Saturday, December 16

Devo - Freedom of Choice

T2P Music Club presents - "Freedom of Choice" by Devo


We will be returning to our regularly scheduled Impeachment Rant Tomorrow - Same Truth Time - Same Truth Channel.

Vyan

Friday, December 15

The Impeachment Case Against George W. Bush: Count 2 - Domestic Espionage

Musical Accompaniment for this post by John Lennon - "Nobody Told Me"!


As we look forward into the 110th Congress and beyond, it becomes more and more critical that we envision the country as would all, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative and Independent would like it to be.

Beyond this issue of party affiliation is the issue of our national character.

What is America?

Is it the land of the free, or the home of the scared? This will be the subject of Count 2 from my multipart series on Why George W. Bush must be Impeached.

The Impeachment Case Against George W. Bush - Count 2 : Domestic Espionage. President George W. Bush did, with malice aforethought, deceive the World and American people in to secretly conduct Espionage Against Millions of Americans, repeatedly violating their 1st and 4th Amendment Rights on as well as multiple Federal Laws.

This is a case which has been well discussed in the year since it was originally revealed that the Bush Administration had ordered the NSA to record tens of thousands of phone calls made by "known al-Qaeda affiliates" abroad to the U.S. all without a single warrant.

Before that became known one year ago the President when discussion the Patriot Act stated in April of 2004 that:

Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

To be fair, there is a difference between what has been authorized by the Congress via the Patriot act - and the authority the President Bush has claimed is inherently his in order to conduct this espionage.

The Patriot Act brought down the wall between law enforment and intelligence gathering. The importance of that wall and the distinction between how Law Enforment Agencies such as the FBI handle their cases and how the CIA and Spies handle counter-espionage and counter-terrorism is vital.

Law enforcement is one thing, Espionage is another. Rarely is Espionage or counter-espionage entirely lawful.

Most Americans would agree that the President has the authority and a duty to perform both counter-terrorism and counter-espionage, and that while doing so our own spies are likely to violate the laws of what ever country that may be in at the time - however when it comes to such actions within the U.S. itself the requirement has been that the President must also abide by the Laws of the U.S..

In this instance the law is very clear. Under FISA and 18 USC 2551, just as the President claimed in 2004, no wiretaps of U.S. citizens or residents may be performed without a court order.

It's too bad that even though the Patriot Act modified FISA to allow for the warrant to be issued three days after surveillance has already begun - Bush still hasn't abided by the law.

Unfortunately that isn't all. Not only has the President secretly authorized the illegal tapping of domestic phone calls, he has has also authorized the tracking of purely domestic calls and emails as part of an additional program to Datamine the personal contact information of tens of millions of Americans. This violates 18 USC 3121 which prohibits use of a "Pen and trap" devices without a warrant and 18 USC 2702 which prohibits companies such as AT&T from voluanteering customer information to the government without a warrant.

His authorization of Warrantless Electronic Surveillance has in due course has led to Warrantless Physical Searches, and based on the hints provided by NSA Whistle-blower Russel Tice - that is only the "Tip of the Iceberg".

A former intelligence officer for the National Security Agency said Thursday he plans to tell Senate staffers next week that unlawful activity occurred at the agency under the supervision of Gen. Michael Hayden beyond what has been publicly reported, while hinting that it might have involved the illegal use of space-based satellites and systems to spy on U.S. citizens. ...

[Tice] said he plans to tell the committee staffers the NSA conducted illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens while he was there with the knowledge of Hayden. ... "I think the people I talk to next week are going to be shocked when I tell them what I have to tell them. It’s pretty hard to believe," Tice said. "I hope that they’ll clean up the abuses and have some oversight into these programs, which doesn’t exist right now."

So far the details of Tice's meeting with Congress - which incidentally took place on the same day a Gen Micheal Hayden's confirmation to become CIA Director - have not been revealed due to National Security Restrictions.

Still Sen Russ Feingold along with Congressman John Conyers have both called for Bush to be Censured for the NSA Program. Senator Jay Rockefeller, the incoming head of the powerful Intelligence Commitee wrote a letter to the Vice President about the program in 2003.

Dear Mr. Vice President,

I am writing to reiterate my concern regarding the sensitive intelligence issues we discussed today with the DCI, DIRNSA, and Chairman Roberts and our House Intelligence Committee counterparts.

Clearly the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues. As you know, I am neither a technician or an attorney. Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel on my own, I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities.

As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveiliance.

Without more information and the ability to draw on any independent legal or techical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received.

I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication.

I appreciate your consideration of my views.

Most respectfully,

Jay Rockefeller

Although selected members of Congress (The "Gang of Eight") were indeed briefed on this program, they were also required by Federal Law not to disclose or discuss it with anyone without the proper security clearances - including their own staff, other members of congress or lawyers who may have been able to give them a better understanding of the legal issues. And they certainly couldn't vote or to authorize or amend the program in an open hearing.

