July 24th, 2005 - by admin
Josh White and R. Jeffrey Smith / The Washington Post – 2005-07-24 02:34:25
White House Aims to Block Legislation on Detainees
Josh White and R. Jeffrey Smith / The Washington Post
(July 23, 2005) — The Bush administration in recent days has been lobbying to block legislation supported by Republican senators that would bar the US military from engaging in “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.
Vice President Cheney met Thursday evening with three senior Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to press the administration’s case that legislation on these matters would usurp the president’s authority and — in the words of a White House official — interfere with his ability “to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack.”
It was the second time that Cheney has met with Senate members to tamp down what the White House views as an incipient Republican rebellion. The lawmakers have publicly expressed frustration about what they consider to be the administration’s failure to hold any senior military officials responsible for notorious detainee abuse in Iraq and the US military prison at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba.
This week’s session was attended by Armed Services Chairman John W.
Warner (R-Va.) and committee members John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.). Warner and Graham last week chaired hearings that explored detainee abuse and interrogation tactics at GuantÃ¡namo Bay and the concerns of senior military lawyers that vague administration policies have left the door open to abuse.
Neither Cheney’s office nor the lawmakers would say exactly what was discussed at the meeting, citing a routine pledge of confidentiality. But Cheney has long been the administration’s chief defender of presidential prerogatives, and at the meeting he reiterated opposition to congressional intervention on the topic of detainee interrogations, according to a source privy to what happened.
The White House, in a further indication of its strong feelings, bluntly warned in a statement sent to Capitol Hill on Thursday that President Bush’s advisers would urge him to veto the $442 billion defense bill “if legislation is presented that would restrict the President’s authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice.”
The threat was a veiled reference to legislation drafted by McCain and being circulated among at least 10 Republican senators, Senate aides said. No effort has been made by McCain to cultivate Democratic support, although his aides predict he could get it easily. John Ullyot, a Warner spokesman, said that the senator has been working with McCain and Graham on detainee legislation and that “the matter continues to be studied.”
A spokeswoman for McCain, Andrea Jones, said yesterday that McCain plans to introduce the legislation next week. McCain, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has criticized the way detainees have been treated by US forces and is said by aides to want to cut off further abuse by requiring that the military adhere to its own interrogation rules in all cases.
One McCain amendment would set uniform standards for interrogating anyone
detained by the Defense Department and would limit interrogation techniques
to those listed in the Army field manual on interrogation, now being revised.
Any changes to procedures would require the defense secretary to appear before
It would further require that all foreign nationals in the custody or effective control of the US military must be registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross — a provision specifically meant to block the holding of “ghost detainees” in Iraq, in Afghanistan or elsewhere. The provision would not apply to detainees in CIA custody at nonmilitary facilities.
Military investigations into the abuse in 2003 of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad disclosed that dozens were held without being registered at numerous prisons; the administration has said it needed to do so to conduct interrogations in isolation and to hide the identity of prisoners from other terrorists.
Another McCain amendment prohibits the “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” of anyone in the custody of the US government. This provision, modeled after wording in the UN Convention Against Torture which the United States has already ratified — is meant to overturn an administration position that the convention does not apply to foreigners outside the United States.
Graham, who has been outspoken on the need for Congress to get involved in the issue of detainee treatment, said in an interview that he intends to pursue additional amendments that would define the term “enemy combatant” for purposes of detention and regulate the military trials of detainees held at GuantÃ¡namo Bay.
Graham said he believes that his amendment would strengthen the president’s ability to pursue the war on terror because it would give congressional support to the process of prosecuting detainees after they are transferred to
Cuba, an issue that has been hotly contested in federal courts. “Every administration is reluctant to not have as much authority as possible,” Graham said,
adding that he has gotten mixed signals from the White House. “But we need
congressional buy-in to GuantÃ¡namo.”
The Republican effort is intended partly to cut off an effort by Senate Democrats to attach more stringent demands to the defense bill regarding detainees. One group, led by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), has proposed an amendment
calling for an independent commission — similar to the Sept. 11 commission — to look into administration policies on interrogation and detainee abuse.
TELL CONGRESS THE PRESIDENT HAS NO RIGHT OF TORTURE
There is a strong bipartisan move afoot in Congress to limit the power of the president to torture detainees in our name, specifically to bar the U.S. Military from engaging in “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”.
Does it surprise anyone that this out of control administration is threatening to VETO the whole defense bill if can’t continue to commit war crimes? If we do not speak out they are our crimes as well. Why don’t you tell your members of Congress to stand tall and stand together?
This is especially meaningful in the context of the hearings Friday where seasoned intelligence operatives stepped forward to testify that GOOD intelligence comes from building relationships over decades with foreign sources on a TRUST basis, not by pulling off the people’s fingernails.
It is precisely the rest of the world’s confidence in our intelligence agencies that the outing by administration officials of one of our own top secret undercover agents has so wantonly destroyed for petty political purposes.
And they did it AGAIN by outing a key inside source whose information would have prevented the recent British transit attacks. We are getting bad intelligence from administration policies that are doing nothing but destroy our country and our respect in the civilized world. Please tell Congress to demand that the torture must STOP.
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July 24th, 2005 - by admin
Marie Cocco / Joplin Globe – 2005-07-24 02:18:25
WASHINGTON (July 20, 2005) — Michael Chertoff scares me. That’s good, because Tom Ridge was just making us laugh.
Chertoff, the new homeland security chief, has been making the rounds in the past week after months immersed in the broken bureaucracy he inherited from Ridge. He’s thrown out the childish props that provided so much raw material for late-night comics. No duct tape for him.
Chertoff knows that few of the most visible “homeland security” measures the Bush administration made so much of after 9/11 are going to help. Certainly not the color-coded national threat-o-meter, which made people in Minnesota think they needed to worry as much as people in Manhattan. Not the 30-minute, no-stand rule aboard airliners flying in and out of Washington’s Reagan National Airport. Soon we may hear it is no longer necessary to force toddlers to remove their Shrek sneakers before boarding.
Chertoff is a serious man who insists upon talking about such serious possibilities as an attack involving nuclear materials, and the need for his department to have a chief medical officer to “mitigate” the effects of a biological attack. Listening to Chertoff, you sense that he agrees with just about every police official who popped up on TV in the days immediately after the London bombings. We can’t prevent every attack, they said.
So in Chertoff’s view, the federal government’s job is to try to prevent — and respond to — the worst of the worst-case scenarios. It is a sober idea, and altogether impolitic. The homeland security secretary came under fire from urban lawmakers, particularly those from New York, who took umbrage with his musings about the need to put a priority on preventing an attack that would involve mass casualties, rather than “a bomb in a subway car (that) may kill 30 people.”
The logic is reasonable. But it leads inevitably to a judgment no one dares speak.
Four years after 9/11, we are saying effectively that we are not winning the “war on terror.” What other explanation is there for a homeland security chief — a man so competent that his public statements cannot hide his conclusions — who has so much to worry about that he cannot really concern himself with a subway bombing?
Or ask the question another way, perhaps the way Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked it in October 2003: “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?” Obviously not.
The Madrid and London transit attacks, not to mention the Iraq insurgency, give lie to any assertion that we somehow are gaining ground in a “war” we seem to insist can be won through military means. It cannot. We eliminated the Afghan training camps, only to get word that England’s homegrown bombers went to Pakistan — a nation the White House counts as an ally — for terrorist indoctrination or training or both.
