Saturday, February 3, 2007

MoDo doesn't Even Try to Be Funny.

Way to go Maureen!

While laughter is needed to get us through the day, this is a serious matter, and should be treated as such, ocassionally even by those who usually get their point across through humor.

“Everything you’ve heard and read is true. And I am deeply sorry about that.”

Who said it?

(a) George Bush, about the chilling new intelligence report on Iraq.(b) Joe Biden, about his self-imploding prolixity.(c) Condi Rice, on her ability to understand Peyton Manning’s vulnerabilities better than Nuri Kamal al-Malaki’s.(d) Silvio Berlusconi, on his wife’s Junoesque lightning bolt after his public flirting.(e) Jacques Chirac, after giving a Gallic shrug at the prospect of Iran getting un or deux nuclear weapons.(f) Hillary Clinton, on enabling the president to invade Iraq.(g) Barack Obama, for the ultimate sin of not being black enough or white enough.(h) Mary Cheney, on her decision to work on her terrifying dad’s homophobic campaign because the thought of John Kerry was “terrifying.”(i) Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, about his affair with his campaign manager’s wife.The answer is Gavin Newsom.It’s rare to get a simple apology when a complex obfuscation will do.

Even after releasing parts of an intelligence report so pessimistic that it may as well have been titled “Iraq: We’re Cooked,” Bush officials clung to their alternate reality, using nonsensical logic and cherry-picking whatever phrases they could find in the report that they could use to sell the Surge.In the 2004 National Intelligence Estimate, civil war was a worst-case scenario. In the 2007 one, Iraq has zoomed past civil war to hell:

“The Intelligence Community judges that the term ‘civil war’ does not adequately capture the complexity of the conflict in Iraq, which includes extensive Shia-on-Shia violence, Al Qaeda and Sunni insurgent attacks on coalition forces, and widespread criminally motivated violence.”

As John McLaughlin, the former acting director of central intelligence, told The Times’s Mark Mazzetti: “Civil war is checkers. This is chess.”

Far from Dick Cheney’s claim of “enormous successes” and Gen. William Casey’s claim of “slow progress,” the report shows that any path the U.S. takes in Iraq could lead to a river of blood. It says that in the absence of any strong Sunni and Shiite leaders who can control their groups, prospects are dim for a cohesive government, much less a democracy.

If the violence gets worse, the report concludes, three sulfurous possibilities loom: chaos leading to partition, the emergence of a Shiite strongman or anarchy “mixing extreme ethnosectarian violence with debilitating intragroup clashes.”

So after four years of war, we get to choose between chaos, another Saddam or anarchy. Good work, W. And at such bargain prices; the administration is breaking the record for the military budget, asking for $100 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan this year and $145 billion more for 2008.The White House thinks it can somehow spin the Iraq apocalypse so it sounds as if multiple wars are better than one civil war.

At a Pentagon briefing yesterday, Bob Gates rebuffed the idea of a civil war, saying: “I think that the words ‘civil war’ oversimplify a very complex situation in Iraq. I believe that there are essentially four wars going on in Iraq. One is Shia on Shia, principally in the south. The second is sectarian conflict, principally in Baghdad but not solely. Third is the insurgency, and fourth is Al Qaeda.”

That’s a relief, all right — we’re in four wars in Iraq and threatening another with Iran.

Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, agreed that the term civil war is unacceptable: “We need to get across the complexities of the situation we face in Iraq ... and simple labels don’t do that.”

When General Casey testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, he sounded as if he was talking about a completely different Iraq than the one limned in the intelligence report. “Today,” he said, “Iraqis are poised to assume responsibility for their own security by the end of 2007, still with some level of support from us.”Compare that with the bleak tone of the report, which states that “the Iraqi Security Forces — particularly the Iraqi police — will be hard-pressed in the next 12 to 18 months to execute significantly increased security responsibilities, and particularly to operate independently against Shia militias with success.”

It’s official. We’re in a cycle of violence so complex and awful that withdrawing American troops will make it worse and keeping American troops there may also make it worse.We can try or we can leave, but either way, it seems, we’re cooked.

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Long off Broadway, Bush Flops in Peoria

Ok, go ahead, feel sorry for him. We all know many of us must. It's just who we are.

You have exactly 5 minutes. Then pull youself together and realize why the people in Peoria responded to Bush the way they did.

How many attacks on our Constitution is he responsoible for, by now?

How many dead and maimed, for his fragmented ego?

How many lies and conspiracies to deceive, can we stand?

The people of Peoria were, essentially, saying, " we have already impeached you, Mr. Bush. We are just waiting for the Congress and the News-media to catch up.

Jan. 31, 2007 - On Tuesday, President Bush popped in for a surprise visit to the Sterling Family Restaurant, a homey diner in Peoria, Ill. It’s a scene that has been played out many times before by this White House and others: a president mingling among regular Americans, who, no matter what they might think of his policies, are usually humbled and shocked to see the leader of the free world standing 10 feet in front of them.

But on Tuesday, the surprise was on Bush. In town to deliver remarks on the economy, the president walked into the diner, where he was greeted with what can only be described as a sedate reception. No one rushed to shake his hand. There were no audible gasps or yelps of excitement that usually accompany visits like this. Last summer, a woman nearly fainted when Bush made an unscheduled visit for some donut holes at the legendary Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant in Chicago. In Peoria this week, many patrons found their pancakes more interesting. Except for the click of news cameras and the clang of a dish from the kitchen, the quiet was deafening.

“Sorry to interrupt you,” Bush said to a group of women, who were sitting in a booth with their young kids. “How’s the service?” As Bush signed a few autographs and shook hands, a man sitting at the counter lit a cigarette and asked for more coffee. Another woman, eyeing Bush and his entourage, sighed heavily and went back to her paper. She was reading the obituaries.

“Sorry to interrupt your breakfast,” a White House aide told her. “No problem,” she huffed, in a not-so-friendly way. “Life goes on, I guess.”

It’s hard to predict if Tuesday is a preview of what is to come for Bush in his final two years in office. While the calendar shows that he still has more than 700 days at the White House, Bush is struggling for relevancy in the same way many other second-term presidents have. But Bush’s burden seems much harder than other presidents in recent memory. He is weighed down by an increasingly unpopular war, and his efforts to stay atop the news cycle have been overshadowed by the battle over who will replace him in 2009. While the 24-hour cable-news networks used to carry most of Bush’s speeches live, that’s no longer the norm. On Wednesday, Bush went to Wall Street to deliver remarks on the economy. CNN and MSNBC carried portions of the speech live, but Fox News Channel, a network that has been viewed as sympathetic to this White House, did not, opting instead to air reports on immigration and the 2008 presidential race. At least Bush got a raucous reception from traders (typically a GOP-friendly crowd) when he paid a surprise visit to the New York Stock Exchange trading floor.

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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

THINK, While It's Still Legal

Thinking is certainly verboten in the Bush Administration.

Soon, they may make it illegal.

In a way, they use propaganda and fear -- as in Orwell's 1984 -- to stifle thought.

The Busheviks are like the followers of Pol Pot in that they wish to destroy history. Every day they erase the day before. They take the truth and their past statements and wipe them from the chalk board -- and the news rides the wave of deceit like surfers skimming atop "the big one."

So think while you can. FOX News is the official Orwellian purveyor of manufactured news that has appearance of truth, but is really nothing more than propaganda strung together to support the party line.

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers

Bush: Leaker-in-Chief

Cheney's Handwritten Notes Implicate Bush in Plame Affair

By Jason Leopold and Marc Ash

Copies of handwritten notes by Vice President Dick Cheney, introduced at trial by attorneys prosecuting former White House staffer I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, would appear to implicate George W. Bush in the Plame CIA Leak case.

Bush has long maintained that he was unaware of attacks by any member of his administration against [former ambassador Joseph] Wilson. The ex-envoy's stinging rebukes of the administration's use of pre-war Iraq intelligence led Libby and other White House officials to leak Wilson's wife's covert CIA status to reporters in July 2003 in an act of retaliation.

But Cheney's notes, which were introduced into evidence Tuesday during Libby's perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial, call into question the truthfulness of President Bush's vehement denials about his prior knowledge of the attacks against Wilson. The revelation that Bush may have known all along that there was an effort by members of his office to discredit the former ambassador begs the question: Was the president also aware that senior members of his administration compromised Valerie Plame's undercover role with the CIA?

Further, the highly explicit nature of Cheney's comments not only hints at a rift between Cheney and Bush over what Cheney felt was the scapegoating of Libby, but also raises serious questions about potentially criminal actions by Bush. If Bush did indeed play an active role in encouraging Libby to take the fall to protect Karl Rove, as Libby's lawyers articulated in their opening statements, then that could be viewed as criminal involvement by Bush.

Last week, Libby's attorney Theodore Wells made a stunning pronouncement during opening statements of Libby's trial. He claimed that the White House had made Libby a scapegoat for the leak to protect Karl Rove - Bush's political adviser and "right-hand man."

