the list of their voter rolls because, they argued, 'they did not have faith in how the state compiled its list of disqualified voters.'

Moreover, as part of a grassroots effort to encourage voters, particularly minorities, to get out to the polls, I organize motor voter drives. Yet during the last election, many voters, especially African Americans, were wrongly purged from registration lists, and many who had signed up at state motor voter vehicle offices never had their voter registration fully processed. As a result, these voters were disenfranchised as well. It is for this reason that provisional balloting is so important (wherein if a voter has not re-registered after moving within the same county, he or she may cast a provisional ballot at the polling place of their current residence). Unfortunately, to this day, the state of Florida STILL does not completely follow through with provisional balloting because, in Florida, if one casts a provisional ballot in a voter precinct which is not their own, their vote will be discarded.

After the stolen elections of 2000, the American public was assured that we would never see a repeat of the 2000 election. But now, the state of Florida has a system in place that records electronic votes without a paper trail (that once again could possibly lead to altering or tampering with the election results), and the Florida Secretary of State's office began yet another questionable purge of felons. And as reported in the press, Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood had to scrap the controversial and error riddled list of 48,000 potential felons from the Central Florida database citing multiple errors. Yet they still have not reinstated the thousands of innocent people knocked off the rolls, and are allowing the local elections supervisors to use “other methods” to determine who is qualified to vote.

I saw what happened in my district during the 2000 presidential election, and there remains a dangerous possibility that we may see a repeat of the flagrant violations of civil rights in the upcoming 2004 election. In the last election, there were unquestionable conflicts of interest that adversely affected the election results. Many of the problems that were caused in the last election were caused by the unfairness of the people that were in charge of ensuring a fair election in the state of Florida. For example, not only did Governor Bush support his brother’s election, but the Secretary of State (the very agent responsible for ensuring a fair election) served as the top campaign official in the state of Florida for the George W. Bush presidential campaign. What I believe is needed is a neutral party (like the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who has incidentally, said they will send preliminary observers in September) to oversee and monitor our elections in an unbiased manner, just as they monitor other elections throughout the world, often at the urging of The United States.

I will continue to do everything within my power to ensure that not one voter is denied the right to vote, and our nation does not witness a repeat of the 2000 elections!”


###

Posted by richard at 05:19 PM

Seymour Hersh, who reported on the torture of the prisoners in New Yorker magazine in May, told an audience in San Francisco that "it's worse". But he added that he would reveal the extent of the abuses: "I'm not done reporting on all this,"

At last, it is no longer just Seymour Hersh moving
from university to university speaking the
UNSPEAKABLE, and it has bubbled up beyond the Blogs
into the Free Press of the UK (Independent) and Australia (Herald Sun)...Will the "US Mainstream News Media" rise to the challenge of the TRUTH and not
only tell the ghastly story but provide the CONTEXT
and CONTINUITY that lead to the increasingly unhinged
and incredibly shrinking _resident and the corporatist
Kulchur of the Bush Cabal? Will the US Senate accept
RESPONSIBILITY and tell the TRUTH to the American
people? Will the Democratic Party share the brutal
REALITY of the Three Stooges Reich with the US
electorate? The stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush
White House, the stench of the Bush White House is on
Abu Ghraib.

Charles Arthur, Independent: Young male prisoners were
filmed being sodomized by American soldiers at the Abu
Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to the
journalist who first revealed the abuses there.
Seymour Hersh, who reported on the torture of the prisoners in New Yorker magazine in May, told an audience in San Francisco that "it's worse". But he added that he would reveal the extent of the abuses: "I'm not done reporting on all this," he told a meeting of the American Civil Liberties Union.
He said: "The boys were sodomized with the cameras
rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the
boys shrieking. And this is your government at war."

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

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/071704A.shtml

'Secret Film Shows Iraq Prisoners Sodomized'
By Charles Arthur
Independent U.K.

Thursday 16 July 2004

Young male prisoners were filmed being sodomized
by American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison near
Baghdad, according to the journalist who first
revealed the abuses there.

Seymour Hersh, who reported on the torture of the
prisoners in New Yorker magazine in May, told an
audience in San Francisco that "it's worse". But he
added that he would reveal the extent of the abuses:
"I'm not done reporting on all this," he told a
meeting of the American Civil Liberties Union.

He said: "The boys were sodomized with the cameras
rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the
boys shrieking. And this is your government at war."

He accused the US administration, and all but
accused President George Bush and Vice-President Dick
Cheney of complicity in covering up what he called
"war crimes".


Allies Reel as Abuse Row Grows
Herald Sun, Australia

Friday 17 July 2004

Washington - New cases of alleged abuse of Iraqi
prisoners by US soldiers have been uncovered.

The news comes three months after US media
broadcast photos of detainees being sexually
humiliated at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

"We're still uncovering, as late as this morning,
other incidents, other cases that will be promptly
investigated by the Department of Defence," Senate
Armed Services Committee chairman John Warner said.

Senator Warner, a Republican, said there were
possible violations of the Geneva Convention and
Defence Department rules and regulations.

However, a Republican congressional source said
the Pentagon was "dragging its feet and intends to
postpone any hearing until after" the November 2
presidential election.

"There's a lot of frustration over here," he said.


Senator Warner said Pentagon officials also showed
senators 24 confidential documents from the
International Committee of the Red Cross.

The papers are part of an ICRC report on prisoner
treatment in Iraqi jails written before the scandal
broke in April.

Senator Warner has held three hearings on Abu
Ghraib, and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has
testified before the committee.

Senator Warner said his panel's next public
hearings would be held in September at the earliest.
Open hearings on soldiers being investigated will not
be held to avoid jeopardising their legal rights.

The Philippines said it would withdraw the head of
its force in Iraq and 10 other members of the
contingent as part of efforts to secure the release of
a Filipino hostage.

Foreign Secretary Delia Albert said the remaining
members of the 51-strong contingent would be
withdrawn, though she did not say whether the
withdrawal would take place before the kidnappers'
July 20 deadline.

"The Philippines Government has recalled the head
of the Philippines humanitarian contingent to Iraq. He
is leaving Iraq today with 10 members of the
Philippines humanitarian contingent," Ms Albert said
in a statement.

"The rest of the members of the contingent will be
out of Iraq shortly."

A headless corpse dressed in an orange jumpsuit
has been found by Iraqi police in the Tigris river and
handed over to US forces, but it has not yet been
identified.

It was not known whether the body was that of a
Bulgarian hostage killed by his captors earlier this
week. It was found near Baiji, 180km north of Baghdad.


"The body had been decapitated. It was dressed in
an orange jumpsuit," a spokeswoman said.

Kidnappers linked to al-Qaida ally Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi said a week ago they had captured Bulgarian
truck drivers Georgi Lazov, 30, and Ivailo Kepov, 32,
and would kill them unless US-led forces released
Iraqi prisoners.

Earlier this week, Arabic satellite television
station al-Jazeera said it had received a videotape
showing the decapitation of one of the Bulgarians.

Video of foreign hostages have often shown them
wearing orange jumpsuits, which are typical of US
jails and associated around the world with images of
Muslims at Guantanamo Bay.

Protestors rallied in Baghdad yesterday, demanding
the death penalty for deposed president Saddam
Hussein.

Saddam is in Iraqi custody, charged with
committing crimes against humanity.

-------


Posted by richard at 11:15 AM

Sidney Blumenthal: The Senate's report is very revealing about Bush and his apostles - but the clues are buried deep

In recent campaign speech, the increasingly unhinged
and incredibly shrinking _resident said he was proud
to have led the "army of liberation" into Iraq.
Well, the video tape of Iraqi boys being sodomized in
the custody of the US military has begun to float
upwards from the pit of Hell (i.e. "liberated Iraq)
and will soon break through even the brackish,
polluted surface of the the "US mainstream news
media." But Abu Ghraib is not the only evidence of the
the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident's Orwellian newspeak (i.e. war is peace,
hate islove), Agence France Press reports that "a
senior Sunni cleric called on his followers to launch
a holy war against the US forces in Iraq and
threatened to turn the hotspot city of Ramadi into a
'graveyard' for American troops," and the Sidney
Morning Herald reports that "Iyad Allawi, the new
Prime Minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed
as many as six [blindfolded, handcuffed] suspected
insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days
before Washington handed control of the country to his
interim government, according to two people who allege
they witnessed the killings." MEANWHILE, just as the
"US mainstream news media" and the US Senate
(yes, another disgraceful performance by timid Sen. Tom DuckIt's "Democrats")
participated in the LIES that led to this catastrophe
(both for Iraq and the US), the "US mainstream news
media" and the US Senate are now participating in the
cover-up, i.e. the scape-goating of the Intelligence
community...Here Sidney Blumenthal's break it down for
you in America's best newspaper....

Sidney Blumenthal, Guardian (UK): The day before
Powell's speech, one CIA official wanted to warn him.
Another replied, "As I said last night, let's keep in
mind the fact that this war's going to happen
regardless of what [the source] said or didn't say,
and the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly
interested in whether [the source] knows what he's
talking about." Powell was sent before the world to
speak the falsehoods with CIA director George Tenet
sitting behind him. Never before has a secretary of
state, the highest ranking cabinet officer, been
treated with such contemptuous manipulation by his own
administration.

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/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1261721,00.html

Learn the code

The Senate's report is very revealing about Bush and his apostles - but the clues are buried deep

Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday July 15, 2004
The Guardian

The Senate intelligence committee report is the Da
Vinci code of the Iraq war. Some of the clues are in
plain sight but unless one knows how to read them they
remain cryptic. Deletions, covering one-fifth of the
report, and omissions, stretching endlessly, are as
significant as what's included. The storyline is
jumbled into incoherence, the main characters are
often spectral and it's all extremely dangerous.
By virtue of a deal struck before the committee
investigated, the belligerent Republican majority got
timorous Democrats to separate the inquiry into
halves, leaving the question of the Bush
administration's culpability for a second report,
almost certainly to be filed after the election, if at
all. This unholy arrangement enabled the report to put
the burden of blame on the CIA. For months, Bush and
his national security team escalated its rhetoric
about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. But there was
no national intelligence estimate (NIE) until demands
by Democratic senators on the intelligence committee
forced its writing.

Most take months to assemble, but this one was slapped
together in about three weeks. "Most of the major key
judgments in the intelligence community's October 2002
NIE, Iraq's Continuing Programmes for Weapons of Mass
Destruction, were either overstated, or were not
supported by the underlying intelligence reporting,"
the report states.

The freakish cognitive dissonance at the NIE's core
should have been detected at the start. It broke down
its judgments into levels of confidence from high to
moder ate to low. Utter absence of proof, however, did
not deter the conclusion from being stamped "high
confidence".
What the report does not note is the name or
background of the NIE's director: Robert Walpole, a
former national intelligence officer on nuclear
weapons, a factotum of the secretary of defence,
Donald Rumsfeld. Walpole had demonstrated his bona
fides in an incident that prefigures the WMD debacle,
the writing of the alarmist report of the Rumsfeld
commission in 1998, which asserted the ballistic
missile threat from "rogue states" was imminent. That
claim, used to bolster the case for a Star Wars
programme, had been rejected by a similar commission
two years earlier.

The report also does not deal with the creation of an
alternative intelligence operation inside the
Pentagon, the Office of Special Plans, which bypassed
regular channels to send fabricated material
originating mostly in Ahmed Chalabi's disinformation
factory.

But buried in the appendix, Senator John D
Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, included an
account of an internal operation against the CIA
conducted by the under-secretary of defence, Douglas
Feith, an entrenched neo-conservative.

While the CIA composed a report on the Iraq-al-Qaida
connection, which the administration still trumpets,
and for which the intelligence community could never
find proof, Feith held briefings trashing the CIA on
its impending report. Then, without informing the CIA,
Feith's version was presented to the deputy national
security adviser and vice-president.

Colin Powell put himself in the hands of people he
hoped would protect him. Predictably, he was betrayed.
Before his February 5 2002 speech to the United
Nations, making the case for WMD, Powell spent days at
the CIA. He was given disinformation about mobile
biological weapons laboratories, which came from Iraqi
exile sources that the CIA didn't trust. The day
before Powell's speech, one CIA official wanted to
warn him. Another replied, "As I said last night,
let's keep in mind the fact that this war's going to
happen regardless of what [the source] said or didn't
say, and the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly
interested in whether [the source] knows what he's
talking about." Powell was sent before the world to
speak the falsehoods with CIA director George Tenet
sitting behind him. Never before has a secretary of
state, the highest ranking cabinet officer, been
treated with such contemptuous manipulation by his own
administration.

The NIE was condensed to a one-page document and sent
to the White House, which still refuses to release it
to the committee. The full classified version contains
dissenting caveats in its footnotes. But were those
included in the one-page summary? And did Bush read
the NIE in any form? On July 18 2003, in an overlooked
briefing to the White House press corps, "a senior
administration official" explained: "I don't think he
sat down over a long weekend and read every word of
it. But he's familiar, intimately familiar with the
case."

In the bestselling thriller The Da Vinci Code,
paintings and signs contain the keys to the code. The
Senate report, despite missing crucial information,
still helps crack the code about Bush and his
apostles. Bush is revealed as having a blithe
disregard for anything that might interfere with his
articles of absolute belief - a man of faith.

· Sidney Blumenthal is former senior adviser to
President Clinton and Washington bureau chief of
salon.com

sidney_blumenthal@yahoo.com

Posted by richard at 11:11 AM

Joe Wilson: Debunking Distortions About My Trip to Niger

AMERICA, DO NOT LET THEM RE-WRITE THE HISTORY THESE TRAGIC YEARs BEFORE IT IS EVEN WRITTEN...It is so typical of the Orwellian newspeak of the "vast reich-wing conspiracy" and the capitulation and complicity of the "US mainstream news media" that instead of filling up pages on which one of the Bush cabal's principles had initimate knowledge of the criminal act (i.e. the outing of Joe Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame) from now until Election Day, the space will be filled with a debate on the credibility of Joe Wilson. Read his autobiography. You'll have to, because the "US mainstream news media" won't tell it to you with any of the real significance of who he is, what his career was like and what he has done in coming forward...back in the tense days preceding "Desert Storm," Saddam threaten to hang foreign diplomats who were giving refuge to those fleeing his reign of terror. In response, Joe Wilson, them US Ambassador to Iraq, walked into a gathering of international correspondents at the Embassy in Baghdad, with a rope noosed around his neck instead of a tie. "Make my day." That's who Joe Wilson is...What a shame the "US Mainstream News Media" and its propapunditgandists are not telling the US Electorate the truth about this real-life American "Profile In Courage."

Joe Wilson, Letter to the Editor, Washington Post: For the second time in a year, your paper has published an article [news story, July 10] falsely suggesting that my wife, Valerie Plame, was responsible for the trip I took to Niger on behalf of the U.S. government to look into allegations that Iraq had sought to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium from that West African country. Last July 14, Robert Novak, claiming two senior sources, exposed Valerie as an "agency operative [who] suggested sending him to Niger." Novak went ahead with his column despite the fact that the CIA had urged him not to disclose her identity. That leak to Novak may well have been a federal crime and is under investigation.

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


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56501-2004Jul16.html

Debunking Distortions About My Trip to Niger

Saturday, July 17, 2004; Page A17


For the second time in a year, your paper has published an article [news story, July 10] falsely suggesting that my wife, Valerie Plame, was responsible for the trip I took to Niger on behalf of the U.S. government to look into allegations that Iraq had sought to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium from that West African country. Last July 14, Robert Novak, claiming two senior sources, exposed Valerie as an "agency operative [who] suggested sending him to Niger." Novak went ahead with his column despite the fact that the CIA had urged him not to disclose her identity. That leak to Novak may well have been a federal crime and is under investigation.



In the year since the betrayal of Valerie's covert status, it has been widely understood that she is irrelevant to the unpaid mission I undertook or the conclusions I reached. But your paper's recent article acted as a funnel for this scurrilous and extraneous charge, uncritically citing the Republican-written Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report.

The decision to send me to Niger was not made, and could not be made, by Valerie. At the conclusion of a meeting that she did not attend, I was asked by CIA officials whether I would be willing to travel to Niger. While a CIA reports officer and a State Department analyst, both cited in the report, speculate about what happened, neither of them was in the chain of command that made the decision to send me. Reams of documents were given over to the Senate committee, but the only quotation attributed to my wife on this subject was the anodyne "my husband has good relations with both the PM (Prime Minister) and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." In fact, with 2-year-old twins at home, Valerie did not relish my absence for a two-week period. But she acquiesced because, in the zeal to be responsive to the legitimate concerns raised by the vice president, officials of her agency turned to a known functionary who had previously checked out uranium-related questions for them.

But that is not the only inaccurate assertion or conclusion in the Senate report uncritically parroted in the article. Other inaccuracies and distortions include the suggestion that my findings "bolstered" the case that Niger was engaged in illegal sales of uranium to Iraq. In fact, the Senate report is clear that the intelligence community attempted to keep the claim out of presidential documents because of the weakness of the evidence.

The facts surrounding my trip remain the same. I traveled to Niger and found it unlikely that Iraq had attempted to purchase several hundred tons of yellowcake uranium. In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush referred to Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium "from Africa." Between March 2003 and July 2003, the administration refused to acknowledge that it had known for more than a year that the claim on uranium sales from Niger had been discredited, until the day after my article in the New York Times. The next day the White House issued a statement that "the sixteen words did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union address." Those facts are amply supported in the Senate report.

-- Joseph C. Wilson IV

Washington


© 2004 The Washington Post Company

Posted by richard at 11:07 AM

``A significant, ongoing controversy exists over the president's military service during the Vietnam War, specifically whether he performed his required service between May and October 1972,'' lawyers for the AP wrote.

The Emperor has no uniform...

Associated Press, carried in the Guardian (UK): The
Associated Press asked a federal judge Friday to order
the Pentagon to quickly turn over a full copy of
President Bush's military service record...
``A significant, ongoing controversy exists over the president's military service during the Vietnam War, specifically whether he performed his required service between May and October 1972,'' lawyers for the AP wrote.
There also are allegations that potentially
embarrassing material was removed from Bush's military
file in 1997, when he was running for re-election as
Texas governor, the AP said.

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


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,1282,-4318311,00.html

AP Seeks Release of Bush Military Records

Friday July 16, 2004 6:46 PM


AP Photo FLCO101

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Associated Press asked a federal
judge Friday to order the Pentagon to quickly turn
over a full copy of President Bush's military service
record.

The White House has released partial documentation of
Bush's military service in the Texas Air National
Guard but has not complied with the news service's
Freedom of Information Act request for any record
archived at a state library records center in Texas,
the AP said in a court filing.

Records released so far do not put to rest questions
over whether Bush fulfilled his National Guard service
for a period during the Vietnam War, the AP argued in
papers filed in federal court in New York.

Those records came from federal records
clearinghouses. Texas law requires separate record
keeping for state National Guard service, and those
records should exist on microfilm in Austin, the AP
said.

``A significant, ongoing controversy exists over the
president's military service during the Vietnam War,
specifically whether he performed his required service
between May and October 1972,'' lawyers for the AP
wrote.

There also are allegations that potentially
embarrassing material was removed from Bush's military
file in 1997, when he was running for re-election as
Texas governor, the AP said.

``The public has an intense and legitimate interest in
knowing the facts concerning the president's military
service. Reviewing the microfilm copy of the personnel
file at the Texas Records center could well answer the
questions that have brofilm containing the pertinent
National Guard payroll records was damaged and could
not be salvaged, according to the Defense Department.





Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Posted by richard at 11:04 AM

In the latest development, MoveOn.org and other groups announced this afternoon that on Monday they will deliver "legal papers" to Fox News' studio in New York City, challenging the network's use of the tagline "Fair and Balanced."

It's the Media, Stupid. (But that sword can cut both
ways...)

Editors and Publishers: Aided by controversy fanned by
a New York Times magazine story, and dozens of
newspaper stories since then, the new documentary
"Outfoxed" hit No. 1 on amazon.com's list of
bestselling DVDs today. The film takes on alleged bias
at Fox News Channel, and has been denounced by Fox
while warmly embraced by liberal groups. Fox has also
attacked The New York Times for quoting from internal
Fox memos.
In the latest development, MoveOn.org and other groups announced this afternoon that on Monday they will deliver "legal papers" to Fox News' studio in New York City, challenging the network's use of the tagline "Fair and Balanced." Chellie Pingree, president of
Common Cause, will lead a news conference disclosing
two legal actions in this matter.

Break the Bush Cabal's 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=1000579998

Fight Continues Over 'Outfoxed'

By E&P Staff

Published: July 16, 2004

NEW YORK Aided by controversy fanned by a New York
Times magazine story, and dozens of newspaper stories
since then, the new documentary "Outfoxed" hit No. 1
on amazon.com's list of bestselling DVDs today. The
film takes on alleged bias at Fox News Channel, and
has been denounced by Fox while warmly embraced by
liberal groups. Fox has also attacked The New York
Times for quoting from internal Fox memos.

In the latest development, MoveOn.org and other groups
announced this afternoon that on Monday they will
deliver "legal papers" to Fox News' studio in New York
City, challenging the network's use of the tagline
"Fair and Balanced." Chellie Pingree, president of
Common Cause, will lead a news conference disclosing
two legal actions in this matter.


Posted by richard at 11:01 AM

July 16, 2004

Larry King Backs Out of Michael Moore Interview

SeeNotNew's Larry Clueless Lying must have gotten in trouble for allowing Ron Reagan and Bill Clinton to speak TRUTH to power on the air waves...Yes, it's the Media, Stupid!

World Entertainment News Network: Talk show host Larry King has confused controversial director Michael Moore by inexplicably ending talks to book the film-maker for his prime-time talk show.
King's producers were negotiating to have the Fahrenheit 9/11 star on the Larry King Live show - and even told Moore's agents they wanted a White House representative on the show to rebut the film's anti-Bush comments - but King's team have refused to continue with the booking, raising suspicions the president's advisors urged King to reject the outspoken political activist.

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

http://www.kfty.com/entertainment/story.aspx?content_id=67F10AFE-1D84-4EA7-A81A-E4AEA287A8DB

Larry King Backs Out of Michael Moore Interview

Talk show host Larry King has confused controversial director Michael Moore by inexplicably ending talks to book the film-maker for his prime-time talk show.

King's producers were negotiating to have the Fahrenheit 9/11 star on the Larry King Live show - and even told Moore's agents they wanted a White House representative on the show to rebut the film's anti-Bush comments - but King's team have refused to continue with the booking, raising suspicions the president's advisors urged King to reject the outspoken political activist.

CNN spokesman Matt Furman says, "We don't get into the details of our bookings, but we were considering Moore. His not coming on had nothing to do with the White House. We'd love to have him on someday."

White House spokesman Trent Duffy says, "The White House does not do movie reviews."

Photo Copyright Stephen Shugerman / Getty Images


Copyright World Entertainment News Network 2004

Posted by richard at 01:11 PM

The Senate's bad intelligence: Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson demands that Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee set the record straight.

For the record...from Joe Wilson, a great American, and a Republican, and Poppy's Ambassador to Iraq, and Valerie Plame's husband...

Ambassador Joe Wilson, www.salon.com: I read with great surprise and consternation the Niger portion of Sens. Roberts, Bond and Hatch's additional comments to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee's Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Assessment on Iraq. I am taking this opportunity to clarify some of the issues raised in these comments...
It is essential that the errors and distortions in the additional comments be corrected for the public record. Nothing could be more important for the American people than to have an accurate picture of the events that led to the decision to bring the United States into war in Iraq. The Senate Intelligence Committee has an obligation to present to the American people the factual basis of that process. I hope that this letter is helpful in that effort. I look forward to your further "additional comments."

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

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/07/16/wilson_letter/index.html

The Senate's bad intelligence: Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson demands that Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee set the record straight.

July 16, 2004 | Editor's note: Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on the U.S. intelligence community's prewar assessments on Iraq. An appendix discusses the role taken by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson in determining whether Iraq had obtained uranium from Niger. The following is Wilson's letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee pointing to errors in the Republican senators' additional comments to the report and demanding corrections.


July 15, 2004

The Hon. Pat Roberts, Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

The Hon. Jay Rockefeller, Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Dear Sen. Roberts and Sen. Rockefeller,

I read with great surprise and consternation the Niger portion of Sens. Roberts, Bond and Hatch's additional comments to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee's Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Assessment on Iraq. I am taking this opportunity to clarify some of the issues raised in these comments.

First conclusion: "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee."

That is not true. The conclusion is apparently based on one anodyne quote from a memo Valerie Plame, my wife, sent to her superiors that says, "My husband has good relations with the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." There is no suggestion or recommendation in that statement that I be sent on the trip. Indeed it is little more than a recitation of my contacts and bona fides. The conclusion is reinforced by comments in the body of the report that a CPD [Counterproliferation Division] reports officer stated that "the former ambassador's wife 'offered up his name'" (page 39) and a State Department intelligence and research officer stated that the "meeting was 'apparently convened by [the former ambassador's] wife who had the idea to dispatch him to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue."

In fact, Valerie was not in the meeting at which the subject of my trip was raised. Neither was the CPD reports officer. After having escorted me into the room, she [Valerie] departed the meeting to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. It was at that meeting where the question of my traveling to Niger was broached with me for the first time and came only after a thorough discussion of what the participants did and did not know about the subject. My bona fides justifying the invitation to the meeting were the trip I had previously taken to Niger to look at other uranium-related questions as well as 20 years living and working in Africa, and personal contacts throughout the Niger government. Neither the CPD reports officer nor the State analyst were in the chain of command to know who, or how, the decision was made. The interpretations attributed to them are not the full story. In fact, it is my understanding that the reports officer has a different conclusion about Valerie's role than the one offered in the "additional comments." I urge the committee to reinterview the officer and publicly publish his statement.

It is unfortunate that the report failed to include the CIA's position on this matter. If the staff had done so it would undoubtedly have been given the same evidence as provided to Newsday reporters Tim Phelps and Knut Royce in July 2003. They reported on July 22 that:

"A senior intelligence officer confirmed that Plame was a Directorate of Operations undercover officer who worked 'alongside' the operations officers who asked her husband to travel to Niger. But he said she did not recommend her husband to undertake the Niger assignment. 'They [the officers who did ask Wilson to check the uranium story] were aware of who she was married to, which is not surprising,' he said. 'There are people elsewhere in government who are trying to make her look like she was the one who was cooking this up, for some reason,' he said. 'I can't figure out what it could be.' 'We paid his [Wilson's] airfare. But to go to Niger is not exactly a benefit. Most people you'd have to pay big bucks to go there,' the senior intelligence official said. Wilson said he was reimbursed only for expenses." (Newsday article "Columnist Blows CIA Agent's Cover," dated July 22, 2003).

In fact, on July 13 of this year, David Ensor, the CNN correspondent, did call the CIA for a statement of its position and reported that a senior CIA official confirmed my account that Valerie did not propose me for the trip:

"'She did not propose me,' he [Wilson] said -- others at the CIA did so. A senior CIA official said that is his understanding too."

Second conclusion: "Rather than speaking publicly about his actual experiences during his inquiry of the Niger issue, the former ambassador seems to have included information he learned from press accounts and from his beliefs about how the Intelligence Community would have or should have handled the information he provided."

This conclusion states that I told the committee staff that I "may have become confused about my own recollection after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that the names and dates on the documents were not correct." At the time that I was asked that question, I was not afforded the opportunity to review the articles to which the staff was referring. I have now done so.

On March 7, 2003, the director general of the IAEA reported to the U.N. Security Council that the documents that had been given to him were "not authentic." His deputy, Jacques Baute, was even more direct, pointing out that the forgeries were so obvious that a quick Google search would have exposed their flaws. A State Department spokesman was quoted the next day as saying about the forgeries, "We fell for it." From that time on the details surrounding the documents became public knowledge and were widely reported. I was not the source of information regarding the forensic analysis of the documents in question; the IAEA was.

The first time I spoke publicly about the Niger issue was in response to the State Department's disclaimer. On CNN a few days later, in response to a question, I replied that I believed the U.S. government knew more about the issue than the State Department spokesman had let on and that he had misspoken. I did not speak of my trip.

My first public statement was in my article of July 6 published in the New York Times, written only after it became apparent that the administration was not going to deal with the Niger question unless it was forced to. I wrote the article because I believed then, and I believe now, that it was important to correct the record on the statement in the president's State of the Union address which lent credence to the charge that Iraq was actively reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. I believed that the record should reflect the facts as the U.S. government had known them for over a year. The contents of my article do not appear in the body of the report and it is not quoted in the "additional comments." In that article, I state clearly that "as for the actual memorandum, I never saw it. But news accounts have pointed out that the documents had glaring errors -- they were signed, for example, by officials who were no longer in government -- and were probably forged. (And then there's the fact that Niger formally denied the charges.)"

The first time I actually saw what were represented as the documents was when Andrea Mitchell, the NBC correspondent, handed them to me in an interview on July 21. I was not wearing my glasses and could not read them. I have to this day not read them. I would have absolutely no reason to claim to have done so. My mission was to look into whether such a transaction took place or could take place. It had not and could not. By definition that makes the documents bogus.

The text of the "additional comments" also asserts that "during Mr. Wilson's media blitz, he appeared on more than thirty television shows including entertainment venues. Time and again, Joe Wilson told anyone who would listen that the President had lied to the American people, that the Vice President had lied, and that he had 'debunked' the claim that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa."

My article in the New York Times makes clear that I attributed to myself "a small role in the effort to verify information about Africa's suspected link to Iraq's nonconventional weapons programs." After it became public that there were then-Ambassador to Niger Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick's report and the report from a four-star Marine Corps general, Carleton Fulford, in the files of the U.S. government, I went to great lengths to point out that mine was but one of three reports on the subject. I never claimed to have "debunked" the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. I claimed only that the transaction described in the documents that turned out to be forgeries could not have occurred and did not occur. I did not speak out on the subject until several months after it became evident that what underpinned the assertion in the State of the Union address were those documents, reports of which had sparked Vice President Cheney's original question that led to my trip. The White House must have agreed. The day after my article appeared in the Times a spokesman for the president told the Washington Post that "the sixteen words did not rise to the level of inclusion in the State of the Union."

I have been very careful to say that while I believe that the use of the 16 words in the State of the Union address was a deliberate attempt to deceive the Congress of the United States, I do not know what role the president may have had other than he has accepted responsibility for the words he spoke. I have also said on many occasions that I believe the president has proven to be far more protective of his senior staff than they have been to him.

The "additional comments" also assert: "The Committee found that, for most analysts, the former ambassador's report lent more credibility, not less, to the reported Niger-Iraq uranium deal." In fact, the body of the Senate report suggests the exact opposite:

In August 2002, a CIA NESA [Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis] report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities did not include the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium information. (page 48)

In September 2002, during coordination of a speech with an NSC staff member, the CIA analyst suggested the reference to Iraqi attempts to acquire uranium from Africa be removed. The CIA analyst said the NSC staff member said that would leave the British "flapping in the wind." (page 50)

The uranium text was included in the body of the NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] but not in the key judgments. When someone suggested that the uranium information be included as another sign of reconstitution, the INR [State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research] Iraq nuclear analyst spoke up and said the he did not agree with the uranium reporting and that INR would be including text indicating their disagreement in their footnote on nuclear reconstitution. The NIO [national intelligence officer] said he did not recall anyone really supporting including the uranium issue as part of the judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, so he suggested that the uranium information did not need to be part of the key judgments. He told committee staff that he suggested, "We'll leave it in the paper for completeness. Nobody can say we didn't connect the dots. But we don't have to put that dot in the key judgments." (page 53)

On Oct. 2, 2002, the Deputy DCI [director of central intelligence] testified before the SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence]. Sen. Jon Kyl asked the Deputy DCI whether he had read the British White Paper and whether he disagreed with anything in the report. The Deputy DCI testified that "the one thing where I think they stretched a little bit beyond where we would stretch is on the points about Iraq seeking uranium from various African locations." (page 54)

On Oct. 4, 2002, the NIO for Strategic and Nuclear Programs testified that "there is some information on attempts ... there's a question about those attempts because of the control of the material in those countries ... For us it's more the concern that they [Iraq] have uranium in-country now." (page 54)

On Oct. 5, 2002, the ADDI [associate deputy director for intelligence] said an Iraqi nuclear analyst -- he could not remember who -- raised concerns about the sourcing and some of the facts of the Niger reporting, specifically that the control of the mines in Niger would have made it very difficult to get yellowcake to Iraq. (page 55)

Based on the analyst's comments, the ADDI faxed a memo to the deputy national security advisor that said, "Remove the sentence because the amount is in dispute and it is debatable whether it can be acquired from this source. We told Congress that the Brits have exaggerated this issue. Finally, the Iraqis already have 550 metric tons of uranium oxide in their inventory." (page 56)

On Oct. 6, 2002, the DCI called the deputy national security advisor directly to outline the CIA's concerns. The DCI testified to the SSCI on July 16, 2003, that he told the deputy national security advisor that the "President should not be a fact witness on this issue," because his analysts had told him the "reporting was weak." (page 56)

On Oct. 6, 2002, the CIA sent a second fax to the White House that said, "More on why we recommend removing the sentence about procuring uranium oxide from Africa: Three points (1) The evidence is weak. One of the two mines cited by the source as the location of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine cited by the source is under the control of the French authorities. (2) The procurement is not particularly significant to Iraq's nuclear ambitions because the Iraqis already have a large stock of uranium oxide in their inventory. And (3) we have shared points one and two with Congress, telling them that the Africa story is overblown and telling them this is one of the two issues where we differed with the British." (page 56)

On March 8, 2003, the intelligence report on my trip was disseminated within the U.S. government, according to the Senate report (page 43). Further, the Senate report states that "in early March, the Vice President asked his morning briefer for an update on the Niger uranium issue." That update from the CIA "also noted that the CIA would be debriefing a source who may have information related to the alleged sale on March 5." The report then states the "DO officials also said they alerted WINPAC [Center for Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control] analysts when the report was being disseminated because they knew the high priority of the issue." The report notes that the CIA briefer did not brief the vice president on the report. (page 46)

It is clear from the body of the Senate report that the intelligence community, including the DCI himself, made several attempts to ensure that the president did not become a "fact witness" on an allegation that was so weak. A thorough reading of the report substantiates the claim made in my opinion piece in the New York Times and in subsequent interviews I have given on the subject. The 16 words should never have been in the State of the Union address, as the White House now acknowledges.

I undertook this mission at the request of my government in response to a legitimate concern that Saddam Hussein was attempting to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program. This was a national security issue that has concerned me since I was the deputy chief of mission in the U.S. Embassy in Iraq before and during the first Gulf War.

At the time of my trip I was in private business and had not offered my views publicly on the policy we should adopt toward Iraq. Indeed, throughout the debate in the run-up to the war, I took the position that the U.S. be firm with Saddam Hussein on the question of weapons of mass destruction programs, including backing tough diplomacy with the credible threat of force. In that debate I never mentioned my trip to Niger. I did not share the details of my trip until May 2003, after the war was over, and then only when it became clear that the administration was not going to address the issue of the State of the Union statement.

It is essential that the errors and distortions in the additional comments be corrected for the public record. Nothing could be more important for the American people than to have an accurate picture of the events that led to the decision to bring the United States into war in Iraq. The Senate Intelligence Committee has an obligation to present to the American people the factual basis of that process. I hope that this letter is helpful in that effort. I look forward to your further "additional comments."

Sincerely,

Joseph C. Wilson IV, Washington, D.C.


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

Posted by richard at 01:06 PM

Rep. Corrine Brown Censured by U.S. Congress For Saying 2000 Election Was Stolen; Serious Free Speech Issue

Toni Morrison, as most of you remember, called Bill
Clinton, "America's first black President." In his
BESTSELLING autobiography, Bubba remarks that her
christening meant more to him than "winning a Noble Peace
Prize" would have...And the LNS understands...It is,
afterall the Congressional Black Caucus and the Rev.
Jesse Jackson who wholly and victoriously RESISTED the IMPEACHMENT debacle even from the beginning of that travesty, when others cowered and looked for succour behind the Senator from Sanctimonicut (Lieberman), and it was the CBC that REFUSED to sit down or "get over" the Fraudida debacle which led to the theft of the US Presidency and in reality a coup in America...Michael Moore, in BOX OFFICE BLOCKBUSTER, Fahrenheti 911, has reminded the US Electorate of that painful moment when Al Gore in DEEP DENIAL gaveled down one member of the CBC after another on the day the US House of Reprehensibles certified the coup...Al Gore's eyes have opened, Al Gore stands erect now and speaks TRUTH to power (his father can rest now, and even his not so distant blood relative Gore Vidal gasped at the beauty of it), but the CBC *never* shut its eyes or lowered its voice, the CBC never gave the Bush Cabal the benefit of any feigned doubt, AND, OF COURSE, it was a CBC member, Cynthia McKinneY (D-GA) who had the COURAGE to demand answers to the hard questions that no white official or media propapunditgandist dared to ask in the aftermath of 9/11. Yes, she was betrayed by the Lieberman clones within her own Democratic Party and she sold down the river by the "US Mainstream News Media," yes, both corrupt interest groups delivered her district seat to the "vast reich-wing conspiracy" on a silver gerrymandered
platter...But the slow, inexorable forward flow of
events (both at home and abroad) served to vindicate
Cynthia McKinney, in particular, and the CBC as a
whole and exposed the Bush abomination for what it
is...The day that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) stood up
to Al Gore and to the co-opted Establishment of
Beltwayistan, I said, SHE SPEAKS FOR ME, THE CBC
SPEAKS FOR ME...If you love the US Constituton, if you
believe in the Bill of Rights, if you understand the
role of a "Free Press" in a Republic, if you believe in multi-culturalism at home and multi-lateralism abroad, you have become black in America, you have become marginalized, and you have become dehumanized, BUT you are not yet
INVISIBLE...Now there has been another outrage
perpetrated against a proud, brave member of the
CBC....Read it, but do not read it and weep, read it
and respond, please do as I have just done and contact
Rep. Brown's office and thank her for speaking TRUTH
to power, thank her for represnting YOU. It has begun.
This battle is the most important political struggle
of our lifetimes, but as the LNS has remarked before,
it is more than political, it is SHAMANIC, it is a
battle for the very soul of America, what they did to
Bill Clinton in the 1990s, they will do to all of us
in this decade IF they succeed in STEALING it,
CANCELING IT or BULLYING their way in (or worse) in
November 2004...You are living in a country where the
Senate and the "US mainstream news media" are
participating in the cover-up of video tapes showing
Iraqi children being sodomized while in US custody
(see yesterday's LNS for the story). Yes, you are
living in a country where an elected official can be
censured for speaking her mind in public on the floor
of the US House of Representatives about events that
occured in her own district and her own state. Welcome
to the Ghetto...Namaste, Sen. Bullworth

Richard Hoefer, Buzzflash: NBC News first reported
tonight about an "outburst" on the floor of the House.
Turns out it was Corrine Brown (D- Jacksonville, FL)
debating the request made by five Representatives to
have the UN monitor U.S. Elections (see article
re/their original proposal below). Turns out that
House leadership answered their call with legislation
forbidding any U.N. money be used to monitor elections
in the U.S. Rep. Brown then said that the House
leadership had participated in a "coup d'etat" in 2000
by stealing the election and that we would need
monitoring to make sure it didn't happen again. They
played a tape of the leadership then shouting Brown
down, slamming the gavel and telling her to get off
the floor.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.buzzflash.com/alerts/04/07/ale04016.html

Rep. Corrine Brown Censured by U.S. Congress For Saying 2000 Election Was Stolen; Serious Free Speech Issue

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT
from Richard Hoefer

Serious Free Speech issue | U.S. Rep Censured by U.S.
Congress | Comments Stricken from Record

Watch a video clip of her House speech -- now stricken
from the record:
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/video/play...
(Watch it quickly before it too is scrubbed)

(...Also, as you can see, the House Chamber is
practically empty. Another way TV distorts through
selective imaging)

Here's how NBC News (TV) Obscured It -- "An Outburst
on the Floor"
From Rapid Reponse Network | July 16, 2004 | Liz
Herbert/Rob Nesvacil

NBC News first reported tonight about an "outburst" on
the floor of the House. Turns out it was Corrine Brown
(D- Jacksonville, FL) debating the request made by
five Representatives to have the UN monitor U.S.
Elections (see article re/their original proposal
below). Turns out that House leadership answered their
call with legislation forbidding any U.N. money be
used to monitor elections in the U.S.

Rep. Brown then said that the House leadership had
participated in a "coup d'etat" in 2000 by stealing
the election and that we would need monitoring to make
sure it didn't happen again. They played a tape of the
leadership then shouting Brown down, slamming the
gavel and telling her to get off the floor.

The House then voted along party lines - now here is
the big news - TO HAVE HER COMMENTS STRICKEN FROM THE
RECORD:

The House's presiding officer, Rep. Mac Thornberry,
R-Texas, ruled that Brown's words violated a House
rule.

"Members should not accuse other members of committing
a crime such as, quote, stealing, end quote, an
election," Thornberry said.

* See U.S. Constitution Rules further below.

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

Rapid Response Network Commentary:

So, to recap, we now live in a country where an
elected representative may not speak as she chooses if
it violates the sensibilities of the ruling majority.
If such free speech does occur, it is then stricken
from the record? What happened to our representative
democracy?

Write Rep. Brown - she could probably use some support

http://www.house.gov/corrinebrown/

See suggested further actions below.

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

Here's how AP reported the same story: (better)

Fla. lawmaker says 2000 election 'stolen'
By ALAN FRAM
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
http://tinyurl.com/4uqpb

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

Florida local television reported the story and played
the speech:

FL Congresswoman Corrine Brown Censured re 2000
election "coup d'etat" speech
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/top...

Florida Congresswoman, concerned about the integrity
of the 2004 elections, especially in her home state of
Florida, speaks from floor of the House re 2000's
"coup d'etat" .... We were told to "get over it". We
will NOT "Get over it"

House members voted her out of order and had her words
stricken from the record

Watch a video clip of her House speech -- now stricken
from the record:
http://www.firstcoastnews.com/video/player.aspx?aid=27805&bw=
( Watch it quickly before it too is scrubbed. )

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

Context: How the House speech came up:
http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39255

House members send letter to Secretary General Annan
U.N. observers requested for U.S. election
July 2, 2004

excerpts:

Recalling the contentious Florida vote count in 2000,
the lawmakers urged the international body to "ensure
free and fair elections in America," said a statement
by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, who
spearheaded the effort, Agence France-Presse reported.
The letter was signed by nine members of Congress. ...

The Congress members, including four blacks and one
Hispanic, pointed to a controversial report by the
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights which "found that the
electoral process in Florida resulted in the denial of
the right to vote for countless persons."

The bipartisan commission, they said, determined "that
the 'disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most
harshly on the shoulders of black voters' and in poor
counties." ...

Tom Kilgannon, president of Freedom Alliance, a group
dedicated to protecting American sovereignty,
admonished Johnson and her colleagues.

"Your appeal to the secretary general is alarming and
embarrassing," he said. "As a Member of Congress sworn
to uphold the Constitution and represent the people of
the United States, it is disturbing, to say the least,
that you would entrust the most sacred act of American
democracy - our presidential election - to an
international institution, which is unaccountable to
the American people and mired by scandal and
corruption." Kilgannon said the request "undermines
U.S. sovereignty, demoralizes American servicemen who
are fighting to build democratic governments abroad
and sends the message worldwide that the United States
is nothing more than a Third World nation unable to
police itself."

