Well, there you go, ladies and gentlemen. When facing scrutiny over its torture program, the CIA protected itself by destroying evidence.
The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.
The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.
They broke the law. They knew it. They destroyed the evidence that would prosecute them.
The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself,” and they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Goss declined this afternoon to comment on the destruction of the tapes.
And we can trust the CIA to tell us the truth. Porter Goss, that’s Bush’s man.
It was not clear who within the C.I.A. authorized the destruction of the tapes, but current and former government officials said it had been approved at the highest levels of the agency.
That would be Porter Goss, Bush’s man.
The recordings were not provided to a federal court hearing the case of the terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the Sept. 11 commission, which had made formal requests to the C.I.A. for transcripts and any other documentary evidence taken from interrogations of agency prisoners.
C.I.A. lawyers told federal prosecutors in 2003 and 2005, who relayed the information to a federal court in the Moussaoui case, that the C.I.A. did not possess recordings of interrogations sought by the judge in the case. It was unclear whether the judge had explicitly sought the videotape depicting the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah.
Mr. Moussaoui’s lawyers had hoped that records of the interrogations might provide exculpatory evidence for Mr. Moussaoui — showing that the Al Qaeda detainees did not know Mr. Moussaoui and clearing him of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, plot.
They obstructed justice. Is anyone surprised?
General Hayden’s statement said that the tapes posed a “serious security risk,” and that if they were to become public they would have exposed C.I.A. officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.”
“What matters here is that it was done in line with the law,” he said. He said in his statement that he was informing agency employees because “the press has learned” about the destruction of the tapes.
General Hayden, protecting his own. Not a follower of the law. And Mr. General, they would not have been exposed to retaliation from Al-Qaeda and its sympathizers, unless you are calling the long arm of the law Al-Qaeda.
Staff members of the Sept. 11 commission, which completed its work in 2004, expressed surprise when they were told that interrogation videotapes existed until 2005.
“The commission did formally request material of this kind from all relevant agencies, and the commission was assured that we had received all the material responsive to our request,” said Philip D. Zelikow, who served as executive director of the Sept. 11 commission and later as a senior counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Makes one wonder what else is hiding in that cavernous CIA headquarters that they might not want the public to know…
Daniel Marcus, a law professor at American University who served as general counsel for the Sept. 11 commission and was involved in the discussions about interviews with Al Qaeda leaders, said he had heard nothing about any tapes being destroyed.
If tapes were destroyed, he said, “it’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal,” because it could amount to obstruction of justice to withhold evidence being sought in criminal or fact-finding investigations.
Indeed, and a worthy nominee for understatement of the year.
General Hayden said the tapes were originally made to ensure that agency employees acted in accordance with “established legal and policy guidelines.” General Hayden said the agency stopped videotaping interrogations in 2002.
Guess they realized that the more they videotaped themselves torturing suspects, the more evidence there would be later on for prosecution. Can’t have that now, can we.
A former intelligence official who was briefed on the issue said the videotaping was ordered as a way of assuring “quality control” at remote sites following reports of unauthorized interrogation techniques. He said the tapes, along with still photographs of interrogations, were destroyed after photographs of abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib became public in May 2004 and C.I.A. officers became concerned about a possible leak of the videos and photos.
Huh, like Abu Ghraib…that was bad and all. Imagine how nasty it would be to see the videos of the torture the CIA did. I’m sure the backlash around the world would be…intense.
It has been widely reported that Mr. Zubaydah was subjected to several tough physical tactics, including waterboarding, which involves near-suffocation. But C.I.A. officers judged that the release of photos or videos would nonetheless provoke a strong reaction.
“People know what happened, but to see it in living color would have far greater power,” the official said.
Um, that’s generally WHY you don’t torture. But some people, see, lost their sense of morals and reason when terrorists hit us on 9/11.
Mr. Holt said he had been told many times that the C.I.A. does not record the interrogation of detainees. “When I would ask them whether they had reviewed the tapes to better understand the intelligence, they said ‘What tapes?’,” he said.
Lawbreakers. Torturers. This is what America has become.
George W. Bush has, for the last several years, lied to America about Iran’s WMD program. What is worse is that he knew he was lying. He had the NIE assessment in his hand for the past year telling him that Iran’s nuclear weapons program has been dormant since 2003. But over the past year, his, and Cheney’s and their supporters’ rhetoric, has been increasingly more virulent and violent toward Iran (who can forget John McCain’s “bomb bomb bomb Iran” moment a few months back).
This is an impeachable offense (among all the rest). President Bush knew that Iran’s nuclear program was dormant. But he pressed on as if preparing his nation to war with Iran. How is this not an impeachable offense? He played politics with national security, everybody. Has it come to such a point that we merely yawn “more of the same” every time we get this kind of news? Are we past feeling so that we’re no longer shocked when we hear such bad things? Have expectations been so lowered that we’re fine with letting Bush and Cheney still be in office even after this evidence?
Iran welcomes this news, of course, and says that America must “pay a price” for all the virulent and baseless rhetoric against its people. It is very understandable. We’ve been threatening Iranians with death over something that did not exist. We would feel the same way were say, the Chinese, to do the same to us.
It is time to prepare impeachment hearings and remove Bush and Cheney from power.
Looks like Howard will lose in Australia. This is a good sign, a step in the right direction for Australia and the world. Too long have Bush supporters held many nations hostage.
Why is Australia important? Because of David Hicks. Who is he? He was an Australian caught in Afghanistan, sent to Guantanamo Bay, tortured, and then, magically, released to Australia this April with a gag order that he not speak until AFTER THE ELECTION, which just took place. As Andrew Sullivan wrote in April:
So Cheney goes to Australia and meets with John Howard who tells him that the Hicks case is killing him in Australia, and he may lose the next election because of it. Hicks’s case is then railroaded to the front of the Gitmo kangaro court line, and put through a “legal” process almost ludicrously inept, with two of Hicks’ three lawyers thrown out on one day, then an abrupt plea-bargain, with a transparently insincere confession. Hicks is then given a mere nine months in jail in Australia, before being set free. Who negotiated the plea-bargain? Hicks’ lawyer. Who did he negotiate with? Not the prosecutors, as would be normal, but Susan J. Crawford, the top military commission official. Who is Susan J. Crawford? She served as Dick Cheney’s Inspector General while he was Defense Secretary….
