22 April 2006
‘The CIA had evidence Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction six months before the 2003 US-led invasion but was ignored by a White House intent on ousting Saddam Hussein, a former senior CIA official said, according to CBS.
Tyler Drumheller, who headed CIA covert operations in Europe during the run-up to the Iraq war, said intelligence opposing administration claims of a WMD threat came from a top Iraqi official who provided the US spy agency with other credible information.
The source "told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction programs," Drumheller said in a CBS interview to be aired on Sunday on the US network's 60 Minutes.
"The (White House) group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested," he was quoted as saying in interview excerpts released by CBS on Friday.
"We said: 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said: 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change'," added Drumheller, whose CIA operation was assigned the task of debriefing the Iraqi official.’
‘"I have fulfilled my destiny," the president says manically. He has just entered the nuclear launch codes that will trigger World War III. Seconds later, he emerges from a bunker. The Secretary of State squeezes between two soldiers. "Mr. President!" he shouts. "We have a diplomatic solution!"
He smiles. "It's too late," he replies. "The missiles are flying. Alleluia. Alleluia."
The above scene, from David Cronenberg's 1983 adaptation of the horror novel "The Dead Zone," is a classic if slightly preposterous nightmare of a world destroyed by a demented demagogue. Now, incredibly, a lunatic out of a Stephen King movie has brought the United States to the brink of Armageddon.
Until I read Seymour Hersh's expose in The New Yorker and subsequent follow-up coverage by other journalists about the Bush Administration's plans to start a war against Iran, I had dismissed talk of George W. Bush's messianism as so much Beltway chatter. True, he hears voices, even claiming that God and Jesus Christ talk to him. "I believe God wants me to run for president," he told a friend in Texas. Eschewing mainstream religion, he routinely parrots the apocalyptic ravings of fringe Christianist cults: "And the light [America] has shone in the darkness [the enemies of America], and the darkness will not overcome it [America shall conquer its enemies]," he said during his fevered campaign for war against Iraq. He mimics Old Testament cadences: "God told me to strike at Al Qaeda and I struck them," Bush told the Palestinian prime minister in 2003, "and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."’
‘The George W. Bush administration failed to enter into negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme in May 2003 because neo-conservative zealots who advocated destabilisation and regime change were able to block any serious diplomatic engagement with Tehran, according to former administration officials.
The same neo-conservative veto power also prevented the administration from adopting any official policy statement on Iran, those same officials say.
Lawrence Wilkerson, then chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, says the failure to adopt a formal Iran policy in 2002-2003 was the result of obstruction by a "secret cabal" of neo-conservatives in the administration, led by Vice President Dick Cheney.
"The secret cabal got what it wanted: no negotiations with Tehran," Wilkerson wrote in an e-mail to IPS.
The Iranian negotiating offer, transmitted to the State Department in early May 2003 by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, acknowledged that Iran would have to address U.S. concerns about its nuclear programme, although it made no specific concession in advance of the talks, according to Flynt Leverett, then the National Security Council's senior director for Middle East Affairs.
It also raised the possibility of cutting off Iran's support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad and converting Hezbollah into a purely socio-political organisation, according to Leverett. That was an explicit response to Powell's demand in late March that Iran "end its support for terrorism".’
‘How extraordinary. Something is happening here that has never happened in America's history. A consensus is sweeping the nation. Not that the war in Iraq is wrong, or that oil companies are screwing us blue, or that the climate is going to hell, or that good-paying jobs are being replaced by low-paying jobs, or that our national health care system is a disgrace, or that that the rich are getting a lot richer while the middle class gets poorer.
While all that's true, and more and more folks are getting it, that's not the consensus of which I speak. Nope. This one is bigger, enormous, huge!
Here it is: The president of the United States is a moron.
Yes, stupid, dumb as common road gravel. And not figuratively, but literally. George W. Bush, president of the world's last remaining superpower, is a moron. Forrest Gump's evil twin.’
