July 19, 2005

LNS Articles of Impeachment, No. 2, Part I -- TRAITORGATE

At least 1,768 US soliders have died in the Bush abomination's foolish military adventure in Iraq. That's at least 48 more than at the time of the last LNS posting one month ago. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. Nothing more...Meanwhile, psy war rages on in the homeland...Do not fall for the Corporatist news media's canonization of US Supreme Court InJustice Sandra Day O'Connor. Remember that, as Vincent Bugliosi wrote, the Rehnquist gang's ruling on Bush v. Gore was treasonous, and that O'Connor was the "swing vote." That abysmal wrong cancels out all the half-goods in her long career. Do not fall for the Corporatist news media's hand-wringing over the imprisonment of the NYTwits' Judith Miller. Remember that she is not in jail to protect a whistleblower, but to protect political operatives who breached national security to intimidate and harm a whistleblower and his family. Remember too, when thinking of Judith Miller, who has been disgraced not only by involvement in blowing the cover of a CIA agent but also with pre-invasion war-mongering under the guise of journalism, that the Rwandan radio announcers who incited genocide over the air waves were convicted of war crimes...Do not be distracted...Remember 2+2=4. Remember, and resist! As the battle of the Bush abomination's Supreme Injustice intensifies all anyone needs to know is that Roberts was nominated by an illegitimate, incompetent and corrupt regime that was itself installed UNconstituionally by a rogue court. If that is not enough for you to block the nomination (and it should be) than consider this passage from the Washington Post: "The president is a man of his word," said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. "He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done." And, if that is not enough for you to block the nomination (and it should be) just remember that this white male corporate lawyer, working in the Solicitor General's office, drafted a GHW Bush administration legal argument against Roe v. Wade as well as a brief in defense of "Operation Rescue." [For more information, go to http://www.independentjudiciary.com/resources/docs/John_Roberts_Report.pdf] Any Democrat in the US Senate that votes for confirmation (of course, many of them will) should be expelled from the caucus and asked to leave the Party (of course, it won't happen). It is that simple (even though the Party establishment is still living in denial)...And yes, if the Senate Democrats use the filibuster (they probably won't) the Neo-Totalitarian Right will invoke the "nuclear option," but this time the Democrats should not blink or turn away from the confrontation with a phoney one-sided compromise (yes, of course, they probably will)...There is no backing down when your back is to the wall...Everything is very simple now (if you have the courage to open your eyes and your heart)...The only agenda that makes any sense is a very simple one: impeachment for treason and war crimes, a return to fair elections and a free press, and emergency legislative action to mitigate the impact of the economic and environmental disasters that the Bush adomination has wrought...Remember and resist...Listen to Air America -- in particular Mike Malloy, Randi Rhodes and Janeane Garafalo. Subscribe to The Nation. Support Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! Support the bastions of the Internet-based information rebellion, e.g. www.buzzflash.com, www.truthout.org, www.mediamatter.org, etc. Participate in MoveOn.org. Print yourself up a bumper sticker that says: “No Statute of Limitations,” because there isn’t any such statute on war crimes or treason…

NOTE: The LNS will issue "Articles of Impeachment" from time to time...Stay tuned...

LNS Articles of Impeachment, No. 2, Part I

Special Supplement: The London Attacks & TRAITORGATE

Death of the Republic?

The London Attacks

Hasan Suroor, Report links U.K. policies to terror threat, The Hindu, 7/19/05: Prime Minister Tony Blair's bid to shrug off any connection between the July 7 London bombings and the U.S.-led British invasion of Iraq was dealt an embarrassing blow on Monday after one of the country's most respected independent think-tanks declared that "riding pillion'' with America in its war on terror had "proved costly'' for Britain.
In a report, which was immediately seized upon by critics of Mr. Blair's Iraq policy, the Royal Institute for International Affairs — also known as Chatham House — said the invasion had given a "boost'' to the Al-Qaeda's "propaganda, recruitment and fund-raising'' activities.
Without directly linking the "7/7'' attacks to the Iraq war, it said there was "no doubt'' that the situation in Iraq had created "difficulties'' for Britain, and its military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq had put the country at "particular risk.”
"The attacks on the transport system in London on July 7 represent precisely the nature of the threat from international terrorism that the U.K. authorities have been concerned about since 9/11,'' said the report co-authored by two academic specialists on terrorism, Frank Gregory of Southampton University and Paul Wilkinson of St. Andrews University.
They said a "key problem'' for Britain in fighting terrorism was its alliance with Washington as a junior partner.
"A key problem... is that the Government has been conducting counter-terrorism policy shoulder-to-shoulder with the United States, not in the sense of being an equal decision-maker but rather as a pillion passenger compelled to leave the steering to the ally in the driving seat,'' they said, adding that "riding pillion'' had proved costly not only in terms of military lives but also caused "damage'' to the counter-terrorism campaign.

Greg Palast, George and Tony Get their al-Qaeda Fix, 7/11/05: Al-Qaeda this ain't. All the evidence is that this half-assed attack was the work of some poor young Muslim schmucks, possibly whipped into a frenzy by the mewling mullah of Finsbury Park, Omar Bakri Mohammed, a cleric who enjoyed the comfortable middle-class dullness of England during the week while on weekends preaching, "a 9/11, day after day after day" to punish his Western hosts.
It's not al-Qaeda, but for George and Tony, it's good enough. Blair's Foreign Secretary dramatically dashed out to tell us that the explosions had the "hallmarks of al-Qaeda." Our Commander in Chief, looking as commanding as possible (no reading of kiddie stories this time), could not have been more satisfied.
The "hallmarks of al-Qaeda"? That's not true and Blair knows it. And Bush knows it. And that's no little matter, my friends. Because Blair and Bush are al-Qaeda junkies. They've sold us on everything from fingerprinting five-year olds to invading Baghdad to tolerating plummeting paychecks all on the slick line that we are under attack by a well-trained, well-armed, well-funded hidden army called al-Qaeda.
But our War President and War Prime Minister are having a little problem with their war on terror. The enemy's gone AWOL. Except when we go looking for trouble -- as in invading a Mesopotamian country -- trouble pretty much stopped looking for us.
Even September 11. Forgive me for pointing this out, but no matter how horrific, it was in the end the deed of a couple dozen fundamentalist fruitcakes with box-cutters hankering for a hot time with virgins in the next life who got "lucky."
Yes, unlike the London attack, the "luck" of the September 11 hijackers required the sick genius of monied operatives and a Washington administration that operated with eyes wide shut toward Saudi gangsterism…
Now, with world media all jumped up on its latest fear high, Bush and Blair can resume their sales pitch: more weaponry, less liberty.
FDR calmed a nation when he said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." But the Bush and Blair slogan is, "We have nothing to sell but fear itself."

Robert Fisk, Blair's Alliance with Bush Bombed, Seattle Post Intelligencer, 7/8/05: "If you bomb our cities," Osama bin Laden said in a recent videotape, "we will bomb yours."' It was clear Britain would be a target ever since British Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to join President Bush's "war on terror" and his invasion of Iraq. We had, as they say, been warned. The G-8 summit was obviously chosen, well in advance, as Attack Day.
It's no use Blair telling us, "They will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear." They are not trying to destroy "what we hold dear." They are trying to get public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, out of his alliance with the United States, out of his adherence to Bush's policies in the Middle East. The Spanish paid the price for their support for Bush -- and Spain's subsequent retreat from Iraq proved that the Madrid bombings achieved their objectives -- while the Australians were made to suffer in Bali.
It is easy for Blair to call yesterday's bombings "barbaric"' -- they were -- but what were the civilian deaths of the Anglo American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the children torn apart by cluster bombs, the innocent Iraqis gunned down at American military checkpoints. When they die, it is "collateral damage"; when "we" die it is "barbaric terrorism."
If we are fighting insurgency in Iraq what makes us believe insurgency won't come to us? One thing is certain: If Blair really believes that by "fighting terrorism"' in Iraq we could more efficiently protect Britain, this argument is no longer valid.

Juan Cole, "The Time of Revenge Has Come," www.salon.com, 7/8/05: Although US President George W. Bush maintains that al-Qaida strikes out at the industrialized democracies because of hatred for Western values, the statement said nothing of the sort. The attack, the terrorists proclaimed, was an act of sacred revenge for British "massacres" in "Afghanistan and Iraq," and a punishment of the United Kingdom for its "Zionism" (i.e., support of Israel)…
From the point of view of a serious counterinsurgency campaign against al-Qaida, Bush has made exactly the wrong decisions all along the line. He decided to "unleash" Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rather than pressing for Israeli-Palestinian peace and an end to Israeli occupation of the territories it captured in 1967. Rather than extinguishing this most incendiary issue for Arabs and Muslims, he poured gasoline on it. His strategy in response to Sept. 11 was to fight the Afghanistan War on the cheap. By failing to commit American ground troops in Tora Bora, he allowed bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to escape. He reneged on promises to rebuild Afghanistan and prevent the reemergence of the Taliban and al-Qaida there, thus prolonging the US and NATO military presence indefinitely. He then diverted most American military and reconstruction resources into an illegal war on Iraq. That war may have been doomed from the beginning, but Bush's refusal to line up international support, and his administration's criminal lack of planning for the postwar period, made failure inevitable.
Conservative commentators argue that Iraq is a "fly trap" for Muslim terrorists. It makes much more sense to think of it as bin Laden's fly trap for Western troops. There, jihadis can kill them (making the point that they are not invulnerable), and can provoke reprisals against Iraqi civilians that defame the West in the Muslim world. After Abu Ghraib and Fallujah, many Muslims felt that Bin Laden's dire warnings to them that the United States wanted to occupy their countries, rape their women, humiliate their men, and steal their assets had been vindicated…
George Bush is sure to try to use the London bombings to rally the American people to support his policies. If Americans look closer, however, they will realize that Bush's incompetent crusade has made the world more dangerous, not less.