"Mr. Libby, you will learn, went to the vice president of the United States and met with the vice president in private. Mr. Libby said to the vice president, 'I think the White House ... is trying to set me up. People in the White House want me to be a scapegoat,'" said Wells.

Cheney's notes seem to help bolster Wells's defense strategy. Libby's defense team first discussed the notes - written by Cheney in September 2003 for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan - during opening statements last week. Wells said Cheney had written "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others": a reference to Libby being asked to deal with the media and vociferously rebut Wilson's allegations that the Bush administration knowingly "twisted" intelligence to win support for the war in Iraq.

However, when Cheney wrote the notes, he had originally written "this Pres." instead of "that was."

During cross-examination Tuesday morning, David Addington was asked specific questions about Cheney's notes and the reference to President Bush. Addington, former counsel to the vice president, was named Cheney's chief of staff - a position Libby had held before resigning."Can you make out what's crossed out, Mr. Addington?" Wells asked, according to a copy of the transcript of Tuesday's court proceedings.

"It says 'the guy' and then it says, 'this Pres.' and then that is scratched through," Addington said.

"OK," Wells said. "Let's start again. 'Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy ...' and then what's scratched through?" Wells asked Addington again, attempting to establish that Cheney had originally written that President Bush personally asked Libby to beat back Wilson's criticisms.

"T-h-i-s space P-r-e-s," Addington said, spelling out the words. "And then it's got a scratch-through."

"So it looks like 'this Pres.?'" Wells asked again.

"Yes sir," Addington said.

Thus, Cheney's notes would have read "not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy this Pres. asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others." The words "this Pres." were crossed out and replaced with "that was," but are still clearly legible in the document.

The reference to "the meat grinder" was understood to be the Washington press corps, Wells said. The "protect one staffer" reference, Wells said, was White House Political Adviser Karl Rove, whose own role in the leak and the attacks on Wilson are well documented.

Furthermore, Cheney, in his directive to McClellan that day in September 2003, wrote that the White House spokesman needed to immediately "call out to key press saying the same thing about Scooter as Karl."

McClellan had publicly stated in September 2003 that Rove was not culpable in the leak of Valerie Plame's covert CIA identity, nor was he involved in a campaign to discredit her husband, but McClellan did not say anything to the media that exonerated Libby, which led Cheney to write the note. A couple of weeks later, in October 2003, McClellan told members of the media that it was "ridiculous" for them to suggest Libby and Rove were involved in the leak, because he received personal assurances from both men that they had nothing to do with it.

Moreover, Wells insinuated Tuesday that Cheney's note [seemingly] implicating President Bush in the discrediting of Wilson was one of the 250 pages of emails and documents the White House failed to turn over to investigators who had been probing the leak for more than two years.

Wells insinuated that Cheney's note, because it contained a reference to "this Pres." may have been an explosive piece of evidence that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who at the time of the leak was White House counsel, withheld from investigators, citing executive privilege. Addington told Wells that when subpoenas were first issued by the Justice Department in the fall of 2003, demanding documents and emails relating to Wilson and Plame be preserved, he was given Cheney's notes and immediately recognized the importance of what the vice president had written. Addington said he immediately entered into a "discussion" with Gonzales and Terry O'Donnell, Cheney's counsel, about the note, but Addington did not say whether it was turned over to investigators in the early days of the probe.

Wells's line of questioning is an attempt to shift the blame for the leak squarely onto the shoulders of the White House - a tactic aimed at confusing the jury - and will likely unravel because it has nothing to do with the perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges at the heart of the case against Libby. Still, Tuesday's testimony implicating President Bush may be the most important revelation that has emerged from the trial thus far.

Addington revealed during his testimony Monday that in June 2003 there were internal discussions - involving President Bush and Vice President Cheney - about declassifying for specific reporters a portion of the highly classified October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate as a way to counter Wilson's criticisms against the administration. That portion purportedly showed that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium from Niger to use for building an atomic bomb - a claim that Wilson had debunked when he personally traveled to Niger to investigate it a year earlier.

In late June or early July 2003, "a question was asked of me - by Scooter Libby: Does the president have authority to declassify information?" Addington told jurors Monday, in response to a question by defense attorney William Jeffress. "And the answer I gave was, 'Of course, yes. It's clear the president has the authority to determine what constitutes a national security secret and who can have access to it.'"

President Bush signed an executive order in 2003 authorizing Cheney to declassify certain intelligence documents. The order was signed on March 23, four days after the start of the Iraq War and two weeks after Wilson first appeared on the administration's radar.
------- will publish a follow-up to this story, with opinions from legal experts on possible implications of these latest developments for the White House.

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Let the Investigations Begin!!

Let it be known:

We want investigations, subpoenas, law suits, impeachment, trial by the Senate, arrests and imprisonment of any and all public officials who perpertrated a fraud on the people of the U.S. and who committed War crimes, Crimes against Peace, and Crimes against humanity. We also want public officials who helped perpertrate any and all cover-ups of any of the above activites, to be tried as well.

There are whistle blowers who want to tell what they know, but cannot do so without a congresssional subpoena.

Let it further be known, that any federal judge who seeks to protecct the criminals in this administration will face a movement to have him/her impeached.

At the moment, the spectacle of the I. Lewis Libby trial, of the den of thieves falling out, of the unraveling of old administration war stories, and of the possibility that, in the near future, the Vice President might appear in the witness stand for a grilling all occupy Washington's center stage along with a restless Congress, filled with unnerved representatives of the President's own Party, increasing numbers of whom are, by now, painfully aware that they are dealing with the delusional over the disastrous -- and have little idea what, exactly, to do about it.

In just the last week, Vice President Cheney has termed administration policy in Iraq a shining light in the firmament of war and peace-making ("Bottom line is that we've had enormous successes, and we will continue to have enormous successes…"); the President has praised some of the best units in Iraqi Army for "beginning to show me something" -- as it turns out, how to muff a military operation; various members of the administration and top military figures have been issuing threats of increasing intensity against Iran while the situation in the Middle East goes from worse to worse yet; and, on the bright side, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, one of our commanders in Afghanistan, managed to hail the new year of 2007 in that embattled land this way: "I'd also like to say that this year's going to be a great year, as last year was, for detention operations in [sic] the United States."

And just imagine, the Congressional investigatory season hasn't even begun to gear up yet.

It's in this spirit that I asked David Swanson, the ever energetic fellow who presides over, among a small empire of oppositional organizations, and writes regularly for, and Jonathan Schwarz to take a look ahead at what's in store for the American people in the coming months from their newly elected (or reelected) representatives -- what's likely to be investigated, what's not; what matters and why. Tom

Beyond Oral Sex: The Bush Investigations
By David Swanson and Jonathan Schwarz

The last time Congress was controlled by the party in opposition to the White House, we all learned more than we cared to know about the uses of cigars. This time the need for investigations is much more serious. The Democrats are talking fast and furious about doing them, but they're not talking about doing the right ones -- and a month into their tenure, they've barely discovered where the bathrooms are.

As humorist Bob Harris enjoys saying about the Bush administration, "It's like a new Watergate every day with these people."

Congress could probably spend three decades profitably examining the last six years of the Bush administration. Unfortunately, they'll have to do severe triage to select the areas of malfeasance where investigations will most benefit the country.

A recent ABC/Washington Post poll showed that the public (despite very little help from ABC News or the Washington Post) has it right. A majority picked the "should" option in response to both of these questions:

"Do you think Congress should or should not hold hearings on how the Bush administration handled pre-war intelligence, war planning, and related issues in the war in Iraq?"

"Do you think Congress should or should not hold hearings on how the Bush administration has handled surveillance, treatment of prisoners and related issues in the U.S. campaign against terrorism?"

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Congress is gearing up to investigate whether Halliburton might have cheated on its contracts a little. Hello?

Of course we need to investigate the war profiteers. But our top priority has to be the fraud that launched the war to begin with. Most readers of this article know it was fraud, but a third of the country still doesn't and won't until it's on their televisions for several days in a row. And unless there is accountability for it, the next president may feel free to lie us into a war of his or her choosing. In fact, unless there is enough exposure and accountability, the current war may never end.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller has pledged to finish a long-stalled investigation focused on the 2002-03 campaign for the invasion. However, it's unclear how deeply he'll dig, or what he'll do if the Bush administration simply refuses to cooperate.

In the House, the office of Intelligence Committee Chair Silvestre Reyes says he doesn't plan to investigate the misuse of intelligence on Iraq. In fact, staffers in his and other House offices say a decision was made by the party leadership and/or committee chairs not to "look backwards." (Some members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus we spoke to this week were unaware of this, assumed Reyes would do the investigation, and said they would file Resolutions of Inquiry if he does not.)

The Democrats also appear hesitant to use their subpoena power in the investigations they do plan. Some offices have told us they hope to uncover the truth without having to use subpoenas and that they see this as desirable. Others have said that subpoenas are frowned on because of the need for comity.

