Terrorism detainees and "enemy combatants"The report also criticizes the lack of progress in establishing a legal system for processing detainees, and complains that excessive isolation and physical abuse is rampant through the facility. Base commandant Major General Geoffrey Miller brusquely tells the ICRC representatives that "interrogation techniques was not their concern, and denies that isolation or any other questionable methodologies are being used to force information from prisoners. (During the Senate hearings about Abu Ghraib, it is revealed that Miller was given the authority by the Pentagon to use a number of illegal interrogation techniques, including sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of cold and heat, and placing prisoners in what are euphemistically called "stress positions" for agonizing lengths of time.) The ICRC's Christophe Girod says that far too many prisoners in Guantanamo are being kept for years after it is obvious that they are not terrorists, are no threat to the US, and have no useful information. Girod says that he is making these statements public because the Bush administration has been unresponsive to ICRC complaints. In May 2004, one FBI official reveals that the agency had instructed its agents not to be present during interrogations, because the severe and possibly illegal methods used to extract information would not be acceptable in court and could prejudice any criminal proceedings. The official says, "I thought Rumsfeld should have been fired long ago." (Seymour Hersh)
California recall electionsIssa attempts to replace Davis with himself, but is blindsided by fellow Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who uses his movie-star status to become the Republican front-runner in the recall. Issa eventually drops out of the contest. Schwarzenegger, who claims to be a "moderate" Republican but has close ties to the Bush administration, uses Californians' anger over spiking energy costs and rolling blackouts, which were actually engineered by companies such as Enron with the blessing of the Bush administration, to defeat Davis in the recall election. Schwarzenegger quickly becomes one of the GOP's most popular and visible figures, and immediately begins implementing draconian budget cuts that have their largest negative impact on California's poor and working classes.
Global warming and the environmentIn 1995, the Republican-led Congress refused to reauthorize the tax on polluters to pay for Superfund, and since then the fund has seen its assets dwindle from $3.8 billion to zero. Worse, the Bush administration has refused to release half of the year's $450 million allocated for cleaning up toxic sites. Taxpayers are now funding the program by themselves, and the future of Superfund looks grim. (Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
Iraq war and occupationLibby tells Kay he should check out a particular site that he and Cheney believe might hold WMDs. Libby gives Kay the geocoordinates. Kay checks a map, and finds that the supposed WMD dump is in the center of Lebanon. "That's where we're going next," cracks one of Kay's staffers.
Oil profiteering and the "oiligarchy"Further information on Carroll's and McKee's tenures in Iraq, and the foiled plans to break up and sell off Iraq's oil industry, can be found in the long writeup of March 19, 2003, following the entry about the invasion of Iraq. (Greg Palast)
Anti-terrorism and homeland securityIt includes $4.2 billion for first-responder programs, $9 billion for border protection and $5.2 billion for the Transportation Security Agency and the Federal Air Marshal Program, among other provisions. A task force chaired by former senator Warren Rudman and former terrorism chief Richard Clarke concludes that the money the bill provides for the nation's first-responders is barely a third of what is required to adequately ensure the protection of the nation. (New York Times, Council on Foreign Relations)
Plame outing"What I have confidence in -- based upon what respectable press people in this town have told me -- is that a week after the Novak article came out, Karl Rove was still calling around and talking to press people, saying Wilson's wife is fair game. ...The gist of the message, as it was reported back to me right after the phone call, was 'I just got off the phone with Karl Rove. He tells me your wife is fair game.'" Writer Jim Hightower, a veteran of Texas politics, adds, "No kind of political action like this is going to be taken without Rove's office putting the stamp of approval on it. ...He may not have made the actual phone calls, but that's irrelevant." Former Clinton communications aide Larry Haas observes, "This is not a normal leak, this is scorched-earth politics. This kind of strategic decision is taken at a very senior level." It is later confirmed that one of the reporters contacted by Rove was MSNBC's Chris Matthews. (ABC, Observer, Washington Post)
Plame outingAshcroft continues to resist the appointment of a special counsel to independently investigate the incident. Ashcroft had a very different take in 1997, when he called for an independent counsel to investigate whether then-Vice President Gore used a government phone in his fund-raising efforts. The Internet site Talk Left hunts down a quote from an October 4, 1997 interview with Ashcroft on CNN's Evans and Novak show where he expresses his belief that even a single perceived impropriety must be answered with an independent investigation: "The truth of the matter is that if the law's been violated, we should be able to ascertain that. We can, if we have an independent person without a conflict of interest.... ...[A] single allegation can be most worthy of a special prosecutor. If you're abusing government property, if you're abusing your status in office, it can be a single fact that makes the difference on that." Congressional Democrats begin stepping up the pressure on Ashcroft to recuse himself, noting that Karl Rove, a potential target of the investigation, once did campaign work for Ashcroft. (Talk Left, Michael Isikoff and David Corn)
Plame outingHe denies that his column was the result of a "planned leak," all evidence to the contrary, and says that if the CIA had not wanted him to reveal her name, he would not have done so. Novak fails to mention that CIA spokesman Bill Harlow asked him not to reveal Plame's name several days before he submitted his column. He notes that her name is listed in Who's Who in America, but fails to note that she is listed as a private "energy analyst" and not as a CIA employee. He tells a bald-faced lie, saying that a CIA source had told him that Plame was an analyst and not a covert employee. He also alleges that "It was well known around Washington that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA," another lie -- the only ones who knew, besides Plame's husband and her colleagues at the CIA, were the White House officials who bandied her name to the press, and the handful of reporters, including Novak, who had been given her name as part of the White House's orchestrated smear attempt against Plame and Wilson.
Plame outingThey know the White House is lying in their claims of uninvolvement in outing Plame. Scott McClellan has said repeatedly that Karl Rove isn't involved, but Time reporters Matthew Cooper, John Dickerson, Michael Duffy, and others know that Rove tipped off Cooper about "Wilson's wife" being a CIA agent. They also know that Lewis Libby confirmed Plame's identity. (Novak, of course, knows it as well, but he cannot be expected to conduct himself with journalistic integrity.) In a Time cover story about the allegations, the reporters, with the approval of editor Duffy, include no rebuttals from any of its knowledgeable reporters of McClellan's denials about Rove's involvement. Duffy later says he made the decision not to reveal their knowledge about Rove because of what he calls a commitment to "higher journalistic standards," but never explains what journalistic standards he and Time are upholding. According to Duffy, none of the reporters objected to the exclusions in the article. Meanwhile, White House press secretary Scott McClellan is still staunchly denying any involvement in the leak by Rove.
