Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Impeach Bush

Dead Americans Bounty Raised to $5000 in Iraq
Reuters
By Alastair Macdonald
Aug. 7,2 2003

TIKRIT, Iraq (Reuters) - Killing an American may now be worth $5,000 to an Iraqi in Saddam Hussein's heartland -- a quadrupling of the bounty that the U.S. commander in the region said is a sign of desperation among guerrilla diehards.

"The word is the price has quadrupled for doing attacks on U.S. forces," Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno told a news conference on Thursday at his headquarters in Saddam's hometown, Tikrit.

Rates some weeks ago were about $250 for an attack and $1,000 for a "successful" one, he said: "We believe now that's gone to about $1,000 and $5,000, something in that area."

U.S. officers accuse middle-ranking members of Saddam's Baath party and Fedayeen militia movement of funding and arming young men to resist the American occupation of Iraq.

Odierno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said an aggressive U.S. policy toward these organizers was bearing fruit and fewer Iraqis were willing to take the risk of facing up to the Americans -- with a resulting rise in the price.

"I see these somewhat as desperate acts," he said.

He did not believe they were being coordinated by Saddam, who has a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head and who Odierno said was probably moving his hideout several times a day.

Across his task force's area of operations, taking in much of north central Iraq including the traditionally pro-Saddam "Sunni triangle" north of Baghdad, hundreds of people have been detained and many killed in raids over the past few weeks.

In the past day, 49 suspects were held, including a possibly senior fedayeen organizer in Tikrit itself and two associates of Saddam's late son Uday in Kirkuk, officers said. Two, possibly four, Iraqi guerrilla suspects were killed.

The man arrested in Tikrit overnight was seized in a raid that saw nearly 400 soldiers backed by Abrams battle tanks and helicopters seal off a city block and force more than three dozen men from their beds into the street, handcuffed.

Odierno said he was aware of the need to balance aggression against enemies with care not to alienate other local people.

"It's a fine balance," he said. "If there's a threat to our soldiers we'll go in heavily armed and a little bit heavier."

"We understand the importance of maintaining the cultural ways of life here," he said. "But if I err, I will always err on protecting my soldiers.

"It's important that we are offensive in nature so we preemptively deter attacks on our forces."

Asked whether he had concerns that his forces faced not just Saddam's loyalists but other anti-American groups, Odierno said: "We have had some intelligence reports that there could be some people that might be associated with al Qaeda trying to move into the region...We continue to watch that very closely

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Commentary:


top

Congress strikes back--FCC media rules
The American Propect
By Mary Lynn F. Jones
Web Exclusive: 7.28.03

House Republicans did something highly unusual last week -- they voted against a position held by the Bush administration.

By a vote of 400 to 21, the House passed a bill that would effectively strike down the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) decision allowing media companies to expand their reach. It was a slap in the face to FCC Chairman Michael Powell and to news organizations that had spent millions of dollars lobbying on the issue. As B. Robert Okun of NBC told The Washington Post, "The backdoor efforts . . . to cut off funds to the FCC needed to implement these rules is very disappointing to us."

No doubt. In the months leading up to the FCC's 3-2 party-line vote on June 2, the leaders of several major news companies -- including News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch, Viacom's Mel Karmazin and NBC's Robert Wright -- met with commissioners and their aides. Washington superlobbyists such as Richard Wiley, a former FCC chairman himself, also tried to sway the panel's vote.

And when the June decision was announced, many networks and newspaper owners wasted little time praising it. As Tara Connell of Gannett, which owns about 100 newspapers and 22 television stations, said, "Gannett is always in the market for good properties, and we will continue to look at things that come our way."

The FCC's decision -- which Powell said at the time would enact "modest, albeit very significant, changes" -- allows media companies to own a newspaper and television and radio stations in the same city. It also gives networks the right to buy stations that reach 45 percent of the country, up from 35 percent, an increase that Powell has dismissed as "a triviality." (Loopholes in the decision could increase coverage up to 90 percent.) While proponents said the decision reflects a changing media marketplace (the explosion of cable and the Internet makes it impossible for one company to control a majority of information, they say), critics insisted that no less than the future of the country is at stake. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who introduced legislation to reverse the FCC's decision, told me, "Clearly, what has been going on for a number of years now is that fewer and fewer media conglomerates are controlling more and more of what we see, hear and read. . . . The end result of it is that millions of Americans are not hearing alternative points of view other than the corporate big-money line, and I think that is dangerous to our democracy."

Obviously other lawmakers felt the same way. The bill, part of an appropriations measure, stands a good chance of passage in the Senate, where Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has introduced legislation to keep the 35 percent media ownership cap. On June 19, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the ownership cap, along with an amendment that would stop the cross-ownership of newspapers and television in the same market. Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt says the speed with which the Commerce Committee acted was "unprecedented."

Like the House vote, the FCC debate has created unusual allies across the ideological spectrum. Conservative columnist William Safire of The New York Times called the FCC decision a "surrender to media giantism." The National Rifle Association and the Family Research Council also opposed the FCC vote. So did liberal groups, such as the National Organization for Women, which says the decision could "shut out" women and minorities from important media decisions. The FCC, however, hardly listened to any opposition, including the 750,000 comments urging it not to change the rules. While top broadcasting representatives met with FCC officials more than 70 times as the decision was being weighed, the Consumers Union and the Media Access Project met with the FCC just five times, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Media companies also spent millions of dollars lobbying from 1999 to 2002 (although not all of it was to influence the FCC vote). Among the big spenders, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, were Disney ($16 million), News Corp. (about $10 million) and Viacom ($4 million).

As Hundt told me, "When you welcome consolidation in the media, you are opening Pandora's box. You do not really know what you're going to get." But there are several likely results. The cross-ownership rule, allowing a single company to own broadcast stations and a newspaper in the same market, will literally reduce the number of voices heard in the media -- which is why interest groups on both sides of the aisle are so concerned about the decision. Cable networks are already increasingly dominated by conservatives such as Bill O'Reilly on FOX and former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) on MSNBC; the airwaves are filled with Rush Limbaugh and Ollie North types. This trend is only likely to continue in a Murdoch-dominated media world.