When we heard this, we thought the staffer to whom we were talking had said "comedy" -- and in fact that might have been more appropriate. During the Clinton administration, of course, comity and collegiality were nowhere to be found, and Republican subpoenas rolled up Pennsylvania Avenue piled on flatbed trucks. (The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee alone issued over a thousand.)

Hopefully this Democratic reluctance is feigned for PR purposes, and they understand that there's no possible way they'll get the necessary information out of the Bush administration by asking nicely. In any case, they may have motivations beyond a wish to keep things friendly. If they issue subpoenas and the administration refuses to comply on the grounds of executive privilege, they'll have to file a lawsuit or back down. And if they file a lawsuit, there's no guarantee they'll win, particularly given the increasing conservative nature of the judiciary. This would be the worst of both worlds: They wouldn't get the information, and they would have established a precedent condoning executive secrecy.

But if this is their view, then they may be surrendering before the fight begins. Congress can win any battle with the executive branch as long as it has an informed public opinion behind it. And that's where we come in -- progressives need to teach politicians that they'll be rewarded for doing the right thing and conducting these investigations.

War Lies

Incredibly enough, four years after it happened there has been no genuine investigation of the farrago of propaganda used to sell the Iraq war.

Republicans have done their best to confuse the issue, claiming that it has, in fact, been investigated and the Bush administration has been exonerated. Nope. Indeed, until today the issue has been almost completely stonewalled. Here's how it's worked:
At first, the Bush administration tried to prevent any investigation at all. When no WMD turned up in Iraq by summer 2003 that became politically impossible. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) -- chaired by Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas -- then promised they'd look into it. But the terms of the investigation were limited to the quality of intelligence produced by the CIA and the rest of the Intelligence Community. Crucially, there was to be no examination of the main issue: whether the Bush administration had presented the intelligence honestly to Congress and the public.

Then, in early 2004, David Kay (who ran the CIA's Iraq Survey Group sent in search of Saddam's stores of WMD) resigned, telling Congress that "we were almost all wrong" about Iraq's supposed arsenal. This forced Roberts to accept a "Phase II" to the committee's investigation. It was slated to examine many subjects; most important, "whether public statements and reports and testimony regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials made between the Gulf War period and the commencement of Operation Iraqi Freedom were substantiated by intelligence information."

At the same time, Bush was forced to appoint what came to be known as the "WMD Commission." However, as the commission later stated, the President "did not authorize us to investigate how policymakers used the intelligence they received from the Intelligence Community on Iraq's weapons programs."

In June 2004, four months before the Presidential election, the SSCI released its Phase I report. It laid blame for the whole debacle at the feet of the intelligence agencies, insisting that they hadn't been pressured by the administration. When the WMD Commission report came out in March 2005, Roberts said he intended to drop Phase II because "we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence" -- and, in any case, further investigation was useless "in a post-election environment."

Resistance from some Democrats forced Roberts to backtrack and officially recommit himself to Phase II. But to date, despite the release last year of reports on several of the less contentious aspects of the Phase II study, the stonewall has held: There has been nothing at all on how the Bush administration made its case for war. (According to a recent interview with Sen. Jay Rockefeller [D-WV], the pressure on Roberts came directly from Dick Cheney.)

The question today is: What do Democrats intend to do about this now that they control both houses of Congress? It's unclear whether the Democratic leadership has a thought-out strategy. Rockefeller has vowed the Intelligence Committee, which he now chairs, will finish the Phase II investigation by this summer. He's also indicated a willingness to use his subpoena power if necessary.

Nevertheless, the administration will strongly resist a serious inquiry -- and D.C. media mandarins will sneer at any such attempt by the Democrats. The Washington Post columnist David Broder has already learnedly explained, based on no evidence whatsoever, that "the public's moved past" the pre-war lies. Others, like Gloria Borger of U.S. News & World Report and CBS, have barely been able to stifle their yawns at the idea of an actual investigation. The worst outcome would be a limp completion of the Phase II report, after which the subject would be declared closed once and for all. The best outcome would be a serious, coordinated investigation by the House and Senate of the whole stinking mess.

If the Democrats take the second path, there are literally hundreds of basic questions Congress has never asked. For instance:
* What was the Bush administration's thinking on Iraq before 9/11?

In 2004, investigative reporter Russ Baker spoke to Bush family friend and author Marty Herskowitz. Based on lengthy conversations he had taped with Bush for a planned ghosted biography, he claimed then-Governor Bush "was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999."

According to Herskowitz, the perspective of people around Bush was that wars were useful politically and that presidents should: "Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade." It certainly would be something to see Herskowitz testify on this under oath in front of a congressional committee.

Then there's Paul O'Neill's account of National Security Council (NSC) meetings when he was Treasury Secretary. According to O'Neill, Bush's first National Security Council meeting on January 30, 2001 focused on Iraq -- and, at this meeting, CIA Director George Tenet said the Agency's intelligence was so poor "we'd be going in there blind." At a February 1, 2001 meeting, participants were given a document entitled "Political-Military Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq." Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said: "[W]hat we really want to think about is going after Saddam...Imagine what the region would look like without Saddam and with a regime that's aligned with U.S. interests."

According to O'Neill, Tenet told the President on May 16, 2001, "[I]t was still only speculation whether Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or was starting any weapons-building programs." Videotapes and/or detailed transcripts of these NSC meetings certainly exist, and there's no reason Americans shouldn't see them (except, of course, for the certain constitutional crisis the administration would provoke to prevent that from happening).

Moreover, all this jibes with what senior policymakers were saying at the time. On February 24, 2001, Secretary of State Colin Powell stated publicly: "Saddam Hussein has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." And on July 29, 2001 Condoleezza Rice told CNN: "...Let's remember that [Saddam's] country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." What intelligence were these statements based on?

Was the intelligence community pressured?

According to the SSCI Phase I report and the WMD Commission, the CIA and other agencies came to their conclusions of their own remarkably free will. To create this narrative, however, the reports had to overlook some glaring contradictions.

For instance, two books -- James Bamford's A Pretext for War and Lindsay Moran's Blowing My Cover -- describe what seems to be the same incident in which an anonymous CIA source claims administration pressure on the Agency "was blatant." The source reported that his or her boss told a group of fifty analysts that "if Bush wants to go to war, it's your job to give him a reason to do so." Neither Bamford, nor Moran was contacted for the previous investigations.

Meanwhile, an anonymous former CIA agent has filed a lawsuit against the Agency, claiming he'd been punished for providing unwelcome intelligence on Iraq. Or at least it appears to be Iraq -- much of the complaint has been redacted. The complaint states that the plaintiff "served as primary collection point for Near Eastern WMD programs." According to New York Times reporting on the suit, the agent says he was told by an informant in 2001 that Iraq had abandoned its nuclear-weapons program years before. After complaining that this (and other information) was ignored, he was made the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. Nothing about this appears in the Phase I or WMD Commission report.

* Did the administration plan to create a false pretext for war?

According to Hubris by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Bush authorized a covert CIA program for Iraq in February 2002. Among other things, it included a scheme to "stage a phony incident that could be used to start a war. A small group of Iraqi exiles would be flown into Iraq by helicopter to seize an isolated military base near the Saudi border. They then would take to the airwaves and announce a coup was under way. If Saddam responded by flying troops south, his aircraft would be shot down by U.S. fighter planes patrolling the no-fly zones established by UN edict after the first Persian Gulf War. A clash of this sort could be used to initiate a full-scale war." Needless to say, Congress has never investigated this.

Likewise, we know from a leaked British memo that Bush was talking about other possible pretexts in early 2003. In the memo's language, Bush told Blair, "The U.S. was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in U.N. colours... If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach" of U.N. resolutions requiring Iraq's cooperation with the ongoing weapons inspections.

And this barely scratches the surface. Why did the Bush administration lie about Saddam Hussein's son-in-law Hussein Kamel, who told the U.S. in 1995 that Iraq had no remaining banned weapons or programs? Why did Secretary of State Colin Powell fabricate parts of intercepted statements by Iraqis in his UN presentation that proved so crucial to the coming invasion? Why did Powell blatantly ignore what he was being told by the State Department's intelligence staff? What happened to the CIA's secret pre-war interviews with thirty Iraqi WMD scientists, all of whom claimed Iraq was clean of weapons of mass destruction or programs to produce them?

All this and much more would be examined by any serious investigation. Here are a few of the documents that might be subpoenaed:

* the complete October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq;

* the records of National Security Council meetings on Jan. 30, Feb. 1, and March 16, 2001;

* the records of Cheney's spring 2001 meetings with top oil executives for his Energy Task Force;

* the CIA's Senior Executive Memorandum of January 12, 2002 on Hussein Kamel;

* the records of Bush's late July 2002 budget discussions on Iraq with Legislative Affairs Assistant Nicholas Calio;

* the records of the July 20, 2002, U.S.-U.K. intelligence conference at CIA headquarters, the basis for the Downing Street Memo statement that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy";

* the October 2002, one-page NIE summary that (according to journalist Murray Waas) told the White House of doubts that the infamous aluminum tubes were, in fact, part of an Iraqi nuclear weapons program;

* the January 2003 National Intelligence Council memo that (as reported by the Washington Post) declared the purported Niger-Iraq-yellowcake connection was "baseless and should be laid to rest";

* the records of CIA plans to create a pretext for war: DB/Anabasis, authorized by Bush on February 16, 2002;

* the U.S. records of the January 31, 2003 Bush-Blair meeting at the White House;

* the British records of early 2003 conversations between British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Colin Powell, described by Philippe Sands in his book Lawless World, plus any records from the U.S. side;

* the complaint filed by a CIA agent in Doe v. Goss claiming he'd been punished for providing unwelcome intelligence;

* the records of the White House Iraq Group, established in August 2002 to market the future invasion to the American public;

* the August 2004 memo showing Bush may have proposed bombing al Jazeera.

