Saturday, November 19, 2005


Outsourcing Goebbels

Tom Tomorrow's web site linked to this must-read article:
Rendon is a leader in the strategic field known as "perception management," manipulating information -- and, by extension, the news media -- to achieve the desired result. His firm, the Rendon Group, has made millions off government contracts since 1991, when it was hired by the CIA to help "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power." Working under this extraordinary transfer of secret authority, Rendon assembled a group of anti-Saddam militants, personally gave them their name -- the Iraqi National Congress -- and served as their media guru and "senior adviser" as they set out to engineer an uprising against Saddam. It was as if President John F. Kennedy had outsourced the Bay of Pigs operation to the advertising and public-relations firm of J. Walter Thompson.
(Source: Rolling Stone The Man Who Sold the War - Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war)
So the Iraqi National Congress was created out of whole cloth by a CIA-funded PR firm during the Bush-1 Administration? The CIA ran a secret disinformation campaign to topple Saddam Hussein - and when the lies got too outrageous for them, Cheney brought in Doug Feith to finish the job from the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans?

Friday, November 18, 2005


Bad Sign for Tom DeLay

The Texas Republican Party just settled a case involving the same type of charges Tom DeLay faces:
In signing the pact, the party promised not to keep spending corporate funds for these purposes. In exchange, it avoided prosecution for election law violations, unlike DeLay, whose lawyers contend that state law allows such uses of corporate funds or is unconstitutionally vague.
(Source: Washington Post Texas Republicans Agree to Limit Use of Corporate Funds, Nov. 18, 2005.
Why would the Texas Republican Party sign a pact to stop spending corporate money if they agreed with Tom DeLay's position? And if they don't agree with Tom DeLay, maybe a jury won't, either.

Meanwhile, former DeLay Congressional Aide Michael Scanlan has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Scanlon, 35, once a senior aide to former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), was charged with conspiring with Abramoff -- identified as "Lobbyist A" in the court papers -- in a scheme in which the lobbyist would direct tribes to hire Scanlon's public relations company without telling them that Scanlon had agreed to kick back 50 percent of the profits to Abramoff.

The charge was detailed in a court document known as a "criminal information" -- a process that often precedes a plea-bargain arrangement with a cooperating witness. Officials familiar with the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Scanlon has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate in the ongoing bribery and public corruption investigation of Abramoff, members of Congress and executive branch officials.
(Source: Washington Post Scanlon Charged With Conspiracy to Bribe Officials, Cheat Indian Tribes, Nov. 18, 2005,)
Pity they're not after Tom DeLay:
The government officials were not named in the court papers filed by U.S. prosecutors in the District, but details of the gifts and legislative favors provided by an official identified as "Representative #1" match the alleged actions of Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Administration Committee.
On the other hand, Tom DeLay got a trip to Scotland from Abramoff, too, so maybe there'll be more indictments soon.


More PlameGate Indictments?

Sounds like Mr. Woodward's super-secret source's "Oh yeah, I just remembered..." defense didn't sit well with the prosecutor:
Fitzgerald to Convene New Grand Jury in Leak Case
Filings Suggest Additional Charges

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 18, 2005; 1:30 PM

The federal prosecutor investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity says he plans to present information to a new grand jury, a sign that he is considering additional charges in his two-year-old probe.
Sounds like this old Irish ballad needs an update:
Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell And Dean
(written by Bob Warren)
sung by The CREEP (Mr. G. Records, G-826, c1973)

We're Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean
The way we've been treated is really obscene
To think that a bug worth hardly a shrug
Could end up by getting us tossed in the jug

We all got the gate for no reason or rhyme
You'd think we'd committed some horrible crime
Our minds may be dirty, but our hands are clean
We're Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean


It just isn't fair to take all of the blame
When all we were doing was playing the game
Now all of Washington's caught in between
Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean
(Source: The creep - Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean
I wonder if any copies still exist?


