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Impeach Bush

Presidential Records Act of 1978
An Impeachable Offense
Find Law.com
John Dean
Friday, Nov. 09, 2001

On November 1, President George W. Bush signed his latest effort to govern by secrecy — Executive Order 13233. For good reason this Order has a lot of historians, journalists, and Congresspersons (both Republican and Democratic) upset.

The Order ends 27 years of Congressional and judicial efforts to make Presidential papers and records publicly available. In issuing the Order, the President has pushed his lawmaking powers beyond their limits.

The Secret Presidency

As President watchers know, we have a President who likes secrecy.

He has hired only tested leak-proof and loyal staffers, effectively sealing the Bush White House. He has had his records as the Governor of Texas hidden, shipping them off to his father's Presidential library, where they are inaccessible. He has stiffed the Congressional requests for information about how he developed his energy policy — refusing to respond.

No President can govern in a fishbowl. But not since Richard Nixon went to work in the Oval Office has there been as concentrated an effort to keep the real work of a President hidden, showing the public only a scripted President, as now. While this effort was evident before the September 11th terrorist attacks, the events of that day have become the justification for even greater secrecy.

The mystical veil of "national security" has been cast over much of the Bush administration. There were the secret arrests of terror-related suspects (currently over 1000 publicly unknown people). There was the expansion of the wiretap granting powers of a secret federal court hidden within the Department of Justice. There was, and continues to be, an apparent policy of precluding news organizations and congressional leaders from access to anything other than managed and generic news about the war in Afghanistan.

With all these moves, President Bush is brushing aside one historical tradition of openness after another. It is in this context that the President's latest action must be viewed.

The Executive Order suggests that President Bush not only does not want Americans to know what he is doing, but he also does not want to worry that historians and others will someday find out. Certainly that is the implicit message in his new effort to preclude public access to Presidential papers — his, and those of all Presidents since the Reagan-Bush administration. There is, however, no justification whatsoever for this latest effort to hide the work of past, present, and future Presidents.

What Bush's Executive Action Means

There has been some confusion about the meaning of the President's actions in addressing Presidential papers. He has not repealed the existing law, as some have asserted, because he does not have that power. But he has sought to significantly modify the law, and made its procedures far more complex, cumbersome and restrictive. In doing so, he has exceeded his executive powers under the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer has tried, unsuccessfully, to spin Executive Order 13233 as doing nothing more than implementing the existing law, but in fact, the Order does much more. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when pressed during his briefing, Mr. Fleischer dodged the tough questions, or said "that's a matter for the lawyers." Fleischer contention that the Order is innocuous would not hold up under close scrutiny, and so he avoided that scrutiny.

Attorney Scott Nelson's Testimony Against the Order

One lawyer who appreciates exactly what has been done is Washington attorney Scott L. Nelson, who represents Public Citizen, the public advocacy group that flushed out the Nixon papers during several decades of litigation. Mr. Nelson knows these laws well because Richard Nixon was his client for 15 years — ironically, much of that time fighting Public Citizen. Indeed, Scott Nelson has been involved in the litigation that has shaped the body of law that President Bush has ignored in issuing his Executive Order.

On November 6, Nelson appeared before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Reform, chaired by Congressman Stephen Horn, to address the new Bush Order. He explained in detail its flaws — which I have only summarized below, by highlighting a few examples of how the Bush Order ignores, or seeks to change, the law.

The Presidential Records Act

Under the 1978 Presidential Records Act, virtually all of a former President's records are to be made publicly available by the Archivist twelve years after that President leaves office. There are narrow exceptions for papers that still must be withheld for national security reasons.

But the 1978 statute specifically states that among the material to be released by the Archives twelve years after a President leaves office are his confidential and private communications with his advisers (White House staff and Cabinet Departments). The existing law does not provide an exception for withholding "attorney-client" or "attorney work product" materials.

The New Executive Order: Adding Presidential Privileges to Those in the Act

Through Executive Order 13233, President Bush has sought to re-interpret the 1978 law. To put it briefly, the Order adds and enumerates privileges upon which a former or incumbent President can block release of a former President's materials.

In claiming that the Order does not contradict the Records Act, Bush relies on a clause in the Act that states that it does not "confirm, limit, or expand constitutionally-based privileges which may be available to an incumbent or former President."

Bush's lawyers read this clause as bringing into play all of the privileges the law has precluded. They cite specifically the Supreme Court's 1977 holding in Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, which says that a former President can exert executive privilege.

The 1978 law only recognizes the enumerated privileges set forth in the Freedom Of Information Act. Nevertheless, Bush's Executive Order makes clear that he reads the law as entitling a former or incumbent President to assert a laundry list of privileges: the state secrets or national security privilege; the communications with advisors privilege, the attorney-client and attorney work product privileges, and the deliberative process privilege.