The committees to focus on to get this done are the House and Senate Intelligence Committees (chaired by Rep. Silvestre Reyes [TX] and Sen. Rockefeller [WV], respectively); House and Senate Armed Services (Rep. Ike Skelton [MO] and Carl Levin [MI]); and House Oversight and Government Reform (Henry Waxman [CA]).

War Corruption

When it comes to investigating fraud and corruption during the war, the obvious place to start is with the numerous no-bid contracts awarded to politically-connected corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel. Henry Waxman's Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be launching hearings on this next week.

Three less obvious but equally important areas to investigate are:

1. Where did the money come from to begin secret preparations for the invasion of Iraq?
Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack contains a largely overlooked bombshell: In the summer of 2002, Bush took money appropriated by Congress for Afghanistan and other programs and -- with no Congressional notification -- used it to upgrade Kuwaiti airfields and create a new "distribution capability" of pipelines so the invasion force would have fuel available while sitting close to the Iraqi border. This was a blatant violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution ("No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law"). It was certainly an impeachable offense (if anyone cares). According to Woodward, the amount was $700 million; the Congressional Research Service (CRS) later corrected that figure, raising it to $2.5 billion. CRS, however, ruefully noted that it "could not obtain details on this spending."

2. Who decided to build permanent military bases in Iraq? When did they make that decision? What was their thinking behind doing so? And how is it that they are still being built despite the fact that Congress prohibited further spending on them?
In October 2006, both houses of Congress passed a bill with an amendment forbidding the use of funds to continue building permanent bases in Iraq. However, according to the most recent reporting (in the American Prospect), the Army continues to construct four huge super bases in different regions of Iraq, with "absolutely no public scrutiny." Since the administration hasn't told them otherwise, the Pentagon plans to occupy the bases indefinitely and is building an extensive communication system to link them to each other as well as to bases in Qatar and Afghanistan. When were these bases first approved? Why are they still being built illegally?

3. Is the Bush Administration trying to privatize Iraq's oil for the benefit of U.S. and British corporations?

The Mideast oil industry, including Iraq's, underwent a wave of nationalizations in the 1970s. But behind the scenes the Bush administration has been shepherding towards passage a new law that appears to return Iraq's oil to its pre-1972 status, when it was essentially controlled by companies such as Shell, Mobil, Standard Oil, and British Petroleum.

With that law expected to go before the Iraqi parliament in March, Congress urgently needs to investigate questions such as: How have the Bush administration and U.S. corporations influenced the restructuring of Iraq's oil industry? To what degree has the influence worked directly to the benefit of U.S. corporations? What are the likely outcomes of the draft law for the Iraqi economy and economic development?

The committees to focus on for investigations of war corruption are House Oversight and Government Reform (chaired by Rep. Waxman); House and Senate Appropriations (Rep. David Obey [WI] and Sen. Robert Byrd [WV]); House and Senate Armed Services (Rep. Skelton and Sen. Levin); and House and Senate Judiciary (Rep. Conyers [MI] and Sen. Patrick Leahy [VT]).

War Crimes

Beyond the lies and manipulations that took us to war, and the corruption that has dominated the war, there is a third broad area that needs to be investigated -- but much of which won't be without serious public pressure on Congress. This is the area of war crimes: the targeting of civilians, hospitals, ambulances, and journalists; the use of illegal weapons; the detentions, extraordinary renditions, abuse, torture, ghost prisoners, the setting up of a global network of secret CIA prisons, and murder.

Investigations into extraordinary rendition and torture -- in Iraq and elsewhere -- will likely be led by Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy has already indicated he's willing to do what's necessary to investigate these issues, including subpoenaing administration records. In particular Leahy plans to procure a 2002 memo written by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which is believed to list approved interrogation techniques. It's unclear what Leahy will do if the administration simply refuses his committee's subpoenas.

It's even less clear who, if anyone, will push for investigations into war crimes committed in Iraq. The Bush administration has been concerned since 9/11 that administration officials might be at risk of prosecution under the 1996 U.S. War Crimes Act--which enumerated sentences including the death penalty for U.S. officials who violate the Geneva Conventions. An early 2002 memo by then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales therefore recommended that Bush take steps to preempt any possible prosecution by declaring that members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban were not covered by the Geneva Conventions. The memo also urged Bush to hold open similar "options for future conflicts" in the "war on terrorism." And Bush has done so: His administration stated in 2004 that non-Iraqis captured in Iraq were not covered by the Geneva Conventions. Meanwhile, the Justice Department has given the CIA permission to secretly move Iraqi citizens out of the country for interrogation -- in what a former senior military attorney has called "conduct that the international community clearly considers in violation of" the Geneva Conventions.

These actions should be investigated by the Judiciary Committees of Congress as part of their examination of rendition and torture. Meanwhile, other possible war crimes -- such as the Haditha massacre, the siege of Fallujah, support of Shiite death squads, and the use of depleted uranium could plausibly be investigated by many committees (including Armed Forces, International Relations, and Veterans Affairs), so that if one committee declines to examine what occurred, others may be persuaded to do so.

The committees we need to focus on for getting war-crime investigations underway are House and Senate Judiciary (chaired by Rep. Conyers and Sen. Leahy), House Armed Services (Rep. Skelton and Sen. Levin), House Veterans Affairs (Rep. Bob Filner [CA]), House International Relations (Rep. Tom Lantos [CA]) and Senate Foreign Relations (Sen. Joe Biden [Del]).
All these investigations are badly needed, not just for the sake of accountability but because the truth will end the war. Bush can continue his crusade only because most of the grim reality of Iraq remains in the shadows. Dragging it out into the sunlight is up to us.

David Swanson is the Washington Director of and of He is co-founder of the coalition, creator of, and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and of the Backbone Campaign. He was the organizer in 2006 of Camp Democracy. He serves on the steering committee of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice and on a working group of United for Peace and Justice. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Jonathan Schwarz was a media consultant for the 2004 Kucinich presidential campaign. His website is
A Tiny Revolution.

Copyright 2007 David Swanson and Jonathan Schwarz

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Jitters In Tehran

Anyone is Iran who is not anxious:

Could you please send us some of whatever you're taking, smoking, whatever?

Although you wouldn't know it listening the bellicose rhetoric of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's leadership has the jitters. While the President this week stayed on message, proclaiming that "our nation is swiftly on track to becoming a superpower," anxiety over the possibility of a military confrontation with the U.S. in Iraq and further damage to Iran's international position has the country's leaders locked in sober, closed-door consultations. And Tehran's most influential businessmen are again debating whether to transfer their assets abroad. Says political analyst Saeed Laylaz: "At the highest levels of the regime, the situation today is being taken very, very seriously."

Escalating tensions with the U.S. are sufficiently worrisome that former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is once again leading a drive to contain Ahmadinejad and his political ambitions. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who heads the executive branch in Iran's system, asked Rafsanjani — who was beaten by Ahmadinejad in the last presidential election — to spearhead a similar effort last year, after Ahmadinejad's remarks about Israel sparked an international outcry. That intervention was late and ineffective, but this time Rafsanjani is moving more quickly and aggressively to defuse tensions with the West. The former president has been meeting with MPs critical of the President, and issued a terse and rare reprimand after a recent presidential speech. Official and semi-official media have joined the effort to curb Ahmadinejad, with two prominent newspapers in the past month running editorials critical of the President, calling his foreign policy obtuse and ordering him to stay out of diplomacy over the country's nuclear program. Even Baztab, the conservative news website connected with Mohsen Rezai, former Revolutionary Guard commander and current secretary of the powerful Expediency Council, is running analyses of U.S.-Iran relations with headlines such as "How to prevent confrontation between the lion and the eagle."

Even more revealing than the skittish media and internal political maneuvering, analysts here say, is Tehran's muted response to the U.S. military's detention of Iranian security officials in Iraq, and the raid on its official liaison office in Erbil. Both acts might have provoked a harsher response were Tehran more confident that Washington's confrontational rhetoric was meant only to intimidate. Former president Mohammad Khatami, viewed here as a valuable interlocutor in dealing with the United States, attended a session with Senator Bob Kerrey at the World Economic Summit in Davos — under normal circumstances such a meeting would leave radicals here livid.

