Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Americans Need to Rise Up And Join A World In Ferment…Now!

Americans Need to Rise Up And Join A World In Ferment…Now!

All eyes focus on the Northern shore of Africa and the Middle East where evils, social, political and economic have become insufferable and people have taken heart and commitment from one another willing to pay the supreme sacrifice to alert and abolish governments, and depose regimes that have for decades ruled with the iron hand of tyranny. In the United States, however, as a nation drifts at an ever quicken pace towards a corporate right wing totalitarian state scraping American citizenry before the steel snow plow leading to a social order and economic structure more akin to 1928 and not 2007. There is not a great corporation or financial Institution at risk at the moment; only you and I and the yet as unborn are at risk, and only the few rise to oppose the open and blatant attempts to emasculate the working   populous of America. Our day will come! The longer we delay the greater the chance that our day will be violent. 

Lee Fang, ThinkProgress: "As ThinkProgress has reported, the global conglomerate Koch Industries not only helped elect Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), but is the leading force orchestrating his union-busting campaign. Koch gave Walker over $43,000 in direct donations and its allies aired millions of dollars worth of attack ads against his Democratic opponent. Then, Koch political operatives pressured Walker to crush labor unions as one of his first priorities." Read the Article

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "Governor Walker of Wisconsin got up on his hind legs on Monday and blasted public-sector unions for being wasteful. He made it very clear that he intends to continue his push to abolish collective bargaining in his state, which basically means he intends to abolish unions in his state. The polls are not with him, the people are not with him, and a number of Republicans in the legislature look to be going soft on the whole deal, but don't tell Walker that. He thinks he's going to get his way on this, so he can be the big conservative hero, the one who abolished unions, thus setting a trend to be followed in more than a dozen other states." Read the Article
Wednesday 23 February 2011

Indiana Official Wants "Live Ammunition" Used Against Wisconsin Protesters
A right-wing Indiana deputy attorney general called for the use of violence against protesters in Wisconsin on his personal Twitter account,Mother Jones reports. In reply to a Mother Jones staff tweet about "a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin Cpitol Building - something that didn't end up happening," Jeff Cox tweeted Saturday night to Mother Jones' official Twitter account that the police should use "live ammunition." Given Cox's history of violent language, Cox's statements are under review by the attorney general's office.

Republican Governors Back Away From Scott Walker-Style Plans
According to the AFL-CIO NOW blog, not all Republican governors agree with Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights except in the case of wages for public-sector unions. Says Pennsylvania's Republican Gov. Tom Corbitt: "We’ll begin negotiations with the public-sector unions and anticipate we’ll conduct those in good faith." Also, notes Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott: "My belief is as long as people know what they’re doing, collective bargaining is fine."

Bahrain's King Heads to Saudi Arabia to Discuss Unrest
The New York Times reports that Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa is in Saudi Arabia discussing his nation's unrest "a day after one of the largest pro-democracy demonstrations this tiny Persian Gulf nation had ever seen." Saudi Arabia is seen as a close ally to the tiny island kingdom of 500,000 that is seeing a flurry of protest activity led by its largely Shiite majority against the Sunni-ruled government. 

democracynow: UK court to rule in Assange extradition case Thursday morning. Tune in for DN coverage with @ggreenwald #wikileaks
Twitter - 30 minutes ago

Libya's UN Diplomats Break With Qaddafi
New York Times
Muammar el-Qaddafi on Monday, calling him a genocidal war criminal responsible for mass shootings of demonstrators protesting against his four decades in power. They called upon him to resign

wikileaks: Libya prepares for the last battle in Tripoli
WL Central | WikiLeaks news, analysis and action -

WikiLeaks Cables Detail Qaddafi Family's Exploits
WikiLeaks Cables Detail Qaddafi Family’s Exploits - -

washingtonpost: Gaddafi is ecccentric but the firm master of his regime, Wikileaks cables say
Gaddafi is ecccentric but the firm master of his regime, Wikileaks ... -

theaseanwatch: Wikileaks: Japan has spy agency to counter Chinese, N Korean, fight terrorism ... via @AddThis
Cable leak: Japan has spy agency | The Japan Times Online  japantime

evanchill: Just a reminder, WikiLeaks has dropped at least three #Libya-related cables in the past 24 hours. #feb17
Live Blog - Libya Feb 23 | Al Jazeera Blogs -

Warplanes, Militia Fire on Libyan Protesters; Libya's U.N. ...
By Mike Shedlock
In what may be best describes as the start of a civil war, Warplanes and Militia Fire on Protesters in Libyan CapitalThe faltering government of the Libyan.
FavStocks -

We Should Take A Small Measure Of Satisfaction in former President George W. Bush’s cancellation of his trip to Switzerland after human-rights groups threatened to bring legal action against him for authorizing torture. Persons detained by the U.S. government after 9/11 were subjected to what the Bush administration euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation,” including waterboarding. In reality those methods constituted torture, violating U.S. law and international agreements.

