"Before his 2000 campaign, Bush confided to a leader of the religious right: "I feel like God wants me to run for president ... I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen." - "The Religious Warrior of Abu Ghraib", by Sidney Blumenthal,The Guardian U.K.May 20 2004 // / / The "Accountability President": / Six years, $60 million for Lewinskygate, Travelgate, and Whitewater 3 months, $14 million for the deadliest attack on U.S. soil in history (with stonewalling and cover-up to boot) / "But people will be held to account. That's what the process does. That's what we do in America. We fully investigate, we let everybody see the results of the investigation and then people will be held to account." / "In America, you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people." / - Groucho Marx g ghrg "I'm the commander, I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation..." - And this means you, AMERICA! George W. Bush, in an interview with Bob Woodward ghrg "Watch how a democracy deals with wrongdoing and with scandal" - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, testifying before Congress on the Abu Ghraib scandal, May 7, 2004 ghr ghrg / "There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn't the Florida recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it's 9/11 that we keep coming back to. It wasn't the 'end of innocence,' or a turning point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security. And patriotism shouldn't prevent people from asking hard questions of the man who was purportedly in charge of national security at the time." - We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore, By Garrison Keillor (BELOW) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Q. "Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that?" "You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you." - White House Press Conference, March 13, 2002 "Some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden, and the requests of our commanders on the ground,and less time responding to the demands of MoveOn.org bloggers and Code Pink protesters." /- G.W. Bush, Heritage Foundation, Nov.1,2007/ / ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / ghrg
ABC NEWS FULL ARTICLE: http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Politics/ap20040914_1393.html September 11th Families Association: http://www.911wvfa.org/
September 15th, 2004 : Families of five 9/11 victims, from left to right, Patty Casazza, Lorie VanAuken, Kirsten Breitweiser, Monica Gabrielle, April Gallop, and Mindy Kleinberg, hold a news conference to endorse Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), D-Mass. for president in the 2004 race, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004, in Washington.(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson). They accused the administration of fighting the commission at every turn - on issues of funding, the amount of time needed to do its work and on whether to launch an inquiry in the first place.
"But people will be held to account. That's what the process does. That's what we do in America. We fully investigate, we let everybody see the results of the investigation and then people will be held to account." /- Raw Data: Bush Interview With Alhurra, FOX NEWS May 05, 2004rfb / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "First the administration tried, in defiance of all historical precedents, to prevent any independent inquiry. Then it tried to appoint Henry Kissinger, of all people, to head the investigative panel. Then it obstructed the commission, denying it access to crucial documents and testimony. Now, thanks to all the delays and impediments, the panel's head says it can't deliver its report by the original May 11 deadline - and the administration is trying to prevent a time extension." vasvbaav Where's the Apology? By Paul Krugman The New York Times Friday 30 January 2004
George Bush promised to bring honor and integrity back to the White House. Instead, he got rid of accountability.
Surely even supporters of the Iraq war must be dismayed by the administration's reaction to David Kay's recent statements. Iraq, he now admits, didn't have W.M.D., or even active programs to produce such weapons. Those much-ridiculed U.N. inspectors were right. (But Hans Blix appears to have gone down the memory hole. On Tuesday Mr. Bush declared that the war was justified - under U.N. Resolution 1441, no less - because Saddam "did not let us in.")
So where are the apologies? Where are the resignations? Where is the investigation of this intelligence debacle? All we have is bluster from Dick Cheney, evasive W.M.D.-related-program-activity language from Mr. Bush - and a determined effort to prevent an independent inquiry.
True, Mr. Kay still claims that this was a pure intelligence failure. I don't buy it: the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has issued a damning report on how the threat from Iraq was hyped, and former officials warned of politicized intelligence during the war buildup. (Yes, the Hutton report gave Tony Blair a clean bill of health, but many people - including a majority of the British public, according to polls - regard that report as a whitewash.)
In any case, the point is that a grave mistake was made, and America's credibility has been badly damaged - and nobody is being held accountable. But that's standard operating procedure. As far as I can tell, nobody in the Bush administration has ever paid a price for being wrong. Instead, people are severely punished for telling inconvenient truths. And administration officials have consistently sought to freeze out, undermine or intimidate anyone who might try to check up on their performance.
Let's look at three examples. First is the Valerie Plame affair. When someone in the administration revealed that Ms. Plame was an undercover C.I.A. operative, one probable purpose was to intimidate intelligence professionals. And whatever becomes of the Justice Department investigation, the White House has been notably uninterested in finding the culprit. ("We have let the earthmovers roll in over this one," a senior White House official told The Financial Times.)
(M.O.W. editorial insert-whitehouse.org)
Then there's the stonewalling about 9/11. First the administration tried, in defiance of all historical precedents, to prevent any independent inquiry. Then it tried to appoint Henry Kissinger, (see below) of all people, to head the investigative panel. Then it obstructed the commission, denying it access to crucial documents and testimony. Now, thanks to all the delays and impediments, the panel's head says it can't deliver its report by the original May 11 deadline - and the administration is trying to prevent a time extension.
Finally, an important story that has largely evaded public attention: the effort to prevent oversight of Iraq spending. Government agencies normally have independent, strictly nonpartisan inspectors general, with broad powers to investigate questionable spending. But the new inspector general's office in Iraq operates under unique rules that greatly limit both its powers and its independence.
And the independence of the Pentagon's own inspector general's office is also in question. Last September, in a move that should have caused shock waves, the administration appointed L. Jean Lewis as the office's chief of staff. Ms. Lewis played a central role in the Whitewater witch hunt (seven years, $70 million, no evidence of Clinton wrongdoing); nobody could call her nonpartisan. So when Mr. Bush's defenders demand hard proof of profiteering in Iraq - as opposed to extensive circumstantial evidence - bear in mind that the administration has systematically undermined the power and independence of institutions that might have provided that proof.
And there are many more examples. These people politicize everything, from military planning to scientific assessments. If you're with them, you pay no penalty for being wrong. If you don't tell them what they want to hear, you're an enemy, and being right is no excuse.
Still, the big story isn't about Mr. Bush; it's about what's happening to America. Other presidents would have liked to bully the C.I.A., stonewall investigations and give huge contracts to their friends without oversight. They knew, however, that they couldn't. What has gone wrong with our country that allows this president to get away with such things?
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
"Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." - Henry Kissinger, quoted in "Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POW's in Vietnam". Kissinger was Bush's first chouice to head the 911 comission. / / / "Boohoo, boohoo," Kissinger said, pretending to cry and rub his eyes. "He's still beating his breast, right? Still feeling guilty." He spoke in a mocking, singsong voice and patted his heart for emphasis." / - Henry Kissinger, on Robert McNamara's public repentance for his part in the millions of lives lost in the Vietnam war / / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "Watch how a democracy deals with wrongdoing and with scandal" - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, testifying before Congress on the Abu Ghraib scandal, May 7, 2004
Philip Shenon, New York Times Sunday, August 7, 2005
Washington -- The White House has failed to turn over any of the information requested by the 10 members of the disbanded Sept. 11 commission in their renewed, unofficial investigation into whether the government is doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, commission members said.
The members said that the Bush administration's lack of cooperation was hindering a project that was otherwise nearly complete.
Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, said he was surprised and disappointed that the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, the FBI and several other executive branch agencies had failed to respond to requests made two months ago for updated information on the government's anti-terrorism programs.
The requests came not from the disbanded commission, which was created by Congress and had subpoena powers, but from its shadow group, which the members call the 9/11 Public Discourse Project. It was established by the members of the Sept. 11 commission when the panel formally went out of business last August, shortly after releasing a unanimous report that called for an overhaul of the nation's counterterrorism agencies.
"It's very disappointing," Kean said of the administration's failure to cooperate with the group. "All we're trying to do is make the public safer."
Kean said there had been no response of any sort to interview requests for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Porter Goss, the CIA director; Robert Mueller, the FBI director; and Andrew Card Jr., the White House chief of staff; among others.
A White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino, would not answer directly when asked whether the administration intended to respond to the project's requests for information before next month, when the group is scheduled to publish an updated report that assesses the progress of the government's counterterrorism efforts.
Perino said that much of the information sought by the private group was available from public sources. She said that the administration had provided "unprecedented" cooperation to the commission during the official investigation, including access to more than 2 million documents.
Several executive branch agencies had no immediate comment when asked Friday whether they intended to provide additional information to the project, but the Department of Homeland Security said it intended to provide a package of information.
In telephone interviews in which he repeatedly expressed his frustration with the White House, Kean said the Public Discourse Project intended to publish its "report card" next month, with or without the administration's assistance, although he said that "obviously it's most helpful to have the information from the agencies that are trying to implement the reforms."
"Honestly, I thought they would want to cooperate," he said of the White House and the agencies. "I thought it would give them a chance to tell their story. They have made some progress."
Several of the major recommendations made in the commission's report last year have been put into effect, including the creation of the job of director of national intelligence, a post now held by John Negroponte.
But other recommended actions have not been taken, including the commission's call for a restructuring of congressional oversight of the nation's spy agencies and for a major expansion of the government's nuclear nonproliferation efforts.
During its 21-month investigation, the Sept. 11 commission, which was made up of five Democrats and five Republicans, had subpoena power to force government agencies to cooperate.
President Bush had initially opposed the creation of the commission, and the White House repeatedly tangled with the panel over access to government witnesses and classified documents.
Timothy Roemer, a Democratic member of the commission and a former House member from Indiana, said that the White House was being "tone-deaf" in withholding information from the Public Discourse Project.
"You'd think that the administration would be doing all it could to help address some of the answers that the 9/11 commission proposed to make the country safer," he said.
The project is an unusual effort by the members of a disbanded blue- ribbon government panel to retain political viability and to continue to lobby for its recommendations.
The group had announced earlier this year that it intended to conduct a series of public hearings that would culminate in the release of a "report card" on the effectiveness of the government's counterterrorism efforts a year after the commission's final report was issued.
After completing a series of hearings this summer, the new report is scheduled for release next month, close to the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
"But people will be held to account. That's what the process does. That's what we do in America. We fully investigate, we let everybody see the results of the investigation and then people will be held to account." / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The New York Times | Editorial April 29, 2004
GO TO ORIGINAL
It would have been a pleasure to be able to congratulate President Bush on his openness in agreeing to sit down today with the independent commission on the 9/11 attacks and answer questions. Unfortunately, Mr. Bush conditioned his cooperation on stipulations that range from the questionable to the ridiculous.
The strangest of the president's conditions is that he will testify only in concert with Vice President Dick Cheney. The White House has given no sensible reason for why Mr. Bush is unwilling to appear alone. (When asked at his recent press conference, the president gave one of his patented nonresponses: "Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 commission is looking forward to asking us, and I'm looking forward to answering them.")