With the United States resistant to opening talks with Tehran over Iraq and the nuclear issue, Iran's leaders are divided over what to concede in their attempts to head off a potential clash. The country's response to the U.N. Security Council's Feb. 20 deadline to cease uranium enrichment will be the first real test of whether Iran will blink. But even if officials here are increasingly anxious about the approaching deadline and rising tension with Washington, ordinary Iranians — mostly relying for information on newspapers that downplay the crisis — feel secure. "America has already shown in Iraq that it can't do anything," say Jaleh Momeni, a 26-year-old secretary in Tehran. "They don't dare attack us."

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

More Lies from Grand PooBahs at the Pentagon.

How the hell can we possibly be expected to believe a word these people say. Does Gates honestly expect anyone to believe that there are no plans for an attack on Iran? The NeoCons have been planning this for over 6 years, since before 9/11/01.

By LOLITA BALDOR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The extra troops that Iraq promised to send into Baghdad in a new U.S.-Iraqi military buildup are arriving on schedule but in inadequate numbers, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.

Gates was asked at a news conference about Senate testimony on Thursday by the outgoing U.S. commander in Baghdad, Gen. George Casey, who said the arriving Iraqi units have only 55 to 65 percent of their intended troops.

"Fifty-five percent probably isn't good enough," Gates said, but he left open the possibility that by the time the Baghdad crackdown begins in earnest the Iraqi combat units will be at full strength.

(No, 55% probably isn't good enough, Geeze. These guys really are the masters of understatement!)

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who sat beside Gates in fielding questions at the Pentagon' estimated that the arriving Iraqi units are at about 60 percent of their assigned strength.

"It needs to be stronger than that," Pace said.

Administration officials have said they expect Iraq to meet the pledges it made, as the troop buildup proceeds, but they have not said explicitly what would happen if the Iraqis fall substantially short on troop contributions.

"Partly it will depend on how quickly they get back up to strength," Gates said.

(How many times have we heard that in the last three years? I wouldn't be betting the farm on it!)

The defense secretary has publicly held out the possibility of slowing or stopping the flow of additional U.S. troops if the Iraqis fall short, as they have in the past; the Pentagon has announced plans to send five additional Army brigades, totaling 17,500 troops, to Baghdad by May. In addition, about 4,000 Marines are to be sent to western Anbar province.

At his news conference, Gates also said that the decision announced in January to send a second U.S. aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region does not mean the United States is planning for a war with Iran.

He said the purpose was to underscore to U.S. allies as well as potential adversaries that the Gulf is a vital interest to the United States.

(Who the hell doesn't already know that? Does it take two Carrier battle groups to get that message across?)

"Nobody is planning, we are not planning for a war with Iran," Gates said.

( Did he change from "Nobody" is planning to "we" are not planning? Ok We get it; Israel is planning to strike Iran. We just plan to back them up, eh, Mr Gates?)

Gates said the United States' main aim with regard to Iranian influence inside Iraq is to counter what he called networks providing explosives used to make roadside bombs that are powerful enough to destroy a U.S. tank.

"Because we are acting against the Iranians' activities in Iraq, it has given rise to some of these talks" of U.S. intentions to attack Iran, he said, adding that there is no such plan.

(Yeah, right....and Saddam purchased tellowcake from Niger and the moon is made of green cheese.)

Pace said that over the past month or so, raids against those bomb-supplying networks had netted two Iranians.

Gates said it was too soon to say with confidence whether Iranians were involved in the ambush last week in Karbala, in southern Iraq, that left five American soldiers dead. U.S. officials have said in recent days that they are investigating possible Iranian links.

"The information that I've seen is ambiguous," he said. (No Shit)

Gates also said that U.S. military officers in Baghdad were planning to brief reporters on what is known about Iranian involvement in Iraq but that he and other senior administration officials had intervened to delay the briefing in order to assure that the information to be provided is accurate.

Gates opened his news conference by announcing that he has recommended to
President Bush that he nominate Navy Adm. Timothy Keating, currently the commander of U.S. Northern Command, to be the next commander of U.S. Pacific Command, replacing Adm. William Fallon, who has been selected as the next commander of U.S. Central Command.
Gates said he also recommended that his senior military aide, Lt. Gen. Victor "Gene" Renuart, be nominated to replace Keating at Northern Command.

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Pentagon alters casualty count on-line

The New York Times reported today that the Pentagon has altered how nonfatal casualties are tallied on its website, thus resulting in lower casualty totals.

According to Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, deputy director of force health protection and readiness at the Defense Department, "the previous method of tallying casualties was misleading and might have made injuries and combat wounds seem worse and more numerous than they really were," the Times reports.

The old method lumped many problems under the label “casualties,” including illnesses, minor injuries and injuries from accidents, as well as wounds sustained in combat. But the public may assume that every casualty is a war wound, Dr. Kilpatrick said, so the site was changed to avoid misunderstandings.

On Monday, the bottom line of the Defense Department’s Web page on casualties in Iraq listed a total of 47,657 “nonmortal casualties.”

By Tuesday, the same page no longer showed a total for nonmortal casualties. The bottom line is now “total — medical air transported,” and the figure is 31,493.

The new total excludes 16,164 troops who were wounded but did not require medical air transport because their injuries were minor. The total does include combat wounds, nonhostile injuries and diseases serious enough for medical transport.


The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Clinton Heckled at DNC Speech

Earlier today, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) was heckled at the DNC winter meeting by audience members who are unhappy with her stance on the war in Iraq.

Clinton, who voted in 2002 to give President Bush the right to use force to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime, spoke today of the non-binding resolution that will appear before the Senate next week as the first time the Democrats will "tell the president, 'no!'"

However, her speech was nearly derailed by a handful of guests in attendance shouting "make it binding!" and "how about you bring them home."

Moments later, Clinton promised that, if the war hasn't ended by 2009 then "as president" she would do so.

Speaking on oil company profits, Clinton said "I want to take those profits, and I want to put them into a strategic energy fund."

"I am not running for president to put band aids on our problems," Clinton said.
Star rival Barack Obama pledged to restore hope to cynical politics as Democratic White House hopefuls traded the first blows of the 2008 campaign.

The two senators, along with also-favored former vice presidential nominee John Edwards and a host of long shots, made dueling speeches in their first serious head-to-head test of a potentially historic race.

"I want to be very clear about this: If I had been president in October 2002, I would not have started this war," said Clinton, already under pressure after refusing to publicly admit her vote for the war was a mistake.

"If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as president, I will," said the former first lady, who is battling to become America's first woman president.

Obama, on his own historic quest to become the first black president, offered Democrats a vision of "hope" and a new brand of politics, purged of "small and timid, calculating and cautious" modern-day taints.

"It is a serious moment for America. The American people understand that; they are in sober mood," said Obama, 45, a first-term senator who shot to fame with an electrifying speech in the 2004 Democratic convention.

"We've got 130,000 Americans fighting halfway across the world in a war that should have never been waged, led by leaders who have no plan to end it.

"We don't have time to be cynical. We don't have time," said Obama, who opposed the war from the start, unlike Clinton and Edwards, who has since disavowed his vote to authorize the war.

Eleven months before crucial first nominating conventions in states like Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire, hundreds of buoyant Democratic activists fired up by their capture of Congress waved campaign signs and cheered wildly.

Other candidates who addressed the meeting included outsiders Senator Christopher Dodd, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and retired general Wesley Clark.

Senator Joseph Biden, who stumbled into a race row on the day he announced his campaign this week, was due to give a speech on Saturday, along with Bill Richardson, New Mexico's governor and a former US ambassador to the United Nations.

Rank outsiders, such as former Alaska senator Mike Gravel and ex-governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack, will also address the audience on the second day of the conference.

For Transcript of Clinton speech:

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.
The Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee contradicted the White House's assessment of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq today.

In a statement sent to RAW STORY, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) warned that the President's plan to escalate the number of American troops in Iraq could be based on stale intelligence.
Calling the four-month delay of the release of the National Intelligence Estimate "unacceptable," Reyes contradicted a key White House claim about the basis for Bush's "New Way Forward in Iraq."

"Unfortunately for the troops he is now sending into harm's way, the President's plan was developed without the benefit of a fully vetted National Intelligence Estimate," Reyes said in the statement.

He added, "Further, because this NIE does not contain the most recent intelligence as to the situation on the ground, there is a concern that its assumptions will be stale and its analysis overtaken by events."

In a press conference on the release of the NIE earlier today, President George W. Bush's National Security Adviser said that the plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq was based on well-founded intelligence.

"I'd like to draw your attention to -- in terms of the question I think you're going to have, which is, what is the mirroring up or the match-up between this intelligence judgments and the president's strategy?" Hadley said, and then pointed to events he said the NIE anticipated, particularly the recent battle between a Shi'ite militia and Iraqi soldiers in Najaf.

In his statement, Reyes also pledged further oversight. "Our Committee plans an aggressive series of hearings over the coming weeks to address the intelligence challenges in Iraq. We will scrutinize the conclusions reached by the Intelligence Community and seek to understand whether we are fielding the best intelligence capability," he said.

