June 30, 2005

Bush Speech Flops

Even the applause was fake. Via Daily Kos::
ABC's Terry Moran just reported that the only time Bush got applause was in the middle of his speech when a White House advance team member started clapping all on their own in order to cajole the soldiers into clapping, which they dutifully did.
And now this:
US President George W. Bush's address to the nation, urging Americans to stand firm in Iraq, drew the smallest TV audience of his tenure, Nielsen Media Research reported.

Mr Bush's speech yesterday at the Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina averaged 23 million viewers combined on the four main US broadcast networks and three leading cable news channels networks that carried the speech, Nielsen said.
Compare that to his 82 million viewers when he addressed a joint session of Congress nine days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America. Or his 48.4 million viewers for the aircraft carrier "Mission Accomplished" speech. His previous low was 32.7 million for the April 2005 speech on Social Security.

America is switching off. As Mike Whitney says:
The Bush prime-time fiasco was the biggest presidential pratfall in the history of the office.
Bush's Own Words:
We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks.
In case you missed it: Bush admitted there was no link between Saddam and 9/11 in September 2003.

June 29, 2005

US suspected of keeping secret prisoners on warships: UN official.
You And I Do Not Matter

Here's the thing that most people simply cannot grasp... George W. Bush and all his top advisors simply do not give a shit about people like you and me.

Remember that scene from Fahrenheit 911 where Bush is addressing a dinner party of wealthy investors and joking about how he likes to call them his power base? That's his social millieu, those are his contemporaries, his role models, his friends and even sometimes his enemies (to a limited extent, given their common bonds).

People like you and me simply do not matter. The taxpayers, who do the hard work to provide the funds for the shareholders, do not matter. The citizens, who provide the soldiers for the wars to control the oil fields, do not matter. Bush wants your vote, your money and maybe - if you are foolish enough to join the Armed Forces - your life. But that's it. That's the limit of his interest in shmucks like us.

The one Bush quote I always remember, which makes sense of everything else, is this one:
You can't fool all of the people all of the time, but you can fool some of the people all of the time - and they're the one's you've gotta concentrate on!
Ha ha ha. But that's the secret of Bush's success right there: fooling the GOP-voting masses, again and again, to ensure he retains power on behalf of his Big Money friends. That's the Bush agenda, right there.

So what about the War In Iraq? What was it all about, really? It sure wasn't about WMDs or Al Quaeda, and if Bush doesn't give a damn about you and me, you can be 100% sure he doesn't give a flying f#ck about those poor, suffering Iraqis.

So what was it about? Jack Dalton at The Smirking Chimp joins the dots:
China's banks and oil company has made an $18.5 billion bid for UNOCAL. CitiGroup owns controlling interest in one of the banks involved in this 'deal' and Carlyle Group owns controlling interest in CitiGroup and the members of the PNAC are part and parcel a part of both CitiGroup and the Carlyle Group. And these are the very same people that have led this nation, under the banner of G.W. Bush, into a 'war of aggression' and a 'war against the peace.'
In other words, the people who brought you the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq are the very people now standing to profit from the oil pipeline deals through those countries - surprise?

This is the Big Business news. It's nothing to do with us. This is the boring stuff in the Financial Times and The Economist magazine. When the Financial news comes on TV, we flick channels. The Dow Jones is up, Ten Year Bonds are down - who cares? Not us. Maybe if we had a million dollars... But that'll never happen!

Work. Consume. Die.

No wonder Bush keeps telling us that all the lives lost, all the money and all the enmity and all the horror has been, and continues to be, "worth it".
Bush Squawks

"Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

-- George W. Bush, April 9, 1999

He sure didn't do that tonight.

As John Kerry said before Bush's latest "support the mission" speech:
Our mission in Iraq is harder because the administration ignored the advice of others, went in largely alone, underestimated the likelihood and power of the insurgency, sent in too few troops to secure the country, destroyed the Iraqi army through de-Baathification, failed to secure ammunition dumps, refused to recognize the urgency of training Iraqi security forces and did no postwar planning. A little humility would go a long way - coupled with a strategy to succeed.

So what should the president say tonight? The first thing he should do is tell the truth to the American people...

The president must also announce immediately that the United States will not have a permanent military presence in Iraq. Erasing suspicions that the occupation is indefinite is critical to eroding support for the insurgency...
Bush did not admit mistakes, he did not tell the truth, and he most certainly did not commit to a full withdrawal of all US forces. He never has and he never will.

What is "the mission" anyway? Wasn't it to rid Iraq of WMDs? And wasn't the mission declared "complete" when Bush came to a skidding halt on that aircraft carrier around two years ago?
Iraqi police open fire on Iraq demonstrators.
Not-so-good News From Iraq

"In a few days, Iraq will radiate with stability and security."

- Iyad Allawi, 28 June 2004, at Iraq's post-election handover ceremony.

In June 2004 insurgents killed 42 US soldiers; so far this month 75 have been killed. The number of Iraqi military and police being killed every month has risen from 160 at the handover to 219 today. At the handover of power, the number of foreign fighters in the insurgency was estimated in the "low hundreds". That figure has been revised up to at least 1,000 and the overall figure for the number of insurgents is put at 16,000.

From The Independent: Then and now...

Average daily attacks by insurgents

Pre-war March 2003: 0

Handover June 2004: 45

Now: 70


Figures should be viewed with caution because US military often does not record attacks if there are no American casualties.

Total number of coalition troops killed

Pre-war March 2003: 0

Handover June 2004: 982

Now: 1,930


Number of US troops killed increased sharply during Fallujah fighting in April and November 2004.

Iraqi civilians killed

Pre-war March 2003: n/a

Handover June 2004: 10,000

Now: 60,800 (includes 23,000 crime-related deaths)


Estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths have varied widely because the US military does not count them.

Electricity supply (megawatts generated)

Pre-war March 2003: 3,958

Handover June 2004: 4,293

Now: 4,035


Coalition is way behind its goal of providing 6,000 megawatts by July 2004. Most Iraqis do not have a reliable electricity supply.


Pre-war March 2003: n/a

Handover June 2004: 40%

Now: 40%


More than a third of young people are unemployed, a cause for social unrest. Many security men stay home, except on payday.


Pre-war March 2003: 833,000 (landlines only)

Handover June 2004: 1.2m (includes mobiles)

Now: 3.1m


Landlines are extremely unreliable and mobile phone system could be improved.

Primary school access

Pre-war March 2003: 3.6m

Handover June 2004: 4.3m

Now: n/a


83 per cent of boys and 79 per cent of girls in primary schools. But figures mask declining literacy and failure rate.

Oil production (barrels a day)

Pre-war March 2003: 2.5m

Handover June 2004: 2.29m

Now: 2.20m


Sustainability of Iraqi oilfields has been jeopardised to boost output. Oil facilities regularly targeted by insurgents.
A new Gallup Poll on Bush and Iraq finds 58% disapprove of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq, while 61% believe he does not have a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq.

June 28, 2005

We ARE Winning The PR War!