President Bush continues to repeat the creed that we are fighting terrorists in Iraq so that we do not have to fight them here at home. But Britain, too, is fighting in Iraq. So was Spain at the time of the Madrid attack. Did that make Britons and Spaniards safer?
What of the notion that the terrorists “hate our freedoms,” as the president has famously asserted, and detest our way of life? The presumed London suicide bombers were themselves free, most of them born and bred in Britain. One had just received the gift of a red Mercedes sedan. The attackers turned against family and country, but there is no indication they sought to impose a fundamentalist theocracy upon England out of sheer hatred for democratic capitalism.
For four years the president has recited mantras and called them counterterrorism policies. They aren’t. First they were speeches with sound bites meant to soothe voters during his re-election campaign. And since then, the repetition has been meant to placate a public increasingly ill at ease with the Iraq War. They omit any reference to U.S. policy in the Middle East, a political grievance that terrorist trainers exploit with ease.
Now the homeland security chief tells us we continue to be at risk for a catastrophe that troubles his sleep far more than the prospect of a bomb or two on a subway or bus. Chertoff manages to instill faith in his own stewardship, while simultaneously undermining confidence in the president he serves.
Address correspondence to Marie Cocco, Washington Post Writers Group, Box 500, Washington, D.C. 20071.
July 24th, 2005 - by admin
Sacred Land News and Action Alert – 2005-07-24 02:12:15
A New Vision for the West Berkeley Shellmound Home Page
Monday, July 25th is National Senate Call-in Day to Oppose Tax Support for Nuclear Power Expansion and Radioactive Waste Dumps on Native Land
Sacred Land News and Action Alert
“Native people have borne the brunt of America’s past energy policy, from uranium mining in the southwest to massive hydro-electric projects in the sub-arctic. It is time for energy justice, and it is time for a new energy policy.”
— Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth Program Director
With an imminent final vote on a national energy policy, musicians Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls, actor James Cromwell and Native American political advocates Winona LaDuke and Margene Bullcreek will hold a Capitol Hill press briefing luncheon on July 25 at 11:30 AM to express their strong opposition to congressional efforts to resuscitate nuclear power with billions of dollars in federal tax subsidies.
The groups will highlight the dangers and failure of nuclear power by drawing particular attention to pending federal plans to dump 44,000 tons of high-level radioactive waste on Skull Valley Goshute sacred land in Utah.
• For more information:
and please sign the Sustainable Energy Petition at
Monday, July 25th is National Call-In Day – Please Call!
This coming Monday, July 25, call your Senators to voice your opposition to the energy bill, demand an end to taxpayer funding of nuclear power, and ask Congress to address its failure to oversee the proposed Private Fuel Storage high-level waste dump on Skull Valley Goshute land in Utah.
• Capitol Switchboard: 1-202-224-3121
Toll-Free Numbers: 1-888-355-3588 or 1-877-762-8762
ª To learn more about alternatives to current US energy policy on Native American lands, read Honor the Earth’s initiative on Energy Justice at http://www.honorearth.org/initiatives/energy.html
• California Bond Measure — Letters Needed!
SB 153 Could Protect “Cultural Landscapes”
California State Senator Wes Chesbro (D, Northwestern CA area) is sponsoring legislation to authorize major funding for environmental preservation initiatives. A coalition of Native American and environmental organizations is requesting that specific language be inserted in the bill (SB 153) that defines “Cultural Landscape.”
Additionally, we are requesting that the budget allocation be increased by 50%, and of the increased amount $50 million be allocated to support preservation of cultural landscapes. Please send a letter to Senator Chesbro (full sample letter follows).
• To read the text of the bill:
Here is sample text for a letter to Senator Chesbro.
July 22, 2005
The Honorable Senator Wes Chesbro
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Senate Bill 153 and California’s Cultural Landscapes
Dear Senator Chesbro:
I am writing to urge you to include policy language and increased funding in SB 153 to protect California’s rapidly vanishing cultural landscapes.
State bond funding has just begun to make a contribution toward the preservation of California’s rich legacy of archaeological, tribal, historical, and ethnographic resources complementing a long history of funding natural resource protection. Unfortunately, the State has been much less successful at protecting and preserving those places where natural and cultural resource values coexist, places we call cultural landscapes.
The 2000-2005 California Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan identified the preservation of cultural landscapes and Traditional Cultural Properties as a key preservation issue. Likewise, the Draft California Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan for 2006-2010 includes cultural landscapes as one of 12 key preservation issues in California, concluding that “the state faces many challenges and obstacles to the preservation of its important cultural landscapes.”
The Draft plan includes the specific goal to “Promote the identification and protection of California’s significant cultural landscapes and landscape features.”
State funding for cultural landscape preservation continues to lag well behind even the limited funding for preservation of historic structures. Your leadership is needed now to enhance funding levels for these important places and ensure that funding is dedicated for this purpose.
I strongly urge you to support a 50% increase in the level of funding currently allocated in SB 153 for cultural heritage resources. I further support including language in the legislation that explicitly directs that increase ($50 million) be granted to support preservation of California’s rich cultural landscapes by defining “cultural landscapes” under Section 5096.705 of Article I as follows:
“Cultural landscape” means a geographic area that includes cultural and natural resources associated with an historic event, activity, cultural practice or belief, person or group of people.
Language specific to supporting cultural landscape preservation under 5096.720 (g) will ensure that the funds are used for the purpose for which they were intended and not diverted to other funding categories, no matter how worthy.
Finally, I encourage you to incorporate language into this section, similar to that in the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEMP) and other Federal environmental programs, that creates a positive incentive to fund natural resources projects that include a cultural or historic component.
As California’s population continues to grow and develop, it is increasingly important that the State invest in those resources most at risk. Cultural landscapes are particularly vulnerable to social, economic, and environmental changes. Funding for the protection and preservation of cultural landscapes would address these threats and fill a critical gap in the state’s current resource protection efforts.
Christopher (Toby) McLeod
Sacred Land Film Project
PO Box C-151
La Honda, CA 94020 USA
A New Vision for the West Berkeley Shellmound Home Page
a project of Earth Island Institute
Our documentary film on threatened sacred places, In the Light of Reverence is distributed by Bullfrog Films: 1-800-543-3764
July 23rd, 2005 - by admin
Prof. Leon Wofsy / Portside – 2005-07-23 09:53:19
(July 15, 2005) — The July 1st joint statement by China and Russia on “21st Century World Order” merits serious attention. Some may be inclined to dismiss it, because in many respects, the record of China and Russia (like that of all world powers) falls far short of the vision the statement projects.
Nevertheless, it hits head-on the overriding issue of at least the next several decades: the choice between a superpower effort to impose a unipolar “world order” that inevitably yields war and chaos and a multi-faceted alternative approach that opens doors to arange of innovative developments toward world peace and social progress.
There are many aspects of the joint statement that warrant scrutiny, but let’s focus here on the historic significance of the clash between contrasting approaches to “world order” in this new century. That is of great consequence to everyone who hopes that a different and better world can emerge despite present calamitous circumstances. It’s especially worth contemplating for those of us who have long conceived of the future from a socialist perspective.
Bush Sr. Calls for a ‘New World Order’
The call for a “new world order” (words recycled from a frightful past) was advanced by father Bush at the end of the Cold War. Since then the underlying assumption in US military and economic policy isthat a “new world order” can be imposed by virtue of superpower might and universal accommodation to US global “leadership”. But the notion that an American President and a few obedient heads of state can take control of world affairs is proving to be a direct route to an unending state of war and disaster.