Given the White House's concern for portraying Mr. Bush as a strong leader, it's remarkable that this critical appearance is being structured in a way that is certain to provide fodder for late-night comedians, who enjoy depicting him as the docile puppet of his vice president.
Mr. Bush's reluctant and restrictive cooperation with the panel is consistent with the administration's pattern of stonewalling reasonable requests for documents and testimony and then giving up only the minimum necessary ground when the dispute becomes public. Today's testimony will be in private in the White House, away from reporters or television cameras. The session will not be recorded, and there will be no formal transcript. The president's aides have defended this excessive degree of secrecy with the usual arguments about protecting highly classified information and not wanting to establish dangerous precedents.
The idea that the panel may wring from Mr. Bush some comment that may endanger national security is ridiculous. The commission, led by the respected former Republican governor of New Jersey, Thomas Kean, has already heard, in public, from the leaders of the nation's top intelligence agencies, the secretary of defense and Mr. Bush's national security adviser. It seems highly unlikely that the president knows secrets more sensitive than they do. If he did, he would certainly be free to go off the record while discussing them.
The president's aides have also been arguing that making the event anything more than a "meeting" or informal discussion would establish a pattern that future chief executives would be forced to follow. That is true, in a way. If Mr. Bush or any of his successors have the tragic misfortune to be in command at a time when terrorists strike the country, killing thousands of innocent civilians, they should be expected to cooperate with the official investigations, and to do so in a way that puts their statements on the record and into history.
The Bush administration's handling of the bipartisan commission investigating the 9/11 tragedy grows worse and more oddly self-destructive with each passing day. Following its earlier attempts to withhold documents from the panel and then to deny its members vital testimony, we now learn that President Bush's staff has been withholding thousands of pages of Clinton administration papers as well.
Bill Clinton authorized the release of nearly 11,000 pages of files on his administration's antiterrorism efforts for use by the commission. But aides to Mr. Clinton said the White House, which now has control of the papers, vetoed the transfer of over three-quarters of them. The White House held the documents for more than six weeks, apparently without notifying the commission, and might have kept them indefinitely if Bruce Lindsey, the general counsel of Mr. Clinton's presidential foundation, had not publicly complained this week. Yesterday the commission said the White House had agreed to allow its lawyers to review the withheld documents, but without guaranteeing any would be released.
This latest distressing episode followed the White House's pattern of resisting the commission in private and then, once the dispute becomes public, reluctantly giving up the minimum amount of ground. Earlier in the week, Mr. Bush finally agreed to allow Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, to testify under oathbut only after extracting a commitment that the commission would not seek any further public testimony from any White House official. After months of foot-dragging, Mr. Bush also grudgingly agreed to let the panel question him and Vice President Dick Cheney privately. Last year the Pentagon, the Justice Department and other agencies stonewalled the commission's requests for documents until its chairman, Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, complained publicly.
Explaining the latest act of obstruction, Scott McClellan, the president's spokesman, said on Thursday that some documents were duplicative, unrelated or "highly sensitive." The White House, he said, had given the commission "all the information they need." Mr. Bush's staff should not be making that judgment. The commission's 10 members can be trusted with sensitive material.
Moreover, given the repeated criticism of this administration's obsessive secrecy on other issues, it is astonishing that it would still withhold anything that did not pose an immediate and dire threat to national security. The American people would like to know that they have a government that freely gives information to legitimate investigations on matters of grave national interest, not one that fights each reasonable request until it is exposed and forced to submit. The White House is serving no public purpose by acting less interested than the rest of us in having this commission do its vital work. Its ham-handed behavior is also gravely damaging the entire concept of executive privilege.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
"We have the first, if you will, Co-Presidency, and I think Cheney is --- we just had Woodward's revelations further confirm what I had found. And we know that this man has enormous powers. But only Dick Cheney and George Bush really know exactly what's going on, but I think Dick Cheney is shrewd enough that he lets Bush wake up every morning and believe he's President. " // - Former Nixon counsel John Dean interview on PBS' Tavis Smiley show http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/20040421_transcript.html / __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ dbfbfsd
By MAUREEN DOWD The New York Times April 1, 2004 gfguyfgiuffHI (MOW Edtorial insert)
Following is the text of a letter sent yesterday to Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton of the Sept. 11 commission from Alberto R. Gonzales, counsel to President Bush.
While we continue to hold to the principles underlying the Constitutional separation of powers, that the appropriate and patriotic action for the Commission is to shut down and stop pestering us, the President is prepared, in the interest of comity and popularity, to testify, subject to the conditions set forth below.
The President at all times, even on trips to the men's room, will be accompanied by the Vice President.
The Commission must agree in writing that it will not pose any questions directly to the President. Mr. Bush's statements will be restricted to asides on Dick Cheney's brushoffs, as in "Just like he said," "Roger that" and "Ditto."
Another necessary condition, in keeping with the tenets of executive privilege: Mr. Cheney will require that the Commission observe the rules of his favorite show from the Eisenhower Administration, "What's My Line?" The panelists, in the manner of Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf, must try to guess what the President and Vice President didn't know and when they didn't know it through questions that elicit a "yes" or "no."
After 10 "no" answers, the panel will not be allowed to question Mr. Cheney or anyone else in the Administration ever again. In the mystery-guest round, Richard Ben-Veniste, Bob Kerrey and other Democrats on the Commission will be blindfolded.
(Or Mr. Cheney is willing to follow the precedent of Garry Moore and Bess Meyerson, using "I've Got A Secret" rules: The Vice President will whisper a secret about the Administration's inadequate response to terrorism in the President's ear and each panelist will have 30 seconds to question Mr. Cheney in an attempt to guess the secret, which he will not reveal even if they guess right.)
As an additional accommodation, the President and Vice President have now agreed to take a "pinkie oath," looping little fingers with each other, while reserving the right to cross the index and middle fingers of their remaining hands and hide them behind their backs.
We must deny your request that Mr. Cheney bring along a PowerPoint presentation depicting who was in and out of the loop, in accordance with separation-of-PowerPoint principles. The Vice President has decreed that the loop of influence is under the cone of silence.
The White House is taking the extraordinary step of bowing to public opinion - even though Mr. Cheney states that he doesn't give two hoots about public opinion. Therefore, the Vice President will only entertain questions about negligence in fighting terrorism concerning the critical period between Jan. 21, 1993, and Jan. 20, 2001. As President Bush stated on Tuesday, March 30, the Commission must gain "a complete picture of the months and years before Sept. 11."
The Vice President will not address any queries about why no one reacted to George Tenet's daily "hair on fire" alarms to the President about a coming Al Qaeda attack;
or why the President was so consumed with chopping and burning cedar on his Crawford ranch that he ignored the warning in an Aug. 6, 2001, briefing that Al Qaeda might try to hijack aircraft;
or why the President asked for a plan to combat Al Qaeda in May and then never followed up while Richard Clarke's aggressive plan was suffocated by second-raters;
or why the President was never briefed by his counterterrorism chief on anything but cybersecurity until Sept. 11;
or why the Administration-in-amber made so many cold war assumptions, such as thinking that terrorists had to be sponsored by a state even as terrorists had taken over a state;
or why the President went along with the Vice President and the neocons to fool the American public into believing that Saddam had a hand in the 9/11 attacks;
or why the Administration chose to undercut the war on terrorism and inflame the Arab world by attacking Iraq, without a plan to protect our perilously overextended forces or to exit with a realistic hope that a democracy will be left behind.
The Commission must not, under any circumstances, ask the Vice President why American soldiers and civilians in Iraq are being greeted with barbarous infernos rather than flowery bouquets.
Finally, we request that when the President finishes with this painful teeth-pulling visit, the Commission shall offer him a lollipop.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
Before his 2000 campaign, Bush confided to a leader of the religious right: "I feel like God wants me to run for president ... I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen."
(M.O.W. editorial insert)
Michael Gerson, Bush's chief speechwriter, tells colleagues that on September 20 2001, after Bush delivered his speech to the Congress declaring a war on terror, he called Gerson to thank him for writing it. "God wants you here," Gerson says he told the president. And he says that Bush replied: "God wants us here."
/ F.A.A. Official Scrapped Tape of 9/11 Controllers' Statements By Matthew L. Wald The New York Times Thursday 06 May 2004
WASHINGTON - At least six air traffic controllers who dealt with two of the hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, made a tape recording that day describing the events, but the tape was destroyed by a supervisor without anyone making a transcript or even listening to it, the Transportation Department said today.
The taping began before noon on Sept. 11 at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, in Ronkonkoma, on Long Island, but it was later destroyed by an F.A.A. quality-assurance manager, who crushed the cassette in his hand, cut the tape into little pieces and dropped them in different trash cans around the building, according to a report made public today by the inspector general of the Transportation Department.
The inspector general, Kenneth M. Mead, had been asked by Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, to look into how well the Federal Aviation Administration had cooperated with the 9/11 Commission.
The quality-assurance manager told investigators that he had destroyed the tape because he thought making it was contrary to F.A.A. policy, which calls for written statements, and because he felt that the controllers "were not in the correct frame of mind to have properly consented to the taping" because of the stress of the day, Mr. Mead reported.
Another official, the center's manager, asked the controllers to make the tape because "he wanted a contemporaneous recordation of controller accounts to be immediately available for law enforcement," according to the Mead report, and was concerned that the controllers would take a leave of absence immediately, which is standard procedure after a crash.
On the tape, the controllers, some of whom had spoken by radio to people on the planes and some who had tracked the aircraft on radar, gave statements of 5 to 10 minutes each, according to the Mead report.
The center manager had agreed with the president of the local union chapter that the tapes would be destroyed once the standard written statements were obtained, Mr. Mead reported.
Neither the center manager nor the quality-assurance manager disclosed the tape's existence to their superiors at the F.A.A. region that covers New York, or to the agency's Washington headquarters, according to the report.
None of the officials or controllers were identified in the inspector general's report.
Other tapes were preserved, including conversations on the radio frequencies used by the planes that day, and the radar tapes. In addition, the controllers later made written statements to the F.A.A., per standard procedure, and in this case, to the F.B.I. as well.
But when one of the controllers asked if she could review her portion of the audiotape to refresh her memory before giving her witness statement, she was told she could not, according to Mr. Mead's report.
The quality-assurance manager destroyed the tape despite an e-mail message sent by the F.A.A. instructing officials to safeguard all records and adding, "If a question arises whether or not you should retain data, RETAIN IT."
The inspector general ascribed the destruction to "poor judgment."
"The destruction of evidence in the government's possession, in this case an audiotape particularly during times of a national crisis, has the effect of fostering an appearance that information is being withheld from the public," the Mead report said. "We do not ascribe motivations to the mangers in this case of attempting to cover up, and we have no indication that there was anything on the tape that would lead anyone to conclude that they had something to hide or that the controllers did not carry out their duties."