Perhaps the strangest thing about the FCC's decision is that it "doesn't make any sense in terms of a reflection of a real world," as Hundt put it. For all the talk about cable and the Internet providing venues for different points of view, these outlets mostly rehash what's been in the morning paper or newscast. "And yet," Hundt says, "the FCC is acting like they are independent sources of news."

Anyone worried about the dangers of media consolidation need look no further than radio. Before the FCC relaxed radio-ownership rules in 1996, the number of stations owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc. was about 40; today it's about 1,200. Besides limiting the viewpoints listeners hear, such consolidation can also have potentially dangerous consequences. In a now-infamous story, a train carrying toxic materials derailed in Minot, N.D. Six of the seven radio stations there are owned by Clear Channel, but listeners could not find out information about the accident because police were unable to reach the radio's one employee in the area.

Things aren't likely to be much better in television news. Even before the FCC's decision, though, there were troubling signs that fewer outlets are controlling the information Americans receive. As Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) pointed out at the committee hearing, 25 television companies own 44 percent of stations -- up from 24 percent in 1995. And a report from the Consumer Federation of America and the Consumers Union found disturbing trends where one concern controls both a newspaper and television station in the same city. In Tampa, Fla., a Tampa Tribune writer was warned by editors not to criticize WFLA-TV, as the station and newspaper opened a joint operations center (both are owned by Media General Inc.). Another report, produced by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, found that news quality suffers when stations are run by a small group of big corporate owners.

But most Americans were unaware that the FCC was even making a decision, never mind its consequences. A February poll by Princeton Survey Research Associates showed that 72 percent of Americans knew "nothing at all about it." That's because most newspapers and networks didn't cover it extensively. When they did, there was little or no mention of how much the media companies stand to gain. Networks owning more stations will mean increased profit margins, because while networks often see profits of about less than 5 percent, local stations can have profits of 60 percent. Cross-ownership not only means cross-promotion, where a television station can hype a newspaper owned by the same company, or vice versa; it also means news organizations can share resources and cut down on costs. All of which results in a fatter bottom line for owners such as Murdoch, and fewer voices debating the issues of the day.

Mary Lynn F. Jones is online editor of The Hill.

Copyright © 2003 by The American Prospect, Inc. Preferred Citation: Mary Lynn F. Jones, "Gag Order The FCC takes aim at media localism and diversity, but Congress strikes back.," The American Prospect Online, July 28, 2003. This article may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author. Direct questions about permissions to permissions@prospect.org.

Commentary:
We need to go back to see why and when real problems in the media began. During the Reagan years the FCC (which was controlled by republicans) got rid of the Fairness Doctrine. It was done in the name of deregulation, but in reality it was an attempt to fill the airwaves with one-thought conservatism. Without the Fairness Doctrine, Rush Limbaugh would have to have a liberal counter part with an equal amount of time. In other word, when liberals controlled the media, fairness was mandated. Now that conservatives control everything fairness is a distant memory.

Next to Senator Dorgan's comments about Clear Channel owning all the radio stations in Minot, ND. For those of you who don't know what happened, it's reasonably simple. A train derailed with hazardous chemicals in the middle of the night. There were numerous attempts made by the police etc. to notify the population of an emergency and tell them what to do. However, Clear Channel didn't answer the phone because they only had a janitor on duty. People were killed, others were injured for life. The Emergency Broadcast System didn't work.

Clear Channel, which is very conservative, owns over 50% of the US radio market or over 1,200 stations. It also uses a lot of pre-programed music and filler to keep costs down. It was also Clear Channel stations that banned the Dixie Chicks after they said they were ashamed Bush came from Texas (an opposing point of view results in your songs not being played on the radio and an attempt to destroy your carrier).

Powell and the conservatives on the FCC tried to destroy more of the regulation regarding who owns and controls what we hear and see as news or entertainment. The Congress is attempting to stop him. Powell's father is Colin Powell, the guy who lied to the UN about Saddam's WMD's.

What it comes down to is simple. Conservatives want deregulation which is code for fewer news and entertainment sources. That way they can control what you hear and see.

Go back to the pre-war coverage. Did you hear one reporter say Bush was lying and he had no evidence? Did you read one newspaper, or hear one radio station say Bush was lying? The media is dysfunctional. It is conservative.


top

The Emergence of the Fascist American Theocratic State
Pravda
John Stanton and Wayne Madsen
13:33 2002-02-18

Historians will record that between November 2000 and February 2002, democracy-as envisioned by the creators of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution-effectively came to an end. As democracy died, the Fascist American Theocratic State ["The State"] was born. This new fascist era was designed and implemented primarily by Republican organizations and individuals who funded, supported and ultimately inserted George Bush II in office. Equally complicit in this atrocity was the Democratic Party, itself having become corrupt and beholden to its own interests. But the greatest tragedy in this horrific turn of events was that the public and media embraced fascism's coming. It should be noted that the Green Party's valiant efforts were too little, too late.

Three events accelerated the demise of American Democracy. The Election of 2000 (the American version of a coup), the 911 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon primarily by terrorists from Saudi Arabia (a vaunted but corrupt U.S. "ally" that funded both the terrorist Al Qaeda network and the Taliban) and the US response to it, and the spate of corporate bankruptcies, most notably Enron, which provided clear evidence-to those who dared look at it-that the American democratic process was a sham. The Bush administration, composed of a number of former Enron officials in its upper ranks, could only describe the worst financial collapse in the world's history as a "tragedy" as if it were akin to a hurricane or earthquake and not man-made. The administration then proceeded to convince a nation of lemmings that Enron was not a political scandal but merely an unfortunate mistake that must not be repeated. However, other Enron-like collapses began being reported with similar disastrous consequences for pensioners and workers. Indeed, a long train of abuses and usurpations took place at a frightening pace in that short 15-month period.

