Saturday, August 18, 2007

Are you funding and/or Harboring Terrorists?

If you are paying taxes, you are.

American taxpayers, who have yet to see the big picture and act accordingly, are unwitting war criminals and dupes of another evil empire.

Time to wake the hell up.

August 17, 2007

"Those Who Fund or Harbor Terrorists are as Guilty as the Terrorists Themselves."

By sherry clark

You may remember this quote George W. Bush from just after the September 11th terrorist attacks. When he said that, I still believed that Osama bin Laden and 19 radical Islamic terrorists were guilty of this great treachery against our “freedoms,” but I am no longer fooled by that lie, and so this quote carries with it a whole new meaning.

Since learning “the rest of the story” about 9-11: that the attack was actually planned and carried out by our own government, I have come to learn other lies as well. The tax system fraud is one of the most despicable of these lies because it has eroded our Republic which was ruled by the people into an oligarchy which is ruled by the elite few. If you have not watched Aaron Russo's America: Freedom to Fascism, I strongly recommend it. The unconstitutionality of our tax system made it very tempting for me to refuse to pay my taxes, but it really wasn't enough for me to risk the illegal imprisonment I would likely face as a result of my stand. However, I still arrived at the decision to be a tax resistor because I agree that “Those who fund or harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves.”

For me, this accusation of guilt for anyone funding terrorism pointed squarely upon every citizen who pays their taxes...people like me. It clarified for me, the critical importance for all of us to wage peace at war's pace. The peace movement has always been on the defensive...always reacting to the latest offense of “our" government. However, Napoleon once stated that, “The purely defensive is doomed to defeat.” Fellow peace lovers, that is why we must go on the offensive...we must not loose!

The first step in fighting any enemy is to know who they are. It is clear to me that it is the current regime that we must defend against. Matthew 7:16 says, “you shall know them by their fruit.” The United States Constitution is the United States, and because of this regime's actions against the Constitution, they have revealed themselves as the enemy of the real United States of America...the Constitution.

Just as our elected officials have sworn “to defend the United States Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” I see this government as my real enemy, because of their obvious devotion to dismantling our founding document. As a result of this realization, I have decided (yes, I am the decider...and so are you!) that I can not support this government with my tax dollars because as a United States citizen, I must only support those who defend the United States Constitution. If the current government parading around as the United States, with all its resources (that we the People gave it) cannot defend and protect that sacred document and treats it like just “a god-damned piece of paper,” then I, myself will swear to defend the United States Constitution through every peaceful means at my disposal.

Similar to the oath of every public servant, I believe every United States citizen should solemnly swear to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. Therefor, at the suggestion of King George, I do hereby solemnly swear I will never fund or harbor terrorists, as that would make me as guilty as the terrorists themselves. When the 9-11 attacks are investigated by an independent commission and those who are responsible are held accountable, I will again review my decision to resist taxes. Until then, it is clear to me that the current regime pretending to be the United States of America are the terrorists because they do not defend the Constitution, they commit acts of terrorism in illegal occupations, and they even carried out treason against the people of the United States of America as it did on September 11.

Furthermore, I also agree that “We must speak the truth about terror. We must not tolerate any outrageous conspiracy theories about the September 11 terrorist attacks.” The story of 19 radical Islamic terrorists (5 of whom are still alive!) who overtook our multi-trillion dollar “defense” and planned all this from a cave in Afghanistan really is outrageous! Wow, that's a good one, George! You're such a prankster! As a matter of fact, that is so outrageous, it's intolerable!

Fellow citizens, this is a plea to put your money where your mouth is! Sure, we all like to say we support the troops, but do we all have the courage to fight the real terrorists right here on our own soil? What will make you decide to join the fight against terrorism?

What are we waiting for? The terrorists are already here! The least we could do is stop paying their rent.

(Don't forget Blackwater and other Bushite Mercenaries. If you are still paying taxes, you are still paying for these terrorists.)

Authors Website:

Authors Bio: I am a wife and mother. I was in the midst of starting a company, when I stumbled upon something that changed the course of my life...9-11 truth...the environment...war profiteering...other things which make me stand up and shout!

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

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

Bush and Harken Energy

If only the press and the MSM would do their damn jobs....

August 17, 2007

Bush's First Crime: A Cold Case Warms Up

By Russ Wellen

"In the corporate world, some things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to accounting procedures."

-- George W. Bush

The reluctance of Congressional Democratic leaders to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Bush may be frustrating. But there's an upside. For anyone seeking to file charges against Bush in lieu of impeachment, it relieves the urgency and buys time to make their case that much more airtight. Henry Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform alone is conducting 20 investigations.

We're also afforded the opportunity to arrange his crimes in chronological order, starting with the first. Remember Harken Energy Corporation and the charge that Bush used insider knowledge to make almost $850,000 selling his stock in the company?

Harken, on whose board Bush sat, was a Texas oil company engaging in oil and gas exploration, development and production. It's still in existence, but on June 6 it changed its name to HKN, Inc. It actually showed a profit at the end of the first quarter this year, as opposed to last. Yet it still felt compelled to announce a reverse stock split, which is considered either a gimmick to make a stock look more attractive to investors or a red flag that it's about to take a dive.

To refresh your memory, Harken's difficulties were more pronounced in 1990, when it was hoping for one last strike in Texas before the state was tapped out. As soon as Bush joined the board, another company came to its aid -- Harvard Management ("Harvard"). Why Harvard?

Not only had Bush obtained his MBA from Harvard, but a former Harken chairman of the board was also a Harvard alumni, while two Harvard Management Company officers owned substantial amounts of Harken stock. Besides, as a not-for-profit organization, Harvard had no shareholders to whom the principals need answer for questionable transactions.

As if that weren't enough, in November 1990, Harken formed an off-the-books partnership with Harvard in order to move debt and poorly performing assets off its books and onto those of Harvard. This helped disguise how much of a risk investing in Harken had become.

But it got a shot in the arm when, perhaps out of allegiance to Bush's Arab-friendly father and then president, the country of Bahrain awarded Harken an exclusive contract to explore a new oil field in the Persian Gulf despite its lack of international experience. The billionaire Bass brothers of Texas also chipped in, to subsidize the drilling.

As expected, Harken's stock, of which Bush Jr. owned a sizeable share, took off. Yet, in June 1990, though the ceiling seemed to be nowhere in sight, he decided to unload 212,010 shares ostensibly to buy a new house, though he used it instead to pay off a loan he'd taken out when buying a stake in the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Harken attorneys warned Bush that he was liable to be scrutinized for possession of "material non-public information." As a board member, he was not only privy to Harken's problems, he himself put forth the motion for the off-the-books partnership with Harvard. With characteristic defiance, Bush went ahead with the deal anyway. His insistence that the buyer remain anonymous didn't help allay suspicions.

