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Impeach Bush

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 US Says Oil Prices Harmful
 Key Dates in Hijackers' Tracking
 Bush outlines first-strike doctrine
 Lawmakers Cite Flaws in Bush's Iraq Resolution
 Senators Say Bush is impeding investigation
 Spy agencies knew of attack on US soil
 Arthur Anderson strikes again--Interior Department problems
 US Interior Secretary Norton Ruled in Contempt
 Bush begs EU not to retaliate
 Iraqi Letter to UN Accepting Inspections
US Says Oil Prices Harmful
abcnews.com/reuters.com
September 21

OSAKA, Japan (Reuters) - The United States on Saturday, in an apparent swipe at the OPEC cartel, called high oil prices harmful and potentially damaging to world economic growth.

"High prices could produce an undesirable ripple effect on the economies of the world," said U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

"If the industrialized world experiences an economic slump its markets for the developing world's products will contract, damaging developing economies."

Abraham was addressing the opening session in Osaka of the International Energy Forum of some 60 oil consuming and producing countries, included most OPEC nations.

He was speaking after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries this week defied consumer country calls for extra oil to meet winter demand.

Their agreement helped support oil prices near $30 a barrel for U.S. benchmark crude but traders say U.S. plans to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, by force if necessary, are the biggest factor behind this year's 40 percent rise in oil prices.

Other major consumer interests echoed Abraham's concerns.

European Union Energy Commissioner Loyala de Palacio told reporters: "There is concern that prices are at the top of the limit. This doesn't help economic recovery which is taking longer than expected."

"In our opinion the real long-term balanced price is just above $20.

Indian Energy Minister Ram Naik said India's comfort zone for prices was $22-$24 a barrel. "The existing price concerns me and many developing countries like India," he said.

WON'T BEG

Abraham made no direct mention of OPEC.

But he condemned the record of international oil markets since the mid-1990s, saying that volatile prices were "becoming increasingly problematic."

"High prices may be pleasing to producers in the short term but in the long term volatile pricing regimes of this kind are destabilizing and harmful to all participants in the market," Abraham said. U.S. oil prices since 1998 have swung between $11 and $37 a barrel.

It was Washington's harshest public criticism of oil producers since the administration of oilman George W.Bush came to office in January 2001.

Until now, Abraham has preferred to use quiet diplomacy, only urging OPEC to let free markets set prices.

That tack has not worked. OPEC in January cut its production quotas to the lowest level in a decade, helping force prices toward the top end of the group's $22-$28 a barrel target, equivalent to $30 for U.S. crude.

Abraham said Washington would not go cap in hand to OPEC for more oil.

"We aren't going to beg for oil. Producers have their way of looking at things and the U.S. has to do that as well," he said.

But he sought to remind producer states of their pledge to maintain stable supplies.

"It has been most welcome that many oil suppliers have come forward to provide assurances to the market that they would take action to increase production were there ever to be an interruption in the flow of world oil supplies."

He made no mention of U.S. military plans to remove Saddam Hussein, president of OPEC founder member Iraq.

OPEC's powerful minister, Saudi Arabia's Ali al-Naimi said there was no question of Riyadh's reliability as the world's leading source of oil.

Also speaking in Osaka he said: "I can't think of any producing nation that has gone to the extent of the kingdom in servicing its dedicated customers and shoring up any weaknesses in the global oil market." If oil prices stayed high, Abraham warned producers, they would backfire on the supplying nations by making alternative energy resources economic.

"Extended periods of high prices make previously uneconomic alternatives attractive and will lead sooner rather than later to the result net producing nations want least: early discovery of a permanent low price alternative," he said.

Commentary:
OPEC says oil prices are about $4 a barrel higher because of Bush's war talk or a "war premium". When Iraq said it would allow inspectors, the price of oil dropped $5 a barrel (proving OPEC is telling the truth). Bush clearly knows selling war is easier than debating economic, energy and budget issues so war it is.

 
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Key Dates in Hijackers' Tracking
abcnews.com/ap
September 21

The U.S. government learned of two of the future Sept. 11 hijackers in early 2000, but missed several opportunities to track them and prevent their entry into the United States. Had they been put on watch lists before late August 2001, they probably would have been denied entry into the country. Whether their arrests would have led to the uncovering of the Sept. 11 plot is open to speculation.