But keeping the tape's existence a secret, and then destroying it did not "serve the interests of the F.A.A., the department, or the public," the report said.
The inspector general also noted that the official who destroyed the tape had no regrets or second thoughts: "The quality-assurance manager told us that if presented with similar circumstances, he would again take the same course of action."
Mr. Mead wrote that this attitude was "especially troubling" and that supervisors should take "appropriate administrative action."
Although the matter had been referred to the Justice Department, the Mead report added, prosecutors said they had found no basis for criminal charges.
An F.A.A. spokesman, Greg Martin, said that his agency had cooperated with the 9/11 commission and that that was how the tape's existence had become known at the agency's headquarters.
"We believe it would not have added in any way to the information contained in all of the other materials that have already been provided to the investigators and the members of the 9/11 commission," he said.
Nonetheless, Mr. Martin said that "we have taken appropriate disciplinary action" against the quality-assurance manager. For privacy reasons, he said, he could not say what those actions were or identify any of the employees involved.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ // (M.O.W. editorial insert) / Where Was The Air Force? By Ted Rall U Express Tuesday 30 March 2004
Ted Rall, America's
hardest-hitting editorial cartoonist for Universal Press Syndicate,
is an award-winning commentator who also works as an illustrator,
columnist, and radio commentator.
Go to Original
NEW YORK - George W. Bush, writes former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, "failed to act prior to September 11 on the threat from Al Qaeda despite repeated warnings and then harvested a political windfall for taking obvious yet insufficient steps after the attacks." That incendiary charge, coupled with his apologetic testimony before the commission investigating the attacks, has reignited a long-simmering debate: What did Bush know when and how quickly should he have done something about it?
But both the 9/11 commission and liberal opponents of the Bush Administration are focusing on the wrong question. Nothing has surfaced from the 2001 "summer of threat" beyond a bunch of vague they're-up-to-something caveats. The specific details intelligence agencies would have needed to stop the attacks before they happened--potential hijackers' names, dates and times, targets--were maddeningly elusive.
The really big unanswered question of September 11, 2001 is this: Once it became obvious that at least four passenger jets had been hijacked--at one point that Tuesday morning, Clarke says the FAA (news - web sites) thought it had as many as "eleven aircraft off course or out of communications"--why didn't our government intercept them?
To their credit, the Bushies quickly sussed out what was going on. "Well, now we know who we're dealing with," Clarke recalls remarking when he heard that United Flight 175 had smashed into the second World Trade Center tower. That was at 9:03 am. American 77 hit the Pentagon and United 93 went down over Pennsylvania 40 and 67 minutes later, respectively.
On a flight from Bishkek to Tehran on dilapidated Kyrgyzstan Airlines a few years ago, the pilot announced that the landing gear on my friend's Tupolev 154 wouldn't deploy. Tehran refused permission to crash-land the Soviet-era plane at its newly renovated airport. Five minutes later, my pal recalls, fighter jets appeared on each side of the crippled plane to escort it out of Iranian airspace. (It landed safely back in Bishkek.) Why didn't we respond to our crisis in the air on 9/11 with the same efficiency as Iran, a third world country hobbled by international trade sanctions?
The notion of a hijacked passenger jet meandering over the northeastern United States, unmolested for more than an hour before blasting away a chunk of the Pentagon, should appall anyone whose taxes contributed to the quarter of a trillion dollars spent on defense that year. And if you stop and think about it, there was actually two hours in which something could have been done.
Fifteen minutes after taking off from Boston at 7:58 am, American Airlines flight attendant Madeline Sweeney telephoned a flight services manager back at Logan airport to report that two of her colleagues had been stabbed and a passenger had had his throat cut by Middle Eastern men. "This flight has been hijacked," she concluded, maintaining her professional composure as Los Angeles-bound Flight 11 veered south toward Manhattan. Meanwhile, up in the cockpit, the pilot was frantically clicking his transmission button to tell air traffic controllers what was happening.
They figured it out at 8:13 am. The drama would end nearly two hours later with the crash in Pennsylvania. There was ample time for the airline to notify federal authorities and for the latter to order the Air Force to begin intercepting unresponsive or off-course planes--but slow-witted bureaucrats and years of doing domestic defense on the cheap whittled away precious minutes.
The North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) claims that it received FAA notification by 8:40 am, a dismaying 27 minutes after air traffic controllers determined that hijackings were in progress. According to the New York Times, only a dozen planes, all belonging to the weekend warriors of the Air National Guard, were assigned to protect the continental United States on the morning of 9/11. And not a single one was in the air.
The Air Force waited six minutes before responding to NORAD with a "scramble order," the pilot needed another six minutes to get the first F-15 aloft and 17 more minutes were required to fly at Mach 0.9 from Otis air base in Cape Cod to New York City. The second hijacked plane had already hit when the Guardsman arrived over Ground Zero. The FAA notified NORAD about the Pentagon-bound plane at 9:24 pm and the Pennsylvania flight even later (the exact time remains unavailable). The time needed to scramble planes and travel from distant bases ate up the advance warning.
It's unreasonable to expect the government to have anticipated 9/11. Once it began, however, previously established safeguards ought to have been deployed by fast-thinking officials to mitigate the damage. Surface-to-air missiles ought to have protected the Pentagon from the incoming flight. A policy of keeping Air Force fighters aloft 24 hours a day could have allowed the shoot-down of the second New York-bound plane, saving hundreds at the second tower and possibly those who died at the Pentagon. And, rather than leave entire states undefended by air bases, spreading military facilities evenly throughout U.S. territory would have shrunk response time to a bare minimum. Bush and his cabinet members should explain why they didn't take such common-sense precautions to defend us before 9/11--and what they're waiting for now.
© : t r u t h o u t 2002
(M.O.W. editorial insert) \/
By David Ruppe ABC NEWS
"""/The documents show "the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for "...what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government." \/
N E W Y O R K, May 1, 2001 - In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.
America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation."
Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford about the history of America's largest spy agency, the National Security Agency. However, the plans were not connected to the agency, he notes.
The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years.
"These were Joint Chiefs of Staff documents. The reason these were held secret for so long is the Joint Chiefs never wanted to give these up because they were so embarrassing," Bamford told ABCNEWS.com.
"The whole point of a democracy is to have leaders responding to the public will, and here this is the complete reverse, the military trying to trick the American people into a war that they want but that nobody else wants."
Gunning for War
The documents show "the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government," writes Bamford.
The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.
Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, "the objective is to provide irrevocable proof that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic]."
The plans were motivated by an intense desire among senior military leaders to depose Castro, who seized power in 1959 to become the first communist leader in the Western Hemisphere - only 90 miles from U.S. shores.
The earlier CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles had been a disastrous failure, in which the military was not allowed to provide firepower.The military leaders now wanted a shot at it.
"The whole thing was so bizarre," says Bamford, noting public and international support would be needed for an invasion, but apparently neither the American public, nor the Cuban public, wanted to see U.S. troops deployed to drive out Castro.
Reflecting this, the U.S. plan called for establishing prolonged military - not democratic - control over the island nation after the invasion.
"That's what we're supposed to be freeing them from," Bamford says. "The only way we would have succeeded is by doing exactly what the Russians were doing all over the world, by imposing a government by tyranny, basically what we were accusing Castro himself of doing."
'Over the Edge'
The Joint Chiefs at the time were headed by Eisenhower appointee Army Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, who, with the signed plans in hand made a pitch to McNamara on March 13, 1962, recommending Operation Northwoods be run by the military.
Whether the Joint Chiefs' plans were rejected by McNamara in the meeting is not clear. But three days later, President Kennedy told Lemnitzer directly there was virtually no possibility of ever using overt force to take Cuba, Bamford reports. Within months, Lemnitzer would be denied another term as chairman and transferred to another job.
The secret plans came at a time when there was distrust in the military leadership about their civilian leadership, with leaders in the Kennedy administration viewed as too liberal, insufficiently experienced and soft on communism. At the same time, however, there real were concerns in American society about their military overstepping its bounds.
There were reports U.S. military leaders had encouraged their subordinates to vote conservative during the election.
And at least two popular books were published focusing on a right-wing military leadership pushing the limits against government policy of the day. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee published its own report on right-wing extremism in the military, warning a "considerable danger" in the "education and propaganda activities of military personnel" had been uncovered. The committee even called for an examination of any ties between Lemnitzer and right-wing groups. But Congress didn't get wind of Northwoods, says Bamford.
"Although no one in Congress could have known at the time," he writes, "Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs had quietly slipped over the edge."
Even after Lemnitzer was gone, he writes, the Joint Chiefs continued to plan "pretext" operations at least through 1963.
One idea was to create a war between Cuba and another Latin American country so that the United States could intervene. Another was to pay someone in the Castro government to attack U.S. forces at the Guantanamo naval base - an act, which Bamford notes, would have amounted to treason. And another was to fly low level U-2 flights over Cuba, with the intention of having one shot down as a pretext for a war.
"There really was a worry at the time about the military going off crazy and they did, but they never succeeded, but it wasn't for lack of trying," he says.
After 40 Years
Ironically, the documents came to light, says Bamford, in part because of the 1992 Oliver Stone film JFK, which examined the possibility of a conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy.
As public interest in the assassination swelled after JFK's release, Congress passed a law designed to increase the public's access to government records related to the assassination.
The author says a friend on the board tipped him off to the documents.
Afraid of a congressional investigation, Lemnitzer had ordered all Joint Chiefs documents related to the Bay of Pigs destroyed, says Bamford. But somehow, these remained.
"The scary thing is none of this stuff comes out until 40 years after," says Bamford.
VIEW THE ACTUAL DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENT HERE: http://www.lonelantern.org/northwoods.html
//r ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ fgndf "The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." - Thomas Jefferson ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ rdfgfbfbdjnd "We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the work is now much more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries." fbfbdj - David Rockefeller, ( founder of the Trilateral Commission), in an address to a meeting of The Trilateral Commission, in June, 1991 fbfbdj "Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government." fbfbdj - Henry Kissinger. speaking at Evian, France, May 21, 1992 Bilderburgers meeting. Unbeknownst to Kissinger, his speech was taped by a Swiss delegate to the meeting fbfbdjjhe "We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order." fbfbdj - David Rockefeller - Statement to the United Nations Business Council, 1994
/ "Two years ago a project set up by the men who now surround George W. Bush said what America needed was "a new Pearl Harbor". Its published aims have, alarmingly, come true." ? HIDDEN AGENDAS The Films and Writings of John Pilger / Richard Perlev vv Donald Rumsfeld g vRichard Cheney /
One of George W Bush's "thinkers" is Richard Perle. I interviewed Perle when he was advising Reagan; and when he spoke about "total war", I mistakenly dismissed him as mad. He recently used the term again in describing America's "war on terror". "No stages," he said. "This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq... this is entirely the wrong way to go about it. If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war... our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
Perle is one of the founders of the Project for the New American Century, the PNAC. Other founders include Dick Cheney, now vice-president, Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary, I Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, William J Bennett, Reagan's education secretary, and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's ambassador to Afghanistan. These are the modern chartists of American terrorism. The PNAC's seminal report, Rebuilding America's Defences: strategy, forces and resources for a new century, was a blueprint of American aims in all but name. Two years ago it recommended an increase in arms-spending by $48bn so that Washington could "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars". This has happened. It said the United States should develop "bunker-buster" nuclear weapons and make "star wars" a national priority. This is happening. It said that, in the event of Bush taking power, Iraq should be a target. And so it is.
