Sunday, October 29, 2006

google bombs away!

-AZ-Sen:
Jon Kyl




--AZ-01:
Rick Renzi




--AZ-05:
J.D. Hayworth




--CA-04:
John Doolittle




--CA-11:
Richard Pombo




--CA-50:
Brian Bilbray




--CO-04:
Marilyn Musgrave




--CO-05:
Doug Lamborn




--CO-07:
Rick O'Donnell




--CT-04:
Christopher Shays




--FL-13:
Vernon Buchanan




--FL-16:
Joe Negron




--FL-22:
Clay Shaw




--ID-01:
Bill Sali




--IL-06:
Peter Roskam




--IL-10:
Mark Kirk




--IL-14:
Dennis Hastert




--IN-02:
Chris Chocola




--IN-08:
John Hostettler




--IA-01:
Mike Whalen




--KS-02:
Jim Ryun




--KY-03:
Anne Northup




--KY-04:
Geoff Davis




--MD-Sen:
Michael Steele




--MN-01:
Gil Gutknecht




--MN-06:
Michele Bachmann




--MO-Sen:
Jim Talent




--MT-Sen:
Conrad Burns




--NV-03:
Jon Porter




--NH-02:
Charlie Bass




--NJ-07:
Mike Ferguson




--NM-01:
Heather Wilson




--NY-03:
Peter King




--NY-20:
John Sweeney




--NY-26:
Tom Reynolds




--NY-29:
Randy Kuhl




--NC-08:
Robin Hayes




--NC-11:
Charles Taylor




--OH-01:
Steve Chabot




--OH-02:
Jean Schmidt




--OH-15:
Deborah Pryce




--OH-18:
Joy Padgett




--PA-04:
Melissa Hart




--PA-07:
Curt Weldon




--PA-08:
Mike Fitzpatrick




--PA-10:
Don Sherwood




--RI-Sen:
Lincoln Chafee




--TN-Sen:
Bob Corker




--VA-Sen:
George Allen




--VA-10:
Frank Wolf




--WA-Sen:
Mike McGavick




--WA-08:
Dave Reichert










This was a public service announcement.

Monday, March 27, 2006

new downing street memo

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Texas Gerrymandering

...Because of historic discrimination against minority voters, Texas is required under provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to get Justice Department approval for any voting changes it makes to ensure the changes don't undercut minority voting.

"The State of Texas has not met its burden in showing that the proposed congressional redistricting plan does not have a discriminatory effect," Justice Department officials said in the memo made public by the Lone Star Project, a Democratic group.

Eight department staffers, including the heads of the Voting Rights Division, objected to the redistricting map, according to the memo which was first reported in Friday editions of The Washington Post.

"The fact that the White House has covered up this document for so long provides a smoking gun pointing out efforts, led by Bush political appointees and Tom DeLay, to systematically cripple the voting rights of minorities," said Texas Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, one of the Democratic lawmakers who fled to New Mexico to thwart passage of the redistricting plan....

Full story

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pre-war intelligence: Bush Administration side-stepped CIA

Democrats leading the charge into the second phase of a bipartisan investigation into pre-war Iraq intelligence have said this week that they will spend the next month or so working with Pentagon officials who last week agreed to probe a top secret spy shop once headed by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith that many longtime CIA and FBI officials and other intelligence analysts believe was responsible for providing the Bush administration with bogus intelligence used to justify war with Iraq.

When the probe is complete, which aides to Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) - both of whom are aggressively working to collect pre-war intelligence documents that undercut administration's claims that Iraq posed a grave threat to national security - said will likely be in early 2006, there could be some sort of "public reprimand" brought against lower-level administration officials who work or worked at the Defense Department, the National Security Council, and in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, for "cherry-picking" questionable intelligence on Iraq and using it to win public support for the war.

Based on the way the probe is starting to shape up, it's clear the administration, particularly Feith, who resigned earlier this year, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and possibly Cheney will bear the brunt of the blame, because the three of them sidestepped the usual intelligence gathering process that historically was handled by the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency in favor of their own clandestine intelligence gathering operations in which questionable information on the so-called Iraqi threat was collected and used by administration officials to build a case for war but wasn't vetted by career intelligence analysts, said a senior aide to McCain who requested anonymity for fear of angering members of the GOP.

Last month, under pressure from Democrats and some Republicans, and with public support for war eroding, the Pentagon's Inspector General agreed to probe Feith's secret spy group, the Office of Special Plans, and whether the operation played a role in manipulating pre-war Iraq intelligence in addition to knowingly passing dubious intelligence from defectors from Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress to the White House to convince lawmakers and the American public into backing the war...

Full story

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Straight from the source - George W. Bush on himself.

"What bothers me is when people are irresponsibly using their positions and playing politics," Mr. Bush added. "That's exactly what is taking place in America."

source

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Phase 2? Anyone? Hello??

The Honorable Pat Roberts, Chairman
The Honorable John D. Rockefeller, IV, Vice Chairman United States Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence
SH-211
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller:

We write concerning your committee's vital examination of pre-war Iraq intelligence failures. In particular, we urge you to accelerate to completion the work of the so-called "Phase II" effort to assess how policy makers used the intelligence they received.

Last year your committee completed the first phase of a two-phased effort to review the pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Phase I-begun in the summer of 2003 and completed in the summer of 2004-examined the performance of the American intelligence community in the collection and analysis of intelligence prior to the war, including an examination of the quantity and quality of U.S. intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the intelligence on ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorist groups. At the conclusion of Phase I, your committee issued an unclassified report that made an important contribution to the American public's understanding of the issues involved.

In February 2004-well over a year ago-the committee agreed to expand the scope of inquiry to include a second phase which would examine the use of intelligence by policy makers, the comparison of pre-war assessments and post-war findings, the activities of the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the use of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress.

The committee's efforts have taken on renewed urgency given recent revelations in the United Kingdom regarding the apparent minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior national security advisors. These minutes-known as the "Downing Street Memo"-raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence by American policy makers-questions that your committee is uniquely situated to address.

The memo indicates that in the summer of 2002, at a time the White House was promising Congress and the American people that war would be their last resort, that they believed military action against Iraq was "inevitable."

The minutes reveal that President "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 American people took the warnings that the administration sounded seriously-warnings that were echoed at the United Nations and here in Congress as we voted to give the president the authority to go to war. For the sake of our democracy and our future national security, the public must know whether such warnings were driven by facts and responsible intelligence, or by political calculation.

These issues need to be addressed with urgency. This remains a dangerous world, with American forces engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other challenges looming in Iran and North Korea. In this environment, the American public should have the highest confidence that policy makers are using intelligence objectively-never manipulating it to justify war, but always to protect the United States. The contents of the Downing Street Memo undermine this faith and only rigorous Congressional oversight can determine the truth.

We urge the committee to complete the second phase of its investigation with the maximum speed and transparency possible, producing, as it did at the end of Phase I, a comprehensive, unclassified report from which the American people can benefit directly.

Signed by:
Senator Kerry
Senator Johnson
Senator Corzine
Senator Reed
Senator Lautenberg
Senator Boxer
Senator Kennedy
Senator Harkin
Senator Bingaman
Senator Durbin

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The other investigation into Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff

Fort Lauderdale police said yesterday that they charged three men in the 2001 gangland-style slaying of a Florida businessman who was gunned down in his car months after selling a casino cruise line to a group that included Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis was killed on a Fort Lauderdale street on Feb. 6, 2001. Two of the three men charged had been hired as consultants by Adam Kidan, one of Abramoff's partners in the SunCruz Casinos venture.