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

RAPID RESPONSE ACTION ITEMS:
Corrine Brown represents 600,000 people when she
speaks

ACTIONS:

1. Write NBC news and suggest that this story wasn't
about an "outburst" - the story should have been about
the fact that an elected Rep's comments were stricken.
world@msnbc.com

2. Write a letter to your favorite political TV show
or political writer and ask them to cover this part of
the story

3. Write to your elected Representatives and express
your feelings about Representative Brown's comments
being stricken. http://www.house.gov/writerep

You might want to add to your note that you support
the original request for some kind of monitoring to
occur (Earlier this week we covered this petition
urging Carter Center oversight and observation of 2004
Presidential Election:
http://www.petitiononline.com/cce2004/petition.html -
perhaps a more feasible option )

4. Write Rep. Brown - she could probably use some
support -
http://www.house.gov/corrinebrown/

5. The piece is running widely - write your local
paper running it - (scan this google search -
http://tinyurl.com/6xc95 - and you might want to
refresh the search - publications are being added
every few seconds) - express your concern that her
words would be stricken.

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

See U.S. Constitution for these opposing arguments:

On Free Speech:
http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Amend.html

"Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; **or abridging the freedom of
speech,** or of the press; or the right of the people
peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government
for a redress of grievances. " (emphasis added)

re Rules For Censure:
http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html

Article I, Section 5, Clauses 2 and 3 of the
Constitution

Clause 2: Each House may determine the Rules of its
Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly
Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds,
expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings,
and from time to time publish the same, excepting such
Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and
the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on
any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of
those Present, be entered on the Journal.

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

Slightly related note:

Ted Rall on "The O'Connor Factor" -- perhaps some
remorse from Sandra Day O'Connor for intervening in
the 2000 elections? http://tinyurl.com/4eu2e

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

Commentary: George Orwell

"If the party could thrust its hand into the past and
say this or that event never happened - that, surely,
was more terrifying than mere torture or death."

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party
imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie
passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls
the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future:
who controls the present controls the past.'" " Day by
day and almost minute by minute the past was brought
up to date. In this way every prediction made by the
Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have
been correct; nor was any item of news, or any
expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs
of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All
history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and
reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary."

George Orwell, 1984

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

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT

Note: This email message has been sent by Richard
Hoefer, of Media SummitNet '04, GTV, and the
NationalGrassrootsNetwork. It was a one-time mailing
to a number of you who were BCC'd. You have NOT been
added to a distribution list. This seemed like an impt
matter that might slip under the radar. It needs to be
addressed.

BACK TO TOP

Posted by richard at 12:18 PM

July 15, 2004

Seymour Hersh: Kids Sodomized At Abu Ghraib

The stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush White House, the stench of the Bush White House is on Abu Ghraib...Seymour Hersh is probably America's most respected investigative journalist. The country already owed him a debt of gratitude for the work he did during the Vietnam war. Now it is Hersh, writing for The New Yorker, who broke the Abu Ghraib story...Remember when the LNS quoted Hersh urging US Senators, live on SeeBS Fork The Nation, to encourage the military to come forward, because there was so much yet to be made public that was much worse than what already had been made public? Well, the LNS has been holding back on the story included here until we were confident it was accurate. We are now confident it is accurate, and we do not have the resources of SeeNotNews, SeeBS, NotBeSeen or AnythingButSee. Well, I guess we do have access to one resource that the major network news organizations apparently do not have access to, i.e. COURAGE..What has happened to this country? How can the blow-dried anchormen and propapunditgandists of the "US mainstream news media" sleep at night? It was ghastly enough last week, when it became painfully obvious that they were beginning to *downplay* and *discount* the deaths of US soldiers (almost two dozen last week), BUT now we must break it to you that they *already know* what you are about to read and they have not told you...

Daily Kos: Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. "The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."

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

http://www.tompaine.com/articles/kids_sodomized_at_abu_ghraib.php

Kids Sodomized At Abu Ghraib
Daily Kos
July 15, 2004
From Daily Kos:

Kids sodomized at Abu Ghraib, Pentagon has the videos - Hersh

Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
"The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."

This is a summary of Hersh speaking at the ACLU 2004 America At A Crossroads conference according to EdCone.com (via Oliver Willis). I verified by watching the video myself (it starts at 1:07, the "worse stuff" part starts at 1:30).

There's more bad stuff in here, read Ed Cone's summary.

I'll try transcribing some of the more important bits.

[my transcription from 1:31 - 1:32]

Some of the worse that happened that you don't know about, ok. Videos, there are women there. Some of you may have read they were passing letters, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib which is 30 miles from Baghdad [...]

The women were passing messages saying "Please come and kill me, because of what's happened". Basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys/children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. The worst about all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror it's going to come out.

It's impossible to say to yourself how do we get there? who are we? Who are these people that sent us there?

Chilling.

Posted by richard at 04:06 PM

July 14, 2004

Gene Lyons: Administration stampeded nation into war

The Emperor has no uniform...

Gene Lyons, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: One aspect of Michael Moore’s documentary film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," that you won’t hear Republicans denouncing is a 2001 video clip of Colin Powell calling Saddam Hussein no threat. Audiences react with shocked murmurs...
Almost 1,000 American and an estimated 10,000 Iraqi deaths and a strategic nightmare later, we have come full circle. But Michael Moore had to tell you. So how come nobody important in what Eric Alterman calls the "so-called liberal media" pressed the secretary of state to explain himself before the war, when it might have made some difference? Good question.
Actually, the U.S. military’s low opinion of Iraqi
martial prowess was obvious to anybody with a modicum
of the skepticism that’s supposed to be a virtue among
journalists. As this column noted, even as the Bush
White House began its pre-war war sales campaign, U.S.
forces mobilized openly along the Iraqi border as if
Saddam’s army had no capacity to defend itself. Had
the Pentagon truly believed Iraq possessed nuclear
weapons, its actions would have been the equivalent of
notifying Adolf Hitler in advance about the D-Day
landings. A nuclear bomb smuggled into the U.S.
encampment could have caused an unimaginable
catastrophe.

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

http://www.nwanews.com/adg/story_Editorial.php?storyid=70418

Administration stampeded nation into war
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004

One aspect of Michael Moore’s documentary film,
"Fahrenheit 9/11," that you won’t hear Republicans
denouncing is a 2001 video clip of Colin Powell
calling Saddam Hussein no threat. Audiences react with
shocked murmurs. The film doesn’t explain the context,
a Feb. 24, 2001, diplomatic meeting in Cairo. Pressed
by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak about the Iraqi
people’s suffering under U.S. economic sanctions,
Powell reminded his audience that they existed to
check Saddam’s ambitions. "And frankly," he added,
"they have worked. He has not developed any
significant capability with respect to weapons of mass
destruction. He is unable to project conventional
power against his neighbors." Not only was Iraq no
danger to the U.S., it had no capacity to menace such
powerhouses as Jordan and Kuwait. So why are we
reading news accounts like this in July 2004:
"Saddam’s army posed little threat, Senate panel
says." That’s how the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette—a
Republican newspaper, for those keeping score at
home—headlined a summary of the Senate’s report on
prewar intelligence failures. The New York Times’
version read: "Panel Describes Long Weakening of
Hussein Army."

Almost 1,000 American and an estimated 10,000 Iraqi
deaths and a strategic nightmare later, we have come
full circle. But Michael Moore had to tell you. So how
come nobody important in what Eric Alterman calls the
"so-called liberal media" pressed the secretary of
state to explain himself before the war, when it might
have made some difference? Good question.

Actually, the U.S. military’s low opinion of Iraqi
martial prowess was obvious to anybody with a modicum
of the skepticism that’s supposed to be a virtue among
journalists. As this column noted, even as the Bush
White House began its pre-war war sales campaign, U.S.
forces mobilized openly along the Iraqi border as if
Saddam’s army had no capacity to defend itself. Had
the Pentagon truly believed Iraq possessed nuclear
weapons, its actions would have been the equivalent of
notifying Adolf Hitler in advance about the D-Day
landings. A nuclear bomb smuggled into the U.S.
encampment could have caused an unimaginable
catastrophe.

So no, I’m not buying the oft-repeated anecdote from
Bob Woodward’s book, "Plan of Attack," in which a
skeptical President Bush tells CIA director George
Tenet in December 2002 that his "slamdunk" case for
Iraqi WMDs wasn’t good enough to sell "Joe Public" on
war. By that time, White House spokesmen, Bush
emphatically among them, had been scaring Americans
for months with talk about "mushroom clouds" (Condi
Rice) and "bulletproof" evidence (Donald Rumsfeld) of
what both the Senate and the 9/11 Commission have
concluded were nonexistent links between Iraq and
al-Qa’ida. The administration had stampeded Bush’s war
resolution through Congress two months earlier. As the
Senate report demonstrates to me, the CIA had long
since cooked the books according to the
administration’s recipe. Assuming he actually made the
"slam-dunk" remark, Bush must have wanted them
parboiled.

The Republican majority on the Senate Intelligence
Committee should be commended for its patriotic
diligence in bringing its scathing report to public
attention shortly before the most crucial presidential
election of our times. Its attempts to shield Bush
from political consequences by denying that White
House pressure helped cause the intelligence debacle,
however, shouldn’t fool an inquisitive child.

Not every American news organization ignored the
obvious. As early as Oct. 8, 2002, Warren P. Strobel
and Jonathan S. Landay of the Knight-Ridder newspapers
reported that "a growing number of military officers,
intelligence professionals and diplomats in [Bush’s]
own government privately have deep misgivings about
the administration’s double-time march toward war....
They charge that the administration squelches
dissenting views and that intelligence analysts are
under intense pressure to produce reports supporting
the White House’s argument that Saddam poses such an
immediate threat to the United States that pre-emptive
military action is necessary."

Among a dozen anonymous sources, they emphasized, "no
one who was interviewed disagreed."

Meanwhile, an annex to the Senate report reveals that
Pentagon civilian appointees secretly gave
intelligence "counter-briefings" to White House
officials without the CIA director’s knowledge. Headed
by Douglas Feith, a neo-conservative hawk who’d
advocated war with Iraq since long before 9/11, they
evidently filled Bush’s eager ears with tales of
Saddam’s imaginary alliance with Osama bin Laden.

Everybody who’s ever worked in a large organization
knows the difficulty of moving unwelcome information
up the chain of command inside hierarchical
bureaucracies. Nobody’s eager to tell his boss’ boss
something that person doesn’t want to hear. The
stronger the command structure, i. e. military and
quasi-military bureaucracies, the harder it gets to
push bad news to the top. It’s one big reason
communism never worked.

The only known antidote for such organized folly is
democracy. And the question is whether voters will
punish our callow, cocksure president for the terrible
strategic debacle into which he has led the country.

Note: Contrary to a Voices letter published Monday, I
did not write the screenplay for the documentary film,
"The Hunting of the President." Nor could I be
accurately described as an FOB. Apart from attending
the same dinner party one time in 1981, I have no
private social relationship with former President Bill
Clinton.

Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock
author and recipient of the National Magazine Award.

Posted by richard at 07:45 PM

Kerry Campaign Urges BC04 to Release Documents Relating to Bush’s Performance in Office

Hmmm. Gee...Which way does a progressive turn?
Smash-mouth, real-world Democrats fighting for human
decency and common sense or effete turncoats who
couldn't even win the nomination of their own party
and are accepting money from the "vast reich-wing
conspiracy"? Throw your lives, fortunes and sacred
honor in with Mary Beth Cahill instead of
the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Peter Camejo...

Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry Campaign Manager: We also
wanted to wish you a happy anniversary. As we are sure
you and the attorneys representing the President,
Vice-President and other White House officials are
aware, today marks one year since Administration
sources leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent to
Bob Novak in an effort to retaliate against a critic
of the Administration.In light of the fact that the
Administration began gutting the laws protecting the
nation’s forests yesterday, we hope you will accept
the paper on which this letter is written as an
anniversary gift. (The one year anniversary is known
as the “paper anniversary.”)

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


http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/releases/pr_2004_0713b.html

Kerry Campaign Urges BC04 to Release Documents Relating to Bush’s Performance in Office


July 13, 2004

For Immediate Release
Washington, DC

Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill today
sent the following letter to Bush Cheney ’04 Campaign
Manager Ken Mehlman in response to a letter Mehlman
sent yesterday:

Ken Mehlman
Campaign Manager
BUSH-CHENEY '04, Inc.
P.O. BOX 10648
Arlington, VA 22210

"Dear Ken:

Over the past several months, allies of the President
have questioned John Kerry’s patriotism while your
staff has criticized his service in Vietnam.
Republicans and their allies have gone so far as to
launch attacks against his wife and your campaign has
run $80 million in negative ads that have been called
baseless, misleading and unfair by several independent
observers.

Considering that the President has failed to even come
close to keeping his promise to change the tone in
Washington, we find your outrage over and
paparazzi-like obsession with a fund-raising event to
be misplaced. The fact is that the nation has a
greater interest in seeing several documents made
public relating to the President’s performance in
office and personal veracity that the White House has
steadfastly refused to release. As such, we will not
consider your request until the Bush campaign and
White House make public the documents/materials listed
below:

Military records: Any copies of the President’s
military records that would actually prove he
fulfilled the terms of his military service. For that
matter, it would be comforting to the American people
if the campaign or the White House could produce more
than just a single person to verify that the President
was in Alabama when said he was there. Many Americans
find it odd that only one person out of an entire
squadron can recall seeing Mr. Bush.

Halliburton: All correspondence between the Defense
Department and the White House regarding the no-bid
contracts that have gone to the Vice-President’s
former company. Some material has already been made
public. Why not take a campaign issue off the table by
making all of these materials public so the voters can
see how Halliburton has benefited from Mr. Cheney
serving as Vice-President?

The Cheney Energy Task Force: For an Administration
that claims to hate lawsuits, it’s ironic that the
Bush White House is taking up the Courts’ time to keep
the fact that Ken Lay and Enron wrote its energy
policy in secret behind closed doors. Please release
the documents so that the country can learn what
lobbyists and special interests wrote the White House
energy policy.

Medicare Bill: Please release all White House
correspondence between the pharmaceutical industry and
the Administration regarding the Medicare Bill, which
gave billions to some of the President’s biggest
donors. In addition, please provide all written
materials that directed the Medicare actuary to
withhold information from Congress about the actual
cost of the bill.

Prison Abuse Documents: A few weeks ago, the White
House released a selected number of documents
regarding the White House’s involvement in laying the
legal foundation for the interrogation methods that
were used in Iraq. Please release the remaining
documents.
We also wanted to wish you a happy anniversary. As we
are sure you and the attorneys representing the
President, Vice-President and other White House
officials are aware, today marks one year since
Administration sources leaked the identity of a covert
CIA agent to Bob Novak in an effort to retaliate
against a critic of the Administration.

In light of the fact that the Administration began
gutting the laws protecting the nation’s forests
yesterday, we hope you will accept the paper on which
this letter is written as an anniversary gift. (The
one year anniversary is known as the “paper
anniversary.”)

Sincerely,

Mary Beth Cahill
Campaign Manager"

Posted by richard at 07:42 PM

On the phone with Ralph Nader: Salon editor David Talbot and the presidential contender have a frank and honest exchange of views.

The shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader would
be pitiful, if what he was doing were not so
destructive...

www.salon.com: Nader: How about the second piece
["Strange Alliance: Why Is Rupert Murdoch's Media
Empire Publishing Ralph Nader's Latest Tome?"] -- this
complete smear? I mean, this one doesn't even pass the
laugh test. Where's your banking done? Do you know any
major publisher that isn't owned by a pig
conglomerate?
Talbot: Rupert Murdoch is not a typical media mogul.
You and I know what his agenda is and what his impact
has been on American politics and culture.
Nader: Hey, wait a minute! If he had censored my book,
you would've written an article saying, "Hey, now we
can prove that these conglomerate CEOs are censorious
and anti-democratic because they rejected Nader's
book!" Six of one, half dozen of the other. You had it
both ways, didn't you?
Talbot: You of all people, Ralph, know -- because we
quoted you on this very subject -- what an unusual and
unusually noxious role Mr. Murdoch has played in the
American media landscape. And for you, of all people,
to deny that and say, "Oh he's just another
run-of-the-mill media mogul" is disingenuous.

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


http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/07/14/naderphonecall/


http://www.salon.com

On the phone with Ralph Nader: Salon editor David Talbot and the presidential contender have a frank and honest exchange of views.

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


July 14, 2004 | Last Friday, Ralph Nader's campaign
spokesman Kevin Zeese e-mailed Salon, saying that
Nader wanted to speak with Salon editor David Talbot
"about recent articles that have appeared in Salon
concerning him and his candidacy." The following is a
transcript of the ensuing three-way phone conversation
among Nader, Zeese and Talbot. It ranged over Rupert
Murdoch (whose company published Nader's new book),
Democratic "dirty tricks" against the independent
candidate's presidential bid, and Nader's acceptance
of conservative money and support.

Nader opened the conversation by charging that Salon
had not solicited a response from him when preparing
two recent critical pieces about him -- "The Dark Side
of Ralph Nader," by Lisa Chamberlain, and "Strange
Alliance," by Eric Boehlert. For the record,
Chamberlain made repeated phone calls to Nader's
campaign office and Zeese's cellphone seeking a
comment from Nader or his spokesman but received no
replies. And Boehlert spoke to Zeese on the phone,
quoting him in his piece.

Nader: Why didn't your reporters call for a response?

Talbot: They did.

Nader: Since [Lisa Chamberlain] was writing about the
campaign, wouldn't you have the decency to call our
campaign office?

Talbot: It's always Salon's procedure, whenever we do
a critical article on anyone -- whether it's the Bush
administration or you or anyone -- to give them a
chance to respond. That's always our policy.

Nader: Look, I've been in journalism too, and when I
was doing a critical piece on someone, I would call.

Talbot: Look, Ralph, I'm just not buying your premise
that our reporter didn't try to reach you. Someone in
your organization is not giving you the right
information...

Nader: Wait, wait, wait! No, I'm telling you, if you
make a call and you don't get through, and you're not
working under deadline because you're working on the
damned thing for three or four weeks, you write a
letter. You write a letter! That's what I do. You
write a letter!

Talbot: Our track record with you is that you've
ducked every request we've made for an interview.
We've called your office, we've gone through your
friends, old Nader Raiders, people you trust and like.
We've tried a number of ways to speak with you. And
you've repeatedly avoided us. So what we decided when
we contacted you again recently -- and again tried
unsuccessfully to get you on the phone -- was that we
were getting the same old runaround. You obviously
weren't going to talk with us.

Nader: See, it's funny because Kevin doesn't have any
recollection you called this office.

Zeese: Well, I'll check my notes and look for it and
see what I can...

Talbot: I'll have Lisa call you and give you chapter
and verse on when she called you, Kevin, and tried to
speak with Ralph.

Nader: How about the second piece ["Strange Alliance:
Why Is Rupert Murdoch's Media Empire Publishing Ralph
Nader's Latest Tome?"] -- this complete smear? I mean,
this one doesn't even pass the laugh test. Where's
your banking done? Do you know any major publisher
that isn't owned by a pig conglomerate?

Talbot: Rupert Murdoch is not a typical media mogul.
You and I know what his agenda is and what his impact
has been on American politics and culture.

Nader: Hey, wait a minute! If he had censored my book,
you would've written an article saying, "Hey, now we
can prove that these conglomerate CEOs are censorious
and anti-democratic because they rejected Nader's
book!" Six of one, half dozen of the other. You had it
both ways, didn't you?

Talbot: You of all people, Ralph, know -- because we
quoted you on this very subject -- what an unusual and
unusually noxious role Mr. Murdoch has played in the
American media landscape. And for you, of all people,
to deny that and say, "Oh he's just another
run-of-the-mill media mogul" is disingenuous.

Nader: Wait, wait, let me clarify this. Give me a few
seconds, will you? Number one, I've gone after Murdoch
mercilessly in my speeches; number two, we've
challenged his acquisitions when he tried to own the
papers in Boston and New York and so forth. So that
wasn't just talk. And his messing around with China
and kowtowing to China.

But to follow your principle would be for me to say,
"I don't want anything to do with NBC. It's owned by a
pig company called GE. And I certainly don't want
anything to do with MSNBC because it's owned by both
GE and Microsoft." They are worse than Rupert Murdoch,
and I will tell you why -- Rupert Murdoch does not
produce death-dealing weapons and sell them to
dictatorships.

Talbot: No, he just supports and promotes those
dictatorships.

Nader: Yes, but there's quite a difference isn't
there, between bullets and support? He doesn't build
nuclear plants; he doesn't pollute the Hudson River.

Talbot: He just played the leading role in creating
the propagandistic atmosphere for the war in Iraq. His
media company played and continues to play that role.
You know that, Ralph. It's just disingenuous of you to
downplay what Rupert Murdoch is all about.

Nader: Of course! They're all odious. Who do you think
owns St. Martin's [Nader's previous publisher]? Who do
you think owns all the others? Who do you think owns
the Washington Post?

Talbot: Well, you and I will have to agree to disagree
on the uniquely noxious role that Rupert Murdoch plays
in the American media.

Nader: Well, let me trap you. Will you let me trap
you? What if your brilliant Salon articles were
reported on Murdoch's television programs -- would you
object to that? Would you? What if they said, "Salon
reported today etc., etc.," and they carried your
message to millions of people that you don't reach.
Would you object to that?

Talbot: This is different. He is paying you a good
advance to publish your book because he has political
interests in what you're doing in the presidential
campaign.

Nader: He's paying me money to fight the likes of him
and everyone else!

Talbot: That's not what his interest is this time,
Ralph. He's interested in having you sabotage the
Democratic effort to unseat President Bush.

Nader: If you read the book, which I hope you'll do
and then review it, you'll see it's not a campaign
book.

Talbot: I'll go you one better than that: I'll read
your book and then interview you.

Nader: Well, fine. I can't wait to get an actual call
from David Talbot.

Talbot: [Laughs.] Believe me, I've made many to you.
And I'd love to actually sit down and interview you,
Ralph. So let's try to set that up. Do I have a
commitment from you that you'll give me an interview?

Nader: What's the nature of the interview?

Talbot: Your candidacy. Because here's the story --
and for some reason you feel stung by this -- we take
your campaign seriously. Salon, perhaps alone among
the national media, thinks you and your campaign
should be given the scrutiny that every serious
presidential candidate is given.

Nader: [Laughs.] Are you serious? Do you hear Kevin
laughing? We're skewered to the wall every day, every
hour, by every conceivable media. Don't make yourself
something special.

If you really take our campaign seriously, why don't
you support our right to be on the ballot and not
dirty-tricked by the Democrats?

Talbot: I support your right to be on the ballot,
Ralph, if you don't get dirty money to do it. That's
one question I'd like to pursue with you. Your own
running mate, Peter Camejo, has just said that he
doesn't think you should take money from GOP fat cats.


Nader: Have you written articles about Democratic
candidates over the last 10 years accepting hundreds
of millions of dollars from Republican fat cats
playing both sides of the aisle?

Talbot: I thought you were supposed to have higher
standards.

Nader: No, I want you to answer my question before we
get down to specifics.

Talbot: We've gone after the Democrats again and
again. Look at the story we ran today ["The Wimpiness
of the Democrats: Part 46].

Nader: All right, let me get you in another corner. In
2002, there were eight companies that pleaded guilty
to criminal violations -- Chevron and Pfizer and
Warner-Lambert -- either to environmental violations
or antitrust violations. They gave $9 million to the
Republican and Democratic parties in 2002, when they
could give soft money. Did you criticize the Democrats
for that?

Talbot: We've consistently criticized the Democrats
and Republicans for the corrupt way that politics is
financed.

Nader: So you'll check it out because it's still a
good story, right? So then do you want all political
candidates to interview all potential contributors to
see if they've farted in the wrong place?

Talbot: Look, you know and I know who we're talking
about here. The San Francisco Chronicle just named
several Republican high-rollers who are funding you
and yet have no interest in your consumer rights
agenda.

Nader: Really? Will you ask the Democrats to give back
all the money they've gotten from Republicans?

Talbot: Why are these groups giving you money and
trying to get you on the ballot? They have no interest
in your political agenda. They're working to get Bush
elected so he can keep the war going and keep
supporting his rich friends.

Nader: Wait, wait, wait. Working to get someone on the
ballot is working to give someone their free speech. I
have no problem with that.

Talbot: I have no problem with that either. But I
think you need to question who some of your political
bedfellows are, and ask why they're helping you. The
press should do that with any candidate.

Nader: No, no. The criteria [for making a campaign
contribution] is that you're an American citizen and
it's within the limits of the law. Period. We are not
going to let Salon...

Talbot: Hold on, let me finish. We have a right to
point out that if you are in bed with people and
groups who are anti-gay, antiabortion,
anti-immigration...

Nader: Oh Jesus, you're really degrading yourself.

Talbot: Well, that's the truth.

Nader: These are press releases by these idiot groups.
Look at our gay rights position -- it's much better
than Kerry's.

Talbot: Why are these conservative groups helping you
then?

Nader: Because they're mischievous, that's why! They
want to get their name in the paper and trick people
like Salon.

Talbot: They're mischievous because they think they
can sabotage the Kerry campaign...

Nader: But they haven't done it, they haven't done it.


Talbot: ...by helping you.

Nader: What about the Democrats hiring three corporate
law firms to harass us and drive us off the Arizona
ballot? Does that bother you? In other words, what you
don't like are Republicans getting us on the ballot so
we can express our free speech.

Talbot: I don't support any effort to block you from
legally getting on a state ballot.

Nader: All right. And are you telling them about the
Republicans helping the Democrats? Do you know that
the top... tell him, Kevin.

Zeese: The most recent numbers are 25 percent of
Bush's supporters are also supporting Kerry.

Talbot: And why are they doing that?

Zeese: Because they're corporate paymasters! They're
buying access...

Talbot: They're buying access to Kerry -- a man you
have met with and honored, and said he's significantly
better than Al Gore. But the reason they're giving
money to you is not to buy access -- it's to keep
Bush, a man you say [has been a disaster for the
country], in the White House.

Nader: This is ridiculous. You're treating Republicans
like they're all criminals. Did you ever hear of
Republicans who might work with us on issues over the
years, who might believe in civil liberties even
though they might prefer a Republican ticket?

Talbot: Look, you and I know that those kinds of
Republicans are few and far between. And I challenge
you to show me that the bulk of this money you're
getting from conservatives is meant to advance the
cause of American consumers. I just don't believe
that. And if that's not the case, why is your own
running mate, Peter Camejo, saying that you should
give back this money?

Nader: Ask him now. Look, why are you so concerned
about a tiny fraction of our support in our humble
attempt to go past $1 million? Most of our money is
under $100 [per contribution].

Talbot: They're not just giving money. These
conservative groups are working behind the scenes to
get you on state ballots. You're basically saying it's
all right to work with the devil, Ralph, because
you've lost your perspective.

Nader: OK, now I've flushed you out. Now you've come
out. I'm an expert in flushing out bias, prejudice and
prejudgment. And you've demonstrated all three. Until
you go after the Democrats for obstructing us with
dirty tricks and using both Republican and Democratic
money -- they used a Republican law firm, by the way,
among their three law firms -- until you're
even-handed, I will declare you hopelessly prejudiced.


Talbot: Well, we're obviously not going to sort this
all out here. But I would like to sit down with you
and have a formal interview.

Nader: You have already interviewed me. You have
already prejudged me. You have already indicated your
predisposition. And you have lied.

Talbot: How have I lied?

Nader: On the anti-gay thing: That's a declared lie.
You want to explain it to him, Kevin?

Zeese: The obvious thing is that Ralph stands for
strong issues on gay rights.

Talbot: But you are working with groups that are
opposed to gay rights.

Zeese: We're not working with them at all.

Talbot: What agenda do you share with the Reform
Party?

Zeese: Oh my God. Have you looked at their platform?
They're against the war, they're for repealing the
Patriot Act...

Talbot: Are you with them on abortion rights and
immigration?

Nader: Not on immigration...

Zeese: We're running on Ralph's agenda, not the Reform
Party's. We made that clear to the Reform Party. We do
not kowtow to everything they wanted. We said, endorse
us if you want to -- that's your choice. But we have
an 85 percent area of agreement.

Nader: We're not going to play the fascist game of the
two-party monopoly barricading itself from any
competition, with all kinds of statutory obstruction
that cost third parties immense time and money if they
can surmount them. This is a dictatorship, which you
don't seem to understand...

Talbot: I...

Nader: I've got another phone call, I've got to go.
Bye-bye.


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

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Posted by richard at 07:40 PM

July 13, 2004

"I am bitterly disappointed in his actions with this war. It is a total travesty," said Tom Hutchinson, 69, a self-described conservative from Sturgeon, Mo.

There is a broad-based, informal national front of sanity and decency that is going to move against the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking _resident in the November 2004 election...IF it is allowed to proceed...

Associated Press: When an influential group of conservatives gathers in downtown Washington each week, they often get a political pep talk from a senior Bush administration official or campaign aide. They don't expect a fellow Republican to deliver a blistering critique of President Bush (news - web sites)'s handling of the Iraq (news - web sites) war...
But anger is simmering among some conservatives.
"I am bitterly disappointed in his actions with this war. It is a total travesty," said Tom Hutchinson, 69, a self-described conservative from Sturgeon, Mo., who posted yard signs and staffed campaign phone banks for the Republican in 2000. Hutchinson said he did not believe the administration's stated rationales for the war, in particular the argument that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) had weapons of mass destruction.
Hutchinson, a retired businessman and former college professor, said his unease with Iraq may lead him to do something he has not done since 1956: avoid the voting booth in a presidential election.

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

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=536&ncid=536&e=4&u=/ap/20040711/ap_on_el_pr/bush_conservatives

Some Key Conservatives Uneasy About Bush

Sun Jul 11, 6:03 PM ET Add Politics - AP to My Yahoo!

By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - When an influential group of conservatives gathers in downtown Washington each week, they often get a political pep talk from a senior Bush administration official or campaign aide. They don't expect a fellow Republican to deliver a blistering critique of President Bush (news - web sites)'s handling of the Iraq (news - web sites) war.


But nearly 150 conservatives listened in silence recently as a veteran of the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations ticked off a litany of missteps in Iraq by the Bush White House.

"This war is not going well," said Stefan Halper, a deputy assistant secretary of state under President Reagan.


"It's costing us a lot of money, isolating us from our allies and friends," said Halper, who gave $1,000 to George W. Bush's campaign and more than $83,000 to other GOP causes in 2000. "This is not the cakewalk the neoconservatives predicted. We were not greeted with flowers in the streets."


Conservatives, the backbone of Bush's political base, are increasingly uneasy about the Iraq conflict and the steady drumbeat of violence in postwar Iraq, Halper and some of his fellow Republicans say. The conservatives' anxiety was fueled by the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal and has not abated with the transfer of political power to the interim Iraqi government.


Some Republicans fear angry conservatives will stay home in November, undercutting Bush's re-election bid.


"I don't think there's any question that there is growing restiveness in the Republican base about this war," said Halper, the co-author of a new book, "America Alone: The Neoconservatives and the Global Order."


Some Republicans dismiss the rift as little more than an inside-the-Beltway spat among rival factions of the GOP intelligentsia. Indeed, conservatives nationwide are still firmly behind Bush. A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 97 percent of conservative Republicans favored Bush over Kerry.


But anger is simmering among some conservatives.


"I am bitterly disappointed in his actions with this war. It is a total travesty," said Tom Hutchinson, 69, a self-described conservative from Sturgeon, Mo., who posted yard signs and staffed campaign phone banks for the Republican in 2000. Hutchinson said he did not believe the administration's stated rationales for the war, in particular the argument that Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) had weapons of mass destruction.


Hutchinson, a retired businessman and former college professor, said his unease with Iraq may lead him to do something he has not done since 1956: avoid the voting booth in a presidential election.

Jack Walters, 59, a self-described "classical conservative" from Columbia, Mo., said he hadn't decided which candidate to vote for.

"Having been through Vietnam, I thought no, never again," Walters said. "But here comes the same thing again, and I'm old enough to recognize the lame reasons given for going into Iraq, and they made me ill."


The tension has been building in official Washington, where conservative members of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees have pressed the administration for answers on combat operations; disagreed with the Pentagon (news - web sites) on troop levels; and expressed frustration with an administration they feel has shown them disdain by withholding information.


Chief political adviser Karl Rove's formula for re-election is primarily to push Bush's conservative base to the polls.


Another administration official involved in Bush's re-election effort has voiced concern that angry conservatives will sit out the election.


But Matthew Dowd, the Bush-Cheney campaign's chief strategist, described the fear of losing conservative support as "just ludicrous."

Bush is "as strong among conservative Republicans as any Republican president has been" — higher than President Reagan's approval among conservatives during his re-election campaign of 1984, Dowd said.

Yet, Halper said his critical review on the administration's performance on Iraq last week was met with expressions of support in the conservatives' weekly meeting, which is closed to journalists.

The marquee speaker sent by the administration was Eric Ciliberti, who spent several weeks in Iraq this year and told the audience of broad progress being made there.

Ciliberti complained to the group that those in the news media were not reporting the positive developments out of Iraq. Ciliberti did not return several calls late in the past week from a reporter seeking his account.


Posted by richard at 04:44 PM

Calif. Whistleblowers Sue Diebold

It *is* a Diebolic plot...

Associated Press (via www.Wired.com): Critics of electronic voting are suing Diebold under a whistleblower law, alleging that the company's shoddy balloting equipment exposed California elections to hackers and software bugs.
California's attorney general unsealed the lawsuit Friday. It was filed in November but sealed under a provision that keeps such actions secret until the government decides whether to join the plaintiffs...
The California lawsuit was filed in state court by computer programmer Jim March and activist Bev Harris, who are seeking full reimbursement for Diebold equipment purchased in California. Issues cited by the case include Diebold's use of uncertified hardware and software, and modems that may have allowed election results to be published online before polls closed.
They are asking California to join the lawsuit against Diebold. The state has not yet made a decision. State election officials have spent at least $8 million on paperless touchscreen machines. Alameda County, for one, has spent at least $11 million.
Under the whistleblower statute, March and Harris could collect up to 30 percent of any reimbursement.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.wired.com/news/evote/0,2645,64171,00.html

Calif. Whistleblowers Sue Diebold Associated Press

03:10 PM Jul. 11, 2004 PT

SAN FRANCISCO -- Critics of electronic voting are suing Diebold under a whistleblower law, alleging that the company's shoddy balloting equipment exposed California elections to hackers and software bugs.

California's attorney general unsealed the lawsuit Friday. It was filed in November but sealed under a provision that keeps such actions secret until the government decides whether to join the plaintiffs.

Lawmakers from Maryland to California are expressing doubts about the integrity of paperless voting terminals made by several large manufacturers, which up to 50 million Americans will use in November.

The California lawsuit was filed in state court by computer programmer Jim March and activist Bev Harris, who are seeking full reimbursement for Diebold equipment purchased in California. Issues cited by the case include Diebold's use of uncertified hardware and software, and modems that may have allowed election results to be published online before polls closed.

They are asking California to join the lawsuit against Diebold. The state has not yet made a decision. State election officials have spent at least $8 million on paperless touchscreen machines. Alameda County, for one, has spent at least $11 million.

Under the whistleblower statute, March and Harris could collect up to 30 percent of any reimbursement.

"This is about money now -- a case of the capitalist system at work," said March, of Sacramento. "The laws on voting products and processes are unfortunately unclear. But the law on defrauding the government is really, really clear. Going after the money trail is cleaner than going after proper procedures."

Diebold spokesman David Bear said Saturday the company has not been served with the lawsuit and would not comment until it reviewed the case.

Election officials have until Sept. 7 to decide whether to join the lawsuit, said Tom Dresslar, spokesman for state Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

Alameda County also has not yet decided whether to participate, said Elaine Ginnold of the county's registrar of voters office. She said Diebold has been "extremely responsive" in addressing problems with its system used in the March primary, which forced at least 6,000 of 316,000 voters to use backup paper ballots.

"I think we avoided a major crisis -- it would have been much, much worse had we not had those paper ballot backups," Ginnold said.

Earlier this year, California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley banned one Diebold voting system unless counties met a host of conditions, including precautions to prevent tampering and giving paper ballots to voters who prefer them.

In the March primary, 573 of 1,038 polling places in San Diego County failed to open on time because of computer malfunctions. A software bug in North Carolina's 2002 general election deleted 436 electronic ballots from six paperless machines in two counties.

Some people are critical of the use of the whistleblower statute with its reward system for plaintiffs.

"I would like to see people support a real solution rather than just try to cash in," said Alan Dechert, founder of Open Voting Consortium, whose voting system relies on nonproprietary software. "There are a lot of people who could be a tremendous asset, but they're grandstanding and reveling in the expose."


Posted by richard at 04:37 PM

Fox News: Deploying Reporters/Pundits to Distort the Facts

If only Faux News was the extent of the problem. They are only the most egregious example. Unfortunately, SeeNotNews, AnythingButSee, NotBeSeen and even PretyBlandStuff and SeeBS are carrying the Bush cabal's filthy water on Iraq, 9/11, Enron, the Economy, the Deficit, Fraudida and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta), etc.

Center for American Progress: On everything from Enron, to tax cuts, to national security, Fox News has used its reporters, anchormen and pundits to parrot the Bush administration's right-wing policies as if they were conventional wisdom or fact.
FOX: ANCHOR MAN SAYS ENRON HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BUSH ENERGY POLICY: Despite the White House coordinating its energy policy with Enron's Ken Lay during the energy crisis, Brit Hume said Enron, "is not a scandal about the Bush energy policy." [ABC, 2/9/02; Fox anchor Brit Hume, 1/16/02]
FOX: REPORTER IGNORES POLLS, SAYS EVERYONE HAS TO AGREE TAX CUTS HELPED: Fox News correspondent Brian Wilson claimed, "A lot of people are doing their taxes right now and seeing the benefits of that kind of tax cuts that's in the system. Last time, everybody will have to agree, it did generate quite a little bump in the economy." He said this despite Fox News' own September 2003 poll showed that 61 percent of Americans believed tax cuts have not helped their families finances, and a January New York Times poll finding "fewer than one in five people said their tax burden had been eased." [Fox reporter Brian Wilson, 3/5/04; FOX Poll, 9/23-24; NY Times, 1/18/04]
FOX: HOST SAYS BUSH DID 'EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING': Despite questions about Bush's Iraq policy, Bill O'Reilly declared "Americans are looking for a strong leader. Mr. Bush has been that. And most Americans had emotion invested in him. He did exactly the right thing after 9/11." [Fox host Bill O'Reilly, 7/22/03]

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

http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=117308

Fox News: Deploying Reporters/Pundits to Distort the Facts

July 13, 2004

On everything from Enron, to tax cuts, to national security, Fox News has used its reporters, anchormen and pundits to parrot the Bush administration's right-wing policies as if they were conventional wisdom or fact.

FOX: ANCHOR MAN SAYS ENRON HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BUSH ENERGY POLICY: Despite the White House coordinating its energy policy with Enron's Ken Lay during the energy crisis, Brit Hume said Enron, "is not a scandal about the Bush energy policy." [ABC, 2/9/02; Fox anchor Brit Hume, 1/16/02]

FOX: REPORTER IGNORES POLLS, SAYS EVERYONE HAS TO AGREE TAX CUTS HELPED: Fox News correspondent Brian Wilson claimed, "A lot of people are doing their taxes right now and seeing the benefits of that kind of tax cuts that's in the system. Last time, everybody will have to agree, it did generate quite a little bump in the economy." He said this despite Fox News' own September 2003 poll showed that 61 percent of Americans believed tax cuts have not helped their families finances, and a January New York Times poll finding "fewer than one in five people said their tax burden had been eased." [Fox reporter Brian Wilson, 3/5/04; FOX Poll, 9/23-24; NY Times, 1/18/04]

FOX: HOST SAYS BUSH DID 'EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING': Despite questions about Bush's Iraq policy, Bill O'Reilly declared "Americans are looking for a strong leader. Mr. Bush has been that. And most Americans had emotion invested in him. He did exactly the right thing after 9/11." [Fox host Bill O'Reilly, 7/22/03]

FOX: ANCHOR SUGARCOATS IRAQ, OFFERS NO PROOF OF CLAIM: Despite burgeoning violence in Iraq and the Fox News Sunday host Tony Snow said Bush's Iraq policy "has created peaceful conditions in more than 90 percent of Iraq." He offered no source for his statistic. [Fox anchor Tony Snow, 10/14/03]

FOX: ANCHOR & REPORTER SPIN BUSH EDUCATION POLICY: Despite the prospect that Bush would propose reducing education funding, Fox's Jim Angle reported "Bush seems to see education reform as the next big front in the battle for Civil Rights. And of course, it will be the number-one priority once he takes office." When asked about Bush's clear plan to push for vouchers, Angle said, "Well, it's a mischaracterization, obviously, of his education plan." [Fox reporter Jim Angle, 1/15/01]

FOX: HANNITY SPEWS UNSUBSTANTIATED LIES ABOUT IRAQ: Fox's Sean Hannity claimed "We now have documents proving the connection between al Qaeda and Iraq but that's not enough to convince people. We had weapons dumped in the Euphrates. That's not enough to convince people." He produced no evidence of his assertions, and they have never been substantiated. [Fox host Sean Hannity, 4/28/03]

FOX: ANCHORMAN SUGARCOATS ANTI-UNION POLICIES: Chastising AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Fox anchor Neil Cavuto claimed Republicans' anti-union agenda was acceptable because it represented "a view of individual worker spirits, a boundary-less type of environment where managers can talk directly to workers rather than through an intermediary like unions." [Fox anchor Neil Cavuto, 7/30/02]

FOX: REPORTER SAYS PUBLIC SUPPORTS RIGHT-WING ECONOMICS: While Fox News' own polling showed 69 percent of Americans thought the economy under Bush was either "fair" or "poor" in early 2002, and 68 percent in a Bloomberg poll felt that Bush's economic policies had made no difference on the economy or made it worse off, Carl Cameron reported, "Most polls show that the public prefers the Republican economic approach over that of Democrats." [Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll, 1/9-10/02; Bloomberg Poll, 1-13/02; Fox reporter Carl Cameron, 1/18/02]

Posted by richard at 03:07 PM

"OutFoxed": How Rupert Murdoch Is Destroying American Journalism

It's the Media, Stupid.

Don Hazen, AlterNet: "Outfoxed" demonstrates in painful detail how one media empire, making full use of the public airwaves, can reject any semblance of fairness or perspective, and serve as the mouthpiece of right-wing conservatives, fully relishing its role. Media critic Jeffrey Chester describes the Fox News operation most succinctly in the film: "Fox News Channel is a 24/7 commercial for the conservatives and the Republican Party."
Produced and directed by veteran Hollywood filmmaker Robert Greenwald, "Outfoxed" puts on the screen, for the first time ever, a gaggle of former Fox producers, reporters, writers, and bookers who provide rich background to life within the Fox media empire, particularly how they were forced to push a right-wing view or lose their jobs.
Fox's hypocrisy in the wholesale undermining of journalism for political purposes was a major motivation for Greenwald to make the documentary. "I hope the film can serve as a catalyst to break the silence about Fox News," says Greenwald. "Virtually all journalists know that it's a sham, that their trademark 'Fair and Balanced' is a lie, and that in addition, Fox is leading the charge to dumb down the news, and to spend less and less money on news coverage, and bleed it for every possible dollar of profit... which relates to the larger theme of the film: corporate control of the media and the problems it brings up for a democracy."