As for Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction", these were dismissed, in so many words, as a convenient excuse, which it is. "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification," it says, "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." How has this grand strategy been implemented? A series of articles in the Washington Post, co-authored by Bob Woodward of Watergate fame and based on long interviews with senior members of the Bush administration, reveals how 11 September was manipulated.
On the morning of 12 September 2001, without any evidence of who the hijackers were, Rumsfeld demanded that the US attack Iraq. According to Woodward, Rumsfeld told a cabinet meeting that Iraq should be "a principal target of the first round in the war against terrorism". Iraq was temporarily spared only because Colin Powell, the secretary of state, persuaded Bush that "public opinion has to be prepared before a move against Iraq is possible". Afghanistan was chosen as the softer option. If Jonathan Steele's estimate in the Guardian is correct, some 20,000 people in Afghanistan paid the price of this debate with their lives.
Time and again, 11 September is described as an "opportunity". In last April's New Yorker, the investigative reporter Nicholas Lemann wrote that Bush's most senior adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told him she had called together senior members of the National Security Council and asked them "to think about 'how do you capitalise on these opportunities'", which she compared with those of "1945 to 1947": the start of the cold war. Since 11 September, America has established bases at the gateways to all the major sources of fossil fuels, especially central Asia. The Unocal oil company is to build a pipeline across Afghanistan. Bush has scrapped the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, the war crimes provisions of the International Criminal Court and the anti-ballistic missile treaty. He has said he will use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states "if necessary". Under cover of propaganda about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction, the Bush regime is developing new weapons of mass destruction that undermine international treaties on biological and chemical warfare.
In the Los Angeles Times, the military analyst William Arkin describes a secret army set up by Donald Rumsfeld, similar to those run by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and which Congress outlawed. This "super-intelligence support activity" will bring together the "CIA and military covert action, information warfare, and deception". According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld, the new organisation, known by its Orwellian moniker as the Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group, or P2OG, will provoke terrorist attacks which would then require "counter-attack" by the United States on countries "harbouring the terrorists".
In other words, innocent people will be killed by the United States. This is reminiscent of Operation Northwoods (see above article), the plan put to President Kennedy by his military chiefs for a phoney terrorist campaign - complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans - as justification for an invasion of Cuba. Kennedy rejected it. He was assassinated a few months later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but with resources undreamt of in 1963 and with no global rival to invite caution. You have to keep reminding yourself this is not fantasy: that truly dangerous men, such as Perle and Rumsfeld and Cheney, have power. The thread running through their ruminations is the importance of the media: "the prioritised task of bringing on board journalists of repute to accept our position".
"Our position" is code for lying. Certainly, as a journalist, I have never known official lying to be more pervasive than today. We may laugh at the vacuities in Tony Blair's "Iraq dossier" and Jack Straw's inept lie that Iraq has developed a nuclear bomb (which his minions rushed to "explain"). But the more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack on Iraq and linking it to would-be terrorists who are said to lurk in every Tube station, are routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they are black propaganda.
This corruption makes journalists and broadcasters mere ventriloquists' dummies. An attack on a nation of 22 million suffering people is discussed by liberal commentators as if it were a subject at an academic seminar, at which pieces can be pushed around a map, as the old imperialists used to do.
The issue for these humanitarians is not primarily the brutality of modern imperial domination, but how "bad" Saddam Hussein is. There is no admission that their decision to join the war party further seals the fate of perhaps thousands of innocent Iraqis condemned to wait on America's international death row. Their doublethink will not work. You cannot support murderous piracy in the name of humanitarianism. Moreover, the extremes of American fundamentalism that we now face have been staring at us for too long for those of good heart and sense not to recognise them.
With thanks to Norm Dixon and Chris Floyd
John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney. he has been a war correspondent, film-maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of 'Journalist of the Year', for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia. Among a number of other awards he has been 'International Reporter of the Year' and winner of the 'United Nations Association Media Prize'. For his broadcasting, he has won an 'American Television Academy Award', an 'Emmy' and the 'Richard Dimbleby Award', given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. His latest TV documentary, his 50th, Apartheid Did Not Die! - will be shown in Australia by the ABC in June.
'Pilger's strength is his gift for finding the image, the instant that reveals all: he is a photographer using words instead of a camera' - Salman Rushdie
'John Pilger is fearless. He unearths, with steely attention to facts, the filthy truth, and tells it as it is ... I salute him.' - Harold Pinter
Zogby International http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20040830120349841
(Utica, NY) - On the eve of a Republican National Convention invoking 9/11 symbols, sound bytes and imagery, half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall say that some of our leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act," according to the poll conducted by Zogby International. The poll of New York residents was conducted from Tuesday August 24 through Thursday August 26, 2004. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/-3.5.
The poll is the first of its kind conducted in America that surveys attitudes regarding US government complicity in the 9/11 tragedy. Despite the acute legal and political implications of this accusation, nearly 30% of registered Republicans and over 38% of those who described themselves as "very conservative" supported the claim.
- In early September, three weeks after wiring $100,000 to "lead hijacker" Mohammed Atta, Pakistan Army Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Mahmoud Ahmed was in Washington conferring with George Tenet and breakfasting on 9/11 morn with the new CIA chief Porter Goss. After his peculiar web of friendships surfaced he was encouraged to step down, but he has never been subpoenaed or even questioned about it by the 9/11 Commission or journalists to this day. But then we must remember that the Commission Report did conclude that, "Ultimately the question [of who funded 9/11] is of little practical significance" and thus assure us that the classic investigatory follow-the-money technique is now obsolete and we shouldn't trouble our little heads with such details today.
From The Center for Cooperative Research
August 6, 2001: Suspicious Trading of Companies Affected by 9/11 May Begin by
Insider trading based on advanced knowledge of the 9/11 attacks may have begun on this date, if not earlier. Investigators later discover a large number of put option purchases (a speculation that the stock will go down) that expire on September 30 at the Chicago Board Options Exchange are bought on this date. If exercised, these options would have led to large profits. One analyst later says, "From what I'm hearing, it's more than coincidence." [Reuters, 9/20/01]
The Chicago Board Options Exchange sees suspicious trading on
Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, two of the largest WTC tenants.
In the first week of September, an average of 27 put option contracts
in its shares are bought each day. Then the total for the three
days before the attacks is 2,157. Merrill Lynch, another WTC tenant,
see 12,215 put options bought between September 7-10, when the
previous days had seen averages of 252 contracts a day. [Independent,
10/14/01] Dylan Ratigan of Bloomberg Business News, speaking of
the trading on Morgan Stanley and other companies, says, "This would be
one of the most extraordinary coincidences in the history of mankind
if it was a coincidence." [ABC
People and organizations involved: Chicago Board Options Exchange, American Airlines, Dylan Ratigan, World Trade Center, Morgan Stanley
September 6-10, 2001: Suspicious Trading of Put Option Contracts on American and United Airlines Occur
A. B."Buzzy" Krongard.
Suspicious trading occurs on the stock of American and
United, the two airlines hijacked in the 9/11 attacks. "Between
6 and 7 September, the Chicago Board Options Exchange [sees] purchases
of 4,744 put option contracts [a speculation that the stock will
go down] in UAL versus 396 call options-where a speculator bets
on a price rising. Holders of the put options would [net] a
profit of $5 million once the carrier's share price [dive]
after September 11. On September 10, 4,516 put options in American
Airlines, the other airline involved in the hijackings, [are]
purchased in Chicago. This compares with a mere 748 call options
in American purchased that day. Investigators cannot help but
notice that no other airlines [see] such trading in their put
options." One analyst later says, "I saw put-call
numbers higher than I've ever seen in ten years of following the
markets, particularly the options markets." [Associated
Press, 9/18/01; San Francisco Chronicle, 9/19/01] "To the
embarrassment of investigators, it has also [learned] that the
firm used to buy many of the 'put' options ... on United Airlines
stock was headed until 1998 by 'Buzzy' Krongard, now executive director
of the CIA." Krongard
was chairman of Alex Brown Inc., which was bought by Deutsche
Bank. "His last post before resigning to take his senior
role in the CIA was to head Bankers Trust-Alex Brown's private
client business, dealing with the accounts and investments of
wealthy customers around the world." [Independent, 10/14/01]
People and organizations involved: Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, Chicago Board Options Exchange, United Airlines, American Airlines, Deutsche Bank
"There is no indication the 911 Commission pursued reports that in the case of one trade, the buyer of put options left a $2.5 million profit uncollected for many weeks, with no report at this time as to whether it was ever collected. " - The Center for Cooperative Research
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward." / "No previous director of CIA has ever tried to stop the inspector general from releasing a report to the Congress, in this case a report requested by Congress." / The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket By Robert Scheer The Los Angeles Times Tuesday 19 October 2004 vsav The agency is withholding a damning report that points at senior officials.
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."
When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report," she said. "We are very concerned."
According to the intelligence official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, release of the report, which represents an exhaustive 17-month investigation by an 11-member team within the agency, has been "stalled." First by acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and now by Porter J. Goss, the former Republican House member (and chairman of the Intelligence Committee) who recently was appointed CIA chief by President Bush.
The official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept. 11 commission and Congress.
"What all the other reports on 9/11 did not do is point the finger at individuals, and give the how and what of their responsibility. This report does that," said the intelligence official. "The report found very senior-level officials responsible."
By law, the only legitimate reason the CIA director has for holding back such a report is national security. Yet neither Goss nor McLaughlin has invoked national security as an explanation for not delivering the report to Congress.
"It surely does not involve issues of national security," said the intelligence official.
"The agency directorate is basically sitting on the report until after the election," the official continued. "No previous director of CIA has ever tried to stop the inspector general from releasing a report to the Congress, in this case a report requested by Congress."
None of this should surprise us given the Bush administration's great determination since 9/11 to resist any serious investigation into how the security of this nation was so easily breached. In Bush's much ballyhooed war on terror, ignorance has been bliss.