Anthony Moscatiello, 67, identified by authorities as a former bookkeeper for the Gambino crime family, was arrested Monday night in Queens, N.Y. Anthony Ferrari, 48, was arrested in Miami Beach. Both were charged with murder, conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder. James Fiorillo, 28, was arrested in Palm Coast, Fla., yesterday and charged with murder and conspiracy.

Boulis, millionaire founder of the Miami Subs sandwich chain, sold SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan in September 2000, at a time when Abramoff was one of Washington's most powerful lobbyists. Abramoff and Kidan were indicted last month on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with a $60 million loan they obtained to purchase the casino company.

Abramoff is at the center of a federal investigation into lobbying for Indian tribes and influence-peddling in Washington. Abramoff used contacts with GOP Reps. Tom DeLay (Tex.) and Robert W. Ney (Ohio) and their staffs as he worked to land the SunCruz deal, interviews and court records show.

...


3 Charged in Killing Of Fla. Businessman; Boulis Slain After 2000 Abramoff Deal

Saturday, September 24, 2005

DeLay’s “Ongoing Victory” Over Reality

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay yesterday declared an “ongoing victory” in his effort to cut spending, and said “there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.” Here’s a list of vital programs Tom DeLay has marshaled through Congress:

$25,000 to study mariachi music in Nevada

$1.5 million for an Alaskan bus stop with heated sidewalks and electronic signs

$75,000 set aside for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wisconsin

$100,000 for a film festival in Rochester, New York.

$50 million for an indoor rainforest in Iowa.

$18,000 for a smoking booth at a private New Jersey airport.

$200,000 for a peanut festival in Alabama

$200 million to build a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska to a nearby island with 50 inhabitants.

$1 million for the B.B. King Museum in Indianola

$300,000 to construct the Great Falls Parking Garage in Auburn, Maine

$ 240,000 for potato storage research in Madison, Wisconsin

think progress

Victory

Well, this is pretty damn interesting. The Republicans have, for my entire existence, run on a platform of cutting spending and taxes, and then never actually cutting the spending. Now DeLay says their work is done - no spending cuts needed. Of course, we've reached the perfect amount of spending and we're running a huge deficit, then that means, uh, what Tom?


House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said yesterday that Republicans have done so well in cutting spending that he declared an "ongoing victory," and said there is simply no fat left to cut in the federal budget.
Mr. DeLay was defending Republicans' choice to borrow money and add to this year's expected $331 billion deficit to pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. Some Republicans have said Congress should make cuts in other areas, but Mr. DeLay said that doesn't seem possible.
"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters at his weekly briefing.
Asked if that meant the government was running at peak efficiency, Mr. DeLay said, "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared it down pretty good."


And, it must be pointed out, that federal expenditures as a percentage of GDP were higher in 2002,2003, and 2004 than they were in 1997,1998, and 1999.

atrios

Friday, September 16, 2005

It is time for Congress to exercise its duty to oversee the Executive Branch.

Congressional Press Release
For Immediate Release:
September 13, 2005

4 House Committees to Vote on Demanding CIA Leak Documents from Cabinet Departments

Watch and Listen Live on the Internet

Over the next week, 4 House Committees are expected to vote on resolutions requesting information on the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson in apparent retaliation for Ambassador Wilson's truth-telling about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Most of these markups will be broadcast live on the Internet. The following is a listing of the expected markup times and Internet sites for webcasting:

1. House Judiciary Committee, Wednesday, September 14, 10 AM, ET, 2141 Rayburn Building. Simulcast at: http://judiciary.house.gov/.

2. House International Relations Committee, Wednesday: 10:30 AM, ET, Simulcast at http://wwwc.house.gov/international_relations/

3. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Thursday, September 15, 1 PM ET. closed to public

4. House Armed Services Committee, Time TBA, Tuesday, September 20, Simulcast at http://www.house.gov/hasc/schedules/

Conyers stated: "This resolution is necessary because the Bush administration refuses to police itself in the midst of criminal and ethical misconduct. In July 2003, over two years ago, a Bush administration official committed one of the most serious breaches of national security in recent history by disclosing to the press the identity of an undercover CIA operative. Even worse, it likely was done for political reasons, to retaliate against the operative's husband for successfully challenging the President's claim that Iraq had sought nuclear materials in Africa.

"The purpose of this resolution is to get to the bottom of what happened and why the Justice Department slow-walked the investigation at the beginning. We know that, despite urgent pleas from the CIA for a criminal investigation into the leaker, the Justice Department and White House dragged their feet. Then-Attorney General Ashcroft insisted on private briefings on the status despite his long-standing ties to Karl Rove, a person involved in the investigation.

"It is time for Congress to exercise its duty to oversee the Executive Branch."

source

Rep. John Conyers adds: "We have no illusions that the Republicans in Congress are suddenly going to reverse course and start demanding accountability on this, or any other matter, that involves Bush Administration misconduct that is damaging to the nation. However, starting tommorrow, they will have to go on record and explain their votes defending criminal activity on the part of high ranking officials. That is the beginning of congressional accountability."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Reality check: arguments against Downing Street Memo debunked

(see Downing Street Memo . com for background)

But we went to the UN

President Bush, Prime Minister Blair and their supporters frequently point to the timing of the DSM and other leaked documents and say, "but we went to the UN--that proves we wanted a peaceful solution."

First, we should note that for Blair, going to the UN was an imperative. As a party to the International Criminal Court, the UK needed a legal justification for invasion, and regime change was not adequate, as is indicated by several of the leaked UK documents. However, both Blair and Bush needed the imprimatur of a UN resolution to build public support.

As Peter Ricketts' memo to Jack Straw on March 22, 2002 states, the UN strategy was twofold: "either Saddam against all the odds allows Inspectors to operate freely, in which case we can further hobble his WMD programmes, or he blocks/hinders, and we are on stronger ground for switching to other methods." But the plan backfired--Saddam did let the inspectors back in, but after visiting over 100 sites multiple times they found no WMD. They did find some conventional missiles that exceeded set restrictions on range--still no threat to the US or UK--and they were promptly destroyed.

With the basis for war evaporating with each passing day, Bush went back to the UN to try for a second resolution that would rubber stamp his invasion plan. When it became clear he didn't have the votes, Bush pulled the inspectors out and invaded anyway. The exercise at the UN was a sham. The DSM clearly indicates the policy of invasion was set long before the US went to the UN (and before Bush sought approval from Congress for the use of force against Iraq). The other leaked UK memos show a British Cabinet scrambling to find a legal basis for a war their Prime Minister had already committed them to. When the UN ceased to offer any further benefit to the war agenda, the US and UK moved on--to Baghdad.

What?Congress had access to the same intel as Bush and they approved the invasion

On October 10, 2002, Congress voted to approve the use of force against Iraq. The President has indicated on several occasions that members of Congress had access to the same intelligence his administration had, and made their choice on the basis of this information. What is less known is the fact that what Congress was given bore little resemblance to the detailed reports the Bush administration was reading.

Senator Bob Graham, in his book, recounts a Sept 5, 2002 meeting he and Senators Durbin and Levin had with then CIA director George Tenet and his staff. Though the administration had long before decided on invasion, to the senators' amazement no National Intelligence Estimate for Iraq had yet been produced. Graham, Durbin and Levin demanded to see one, and three weeks later Tenet produced a 90-page document rife with caveats and qualifications (though these were buried in footnotes) about what we knew--or didn't know--about WMD in Iraq.

