Saturday, February 12

Arizona Sues Gov over Border Security, while TeaPublicans Cut It

In a counter suit to the governments blocking implementation of SB1070, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has filed against the Government for $760 Million dollars in alleged lost State Revenue for the cost of incarcerating non-documented residents.

"Our citizens have lived with this dark cloud for too long .. It's time for the federal government to do its job and secure the border," said Governor Jan Brewer, announcing the lawsuit outside the federal courthouse in Phoenix.

The lawsuit notably charges that the US federal government has failed to reimburse Arizona for more than $760 million in costs for incarcerating illegal immigrants.

"While control of the border is a federal responsibility, illegal aliens who successfully cross the border and commit crime in Arizona become an Arizona responsibility," said Attorney General Tom Horne.

Meanwhile in the GOP Controlled House the latest Budget proposals include cuts to border security of up to $600 Million because - get this - spending on these items has increased by "double digits" in recent years.

So which is it, we're spending too little to secure the border - or too much? And if we have all these illegals who haven't been caught running around committing all this crime, why's it cost so much to keep them in jail?
More from Brewer...

Brewer said the boundary between Arizona and Mexico remains a dangerous place despite stepped-up enforcement along the nearly three thousand mile border by federal authorities.

She also cited the recent death of a US Border Patrol officer as evidence of illegal incursions across the border by criminal drug cartels. "Our border and immigration system are still broken," she said.

The lawsuit also seeks compensation from the federal government for the cost to the state of securing the border.

Brewer claimed fighting illegal immigration had cost the state more than a billion dollars, funds the state simply does not have while facing a serious budget crisis.

Yet while Brewer is constantly claiming nothing is being done on the border to improve security, the numbers and the facts contradict that claim.

There were 11.1 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally in March 2009, down from a peak of 12 million two years earlier, the Pew Hispanic Center said in a report issued Wednesday. From 2007 to 2009, the number of illegals entering the country shrank to about 300,000 per year, down by nearly two-thirds from the estimated 850,000 per year from March 2000 to March 2005.

"The decrease represents the first significant reversal in the growth of this population over the past two decades," the report said.

The biggest drop -- 22 percent from 2007 to 2009 -- was in the number of unauthorized immigrants from Latin American countries other than Mexico, it said. And the decline was most apparent along the United States' Southeast coast -- Florida, Virginia, Delaware and Georgia -- as well as in Western mountain states like Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

The Pew Hispanic Poll doesn't attempt to discern the cause for this downturn, simply to document it - it could be many factors from the slow economy to chilling effect of SB1070 - or it could be increased enforcement and expedited deportations by the Obama Administration. Of course all of that costs something.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill directing $600 million more to securing the U.S.-Mexico border, a modest election-year victory that underscores his failure so far to deliver an overhaul of immigration law.

The new law will pay for the hiring of 1,000 more Border Patrol agents to be deployed at critical areas, as well as more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. It provides for new communications equipment and greater use of unmanned surveillance drones. The Justice Department gets more money to help catch drug dealers and human traffickers.

Hm.. $600 Million, where have I heard that figure before?

But this wasn't Obama first attempt at improving Border Security - far from it.

The current era is one of contradicting messages and promises from the federal government. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says it prioritizes the removal of immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes (even green card holders can get a deportation order if they have been convicted of an aggravated felony) but the majority of deportees have committed no crime outside of crossing the border illegally or overstaying their visa. And new data shows that the vast majority of those who were convicted of crimes were guilty of minor offenses, including traffic violations. Only 1 in 6 have committed serious crimes.

These are the latest numbers, courtesy of Deportation Nation and TRAC:

Io CE has deported 279,035 immigrants in 2010 compared to 254,763 at this same point last year.
o The number of non-citizens deported in the first nine months of FY 2010 is up 10 percent from 2008, the last comparable year under the Bush administration.
o The pace of deportation for immigrants convicted of crimes is an an all time high: 60 percent more than the last year of the Bush administration, and 37 percent above Obama’s first year in office.
o Still, more than half of those deported so far in FY 2010 – 51 percent – had no criminal record.