Though unexplored by the SEC, there was another dimension to the insider trading charge –- the imminence of the Gulf War. Had the White House leaked news of its planned attack to Bush? Perhaps more to the point, could the White House not have let him in on it? Sure enough, when Iraq actually invaded Kuwait, Harken's shares, in part because of concern about the difficulties of drilling for oil during war-time, decreased 25%.

In any event, the Securities and Exchange Commission's investigation came to a premature end. Though no evidence of impropriety was found, it should be borne in mind that the SEC chairman at the time was a friend of the Bush family who had been nominated by Bush Sr. Still, the SEC said that closing the case "must in no way be construed" as an indication that "the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result."

In retrospect, the SEC's statement resembles a cry for help from its rank and file. Will someone out there whose hands aren't tied please re-open the case? Ironically, it's in Harvard's SEC filing of its Harken transactions where evidence of Bush's wrongdoing can be found hiding in plain sight.

All that's known of the purchaser of Bush's stock is that it was institutional. Was it Harvard again? There's no mention in Harvard's SEC filing that it took Bush's Harken stock off his hands. And what if it did?

Since Harvard was already enmeshed with Bush and Harken, it would be difficult for it to claim it was unaware of Bush's rush to dump his stock before Harken's inevitable reversal of fortune. Harvard might then have been required to reveal that knowledge, thus not only hanging Bush out to dry, but also implicating itself in insider trading.

Organizations like Harvard Watch and Charles Lewis's Center for Public Integrity had already established that Harvard had become a dumping ground for Harken's stiff of a stock. But it took Massachusetts CPA Steve Rose, who once prepared charitable organization returns for one of Harvard's venture capital arms, Aeneas, to show that Harvard most likely bought Bush's shares as well.

Rose had discontinued working for Harvard because he was uncomfortable with its questionable business practices. When its Harken investments came to light, he decided to do what accountants call a reconciliation. Approaching it as a puzzle to be solved -- kind of like an advanced form of su doku -- he zeroed in on the SEC's website.

Corruption in Action

An SEC filing is a land where investigators and journalists fear to tread. Its sheer bulk and eye-glazing itemizing flag it as a text best steered clear of. But we're fortunate to have Rose scouting out this desolate terrain for us. He'll show us the guideposts indicating exactly how Harvard appears to have taken George Bush's Harken stock off his hands.

Now let's step into the badlands of Harvard's Aeneas Venture Corporation SEC Form 13D/A.

In March 1990, as part of its selfless campaign to offload Harken stock, Aeneas bought 868,450 shares. Then it transferred all those shares to another one of Harvard's affiliates, Phemus Corporation. Yet, despite divesting itself of those shares, Aeneas bought more -- exactly 50,000.

Stranger still, the sale of those 50,000 shares went unreported in the filing. Then how do we know it occurred? Because Rose did the math.

Why buy 868,450 shares and shuffle them along, only to buy 50,000 more shares from the same company? One can't help but wonder if the two sellers were different actors in the same company. Transferring the institutional-sized purchase might have been a sleight of hand by the buyer, Harvard, intended to obscure the personal-sized purchase. Especially if the 50,000 were bought from Bush and bore the stink of insider trading.

But Harvard was just getting warmed up for the shell game to follow.

Next, Rose bushwhacks his way through amendment five of the filing, in which he finds Aeneas increasing its Harken shares by 228,250. Again, there's no mention of the purchase. The numbers just kind of appear on the table. Bear in mind that when it wants to, Harvard is capable of itemizing that's as conscientious as it is scrupulous. (For an example, see Phemus's transactions on pages 87 and 88 of amendment five.)

But one can only gaze in awe at the audacity Harvard displays in slipping 228,250 shares -- unannounced -- into a SEC filing. Implicit in such an act are two assumptions, both dripping with arrogance: that the press finds SEC filings daunting and that the SEC doesn't bother to check the filings.

Other transactions also slipped in through the back door. In amendment five, the President and Fellows of Harvard College (the college itself) failed to mention its disposal of an armload of Harken shares, while another of Harvard Management's entities, Harvard Yenching Institute, added a handful.

Meanwhile, Michael Eisenson, who also owned shares under the umbrella of Harvard Management, must have thought the double life he led as a director for both Harvard and Harken wasn't enough of a red flag. He too left transactions unexplained, as did Donald Beane.

Now for the scene of the ambush. When Rose totals the unreported shares Aeneas bought between amendments four and five, he arrives at the number 212,750. Recall that Bush sold 212,140 shares during the same period. Only 610 shares separate what Aeneas bought and Bush sold! Your tolerance for coincidence has to be awfully high to ignore the obvious -- that Harvard bought Bush's shares.

As Rose is fond of repeating, "The devil is in the details."

Harvard Management's former CEO, Jack Meyer, wasn't concerned. He told The Boston Globe that, "Our [Harken] position increased 1.4 million shares in 1990." All, he maintained, were acquired by Harvard Management from Harken. "We didn't buy any of these shares from any shareholders." (Such as Bush.)

There's much more in these and subsequent filings that make Harvard Management look like it's trying to hide its unlawful acts behind Harvard University's ivied facade. But at a time when his former supporters are distancing themselves from Bush, there's nothing to stop Harvard too from hopping on the hawser and abandoning his sinking ship like yet another rat.

Since there's no expiration date for amending its amendments, Harvard can still come clean. With its endowment rising 16.7 percent in the last fiscal year to an eye-popping $29.2 billion, a settlement with the SEC would be painless.

As for Bush, indictment might give this president an actual legacy. Thanks to him, future presidential hopefuls will be forced to open his or her closet and watch as any financial skeletons hidden inside come clattering out.

Authors Bio:

Russ Wellen is the nuclear deproliferation editor for OpEdNews. He's also a columnist and editor at

"It's hard to tell people not to smoke when you have a cigarette dangling from your mouth."
-- Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency

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

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

Rummy did not leap, but was pushed!

The disclosure that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigned on Nov. 6, 2006 – the day before the election, not the day after as previously thought – means that he was pushed out of his job the same day he suggested a de-escalation of the Iraq War.

When Rumsfeld’s resignation was announced on Nov. 8, with both his resignation letter and his de-escalation memo still secret, it was widely assumed in Washington political circles that President George W. Bush was reacting to the stinging Republican electoral defeat on Nov. 7 and was appointing Robert Gates as an olive branch to the Democrats.

