American Samizdat Guernica
Saturday, February 07, 2004
Tell Me Lies
[Mike Malloy, 8:39, 2 MB, MP3]
The Imminent Threat
In their own words:
White House National Security Strategy, Section V, Sept. 17, 2002
"For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack. Legal scholars and international jurists often conditioned the legitimacy of preemption on the existence of an imminent threat -- most often a visible mobilization of armies, navies, and air forces preparing to attack.

"We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today's adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction -- weapons that can be easily concealed, delivered covertly, and used without warning."

[Via BushWatch.]

This concept of imminence is central to both international law and even the quite aggressive National Security Strategy. A danger or threat must be imminent before a pre-emptive attack can be made. And only if a danger or threat is imminent can a pre-emptive attack be justified.
Even in their own words.

The Imminent Threat, II
But they claim they never actually said "imminent threat":
  • "... Iraq was a threat ..."
    ~ White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, 8/26/03

  • "We ended the threat ..."
    ~ President Bush, 7/17/03

  • "... the most dangerous threat of our time."
    ~ White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 7/17/03

  • "... he was a threat ... He was a threat. He's not a threat now."
    ~ President Bush, 7/2/03

  • "Absolutely."
    ~ White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an "imminent threat," 5/7/03

  • "... the threat from Iraq ..."
    ~ President Bush 4/24/03

  • "The threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction ..."
    ~ Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 3/25/03

  • "... threat to the region and the world ..."
    ~ Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, 3/22/03

  • "... an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."
    ~ President Bush, 3/19/03

  • "... a threat to the security of free nations."
    ~ President Bush, 3/16/03

  • "This is about imminent threat."
    ~ White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03

  • "... a serious threat to our country, to our friends and to our allies."
    ~ Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/31/03

  • "... terrible threats to the civilized world."
    ~ Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/30/03

  • "... threatens the United States of America."
    ~ Vice President Cheney, 1/30/03

  • "... a serious and mounting threat to our country."
    ~ Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/29/03

  • "Well, of course he is."
    ~ White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett responding to the question "is Saddam an imminent threat ... ?", 1/26/03

  • "... a threat to the security of our people ..."
    ~ Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/20/03

  • "... a threat to any American. ... Iraq is a threat, a real threat."
    ~ President Bush, 1/3/03

  • "... the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq ..."
    ~ President Bush, 11/23/02

  • "... Was the attack that took place on September 11 an imminent threat the month before ... So the question is, when is it such an immediate threat that you must do something?"
    ~ Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 11/14/02

  • "... a threat to America."
    ~ President Bush, 11/3/02

  • "... a significant threat to the security of the United States ..."
    ~ President Bush, 11/1/02

  • "There is real threat, in my judgment, a real and dangerous threat to American ..."
    ~ President Bush, 10/28/02

  • "... a serious and growing threat to peace."
    ~ President Bush, 10/16/02

  • "... the threat from Iraq stands alone ..."
    ~ President Bush, 10/7/02

  • "... a threat of unique urgency."
    ~ President Bush, 10/2/02

  • "... a grave threat in Iraq."
    ~ President Bush, 10/2/02

  • "... a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined."
    ~ President Bush, 9/26/02

  • "No ... greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people ..."
    ~ Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02

  • "Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent ... the immediate threat from biological weapons. "
    ~ Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/18/02

  • "... in the face of this mortal threat ..."
    ~ Vice President Dick Cheney, 8/29/02

[Via the Center for American Progress.]
These are their own words. The threat was immediate, grave, unique, serious, growing, real, dangerous, significant, urgent, mounting, and imminent!


George Tenet: CIA never said
Iraq was "an imminent threat"
From the transcript of Tenet's prepared remarks at Georgetown University on February 5, 2004:
"Let me be clear: analysts differed on several important aspects of these programs and those debates were spelled out in the Estimate.

"They never said there was an 'imminent' threat. Rather, they painted an objective assessment for our policymakers of a brutal dictator who was continuing his efforts to deceive and build programs that might constantly surprise us and threaten our interests."

