Saturday, June 12, 2004

The Carbondale Candidate: A1998 Lecture by Charles Bowart on Mind Control 

A story from the Daily Egyptian, the student newspapers at the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale.

Investigative journalist Walter Bowart exposed government experiments on the effects of LSD, gas mask testing, and mind control testimony, leaving students in awe and amazement during a lecture Monday night.

Bowart, author of "Operation Mind Control" and self-proclaimed expert on mind control, is a recognized authority on the nation's secret development of psychological warfare technologies.

[read more]

Machurian Candidate: The St. Louis Connection 

Media Mayhem's Weekend Literary Supplement

I saw on Yahoo this morning that the Manchurian Candidate is being remade starring Denzel Washington. The orginal screen adaptation starred the late Frank Sinatra. The Richard Condon novel was first published in 1960 by Michale Joseph Ltd., 26 Bloombury Street, London. The first chapter opens in San Francisco but quickly moves to St. Louis. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is mentioned on the opening page.

The order of Assassins was founded in Persia at the end of the 11th Century. They were committed to anyone willing to pay for the service. Assassins were sceptical of the existence of God and believed that the world of the mind came into existence first, then, finally, the rest of creation. – Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend.

I am you and you are me and what have we done to each other? – The Keener’s Manual

It was sunny in San Francisco; a fabulous condition. Raymond Shaw was not unaware of the beauty outside the hotel window, across from a mansion on the tip of a hill, but he clutched the telephone like an oscultatorium and did not allow himself to think about what lay beyond that instant: in a saloon some place, in a different bed, or anywhere.

His lumpy sergeant’s uniform was heaped on a chair. He stretched out on the rented bed, wearing a new one-hundred-twenty-dollar dark blue dressing-gown, and waited for the telephone operator to complete the chain of calss to locate Ed Mavole’s father, somewhere in St. Louis.

He knew he was doing the wrong.thing. Two years of Korean duty were three days behind him and, at the very least, he should be spending his money on a taxicab to go up and down those hills in the sunshine, but he decided his mind must be bent or that he was drunk with compassion, or something else improbable like that. Of all of the fathers of all of the fallenwhom he had to call, owing to his endemic mopery , this one had to work nights, because by now, it must be dark in St. Louis.

He listened to the operator get through to the switchboard at the Post-Dispatch. He heard the switchboard tell her that Mavole’s brother worked in the composing room. A man talked to a woman’ there was silence. Raymond stared at his own large toe.

"Hello?" A very high voice.

"Mr. Arthur Mavole, please. Long distance calling." The steady rumble of working presses filled the background. …

"Mr. Malvole," Raymond said rapidly. "I thought that if it was O.K. with you maybe I could stop over in St. Louis on my way to Washington, you know? I thought, I mean it occurred to me that you and Mr. Mavole might get some kind of peace out of it, some kind of relief, if we talked a little bit. About Eddie. You know? I mean I thought that was the least I could do." …

When he got off the plane at the St. Louis airport he felt like running. He decided Mavole’s father must be that midget with the eyeglasses like milk-bottle bottoms who was enjoying sweating so much. The man would be all over him like a charging elk in a minute. "Hold it! Hold it! The pimply press photographer said loudly.

"Put it down," Raymond snarled in a voice which was even more unpleasant than his normal voice. All at once the photographer was less sure of himself. "Whassa matter?" he asked in bewilderment – because he lived at a time when only sex criminals and dope peddlers tried to refuse to have their pictures taken by the press. ...

"Oh Sergeant! the girl said, so then he knew who she was. She wasn't red-eyed and runny-nosed with grief for the dead hero, so she had to be the cub reporter who had been assigned to write the big local angle on the White House and the Hero, and he probably written the lead for her with that sappy grandstand play. ...

"May I ask how old you are, Sergeant Shaw? the yound chick said, notebook ready, pencil poised as though she and Mavole were about to give him a fitting, and he figured reflexively that this could be the first assignment she had ever got after years of journalism school and months of social notes from all over. ..."

Remembering Milo Mindbender: Garner Fired For Advocating Early Local Elections in Iraq 

Academia weighs in on the political quagmire in Iraq. Interestingly, the general perception appears that democracy took a backseat to war profiteering. I'm not surprised. The writer distinguishes between exiled leaders fearing native rule and "free market" proponents, which is a euphemism for war profiteer. There is no difference, they're two peas in a pod. It's not any different politically in Iraq, in that respect, than it is in the U.S.

"... Jay Garner suggested in a March 2004 Guardian interview [3] that he may have been fired because of his plans to hold local elections, which he believed to be opposed by proponents of `free market' economic reforms. Clearly there was some highly-connected opposition to local democracy in Iraq. But the suggestion of a free-market motivation seems implausible to me (and I am professor of economics at the University of Chicago, where advocating free markets is a local specialty). Even those who hoped to buy Iraqi public assets for bargain-basement prices should have recognized that, for long-term enforcement of their property rights, these transactions would need more legitimacy than occupation officials alone could provide. It seems clear that the only people who really stood to profit from a policy of denying elections were emigre political leaders who did not want competition from the home-grown political factions that these local elections would have cultivated. ..."