The failure of the aggressive militaristic crusade that equates “order” with US global control is everywhere in evidence, although a stubborn Bush regime persists without let-up. Most of the world rejects war and resents the arrogant ideology of US hegemony. There is growing disenchantment at home as staggering costs and casualties mount, and the toll of innocent victims of war and terrorism escalates with no end in sight.
Without doubt, the future depends first of all on strong rejection ofthe Bush regime’s ultra-reactionary international and domestic objectives. That’s a big mountain peak to scale, but there are many signs (including on going changes in attitudes of most Americans) that it can be done. In that process, questions will arise concerning transition to a genuinely different world outlook.
The unipolar superpower model of “world order” operates in conjunction with the institutions of global capitalism to try tofreeze out any alternative pathways of social development. That, beyond its terrible human costs and futility, is ultimately its most damaging aspect.
Thus, even when the people of any country try to take control of their destiny, the governments they bring into power by revolution or reform are pressured to adapt to the prevailing world power structure. No government can ignore the sole superpower and the pressures of global capitalist arrangements. Even the limited elbow room for alternative social experiments that was possible during the Cold War is diminished. The “real world” compels compromise or distortion of ideals or both.
Beyond the absolute necessity that America and the world turn away from the Bush regime’s plunge into catastrophe, the key to the future is to establish conditions that permit nations and people everywhere to create pathways of social progress within a framework of international cooperation.
The ideas and principles of that kind of world order, as opposed to the unipolar straitjacket, are not new or unique to the Sino-Russian statement, although they are well expressed there and brought up to date from what can be read in the UN Charter.
What is new for the first time since the end of the Cold War is that the superpower way is becoming badly discredited and conditions are shaping up for a major adjustment in global realities over the next couple of decades.
There is no mistaking the rejection by the vast majority of people around the world of the notion that problems can be solved by war and bullying.
Bush’s Aggression Has Earned Universal Distrust of US
The Bush regime’s aggressive over reach has earned it universal distrust and condemnation to a degree never before directed at an American president. Nor is it likely that any future President of neoliberal persuasion can bring the world into line with a superpower agenda of imperial supremacy.
The momentum of globalization and the information explosion has accelerated the economic and political emergence of some formerly “third world” countries as rising world powers, even as it has expanded the shameful gap between rich and poor.
New regional alliances are surfacing that are a potential challenge to superpower dominance and the exclusivity of the global institutions that dictate rules of world economy and finance.
Most important for the future is the rising tide of “people power”, popular movements that are bringing about political transformation in a number of countries. Perhaps most significantly in Latin America, this popular upsurge expresses deep anti-capitalist outrage and the determination to achieve a more equitable social system.
The thirst for freedom that Bush seeks to exploit rhetorically and manipulate conspiratorially is clearly not a processhe can control. All of these varied developments have the potential to reach a critical mass that would alter international relations and even breath new life into the United Nations.
Of all people, socialists cannot overlook the enormous significance of contrasting approaches to “world order” in the first part of the21st century. At this juncture in history, the need is to unfreeze capitalism’s blockage of humanity’s search for new paths of social development.
A climate has to be secured that permits the people of South Africa and Brazil and Cuba and China — and, for that matter,of the United States and Europe — to explore and choose their wayforward.
What social experiments modify or replace the presentcapitalist order will vary from place to place, diverse in form and tempo according to different circumstances and cultural histories. The search is not for some uniform ultimate model, but for societies that are driven by commitment to human needs and aspirations rather than by the greed of an elite minority.
If a multitude of factors (popular movements most of all) mitigate the present international imbalance in power so that a multilateral approach to world problems and community takes hold, the doors to social progress and creativity will be open.
People will find theirways forward even if the ultimate goal of a whole world free of exploitation, racism and human misery is a project in progress beyond the lifetime of a few generations. The socialist perspective is meaningful in finding transitions to a better world, and its vision ofthe future can embody and inspire humanity’s hopes along the way.
Leon Wofsy is a retired professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley.
portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a news, discussion and debate service of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It aims to provide varied material of interest to people on the left.
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July 23rd, 2005 - by admin
Judd Legum, Faiz Shakir, Nico Pitney, Mipe Okunseinde and Christy Harvey / www.progressreport.org – 2005-07-23 09:38:23
(July 18, 2005) — On July 18, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began three days of hearings on Iraq — the committee’s 27th set of hearings on the war. As high as that number is, it is an important and positive step that Congress begin to take the lead on shaping Iraq policy.
The Bush administration steadfastly refuses to be straightforward and honest about the nature of its policies in Iraq, and the progress it is achieving. Just this week, three more fundamental White House claims regarding the US mission in Iraq were rocked by news reports.
THE TERRORISM MYTH — IRAQ WAR HAS ENHANCED US NATIONAL SECURITY:
There is yet more evidence that the war on Iraq — the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism strategy — has actually had the very opposite effect, not only inciting more terrorist acts but creating new terrorists. A series of studies by the Saudi Arabian government and an Israeli think tank show that “the vast majority of … foreign fighters [in Iraq] are not former terrorists and became radicalized by the war itself.”
The Boston Globe added that the studies, “which together constitute the most detailed picture available of foreign fighters, cast serious doubt on President Bush’s claim that those responsible for some of the worst violence are terrorists who seized on the opportunity to make Iraq the ‘central front’ in a battle against the United States.” Writing for the New York Times Magazine, former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke pointed to another new study by the Canadian Intelligence Security Service which “reportedly says that terrorists trained in Iraq are likely to be involved in attacks in other countries.”
In other words, we now know that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was wrong on both counts when she said one week ago, “I don’t think that anything is being fueled [by the war in Iraq] except the fact that the terrorists are finally being confronted.” The Iraq war is indeed fueling terrorism, and the terrorists are not “finally” being confronted because many of them weren’t involved in terrorism until the Iraq war was launched.
THE DEMOCRACY MYTH — IRAQI ELECTIONS WERE FREE AND FAIR:
In last month’s major Iraq address, President Bush recalled that “In January 2005, more than eight million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair.” Iraq’s elections may have been free, but according to the New Yorker‘s Seymour Hersh, they were not at all fair, thanks directly to President Bush.
Hersh reports that in the months leading up to Iraq’s January elections, President Bush approved a plan for covert US agents to support Iraqi candidates and political parties. The plan was purportedly rescinded, the New York Times reports, after congressional opposition led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But “the Bush Administration decided to override Pelosi’s objections and covertly intervene in the Iraqi election,” Hersh reports. “A former national-security official told me that he had learned of the effort from ‘people who worked the beat’ — those involved in the operation.”
This version of the story is reinforced by the National Security Council’s vague statement released this past weekend, which denied that the administration covertly helped “individual candidates for office.” As the Times noted, the statement leaves open “the question of whether any covert help was provided to parties favored by Washington, an issue about which the White House declined to elaborate.”
THE PROGRESS MYTH — HIGH-INTENSITY VIOLENCE ON THE DECLINE:
On July 8, Maj. Gen. William Webster, who oversees coalition forces in Baghdad, announced that the ability of insurgents “to conduct sustained, high-intensity operations, as they did last year, we’ve mostly eliminated that.” Tragically, though not unexpectedly, Maj. Gen. Webster’s remarks were disproven in gruesome fashion. During the next ten days, insurgents struck Baghdad with acts “so profoundly violent that the country seem[ed] to pause, trying to fathom what happened.”