The president fought against the creation of the Sept. 11 commission, for example, agreeing only after enormous political pressure was applied by a grass-roots movement led by the families of those slain.
And then Bush refused to testify to the commission under oath, or on the record. Instead he deigned only to chat with the commission members, with Vice President Dick Cheney present, in a White House meeting in which commission members were not allowed to take notes. All in all, strange behavior for a man who seeks reelection to the top office in the land based on his handling of the so-called war on terror.
In September, the New York Times reported that several family members met with Goss privately to demand the release of the CIA inspector general's report. "Three thousand people were killed on 9/11, and no one has been held accountable," 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser told the paper.
The failure to furnish the report to Congress, said Harman, "fuels the perception that no one is being held accountable. It is unacceptable that we don't have [the report]; it not only disrespects Congress but it disrespects the American people."
The stonewalling by the Bush administration and the failure of Congress to gain release of the report have, said the intelligence source, "led the management of the CIA to believe it can engage in a cover-up with impunity. Unless the public demands an accounting, the administration and CIA's leadership will have won and the nation will have lost."
"...Clinton's National Security Advisor Sandy Berger remembered how little help the previous Bush administration had provided to his team. Believing that the nation's security should transcend political bitterness, Berger arranged ten briefings for his successor, Condoleezza Rice, and her deputy, Stephen Hadley. Berger made a special point of attending the briefing on terrorism. He told Dr. Rice, "I believe that the Bush administration will spend more time on terrorism in general, and on al Qaeda specifically, than any other subject.''
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Guardian Interview: Richard Clarke (excerpt) ' Julian Borger Guardian, U.K.
JB: If there had been meetings on terrorism in that first eight months, do you think it would have made a difference?
RC: Well let me ask you: Contrast December '99 with June and July and August 2001. In December '99 we get similar kinds of evidence that al-Qaida was planning a similar kind of attack. President Clinton asks the national security advisor to hold daily meetings with attorney-general, the CIA, FBI. They go back to their departments from the White House and shake the departments out to the field offices to find out everything they can find. It becomes the number one priority of those agencies. When the head of the FBI and CIA have to go to the White House every day, things happen and by the way, we prevented the attack. Contrast that with June, July, August 2001 when the president is being briefed virtually every day in his morning intelligence briefing that something is about to happen, and he never chairs a meeting and he never asks Condi rice to chair a meeting about what we're doing about stopping the attacks. She didn't hold one meeting during all those three months. Now, it turns out that buried in the FBI and CIA, there was information about two of these al-Qaida terrorists who turned out to be hijackers [Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi]. We didn't know that. The leadership of the FBI didn't know that, but if the leadership had to report on a daily basis to the White House, he would have shaken the trees and he would have found out those two guys were there. We would have put their pictures on the front page of every newspaper and we probably would have caught them. Now would that have stopped 9/11? I don't know. It would have stopped those two guys, and knowing the FBI the way they can take a thread and pull on it, they would probably have found others.
JB: So might they have stopped the September 11 attacks?
RC: I don't want to say they could have stopped the attacks. But there was a chance.
JB: A reasonable chance? A good chance?
RC: There was a chance, and whatever the probability was, they didn't take it.
02 April 2004
A former translator for the FBI with top-secret security clearance says she has provided information to the panel investigating the 11 September attacks which proves senior officials knew of al-Qa'ida's plans to attack the US with aircraft months before the strikes happened.
She said the claim by the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, that there was no such information was "an outrageous lie".
Sibel Edmonds said she spent more than three hours in a closed session with the commission's investigators providing information that was circulating within the FBI in the spring and summer of 2001 suggesting that an attack using aircraft was just months away and the terrorists were in place. The Bush administration, meanwhile, has sought to silence her and has obtained a gagging order from a court by citing the rarely used "state secrets privilege".
She told The Independent yesterday: "I gave [the commission] details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily."
She added: "There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used--but not specifically about how they would be used--and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities--with skyscrapers."
The accusations from Mrs Edmonds, 33, a Turkish-American who speaks Azerbaijani, Farsi, Turkish and English, will reignite the controversy over whether the administration ignored warnings about al-Qa'ida. That controversy was sparked most recently by Richard Clarke, a former counter-terrorism official, who has accused the administration of ignoring his warnings.
The issue --what the administration knew and when--is central to the investigation by the 9/11 Commission, which has been hearing testimony in public and private from government officials, intelligence officials and secret sources. Earlier this week, the White House made a U-turn when it said that Ms Rice would appear in public before the commission to answer questions. Mr Bush and his deputy, Dick Cheney, will also be questioned in a closed-door session.
Mrs Edmonds, 33, says she gave her evidence to the commission in a specially constructed "secure" room at its offices in Washington on 11 February. She was hired as a translator for the FBI's Washington field office on 13 September 2001, just two days after the al-Qa'ida attacks. Her job was to translate documents and recordings from FBI wire-taps.
She said said it was clear there was sufficient information during the spring and summer of 2001 to indicate terrorists were planning an attack. "Most of what I told the commission--90 per cent of it --related to the investigations that I was involved in or just from working in the department. Two hundred translators side by side, you get to see and hear a lot of other things as well."
"President Bush said they had no specific information about 11 September and that is accurate but only because he said 11 September," she said. There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and that an attack was just months away.
To try to refute Mr Clarke's accusations, Ms Rice said the administration did take steps to counter al-Qa'ida. But in an opinion piece in The Washington Post on 22 March, Ms Rice wrote: "Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack planes to try and free US-held terrorists."
Mrs Edmonds said that by using the word "we", Ms Rice told an "outrageous lie". She said: "Rice says 'we' not 'I'. That would include all people from the FBI, the CIA and DIA [Defence Intelligence Agency]. I am saying that is impossible."
It is impossible at this stage
to verify Mrs Edmonds' claims. However, some senior US senators
testified to her credibility in 2002 when she went public with
separate allegations relating to alleged incompetence and corruption
within the FBI's translation department.
5 April 2004 © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
/;// // ndn "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile." - Condoleezza Rice, May 16, 2002 ukkr
by Catherine Austin Fitts Former Assistant Secretary of Housing, Bush I
Hon. Condoleezza Rice
National Security Advisor
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
April 9, 2004
Dear Ms. Rice:
I am writing to communicate four
points regarding your testimony
yesterday under oath before the National Commission on Terrorist
Attacks Upon the United States.
Point #1: You are a liar.
Attorney General Ashcroft sits
on the National Security Council.
Warned by his FBI security detail, the head of law enforcement for the United States knew to avoid commercial airlines on September 11, 2001.
It was your job as National Security Advisor to make sure that the people who flew on American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, United Airlines Flight 93 and American Airlines Flight 77 had the benefit of the same warnings as those they paid to protect us.
You knew. You kept silent. They died.
You had numerous warnings of the risks of 9-11 - sufficient to let the American people know and use their best judgment as to how to protect themselves from a possible attack. It was your job as National Security Advisor to make sure that the people in the South Tower of the World Trade Center had the knowledge they needed to evacuate their building upon seeing the North Tower hit by a plane.
You knew. You kept silent. They died.
Point #2: Your motives are transparent.
The World Trade Center is in the heart of New York City - one of the great financial capitals of the world. The Pentagon is in the heart of Washington -- the appropriation and accounting capital for the US federal budget and credit and the US Treasury - the largest issuer of securities in the world.
Unlike many other terrorist attacks,
these attacks killed people whose family, friends and neighbors
understand how these financial systems work.
Victim families, friends and the residents of the communities directly harmed can calculate who made money on 9-11 profiteering. They can trace the flow of money into the 2004 Presidential campaign coffers from the profits your supporters made as a result of 9-11 profiteering. They can calculate how 9-11 profiteering connects to the financing and silence of corporate media.
Those personally impacted and the global researchers they network with have the intellectual power and personal courage to ask and answer, "Cui Bono?" (Who Benefits?) They understand that your success as National Security Advisor is as a direct result of your failure to stop 9-11. They can see how your lies about 9-11 made money for the investment syndicate that put you in power and for the buyers of US Treasury securities who are so richly paid to finance the US military, intelligence and enforcement apparatus and the defense contractors and oil interests it serves.
All the campaign ads in the world can not now convince the American people that you have their best interests at heart.
Point #3: You are going down.
The richest and most powerful people in the world pay for performance. They pay you to make the US governmental apparatus look legitimate while they use it to centralize economic and political power. That means they need liars who are better at lying than you.
The myth that you had no idea that Americans deserved to be warned about the risks of flying or planes being used as weapons is now in the dust heap with the notion that the United States attacked Iraq and our soldiers are dying to protect us from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Your lies of 9-11 - like your lies about the Iraqi war - have been profitable for the military-banking complex you represent. These lies, however, have not misled the crowd. The American people and global citizens are looking for the truth. We demand the changes that will give meaning and honor to those who died on 9-11 and in the ensuing wars. We demand an end to further bloodshed. We demand a refund of all that you and your backers have stolen from those of us who remain alive.
Point #4: You are guilty of criminal gross negligence.
If you want to catch a terrorist today, you need look no further than your own mirror.
Many Americans gather this weekend to give thanks that Jesus died for our sins and gave us the covenant of grace.
In the spirit of our Lord's crucification and resurrection, may God have mercy on your soul.
Catherine Austin Fitts
Former Assistant Secretary of Housing, Bush I
- Bob Dylan, "Masters of War" ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / dn "Democracies are not well-run nor long-preserved with secrecy and lies." Secrets and Lies Becoming Commonplace by Walter Cronkite King Features Syndicate
The initial refusal of President Bush to let his national security adviser appear under oath before the 9/11 Commission might have been in keeping with a principle followed by other presidents -- the principle being, according to Bush, that calling his advisers to testify under oath is a congressional encroachment on the executive branch's turf.
(Never mind that this commission is not a congressional body, but one he created and whose members he handpicked.)
But standing on that principle has proved to be politically damaging, in part because this administration -- the most secretive since Richard Nixon's -- already suffers from a deepening credibility problem. It all brings to mind something I've wondered about for some time: Are secrecy and credibility natural enemies?
When you stop to think about it, you keep secrets from people when you don't want them to know the truth. Secrets, even when legitimate and necessary, as in genuine national-security cases, are what you might call passive lies.
Take the recent flap over Richard Foster, the Medicare official whose boss threatened to fire him if he revealed to Congress that the prescription-drug bill would be a lot more expensive than the administration claimed. The White House tried to pass it all off as the excessive and unauthorized action of Foster's supervisor (who shortly after the threatened firing left the government).
Maybe. But the point is that the administration had the newer, higher numbers, and Congress had been misled. This was a clear case of secrecy being used to protect a lie. I can't help but wonder how many other faulty estimates by this administration have actually been misinformation explained as error.