On Friday, the congressional investigation into the attacks released details of the actions by the CIA, FBI and others about the two hijackers. Here's a timeline of relevant events surrounding the two hijackers, according to the congressional report and other sources"

December 1999: U.S. intelligence learns about an upcoming meeting of suspected al-Qaida members in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when it intercepts telephone conversations. The phone number was provided to the United States by a suspect in the previous year's bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa. The CIA alerts Malaysian authorities to watch the meeting. The CIA learns the name of one attendee: Khalid al-Mihdhar, a future hijacker.

Dec. 14: Ahmed Ressam, while entering the country from Canada, is arrested by a sharp-eyed U.S. Customs agent in Washington state. Ressam, who is later associated with al-Qaida, had a car with a trunk full of explosives that he may have intended to detonate at Los Angeles International Airport at the height of the millennium holiday travel period.

Jan. 5, 2000: The CIA informs FBI agents about the meeting and of al-Mihdhar, according to CIA officials.

Jan. 5-8: Al-Mihdhar and future hijacker Nawaf al-Hazmi, both Saudis, meet with a Yemeni named Tawfiq Attash Khallad and others in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian authorities acquire photographs of the attendees, but not audio. The subject of the meeting still is not known.

Jan. 15: Al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi fly from Bangkok, Thailand, to Los Angeles. They are not tracked.

March: The CIA learns al-Hazmi's identity and that he traveled to Los Angeles. At some later point before Sept. 11, U.S. authorities learn the identity of al-Hazmi's brother and future hijacker Salem al-Hazmi, but little else about him. They also later discover that al-Mihdhar was on the same flight as Nawaf al-Hazmi.

Spring: Al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi are living openly in San Diego and are taking flight lessons.

June 10: Al-Mihdhar flies from Los Angeles to Frankfurt, Germany.

July 7: Al-Hazmi applies to extend his visa.

Oct. 12: Suicide bombers with ties to al-Qaida attack the destroyer USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, killing 17 sailors.

December 2000: Al-Hazmi moves to Mesa, Ariz., to live with American Airlines Flight 77 hijacker Hani Hanjour.

Jan. 4, 2001: U.S. authorities identify Khallad as one of the masterminds of the USS Cole bombing. He is now considered a senior al-Qaida leader who remains at large. Around this time, U.S. officials also receive information suggesting he was at the Malaysia meeting.

May: To assist in the Cole investigation, the CIA supplies the FBI with photographs from the Malaysia meeting including one of al-Mihdhar.

June 11: FBI and CIA officials meet in New York in connection with the Cole investigation and the Malaysia meeting. There is some dispute over what happened at the meeting, but FBI agents said they sought intelligence information that the CIA officers declined to supply. CIA officials say they kept the FBI informed about their discoveries.

June 13: Al-Mihdhar obtains another U.S. visa in Saudi Arabia and claims he has never been to the United States before.

July 4: Al-Mihdhar re-enters the United States.

July 13: A CIA officer assigned to the FBI researches Khallad's presence at the Malaysia meeting. He sends an e-mail to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, "This is a major league killer, who orchestrated the Cole attack and possibly the embassy bombings."

Aug. 21: Analysts at the Counterterrorism Center piece together some of al-Mihdhar's and al-Hazmi's movements, and raise concerns that they were in Los Angeles about the time Ressam may have intended to attack LAX.

Aug. 23: The CIA asks the State Department, INS, Customs Service and FBI requesting al-Mihdhar, al-Hazmi and two others from the Malaysia meeting be placed on watch lists and denied access to the United States. They are placed on relevant watch lists the next day.

The CIA knew al-Mihdhar was in the United States but he now could be detained if he attempts to leave. The State Department begins the process to revoke their visas. The FBI begins looking for them.

Aug. 29: A New York-based FBI agent asks headquarters to allow his office to use its "full criminal investigative resources" to find al-Mihdhar. But headquarters denies the request because al-Mihdhar was not under criminal investigation. The frustrated agent replies: "Someday someone will die and wall or not the public will not understand why we were not more effective and throwing every resource we had at certain `problems'."