So how did the Obama Administration Accomplish all this even before he signed his resent $600 Million Bill which the House GOP is threatening to repeal? One Word: Stimulus.

A month before signing Arizona’s notorious papers-please anti-immigrant law, Gov. Jan Brewer burnished her border-security credentials by dipping into the state’s ARRA funds to ply border law enforcement agencies -- already awash in Homeland Security funding through DHS’s Operation Stonegarden -- with another $10 million.

“A government’s principle [sic] responsibility to its citizens is to provide safety and security. However, the federal government has failed miserably in its obligation and moral responsibility to its citizens regarding border security,” declared Governor Brewer on April 22 when announcing state’s the launch of the state’s Border Security Enhancement Program.

Brewer took a page out of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s playbook by asserting that the federal government’s failure to protect Arizona against illegal immigrants, border crime, and drugs obligated the state to secure the Arizona border with Mexico – all the while downplaying that the state’s border security program is underwritten by stimulus funds intended for the state’s fiscal stabilization. Like Perry, Brewer planned to ride the anti-immigrant backlash and border-security bandwagon to victory in November 2010 gubernatorial contest.

Brewer has been using Stimulus funds to pay for exactly what she claims she needs the Federal Government to pay for. I also find her figure of $760 Million for Arizonas incarceration costs alone highly dubious particularly when she's already made it clear she would spend this funds primarily on private prisons.

According to campaign finance records, CCA executives and employees contributed more than $1,000 to the governor’s re-election campaign. The company’s political action committee and its lobbyists contributed another $60,000 to Brewer’s top legislative priority, Proposition 100, a sales tax to help avoid budget cuts to education.

Caroline Isaacs from the American Friends Service Committee, which advocates for social justice issues, said the money is evidence of influence the company has on the governor.
Isaacs said private prison companies have been buying influence in Arizona politics for years.
The number of private prisons and jails operating across the state shows the result of that influence, he said.

Currently, there are at least 12 for-profit prison, jail and detention facilities in Arizona.
Isaacs said the state has something else that attracts these companies.

“The other Holy Grail, if you will, of private prison construction is immigrant detention,” Isaacs said.

Corrections Corporation of America holds the contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to lock up illegal immigrants picked up in Arizona. Tough immigration laws such as Arizona's SB 1070 could send thousands of new bodies its way, and millions of dollars.

So with SB1070 currently tied up in the courts, Brewer is essentially counter sueing to make sure her campaign cronies get their cut of cash - and the GOP Congress by undermining Obama's legitimate and successful efforts to control the border only manage to make her - currently bogus - argument seem actually legitimate by undoing all the progress and improvements that have been made over the past 2-3 years.

They want to reverse improvements that have been made on the border, reverse the now multi-decades long reduction in crime that began with the Clinton COPS program, reverse progress on disease control just a couple years after a deadly outbreak of Bird Flu and reverse our progress on pollution just a year after the largest Gulf Oil Spill in history.

But then that's the GOP for ya, always looking backwards.

And in the end, none of these cuts will even make a serious dent in the deficit which remains at more than $1.2 Trillion - that's with a "T". - largely as a result of the economic downturn, not any massive increase in specific spending. As a matter of fact overall government spending was already on track to go down in FY2012, before the TeaPublicans even showed up.


Thursday, February 10

Egypt just gave us al Qaeda's worst Nightmare

A secular, non-islamic, non-violent uprising of the people - just drove out a pro-American, pro-Israeli dictator who'd been well lodged in place for 30 straight years.

al Qeada's entire raison d'etre has just been shot in the goat nads.

Mubarak has Stepped Down and Left, power has been transferred temporarily to the Military and Courts - Democracy has Won. The People have Won, without Firing a Shot - or a single suicide bomber.