Prior to 911, proponents of the The State were busy dismantling tried and tested treaties and agreements, such as the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, painstakingly hammered out by President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev-and panning others such as the Kyoto Agreement on the environment and the Oslo Accord on Israeli-Palestinian peace. It's worth noting that the US was voted off the UN Human Rights Commission during that timeframe and, in spite of that, appointed three suspected human rights violators (John Negroponte, Otto Reich, and Elliott Abrams) to positions of high office within the US Department of State and National Security Council. Post-911 saw suspension of US constitutional and international law and modifications to suit the needs of The State. Soon thereafter, an inaptly named USA PATRIOT Act and the establishment of US Military Tribunals would be enacted in the same lightning fashion as when Adolph Hitler scrapped the German Constitution in the wake of the 1933 Reichstag fire.

Pentagon spokesman began looking beyond 911. They branded "activists, anarchists, and opportunists" as the terrorists of tomorrow. In fact, the FBI began scanning the Internet for web sites that contained what The State considered seditious and unpatriotic content and, in a few cases, began shutting them down in a sort of cyberspace version of Nazi book burning.

With the apprehension of John Walker Lindh in northern Afghanistan, Americans were inundated with the misdeeds of the "American Taliban," the Traitor. Not since the witch hunting days of Joe McCarthy and the execution of the Rosenbergs had the country been swept up in a tempest of quick accusations of traitorous activities. Off the Orwellian telescreens run by the three cable news networks was any mention of the close contacts between American oil companies, like UNOCAL, and the Taliban, and the fact that the firm, unlike Lindh, made cash payments to the regime in return for the much-sought-after trans-Afghan oil and natural gas pipeline. This was done with the active encouragement of key members of both the Clinton and Bush II administrations. U.S. laws prohibiting such influence peddling, like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, were overlooked. This hypocrisy and the overarching influence of oil over The State's foreign policy is described in a new book by ex-CIA agent Robert Baer, a veteran covert operator in the Islamic world. He states that he found "that the tentacles of big oil stretch from the Caspian Sea to the White House."

Big Oil would convince the Bush administration to turn an ill-advised and ineffective counter-drug war in Colombia into a counter-insurgency operation aimed at protecting the pipelines of US oil companies. Bypassed was a congressional law limiting the number of US private military personnel in Colombia to five hundred. Bush announced that he wanted as many military privateers as it took to "stabilize" the entire Andean region. Meanwhile, Bush's CIA shock troops began destabilizing the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who began to appear as a candidate for the "Axis of Evil" for his independent views of US foreign policy.

With the statement, "You're with us or against us," The State signaled to its long term allies that it reserved the right to establish a new world order based on the great Western Way. Dictatorships and totalitarian regimes were now praised by government officials as freedom loving nations. Military dictators became heroes. George Bush II used the opening of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City to push American nationalism and his stone-faced grimace directed at the passing of the team from Iran - one of Bush's "Axis of Evil" nations-evoked memories of that other nationalist-based Olympic opening ceremony, that in Berlin in the Summer of 1936, a ceremony that saw Hitler making snide remarks to his Reich lieutenants on the presence of African-American sprinter Jesse Owens on the American team. Under the guise of a war that would never end, The State became brazen in its mission.

On the domestic front, clear distinctions between the government and the corporation, and the government and the military evaporated. Government propagandists, formerly corporate propagandists, proclaimed that The State would be an easy brand to sell to the people. In fact, the State Department appointed a Madison Avenue advertising executive as head of its International Public Diplomacy Bureau to pitch "America" abroad as if it was a brand of running shoe, detergent, or deodorant. Meanwhile, The State gave carte blanche authority to the CIA to assassinate foreign leaders-an edict that abrogated President Gerald Ford's 1976 Executive Order banning such murders. Responding to the policies of The State, senior military officers began questioning why right-wing Bush political appointees in the Defense Department scrapped the concepts of US military/international coalition peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in favor of "stability operations" and "unilateralism."
The defense budget ballooned to $400 billion while the wealthiest individuals and organizations received tax reductions and bailouts from the government. Those same recipients would fire close to a million people and rape their pension plans conveniently forcing them back into the workplace. The State raided the Social Security and Medicare accounts to transfer billions of dollars to defense contractors and out of the pockets of senior citizens who were promised assistance with prescription drugs by a now utterly exposed ruse-a "Compassionate Conservative Bush administration." In a country gone mad, cattle and crops would be designated matters of "national security" as an un-elected occupant of the White House ineloquently declared, "the nation has to eat". Meanwhile, The State's media machine would equate the speeches of George Bush II, an individual who relies on cue cards with a short list of antonym pairs like "good man" and "evil doer," to those of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Government officials would proclaim on many occasions that any dissent to and from the government's initiatives would be branded as unpatriotic and terrorist. In that environment thousands of Americans and those of color were pilloried by the government and their fellow citizens for questioning The State's actions. Demonstrators who opposed the corporate power grab in a world that ignored labor and social protections were described as commercial and economic terrorists. The White House Press Secretary urged Americans to watch what they say and do in response to barbs by a television comedian. What would come next, the creation of an American Stasi? Just so. The State initiated the Citizen Corps, in which local residents were encouraged to form their own councils to, among other things, report suspicious activity and gather intelligence, thus cementing the people's support for The State.

The State acted swiftly to reprogram American culture. Artwork antithetical to officials in the Department of Justice was hidden from public view by an Attorney General who opposes the same cultural and social pastimes-dance, drinking of alcohol, and viewing of sculptures-that once subjected an Afghan to death by an edict of the Taliban. Flag burning prohibitions were introduced into law. God, whose name was placed on US currency and inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950s, became indistinguishable from The State. The State's sanctioned religion was literal biblical paternalism, militant in its own way. In this environment it was no surprise that women, once again, lost dominion over themselves and their wombs as the state proclaimed the unborn, born, and subject to The State.

