Monday, July 25, 2005

O'Connor Blasts Neo-Cons

Sandra Day O'Connor is blasting the Neo-Cons for their hatchet job against an independent judiciary. She was
appointed by Reagan, remember. It's good to see someone with clout speaking their mind instead of goose-
stepping behind the bullies. This is one tough woman and she is sounding the alarm.


O'Connor Speaks Out Against Neo-Con BS

United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor refuses to go gently into the night. Late last week, while her political friends were rallying around her heir apparent, she said something as important as anything she had said while sitting on the High Court for nearly a quarter of a century. She loudly and passionately called out the Republican leadership in Congress for its cynical, sinister, and relentless assault upon the independence of the federal judiciary.

In some of the frankest tones you will ever hear from a sitting Justice, O'Connor, the Reagan appointee, gray-haired grandmother, and symbol of middle-American courtliness, blasted the very people on Capitol Hill who are cheering the loudest these days for John G. Roberts, Jr., the man who will almost certainly take over her consistently conservative vote from the bench on the first Monday in October. Speaking in Spokane, Wash., to a group of lawyers and judges, O'Connor warned that "the present climate is such that I worry about the future of the federal judiciary ... In our country today, we're seeing efforts to prevent an independent judiciary."

The "climate" and "efforts" she mentioned are actually the concerted, focused, and malevolent political campaign by conservative leaders to try to diminish the authority — and ultimately the power — of judges across the country. O'Connor gets it. From her lofty perch, she saw that the current wave of nasty criticism of judges is different in scope and substance from previous complaints about the judiciary we've seen crop up in this country over the years. She sees how dangerous that is — how manipulative and antithetical to the healthy separation of power upon which our government is based. This isn't some hack commentator like me decrying the blatant legislative power grab — this comes from one of the most revered Supreme Court justices of her generation — and a staunchly loyal Republican to boot.

The whole story:

from CBS, July 25

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Assault, by Clayton Eshleman

The Assault


Mid-July 2001: The US government—having decided that the Taliban regime was too unstable and too hostile to serve as a vehicle for US entry into Central Asia—had planned on an Afghanistan invasion for October.

National support for such an invasion depended upon a widely-perceived direct threat. Now known “enemy attacks” used to whip up and mobilize people for war included: the US Battleship Maine, the Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, Tonkin Bay. Our atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the beginning of the Cold War.

September 10: Bin Laden was in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, courtesy of the ISI, for kidney dialysis (in July he met with the local CIA agent in Dubai; no attempt was made to arrest him).

September 6-10: United and American Airlines stock shares were massively sold short, as were shares at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (occupying 22 WTC floors) and Merrill Lynch (headquarters near the WTC). Insiders with advance knowledge of an approaching national catastrophe are believed to have made over 15 million. If they knew, would you tell me that Bush, The Secret Service, The Air Force, and the Pentagon did not know?

(The alleged lead hijacker Mohammed Atta, with an expired 2000 tourist visa, re-entered 3 times in 2001 for flying lessons—for which he lacked the required M-1 work visa—while under FBI surveillance for stockpiling bomb making materials)

August 2001: The FBI was informed that Zacarias Moussaoui was linked by French intelligence to bin Laden (top FBI officials blocked field agents’ requests to search Zacarias’s computer).

August 2001: Attorney David Schippers was approached by FBI agents and given the names of the hijackers, their targets, proposed dates, and the sources of their funding. He tried to contact Ashcroft who did not return any of his calls. Schippers’ informants were pulled off their investigation and threatened with prosecution if they went public (Schippers is now representing one FBI agent in a suit against the US government in an attempt to subpoena its testimony, so he can legally speak about the blocked investigation on public record).

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) requires fighter jets to scramble and intercept under emergency conditions. No approval from the White House is required (when Payne Stuart’s Learjet pilot failed to respond to the air controller at 9:33, 21 minutes later, an F-16 traveling at 1500 mph reached the Learjet at 46,000 feet).

On September 11, Flight #11 was clearly way off course by 8:20. SOP called for immediate notification and response. North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was not informed of an emergency by Boston air traffic control until 8:38. Initially, according to former NORAD Commander Gen. Richard Myers, no jets were scrambled until after Flight #77 struck the Pentagon at 9:40 (1 hour and 20 minutes after #11 was suspected of being hijacked). Within days, this story changed: at 8:44, we are told, 2 F-15s were scrambled at Otis (Cape Cod), 190 miles from Manhattan. If these jets flew at top speed (1850 mph), they would have reached the Towers in 6 minutes. But at 9:03, when Flight #175 struck the South Tower, the Otis jets were unexplainably still 70 miles from Manhattan (and why sent from Otis? McGuire, a major, active facility in New Jersey, is 71 miles from the WTC. Arrival time: 3 minutes. No planes were scrambled from McGuire).

The apparent shut down of SOP on Flight #77 is even more sinister: known to be hijacked by 8:50 (at which time it was also known #11 and #175 were hijacked, meaning a national emergency was at hand), NORAD was not notified until 9:24—
and, after NORAD was notified, jets were scrambled from Langley (130 miles from Wash DC) instead of from Andrews (10 miles away), with 2 combat-ready squadrons (the Langley jets arrived 15 minutes after the Pentagon was plowed into).

9:16: NORAD was informed that Flight #93 had been hijacked (at which time it was known that 3 other flights had been hijacked and that 2 had already blown up their targets). No jets were scrambled to intercept #93.

No one has been charged with incompetence.