A secular, non-islamic, non-violent uprising of the people - just drove out a pro-American, pro-Israeli dictator who'd been well lodged in place for 30 straight years.

al Qeada's entire raison d'etre has just been shot in the goat nads.

Mubarak has Stepped Down and Left, power has been transferred temporarily to the Military and Courts - Democracy has Won. The People have Won, without Firing a Shot - or a single suicide bomber.

A Foxer Finally Admits, They just make Shit Up

Yeah, we've all known it for a long time and Robert Greenwald did a great job of laying it all out with insiders and detailed analysis in his film "OutFoxed" - but today yet another report has come from behind partisan enemy lines, and the truth is devastating.

Indeed, a former Fox News employee who recently agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed what critics have been saying for years about Murdoch’s cable channel. Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking.

“It is their M.O. to undermine the administration and to undermine Democrats,” says the source. “They’re a propaganda outfit but they call themselves news.

In other words, they're Liars.

Some of these quotes are just amazing.

“They say one thing and do another. They insist on maintaining this charade, this fa├žade, that they’re balanced or that they’re not right-wing extreme propagandist,” says the source. But it’s all a well-orchestrated lie, according this former insider. It’s a lie that permeates the entire Fox News culture and one that staffers and producers have to learn quickly in order to survive professionally.

“You have to work there for a while to understand the nods and the winks,” says the source. “And God help you if you don’t because sooner or later you’re going to get burned.”

The source explains:

“Like any news channel there’s lot of room for non-news content. The content that wasn’t ‘news,’ they didn’t care what we did with as long as it was amusing or quirky or entertaining; as along as it brought in eyeballs. But anything—anything--that was a news story you had to understand what the spin should be on it. If it was a big enough story it was explained to you in the morning [editorial] meeting. If it wasn’t explained, it was up to you to know the conservative take on it. There’s a conservative take on every story no matter what it is. So you either get told what it is or you better intuitively know what it is.”

What if Fox News staffers aren’t instinctively conservative or don’t have an intuitive feeling for what the spin on a story should be? “My internal compass was to think like an intolerant meathead,” the source explains. “You could never error on the side of not being intolerant enough.”

Yeah, that pretty much explains everything doesn't it?

Technically not news, but still interesting to see exactly how they slowly indoctrinate their staff to becoming right-wing dittoheads.

When you first get in they tell you we’re a bit of a counterpart to the screaming left wing lib media. So automatically you have to buy into the idea that the other media is howling left-wing. Don’t even start arguing that or you won’t even last your first day.

“For the first few years it was let’s take the conservative take on things. And then after a few years it evolved into, well it’s not just the conservative take on things, we’re going to take the Republican take on things which is not necessarily in lock step with the conservative point of view.

“And then two, three, five years into that it was, we’re taking the Bush line on things, which was different than the GOP. We were a Stalin-esque mouthpiece. It was just what Bush says goes on our channel. And by that point it was just totally dangerous. Hopefully most people understand how dangerous it is for a media outfit to be a straight, unfiltered mouthpiece for an unchecked president.”

Just as it's dangerous to have an unfettered, unfiltered pack of attack dogs whose only purpose is to Destroy a Democratic President by any means unneccesarry. Y'now, like this.

Always the victim, always under seige.

“It was a kick ass mentality too,” says the former Fox News insider. “It was relentless and it never went away. If one controversy faded, goddamn it they would find another one. They were in search of these points of friction real or imagined. And most of them were imagined or fabricated. You always have to seem to be under siege. You always have to seem like your values are under attack. The brain trust just knew instinctively which stories to do, like the War on Christmas.”

And don't worry when you are really attacked or criticized, you have the rest of the so-called mainstream media that will come to your rescue.