Pond Scum Pretending to be Patriots

Sounds like using fake patriotism as a shield for corruption isn't limited to the White House:
He said that while many occupation officials had come to Iraq for legitimately patriotic reasons, it was obvious that others had different goals. "My impression was that there were a lot of unscrupulous people pretending to be patriots there who were trying to get contracts for their friends," Mr. Dwight said.
Source: New York Times Issuing Contracts, Ex-Convict Took Bribes in Iraq, U.S. Says, Nov. 18, 2005 [emphasis added])
Another interesting question is how a convicted felon got a job handing out government contracts in the first place:
A North Carolina man who was charged yesterday with accepting kickbacks and bribes as a comptroller and financial officer for the American occupation authority in Iraq was hired despite having served prison time for felony fraud in the 1990's.
(Ex-Convict Took Bribes in Iraq.)
I wonder how many al Qaida operatives got hired by the Bush Administration to run the C.P.A. due to a failure to run background checks?

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Admitting Bush Played Into Osama's Hands is Defeatist?

Bush's "Excellent Iraq Adventure" was apparently about as big a blunder as Pickett's Charge:

Robin Wright
writes in The Washington Post about Michael S. Doran, who ended up on the National Security Council staff in charge of the Middle East after writing a defining piece in Foreign Affairs magazine -- " Somebody Else's Civil War."

"Osama Bin Laden had 'no intention of defeating America,' Doran wrote. 'War with the United States was not a goal in and of itself but rather an instrument designed to help his brand of extremist Islam survive and flourish among the believers.'

"Al Qaeda wanted Washington to dispatch U.S. troops to the Islamic world, so Muslims would turn on governments allied with the United States -- and provoke their collapse, Doran explained. 'Americans, in short, have been drawn into somebody else's civil war.'

"That argument is at the heart of U.S. policy in the Islamic world, which has shifted from President Bush's first-term focus on fighting terrorism to the second's emphasis on democracy as the salve to extremism."
(Source: Dan Froomkin Cheney Unleashed, Washington Post, Nov.17, 2005. [Page 5])

To repeat: Michael S. Doran's 2002 article notes that "Al Qaeda wanted Washington to dispatch U.S. troops to the Islamic world, so Muslims would turn on governments allied with the United States -- and provoke their collapse..." (Source: Robin Wright An Eye for Terror Sites, Washington Post, Nov. 17, 2005 [emphasis added.])

W and his Bush league minions exploited the country's post-9/11 anger to do precisely what Osama Bin Ladin wanted - they invaded a Middle Eastern country and started killing lots of civilians. Now, various Mid-East governments are destabilized, just as Osama planned. What is Bush's plan to counter this trend? He's having Dick Cheney call people names! Isn't it reassuring that the adults are back in charge?


Here's Your ''Ticking Time Bomb'' Scenario

Torture supporters constantly bring up "ticking time bomb" fantasy scenarios. Well, it looks like one of those time bombs just went off:
The soldiers counted 166 Sunni Arabs and three Shiite Arabs after asking each prisoner to identify his sect, the reporter, Alisha Ryu, said. The soldiers also found instruments of torture hidden behind ceiling panels in rooms on the first floor. One such device was a metal rod with a ball on the end, similar to a medieval mace.

The discovery of the prisoners has prompted a furious outcry from Sunni Arab leaders, who have long accused the Shiite-led government of abducting and torturing or killing Sunnis.
(Source: New York Times U.S. and Iraqis to Widen Inquiry on Prison Abuse, Nov. 17, 2005.)
Setting up torture chambers starts a time bomb ticking - it is only a matter of time before the public relations bomb goes off:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi man told on Thursday how he was tortured along with hundreds of other detainees in an Interior Ministry building similar to a secret bunker at the center of a prisoner abuse scandal.