It was a political deal, revealing the circus that the alleged Gitmo court system really is. For good measure, Hicks has a gag-order imposed so that he will not be able to speak of his alleged torture and abuse until after Howard faces re-election. Yes, we live in a banana republic. It certainly isn’t a country ruled by law. It is ruled by one man and his accomplice.
Thankfully though, the Australian newspapers brought up this deal over the past month, just before Howard’s attempt to get reelected without an actual accounting of what happened to this poor pawn.
US Vice-President Dick Cheney agreed to a deal with Prime Minister John Howard to release former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, a US media report says.
The report, published in Harper’s Magazine, cites an unnamed US military officer saying that a military staffer was present when Mr Cheney interfered directly to seal Hicks’s plea bargain deal.
“He [Mr Cheney] did it, apparently, as part of a deal cut with [Australian Prime Minister] Howard,” the unnamed source is quoted as saying.
“I kept thinking: this is the sort of thing that used to go on behind the Iron Curtain, not in America.
“And then it struck me how much this entire process had disintegrated into a political charade. It’s demoralising for all of us.”
After five years of detention in Guantanamo Bay, a deal was sealed for 32-year-old Hicks to serve a nine-month prison sentence in Australia, subject to him pleading guilty to a charge of providing material support for terrorism.
Hicks agreed to the deal in March and is now due for release from Adelaide’s Yatala Prison at the end of the year.
After the deal was announced, Mr Howard denied any involvement in the plea bargain.
“We didn’t impose the sentence, the sentence was imposed by the military commission and the plea bargain was worked out between the military prosecution and Mr Hicks’ lawyers,” Mr Howard said in March.
Mr Howard also rejected claims by Australian Greens leader Senator Bob Brown in March that the Prime Minister wanted Hicks not be released until after the election.
We haven’t heard much about ex-Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks since he returned to Australia — thanks largely to the gag order imposed on him until the election is safely out of the way.
Until now, the strategy has worked a treat. Hicks has been out of sight and out of voters’ minds.
Whether the issue still has any traction could be tested with the allegation in Harper’s magazine that US Vice President Dick Cheney orchestrated Hicks’ early release — for John Howard. The piece quotes a US military officer, according to news.com.au:
“One of our staffers was present when Vice-President Cheney interfered directly to get Hicks’ plea bargain deal,” the unnamed officer told Harper’s magazine…
“He did it, apparently, as part of a deal cut with Howard.
“I kept thinking: this is the sort of thing that used to go on behind the Iron Curtain, not in America. And then it struck me how much this entire process had disintegrated into a political charade. It’s demoralising for all of us.”
In a sense, news of a possible interference is hardly a shock. When Cheney visited Australia in February, Howard was very keen to see Hicks’ trial brought forward, and applied pressure to the VP accordingly, noting “I have asked that within the constraints of the separation of powers in the United States system between the executive and the judicial process, the trial be brought on as soon as humanely possible with no further delay.”
Those constraints melted away with surprising ease due to the unusual plea deal orchestrated by Cheney protege and US military convening authority at Guantanamo, Susan Crawford. With the stroke of a pen (literally), and apparently without consulting the prosecution, she wiped out Hicks’ charges (as reported by Crikey at the time).
But Cheney distanced himself from the Hicks process during his Australian visit. “We can’t interfere with that process,” he said. “It’s a judicial process. We can’t influence it. That would be a violation of the procedure.”
He then added. “But I do expect that in the not too distant future that … will get resolved. I can assure you we will be doing everything we can to deal with these matters in as expeditious manner as possible.”
The Harper’s allegations are not a good look for Cheney, who has a reputation for getting employees (or former staffers) to do his political dirty work.
For Howard however, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, speaking as it does of his pulling power with the US. Either that or he offered something in exchange for Hicks’ expedient return. But what?
This is a good step for Australia. We now wait for the gag order to be released, and Mr. David Hicks to speak. We cannot rely on him however, as he is not a willing player. He was probably tortured. But how much more does he really want to be in the spotlight? Probably not at all.
He opened the floodgates.
Yeah, he likens our fight today to that of Vietnam back then. But, well, just where was he in Vietnam? Did he ever step foot there as a soldier? Did he ever do his duty to his country? After all that fight was so noble, why didn’t he go over there like so many other brave Americans? How about Dick “Other Priorities” Cheney? He claims deferments for college, but interestingly, never got his degrees…hmmm…nah, he couldn’t have taken advantage of the deferments to avoid going to combat. Not Dick Cheney! Not the man who loves to start conflicts. No, he’s a WARRIOR! He wouldn’t get his wife pregnant just to get another deferment:
On Oct. 6, 1965, the Selective Service lifted its ban against drafting married men who had no children. Nine months and two days later, Mr. Cheney’s first daughter, Elizabeth, was born. On Jan. 19, 1966, when his wife was about 10 weeks pregnant, Mr. Cheney applied for 3-A status, the “hardship” exemption, which excluded men with children or dependent parents. It was granted.
Nine months and two days later. Wow. “Other priorities” indeed.
You want to talk about Vietnam, Mr. President. No worries. We’ll talk about Vietnam.
Well well well, it seems before 9/11 Dick Cheney actually made some sense, or at least did not let the delusions that were to come after 9/11 get in the way of sound thinking. Here he is in 1998 on sanctions on Iran:
[O]ur sanctions policy oftentimes generates unanticipated consequences. It puts us in a position where a part of our government is pursuing objectives that are at odds with other objectives that the United States has with respect to a particular region.
An example that comes immediately to mind has to do with efforts to develop the resources of the former Soviet Union in the Caspian Sea area. It is a region rich in oil and gas. Unfortunately, Iran is sitting right in the middle of the area and the United States has declared unilateral economic sanctions against that country. As a result, American firms are prohibited from dealing with Iran and find themselves cut out of the action, both in terms of opportunities that develop with respect to Iran itself, and also with respect to our ability to gain access to Caspian resources. Iran is not punished by this decision. There are numerous oil and gas development companies from other countries that are now aggressively pursuing opportunities to develop those resources. That development will proceed, but it will happen without American participation. The most striking result of the government’s use of unilateral sanctions in the region is that only American companies are prohibited from operating there.