After both Towers had been struck, President Bush, in Sarasota, visiting a grade school, was informed. He continued to listen to children read to him for 25 minutes before informing Americans of what they already knew.

Myers, at the Capitol, was chatting (about “terrorism”) with Senator Max Cleland. They saw a TV report that a plane had hit the WTC. “We thought it was a small plane or something like that,” Myers said. So the two men went ahead with the office call. Meanwhile, the 2nd Tower was hit. “Nobody informed us of that,” Myers said.

After the Pentagon was struck (3/4 of the assault now successfully completed), a cellphone was handed to him; finally, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs is informed!

According to Assistant Secretary of Defense Victoria Clarke: “Rumsfeld stayed in his office until the Pentagon was hit, with the excuse that he had some phone calls to make.”


A composite vision: our callow, illiterate, Supreme Court-
appointed Fool, drifting in photo-op with school children,
Myers discussing “terrorism” with Cleland,
Rumsfeld, in effect, hiding in his office,
while flames
drink debris-blocked staircased bodies.

My head shudders with
the mortification of finding Bush in my own eyes,
yes, for I do not see myself outside the male coagulate.
Part of me is a lazar born of mass guilt,
funhouse horticulture, where the decency facets
I’ve struggled to file ripple with
“Full Spectrum Dominance”

Out the window, in autumnal weak green:
tent caterpillar encampments, opaque, milky,
creating as if under camouflage deadly screens—
elected American presidents in the democracy-subverted
host tree:
Bush Junior entangled with pa
crawling Nixon’s raging animus, the Nobel Carter
mottled with Khmer Rouge horror,
Johnson cloaked in “We seek no wider war,”
whipping out his big dick to reporters, declaring
“This is why we’re in Vietnam!”
Reagan as a goggle-wearing grub, chirping: “Contras are
the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.:
These nest camps where
baby Pinochets bud (Nobel Kissinger
on his knees gripping the altar-bowl
vomiting up a stomach hash of millions—
suddenly his ghost stands up through him, called
to lead the 911 investigation.

The nests enweb electronically through the American mind.
Whitman’s visionary eternal present has become
the language of TV, tending always to transfix
the audience in an eternal now.
I’m taken in, as are you, fellow citizens,
failing to instantly recall background particularities.
A week later, I come to, recalling, while reading,
details I should have brought to bear.
The mainstream media cartel
beams its needles out of the screens,
who is not injected, anesthetized by conversion-
patriotic aura?

Like a depth charge dropped into 911: 50 years of Cold War
mobilization against the Soviet Union has left the country with
“a boiling residue of paranoid anxiety.”

Greed become a crazed intoxication to redetermine history,
if the Bush family becomes trillionaires, might they,
led by angels, slip through eternity,
skipping over death?

Jackknifed bodies plummeting against
the photo-serenity of a Tower,
not Crane’s “bedlamite,” but a secretary
exploding in blue September sky

Living in America now is like being on a revised Flight #11.
The nave of this self-righteous citadel extends for miles—
section after section of our cluster-bombed Yugoslavians,
our jerking nerve-gassed Laotians, our napalmed Vietnamese girls,
our chopped- apart Guatemalans, our mowed-down East Timorese
and there’s our Sharon, in high heels, tightening
the thumbscrews on Palestinian immiseration
--and below? Right here? Bush is in my gas,
Cheney’s in my steering-wheel, Ashcroft’s under our bed!

Should 911 be seen as a 3000 body count down payment on
a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistani UNOCAL oil pipeline?

3000 dead? More like 8000—
for this figure must include the Afghanistan dead
bombed in retribution—for what?
Nothing they did but inhabit land we
--and here “we” partitions my heart—
seek to exploit.
The unutterable humiliation of 911!
Holocaust of firemen to make millionaires billionaires!
Workers, executives, of the capitalist epi-center,
but much more importantly, beloved citizens
who went to work that day
(overhearing me, bored Bush turns aside:
“Adolf, let’s go fishin.”)

In our hearts we know
In our hearts we do not know

Baby Bush now spectre-entangled in the entrails of the nation.

[November-December, 2002, Ypsilanti]

[NOTE: the compressed time-line data is mainly taken from Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's The War On Freedom, Tree of Life Publications, Joshua Tree, CA., 2002. I was alerted to Ahmed's book by Gore Vidal's "The Enemy Within," which appeared in the UK Observer, 27 October 2002. I also drew upon material from Mark Crispin Miller's The Bush Dyslexicon, Norton, NYC, 2002, and William Blum's Rogue State, Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine, 2000. The lyric outrage is all my own (other than when factual), and participates in the tradition of the sirvente; Robert Duncan's "Uprising," which blasts Johnson for the bombing of Vietnam and which may be found in Bending the Bow, New Directions, NYC, 1968, hovers over "The Assault," a predecessor ghost.]

Neo-Con Republicans Endanger America

The terrorists are still out there and Bush Co. is worried about stacking the Supreme Court with anti-abortion judges. Does this tell you how these people think? What could be more important than our national security? Does the issue of abortion even rate right now? It does to the Neo-Cons. Bush is thinking about his legacy, not about protecting America?

Why did Bush try to stop recent efforts to send more federal agents to secure our border with Mexico? Is this a man who's trying to protect America? Where is Osama Bin Laden? Have we forgotten about the man who attacked New York killing thousands?

The Neo-Cons claim they are the party that can protect the people and wage the most effective war on "terror," but these people leak the name of a CIA agent and think nothing of it. When did Bush know about this? (He's been promising to prosecute the guilty party for years.) What did Bush know?