Practitioners of The State argued that freedom was to be defined as the ability to wealth maximize. In this form of raw materialism, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."-those transcendent concepts debated so heartily and openly by the authors of the US Constitution-became desiccated commodities. The State melded God and Country and Business into one credo. With the Supreme Court firmly with The State - having sanctioned the accession to power of a president lacking a plurality in either the contested state of Florida or the United States-it, along with an Executive beholden to religious zealots, planned to strike down other laws, including a woman's right to choose, over the long term. But 911 appeared. The Federal courts saw their power to sanction government break ins of homes and offices, wiretap telephones and e-mail, and bug premises usurped by a law enforcement and intelligence establishment that instead of being forced to answer for their lack of knowledge about the events of 911, was showered with billions of dollars and new unsupervised powers.

Viewed within the acid bath of wealth maximization, 911 became an unexpected bonus for The State in its mission to build the fascist and theocratic underpinnings of its government. With a frightened Congress, receptive corporate media, and a largely uneducated and nervous public, The State brilliantly orchestrated the destruction of the open society.
Prior to 911, The State knew, with the exception of a pitiful few, that Congress could be bought. But it viewed the media and public as a holdout and feared rebellion on editorial pages and at the voting booth. But in the aftermath of 911, with the media now indistinguishable from the "war effort" and the public instructed to fly and buy for patriotism, The State achieved in a mere 15 months, the utter decimation of American democracy.

John Stanton is a Virginia-based writer on national security affairs and Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist who writes and comments frequently on civil liberties and human rights issues.

Copyright ©1999 by "Pravda.RU". When reproducing our materials in whole or in part, reference to Pravda.RU should be made.   The opinions and views of the authors do not always coincide with the point of view of PRAVDA.Ru's editors.

Commentary:
I don't know what to make of the opinion piece but it's worth the read. It has some good points but I think we can fix this mess. We can vote these thugs out of office, but only if the media gives the opposition a fair hearing but the likelihood of that happening is almost zero.

The media lied to us before the war, lied to us during the war and lied to us after the war. They can't be trusted anymore. The Bush Regime is very good at manipulating the daily headlines "Saddam has WMD" worked for them, so did "Saddam was killed in attack" and "WMD have been found.".The media doesn't seem bothered by the disinformation, propaganda, and lies they push around the clock.

I found this line very powerful. It should be used by ALL democrats going after Bush. "Dictatorships and totalitarian regimes were now praised by government officials as freedom loving nations." I'd add my two cents by saying "dictatorship and totalitarian regimes are routinely given funds from our Treasury."


top

Forged Evidence, Henry Waxman letter to Rice
Tom Paine.com
Henry Waxman
June 10, 2003

June 10, 2003

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Dr. Rice:

Since March 17, 2003, I have been trying without success to get a direct answer to one simple question: Why did President Bush cite forged evidence about Iraq's nuclear capabilities in his State of the Union address?

Although you addressed this issue on Sunday on both Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopoulos, your comments did nothing to clarify this issue. In fact, your responses contradicted other known facts and raised a host of new questions.

During your interviews, you said the Bush Administration welcomes inquiries into this matter. Yesterday, The Washington Post also reported that Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet has agreed to provide "full documentation" of the intelligence information "in regards to Secretary Powell's comments, the president's comments and anybody else's comments." Consistent with these sentiments, I am writing to seek further information about this important matter.

Bush Administration Knowledge of Forgeries

The forged documents in question describe efforts by Iraq to obtain uranium from an African country, Niger. During your interviews over the weekend, you asserted that no doubts or suspicions about these efforts or the underlying documents were communicated to senior officials in the Bush Administration before the President's State of the Union address. For example, when you were asked about this issue on Meet the Press, you made the following statement:

We did not know at the time -- no one knew at the time, in our circles -- maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery. Of course, it was information that was mistaken.
Similarly, when you appeared on This Week, you repeated this statement, claiming that you made multiple inquiries of the intelligence agencies regarding the allegation that Iraq sought to obtain uranium from an African country. You stated:

George, somebody, somebody down may have known. But I will tell you that when this issue was raised with the intelligence community... the intelligence community did not know at that time, or at levels that got to us, that this, that there were serious questions about this report.
Your claims, however, are directly contradicted by other evidence. Contrary to your assertion, senior Administration officials had serious doubts about the forged evidence well before the President's State of the Union address. For example, Greg Thielmann, Director of the Office of Strategic, Proliferation, and Military Issues in the State Department, told Newsweek last week that the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) had concluded the documents were "garbage." As you surely know, INR is part of what you call "the intelligence community." It is headed by an Assistant Secretary of State, Carl Ford; it reports directly to the Secretary of State; and it was a full participant in the debate over Iraq's nuclear capabilities. According to Newsweek:

"When I saw that, it really blew me away," Thielmann told Newsweek. Thielmann knew about the source of the allegation. The CIA had come up with some documents purporting to show Saddam had attempted to buy up to 500 tons of uranium oxide from the African country of Niger. INR had concluded that the purchases were implausible - and made that point clear to Powell's office. As Thielmann read that the president had relied on these documents to report to the nation, he thought, "Not that stupid piece of garbage. My thought was, how did that get into the speech?"
Moreover, New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof has reported that the Vice President's office was aware of the fraudulent nature of the evidence as early as February 2002 - nearly a year before the President gave his State of the Union address. In his column, Mr. Kristof reported:

I'm told by a person involved in the Niger caper that more than a year ago the vice president's office asked for an investigation of the uranium deal, so a former U.S. ambassador to Africa was dispatched to Niger. In February 2002, according to someone present at the meetings, that envoy reported to the C.I.A. and State Department that the information was unequivocally wrong and that the documents had been forged.
The envoy reported, for example, that a Niger minister whose signature was on one of the documents had in fact been out of office for more than a decade.... The envoy's debunking of the forgery was passed around the administration and seemed to be accepted - except that President Bush and the State Department kept citing it anyway.

