Friday, June 20, 2008

Democrats Suck And Other Wise-Doms

Some days it is almost impossible to find any hope at all.

They Were Only Following Orders

by digby

Roy Blunt and Steny Hoyer are practically tongue kissing on the floor right now and congratulating each other on their mutual fabulousness in negotiating the rape of the constitution this morning. It's quite a love fest.

The lesson from this is that your Representatives really believe that if "the government" tells you to do something, you do it, even if it's illegal. The good news is that if you are a multibillion dollar corporation with massive access to to the private lives of ordinary American, you will never be held liable.

Greenwald quotes Kit Bond saying this explicitly:

This article from Dow Jones, celebrating that the telecom industry is completely off the hook as a result of this bill, has the full quote from Sen. Bond, which is even better (h/t C_O):

"I'm not here to say that the government is always right, but when the government tells you to do something, I'm sure you would all agree that I think you all recognize that is something you need to do," Bond said.

Even when the Government is wrong, even when it orders you to do something illegal, your role is not to question but to obey. That's what he is saying explicitly.

That used to be called the Nuremberg Defense, but that's as quaint as the Geneva Conventions these days.

A couple of months ago we thought we'd at least beaten this back until a new president could be elected and a new Justice Department could take a fresh look at what the hell went on here. That was not to be. For reasons they never adequately explained (during the debate today their explanations were specious and insulting) they simply had to give amnesty to these corporate lawbreakers right this minute.

It goes to the Senate next week where all indications are that it will pass. Nobody sees a filibuster on the horizon right now (although it's still possible.) They seem to want to get this neatly taken care of so they can get on with telling us all to relax and enjoy our freedoms.

Here's the latest on the Strange Bedfellows campaign from Glenn:

Our first ad, featuring Steny Hoyer, is almost finished and will run as a full-page ad in The Washington Post and in numerous newspapers in his district, aimed at his core Democratic base. We are excited that Color of Change -- the online, grass-roots African-American organization devoted to demanding more responsiveness from Washington officials -- has now joined our coalition and is directly working with us on this ad campaign against Hoyer. And we hope to expand our work with them to include the other campaigns we are doing, including -- just for now -- the ones against Rep. Chris Carney and Rep. John Barrow.

The total amount we have for this campaign is now almost $250,000. The response has been overwhelming. I know that many of you have donated as much or even more than you could, but the more we raise, the more of an impact we can make against the individuals responsible for this travesty. Making them know there is a real price to pay when they do this -- not by getting deluged with angry phone calls or merely having primary challenges, but doing everything possible to expose their real character, remove them office and put a permanent end to their political careers -- is the only real way to deter its repetition. Contributions can be made here.

Hoyer's constituents need to know what their Representative did here. He is a guy who believes in the rule of law when it comes to sentencing drug users and shop lifters. He has no problems seeing people go to jail for kiting a 100 check when they don't have any food in the house. But he's damned if he'll let multi billion dollar corporations have to spend a dime defending themselves when they knowingly violated the law -- "because the government told them to."

Oh, and as for the politics of this. It isn't working. Guess what the media are saying about all this:

House and Senate leaders agreed yesterday on surveillance legislation that could shield telecommunications companies from privacy lawsuits, handing President Bush one of the last major legislative victories he is likely to achieve.

...the negotiations underscored the political calculation made by many Democrats who were fearful that Republicans would cast them as soft on terrorism during an election year.

Capitulating to the most unpopular lame duck president in history because they are afraid of him. Makes you proud to be a Democrat doesn't it?

Authentic Nonsense

by digby

According to the AP:

Overall, the race between Obama and McCain amounts to an authenticity contest.

Voters are craving change from typical Washington ways and each candidate is claiming he offers a new brand of politics that transcends poisonous partisanship. Yet, each candidate, in what he says versus what he does, also is undermining his own promises not to become the politics of usual.

Nobody knows the dangers of cliche writing on the run better than a blogger. But this is ridiculous. The run for the presidency is not an "authenticity" contest. That's a tired Village narrative that always favors the so-called "manly man" who "tells it like it is." In other words, if favors the phony macho dude over the geeky, smart guy --- Republican over Democrat.

The press told us back in 2000 that Al Gore was a big phony, remember? And George W. Bush was a down to earth, "uniter not a divider" who would bring "honor and dignity" back to the White House. That worked out really well.

This is a stupid way to evaluate candidates. How "authentic" can any politician reasonably be? His whole job is to try to be as many things to as many people as possible. (And anyway, just try to be yourself and order and orange juice in a diner instead of coffee (omg!) and see where it gets you.)

"Transcending poisonous partisanship" is shaping up to be the catch phrase of the year. The only problem is that we have no idea what it means. Most often they use it to indicate the necessity for compromise and conciliation to "get things done." But they only haul that out when Democrats take power. When Republicans are in power "transcending poisonous partisanship" is defined as "resolve" and "sticking to principle." Heads I win, tails you lose.

These tropes are not the defining issues in the campaign, but they create the framework around which the media covers it. This "authenticity" meme is more destructive to Obama than it is to the old warhorse McCain, about whom the most important thing people know is that he was a POW. ("He's been to hell and back, he's not afraid of anything or anyone.") People are just wrapping their minds around the new guy and his image is more malleable.

If they have to do character studies of the candidates, how about just straight reporting about their history, work habits, accomplishments, likes and dislikes and let the people judge for themselves whether it comes off as authentic or not. Humans are remarkably well equipped to do that on their own. There are whole fields of study devoted to understanding the complex mechanisms by which people size other people up. (Sometimes people actually prefer someone who is "inauthentic" in certain ways.) We can't rely on the press to interpret these things for us. They are too insular, too parochial and too subject to group-think to be trustworthy interpreters of these people's characters. These are the same people, after all, who said that George W. Bush was a humble man of low ambition. And then he ran his presidency as if he'd been born a king.


All In The Timing

by dday

I'm sure the military judge, in consultation with the Defense Department, threw his Khadr dart at the calendar to come up with this date:

Canadian Omar Khadr was told by a military judge Thursday at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that his trial on war crimes charges will begin on Oct. 8.

The judge, Col. Patrick Parrish, said the date for trial by the controversial military commissions process can be changed for legal reasons if necessary.

Khadr, 21, faces up to life in prison if convicted on charges of killing a U.S. army medic with a grenade during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002. He was 15 years old at the time.

Parrish was presiding over Khadr's pre-trial hearing for the first time.

The Toronto-born detainee's military lawyer, Lt.-Cmdr. William Kuebler, has accused the Pentagon of making last month's surprise change in judges to speed the process of getting his client to trial.

The last judge, Col. Peter Brownback, who had been on the case from the outset, was more concerned with following legal procedure, and leery of many aspects of the prosecution case, Kuebler has alleged.

Kuebler said Parrish has been described in an internet posting as "rocket docket" and has been parachuted in to get his client to trial before President George W. Bush leaves the White House early next year, something his predecessor, Brownback, was in no hurry to do.

Could somebody get me the significance of October 8, please? I mean other than the fact that it's a few weeks before the Presidential election. I'm not SO cynical to suggest that a high-profile trial of a Terrorist would fall at that time on purpose.

It has to be numerology or something.

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Lazy, Stupid Bigotry

by digby

This is so bad I hardly know what to say:

That's the cartoonist Pat Oliphant, who showed his sensibilities earlier in the campaign toward Clinton as well:

Wingnuts like to call Oliphant a liberal. If he is, then liberalism really has lost its meaning.

(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.

Moran Stanley Warns Of catastrophic Event


Morgan Stanley Warns Of 'Catastrophic Event' As ECB Fights Federal Reserve

The clash between the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve over monetary strategy is causing serious strains in the global financial system and could lead to a replay of Europe's exchange rate crisis in the 1990s, a team of bankers has warned. "We see striking similarities between the transatlantic tensions that built up in the early 1990s and those that are accumulating again today. The outcome of the 1992 deadlock was a major currency crisis and a recession in Europe," said a report by Morgan Stanley's European experts. Just as then, Washington has slashed rates to bail out the banks and prevent an economic hard-landing, while Frankfurt has stuck to its hawkish line - ignoring angry protests from politicians and squeals of pain from Europe's export industry.

