Saturday, April 1

Waas : Rove and Hadley hid the Truth about Aluminum Tubes

A newly released story by Murray Waas indicates that the pillar of lies which have protected George Bush from knowingly sending us into a War without real justification have begun to come crumbling down just a little bit more.
By Murray Waas, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, March 30, 2006

Karl Rove
, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews.
Let me repeat and reemphasize - the President was personally advised that claims might not be true!
Hadley was particularly concerned that the public might learn of a classified one-page summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, specifically written for Bush in October 2002. The summary said that although "most agencies judge" that the aluminum tubes were "related to a uranium enrichment effort," the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's intelligence branch "believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons."
In and of itself, that fact that the INR doubted the veracity of the aluminum tube claim is not surprising. The various issues of doubt expressed in the NIE have been the source of much discussion, as has the fact that these doubts were excised from the Unclassified Version of the NIE that most members of Congress saw in October 2002 before voting on the Iraq Force Resolution. The one new fact in this report is that the White House, and specifically the President KNEW that there were doubts about this information - and they used it anyway.

Three months after receiving that assessment, the president stated without qualification in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Now Wilson had already travelled to Africa and provided the CIA with a verbal report that indicated the Niger claim was bogus, and as it turned out based on forged documents. The forgery possibility was also brought up by the INR, independant of Wilson, and included in the very same NIE which originally requested by members of Congress.

Waas's article goes on to describe the long sordid history of the attacks on Wilson and Plame which followed and increased over the next few months as Wilson become more and more vocal about the Niger issue, leading ultimately to Robert Novak's article revealing that Plame was a CIA Operative, and that her company Brewter-Jennings was a CIA front.

We now know that Plame was a NOC, an undercover operative and that Brewster-Jennings was working on limiting the spread of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear proliferation. How badly their efforts were damaged by the outing of one of their agents remains unrevealed to the public, but may come to light as the result of the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plame investigation.

This story clearly shows how the problem here wasn't with the intelligence - there were many varying doubts expressed by the CIA, DIA and other analyst concerning not only Saddam's Nuclear program, but also his willingness to use any WMD's he might have still have (although as it turned out he had none). Most stated that he was unlikely to turn WMD weapons and materials over to terrorists or to use them himself - unless provoked.

So what did we do? We provoked the Shit out of him. Bush went out of his way to provoke him with bombings and even contemplated sending in a disguised U2 for him to shoot at.

At this point, there is no more room to hide under the bushel that "The President just didn't know" that we was dead wrong about Iraq. There is no more room to argue that "the intelligence information was bad". No, it wasn't. The Bush Administration - time and time again- insisted on using the worst of the information they had, and ignored the good information.

"Curveball" says that Iraq still has WMD's - so they believe him, even though the DIA says he can't be trusted. So when Saddam has he doesn't have them - they don't listen. al-Liby in Gitmo says that Saddam has ties to al Qaeda, again the DIA says "this guy is probably a fabricator".

Guess who the President believed?

If you said he believed the wrong guy - you'd be right.

<>Vyan

Thursday, March 30

Dems Real Security Plan


Well, at last House Dems can finally state that they have a plan. They do have ideas. (Not that anyone on this site doubted this, but destroying the GOP meme on this point alone is more than worth it)

Still there is the question of - what exactly is the plan?

Like most things, the devil is in the details and it's certainly something we on Dkos should discuss.

It appears to be a basically good plan, built on consensus and therefore not exactly bold, but one that few will be able to argue against.

Georgia10 has taken a couple bites of this apple already. Firedoglake has taken a Cop half-full/half-empty view of it. It's not as aggressive or progressive as some of us might like, but it's something and that's better than nothing.

And we've been seeing a whole lotta "nothin" lately, haven't we?

Under the Bush Administration our soldiers have needlessly suffered from lack of proper equipment. They had their benefits cut and been asked to pay for cheap armor that failed to protect them, and threatened with loosing their insurance if they attempt to buy better armor on their own dime.

The Real Security Plan addresses this in it's section on the 21st Century Military.

Guarantee that our troops have the protective gear, equipment, and training they need and are never sent to war without accurate intelligence and a strategy for success.