Plame outingcalls the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson "dirty politics." "This is entirely different than what I was doing in the 1970s," says Agee. "This is purely dirty politics in my opinion." The disclosure that the ambassador's wife was a CIA operative was "a cheap shot made because [Wilson] picked a hole in that pack of lies justifying the war." Agee says that he disclosed the identities of his former CIA colleagues to "weaken the instrument for carrying out the policy of supporting military dictatorships" in Greece, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Those regimes "were supported by the CIA and the human cost was immense: torture, executions, death squads." The Bush administration's outing of Plame is nothing more than an act of political revenge, he says. (Guardian)
Iraq war and occupationEtherington was brought up in Kuwait and Qatar, and has extensive military and diplomatic experience in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia. Etherington will write a revealing memoir of his time in Iraq entitled Revolt on the Tigris, which culminates in the al-Sadr uprising and the CPA's "midnight abdication" of power. Etherington is an interesting observer of his small portion of the Iraqi occupation; although not a Middle East expert, he knows much more about the various Islamic and Arab cultures than most of the American and British officials he works with, and often finds their willful ignorance to be crippling others' honest efforts to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and establish some sort of democratic government. He observes that the biggest problem with establishing democracy in Iraq is that the Iraqis have no tradition of such, and instead prefer the familiar feudal system of centralized authority and local patronage which has been the paradigm for generations.
Iraq war and occupationKay says that his teams did find some evidence that Iraq may have been trying to create a small biological weapons program (much of this assertion is based on the discovery of a vial of botulism toxin at an Iraqi scientist's home), and was trying to extend the range of its ballistic missiles beyond prohibited ranges. Evidence of a nuclear weapons effort was "very rudimentary at best," and what little evidence of a chemical weapons program shows that the effort was, at best, embryonic. Kay reports that before the invasion, "[o]ur understanding of the status of Iraq's WMD program was always bounded by large uncertainties and had to be heavily caveated." This is a direct contradiction to Bush's statement in his speech of March 17, two days before the invasion, when he said, "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal" weapons of mass destruction. Apparently there was a great deal of doubt.
"This is precisely how a discredited forgery about enriched uranium is transformed into proof that Iraq is building a nuclear weapon. This is how CIA dismissals of a link between Saddam and Osama bin Laden -- dismissals backed by investigation and expert analysis -- are made to disappear because they inconveniently contradict policy. This is how hype, exaggeration and distortion can be used to alter reality, right out where everyone can see it."
-- Jeff Bookman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Iraq war and occupationInterestingly, the administration insists that the cost of previous and ongoing searches for such WMDs remain secret and without oversight. The $600 million is part of the $87 billion package requested by the administration for Iraqi reconstruction. (Stephen Pizzo/Daily Misleader, New York Times/Truthout)
Prewar intelligence on IraqOn one side are the intelligence professionals, particularly CIA analysts and operations officers who believe that data about Iraq's weapons programs was deliberately hyped and distorted by the Bush administration in the months before the war, against officials at the White House and Pentagon who have long felt the CIA is too cautious to suit the needs of the current administration. For the analysts and officers, the conflict revolves around principles that they consider central to their work, including the need to produce independent assessments of foreign threats that are uncontaminated by the policy views of top officials at the White House, State Department and Pentagon. "I think what is going on is that the career intelligence officers, the operators and the analysts, are fighting to preserve their special status as professional, nonpartisan intelligence officers," says a senior former CIA official. "I think a lot of them are very angry at the way the Pentagon has tried to bully them and pressure them into reaching certain conclusions on Iraq. This leak case is symptomatic, it is another episode in this cultural war."
Prewar intelligence on Iraq"It's not clear that it [intelligence] was off by a little bit or a mile at this stage," he says. "That's yet to be seen. If it is off by a lot, that will be unfortunate." Rumsfeld insists that even if that becomes the case, the war in Iraq is justified. Many observers, particularly American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, would probably choose a stronger word than "unfortunate." (VOA News)
Iraq war and occupationAt this time, up to 51,000 US soldiers lack proper body armor, and many are begging family and friends to provide them what the government won't. A recent Army study shows that 1 in 4 casualties in Iraq are caused by poor protective gear. (In These Times)
Prewar intelligence on IraqKarl Rove, Bush's top political adviser who is a prime suspect, was a paid consultant to three of Ashcroft's campaigns in Missouri, twice for governor and for United States senator, in the 1980's and 1990's. Jack Oliver, the deputy finance chairman of Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, was the director of Ashcroft's 1994 Senate campaign, and later worked as Ashcroft's deputy chief of staff. Democrats continue to press for an independent investigator, while the Bush administration is trying to close ranks, insisting that the Justice Department will conduct a thorough investigation on its own, and portraying the entire incident as nothing more than Democratic efforts to undermine the administration. "Career professionals with decades of experience in these kinds of cases are fully capable of conducting a thorough and complete investigation," a senior Justice Department official says. (New York Times)
Prewar intelligence on Iraq"Nothing could be a more serious violation of public trust than to consciously make a case for war based on false claims," he says to an audience of military reporters and editors. "We need to know if we were intentionally deceived." Clark said the administration entered office determined to wage war with Iraq and seized on the Sept. 11 attacks for justification. He accused the administration of violating principles of American democracy. "This administration is trying to do something that ought to be politically impossible to do in a democracy, and that is to govern against the will of the majority. That requires twisted facts, silence, secrecy, and very poor lighting. That's why you need night-vision goggles to see what's going on over there." (AP/San Jose Mercury News)
Iraq war and occupationbut to an American A-10 that the soldiers believed was flying in to give assistance. Captain Dan Wittnam, one of the survivors, says that he and his troops were pinned down by enemy fire, surrounded by dead and dying comrades, when the A-10 flew into view. "The first thought that went through my mind was, 'Thank God, an A-10 was on station,'" Wittnam says. Instead, the A-10 began firing on the American positions, killing an estimated 5 to 10 Marines and wounding others. The A-10 used 30mm shells made of depleted uranium; one Marine took a snapshot of a round from the aircraft which was found inside his destroyed assault vehicle. US Central Command refuses to comment on the incident except to confirm that it is under investigation. (CNN)
War in Afghanistanan act he calls treasonous. Spann was the first American killed in Afghanistan. His father, also named Johnny Spann, says he is still angry because he feels his son's identity and hometown were disclosed before his son's family could be adequately protected. "If someone in the Bush administration leaked this, they need to be punished, and they need to be made an example of, because that's not just a leak, that's treason," says Spann. "They should appoint an independent counsel so the American people can be sure, and let the chips fall where they may." (Newsday)
Iraq war and occupationUntil recently, the US government supported those lawsuits, but since the fall of the Hussein regime, the US government is now attempting to impede and deny these selfsame lawsuits. Their justification is that seized Iraqi assets should be used to benefit the people of Iraq, and therefore cannot be used to pay off lawsuit judgments. (FindLaw)
Bush's economic policies(The estate tax, often erroneously referred to as the "death tax," is a tax whereby inheritors of estates have to pay taxes on their inheritance. The tax only affects the wealthiest 2% of Americans.) In refuting the argument that the tax should be retained because it affects such a small, and disparately wealthy, group of citizens, Norquist says, "I mean, that's the morality of the Holocaust. 'Well, it's only a small percentage,' you know. I mean, it's not you. It's somebody else." Interviewer Terry Gross, apparantly aghast at the comparison, responds, "Excuse me, excuse me one second. Did you just...compare the estate tax with the Holocaust?" Norquist defends his statement by explaining, "No, the morality that says it's okay to do something to a group because they're a small percentage of the population is the morality that says the Holocaust is okay because they didn't target everybody, just a small percentage." He goes on to liken the estate tax to apartheid in the old South Africa and to the communist regime of the old East Germany. It's worth noting that Norquist is a very influential conservative: head of Americans for Tax Reform, close friend of Karl Rove, with easy access to the White House. Norquist presides over a weekly meeting of important Republican activists and lobbyists where his ideas of radical tax reform are discussed and ways are found to be implemented.