That report was classified, and as such was available only to those on the House and Senate intelligence committees. Graham pressed for it to be declassified, and got what he asked for on Oct 4--less than a week before Congress was to vote on the use of force. However, this declassified version was more like a marketing brochure: 20 pages in length, slickly produced with splashy grahics and maps, and with none of the caveats contained in the original. Graham described it later as "a vivid and terrifying case for war."

This 20-page, unqualified summary was the only information on WMD our senators and representatives had on which to base their decision on the use of force. And they had one week to make up their mind. The intelligence material Congress had was what the administration was willing to give them, namely a promotional piece whose lies of omission outweighed what was included by a factor of four.

What?The issue of why we went to war is moot

We can all agree that a stable Iraq is the most desirable outcome, and indeed the US should do whatever it can to make this a reality. But this is an entirely separate issue from the question of why we went to war and how the case for war was made.

There is ample evidence—in the DSM and elsewhere—that the administration misrepresented the nature and extent of the threat posed by Saddam’s Iraq, that the case for war was built on this misrepresentation, and as a consequence many tens of thousands of people (Americans, Iraqis and others) have lost their lives. Every time someone is killed or injured as a result of the ongoing violence in Iraq, it becomes more—not less—important that we understand why and how we went to war. If we were misled, as it now seems impossible to deny, then the people who misled us must be held accountable for their deception.

Information that is now publicly available, such as the DSM, makes it at least possible that a crime may have been committed by the Bush administration. To say that the issue of why we invaded Iraq is irrelevant because it’s in the past is akin to saying that the specifics of Watergate became irrelevant when Richard Nixon resigned.

What?The information in the DSM is not “news”

True, much of the information contained in the DSM has been reported elsewhere, so in that sense it is perhaps not a “smoking gun.” This, however, does not diminish the importance of what the memo reveals. When viewed in context—as we have attempted to do with DowningStreetMemo.com—the DSM paints a damning portrait of an administration artificially pumping up its case for war while at the same time disingenuously asserting its desire to avoid it. It is also highly credible, as it is the official record of the Prime Minister's meeting and not the more easily dismissed recollection of a former White House official.

What makes the DSM so vital from a news perspective is:
• The source – short of a similar document on the US side, there isn’t a much
more credible source than the British Prime Minister and his senior staff.
•The timing – the fact that the meeting in question took place in July 2002
illustrates just how early on Bush had made up his mind to “remove Saddam,
through military action, justified by the conjunction of WMD and terrorism.”
•The “nutshell” – in a few sentences, the memo summarizes all of the key
components of Bush’s deception: that Iraq posed an imminent threat to
the United States, that the US was willing to work with the UN on a diplomatic
solution, that war was a last resort, but if undertaken that the legal basis for it
was sound, and that the aftermath of an invasion, if necessary, would
be managed responsibly.

More recently, mainstream media outlets have balked at the suggestion that they missed the story. Editorial pages have been filled in recent weeks with claims that "everyone knew" the administration had made up its mind to go to war, even in the summer of 2002. If that was the case, one has to ask why no reporter ever challenged the President on the many occasions between July 2002 and the start of the invasion when he claimed not to have come to a decision on war.

What?Americans knew the case for war was thin from the outset, but supported the invasion anyway, and confirmed this by reelecting Bush in 2004.

Let us assume for the moment that Americans had the benefit of a truly fair and balanced news media from which to gather information and form an opinion on the necessity of war. The DSM makes it clear that there were some things that the public did not know and could not have known (e.g., the National Security Council’s unwillingness to work with the UN). There were other things too that were presented by the administration in such a distorted way as to render them useless to even the most engaged American citizen in forming an opinion on the necessity of war.

The non-existent connection between Saddam and al Qaida, for example, was cited so many times by the administration that at the height of prewar hysteria, well over half of Americans polled believed Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks when in fact Iraq had nothing to do with them. (Sadly, many people still believe this.) Similarly, claims about Iraq’s WMD capability featured regular invocations of “mushroom clouds” when there was in fact no evidence on which to base such claims.

What we now know is that the conflation of Saddam, WMD and terrorism was in essence a marketing strategy, a preconceived justification for a preconceived war. As early as July of 2002, the President and his administration had not only decided to invade Iraq in order to depose Saddam, they had also determined how to enlist the support of the American people by playing on their worst fears.

Bush’s reelection came well before the release of the DSM, so it is impossible to know what it’s impact might have been on what was a very close election.

What?The DSM doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.

For those of us who saw through the Bush administration’s house of cards before the invasion, the DSM doesn’t really offer anything we “didn’t already know.” However, its provenance and its comprehensive yet straightforward representation of the administration’s Iraq policy present the facts in a much more compelling light. It also represents hard evidence of the administration’s willful misrepresentation of its own policies.

The DSM’s importance lies not so much in what it says but who said it. This is not “sour grapes” coming from ousted White House officials with a bone to pick—it is the official record of a meeting held by the US’ staunchest ally. The DSM may not tell us anything already think we knew, but it does offer hard evidence that the Bush administration misled the country into war.

An excellent piece on this very subject can be found here: "Some questions for media dismissing Downing Street Memo as old news."

What?The DSM is just one aide’s impressions of what was said in a meeting, so we don’t know what the players actually said or thought.

This argument seeks to discredit the document’s accuracy by suggesting that it represents one person’s—presumably erroneous—impression of the meeting. Wrong–these are minutes, and they were circulated after the meeting to all who took part. However, given numerous opportunities to refute or clarify any of the memo’s contents, none of the players has done so. Not the British government, the Prime Minister, or any members of his cabinet. In fact, at a joint appearance, neither British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw nor US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice refuted any aspect of the memo’s legitimacy or accuracy.

Interestingly, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan has moved from refusing to comment on the memo at all, to calling the memo “flat out wrong” to, most recently, avoiding any direct commentary on its veracity.

What?The issue of manipulation of intelligence has already been settled.

This is, quite simply, false. The President’s commission on intelligence did not address the issue because it was not authorized to do so under its charter. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was originally going to investigate how intelligence was used but, under White House pressure, scaled back its inquiry to deal only with “intelligence failures” in terms of how the information was collected, not how it was used as a basis for war.

What the DSM clearly states is that the head of British Intelligence believed that the Bush Administration was using its intelligence to support a course of action rather than determining a course of action based on the intelligence.

What?Many other nations, France included, believed Saddam had WMD, so this was not a justification cooked up by the US/UK.

While it’s true that many governments suspected Saddam had WMD, there was no agreement as to what his actual capabilities were, or on what to do about it. Further, simply believing something to be true does not make it so, and certainly does not form a basis for war.

The administration never had a “smoking gun” to prove Saddam had WMD, and in fact the intelligence supporting the administration’s view was alarmingly thin. As we now know from various reports, US intelligence affirming WMD frequently came from paid informants who, in some cases, were later proven to be fabricators. There was virtually no intelligence coming out of Iraq itself—the country was impenetrable, leaving the US and others with little in the way of credible sources.

That President Bush believed Saddam had WMD is not in dispute. The issue is whether he was justified in taking the nation to war on the basis of his beliefs, absent any hard evidence (like pictures of missiles in Cuba, to take a historical example).