Efforts to deceive. Efforts to build programs. Might surprise us. Might threaten our interests. Hardly things to ignore, but also hardly imminent.


The imminent stovepipe
So if the Bush administration's portrayal of Iraq as an imminent threat did not come from the CIA, where did it come from? It came from "The Stovepipe":
The point is not that the President and his senior aides were consciously lying. What was taking place was much more systematic -- and potentially just as troublesome. Kenneth Pollack, a former National Security Council expert on Iraq ... told me that what the Bush people did was "dismantle the existing filtering process that for fifty years had been preventing the policymakers from getting bad information. They created stovepipes to get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership. Their position is that the professional bureaucracy is deliberately and maliciously keeping information from them."
And for this we need an "independent commission" tasked and appointed by the President?

We don't need an independent commission for this and we certainly do not need one tasked and appointed like this. A simple examination of the public record can well answer any and all questions an inquiring public might have. What we need here is an independent media.


Not everyone got it wrong:
There was no imminent threat
From Scott Ritter, writing for the International Herald Tribune:
The fact, independent of the findings of any commission, is that not everyone was wrong.

I, for one, was not. I did my level best to demand facts from the Bush administration to back up their allegations regarding Iraq’s WMD and, failing that, spoke out and wrote in as many forums as possible in an effort to educate the publics of the United States and the world about the danger of going to war based on a hyped-up threat.

In this I was not alone. Rolf Ekeus, the former head of the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, has declared that under his direction, Iraq was ‘‘fundamentally disarmed’’ as early as 1996. Hans Blix, who headed UN weapons inspections in Iraq in the months before the invasion in March 2003, stated that his inspectors had found no evidence of either WMD or WMD-related programs in Iraq. And officials familiar with Iraq, like Ambassador Joseph Wilson and State Department intelligence analyst Greg Theilmann, both exposed the unsustained nature of the Bush administration’s claims regarding Iraq’s nuclear capability.

The riddle surrounding Iraq’s WMD was solvable without resorting to war. For all the layers of deceit and obfuscation, there existed enough basic elements of truth and substantive fact about the disposition of Saddam Hus sein’s secret weapons programs to permit the Gordian knot to be cleaved by anyone willing to try. Sadly, it seems that there was no predisposition on the part of those assigned the task of solving the riddle to do so.

Bush’s decision to limit the scope of any inquiry to intelligence matters, effectively blocking any critique of his administration’s use — or abuse — of such intelligence, is absurd ...

So what stopped voices like Scott Ritter's from being heard? In Scott Ritter's case, it was an allegation against him that he was a pedophile, an allegation that suddenly surfaced when he began to speak out against the Iraq War in late 2002, and an allegation that has since been shown to be false. But it was an allegation that effectively prevented his views from being published anywhere in the mainstream US media until after the war had begun.

Did the Bush administration plant this false allegation? We don't know this, but one could be forgiven for suspecting it in light of the Plame affair. The Bush Boys not only play rough, they play fast and loose with the law.


David Kay: Iraq was
not an imminent threat
From the transcript of Kay's testimony before Congress:
Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here. ...

It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing. ...

The fact that it wasn't [undue influence] tells me that we've got a much more fundamental problem of understanding what went wrong, and we've got to figure out what was there. ...

We simply have no evidence [that Iraq had any stockpiles of WMDs, large or small, in 2002]. We've not uncovered any small stockpiles, that's correct. ...

Well, ... if you want the short answer and the obvious answer, as you probably know, is, "Am I aware of what the vice president was reading [regarding mobile bio-weapons manufacturing capabilities] a week ago?" I'm not. ...

I wouldn't pretend that I know all the answers [as to why were we wrong] or even know all the questions to get at that. ...

KENNEDY: Yesterday, you said, "If anyone was abused by the intelligence, it was the president of the United States rather than the other way around."