Washington -- His former secretary of state, most of his closest aides and a parade of other senior officials have testified to a grand jury. His political strategist has emerged as a central figure in the case, as has his vice president's chief of staff. His spokesman has taken a pounding for making statements about the matter that now appear not to be accurate.

For all that, it is still not clear what the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity will mean for President Bush. So far the disclosures about the involvement of Karl Rove, among others, have not exacted any substantial political price from the administration. And nobody has suggested that the investigation directly implicates the president. Yet Bush has yet to address some uncomfortable questions that he may not be able to evade indefinitely.

For starters, did Bush know in the fall of 2003, when he was telling the public that no one wanted to get to the bottom of the case more than he did, that Rove, his longtime strategist, senior adviser and alter ego; and Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, had touched on the CIA officer's identity in conversations with journalists before the officer's name became public? If not, when did they tell him, and what would the delay say in particular about his relationship with Rove, whose career and Bush's have been intertwined for decades?

Then there is the broader issue of whether Bush was aware of any effort by his aides to use the CIA officer's identity to undermine the standing of her husband, a former diplomat who had publicly accused the administration of twisting its prewar intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program.

For the last several weeks, Bush and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, have declined to address the leak in any substantive way, citing the continuing federal criminal investigation.

But Democrats increasingly see an opportunity to raise questions about Bush's credibility, and to reopen a debate about whether the White House leveled with the nation about the urgency of going to war with Iraq. And even some Republicans say Bush cannot assume that he will escape from the investigation politically unscathed.

"Until all the facts come out, no one is really going to know who the fickle finger of fate points at," said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster.

The case centers on how the name of a CIA operative came to appear two years ago in a syndicated column by Robert Novak, who identified her by her maiden name, Valerie Plame. The operative, who is more usually known as Valerie Wilson, is married to Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who had publicly accused the administration eight days before Novak's column of twisting some of the intelligence used to justify going to war with Iraq. Under some conditions, the disclosure of a covert intelligence agent's name can be a federal crime.

The special prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, has kept a tight curtain of secrecy around his investigation. But he spent more than an hour in the Oval Office on June 24, 2004, interviewing Bush about the case. Bush was not under oath, but he had his lawyer for the case, James Sharp, with him.

Neither the White House nor the Justice Department has said what Bush was asked about, but prosecutors do not lightly seek to put questions directly to any president, suggesting that there was some information that Fitzgerald felt he could get only from Bush.

Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University in Washington, said the lesson of recent history, for example in the Iran-Contra case under President Ronald Reagan, is that presidents tend to know more than it might first appear about what is going on within the White House.

"My presumption in presidential politics is that the president always knows," Lichtman said. "But there are degrees of knowing. Reagan said, keep the contras together body and soul. Did he know exactly what Oliver North was doing? No, it doesn't mean he knew what every subordinate is doing."

Although it is possible that other officials will turn out to have played leading roles in the leak case, the subordinates whose actions would appear to be of most interest to Bush right now are Rove and Libby, who as Cheney's chief of staff had a particular interest in protecting the vice president's interests.

According to accounts by people involved in the case, Rove spoke in the days after Wilson went public with his criticism in July 2003 to both Novak and Matthew Cooper of Time, the first two reporters to disclose that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Cooper has said he also spoke about the case with Libby.

By September 2003, as a criminal investigation was getting under way, McClellan was telling reporters that Rove had nothing to do with the leak, saying he had checked with Rove about the topic.

Around the same time, the president was saying he had no idea who might have been responsible. Asked by a reporter on Oct. 6, 2003, whether the leak was retaliation for Wilson's criticism, Bush replied: "I don't know who leaked the information, for starters. So it's hard for me to answer that question until I find out the truth."

Asked the next day if he was confident that the leakers would be found, Bush, alluding to the "two senior administration officials" cited by Novak as his sources, replied: "I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration, and there's a lot of senior officials. I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth."

Republicans said the relationship between Bush and Rove was so deep and complex that it was hard to imagine the president cutting ties with him barring an indictment.

"Can you survive being involved in something you probably shouldn't have been involved in where you didn't break any laws?" Fabrizio said. "Well, you probably can, especially if you are Karl."

Fabrizio said that even if Rove left the White House, he would continue to consult with Bush "unless they put him in a tunnel."

McClellan and other White House officials have repeatedly declined to answer when asked if Rove or Libby had told the president by October 2003 that they had alluded to Wilson's identity months earlier in their conversations with the journalists.

But Bush's political opponents say the president is in a box. In their view, either Rove and Libby kept the president in the dark about their actions, making them appear evasive at a time when Bush was demanding that his staff cooperate fully with the investigation, or Rove and Libby had told the president and he was not forthcoming in his public statements about his knowledge of their roles.

"We know that Karl Rove, through Scott McClellan, did not tell Americans the truth," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., and a former top aide in the Clinton White House. "What's important now is what Karl Rove told the president. Was it the truth, or was it what he told Scott McClellan?"

Bush has also yet to answer any questions publicly about what he learned from aides about Joseph and Valerie Wilson in the days after the former ambassador leveled his criticism of the administration in an op-ed article in the New York Times on July 6, 2003.

Richard W. Stevenson, New York Times
Sunday, July 24, 2005

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bush Is Watching You

Within hours of a second attack on the London transit system, lawmakers in the House and Senate pushed ahead yesterday with starkly different bills to extend the controversial USA Patriot Act anti-terrorism law.