Indeed, the ECB has let the de facto interest rate - Euribor - rise by over 100 basis points since the credit crisis began. Just as then, the dollar has plummeted far enough to cause worldwide alarm. In August 1992 it fell to 1.35 against the Deutsche Mark: this time it has fallen even further to the equivalent of 1.25. It is potentially worse for Europe this time because the yen and yuan have also fallen to near record lows. So has sterling.

(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.

Scottie Tells What Happenned

Well sort of.....................

Scottie Tells 'What Happened': What's In His Book and Why Congress Cares

by Christine Bowman

Scott McClellan testified under oath today before the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by John Conyers. As committee member and Florida Democrat Wexler suggested in a recent conversation with BuzzFlash, Republican committee members would likely focus on discrediting the former Bush press secretary, while Democrats would seek to pin down responsibility for events such as the lead-up to the Iraq war on false premises; the criminal leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity; and the Administration's attempt to discredit Plame's husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, who revealed in a New York Times op-ed the administration's use of false "intelligence" to help sell the war to the American people.

Scott McClellan was President George Bush's second press secretary. His book What Happened
recounts an insider's view of the Bush Administration's mistakes and crimes. As BuzzFlash noted upon the book's release, the very fact that a former insider is "telling all" in an election season bestseller will have an impact on how Americans assess the Bush legacy and the Iraq war especially.

What has Scottie Seen?

Analysis of McClellan's testimony today will come later, but here's what piqued interest from the pages of his book. Congress will be seeking clarification on these points, made in the book:

1. The press secretary, who repeatedly assured the White House press corps in September and October of 2003 that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby were not involved in the Plame leak, was set up to lie. Chapter 10 on "Deniability" and Chapter 12, "Brush Fire," detail this. Karl Rove lied to McClellan and perhaps lied to the President about his actions, or at best he led them to draw the wrong conclusions by parsing words and obscuring details.

Regarding Libby, as Chief of Staff Andrew Card told McClellan on October 4 (page 217): "The President and Vice President had a conversation this morning. They want you to give the press the same assurance for Scooter that you gave for Karl." So Cheney spoke to Bush who then directed McClellan to relay false assurances on Libby to the press corps. Whether Cheney misled Bush or the Vice President and President together intentionally misled McClellan is unknown by McClellan. He gives the President the benefit of the doubt.

2. Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, both of whom did leak information to reporters, as the investigation eventually proved, had a private, behind-closed-doors meeting in 2005 while the Grand Jury and prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald were trying to determine the facts of the case (p. 268). McClellan saw the two go into that meeting, and he viewed it as highly unusual and suspicious.

3. In 2003, President Bush himself helped in the effort to selectively leak national security details to the media to bolster the case for war (page 294). Without telling his chief of staff, national security adviser, or the CIA director, "the president declassified key portions of information from the October 2002 NIE for the vice president and Libby to use in this effort." (p. 8)

"To defend itself against the accusations of deliberate dishonesty leveled by Joe Wilson, Vice President Cheney and his staff were leading a White House effort to discredit Joe Wilson himself. On a broader front, the White House sought to dispel the notion that the intelligence had been 'cooked' ..."

4. Four administration figures -- Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Karl Rove, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer and Scooter Libby -- all spoke to members of the press about the fact that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA (p.). Only some of them revealed her name and only some knew that her identity was a state secret(Pages 8-9).

5. McClellan shares glimpses of George W. Bush during and before taking office that highlight his faults. One conclusion is that Bush deludes himself to deal with inconvenient truths such as his probable cocaine use (p. 4), and in matters of war ((p 128-129). According to McClellan, Bush believes in a grand vision of remaking the map of the Middle East, and he saw regime change in Iraq as the first step. Bush believes in spreading freedom and democracy by using military force.

So did Hitler, delude himself about the eastern front.

What Scott Wants

McClellan's overriding purpose seems to be to process "what happened" and record for history his own assessments. He portrays himself as a Bush loyalist who was misused.

McClellan faults the primary powers in the Administration, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, for most of what went wrong. He faults Condoleezza Rice for being weak and only attempting to act on Bush's decisions, when she might have helped shape policy direction more positively. He excuses Bush as being "only generally aware" and too easily persuaded by the administration's own spin.

O.K. , Stop Right There!!!!!

We must be suspicious, right off the bat, of any writing that lets Bush off the hook, while annihilating others in the administration. Junior once said that he liked it when people "misunderestimated" him. While hilariously funny at the time, we must always take that line into consideration. I believe that Scott told a lot of truth, most of which we already knew, but did so in such a way as to drag us into the trap of believing Junior to be an idiot.

We must not go there!

One might also conclude that McClellan, after the fact, remains selectively aware.

Still, in writing about "What Happened," McClellan has shed light on the Administration's overall errors and deceptions. He regrets and illuminates their "permanent campaign" mentality, which focused on selling their war and other agenda items as though they were election contests, with no tactics off the table. McClellan also decries excessive partisanship, manipulation, and secrecy.

(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.

Scottie And Congress.....

W.H says it's nothing new. True, so true. But they still deny most of it.

McClellan: White House hiding CIA leak info

"Back in 2005, I was prohibited from discussing it by the White House ostensibly because of the criminal investigation under way, but I made a commitment to share with the public what I knew as soon as possible. That commitment was one of the reasons I wrote my book," McClellan said in his opening statement. "Unfortunately, this matter continues to be investigated by Congress because of what the White House has chosen to conceal from the public," McClellan said. "Despite assurances that the administration would discuss the matter once the Special Counsel had completed his work, the White House has sought to avoid public scrutiny and accountability." Two senior administration officials tell CNN that the White House decided not to invoke executive privilege to stop McClellan's testimony because "there's nothing new."

(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.

McClellan May Shed Light On Niger Forgeries

McClellan Testimony May She Light on Niger Forgeries

By Jason Leopold, The Public Record

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s testimony later this week before the House Judiciary Committee promises to reignite the debate over the “16 words” in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union address that claimed Iraq tried to purchase 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Niger, and how the White House’s aggressive effort to defend the bogus intelligence lead to the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Aides to several senior Democrats on the committee are poring over former White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s book, What Happened: Inside The Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, as well as news reports and documents released publicly by Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel appointed to investigate the leak of Plame’s identity.

Right-wing columnist Robert Novak blew Plame’s cover on July 14, 2003, in an article suggesting that Plame had helped arrange her husband’s trip to Africa as some kind of junket.

The aides, who requested anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss details of next week’s hearing, have been drafting detailed questions for McClellan about the behind-the-scenes conversations that took place between Vice President Dick Cheney, former White House political adviser Karl Rove, Cheney’s former Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Stephen Hadley, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, and President Bush, surrounding accusations raised in the months leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and its immediate aftermath that the administration knew the Niger intelligence was false.

The committee wants McClellan, who was deputy press secretary at the time the administration was forced in July 2003 to admit the uranium allegations should not have been included in President Bush’s State of the Union address, to elaborate on Bush, Cheney, Hadley and Rice’s role in the campaign to discredit Joseph Wilson, a diplomat who had served in Iraq and Africa, was selected by the CIA’s non-proliferation office, where Plame worked, to travel to Niger in early 2002 to examine the Iraq-yellowcake allegations. Wilson returned to the United States and reported to CIA officials that the claims appeared to have no merit, a finding that matched with inquiries from other U.S. officials.

Two weeks ago, Congressman Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent to Attorney General Michael Mukasey a letter that indicated Vice President Dick Cheney may have authorized his former deputy to leak Plame’s identity.