The reality now appears to be almost the exact opposite. Bush was preparing for an Iraq War escalation and was looking for a fresh face as Defense Secretary to buy him the necessary time to accomplish this extraordinary political maneuver. Bush also may have recognized the damage that might have come if Rumsfeld’s war doubts became known.

The Rumsfeld memo was kept under wraps for almost a month, finally appearing in the New York Times on Dec. 3, 2006, and his resignation letter was withheld from the public until revealed by Reuters and other news agencies on Aug. 15. Normally, resignation letters are released routinely when the official’s departure is announced.

Yet, because Rumsfeld had grown so unpopular with many Democrats, his post-election departure was greeted with relief and approval, not probing questions. Wishful thinking prevailed about Bush possibly making major concessions on the war. The euphoria continued even when Bush began to signal his “surge” plans at the end of November.

In Amman, Jordan, on Nov. 30, Bush said he had no interest in the gradual troop withdrawals that the bipartisan Iraq Study Group was expected to urge. Bush said American forces would “stay in Iraq to get the job done,” adding “this business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever.”

Though Rumfeld’s memo leaked only a few days later, Democratic senators still handled Gates with kid gloves at his confirmation hearing on Dec. 5. Sen. Hillary Clinton and other Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee praised Gates for his “candor.”

Since Gates – a former CIA director – had been a member of the Iraq Study Group, many Democrats assumed that he would help implement its troop drawdown plan, despite the President’s belligerent tone. Skeptical reporting about Gates and his likely role was confined mostly to Internet sites, like [See our “Who Is Bob Gates?” Archive.]

As it turned out, Gates has served Bush well, implementing the troop “surge” in early 2007 and deflecting public anger about the war escalation by presenting himself as, stylistically, less confrontational than Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld’s Advice

For their part, the Democrats never called Rumsfeld to testify about the circumstances of his resignation, nor to explain his Nov. 6 memo, which called for a “major adjustment” in Iraq War policy and echoed troop withdrawal ideas of Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania.

“Clearly what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough,” Rumsfeld wrote in his Nov. 6 memo, seeking consideration of “an accelerated drawdown of U.S. bases” from 55 to 10 to 15 by April 2007 and to five by July 2007.

Another idea was to commit U.S. forces only to provinces and cities that request the assistance. “Unless they [the local Iraqi governments] cooperate fully, U.S. forces would leave their province,” Rumsfeld wrote.

Rumsfeld also suggested that U.S. generals “withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions – cities, patrolling, etc. – and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.”

And in an implicit criticism of Bush’s lofty rhetoric about transforming Iraq and the Middle East, Rumsfeld said the administration should “recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) – go minimalist.” [NYT, Dec. 3, 2006]

If Rumsfeld’s ideas had been implemented, the number of U.S. troops in Iraq would have been sharply reduced by now and the responsibility for the war would have been shifted significantly to the Iraqi army. Instead, Bush has beefed up the U.S. military presence by more than 20,000 troops and put them into more dangerous forward positions.

Meanwhile, Gates consistently has gotten friendly treatment in the U.S. news media. After Bush tapped Gates to replace Rumsfeld, the Washington press corps quickly adopted a conventional wisdom that the Gates nomination represented a move by former President George H.W. Bush to impose some reason and discipline on his headstrong son.

The thinking went that Gates would guide the younger George Bush away from the neoconservative ideologues who were gung-ho for war in Iraq and back toward the so-called “realists” who held the upper hand under the elder George Bush.

There was even a Newsweek cover illustrating this thesis with a large Poppy Bush in the foreground and a smaller Sonny Bush in the rear.

Misguided Consensus

But the truth has turned out to be different, with George W. Bush virtually spitting out his contempt for the “realists” and deciding to escalate – rather than de-escalate – the war.

Though serving as a front man for Bush’s “surge,” Gates has continued to receive favorable press clippings, portrayed as a sensitive man who is troubled by the burdens of war and who chokes up when talking about dead soldiers.

In September, Gates is expected to take center stage when the Bush administration presents its case that the President’s “surge” is working and should be continued. Gates’s congressional testimony may represent a moment of truth for the Defense Secretary, when he either breaks with Bush or accepts ownership of the war.

If his government career is any clue, the betting should be that Gates finds lots of silver linings in the Iraq War cloud. Since the early 1980s, Gates usually has acted the part of the mild-mannered moderate – the aw-shucks Eagle Scout from Wichita, Kansas – but then did the bidding of his hard-line bosses in the Executive Branch.

According to rank-and-file CIA officers who knew him well, Gates cloaked his fierce ambition in his boyish charm as he ingratiated himself to powerful mentors, such as the late CIA Director William J. Casey.

For instance, in the early 1980s, while head of the CIA’s analytical division and responsible for maintaining a clear line between intelligence and policymaking, Gates pushed dubious intelligence assessments on Nicaragua, the Soviet Union and Iran. Invariably, these intelligence judgments served the interests of Gates’s superiors.

In December 1984, Gates even veered off into policy prescriptions, sending a secret memo to CIA Director Casey that took extreme positions on the conflict in Nicaragua, including calls for air strikes and other actions to oust the “Marxist-Leninist” regime – just the kind of tough talk that Casey liked to hear.

Not only did Gates’s behavior violate the principle of separating intelligence from policymaking, but it turned out that his alarmist assessment of Nicaragua was completely wrong. Rather than becoming a permanent “Marxist-Leninist” regime on the American mainland, the ruling Sandinistas surrendered power when they lost an election in 1990.

To some at CIA, it was never clear whether Gates was a closet true-believer in right-wing policies or a skillful apple-polisher eager to please his bosses. But Gates’s bureaucratic maneuvering did serve his career well, as Casey elevated Gates in 1986 to be deputy CIA director. [For more on the Nicaragua memo, see’s “Why Trust Robert Gates on Iraq?”]

Dodging Scandals

However, after the Iran-Contra scandal broke in late 1986 – revealing widespread deception by the Reagan administration – Gates found himself in hot water. Members of Congress suspected that Gates had misled them and they didn’t buy his claims of ignorance. He was denied the top CIA job in 1987 after Casey’s death from brain cancer.

Gates salvaged his career with the help of the senior George Bush who took Gates on as deputy national security adviser in 1989. By 1991, after the Iran-Contra scandal had cooled, Bush nominated Gates again to be CIA director.

This time, Gates’s nomination faced an extraordinary uprising of CIA analysts who went public to accuse Gates of politicizing the analytical division and shaping the intelligence to fit the desires of the Reagan-Bush political team. There were also new allegations that Gates had skirted the law by joining Casey and other Republican politicians in questionable arms deals with Iran and Iraq. [See’s “The Secret World of Robert Gates.”]