John Pilger, Lest We Forget; These Were Blair's Bombs, www.truthout.org, 7/10/05: In all the coverage of last week's bombing of London, a basic truth is struggling to be heard. It is this: no one doubts the atrocious inhumanity of those who planted the bombs, but no one should also doubt that this has been coming since the day Tony Blair joined George Bush in their bloody invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are "Blair's bombs", and he ought not be allowed to evade culpability with yet another unctuous speech about "our way of life", which his own rapacious violence in other countries has despoiled…
While the two men responsible for the carnage in Iraq, Bush and Blair, were side by side at Gleneagles, why wasn't the connection of their fraudulent "war on terror" made with the bombing in London? And when will someone in the political class say that Blair's smoke-and-mirrors "debt cancellation" at best amounts to less than the money the government spent in a week brutalising Iraq, where British and American violence is the cause of the doubling of child poverty and malnutrition since Saddam Hussein was overthrown (Unicef)…
In our free societies, the unmentionable is that "the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people", as Arthur Miller once wrote, "and so the evidence has to be internally denied." Not only denied, but distracted by an entire court: Geldoff, Bono, Madonna, McCartney et al, whose "Live 8" was the very antithesis of 15 February 2003 when two million people brought their hearts and brains and anger to the streets of London. Blair will almost certainly use last week's atrocity and tragedy to further deplete basic human rights in Britain, as Bush has done in America. The goal is not security, but greater control. Above all this, the memory of their victims, "our" victims, in Iraq demands the return of our anger. And nothing less is owed to those who died and suffered in London last week, unnecessarily.

F.A.I.R., Lessons from London Bombings show right was right all along, pundits say www.fair.org. 7/11/05: Many pundits insisted that "partisanship" should play no part in the discussion of the July 7 terrorist attacks in London. But it seemed like business as usual in the right-wing media--as commentators used the attacks to score political points for their side and promote their pet agendas.
On Fox News Channel's Special Report (7/7/05), Jeff Birnbaum seemed hopeful that the attacks would mean a rise in the polls for George W. Bush:
"I think that there has been a plunging poll rating for Bush's policies in Iraq and even for the president's job performance overall, in part because the American people forgot that there really is a war on terror, or they didn't believe Bush's oft-repeated reminders from the stump that, in fact, we were in war and we had to act that way. I think this will--it takes away all of the credibility problems that the president has been having. And popular support, I think, will begin to rise for him again." On the Wall Street Journal's editorial page (7/8/05), Daniel Henninger seized the moment to back the White House's candidate for U.N. ambassador: "If the U.S. Senate wanted to send a signal of resolve and seriousness to whoever bombed London, Democrats would join with Republicans their first day back to dispatch proven anti-terror warrior John Bolton straight to the U.N. They won't. They'll keep playing political fiddles while London burns."
Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly was more hopeful that the London killings would change the minds of those he disagrees with. "My first thought was Al-Qaeda trying to disrupt the G-8 summit in Scotland," explained O'Reilly (7/7/05). "My second thought was now maybe Europe will wise up. The terrorists are the evildoers, not the USA."
(In contrast, Fox's Brit Hume said his "first thought" when he heard about the attack was: "Hmmm, time to buy" stock market futures--Media Matters, 7/7/05.)
When O'Reilly wasn't criticizing the governments of France and Germany for being soft on terrorism, he was blaming the press: "The anti-American press both here and in Europe is actually helping the terrorists by diminishing their threat." To make his point even clearer, O'Reilly asked one guest, "Have you read The Guardian lately? I mean, it might be edited by Osama bin Laden. I mean, that's how bad that paper is."
O'Reilly seemed to almost be blaming the victims, wondering why Islamist terrorists would even bother attacking Europe: "What good does it do to Al-Qaeda to alienate Europe when Europe has basically been, not on their side but certainly putting the U.S. as the big villain and de-emphasizing, as I say sanitizing, what Al-Qaeda has done. What good does it do Al-Qaeda to alienate, you know, the BBC and all of these major organizations that have basically not dealt with the threat in a realistic way?" O'Reilly's guest, Steven Emerson, expanded on that: "In certain respects, BBC almost operates as a foreign registered agent of Hezbollah and some of the other jihadist groups."


Buzzflash Editorial: In Plain Sight: Why the Betrayal of Our National Security by the Bush White House Matters, 7/5/05: In essence, whatever the legal outcome (which has been driven by political considerations -- that is why it has taken two years to move the "investigation" forward, if it is moving forward), this fact remains clear: In order to send a message to anyone who would expose that the White House lied America into war, the White House -- in an action that could have only been authorized by Karl Rove, perhaps with a nod and a wink from Bush -- deliberately endangered the national security of the United States.
As a warning to those who would expose Bush lies about WMDs -- or any of the daily Bush deceptions -- in July of 2003 the White House revealed to their newspaper water boy, Bob Novak, that Valerie Plame, the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, was a CIA operative, and she specialized in the illicit trafficking of Weapons of Mass Destruction. It is befitting the morally corrupt Bush Administration that they would neutralize an American asset in the war against the proliferation of WMDs, while fighting a war allegedly launched against WMDs, in order to make an example of a man, Joe Wilson, who had written a commentary in the New York Times arguing that the Bush Administration evidence claiming WMD evidence regarding a transaction between Niger and Saddam Hussein was false.
In short, the Bush Administration doesn't care if it endangers our national security by undercutting our efforts to curtail the very weapons that they claim they were saving us from. That is how dangerous the Bush Administration is to our national security -- and it is has been before us in plain sight for two years. But the mainstream media has focused on periodic reports that emerge about the "investigation" of the Chicago U.S. Attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, who was appointed by John Ashcroft, then Attorney General, to see if any laws were broken…
But here is what we know even without legal indictments and what is getting lost in the latest round of speculation about a two-year old act of betrayal against the citizens of the United States by the Bush Administration: the Bush White House committed brazen treason by deliberately undercutting our national efforts to keep WMDs out of the hands of "bad guys." Why did they do this? Because Karl Rove wanted to prevent future whistleblowers from coming forward to expose Bush lies, in this case the courageous proof by Joe Wilson that another lie had been used to bolster the false claim that Iraq had WMDs.
The PlameGate affair is symbolic of how the Bush Administration puts its own interests of preserving power before the interests of the American people -- and in unbelievable irony, on the one issue that they have trumpeted their "expertise" at: national security.
How the Democrats have apologetically bolstered Bush's "national security credentials" when he has put -- and PlameGate is just the tip of the iceberg -- our nation at greater risk than before 9/11, and used his bumbling efforts to further consolidate power into a shadow, secret government run by Cheney and Rove, is what is in plain sight.
But the mainstream media -- and most of the Democrats in Congress -- can't even see it staring them in the face.

Robert Parry, Rove’s Leak Points to Bush Conspiracy, www.consortiumnews.com, 7/11/05: A key national security principle for dealing with top-secret information, such as the identity of undercover CIA officers, is strict compartmentalization, often called “the need to know” – which raises the question why George W. Bush’s chief political adviser Karl Rove would know anything about the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.
The answer to that mystery – why was Rove involved – may be more crucial to unraveling who was behind the illegal leaking of Plame’s name and the subsequent cover-up than even the identity of which Bush officials passed the information to right-wing pundit Robert Novak for his infamous column on July 14, 2003.
But rather than focusing on how and why Rove knew about Plame, the latest controversy around the case has centered on whether Rove explicitly used her name in an interview with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper three days before Novak’s column…
For two years now, what has been lacking from the White House is a coherent explanation of how the information about Plame’s identity got from the cloistered world of the CIA to White House meetings and then into the hands of political adviser Rove.
Long ago, there should have been answers to the following questions:
--What national security purpose was served by giving Karl Rove a sensitive secret that, if leaked, could endanger the lives of covert intelligence operatives?
--Who attended White House meetings at which Wilson’s disclosures and Plame’s identity were discussed? How was Plame’s identity brought into these talks? By whom?
--Was George W. Bush present at any of these meetings? As the president, who is ultimately responsible for decisions about national security secrets, did Bush say anything about Wilson and Plame? If so, what did he say and to whom?
--Did Bush or anyone else in the White House order Rove to disparage Wilson?
In a healthy democracy, the news media would have demanded answers before Election 2004, rather than focusing primarily on the plight of several journalists caught up in demands for testimony from prosecutor Fitzgerald.
Ironically, it was the caving in by Time magazine last week that has opened the door slightly into the long-running White House cover-up of the Plame case. But still the major news media misses the bigger picture.
The answer to the Plame mystery is not the Watergate advice of “follow the money” or even the obvious question of who spilled the beans to Novak. Instead, the route to the heart of this mystery is to follow the trail from who knew Plame’s identity at the CIA through the White House meetings to Karl Rove.
Larry Johnson, THE BIG LIE ABOUT VALERIE PLAME, www.tpmcafe.com: For starters, Valerie Plame was an undercover operations officer until outed in the press by Robert Novak. Novak's column was not an isolated attack. It was in fact part of a coordinated, orchestrated smear that we now know includes at least Karl Rove.
Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985. All of my classmates were undercover--in other words, we told our family and friends that we were working for other overt U.S. Government agencies. We had official cover. That means we had a black passport--i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity the black passport was a get out of jail free card.
A few of my classmates, and Valerie was one of these, became a non-official cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. If caught in that status she would have been executed.
The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O'Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey. Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.
The Republicans now want to hide behind the legalism that "no laws were broken". I don't know if a man made law was broken but an ethical and moral code was breached. For the first time a group of partisan political operatives publically identified a CIA NOC. They have set a precendent that the next group of political hacks may feel free to violate…
At the end of the day, Joe Wilson was right. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was the Bush Administration that pushed that lie and because of that lie Americans are dying. Shame on those who continue to slander Joe Wilson while giving Bush and his pack of liars a pass. That's the true outrage.