I know it doesn't feel like it most days, given the media's persistently dismal coverage of facts, but the message is slowly getting through. For the first time, a majority of those polled in the USA not only disapprove of Bush's performance AND believe the Iraq War was not worth fighting, but a 52% majority also believes that the Bush administration "intentionally misled" the public in going to war.

This is great news for all of us in the anti-Bush/anti-war movement! Our message is getting through! The next step is to demand some accountability!!!

From the ABC News/Washington Post survey:
Nearly 75 per cent of 1004 adults quizzed say the Bush administration has underestimated the challenges involved.

On Iraq specifically, 56 per cent say they disapprove of Mr Bush's work and 62 per cent say they think the United States has become bogged down in Iraq...

Fifty-three per cent say they think they insurgency was holding steady in strength and 24 per cent believed it was getting stronger.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that a record 57 per cent also now say the administration intentionally exaggerated its pre-war evidence that Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

Despite growing criticism of the administration's performance, nearly 60 per cent of those polled said they believe US forces should remain in place until civil order was restored in Iraq.
The strangest part is this:
"Fifty-two per cent say they think the war has contributed to the long-term security of the United States, up five points from early June."
So Bush & Co underestimated the challenge and made up the facts, but now the USA is bogged down and the Iraqis are mounting a sustained, if not growing, resistance... but not only should we STAY in Iraq, we are actually somehow SAFER? See the post below for more on THAT line of thought!
Evidence Showing Bush Worse Than Saddam

More evidence files from LynnTheDem:
Saddam didn't kick the UN weapons inspectors out of Iraq.


But bush did.


Saddam targeted extremist Shite al-Sadr & his militia


So did bush.


Saddam wouldn't let human rights groups into all prisons;


Neither will bush.

Rights Groups Demand That US Open All Detention Facilities


Officer Says Army Tried to Curb Red Cross Visits to Prison in Iraq


War Crimes: Gen. Sanchez Hid Prisoner From Red Cross


Saddam arbitrarily arrested Iraqis; tortured Iraqis;


So does bush.

70% to 90% of Iraq Prisoners 'Arrested by Mistake'


Detainees Suffer Terror at US Hands; Red Cross Says Torture Part
of Deliberate Tactic


Iraqi Security Tactics Evoke the Hussein Era


Saddam arrested and tortured children;


So does bush.

Military Analyst Describes Abuse of 16-Year-Old in Iraq Prison


Iraq's child prisoners


*And wait until the so-far unreleased batch of Abu Ghraib photos
and videos are made public. Be sure to cover your ears; the
screaming of the children tortured by the US will scar your soul

Saddam "disappeared" Iraqis;



So does bush.


Hussein "mass-graved thousands" (5100 remains found
to date);


So does bush.

Mass graves to reveal Iraq war toll




But BUSH is the winner of record number of Abu Ghraib detainees;


BUSH is the winner for double the child malnutrition rate


BUSH is the winner for Iraqis 58 times more likely to die


BUSH is the winner for less oil & electricity


BUSH is the winner for less clean drinking water, sanitation


BUSH is the winner for creating terrorists in Iraq



BUSH is the winner for creating terrorists outside Iraq





Into the third year of American
"superiority", Iraqis Endure Worse Conditions Than Under


bush wins.

This report was researched and prepared by LynnTheDem

this page

World Tribunal on Iraq Preliminary Declaration:
The assault on Iraq is an assault on all of us: on our dignity, our intelligence, and our future.

We recognize that the judgment of the World Tribunal on Iraq is not binding in international law. However, our ambitions far surpass that. The World Tribunal on Iraq places its faith in the consciences of millions of people across the world who do not wish to stand by and watch while the people of Iraq are being slaughtered, subjugated, and humiliated.
from AfterDowningStreet.org.
Did I Mention The Memos Yet Today?

from AfterDowningStreet.org
MUST READ: George W Bush and the 14 points of fascism.
If This Is Winning...

Iraq insurgents attack the largest police station in Baghdad:
"Dawn had yet to break and Baghdad's biggest police station, like the rest of the city, was quiet. About 80 officers dozed inside the fortress, leaving just a few sentries guarding the walls, razor wire and concrete barriers.

It started with mortars. A series of whooshes from north and south followed seconds later by explosions inside the perimeter. Figures emerged from the gloom and knelt in the middle of Hi al-Elam and Qatar Nada streets, pointing rocket launchers.

More figures materialised on rooftops overlooking the station to spray gunfire and lob grenades. Dozens of gunmen, guerrilla infantry, swarmed from houses and alleys. It was just after 5.30am and the station was surrounded.

The defenders heard engines rev and guessed what was next: suicide car bombers. Baghdad's biggest battle in months - and possibly the boldest yet by insurgents - had begun...

A nearby Iraqi army base was simultaneously targeted by mortars, gunfire and a suicide bomber, trapping the soldiers inside. Gunmen attacked the police station from four sides and came close to overrunning it. From bases in southern Baghdad US and Iraqi ground troops rushed for Baya'a only to confront insurgents at Derwesh Square and on the Doura highway tasked with slowing the relief force. At least three suicide car bombers had been held back for this purpose.
This was a very sophisticated, well-planned attack which very nearly succeeded. The stock US military reaction:
We are winning but people won't know that if all they are hearing about is death and violence.
Ed Naha reveals the Bush team's plan for Iraq:
First, you deny there's a problem. Second, you ignore the polls and deny that Americans are against the Iraq 'war.' Third, you say that, IF there ARE Americans against the 'war,' they are aiding the terrorists. Fourth, you say you really care about all the American troops being killed and this whole war thing is 'hard.' Fifth, you link Iraq with 9/11 and smush all the facts together as if playing with clay, ignoring and re-inventing history like a Ritalin-dosed five-year-old. Sixth, and most importantly, you attack 'liberals' who are against the Iraq quagmire and, somehow, bring in 9/11 and questions about their patriotism. Wow!
Byron Williams says noise distracts us from the truth:
We are addicted to cacophony, feeding our obsession with the empty calories of obfuscation, while the truth stands alone in deafening silence.

June 27, 2005

It's Just Getting Ridiculous Now, Isn't it?

Rumsfeld says Cheney's "last throes" in Iraq could last a decade or more:
"We're not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years...

The fact is that if you look at the context of his remarks, last throes could be a violent last throe, just as well as a placid or calm last throe. Look it up in the dictionary.
Still not the slightest intimation of personal responsibility...

Rumsfeld's tortured explanations follow these tortured words from Cheney last week:
"If you look at what the dictionary says about throes, it can still be a violent period."
Gary Younge quotes George Orwell:
"We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue," wrote George Orwell in his essay In Front of Your Nose. "And then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield."
Apathy Rules OK?

This is a little odd.

Anti-war US websites and media outlets frequently indicate that the Brits are ahead of the USA when it comes to investigating the legality of the Iraq War. They cite the publication of the Downing Street Memo in the UK's Sunday Times as evidence that the debate is alive and well in Old Blighty.

But now this Guardian article claims just the opposite:
In Britain [the memos] have scarcely made a dent, but in America they have developed an unexpected momentum...