"In his interview with the FBI, Mr. Libby stated that it was ‘possible’ that Vice President Cheney instructed him to disseminate information about Ambassador [Joseph] Wilson's wife to the press. This is a significant revelation and, if true, a serious matter. It cannot be responsibly investigated without access to the Vice President's FBI interview," Waxman wrote.

Waxman's office would not release copies of the Libby-Rove transcripts or describe the contents in any detail. Fitzgerald's investigative interviews with Bush and Cheney -- asking how much knowledge the President and Vice President had about the Plame leak -- have not been disclosed.

But the committee wants to know if McClellan can offer insight into the vice president’s role as well as answers about why the administration continued to peddle the Niger story after the documents the intelligence was based upon were exposed as forgeries,

Democratic lawmakers have been trying to determine if Bush administration officials knew the Niger intelligence was bogus and if they allowed President Bush to cite it in his State of the Union address despite warnings of its veracity.

Last year, issued a subpoena for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice demanding that she explain her role in the matter and whether she had prior knowledge that Niger intelligence was fabricated. Rice has said that she could not recall receiving any oral or written warnings from the CIA about Iraq's interest in uranium from Niger as being unreliable. Rice penned an op-ed January 23, 2003, claiming Iraq was actively trying "to get uranium from abroad."

Rice ignored Waxman’s subpoena and the congressman had decided not to litigate the issue.

Now, by securing McClellan’s testimony, assuming the White House does not assert a last minute claim of executive privilege, some Democratic lawmakers are hoping they will be able to fill in some holes in the narrative related to the Niger story and determine what the administration knew and when they knew it.

The “16 words,” "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," was cited by President Bush on Jan. 28, 2003 and has widely been viewed as convincing the public and Congress to support a preemptive strike against Iraq.

The White House has never provided a full accounting of how the intelligence, despite warnings from several government agencies that it was unreliable, made its way from Italy to Washington and into President’s Bush’s State of the Union address.

State Department Memo

Sixteen days before Bush’s State of the Union, the State Department told the CIA that the intelligence the uranium claims were based upon were forgeries, according to a declassified State Department memo.

The memo says: "On January 12, 2003," the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) "expressed concerns to the CIA that the documents pertaining to the Iraq-Niger deal were forgeries."

Moreover, the memo says that the State Department's doubts about the veracity of the uranium claims may have been expressed to the intelligence community even earlier.

Those concerns, according to the memo, are the reason that former Secretary of State Colin Powell refused to cite the uranium claims when he appeared before the United Nations in February 5, 2003 - one week after Bush's State of the Union address - to try to win support for a possible strike against Iraq.

"After considerable back and forth between the CIA, the (State) Department, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and the British, Secretary Powell's briefing to the U.N. Security Council did not mention attempted Iraqi procurement of uranium due to CIA concerns raised during the coordination regarding the veracity of the information on the alleged Iraq-Niger agreement," the memo further states.

During a closed before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence back in July 2003, Alan Foley, the former director of the CIA's nonproliferation, intelligence and arms control center, said he had spoken to Robert Joseph, the former director of nonproliferation at the National Security Council and former undersecretary of state for arms control, a day or two before President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address and told Joseph that detailed references to Iraq and Niger should be excluded from the final draft. Foley told committee members that Joseph had agreed to water down the language and would instead, he told Foley, attribute the intelligence to the British.

At this time, the international community, the media, and the IAEA called into question the veracity of the Niger documents. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of IAEA, told the UN Security Council on March 7, 2003, that the Niger documents were forgeries and could not be used to prove Iraq was a nuclear threat.

Wilson Speaks Out

Wilson began to question the Niger intelligence a day after Bush's speech. He said he reminded a friend at the State Department that he had traveled to Niger in February 2002 to investigate whether Iraq attempted to acquire yellowcake uranium from Niger.

Wilson said his friend at the State Department replied that "perhaps the president was speaking about one of the other three African countries that produce uranium: Gabon, South Africa or Namibia. At the time, I accepted the explanation. I didn't know that in December, a month before the president's address, the State Department had published a fact sheet that mentioned the Niger case."

Wilson said he had attempted to contact the White House through various channels after the State of the Union address to get the administration to correct the public record.

"I had direct discussions with the State Department [and] Senate committees," Wilson told me in April 2006 following a speech to college students and faculty at California State University Northridge. "I had numerous conversations to change what they were saying publicly. I had a civic duty to hold my government to account for what it had said and done."

Wilson said he was rebuffed at every instance and that he received word, through then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, that he could state his case in writing in a public forum.

In March 2003, Wilson began to publicly question the administration's use of the Niger claims without disclosing his role in traveling to Niger in February 2002 to investigate it. Wilson's criticism of the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence caught the attention of Cheney, Libby and Hadley.

In an interview that took place two and a half weeks before the start of the Iraq War, Wilson said the administration was more interested in redrawing the map of the Middle East to pursue its own foreign policy objectives than in dealing with the so-called terrorist threat.

“The underlying objective, as I see it - the more I look at this - is less and less disarmament, and it really has little to do with terrorism, because everybody knows that a war to invade and conquer and occupy Iraq is going to spawn a new generation of terrorists," Wilson said in a March 2, 2003, interview with CNN.

“So you look at what's underpinning this, and you go back and you take a look at who's been influencing the process. And it's been those who really believe that our objective must be far grander, and that is to redraw the political map of the Middle East," Wilson added.

A week later, Wilson was interviewed on CNN again. This was the first time Wilson ridiculed the Bush administration's claim that Iraq had tried to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger. "Well, this particular case is outrageous. We know a lot about the uranium business in Niger, and for something like this to go unchallenged by the US - the US government - is just simply stupid. It would have taken a couple of phone calls. We have had an embassy there since the early 1960s. All this stuff is open. It's a restricted market of buyers and sellers," Wilson said in the March 8, 2003, CNN interview. "For this to have gotten to the IAEA is on the face of it dumb, but more to the point, it taints the whole rest of the case that the government is trying to build against Iraq."

Wilson's comments enraged Cheney because it was seen as a personal attack against the vice president, who was instrumental in getting his underlings to cite the Niger claims in government reports to build a case for war against Iraq.

Wilson's critique during his appearances on CNN, in addition to ElBaradei's UN report, were seen
as a threat to the administration's planned attack against Iraq, which took place eleven days later.

Cheney appeared on "Meet the Press" on March 16, 2003, to respond to ElBaradei's assertion that the Niger documents were forgeries.

“I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong," Cheney said during the interview. "[The IAEA] has consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don't have any reason to believe they're any more valid this time than they've been in the past."

The former ambassador's stinging rebuke also caught the attention of Hadley, who had played an even bigger role in the Niger controversy by failing to heed written warnings by the CIA to remove the reference from President Bush’s State of the Union.

Hadley responded to Wilson's comments by writing an editorial about the threat Iraq posed to the U.S., in an attempt to discredit Wilson's comments on CNN.

A column written by Hadley that was published in the Chicago Tribune on February 16, 2003, was redistributed to newspaper editors by the State Department on March 10, 2003, two days after Wilson was interviewed on CNN. The column, "Two Potent Iraqi Weapons: Denial and Deception" once again raised the issue that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger.

(More projection from the "projection administration." More often than not, when the Bush administration starts telling scary stories about another head of state or "turrist, evil-doer, whatever they attribute to the evil-doer, applies to them as well or completely to them (Bushites). Who was really in denial and trying to deceive?

Second State Department Memo

Wilson spoke to at least two journalists in May 2003 about the bogus Niger intelligence. A phone call to the White House by one of the reporters, Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, seeking comment about Wilson’s accusations prompted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff to inquire about Wilson’s trip to Niger. Libby contacted the State Department. A memo, dated June 10, 2003, drafted by Carl Ford Jr., the former head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, was issued and sent to Libby. It said Wilson undertook the mission to Niger to investigate the Niger intelligence.

The White House has long maintained that they were never briefed about the State Department's or the CIA's concerns related to the Niger uranium claims..