"There was an average of 800 prisoners at any one time in a building controlled by the Wolf Brigades (Interior Ministry special forces)," the man, who asked that he only be identified by his initials H.H., told Reuters.
(Source: Reuters Iraqi says he was held with hundreds in secret jail, Nov. 17, 2005.
This in turn makes it very understandable when Iraqi guards seen as death squads.

To repeat: the real problem with torture is that it is both immoral AND ineffective - but it relieves the torturers' feelings of helplessness and frustration. Like so many Bush League solutions, it gives the impression of doing something useful while actually making the problem worse. (Example: worried about another 9/11? Invade Iraq! It may strengthen terrorists worldwide and decrease our ability to defend ourselves - but it looks like you're doing something effective.)


Iraqi Death Squads: Negroponte's work?

Juan Cole's site Informed Comment links to this report of possible Iraqi death squads:
BAGHDAD -- Among the varied armed security men on Baghdad's streets these days, you can't miss the police commandos. In combat uniforms, bulletproof vests and wrap-around sunglasses or ski masks, they muscle through Baghdad's traffic jams in police cars or camouflage-painted pickup trucks, clearing nervous drivers from their path with shouted commands and the occasional gunshot in the air.

One such group, the Volcano Brigade, is operating as a death squad, under the influence or control of Iraq's most potent Shia factional militia, the Iranian-backed Badr Organization, said several Iraqi government officials and western Baghdad residents.
(Source: Newsday Iraqi guards seen as death squads, Nov. 16, 2005.)
I'm sure former US Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte's prior involvement with Central American death squads is completely unrelated:
Negroponte supervised the construction of the El Aguacate air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the U.S., and which some critics say was used as a secret detention and torture center during the 1980s. In August 2001, excavations at the base discovered 185 corpses, including two Americans, who are thought to have been killed and buried at the site.

Records also show that a special intelligence unit (commonly referred to as a "death squad") of the Honduran armed forces, Battalion 3-16, trained by the CIA and the Argentine military, kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people, including U.S. missionaries. Critics charge that Negroponte knew about these human rights violations and yet continued to collaborate with the Honduran military while lying to Congress.
(Source: Wikipedia, John Negroponte)
It seems obvious that Dick Cheney's crowd attended therapy over the years. They're no longer ashamed about who they are, they're now openly advocating the need for illegally kidnapping, torturing and disposing of communists oops, I mean "terrorists." They probably credit South American death squads as a major factor in making the world "safe for democracy." I suppose in a sick, twisted way they're right: once you kill everyone that doesn't vote the way you want them too, (a.k.a. the Salvador Option) the dictatorship can safely conduct "democratic" votes, reassured that nobody valuing their lives would dare oppose their demands.


Knight Ridder News Exposes Bush's Lies

Pity they bury the good stuff so deep in the article, but at least it's there:
ASSERTION: In his speech, Bush noted that "more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate - who had access to the same intelligence - voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power."

CONTEXT: This isn't true.

The Congress didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief, a top-secret compendium of intelligence on the most pressing national security issues that was sent to the president every morning by former CIA Director George Tenet.

As for prewar intelligence on Iraq, senior administration officials had access to other information and sources that weren't available to lawmakers.

Cheney and his aides visited the CIA and other intelligence agencies to view raw intelligence reports, received briefings and engaged in highly unusual give-and-take sessions with analysts.

Moreover, officials in the White House and the Pentagon received information directly from the Iraqi National Congress (INC), an exile group, circumventing U.S. intelligence agencies, which greatly distrusted the organization.

The INC's information came from Iraqi defectors who claimed that Iraq was hiding chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, had mobile biological-warfare facilities and was training Islamic radicals in assassinations, bombings and hijackings.

The White House emphasized these claims in making its case for war, even though the defectors had shown fabrication or deception in lie-detector tests or had been rejected as unreliable by U.S. intelligence professionals.

All of the exiles' claims turned out to be bogus or remain unproven.