It is also worth noting that while there was a range of opinion (and widespread error) as to Saddam’s chemical and biological weapons capability, there certainly was not a consensus. On the issue of nuclear weapons is a different story the US and UK stood nearly alone in their dire assessment. It was also on this issue that the administration demonstrated its carelessness with intelligence by claiming that Iraq had sought nuclear material from Niger. The fact that the President made this claim in a State of the Union address is all the more troubling, especially given that the same statement was pulled from a speech he gave just a few months earlier.

What?Regime change was already US policy before we invaded Iraq--President Clinton did that when he signed HR 4655, the Iraq Liberation Act, in 1998.

The Iraq Liberation Act expressed the Clinton administration’s support for democratic opposition groups inside Iraq and authorized a variety of mechanisms by which to provide that support. These included military assistance in the form of supplies and training. However, the final section of the act expressly limits the administration to just these forms of military support. From this we can safely assert that the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 provided no policy precedent for invasion, air strikes or any use of American military force.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In this world, you can do whatever you want, provided that you first understand and accept the consequences.

Washington, D.C., August 17, 2005: Newly declassified State Department documents show that government experts warned the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in early 2003 about "serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance," well before Operation Iraqi Freedom began.

In a February 7, 2003, memo to Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, three senior Department officials noted CENTCOM's "focus on its primary military objectives and its reluctance to take on 'policing' roles," but warned that "a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally." The memo adds "We have raised these issues with top CENTCOM officials."

By contrast, a December 2003 report to Congress, also released by the State Department, offers a relatively rosy picture of the security situation, saying U.S. forces are "increasingly successful in preventing planned hostile attacks; and in capturing former regime loyalists, would-be terrorists and planners; and seizing weapons caches." The document acknowledges that "Challenges remain."

Since then, 1,393 U.S. military fatalities have been recorded in Iraq, including two on the day the report went to Congress.

The new documents, released this month to the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act, also provide more evidence on when the Bush administration began planning for regime change in Iraq -- as early as October 2001.

The declassified records relate mainly to the so-called "Future of Iraq Project," an effort, initially run by the State Department then by the Pentagon, to plan for the transition to a new regime after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003. They provide detail on each of the working groups and give the starting date for planning as October 2001.

Full article

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Thursdays with Scott McClellan

Q Why does Karl Rove still have security clearance and access to classified documents when he has been revealed as a leaker of a secret agent, according to Time magazine's correspondent?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there is an investigation that continues, and I think the President has made it clear that we're not going to prejudge the outcome of that investigation.

Q You already have the truth.

MR. McCLELLAN: We're not going to prejudge the outcome of that investigation through --

Q Does he have access to security documents?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- through media reports. And these questions came up over the last week --

Q Did he leak the name of a CIA agent?

MR. McCLELLAN: As I was trying to tell you, these questions have been answered.

Q No, they haven't.

Q Let me ask --

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, David.

Q And they most certainly haven't. I think Helen is right, and the people watching us know that. And related to that, there are now --

MR. McCLELLAN: Let me correct the record. We've said for quite some time that this was an ongoing investigation, and that we weren't going to comment on it, so let me just correct the record.

Q If you want to make the record clear, then you also did make comments when a criminal investigation was underway, you saw fit to provide Karl Rove with a blanket statement of absolution. And that turned out to be no longer accurate --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, and there were preferences expressed by those overseeing the investigation that we refrain from commenting on it while they're continuing to look at -- investigate it.

Q White House officials have been very clear through their attorneys or through other leaks to make it known that it was essentially journalists who educated them about who Valerie Plame was, what she did, and her role in sending her husband to Niger. It has now come to light that in fact White House officials were aware, or at least had access to a State Department memo that the President's own Secretary of State at the time had with him when he was traveling on Air Force One to Africa, which indicated both who she was, what she did, and her role in the Niger trip. So did the White House, in fact, know about her through this memo, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: I thank you for wanting to proceed ahead with the investigation from this room, but I think that the appropriate place for that to happen is through those who are overseeing the investigation. The President directed us to cooperate fully, and that's exactly what we have been doing and continue to do.

Q But you don't deny that attorneys for Rove and others in the White House are speaking about these matters, creating a lot of these questions, right, that you say you can't speak to?

MR. McCLELLAN: As I said, we're not getting into talking about an ongoing investigation. That's what the President indicated, as well.

Straight from the Whitehouse. (emphasis added)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mrs. Rove's Husband vs. the Real World

This entry cross-posted from The Left Coaster:

A number of rebuttals have been provided around the liberal blogosphere to the fakery from the GOP and their media arms about the Valerie Plame expose. Here's a roundup.
[NOTE: This page will get continually updated over the next several days as more information comes in. Make sure you bookmark it and visit The Left Coaster for daily updates. Please feel free to add items in the comments if I missed anything - and distribute far and wide].



TALKING POINT: Valerie Plame (Joseph Wilson's wife) was not covert.

FACT: She was. (More here).


TALKING POINT: Karl Rove did not leak Valerie Plame's name.


FACT: Please. Her name was not a secret, her identity was (which is the issue here) and he leaked that. (Also see here and here and this one, where the singularly appaling stupidity of John Gibson, Andrew Napolitano and John Podhoretz is revealed on this particular talking point. How these people continue to get paid for their work is beyond me).



TALKING POINT: Karl Rove was "not the leaker".

FACT: Rove's attorney's statement and Cooper's email shows this claim is false. Rove did leak Plame's identity. (Whether or not this is found to be prosecutable is another matter).

P.S. It's not like this is the first time Rove has been in the spotlight for leaking secrets.

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove did not reveal classified information.

FACT: A CIA agent's identity is considered classified.


TALKING POINT: Karl Rove did not reveal Valerie Plame's identity.

FACT: Utterly, completely false.


TALKING POINT: Karl Rove has never lied about his role in this matter.

FACT: Yes, he has.


TALKING POINT: The White House has never lied or misled people about its role in this matter.

FACT: False.


TALKING POINT: Karl Rove never knew that Valerie Plame was covert.

FACT: Really? Then why not state this on the record, something Rove's attorney refuses to do.




TALKING POINT: Matt Cooper of Time magazine "burned" Rove.


FACT: Rove's lawyer, who made the above fake claim, himself has been expounding again and again about how Rove gave complete waivers to all his journalist contacts to testify.


TALKING POINT: Rove's lawyer only reaffirmed the original blanket waiver from Rove and did not issue an "express personal release" to Matt Cooper of Time magazine to testify at the grand jury

FACT: False. Moreover why should this matter considering Rove's position that he has done nothing wrong and has nothing to hide? [added 7/14]



TALKING POINT: Bob Novak used the word "operative" by accident and his sources did not say she was one.

FACT: This is false, after-the-fact spin from Novak.


TALKING POINT: Rove "was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story" based on Joe Wilson's "false premise" (that DCI Tenet or VP Cheney authorized his trip)


FACT: False. Moreover, Joe Wilson did not make such a claim before Rove exposed Valerie Plame's identity. False. Moreover there's no "...'trying to prevent a bad or innaccurate story from being run' exception to the relevant statute..." [updated 7/14]

TALKING POINT: All Rove was doing was trying to reveal the truth to Matt Cooper of Time magazine. [added 7/14]


FACT: False.


TALKING POINT: The Senate Intelligence Committee said that Valerie Plame was the one who set up Joe Wilson's trip.

FACT: False and false. (Also see here). (In fact, there is no consensus view that Valerie Plame even suggested that Wilson be sent on the trip.)