"It's disingenuous for the State Department people to say they were bamboozled because they knew about this for a year," one insider said.

When you were asked about Mr. Kristof's account, you did not deny his reporting. Instead, you conceded that "the Vice President's office may have asked for that report."

It is also clear that CIA officials doubted the evidence. The Washington Post reported on March 22 that CIA officials "communicated significant doubts to the administration about the evidence." The Los Angeles Times reported on March 15 that "the CIA first heard allegations that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger in late 2001," when "the existence of the documents was reported to [the CIA] second- or third-hand." The Los Angeles Times quoted a CIA official as saying: "We included that in some of our reporting, although it was all caveated because we had concerns about the accuracy of that information."

With all respect, this is not a situation like the pre-9/11 evidence that al-Qaeda was planning to hijack planes and crash them into buildings. When you were asked about this on May 17, 2002, you said:

As you might imagine... a lot of things are prepared within agencies. They're distributed internally, they're worked internally. It's unusual that anything like that would get to the president. He doesn't recall seeing anything. I don't recall seeing anything of this kind.
That answer may be given more deference when the evidence in question is known only by a field agent in an FBI bureau in Phoenix, Arizona, whose suspicions are not adequately understood by officials in Washington. But it is simply not credible here. Contrary to your public statements, senior officials in the intelligence community in Washington knew the forged evidence was unreliable before the President used the evidence in the State of the Union address.

Other Evidence

In addition to denying that senior officials were aware that the President was citing forged evidence, you also claimed (1) "there were also other sources that said that there were, the Iraqis were seeking yellowcake - uranium oxide - from Africa" and (2) "there were other attempts to get yellowcake from Africa."

This answer does not explain the President's statement in the State of the Union address. In his State of the Union address, the President referred specifically to the evidence from the British. He stated: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Presumably, the President would use the best available evidence in his State of the Union address to Congress and the nation. It would make no sense for him to cite forged evidence obtained from the British if, in fact, the United States had other reliable evidence that he could have cited.

Moreover, contrary to your assertion, there does not appear to be any other specific and credible evidence that Iraq sought to obtain uranium from an African country. The Administration has not provided any such evidence to me or my staff despite our repeated requests. To the contrary, the State Department wrote me that the "other source" of this claim was another Western European ally. But as the State Department acknowledged in its letter, "the second Western European government had based its assessment on the evidence already available to the U.S. that was subsequently discredited."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also found no other evidence indicating that Iraq sought to obtain uranium from Niger. The evidence in U.S. possession that Iraq had sought to obtain uranium from Niger was transmitted to the IAEA. After reviewing all the evidence provided by the United States, the IAEA reported: "we have to date found no evidence or plausible indication of the revival of a nuclear weapons programme in Iraq." Ultimately, the IAEA concluded: "these specific allegations are unfounded."

Questions

As the discussion above indicates, your answers on the Sunday talk shows conflict with other reports and raise many new issues. To help address these issues, I request answers to the following questions:

1.    On Meet the Press, you said that "maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency" that the evidence cited by the President about Iraq's attempts to obtain uranium from Africa was suspect. Please identify the individual or individuals in the Administration who, prior to the President's State of the Union address, had expressed doubts about the validity of the evidence or the credibility of the claim.

2.    Please identify any individuals in the Administration who, prior to the President's State of the Union address, were briefed or otherwise made aware that an individual or individuals in the Administration had expressed doubts about the validity of the evidence or the credibility of the claim.

3.    On This Week, you said there was other evidence besides the forged evidence that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium from Africa. Please provide this other evidence.

4.    When you were asked about reports that Vice President Cheney sent a former ambassador to Niger to investigate the evidence, you stated "the Vice President's office may have asked for that report." In light of this comment, please address:

(a)    Whether Vice President Cheney or his office requested an investigation into claims that Iraq may have attempted to obtain nuclear material from Africa, and when any such request was made;

(b)    Whether a current or former U.S. ambassador to Africa, or any other current or former government official or agent, traveled to Niger or otherwise investigated claims that Iraq may have attempted to obtain nuclear material from Niger; and

(c)    What conclusions or findings, if any, were reported to the Vice President, his office, or other U.S. officials as a result of the investigation, and when any such conclusions or findings were reported.

Conclusion

On Sunday, you stated that "there is now a lot of revisionism that says, there was disagreement on this data point, or disagreement on that data point." I disagree strongly with this characterization. I am not raising questions about the validity of an isolated "data point," and the issue is not whether the war in Iraq was justified or not.

What I want to know is the answer to a simple question: Why did the President use forged evidence in the State of the Union address? This is a question that bears directly on the credibility of the United States, and it should be answered in a prompt and forthright manner, with full disclosure of all the relevant facts.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Minority Member

Commentary:
This letter from Waxman to Rice should clarify many of the uranium lies for those of you who hadn't had the time to keep track.

Bush said his decision to go to war was the "right decision" based on "good intelligence." When every word of his intelligence was wrong, it's not good intelligence and one can't make a right decision based on bad intelligence. Note how they cloak their deeds in words like "right" and "good." Don't fall for it.


top

Blix 'amazed' by US WMD claims
Daily Telegraph
August 12, 2003

CHIEF UN weapons inspector for Iraq Hans Blix today said he was amazed the US and Britain expected to find large quantities of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after UN inspectors were unable to find any.

"What surprises me, what amazes me, is that it seems the military people were expecting to stumble on large quantities of gas, chemical weapons and biological weapons," Blix said in an interview with the New York Times.

"I don't see how they could have come to such an attitude if they had, at any time, studied" existing reports by UN inspectors, he said.