Reyes's Republican counterpart on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, said in an earlier statement today "The latest Iraq NIE in many respects tells us what we already know. The situation in Iraq is extraordinarily difficult."

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Time To Go After Rightwing Liars

Time to start filing lawsuits!

"Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage?" -- From, long after the "madrassa" story had been debunked

Nearly two years before the next presidential election, we've already set the tone: Even the most outrageous media fictions about candidates are apparently going to go unpunished.

At least that was my thought, after watching last week's unfolding of the Obama-madrassa scandal -- the unofficial starting gun for the Great Slime Race, as the 2008 presidential campaign will someday be known. I found the entire affair puzzling. I know for sure that if I made a journalistic "mistake" of that magnitude, I'd be spending the rest of my life picking strawberries in the Siberian tundra. Most print journalists I know would expect the same thing; the legal ramifications alone of intentionally going to print with a story that missed by that much would guarantee that 80 cents out of every dollar you made for the next ten years would go to the victim of your libel. That's unless you're Tom Friedman and you can use congenital idiocy as a defense in court.

For some reason, however, we never see full-blown libel suits in high-level political journalism. Moreover, there appears to be a completely different standard for talk-radio and TV talk-show hosts, who are somehow allowed to lie and fuck up with impunity, and still remain employed. I get the feeling that as a society we have decided to give a collective pass to serial media swindlers like Sean Hannity simply because we never expect them to actually document the "facts" that come spewing in mass volumes out of their zoster-covered mouths every day. We actually expect them to pull most of their material out of their asses, and are mostly content to address the problem by pompously correcting their errata post-factum in whiny media-crit outlets like...well, like this one. Actual real punishment never seems to be forthcoming.

The Obama incident was a perfect example. After Fox outlets, Insight magazine and the Roger Ailes morning vehicle Fox and Friends erroneously reported that a source in "Hillary Clinton's camp" had uncovered that Barack Obama had been schooled in a "madrassa" in his youth in Indonesia, CNN dispatched a reporter to the school in question and found that the tale was totally false, that there were religion classes only once a week at the school and that the school had not even a hint of Wahabbite influence. Moreover, Hillary Clinton's camp denied having anything to do with the story. "They made it up," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said.
Fox responded with a classic "Eat me you clowns!" send-off, with Fox anchor John Gibson bitching that John Vause, the CNN reporter who blew up their report, "probably went to the very [same] madrassa." Ultimately there was a reluctant "retraction" of sorts on Fox and Friends, but if you pay careful attention, the statement read by Fox anchor Steve Doocy isn't a retraction at all. Here's what he said:

Doocy: : One other thing. We want to clarify something: On Friday of last week, we did the story from Insight magazine where we talked about how they were quoting that Barack Obama, when he was a child growing up in Indonesia, had attended a madrassa. Well, Mr. Obama's people called and they said that that is absolutely false. They said the idea that Barack Obama went to a radical Muslim school is completely ridiculous. In his book it does say that he went to a mostly Muslim school but not to a madrassa.

Obviously there is absolutely no admission of error here; they only concede that Barack Obama himself claims the story is false, which is what most people expect a politician to do even after a true expose. Doocy read his text with the tone of a junior-high bully wiseass ripping off a school-mandated "apology" in front of the class; his tone clearly indicated that he, and Fox, were greatly annoyed by the inconvenience of having to "clarify" anything for anyone.

Not only that, but well after the story had been crushed by every reputable news outlet in America, the Fox-affiliated Hannity continued to have the Insight story up, uncorrected, on the front page of his website. It's still there now, lingering like a hemorrhoid, as I write this piece.
I'm not sure if people realize exactly how serious a situation this is. The way our national media is currently constructed, a lie of this magnitude broadcast on a major network becomes an irreversible blow within, I would guess, about 24 hours after it appears. There are rare cases of an unsourced hoax blowing up quickly enough that it won't stick to a politician -- the John Kerry mistress story is a good example -- but for the most part, once the lie is out there, it's there to stay. This is especially true given the nature of the audience for outlets like Fox and Hannity. Unless you force a Hannity or a John Gibson to apologize by ripping his own still-beating heart out on national television, their audiences will assume that any "retraction" comes with a grain of salt, that the original report was true.

Years after George Bush himself admitted that there is no link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, I continue to meet people who believe just the opposite -- that the original implications furthered by the White House and the talk-radio preachers were true, and that the no-link concession was something somehow forced on Bush and the likes of Fox by hyper-cautious media lawyers and lefty journalists who, it is assumed, harbor some secret allegiance to Saddam Hussein and/or the cause of Islamic terrorism in general.

This unwillingness to believe the "reputable" media outlets' final judgments about such controversies is now endemic and a result of a number of factors, most of those having to do with the failure of the mainstream media to perform vigilantly in the face of various bald national deceptions.

After the debacle of 2000, for instance, many people automatically distrust the published verdicts about election results, choosing to assume that votes were stolen by one side or the other and that the commercial media is a fellow-traveler tied to whichever side you choose to think is rigging the game -- Republicans or Democrats, both sides are regularly suspected. And though few people probably register the issue consciously, there has to be some kind of fallout when the population is fed "They hate us for our freedom" by "reputable" media outlets as an explanation for the 9/11 attacks. When the media trades so blatantly in such egregious, transparent bullshit, why shouldn't their audiences choose to make their own decisions about truth and untruth?

The lesson of all this -- and of the Iraq war, the Swift Boat controversy, and indeed the whole careers of swine like Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and the like -- is that unless you prevent the lie from coming out to begin with, it doesn't really matter what happens afterward. In the Internet age, and with no kind of regulation of the "facts" that are circulated on afternoon radio, once that genie is out of the bottle, he's staying out.
Moreover, we live in an age in which an increasing number of unscrupulous media creatures make phony/misleading rhetorical arguments and cover themselves by "citing" media reports that may be still floating around on the internet, long after they've been debunked. Rush Limbaugh is the master of this technique. A classic Limbaugh news-reference involved a mountain-lion attack in Colorado (hyping alleged liberal overconcern for deadly mountain lions is a surprisingly hardy staple of right-wing radio entertainment); Limbaugh wanted to argue that PC-mad animal rights activists had raised more money for the lion cub than had been raised for the victim's family. "As of May 23, the orphaned mountain lion had received $21,000 in donations and Barbara Schoener's two kids had received around $9,000," was how Rush put it, way back in 1994.

The story was total bullshit and had been exposed as such for more than a month at the time Rush came out with that story.

And once he realized he could do this without suffering consequences, he just kept on doing it, which is why his listeners over the years have been treated to such nuggets of wisdom as "There's no such thing as an implied contract," "It has not been proven that nicotine is addictive," "The condom failure rate can be as high as 20 percent," "The poorest people in America are better off than the mainstream families of Europe," "Banks take the risks in insuring student loans," "Anita Hill followed Clarence Thomas everywhere," and "$14,400 for a family of four-- that's not so bad." There are endless lists of these casually-told lies that stick long after debunking -- anyone interested in seeing the full list can check out sites like
Now we're seeing the same thing with the Obama story; it is lingering, even after it has been totally discredited. Emboldened by a generation that has refused to punish their libelous behavior, these guys now just take whatever "facts" they like and run with them. Hannity is one culprit. Michael Savage, a spineless little fuckhead who should be torn apart by hyenas, responded to the debunking of the Obama story by telling his listeners that Obama "will not reply" to the original Insight report, a blatant lie. He added, for good measure, that "assuming the world is still here" after a Clinton-Obama administration, Obama would then run for president with "Saddam Hussein's younger grandson" as his running mate.

The very fact that the liars are allowed to continue their trade unpunished is a sort of endorsement of their original versions of the "truth." I have absolutely no doubt that many Americans believe deep down in their gullible hearts that if people like Hannity and Limbaugh were really liars, they would be pulled off the air, or punished for some reason. They see that a Michael Savage can be yanked from a lucrative job for gay-bashing, but there appears to be no punishment at all for unchecked, intentional lying, which is at least as serious an offense for a journalist.

The results of widespread public disenfranchisement with the media are already out in the open for everyone to see -- wild conspiracy theories running rampant on both sides of the political aisle, great masses of the population eschewing reporting and appealing to Biblical interpretations of world events, and the explosion of a blogger movement that on the one hand has greatly enhanced press freedom, but on the other has inspired "mainstream" media organs to dispense with traditional fact-checking procedures in a desperate attempt to compete with the speed of the Internet and cable news. The direction all of this is traveling in is a future of pure informational mayhem, in which people will have absolutely no reliable means to make political decisions, leaving the political landscape ripe to be seized by demagogues and swindlers of all stripes, the public with no defense against political and environmental corruption, etc.
If the press is serious about saving itself as a social institution, it has to start policing its own business. We all have to encourage the likes of Barack Obama to hire the meanest lawyers on the planet and to file the hairiest lawsuits imaginable against the Hannitys, Gibsons, and Savages of the world. We have to impress upon the victims of these broadsides that choosing to ignore that style of libel is a betrayal of the public trust and an act of political cowardice that the rest of us end up paying for in spades. That's the ugly truth: Until one of those monsters goes down in a fireball of punitive litigation, we are all fucked. And it's not going to happen anytime soon.