In one such attack, a suicide bomber “drove a stolen truck full of liquefied gas onto the central square, opened its valves, and blew himself up, setting off a firestorm that torched 20 cars and set shops and buildings ablaze.” At least 71 people were killed, another 156 wounded.
Another brutal suicide attack killed some two dozen school children. This past weekend, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, “the most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq, asked the [Iraqi] government ‘to defend this country against the mass annihilation,'” the New York Times reports. Another prominent Shiite religious leader warned yesterday that the country was “slipping into all-out civil war.”
PLAMEGATE: What We Learned This Past Weekend
On Sunday, John Podesta, CEO and president of the Center for American Progress and former Clinton chief of staff, appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press to debate Ken Mehlman, former White House deputy to Karl Rove. Podesta asserted that the White House’s credibility “is in shreds” due to recent disclosures that prove false White House assurances in 2003 that Rove was not involved in the Valerie Plame leak. For his part, Mehlman reserved the right to smear the special prosecutor conducting the leak investigation.
When asked by host Tim Russert whether he would pledge not to attack the special prosecutor if he indicts any White House officials, Mehlman, despite asserting his “tremendous confidence” in the prosecutor, said he could not “speculate” on what his reaction would be. Here’s what else we learned this weekend :
ROVE MAY HAVE KNOWN INFO WAS DECLASSIFIED:
In an article written in this week’s Time magazine entitled “What I Told the Grand Jury,” Matt Cooper reviews his notes from a telephone conversation in July 2003 before Robert Novak outed Valerie Plame. Cooper writes, “The notes, and my subsequent e-mails, go on to indicate that Rove told me material was going to be declassified in the coming days that would cast doubt on Wilson’s mission and his findings.” Cooper then goes on to say, “When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don’t know.”
The mere admission by Rove that he knew information was classified directly contradicts his lawyer’s assertion that Rove “never knowingly disclosed classified information.” We already knew, from a previous Matt Cooper e-mail, that Rove “knowingly disclosed” the identity of Plame, and it appears we now know the Rove knew it was “classified.” At the end of the telephone conversation, Cooper reported that Rove cryptically ended the conversation by saying: “I’ve already said too much.”
CHENEY’S CHIEF OF STAFF WAS A LEAKER:
I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, current chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, was identified as a leaker by Matt Cooper. On Meet the Press, Cooper acknowledged that he called Libby for confirmation of the Plame story, and Libby said, “‘Yeah, I’ve heard that too’ or words to that effect.” Scott McClellan said on October 10, 2003, that he had spoken with Libby and was assured by Libby that he was not involved. Either Libby lied to McClellan or McClellan isn’t being truthful with the public.
PURPOSE OF CALL BETWEEN COOPER AND ROVE WAS NOT TO TALK ABOUT WELFARE REFORM:
After speaking with Rove’s attorney Robert Luskin, National Review Online reported, “According to Luskin, the fact that Rove did not call Cooper; that the original purpose of the call, as Cooper told Rove, was welfare reform … [was an indication] ‘that this was not a calculated effort by the White House to get this story out.'”
Cooper upends this argument. He writes in Time that earlier that week, he “may have left a message with [Rove’s] office asking if I could talk to him about welfare reform. But I can’t find any record of talking about it with him on July 11, and I don’t recall doing so.”
Another National Security Leak That Deserves Investigation
Last August, just as the Democratic National Convention was wrapping up, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced that he was raising the terror alert status to orange due to an “unusually specific” threat against specific buildings, including the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan and the International Monetary Fund building in Washington, DC.
When pressed to explain why the threat level was raised, US officials revealed that the intelligence had been garnered from an al Qaeda agent named Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan. “US officials told reporters that someone held secretly by Pakistan was the source of the bulk of the information justifying the alert. The New York Times obtained Khan’s name independently, and US officials confirmed it when it appeared in the paper the next morning.” These leaks revealed that an al Qaeda agent, who had been apprehended one month earlier, had been cooperating with British intelligence officials to help authorities track down al Qaeda militants in Britain.
The disclosure of the mole’s identity caused British officials to move in and arrest suspects before they were ready; other militants are believed to have gotten away and still others who may have been subsequently detected went underground.
The leak of Khan’s identity has drawn renewed attention in the wake of the London terror bombings as concerns have been raised that the leak may have foiled attempts to disrupt those attacks. Shortly after the disclosure, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked the White House to explain why the name of Khan was revealed. The London bombings should cause a renewed investigation into the Khan leak.
LONDON BOMBERS MAY HAVE TIES TO LEAK:
After Ridge’s announcement in August, the media reported that the source of the information which caused the raised terror alert was information obtained from al Qaeda agent and computer expert Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan. “After his capture he admitted being an al Qaeda member and agreed to send e-mails to his contacts,” a Pakistani intelligence source told Reuters. “He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He’s a great hacker and even the US agents said he was a computer whiz.”
Pakistani intelligence officials were using Khan to track down al Qaeda operatives worldwide. US intelligence officials are believed to have revealed the name of Khan, and Condi Rice, appearing on CNN, confirmed that his name was disclosed “on background” by US officials to the media.
Khan led authorities to another militant named Ahmed Khalfan Ghailini. Officials reported at the time of the Khan’s and Ghailini’s arrests that their computers contained photographs of potential targets including “underpasses beneath London buildings.”
At the time, British officials thought they had foiled a London subway plot by arresting more than a dozen Britons of Pakistani descent. ABC News terrorism consultant Alexis Debat reported that the London bombers may be tied directly to the leaking of Khan’s name. “It is very likely this group was activated last year after the other group was arrested,” Debat said.
LEAK ANGERED BRITISH BECAUSE IT FORCED MILITANTS UNDERGROUND:
Because Khan’s name was leaked prematurely, British officials were forced to move to apprehend militants before they would have preferred. Ridge said the leaking of intelligence in the US about alleged terrorist suspects here was a “regrettable disclosure.” Senator George Allen (R-VA) said: “In this situation, in my view, they should have kept their mouth shut and just said, ‘We have information, trust us.'”
One intel official speaking anonymously said, “Let me say that this intelligence leak jeopardized our plan and some al-Qaida suspects ran away.” At least five al Qaeda militants are believed to have escaped capture. Another terrorism researcher said, “other serious sources could have been detected or guys could have been captured in the future” if Khan’s identity had been protected.
The LA Times reported in August 2004, “British security officials are angry over recent US revelations of terrorist threats and arrests, said Paul Beaver, an international defense analyst based in London. He said the attitude among some British intelligence officials was that the ‘Americans have a very strange way of thanking their friends, by revealing names of agents, details of plots and operations.'” The London bombings demonstrate the British were right to be angry.
UNDER THE RADAR
HOMELAND SECURITY — REAL ID TO BE REALLY EXPENSIVE:
In a move that has been called “short-sighted” and “ill-conceived,” conservatives in Congress enacted the already controversial REAL ID act into law by tagging it onto an $82 billion spending bill.
The legislation has left many of the nation’s governors fuming as “motorists are going to see costs skyrocket for driver’s licenses and motor vehicle offices forced to operate like local branches of the FBI.” For example, state motor vehicle offices will be required to verify that license applicants are American citizens or legal residents, far beyond their current duties.