Another good example of how our sanctions policy oftentimes gets in the way of our other interests occurred in the fall of 1997 when Saddam Hussein was resisting U.N. weapons inspections. I happened to be in the Gulf region during that period of time. Administration officials in the area were trying to get Arab members of the coalition that executed operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991 to allow U.S. military forces to be based on their territory. They wanted that capability in the event it was necessary to take military action against Iraq in order to get them to honor the UN resolutions. Our friends in the region cited a number of reasons for not complying with our request. They were concerned with the fragile nature of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, which was stalled. But they also had fundamental concerns about our policy toward Iran. We had been trying to force the governments in the region to adhere to an anti-Iranian policy, and our views raised questions in their mind about the wisdom of U.S. leadership. They cited it as an example of something they thought was unwise, and that they should not do.
So, what effect does this have on our standing in the region? I take note of the fact that all of the Arab countries we approached, with the single exception of Kuwait, rejected our request to base forces on their soil in the event military action was required against Iraq. As if that weren’t enough, most of them boycotted the economic conference that the United States supported in connection with the peace process that was hosted in Qatar during that period of time. Then, having rejected participation in that conference, they all went to Tehran and attended the Islamic summit hosted by the Iranians. The nation that’s isolated in terms of our sanctions policy in that part of the globe is not Iran. It is the United States. And the fact that we have tried to pressure governments in the region to adopt a sanctions policy that they clearly are not interested in pursuing has raised doubts in the minds of many of our friends about the overall wisdom and judgment of U.S. policy in the area.
Let me repeat what he just said again, “The nation that’s isolated in terms of our sanctions policy in that part of the globe is not Iran. It is the United States.” Wow, what the hell happened to this guy after 9/11? Why did his wisdom go the way of the dodo bird?
This past Saturday my wife and I went and saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The movie was pretty well done, though I do wonder what the “Order of the Phoenix” actually had to do with the plot of the movie—the actual Order members appear at the very beginning and then at the end to save the day (but that’s another story). In any case, the movie was pretty good. I got thinking about a particular aspect of our modern fictional heroes and villains. See I’m also reading Hugh Nibley’s books on the Jaredites and their origins in ancient Asiatic cultures and kingdoms. Absolutely fascinating stuff! Mr. Nibley has opened a window to a world I did not really know about but have been quite curious about for the longest time. The steppes of ancient Asia were quite a bloody, violent, and unstable times, with ruling kings dueling with rivals, capturing kings, having them live in captivity all their lives, so on and so forth. These ancient Asiatic and Jaredite kings were unafraid of battle. In fact, it was their culture that the king took the lead in the battle. They reveled in besting their rivals on the field of battle. In fact, in the account of the Jaredites the two remaining kings, Coriantumr and Shiz battled to the ultimate death and destruction of the Jaredite nation.
In any case, I’ve noticed quite a trend in our stories of late regardless of medium, be it film, television or book. The hero (and the villain too) usually takes the lead, usually is willing to go through hellfire and damnation to achieve near impossible tasks. (These same heroes apparently come out rather unscathed psychologically, but again that is also another story). Jack Bauer takes the lead on “24”. Harry Potter leads the ragtag children of Hogwarts against far more advanced Death Eaters at impossible odds. Maybe their young age makes them not think twice about the fact that they could die very easily at the hands of a Death Eater. And let me just say, if I were a Death Eater, I doubt I would let little kids get in my way of things. But that would ruin the story, wouldn’t it? Leonidas takes charge of the 300 Spartan warriors against one million Persians. Leonidas and his men die in their efforts but their efforts were able to weaken the Persians enough that a few years later they were defeated. Aragorn charges wildly into the mass of orcs in Return of the King, even though it is a foolish move if you think about it. He doesn’t though, because dramatically speaking, charging against the mass of orcs is a far more powerful scene than sitting back strategizing the perils of the kingdom of Gondor at large if the king were to die in battle.
Reality is that when the king leads the battle, the kingdom has a good chance of completely failing, of complete collapse. This is what we learn about ancient Asiatic kingdoms. People wait around until a strongman appears who takes charge, quickly amassing a powerful army that takes control of half of Asia. In no time at all, upon the king’s quick death in battle, the kingdom falls. Modern nations are a vastly different institution, where the ultimate leader stays in the back of the battle sending off the underlings to die for the cause, the homeland, for the state.
I wonder what it is doing to our culture and our mindset when we tie in our hearts and culture the worship of the hero, the soldier, the warrior, the one who, risking all, darts off to battle “evil”, coming back conqueror. Even the most insanest of us all tends to be quite realistic when it comes to his or her own survival. Thus I am befuddled when I see for example this video of College Republicans who speak so easily of our cause against terrorism, but who they themselves do not wish to pick up a weapon and fight.
I don’t mean to pick necessarily on Republicans with this point, it’s just that their example is the most blatant right now. Who do they expect to do the fighting for the cause they speak so proudly of?
We see so many examples in our entertainment, in all mediums, books, television and film, of a worship of the warrior that I really do think it has clouded our understanding of both warfare and tolerating situations we really have no power to control. So many speak of doing “something” about Iran, for example, as if it were not tolerable to have an Iran with nuclear technology. When we speak of not tolerating a nuclear Iran, what does that mean? Do we really have the power to 1) stop Iran from learning nuclear technology? 2) and not further decay our own power?
Reality bites hard. We may have deposed Saddam Hussein. Few doubted our military might and our ability to defeat someone as weak as Saddam. But I wonder if the fakery of fictional characters has so clouded our vision that we think taking massive risks means the risks won’t actually take place? I was watching “A Bug’s Life” with my daughter the other day and I thought some more about this. Flick made a grave mistake when his contraption caused the offering to fall into the river below. That’s fine, a big problem, but fixable. But Flick does not learn the lesson of his mistake, and that is that taking risks could be destructive to the whole tribe. It was quite opportune for Flick and the ants that a bird lived close by, because really, without the bird, something Flick could not control, all his plans were doomed to fail.