TALKING POINT: The White House/GOP cannot comment on questions regarding Rove or his role because of the ongoing investigation.

FACT: False. A completely bogus claim considering that they are talking behind the scenes or issuing false/misleading press releases (also see here and here) spreading fakery about Wilson. (Not to mention, they felt free to comment self-servingly about the whole matter until the Rove story broke.)



TALKING POINT: Bush will not "prejudge the investigation based on media reports"

FACT: False. By claiming Karl Rove did nothing wrong and maintaining the fiction (for long) that there was no White House involvement in the Plame expose, he and the GOP more than prejudged the investigation. [added 7/14]



TALKING POINT: Karl Rove is not a target of Fitzgerald's investigation.

FACT: He is a subject of the investigation.


TALKING POINT: The Butler Report etc. vindicated Bush's "uranium in Africa" State of the Union claim

FACT: False. The Butler Report was intended to exonerate Tony Blair and George Bush to prevent them from facing criminal charges. For obvious reasons, it excluded reams of information about Bush's claim that showed that the White House lied through it's teeth in defending Bush's claim. (Indeed, as the link shows, people from the NSA, CIA etc. themselves stated that the SOTU claim did not have a sound backing.)



TALKING POINT: This is all just a partisan attack by Democrats (or Joseph Wilson)

FACT: False. The GOP leadership has a habit of minimizing numerous acts of treason from individuals inside the Bush administration over the last several years, by smearing truth-tellers. This is just the latest episode among many. In private, even Republicans admit that this kind of nonsense would have resulted in Congressional hearings "in a second", if the President had been a Democrat. Republicans like Dick Armey were calling the Plame expose a "cowardly act of revenge" that should be prosecuted, before Rove was revealed as a leaker. Not to mention the hypocrisy of Rove himself (or that of other Republicans).



TALKING POINT: Even if Karl Rove leaked Valerie Plame's identity, it's no big deal and deserves a medal.

FACT: The GOP's Ed Gillespie and George Bush disagreed (with an emphasis on 'd'). In fact, if it's so not a big deal, why all this intrigue about what the White House can or cannot comment on? Just tell the truth then rather than hiding behind reporters and smears of people who had nothing to do with the expose. (As for medals, it probably deserves a medal in prison, to define the "role model" for fellow prisoners at Gitmo - while eating rice pilaf in the process).



TALKING POINT: The leak was justifiable.

FACT: The current crop of GOP leaders have a history of denouncing leaks in the strongest terms (without qualifications). [added 7/14]


TALKING POINT: There was no legal crime committed with the Plame expose.

FACT: False, false, false. It's not just the IIPA we're talking about, there's the Espionage Act - and there are questions about whether purgery or obstruction of justice may have occurred. [So much for offering "a stiff dose of truth" instead of "more lectures, and legalisms, and carefully worded denials".]



TALKING POINT: Joseph Wilson supported John Kerry.

FACT: He also supported Republicans in the past, including a $1000 campaign contribution to George W. Bush in 2000 (before the GOP turned on him and his wife, treasonously) and was recognized by George Bush Sr. for his bravery against Saddam Hussein in Iraq - where he was acting* ambassador before Gulf War I. He not only "sheltered 800 Americans at the embassy in Baghdad during Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait," his wife has long been a CIA WMD operative working to keeps WMDs away from terrorists. His pre-Iraq war (II) stance even got some support from George Bush Sr. Also see here. [*added/updated on 7/14]



TALKING POINT: President Bush is committed to upholding the honor and dignity of his office.

FACT: For the umpteenth time, false, false and false.


 



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Sunday, July 03, 2005

Leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity: source of leak is Karl Rove, documents reveal.

NEW YORK Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to a federal judge, revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source or sources in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant. Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, now claims that at least two authoritative sources have confirmed that one name is top White House mastermind Karl Rove.

This afternoon, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff confirmed that Cooper did indeed talk to Rove for his story, but Rove's lawyer denied he was the key leaker in the case.

"The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House," Isikoff writes on the Newsweek web site....

full article

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Downing Street memo: Iraq and the U.N. route

...After his return from Washington, officials and analysts say, Blair sought to unify the fractious elements within his government and party around a policy of coercive diplomacy. "Blair comes back from Crawford with a clear sense that the Americans are preparing for war," said Michael Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute at King's College, who met with policymakers at key points during the year. "But the British approach is slightly different -- that we are preparing for war as a means of forcing Iraq to comply so that we don't actually have to fight."

By the early summer of 2002, officials said, there was a new sense of alarm and concern in London. The Bush administration had not committed to seeking U.N. support, and U.S. forces were increasing flyovers and other military activities that officials feared could be provocative. Meanwhile, opinion polls were showing that a majority of Britons opposed military action and 160 members of Parliament had signed a proposed resolution urging caution.

Several senior officials were dispatched to the United States for consultations. When they returned to London, a meeting was scheduled that produced two more secret documents. The first was a Cabinet Office briefing paper dated July 21 that expressed concern that stepped-up U.S. air raids inside Iraq created "the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way."

The briefing paper also said that a Security Council resolution setting up the return of U.N. inspectors to Iraq could be drafted in a way that Hussein would find unacceptable. "It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject (because he is unwilling to accept unfettered access) and which would not be regarded as unreasonable by the international community," the memo reported.

On July 23, officials gathered at Blair's office. Among them were Straw; Manning; Richard Dearlove, chief of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency; Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon; Attorney General Peter Goldsmith; and Adm. Michael Boyce, chief of the Defense Staff.

Dearlove, a veteran intelligence operative with a reputation for being hard-nosed and ambitious, had just returned from a visit to Washington, where officials say he met with Rice and CIA Director George J. Tenet.

According to the July 23 memo, Dearlove reported "a perceptible shift in attitude" in Washington. "Military action was now seen as inevitable," the memo said, adding that the president's National Security Council "had no patience with the U.N. route." Dearlove also included the observation that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

Straw, who was consulting daily with his American counterpart, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, reiterated that "it seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided," according to the memo. But, Straw added, "the case was thin." He urged the government to produce a plan for an ultimatum to allow U.N. weapons inspectors to return to Iraq.

The memo indicates that officials believed Iraq had such weapons. What would happen, asked Boyce, if Hussein "used WMD on day one" of an attack, or on Kuwait? "Or on Israel," Hoon added.

It also suggests that the purpose of British pressure to return to the United Nations was not to settle the crisis peacefully through the inspection system, but to build a legal justification for war. Blair is cited as saying that "it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the U.N. inspectors"....

full story

Saturday, June 25, 2005

About time for Phase II?

June 22, 2005

The Honorable Pat Roberts, Chairman
The Honorable John D. Rockefeller, IV, Vice Chairman United States Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence
SH-211
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Roberts and Senator Rockefeller:

We write concerning your committee's vital examination of pre-war Iraq intelligence failures. In particular, we urge you to accelerate to completion the work of the so-called "Phase II" effort to assess how policy makers used the intelligence they received.

Last year your committee completed the first phase of a two-phased effort to review the pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Phase I-begun in the summer of 2003 and completed in the summer of 2004-examined the performance of the American intelligence community in the collection and analysis of intelligence prior to the war, including an examination of the quantity and quality of U.S. intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the intelligence on ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and terrorist groups. At the conclusion of Phase I, your committee issued an unclassified report that made an important contribution to the American public's understanding of the issues involved.