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

http://www.alternet.org/story/19199/

"OutFoxed": How Rupert Murdoch Is Destroying American Journalism

By Don Hazen, AlterNet. Posted July 10, 2004.


A review of Robert Greenwald's new documentary investigating the Fox News Channel.

As "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore's powerful indictment of the Bush Administration, is influencing millions of Americans in the heartland, "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism," a devastating new documentary that exposes Bush's biggest cheerleader opens this week in New York and San Francisco and will be featured in thousands of house parties across the country, sponsored by MoveOn.org on Sunday, July 18th.

"Outfoxed" demonstrates in painful detail how one media empire, making full use of the public airwaves, can reject any semblance of fairness or perspective, and serve as the mouthpiece of right-wing conservatives, fully relishing its role. Media critic Jeffrey Chester describes the Fox News operation most succinctly in the film: "Fox News Channel is a 24/7 commercial for the conservatives and the Republican Party."

Produced and directed by veteran Hollywood filmmaker Robert Greenwald, "Outfoxed" puts on the screen, for the first time ever, a gaggle of former Fox producers, reporters, writers, and bookers who provide rich background to life within the Fox media empire, particularly how they were forced to push a right-wing view or lose their jobs.

Fox's hypocrisy in the wholesale undermining of journalism for political purposes was a major motivation for Greenwald to make the documentary. "I hope the film can serve as a catalyst to break the silence about Fox News," says Greenwald. "Virtually all journalists know that it's a sham, that their trademark 'Fair and Balanced' is a lie, and that in addition, Fox is leading the charge to dumb down the news, and to spend less and less money on news coverage, and bleed it for every possible dollar of profit... which relates to the larger theme of the film: corporate control of the media and the problems it brings up for a democracy."

The film takes risks and breaks new ground, as Robert S. Boynton in the New York Times Magazine reports: "No one has made a documentary about a media company that uses as much footage without permission as Greenwald has, and the legal precedents governing the "fair use" of such material while theoretically strong, are not well established in case law." The legal strategy, should Fox sue, is still evolving, but Greenwald's legal team includes the brilliant theorist Lawrence Lessig and Chris Sprigman, a fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.

Greenwald took a unique approach to making his documentary. He put together a team of media volunteers enlisted via MoveOn.org who monitored Fox News 24 hours a day for months, and reviewed every show to demonstrate its model for spreading the same propaganda comprehensively throughout the network's programming. A special "behind the scenes" portion of the "OutFoxed" DVD highlights their work. (Greenwald's Fox News monitoring team continues to follow and document the network's bias.)

Relying on the work of his tracking team, Greenwald's documentary provides the viewer with a primer on propaganda techniques, documenting how the underlying goal of creating fear and uncertainty in the minds of viewers is achieved by use of language and repetition.

The documentary deconstructs Fox's hot button issues like same-sex marriage, abortion, the constant presence of God in the political context, and the march to war in Iraq, and how these are seamlessly inserted into the language, the visuals, and the emphasis throughout the day. One of the most powerful motifs in the film is Greenwald's effective use of leaked "theme of the day" memos apparently sent daily by John Moody, a senior vice president for news. These memos provide the framework for the spin on the news by the overall news operation. One memo warned: "Do not fall into the trap of mourning U.S. lives." Another says of the Falluja seige: "It won't be long before some people start to decry the use of excessive force. We won't be among that group."

"Outfoxed" demonstrates how the message of the day gets repeated hundreds of times by the anchors – virtually by rote – which must be an affront to all who want to make up their own minds about current affairs. And Greenwald proves pretty clearly that critical thinking is not what Fox News is about.

The documentary portrays Fox News' top host Sean Hannity as a bully, and its biggest star, Bill O'Reilly, a consistently documented liar with an anger problem. In one of the most powerful moments in the film, Jeremy Glick, a son of a worker killed in the World Trade Center disaster, appears as a guest on O'Reilly's show and takes him on, refusing to buckle in to his berating. O'Reilly invites "liberals" on to his show to turn them into punching bags, but in this case, when the plan goes astray, he loses it, threatening Glick with outlandish accusations, and then pulling the plug on his microphone.

Al Franken does a funny bit on the possibility of suing O'Reilly for libel for distorting the character of Glick's comments in later episodes. Franken suggests that Reilly lies pathologically, and that lawyers have told him that it would be harder to sue for defamation if someone already has a record of outrageously lying. Interestingly, in 2003, Fox brought suit against Franken and his publisher, EP Dutton/Penguin, for allegedly infringing on Fox's three-word trademark "Fair and Balanced." The offense? Franken's book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" (which attacked Fox), was subtitled "A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

However, when Fox appealed for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin refused the request – adding that he found Fox's lawsuit to be "wholly without merit, both factually and legally." The judge also said that "[f]rom a legal point of view, I think it is highly unlikely that the phrase 'fair and balanced' is a valid trademark. I can't accept that that phrase can be plucked out of the marketplace of ideas and slogans."

Walter Cronkite heads a stellar group of more than a dozen media critics in the film, ranging from cranky Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders to David Brock, the right-winger gone good, who offers some interesting insights regarding how the conservative media echo chamber works. Professor and media critic Bob McChesney also makes a strong on-camera impression and Jeff Cohen, who was a producer for the Phil Donahue Show, talks about how the "Fox effect" – the temporary success of the ranting right-wing television model – moved MSNBC to the right. Cohen, who has had his share of experience on "Firing Line" and other shows, demonstrates his on-air savvy in "Outfoxed."

Over and over again, we hear and see the overwhelming evidence that Fox is a propaganda machine. But the question remains: What can we do about it? In the last section of the documentary, Greenwald's media experts offer potential solutions, and have high hopes, but in the face of the powerful Fox critique, the solutions do not hold up as realistic. Many take heart in a revitalized "media reform" movement in the country, and in the fact that some part of the public clearly is unhappy with the media system. But at the same time that system is evolving into more and more ways for people to get their news – an increasing number go to the Internet (these, incidentally, are the best informed news consumers), and some young people claim that they learn the most from Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" on Comedy Central. Greenwald personally feels that "various forms of independent media must continue to push the edges, go for the innovation, and from that will come audience... the more the primary media goes conglomerate... the more opportunities there will be for independent media and other points of view."

On the policy front, media reformers will continue to lobby, file law suits, and fight admirably to slow down the consolidation juggernaut, as they did recently when a Philadelphia Court decision told the Bush-controlled FCC that it had gone too far in further consolidating an already centralized media system. But this decision had little impact on Murdoch, and there seems to be no viable path to put Murdoch's propaganda machine on the skids.

In the context of what to do now, one contrarian point to consider is that the influence of Fox News may be exaggerated. Do we run the danger of making Fox News appear more powerful than it is? The mainstream media has accepted and promoted Fox's dominance of cable news, but a closer look is needed.

For example, O'Reilly's show (or Larry King's for that matter) would be cancelled in a week in network TV because their audience is too small. The audience for network news compiled by Nielsen Media Research Data cited in the Annual State of the NewsMedia Report shows that in November of 2003 there were a combined total of 29.3 million viewers for the three nightly newscasts. This means that network news still reaches more than 12 times cable's prime-time audience of 2.4 million viewers. In other words, the nightly news remains vastly more popular than the more adversarial format of cable.

On the other hand, cable is more important than these traditional ratings reflect. More people say they get their news and information from cable than from network news or anywhere else. And within the world of cable news, Fox passed CNN several years ago to become the most-watched outlet. Fox has slightly more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined, somewhere around 1.4 million an evening, in prime time.

Yet among those for whom cable is influential, CNN is still the preferred source over Fox – despite Fox's lead in audience. CNN also complains that Nielsen ratings don't count the millions watching CNN in airports and other public places. Also, despite huge audience upticks with mega-events like 9/11 and the war in Iraq, according to the Annual State of the News Media Report, neither cable news overall nor Fox is expanding their audience over the long run. Cable news viewership overall is flat.

Cronkite says in the film that Murdoch never had any intention except to build a right-wing network, and neither he nor his media stars attempt to hide their point of view. This partisanship is in part what some people in the U.S. find shocking. In contrast to the British, who have long endured the right-wing blare of Murdoch-owned media, Americans are unaccustomed to media as propaganda, especially on television. (Born an Australian, Murdoch, by dint of approval by both Republican and Democratic politicians, is now an American citizen able to own media properties.)

Most media critics bemoan the impact of the rest of corporate media for its lack of coverage of troublesome issues, its aiming content and circulation toward upscale audiences, its becoming overwhelmingly jingoistic in time of war, etc. Yet most of what is wrong with mainstream corporate media, when compared with what's wrong with the blatant Fox, is somewhat disguised. Is it possible that Murdoch is doing us a favor by bringing media politics out in the open, and forcing the rest of corporate media, often content to hide behind an illusion of objectivity, to be more aggressive in support of some of its values, or at least be more feisty?

It may be coincidental, but it is interesting to note that The New York Times recently added Barbara Ehrenreich, probably the best essayist the American Left has, to replace the centrist Thomas Friedman while he works on a book in the lead up to the election. Meanwhile, Graydon Carter, editor of super-establishment Conde Nast's Vanity Fair is publishing a book of his columns, many of which skewer the Bush Administration.

So there is some awakening in the corporate media. But, fundamentally, the Murdoch challenge for progressives is to be able to respond in kind. It is time to find a way to make media interesting from the liberal/left side of the political equation. In part, the "rush to the bottom" in terms of journalistic standards and the "Foxification" of the news are happening because there is little countervailing weight on the other side.

Essentially, there are no liberals on Fox; everyone toes the line. Its partner in crime, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, is almost as bad. But every other major media company in America goes out of its way to ensure that "conservative voices" get their full due, with William Safire and David Brooks on the Times Op/Ed page as one example and The Washington Post filling its pages with rabid pro-war voices in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq as another.

Is it possible to have powerful influential out-front liberal media that is well-funded and entertaining? Michael Moore knows how to do it – more than 10 million Americans will likely see "Fahrenheit 9/11" before November. George Soros, a billionaire several times over, says there is nothing more important than beating George Bush in November. But Bush is just the present symbol of a 40-year effort of the conservatives to remake language, build powerful institutions and have huge impact on the media. Fox's success, indeed its very presence, would not be possible without the hundreds of millions – some estimate billions – of conservative philanthropy that went into building the right-wing juggernaut.

George Soros could be a powerful antidote to Rupert Murdoch, at least in the area of U.S. news coverage, if he were willing to take the lead to seriously fund a long-term electronic and internet media making institution.* The potential progressive audience has grown – start with Michael Moore's filmgoers, then add in MoveOn.org's 2.2 million members, along with the many millions who visit other progressive issue and media web sites, the growing audience for Air America (which is surviving despite being undercapitalized at the beginning) and you have the makings of a 20-30 million viewer audience. Perhaps it is far-fetched to imagine our own powerful progressive media, but there are increasing indications it could make money over time. We can demonize Fox all we want, and it deserves it, but we're never going to be able to count on Clear Channel, General Electric, Comcast, Disney, Viacom and the other media conglomerates, who control our media destiny, to give us any kind of content that will hold their most aggressive competitor, Murdoch's Fox, at bay. That very well may be our challenge.

* The Soros-supported Open Society Institute helps fund MoveOn.org and the Independent Media Institute, parent organization of AlterNet. Robert Greenwald is a board member of the Independent Media Institute.

Greenwald made "OutFoxed" in cooperation with the Center for American Progress and MoveOn.org. He will make use of the innovative model of independent Internet distribution and house parties used so effectively – with more than 100,000 videos in circulation – with his previous film "Uncovered," a biting critique of the process that led up to the invasion of Iraq. "Uncovered" is part of the "Un" series, along with "Unprecedented" about the stealing of the 2000 election, and the forthcoming "Unconstitutional." AlterNet is co-hosting the Bay Area premiere of the film on Friday, July 16, 7pm, at the Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St. Tickets are $10-$20 sliding scale.

Don Hazen is the Executive Editor of AlterNet.

« AlterNet Home

Posted by richard at 03:02 PM

July 12, 2004

Ray McGovern: "I too am appalled—and angry. You give 27 years of your professional life to an institution whose main mission—to get at the truth—is essential for orderly policy making, and then you find it has been prostituted.

The Bush cabal's coercion and corruption of US
intelligence, and its consequences (almost 900 US
soldiers killed in Iraq, and counting...)is a scandal
that far eclipses Watergate or Iran-Contra...The
scapegoating of the CIA, both for the Bush
abomination's pre-9/11 incompetence and its post-9/11
blundering into war and occupation in Iraq, is a
national disgrace for which much of the US Senate and
almost all of the "US mainstream news media" are also
complicit...and indeed their complicity and
capitulation, which continues even now, is of far
greater danger than the Bush abomination's own
egregious wrongs...

Ray McGovern, www.tompaine.com: "I too am appalled—and angry. You give 27 years of your professional life to an institution whose main mission—to get at the truth—is essential for orderly policy making, and then you find it has been prostituted. You realize that
your former colleagues lacked the moral courage to
rebuff efforts to enlist them as accomplices in
deception. Deception that involved hoodwinking our
elected representatives into giving their blessing to
an ill-conceived, unnecessary war. Even Republican
stalwart Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, has conceded that, had
Congress known before the vote for war what his
committee has now discovered, “I doubt if the votes
would have been there.”

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


http://www.tompaine.com/articles/corrupted_intelligence.php

Corrupted Intelligence
Ray McGovern
July 12, 2004
McGovern and other veteran intelligence officers spent
the weekend digesting the Senate Intelligence
Committee report and ended up sick to their stomachs.
Not only did the report confirm what they already
knew—that the CIA skewed intelligence—but corruption
ran much deeper, with analysts cooking up outright
lies. In the wake of the report, McGovern worries
media across the political spectrum aren't doing their
job. They are buying without question the
administration spin about the Senate report: that the
White House lead the nation to war because of bad
intelligence, rather than ill-conceived policy.

Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, is
co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for
Sanity.

In our various oral and written presentations on Iraq,
my veteran intelligence officer colleagues and I took
no delight in sharply criticizing what we perceived to
be the corruption of intelligence analysis at CIA.
Nothing would have pleased us more than to have been
proven wrong. It turns out we did not know the half
of it.

Several of us have just spent a painful weekend
digesting the report of the Senate Intelligence
Committee on prewar intelligence assessments on Iraq.
The corruption is far deeper than we suspected. The
only silver lining is that corrupter-in-chief George
Tenet is now gone.

When the former CIA director departed, he left behind
an agency on life support—an institution staffed by
sycophant managers and thoroughly demoralized
analysts, who are embarrassed at their own naiveté in
believing that the passage carved into the marble at
the entrance to CIA Headquarters—“You will know the
truth, and the truth will set you free”—held real
meaning for their work.

The Senate Committee report is meticulous. Its
findings are a sharp blow to those of us who took
pride in working in an agency where we could speak
truth to power—with career protection from retribution
from the powerful, and with leaders who would face
down those policymakers who tried to exert undue
influence over our analysis.

Enter “Joe Centrifuge”

Although it was clear to us that much of the
intelligence on Iraq had been cooked to the recipe of
policy, not until the Senate report did we know that
the skewing included outright lies. We had heard of
“Joe,” the nuclear weapons analyst in CIA’s Center for
Weapons Intelligence and Arms Control, and it was
abundantly clear that his agenda was to “prove” that
the infamous aluminum tubes sought by Iraq were to be
used for developing a nuclear weapon. We did not know
that he and his CIA associates deliberately falsified
the data—including rotor testing ironically called
“spin tests.”

The Senate committee determined that “Joe”
deliberately skewed data to fit preconceptions
regarding an Iraqi nuclear threat. “Who could have
believed that about our intelligence community, that
the system could be so dishonest?” wondered the
normally soft-spoken David Albright, a widely
respected veteran expert on Iraq’s work toward
developing a nuclear weapon.

I share his wonderment. I too am appalled—and angry.
You give 27 years of your professional life to an
institution whose main mission—to get at the truth—is
essential for orderly policy making, and then you find
it has been prostituted. You realize that your former
colleagues lacked the moral courage to rebuff efforts
to enlist them as accomplices in deception. Deception
that involved hoodwinking our elected representatives
into giving their blessing to an ill-conceived,
unnecessary war. Even Republican stalwart Sen. Pat
Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence
Committee, has conceded that, had Congress known
before the vote for war what his committee has now
discovered, “I doubt if the votes would have been
there.”

Catering To The Powers That Be

It turns out that only one U.S. analyst had met with
the Iraqi defector appropriately codenamed
“Curveball”—the source of the scary tale about mobile
biological weapons factories—and that this analyst, in
an e-mail to the deputy director of CIA’s task force
on weapons of mass destruction, raised strong doubt
regarding Curveball’s reliability before Colin Powell
highlighted his claims at the United Nations on Feb.
5, 2003. I almost became physically ill reading the
cynical response from the deputy director of the task
force:

"As I said last night, let’s keep in mind the fact
that this war’s going to happen regardless of what
Curveball said or didn’t say, and the powers that be
probably aren’t terribly interested in whether
Curveball knows what he’s talking about.”
(Reading this brought to consciousness a painful
flashback to early August 1964. We CIA analysts knew
that reports of a second attack on U.S. destroyers in
the Tonkin Gulf were spurious but were prevented from
reporting that. The director of current intelligence
explained to us condescendingly that President Johnson
had decided to use the non-incident as a pretext to
escalate the war and that “we do not want to wear out
our welcome at the White House.” So this kind of
politicization, though rare in the past, is not
without precedent—and not without similarly woeful
consequences.)

With respect to Iraq, George Tenet’s rhetoric about
“truth” and “honesty” in his valedictory last week has
a distinctly Orwellian ring. Worse still, apparently
“Joe Centrifuge,” the abovementioned deputy director,
and other co-conspirators will get off scot-free.
Sen. Roberts says he thinks, “It is very important
that we quit looking in the rearview mirror and
affixing blame and, you know, pointing fingers.” And
Acting Director John McLaughlin has told the press
that he sees no need to dismiss anyone as a result of
what he portrayed as honest, limited mistakes.

Tell It To The Families

I would like to hear Roberts and McLaughlin explain
all this to the families of the almost 900 U.S.
servicemen and women already killed and the many
thousand seriously wounded in Iraq.

Roberts seemed at pains to lay the blame on a “flawed
system,” but a close reading of the committee report
yields the unavoidable conclusion that CIA analysis
can no longer be assumed to be honest—to be aimed at
getting as close to the truth as one can humanly get.
For those of you cynics about to smirk, I can only
tell you—believe it or not—that truth was in fact the
currency of analysis in the CIA in which I was proud
to serve.

Aberrations like the Tonkin Gulf cave-in
notwithstanding, the analysis directorate was widely
known as the unique place in Washington where one
could normally go and expect a straight answer
unencumbered by any political agenda. And we were
hard into some very controversial—often
critical—national security issues. It boggles my mind
how any president, and particularly one whose father
headed the CIA, could expect to be able, without that
capability, to make intelligent judgments based on
unbiased fact.

It is said that truth is the first casualty of war.
Sadly, in the case of Iraq, even before the war, truth
took a back seat to a felt need to snuggle up to
power—to stay in good standing with a president and
his advisers, all well known to be hell-bent on war on
Iraq.

Caution: Don’t Be Fooled

The Washington Times lead story on July 10 began:
“Flawed intelligence led the United States to invade
Iraq was the fault of the US intelligence community…a
report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
concluded yesterday.” From the other end of the
political spectrum, David Corn of The Nation led his
own report with, “The United States went to war on
the basis of false claims.”

Not so. This is precisely the spin that the Bush
administration wants to give to the Senate report; i.
e., that the president was misled; that his decision
for war was based on spurious intelligence about
non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

But the president’s decision for war had little to do
with intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction. It had everything to do with the
administration’s determination to gain control of
strategic, oil-rich Iraq, implant an enduring military
presence there, and—not incidentally—eliminate any
possible threat from Iraq to Israel’s security.

These, of course, are not the reasons given to justify
placing U.S. troops in harm's way, but even the most
circumspect senior officials have had unguarded
moments of candor. For example, when asked in May
2003 why North Korea was being treated differently
from Iraq, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
responded, “Let’s look at it simply…The country (Iraq)
swims on a sea of oil.”

And basking in the glory of “Mission Accomplished”
shortly after Baghdad had been taken, Wolfowitz
admitted that the focus on weapons of mass destruction
to justify the attack on Iraq was “for bureaucratic
reasons.” It was, he added, “the one reason everyone
could agree on”—meaning, of course, the one that could
successfully sell the war to Congress and the American
people.

The Israel factor? In another moment of unusual
candor—this one before the war—Philip Zelikow, a
member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence
Advisory Board from 2001 to 2003 (and now executive
director of the 9/11 commission), pointed to the
danger that Iraq posed to Israel as “the unstated
threat—a threat that dare not speak its name…because
it is not a popular sell.

Last, but hardly least, it was not until several
months after the Bush White House decided to make war
on Iraq that the weapons-of-mass-destruction-laden
National Intelligence Estimate was commissioned, and
then only because Congress needed to be persuaded that
the threat was so immediate that war was necessary.
Vice President Dick Cheney set the main parameters in
a major speech on Aug. 26, 2002, in which he declared,
"We know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to
acquire nuclear weapons." The estimate Tenet signed
dutifully endorsed that spurious judgment—with "high
confidence," no less.

Is There Hope?

If hope is what was found at the bottom of Pandora’s
box, it can be found here too. That there are still
honest, perceptive analysts at CIA is clear from the
analysis that Anonymous sets forth in his excellent
book, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War
on Terror . (Note to Condoleezza Rice: Anonymous’
name is Michael Scheuer; he is an overt employee; you
can get his extension from the CIA operator.)

As long as analysts of that caliber hang in there,
there can be hope that, once the CIA is given the
adult supervision it has lacked for the last 25 years,
it can fulfill its critical mission for our country.

Posted by richard at 01:25 PM

Fury over Pentagon cell that briefed White House on Iraq's 'imaginary' al-Qaeda links

It is a disgrace that you are reading about this
"supplementary annexe" in the Telegraph instead of
hearing about it on SeeNotNews or reading about it
from Associated Press, but thanks to the Internet
Information Rebellion, here it is...

Julian Coman, Telegraph (UK): According to dramatic
testimony contained in the annexe, Mr Feith's cell
undermined the credibility of CIA judgments on Iraq's
alleged al-Qa'eda links within the highest levels of
the Bush administration.
The cell appears to have been set up by Mr Feith as an
adjunct to the Office of Special Plans, a Pentagon
intelligence-gathering operation established in the
wake of 9/11 with the authority of Paul Wolfowitz. Its
focus quickly became the al-Qa'eda-Saddam link.
On occasion, without informing the then head of the
CIA, George Tenet, the group gave counter-briefings in
the White House. Sen Jay Rockefeller, the most senior
Democrat on the committee, said that Mr Feith's cell
may even have undertaken "unlawful"
intelligence-gathering initiatives.
The claims will lead to calls by Democrats for the
resignation of Mr Feith, the third-ranking civilian at
the Department of Defence and a leading "neo-con"
hawk. "Tenet fell on his sword," said one Democrat
official, "even though it's clear that he was placed
under tremendous pressure to come up with the 'right'
intelligence product for the administration on Iraq.
"The testimony to the committee on Feith and other
Pentagon officials shows just what kind of pressure
was being exerted. And when that didn't work, the
Pentagon was just coming up with its own answers and
feeding them to the White House. And on al-Qa'eda they
got it all wrong."

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


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/11/wsept11.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/11/ixnewstop.html


Fury over Pentagon cell that briefed White House on Iraq's 'imaginary' al-Qaeda links
By Julian Coman in Washington
(Filed: 11/07/2004)


A Senior Pentagon policy maker created an unofficial
"Iraqi intelligence cell" in the summer of 2002 to
circumvent the CIA and secretly brief the White House
on links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'eda,
according to the Senate intelligence committee.



The allegations about Douglas Feith, the number three
at the Department of Defence, are made in a
supplementary annexe of the committee's review of the
intelligence leading to war in Iraq, released on
Friday.

According to dramatic testimony contained in the
annexe, Mr Feith's cell undermined the credibility of
CIA judgments on Iraq's alleged al-Qa'eda links within
the highest levels of the Bush administration.

The cell appears to have been set up by Mr Feith as an
adjunct to the Office of Special Plans, a Pentagon
intelligence-gathering operation established in the
wake of 9/11 with the authority of Paul Wolfowitz. Its
focus quickly became the al-Qa'eda-Saddam link.

On occasion, without informing the then head of the
CIA, George Tenet, the group gave counter-briefings in
the White House. Sen Jay Rockefeller, the most senior
Democrat on the committee, said that Mr Feith's cell
may even have undertaken "unlawful"
intelligence-gathering initiatives.

The claims will lead to calls by Democrats for the
resignation of Mr Feith, the third-ranking civilian at
the Department of Defence and a leading "neo-con"
hawk. "Tenet fell on his sword," said one Democrat
official, "even though it's clear that he was placed
under tremendous pressure to come up with the 'right'
intelligence product for the administration on Iraq.

"The testimony to the committee on Feith and other
Pentagon officials shows just what kind of pressure
was being exerted. And when that didn't work, the
Pentagon was just coming up with its own answers and
feeding them to the White House. And on al-Qa'eda they
got it all wrong."

Last night a senior Pentagon adviser confirmed that Mr
Feith was being targeted by senators unhappy that the
administration has so far escaped censure for its use
of intelligence.

"There are senators who are clearly gunning for
Douglas Feith now. This is turning into a classic
conspiracy investigation. They want to get Feith and
see if, through Feith, they can go up the ladder to
even bigger fish."

Mr Feith's role is to be examined further in the
second phase of the Senate committee's investigations,
which will deal with the Bush administration's use of
the intelligence it received. The report by the
Republican-dominated committee lambasted the CIA for
intelligence failures while concluding that there was
no evidence that the Bush administration tried to
coerce officials to adapt their findings.

Yet the annexe - written by three leading Democratic
senators - contains the strongest evidence yet that
Pentagon hardliners sought to sideline the CIA during
a drive to talk up a connection between Saddam and
Osama bin Laden.

After the September 11 attacks, tension had grown
between Pentagon officials and CIA agents, who
suspected the Department of Defence of relying too
heavily on dubious testimony from Iraqi defectors in
order to justify a war against Iraq.

The CIA's investigation of links between Iraq and
al-Qa'eda was almost the only aspect of the agency's
intelligence-gathering to escape severe censure in the
511-page report. Sen Rockefeller, the senator for West
Virginia, said: "Our report found that the
intelligence community's judgments were right on
Iraq's ties to terrorists. There was no evidence of
the formal relationship, however you want to describe
it, between Iraq and al-Qa'eda, and no evidence that
existed of Iraq's complicity or assistance in
al-Qa'eda's terrorist attacks."

Pentagon officials who appeared before the Senate
committee testified that Mr Feith and others believed
that the CIA was not sufficiently aggressive in its
investigation of links between Saddam and al-Qa'eda.
During the summer of 2002, administration hardliners
believed that evidence of a connection between Iraq
and the terrorist organisation would provide a
clinching argument for war.

After the publication in June 2002 of a cautious
report by the CIA entitled Iraq and al-Qa'eda: A Murky
Relationship, Mr Feith passed on a written verdict to
the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, that the
report should be read "for content only - and CIA's
interpretation should be ignored".

In August 2002, Mr Feith's cell gave a briefing to Mr
Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, which
included a stinging condemnation of the CIA's
intelligence assessment techniques.

In sharp contrast to the Senate intelligence
committee's criticisms of "over-reaching" and
"exaggeration" by CIA agents, the Pentagon briefing
criticised the agency for requiring "juridical
evidence" for its findings and for the "consistent
underestimation" of the possibility that Iraq and
al-Qa'eda were attempting to conceal their
collaboration.

In another incident, Mr Feith's Pentagon cell
postponed the publication of a CIA assessment of
Iraq's links to terrorism after a visit to CIA
headquarters at which "numerous objections" were made
to a final draft.

In particular, Pentagon officials insisted that more
should be made of an alleged meeting between the
September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi
official in Prague in April 2001. The CIA judged
reports of the meeting not to be credible, a verdict
vindicated on Friday by the Senate committee report.

Most remarkably, on September 16, 2002, two days
before the CIA was to produce its postponed
assessment, Mr Feith's cell went directly to the White
House and gave an alternative briefing to
Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and to
the National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's
deputy.

The briefing contained the section alleging
"fundamental problems" with CIA
intelligence-gathering. It also gave a detailed
breakdown of the alleged meeting between Atta and an
Iraqi agent.

The following week, senior Bush officials made
confident statements on the existence of a link
between Saddam and al-Qa'eda. Mr Tenet would learn of
the secret briefing only in March 2004.

6 June 2004: The first fall guy


Posted by richard at 01:22 PM

"I think it's excessive based on what we know," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview on CNN's "Late Edition."

Here are three very important pieces collected
together by www.TruthOut.org: the Reuters story
corrborating the Buzzflash Alert from last night, as
well as the Isikoff story from Newsweek and the
"Background Briefing by Senior Intelligence
Officials." Please share them with all who care about
the future of this country and this planet...Remember,
Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) was one of the House Managers
for the Impeachment debacle during the Clinton-Gore
administration. Therefore, with the LNS, he has NO
credibility WHATSOEVER in any way on any issue...You
should be prepared to demand that your Governors and
Mayors refues to comply with any cancellation of the
national referendum on the increasingly unhinged and
incredibly shrinking _resident. You should be prepared
to show up at your City Hall or your Governor's
mansion on Election Day, if they capitulate...Yes,
there is an Electoral Uprising coming in November
2004...And yes, the Bush cabal and the "vast reich
wing conspiracy" will try to steal the Presidency
again, and if they cannot steal it again, they will
try to deep-six the whole process with an insane
assist from Al Qaeda...IF the margin of victory is
large enough, they will not be able to steal it, and
IF they cancel it, well, then an UNcivil war will be
perilously close...Be vigilant, be vocal, be
vociferous...Either you understand the nature of this
threat to the Republic, or you will lose this
Republic...

Reuters: "I think it's excessive based on what we know," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview on CNN's "Late Edition."
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last
week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network want to
attack within the United States to try to disrupt the
election.
Harman said Ridge's threat warning "was a bust"
because it was based on old information.

Save the US Constitution, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/071204Y.shtml


U.S. Mulling How to Delay Nov. Vote in Case of Attack
Reuters

Sunday 11 July 2004

Washington - A senior House Democratic lawmaker
was skeptical on Sunday of a Bush administration idea
to obtain the authority to delay the November
presidential election in case of an attack by al
Qaeda,

U.S. counterterrorism officials are looking at an
emergency proposal on the legal steps needed to
postpone the presidential election in case of such an
attack, Newsweek reported on Sunday.

"I think it's excessive based on what we know,"
said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat
on the House Intelligence Committee, in a interview on
CNN's "Late Edition."

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge warned last
week that Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network want to
attack within the United States to try to disrupt the
election.

Harman said Ridge's threat warning "was a bust"
because it was based on old information.

Newsweek cited unnamed sources who told it that
the Department of Homeland Security asked the Justice
Department last week to review what legal steps would
be needed to delay the vote if an attack occurred on
the day before or on election day.

The department was asked to review a letter from
DeForest Soaries, chairman of the new U.S. Election
Assistance Commission, in which he asked Ridge to ask
Congress for the power to put off the election in the
event of an attack, Newsweek reported in its issue out
on Monday.

The commission was created in 2002 to provide
funds to states to replace punch card voting systems
and provide other assistance in conducting federal
elections.

In his letter, Soaries wrote that while New York's
Board of Elections suspended primary elections in New
York on the day of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, "the
federal government has no agency that has the
statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal
election."

Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian
Rochrkasse told the magazine the agency is reviewing
the matter "to determine what steps need to be taken
to secure the election."

Republican Rep. Christopher Cox of California, who
chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN
that the idea of legislation allowing the election to
be postponed was similar to what had already been
looked at in terms of how to respond to an attack on
Congress.

"These are doomsday scenarios. Nobody expects that
they're going to happen," he said. "But we're
preparing for all these contingencies now."


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

Go to Original

Exclusive: Election Day Worries
By Michael Isikoff
Newsweek

July 19 issue

American counterterrorism officials, citing what
they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible
Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are
reviewing a proposal that could allow for the
postponement of the November presidential election in
the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.

The prospect that Al Qaeda might seek to disrupt
the U.S. election was a major factor behind last
week's terror warning by Homeland Security Secretary
Tom Ridge. Ridge and other counterterrorism officials
concede they have no intel about any specific plots.
But the success of March's Madrid railway bombings in
influencing the Spanish elections - as well as
intercepted "chatter" among Qaeda operatives - has led
analysts to conclude "they want to interfere with the
elections," says one official.

As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's
department last week asked the Justice Department's
Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps
would be needed to permit the postponement of the
election were an attack to take place. Justice was
specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge
from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly
created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries
noted that, while a primary election in New York on
September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that
state's Board of Elections after the attacks that
morning, "the federal government has no agency that
has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a
federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two
years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for
Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation
from Congress empowering his agency to make such a
call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such
proposals sound, they are taking them seriously -
along with other possible contingency plans in the
event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We
are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need
to be taken to secure the election," says Brian
Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.


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

Go to Original

Background Briefing by Senior Intelligence
Officials
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact 202-282-8010
Washington, D.C.

Thursday 08 July 2004

Senior Intelligence Official: If I could say a few
words first. First of all, to address the question
regarding TTIC Online, TTIC Online is a website, at
the Top Secret, and now also at the Secret level. It
is an information system to make available to
different types of recipients information at different
levels of classification. What the Department of
Homeland Security is doing, with what you referred to
as the JRIES -

(Gap)

As Secretary Ridge mentioned, we know, from a
broad base of (inaudible) intelligence that al-Qaeda
remains committed to carrying out a full-on attack,
series of attacks, in the homeland. And recent and
credible information indicates that al-Qaeda is
determined to carry out these attacks to disrupt our
democratic processes.

Al-Qaeda has not been reluctant to, in fact,
articulate that intent and that threat. Osama bin
Laden and Ayman Zawahiri have issued several public
statements last fall, threatening to carry out those
attacks. And numerous al-Qaeda spokespersons have, in
fact, said that these plans are underway and are near
completion.

We are very concerned that al-Qaeda, even though
it has been a degraded organization as a result of
counterterrorism successes and efforts over the past
several years, remains a dangerous organization,
because it is flexible and adaptable, as many
international terrorist organizations are.

There are strong indications that al-Qaeda will
continue to try to revisit past targets, those that
they were able to attack, as well as those that they
were unable to attack.

In addition, there is intelligence that indicates
that they are looking at various transportations
systems, as the Secretary alluded to, and Madrid, the
attacks against the subway systems there that resulted
in hundreds of deaths and injuries.

And looking at the current terrorist threat
reporting and information that we have, we continue to
look at past plots to gain a better understanding of
the strategy and tactics that al-Qaeda may, in fact,
try to employ here in the states. In particular,
looking at some past al-Qaeda plans, as well as their
capabilities and their attacks overseas, we're
concerned about Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive
Devices -- VBIEDs, truck bombs - and similar types of
vehicle borne explosives, given al-Qaeda's long
history of successful attacks overseas. These types of
means of attack can be used to go against different
types of infrastructure targets, such as tunnels,
bridges, other types of targets that would lend
themselves to that type of targeting.

In addition, we know that al-Qaeda has carried out
successful attacks overseas in various locations, in
Asia and in Europe recently.

Also, al-Qaeda has remained very interested in
aviation attacks. We know that it is a consistent
focus of their efforts, as we saw in 9/11. But since
9/11, and despite the numerous security enhancements
that have been made, al-Qaeda continues to pursue
capabilities that can use aircraft, either as a weapon
or to target.

What we know about this most recent information
that is being directed from the senior-most levels of
the al-Qaeda organization, which includes Osama bin
Laden, Ayman Zawahiri and others, and we know that
this leadership continues to operate along the border
area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And we'll take your questions.

Question: Are you saying then, that bin Laden and
Zawahiri are now actively directing their followers?

Senior Intelligence Official: When I mentioned the
senior al-Qaeda leadership, and there's senior
al-Qaeda leadership, which include Osama bin Laden and
Ayman Zawahiri, also includes other senior operatives.
So this type of plotting, this type of operational
activity, is being done with the direction and
authorization of that senior leadership.

Question: This intelligence that you have, are
they specifically mentioning their intent to thwart
the democratic process, the election? And if so, in
what context?

Senior Intelligence Official: Al-Qaeda, for many
years, has, in fact, tried to carry out attacks here
or to design attacks that would create political,
economic and psychological damage on the United
States. Our various institutions, including the
electoral process, democratic processes here, are part
of those institutions that al-Qaeda is determined to
try to disrupt.

So what we're doing is we're looking at this
intelligence information recently in the context of
what is it that is happening, for example, this year;
and we know, with the election process here, this is
one of the reasons why I think everybody has to be -
remain vigilant.

Question: So this is actually carrying on from the
Madrid. I mean, again, I just want to kind of
follow-on on this question. Is it that you're looking
at it and there's a gut reaction, that you're assuming
that he must mean the political process, or you see
information that's specifically talking about the
successes of Madrid and wanting to replicate that
here?

Senior Intelligence Official: We are seeing, in a
number of areas, to include various websites that are
used, as far as extremists organizations are
concerned, different types of reporting, that they are
focusing on what they perceive to have been successful
attacks in Madrid, as far as the impact on the
electoral process there and the outcome of that
election.

And so the reporting and other things that we're
seeing now is with the same type of expectation and
anticipation that similar types of attacks could have,
as I think the Secretary said, the mistaken belief
that it would have an impact here on the electoral
process. But the reporting that we are seeing, the
information that we have, is tied to the different
types of democratic processes here.

Question: Sir, in any of this intelligence, is
there specific, credible intelligence about what they
want to do, in terms of how they would carry this out,
or is this basically intent only?

Senior Intelligence Official: It's an intent and
preparation to carry out major attacks that would
inflict major casualties, as well as to create
economic damage, political damage, psychological
damage to the United States. So it's the intent as
well as the preparation and plans that are underway
to, in fact, effect those attacks.

Question: When you're talking about political
conventions, right, you're talking about physical
sites that can be defended, protected. But how do you
protect polling in thousands of places across the
country? I'd like to hear your thoughts on that. And
also, where do you think the threat is going to be
highest? At the convention stage of our process, or as
we get closer to the actual decision by the people?

Senior Intelligence Official: I'll just take the
second part, and then I'll turn it over to [senior
intelligence official] for the first part. As far as
the - where the threat may be highest, al-Qaeda
traditionally has tried to target venues, buildings,
whatever, based on very meticulous and careful casing
and surveillance, and a lot of pre-operational
activity. They are a meticulous and patient
organization that tries to optimize the chances for
success. And therefore, I believe that their target
selection here, as well as when they will carry out
the attack, will be based on that type of careful
preparation, the thoroughness that, in fact, has been
a hallmark of al-Qaeda preparations.

So looking out over the next - the rest of the
year, and even beyond, I think what we're doing,
responsibly, collectively, is to look at the threat
information, look at the reporting, look at those
types of events, look at those types of venues and
targets that might, in fact, lend themselves to that
type of -

Question: So are you saying when we get closer to
the actual voting? Or at the stage of the nominating
conventions? What worries you the most?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think we're here
today to say that we are concerned at this point, from
this point on, and looking out over the next many
months. The al-Qaeda threat is a real one, it's a
continuing one, and I think we have to be vigilant
from this point forward.

Question: Could you take the other part of my
question, please? How do you protect the polling
stations?

Senior Intelligence Official: Yes, I understand
the question. And I think the answer now has to be
that this issue has not escaped us. It's a very
complex one, as you noted in your question.

We have begun a thought process and discussions
about this issue. We have to form an approach to it
that makes sense here in the United States, and that's
what we'll be doing over the course of the next days
and weeks.

It would be inappropriate for us to discuss the
details of our planning or our effort to secure the
election, but you can rest assured that we'll
certainly do our best to do that.

Question: Would you postpone voting?

Senior Intelligence Official: That's a speculative
question that I'm not prepared to answer, frankly.
There are all kinds of issues here we have to deal
with. It's premature for anyone here at the Department
to give information on this topic.

And by the way, when you're talking about securing
an event that occurs on one day, very inappropriate
for us to talk about the detail of that.

Question: Is this the result of a break in the
case or is it a result of ongoing collection of a
large gestalt of information that you've pieced
together from many sources?

Senior Intelligence Official: It's based on a very
strong body of intelligence acquired by intelligence
and law enforcement over the last two and a half
years, and on top of that strategic intelligence about
al-Qaeda's plans and intentions, additional
information that has come in, not in terms of, you
know, breaks in cases or whatever, but just because of
the continued determined efforts as far as
intelligence collection, law enforcement activities
and others to acquire the information. And as I think
the Secretary said, very credible sources of
information are providing this.

Question: But is any of this intelligence
different than it was last month when we heard this
exact same warning? Is anything different in the past
several weeks? Is there new intelligence? Is there a
new threat? Or is this exactly what we heard last
month?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think I was
mentioning that there has been a growing body of
intelligence over the past several years, and I think
over the past several months I would say we continue
to gain knowledge and understanding about what
al-Qaeda is planning to do. So every day there are
nuggets that come in to the broader intelligence
community that we take a look at and start trying to
connect those pieces. So it's a dynamic process that
allows us to have a better understanding of exactly
what we are facing as far as the al-Qaeda threat.

Question: You talked about wanting to revisit
targets, both successful and unsuccessful. That would
be Los Angeles Airport, New York City landmarks,
bridges and tunnels. Is that what you're talking
about? You're saying New York City remains a prime
target?

Senior Intelligence Official: I said that al-Qaeda
has this penchant to return to those targets; for
example, the World Trade Center, you know, the
bombings in the mid-'90s and then coming back to it. I
think what we need to do from an intelligence/law
enforcement/homeland security perspective is continue
to look at all those previous targets. You mentioned,
you know, LAX, Los Angeles Airport, New York City,
different places there. So we are not taking any of
those targets sort of off of our areas of concern. So
there is just a broad array of potential targets that
al-Qaeda could threaten.

Question: In the aftermath of Madrid there was a
statement that al-Qaeda had lost a lot of control and
command and that these were al-Qaeda inspired groups
and that one of the biggest problems facing the
intelligence community was that there was no solid
structure of command. And the way you're talking here
is I'm wondering if what you're implying is that this
new information you have leads you to the conclusion
that there is a solid structure of command and that
the guys in the Pakistan-Afghan border are back in
control again.

Senior Intelligence Official: I don't think I - I
certainly didn't mean to imply that solid structure. I
don't think I used that term at all. What I said is
that there are senior levels of the al-Qaeda
leadership that continue to oversee and direct many of
the operations as far as pointing at the different
types of targets and encouraging this type of activity
to take place and directing it and sponsoring it.

But what you're referring to now is that there is
an international constellation of different types of
Islamic extremist networks. Some of them are very
closely tied to what we refer to as the al-Qaeda
organization. Others are loosely affiliated with it.
So what we need to do from an intelligence perspective
is to understand exactly whether cells that exist
within Southeast Asia or within Africa or Europe or
other places are, in fact, part of this central
al-Qaeda organization or are they offshoots of it.

