Friday, November 9

Cheney Stovepipping the NIE - Once More with Feeling

Five years ago Congress demanded a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq prior to taking up legislation that authorized the President to use force to end their WMD and Nuclear Ambitions.

In that NIE were extensive dissents from the Air Force, State Dept and Energy Dept which challanged the assumptions that Saddam was attempting to reconstitute his Nuclear and Chemical Weapons programs.

Approximately three years ago we discovered via the Dulfer Report that those dissenting opinions were all correct.

Today Thinkprogress Reports that the Veep is up to it his old tricks, this time he's delayed the NIE on Iran for over a year because it contains too many dissenting opinions on their Nuclear Ambitions.

Deja Vu All Over Again.

Fortunately we've all seen this play before and we all know how it ends. Which is not well.

Gareth Porter of IPS has the details.

A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear program, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.

There is a split in the intelligence community on how much of a threat the Iranian nuclear programme poses, according to the intelligence official's account. Some analysts who are less independent are willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the alarmist view coming from Cheney's office, but others have rejected that view.

Not only are there major disagreements over Iran's Nuclear efforts, there's also disagrement over how much - if any - Iran has involved itself with our efforts in Iraq.

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi provided a similar account, based on his own sources in the intelligence community. He told IPS that intelligence analysts have had to review and rewrite their findings three times, because of pressure from the White House.

"The White House wants a document that it can use as evidence for its Iran policy," says Giraldi. Despite pressures on them to change their dissenting conclusions, however, Giraldi says some analysts have refused to go along with conclusions that they believe are not supported by the evidence.

In October 2006, Giraldi wrote in The American Conservative that the NIE on Iran had already been completed, but that Cheney's office had objected to its findings on both the Iranian nuclear programme and Iran's role in Iraq. The draft NIE did not conclude that there was confirming evidence that Iran was arming the Shiite insurgents in Iraq, according to Giraldi.

Iran hasn't been arming the Shiite insurgents? Hold on, wait a minute - I thought the Sunni's where the "insurgents" and that the Shia ran all the Death Squads which were ethnically cleansing the those damn dirty Sunni who blew up the Golden Mosque? It thought the vichy Iraqi Government was largely run by Shia and that the various Shia militias such as the Mahdi Army were largely turning against Al Qeada in Al Anbar province - which means that they (and their alleged Iranian suppliers) are now on "our side" right?

It's all just so confusing...

But one thing is clear, the one thing that neo-cons can't stand is for someone to stand up and point out how full of feces they are.

(National Inteligence Director) Negroponte had angered the neoconservatives in the administration by telling the press in April 2006 that the intelligence community believed that it would still be "a number of years off" before Iran would be "likely to have enough fissile material to assemble into or to put into a nuclear weapon, perhaps into the next decade."

Neoconservatives immediately attacked Negroponte for the statement, which merely reflected the existing NIE on Iran issued in spring 2005. Robert G. Joseph, the undersecretary of state for arms control and an ally of Cheney, contradicted Negroponte the following day. He suggested that Iran's nuclear programme was nearing the "point of no return" -- an Israeli concept referring to the mastery of industrial-scale uranium enrichment.

Frank J. Gaffney, a protégé of neoconservative heavyweight Richard Perle, complained that Negroponte was "absurdly declaring the Iranian regime to be years away from having nuclear weapons".

That's right how could Negroponte dare to claim that Iran is years away from having Nuclear Weapons - it only happens to be the same thing that the IAEA says.

The mainstream media has failed to report the agreement reached between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Iranian government in regards to the Iranian nuclear energy program. An understanding has been reached between the two. The IAEA has given Iran's nuclear program a clean bill of health.

Why is the U.S. media not reporting on this matter? Why do the U.S. and its Western allies continue to threaten Iran with punitive bombings for its alleged non-compliance, when everything indicates that Iran has a bona fide nuclear energy program and does not have the capabilities of developing nuclear weapons?

More on the IAEA and Iran from the WaPo.

