Saturday, October 13, 2007

WTF? There was no attack on Syria?

October 11, 2007

Syria Tells Journalists Israeli Raid Did Not Occur

DEIR EZ ZOR, Syria, Oct. 9 — Foreign journalists perused the rows of corn and the groves of date palms pregnant with low-hanging fruit here this week, while agents of Syria’s ever present security services stood in the background, watching closely, almost nervously.

“You see — around us are farmers, corn, produce, nothing else,” said Ahmed Mehdi, the Deir ez Zor director of the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, a government agricultural research center, as he led two of the journalists around the facilities.

It was here at this research center in this sleepy Bedouin city in eastern Syria that an Israeli journalist reported that Israel had conducted an air raid in early September.

Ron Ben-Yishai, a writer for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, grabbed headlines when he suggested that the government facility here was attacked during the raid, snapping photos of himself for his article in front of a sign for the agricultural center.

He said he was denied access to the research center, which sits on the outskirts of the city, and he did not show any photos of the aftermath of the raid, though he said he saw some pits that looked like part of a mine or quarry, implying that they could also be sites where bombs fell.

His claims have compelled the Syrian government, already anxious over the rising tensions with Israel and the United States, to try to vindicate itself after a recent flurry of news reports that it may have ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons.

President Bashar al-Assad, in a BBC interview, played down the Israeli raid, saying that Israeli jets took aim at empty military buildings, but he did not give a specific location. His statement differed from the initial Syrian claim that it had repulsed the air raid before an attack occurred.

Israel has been unusually quiet about the attack on Sept. 6 and has effectively imposed a news blackout about it. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli opposition leader, on Sept. 19 became the first public figure in Israel to acknowledge that an attack had even taken place. Some Israeli officials have said, though not publicly, that the raid hit a nuclear-related facility that North Korea was helping to equip, but they have not specified where.

On Monday, journalists toured the agricultural center at the government’s invitation to prove, Mr. Mehdi said, that no nuclear weapons program or Israeli attacks occurred there. “The allegations are completely groundless, and I don’t really understand where all this W.M.D. talk came from,” Mr. Mehdi said, referring to weapons of mass destruction.

There was no raid here — we heard nothing,“ he added.

An entourage of the center’s employees lined up with him to greet the journalists. In a seemingly choreographed display, they nodded in agreement and offered their guests recently picked dates as tokens of hospitality.

They showed off a drab-colored laboratory that they said was used to conduct experiments on drought-resistant crops and recently plowed fields where vegetables and fruits are grown.

Mr. Ben-Yishai’s news report rattled Syrians for another reason: he apparently was able to slip into Syria, which bars Israelis from entering, and travel throughout the country.

“I think he came in on a European passport,” said Ghazi Bilto, who said he was a graphic designer for the agricultural center.

Burhan Okko, who also said he was a graphic designer for the center, interrupted, saying, “It was definitely on a German passport.” The international news media have speculated that the Israeli attack was aimed at a Syrian effort to acquire nuclear weapons materials, possibly with the aid of North Korea. Syria rejects these claims.

(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.

Republlicans in Deep Water v.. Democrats in 2008

GOP ranks no match for Democrats' legions
By: Jonathan Martin
October 11, 2007 01:50 PM EST

It’s a well-told tale that Republican presidential hopefuls are lagging far behind Democrats in poll performance, money raised and enthusiasm generated at this point in the presidential cycle.

But there is another yawning disparity that some veteran GOP operatives say is cause for concern. The latest source of Republican heartburn: The size and scope of Democratic field organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire dwarf the on-the-ground operations of Republicans.

This David vs. Goliath staffing mismatch is yet another sign of trouble for Republicans in the general election, said a veteran Republican strategist in Iowa, as it reflects sagging spirits among hard-core GOP activists.

“That’s a function of several things — their race is more interesting, their field is perhaps stronger, they have far more resources and, yes, the number of staff and HQs also adds to their turnout,” said the strategist, who requested anonymity to speak frankly about his party. “Plus, Republicans are in a funk, a general bad mood. It’s a harbinger of tough things to come in 2008 for our down-ballot races.

[Democrats] will have more volunteers, more passion.”Representatives for Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) are cagey about the precise number of boots on the ground they have in the early states, but it’s widely thought to be at least five times what the Republicans have.

And even beyond the Democrats’ well-financed top two candidates, the contrast is stark. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has more than 100 staffers in Iowa, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has over 70 and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd has 60.

Of all the Republicans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has the most aides heading into the caucuses: 17. (Romney does, though, have a cadre of more than 50 Iowa “super volunteers” who are paid a stipend each month to perform some organizational tasks typically done by unpaid help.)

In New Hampshire, the situation is similar.

Romney, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani all have about a dozen paid staffers preparing for the primary.

Clinton and Obama both have over five times as many, says a source familiar with their New Hampshire staffing.

And it’s not just bodies; it’s infrastructure, too. None of the Republicans has more than one satellite office beyond their Iowa or New Hampshire state headquarters.

Clinton has 22 separate offices in Iowa and 12 in New Hampshire; Obama has 31 and 11. So why the Grand Canyon-wide organizational gap?

In part, it relates to the other problems the GOP has this cycle, in particular its fundraising deficit.

“It’s the money gap,” said Sara Taylor, an Iowa native who worked on then-Gov. George W. Bush’s caucus effort in 1999 and 2000 before joining the White House as a top political aide. She left the White House earlier this year. “And from a labor perspective, [the Democrats are] probably better at understanding the granular level of politics.”

“Clinton and Obama have more money than the GOP and so they have more staff,” added Fergus Cullen, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, acknowledging that the gap between the two parties’ candidates was evident in the Granite State.

The veteran Republican strategist in Iowa observes that GOP candidates typically have fewer paid staff members “probably because we think we rely on volunteers more,” but explains that the Democrats’ ground game is just plain stronger — especially this year.

“The truth is, there is just more activity on the Democrat side. They do more calling, door-knocking, canvassing than we do. I’ll bet that as a result, the Democrats will have 50 percent more caucus attendees this year than we will — say, 80,000 for us and 120,000 for them."

Not surprisingly, Democrats are gleeful over their advantage.