What we see is because of tremendous successes
against the terrorist target that the command and
control structure of al-Qaeda has broken down, it's
very difficult in terms of communication or whatever.
So there may be some greater autonomy being given to
some of these operatives who are responsible for
certain areas and certain sort of theaters or
responsibility.

Question: (Inaudible) that there are sleeper cells
in the United States, sleeper cells in the United
States, that people are scouting locations for, you
know, explosions and so forth, or border crossings to
effect the same end?

Senior Intelligence Official: I think we have seen
from reporting that al-Qaeda, as I mentioned, does
this very careful, meticulous planning ahead of time
to carry out attacks. A lot of this type of
preparation and pre-operational surveillance and
casing is carried out by what you may be referring to
as sleeper cells: those individuals that may have been
deployed to a target area in order to carry out the
type of casing and surveillance that's necessary in
order to do the facilitation, maybe to identify a
logistics network or other types of things.

So I think, again, from an intelligence
perspective, what we're looking at is what does
al-Qaeda have in place, what are they doing, in order
to be able to realize their terrorist objectives.

Question: One question I have deals with Ridge
said that in Italy, Jordan and Great Britain that they
had not only the people but the means to carry out the
attacks. Has some of the intelligence that you've
picked up in the last few months suggested that there
are, in fact, people already in place in the U.S.?

Senior Intelligence Official: There is
intelligence that al-Qaeda has individuals dispersed
worldwide, and worldwide would include the United
States, that are - they are using in order to
facilitate the operational planning necessary to carry
out attacks successfully. So one of the things that we
have learned, and I think the reference to different
types of networks that have been wrapped up that the
Secretary's mentioning, plans in the United Kingdom to
carry out attacks with VBIEDs as far as individuals,
the materials, we know that that was done as a result
not just of plans and directions but also those
individuals who helped facilitate that type of
operation who may be in place for many years and then
become facilitators and then may also go into an
operational mode. So I think that we have to think
about what we see overseas and then apply that to our
understanding here in the States.

Thank you.

Question: Can we hear something from the FBI? Can
we hear just a comment from the FBI? There's been no
voice from the Bureau at all.

Senior Intelligence Official: Yes, I think one
thing that's really important is in regards to
Homeland Security one of the things that's happening
in the federal government is we're all coming together
working to address issues that arise in the country,
specifically with JTTF, the Joint Terrorism Task
Forces. We've got representatives from most, if not
all, federal law enforcement agencies, state agencies,
local agencies, and we're working together.

I think what's really important and what I see
from my position at headquarters is that when we get
into these modes of having to operate, a lot of times
you see the badges go off as far as the agency or
department that the people are working for. I think
that's what's really important. And I think what we
have now is law enforcement sees a real mission in
that we've got to safeguard the country and we're
really working together to do it. And I think one of
the keys is that it has been alluded to by Secretary
Ridge and [senior intelligence official], is that
we're working together as far as intelligence. There's
a lot of intelligence sharing. There are constant
meetings back here in D.C. as well as in cities and
states around the country, and we're working together
collectively and that's what really important. And we
really think that's the way we're going to succeed and
we do have a huge mission ahead of us.

Senior Intelligence Official: Thank you very much.
Thank you.

-------




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Posted by richard at 01:20 PM

Fraudida: Analysis reveals flaws in voting by touch-screen

More disturbing news from Fraudida...There is an
Electoral Uprising coming in November 2004...And yes,
the Bush cabal and the "vast reich wing conspiracy"
will try to steal it again, and if they cannot steal
it again, they will try to deep-six the whole process
with an insane assist from Al Qaeda...IF the margin of
victory is large enough, they will not be abale to
steal it, and IF they cancel it, well, then UNcivil
war will be perilously close...Be vigilant, be vocal,
be vociferous...Either you understand the nature of
this threat to the Republic, or you will lose this
Republic...

Jeremy Milarsky and Buddy Nevins, Sun-Sentinel:
Florida's relatively new touch-screen voting machines,
touted as a solution to the state's 2000 presidential
election meltdown, didn't perform as well as machines
that use an older technology during a statewide
election earlier this year, according to a South
Florida Sun-Sentinel analysis.
Records from the March 9 Democratic presidential
primary show that votes were not recorded for one out
of 100 voters using the new ATM-style machines. That's
at least eight times more than the number of flawed
votes cast in the same election with pencil marks on
paper ballots tallied by an optical scanner.
Experts blame Florida's political leaders for
embracing the relatively sophisticated touch-screen
machines before they were perfected and made more
user-friendly.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-touchscreens11jul11,0,305144.story

Analysis reveals flaws in voting by touch-screen

By Jeremy Milarsky and Buddy Nevins
Staff Writers
Posted July 11 2004

Florida's relatively new touch-screen voting machines,
touted as a solution to the state's 2000 presidential
election meltdown, didn't perform as well as machines
that use an older technology during a statewide
election earlier this year, according to a South
Florida Sun-Sentinel analysis.

Records from the March 9 Democratic presidential
primary show that votes were not recorded for one out
of 100 voters using the new ATM-style machines. That's
at least eight times more than the number of flawed
votes cast in the same election with pencil marks on
paper ballots tallied by an optical scanner.

Experts blame Florida's political leaders for
embracing the relatively sophisticated touch-screen
machines before they were perfected and made more
user-friendly.

Fifteen Florida counties now use touch-screen
machines, including Palm Beach, Broward and
Miami-Dade.

In December 2001, Broward County chose a $17.2 million
touch-screen system over a pencil-and-paper system
priced at no more than $5 million. Earlier that year,
in May, Palm Beach County agreed to pay $14 million
for touch-screens, compared to $3 million for the
simpler system.

"Would I have bought them? No," Broward County
Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes said about the
touch-screens. She started as supervisor after the
machines were in use. "Were we too fast? Yes."

Costly and confusing

In 2000, the nation watched as Florida's arcane voting
system became the catalyst for a bitter post-election
struggle between Al Gore and George W. Bush over who
would become the next president. Butterfly ballots,
hanging chads, recounts and court fights to dispute
one of the closest elections in state history kept
Americans waiting five weeks to learn who would lead
the nation. An embarrassment for the state, the battle
raged from Tallahassee to Washington.

Pushed into service in the aftermath of the 2000
election, the ATM-like machines have been assailed by
politicians, experts and watchdogs as too expensive,
confusing to a large segment of voters and packed with
flawed software.

If the March undervote rate repeats in the November
presidential election and the turnout is the same as
in 2000, Broward and Palm Beach counties alone could
generate 7,800 flawed votes, a number that worries
political leaders who remember the 537 votes by which
George W. Bush beat Al Gore.

"That's frightening," Broward County Democratic Party
Chairman Mitch Ceasar said. "I thought these machines
would correct the incredible situation we had four
years ago. I'm angry and disturbed."

The presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee,
John Kerry, already has plans to legally challenge the
election based on the questionable reliability of the
touch-screen voting systems.

"And you know those machines all those election
officials are working on to make them ready on time?"
Kerry said at a Fort Lauderdale rally Thursday. "I'll
make a deal with them: They fix those machines and
we'll fix America."

Primary votes studied

The Sun-Sentinel analysis of the March 9 election
reviewed a sampling of nearly 350,000 ballots
statewide in which only one choice appeared on the
ballot, selection of a Democratic Party presidential
nominee. Ballots were not included in the study if
they contained other races, referendums or questions.

The study looked for instances in which voters went to
the polls and chose no one -- results known in
election parlance as "undervotes." The study then
looked at which types of voting machines registered
the most undervotes.

The results show:

Undervotes occurred 1.09 percent of the time in
counties with touch-screen machines and 0.12 percent
of the time in counties that use optical scanning.
Optical scan machines counted 12 overvotes (0.01
percent) in the March sample, where voters chose more
than one candidate for the party presidential nominee.
Overvotes are impossible to cast on touch-screen
machines.

Pinellas County registered the highest undervote rate,
at 2.87 percent, among touch-screen counties, with 756
undervotes. Only three of the 39 counties using
optical scanners performed worse than the best of the
touch-screen counties.

Broward County showed a 0.9 percent undervote rate
among 18,766 voters, while Palm Beach showed a 0.54
percent undervote rate among 53,059 ballots reviewed,
with a combination of 458 undervotes in precincts
where there was only once choice on the ballot.

The numbers did not surprise officials of Sequoia
Voting Systems and Elections Systems & Software, two
companies manufacturing touch-screen machines sold in
Florida.

"The most important thing to take from the
[Sun-Sentinel] survey findings is that both electronic
systems and precinct-based optical scan systems
dramatically reduce voter error. ... The Florida
numbers demonstrate a substantive improvement over the
2000 presidential election," said Alfie Charles, vice
president of business development for Sequoia. Palm
Beach County uses machines from that company.

Charles' point was bolstered by a report on the Oct.
7, 2003, California recall election by Henry Brady, a
political scientist at the University of California,
Berkeley. Brady found that more than 7 percent of the
voters using punch card machines cast flawed ballots,
such as undervotes and overvotes. About 1.3 percent of
those using touch-screen machines cast defective
ballots in that California election.

Fiasco elicits changes

The punch card system used in the disputed Florida
presidential vote four years ago generated most of the
175,000 disputed ballots.

Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature wanted to make sure
the chaos didn't occur again.

Just months after that election, Florida outlawed the
punch card system. Counties were given two choices of
new systems to buy before 2002: the older optical scan
-- where voters use a pencil to fill in a bubble on a
page of paper next to their choice, similar to a
standardized test in schoolor the new touch-screen
machines. The state certified specific systems and
machine makers that could be used.

Some counties, such as Orange and Leon, already had
optical scan machines and kept them, choosing not to
spend tens of millions of tax dollars on the newer
devices. Many of the other counties that use punch
cards, including a majority of the most populous in
Florida, chose the touch-screen technology.

Lobbyists pushed for the sale of the more expensive
machines, and county commissions agreed to make the
purchases, spending nearly $57 million combined in
Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach.

Broward bought its 5,000 machines before the state had
even certified them. Purchase contracts in Broward,
Miami-Dade and Palm Beach spell out machine standards
and require vendors to fix problems. The contracts do
not specifically mention undervotes, however.

Election experts now say the purchases of the
touch-screens were rushed.

"It was like Florida was trying to change a tire on a
car going 100 miles an hour," said Kurt Browning,
elections supervisor of Pasco County.

The machines were widely touted by vendors and their
representatives for having advantages over the optical
scan devices. The sales pitch said ballots on
touch-screen machines could be easily converted into
multiple languages, an important feature in diverse
South Florida. Many organizations representing the
blind also pushed for these machines because they come
with an audio feature that can read a ballot aloud.

Lobbyists said little about how complicated the
machines were.

"The information about the machines was all coming
from the vendors. There was no independent study about
the efficacy of these machines. Every supervisor who
purchased one was taking the vendors' word for it on
how well the machine worked. And what did the vendors
say? `Trust us. Trust us.'" said Ion Sancho, elections
supervisor in Leon County.

Sancho stuck with his older optical scan machines.
Leon County reported zero undervotes in the March
sample.

South Florida counties' first big test of the
touch-screen machines was in September 2002. From the
outset, glitches occurred where voters complained of
wrong ballots and other mistakes that were attributed
to training and the setting up of machines.

In January, 137 undervotes surfaced in the House
District 91 special election covering coastal areas of
Broward and Palm Beach. The victor, now state Rep.
Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Boca Raton, won by 12 votes over
Mayor Oliver Parker of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

Some political insiders suggested voters deliberately
cast undervotes. However the District 91 outcome has
led to demands by U. S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca
Raton, that the machines have a paper record of the
votes. Several states and Palm Beach have announced
plans to buy printers, which are under development --
but state officials and manufacturers say it is
unlikely they will be ready for the Nov. 2
presidential election.

Seniors find difficulty

Meanwhile, some segments of the voting population seem
to struggle with touch-screen devices.

In Broward's March election, the Sun-Sentinel
identified precincts where the most undervotes
occurred, generally in senior communities.

Seniors can have trouble with touch-screens, said
Douglas W. Jones, a University of Iowa computer
scientist and an electronic voting machine consultant
to several governments, including Miami-Dade.

He recounted a story told to him of an elderly voter
at a touch-screen machine in Iowa.

"She mistakenly cast her ballot prematurely and grew
increasingly frustrated in the voting booth, trying to
fix the situation. She was a victim of not knowing how
to use the machines," Jones said.

"These machines need to be studied by human behavior
specialists. They need to be designed to make voting
as easy as putting an X in a box," Jones said.

He also said, "All this was jumped into too quickly. I
don't believe this change to new machines needed to be
done as if it was an emergency."

Meghan McCormick, spokeswoman for ES & S, whose
machines are used in Miami-Dade and Broward, said
voters are given reminders that they failed to cast a
vote on a touch-screen machine and some simply choose
to cast blank ballots.

"We have safeguards in place. In our experience, some
people choose not to vote," McCormick said.

Pasco Supervisor Browning, who wrote the Florida State
Association of Supervisors of Elections' white paper a
year ago supporting touch-screen voting, said the
machines bought in 2001 have been improved with
updated software and possibly printers in the near
future.

"Was the [ES&S touch-screen] ready? Who knows? But I
do know that the system I bought in 2001 is not the
same system we are using today," Browning said. "Its
better, and it will continue to get better."

A recent issue has emerged concerning the software
used in the ES&S machines used in Miami-Dade and
Broward. Officials are scrambling to resolve a
software error that hinders efforts to audit and
double-check the accuracy of vote totals. Nicole de
Lara, a spokeswoman for Florida State Secretary Glenda
Hood, described the problem as minor and said Friday
she expects it to be fixed within a week.

Theresa LePore, the Palm Beach elections supervisor,
said the only way to cut down on the number of
undervotes would be to give voters the choice of
casting a ballot for "none of the above." The
Legislature would have to approve that change.

Short of that, LePore said it is impossible to
eliminate undervotes because some people will choose
not to vote for any candidate or will make mistakes.

"There is only one perfect voting system," LePore
said. "That's the one that doesn't involve humans."

Staff Writers Kathy Bushouse and Christy McKerney
contributed to this report. Email story
Print story
PHOTO

After the 2000 election, 15 Florida counties replaced
punch card voting systems
See larger image
(Sun-Sentinel/Scott Fisher)

STORIES
How we gathered our data
Jul 11, 2004

Voting In Florida

NEW VOTING SYSTEM

Give touch-screen voting a try in this animated
demonstration of touch-screen voting. Similar systems
will be used in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade.
INTERACTIVE

ELECTORAL TRACKER: Calculate a winning electoral
strategy for your candidate, and revisit elections
past.



Copyright © 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted by richard at 01:18 PM

Voter list mess shows officials can't be trusted

There is an Electoral Uprising coming in November
2004...And yes, the Bush cabal and the "vast reich
wing conspiracy" will try to steal it again, and if
they cannot steal it again, they will try to deep-six
the whole process with an insane assist from Al
Qaeda...IF the margin of victory is large enough, they
will not be abale to steal it, and IF they cancel it,
well, then UNcivil war will be perilously close...Be
vigilant, be vocal, be vociferous...Either you
understand the nature of this threat to the Republic,
or you will lose this Republic...

Jim Defede, Miami Herald: As far as I'm concerned,
there is no more trust. There are no more second
chances. Glenda Hood must resign. She is either
amazingly incompetent or the leader of a frightening
conspiracy, but either way she should go.
Next, the governor should remove himself from matters
affecting elections and an agency such as the U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights should step in and assume
direct oversight of the state's election system.
Florida is simply a joke that just isn't funny any
longer.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/9126937.htm?ERIGHTS=9181623950570892444miami::rgpower@deloitte.com&KRD_RM=8opxrpwxwxtuvwwtuqtooooooo|r|Y

Posted on Sun, Jul. 11, 2004

Voter list mess shows officials can't be trusted

BY JIM DEFEDE


Sharon Lettman-Pacheco was driving to her office in
Tallahassee Saturday when her cellphone rang with the
news that Florida had just scrapped its voter purge
list of 47,763 suspected felons.

''Completely?'' she asked. ``You mean we finally wore
them down? Wow.''

As a national field director for People for the
American Way, Lettman-Pacheco had been fighting the
list for months. PFAW, along with the ACLU, the NAACP
and other groups, were convinced that many of the
names on the list were wrong, and that individuals --
especially blacks -- would be barred from voting this
year as they were in 2000.

They wanted to verify the list's accuracy, but the
state refused to make it public. The groups, along
with members of the media and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson,
then sued the state.

On July 1, a Tallahassee judge ordered the list
released, but before he did, The Herald obtained a
copy, analyzed it, and found more than 2,100 people
who were on the purge list despite having their rights
restored through clemency.

Rather than admit the list was filled with errors,
Secretary of State Glenda Hood defended her agency's
shoddy work and attacked The Herald. She even had the
chutzpah to offer a ''tutorial for all reporters''
last week on the purge list and how it was created,
''in order to prevent factually inaccurate articles
such as those reported by The Herald'' from being
repeated.

Turns out, it was Hood who needed the tutorial.

Since The Herald story, more revelations have
followed. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported
Wednesday that out of the nearly 48,000 names on the
list, only 61 were Hispanic. Once again Hood and her
boss, Gov. Jeb Bush, stood by the list.

Then on Saturday, The New York Times showed why
Hispanics, who largely vote Republican, were kept from
the list while blacks, who overwhelmingly vote
Democratic, remained. It turns out, the Department of
Corrections database follows the federal standard for
race, classifying Hispanics as white, and the election
department rolls identify voters by ethnicity. Since
the two databases didn't mesh, the identity of
Hispanic felons couldn't be verified and were
therefore kept off the list.

''Unbelievable,'' Lettman-Pacheco sighed.
``Unbelievable.''

Soon after the Times story broke, Hood, who, at this
rate, may soon be as reviled as her predecessor,
Katherine Harris, finally caved in and dumped the
purge list.

''That's what I call justice,'' Lettman-Pacheco said,
applauding the media and groups such as her own for
discovering a serious flaw that would have been
ignored by the state.

''At the end of the day, though, it is the state that
has a responsibility to put in place systems that are
fair and equal,'' she said. ``And Florida is simply
not doing things fairly. With all the billions of
dollars we have allocated in our state government, you
would think they would have an information technology
division that was objective and knew what it was
doing. Or was this intentional?

''This kind of malfeasance of justice clearly has
every degree of manipulation written all over it,''
she continued. ``But I'm going to let the public
decide how deliberate it was.''

''I can tell you with the utmost certainty that it was
unintentional and unforeseen,'' responded Hood
spokeswoman Nicole de Lara.

I don't know how de Lara can be so certain. I don't
know how she can so casually disregard the possibility
there's been an orchestrated attempt to defraud the
public and that no one in the state knew about the
flaws.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no more trust. There
are no more second chances. Glenda Hood must resign.
She is either amazingly incompetent or the leader of a
frightening conspiracy, but either way she should go.

Next, the governor should remove himself from matters
affecting elections and an agency such as the U.S.
Commission on Civil Rights should step in and assume
direct oversight of the state's election system.

Florida is simply a joke that just isn't funny any
longer.





Posted by richard at 01:16 PM

July 11, 2004

Bush Cartel Talks of Steps to Potentially Cancel ("Postpone") the Presidential Election: This is For Real Folks!

This is NOT a drill, this is NOT a hoax, this is REAL...It was openly discussed by members of the US Congress, with Wolf Bluster on SeeNotNews, this morning...As the LNS has said repeated, either you understand the nature of the Bush cabal and the "vast reich-wing conspiracy" or you will lose the Republic...Not only are the major network news organizations ignoring as much as possible and skewing as often as possible that fact the most of the national polls show Kerry-Edwards in the lead (and beyond any margin of error in some), but they are also carrying this filthiest water of all for the Bush abomination...BECAUSE electoral RE-defeat is beginning to look INEVITABLE...

www.BUZZFLASH.com: In a short Newsweek brief, in Monday's (July 19) edition, by the infamous Michael Isikoff, it is revealed that Tommy Ridge is exploring what would be needed to be done to postpone the fall presidential election, if there were to be a terrorist attack: American counter-terrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned....
As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals sound, they are taking them seriously—along with other possible contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.

Save the US Constitution, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

BUZZFLASH REPORT Sunday July 11, 2004 at 11:27:08 AM


Bush Cartel Talks of Steps to Potentially Cancel ("Postpone") the Presidential Election: This is For Real Folks!
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

July 12, 2004

Oh yes, the incendiary BuzzFlash -- and other online publications -- have been engaging in their typical hyperbolic scare tactics when we have warned that the Bush Cartel might actually postpone the presidential election if Kerry and Edwards are poised to win it through the will of the people.

We were just fanning the flames of fear based on the Bush Cartel stealing the election in 2000, right?

Wrong.

In a short Newsweek brief, in Monday's (July 19) edition, by the infamous Michael Isikoff, it is revealed that Tommy Ridge is exploring what would be needed to be done to postpone the fall presidential election, if there were to be a terrorist attack:

American counter-terrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned....

As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election." Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals sound, they are taking them seriously—along with other possible contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.

[LINK TO NEWSWEEK STORY]

So, this is real folks. A Bush lackey role model, Tom Ridge, may be empowered to cancel the fall elections.

Maybe that's why Jeb officially has given up on the "theft of the election" 2000 felon's purge list (although we doubt that he really has). When you can just cancel the election, you don't need to steal it by preventing legal voters from casting their ballots, do you? The Bush Cartel has always escalated its boldness when faced with election losses. Now they just won't prevent a few thousand people from voting in Florida; they may prevent the entire country from voting!

So, it's got all the Rove fingerprints on it. A relatively unknown Republican Rev. from New Jersey is appointed to head an obscure new commission. Then he writes a letter demanding that plans be made to cancel -- or "postpone" -- the election if necessary. Then Tommy Ridge carries the water, as trial balloons are floated to the favored GOP lapdog leak recipient at Newsweek, Michael Isikoff, he of the Linda Tripp "story" fame.

This is beyond frightening. It is the end of democracy in America, if Tom Ridge is granted these powers. And you know, a move will be afoot in Congress to do so.

Lord save us, if the Democrats collapse on this one and let Ridge or anyone in the Bush administration have such powers.

What terrorist attack could prevent a national election from being held?

You see, the Bush Cartel could claim that they have solid information of an imminent attack and postpone the election because they don't want the terrorists to influence the outcome, because, they would argue, that would give a victory to the terrorists.

Which is all another way of saying, the Republicans don't plan on yielding power under any circumstances, the will of the people be damned.

Chilling beyond belief.

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

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

Posted by richard at 12:37 PM

Military families question war: Vet says Americans 'asleep'

Five more US soliders (four of them US Marines) died in Iraq within the last 24 hours. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. BEWARE! The "US mainstream news media" has begun to downplay the deaths (twenty or so in the last week)...

Lee Sensenbrenner, Madison Capitol Times: "I really did not want to think things were this bad. I didn't want to believe our president would behave this way," Julie Sherman, of Madison, said. "Half the country voted for him; he couldn't be that bad."
But after giving the administration "the benefit of the doubt for as long as I could," Sherman said she began reading books critical of the war and President Bush, then saw "Fahrenheit 9/11." She said she's dismayed with the country's leadership.
"I feel we've been lied to," she said.
Dick Gruen, of Stoughton, held a copy of former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips' latest book "American Dynasty," which charges the Bush family with a history of deceit and an interest in power that goes back generations.
Tyler Mertes, who is in his 20s, said he started to pay attention to politics for the first time after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He's frustrated by the way politicians like Dennis Kucinich seem to be dismissed as fringe candidates by major media outlets.
"It's like not being corrupt makes you a radical," he said.

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

http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/index.php?ntid=6521&ntpid=0

Military families question war: Vet says Americans 'asleep'
By Lee Sensenbrenner
July 9, 2004

Jane Jensen, founder of the Military Family Support Group, holds a photo of her son, Lt. Col. Garrett Jensen, who is in Iraq. (File photo)


Until the founding member could hold her tongue no longer, the meetings of the Military Family Support Group were pretty routine.


They'd gather at a church on Madison's west side, sometimes in a ring of battered couches and chairs in the basement, sometimes upstairs where the furniture was new. They'd tell how they had a son, a daughter, a niece, a husband serving in Iraq. They'd share how long it's been since they heard anything from them.

As connected as they became through their common fears, the discussions sometimes showed how different their situations were. One mother last winter told how her son was home for two weeks to undergo surgery for the wounds where mortar shrapnel had torn into his shoulder and deafened him. Another said her son had returned home safely and bought a house.

But other stark differences were revealed.

"People had such opposing views," Jane Jensen, the group's original organizer, said Thursday night at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ. "I was literally becoming ill from coming here and holding in my thoughts and feelings."

Thursday night was the first meeting of the slightly longer-named and no longer apolitical Military Family Support Group Families for Peace. And in their meeting, rather than edge up to political disagreement, then back off in some kind of polite tension, they railed against the war in Iraq, President Bush and whatever else was on their minds.

Meanwhile, Jensen said she does not know what happened to the other military family members with whom the group used to meet. She said that the original group disbanded about a month ago, but won't get into the details of the breakup.


Carol McKy, who met with the former group, said she thought some of the others still meet, though their gatherings are no longer announced in newspapers.

"They decided to change to a different location," she said. "We don't know where that location is."

As the introductions began Thursday, McKy, of Middleton, said: "I'm against this war. I'm a Republican; I want you to know that. And I'm against Bush."

Several of her nieces and nephews are now serving in the military.

They went around the circle that way, and it came out that all but two in the group of a dozen had seen the Michael Moore film "Fahrenheit 9/11."

"I really did not want to think things were this bad. I didn't want to believe our president would behave this way," Julie Sherman, of Madison, said. "Half the country voted for him; he couldn't be that bad."

But after giving the administration "the benefit of the doubt for as long as I could," Sherman said she began reading books critical of the war and President Bush, then saw "Fahrenheit 9/11." She said she's dismayed with the country's leadership.

"I feel we've been lied to," she said.

Dick Gruen, of Stoughton, held a copy of former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips' latest book "American Dynasty," which charges the Bush family with a history of deceit and an interest in power that goes back generations.

Tyler Mertes, who is in his 20s, said he started to pay attention to politics for the first time after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He's frustrated by the way politicians like Dennis Kucinich seem to be dismissed as fringe candidates by major media outlets.

"It's like not being corrupt makes you a radical," he said.

Mike Burkhalter, of Oregon, served in Japan during the Vietnam War and told the group that he thinks too many Americans are "asleep" to what's going on around them. And he said he doesn't know how to change it.

"I really don't believe that I'm living in the America that I served my country for," he said.

The group has decided to reconvene every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, 1501 Gilbert Road. All are invited, whether they have relatives serving in the military or not. Next week's assignment, they agreed, would be to write down their purpose.

"I'm really looking for a peace group," said Bill Rowe, a Korean War veteran from Madison. "I'm not looking for Democrats. I don't see peace as a party thing. If we're going to be the Democratic Party, that's not what I'm into."

Others sported John Kerry stickers, talked fervently of unseating President Bush and explained how to sign up to be a member of MoveOn.org.

lsensenbrenner@madison.com
Published: 11:34 AM 7/9/04

Posted by richard at 10:29 AM

The Financial Times described as "implausible" the investigation's decision to exonerate US President George W. Bush's administration from putting pressure on the intelligence agencies.

The US electorate should not have to hear the TRUTH
about the Bush Abomination and its scapegoating of the
CIA from Agence France Press or the British press, you should be hearing it from NotBeSeen (NBC), SeeNotNews (CNN), PrettyBlandStuff (PBS), etc. BUT..It's the Media, Stupid!

AFP: The US intelligence community should not be made
to shoulder full responsibility for misjudging Saddam
Hussein's weapons capability ahead of last year's Iraq
war, British newspapers said after a Senate
investigation exonerated US politicians of blame.
The Financial Times described as "implausible" the investigation's decision to exonerate US President George W. Bush's administration from putting pressure on the intelligence agencies.
"Like all government organizations, the Central
Intelligence Agency devotes its limited resources to
meeting the demands of its political masters," the
business daily said.
It added that it was the "politicians who must account
for the death and destruction of the Iraq war -- and
the consequences as they continue to unfold".

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


http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0710-01.htm


AFP: Published on Saturday, July 10, 2004 by the
Agence France Presse
Politicians Must Not Escape Blame Over Iraq Intel
Errors: British Press


The US intelligence community should not be made to
shoulder full responsibility for misjudging Saddam
Hussein's weapons capability ahead of last year's Iraq
war, British newspapers said after a Senate
investigation exonerated US politicians of blame.

The Financial Times described as "implausible" the
investigation's decision to exonerate US President
George W. Bush's administration from putting pressure
on the intelligence agencies.

"Like all government organizations, the Central
Intelligence Agency devotes its limited resources to
meeting the demands of its political masters," the
business daily said.

It added that it was the "politicians who must account
for the death and destruction of the Iraq war -- and
the consequences as they continue to unfold".

The Times was equally critical of the Senate's
findings.

"The CIA should not take all the blame on Iraq and
WMD," it said.

"Above all, the failure of politicians to ask
sufficiently robust questions about the intelligence
they received should not be forgotten."

A Senate investigation concluded on Friday that the US
intelligence community "mischaracterized" Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction through "a series of
failures".

The inquiry found that the intelligence community's
key judgments were either overstated or not backed up
by intelligence reporting.

The Senate Intelligence Committee found no evidence,
however, that the Bush administration pressured CIA
analysts to modify their judgments of Iraq's WMD.

Britain's press meanwhile looked ahead to an inquiry
into flawed British intelligence on Iraq set to report
next Wednesday.

"If the US Intelligence Committee report is anything
to go by, (Britain's inquiry) will voice important
criticisms but bring us little nearer to understanding
how it all went so wrong and who was responsible," The
Independent said.

The inquiry, called by Prime Minister Tony Blair to
look into the intelligence behind his decision to take
Britain into the Iraq war, is headed by Lord Robin
Butler, a former veteran senior civil servant.

The Butler report "will echo many" of the same
criticisms outlined by the Senate inquiry, the
Financial Times said.

The Daily Telegraph said errors by the CIA "was a
failure shared by anyone who was anyone in the
cloak-and-dagger business. That applies to our own
secret services, too."

A view shard by The Times, which said:

"The CIA depended on other services for inside
information. It is probable that (Britain's foreign
intelligence service) MI6 was one of those
organizations which obtained information that has come
to look dubious."

Such a conclusion next week would bring relief to
Blair, The Daily Telegraph said.

"Tony Blair will no doubt be pleased if the Butler
inquiry... turns out to be as favorable to him as the
report of the Senate Select Committee," it said.

Various findings from the Butler report have been
leaked to the British press over recent days.

A meeting between British government officials in
March 2002, a year before the Iraq war, decided that
available intelligence was not strong enough to
support the case for military action, the report will
say, according to the Financial Times on Saturday.

The report will add that that Britain's Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw overruled senior advisors on the
legality of the Iraq war, London's Evening Standard
said Friday.

The Independent said the inquiry would include
personal criticism of Britain's intelligence chiefs,
including John Scarlett, who since the Iraq war has
been named head of MI6.

© Copyright 2004 AFP

###

Posted by richard at 09:58 AM

"The American people should be afraid of this kind of silencing of professionals in any field," she said. "We should be very concerned as American citizens that people who are experts in their field either can't speak up, or, as we're seeing now in the pa

Another heroic public servant whose name will be
scrawled on the John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...

CNN: One day after she was fired, former U.S. Park
Police Chief Teresa Chambers accused the Bush
administration Saturday of silencing dissenting views
in the rank and file.
Chambers' departure may not garner the same spotlight
as those of former counterterrorism expert Richard
Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, but
it appears to fall into a similar category: officials
who leave or are forced out after questioning Bush
administration policies.
Chambers said that she didn't expect to be fired seven
months after the Interior Department put her on
administrative leave with pay for talking with
reporters and congressional staffers about budget woes
on the 620-officer force...
"The American people should be afraid of this kind of silencing of professionals in any field," she said. "We should be very concerned as American citizens that people who are experts in their field either can't speak up, or, as we're seeing now in the parks service, won't speak up."

Save the US Constitution, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/07/10/park.police.chief/index.html


Ex-chief of Park Police denounces firing
Chambers: Administration 'silencing' dissenting views
Saturday, July 10, 2004 Posted: 8:56 PM EDT (0056 GMT)


U.S. Park Police are responsible for protecting the
Washington Monument.


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One day after she was fired,
former U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers accused
the Bush administration Saturday of silencing
dissenting views in the rank and file.

Chambers' departure may not garner the same spotlight
as those of former counterterrorism expert Richard
Clarke and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, but
it appears to fall into a similar category: officials
who leave or are forced out after questioning Bush
administration policies.

Chambers said that she didn't expect to be fired seven
months after the Interior Department put her on
administrative leave with pay for talking with
reporters and congressional staffers about budget woes
on the 620-officer force.

She was fired Friday, just two and half hours after
her attorneys filed a demand for immediate
reinstatement through the Merit Systems Protection
Board, an independent agency that ensures federal
employees are protected from management abuses.

"It wasn't the reaction we expected," she said. "But
we weren't surprised.

"But it's not about me," she added. "I'm a player in
it. It's got far-reaching implications.

"The American people should be afraid of this kind of
silencing of professionals in any field," she said.
"We should be very concerned as American citizens that
people who are experts in their field either can't
speak up, or, as we're seeing now in the parks
service, won't speak up."

National Park Service officials said Chambers broke
rules barring public comment about budget discussions
and prohibiting lobbying by someone in her position.

Chambers said she did nothing wrong except argue for
adequate funding for the Park Police, which falls
under NPS authority -- and perhaps fail to understand
that she was required to "toe the party line."

"I came from outside and was naive about federal
agencies," she said. "I had no idea that's what they
wanted me to do. I really believed that's what they
wanted, for me to be frank with them."

The Bush administration says the Park Police budget
has increased during its tenure, but critics argue
that the increase has not offset inflation and
additional duties.

According to a study conducted by the nonprofit
National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the
entire park service operates on about two-thirds of
the budget it needs -- about $600 million short -- and
that about $50 million of that shortfall stems from
duties related to homeland security at the so-called
"icons."

"Icon" duty refers to protecting locations such as the
Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument and the
Golden Gate Bridge from terrorist attack -- duties
that fall to the Park Police.

In an affidavit filed in her effort to be reinstated,
Chambers said her troubles with the bureaucrats in the
park service and the Interior Department began with
budget processing in 2003.

"Each time I would sound [the alarm] just a little
louder," she said, "but always internally. It
culminated with the notice I put on the director of
the park service ... that we have problems."

In that November 28 memo, Chambers wrote that the
budget crisis put new hires in doubt, potentially
bringing the Park Police staff to its lowest level
since 1987, and seriously undermined her officers'
ability to protect the "icons."

"My professional judgment, based upon 27 years of
police service, six years as chief of police, and
countless interactions with police professionals
across the country, is that we are at a staffing and
resource crisis in the United States Park Police -- a
crisis that, if allowed to continue, will almost
surely result in the loss of life or the destruction
of one of our nation's most valued symbols of freedom
and democracy," she wrote.

A week earlier, Chambers had spoken with a Washington
Post reporter about the budget shortfalls, and the
article appeared December 2. Three days later, the
chief was on administrative leave.

Chambers said her story effectively put a chill on
National Park superintendents who were facing their
own shortfalls. She said she has spoken with current
officials who know the situation but fear for their
jobs.

According to the Coalition of Concerned National Park
Service Retirees, a group of more than 250 former NPS
officials, the Interior Department sent out memos to
park superintendents to make further reductions -- and
"to mislead the news media and public about the
service cuts in order to avoid ... 'public
controversy.'"

One of the memos suggested "service level adjustments"
including closing the parks' visitors centers on
federal holidays, eliminating guided tours, closing
the visitors centers two days a week and closing them
for an entire season.

The memo argues against discussing the situation with
the media, then adds that "if you feel you must inform
the public through a press release," refer to "service
level adjustments" rather than "cuts."

The cuts rip into services. Everglades National Park,
for example, cut ranger-led education programs from
115 per week to fewer than 40; Death Valley National
Park cut staff, leaving ancient rock art unprotected;
and Great Smoky Mountains -- the nation's most-visited
park -- has cut all seasonal hires for this year.

CNN's KC Wildmoon contributed to this report.


Posted by richard at 09:54 AM

Nicole Rank, who was working for FEMA in West Virginia, and her husband, Jeff, were removed from the Capitol grounds in handcuffs shortly before Bush's speech. The pair wore T-shirts with the message "Love America, Hate Bush."

Another courageous American whose name will be scrawled on the John O'Neill Wall of Heroes...

Paul J. Nyden, West Virginia Gazette: Nicole Rank, who was working for FEMA in West Virginia, and her husband, Jeff, were removed from the Capitol grounds in handcuffs shortly before Bush's speech. The pair wore T-shirts with the message "Love America, Hate Bush." The Ranks were ticketed for trespassing and released. They have been given summonses to appear in court, Charleston Police Lt. C.A. Vincent said Wednesday.
FEMA spokesman Ross Fredenburg would not say Wednesday whether Nicole
Rank had been fired.

Save the US Constitution, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.wvgazette.com/section/News/2004070734
July 08, 2004
FEMA worker ordered home

Woman, husband wore T-shirts with anti-Bush logo at July Fourth rally

By Paul J. Nyden
Staff Writer

A worker with the Federal Emergency Management Agency who wore an
anti-Bush
T-shirt at the president's July Fourth rally in Charleston has been
sent
home to Texas.

Nicole Rank, who was working for FEMA in West Virginia, and her
husband,
Jeff, were removed from the Capitol grounds in handcuffs shortly before
Bush's speech. The pair wore T-shirts with the message "Love America,
Hate
Bush."

The Ranks were ticketed for trespassing and released. They have been
given
summonses to appear in court, Charleston Police Lt. C.A. Vincent said
Wednesday.

FEMA spokesman Ross Fredenburg would not say Wednesday whether Nicole
Rank
had been fired.

"All we can say is that our federal coordinating officer, Lou Botta,
sent
Nicole home," he said. "We cannot comment further, to protect her
privacy.
Federal privacy laws prevent us from saying anything."

Rank was doing environmental work for FEMA, Fredenburg said. "Nicole
was
deployed here after the Memorial Day flooding. I knew her personally
... We
are reservists and work for intermittent periods of time."

Fredenburg said Jeff Rank did not work for FEMA. He would not say where
in
Texas the Ranks live.

On Sunday, Charleston Police Sgt. R.E. Parsons said Nicole and Jeff
Rank
were in a no-trespassing area and refused to leave.

The White House coordinated the president's visit to the state Capitol.
Organizers described it as a presidential visit, not a political rally.
State and federal funds were used to pay for the presidential visit.

Dozens of people who attended Sunday's event wore pro-Bush T-shirts and
Bush-Cheney campaign buttons, some of which were sold on the Capitol
grounds outside the security screening stations.

U.S. Secret Service officers coordinated security workers, including
West
Virginia State Police, state park officers and Capitol security
officers.

Those who attended Bush's speech were required to have tickets that
were
distributed by various employers in the area and by the office of Rep.
Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

Those who applied for tickets were required to supply their names,
addresses, birth dates, birthplaces and Social Security numbers.

A two-page document given to ticket holders said they were prohibited
from
bringing certain items to the event, including: weapons,
video-recording
equipment, food, beverages, umbrellas, signs and banners. T-shirts,
political buttons and lapel pins were not on the list of prohibited
items.

Robert Bastress, a West Virginia University law professor who
specializes
in civil liberties, questions whether people like the Ranks can be
legally
prohibited from wearing anti-Bush shirts or buttons.

"Obviously, you have a right to engage in nondisruptive protest," he
said.
"If you were legally there, you cannot be asked to leave because of
whatever message is on a button or a T-shirt or a hat."

He said key questions are "whether the [Bush speech] was a public
forum,
whether you were lawfully there and what was the manner in which you
were
engaging in your expression."

Event organizers could prohibit signs, designating a place where people
could carry signs. "But they can't make those decisions based on what
the
content of any sign says."

Bastress also said it makes no difference whether Sunday's event was an
official presidential visit or a political rally.

"That area was open to anybody who had a ticket," he said. "Once you
were
lawfully in there, you were entitled to even-handed treatment."

To contact staff writer Paul J. Nyden, use e-mail or call 348-5164.

Posted by richard at 09:51 AM

July 10, 2004

The grieving parents who might yet bring Bush down: The families of dead American soldiers have overcome censorship and fear

The Emperor has no uniform...

Naomi Klein, Guardian: Last week, Nadia McCaffrey, a California resident, defied the Bush administration by inviting news cameras to photograph the arrival of her son's casket from Iraq. The White House has banned photography of flag-draped coffins arriving at air force bases, but because Patrick McCaffrey's remains were flown into the Sacramento International airport, his mother was able to invite the photographers inside. "I don't care what [President Bush] wants," Ms McCaffrey declared, telling her local newspaper: "Enough war."
Freed from the military censors who prevent soldiers from speaking their minds when alive, Lila Lipscomb has also shared her son's doubts about his work in Iraq. In Fahrenheit 9/11, she reads from a letter Michael mailed home. "What in the world is wrong with George, trying to be like his dad, Bush. He got us out here for nothing whatsoever. I'm so furious right now, Mama."

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

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1258117,00.html

The grieving parents who might yet bring Bush down: The families of dead American soldiers have overcome censorship and fear

Naomi Klein
Saturday July 10, 2004
The Guardian

There is a remarkable scene in Fahrenheit 9/11 when Lila Lipscomb talks with an anti-war activist outside the White House about the death of her 26-year-old son, Michael, in Iraq. A pro-war passerby doesn't like what she overhears and announces: "This is all staged!"
Ms Lipscomb turns to the woman, her voice shaking with rage, and says: "My son is not a stage. He was killed in Karbala, April 2. It is not a stage. My son is dead." Then she walks away and cries: "I need my son."

Watching Ms Lipscomb doubled over in pain on the White House lawn, I was reminded of other mothers who have taken the loss of their children to the seat of power and changed the fate of wars. During Argentina's dirty war, a group of women whose children had been "disappeared" by the military regime gathered every Thursday in front of the presidential palace in Buenos Aires. At a time when all public protest was banned, they would walk silently in circles, wearing white headscarves and carrying photographs of their missing children.

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo revolutionised human rights activism by transforming maternal grief from a cause for pity into an unstoppable political force. The generals could not attack the mothers openly, so they launched fierce covert operations against their organisation. But the mothers kept walking, playing a significant role in the eventual collapse of the dictatorship.

Unlike the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who march together every week to this day, in Fahrenheit 9/11 Lila Lipscomb stands alone, hurling her fury at the White House. But Lila Lipscomb is not alone. Other American and British parents whose children have died in Iraq are also coming forward to condemn their governments, and their moral outrage could help to end the military conflict still raging in Iraq.

Last week, Nadia McCaffrey, a California resident, defied the Bush administration by inviting news cameras to photograph the arrival of her son's casket from Iraq. The White House has banned photography of flag-draped coffins arriving at air force bases, but because Patrick McCaffrey's remains were flown into the Sacramento International airport, his mother was able to invite the photographers inside. "I don't care what [President Bush] wants," Ms McCaffrey declared, telling her local newspaper: "Enough war."

Just as Patrick McCaffrey's body was coming home to California, another soldier was killed in Iraq: 19-year-old Gordon Gentle, from Glasgow.