PARIS, Aug. 30 -- The United Nations nuclear watchdog agency gave an upbeat assessment of Iranian cooperation with international inspectors in a new report Thursday that could make it more difficult for the United States to win tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna also concluded that while Iran continues to enrich uranium in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, its fuel enrichment plant has produced "well below the expected quantity for a facility of this design." The quality of the uranium also was lower than expected, the IAEA said.

The report praised Iran for taking "a significant step forward" by agreeing to a new work plan and timelines for resolving numerous questions about the history of its nuclear program. Separately, U.N. officials said that Iran had slowed construction of a new plutonium-fuel reactor in Arak.

So while President Bush is beating the table while shouting about "World War III" the actual professionals in the business of fighting nuclear proliferation (Y'know like Valerie Plame-Wilson used to be) seem to be completely calm and unfazed.

Meanwhile the Intelligence Community remains muzzled because the True Reality of the Situation happens to be a little too inconvenient for the War-Monger Party!

It's clear that the big rush to bomb Iran isn't being driven by the speed of their Nuclear program or being driven by their so-called "terrorist activity" in opposition to us in Iraq - it's a plan to get it in under the wire before Bush leaves office in just over a year.

Hit 'em Now - While You Can!

Because we all know that spineless Democrats (except for Good Ole' Joe Lieberman, who still claims his Iran Amendment wasn't a declaration of War against the Republican Guard) don't have the Stones to attack an unarmed country with bogus, manipulated intelligence, then completely fuck-up the aftermath of it and refuse to take any responsibilty for their actions what-so-ever!

Thank heaven for small favors.

Vyan

Monday, November 5

This is NOT America

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

This is NOT America!

The real America is still out there, like the elusive "Truth" from The X-Files, somewhere. This fear besotted place can't be it. It can't be America where the Senate Judiciary Committee would seriously entertain approving a candidate for Attorney General who couldn't find an act of Torture with a Map, a Flashlight, a Compass and a pocket GPS unit?

A man so supine to Presidential will that 24 Intel professionals wrote that if he can't answer a simple question on torture we'd be better off with no one at all.

We are aware that the president warned last week that it will be either Mukasey as our attorney general or no one. So be it.


Today as Mukasey is approved by the SJC by a vote of 11 to 8, I wonder who it is that can hear the low heart-sick gutteral groan from the heart of the real America that has remained hidden, clubbed, gagged and dumped in the basement for the past six years?

I keep wondering and hearing that line from the old Talking Heads song...

How did we get here?

Yes, yes - we all know about The 9-11 and how it changed everything.

Except that it didn't change justice. It didn't change cruelty. It didn't change the human heart. It didn't change our reality.

Or did it?

Six years have passed now and it's all been like some bad turgid nightmare. A simultaneous Phantasm for 300 Million people at once. The Technicolor has drained from the nation and it's all gone grey. A sick sepia tone grey with sharp edges of hard left and hard right.

At the Concert For New York, we all stood together as one America as one Firefighter stood and said (not an exact quote)...

Bin Laden can kiss my White Irish Ass!!

We all cheered and cried as The Who bashed out "Won't get fooled Again!"

But we did get fooled again.

We we're all together during the invasion of Afghanistan.

Then it all went horribly wrong. Bin Laden escaped at Tora Bora, and Bush got just. simply. got. bored. He used bad intel, and worse intel to justify invading the Country that had tried to kill his father back in the 90's. They said it would be a "Cakewalk". They said they had "WMD's" and Nuclear Ambitions.

It was none-of-the-above.

One lone former Ambassador to Iraq raised his hand to say "Hey! That's not what I saw!" and they tried to smoosh him and his Undercover CIA Agent Wife Working on Iraq and Iran WMD's like a bug.

Since then we've had Gitmo. Fallujah. Abu Ghraib. Haditha. Moumoudiya.

While our own country remains neglected to the tune of the storm surge from Katrina and the crash of Minnesota Bridge on the river below - the Fear Card keeps getting played over and over again like a endless set of "24" (Torture-Porn!) reruns.

You're either with us, or your with the terrorist!