Sept. 11: American Airlines 77, with hijackers al-Mihdhar, al-Hazmi, Hanjour, Salem al-Hazmi and Majed Moqed on board, crashes into the Pentagon, killing 189 people.

 
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Lawmakers Cite Flaws in Bush's Iraq Resolution
Reuters.com
September 20

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With a number of lawmakers from both parties complaining that President Bush was seeking excessively broad powers to wage war, Congress worked on Friday to craft a resolution backing a possible military strike on Iraq that can get wide support.

Within hours after the White House delivered on Thursday its draft of a resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq, lawmakers were sending back suggestions to narrow the scope, include some requirements for U.N. involvement, and correct mistakes in the White House paper.

"Some of the language -- even for me, who has been quite hawkish on this matter -- is a bit broad," Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, told reporters.

Democrats and some Republicans pointed mainly to the White House language authorizing use of force to "restore international peace and security in the region" around Iraq, which many said was a blank check for the administration to strike any country in the volatile area.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the language came from a previous United Nations resolution dealing with Iraq, and was not meant to expand the scope of the congressional resolution beyond Iraq.

"If there are some misunderstandings about it, we'll help Congress and work with Congress to get a clear understanding," Fleischer said. "It would be wrong to interpret those words as if it would apply anywhere beyond Iraq."

But Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat, said the draft would "allow the president to march our troops into Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, the West Bank, and anywhere else that one could argue is part of the Middle East."

Byrd, a vocal critic of Bush on Iraq, added in a floor statement: "I cannot believe the gall and the arrogance of the White House in requesting such a broad grant of war powers. This is the worst kind of election-year politics."

With Congress all but certain to vote to give Bush power to invade Iraq, which he says threatens the United States with weapons of mass destruction, other Democrats spoke more softly but said the resolution must be changed.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat who supports Bush's stance against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, called the language "unnervingly vague."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said it was "overly broad, makes no mention of the efforts to build an international coalition at the United Nations, and is premature."

While some Republicans said Congress should move quickly to back Bush with the broad powers he wants, others said the resolution needed considerable work.

"I think probably Monday afternoon or Tuesday we'll begin to see if there needs to be changes made, and I hope by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest that we'll have the language that will be voted on in both bodies," said Senate Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi.

Other Republicans hinted at a slower timetable.

House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, an Illinois Republican, said he plans for his committee to consider the resolution, giving lawmakers a chance to make changes before it reaches a floor vote.

"It's a negotiating process involving many individuals and one can expect consensus language to emerge in the days ahead," said Sam Stratman, Hyde's spokesman.

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who will become senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee next year with the retirement of Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, felt the White House draft was "a starting point," his spokesman, Andy Fisher, said.

Fisher said lawmakers "will be drafting and redrafting over the next week or two."

Commentary:
Bush wants to go to war with Iraq even though Iraq agreed to weapons's inspectors and based on the lie that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Han ANYONE seen this evidence? The CIA website says Iraq doesn't have nuclear weapons. Which are we to believe, the CIA who says Bush is lying or Bush?

The US under this president is becoming a war-mongering nation and those who support "War First" are as un-American as previous republican campaigns such as McCarthyism. Doing war weeks before the election forces the media to stay away from real issues. Shame on them, shame on Bush and shame on the US.

 
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Bush outlines first-strike doctrine
CNN News
September 20, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush served notice on Friday that the U.S. will shift its military strategy away from the deterrence that characterized the Cold War and toward pre-emptive action against terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction.

"The United States can no longer solely rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past," Bush wrote. "We cannot let our enemies strike first."

That means taking action against hostile forces like Iraq, he said, even when multinational groups like the United Nations balk.

"As a matter of common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed," he wrote in "The National Military Strategy for the United States of America."

"While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists," he added, "to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country."

Presidents are required by law to submit the document to Congress, but Bush's doctrine amounted to the official declaration of the death of Cold War strategy that pushed the superpowers to stockpile nuclear weapons as a way of ensuring peace.