[But Greg Thielmann said] "They surveyed the data, picked out what they liked. The whole thing was bizarre."

The secretary of defense had this huge defense intelligence agency and he went around it. ...

Well, do you see -- can you give us any explanation of why these agencies, in retrospect, appear to have had it right and the information that the administration used appeared to have it wrong? ...

KAY: I'll take Senator's McCain's defense of I being a naive in the world of politics. ...

I must say, ... I had a number of former U.N. inspectors working for me. We often sat around and said that, you know, it turned out we were better than we thought we were in terms of the Iraqis feared that we had capabilities and although they took tremendous steps to try to compromise us and to lie, in fact, the U.N. inspection process achieved quite a bit.

... it means that any president, when he's presented with intelligence, has got to make a choice about how much risk he's prepared to run for the nation that he leads.

What Kay is saying is that the President was ill-served by his intelligence operation, and I suspect that this the real case. But the President's intelligence operation had been rendered useless by the Office of Special Plans. The Office of Special Plans had effectively become the President's intelligence operation. And he was a jerk for allowing this to happen on his watch.


Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies
 
So that's the case:
  1. The administration's own quite aggressive National Security Strategy requires a threat to be imminent in order for the pre-emption option to be invoked.

  2. The administration told us that Iraq was an imminent threat because it possessed WMDs, and the concept of threat was their almost constant theme.

  3. The CIA never told the administration that Iraq was an imminent threat.

  4. The CIA was in fact removed from its traditional role of intelligence analysis by the creation of the Office of Special Plans, a unit that was formed to deliberately cast Iraq as an imminent threat, regardless of whether or not that was the case.

  5. Anyone outside of the CIA who knew that Iraq was not an imminent threat was effectively silenced by a media in lockstep with the administration.

  6. Their were no WMDs in Iraq and had not been for many years. Iraq was simply not an imminent threat, not even to its neighbors.
We were told lies. Not all of us believed them, but enough of us did. We are now a rogue nation, feared instead of respected. We have squandered $200 billion killing over 10,000 innocent Iraqis and over 500 of our own soldiers.

The administration served up a plate of garbage. The media dutifully served that garbage up to us as if it were gospel. We believed it because it was easier to believe it than not believe it. The administration was wrong. The media was wrong. And we were wrong when we believed them.

Tell me  sweet little lies.

Friday, February 06, 2004
 
They simply break out the whitewash, blame someone else and lumber on in their brutal quest for dominance: ignorant, incompetent and untouchable to the end.Chris Floyd:
The confession by the Bush Administration's chief arms investigator that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction before the war has sent a thunderbolt of puzzlement through the pundits and politicians of the Anglo-American elite. "How could the intelligence reports have been so wrong?" they cry, wringing their hands in consternation. "Independent" commissions filled with Establishment worthies are now in the offing, as the architects of the war -- and their media sycophants -- pledge to resolve this disturbing mystery.

But of course there is no "mystery." Anyone with a passing acquaintance of recent history knows exactly how, and why, the intelligence data concerning Iraq's nonexistent WMD came to be used as a justification for military aggression. Indeed, this history is so open, so transparent and so widely available -- in news reports, unclassified government documents, think-tank publications, etc. -- that a cynic might suspect that these government-appointed "investigations" are actually designed to obscure the already evident truth.

It began in 1976, ...

"It's how "Team Bush" has always operated. They pervert intelligence to suit their needs -- and their greeds. When they're proved wrong -- at a horrendous cost in blood and money – they never admit it, never apologize. They simply break out the whitewash, blame someone else and lumber on in their brutal quest for dominance: ignorant, incompetent and untouchable to the end."
Thursday, February 05, 2004
 