Conservative hate speech and intoleranceThe site was given the name of the number of a plane that crashed in 2000, killing Democratic governor Mel Carnahan, an aide, and Carnahan's son Randy. The site, located at this URL, still exists, but has no content. Blazar also maintains another blog, What Would Truman Do?, a site that criticizes Democratic politics while purporting to be hosted by loyal Democrats. (This site also has had all of its content removed.) The WWTD site apparently served as a testing site for the N83548N site. The N83548N site said it was named for a "turning point" in the history of Missouri politics. Bond and his staff maintain that they knew nothing about Blazar's sites. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Conservative hate speech and intolerance"I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL," Limbaugh said on the September 28 broadcast. "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve." Limbaugh held the ESPN position for about three weeks. He claims he resigned voluntarily, without being pressed to do so, but refused to apologize for his remarks, and said that "If I wasn't right there wouldn't be this cacophony of outrage...." Later in the week, McNabb said he didn't mind criticism of his performance but was upset that Limbaugh made race an issue. Limbaugh may have expressed a bit of confusion at the different standards expected for ESPN: "Nobody tells me what I can and can't say" on the radio, he said October 1. Limbaugh is also under investigation for buying thousands of black-market prescription painkillers from an illegal drug ring. His housekeeper, Wilma Cline, has testified that she has been Limbaugh's source of illegal drugs for the last two years. She claims that Limbaugh is addicted to OxyContin, Lorcet and hydrocodone, and has twice gone through drug rehabilitation therapy. On October 1, Limbaugh issued a statement that read, "I am unaware of any investigation by any authority involving me. No government representative has contacted me directly or indirectly. If my assistance is required, I will, of course, cooperate fully." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AP/Miami Herald, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
George W. Bush"See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction." (AllHatNoCattle)
9/11 attacksand may not be questioned about or charged with crimes directly relating to the 9/11 attacks. Judge Leonie Brinkema makes her decision in response to the federal government's repeated refusal to obey her ruling that Moussaoui must be allowed to call three top al-Qaeda members as witnesses. The three alleged terrorists are in detention in Camp X-Ray in Cuba. The prosecution, which is expected to appeal the ruling, expected Brinkema to dismiss all charges against Moussaoui, clearing the way for them to have him tried by a military tribunal. Brinkema is reportedly angry at the failure of federal prosecutors to abide by the law in their prosecution of Moussaoui. (Washington Post/Charlotte Observer)
Prewar intelligence on IraqState Department and Defense Department personnel have also been asked to retain all pertinent documentation that they may have. Gonzales says he gave the employees until October 7 "to ensure compliance with the time deadlines imposed" by the Justice Department. (Note that NPR originally broadcast the news that Gonzalez had given the White House 24 hours' "grace" before officially announcing the investigation; a further examination of NPR's Web transcript of that broadcast shows that the passage in question was deleted from their transcript. A preserved copy of that portion is linked below.) (Reuters, New York Times, NPR/Traprock Peace Organization)
Plame outingSo far the White House has refused to confirm or deny Libby's involvement, unlike the blanket denial the administration issued on behalf of Presidential advisor Karl Rove. Libby has made efforts to discredit Joseph Wilson, Plame' husband, and may have discussed Plame with a Time reporter as well as Robert Novak, who originally "outed" the agent. Meanwhile, the probe widens to include the State and Defense Departments. (Salon, CNN)
Prewar intelligence on IraqThe offensive began with the recent sliming of Joseph Wilson as an "open opponent of the US war on terror" by the neoconservative editorialists of the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times notes that in the months before the first gulf war, Wilson remained in Baghdad, helping to rescue hundreds of Americans who might otherwise have been held as hostages. The first President Bush lauded him as a "truly inspiring diplomat" who exhibited "courageous leadership." Robert Novak has repeatedly attempted to portray Valerie Plame Wilson as a "secretary" instead of the career operative she is, and Tucker Carlson characterized Wilson's efforts to discover the truth about the Nigerian uranium as "[spending] only a week there, sipping tea in a cafe, talking to people." (Democratic congresswoman Jan Schakowsky responds to Carlson on CNN's Crossfire: "Well, let's cut down Joe Wilson. Is that the plan? That is...pathetic. ...[T]his is part of condemning and discrediting and, when they can, firing people who don't agree with this administration. ...Now it is just, let's undercut him. Let's undercut his wife. Let's say she was just a secretary now, or whatever she was. The point is, a crime was committed. ...What could be more political than discrediting someone in a typical revenge kind of statement, outing his wife?") The conservative Web news site Newsmax follows the administration's lead in painting Wilson as a Democratic campaign contributor, ignoring the fact that Wilson contributed to both Bush's and Gore's campaigns in 2000. Newsmax even finds a way to blame the leak on Bill Clinton, or rather "Clinton Cling-Ons," people NewsMax believes the Bush administration fired for working in the Clinton administration. CNS executive Scott Hogenson dismisses it as "pure Bush-bashing." The Republican National Committee has slandered Wilson by stating that he has ties to "radical anti-Bush groups;" the White House is encouraging Republicans to portray Wilson as a partisan Democrat with an agenda, and the Democratic Party as scandal mongers. The National Review insists that the "real story" is not the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson, but the selection of an "unqualified" Joseph Wilson to investigate the uranium allegations. (New York Times, CNN, ConWebWatch, National Post)