But Gates survived these allegations with the help of his friend, Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman David Boren, and Boren’s top aide George Tenet, who combined to shepherd the nomination through to approval.

Once ensconced at CIA, Gates was in position to protect George H.W. Bush’s flanks when the Iran-Contra scandal heated up again and special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh brought charges against CIA officers implicated in the arms-for-hostage deals.

Though Gates escaped indictment in the Iran-Contra scandal, he was widely viewed as a Bush loyalist prone to trim the truth. After Bush lost in 1992, President Bill Clinton replaced Gates at CIA, sending the ambitious intelligence bureaucrat into almost 14 years of political exile.

With the support of George H.W. Bush, Gates did land a job as president of Texas A&M, where Gates bided his time for a return to the power centers of Washington. That opportunity finally presented itself in 2006 when President George W. Bush named Gates as a member of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group created by Congress to review the Iraq War.

The study group was headed by George H.W. Bush’s old Secretary of State James Baker and Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton.

Rummy’s Bum Rush

Though Rumsfeld had become a lightning rod for criticism across the political spectrum – from Democrats to retired generals to neoconservatives who felt he had botched their Middle East vision – Bush insisted during Campaign 2006 that Rumsfeld would finish out the administration’s final two years.

However, on the weekend before the Nov. 7 elections, facing voter repudiation of the Iraq War and the prospect of Democratic congressional control, Bush secretly reversed himself on his endorsement of Rumsfeld’s continued tenure. Bush privately turned to Gates and asked him to be Rumsfeld’s successor.

The day after the Republicans lost control of the Congress, Bush announced that Rumsfeld was out and Gates was in. Though Bush took some heat for lying about Rumsfeld’s continued service, the Gates move met with widespread acclaim from Official Washington, which assumed that Gates would rein in Bush’s zealotry.

One of the few contrarians to this conventional wisdom was right-wing pundit Fred Barnes, who reported in the neoconservative Weekly Standard that “rarely has the press gotten a story so wrong.”

According to Barnes, Gates “is not the point man for a boarding party of former national security officials from the elder President Bush’s administration taking over defense and foreign policy in his son’s administration.”

Barnes reported that the younger George Bush didn’t consult either his father or Baker about appointing Gates – and only picked the ex-CIA chief after a two-hour face-to-face meeting at which Bush sought assurances that Gates was onboard with the neoconservative notion about “democracy promotion” in the Middle East.

"Two days before the election, the President summoned Gates to his ranch near Waco, Texas,” Barnes wrote. “It was the first time they’d talked about the Pentagon position. … It was only the two of them. No aides participated in the meeting.

"The President wanted ‘clarity’ on Gates’s views, especially on Iraq and the pursuit of democracy. He asked if Gates shared the goal of victory in Iraq and would be determined to pursue it aggressively as defense chief.

"He asked if Gates agreed democracy should be the aim of American foreign policy and not merely the stability of pro-American regimes, notably in the Middle East. Bush also wanted to know Gates’s ‘philosophy’ of America’s role in the world, an aide says, and his take on the pitfalls America faces. ‘The President got good vibes,’ according to the Bush official." [The Weekly Standard, Nov. 27, 2006]

The Secret

Though Barnes has often been wrong in his journalistic judgments, his reporting in this case seems to have been on the mark. Bush eased out the suddenly war-wobbly Rumsfeld and slipped in the more pliable Gates.

Bush benefited, too, from the misplaced confidence that the U.S. news media and the Democrats bestowed on Gates. Despite the leak of the Rumsfeld memo to the New York Times in early December 2006 and the disclosure of Rumsfeld’s resignation letter more than nine months after it was written, Official Washington still hasn’t put the pieces together.

Angry Republicans continue to complain that Bush could have spared them electoral losses if he had announced Rumsfeld’s resignation before the election. And Bush took some heat for his deception about his intent to keep Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.

Explaining Bush’s decision to conceal Rumsfeld’s resignation, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino offered the spin that “one of the things that the President wanted to avoid was the appearance of trying to make this a political decision." Yes, certainly.

But none of that explains why the administration would fight so hard against releasing Rumsfeld’s resignation letter, both last November and in response to Freedom of Information requests. The Pentagon even claimed that it didn’t have a copy.

The touchy secret about Rumsfeld’s departure seems to have been that Bush didn’t want the American people to know that one of the chief Iraq War architects had turned against the idea of an open-ended military commitment – and that Bush had found himself with no choice but to oust Rumsfeld for his loss of faith in the neoconservative cause.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there.

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

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

The Saga of D.C. Godfather Continues...

Drip, drip, drip.....

The Bushites Are Thugs In The Extreme.

Ashcroft ordered security detail not to let Gonzales or Card in hospital room again

Evidence right here proves that Alberto Gonzales not only lied to Congress about the Ashcroft hospital visit, but that Gonzales and Andrew Card harassed Ashcroft to the point that he felt threatened and told his security detail to intervene.

Picphoto081707mueller_2 Notes written by FBI Director Robert Mueller, recently turned over to Congressional investigators, indicate that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was pressured from his hospital bed by Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card to authorize the warrantless eavesdropping program. That part we have known for quite sometime, even though last month Gonzales lied to Congress about it ever happening.

What is particularly interesting about these notes is they show that after the sneaky hospital visit took place, Attorney General Ashcroft ordered his security detail to not let anyone, except family, into his hospital room.

Here are FBI Director Robert Mueller's notes from that day:

Wednesday, 3/10/04:

@1920: Called by DAG while at restaurant with wife and daughter. He is at AG's hospital with Goldsmith and Philbin. Tells me Card and J. Gonzales are on the way to hospital to see AG, but that AG is in no condition to see them, much less make decision to authorize continuation of the program. Asks me to come to AG's hospital to witness condition of AG.

@1940: At hospital. Card and J. Gonzales have come and gone. Comey tells me that they saw the AG and were told by the AG that he was in no condition to decide issues, and that Comey was the Acting AG. All matters were to be taken to him, but that he supported the Acting AG's position. The AG then reviewed for them the legal concerns relating to the program. The AG also told them that he was barred from obtaining the advice he needed on the program by the strict compartmentalization rules of the WH. Comey asked me to meet briefly with the AG to see his condition. He also asked that I inform the detail that no visitors, other than family, were to be allowed to see the AG without my consent. (I so informed the detail.)