Shifting the Burden, and Adding Extra Procedures

President Bush has also shifted the burden from the former President to the person seeking the material. Under the Executive Order, the person seeking material must show that he should be given it; it is no longer necessary for the former President to show why material must not be disclosed.

Bush's Executive Order also takes the Archivist of the United States out of the role of deciding if a former President's invocation of privilege should or should not be honored. That role is now assigned to the incumbent President. And obviously, it is likely that Presidents — wanting successors to honor their own invocations of privilege — might tend to accept former President's claims.

The new Executive Order also creates an elaborate procedure for an incumbent President to block his predecessor from releasing documents. In addition, under Bush's order, a former President can indefinitely block release of his material, which is not possible under existing law.

Another added benefit for former Presidents is this: When the incumbent President agrees with the former President about his decision to not release records, the incumbent President (through the Department of Justice) will defend the privilege against attack. That saves the former President what can be significant legal expenses for attorney's fees to contest the case in court.

A New Power for Vice Presidents

While Scott Nelson did not mention it in his testimony, the most remarkable change the Executive Order effects is that it gives not just a President, but also a Vice President, the power to invoke executive privilege over his papers.

The Presidential Records Act includes Vice Presidential records. But it does not give a former Vice President the right to invoke executive privilege — for Congress does not have the power to do so.

Indeed, under the Constitution, the executive privilege is unique to the President. Bush's Order is nothing less than absurd in purporting to grant the power to invoke this privilege to the Vice President, (and may only feed suspicion that Dick Cheney's role is more Presidential than may be appropriate to his office).

The Effect of The New Executive Order

President Bush has not stated why he revoked the existing Executive Order (Number 12667) addressing Presidential Records. President Reagan issued the Order in 1989 after studying the law for almost eight years of his presidency. Many believed Reagan's Order went beyond the law. Yet President Clinton did not challenge or change it during his eight years in office.

Ironically, if President Clinton — not President Bush — had been the one who issued this new Executive Order, Republicans in Congress would no doubt have called for his impeachment for failure to execute the laws (that is, failure to abide by the Presidential Records Act.)

Just as Clinton's assertions of privilege in court were repeatedly questioned — and even argued by some to be abuse of process or even obstruction of justice — Clinton's extension of Presidential privileges through an Executive Order would have faced heavy criticism. But when Bush takes the same action — especially now, with his new popularity — the criticism is highly modulated in tone.

Why Bush Apparently Issued the New Executive Order

What appears to have provoked President Bush's action is the fact that some 68,000 documents from the Reagan presidency were waiting at the White House when Bush arrived, ready for release by the National Archives.

These documents passed the twelve-year deadline for public release on January 12, 2001, but their release has been stalled by the Bush White House until now. The documents are believed to contain records that Papa Bush, as Reagan's Vice President, is not happy to have made public. They also contain papers of others now working for Bush, who might be embarrassed by their release.

Look for either Papa Bush, or someone designated by former President Reagan, to object to any of these 68,000 documents' release pursuant to the new Executive Order. If that happens, it will confirm my guess as to why the Order was written at this time. The effect will be to tie the release of those records up for years.

The most certain effect of this new Order will be litigation. The Order will be tested in court, if the President does not withdraw it as requested by both Republicans and Democrats in the Congress. And should the Order not be overturned by the courts, I believe Congress will act. In fact, Congress could act even before the courts resolve these matters.

In short, the prospects for Bush's Executive Order 13233 remaining the law of the land is slim to none.

A Troubling Penchant For Secrecy

More troubling than the Order's throwing a monkey wrench into the process of releasing Presidential papers, however, is the President's penchant for secrecy. Secrecy provokes the question of what is being hidden and why.

If President Bush continues with his Nixon-style secrecy, I suspect voters will give him a Nixon-style vote of no confidence come 2004. While secrecy is necessary to fight a war, it is not necessary to run the country. I can assure you from firsthand experience that a President acting secretly usually does not have the best interest of Americans in mind. It is his own personal interest that is on his mind instead.

The Bush administration would do well to remember the admonition of former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in his report on government secrecy: "Behind closed doors, there is no guarantee that the most basic of individual freedoms will be preserved. And as we enter the 21st Century, the great fear we have for our democracy is the enveloping culture of government secrecy and the corresponding distrust of government that follows."

John Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former Counsel to the President of the United States. His most recent book, The Rehnquist Choice: The Untold Story of the Nixon Appointment That Redefined the Supreme Court, was just published by the Free Press.

Commentary:
When Bush decided to break the Presidential Papers Act I decided it was time to keep a record of his comings and goings. What I've since learned is that these nuts think laws were made to be broken as long as they're the ones breaking them and they can't tell the truth.

But behind the total corruption of the Bush Administration is a massive support system that defends or suppressed wrong-doings of Bush. I can't call this a right-wing conspiracy since everyone in the media is guilty of not following the Bush scandals.

