Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito: Finito.

Bush's latest blunder comes in the form of nominating Anton Scolia-Lite, a radical right-wing judge named Samuel Alito.
He's a choice sure to mollify Bush's right-wing nutter base, but he's not a judge who will unify our splintered nation.
Bush has already proven he has serious picker problems when he tried to foist Harriet Miers off on us. This latest nominee is a dark menace.
I hope the Democrats filibuster this jackass until their vocal cords fray.
Treason, Plain and Simple

You'd think, during a time of war, the Bush administration would have paused just for a moment to think through the wisdom of outing a CIA agent whose expertise was in WMDs. But, no.
Even the most radical liberal American citizen realizes the necessity of maintaining a strong CIA for our national security.
For an administration to conspire to out an agent is treason- nothing less.
And for Bush and Cheney to have the temerity to praise Scooter Libby's performance after he was indicted shows they have no moral compasses whatsoever.
These BushCo criminals are not only bad guys, they are inept bad guys.
Read what they did to Valerie Plame and her entire family:

Wilson Says Leak Destroyed Wife's CIA Career
By Reuters

Sunday 30 October 2005

Washington - Valerie Plame's nearly two-decade career at the CIA and the secret life she crafted to conceal it were blown when her identity was revealed by a newspaper columnist, her husband, Joe Wilson said in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday.

Wilson, a former career diplomat, said Plame, 42, was in shock when she saw her name and that of her fictitious employer published in a syndicated column by Robert Novak.

"She felt like she'd been hit in the stomach. It took her breath away," Wilson said.

"When he published her name-- it was very easy to unravel everything about her, her entire cover," Wilson said. "You live your cover."

Asked whether she realized then that her career as a CIA undercover agent was over, Wilson said: "Absolutely. Sure. There was no doubt about it in her mind. And she wondered for what."

Wilson contends that his wife's identity was deliberately revealed by the Bush administration to get back at him for publicly challenging U.S. prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff Lewis Libby was indicted on Friday on obstruction of justice and perjury charges in the two-year-old investigation into who leaked Plame's identity.

The CIA declined to comment, citing the ongoing legal process.

Before the exposure, Plame's identity had been a well kept secret. Friends and even relatives were kept in the dark about her work, Wilson told "60 Minutes."

"The day that Mr. Novak's article appeared, my sister-in-law turned to my brother and said, 'Do you think Joe knew?' So, not even my brother or my sister-in-law or any of my immediate family knew," Wilson said.

Former CIA agent Jim Marcinkowski, now a city attorney in Royal Oak, Michigan, told "60 Minutes" it was "outrageous" that Plame had been exposed.

"CIA people don't like cameras. We don't like publicity. We operate in the background as much as possible. So she's in a very, very uncomfortable spot," said Marcinkowski, who trained with Plame at the CIA.

"Her career has been ended, Marcinkowski said when asked about the damage to Plame, who is the mother of 5-year-old twins.

Wilson said his wife quickly recovered after the initial shock of having her identity compromised "and started making lists of what she had to do to ensure that her assets, her projects, her programs and her operations were protected."

He said there had been some "specific threats" and that he and his wife had discussed security with various agencies, but he could not say anything further.

The Washington Post reported that Plame, the daughter of an Air Force colonel and a teacher, was recruited by the CIA at the age of 22, shortly after graduating from Pennsylvania State University.

She was trained at a CIA facility simply known as "The Farm" near Williamsburg, Virginia and was in the 1985-86 class of CIA officers.

The newspaper quoted Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and acquaintance of Plame's who was in her officer training class as saying: "For all intents and purposes out at the CIA, she's like a leper ... she's radioactive."
MoDo Strikes Again!

Who's on First?
By Maureen Dowd
The New York Times
Saturday 29 October 2005

It was bracing to see the son of a New York doorman open the door on the mendacious Washington lair of the Lord of the Underground.

But this Irish priest of the law, Patrick Fitzgerald, neither Democrat nor Republican, was very strict, very precise. He wasn't totally gratifying in clearing up the murkiness of the case, yet strangely comforting in his quaint black-and-white notions of truth and honor (except when his wacky baseball metaphor seemed to veer toward a "Who's on first?" tangle).

"This indictment's not about the propriety of the war," he told reporters yesterday in his big Eliot Ness moment at the Justice Department. The indictment was simply about whether the son of an investment banker perjured himself before a grand jury and the F.B.I.

Scooter does seem like a big fat liar in the indictment. And not a clever one, since his deception hinged on, of all people, the popular monsignor of the trusted Sunday Church of Russert. Does Scooter hope to persuade a jury to believe him instead of Little Russ?

Good luck.

There is something grotesque about Scooter's hiding behind the press with his little conspiracy, given that he's part of an administration that despises the press and tried to make its work almost impossible.

Mr. Fitzgerald claims that Mr. Libby hurt national security by revealing the classified name of a CIA officer. "Valerie Wilson's friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea she had another life," he said.

He was not buying the arguments on the right that Mrs. Wilson was not really undercover or was under "light" cover, or that blowing her cover did not hurt the CIA

"I can say that for the people who work at the CIA and work at other places, they have to expect that when they do their jobs that classified information will be protected," he said, adding: "They run a risk when they work for the CIA that something bad could happen to them, but they have to make sure that they don't run the risk that something bad is going to happen to them from something done by their own fellow government employees."

To protect a war spun from fantasy, the Bush team played dirty. Unfortunately for them, this time they Swift-boated an American whose job gave her legal protection from the business-as-usual smear campaign.

The back story of this indictment is about the ongoing Tong wars of the CIA, the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon: the fight over who lied us into war. The CIA, after all, is the agency that asked for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate how one of its own was outed by the White House.

The question Mr. Fitzgerald repeatedly declined to answer yesterday - Dick Cheney's poker face has finally met its match - was whether this stops at Scooter.

No one expects him to "flip," unless he finally gets the sort of fancy white-collar criminal lawyer that The Washington Post said he is searching for - like the ones who succeeded in getting Karl Rove off the hook, at least for now - and the lawyer tells Scooter to nail his boss to save himself.

But what we really want to know, now that we have the bare bones of who said what to whom in the indictment, is what they were all thinking there in that bunker and how that hothouse bred the idea that the way out of their Iraq problems was to slime their critics instead of addressing the criticism. What we really want to know, if Scooter testifies in the trial, and especially if he doesn't, is what Vice did to create the spidery atmosphere that led Scooter, who seemed like an interesting and decent guy, to let his zeal get the better of him.

Mr. Cheney, eager to be rid of the meddlesome Joe Wilson, got Valerie Wilson's name from the CIA and passed it on to Scooter. He forced the CIA to compromise one of its own, a sacrifice on the altar of faith-based intelligence.

Vice spent so much time lurking over at the CIA, trying to intimidate the analysts at Langley into twisting the intelligence about weapons, that he should have had one of his undisclosed locations there.

This administration's grand schemes always end up as the opposite. Officials say they're promoting national security when they're hurting it; they say they're squelching terrorists when they're breeding them; they say they're bringing stability to Iraq when the country's imploding. (The U.S. announced five more military deaths yesterday.)

And the most dangerous opposite of all: W. was listening to a surrogate father he shouldn't have been listening to, and not listening to his real father, who deserved to be listened to.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fucking With the CIA? I Wouldn't Do It

On Friday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said, "Revealing the identity of a covert agent is the type of leak that gets people killed.
"Not only does it end the person's career... it puts that person in grave personal danger as well as their colleagues and all the people they have had contact with."

I wonder if he meant the agent gets killed, or the leaker gets killed?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Suck On THIS, GOP:
Republicans on Perjury & Obstruction of Justice

Recently, Republicans have been implying that an indictment for perjury is simply a "technicality." But they didn't always feel that way.


Former Senator Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) – "Lott declined to fully define what constitutes an impeachable crime but said "I think clearly perjury is an impeachable offense ... I think bad conduct is enough for impeachment." [Market News International, 9/29/98]

Current Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) – "There is no serious question that perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors...Indeed, our own Senate precedent establishes that perjury is a high crime and misdemeanor...The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes threatening the administration of justice." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]

Former Speaker (Elect) of the House Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA) – "And so, perjury, a felony punishable by up to five years in the penitentiary, is a crime for which the President may be held accountable, no matter the circumstances." [ABC Special Report, 12/19/98]

Current Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL)— "Mr. Speaker, I am sadden that there is clear and convincing evidence that the president lied under oath, obstructed justice and abused the powers of his office in an attempt to cover up his wrong doing. I regret that the president's behavior puts me in the position of having to vote in favors of articles of impeachment and pass this matter onto the U.S. Senate for final judgment. In facing this solemn duty, I look to the wisdom of our founding fathers. According to Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 65, impeachment concerns offenses which proceed from the misconduct to public men -- or in other words, from the apt abuse of violation of some public trust. The evidence in President Clinton's case is overwhelming that he has abused and violated the public trust." [US. House Of Representatives, 12/18/98]

Former House Majority Leader Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX) – "But Mr. Speaker, perjury before a grand jury is not personal and it is not private. Obstruction of justice is not personal and it is not private. Abuse of the power of the greatest office in the world is not personal and it is not private." [ABC Special Report, 12/19/98]

Former House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) – "'It became obvious to me that he had undermined his ability to lead not only at home but in the world,' DeLay said. His call for Clinton's resignation is 'based solely on the fact that the president lied.'" [Los Angles Times, 10/1/98]
Former House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) – Tim. What we have here, and what I've seen, is this pattern of conduct. And it goes back as far as Arkansas, where the president has lied, covered up, stonewalled and tried to destroy his enemy. And if you just look from the very beginning--and what I've tried to do is advise the president that in order to accept the consequences of his action and put all this behind him, the honorable thing to do would be to resign. [Meet the Press, 9/13/98]
Current Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-MO) – "This is not about the president's personal conduct...When the president commits perjury that clearly is an attack on the judiciary, on the rule of law." [AP, 12/16/98]

Former RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson - "Perjury, subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice are public, not private matters, and we must rely on the Independent Counsel and the constitutional process to determine the truth. Tragically, America could have been spared this entire sad saga if the president had told the truth in the first place." [U.S. Newswire 8/18/98]

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) – "Clinton not only lied to the public, creating perhaps permanent mistrust, but he lied under oath ... [T]his is very serious indeed. Honesty is always the best policy; but, lying under oath is perjury, and it is a crime. Other people who commit perjury sometimes go to jail for it." [Salt Lake Tribune, 2/15/99]