The Foster story followed by only a few weeks the case of the U.S. Park police chief who got the ax for telling a congressional staffer -- and The Washington Post -- that budget cuts planned for her department would impair its ability to perform its duties. Chief Teresa Chambers since has accepted forced retirement from government service.
Isolated incidents? Not really. Looking back at the past three years reveals a pattern of secrecy and of dishonesty in the service of secrecy. Some New Yorkers felt they had been lied to following the horrific collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Proposed warnings by the Environmental Protection Agency -- that the air quality near ground zero might pose health hazards -- were watered down or deleted by the White House and replaced with the reassuring message that the air was safe to breathe.
The EPA's own inspector general said later that the agency did not have sufficient data to claim the air was safe. However, the reassurance was in keeping with the president's defiant back-to-work/business-as-usual theme to demonstrate the nation's strength and resilience. It also was an early example of a Bush administration reflex described by one physicist as "never let science get in the way of policy."
In April 2002, the EPA had prepared a nationwide warning about a brand of asbestos called Zonolite, which contained a form of the substance far more lethally dangerous than ordinary asbestos. However, reportedly at the last minute, the White House stopped the warning. Why? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which broke the story, noted that the Bush administration at the time was pushing legislation limiting the asbestos manufacturer's liability. Whatever the reason, such silence by an agency charged with protecting our health is a silent lie in my book.
One sometimes gets the impression that this administration believes that how it runs the government is its business and no one else's. It is certainly not the business of Congress. And if it's not the business of the people's representatives, it's certainly no business of yours or mine.fr98yf\yufpfyufp0
But this is a dangerous condition for any representative democracy to find itself in. The tight control of information, as well as the dissemination of misleading information and outright falsehoods, conjures up a disturbing image of a very different kind of society.
Democracies are not well-run nor long-preserved with secrecy and lies.
Maybe it's because I've been instructed to pack a respirator escape hood along with party dresses for the Boston convention. Maybe it's because our newspaper has assigned a terrorism reporter to cover a political convention. Maybe it's because George Bush is relaxing at his ranch down there (again) while Osama is planning a big attack up here (again). Maybe it's because there are just as many American soldiers dying in Iraq post-transfer, more Muslims more mad at us over fake W.M.D. intelligence and depravity at Abu Ghraib, and more terrorists in more diffuse networks hating us more.
Maybe it's because the F.B.I. is still learning how to Google and the C.I.A. has an acting head who spends most of his time acting defensive over his agency's failure to get anything right. Maybe it's because so many of those federal twits who missed the 10 chances to stop the 9/11 hijackers, who blew off our Paul Reveres - Richard Clarke, Coleen Rowley and the Phoenix memo author - still run things. Call me crazy, Mr. President, but I don't feel any safer.
The nation's mesmerizing new best seller, the 9/11 commission report, lays bare how naked we still are against an attack, and how vulnerable we are because of the time and money the fuzzy-headed Bush belligerents wasted going after the wrong target.
Even scarier, the commissioners expect Congress, which they denounced as "dysfunctional" on intelligence oversight, to get busy fixing things just as lawmakers are flying home for vacation.
The report offers vivid details on our worst fears. Instead of focusing on immediately hitting back at Osama, Bush officials indulged their idiotic idée fixe on Saddam and ignored the memo from their counter-terrorism experts dismissing any connection between the religious fanatic bin Laden and the secular Hussein.
"On the afternoon of 9/11, according to contemporaneous notes, Secretary Rumsfeld instructed General Myers to obtain quickly as much information as possible," the report says. " The notes indicate that he also told Myers that he was not simply interested in striking empty training sites. The secretary said his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time - not only bin Laden."
At the first Camp David meeting after 9/11, the report states, "Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz made the case for striking Iraq during 'this round' of the war on terrorism."
Six days after the World Trade Center towers were pulverized, when we should have been striking Osama with everything we had, the Bush team was absorbed with old grudges and stale assumptions.
"At the September 17 N.S.C. meeting, there was some further discussion of 'phase two' of the war on terrorism," the report says. "President Bush ordered the Defense Department to be ready to deal with Iraq if Baghdad acted against U.S. interests, with plans to include possibly occupying Iraqi oil fields."
President Bush was unsure of himself, relying too much on a vice president whose deep, calm voice belied a deeply cracked world view.
He explained to the commissioners that he had stayed in his seat making little fish faces at second graders for seven minutes after learning about the second plane hitting the towers because, as the report says, "The president felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening."
What better way to track the terror in the Northeast skies than by reading "My Pet Goat" in Sarasota?
The commissioners warn that the price for the Bush bullies' attention deficit disorder could be high: "If, for example, Iraq becomes a failed state, it will go to the top of the list of places that are breeding grounds for attacks against Americans at home. Similarly, if we are paying insufficient attention to Afghanistan, the rule of the Taliban or warlords and narcotraffickers may re-emerge and its countryside could once again offer refuge to Al Qaeda, or its successor."
And, if that's not ominous enough, consider this: "The problem is that Al Qaeda represents an ideological movement, not a finite group of people. It initiates and inspires, even if it no longer directs."
"Yet killing or capturing" Osama, the report says, "while extremely important, would not end terror. His message of inspiration to a new generation of terrorists would continue."
If the Bush crowd hadn't been besotted with the idea of smoking Saddam, they could have stomped Osama in Tora Bora. Now it's too late. Al Qaeda has become a state of mind.
by Robert Scheer Los Angeles Times
March 9, 2004 How perfect the irony, how sordid the scam. The president, who ignored the Al Qaeda threat before Sept. 11, 2001, who diverted public attention in that horror's aftermath to the nonexistent threat from Iraq and who has stonewalled the investigation of 9/11, now seeks to exploit that tragedy as a reelection gimmick.
George W. Bush avoids being photographed with the dead and injured from his folly in Iraq, but hey, those flag-draped coffins of 9/11 victims make great TV ads. What a grisly low in political exploitation.
That's why the ads were condemned by a firefighters union and many of the 9/11 victims' relatives, whose various websites contain an impressive list of the unanswered questions concerning the tragedy. As Bob McIlvaine, whose son was killed in the Twin Towers disaster, put it: "Instead of playing on people's emotions with images of that day, the president would do right to cooperate more with the independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks so we can learn the truth about what happened on that day and why."
But uncovering the truth about 9/11 has never been Bush's intention. Instead, the president has used that tragedy for his own political ambitions to draw attention away from his lies about Iraq, the unprecedented national debt, the disappointing jobless recovery and the attacks on civil liberty. What's mind-boggling is the cynicism of Bush's electoral ploy when one considers that he never showed any interest in terrorism before 9/11. He had focused instead on the war on drugs and trying to one-up his father on Iraq. His abysmal failure to heed the Clinton administration's warnings regarding the threat posed by Osama bin Laden may be one reason for Bush's extreme reluctance to permit an unimpeded, bipartisan public investigation of 9/11.
Never before in our national history has such a major event been so unexamined by the government while being so effectively hyped for political advantage. The obfuscation has been deliberate and executed with a passion that suggests Bush may have some dreadful truth to hide. Why else would he initially oppose the formation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the origins and lessons of 9/11?
Bush allowed the commission to form only after enormous public pressure led by the families of victims, who demanded an accounting of what led to the loss of their loved ones. Bush then sought to undermine an honest investigation by appointing Henry Kissinger, international grand master of mendacity, to be chairman. That gambit failed when Kissinger refused to make public his murky financial entanglements with the very regimes most likely to have links to the 9/11 terrorists.
After a more independent commission finally was allowed to form, Bush set about to systematically undermine its work by refusing to turn over documents essential to the investigation or to permit the full committee to interview the top officials in his administration, from himself on down.
This is a president whose immediate response to 9/11 was to protect the Al Qaeda terrorists' known sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan while planning a sideshow war against Bin Laden's sworn enemy in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein. In the immediate aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster, a Saudi plane was allowed to land in the United States and whisk Bin Laden relatives and certain Saudis out of the country before intelligence agencies could fully question them, despite the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals who had been allowed to enter the U.S. under suspicious circumstances, suggesting the connivance of the Saudi government.
Bush turned his sights on Iraq's illusory weapons of mass destruction while lifting the sanctions imposed on Pakistan, a known possessor and proliferator of nuclear weapons. Nor have any of those sanctions been restored even now, when Pakistan admits that its top scientific institute was the source of nuclear weapons technology sold to North Korea, Libya and Iran.
Bush defends his exploitation
of 9/11 with these words: "How this administration handled
that day, as well as the war on terror, is worthy of discussion."
Yes indeed, but it is an administration that delights in discussions
in which it monopolizes all of the crucial information
and cherry-picks, fabricates and otherwise distorts evidence,
mocking the sacred notion of representative democracy.
Copyright © 2004 Robert Scheer
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ c /vv/ Telling It Right By Paul Krugman The New York Times Friday 19 December 2003 "This was not something that had to happen."
"This is a very, very important part of history, and we've got to tell it right." So says Thomas Kean, chairman of the independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Kean promises major revelations in testimony next month: "This was not something that had to happen." We'll see: maybe those of us who expected the 9/11 commission to produce yet another whitewash were wrong. Meanwhile, one can only echo his sentiment: it's important to tell our history right, not just about the events that led up to 9/11, but about the events that followed.
The capture of Saddam Hussein has produced a great outpouring of relief among both Iraqis and Americans. He's no longer taunting us from hiding; he was a monster and deserves whatever fate awaits him. But we shouldn't let war supporters use the occasion of Saddam's capture to rewrite the recent history of U.S. foreign policy, to draw a veil over the way the nation was misled into war.
Even the Iraq war's critics usually focus on the practical failures of the Bush administration's policy, rather than its morality. After all, the war came at a heavy cost, even before the fighting began: to prepare for the Iraq campaign, the administration diverted resources away from Afghanistan before the job was done, giving Al Qaeda a chance to get away and the Taliban a chance to regroup.
And while the initial invasion went smoothly, since then almost everything in Iraq has gone badly. (Saddam's capture would have been a smaller story if it had happened in the first flush of victory; instead, it was the first real piece of good news from Iraq in months.) The security situation remains terrible; the economy remains moribund; gasoline shortages and power outages continue.
To top it all off, the ongoing disorder in Iraq is a clear and present danger to our own national security. A large part of the U.S. military's combat strength is tied down in occupation duties, leaving us ill prepared for crises elsewhere. Meanwhile, overstretch is undermining the readiness of the military as a whole.
Now maybe, just maybe, Saddam's capture will start a virtuous circle in Iraq. Maybe the insurgency will evaporate; maybe the cost to America, in blood, dollars and national security, will start to decline.