Votes by the House and a Senate committee set the stage for sharp debate on Capitol Hill over how far Congress should go in limiting the powers given the government by the law, which was passed six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but has since come under fire from civil liberties advocates and some elected officials.

After a day-long debate, the House voted 257 to 171 last night to extend or make permanent the most controversial provisions of the law while adding a handful of new restrictions on the FBI. Other proposals for sharper limits were rejected.

Earlier in the day, however, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill that goes significantly further in modifying the Patriot Act. It would require greater oversight of the Justice Department and would place new restrictions on secret searches and surveillance in terrorism probes.

The dueling proposals are part of a long debate over the act, which includes 16 provisions set to expire at the end of this year unless renewed by Congress. President Bush and his aides have repeatedly urged lawmakers to make the law permanent, arguing that its provisions have helped deter terrorist strikes.

The Senate Judiciary Committee measure, sponsored by Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), was a setback for the administration and was portrayed by Senate aides as the version likely to pass muster on the floor.

A separate bill approved by the Senate intelligence committee in June would make all provisions of the law permanent and give the FBI additional power to issue subpoenas without approval of a judge. Whatever the Senate passes will have to be reconciled with the House version approved yesterday.

Although 16 provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire, most of the congressional debate law in recent weeks has focused on a few controversial sections. They include one allowing the FBI to seize records from financial companies, libraries, doctors' offices and other businesses in terrorism investigations, and another that permits "roving wiretaps" that apply to a person rather than a particular telephone.

House Republicans pointed to the attacks in London yesterday and on July 7 as evidence of the need to reauthorize the Patriot Act with relatively few modifications. While the law has "helped avert additional attacks on our soil, the threat has not abated," said Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the bill's sponsor.

Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said in a statement issued before last night's vote: "We can never forget -- and indeed, the news never lets us forget -- the threats we face in this dangerous world. . . . With this vote, all members, from both sides of the aisle, will have an opportunity to show the American people how seriously they take the ongoing threat of terrorism and how they intend combat it."

The comments from GOP leaders, combined with rejection of amendments sponsored by Democrats, provoked howls from Democrats who said they supported most of the law but were concerned about the civil liberties implications of a few provisions.

"We have a duty to protect the American people from terrorism, but also to protect law-abiding American citizens from unaccountable and unchallengeable government power over their personal lives, their personal records and their thoughts," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said she hoped "an improved bill" would come back to the House after negotiations with the Senate.

The House bill includes a requirement that the FBI director approve any request for records from a library or bookstore. It would make 14 of the expiring provisions permanent and extend two others -- pertaining to records seizures and roving wiretaps -- for a decade.

The Senate Judiciary Committee bill, by contrast, would extend the same two provisions for four years and includes tighter requirements for seizing records. It would allow people to challenge warrants approved by a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and would require that subjects of secret searches be notified within seven days unless an extension is approved by a judge.

"In retaining the expanded powers of the Patriot Act, this bill also maintains and improves the constitutional safeguards that are indispensable to our democracy," said Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), a committee member.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has led criticism of the Patriot Act, called the bill "a step in the right direction" but said that "it still fails to protect the Bill of Rights."

ACLU officials said the revised Senate committee bill still would give the government too much leeway in obtaining warrants from the secret intelligence court and would allow the FBI to avoid notifying targets of secret searches indefinitely.
Washington Post, July 20

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The New Recruiting Tool for Al Qaeda

LONDON - Scientists are questioning the safety of a "Star Wars"-style ray gun due to be deployed in Iraq for riot control next year.

The Active Denial System weapon, classified as “less lethal” by the Pentagon, fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam at rioters to cause heating and intolerable pain in less than five seconds.

The idea is that people caught in the beam will rapidly try to move out of it and therefore break up the crowd.

But New Scientist magazine reported Wednesday that during tests carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, participants playing the part of rioters were told to remove glasses and contact lenses to protect their eyes.

In another test, they were also told to remove metal objects like coins from their clothing to avoid local hot spots developing on their skin.

“What happens if someone in a crowd is unable for whatever reason to move away from the beam,” asked Neil Davison, coordinator of the non-lethal weapons research project at Britain’s Bradford University. “How do you ensure that the dose doesn’t cross the threshold for permanent damage? Does the weapon cut out to prevent overexposure?”

The magazine said a vehicle-mounted version of the weapon named Sheriff was scheduled for service in Iraq in 2006, and that U.S. Marines and police were both working on portable versions.

Reuters, July 20

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rove's Wiggin'

On Friday Rep Waxman published a Fact Sheet titled Karl Rove's Nondisclosure Agreement. This paper covers the Executive Order and agreement that everyone who works in the Administration is required to sign in order to obtain a security clearance.

Executive Order 12958, [which] governs how federal employees are awarded security clearances, applies to any entity within the executive branch that comes into possession of classified information, including the White House.

Notice the term "entity." This would definitely cover the Presidents senior advisor, which was Rove's position in 2003, and anyone else in the White House who could possibly come into contact with classified material (just about everyone there).

An official who has signed a nondisclosure agreement cannot confirm classified information obtained by a reporter. In fact, this obligation is highlighted in the "briefing booklet" that new security clearance recipients receive when they sign their nondisclosure agreements:

Everyone who gets a security clearance signs an SF-312 agreement and receives training in handling classified material. When Rove stated "I heard that, too" in his conversation with Bob Novak he was admitting that he was aware that Mrs. Wilson may have worked for the CIA. When Rove told Novak "Oh, you know about it" he was confirming that Mrs. Wilson worked for the CIA.