“They don’t have enough staff or enough balls or don’t have enough money or don’t have enough interest to spend the time it takes to expose Fox News. Or it’s not worth the trouble. If you take on Fox, they’ll kick you in the ass,” says the source. “I’m sure most [journalists] know that. It’s not worth being Swift Boated for your effort,” a reference to how Fox News traditionally attacks journalists who write, or are perceived to have written, anything negative things about the channel.

You wouldn't want to turn into Keith Olbermann and become the new Head of News Programming at your own Network or Jon Stewart or anything.

The former insider admits to being perplexed in late 2009 when the Obama White House called out Murdoch’s operation as not being a legitimate new source, only to have major Beltway media players rush to the aid of Fox News and admonish the White House for daring to criticize the cable channel.

“That blew me away,” says the source, who stresses the White House’s critique of Fox News “happens to be true.”

Yeah, we know.


Link to Original story :

Wednesday, February 9

Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from Affordable Care Act Decisions

That's what 74 lawmakers apparently think...

As an Associate Justice, you are entrusted with the responsibility to exercise the highest degree of discretion and impartiality when deciding a case. As Members of Congress, we were surprised by recent revelations of your financial ties to leading organizations dedicated to lobbying against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We write today to respectfully ask that you maintain the integrity of this court and recuse yourself from any deliberations on the constitutionality of this act.

Uh oh, I think that's going to upset the apple cart on Tea Bagger Hill.

It's not like Repubs can claim that Thomas is being "picked on and singled out" because he happens to be a certainty to vote against the constitutionality of the mandate because Senator Orrin Hatch has already called for Justice Kagan to recuse herself from the Patients Affordability Act deliberations for far flimsier reasons.

WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, an opponent of the recently enacted health care overhaul, says Justice Elena Kagan should not take part in the widely expected Supreme Court consideration of the new law.


Hatch said he is sure that Kagan participated in discussions about the law and challenges to it while she served in the Justice Department as Obama's top Supreme Court lawyer. Hatch told Fox News that he believes Kagan "should recuse herself," although he noted the justice alone will make that determination.

Oh, "He is Sure" is he? Never mind the fact that as Solicitor General she wouldn't have had anything to do with this particular issue until it appeared it might actually go before the Supreme Court - which hasn't happened yet. But he figures that it must have been water-cooler office talk??

There are several cases from which Kagan actually will have to recuse herself because she was involved in forming the administrations legal rationale for them, and hence would be judging her own arguments. In fact she has already volunteered to recuse herself from over 2 dozen cases.

Kagan, 50, has recused herself from 25 of the 51 cases the court has accepted so far this term, all as a result of her 14-month tenure as solicitor general, the government's chief legal representative in the Supreme Court and the nation's lower appellate courts.

This simply isn't one of those cases.

Kagan addressed her participation during her confirmation hearing. She said then that she "attended at least one meeting where the existence of the litigation was briefly mentioned, but none where any substantive discussion of the litigation occurred." Kagan left the administration in August, about five months after the health care overhaul became law.

So basically Hatch is a) Making Shit UP that goes directly against Kagan's sworn testimony b) Implying she's a liar and c) Implying she's a Perjurer.


But in the case of Thomas it's not really a matter of opinion that his family, through his wife Ginny's activism for Right-Wing causes, would directly benefit from his decision. She already has in the case of Citizen's United, and she is currently making money lobbying against the Health Care Bill via her firm Liberty Central.

RICHMOND, Va. — As one of the keynote speakers here Friday at a state convention billed as the largest Tea Party event ever, Virginia Thomas gave the throng of more than 2,000 activists a full-throated call to arms for conservative principles.

Mrs. Thomas is the founder and head of a new nonprofit group, Liberty Central, dedicated to opposing what she characterizes as the leftist “tyranny” of President Obama and Democrats in Congress and to “protecting the core founding principles” of the nation.


A federal law requires justices to recuse themselves in a number of circumstances where real or perceived conflicts of interest could arise, including in cases where their spouses could have a financial interest. But the decision to step aside is up to each justice; there is no appeal from the nation’s highest court.