Last month the Supreme Court announced it would hear a case involving Vice President Dick Cheney's "secret" Energy Task Force. After that announcement, Justice Antonin Scalia and the Vice President spent a weekend together hunting ducks on the property of a Republican donor and oil-industry executive. The conflict of interest here is obvious. Not only should Scalia (nor any Supreme) be socializing with Cheney during an outstanding litigation, But the property on which they hunted could very well be owned by someoneone associated with the Cheney Energy Task Force. To this end, TomPaine.com has published an ad [PDF] asking for Scalia to recluse himself from the case, listing 14 newpapers (including the NYT and WoPo) that have similarly suggested this as appropriate. Scalia has refused with a flip statement to the Los Angeles Times that, "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned" and that the only thing really wrong with the trip was that the hunting was "lousy." Several Senators and several Representatives have solicited Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on this, but have been similarly rebuffed.

Both of these responses raise serious questions of the judicial fitness of both Scalia and Rehnquist. The standard for reclusal is not that a conflict actually exists, but rather that the appearance of a conflict exists. That this does exist and that these justices apparently do not understand this difference does not speak well for their qualifications for our highest court.

And yet there is more. From the Los Angeles Times, Scalia traveled as an official guest of Vice President Dick Cheney. In other words, Cheney literally used his own government expense account to pay for Scalia's trip! If neither of these men can see an "appearance of conflict" in this, neither is fit to be a public servent.

And yet there is more, but now it's personal to me. Cheney is claiming in this law suit that he is covered by "executive privilege". He doesn't give a whit about executive privilege here. He's got stuff in his Energy Task Force that, if revealed, would justify his impeachment, even in a brow-beaten Republican Congress. He is running for his life here, and he will break any rule to save his ass on this. What he has to hide is that bad.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.) top aide on judicial nominees is expected to announce his resignation at the end of this week — a sacrifice offered by the GOP leadership in hope of persuading the Democrats to wind down the fight over leaked Judiciary Committee memos. [more]

Menlo to Dems: Don't Be Assuaged!
Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said.

According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, were the two Cheney employees. "We believe that Hannah was the major player in this," one federal law-enforcement officer said. Calls to the vice president's office were not returned, nor did Hannah and Libby return calls. [more]


Bullshit--it was Karl Rove who leaked Plame's identity to "Traitor Bob" Novak. Pinning the crime on Hannah and Libby only dovetails with current speculations that Bush will drop Cheney as VP ("due to health reasons, cough"). "Take out 2 birds with one stone," Rove drawls, scattering bits of BK Burger down the front of his pinstriped shorts, to use two bird metaphors.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
A headline and article that echoes the facts we have attempted to share with you from the smaller circulation non-mainstream press: "Iraq intelligence efforts led by Cheney magnified errors, officials say". This article makes mention of facts I hadn't come across from other sources, that PNAC signer and Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby pressed Colin Powell with intelligence of questionable authenticity prior to the Feb.03 United Nations Security Council speech laying out the U.S. case for an invasion. Reportedly Powell was badgered by this representitive of White House and Pentagon hardliners for war to include bogus information relating a Saddam connection concerning the 911 tragedy.

If you are thinking"But I heard David Kay on the radio- he blamed the intelligence community, clearing Mr Bush". It seems David Kay is enough of a Bush/Republican party supporter that he has contributed over 2000 dollars over the last few years. I gleaned this at Cursor a couple days ago.

I also came across a poll reference there , The Poll question:
"Do you think Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was DIRECTLY involved in planning, financing, or carrying out the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, or not?"
1/29-30/04 WAS:49% Was Not:39% Don't Know 12%
9/18-19/03 WAS:47% Was Not:37% Don't Know 16%

This is what we are up against, we who are looking for truth in these matters. The truth could help us get an elected and Democratic President, what has been going on in the present Administration far outshadows Watergate in it's scope, spirit and lethality. As sign I saw at The Freeway Blogger sums it up "We're All Wearing the Blue Dress Now".