Since the writing of that letter a Federal Judge has ordered that the NSA program be shutdown immediately and ruled that it is both illegal and unconstitutional - a decision which is currently pending appeal.

Judge Taylor found that the program violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was passed in the 1970s to curb executive abuses that included spying on civil rights leaders and Members of Congress. FISA requires a warrant before the executive can wiretap Americans. Judge Taylor also found that the program violated the separation of powers because it circumvented Congress’s power to regulate presidential authority, and that it violated Americans' rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution. The government appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which granted a stay of the decision pending appeal.

In response Attorney General and Former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales has argued that Judge Taylor's view of "Freedom" and "Upholding the Constitution" - "is one utterly divorced from civic responsibility - is superficial and is itself a grave threat to the liberty and security of the American people."

An investigation by the DOJ's Office of Personal responsibility was terminated earlier this year simply because the President refused to grant the neccesary security clearances, yet at the same time he did grant the clearances needed to defend against the ACLU's (so far successful) lawsuit.

I think most people would consider that action to be Obstruction of Justice!

Just as Gonzales words - which are quite a departure from their normal refusal to comment on "ongoing investigations" - would appear to be an attempt to influence and intimidate a Federal Judge. Not exactly the acts of innocent men.

Never-the-less a second investigation by the DOJ has recently been spawned, but not into the legallity of the program itself - the purpose of this one is to determine how the information mined by the NSA has been used.

From what we've already seen based on information divulged by the FBI to the New York Times, the answer to that question is "not very well"...

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 - In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.

But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.

F.B.I. officials repeatedly complained to the spy agency, which was collecting much of the data by eavesdropping on some Americans' international communications and conducting computer searches of foreign-related phone and Internet traffic, that the unfiltered information was swamping investigators. Some F.B.I. officials and prosecutors also thought the checks, which sometimes involved interviews by agents, were pointless intrusions on Americans' privacy.

...

"We'd chase a number, find it's a school teacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former FBI official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."

The law enforcement and counterterrorism officials said the program had uncovered no active Qaeda networks inside the United States planning attacks. "There were no imminent plots - not inside the United States," the former F.B.I. official said.

Putting aside questions of the effectiveness and efficiency of this program - it is quite clear that it is illegal, yet Bush and his supporters continue to clamor that it should be retained argueing that Presidential authority in Wartime apparently trumps not just the Law, but also Congress and the Courts.

However, they rarely hesitate to cite Congress and Courts when it suits their purposes.

The President has the chief responsibility under the Constitution to protect America from attack, and the Constitution gives the President the authority necessary to fulfill that solemn responsibility. The President has made clear that he will exercise all authority available to him, consistent with the Constitution, to protect the people
of the United States.

In the specific context of the current armed conflict with al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations, Congress by statute has confirmed and supplemented the President’s recognized authority under Article II of the Constitution to conduct such warrantless surveillance to prevent further catastrophic attacks on the homeland.

...

The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the AUMF in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004), confirms that Congress in the AUMF gave its express approval to the military conflict against al Qaeda and its allies and thereby to the President’s use of all traditional and accepted incidents of force in this current military conflict—including warrantless electronic surveillance to intercept enemy communications both at home and abroad.

Even Lindsey Graham has found that one hard to swallow. "I don't know any legal basis" for Bush's secret spying program. So has Newt Gingrich - Bush's program "Can't be defended by Reasonable people".

Of course, whoever said that Gonzales and DOJ under Bush were "reasonable"? Their claim that "Congress by statute has confirmed and supplemented the President's recognized authority" comes from the passage of the 2001 Use of Force Resolution against al-Qaeda and Afghanistan.

Law Professor Jordon Praust on that interpretation of the AUMF.

George W. Bush and US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales claim that domestic spying in manifest violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was authorized by Congress in broad language in the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) regarding persons responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Similar claims have been made in a December 22 letter from Assistant Attorney General William Moschella to the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The claims are patently false.

The DOJ claims that the Hamdi decision supports their view - however what was actually said in Hamdi over the issue of weather the AUMF authorized the President to indefinitely detain U.S. Citizens without Judicial review was...

JUSTICE O ’CONNOR,joined by THE CHIEF JUSTICE,JUSTICE KENNEDY,and JUSTICE BREYER,concluded that although Congress authorized the detention of combatants in the narrow circumstances alleged in this case, due process demands that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker.Pp.14 –15.

A neutral decision maker - like the FISA Court perhaps? Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe concurs.