Oil profiteering and the "oiligarchy"The meeting with Enron occurred ten days after rolling blackouts darkened California for two consecutive days; Schwarzenegger has previously said that he does not remember such a meeting. "You don't meet with America's most well-known corporate crook in the middle of California's biggest financial disaster and not remember," says Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights senior consumer advocate Douglas Heller. "Mr. Schwarzenegger should come clean about what happened at that meeting and if he shares Ken Lay's views on energy regulation." The documents provide a list of invitees to the hastily arranged meeting and a list of those who actually attended. Only eleven of the 45 invitees attended, including Schwarzenegger. The meeting was meant to be an opportunity to gain business community support for Enron's "comprehensive solution" to the energy crisis. In one e-mail, Enron's VP of Public Relations wrote: "We'd like to position this meeting as an insider's conversation of what's going on with the energy situation. This meeting should be for principals only." FTCR contends that Enron policies were responsible for the severe energy crisis California faced in 2000 and 2001. The group notes that the crisis had dramatic implications on the state economy and state budget and will continue to impact consumers for years to come. FTCR has been critical of Enron's involvement in the California energy crisis, in which the company developed schemes for manipulating the power market that forced massive price spikes in the state. "since it was apparently important enough for Schwarzenegger to attend despite the last minute notice, Schwarzenegger should now explain what happened at his meeting with Enron's Ken Lay and whether or not he supports electricity re-regulation," says Heller. (Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights)
Plame outingSalon writes, "...Ellsberg says...America is in the early stages of a similar crisis. Once again, he says, the country is embroiled in a foreign war for murky reasons. Once again, he says, the White House has justified its policy with lies, and is smearing a whistle-blower who exposed those lies. ...Ellsberg despairs watching an administration whose malevolence he believes far exceeds that of his old foes on the Nixon team. His hope, he says, is that history continues its repetition, and that the White House's attempts to destroy its domestic enemies finally leads to its own destruction." Ellsberg tells Salon, "I see an almost identical pattern here. Really, I don't know of any analogy so close in the 30 years between now and then. This is not an everyday occurrence. The origins of Watergate was an unauthorized disclosure by me that demonstrated a succession of presidential lies in a war that was still going on, lies that had lied us into war, exactly as in Iraq. In that case, that panicked the White House into fear that the leaker, in that case myself, would be imitated by others who would reveal information directly on Nixon, as I had not yet done -- the Pentagon Papers themselves ended in 1968, before Nixon came into office. He feared that I had more information on him that I would reveal. Wilson, of course, did reveal his own work under Bush. His revelation gave the lie to Bush's own statement [about Iraq's nuclear program]. The White House undoubtedly fears that Wilson had more information that he could put out and above all that others would be led by seeing what a worthwhile effort this was, to tell the truth about the president's lies, and be moved to follow his example. To deter them, the White House has clearly been led to set up a project to discredit him and to punish him in ways that will deter others from following his example, and in the course of that they're willing to take criminal actions. It's an exact reproduction of the effort under [Nixon aides] Charles Colson, John Ehrlichman and Egil Krogh, Jr. What I'm saying, then, is the plumbers are back."
Conservative hate speech and intoleranceLimbaugh charged that the media was overinflating quarterback Donovan McNabb's abilities because of his race. Robertson uses Freeman in a comparison with McNabb, saying, "He [Freeman] started off playing a chauffeur in 'Driving Miss Daisy,' and then they elevated him to head of the CIA and then they elevated him to President and in his last role they made him God. I just wonder, isn't Rush Limbaugh right to question the fact, is he that good an actor or not?" Freeman refuses to respond to Robertson's statement. (New York Daily News)
Iraq war and occupationThe task force, called the Energy Infrastructure Planning Group and clandestinely established last fall to study Iraq's oil industry, issued a lengthy report which described the industry as so badly damaged by over 10 years' worth of trade embargoes that its production capacity had fallen by over 25%. Nevertheless, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told Congress during the war that "we are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon. ...The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 billion and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years." Donald Rumsfeld told the Senate the same day, "when it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayers we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government." On the day that Baghdad fell, Dick Cheney claimed that Iraq's oil production could reach 3 million barrels a day by the end of the year, even though the task force had determined that Iraq was generating around 2.1 million barrels a day before the war. A large chunk of the $20.3 billion requested to shore up Iraq's infrastructure is slated to go to rebuilding Iraq's oil industry. "The problem is this," Iraq's administrator Paul Bremer noted at a Senate hearing in mid-September: "The oil infrastructure was severely run down over the last 20 years, and partly because of sanctions over the last decade. ...We are going to have to spend a lot more money than we are going to get revenue, even once we get oil production back up to prewar levels."