The scope of the investigation Mr Bush supports sounds like it will go well beyond the scope of what we need to no in this case. He sees it as a look into intelligence across the board dealing with WMD's and their proliferation. We need an inquiry that looks into the lies that got us into pre-emptive war. We need to see the papers Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld utilized that were outside the accepted channels of intelligence. We need to explore how the unprecedented visits of Cheney to the CIA politicized intelligence analysis. How Donald Rumsfeld's "Office of Special Plans" (OSP) created to review "raw" intelligence and the Office of Analysis Near East and South Asia (NESA) under Dougla Feith influenced how intelligence was interpreted- and used. The membership reads like a NeoCon "Who's Who". Largely these people identify with the Israeli right wing Likud Party. This "raw" (read unvetted, undocumented) intelligence was circulated to the press. Perhaps a reason the people of our nation have a skewed view, as the poll results above show, as to the reality of the Iraqi "threat" to the US.

Jim Hoagland in a Washington Post editorial from October 2002 praised the Bush Administration for putting pressure on intelligence analysts to make the case for a Al Qaeda/ Iraq connection. It has been pulled from the WaPo website. Go to the link to see it.

Mr Bush talks of setting up an inquiry panel much like The Warren Commission. I'm sure he does, he needs all the help he can get to keep "We the People" from finding out the truth about his administration.What we need is an inquiry that will seek the truth, we know the Warren Commission was a bunch of crap. As Congressional Leaders have suggested in a letter to Mr Bush, we need and independent commission not made up of White House appointees.

As these White House appointed "Truth Commissions" go see the conflicts of interest and lack of White House cooperation with the 911 Commission. Kurt Nimmo points out a glaring conflict of interest concerning Thomas Kean. If Mr Kean were a man of honor it would seem that he would not have accepted a position on the board of inquiry.

Thomas Kean is a director (and shareholder) of Amerada Hess Corporation, which is involved in the Hess-Delta joint venture with Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia (owned by the bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans)," notes Michel Chossudovsky. "In other words, Delta Oil Ltd. of Saudi Arabia -- which is a partner in the Hess-Delta Alliance -- is in part controlled by Khalid bin Mafhouz, Osama's brother in law."


Speaking of conflict that could effect the veracity of a "Truth Commission", let's look at some possible members.
There is thought that the commission Bush sets up will include Republican funder David Kay and and PNAC signatory James Woolsey. Ex-CIA head Robert Gates is also thought to be being considered. You may remember he was said to be involved in Iran/Contra and the anti-democratic "October Surprise" that saw the hostages in Iran held until after the Carter/Reagan contest for the Presidency. Bob Kerrey is another possible choice, a man who was party to murdering a whole hamlet in Viet Nam, in what was probably a CIA mission. Richard Kerr, also mentioned for the commision, has already said that the analysts conclusions have been consistent over the years, over-ruling any White House pressure to "cook"analysis.

Not looking too good for truth, commission-wise.

Read the truth about intelligence caveats given to the White House even as they were priming us for the rush to war;
"Neglecting Intelligence, Ignoring Warnings" by The Center for American Progress has what you need to know.


It looks like it is up to us to get the truth into light, to bring it mainstream.
 
So now we've got an investigation about why the Iraq intel was so wrong (duh), another about who outted Valerie Plame, and another about how 9/11 happened. Trouble is, none of it is sticking, and all are now timed to come home after the election. So what's a mother to do?

Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect thinks that the birds may finally be coming home to roost with Bush's new budget proposal, a flim-flam so transparent that even many Bush loyalists are pulling their hair out in anger. The Center For American progress thinks that Bush is "Playing With Our Money", and Paul Krugman thinks it's bogus also.

And Karl Rove can't put this one off until after the election.

Gutting the Future:
Bush and the Environment

 
This is literally dizzying. It's no secret that the Bush Administration is no friend of the environmental, but to see all of the negative environmental actions taken by this administration merely listed out is almost beyond belief. The Natural Resources Defense Council just happens to maintain just such a list, organized chronologically, and with a single papagraph or two explaining each list item. It would take the better part of a day just to read these summaries.