Tagged as: sean hannity, barack obama, fox news, liars

Matt Taibbi is a writer for Rolling Stone.

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

More Bush Lies; Troop Surge Doubles.

President Bush and his new military chiefs have been saying for nearly a month that they would "surge" an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, in a last, grand push to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province.

But a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 -- more than double the number the President initially said.

That's because the combat units that President Bush wants to send into hostile areas need to be backed up by support troops, "including personnel to staff headquarters, serve as military police, and provide communications, contracting, engineering, intelligence, medical, and other services," the CBO notes.

Over the past few years , DoD’s practice has been to deploy a total of about 9,500 personnel per combat brigade to the Iraq theater, including about 4,000 combat troops and about 5,500 supporting troops.

DoD has not yet indicated which support units will be deployed along with the added combat forces, or how many additional troops will be involved. Army and DoD officials have indicated that it will be both possible and desirable to deploy fewer additional support units than historical practice would indicate. CBO expects that, even if the additional brigades required fewer support units than historical practice suggests, those units would still represent a significant additional number of military personnel.

To reflect some of the uncertainty about the number of support troops, CBO developed its estimates on the basis of two alternative assumptions. In one scenario, CBO assumed that additional support troops would be deployed in the same proportion to combat troops that currently exists in Iraq. That approach would require about 28,000 support troops in addition to the 20,000 combat troops—a total of 48,000. CBO also presents an alternative scenario that would include a smaller number of support personnel—about 3,000 per combat brigade—totaling about 15,000 support personnel and bringing the total additional forces to about 35,000.

According to the study, the costs for the "surge" would also be dramatically different than the President has said. The White House estimated a troop escalation would require about $5.6 billion in additional funding for the rest of fiscal year 2007. Of that, about $3.2 billion was supposed to go to the Army and Marines for their escalated activity.

But that figure appears to have been grossly underestimated. The CBO now believes "that costs would range from $9 billion to $13 billion for a four-month deployment and from $20 billion to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment." There's a more detailed analysis of the numbers on pages 3 and 4 of the study, which was sent to House Budget Chairman John Spratt today.

UPDATE 1:43 PM: Here's Spratt's reaction, in a statement just released:

“An average of 170,000 military personnel has been maintained in the Iraq theater of operations, and this high deployment level has taken a toll. Last year, CBO reported that the Department of Defense had reduced the amount of ‘dwell’ time for many troops from two years to one year in order to sustain troop levels. ‘Dwell’ time is the time troops spend in training at bases in the United States while living with their families. CBO questioned whether such a high pace of operations was sustainable over the long term. The President’s proposal will increase this level to above 200,000 troops, and to reach this level, the Pentagon will probably have to relax ‘dwell’ time standards even more.

“CBO’s report concludes that the cost of the President’s plan to ‘surge’ troops will be higher than previously indicated, both in dollar terms and in the burdens it places on our military.”
UPDATE 2:06 PM: As they say on the Internet, "WTF?" Gen. George Casey, the nominee for Army chief of staff, "told a Senate panel Thursday that improving security in Baghdad would take fewer than half as many extra troops as President Bush has chosen to commit," the AP is reporting.

Asked by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., why he had not requested the full five extra brigades that Bush is sending, Casey said, "I did not want to bring one more American soldier into Iraq than was necessary to accomplish the mission."

With many in Congress opposing or skeptical of Bush's troop buildup, Casey did not say he opposed the president's decision. He said the full complement of five brigades would give U.S. commanders in Iraq additional, useful flexibility.

"In my mind, the other three brigades should be called forward after an assessment has been made on the ground" about whether they are needed to ensure success in Baghdad, Casey said. later.

Now, Casey has long been skeptical of a troop increase. "It's a tough nut, whether or not bringing in more troops, more US troops will have a significant long term impact on the violence," he said back in October. And just the other day, Casey was arguing that any additional boots on the ground could be removed by the summer. So this feels like we're seeing the edges of an internal squabble between the White House and the Army brass. Or maybe between general and general.
(Big ups: JA)

February 1, 2007 12:22 PM Money Money Money, Strategery, War Update

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became e, Caseynemies of liberty and mass murderers.

A Fuel That Does Not Kill Us

Posted on Jan 28, 2007
By Joshua Scheer

Annie Nelson, wife of Willie Nelson and co-chairperson of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, speaks to Truthdig about stomaching the State of the Union and the myth that alternative fuels are years away.

Truthdig: Did you see the State of the Union?

Nelson: Yeah, I stomached as much as I could.

Truthdig: Did you see what the president said about ethanol? ... He did say one sentence or one line about biodiesel. Did any of that resonate with you?

Nelson: Yeah, about as much as it did the last time he said it. I mean, it’s all a bit of—it’s just talk. You know, they give 13 gazillion dollars to the oil and gas industry as some welfare for these people who are making phenomenal historic record-breaking profits, and less than—I think it’s 7.7 [billion] for research into alternative fuels which are already here. It’s lip service. It’s all lip service.

Truthdig: And what’s your involvement in biodiesel?

Nelson: Pretty much we’re proponents. I don’t know how else to say it. We’re in production. We have partnerships with Pacific Biodiesel Texas and Pacific Biodiesel, and we are doing community production of biodiesel. And our intent is to keep them community [based] and then promote that idea where each community ... can and should create their own fuel, and let that be the market for the community.

Truthdig: What is biodiesel?

Nelson: It is the fuel that obviously powers—I’m going to go real elementary, right?
Truthdig: Yeah.

Nelson: The fuel that powers a diesel engine. Biodiesel needs to run in a diesel engine, and what it does—where it comes from are several sources. It can come from recycled cooking oil, which then keeps that junk out of landfills; several plant seed stocks from seeds and those types of things; the rendering of animals, just you name it. There are tons of ways to get it. There’s a process where they remove the glycerin—that’s biodiesel. You can put pure cooking oil into your car, but you have to have a converter inside of it. But just any regular diesel [vehicle] can run on biodiesel because it’s been refined, which means the glycerin has been taken out.

Truthdig: So ... you can actually drive on recycled cooking oil?

Nelson: Yes, the diesel engine was designed to run on peanut and hemp oil, not petroleum. But then again Rudolf Diesel disappeared over the Atlantic. It never was intended to run on petroleum, and in fact I think an interesting connection is if you go—if you check out the Prohibition era, when the government was going after stills that were on farms and such, a lot of those stills were producing ethanol and biodiesel for—mainly ethanol—for farm production, for their machinery. That’s what happened. There were so many people involved in it, in that whole deal, that Prohibition was probably a whole lot less about alcohol and a whole lot more about killing the renewable energy possibilities. Obviously the petroleum companies were behind it.

Truthdig: What’s the difference between biodiesel and ethanol?

Nelson: Well, ethanol is almost like—and I’m not an expert on ethanol at all, so let me just put that disclaimer in there immediately—it’s more like a grain alcohol, almost. It’s from sugar. It’s a plant that needs to have a particular cellulose to create a gasoline-type fuel. But it’s mainly turning the sugar into fuel.

Truthdig: With ethanol we know how much money has been given to Iowa and other states where ethanol is being produced. On, they say there’s no government program to support them [correction]. Do you have an opinion on that?

Nelson: is an actual biodiesel board and there are many others. They’re just one entity, and they’re fine. They tend to have a lot more large producers and a lot of soybean people. Our whole deal, and we just actually formed—Daryl Hannah and I are co-chairs and Kelly King and Laura Louie, who is Woody Harrelson’s wife, and a group of us just formed the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, where our intent is to focus specifically on sustainable community biodiesel production. And if it ends up being ethanol as well at some future date, that’s fine, but the whole point is to keep it community—to eliminate the ADMs and the Cargills and those people ... large oil companies from just transferring their monopoly on Middle Eastern oil to home-produced, naturally produced fuel. Right now they can ... it’s really a matter of connecting the farm bill with our national security bills and those types of things without allowing one group or one industry to control our energy, whether it be from the Middle East or from our own country. If it’s domestically produced, that should be domestically distributed as well. We’re here to protect the family farmers and the community co-ops that want to produce their own fuel and sell it.

Truthdig: Are there stations where people can fill up? One of the problems with ethanol has been transporting it and getting it to the public.

Nelson: People actually produce it all over the country. We do our tours through this whole country, and we do it on biodiesel. At least a blend. At minimum, it’s a blend of biodiesel. We try to do 100 percent whenever we can.... So, it’s out there. It’s already available. The funny thing about why $7.7 billion was given to renewable fuels—and that 7.7 is spread out between wind and geothermal and biomass and ethanol and biodiesel and others—that’s spread out amongst all of them. When 13 point something billion is given to the oil and gas industry and coal, and then another 12 to nuclear. So it’s kind of serious, but instead of doing that, let each community—that’s our deal—to connect communities and make sure that they can produce their own fuels so they’re not dependent on one of these corporations that have already proven that they could care less about these people’s interests, and do their own. Make their own fuel. Make their own security, which gives everybody in this country security because not one person or organization is controlling the market. What’s the difference between OPEC and a group of American oil companies who control our prices?