War hawks at the Pentagon also created a special unit that produced a prewar report - one not shared with Congress - that alleged that Iraq was in league with al-Qaida. A version of the report, briefed to Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and top White House officials, disparaged the CIA for finding there was no cooperation between Iraq and the terrorist group, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence disclosed.

After the report was leaked in November 2003 to a conservative magazine, the Pentagon disowned it.

In fact, a series of secret U.S. intelligence assessments discounted the administration's assertion that Saddam could give banned weapons to al-Qaida.
(Source: Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau, In challenging war's critics, administration tinkers with truth, Nov 16, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Dick "Torture Boy" Cheney's big lie offensive doesn't seem to be getting quite as much media echo as usual... how sad.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Is Bob Woodward Part of a Cover-Up?

Has Bob Woodward been recruited to clear Scooter Libby by falsely claiming to have received advance knowledge of Valerie Plame's identity? If he's telling the truth - was there a conspiracy of silence to wait until after any indictments before revealing this new information to the prosecutors? It's tin foil hat time for sure with this one:
Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago

By Jim VandeHei and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 16, 2005; Page A01

Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case that a senior administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed.

In a more than two-hour deposition, Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald that the official casually told him in mid-June 2003 that Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction, and that he did not believe the information to be classified or sensitive, according to a statement Woodward released yesterday.
It is unclear what prompted Woodward's original unnamed source to alert Fitzgerald to the mid-June 2003 mention of Plame to Woodward. Once he did, Fitzgerald sought Woodward's testimony, and three officials released him to testify about conversations he had with them. Downie, Woodward and a Post lawyer declined to discuss why the official may have stepped forward this month.
Woodward's statement said he testified: "I told Walter Pincus, a reporter at The Post, without naming my source, that I understood Wilson's wife worked at the CIA as a WMD analyst."

Pincus said he does not recall Woodward telling him that. In an interview, Pincus said he cannot imagine he would have forgotten such a conversation around the same time he was writing about Wilson.

"Are you kidding?" Pincus said. "I certainly would have remembered that."

Pincus said Woodward may be confused about the timing and the exact nature of the conversation. He said he remembers Woodward making a vague mention to him in October 2003. That month, Pincus had written a story explaining how an administration source had contacted him about Wilson. He recalled Woodward telling him that Pincus was not the only person who had been contacted.
So, one week after Scooter's indictment this other White House official suddenly decides to mention that they outed Valerie Plame to Bob Woodward before Scooter opened his mouth? And Woodward claims to have mentioned Valerie Plame's ID to Walter Pincus before Novak's column came out - but Mr. Pincus denied it? This has a very nasty smell to it... and it smells like these folks were at a minimum jerking the special prosecutor around.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Torture Doesn't Work - More Data

This is from a July, 11, 2005 interview:
the law enforcement community has been outraged by some of the allegations of coercion and abuse in interrogations, because the F.B.I., in particular, it's not just a moral or ethical issue with them, they feel that you get bad information from suspects when you coerce it or you, you know, abuse them or even torture them. You can get information out of people under those circumstances but not necessarily reliable information, and so they feel that this kind of method is just not worth it...
...(T)here is a top psychologist who works with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service named Michael Gelles. And in the Church report there is material from him in which he talks about this strange dynamic that takes place sometimes in interrogations, where people who are interrogating someone who is resistant become more and more frustrated, and they begin to lose touch with what's legal and what's ethical, because they basically become emotionally invested in getting the information out of someone. And this is called force drift. And Michael Gelles warns in this report that he fears this is what was happening with the SERE techniques that were being used in Guantanamo. People were losing their basic common sense about where to draw the line.
Source: Democracy Now Methods Developed by U.S. Military for Withstanding Torture Being Used Against Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, July 11, 2005 [emphasis added.])
To summarize: torture isn't an efficient method of gaining accurate information, but it helps relieve the interrogator's frustration. This can never be moral, ethical or justifiable.