The document also reinforced Bush's drive to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein at a time when Congress considers his request to use military force and the White House seeks support from Russia, France and other wary nations as part of a push for U.N. backing.

In the second paragraph of the 33-page document, Bush sought to answer critics of American motivations.

"We do not use our strength to press for unilateral advantage," he wrote. "We seek instead to create a balance of power that favors human freedom."

A different enemy

The September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon showed the nation a different enemy and forced change on U.S. military strategy. Unlike the Soviet Union, suicidal terrorists cannot be deterred.

"Enemies of the past needed great armies and great industrial capabilities to endanger America," Bush wrote. "Now, shadowy networks of individuals can bring great chaos and suffering to our shores for less than it costs to purchase a single tank."

Among the goals, Bush said, is "supporting moderate and modern government, especially in the Muslim world, to ensure that the conditions and ideologies that promote terrorism do not find fertile ground in any nation."

Bush also pledged support for an independent and democratic Palestinian state "if Palestinians embrace democracy and the rule of law, confront corruption and firmly reject terror."

Meanwhile, "Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop," Bush said.

Commentary:
Is it now the policy of the US to support only countries that "embrace democracy?" and "supporting only modern governments"? or "balance of power that favors human freedom." If so, why does he support Saudi Arabia? Bush also says we support countries that don't create terrorists. Most of the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. Hmm, classify this one under fluff.

 
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TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 73, Sec. 1505--impeding investigation of congress
Senators Say Bush is impeding investigation *
An impeachable offense

Reuters.com
September 18, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congressional investigators are not getting the cooperation they need from the Bush administration on information held by the U.S. intelligence community before the Sept. 11 attacks, a ranking Republican senator said on Wednesday.

U.S. House of Representatives and Senate intelligence committees kick off hearings on Wednesday on U.S. information-gathering activities before last year's deadly attacks on America.

A congressional source said on Tuesday U.S. intelligence agencies knew of unspecified threats against U.S. targets and about the possibility airplanes would be used as weapons.

On Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York, destroying the towering structures, and another crashed into the Pentagon outside Washington. A fourth airplane, which may have been destined for a second site in Washington, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.

Altogether, more than 3,000 people were killed.

Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the administration of impeding the probe into what the intelligence community knew before Sept. 11.

"Are we getting the cooperation we need? Absolutely not; that's one of our concerns," Shelby told NBC's "Today Show" before the congressional hearings opened.

Sen. Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, complained that FBI and CIA officials "at the operational level ... who had their hands on" important intelligence information were not being made available to congressional investigators.

Instead, Graham told NBC the committee is being given access to officials "at the top of the pyramid" who "only have a general apartness of what was going on in the organization."

"The fact they used airplanes as weapons should not have been a surprise to the intelligence community. I'm not sure it was to everyone," Shelby said.

After Sept. 11, White House officials complained that members of the U.S. Congress were leaking information to the media about what was known before the attacks.

Graham denied any congressional leaks have hindered the ongoing investigation. Shelby said there have "always been leaks and there will be in the future," adding that most of those leaks "have come from the executive branch of government" over the past year.

The two congressional committees are declassifying some of the more than 400,000 documents that have been gathered. Graham has said the information will provide an overview of the plot and events leading up to the devastating attack on the United States.

Graham said on Wednesday he was surprised the American public did not get a stronger warning of a possible attack.

"We have a lot of work to do on the threat warning system" so the public is given better information on what they should do to "protect themselves their families, their communities" when an alert is issued, he added.

Commentary:
Impeding an investigation of the Congress is a crime. Why hasn't congress impeached him yet?

On this day, Mr. Bush becomes eligible for articles of impeachment and removal from office for violating the Constitution of the United States.

 
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Spy agencies knew of attack on US soil
Reuters.com
September 17, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence agencies had picked up reports of attacks planned for inside the United States and of using airplanes as weapons during the spring and summer before last year's Sept. 11 attacks, but were more focused on the possibility of an assault overseas, a congressional source said on Tuesday.

But there was no information that specified date, time, place or method that would have pointed to the attacks on New York and Washington, the source familiar with a congressional inquiry into intelligence failures told reporters.