Truthdig: There’s a list of gas stations on and a few other of these sites....

Nelson: There are gas stations. What they have a list of is people who are members. There are other people besides them—many, many other people that are producing biodiesel. When we put the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance online, it will be to help people connect to where they can get fuel around the country and, at the same time, promote community-based fueling stations where people can pull off the highway and fill up with whatever blend they need or 100 percent. So that is something that just hasn’t been put together. That’s what we’re going for. It exists out there—a lot of people making fuel. We’re some of them. In fact, if there was even more help, this would go big guns, but it also takes the profit away from some people that are in control right now.

Truthdig: During the State of the Union, the president said he would try and reduce foreign fuel by [20] percent by 2017. You’re saying....

Nelson: We’re already doing it. There are so many people already doing it. In fact, taking people and putting them back on land. Even if we just put them back on their land and let them buy their farms back. Put them back on land that’s sitting fallow right now. Let them grow food for ourselves and fuel. Then each community would start thriving again. You’ve got people out of the city, so there would be less congestion in the city. People on land, where they’re not [driven] insane by the inner city, where that’s not where they belong anyway. Put them back on the land, let them grow our fuel, let them grow our food, have it be sustainably grown, and then we eliminate—well, first we would eliminate, by getting them out of the city, the congestion of carbon fibers in the air, plus if they’re going to be using renewable fuels—and specifically I can speak for biodiesel, if up to 100 percent, you can eliminate 99 percent of particulates in the air.
So why wouldn’t we do that? People don’t want to be in the city, people want to be on their land; they never wanted to leave it to begin with. They got thrown off their land because the market is manipulated. So we put them back on it and allow them to earn ownership—we did that in the ’30s—but allow them to earn their ownership back, and let them produce food and fuel for us—fuel that doesn’t kill us, and grow it sustainably so it doesn’t kill the water and everything around us either. It doesn’t make sense not to. Then you have thriving communities ... when you put people back on the land then you need a grocery store, you need businesses that sustain those people. They have to buy their farm products somewhere, they have to buy their feed somewhere, when you get them back out there, you get those communities thriving again, and the heartbeat of America gets a little defibrillation—and certainly the economy. How is that bad? It’s not. It’s good for everybody; it’s just not great for those few who want it to be just good for them.

Annie Nelson is the wife of Willie Nelson and the co-chairperson of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance Inc. She is a supporter of sustainable, community-based biodiesel production as a method for restoring the dignity of small family farmers, the environment, the economy, energy independence and U.S. national security.

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Senator Roberts and Rep. Goss should be Hanged!

Harmon is no better. Pelosi did the right thing by firing her.

While Graham did some muttering, he did not do what he should have done.

What the hell is wrong with everybody?

Are they just scared shitless or what?

If so, we need people with courage and faith in our convictions

Larisa Alexandrovna

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush issued an order to the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, and his cabinet members that severely curtailed intelligence oversight by restricting classified information to just eight members of Congress.

"The only Members of Congress whom you or your expressly designated officers may brief regarding classified or sensitive law enforcement information," he writes, "are the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees in the House and Senate."
The order is aimed at protecting "military security" and "sensitive law enforcement."

But what was said to be an effort to protect the United States became a tool by which the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts (R-KS) ensured there was no serious investigation into how the administration fixed the intelligence that took the United States to war in Iraq or the fabricated documents used as evidence to do so.

Timeline: How Roberts helped fix pre-war intelligence

Coupled with limited access to intelligence documents, RAW STORY has found that Roberts and a handful of other strategically-placed Washington players stymied all questions into pre-war intelligence on Iraq and post-invasion cover-ups, including the outing of a CIA covert agent, by using targeted leaks and artfully deflecting blame from the White House.

The Senate and House intelligence committees were created in the 1970s after a series of congressional investigations found that the CIA had acted like a "rogue elephant" carrying out illegal covert action abroad.

By the late 1990s, members of the committees and their staffs were seeing more than 2,200 CIA reports and receiving more than 1,200 substantive briefings from agency officials each year to assist them in their role of providing proper oversight.

But the little-reported 2001 Bush directive changed that, ensuring that only two members of each committee received full briefings on intelligence operations, and preventing committee staffs from carrying out meaningful research.

Tom Reynolds, spokesman for the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Jane Harman (D-CA), downplayed the significance of the order, saying members continued to have access. He acknowledged, however, that the "gang of eight" had higher-level clearances.

The spokesman for the Senate Intelligence Committee deferred comment to the White House; the White House did not return requests for comment.
At the time of the order, Rep. Porter Goss (R-FL) chaired the House Intelligence Committee. His counterpart in the Senate was Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), whom Sen. Roberts replaced in 2003.

Chairman Pat Roberts (Traitor)

In a sense, the pre-invasion of Iraq and the post-invasion intelligence blame game can be seen through the lens of a chess game, with the pieces in place well before any troops set foot on the ground.

Roberts appears to become an extension of the White House in selling the war beginning in January 2003. That month, he is appointed to chair the Senate Intelligence Committee, picking up one of the eight coveted clearances.

By the end of the month, Roberts is convinced that Saddam is harboring both al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction. Much of what convinces Roberts is a series of briefings organized by then-Deputy National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley. Hadley led a White House team to help sift through CIA intelligence, filtering information for Congressional briefings.
Roberts embraces a larger pro-war role. His voice is joined by Vice President Dick Cheney and then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Their calls align with President Bush in his State of the Union address, in which he declares, "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Shortly thereafter, the Administration hits a snag: Documents alleging Iraq’s intention to reconstitute its nuclear program by purchasing uranium from Niger are publicly acknowledged to be forgeries.

Background on the Niger forgeries

The Administration asserts that they didn't hear the documents were forgeries until after the speech.

But the U.S Embassy in Rome has already had the Niger forgeries for three months.
British intelligence say they passed the documents to Vice President Dick Cheney's office in early 2002. The Vice President subsequently makes several visits to the CIA with "questions" about recent Niger to Iraq uranium sales.

The International Atomic Energy Agency questions the Niger claim in December after the National Security Agency issues a fact sheet on Iraq's weapons omissions to the UN Security Council. As NSA deputy, Hadley may have already had the documents as well.
The IAEA, however, is not given the documents until the end of February 2003, a year after the U.S. first acquires them. Once acquired, they determine the documents are fakes within several hours.

John Pike, director of the Washington military watchdog, says the Administration's line on the Niger documents raises questions.

"The thing that was so embarrassing about the episode was not simply that the documents were forgeries, but that they were clumsy forgeries, as was so quickly determined by the IAEA," he told RAW STORY. "It is one thing to be taken in, but to be so easily taken in, suggested either bewildering incompetence or intentional deception, or possibly both."
Roberts blocks Niger questions

Whether Roberts actually saw the Niger forgeries during Hadley’s briefings is unclear. What is clear is that by March of 2003, the Intelligence chairman was in a position to head off any serious investigation into concerns raised by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the committee's ranking Democrat and vice-chair.

Rockefeller has grave concerns about deceptive intelligence, so serious that he pens a formal letter to FBI director Robert Mueller.

Rockefeller urges Mueller to investigate the Niger forgeries as part of what he feared to be "…a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq," writes the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh.

Roberts declines to sign the Rockefeller letter, seeing the involvement of the FBI as inappropriate. As a result, Rockefeller's letter falls on deaf ears.

On July 11, 2003, faced with public pressure to investigate the Niger forgeries, Roberts blames the CIA and defends the White House.

"Sen. Rockefeller and I are committed to continue our close examination of all of the issues surrounding the Niger documents," the Kansas senator declares. "So far, I am very disturbed by what appears to be extremely sloppy handling of the issue from the outset by the CIA."
More astonishing is that CIA spokesman William Harlow stated that the agency had not obtained the Niger documents until "after the President's State of the Union speech and after the congressional briefings, and therefore had been unable to evaluate them."

Roberts blocks WMD questions

Roberts also figures prominently in warding off bipartisan efforts to investigate WMD in Iraq - the reason given by the Bush administration for going to war.
As pressure heats up, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John Warner (R-VA) says he would support joint hearings with Roberts on "the issue" and that Roberts "had been receptive to the idea."

That sentiment changes, however, after Roberts meets with Senate GOP leadership and Vice President Dick Cheney. The Kansas senator then says talk of hearings is "premature."
Roberts soon announces he will hold a closed-door review of intelligence documentation and the lead-up to war. He begins to spin questions and skeptics of the war as politically motivated.
"I will not allow the committee to be politicized or to be used as an unwitting tool for any political strategist," he says.

Page Two : Using leaks and smears, Roberts shifts blame to Democrats and CIA

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.