“It is unique to this cycle,” said Gordon Fischer, a former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party now working on the Obama campaign. “You see it every day in terms of visibility, particularly out in rural Iowa,” he added, recalling a trip to Obama’s satellite office in the small city of Muscatine last weekend.

Fischer and former New Hampshire Democratic Chairwoman Kathy Sullivan both point out that the lack of infrastructure and enthusiasm has translated into much smaller crowds for the Republicans when they visit the early states.

“In terms of numbers, when I read about Republican events, it seems that a big crowd is 50 to 100 people,” Sullivan said. “For the Democrats, 200 to 500 is a big crowd.”

The greater interest in the Democratic hopefuls and the better organization in the two states also has something to do with the differing primary dynamics between the two parties. Clinton, Obama and Edwards and their second-tier rivals are all holding to a traditional early-state strategy that involves an intense, make-or-break focus on Iowa and New Hampshire, heavy on retail politics.

“For Obama and Edwards, Iowa is their last stand,” Taylor observed. “Our guys have to run a much broader campaign.”

When they visit Iowa, in particular, the Democrats use every speech or rally as a way to lock down precinct captains and to pick up caucus commitments one at a time, with a small army of aides strategically stationed with forms in hand.

With former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson still introducing himself and hastily ramping up his organization and Giuliani more focused on the later, larger states that will be won or lost on paid media, Romney is typically the only Republican to use his appearances as a vehicle for identifying and signing up potential supporters.

There are also organic differences between the two parties.

“The Democrats just believe more in canvassing and field activity than Republicans do,” Cullen observed. “I think this comes out of their roots in labor union organization and the civil rights and anti-war movements — past and present.

”Dave Carney, a New Hampshire-based consultant and presidential primary veteran, points out that Republicans “tend to centralize their operations and depend more on volunteer town committees to get their messages out.

”Cultural differences between the two parties aside, Democratic advantages to date on money, organization and passion are indisputable. It’s an edge that Republicans half hope and half expect will be lessened in the general election. “The question is whether the environment changes when there are two nominees,” Taylor said.

For Republicans, who attributed much of their success in the last presidential campaign to a superior turnout operation, the structural deficit, in particular, must be addressed.

“Closing the boots-on-the-ground gap is the most effective way of earning, and turning out votes is the central purpose of the GOP 72-hour plan, so it is something my side thinks about and has to think about,” Cullen acknowledged.

--Ben Smith contributed to this article.

TM & © THE POLITICO & POLITICO.COM, a division of Allbritton Communications Company

(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.

Tiime To Do Whatever The Hell It Takes.

American Tears

by Naomi Wolf

I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.

I am traveling across the country at the moment — Colorado to California — speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the 10 steps now underway in America to a violently closed society.

The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness — but I am finding crowds of people who don’t need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country.

But I can’t stand the stories I am hearing. I can’t stand to open my email these days. And wherever I go, it seems, at least once a day, someone very strong starts to cry while they are speaking.

In Boulder, two days ago, a rosy-cheeked thirtysomething mother of two small children, in soft yoga velours, started to tear up when she said to me: “I want to take action but I am so scared. I look at my kids and I am scared. How do you deal with fear? Is it safer for them if I act or stay quiet? I don’t want to get on a list.” In D.C., before that, a beefy, handsome civil servant, a government department head — probably a Republican — confides in a lowered voice that he is scared to sign the new ID requirement for all government employees, that exposes all his most personal information to the State — but he is scared not to sign it: “If I don’t, I lose my job, my house. It’s like the German National ID card,” he said quietly. This morning in Denver I talked for almost an hour to a brave, much-decorated high-level military man who is not only on the watch list for his criticism of the administration — his family is now on the list. His elderly mother is on the list. His teenage son is on the list. He has flown many dangerous combat missions over the course of his military career, but his voice cracks when he talks about the possibility that he is exposing his children to harassment.

Jim Spencer, a former columnist for the Denver Post who has been critical of the Bush administration, told me today that I could use his name: he is on the watch list. An attorney contacts me to say that she told her colleagues at the Justice Department not to torture a detainee; she says she then faced a criminal investigation, a professional referral, saw her emails deleted — and now she is on the watch list. I was told last night that a leader of Code Pink, the anti-war women’s action group, was refused entry to Canada. I hear from a tech guy who works for the airlines — again, probably a Republican — that once you are on the list you never get off. Someone else says that his friend opened his luggage to find a letter from the TSA saying that they did not appreciate his reading material. Before I go into the security lines, I find myself editing my possessions. In New York’s LaGuardia, I reluctantly foudd myself putting a hardcover copy of Tara McKelvey’s excellent Monstering, an expose of CIA interrogation practices, in a garbage can before I get in the security line; it is based on classified information. This morning at my hotel, before going to the sirport, I threw away a very nice black T-shirt that said “We Will Not be Silenced” — with an Arabic translation — that someone had given me, along with a copy of poems written by detainees at Guantanamo.

In my America we are not scared to get in line at the airport. In my America, we will not be silenced.

More times than I can count, courageous and confident men who are telling me about speaking up, but who are risking what they see as the possible loss of job, home or the ability to pay for grown kids’ schooling, start to choke up. Yesterday a woman in one gathering started to cry simply while talking about the degradation of her beloved country.

And always the questions: what do we do?

It is clear from this inundation of personal stories of abuse and retribution against ordinary Americans that a network of criminal behavior and intention is catching up more and more mainstream citizens in its grasp. It is clear that this is not democracy as usual — or even the corruption of democracy as usual. It is clear that we will need more drastic action than emails to Congress.

The people I am hearing from are conservatives and independents as well as progressives. The cardinal rule of a closing or closed society is that your alignment with the regime offers no protection; in a true police state no one is safe.

I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven soldiers wrote op-eds critical of the war — in The New York Times; three are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers’ money: shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming forward in a critique of the war: shot in the head. Donald Vance, a contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving arms sales in Iraq — taken hostage FROM the U.S. Embassy BY U.S. soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a U.S. held-prison, abused and terrified for weeks — and scared to talk once he got home. Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the country.

Last week contractors, immune from the rule of law, butchered 17 Iraqi civilians in cold blood. Congress mildly objected — and contractors today butcher two more innocent civilian Iraqi ladies — in cold blood.