Pundits favoring the actions in Iraq talked so often and frequently about how this action would utterly change the Middle East that one really has to wonder how they were believed. Then again no one really asked these pundits just what evidence they had that forcible invasion of a very nationalistic tribalistic state would magically create a pro-Western democratic haven right smack in the middle of a whole slew of other ultra-nationalistic tribalistic states whose influences were and still are far greater and more powerful than the invading army’s influence. We took a high priced risk. We were the hero who rushed wildly at the mass of orcs thinking that, hey it worked in the fictional account, it should work in reality. Aragorn won’t die. He can’t. Frodo will somehow magically make it to the Mount of Doom to melt the ring of Sauron’s power. And more importantly that action would somehow make all the orcs stop attacking to kill Aragorn. Or that Han Solo would appear at the right moment to “surge” and deflect just enough of Vader’s ship to give Luke the opportunity to shoot his guns into the plot-appropriate hole that magically destroys the entire Death Star. We hear plenty in real life from war supporters who say, hey “bomb them all to hell.” “Just nuke the place, that will solve all our problems.”
I used to think that we should restart a draft into American culture, because I used to believe that forcing Americans to serve in defense of their country would make them wisen up about risking so much in wars of choices. After all, interestingly, many of today’s leaders did NOT fight in Vietnam (Dick Cheney had five deferments for “other priorities” for example). But I now don’t think the problem with our rush to wars is lack of fighting by Americans. I think it is our worship of the hero, the warrior, the soldier. Ironically, the Army’s new slogan is an “Army of One.” Heh, it couldn’t be more fitting for our culture of hero worship.
This is not going to change soon. In fact, it will probably get worse before it gets better. Which is too bad, because we’re now in decline in the world around us. The risks were not neutralized, but instead materialized as we were warned. We’ve got many problems ahead of us.
I have closely observed the goings on of my government (as best as I can seeing how secretive they want to be) these past five years, ever since Bush decided to go to war with Iraq back in the summer of 2002. (Read Bill Schneider’s “Marketing Iraq: Why Now?” where you can read Andrew Card’s comment: “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” They decided over the summer to attack Iraq. The rest was all a matter of marketing, selling it to the American public). They got the war rammed down Americans’ throats, with an extremely complicit media rooting the Administration on, damned be anyone that stood in their way.
The corrupting influence of raw power began immediately after 9/11. I’m sure in the very first seconds of realizing the potential power the Executive could yield, the Administration probably had good intents, but those were just a few seconds. They realized just how much power they really had: raw power. And they realized they must keep it a secret, for if it really got out, they would be forced to follow the rule of law, and not the rule of raw power. They took advantage of all the support (90% approval ratings and support from many nations around the world) and ran with it as far as they thought they could go. Karl Rove told Republicans in January of 2002 to run with the war in the November elections and they would win seats. They did and they won seats. They got the war they wanted, on the cheap, small force, shock and awe military might that defeated a ragtag worn down Iraqi military in three weeks. No surprise there. No wonder so many neo-conservatives and their allies chortled after the war, and drank in their wine of success.
Reports and studies, however, were there from the beginning that all was not well, and that continuing down this path would lead to serious problems for America. The most serious is the raw power employed by the Bush administration. Unchecked, the Bush administration began, right from the start, right from 2001 and early 2002, to employ power beyond what is written in the Constitution. Why? Because they saw what raw power there was in the Executive Branch and they took it. Even so, they knew they were doing wrong, or they wouldn’t be so secretive about it. Only those with something to hide, hide something. So right from the start, the United States of America began torturing people, employing techniques learned from the Soviets and the Nazis. They kept this as much of a secret as they could. For they knew if this were to get out, they would be in trouble. The American public still had more raw power over the administration, at least until after the 2004 presidential election. Once that election passed and Bush won, their raw power achieved the ultimate. For the next four years, no one could stop them. So some of their secrets could get out. In fact, by slowly getting out, the secrets became acceptable. Like any watcher of pornography, you can justify the soft porn at first, but you cannot justify the hardcore. Once you get enough of the soft porn, the hardcore becomes acceptable and even desirable. It soon becomes a part of who you are.
In 2006 something wonderful happened. America broke out of the spell of this administration and its evils. A lot of Democrats and liberals (and many independents) were hopeful to see a change.
Unfortunately that is not going to happen. You see, the Bush administration has tasted of raw power and they will not let go. In fact, even if the Democrats get a veto proof majority in these next 18 months, there is nothing to hold back the Bush administration from simply defying the veto overrides of Congress. Note with what impunity the administration is telling private citizens not to show up for Congressional subpoenas! They even claim executive privilege over documents related to Pat Tillman’s debacle. Why? Because they can. There is no raw power above them, so why should they listen to anyone or do anything for anyone? They answer to none but themselves.
We must realize that there is only one thing that can actually end this raw power by this administration over these next 18 months and that is a full on revolution where the American people rise up and kicks this administration out of power. Congress has no raw power to impeach this president. He will simply defy their will. Why should he bother with Congress? He has no incentive. He has nothing to lose.
America has not been in as dangerous and precarious position as it is today. We must go back to the rule of law. For the rule of law to have any real effect, those who broke the rule of law must be punished and held accountable. Otherwise, what is the purpose of law? Without any punishment, there is no law. Unfortunately this will not happen, and we will have to deal with the administration as currently constituted for the next 18 months. We will have to deal with a possible military strike on Iran. We will have to deal with attempts by this administration to fix the next election so that they ensure a Republican president and a security and secrecy over what they have done these past six years. What Republican candidate today is going to actually hold anyone in the Bush administration accountable for their crimes? What Republican candidate today will punish anyone in this administration?
For that matter, what Democrat will truly do what needs to be done? I bet that even they will come up with some rationale about healing the wounds of Bush’s divisiveness and let them get away with it. Again, if there is no punishment, can there really be a law? If there is no law, what do we have?
Jack Balkin writes about why this is so important:
At this point in Bush’s Presidency three things matter above all others. They motivate this final round of constitutional hardball: The first is keeping secret what the President and his advisers have done. The second is running out the clock to prevent any significant dismantling of his policies until his term ends. The third is doing whatever he can proactively to ensure that later governments do not hold him or his associates accountable for any acts of constitutional hardball or other illegalities practiced during his term in office.
If the NSA program and the Torture Memos were examples of the second round of constitutional hardball, the Libby commutation and Harriet Meiers’ refusal to testify before Congress are examples of the third round. Although his Presidency now seems to be a failure, Bush’s third round of constitutional hardball may be every bit as important as the first two. That is because if Bush is never held accountable for what he did in office, future presidents will be greatly tempted to adopt features of his practices. If they temper his innovations and his excesses only slightly, they will still seem quite admirable and restrained in comparison to Bush. As a result, if Congress and the public do not decisively reject Bush’s policies and practices, some particularly unsavory features of his Presidency will survive in future Administrations. If that happens, Bush’s previous acts of constitutional hardball will have paid off after all. He may not have created a new and lasting constitutional regime, but he will have introduced long-lasting weaknesses and elements of decay into our constitutional system.