Iraq war and occupationA formidable hallucinogen nicknamed "Lebanon" is one of the main drugs of choice, along with prescription narcotics like Valium. This, combined with the pre-war release of tens of thousands of convicted criminals from Iraq's jails, is proving to be a major problem for Iraq's fledgling police force. (BBC)
Terrorism detainees and "enemy combatants"says that while he was there he was mistreated, and threatened with torture and rape, if he did not cooperate. Rawi, along with his brother and a colleague, was arrested, denied a lawyer, and held for a month in Gambia. Rawi, who formerly lived in Iraq, apparently proved a tough nut to crack: "I said to them, they can't intimidate me, I lived through my father's experience when he was held and tortured by Saddam Hussein. I told them, in Iraq they don't threaten, they do things, they rape people, they torture. The little American said: 'We can be just as ruthless as Saddam Hussein' -- he was trying very hard to scare me. They were threatening me with rape and assault." He deeply resents being accused of terrorist activities. "I have been loyal to Britain," he says, but of the CIA agents, he adds: "To me, they're no different [from] Saddam Hussein." (Guardian)
Plame outingNovak, in his regular column, reveals that Plame worked through a CIA front company called Brewster & Jennings while she operated in Europe and the Middle East to find information about Islamic nations' possible WMD capabilities. The biggest problem with Novak's revelation is that other CIA assets and agents are now at risk because of the exposure of the front company. Human intelligence in such countries as Iraq and Iran is notoriously hard to come by, and one of Plame's tasks was to work with foreign nationals recruited by American intelligence agents. Now all of those foreign nationals who have known contacts with Brewster & Jennings are in danger of being exposed to their governments, and possibly arrested and even killed. Former CIA agent and former Plame colleague Larry Johnson says he is "furious, absolute furious" that Novak revealed both the identities of Plame and her cover company. A CIA officer operating overseas says of the outings, "There's only one entity in the world that can identify you. That's the US government. When the US government does it, that's it." The question remains: who revealed the identity of Brewster & Jennings to Novak, and why did he feel compelled to reveal it? Current CIA agents say that Novak's outings of Plame and her front company resulted in "severe" damage to her team and significantly hampered the CIA's ability to monitor nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. (Knight Ridder/CommonDreams, Raw Story)
Conservative media slantThe study surveyed thousands of listeners/viewers who get their news from a single source: either Fox, NPR, or PBS. The survey asked for true or false answers to three statements: Saddam Hussein is directly linked to the 9/11 attack, weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and world opinion generally favored the US invasion of Iraq. All three statements are provably false. 23% of NPR and PBS listeners and viewers answered 'true' to at least one of the three statements, while over 80% of Fox viewers answered 'true' to at least one. Although healthy percentages of Americans hold at least one false perception no matter what news source or sources they use, Fox viewers were far more likely to be misinformed than consumers of any other news sources. (Baltimore Sun)
Prewar intelligence on IraqBritish PM Tony Blair knew all along that Iraq had no serious WMD programs, and that Iraq could not launch any sort of WMD strike within 45 minutes, Cook writes. He also says that there was "near mutiny" in the cabinet when military action was first discussed -- until now, the administration has portrayed a much calmer decision-making process. Cook writes that Blair "deliberately crafted suggestive phrasing" to mislead the public into thinking there was a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Cook adds that Blair had appeared prepared to go to war regardless of any progress made by UN weapons inspectors: "Tony made no attempt to pretend that what Hans Blix might report would make any difference to the countdown to invasion." Cook also writes that the head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, John Scarlett, "assented" when he suggested Iraq had no WMD which could target large cities. During the cabinet debate of whether or not to join the US in the invasion, a "large number of ministers" spoke up against British involvement. Cook says that two facts bother him the most: that Blair acknowledged that no matter what the UN inspectors found or didn't find, the invasion timetable was set; and that neither Blair nor Scarlett contradicted him for his view that "Saddam did not have real weapons of mass destruction that were designed for strategic use against city populations and capable of being delivered with reliability over long distances." Cook, who resigned from the Blair cabinet in protest of the Iraqi invasion, has written a book based on his diaries that is being serialized in the Sunday Times. Blair spokespersons deny all of Cook's allegations. (CBS, BBC)
Middle East unrestThe base, purportedly used by both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, was destroyed by an air attack. It is the first instance of an Israeli military incursion inside Syria since 1982, when Israel warred against Palestinian terror forces in Lebanon and Syria. Syria angrily protests the attacks, but takes no military action against Israel. (VOA News/VNIS)
Iraq war and occupationApparently an attempt to allow the White House to more directly control events in those two countries, the effort includes the formation of the "Iraqi Stabilization Group," to be headed by national security advisor Condoleezza Rice. The idea was put forth by Rice, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld during discussions with Bush at his "ranch" in August, and is being implemented now, though Rumsfeld is apparently being shut out of the proceedings. "This puts accountability right into the White House," says a senior administration official, though others deny that is the intent. The New York Times observes, "It is the closest the White House has come to an admission that its plans for reconstruction in those countries have proved insufficient, and that it was unprepared for the guerrilla-style attacks that have become more frequent in Iraq. There have been more American deaths in Iraq since the end of active combat than during the six weeks it took to take control of the country." (New York Times, Reuters/CNN)
Iraq war and occupationIn it, she notes that her son's unit, part of the Missouri National Guard, was told by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally (during his recent jaunt to Iraq) that the unit would be going home on December 3. Three days after Rumsfeld's assurances, the unit was informed that their tour was being extended indefinitely; the soldiers have been given another departure date in April 2004, but no one believes it. She writes, "Morale among my son-in-law's unit, already low, has plummeted even further. When he was first deployed, he was apprehensive but willing, as he said, 'to serve my country.' He no longer believes what he is doing is serving his country in any way. 'We just patrol and do guard duty,' he says. 'We're walking targets.' These men feel that they are viewed by the Bush administration as expendable bodies. ...My son-in-law's first child is due to be born Jan. 3. Obviously he will not be here for the birth, a fact that matters only to us, his family." (Chicago Tribune)
US militaryThe GI Rights Hotline, a national soldiers' support service, has logged a 75% increase in calls in the last 3 months, with more than 100 of those calls from soldiers, or people on their behalf, asking about the penalties associated with going AWOL. A number of soldiers currently on 15-day leave have indicated that they will not return to Iraq when their leave is over. Military leaders are so worried about the situation that they are forcing many soldiers to take their leave in Germany instead of allowing them to come home to America for their leave. Many callers to the hotline complain about the length of the Iraq campaign, the rough desert conditions, and an American death toll that has risen well above 300, including nearly 180 soldiers killed after President Bush's May 1 declaration that combat operations in Iraq had ended. One soldier, a veteran of Bosnia and Iraq, writes to his family, "There is no morale here. The leadership just doesn't care about us. I don't want anything to do with this mess anymore." Another soldier, who was denied emergency leave when his wife miscarried their child, has told her he will not re-enlist when his term is up this year: "I'm definitely getting out. To heck with the Army." His wife says, "He hates it and he's not re-enlisting. He basically has given up." (New York Post)