Let me paint this picture as best I can. There are three angles to this internal feud:

  • President Bush, who was uninformed about the inner struggle within his own Administration to install the warrantless wiretap program.
  • Attorney General John Ashcroft, Deputy Attorney General James Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller -- all of whom were against the program.
  • Vice President Dick Cheney, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card -- all of whom supported warrantless wiretaps.

The program needed to be authorized by Attorney General Ashcroft, who was in intensive care. Cheney sent Gonzales and Card to pressure a sick Ashcroft from his hospital bed to authorize the program. When James Comey heard they were on their way to the hospital, he was furious: following a gallstone emergency. So

"I was angry," Comey testified. "I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me."

So as we learned from Robert Mueller's notes above, Comey quickly called the FBI Director and told him to get down to the hospital and intervene immediately. It was too late. Although Gonzales and Card did not convince Ashcroft, they certainly did harass him to the point that he eventually decided to give new orders to his security detail.

Of course, following true to form, Alberto Gonzales went under oath last month and denied that he and Card pressured Ashcroft on that specific program that day. These notes prove otherwise. That is perjury.

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

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

Four Alarmer For The White House

In Unprecedented Order, FISA Court Requires Bush Administration to Respond to ACLU's Request That Secret Court Orders Be Released to the Public (8/17/2007)

Government Must Respond by August 31


> Tell the Democratic Leadership, Congress Must Not Fail Freedom

> News: In Unprecedented Order, FISA Court Requires Bush Administration to Respond to ACLU's Request That Secret Court Orders Be Released to the Public
> Legal Documents: FISA Court Order
> Fact Sheet: The "Police America Act" and FISA
> News: Congress Legalizes Warrantless Wiretapping for Americans
> Check How Leaders Voted: Senate | House
Learn More >>
> Map: The Fight Against Unchecked Surveillance, State by State
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WASHINGTON - In an unprecedented order, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has required the U.S. government to respond to a request it received last week by the American Civil Liberties Union for orders and legal papers discussing the scope of the government's authority to engage in the secret wiretapping of Americans. According to the FISC's order, the ACLU's request "warrants further briefing," and the government must respond to it by August 31. The court has said that any reply by the ACLU must be filed by September 14.

"Disclosure of these court orders and legal papers is essential to the ongoing debate about government surveillance," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "We desperately need greater transparency and public scrutiny.We're extremely encouraged by today's development because it means that, at long last, the government will be required to defend its contention that the orders should not be released."

The ACLU filed the request with the FISC following Congress' recent passage of the so-called "Protect America Act," a law that vastly expands the Bush administration's authority to conduct warrantless wiretapping of Americans' international phone calls and e-mails. In their aggressive push to justify passing this ill-advised legislation, the administration and members of Congress made repeated and veiled references to orders issued by the FISC earlier this year. The legislation is set to expire in six months unless it is renewed.

"These court orders relate to the circumstances in which the government should be permitted to use its profoundly intrusive surveillance powers to intercept the communications of U.S. citizens and residents," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU's National Security Project. "The debate about this issue should not take place in a vacuum.It's imperative that the public have access to basic information about what the administration has proposed and what the intelligence court has authorized."

FISC orders have played a critical role in the evolution of the government's surveillance activities over the past six years. After September 11, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to inaugurate a program of warrantless wiretapping inside the United States. In January 2007, however, just days before an appeals court was to hear the government's appeal from a judicial ruling that had found the NSA program to be illegal in a case brought by the ACLU, Attorney General Gonzales announced that the NSA program would be discontinued. Gonzales explained that the change was made possible by FISC orders issued on January 10, 2007, which he characterized as "complex" and "innovative." Those orders are among the documents requested by the ACLU.

Since January 2007, government officials have spoken publicly about the January 10 orders in congressional testimony, to the media and in legal papers - the orders remaining secret all the while. They have also indicated that the FISC issued other orders in the spring that restricted the administration's surveillance activities. House Minority Leader John Boehner stated that the FISC had issued a ruling prohibiting intelligence agents from intercepting foreign-to-foreign calls passing through the United States. To a large extent, it was the perception that the FISC had issued an order limiting the administration's surveillance authority that led Congress to pass the new legislation expanding the government's surveillance powers. Yet the order itself, like the January 2007 order, has remained secret.

The ACLU's request to the FISC acknowledges that the FISC's docket includes a significant amount of material that is properly classified. The ACLU argues, however, that the release of court orders and opinions would not raise any security concern to the extent that these records address purely legal issues about the scope of the government's wiretap authority, and points out that the FISC has released such orders and opinions before. The ACLU is seeking release of all information in those judicial orders and legal papers the court determines, after independent review, to be unclassified or improperly classified.

A copy of the FISA court order, the ACLU's motion to the FISC, as well as information about the ACLU's lawsuit against the NSA and other related materials are available online at:

In addition to Jaffer, lawyers on the case are Steven R. Shapiro, Melissa Goodman, and Alexa Kolbi-Molinas of the ACLU and Art Spitzer of the ACLU of the National Capital Area.

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

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

Karl Rove May Have Gotten His One Party System....

....problem for him is, that one party may well be the Democrats

Stephen Crockett: Karl Rove: Democratic Secret Weapon

by Stephen Crockett

Karl Rove gave the Republican Party the political equivalent of the credit card teaser rate! It sure seemed good in the short term, but reality sets in over the long run. Yes, "political genius" Karl Rove is the Democratic secret weapon that spells many, many Democratic victories over the next generation.

The big problem for an evil "genius" is that they are evil and the American people really are not evil. Yes, Americans can be deceived and manipulated with scare tactics, lies, dirty tricks, and simplistic slogans.... for awhile. In the long term, those efforts always backfire. When these "dark side" political tactics get transferred from election strategy to policy, they will inevitably blow up in the face of their users. Karl Rove never learned this lesson from the era of Richard Nixon.

We should realize that Karl Rove was not the only top Republican to misunderstand the lessons of the greater Watergate scandal. Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, most Republicans in Congress, and the Republican National Committee are equally blind. In the Republican Party, they are all Rovians! Hurrah for us Democrats that they are!

Voter suppression, tampering with the voter rolls, intimidation, fear, slander, lies, deception, and obsessive secrecy were keys to Republican victories in 2000, 2002, and 2004. These "dark side" tactics led to the Rovian Republican dream of a permanent Right Wing Majority ruling America for the next generation. It was always a crazy dream. It only made sense if you lived in the distorted, alternative reality of 24-hour Fox News and Rush Limbaugh-style talk radio. Most Americans live in the real world.

Even the short term victories from 2000 to 2004 were only possible because Democrats had not held firm against the creeping subversion by the Republican Right of our courts and regulatory agencies. Democrats should never have permitted Right Wing radicals such as Thomas and Scalia to have become Supreme Court Justices before 2000. Bush did not legitimately take control of the Presidency in 2000.