Finally, the Bush scandals are another example of why democrats shouldn't lead again until they have the balls to stand up and take a few shots from the press and from the Bush lie-machine. If the press has done one thing right it's in exposing how cowardly democrats have become. When the media, big business and the republicans hit them on healthcare reform in 1994, the democrats in typical fashion these days ran for cover. They lost their balls then and too this day remain ball-less and leaderless. Lucky for the country Bill Clinton was strong enough to stop their tax cuts and other crap. Howevr, since Clinton left the White House Democrats in the Congress rolled over and played dead to Bush. So, Dems are as guilty as Bush for not exposing his actions, misdeeds, lies and crimes.

Republicans are hopelessly corrupt so I don't waste too much time with them.


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Australian PM denies he knew of US doubts
News.com (AU)
July 17, 2003

PRIME Minister John Howard today denied he knew the United States doubted intelligence claims Iraq was developing nuclear weapons.

News reports surfaced today that the Federal Government knew the US State Department had serious doubts about the claims Iraq was developing nuclear weapons.

Former State Department official Greg Thielmann was reported as saying the Australian Government, which used the claim to support the deployment of troops to Iraq, was aware the information from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was dubious.

In a speech to parliament on February 4, Mr Howard cited a CIA intelligence analysis saying Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.

He stood by his comments today.

"What I said on that issue was accurate," Mr Howard said.

He said he did the right thing in sending Australian troops to war in Iraq.

"Every day that uncovers more mass graves is a demonstration that there's a huge humanitarian and moral dividend out of what took place and that it was right," Mr Howard said.

"In terms of Australia's participation, our case was built on the failure of Iraq to comply with the UN resolution and that still remains the case and I feel very strong in my belief that Australia did the right thing."

The Prime Minister said he was saddened by the death of Australian sound recordist Jeremy Little, who died overnight after being attacked in Iraq just over a week ago.

He said Iraq remained a dangerous place.

"Any military presence involves danger and I am aware of that and I know the American Government and the administration and the British Government is aware of that," Mr Howard said.

"I am clearly saddened by the death that had occurred since the end of hostility but when you have a military operation, when you get rid of a dictator, and while people still believe that dictator might still be alive and exercising influence, there's inevitably going to be scattered retaliation.

"And that's what's occurring.

"I don't think anybody pretended that wasn't going to happen.

"It is still dangerous but hasn't altered the fact that it was the right thing to do."

AAP

Copyright 2003 News Limited. All times AEST (GMT+10).

Commentary:
Howard from Australia has a serious memory problem or he's a pathological liar. He told his parliament that WMD were one of the primary reasons for going after Saddam. He also said he believed US intelligence, but didn't verify it after the current scandal broke about uranium.

Howard, like Blair and Bush are finished--how can our three countries ask others to joins us in war if it becomes necessary when we can't trust the intelligence they manufacture?

The necessity to bring down Bush must come from the hawks though. They more than others know how important it is to have a leader who can be trusted in a time of war. If real war was needed, no one would believe Bush, Blair or Howard and the US can't afford to do anything alone anymore. Our military forces are becoming depleted as fast as our Treasury.


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Australia 'knew of debate over Iraqi weapons evidence'
Ireland Online
07/07/2003 - 08:25:53

Australia knew some US government agencies had reservations about claims Baghdad was rebuilding its nuclear weapons programme when it sent 2,000 troops to fight in Iraq, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

The threat of Saddam Hussein passing on nuclear, chemical or biological weapons to terrorists was one of his main reasons for committing Australian soldiers to the US-led invasion.

Like US President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, Howard has come under fire at home over claims his government misused intelligence to justify its role in the conflict.

Opposition parties have used their control of the Senate to set up a parliamentary inquiry to probe exactly what the government was told.

Today's Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said Canberra was told the US State Dept and the Dept of Energy had challenged the accuracy of CIA intelligence claiming Iraq had reactivated its nuclear programme.

Former State Department intelligence official Greg Thielmann was quoted as saying CIA claims that Iraq was rebuilding it nuclear weapons programme were based on evidence Baghdad was buying aluminium tubes intended for gas centrifuges to reprocess uranium.

According to the paper, Thielmann said the US State Dept did not accept that interpretation and Australian intelligence agencies would have been given that analysis.

"We agreed with the Department of Energy – who were the US experts on centrifuge technology – who said that this was not for the nuclear weapons programme,' he said.

In a major speech to Parliament on February 4, Howard specifically quoted a CIA analysis that Baghdad was "reconstituting its nuclear weapons programme'.

Howard today defended Australia's participation in the war saying what he told MPs had been "accurate'.

But he later issued a statement saying Australian intelligence agencies knew of questions over the aluminium tubes.

"Australian agencies were aware of the debate in the United States about the purpose of the aluminium tubes. I made no reference to aluminium tubes in my statement to parliament of February 4 or subsequently,' he said.