Senator Chuck Hagel, (R-NE) – "Defined a "high crime" as an 'abuse of power.' And when perjury and obstruction of justice are committed by a president, Hagel added, 'they constitute an abuse of the highest power.'" [The Las Vegas Review-Journal, 2/12/99]

Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) – "Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious offenses which must not be tolerated by anyone in our society." [Washington Post, 2/12/99]

Senator Sam Brownback (R- KS) – "Perjury and obstruction of justice are crimes against the state. Perjury goes directly against the truth-finding function of the judicial branch of government." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]

Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) – "...there can be no doubt that perjurious, false, and misleading statements made under oath in federal court proceedings are indeed impeachable offenses...John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States, said `there is no crime more extensively pernicious to society' than perjury, precisely because it `discolors and poisons the streams of justice.'" [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]

Senator Michael DeWine (R-OH) – "Obstruction of justice and perjury strike at the very heart of our system of justice...Perjury is also a very serious crime...The judiciary is designed to be a mechanism for finding the truth-so that justice can be done. Perjury perverts the judiciary, turning it into a mechanism that accepts lies-so that injustice may prevail." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – "I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors...Perjury and obstruction hammer away at the twin pillars of our legal system: truth and justice." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]

Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) – "As constitutional scholar Charles Cooper said, `The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice, like the crimes of treason and bribery, are quintessentially offenses against our system of government, visiting injury immediately on society itself.'" [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) – "The reason that I voted to remove him from office is because I think the overriding issue here is that truth will remain the standard for perjury and obstruction of justice in our criminal justice system and it must not be gray. It must not be muddy." [AP, 2/12/99]

Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) – "There is no question in my mind that perjury and obstruction of justice are the kind of public crimes that the Founders had in seems to me that creating such loopholes would require tearing holes in the Constitution-something that cannot be justified to protect this president, or any president." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]

Senator John Sununu (R-NH) – "These acts are not merely technical violations of federal law; they demonstrate a broad and consistent pattern of behavior designed to corrupt our system of due process. To withhold or delay swift and appropriate action would be to hold a single individual above the law; and, herein lies the tragic precedent which a vote against impeachment creates. A vote against impeachment holds a single individual to a unique standard, above all other citizens, and outside the boundaries of our judicial system." [Union Leader, Sununu Editorial; 12/13/98]

Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) – "Gregg said the idea that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and misdemeanors 'is a little hard to understand, for it is very obvious that our society treats both perjury and obstruction of justice as extraordinarily serious crimes, ones for which people are put in prison.' He said such thinking undermines the judicial process." [AP, 2/12/99]

Former Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) – "In the event that the president changes his story, and in the event that the president tells a different story now which would result in his having committed perjury, that's a high crime. That's a serious disregard. That's undermining the system of justice which he has sworn to uphold." [The Hotline, 8/17/98]


Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) – "So for my friends who think that perjury, lying and deceit are in some circumstances acceptable and undeserving of punishment I respectfully disagree." [House Judiciary Committee, 12/1/98]

Rep. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) – "It isn't polls that count, it's right and wrong...the evidence is overwhelming that these offenses occurred, the crime of perjury and obstruction of justice have traditionally been high crimes under our Constitutions." [Senate Impeachment Trial of President Clinton, 2/8/99]

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) – "To me, making a false statement under oath to a criminal grand jury is an impeachable offense, period. This committee and this House decided that issue by a vote of 417 to nothing nine years ago in the Judge Nixon impeachment." [Opening Statement, 12/10/98]

Former Homeland Under Security Secretary and Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) "As the Supreme Court said in the "United States vs. Holland," quote, "Perjury, regardless of the setting, is a serious offense that results in incalculable harm to the function of the legal system, as well to private individuals," end quote. In my judgment, perjury goes to the heart of our judicial process and our very system of government and constitutes a "high crime and misdemeanor." [Opening Statement, 12/11/98]

Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) – "'Like the one hundred or so individuals currently in jail for perjury, the President must be held accountable for failing to tell the truth while under oath,' Bass said. 'We are a nation of laws, not men, and no man including the President is above the law.'" [Union Leader, 12/15/98]

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) – "We are here today because the president is charged with breaking criminal laws which, for constitutional purposes, are high crimes and misdemeanors. One of those crimes is perjury and by committing perjury, the president harmed the integrity of our judicial branch of government, which is a central component of the government. Since 1993, when President Clinton took office, the U.S. Department of Justice has prosecuted and convicted over 400 people for perjury. Many of those people are in prison today or under house arrest." [Congressional Record, 12/18/98]
Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) — "Perjury and obstruction of justice are akin to bribery in many ways. Perjury and obstruction go to the corruption of the judicial system. Bribery amounts to the corruption of a bureaucrat. Both prevent citizens from enjoying their rights under the rule of law. Their treatment by the United States Sentencing Commission, the entity that helps set forth penalties for federal crimes, supports the comparison." [Congressional Record, 12/18/98]
Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) – "I cannot as a man, a husband, elected official or a father say that President Clinton did not commit perjury and did not do it willfully and calculated, right from the beginning." [Times-Picayune, 12/17/98]

Rep. John Thune (R-SD) – "There's one other issue -- an important issue that I'd like to address -- and that is the matter of trust. Lying to the American people is a betrayal of trust. All of us, including our public leaders, make mistakes. We're all subject to the same universal truth: we all fall short. To err is human, to forgive is divine. But to err repeatedly and willfully with impunity, defies another universal truth and that is the law of the harvest. In other words, you reap what you sow. And the pattern of deception and dishonesty that acts as a bodyguard to this president, strikes at the very core of his ability to lead." [Congressional Record, 12/18/98]

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) – "I believe there is ample evidence that felonious conduct -- and perjury is a felony -- falls well within the bounds of what our forefathers intended the phrase 'high crimes and misdemeanors' to include." [USA Today, 12/17/98]

Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) – "Lying under oath is perjury, plain and simple," said Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz. "Can you imagine what happens in court when you suddenly eliminate perjury, if you say you can make exceptions for perjury? . . . For me, it's just a very fundamental question." [Dallas Morning News, 10/11/98]

Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) – "No one is above the law, not even the president." [News & Observer, 12/16/98]

Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) – "The chief executive has the duty and the obligation to be completely honest." [Sun-Sentinel, 12/19/98]

Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL) – "He lied under oath and that's perjury and that's a high crime." [Miami Herald, 12/16/98]

Rep. Jim McCrery (R - LA) – "As a lawyer, if I were to have done that, I would have been disbarred - no question. How can the president be treated in a different manner than every other lawyer in the country?" [Associated Press, 12/16/98]

Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) – "I don't think personal conduct that's between himself and his family constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors," the standard for impeachment. "The only way this would continue forward toward impeachment would be a finding by the grand jury that there had been an obstruction of justice," Baker said. [The Advocate, 8/18/98]

Rep. James Leach (R-IA) – "Lying under oath amounts to an absolute breach of an absolute standard and makes it impossible to justify a vote against impeachment." [USA Today, 12/17/98]

Rep. Steve Chabot (R - OH) – "It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter." [AP, 2/9/99]

Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) – "By committing perjury, obstructing justice and corroding the rule of law that is the basis of a civil society, President Clinton has led the U.S. House to the path it must now take," Ney said. "Impeachment may not be the most comfortable way out of the constitutional crisis our country faces, but it is the right decision for the right reason." [Columbus Dispatch, 12/17/98]

Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH) – "It's going to boil down to whether there's hard evidence of obstruction of justice. ... You can't eliminate a felony by just apologizing" [Akron Beacon-Journal, 9/12/98]

Rep. Steven LaTourette (R - OH) – "If it is wrong for the defendant at the courthouse in Painesville, Ohio, to lie under oath in a civil proceeding, it is wrong for the president," said Rep. Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio), a former county prosecutor who has put people in jail for perjury. "President Clinton was the master of his own demise, in both words and deeds." [Washington Post, 12/17/98]

Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH) – "As a former judge, I cannot look upon the offense of perjury lightly," Pryce said. "My decision is based not on any personal disdain for the president or any partisan advantage, but rather a close reading of the facts, the law, and the Constitution." [Columbus Dispatch, 12/17/98]

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R - AR) – "I believe there is ample evidence that felonious conduct -- and perjury is a felony -- falls well within the bounds of what our forefathers intended the phrase 'high crimes and misdemeanors' to include. [USA Today, 12/17/98]

Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC) – "The seriousness of the charges - perjury, subornation of witnesses, obstruction of justice - strike at the heart of our basis of our Constitution, the rule of law." [Associated Press, 10/8/98]

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-NC) – "My vote will be to go forward with the impeachment," said Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. about the Clinton scandal in 1998. "I want to see what the committee recommends, but my feeling is when the president lied to the American people and to a grand jury he severely damaged his credibility as leader of this nation. . . . Based on what I know today, my feelings are the president has violated the law." [Washington Post, 11/22/98]

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) – "If you commit perjury or obstruct justice, you will be held accountable. If you are a member of Congress or president . . . you will be held accountable. Even if you . . . do a thousand good deeds, you will be held accountable." [Orlando Sentinel, 12/20/98]

Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL) – "Bill Clinton is not being judged by the members here . . . he is being judged by the law itself . . . to lie under oath, to encourage others to provide false testimony or to conspire to conceal evidence is a felony." [Orlando Sentinel, 12/20/98]

Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) – "The matter before us today has nothing to do with the president's private life . . . This has to do with perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power - violations of the law." [Orlando Sentinel, 12/20/98]

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) – "All that stands between any of us and tyranny is law." [Sun-Sentinel, 12/19/98]

Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) – "Unless a man is honest," said Coble, "we have no right to keep him in public life. It matters not how brilliant his capacity." Coble added, "It is not sex. It is indeed perjury. It is the lie." [News & Record, 12/19/98]

Rep. Anne Northup (R-KY) – "I certainly have had conflicting feelings about it. But in the end, I believe that the president did not tell the truth, that he lied under oath." [AP, 12/16/98]

Rep. Tom Campbell (R-CA) – "I conclude that the president intentionally, on more than one occasion, did not tell the truth in a federal criminal grand jury. That is very serious. That is impeachable." [AP, 12/16/98]

Rep. Jack Quinn (R-NY) – "The more I learn about the serious details of perjury and obstruction of justice, the more I am concerned about the president's failure to tell the truth under oath." [AP, 12/16/98]