Democrats Sell Out Detainees

Looks like Democrats have bought into the "bleeding heart liberal judges are keeping the military from doing its job" Republican talking point:
A bipartisan group of senators reached a compromise yesterday that would dramatically alter U.S. policy for treating captured terrorist suspects by granting them a final recourse to the federal courts but stripping them of some key legal rights.

The compromise links legislation written by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), which would deny detainees broad access to federal courts, with a new measure authored by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) that would grant detainees the right to appeal the verdict of a military tribunal to a federal appeals court. The deal will come to a vote today, and the authors say they are confident it will pass.
(Source: Washington Post Senators Agree on Detainee Rights, Nov. 15, 2005.)
To repeat: that bastion of human rights, the United States of America, reserves the right to kidnap and torture interrogate using cruel, inhuman and degrading methods anyone in the world if they first unilaterally declare them an "enemy combatant." Only after significant periods of imprisonment and mistreatment are such decisions reviewed - and the military itself reviews those decisions via "military tribunals." These tribunals observe no firm rules, and have a reputation for convicting people despite significant evidence of innocence. Even if a tribunal finds a detainee innocent, there is no guarantee those innocent detainees will ever be released:
I can understand why a lot of people were scraped up from the battlefield and brought to Gitmo, because we didn't know what we had, but we didn't have any real mechanisms to sort them out. And I think once we started sorting them out, we'd already stated publicly that we had "the worst of the worst." And it was a little hard to go against that and say, well, maybe some of them aren't quite the worst of the worst, and some of them are just the slowest guys off the battlefield.
(Source: Lt. Col. Thomas Berg from an interview on FrontLine titledWhat Do We Know About the Guantanamo Detainees?
How has this country sunk from "human rights" to "might makes right" in such a short time? W and his Bush league minions have much to answer for - and the Hague's War Crimes Court would be a good place to get those answers.


Write Your CongressCritter

Send them this:
The GOP, of course, has done nothing of the sort. As lackeys of the big-business, wealthy-investor class (or charter members of it), congressional Republicans have done everything in their power to make the lives of working folks worse. They've resisted an increase in the minimum wage; they've squeezed Medicaid; they've championed tax cuts for the richest Americans and a plan to make Social Security checks less reliable.

But the Democrats have done little better. Earlier this year, they joined with Republicans in service to the big banks, passing a bankruptcy bill that forgives less debt and makes it harder for folks struggling with big bills to dig themselves out of debt.

The bankruptcy legislation — which banks and credit card companies had made a priority, handing out campaign contributions like they used to give out free toasters for new accounts — was a particularly shameless bit of exploitation. Banks have spent years stuffing mailboxes with solicitations for credit cards, cultivating people they knew were bad credit risks. When those same customers ran into trouble with their credit card bills, the banks insisted on kicking them in the shins. Congressional Democrats helped supply the steel-toed boots.
(Source: Cynthia Tucker Anxious working class is largely overlooked by Congress, Universal Press Syndicate via Nov. 15, 2005.)
Politicians think large campaign contributions are more important than voter anger, based largely on the idea that political advertising funded by those large donations is what swings elections. Donations to liberal PACS like work on the donation source issue - but we also need to end the "voters are too lazy to pay attention" truism. Writing your Congresscritters regularly is a good place to start.


So Much for Self-Regulation

Making a brief side-trip from detailing the Bush Admininistation's moral and ethical degeneracy, here's proof that another of their treasured ideological postulates is flat out wrong. So-called self-regulation, the theory under which corprations can be trusted to "do the right thing" because of market pressures, is simply not true:
WASHINGTON--Regulations like Sarbanes Oxley have morphed ROI from "return on investment" to "risk of incarceration" for senior executives, according to a panel of security executives speaking at a conference here.