Under those agreements charges can be filed against members of the Bush administration in jurisdictions outside the United States. The Center for Constitutional Rights along with European groups said they will ask Swiss authorities to initiate a criminal case against Bush. They also planned to file their own complaint. 

If all that Bush and members of his administration suffer for their crimes are travel restrictions, it will be a mild penalty indeed. (Alas, the U.S. government can and probably will obtain immunity for him.) They deserve far more, starting with a public criminal investigation in the United States, followed by trials. But President Obama says there will be no investigation of top officials. Wishing to “look ahead,” he has decided to treat Bush & Co. as above the law, embracing Richard Nixon’s maxim, When the president does it, it’s not illegal. In Germany that used to be known as the Führer Principle. Many of us naively thought it was repudiated at the Nuremberg trials after World War II. How wrong we were. The stain that Bush and Obama have left on America won’t fade anytime soon.

It would have been bad enough to torture people actually suspected of wrongdoing, but the Bush administration went well beyond that. Many people subjected to hideous treatment were picked up on the flimsiest of “evidence.” People were offered bounties to turn others in; naturally, some saw that as a chance to settle old scores having nothing to do with terrorism. Absence of evidence (as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld might say) was not considered evidence of absence. In at least one case, a man was tortured — by the U.S. government’s helper in Egypt, Omar Suleiman — to get the prisoner to say that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had trained al-Qaeda agents. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney badly wanted to justify their preexisting wish to effect regime change in Iraq by tying Saddam to 9/11. But there was never any evidence of Iraqi complicity.

That reminds us that torture was not the only crime committed by the Bush administration. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars were also (and still are) outrages because, among other reasons, they were based on lies. Bush officials, such as Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, now acknowledge “misstatements,” but that can hardly be taken seriously. We know that back then grave doubts were expressed over the quality of the so-called intelligence about Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. Rumsfeld’s excuses are pathetic. When he beat the drums for war, he said he knew where Saddam’s WMDs were. Now he says he meant he knew the location of “suspected sites.” Did he step out of Orwell’s 1984?

As many people long have believed, the Bush administration’s defector/informants were lying, but their American handlers didn’t care. The one known as Curveball, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, admits he lied about Iraq’s biological weapons. “I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that....” Janabi said, according to the Guardian.

Is he proud of the million Iraqis who died, directly and indirectly, because of the war he helped bring about? How about all the maimed children? Are Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Condoleezza Rice satisfied that they relied on Janabi? Did they really have no reason for skepticism about his claims and motives?

Americans are forced to spend billions of dollars on intelligence-gathering every year. Yet many insiders doubted what the administration was told about Iraqi WMDs in 2002. So what? Bush & Co., hell bent on killing Arabs after 9/11, weren’t interested in evidence or the lack thereof. They needed a way to scare the American people into war, and nothing was going to stop them.

Let us hope the retribution against this evil bunch is only just beginning.
Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation, author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine

Opposed to the war since before it began, the US public joined worldwide protests skeptical of The Bush Administration's reasons for occupying Iraq. But there has been little national discussion about why no major TV network, including MSNBC, would cover the findings and leaks that told the pre-War tale. The Huffington Post chronicled domestic protests held in DC 2010, 2008 and Rachel Maddow even guest blogged a war escalation "Drinking Game" in 2007 but held off publicizing whistleblower accounts that were readily available at the time. 

Over a million took to the streets across the globe in 2003, anticipating Bush's Iraq Team, led by Dick Cheney, would declare the US at war even as our best foreign relations wonks and the whole wired  world knew Iraq's military capability had been long contained. UN weapons inspectors reported no WMD and Saddam Hussein, reduced to a tinpot dictator, was smuggling oil via Chevron in violation of UN sanctions while Condoleezza Rice served as their international public affairs director.

We know now that bald lies duped Congress into the war - convicted Plamegate perjurer Scooter Libby fed Judith Miller lies about WMD in Iraq (disguised as leaks) to completely besot the NY Times reporter, but at the time it touched off a chain reaction of liars lying in the liarsphere: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell all spread out to ring the alarm bells in the media, in Congress and at the UN. Note carefully the heavy leaning on Powell's credibility as President Bush himself said the following on Polish TV on May 29, 2003, denouncing the protesters: 

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."

Rumsfeld was later busted in the same lie, challenged on live TV by Thomas Friedman and Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation, but the mainstream media did not expand on this in the evening news. 

Beginning in 2006, PBS broke the silence - Colin Powell's #2 took public an account of duplicity long absent from US headlines. Originally ordered to look into the Abu Ghraib scandal by Powell, State Dept. Chief of Staff Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson found things that shook him to the core, making him question his loyalty to an administration who he felt had violated the Constitution. Not news?