[read more]

Eat Me: The RFT White Men's Club 

A source has pointed out that this week's Riverfront Times features an illustration of a piece of red meat on the cover that closely resembles a vagina. The headline of the story is "Eat Me."

The story itself by Malcom Gay is a typical long, meandering, off-beat account of a kosher slaughter house that is being denied access to the Japanese market because of Agriculture Department guidelines pertaining to mad cow disease.

This is not the first sexist, nor most certainly the last, sexist pun that will grace the pages of the RFT. But it does represent a new low. While busying itself with "provocative" puns, the paper continues its slide into irrelevancy. News coverage is practically non-existent. But then the RFT quit trying to be a newspaper some time ago.

New Times Inc., the owner of the RFT, prides itself on being politically incorrect, of course. The sexist humor, if it can be considered such, could easily be labeled distasteful, but that is its intended purpose. This week's cover is also an indicator of another shift at the once-reputable alternative. The same source pointed out that there is a disproportionate number of white males filling the ranks of the once diverse publication. A quick check of the credits box shows only one female staff writer currently on board. In addition, all three top editorships are filled by white males. The same goes for the business side. The publisher, advertising director and top ad execs are all white males.

Under the previous ownership of Ray Hartmann, the editorial department was dominated by women reporters. As recently as a couple of years ago, then-staff writer Geri Dreiling did a critical story on a bus-stop ad campaign for Michelob beer that she deemed sexist.

Maybe female journalists are smarter than their men counterparts. They haven't applied because they know New Times treats all its employees equally -- as meat.

Info Tech "Patriots" Denies Blame for Abu Ghraib Atrocities 

CACI, one of two private contractors involved in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, has denied any wrongdoing in the case, after a suit was filed on behalf of abused prisoners by the Constitutional Rights Center earlier this week.

Here is how CACI describes itself:

"CACI International Inc provides the IT and network solutions needed to prevail in today's new era of defense, intelligence, and e-government. From systems integration and managed network solutions to knowledge management, engineering, simulation, and information assurance, we deliver the IT applications and infrastructures our federal customers use to improve communications and collaboration, secure the integrity of information systems and networks, enhance data collection and analysis, and increase efficiency and mission effectiveness. Our solutions lead the transformation of defense and intelligence, assure homeland security, enhance decision-making, and help government to work smarter, faster, and more responsively."

Connecting the Dots: Torture Policy Decisions Go Above Sanchez 

Rumsfeld Approved Torture, Bush Still Denies Knowledge

Maj. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez imposed a set of interrogation rules that defied the Geneva Conventions one day after a visit by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, commander of the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba, which is used to house suspected al-Qaida and Talban members.

The questionable interrogation techiniques employed at Guantanamo, many of which are tantamount to torture, were approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Legal briefs filed by the Pentagon and White House written in 2003-3004 supported the use of the extreme mistreatment of prisoners.

President George W. Bush continues to deny he ever saw any of the memos that spell out ways to circumvent federal criminal statutes, as well as, international laws and treaties, including the Geneva Conventions.

According to today's Washington Post:

"... The U.S. policy, details of which have not been previously disclosed, was approved in early September (2003), shortly after an Army general sent from Washington completed his inspection of the Abu Ghraib jail and then returned to brief Pentagon officials on his ideas for using military police there to help implement the new high-pressure methods. ...

"The list of interrogation options in the document closely matches a menu of options developed for use on detainees held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay and approved in a series of memos signed by top Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In January 2002, for example, Rumsfeld approved the use of dogs to intimidate prisoners there; although officials have said dogs were never used at Guantanamo, they were used at Abu Ghraib.

"Then, in April 2003, Rumsfeld approved the use in Guantanamo of at least five other high-pressure techniques also listed on the Oct. 9 Abu Ghraib memo, none of which was among the Army's standard interrogation methods. This overlap existed even though detainees in Iraq were covered, according to the administration's policy, by Geneva Convention protections that did not apply to the detainees in Cuba.

"The documents obtained by The Post, which include memos from Abu Ghraib and statements made by prison officials for the Army's investigation, make clear that this overlap was no accident. No formalized rules for interrogation existed in Iraq before the policy imposed on Sept. 10, one day after Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller -- who was then in charge of the Guantanamo site -- departed from Iraq. He was accompanied on the Iraq visit by at least 11 senior aides from Guantanamo, including officials from the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency.

"While that list of options was subsequently truncated on Oct. 12, some military personnel at the jail told Army investigators that they lacked awareness or understanding of the changes. ..."

[read more]

Sanchez Approved Torture, Washington Post Reports 

WASHINGTON - The top US military commander in Iraq approved high-pressure tactics used on inmates at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

US Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez approved letting senior officials at Abu Ghraib “use military dogs, temperature extremes, reversed sleep patterns, sensory deprivation, and diets of bread and water on detainees whenever they wished,” according to the Post, citing US government documents.