Upon hearing the news, his mother, Rose Gentle, immediately blamed the government of Tony Blair, saying: "My son was just a bit of meat to them, just a number...This is not our war, my son has died in their war over oil."

And just as Rose Gentle was saying those words, Michael Berg happened to be visiting London to speak at an anti-war rally. Since the beheading of his 26-year-old son, Nicholas, who had been working in Iraq as a contractor, Michael Berg has insisted that "Nicholas Berg died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld". Asked by an Australian journalist whether such bold statements were "making the war seem fruitless", Mr Berg responded: "The only fruit of war is death and grief and sorrow. There is no other fruit."

It is as if these parents have lost more than their children - as if they have also lost their fear, allowing them to speak with great clarity and power. This represents a dangerous challenge to the Bush administration, which likes to claim a monopoly on "moral clarity". Victims of war and their families aren't supposed to interpret their losses for themselves, they are supposed to leave that to the flags, ribbons, medals and three-gun salutes.

Parents and spouses are supposed to accept their tremendous losses with stoic patriotism, never asking whether a death could have been avoided, never questioning how their loved ones are used to justify more killing. At Patrick McCaffrey's military funeral last week, Paul Harris, the chaplain of the 579th Engineer Battalion, informed the mourners: "What Patrick was doing was good and right and noble...There are thousands, no, millions, of Iraqis who are grateful for his sacrifice."

But Nadia McCaffrey knows better and is insisting on carrying her son's own feelings of deep disappointment from beyond the grave. "He was so ashamed by the prisoner abuse scandal," Ms McCaffrey told the Independent. "He said we had no business in Iraq and should not be there."

Freed from the military censors who prevent soldiers from speaking their minds when alive, Lila Lipscomb has also shared her son's doubts about his work in Iraq. In Fahrenheit 9/11, she reads from a letter Michael mailed home. "What in the world is wrong with George, trying to be like his dad, Bush. He got us out here for nothing whatsoever. I'm so furious right now, Mama."

Fury is an entirely appropriate response to a system that sends young people to kill other young people in a war that never should have been waged. Yet the American right is forever trying to pathologise anger as something menacing and abnormal, dismissing war opponents as hateful and, in the latest slur, "wild-eyed". This is much harder to do when victims of wars begin to speak for themselves: no one questions the wildness in the eyes of a mother or father who has just lost a son or daughter, or the fury of a soldier who knows that he is being asked to kill, and to die, needlessly.

Many Iraqis who have lost loved ones to foreign aggression have responded by resisting the occupation. Now victims are starting to organise themselves inside the countries that are waging the war. First it was the September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which speaks out against any attempt by the Bush administration to use the deaths of their family members in the World Trade Centre to justify further killings of civilians. Military Families Speak Out has sent delegations of veterans and parents of soldiers to Iraq, while Nadia McCaffrey is planning to form an organisation of mothers who have lost children in Iraq.

American elections always seem to swing on some parental demographic or other; last time it was soccer moms, this time it is supposed to be Nascar [stock-car racing] dads. On Sunday, Nascar champion Dale Earnhardt Junior said that he had taken his buddies to see Fahrenheit 9/11 and that "it's a good thing as an American to go see". It seems as if there may be another demographic that swings this election: not soccer moms or Nascar dads but the parents of victims of the war. They don't have the numbers to change the outcome in swing states, but they might just change something more powerful: the hearts and minds of Americans.

· Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo and Fences and Windows

Posted by richard at 07:47 PM

What's missing is the ways intelligence was used, misused, misinterpreted or ignored by administration policymakers in deciding to go to war and in making the case to the American people that war with Iraq was necessary.

The botched, bungle "war on terrorism" is not the strength of the Bush White House, it is the SHAME of the Bush White House, AND the capitulation and collaboration of the "US mainstream news media" in the Bush abomination's attempt to scapegoat and further abuse the US intelligence community in general, and the CIA in particular is at least as SHAMEFUL...

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Washington Post: And the report tells only half of the story...What's missing is the ways intelligence was used, misused, misinterpreted or ignored by administration policymakers in deciding to go to war and in making the case to the American people that war with Iraq was necessary. The intelligence committee leadership chose to defer these issues to a second report - one that will not be released until after the November elections.
While failures by the CIA and other intelligence agencies are a significant part of the problem identified in this inquiry, the responsibility - and the blame - for the prewar intelligence debacle is much broader than described in today's report.
Senior decision makers throughout the executive branch must bear responsibility as well. They should have been more diligent in challenging the validity of analytical assumptions and the adequacy of intelligence collection and reporting related to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction before the war. Instead, those analyses that conformed with pro-war views were routinely accepted and reports that did not conform to the pro-war model were largely ignored.

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_04/071004Y.shtml

Holes in America's Defense
By Richard J. Durbin
The Washington Post

Friday 09 July 2004

In the war on terrorism, reliable intelligence is America's first line of defense.

The Senate intelligence committee report scheduled to be released today reveals in stark terms that in many key areas, the prewar intelligence regarding Iraq's threat to the United States was neither reliable nor accurate.
Beyond Secretary of State Colin Powell's examination of Iraqi intelligence in preparation for his February 2003 speech to the U.N. Security Council, there is little evidence that administration officials took the time to question any intelligence reports related to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

CIA Director George Tenet is famously reported to have responded to President Bush's question on the intelligence related to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq by stating it was "a slam-dunk." If this conversation did take place, it would have been incumbent upon the president's senior advisers to demand to see and verify the underlying information that constituted the intelligence community's "slam-dunk" case. Apparently that did not happen.

The dissenting views regarding Iraq's weapons programs in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, and the cautionary notes sounded by intelligence analysts at the Energy and State departments regarding nuclear matters, and the Air Force's concern regarding Iraq's unmanned aerial vehicle program all fell on willfully deaf ears. In contrast, the CIA's analysis of terrorism, which found only weak connections between Iraq and al Qaeda, elicited considerable questioning from policymakers. Undoubtedly, this was because the administration's decision to invade Iraq had already been made.

Unfortunately, the administration's conclusions drove the evidence instead of the other way around. The historic House and Senate joint intelligence inquiry into the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks issued a report in December 2002 that recommended intelligence community reform. Within weeks, the Senate intelligence committee should have initiated an in-depth review of the structure and effectiveness of U.S. intelligence operations. Based on the results of such a review, it should then have initiated appropriate reforms. But more than 18 months later, no movement in that direction has occurred.

So today we have a report that asks only some of the right questions and, at best, comes to only some of the right conclusions.

The responsibility for problems related to prewar intelligence regarding Iraq should not be confined to intelligence analysts at the CIA but should extend to policymakers as well - particularly those at the Defense and State departments, the National Security Council, and the White House.

Nor should the intelligence oversight committees of Congress, which are charged with scrutinizing intelligence analysis as part of their mandate, be excluded from criticism. It should be noted that the inquiry into prewar intelligence related to Iraq was initiated - and its scope expanded - in the face of significant resistance within the committee.

The intelligence failures noted in today's report add to the compelling need for Congress to undertake an unbiased and nonpartisan effort to strengthen our first line of defense. Time is not on our side.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The writer is a Democratic senator from Illinois and a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Posted by richard at 07:31 PM

July 09, 2004

Tens of thousands of dollars from major Bush donors are pouring into Mr. Nader's coffers, and he is using that money to pay for petition signatures that will get him on the ballot in swing states.

The LNS apologizes to those who feel it is best to simply
ignore the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader, but this outrage cannot simply be ignored...The next person to sit in the Oval Office, whether duly elected
or re-installed, will probably name a Chief Justice
for the Supreme Court, and possibly as many as two or
three other Justices...Here is an update on
the-shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Ralph-Nader and
his betratyal of all that is good...

Joe Conason, New York Observer: Tens of thousands of dollars from major Bush donors are pouring into Mr. Nader's coffers, and he is using that money to pay for petition signatures that will get him on the ballot in swing states. The American Prospect reports that
earlier this year, Mr. Nader's aides solicited a
California company that usually performs such tasks
for Republican candidates.
In Arizona, a former Christian Coalition staffer
circulated the Nader petitions along with an
anti-immigration initiative. (The resulting petitions
were so riddled with error and alleged fraud that they
were thrown out by the state authorities.) In Florida,
the G.O.P. chairwoman (who answers to Governor Jeb
Bush, the President's brother) demanded that Democrats
drop any legal effort to disqualify the Nader
candidacy.
And in Oregon, where Mr. Nader recently became a
featured guest on right-wing radio, two conservative
organizations phoned their members to urge their
attendance at a state petitioning convention in
Portland. Leaders of Citizens for a Sound Economy and
the Oregon Family Council explained bluntly that they
have no use for Mr. Nader -- except as an instrument
to siphon votes from John Kerry.

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

http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=17245

Nader returns, with G.O.P. help
If Nader movement in 2000 meant something, in 2004
it's become farce


You don't have to be a Marxist to remember what may be
the most widely quoted (and misquoted) passage from
the works of Karl Marx: "Hegel says somewhere that all
great events and personalities in world history
reappear in one way or another. He forgot to add: the
first time as tragedy, the second as farce."
During his long, legendary career on the left, Ralph
Nader must have read or heard versions of that
quotation on many occasions. Now, as he resumes his
impossible quest with the open assistance of
Republicans and conservatives, he is acting out Marx's
maxim.

"Tragedy" may or may not describe what happened in
2000, when the Nader candidacy drew enough votes from
Al Gore in Florida and New Hampshire to deprive the
Democratic nominee of victory. But to hear his
impassioned rhetoric, Mr. Nader believes that the Bush
administration's selling and renting of national
policy to corporate interests is tragic indeed.

"Farce" aptly describes what is happening in 2004, at
least so far as the latest Nader candidacy is
concerned. Perhaps pining for the crowds and acclaim
he evoked so well in Crashing the Party, his memoir of
his last campaign, the consumer advocate and youth
idol announced that he will run again this year, no
matter the consequences.

Then, to his dismay, Mr. Nader discovered that
three-plus years of the Bush-Cheney regime have
concentrated the minds of many of his erstwhile
supporters. The first to abandon his cause were
celebrities like Michael Moore, who declared his
preference for retired general Wesley Clark last fall
and urges current visitors to his Web site to devote
themselves to electing Democrats in November.
(According to Mr. Nader, he wasn't even invited to the
Washington premiere of Mr. Moore's blockbuster movie,
Fahrenheit 9/11. His response was an embittered open
letter to his "old friend" that made sport of the
filmmaker's waist size.)

The defection of Mr. Moore anticipated the rejection
of the Nader candidacy last month by the Green Party,
whose leaders also seem to be familiar with that old
Marx quip. Rather than renominate their 2000
candidate, they put up an unknown whose chief campaign
promise is that he won't hamper the Democratic
Presidential candidate. The Natural Law Party also
displayed little enthusiasm for Mr. Nader.

These developments are worse than embarrassing, since
they have deprived Mr. Nader of easy ballot access in
dozens of states where the Greens have earned a
November line. Meanwhile, Democratic officials in
various states are seeking to keep him off the ballot
by challenging the validity of his petitions (in much
the same way that Mr. Bush tried to keep his rivals
off the New York primary ballot in 2000).

Yet although the prospects for Mr. Nader are quickly
shrinking, his would-be rescuers are already revealing
themselves. The new Naderites include the strange
Manhattan therapy cult that now dominates the Reform
Party, which will provide ballot access in some states
after endorsing him in a teleconference call last May.
He can also count on at least one group of activists
who are absolutely determined to see him succeed:
right-wing Republicans.

Tens of thousands of dollars from major Bush donors
are pouring into Mr. Nader's coffers, and he is using
that money to pay for petition signatures that will
get him on the ballot in swing states. The American
Prospect reports that earlier this year, Mr. Nader's
aides solicited a California company that usually
performs such tasks for Republican candidates.

In Arizona, a former Christian Coalition staffer
circulated the Nader petitions along with an
anti-immigration initiative. (The resulting petitions
were so riddled with error and alleged fraud that they
were thrown out by the state authorities.) In Florida,
the G.O.P. chairwoman (who answers to Governor Jeb
Bush, the President's brother) demanded that Democrats
drop any legal effort to disqualify the Nader
candidacy.

And in Oregon, where Mr. Nader recently became a
featured guest on right-wing radio, two conservative
organizations phoned their members to urge their
attendance at a state petitioning convention in
Portland. Leaders of Citizens for a Sound Economy and
the Oregon Family Council explained bluntly that they
have no use for Mr. Nader -- except as an instrument
to siphon votes from John Kerry.

Reluctant to leave the national stage, Nader has
accepted a bit part in a farce written and directed by
the corporate politicians he affects to despise. That
is a kind of tragedy, too.


Posted by richard at 11:06 AM

NAACP Head says Bush Treats Blacks Like Prostitutes

There is an Electoral Uprising comimg in November 2004...

Hazel Trice Edney, Wilmington Journal: NAACP President and Chief Executive Officer Kweisi Mfume says President George Bush is treating the Black community like prostitutes by claiming to want the Black vote while snubbing the NAACP’s annual convention for four consecutive years.
“We’re not fools. If you’re going to court us, court us in the daytime, but not like we’re a prostitute where you run around at night or behind closed doors and want to deal with us, but not want to deal with us in the light of the day,” says Mfume. “Mr. Bush has now distinguished himself as the first president since Warren Harding (1920-1923) who has not met with the NAACP. So, we’ve got a 95-year history and a president that’s prepared to take us back to the days of Jim Crow segregation and dominance, an era where dialog is required, not distance.”

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


http://wilmingtonjournal.blackpressusa.com/news/Article/Article.asp?NewsID=3366&sID=3

NAACP Head says Bush Treats Blacks Like Prostitutes
by Hazel Trice Edney
NNPA Washington Correspondent
Originally posted 7/6/2004

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – NAACP President and Chief Executive Officer Kweisi Mfume says President George Bush is treating the Black community like prostitutes by claiming to want the Black vote while snubbing the NAACP’s annual convention for four consecutive years.

“We’re not fools. If you’re going to court us, court us in the daytime, but not like we’re a prostitute where you run around at night or behind closed doors and want to deal with us, but not want to deal with us in the light of the day,” says Mfume. “Mr. Bush has now distinguished himself as the first president since Warren Harding (1920-1923) who has not met with the NAACP. So, we’ve got a 95-year history and a president that’s prepared to take us back to the days of Jim Crow segregation and dominance, an era where dialog is required, not distance.”

Bush was invited to be keynote speaker at the convention, which starts Saturday in Philadelphia.

Mfume says the non-partisan civil rights group, the oldest and largest in the nation, had hoped to have both Bush and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) at the event. Kerry has confirmed. In a brief letter from the president’s scheduler, Melissa S. Bennett, the White House said:

“Your request has been given every consideration. Unfortunately, due to scheduling commitments, we are unable to accommodate your request. Thank you for understanding. The President sends his best wishes.”

Mfume was not surprised.

“It’s business as usual at the White House,” he says. “They don’t view the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization as any way of significance or importance. In their minds, we do not exist. And that’s a dangerous course to take and a dangerous path to go down because you immediately then begin to write off a whole community of people simply because ideologically you may not agree with one another.”

Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington Bureau of the NAACP, says the letter of invitation was sent to Bush in December inviting him to speak at any time during the five-day convention. Shelton says he is concerned that some people have raised the question of how Bush would be treated if he came to the NAACP?

“Well, if you look at every other president who has come before us, whether we overall disagree with their politics or agree with their politics, they have always been treated with the utmost respect and appreciation for being with us,” Shelton says. “Our position has been when we invite people into our house, then indeed we will treat you with respect and care.”

Mfume scoffs at the excuse that Bush could not fit the convention into his schedule. “My mother always told me you always make time to do what you want to do. Clearly, the President doesn’t want to do this.”

A former U. S. representative from Maryland and former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Mfume says he sees the Bush rejection as a pattern of behavior he has exhibited toward Black organizations.

“The fact of the matter is that the president has refused to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, refused to meet with any real civil rights organizations, did a drive-by at the Urban League conference last year, where he whisked in for 15 minutes and whisked out, refusing to even meet at
length with their delegates or their leadership,” he says.

The rejection letter was dated June 21, less than two weeks before Bush’s White House celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, attended by civil rights veteran Dorothy Height and Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League.

“Those things are insulting,” Mfume says. “These are not the good ol’ days where all you had to do is show up and take a picture with a Black person and be considered a friend or an ally. These are the days in which you have to do something. Well, Mr. Bush, is, in my opinion, losing a huge
opportunity to do something and for whatever reason believe that photo opts will get it done and I don’t think they will.”

Given the fact that Bush received only 9 percent of the Black vote in the 2000 election, his rejection of the NAACP will have little political impact from his standpoint, says University of Maryland Political Scientist Ron Walters. But, it does make a statement, he says.

“It continues to confirm that Bush doesn’t have a receptive posture towards African-Americans,” Walters says. But, the even greater meaning to the NAACP is that

“Access to the White House has always been the currency of the NAACP. For it not to have it says to both parties that you’re out of favor.”

Bush and his policies have consistently been out of favor during each of the past four NAACP
conventions.

In his 2001 convention speech, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond likened the Bush
administration to “the Taliban.” In 2002, he characterized Bush’s civil rights policies as “snake oil.” Last year, he described Bush’s Africa tour as an “exotic photo-op.”

Mfume says he now wants to speak at the Republican National Convention in New York. He says he has been confirmed as a speaker at the

Democratic convention, but has not received an answer yet from the Republicans.

“Our approach to both of them was pretty much to say, ‘Hello. Here’s what we are doing. Here’s how we would like your party to participate and we’d like to participate in some sort of way by speaking or having the opportunity to speak at your respective conventions,” Mfume says. “We asked four years ago and the Republicans said, ‘No, we can’t find any time on the agenda for you.’ And the Democratic Party said, ‘Yeah. You’re free to speak and we welcome whatever message you would bring.’”

Despite his distance from Bush, Mfume says it’s just the opposite with RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie.

“Ed Gillespie and I have a good working relationship. The fact that he’s the head of the Republican Party and I was a Democratic congressman for 10 years really is secondary. I knew him from my days on the Hill,” Mfume says. “I have a lot of respect for him in his current role. He will do good things. But he can not make the president do something that he doesn't want to do.''

Posted by richard at 11:03 AM

Pentagon Says Bush Records of Service Were Destroyed

The Emperor has no uniform...

Ralph Blumenthal, New York Times: Military records
that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts
during his disputed service in the Texas Air National
Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently
destroyed, according to the Pentagon.
It said the payroll records of "numerous service
members," including former First Lt. Bush, had been
ruined in 1996 and 1997 by the Defense Finance and
Accounting Service during a project to salvage
deteriorating microfilm. No back-up paper copies could
be found, it added in notices dated June 25.
The destroyed records cover three months of a period
in 1972 and 1973 when Mr. Bush's claims of service in
Alabama are in question.
The disclosure appeared to catch some experts, both
pro-Bush and con, by surprise. Even the retired
lieutenant colonel who studied Mr. Bush's records for
the White House, Albert C. Lloyd of Austin, said it
came as news to him.

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

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/09/politics/campaign/09records.html--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

July 9, 2004
Pentagon Says Bush Records of Service Were Destroyed
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL

OUSTON, July 8 - Military records that could help
establish President Bush's whereabouts during his
disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more
than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed,
according to the Pentagon.

It said the payroll records of "numerous service
members," including former First Lt. Bush, had been
ruined in 1996 and 1997 by the Defense Finance and
Accounting Service during a project to salvage
deteriorating microfilm. No back-up paper copies could
be found, it added in notices dated June 25.

The destroyed records cover three months of a period
in 1972 and 1973 when Mr. Bush's claims of service in
Alabama are in question.

The disclosure appeared to catch some experts, both
pro-Bush and con, by surprise. Even the retired
lieutenant colonel who studied Mr. Bush's records for
the White House, Albert C. Lloyd of Austin, said it
came as news to him.

The loss was announced by the Defense Department's
Office of Freedom of Information and Security Review
in letters to The New York Times and other news
organizations that for nearly half a year have sought
Mr. Bush's complete service file under the
open-records law.

There was no mention of the loss, for example, when
White House officials released hundreds of pages of
the President's military records last February in an
effort to stem Democratic accusations that he was
"AWOL" for a time during his commitment to fly at home
in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director
who has said that the released records confirmed the
president's fulfillment of his National Guard
commitment, did not return two calls for a response.

The disclosure that the payroll records had been
destroyed came in a letter signed by C. Y. Talbott,
chief of the Pentagon's Freedom of Information Office,
who forwarded a CD-Rom of hundreds of records that Mr.
Bush has previously released, along with images of
punch-card records. Sixty pages of Mr. Bush's medical
file and some other records were excluded on privacy
grounds, Mr. Talbott wrote.

He said in the letter that he could not provide
complete payroll records, explaining, "The Defense
Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) has advised of
the inadvertent destruction of microfilm containing
certain National Guard payroll records."

He went on: "In 1996 and 1997, DFAS engaged with
limited success in a project to salvage deteriorating
microfilm. During this process the microfilm payroll
records of numerous service members were damaged,
including from the first quarter of 1969 (Jan. 1 to
March 31) and the third quarter of 1972 (July 1 to
Sept. 30). President Bush's payroll records for these
two quarters were among the records destroyed.
Searches for backup paper copies of the missing
records were unsuccessful."

Mr. Talbott's office would not respond to questions,
saying that further information could be provided only
through another Freedom of Information application.

But Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for Defense finance
agency in Denver, said the destruction occurred as the
office was trying to unspool 2,000-foot rolls of
fragile microfilm. Mr. Hubbard said he did not know
how many records were lost or why the loss had not
been announced before.

For Mr. Bush, the 1969 period when he was training to
be a pilot, is not in dispute. But in May 1972, he
moved to Alabama to work on a political campaign and,
he has said, to perform his Guard service there for a
year. But other Guard officers have said they had no
recollection of ever seeing him there. The most
evidence the White House has been able to find are
records showing Mr. Bush was paid for six days in
October and November 1972, without saying where, and
the record of a dental exam at a Montgomery, Ala., air
base on Jan. 6, 1973.

On June 22, The Associated Press filed suit in federal
court in New York against the Pentagon and the Air
Force to gain access to all the president's military
records.

The lost payroll records stored in Denver might have
answered some questions about whether he fulfilled his
legal commitment, critics who have written about the
subject said in interviews.

"Those are records we've all been interested in," said
James Moore, author of a recent book, "Bush's War for
Re-election," which takes a critical view of Mr.
Bush's service record. "I think it's curious that the
microfiche could resolve what days Mr. Bush worked and
what days he was paid, and suddenly that is gone."

But Mr. Moore said the president could still authorize
the release of other withheld records that would shed
light on his service record.

Among the issues still disputed is why, according to
released records, Mr. Bush was suspended from flying
on Aug. 1, 1972. The reason cited in the records is
"failure to accomplish annual medical examination."

Mr. Bartlett, the White House spokesman, said in
February that Mr. Bush felt he did not need to take
the physical as he was no longer flying planes in
Alabama. Mr. Lloyd, the retired colonel who studied
the records, gave a similar explanation in an
interview.

But Mr. Lloyd said he was surprised to be told of the
destruction of the pay records that might have
resolved some questions.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home |
Privacy Policy | Search | Corrections | Help | Back to
Top

Posted by richard at 11:01 AM

White House inflated terror ties, senator says: A Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat contended the panel's report fails to probe the administration's exaggeration of links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

It is difficult to decide which is worse -- the Bush
cabal's abuse and scapgoating of the CIA in regard to
9/11 and Iraq or the "US Mainstream News Media"
capitulation and collaboration with them in carrying
their filthy water to the US electorate? Either way,
the botched, bungled "war on terrorism" is not the
strength of the Bush White House, it is the SHAME of
the Bush White House...Will George Tenet go down in
history as a souless, spineless shell of himself, like
John McCain and Calm 'Em Powell, or will he cleanse
his conscience and strike a blow for those who have
served this country in anonymity and with integrity
and acumen? Here is a decent story from the Miami
Herald and Knight Ridder...

Jonathan Landay, Knight Ridder, Miami Herald: A senior
Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee on
Thursday accused President Bush and Vice President
Dick Cheney of exaggerating the links between deposed
dictator Saddam Hussein and the al Qaeda terrorist
network...Levin told a news conference that the report
by the Republican-controlled panel would be
''intensely and extensively critical'' of the CIA for
producing a key 2002 assessment that wrongly claimed
that Iraq was hiding illegal weapons programs.
But the report, he said, would paint ''only half the
picture'' because it wouldn't examine ``the central
issue of the administration's exaggerations of the
intelligence that was provided to them.''
''As the Intelligence Committee report to be released
tomorrow will indicate, the CIA intelligence was way
off, full of exaggerations and errors, mainly on
weapons of mass destruction,'' Levin said Thursday.
``But it was Vice President Cheney along with other
policymakers who exaggerated the Iraq-al Qaeda
relationship.''
To bolster his charges, Levin released a new
unclassified CIA finding that cast serious doubt on
Cheney's repeated suggestions that Mohamed Atta, the
leader of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers may have met
with Ahmed al Ani, a senior Iraqi intelligence
officer, in the Czech capital of Prague five months
before the attacks.

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


http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/world/9111934.htm?1c&ERIGHTS=2372049058505607593miami::rgpower@deloitte.com&KRD_RM=8opxrpwxwxtuvwwtuqtooooooo|r|Y

Posted on Fri, Jul. 09, 2004

U.S. INTELLIGENCE
White House inflated terror ties, senator says: A Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat contended the panel's report fails to probe the administration's exaggeration of links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
BY JONATHAN S. LANDAY
jlanday@krwashington.com

WASHINGTON - A senior Democrat on the Senate
Intelligence Committee on Thursday accused President
Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney of exaggerating
the links between deposed dictator Saddam Hussein and
the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin's charge indicated that the
committee's long-awaited report on flawed U.S.
intelligence on Iraq, due to be released today, would
do little to quell feuding over how forthright Bush
was in making his case for last year's invasion of
Iraq.

Levin told a news conference that the report by the
Republican-controlled panel would be ''intensely and
extensively critical'' of the CIA for producing a key
2002 assessment that wrongly claimed that Iraq was
hiding illegal weapons programs.

But the report, he said, would paint ''only half the
picture'' because it wouldn't examine ``the central
issue of the administration's exaggerations of the
intelligence that was provided to them.''

''As the Intelligence Committee report to be released
tomorrow will indicate, the CIA intelligence was way
off, full of exaggerations and errors, mainly on
weapons of mass destruction,'' Levin said Thursday.
``But it was Vice President Cheney along with other
policymakers who exaggerated the Iraq-al Qaeda
relationship.''

Kevin Kellems, a spokesman for Cheney, said Cheney's
assertions have reflected the judgment of the
intelligence community.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts,
R-Kan., has said that the administration's portrayal
of the intelligence on Iraq would be the focus of a
second phase of the inquiry. His spokeswoman, Sarah
Ross, confirmed Thursday that these issues would be
addressed in the second phase. She said she didn't
expect any conclusions in the second phase until after
the August recess at the earliest.

A senior Republican aide, speaking on condition of
anonymity because the report hadn't been released,
disputed Levin's contention that the document ignored
the administration's assertion that Hussein was allied
with Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

''It's all about politics,'' he contended.

To bolster his charges, Levin released a new
unclassified CIA finding that cast serious doubt on
Cheney's repeated suggestions that Mohamed Atta, the
leader of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers may have met
with Ahmed al Ani, a senior Iraqi intelligence
officer, in the Czech capital of Prague five months
before the attacks.

The CIA finding said that the Iraqi intelligence
officer, who's in U.S. custody, ''denied ever having
met Atta.'' The agency could confirm that Atta was in
the Czech Republic only during a 1994 stopover en
route to Syria and a departure for the United States
in June 2000.

''Although we cannot rule it out, we are increasingly
skeptical that [the April 2001] meeting took place,''
said the CIA's most definitive statement on the issue
to date. ``In the absence of any credible information
that the April 2001 meeting occurred, we assess that
Atta would have been unlikely to undertake the
substantial risk of contacting any Iraqi official as
late as April 2001, with the plot already well along
toward execution.''

''This newly released unclassified statement by the
CIA demonstrates that it was the administration, not
the CIA, that exaggerated relations between Saddam
Hussein and al Qaeda,'' Levin contended.

The CIA submitted the finding to Levin on July 1 in
response to a query about whether agency officials
believed Atta had met al Ani.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said the CIA had provided a similar assessment to
senior Bush administration officials months before the
invasion.

Meanwhile, George Tenet, who's retiring on Sunday
after seven years as CIA chief, braced agency staffers
for the critical findings of the Senate report in a
farewell address at the agency's Langley, Va.,
headquarters.

He praised the CIA's analysts and spies for their
''passion, creativity, intellect and daring,'' and
said that ``the American people know of your honesty
and integrity.''

Knight Ridder correspondent Alan Bjerga in Washington
contributed to this report.



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

© 2004 Herald.com and wire service sources. All Rights
Reserved.
http://www.miami.com

Posted by richard at 10:59 AM

July 08, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 Breaks Records in Military Town

The Emperor has no uniform...

Matt Leclercq, Fayetteville Observer (North Carolina):
"Fahrenheit 9/11," a left-sided documentary that
bashes the Bush administration's war on terrorism,
wouldn't find much of an audience in a military town.
Or so they thought.
"This has broken all of our past records," said Nasim
Kuenzel, an owner of the Cameo Art House Theatre. "The
movie that I thought would make us hardly any money -
I never thought it would break all the records."
Both showings sold out Friday at the Cameo, the only
theater in Fayetteville to carry the Michael Moore
film. A midnight showing added at the last minute
Friday brought in 60 more people.
Saturday and Sunday were just as busy, Kuenzel said,
with nearly 1,000 tickets sold over the weekend. As
many as 75 percent of moviegoers were soldiers or
military families, Kuenzel said.

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

http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=04/07/04/8219643

Fahrenheit 9/11 Breaks Records in Military Town

posted by Reverend Chuck0 on Sunday July 04 2004 @
06:36AM PDT


June 29, 2004
The Fayetteville Observer (North Carolina)

Fahrenheit 9/11 Breaks Records in Military Town

By Matt Leclercq

"Fahrenheit 9/11," a left-sided documentary that
bashes the Bush administration's war on terrorism,
wouldn't find much of an audience in a military town.

Or so they thought.

"This has broken all of our past records," said Nasim
Kuenzel, an owner of the Cameo Art House Theatre. "The
movie that I thought would make us hardly any money -
I never thought it would break all the records."

Both showings sold out Friday at the Cameo, the only
theater in Fayetteville to carry the Michael Moore
film. A midnight showing added at the last minute
Friday brought in 60 more people.

Saturday and Sunday were just as busy, Kuenzel said,
with nearly 1,000 tickets sold over the weekend. As
many as 75 percent of moviegoers were soldiers or
military families, Kuenzel said.

Many were like Natalie Sorton. She is 25 and married
to an infantryman who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I want to see what my husband is fighting for,"
Sorton said Monday before going into the theater with
a friend, Kathy Norris.

Another military spouse had recommended the movie.
While Sorton described herself as a moderate
Republican, she said she gained respect for Moore
after seeing his last documentary, "Bowling for
Columbine."

In that film, Moore pestered corporations and
celebrities to take responsibility for gun violence.
Sorton said she wanted to see Moore be equally
pestering to politicians who make decisions about war.


"I'm going because from what I heard about
('Fahrenheit 9/11'), it fills in a lot of blanks, a
lot of questions we've had about the Bush
administration," Sorton said.

The documentary assails President Bush's decisions
surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Moore attempts to link the Bush family with Saudi
Arabia and blame business interests as the reason for
invading Iraq. "Fahrenheit 9/11" includes frank
comments from soldiers in Iraq and emotional
interviews with families who lost children in the
fighting.

Almost all the crowds at the Cameo have applauded the
film at the end, with some people giving standing
ovations, Kuenzel said. Many have tears in their eyes
as they leave the theater.

"I think it's going to open my eyes a little, and that
worries me," Sorton said before taking her seat.

Lea Barnes, a Republican, seemed giddy as she and a
friend bought tickets Monday.

"I'm not pleased at all about the way things are
going" with the war, Barnes said. "I trust Michael
Moore. He can be out there a bit, but he's for the
common man."

Negative reactions have been few, Kuenzel said. The
theater received three calls and two letters in
opposition of carrying the film, she said. No one has
protested, though some people handed out anti-war
fliers on the street Friday evening.

Nationwide ticket sales totaling $23.9 million
launched the film to the No. 1 spot over the weekend,
a record for a documentary. Twelve other theaters in
North Carolina are carrying "Fahrenheit 9/11,"
according to the film's Web site.

Other theaters

The Varsity Theatre in Chapel Hill also sold out over
the weekend, with some patrons from the Fayetteville
area, said owner Mary Jo Stone. The publicity
surrounding Disney's refusal to distribute the film
because of its political content helped ignite sales.

"I think people are interested in perhaps getting a
different perspective than what they see in the news
all the time," Stone said. Since the Cameo opened in
2000, the only other movies that approached the sales
figures for "Fahrenheit 9/11" were "My Big Fat Greek
Wedding" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Other
theaters across the country are expected to start
showing the film in the next few weeks.

After Monday's showing, Sorton emerged with a grim
face. She said she plans to buy the film on DVD and
give it to everyone she knows.

"I'm disgusted," she said. "Disgusted."

The film changed her opinions on the war in Iraq by
convincing her that oil and corporate interests were
behind decision-making, she said. Worries over whether
Moore would vilify soldiers were unfounded.

"I don't think they portrayed them as bad," she said.
"I don't think it portrayed them as not doing their
jobs. It showed them doing what they're told.

"All this movie did was open my eyes a little more to
what's really going on," she said. "I think this is
definitely going to have an impact on the election.
I'm glad I'm a voter."



Posted by richard at 02:20 PM

PAKISTAN FOR BUSH.: July Surprise?

Yes, you must be mentally and emotionally prepared for the
"capture" or killing of Osama bin Laden, either during
the Democratic Convention, or in the general election
campaign, AND for the possibility that the VICE
_resident will recede into the shadows so that the
increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident can be bouyed by either Calm 'Em Powell or
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), since both have now
shown they are souless, as well as, if all else,
fails, the cashing in of another Trifecta ticket
(i.e., a second 9/11-style event followed by a
cancelled or delayed election) Of course, this last
scenario, floated by Tommy Franks in an interview with
Cigar Afficiando awhile back (look it up in the LNS
searchable database), is somewhat more problematical
than the Bush cabal had hoped. Why? Well, the US
military is not at all happy and not at all confident
in its "commander-in-chief." The LNS wonders, would
the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident have some *difficulty* with the chain of
command if ever attempted to declare martial law? And,
hey, if you think that we are indulging in conspiracy
theory, you really need to read more history. Read,
for example, how Franco and the Spanish fascists
prepared the political ground for their takeover with
"terrorist bombings." Read, for example, the publicly
released official documents that recount the 1960s
planning by some within the US government to incite
invasion of Cuba with "terrorist attacks" on US
soil...

John B. Judis, Spencer Ackerman & Massoud Ansari, The
New Republic: Late last month, President Bush lost his
greatest advantage in his bid for reelection. A poll
conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post
discovered that challenger John Kerry was running even
with the president on the critical question of whom
voters trust to handle the war on terrorism. Largely
as a result of the deteriorating occupation of Iraq,
Bush lost what was, in April, a seemingly prohibitive
21-point advantage on his signature issue. But, even
as the president's poll numbers were sliding, his
administration was implementing a plan to insure the
public's confidence in his hunt for Al Qaeda.
This spring, the administration significantly
increased its pressure on Pakistan to kill or capture
Osama bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, or the
Taliban's Mullah Mohammed Omar, all of whom are
believed to be hiding in the lawless tribal areas of
Pakistan...This public pressure would be appropriate,
even laudable, had it not been accompanied by an
unseemly private insistence that the Pakistanis
deliver these high-value targets (HVTs) before
Americans go to the polls in November.

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

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040719&s=aaj071904

July 8, 2004
PAKISTAN FOR BUSH. July Surprise?
by John B. Judis, Spencer Ackerman & Massoud Ansari


Printer friendly
Post date 07.07.04 | Issue date 07.19.04 E-mail
this article

Late last month, President Bush lost his greatest
advantage in his bid for reelection. A poll conducted
by ABC News and The Washington Post discovered that
challenger John Kerry was running even with the
president on the critical question of whom voters
trust to handle the war on terrorism. Largely as a
result of the deteriorating occupation of Iraq, Bush
lost what was, in April, a seemingly prohibitive
21-point advantage on his signature issue. But, even
as the president's poll numbers were sliding, his
administration was implementing a plan to insure the
public's confidence in his hunt for Al Qaeda.

This spring, the administration significantly
increased its pressure on Pakistan to kill or capture
Osama bin Laden, his deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, or the
Taliban's Mullah Mohammed Omar, all of whom are
believed to be hiding in the lawless tribal areas of
Pakistan. A succession of high-level American
officials--from outgoing CIA Director George Tenet to
Secretary of State Colin Powell to Assistant Secretary
of State Christina Rocca to State Department
counterterrorism chief Cofer Black to a top CIA South
Asia official--have visited Pakistan in recent months
to urge General Pervez Musharraf's government to do
more in the war on terrorism. In April, Zalmay
Khalilzad, the American ambassador to Afghanistan,
publicly chided the Pakistanis for providing a
"sanctuary" for Al Qaeda and Taliban forces crossing
the Afghan border. "The problem has not been solved
and needs to be solved, the sooner the better," he
said.

This public pressure would be appropriate, even
laudable, had it not been accompanied by an unseemly
private insistence that the Pakistanis deliver these
high-value targets (HVTs) before Americans go to the
polls in November. The Bush administration denies it
has geared the war on terrorism to the electoral
calendar. "Our attitude and actions have been the same
since September 11 in terms of getting high-value
targets off the street, and that doesn't change
because of an election," says National Security
Council spokesman Sean McCormack. But The New Republic
has learned that Pakistani security officials have
been told they must produce HVTs by the election.
According to one source in Pakistan's powerful
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), "The Pakistani
government is really desperate and wants to flush out
bin Laden and his associates after the latest
pressures from the U.S. administration to deliver
before the [upcoming] U.S. elections." Introducing
target dates for Al Qaeda captures is a new twist in
U.S.-Pakistani counterterrorism relations--according
to a recently departed intelligence official, "no
timetable[s]" were discussed in 2002 or 2003--but the
November election is apparently bringing a new
deadline pressure to the hunt. Another official, this
one from the Pakistani Interior Ministry, which is
responsible for internal security, explains, "The
Musharraf government has a history of rescuing the
Bush administration. They now want Musharraf to bail
them out when they are facing hard times in the coming
elections." (These sources insisted on remaining
anonymous. Under Pakistan's Official Secrets Act, an
official leaking information to the press can be
imprisoned for up to ten years.)

A third source, an official who works under ISI's
director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq, informed
tnr that the Pakistanis "have been told at every level
that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the]
election is [an] absolute must." What's more, this
source claims that Bush administration officials have
told their Pakistani counterparts they have a date in
mind for announcing this achievement: "The last ten
days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by
visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq's] meetings
in Washington." Says McCormack: "I'm aware of no such
comment." But according to this ISI official, a White
House aide told ul-Haq last spring that "it would be
best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were
announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight
July"--the first three days of the Democratic National
Convention in Boston.

he Bush administration has matched this public and
private pressure with enticements and implicit
threats. During his March visit to Islamabad, Powell
designated Pakistan a major non-nato ally, a status
that allows its military to purchase a wider array of
U.S. weaponry. Powell pointedly refused to criticize
Musharraf for pardoning nuclear physicist A.Q.
Khan--who, the previous month, had admitted exporting
nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea, and
Libya--declaring Khan's transgressions an "internal"
Pakistani issue. In addition, the administration is
pushing a five-year, $3 billion aid package for
Pakistan through Congress over Democratic concerns
about the country's proliferation of nuclear
technology and lack of democratic reform.

But Powell conspicuously did not commit the United
States to selling F-16s to Pakistan, which it
desperately wants in order to tilt the regional
balance of power against India. And the Pakistanis
fear that, if they don't produce an HVT, they won't
get the planes. Equally, they fear that, if they don't
deliver, either Bush or a prospective Kerry
administration would turn its attention to the
apparent role of Pakistan's security establishment in
facilitating Khan's illicit proliferation network. One
Pakistani general recently in Washington confided in a
journalist, "If we don't find these guys by the
election, they are going to stick this whole nuclear
mess up our asshole."

Pakistani perceptions of U.S. politics reinforce these
worries. "In Pakistan, there has been a folk belief
that, whenever there's a Republican administration in
office, relations with Pakistan have been very good,"
says Khalid Hasan, a U.S. correspondent for the
Lahore-based Daily Times. By contrast, there's also a
"folk belief that the Democrats are always pro-India."
Recent history has validated those beliefs. The
Clinton administration inherited close ties to
Pakistan, forged a decade earlier in collaboration
against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. But, by
the time Clinton left office, the United States had
tilted toward India, and Pakistan was under U.S.
sanctions for its nuclear activities. All this has
given Musharraf reason not just to respond to pressure
from Bush, but to feel invested in him--and to worry
that Kerry, who called the Khan affair a "disaster,"
and who has proposed tough new curbs on nuclear
proliferation, would adopt an icier line.

Bush's strategy could work. In large part because of
the increased U.S. pressure, Musharraf has, over the
last several months, significantly increased military
activity in the tribal areas--regions that enjoy
considerable autonomy from Islamabad and where, until
Musharraf sided with the United States in the war on
terrorism, Pakistani soldiers had never set foot in
the nation's 50-year history. Thousands of Pakistani
troops fought a pitched battle in late March against
tribesmen and their Al Qaeda affiliates in South
Waziristan in hopes of capturing Zawahiri. The
fighting escalated significantly in June. Attacks on
army camps in the tribal areas brought fierce
retaliation, leaving over 100 tribal and foreign
militants and Pakistani soldiers dead in three days.
Last month, Pakistan killed a powerful Waziristan
warlord and Qaeda ally, Nek Mohammed, in a dramatic
rocket attack that villagers said bore American
fingerprints. (They claim a U.S. spy plane had been
circling overhead.) Through these efforts, the
Pakistanis could bring in bin Laden, Mullah Omar, or
Zawahiri--a significant victory in the war on
terrorism that would bolster Bush's reputation among
voters.

But there is a reason many Pakistanis and some
American officials had previously been reluctant to
carry the war on terrorism into the tribal areas. A
Pakistani offensive in that region, aided by American
high-tech weaponry and perhaps Special Forces, could
unite tribal chieftains against the central government
and precipitate a border war without actually
capturing any of the HVTs. Military action in the
tribal areas "has a domestic fallout, both religious
and ethnic," Pakistani Foreign Minister Mian Khursheed
Mehmood Kasuri complained to the Los Angeles Times
last year. Some American intelligence officials agree.
"Pakistan just can't risk a civil war in that area of
their country. They can't afford a western border that
is unstable," says a senior intelligence official, who
anonymously authored the recent Imperial Hubris: Why
the West is Losing the War on Terror and who says he
has not heard that the current pressures on Pakistan
are geared to the election. "We may be at the point
where [Musharraf] has done almost as much as he can."

Pushing Musharraf to go after Al Qaeda in the tribal
areas may be a good idea despite the risks. But, if
that is the case, it was a good idea in 2002 and 2003.
Why the switch now? Top Pakistanis think they know:
This year, the president's reelection is at stake.