No, we just don't think that America should use the same tactics and techniques as the Khmer Rouge - that's all. We really should have never reached a point where the Former Judge Advocate General of the Navy would ever have to actually come out and say something like this.

HUTSON: Well, what should have happened—what happened for you know, 200 years of American history and 500 years of world history, we should have identified this as torture and the administration should have said—this is a line over which the United States will not cross. In fact, we won‘t even come close to that line. But rather, in a sort of fearful sort of way, we said, well, maybe this is something we have to do. You know, torture is the interrogation technique of choice for the lazy, the stupid and the pseudo tough. It‘s not the technique of real intelligence officers.


You don't want us to listen to their coversations and stop their attacks?

No, we just want you to have Probable Cause first. And a Warrant, that's really not to Fracking much to ask for is it?

You don't want to win the War on Terror!

And losing would gain us what exactly? No, we want to win - but we also want to fight it with -- what's that word again? oh yeah -- a sense of Honor, Integrity and Decency. All that stuff Dubya promised to "return to White House" while he actually burying it somewhere deep on the south lawn.

He's the thing, if we "win it" your way - we've still lost.

You Liberals Hate America

No, we Love the America that actually does stand for freedom, human rights , due process and the rule of law --- all the stuff from that dusty ole Constitution thingy. But I tell you we do Hate what Right-Wing Jack-booted Delusional Syncophant Dickheads have being Doing to Our America since 2002.

You're a Phony Soldier!

This is what they say if you ever wore a uniform and then tried to tall the truth about the fact that the Iraq War has been a farce since it began, and we need our forces out of there because guess what - the Country that Bin Laden has actually been hiding in, and has a standing non-aggression treaty with the Taliban just had a freaking Military Coup and suspended their own Constitution!

And what's Dubya doing about it?

He's thinking a making a stern phone call to Musharraf. Maybe. After he cleared some more brush. In the meantime he's probably wondering how to pull the same trick here 'cuz...

Things would be a whole lot easier if this were a Dictatorship - as long as I'm the Dictator.

They keep telling us "we're turning a corner" and "Iraq is getting better" - the violence in Iraq is down (because all the Ethnic Cleansing has just about been completed) yet we just broke the annual world record (again) for the number of American Military Deaths in that country.

Woohoo.. We're Number one! We're Number One!

Er, or not.

God, can't you hear that groan?

It's like 100 freight trains grumbling under the Rockies.

It seems to me that Keith Olbermann hears the groan... like a clarion call.

Daniel Levin should have a statue in his honor in Washington right now. Instead, he was forced out as acting assistant attorney general nearly three years ago because he had the guts to do what George Bush could not do in a million years, actually put himself at risk for the sake of his country, for the sake of what is right, and they water boarded him. And he wrote that even though he knew those doing it meant him no harm, and he knew they would rescue him at the instant of a slightest distress, and he knew he would not die, still with all that reassurance, he could not stop the terror screaming from inside of him, could not quell the horror, could not convince that which is at the core of each of us, the entity who exists behind all the embellishments we strap to ourself, like purpose and name and family and love, he could not convince his being that he wasn‘t drowning.

Water boarding, he said, is torture. Legally it is torture. Practically it is torture. Ethically it is torture. And he wrote it down. Wrote it down somewhere where it could be contrasted with the words of this country‘s 43rd president. The United States of America does not torture. Made you into a liar, Mr. Bush. Made you into, if anybody had the guts to pursue it, a criminal, Mr. Bush.



Full Transcript

The Criminal Conspiracy that Olbermann speaks of was revealed long ago when Alberto Gonzales wrote the first torture memo - long before the infamous Bybee document - that directed the President to deny Geneva conventions to terrorist detainees not because they didn't "deserve them" but specifically to prevent being prosecuted for War Crimes.

Olberman's question of what might happen if a detainee were to die during waterboarding or "intense interrogation" isn't just a "hypothetical" - some of the abused detainees at Abu Ghriab died.

Amnesty International has reported that at least 34 detainees have died in U.S. Custody, some of them as the result of Homocide during Interrogation.