Attytude, Why this journalist thinks that Judy Miller should go to jail, www.pnionline.com: We're not happy that Judy Miller is going to jail, but we think -- in this case -- that if she won't cooperate with the grand jury, then it's the right thing.
That's because Judy Miller's actions in recent years -- a pattern that includes this case -- have been the very antithesis of what we think journalism is and should be all about. Ultimately, the heart and soul of real journalism is not so much protecting "sources" at any cost. It is, rather, living up to the 19th Century maxim set forth by Peter Finley Dunne, that journalists should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable…
But the Times' Judy Miller has not been afflicting the comfortable. She has been protecting them, advancing their objectives, and helping them to mislead a now very afflicted American public. In fact, thinking again about Watergate and Deep Throat is a good way to understand why Judy Miller should not be protected today. Because in Watergate, a reporter acting like Miller would not be meeting the FBI's Mark Felt in an underground parking garage. She would be obsessively on the phone with H.R. Haldeman or John Dean, listening to malicious gossip about Carl Bernstein or their plans to make Judge Sirica look bad.
In the run-up to the Iraq war, Miller -- working with her "sources" inside the Bush administration and their friends in the Iraqi exile community like the discredited Ahmed Chalabi -- wrote a number of stories that now seem meant to dupe the American people into to thinking Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were a threat..
Yet in the immediate aftermath of the war, Miller acted not so much as a journalist as someone working with the American side to prove there really were WMD in Iraq…
And rather than act humbled when the basis for many of her stories proved false, by this year she had adopted yet another pet cause of the Bush administration, the oil-for-food scandal at the United Nations.
Then, seemingly out of left field, comes her involvement in the case of Valerie Plame, the "outed" CIA operative. The facts of the case are still murky, and so we want to tread carefully as we write about it. What is clear is that Judy Miller wasn't on the side of the person seeking to expose government wrongdoing -- that would have been Plame's husband, ex-ambassador Joe Wilson, who revealed the White House's lies about uranium and Iraq.
Instead, the special prosecutor wants to know about conversations that Miller had with a person, or persons, who wanted to squash the whistleblowers. He wants to know if Miller, perhaps unwittingly, abetted what would have been a criminal act against the whistleblower and his family. In fact, there's a theory that Miller might even have been a person who told Bush administration officials that Plame was a CIA agent.
We don't know what it's all about, except we do know that this isn't really journalism. It's about whether she continued her longtime pattern of aiding those in power and spreading their propaganda. What ever it is, we don't think it's protected by the shield laws that are on the books.

William E. Jackson, Jr., What was Judith Miller Up To?, Editors & Publishers, 7/12/05: Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” even went so far as to compare Miller's sentence for refusing to reveal sources to a grand jury to Martin Luther King's civil disobedience…
Prosecutor Fitzgerald has insisted: “This case is not about a whistle-blower. It's about a potential retaliation against a whistle-blower.” Helping the government vindictively to leak--to “declare war” (as Cooper put it)--hardly counts as watching the government closely and aggressively. As reported by AP, when Times counsel Floyd Abrams was asked why prosecutors had sought Miller's testimony when she never wrote a story about Plame, he said: “We don't know, but most likely somebody testified to the grand jury that he or she had spoken to Judy.”
So Miller was fingered by an administration official back in the summer of 2004, and then she was subpoenaed? Then, one theory goes, she covers for him or her by claiming she was working on a story, hoping to throw the cloak of "reporter's privilege" over the conversation. By not agreeing to testify, Miller--along with that official--might thereby have been involved in obstruction of justice. It would require her oral testimony to confirm what games the White House-level official was playing.
Of course, this is just a theory; no one yet knows what actually happened. But since the New York Times was originally subpoenaed, as were Time and The Washington Post, and that subpoena has been dropped, it could be read that Miller was not working on a story, or took no notes--or destroyed them. Otherwise the New York Times would be on the hook for them.
A novel theme emerging in some press coverage of the Plame case raises the possibility of unnamed journalists being participants in a potential crime, and not just witnesses…
She may have just been helping to spin the neo-conservatives' gossip. Her "source" is incidental, as she wrote nothing. No evidence has been presented that she even contemplated writing a story. None of her colleagues at the newspaper that I have spoken to over the past two years have suggested that she was actively working on a story about Plame…
The New York Times should answer some questions. For example, have they contacted Miller's source[s] and asked for an explicit waiver of confidentiality -- and been denied? If so, would that not appropriately put the pressure back on the White House, where it belongs? Does the Times want her sources to come forward?

Paul Krugman, Karl Rove's America, New York Times, 7/15/05: John Gibson of Fox News says that Karl Rove should be given a medal. I agree: Mr. Rove should receive a medal from the American Political Science Association for his pioneering discoveries about modern American politics. The medal can, if necessary, be delivered to his prison cell. What Mr. Rove understood, long before the rest of us, is that we're not living in the America of the past, where even partisans sometimes changed their views when faced with the facts. Instead, we're living in a country in which there is no longer such a thing as nonpolitical truth. In particular, there are now few, if any, limits to what conservative politicians can get away with: the faithful will follow the twists and turns of the party line with a loyalty that would have pleased the Comintern…
Every time I read a lament for the post-9/11 era of national unity, I wonder what people are talking about. On the issues I was watching, the Republicans' exploitation of the atrocity began while ground zero was still smoldering.
Mr. Rove has been much criticized for saying that liberals responded to the attack by wanting to offer the terrorists therapy - but what he said about conservatives, that they "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," is equally false. What many of them actually saw was a domestic political opportunity - and none more so than Mr. Rove…
Ultimately, this isn't just about Mr. Rove. It's also about Mr. Bush, who has always known that his trusted political adviser - a disciple of the late Lee Atwater, whose smear tactics helped President Bush's father win the 1988 election - is a thug, and obviously made no attempt to find out if he was the leaker.
Most of all, it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?

Sidney Blumenthal, Rove's War, Salon.com, 7/14/05: This is Karl Rove's war. From his command post next to the Oval Office in the West Wing of the White House, he is furiously directing the order of battle. The Republican National Committee lobs its talking points across Washington, its chairman forays the no-man's-land of CNN. Rove's lawyer, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial board are sent over the top. Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay man the ramparts, defending Rove's character…
Rove is fighting his war as though it will be settled in a court of Washington pundits. Brandishing his formidable political weapons, he seeks to demonstrate his prowess once again. His corps of agents raises a din in which their voices drown out individual dissidents. His frantic massing of forces dominates the capital by winning the communications battle. Indeed, Rove may succeed momentarily in quelling the storm. But the stillness may be illusory. Before the prosecutor, Rove's arsenal is useless.
Can the special counsel be confounded by manipulation of the Washington chattering class? What's the obligation of a reporter to a source in this case? What game are Rove and his surrogates playing? What are the legal vulnerabilities of Rove and others in the White House?
Wilson's article provided the first evidence that the reasons given for the war were stoked by false information. But the attack on Wilson by focusing on his wife is superficially perplexing. Even if the allegation were true that she "authorized" his mission, as Rove told Cooper, it would have no bearing whatsoever on the Niger forgeries, or any indictment. But Rove's is a psychological operation intended to foster the perception that the messenger is somehow untrustworthy and that therefore his message is too. The aim is to distract and discredit. By creating an original taint on Wilson's motives, an elaborate negative image has been constructed…
The sound and fury of Rove's defenders will soon subside. The last word, the only word that matters, will belong to the prosecutor. So far, he has said very, very little. Unlike the unprofessional, inexperienced and weak Ken Starr, he does not leak illegally to the press. But he has commented publicly on his understanding of the case. "This case," he said, "is not about a whistle-blower. It's about a potential retaliation against a whistle-blower."

Death of the Republic?

Veterans for Peace, Veterans Group Issues "Declaration of Impeachment," 7/4/05: A national veterans' organization today issued a "Declaration of Impeachment" and announced it is beginning an online petition to remove President Bush from office for crimes committed during the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Using the same language as the original "Declaration of Independence," Veterans For Peace cited many of the same reasons to remove George Bush that Thomas Jefferson cited to separate from King George of England. And in a modern version of the signing of the Declaration, VFP announced the posting of its online impeachment petition…
"To sign the online petition, or to read the "Declaration of Impeachment" and VFP's documented case for removing George Bush, go to: www.veteransforpeace.org
Veterans For Peace is a national organization founded in 1985, with 123 chapters across the country.
Declaration of Impeachment
Issued by Veterans For Peace
Monday 04 July 2005
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are instituted to secure the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But
• " - whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
• - all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations - design(s) to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
• - The history of the present King (George) of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny - To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
• He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
• He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
• He has - deprive(ed) us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury - transport(ed) us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
• He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us -
• He is at this time transporting large Armies - to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty
• perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
• He has constrained our fellow Citizens - to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
• A (President) whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
We, therefore - do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People - solemnly publish and declare, That these - Free and Independent (People) - are Absolved from all Allegiance to the (Bush Administration), and that all political connection between them and (this Administration), is and ought to be totally dissolved - And for the support of this Declaration - we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
(Note: Except for the first two lines above and words in parentheses, this Declaration is quoted directly from the original Declaration of Independence.) www.veteransforpeace.org”

Thom Hartmann, Supreme Court - Media Ignore Possible "Fascist" Play, CommonDreams.org, 7/5/05: The Bush administration is spectacularly good at sleight-of-hand tricks, directing public attention in one direction while they're working diligently in another. The latest trial balloon of "probable" Supreme Court nominees is no exception.
While everybody is worried about abortion rights and corporate power, a far more insidious agenda may be at play.
Anti-abortion forces and women's rights groups alike are up in arms about the possibility that the next nominee may or may not have an opinion about the Court's interpretation of the Fourth Amendment (and others) in Roe v. Wade. This battle is being loudly played out in the mainstream corporate media, with every analysis and question ultimately turning back to Roe.
Because Alberto Gonzales isn't on the record with regard to abortion rights, both sides are wary of him.
At the same time, corporatist "conservatives" are salivating at the opportunity to pack the Court with judges who will further erode the rights of communities and increase the power of multinational corporations and the super-rich in America. On June 28, 2005 The Wall Street Journal ran a major story ("For a High Court Nomination, Business Has Its Own Agenda") on how corporate Republicans may be at odds with "social" Republicans, because the latter generally endorse states' rights. Corporatists prefer a strong federal government where all politicians can be bought centrally in Washington, DC, and federal rules and agencies can be used to back down states that may want clean air or water.
Because Alberto Gonzales has a very limited record in ruling or writing on corporate rights and powers, the corporatists are not as enthusiastic about him as they are about others.
What nobody seems to be noticing, though, is what may well be the real agenda of George W. Bush and those around him - neo-fascism.
For this agenda, Alberto Gonzales is the perfect man…
The new Federalists - Bush's Republicans - clearly fear We The People, and cherish their own power to rule independent of us. And if they can seize control of the Supreme Court before the next elections, their power may become nearly absolute.
Historically, when fascists have come to power they have used either the threat of enemies or social issues to get the people to agree to give them control of all branches of government. When their true agenda - raw power - comes out, it's too late for the people to resist. As Francisco Franco famously said, "Our regime is [now] based on bayonets and blood, not on hypocritical elections."
Thus, the nomination of Gonzales, or another candidate with strong fascistic leanings but no clear abortion record, will probably be trumpeted in the mainstream corporate media as a triumph of "moderation" on the part of Bush (or a tribute to his "stubbornness" or his "loyalty").
In fact, it could mark the end of our 200+ year American experiment in democracy.