Massoud Ansari reported from Karachi.

John B. Judis is a senior editor at TNR and a visiting
scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace. Spencer Ackerman is an assistant editor at TNR.
Massoud Ansari is a senior reporter for Newsline, a
leading Pakistani news magazine.

Posted by richard at 02:16 PM

William Rivers Pitt: Kenny-Boy and George

On September 10, 2001, America was just about to roast
the Bush-Cheney cabal alive over Enron and the failing
Economy...Then, as George "lucky me" Bush says, he
"hit the Trifectta."
Now Kenny-Boy has finally been indicted...It remains
to be seen whether or not this prosecution will be a
real one...
Regardless, the case against Bush cabal vis-a-vis
Enron, the secret "Energy Task Force" and the phoney
California "energy crisis" must be tried in the court
of public opinion, and Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) is the
man to do it...

William Rivers Pitt, www.truthout.org: Enron made
campaign contributions totaling more than $5.7 million
between 1989 and 2001. Republicans received 73% of
this money. Ken Lay was an ardent supporter of George
W. Bush during Bush's time as Governor of Texas.
During the 2000 campaign, Lay allowed Bush to use
Enron corporate jets to fly from stump speech to stump
speech. So close were these men that Bush granted Lay
a nickname: 'Kenny-Boy.'
Some 15 high-ranking Bush administration officials
owned Enron stock in 2002. The stockholders included
Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, political advisor Karl
Rove, deputy EPA administrator Linda Fisher, Treasury
Undersecretary Peter Fisher and U.S. Trade Rep. Robert
Zoellick. Army Secretary Thomas White was a
vice-chairman for Enron before assuming his post, and
owned between $50 million and $100 million in Enron
stock.
Two other officials had professional connections
to Enron. Former White House economic adviser Lawrence
Lindsey was a consultant for Enron while serving as
managing director of Economic Strategies Inc., a
consulting firm. Zoellick also served on the Enron
advisory council, earning $50,000 a year.
Enron, in many respects, set about to write the
Bush administration's energy policy. Ken Lay gave the
White House a list of his personal recommendations for
key federal energy posts. Lay pushed his list of
suggested members of the federal energy regulatory
commission in the spring of 2001. Two of the people he
suggested - Pat Wood and Nora Brownell - were
appointed by Bush to positions that would directly
affect the fate and fortunes of Enron.
Lay himself was on the short list of potential
appointees for the position of Energy Secretary. The
CBS Enron tapes reveal one trader looking forward to a
Bush win during the 2000 campaign. "It'd be great,"
says one. "I'd love to see Ken Lay Secretary of
Energy." Another trader responded by saying, "When
this election comes, Bush will fucking whack this
shit, man. He won't play this price-cap bullshit."
The infamous secret energy policy meetings run by
Vice President Dick Cheney, the substance of which he
still refuses to reveal, were riddled with Enron
officials and Enron priorities. It has been speculated
that one of the reasons Cheney refuses to divulge the
elements of those meetings is that Enron was wielding
the drafting pen as Bush's energy policy was created.
It has also been speculated that the secrecy
surrounding these meetings is due to the fact that the
not-yet-begun Iraq war, and the resulting
petroleum/pipeline profits to be reaped, played a
large role in the discussions.
The beat goes on and on in this fashion, leading
to an inescapable conclusion. Enron was certainly
among the most crooked, corrupt, twisted companies
ever to hang a sign in the American marketplace. Enron
was, simultaneously, umbilically tied to George W.
Bush and vast swaths of his administration.
Now that Lay has been indicted, those Enron
stockholders still experiencing the length, breadth
and depth of the shaft can hope for a measure of
justice. For the rest of us, we citizens who have to
live in a country whose energy policy was essentially
written by Lay and his pals, we citizens who have to
wonder if our current adventure in Iraq somehow plays
a central role in that Enron-birthed policy, we can
perhaps hope that a thousand days is enough time to
wait before we hear the truth about Kenny-Boy and
George.

Free Martha Stewart, Prosecute the Real Corporate
Criminals, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush
(again!)


http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/070804A.shtml

Kenny-Boy and George
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Wednesday 07 July 2004

You have to love the irony: Since Kerry announced
his VP choice of John Edwards, the Bush campaign has
broadbanded the anti-Edwards slam that he is nothing
more than your basic gutter-dwelling trial lawyer.
This comes blithely on the heels of Bush hiring his
own trial lawyer to protect him during the 70-minute
Oval Office interrogation he endured regarding the
Valerie Plame CIA-outing case some weeks ago. Everyone
hates lawyers until they need one, it seems.

Perhaps Bush doesn't like trial lawyers because a
team of them failed to keep his long-time friend and
financial backer, Kenneth Lay, from getting his hide
nailed to the shed in Houston. According to CNN, Lay
was indicted by a Texas grand jury today for crimes
relating to the apocalyptic Enron scandal. The
indictment is sealed until further notice, so no
determination of the exact criminal charges can be
made.

Damn lawyers.

For those who cannot quite recall the specifics of
Ken Lay and Enron, a bit of background is in order.
Lay, along with Andrew Fastow, Jeffrey Skilling and
some dozens of other high-flying bosses from Enron,
are accused of insider trading, securities fraud, wire
fraud, conspiracy, manipulation of earnings reports to
hide the fact that Enron was hemorrhaging cash from
every pore while they reaped massive salaries and
bonuses, and finally, manipulation of the California
energy market for no other reason than to wring pin
money out of grandmothers who were forced to live in
the dark because they couldn't afford to pay their
Enron-inflated energy bills.

Tape recordings of Enron energy traders were
recently aired by CBS News. In one segment, the
traders can be heard discussing the ins and outs of
manipulating the California energy market. "They're
fucking taking all the money back from you guys?"
complains one Enron employee. "All the money you guys
stole from those poor grandmothers in California?" The
response: "Yeah, grandma Millie, man." Another
response: "Yeah, now she wants her fucking money back
for all the power you've charged right up, jammed
right up her asshole for fucking $250 a megawatt
hour."

Charming.

In filing the largest bankruptcy claim in the
history of the universe, Lay and his merry men cost
investors somewhere in the neighborhood of $30
billion. This wiped out retirement benefits not just
for the Enron employees who were forbidden from
selling their stock (while Lay et al. happily shucked
theirs off to the tune of a $1.1 billion profit), but
also wiped out the retirement portfolios of millions
of Americans who had put their savings into Enron
stock. The resulting carnage on Wall Street, which
erased the accounting giant Arthur Andersen, did even
more financial damage.

Martha Stewart was convicted of crimes that seem
quaint by comparison, and meanwhile Mr. Lay has been
walking free and happy. How did the priorities of the
Justice Department get so far out of whack on this
one? The Enron debacle happened in December of 2001,
and it has taken them almost a thousand days to get an
indictment returned on Lay.

Hm.

Enron made campaign contributions totaling more
than $5.7 million between 1989 and 2001. Republicans
received 73% of this money. Ken Lay was an ardent
supporter of George W. Bush during Bush's time as
Governor of Texas. During the 2000 campaign, Lay
allowed Bush to use Enron corporate jets to fly from
stump speech to stump speech. So close were these men
that Bush granted Lay a nickname: 'Kenny-Boy.'

Some 15 high-ranking Bush administration officials
owned Enron stock in 2002. The stockholders included
Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, political advisor Karl
Rove, deputy EPA administrator Linda Fisher, Treasury
Undersecretary Peter Fisher and U.S. Trade Rep. Robert
Zoellick. Army Secretary Thomas White was a
vice-chairman for Enron before assuming his post, and
owned between $50 million and $100 million in Enron
stock.

Two other officials had professional connections
to Enron. Former White House economic adviser Lawrence
Lindsey was a consultant for Enron while serving as
managing director of Economic Strategies Inc., a
consulting firm. Zoellick also served on the Enron
advisory council, earning $50,000 a year.

Enron, in many respects, set about to write the
Bush administration's energy policy. Ken Lay gave the
White House a list of his personal recommendations for
key federal energy posts. Lay pushed his list of
suggested members of the federal energy regulatory
commission in the spring of 2001. Two of the people he
suggested - Pat Wood and Nora Brownell - were
appointed by Bush to positions that would directly
affect the fate and fortunes of Enron.

Lay himself was on the short list of potential
appointees for the position of Energy Secretary. The
CBS Enron tapes reveal one trader looking forward to a
Bush win during the 2000 campaign. "It'd be great,"
says one. "I'd love to see Ken Lay Secretary of
Energy." Another trader responded by saying, "When
this election comes, Bush will fucking whack this
shit, man. He won't play this price-cap bullshit."

The infamous secret energy policy meetings run by
Vice President Dick Cheney, the substance of which he
still refuses to reveal, were riddled with Enron
officials and Enron priorities. It has been speculated
that one of the reasons Cheney refuses to divulge the
elements of those meetings is that Enron was wielding
the drafting pen as Bush's energy policy was created.
It has also been speculated that the secrecy
surrounding these meetings is due to the fact that the
not-yet-begun Iraq war, and the resulting
petroleum/pipeline profits to be reaped, played a
large role in the discussions.

The beat goes on and on in this fashion, leading
to an inescapable conclusion. Enron was certainly
among the most crooked, corrupt, twisted companies
ever to hang a sign in the American marketplace. Enron
was, simultaneously, umbilically tied to George W.
Bush and vast swaths of his administration.

Now that Lay has been indicted, those Enron
stockholders still experiencing the length, breadth
and depth of the shaft can hope for a measure of
justice. For the rest of us, we citizens who have to
live in a country whose energy policy was essentially
written by Lay and his pals, we citizens who have to
wonder if our current adventure in Iraq somehow plays
a central role in that Enron-birthed policy, we can
perhaps hope that a thousand days is enough time to
wait before we hear the truth about Kenny-Boy and
George.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 02:10 PM

Moore's Ax Falls on a Derelict Media Too: 'Fahrenheit 9/11' exposes 'balance' as a cop-out.

It's the Media, Stupid.

LA Times: In noisily forswearing balance for genuine
fairness, Moore has shamed an American press corps
that, for fear of offending conservatives, refused to
report what Moore was now reporting — everything from
the cursory interviews the FBI conducted with members
of Osama bin Laden's family in America before letting
them leave to the eagerness of big business in
exploiting Iraq to the astonishing fact that only one
of the 535 members of Congress has a child serving in
the military in Iraq. And that shame, added to the
film's success, may be the reason why Moore has not
been summarily dismissed by the mainstream media as a
left-wing shill.
The media know that whatever "Fahrenheit 9/11" exposes
about Bush, it also has exposed something arguably
even more important about them: that balance is itself
bias and that under its cover they have protected a
president whose administration, if examined fairly,
may very well be indefensible.

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-gabler7jul07,1,7449588.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

COMMENTARY
Moore's Ax Falls on a Derelict Media Too: 'Fahrenheit 9/11' exposes 'balance' as a cop-out.
By Neal Gabler

July 7, 2004

No one can accuse documentarian and bedraggled,
beer-bellied gadfly Michael Moore of having a hidden
agenda. He has raised a firestorm of controversy and
generated a torrent of publicity not only by
bludgeoning President Bush with his feature-length
attack, "Fahrenheit 9/11," but also by declaring that
he made the film in hopes of booting Bush from office.

In the end, he isn't likely to affect the presidential
race. But "Fahrenheit 9/11" may have an altogether
different effect: a change in the practice and the
values of journalism. What Moore and the film have
done is take dead aim on one of the most sacred of
journalistic shibboleths: the idea that journalists
are supposed to be fair and balanced. This isn't just
a function of Moore having a point of view to push;
there have always been provocateurs. Rather it is a
function of the film revealing the harm that balance
has done to our public discourse and the distortions
it has promoted.

The words "fair and balanced" have been largely
discredited in recent years because of the Fox News
Channel, which uses them to mean not that Fox takes an
objective, evenhanded approach to the news but that
the cable channel is redressing the purported liberal
bias of the mainstream news media, balancing them. But
Fox aside, the idea of "fair and balanced" is still a
mainstay of most journalistic practice, at least in
theory. Reporters are not supposed to take sides. For
every pro on one side of the scale there must be a con
on the other. If the 9/11 commission declares that
there is absolutely no credible evidence of any
collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and
Al Qaeda, the press must also prominently post Vice
President Dick Cheney's view that there was a
relationship, whether he provides evidence or not. If
the preponderance of scientific opinion says global
warming threatens the environment, the press must
still interview the handful of scientists who dismiss
it. That's just the way it is.

And then into this staid and carefully counterpoised
media culture came Moore, who chortled on "The Daily
Show" recently that he was unfair and unbalanced. But
he was only half right. Obviously "Fahrenheit 9/11" is
not balanced in its approach to Bush. There are no
Bush spokesmen giving the Bush spin. But by the same
token, virtually every factual statement in the film,
as distinguished from Moore's interpretation of those
facts, is accurate. In short, the film isn't balanced,
but it may be fair.

Even before Fox appropriated them, the words "fair and
balanced" had been yoked as if they were somehow
synonymous, but if by "fair" one means objective and
unbiased, then more often than not "fair" and
"balanced" may be mutually exclusive. To cite one
glaring example of just how balance can transmogrify
into unfairness, there is the story of a television
host who once invited Holocaust historian Deborah
Lipstadt on his program and then had a Holocaust
denier as a counterweight, implying that the two sides
were equally credible.

It should come as no surprise that conservatives have
increasingly relied on this little journalistic
loophole. They have come to realize that they can do
all sorts of things, the more egregious the better,
and the press will not call them out because balance,
if not fairness, requires that the press not seem to
be piling on. So the Bush administration can fashion a
prescription drug program that is a shameless giveaway
to the industry or continue to insist that the war in
Iraq is the front line in the war on terror, knowing
full well that the press will not report a giveaway as
a giveaway or a trumped-up link to terror as a
trumped-up link without also giving at least equal
measure to the administration's own spin, even if it
is demonstrably false.

At the same time, the adherence to balance that has so
clearly aided conservatives has made liberals seem
like the hapless fellow in a science fiction movie who
keeps trying to convince everyone that the kindly new
neighbors are actually aliens, only to be dismissed as
a paranoid. Take Bill Clinton. However one felt about
Clinton, it was perfectly obvious that the right had
conspired to gang up on him just as he and Hillary
said, though the press shrugged off the charge. After
all, to privilege it wouldn't have been balanced.

In noisily forswearing balance for genuine fairness,
Moore has shamed an American press corps that, for
fear of offending conservatives, refused to report
what Moore was now reporting — everything from the
cursory interviews the FBI conducted with members of
Osama bin Laden's family in America before letting
them leave to the eagerness of big business in
exploiting Iraq to the astonishing fact that only one
of the 535 members of Congress has a child serving in
the military in Iraq. And that shame, added to the
film's success, may be the reason why Moore has not
been summarily dismissed by the mainstream media as a
left-wing shill.

The media know that whatever "Fahrenheit 9/11" exposes
about Bush, it also has exposed something arguably
even more important about them: that balance is itself
bias and that under its cover they have protected a
president whose administration, if examined fairly,
may very well be indefensible.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Neal Gabler, a senior fellow at the Norman Lear Center
at USC's Annenberg School for Communication, is author
of "Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered
Reality."


If you want other stories on this topic, search the
Archives at latimes.com/archives.

Article licensing and reprint options



Posted by richard at 02:06 PM

July 07, 2004

Rep. Henry Waxman: Free Pass From Congress

Four more US Marines have died in Iraq. Associated Press (AP) reports that "as of Tuesday, July 6, 868 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq last year, according to the Defense Department." The "Coalition" deaths also include 59 British, 18 Italians, 8 Spanish, 6 Bulgarians, 6 Poles, 4 Ukrainians, 3 Slovakians, 2 Thais, 1 Dutch, 1 Dane, 1 Estonian, 1 Hungarian, 1 Latvian, and 1 El Salvadorian...For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich...Knight-Ridder reports that, "still smarting from the 2000 Florida recount, a group of congressional Democrats led by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas has asked the United Nations to monitor this year's presidential election." "We are deeply concerned that the right of U.S. citizens to vote in free and fair elections is again in jeopardy," the lawmakers wrote to Secretary General Kofi Annan...Meanwhile, the "US Mainstream News Media" refuses to provide the CONTEXT and CONTINUITY that should ensure the defeat of the Bush abomination in November 2004...At least, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) doggedly pursues justice...When the history of this humiliating and destructive episode of American political life is written, Waxman's struggle will shine like a bright latern in a very dark place...

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Washington Post: Republican Rep. Ray LaHood aptly characterized recent congressional oversight of the administration: "Our party controls the levers of government. We're not about to go out and look beneath a bunch of rocks to try to cause heartburn."
Republican leaders in Congress have refused to investigate who exposed covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked after her husband, Joe Wilson, challenged the administration's claims that Iraq sought nuclear weapons. They have held virtually no public hearings on the hundreds of misleading claims made by administration officials about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda.
They have failed to probe allegations that administration officials misled Congress about the costs of the Medicare prescription drug bill. And they have ignored the ethical lapses of administration officials, such as the senior Medicare official who negotiated future employment representing drug companies while drafting the prescription drug bill.
The House is even refusing to investigate the horrific Iraq prison abuses. One Republican chairman argued, "America's reputation has been dealt a serious blow around the world by the actions of a select few. The last thing our nation needs now is for others to enflame this hatred by providing fodder and sound bites for our enemies."
Compare the following: Republicans in the House took more than 140 hours of testimony to investigate whether the Clinton White House misused its holiday card database but less than five hours of testimony regarding how the Bush administration treated Iraqi detainees.
There is a simple but deplorable principle at work. In both the Clinton and Bush eras, oversight has been driven by raw partisanship. Congressional leaders have vacillated between the extremes of abusing their investigative powers and ignoring them, depending on the party affiliation of the president.

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


http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A29810-2004Jul5?language=printer

washingtonpost.com
Free Pass From Congress


By Henry A. Waxman

Tuesday, July 6, 2004; Page A19


In the past four years there has been an abrupt reversal in Congress's approach to oversight.

During the Clinton administration, Congress spent millions of tax dollars probing alleged White House wrongdoing. There was no accusation too minor to explore, no demand on the administration too intrusive to make.

Republicans investigated whether the Clinton administration sold burial plots in Arlington National Cemetery for campaign contributions. They examined whether the White House doctored videotapes of coffees attended by President Clinton. They spent two years investigating who hired Craig Livingstone, the former director of the White House security office. And they looked at whether President Clinton designated coal-rich land in Utah as a national monument because political donors with Indonesian coal interests might benefit from reductions in U.S. coal production.

Committees requested and received communications between Clinton and his close advisers, notes of conversations between Clinton and a foreign head of state, internal e-mails from the office of the vice president, and more than 100 sets of FBI interview summaries. Dozens of top Clinton officials, including several White House chiefs of staff and White House counsels, testified before Congress. The Clinton administration provided to Congress more than a million pages of documents in response to investigative inquiries.

At one point the House even created a select committee to investigate whether the Clinton administration sold national security secrets to China, diverting attention from Osama bin Laden and other real threats facing our nation.

When President Clinton was in office, Congress exercised its oversight powers with no sense of proportionality. But oversight of the Bush administration has been even worse: With few exceptions, Congress has abdicated oversight responsibility altogether.

Republican Rep. Ray LaHood aptly characterized recent congressional oversight of the administration: "Our party controls the levers of government. We're not about to go out and look beneath a bunch of rocks to try to cause heartburn."

Republican leaders in Congress have refused to investigate who exposed covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked after her husband, Joe Wilson, challenged the administration's claims that Iraq sought nuclear weapons. They have held virtually no public hearings on the hundreds of misleading claims made by administration officials about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda.

They have failed to probe allegations that administration officials misled Congress about the costs of the Medicare prescription drug bill. And they have ignored the ethical lapses of administration officials, such as the senior Medicare official who negotiated future employment representing drug companies while drafting the prescription drug bill.

The House is even refusing to investigate the horrific Iraq prison abuses. One Republican chairman argued, "America's reputation has been dealt a serious blow around the world by the actions of a select few. The last thing our nation needs now is for others to enflame this hatred by providing fodder and sound bites for our enemies."

Compare the following: Republicans in the House took more than 140 hours of testimony to investigate whether the Clinton White House misused its holiday card database but less than five hours of testimony regarding how the Bush administration treated Iraqi detainees.

There is a simple but deplorable principle at work. In both the Clinton and Bush eras, oversight has been driven by raw partisanship. Congressional leaders have vacillated between the extremes of abusing their investigative powers and ignoring them, depending on the party affiliation of the president.

Our nation needs a more balanced approach. Congressional oversight is essential to our constitutional system of checks and balances. Excessive oversight distracts and diminishes the executive branch. But absence of oversight invites corruption and mistakes. The Founders correctly perceived that concentration of power leads to abuse of power if unchecked.

The congressional leadership is wrong to think that its current hands-off approach protects President Bush. In fact, it has backfired, causing even more harm than the overzealous pursuit of President Clinton. Lack of accountability has contributed to a series of phenomenal misjudgments that have damaged Bush, imperiled our international standing and saddled our nation with mounting debts.

Asking tough questions is never easy, especially if one party controls both Congress and the White House, but avoiding them is no answer. Evenhanded oversight is not unpatriotic; it's Congress's constitutional obligation.

The writer is a Democratic representative from California and ranking minority member of the principal House oversight committee.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company



Posted by richard at 03:33 PM

Edmonds' lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, called the decision "another example of the executive branch's abuse of secrecy to prevent accountability." "The judiciary seems to be unwilling to do anything but capitulate to assertions of national security," Zaid said.

"Out, out damn spot!"

Ted Bridis, Associated Press: "This shows how the separation of power has basically disappeared," Edmonds said in a telephone interview. "The judge ruled on this case without actually this ever being a case."
In his decision, Walton acknowledged that dismissing a lawsuit before the facts of the case can be heard is "Draconian" and said he was throwing out the lawsuit "with great consternation."
"Mindful of the need for virtual unfettered access to the judicial process in a governmental system integrally linked to the rule of law, the court nonetheless concludes that the government has properly invoked the state secrets privilege," Walton ruled.
Edmonds' lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, called the decision "another example of the executive branch's abuse of secrecy to prevent accountability." "The judiciary seems to be unwilling to do anything but capitulate to assertions of national security," Zaid said.

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


http://info.mgnetwork.com/printthispage.cgi?url=http%3A//ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGB1EB7NCWD.html&oaspagename=www.tbo.com/ap/story.htm&image=tbologo80x60.jpg

Jul 6, 2004

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit by Fired FBI Translator
By Ted Bridis
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge threw out a lawsuit Tuesday by a whistle-blower who alleged security lapses in the FBI's translator program, ruling that her claims might expose government secrets that could damage national security.
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said he was satisfied with claims by Attorney General John Ashcroft and a senior FBI official that the civil lawsuit by Sibel Edmonds could expose intelligence-gathering methods and disrupt diplomatic relations with foreign governments.

The judge said he couldn't explain further because his explanation itself would expose sensitive secrets.

Edmonds, a former contract linguist for the FBI, said she will appeal the ruling. She alleged in her lawsuit that she was fired in March 2002 after she complained to FBI managers about shoddy wiretap translations and told them an interpreter with a relative at a foreign embassy might have compromised national security.

Edmonds said the judge dismissed her lawsuit without hearing evidence from her lawyers, although the government's lawyers met with Walton at least twice privately. She noted that Walton, the judge, was appointed by President Bush.

"This shows how the separation of power has basically disappeared," Edmonds said in a telephone interview. "The judge ruled on this case without actually this ever being a case."

In his decision, Walton acknowledged that dismissing a lawsuit before the facts of the case can be heard is "Draconian" and said he was throwing out the lawsuit "with great consternation."

"Mindful of the need for virtual unfettered access to the judicial process in a governmental system integrally linked to the rule of law, the court nonetheless concludes that the government has properly invoked the state secrets privilege," Walton ruled.

Edmonds' lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, called the decision "another example of the executive branch's abuse of secrecy to prevent accountability."

"The judiciary seems to be unwilling to do anything but capitulate to assertions of national security," Zaid said.

The Justice Department's inspector general is investigating whether the FBI retaliated against Edmonds, who was subjected to a security review after she raised allegations of security lapses. The bureau said problems with Edmonds' performance were behind the dismissal.

The FBI translator program has played a significant role in interpreting interviews and intercepts of Osama bin Laden's network since Sept. 11.

AP-ES-07-06-04 1917EDT

This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGB1EB7NCWD.html

Go Back To The Story


Posted by richard at 03:31 PM

Craig Unger: How Many Mistakes Can Newsweek's Michael Isikoff Make?

Even now, and especially now...It's the Media, Stupid.

Craig Unger, www.houseofbush.com: How many mistakes
can Michael Isikoff make? In his zealous campaign to
discredit Fahrenheit 9/11, Newsweek's star
investigative reporter has already made at least seven
errors, distortions and selective omissions of crucial
information...
Perhaps we will never know the answers to all these
questions. But American journalists have a
responsiblity to try to uncover the facts rather than
muddy the waters-- and that includes Michael Isikoff.

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

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July 3, 2004 The Newsweek-Fahrenheit Wars, Part 3

How Many Mistakes Can Newsweek's Michael Isikoff Make?
by Craig Unger

How many mistakes can Michael Isikoff make? In his
zealous campaign to discredit Fahrenheit 9/11,
Newsweek's star investigative reporter has already
made at least seven errors, distortions and selective
omissions of crucial information.

Let's take them one by one.

1) In his first Newsweek piece attacking the movie,
"Under the Hot Lights," which appeared in the June 28
issue of the magazine, Isikoff asserts that I claim
"that bin Laden family members were never interviewed
by the FBI." Isikoff proceeds to attack me for that
claim. Unfortunately for him, I never made it.
Isikoff's assertion is a complete fabrication.

2) The same article also erroneously reports that the
Saudi evacuation "flights didn't begin until Sept.
14—after airspace reopened." As House of Bush, House
of Saud notes, however, the first flight actually took
place a day earlier, on September 13, when
restrictions on private planes were still in place.
Isikoff knew this. I even gave him the names of two
men who were on that flight-- Dan Grossi and Manuel
Perez-- and told him how to get in touch with them.
Earlier, Jean Heller, a reporter for the St.
Petersburg Times, took the time to follow up on my
reporting(see article below). She called Grossi, and
in her subsequent article wrote, "Grossi did say that
Unger's account of his participation in the flight is
accurate."

Rather than try to refute or corroborate my reporting,
however, Isikoff omitted it entirely. The facts
interfered with his argument.

It is worth noting that Jean Heller was also able to
obtain verification of the September 13 flight from
other sources as well. Heller reports that the flight
from Tampa, Florida to Lexington, Kentucky, has
finally been corroborated by authorities at Tampa
International Airport--even though the White House,
the FBI and the FBI repeatedly denied that any such
flights took place.

3) A week after "Under the Hot Lights" appeared,
Newsweek apologized for fabrication number one in its
print edition of the magazine. But the error remains
uncorrected online where it continues to be
desseminated by other media.

Worse, in its "apology," Newsweek amplified the
distortion it made the previous week. This time, the
magazine admits that the September 13 flight did take
place. But the editors again omit crucial information
in order to suggest that the flight is a red herring,
asserting that the flight "took off late on Sept. 13
after restrictions on flying had already been lifted,"
Newsweek says.

In fact, some restrictions had been lifted--but not
all. Commercial aviation slowly resumed on September
13, but at 10:57 am that day, the Federal Aviation
Administration issued a Notice to Airmen stating that
private aviation was still banned. Three planes
violated that order and were forced down by American
military aircraft that day. (See House of Bush, House
of Saud, p. 9) Yet the Saudis were allowed to fly on
the ten passenger Learjet. Far from being irrelevant,
the Tampa to Lexington flight is vital because it
required permission from the highest levels of our
government. Once again, all this information is in the
book, and Isikoff told me he had read it. This
relevant information contradicted Isikoff's thesis.

If you think about it, Isikoff's argument defies
logic. Hundreds of thousands of planes fly each day.
If the Tampa to Lexington flight was just another
normal flight, why would anyone go to a
crisis-stricken White House to get permission for the
Saudis to fly? Yet thanks to Richard Clarke's
testimony before the 9/11 Commission, we know that the
White House did grant permission for the Saudis to
fly.

4) On June 30, Isikoff was at it again, this time in
an online story co-written with Mark Hosenball, "More
Distortions from Michael Moore." (link).

If the basics of journalism are important to you, it
is worth pointing out that Isikoff's story confuses
Carlyle founding partner David Rubenstein with public
relations legend Howard Rubenstein. This is just one
of three names(William Kennard and Caterair are the
others) Isikoff gets wrong in the story. (The article
has since been corrected online.)

5)More to the point, Isikoff's chief target is the
movie's assertion that $1.4 billion in Saudi funds
went to businesses tied to the Bushes and their
friends. As Isikoff notes, House of Bush, House of
Saud is the chief source for this information.

Most of this figure comes from defense contracts to
companies owned by the Carlyle Group in the
mid-nineties, and according to Isikoff, therein lies
the problem. “The movie clearly implies that the
Saudis gave $1.4 billion to the Bushes and their
friends,” Carlyle public relations executive Chris
Ullman tells Newsweek. “ But most of it went to a
Carlyle Group company before [former president George
H.W.] Bush even joined the firm.”

Isikoff accepts Ullman's explanation almost
uncritically, leaving the reader with the impression
that the Bush family and its allies had little or no
relationship with the Carlyle Group until 1998. If
that were true, he might have a point.

But in fact, the Bush-Carlyle relationship began eight
years earlier when the Carlyle Group put George W.
Bush on the board of one of its subsidiaries,
Caterair, in 1990. In 1993, after the Bush-Quayle
administration left office and George H. W. Bush and
James Baker were free to join the private sector, the
Bush family's relationship with the Carlyle Group
began to become substantive.

By the end of that year, key figures at the Carlyle
Group included such powerful Bush colleagues as James
Baker, Frank Carlucci, and Richard Darman. Because
George W. Bush's role at Carlyle had been marginal,
the $1.4 billion figure includes no contracts that
predated the arrival of Baker, Carlucci and Darman at
Carlyle. (These figures are itemized in the appendix
of House of Bush.) With former Secretary of Defense
Carlucci guiding the acquisition of defense companies,
Carlyle finally began making real money from the
Saudis, both through investments from the royal
family, the bin Ladens and other members of the Saudi
elite, and through lucrative defense investments.

6) In addition, Isikoff erroneously dismisses the
relationship between the Bushes and the House of Saud
at the Carlyle Group as a distant one. "Six degrees of
separation" is the term he uses. Yet according to a
December 4, 2003 email from Carlyle's Chris Ullman,
James Baker and George H. W. Bush made a four trips to
Saudi Arabia on Carlyle's behalf, and that does not
include meetings they had with Saudis that took place
in the U.S. During the course of these trips, Ullman
says, former president Bush sometimes met privately
with members of the Saudi Binladen Group. At times,
Carlyle officials have characterized these meetings as
"ceremonial." But in fact, at least $80 million in
investments came from the House of Saud and allies
such as the bin Laden family. It would be unseemly--
and unnecessary-- for former president Bush or James
Baker to actually ask for money from the Saudis at
such meetings. Instead, David Rubenstein's team did
that after Bush and Baker spoke. For a more complete
account of this, see Chapter Ten in House of Bush,
House of Saud.

7) In the same article, Isikoff tries to pit me
against Michael Moore by asserting that my book,
unlike the movie, concludes that the role of James
Bath, a Texas businessman who represented Saudis and
was close to George W. Bush, was not terribly
significant. Isikoff writes, "The movie—which relied
heavily on Unger’s book—fails to note the author’s
conclusion about what to make of the supposed Bin
Laden-Bath-Bush nexus: that it may not mean anything."

Isikoff is wrong again. It is true that no conclusive
evidence has yet answered the specific question of
whether or not bin Laden money actually went from the
bin Ladens to Bath and then into George W. Bush's
first oil company, Arbusto. But beyond that unresolved
issue, the bin Laden-Bath-Bush nexus is crucial to the
birth of the Bush-Saudi relationship. Even if bin
Laden money did not go into Arbusto, Bath introduced
Salem bin Laden and his good friend Khalid bin Mahfouz
to Texas. A host of contacts between them and the
House of Bush ensued. Bin Mahfouz shared financial
interests with James Baker. His associates bailed out
Harken Energy, where George W. Bush made his first
fortune. Money from both the bin Ladens and the bin
Mahfouzes ended up in Carlyle. This relationship is
what House of Bush is about. Isikoff cherry-picks
information that suits his agenda and leaves out the
rest.

In his assault against Fahrenheit, Isikoff does raise
one provocative question, one that many other people
have asked. If the Saudi evacuation flights are so
wrong, how is it that former counterterrorism czar
Richard Clarke, a fierce critic of the Bush White
House, has not had any problems with them. "I thought
the flights were correct,” Clarke said. “The Saudis
had reasonable fear that they might be the subject of
vigilante attacks in the United States after 9/11. And
there is no evidence even to this date that any of the
people who left on those flights were people of
interest to the FBI.”

It is a fair question and it deserves a serious
answer.

If there is a hero in House of Bush, it is Richard
Clarke, a man who understood Al-Qaeda's new
transnational form of terrorism and developed a
forceful strategy against it, but who was thwarted in
both the Clinton Administration(thanks to the Lewinsky
scandal) and in the Bush administration(by being left
out of the loop in the Bush).

But Clarke is also a brilliant and savvy bureaucrat
who is unlikely to characterize decisions in which he
played a role as stupid or wrong. And much as I admire
him, I disagre with him on this issue.

When first interviewed on this subject in 2003, Clarke
said that his approval for evacuating the Saudis had
been conditional on the FBI’ s vetting them. “I asked
[the F.B.I.] to make sure that no one inappropriate
was leaving. I asked them if they had any objection to
Saudis leaving the country at a time when aircraft
were banned from flying.” He noted that he assumed the
F.B.I. had vetted the bin Ladens prior to September
11.

Then he added, “I have no idea if they did a good job.
I'm not in any position to second guess the FBI.”

And there's the rub. Given the long history of errors
made by the FBI in investigating counterterrorism, how
can one possibly accept their infallibility as
unquestioningly as Isikoff does. I interviewed two FBI
agents who participated in the Saudi evacuation and
they made it clear that they did not subject the
passengers to a formal criminal investigation. One
rather astonishing finding of the 9/11 Commission is
that though the rubble was still very much ablaze at
the World Trade Center a few days after the attacks,
the FBI did not even bother to check the Saudi
passenger lists against its terror watch lists.

There are many other unanswered questions. "It is
clear that the Saudi charities were being used as
cover for Al Qaeda, but it is unclear how far up the
chain of authority that went," Clarke said. Do we know
for certain none of the Saudis on the flights could
have shed light on that crucial question? Were any of
them tied to the charities in question? Did any of
them have any information on bin Laden? Did we let a
treasure trove of intelligence leave?

Finally, it is still unclear whether other people in
the White House had knowledge. Do the president and
his men bear no responsibility for leading a thorough
criminal investigation into the worst crime in in
American history?

Perhaps we will never know the answers to all these
questions. But American journalists have a
responsiblity to try to uncover the facts rather than
muddy the waters-- and that includes Michael Isikoff.


Posted by richard at 03:30 PM

9/11 panel stands by Iraq finding

The moment of truth is coming for the 9/11
Commission...It is significant that they have not
backed down on this issue, and indeed, it is
significant that they spoke out on it at all...BUT it
is of far more importance that, in their final report,
they stand behind the truth of Richard Clarke
(R-Reality) in his damning testimony on the pre-9/11
and post-9/11 failures of the Bush abomination's
botched, bungled handling of the "war on terror."

Associated Press: The Sept. 11 commission yesterday
stood by its finding that Al Qaeda had only limited
contact with Iraq before the terrorist attacks, a
determination disputed by Vice President Dick Cheney.
The bipartisan panel issued a one-sentence statement
saying it had access to the same information as
Cheney, who suggested strong ties between Saddam
Hussein and Al Qaeda.
Those ties were a central justification the Bush
administration gave for going to war with Iraq and
were called into question after the commission
released a preliminary report last month. The report
cited contacts between Hussein's regime and Osama bin
Laden but said there was no ''collaborative
relationship."

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


http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/bush/articles/2004/07/07/911_panel_stands_by_iraq_finding/

9/11 panel stands by Iraq finding
By Associated Press | July 7, 2004

WASHINGTON -- The Sept. 11 commission yesterday stood
by its finding that Al Qaeda had only limited contact
with Iraq before the terrorist attacks, a
determination disputed by Vice President Dick Cheney.
The bipartisan panel issued a one-sentence statement
saying it had access to the same information as
Cheney, who suggested strong ties between Saddam
Hussein and Al Qaeda.
Those ties were a central justification the Bush
administration gave for going to war with Iraq and
were called into question after the commission
released a preliminary report last month. The report
cited contacts between Hussein's regime and Osama bin
Laden but said there was no ''collaborative
relationship."

Cheney criticized the finding in a CNBC interview and
said there ''probably" was data about Iraq's links to
terrorists that the commission members did not learn
during their investigation. The commission disputed
that.

''After examining available transcripts of the vice
president's public remarks, the 9/11 commission
believes it has access to the same information the
vice president has seen regarding contacts between Al
Qaeda and Iraq prior to the 9/11 attacks," the
commission said.

© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

Posted by richard at 03:28 PM

July 06, 2004

But Mr. Bush has already presided over a bust. For the first time since 1932, employment is lower in the summer of a presidential election year than it was on the previous Inauguration Day.

Yes, the LNS wanted Wes Clark (D-NATO), BUT Sen. John
F. Kerry has chosen Sen. John Edwards (D-North
Carolina), the son of a mill worker, who built his fame
and fortune as a trial lawyer in pursuit of economic
justice for the vicitms of big corporations, to pursue
the prosecution of the Bush cabal for its criminal
negligence on the central issues of NATIONAL SECURITY,
ECONOMIC SECURITY and ENVIRONMENTAL SECURITY. The
Kerry-Edwards ticket, composed of a highly decorated war hero and a highly successful champion of the downtrodden, has established itself as the anti-dote to the Bush abomination on the three C's already in play, CREDIBILITY, COMPETENCE and now CHARACTER, soon to be followed by a fourth C: CORRUPTION (i.e. Halliburton, Enron, the phoney
"California energy crisis," etc. No one could work the
court of public opinion better than Edwards, IF he
goes for the jugular...

Paul Krugman, New York Times: But Mr. Bush has already presided over a bust. For the first time since 1932, employment is lower in the summer of a presidential election year than it was on the previous Inauguration Day. Americans badly need a boom to make up the lost ground. And we're not getting it When March's numbers came in much better than
expected, I cautioned readers not to make too much of
one good month. Similarly, we shouldn't make too much
of June's disappointment. The question is whether,
taking a longer perspective, the economy is performing
well. And the answer is no.
If you want a single number that tells the story, it's the percentage of adults who have jobs. When Mr. Bush took office, that number stood at 64.4. By last August it had fallen to 62.2 percent. In June, the number was 62.3. That is, during Mr. Bush's first 30 months, the job situation deteriorated drastically. Last summer it stabilized, and since then it may have improved slightly. But jobs are still very scarce, with little relief in sight.

Restore Fiscal Responsibility to the White House, Show
Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/06/opinion/06KRUG.html


July 6, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Bye-Bye, Bush Boom
By PAUL KRUGMAN

When does optimism — the Bush campaign's favorite word
these days — become an inability to face facts? On
Friday, President Bush insisted that a seriously
disappointing jobs report, which fell far short of the
pre-announcement hype, was good news: "We're
witnessing steady growth, steady growth. And that's
important. We don't need boom-or-bust-type growth."

But Mr. Bush has already presided over a bust. For the
first time since 1932, employment is lower in the
summer of a presidential election year than it was on
the previous Inauguration Day. Americans badly need a
boom to make up the lost ground. And we're not getting
it.

When March's numbers came in much better than
expected, I cautioned readers not to make too much of
one good month. Similarly, we shouldn't make too much
of June's disappointment. The question is whether,
taking a longer perspective, the economy is performing
well. And the answer is no.

If you want a single number that tells the story, it's
the percentage of adults who have jobs. When Mr. Bush
took office, that number stood at 64.4. By last August
it had fallen to 62.2 percent. In June, the number was
62.3. That is, during Mr. Bush's first 30 months, the
job situation deteriorated drastically. Last summer it
stabilized, and since then it may have improved
slightly. But jobs are still very scarce, with little
relief in sight.

Bush campaign ads boast that 1.5 million jobs were
added in the last 10 months, as if that were a
remarkable achievement. It isn't. During the Clinton
years, the economy added 236,000 jobs in an average
month. Those 1.5 million jobs were barely enough to
keep up with a growing working-age population.

In the spring, it seemed as if the pace of job growth
was accelerating: in March and April, the economy
added almost 700,000 jobs. But that now looks like a
blip — a one-time thing, not a break in the trend. May
growth was slightly below the Clinton-era average, and
June's numbers — only 112,000 new jobs, and a decline
in working hours — were pretty poor.

What about overall growth? After two and a half years
of slow growth, real G.D.P. surged in the third
quarter of 2003, growing at an annual rate of more
than 8 percent. But that surge appears to have been
another blip. In the first quarter of 2004, growth was
down to 3.9 percent, only slightly above the
Clinton-era average. Scattered signs of weakness —
rising new claims for unemployment insurance, sales
warnings at Target and Wal-Mart, falling numbers for
new durable goods orders — have led many analysts to
suspect that growth slowed further in the second
quarter.

And economic growth is passing working Americans by.
The average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers
rose only 1.7 percent over the past year, lagging
behind inflation. The president of Aetna, one of the
biggest health insurers, recently told investors,
"It's fair to say that a lot of the jobs being created
may not be the jobs that come with benefits." Where is
the growth going? No mystery: after-tax corporate
profits as a share of G.D.P. have reached a level not
seen since 1929.

What should we be doing differently? For three years
many economists have argued that the most effective
job-creating policies would be increased aid to state
and local governments, extended unemployment insurance
and tax rebates for lower- and middle-income families.
The Bush administration paid no attention — it never
even gave New York all the aid Mr. Bush promised after
9/11, and it allowed extended unemployment insurance
to lapse. Instead, it focused on tax cuts for the
affluent, ignoring warnings that these would do little
to create jobs.

After good job growth in March and April, the
administration declared its approach vindicated. That
was premature, to say the least. Whatever boost the
economy got from the tax cuts is now behind us, and
given the size of the budget deficit, another big tax
cut is out of the question. It's time to change the
policy mix — to rescind some of those upper-income
cuts and pursue the policies we should have been
following all along.

One last point: government policies could do a lot
about the failure of new jobs to come with health
benefits, a huge source of anxiety for many American
families. John Kerry is right to make health care a
central plank of his platform. I'll analyze his
proposals in a future column.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home |
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Top

Posted by richard at 01:08 PM

Ivan Medina fought back tears during a recent screening of Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. A former marine who fought in the first wave of the war in Iraq, he lost his twin brother in an ambush on the streets of Baghdad.

Three more US soldiers have died in Iraq. For what? A
neo-con wet dream and a Three Stooges Reich...Would
you have believed that a political documentary could
have grossed $60 million already, and be second only
to Spider Man #2, after two weeks in the theatres?
Yes, there is an Electoral Uprising coming...