This administration is by far the worst that America has ever seen. But it is far more dangerous than that. Their policies and their use of raw power has done serious and potentially permanent damage and harm to the rule of law and the Constitution. Note for example the audacity of Sara Taylor claiming her oath to the president rather than to the Constitution. When corrected, now how smugly she replied:
Leahy: And then you said, I took an oath to the President, and I take that oath very seriously. Did you mean, perhaps, you took an oath to the Constitution?
Taylor: Uh, I, uh, yes, you’re correct, I took an oath to the Constitution. Uh, but, what–
Leahy: Did you take a second oath to the President?
Taylor: I did not. I–
Leahy: So the answer was incorrect.
Taylor: The answer was incorrect. What I should have said is that, I took an oath, I took that oath seriously. And I believe that taking that oath means that I need to respect, and do respect, my service to the President.
Leahy: No, the oath says that you take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. That is your paramount duty. I know that the President refers to the government being his government — it’s not. It’s the government of the people of America. Your oath is not to uphold the President, nor is mine to uphold the Senate. My oath, like your oath, is to uphold the Constitution.
This was an unscripted moment showing the reality of the raw power employed by the Bush administration. Loyalty is NOT to the Constitution, but to the president. Because the real raw power is not in the Constitution, but in Bush and Cheney. Note also Cheney’s ludicrous claim that is was not part of the executive branch, and thus cannot be held in check by any rules or regulations. These are but a few examples of the raw power employed by the Bush administration. (Heck, let’s not even bring up Scooter Libby!).
What can be done? At this point we must continue to reveal the secrets, show Americans just how much the Bush administration is not for the Constitution they took an oath to uphold. Continue forcing them to explain themselves. History will be the judge. If the administration attempts to start a fight with Iran, we must take to the streets and say NO! It won’t do much to actually stop them, but that’s all we can do, unless we’re riping for a real revolution.
There were fourteen Saudis on the flights on 9/11. And most of the foreign presence in Iraq come from Saudi Arabia.
Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.
About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.
Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality, said the senior U.S. officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject’s sensitivity. It is apparently the first time a U.S. official has given such a breakdown on the role played by Saudi nationals in Iraq’s Sunni Arab insurgency.
He said 50% of all Saudi fighters in Iraq come here as suicide bombers. In the last six months, such bombings have killed or injured 4,000 Iraqis.
The situation has left the U.S. military in the awkward position of battling an enemy whose top source of foreign fighters is a key ally that at best has not been able to prevent its citizens from undertaking bloody attacks in Iraq, and at worst shares complicity in sending extremists to commit attacks against U.S. forces, Iraqi civilians and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
So why don’t we declare war on the Saudis? After all, their people are killing ours. Their people killed 3000 of ours on 9/11. Remember, it was the Saudi King that summoned our vice president. Summoned. Not requested, not invited. Summoned.
A new National Intelligence Estimate presents a sobering analysis of terrorism threats to the United States, concluding that Al Qaeda has reconstituted its core structure along the Pakistani border and may now be a stronger and more resilient organization today than it appeared a year ago, according to three U.S. intelligence officials familiar with the draft document.
So what can be done?
First of all, fire the failed leaders! Remove Bush and Cheney from power. Now!
On Lies, Credibility Gaps, Friedman Units, Good Christian Conservatives Gone Bad, and Approval RatingsJuly 10, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Cheney, Congress, conservatives, corruption, Democracy, Evangelicals, family values, friedman units, George W Bush, Iraq, King George, Republicans, Revising History, secret combinations | 3 Comments
For any but the hardcore conservative, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is nothing but a proven liar. Well evidence has come to light showing just how badly he has lied to the American people and under oath to Congress. You see, in April 2005 he testified to Congress the following:
“There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse.”
When talking about the FBI’s new powers under the Patriot Act. Well, that was a lie.
As he sought to renew the USA Patriot Act two years ago, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales assured lawmakers that the FBI had not abused its potent new terrorism-fighting powers. “There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse,” Gonzales told senators on April 27, 2005.
Six days earlier, the FBI sent Gonzales a copy of a report that said its agents had obtained personal information that they were not entitled to have. It was one of at least half a dozen reports of legal or procedural violations that Gonzales received in the three months before he made his statement to the Senate intelligence committee, according to internal FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The acts recounted in the FBI reports included unauthorized surveillance, an illegal property search and a case in which an Internet firm improperly turned over a compact disc with data that the FBI was not entitled to collect, the documents show. Gonzales was copied on each report that said administrative rules or laws protecting civil liberties and privacy had been violated.
The reports also alerted Gonzales in 2005 to problems with the FBI’s use of an anti-terrorism tool known as a national security letter (NSL), well before the Justice Department’s inspector general brought widespread abuse of the letters in 2004 and 2005 to light in a stinging report this past March.
This is America’s top law enforcer.
Next comes General Kevin Bergner, a Bush administration operative who is now the spokesman in Iraq who said the following:
The U.S. command in Baghdad this week ballyhooed the killing of a key al Qaeda leader but later admitted that the military had declared him dead a year ago.
The incident shows the eagerness of the command to show progress in dismantling al Qaeda at a time when Democrats and some Republicans are pressing President Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander, has declared al Qaeda enemy No. 1 in Iraq.
Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner began his Monday news conference with a list of top insurgents either killed or captured in recent operations. He said they had been eliminated “in the past few weeks” and were “recent results.”
“In the north, Iraqi army and coalition forces continue successful operations in Mosul,” he told reporters. “Kamal Jalil Uthman, also known as Said Hamza, was the al Qaeda in Iraq military emir of Mosul. He planned, coordinated and facilitated suicide bombings, and he facilitated the movement of more than a hundred foreign fighters through safe houses in the area.” All told, Bergner devoted 68 words to Uthman’s demise.
Uthman was indeed a big kill, and the military featured his death last year in a report titled “Tearing Down al Qaeda.”