Howard contended that his government had not gone to war over the nuclear weapons claims, but because Iraq refused to bend to the will of the international community.

"Our case was built on the failure of Iraq to comply with the UN resolution and that still remains the case and I feel very strong in my belief that Australia did the right thing,' he said.

© Thomas Crosbie Media, 2003.

Commentary:
If this press report is true and it's becoming more difficult to find the truth these days, then clearly Howard must resign for lying to his people about the reasons for going to war. The foreign press has been at this a lot longer than the US press so I'm thinking they have a better handle on what's really going on.

It's my opinion that this scandal will be a constant drip, eroding confidence in everything Bush, Blair and Howard. The end result will be the overthrow of the three regimes using impeachment or free elections. We have our work cut out for us.


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U.S. changes reason for invading Iraq
Globe and Mail
By CHRISTINE BOYD
Thursday, Jul. 10, 2003

The U.S. administration has abruptly revised its explanation for invading Iraq, as Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asserted that a changed perspective after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — not fresh evidence of banned weapons — provoked the war.

"The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass murder," Mr. Rumsfeld testified yesterday before the Senate armed services committee.

"We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light, through the prism of our experience on 9/11."

It was an about-face from a man who confidently proclaimed in January: "There's no doubt in my mind but that they [the Iraqi government] currently have chemical and biological weapons." (He was seconded in March by Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: "We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.")

And in London Thursday, the BBC reported senior British government sources saying that Whitehall had virtually ruled out finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which they now believe were destroyed or hidden permanently before the war began.

Mr. Rumsfeld's reversal came as the administration scrambled to defend itself from accusations that it deliberately used false or misleading information to bolster one of its primary justifications for the war.

On Monday, the White House acknowledged that U.S. President George W. Bush was wrong when he said in his State of the Union address in January that Iraq had recently tried to purchase large quantities of uranium from Africa to build nuclear weapons. He cited British intelligence reports of documents that purported to show an Iraqi attempt to buy a form of raw uranium known as yellowcake. The documents were later discredited as forgeries.

While the White House justified the invasion to topple Mr. Hussein on the ground that his biological, chemical and nuclear weapons posed a threat, no such arms have been uncovered in the 10 weeks since the war ended.

Mr. Bush unapologetically defended the war while in the middle of his five-day, visit to Africa.

"Saddam Hussein was a threat to world peace. And there's no doubt in my mind that the United States, along with allies and friends, did the right thing in removing him from power," he said yesterday at a joint news conference with South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Questioned for the first time about the uranium, he said: "There's going to be a lot of attempts to rewrite history. But I am absolutely confident in the decision I made."

White House officials said information that the documents may have been forged had not reached top-level policymakers before the public statements.

Mr. Rumsfeld said he found out "within recent days" that the information had been discredited, but he defended the U.S. intelligence throughout the Iraq conflict as "quite good" and said Iraq "had 12 years to conceal" weapons programs. "Uncovering those programs will take time," he said.

Several Democrats heightened calls for a full-scale investigation on whether intelligence was manipulated.

"It's bad enough that such a glaring blunder became part of the President's case for war," Senator Edward Kennedy said. "It's far worse if the case for war was made by deliberate deception. ... We cannot risk American lives based on shoddy intelligence or outright lies."

With U.S. and British forces facing almost daily assaults, he and other senators grilled Mr. Rumsfeld on whether more troops were needed in Iraq.

Mr. Rumsfeld told the committee that talks were under way to increase NATO involvement in Iraq peacekeeping efforts. He maintained that most of Iraq is safe after the war, with most of the recent attacks against U.S. and British forces concentrated in Baghdad and surrounding areas.

Mr. Kennedy expressed skepticism, saying he was "concerned that we have the world's best-trained soldiers serving as policemen in what seems to be a shooting gallery."

With reports from the Guardian, Reuters

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Commentary:
"No fresh evidence." Now those are damning words. Rumsfeld is admitting that any new evidence was either manufactured or contrived from guesses or conjecture.

I get a kick out of the "Saddam was bad" nonsense. We all knew he was bad in the 1980's when he used WMD against Iran. We also knew how bad he was after the first Gulf War when Bush 1 sat back and let him kill tens of thousands of his own people. Now the excuse for war is something we've know for decades--because that's the only excuse left.


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Why the CEO in Chief Needs an Audit
Washington Post
By Richard Cohen
Thursday, July 10, 2003; Page A23

The Bush White House is run on a business model. The president is the CEO. He delegates to others, including the vice president, who was once a CEO himself. It therefore should come as no surprise that George W. Bush, a Harvard MBA after all, is doing what other CEOs do when they get into trouble. In his case, he's "restated" his reasons for going to war.

Corporations do this all the time. If a profit of, say, $2.8 billion turns out to be a loss of a similar amount on account of unanticipated developments (corruption, greed, the demands of mistresses), the figure merely gets "restated." Usually no one is held responsible for this, because a billion here or a billion there can, as we know, fall through the cracks. In fact, the CEO -- having been given a bonus for such a banner year -- is then given another one for managing his company through difficult times.