Damian Fowler, BBC: Ivan Medina fought back tears during a recent screening of Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. A former marine who fought in the first wave of the war in Iraq, he lost his twin brother in an ambush on the streets of Baghdad. The documentary, which raises questions
about the decision to invade Iraq, has fired up Mr
Medina's anger towards the Bush administration. "This
film portrays the truth," he says. "It asks the hard
questions that need to be asked. Why did we go to
Iraq? Why did we forget al-Qaeda? Why did we forget
Osama Bin Laden?

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

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/3860303.stm


Moore film fires up America
By Damian Fowler
BBC correspondent in New York


Ivan Medina fought back tears during a recent
screening of Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit
9/11. A former marine who fought in the first wave of
the war in Iraq, he lost his twin brother in an ambush
on the streets of Baghdad.

The documentary, which raises questions about the
decision to invade Iraq, has fired up Mr Medina's
anger towards the Bush administration.
"This film portrays the truth," he says.

"It asks the hard questions that need to be asked. Why
did we go to Iraq? Why did we forget al-Qaeda? Why did
we forget Osama Bin Laden?

"They haven't clarified why we went to Iraq; they
haven't given us the reasons. They hid and hid."

The White House has already branded the film
"outrageously false".

Outrage

Mr Medina was joined by other military family members
who shared his outrage.

Until recently, voices such as these - not typical
die-hard liberals - have been less than conspicuous in
challenging the government.


Anything that moves votes is significant, especially
in an election like this where margins are not great
Henry Sheinkopf,
Campaign strategist

Fahrenheit 9/11 has occasioned a robust political
debate. It is a piece of agitprop which its supporters
hope will translate into a definitive defeat for
President Bush in November.
But could it really have an impact?

"It will have a political effect," says Henry
Sheinkopf, a veteran campaign strategist who advised
Democratic political campaigns including the
Clinton-Gore run in 1996.

"The film itself is effectively one long television
commercial which uses propaganda to make its point.
So, anything that moves votes is significant,
especially in an election like this, where margins are
not great," Mr Sheinkopf says.

Negative campaign advertisements tend to have more
impact than positive ones, he adds.

And given the massive amount of hype the film has
received, not to mention the record box-office take,
it does seem possible that a film on this scale might
reach undecided voters.

Rallying cry


The liberal political action committee MoveOn.org has
used Fahrenheit 9/11 as a rallying point to organise
more than 4,000 supporters to hold house parties - at
least one in each of the 50 states, plus Washington
DC.
MoveOn said that 50,000 partygoers celebrated the
documentary and collectively listened to a nationwide
conference call with Michael Moore.

"These parties are to celebrate the film's success,"
Eli Pariser, the executive director of MoveOn, told
the New York Times.

"But they are also to take the momentum gathered
around the movie and direct it towards activities that
will have a concrete effect on the election."

Amongst other forms of practical politicking, Mr Moore
urged supporters to "adopt five non-voters and bring
them to the polls."

Voter registration drives have appeared outside
cinemas across the country urging people to
participate.


'Fact and fiction'

But the Bush camp says it is not concerned.

"The American people can tell the difference between
fact and fiction," campaign spokesman Terry Holt told
the Washington Post.


"This election is about serious issues, and I don't
think most American voters consider Michael Moore a
serious analyst of American politics."
Meanwhile, a conservative group called Move America
Forward have set up their own screenings of a Disney
documentary called America's Heart and Soul, which
celebrates American patriotism.

Conservative websites such as Moorewatch.com assert
that "Moore is a disingenuous danger to this country,
and his assumptions and assertions should not go
unchallenged."

And a book called Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid
White Man, by David T Hardy and Jason Clarke, is
generating interest, according to bookseller
Amazon.com.

The title plays on that of two liberal best-sellers,
Mr Moore's own Stupid White Men and Al Franken's Rush
Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.

There is also a documentary in the works called
Michael Moore Hates America, directed by filmmaker
Mike Wilson.

He promises that it "will challenge our audiences to
rethink the documentary and will reinvigorate their
passion for the possibilities that the United States
offers us all".


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/3860303.stm

Published: 2004/07/05 12:00:06 GMT

© BBC MMIV

Posted by richard at 01:04 PM

July 05, 2004

Translator in eye of storm on retroactive classification

"Out, out damn spot!"

Anne E. Kornblut, Boston Globe: Sifting through old classified materials in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, FBI translator Sibel Edmonds said, she made an alarming discovery: Intercepts relevant to the terrorist plot, including references to skyscrapers, had been overlooked because they were badly translated into English...
Edmonds, a naturalized US citizen who grew up in Turkey and Iran, said in an interview last week that the ordeal has made her grow disillusioned with the ''magical system of checks and balances and separation of powers" that had made her so drawn to the United States. ''What I came to see is that it exists only in name," Edmonds said. ''Where is the oversight? Who is there to stop him [Ashcroft]?"
In a development that legal analysts say is disturbing, a pattern of retroactive classifications has begun to emerge in recent years, all of them pertaining to -- but not limited to -- national security. For example, Representative John F. Tierney, Democrat of Massachusetts, is locked in an ongoing battle with the Defense Department over testing requirements for a national missile defense system that were made public in 2000 but have since been declared classified.

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

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/07/05/translator_in_eye_of_storm_on_retroactive_classification/


Translator in eye of storm on retroactive classification
By Anne E. Kornblut, Globe Staff | July 5, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Sifting through old classified materials in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, FBI translator Sibel Edmonds said, she made an alarming discovery: Intercepts relevant to the terrorist plot, including references to skyscrapers, had been overlooked because they were badly translated into English.

Edmonds, 34, who is fluent in Turkish and Farsi, said she quickly reported the mistake to an FBI superior. Five months later, after flagging what she said were several other security lapses in her division, she was fired. Now, after more than two years of investigations and congressional inquiries, Edmonds is at the center of an extraordinary storm over US classification rules that sheds new light on the secrecy imperative supported by members of the Bush administration.

In a rare maneuver, Attorney General John Ashcroft has ordered that information about the Edmonds case be retroactively classified, even basic facts that have been posted on websites and discussed openly in meetings with members of Congress for two years. The Department of Justice also invoked the seldom-used ''state secrets" privilege to silence Edmonds in court. She has been blocked from testifying in a lawsuit brought by victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and was allowed to speak to the panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks only behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, the FBI has yet to release its internal investigation into her charges. And the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the bureau, has been stymied in its attempt to get to the bottom of her allegations. Now that the case has been retroactively classified, lawmakers are wary of discussing the details, for fear of overstepping legal bounds.

''I'm alarmed that the FBI is reaching back in time and classifying information it provided two years ago," Senator Charles E. Grassley, a Republican from Iowa and a leading advocate for Edmonds, said last Friday. ''Frankly, it looks like an attempt to impede legitimate oversight of a serious problem at the FBI."

Edmonds, a naturalized US citizen who grew up in Turkey and Iran, said in an interview last week that the ordeal has made her grow disillusioned with the ''magical system of checks and balances and separation of powers" that had made her so drawn to the United States. ''What I came to see is that it exists only in name," Edmonds said. ''Where is the oversight? Who is there to stop him [Ashcroft]?"

In a development that legal analysts say is disturbing, a pattern of retroactive classifications has begun to emerge in recent years, all of them pertaining to -- but not limited to -- national security. For example, Representative John F. Tierney, Democrat of Massachusetts, is locked in an ongoing battle with the Defense Department over testing requirements for a national missile defense system that were made public in 2000 but have since been declared classified.

Bush administration officials argue that the three-year campaign against terrorism has required unprecedented levels of confidentiality, especially inside intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Critics do not dispute the need for heightened secrecy in the current environment. Edmonds is careful not to discuss standard classified information, such as methods the FBI used to obtain the material she translated.

But she and a growing number of her defenders -- who include a government watchdog group, some Sept. 11 families, and Grassley, a Bush administration ally -- maintain that the secrecy imposed on her case has jeopardized national security. One of Edmonds's assertions to her superiors included suspicions of espionage within the FBI, which she said the bureau has not addressed.

''Their [the administration's] mantra seems to be that secrecy promotes safety, and I don't think that's true," said David Vladeck, a Georgetown University law professor who is representing the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight in a lawsuit challenging the retroactive classification. ''At times, I think secrecy breeds suspicion."

Edmonds's native skills drew her to languages. Born in Istanbul, raised for seven years in Tehran, with Azerbaijani relatives on her father's side, she speaks three languages crucial to intelligence-gathering in the Middle East. She does not speak Arabic. But her specialty languages were no less important after Sept. 11, 2001, when investigators began tracking Al Qaeda and other terrorist connections in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Iran.

She had a job application at the FBI before Sept. 11, and it was accelerated after the attacks so she could start work Sept. 20. One of her main assignments, she said, was to expedite requested translations from field agents, including material that a field agent in Arizona submitted for retranslation on a suspicion that it had not been examined thoroughly before Sept. 11.

''After I retranslated it verbatim, I went to my supervisor to say, 'I need to talk to this agent over a secure line because what we came across in this retranslating is gigantic, it has specific information about certain specific activity related to 9/11,' " Edmonds recalled. ''The supervisor blocked this retranslation from being sent to the same agent. The reasoning this [supervisor] gave me was, 'How would you like it if another translator did this same thing to you? The original translator is going to be held responsible.' "

In the end, Edmonds said, the field agent who requested a reinterpretation of the intelligence material ''knew there were things that were missing, and yet he was reassured by the Washington field office that the original translation was fine."

Edmonds said the intercept jumped out at her because it contained references to skyscrapers and the US visa application process. Such references might have triggered suspicions at Immigration and Naturalization Services before Sept. 11 if they had been correctly translated, she said, but they seemed unrelated before the attacks, in part because they were gathered during the course of a criminal investigation.

[A Phoenix FBI agent was the source of a memo before the attacks warning about Middle Easterners taking flying lessons. Edmonds does not know whether the same agent is related to her case.]

Edmonds said she made another troubling discovery: One of her colleagues admitted being a member of an organization with ties to the Middle East that was a target of an FBI investigation. The colleague, also a Turkish translator, invited Edmonds to join the group, assuring her that her FBI credentials would guarantee admission. Edmonds declined to name the organization, because she said it has been under surveillance.

Two months later, Edmonds said, one of the agents she worked with found hundreds of pages of translation that her Turkish-speaking colleague had stamped ''not pertinent" and had therefore gone untranslated.

The agent asked Edmonds to retranslate her colleague's work. ''We came across 17 pieces of extremely specific and important information that was blocked, and at that point, this agent and I went to the FBI security department in the Washington field office, and found out my supervisor had not reported my original complaints," she said.

Edmonds said she was repeatedly warned that she would be opening a ''can of worms" if she kept filing security complaints, but she continued reporting lapses to ever-higher levels of management until, in March 2002, she wrote a letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, she said. She also contacted the Senate Judiciary Committee. In response, the FBI confiscated her home computer, challenged her to take a polygraph test, which she said she passed, and terminated her contract.

A Justice Department spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Previously, officials have said Edmonds was fired for disruptive behavior on the job.

Over the summer of 2002, the Senate Judiciary Committee requested and received unclassified briefings about her case by FBI officials, in which Senate aides said the FBI confirmed much of what Edmonds had alleged. Senators Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Grassley, the Republican, wrote letters to Ashcroft, Mueller, and Glenn A. Fine, the inspector general at the Department of Justice, requesting immediate attention to Edmonds's case. They posted their letters on their websites, and Edmonds went public with her story, which was featured in a segment on ''60 Minutes" in October 2002.

Edmonds also filed suit against the Justice Department on First Amendment grounds. That prompted Ashcroft to invoke the rare ''state secrets" privilege, arguing ''the litigation creates substantial risks of disclosing classified and sensitive national security information," a Department of Justice news release said.

Edmonds's lawsuits have since been stalled in court, but other Sept. 11-related cases, involving the independent panel's investigation and civil lawsuits involving victims' relatives, have put her saga back in the spotlight. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently e-mailed staff members informing them the FBI now considers the information related to Edmonds classified and warning them not to disseminate it anymore.

Grassley's and Leahy's offices have removed their letters to Justice officials from their websites, though the letters are still available on the Internet.

Anne E. Kornblut can be reached at akornblut@globe.com.


© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Posted by richard at 03:59 PM

Critics say Iraq fund was suspiciously tapped before handover

850+ US soldiers killed, 16K + US soldiers wounded, Abu Ghraib, Chalabi, Plame, WMD lies, pre-9/11 incompetence, Fraudida II, Medifraud, the prostitution of the EPA, the gutting of the Federal surplus, Enron and the phoney "California energy crisis," Halliburton...drip, drip, drip...CHARACTER? COMPETENCE? CREDIBILITY?

Mark Matthews, Baltimore Sun: U.S. officials in charge of the Development Fund for Iraq drained all but $900 million from the $20 billion fund by late June in what one watchdog group has called an “11th-hour splurge.”
An international monitoring board is planning an audit of money from the development fund that was spent on contracts for Iraq’s reconstruction that were approved without competitive bidding...
In a report this week, the General Accounting Office said “contracts worth billions of dollars in Iraqi funds have not been independently reviewed.” It also questioned what control over U.S.-approved contracts would now exist with the handover of formal sovereignty to Iraqis...
U.S. authorities have not identified all the contractors hired. But they have told international monitors that some of the contracts were awarded without competitive bidding to Halliburton, the Texas-based company formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney. Halliburton has been at the center of Pentagon and congressional inquiries...
“Perhaps they prefer to have the flexibility to give away contracts to whichever companies they want on whatever terms they want,” said Svetlana Tsalik, director of the George Soros-funded Revenue Watch, part of the Open Society Institute. Soros, a billionaire financier, is a harsh critic of the administration and has contributed heavily to groups seeking to defeat President Bush.

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


http://www.detnews.com/2004/nation/0407/03/nation-202168.htm

Saturday, July 3, 2004


Critics say Iraq fund was suspiciously tapped before handover


By Mark Matthews / The Baltimore Sun

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WASHINGTON --

Beth Marple, a U.S. spokeswoman in Baghdad, Iraq, Beth Marple, said the rapid spending was agreed on between the now-dissolved Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi officials. She said, “The unfunded needs of the Iraqi people demanded that these dollars be put to work.”

U.S. authorities have not identified all the contractors hired. But they have told international monitors that some of the contracts were awarded without competitive bidding to Halliburton, the Texas-based company formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney. Halliburton has been at the center of Pentagon and congressional inquiries.

Some critics have suggested that American authorities tapped the Iraqi money to avoid the stricter controls Congress demanded on the spending of U.S. tax dollars, after reports last year of overcharges by Pentagon contractors.

“Perhaps they prefer to have the flexibility to give away contracts to whichever companies they want on whatever terms they want,” said Svetlana Tsalik, director of the George Soros-funded Revenue Watch, part of the Open Society Institute. Soros, a billionaire financier, is a harsh critic of the administration and has contributed heavily to groups seeking to defeat President Bush.

In recent reports, Revenue Watch and the British-based group Christian Aid faulted the now-disbanded U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority for making commitments on spending of Iraqi oil revenue that will outlast the occupation. Revenue Watch referred to the spending as “the CPA’s 11th-hour splurge.”

Christian Aid faulted U.S. occupation authorities for failing to disclose full details of the spending. The group said the authorities also might have understated by as much as $3 billion the amount of Iraqi oil revenue that went into the development fund.

“This lack of accountability creates an environment ripe for corruption and theft at every level,” Christian Aid said in a report titled Fueling Suspicion: the Coalition and Iraq’s Oil Billions.

The money in question is in the Development Fund for Iraq. The fund was set up by the United Nations Security Council last year after Bush declared major combat over in Iraq. The money comes mostly from new Iraqi oil revenue and leftover oil revenue that was put into the U.N.-run Oil for Food program before the United States invaded Iraq.

The development fund has been spent in several ways. As of May, more than half the money had gone to operate Iraqi ministries. The rest went to relief and reconstruction projects; out of that money, about $350 million was put at the discretion of U.S. military commanders for projects intended to improve relations with Iraqis.

Until the handover, the provisional authority had the ultimate say over how the money was used. Decisions were made in meetings with Iraqi officials appointed by the provisional authority and the U.S.-picked Iraqi Governing Council.

Noting the latest reports by the provisional authority, Joseph Christoff, who directs the GAO’s international affairs section, said that of the $20 billion in the fund, all but $900 million had been committed as of late June. The GAO is an investigative arm of Congress.

“They clearly spent (development fund money) at a much faster pace than the appropriated dollars,” Christoff said in a telephone interview. The GAO report said that as of April, the provisional authority had spent nearly $13 billion from the fund on reconstruction activities.

By that time, the authority had spent only $8.2 billion out of U.S. tax dollars -- money that likely would invite greater congressional scrutiny.

The Security Council created an International Advisory and Monitory Board for Iraq to watch how the development fund was spent. The board is made up of representatives of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

In February, the board began to question the awarding of no-bid contracts awarded by the provisional authority with money from the development fund, according to minutes of the board’s meetings.

The next month, the board was told that Halliburton won some of the contracts without competitive bidding. The provisional authority “indicated that as a general rule, effective January 2004 contracts were no longer awarded without competitive bidding,” according to the board’s minutes.

The board demanded that the provisional authority turn over audits of the uncompetitive contracts. None had been provided by its June meeting. The board then delivered a public rebuke of the U.S. authorities.

In a statement issued June 22, the board said it “regrets, despite its repeated requests, the delay in receiving reports on audits undertaken by various agencies on sole-sourced contracts” paid for by the development fund. The board chose to launch its own audit “to determine the extent of sole-sourced contracts.”

Marple, in a telephone interview from Baghdad, said she could not immediately explain why the provisional authority used development fund money for no-bid contracts or why it had been slow to provide information to the monitors.

The new Iraqi government is now in control of deciding how Iraqi oil revenue is spent, although the international monitoring board will continue its oversight role.

Posted by richard at 11:54 AM

Rumsfeld gave go-ahead for Abu Ghraib tactics, says general in charge

Yes, the stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush White
House, and the stench of the Bush White House is on
Abu Ghraib. Here is more evidence from the trail, still fresh,
illuminated by The Sentinel (Santa Clarita, California) and the Telegraph (London, UK), of a story already abandoned by the "US mainstream news media." Disgraceful cowardice.

Julian Coman, Telegraph: In an interview with The
Signal newspaper of Santa Clarita, California, which
was also broadcast on a local television channel
yesterday, Gen Karpinski was asked if she knew of
documents showing that Mr Rumsfeld approved
"particular interrogation techniques" for Abu Ghraib.
Gen Karpinski was interviewed for four hours by Maj-
Gen Antonio Taguba, who was ordered to investigate
abuse at Abu Ghraib and produced a damning report,
which heavily criticised Gen Karpinski for a lack of
leadership at the prison.
During inquiries into the scandal, she has repeatedly
maintained that the treatment of Iraqi detainees was
taken out of her hands by higher-ranking officials,
acting on orders from Washington.
"Since all this came out," she replied, "I've not only
seen, but I've been asked about some of those
documents, that he [Mr Rumsfeld] signed and agreed
to."
Asked whether the documents have been made public, Gen
Karpinski replied "No" and went on to describe the
methods approved in them as involving "dogs, food
deprivation and sleep deprivation".
The Pentagon has consistently denied that Mr Rumsfeld
authorised the transfer of harsher techniques of
interrogation and detention from Guantanamo Bay to Abu
Ghraib, where all prisoners are supposed to be
protected by the Geneva Conventions.

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

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/04/wtort04.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/04/ixnewstop.html

Rumsfeld gave go-ahead for Abu Ghraib tactics, says general in charge
By Julian Coman in Washington
(Filed: 04/07/2004)


The former head of the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad
has for the first time accused the American Secretary
of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, of directly authorising
Guantanamo Bay-style interrogation tactics.

Brig-Gen Janis Karpinski, who commanded the 800th
Military Police Brigade, which is at the centre of the
Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, said that documents
yet to be released by the Pentagon would show that Mr
Rumsfeld personally approved the introduction of
harsher conditions of detention in Iraq.


Brig Gen Karpinski [left] with Donald Rumsfeld, after
Guantanamo chief jailer Maj Gen Miller's visit to Iraq


In an interview with The Signal newspaper of Santa
Clarita, California, which was also broadcast on a
local television channel yesterday, Gen Karpinski was
asked if she knew of documents showing that Mr
Rumsfeld approved "particular interrogation
techniques" for Abu Ghraib.

Gen Karpinski was interviewed for four hours by Maj-
Gen Antonio Taguba, who was ordered to investigate
abuse at Abu Ghraib and produced a damning report,
which heavily criticised Gen Karpinski for a lack of
leadership at the prison.

During inquiries into the scandal, she has repeatedly
maintained that the treatment of Iraqi detainees was
taken out of her hands by higher-ranking officials,
acting on orders from Washington.

"Since all this came out," she replied, "I've not only
seen, but I've been asked about some of those
documents, that he [Mr Rumsfeld] signed and agreed
to."

Asked whether the documents have been made public, Gen
Karpinski replied "No" and went on to describe the
methods approved in them as involving "dogs, food
deprivation and sleep deprivation".

The Pentagon has consistently denied that Mr Rumsfeld
authorised the transfer of harsher techniques of
interrogation and detention from Guantanamo Bay to Abu
Ghraib, where all prisoners are supposed to be
protected by the Geneva Conventions.

Replying to Gen Karpinski's allegations, a spokesman
for the Pentagon told The Telegraph: "Mr Rumsfeld did
not approve any interrogation procedures in Iraq. The
Secretary of Defence was not in the approval chain for
interrogation procedures, which would have remained
within the purview of Central Command, headed by Gen
John Abizaid."

The Bush administration has been dogged by suspicions
that harsh interrogation methods employed at
Guantanamo were transferred to Abu Ghraib, as Iraqi
insurgents began to score significant hits against
coalition forces last year. In May, before the Senate
armed services committee, Stephen Cambone, the
under-secretary of defence for intelligence, publicly
denied charges that Mr Rumsfeld had approved
Guantanamo-style interrogations in Iraq.

Last month, the White House took the unusual step of
releasing hundreds of internal documents and debates
concerning interrogation procedures at Guantanamo.
Extreme interrogation techniques at the camp, it was
revealed, now require the explicit approval of Mr
Rumsfeld. The Bush administration insists, however,
that the notorious abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib
was an aberration on the part of a handful of rogue
soldiers. A Pentagon spokesman said that all relevant
documents on interrogation techniques in Iraq would be
made public but could not say when.

Gen Karpinski has been suspended from duty pending
ongoing investigations into abuse of prisoners at the
Baghdad prison. In a recent interview with the BBC,
she complained of being turned into a scapegoat for
the scandal, arguing that the running of the prison
was taken out of her hands.

In a separate embarrassment for the Department of
Defence last week, six recent studies, leaked to the
Los Angeles Times, heavily criticised the military for
failing to screen adequately potential recruits with
violent and even criminal backgrounds.

The reports were written by a senior Pentagon
consultant. One was delivered in September 2003, weeks
before the worst abuses of Iraqi prisoners took place.
The title of the report was Reducing the Threat of
Destructive Behaviour by Military Personnel.

In it the author, Eli Flyer, a former senior analyst
at the Department of Defence, stated: "There are
military personnel with pre-service and in-service
records that clearly establish a pattern of
sub-standard behaviour. These individuals constitute a
high-risk group for destructive behaviour and need to
be identified."

According to a 1998 report by Mr Flyer, one third of
military recruits had arrest records. A 1995 report
found that a quarter of serving army personnel had
committed one or more criminal offences while on
active duty. In his 2003 study, Mr Flyer said that
military personnel officers had been reluctant to
toughen up screening procedures, fearing that the
result would be a failure to meet recruitment goals.

Curtis Gilroy, who oversees military recruiting policy
for the Pentagon, told the Los Angeles Times: "It's
hard to pick out all the bad apples, but we are
striving to improve the system and are doing so."

27 June 2004: Disgraced Abu Ghraib guard claims she
is seen as a heroine
25 June 2004: US Abu Ghraib officer blames 'CIA' for
abuse
24 June 2004: Pentagon sanctioned harsh interrogation
of suspects


Previous story: New Iraq government accuses Iran and
Syria of backing insurgents
Next story: In defence of the indefensible

Related reports

British 'rescued Iraqis from US maltreatment'

External links

US Department of Defence



© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004. Terms &
Conditions of reading.
Commercial information. Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Posted by richard at 09:29 AM

Der Spiegel: More Than 100 Children Imprisoned; Report Of Abuse By U.S. Soldiers

Yes, the stench of Abu Ghraib is on the Bush White
House, and the stench of the Bush White House is on
Abu Ghraib. Here is more evidence from the trail,
still fresh, illuminated by Der Speigel, a credible
and global source, and posted (translated by a reader) on Buzzflash, a bastion of the Information Rebellion, and wholly ignored by the "US mainstream news media." Disgraceful cowardice.

Der Speigal/Buzzflash: According to information from
the International Red Cross, more than a 100 children
are imprisoned in Iraq, including in the infamous
prison Abu Ghraib. The German TV magazine "Report"
revealed that there has been abuse of children and
youth by the coalition forces...
The TV Magazine also reported of evidence and eye
witness reports according to which U.S. soldiers also
abused children and youthful detainees. Samuel
Provance, a staff sergeant stationed in the now
infamous Abu Ghraib prison said that interrogating
officers had pressured a 15 or 16 year old girl.
Military police had only intervened when the girl was
already half undressed. On another occasion, a 16 year
old was soaked with water, driven through the cold,
and then smeared with mud.
UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, confirmed
the detention of Iraqi children by foreign military
according to "Report" which cited an interim
memorandum by the organization, The as yet unreleased
report, which is dated June 2004, is quoted as
follows: "Children who were detained in the cities of
Kerbala and Basra because of alleged activities
against the occupying forces were reportedly routinely
sent to a detention camp at Umm Kasr. The
classification of these children as detainees is
worrisome because it includes unspecified length of
detention without contact to their families pending
further proceedings or legal actions".

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


http://www.buzzflash.com/buzzscripts/buzz.dll/sub2


BUZZFLASH REPORT Monday July 5, 2004 at 8:10:48 AM


Der Spiegel: More Than 100 Children Imprisoned; Report Of Abuse By U.S. Soldiers
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION

July 5, 2004

BUZZFLASH NOTE: A BuzzFlash Reader translated this
article from the respected German publication, "Der
Spiegel."

Original Article in German Here

(Translated by SAB, NY)

MORE THAN 100 CHILDREN IMPRISONED; REPORT OF ABUSE BY
U.S. SOLDIERS.

According to information from the International Red
Cross, more than a 100 children are imprisoned in
Iraq, including in the infamous prison Abu Ghraib.

The German TV magazine "Report" revealed that there
has been abuse of children and youth by the coalition
forces.

Mainz - "Between January and May of this year we've
registered 107 children, during 19 visits in 6
different detention locations" the representative of
the International Red Cross, Florian Westphal, told
the TV station SWR's Magazine "Report Mainz". He noted
that these were places of detention controlled by
coalition troops. According to Westphal the number of
children held captive could be even higher.

The TV Magazine also reported of evidence and eye
witness reports according to which U.S. soldiers also
abused children and youthful detainees. Samuel
Provance, a staff sergeant stationed in the now
infamous Abu Ghraib prison said that interrogating
officers had pressured a 15 or 16 year old girl.
Military police had only intervened when the girl was
already half undressed. On another occasion, a 16 year
old was soaked with water, driven through the cold,
and then smeared with mud.

UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, confirmed
the detention of Iraqi children by foreign military
according to "Report" which cited an interim
memorandum by the organization, The as yet unreleased
report, which is dated June 2004, is quoted as
follows: "Children who were detained in the cities of
Kerbala and Basra because of alleged activities
against the occupying forces were reportedly routinely
sent to a detention camp at Umm Kasr. The
classification of these children as detainees is
worrisome because it includes unspecified length of
detention without contact to their families pending
further proceedings or legal actions".

The German section of the human rights organization
Amnesty International is demanding a clarification of
the allegations and a response from the US government.

A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION

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


Posted by richard at 09:27 AM

TV to snub conventions

A deliberate attempt on the part of the major network
news organizations to live in denial and deny Sen.
John F. Kerry (D-Mekong Delta) the typical
post-convention bounce? Will they keep Al Gore's
speech off the air? Will they keep Bill Clinton's
speech off the air? "Not newsworthy"? If that is the
rationale how do they explain the week-long 24x7
coverage of Reagan's passing? "Tightly scripted
events"? Why cover any of the increasingly unhinged
and incredibly shrinking _resident's "press
conferences" then? How about the air-craft carrier
"Mission Accomplished" stunt? Don't delude yourself.
If the increasingly unhinged and incredibly shrinking
_resident were still *unbeatable* (i.e. unexposed) and
not an international pariah at the rotten head of a
failed administraion, they would be delivering wall to
wall coverage. They do not want several nights
prime-time reading of the INDICTMENT against the Bush
cabal. They have got to keep Bill Clinton and Al Gore
off the air waves. They cannot put Humpty-Dumpty back
together again, so they are trying to duck the whole
story. Do not be surprised if something awful happens
somewhere to take the acceptance speeches of JFK and
his running mate off the air. Do not be surprised if
something "newsworthy" happens (e.g., the exit of
Cheney)at the Bush abomination's convention and it
gets bonus coverage. It's the Media, Stupid.

Geoff Earle, The Hill: The major TV networks are
planning to cut coverage at the political conventions,
ignoring major speeches early in the week. The
Republican and Democratic parties hope to nudge the
networks into more live coverage, but broadcasters
have concluded that there will be little news to
report.
“They are very tightly choreographed events,” said the
spokeswoman. “There is virtually no news that is made
at the conventions any more.”
Sources say each networks will likely reduce coverage
from four years ago, even though coverage in 2000
already was scaled back from historic levels. Networks
could provide as little as an hour of live coverage on
the penultimate nights (Wednesdays), with perhaps two
hours for the Thursday finale.

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

http://www.thehill.com/news/063004/tv.aspx

June 30, 2004

TV to snub conventions
Party angst as networks plan to scale back coverage in
Boston and New York
By Geoff Earle

The major TV networks are planning to cut coverage at
the political conventions, ignoring major speeches
early in the week. The Republican and Democratic
parties hope to nudge the networks into more live
coverage, but broadcasters have concluded that there
will be little news to report.

“We know we’re going to cover the nomination and the
[nominee’s] speech,” said one network’s spokeswoman,
but “we’re not sure about the first two days.”

Previously, networks covered each day of the
convention.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and President Bush have
already locked up their nominations, so the networks
don’t feel obliged to cover the four-day windup to
their acceptance speeches.

“They are very tightly choreographed events,” said the
spokeswoman. “There is virtually no news that is made
at the conventions any more.”

Sources say each networks will likely reduce coverage
from four years ago, even though coverage in 2000
already was scaled back from historic levels. Networks
could provide as little as an hour of live coverage on
the penultimate nights (Wednesdays), with perhaps two
hours for the Thursday finale.

This is a significant challenge for candidates. Kerry
must use the convention to define himself before a
national audience, presenting his carefully packaged
image as a veteran and a leader, and overcome
characterizations in Bush’s TV ads that he is a
flip-flopper, observers say.

Bush, whose approval ratings dropped to 48 percent in
the latest Gallup poll, needs his convention to
reestablish his credentials on terrorism, security,
and the economy, and counteract any post-convention
“bounce” by Kerry. Harry Truman is the only president
to win reelection despite a June approval rating below
50 percent.
Democrats and Republicans will continue talks with the
networks this week and plead for more coverage

“We are gathering information, talking to the
networks,” said Peggy Wilhide, communications director
for the Democratic convention in Boston. “The final
decisions rest with them as to how much they will
cover. We’re trying to make it as attractive as
possible…”

But Democrats are already turning elsewhere: “We have
done a lot of outreach to non-traditional [media]
outside of the traditional big five,” said Wilhide.

Black Entertainment Television will be broadcasting
nightly from Boston’s Fleet Center. The Spanish
language Univision will have a correspondent there.
MTV, Comedy Central and ESPN will also be producing
convention shows.

The cable political network C-SPAN plans
gavel-to-gavel coverage from the convention floor, as
it has in the past. The Fox News Channel, CNN and
MSNBC, and Internet coverage can fill some of the void
left by the withdrawing networks. The proliferation of
media has given the networks an excuse to scale back
coverage, observers add.

Don Ritchie, associate Senate historian, said: “The
major networks … make more money when they have
comedies and ‘Law and Order’ on than when they have
politics on. That’s the sad part of it.”

If the networks skip the first half of the convention,
they would miss events likely to create buzz in
Washington. Democrats are counting on a prime-time
speech by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) to excite the
party’s base. Former President Bill Clinton, Sen.
Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), former Vice President Al
Gore and presidential
candidate the Rev. Al Sharpton will all speak.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), first lady
Laura Bush, and California Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger
are scheduled to speak during the first two days of
the GOP convention in New York.

The networks usually provide equal amounts of coverage
to the Republican and Democratic conventions. NBC, CBS
and ABC each gave 15 hours to the 1992 conventions, 12
hours in 1996, and eight and a half hours in 2000,
according to the Vanishing Voter project at Harvard’s
Kennedy School of Government.

Nielsen Media Research estimated that 20 million
people, or 15 million households, watched network,
CNN, MSNBC and FOX coverage of the 2000 Democratic
convention. About 19 million people, or 14 million
households, watched the 2000 Republican convention.

On the final night of the 1996 Democratic convention,
about 27 million people watched combined coverage by
the networks, PBS, CNN and the Family Channel. The
number was 25 million for the Republicans.

In 1960, each network devoted four to nine hours of
continuous nightly coverage. At the 1972 Democratic
convention, ABC coverage began in prime time and ran
until 4:45 a.m. on Monday, midnight on Tuesday, 12:30
a.m. on Wednesday and 3:40 a.m. on Thursday, Nielsen
says.

But in 1996, ABC’s Ted Koppel walked out of the
Republican convention, comparing it to an
“infomercial.”

After 1960, both parties started awarding a greater
share of convention delegates through the primary
voting process, and conventions ceased to be the forum
where presidential tickets were brokered.

“They are much less important than everyone thinks …
unless you own a hotel,” said Rep. Barney Frank
(D-Mass.).


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

© 2004 The Hill
733 Fifteenth Street, NW Suite 1140
Washington, DC 20005
202-628-8500 tel | 202-628-8503 fax

Posted by richard at 09:24 AM

July 04, 2004

More than 1,600 Florida felons whose right to vote was legally restored remain on a state list of potentially ineligible voters because they have yet to re register to vote, a hurdle that critics say is sure to create confusion as the national election lo

The LNS's shamanic drum beat began with the debacle of Fraudida 2000, and in particular the "US mainstream news media" capitulation to and collaboration with the Bush cabal in its distortions of the truth. We vowed that we would perform this rain dance for the truth and for the US constitution and for the timeline itself, everyday, week after week, month after month, until November 2004. Fellow patriots, despite all the horrors and national humiliation of the last four years, we are on the verge of an Electoral Uprising in the US. But you know the "vast reich wing conspiracy" are attempting to steal it again...Be vigilant, be vocal, be vociferous...Here are two important stories from the Miami Herald...This Independence Day is not a happy one. No. It is an angry one.

David Kidwell, Jason Grotto, and Erika Bolstad, Miami Herald: Hundreds of Floridians who have voted for years could be stopped because they didn't re-register - they hadn't been told.
More than 1,600 Florida felons whose right to vote was legally restored remain on a state list of potentially ineligible voters because they have yet to re-register to vote, a hurdle that critics say is sure to create confusion as the national election looms.
State officials have directed county election supervisors to make each of the voters - some of whom have been voting legally for decades - register again before the November presidential election.
The move is drawing fire from several fronts - from local election supervisors forced to deal with the bureaucratic morass, from black politicians who believe that the list unfairly targets minorities, and from voting rights activists who say it skirts the spirit of open voting.
"It's a throwback to a very ugly period in American history - a time when state officials in the deep South threw up irrelevant stumbling blocks to keep black people from voting," said Randall Marshall, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

Felon Voting Rights Face a New Hurdle
By David Kidwell, Jason Grotto, and Erika Bolstad
Miami Herald

Saturday 03 July 2004

Hundreds of Floridians who have voted for years could be stopped because they didn't re-register - they hadn't been told.
More than 1,600 Florida felons whose right to vote was legally restored remain on a state list of potentially ineligible voters because they have yet to re register to vote, a hurdle that critics say is sure to create confusion as the national election looms.

State officials have directed county election supervisors to make each of the voters - some of whom have been voting legally for decades - register again before the November presidential election.

The move is drawing fire from several fronts - from local election supervisors forced to deal with the bureaucratic morass, from black politicians who believe that the list unfairly targets minorities, and from voting rights activists who say it skirts the spirit of open voting.

"It's a throwback to a very ugly period in American history - a time when state officials in the deep South threw up irrelevant stumbling blocks to keep black people from voting," said Randall Marshall, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

But administrators of the Florida Division of Elections, in the midst of a controversial effort to remove ineligible voters from Florida's rolls, argue that they are following state law.

"Florida law requires that a felon must register to vote after being granted clemency in order for that registration to be valid," Secretary of State Glenda Hood said in a news release issued Friday.

Hood's remarks came in response to a Herald report Friday that revealed that at least 2,119 voters on the state's list of potentially ineligible voters had received clemency after their convictions and appear entitled to vote. Black Democrats make up the largest portion of the list, The Herald found.

Hood and her staff spent much of Friday attempting to discredit the story as inaccurate. They did not respond to repeated telephone inquiries and a list of questions e-mailed by the newspaper.

Search Data Base

State election officials have come under intense criticism over efforts to purge voter rolls since the 2000 presidential election, when Florida turned the entire presidential race for Republican Gov. Jeb Bush's brother George by the slimmest of historical margins - 537 votes.

In interviews Thursday, state election administrators offered no explanation of why the 2,119 voters whose rights were restored were included on the list of voters to be removed from the rolls.

But a Herald analysis shows that 1,647 of those 2,119 received their clemency after they registered to vote, some as far back as 1952. Several of the voters interviewed by The Herald said they have been voting for years, and were not aware that they had to go through the paperwork again - or be barred from voting.

Their names have been flagged in the state's felon voter database with the coding "CAR" - Clemency After Registration. Election supervisors have been told in training seminars that each of them "must re-register."

Of the 1,647, nearly a third - 497 - legally registered to vote before committing their crimes, then won clemency afterward. Now they face the loss of that right.

The state's list includes people like Denise Baxter of Oakland Park, who was registered to vote in 1980, five years before her felony conviction for welfare fraud.

Baxter, now 44, won clemency and has voted repeatedly for years, most recently in the 2000 presidential election.

Because of her felony conviction, Baxter, who cleans rooms at a Ramada Inn, has never been able to qualify for better-paying work. Even so, she never thought her record would keep her from voting.

"I really do want to vote," said Baxter, a Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, said he was outraged at The Herald's findings.

"What they are doing here is illegal, and it goes beyond a simple voting rights issue," he said. "It shows a complete lack of respect for individual rights. They're making people do this, hoping they won't have time. This reminds me of the Jim Crow laws of the 1950s and 1960s in Mississippi. It just sickens me."

Several county election supervisors interviewed Friday said they have similar concerns, and are leaning toward ignoring state requirements to investigate and remove felons who received clemency after convictions.

"I don't think it's right. It's not fair, and the timing is terrible," said Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore.

"If they were going to do this, they should have done it a long time ago or waited until after the election. Frankly, by the time we verify it all and get the letters out, it would probably be too late for the voters to do anything about it."

Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said she, too, is leaning toward ignoring the requirement.

"If they were registered and got clemency, to me, if you take them off, you just put them back on," she said. "It just seems like a lot of double work, and we don't have time for double work."

Said Kurt Browning, Pasco County's election chief: "It's paperwork. It really makes me look like a fool, a typical bureaucrat. All I want to do is the right thing, and then I'm caught in this which-came-first, chicken-or-egg situation. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't."

Civil rights lawyers said a 1960 federal law prohibiting government officials from disqualifying voters over paperwork mistakes or other procedural barriers supersedes the state law invoked by the Division of Elections.

"It doesn't matter whether the mistake is the fault of the government or the voter," said Neil Bradley, associate director of the ACLU's voting rights division in Atlanta. "You can't force people to jump through procedural hoops because of a processing error."


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

Go to Original

Thousands of Eligible Voters are on Felon List
By Erika Bolstad, Jason Grotto, and David Kidwell
Miami Herald

Friday 02 July 2004

More than 2,100 Florida voters - many of them black Democrats - could be wrongly barred from voting in November because Tallahassee elections officials included them on a list of felons potentially ineligible to vote, a Herald investigation has found.

A Florida Division of Elections database lists more than 47,000 people the department said may be ineligible to vote because of felony records. The state is directing local elections offices to check the list and scrub felons from voter rolls.

But a Herald review shows that at least 2,119 of those names - including 547 in South Florida - shouldn't be on the list because their rights to vote were formally restored through the state's clemency process.

That's a potentially jarring flaw, critics say, in a state that turned the 2000 presidential election to Gov. Jeb Bush's brother George on the narrowest of margins - 537 votes.

Florida - one of just six states that don't allow felons to vote - has come under intense criticism over its botched attempts to purge felons since the bitterly contested 2000 presidential election, when myriad problems prompted many elections officials to ignore the purge altogether.

The new list is causing its own problems, raising more questions about the fairness and accuracy of the state's efforts to purge the voter rolls of ineligible voters.

State elections officials acknowledge there may be mistakes on the list but insist they have built in safeguards to make sure eligible voters are not removed by local election offices. They say they have warned election offices to be diligent before eliminating voters, and have flagged possible cases in which voters on the list may have regained their rights.

"We have been very clear that this database is not to be considered the final word," Paul Craft, chief of the division's bureau of voting systems, said Thursday. "We have told the local supervisors they need to be very careful with it."

Increases Risk
Yet local officials, already overburdened preparing for the election, say shifting the burden to them is opening the door for major problems.

"I have never seen such an incompetent program implemented by the DOE," said Leon County elections chief Ion Sancho.

Sancho said his office has already found people in the state's felon voter database who have received clemency.

Miami-Dade County Elections Supervisor Constance Kaplan said she, too, intends to err on the side of voters.

"This concerns me," Kaplan said of The Herald's findings. "That's why I'm not having my staff jump to start any process until we can make 100 percent sure that it is the correct person."

Craft said his office continuously checks the database against a list of felons who have received clemency - which includes the right to vote - and that 10,000 felons have already been taken off the list because of the clemency match.

Craft and other elections officials on Thursday declined to discuss why The Herald found another 2,119 voters in the database who have received clemency.

"We can't speculate on the methodology you used," Craft said. "It is a matter that requires further investigation."

Close Scrutiny
Elections officials said some voters with clemency could have been left on the list because records show they registered to vote before their rights were restored.

Dawn Roberts, director of the Division of Elections, said the process used to clean the voter rolls has been "vetted at the highest levels of the Department of Justice" and negotiated with civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP.

Those assurances offered scant consolation to Mary Catherine Lane, 51, of Miami, who was 18 when she was arrested for robbery in 1972.

"That just makes me angry," Lane, a registered Democrat, said when told she was on the list.

"I got a pardon on Dec. 14, 1998, signed by Gov. Lawton Chiles and everything. And now they're doing this to me? I served every day of my sentence plus some for bad behavior," she said.