It is clear yet that violent retribution, torture or maybe worse, seems to go right up this chain of command? Is it clear yet that these people are capable of anything? Is it obvious yet that criminals are at the helm of the nation and need to be not only ousted but held accountable for their crimes?

Is it treason yet?

This is an open invitation to honorable patriots on the Right and in the center to join this movement to restore the rule of law and confront this horror: this is not conservatism, it is a series of crimes against the nation and against the very essence of America. Join us, we need you.

This movement must transcend partisan lines. The power of individual conscience is profound when people start to wake up.

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said No: he told colleague that they would be ashamed when the world learned about the Administration’s warrantless wiretapping. Comey said No: history will look at this torture and disgrace the torturers. A judge today ruled that the U.S. can’t just ship prisoners out of Guantanamo to be tortured at will — she said No. The Center for Constitutional Rights is about to file a civil lawsuit — against Blackwater: they are saying No.

In Germany, according to historian Richard Evans, in 1931-1932, if enough Germans of conscience had begun to say No — history would have had an entirely different outcome.

If we go any further down this road the tears will be those of conservatives as well as progressives. They will be American tears.

The time for weeping has to stop; the time for confronting must begin.

Naomi Wolf’s books include The Beauty Myth and Fire With Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change The 21st Century.

Copyright © 2007, Inc.

(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.


Anyone who would trust Rdy G should get what's coming to them. Too bad the rest of us have to go through that hell along with the gullible and mentally fragile.

Bill Maher

Have too many Americans become gullible, ill-informed idiots who have elevated feelings over facts and replaced critical thinking with a blind sense of trust for authority? I'm not trying to be insulting here; I'm just trying to figure out Rudy Giuliani's poll numbers.

Four years ago Tucker Carlson asked Britney Spears on CNN, "A lot of entertainers have come out against the war in Iraq. Have you?" And Britney, who was chewing gum throughout the entire interview, answered, "Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision he makes and should just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens."

It's this kind of head-in-the-sand, free rein granted to those believed to be in a position of moral authority that has led to warrantless wiretapping, torture, and a $6.1 million judgment for a Kentucky McDonald's employee named Louise Ogborn. In 2004, Louise was 18 and working at McDonald's when her assistant manager Donna called her into the back office, said a police officer on the phone had identified her as a thief, and then forced Louise, under the "cop's" orders, to strip naked, do nude jumping jacks, submit to a spanking and finally perform oral sex on Donna's 43-year-old exterminator fiancé. The whole ordeal, ordered by a prankster over the phone, lasted three hours. But you know what they say about fast-food work -- the time flies when you're busy.

A Kentucky jury listened to testimony, watched a videotape of the entire incident and awarded Louise $6.1 million dollars from the obviously culpable party in this matter -- the McDonald's Corporation. That's right, two adults pressure a third adult into stripping, a spanking and a blowjob based on the word of a stranger on the phone and the fault lies not with the gullible idiots who blindly obeyed some perceived voice of authority, but with the company that happens to have its name on the sign out front. McDonald's has a written policy in their training manual against any type of strip searches and even sent out a voicemail warning franchises about such phone hoaxes but the jury found that the company was liable because, after all, the perv on the phone did say he was a cop and what choice did Donna the assistant manager have but to, as Britney says, "just support that, you know, and be faithful in what happens"?

Bill Maher is the host of HBO's "Real Time with

(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.

Renditions Flights, CIA., Drugs,...Wow Just like Old Times

CIA "rendition" flights as cover for drug smuggling: Did the Inspector General discover the Agency's dirtiest secret?

Anyone who has followed CIA scandals will find no historical parallel to this story. CIA Director Michael Hayden wants to inspect his Inspector General, John L. Helgerson. Helgerson has been looking rather too closely at the CIA's rendition programs.

The Inspector General (or IG) runs the Agency's "internal affairs" department -- in other words, he polices the CIA. Usually, the IG is one of the "old boys," but ocasionally the gig to someone who plays hardball.

In the current case, it appears that Hayden has asked his close aide Robert Deitz (a man who plays Tonto to Hayden's Lone Ranger) to investigate John Helgerson. The IG has been a thorn in Hayden's side for quite some time...
The inspector general’s office also rankled agency officials when it completed a withering report about the C.I.A’s missteps before the Sept. 11 attack — a report that recommended “accountability boards” to consider disciplinary action against a handful of senior officials.
Did the IG uncover the drug connection?

The argument I'm about to make is, in part, speculative. Each reader must judge whether the speculative sections constitute well-grounded deduction or irresponsible conjecture. (For reasons of brevity, this post will rely heavily on previous articles, which contain the off-site links.)

Let's begin with a simple question. Why is CIA Director Hayden taking unprecedented action? What can the IG reveal about the rendition flights that could possibly be worse than what we already know?

Not just prisoners: In the past, I have argued that the program did not simply transfer prisoners to torture-friendly nations. The flights may also have been used for smuggling. I base that claim on three factors:

1. The sheer number of rendition flights.
2. The odd places visited during those flights.
3. A rather large collection of books, available at any university library, documenting the overlap between spies and the drug trade.

Naturally, any such "rogue" use of CIA-controlled aircraft would have to be kept hidden from the Inspector General -- and, in all likelihood, from the owners of record.

Before you dismiss the idea, please read my earlier piece, "The CIA's airlines: What's in the baggage compartment?" As that article notes, just one Gulfstream IV used by the CIA made 488 flights between 2001 and 2005. That single plane can carry twenty passengers. Many other jets were used in this program.

How many "prisoners" could there have been?
CIA rendition flights have taken off and landed in Spain, the U.K., Switzerland, Norway, Portugal, France, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Thailand, Uzbekistan and other nations. Although officially civilian, the jets are allowed to land at American military bases. Virtually anything could be shipped without detection on those flights.
We now have no fewer than three major episodes linking CIA aircraft to the drug trade.

(To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)

The crashed coke jet. The most recent incident involved a Gulfstream II that went down mysteriously in Mexico, after the pilot and passengers had bailed out. Authorities found over three tons of cocaine on board. (See here and here.)

In the 2003-2005 period, that same aircraft was under the control of -- though not technically owned by -- the CIA-linked firm Richmor aviation. During that time, the jet made a series of "rendition" flights.