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) – "You would set in place an awfully cancerous growth if you let people out there think, 'I know the president lies, so I can too."' [AP, 12/16/98]


Sean Hannity – "Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Sean Hannity...Congresswoman, I want to go back to you. You know, I'm -- if I hear that one more time, I'm going to go nuts, that it doesn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense because perjury and lying under oath has played a central role in the four most recent cases of impeachment." [Fox, 1/21/99]

Sean Hannity – "Certainly, perjury is a felony, the last time I checked." [Fox, 9/10/98]

Former RNC Spokesman/ CNN Contributor Cliff May: "Bribery and perjury are equivalent crimes." [Fox, 1/18/99]

Former RNC Spokesman/ CNN Contributor Cliff May: "The problem is if he committed perjury; if he lied under oath; if he obstructed justice; if he tampered with witnesses, these are real crimes." [CNN, 9/2/98]

Bill O'Reilly – "He used government employees, Blumenthal and the rest of the White House counsels, Begala, Lewis, all of these people, to promote an untruth, to promote a perjury, and I believe that's abuse of power. I think that's where he's most shaky...Because you and I are paying for him. You and I are paying for that, and those people are going out there not only saying that President Clinton is innocent but attacking the federal prosecutor, attacking the justice system. That looks to be abuse of power to me." [Fox News, 1/1/99]

Bill O'Reilly –"... that a president of the United States using government officials paid for by you and me and everybody watching this program to protect a perjury is a high crime." [Fox News, 1/1/99]

George Will –"If this is not a ground for impeachment ... then we're disregarding the pedigree of the phrase 'high crimes and misdemeanors'." [ABC, 8/23/99]

Ann Coulter – "Perjury? I think perjury's pretty important." [CNBC, 6/12/98]

Ann Coulter – "This is obstruction of justice, perjury, and false statements. This is completely a different matter now. It is much higher, much higher level, much bigger deal." [CNN, 1/27/98]

Fred Barnes – "[I]t's going to be hard not to impeach the president for perjury." [Fox, 10/2/98]

Bill Kristol – In response to a question as to whether perjury was a grave enough crime to remove Clinton from office, Kristol responded "Yes, I think so. Perjury under oath." [MSNBC, 11/5/98]

Friday, October 28, 2005

One Down, Several More to Go

Scooter Libby was indicted today on five counts, including perjury and obstruction of justice.
So much for Bush's claim five years ago that his administration would "restore dignity to the White House."
Libby is the first indictment, the investigation is ongoing, with special focus on Karl Rove.
Watch: the White House will decline to comment on this indictment beyond Dick Cheney's terse, written response to Libby's resignation. He wrote his response because he is too cowardly to face questions from the media, that much is obvious.
They will use the ongoing investigation as their excuse.

That's how they will keep from answering questions to which the nation deserves answers.

If Bush was smart, he'd defuse this horrible threat to our national security by putting ALL the suspects yet to be indicted on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.
Neither Karl Rove nor Dick Cheney can possibly concentrate on their jobs at hand with these swords of Damacles dangling over their heads.

But Bush is not smart.
And Bush has no loyalty to the citizens of the United States. Justice to him means looking out for his cronies. May he soon pay for his blatant stupidity.
So Many Scandals, So Little Bandwidth

Just in case you missed this one:

Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
October 26, 2005

As a legal noose appears to be tightening around the Bush/Cheney/Rove inner circle, a shocking government report shows the floor under the legitimacy of their alleged election to the White House is crumbling.

The latest critical confirmation of key indicators that the election of 2004 was stolen comes in an extremely powerful, penetrating report from the General Accounting Office that has gotten virtually no mainstream media coverage.

The government's lead investigative agency is known for its general incorruptibility and its through, in-depth analyses. Its concurrence with assertions widely dismissed as "conspiracy theories" adds crucial new weight to the case that Team Bush has no legitimate business being in the White House.

Nearly a year ago, senior Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) asked the GAO to investigate electronic voting machines as they were used during the November 2, 2004 presidential election. The request came amidst widespread complaints in Ohio and elsewhere that often shocking irregularities defined their performance.

According to CNN, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee received "more than 57,000 complaints" following Bush's alleged re-election. Many such concerns were memorialized under oath in a series of sworn statements and affidavits in public hearings and investigations conducted in Ohio by the Free Press and other election protection organizations.

The non-partisan GAO report has now found that, "some of [the] concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."

The United States is the only major democracy that allows private partisan corporations to secretly count and tabulate the votes with proprietary non-transparent software. Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others, has asserted that "public elections must not be conducted on privately-owned machines." The CEO of one of the most crucial suppliers of electronic voting machines, Warren O'Dell of Diebold, pledged before the 2004 campaign to deliver Ohio and thus the presidency to George W. Bush.

Bush's official margin of victory in Ohio was just 118,775 votes out of more than 5.6 million cast. Election protection advocates argue that O'Dell's statement still stands as a clear sign of an effort, apparently successful, to steal the White House.

Among other things, the GAO confirms that:

1. Some electronic voting machines "did not encrypt cast ballots or system audit logs, and it was possible to alter both without being detected." In other words, the GAO now confirms that electronic voting machines provided an open door to flip an entire vote count. More than 800,000 votes were cast in Ohio on electronic voting machines, some seven times Bush's official margin of victory.

2. "It was possible to alter the files that define how a ballot looks and works so that the votes for one candidate could be recorded for a different candidate." Numerous sworn statements and affidavits assert that this did happen in Ohio 2004.

3. "Vendors installed uncertified versions of voting system software at the local level." 3. Falsifying election results without leaving any evidence of such an action by using altered memory cards can easily be done, according to the GAO.

4. The GAO also confirms that access to the voting network was easily compromised because not all digital recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had supervisory functions password-protected, so access to one machine provided access to the whole network. This critical finding confirms that rigging the 2004 vote did not require a "widespread conspiracy" but rather the cooperation of a very small number of operatives with the power to tap into the networked machines and thus change large numbers of votes at will. With 800,000 votes cast on electronic machines in Ohio, flipping the number needed to give Bush 118,775 could be easily done by just one programmer.

5. Access to the voting network was also compromised by repeated use of the same user IDs combined with easily guessed passwords. So even relatively amateur hackers could have gained access to and altered the Ohio vote tallies.

6. The locks protecting access to the system were easily picked and keys were simple to copy, meaning, again, getting into the system was an easy matter.

7. One DRE model was shown to have been networked in such a rudimentary fashion that a power failure on one machine would cause the entire network to fail, re-emphasizing the fragility of the system on which the Presidency of the United States was decided.

8. GAO identified further problems with the security protocols and background screening practices for vendor personnel, confirming still more easy access to the system.

In essence, the GAO study makes it clear that no bank, grocery store or mom & pop chop shop would dare operate its business on a computer system as flimsy, fragile and easily manipulated as the one on which the 2004 election turned.

The GAO findings are particularly damning when set in the context of an election run in Ohio by a Secretary of State simultaneously working as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. Far from what election theft skeptics have long asserted, the GAO findings confirm that the electronic network on which 800,000 Ohio votes were cast was vulnerable enough to allow a a tiny handful of operatives -- or less -- to turn the whole vote count using personal computers operating on relatively simple software.

The GAO documentation flows alongside other crucial realities surrounding the 2004 vote count. For example:

The exit polls showed Kerry winning in Ohio, until an unexplained last minute shift gave the election to Bush. Similar definitive shifts also occurred in Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico, a virtual statistical impossibility.

A few weeks prior to the election, an unauthorized former ES&S voting machine company employee, was caught on the ballot-making machine in Auglaize County

Election officials in Mahoning County now concede that at least 18 machines visibly transferred votes for Kerry to Bush. Voters who pushed Kerry's name saw Bush's name light up, again and again, all day long. Officials claim the problems were quickly solved, but sworn statements and affidavits say otherwise. They confirm similar problems in Franklin County (Columbus). Kerry's margins in both counties were suspiciously low.

A voting machine in Mahoning County recorded a negative 25 million votes for Kerry. The problem was allegedly fixed.

In Gahanna Ward 1B, at a fundamentalist church, a so-called "electronic transfer glitch" gave Bush nearly 4000 extra votes when only 638 people voted at that polling place. The tally was allegedly corrected, but remains infamous as the "loaves and fishes" vote count.

In Franklin County, dozens of voters swore under oath that their vote for Kerry faded away on the DRE without a paper trail.

In Miami County, at 1:43am after Election Day, with the county's central tabulator reporting 100% of the vote - 19,000 more votes mysteriously arrived; 13,000 were for Bush at the same percentage as prior to the additional votes, a virtual statistical impossibility.

In Cleveland, large, entirely implausible vote totals turned up for obscure third party candidates in traditional Democratic African-American wards. Vote counts in neighboring wards showed virtually no votes for those candidates, with 90% going instead for Kerry.

Prior to one of Blackwell's illegitimate "show recounts," technicians from Triad voting machine company showed up unannounced at the Hocking County Board of Elections and removed the computer hard drive.

In response to official information requests, Shelby and other counties admit to having discarded key records and equipment before any recount could take place.

In a conference call with Rev. Jackson, Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, Attorney Bob Fitrakis and others, John Kerry confirmed that he lost every precinct in New Mexico that had a touchscreen voting machine. The losses had no correlation with ethnicity, social class or traditional party affiliation---only with the fact that touchscreen machines were used.

In a public letter, Rep. Conyers has stated that "by and large, when it comes to a voting machine, the average voter is getting a lemon - the Ford Pinto of voting technology. We must demand better."

But the GAO report now confirms that electronic voting machines as deployed in 2004 were in fact perfectly engineered to allow a very small number of partisans with minimal computer skills and equipment to shift enough votes to put George W. Bush back in the White House.

Given the growing body of evidence, it appears increasingly clear that's exactly what happened.