Michael Smith, The Real News in the Downing Street Memos, LA Times. 6//23/05: I did not then regard the now-infamous memo — the one that includes the minutes of the July 23 meeting — as the most important…
American media coverage of the Downing Street memo has largely focused on the assertion by Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence, that war was seen as inevitable in Washington, where "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
But another part of the memo is arguably more important. It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the U.S. had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now realize was Plan B.
Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict.
British government figures for the number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq in 2002 show that although virtually none were used in March and April, an average of 10 tons a month were dropped between May and August.
But these initial "spikes of activity" didn't have the desired effect. The Iraqis didn't retaliate. They didn't provide the excuse Bush and Blair needed. So at the end of August, the allies dramatically intensified the bombing into what was effectively the initial air war.
The number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq by allied aircraft shot up to 54.6 tons in September alone, with the increased rates continuing into 2003.
In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.
The way in which the intelligence was "fixed" to justify war is old news.
The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress.

Thom Hartmann, They Died So Republicans Could Take the Senate, CommonDreams.org, 6/20/05: The real scandal of the Downing Street Memos, with the greatest potential to leave the Bush presidency in permanent disgrace, is their implication that lies may have been put forward to help Bush, Republicans, and Blair politically. If Bush lied to gain and keep political power, precedent suggests he and his collaborators in the administration may even be vulnerable to impeachment…
It was a lie of political expediency, with the war resolution carefully timed just before the 2002 elections to help the Republicans take back the Senate.
It was echoed and amplified and repeated over and over again to help him and other Republicans get elected in 2004.
It wasn't a war for oil - cheap oil was just a useful secondary benefit.
It wasn't a war against terrorism - that was just a convenient excuse.
It wasn't a war to enrich Bush's and Cheney's cronies - those were just pleasant by-products.
It wasn't a war to show Poppy Bush that Junior was more of a man than him - that was just a personal bonus for Dubya.
It was, pure and simple, well planned years in advance, a war to solidify Bush and the Republican Party's political capital.
It was a war for political power. That had to be first. Everything else - oil, profits, ongoing PATRIOT Act powers, easy manipulation of the media - all could only come if political power was seized and held through at least two decisive election cycles.
The Bush administration lied us into an invasion to get and keep political power. It's that simple…
Probably the only two things that could slow down the American electorate's growing realization of the magnitude and horror of Bush's political lies would be another attack on America or a new Bush-led war into Syria, Iran, or North Korea.
Bush has already shown, by lying us into Iraq, that he's at least capable of the latter. As Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison on February 8th 1776, "It should ever be held in mind that insult and war are the consequences of a lack of respectability in the national character."
And already the cons are working the talk-show circuit, threatening the US with a new attack, and recommending we strike now at Iran or Syria. "Be afraid. Be aggressive. Give us more political power."
But if Jefferson was right when he said that the best defense of democracy was an informed electorate, there is still a small window of opportunity for the American press to do the job they've been so carefully avoiding these past five years.
Instead of just reporting that the Downing Street Minutes and memos exist, they can highlight them against the timeline of Bush repeatedly lying during those days before the war. They can quote him saying that he had no plans for war, was working toward peace, and only wanted Congressional authorization to avoid a war, and point out that this was all after - months after - his administration had told the British that war was a sure thing.
Lying, in other words, to get us to go along with an invasion that would cement in Republican control of the Congress and the White House, and, thus, also the courts. Lying for nothing more than "political capital."
Let us hope our Fourth Estate is up to the task.

Sidney Blumenthal, A Broken Body, www.salon.com, 6/16/05: The House of Representatives of the 109th Congress suffers the classic symptoms of a decadent ancient régime. It seems an eon ago that the Republicans swept into power in 1994, after 40 years in the wilderness, on a "Contract With America" whose preamble promised: "To restore accountability to Congress. To end its cycle of scandal and disgrace."
Day by day, week by week, spectacles unfold in its august chambers revealing new incidents of corruption, unaccountability and chaos…The Democrats have been prevented from debating legislation, attaching amendments and participating in conferences. Any gesture at dissent is gaveled out of order. Republican members too have been relegated to the sidelines, rubber-stamping what the leadership dictates…
Since the House has been in session this year, the ethics committee has met for exactly one day. On that day, in May, it decided under intense public pressure to reverse its fail-safe scheme to thwart any investigation of DeLay. The committee had announced rules by which a deadlock would lead to dismissal of any charge. Because the committee is the only one equally divided between majority and minority members, a deadlock was guaranteed, and so therefore was DeLay's escape…
So long as the ethics committee is in effect defunct, it cannot investigate any new cases, such as that involving Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., which emerged in the last week. Cunningham, an influential member of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, has helped a certain defense contractor named Mitchell Wade and his company, MZM Inc., win tens of millions of dollars in contracts. In 2003, Wade paid Cunningham $2.55 million for his house in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Wade resold it for a price that was $700,000 less than he paid Cunningham…
While DeLay was orchestrating the latest plot turn in the ethics committee, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., continued his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee as circus act. On June 10, he presided over a morning's hearing on the PATRIOT Act of witnesses invited by the Democratic minority. It was the one occasion the Democrats were allowed under the rules to give critics an official forum on the bill up for renewal. Sensenbrenner, whose routine demeanor is peeved and bilious, was on a hair trigger. He did not permit the ranking Democrat, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., to finish his opening statement. He refused to recognize Democrats on their points of order. Finally, he declared the hearings over. "Much of what has been stated is not irrelevant," he announced. "Point of order," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. "No, I will not yield," said Sensenbrenner. He cut off the microphones of Democrats as their words hung in the air: "Will the gentleman yield?" and "Point of order, Mr. Chairman." Sensenbrenner stormed out the door.
Sensenbrenner's highhandedness was hardly exceptional. This spring he barred Democrats from consultation on legislation that made drivers' licenses national identification cards…
At the same time, in April, Sensenbrenner rammed through a bill called the Child Interstate Notification Act, which applies federal criminal penalties to adults aiding and abetting minors who leave a state that imposes parental notification laws to get an abortion in another state. When Democrats on the Judiciary Committee submitted amendments, Sensenbrenner and his staff rewrote their captions in the official record without informing them. In every case, Sensenbrenner's language presented Democrats as defending "sexual predators."…
DeLay's system of centralization has Washington in its grip. Republican House members are factotums of the leadership group he dominates. The regular operation of House committees has been overthrown. Decisions are handed down by DeLay and his lieutenants. Lobbyists are convened in private to write legislation. What's more, lobbying firms are ordered to kick in campaign contributions and are under threat of losing preference if they hire Democrats..
On about 80 percent of the bills before the House, amendments are prohibited as a result of what are called "closed rules." By manipulation of so-called suspension bills -- for example, those that name federal buildings and praise civic groups -- the business of the House has become a playpen of trivialities. Instead of substantive debate, two-thirds of all the time on the House floor is devoted to these meaningless measures. By this means, the leadership concentrates power and frustrates the House from acting as deliberative body. The schedule of the House has been reduced to something like that of a small state legislature of the 19th century, with many of its lollygagging members turning up for work on Tuesday and leaving on Thursday.
The efforts to suppress the proper workings of the House on inquiries of corruption and to quell uneasy questions about legislation from Democrats are only increasing the public pressure on the Republican leadership. Ever more rigid control is producing sharper and deeper fissures in its façade. The desperation for order fosters greater disorder. Such is the state of democracy in America that the rest of the world is encouraged to emulate.

Medea Benjamin, Celebrating Independence in the Era of Empire, Commom Dreams, 7/3/05: Our nation was founded on a determination to be free of domination by the British empire…
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all warned that the invasion and occupation of other lands would turn America into precisely the sort of empire against which they had so recently rebelled. "We should have nothing to do with conquest," asserted Jefferson in 1791…
Building and maintaining a vast empire is expensive in both lives and money. The human cost in Iraq alone tops 1,700 US soldiers dead, tens of thousands severely injured both physically and psychologically, with much greater death and suffering endured by the Iraqi people.
Our out-of-control military budget will, by 2006, equal that of the rest of the world combined. This enormous cost is draining money from our schools, our hospitals, our public transportation...
The imperial ambitions of this administration have also cost us dearly in terms of international prestige. A survey of public opinion in 16 countries released by the Pew Global Attitudes Project on June 23 found a dismal opinion of the U.S. Most said the world was more dangerous after the downfall of Saddam Hussein, rated China more favorably than the U.S., and said the world would be better off if a group of countries emerged as a rival to U.S. military power...
Most Americans have come to understand that the cost of empire in lives, money and prestige is unacceptable. Recent polls show that the majority believes we should never have attacked Iraq, we should begin to withdraw our troops, and that the war in Iraq has not made us safer at home. Six out of ten Americans say that our nation is headed down the wrong path.
In 1821, then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams warned that if America went abroad in search of 'monsters to destroy - the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.' While she might become the dictatress of the world, he predicted, 'she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.'
This July 4, let us reflect on how empire-building is destroying the soul of our nation…

Posted by richard at 11:51 PM

LNS Articles of Impeachment, No. 2, Part II

Theft of the 2004 Election

Rep. McKinney (D-GA) Discusses Hack as Diebold Flips Out
by Matthew Cardinale: "The bottom line is we can't trust the machines, and we can't trust the results being told to the American people," U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) said in a phone interview for the progressive news community, adding "we are planning some as-yet-undefined events in [our] district" around the issue.
The problem, the Congresswoman said, is that the machines "haven't been provided with appropriate software and safeguards. If they had the appropriate software and safeguards, then the machines wouldn't be a problem. So either [provide] that, or go back to paper ballots," she advised.
Rep. McKinney, along with Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), had been on hand for a hack demonstration in the Leon County Elections Office, in Florida, in May 2005. The demo was one of three meetings that had been organized by Bev Harris and the team at Black Box Voting. Diebold has since issued a vitriolic letter to Mr. Ion Sancho, Leon County Elections Supervisor, for allowing Black Box Voting to conduct the hack demo on site.
Mr. Sancho defended his actions in a phone interview and explained his concerns regarding electronic voting.
As Black Box Voting announced in recent weeks, two computer science experts have been able to hack into Leon County's Diebold central tabulator as well as individual optical scan machines. For a recent interview with Bev Harris written by the present columnist about the hack, which ran on YubaNet…
"Granted the same access as an employee of our office, it was possible to enter the computer, alter election results, and exit the system without leaving any physical record of this action," said a formal statement posted by Mr. Ion Sancho on the Leon County Election's Office official website.
The statement is available here.
"It was also demonstrated that false information or instructions could be placed on a memory card (the device used to program the individual voting machines and record the voter's votes) and create false results or election reports," the statement said.
Harri Hursti, 36, who ran the hack demo on the individual machines and memory cards, reiterated Congresswoman McKinney's concerns. " I had prepared memory cards provided by Leon County having elections data for educational purposes. I modified three of these [cards], demonstrating three different attack methods, three different ways to penetrate the layer of security to change the outcome of elections to demonstrate how to change the paper trail believed to protect the election integrity," Hursti said.