After all, the collection of "signals intelligence" about our enemies abroad is no less an accepted incident of war than detaining the captured enemy -- just as signals intelligence of foreign agents (including some going to and from the United States) has been accepted as an inherent power of the President even in the absence of war. Surely, then, now that Al Qaeda has launched a war against us, and now that Congress has responded with the functional equivalent of a declaration of war in the AUMF, even the entirely innocent American citizen in Chicago or Cleveland whose phone conversation with a member of an Al Qaeda-supportive organization happens to be ensnared by the eavesdropping being undertaken by the NSA cannot be heard to complain that no statute specifically authorized the Executive to capture her telephone communications and e-mails as such. Invasion of that citizen's privacy was, alas, but one of war's sad side effects -- a species of collateral damage.

The technical legal term for that, I believe, is poppycock.

The truth is that the NSA and President didn't abide by FISA because they knew they'd lose. Via Glenn Greenwald.

Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.

The NSA's explanation did little to satisfy Qwest's lawyers. "They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them," one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events.

Let me reinterate - not going to the FISA court and then doing the surveillance or other information gathering anyway - is a Crime.

The President has admitted to committing this crime - Millions of Times.

The endgame arguement for Bush's supporters is essentially the view that the Law does not apply during War. They note that historically this has been true, that Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during the Civil War (although this suspension was subsequently overturned). President Franklin Roosevelt order all overseas communications tapped during WWII (he also requested that U.S. Citizen be exempted from this surveillance). President Truman authorized the Wiretaps of people who "held radical views" during the Red Scare of the 50's.

None of these actions were ever challenged in court as they were kept from the public behind the veil of "National Security". But eventually they began to peak out in progrsm such as COINTELPRO.

[Attorney General John] Mitchell held that the Justice Department was free to tap without a warrant any political dissenters it deemed threats to national security. Given how many Americans were organizing to oppose various government policies in 1969, Mitchell's reading promised to sanction the surveillance of millions of people who agitated against the Vietnam War, championed black radicalism, or engaged in campus protests.

This action led to the warrentless wiretaps or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X for their anti-war views, which eventually was followed by the 1967 Katz case where it was determined that "government taps did indeed constitute an unconstitutional search and seizure.

But it didn't stop there as increasing violence in the midst of the Civil Rights movement fostered the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968 which attempted to undermine Katz, which in turn led back to the Supreme Court and the "Keith case of 1972", where the Supreme Court ruled thusly.

MR. JUSTICE POWELL delivered the opinion of the Court.

The issue before us is an important one for the people of our country and their Government. It involves the delicate question of the President's power, acting through the Attorney General, to authorize electronic surveillance in internal security matters without prior judicial approval. Successive Presidents for more than one-quarter of a century have authorized such surveillance in varying degrees, 1 without guidance from the Congress or a definitive decision of this Court. This case brings the issue here for the first time. Its resolution is a matter of national concern, requiring sensitivity both to the Government's right to protect itself from unlawful subversion and attack and to the citizen's right to be secure in his privacy against unreasonable Government intrusion.

...

We begin the inquiry by noting that the President of the United States has the fundamental duty, under Art. II, 1, of the Constitution, to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Implicit in that duty is the power to protect our Government against those who would subvert or overthrow it by unlawful means. In the discharge of this duty, the President - through the Attorney General - may find it necessary to employ electronic surveillance to obtain intelligence information on the plans of those who plot unlawful acts against the Government. 9 The use of such surveillance in internal security cases has been sanctioned more or less continuously by various Presidents and Attorneys General since July 1946.

...

The price of lawful public dissent must not be a dread of subjection to an unchecked surveillance power. Nor must the fear of unauthorized official eavesdropping deter vigorous citizen dissent and discussion of Government action in private conversation. For private dissent, no less than open public discourse, is essential to our free society.

These Fourth Amendment freedoms cannot properly be guaranteed if domestic security surveillances may be conducted solely within the discretion of the Executive [407 U.S. 297, 317] Branch. The Fourth Amendment does not contemplate the executive officers of Government as neutral and disinterested magistrates. Their duty and responsibility are to enforce the laws, to investigate, and to prosecute. Katz v. United States, supra, at 359-360 (DOUGLAS, J., concurring). But those charged with this investigative and prosecutorial duty should not be the sole judges of when to utilize constitutionally sensitive means in pursuing their tasks.

Later President Nixon's paranoia and lust for power fomented the break-in at Democratic National Headquaters at the Watergate Hotel and the illegal taping of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, a State Dept Official who had been the prime suspect for the leaking of the Pentagon Papers. This led to the Church Commission which in turn led to the creation of FISA Court to provide a judical check on the use of executive power regarding domestic surveillance.

In the wake of Watergate, Nixon resigned in disgrace to avoid Impeachment - by contrast President Bush with his Domestic Espionage Progarm has attempted to turn 40-years of Legal Jurisprudence on it's head, and has succeeded in leaving Nixon's Crimes in his dust.