In February 2004-well over a year ago-the committee agreed to expand the scope of inquiry to include a second phase which would examine the use of intelligence by policy makers, the comparison of pre-war assessments and post-war findings, the activities of the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG) and the Office of Special Plans in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the use of information provided by the Iraqi National Congress.

The committee's efforts have taken on renewed urgency given recent revelations in the United Kingdom regarding the apparent minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior national security advisors. These minutes-known as the "Downing Street Memo"-raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence by American policy makers-questions that your committee is uniquely situated to address.

The memo indicates that in the summer of 2002, at a time the White House was promising Congress and the American people that war would be their last resort, that they believed military action against Iraq was "inevitable."

The minutes reveal that President "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 American people took the warnings that the administration sounded seriously-warnings that were echoed at the United Nations and here in Congress as we voted to give the president the authority to go to war. For the sake of our democracy and our future national security, the public must know whether such warnings were driven by facts and responsible intelligence, or by political calculation.

These issues need to be addressed with urgency. This remains a dangerous world, with American forces engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other challenges looming in Iran and North Korea. In this environment, the American public should have the highest confidence that policy makers are using intelligence objectively-never manipulating it to justify war, but always to protect the United States. The contents of the Downing Street Memo undermine this faith and only rigorous Congressional oversight can determine the truth.

We urge the committee to complete the second phase of its investigation with the maximum speed and transparency possible, producing, as it did at the end of Phase I, a comprehensive, unclassified report from which the American people can benefit directly.


Signed by:
Senator Kerry
Senator Johnson
Senator Corzine
Senator Reed
Senator Lautenberg
Senator Boxer
Senator Kennedy
Senator Harkin
Senator Bingaman
Senator Durbin

source

Friday, June 24, 2005

The War President

...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 talk briefly about what we now know about the decision to invade Iraq, then focus on why it matters.

The administration has prevented any official inquiry into whether it hyped the case for war. But there's plenty of circumstantial evidence that it did.

And then there's the Downing Street Memo - actually the minutes of a prime minister's meeting in July 2002 - in which the chief of British overseas intelligence briefed his colleagues about his recent trip to Washington.

"Bush wanted to remove Saddam," says the memo, "through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and W.M.D. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." It doesn't get much clearer than that.

The U.S. news media largely ignored the memo for five weeks after it was released in The Times of London. Then some asserted that it was "old news" that Mr. Bush wanted war in the summer of 2002, and that W.M.D. were just an excuse. No, it isn't. Media insiders may have suspected as much, but they didn't inform their readers, viewers and listeners. And they have never held Mr. Bush accountable for his repeated declarations that he viewed war as a last resort.

Still, some of my colleagues insist that we should let bygones be bygones. The question, they say, is what we do now. But they're wrong: it's crucial that those responsible for the war be held to account.

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...

full article


A post in the Downing Street memo series. Still trying to balance out the media coverage of this with these post - a tireless job.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Not just old news

The Downing Street Memos
Not just old news, the British documents raise important questions on the White House's credibility.


Granted, finding a way to end the ongoing bloodshed in Iraq is at present more pressing than re-examining the rationale that was developed to start the war there more than two years ago. But the so-called Downing Street memos are still too significant to be dismissed as simply old news -- as the White House would like -- or left to historians.

They speak to the credibility of the administration of President George W. Bush, which is now telling the American people that significant progress is being made in Iraq and the murderous insurgency there is in its final throes. Meantime, U.S. military leaders say rebel attacks have remained constant at 50-60 a day, and last month was the deadliest for Iraqi civilians since the March 2003 U.S. invasion...

full article here


...Most important for today, the evidence reflects an administration that makes a major decision and then finds or fits the evidence to back it up and sell it. That's not thoughtful policy. It's marketing.


The Real News in the Downing Street Memos
It is now nine months since I obtained the first of the "Downing Street memos," thrust into my hand by someone who asked me to meet him in a quiet watering hole in London for what I imagined would just be a friendly drink.

At the time, I was defense correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, and a staunch supporter of the decision to oust Saddam Hussein. The source was a friend. He'd given me a few stories before but nothing nearly as interesting as this.

The six leaked documents I took away with me that night were to change completely my opinion of the decision to go to war and the honesty of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush...

full article


...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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wow.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

We live in interesting times

The coming out of Deep Throat reminds us that it is quite possible for a U.S. president to commit impeachable offenses, and for a resolution of inquiry, filed soon after that president got re-elected by a greater margin than George W. Bush did, at a time when he enjoyed greater popularity than Bush currently does, to reveal intolerable offenses and to hold those responsible for such injustices accountable. It reminds us that this is quite possible, indeed, has happened to no trivial degree, in the midst of a loyal following and widespread illusion.

But in the time leading up to the Nixon trial, there had not been a number of compelling testimonies from various credible and well-respected (on both sides of the aisle) witnesses from inside the government, as there is in our current situation. Nor was there a plethora of confirmed documentary evidence, as there is today. Nor were the charges as serious as those now levied against this administration, namely, premeditated violation of the public trust and deception of congress in leading this nation into a war on false pretense.

Arguably, there has never been a more compelling case to warrant a formal investigation into the conduct of the president and the chief officers of his administration. Yet at the same time, there has never been as much trivializing by uncaring reporters, nor as much dereliction of duty, partisan politicking, stonewalling, and outright abuse by Republican congressmen.

Let there be no doubt about one thing: There are no legal obstacles to truth and justice. There have never been. The obstacles we face today are of an entirely different nature: They are, as they have always been and will always be, ignorance and arrogance. Today, more than ever, these obstacles stand in the way of justice and truth for America.

Today, more than ever, as many Republican congressmen refuse to do their duty and obstruct others from doing theirs, we, as citizens, must do our duty. The media must report the news that makes a difference in our lives and has profound ramifications on the general welfare. And if they fail to do their duty, others must take it upon themselves to report the news, while holding the reporters accountable for their dereliction. And we all must hold our representatives accountable by petition and by vote. We must do these things and more, not because it is our right, but because it is our duty.

And I abhor - I vociferously condemn - any reporter who seeks to trivialize this very serious matter, or to marginalize the great and growing number of people who have become privy to it. The measure of their irresponsibility to our soldiers who are dying in Iraq, and their violence to everything that America stands for, is directly proportional to their inaction and/or active obstruction of justice in failing to report and/or trivializing these matters, and the scope and extent of its retarding effects on congressional action and the public knowledge.

downing street memo

Letter to my representatives

I support a formal congressional inquiry into the downing street memo and related documents, on the basis that such an inquiry is warranted by the documentary evidence contained in these documents whose authenticity has been confirmed, in addition to compelling testimony from various credible and well-respected government officials.

Also, I do not appreciate some of the trivialization that has been going on about these documents - "nothing new", and the like. This is a potential violation of constitional law and the public trust by top government officials, including the cheif executive. There is nothing trivial about that. Indeed, I can think of nothing more serious. Consequently, I can think of nothing more irresponsible than to trivialize these matters.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Better late then never...

The Associated Press today reported on a story that's 9 MONTHS OLD! A little slow to catch on there, U.S. mainstream media. But better late than never, I guess. You've still got a lot of catching up to do, though....

It's nice to see that it only took you one month - and a mountain of emails and phone-calls - to start reporting on the downing street memo. How much longer does America have to wait until you start reporting the truth about the president?