It is now known that at least 34 detainees who died in US custody have had their deaths listed by the army as confirmed or suspected criminal homicides. The true number of such deaths may be higher as there is evidence that delays, cover-ups and deficiencies in investigations have hampered the collection of evidence.(5) In several cases, however, substantial evidence has emerged that detainees were tortured to death while under interrogation (revealed, for example, in military autopsy reports, investigation records and recent court testimony). What is even more disturbing is that standard practices as well as interrogation techniques believed to have fallen within officially sanctioned parameters, appear to have played a role in the ill-treatment...


So the idea that somebody might die - eventually - isn't just a paranoid fantasy. It's already happened, repeatedly.

THAT IS WHAT AMERICA HAS BECOME. A country that not only tortures, but murders without due process or probable cause purely out of FEAR.

In the process we have become our own worst nightmare. We have become the overlords of former Soviet Union's Gulags. We have become the owners of The Killing Fields.

It's easy, as Keith does, to focus all of our horror at what this nation has become over the last half-dozen years squarely on the shoulders of George W. Bush.

But it would be wrong.

He didn't do this alone. Not hardly. He had an enormous heaping of help from Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Scooter Libby, David Addington, Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, Alberto Gonzales, Jeff Gannon/Gucket, General Ricardo Sanchez, General Tommy Franks, General David Patreaus, Monica Goodling, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Roger Ailes, Brit Hume, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Alan Colmes, Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, Tom Delay, Joe Liebermann, Diane Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton and Millions upon Millions More who continue to sleep walk through this horror. Aiders and abetters to this False America's crimes yet seemingly oblivous to consequences of their own actions.

It's time for us to wake up from this nightmare. Starting in the next few months we have to make some hard decisions about the future direction of this country. We can't afford to wait until next November - we have to start taking a stand against unprovoked War, against Torture, against Unlimited Executive Power and for the Constitution, for the Rule of Law RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

We have to let our Representatives in Congress and those who Know that we can not let this stand.

It. Has. To. Stop!

But it won't be easy. All the other people besides George Bush who've helped create this Nightmare aren't going anywhere after January of 2009. They'll still be here. All of them. The Ugly Angry Americans. And we'll have to deal with them. They will fight us, tooth, nail and claw for every inch of the Constitution we try to restore. Many of those on "our side" will crumble under the pressure. We're gonna be called every name in the book. We're going to be threatened as the Dixie Chicks were, we're going to be harrased, ridiculed (like the New Eagles album has been), marginalized (as Bruce Springsteen's New Anti-War album was dropped by Clear Channel) and every once in a while jailed and physically attacked for daring to speak out and stand for peace (as Reveral Lennox Yearwood was in the Halls of Congress).

Be we must not lose hope. We must not lose faith that eventually this phony shadow vision of America will crumble and fade away and the real America of promise, freedom hope and genuine justice will emerge.

We have to get back to that America, the Real America. Failure is not an option.

It's America or Bust.

Are you with me?

Vyan

Contempt fo Congress for ex-White House Aides creeps Forward another notch.

Moving at the lightening pace of a snail backing-up, the House Judiciary Committee has today, four months after their initial commitee vote of approval, finally issued a report to the full House on Contempt Citations against Joshua Bolten and Harriet Miers for failing to honor Congressional Subpeonas to testify on the DOJ Purge.

WASHINGTON - House Democrats threatened Monday to hold President Bush's key confidants in contempt of Congress unless they comply with subpoenas for information on the Justice Department's purge of federal prosecutors last winter.

Naturally the White House was impressed by this bold move by the Democrats to enforce the - what do you call it, oh yeah - the Rule of Law.

The White House shrugged off the ultimatum, saying the information is off-limits under executive privilege and that the aides in question — White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former presidential counselor Harriet Miers — are immune from prosecution.

"It won't go anywhere," predicted White House press secretary Dana Perino.

Or will it?

The White House is naturally quite confident that Miers, Bolten (and Rove who is also threatened by this contempt action) won't be prosecuted because - well, they have the prosecutors under their thumb don't they?