"What you're going to find is that there was reporting on domestic attacks in the U.S. even though a lot of people were much more focused on overseas," the source said.

"You're going to see specific reporting about aircraft as weapons and what the intelligence community had on aircraft as weapons prior to 9/11," the source said referring to information that will be revealed on Wednesday at the first open hearing of the joint congressional inquiry.

U.S. officials have said in the past that intelligence agencies had picked up an increased level of "chatter," or reports of threats, the summer before the attacks, but that it had pointed to plans for a strike against U.S. interests overseas.

On Sept. 11, 2001, four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon outside Washington and a Pennsylvania field, killing more than 3,000 people.

"It is true that there was, and some people say, an unprecedented amount of reporting that ... peaked probably in June and then started to drop off," the source who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

Eleanor Hill, who heads the 9/11 investigation for the inquiry by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees, will detail the threat reports that U.S. spy agencies had in the months before the attacks.

The information has been declassified "so that the American public can get some sort of official version of what was actually being received and heard in our intelligence community before 9/11," the congressional source said.

"There is a lot of reporting out there, you don't see reporting that says on September 11th there is going to be a plane crash into the World Trade Center," the source said.

"We have not found anything where some part of the government had the information as to when, where, how this attack was going to take place," the source said.

Commentary:
I like the last paragraph. Their spin is based on someone not drawing them a picture. How quaint. US intelligence says an attack was coming, the president did nothing. Where was his leadership? It seems obvious Bush was too busy selling his tax cut and missel defense (high-tech terrorism) to waste time with the real threats. Soon we'll find out what the president knew and when he knew it.

 
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Arthur Anderson strikes again--Interior Department problems
house.gov
March 6, 2002

FULL HOUSE CONSIDERATION OF S. 1857 TO ENCOURAGE THE NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT OF TRIBAL CLAIMS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mr. Speaker, the mismanagement of the Indian Trust Funds is truly one of the worst embarrassments of this Nation. Sadly, we have become the United States of Broken Promises to many of our First Americans.

Today, as we consider S. 1857, there is a multi-billion dollar lawsuit pending where the court has already ruled that the Interior Department is in breach of its trust responsibility to Indian account holders. Two cabinet Secretaries have already been held in contempt of court and a third may also be found in contempt at any time.

The federal government has held monies in trust for American Indians since 1820 and almost immediately the criticism started on how funds intended for the benefit of Indians were handled. In 1828, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, a noted negotiator of several Indian treaties wrote: "the derangements in the fiscal affairs of the Indian department are in the extreme. One would think that appropriations had been handled with a pitchfork."

In 1834, the House Committee on Indian Affairs filed a report which characterized the administration of Indian Affairs as being "expensive, inefficient, and irresponsible".

Were these warnings headed? No.

Let us fast forward almost one hundred and sixty years to 1992 when the House Committee on Government Operations released a report on the mismanagement of Indian Trust Funds. This report detailed numerous basic problems including:

The inability of the Department of Interior to give account holders proper account balances.

The lack of uniform written policies governing how accounts are to be managed.

The insufficient training of personnel needed to carry out the duties required.

The inadequate automated and record keeping systems.

Some of us here remember our response to that 1992 report. We sat down with tribal and individual Indian account holders, the Department of Interior, banking and trust management experts, and computer experts and together developed legislation to address these problems.

Well my colleague, it is unfortunate but true that even after that legislation was signed into law and sent to the Department of Interior for implementation, as of today the four basic problems I just outlined still exist.

Indeed, there are no written uniform policies, personnel charged with such an important job are not given sufficient training, the promise of a great computer system has become a multi-million dollar disaster, and the Department cannot provide account holders with a full and complete accounting of their funds.

This last point brings me to the issues raised by S. 1857.

Congress appropriated $20 million dollars which was contracted to Arthur Anderson to provide each Indian tribe with an accounting of their federally held trust fund accounts. It was clear when these reports were sent to Indian Tribes in 1996 that they were not a full and accurate reconciling of the tribal accounts.

Now, six years later, Indian tribes fear that a statute of limitations could run out on them and they could be precluded from challenging the accuracy of those Arthur Anderson reports. While I think it unlikely that any court would find in favor of the government in any such case, we need to allay the concerns and put off this deadline.