'Don't Like It'
Norman Carter, 45, of Fort Lauderdale, also on the list, keeps his May 20, 2003, clemency papers folded in his Bible.

"I don't appreciate it, I don't like it and I wish I knew what I could do about it," said Carter, a Democrat, convicted of dealing in stolen property in 1988.

"I know how critical these elections have been lately," he said.

Of the 2,119 people who obtained clemency, 62 percent are registered Democrats, and almost half are black. Less than 20 percent are Republican. Those ratios are very close to the same in the list of 47,000 voters who the local elections officers are supposed to review and possibly purge from the registration rolls.

"It's just not right," said state Rep. Chris Smith, who represents and lives in a Fort Lauderdale neighborhood hit hardest by the list, the city's historic black neighborhood.

"Those who have been disenfranchised before seem to be continually disenfranchised by our archaic laws," Smith said.

Were Never Told
Several of the three dozen voters on the state list interviewed by The Herald were not aware that their rights had been restored through the clemency process.

"I'm upset because I had clemency all these years and nobody told me," said Roger Maddox, 51, a Miami Democrat who received clemency in 1977 for a 1973 theft conviction.

"Now I'm on a purge list . . . man," he said.

Maddox said he intends to visit the Miami-Dade elections office to get his name removed from the list. "Give me the number, man. This is crazy."

Craft said it is possible that some names are incorrectly included in the database because the match was less then perfect when elections officials made their comparisons.

To identify registered voters with felony convictions, the Division of Elections compared names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and other identifying information.

Elections officials said there are 311 voters who may have clemency who were left on the list.

"But in each case the database is flagged so the supervisors of elections know there was a match of some kind," Craft said. "The supervisors know automatically that those 311 potentially have clemency."

Some Names Flagged
County elections supervisors interviewed acknowledged that some of the names are flagged. But they wonder why it is that already overburdened elections employees should investigate facts the state has not been able to definitively answer itself.

Kay Clem, elections supervisor in Indian River County, said her staff "is dealing with terms they've never heard of before. We need a lot more training."

Clem said her office is hiring a private company to investigate the 365 names that appear on its list.

"This is putting us in a very precarious situation," Clem said.

Investigate Voters
All county elections supervisors are required to investigate each voter on the list, verify whether or not he or she is eligible to vote, then notify by mail suspected felons who have not had their civil rights restored.

The certified letter is supposed to name a time and place voters can appear to explain why they should remain on the rolls.

If supervisors suspect the letters were not received, they're supposed to publish at least one notice in the local newspaper.

If there's no response within 30 days, supervisors must remove the person from the rolls.

No one interviewed by The Herald - including 53-year-old Walter Gibbons of Miami Gardens, a Vietnam veteran convicted of drug possession in 1973 - had yet received a letter.

"I don't think it's fair that they're trying to stop me from voting, because everybody that commits a crime does not stay a criminal," said Gibbons, an ordained minister granted clemency in 1978. "I had my error in life, but that was a long time ago, over 30 years now, and I'm a different person.'

Herald staff writers Debbie Cenziper, Casey Woods, Maria Herrera and Trenton Daniel contributed to this report.

-------

Posted by richard at 04:43 AM

July 03, 2004

Ray McGovern: Cheney Cat's Paw, Porter Goss, as CIA Director?

Either you understand the nature of the "vast
reich-wing conspiracy" and how it operates or you will
lose this Republic...There is no viable political
alternative to regime change in the US, the US
intelligence community knows it, the US military knows
it, the US foreign policy establishment knows it...But
the "US mainstream news media," in particular the
major network news organizations, are still trembling
in the dark, carrying the Bush cabal's filthy water on
Michael Moore's movie, Bill Clinton's book, Al Gore's
speeches and the candidacy of Sen. John F. Kerry
(D-Mekong Delta)...

Ray McGovern, www.truthout.org: There is, thankfully,
a remnant of CIA professionals who still put objective
analysis above political correctness and career
advancement. Just when they thought there were no
indignities left for them to suffer, they are
shuddering again at press reports that Rep. Porter
Goss (R-FL) may soon be their new boss...
The intelligence process, of course, was not the only
thing undermined. So was the Constitution. Various
drafts of that NIE, reinforced with heavy doses of
"mushroom-cloud" rhetoric, were used to deceive
congressmen and senators into ceding to the executive
their prerogative to declare war - the all-important
prerogative that the framers of the Constitution took
great care to reserve exclusively to our elected
representatives in Congress...
There seems a better than even chance the Bush
administration will nominate Goss, and use the
nomination hearings as yet another forum at which to
blame the Iraq debacle on faulty intelligence. And, as
a bonus for Bush, if there is time before the
election, it would seem a safe bet that Goss will be
able to bring to heel recalcitrant analysts who are
still "fighting the problem," still staring in
disbelief at the given wisdom (given, apparently, only
to the Pentagon and White House) that Iraq and
al-Qaeda were in bed with each other.

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_04/070304A.shtml

Cheney Cat's Paw, Porter Goss, as CIA Director?
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Saturday 03 July 2004

There is, thankfully, a remnant of CIA
professionals who still put objective analysis above
political correctness and career advancement. Just
when they thought there were no indignities left for
them to suffer, they are shuddering again at press
reports that Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) may soon be their
new boss.

That possibility conjures up a painful flashback
for those of us who served as CIA analysts when
Richard Nixon was president. Chalk it up to our
naiveté, but we were taken aback when swashbuckling
James Schlesinger, who followed Richard Helms as CIA
director, announced on arrival, "I am here to see that
you guys don't screw Richard Nixon!" To underscore his
point, Schlesinger told us he would be reporting
directly to White House political adviser Bob Haldeman
(Nixon's Karl Rove) and not to National Security
Adviser Henry Kissinger.

No doubt Goss would be more discreet in showing
his hand, but his appointment as director would be the
ultimate in politicization. He has long shown himself
to be under the spell of Vice President Dick Cheney,
and would likely report primarily to him and to White
House political adviser Karl Rove rather than to
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Goss would almost certainly follow lame-duck
director George Tenet's practice of reading to the
president in the morning and become an integral part
of the "White House team." The team-membership
phenomenon is particularly disquieting.

If the failure-prone experience of the past few
years has told us anything, it is that being a "team
member" in good standing is the kiss of death for the
CIA director's primary role of "telling it like it is"
to the president and his senior advisers. It was a
painful moment of truth when former Speaker Newt
Gingrich - like Cheney, a frequent visitor to CIA
headquarters - told the press that Tenet was "so
grateful to the president that he would do anything
for him."

The Whore of Babylon
One need look no farther than what has become
known as a latter-day Whore of Babylon - the National
Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of Oct. 1, 2002, the very
title of which betrayed a politically correct, but
substantively wrong, conclusion: "Iraq's Continuing
Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction." And bear in
mind that it was only several months after President
Bush decided to attack Iraq that Tenet commissioned
that estimate. Not unreasonably, Congress was
wondering about the views of the intelligence
community, and the White House needed congressional
acquiescence.

No problem. "Slam-dunk" Tenet, following White
House instructions, ensured that the estimate was
cooked to the recipe of Cheney's tart speech of August
26, 2002. "We know that Saddam has resumed his efforts
to acquire nuclear weapons," Cheney said, and the
estimate Tenet signed gave belated endorsement - with
"high confidence," no less - to that lie.

The intelligence process, of course, was not the
only thing undermined. So was the Constitution.
Various drafts of that NIE, reinforced with heavy
doses of "mushroom-cloud" rhetoric, were used to
deceive congressmen and senators into ceding to the
executive their prerogative to declare war - the
all-important prerogative that the framers of the
Constitution took great care to reserve exclusively to
our elected representatives in Congress.

What was actually happening was clear to
intelligence analysts, active and retired. We Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity were not the
only ones to expose it as clearly and often as the
domesticated US media would allow.

But what about CIA alumnus Porter Goss, then in
his sixth year as chairman of the House intelligence
oversight committee? Republican party loyalist first
and foremost, Goss chose to give an entirely new
meaning to "oversight." Even when it became clear that
the "mushroom cloud" reporting was based mostly on a
forgery, he just sat back and watched it all happen.
Like Br'er Fox, he didn't say nothin'.

From Sycophant Tenet to Professional Politician
This is what CIA would get with Porter Goss at the
helm. Appointing Goss would administer the coup de
grace to intelligence analysts trying to survive while
still speaking truth without fear or favor. The only
saving grace for them would be the likelihood that
they would be spared "multiple visits" by Cheney to
the inner sanctum where it used to be possible to
produce unvarnished analysis without vice presidents
and other policy makers looking over their shoulders
to ensure they "had thought of everything." Goss, who
has a long history of subservience to Cheney, could be
counted upon to play the Cheney/Gingrich/et al. role
himself.

Don't Throw Me in That Briar Patch
Last month when Tenet was let go, administration
officials indicated that a permanent replacement would
not be named until after the election. They indicated
they wanted to avoid washing the dirty linen of
intelligence once again in public. Evidently, they had
not yet checked with Karl Rove.

The Democrats warn smugly that an attempt by the
administration to confirm a new CIA director could
become an embarrassing referendum on CIA's recent
performance, but they miss the point entirely - and
show, once again, that they can't hold a candle to
Rove for political cleverness. The name of the
administration's game is to blame Iraq on intelligence
failures, and Goss already did so last week in what
amounted to his first campaign speech for the job of
director. Consider court historian Bob Woodward's
book, Plan of Attack, which Condoleezza Rice and other
officials have promoted. Rice has publicly confirmed
Woodward's story about Tenet misleading the president
by claiming the evidence on Iraqi weapons of mass
destruction was a "slam dunk."

While there is ample evidence of ineptitude on
Tenet's part, this now-famous vignette obscures the
fact that President Bush had unleashed the dogs of war
well before checking to see if there was any credible
intelligence to justify doing so. As the election
nears, it serves the administration nicely to keep the
focus on intelligence shortcomings and to make it
appear that the president was misled - on weapons of
mass destruction, for example. And Porter Goss is
precisely the right person to cooperate in this
effort. I can imagine Rove laughing up his sleeve last
week at word that the Democrats are urging Senate
minority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) to prepare for
extensive confirmation hearings this fall. (In my
mind's eye I can see Rove musing, Bring em on!)

The report due later this month by the Senate
Intelligence Committee investigating intelligence
performance regarding the long-sought-after Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction is said to be scathing in
its criticism of CIA. No problem. This too will help
keep the focus where the White House wants it - the
more so since committee chair and Republican stalwart
Pat Roberts (R-KS) can be counted on to do whatever
Cheney and Rove tell him to do. It was not until
Roberts was instructed to give Tenet the cold shoulder
that the latter began to see the handwriting on the
wall.

And Republicans are also in control of the 9/11
commission, which will be issuing its own report later
this month. There are already signs that Republican
commissioners have begun to water down findings
critical of the administration, while highlighting
those critical of intelligence performance.

Goss was happy to let the Senate intelligence
committee take the lead in investigating intelligence
performance on key issues like weapons of mass
destruction and, before he decided to promote his
candidacy for director, he generally chose to keep his
committee's head (and his own) down. With good reason.
The myriad shortcomings in intelligence work appeared
on his somnolent watch; by any reasonable standard, he
bears some responsibility for impaired oversight - not
only on Iraq, but on 9/11 as well.

Goss on 9/11
With respect to the various investigations into
9/11, Goss was thrust into the limelight by Cheney,
who initially opposed any investigation at all. In
February 2002, Cheney went so far as to warn that if
Congress decided to go ahead with an investigation,
administration officials might not show up to testify.
When folks started talking about the need for a
genuinely independent commission, though, Cheney
acquiesced in the establishment of the congressional
joint committee as the lesser evil and took
reassurance in the fact that Goss could be counted on
to keep the lid on - and, when necessary, run rings
around co-chair Sen. Bob Graham, (D-FL).

Porter Goss performed that task brilliantly,
giving clear priority to providing political
protection for the president. Goss acquiesced when the
White House and CIA refused to allow the joint
committee to report out any information on what
President Bush had been told before 9/11 - ostensibly
because it was "classified." This gave rise to thinly
disguised, but eloquently expressed, chagrin on the
part of the committee staff director, who clearly had
expected stronger backing in her negotiations with
White House officials.

As a result, completely absent from the
committee's report was any mention of the President's
Daily Brief of Aug. 6, 2001, which bore the title "Bin
Laden determined to strike in US," even though the
press had already reported the title and the gist of
that damning piece of evidence. Small wonder that the
families of 9/11 victims were outraged and pressed
even harder for an independent investigation.

And a First for a Congressional Committee
The most notable (and bizarre) achievement of the
joint committee was inviting the FBI to investigate
members of Congress. In June 2002, Cheney called Goss
and Graham to chastise them for a media leak of
sensitive information from intercepted communications.
A CNN report had attributed the leak to "two
congressional sources," and Cheney was livid.

Goss admitted to being "chagrined" over Cheney's
call. He and Graham promptly bypassed normal
congressional procedures and went directly to Attorney
General John Ashcroft, asking him to investigate the
leak. Little thought apparently was given to the
separation of powers between the executive and
congressional branches, or the fact that Congress has
its own capability for such investigations.

Next thing you know, the FBI is crawling all over
Capitol Hill, questioning members of the joint
committee that is investigating the FBI, CIA, et al.,
and asking members of Congress to submit to
lie-detector tests. Shaking his head, Sen. John McCain
(R-NM) noted the ludicrousness of allowing the FBI to
build dossiers on lawmakers who are supposed to be
investigating the FBI. He and others joined those
pushing for the creation of an independent 9/11
commission.

That Goss and Graham could be so easily
intimidated by Cheney speaks volumes.

Bottom Line
West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the ranking
Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee is right
in saying, "We need a director who is not only
knowledgeable and capable but unquestionably
independent." And politicians need not apply.
Rockefeller would rule out "any politician from either
party." But who pays attention to minority members
these days - ranking or non-ranking? Rockefeller might
have added that another prerequisite is prior
experience managing a large, complex organization.
Tenet had none; neither does Goss.

There seems a better than even chance the Bush
administration will nominate Goss, and use the
nomination hearings as yet another forum at which to
blame the Iraq debacle on faulty intelligence. And, as
a bonus for Bush, if there is time before the
election, it would seem a safe bet that Goss will be
able to bring to heel recalcitrant analysts who are
still "fighting the problem," still staring in
disbelief at the given wisdom (given, apparently, only
to the Pentagon and White House) that Iraq and
al-Qaeda were in bed with each other.

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


Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst for 27 years, is
co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for
Sanity. He is also the author of "A Compromised CIA:
What Can Be Done?" - Chapter 4 in "Patriotism,
Democracy and Common Sense", to be published in
September by the Eisenhower Foundation. His chapter
includes a long section titled "The Qualities Needed
in a Director of Central Intelligence."
-------

Posted by richard at 04:27 AM

"The right to inspect without the right to copy is an empty right indeed," said Leon County Circuit Judge Nikki Clark, in her six-page order.

Yes, the psyche of the US will be forced to revisit
Fraudida in this campaign. Hopefully, the Democratic
Party has learned the painful lesson it should already
have learned...The LNS *KNOWS* Sen. John F. Kerry
(D-Mekong Delta) is not going to go quietly, and we
are also confident that Al Gore will not allow it to
happen again without taking it to the STREETS...Either
you understand the nature of the "vast reich-wing
conspiracy" and how it operates or you will lose this
Republic...

CNN: A state court judge in Florida ordered Thursday
that the board of elections immediately release a list
of nearly 50,000 suspected felons to CNN and other
news organizations that last month sued the state for
access to copies of the list.
The list is used to determine who will be eligible
to vote in November's presidential election in the
state.
The lawsuit, filed by CNN and joined by other news
organizations, challenged a 2001 statute passed by the
Republican-controlled legislature that limited the
public's access to the list.
News organizations were allowed to inspect the
list, but not make copies of it or take notes from it.

"The right to inspect without the right to copy is an empty right indeed," said Leon County Circuit Judge Nikki Clark, in her six-page order.

Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/070304F.shtml

Judge Rules for Media on Florida Voter List
CNN

Thursday 01 July 2004

Upholds both 'right to inspect' and 'right to copy.'
A state court judge in Florida ordered Thursday
that the board of elections immediately release a list
of nearly 50,000 suspected felons to CNN and other
news organizations that last month sued the state for
access to copies of the list.

The list is used to determine who will be eligible
to vote in November's presidential election in the
state.

In a statement issued shortly after the ruling was
announced, Secretary of State Glenda Hood accepted the
ruling as final.

"Now that the court has ruled that statute to be
unconstitutional, we will make these records
accessible to all interested parties," she said.

Florida bars people convicted of felonies in that
state from voting.

In 2000, a similar list was the center of
controversy when state officials acknowledged after
the election that it contained thousands of names in
error, thus barring eligible people from voting.

Many of the barred voters were African-Americans,
who traditionally tend to vote Democratic.

Bush won the state by a 537-vote margin and, with
it, the presidency.

The lawsuit, filed by CNN and joined by other news
organizations, challenged a 2001 statute passed by the
Republican-controlled legislature that limited the
public's access to the list.

News organizations were allowed to inspect the
list, but not make copies of it or take notes from it.


"The right to inspect without the right to copy is
an empty right indeed," said Leon County Circuit Judge
Nikki Clark, in her six-page order.

"Whether the public chooses to inspect or copy
[the list] is not the choice of the governmental
agency which has custody of the record. It is the
choice of the person who has requested access."

The judge went on to declare the statute
unconstitutional because it failed to comply with a
constitutional amendment guaranteeing public access to
the state's public records.

The state has a right to an automatic 48-hour
stay, if its lawyers appeal.

They would have to show cause why the information
should continue to be withheld, said Tampa attorney
Gregg D. Thomas of the law firm Holland & Knight,
which is representing the news organizations.

"I think the long-term impact is that the citizens
of Florida will have access to the interactions of
their government to make sure that the government,
particularly with regard to the right to vote, is
conducting itself appropriately."

The list contains the names of 47,763 suspected
felons.

The voter-exclusion list was compiled from state
clemency reports, lists of felons and other databases,
Thomas said.

The ACLU applauded the decision.

"This is good news for voters because now these
records will be open and available for public
inspection to help protect the right of every eligible
voter in Florida," said Howard Simon, executive
director of the ACLU of Florida, which also joined the
case. "Our interest in this case is to analyze the
information on the list to prevent eligible voters
from being wrongfully purged from the rolls."

Miami lawyer Joseph Klock Jr., representing the
state, did not return a call Thursday.

-------

Posted by richard at 04:24 AM

July 02, 2004

Howard Dean: Bush's War on Science

2+2=4 (at least, until November...)

Howard Dean (D-Jeffords): The Bush administration has declared war on science. In the Orwellian world of 21st century America, two plus two no longer equals four where public policy is concerned, and science is no exception. When a right-wing theory is contradicted by an inconvenient scientific fact, the science is not refuted; it is simply discarded or ignored...
Recently, a scientist and a bioethics professor were dismissed from the blue-ribbon Council on Bioethics when they disagreed with the Bush administration's proposed ban on new stem-cell line development to cure a variety of diseases. In a similar vein and an unusual move, the nomination of public health experts to a CDC lead paint advisory panel were rejected by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, and replaced with researchers with financial ties to the lead industry. The Union of Concerned Scientists, with 20 Nobel laureates and several former scientific advisers to Republican presidents, has issued a scathing Report on Scientific Integrity condemning these practices.
Is it any wonder that these outrages have been perpetrated on an unsuspecting public and an enfeebled press?
Will it be long before a prominent panel of fundamentalist theologians, conservative columnists, and a few token scientists take up the question of whether the theory of evolution should be banned from the nation's classrooms? Stay tuned. In George Bush's America, ignorance is strength.

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

http://www.sitnews.us/HowardDean/062904_dean.html
Bush's War on Science
By Howard Dean, M.D.


June 29, 2004
Tuesday


I write this week's column as a physician.

The Bush administration has declared war on science. In the Orwellian world of 21st century America, two plus two no longer equals four where public policy is concerned, and science is no exception. When a right-wing theory is contradicted by an inconvenient scientific fact, the science is not refuted; it is simply discarded or ignored.

Egregious examples abound. Over-the-counter morning-after contraceptive sales are banned, despite the recommendation for approval by an independent panel of the Food and Drug Administration review board. The health risks of mercury were discounted by a White House staffer who simply crossed out the word "confirmed" from a phrase describing mercury as a "confirmed public health risk." A National Cancer Institute fact sheet is doctored to suggest that abortion increases breast cancer risk, even though the American Cancer Society concluded that the best study discounts that. Reports on the status of minority health and the importance of breast feeding are similarly watered down to appease right-wing ideologies.

What about global warming? After withdrawing from the Kyoto Treaty, the Bush administration distanced themselves from a climate report the Environmental Protection Agency wrote, because it affirmed the potential worldwide harm of global warming, the existence of which Bush had denied. The global warming section of the 2003 EPA Report on the environment was extensively rewritten, then dropped entirely. Fighting HIV? Bush's initiative to help fund HIV efforts in Africa was trumpeted by the press, while the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control quietly removed information on the benefits of condoms and safe sex education from domestic HIV Web sites.

Presidential scientific commissions have long enjoyed relative immunity from politics. Presidents of both parties have depended on impartial, rational advice from such groups for decades. Yet under the Bush administration, there has been a concerted effort, led by Karl Rove and other political ideologues based in the White House, to stack these commissions with Republican loyalists, especially those who espouse fundamentalist views on scientific issues.

Recently, a scientist and a bioethics professor were dismissed from the blue-ribbon Council on Bioethics when they disagreed with the Bush administration's proposed ban on new stem-cell line development to cure a variety of diseases. In a similar vein and an unusual move, the nomination of public health experts to a CDC lead paint advisory panel were rejected by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, and replaced with researchers with financial ties to the lead industry. The Union of Concerned Scientists, with 20 Nobel laureates and several former scientific advisers to Republican presidents, has issued a scathing Report on Scientific Integrity condemning these practices.

Is it any wonder that these outrages have been perpetrated on an unsuspecting public and an enfeebled press? Not when you consider that this is an administration that has put forth deliberately misleading proposals like the Healthy Forests Initiative that removes barriers to clear-cutting, and the Clear Skies Initiative that weakens existing safeguards on mercury, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants dumped into the air by power plants. When the oil industry writes national energy policy and the HMOs and drug companies draft our Medicare legislation, who is looking out for truth, scientific integrity, and the public interest?

Will it be long before a prominent panel of fundamentalist theologians, conservative columnists, and a few token scientists take up the question of whether the theory of evolution should be banned from the nation's classrooms? Stay tuned. In George Bush's America, ignorance is strength.


Posted by richard at 11:50 PM

Stern lambastes Bush, FCC: 'I criticize Bush and then I'm fired'

It's the Media, Stupid.

George Lerner, CNN: Radio host Howard Stern took aim at the Bush administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and media giant Clear Channel as he announced Wednesday that his program will soon be broadcast on nine new stations across the country....
"When I was thrown off the six stations I was devastated. I really thought Clear Channel had 'thrown me under the bus,'" Stern said. (Clear Channel yanks Stern from 6 stations)
"I'm not taking it sitting down. ... I'm going to kick their asses. ... I'm thrilled to be back on in these markets."
The radio host said he had considered moving to satellite radio, where he would face less FCC scrutiny, but decided to remain with his current radio contract with Infinity Broadcasting, which syndicates the Stern show. That contract has another 18 months to go.
"I'm so frustrated by the amount of censorship that's going on," Stern said "The FCC is on such a witch hunt against me that they actually go back 2 (or) 3 years for reasons to fine me. ... The FCC is on a witch hunt."
Stern accused Clear Channel of taking him off the air not for reasons of obscenity but because he had spoken out against President Bush.

"Clear Channel is very tied to the Bush administration" Stern said. "Clear Channel for years has been defending me...I criticize Bush and then I'm fired...They acted out of politics."

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

Stern lambastes Bush, FCC: 'I criticize Bush and then I'm fired'
From George Lerner
CNN
Wednesday, June 30, 2004 Posted: 12:12 PM EDT (1612 GMT)


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Radio host Howard Stern took aim at the Bush administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and media giant Clear Channel as he announced Wednesday that his program will soon be broadcast on nine new stations across the country.

In a news conference held during his morning show, Stern said some of those stations -- in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; San Diego, California; West Palm Beach, Florida; Rochester, New York; and Orlando, Florida -- will replace Clear Channel stations that once carried the Howard Stern program.

In February, Clear Channel pulled Stern from six of the stations it owns after the FCC fined the company $495,000 for Stern comments that were deemed indecent. (CNNMoney: Stern's show adds stations)

"When I was thrown off the six stations I was devastated. I really thought Clear Channel had 'thrown me under the bus,'" Stern said. (Clear Channel yanks Stern from 6 stations)

"I'm not taking it sitting down. ... I'm going to kick their asses. ... I'm thrilled to be back on in these markets."

The radio host said he had considered moving to satellite radio, where he would face less FCC scrutiny, but decided to remain with his current radio contract with Infinity Broadcasting, which syndicates the Stern show. That contract has another 18 months to go.

"I'm so frustrated by the amount of censorship that's going on," Stern said "The FCC is on such a witch hunt against me that they actually go back 2 (or) 3 years for reasons to fine me. ... The FCC is on a witch hunt."

Stern accused Clear Channel of taking him off the air not for reasons of obscenity but because he had spoken out against President Bush.

"Clear Channel is very tied to the Bush administration" Stern said. "Clear Channel for years has been defending me...I criticize Bush and then I'm fired...They acted out of politics."

Stern lashed out against Bush administration's policies on everything from the environment, to stem cell research and the war in Iraq. (Bush: Iraqi sovereignty defeat for resistance)

He said he was encouraging his listeners, whom he described as swing voters, to cast their ballots for John Kerry. (Edwards tops Kerry veep poll)

"John Kerry will receive more votes because of this. ... My audience will vote in a bloc," Stern said.

"We're also in a lot of key states. ... If we can affect that state that's big news."


Posted by richard at 11:48 PM

THE Book that First Exposed the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, The Hunting of the President, is Now a Documentary.

Either understand "the vast reich wing conspiracy" for what it is, or lose your Republic...

Buzzflash interviews Harry Thompson: BuzzFlash: What were the handful of details that jumped out at you as the most compelling or the most interesting, or maybe the most incredulous to believe?
Harry Thomason: Of course the hardest story to believe in our movie -- which was not as well documented in the book because I don’t think they had as long an interview with her -- was the way Susan McDougal was treated by both the judiciary system and as directed by the independent counsel’s office. It was amazing. Most people, when they see the movie now, they say: This couldn’t have really happened. Nobody in America could be treated the way she was treated. But facts are facts, and she was treated just as reported in the book and in the movie –in a very harsh light.
BuzzFlash: Give readers a taste of what happened to her, because it really was something that you would expect to happen in a totalitarian country -- the intimidation and the threats, and the full arm of the state being brought down on her.
Harry Thomason: She was put in a particular cell block for hardened women criminals. She was made to wear a red dress in one particular cell block, which the people on murderers' row wore. Therefore all the other people thought she was a murderer when they would see her, and so they would scream and shout, and throw things at her, and pull at her hair. Most of the women in that prison were in for murdering their children, so everybody would jump to the conclusion that Susan was a child murderer. It was pretty rough on her in prison, and she had to be extra careful. The worst part was when she would be transported on the prison bus to jail because they would lock her in a cage in the center of the bus. There were male convicts on either side, and they thought she was a child killer, so they would spit on her and masturbate into the cage, and urinate into the cage -- just totally dehumanizing stuff -- that you wonder why in the world a woman serving time for refusing to give concocted answers to a grand jury would have to endure it.

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

http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/04/07/int04034.html

July 1, 2004
SEND THIS PAGE TO A FRIEND
INTERVIEW ARCHIVES


THE Book that First Exposed the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, The Hunting of the President, is Now a Documentary. BuzzFlash Interviews Film Co-Screenplay Writer and Co-Director, Harry Thomason

A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW

BuzzFlash has a confession to make.

When it comes to books about the vast right-wing conspiracy, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons, is THE book to read. Exhaustively researched, it leaves no doubt that a wide-ranging group of extremist Republicans worked as a loosely knit group to undermine democracy by working to dislodge a duly-elected president from the White House. The members of this conspiracy included GOP lawyers, financiers, judges, elected officials, journalists and other supporters.

They were tenacious, underhanded, dishonest, and unrelentingly ruthless. They hijacked our legal system and used it to subvert the basic foundations of our national government. They were Stalinesque in their belief that they WERE entitled to run the government and that no tactic was too crude or illegal for them to use to achieve their goal. In their wake, lives were ruined, a country turned into turmoil, millions of dollars wasted -- and the ground work for the theft of the 2000 election was set in place.

Most Democratic leaders, except for Bill Clinton, endured this period in nearly stunned silence, as they did the theft of the election 2000. The anti-American evilness of what the people who created Ken Starr were up to was beyond the comprehension of most "liberals." They simply couldn't acknowledge that such despotism and immorality lurked amongst us.

But lurk they did, and we've paid the price for not fighting fire with fire. But to understand how we got where we are today, you need to return to Arkansas many years ago.

You need to start with The Hunting of the President, a BuzzFlash premium which provides a roadmap to the evil fanatics among us. And make no mistake about it, people who believe that they are entitled to run the American government, that our nation's leadership cannot be left to the voting prerogatives of American citizens, that God has chosen them to govern America, that any means necessary is justified in order to seize power -- yes, these people are evil.

Which leads us to this BuzzFlash interview with Harry Thomason, co-author and co-director of a just released documentary based on the book, appropriately entitled "The Hunting of the President: The Ten Year Campaign To Destroy Bill Clinton," the documentary. For more information on the film and showings go to www.THEHUNTINGOFTHEPRESIDENT.com.

Thomason is, of course, a longtime friend of Clinton's, which makes him a friend of ours.

* * *

BuzzFlash: How do you do a documentary on a book that so brilliantly exposed a vast right-wing conspiracy to bring down a popular and democratically elected president, when so many of the players are members of the very same conspiracy?

Harry Thomason: Well, the problem with doing any documentary based on a book is that there’s no way that in 90 minutes you can cover all the material in the book. And so what we tried to do was just take enough material from the book to make a story where, if you had been on some desert island for the past two years, you could understand what happened and why it happened. A lot of wonderful material got left out, and we hope to include some of it on the DVD. But we could never cover everything in the book that Joe Conason and Gene Lyons so brilliantly covered.

BuzzFlash: The Republicans involved in the impeachment entrapment combined trumped-up charges, media leaks, and hijacking the judiciary to frame Clinton. As the original book that you based the documentary on detailed, this was a rather complex undertaking. Is it correct to say that you tried to create a mosaic with examples and instances to give someone the idea of what actually happened?

Harry Thomason: Right. We just had to give somebody a taste of what happened, and how they sort of did it. Now most of the other material in the book that was used against the Clintons to try to basically run him out of office all followed the same pattern. We just showed the pattern. There were a lot more interesting characters that we would like to have shown in the movie, but we just couldn’t do so for time’s sake. Your idea of a mosaic is exactly correct, but we think when you look at his mosaic you actually get a picture now.

BuzzFlash: What were the handful of details that jumped out at you as the most compelling or the most interesting, or maybe the most incredulous to believe?

Harry Thomason: Of course the hardest story to believe in our movie -- which was not as well documented in the book because I don’t think they had as long an interview with her -- was the way Susan McDougal was treated by both the judiciary system and as directed by the independent counsel’s office. It was amazing. Most people, when they see the movie now, they say: This couldn’t have really happened. Nobody in America could be treated the way she was treated. But facts are facts, and she was treated just as reported in the book and in the movie –in a very harsh light.

BuzzFlash: Give readers a taste of what happened to her, because it really was something that you would expect to happen in a totalitarian country -- the intimidation and the threats, and the full arm of the state being brought down on her.

Harry Thomason: She was put in a particular cell block for hardened women criminals. She was made to wear a red dress in one particular cell block, which the people on murderers' row wore. Therefore all the other people thought she was a murderer when they would see her, and so they would scream and shout, and throw things at her, and pull at her hair. Most of the women in that prison were in for murdering their children, so everybody would jump to the conclusion that Susan was a child murderer. It was pretty rough on her in prison, and she had to be extra careful. The worst part was when she would be transported on the prison bus to jail because they would lock her in a cage in the center of the bus. There were male convicts on either side, and they thought she was a child killer, so they would spit on her and masturbate into the cage, and urinate into the cage -- just totally dehumanizing stuff -- that you wonder why in the world a woman serving time for refusing to give concocted answers to a grand jury would have to endure it.

BuzzFlash: Could you explain the genesis of the project and some of the difficulties you had in finding a distributor, and what it took to finally put the film together and release it?

Harry Thomason: First of all, you have to understand that once the book came out, and once I’d read it and everybody had sort of kicked it around, and by the time we were really starting, there was a new president. And so as we would go to each distributor, they’d say: No, everybody’s heard enough about the Clintons. We’ve got a new person and we just want to deal with this.

The same with investors, but we kept on, and we found people that either believe like we did, or had money to spare, and we finally put together the money to do the film. Every distributor turned us down except a small distributor, Regent Films, who had had some success with a film called "Gods and Monsters" and similar fare. They said they’ll get this film out, and they’ll get it in theaters and get it released. They were the only ones that were interested, and so we made a deal with them. And as the years wore on, there were other people interested who had said before they weren’t interested, but we stuck with Regent because Regent stuck with us.

It’s like documentaries used to be. I mean, we don’t have the kind of clout that Michael Moore’s got, and we’re not going out with 500 prints. We opened in Little Rock and New York in mid-June, and then the next week we opened in Washington, D.C., and then we just sort of open one city a week for quite awhile.

BuzzFlash: The mainstream media predictably accused you of being biased because you know Bill Clinton. Frankly, to us, it’s laughable. I mean, who did they expect to make the film? Ken Starr? Henry Hyde? What is your response to the critique that your film lacks objectivity?

Harry Thomason: For the people who think we made a propaganda piece and had no objectivity, I urge them to go to the film -- even the most hardened Republicans. They should go out and see it and then have the conversation. Not before they’ve seen it. We always knew that we would be accused -- “They’re friends of Bill Clinton. His wife did 'The Man From Hope.' They’ve been close to him.”

But that’s also the reason we did the film. If we hadn’t have done it, we realized nobody would do it. So what we tried to do is that we let plenty of people in the film express their opinions, but we put no opinion of our own. Everything that the narrator says, and everything in the structure of the film that holds it together, we believe we pretty much successfully kept any opinion out of it so that it’s just fact. Therefore, if someone wants to come after us, they have to say, “That reporter was lying and that didn’t really happen.”But they can’t say he slanted that or took that out of context, because we didn’t.

We tried to be as straight and as down the middle as we could, and I think we pretty well succeeded. So they will have to argue with us on that, because we took them from Joe and Gene’s book, by and large, and we think the facts are unimpeachable.

BuzzFlash: As far as I know, since the publication of that book, none of the facts has been refuted.

Harry Thomason: Not one single fact, and this is something that people don’t understand. Not one single fact of Joe and Gene’s book was ever challenged. Not one single court action was ever filed. If you read that book, and if you said, “Boy, I’ll bet these guys got a lot of lawsuits after this was over,”well, they didn’t get one because they knew that everything they said was fact-based from more than one source.

BuzzFlash: When you study the characters -–the enemies of democracy, if you will -- people like Richard Mellon Scaife, Judge David Sentelle, Jesse Helms, Ken Starr, all who had various roles in this -–in some ways, you have to give them their due. They knew how to feed the beast by using the appearance of judicial process to feed the perception that scandals existed when there weren’t really any at all.

After stringing out a multi-million-dollar media sham of an investigation, they framed Clinton on a sex charge. What is your view in how they were able to use the judicial process to fan the flames against Clinton? That really was the vehicle by which leaks could be handed out to the press and the story would be kept going. It wouldn’t die because of the investigations that followed.

Harry Thomason: They used the judicial process sort of like a poolroom table, where you’re banking something off the wall to get something else. They actually fed most everything to the press, who would then raise such a stir about it that judiciary would get involved. Then they had what they wanted, and their hands were somewhat clean, though not always. But you’re right about one thing -- the right wing has great discipline. We tried to interview 137 people who had talked about Clinton, and that’s just the ones we have records with. Only one of them would talk to us, and that was Jerry Falwell. They used them, and they were able to use the press, in my opinion, because the press has gotten so large, and there are so many more ways to get print.

BuzzFlash: What is your view of the media, specifically The New York Times?

Harry Thomason: The media has grown so much in recent years. Even in the area you’re in -- I remember in '92 when Clinton ran, there were only four websites in the entire universe, which seems unbelievable, looking at the proliferation of what’s happened on the Internet. You have to use the NFL as an example. More than half the people playing in the NFL today could not be playing because they didn’t have the ability if this was the 70s. But they had an expansion and almost doubled the number of NFL teams. Talent that could never play before were able to become stars in that particular universe. The same thing has happened in the media. You have media people at the bottom of the food chain that have no business being reporters. What happens is those people at the bottom go with no sources, questionable sources, or just plain make it up. They’ll release an outrageous story that has not one grain of truth in it.

Another thing that happened in the 90s is you saw giant corporations buying up most of the media pieces. And so the bottom of the chain of reporters now puts pressure on the top reporters -- the people who would have been reporters at any time in our history -- to come up with something because they’re being driven by the people on top who own the interests. They’re saying, “X cable channel has that story. We’ve got to get it." And it forces the best reporters to go out on a limb when they shouldn’t. A lot of mistakes were made by the press, and the press should be ashamed of itself because of how it performed during the entire eight years of the Clinton White House.

BuzzFlash: One of the right wing’s strategies was that if a news organization was holding up a story to check facts or corroborate stories, right-wing radio and websites like the Drudge Report would make accusations that these news organizations were covering for the Clinton White House and were being biased. News organizations were pressured to release stories where facts could not be verified and substantiated.

Harry Thomason: You’re exactly correct. What happened in the 1970s, Nixon started urging all these right-wing people to build up their sources -- if I remember correctly, he even tried to get Scaife to buy The Washington Post at one time. But what happened over the years is they built up right-wing think tanks. Fox News comes along, and pretty soon, they had ways to put pressure on reporters. So if a reporter wrote a favorable story about the Clintons in a respectable newspaper, the editor might get a thousand e-mails, which they could churn out on 15 minutes' notice, about how the reporter was biased. No matter what you think, pretty soon all that begins to take a toll on the reporter.

Decades ago, reporters weren’t paid much. Then with all the proliferation, reporters -- the best ones -- started getting paid more because they were stars. They all went out to the suburbs. They bought big homes. They bought the second cars. Pretty soon, you get a little scared to print a story because you might lose your $120,000-a-year job.

BuzzFlash: One of the most incredible stories post 9/11 is when we go back and examine the conspiracy --the hunting of President and Hillary Clinton -- is the fact that during the hype of the witch hunt, as it were, Clinton was trying to deal with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. At the time, the right wing accused Clinton of wagging the dog and using military means as a distraction. It’s sort of ironic, in a sense, that Clinton was blamed for that, but now people have the audacity to blame Clinton for the 9/11 attacks. It’s such a memory hole. How is it that the right wing has escaped responsibility for what happened -- having the audacity to drain the government when it was dealing with terrorist threats, much less accuse Clinton of slacking on addressing the issue of terrorism?

Harry Thomason: Well, most of the legitimate press is ashamed of what they did during the Clinton administration. So everybody would like to let sleeping dogs lie in that region. But the interesting thing is that the day the independent counsel’s office chose to release the video about President Clinton testifying about the Monica Lewinsky affair -–that day, Clinton was at the United Nations speaking about terrorism and Osama bin Laden and other terrorist issues in the country. It never even made the television, as far as I know, other than they might have announced he was there. But nothing he said in that speech ever saw the light of day.

BuzzFlash: It’s amazing to me how much the witch hunt really did matter. At the time, it just seemed even to most people that it was just cheap politics. Now we know the full effect that it had.

Harry Thomason: The attacks on Clinton had serious consequences. Can you imagine if he had killed bin Laden? The people would have been up in arms at that time. What’s he doing? This man was part of the royal family. Maybe I’m over-exaggerating there.

BuzzFlash: Bush has escaped any kind of real accountability for some very serious crimes against the office of the president, such as going to war on the basis of lies. It must seem strange to have done this documentary, done this research on a president who essentially is brought to impeachment on the issue of sex concerning two adults, versus thousands of people who died at the expense of President Bush’s decisions. How do you come to terms with that?

Harry Thomason: Well, it didn’t start out that they were going to trap him in a sex lie. But as the eight years ultimately evolved, the extreme right wing saw the possibility that, if they could get him under oath for any infraction of anything, and if they could get him to lie, then they could expand that into the possibility of removing him as president through impeachment. Look there’s no doubt about it -- he helped them, he stepped into the trap. Then, with his family to think about and so forth, he did what they wanted him to do. He was not quite as concise as he should have been under oath, and so that gave them the grounds to bring forth the impeachment proceedings. It was the first time in the history of the presidency that anybody was able to make anything personal into grounds for impeachment.

BuzzFlash: I asked Gene Lyons one time, “What is the lesson that we should all learn from the Clinton impeachment?”And he said that democracy is a fragile thing, and it takes very little to hijack it. What would you say is the over-arching lesson?

Harry Thomason: I could not agree with Gene more that democracy is always hanging by a thin thread. We, as Americans, we’ve had it so long we don’t realize how thin that thread is, and that thread is damaged when you try to remove a sitting president. In third world countries, they would have used guns to try to remove him. Here, they didn’t. They used the media and part of the judiciary system. But if they had gotten him out, the results would have been just the same as if they had removed him with a gun. I’m telling you -- democracy would have been damaged forever. It has sustained some damage, in any case, that it will take it a long time to recover from now.

BuzzFlash: Harry Thomason, thank you so much for speaking with us.

Harry Thomason: Thank you.

A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW

* * *

Past BuzzFlash Interviews with figures involved in The Hunting of the President:

Susan McDougal
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/03/02/14_McDougal.html

Gene Lyons
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/2001/11/Gene_Lyons.html
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/2002/01/Gene_Lyons_012202.html
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/03/10/int03221.html

Joe Conason
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/2002/07/25_Joe_Conason.html
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/03/08/01_conason.html

Sidney Blumenthal
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/03/05/23_blumenthal.html

David Brock
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/2002/03/David_Brock_031802.html
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/2002/05/29_David_Brock.html
http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/2002/03/David_Brock_031802.html

Additional BuzzFlash Interviews including Paul Begala and James Carville can be found at: http://www.buzzflash.com/interviews/archives.html

Posted by richard at 11:44 PM

The attack on Fahrenheit 9/11: Fox lays back while ABC and NBC pile on

It's the Media, Stupid.

Richard Goldstein, Village Voice: In just one weekend, Fahrenheit 9/11 earned more money than any feature-length documentary in history. This despite a campaign against the film by the White House and its surrogates. Everyone expected George Bush's media shills to go after Moore, but who would have thought Fox News would keep its attack dogs relatively muzzled while ABC and NBC launched remarkably unbalanced attacks...
Why did NBC and ABC take the administration's line? Well, NBC is owned by General Electric, a prime defense contractor. ABC is owned by Disney, which has no need of Pentagon largesse—but Disney is dependent on the kindness of federal regulators, and to the Bush administration those mouse ears have a lot to answer for. After all, it was Disney subsidiary Miramax that initially planned to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11, and even after the studio pulled out under pressure from the parent company, Miramax ch