Just before the recent coke transport flight, the plane was transferred from one mysterious "owner" to another at a dizzying clip. (This is common. When attempting to track the history of CIA aircraft, one should expect to encounter confusing ownership flips and an endless number of on-paper front companies.)

I would ask readers to note the chronology. Richmor's routine use of the jet for "prisoner" flights stopped after 2005 -- when IG John Helgerson started to look into renditions.

The captured Skyway coke jet. This blog has devoted quite a few posts to last year's remarkable capture, on a Mexican tarmac, of a jet laden with five tons of coke. (Here and here and here, and that's for starters.) Although the plane was surrounded by police, the pilot somehow "got away."

(Compare his fate to that of the Gulfstream II pilot: He bailed, was captured, and then tried to bribe his way out of custody. I don't know if the bribe worked; no further news reports have mentioned him.)

The Skyway jet was owned by a noted con artist who, in exchange for protection, allowed "his" plane to be used for various nefarious activities. Although this aircraft underwent the usual rapid ownership transfers just before the bust in Mexico, it still bore the Skyway logo, which strongly resembles the Homeland Security logo.

Skyway was a fake firm associated with In-Q-Tel, a shadowy investment group begun by CIA personnel. Although Skyway head Brent Kovar was a notorious scamster, he has never faced a judge, and his aviation undertaking somehow attracted investment from two very real corporations: The defense giant Titan and Argyll Equities of Boerne, Texas. According to investigator Daniel Hopsicker,
Argyll previously arranged for a $17 million loan to a Mexican businessman, who in turn provided "significant capital" to a
“Chilean narcotics trafficker" named Manuel Vicente Losada, arrested in the Chilean capital of Santiago after being “linked to a shipment of five tons of cocaine which U.S. drug enforcement officials in Miami intercepted over six years ago on the vessel Harbour, as it headed toward Guantanamo Bay.”
"Guantanamo Bay"? asks Hopsicker. The implications hang in the air.

Hopsicker lists a few other indicators that Argyll may have a shady history. No less a figure than Patrick Fitzgerald investigated allegations that Argyll played a role in a scheme to defraud a hedge fund administered by the mother of actor Vince Vaughn.
That, I fear, is a tale for another time. Right now, let us stay focused on the eye-popping allegation that cocaine headed toward Gitmo.

Is Guantanamo being used as a drug transshipment point?

Consider: The recently-crashed Gulfstream II made a number of trips to Gitmo. Why? To transport prisoners? No: News accounts have made clear that the prisoners there were brought in via military craft.

Evergreen. Evergreen airlines is the most famous CIA-linked aviation company; indeed, it is difficult to say where Evergreen stops and the Agency begins. Oddly enough, Evergreen had employed Russell DeFreitas, who was arrested last June for an alleged attempt to blow up JFK airport.

In an earlier post, I argued that DeFreitas was involved with a drug ring while he worked at JFK airport. News accounts link him with the Triniad-based nationalist organization Jamaat Al Muslimeen, which controls much of the organized crime in that part of the world.

Do you believe that Evergreen -- which is to say, the CIA -- would accidentally hire a man connected to a criminal syndicate?

Evergreen is a major player in the "rendition" scandal. Evergreen aircraft were used to transport "prisoners."

And perhaps not just prisoners.

Based on the above, I posit -- but cannot prove -- that Inspector General John Helgerson has been looking into the links between "renditions" and smuggling.

The pattern is difficult to explain away: In each of the three episodes listed above, the scenarios changed after 2005 -- after the IG began to investigate renditions. After 2005, the Gulfstream II underwent a series of weird and hard-to-follow ownership transfers. So did the Skyway jet. DeFreitas left Evergreen to work as a "baggage handler" at JFK (where Evergreen has a presence) -- an interesting gig for someone associated with drug thugs and spooks.

Never before has a CIA Director investigated an Inspector General. Why now?

(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.

It Comes Down To A Split.....

Those who will torture for Junior and those who won't.

Sources: CIA legal official quit in protest over “enhanced interrogations”

DEPARTMENT Washington Babylon
BY Ken Silverstein
PUBLISHED October 12, 2007

Well over a year ago I reported on a brewing revolt within the CIA over the Bush Administration’s use of renditions, “enhanced interrogation” techniques (otherwise known as torture) and other tough tactics employed in the “war on terrorism.” One former official with whom I spoke at the time told me, “There are people who fear that indictments and subpoenas could be coming down, and they don’t want to get caught up in it.” This person went on to describe a split at the CIA, saying, “There’s an SS group within the agency that’s willing to do anything and there’s a Wehrmacht group that is saying, ‘I’m not gonna touch this stuff’.”

Since then, it’s become clear that dissent within the agency on these matters has become even more intense. As I’ve also previously reported, some of the in-house critics have taken their complaints to CIA Inspector General (IG) John Helgerson. Today’s New York Times reports that CIA director General Michael Hayden

has ordered an unusual internal inquiry into the work of [Helgerson], whose aggressive investigations of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation programs and other matters have created resentment among agency operatives…The review is particularly focused on complaints that Mr. Helgerson’s office has not acted as a fair and impartial judge of agency operations but instead has begun a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs. Any move by the agency’s director to examine the work of the inspector general would be unusual, if not unprecedented, and would threaten to undermine the independence of the office, some current and former officials say.

Here’s something else that I’ve just learned from several sources: it turns out that a former senior CIA legal official quit in protest over the administration’s use of “enhanced interrogations.” This official, whose name I have promised not to publish, previously worked as a deputy IG for investigations under Frederick Hitz, who served as CIA IG between 1990 and 1998. From there, the official moved on the CIA’s Office of General Counsel.

What’s interesting is that this official was generally known as something of a hardliner. I haven’t been able to pin down the date of his departure, which may have occurred a year ago or more. However, the sources tell me he couldn’t stomach what he deemed to be abuses by the Bush Administration and stepped down from his post.