Steven Rosenfeld and Bob Fitrakis, The DNC 2004 Election Report: An indictment of incompetence, 6/25/05: The Democratic National Committee's investigation into Ohio's 2004 presidential election irregularities is the perfect postscript to the party's 'election protection' efforts last fall: it is a shocking indictment of a party caught completely off-guard in its most heated presidential campaign in years, and a party that still doesn't fully understand what happened and how to avoid a repeat in the future.
The report primarily documents the fact that Jim Crow voter suppression tactics targeting Democratic African-American voters were rampant in Ohio’s cities during the 2004 presidential election….
The DNC report is filled with omissions of that magnitude and dismissals of the work of citizen-activists who – with no help from the DNC, or Kerry campaign – fought for a fair accounting of the 2004 vote after Election Day…
It’s worth remembering the timing and origin of this report. The Democratic Party and its allied supporters, such as Americans Coming Together, spent millions of dollars on their election protection efforts. The same Ohio Democratic Party that told John Kerry not to challenge the result and to concede to Bush, also was completely caught off-guard with Republican’s resurrection of Jim Crow voter suppression tactics, according to its own report. What kind of a party stations hundreds of lawyers at polls in anticipation of poll challenges that don’t happen, but isn’t aware that voting machines will not be evenly distributed among white and black neighborhoods? Or isn’t aware of the fact that newly registered voters aren’t receiving proper precinct information, or are being targeted with new provisional ballots that are likely to be disqualified on frivolous technicalities?
There’s more history to the DNC report. The DNC announced it would investigate election irregularities on December 6th, two days before Rep. John Conyers, D-MI, and Democrats on the House Judiciary opened their first of several hearings into the 2004 Ohio presidential vote. In effect, the DNC knew Conyers’ inquiry would be explosive and sought to pre-empt his investigation by announcing its inquiry first…
The report contains other outrages. It states African-American voters waited an average of 52 minutes in line, compared to white voters waiting an average of 18 minutes. That calculation defies the experience of thousands of voters who waited four, five or six hours. That figure is the kind of statistical averaging is akin to having a tornado touch down in Columbus and having the National Weather Service say its been a breezy day across the state.
In the primarily African American 55th ward in Columbus, on the ground election protection volunteers clocked an average wait of 3 hours and 15 minutes…
But the biggest disappointment of the DNC report is that it gives no indication that the old-school Jim Crow abuses will be addressed and rectified, and that the newer school electronic voting machine abuses will be similarly addressed. The report portrays a statewide landscape of separate and unequal rules in election jurisdictions across the state. It says local and statewide election officials – and the private companies they hire – aren’t interested in cooperating to make the system more transparent and equitable. And the party hierarchy that commissioned this report dismisses the work of its activists and loyal volunteers who worked before and after the 2004 race for electoral justice.
Is that any way to prepare for 2006 or 2008?

Complicity of the Corporatist News Media

Peter Phillips, Big Media Interlocks with Corporate America, CommonDreams.org, 6/25/05: Mainstream media is the term often used to describe the collective group of big TV, radio and newspapers in the United States. Mainstream implies that the news being produced is for the benefit and enlightenment of the mainstream population-the majority of people living in the US. Mainstream media include a number of communication mediums that carry almost all the news and information on world affairs that most Americans receive. The word media is plural, implying a diversity of news sources.
However, mainstream media no longer produce news for the mainstream population-nor should we consider the media as plural. Instead it is more accurate to speak of big media in the US today as the corporate media and to use the term in the singular tense-as it refers to the singular monolithic top-down power structure of self-interested news giants.
A research team at Sonoma State University has recently finished conducting a network analysis of the boards of directors of the ten big media organizations in the US. The team determined that only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants. This is a small enough group to fit in a moderate size university classroom. These 118 individuals in turn sit on the corporate boards of 288 national and international corporations. In fact, eight out of ten big media giants share common memberships on boards of directors with each other. NBC and the Washington Post both have board members who sit on Coca Cola and J. P. Morgan, while the Tribune Company, The New York Times and Gannett all have members who share a seat on Pepsi. It is kind of like one big happy family of interlocks and shared interests. The following are but a few of the corporate board interlocks for the big ten media giants in the US:
• New York Times: Caryle Group, Eli Lilly, Ford, Johnson and Johnson, Hallmark, Lehman Brothers, Staples, Pepsi
• Washington Post: Lockheed Martin, Coca-Cola, Dun & Bradstreet, Gillette, G.E. Investments, J.P. Morgan, Moody's
• Knight-Ridder: Adobe Systems, Echelon, H&R Block, Kimberly-Clark, Starwood Hotels
• The Tribune (Chicago & LA Times): 3M, Allstate, Caterpillar, Conoco Phillips, Kraft, McDonalds, Pepsi, Quaker Oats, Shering Plough, Wells Fargo
• News Corp (Fox): British Airways, Rothschild Investments
• GE (NBC): Anheuser-Busch, Avon, Bechtel, Chevron/Texaco, Coca-Cola, Dell, GM, Home Depot, Kellogg, J.P. Morgan, Microsoft, Motorola, Procter & Gamble
• Disney (ABC): Boeing, Northwest Airlines, Clorox, Estee Lauder, FedEx, Gillette, Halliburton, Kmart, McKesson, Staples, Yahoo
• Viacom (CBS): American Express, Consolidated Edison, Oracle, Lafarge North America
• Gannett: AP, Lockheed-Martin, Continental Airlines, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, Target, Pepsi
• AOL-Time Warner (CNN): Citigroup, Estee Lauder, Colgate-Palmolive, Hilton
Can we trust the news editors at the Washington Post to be fair and objective regarding news stories about Lockheed-Martin defense contract over-runs? Or can we assuredly believe that ABC will conduct critical investigative reporting on Halliburton's sole-source contracts in Iraq? If we believe the corporate media give us the full un-censored truth about key issues inside the special interests of American capitalism, then we might feel that they are meeting the democratic needs of mainstream America. However if we believe - as increasingly more Americans do- that corporate media serves its own self-interests instead of those of the people, than we can no longer call it mainstream or refer to it as plural. Instead we need to say that corporate media is corporate America, and that we the mainstream people need to be looking at alternative independent sources for our news and information.

The War in Iraq is Worse than Illegal or Immoral, It is Stupid…

Seymour M. Hersch, Get Out the Vote: Did Washington try to manipulate Iraq’s election?, 7/18/05: The essence of Pelosi’s objection, the recently retired high-level C.I.A. official said, was: “Did we have eleven hundred Americans die”—the number of U.S. combat deaths as of last September—“so they could have a rigged election?”
Sometime after last November’s Presidential election, I was told by past and present intelligence and military officials, the Bush Administration decided to override Pelosi’s objections and covertly intervene in the Iraqi election. A former national-security official told me that he had learned of the effort from “people who worked the beat”—those involved in the operation. It was necessary, he added, “because they couldn’t afford to have a disaster.”
A Pentagon consultant who deals with the senior military leadership acknowledged that the American authorities in Iraq “did an operation” to try to influence the results of the election. “They had to,” he said. “They were trying to make a case that Allawi was popular, and he had no juice.” A government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon’s civilian leaders said, “We didn’t want to take a chance.”
I was informed by several former military and intelligence officials that the activities were kept, in part, “off the books”—they were conducted by retired C.I.A. officers and other non-government personnel, and used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress. Some in the White House and at the Pentagon believed that keeping an operation off the books eliminated the need to give a formal briefing to the relevant members of Congress and congressional intelligence committees, whose jurisdiction is limited, in their view, to officially sanctioned C.I.A. operations. (The Pentagon is known to be running clandestine operations today in North Africa and Central Asia with little or no official C.I.A. involvement.)
“The Administration wouldn’t take the chance of doing it within the system,” the former senior intelligence official said. “The genius of the operation lies in the behind-the-scenes operatives—we have hired hands that deal with this.” He added that a number of military and intelligence officials were angered by the covert plans. Their feeling was “How could we take such a risk, when we didn’t have to? The Shiites were going to win the election anyway.”
In my reporting for this story, one theme that emerged was the Bush Administration’s increasing tendency to turn to off-the-books covert actions to accomplish its goals. This allowed the Administration to avoid the kind of stumbling blocks it encountered in the debate about how to handle the elections: bureaucratic infighting, congressional second-guessing, complaints from outsiders.

Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes, 6/17/05: Several parents of soldiers killed in Iraq visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday to ask for congressional hearings on the Downing Street memo, which one mother called President Bush’s “Watergate.”
Critics say the document, which contains minutes from a meeting in July 2002 between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and top aides, shows that Bush was determined to go to war with Iraq and ignored evidence that showed the country had no weapons of mass destruction.
“Military action was now seen as inevitable,” the memo reads. “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
The memo was first revealed by the Sunday Times of London in May. Earlier this month, both Bush and Blair dismissed the accusations, saying that the war in Iraq was justified because Saddam Hussein was ignoring international law.
But members of Military Families Speak Out, whose members are relatives of troops killed in Iraq, said Congress must investigate whether the president lied to the country to justify military action.
“This war was based on lies and deception,” said Celeste Zappala of Philadelphia, whose son was killed in April 2004 while providing security for investigators searching for WMD. “The only way we can understand how we’ve come to this disastrous position is to find out what the truth is.”
The group, which has frequently criticized the administration, met with congressmen and left flyers petitioning for a full investigation at the offices of Republican House leaders.
“I envy the parents who support this war, because if I did I’d sleep better,” said Dianne Davis Santorello, a Pennsylvania resident whose son was killed in August 2004. “But I don’t sleep well. My son died for a lie.”
She said the Downing Street memo would “bring down the house of cards” if lawmakers choose to investigate it, and compared it to the Watergate scandal which eventually forced President Richard Nixon from office.