But even if all that happens, we should be deeply disturbed by the history of this war. For its message seems to be that as long as you wave the flag convincingly enough, it doesn't matter whether you tell the truth.
By now, we've become accustomed to the fact that the absence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction - the principal public rationale for the war - hasn't become a big political liability for the administration. That's bad enough. Even more startling is the news from one of this week's polls: despite the complete absence of evidence, 53 percent of Americans believe that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, up from 43 percent before his capture. The administration's long campaign of guilt by innuendo, it seems, is still working.
The war's more idealistic supporters do, I think, feel queasy about all this. That's why they lay so much stress on their hopes for democracy in Iraq. They're not just looking for a happy ending; they're looking for moral redemption for a war fought on false pretenses.
As a practical matter, I suspect that they'll be disappointed: the only leaders in Iraq with genuine popular followings seem to be Shiite clerics. I also wonder how much real commitment to democracy lies behind the administration's stirring rhetoric. Does anyone remember that Dick Cheney voted against a resolution calling for Nelson Mandela's release from prison? As recently as 2000 he defended that vote, saying that the African National Congress "was then perceived as a terrorist organization."
Which brings me to this week's other famous prisoner. While the world celebrated the capture of Saddam, a federal appeals court ruled that Jose Padilla must be released from military custody. Mr. Padilla is a U.S. citizen, arrested on American soil, who has been held for 18 months without charges as an "enemy combatant." The ruling was a stark reminder that the Bush administration, which talks so much about promoting democracy abroad, doesn't seem very concerned about following democratic rules at home.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ c vv c vSCDnf LUCKY GEORGE and the TRIFECTA fbbdbd "I remember -- I remember campaigning in Chicago, and one of the reporters said, would you ever deficit spend? I said only - - only in times of war, in times of economic insecurity as a result of a recession, or in times of national emergency. Never did I dream we'd have a trifecta! (Laughter.)" / -George W. Bush, June 7, 2002. The "compassionate conservative" repeated this sick 'joke' on no less than 15 different occasions ( see all quotes ) fbbd/bd c vSCDV"When I first reported this remark, angry readers accused me of inventing it. Mr. Bush, they said, is a decent man who would never imply that the nation's woes had taken him off the hook, let alone make a joke out of it." / - Paul Krugman, "The Memory Hole", New York Times, August 6 , 2002 ( Full article ) f/bbdbd c v/SCDV "Making a joke once about death, war and national catastrophe could be chalked up to nothing more than a rhetorical misfire by a man famous for mangling his scripts. Fifteen repetitions, however, makes it a standing part of his routine. The fact that this joke is used while he is asking for money makes it all the more unseemly. How can a man with honor and integrity use the deaths of thousands of Americans, a wounded economy and a frightening state of war as a punch line to earn laughs and money for the GOP?" / - William Rivers Pitt, "Behold, A Child Shall Lead Them", t r u t h o u t, June 27, 2002 / ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ //
ccbc vbab/v sad ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
He Molests the Dead By Jimmy Breslin Newsday Saturday 06 March 2004
In his first campaign commercial, George Bush reached down and molested the dead.
But this only in keeping with both Bushes. George Bush, Sr., had the badge of officer Eddie Byrne, who was gunned down in South Jamaica, and he stood up at Christ the King High School in Middle Village and held it up and said he would have this badge on him forever. Some chance. Bush then led high school girls into insane cheers for the death penalty.
Now, right off, this second George Bush came up with the badge of a Port Authority cop, George Howard, who died. He was from Hicksville. His mother gave Bush the son's badge. When Bush came back to the trade center a year later, he reached into his pocket and whipped out that badge and he had a tear in his eye. What makes it worse is that this George W. Bush acts like he's entitled to treat the remains of a dead man like a souvenir. Now he shows a commercial with dead bodies, or body parts, covered with an American flag being taken through the smoke and flames of the world trade center attack. It caused people who had lost family members in the attack to complain about using the dead or parts thereof being used for a politician's gain.
"Bush is afraid to let us see the dead being brought back from Iraq," one fire fighter said yesterday.
The ad is nothing more than another George W. Bush fraud. First, arriving at the trade center, he was led by a flunkey to a retired fire fighter, Bob Beckwith, who had come down three days after the attack to take a look. Bush's flacks had Beckwith stand on a destroyed fire engine and Bush came up next to him and Bush put an arm around him and, two heroes, Bush called out "we're tough" to the television cameras.
He had all he wanted out of the place. A picture.
You all saw Bush play dress-up and land on the aircraft carrier and stand there, the helmet under his arm just like an Ace from the top of a bloody sky. The aircraft carrier had to be turned around so the skyline of San Diego wouldn't be seen.
Now he has his world trade center commercial out there and a lot of decent people regard it as an insult.
Right away, Rudolph Giuliani came out to defend him to the death. He said the commercial was true and right to put on because it was "appropriate." He was a nobody as a mayor and in one day he became a hero. This sudden career, this door opening to a room of gold, all started for Rudolph Giuliani when his indestructible bunker in World Trade Center building blew up. He had personally selected it, high in the sky, and with tons of diesel fuel to give emergency power.
And Guiliani walks on. He walks from his bunker, up Barclay Street and went on television. Went on and announced his heroism and then came back every hour or so until he became a star, a great figure, a national hero, the mayor who saved New York.
Most of this comes from these dazed Pekingese of the Press. As this was being written on Friday night, the television announcers kept saying that Martha Stewart would go to a country club federal prison. The fools. Try any jail on any day. At five o'clock, you can't go home. Giuliani was a hero with these news people. He did not pick up a piece of steel or help carry one of the injured off.
He made the trade center his private cathedral. Police commanders were terrified of letting you in. There was only Rudy, who flew his stars, Opra and the like, down to see it. Now he says a Bush ad is "appropriate."
That's Giuliani's word. As the mayor, he had a detective driving one of his girl friends out of the Gracie Mansion driveway while another detective was arriving with another girl friend and was waved off to prevent a domestic riot.
All the while upstairs there were his wife. and children.
Giuliani then showed appropriate behavior by walking in a parade on Fifth Avenue with his girl friend and all the while his children could sit and watch him on television.
How marvelous! It was appropriate to humiliate his children, and now it is appropriate to molest the dead.
Giuliani also had a flunkey, Bernard Kerik, rush on television and say, so earnestly, that the Bush commerical was appropriate. Kerik was a Giuliani campaign chauffeur who became police commissioner. How marvelous! At the world trade center, Kerik was in the back of his car dictating the last part of a book that was going to appear under his name. It had him writhing with delicious excitement. It was about his mother being a prostitute.
"That's what's going to make me all the money," he told a friend of mine.
That is only the start of the Bush campaign. He has plenty of money and unlimited personal cheapness.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ fdvg a fdvg Bernard Kerik speaks to reporters Saturday about his decision. fdvgvb
Saturday, December 11, 2004 Posted:
12:34 PM EST (1734 GMT)
Bernard Kerik speaks to reporters Saturday about his decision.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One week after President Bush nominated him to be secretary of homeland security, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik withdrew from consideration Friday night after discovering a former household employee had a questionable immigration status.
Withdrawn Bernard Kerik may have a nanny problem. But is that the only reason he's bowed out of the Homeland Security job? / By Mark Hosenball Newsweek Dec. 19, 2004
We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore By Garrison Keillor In These Times Thursday 26 August 2004
Michael Moore documents factual backup for FARENHEIT 911: http://www.michaelmoore.com/warroom/f911notes/index.php?id=16
Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned - and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today's. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.
In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. 'Bipartisanship is another term of date rape,' says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. 'I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.' The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we're deaf, dumb and dangerous.
Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild swine crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee rooms and write legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires! Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, where art thou at this hour? Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.
Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy - the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president's personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.
The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived this. The election of 2004 will say something about what happens to ours. The omens are not good.
Our beloved land has been fogged with fear - fear, the greatest political strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence the opposition. And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained judges, strip the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory agencies, bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press, lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the rich.
There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn't the Florida recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it's 9/11 that we keep coming back to. It wasn't the 'end of innocence,' or a turning point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a lapse of security. And patriotism shouldn't prevent people from asking hard questions of the man who was purportedly in charge of national security at the time.
Whenever I think of those New Yorkers hurrying along Park Place or getting off the No.1 Broadway local, hustling toward their office on the 90th floor, the morning paper under their arms, I think of that non-reader George W. Bush and how he hopes to exploit those people with a little economic uptick, maybe the capture of Osama, cruise to victory in November and proceed to get some serious nation-changing done in his second term.
This year, as in the past, Republicans will portray us Democrats as embittered academics, desiccated Unitarians, whacked-out hippies and communards, people who talk to telephone poles, the party of the Deadheads. They will wave enormous flags and wow over and over the footage of firemen in the wreckage of the World Trade Center and bodies being carried out and they will lie about their economic policies with astonishing enthusiasm.
The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same as what Lincoln spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has humbugged us to death on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy and school prayer and flag burning and claimed the right to know what books we read and to dump their sewage upstream from the town and clear-cut the forests and gut the IRS and mark up the constitution on behalf of intolerance and promote the corporate takeover of the public airwaves and to hell with anybody who opposes them.
This is a great country, and it wasn't made so by angry people. We have a sacred duty to bequeath it to our grandchildren in better shape than however we found it. We have a long way to go and we're not getting any younger.
Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken my piece, and thank you, dear reader. It's a beautiful world, rain or shine, and there is more to life than winning.
Garrison Keillor is the host and writer of A Prairie Home Companion, now in its 25th year on the air. This adapted excerpted from Keillor's new book, Homegrown Democrat (© 2004) is reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ // / "September 11 demanded that we be better, greater, more righteous than those who brought death to us. September 11 demanded that we be better, and in doing so, we would show the world that those who attacked us are far, far less than us. That would have been victory, with nary a shot being fired. Our leaders, however, took us in exactly the opposite direction." / "What began on September 11 with the world wrapping us in its loving embrace has collapsed today in a literal orgy of shame and disgrace."
Monday 10 May 2004 ORIGINAL
We have traveled a long, dark, strange road since the attacks of September 11. We have all suffered, we have all known fear and anger, and sometimes hatred. Many of us have felt - probably more than we are willing to admit it - at one time or another a desire for revenge, so deep was the wound inflicted upon us during that wretched, unforgettable Tuesday morning in September of 2001.
But we have come now to the end of a week so awful, so terrible, so wrenching that the most basic moral fabric of that which we believe is good and great - the basic moral fabric of the United States of America - has been torn bitterly asunder.
We are awash in photographs of Iraqi men - not terrorists, just people - lying in heaps on cold floors with leashes around their necks. We are awash in photographs of men chained so remorselessly that their backs are arched in agony, men forced to masturbate for cameras, men forced to pretend to have sex with one another for cameras, men forced to endure attacks from dogs, men with electrodes attached to them as they stand, hooded, in fear of their lives.