Assuming the full House votes to confirm the contempt citations - isn't it sickening that we have to "Hope" for this? - the issue would then be referred to District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor, who like all of those who were placed in the Justice department in lieu of prosecutors who were either too aggressive with Republicans (Carol Lam) or too lenient on Democrats (David Iglesias) for the White House's taste was placed in his position using a loophole in the Patriot Act which by-passed Senate Confirmation.

With this in mind it should be a surprise that the White House sounds pretty smug.

The White House showed no signs of budging, maintaining that the law does not require a U.S. attorney to prosecute someone carrying out a president's invocation of executive privilege.

"This Congress is proving to be the all time champion of investigations," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "If the Judiciary Committee really wanted facts instead of headlines, they should have accepted the president's offer of accommodation to interview current and former advisers."

Although the DOJ has already Officially stated that it will not enforce the law - contempt of congress against White House officals, one thing that might undermine their confidence is the fact that the Patriot Act Loophole has since been closed, which means that Jeffrey A. Taylor's time as the DC USA is coming to a close.

In fact, by my Calender Taylor's last day should have been Oct 12th (120 Days after the repeal was passed) but so far he's still there which is weird and I think quite possibly illegal. So naturally, I'm not surprised - are you?

Anywho, with or without Gonzalez's handpicked stooge lackey Mr. Taylor we still have the Mukasey problem to contend with. The Waterboarding Wonder is about about as likely to enforce the law against his soon to be bosses former aides as he's likely to find and hang-on to the Constitution with both hands covered in super-glue.

Justice sure does get slippery after a thick coating of GOP elbow grease.

This is just one additional step in a long and drawn out political tango. The only real option left for finding out exactly how and why 9 U.S. Attorney's were summarily fired without any cause that anyone in the DOJ can find will be to implement Inherent Contempt. Once Congress votes to hold Miers, Bolten and Rove in Contempt letters will fly back and forth furiously while the Mukasey DOJ (God, it's hurts just to type that) sits on it's hands and spins over the corpse of their constitutional oaths.

Eventually, Congress will be forced to vote again - this time having absolutely no choice - they will find these three scoff-laws guilty of Inherent Contempt of the Congress and have the House Sargent at Arms arrest and detain them in the House's own jail just as previous occured in 1927.

In McGrain v. Daugherty, a recusant witness (the AG's brother) refused to comply with issued subpoenas. The Senate issued a warrant authorizing its sergeant at arms to take custody of the witness and bring him before the bar of the Senate to answer questions. The deputy sergeant at arms went to Cincinnati, Ohio to pick up the uncooperative witness to place him in custody. The witness objected by filing habeas corpus, but the Supreme Court upheld Congressional legal authority to use its own process to compel persons to appear and testify on issues needed to enable Congress to exercise its Constitutional legislative function.

This action by the House would force Rove, Miers and Bolten to - get this - file a writ of Habeaus Corpus or else be indefinately detained until they either they squawk or produce the documents which explain how - in all likelyhood - our Justice Deptartment was nearly hijacked by the RNC!!

This one case has so far been the only situation where the Democratic Congres has shown any true spine. Besides their stand on SCHIP, holding fast on this issue has managed to succeed in forcing half a dozen DOJ Officials out of office including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, otherwise Dems have repeatedly rolled-over on Funding the Iraq War, Illegal Wiretapping, Sabre-rattling at Iran, Granting Immunity to the Telcoms and now the Mukasey nomination. The one thing we can't afford to do is to let our Representatives once again turn gelatinous before this job gets done.

Any Vichy-Crats in the House who fail to fail to uphold the law and hold the Bush Criminals accountable will be getting a personlized Call-Out Action Diary from yours truly. Count on it.

In the meanwhile Rep. John Conyers deserves your praise and support, he's been fighting the good fight - albiet at sub-glacial speeds while dotting every "T" and crossing every "I" - and we should never forget it.

John.Conyers@mail.house.gov

Conyers Blog
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5126
(202) 225-0072 Fax

Vyan