What quickly becomes apparent when one begins to undertake this reading however is that this is not an administration content to merely respond (negatively) to environmental issues as they arise. This administration actively and aggressively is seeking out environmental regulations to gut. And they don't even have to be large items either. The last caribou herd in the lower 48 states, greatly stressed and down 90% in population over past years? Bring on the snowmobiles. The long-standing ban on importing endangered wild animals -- dead or alive -- as hunting trophies and commercial products? With the Orwellian logic used in the so-called Healthy Forests initiative, the administration claims that allowing poaching will encourage conservation efforts for those species. The list goes on and on until one almost gets the sense that things are being done not for any real reason except to anger environmentalists; as a sort of payback for all of the "trouble" we caused in the past.

These are truly sick people, and they need to go.

The intelligence official whose revelations stunned the Hutton inquiry has suggested that not a single defence intelligence expert backed Tony Blair's most contentious claims on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. ...

Dr Jones, who is expected to be a key witness at the new inquiry, says: "In my view, the expert intelligence analysts of the DIS were overruled in the preparation of the dossier in September 2002, resulting in a presentation that was misleading about Iraq's capabilities." ...

But today Dr Jones makes clear that he was not alone and declares that the whole of the Defence Intelligence Staff, Britain's best qualified analysts on WMD, agreed that the claims should have been "carefully caveated". Furthermore, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which allowed the contentious claims to go into the dossier, lacked the expertise to make a competent judgement on them.

The timing of this is critical, because now both the US and Britain will be running simulataneous parallel reviews of pre-war Iraq intelligence, and if some "cross polonization" between the reviews occurs, it could spell disaster for both Blair and Bush.
E-Vote problems in New Hampshire? Did New Hampshire voters select their favored Democratic presidential candidate based on how their votes were counted? While this might sound rediculous, the results clearly suggest this:

If you used:You favored Kerry over Dean by:
Diebold58.1%
ES&S35%
Hand-counted ballots4%

[Note: I just got this in and don't have any links for it yet. If anyone knows one, please send it along.]
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Obviously
In a Washington Post article on George "AWOL" Bush:

White House communications director Dan Bartlett said yesterday that although no official record can be found, "obviously, you don't get an honorable discharge unless you receive the required points for annual service."


Some other things that may be "obvious" in the bizarro world in which Dan Bartlett apparently lives:

Obviously, you don't get into the Texas Air National Guard, which had a waiting list hundreds long in 1968, without waiting your turn.

(Actually, George W. Bush somehow rocketed right past the other would-be draft avoiders on that list without waiting his turn.)

Obviously, given the many potential applicants, you don't become a pilot trainee in the Texas Air National Guard without an impressive score on the pilot aptitude test.

(Actually, George W. Bush scored the lowest possible passing grade on that test and still got into the program that kept him safely away from the Vietnam War.)

Obviously, when you fail to show up for a medical exam and drug test in the Texas Air National Guard, you are arrested as soon as possible and made accountable for your actions.

(Actually, despite being suspended from flying duty for missing his 1972 drug test/medical exam, George W. Bush was never arrested, a fact that no doubt sits well with soldiers who actually did time in the brig for similar offenses.)

Obviously, you don't get a new drivers license issued by the State of Texas without having a solid legal reason.

(Actually, Bush somehow was issued a new drivers license by the State of Texas for mysterious reasons. What records are connected with the old one? He won't say.)

The list goes on. While it is obvious that the average person would not have received these special official favors, Dan Bartlett perhaps needs to be reminded of one thing: His boss had a powerful father, who stepped in time and again to get his son out of trouble and to make life easy for him. Securing an honorable discharge for a son who had just gone AWOL to work for a Republican political candidate would have been one in a long string of special favors Poppy secured for his son.

Obviously.
Monday, February 02, 2004
Peter Jennings' "reckless charge"
 
As most of you are aware, Peter Jennings attacked Wesley Clark in the last candidate's debate regarding a Michael Moore introduction of him that referred to a possible debate between Clark and Bush as "the general vs. the deserter". Why hadn't Clark disavowed himself from such a "reckless" accusation?