What may be far worse than the pure criminal and unconstitutional actions of this President, may be the increased risk from actual foreign agents he has created with these programs.

  • Evidence gathered illegally is inadmissable in court, and so is any addition information which may have been discovered as the result of an illegal act. This is called the Fruits of the Poison Tree doctrine and U.S. Federal Prosecutors as well as Defense attorneys have already readied themselves for such challenges to battles over evidence. As a result the President has championed the implementation of Military Commission for the trial of terrorist subjects where classified evidence may be introduced while concealing the source and methods used to gather that evidence. A handy option to have if your methods happen to be completely illegal.

So not only does this program hinder our ability to catch real terrorists, we may not even be able to legally prosecute those we do catch. Nice.

History under the collective weight of Katz, Keith, FISA and Hamdi does not support the arguements put forth by President Bush and his supports, nor do the facts, or the Constitution.

Nixon was rightly run out of office on a rail for his attempts to attempt to destroy our freedom by unilaterally invading the privacy of anyone he wanted without just cause.
President Bush has done the same, and gone far further with the aid of Supercomputers, Satellites and Internet technology.

This is Watergate Time 10,000.

Just as the actions of President Roosevelt were escalated by Senate Joe McCarthy during President Truman's term, and again under Johnson, and again under Nixon - the unlawful and unconstitutional actions of this President will do nothing except escalate under the next President - and the next, and the next.

For that reason it must be stopped - now. President Bush must be held to account for his actions or else the very freedom that our society is ment to bring into reality will likely crumble and vanish. It not really a matter of whether Bush has grossly misused his authority, which in all likelyhood he has, the issue remains - how could such unlimited power be abused in the future?

President Bush may or may not have decided to use the resources of the NSA to perform social network analysis to indentify highly influential persons who oppose his policies, have the FBI investigate them and then shared the information with state and local agencies as well as selected "private concerns" where it could be used to target political activitists, journalist and members of congress for harrisment or political operations in the same way that he has used the Faith Based Initiatives to political manipulate our Churches - but we shouldn't even have to ask the question, should we?

As Justice Powell concluded in Keith.

Thus, we conclude that the Government's concerns do not justify departure in this case from the customary Fourth Amendment requirement of judicial approval prior to initiation of a search or surveillance. Although some added burden will be imposed upon the Attorney General, this inconvenience is justified in a free society to protect constitutional values.

This isn't just a matter of what is or isn't technically legal as cases such as Keith did not specifically address this issue of the Presidents power's of Foreign Surveillance only surveillance of Americans - certainly that final question might not be resolved until Judge Taylor's decision eventually reaches the Supreme Court - however Impeachment is not a legal issue, it is a Consitutional one that asks and answers the question, "Has the person betrayed his oath of office and brought the fabric of our Democracy into peril?"

In the case of President George W. Bush - the answer is clearly "Yes, he has".

Vyan

Tuesday, December 12

The Impeachment Case Against George W. Bush Count 1 : Intelligence Fraud

"Imagine by A Perfect Circle"




As the dawn of the 110th Congress approaches, the issue of Impeachment hangs in the air for many on the left and right. In many ways it remains a trap for which Democrats are more than a little unwilling to fall into, for if they do aggressively pursue Impeachment of President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney how could it be seen as anything but partisan payback for the last six years?

The way out of that trap is to make the evidence compelling and complete enough - and the case laid out in a stark enough manner - that the neccesity of impeachment to change the direction of this country, this war, and to hold the criminal misdeeds of the Administration to account will be plain for all those with their eyes open to see.

Thus I present part one in a multiple part series: The Impeachment Case Against George W. Bush - Count 1 : Intelligence Fraud. President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney did, with malice of forethought, perpetrate a fraud upon the American People and the World by deliberately suppressing the truth about Iraq's lack of WMD, and did then use those false pretenses to begin an illegal and immoral War of choice.

With the announcement today by Sen Jay Rockefeller that the Senate's Phase II Investigation of Pre-War Intelligence will finally be moving forward to completion in 2007, the evidence on this count is certain to mount - but much of the key elements in this charge have already been disclosed through mainstream sources.

Starting with the article "The War they Wanted" by Vanity Fair which does a good job of tracking down how the WMD threat was sold to us.

First, we are all well aware of the PNAC demand for President Clinton to invade Iraq from 1998. This letter shows both motive and premeditation.

Next there are Bush's own words that "if I have a chance to invade [Iraq]. If I get that much [political] capital. I'm not going to waste it".

Then there's the Niger Yellowcake story, one that was discredited and debunked at over and over again but still remained one of the Bush Administrations must fervent claims long after the War.