Iraq continues to have a salience in the US that it lacks here...

The assumption is that Britons delivered their verdict on Iraq by cutting Labour's majority and therefore the reckoning has, at least partially, happened. That is certainly how the government likes to play it: privately, ministers will hint that the whole Iraq business was a bit of a nightmare but it's behind us now and we can all move on.

The trouble is, it is not behind us. The occupation continues and people are still dying, daily, in substantial numbers. In the US the realisation seems to be dawning that this episode represents, at the very least, a case of maladministration, of desperately poor governance...
I personally assumed that publication of the memos in the UK would trigger an un-stoppable wave of public resentment against Blair and his cronies, and I have been puzzled by the lack of such stories in the UK press. Now it seems there are none.

Here in Australia, of course, there is no debate whatsoever, despite the fact that media outlets like the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC Online and SBS TV news regularly report on the memos and other salient facts. What does it take to get this thing kicking?

There were millions or protesters in the streets before the Iraq War started, yet it went ahead anyway. Bush , Blair and Howard have all won re-election, despite polls showing massive resentment of their policies on Iraq. The lies that took us to war have now been exposed, while the reality on the ground in Iraq today is itself a massive indictment of all the deceptive rationales used to argue for the invasion. Still there is no accountability.

What can we do now except keep hammering and hammering and hammering the theme?
Anti-Americanism On The Rise

As an Aussie living in Queensland I was surprised to see the headlines in yesterday's The Sunday Mail:
AMERICAN students are quitting Queensland universities in the face of hate attacks by Australians angry at US President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq....

The abuse problem is so prevalent that US students are being given formal briefings before leaving home on how to cope with abusive Australians...

A female American student from Griffith, who wished to remain unnamed, said she had met some "exceptional" people in Australia – but was leaving this month in shock over her treatment.

She said she was desperate to go home after the slurs, which also spilled over at pubs in central Brisbane.

"They basically picked on me," she said. "At first, I thought it was a joke. Then I just had it out with them and told them I came here to be treated respectfully.

"I have had a few incidents in bars. I had a guy and he heard my accent and he said: 'I hate your president. I hate your country.' "

... Another American studying at UQ said attitudes towards him were 'scary'.

'It's unbelievable,' he said. 'It's been war. People are scared. It is hard to be an American in Australia at the moment, it is really hard. It varies with different people, but you have to be quiet and try not to draw attention to yourself.'
Obviously this is sensational tabloid journalism, but the fact that the story is running at all - and full-blown page one at that - is interesting.

The irony, of course, is that Australians have a government that fully supports all Bush's inane, illegal policies on Iraq and the War on Ahem!

I work closely with quite a few Americans. The atmosphere is a lot more professional than a bunch of students in a pub, so there is little chance of a brawl breaking out! But there is a very strong feeling nowadays that Bush and the Iraq War are just subjects you do not being up in conversation. When it happens, Americans tend to shake their head and talk about how ashamed they are of Bush and what is happening in the USA today. But obviously that is not a conversation they want to be having 100 times a week.

UPDATE: This story might help explain anti-Americanism in Australia, particularly given that Australian David Hicks remains in Gitmo without charge or even public evidence of wrongdoing, because our government says it cannot deal with his case under Australian laws:
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has asked for a full report into the outcome of a US military trial of two Marines accused of a brutal attack last year on a young Australian in a Townsville nightclub.

The American military court which heard the case dropped charges against one Marine and acquitted the other earlier this month.

The family of Heath Twomey, who had his throat cut, is questioning his fate at the hands of the United States military justice system.

The Townsville student never had the chance to give evidence against them in the court and he was not told by either the US or Australian Governments of the acquittal, only learning about the case through the media.
It seems the victim agreed to let US military justice deal with the case after being assured they would make an example of the two Marines. The Aussie Attorney-General's concern seems to be limited to the fact that his department did not promptly inform the victim's family of the USA's decision.

June 26, 2005

Render Unto Me...

On Friday, Italian authorities issued arrest warrants against 13 American intelligence operatives, charging them with abducting a Muslim cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (also known as Abu Omar), and rendering him to Egypt for torture.

The case is more than a little strange and complicated, as Salon's coverage of US papers today indicates:
The Italian arrest warrants contain a wealth of detail: According to eyewitness accounts, the radical imam was approached on his way to mosque by two men who sprayed him in the face with chemicals and then bundled him into an unmarked van. The agents didn't hide their tracks very thoroughly—while all but a few used apparent cover names, investigators were able to put together a detailed account of the operation by examining hotel registries, rental-car receipts, and cell-phone calls made in the area at the time, including some to CIA headquarters.

The NYT and LAT say it's unclear whether the Italians knew about the operation beforehand, but the WP and Boston Globe say the Italian antiterror squad was taken by surprise. ''By kidnapping him [the Americans] interrupted an investigation already taking place by the Italian police," an anonymous official told the Globe. ''We had already been tapping his conversations. We had information on his friends and his links." Interestingly, the WP quotes a former CIA counterterrorism official who doubts it was a CIA operation. "The agency might be sloppy, but not that sloppy," he said. "There is no way they would sanction a kidnapping on Italian soil."

Your intel budget hard at work ... After noting that Italian investigators raided one operative's Italian "villa" for evidence, the NYT says that, according to the warrant, the spooks stayed in five-star hotels for the week of the abduction, amassing $144,984 in charges.

Even weirder: Part of the rendition then took place on a Gulfstream IV executive jet belonging to a part owner of the Boston Red Sox, who admitted to the Globe in March that he regularly leases it to the CIA—with the team logo covered up, of course.
The case is reminiscent of other CIA rendering cases including the all-but-forgotten Khaled el-Masri and Australia's Mamdouh Habib. Hard to see how Rumsfeld will be able to blame this pattern of state-sponsored abuse on a few bad apples.

Meanwhile, what if you invaded a few countries to build oil pipelines for Unocal, only to have the Chinese come along and buy the company??? I bet the neo-cons never saw that one coming...

And still on the DSM, Kerry and other Democrats are calling for more info from the Senate Intelligence Committee asap.

June 24, 2005

Not Losing, Drowning

Rumsfeld today:
Any who say that we've lost this war, or that we're losing this war are wrong. We are not.
Notice he couldn't quite bring himself to say "We are winning."
This Thing Could BackFire, Karl...

Speaking to the Conservative Party of New York state on Wednesday night, Karl Rove said:
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."
Families of 9/11 have called for an apology, again asking that 9/11 not be used for political purposes. Democrats are demanding either an apology or Rove's resignation.

Of course, the White House says Rove has nothing to apologize for. Notice how White House spokesman Scott McLellan turns Rove's partisan attack completely on its head with this painfully Orwellian press exchange:
"MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I just said that he was talking about the different philosophies. The President has talked about the different philosophies when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. And he was speaking to a specific audience about those philosophies and talking about the philosophy that we stand for and the approach that we stand for....

Q But others don't think the characterization of how liberals approach --

MR. McCLELLAN: Who are the others?