"Is the United Nations on a different planet? Are reports from here totally unread south of the Hudson?" Blix asked, in reference to the river that flows through New York, where the UN headquarters is based.

When asked how he felt about the US-led war that ousted the regime of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Blix replied: "We all welcome the disappearance of one of the world's most horrible regimes."

After returning to Iraq after a four-year hiatus in late November, UN weapons inspectors found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, uncovering only the banned Al-Samoud 2 missiles.

Baghdad went on to destroy 72 of the missiles.

So far, US teams deployed in Iraq since the war have found no banned chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

The alleged existence of such weapons in Iraq was a key argument put forward by the US and Britain in the case for war.

© Mirror Australian Telegraph Publications

Commentary:
Geez Mr. Blix how do I explain this to you? The military was lied to. And surely you didn't expect them to read UN reports did you? Why would they do that? They only contained facts that disproved Bush's evidence--and that's not what they do.


top

Editorial: Robinson ambush / The anatomy of a smear
Star Tribune
Published August 6, 2003

We had hoped to comment this morning on the meaning of the Episcopal debate over the nomination of the Rev. Gene Robinson to be bishop of the New Hampshire diocese. Why is it happening now? What does it portend? Is the Episcopal Church, as it often has before, signaling a significant change in the social fabric of American life?

That was before Robinson was ambushed, hours before the House of Bishops was to take the final vote on his nomination, by the most scurrilous smear: He was accused of linkage to a porn Web site and of inappropriately touching another man. The church investigated both charges and cleared Robinson. The House of Bishops then voted to accept his elevation to Bishop of New Hampshire. End of story? Not quite.

The Every Voice Network Web site, a liberal Anglican site, reported Tuesday that the alleged inappropriate behavior "occurred when Robinson touched a married man in his 40s on his bicep, shoulder and upper back in the process of a public conversation at a province meeting around two years ago." Oh, please.

The phony accusation that Robinson was linked somehow to porn on the Web was easy to track down. It was a deliberate, calculated lie, apparently held in reserve until the last minute in case the first vote, in the House of Deputies, went against those opposed to Robinson's elevation to bishop -- which it did on Sunday.

The question of whether Robinson should be a bishop is -- and probably will remain for some time -- an issue for the Episcopal Church. But the smear is an issue for the larger community as well, for it demonstrates just how low some people will stoop when honest, reasonable debate is going against them. In fact, it links to the same sort of behavior in the American body politic.

Years ago, Robinson helped organize the Concord, N.H., chapter of Outright, a group that, essentially, ministers to young gay and lesbian people. He has had little contact with the group in recent years, and had nothing to do with its Web site, as the group has confirmed.

At Outright Web site that Robinson had nothing to do with, you find links to nine Outright groups in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. One or more of them once had a link to bisexual.org, a support site for bisexual people. At bisexual.org, in the bottom left corner, is a link to "3 pillows."

If you click that link, you get a bisexual.org splash screen telling you that "Three Pillows is the net's premiere site for bisexual erotica." If you click the link in this window, you get a Three Pillows warning page: "Warning -- Adult Content Ahead! You must be over 18 to proceed. Three Pillows contains adult erotica of a bisexual nature."

If you click the "Enter" link, you get a fairly explicit page with the naughtiest bits blanked out. To actually see the explicit stuff, you must become a member and pay for the privilege.

That's, what, seven clicks and a Visa card from the Outright page that Robinson had nothing to do with? As one online wag said, you can get from the conservative Weekly Standard to porn in just two clicks: to Salon, then to porn. Frankly, porn is much closer than seven clicks to Startribune.com as well. Everything on the Web is a few clicks away from porn; that's the Web.

The Weekly Standard is important in this. Executive Editor Fred Barnes gave the Robinson story a major boost -- after it was shopped to other news outlets that refused to bite -- when he posted information about the controversy on the magazine's Web site Monday. Barnes asserted that, "Episcopalian bishop-elect Gene Robinson has some curious affiliations," meaning the porn Web site.

No he doesn't, but Barnes does. He's not simply a journalist in this; he's a conservative Episcopalian of outspoken views who sits on the board of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. It's a conservative group which believes that mainline Protestant churches "have thrown themselves into multiple, often leftist crusades -- radical forms of feminism, environmentalism, pacifism, multi-culturalism, revolutionary socialism, sexual liberation and so forth." The group vigorously opposes gay rights within the church.

Also fascinating is who funds the institute. The most prominent names on the list of contributors are Olin, Scaife and Bradley, the same folks who bankrolled the Clinton wars.

So we come full circle. Gene Robinson, meet Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. But there is a difference: In Clinton's case, years of digging eventually produced evidence of private sexual misbehavior. Robinson appears guilty of nothing at all -- save being a gay man who wants to be a bishop. For some, unfortunately, that is enough to justify all sorts of innuendo and dirty tricks. Be warned: This is the way they play.

© Copyright 2003 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
"Institute on Religion and Democracy": on the list of contributors are Olin, Scaife and Bradley, the same folks who bankrolled the Clinton wars.

I put up this article for a few reasons. First, we need to track this group of nutty religious fanatics who call themselves Christian but instead are conservatives. Second, because we need to know who finances them (follow the money) and third, I wanted to keep a record of how easy it is to destroy a man--only one email from someone with an axe to grind.

Since this editorial was written Gene Robinson was elected bishop and because the conservatives didn't get their way they're threatening to split with the church. Which lead me to ask "who cares if they leave?"

Liberals in the Church will do whatever they have to in order to keep the church from splitting but if the coin was flipped--if liberals threatened to leave, you can bet your bottom dollar they'd say leave. Liberals need to have the balls to tell these conservative hate mongers to get the hell out of the church.

Jesus never said a word about homosexuality and anyone who says he did is a liar.


top

State Dept. Changes Seen if Bush Reelected
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 4, 2003; 1:26 PM

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his deputy, Richard L. Armitage, have signaled to the White House that they intend to step down even if President Bush is reelected, setting the stage for a substantial reshaping of the administration's national security team that has remained unchanged through the September 2001 terrorist attacks, two wars and numerous other crises.