Asked for comment about Helgerson, CIA spokesman George Little said, “Director Hayden firmly believes that the work of the Office of Inspector General is critical to the entire agency, and he has, since taking the helm at CIA, accepted the vast majority of its findings. His only goal is to help this office, like any other office here, do its vital work even better… This is basically a management review, the kind of thing you’d expect a healthy organization to do. CIA’s Inspector General is aware that it’s being done, and congressional staffers have been briefed on the matter.” Little said he would look into the question of the legal official’s resignation and call back if he had comment. If he does, I’ll update this story.

(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.

There is Nothing Going On In D.C. That Should Give Us Hope.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq for the first year of the occupation, blamed “incompetence” by President George W. Bush’s national security team for creating a “nightmare” that could last far into the future.

Sanchez, who led coalition forces from June 2003 to June 2004, used an Oct. 12 speech to a conference of Military Reporters and Editors in Arlington, Virginia, to castigate nearly everyone connected to the Iraq War, including the U.S. news media, Congress, the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon.

“There has been a glaring, unfortunate display of incompetence in strategic leadership among our national leaders,” Sanchez said. “They have unquestionably been derelict in the performance of their duty. In my profession, these types of leaders would be immediately relieved or court-martialed.”

Though Sanchez did not criticize Bush by name, he left little doubt that he placed most of the blame on the administration’s top leadership, particularly the National Security Council which is led by the President and which was under the day-to-day direction of Condoleezza Rice until her elevation to Secretary of State in 2005.

“Any sequential solutions would lead to a prolonged conflict and increased resistance,” Sanchez said about these messages to Washington. “By neglect and incompetence at the National Security Council level, that is the path our political leaders chose and now America and more precisely the American military finds itself in an intractable situation.”

Sanchez didn’t spare his fellow commanders from harsh criticism. Asked why they neglected to insist on more effective pre-invasion planning and “did not come forward to prevent the debacle,” Sanchez answered: “It was an absolute lack of moral courage to stand up and do what was right in terms of planning.”

Yet, while lambasting the Iraq War strategy, Sanchez declined to call Bush’s decision to invade in March 2003 a mistake and argued that the United States has no alternative now but to continue fighting in Iraq even if there is little prospect for success.

“Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory,” Sanchez said in an apparent reference to Bush’s decision to "surge" U.S. troops this year. “The best we can do with this flawed approach is to stave off defeat.

“The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency [structure], especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable. …

“There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight.”

Also lashing out at what he called “partisan politics,” Sanchez called for congressional “bipartisanship” and continued support for the troops in the field, but the retired general presented no clear-cut plan for how to turn the Iraq War disaster around.

“There is nothing going on today in Washington that would give us hope,” Sanchez said. “Our commanders on the ground will continue to make progress and provide time for the development of a grand strategy.

“That will be wasted effort as we have seen repeatedly since 2003. In the meantime, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will continue to die.”

Sanchez added that the open-ended Iraq conflict has caused – and will continue to inflict – severe damage on the structure of the U.S. Army. “It will take the Army at least a decade to fix the damage that has been done to its full-spectrum readiness,” he said.

Yet, the retired general said, “America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq. A precipitous withdrawal will unquestionably lead to chaos, in my opinion, that would endanger the stability of the greater Middle East.”

Sanchez’s military career ended in 2006 partly as fallout from the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal which erupted in 2004 under his command. In giving the Oct. 12 speech, Sanchez broke nearly a year of silence since he resigned from the Army, but he ducked a question about the Abu Ghraib scandal.

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, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and 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. Or go to

(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.

We Are All Guilty; Some more than others

U.S. torture tactics shame us all


WASHINGTON -- Thank goodness for whistle-blowers, those public servants who think Americans should know the harm that is being inflicted in our name.

Some of those high-minded officials recently revealed to The New York Times that the Bush administration has abandoned its 2004 legal opinion that torture is "abhorrent" and instead has resumed "brutal interrogations."

The Times said two subsequent Justice Department legal opinions -- implemented by then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- gave the go-ahead for interrogators to resort to physical and psychological tactics that inflict pain.

The authorization endorsed use of the harshest techniques applied by the CIA, including head slapping, "waterboarding" that simulates drowning, holding detainees in frigid temperatures, manacling prisoners in stress positions for hours, sleep deprivation for days and nights and subjecting them to long hours of thundering rock music.

White House and Justice Department officials insist the opinions do not conflict with the administration's promise not to torture suspects. But the memos have never been released.

The Times said this was the first time in U.S. history that the federal government authorized such tactics.

There are arguments on the other side for more humane persuasion and less pain. And there has been some conscientious resistance to torture among top Justice Department officials and some military lawyers.

The new orders also renew the CIA's authority to hold prisoners in so-called overseas black sites.

The secret detention centers reportedly are located in Afghanistan, Thailand and Eastern Europe, where brutal tactics can be employed out of sight. They apparently are secret only to Americans.

The Times reported "nervous" CIA interrogators from abroad sent inquiries back to agency lawyers at headquarters to ask: "Are we breaking the laws against torture?"

Obviously sensitive to such shameful reports, President Bush said twice: "We do not torture."

It may come down to what he means by "torture." (It all depends on what torture is)

Unfortunately, his poor credibility in the run-up to the war against Iraq requires that he deliver more details rather than make simple assertions. Will he say it under oath? And will he define "torture"?

White House press secretary Dana Perino tells reporters repeatedly, "It is not our policy to torture." But policy is one thing, action is another.

Frances Fragos Townsend, White House homeland security adviser, justifies extreme interrogation, telling CNN that al-Qaida terrorists "are trained to resist harsh interrogations." Her premise is that Americans could get killed "if we failed to do the hard things."

So as long as there is doubt, the president should release all the guidelines for so-called enhanced interrogation. The details probably won't come as a surprise to potential terrorists.

Congress also would like to see the details because the lawmakers have outlawed "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" of prisoners. This ban is consistent with the wording of the U.N.'s 1948 Declaration of Human Rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that U.S. prisoners are covered by the Geneva Conventions barring abusive treatment.

The Bush administration got off track starting with the infamous 2002 memo drafted by John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California-Berkeley, who was then working at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department.

Yoo, a strong supporter of expanded presidential power, claimed that no interrogation practices were illegal unless they caused the equivalent of organ failure "or even death."

When did Bush begin to think that U.S. laws and treaty obligations did not apply to him or his team? How can he allow the perception that the U.S. tortures prisoners?