“It’s outrageous to pass this off on the states,” said Republican Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, incoming chairman of the National Governors Association. “You’re essentially asking the front-line clerks at the DMV to become an INS agent and a law enforcement agent.” (For more information on the real problems with REAL ID, read the transcript of the Center for American Progress’s recent event debating the issue.)
IMMIGRATION — THE MINUTEMAN PROJECT, REVISITED:
Inspired by the original success of the Minuteman Project, which drew hundreds of vigilantes together to patrol the Mexican border, at least 40 similar anti-immigration groups have now popped up nationally. And while the original idea had more than its fair share of problems, the movement seems to have sunk to a new low.
One group leading patrols in California raised eyebrows when it suggested its members brings baseball bats, mace, pepper spray, machetes and even guns to guard the border. Response has been tepid, to say the least-even from the Department of Homeland Security.
“Homeland security is a shared responsibility, and the department believes the American public plays a critical role in helping to defend the homeland,” agency spokesman Jarrod Agen said from Washington. “But as far [as] doing an investigation or anything beyond giving us a heads-up, that should be handled by trained law enforcement.”
CONTRACT CORRUPTION —
CONTRACTOR AND INTELLIGENCE CENTER A LITTLE TOO CLOSE:
The recent investigation into the financial misdealings of Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) has uncovered even more evidence of corruption at the defense contracting firm MZM Inc. The Washington Post reports, “Two months after MZM Inc. was given its first order in October 2002 to perform services for the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC), the company hired the son of the center’s senior civilian official, Executive Director William S. Rich Jr.”
Following suit, the senior Rich joined MZM after resigning from NGIC in September 2003. The Ethics in Government board subsequently barred Rich from having any dealings with NGIC for one year after his employment. NGIC is already facing serious inquiries from the director of national intelligence for its prewar mistakes in analyzing Iraq’s weapons program.
Three weeks ago, the Pentagon cut off MZM’s main contract, under which the NGIC work was performed.
CIVIL LIBERTIES — FBI GOES THE WAY OF BIG BROTHER:
In what civil rights and antiwar groups say is an attempt to stifle political opposition to the Bush administration, the FBI’s counterterrorism unit has collected at least 3,500 internal documents from the ACLU, Greenpeace, and similar organizations.
Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that “agents monitored web sites calling for protests against the 2004 political conventions.”
Though FBI officials declined to comment, the affected groups’ leaders are furious over what they see as activity that blurs the line between terrorism and legitimate protest.
“Why would the FBI collect almost 1,200 pages on a civil rights organization engaged in lawful activity?” asked ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, of the FBI’s files on his own organization. “What justification could there be, other than political surveillance of lawful First Amendment activities?”
Over the weekend, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) proposed the bombing of Mecca and other Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists were to attack the United States with nuclear weapons.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
July 23rd, 2005 - by admin
Reuters – 2005-07-23 09:20:25
LONDON (July 20,2005) – Scientists are questioning the safety of a Star Wars-style riot control ray gun due to be deployed in Iraq next year.
The Active Denial System weapon, classified as “less lethal” by the Pentagon, fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam at rioters to cause heating and intolerable pain in less than five seconds.
The idea is people caught in the beam will rapidly try to move out of it and therefore break up the crowd.
But New Scientist magazine reported on Wednesday that during tests carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, participants playing the part of rioters were told to remove glasses and contact lenses to protect their eyes.
In another test, they were also told to remove metal objects like coins from their clothing to avoid local hot spots developing on their skin.
“What happens if someone in a crowd is unable for whatever reason to move away from the beam,” asked Neil Davison, coordinator of the non-lethal weapons research project at Britain’s Bradford University.
“How do you ensure that the dose doesn’t cross the threshold for permanent damage? Does the weapon cut out to prevent overexposure?,” he added.
The magazine said a vehicle-mounted version of the weapon named Sheriff was scheduled for service in Iraq in 2006 and that US Marines and police were both working on portable versions.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
July 22nd, 2005 - by admin
my Goodman / Democracy Now – 2005-07-22 08:27:59
(July 19, 2005) — Pulitzer prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reports that President Bush authorized covert plans last year to support the election campaigns of Iraqi candidates and political parties with close ties to the White House. Hersh cites unidentified former military and intelligence officials who said the administration went ahead with the plan over congressional opposition. [includes rush transcript]
In Iraq, the bloodshed under the US occupation continues on a daily basis. Gunmen killed at least 24 police, soldiers and government workers on Monday in assorted attacks across the country.
The killings come after one of the bloodiest weekends in Iraq since the March 2003 US invasion. In three days of suicide attacks, more than 150 people were killed and nearly 300 wounded.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, said on a visit to Berlin that the recent violence wouldn’t derail the drafting of a constitution or what he said was progress toward democracy.
Myers said, “We should see a draft constitution by the end of this month. A constitutional referendum is planned for the middle of October and then (national) elections in December.”
The formation of a new permanent government in Iraq began with the highly-lauded January 30 elections that formed the country’s national assembly. In his 2005 State of the Union address a few days later, President Bush celebrated the Iraqi elections as free and fair and a step towards democracy. But did Washington manipulate the Iraq vote?
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reports in this week’s issue of The New Yorker that President Bush authorized covert plans last year to support the election campaigns of Iraqi candidates and political parties with close ties to the White House.
Hersh’s article cites unidentified former military and intelligence officials who said the administration had gone ahead with covert election activities in Iraq that “were conducted by retired CIA officers and other nongovernment personnel, and used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress.”
In response to the article, a spokesperson from the National Security Council denied that, saying the administration rescinded the proposal because of congressional opposition.
This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined on the line now by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Seymour Hersh, author of the piece. Welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us. Well, can you explain exactly what you found?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Yeah. What I found was about a year’s worth — the election took place as you know this January. It was scheduled initially to take place in December, and from my — I would say from February of last year, 2004, on until the election, we’re talking eleven-and-a-half months or so, there was an enormous concern inside the White House and the Pentagon among the [inaudible] the neoconservatives in the Pentagon about what’s going to happen, because in February of 2004, we agreed — the Bush administration agreed with Ayatollah Sistani, the leader of the — the religious leader of the Shiites, many Shiite factions, in one man, one vote.
And once that decision was made and once — we needed Sistani’s authority, approval, to delay the vote. At that point, we were going to have some sort of a caucus selection process or election process, and the security was so bad it simply couldn’t be done. And the thought was if we could delay until January, we could do something about it — January of this year.
In any case, it was from the very moment the deal was made, there was a lot of concern, frankly, because a lot of the many people in Washington are convinced that the Iranians – that the Iraqis right now, the Shiite Iraqis, many of them, are in league with Iran, as you know, one of the original members of Bush’s famous axis of evil.
And so there was a concern that by making — acceding to Sistani’s request for one man, one vote, a nation-wide election with the Shiites so much in the predominance just in terms of popularity, population 60%, we were going to give over much of certainly southern Iraq to a Shiite government closely allied with Iran. And that was the issue.
So, they decided — there was a lot of back and forth about it. There was — I write about all the attempts made through various election groups, etc., monitoring groups that try and smuggle money into the non-Iranian election groups, election parties, which would, of course, be Iyad Allawi, essentially, who is our sort of strong man, Potemkin village guy, the man that was made, created as the, I guess, as the interim prime minister by us, and Allawi was our guy.
And there was a tremendous effort all along to try and do what they can do increase his vote and increase his standing inside Iran — Iraq, rather.