Q Well, you've got Nancy Pelosi today, Harry Reid were talking about the fact that the use of the words was not appropriate for the way, especially in the New York area --

MR. McCLELLAN: Do you disagree that he was simply talking about the different philosophies and different approaches?

Q What I'm talking about is word choice.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that they are just trying to engage in partisan attacks....
Getting a straight answer out of Scott "Comical Ali" McLellan is like squeezing road base through a blocked artery. E&P has the blow-by-blow at the press conference.

The debate is bringing up lots of useful ideas and quotes. David Corn says Rove is a hypocrite, citing these words from Rove just two months ago:
"Unless you have clear evidence to the contrary, commentators should answer arguments instead of impugning the motives of those with whom they disagree."
Hunter at Daily Kos says Karl Rove knows all about putting American troops, and American citizens, in danger, citing this example:
"I just got off the phone with Karl Rove, who said your wife was fair game."
-- MSNBC host Chris Matthews, in a phone call to Ambassador Joseph Wilson after the exposure of Wilson's wife as an undercover CIA operative.
Sadly, the one thing mostly likely to get lost in this debate is the fact that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Democrats (and others) really did try to understand why the attack took place. Remember the headlines, "Why Do They Hate Us?" As Kos says, Rove is right:
We want to understand.

We want to understand why Osama Bin Laden hasn't been captured? Why did the administration take its eyes off Al Qaida to invade Iraq? I mean, Al Qaida is the enemy Rove himself said we had to defeat. But we haven't.

Instead of defeating our enemies, we went to war against an impotent enemy -- Saddam. And yes, we want to understand. Like, why did they lie to go to war in Iraq? Why is that war still going, unabated? Why are we no closer to victory now, than we were in when Bush declared "mission accomplished"? Why don't our troops have proper ammo? Why aren't there enough boots on the ground in Iraq? Why are we still dying in Afghanistan?

He's right. I want to understand. I don't understand why the administration hasn't called for sacrifice. Why won't war supporters enlist? Why won't they encourage their circle of influence to enlist? Why won't they level with the American people, and give an honest assessment of what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan?

I don't understand how our nation, always the good guys, is now perceived as the "bad guy" the world over. I don't understand how torture has become a commonplace occurance inside facilities that bear the stars and stripes.
Meanwhile, Armando reminds us that when the Congress Democrats authorized Bush to declare war, the actual wording was:
authorize the use of United States armed forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States....

That the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Is it even possible to put a positive spin on these findings? You betcha! Pick your flavour of analysis:

CSM: US image in world recovers, slightly

IHT: The U.S. image abroad: Even China's is better
The Evidence Against Bush

This compilation of damning stories simply has got to be re-posted in full, from The Evidence File by LynnTheDem at ICH.
Rove: Dems Didn't Get 9/11 Consequences

"Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Rove said. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

Republicans, not being the brightest bulbs, decided to OUT-TERRORIST and OUT-SAVAGE the handful of SAUDI terrorists.

Yeah that sure was smart;

CIA: Iraq now a bigger terrorist threat than Afghanistan/binLaden

US Figures Show Sharp Global Rise In Terrorism

United States: Losing the War on Terror

Evidence that the US May Be Losing the Global War on Terror

US: Three Years On, War on Terrorism Looks Like a Loser

”We have a stronger jihadi presence in Iraq today than in March 2003,” noted Roger Cressey, the former director for Transnational Threats in Bush's National Security Council at a briefing at the libertarian Cato Institute earlier this week.

The 'War on Terrorism': Winning or Losing? Losing.

Terror threat to US called 'significant' - Apr 27, 2005

Global terror attacks triple in 2004

Worldwide terrorism-related deaths on the rise

US Losing the War on Terror in Iraq; The invasion of Iraq has increased, not decreased, the threat of terrorist attack

Occupation Made World Less Safe, Pro-War Institute Says

Iraq Invasion Hurt War on Terror

Musharraf: World more dangerous because of Iraq War

Blix Says Iraq War May Have Worsened Terror Threat

Poll: Aussies, Brits, Italians say Iraq war increased terrorism

Iraq intervention increased threat of terrorism

UK Government; Iraq war 'increased terror threat'

Iraq war has swollen ranks of al Qaeda

US State Department Corrects Report to Show Rise in Terrorism

Iraq has become a terrorist spawning ground, CIA admits

Iraq Conflict Feeds International Terror Threat

In the January CBS News poll, 62 percent thought that the threat of terror would increase if the U.S. takes military action against Iraq.

Was there any terrorist threat in Iraq BEFORE bush's illegal war of aggression?


In the judgement of the JIC there is no recent evidence of Iraq complicity with international terrorism."

"US scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and Al Aaida is so far frankly unconvincing."

Jack Straw; "In addition, there has been no credible evidence to link Iraq with UBL and Al Qaida."

"To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two. (al Qaeda & Iraq)"

Sky News (London): "One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?"

Bush: "I can't make that claim.'

Bush: No evidence Saddam Hussein involved in Nine-Eleven attacks

Rice: U.S. Never Said Saddam Was Behind 9/11

Rumsfeld sees no link between Saddam Hussein, 9/11

Wolfowitz: Iraq Was Not Involved In 9-11 Terrorist Attacks, No Ties To Al-Qaeda

Brent Scowcroft, one of the Republican Party’s most respected foreign policy advisors;

"Don't Attack Saddam. It would undermine our anti-terror efforts. There is scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks."

Allies Find No Links Between Iraq, Al Qaeda:

"What I'm asked is if I've seen any evidence of that. (Iraq links to al Qaeda) And the answer is: I haven't.” -British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who supports U.S. invasion & occupation of Iraq.

British Intelligence agencies, MI6 and MI5:

A dossier prepared by the two agencies “showed no discernible links between Iraq and al-Qaida,”

Richard Kerr, a former deputy CIA director who lead an internal review of the CIA's prewar intelligence;

the CIA has not found any proof of operational ties between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime.”

The White House’s own publication, A Decade of Defiance and Deception, makes no mention of Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda.

The 2002 congressional joint intelligence committee’s report on the Sept. 11 attacks revealed that the Bush administration had no evidence to support its claim that Saddam’s government was supporting al-Qaeda.

No proof links Iraq, al-Qaida, Powell says

According to a "top secret British document", quoted by the BBC "there is nothing but enmity between Iraq and Al Qaeda." The BBC said the leak came from intelligence officials upset that their work was being used to justify war." (quoted in Daily News, New York, 6 February 2003).

Iraq-al Qaeda links weak, say former Bush officials:

Three former Bush administration officials who worked on intelligence and national security issues have told National Journal that the prewar evidence tying al Qaeda to Iraq was tenuous, exaggerated, and often at odds with the conclusions of key intelligence agencies.

Split at C.I.A. and F.B.I. On Iraqi Ties to Al Qaeda:

"…analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency have complained that senior administration officials have exaggerated the significance of some intelligence reports about Iraq, particularly about its possible links to terrorism, in order to strengthen their political argument for war, government officials said."