Looking for incontrovertible evidence of Mens Rea

Yet another lie from the Cheif Executive: Fire Bombing in Iraq

The Independant has revealed that the US has used napalm-type firebombs during the Iraq War and lied about it to the British government. (The use of such weaponry was reported earlier here.) The actual bombs used are known as MK-77s, and they are napalm canister munitions. They evolved from the napalm bombs which we associate with the Korean and Vietnam wars.


I pledge my support to the Project for the Old American Century.

And support a formal congressional inquiry into the downing street memo, on the basis that such an inquiry is warranted by the documentary evidence contained in this and ten other documents leaked from the UK and confirmed as authentic, in addition to compelling testimony from various credible and well-respected government officials.

Friday, June 17, 2005

To ombudsman[at]washpost[dot]com, re: "Democrats Play House..."

I wrote this letter to the ombudsman at the Washington Post (ombudsman[at]washpost[dot]com), in response to Dana Milbank's article "Democrats Play House To Rally Against the War".


I am deeply disturbed by Dana Milbank's article "Democrats Play House To Rally Against the War".

The tactics by Republicans in not allowing the Democrats a suitable room in which to hold today's hearings, the 11 Republican-scheduled floor votes to take place at the same time as the hearing, and the refusal of the White House today in admitting Rep. Conyers to the White House to deliver petitions from over half a million American citizens, are games fit for a child, and a bad-mannered one at that, and not for representatives of the American people. Such behavior from our representatives deserves the kind of ridicule that Dana Milbank has directed at Congressmen and Congresswomen who, in circumstances beyond their control, did the best they could to do their constitutional duty as representatives. Their integrity and resolve to continue their duty as representatives when others irresponsibly derelicted that duty, even in the thick of unprecedented obstruction, is very honorable. Dana Milbank's article ridiculing their courage is a great dishonor to these patriots and to everything that America stands for.

Furthermore, his complete lack of acknowledgement of the partisan behavior which led to the circumstances that he blames the democrats for - when it is indisputably the direct consequence of
decisions made by republicans - represents tacit consent for these decisions made by these republicans. Actions which, under all concievable cicumstances, are strongly indicitative of divisive partisan hubris and the active suppression of differing views. (Which led to this whole fiasco in the first place, as anyone was a reporter during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq would be disingenuous to deny.)

Let me say at least that his article got one thing right: that it is objectionable that Judiciary congressmen and congresswomen were not allowed to use the Whitehouse to hear testimony from the American people, who, by design of the American government, are the rightful owners of that building. However, I disagree with his overt implication that this was a decision made by the Democrats. Rather, it is clearly a decision made by the Republicans, and the Republicans, not the Democrats, are the rightful objects of criticism where this objectionable phenomena is concerned.

You see, when someone gets shot, it is usually the person who shot the person that is considered to be "in the wrong", not the person who got shot. To turn this logic on its head is a very disturbing convolution of justice. That is why I am deeply disturbed by this article; because it adds insult to injury. And it is especially irresponsible and disturbing when coming from an editor of a reputable news source. That is, to be more precise: it adds public insult to public injury.

Please see to it that his articles are kept respectable, responsible, and decent.

Thank you,
Kevin M. Baas

downing street memo

To President George W. Bush

To President George W. Bush

...Today, I am still close to you in spirit. Your enemy, to be sure, but still a little bit your friend, for I am withholding nothing from you here. Soon all will be over. What your victory could not penetrate, your defeat will bring to an end. But before we become indifferent to each other, I want to make clear to you what neither peace, nor war, has taught you to see, in the destiny of my country.

I want to tell you what kind of greatness keeps us going, but this amounts to telling you what kind of courage we applaud, which is not your kind. For it is a small matter to do violence when one has been simply preparing for it for years. It is a great deal, on the other hand, to fight while despising war. To face torture and death when you know that hatred and violence are empty things in themselves. To face destruction, while, at the same time, cherishing the idea of a higher civilization. This is how we do more than you; because we have to draw on ourselves...


-From "Resistance, Rebellion, and Death", by Albert Camus

downing street memo

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Downing Street memo - Letter to a German friend

You said to me "The greatness of one's country is beyond price. Everything is good that contributes to its greatness, and in a world where everything has lost its meaning, those lucky few, who, like us young Germans, are fortunate enough to find a meaning in the destiny of our country, must sacrifice everything else to it." I loved you then, but at this point we diverged. "No," I told you, "Everything must not be subordinated to a single end. There are means which cannot be excused, and I should like to be able to love my country, and still love justice." You retorted "Well you don't love your country."

That was five years ago. We have been separated since then. And I can tell you that not a single day has passed during those long years without my remembering your remark "You don't love your country." No, I didn't love my country, if pointing out what is unjust about what one loves amounts to not loving. No, I didn't love my country, if insisting that what one loves measure up to the finest image you have of her amounts to not loving, then I do not love my country.

That was five years ago, and many men in France thought as I did. Some of them have already been stood up against the wall facing the twelve little black eyes of German "destiny", and those men, who in your opinion, did not love their country, did more for it than you can ever do, for their heroism was that they had first to conquer themselves. But I am speaking here of two kinds of greatness, and of a contradiction about which I must enlighten you...



-Albert Camus, First Letter to a German Friend

downing street memo

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Busy Day Today, and an Important and Historical Day Tomorrow

From the Honorable Congressman John Conyers:

I just concluded a very busy day of interviews about the Downing Street Minutes. This morning, I appeared on the Democracy Now Radio and Television show with Amy Goodman, and NPR’s “All Things Considered” (taped for Thursday AM). I taped an interview with CNN’s Bill Schneider for “Inside Politics,” which I believe was broadcast later in the day. I had a very nice visit and interview with Dembloggers.com as well. Late in the day, I taped an interview for AP TV.

(Also, lest you think Downing Street is all I am thinking about, I taped an interview with a group doing a very interesting documentary on Ohio 2004).

The pace will not let up tomorrow either. At 9am, I will be on C-Span’s Washington Journal for a half hour. Shortly after 10, I will be appearing on Stephanie Miller’s show to break some news I am very excited about. Finally, at a time to be determined, I will appear on the Al Franken Show at 12:15pm.

For those commenters who were concerned (or hoping) that there would be a media blackout of the forum, that will not be the case. I have every major network, other than Fox, bringing cameras to the hearing. Nightline is taping the event, which I think represents a welcome development from a well respected investigative program. In addition, C-Span 3 and Radio Pacifica are carrying it live.

Member interest in the hearing has been stellar and participation is expected to be very high. My friends Jerry Nadler, Maxine Waters, Chris Van Hollen, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Sheila Jackson Lee, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Lynn Woolsey, Major Owens, barney Frank, Cynthia McKinney, Corrine Brown, Jay Inslee, and Charlie Rangel are all likely to attend. A number of other Members are attempting to adjust their schedules to attend as well.

There has been some confusion about where the event will be held. As some of you may be aware, the Republican majority on the Judiciary Committee will not allow me to use Committee space, as I have in the past, for this. As a result, I had to consider some other locations, all with pros and cons. In the end, I decided it was best to hold the hearing in the one official room that was available, a very small room in the basement of the Capitol (HC-9). I want the location to be one that is nonpartisan and one where any Republican member interested in attending can do so.

Consequently, the time of the hearing has been changed to 2:30pm. Because of the lack of seating, I have created an overflow room, where the public can listen to or watch the hearing in the Wasserman Room of the DNC on South Capitol Street. I want people coming to DC to know that it is highly unlikely they will be able to get a seat in the hearing room, it is THAT small.