Vanity Fair found at least 14 instances prior to the 2003 State of the Union in which analysts at the C.I.A., the State Department, or other government agencies who had examined the Niger documents or reports about them raised serious doubts about their legitimacy—only to be rebuffed by Bush-administration officials who wanted to use the material. "They were just relentless," says [Col Lawrence] Wilkerson, who later prepared Colin Powell's presentation before the United Nations General Assembly. "You would take it out and they would stick it back in. That was their favorite bureaucratic technique—ruthless relentlessness."
So it's not that many in the Bush Administration didn't know or suspect that the relevent documents had been forged - they we're well warned - they simply refused to believe the truth (and/or allow the truth to be heard). Or to put it another way, they preferred to perpetuate a lie and a fraud.

Many of Bush's supporters have long claimed that "the entire world thought Saddam had WMD's" - as if to say it's not so bad that we were wrong if everyone else was too. But not everyone else was wrong - both France and Germany disagreed strongly with our claims that "Saddam was an imminent threat".

France's opposition is critical because they happen to own the Uranium Mines in Nigeria. If anyone would notice 1000 tons of missing Yellowcake, it would be France. They had external corroboration that the Niger/Yellowcake story was bogus. And they weren't the only ones who thought this story was a fish-tale.

To many W.M.D. analysts in the C.I.A. and the military, the initial reports sounded ridiculous. "The idea that you could get that much yellowcake out of Niger without the French knowing, that you could have a train big enough to carry it, much less a ship, is absurd," says Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff.

"The reports made no sense on the face of it," says Ray McGovern, the former C.I.A. analyst, who challenged Rumsfeld about the war at a public event this spring. "Most of us knew the Iraqis already had yellowcake. It is a sophisticated process to change it into a very refined state and they didn't have the technology."

Germany's opposition to the invasion is also crucial as they were the country that had direct access to Curveball, who was the prime source for allegations linking Saddam to continued WMD and WMD programs. Their intelligence operatives told members of the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) that he couldn't be trusted. Yet Rumsfeld didn't bother to tell this to Colin Powell before he used Curveball's erroneous info before the UN? Amazing.

Then of course there was Ibn Sheik al-Libi, the prime source of links between Saddam and al-Qaeda, who it turns out was tortured in an Egyptian Prison and where apparently gave a false confession and was considered a fabricator by - you guessed it - the DIA.

Colin Powell, who chose not to reference the Niger claims as being too questionable, never the less went before the UN in October of 2002 after viewing a video of al-Libi's confession and proceeded to put forward a false presentation. Powell was never told about the torture or the DIA doubts about al-Libi and Curveball's credibility. He was duped.

Update: George Tenet has also claimed to be unaware of Curveball's credibility problems...

"It is deeply troubling to me that there was information apparently available within CIA (search) as of late September or October of 2002 indicating that Curveball may have been a fabricator," Tenet said in a detailed seven-page rebuttal. "There is nothing more serious or galvanizing in the intelligence business than associating the word fabricator with a human source."


Powell didn't know, Tenet didn't know and Congress didn't know.

However it should be noted that the Yellowcake evidence was so weak that Tenet took personal action to have it removed the Bush's State of the Union Speech repeatedly, yet it found it's way back in supposed at the hand of Stephen Hadley.

The involvement of both Cheney and Rumseld in these events can not be discounted, as Larry Wilkerson has noted.

What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.
We can see how these decisions affected the claims Powell did make to the UN such as the famous Aluminum Tubes with the special anondyne coating which the Bush Administration claimed were going to be used as centerfuges to process the yellowcake ore. That claim was debunked by both the Energy Dept and State Dept's INR and included in the classifed version of the National Intelligence Estimate provided to Congress that October, but was left out of the unclassified summary which most Congresspersons used to help determine their vote on HJ 141 - the Iraq Force Resolution.

Bush and his supporters have long claimed that Congress had the "same intelligence" information as the President. They did not. The truth of this was recently revealed when the President claimed that his own father - a former President - doesn't get the same information he does.

Colin worked closely with CIA Director George Tenet for weeks to develop his presentation, but even Tenet and the CIA had been kept in the dark.

Today on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice repeated the false assertion that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda had a relationship before the 2003 invasion, despite the recent Senate Intelligence Report that found U.S. intelligence analysts strongly dispute that claim.

<>Rice tried to pin the blame on then CIA Director George Tenet, saying he said, “there were ties going on between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s regime going back for a decade.” But in July, Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the White House pressured him and that he agreed to back up the administration’s case for war despite his own agents’ doubts about the intelligence it was based on.

Rice also tried to dismiss the Senate report as being after-the fact, stating, "Now, are we learning more now that we have access to people like Saddam Hussein's intelligence services? Of course." But as Wallace pointed out, a Defense Intelligence Agency report from Feb. 2002 -- before the U.S. invasion -- also concluded that Iraq and Al Qaeda had no relationship: "Iraq is unlikely to have provided bin Laden any useful CB, that's chemical or biological, knowledge or assistance." Rice said she did not remember seeing that report.
So DIA knew the Al-Qaeda claim was bogus way back in February, but no one told poor Colin?