"At the Federal Bureau of Investigation, some investigators said they were baffled by the Bush administration's insistence on a solid link between Iraq and Osama bin Laden|s network. "We've been looking at this hard for more than a year and you know what, we just don't think it's there," a government official said."

This is consistent with what they were saying back in October 2002.

"There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al Qaeda, ever."
-Richard Clarke, former terrorism chief under bush.

Iraq-al Qaeda ties have not been found:

Bush administration hyped sketchy and false evidence to push for war
The Bush administration’s claim that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda — one of the administration’s central arguments for a pre-emptive war — appears to have been based on even less solid intelligence than the administration’s claims that Iraq had hidden stocks of chemical and biological weapons.

Nearly a year after U.S. and British troops invaded Iraq, no evidence has turned up to verify allegations of Saddam’s links with al Qaeda, and several key parts of the administration’s case have either proved false or seem increasingly doubtful.

Iraq and al Qaeda: What Evidence?

Bush's own hand-picked Republican weapons hunter ISG, Dr. David Kay:

David Kay was on the ground for months investigating the activities of Hussein's regime. He concluded "But we simply did not find any evidence of extensive links with Al Qaeda, or for that matter any real links at all."

He called a speech where Cheney made the claim there was a link, as being "evidence free."

Israeli intelligence (the Moussad):

According to Israeli intelligence, Palestinians are still not connected to the global terror network, and neither is Iraq.”

Bush's second and final hand-picked Republican weapons hunter ISG, Dr. Charles Dueffler:

Report: No WMD stockpiles in Iraq, no capability since 1991, no evidence of ties to al Qaeda, no serious threat;


No evidence of Iraq-Al Qaeda ties: 9/11 commission

"CIA Review Finds No Evidence Saddam Had Ties to Islamic Terrorists"

You've made us all less safe now, while killing tens of thousands of innocent people, including Americans.

This report was compiled by LynnTheDem.
The New News

No doubt as frustrated as anyone by the lack of attention the Downing Street Memos have received in the USA, Michael Smith, the Sunday Times journalist who leaked the memos, has a new article in the LA Times spelling out exactly why the memos are important:
The way in which the intelligence was 'fixed' to justify war is old news.

The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress.
The article also reveals that the memos came from two different sources, and that Smith obtained the first batch in October last year, when he says he was still "a staunch supporter of the decision to oust Saddam Hussein".

Pity he didn't release them just before the US election in November. Who knows, they might even have gotten some coverage!

Story here: The Real News in the Downing Street Memos.
EU, UN Support The Myth

From the invaluable Robert Fisk:
The reality is that Iraq is more insecure than ever, that no foreigner dare now travel its highways, that few will venture into the streets of Baghdad. And we are told that things are getting better. And still we believe these lies. And still we fool ourselves in the movie-world of the Pentagon and the White House and Downing Street and, these days, the UN.

June 23, 2005

Talking point:

So what was the primary reason for the Iraq War?

We now know it wasn't really WMDs (PLAN A) or terrorism-related (PLAN B). It wasn't really all about spreading Democracy (PLAN C), or Bush would be putting more pressure (correction, any kind of pressure!) on Israel and reaching out to people in other dictatorships like Pakistan, Burma and Uzbequistan. If it was just about oil (Plan D), well... so far, it's been a hell of an expensive way to get it!

So was the real goal to establish new US military bases in the Middle East (PLAN E), given that the US was already being forced out of Saudi Arabia (a key post-9/11 demand from bin Laden)?

Or was it all just a good excuse for a war - any war - to boost Bush's standings at home, increase GOP power and ensure re-election (PLAN F)? This is a particularly insidious possibility, and suggests that more GOP-sponsored wars (albeit better planned, one hopes) will follow.

Or was it a cabal-like conglomeration of all the above, with various interested parties signing on to the illegal invasion for their own more-or-less-obscure motives? That last option is my own personal pick...
Do you want to know the Truth?

Some hard-hitting articles courtesy of Information Clearing House today.

First, a great piece by Robert Steinback in the Miami Herald:
Do you want to know? That's the only popular division that matters in the United States today: Those who want to determine once and for all if President Bush knowingly 'fixed the facts' regarding Iraq, thereby misleading Congress and the American people into supporting an unnecessary war, and those who will cover their ears and hum loudly in order to maintain their belief that Bush and his advisors remain above reproach.

You're in one camp or the other. Either you want to know if you've been lied to, or you don't.

The American public is inching tentatively toward a reckoning unlike any this nation has ever experienced.
From Paul Craig Roberts at Counterpunch:
Bush's Iraq war is the first war for which Americans have not known the reason. The reasons they were given by their president, vice president, secretary of defense, national security advisor, secretary of state, and the sycophantic media were nothing but a pack of lies.

The top secret British government memos leaked to a reporter at the London Sunday Times make it completely clear that prior to the invasion President Bush knew that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.

The memos make it completely clear that Saddam Hussein had no responsibility whatsoever for the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The memos make completely clear that the British government regarded the invasion of Iraq as a war crime. The memos show the British government scrambling to find some way of creating "cover" in order to obfuscate the illegality of the invasion that Prime Minister Tony Blair had promised Bush to support.
Roberts also lashes out at the "frightening insanity at the center of the Bush administration":
The neocons assured Americans that the war in Iraq would be a cakewalk over in three weeks!

The neocons told us that only 70,000 troops were needed to bring Iraq to heel!

Neocons fired the top generals who had truthfully told Congress that several hundred thousand troops, at least, would be needed!

Neocons told Congress that Iraqi oil would pay for the invasion and that America did not have to worry about the cost! So far that is a $300 billion mistake.

And Bush has retained and promoted these morons!

No one has been held accountable for this enormous disaster...

Will President Bush ever tell us the real reason why he committed America's treasure, the lives of American soldiers and the reputation of our country to war in Iraq?

Does he even know?
As Anwar Hussein suggests, it's time to dust off the Nuremberg files. Also from ICH, retired US Air Force colonel Sam Gardiner discusses how the Bush Administration is using Psychological Warfare against the U.S.A.. He reminds us of some other Bush lies about the Iraq War, lies that seem to have been widely forgotten lately:
A New York Times reporter was told by the Administration that Iraq was buying excess quantities of atropine to get ready for chemical warfare. It turns out the quantities were consistent with the Iraq use of the substance for routing medical purposes.

The President told us in a speech in Ohio that Iraq had drone aircraft that could possible deliver chemical weapons into the United States. When that facility was found, the officers reported that it looked more like a school project than a serious military program.

The Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told the Council on Foreign Relations that Iraq had the capability to attack US computers. They did not.

We were lead to believe a Navy pilot shot down during the first Gulf War was alive and being held in Baghdad. He was not.

We were told on the State Department web sit that Iraq was forming units of children to fight the United States. Iraq did not do that.

We were told the French were supplying air defense missiles to Iraq. That was not true...
Then there was the Jessica Lynch story, of course. And Gardiner mentions yet another illegal dimension to the war:
Most people don't know but the military is the only profession where it is illegal to lie. It is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for an officer to tell a lie. There were some officers who violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice as they marketed for the Administration.
It's great to hear the growing tone of confidence (and growing outrage) in these articles. At a time when polls show Bush's popularity plummeting to around 40% - and 59% of Americans now against the Iraq War - this perceptible shift in attitude suggests that people are starting to feel confident that Bush can be defeated, if not actually impeached and jailed.