This is nonsense. Jennings well knows of the evidence regarding Bush's National Guard service, and while the characterization of Bush as a deserter may be the harshest interpretation of Bush's record, it is certainly not "reckless".

Jennings' characterization of Moore's comment has been bothering me since he said it, and so I decided to write him and ask him to explain:

In the recent Democratic candidates' debate, Peter Jennings referred to Michael Moore's characterization of the President as a deserter as "reckless". This is a very strong word, and Jennings is a seasoned professional. He did not choose "unsubstantiated", "questionable", or any other softer term. He chose to use the far more inflammatory "reckless". The question is why.

The allegations against the president regarding his National Guard service are long-standing and a matter of public record. In the best of light, they point to questionable conduct by the president during his service obligations. There are five instances where he was explicitly ordered to appear but did not. This is at a minimum called AWOL. Under specific applications of military law, this can also be considered desertion. Whether or not these specific applications of military law apply to the president's situation at the time are debatable, but to argue that they do is certainly not "reckless". Aggressive perhaps, but not reckless.

Which brings me back to why Jennings, in a national forum, characterized Moore's comment as such. Certainly, I cannot speak for Jennings' motivations here, so let me speak to my own impressions as to why he did. Jennings was either trying to cover up the fact that he ignored this story during Election 2000, or he was shilling for the re-election effort of George Bush this year. Neither of these are pretty, but clearly the latter is a much more serious charge.

Mr. Jennings needs to explain himself and his own quite reckless allegation against Michael Moore.

In Communist Russia, everyone knew that the state-controlled media was worthless in its news content. The lies were so obvious that their news media marginalized itself to insignificance. Those who bothered to listen to it did so only to keep abreast of what the latest lies were, and in response, they formed what they called a "samizdat", a way to communicate the real news to each other.

In our country today, we beginning to see our own samizdat forming, and it is called the Internet. On the Internet, we can find what Jennings refuses to report, and we also can find out when what Jennings reports is simply wrong. And we can report that to each other without your help. We are marginalizing Peter Jennings, as we are all of the corporate controlled national news media. We are becoming the American Samizdat.

But Jennings can still explain himself. We of the new samizdat are waiting to report his response.

Mad Kane Interviews Dick Cheney

Back in 2001 when I did my first interview with Vice President Richard Cheney, he told me his cave door's always open. And sure enough, it is. Here's my second interview with Vice President Cheney:

MADKANE: Mr. Vice President, welcome. Let's start with the rumor that you're about to be kicked off the Bush/Cheney ticket. Is there an imminent threat that President Bush will run with somebody else?

CHENEY: Absolutely not.

MADKANE: What about a dangerous threat?

CHENEY: No.

MADKANE: A serious threat?

CHENEY: Negative.

MADKANE: An immediate threat?

CHENEY: None whatsoever.

MADKANE: What about a mortal or grave or serious and mounting threat?

The rest of my 2nd interview with Dick Cheney is here.




Whitewash!
Bush to name members of "independent" intelligence probe, but probe wil not be not limited to pre-war Iraq intelligence.
 
Trying to quiet mounting criticism, the Bush administration has decided to drop his opposition to an independent investigation of apparent U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq, saying that he would appoint a nine-member "independent bipartisan commission" to review U.S. intelligence on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. An administration official said the commission will extend to other areas, noting that the president "recognizes the important role that intelligence plays" in monitoring "outlaw regimes" that practice "deception, denial and concealment," particularly when it comes to unconventional weapons. Huh?

This is a joke! If Bush is appointing the members of the commission, then he will be controlling who is investigating him. And by expanding the scope dramatically beyond the quality and usage of pre-war Iraq intelligence, he is insuring:

  1. That the focus and resources of the commission will be drawn away from pre-war intelligence,
  2. That it will be impossible for the commission to report its findings before the election, and
  3. That Bush will not have to publicly acknowlege his mistaken rationale for the war prior to the election.
This is political cynicism at its worse, but is the standard operating procedure of the worst administration in American history.