Armitage recently told national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that he and Powell will leave on Jan. 21, 2005, the day after the next presidential inauguration, sources familiar with the conversation said. Powell has indicated to associates that a commitment made to his wife, rather than any dismay at the administration's foreign policy, is a key factor in his desire to limit his tenure to one presidential term.

Rice and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz are the leading candidates to replace Powell, according to sources inside and outside the administration. Rice appears to have an edge because of her closeness to the president, though it is unclear whether she would be interested in running the State Department's vast bureaucracy.

With 18 months left in Bush's current term, many officials said talk of a new foreign policy team is highly premature -- particularly because Bush's reelection is not assured. No one inside or outside the administration agreed to be quoted by name or affiliation in discussing possible Cabinet choices. But on the eve of the country's first post-Sept. 11, 2001, presidential campaign, in which foreign affairs will play a prominent role, the national security lineup for a second Bush term is already a major topic of conversation, at least among those who make and analyze U.S. foreign policy.

Indeed, Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet is already the third-longest serving CIA chief and is expected to depart, perhaps before the current term ends. Tenet's role in the Iraq weapons' controversy has led to calls on Capitol Hill for his dismissal, fueling speculation he will quit soon.

The current administration has been characterized by fierce policy disputes, often between Powell and more hawkish members, and a reshuffling likely would significantly change the tenor and character of the foreign policy team.

Although Bush appears to value the range of opinions he has received from his chief national security advisers, he may feel free during a second term to realign his foreign policy more closely to the harder-edged, conservative view exemplified by Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, according to Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser.

Powell has staffed key positions in the State Department with close associates, and many of those officials also are expected to leave at the beginning of a second Bush term, giving the new secretary of state the opportunity to substantially re-staff the department.

Some observers have speculated that Powell, who made an extensive presentation before the United Nations in February on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the war, has been embarrassed by the failure to find much evidence of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons programs. But Powell, both publicly and privately, has said he has no regrets about his comments to the Security Council, arguing that they hold up well if read carefully.

Powell has declined to answer questions about his plans. "I serve at the pleasure of the president," he said last month. "That's the only answer I've ever given to that question, no matter what form it comes in."

Bush recently named Rice as his personal representative on the Middle East conflict, a move that some State Department officials view as an audition for secretary of state. Republican political operatives have also touted Rice as a possible candidate in the 2006 race for California governor. But Rice's image has been tarnished by the fallout over the administration's use of intelligence about Iraq's weapons, raising questions about her scrutiny of the materials and the veracity of her public statements.

Rice "is an honest, fabulous person, and America is lucky to have her service, period," Bush said at a news conference before departing for his August vacation.

Wolfowitz, the administration's foreign policy intellectual and prime advocate of a confrontation with Iraq, would be a more daring and controversial choice. A senior Senate Democrat said Wolfowitz would have little trouble winning confirmation in a Republican-controlled Senate. But others said that because Wolfowitz is considered more of a strategic thinker than a manager, he could be tapped as Rice's replacement as national security adviser if she became secretary of state or entered politics.

Long-shot candidates for secretary would include Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), the centrist chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee who is a strong supporter of Powell. Lugar is so respected by Democrats that his name was also floated during the Clinton administration.

Another dark horse is former House speaker Newt Gingrich. The Georgia Republican appears to be openly campaigning for the job, arguing in speeches and in a recent Foreign Policy magazine article that the State Department under Powell has failed to adequately support Bush's policies.

Among other key members of the foreign policy team, Rumsfeld is deeply involved in modernizing the military, as well as in the Pentagon's ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and appears willing to stay on beyond the start of a second term, officials said.

If Rice became secretary of state, that would open up another key slot -- national security adviser. Although Wolfowitz is considered a strong possibility, Rice's deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, could move up, much like Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger did when President Bill Clinton won a second term.

Officials also said another strong candidate is I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff and already a principal foreign policy adviser inside the White House.

A dark-horse candidate for national security adviser is Steve Biegun, chief foreign affairs aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who is said to have impressed Bush when he served as executive secretary of the National Security Council early on in the administration.

There appear to be few obvious choices for a new CIA director. Armitage, known as a sharp manager willing to tackle tough projects, is viewed by some officials as the ideal replacement for Tenet. But Armitage has insisted to others that he will leave the administration on the same day as Powell, one of his closest friends.

Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and a former CIA case officer, is considered a strong possibility, as is Wolfowitz if he is not tapped for secretary of state or national security adviser.

Two mid-level administration officials who could move up are Stephen A. Cambone, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Richard L. Haver, assistant to Rumsfeld on intelligence (and to Cheney when he was defense secretary in the administration of President George H.W. Bush). Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, head of the National Security Agency, and retired Adm. William O. Studeman, a former NSA director and former CIA deputy director, are regarded as highly qualified for the job.

Two retired senators who served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.) and Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.) -- are considered long-shot candidates for CIA director. But Thompson, a sometime actor who now appears in the television series "Law and Order," has one unusual attribute: He already played the CIA director in the 1987 Kevin Costner movie "No Way Out."

[The White House announced Monday that Powell and Armitage will visit Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Tuesday and Wednesday, Washington Post staff writer Mike Allen reported. Press secretary Scott McClellan said the visit had been "in the works" for some time. The two will have dinner with Bush on Tuesday, and hold a meeting and eat lunch with him on Wednesday.]

© 2003 The Washington Post Company

Commentary:
\ I doubt Powell will be part of the next Bush Administration because there won't be another Bush Administration. Besides, we can't have a Sec. of State who can't tell the difference between real intelligence and manufactured intelligence, real documents or forged documents, real evidence or fabricated and exaggerated evidence.