Plame outingWhite House officials have chastized lawmakers for "loose tongues," threatened military commanders who said too much to media representatives, and drastically curtailed access to classified and non-classified data. Congressional lawmakers and staffers are entering their second year of a White House-instigated investigation by the FBI to find out who in Congress leaked information about al-Qaeda communications to the media. (Note: This FBI investigation, which has lain dormant for most of the year, was recently revived after the CIA leak began making headlines; a grand jury is said to be convening.) In contrast, Bush waited over two months to acknowledge the leak from his staff regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, and most observers feel that the administration has done more to misdirect and stonewall an investigation than to cooperate with it. Many Congressional Democrats charge that the White House has itself used selective leaks -- and selective outrage at the alleged leaks of others -- to advance its policies, particularly relating to the war in Iraq. "That was such a source of frustration to me, the selective leaking," says Senator Dick Durbin. "It angered me to watch as people within the administration leaked selective information about the threat in Iraq, leaving out many other important details." Some Democrats have been forced repeatedly to defend their access to secret information, even as the White House ignored an apparent violation by administration insiders. Senator Carl Levin says, "People are very upset about it up here. ...The contrast between their rhetoric and the casual way in which the president first treated this [disclosure of the CIA operative's name] is incredible. Here's a leak that is not only a felony but directly can jeopardize lives." Press secretary Scott McClellan claims, falsely, that "[g]oing back to July there was absolutely no information that had been brought to our attention beyond anonymous sources in media reports to suggest any White House involvement. The president has directed the staff to cooperate fully because no one wants to get to the bottom of this sooner than he does." A retired CIA officer who spent his career working undercover overseas fumes, "The whole thing is just so distressing. ...If some idiot in the White House set out to do this malevolently, he ought to have his tongue cut off." (Los Angeles Times)
Plame outing"There have been a number of other people who've come out and suggested that perhaps this does make her a target. ...We...as a consequence of that, have begun to rethink our own security posture." Wilson confirmed that no government official or agency has offered any kind of protection to his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson. Republican senator Chuck Hagel adds, "If there is the least possibility, most remote possibility, of her life being in danger, then the government owes that person protection and security." Days before, Wilson said that he believes Karl Rove was behind the leak. "The act of leaking the name of a national security asset to the press was a political act," he told authors James Moore and Wayne Slater on October 3. "The White House, in which resides the president, has a political office, and that political office is headed by Karl Rove. Now I can't tell you -- the investigators will ultimately tell you, I hope -- who actually leaked or authorized the leak; I can't tell you that it was Karl Rove, but what I can tell you is that in the days following Mr. Novak's article which exposed the identity of my wife, Karl Rove, among others, was orchestrating a campaign to push that story on the press. And so, even if Karl Rove was not the leaker, potentially liable or vulnerable for criminal activity, at a minimum you have to ask yourself if that is the sort of ethical treatment that one expects out of one's federal government. That their senior officials would be dragging the wife of somebody they perceived to be an opponent out into the public square to administer a beating. After all, this president said that he was going to change the tone in Washington, and if he's changed it, it's for the worse."
Plame outingPlame is one of a select few who is classified "NOC," or an agent with "no official cover." Loftus says, "Mrs. Wilson is one of those rare women who was a superspy. She risked her own life by going overseas without official protection, no diplomatic immunity. If she got arrested, she would be shot as a spy. And she had a cover company, a secret cover the CIA set up. It looks like a normal business, and, from that business, is able to travel the world and recruit brave people around the world that were willing to help us hunt for weapons of mass destruction. And a columnist exposed not only her name, but even after knowing that CIA didn't want her name disclosed, even after being told that she was an operative, even after knowing she is the rarest operative, a NOC, columnist Robert Novak then publishes the name of her cover business. Every intelligence agency in the world is tracing all the mail they've ever had with her, all the company connections. I hope that none of her agents are in countries like North Korea or Iran, because those people are going to be tortured to find out, were you ever an agent for Mrs. Wilson? What was your connection with this company she had? ...But what Novak has done is to name one CIA agent and then go and expose the whole ring. He named the cover operation." Interviewer Keith Olbermann asks Loftus, "We're supposedly in a world war against terrorism. Here's an agent it will take 20 years to replace, specialized in weapons of mass destruction. Her name gets leaked. As you pointed out, her company name gets leaked. Her cover name gets leaked. It sounds to me like whoever leaked this is either a traitor or an idiot. Are there other options that I'm missing?" Loftus answers, "No, I think that's pretty much it. I think it is a very petty person, is the bottom line, that Novak simply wanted to expose the person, that this CIA agent had once made a donation to the Gore campaign. Big deal. And her husband made a donation to the Bush campaign. It's a free country. It was an act of pettiness, but it was incredibly stupid. And he did this act after he had been warned, don't do it. I hope he goes to jail. I want him indicted now under Section C of the act. ...People like Mr. Novak belong in prison." (MSNBC)
Iraq war and occupationTheir rifles are retooled relics from Vietnam. They are forced to buy walkie-talkies because their standard-issue radios don't work; the same goes for flashlights, knives, and some night-vision sight components. They have bought cheap Iraqi-made air conditioning units and fans because none are provided by the US military. Water rations are limited to two liters a day; after that, soldiers are forced to drink from chlorination tanks. A typical meal consists of an MRE and powdered Gatorade. Soldiers from one Florida unit, the Third Battalion of the 124th Infantry, complain that the regular soldiers from the unit they are attached to, the First Armored Division, use them to kick in doors of suspected resistance cells. "The First AD wants us to catch bullets for them but won't give us enough water...." complains one Guardsman. "Can you believe that sh#t?" Like most Guardsmen, this unit completely lacks any training in urban combat, and has had to learn as they go, often paying for their lack of training with injuries or deaths. "By now this company has conducted scores of raids, taken fire on the street, taken casualties, taken rocket-propelled grenade attacks to the club and are defiantly proud of the fact that they have essentially been abandoned, survived, retrained themselves and can keep a lid on their little piece of Baghdad. But it's not always the Joes who have the upper hand. Increasingly, Haji [the Iraqi resistance] seems to sets the agenda." (The Nation/CommonDreams)