Sanchez borrowed heavily from a list of interrogation tactics used at the detention center at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to the Post.

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Complaints Ignored: Did Commanders Approve Torture? 

The use of the rhetorical question in journalism is frowned upon. So it comes as a small surprise that the Associated Press would allow one to slip past the copy desk.

The question, which appears in a wire service story today, is this:

"... The fact that earlier complaints apparently went nowhere adds to the uncertainty over a key question in the Abu Ghraib scandal: Did superior military police or intelligence officers encourage or condone the abuses? ..."

The story, which is based on Army internal reports obtained by AP, relates how five troops attached to the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq complained about acts of torture by other military personnel.

[read more]

Iraqi Official Assassinated 

Assailants shot and killed Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Bassam today in Baghdad.

[read more]

Friday, June 11, 2004

Criminal Intent: The Alice's Restaurant Syndrome 

Two male caucasians, scruffy, wanted for interstate transportation of scrap lumber and tree branches, multiple ethics violations, known to be unarmed but seriously lacking in conformity and moral certitude, if spotted call Homeland Security

This is a fable about a pick up truck of trash and two guys, who tried to dispose of it properly.

Earlier this week, I helped a friend haul off some scrap lumber and debris from his backyard. He rented a pick up and we drove the trash down to the city dump on Gascondade.

The dump sits close to the Mississippi River next to a gasoline depot and barge fleeting operation that, I believe, is owned by the mayor's cousin. The city dog pound is nearby, too, and the police shooting range. The stench of Monsanto's Sauget Wind hanging in the air, howls from canine death row and crackle of autommatic weapons fire. God, I love St. Louis. Most people who live in here probably don't even know all of these attractions are only minutes from the Arch.

The dump, however, isn't really a bonafide dump. It's a transfer point. Residents can come here and throw away their busted appliances: old stoves, refrigerators, washers and dryers.

Unfortunately, we arrived about a half hour after the the dump closed. Being polite, law-abiding citizens, we asked the civil servant guarding the dumpster if we could dispose of our refuse. He said no. He claimed he would be putting his job in jeopardy if he permitted us to throw our trash in the dumpster.

Thinking that the employee was only concerned about giving us formal approval for our post-hours dumping, we drove around a few minutes and returned. But he had staked himself at the gate. He was guarding the dump from potential scofflaws such as us.

So we resorted to Plan B.

Taking a evasive action, I managed to guide us through rush hour traffic and cross the river on Eads Bridge. We then picked up Interstate 70 in East St. Louis and headed one exit east to the Fairmont City. This where everybody's trash in the city of St. Louis ends up.

Most St. Louians don't think about where their trash goes too much except for the odd writer. Wm Stage wrote a cover story on the subject a few years ago for the Riverfront Times. He rode around with the trash men from start to finish.

The finish is the Milam landfill, a great man-made mountain off Interstate 70 in Fairmont City. The Milam landfill is already several times larger than its nearby cousin Monk's Mound, which was built presumably for ceremonial purposes by the pre-historic Mississippian era Indians, who inhabited the American Bottoms here until a hundred years or so before the Europeans invaded. Monk's Mound is the largest pre-historic Native American structure north of Mexico City, whereas the Milam landfill is a work in progress.

Every day tons of more trash are dumped at Milam. It's been over-capacity for decades, according to state regulations. But rules were made to be broken, especially when it comes to trash. The landfill is also built in the Mississippi flood plain, which is a violation of federal environmental law. Still the mountain grows taller every year. Trash is a growth industry.

A few years back, a new race track was built across the road from the landfill. The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers and the state all agreed they could make an exception and allow the track to destroy a few hundred acres of federally protected wetlands for additional parking. Rules were made to be broken.

We drove up past the race track and turned into the dump. But we were foiled by the clock once again. We had arrived two minutes after the landfill had officially closed for the day. Dumps evidentially run on time better than Amtrak. We pleaded with the office clerk, but she showed no sympathy. We couldn't even bribe her, which attests to the honesty of sanitation industry employees and American womanhood. She said she had already filled out her time sheets for the day. Buzz off. And that was that.

By this time, we had been driven to drink. Retreating to a little Mexican tienda in Fairmont City, we ordered cervezas and tacos. Watching Reagan's funeral procession on the cantina's TV, with the other diners, we mulled over our options.

There was no manana.

The truck had to be returned. Plus, my friend had scratched the truck backing into his driveway and would have to pay for the damage. This was becoming a very expensive chore. My friend sullenly decided to cart the trash back to his house, dump it in his driveway and call a hauler to remove it, which would cost even more money.