Rovian tactics such as the illegal, false felon purge by Katherine Harris in Florida before Election Day 2000 made the Florida vote close enough to let the Supreme Court thwart the will of the people and select George W. Bush over the real winner, Al Gore. Thus began the rule by Rovian policy, which we call the Bush 43 Presidency.

In policy terms, the triumph of Rovian policy meant secret government by and for the economic elite. Trillions in tax cuts for the wealthiest of the wealthy and a few extra dollars in tax breaks for the rest of us were the first order of business. Most of us saw our tiny tax breaks disappear into our gas tanks as the oil companies who bankrolled the Rovian Republican Revolution financially raped us. California got punished by Bush (Rovian) energy allies such as Enron in an illegal, electricity price-gouging scheme that federal regulators should have stopped immediately. Unfortunately, the Rovians got to the regulatory agencies first.

There was an immediate drop in Bush's approval rating. Only the 9-11 attacks saved Bush from one-term status and allowed the Rovian Revolution to last past the first few months.

Bankruptcy laws were changed to screw over debtors. Polluters got pretty much everything they wanted. Trade pacts were signed all over the Third World so companies could ship good American jobs out of the country while flooding us with cheap, often dangerous imports. Within a couple of years, the 9-11 scare tactics and secrecy were not being truly effective in keeping Americans in line politically.

Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush dreamed up a war in Iraq! It was a great political success and Rovian Republicanism was soon in total political control. All government policy was soon Rovian Republican!

Then the results of Rovian Republicanism became apparent. Afghanistan did not turn out to be a mission completed as the Rovians had told us. The same goes for Iraq but multiply the mistake 50 times. Osama never got caught. The anthrax terrorist was never caught. Food and energy costs rose sharply. Republican officeholders were caught in scandal after scandal. The White House got caught in lie after lie. Stonewalling and claims of executive privilege became the order of the day. The national debt exploded. The super rich got much richer while everyone else got poorer.

The true nature of the Rovian Revolution, which is Bush Republicanism, has been revealed. It is out of touch with real American values.

Americans support Social Security and do not want it privatized. They support universal health care. They do not want the Bill of Rights trampled on by power crazed public officials. Americans do not want endless war. Americans want a strong defense but realize stupid can never be strong. Most Americans want to be union members. Most citizens want to protect American manufacturing and American jobs. Americans want renewable energy, safe products, and bridges that will not collapse under them. They want honest elections where everyone gets to vote and have their vote counted. Americans like balanced budgets. They want to rich to pay their fair share of the tax burden. Americans want to be able to sue corporations when those corporations wrong them.

Americans do not want the kind of Republican rule that Karl Rove was selling. Americans in increasing numbers like the Democratic approach over the Republican one. Thank goodness, the Democrats had their secret weapon.... Karl Rove (and crew).

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

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

Is There Any Agency Of Government That Hasn't Been Politicized?

Posted on Fri, Aug. 17, 2007

Commerce, Treasury funds helped boost GOP campaigns

Marisa Taylor and Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: August 17, 2007 03:47:33 PM

WASHINGTON — Top Commerce and Treasury Departments officials appeared with Republican candidates and doled out millions in federal money in battleground congressional districts and states after receiving White House political briefings detailing GOP election strategy.

Political appointees in the Treasury Department received at least 10 political briefings from July 2001 to August 2006, officials familiar with the meetings said. Their counterparts at the Commerce Department received at least four briefings — all in the election years of 2002, 2004 and 2006.

The House Oversight Committee is investigating whether the White House's political briefings to at least 15 agencies, including to the Justice Department, the General Services Administration and the State Department, violated a ban on the use of government resources for campaign activities.

Under the Hatch Act, Cabinet members are permitted to attend political briefings and appear with members of Congress. But Cabinet members and other political appointees aren't permitted to spend taxpayer money with the aim of benefiting candidates.

During the briefings at Treasury and Commerce, then-Bush administration political director Ken Mehlman and other White House aides detailed competitive congressional districts, battleground election states and key media markets and outlined GOP strategy for getting out the vote.

Commerce and Treasury political appointees later made numerous public appearances and grant announcements that often correlated with GOP interests, according to a review of the events by McClatchy Newspapers. The pattern raises the possibility that the events were arranged with the White House's political guidance in mind.

The briefings are part of the legacy of White House political adviser Karl Rove, who announced this week that he's stepping down at the end of the month to spend more time with his family. Despite Rove's departure, investigations into the briefings are expected to continue.

One congressional aide, who asked to remain anonymous, said the investigation was revealing "a number of remarkable coincidences" similar to how Treasury and Commerce events appeared to coincide with the strategy in the political briefings. However, it remains to be seen whether the subsequent department actions were intentional, said the aide, who asked not to be named because the investigation is ongoing.

As part of the probe, committee investigators found that White House drug czar John Walters took 20 trips at taxpayers' expense in 2006 to appear with Republican congressional candidates.

In a separate investigation, the independent Office of Special Counsel concluded that GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan violated the Hatch Act, which limits the political activities of government employees. Witnesses told investigators that Doan asked at the end of one political briefing in January 2007 what her agency could do to help GOP candidates. Doan has said she doesn't recall that remark.

Violations of the Hatch Act are treated as administrative, not criminal, matters, and punishment for violations ranges from suspension to termination. The administration has not taken any action against Doan.

Even so, the Hatch Act "is an important statute and it needs to be enforced," said James Mitchell, spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel. "One of the effects we hope our investigations will have is to deter violations during the upcoming election cycle."

In the months leading up to the 2002 election, then-Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Bush's former campaign finance chairman, made eight appearances or announcements with Republican incumbents in districts deemed by White House aides either as competitive districts or battleground presidential states.

During the stops, he doled out millions of dollars in grants, including in two public announcements with Rep. Heather Wilson, a New Mexico Republican in a competitive district.

Republicans ultimately regained control of the Senate and expanded their majority in the House of Representatives in the 2002 elections.

In 2004, Evans and his aides significantly scaled back appearances with candidates, but an assistant treasury secretary returned to New Mexico to announce with Republicans Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Steve Pierce the release of $2.5 million in economic development funds.

Evans, who now heads the Financial Services Forum, a trade association for financiers, declined comment, a Forum spokesman said.

In 2006, Evans' successor, Carlos Gutierrez, and his aides also made public announcements with several Republican congressional incumbents, including in the battleground states of Missouri, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. Weeks before the 2006 election, Gutierrez and Congresswoman Wilson announced $3.45 million in grants for Albuquerque organizations. Also in the weeks before the election, a deputy secretary and Republican Sen. Rick Santorum announced that the department would be investing $2.25 million in Philadelphia.