GAO Report

Revised 10/27/05

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, available via and Their WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO, with Steve Rosenfeld, will be published in Spring, 2006, by New Press.
Why I Live in Texas

One of the biggest benefits of living in Texas is listening to the rednecks talk.
Kate in Alaska sent me this and I nearly hurt myself laughing.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Linking Lives

As you can see, I've added a PayPal donation site on the right-hand side of this Blog so that interested readers can make safe, tax deductible donations to Linking Lives, the new NGO (non governmental organization) created to enhance the healthcare and lives of the people of Ethiopia.
In the days to come, I'll be posting a longer article about Linking Lives, with details of the amazing feats its founder has already accomplished in Ethiopia.
As many of you know, my iMac recently died, taking with it all the data about Linking Lives in my files.
Anna Hovde, the founder of Linking Lives, is currently in Ethiopia, so I will have to await her return to give you a precise overview of the goals for Linking Lives, along with a list of her past accomplishments in Ethiopia that predict a successful future for this vital, not for profit organization.
Together, we can all make a difference.
News Snippets That Say it All

DeLay acknowledges failure to report money
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Tom DeLay has notified House officials that he failed to disclose all contributions to his legal defense fund as required by congressional rules.
The fund is currently paying DeLay's legal bills in a campaign finance investigation in Texas, where DeLay has been indicted, and in a federal investigation of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The lobbyist arranged foreign travel for DeLay and had his clients pay some of the cost. DeLay, R-Texas, has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Col. Janis Karpinski, the Former Head of Abu Ghraib, Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions But Says the Blame "Goes All the Way to The Top”

Karpinski, the highest-ranking officer demoted in connection with the torture scandal, speaks out about what happened at the Abu Ghraib prison. She discusses:

How the military hid "ghost detainees" from the International Red Cross in violation of international law;
Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller calling for the Gitmoization of Abu Ghraib and for prisoners to be "treated like dogs";
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's secret memos on interrogation policies that hung on the prison’s walls;
The military’s use of private (and possibly Israeli) interrogators;
Her dealings with the International Red Cross;
Why she feels, as a female general, she has been scapegoated for a scandal that has left the military and political leadership unscathed; and
Calls for Donald Rumsfeld, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Alberto Gonzalez and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller to be held accountable for what happened.

Cheney's Dirty Little Secret

In the top right corner of The New York Times front-page -- where the biggest news happens daily -- a news scoop has placed Vice President Cheney atop the CIA leak scandal pyramid.

The revelation was discovered in Lewis (Scooter) Libby's own notepad, according to sources identified by the Times only as "lawyers involved in the case." The new evidence sheds bright light on the vice president's role, at last. And it sheds dark light on the past statements of the loyal vice presidential chief-of-staff. Libby had maintained, publicly and under oath that he just couldn't remember who told him the key info that became the centerpiece of his effort to discredit former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had emerged as Bush-Cheney Iraq policy critic. Libby's notes show it was his boss who told him it was Wilson's wife, a CIA officer, who suggested her husband for the controversial mission to Niger.

Cheney's outing comes some two years after President Bush, Cheney and their spokespeople promised they would urge everyone connected with the incident to be candid and forthcoming with the public and the prosecutor. Straight truth has been hard to come by for the prosecutor and for the press _ the latter sadly often knew more than it reported publicly. No evidence has surfaced that Cheney knew Valerie Plame was a secret agent, so his actions so far seem political but not illegal. But Cheney apparently touched off the chain of events that began as a political-getting-even-as-usual but wound up as a special prosecutor's probe that has shaken the Bush-Cheney White House to its foundation.

On June 12, 2003, reportedly according to Libby's notes, Cheney told him that it was Wilson's wife who suggested her husband for the mission Niger. That mission ultimately led to Wilson's report that he found no evidence to support Bush's 2003 State of the Union claim that Iraq sought yellow-cake uranium from Niger. Libby's notes reportedly also show that Cheney got his info from then-CIA director George Tenet, who apparently answered a direct question from the veep.

Libby and Bush strategist Karl Rove, in talks with journalists, then used the info about Wilson needing a boost from his wife to land his job to discredit his credentials in talks with journalists. But their zeal became their problem _ for Plame, Wilson's wife, was a CIA secret agent, and it is a federal felony to intentionally disclose a covert agent's identity. Columnist Robert Novak's disclosure of her role triggered special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year probe.

The revelation of Cheney's pyramid-topping role and Libby's real intent should shock no one who thought about how Washington and the Bush-Cheney White House really operate. Yet here in the ever-competitive capital city, the scoop became a source of both revelation and frustration. Including right here in this corner.

US lawmakers call for pullout from Iraq: Reaction to 2,000th death

WASHINGTON, Oct 26: The grim milestone of 2,000 US military deaths in Iraq prompted several US lawmakers on Tuesday to call for sharp reductions in US forces there.

Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, who failed to unseat President Bush last year, said in a blistering speech at Georgetown University that the administration must change course in Iraq or there will be ‘the prospect of indefinite, and even endless conflict’.

Mr Kerry said the United States should pull 20,000 troops from Iraq after parliamentary elections there in December, arguing that it would weaken support for the resistance.

“This is another tragic milestone in this costly war, in which too much blood has been spilled already,” said Democratic Senator Robert Byrd on the floor of the Senate, where lawmakers observed a moment of silence to honour the fallen troops.

Leading Democrats in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives also called for troop reduction in Iraq.

“Two thousand American troops have now lost their lives in Iraq. It is time to end this war,” said Representative James McGovern on the House floor. He plans to introduce a bill this week which would bar the use of taxpayer money to deploy additional troops to Iraq.

“This war is based on a fiction. There were no weapons of mass destruction and no ties to Al Qaeda. There was no imminent threat,” the Massachusetts Democrat continued.

“We have spent over 300 billion dollars on the war — with no end in sight. It is estimated that another two years will boost that amount to one trillion dollars,” Mr McGovern said.

The same view was held by Senate Democrat Frank Lautenberg, who called on President Bush to speed the departure of US troops.

“I urge the president to pay tribute to their memory by offering this country a concise, realistic plan that will allow us finally to transfer power to Iraqis and bring our troops home,” Mr Lautenberg said.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Dumbya Bush and his gay sidekick Scottie McClellan have repeatedly refused to comment on the details outlined in the news about the PlameGate scandal.
On Monday, for instance, Bush said, "I haven't changed my mind about whether or not I'm going to comment on it publicly."
But, on numerous occasions, McClellan has said, "The President believes it's important to let the investigators do their work, and at that point, once they have come to a conclusion, then we will be more than happy to talk about it."
When indictments are handed down, AND THEY WILL BE, Bush and McClellan should answer questions about the White House's involvement in the leak and what it plans to do about the leakers.

But does anyone really expect the dumb little liars to comment?
Why? Because in addition to being chickenhawks, they also are chickenshits.
Today May be the Day

I smell indictments in the air.
Justice seems so slow when bad guys are involved and so swift when it's someone who's been fighting for peace, or women's rights, or gay rights.
Who are you guessing will be indicted?
My hunch is Rove, Libby and Cheney.
Let's hear your predictions!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I've Joined the Dark Side

Tuesday morning, my iMac was found dead. Apparently she died in her sleep, very peacefully.
Not wanting to invest the money it would cost to revive the Bondi Blue baby who gave me fairly reasonable service since 2000, I simply unplugged her, sat her on the floor and went out in search of (sigh) a PC.
Now I have a new Compaq Presario with some fancy accessories I still do not understand. It takes up more space than the compact little iMac, but the screen is a lot bigger. I sorta like it.
I have only owned Macintosh computers, since the 80's.
I feel like I have left Judaism and converted to Christianity. Oy vey.

Monday, October 24, 2005

What a Bitch

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said Sunday on "Meet the Press" that she hoped that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime "and not some perjury technicality," where they couldn't indict on the crime so they go to lesser charges just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

She condones treason and then tries to soft sell it as "just a technicality." She even compared it to the Martha Stewart travesty.

I should put her senate office on speed dial, I call and bitch so often. Today I just called and said she was a traitor and that I'd walk through glass to see that she's never elected to any office again.

If you'd like to drop Mata Hari a call, she's at 202-224-5922. Tell her boy to tell her to fuck off.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Frank Rich's Times Select Editorial
(you're welcome)

Karl & Scooter's Excellent Adventure

THERE were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda on 9/11. There was scant Pentagon planning for securing the peace should bad stuff happen after America invaded. Why, exactly, did we go to war in Iraq?

"It still isn't possible to be sure - and this remains the most remarkable thing about the Iraq war," writes the New Yorker journalist George Packer, a disenchanted liberal supporter of the invasion, in his essential new book, "The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq." Even a former Bush administration State Department official who was present at the war's creation, Richard Haass, tells Mr. Packer that he expects to go to his grave "not knowing the answer."

Maybe. But the leak investigation now reaching its climax in Washington continues to offer big clues. We don't yet know whether Lewis (Scooter) Libby or Karl Rove has committed a crime, but the more we learn about their desperate efforts to take down a bit player like Joseph Wilson, the more we learn about the real secret they wanted to protect: the "why" of the war.

To piece that story together, you have to follow each man's history before the invasion of Iraq - before anyone had ever heard of Valerie Plame Wilson, let alone leaked her identity as a C.I.A. officer. It is not an accident that Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's very different trajectories - one of a Washington policy intellectual, the other of a Texas political operative - would collide before Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury. They are very different men who play very different White House roles, but they are bound together now by the sordid shared past that the Wilson affair has exposed.

In Mr. Rove's case, let's go back to January 2002. By then the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan had succeeded in its mission to overthrow the Taliban and had done so with minimal American casualties. In a triumphalist speech to the Republican National Committee, Mr. Rove for the first time openly advanced the idea that the war on terror was the path to victory for that November's midterm elections. Candidates "can go to the country on this issue," he said, because voters "trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America." It was an early taste of the rhetoric that would be used habitually to smear any war critics as unpatriotic.

But there were unspoken impediments to Mr. Rove's plan that he certainly knew about: Afghanistan was slipping off the radar screen of American voters, and the president's most grandiose objective, to capture Osama bin Laden "dead or alive," had not been achieved. How do you run on a war if the war looks as if it's shifting into neutral and the No. 1 evildoer has escaped?

Hardly had Mr. Rove given his speech than polls started to register the first erosion of the initial near-universal endorsement of the administration's response to 9/11. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup survey in March 2002 found that while 9 out of 10 Americans still backed the war on terror at the six-month anniversary of the attacks, support for an expanded, long-term war had fallen to 52 percent.

Then came a rapid barrage of unhelpful news for a political campaign founded on supposed Republican superiority in protecting America: the first report (in The Washington Post) that the Bush administration had lost Bin Laden's trail in Tora Bora in December 2001 by not committing ground troops to hunt him down; the first indications that intelligence about Bin Laden's desire to hijack airplanes barely clouded President Bush's August 2001 Crawford vacation; the public accusations by an F.B.I. whistle-blower, Coleen Rowley, that higher-ups had repeatedly shackled Minneapolis agents investigating the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, in the days before 9/11.