Across the aisle, the Mexicans in the restaurant watched Reagan's casket on TV in silence as it was carried down Pennsylvania Avenue by a horse-drawn wagon. They have lived in Fairmont City since 1918, when they were brought north in box cars to break a strike at a local zinc company. Their numbers have been growing in recent years, of course. In a sense, they are reclaiming their land, the land of the Native Americans who lived here first. Perhaps Monk's Mound was once a dump and not the throne of an ancient empire. Maybe the Mississippians were anarchists. Only the Great Spirit knows.

After eating, we hopped back in the truck and were heading back to the highway, when we spied a dirt road with a big pile of trash at the end of it.

Rules are made to be broken.

Down and Out In Baghdad 

Self-described "blog-jurno" Christopher Allbritton on fear and loathing in the Big B:

there was an IED attack against an American humvee near the Interior Ministry. It killed one American soldier and wounded three others. We were on our way to the Oil Ministry and we detoured to the site of the attack. As I rushed up to the cordon, I yelled out to the soldiers that I was press. They responded by waving me away. I tried to ask one soldier a few questions about what had happened. Traffic streamed around us and cars horns beat out a cacophonic concert.

“Can’t talk to you, sir, go away,” he said.

“Well, where was the attack?” I pressed.

“I said go away,” he growled.

“Can I speak to your commanding officer? Who is he?”

“He said get the fuck out of here!” a second soldier screamed and both soldiers pointed their weapons at me. There are few things more threatening than seeing scared and pissed-off American soldiers pointing weapons at you. The Iraqis know this feeling well. I quickly retreated and returned to the car, shaken at the Americans’ hostility.

This feeling of trusting no one has gotten to me; it’s palpable and the constant vigilance is exhausting. My mood is black and I can feel a depression that is never far away. Not writing for the blog is a source of guilt, too, but TIME has kept me so busy with stories that don’t bring me in touch with average Iraqis much. I’ve been moving between the CPA and the former members of the Governing Council.

I also can’t seem to get excited over stories of abused Iraqis. There are so many and they have a numbing quality. Also, the hostility I encounter from Iraqis makes me — shamefully — less empathetic to their complaints. But nor do I feel much sympathy for Americans who point guns at me. The tragic part of this is that there is no way to blame anyone in this situation. The Iraqis will naturally hate an occupying army. And soldiers will naturally grow to hate a people they think they came to liberate but who continue trying to kill them.

I wish I could see more of the goodness in Iraqis that I know is there. And likewise, I wish they could see the goodness in Americans. But people here — the Iraqis, the CPA, the military and even some journalists — have become blinded to each other’s concerns and qualities. Those of us here, all of us, we’re not all bad people, I don’t believe. And I say “we” because no matter our nationality, this place hammers us into a collective body. The Iraqi selling me delicious juice concoctions, the American soldiers at the checkpoints missing his wife, the CPA employee who truly believed the Bush rhetoric, we are all in this together now.

But this environment is killing our ability to give a damn about anything other than staying alive. It’s burying our better angels.

[read more]

Up on the Roof -- In Baghdad with Riverbend 

Riverbend, a self-professed "girl blog" who says she lives in Baghdad, on summer in the city. Her latest entry was June 1. Hope she's OK.

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McCain Won't Break Ranks with GOP 

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a Republican critic of President George W. Bush, has turned down the opportunity to join Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts as his vice-presidential running mate on the Democratic ticket, the Associated Press reported today.

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Billions in Hussein's Cache Held in Foreign Banks 

Iraqi News reports that billions of dollars in former Iraqi President Saddam Huessin's fortune are held in foreign accounts controlled by members of the 14th Directorate or N-14, the former regime's intelligence agency.

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Federal Prosecutor Named to Oversee Saddam's Trial 

Anne Tompkins, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina in Charlotte has been named to advise the Iraqi judiciary in the prosecution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and other leaders of his regime.

[read more]

Plame's Blown Cover 

Valeria Plame, the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, had her CIA cover blown by somebody in the White House last summer. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is currently investigating the case and President George W. Bush has conferred with outside legal counsel as a result.

Little is known about Plame's covert work other than it likely involved espionage in the petroleum industry.

Knight-Ridder newspapers reported this much last October, when the scandal first heated up:

In April 1999, Plame, using her married name of Valerie E. Wilson, donated $1,000 to then-Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. She listed her employer as Brewster-Jennings & Associates.

The name (Brewster Jennings & Associates) suggested work in the energy field: The late Brewster Jennings was president of the old Socony-Vacuum oil company, predecessor to Mobil, now Exxon Mobil Corp.

A June 2000 listing in Dun & Bradstreet for a Boston-based "Brewster Jennings & Associates" names the company's CEO and only employee as "Victor Brewster" and says it had annual sales of $60,000.

[read more]

Dog Soldiers: U.S. Approved Use of Canines on Prisoners 

The Washington Post reports today that U.S. military intelligence approved the use of unmuzzled attack dogs to intimidate prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The Post reports that two of the canine handlers had a contest to see who could get more prisoners to urinate on themselves out of fear.