The same year, then-Treasury Secretary John Snow and Santorum announced an award of millions in tax credits to Pennsylvania organizations. Santorum later lost his seat.

Snow and his aides also made appearances in 2006 with Republican incumbents or doled out grants in Virginia, Iowa and Ohio, states seen as crucial to the GOP retaining control of Congress.

Bush's first treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, stuck mainly to giving speeches praising President Bush's economic policies rather than appearing with candidates. O'Neill was unceremoniously dumped after disagreeing repeatedly with the White House.

Current Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. was sworn in shortly before the 2006 elections. He and his aides have made few grant announcements.

Administration officials denied that any Treasury and Commerce events were orchestrated to help the Republican Party win elections. The officials said White House aides who briefed the departments were careful not to encourage the appointees to act on behalf of the Republican Party on government time.

Commerce Department spokesman Dan Nelson described the meetings as merely "informational."

"They were not a call to action," he said.

Nelson said grants are awarded after a competitive process and aren't selected based on political considerations.

Ted Kassinger, the Commerce Department's former general counsel and a deputy secretary in the Bush administration, said the department was especially careful about avoiding the appearance of political favoritism during Evans' tenure because of the former secretary's close ties to President Bush.

Kassinger, who left in 2005, said the department turned down several requests from political candidates to make appearances because they seemed to be campaign events.

"It was certainly a concern of mine that the work in the department be separated from campaign activities," he said. "At the top level there was never a discussion of 'What can you do to help these guys?'"

One former political appointee who attended a briefing said for all the hoopla over the briefings, he wasn't impressed with them at the time.

"It wasn't rocket science," said the appointee, who asked to remain anonymous because he didn't want to be publicly linked to the controversy. "It's like, 'Yeah, no kidding. We know.'

But John D. "Jerry" Hawke, who served as Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance in the Clinton administration, said the campaign-style briefings for Treasury appointees were unusual.

"Nothing remotely like that happened," during the Clinton administration, Hawke said. "I never experienced anything like that. The notion that the White House would be holding meetings with Treasury appointees just didn't fit."

McClatchy Newspapers 2007

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

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

Friday, August 17, 2007

If You're Paying For This, You are as Guilty As They are!

...and it will definitely come back to bite you in the butt.

This is a nightmare!

Think About It, now, before these trained killers, with no accountability to anyone, come marching home, in their back uniforms, looking for all the world, like the SS of Nazi Germany, and possibly, acting like them, as BuhCo's on little private goon squad

Is it not bad enough that American taxpayers are shelling out their money for guns for hire; probably sociopathic/psychotic nut-jobs whose dream-job involves a license to kill, torture, maim?

This is so offensive to my very spirit, it makes me sick.

It's time for the empire that requires this kind of insanity to fall; one way or the damned other, because what we are doing, under BushCo is immoral, illegal and crazy. If you think for one minute that this war on terror is not a new crusade, think again, because, among other things, that is exactly what it is.

Guns For Hire: Secrecy, Torture, Religious Zeal Distinguish Mercenaries
By Paul J. Nyden
The West Virginia Gazette

Sunday 12 August 2007

Iraq and Afghanistan dominated our news headlines. But our media continue to overlook the growing privatization of military operations - a major historical development.

George W. Bush vigorously backs privatization and frequently awards huge contracts to companies owned by political contributors, such as Halliburton and Blackwater.

During his years in the Oval Office, Bill Clinton also embraced the emerging military privatization.

Today, our government pays mercenaries billions of dollars to fight and kill "enemies," protect government officials and deliver food.

American taxpayers pay the bill. But few know much about the growth of private military companies, or PMCs.

Two new books - Jeremy Scahill's Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army and Robert Young Pelton's Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror - tell that story.

Hundreds of companies, most formed recently, rake in billions of dollars to provide mercenaries for operations, often top-secret, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, to name a few.

"Private forces are almost a necessity for a United States bent on retaining its declining empire," Scahill writes. "Think about Rome and its increasing need for mercenaries."

Our government, Pelton believes, is creating a "freelance warrior class that operates under murky legal restraints."

A Shift of Power

The use of contractors, and their secrecy, shifts more and more authority from Congress to the White House, which makes its own decisions without any public input.

Secrecy hides the real costs of military operations and enables widespread legal abuses, including capturing prisoners and "rendering" them to unknown locations for questioning and torture - a policy also backed by Clinton.

Today, Blackwater, the nation's largest private military company (PMC), operates its own aviation division to "render" prisoners to countries with questionable human rights records.

Suspected "terrorists" don't get lawyers. Their families are not told where they are. And those prisoners frequently disappear forever.

Pelton and Scahill emphasize how unaccountable contractors are to anyone, except to a handful of officials in the White House.

"The vast majority of [violent] incidents involving contractors and civilians go unreported and unexposed," writes Pelton, who himself has spent months living with mercenaries around the world.

Mercenaries get paid much more than regular soldiers, making $750 a day, $1,000 a day or even more.

Almost every one is a veteran of elite military groups, such as the Navy SEALs.

Companies like Blackwater also recruit and hire hardened soldiers from repressive regimes such as South Africa during the apartheid era and Chile under Augusto Pinochet, who overthrew Salvador Allende in a Sept. 11, 1973, coup and remained in power until 1990.

Between February 2004 and March 2006, for example, Jose Miguel Pizarro, a Pinochet operative, recruited 756 Chilean soldiers for Blackwater and other companies, Scahill reports.

Human Suffering

Many American veterans eagerly sign up to become mercenaries. Typically, extensive military training and experience qualifies them for little more than low-wage security jobs at home, but enables them to earn much higher wages working for PMCs.

Many welcome the return of excitement while confronting dangers and quelling them.

Today's mercenaries have a macho culture, Pelton writes. "Sharp-edged swirling tattoos, shaved heads, bulging biceps, and short beards or goatees comprise the common 'look' they wear."

As of Aug. 8, 3,668 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq. Mercenaries also suffer disastrous injuries and deaths.

This week, the U.S. Labor Department said 1,001 mercenaries have died in Iraq and another 76 have died in Afghanistan.

Probably the best-known are four slain Blackwater contractors hung from a bridge in Fallujah on March 31, 2004. Pelton and Scahill tell their human stories.

After the four men died, Katy Helvenston-Wettnegel and other parents asked Blackwater officials why they failed to follow their own procedures to protect employees' lives.