(Junior began thinking that the rules didn't apply to him shortly after birth.)

(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, October 12, 2007

New Documentary all about Darth

Cheney is bad enough, but must we be subjected to Lynne as well?

To promote Cheney documentary, Fox polled public on 9/11

10/11/2007 @ 3:26 pm

Filed by Jason Rhyne


Cheney tells Fox he disagreed with decision to let Rumsfeld go; still thought he was 'right guy'

Fox News conducted a poll on Sept. 11 to gauge American sentiment toward Dick Cheney, a survey it commissioned in support of a new documentary the channel is producing about the vice president.

The poll, which found 44 percent of registered voters would feel comfortable should the vice president have to take over for President Bush, among other data, was commissioned as part of "Dick Cheney: No Retreat," a profile which features an exclusive interview with Cheney and his wife, Lynne.

The new numbers are based on calls made over a two-day span from Sept. 11-12, although it is not clear to what degree timing the poll on the sixth anniversary of the tragedy might have influenced the results.

According to an advance report about the new documentary on the Fox News website, Cheney says that when President Bush gave Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld his walking papers last year -- the day after surging Democrats retook Congress in mid-term elections -- he had disagreed with the decision.

"Cheney said despite Rumsfeld's controversial handling of the war in Iraq, the secretary of defense was managing the war successfully," according to Fox.

Say What?

"Speaking openly with Bret Baier in the new documentary," the story continues, "the vice president said he 'thought that in terms of the way forward, Don was the right guy to continue to lead the Department of Defense.'"

"I wouldn't be where I am today if it hadn't been for what Don Rumsfeld was willing to do," Cheney told interviewer Baier, adding that he was thankful for "the opportunity he was willing to give me nearly 40 years ago."

Which is as good a reason s any to put Ru,any ion those debt reducing stockades and hurl rotten veggies and fruit 10 hours /day

"Cheney met Rumsfeld in 1968, when Cheney, then a congressional fellow from Wyoming, and Rumsfeld, a junior congressman from Illinois, were in Washington," according to Fox. Rumsfeld subsequently offered Cheney a job in the Nixon administration.

With loyalty in mind, the vice president advised Bush not to let Rumsfeld go last November, but the president remained firm.

"Well, the way I put is, is that he wished Secretary Rumsfeld hadn't left, and wished to see him remain as the secretary of defense," Bush told Fox News about Cheney's opinion. "He's telling you the truth. And that's, that's the truth.”

The newly released Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll connected to the documentary charted Cheney's current approval rating at 34 percent, one point lower than in March, although the latest number falls within the previous survey's margin of error.

The poll also found Americans evenly divided about the scope of Cheney's power. 36 percent of those polled said the vice president had "too much influence" on the Bush administration, compared to 35 percent who said his influence was "about right."

(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.

Gore Best Qualified, Won't Run

Can't say that we blame him, but if we ever needed a man or woman who is super-qualified to be president it is now.

The alternative is the total collapse of everything. But, then, Maybe we need to start over.

We, the indy 500, have given it much thought over the last few years, and it may well be the best thing that could happen. Stop trying to shore up the ship of state with band aids...or the planet Earth for that matter.

Just let her collapse.

Carter: 'No doubt' Gore is the best qualified person for president

10/12/2007 @ 9:16 am

Filed by David Edwards and Jason Rhyne


Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter hopes that the newest addition to the exclusive Nobel club -- Al Gore -- might capitalize on his prize win by making a late entry into the 2008 presidential race.

"I'm delighted," Carter told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough about Gore's award, coyly adding that he hoped "this might even encourage him to consider another political event."

"I don't think there's any doubt that Al Gore would be the best qualified person to be the president of the United States," Carter continued. "He was obviously elected both in Florida and around the country in 2000, and I've always hoped he would be, you know, coming back again sometime."

Earlier in the interview, the former president praised Gore for his dedication to expanding environmental awareness and said the Nobel was a well-deserved honor.

"I don't think anyone deserves it more," Carter continued. "He has brought to the world's attention the serious problem with global warming, and he's presented it in a beautiful and tenacious way."

Asked later if he was "concerned" by the refusal among leading Democratic presidential contenders to pledge withdrawal of troops from Iraq by 2013, Carter was measured.

"I don't agree with their stand, but I don't want to be in a position of criticizing, you know, the foremost Democratic candidates who might lead our party, " he said. "I'd be eager to support any of them against their contemporaries across the aisle who are now advocating war with Iran and those kinds of ridiculous things."

Even if Al Gore doesn't decide to make himself a candidate for president, Carter remains encouraged by the crop of Democrats already in the race.

"I think the Democratic party has put forward a group of superb candidates," he said, adding that he has "always been very careful since I left the White House not to endorse or support any particular candidate during the primary season, and I'll maintain that posture."

"But," the loyal Democrat continued, "I look forward with eagerness to supporting whichever candidate prevails against any of the Republican candidates."

(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.

Journalistic Weeds...Blight....And The Stench Of Corruption

The MSM News Media and The Bush Administration....would back a buzzard off a gut wagon

Journalistic Weeds Blighting America's Political Landscape

Posted 3 October 2007

A few days ago I wrote an article ("Certain Americans" see ) about the intellectual wasteland inhabited by "certain Americans," which facilitated the foisting of George W. Bush's benighted presidency upon decent and thoughtful Americans, as well as upon the thousands of American soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians, who now are dead as a consequence. Unfortunately, that unimproved wasteland also provides fertile soil for the sprouting of the many journalistic weeds now blighting America's political landscape. Simply consider the "journalism" of "crabgrass" Bill O'Reilly, "pigweed" Rush Limbaugh, "ragweed" Sean Hannity, "quackgrass" William Kristol and "creeping jenny" Ann Coulter.