But in a previous interview with me, the memo's author, Carl Ford, said he has no doubt the State Department's reservations about the Niger intelligence made their way to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

“This was the very first time there was written evidence - not notes, but a request for a report - from the State Department that documented why the Niger intel was bullshit," Ford told me. "It was the only thing in writing, and it had a certain value because it didn't come from the IAEA. It came from State. It scared the heck out of a lot of people because it proved that this guy Wilson's story was credible. I don't think anybody wanted the media to know that the State Department disagreed with the intelligence used by the White House."

The Intel. used by the White House was stove-piped through the Pentagon Intel. Squad, (Rummy's own little CIA at the DoD)., which was filled to the rim with Neocons of the PNAC variety; huge fans of Ahmed Chalabi and a drunk-guy named "curve ball.") Geebus, someone ought to make a movie about all this. The problem is, no one would believe it. It's all just too insane and no one wants to believe that the guys who are running things are this idiotic or, worse, criminals who have sucker punched them where it hurts, everywhere it hurts, several times.

Well, believe it, my fellow Americans. You have all been suckered and conned by some of the most sociopathic con-men in the world, who are now making big bucks off your blood and treasure; we are talking about being "given," for the most part, gazillions of bucks, hand over fist, as a result of this criminal war and Bush administration energy policies.

I'm not sure that they have a real energy policy, as such. Their "energy policy" was written by oil men and other energy company corporate officers who support the GOP to the largest extent, which is to say that they do hedge their bets, with contributions to the Democrats as well. (Do they ever support a third party candidate?

I would guess that they don't, unless said candidate will help beat the Democrats in a single, minor election, like known Goopers helped Lieberman get elected as an independent, instead of backing the Republican senate candidate in Conn. The Goopers knew that Lieberman would lose if they did not help support him, over Lamont. Putting their money and power behind the GOP candidate would be pointless, because in Conn, being a Democrat of some hue or the other, would be necessary, and Lieberman could be counted on to lose all his senses and powers of mind when it came to Neoconservative philosophy vs. stated Democratic philosophy, and go out of his way to support the Republican (Neocons') agenda, because the Neocons agenda is supposedly good for Israel. Can anyone be sure of that anymore? The Neocons may well be responsible for the death of Israel as well as the huge collapse in our nation, both economically and socially.

As it turns out the Neocons were just highly educated idiots with theories. THEORIES!

As my grandpa used to say, "theories are very pretty, much like the tail feathers of a Peacock, but they are completely useless in a head wind. Right you were, Pop, and, unfortunately, we have had to, and will continue to, pay an extremely high price for accepting goofy theories untested in the real world, simply because our own government set about scaring the wits out of the "brave and the free."

How much it will actually cost us, all total, cannot not be realized at all, at this moment in history, because what we have seen so far, while scaring the crap out of many middle/lower working class people, and young people who have their whole lives ahead of them (or did), is only the tip of the iceberg; the iceberg which will do to the U.S. Ship of State, that which was done to the Titanic.

What happened to the Titanic was foolish, stupid human error. What is happening in Iraq is not human error; at least not all together. Bush said it himself, when talking to the man who was supposed to be his official biographer for the book that came out before the 2000 (s)election. Bush said that he had learned from his father's presidency, that presidents who were war presidents usually are assured second terms. That biographer was fired and another book came out in place of the one written by the "official author," after the manuscript was perused by Bush's communications people, like Karen Hughes.

That is the problem with Junior. If left to his own devices, he will tell the truth, every once in a while, when one least expects it.

Many of us knew that the goals of this crowd, known in the Reagan/Bush administration as "fucking crazies," as clearly stated in the PNAC document, were not possible, for many reasons, but number one was that Arabs/Muslims would never allow a U.S. occupying force in the Middle east, or any where in "Muslim land," in general and a Bush occupying force was absolutely out of the question, especially if it came in the form of "Shock and Awe."

I mean, has anyone asked themselves the simple question, why in hell would you start the liberation of a people with "shock and awe" in their capitol city, killing thousands of people in the first few days of the war; Iraqis whose only "crimes" were being born in Iraq (in other words, born atop OUR oil) and living in Baghdad or in other cities that were being hit and hit hard?

Seems like a pretty dumb thing to do to a nation's people when you say you want them liberated and to be so happy about it that they would greet us with chocolate and flowers , be our friends forever, allow us to create 40 some-odd permanent military bases, plus the most humongous American Embassy the world has ever seen, on their land, be friendly with Israel and sign contracts with certain oil companies; mostly those who have been upset since the 70s that Iraq's oil industry had been taken over by the government and Saddam would not re-privatize it. I can mention just as few: BP, Dutch Shell, Exxon-Mobile and Chevron (the oil company whose logo is a chevron, ferchrisszke, like those which are worn on the sleeves of military uniforms and indicate rate or rank of the person wearing the uniform. A true oddity, eh? ).

Trying to bring to the Iraqis, or anyone else, democracy at the point of a gun or with hundreds of thousands of pounds of bombs in a matter of days and then more later, when those ungrateful teeth in Iraq made it clear that they liked the fact that Saddam, America's nut-job puppet for many years, and his psychotic sons, were gone, but they wanted Bush gone as well. They did not trust him, because he was his father's son. GHWB is seen as having betrayed Saddam with regard to the Gulf war. Saddam was being given mixed signals regarding what would happen if he invaded Kuwait to reclaim land Saddam believed belonged to Iraq. Maybe he was and maybe he wasn't, I don't know for sure. Nevertheless it does sound like something of which GHWB was entirely capable, whether he meant to do it or not. GHWB has never been the most decisive person on earth, so he might have been giving mixed signals because that is simply how he is, or that he sent mixed signals on purpose, so that Saddam would give him a reason to bomb Iraq to the stone age, making Saddam less powerful and war-like toward Iran. GHWB wanted a little balance there, between tyrannies.

We did know, after a time, that we, Americans, were being told false-hoods in the lead up to that war, as we were already deploying to the area with our U.N. partners and with full participation of Saudi Arabia. One of the whoppers that was told, was that Saddam's soldiers were throwing Kuwaiti babies out of incubators and onto the floor of hospitals in Kuwait. Turns out, that wasn't true at all, but it rightly horrified Americans, which is exactly what is was meant to do.

Ford added that when the request came from Cheney's office for a report on Wilson's Niger trip it was an opportunity to put in writing a document that would remind the White House that it had been warned about the Niger claims early on.

Tenet Warned Hadley

In his book, At the Center of the Storm, former CIA Director George Tenet wrote that he personally asked Hadley to remove the 16 words from President Bush’s speech just three months earlier.

“Steve, take it out," Tenet wrote about a conversation he had with Hadley on October 5, 2002. As deputy national security adviser, Hadley was also in charge of the clearance process for speeches given by White House officials. "The facts, I told him, were too much in doubt."

Following his conversation with Hadley, one of Tenet's aides sent a follow-up letter to then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Hadley, and Bush's speechwriter Mike Gerson highlighting additional reasons the language about Iraq's purported attempts to obtain uranium from the African country of Niger should not be used to try to convince Congress and the public that Iraq was an imminent threat, Tenet wrote in the book.

"More on why we recommend removing the sentence about [Saddam's] procuring uranium oxide from Africa," Tenet wrote in the book, apparently quoting from a memo sent to the White House. "Three points: (1) The evidence is weak. One of the two mines cited by the source as the location of the uranium oxide is flooded. The other mine cited by the source is under the control of French authorities; (2) the procurement is not particularly significant to Iraq's nuclear ambitions; and (3) we have shared points one and two with Congress, telling them the Africa story is overblown and telling them this was one of two issues where we differed with the British."

Tenet, however, says he was "in bed, asleep" when Bush delivered the State of the Union.

"You won't find many Washington officials who will admit to not watching the most important political speech of the year, but I was exhausted from fifteen months of nonstop work and worry since the tragedy of 9/11," Tenet writes in the chapter "16 words." "We had warned the White House against using the Niger uranium reports previously but had not done so with the State of the Union," Tenet wrote.

Tenet wrote that he believes the administration was excited about the prospect of removing Saddam Hussein from power and ignored his previous warnings about the bogus intelligence in order to win support for the war.

"The vision of a despot like Saddam getting his hands on nuclear weapons was galvanizing" and "provided an irresistible image for speechwriters, spokesmen, and politicians to seize on," Tenet wrote.

What it was, was fear of karma, Mr Tenet. Sad thing is, we don't learn much from fear. "Fear chemicals" make us, for the most part, incapable of learning a damn thing or, even, paying any attention to much we have learned in the past. Adrenalin really is stupid juice. The Iraq war Selling Group knows that just as we all do.

Still, Tenet says when the furor surrounding the 16 words reached a boiling point in July 2003 he "decided to stand up and take the hit."

"Obviously, the process for vetting the speech at the Agency had broken down," Tenet wrote. "We had warned the White House about the lack of reliability of the assertion when we had gotten them to remove similar language from the president's October [2002] Cincinnati speech and we should have gotten that language out of the [State of the Union address] as well."

Tenet added that the White House officials had told the media that the language pertaining to Niger omitted from the Cincinnati speech was dramatically different from the Niger claims that ended up in the State of the Union address.

"That simply wasn't so," Tenet wrote. "It was clear that the entire briefing was intended to convince the press corps that the White House staff was an innocent victim of bad work by the intelligence community."

“On July 18, Condi Rice requested formal declassification of part of the October NIE, including the "key judgments" section and the paragraphs relating to Iraqi attempts to secure uranium in Africa. This was done through the normal CIA channels the same day, and Tenet personally spoke with Cheney and Rumsfeld that day to let them know it had happened,” McClellan wrote in his book.

The NIE was formally declassified on July 18, 2003 and a background briefing with a "senior administration official" was arranged for reporters to respond to questions about Wilson and how White House officials failed to vet the State of the Union.

Tenet wrote that the intent of the White House's background briefing on July 18 "was obvious.”

“They wanted to demonstrate that the intelligence community had given the administration and Congress every reason to believe that Saddam had a robust WMD program that was growing in seriousness every day. The briefers were questioned about press accounts saying that the White House had taken references to Niger out of the Cincinnati speech at the CIA's request. Why then did they insert them again in the State of the Union address?" Tenet wrote in his book.

The NIE Leak and the Attack on Wilson

McClellan wrote in his book that the campaign to discredit Wilson heated up at the White House in June 2003 when Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus contacted the Office of the Vice President.

“In early June, while making inquiries about what [New York Times columnist Nicholas] Kristof wrote, Pincus had contacted Cathie Martin, who oversaw the vice president's communications office. Martin went to Scooter Libby to discuss what Pincus was sniffing around about,” McClellan wrote. “The vice president and Libby were quietly stepping up their efforts to counter the allegations of the anonymous envoy to Niger, and Pincus's story was one opportunity for them to do just that.”

Kristof accused Cheney of allowing the truth about the Niger documents the administration used to build a case for war to go "missing in action." The columnist obtained his information from Wilson in May 2003 at a political conference in Washington sponsored by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

In mid-June 2003, Libby chose New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward as recipients of the still classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. The Pulitzer Prize winning journalists were urged by Libby to report that that Iraq had in fact attempted to obtain yellowcake uranium from Niger, directly contradicting Wilson's claims.

A week before he met with Libby, around June 16, 2003, Woodward met with two other government officials, one of whom was later revealed to be Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Woodward says Armitage, referring to him as an unnamed official, told him in a "casual" and off-handed manner that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

Woodward said the meeting with Libby and the other government officials had been set up simply as "confidential background interviews for my 2004 book "Plan of Attack" about the lead-up to the Iraq war, ongoing reporting for the Washington Post and research for a book on Bush's second term to be published in 2006."

Woodward wrote a first person account in the Washington Post about his involvement in the Plame leak a couple of weeks after Libby was indicted. The Watergate-era journalist wrote that when he met with Libby on June 27, 2003, "Libby discussed the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, mentioned "yellowcake" and said there was an effort by the Iraqis to get it from Africa. It goes back to February '02. This was the time of Wilson's trip to Niger."

Neither Miller nor Woodward wrote stories for their newspapers about the intelligence report Libby leaked to them.

Libby also met with former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, another Pulitzer Prize winner, and leaked the same portions of the NIE when Miller raised questions about Wilson's claims about the administration's use of pre-war Iraq intelligence.

Miller spent 85 days in jail for in 2006 for refusing to reveal the identity Libby as her source who disclosed to Plame’s identity to her.

And things just get more and more absurd from there..............

Libby and Cheney continued to peddle the Niger intelligence as solid even though there was agreement among Bush’s senior officials that the White House would issue a mea culpa. Indeed, on July 14, 2003, just three days after senior officials met to discuss the White House response, Libby contacted then Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and asked him to contact the editorial department at the Wall Street Journal and leaked the NIE to the paper as a way of undermining Wilson. Cheney approved leaking the NIE to the Journal.

"After July 14, in that week, the Vice President thought we should still try and get the [NIE] out. And so he asked me to talk to the Wall Street Journal. I don't have as good a relationship with the Wall Street Journal as Secretary Wolfowitz did, and so we talked to Secretary Wolfowitz about trying to get that point across [to the Journal], and he undertook to do so," Libby testified.

Wolfowitz faxed the Wall Street Journal a set of "talking points" about the former ambassador that the paper's editors could use to discredit him in print, according to Libby's grand jury testimony, and then leaked to the paper a portion of the then-still-classified NIE that claimed Iraq did in fact attempt to acquire uranium from Niger. The Journal printed, verbatim, Wolfowitz's talking points in an editorial in its July 17, 2003, edition and then misled its readers about the source of the information.

According to the editorial, "Yellowcake Remix," the Journal said the data the newspaper received about Iraq's interest in uranium "does not come from the White House," despite the fact that Libby testified that he personally lobbied Wolfowitz to leak the NIE to the Journal, and that arguably Wolfowitz's position as Undersecretary of Defense made him a senior member of the Bush administration.

Here's the thing: The W.H. has the biggest podium in the world. Everything the White House needs to say should be said from there, not leaked to friendly press. How much common sense does it take to realize that? Nothing leaked by the White House should be reported at all. We can all assume that it is tainted, if it is leaked. Come on, People, how hard can this be?

Bush’s Role

For an administration that despises leaks, the decision by Cheney to declassify highly sensitive portions of the NIE and have his most trusted aide leak it to reporters in order to attack Wilson’s credibility showed that Bush and Cheney and other senior administration officials took the ambassador’s criticism personally.

Hell, yes it was personal. They knew what Wilson was, in fact, accusing them of was the mother of all war crimes, lying the nation into a war of aggression, because they knew damned well that the Niger documents were fakes. A nine year old with access to Google could have known it within minutes. The forgeries were so obviously bullshit, crude forgeries.

Those forgeries were terribly important to Cheney and the Neocons, as one of the paint brushes with which to paint pictures/visions of mushroom clouds rising over American cities ("we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud," George W Bush), was a must, if they wanted to get support for the Iraq invasion because the administration knew what kind of effect it would have on the American public, no matter how unlikely the scenario was. Americans, as a whole, don't deal too well with visions of Mushroom clouds dancing in their heads. Rationality and reason go out the window, as with any phobia. Cheney and company have been messing with the heads of Americans, on and off, for close to 4 decades. They know perfectly well what will work and what won't.

In his book, McClellan said in early 2006 a reporter questioned him aboard Air Force One about rumors that Bush authorized Libby to leak the NIE to the media. McClellan wrote that he asked the president the question directly and was stunned by his response.

A reporter “asserted you authorized the leak of part of the NIE,” McClellan wrote about a conversation he had with Bush.

“Yeah, I did,” is what Bush’s response was, McClellan wrote. “The look on his face said he didn’t want to discuss the matter any further. Nor did I expect him to, since he had already been advised by his personal attorney Jim Sharp not to discuss any details related to the Libby trial. I was shocked to hear the President casually acknowledging its accuracy, as if discussing something no more important than a baseball score or the latest tidbit of inside-the-Beltway gossip.”

Well, Scott, why should that surprise you? Bush had no doubt that he was God's chosen president by that time. Thanks to the Theocons, others of the religiously insane and corporate whores, both within and without the government.

“No one else was told about the secret declassification — not Chief of Staff Andy Card, not National Security Advisor Condi Rice. When Rice was publicly rejecting the notion of selective declassification on July 11, 2003, Scooter Libby had already leaked it to Judith Miller on July 8 — at the vice president’s direction with authority from the president.”

In early fall 2003, President Bush then announced that he was determined to get to the bottom of the Plame leak.

“If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is,” Bush said on Sept. 30, 2003. “I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true.”

Yet, even as Bush was professing his curiosity and calling for anyone with information to step forward, he was withholding the fact that he had authorized the declassification of some secrets about the Niger uranium issue and had ordered Cheney to arrange for those secrets to be given to reporters.

In other words, though Bush knew a great deal about how the scheme to discredit Wilson got started – since he was involved in starting it – the President uttered misleading public statements that obscured the White House role.

Also, since the leakers knew that Bush already was in the know, they might well have read his comments as a signal to lie, which is what they did. In early October, McClellan said he could report that political adviser Rove and National Security Council aide Elliott Abrams were not involved in the Plame leak.

I am not for capital punishment, but if there was ever a reason, it would be for heads-of-state who terrorize their own and other nation's citizens, so they can gain support for a crime.

That comment riled Libby, who feared that he was being hung out to dry. Libby went to his boss, Vice President Cheney, complaining that “they want me to be the sacrificial lamb,” Libby’s lawyer Theodore Wells said later.

Cheney scribbled down his feelings in a note to press secretary McClellan: “Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy the Pres that was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder because of incompetence of others.”

In the note, Cheney initially ascribed Libby’s role in going after Joe Wilson to Bush’s orders, but the Vice President apparently thought better of it, crossing out “the Pres” and putting the clause in a passive tense.

Cheney has never explained the meaning of his note, but it suggests that it was Bush who sent Libby out on the get-Wilson mission to limit damage from Wilson’s criticism of Bush’s false Niger-yellowcake claim.

Did Bush Authorize Plame Leak?

During Libby’s criminal trial last year, David Addington, Cheney’s attorney in the Office of the Vice President, had testified that, during a conversation with Libby about the president's authority to declassify documents, Libby also questioned him specifically about whether "if somebody worked out at the CIA and the CIA sent the person's spouse on a trip to do something for the CIA, would there be a record out at the CIA of that," states a copy of the trial transccript.

(Addington is a Nazi in the first degree!)

Addington said he told Libby "it depended ... the kind of paperwork would depend on whether you were on the operational side of the CIA, the folks who run spies overseas, if you will, or on the analytical side, the folks at CIA who write reports for policymakers and so forth about what is going on in the world."

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

In an interview with Fox News in 2006, Cheney said he had the legal authority to declassify intelligence as he saw fit. There is still strong debate about the interpretation of the executive order Cheney referred to that provided him with such power. Cheney's comments came on the heels of a disclosure Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald made in a letter to defense attorneys representing Libby in the leak case.

President Bush signed an executive order in 2003 authorizing Cheney to declassify certain intelligence documents. The order was signed on March 23, four days after the start of the Iraq War and two weeks after Wilson first appeared on the administration's radar.

McClellan wrote that he wondered whether allowing the NIE to be leaked to the media had somehow caused the same officials to disseminate Plame’s CIA status.

Well, duh.....

“Questions were also raised about whether the president's action had set in motion the unauthorized disclosure of Valerie Plame's identity,” McClellan wrote in his book.


Jason Leopold launched a new online investigative news magazine, The Public Record,

(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.

Military Lawyers Vigirously Objected to Torture, But Rummy Didn't Care

We in the reality-based community always knew that the abu Ghraib abuses didn’t originate with those “few bad apples,” but a new Senate probe conclusively proves that Donald Rumsfeld and his senior lawyers began pushing for “harsh techniques” long before those infamous photos surfaced.


A Senate investigation unveiled today found that senior Pentagon officials began planning to use abusive tactics at Guantánamo Bay earlier than they previously acknowledged, borrowing from a programme that trained US troops to resist cruel interrogations.

New documents disclosed today show that lawyers in the army, navy and marines objected vigorously to the use of violent methods against detainees but were overruled by aides to the former US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

Thanks Alot, Donald Rumsfeld!

(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.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In America, Now, The Truth, No Matter How Ugly, Is Like Oxygen.

Americans simply must have the truth, now, whether we want it or not, no matter how painful, humiliating and sickening it will be for all of us.

Gravel is talking about a commission in New York City to investigate, finally, the events of 9/11.

We all know that a crime was committed in NYC in the morning hours of 9/11/01. What we still do not know is who committed those crimes and why. We don't have the names of all who are complicit, before and after the fact of the attacks on NYC, both in and out of government.

I sincerely hope that Gravel doesn't forget the anthrax attacks, as there were victims of those bioweapons, at least one died in NYC.

What Gravel is talking about here, with Amy Goodman, is exactly what we need to happen: A 9/11 commission in NYC, away from the D.C., B.S, with subpoena power and access to any files anywhere and the ability to call whistleblowers and protect them.

I say, I want this to happen! It has to happen! History, with information doubling at such a stunning rate, has caught up with us, again, and again we are going through another era of darkness. No one, with certain exceptions, knows what's real and what isn't, though we have some fairly good educated guesses, by now.

Until it does happen and Americans see clearly and and take responsibility for their Nation's government; an illegitimate regime with a very illegitimate plan for their stolen power, a plan that included murder, false imprisonment, the commission of fraud on the taxpayers and an attempt to deceive Congress. Apparently, a few weren't deceived for a minute. Why were the others fooled right out of their socks, if they were? If not, why did they vote for a war crime?

Of course, the list of crimes can continue but I am, frankly, tired of typing them.

Americans cannot avoid the fact that they and others around them have been deceived in many instances by the Bush regime and to different degrees.

To remain deceived any longer is, itself, criminal .

Those of us who have known enough of the truth, this time, sometimes try to ignore it because we have been programmed to believe that the bigger the crime, the less likely it is that there will be justice and we start thinking that we will somehow survive this nightmare and move on.

Not This Time.

We cannot make up a nice story about everything that has happened in the last 7 years.

We cannot kick this pile of greedy, murderous corruption under the national carpet, because not one more pile will fit. "Our National Carpet runneth over," one might say.

However, I would be remiss, I think, if I did not warn my fellow citizens that no matter what we do now, the road ahead is about to get really hazardous.

Reading Material for the Journey: Our Founding Documents. (I know, I know, they no longer apply, but I know that they can be brought back, when justice is done at the top.)

Arrange crash courses in civics and American history.

We need to reconnect to our origins. Then we must demand transparency in Washington and State Houses. What's more we are going to insist on transparency when it comes to the Wall Street gangs and the war-profiteers.

Print out a copy of Kunich's Articles of Impeachment. Never leave home without it. Reread regularly.

If you know someone or are someone living in NY, sign the petition for a REAL Commission on 9/11 to be on the New York ballot or call your friends in New York and ask them to sign it. .

Hell go to NY.

We only have 4 weeks. Hinder people at subway stations, if you have to, to get the people to sign on to having this commission on the ballot in November. It's better than seeing another bloody corpse in Iraq or listening to President Concrete-for-brains make another stupid speech. Can't he just be put in rehab somewhere, along with Cheney. He is going to start another damn war with Iran. Unless someone has found a way to stop him, he is going to do it.