What's also interesting is that one month before Powel's presentation to the UN, in September of 2002, we had the head of CIA Operations in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, gaining access to the Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri who specifically told us they had no active WMD programs, a message which was relayed personally by Tenet to Cheney & Bush - and was ignored.
"The group that was dealing with the preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said, 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said, 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.'"
Powell himself was diligent in putting together his presentation, but he never considered- he might simply be wrong.
Powell later recalled that most of their time was spent "trimming the garbage" of the White House's overwrought verbiage and uncorroborated specifics from the speech. Once that was done, Wilkerson concluded long afterward, "what we were all involved in -- groupthink isn't the right word -- it was a process of putting the data to points in the speech rather than challenging the data itself." As they probed for proof of Hussein's lies, no one thought of looking for evidence that might have raised questions about their assumptions that the weapons existed.
Powell's presentation was succesful in passing UN Resolution 1441, and in helping the Congress pass HJ 141. Many have argued that voting for this resolution was a de-facto vote for war - but it is unfortunately not that simple. I some even question the Constitutionallity of the resolution itself.

Under the War Power Clause of the Constitution, the power to declare war rests solely with Congress, yet HJ 141 effectively delegated that authority to the President for the purpose of strengthing his hand diplomatically, not neccesarily allowing him to go to War on a whim. This is a point which was emphasized by Sen John Kerry when he made his decision on matter.

HJ 141 resolution required that the President show the Congress that he had "exhuasted all diplomatic means" to bring Saddam into compliance with all relevent UN Security Council resolutions before committing us to War. As it turned out - Saddam was already in compliance and any documents provided by the President to Congress to justify the invasion must have have been a fraudlent.

Just as fraudulent as Colin Powell's UN speech.

In December of 2002, Saddam released a Full and Complete Disclosure of the status of their weapons programs in accordance with UNR 1441 - which pointed out that these programs had been completely shutdown for over a decade, exactly as Sabri had claimed and as had been originally revealed in 1995 by an Iraqi Defector named General Hussein Kamel. (All of these claims were later completely confirmed by the Duelfer Report after the completion of "Major Combat Operations" in Iraq)

The Bush Administration ignored Saddam's declaration and called it a "more lies" based on the arguement that he "failed to explain where the Niger Uranium was"!!! Which of course, is the Uranium he never tried to buy.

During his 2003 State of the Union Speech Bush claimed...
Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade.

This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors.
No they didn't - WE did! Clinton pulled the inspectors out in 1998 just before he started bombing them again, not Saddam. (Note: Saddam did expell the American Inspectors Only in 1997, the Non-Americans followed them out in solidarity on their own)
This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction.

For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement.
No, he didn't - see Duelfer.
He pursued chemical, biological and nuclear weapons even while inspectors were in his country.

Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons: not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities.
Actually, all of those worked!
It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see and destroy them as directed. Nothing like this has happened.
No he didn't because he would have been overrun by the Kurds and Shia Militia, kinda like the way things are right now! He was bluffing them!
From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs.
They lied.
These are designed to produce germ warfare agents and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He has given no evidence that he has destroyed them.
That's because they didn't exist.
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
Oh, really? How's Joe Wilson feel about that?
Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.
Or regular missles exactly like the Italians use.
Saddam Hussein has not credibly explained these activities. He clearly has much to hide.

The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving.
Well, someone was definitely deceiving.

Early in 2003 the second UN Resolution that the Brits had called for was blocked by Russia, China, France and Germany. All of whom were doubtful of the US claims of Iraqi WMD. (France and Germany in particular for very good reason obviously - claims that they were all bought off have been debunked.)

February of 2003 the UN inspectors had still found nothing and were growing frustrated with US WMD intelligence. "It's Garbage"

In April, with no WMD yet found, Bush decided "he can't trust Saddam", and orderd the inspectors out and the attack on Iraq to begin.

All of it, a fraud.

The DIA (and presumably Rumsfeld) clearly knew it was all a fraud all along. They had more than enough information to make the case that Saddam was innocent of these allegations. They knew the links to Al-Qaeda were bogus and that both al-Libi and Curveball were liars - but said nothing. Their conclusions were mysteriously missing from the NIE which was presented to Congress - which means the INTELLIGENCE DIDN'T "FAIL", THE DIA KNEW THE TRUTH AND KEPT IT HIDDEN.