Powell's long time aide announced the Iraq War was a "hoax" and recounted the doubts expressed at the time by Secretary Powell as CIA Director George Tenet played organ grinder monkey for a war-crazed Dick Cheney. Also on that PBS program, the chief weapons inspector for the UN Hans Blix revealed that Cheney also threatened he should lie in a meeting to President Bush or be discredited.

Previous to this airing, only indie US and international media seemed to care about the claims of the lying Iraqi bioweapons witness Curveball, the so-called Italian Letter, and Nigerian Yellowcake forgeries that fooled Congress to authorize war, shouting over resistance by the public and real journalists. The Berlusconi and Blair administrations would tumble, tainted by shoddy vetting of this provably faked intel, along with blood money from defense contractors like BAE and the Saudi royalty. 

A piece on CNN World explained Wilkerson's grappling with his own conscience as a member of the State Dept. team that lied us into war, but here at home the story remained buried.

The most widely watched TV networks in the US whitewashed these stories, but after Wilkerson spoke out first hand, there was no excuse, suggesting the erection of a media firewall providing Bush and Cheney major cover. The blackout continues today, even after Col. Wilkerson divulged Cheney and Libby delivered Secretary Powell a 50 page script of lies for his UN speech that was thrown in the garbage with disgust. 

Powell's testimony ultimately rested on assurances from Tenet that Curveball was credible, so Powell had Tenet stand next to him during the speech. This week TV viewers learned that Tyler Drumheller, the head of the CIA's European division had in fact informed Tenet as well as his deputy John McLaughlin that Curveball's accounts were unreliable. 

In a days-long charade played out for Powell's team, key CIA experts were trotted out from the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) unit in a full-steam sales pitch to get Powell's endorsement and get the public behind the war. According to Wilkerson, the WINPAC agents were actually reporting to Cheney, who would allow nothing to prevent this war. 

Meanwhile, Drumheller's aide Margaret Henoch was unable to verify any of the bio-weapons labs really existed, so the CIA was both for and against the intel. But the WINPAC faction had already written the claims into an incredibly consequential Oct. 2002 NIE and as shown in the debate over aluminum tubes, showed they didn't like being questioned even when they got things wrong. 

As BBC trumpeted the Downing Street Memos and Seymour Hersh's leaks told the world the story of covert plants illegally "tuning up" detainees with electrodes and sexual humiliation, images leaked by Australian media showed the world exactly what was going on. Rumsfeld's #2 Stephen Cambone stood accused of giving the orders for unconstitutional cruelty and violations of US human rights treaties, military code and judicial conventions.

But TV viewers in the US were still not privy to the backstory crystallizing around the Iraq War hoax. In November of 2007, a 60 Minutes broadcast spotlighted claims by Curveball (aka Rafid Ahmed Alwan) and how the administration handled them. Soon after, George Washington University's National Security Archive published a detailed chronology which shows tense, internal wranglings within the CIA and to me, a distinct lack of credibility or competence on the part of Tenet and McLaughlin.

Trying up to the last second to have mention of mobile labs removed from Bush's State of the Union speech, Drumheller's misgivings were well documented and corroborated, yet Tenet and his deputy still deny knowledge of anyone red-flagging Curveball until 2004. 

Incredibly, the Silbermann-Robb investigation commissioned by President Bush to find out what went wrong faulted "the intelligence community" including Drumheller, who was right all along, for not alerting Tenet that Curveball was a fabricator, after the 25-year CIA veteran had done just that. 

Drumheller quit in 2005 and went public in 2006, explaining he had not only doubted Curveball in writing, he had himself cultivated a high-level Iraqi source named Naji Sabri who told the CIA Saddam's weapons program was in shambles. This crucial intel was presented directly to George Bush in the Oval Office but was immediately dismissed, and not relayed to Powell. Why was this not on TV by 2007?

In 2009, Lawrence Wilkerson did appear on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show but did not speak on the topic of fudged pre-Iraq War intel, instead telling Maddow the State Dept. knew Gitmo detainees were innocent and harshly interrogated anyway, asserting the White House also knew this. But Rachel never asked on air whether the Office of the Vice President pressured Powell to lie to Congress or the UN Security Council. 

A year later, Lawrence O'Donnell guest-hosted an episode of Keith Olbermann's Countdown where Wilkerson actually likened Cheney and Karl Rove to cowardly Nazis for draft-dodging and illegal waterboarding, revealing more laws were broken when Rove, a civilian, was briefed on classified interrogation procedures.  