It’s shocking that you would have a Supreme Court justice sitting on a case that might implicate in a very fundamental way the interests of someone who might have contributed to his wife’s organization,” said Deborah L. Rhode, a law professor and director of the Stanford University Center on the Legal Profession.

As many of us know Thomas failed to document the earnings from his wife's activism for over a dozen years.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has amended 13 years’ worth of disclosure reports to include details of wife Virginia Thomas’s sources of income, documents released on Monday show.

The documents indicate that Thomas’s wife, who goes by Ginni, had worked for Hillsdale College in Michigan, the Heritage Foundation and the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, among other entities.

Like all federal judges, Thomas must file annual disclosure reports on his personal finances, but he had omitted details of his wife’s earnings in what he wrote was a “misunderstanding of the filing instructions.” He also had checked a box marking no spousal income.

He also didn't disclose any information about her work with Liberty Central until recently.

Here she is on Fox News with Neal Cavuto.

Most recently Ginni has formed Liberty Consulting, a firm that couldn't have existed without Citizen's United.

Ginni Thomas’ new career advising clients on how to donate money to political causes is striking in light of the fact that this career path was much more difficult to break into just one year ago. In Citizens United v. FEC, Ginni’s husband Clarence cast the key fifth vote enabling corporations to spend unlimited money influencing U.S. elections. As a result of this vote, outside groups spent nearly $300 million influencing the 2010 elections — much of which would have been illegal before Justice Thomas greenlighted this spending.

Now, Ginni Thomas appears to have found a way to earn money off her husband’s actions as a justice. Clarence Thomas released countless amounts of corporate spending on U.S. elections, and Ginni Thomas can get rich advising those corporate clients on how to direct that spending

The point is that this isn't just a matter of opinion (or fantasy) as Hatch's criticism of Kagan, this is a matter of law.

(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

(b) He shall also disqualify himself in the following circumstances: …

(5) He or his spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person: . . .

(iii) Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;

Even beyond Hatch, Republicans have used this very same arguement themselves in the past when they called for the recusal of one judge from a decision on California Proposition 8, because his wife had been part of an anti-Prop 8 advocacy group.

It’s worth noting that conservatives have already interpreted this ethics law in a way that requires Justice Thomas to recuse himself from the health care litigation. After progressive Judge Stephen Reinhardt was assigned to the appellate panel that was to hear a challenge to anti-gay Proposition 8, supporters of the anti-gay law called for Reinhardt to recuse because his wife’s organization advocates against Prop 8.

Not that anyone seriously thinks Thomas will do the right thing and recuse himself in case, but it's going to interesting watching Repubs who called for Kagan and Reinhardt to recuse themselves wriggle out of the hypocrisy noose on this one.

Here's a blast from the past on Ginni by former CNN Host Rick Sanchez.


Update: Added more videos, and links to Ginni Thomas and her current work with Liberty Consulting, as well as link to WaPo article that documents that Elena Kagan has recused herself in nearly half the cases the Supreme Court will hear this session.

Tuesday, February 8

No, Rummy the Intelligence Wasn't Wrong - You Were.

Rumseld with Diane Sawyer.

Rumsfeld: The idea that he (Powell) was lying (before the U.N.) or duped is nonsense. He believed it. Our military believed. Our military got chemical weapons suits on to protect them. Saddam Hussein neighbors told us, "Be ready, when you get close to Bahgdad their going to use Chemical Weapons againt yor troops"

Sawyer: But you were wrong?

Rumsfeld: Oh my goodness, the intelligence was most certainly wrong.

No, really it wasn't.

The fact is the original Iraq NIE was doctored...

WASHINGTON — In a classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared before the Iraq war, the CIA hedged its judgments about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, pointing up the limits of its knowledge.

But in the unclassified version of the NIE — the so-called white paper cited by the Bush administration in making its case for war — those carefully qualified conclusions were turned into blunt assertions of fact, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar intelligence.