Election fraudSome of the new machines do not produce paper printouts of the votes they record, making a recount almost impossible. The machines, marketed by Diebold Electronics, are under scrutiny by many political observers because of Diebold's ownership by activist Republicans and the suspicion that the machines have already perpetuated voter fraud in smaller elections and in the 2000 Florida Presidential contest. A small number of companies control the vote-counting machines and methodology in America. Those companies are either owned by Republican-aligned firms or by British companies, many of which provide offshore havens for vote-counting firms such as Accenture (formerly owned by Saudi Arabians), which is contracted to count the military overseas votes in 2004. In California, the governor's recall election votes were handled by the following companies: Sequoia, ES&S, Diebold, DMF Associates, and PollStar. Sequoia is a British company. ES&S is owned by the Omaha World Herald Corporation, a firm with deep ties to the Republican Party. Its main owner is a company owned by Senator Chuck Hagel's campaign finance director, Michael McCarthy. Hagel has owned shares in both the voting company itself and in the parent company run by his campaign finance director, and Hagel was the CEO and Chairman of the voting machine company while it built the machines that counted his votes. Diebold's CEO, Walden O'Dell, is heavily involved in fundraising operations for Bush's 2004 reelection efforts; O'Dell recently said at a Bush fundraiser, "I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." Between them, ES&S and Diebold handle over 80% of the US's electronic voting. Other major voting machine manufacturers also have major connections to the GOP. VoteHere, a company striving to get its cryptography software into all the other companies' machines and who already has a contract with Sequoia, is chaired by Admiral Bill Owens, a close Cheney supporter and member of the Defense Policy Board. Another director of VoteHere is former CIA director Robert Gates, who heads the George Bush School of Business. During the 2002 elections, a piece of Diebold software called "rob-Georgia.zip" was found on an unprotected voting computer server, for anyone to download and use. Diebold machines do not leave paper trails of votes counted; Diebold refuses to address the problem, and has demonstrably interfered with investigations of its software and of claims that its software is flawed, erroneous, and easily hacked to produce unwarranted results -- three studies, by Johns Hopkins and Rice Universities and the State of Maryland, have shown that Diebold election machines are unreliable and subject to abuse. (Toronto Globe & Mail, Black Box Voting, Online Journal, Buzzflash, New York Times/Truthout)
2004 presidential electionsciting a lack of money and delays caused by his co-chairing of the Congressional investigation of the 9/11 attacks. As of now, he has not endorsed another candidate, nor has he announced whether he will run for his Senate seat in 2004. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Prewar intelligence on Iraq"We have no specific intelligence information that Saddam's regime has directed attacks against US territory." Sperry continues, "Bush saw the warning, yet completely ignored it and barreled ahead with the war plans he'd approved a month earlier, telling a completely different version of the intelligence consensus to the American people. Less than a week after the NIE was published, he warned that 'on any given day' -– provoked by attack or not, sufficiently desperate or not –- Saddam could team up with Osama and conduct a joint terrorist operation against America using weapons of mass destruction. 'Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists,' Bush said Oct. 7 in his nationally televised Cincinnati speech. 'Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving fingerprints.' The terrorists he was referring to were 'al-Qaida members.' By telling Americans that Saddam could 'on any given day' slip unconventional weapons to al-Qaida if America didn't disarm him, the president misrepresented the conclusions of his own secret intelligence report, which warned that Saddam wouldn't even try to reach out to al-Qaida unless he were attacked and had nothing to lose –- and might even find that hard to do since he had no history of conducting joint terrorist operations with al-Qaida, and certainly none against the U.S. If that's not lying, I don't know what is. ...Forget that Bush lied about the reasons for putting our sons and daughters in harm's way in Iraq; and forget that he sent 140,000 troops there with bull's-eyes on their backs, then dared their attackers to 'bring it on.' It was the height of irresponsibility to have done so in the middle of a war on al-Qaida, the real and proven threat to America. Bush diverted those troops and other resources –- including intelligence assets, Arabic translators and hundreds of billions of tax dollars –- from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders along the Afghan-Pakistani border. And now they've regrouped and are as threatening as ever. That's inexcusable, and Bush supporters with any intellectual honesty and concern for their own families' safety should be mad as hell about it –- and that's coming from someone who voted for Bush." (WorldNet Daily/Bartcop)
Bush's foreign policiesBush chooses to support Israel's Ariel Sharon in his determiniation to continue attacking Palestinian elements, and even supports Sharon's attack on a Hamas and Islamic Jihad base inside Syrian borders. Most observers believe that Israel's actions will increase tensions in the Middle East, and make it harder to achieve a peace agreement. (New York Times)
War in Afghanistanand for the first time deploy them outside of Kabul. Afghanis and other Muslims interpret this as the spreading and lengthening of the Western occupation of their country. (Michael Scheuer)
California recall electionsThe ballot features two questions, a yes/no question on whether Davis should be removed from office, and a list of candidates to replace Davis if the vote goes against him. Republican Darrell Issa, who funded the recall effort, dropped out of the race in August when accusations that he funded the recall to buy his way into office undermines his candidacy. Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan drops out when Schwarzenegger, a putative "moderate" with an ugly history of sexual harassment, enters the race. The Democrats are led by Lieutenant Govenor Cruz Bustamente after Senator Dianne Feinstein refuses to participate in what many Democrats are calling a "circus." Other participants include Republican Peter Ueberroth, formerly the commissioner of major league baseball, and independent Arianna Huffington, along with many celebrity and joke candidates. In all, 135 candidates are on the ballot. After several debates, only one of which was joined by Schwarzenegger (whom many said was unprepared for the debates and needed heavy coaching), Huffington and others drop out in opposition to the entire recall efforts. The recall is successful, and Schwarzenegger wins a plurality of votes to replace Davis as California's governor. Schwarzenegger immediately begins replacing Democrat and moderate Republican state officials with far-right appointees, many vetted by the Bush White House. The national Republican Party is determined to use the election as a means to get more women voters on the GOP rolls; a memo from California GOP organizer Julie Leitzell declares that the recall election is an excellent opportunity to target disaffected voters, primarily women, before the November 2004 elections: "It's important that we use this opportunity (and hot news hook) to present an image of diverse Republican women (moms, educators, business owners, students, working women)," Leitzell writes before the election. "We want to make sure the media are steered toward the 'common-sense women against Davis' angle.... We are working on getting a big-name female draw for each local event." (Wikipedia, Laura Flanders)
"I admire Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it." -- Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1977, quoted by Buzzflash
Global warming and the environmentKennedy agrees; one of the key elements of Schwarzenegger's environmental plan is the adoption of the Sierra Nevada Framework -- "the product of a decade of grueling work by government, timber industry and environmental groups to manage the Sierra Nevada forests," writes Kennedy. But, extremists in Bush's Department of the Interior opposes any restrictions on the exploitation of public lands. Just after Schwarzenegger's ascension to power, Republican House member David Dreier informs Schwarzenegger that the White House wishes him to abandon his support for the framework. Schwarzenegger refuses, but says if the framework is modified by the same "thoughtful, inclusive stakeholder process that had resulted in the original plan" (Kennedy's words), then he would accept those. The White House agrees, and Karl Rove announces that no federal actions will be taken in the Sierra Nevada forests without extensive discussion with everyone involved. Yet, on January 21, 2004, Schwarzenegger learns that the US Forestry Service is ready to announce a tripling of the amount of logging to be allowed in the Sierra Nevada's protected forests. White House officials refuse to return Schwarzenegger's calls. As Kennedy writes, "To emphasize its contempt for the process, the Forest Service held a news conference in the Sacramento Hyatt, directly across the street from the governor's office, to announce its plan. Republicans and Democrats alike in the Schwarzenegger administration were furious at the betrayal and astounded at the hardheaded arrogance that accompanied the broken promise." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