The Bush Administration wishes so badly to inform us that we’re fighting “Al-Qaida in Iraq” that they are willing to tell us that they’ve killed the same guy again a whole year later. Anybody wonder why some of us do not trust a single word that comes out of the mouth of a military spokesman?
Friedman Units. Those fun six month periods so generously created by Mr. Tom Friedman of the New York Times, where the most vital period in our conflict in Iraq is always the “next six months.” Well, today is July 10. Six months ago, Bush unveiled his “surge” strategy. Let’s see what proponents said six months ago about this new strategy. (Courtesy of Atrios):
So my question to each of you, in sum, is if there isn’t sufficient evidence of this kind of summitry and diplomacy — if there isn’t a sufficient political process in place — and I want your judgment as to whether or not there is — will more troops have any chance of, in fact, getting what we want, or is it going to make matters worse? And if it does, where are we after putting them in in six months if it hasn’t worked? Mr. O’Hanlon?
MR. O’HANLON: Senator Kerry, very tough question. I like your idea of a ledger. On the positive side of the troop surge proposal, I would say we all know tactically there have never been enough troops in Iraq to clear and hold. So that’s the tactical argument for this case. It would have been a much more compelling argument three and four years ago than it is today, but I think it remains at some level in the plus column. On the negative column, of course, we know that there is no political resolution of these very sectarian divides —
FOREMAN: Six months from now, are we going to look at this area right here where most of them are going to go and say we’re better off or worse off?
MARKS: We need to say we’re better off.
ZAHN: We need to, but will we?
MARKS: There are ways to achieve that. And it’s not mutually exclusive. It’s not a political solution better than a military solution. All of these are essential ingredients to a solution. So it’s not a military strategy.
Pentagon officials expect US troops to stay in the streets for about six months before turning security over to the Iraqis. `If it hasn’t happened in six months,’ one official said, `we’ll know it’s not working.‘
Unless considerable progress is made in Iraq in a relatively short time, you will see Republicans crossing over and joining Democrats in challenging his Iraq strategy in a bipartisan way. This is a dead serious six months we’re approaching.
MATTHEWS: Well, I don`t think it`s his last stand. I think it`s the second to the last stand. I think asking for more troops suggests hope that if we try a little harder, it will work. I think the next go-around, six months from now, or a year from now, perhaps, you`ll see the president come back to the American people and say, give me one last shot at this. I think he has one more chance after this. It`s not the end of the game.
This is the second to the last battle, I believe, of this war politically. But I do believe his numbers will continue to go down. I think we`ll see casualties in the streets of Iraq, Baghdad. It`s going to be a bloody campaign and I don`t think it`s going to yield stability.
He has one last shot, and that’s the way to look at it, I think. It’s Hail, Mary time.
But we will be able to know in the next six months, although the sustained effort has to take longer than six months.
You know, we’ve talked about that before here, Sam, on this program, that this is, the President believes, his last shot.
BUCHANAN: He has said it this time. The last test is right now.
This is why I`m saying, look, this is the last chance for Maliki, the last chance for the Americans. The acid test is whether they go after the Mahdi army, which I think knows we will go after them. And that`s why I think it may very well run to earth for the next six months.
SCARBOROUGH: We have to — we have to do that. We have to go after al-Sadr. We have to go after the Mahdi army. And, if we are, in fact, trying to start a democracy over there, and bring justice to Iraq, then, we have to arrest or kill al-Sadr.
Who still believes these bamboozlers?
Next, Good Christian Conservatives Gone Bad. I give you Senator David Vitter of Louisiana. He is a person found on Deborah Palfrey’s list of persons seeking, uh, companions, yeah, that’s what they are called…
Funny thing is that Senator Vitter has been one of the most outspoken people on banning same-sex marriage, because it is destructive to the family and all. Blah Blah Blah. It’s truly a Shakespearean comedy of errors, especially when you put into perspective what his wife said back in 2000 when talking about President Clinton’s West Wing escapades with one intern named Monica:
Asked by an interviewer in 2000 whether she could forgive her husband if she learned he’d had an extramarital affair, as Hillary Clinton and Bob Livingston’s wife had done, Wendy Vitter told the Times-Picayune: “I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me.”
Heh, the good Senator should probably get a good iron chastity belt ready.
The ironic thing is that Senator Vitter got his position after Senator Livingston resigned after his affair was disclosed. Senator Livingston, as some may recall, was one of the strongest voices against Clinton’s White House escapades with one intern named Monica. Ironic indeed.
Finally, the news gets good for those who dislike Bush. His disapproval rating is as bad as Nixon’s. That’s right, no presidents have been as disliked than George W. Bush and Richard Nixon. Both have disapproval ratings at 66%. Nixon was lucky to have resigned when he did. Assuredly his numbers would have tanked even worse with impeachment proceedings going on. It is indeed a wonder how impeachment proceedings have not begun yet on George W. Bush, with all that has been said and done. But no worries, Bush still has 18 months to go even lower than Nixon and become America’s most hated president ever.
Only three points separate Mr. Bush from the lowest of the low, that good ol’ Republican, Mr. Nixon. And Bush has over a year and a half to reach that point. Mr. Bush’s approval rating stands at 26%.
You know what I say, Bush, keep pressing those immigration reforms that right-wing talk radio just loves so much to talk about. Keep doing it, Mr. Bush. Let’s see if you can do the ultimate flip-flop. You once had 90% approval. Can you make it only 10% near the end of your term? Heck, your buddy in Israel, Olmert, is still stuck at 2% approval! Just keep offending everyone, left and right. Let’s hear more from people like Peggy Noonan who previously praised your Highness but now pout:
Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens?
Keep it up, Mr. President. Who knows, we might even impeach you.
This is the newest low of the Bush administration, and obviously one big reason why they’ve wanted to keep the black sites in Europe as secret as they could. Because one of the things that the Bush administration authorized was the capture and interrogation of children of terrorists (such as Khalik Sheikh Mohammed), to be used as a leverage against the terrorists, because hey, who likes to see their children suffer? This is the level to which our country has fallen, where we now torture children.
Andrew Sullivan quotes the CIA about KSM’s sons:
“His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him.”
Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has the details.
Today, six human rights groups released a report (pdf) on 39 people who they think the US government might be holding in undisclosed locations, and whose location is presently unknown. (Thus, they are not counting anyone known to be at Guantanamo or Bagram; just people who are missing.) That we have disappeared anyone is shocking, and a violation of treaties we have signed and ratified.