The repeated elimination of qualifying language and dissenting assessments of some of the government's most knowledgeable experts gave the public an inaccurate impression of what the U.S. intelligence community believed about the threat Hussein posed to the United States, the committee said.

Dedicating a section of its 511-page report to discrepancies between the two versions of the crucial October 2002 NIE, the panel laid out numerous instances in which the unclassified version omitted key dissenting opinions about Iraqi weapons capabilities, overstated U.S. knowledge about Iraq's alleged stockpiles of weapons and, in one case, inserted threatening language into the public document that was not contained in the classified version.

"The intelligence community's elimination of the caveats from the unclassified white paper misrepresented their judgments to the public, which did not have access to the classified National Intelligence Estimate containing the more carefully worded assessments," the Senate panel's report concluded.

"The fact that the NIE changed so dramatically from its classified to its unclassified form and broke all in one direction, toward a more dangerous scenario … I think was highly significant," the committee's vice chairman, Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), said Friday.

Donald Rumsfeld would have had access to the classified version of the report and should certainly have known that the unequivocal certainty presented in the unclassified version of the report which was presented to Congress... was a sham.

Within the Classified version of the report the State Dept disputed the Niger Yellowcake Report.

The newly released report, however, also included a dissenting view from the State Department's intelligence arm, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, known as the INR.

"The claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's assessment, highly dubious," read the dissent,

Another U.S. official said the intelligence on uranium in the NIE never rose to the level that it could be "stated flatly" by the United States.

The official also said the Niger information was included in the 90-page report because it "was out there," and for "an effort at completeness." The official said the NIE contained six main arguments supporting the case that Iraq was continuing its efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, but uranium from Africa was not one of them.

Another point is that even within the Unclassified Version of the Report, the overall assessment was that Saddam was unlikely to to actually use any WMD's unless he was provoked. So it made a ton of sense to invade him under those circumstances unless you goal actually was to provoke him in order to provide a rationale for the invasion itself.

And if that idea seems far fetched, just remember that Bush did consider a plot provoke Saddam into shooting at UN aircraft (which would have been in disguise) in order to prompt the UN into action.

· Mr Bush told Mr Blair that the US was so worried about the failure to find hard evidence against Saddam that it thought of "flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft planes with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours". Mr Bush added: "If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach [of UN resolutions]".

That plan wasn't actually put into place, but it does show Bush's mindset of desperation to find an excuse, any excuse to attack and invade Iraq and any contrary facts or evidence that he wasn't an actual danger - be damned.

For example, in that same 2002 NIE Energy Dept Disputed that the Aluminum Tubes would be used as "centerfuges", but Bush and Rummy didn't listen.

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."

And it wasn't just the statement Dept who had their doubts and reservations.

In addition, Vanity Fair has 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 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."

The information about mobile labs came from one source, Curveball, whom the Defense Intelligence Agency - Rumsfeld's agency - had been well informed was a fabricator and that his claims could not be trusted.

Jan 2000-Sept 2001: Curveball's statements are recorded in German, shared with a local Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) team, and sent to the US, where they are translated into English for analysis at the DIA's directorate for human intelligence in Clarendon, Va. "This was not substantial evidence," one senior German intelligence official later recalls in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "We made clear we could not verify the things he said." The reports are then sent to the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Center (WINPAC), whose experts analyze the data and share it with artists who use Curveball's accounts to render sketches.

In fact the CIA never got their hands on Curveball, the DIA had first dibs.

The CIA never had access to Curveball. Instead, he was controlled by Germany's intelligence service, which passed along the information it collected to the United States through the Defense Intelligence Agency, a Pentagon spy agency that handled information from Iraqi defectors.

So the raw information - including the German agencies doubts about it's accuracy - were being directly funneled to Rumsfeld.

But at least one officer at CIA, European Field Office head Tyler Drumheller did discover that Curveball couldn't be trusted, however he couldn't get anyone to listen to him - not even Tenet.