Sidney Blumenthal, Empty Words, Salon.com, 6/30/05: Five times Bush mentioned 9/11. Terrorism was mentioned 29 times. We are in Iraq, in short, because of 9/11. "And we fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand." Bush was not articulating a policy so much as conflating 9/11 with Iraq to restore his popularity.
The novelty in Bush's speech did not come from his militarized stagecraft. His innovation came with his approving quotation of Osama bin Laden. "Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Here are the words of Osama bin Laden: 'This third world war is raging in Iraq. The whole world is watching this war.' He says it will end in victory and glory or misery and humiliation."
By citing bin Laden, Bush raised him to the stature of a foreign leader. But he went further, embracing bin Laden's understanding of the war's dynamics as a crusade. By endorsing bin Laden's notion of a "third world war," the American president lent the prestige of his office to the terrorists' vision. Using bin Laden's statement to justify his own course, Bush legitimated their war.
By mixing 9/11 and Iraq, Bush jumbled the actual logic of cause and effect. In the rush to war, Bush, Cheney & Co. had suggested that Saddam Hussein was allied with terrorists, connecting the dot to 9/11. Now the CIA reports that Iraq has become a terrorist training center only since the failed postwar reconstruction.
Rather than making his case by admitting his blunders that led to the current crisis, explaining his proposed correction of course, realistically discussing Iraq's current political or military situation, or any empirical factor on the ground, Bush sought to recapture his past standing by repeating his past rhetoric.
Bush's strategy rests on more than sheer avoidance of facts, however; it depends on willful ignorance of the history of Mesopotamia…
From the thoroughly favorable political position of national unanimity after 9/11, Bush pursued a war of choice in Iraq, relying on shaky, distorted and false intelligence. Skeptics were driven into a corner and punished. The administration became an echo chamber.
Immediately after the invasion, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their neoconservative deputies systematically excluded knowledgeable experts from participation in reconstruction. The State Department's extensive "Future of Iraq" project was sidelined, and Rumsfeld refused to permit 32 State Department experts from being hired by the new US Office of Reconstruction, as David L. Phillips, a member of the State Department's project, recounts in "Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco." Phillips' firsthand account is a chronicle of epic disaster. He reveals that it was not only the US State Department and the intelligence services that were ignored. On the question of disbanding the Iraqi army, it was the US military's senior experts who were shunted aside. "The Bush administration had committed one of the greatest errors in the history of US warfare," he writes…
The crisis in Iraq has been produced by deliberate decisions taken by the Bush administration against the advice of the State Department, the military and others. "Their lack of planning was criminally irresponsible, grounds for impeachment," said Gelb. "Of the things that have happened to the US in warfare, this was the single greatest dereliction of duty. It wasn't as if the military wasn't telling them they needed more troops. They still don't know what they are doing."

Paul Krugman, The War President, NY Times, 6/24/05: In November 2002, Helen Thomas, the veteran White House correspondent, told an audience, "I have never covered a president who actually wanted to go to war" - but she made it clear that Mr. Bush was the exception. And she was right.
Leading the nation wrongfully into war strikes at the heart of democracy. It would have been an unprecedented abuse of power even if the war hadn't turned into a military and moral quagmire. And we won't be able to get out of that quagmire until we face up to the reality of how we got in…
Let me explain. The United States will soon have to start reducing force levels in Iraq, or risk seeing the volunteer Army collapse. Yet the administration and its supporters have effectively prevented any adult discussion of the need to get out.
On one side, the people who sold this war, unable to face up to the fact that their fantasies of a splendid little war have led to disaster, are still peddling illusions: the insurgency is in its "last throes," says Dick Cheney. On the other, they still have moderates and even liberals intimidated: anyone who suggests that the United States will have to settle for something that falls far short of victory is accused of being unpatriotic.
We need to deprive these people of their ability to mislead and intimidate. And the best way to do that is to make it clear that the people who led us to war on false pretenses have no credibility, and no right to lecture the rest of us about patriotism.
The good news is that the public seems ready to hear that message - readier than the media are to deliver it. Major media organizations still act as if only a small, left-wing fringe believes that we were misled into war, but that "fringe" now comprises much if not most of the population.
In a Gallup poll taken in early April - that is, before the release of the Downing Street Memo - 50 percent of those polled agreed with the proposition that the administration "deliberately misled the American public" about Iraq's W.M.D. In a new Rasmussen poll, 49 percent said that Mr. Bush was more responsible for the war than Saddam Hussein, versus 44 percent who blamed Saddam.
Once the media catch up with the public, we'll be able to start talking seriously about how to get out of Iraq.

Ray McGovern, Stay the Crooked Course, www.truthout.org, 6/29/05: Forget the documentary evidence (the Downing Street minutes) that the war on Iraq was fraudulent from the outset. Forget that the US and UK started pulverizing Iraq with stepped-up bombing months before president or prime minister breathed a word to Congress or Parliament. Forget that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his merry men - his co-opted, castrated military brass - have no clue regarding what US forces are up against in Iraq. The president insists that we must stay the course…
Is there no top military official - active-duty or retired - around to tell it like it is? Active-duty? No. Retired? Sure there are. But the latter get little or no ink or airtime in our domesticated media. There is Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, for example, or Gen. Brent Scowcroft (USAF), who was national security adviser to George H.W. Bush and, until this year, Chair of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. If their remarks are reported at all, one must dig deep into the inside pages to find them.
More outspoken still has been Lt. Gen. William Odom (US Army, ret), the most respected senior intelligence officer still willing to speak out on strategic and intelligence issues. Unfortunately, you would have to understand German to know what he thinks of "staying the course" in Iraq, because US media are not going to run his remarks.
Here is my translation of what Gen. Odom said last September on German TV's Panorama program:
When the president says he is staying the course, that makes me really afraid. For a leader has to know when to change course. Hitler did not change his course: rather he kept sending more and more troops to Stalingrad and they suffered more and more casualties.
When the president says he is staying the course it reminds me of the man who has just jumped from the Empire State Building. Half-way down he says, "I am still on course." Well, I would not want to be on course with a man who will lie splattered in the street. I would like to be someone who could change the course ...
Our invasion of Iraq has made it a homeland for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Indeed, I believe that it was the very first time that many Iraqis became terrorists. Before we invaded, they had no idea of terrorism.
At Fort Bragg yesterday, the president spoke of the need to "prevent al-Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban: a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends." Too late, Mr. President, has no one told you that you've succeeded in accomplishing that yourself?
Gen. Odom, now professor at Yale and senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, does not confine his criticism to the president, Rumsfeld, and the malleable generals they have promoted. Odom has also been highly critical of leaders of the intelligence community, an area he knows intimately, having served as chief of Army Intelligence (1981-85) and Director of the National Security Agency (1985-88). Commenting on the farcical pre-election-campaign "intelligence reform" last summer, he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, observing:
No organizational design will compensate for incompetent incumbents.
Odom is spot-on. In my 27 years of experience as an intelligence analyst I learned the painful lesson that lack of professionalism is the inevitable handmaiden of sycophancy. Military and intelligence officers and diplomats who bubble to the top in this kind of environment do not tend to be the real professionals.
And who pays the price? The young men and women we send off to a misbegotten, unnecessary war.
When the president spoke last evening, Medal of Freedom winners former CIA director George Tenet, Gen. Tommy Franks, and Ambassador Paul Bremer no doubt were cheering him on from their armchairs. A most unsavory spectacle…

Posted by richard at 11:49 PM

LNS Articles of Impeachment, No 2, Part III

Bush Abomination’s #1 Failure: National Security

Associated Press, Experts fear 'endless' terror war: Analysts say al-Qaida is mutating into a global insurgency 7/9/05: New York and Washington. Bali, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid. And now London. When will it end? Where will it all lead? The experts aren’t encouraged. One prominent terrorism researcher sees the prospect of “endless” war. Adds the man who tracked Osama bin Laden for the CIA, “I don’t think it’s even started yet.”
An Associated Press survey of longtime students of international terrorism finds them ever more convinced, in the aftermath of London’s bloody Thursday, that the world has entered a long siege in a new kind of war. They believe that al-Qaida is mutating into a global insurgency, a possible prototype for other 21st-century movements, technologically astute, almost leaderless. And the way out is far from clear.
In fact, says Michael Scheuer, the ex-CIA analyst, rather than move toward solutions, the United States took a big step backward by invading Iraq.
Now, he said, “we’re at the point where jihad is self-sustaining,” where Islamic “holy warriors” in Iraq fight America with or without allegiance to al-Qaida’s bin Laden.
The cold statistics of a RAND Corp. database show the impact of the explosion of violence in Iraq: The 5,362 deaths from terrorism worldwide between March 2004 and March 2005 were almost double the total for the same 12-month period before the 2003 U.S. invasion…
The movement’s evolution “has given rise to a ‘virtual network’ that is extremely adaptable,” said Jonathan Stevenson, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Washington office.
The movement adapted, for example, by switching from targeting aviation, where security was reinforced after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to the “softer” targets of mass transit...