Proving monetary return for security spending is a challenge. However, when senior executives know they risk liability if they don't comply with regulations, they will be quicker to approve spending, said the panelists addressing the Computer Security Institute's annual conference on Monday.
(Source: ZDNet ROI: Risk of incarceration?, Nov. 14, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Odd, and having the foxes in charge of designing chicken house perimeter defenses seemed like such a good idea. After all, the foxes SAID the defenses were "world class" and that they'd tell us if anyone breached the chicken house's security.


Blame It On the Dick

According to the BBC, Dick "Torture Boy" Cheney may get thrown to the wolves:

There is a feeling on the part of the president, according to people very close to him, that the president got unwise political advice and rosy predictions of how a war and post-war in Iraq would play out
Tom DeFrank
(Source; BBC News Tough times for US vice-president, Nov. 14, 2005.)
Sounds like Mr. Cheney's political enemies are setting him up to resign to put in the annointed 2008 candidate er, I meanto spend more time with his family, no, I really meant for health reasons.

It also sounds like Condoleeza Rice may succeed at a task where Colin "Colon" Powell failed, breaking the Cheney/Rumsfeld grip on foreign policy and letting some reality in:
"There is also some feeling on the part, not only of the president but also some of his closest political advisers, that the Cheney national security operation got a little too ambitious and became too independent of the Bush and state department national security apparatus, and some aides very close to the president are determined that that will not continue."
Unfortunately for W, his Bush League minions don't want to go down in history as being the ones to blame for the worst presidency in this country's history. Rumsfeld, for example, is polishing his CYA memos off and ready to rumble. All we need to do is keep the pressure on, and they'll turn on each other like petty criminals in a cheap police drama.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Rummy Rewrites History

Looks like Donald Rumsfeld feels his personal place in history trumps loyalty to his fellow Bush League minions:
Wrestling With History
Sometimes you have to fight the war you have, not the war you wish you had

By David Von Drehle (Washington Post)

Sunday, November 13, 2005; Page W12

If only he could show us the memo.

"It's still classified, I suppose?" says Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, looking toward his assistant.

"It's still classified," Lawrence DiRita replies, "along with a lot of the underlying planning."

Rumsfeld nods, apparently disappointed. He is interested in sharing the memo because the memo, as he outlines it, demonstrates that his critics are utterly mistaken. He did not dash heedless and underprepared into Iraq. Rumsfeld foresaw the things that could go wrong -- and not just foresaw them, but wrote them up...
"It would have been probably October of '02, and the war was March, I think," of the following year, Rumsfeld explains. "I sat down, and I said, 'What are all the things that one has to anticipate could be a problem?' And circulated it and read it to the president -- sent it to the president. Gave it to the people in the department, and they planned against those things. And all of the likely and unlikely things that one could imagine are listed there. It was just on the off-chance we'd end up having a conflict. We didn't know at that stage."

Some might quibble with Rumsfeld's description of the historical moment. At the time he wrote the memo, dated October 15, 2002, Congress had recently voted to give President Bush complete authority to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein. A White House spokesman had just confirmed that invasion plans were on Bush's desk -- detailed plans, we now know, which Rumsfeld had been shaping and hammering and editing for much of the previous year.

In other words, there was far more than an "off-chance" of conflict. All that remained to be done was for the president to reach his official decision. The train was loaded, its doors were shut, and it was ready to leave the station.
(Emphasis added.)
Do these people spend so much time listening to their own propaganda "spin" that they honestly believe anyone actually mentioning the truth is "rewriting history?" Or are they just cynical liars that believe "history is a pack of lies written by the winners" and therefore think anyone contradicting their various lies is thus "rewriting history."

Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters. ~African Proverb


Will Scooter Roll Over on Cheney and Rove?

Looks like the Washington Post isn't afraid of the White House any more:
Libby May Have Tried to Mask Cheney's Role

By Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 13, 2005; Page A06

In the opening days of the CIA leak investigation in early October 2003, FBI agents working the case already had in their possession a wealth of valuable evidence. There were White House phone and visitor logs, which clearly documented the administration's contacts with reporters.
To critics, the timing suggests an attempt to obscure Cheney's role, and possibly his legal culpability. The vice president is shown by the indictment to be aware of and interested in Plame and her CIA status long before her cover was blown. Even some White House aides privately wonder whether Libby was seeking to protect Cheney from political embarrassment. One of them noted with resignation, "Obviously, the indictment speaks for itself."