In the same way, the president recently restated some of the reasons for invading Iraq. Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program, which Bush told the world was being "reconstituted," may in fact not exist. The White House the other day restated its earlier insistence that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the West African nation of Niger. It turned out that the supporting documents had been forged. The White House admitted that in a press release left behind after Bush had departed for Africa.

Similarly, the accusation that Iraq was buying high-strength aluminum tubes, which Bush said were "used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons," has to be restated. The tubes appear to have been bought for another purpose entirely and may not be high-strength after all.

As for the charge that Iraq was bristling with other weapons of mass destruction, none have yet been found, raising the distinct possibility that -- in an upcoming quarter -- this too will be restated and the Bush administration will take a one-time charge against future credibility.

In fact, should we -- the stockholders of this operation -- look back at the original business plan for the proposed Bush administration, we will find that almost everything has been restated. During the campaign, Bush said he would not go in for peacekeeping operations abroad. He appears ready to do so in Liberia. He also said he would not get engaged, as did the previous CEO, Bill Clinton, in the nitty-gritty of Middle East peace negotiation. The administration is now choosing intersections in Gaza for traffic lights.

Restatement follows restatement until we poor stockholders have no choice but to conclude that either the Bush administration did not know what it was talking about when it came into office or does not know what it is talking about now. Not even in corporate America can you hold two contradictory positions simultaneously. One of them, as any CEO can tell you, has to be restated.

The Bush administration's interim business plan called for the capture or killing of Osama bin Laden. On account of a botched operation in the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan, this now has to be restated. Similarly, the proclaimed determination to rid the world of Saddam Hussein also has not succeeded. As with bin Laden, this failure will be restated as not being all that important. You learn this sort of thing in business school.

In fact, the entire business plan for Iraq has to be restated. It turns out that the country simply will not govern itself, that some elements resent the U.S. occupation and that it will take more troops to administer the country than originally thought. In some way, this abject failure to plan for an occupation -- despite repeated warnings -- will have to be creatively restated. To paraphrase the president, bring on the restatement.

The dangers of an immense budget deficit have been restated. Rising unemployment has been restated to blame the Clinton administration. The critical importance of relations with Mexico has been restated. The evils of affirmative action were -- after the Supreme Court ruled -- restated and so, of course, were the reasons for going to war in Iraq. Now it is to rid that country of Saddam Hussein and establish the predicates for a Middle East peace. I like them both.

Still, all these restatements suggest a business plan that was both flawed from the start and implemented with an appalling level of incompetence. Despite that, the CEO of this mismanaged operation is not held accountable and remains popular with the shareholders. It used to be that the buck stopped with the president. To state the obvious, that's been restated.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
Something simple first, how do you pronounce "Niger?" It's pronounced Nee-zher. Some in the press are beginning the long process of going over every word Bush and Co have uttered since coming into office. How many more lies will they find? Those who've been following this website off and on from the beginning know the list is nearly endless. Let the party begin.


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Coalition troops looted and vandalized the Iraqi airport
An Impeachable Offense
Time.com
By Simon Robinson I Baghdad
July 06, 2003

Much has been written about how Iraqis complicated the task of rebuilding their country by looting it after Saddam Hussein's regime fell. In the case of the international airport outside Baghdad, however, the theft and vandalism were conducted largely by victorious American troops, according to U.S. officials, Iraqi Airways staff members and other airport workers. The troops, they say, stole duty-free items, needlessly shot up the airport and trashed five serviceable Boeing airplanes. "I don't want to detract from all the great work that's going into getting the airport running again," says Lieut. John Welsh, the Army civil-affairs officer charged with bringing the airport back into operation.

"But you've got to ask, If this could have been avoided, did we shoot ourselves in the foot here?"

What was then called Saddam International Airport fell to soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division on April 3. For the next two weeks, airport workers say, soldiers sleeping in the airport's main terminal helped themselves to items in the duty-free shop, including alcohol, cassettes, perfume, cigarettes and expensive watches. Welsh, who arrived in Iraq in late April, was so alarmed by the thievery that he rounded up a group of Iraqi airport employees to help him clean out the shop and its storage area. He locked everything in two containers and turned them over to the shop's owner. "The man had tears in his eyes when I showed him what we had saved," says Welsh. "He thought he'd lost everything."

Coalition soldiers also vandalized the airport, American sources say. A boardroom table that Welsh and Iraqi civil-aviation authority officials sat around in early May was, a week later, a pile of glass and splintered wood. Terminal windows were smashed, and almost every door in the building was broken, says Welsh. A TIME photographer who flew out of the airport on April 12 saw wrecked furniture and English-language graffiti throughout the airport office building as well as a sign warning that soldiers caught vandalizing or looting would be court-martialed. "There was no chance this was done by Iraqis" before the airport fell, says a senior Pentagon official. "The airport was secure when this was done." Iraqi airport staff concede that some of the damage was inflicted by Iraqi exiles attached to the Army, but these Iraqis too were under American control.