Before ... confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, ... confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure.

Since Rove was aware of the reports that Wilson was a CIA operative it was his responsibility to determine if her status was covert before confirming what Novak told him. Counter the "I heard that, too" quote with the fact, from the same source, that Rove said "Oh, you know about it" and add that since he had heard about that he became responsible for determining the classification of the information before saying "Oh, you know about it."

Mr. Rove was not at liberty to repeat classified information he may have learned from a reporter. Instead, he had an affirmative obligation to determine whether the information had been declassified before repeating it. The briefing booklet is explicit on this point: "before disseminating the information elsewhere ... the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified."

Now what should happen. Since currently Karl Rove's only superiors are Andrew Card and George W. Bush they become responsible for taking action in response to Rove's action.

The White House has an affirmative obligation to investigate and take remedial action separate and apart from any ongoing criminal investigation. The executive order specifically provides that when a breach occurs, each agency must "take appropriate and prompt corrective action." This includes a determination of whether individual employees improperly disseminated or obtained access to classified information.

The executive order further provides that sanctions for violations are not optional. The executive order expressly provides: "Officers and employees of the United States Government ... shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently ... disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified."

At the very least the White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, should revoke Rove's security clearance and suspend him since he cannot fulfill his duties as Deputy Chief of Staff without a security clearance. Once the independent council has finished his investigation the White House should have an internal investigation. Actually the White House should have started that investigation the day Novak's column appeared and suspended Rove as soon as the fact that he talked to Novak, Cooper, Miller, Scarborough, or any other reporter was uncovered as long as the prior to the time when the CIA officially lifted Mrs. Plame's covert status after Novak's column appeared.

Rove's lawyer admitted that Rove was aware that the press had information concerning Mrs. Plame's employment with the CIA.

Since Mrs. Plame was not an overt CIA employee Karl Rove was responsible for determining her covert status since he now had knowledge of her employment.

When Karl Rove stated "oh, you know about it." he confirmed that if was a fact.

When Karl Rove told Matt Cooper that "Wilson's wife" is a CIA employee working on WMD issues he blatantly disclosed classified information that he was responsible for knowing the classification of.

The White House was responsible for commencing an internal investigation as soon as the CIA informed them that Mrs. Wilson had been covert and "senior administration officials were cited as Novak's source.

The White House failed to determine the source of a leak of classified information and therefore placed national security at risk.

Now that Rove and Libby's involvement has been disclosed the White House is continuing to place national security at risk by not suspending them untill an investigation is complete.

The President has no control of his administration. It should not have taken two years and press leaks to determine who leaked this.

Possible national security risks must be minimized in a time of war. National security cannot take play second fiddle to politics.

Now that Scooter Libby has been implicated all these points apply to him also.

President Bush has violated his oath of office in that "for the purpose of evasion" he has failed to place the interest of national security over political cronyism by his failure to remove Karl Rove and Scooter Libby from their positions which continue to allow them access to classified data.

--Daily Kos, July 19

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bush Flip-Flops on Leak

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Bush shouldn't wait for charges to be filed to take action.

"I am disappointed that the president seems to have changed his standard," Schumer said. "The standard for holding a high position in the White House should not simply be that you didn't break the law. It should be a lot higher and if Mr. Rove or anyone else aided and abetted the leaking of the name of an agent, even if they don't meet the narrow criminal standard, the president should ask for their resignation."

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said Bush needs to fire whoever leaked Plame's name and expects Bush to stick by his original statements of intent on how to deal with the leaker.

"This is no longer an issue for Karl Rove ... it deals with, I believe, the integrity of the president's office of this administration," said the Nevada senator. "He has said if somebody's found to be leaking this that they would be fired --- now to come back and say it has to be a crime is stretching the length of the field."

CNN, July 18

FBI Targets Bush Critics

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The FBI has collected at least 3,500 pages of internal documents in the past several years on a handful of civil rights and anti-war groups in what the groups charge is an attempt to stifle political opposition to the Bush administration.

The FBI has in its files 1,173 pages of internal documents on the American Civil Liberties Union and 2,383 pages on Greenpeace, the Justice Department disclosed in a court filing this month in Washington.

The filing came as part of a lawsuit brought by groups that claim the FBI has engaged in a pattern of surveillance against critics of the administration.

--Chicago Tribune, July 18

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Novak is apparently above the law as reward for being a Neo-Con propagandist while those who had yet to write any story sit in jail. This is pure evil and par for the course for the Bush administration and business as usual. Leaking national security secrets and putting CIA lives in danger means nothing to these unscrupulous charlatans.


"Many of us in journalism are upset that the public seems largely indifferent to the jailing of one reporter and the prosecutor's pursuit of several others in the leaking of CIA employee Valerie Plame's identity.

But we should be smart enough to figure out why the anger and alarm this development has caused in our ranks is apparently not shared by those outside the news business.

The relationship between reporters and anonymous sources is built on mutual trust - the journalist's belief that the source will be candid, even while disclaiming personal responsibility for the information, and the source's belief that the reporter will honor her or his commitment to protect the identity of the informant.

But the reader is excluded from that circle. Rather, each member of the audience is told implicitly by the reporter, "I won't share something important with you that I know - namely, the identity of the person who is my source." The rationale for this withholding of information is, ideally, that the substance of what the source has provided is so valuable to the public that it justifies the damage done each time the public is asked to accept the "gift" without knowing its origins.