These revelations took their toll. By Memorial Day 2002, a USA Today poll found that just 4 out of 10 Americans believed that the United States was winning the war on terror, a steep drop from the roughly two-thirds holding that conviction in January. Mr. Rove could see that an untelevised and largely underground war against terrorists might not nail election victories without a jolt of shock and awe. It was a propitious moment to wag the dog.

Enter Scooter, stage right. As James Mann details in his definitive group biography of the Bush war cabinet, "Rise of the Vulcans," Mr. Libby had been joined at the hip with Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz since their service in the Defense Department of the Bush 41 administration, where they conceived the neoconservative manifesto for the buildup and exercise of unilateral American military power after the cold war. Well before Bush 43 took office, they had become fixated on Iraq, though for reasons having much to do with their ideas about realigning the states in the Middle East and little or nothing to do with the stateless terrorism of Al Qaeda. Mr. Bush had specifically disdained such interventionism when running against Al Gore, but he embraced the cause once in office. While others might have had cavils - American military commanders testified before Congress about their already overtaxed troops and equipment in March 2002 - the path was clear for a war in Iraq to serve as the political Viagra Mr. Rove needed for the election year.

But here, too, was an impediment: there had to be that "why" for the invasion, the very why that today can seem so elusive that Mr. Packer calls Iraq "the 'Rashomon' of wars." Abstract (and highly debatable) neocon notions of marching to Baghdad to make the Middle East safe for democracy (and more secure for Israel and uninterrupted oil production) would never fly with American voters as a trigger for war or convince them that such a war was relevant to the fight against those who attacked us on 9/11. And though Americans knew Saddam was a despot and mass murderer, that in itself was also insufficient to ignite a popular groundswell for regime change. Polls in the summer of 2002 showed steadily declining support among Americans for going to war in Iraq, especially if we were to go it alone.

For Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush to get what they wanted most, slam-dunk midterm election victories, and for Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney to get what they wanted most, a war in Iraq for reasons predating 9/11, their real whys for going to war had to be replaced by fictional, more salable ones. We wouldn't be invading Iraq to further Rovian domestic politics or neocon ideology; we'd be doing so instead because there was a direct connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda and because Saddam was on the verge of attacking America with nuclear weapons. The facts and intelligence had to be fixed to create these whys; any contradictory evidence had to be dismissed or suppressed.

Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney were in the boiler room of the disinformation factory. The vice president's repetitive hyping of Saddam's nuclear ambitions in the summer and fall of 2002 as well as his persistence in advertising bogus Saddam-Qaeda ties were fed by the rogue intelligence operation set up in his own office. As we know from many journalistic accounts, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby built their "case" by often making an end run around the C.I.A., State Department intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Their ally in cherry-picking intelligence was a similar cadre of neocon zealots led by Douglas Feith at the Pentagon.

THIS is what Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell's wartime chief of staff, was talking about last week when he publicly chastised the "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal" for sowing potential disaster in Iraq, North Korea and Iran. It's this cabal that in 2002 pushed for much of the bogus W.M.D. evidence that ended up in Mr. Powell's now infamous February 2003 presentation to the U.N. It's this cabal whose propaganda was sold by the war's unannounced marketing arm, the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, in which both Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove served in the second half of 2002. One of WHIG's goals, successfully realized, was to turn up the heat on Congress so it would rush to pass a resolution authorizing war in the politically advantageous month just before the midterm election.

Joseph Wilson wasn't a player in these exalted circles; he was a footnote who began to speak out loudly only after Saddam had been toppled and the mission in Iraq had been "accomplished." He challenged just one element of the W.M.D. "evidence," the uranium that Saddam's government had supposedly been seeking in Africa to fuel its ominous mushroom clouds.

But based on what we know about Mr. Libby's and Mr. Rove's hysterical over-response to Mr. Wilson's accusation, he scared them silly. He did so because they had something to hide. Should Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove have lied to investigators or a grand jury in their panic, Mr. Fitzgerald will bring charges. But that crime would seem a misdemeanor next to the fables that they and their bosses fed the nation and the world as the whys for invading Iraq.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Eureka! I found it.

Everyone in the Blogosphere has been talking about New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd's recent article where she eviscerates Bush-flunkie Judith Miller, the girl reporter who help spread WMD lies for Bush, and who recently spent 85 days in jail to protect a source she later told prosecutors the identity of whom she "didn't quite recall."
With "Times Select," you have to pay to get to read Ms Dowd, Frank Rich and other fine columnists, and I am not shelling out $50 for that.
But after some dilligent searching, I found Dowd's piece. Enjoy.

Woman of Mass Destruction

I've always liked Judy Miller. I have often wondered what Waugh or Thackeray would have made of the Fourth Estate's Becky Sharp.

The traits she has that drive many reporters at The Times crazy - her tropism toward powerful men, her frantic intensity and her peculiar mixture of hard work and hauteur - never bothered me. I enjoy operatic types.

Once when I was covering the first Bush White House, I was in The Times's seat in the crowded White House press room, listening to an administration official's background briefing. Judy had moved on from her tempestuous tenure as a Washington editor to be a reporter based in New York, but she showed up at this national security affairs briefing.

At first she leaned against the wall near where I was sitting, but I noticed that she seemed agitated about something. Midway through the briefing, she came over and whispered to me, "I think I should be sitting in the Times seat."

It was such an outrageous move, I could only laugh. I got up and stood in the back of the room, while Judy claimed what she felt was her rightful power perch.

She never knew when to quit. That was her talent and her flaw. Sorely in need of a tight editorial leash, she was kept on no leash at all, and that has hurt this paper and its trust with readers. She more than earned her sobriquet "Miss Run Amok."

Judy's stories about W.M.D. fit too perfectly with the White House's case for war. She was close to Ahmad Chalabi, the con man who was conning the neocons to knock out Saddam so he could get his hands on Iraq, and I worried that she was playing a leading role in the dangerous echo chamber that former Senator Bob Graham dubbed "incestuous amplification." Using Iraqi defectors and exiles, Mr. Chalabi planted bogus stories with Judy and other credulous journalists.

Even last April, when I wrote a column critical of Mr. Chalabi, she fired off e-mail to me defending him.

When Bill Keller became executive editor in the summer of 2003, he barred Judy from covering Iraq and W.M.D issues. But he admitted in The Times's Sunday story about Judy's role in the Plame leak case that she had kept "drifting" back. Why did nobody stop this drift?

Judy admitted in the story that she "got it totally wrong" about W.M.D. "If your sources are wrong," she said, "you are wrong." But investigative reporting is not stenography.

The Times's story and Judy's own first-person account had the unfortunate effect of raising more questions. As Bill said in an e-mail note to the staff on Friday, Judy seemed to have "misled" the Washington bureau chief, Phil Taubman, about the extent of her involvement in the Valerie Plame leak case.

She casually revealed that she had agreed to identify her source, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, as a "former Hill staffer" because he had once worked on Capitol Hill. The implication was that this bit of deception was a common practice for reporters. It isn't.

She said that she had wanted to write about the Wilson-Plame matter, but that her editor would not allow it. But Managing Editor Jill Abramson, then the Washington bureau chief, denied this, saying that Judy had never broached the subject with her.

It also doesn't seem credible that Judy wouldn't remember a Marvel comics name like "Valerie Flame." Nor does it seem credible that she doesn't know how the name got into her notebook and that, as she wrote, she "did not believe the name came from Mr. Libby."

An Associated Press story yesterday reported that Judy had coughed up the details of an earlier meeting with Mr. Libby only after prosecutors confronted her with a visitor log showing that she had met with him on June 23, 2003. This cagey confusion is what makes people wonder whether her stint in the Alexandria jail was in part a career rehabilitation project.

Judy is refusing to answer a lot of questions put to her by Times reporters, or show the notes that she shared with the grand jury. I admire Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Bill Keller for aggressively backing reporters in the cross hairs of a prosecutor. But before turning Judy's case into a First Amendment battle, they should have nailed her to a chair and extracted the entire story of her escapade.

Judy told The Times that she plans to write a book and intends to return to the newsroom, hoping to cover "the same thing I've always covered - threats to our country."

If that were to happen, the institution most in danger would be the newspaper in your hands.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Fitzgerald's Historic Opportunity
By James Moore

October 21, 2005

James Moore is an Emmy-winning former television news correspondent and the co-author of the bestselling, Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential. He has been writing and reporting from Texas for the past 25 years on the rise of Rove and Bush, and has traveled extensively on every presidential campaign since 1976.