The airplanes suffered the greatest damage. Of the 10 Iraqi Airways jets on the tarmac when the airport fell, a U.S. inspection in early May found that five were serviceable: three 727s, a 747 and a 737. Over the next few weeks, U.S. soldiers looking for comfortable seats and souvenirs ripped out many of the planes' fittings, slashed seats, damaged cockpit equipment and popped out every windshield. "It's unlikely any of the planes will fly again," says Welsh, a reservist who works for the aviation firm Pratt & Whitney as a quality-control liaison officer to Boeing.

U.S. estimates of the cost of the damage and theft begin at a few million dollars and go as high as $100 million. Airport workers say even now air conditioners and other equipment are regularly stolen. "Soldiers do this stuff all the time, everywhere. It's warfare," says a U.S. military official. "But the conflict was over when this was done. These are just bored soldiers." Says Welsh: "If we're here to rebuild the country, then anything we break we have to fix. We need to train these guys to go from shoot-it-up to securing infrastructure. Otherwise we're just making more work for ourselves. And we have to pay for it."

FROM THE JULY 14, 2003 ISSUE OF TIME MAGAZINE; POSTED SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2003

Commentary:
Military officials in charge have to be dismissed. That's a given. The soldiers involved must be sent home. And finally, we need some adults running things. Perhaps we can start with the man some call president and work our way down.


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WH Issues Retraction from State of the Union
An Impeachable Offense
Voice of America
Scott Stearns
09 Jul 2003, 13:41 UTC

The White House has issued a rare retraction of allegations from the president's January State of the Union Address. Officials say President Bush's accusation that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium in Africa, was based on what turned out to be a forged document.

Making his case against Saddam Hussein six months ago, President Bush said British intelligence reported that the then-Iraqi leader had tried to buy significant quantities of uranium from Niger.

The United Nations later concluded that those documents were forgeries and White House spokesman Ari Fleischer now admits that the information should not have been included in the State of the Union.

In South Africa Wednesday, President Bush side stepped the question, saying he is "absolutely confident" about his decision to invade Iraq.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a threat to the world peace. And there is no doubt in my mind that the United States along with allies and friends did the right thing in removing him from power," Mr. Bush said. " And there is no doubt in mind that when it is all said and done that the facts will show the world the truth."

The threat from Iraqi weapons was one of the president's biggest justifications for toppling Saddam Hussein. More than two months after the fall of Baghdad, none of those weapons has yet been found.

Commentary:
As we see here the WH is clear in that it was a mistake to make certain claims in the State of the Union. Later, we'll learn the WH is finding the mistake hard to swallow so it says it might be true, but it all depends on what the Brits say. However, for a US president to include in his State of the Union information that he can't verify is simply an example of gross incompetence.

Bush will have to fall back to the Reagan defense during Iran/Contra, which was something along the lines of "I was not engaged in policy matters as I should have been and steps have been taken to remedy the problem."

In the mean time Bush will continue to lie to us as Reagan did. Hoping to regain some support before the next election. The nice thing going for Reagan was he didn't have to face the voters after Iran/Contra.


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MSNBC Cancels Michael Savage
Washington Post
Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, July 8, 2003; Page C07

MSNBC was shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- to learn that its well-known homophobe host Michael Savage is actually -- gasp! -- homophobic, and the network has sacked him, effective immediately.

The firing came two days after Savage's most recent MSNBC telecast, during which he suggested to a gay caller that he should "get AIDS and die" or, alternatively, "go eat a sausage and choke on it -- get trichinosis."

This afternoon, MSNBC Vice President Jeremy Gaines was telling reporters that "in reaction to a hostile caller, Savage made an extremely inappropriate comment and the decision to cancel the program was not difficult."

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation was dancing the Happy Dance, taking credit for having brought Savage's comments to the attention of MSNBC suits, who, the group concludes, must not have been among the 350,000 or so who actually watched "The Savage Nation." GLAAD had been aggressively campaigning to get Savage booted off MSNBC since the network announced his hire in February.

MSNBC, however, insists it was fully aware of the comments Savage made on Saturday, and that's why the news division acted so promptly today. Apparently, Sunday is not a workday at NBC News.

Immediately after deciding to whack Savage, MSNBC chief Erik Sorenson, as he has so often in the past couple of years, became hopelessly lost in the Land of Not Available and could not be found for comment. Our thoughts are with him and his family and we wish him another safe return.

To his credit, Sorenson has kept his word, having promised the St. Petersburg Times, among other newspapers, shortly before "The Savage Nation" debuted on MSNBC in March, that the kind of incendiary comments Savage spews on his radio show would not be heard on his cable television program and "if they do happen, they won't happen more than once."