Richard A. Clarke, War and Weakness, MSBNC, 6/19/05: In addition to the thousands of American and Iraqi casualties, one victim of this slow bleeding in Iraq is the American military as an institution. Across America, the National Guard, designed to assist civil authorities in domestic crises (like the pandemic of a lethal avian flu that some public-health planners fear), is in tatters. Re-enlistments are down, training for domestic support missions is spotty at best, equipment is battered and many units are either in Iraq or on their way to or from it. Now the rot is beginning to spread into the regular Army. Recruiters are coming up dry, and some, under pressure to produce new troops, have reportedly been complicit in suspect applications.
The implications for the all-volunteer military are significant. With almost every unit in the Army on the conveyor belt into and out of Iraq, few units are really combat-ready for other missions. If the North Korean regime that is often called crazy were to roll its huge army the few kilometers into South Korea, significant American reinforcements would be a long time coming. This raises the possibility that the United States may have to resort to nuclear weapons to stop the North Koreans, as has been contemplated with increasing seriousness since the last Nuclear Posture Review in 2002…
By the end of President Bush's term, the war in Iraq could end up costing $600 billion, more than six times what some administration officials had projected. Now the many other costs are also beginning to become clearer.
Maybe it is time to at least begin a public dialogue about ''staying the course.'' Opponents of an ''early'' departure of American forces say it would result in chaos in Iraq. Yet we already have chaos, and how sure can we be that sectarian fighting will not follow our departure whenever we leave? Is it unpatriotic to ask if the major reason for the fighting in Iraq is that we are still there? http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/magazine/19ADVISER.html?oref=login

Bush Abomination’s #2 Failure: Economic Security

NEW YORK | June 20, 2005 8:22:17 PM IST

UPI, www.webindia123.com, FDIC warns of housing bubble, 6/20/05: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is warning the U.S. housing market is in danger of a serious disruption because some markets are ultra-pricey.
FDIC data indicate the nation's most overheated local housing markets now make up such a large share of the total U.S. market, a sharp fall in their values could stall or slow national economic growth, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The agency found the 22 major metropolitan markets with the fastest-growing house prices account for 35 percent of the value of the nation's residential real estate but just 20 percent of its population.
It's a widespread boom and has macro implications, says Richard Brown, chief economist of the FDIC. A slowdown would not only hurt these markets, but the U.S. as a whole.

Paul Krugman, The Chinese Challenge, New York Times, 6/27/05: Until now, the Chinese have mainly invested in U.S. government bonds. But bonds yield neither a high rate of return nor control over how the money is spent. The only reason for China to acquire lots of U.S. bonds is for protection against currency speculators - and at this point China's reserves of dollars are so large that a speculative attack on the dollar looks far more likely than a speculative attack on the yuan.
So it was predictable that, sooner or later, the Chinese would stop buying so many dollar bonds. Either they would stop buying American I.O.U.'s altogether, causing a plunge in the dollar, or they would stop being satisfied with the role of passive financiers, and demand the power that comes with ownership. And we should be relieved that at least for now the Chinese aren't dumping their dollars; they're using them to buy American companies….
The China National Offshore Oil Corporation, a company that is 70 percent owned by the Chinese government, is seeking to acquire control of Unocal, an energy company with global reach. In particular, Unocal has a history - oddly ignored in much reporting on the Chinese offer - of doing business with problematic regimes in difficult places, including the Burmese junta and the Taliban. One indication of Unocal's reach: Zalmay Khalilzad, who was U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan for 18 months and was just confirmed as ambassador to Iraq, was a Unocal consultant.
Unocal sounds, in other words, like exactly the kind of company the Chinese government might want to control if it envisions a sort of "great game" in which major economic powers scramble for access to far-flung oil and natural gas reserves. (Buying a company is a lot cheaper, in lives and money, than invading an oil-producing country.) So the Unocal story gains extra resonance from the latest surge in oil prices.
If it were up to me, I'd block the Chinese bid for Unocal. But it would be a lot easier to take that position if the United States weren't so dependent on China right now, not just to buy our I.O.U.'s, but to help us deal with North Korea now that our military is bogged down in Iraq.

Michael T. Klare, Matt Simmons' Bombshell: The Impending Decline of Saudi Oil Output, TomDispatch.com, 6/25/05: For those oil enthusiasts who believe that petroleum will remain abundant for decades to come -- among them, the President, the Vice President, and their many friends in the oil industry -- any talk of an imminent "peak" in global oil production and an ensuing decline can be easily countered with a simple mantra: "Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia." Not only will the Saudis pump extra oil now to alleviate global shortages, it is claimed, but they will keep pumping more in the years ahead to quench our insatiable thirst for energy. And when the kingdom's existing fields run dry, lo, they will begin pumping from other fields that are just waiting to be exploited. We ordinary folk need have no worries about oil scarcity, because Saudi Arabia can satisfy our current and future needs. This is, in fact, the basis for the administration's contention that we can continue to increase our yearly consumption of oil, rather than conserve what's left and begin the transition to a post-petroleum economy. Hallelujah for Saudi Arabia!
But now, from an unexpected source, comes a devastating challenge to this powerful dogma: In a newly-released book, investment banker Matthew R. Simmons convincingly demonstrates that, far from being capable of increasing its output, Saudi Arabia is about to face the exhaustion of its giant fields and, in the relatively near future, will probably experience a sharp decline in output. "There is only a small probability that Saudi Arabia will ever deliver the quantities of petroleum that are assigned to it in all the major forecasts of world oil production and consumption," he writes in Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy. "Saudi Arabian production," he adds, italicizing his claims to drive home his point, "is at or very near its peak sustainable volume . . . and it is likely to go into decline in the very foreseeable future."
In addition, there is little chance that Saudi Arabia will ever discover new fields that can take up the slack from those now in decline. "Saudi Arabia's exploration efforts over the last three decades were more intense than most observers have assumed," Simmons asserts. "The results of these efforts were modest at best."
If Simmons is right about Saudi Arabian oil production -- and the official dogma is wrong -- we can kiss the era of abundant petroleum goodbye forever. This is so for a simple reason: Saudi Arabia is the world's leading oil producer, and there is no other major supplier (or combination of suppliers) capable of making up for the loss in Saudi production if its output falters. This means that if the Saudi Arabia mantra proves deceptive, we will find ourselves in an entirely new world -- the "twilight age" of petroleum, as Simmons puts it. It will not be a happy place.
Before taking up the implications of a possible decline in Saudi Arabian oil output, it is important to look more closely at the two sides in this critical debate: the official view, as propagated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), and the contrary view, as represented by Simmons' new book…
Simmons' conclusion from all this is unmistakably pessimistic: "The 'twilight' of Saudi Arabian oil envisioned in this book is not a remote fantasy. Ninety percent of all the oil that Saudi Arabia has ever produced has come from seven giant fields. All have now matured and grown old, but they still continue to provide around 90 percent of current Saudi oil output … High-volume production at these key fields ... has been maintained for decades by injecting massive amounts of water that serves to keep pressures high in the huge underground reservoirs . . . When these water projection programs end in each field, steep production declines are almost inevitable."
This being the case, it would be the height of folly to assume that the Saudis are capable of doubling their petroleum output in the years ahead, as projected by the Department of Energy. Indeed, it will be a minor miracle if they raise their output by a million or two barrels per day and sustain that level for more than a year or so. Eventually, in the not-too-distant future, Saudi production will begin a sharp decline from which there is no escape. And when that happens, the world will face an energy crisis of unprecedented scale.
The moment that Saudi production goes into permanent decline, the Petroleum Age as we know it will draw to a close. Oil will still be available on international markets, but not in the abundance to which we have become accustomed and not at a price that many of us will be able to afford. Transportation, and everything it effects -- which is to say, virtually the entire world economy -- will be much, much more costly. The cost of food will also rise, as modern agriculture relies to an extraordinary extent on petroleum products for tilling, harvesting, pest protection, processing, and delivery. Many other products made with petroleum -- paints, plastics, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and so forth -- will also prove far more costly. Under these circumstances, a global economic contraction -- with all the individual pain and hardship that would surely produce -- appears nearly inevitable…

Bush Abomination’s #3 Failure: Environmental Security

LA TIMES: EDITORIAL, Bush, Out in the Cold: By this time, believing that global warming is only a theory is akin to saying the same thing about evolution. And just as creationists shouldn't be allowed to remake schools' curriculum on fossils, naysayers on climate change cannot hide from the damage caused by fossil fuels. Both areas of study are backed by robust evidence accepted by scientists around the world.
June could almost be designated Greenhouse Month for the new urgency governments and businesses have expressed in recent weeks about controlling emissions — mostly from burning oil and coal — that contribute to global warming. In this climate, so to speak, it's disheartening to find President Bush clinging to his old ploy of calling for ever more research before doing something.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and 10 similar groups from other nations called earlier this month for immediate action on global warming, saying world leaders must "acknowledge that the threat of climate change is clear and increasing." Two days later, a group of 23 multinational corporations similarly urged "action by both the private and public sector … initiated now." The group included Ford and oil giant BP.
Some U.S. companies are pushing for tighter regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. This might be enlightened self-interest in part. Some can make money by selling less-polluting energy sources such as windmills; others fear that if they don't get involved, lawmakers will pass a hodgepodge of state regulations. That's fine. Their motivations don't matter as much as their recognition that the time for action has arrived…
With all this activity, where was the Bush administration this month on global warming? Watering down scientific documents and international accords on the issue, mainly.
Bush last week accepted the resignation of a senior official of the White House Council on Environmental Quality whose tinkering with reports on climate change was revealed in the New York Times. Philip Cooney — a former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, a major foe of greenhouse gas regulations — reportedly edited U.S. scientists' reports on global warming to make the phenomenon appear more dubious and less serious.
Bush also rebuffed British Prime Minister Tony Blair's attempts to make him take the topic seriously. Blair plans to make more aggressive action against greenhouse gases a top priority at the July meeting of the Group of 8 industrialized nations. The Washington Post revealed last week that Bush administration officials have succeeded in weakening the G-8 plan for joint action, working behind the scenes to alter key sections.
During Blair's visit to Washington, Bush stuck to calling for voluntary reductions and more study (unedited, we hope, by industry flaks). "We want to know more about it," Bush said of climate change. We do too. But with this administration, extended research on global warming has become an excuse for inexcusable inaction.

Illegitimate, Incompetent, Corrupt…

JAMES DREW and STEVE EDER, OHIO SCANDAL: Allegations arose before '04 election, Democrats say Noe case concealed to assist Bush, Toledo Blade, 6/19/05: In the final weeks of the 2004 presidential race, the nation focused on Ohio as both campaigns carefully choreographed every move by their candidates, knowing one misstep could throw the keys to the White House into the hands of the opponent…
At the same time - beneath the surface and out of public view - allegations were swirling that Tom Noe had laundered contributions into President Bush's campaign, and facts were emerging that the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation had lost $215 million meant for injured workers in a Bermuda hedge-fund.
Now, more than six months later, those bombshells have created the biggest state government scandal in decades in Ohio. Democrats are charging that Republican leaders suppressed the potentially explosive information until all the votes were counted to save the President's re-election campaign.
The Blade has learned that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio knew of the campaign-finance allegations against Mr. Noe about three weeks before the November, 2004, election, giving it little time to do a thorough investigation.
Mr. Noe, a Toledo-area coin dealer, was chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign in northwest Ohio.
Democratic allegations of a GOP cover-up in the loss of $215 million managed by a Pittsburgh firm have surged in the last few days. Records released last week show that high-ranking aides to Gov. Bob Taft worked to suppress revelations about the hedge fund loss in the final days before the presidential election.