In late 2002, the Bush administration began scouring intelligence files for reports of Iraqi weapons threats. Drumheller was asked to press a counterpart from a European intelligence agency for direct access to Curveball. Other officials confirmed that it was the German intelligence service.

The German official declined but then offered a startlingly candid assessment, Drumheller recalled. "He said, 'I think the guy is a fabricator,' " Drumheller said, recounting the conservation with the official, whom he declined to name. "He said, 'We also think he has psychological problems. We could never validate his reports.' "


Drumheller said he called the office of John E. McLaughlin, then the CIA deputy director, and was told to come there immediately. Drumheller said he sat across from McLaughlin and an aide in a small conference room and spelled out his concerns.

Yet to this very day, George Tenet claims nobody told him about Curveball being a liar.

And it seems nobody told him about Ibn Sheik al-Libi being a tortured in Egypt (apparently under the direction of our new Egyptian VP Omar Suleiman).

The new documents also raise the possibility that caveats raised by intelligence analysts about al-Libi's claims were withheld from Powell when he was preparing his Security Council speech. Larry Wilkerson, who served as Powell's chief of staff and oversaw the vetting of Powell's speech, responded to an e-mail from NEWSWEEK Wednesday stating that he was unaware of the DIA doubts about al-Libi at the time the speech was being prepared. "We never got any dissent with respect to those lines you cite ... indeed the entire section that now we know came from [al-Libi]," Wilkerson wrote.

So yet again, the DIA - Rumsfeld - had the information that al Libi was a liar, but didn't share that information - and now he tries to blame the intelligence for being wrong?

But according to the newly declassified DIA and CIA documents provided to Levin, the credibility of those statements by Bush and Powell were already in doubt within the U.S. intelligence community. While the DIA was the first to raise red flags in its February 2002 report, the CIA itself in January 2003 produced an updated version of a classified internal report called “Iraqi Support for Terrorism.” The previous version of this CIA report in September 2002 had simply included al-Libi’s claims, according to the newly declassified agency document provided to Levin in response to his inquiries about al-Libi. But the updated January 2003 version, while including al-Libi’s claims that Al Qaeda sent operatives to Iraq to acquire chemical and biological weapons and training, added an important new caveat: It “noted that the detainee was not in a position to know if any training had taken place,” according to the copy of the document obtained by NEWSWEEK. It was not until January 2004—nine months after the war was launched—that al-Libi recanted “a number of the claims he made while in detention for the previous two years, including the claim that Al Qaeda sent operatives to Iraq to obtain chemical and biological weapons and related training,” the CIA document says.

So al Libi lied too, after he had been buried alive up to his neck - and claimed that there were bogus links between al Qeada and Saddam when there weren't.

Ultimately the Duelfer Report showed that Saddam had destroyed his WMD stockpiles all the way back in 1991, meaning that the final declaration he provided per UN mandate prior to the war was absolutely correct and that the U.S. was absolutely wrong to blow it off and claim Saddam Failed to Explain where the Yellowcake and Mobile Labs were.

Via Condoleeza Rice.

Instead of a commitment to disarm, Iraq has a high-level political commitment to maintain and conceal its weapons, led by Saddam Hussein and his son Qusay, who controls the Special Security Organization, which runs Iraq's concealment activities. Instead of implementing national initiatives to disarm, Iraq maintains institutions whose sole purpose is to thwart the work of the inspectors. And instead of full cooperation and transparency, Iraq has filed a false declaration to the United Nations that amounts to a 12,200- page lie

For example, the declaration fails to account for or explain Iraq's efforts to get uranium from abroad, its manufacture or specific fuel for ballistic missiles it claims not to have, and the gaps previously identified by the United NAtions in Iraq's accounting for more than two tons of the raw materials needed to produce thousands of gallons of anthrax and other biological weapons."