This makes the equation a lot more complicated than many of us in journalism want to acknowledge when we speak of the simple principle that "when you promise to protect your source, you have to keep the promise." The current case shows just how difficult the trade-offs may be.
The first publication of Plame's name came in a column by Robert Novak, who said he had been given her identity and occupation by two Bush administration officials. The obvious intent of the leak - and of the column - was to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had just published an op-ed article in The New York Times challenging a presidential claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase nuclear material in Niger.

Wilson had been sent to Niger to see if that had been attempted. He concluded it hadn't - knocking one more hole in the administration's contention that Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. By exposing his wife's supposed role in sending Wilson on that mission, the White House was trying to link his finding to a well-publicized bureaucratic war in which elements of the CIA were doing all they could to undercut the case for going to war with Iraq.

Novak, who has a well-earned reputation for carrying water for his favorite conservatives, has not been prosecuted for publishing Plame's name and has refused to discuss his role in the case or his dealings, if any, with the grand jury investigating the leak.

But in the course of the investigation, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has gone after half a dozen other journalists who apparently were working on the Plame-Wilson story. One of them, the Times' Judith Miller, adamantly refused to go before the grand jury and was jailed on July 6 for contempt of court after losing all her legal claims to be allowed to protect her source.

Other journalists have made her a heroine - someone who went to jail rather than break her promise - and they have castigated the prosecutor and judge for the harshness of the penalty, especially since Miller never wrote a story using whatever information she had gained.

But no one, not even Miller, is wholly praiseworthy. She is the same reporter who, in a series of influential articles before the war, vividly portrayed the threat that Saddam Hussein's weapons supposedly posed. Only afterward was it learned that many of her "scoops" came from Ahmed Chalabi, then a controversial Iraqi exile who had dreams of supplanting Saddam Hussein as Iraq's new ruler - with the support of a conquering American army. Her use of an unnamed source in that case was a distinct disservice to the country; had we known Chalabi's identity and motivation, much less credibility would have been attached to her reports.

Now, thanks to another reporter, Matt Cooper of Time magazine, we know that one White House official who was spreading the word about Plame and Wilson (but apparently describing their relationship without giving her name) was Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove. Despite earlier White House denials that he had anything to do with the case and a promise from the president to fire any leaker, Rove remains on the job as this is written.

The only lesson I can draw is that reporters ought to be very careful about accepting unattributed information. For every "Deep Throat," there are multiple Chalabis and Roves. "

--Newsweek, July 17

Friday, July 15, 2005

Rove Endangers America

The line of bull becomes even more unbelievable, as if that were possible. Rove now says he was trying to "warn" reporters away from reporting on Wilson's statements to the effect that Iraq had not indeed sought uranium from Niger--statements that proved to be true. Are we supposed to believe that Karl Rove is the good samaritan simply looking out for reporters, acting in their best interest. The same people who believe all this (if they have bothered to follow this story at all) are the same group of people who still think that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the demonic events of Sept. 11.

Now Rove says he "turned over the e-mail as soon as prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into who leaked Plame's covert work for the CIA.

He later told a grand jury the e-mail was consistent with his recollection that his intention in talking with Cooper that Friday in July 2003 wasn't to divulge Plame's identity but to caution Cooper against certain allegations Plame's husband was making, according to legal professionals familiar with Rove's testimony.

They spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the grand jury investigation.

Rove sent the e-mail shortly before leaving the White House early for a family vacation that weekend, already aware that another journalist he had talked with, syndicated columnist Robert Novak, was planning an article about Plame and Wilson.

Rove also knew that then-CIA Director George Tenet planned later that same day to issue a dramatic statement that took responsibility for some bad Iraq intelligence but that also called into question some of Wilson's assertions, the legal sources said.

The AP reported Thursday that Rove acknowledged to the grand jury that he talked about Plame with both Cooper and Novak before they published their stories but that he originally learned about the operative's identity from the news media, not government sources." (SF Gate)

Whether Rove learned about Plame's identity from the news media matters not a whit. This makes no sense regardless, because Novak was the first to reveal Plame's identity. How could Rove have found out Plame's identity from the news media if the story by Novak had yet to be written. It's plain to anyone paying attention that Rove revealed her identity as payback for Wilson's comments against the rationale that was used to declare war on Iraq.

If Rove revealed her identity in any way, even if he did not speak her name, even if only by a confirmation, he has committed a huge crime given our nation's efforts in the worldwide fight against terrorist activity. Thus, the same people who profess they are protecting us, flagrently violate the laws that preserve our national security. If a common citizen had done the same he or she would probably face life imprisonment and lifelong public infamy.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bush Stops Efforts to Curb Global Warming

GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AP) --

The Group of Eight summit bowed to U.S. pressure on Friday by approving a declaration on climate change that avoided taking any concrete steps to fight global warming, such as setting targets or timetables for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The summit declined to embrace Prime Minister Tony Blair's proposal for promises of sharp reductions of pollutants that scientists say cause global warming.

It also failed to resolve a long-standing impasse over the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which the Bush administration has rejected but which the other G-8 members have ratified, binding them to reduction targets that are now in effect.

President Bush has questioned the existence of global warming, saying the protocol would have "wrecked" the U.S. economy. He objects to the fact that large developing nations such as China and India are exempt from it.

Blair, however, won a compromise at the G-8 summit by getting its members to agree to a new round of international talks on climate change — to be held in Britain in November — that will include wealthy nations and emerging economies.