STEVE EDER and JAMES DREW, Ohio Democrats victims of break-in, Thieves grab computer from party headquaters in Columbus, Toledo Blade, 7/2/05: Thieves targeted the Ohio Democratic Party Headquarters this week, stealing a computer and a high-tech communications gadget belonging to party chairman Denny White.
Police said yesterday one or more burglars appeared to have climbed a wall Monday and crawled through an unlocked second-story window overnight at the party headquarters about three blocks from the Statehouse.
The break-in occurs at a time when the Ohio Republican Party is threatened by one of the largest scandals to hit the state’s government in decades.
Some Democrats also say the break-in is eerily similar to a burglary at the Lucas County Democratic Party Headquarters last fall, in which three computers were stolen.

Carol D. Leonnig, Expert Says He Was Told to Soften Tobacco Testimony, Washington Post, 6/20/05: A top Justice Department official threatened to remove a government expert from its witness list if he did not water down his recommended penalties for the tobacco industry, the witness said in an interview yesterday.
Harvard University business professor Max H. Bazerman said a career trial lawyer told him senior Justice officials wanted him to change his recommendation that the court appoint a monitor to review whether it was appropriate to remove senior tobacco company management. Bazerman said the lawyer was passing along the "strong request" the week before Bazerman was to take the witness stand on May 4 in the government's landmark racketeering case against the industry.
The government says the tobacco industry engaged in a 50-year conspiracy to defraud the public about the dangers and addictiveness of smoking.
Bazerman said the lawyer told him the change -- opposed by the career lawyers on the case -- had come from Justice Department senior litigation counsel Frank J. Marine and Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum Jr…
In the six-year lawsuit, the Justice Department has argued that the United States' six largest tobacco companies lied about the dangers of smoking. The Justice Department stunned anti-smoking activists and members of Congress two weeks ago by announcing in the closing days of the eight-month trial that the government would cut its demand for an industry-funded smoking-cessation program from $130 billion to $10 billion.
Bazerman said in an interview yesterday that he is coming forward now because of recent reports in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times that the career trial team had pressured senior political appointees at Justice to weaken their case and urged other witnesses to soften their testimony against the industry.
"I want the government to behave appropriately. I can't think of an honest, plausible reason other than political interference for what they're doing," he said of political appointees at Justice…

John P. O’Neal Wall of Heroes

Sibel Edmonds, FBI & 9/11, Just a Citizen.com, 6/20/05: Over four years ago, more than four months prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990 provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama bin Laden. This asset/informant was previously a high-level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan, he received information that:
• 1) Osama bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting 4-5 major cities,
• 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes,
• 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States,
• 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months.
The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counterterrorism Thomas Frields, at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing "302" forms, and the translator, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the Special Agent in Charge, Thomas Frields, and after 9/11 the agents and the translators were told to "keep quiet" regarding this issue. The translator who was present during the session with the FBI informant, Mr. Behrooz Sarshar, reported this incident to Director Mueller in writing, and later to the Department of Justice Inspector General. The press reported this incident, and in fact the report in the Chicago Tribune on July 21, 2004, stated that FBI officials had confirmed that this information was received in April 2001. Further, the Chicago Tribune quoted an aide to Director Mueller that he (Mueller) was surprised that the Commission never raised this particular issue with him during the hearing (please refer to Chicago Tribune article, dated July 21, 2004). Mr. Sarshar reported this issue to the 9/11 Commission on February 12, 2004, and provided them with specific dates, location, witness names, and the contact information for that particular Iranian asset and the two special agents who received the information. I provided the 9/11 Commission with a detailed and specific account of this issue, the names of other witnesses, and documents I had seen. Mr. Sarshar also provided the Department of Justice Inspector General with specific information regarding this case.
For almost four years since September 11, officials refused to admit to having specific information regarding the terrorists' plans to attack the United States. The Phoenix Memo, received months prior to the 9/11 attacks, specifically warned FBI HQ of pilot training and their possible link to terrorist activities against the United States. Four months prior to the terrorist attacks, the Iranian asset provided the FBI with specific information regarding the "use of airplanes," "major US cities as targets," and "Osama bin Laden issuing the order." Coleen Rowley likewise reported that specific information had been provided to FBI HQ. All this information went to the same place: FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, and the FBI Washington Field Office, in Washington, DC.
In October 2001, approximately one month after the September 11 attack, an agent from (city name omitted) field office, re-sent a certain document to the FBI Washington Field Office, so that it could be re-translated. This Special Agent, in light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, rightfully believed that, considering his target of investigation (the suspect under surveillance), and the issues involved, the original translation might have missed certain information that could prove to be valuable in the investigation of terrorist activities. After this document was received by the FBI Washington Field Office and re-translated verbatim, the field agent's hunch appeared to be correct. The new translation revealed certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas (country name omitted). It also revealed certain illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East, through network contacts and bribery. However, after the re-translation was completed and the new significant information was revealed, the unit supervisor in charge of certain Middle Eastern languages, Mike Feghali, decided NOT to send the re-translated information to the Special Agent who had requested it.
Instead, this supervisor decided to send this agent a note stating that the translation was reviewed and that the original translation was accurate. This supervisor, Mike Feghali, stated that sending the accurate translation would hurt the original translator and would cause problems for the FBI language department. The FBI agent requesting the re-translation never received the accurate translation of that document. I provided this information to the 9/11 Commission on February 12, 2004, and to the Department of Justice Inspector General in May 2002.
The latest buzz topic regarding intelligence is the problem of sharing information, intelligence, within intelligence agencies and between intelligence agencies. To this date the public has not been told of intentional blocking of intelligence, and has not been told that certain information, despite its direct links, impacts and ties to terrorist-related activities, is not given to or shared with Counterterrorism units for their investigations and countering terrorism-related activities. This was the case prior to 9/11, and remains in effect after 9/11. If Counterintelligence receives information that contains money laundering, illegal arms sale, and illegal drug activities, directly linked to terrorist activities, and if that information involves certain nations, certain semi-legit organizations, and ties to certain lucrative or political relations in this country, then that information is not shared with Counterterrorism, regardless of the possible severe consequences. In certain cases, frustrated FBI agents have cited "direct pressure by the State Department" and in other cases, "sensitive diplomatic relations" is cited. I provided the Department of Justice Inspector General and the 9/11 Commission with detailed and specific information and evidence regarding this issue, the names of other witnesses willing to corroborate this, and the names of certain US officials involved in these transactions and activities.
Now, after almost 4 years, we get to hear new bits & pieces: FBI & Midhar's Case; FBI & Abdel-Hafiz Case; FBI & Saudi planes leaving just days after 9/11 without having the passengers questioned; FBI & Youssef Case ... and the list goes on.
Today, after nearly four years since 9/11, the American people still do not know that thousands of lives can be jeopardized under the unspoken policy of "protecting certain foreign business relations." The victims' family members still do not realize that information and answers they have sought relentlessly for almost four years has been blocked due to the unspoken decisions made and disguised under "safeguarding certain diplomatic relations."
Where is the so-called Congressional oversight? Why has the 9/11 Commission intentionally omitted this information, although they've had it all along? Where is accountability?

BRIAN BAKST, Rowley launches congressional bid, Associated Press, 07/06/2005: Former FBI whistle-blower Coleen Rowley formally announced Wednesday that she's out to replace a Republican congressman she once backed at the ballot box.
Rowley, who retired from the FBI last year, gained notice for pointing out flaws in the FBI after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge two-term GOP Rep. John Kline in Minnesota's 2nd District, which leans toward Republicans.
Rowley said she's an independent-minded Democrat who until recently voted straight Republican. She confessed to voting for Kline and President Bush as recently as 2000. Kline won his seat in 2002 during his third campaign for office.
"What changed is not me, but the whole Republican Party has changed," she said of her shift in party allegiance…
Rowley said she opposes the Iraq war and parts of the Patriot Act. On social issues, she describes herself as "pro-life" but against criminalizing abortion. Fiscally, she said the federal government needs to be more judicious in its spending decision, but she didn't take a stand when asked if she'd support proposals to reverse recent tax cuts.
Rowley said ethics in government will be the cornerstone of her campaign.
Rowley said she is bothered by Kline's record of straying little from Bush administration positions.
"That's not representation! That's just following orders," Rowley wrote in her seven-page, single-spaced speech describing why she was running. She delivered an abbreviated version of the remarks…
Rowley made her announcement outside her wooded suburban Twin Cities home, where supporters gathered earlier for homemade pancakes and fresh fruit. The father of a woman who died in the World Trade Center collapse drove through the night from southern Wisconsin to be by her side.
Gordon Haberman, whose 25-year-old daughter Andrea died in the building collapse during her first business trip, said he is impressed with Rowley's compassion and honesty. He said he wanted to support her candidacy even though he won't be able to vote in the election.
"Coleen, to me, has been one of the refreshing positives to point to," Haberman said.
Rowley was named one of Time magazine's people of the year for 2002 after criticizing the agency for ignoring pleas to investigate Zacarias Moussaoui more aggressively.
Moussaoui, who was arrested in Minnesota after raising suspicions at a flight school, was the only person charged in the United States in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Kulchur War, Defense of Science, Separation of Church and State

Associated Press, Tulsa Zoo To Feature Display On Biblical Creation, 6/10/05: The Tulsa Zoo will add a display on biblical creation following complaints about other displays with religious significance, including a Hindu elephant statue.
The Tulsa Park and Recreation Board approved the display this week after more than two hours of public comment from a standing-room-only crowd.
Some objected that religion shouldn't be part of the taxpayer-funded scientific institution.

But those who favored the creationist exhibit, including Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune, argued that the zoo already displays religious items, including a statue of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh and a globe inscribed with an American Indian saying: "The earth is our mother. The sky is our father."
Tulsa resident Dan Hicks said, "To not include the creationist view would be discrimination."

Posted by richard at 11:47 PM