In addition, Cheney also advised Libby on a media strategy to counter Plame's husband, former ambassador Wilson, according to a person familiar with the case.

"This story doesn't end with Scooter Libby's indictment," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), giving voice to widespread Democratic hopes about the outcome of Fitzgerald's case. "A lot more questions need to be answered by the White House about the actions of [Cheney] and his staff."
Scooter's Valerie Plame lies are a great lead-in to his involvement in pre-war intelligence cooking. As Seymoure Hersch reported in 2003:
Donald Rumsfeld has his own special sources. Are they reliable?
Issue of 2003-05-12
Posted 2003-05-05
They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal—a small cluster of policy advisers and analysts now based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans. In the past year, according to former and present Bush Administration officials, their operation, which was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, has brought about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community. These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq. They relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi. By last fall, the operation rivalled both the C.I.A. and the Pentagon’s own Defense Intelligence Agency, the D.I.A., as President Bush’s main source of intelligence regarding Iraq’s possible possession of weapons of mass destruction and connection with Al Qaeda. As of last week, no such weapons had been found. And although many people, within the Administration and outside it, profess confidence that something will turn up, the integrity of much of that intelligence is now in question.
A Pentagon adviser who has worked with Special Plans dismissed any criticism of the operation as little more than bureaucratic whining. ... He added, “I’d love to be the historian who writes the story of how this small group of eight or nine people made the case and won.”
There was a close personal bond, too, between Chalabi and Wolfowitz and Perle, dating back many years. Their relationship deepened after the Bush Administration took office, and Chalabi’s ties extended to others in the Administration, including Rumsfeld; Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy; and I. Lewis Libby, Vice-President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff. For years, Chalabi has had the support of prominent members of the American Enterprise Institute and other conservatives. Chalabi had some Democratic supporters, too, including James Woolsey, the former head of the C.I.A.
(Source: New Yorker Selective Intelligence, May 12, 2003 [emphasis added.])
Sure will be interesting to see whether Scooter's "close personal ties" with his buddies stands up to jail time - or whether El Busho issues a pardon after the 2006 elections...


Iraq, Beacon of Democracy?

The Arab world doesn't seem impressed by Iraq's "one less man, one less vote" approach to democracy:
Some delegates to the meeting saw Egypt's objections as a reflection of the Arab world's growing irritation with what some say is the lecturing tone of American calls for democracy. United States involvement in Iraq plays a part in that: the Arab world is not persuaded by the administration's portrayal of Iraq, which Secretary Rice visited on Friday, as a beacon for democracy.

Rather, they say, Iraq represents the perils of imposing democracy from outside. Its violence is widely seen as offering a cautionary tale rather than an inspiration, American officials acknowledge.
(Source: New York Times Meeting of Muslim Nations Ends in Discord, Nov. 13, 2005 [emphasis added.])
I guess Karen Hughes gets added to the list of failed Bush League cronies promoted past their level of incompetence.


The Bush That Cried Nuke!

W and his Bush League minions claimed the US could "go it alone" in the Middle East. Thanks to their many lies about Iraq, we are now forced to "go it alone" whether we have the money and resources or not:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New evidence suggests Iran has made significant progress in its pursuit of nuclear weapons and that should strengthen the case for increasing international pressure on Tehran to end the program, U.S. and European officials say.
Nuclear experts have been saying for months that the fact that U.S. claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities proved largely false is fueling doubts about intelligence on Iran.
(Source: Reuters US says new evidence of Iran nuclear arms ambition, Nov. 12, 2005 [emphasis added.])
Too bad Mr. Bush hasn't read the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

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