French President Jacques Chirac, who has called global warming "a terribly menacing reality," said Friday that the G-8 leaders had achieved substantial results and that the agreement on climate change would ensure "indispensable dialogue" among nations.

But many environmental groups called the summit a failure on global warming and blamed it on the Bush administration.

"The G-8 leaders did not agree on a single concrete action to address climate change," said Philip E. Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust. "President Bush did not budge one inch from the intransigent position he has taken on global warming ... and the White House staff worked nonstop for months to water any possible deal down."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Certain Republicans are surfing above the truth right now, but even that long glassy wave that never seems to end stops at solid ground. And what goes up must come down.

Ask Who Profits from This

Will the coward orchestrating events to create fear among the press come forward? Will the person within the Bush White House speak?

Who threatens to destroy news reporting in America? No one will speak with a reporter if they fear incarceration. Who is deceitful enough to further dismantle the credibility of the news media for political ends?

Ask yourself who profits from's not the American people.


BBC News, July 6, 05

A US court has jailed New York Times journalist Judith Miller for refusing to testify in an investigation into the unmasking of a CIA agent in 2003. Miller has argued journalists must be allowed to keep sources confidential in order to preserve freedom of the press.

Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, who had also refused to give evidence, said he had received a "dramatic" message, freeing him to testify.

The disclosure of a CIA agent's name can be a federal offence.

If journalists cannot be trusted to keep confidences, then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating who in the Bush administration told the press Valerie Plame - the wife of a former US ambassador who had criticised the president - was a CIA agent.

Ms Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, had earlier attacked President George W Bush over evidence he had presented to justify the assault on Iraq.

Mr Wilson later alleged that his wife's name was deliberately leaked in revenge.


Mr Fitzgerald had argued last week that both Miller and Cooper, who had looked into the leak, should be jailed for their refusal to reveal their sources.

Miller was ordered on Wednesday to remain in jail until the end of the court investigation in October - or until she decided to testify.

Miller said: "If journalists cannot be trusted to keep confidences, then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press."

US journalists have rallied in support of Miller and Cooper

The publisher of the New York Times has said Miller had acted for the "greater good of our democracy" by "honouring her promise of confidentiality to her sources". Cooper revealed to the court on Wednesday that he had changed his mind at the last minute.

"I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions" for not testifying, he said.

But, he told the judge, he had then received a "somewhat dramatic" message from his source telling him he was free to testify. Time magazine turned over Cooper's notes and other documents last week, after the Supreme Court refused to consider the case.

Cooper's lawyers had said that this move made his testimony unnecessary - an argument rejected by the prosecutor.


Correspondents say the case is one of the most serious legal clashes between the media and government for decades. Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality - no-one in America is

Prosecutor Fitzgerald said "special treatment" for the journalists such as home detention -- rather than imprisonment - -would "enable, rather than deter, defiance of the court's authority".

"Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality -- no-one in America is," he said.

The leak of Ms Plame's name was not made to Cooper or Miller, but they came to the attention of the prosecutor because of their inquiries.

The reporters refused to co-operate with the investigation, claiming they should not have to reveal their sources because of press freedoms guaranteed in the US Constitution.

That defence was over-ruled by a court in Washington. The case has sparked concern in the US media about press freedoms and prompted calls for federal shield laws. A number of states have legislation to protect reporters from having to identify their confidential sources.

Ignorance Wins II

I'm reposting this from October of last year, because I really would like to know.

________ _________ _________

Ignorance Wins

It seems frightening to most that the Republican watchdogs who have been reminding us ad nauseum that they are defending our security are also the very same people responsible for the inept failure that has prolonged this nation's battle with Muslim extremists like Osama Bin Laden. How Republicans can point to Bin Laden's latest video as proof we need another four years of George W. Bush is mystifying at best. The Bush Administration failed to find Bin Laden then declared war on a country that had nothing to do with the horror of September 11. That this last statement is still debatable to some points to the greater problem that may put Bush right back in the White House. No one anywhere is relying on facts to make the decisions that threaten all our lives. The Bush coterie based their decisions on faulty intelligence (remember Colin Powell holding up satellite images when he spoke before the UN?), the American people are picking and choosing information without bothering to do the research necessary to making an informed decision, and Muslim extremist leaders are spewing their own skewed mantras of hate in an attempt to gain the future following that will perpetuate their war against the West. Nowhere is rational discourse to be found and few are interested in any information that doesn't support their preconceived notions. In fact most seem to harbor a real fear of discovering the truth and therefore make a conscious effort to avoid it. The bipartisan unity that resulted from the attack on the WTC has long disappeared and has been replaced by pathetic trickery and deception.

November 2 will be the day America decides whether democracy is worthwhile. Ignorance wins.

Just admit it already...

George W. Bush finally admits in a speech that "greenhouse" gasses produced by humans are causing a warming of the earth.

How can anyone take this man seriously when he's such a liar? He's been denying this possibility for years. Are we supposed to believe that he's suddenly seen some scientific evidence that finally convinced him?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Hagel: Democrats Are More Honest

Q: You're one of a growing number of Republicans who have lately accused President Bush of botching the war in Iraq.

If someone says I am a disloyal Republican because I am not supporting my party, let them say it. War is bigger than politics.

Q: You, John McCain and John Kerry are the only current U.S. senators who served in Vietnam.