That's the first step towards making it happen.

June 22, 2005

Does Reality Even Matter?

I've seen clouds from both sides now,
From near and far,
But still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall -
I really don't know clouds at all.

- Joni Mitchell

The illusory perception of reality is a dilemma which has long intrigued philosophers and commoners alike. What is reality? How do we know something is real and not just an illusion? How do we even know that the world is real, or that we ourselves are real?

Descartes in his pyjamas famously wrote: "I think, therefore I am." We are forced to assume that our perception of reality, although necessarily subjective, is sufficient basis for further rationalisation. Otherwise, everything becomes absurd and nothing whatsoever will stand up to further analysis, logical inspection or reasoning. Consciously or otherwise, we all make such a leap of faith as the basis for our understanding of reality.

But how can we prove something is real, if another person says that it is not? My view of reality and your view of reality will necessarily differ from time to time. This difference is often demonstrated by reviewing the testimonies of witnesses to a car accident - although a dozen people may have seen the incident occur, all may have widely varying beliefs about what actually happened. A detective trying to ascertain what really happened needs to analyze all these viewpoints in relation to other solid facts that can be universally verified by all (the tyre marks on the road, the broken windscreen...). By such means, an objective version of reality can be reached, proven and generally agreed upon by all parties. The acknowledgement of such an objective reality is the basis of civil society.

I like to think that this all has something to do with the purpose of our lives here on earth. Objective reality can be maddeningly frustrating sometimes, but it teaches us valuable lessons which help us grow as spiritual beings. We learn to understand and tolerate the differing viewpoints of others. We follow the road rules, remember our manners and generally obey the laws of the land because we understand the potential for chaos if everybody were to behave too selfishly. From all this, we develop a sense of right and wrong, good and bad, even good and evil.

Of course, not everybody respects or appreciates these lessons in co-operative altruism to the same degree. Some people stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the viewpoints, interests or feelings of others. Some people lie, cheat, steal and even murder, seemingly without guilt or remorse. Some of these people may be desperate because of poverty, illness or other pressures. Some may have lacked good teachers in their childhood - given careful mentoring, they can often be taught to change. Others, of course, are sociopaths, seemingly incapable of the mental leap required to empathise wtih another person's point of view. Others are simply insane.

Others, however, are relatively intelligent, well-educated and even wealthy, well-connected people who make a very conscious, deliberate decision to enforce their views on others, whatever the cost. Such are the neo-conservative ideologues who currently control the Bush White House. These people have taken the dark arts of political spin and pressure lobbying to bizarre new depths, relentlessly distorting or supressing facts in pursuit of their stated goal - turning the USA into a supreme, global empire with so much military and economic power that it cannot be challenged again, ever, by anyone (including, it now seems, its own citizens).


The key ideological component of neo-conservative philosphy was famously explained to New York Times reporter Ron Suskind by an un-named Bush aide:
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
The arrogance, the surreal, self-indulgent deception and the wilfully fantastic ignorance of such a statement is simply staggering. You can almost hear the inevitable crunch of reality - and here I'm talking about the shared, objective reality which has governed our universe for millenia, not the more recent Fox News version - coming down on this un-named aide's sneering little head. And yet, as events of the past few years have proved, this neocon mouthpiece was very nearly right.

Over the past decade, the neo-conservatives have infiltrated key government departments, media organisations, the judiciary and even foreign governments. They have closely aligned themselves with big business interests, fundamentalist Christian groups and powerful political insiders on both sides of US politics, to form what they themselves have laughingly called a "cabal". This cabal has hand-picked a malleable puppet president and squeezed him through not just one but two national elections, despite any number of horrific gaffes and tragic miscalculations. They have engineered a pre-emptive attack on a soveriegn nation, in contravention of international laws which the USA itself helped to set up only 50 years ago. They have torn down civil rights and liberties enshrined in the US Constitution for centuries, while building up a national deficit that will cripple the US economy for generations to come.

Amazingly, they have done all this (and much, much more) with the full and vocal support of a huge swathe of the US public. This has only been possible because of massive and relentless media support, aided and abetted by more subtle support from voices in the Christian right. These Bush supporters preach "moral values" while aggressively casting anyone who disagrees with them as a "terrorist", a "terrorist sympathizer", or - worse yet - a "liberal". It is a negative, fear-based modus operandi which will readily discard the truth in favour of any lie that scores a political hit or a 5-second sound-bite. Worse yet, the Bush cabal are always ready to launch an immediate, hysterical, over-the-top campaign of intimidation against anyone who dares criticize their antics.

Throughout Bush's term in office, in almost all areas of his administration, facts have been distorted, suppressed or just plain made up. The Iraq War itself has been nothing if not a war of propaganda from the moment it was conceived. Same goes for the "urgent" need for Social Security reform. Whatever it takes to steamroll the project through the US public's consciousness. The same disregard for truth characterized Bush's presidential bids: what was all that crap about being a uniter, not a divider? Bush's first 100 days were riddled with pre-planned, divisive policies and deliberately controversial decisions, even before 9/11 provided the perfect opportunity for the Mother Of All Lies.

The "Bush Bulge" story is a perfect example. The whole world saw a wireless transmitter stapped to Bush's back during the presidential TV debate, but the Bush White House insisted that there was no bulge, or it was just a rumple in the suit, or in the shirt, or it was a medical device, or something else, anything but the truth. Faced with such blatant dissembling, even the New York Times and Washington Post refused to publish the truth. Elizabeth Bumiller of the New York Times later insisted:
You can't just say the president is lying.
Why not? Every paper in the USA reported it when Clinton lied. Why can't you report the truth in Bush's USA? Who or what is stopping you? As websites like this haved proved again and again and again, Bush really is a liar!

If a tree falls in the Amazon rainforest on Bush's watch, but the New York Times does not report it, has it really fallen? Well, yes it has, as we are painfully learning - and when thousands and thousands of such rainforest trees fall, our climate changes inevitably for the worse. The same thing goes for icebergs melting in the Arctic Circle or bodies rotting on the streets of Baghdad. Ignoring truths does not make them any less true. It just increases our ignorance.

As former CIA agent Robert Steele says, "This administration has chosen to use the propaganda tools of Hitler, Goering, and Goebels." But no amount of propaganda can change the fact that the truth is still the truth, and will always remain the truth. Suppressing facts does not make them stop existing. Making up facts does not make them real.


So now to the Downing Street Memos, which prove that Bush's cabal fixed the intelligence around the facts to justify his illegal invasion of Iraq. Or do they?

Bush's team insist that the memos are "old news". The facts revealed in these memos are nothing new, they say. It's already been dealt with a long time ago. Let's move on to the next question... Meanwhile, the Bush cabal's fighting 101st Keyboard Brigade is busy spreading online rumours that the memos are fakes, even though they know this is not true. But what does that matter, as long as their propaganda gets through to the target audience?

The US media say they are not running the story of the Downing Street Memos because they don't prove anything that was not already widely known. Well, it's true that Knight Ridder was already quoting "senior administration officials" back in February, 2002 (five months before the memos), saying that Bush had already decided to go to war with Saddam:
"This is not an argument about whether to get rid of Saddam Hussein. That debate is over. This is ... how you do it."
Prescient reporting, non? Of course, we now know that the debate was over before it even began, which is why we are still having the debate today.

But do stories like this mean that the evidence contained in the memos is "old news"? Or is there actually a difference between anonymously-sourced reports and an official government memo, which quotes the head of British intelligence debreifing his UK cabinet colleagues about top-level conversations with the US leaders?

Why are we even having this debate?! What's wrong with this picture?!

Mark Danner at Alternet disects the Downing Street Memo and the media's wilfull ignorance of it. He quotes this section from a typically dismissive Michael Kinsley article, suitably titled "No Smoking Gun":
Of course, if 'intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy,' rather than vice versa, that is pretty good evidence of Bush's intentions, as well as a scandal in its own right. And we know now that was true and a half. Fixing intelligence and facts to fit a desired policy is the Bush II governing style, especially concerning the war in Iraq. But C offered no specifics, or none that made it into the memo. Nor does the memo assert that actual decision makers had told him they were fixing the facts.
As Danner wonders:
One might ask what would convince this writer, and many others, of the truth of what, apparently, they already know, and accept, and acknowledge that they know and accept. What could be said to establish "truth" -- to "prove it"?

... failing the discovery of a tape recording in which President Bush is quoted explicitly ordering George Tenet that he should "fix the intelligence and facts around the policy," many will never regard the case as proved -- though all the while accepting, of course, and admitting that they accept, that this is indeed what happened.
As always with the Bush cabal's arguments, the Orwellian logic is almost enough to drive you insane. But when the President himself declares that it's his job to "catapult the intelligence", what can you expect?

Unfortunately for the Bushites, feigning ignorance and stammering incoherent nonsense is not an acceptable method of dealing with the uncomfortable facts contained in these memos. And if the press won't cover the story because it's not "new" enough, we will make the story news. Those of us who still care about the truth are going to keep hammering and hammering this issue until it is properly addressed.

Just as the central issue of the lies that led us to war has refused to die, so too will the evidence provided in these damning memos continue to reverbrate. The truth will out.

June 21, 2005

"Fixing The Intelligence": Not Just A One-Off

Think Progress lists a dozen incidents where the Bush administration has deliberately suppressed or edited expert information on facts ranging from Climate Change to the Effectiveness of Condoms to Cattle Grazing - when is somebody going to sue the ass off the Bushites for this crap, you ask? Take a look at The Sierra Club website for starters...
Impeachment Time!

So what do these new Downing Street Memos actually mean? Given the new evidence, what should we do about it? The answer is pretty clear to me, although some in the anti-Bush/anti-war movement seem a little fuzzy at the moment (OK, it does take a bit of effort to get your head around the idea that the titular head of the USA is a War Criminal capable of such outrageously BIG lies).

What to do? Doug Thompson at Capitol Hill Blue says it loudly and clearly:
I, for one, don’t want a liar as my President. I don’t want a man who is willing to send 1700-plus Americans to their deaths in a war based on lies running what used to be the greatest nation on earth.

Yes, George W. Bush should be impeached. If we can impeach Bill Clinton for lying about spraying ejaculate all over an intern's face and dress then we can damn well impeach a President whose illegal actions qualify him as a war criminal.

Six months ago, I would have disagreed that Bush’s actions merited impeachment. But six months ago I had not read the Downing Street Memo or examined the other documents and information that support it. Bush continues to lie, Americans continue to die and it is time to put an end to both...

America might be able to survive until 2006 to replace the scandal-ridden GOP leadership of Congress but the country cannot afford to wait until 2008 to get rid of George W. Bush. His criminal acts merit immediate impeachment and then removal of office.

Then he should be tried as a traitor for his crimes. War criminals deserve no less.
Dave Zweifel at The Capital Times is also right on track.

Last week, the Wisconsin Democratic Party passed a resolution calling for the president's impeachment. The Green Party of the United States has been calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush since 2003. David Cobb is still pleading with the public:
"The Downing Street Memo confirms what we already knew -- that a conspiracy to deceive the American people led us into the war, and that this conspiracy constitutes 'high crimes and misdemeanors' according to the U.S. Constitution."
Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese have repeated the call in the Boston Globe:
The impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, should be part of mainstream political discourse...

The president and vice president have artfully dodged the central question: ''Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to Al Qaeda, suppressing contrary intelligence, and deliberately exaggerating the danger a contained, weakened Iraq posed to the United States and its neighbors?"

If this is answered affirmatively Bush and Cheney have committed ''high crimes and misdemeanors." It is time for Congress to investigate the illegal Iraq war as we move toward the third year of the endless quagmire that many security experts believe jeopardizes US safety by recruiting and training more terrorists. A Resolution of Impeachment would be a first step. Based on the mountains of fabrications, deceptions, and lies, it is time to debate the ''I" word.
Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Francis Boyle, Professor of Law, have already drafted an "Impeachment Resolution Against President George W. Bush" - sign it here!

Gerard Donnelly Smith at Axis of Logic cites John W. Dean's book "Worse Than Watergate" in providing this list of issues to be discussed at the impeachment:
1) lies to justify the War in Iraq,
2) leaking the name of a CIA operative.
3) Ohio election fraud,
4) authorizing the torture of prisoners,
5) the Downing Street Memo,
6) illegal wiretaps of UN diplomats,
7) authorizing the kidnapping of "terror" suspects,
8) depriving citizens of First Amendment rights during the 2004 campaign and during his so-called town-hall meetings,
9) using federal tax-dollars to plant stories in the press, and
10) transferring $700 million from the Afghanistan war budget to preparations for the Iraq war.
There's more, of course, like:

11) the secret "rendering" of terror suspects to known torturers, or
12) the failure to provide legal rights to captives in Gitmo and elswhere.

But is impeachment a real possibility, I hear you ask. A lengthy piece by four "constitutional scholars" at Salon.com debates the impeachment issue and concludes that the existing evidence will not be enough:
The Nader-DeLong position has no legs politically because Republicans in the House and Senate -- a majority in both houses, after all -- support the Bush administration's policy. And, because it has no legs politically, it has no legs legally either.
So the truth is irrelevant, and there is no legal remedy in the US Consitition for such monstrous deceit? The government can do what it likes, provided their propaganda machine keeps getting them across the line? That sounds like Fascism to me... The Salon.com piece says the impeachment process against Clinton was wilfully un-Constitutional and argues that Democrats should not repeat such a "nutty" "publicity stunt". Yet it also leave the legal door for impeachment open with this little caveat:
To be sure, it would be more than objectionable to find a clear demonstration that "intelligence and facts" were, in fact, "fixed" to support a predetermined course of war. We could even imagine circumstances in which such a demonstration would be a plausible basis for considering impeachment...
Well, folks, the impeachment process is meant to be an open forum where evidence is provided from a wide range of sources. Bush & Co can be forced to provide key documents, and even more whistleblowers will be sure to come forward in such an environment. Even if you disagree with my stance and do not accept that the crimes and misdemeanors listed above, including the Downing Street Memos, provide enough evidence per se for impeachment, there are still enough facts to warrant more serious discussion. The problem is, thanks to Bush's control or intimidation of the US media, we are not even getting that!