"If special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald delivers indictments of a few functionaries of the vice president’s office or the White House, we are likely to have on our hands a constitutional crisis. The evidence of widespread wrongdoing and conspiracy is before every American with a cheap laptop and a cable television subscription. And we do not have the same powers of subpoena granted to Fitzgerald.
We know, however, based upon what we have read and seen and heard that someone created fake documents related to Niger and Iraq and used them as a false pretense to launch America into an invasion of Iraq. And when a former diplomat made an honest effort to find out the facts, a plan was hatched to both discredit and punish him by revealing the identity of his undercover CIA agent wife.
Patrick Fitzgerald has before him the most important criminal case in American history. Watergate, by comparison, was a random burglary in an age of innocence. The investigator’s prosecutorial authority in this present case is not constrained by any regulation. If he finds a thread connecting the leak to something greater, Fitzgerald has the legal power to follow it to the web in search of the spider. It seems unlikely, then, that he would simply go after the leakers and the people who sought to cover up the leak when it was merely a secondary consequence of the much greater crime of forging evidence to foment war. Fitzgerald did not earn his reputation as an Irish alligator by going after the little guy. Presumably, he is trying to find evidence that Karl Rove launched a covert operation to create the forged documents and then conspired to out Valerie Plame when he learned the fraud was being uncovered by Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. As much as this sounds like the plot of a John le Carre novel, it also comports with the profile of the Karl Rove I have known, watched, traveled with and written about for the past 25 years.
We may stand witness to a definitive American moment of democracy. The son of a New York doorman probably has in his hands, in many ways, the fate of the republic. Because far too many of us know and are aware of the crimes committed by our government in our name, we are unlikely to settle for a handful of minor indictments of bureaucrats. The last thing most of us believe in is the rule of law. We do not trust our government or the people we have elected but our constitution is still very much alive and we choose to believe that destiny has placed Patrick Fitzgerald at this time and this place in our history to save us from the people we elected. If the law cannot get to the truth of what has happened to the American people under the Bush administration, then we all may begin to hear the early death rattles of history’s greatest democracy.
Fortunately, there are good signs. Fitzgerald has reportedly asked for a copy of the Italian government’s investigation into the break-in of the Niger embassy in Rome and the source of the forged documents. The blatantly fake papers—which purported to show that Saddam Hussein had cut a deal to get yellowcake uranium from Niger—turned up after a December 2001 meeting in Rome involving neocon Michael Ledeen, Larry Franklin, Harold Rhodes and Niccolo Pollari, the head of Italy’s intelligence agency SISMI and Antonio Martino, the Italian defense minister.
If Fitzgerald is examining the possibility that Ledeen was executing a plan to help his friend Karl Rove build a case for invading Iraq? Ledeen has long ties to Italian intelligence agency operatives and has spanned the globe to bring the world the constant variety of what he calls “creative destruction” to build democracies. He makes the other neocons appear passive. He brought the Reagan administration together with the Iranian arms dealer who dragged the country through Iran-Contra, and shares with his close friend Karl Rove a personal obsession with Machiavelli. Ledeen, who is almost rabidly anti-Arab, famously told The Washington Post that Karl Rove told him, “Any time you have a good idea, tell me.”
The federal grand jury has to at least consider whether Ledeen called Rove with an idea to use his contacts with the Italian CIA to hatch a plan to create the rationale for war. Ledeen told radio interviewer Ian Masters and his producer Louis Vandenberg, “I have absolutely no connection to the Niger documents, have never even seen them. I did not work on them, never handled them, know virtually nothing about them, don't think I ever wrote or said anything about the subject.” It is strictly coincidence then that some months after he and his neo-con consorts and Italian intelligence officers met in Rome that the Niger embassy was illegally entered and nothing was stolen other than letterhead and seals. And equally coincident that forged papers under those letterheads were slipped to Elisabetta Burba, a writer for an Italian glossy owned by Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister, and a backer of the Bush invasion scheme. Unfortunately for the pro-war neocons, even an Italian tabloid would not publish the fake documents and turned them over to the CIA and US government in Rome.
The other American attendees at Ledeen’s Roman Holiday are also worthy of scrutiny. Larry Franklin was recently arrested for leaking classified US government information to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Ledeen sprang quickly to his defense but Franklin faces prosecution next year and is most probably cooperating with prosecutor Fitzgerald. Harold Rhode, the other American actor in this tragicomic affair, worked the Office of Special Plans (OSP) at the Department of Defense for Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Characterized as a “counter-intelligence shop,” OSP simply interpreted intelligence in a manner that fit the need for evidence that Iraq had WMD. If the CIA gathered data that said otherwise, OSP analyzed it differently or ignored the facts and then reported to the vice president precisely what he wanted to hear. Rhode also was the liaison between Ahmed Chalabi, the convicted embezzler the Bush administration was using to feed information to them and Judy Miller about the distortions and lies required to fuel the rush to war.
No great extrapolation is necessary to assume that OSP, sitting inside the CIA, got early word that Joseph Wilson was being dispatched to Niger to investigate the sale of low-grade uranium to Iraq. Rhode needed only to pick up the phone and call the vice president’s chief of staff Scooter Libby, who would tell his boss and Karl Rove. How hard is it for even Republicans to believe, at this point, that Rove is capable of launching a plan to discredit Wilson and punish him by exposing his wife? Rove and his boss were not simply in danger of losing the prime cause for the war; they faced an even graver political wound of being discovered as covert agents who defrauded the government and the public.
I have seen the spawn of Rove’s tortured mind and watched a hundred of his political scams unfold and I am confident I know how this one played out. Rove might have brought it up with his fellow big brains in the White House Iraq Group, a propaganda organization set up to disseminate information supporting the war. There was likely a consensus to move the plan to smack down Wilson out of the White House. Rove always keeps a layer of operatives between himself and the person he gets to pull the trigger. Libby was probably told to manage it out of the VP’s office to protect the president because Karl always takes care of his most prized assets. Libby then likely ordered John Hannah and possibly David Wurmser to call the ever-friendly Judy Miller at The New York Times and columnist Robert Novak to give them Valerie Plame’s identity. Rove knew that Miller would call Libby of Aspen for confirmation and his old friend Novak was certain to call Rove who, as an unidentified senior White House official, would confirm the identity on background only. Because Novak is a partisan gunslinger, he wrote more quickly than Miller and when she saw the firestorm his story created, she backed off and has since been trying to cover for herself and Libby. Miller’s later claim that she cannot remember who gave her the “Valerie Flame” name is as much dissembling as Rove’s unconvincing argument that he “forgot” he met with Time reporter Matt Cooper. Karl Rove can remember precinct results from 19th-century presidential elections. He neither forgets nor forgives.
There you have it, Mr. Prosecutor. To quote an unreconstructed former Republican presidential candidate, “You know it. I know it. And the American people know it.” We expect you also to have sufficient evidence to prove all of this. There are many of us who are on the verge of losing faith in our democracy. We are convinced that there are people within the highest ramparts of American government who are willing to put our country at great risk to advance their geopolitical vision. We want our country back. And all we have left is the power of the law. From what we know, you are the right man come forth at the right time.
Prove to us we still live in a democracy and a nation of laws.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bono Meets Bozo

I just read that U2 singer Bono met Bush for lunch at the White House today to discuss the world's AIDS pandemic.

I can just hear their lunchtime conversation:

Bush: Hey man, you want some blow?
Bono: No thanks, I don't do drugs.
Bush: Heh, heh, heh, no really dude, it's cool- I'm the fuckin' president!
Bono: I realize that, sir, but I don't do cocaine.
Bush: No shit?
Bono: No shit, sir.
Bush: So, you want a shot of Jack Daniels?
Bono: Erm, sure, I suppose so.
Bush: You want it in a glass, or just swig it out of the bottle like I do?
Bono: A glass would be nice. Might we discuss AIDS soon, sir?
Bush: You ain't a fag, are ya?
Bono: No sir, but...
Bush: Then I guess that covers THAT topic..heh, heh, heh. Can I interest you in a bong of fine, Afghani hash?
Bono: I don't smoke hashish, sir.
Bush: Weed?
Bono: No sir.
Bush: This sure blows the fuck outta my idea of a rock star. I guess I oughtta call the twins and tell them not to stop by after all, huh?
Bono: Are they interested in discussing the AIDS pandemic?
Bush: Are they a couple of fags?
Bono: No, of course not, but...
Bush: Then that's your answer, man.
Nailing All The Bush Criminals and Conspirators
(From Progress@American

Leak Scandal Goes To The Top
What did the President know and when did he know it?
Yesterday, the New York Daily News reported that, according to a "presidential counselor," an "angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair." According to the article, the run-in occurred "shortly after the Justice Department informed the White House in September 2003 that a criminal investigation had been launched." If the report is true, it raises serious questions about the integrity of President Bush's statements about the investigation. (At yesterday's press conference, White House spokesman Scott McClellan refused to dispute the specifics of the article.) The report also suggests that testimony provided to the special prosecutor by Bush and Rove may have been inaccurate.

Josh Marshall notes that on October 7, 2003 -- around the same time as Bush's alleged rebuke of Rove -- Bush said, "I mean this town is a -- is a town full of people who like to leak information. And I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official." Bush added, "[T]his 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." The New York Daily News article suggests that Bush already knew the truth: one of the leakers was Karl Rove.

National Journal investigative reporter Murray Waas reported on 10/7/05, "In his own interview with prosecutors on June 24, 2004, Bush also testified that Rove assured him he had not disclosed Plame as a CIA employee and had said nothing to the press to discredit Wilson." Apparently, Rove has been telling a similar story. The AP reported that "Rove told President Bush and others that he never engaged in an effort to disclose a CIA operative's identity to discredit her husband's criticism of the administration's Iraq policy, according to people with knowledge of Rove's account in the probe." These accounts, if true, are completely inconsistent with the facts reported in yesterday's New York Daily News. Although Bush was not under oath, making false statements to a federal agent is still against the law.

Today, the AP reports that "Rove and I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby discussed their contacts with reporters about an undercover CIA officer in the days before her identity was published." The conversations are "the first known intersection between two central figures in the criminal leak investigation." According to people familiar with Rove's testimony, "Rove told grand jurors it was possible he first heard in the White House that Valerie Plame, wife of Bush administration Joseph Wilson, worked for the CIA from Libby's recounting of a conversation with a journalist." (Rove has also testified that "he probably first heard of Wilson's wife in a casual social setting outside the White House in the spring of 2003 but could not remember who provided the information.") The coordination between Rove and Libby lends credence to the report that "Fitzgerald may be edging closer to a blockbuster conspiracy charge."

God Bless Patrick Fitzgerald, for doing his job without letting his political affiliation interfere with his respect for true, American justice.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Day in the Life of Scottie McClellan, Bush's Pudgy Queer Spokes-liar
By Karen Zipdrive™

Flashback to 2003:
"There's been nothing, absolutely nothing, brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement, and that includes the vice-president's office as well." Scottie said.

Mid-October, 2005:
Reporter: Does the president still have confidence in Karl Rove?
Scottie: "What I said previously still stands. You can go back and look at it - I'd be glad to show you the transcript when that question came up last time."
Reporter: "So, he does still have full confidence? "
Scottie: "We've already addressed that."
Reporter: "If you've addressed it, why can't you repeat it for me?"
Scottie: "Why do you have to keep asking a question then that I've already answered when..."
Reporter: "You didn't answer it."
Scottie: "Did too."
Reporter: "Did not"
Scottie: "Did too."
Reporter: "Did not"
Scottie: "Did too."
Reporter: "Did not"
Scottie: "I answered it that last time, and what I said then was my answer then and now my answer is that it's an ongoing investigation and I can't comment on ongoing investigations."
Reporter: "I didn't ask about the investigation, I asked if the president still had confidence in Rove's innocence."
Scottie: "And I said, I cannot comment on an ongoing investigation."
Reporter Helen Thomas breaks in: "Damn it, Scottie, are you really this fucking stupid to think this shell game is working?"
Scottie: "I am sure you are rooting for the 9/11 terrorists and would like to see the President's initiatives to bring democracy to the entire Middle East region fail, Helen... NEXT?"
Helen Thomas: "What do terrorists have to do with Karl Rove leaking Valerie Plame's name?"
Scottie: "We are taking the war to them so they don't bring it to us."
Helen Thomas: "Huh? What's that got to do with Bush's continued confidence in Rove?"
Scottie: "As I said, we've already addressed that."
Helen Thomas: "No we haven't."
Scottie: Yes we have, and we are out of time now. Helen, have a nice day aiding and abetting the Arab terrorists, since you are an old Arab and all...