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War What Is It Good For? Poll Shows Flagging Support for Bush War  

A Los Angeles Times poll of registered voters shows that the majority, 53 percent, think the war in Iraq was unnecessary. Forty-three percent believe the war was justified. The findings are the reverse of a similar poll conducted in March.

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Bush Ignored State Department Warning on Use of Torture 

State Department legal counsel William H. Taft IV advised the White House on Feb. 2, 2002 that abandoning the Geneva Conventions prohibitions on torture could put American troops in jeopardy of being mistreated if taken captive, the Associated Press reports today.

The report is based on a memo obtained by the wire service. The latest revelation comes in the wake of another denial by George W. Bush that he had seen Justice Department memos supporting the use of torture.

Asked yesterday about his knowledge or position on the torture policy at the G8 conference in Georgia, Bush told reporters:

"Look, I'm going to say it one more time. ... The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you."

The State Department advisory followed recommendations from the Justice Department advising that Bush could suspend international treaties prohibiting torture. The Taft memo warned that failing to apply the Geneva Conventions to detainees from the war in Afghanistan -- whether al-Qaida or Taliban -- would put U.S. troops at risk.

"A decision that the conventions do not apply to the conflict in Afghanistan in which our armed forces are engaged deprives our troops there of any claim to the protection of the convention in the event they are captured," wrote Taft.

[read more]

New York Times Report of Expanded Abu Ghraib Probe 

To read the full New York Times story that was chopped by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, click here.

All the News That'll Fit: Post-Dispatch Guts New York Times Story on Abu Ghraib Inquiry 

Buried on page A-17 of today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a reprint of a New York Times story about the widening investigation into torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Unfortunately, the Post-Dispatch copy desk cut 12 paragraphs from the story. The culled grafs provide details that pm the reasons why the investigation is now broadening to include top-military officially, including Maj. General Ricardo Sanchez. The missing grafs also suggest who will take over the investigation.

Perhaps the most important information that is missing from the abbreviated Post-Dispatch version is that a new witness has come forward implicating Sanchez.

The Post-Dispatch gave Reagan's burial ample room on the front page and inside today's edition, but failed in its responsibility to inform the St. Louis region about an investigation that is shaking the foundations of the U.S. military, the Pentagon and possibly the White House.

Here are the missing paragraphs ...

"... One possible candidate is Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the vice chief of staff of the Army, who is expected to replace General Sanchez in Iraq soon after the transfer of authority on June 30 to the new interim Iraqi government.

"It was unclear whether how this change might delay the delivery of the final report, which had been expected in early July. Some lawmakers have said they would delay their calls for an independent congressional investigation or one modeled after the inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks, until General Fay's report was completed.

"The sudden turn of events in the investigation came as new details emerged about why General Fay in the last week or so requested and received a 30-day extension to complete his report.

"Within the last several days, an important figure in the inquiry who had previously refused to cooperate with Army investigators suddenly reversed his position and agreed to work much more closely with investigators, a senior Senate aide and a senior Pentagon official said.

"That important development prompted General Fay to send some of his 29-person team back into the field to conduct more interviews, the officials said. "A key witness, a key person who'd pled the military equivalent of the Fifth has changed his attitude, and Fay is reopening the investigation," the Senate official said.

"The officials said they did not know the identity of the witness. ...

"Among the biggest questions for General Sanchez will no doubt be his order last Nov. 19 that, according to another senior Army investigator, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, put the military police at the prison effectively under the control of the military intelligence soldiers.

"As a result, military police officers have said they were encouraged by military intelligence soldiers to soften up detainees before the interrogations to elicit more information from them during the formal questioning.

"General Sanchez has said he only intended for his order to put the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade in charge of the physical security of the prison, and other logistical responsibilities. It was not his intent, he said, to put the military police inside the prison under the operational control of military intelligence soldiers, a practice General Taguba said would violate Army rules.

"General Sanchez has acknowledged that he visited Abu Ghraib several times last fall, but said he did not witness any prisoner abuses. A spokesman for General Sanchez has said the general `stands by his testimony before Congressional committees' that he did not learn of the abuses until January, months after they began.

"Army investigators will also likely question General Sanchez on how he and his staff incorporated recommendations to improve detention and interrogation procedures at Abu Ghraib that were offered last fall by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who at the time headed detention operations at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

"In addition, General Sanchez will likely be asked about interrogation policies that he issued last year."

[read more]

Lost Dogs and Spanish Bar Flies 

Clubbers at the trendy Baja Beach Club in Barcelona can now have a microchip implanted in their arms, which allows them enter and put drinks on their tabs, the Londaon Guardian reports.

The microchip, the size of a grain of rice, was invented 15 years ago by an arm of Florida-based Advanced Digital Solutions. Originally it was intended to track lost dogs and livestock. The chip has a 20-year life span.

The chip is expected to be used for security and identification purposes in the future.

[read more]

Feebie Little Black Book 

FBI phone directory, courtesy of Cryptonome.