(For a hint of the sins of such weeds, see - )

Thanks to an insight provided by Jay Diamond, who recently excoriated money-grubbing broadcast station owners for cultivating such journalistic weeds, I began to think about "forums." (Diamond's insight supplemented an earlier one by Juan Cole, who observed: "Cranky rich people hire sharp-tongued and relatively uninformed young people all the time and put them in their mass media to badmouth the poor, spread bigotry, exalt mindless militarism, promote anti-intellectualism, and ensure generally that rightwing views come to predominate even among people who are harmed by such policies. One of their jobs is to marginalize progressives by smearing them as unreliable." [Cole, Informed Comment, Feb. 8, 2005])

Thus, I reconceived the courtroom of Judge Defino (see "Certain Americans") as a well-intentioned, if hit-or-miss, forum for insulating justice from the intellectual wasteland of certain prospective American jurors. One the other hand, I also questioned why anyone at the Philadelphia Inquirer, would have elevated Kevin Ferris -- a diligent dullard dutifully defending the "Decider's" debacle in Iraq -- to the position of editor of its "Commentary Page."

Just three days ago, however, I began to question why the New York Times provides a forum for Ben Stein, especially given the narrow-minded and specious reasoning found in his article, "Is It Responsible to Shun Military Contractors?" As a Department of Defense weapons acquisition executive with some thirty years of dealing with military contractors, I could not avoid asking: "Who's he trying to fool?"

Simply stated, Mr. Stein questioned why "some socially responsible investors shun companies that do military contracting." [Stein] Thus, his assertion: "I had always understood that socially responsible investment firms and advisers wanted a better planet and more dignity for humans and animals. We are currently in a war that is about creating a better, more dignified planet and we are fighting enemies who openly say they want to kill everyone who is not their slavish followers."

Which prompted his question: "Do socially responsible investors think they are doing good by trying to make outcasts of military contractors, the very companies that help arm the people battling our foes? How can this be sensible?"

"How can this be sensible?" First, making outcasts of military contractors, even during a war, might make sense if the contractors are as corrupt as Halliburton or as counterproductive to the war effort as Blackwater. Given these examples, it seems at least as sensible to be guided by President Eisenhower's warning about the threat posed by military industrial complex, as it does to embrace Stein's categorical imperative requiring unconditional support of defense contractors during periods when America is at war.

Second, shouldn't ethical investors be concerned about the moral rot of the "revolving door," which enables high-level officials within defense corporations to move into senior positions within the Department of Defense and make defense policy decisions that often enrich both their former and future employers, before eventually returning to the defense industry for even higher salaries, perks and decision-making authority?

Third, shouldn't ethical investors make outcasts of military contractors that "buy" congressmen (through campaign contributions), who then coincidentally earmark taxpayer dollars for weapons produced by their campaign contributors, even when such weapons contribute little to America's national security? Simply consider how defense contractors spread their subcontractors across the country, in order to "buy" widespread political support for their weapons.

Then consider the billions of dollars wasted on America's Ground-based Midcourse missile defense system. Must ethical investors obey Mr. Stein's categorical imperative and invest in the companies producing this system, notwithstanding the fact that it's scarcely relevant to the war in Iraq and the fact that - after decades of research and development and some $50 billion wasted during the "Decider's" years alone -- it still possesses no demonstrated capability to intercept even one ICBM equipped with decoys or countermeasures. No, as these examples demonstrate, Stein's categorical imperative is full of holes.

But, what's worse is the fact that it's based upon three erroneous assumptions: (1) Bush's war is a "just" war, (2) it is killing more terrorists than it's creating and (3) it still can be won by military means. In reality, Bush's war is an illegal, immoral war of choice that has created more terrorists than it has killed (thus undermining America's security) and has degenerated into a civil war.

As Barbara F. Walter, an expert on civil wars, recently wrote: "Civil Wars don't end quickly." Thus, "if we don't plan to stay for a very long time in Iraq, there is no added benefit in staying a few extra years. At this point, the longer we stay in Iraq, the more American soldiers will be killed and the more likely our presence will help al Qaeda recruit more supporters." [Barbara F. Walter, "You Can't Win With Civil Wars," Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2007] In such a situation, the refusal to invest in military contractors would be both ethical and patriotic. Perhaps, a categorical imperative!

Finally, before trying to bludgeon ethical investors with his categorical imperative requiring unconditional support of military contractors when America is at war, Mr. Stein might have paid serious attention to Naomi Klein's Harper's article, "Disaster Capitalism." Adapted from her book, The Shock Doctrine, Klein's article describes how the massive use of private contracts has enlarged and transformed the military industrial complex into a "disaster-capitalism complex' that further erodes America's democracy by severing the bonds connecting rich, middle class and poor in the United States.

With just a little thought and preparation, Mr. Stein, you might have anticipated questions about Halliburton and Blackwater, as well as questions about the political corruption of America's weapons acquisition process. You asserted: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Perhaps, but that hasn't prevented you from blighting America's political landscape with close-minded nonsense, much like our other ill-informed journalistic weeds.

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).

(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.

Bushlies and War Crimes

Bush's Campaign of Lies to Conceal War Crimes

Posted 11 October 2007

During his recent, hour-long interview on Al-Arabiya TV, President Bush denied "the U.S. is gearing up to attack Iran" and dismissed as "'gossip' reports in the Arab press that he has issued orders to senior U.S. military officials to prepare for an attack on Iran at the end of January or in February." [AP, Arizona Daily Star, Oct. 6, 2007] He then added: "Evidently, there's a lot of gossip in parts of the country - world that try to scare people about me personally or my country or what we stand for."

Gossip is it? Or has the Decider simply repressed or forgotten all the lies he told during the run-up to his illegal, immoral invasion and murderous occupation of Iraq? For example, has Bush simply repressed or forgotten his lie on December 28, 2001, when, after an extensive secret briefing by General Tommy Franks about a future invasion of Iraq, he told the press that his discussion with Franks focused on the General's recent trip to Afghanistan and events occurring in that country? [Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack, p. 65]

Perhaps Bush also has repressed or has forgotten his interview with British reporter Trevor McDonald in early April 2002, during which he asserted, "I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go." When pressed by McDonald, Bush added: "People think that Saddam Hussein has no links with the al Qaeda network, and I'm wondering why you have� The worst thing that could happen would be to allow a nation, like Iraq, run by Saddam Hussein, to develop weapons of mass destruction, and then team up with terrorist organizations so they can blackmail the world." [Woodward, pp. 120-121]

When pressed further about how he would remove Saddam, Bush dissembled by asserting: "I have no plans of attack on my desk." (Maybe the plan was under his desk or in the Map Room?) [Woodward, p. 121] Moreover, although Bush already was hip deep in planning the invasion of Iraq, he would dissemble on two additional occasions, asserting "I have no war plans on my desk," at press conferences in Germany and France on May 23 and May 26, 2002. [Ibid, p. 129]

Mr. Bush also seems to have repressed or forgotten his October 2, 2002 speech to Congressional leaders who had just presented their resolution on Iraq. Bush asserted: "None of us here today desire to see military conflict." Yet, more than a month earlier, on August 29, 2002, Bush had given the green light for war by affixing his signature to a Top Secret National Security Presidential Directive titled, "Iraq: Goals, Objectives and Strategy."