Since Rice couldn't tell the difference either, she's not fit to be National Security Advisor or Sec. of State.


top

MoD denies it tried to burn documents
Martin Bright and Kamal Ahmed
Sunday August 3, 2003
The Observer

The Ministry of Defence confirmed last night that a document at the centre of a security breach three days after the suicide of government weapons adviser David Kelly had been passed to police investigating the death of the scientist.

But the MoD fiercely denied allegations that it had attempted to burn or shred a 'media plan' relating to Kelly at their Whitehall headquarters.

The Daily Telegraph reported that officials were preparing to incinerate a media strategy dealing with the fallout from the Kelly affair when they were spotted by security guards.

The incident revolves around the troubled department of Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, whose officials have been accused of releasing Kelly's name to the media.

The MoD confirmed there had been a security breach on 20 July when guards discovered that a document referring to Kelly had been mistakenly placed in a 'burn bag' to be taken for incineration. The incident would normally have been dealt with internally, but the guards took the unusual step of alerting the Ministry of Defence Police.

Sources said the guards' reaction was 'a little over-zealous', but that it was understandable given the sensitivity surrounding the Kelly affair. Thames Valley Police confirmed they had taken documents from a number of sources in relation to the suicide, while the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the incident was being dealt with by the Kelly team.

An MoD Police spokesman confirmed that they had been alerted to the incident by security staff on Sunday 20 July and the matter was passed to Thames Valley police.

The MoD also later confirmed last night that a 'confidential waste sack' due for incineration was left in an unsecured area, sparking a security alert. The document was sent to Thames Valley Police, the force which is in overall charge of the investigation into Kelly's suicide.

MoD officials said that the document was a "news summary annex', a list of news stories relating to the department which had appeared on the week of Kelly's death. The document was dominated by reaction to the suicide.

The document, drawn up by the press department, also contained a forecast of stories likely to appear in the next few days. Sources said it was unlikely that the annex was actually classified but had become mixed up in another bundle of confidential documents not related to the Government scientist.

Rumours that the MoD was using the incident on 20 July to deflect attention from a more serious incident on the previous Thursday, the night of Kelly's disappearance, were categorically denied. An MoD spokeswoman said there had been no other security breaches relating to material concerning Kelly.

The incident led to calls for Lord Hutton to make the security breach part of his inquiry into the events leading to Kelly's death.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell said: 'The obvious person to get to the bottom of these allegations is Lord Hutton. If the reports are true, they would provide an embarrassing insight into the collective mind of the MoD.'

MediaGuardian.co.uk © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

Commentary:
The cover-up continues.


top

Insiders suggest Condoleezza Rice could leave
Yahoo News/US News & World Reports
Paul Bedard
Thu Jul 24,12:00 PM ET

As White House officials try to control the latest fallout over President Bush (news - web sites)'s flawed suggestion in the State of the Union address that Iraq (news - web sites) was buying nuclear bomb materials, there's growing talk by insiders that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) may take the blame and resign. For most insiders, it's inconceivable that Rice, touted as a future secretary of state, California governor, and even vice president, would go, but the latest revelations that her shop and deputy Stephen Hadley mishandled CIA (news - web sites) warnings have put the NSC in the bull's eye of controversy.

While it's unclear how serious the talk is inside the administration about the future of Rice or Hadley with the NSC, a few top aides are already suggesting replacements for Rice. They include former Bush administration National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, NASA (news - web sites) chief and former Navy Secretary Sean O'Keefe, and Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq.

Copyright © 2003 U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Copyright © 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
Why is she still there? She failed the president, the congress and the American people. Only in conservatives circles is failure rewarded. Tenet from the CIA failed, Rice failed, Rumsfeld failed, Powell failed, Cheney failed, and Bush failed. None of them could tell the difference between real evidence and fake evidence. Yet, to our utter amazement the media continues to believe them.


top

The consumer is starting to worry
Yahoo News/US News & World Report
By Paul J. Lim
Jul 29, 1:05 PM ET

The consumer is starting to worry.

Consumer sentiment took its first meaningful hit since the end of the fighting war in Iraq (news - web sites). According to the Conference Board (news - web sites)'s sentiment index, consumer confidence fell unexpectedly this month, from a reading of 83.5 in June to 76.6, its lowest level since March, just before the war started. Worse still, the percentage of consumers who think the economy will deteriorate over the next six months grew from just 9.2 percent in June to 11.5 percent this month. "The rising level of unemployment and sentiment that a turnaround in labor market conditions is not around the corner have contributed to deflating consumers' spirits this month," said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "Expectations are likely to remain weak until the job market becomes more favorable."

The news comes on the heels of another sentiment survey by the financial services giant UBS that showed investor confidence has plunged from a reading of 77 in June to 54 this month. The percentage of households that are optimistic about how the stock market will perform in the coming year also fell, from 57 percent last month to just 50 percent today.

The drop in confidence may not just be related to jobs.

The timing of the slide in consumer and investor confidence coincides with rising long-term interest rates. Since June, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has jumped more than 1.2 percentage points to 4.3 percent today, a near-historic rise in such a short period of time. While this is normally considered good news--rising rates imply an improving economy--it has pressured stock prices. That's because rising rates also mean higher borrowing costs, which can crimp corporate profits. What's more, the jump in 10-year Treasury yields has pushed up interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, from 5.21 percent in June to nearly 6 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac. Not surprisingly, this is starting to affect the mortgage market. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, its loan application index, which tracks purchases and refinancings, has fallen from a record high reading of 1856.7 at the end of May to 1284.3 today. The big question: Is the refinancing boom, which fueled consumer spending in recent years, finally over?

Copyright © 2003 U.S. News & World Report, L.P.
Copyright © 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Commentary:
I'm still of the opinion that the economy will eventually turn around--it always does. The bad part is the media never blamed Bush for the economy but must give him credit if they want him relected.

Kinda like they didn't demand proof before he went to war, but still give him credit for waging an unjust war.


top