‘I am me & Rummy's he, Iraq is free and we are all together
See the world run when Dick shoots his gun, see how I lie
Sitting on my own brain, waiting for the end of days
Corporation profits, Bloody oil money
I'm above the law and I'll decide what's right or wrong
I am the egg head, I'm the Commander, I'm the Decider
21 April 2006
The Great Decider
(With Apologies to the Platters' "The Great Pretender")
Oh yes I'm the great decider (ooh ooh)
Pretending I'm deciding well (ooh ooh)
My need is such I decide too much
I'm deciding but no one can tell
Oh yes I'm the great decider (ooh ooh)
Adrift in a world of my own (ooh ooh)
I play the game but to my real shame
You've left me to decide all alone
Too real are these decisions of make believe
Too real when I feel what my Sec Def
Ooh Ooh yes I'm the great decider (ooh ooh)
Just bombing and gay like a clown (ooh ooh)
I've decided to be what I'm not (you see)
I decide like I'm wearing a crown
Pretending we've got enough troops on the ground
Yeah ooh ooh
Too real when I feel what my SecDef
Oh yes I'm the great decider
Just bombing and gay like a clown (ooh ooh)
I've decided to be what I'm not you see
I'm deciding like I wear a crown
Pretending that Rove
Pretending that Rove's still around.
‘Last but not least, before deciding to bomb Iran's nuclear installations the Bush administration must seriously question whether the intelligence on which its decision is based is reliable. Those of us who have followed reports on the development of Iran's nuclear program know that the warnings from American and other intelligence agencies about Tehran building a bomb in three and five years have been made again and again — for more than 15 years.
For 15 years, the intelligence agencies have been proven dead wrong. And to this gross exaggeration of Iran's true intentions and capabilities must be added the fairy tales the same intelligence agencies have been feeding the world regarding Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction.’
20 April 2006
‘The great liberator of Iraq was actually the hyena that cleaned out the nation.
Piece by piece, Halliburton over here, a corrupt company over there, we have heard various individual cases of overcharging and fraud by American firms in the reconstruction of Iraq. Last weekend, a Globe story connected some of the dots of corruption. Of $20.7 billion in Iraqi bank accounts and oil revenues seized by the Coalition Provisional Authority in the US-led invasion of Iraq, $14 billion was given out for reconstruction but tens of millions of dollars were unaccounted for. A year ago, an audit by the inspector general found no evidence of work done or goods delivered on 154 of 198 contracts. Sixty cases of potential swindles are under investigation.
Halliburton and its hundreds of millions of dollars of overcharges or baseless costs are well known. But millions more were taken by companies that promised to build or restore libraries or police facilities, or deliver trucks and construction equipment. Money was given to the puppet government with no follow-up. US government investigators can account for only a third of the $1.5 billion given by the CPA to the interim government and it appears that a substantial portion of the $8 billion given to Iraqi ministries went to ''ghost employees.''
Because of the way the United States set things up after the invasion, contractors are immune from prosecution by Iraqis. And even when firms are prosecuted, the millions of dollars in fines go to the US Treasury, not the Iraqi people. It amounts to two invasions. First the bombs. Then the banks.
This is robbery, not reconstruction.’
‘Thirteen of the nation’s most prominent physicists have written a letter to President Bush, calling U.S. plans to reportedly use nuclear weapons against Iran “gravely irresponsible” and warning that such action would have “disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.”
The physicists include five Nobel laureates, a recipient of the National Medal of Science and three past presidents of the American Physical Society, the nation’s pre-eminent professional society for physicists.
Their letter was prompted by recent articles in the Washington Post, New Yorker and other publications that one of the options being considered by Pentagon planners and the White House in a military confrontation with Iran includes the use of nuclear bunker busters against underground facilities. These reports were neither confirmed nor denied by White House and Pentagon officials.
The letter was initiated by Jorge Hirsch, a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego, who last fall put together a petition signed by more than 1,800 physicists that repudiated new U.S. nuclear weapons policies that include pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear adversaries (http://physics.ucsd.edu/petition/). Hirsch has also published 15 articles in recent months (http://antiwar.com/hirsch/) documenting the dangers associated with a potential U.S. nuclear strike on Iran.’
‘It’s both fascinating and dismaying watching the manufactured `crisis’ over Iran reach new intensity each week.
Iran poses no real military threat to anyone, but listening to the Bush Administration or the US media one would think that that Tehran was about to unleash a nuclear holocaust on the world.
What we are seeing is a rerun of the administration’s massive propaganda offensive that led to the invasion of Iraq. There is also no doubt that the Bush Administration has been planning a major air war against Iraq.