"I hold Blackwater responsible one thousand percent," said Katy, mother of Scott Helvenston.

After the four men's parents and other survivors got to know each other, they jointly filed a wrongful death lawsuit, seeking damages and answers.

Blackwater gave no answers, but filed a $10 million suit against the estates of its workers who died in Fallujah, arguing that the families are now violating the terms of the dead employees' contracts.

The U.S. military reaps rewards from this privatization.

"The biggest benefit for the U.S. military is that using contractors adds no long-term liability in insurance, retirement, training, benefits or medical costs," Pelton writes.

"Contractors are the ultimate use-once, throwaway soldiers - an expensive but disposable source of muscle and steel when problems occur."

Private contractors also lead to increased violence against local people in Iraq.

Pelton and Scahill both describe how mercenaries rained gunfire on "moving targets" in Iraq and Afghanistan, without knowing whether the targets were insurgents or peaceful citizens, adults or small children.

For example, they routinely shot at ambulances bringing wounded Iraqis to hospitals in Fallujah, Scahill writes, hospitals that were already "a death row for innocents" because the U.S. embargoed medical supplies.

The Mercenary Ideology

Blackwater executives, and many government officials who work with them, are evangelical ideologues, both authors point out.

Edgar Prince, founder of Blackwater, grew up in a politically conservative, evangelical Catholic family near Detroit.

Blackwater, based in the Great Dismal Swamp near the North Carolina coast, has become the nation's largest mercenary company.

L. Paul Bremer, who oversaw Iraq for one year after the U.S. invasion, is also a conservative Catholic, who was always protected by Blackwater guards during his time in Iraq.

John Negroponte, who succeeded Bremer, previously helped create "death squads" in Vietnam in the 1970s and coordinated Washington's "covert support for the Contra death squads in Nicaragua and for the Honduran junta" in the 1980s, Scahill writes.

Jim Steele, who worked for both Bremer and Negroponte, also helped organize counterinsurgency groups and death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Joseph Schmitz, forced to resign as the Pentagon's Inspector General amid growing controversy, took a job with Blackwater in 2005. His government resume lists membership in the "Sovereign Military Order of Malta," a Christian militia founded in the 11th century before the Crusades.

"It all comes down to this," Schmitz said in a speech while at the Pentagon. "We pride ourselves on our strict adherence to the rule of law under God."

The irony, Scahill points out, is that while Iraq goes up in flames, Blackwater's future seems bright.

Both authors warn of increasing dangers to world peace and American democracy.

Many of our own intelligence and military officials fear a continued backlash from the brutal actions of many mercenaries.

In addition, Scahill notes, many active-duty American soldiers harbor resentments toward mercenaries paid so much better and accountable to no one.

What the future holds is unclear.

By reading these two books, Americans might feel a more pressing duty to play a bigger role in shaping that future.

Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill, Nation Books, 2007, 452 pages. Hardcover, $26.95.

Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror by Robert Young Pelton, Crown Publishers, 2006, 348 pages. Hardcover, $24.


To contact staff writer Paul J. Nyden, use e-mail

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

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

More On Ashcroft and Bush Domestic Spying Thing

Who, in his right mind, would sign off on something about which he had little knowledge; was prevented by the W.H. from having the information he needed to decide whether or not what he was signing off on was legal?

I have suspected for a long time that Ashcroft was never one of the in-crowd in the Bush administration. He always reminded me of the pudgy, little, goody-two-shoes boy who was mostly used by the rich, popular boys and and then tossed aside when he ceased to become useful.

That doesn't mean I feel sorry for him. He should have known what he was getting into. After all, the man who got him his job was Karl Rove.

Notes Show Ashcroft Kept in Dark on Spying
By Matt Renner
t r u t h o u t | Report

Thursday 16 August 2007

Notes from FBI Director Robert Mueller, released Thursday by Congress, revealed that Bush administration officials may have prevented Attorney General John Ashcroft from conducting a review of a spying program, while at the same time attempting to gain Ashcroft's approval of the program.

Former Counsel to the House of Representatives Stanley Brand said it is "unbelievable" that "the Attorney General of the United States was barred from getting information on a decision that the law required him to make." Brand said, "This notion that the President can seal himself off from his own Attorney General is ludicrous."

In May, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey told Congressional investigators that in March 2004 a standoff between the White House and the Justice Department ensued because Comey would not authorize a continuation of a warrantless wiretapping program instituted by the Bush administration. According to Comey's testimony, his refusal to reauthorize the spy program resulted in a street race between himself and two White House officials to the hospital, where then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and President Bush's former Chief of Staff Andrew Card tried to coerce a barely conscious Ashcroft to approve the controversial eavesdropping program.

Mueller told Congress that he recorded and kept notes about this incident because of the extraordinary nature of this encounter.

According to his notes, Mueller arrived at the hospital at 7:40 p.m., 20 minutes after receiving a call from Comey saying that Gonzales and Card were en route to the hospital and requesting Mueller's presence in order to "witness the condition of the Attorney General." By the time Mueller arrived, Gonzales and Card had already left. Mueller's notes of the subsequent conversation between Comey, Ashcroft and Mueller reveal that the top law enforcement officer of the United States may have been prevented from reviewing the wiretapping program that had already been put in place by the president.

In his notes, Mueller says that Ashcroft "reviewed for Gonzales and Card the legal concerns relating to the program. The AG also told Gonzales and Card that he was barred from obtaining the advice he needed on the program by the strict compartmentalization rules of the White House."

John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called this new revelation "particularly disconcerting."

According to Conyers, these notes confirm Comey's testimony and raise questions. "Director Mueller's notes and recollections concerning the White House visit to the Attorney General's hospital bed confirm an attempt to goad a sick and heavily medicated Ashcroft to approve the warrantless surveillance program," adding that "this heavily redacted document raises far more questions than it answers. We intend to fully investigate this incident and the underlying subject matter that evoked such widespread distress within the Department and the FBI."

Congressman Artur Davis (D-Alabama), a lead investigator on the House Judiciary Committee, questioned testimony given by Gonzales regarding his visit to Ashcroft's hospital room. "The committee continues to be interested in the critical question of whether Alberto Gonzales was truthful rather than misleading when he testified to the House and Senate." Davis recently voted in favor of the Protect America Act of 2007, a bill that expanded the power of the president and the attorney general to conduct warrantless surveillance.

Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter Thursday, requesting that the Department of Justice Inspector General investigate statements made by Gonzales before Congress, including statements about the disagreement between the White House and the DOJ over the wiretapping program in question.

Matt Renner is an assistant editor and Washington reporter for Truthout.

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

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