The State Dept and Energy Dept. had dissented strongly over the aluminum tubes, and their dissent was also hidden beneath layers of false security (as well as being covered up by Steven Hadley and Karl Rove during the 2004 election). Many in the CIA doubted the yellowcake story and were ignored. Others who came forward later such a Joe Wilson who personally investigated the Niger claim at the behest of the CIA were vicously smeared. We had information voluanteered to us from fairly credible sources such as Gen. Hussein Kamel and Minister Naji Sabri- that Saddam had no WMD - a claim that was echoed by Saddam's own UN required declaration only to have it suppressed and ignored by the President while he claimed the exact opposite to the American people and the Congress.

If Bush didn't know what he was claiming were complete falsehoods - he should have known. It's HIS JOB TO KNOW. Whether he personally initiated the fraud isn't the point, he helped perpetrate it. He legitimized it. He is the one ultimately responsible. Further, if he was this mendacious (or just plain incompetent) in getting us into this War, exactly why should we have any confidence what-so-ever that he'll be able to successfully end it? The faster Bush is gone, the faster we can begin to fix what he has completely obliterated.

This isn't to say that having Saddam out of power isn't a good thing, but there is the question that if Bush had simply let the inspectors complete their jobs - and let them eventually come to the same conclusion as the Duelfer group, would Saddam's regime have tumbled out of control due to renewed unrest from the Kurds and Shia Militia who have been kept at bay since Saddam's 1991 chemical weapons attacks? If we hadn't invaded, and had simply remained on the diplomatic path we were required by law to follow might the Civil War that us trapped us have erupted on it's own and brought Saddam down?

Bush and his supporters have since claimed that we didn't go to Iraq just because of the WMD threat, that instead we went to spread Democracy and end Human Rights Abuses. Yet neither of these arguements were made in either his Oct 7th Cincinatti speech, or the 2003 State of the Union. "Human Rights" are also not included as a justification for Force under HJ 141. Yet again we have the perpetration of a fraud.

For these reason among many others Bush & Cheney should be Impeached and Removed and they along with Secretary Rumsfeld should be indicted for criminal fraud and negligence leading to the deaths of nearly 3000 Americans, and tens (possibly hundreds) of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

The only trick now is getting the American People to understand, believe and support it - or else it'll be seen as nothing but partisan payback for 2000 and '04.


But this issue is far too important for that to happen. the case has to be made - and it has to be air tight.

Vyan

Update: Fixed some spelling and the Duelfer Report Link.

Sunday, December 10

The Disease of Willful Ignorance


Who? Who do you serve? For whose empire and for whose whims?
Is your honor just violins? Craven cowards. Armchair warriors, you will serve them well
- from "Servitude" by Fishbone

Willful Ignorance.

Rarely have a I heard a more appropriate description.

The [House Ethics] committee concluded that other people preferred to remain willfully ignorant — to protect Mr. Foley’s secret homosexuality, to avoid partisan embarrassment or for other political reasons.


Yet still, notice that these people can't see the forest or the trees.

Mark Foley was not "secretly homosexual" - his preference for males was well known in his home district in Florida - Mark Foley was a secret pedophile.

But most importantly, he's not the person who been putting our children's health and safety extreme risk for the past 4 years and remained willfully ignorant of the consequences - not hardly.
Way back during the 2004 Presidential debate, I used to have a Republican friend (actually I used to have several, but that's a long story) and we used to debate issues and public policy on a message group.

He of course supported the reelection of President Bush, I supported Kerry. We argued over Kerry's service record, I stated that he was clearly an experienced leader and war hero with two purples hearts, a bronze and silver star. He thought Kerry was a fraud based on the information provided by the Smearboat Liars.

I challenged him on the facts.

Why didn't any of the documentation support the Swiftboaters? Why does everyone on his boat still support him? Why is it they can claim Kerry somehow Doctered the After-Action report even though it was signed by someone else? How can they continue to make these claims without any proof what-so-ever?

His response?

It's what I choose to believe.

That people, is Willful Ignorance.

It's like a disease, a plague that infects the Conservative Movement. You can't be a legitimate Conservative unless you're capable to picking and choosing what to believe among a set of neutral facts, regardless of their relative validity. Conservativism can not exists without Willful Ignorance.

Case in point, Juan Williams losing it with Bill Kristol and Brit Hume this morning on Fox News Sunday.

After enduring years of posturing on Iraq by Fox’s Brit Hume and the National Review’s Bill Kristol on the Fox News Sunday roundtable, Jaun Williams reached his limit. This morning, Williams said, “What do you imagine that there's an American Administration that's just going to laydown or run away? Sometimes I just want to scream. You guys have been going on since this thing began.

Williams noted that Hume and Kristol “don’t give credit to people, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Barbara Lee,...who said from the start this is a mistake. You put them down.” Instead, “now it’s everybody’s a surrender monkey or impatient or squeamish or weak. Why can't you guys say that there's a real problem in Iraq?


Willful Ignorance.

President Bush thinks he'll be rememberd like Harry Truman.