AMY GOODMAN: So, how exactly did it happen?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, I don’t know how it happened. What I know is that after they tried to convince the various election groups, the NGOs, the American NGOs, sort of like the N.D.I., National Democratic Institute and others that were training poll watchers and others all throughout 2004, last year, before the election, there was an effort made to get those groups to funnel $40 million or $50 million into Allawi, and they refused.
The President eventually put out a finding, a highly classified finding — covert finding that under the law, since the 1970s, any time the C.I.A. is authorized to do covert action, clandestine action, the Congress has to be notified, and that finding, by the way, is very broad. It not only referred to Iraq, it referred to sponsoring democracy anywhere in the — you know, anywhere — anywhere we thought it was important to do so.
And some people in Congress, particularly I write about Nancy Pelosi from California, the House Democratic leader, she grew up in Baltimore, it turns out. Her father was a — for 12 years, he was mayor of Baltimore, D’Alexandro. Her brother was mayor later. She grew up in a very, very political family. And she just balked.
She said, ‘I’m not going to go along with a presidential finding that authorizes covert action to tilt the election. We — you know, we didn’t have all of these boys die so we can fix an election.’ And Bush backed off at that point, rescinded — so the White House says — they rescinded that finding.
What I write is, ‘Are you kidding?’ What I write is that they simply went off the record, off the books on it. In other words, rather than deal with the C.I.A. and money that was appropriated by Congress, they took money — I can’t — I don’t know from where, one guess would be Iraqi oil money, which we had control of. They took money that had not been appropriated by Congress and put it to work using retired intelligence people and other probably retired military people and others to help generate votes for Allawi.
Allawi was running at, oh, 3% or even lower in other polls. 3% during the year. And he improved at the end, because, among other things, the Saudis and the Brits were doing an awful lot right before the election to support him, but nonetheless, in the election, he got 14% or 15%, which was much more than anybody expected.
How did he do it? Well, three or four or five different ways. There was some direct intimidation by Iraqi police of people at the polls telling them how to vote. There was money. There were intelligence, former C.I.A. people who bragged after the election of stuffing ballots.
There was also a lot of reports that — as most people in the audience don’t know, the way the election was set up, the Iraqi election, by us, there were 30,000 polling places around the country and only, at the most, 6,000 or 8,000 poll watchers. So there were a lot of places where there was nobody to monitor. And more importantly, really, there was no ability for the American or international press to go throughout the country. The security wasn’t good enough, so you have thousands of polling places to which there were only government people and military people around. Anything could happen.
And what I was told is that the end — the way it was set up, the poll results in each precinct were to be reported directly to a central headquarters. And after the election polls, you know, the doors closed, you would count the votes and report them. How easy would it be to take ten votes for Allawi and make it 100? This is also something that happened. So through a combination of means, so I was told, Allawi got more votes than he would have gotten normally.
AMY GOODMAN: You talk about how several weeks before the election Margaret McDonagh, a political operative close to Tony Blair showed up at the side of Iyad Allawi in campaigning. With money?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Oh, I’m sure. Certainly with a lot of advice. There was a huge amount of money from the — Allawi was also seen by the Sunni world, that is, particularly the Saudis, who are Sunnis, and the Jordanians and the Egyptians, as a savior, even though he’s a secular Shiite. He was obviously somebody who would carry on the traditions of the predominantly dominant Sunni majority in the Ba’athist Party. I mean, there’s a tremendous irony here.
The way we saw it, the United States saw it, is Allawi would never get enough votes to win, but you have a large Kurdish vote, a very much larger Shia vote, and if Allawi could get enough votes, he could be the middle man, he could play the power broker, and the United States could keep him in as prime minister.
And if you remember, the election results were delayed, and we had Rumsfeld coming into Iraq twice and Condoleezza once, all arguing for a man that represented Allawi, as Allawi did, the worst elements of Saddam, Saddam-lite: brutality, murder. Close — he was one of the closest advisers of Saddam throughout Saddam’s rise in the Ba’ath Party, his murderous rise.
He also has his own — what we have done is from the very beginning, when we — the war went in March or April when we seemingly won the war early on in 2003, we were capturing former Makhabarat, members of Saddam’s military security units, and retraining them into a secret force that Allawi controlled. So we were basically — in their visits, Rumsfeld and Rice were, with the most ironies of ironies, were advocating for the continued power and political position of a man who represented the worst of Saddam and also had his own sort of military militia like everybody else did that was composed of Saddam’s worst. I mean, talk about hysteria.
So what happened with the Brits is in the end, when there was a lot of concern about Allawi’s standing, McDonagh, with a man named Mendelsohn, was sort of the – they were the geniuses of the Labour Party. They were the people who moved the Labour Party to the center and helped Blair get elected and re-elected. Very close to Blair. Blair, as you know, was a more — moved in from the old traditional Labour Party closer to the middle, which is one factor in his success, sort of like Clinton did, moving more towards the middle as a Democrat.
And also, it’s my understanding that McDonagh and others were, when Blair first began as the buildup to the Iraqi war began, they were involved in doing some of the early white papers inside the British government, making the case for Saddam having WMD. Later that activity was taken over by 10 Downing Street, the professionals, but she and others on the outside were doing early drafts of that stuff, very close to Blair.
And she was just there at his side in his office, seen by people in his office, not publicly known, but there’s no question that she was playing a major role as a political adviser to Allawi in the end.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Seymour Hersh. We have to break for 60 seconds, but then when we come back, I want to ask you about the U.S. saying in response to your article, Washington Post today, that President Bush scrapped the plan before the January vote. That’s their response to your piece in The New Yorker magazine. We’ll be back with Seymour Hersh in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, his latest piece in The New Yorker magazine is called, “Get Out the Vote: Did Washington Try to Manipulate Iraq’s Election, Pour Money Into the Campaign of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi?”
The response of the U.S. government, Sy, in yesterday’s Washington Post says, “President Bush authorized covert plans last year to support the election campaigns of Iraqis with close ties to the White House, but government and intelligence officials have said the plan was scrapped before the January vote.
Some officials with knowledge of the original proposal said the Bush administration backed down after Congressional objections, but others cited concerns within the intelligence community that the effort was likely to backfire.” Your response?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, look, I think just the fact that they made that much of an acknowledgement is pretty amazing because, as you said, this is a president who was publicly saying how fair and open, and the whole issue of whether or not, you know, what we’re doing and what the motives are, and this idea that we want to instill democracy, and as I said, the finding was not just limited to Iraq, we’re talking about the former Soviet Union, etc. We’re doing a lot of talking about restoring democracy. Even the fact they thought about it so long, I think, was a significant acknowledgement.
But look, this is a government that, as I have written about before, has gone off the books. It’s gone off the books in the global war on terrorism. By that I mean, we’re using — we’re outsourcing operations.
The President has decided that he doesn’t have to go to Congress for certain kind of operations against would-be terrorists, the renditions and other stuff. We’re a operating right now in Africa and East Asia with military units that are doing the work that normally would be done — snatching people, etc. — by the C.I.A. under a finding. So, already they have made significant changes in how they operate.
This President has decided that any action that is involved with the war does not have to go to Congress because he is Commander in Chief. This is a legal determination they have made, has the right as Commander in Chief, as I said, to authorize anything in — any operation that supports the war. They call it actually a — preparations of the battlefield.
That’s been expanded right now, as I understand it, from inside. They determined that any even informational preparation of the battlefield, whatever loose term that is, is something that the President can authorize without going to Congress. So, if they make a determination that there’s a national security reason for something to take place, and this is a determination they make by themselves in the White House and in the Pentagon, they don’t have to go to Congress for justification or anything.