George Tenet admitted the war was "sold" to the public by Bush and Cheney in his own "CYA" memoir. But even more revealing was White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's book, confirming a "massive operation" inside the White House, under the senior direction of Karl Rove was directly providing "comprehensive talking points to Conservative talk show personalities" to manipulate the media and control the message regarding the war in Iraq and the war on terror (a violation of anti-propaganda laws if government sources are not disclosed).

A lesser known Bush administration defector is David Wurmser, Cheney's former Middle East adviser who resigned in disgust after the White House's push for elections in Gaza resulted in a decisive win for Hamas, so "unexpected" because Bush and Rice had secretly been sponsoring Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan's "intimidation" squads, squandering $20 million in U.S. taxpayer cash, and much more through Iran-Contra style subterfuge.
J. Gerald Hebert was another Bush DOJ veteran who called for an investigation of Bush era crimes and eventually even Bush's own Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told Fiasco author Thomas Ricks in a memoir the Iraq War was unnecessary, based on 'series of lies' and that the administration's WMD spin job was intentional deception.

In January 2009, then President-Elect Obama polled the American public through the website in a special "Open for Questions" section. Spurred by Bob Fertik of and DailyKos, the top question with over 22,000 votes became "Will you appoint a Special independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?". 

HuffPo covered this diligently with "Obama Prompted to Prosecute Bush". But when Bush left office and gave up his pardon pen, neither Obama nor John Conyers' House Judiciary Committee looked backwards, missing the opportunity to capitalize on popular support as the MSM tiptoed around the story. 

Last week we saw Cenk Uygur premiere his show on MSNBC by inviting Col. Wilkerson to respond to recent comments by Curveball which reveal that the US knew German intelligence agents failed to verify his story. Wilkerson implicated the OVP for concealing this in the NIE sent to Congress and intentionally holding it from him and Powell.

According to Bob Woodward, Powell was told we would be invading Iraq two days after Cheney and Rumsfeld had already briefed Saudi Prince Bandar, sharing with him a top secret war map, itself a violation of security protocol. 

With Wilkerson's video headlined at HuffPo, it's clear Arianna Huffington and AOL will no longer be part of the network whitewash of specific allegations of criminal malfeasance and war crimes by the Bush White House. For years, we have heard these stories, but today we discuss openly why they were published only in the indie media, only in drips and drabs - and we discuss the new specificity the Huffington Post and MSNBC now brings to inform the American public about these stories.

UPDATE: Colin Powell has weighed in since Curveball has resurfaced, crying out for an explanation from the Pentagon and CIA. George Tenet commented on his website, offering an excerpt from his book in which he lamely reminds us he was simply not in the know until 2005. But this was quickly refuted by Germany's former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer whose new book details the heavy disclaimer that came with the Curveball intel.

A vindicated Tyler Drumheller said Curveball's confession at the very least should put to rest any remaining belief that Iraq had WMD, presumably meaning viewers of Fox News.

confirming a media firewall, but missing the names of the culprits. Who in the media do you mean?

And even a staffer from the Iraqi National Congress has chimed in. Intefadh Qanber says of Curveball's intention to come home and political aspirations: "He is a liar, he will not serve his country. He fabricated the story about WMD and that story gave the USA a suitable pretext to lead the 2003 invasion, which hurt Iraq. For most Iraqis, it was obvious that Saddam was a dictator, but they wanted to see him ousted on the basis of his crimes against human rights, not a fabricated story about weapons of mass destruction".

Sen. John Thune’s decision to pass on a 2012 White House bid could set off further jockeying for top Senate Republican leadership positions, which began prematurely this month when Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) announced that he would retire next year. Full Story
Sen. John Thune announced Tuesday that he will forgo a run for president in 2012, although his statement suggested that there is some flexibility in that decision. Full Story
Former Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) will be the next mayor of Chicago, winning 55 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election with 97 percent of precincts counted, according to the city’s Board of Election Commissioners. Full Story
Former Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) is likely to be the next mayor of Chicago. But the question being answered in Tuesday’s election will be whether the former White House chief of staff clears the threshold to avoid a runoff. Full Story
Senate recruiting efforts are in full swing, but Rhode Island Republicans continue to struggle to find a viable challenger to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Full Story
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson announced on Tuesday that she won’t run against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in 2012. Full Story
Roll Call gets an early look at a new National Republican Congressional Committee ad. Full Story
Roll Call obtains a first look at a new Progressive Change Campaign Committee poll of the special election in California. Full Story
Rep. David Wu acknowledged on Tuesday that he behaved in an “unprofessional” manner toward his official and campaign staff in the lead-up to the November elections last year. Full Story

Civilian Deaths Direct Result of World Inaction On War Crimes ...
By iwcr
The moment the international community is able to persistently, successfully and routinely prosecutewar crimes suspects, regardless of their position, nationality, race or religion is the day innocent people will be afforded some ...
International War Crimes Report -

No comments: