Iraq war and occupation"There were discussions with the representatives of various groups in the aftermath of the elections, and during the formation of the government before the Samarra incident, and some discussions afterwards as well," says Khalilzad during a farewell interview at his home inside the fortified Green Zone. He is the first American official to publicly acknowledge holding such talks, though he says the former commander of US troops in the country, General George Casey, also took part in some of the talks. Democrats have been excoriated by Republicans and conservative media figures for suggesting such talks take place. He is slated to become the US ambassador to the United Nations.
Domestic spyingThe database is maintained in the offices of TIDE, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. And the data -- field reports, documents, news from foreign allies, and idle gossip -- is threatening to overwhelm the analysts under the sheer volume and, in many cases, complete irrelevance of the information.
Anti-terrorism and homeland securityBrzezinski writes that the damage the little phrase "war on terror" has done to America's collective psyche is incalculable, and far "greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare -- political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants."
US Attorney firings"The political decision-making process that led to the dismissal of eight United States attorneys was standard practice in the Civil Rights Division years before these revelations," says Joseph Rich, the recently retired head of the division's voting rights section. "This connection should not be minimized." (See earlier items about Bush's packing of the Civil Rights Division with right-wing ideologues. Current and former CRD officials testify about how their appointed superiors have deliberately and repeatedly bottled up cases that might harm the electoral position of Republicans, while encouraging the staff to pursue matters that might damage Democrats' prospects of election.
War in AfghanistanHonda is livid at the leaks, calling them unfair to Tillman's family, who have long accused the Pentagon of stonewalling their demands for information into Tillman's death. Tillman was accidentally shot to death by his fellow Army Rangers during a firefight. "I am dismayed that the family of Army Ranger Pat Tillman was not afforded the opportunity to review the results of the investigation into his death prior to their public release," Honda says. "The Tillmans have been subjected to great sorrow beginning with Pat's death and over the course of a deeply flawed and possibly dishonest series of prior investigations."
Antiwar protestsAs a result of the spying, numerous protesters, including members of the peaceful War Resisters League, were arrested during a march in August 2004. NYPD officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists. They posed as friendly, sympathetic figures, sharing meals, posting messages, taking part in Internet chats, and swapping e-mails, all the while filing daily reports with the department's Intelligence Division.
Iraq war and occupationThese are civilians working for private contractor and security firms whose personnel are serving for pay in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these dead are working in logistics -- truck drivers, cooks, laundry workers, and security guards. Adding their numbers to the official death toll of, at the moment, around 3,200, their numbers raise the death count of American war dead by about 25%.
Iraq war and occupationThe examples, as collected by Salon reporter Mark Benjamin, are appalling. Army Specialist Edgar Hernandez injured an ankle during physical training. After surgery, he was slated to begin physical therapy on the ankle once the cast came off. Instead, two days after the cast came off, Hernandez was sent to a remote desert site in California for training rather than let him rehabilitate at Fort Benning, where his unit, the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Infanty Division, was in training for deployment. Hernandez says he couldn't walk, much less resume training for wartime deployment. "Did they not realize that I'm hurt and I needed this physical therapy?" he recalls thinking. "I was told by my doctor and my physical therapist that this was crazy." Hernandez has already served two tours in Iraq.
US Attorney firingsMcNulty told the committee last month (see earlier items) that politics was directly behind at least one of the firings. According to an unreleased internal White House e-mail, former White House counsel Harriet Miers said all administration officials should take a hard line in answering questions about the firings, and merely say that they will not comment on personnel issues.
US Attorney firingsorders the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign to preserve the e-mails of White House officials, and to meet with staff members to explain how the accounts are managed and what steps are being taken to prevent the e-mails from destruction and tampering. Waxman's committee is concerned that senior White House officials are using RNC and other political email accounts to avoid leaving a record of official communications. Despite the letter, many worry that thousands, and perhaps millions, of e-mail records have already been destroyed. (House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform)
US Attorney firingssays she will exercise her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in her upcoming testimony to Congress. In a letter to Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Goodling's lawyers state that Goodling will take the Fifth instead of testify as to her knowledge of the events surrounding the firings in part because of the "hostile and questionable environment" of the hearings, and in part because the committee is already aware that Goodling and her DOJ colleagues have most likely broken the law in regards to the firings. "The potential for legal jeopardy for Ms. Goodling from even her most truthful and accurate testimony under these circumstances is very real," her lawyers write. "One need look no further than the recent circumstances and proceedings involving Lewis Libby."
Election fraudOn a recent edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Democratic senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, whose state's prosecutor, Bud Cummins, was replaced by former RNC aide and Karl Rove protege Tim Griffin, asked host Chris Matthews, "Some people have pointed to that, said isn't that strange, here [the Administration is] putting in a maybe highly-political US Attorney in Hillary Clinton's backyard.... Isn't that odd right before the Presidential race?" Pryor says he isn't sure that Griffin's insertion as US attorney in Clinton's home state is an actual attempt to place a political operative in a position to dig up possible dirt on Clinton, but Pryor isn't the first to make such an allegation.
Partisan Bush appointeesDoan worked with Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs under Karl Rove, in a January 26, 2006 videoconference that discussed polling data surrounding the upcoming November elections. When Jennings concluded his presentation, Doan asked the 40 regional administrators on hand to think of ways they could "help 'our candidates' in the next elections," according to a March 6 letter to Doan from Democratic House member Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Waxman said in the letter that one method suggested was using "targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country." Doan will soon testify before Waxman's committee as to her political actions as chief of the GSA, which is considered to be a nonpartisan, non-political agency. The committee is investigating whether remarks made during the videoconference violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that restricts executive-branch employees from using their positions for political purposes. Those found in violation of the act do not face criminal penalties but can be removed from their jobs.
Terrorism detainees and "enemy combatants"Hicks is the first Guantanamo detainee to accept criminal responsibility for aiding terrorists since the detention camp opened more than five years ago. The guilty plea is part of a deal for allowing Hicks to return to Australia, where he will likely serve his sentence. He faces possible life in prison, but prosecutors say they will settle for a term of 20 years. Prosecutors say that Hicks trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and met Osama bin Laden, but they have no evidence that Hicks attempted to kill anyone.
Reaganomicsis charged with securities fraud. Stockman and three others were charged in a securities fraud conspiracy that embroiled one of North America's largest auto parts companies before the supplier collapsed into bankruptcy. Stockman was the former chairman and CEO of Michigan-based Collins & Aikman Corp. He had previously served as budget director under Reagan in the 1980s and had been a former Republican congressman. An indictment unsealed in the US District Court in Manhattan charges Stockman and three others with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, making false statements in annual and quarterly reports, making false entries in books and records, lying to auditors as well as committing bank fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of an agency proceeding. The others charged in the indictment were Michael Stepp, David Cosgrove and Paul Barnaba, all corporate officials with Collins & Aikman.
George W. Bushobserves, "With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment. Republicans in Congress do not trust their president to protect them. That alone is sufficient reason to withhold statements of support for Gonzales, because such a gesture could be quickly followed by his resignation under pressure." Novak writes that Gonzales himself "is the least popular Cabinet member on Capitol Hill, even more disliked than [Donald] Rumsfeld was. The word most often used by Republicans to describe the management of the Justice Department under Gonzales is 'incompetent.' ...The saving grace that some Republicans find in the dispute over US attorneys is that, at least temporarily, it draws attention away from debate over an unpopular war. But the overriding feeling in the Republican cloakroom is that the Justice Department and the White House could not have been more inept in dealing with the president's unquestioned right to appoint -- and replace -- federal prosecutors."
Conservative smear campaignsIn his book, DeLay writes, "What sent me over the top about Clinton is that his brand of liberalism had an almost anti-American feel to it. Because it received scant treatment in the press many Americans don't know that when the Clintons first moved into the White House, they seriously considered banning all military uniforms from White House grounds. From the generals briefing the president to the Marines guarding the front door, no one would have been allowed to wear a military uniform. Fortunately, someone talked the Clintons out of this treachery, but take a moment to think about what even considering such a thing says about them. This was the president of the United States and his wife saying that something about military uniforms offended them. Apparently the noble symbols of martial honor and sacrifice so disturbed their unpatriotic, liberal sensibilities that they wanted to forbid them in the home of the nation's commander in chief. We should have kicked them out of office right then and there!"