And heck, even GOP 501(c) groups like RealityCheck.org are ready to go along with an impeachment!
By all means, let's conduct an inquiry if the evidence warrants it....
So let's get going! Donnelly Smith even suggests a clever game plan for the lengthy political tussle of the impeachment process:
Whether or not impeachment proceedings will be enacted by this Congress is not the issue. The mid-term elections are the issue. Howard Dean, as the Chairman of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), has the opportunity to take back the House and the Senate, if he and his party can develop a platform that will appeal to the populace. Since the Bush Regime's approval ratings are low -- due to the aforementioned high crimes and misdemeanors -- Dean should make impeachment the DNC's rallying cry!

Shifting the balance in Congress, so that Democrats have even a slim majority will be enough to ensure that an impeachment resolution is passed. Giving the American public that opportunity should be Dean's and the DNC's primary goal. In order to remove the Bush Regime ASAP, American voters must, first, take back the Congress from the Republican "yes men" who have allowed these crimes to go unchallenged; second, demand that the 110th Congress impeach the bastards!
Of course, as Robert E. Meyer kindly reminds us:
An impeachment would put Dick Cheney in the Oval Office, and the libs already "know" that the Vice-President has always run the show anyway.
So we need Bush, Cheney, Rumseld, Rice and a whole host of others in the dock, stat. Let's start with Bush.

And let's get started now!

Click here to join 16 House members in demanding the IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL of U.S. troops from Iraq.

June 20, 2005

MemoGate: Where Now?

Following last weeks's hearings, Rep. John Conyers was turned away from the White House gates (pic here) when he attempted to deliver a letter sign by over half a million people demanding answers about the lies that led us to war.

Media coverage is picking up, slowly but steadily. Newsweek has a useful article here, although Ellis Henican at Newsday warns "don't get too excited." Even the US military paper Stars and Stripes has coverage.

Associated Press is giving local papers around the world lots of Downing Street Documents text to edit and publish as they please:

Memos: Postwar Iraq a Concern in Britain

U.S. War Plans Much-Discussed in Memos

2002 Memos Undercut British WMD Claims

Redford Says He Linked Deep Throat to FBI

But the big news today is two breaking stories. First, the Independent has reported that the US has used napalm-type firebombs during the Iraq War and lied about it to the British government.

Secondly, yet another leaked British Memo, this one giving detailed legal advice that the pre-war bombings of Iraq (designed to pressure Saddam into retaliation as much as to disable pre-war targets) were "illegal under international law" according to Blair's own Foreign Office.
The advice was first provided to senior ministers in March 2002. Two months later RAF and USAF jets began “spikes of activity” designed to goad Saddam Hussein into retaliating and giving the allies a pretext for war.

The Foreign Office advice shows military action to pressurise the regime was “not consistent with” UN law, despite American claims that it was...

Although the legality of the war has been more of an issue in Britain than in America, the revelations indicate Bush may also have acted illegally, since Congress did not authorise military action until October 11 2002.
The full text of the new memo is here. The story was again leaked by Michael Smith in the Sunday Times. What's he got for us next week, one wonders?

The news media cannot claim these memos are "single-sourced" or otherwise unverifiable, either. As AP reports:
The eight memos — all labeled "secret" or "confidential" — were first obtained by British reporter Michael Smith, who has written about them in The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times.

Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain paper and destroying the originals.

The AP obtained copies of six of the memos (the other two have circulated widely). A senior British official who reviewed the copies said their content appeared authentic. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secret nature of the material.
Michael Smith could turn out to be MemoGate's Bob Woodward, and his high-level "Deep Throat" source seems to have unending access to embarrassing government papers. This article from The Nation is today's MOST VIEWED opinion piece on Yahoo News:
There is painful irony in the fact that, during the same month that the confirmation of "Deep Throat's" identity has allowed the Washington Post to relive its Watergate-era glory days, that newspaper is blowing the dramatically more significant story of the "fixed" intelligence the Bush Administration used to scam Congress and US allies into supporting the disasterous invasion and occupation of

The years of the Bush presidency will be remembered as a time when American media, for the most part, practiced stenography to power --and when once-great newspapers became little more than what the reformers of another time referred to as "the kept press."

The Conyers letter... is an essential response to our contemporary media crisis. That it had to be written provides evidence of just how serious that crisis has grown.
The parallels to Watergate are further explored here and here.

So what now? It seems clear that the real pressure from these memos is aimed directly at Tony Blair, and there needs to be a lawsuit filed against his government in the UK, citing these memos as proof that he broke international law.

If Blair goes down in such a case, the pressue on Bush and other allies would be enourmous. Of course, legal cases being what they are, that could take years.

In the meantime, watch for John Conyers and the Big Brass Alliance to maintain the pressure. And do whatever you can to maintain media coverage of this critically important issue. Here's one small example.

We are building the perfect wave, folks, just as Bush's popularity plummets and Americans express increasing dissatisfaction with the whole Iraq misadventure.

June 18, 2005

Memo Gets More Mediocre Media Coverage

It's less than 24 hours since the Conyers hearings, but from what I can see so far, media coverage is disappointing. In fact, Congressman Conyers has lashed out at the Washington Post in particular, after it ran a single article by Dana Milbank, "Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War," which ridiculed the hearings and is littered with "mistakes, mischaracterizations and cheap shots":
In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war.
This is disappointing because Milbank is a sometimes excellent reporter with good Washington contacts, and capable of much better. The article suggests that Washington groupthink it alive and well among the press corpse and their politician drinking-buddies alike.

The Post doesn't even feature the hearings on today's front page, although Tom Cruise's proposal gets a headline and another Security Fix headline is not what you might think. What have these guys got to hide? Write to the Post and let them know what you think.

Newsday has an article which again is quite dismissive:
While the memo shows concern over Washington's attitude, there's no smoking gun.
The Christian Science Monitor has some useful links and background but not much more of substance, refusing to take a stance on the issue.

The Boston Globe does a better, if minimal, job, but it's still not front page news.

Hello!!! Have the lights totally gone out in Bush's USA? As usual, you might as well get your news from Al Jazeera.

In the UK, the Guardian predictably does much better than its US counterparts, while the BBC has more coverage including reader feedback (let 'em know what you think!).

Cindy Sheehan's speech, given at the hearings, is online here.

The entire Conyers hearings can be seen online here.

A final word today from Justin Raimondo:
The "smoking gun," so to speak, is the admission that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." We knew that, too, but this raises an important question: who was fixing the intelligence? It's time to start taking names.


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