Enact a GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century that guarantees our troops -- active, reserve, and retired -- our veterans, and their families receive the pay, health care, mental health services, and other benefits they have earned and deserve.

It's one thing to loudly proclaim to "Support the Troops" with bumper-stickers and magnets -- it's another to actually Support them by ensuring they have the proper tools to do the job.

The Bush Administration failed has failed to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden almost five years after 9-11. They let him escape from Tora Bora. Most of al Qaeda was allowed to leave Afghanistan at the start of that War while resources were prematurely redirected to Iraq. The Real Security Plan would redirect our priorities back onto al Qaeda.

Eliminate Osama Bin Laden, destroy terrorist networks like al Qaeda, finish the job in Afghanistan and end the threat posed by the Taliban.

Double the size of our Special Forces, increase our human intelligence capabilities, and ensure our intelligence is free from political pressure.

Eliminate terrorist breeding grounds by combating the economic, social, and political conditions that allow extremism to thrive; lead international efforts to uphold and defend human rights; and renew longstanding alliances that have advanced our national security objectives.

Much of what is being described here sounds like the type of Pol/Mil (Political/Miltary) Delenda plans that Richard Clark drafted as head of the Counter-terrorist unit of the NSC.

Fighting terrorist based on reality rather than neo-con fantasy? Definately an improvement.

The Bush Administration has caused us to cut back on our police and first responders, continues to fail to search cargo containers, nearly sold our ports the the United Arab Emerates (and still might under cover of darkness), failed to protect us with proper supplies of flu vaccine and seems unprepared to deal with future pandemics. The Dem plan opposes this.


Immediately implement the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission including securing national borders, ports, airports and mass transit systems.

Screen 100% of containers and cargo bound for the U.S. in ships or airplanes at the point of origin and safeguard America's nuclear and chemical plants, and food and water supplies.

Prevent outsourcing of critical components of our national security infrastructure -- such as ports, airports and mass transit -- to foreign interests that put America at risk.

Provide firefighters, emergency medical workers, police officers, and other workers on the front lines with the training, staffing, equipment and cutting-edge technology they need.

Protect America from biological terrorism and pandemics, including the Avian flu, by investing in the public health infrastructure and training public health workers.

On Iraq, most of what they have to say is fairly obvious... complete the training and transition of security concern over to Iraqi Forces, then support their internal political efforts to unite the nation. No brainer there.

Ensure 2006 is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with the Iraqis assuming primary responsibility for securing and governing their country and with the responsible redeployment of U.S. forces.

Insist that Iraqis make the political compromises necessary to unite their country and defeat the insurgency; promote regional diplomacy; and strongly encourage our allies and other nations to play a constructive role.

But it's in this section on Iraq that we also have the money-quote...

Hold the Bush Administration accountable for its manipulated pre-war intelligence, poor planning and contracting abuses that have placed our troops at greater risk and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.

Make that TRILLIONS of wasted taxpayer dollars and now your talking. This would suggest a real Phase II investigation which has been on hold for what - three years so far? It would mean looking into where our $8.8 Billion under the Coalition Provisional Authority disappeared too.

The last section on Energy Independance is also a no-brainer. Even Bush has talked about this stuff, although we all know darn well - he's not serious about it. While Democrats just might be.

Achieve energy independence for America by 2020 by eliminating reliance on oil from the Middle East and other unstable regions of the world.

Increase production of alternate fuels from America's heartland including bio-fuels, geothermal, clean coal, fuel cells, solar and wind; promote hybrid and flex fuel vehicle technology and manufacturing; enhance energy efficiency and conservation incentives.

In many ways, this final element is probably our most important National Security issue. Our dependance on this oil keeps us locked into a Faustian deal with agencies and forces that have led us down a foreign policy rat-hole. One that those very same forces have every intention of maintaining, despite their claims of "America go Home (just leave all your dollars here)".

There's no Impeachment Talk, much as Ken Melhman and the RNC would like there to be. There's not any talk of Surrender, Premature Pull-out of Troops or other such nonesense.

I've said before, and I'll say again - it's not exactly a bad idea for Dems to approach the future in a fairly moderate - but focused plan. There is still only a 4-point gap in the polls on the question of "Who would do a better job on terrorism" between Republicans (45%) and Dems (41%).