This is going on now. And it’s been once I wrote that story, I think January, February in The New Yorker; other newspapers subsequently wrote that indeed it is going on.
What’s happened here is that because of heat from Congress, surprising heat, because as you know, most of the time, you know, my big issue with the Congress is I can’t decide in any given day whether they are prone or supine. But in this case, Congress stood up and they said, no, we will not let you intervene in the democratic — that we have gone to war and we’re killing American boys and, God knows, killing how many Iraqis for democracy. We are not going to tilt the playing field. Instead of taking that answer, they went off the books. This is what I’m writing about. This is the core.
And, of course, I can’t name the sources. And, of course, the White House is going to say they did not. That doesn’t mean I’m right because they denied it. I wouldn’t say that. I would just say, let’s just wait and see, because as with other stuff I have written, sometimes it takes weeks and months, but in this case, the important distinction right now, the question that should be asked right now, is was that finding limited to Iraq? And the answer is no.
Then if you really want to get into the next level, you say, well, what does this mean about what we’re doing elsewhere? What else are we doing around the country? Around the world, rather, in terms of supporting democracy? And then you begin to get a lot of very uncomfortable questions, I think, for this White House, for which there won’t be immediate answers. I don’t mean to alarm everybody. But, you know, we’re on a slippery slope here.
AMY GOODMAN: And the role of the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy in this?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Actually, these guys were totally stand-up. That’s one reason I could do this story. Because for once, I shouldn’t say for once, they very clearly all along, particularly in the National Democratic Institute, which is the most — it’s the largest and the most influential of those NGOs who do election stuff around the world. And there have been questions raised about whether they’re too close to the administration in Haiti and other places.
In this case, all I can tell you is — particularly the N.D.I., they were admirable. They refused to get into the game of taking the money that they had been allotted by Congress for the election, and beginning to spread, you know, buy printing presses and cars and other materials for certain parties and not all of them.
They all along — this debate began last spring and lasted until August or September of last year, they all along said we’d love to help out the non-Iranian supported teams if we can only do – you know, political units — we can only do so if we offer money to everybody.
So that was really very interesting to me. And that’s frankly how this story sort of emerged. I initially learned about that issue. And from there, I learned that, of course, it had not been stopped. This is something — the concern. You have to understand one of the key sort of hawks said to me, you know, ‘The real story that you should be looking at is how could a bunch of guys delude themselves last year after they made the agreement with Ayatollah Sistani into thinking that we could have a one-man, one vote election and the country won’t turn over to the Iranians.’
Now, whether or not this is true, whether or not the Iraqis, the Shiite Iraqis or certain elements are that close to Iran is — that’s a whole another issue. And it could be everybody is wrong. But it is true that Iran is — my own instinct is that Iran would — if we would talk to Iran in the long run, it’s in Iran’s very much in their long range interests to have a stable, independent Shiite country that doesn’t go religious and doesn’t exclude the others.
That would be — that would show the world, particularly the Sunni world, which is very, very worried about what’s going on in Shiite Iraq, and you know, the idea of Shiite Iran expanding its influence into Shiite Iraq immediately raises questions about whether the Shiites in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, where the most of the oil is, would start agitating.
So you can see, this whole action that we have taken in Iraq has caused enormous concern among the Sunnis that run most of the countries in the Middle East. And it’s — the distress and chaos that we are causing is much more than what you see. God knows, just from your report today of the kind of continued violence, there’s an enormous amount, but there’s also a very deep misgiving inside the Arab world about what’s happening.
The Arab world has been turned on its head in a profound way, in ways that nobody can quite understand, and the tensions in the Sunni world about the Shiites and particularly the Shiites expanding into Iraq is just horrific.
AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, there was a report in the Financial Times right before the election in Iraq — it was around January 10 — that said the electoral group headed by Iyad Allawi, the interim Iraqi Prime Minister, handed out cash to journalists to insure coverage of the press conferences. Your response to that?
SEYMOUR HERSH: I just don’t know that but, you know, when you talk about cash in Iraq, you don’t just talk about cash. You talk about pallet loads of cash. There’s an awful lot of money. If anybody wanted — the London Review of Books recently did an amazing — they took the six last State Department and U.N. reports on the missing cash in Iraq. Twenty billion dollars, much of it Iraqi oil money, has just disappeared, and there’s no accounting for it. I shouldn’t say all of it has disappeared, but the accounting is very lax.
The corruption of Iraq and the corruption of our military by the dollars around, the invidious and systematic corruption of our military is just beyond belief. And we will pay a price for that in the end, too. You just cannot have that much money around.
There were all kinds of colonels — look, and it just doesn’t matter. I’m getting ahead of myself, because I — I don’t want too talk about things I can’t prove, but I can tell you in the London Review of Books in the last issue, the most recent issue, was a very, very serious essay about the extent of financial corruption and how much money simply disappeared from view, and we’re not talking about hundreds of millions, we’re talking about billions.
AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, very quickly your response to Rumsfeld announcing the Pentagon intends to move ahead quickly with the military tribunals of two prisoners at Guantanamo?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, you know — you know, I just don’t know enough about it. I haven’t read his response. I’m not in the country right now, so I just don’t know about it. I don’t want to talk about — you know, I just don’t know.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Westmoreland, one of the main U.S. military leaders during the Vietnam War, retired General William Westmoreland has died at the age of 91. You won your Pulitzer Prize covering Vietnam, exposing a massacre, the My Lai massacre. Your response?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, Peter Davis, the filmmaker, did a marvelous documentary called Hearts and Minds, in which Westmoreland is filmed saying, ‘Well, the Vietnamese’ he said, ‘are not like Americans and us in the West. They don’t feel losses. They don’t feel. They don’t have the same kind of family feelings we do. Death to them is not like death to us.’ And that’s what he said on camera. I’m paraphrasing because it’s a 30-year-old memory.
The movie, the documentary, was done in the 1970s, but his suggestion was somehow they’re less human than we are. And that kind of institutional racism, which may have something to do with our, you know, the casualness with which we look at the daily atrocities in Iraq. You know, this is a stigma for all of us.
And unfortunately, those who say that this is not like Iraq, should just start listening to the way the military in the last six months have begun talking about insurgents killed, 100 insurgents killed here, 80 insurgents killed there. It’s all that talk and the same language we had and the body counts back in Vietnam. You know, they are less than real.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much for being with us, Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. And thank your family for giving us this time on your vacation.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Amy, for you, anything. Bye.
AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, thanks very much.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
July 22nd, 2005 - by admin
Nadine Gordimer & et. al. – 2005-07-22 08:17:32
The US Must Leave Guantanamo Now!
Nadine Gordimer, Salim Lamrani, Noam Chomsky, Rigoberta Menchu, Adolfo Perez Esquivel
ALAI, Latin America in Movement
(July 19, 2005) — For over a century the United States has intervened, made war, imposed imperialist treaties against the rights of the Cuba people to sovereignty of their country.
• In 1897, when Cuba was nearing victory in the Second War of Independence from Spain, Theodore Roosevelt urged the USA President McKinley to intervene.
• In 1898, the USA declared war against Spain to prevent Cuba from gaining its independence.
• In 1901, among other forced measures to codify control of Cuba, including that “the US may intervene militarily at any time”, was the equally outrageous edict that Cuba must sell or lease to a foreign state, the US, “lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain specific points”.