But the Bush Administration has used Iran’s gleefully announcement that it enriched uranium to 3.5% (83% is need for nuclear weapons), to generate a major US-Iranian crisis seven months before national mid-term elections. The administration clearly hopes its lurid claims that Iran is a nuclear threat to the world will whip gullible Americans back into war fever. A bombing campaign before elections would likely reverse the Republican’s steep decline in the polls.
Much of the administration’s anti-Iranian jihad has been orchestrated, like the attack on Iraq, by Vice President Dick Cheney, who increasingly emerges as the Rasputin of the Bush presidency. Cheney is very close to Israel’s political far right. He is carrying out former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s command to the US that once it invaded Iraq, `march immediately on Tehran.’
Cheney, and the pro-Israel neoconservatives around him, have long worked closely with Israel’s rightists, Mossad intelligence service, and Israel’s strategic planners. All agree that Iran, not Iraq, was the greater enemy of Israel, and one that had at all costs to be crushed before it could develop nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them.’
‘President George W. Bush's character is diseased. Serial lies spew from his forked tongue as the result of a damaged mind and personality that will not permit him to face the truth. He lies about leaks and leaks about lies.
Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush's shady and cynical servant, refuses to deal with the truth no matter how compelling and overwhelming the facts are. Cheney is the lord of the lies, the Bushevik Beelzebub, now hopelessly caught in his own deceptions and treachery.
We now know they both kept repeating a known lie -- that Iraq had secret trailers used as biological weapons labs -- long after a Pentagon-sponsored fact-finding group unanimously concluded the trailers had nothing whatsoever to do with weapons of any kind.
The report in the Washington Post caused White House spokesman Scott McClellan to fume. How could the Post, McClellan howled, give the impression "that the president was saying something he knew at the time not to be true." Matrons across America reached for their smelling salts, faint at the notion that someone might suggest that Dubya purposefully lied. Mercy me.’
19 April 2006
‘Thirteen years ago the federal government of the United States ended its altercation with a group of peaceful religious separatists – a conflict the government had initiated – by driving a tank through the Branch Davidians’ home and church, pumping the interior with poisonous gas, and keeping the fire engines at a distance while the building and the people inside burned.
For many Americans, Waco represented the nightmare their government had become. In those days, it was the right that spoke out against unchecked government power, erosions of the Bill of Rights, and the imperial executive. Such criticism was tempered in its radicalism over the next decade, for a variety of reasons.
The most dramatic was probably the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, which occurred on Waco's two-year anniversary, saving the Clinton presidency from a populace becoming wary of government power as its partisans successfully blamed the terrorist attack on anti-government attitudes. We were to believe that even the mild criticism of government heard on mainstream conservative radio was aiding the terrorists. In more recent times, as I discussed a year ago in my article “Waco, Oklahoma City, and the Post-9/11 Left-Right Dynamic,” we have seen a similar trend going in the opposite direction, with the right siding with the omnipotent state and accusing the left of siding with those who want to destroy America.
Yet Waco is neither a leftwing nor rightwing issue. It is instead an issue that transcends such political categories and cuts to the most profound of questions as to what kind of country this is, what kind it should be, and the very meanings of liberty and tyranny.’
American Progress reports …..
‘US Secretary of State, Condolleeza Rice, meets with brutal African dictator & call him a “good friend” of the US.
Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema is a "somewhat unsavory and corrupt character who seized power in a 1979 coup" and "runs a regime regularly condemned by the State Department for human rights violations, including torture, beatings, abuse and deaths of prisoners and suspects." According to one human rights official, he is "one of the most brutal, most corrupt and unreconstructed dictators in the world." He's also a "good friend" of the United States, according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who met with Nguema on Wednesday.
The meeting was a reminder of the Bush administration position on reform in Africa: you have to be democratic, fight corruption, and promote market liberalization and transparency -- unless you have oil. Equatorial Guinea is Africa's third-largest oil exporter, though the crude has "done little to help Equatorial Guinea's 540,000 people, some 400,000 of whom suffer from malnutrition," the Washington Post editorializes.
"The meeting with Mr. Obiang was presumably a reward for his hospitable treatment of U.S. oil firms, though we cannot be sure since the State Department declined our invitation to comment."’
18 April 2006
Center for American Progress reports …..