We also were unable to reach Sacked Savage by press time to inquire about the momentary lapse that caused him to forget that during drive-time weekdays he's the Savage Michael Savage, foe of "Turd World" countries and Hispanics who "breed like rabbits" -- but on Saturdays at 5 p.m., he's Rational, Reasonable and Yes, a Little Bit Conservative NBC News Employee Michael Savage.

Savage's comments came during what was intended to be a discussion of "airline horror stories." An unidentified male phone caller was regaling Savage with an amusing little anecdote about a fellow passenger who had been caught lighting up in the airplane's bathroom.

"Half an hour into the flight, I need to suggest that Don and Mike take your . . ." he was saying when some fast-thinking MSNBC producer cut him off. Alas, the world will never know what the caller believed popular raunchy radio shock jocks Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara should take of Savage's and what should be done with it.

As so often happens in the rough-and-tumble world of live call-in TV, while the hard-working producer is fully prepared to bleep an unruly caller, he/she is not equipped to quickly bleep the host. That is why the world did get to hear Savage respond to the caller's censored suggestion:

"So you're one of those sodomists -- are you a sodomite?"

Caller: "Yes, I am."

Savage: "Oh, you're one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today -- go eat a sausage and choke on it. Get trichinosis."

Later in the show, during a discussion of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating state anti-sodomy laws, the words "Supreme Court Sodomizes America" were seen on the screen, according to GLAAD, which today put out a statement saying it was "about time" MSNBC canned Savage.

"This latest attack made the clearest case for why Savage has no place on any reputable news network," GLAAD representative Cathy Renna said in the statement. "MSNBC witnessed firsthand exactly the kind of verbal assaults GLAAD's been warning them about for the past five months, and to their credit, they backed up their promises to hold Savage accountable."

NBC was not without its sense of humor about Savage. On several occasions during his program, it ran one of its lame "The More You Know" public service announcements -- the one in which Eric McCormack (who plays gay attorney Will Truman on the sitcom "Will & Grace") sniffs at viewers that "hate" is a four-letter word.

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
What took them so long?


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U.S. envoy's claims that his findings were misrepresented
Impeachable Offense
Toronto Star
Jul. 8, 2003. 09:14 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid questions about who knew what about prewar intelligence, the White House has admitted that U.S. President George W. Bush was wrong when he said last January that Iraq had recently sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa.

The White House acknowledgement came as a British parliamentary commission questions the reliability of British intelligence about Saddam Hussein's alleged efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Democrats in Congress also have questioned how the Bush administration used U.S. intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs.

Bush said in his address to Congress in January that the British government had learned that Saddam recently sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa.

The president's statement in the state of the union was incorrect because it was based on forged documents from the African nation of Niger, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer said yesterday.

"The president's statement was based on the predicate of the yellow cake" uranium "from Niger," Fleischer told reporters. "So given the fact that the report on the yellow cake did not turn out to be accurate, that is reflective of the president's broader statement."

A British parliamentary committee has concluded that Prime Minister Tony Blair's government mishandled intelligence material on Iraqi weapons.

John Stanley, a Conservative member of the committee, said so far no evidence has been found in Iraq to substantiate four key claims, including that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa as part of an effort to restart a nuclear weapons program.

Claims about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction were a primary justification for the war, but U.S.-led forces have yet to find any such weapons. The House of Representatives and Senate intelligence panels are looking into prewar intelligence on Iraq and how it was used by the Bush administration.

Fleischer's remarks follow assertions by an envoy sent by the CIA to Africa to investigate allegations about Iraq's nuclear weapons program. The envoy, Joseph Wilson, said Sunday that the Bush administration manipulated his findings, possibly to strengthen the rationale for war.

Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador to the West African country of Gabon, was dispatched in February 2002 to explore whether Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger.

Writing in a New York Times op-ed piece, Wilson said it did not take him long "to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place."

In an interview on NBC-TV's Meet the Press, Wilson insisted his doubts about the purported Iraq-Niger connection reached the highest levels of the U.S. government, including Vice-President Dick Cheney's office.

In fact, he said, Cheney's office inquired about the purported Niger-Iraq link.

"The question was asked of the CIA by the office of the vice-president," Wilson said. "The office of the vice-president, I am absolutely convinced, received a very specific response to the question it asked, and that response was based upon my trip out there."

Yet nearly a year after he had returned and briefed CIA officials, the assertion that Saddam was trying to obtain uranium from Africa was included in Bush's state of the union address.

The International Atomic Energy Agency told the United Nations in March that the information about the uranium procurement efforts was based on forged documents.

After Bush repeated the British claim in his state of the union address, the purported letters between Iraq and Niger were turned over to the United Nations, which found them to have been forged.