Outrageous because these turned out to be or were always intended to be the invasion and annexation of a country’s territory by a foreign state.
Guantanamo was a “specific point”. A US naval base was built there with the consequences we all know. The poverty of the ex-colonial country was unashamedly exploited by democratic USA with the annual handout of 2 000 dollars in gold, on the righteous premise that it is the moral privilege of a rich power to buy anything, including part of another country. Since 1959 Cuba has not accepted the handout.
A Virtual Theft of Soveriegnty
What use this virtual theft of a sovereign territory has been put to eventually is the shame and disgrace of the United States and also of the contemporary world, which, intimidated by US power, turns a blind eye to the prison that has been blatantly established in somebody else’s country.
The horrifyingly inhuman conditions of isolation, deprivation and torture in this medieval prison, condemned by Amnesty International and an increasing number of human rights organisations, continue to be perpetrated by the foreign power, the USA., which has no right to be there.
There are many desecrations of human rights taking place in our world. Many involve conflicts of great complexity, religious, factional; it is immensely difficult to create just solutions to them.
Guantanamo is the outstanding exception.
The just solution is simple.
All and every state, community, above all every individual in this world declared one of global responsibility, who subscribes to the truth that only in justice can real humanity exist between nations and peoples, must demand, in that name, that the USA. leave Guantanamo unconditionally.
July 22nd, 2005 - by admin
Hon. John Conyers, Jr. / House of Representatives – 2005-07-22 08:13:13
We have at least 1700 dead Americans and probably 4 times more than that, if we counted those who died later of wounds received during the war. 10 -20 times that amount injured, maimed, or mentally shattered.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children dead. Billions looted by Bush’s crony war-profiteers during the war and occupation.
How many millions have been stolen from your city or town? See the figures on the National Priorities Project.
Today 68% of our national spending is going for the military and military-related funding and interest payments, if you pull out the self-funded Social Security and Medicare spending, which is not paid for out of taxes.
— Jack Kaplan
July 23rd House Parties with Ambassador Joe Wilson, Randi Rhodes
Hon. John Conyers, Jr, US House of Representatives
July 23rd is the 3-year anniversary of the drafting of the Downing Street Minutes. I am organizing a series of house parties on this date throughout the country in order to broaden public understanding of how Karl Rove and the Bush Administration have manipulated intelligence, deceived the American people, and misled our nation into war.
Given that we learned in the past few days that Karl Rove served as a source for Robert Novak in his column outing Ms. Plame, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to learn not only what and why Rove told the press, but what the president knew and when he knew it.
If Rove is willing to spin this issue with the press, as today’s New York Times story appears to show, he ought to be willing to come clean with the American people.
Today, 91 of my Democratic colleagues joined me in a letter to the President , demanding that Rove either explain his role in the outing of Valerie Plame or that he resign. I was also joined by 12 Democratic Members of the Judiciary Committee asking Chairman Sensenbrenner for hearings on the growing scandal. I believe these hearings will help illustrate how Rovegate is a part of the puzzle of the ongoing Iraq War deception.
Our country is slowing beginning to confront the truth about the about the Bush Administration’s deceitful rush to war in Iraq. This has only happened because of people like you are determined to make a difference by getting personally involved.
Over 560,000 people to date have signed our Downing Street Minutes letter to the president . Through this effort, and because of the June 16 th hearing I held in the basement of the Capitol, the mainstream media has been forced to recognize that the American public does care about how we ended up in Iraq.
The house parties I have organized for next weekend provide a platform for people to come together and express their strong opposition to the Bush Administration’s conduct of war. Please join us at a house party near you. If you can, host a party. We will provide media kits and other materials to assist with the event. .
I will be conducting a special conference call for house party hosts featuring Ambassador Joe Wilson and Randi Rhodes as my special guests.
Additionally, I would to keep in touch with you through news updates and additional action items. If you would like for me to keep you updated on events here in Washington, sign up for my email updates .
Thank you again for your help and support.
Sign up to attend an event:
Get resources (including sample press advisories) and sign up to host a house party:
Read about the largest of the planned events hosted by members of Congress:
ASK C-SPAN TO COVER
Email, fax, and phone C-span to request coverage of the major events above:
NEW DVD: ROVE’s WAR
Do you want to see video evidence of what they said two years ago, side by side with what they said last week? Do you want to see the Rove Scandal painted clearly with no punches pulled? This is a brilliant DVD. It’s been mailed, for free, to everyone who signed up to host an event on July 23rd (courtesy of TakeBacktheMedia, which is providing the DVDs, and AfterDowningStreet.org volunteer Ben Slade who is paying for the postage).
You can get a copy by making a donation to TakeBackTheMedia. You can do that and watch a preview here:
July 22nd, 2005 - by admin
After Downing Street.org – 2005-07-22 08:12:40
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (Dem., Calif.) today introduced — along with 26 co-sponsors — a Resolution of Inquiry in the House of Representatives which, if passed, will require the White House and the State Department to “transmit all information relating to communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq.”
The text of the Resolution, a list of current co-sponsors, a list of the relevant committee members, and a new flyer to use at Saturday’s events are here:
The resolution must be voted on in committee within 14 legislative days of its introduction. It is expected to be referred to the House International Relations Committee. The Republicans who control the committee may take the matter up right away, hoping to vote it down before the August recess. If they do not, they will be required to take it up by September 16th.
The more Congress Members in the full House who co-sponsor the resolution, the more likely committee members are to vote for it.
Committee members should be asked not only to vote for it but to discuss it at length and engage in a substantive debate when the committee meets, so that members who oppose it have to give reasons.
This Resolution is important because the information in the Downing Street Documents so strongly suggests that President Bush intentionally deceived Congress about the reasons for war. If that is not the case, then releasing the documents requested here will clear that up – something the President should be eager to do.
Senate Intelligence Committee Investigation
On June 22, 2005, ten senators sent a letter to Roberts and to the Vice Chairman, Senator John Rockefeller. The letter strongly urged the committee to conduct the investigation it committed to over a year ago. The Senators who signed the letter were Kerry, Johnson, Corzine, Reed, Lautenberg, Boxer, Kennedy, Harkin, Bingaman, and Durbin.
US citizens should call on the other 90 senators to draft and jointly sign a similar statement. Ask each of your two senators if they will take the lead in drafting such a letter, and if they will sign such a letter if it is drafted. Here is a new flyer to use at Saturday’s events:
300-plus Events Planned for July 23
On July 23, over 300 – 400 events around the United States will mark the three-year anniversary of the meeting at #10 Downing Street in London, England, that was recorded in the now infamous minutes known as the “Downing Street Memo.”
• Sign up to attend an event:
• Get resources (including sample press advisories) and sign up to host a house party:
• Read about the largest of the planned events hosted by members of Congress:
Ask C-Span to Cover the Events
Email, fax, and phone C-span to request coverage of the major events above:
• Blog On Our Site! Get access to post text and links on the homepage of AfterDowningStreet.org on Saturday:
• Post Photos! Are you participating in an event on Saturday? Please send us reports, photos, videos. Please post photos on your own site and link to them from ours, or Email them to us at email@example.com
• Shoot Videos! If you produce videos, please let us know. We would like to post them or link to them, and to share them with Free Speech TV, which is interested in airing parts of them. You can upload them to
http://dc.indymedia.org/media/index.php?function=publish and then send us the link.
• We’re doing great things, but they all cost money.
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