S. 1857 would extend the statute of limitations for another three years in order to give an extension of time for negotiations between Indian Tribes and the federal government over trust fund account balances.

I am an original cosponsor of the companion legislation in the House and I urge my colleagues to support this bill and head off dozens of additional law suits filed against Secretary Norton.

This is an important step to take but only a temporary one. We must settle the issue of all Indian trust fund account balances and we must set up a system where future Congresses are not quoting us when describing a still continuing problem.

Let me be clear - The federal government cannot give a full and accurate historical accounting of the Indian trust funds to the account holders. You do not have to take my word for it. Numerous reports exist detailing trust fund documentation that are too damaged to read or lost entirely. You can read testimony from BIA employees of storing documents in a barn in Oklahoma only to toss them out to make room for new documents.

You can ask Secretary Gale Norton who admitted as much before the House Resources Committee just last month.

Just this past November, Secretary Norton announced the establishment of a new agency within the Department of Interior to handle Indian trust activities. She made a dreadful mistake by not working with the account holders before bursting forth with this proposal. I know she realizes that now but not after precious time has slipped by.

I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do know that the answer will only come when we all stand up and face our responsibility, admit the mistakes, and work openly and honestly with Indian country.

I urge House passage of the pending legislation.

Commentary:
Conservative commentators had a field day with the contempt citation against Rubin and Babbit. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Sometimes the stars are lined up just right!

 
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US Interior Secretary Norton Ruled in Contempt
Reuters
September 17, 2002

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An angry federal judge on Tuesday found Interior Secretary Gale Norton in contempt for failing to comply with his orders to fix oversight problems with and produce records of American Indian trust funds.

In a scathing 267-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth added Norton and Assistant Secretary of Interior for Indian Affairs Neal McCaleb to the list of government officials he has found in contempt in relation to a civil lawsuit filed in 1996 by five American Indians claiming the federal government mismanaged billions of dollars in the trust funds.

In 1999, Lamberth held then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in contempt for failing to comply with orders regarding the trust funds.

"In February of 1999, at the end of the first contempt trial in this matter, I stated that 'I have never seen more egregious misconduct by the federal government,"' Lamberth wrote. "Now at the conclusion of the second contempt trial in this action, I stand corrected. The Department of Interior has truly outdone itself this time."

The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Treasury Department were ordered years ago, during the Clinton administration, to turn over various documents on trust accounts for the five original plaintiffs, but only a small number of records have been produced.

The contempt charges are the latest step in the six-year class-action lawsuit in which the Indians allege that the Interior Department has mismanaged trust accounts set up in the late 19th century to handle proceeds from oil, gas and minerals extracted from Indian lands.

Lamberth said Norton and McCaleb led the court to believe they were taking steps to comply with his orders to implement a thorough accounting of the trust funds.

But instead, he found that the department did "virtually nothing" and said the department has "indisputably proven" that it is either unwilling or unable to competently administer the Individual Indian Money trust.

As a result, he has found them in contempt of court.

'FAILURE AS TRUSTEE'

"This court need not sit supinely by waiting, hoping that the Department of Interior complies with the orders of this court and the fiduciary obligations mandated by Congress," he wrote. "To do so would be futile. I may have life tenure, but at the rate the Department of Interior is progressing that is not a long enough appointment."

"Because of the secretary's systemic failure as a trustee-delegate, the federal government regularly issues payments to beneficiaries -- of their own money -- in erroneous amounts," he wrote.

He said the agency has been unable to provide an accurate accounting to the majority of the estimated 300,000 trust beneficiaries.

In December, Lamberth ordered the Department of Interior to unplug all computers that could access a system that allocates royalties to the Indians for use of their land. His move came after a court-appointed investigator found that hackers could easily change records and steal money because basic security measures like passwords were not in place.

In orders issued on Tuesday, Lamberth named Joseph Kieffer as the new special master-monitor to monitor the status of trust reform as ordered by the court. Kieffer was charged with keeping the court informed about the status of reform.

He also ordered the Interior Department to pay the attorneys' fees incurred in the contempt trials by the group of Indians who sued the department in 1996.

