Saturday, December 17, 2005


Tales of the Imperial President

George Bush claims he can't be bothered to seek warrants from the special FISA court specifically created to hear such requests speedily and secretly. Meanwhile, his "Justice" Department continues to claim that Jose Padilla's appeal to the Supreme Court is now moot even though they claim he is still an enemy combatant and they still have the right to lock him up without charges:
In a brief filed late Friday, the administration argued that Mr. Padilla's indictment last month by a federal grand jury has given him the "very relief" he sought when he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court. Any Supreme Court decision now on his petition, which a federal appeals court rejected in September, "will have no practical effect" on Mr. Padilla, the brief said.
Jose Padilla's lawyers argue that
The government should not be allowed to claim the case is moot, the brief said, because the administration has not withdrawn Mr. Padilla's designation as an enemy combatant and has refused to foreclose the prospect of sending him back to military detention if he is acquitted in a civilian trial.

The lawyers told the Fourth Circuit that in its treatment of Mr. Padilla, "the government has repeatedly altered its factual allegations to suit its goals, and it has actively manipulated the federal courts to avoid accountability for its actions."
(Source: New York Times Justices Are Urged to Dismiss Padilla's Case, Dec. 18, 2005 [emphasis added].)
Manipulation of the facts seems to be the Bush league's answer to just about everything, from pre-war Iraq intelligence distortions to environmental concerns:
'The Republican War on Science,' by Chris Mooney
Political Science

Published: December 18, 2005

Last spring, a magazine asked me to look into a whistleblower case involving a United States Fish and Wildlife Service biologist named Andy Eller. Eller, a veteran of 18 years with the service, was fired after he publicly charged it with failing to protect the Florida panther from voracious development. One of the first species listed under the Endangered Species Act, the panther haunts southwest Florida's forests, which builders are transforming into gated golf communities. After several weeks of interviews, I wrote an article that called the service's treatment of Eller "shameful"...

My editor complained that the piece was too "one-sided"... On the other hand, the reality was one-sided, to a startling degree. An ardent conservationist, Eller had dreamed of working for the Wildlife Service since his youth; he collected first editions of environmental classics like Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." The officials who fired him based their denial that the panther is threatened in part on data provided by a former state wildlife scientist who had since become a consultant for developers seeking to bulldoze panther habitat. The officials were clearly acting in the spirit of their overseer, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, a property-rights advocate who has questioned the constitutionality of aspects of the Endangered Species Act.
(Source: New York Times [emphasis added.])

Friday, December 16, 2005


What Liberal Media Bias???

President Bush has admitted defeat in Dick Cheney's plan to keep torture legal. However, many of the "liberal" media's headline writers portrayed Mr. Bush's defeat on this issue either neutrally or as a "deal on torture" with McCain. Reading the article gave the true picture in most cases, but folks just scanning the headlines wouldn't realize that a Republican Congress handed their Republican President a major policy defeat.

Here's a sampling of the headlines:
Christian Science Monitor: Congress moves toward clear policy against torture (The article doesn't seem to mention how bitterly "Darth" Cheney fought against McCain's bill.

Reuters: White House, McCain in deal on torture measure (What deal? The president was forced to accept McCain's bill after bitterly opposing it.)

Associated Press: Deal on Torture Clears Way for Defense Bills (Nothing to see here, move on...)

New York Times: President Backs McCain Measure on Inmate Abuse (That's funny - didn't he oppose it until just recently?)

BBC: White House backs torture ban law (after fighting it for weeks...)
Some newspapers crafted headlines accurately portraying the Cheney/Bush administration's defeat on this issue:

Washington Post: President Relents, Backs Torture Ban

L.A. Times: McCain Wins Agreement From Bush on Torture Ban

Chicago Tribune: Bush OKs McCain's torture ban
President reverses opposition to amendment against `cruel, inhuman, degrading' tactics

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Making the World Safe for Theocracy

I'm not sure how helping Iran take over in Iraq helps our country's interests:
Posted on Mon, Dec. 12, 2005

Iran gaining influence, power in Iraq through militia

By Tom Lasseter

Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iranian-backed militia the Badr Organization has taken over many of the Iraqi Interior Ministry's intelligence activities and infiltrated its elite commando units, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

That's enabled the Shiite Muslim militia to use Interior Ministry vehicles and equipment - much of it bought with American money - to carry out revenge attacks against the minority Sunni Muslims, who persecuted the Shiites under Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, current and former Ministry of Interior employees told Knight Ridder.

The officials, some of whom agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity for fear of violent reprisals, said the Interior Ministry had become what amounted to an Iranian fifth column inside the U.S.-backed Iraqi government, running death squads and operating a network of secret prisons.
Somehow, I doubt W and his Bush League minions planned on replacing Saddam Hussein with Ayatollah Khomeini's heirs. That's the problem with reality - sometimes it bites.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Mr. President, Apologise to "Old Europe" NOW

The news then:
But in a sign of the open rifts within the Council, the French and Russian foreign ministers both received applause when they said there was no justification yet for a war with Iraq.

These unusual and undiplomatic displays caused German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, current council president, to ask for order inside the chamber. (Source: BBC News Arms report deepens UN split, Feb. 19, 2003.)

The pundits then:
CHARLES KUPCHAN (a former director for European affairs on the National Security Council under President Clinton): I think in the first instance, it makes clear that there is a broad difference in how the U.S. is approaching the process of the U.N. and how the French are going about it. I think for the U.S. there is a decision probably last summer that said we need to go to war against Iraq. And then the Bush administration said let's go to the U.N. to build support for it.

I think the French said, let's go to the U.N. and see if we can find a way to avoid war. War is a last resort. It may come. We will be there if the proof of weapons of mass destruction is there. But we don't see that proof yet...

...most Security Council members are lining up behind France, not with the United States. World opinion is generally saying we want more evidence that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. Even Americans are saying President Bush has yet to make the case.

And so I think if the U.S. goes down this route without broader support at the U.N. not just the French but other key members in the Security Council, it will essentially be... to say we are putting ourselves above the law and I think that what we will see is a real undermining of the sense of multilateralism of shared interests that has held the west together over the last few decades.

GWEN IFILL: Mr. Babbin, your response.

JED BABBIN (former deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush administration): Well, frankly multilateralism is what got us into this pickle to start with. We listened to our so-called multi-lateral partners in 1991 and did not remove Saddam then...This is not an issue of multilateralism. This is an issue of a direct threat. I also wanted to remark mainly Mr. Kupchan is saying there is no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. On the contrary, there is enormous evidence, and if Mr. Blix had made a serious inspection in the places where we have good reason to believe that the bad stuff is, he would have found things.
(Source: PBS Newshour Resisting War France suggests it might veto any new U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Iraq. Jan 21, 2003 [emphasis added.])
Too bad the French weren't as bold in telling the truth as W and his Bush League minions were about hiding it:
French Told CIA of Bogus Intelligence
The foreign spy service warned the U.S. various times before the war that there was no proof Iraq sought uranium from Niger, ex-officials say.

By Tom Hamburger, Peter Wallsten and Bob Drogin, Times Staff Writers

PARIS — More than a year before President Bush declared in his 2003 State of the Union speech that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear weapons material in Africa, the French spy service began repeatedly warning the CIA in secret communications that there was no evidence to support the allegation.

The previously undisclosed exchanges between the U.S. and the French, described in interviews last week by the retired chief of the French counterintelligence service and a former CIA official, came on separate occasions in 2001 and 2002.
Bush and his minions KNEW they were lying about the Iraq WMD threat and invaded anyway. Sounds like an illegal war of aggression to me...

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