State Department Statement on Under Reported Terror  

Office of the Spokesman
June 10, 2004


Correction to Global Patterns of Terrorism Will be Issued

After learning of possible discrepancies in the first week of May, the Department of State and the Terrorist Threat Integration Center initiated a review of the data published in the 2003 edition of "Patterns of Global Terrorism." A May 17th letter from Congressman {Henry] Waxman [Democrat, California] added impetus to our efforts.

The data in the report was compiled by the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which was established in January 2003 and includes elements from the CIA, FBI and Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. Based on our review, we have determined that the data in the report is incomplete and in some cases incorrect. Here at the Department of State, we did not check and verify the data sufficiently.

At our request, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center is revising the statistics for calendar year 2003. While we are still checking data for accuracy and completeness, we can say that our preliminary results indicate that the figures for the number of attacks and casualties will be up sharply from what was published. As soon as we are in a position to, we will issue corrected numbers, a revised analysis, and revisions to the report.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

Torching the Paper Trail: Saddam's Records Destroyed -- After the Fall of Baghdad 

The following Associated Press story indicates that the looting of the Iraqi National Library was less extensive and more selective than previously reported.

In fact, it wasn't looting at all. The only thing destroyed at the library were the regime's records, which could have included not only the dictator's atrocities but also the funding he received from the CIA.

What is often ignored in the "weapons of mass destruction" debate is that Iraq received more than $4 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the first Bush administration. That money was used to buy "dual-use" technology that could be used for industrial -- or military purposes. The money was funded through Italy's Banca Nationale del Lavoro (BNL). I walked by a branch of that bank when I was in Rome in 2001.

The BNL scandal rocked the governments of England, Italy and, to a less extent, the U.S. in the early 1990s. In this country, it was called "Iraqgate." The focus of the U.S. investigation was at the BNL branch in Atlanta, Ga. If I recall correctly, now-FBI director Robert Mueller was involved in the Justice Department inquiry into the banking scandal. Mueller was then a federal prosecutor.

Fires Destroy Archives of Saddam Rule

Tue Jun 8, 3:06 AM ET 

By CARL HARTMAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Fires at the Iraq (news - web sites) National Library set as U.S. forces took over Baghdad did not destroy large numbers of rare books and ancient manuscripts as initially feared, U.S. investigators say.

Instead, the fires apparently were aimed at destroying sensitive records about Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s government, said Mary-Jane Deeb, a specialist on the Arab world at the Library of Congress (news - web sites).

Deeb, who headed a three-person team sent to Iraq to check on the library's contents, said it's unclear what information the documents contained.

"All that the librarians would tell us was that (the records) were brought to the library in the late 1980s and were put in the charge of almost 90 people who were not librarians," said Deeb, a native of Egypt who also teaches international politics at American University and has published two mystery novels.

The records began in 1977, when Saddam, an Iraqi army general, was becoming the country's leader. But little else about them is known. Ms. Deeb said the team questioned the librarians repeatedly and got no further information. She pointed to the large number of non-librarians who came with the documents.

She said the records were burned with the use of some intensely flammable material like phosphorous - not the sort of thing a causal looter might use - and the destruction was thorough.

"We were up to our knees in ashes," Deeb said.

Archives from earlier periods lay untouched in a nearby room, stored in rice sacks.

Deeb's team reported that the front of the library building was badly burned, the walls, ceilings, staircases and doors charred, and the infrastructure - electricity, heating, plumbing - no longer exists in part of the building. Furniture and equipment were looted. Some books also were scattered about the floor, possibly to give the impression that part of the collection had been looted, as at the National Museum.

"Basically, the collection had not been damaged by the fires because they were in a separate location from the archives," said her report to the Library of Congress and the State Department.

Of nearly a million items in the library, two Muslim clerics took about 200,000 to their mosque for safety's sake in the interval between the two fires on April 10 and 14, 2003. They have since returned the material. On April 9, 2003, American commanders declared Saddam's regime no longer ruled Baghdad.

Two months before the fires, about 40,000 rare books and documents were sent for safekeeping to the building of the Iraqi National Board of Tourism. Two months after the fires they were found to be under a foot of water there - something had gone wrong with the water mains. Deeb reported that workers were hired to get them out, but that when she saw them two months later that they were still wet and damaged by mold.

She estimated that one in five will be ruined.

Deeb said that the damaged materials have since been placed in freezers to stop further molding, in the cellar of a building which had been the Senior Officers Club under Saddam. She had reported that the damaged library building was no longer suitable and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) designated the club as the collection's new home. But last week the Iraqi ministry of Justice put in a claim to get the attractive building for itself.

The State Department and the Library of Congress are cooperating to bring four Iraqi librarians to the United States this summer for training in restoration.