This put Iraq in an impossible position of having to disprove a lie based on a forgery, and then calling them the liars for it. The truth is that Saddam was cooperating fully, and the inspectors - at our direction - were turning up "garbage after garbage".

In fact, the U.S. claim that Iraq is developing missiles that could hit its neighbors – or U.S. troops in the region, or even Israel – is just one of the claims coming from Washington that inspectors here are finding increasingly unbelievable. The inspectors have become so frustrated trying to chase down unspecific or ambiguous U.S. leads that they've begun to express that anger privately in no uncertain terms.

U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another.

Example: satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites. When the U.N. went into the new buildings they found "nothing."

Example: Saddam's presidential palaces, where the inspectors went with specific coordinates supplied by the U.S. on where to look for incriminating evidence. Again, they found "nothing."

Example: Interviews with scientists about the aluminum tubes the U.S. says Iraq has imported for enriching uranium, but which the Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given the size and specification of the tubes, the U.N. calls the "Iraqi alibi air tight."

So frustrated have the inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S. intelligence they've been getting as "garbage after garbage after garbage." In fact, Phillips says the source used another cruder word. The inspectors find themselves caught between the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game, and the United States, whose intelligence they've found to be circumstantial, outdated or just plain wrong.

What worse, is that George Bush had been specifically and directly told there were no WMD's prior to the war by Hubbush the head of Iraqi Intelligence.

Suskind reports that the head of Iraqi intelligence, Tahir Jalil Habbush, met secretly with British intelligence in Jordan in the early days of 2003. In weekly meetings with Michael Shipster, the British director of Iraqi operations, Habbush conveyed that Iraq had no active nuclear, chemical or biological weapons programs and no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

When Tenet was informed of the findings in early February, he said, “They’re not going to like this downtown,” Suskind wrote, meaning the White House. Suskind says that Bush’s reaction to the report was: “Why don’t they ask him to give us something we can use to help make our case?

Instead the White House ordered the CIA to get Hubbush to forge a false letter that yet again linked Saddam to al Qeada by claiming that Mohommad Atta was trained in Iraq in an effort to yet again provide yet another bogus excuse to invade Iraq and remove Saddam from power by force. The Bush White House has denied that they asked Habbush to write this letter - even though the letter actually exists - it's interesting that they do not deny he told them there were no WMD's and they ignored it.

The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad.

In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy".

If the Bush administration didn't have direct influence on this letter being written - who did? Why exactly would Habbush lie - and provide Bush with exactly the smoking gun he was desperate to have - like this?

Just imagine if instead of making up this kind of bullcrap, Bush had done the right thing and let the weapons inspectors finish their job so that it would be been finally revealed that the intelligence was right. We could have seen the kind of democracy flowering in Iraq that we're now seeing in Egypt. Just imagine if the insurgency had been turned against Saddam instead of against us?

There were no mobile labs. There was no yellowcake and centerfuges. There were no action chemical weapons or nuclear programs. There were no stockpiles (and if there were they would have been degraded to near uselessness after so many years). All of these arguments were based on forgeries and lies that were either paid for or generated by torture.

The intelligence wasn't wrong Rummy - You Were.

It seemed incomprehensible at the time, but now in the wake of such unreasonable irrational right-wing beliefs such as Death Panels, Creeping Sharia Law, the Coming Egypto-Iranian Caliphate, Climate-Change Denierism, the Supply-Side Cult of Tax Cut Fetishists, Tentherism and Birtherism - it seems far more clear how some people are far more invested in thier own paranoid apocalyptic fantasies than in the facts and that when those people gain economic and political power the results can be devestating.


Sunday, February 6

So Why do the Righties Love Reagan - the tax raising, cut and running, terrorist appeaser - Again?

Mike Stark Strikes Again... in this brilliant pwning of Rush Limbaugh.

Stark: I want to know why a tax-raising, amnesty-giving, cut-and-running, negotiating-with-terrorists (Iran-Contra) guy is a hero to the conservative movement?