We have to know by now that we are not dealing with rational people in this administration. One read of Scott McClellan's book says it all. People in the White House and in many of the executive agencies are all existing in some kind of group-psychosis bubble. America, thy name is deceit, denial, and cowardice. We need the truth to be told and we need to not only be willing to not avert our eyes, but we must be willing to devote the rest of our lives to truth-telling and making it safe for other to tell the truth.

The Neocons and their evil empire, with their hit list of countries in the Middle East and environs with which they must deal, if they hope to achieve their goals. Do these neocons not see that they are doing the same thing to Arabs and/or Muslims as Germany's government did to the Jews of Europe. It's being done differently, but it is being done, nonetheless.

Never has it been more true than now, that old 60s saying,"The Whole World Is Watching." They are looking for signs of sanity in the American people and many of those watchers are holding their breath. Praying to the highest heavens that these men/women will think twice and maybe even a third time, before they launch yet another criminal attack, on Iran or Syria.

Sen. Mike Gravel, former Democratic senator from Alaska, who served two terms from 1969 to 1981, and a former candidate in the 2008 presidential election.

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AMY GOODMAN: Former Alaska senator and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel is holding a news conference in New York City today to call for a new independent investigation into 9/11. Gravel will be speaking on behalf of the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign, a grassroots group seeking to place an initiative on the ballot of the November 6th general election allowing registered New York City voters to create a new commission to investigate 9/11.

The group is looking to appoint between nine and fifteen commissioners on the panel to conduct the investigation. Some of the people who have reportedly already agreed to serve as commissioners include Lori Van Auken, a 9/11 widow, one of the so-called “Jersey Girls”; Lincoln Chafee, the former Republican senator from Rhode Island; Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a pastor in Detroit, Michigan; as well as former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel, who joins us here today.

He has published three books this year: Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change, The Kingmakers: How the Media Threatens Our Security and Our Democracy and A Political Odyssey. His book Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change has a forward by Ralph Nader. He’ll be joining us on the show later in the week.

Welcome to Democracy Now!, Senator Gravel.

MIKE GRAVEL: Amy, thank you for having me. But before we launch into the mission of my appearance, I want to comment on this young man you just had on. I’ve got to tell you, the military is in for deep trouble. That this kid felt he wasn’t very educated, wasn’t good student, I mean, I’ve—he’s beautifully articulate. Let me tell you one thing. We lose—we forget history. The First World War ended because hundreds of thousands of people walked off the battlefield. If we’re going to end this war and the strength of the military-industrial complex, it’s through courageous young men like this walking away from the stupidity and the immorality of our political leaders who lead us on fools’ errands of violence and war. And so, I want to applaud what this kid is talking about and his experience. And boy, now that is Courage with a capital C. And I just wanted to articulate that for you.

AMY GOODMAN: Didn’t you lead the initiative to end the draft in Vietnam?

MIKE GRAVEL: Oh, yes. Well, I’m very proud. It’s one of my accomplishments. I forced it. I forced the end of it. And that—


MIKE GRAVEL: Well, it was a five-month filibuster that Mansfield made possible without anybody realizing it.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Michael Mansfield.

MIKE GRAVEL: Yes, who was the Majority Leader at the time. So he bought into it, and I didn’t even realize what he was doing. He set up a two-track system on legislation. So I started in May, and then by—and, of course, you were there when Ellsberg, myself and West, at the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalists, had a rollicking good time talking about this whole history, and you moderated it. And I can’t tell you how, as long as I live, I’ll never forget what a wonderful time we had piecing this together what happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, that, I was asking you about ending the draft. You’re talking about the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

MIKE GRAVEL: That’s right, but I got the Papers because I was filibustering the draft. [inaudible]

AMY GOODMAN: So you went on the floor of the Senate…

MIKE GRAVEL: And tried to filibuster. I failed it, because I was too nice to the staff, and so I had to use another device, which was to—and I was a freshman. So I was chairman of Buildings and Grounds, so I used the precedent, you won’t believe, House Un-American Activities Committee, where I could call at a moment’s notice a hearing and, as a result of that, turned around and got testimony from a Congressman Dowd from New York, Upper New York, who came and testified, and he wanted a federal—

AMY GOODMAN: You mean you called an emergency hearing—just to be clear, you called this man, what was it, out of bed? And you said, “You know that building you’ve been asking for? If you come and testify right now about why you need this building, we will commence the hearing.” That enabled you to hold the hearing.

MIKE GRAVEL: That’s right. And we held a hearing. And then, when he said—he said, “I want a federal building,” I says, “Well, I’d love to give you a federal building, but we don’t have the money, and the reason why we don’t have the money is because we’re in Southeast Asia. Now, let me tell you how we got into Southeast Asia.” And I started to read the Pentagon Papers. That’s how—and then I started sobbing after an hour of reading. I’m dyslexic, so I read terribly.

AMY GOODMAN: You had gotten those Papers from the Washington Post?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, from Ben Bagdikian, who had gotten them from Dan Ellsberg, and the Post didn’t know that Ben had an extra copy. So Ellsberg had pushed Ben, because Ellsberg was very concerned that he couldn’t get the Papers out.

AMY GOODMAN: That the Times wouldn’t publish them.

MIKE GRAVEL: That’s right, and nor would the Post any further, because of the injunction. And so, as it happened, I released the Papers about six, seven, eight hours before the Supreme Court rendered its decision, and their decision was moot, because the world had the Papers as a result of what I did that night.

AMY GOODMAN: And you ultimately had them published by Beacon Press.

MIKE GRAVEL: Right, courageous Beacon Press, not just Beacon Press. Courageous Beacon Press, because nobody would touch it. Nobody would touch it, because they were at risk. And poor Beacon Press really suffered from government harassment. And as it turned out, I and Dr. Rotberg could have been prosecuted, but then, by that time, Watergate had been exposed, and they weren’t going to charge a religion or a sitting senator. And so, Dan Ellsberg and I never served a day in jail. And the three people within the Justice Department that came after us, they all went to jail. There’s some justice someplace.

AMY GOODMAN: They were…? They were…?

MIKE GRAVEL: They were the Attorney General Mitchell, Mardian, and the other guy I keep forgetting who his name is.

AMY GOODMAN: And, of course, the Pentagon Papers were the 7,000 pages of secret history of US involvement in Vietnam that Ellsberg had taken out of a safe.

MIKE GRAVEL: Totally. It’s nothing—nothing but history, nothing but history. This stuff should have never been classified, never have been classified. And what I operated on—I’m a layperson—is just very simple: if it’s important for the Secretary of Defense to know how we got into this mess, it’s important for the American people to know how we got into this mess. And this is the same situation we have with Iraq. How did we get there?

And now, this segues us into this commission here in New York. I view this very, very serious. I don’t see the body politic having the guts to go out and make a new—a real new investigation, because the way politicians act, whether it’s Democrat or Republican, “Oh, we’ll investigate a little bit, but let’s not go too deeply, because we’ve got to cover their backside, because they’ll cover our backside,” and it’s too political in nature.

And so, with the commission that we’re talking about 9/11 here in New York City, now that’s a commission that’s going to be a real commission. And that commission now can make a true investigation as to what happened on 9/11, but not just 9/11, because the war is tied with that. And so, this will give us an opportunity to vertically go into all the backup to this data and have subpoena powers to have people testify. Now, if a person perjures themself here with the New York commission, it’s perjury, so it’s a crime. And so, maybe, maybe this will give us an opportunity to have justice, and we can begin subpoenaing the President of the United States—at that time, he’ll be the former president—and the Vice President and go on down into the boughs of the intelligence and a whole host of areas to get to the truth. We don’t know the truth.

AMY GOODMAN: And how advanced is this ballot initiative?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, it’s very serious right now, because there’s windows. When you do an initiative, there’s a window that you have to comport to. And so, they need upwards of 50,000 signatures to be real safe, and they’ve only got 10,000 signatures. And so, they’ve got about four weeks left.