(Waddles off the podium)

(FOX NEWS announcer:)
"Well, once again, Press Secretary Scott Mc Clellan did a masterful job of answering questions that the obviously biased left-wing press corps failed to comprehend... over to you, Brit."
(Brit Hume:)
"And now, on to some GOOD news about Iraq: How a brave American soldier reunited a little Iraqi boy with his one-legged dog, Jabbar..."
Can Schumer be the Next President, Please?

In response to the N.Y. Daily News article that reports that Rove informed Bush in 2003 that he was involved in the Plame/CIA leak, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) fired off a letter to Bush, asking many of the right questions. He doesn't specifically ask Bush if he was a party to the attempted White House cover-up or why Bush did nothing to correct the Rove-was-not-involved spin put out by his White House. Still, Schumer's letter--posted below--is a decent start. It may even get him some press. (Hats off to David Corn's Blog)

Dear Mr. President,
I read today with profound concern news reports that you had conversations with your Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove in 2003 about his role in the leak of Valerie Plame's name. Earlier, of course, the White House issued emphatic and blanket denials of any involvement in the disclosure or confirmation of Ms. Plame's status as a CIA agent to members of the media.
In light of these reports, I urge you to make public the details of Mr. Rove's involvement, your understanding of that involvement, and an explanation as to why Mr. Rove was neither dismissed nor his security clearance revoked when you learned of his participation in the Plame affair.
According to the news account, after the Department of Justice informed the White House that it had launched a criminal investigation, you were "furious" at Mr. Rove for talking to the press about the Plame leak and scolded him about it. Particularly troubling is the allegation that you were not angry at the leak itself, but rather the "clumsy" handling of the leak. In other words, it seems like you may have been angry that White House officials were caught, not that they had compromised national security. If true, this is of course very problematic. As a result, the American people deserve to hear the facts immediately as to those conversations.
In light of these reports, and the fact that you long ago promised to fire anyone involved in the leak, I urge you to immediately and publicly clear up the record. If it is true that you had conversations with Mr. Rove about his involvement in talking to the press about the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert agent with the CIA, the American people deserve to know the answers to several questions. Among them are these:
* How often did you have conversations with Karl Rove about the Plame leak and on what dates?
* Did these conversations take place after you learned that the Department of Justice had initiated a formal criminal investigation into the matter?
* What was the substance of these conversations?
*Did you instruct Mr. Rove to cooperate fully with the investigation?
* When you and Vice President Cheney were interviewed by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, did you and Mr. Cheney inform him of Karl Rove's involvement and your knowledge of it?
*You promised in 2004, after your alleged anger at Mr. Rove over his involvement, to fire anyone involved in the leak. If these new reports are true, given your 2004 promise, why did Karl Rove continue to work at the White House after you learned of his involvement?
* If these reports are true, when you learned of the involvement of Karl Rove in speaking about classified information, i.e. , the identity of a covert agent, what discussions took place about suspending Mr. Rove's security clearance? Why was it not suspended?
I--along with the American people--look forward to hearing you set the record straight on this important issue.


Charles E. Schumer
Dick Cheney's Covert Action
Larry C. Johnson
October 19, 2005

Larry Johnson worked as a CIA intelligence analyst and State Department counter-terrorism official. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Face it, America. You’ve been punk'd.

It is now quite clear that the outing of Valerie Plame was part of a broader White House effort to mislead and manipulate U.S. public opinion as part of an orchestrated effort to take us to war. The unraveling of the Valerie Plame affair has exposed their scam—and it extends well beyond compromising the identity of a CIA officer. In short, the Bush administration organized and executed a classic “covert action” program against the citizens of the United States.

Covert action refers to behind-the-scenes efforts by U.S. intelligence agencies to plant stories, manipulate information and shape public opinion. In other words, you write stories that reporters will publish as their own, you create media events that tout a particular theme, and you demonize your opponent. Traditionally, this activity was directed against foreign governments. For example, the U.S. used covert action extensively in Greece in the 1960s to help fend off communists. Covert action also played a major role in rallying world support for the Afghanistan mujahideen following the Soviet invasion in 1979.

Revelations during the past week about the Plame affair make it clear that the Bush administration used covert action against its own citizens. Consider, for example, the charge that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger. The key event in this disinformation campaign was the intelligence manufactured by the Italians. The Italian intelligence service, SISME, provided the CIA with three separate intelligence reports that Iraq had reached an agreement with Niger to buy 500 tons of yellowcake uranium (October 15, 2001; February 5, 2002; and March 25, 2002). The second report, from February, was the subsequent basis for a DIA analysis, which led Vice President Cheney to ask the CIA for more information on the matter. That request led to the CIA asking Ambassador Joe Wilson to go check out the story in Niger.

We learned last May that in the summer of 2002, the Bush administration told our British allies that they would "fix the facts" around the intelligence. In other words, the United States sought to manufacture a case that Iraq was trying to build a nuclear capability. Note, not only did bogus intelligence reports and fabricated documents surface, but senior administration officials—Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney—went to great lengths to try to convince Americans that the United States would soon face the wrath of Iraqi attacks. Remember the smoking mushroom cloud?

Despite repeated attempts by the Italian intelligence service to help us cook the books, the senior CIA intelligence analysts resisted the administration’s effort to sell the bogus notion that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Niger. Even in the much-maligned October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the entire intelligence community remained split on the reliability of the Iraq/Niger claim. During briefings subsequent to the publication of the NIE, senior CIA officials repeatedly debunked the claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. They also dismissed as unreliable reports from Great Britain, which also were derived from the faulty Italian intelligence reports.

It is now clear that Italy’s intelligence service, SISME, had a hand in producing the forged documents delivered to the U.S. Embassy in Rome in early October 2003 that purported to show a deal with Iraq to buy uranium. Many in the intelligence community are convinced that a prominent neocon with longstanding ties to SISME played a role in the forgery. The truth of that proposition remains to be proven. This much is certain: Either SISME or someone with ties to SISME helped forge and circulate those documents, which some tried to use to bolster the case to go to war with Iraq.

Although some in the intelligence community, specifically analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of Energy, believed the report, the intelligence community as a whole did not put much stock in the reports and forged documents, and repeatedly told policy makers that these reports were not reliable. Yet the Bush administration ignored the intelligence community on these questions, and senior policymakers—like Vice President Cheney—persisted in trying to make the fraudulent case.

Two weeks before President Bush spoke the infamous 16 words in the January 2003 State of the Union speech, the Department of Defense was fanning the flames about Iraq’s alleged Nigerien uranium shopping trip. Starting in late 2001, senior Department of Defense officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, provided favored military talking heads with talking points and briefings to reinforce messages the administration wanted the public to remember.

One of those who frequently attended these affairs, Robert Maginnis, a former Army officer and now a commentator for Fox News and the Washington Times , published an op-ed on January 15, 2003, for United Press International, subsequent to one of the briefings.
In writing about the case for attacking Iraq, Maginnis affirmed that Saddam, “failed to explain why Iraq manufactures fuels suited only for a class of missile that it does not admit to having and why it sought to procure uranium from the African nation of Niger.”

Notwithstanding repeated efforts by intelligence analysts to downplay these intelligence reports as unreliable, DOD officials fanned the flames.
This, my friends, is one example of “cooking intelligence.”
These facts further expose as farce the Bush administration’s effort to blame the CIA for the misadventure in Iraq. We did not go to war in Iraq primarily because of bad intelligence and bad analysis by the CIA. The Bush administration started a war of choice.

While CIA did make mistakes, and while some key members of the National Intelligence Council were willing to drink the neocon Kool-Aid and go along with the White House, when it came to questions of whether Iraq was buying uranium in Niger or if Saddam was working with bin Laden, CIA and INR analysts consistently got it right and told the administration what they did not want to hear.
It was policymakers, such as Vice President Dick Cheney, NSC Chief Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who ignored what the analysts were saying and writing.

The evidence of the White House effort to manipulate and shape U.S. public opinion is now overwhelming.
Just last week, President Bush appeared in a pathetic scripted “dialogue” with hand-selected U.S. troops.
We also know that male escort Jeff Gannon Guckert was granted special access to White House press briefings and that pundits like Armstrong Williams sold themselves to the White House.
The Bush administration had an organized campaign to manipulate the U.S. media to get its message out.
Unfortunately, the corporate media played along.

The attack on Valerie Plame Wilson was not an isolated incident.
It was part of a broader pattern of manipulation and deceit.
But this was not done for the welfare of U.S. national security.
Instead, we find ourselves confronted by an unprecedented level of terrorist attacks and a deteriorating military situation in Iraq.
At the same time, we now know that the Bush administration gladly sacrificed an undercover intelligence officer in order to keep up the pretense that the war in Iraq was all about weapons of mass destruction.