I got to Vietnam in December of 1967, and I was wounded twice with my brother Tom, who was with me. I still have some shrapnel in my chest that the doctors never took out. The second time my face was burned pretty bad, and I had both eardrums blown out.

Q: Are you saying you are deaf?

Eardrums heal, but I did lose some hearing.

Q: Did you kill anyone in the war?

Well, I am sure I did.

Q: How would you compare the situation in Iraq with the one in Vietnam?

Congress was absent during the Vietnam War, and they didn't ask the tough questions, and consequently we lost 58,000 Americans and lost a war and humiliated this nation. It took a generation to get over it. As long as I am here as a U.S. senator, I am going to do whatever I can to make sure that isn't going to happen.

Q: What do you suggest that the president do?

For starters, we don't have enough troops. But I don't think the answer to increasing manpower is to pursue some of the things the Pentagon is doing, such as doubling and tripling bonuses for those in the military. Kids do not serve their country because they are in it to make money.

Many serve to help pay for school and because they see it as a career.

Of course. But you aren't going to attract the kind of people we have been able to attract just by incentives. When you try to project military recruitment through bonuses, you are going to get people signing up for the wrong reasons.

On the other hand, with our deficit now exceeding $400 billion, aren't we sort of out of money?

In terms of the deficit, we have blown the top right off. We're a bunch of Democrats.

Q: I've never heard anyone call President Bush a Democrat.

That's my point. We're less honest about it. We built the biggest government history has ever seen under a Republican government. The Democrats are better because they are honest about it. They don't pretend. I admire that. They'll say: ''We want more money. We need more money.''

--NY Times, July 4, '05

Rove Spoke with Reporter Before Leak

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Newsweek magazine is reporting that e-mails between Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper and his editors show that Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, spoke to Cooper in the days before a CIA operative's identity was revealed in the media, but it wasn't clear what Cooper and Rove discussed.

Rove's attorney told CNN his client did not disclose any confidential information.

Attorney Robert Luskin confirmed that Cooper called Rove in July 2003 but said he's "not characterizing the subject matter of that conversation."

A special prosecutor is investigating whether senior Bush administration officials leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media in retaliation after her husband wrote an opinion piece critical of the administration.

Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller face jail on civil contempt charges for refusing to reveal their sources to a federal grand jury. Judge Thomas Hogan has set a final hearing on Wednesday and will make a decision after that.

Time Inc. announced Thursday that it would hand over subpoenaed documents, including Cooper's notes, after the Supreme Court refused to hear the reporters' appeals in the case.

Cooper's attorneys argued that Time's decision "should obviate" the contempt citation against him because the material gives the grand jury the information and makes his testimony "duplicative and unnecessary."

Time Inc. is a unit of Time Warner, which is also CNN's parent company.

Luskin said prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald "has confirmed repeatedly, most recently last week, that he (Rove) is not a target of the investigation."

Added Luskin, "Karl did nothing wrong. Karl didn't disclose Valerie Plame's identity to Mr. Cooper or anybody else ... Who outed this woman? ... It wasn't Karl."

Luskin said Rove "certainly did not disclose to Matt Cooper or anybody else any confidential information."

Rove has testified at least twice as part of the inquiry, but sources involved previously told CNN that while Rove acknowledged talking to reporters about the issue, he said he never knowingly disclosed classified information.

Luskin stressed that his client has cooperated fully with the government.

"I've been assured by the prosecutor they have no reason to doubt the honesty of anything he's said," he said.

The case stems from a July 14, 2003, column by Robert Novak in which he revealed Plame's identity as a CIA operative. Novak, who also is a CNN contributor, attributed the information to two senior administration officials.

Plame's husband is Joe Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Wilson charged that his wife's name was leaked to retaliate against him after he disputed Bush administration statements that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium in Africa.

Federal law makes it a crime to deliberately reveal the identity of a CIA operative.

The subpoena issued to Time sought documents relating to "conversations between Cooper and official source(s) prior to July 14, 2003, concerning in any way" Wilson, Wilson's 2002 trip to Niger, Plame, and any affiliation between Plame and the CIA.

Under federal law, civil contempt can carry up to 18 months in jail or the length of the grand jury's term, whichever is shorter. Hogan said the term of the grand jury in this case expires in October, so Miller and Cooper only face up to four months in jail.

As part of his probe, Fitzgerald subpoenaed a number of journalists to testify about their sources. Miller and Cooper and their news organizations decided to fight the subpoenas, although Cooper did reveal one unnamed source who released him from a confidentiality pledge.

Miller faces jail time for refusing to reveal sources she developed during her reporting, even though she never actually wrote a story on Plame or Wilson. But Novak -- who has refused to discuss the case on the advice of his attorney -- has not been held in contempt.

Let's Hear a Denial from Karl Rove

Washington, July 3, UPI--Saturday, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin told The Washington Post Rove had not disclosed the name of Valerie Plame to Newsweek in a 2003 interview.

Sunday, Charles Schumer (D), who led the push for a Congressional inquiry into the leak, issued a challenge for Rove to speak for himself.

"We've heard it from his lawyer, but IT WOULD BE NICE TO HEAR IT DIRECTLY FROM ROVE that he didn't leak the identity of Valerie Plame, and that he didn't direct anyone else to do such a dastardly thing," Schumer said in a statement. "I have said from the first day ... whoever leaked the classified information should be punished to the full extent of the law."

The panel is investigating the leak of Plame's name to various news outlets in 2003. It is a federal crime for a government employee to reveal the name of an undercover operative after the employee learns it from classified material.