This report has gotten a fair amount of play, but in all the coverage I’ve read, only the Philadelphia Inquirer has mentioned what is, to me, the most awful allegation: that we disappeared young children. The report (pp. 24-26) lists five groups of family members; those who are discussed at greatest length are the sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
She then quotes the article from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“In September 2002, Yusuf al-Khalid (then nine years old) and Abed al-Khalid (then seven years old) were reportedly apprehended by Pakistani security forces during an attempted capture of their father, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was successfully apprehended several months later, and the U.S. government has acknowledged that he was in the U.S. Secret Detention Program. He is presently held at Guantánamo Bay.
In an April 16, 2007 statement, Ali Khan (father of Majid Khan, a detainee who the U.S. government has acknowledged was in the U.S. Secret Detention Program and is presently held at Guantánamo Bay) indicated that Yusef and Abed al-Khalid had been held in the same location in which Majid Khan and Majid’s brother Mohammed were detained in March/April 2003. Mohammed was detained by Pakistani officials for approximately one month after his apprehension on March 5, 2003 (see below). Ali Khan’s statement indicates that:
Also according to Mohammed, he and Majid were detained in the same place where two of Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s young children, ages about 6 and 8, were held. The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs, and were denied food and water by other guards. They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding.
After Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s arrest in March 2003, Yusuf and Abed Al Khalid were reportedly transferred out of Pakistan in U.S. custody. The children were allegedly being sent for questioning about their father’s activities and to be used by the United States as leverage to force their father to co-operate with the United States. A press report on March 10, 2003 confirmed that CIA interrogators had detained the children and that one official explained that:
“We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children…but we need to know as much about their father’s recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care.”
In the transcript of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Combatant Status Review Tribunal, he indicates knowledge that his children were apprehended and abused:
“They arrested my kids intentionally. They are kids. They been arrested for four months they had been abused.””
Hilzoy states this correctly. This is something two-bit dictators would do. Is this something a supposed “Christian” democratic country does? Apparently. She asks at the end:
And note this: the only people who were included in the report are people whose whereabouts are presently unknown. These kids were captured over four years ago. They would be thirteen and eleven now. Does anyone know where they are? Does anyone care?
Not Americans. We’re too concerned about Paris Hilton’s latest sob story about prison. Andrew Sullivan adds:
One of the eeriest aspects of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror has been the inversion of previously held assumptions about the meaning of the West. We fought a war to end torture; we then occupied Saddam’s own torture prison and tortured people there. We fought a war to bring democracy to the Middle East and to show Arabs and Muslims how superior it is as a system; we then spawned chaos, civil war and genocide to brand democracy as a nightmare for an entire generation of Muslims and Arabs. But I recall one moment when I felt most secure about our rationale for the war: we liberated a prison full of children who had been targeted by the monster, Saddam. If ending a regime that jailed children was not right, what was?
Except now we know that the U.S. has itself detained, imprisoned and interrogated children.
He then quotes John Yoo, the mastermind behind the torture regime:
“Cassel: If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty
Cassel: Also no law by Congress — that is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo…
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that…”
Weren’t we supposed to be fighting AGAINST people like Mr. Yoo? Additionally Michael P.F. Van Der Galien is trying to find out what has happened to those children. To this point, he has not found any information.
What kind of nation makes children disappear?
Well, we knew this day was coming. Cheney is apparently disappointed with Bush for going the diplomatic route with Iran and is going around the president to force the president’s hand. This is from Steve Clemons who is deeply connected in the world of Washington. He states:
There is a race currently underway between different flanks of the administration to determine the future course of US-Iran policy.
On one flank are the diplomats, and on the other is Vice President Cheney’s team and acolytes — who populate quite a wide swath throughout the American national security bureaucracy.
The Pentagon and the intelligence establishment are providing support to add muscle and nuance to the diplomatic effort led by Condi Rice, her deputy John Negroponte, Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, and Legal Adviser John Bellinger. The support that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and CIA Director Michael Hayden are providing Rice’s efforts are a complete, 180 degree contrast to the dysfunction that characterized relations between these institutions before the recent reshuffle of top personnel.
However, the Department of Defense and national intelligence sector are also preparing for hot conflict. They believe that they need to in order to convince Iran’s various power centers that the military option does exist.
But this is worrisome. The person in the Bush administration who most wants a hot conflict with Iran is Vice President Cheney. The person in Iran who most wants a conflict is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force would be big winners in a conflict as well — as the political support that both have inside Iran has been flagging.
Multiple sources have reported that a senior aide on Vice President Cheney’s national security team has been meeting with policy hands of the American Enterprise Institute, one other think tank, and more than one national security consulting house and explicitly stating that Vice President Cheney does not support President Bush’s tack towards Condoleezza Rice’s diplomatic efforts and fears that the President is taking diplomacy with Iran too seriously.
This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an “end run strategy” around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument.
The thinking on Cheney’s team is to collude with Israel, nudging Israel at some key moment in the ongoing standoff between Iran’s nuclear activities and international frustration over this to mount a small-scale conventional strike against Natanz using cruise missiles (i.e., not ballistic missiles).
There are many other components of the complex game plan that this Cheney official has been kicking around Washington. The official has offered this commentary to senior staff at AEI and in lunch and dinner gatherings which were to be considered strictly off-the-record, but there can be little doubt that the official actually hopes that hawkish conservatives and neoconservatives share this information and then rally to this point of view. This official is beating the brush and doing what Joshua Muravchik has previously suggested — which is to help establish the policy and political pathway to bombing Iran.
The zinger of this information is the admission by this Cheney aide that Cheney himself is frustrated with President Bush and believes, much like Richard Perle, that Bush is making a disastrous mistake by aligning himself with the policy course that Condoleezza Rice, Bob Gates, Michael Hayden and McConnell have sculpted.
According to this official, Cheney believes that Bush can not be counted on to make the “right decision” when it comes to dealing with Iran and thus Cheney believes that he must tie the President’s hands.
On Tuesday evening, i spoke with a former top national intelligence official in this Bush administration who told me that what I was investigating and planned to report on regarding Cheney and the commentary of his aide was “potentially criminal insubordination” against the President. I don’t believe that the White House would take official action against Cheney for this agenda-mongering around Washington — but I do believe that the White House must either shut Cheney and his team down and give them all garden view offices so that they can spend their days staring out their windows with not much to do or expect some to begin to think that Bush has no control over his Vice President.