They really don't need to fall into the RNC's trap of being overly radicalized -- that's OUR job. We need to play our role as BAD Rabid Liberals, while they play GOOD Moderate Liberals and can therefore de-energize the Republican Base.

Dems are not going to get Republican votes, but they can come across as not nearly as scary as the right-wing would like to portray them.

This plan does that, and I think it's all good.

Vyan

Wednesday, March 29

The Missing Piece of the Immigration Puzzle

Tehis has been an interesting week in the midst of the decades long struggle over illegal immigration. The Border Angels have had over 500,000 people in the streets of downtown Los Angeles and elsewhere in response to a radical House proposal to make "aiding and abetting" illegals a felony (a proposal that is quite alarming when taken in conjuction with the $386 Million Homeland Security Contract with Halliburton/KBR to build "Emergency Detention Centers"), and create a 700 mile fence on the southern border (to the tune of yet another $2 Billion), contrasted with a much more moderate proposal from the Senate which offers a pathway to legality for some of those 11 Million undocumented people currently residing on our shores.

But all of these proposal ignore the basic question of inequity that has brought us to this point, and will no doubt bring us back - why are certain people force to seek illegal means to enter the country while others (like the 9-11 hijackers) are granted free passage?

Why do we let some people in, and other people are forced to jump a fence, crawl through tunnels and run across the desert?



Student Protests Continue in LA
It's a basic question, but I no one seems to ask it. Sure we frequently talk about the lack of economic oppurtunity in their natives lands, and we sometimes may mention the crime and curruption, the environmental devestation cause by the U.S. deforestation policy in Central America... but why is it that able-bodied, law-abiding, hard-working people are being turned away at our borders and are force to take their chances with "Coyotes" in order to find a better way of life?

Some of the latest stats indicate that in California's case, immigrant workers provide at $100 Billion boost to the economy while only using $6 in State services. So economics isn't a valid reason.

As I wrote in a post about the Minutemen months ago.

The answer may reside with the U.S. State Dept. Visas offered by the State Dept to immigrants from various nations are limited by a quota. Quotas of this type began to first be established in 1882 when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, as the scare of the "Yellow Menace" began to rise and the need for railroad workers (who were primarily Chinese) began to wane. In the 1920's there was the "Red Scare" and in the 1940's the internment of Japanese Americans. In the 21st century we like to consider ourselves more 'enlightened' than we were in the past, yet these types of quotas remain.

Here is an excerpt from the State Department Visa Bulletin for April 2006 which outlines just some of the quotas they use to determine whether Visa will be granted or not.


FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first preference numbers:

A. Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers".

Schedule A Workers: Employment First, Second, and Third preference Schedule A applicants are entitled to up to 50,000 "recaptured" numbers.

Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.

Here's a monthly breakdown by Region.

For April, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2006 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:
RegionAll DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately

AFRICAAF 16,950

Nigeria 10,900

ASIA AS5,350
EUROPEEU11,225
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)NA8
OCEANIA OC610
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEANSA975

Let me just take a second to point out that this table clearly indicates that Africa and Europe are to receive over 150 and 100 times (respectively) the number of Visa that all of South America receives (and from what I can tell, Central America including Mexico isn't even listed!!) - do I have to point out that many illegal immigrants in the country are actually Africans and Europeans who've overstayed their Visas? (Just like Moussaoui did)

This quota system needs to be abolished, plain and simple.

If someone is willing to go through the documentation process prior to entering the country, is able and willing to work to provide for themselves and has no criminal background or ties to terrorists -- they shouldn't be forced to break our immigration laws simply because we're "all full at the inn" for people from that country according to our quota system.

Any such quota system is clearly Unconstitution under the 14th Amendment ("All persons within the Jurisdiction of the State are to be granted the Equal Protection of the Law") have previously been struck down by decisions such as Bakke v U.C. Regents (which addressed school admissions - but is there really a great difference between who we feel is qualified for our schools and who we feel is qualified to enter our country?), and further is a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of National Origin.