AMY GOODMAN: They have to all be New Yorkers?

MIKE GRAVEL: Yes. Oh, yeah, they do. And I can’t even—I was going to try to go out and collect signatures, but legally I can’t. So I’m going to be part of a press conference, and I’ve done several initiatives myself as a sitting senator. And as you know, with my efforts with the National Initiative, I believe in this concept. What the government can’t do, the people can do through the initiative process. And so, we’ve got to get those signatures in the next forty—thirty, forty days, and it’s going to depend on people hearing my voice, hearing you, because you’ve spoken about this before and the importance of this.

And so, there’s a telephone number I want to give: (646) 537-1755. That’s (646) 537-1755. And that’s a hotline. And today, at St. Mark’s Church, that’s at Second Avenue and 10th Street—

AMY GOODMAN: Here in New York City.

MIKE GRAVEL: Here in New York City. If people will come there, we’re going to have a get-together at 7:30. It’s going to be a reception. There will be some light refreshments, and then we’ll be talking about this. Sign the guest book. Give us your address. And then what you can do is log on to our website, and that website will permit you to download a petition, and then you’ll be able to circulate the petition. But it’s key to call this phone number.

AMY GOODMAN: Mike Gravel, did you ever raise this, for example, in the debates that you were able to participate in?

MIKE GRAVEL: About the commission? Not this particular commission, because I was—keep
in mind, I was shut out in September of ’07 after I had challenged the Democratic Party and Hillary, particularly, on the Lieberman 2 resolution which gave George Bush the power to invade Iran, which is still a threat that looms over our heads.

I was with Ramsey Clark over the weekend, and Ramsey joins me in feeling very, very frightened over the possibility that George Bush may go crazy again and do something significant between now and the term. Remember when Sarkozy asked him, “Well, Mr. President, you’ve did a—you know, you’ve done a fine term of office.” He said, “I’m not done yet!” Well, by “not done,” what’s he got in his mind? What more could he do?

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Gravel, when you say we don’t know the truth about 9/11, what do you mean?

MIKE GRAVEL: Government—90 percent of what the government does is held secret. It’s a whole cult. And that’s the thing that is really strangling our democracy, that we just don’t know what’s going on. And so, you need to rip off the scab and see the wound of what the government is damaging. And so, it’s a cult. And I don’t know how I can phrase it. I’ve written about the subject.

When I was—here, best example I can give you. When I was twenty-three years old, I was in a communications intelligence service. I was an agitant of the communications intelligence service, and I was a top-secret control officer. I was twenty-three years old. Now, I’m forty-two years old, I’m a United States senator, and I could not go in and take notes and read the Pentagon Papers, because they were under guard in the Senate. Now, does it get any stupider than that? And that—and I didn’t even go in. When that was—Nixon sent them to the House, sent them to the Senate, and no staff could read it or senator could read it, couldn’t even take notes. I mean, we are so steeped in this.

And when you hear—and keep this in mind, Amy, any member of the Congress could release any secret about the government’s activities right today, because the court case, the Supreme Court ruled in my case 5-4 that a senator, under—or a House member, under the speech and debate clause of the Constitution of the United States, could not be held accountable. I was talking to Congressman Moran, and he had made the statement, “Well, you know, George Bush is about to do something in Iran.” I said, “My god! Say something about it. They can’t touch you.”

AMY GOODMAN: Jim Moran of Virginia.

MIKE GRAVEL: Of Virginia, and who’s a tough hombre.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you believe there’s another set of Pentagon Papers around 9/11 and Iraq?

MIKE GRAVEL: There’s no question about it, but how do you get your hands on it? If some—see, not every—there’s not that many Ellsbergs around. We’ve got Sibel Edmonds and others who—what people learn, and Ellsberg knew this walking into it, he was trying to find somebody in Congress. George McGovern wouldn’t do it, Fulbright wouldn’t do it. He needed the umbrage, the legal status of a member of Congress doing it.

He didn’t know I was alive until the Times wouldn’t act or the Post wouldn’t act. Then, all of a sudden, there’s this freshman who’s out there filibustering the draft. And so he called me up, “Would you release?” “Of course, I’d release it.” And I don’t know—people say, “Oh, you’re so courageous.” I’m not courageous; this is just the way I’m made. And that’s the reason why I admire this young kid, this Chiroux, that you just had on. This is what makes a difference in society, when people step up at any level of life.

AMY GOODMAN: You ran for the Democratic nomination for president.

MIKE GRAVEL: Yes, right.

AMY GOODMAN: But then, you just lost the—

MIKE GRAVEL: Libertarian.

AMY GOODMAN: —Libertarian nomination for president to Bob Barr.

MIKE GRAVEL: Right, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you run there?

MIKE GRAVEL: As a Libertarian? Well, very simple. The Libertarian is not a war party. The Democratic Party is a war party. The Republican Party is a war party. My god, you’ve got to look around. The Green Party is not a war party. The Libertarians are not a war party. And I fancy myself very much—when people would say, “Well, Gravel is a misfit. He was a maverick,” what does that mean? It means that I didn’t fit into the Democratic Party. Now, there’s a lot of things that I like about what they do, but there’s a lot more things that I like about what the Libertarians—I believe in freedom.

AMY GOODMAN: Who are you endorsing for president?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, I’m keeping my mouth shut. I’m going to vote, obviously, for the lesser of evils, but I’m not going to do it—

AMY GOODMAN: We’ll have Ralph Nader on next week, Independent candidate for president. What do you think of his run?

MIKE GRAVEL: Well, I like Ralph—

AMY GOODMAN: This week. We’ll have him on this week.

MIKE GRAVEL: Yeah, and I like Ralph. Ralph and I are good friends, as you can tell. He wrote the—

AMY GOODMAN: Forward to your book.

MIKE GRAVEL: He wrote the foreword to my book, but he never talked to me about running for president. He was my competitor until I got out of the race. Now I’ve got out of his way. But no, Ralph is a great, great American. There’s no question about it. His chances of becoming a president—but it’s a good place to put a protest vote if you want to put it. And so, we’ll see what happens. But we need people to articulate the alternative. I’ve not given up. I’m going to give an account of myself the rest of my life on all these issues.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of another Democratic candidate, Dennis Kucinich, you were on the debate floor with, introducing these articles of impeachment against President Bush?

MIKE GRAVEL: I think—and, of course, Ramsey Clark is leading that battle outside of the Congress. I think it’s important, because it sets the stage. It creates an appetite for people. But it’s not going anywhere.

And I really resent the identity politics that we have today. You know, you’ve got to have a woman be our president or a black person president. That’s fine. But I—very candidly, I was very excited when Nancy Pelosi became the Speaker, but I—reflecting on it, I don’t know of any woman in Congress, by and large, who is that much different from any male member of Congress. Oh, there are some that are courageous, but a lot of them are just normal. And Nancy Pelosi is no different than any male Speaker that I’ve seen in my career.

And so, she’s the one that took the impeachment deal off the table. That’s a tragic mistake. And I know why they did it: they’re playing politics. Now, from my point of view, impeachment is not what George Bush deserves. He deserves to be prosecuted. He and Cheney need to go to the Hague and stand in the dock like they had Milosevic and others. What they did was criminal. 4,000 Americans have died as a result of their fraud on the American people and—

AMY GOODMAN: Do you support Vincent Bugliosi, the Charles Manson prosecutor, who got him behind bars, his call for—we had him on on Friday. He’s written the book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder.

MIKE GRAVEL: Oh, there’s no question about it. In fact, I have great regrets over the fact that we never put Richard Nixon in jail. I mean, everybody around him went to jail, and he got off and rehabilitated himself. The sooner we put a president or a vice president or a secretary in jail for crimes that they commit against humanity, the sooner leaders will shape up.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there. Senator Mike Gravel, I want to thank you very much for being with us, former Democratic senator from Alaska who served two terms and ran for president of the United States this past year.

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