‘In the first three months of 2006, the Bush administration has failed to achieve substantial progress on the security and reconstruction of Iraq, even though there have been some achievements in forming a democratic government. Thousands of U.S. soldiers and diplomats continue to serve their country bravely but they remain tied to the stay-the-course policies of President Bush and his top policy and political leadership. Judging the administration’s Iraq policy as a whole, the Center for American Progress gives the Bush administration a “D” for its performance in the first quarter of 2006.
This report follows last year’s vote by a bipartisan majority of 79 Senators that called on President Bush to put forward a strategy for “the successful completion of the mission in Iraq” and declared 2006 “to be a period of significant transition for Iraq.”
This vote of no-confidence in the Bush administration’s Iraq policy prompted President Bush to mount a two-month public relations offensive, a campaign that left many unanswered questions. This report seeks to fill the gaps left unmet by the Bush administration’s incomplete status reports on Iraq.’
‘Eleven days before President Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address in which he said that the US learned from British intelligence that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium from Africa - an explosive claim that helped pave the way to war - the State Department told the CIA that the intelligence the uranium claims were based upon were forgeries, according to a newly declassified State Department memo.
The revelation of the warning from the closely guarded State Department memo is the first piece of hard evidence and the strongest to date that the Bush administration manipulated and ignored intelligence information in their zeal to win public support for invading Iraq.’
‘This country, my country, has already become a fascist police state.
Our government lies to the people, spies on citizens, kidnaps, imprisons without trial, engages in torture, and is leading the country to ruin. Incredibly, all of this is done with the support of its citizens. How is this possible? How can a democratic government abandon the people it serves and squander blood, treasure, and traditions in an irrational pursuit of global domination?
First, realize that the government no longer serves the people. It has been bought by the trans-national corporate power structure and serves them, and is now simply the military arm of the corporations. Meanwhile, the corporate media fulfills the propaganda role – they control what the people experience as reality and therefore control how the people think.
They have the public so filled with fear that they will agree to anything.’
‘As the IAEA has repeatedly acknowledged, Iran is not in violation of any of her legal obligations as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In fact, Iran has allowed far more intrusive international inspections of her nuclear facilities than required by the NPT. Iran remains the only country to have done so.
Iran has repeatedly stated that she does not wish to develop nuclear weapons, even though many Western and Israeli analysts, including the leading Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld, have accepted it would clearly be in Iran’s strategic interest to possess such weapons as deterrence.
There is, however, simply no evidence whatsoever that Iran is, or intends to be, developing nuclear weapons.’
17 April 2006
‘The fortress-like compound rising beside the Tigris River here will be the largest of its kind in the world, the size of Vatican City, with the population of a small town, its own defense force, self-contained power & water, & a precarious perch at the heart of Iraq's turbulent future.SEARCH
News | News Photos | Images | Web" type="The new U.S. Embassy also seems as cloaked in secrecy as the mini-state in Rome.
"We can't talk about it. Security reasons," Roberta Rossi, a spokeswoman at the current embassy, said when asked for information about the project.
A British tabloid even told readers the location was being kept secret - news that would surprise Baghdadis who for months have watched the forest of construction cranes at work across the winding Tigris, at the very center of their city & within easy mortar range of anti-US forces in the capital, though fewer explode there these days.
The embassy complex - 21 buildings on 104 acres, according to a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee report - is taking shape on riverside parkland in the fortified "Green Zone", just east of al-Samoud, a former palace of Saddam Hussein's & across the road from the building where the ex-dictator is now on trial.SEARCH
News | News Photos | Images | Web" type="hid
In spite of white house denials, Iraq is riven by civil war, its infrastructure destroyed: at best trying to make do with malfunctioning health, water, sewerage & education systems, obscene child mortality rates & record levels of unemployment. Having ravaged the country, including its cultural heritage, the US is refusing to fund further essential reconstruction, whilst brazenly working with the British government to expropriate the country’s oil resources.
This is called building freedom & democracy, the Amerikan way.
16 April 2006
a buzzflash editorial …..
What we have going on amidst the generals, present and former, is a mutiny. It's not an armed one, not yet.
When most Americans think of a mutiny, they think of armed crew members seizing the captain and taking over command of a ship, as in the famed "Mutiny on the Bounty."
But, what we are seeing in the United States is a public rebuke of the commander-in-chief, his vice president and his secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, without an active military revolt as of yet - although that can't be ruled out.