This system was established for obviously racist reasons in 1882, and it's continuance today only fosters similar racist ends. It's an arbitrary number is no more likely to protect us from those who might wish to do us harm than trying to hit a bullseye while playing a game of blinded darts would.

So far with "Guest Worker" (aka "Migrant Slave") suggestions, we've only managed to skirt the edge of the issue -- our Migration Policy is deeply flawed and needs to be fixed. Once that occurs, it won't be neccesary for anyone but those who are truly dangerous to attempt to enter illegally -- and by all means we should crack-down and protect our borders from Those people. We should create a method for those who've already entered to pay their debt to society for having committed this misdemeanor. If they fail in this, they should be deport and barred from re-entry for a number of years.

But you can't do any of this until you fix the current system to give people a reasonable chance to abide by the law. Right now that doesn't exist and until it does, we're just kicking this ball several decades down the road -- again.


Diagram of Elizabeth Detention Center
If we fail in this, we're more than likely to see the realization of those KBR Detention Centers - a virtual return to the bad-ole days of Japanese Internment during WWII, with the already horrific quality of current immigrant detention facilities, our current governments policy on torture and mistreatment, not to mention Halliburtons habit of poisoning our troops with contaminated water, these places aren't likely to much better than Modern Day Concentration Camps.

This is certainly not the direction we want to go is it?

Vyan

Monday, March 27

Dkos: Liar in Chief

The New York Times is finally covering Downing Street II, and georgia10 has the scoop.

The new Downing Street Memo isn't so new. Like previous documents, such as the original Downing Street Memo that stated flat out the evidence for war was being fixed around the policy of regime change, this document has been around in the foreign press and the blogosphere for a while. (See dkos diary on it here,). Nearly two months have passed since the newest memo came to public light. Its contents reiterate what dozens of official documents before it proved: Bush and Blair were hellbent on launching a war which they knew was in violation of international law. They were determined to lie and deceive the world into thinking Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, that he was an imminent threat. Prior to the meeting described in the document (which took place January 2003) the RAF and US military already were implementing a plan to provoke Saddam, doubling the rates of aerial bombings in Iraq during 2002 in an attempt to make Saddam respond. Apparently, this wasn't working fast enough. As this new document details, Bush and Blair decided to step up the provocation. They debated painting an American plane with U.N. colors to goad Saddam into firing it down. They talked of assassination. They conspired to manipulate evidence, to lie in their public statements to their people, to commit a war of aggression in violation of the public trust and the laws of the war.

This document confirms what a hundreds of previous pieces of evidence confirm: the President is a liar. When he told us on March 6, 2003 that "I've not made up our mind about military action," he lied. When he told us two days before Shock & Awe "no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," he lied. When he told us that Saddam "abosolutely" had a banned weapons program, he lied. Whenever George W. Bush opened his mouth to talk about Iraq from Sept. 11, 2001 on, he lied. He lied and he lies to this very day.

In respose to a kosser who stated "The majority of Americans are on the side of impeachment if it can be proved if Bush lied us into Iraq." I responded.

It's already been proven.

The Iraq Force Resolution required the President to use all diplomatic means prior to going to War - he simply didn't do that. The inspectors were still on the ground telling us that our Intel on WMD's was Garbage, Saddam had already given us a declaration that said he had no WMD's, which the Dulfer report has proved he told us the truth - and we're still in Iraq Three Years Later?

The simply obvious truth that Bush has Lied us into a War can not be denied, and this new Downing Street Memo simply re-iterates that point.

People like O'Reilly like to claim that we should "ignore past mistakes", although those mistakes continue to pill up like dead fish on our beaches. He claims Bush deserves an "Apology" because Saddam kept the fact he had no WMD's left a secret even from his top generals, while ignoring the fact that he didn't keep it a secret from us - and we still went to War.

People like Coulter like to claim that we did it to end "the rape rooms", when no such humanitarian goals were listed in the Iraq Force Resolution and since we've taken over Iraq, our own military have used the exact same torture chambers that Saddam used for our own purposes.

The White House knew that their anti-terroprism strategy could lead to War Crimes Violations, and they went ahead and implemented it anyway.

Remove and Convict. Impeachment's too good for 'em!

Vyan