Chocolate Junkies Riot 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch gossip columnist Deb Peterson reports today that the Chocolate Bar on Park Avenue has closed. Chocolate addicts throughout the city are reported to be raiding chocolate outlets. ... Specialties shops report reduced inventories of European and British chocolates. ... Shoplifting of the lowly Snickers bars have increased at Walgreen's. ... St. Louis police are investigating the highjacking of a chocolate shipment on Interstate 70 north of downtown. ... An unruly crowd is gathering at Crown Candy Kitchen, which wqas forced to close earlier this morning due to the unprecedented demand. ... Protestors have been arrested for throwing jelly beans in front of the shuttered chocolate shop on Park Avenue. A chocolate caravan has been organized for a trip to Chicago this weekend. Some members of the caravan vow never to return to St. Louis.

Mind Control Allegation Portends Reagan Assassination Attempt; Warnings Found on Windshields in St. Louis 

Uncle Bucky and MK-ULTRA

George W. Bush's uncle -- William H.T. "Bucky" Bush -- lives here in St. Louis. He used to be the president of Boatmen's Bank. When Reagan was shot in March 1981, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat had reporter Rick Stoff do a story on "Bucky's" reaction to the assassination attempt. It remains one of my all-time favorite weird clips.

First, there is the headline:

"Bush Is Devoted to Reagan; It's Got to be Terrible for Him,' Brother Says.

Then there's the cutline under Bucky's mugshot:

"William H.T. "Bucky" Bush, president of Boatmen's Bank of St. Louis, said he was trying not to think about the posibility that his brother, George, could become president."

But the best part was tucked at the end of the story itself:

"... As an example of the unstable personalities responsible for assassination attempts, Bush offered a flier forwarded to him Monday after copies were left on cars during Saturday night's performance at the St. Louis Repertory (formerly Loretto-Hilton) Theatre in Webster Groves. Bush is a member of the theater's board of directors.

"The printed sheets, labeled `WARNING,' contained a man's rambling account of how he was a target of a `subliminal learning/mind control operation conducted by the U.S. government with the cooperation of `local law enforcement agencies, corporations, universtities, colleges and certain private citizens.'

"The sheet said the man had been a target of the operation since 1977 in attempts to turn him into a homosexual. 'He listed government officials and public institutions that have allegedly partcipated in attempts to control his mind, and concluded that a possible motive was the `assassination of the president,' from which St. Louis might profit because the next president would be George Bush, `whose brother heads a bank in St. Louis.'

"Bucky Bush said he had never heard of the man, who listed his name and address on the sheet, and referred to him as 'some three-dollar bill.'

"When a reporter asked for a copy of the sheet, Bush suggested he take the original. 'I don't want the damn thing.'"

The Rev. Danforth vs. Sheriff Clyde Orton 

Danforth Missouri's Carrie Nation or Elliot Ness?

Some of the natives call the region Swampeast Missouri. The five-county Bootheel area in the extreme southeast portion of the state is crossed with drainage districts. Most of the crypress tre es, the sycamores and cottonwoods were felled long ago. Cotton is king here. And so was whiskey.

Bootlegging reigned in the Bootheel through the 1960s, with whiskey pouring across the state line into the dry counties of nearby Southern states. In 1970, Republican Missouri Attorney General John C. Danforth was spurred to investigate a complaint by his counterpart in Mississippi. The Southerner alleged that five of his liquor agents had been chased out of Carurthersville by Pemiscot Sheriff Cyde Orton. Stories in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reporting on Bootlegging and gambling in the Bootheel also caught Danforth's attention.

Danforth, an ordained Espicopal priest and wealthy heir of the Ralston-Purina fortune, dispatched a team of young assistant atorney generals to investigate the allegations of corruption of the Pemiscot County sheriff in late 1969. In January of 1970, Orton was named in an ouster suit by Danforth. A few months later, Danforth's office filed the formal charges in the case. The following story appeared in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on March 25, 1970

Specific Charges Files In Orton Ouster Case
From the Globe-Democrat Jefferson City Bureau

Under order of the Missouri Supreme Court, Attorney General John C. Danforth filed Tuesday an amended information charging Sheriff Clyde Orton of Pemiscot County with specific instances of oppression in office and neglect of duty.

The outster action against Orton was filed by the attorney general after a series of reaids by law enformecement authorities in Pemiscot County and an investigation by the Globe-Democrat into alleged gambling and liquor law violations in Southeast Missouri.

Eleven specific instances were set forth to support the allegation that the sheriff "unlawfully failed to execute (his official) duties from Jan. 1957 to date. ..."

These charges include an instance in which the sheriff is alleged to have offered to allow a man named George McRad, being held on a first degree murder charge, to leave the county jail to purchase liquor in Hayti, Mo. and bring it back to jail.

The sheriff is alleged to have threatened in September of 1969 to jail five Mississippi state liquor control agents if they did not leave Pemiscot County, where they were conducting an investigation into alleged transportation of liquor from Missouri into Mississippi.

Orton is also alleged to have refused assistance in July of 1969 to two Florence, Ala. police officers when they asked his assistance in stopping transportation of liquor from Pemiscot County of Alabama.

The attorney general charged that Orton allowed dice and card games to be openly conducted at bars in Hayti and Curthersville.