Americans have died because of the Bush deceit.
The unmasking of Valerie Plame was not an odd occurrence.
It was part of a pattern of deliberate manipulation and disinformation.
At the end of the day, American men and women have died because of this lie.
It is up to the American people to hold the Bush administration accountable for these actions.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

You Tell 'em, WACO

You know the neo-cons are fucking up when even the Waco Tribune calls them on their homophobic bullshit.
Their editorial:

Texas revisits gay marriage

Monday, October 17, 2005
When Texas lawmakers approved Proposition 2 to be included on the Nov. 8 constitutional amendments ballot, they must have been looking for an issue that would grab voter interest.
Of the nine proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, Proposition 2 is sure to generate the most passion since it touches on homosexuality, marriage, civil rights, religion and politics.
Proposition 2 would amend the constitution to declare that marriage in Texas consists only of the union of one man and one woman. It also would prohibit the state or any political subdivision of the state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
This proposed constitutional amendment is redundant and unneeded. The Tribune-Herald editorial board recommends that voters reject Proposition 2.
Texas already has a law that prohibits marriage between persons of the same sex. It also prohibits civil unions between persons of the same sex.
In addition, the Defense of Marriage Act passed by the Texas Legislature in 2003 also spells out that the state will not recognize a same-sex marriage or civil union no matter where it was created.
That law essentially closes the door on gay marriages or civil unions in Texas.
Nevertheless, Texas lawmakers deemed it worth their time to propose amending the Texas Constitution to do the exact same thing as the 2003 Defense of Marriage Act.
The rationale behind this duplication of effort both in legislation and in the constitution was that a lawsuit might come along and successfully overturn the state's Defense of Marriage Act if it were found to unlawfully discriminate against some citizens.
Opponents of same-sex marriages want to erect as many roadblocks as possible to prevent gay couples from joining the institution of marriage. A constitutional amendment would be harder to change if attitudes in Texas about gay citizens also changed in the future.
Gay marriages are already banned in Texas. Proposition 2 is unnecessary. The Tribune-Herald editorial board recommends voting against Proposition 2.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Oh Boy! This reminds me of the time I went trick-or-treating when I was 6 and the people down the street were giving out full-sized ice cream cones!

Cheney May Be Entangled in CIA Leak Investigation, People Say

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A special counsel is focusing on whether Vice President Dick Cheney played a role in leaking a covert CIA agent's name, according to people familiar with the probe that already threatens top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby.
The special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, has questioned current and former officials of President George W. Bush's administration about whether Cheney was involved in an effort to discredit the agent's husband, Iraq war critic and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, according to the people.
Fitzgerald has questioned Cheney's communications adviser Catherine Martin and former spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise and ex-White House aide Jim Wilkinson about the vice president's knowledge of the anti-Wilson campaign and his dealings on it with Libby, his chief of staff, the people said. The information came from multiple sources, who requested anonymity because of the secrecy and political sensitivity of the investigation.
New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who has now testified twice before a federal grand jury probing the case after spending 85 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with Fitzgerald, wrote in yesterday's New York Times that Fitzgerald asked her whether the vice president "had known what his chief aide,'' Libby, "was doing and saying'' regarding Wilson, a critic of the war in Iraq.
Fitzgerald has told lawyers involved in the case that he hopes to conclude soon -- the grand jury's term expires Oct. 28, although it could be extended -- and there is a growing sense among knowledgeable observers that the outcome will involve serious criminal charges. "Fitzgerald is putting together a big case,'' Washington attorney Robert Bennett, who represents Miller, said on the ABC-TV program "This Week'' yesterday.

Possible Charges
The charges could range from a broad conspiracy case to more narrowly drawn indictments for obstruction of justice or perjury, according to lawyers involved in the case. Charges are considered less likely on the law that initially triggered Fitzgerald's probe, which makes it illegal to deliberately unmask an undercover intelligence agent, because of the difficulty in meeting that statute's exacting standards for prosecution.
Lea Anne McBride, a Cheney spokesman, declined to comment yesterday on whether the vice president, 64, has been contacted by Fitzgerald about his status in the case, except to say: "This is an ongoing investigation, and we are fully cooperating.'' Randall Samborn, a Fitzgerald spokesman, declined to comment. Calls to Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, and Joseph Tate, Libby's lawyer, weren't returned.
There's no indication Fitzgerald is considering criminal charges against the vice president, who gave unsworn testimony to investigators last year. One option for Fitzgerald is to outline his findings about Cheney's role if he files a final report on the investigation.

Questioned Officials
Fitzgerald, 45, has also questioned administration officials about any knowledge Bush may have had of the campaign against Wilson. Yet most administration observers have noted that on Iraq, as with most matters, it's Cheney who has played the more hands-on role.
One lawyer intimately involved in the case, who like the others demanded anonymity, said one reason Fitzgerald was willing to send Miller to jail to compel testimony was because he was pursuing evidence the vice president may have been aware of the specifics of the anti-Wilson strategy.
And both U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan and an appellate-court panel -- including David Tatel, a First Amendment advocate -- said they ruled in Fitzgerald's favor because of the gravity of the case.

Pace of Probe
Katy Harriger, a political scientist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who has written extensively about special-counsel investigations, said the pace and trajectory of Fitzgerald's probe suggests it will end with the indictment of Rove, Libby or both.
Harriger said she anticipates indictments in part because of the special prosecutor's willingness to jail Miller. "That's not something you do unless you really have something more going on that isn't obvious to the public,'' she said.
Larry Barcella, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said the recent activity in the case suggests criminal charges are likely, although not in connection with the 1982 law making it illegal to disclose a covert agent's identity.
A more likely focus is possible "false statements, conspiracy or obstruction of justice,'' said Barcella, now a defense lawyer for the Washington-based law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. "It's obviously not good that Rove and Libby have spent so much time before the grand jury.''

An Active Participant
To make a case against Cheney as part of a conspiracy indictment, Fitzgerald would have to show the vice president was an active participant in a decision to smear Wilson, Barcella said. "It's a case most easily made if you can prove a person knowingly entered into an agreement to do something illegal,'' he said. "Beyond that, it can be tricky.''
Fitzgerald's status differs in one potentially important respect from the independent counsels who investigated alleged wrongdoing during earlier administrations. They reported to a panel of appellate judges, while Fitzgerald reports to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who at least theoretically must approve any indictment.
Given the prospect of both protracted criminal cases and then civil lawsuits, it now seems possible the issue will bedevil the final years of Bush's presidency, much as the Iran-contra affair burdened President Ronald Reagan's second term and the Monica Lewinsky scandal plagued President Bill Clinton's.

No Leaks
While there have been virtually no leaks out of Fitzgerald's office, and even the subjects of his investigation are unsure about his intentions, White House officials and Bush supporters are fearful that recent developments spell legal jeopardy for Rove, the central strategist behind Bush's political campaigns and much of his presidency, and Libby, a key architect of the Iraq war strategy.
When the investigation began, White House officials asserted that neither Rove nor Libby played any role in the outing of Plame, and both aides told Fitzgerald that they learned of her identity from journalists.
In her Times account, Miller said she told Fitzgerald and the grand jury that Libby, 55, raised the subject of Wilson's wife during a meeting with Miller on June 23, 2003. That was before Wilson, 55, went public in a Times op-ed piece with his accusation that Bush and his aides had "twisted'' intelligence findings to justify invading Iraq, although administration officials knew he was privately critical.

Contracted Account
While Miller didn't say Libby had identified Plame as a covert agent, her account calls into question Libby's assertion that he first learned of Plame's identity from reporters.
Miller, 57, said she went to jail rather than testify because, unlike other reporters, she didn't feel Libby had given her specific and voluntary permission to speak about their confidential conversations. She relented when Libby contacted her by telephone and letter last month, saying he had always expected her to testify.
Those communications with Miller may pose legal problems for Libby. His letter to her stated that "the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me.''
Miller wrote in her Times article that Fitzgerald asked her to read that portion of the letter aloud to the grand jurors and asked for her reaction to Libby's words. She said that part of the letter had "surprised me because it might be perceived as an effort by Mr. Libby to suggest that I, too, would say we had not discussed Ms. Plame's identity. Yet my notes suggested that we had discussed her job.''

'Stupid Thing to Do'
Bennett, Miller's attorney, yesterday called that part of Libby's letter "a very stupid thing to do.'' Other lawyers suggested it could become part of any obstruction-of-justice charge Fitzgerald might bring.
Rove's testimony also has been contradicted by others, such as Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper. He said his July 2003 conversation with the White House aide focused more on Wilson and his wife than Rove had testified, while adding Rove had not identified her by name. There is also at least one discrepancy between Rove's version and that of columnist Robert Novak, who first identified Plame as a Central Intelligence Agency operative in July 2003, according to persons familiar with their accounts.
Rove, 54, returned to the grand jury for a fourth time on Oct. 14 and testified for more than four hours. His lawyer, Luskin, who has spoken frequently with reporters, has gone from public optimism that his client faces little legal danger to cautiously noting only that Fitzgerald hasn't told them Rove is a "target.''

Wilson's Assignment
Wilson was dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports, since discredited, that Saddam Hussein's regime was trying to buy uranium in Niger as part of a nuclear- weapons program. After Bush cited similar reports in his Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union speech and the U.S. invaded Iraq in March of that year, Wilson began telling some journalists anonymously that the claim was questionable.
That prompted behind-the-scenes administration attempts to discredit Wilson. In his June 2003 meeting with Miller, Libby told her, in the context of a conversation critical of the CIA, that Wilson's wife worked for the spy agency, according to an account published in the Times yesterday.
Wilson went public with his criticism on July 6, 2003. In his Times piece, he concluded: "Some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.''

Talked with Reporters
Over the next week, Libby and Rove talked to reporters, on the condition they not be identified, about Wilson's article and the fact that his CIA-employed wife may have had a role in giving him the Niger assignment.
Plame's identity was first published by Novak on July 14. He cited "two senior administration officials'' as the sources of the information that Plame, 42, suggested Wilson for the Niger trip. Novak hasn't commented publicly on those sources.
Miller never wrote a story about Wilson or his wife -- although in one of her notebooks, dated July 8, 2003, a notation appears for "Valerie Flame.''
One of the subplots is the role played by the New York Times. In addition to Miller's personal account, the Times yesterday published a separate 5,800-word piece that criticized both Miller and the way the newspaper handled the story.

Never Saw Notes
The article reported the paper's publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and its executive editor, Bill Keller, unequivocally supported their reporter in her legal battle although "they knew few details about Ms. Miller's conversations with her confidential source,'' and "did not review'' her notes.
Miller, who wrote many influential pre-war war stories about Hussein's purported weapons of mass destruction that the Times later acknowledged were flawed, told the grand jury she recommended in 2003 that the newspaper pursue the Plame story.
Jill Abramson, the newspaper's managing editor, said Miller never made any such recommendation.
In an interview yesterday, Wilson said that once the criminal questions are settled, he and his wife may file a civil lawsuit against Bush, Cheney and others seeking damages for the alleged harm done to Plame's career.
If they do so, the current state of the law makes it likely that the suit will be allowed to proceed -- and Bush and Cheney will face questioning under oath -- while they are in office. The reason for that is a unanimous 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against then-President Bill Clinton could go forward immediately, a decision that was hailed by conservatives at the time.