Following the hearing, I will personally deliver a letter with stacks and stacks of signatures to the White House. This is the culmination of all of your efforts and I hope Thursday makes you very proud. I also hope at the end of the day tomorrow, we will all feel that the truth has begun to be known by more and more Americans and that we are all re-invigorated to do the critical work that comes next.

To review, here are the details:


WHAT: Democratic Hearing on Downing Street Minutes and Pre-war intelligence

WHEN: Thursday, June 16, 2005, 2:30pm

WHERE: HC-9 The Capitol
(Overflow Room – 430 S. Capitol Street, SE – The Wasserman Room)

WITNESSES: Joe Wilson, Former Ambassador and WMD Expert
Ray McGovern, 27-year CIA analyst who prepared regular Presidential briefings during the Reagan administration
Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen American soldier
John Bonifaz, renown constitutional lawyer

Monday, June 13, 2005

A pile of smoking guns.

One smoking gun not good enough for you? Try ten.
That's right: ten.

1. Crawford document (2)

2. Goldsmith memo

(3-8 available here.)
3. Overseas and Defence Secretariat, Cabinet Office, "Iraq: Options Paper", 8 March 2002

4. David Manning, letter to Prime Minister on dinner with Condoleezza Rice, 14 March 2002

5. Christopher Meyer, note on Sunday lunch with Paul Wolfowitz, to David Manning, 18 March 2002

6. Peter Rickets, letter to Jack Straw, 22 March 2002

7. Jack Straw, letter to the Prime Minister, 25 March 2002

8. UK Foreign Council Legal Briefing

9. Letter to Ministers: IRAQ: CONDITIONS FOR MILITARY ACTION

10. Downing Street memo

11. Deputy Legal Advisor to the Foreign Office - letter of resignation

Oh, I'm sorry, make that eleven.

"Significant postwar planning"

If there was "significant postwar planning", then what happened to the plans? Did your dog eat them? Why weren't they executed? What happened to your plans after you made them? And where are they now?

(downing street memo)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Answer to a reasonable conservative.

A Conservative in another forum wrote the following:

IT has always been my belief that the amount of proof from subjectives is justified not in the proof but by the person's beliefs. From the objective position proof has to be substantial enough to prove mens rea, the action in question actually happened, and that the action was illegal.

I'm going to use three cases of when a crime was committed by the president and analyze each to the best of my ability. I will use Nixon, Clinton, and Bush as they are seen as the "three liars" of American politics.

Richard Nixon platformed on a policy of honesty an openess. He had hundreds of "hippy protestors." When the Washington Post first broke the story, NO ONE believed it. First off the person confirming their information was a "shadow CIA informant." What the hell is that stuff, right? Imagine if I came out today with an article saying that an FBI member confirms that Elvis Pressley was a child molestor, would you believe it? Of course not, because it is so far from reality that it is almost impossible to believe. So Watergate comes out and near the end of Nixon's term a formal investigation is announced. To avoid impeachment he resigns and admits guilt. At that point only did everyone actually believe that Nixon did it.

In our second case we have Clinton. Clinton was a very liberal man. He played jazz, blues, and recognized by many as a "man of the people." As governor there were murmurs of him having sexual relations with other women. But his wife was actually very attractive woman. The list of people they named as involved, were not. It was so far from reality that only his political enemies pushed it. It wasn't until he was at the height of his power and nearing the end of his term did they push it again. They named out two women, Monika Lewinsky and Paula Jones. Neither of these women once again were very beautiful, and yet both of them made the claim. They proposed a lot of evidence that was shifty at best. One was a phonecall between Clinton and Lewinsky which was shown by a sound specialist to be a modified, as well showing how anyone can imprint the voice patterns of any phone call taken out of context on a tape. In a trial Lewinsky told everything, that was confirmed by many sources. But, just like Nixon what was said was only confirmable by very shifty sources. People only believed it when Clinton came out and said that he had an affair. Of course not everyone believed he actually had an affair as many will still say he was only having "oral sex" which isn't actually "sleeping with that woman."

Our third case is George W. Bush. Bush stated that he worked with the information that he had at the time and he could have never known the information was not good. A case has now been built to show opposite. A couple of men who were in that administration left it or were fired and came out a couple of months later with books explaining their experiences and building up a circumstantial unconfirmable case about Bush and the CIA. Many made claims that he baited the CIA to botch up the intelligence, nothing could back this up yet. The M16 reform could be the thing to bring him down though. Several incrimidating (of Tony Blaire) memos and notes have come present. Considering that both M16 and the CIA have been declared 'faulty and broken" though it is hard to even see it as confirmed evidence either (because both are known to be faulty and thus cannot truly be trusted).

My question to Republicans is, what measure will it take for you to believe that Bush did it?
To Democrats, is there anyone who is reliable enough anymore to actually confirm it?

MY ANSWER:

excellent! excellent! regards the question to democrats, the answer is yes, numerous people. These people all have excellent credentials and a lot of experience in the Pentagon or otherwise in the chain of intelligence. They were all in their time well respected and honored in their professions. Richard Clarke, for instance, was the daily presidential briefer for Ronald Reagan (notice Ronald Reagan is a republican), and has been an integral part of the intelligence branch under many presidents. 27 years, I think it was. That's just one example.

The problem is, that since they have come out with this information, their credibility has been attacked on, from an empirical standpoint, the very basis that they came out with this information. Perhaps this is largely a consequence of a psychological predisposition to disbelieve. Understandably so: why would someone want to believe that about someone who they trust and look up to? Esp. when it's construed as an attack on their own charachter, being, in a sense, "guilty by association": being of the same political party. And this is largely what seems to be the basis of the character attacks - that it is construed as partisan "sour grapes"; that it is construed as politically motivated.

This emotionally-inspired characterization is often defended by the fact that "democrats lost the election" - that the informations are motivated by a "sore loser" mentality - (which republicans seem to get enjoyment out it saying, for some reason, may i remind them that politics is not a game) - or that it is because people dont like his policies. All of these premises, however, are circumstantial, and therefore not logically valid. (Besides, personal attacks are not logically valid in the first place.)

So in conclusion there are many very credible, respectable, reliable people who have come out and exposed this - that is how we know as much as we do now about the Office of Special Plans (the answer to last post's logic puzzle, btw) and the like - and in addition, although they have not come in contact with eachother, their stories all match up. And the match up with things that are known now but were not know before, when they came out with their information.

The problem is not that there is by any measure a lack of reliable witnesses - for there is not - but, as was said, a problem of a predisposition to disbelieve.

After all, who would want to believe something like this? I certainly don't. But I don't let my feelings get in the way of objectivity.

(Oh, and btw, downing street memo, Awaken the Media, Big Brass Alliance.)

How to resolve a paradox.

1. The CIA intelligence was correct - We know this from comparing the intelligence reports fron the CIA with our post-invasion knowledge of Iraq.
2. What Bush said was incorrect - We know this both from the CIA intelligence reports and our post-invasion knowledge of Iraq.
3. The intelligence that Bush recieved was incorrect - according to he Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report

Hmm... so how do we resolve these contradicting axioms? Some people, it still seems, would close their eyes and ears so as to drop out "1." The depressingly slim majority would sooner drop out "3.", having their eyes and ears open, and critical thinking skills.

However - there remains one more possibility: the possibility that all three axioms are correct, and that, in fact, they do not contradict eachother. But how can this be so?

A puzzle for the "out-of-the-box" thinkers out there.

(Oh, and btw, downing street memo, Awaken the Media, Big Brass Alliance.)