It is not that Cheney wants to bomb Iran and Bush doesn’t, it is that Cheney is saying that Bush is making a mistake and thus needs to have the choices before him narrowed.
As some of Mr. Clemons’ readers note, that is usually called a coup, and would be in violation of American law. But Cheney has never been one to really care what the law states. He wants his war with Iran, and he will damned well get it.
I’m not surprised, but Provo businesses are blacklisting students that participated in a protest of Cheney, courtesy of Joe Vogel:
Now BYU Alternative Commencement has received an email from a local businesswoman named Denise Harman, who claims that all BYU students participating in activities against Dick Cheney are being tracked by local businesses. “Many businesses are noting the names involved,” she says.
Why are business tracking the names of soon to be graduating students? “You are being tagged as trouble makers and added to massive ‘Do Not Hire’ lists,” says Denise Harman, who hires hundreds of graduates every year.
She adds curtly, “Just thought you should know that activities have consequences.”
Indeed they do. How utterly childish. Shows you that residents of Provo have a stronger allegiance to one man than they do to democracy or even free speech. I wonder, if a day comes when those protesting rules against Mormonism get blacklisted what they will say…
ARTHUR: We are looking for a shrubbery…
CRONE: Aggh! No! Never! We have no shrubberies here.
ARTHUR: If you do not tell us where we can buy a shrubbery, my friend and I will say… we will say… ‘ni’.
CRONE: Agh! Do your worst!
ARTHUR: Very well! If you will not assist us voluntarily,… ni!
CRONE: No! Never! No shrubberies!
ROGER THE SHRUBBER: Are you saying ‘ni’ to that old woman?
ARTHUR: Erm, yes.
ROGER: Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can ‘ni’ at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.
ARTHUR: Did you say ‘shrubberies’?
ROGER: Yes. Shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
David Luban writes in Balkinization about the David Hicks ordeal down in Gitmo. It is worth the read to show just how pathetic the whole scenario is. For example: Continue Reading This is No Nuremberg Trial, That’s For Sure…
Well well well, new emails have come out showing that Rove was behind the purge of US attorneys all along. This directly contradicts everything the White House and the Attorney General have said.
Has it come to a point yet where Americans will finally agree that Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzales, etc are liars and that not a word that comes out of their mouths can be trusted? I mean, how many times should they lie to you before you see this?
Well, well, well, look at that, a former Iranian deputy minister, who commanded the Revolutionary Guard has defected to the United States.
A former Iranian deputy defense minister who once commanded the Revolutionary Guard has left his country and is cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, providing information on Hezbollah and Iran’s ties to the organization, according to a senior U.S. official.
Ali Rez Asgari disappeared last month during a visit to Turkey. Iranian officials suggested yesterday that he may have been kidnapped by Israel or the United States. The U.S. official said Asgari is willingly cooperating. He did not divulge Asgari’s whereabouts or specify who is questioning him, but made clear that the information Asgari is offering is fully available to U.S. intelligence.
The key important point about Ali Rez Asgari is that he did not work for Ahmadinejad. He worked for Khatami, the previous Iranian president, a moderate, and as such, Mr. Asgari probably left Iran because he did not like what Ahmadinejad was doing to his country. Now, Khatami, the moderate, was the one who attempted to make peace with the United States back in 2003, an offer rudely and stupidly rebuffed by the idiot Cheney.
We can only hope that this new twist leads to a peaceful resolution between the United States, Israel, and Iran. There’s no need for war.
Libby was convicted of:
# obstruction of justice when he intentionally deceived a grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame;
# making a false statement by intentionally lying to FBI agents about a conversation with NBC newsman Tim Russert;
# perjury when he lied in court about his conversation with Russert;
# a second count of perjury when he lied in court about conversations with other reporters.
Jurors cleared him of a second count of making a false statement relating to a conversation he had with Matt Cooper of Time magazine.
Just one question left: When will the Presidential Pardon come? After all, Libby fell on his sword for Cheney, not taking the stand and not requesting Cheney take the stand. Any bets on when he will be pardoned?
The Taliban are claiming responsibility for a suicide attack on the base where Cheney was staying. Fourteen innocent people died, and the attack was aimed at the vice president.
What a clear message was just sent by our enemies. While we go traipsing around in Iraq with no apparent coherent plan, and divert our attentions and resources from the real fight on our real enemies, the ones who have been attacking us since 1993, this enemy came within a few hundred yards of striking our vice president. This is the same vice president who claims “enormous successes” in the war on terror. This is the vice president who just warned Musharraf in Pakistan that if he doesn’t crack down on Al-Qaida, the Democrats will defund Pakistan. Right, the Democrats, not the Bush administration. The Bush administration doesn’t care if Musharraf doesn’t crack down on Al-Qaida. They’re not threatening Musharraf with any consequences. Only now that Democrats are in power, is this vice president concerned.
What’s worse, this same vice president will now redouble his claim that Nancy Pelosi is working for Al-Qaida’s best interest. Even though he told Musharraf that if Musharraf doesn’t crack down on Al-Qaida, that same Nancy Pelosi will hold him accountable. So, in Dick Cheney’s mind, Nancy Pelosi is working in Al-Qaida’s best interest while also being the most serious threat to those who don’t crack down on Al-Qaida.
Can the United States have a more ridiculously insane vice president?
Furthermore, this attack is a clear message not just to America, but to the Afghans and Pakistani who either are friends of the Taliban or the enemies. The message is, “We’ve got the resources to get close to the second most powerful man on earth. Fear us!”
What does this say about the progress of Bush’s “war on terror?” What does it say about our efforts in Iraq? What does Iraq have to do with Afghanistan and the fight against our real enemy?
Finally, what does Iran have to do with the Taliban?
Last question, are Republicans not realizing how badly their credibility is being shot? Do Republicans realize that the more they continue backing Bush and Cheney, the bigger their loss will be in 2008 and beyond?
Oh, one more thing, will the general who said that it’s not all that important to find Osama Bin Laden recant his words? This attack was probably orchestrated by him…..
And why can’t America find a John Walker Lindh to infiltrate Al-Qaida?