Bush began his talk [with congressional leaders] by comparing himself to President Harry S Truman, who launched the Truman Doctrine to fight communism, got bogged down in the Korean War and left office unpopular.

Bush said that “in years to come they realized he was right and then his doctrine became the standard for America,” recalled Senate Majority Whip-elect Richard Durbin, D-Ill. “He’s trying to position himself in history and to justify those who continue to stand by him, saying sometimes if you’re right you’re unpopular, and be prepared for criticism.”

Durbin said he challenged Bush’s analogy, reminding him that Truman had the NATO alliance behind him and negotiated with his enemies at the United Nations. Durbin said that’s what the Iraq Study Group is recommending that Bush do now - work more with allies and negotiate with adversaries on Iraq.

Bush, Durbin said, “reacted very strongly. He got very animated in his response” and emphasized that he is “the commander in chief.


Willful Ignorance.

The Rumsfeld Book Club.

At a Pentagon townhall meeting today, outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said he began reading books about the U.S. Civil War, but “turned away from that” because he “there were so many people killed and wounded, and they were all Americans.” Rumsfeld said he began reading books about World War II instead.


Yeah, Civil Wars are sad stories - just like the one currently going on in Iraq.

Before the election you had Karl Rove and "The Math". How'd that work out for ya Turd Blossom?

Ted "Bridge to Nowhere" Stevens (R-AK): The Internet is a Series of Tubes.

There was James Inhofe (R-OK) former head of the Senate Environmental Committee who called climate change “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,”

Rick Sanitorium and James Hoekstra (R) who still think we found WMD's in Iraq, and that publishing the classified documents recovered from Saddam's Regime - including plans for a Nuclear device - was a good idea.

Lynn Cheney who says "We got through Katrina".

We did? Who the hell is this "We" kemosabe? The Gult Coast is still pretty much fracked in my Reality.

And lastly Dick "Shooter" Cheney who still believes that the Iraq Insurgency is in it's last throes.

All of it Willful Ignorance.

It's a very clear pattern of behavior. It's not that these people are lying, they a deliberately keeping themselves in the dark about things that challenge their preconceived worldview. They simply choose to believe something else. Something other than the facts.

But the best example of this comes to us via the Foley Report, which itself is an act of Willful Ignorance:

The report’s authors were clearly more concerned about protecting the members of the House than the young men and women under their charge in the page program. And they made absolutely no effort to define the high standard of behavior that should be required of all members of Congress and their staffs.

The report concludes that evidence of Mr. Foley’s “creepy” interest in young male pages dated back to 1999. One woman who worked with the pages took to shadowing Mr. Foley when he was around them. The report makes clear that Mr. Foley’s misconduct became known to an ever-widening circle of his colleagues and their aides, including Speaker Dennis Hastert. But no one made any serious attempt to stop Mr. Foley or reveal his misdeeds. A few urged him to cut it out, for political reasons, but did not follow up.


So Hastert knew something was up with Foley. Boehner knew. Kolbe knew. Reynolds knew. Shimkus knew. And they all did nothing.

Meanwhile - despite the rabid flailings of Patrick McHenry (R-NC) - Nancy Pelosi and Rahm Emmanuel didn't know. Democrats involved in the page board were specifically kept in the dark for political reasons.

After Foley resigned, Shimkus told another Republican member of the Page Board — Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia — why he never informed the Democratic member of the board, Rep. Dale Kildee (news, bio, voting record) of Michigan, about Foley.

Shimkus said, 'Dale's a nice guy, but he's a Democrat, and I was afraid it would be blown out of proportion."


Hmm, ya think?

What's even more sad and disturbing is the likelyhood that these people think they're actually smarter than the rest of us. They think they have privy to some hidden truth, that the unwashed masses who tend to follow the prevailing winds of "commonly accepted fact" are the ones who are to be pitied. To paraphrase Adam Savage from Mythbusters:

"[They] reject our reality and substitute their own".


You see, to them - we're the stupid ones. We're the "Koolaid drinkers" - we're the lemming-like followers, the "Defeato-crats" with our Global Warming "fearmongering".

How Fracked-up is that?

Although those of us in the Reality-based Community have reason to rejoice now the sun has finally set on the 109th Congress - there are still strong reasons to remain vigilant and outspoken. The House Ethics committees complete and abject failure to hold anyone - anyone - accountable for clear and obvious negligence in protecting our sons and daughters in their care is inexcusable.

It's simply "Political as Usual" - and that simply can't be allowed to stand. We can't let it. And we won't.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Neo-Conservatism is a Pathological Plague that must be stamped out, like Nazism and Stalinism. So dust of your pitchforks and torches people - we still got a whole lotta hell raising to do.

The Willfully Ignorant Class had best run for the shelter in the highest parapet - because trust me, we're coming for you with Subpeona's under our arms, and they won't be inserted gently.

Vyan