As Richard Holbrooke, a former ambassador to the United Nations, points out in a Washington Post commentary, "it is also clear that the target is not just Rumsfeld. Newbold hints at this; others are more explicit in private. But the only two people in the government higher than the secretary of defense are the president and vice president. They cannot be fired, of course, and the unspoken military code normally precludes direct public attacks on the commander in chief when troops are under fire."
In short, Rumsfeld is the civilian with command oversight who is responsible for the abysmal failures in the Middle East, but he serves at the pleasure of the president -he reminds us - and the vice president. They are three peas in a pod.
That the mutiny will expand appears likely. As BuzzFlash has asserted since John Murtha - the blunt Democratic "hawk" - first made his emphatic denouncement of the management of the Iraq War, Murtha is speaking for the active career brass whom he knows well. They are silenced by the military code that requires public loyalty to the commander-in-chief, but Murtha, it is clear, is the spokesperson of many top Pentagon staff given the military gag order. Remember, he is a diehard Pentagon Democrat.
So, the revolt of the retired generals is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
What is occurring, on such a massive scale - as BuzzFlash has said - is without precedent. It is a vote of no confidence in the civilian military leadership by the military itself. It is a cry from those who have been career soldiers that the Bush Administration, through Rumsfeld, are ruining the armed forces and leading us into defeat into the Middle East. It is a stunning development - and the significance of the call for Rumsfeld's resignation and change of course going unheeded cannot be underestimated.
In short, if Bush continues to refuse to fire Rumsfeld and personally change course, including asking Cheney to step down, then our military will continue to decline, our soldiers will continued to be killed, and our nation's national security will continue to be at risk. On top of that, Bush would have to bring in a top-notch national security cabinet with professional skills - instead of loyalist flunkies - and let them run the show. Because Bush is at the epicenter of the problem himself. (He is after-all the commander-in-chief.)
In the short term, as Holbrooke notes, Bush will continue to back Rumsfeld.
BuzzFlash attributes this to a number of things: Bush prefers incompetent loyalists over intelligent self-starters; Bush thinks that he is inspired by God, accountable only to himself, and that no one's else's opinion counts; Bush will never admit that he's made a mistake and chronically mistakes failure for success; Bush has no idea what to do without Rumsfeld, even if Rumsfeld is doing destructive things; Bush, a man who was never in combat, thinks that he knows better than the military leaders; Bush won't let Rumsfeld loose at a time that they already have begun secret support of guerilla combat activities against the Iranian government; and, among other reasons, Bush is always afraid that if he fires an inept loyalist, the loyalist may become disgruntled and right a "tell all" book that will reveal the dirt on Bush's personal complicity and illegal behavior.
So, in the short term, the White House will issue Karl Rove-written statements of support for Rumsfeld.
But meanwhile our military is deteriorating, our national security is at continued risk, and the Middle East is a tinderbox - as no end appears in sight for the quagmire created by Rumsfeld and the White House.
The former and current generals - through John Murtha - are signaling to the American people that our nation's military and our national security are endangered by the continued presence of Donald Rumsfeld in the Pentagon and the current military/foreign policy of the White House.
Can we afford to remain silent?
The lives of our soldiers and are our lives are at stake.
Will we abandon our generals who are trying to save the American military and us?
‘Salon reports new evidence that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was intimately involved in prisoner abuse at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
According to a Dec. 20, 2005 Army inspector general’s report on Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former commanding general in charge of Gitmo, Rumsfeld approved an interrogation plan for Mohammed al-Kahtani, the alleged 20th hijacker:
In a sworn statement to the inspector general, [Lt. Gen. Randall] Schmidt described Rumsfeld as “personally involved” in the interrogation and said that the defense secretary was “talking weekly” with Miller.
Rumsfeld developed an interrogation plan that required the Gitmo detainee to “stand naked in front of a female interrogator, was accused of being a homosexual, and was forced to wear women’s underwear and to perform ‘dog tricks’ on a leash.” Schmidt said that the open-ended policies Rumsfeld approved, and that the apparent lack of supervision of day-to-day interrogations permitted the wide-scale abuse to take place.
The report contradicts Rumsfeld’s earlier statements.’
The March 2002 intelligence report was a debriefing of Wilson by the CIA's Directorate of Operations after Wilson returned from a CIA-sponsored mission to Niger to investigate claims, later proved to be unfounded, that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from the African nation, according to government records.’