Copyright 1996-2003. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
This is the day and moment when the Bush Administration ended for all practical purposes. When Bush was called a liar by a US expert, he was toast. It should be interesting to see if Cheney is forced to resign or Bush himself.


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U.S. intelligence lacked hard information about WMD
Impeachable Offense
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 4, 2003; Page A20

U.S. intelligence analysts lacked new, hard information about Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons after United Nations inspectors left Iraq in 1998, and so had to rely on data from the early and mid-1990s when they concluded in months leading up to the war that those programs continued into 2003, according to preliminary findings of a CIA internal review panel.

Although the post-1998 evidence was largely circumstantial or "inferential" because of the inspectors' absence and the lack of reliable agents inside Iraq, the panel said yesterday, the judgment that Hussein continued to have weapons of mass destruction appears justified.

"It would have been very hard to conclude those programs were not continuing, based on the reports being gathered in recent years about Iraqi purchases and other activities before the war," said Richard J. Kerr, a former CIA deputy director who heads the four-person review panel appointed in February by CIA Director George J. Tenet. The panel's mission, initially suggested by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, is to provide "lessons learned" from the Iraq war by comparing the prewar analyses and estimates to the intelligence gathered inside the country after the war.

Kerr said the prewar intelligence reports given to Bush administration policymakers from the CIA, the Pentagon and State Department contained caveats and disagreements on data underlying some judgments, such as whether Hussein's nuclear program was being reconstituted. But "on the whole, the analysts were pretty much on the mark," he said.

Kerr, an analyst for most of his 32 years at the CIA, said his preliminary report is the first half of the review. President Bush justified the invasion of Iraq primarily on the argument that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that threatened the United States.

On another controversial Iraq intelligence issue, the preliminary report indicates that although al Qaeda and Hussein had a common enemy in the United States, and there were some ties among individuals in the two camps, "it was not at all clear there was any coordination or joint activities," said one individual inside the CIA who is familiar with the report.

"There were people talking to each other," in Iraq and other countries, the source said, "but that was how Saddam kept track of what was going on" in al Qaeda.

In promoting the war, Bush and his top aides said there were links between al Qaeda and Iraq. They cited contacts going back 10 years and a trip to Baghdad for medical attention by one terrorist leader who had ties to Osama bin Laden and whose associates remained in the Iraqi capital.

Kerr also looked into whether U.S. analysts changed their views, particularly in light of the administration's desire to gain support for going to war and questions about whether analysts were pressured to promote that cause.

"My instincts," Kerr said, "is that they [the analysts] did not change over time." Based on his experience, he said, "there nearly always are differences between people who follow terrorists and the geographic regional analysts."

On the whole, he said, "they were very cautious, explored things carefully and followed evidence as far as could be." Intelligence judgments are always inferential, he said, and with Iraq they were especially difficult without up-to-date hard intelligence.

Administration critics have said Bush and his top aides exaggerated the intelligence they received on Hussein's weapons, and the imminent threat that the Iraqi leader might give them to terrorists. The Kerr study does not deal with that issue, but it was discussed yesterday at a news conference held by Republican and Democratic senators who had just returned from several days in Iraq.

Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the senators had received information "of highest classification" that would lead people to "clearly come to the conclusion that these weapons did exist, that they were in the hands of those who could use them, and thank God they weren't used."

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the lawmakers heard of "breakthrough pieces of information that I hope in the near future will be very positive news" during their meeting with David Kay, a former U.N. inspector in Iraq recently appointed to coordinate the U.S. weapons search.

Sen. Carl M. Levin of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the armed services panel, took a different tack. "There is evidence of exaggeration not just by administration leaders," he said, "but by the intelligence community which are subject to review . . . to see whether they're objective and accurate so that we can in the future rely on our intelligence."

Levin said there are now stories of connections between Iran and al Qaeda and asked "will we have confidence in that kind of a finding if we find out that the relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq was exaggerated? "

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), ranking Democrat on the intelligence panel, said he had voted to give Bush authority to go to war "on the assumption that there was WMD [weapons of mass destruction] which was of imminent threat . . . in the form of missiles or canisters, or that it was readily usable." None has been found, but Rockefeller said he was "optimistic that we will find what it was that, in a sense, projected us into this conflict."

One thing blocking progress, Rockefeller said, was the failure to find Hussein, which he called "a shadow over that country [Iraq] -- far more so than I thought when I went there."

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
This is the second shoe to drop, which destroys all Bush arguments for war. Their evidence was based on 1998 intelligence, or to put it another way, it was in 1998, that the neo-cons (otherwise known as the Project for the New American Century) sent a letter to President Clinton asking him for regime change in Iraq. Letter to President Clinton.

Most of those who signed the letter, currently work for Bush so war with Iraq was inevitable no matter what Saddam did. It was part of their new world order.

But to Bush this also show he didn't have new evidence as he suggested, said, claimed or ranted about. He simply looked at old evidence in a "new light." In other words, every word was a lie.


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