Sources: CNN, MSNBC, LA Times, Contra Costa Times, CBS



Imagine how the loved ones of the dead may feel as they watch the spectacle of political jockeying over who should take the blame for a war being started on the basis of flawed intelligence, over whether there will be an investigation, and over the effect the timing of such an investigation may have on Bush's campaign to get himself re-elected.

If I were such a parent, or spouse, or child, or wounded soldier, I expect my fury would be visceral and overwhelming. I would not let these men forget what they had done to my family. Blood is on their hands.

Beyond those Americans who have lost - and continue to lose - relatives and friends in the war in Iraq, the rest of America should be appalled.

Sunday, February 01, 2004
There have been many rumours of human experimentation on political prisoners in North Korea. But never has anyone offered documentary proof. Until now.

In Seoul I met Kim Sang-hun, a distinguished human rights activist.

He showed me documents given to him by someone else completely unrelated to Kwon Hyok. He told me the man had recently snatched them illicitly from Camp 22 before escaping.

They are headed Letter Of Transfer, marked Top Secret and dated February 2002 . They each bear the name of a male victim, his date and place of birth. The text reads: "The above person is transferred from Camp 22 for the purpose of human experimentation with liquid gas for chemical weapons."

I took one of the documents to a Korean expert in London who examined it and confirmed that there was nothing to suggest it was not genuine.

But I wanted to run a check of my own with Kwon Hyok. Without showing him the Letter of Transfer, I asked him very specifically, without prompting him in any way.

"How were the victims selected when they went for human experimentation? Was there some bureaucracy, some paperwork?"

"When we escorted them to the site we would receive a Letter of Transfer," he said.

Sadly, as long as these reports continue from defectors, and as long as the North Korean government continues to deny all allegations of human rights abuse, while refusing to allow access to its prisons, such allegations cannot be dismissed or ignored.

[What can really be done about this?]
He is simultaneously thought of as bumbling preppie, an arrested-development delinquent, the prototypical frat-boy party animal, the kind of middle-aged man who thinks John Belushi's Animal House is the only real film made in the last 30 years, and whose idea of reading is a Tom Clancy novel, or, on less challenging days, the latest issue of Guns & Ammo magazine. ... His enemies scarcely credit him with doing his own breathing, and would comment that if he is breathing on his own, he is surely not conscious of his doing so.
Guess who.
Image provided by The Battalion, Texas A&M UniversityCBS lays an(other) egg
 
If it was CBS' intent to squash MoveOn's "Child's Pay" ad by refusing to run it during the Super Bowl, things haven't quite worked out that way:CBS, it seems, had inadvertently giving MoveOn a publicity bonanza money could never buy (and saved MoveOn $1.5 million to boot). Based on a Lexis-Nexis count, the announcement that the ad wouldn't run during the Super Bowl generated six times as much news coverage as the announcement a week earlier that it would, and since the controversy broke, "Child's Pay" has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times at the MoveOn website, and MoveOn has added 40,000 new members.

So what did CBS get for its fine efforts? Almost half a million angry e-mails and phone calls (their phone bank operators reportedly were getting quite rude, generating even more complaints), and a protest petition signed by over 300,000 MoveOn members.

You'd think they would have known better too. Last year, CBS found itself embroiled in another censorship controversey when it knuckled under to conservative pressure and cancelled "The Reagans", showing even back then that liberals were becoming increasingly intollerant of media pacification of conservatives.

Anyways, if you want to see "Child's Pay" on TV this evening and can afford to miss a minute of the excitement of the Super Bowl half-time show, switch over to CNN at 8:10 PM EST and 8:35 PM EST. CNN, at least, is smiling all the way to the bank.

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