Iraq war and occupationHe says that the resistance is supported by followers of Saddam Hussein as well as observant Muslims. "The American Army will feel that Vietnam was just a playground by comparison," says the guerrilla, the self-proclaimed leader of Serayeh al Jihad, or the "Companies of Jihad." He ahd a colleague told the Times that the guerrillas are preparing to expand beyond the so-called "sunni triangle," that their group aims to abduct U.S. servicemen and give them to Osama bin Laden to barter for the Al Qaeda prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that they are starting to develop into a full-fledged underground army that could take over as soon as they drive US forces from Iraq. Further comments indicate that the group has strong loyalties to both bin Laden and to Hussein, but that not all of the resistance members, who belong to different organizations and do not share all the same goals, would agree. The US dismisses the warnings and downplays the efforts of the disparate resistance groups to unify their efforts. (Los Angeles Times)
Prewar intelligence on IraqThis is technically true, but deceptive. The contacts Bush refers to took place in the early '90s, when al-Qaeda was in its infancy and the two were uneasy allies against the Saudi monarchy. Bush also says, "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases," failing to mention that the source for this charge are captured al-Qaeda members and quite unreliable. (Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
Plame outingbut Bush is already predicting that no information will be found to shed any light on the matter. "I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official" who leaked Plame's name to the press, Bush tells reporters. "I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth. ...I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is -- partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers. But we'll find out." The White House intends to review all documents, e-mails, and other material requested by the Justice Department before turning them over to the investigating lawyers. Scott McClellan rules out the possibility that either political adviser Karl Rove, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "scooter" Libby, or National Security Council official Elliott Abrams are responsible for the leak. He knows, McClellan says, because he has personally spoken to all three men. (MSNBC, Frank Rich [PDF file])
Prewar intelligence on IraqThe Senate statement of censure notes that Howard produced no evidence to justify his claims in March that Iraq had stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons, and castigates him for suppressing Australian intelligence warnings that war with Iraq would increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks. One senator accuses Howard of "unprecedented deceit." The censure was sparked by the testimony of Australian intelligence analyst Andrew Wilkie, who testified before a Parliament committee on August 22. In part, Wilkie said, "[T]he Government was also receiving detailed assessments on the US in which it was made very clear the US was intent on invading Iraq for more important reasons than WMD and terrorism. Hence all this talk about WMD and terrorism was hollow. Much more likely is the proposition the Government deliberately exaggerated the Iraq WMD threat so as to stay in step with the US." (Buzzflash)
Plame outingIn it he says, "...while you may or may not have been the source of the Robert Novak column which revealed the status and name of a covert operative, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, you were involved in a subsequent effort to push this classified information to other reporters and give it even wider currency. This itself may be a federal crime, but regardless of that fact, your actions are morally indefensible. In my view, it is shameful and unethical that an Administration that promised to govern with 'honor and integrity' and 'change the tone' in Washington has now engaged in an orchestrated campaign to smear and intimidate truth-telling critics, placing them in possible physical harm and impairing the efforts and operations of the CIA. Recent reports indicate that you told the journalist, Chris Matthews, and perhaps others, that Mr. Wilson's wife and her undercover status were 'fair game.' Since these initial allegations have arisen, neither the White House nor your office have denied your involvement in furthering the leak. Repeated press inquiries into this matter have been rebuffed with technical jargon and narrow legalisms, instead of broader ethical issues. ...The law states that even if you lawfully knew of Mr. Wilson's wife's status, you were obliged to come forward and report the press leak to the proper authorities -- not inflame the situation by encouraging further dissemination. Larger than whether any one statute can be read to find criminal responsibility is the issue of whether officials of your stature will be allowed to use their influence to intimidate whistle-blowers. Over three decades ago, our nation was scarred by an Administration that would stop at nothing to smear and intimidate its critics. I do not believe the Nation will countenance a repeat of such activities. For your role in this campaign, I would ask that you resign immediately." (Buzzflash)
Plame outingIn this case, Novak, along with his partner Rowland Evans, published the rumor that President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were ready to make concessions in the SALT II treaty negotiations with the Soviet Union in order to keep the treaty alive. After the leak, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld intervened, preventing Kissinger from making the proposals to the Soviets. Most observers believed that Senate aide Richard Perle leaked the information to Evans and Novak; Perle was a proven source for Evans and Novak in the past, with one source observing, "several sources in Congress and the executive branch who regard Perle as an opponent said that he and his allies make masterful use of the Evans and Novak column. ...One congressional aide who tries to counter Perle's...influence on arms issues said the Evans and Novak 'connection' helps Perle create a 'murky, threatening atmosphere' in his dealings with others." Perle denies providing the information about Joseph Wilson's wife to Novak. However, it is worth considering that Novak has a long and cozy history of publishing leaked information at the behest of neoconservatives in the foreign policy apparatus of the US government. In 1981, Evans and Novak wrote about a supposed superiority in Soviet strategic rockets, based on information provided from a top-secret CIA report. In 1986, complaints surfaced about "arms control opponents within the [Reagan] administration [leaking] information" to Evans and Novak about U.S. difficulties monitoring Soviet compliance with arms control agreements; Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dave Durenberger protested the "prostitution of national secrets" and "the frequency with which columns by these two writers are peppered with sensitive national security information." Currently, Novak has aligned himself closely with Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board, an ad hoc advisory group made up of neoconservative hawks like Perle (a fixture in Novak columns), James Woolsey, Newt Gingrich, Kenneth Adelman, and others. (Washington Post)
Prewar intelligence on Iraq"dozens of WMD-related activities and significant amounts of equipment" from inspectors and US forces. The e-mail also insists that the Kay report, which found no WMDs and little else other than relics of abortive development programs from before the Persian Gulf War, supports the Bush campaign's contentions that Iraq did indeed possess a large arsenal of WMDs. (Buzzflash)