The worst, amazingly, is yet to come. A new battery of photographs and videotapes, as yet unreleased, awaits over the horizon of our abused understanding. These photos and videos, also from the Abu Ghraib prison, are reported to show U.S. soldiers gang raping an Iraqi woman, U.S. soldiers beating an Iraqi man nearly to death, U.S. troops posing, smirks affixed, with decomposing Iraqi bodies, and Iraqi troops under U.S. command raping young boys.
George W. Bush would have us believe these horrors were restricted to a sadistic few, and would have us believe these horrors happened only in Abu Ghraib. Yet reports are surfacing now of similar treatment at another U.S. detention center in Iraq called Camp Bucca. According to these reports, Iraqi prisoners in Camp Bucca were beaten, humiliated, hogtied, and had scorpions placed on their naked bodies.
In the eyes of the world, this is America today. It cannot be dismissed as an anomaly because it went on and on and on in the Abu Ghraib prison, and because now we hear of Camp Bucca. According to the British press, there are some 30 other cases of torture and humiliation under investigation. The Bush administration went out of its way to cover up this disgrace, declaring secret the Army report on these atrocities. That, pointedly, is against the rules and against the law. You can't call something classified just because it is embarrassing and disgusting. It was secret, but now it is out, and the whole world has been shown the dark, scabrous underbelly of our definition of freedom.
The beginnings of actual political fallout began to find its way into the White House last week. Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the House Democrats' most vocal defense hawk, joined Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to declare that the conflict is "unwinnable." Murtha, a Vietnam veteran, rocked the Democratic caucus when he said at a leader's luncheon Tuesday that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq.
"Unwinnable." Well, it only took about 14 months.
Also last week, calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld became strident. Pelosi accused Rumsfeld of being "in denial about Iraq," and said U.S. soldiers "are suffering great casualties and injuries, and American taxpayers are paying an enormous price" because Rumsfeld "has done a poor job as secretary of defense." Representative Charlie Rangel, a leading critic of the Iraq invasion, has filed articles of impeachment against Rumsfeld.
So there's the heat. But let us consider the broader picture here in the context of that one huge word: "Unwinnable." Why did we do this in the first place? There have been several reasons offered over the last 16 months for why we needed to do this thing.
It started, for real, in January 2003 when George W. Bush said in his State of the Union speech that Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX, 30,000 munitions to deliver this stuff, and that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger to build nuclear bombs.
That reason has been scratched off the list because, as has been made painfully clear now, there are no such weapons in Iraq. The Niger claim, in particular, has caused massive embarrassment for America because it was so farcical, and has led to a federal investigation of this White House because two administration officials took revenge upon Joseph Wilson's wife for Wilson''s exposure of the lie.
Next on the list was September 11, and the oft-repeated accusation that Saddam Hussein must have been at least partially responsible. That one collapsed as well - Bush himself had to come out and say Saddam had nothing to do with it.
Two reasons down, so the third must be freedom and liberty for the Iraqi people. Once again, however, facts interfere. America does not want a democratic Iraq, because a democratic Iraq would quickly become a Shi'ite fundamentalist Iraq allied with the Shi'ite fundamentalist nation of Iran, a strategic situation nobody with a brain wants to see come to pass. It has been made clear by Paul Bremer, the American administrator of Iraq, that whatever the new Iraqi government comes to look like, it will have no power to make any laws of any kind, it will have no control over the security of Iraq, and it will have no power over the foreign troops which occupy its soil. This is, perhaps, some bizarre new definition of democracy not yet in the dictionary, but it is not democracy by any currently accepted definition I have ever heard of.
So...the reason to go to war because of weapons of mass destruction is destroyed. The reason to go to war because of connections to September 11 is destroyed. The reason to go to war in order to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq is destroyed.
What is left? The one reason left has been unfailingly flapped around by defenders of this administration and supporters of this war: Saddam Hussein was a terrible, terrible man. He killed his own people. He tortured his own people. The Iraqis are better off without him, and so the war is justified.
And here, now, is the final excuse destroyed. We have killed more than 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians in this invasion, and maimed countless others. The photos from Abu Ghraib prison show that we, like Saddam Hussein, torture and humiliate the Iraqi people. Worst of all, we do this in the same prison Hussein used to do his torturing. The "rape rooms," often touted by Bush as justification for the invasion, are back. We are the killers now. We are the torturers now. We have achieved a moral equivalence with the Butcher of Baghdad.
This war is lost. I mean not just the Iraq war, but George W. Bush's ridiculous "War on Terror" as a whole.
I say ridiculous because this "War on Terror" was never, ever something we were going to win. What began on September 11 with the world wrapping us in its loving embrace has collapsed today in a literal orgy of shame and disgrace. This happened, simply, because of the complete failure of moral leadership at the highest levels.
We saw a prime example of this during Friday's farce of a Senate hearing into the Abu Ghraib disaster which starred Don Rumsfeld. From his bully pulpit spoke Senator Joe Lieberman, who parrots the worst of Bush's war propaganda with unfailingly dreary regularity. Responding to the issue of whether or not Bush and Rumsfeld should apologize for Abu Ghraib, Lieberman stated that none of the terrorists had apologized for September 11.
There it was, in a nutshell. There was the idea, oft promulgated by the administration, that September 11 made any barbarism, any extreme, any horror brought forth by the United States acceptable, and even desirable. There was the institutionalization of revenge as a basis for policy. Sure, Abu Ghraib was bad, Mr. Lieberman put forth. But September 11 happened, so all bets are off.
Thus fails the "War on Terror." September 11 did not demand of us the lowest common denominator, did not demand of us that we become that which we despise and denounce. September 11 demanded that we be better, greater, more righteous than those who brought death to us. September 11 demanded that we be better, and in doing so, we would show the world that those who attacked us are far, far less than us. That would have been victory, with nary a shot being fired.
Our leaders, however, took us in exactly the opposite direction.
Every reason to go to Iraq has failed to retain even a semblance of credibility. Every bit of propaganda Osama bin Laden served up to the Muslim world for why America should be attacked and destroyed has been given credibility by what has taken place in Iraq. Victory in this "War on Terror," a propaganda war from the beginning, has been given to the September 11 attackers by the hand of George W. Bush, and by the hand of those who enabled his incomprehensible blundering.
The war is lost.
William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for t r u t h o u t . He is a New York Times and international bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.' © : t r u t h o u t 2004
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / / / _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ sfdvgavb Nine Eleven By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Everyone has a story.
My friend Doris has two stories. The first is about a woman she knew who ran out of the Towers, but then realized a co-worker was still upstairs. She ran back into the building to get him. Her co-worker survived, but she was burned to death. The way Doris tells it, he still isn't right in the head to this day because of her death. Doris' other story is about a man she knew who called his father as the Tower he was in collapsed. He told his father he loved him, and then he was gone.
My friend Brian has a story about himself, sitting at his desk in San Francisco trying to get clients in New York on the phone. He couldn't get through, and couldn't get through, and couldn't get through. His boss saw him and came to his desk. "What are you doing?" he asked Brian. "Umworking?" Brian replied. "Don't you know what's happening?" his boss exclaimed. A few minutes later, Brian realized the people he was calling were either dead or fleeing.
For me, it was the first day of school. I was in my office, getting my notes ready to teach Journalism and then English, when I saw the first report pop up on the New York Times website. Ten minutes later, I was in the library hauling a television out of the AV closet. According to my boss, I turned the color of old cheese as the images flashed on the screen. We had an assembly a few minutes later - a first-day-of-school tradition - and because the students had been in class the whole time, they had no idea what was happening.
As we filed to the assembly, I ran into a senior I had taught the year before. "Can you believe this is happening?" I asked. "What's happening?" she replied. "Two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers, and they're on fire. It was no accident." The color left her face and she said, "My father is there today." I ran her up to the principal's office, and she spent the next six hours on the telephone with her mother, waiting to hear. At the end of the day, we got the word: Her father had gotten down to the lobby when the second plane hit, and he didn't stop running until he was standing on Staten Island. I spent the rest of that day trying to teach, listening to my students ask me, "Is this World War III?" The best I could do was to say, "Probably."
Everyone has a story, and that is the fundamental key to the power of George W. Bush and his administration. September 11 was shared by all of us. It made all of us bleed somewhere. It made us all afraid. If it is true that we are all connected by six degrees of separation, every single person lost someone important. George W. Bush and his administration positioned themselves as our defenders, the dispensers of patriotism, and the axis of our craved revenge. Every ounce of political strength this administration enjoys flows directly from that day, because everyone has a story.
Adlai Stevenson once said, "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." As a nation, we have become lost because the frenzied outburst of emotion which arose from the dust and death of September 11 was transformed, with deliberation and intent, into a shield which protects Bush and his people from any consequences arising from their actions. We have become lost because, in that frenzy and fear, millions of Americans were coaxed into believing that Bush alone could protect us, could save us, and any words against him or the actions of his administration were tantamount to treason.
Apply a different context and imagine an America today had September 11 not happened.
Would we tolerate a President who drove us to war on the basis of lies and exaggeration? Would we tolerate a President who used fear against his own people to get what he wanted? Would we tolerate a President whose people destroyed deep-cover CIA agents as a means of exacting political revenge? Would we tolerate a President who gave away billions of our tax dollars to his closest corporate friends, under the cover of the aforementioned lies and exaggerations? Would we tolerate a President who made the torture of fellow human beings an accepted policy, whose advisors and attorneys concocted twisted arguments to defend such torture, who came to the conclusion that the President is absolutely, totally and without exception above the law?
Put another way, would we have tolerated any of this had it happened during the Clinton administration? Certainly not. Had Clinton done even one of these things, he would have been impeached and removed from office, deservedly so, and none of us would have been required to hear about stained dresses and thong underwear.
That was then, and this is now.
The time has come, bluntly, to get over September 11, to move beyond it, to extract ourselves from this bunker mentality which blinds us while placing us in mortal peril. It happened, and it will never be forgotten, but we have reached a place where fear and obeisance can no longer be tolerated.
Everyone has a story, but those stories have not finished in the telling. What final chapter would you write for your story? Will the final chapter of your story be one of fear, one where you staggered along behind grandiose incompetence because you were too afraid to do anything else? Or will that final chapter of your story be one of triumph, of truth, of a day when you chose not to be manipulated any more? Will your final chapter tell how your patriotism became debased to the point where hate, anger and total obedience to a corrupted authority were the hallmarks of your love of country? Or will your patriotism become that steady dedication of a lifetime upon which the fate of this nation depends?
Write your own ending, but make it a beginning.
William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for t r u t h o u t. He is a New York Times and international bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'
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