Lamberth also ordered the defendants to file a plan for conducting an accounting of the trust funds.

 
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Bush begs EU not to retaliate
Reuters.com
September 17, 2002

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States appealed to the European Union Tuesday not to impose trade sanctions over a U.S. tax-breaks scheme even though the World Trade Organization (WTO) has given Brussels permission to retaliate.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce William Lash met officials of the Danish government, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, and told them sanctions would be counter-productive.

"It may sound good politically, but retaliation ultimately means imposing a tax on your own consumers. Who could that possibly benefit?" Lash told Reuters in a telephone interview from Copenhagen.

The WTO has ruled that the Foreign Sales Corp, a U.S. scheme to give tax breaks to exporters, was illegal and has given Brussels the right to impose punitive duties worth $4.0 billion.

The EU has begun talks with industry leaders to finalize a list of U.S. goods to be targeted, but says it will delay the sanctions if Washington makes progress toward scrapping the scheme.

Lash said Congress was working on changing the laws, but he could not say when new legislation would be passed.

He denied that the United States had become more protectionist, an accusation leveled after Washington announced new duties this year to protect its ailing steel industry.

"Free traders follow the rules, free traders follow the institutions, the U.S. is a free trade administration. We believe firmly that by going via the WTO system the entire (trade) system benefits," he said.

The EU has complained to the WTO about the U.S. steel duties and vowed to retaliate with more than $300 million in sanctions.

The steel and tax-breaks disputes are among several dogging EU-U.S. trade ties, but Lash played down the differences.

"Only two percent of (EU-U.S.) trade is impacted by any kind of dispute," he said.

"It only strengthens the global trading regime when the leading partners show that rules and commitments have to be followed.

Commentary:
Bush the free-trader is begging the EU not to retaliate against us because of Bush's tariffs. How can Bush be a free-trader and support tariffs? He can't. His words never seem to match his actions. The US shouldn't have to beg.

 
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Iraqi Letter to UN Accepting Inspections
Reuters.com
September 17, 2002

"Dear Secretary-General,"

"I have the honor to refer to the series of discussions held between Your Excellency and the Government of the Republic of Iraq on the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions on the question of Iraq which took place in New York on 7 March and 2 May and in Vienna on 4 July 2002, as well as the talks which were held in your office in New York on 14 and 15 September 2002, with the participation of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States."

"I am pleased to inform you of the decision of the Government of the Republic of Iraq to allow the return of the United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq without conditions."

"The Government of the Republic of Iraq has responded, by this decision, to your appeal, to the appeal of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, as well as those of Arab, Islamic and other friendly countries."

"The Government of the Republic of Iraq has based its decision concerning the return of inspectors on its desire to complete the implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and to remove any doubts that Iraq still possesses weapons of mass destruction. This decision is also based on your statement to the General Assembly on 12 September 2002 that the decision by the Government of the Republic of Iraq is the indispensable first step towards an assurance that Iraq no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction and, equally importantly, towards a comprehensive solution that includes the lifting of sanctions imposed in Iraq and the timely implementation of other provisions of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 687(1991). To this end, the Government of the Republic of Iraq is ready to discuss the practical arrangements necessary for the immediate resumption of inspections."

"In this context, the Government of the Republic of Iraq reiterates the importance of the commitment of all Member States of the Security Council and the United Nations to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, as stipulated in the relevant Security Council resolutions and article (II) of the Charter of the United Nations."

"I would be grateful if you would bring this letter to the attention of the Security Council members."

"Please accept, Mr. Secretary-General the assurances of my highest consideration.

"Dr. Naji Sabri, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Iraq"

Commentary: Sixty-nine percent of Americans believe Saddam has nuclear weapons because of rants by Bush and Cheney. The press accepted it without question. Now Saddam allows UN weapon inspectors (which will prove Bush lied to the UN and the American people). What will the press do with these facts? They'll ignore them of course.

However, the big problem for Bush is what is he going to do with an election coming, an economy in the dumps, no war to take our minds off real problems and massive deficits? War has become a political necessity because he lied to us.

Poor Bush! His SPIN team won't be getting much sleep.


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