Not only did his signature cause the train of "military conflict" to leave the station, one element of his NSPD highlighted the inevitable conflict by emphasizing the need "to work with the Iraqi opposition to demonstrate that we are liberating, not invading Iraq." [Ibid, p. 155] Moreover, if Bush genuinely had no desire to see military conflict, why was he "pumping his fist as though instead of initiating a war he had kicked a winning field goal or hit a home run" just moments before his nationwide TV announcement that the war had begun? [Paul Waldman, Fraud, p. 8]

As I've written elsewhere, "Bush also lied in mid-July 2003, when he told reporters that 'we gave him [Saddam] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in.' In fact, Saddam did let the inspectors in. But, the Bush administration made them leave, lest they discover that no WMD existed and scotch the invasion."

Bush's numerous lies about why the United States needed to invade Iraq have been compounded by lies concealing other war crimes, most notably torture. As Andrew Sullivan has recently written, "Classic torture techniques, such as waterboarding, hypothermia, beatings, excruciating stress positions, days and days of sleep deprivation, and threats to family members (even children of terror suspects) were approved by Bush." [Sullivan, "We Must Confess," New York Post, Oct. 7, 2007]

A New York Times editorial got it right when it noted: "President Bush and his aides have not only condoned torture and abuse at secret prisons, but they have conducted a systematic campaign to mislead Congress, the American people and the world about those policies." [NYT, 7 Oct. 2007] Perhaps, such lies engender all the "gossip." But they certainly demonstrate that Bush "can't stand the truth!"

Many of the people who now doubt Bush's denial of plans to attack Iran probably recall his lie about Iran's nuclear program. On August 6, 2007, while speaking about Iran, Bush asserted: "This is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon." Sounds too eerily similar to Bush's lies about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, doesn't it? Yet, as any honest person with a brain in his head already knows, the Iranian government has repeatedly denied such a desire. Perhaps, Iran's leaders have been lying. But, Bush certainly lied.

Were Bush ever to step outside his delusional bubble, he'd learn that most people in the world, including most Americans, connect his lies about Iraq to his war in Iraq, as well as his lies denying torture to the continuation of such torture. Given Bush's track record, it's only natural for the world to conclude that his lies about Iran virtually guarantee that this reckless and dangerous war criminal will attack the Persians next. It's called "logic," not "gossip."

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).

(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.

Prvitized War...and just about everything else

Go to Original

Blackwater Nation
By Brian Cook
In These Times

Thursday 11 October 2007

Contracting soldiers of fortune is only one example of our recent philosophy of government.

Those seeking to pinpoint the date that propelled the private military firm Blackwater into its prominent (and disastrous) position in the U.S. military apparatus might look toward Sept. 11, 2001. Al Clark, one of the company's co-founders, once remarked, "Osama bin Laden turned Blackwater into what it is today." And two weeks after 9/11, Erik Prince, the company's other co-founder and current CEO, told Bill O'Reilly that, after four years in the business, "I was starting to get a little cynical on how seriously people took security. The phone is ringing off the hook now."

However, in her new book, The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein suggests that we should turn the calendar back one day and read the speech that then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave to Pentagon staffers on Sept. 10, 2001. The day before 19 hijackers flew passenger flights into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Rumsfeld darkly warned of "a threat, a serious threat, to the security of the United States of America. … With brutal consistency, it stifles free thought and crushes new ideas. It disrupts the defense of the United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk." Who was this dastardly adversary? "[T]he Pentagon bureaucracy."

Declaring "an all-out campaign to shift the Pentagon's resources from bureaucracy to battlefield, from tail to the tooth," Rumsfeld told his staff to "scour the department for functions that could be performed better and more cheaply through commercial outsourcing." He mentioned healthcare, housing and custodial work, and said that, outside of "warfighting," "we should seek suppliers who can provide these non-core activities efficiently and effectively."

As Jeremy Scahill has reported, the implementation of that plan has been wildly successful, with at least 180,000 private contractors currently employed in Iraq, outnumbering U.S. troops by 20,000, even after the "surge." (In the first Gulf war, the soldier-to-contractor ratio was 60:1.) But the results have been disastrous, from the deplorable conditions at the recently privatized Walter Reed military hospital, to the contaminated food and fecal-soiled bathing water that Halliburton provided to U.S. troops, to the gung-ho Blackwater contractors who prefer to shoot Iraqi hearts rather than win them.

This outsourcing of the military's core services is in keeping with the Bush administration's philosophy of government. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman noted that we've seen the same dynamic at work in the IRS, with the agency outsourcing debt collection of back taxes to private companies, which then receive a share of the return for their work.

But to lay the blame solely at the feet of the Bush administration is to overlook the complicity of Democrats in accepting a neoliberal agenda that has gutted government services and redistributed its wealth into the hands of private interests. After all, the Clinton administration first expanded the use of military contractors, deploying them in the Balkans, Somalia, Haiti and Colombia.

In fact, in late September, as the most recent Blackwater massacres started to gain mainstream press attention, hundreds of corporate luminaries joined Bill Clinton in New York City to extol the charitable efforts of the Clinton Global Initiative. The former president said his humanitarian endeavor is needed to tackle education, poverty and global warming because these are issues the "government won't solve, or that government alone can't solve."

That might be true, but only because we've undergone 30 years of a political ideology that has robbed government of needed revenues, derided regulation that might impinge on corporate profits and sneered at the idea that a public spirit could be preferable to private motives. Rather than rely on the charity of those who have so handsomely profited, it's time we alter the perverse arrangement.


Brian Cook is an associate editor at In These Times.

(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.