Several instances of alleged "wilful and malicious oppression, partiality, misconduct and abuse of authority" were listed in one section of the information.

These included alledged unlawful release of prisoners from the county jail in January of 1960, and an alleged request made by the sheriff in May of 1967 to a man named Johnny Forman on parole from a first degree murder conviction to purchase liquor in Hayti and bring it back to the county jail.

The attorney general alleged that during 1963 and 1964, Orton telephoned bets on horse races "for himself and others" and a deputy sheriff placed bets for him.

Orton was also alleged to have offered during 1964 to produce witnesses in a rape case "who would testify to anything he told them."

The petition renewed the plea that Orton be orfered to appear and show cause why he should not be ousted from the office of sheriff.

The Supreme Court had given Danforth 15 days to make more definite and certain allegations in the case.

In the Mary 9 order, the court also refused to order Danforth and Harry Wiggins, supervisor of liquor control, to stop talking to the press about the case. The court also refused to hear the case en banc.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Danforth Investigation: All Mucked Up in the Bootheel 

Former Sen. John C. Danforth, who was recently nominated by the Bush administration to be U.N. ambassador, headed a 1970 investigation as Missouri attorney general that focused on bootlegging, organized crime, and political corruption in the Missouri Bootheel in Southeast Missouri.

The following story appeared on Jan. 17, 1970 in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat:

Danforth Asks Ouster of Pemiscot Sheriff

by Jack Flach
Globe-Democrat Political Editor

A suit to oust Pemiscot County Sheriff Clyde Orton from office for permitting "open notorious and widespread liquor violations and gambling in that southeast Missouri county, was filed Friday in the Missouri Supreme Court by Attorney General John C. Danforth.

The ouster action came after a series of stories by the Globe-Democrat and a three-month investigation by state liquor control agents and under-cover agents for the attorney general's office on alleged wide-open conditions in Pemiscot county.

It is believed to be the first such action taken against a sheriff in the state since the late Aruthur C. Mosely was ousted as sheriff of St. Louis Count in 1956 by former Attorney General John M. Dalton. Mosely was ousted for permitting carnvial gambling.

Orton, a Democrat of Caruthersville, who was first elected in 1956, has been the center of a intensive investigation into a bootleg whisky operation and numerous liquor violations, it was previously reported by the Globe-Democrat.

In his quo warranto suit filed in Jefferson City, Danforth said that while Orton served as sheriff "there existed numerous violations of the criminal laws of Missouri with respect to the sale of liquor or beer, and to gambling" and the violations were widespread.

"(Danforth) says that said violations were known to (Orton) or that they were so open, notorious and widespread that (Orton) by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known thereof," the suit said.

It points out that the sheriff is responsible for enforcing all criminal laws within the limits of his county.

In earlier interviews with the Globe-Democrat following the disclosure of the state's investigation, Orton said he was not aware of any whisky-running operation or of any widespread liquor violations in his county.

He had charged it was the duty of state liquor agents and the highway patrol to enforce laws pertaining to these violations but Danforth, in his suit, says the law is clear that it's the sheriff's duties to enforce all laws.

Danforth also charges that "there have on numerous occasions been reported to Orton the commission of crimes within the limits of Pemiscot County and that Orton in pursuance thereof, failed to investigate the same." The suit was prepared by Alfred C. Sikes and Thomas L. Patten, assistants to Danforth.

The suit charged that Orton is guilty of wilful and malicious oppression, partiality, misconduct and abuse of authority and as a result had forfeited his office. It asked that the court remove Orton from office.

The first course of action will be for the High Court to appoint a commissioner to hear the case, who then reports his findings to the court, which in turn will make the final decision.

Orton can either be found innocent, guilty and ousted or guilty and fined.

More than 20 establishments in Pemiscot County are under investigation for liquor violations, eight perosns have been arrested and state authorities have charged that Orton chased Msississippi and Alabama liquor agents out of the county. They were seeking to break up the whisky-running out of Caruthersville into their states.

The "Slam Dunk" Story Is Bogus 

In his book on the Bush regime, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward refers to a meeting in which former CIA director George Tenet tell President George W. Bush that finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq would be a "slam dunk." The conversation allegedly took place before the invasion. The WMD cover was used to sell the war to the American public.

But the following story North American editor Conor O'Clery of the Irish Times, which appeared on Oct. 10, 2002, suggests that Tenet was much more circumspect. Under pressure for the failing of the agency related to the 9-11 attacks, Tenet advised that Hussein regime posed a low threat, but may aid al-Qaeda in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Tenet was essentially sitting on the fence. As the story tells it, the CIA had been hamstrung by Bush who had already made his mind up.

CIA Study Conflicts with Bush Over Iraq

by Conor O'Clery, North American Editor

President Bush has baed his case for war against Iraq on the premise that President Saddam Hussein poses a "grave and gathering" danger to the United States. But the CIA believes that the prospect of a terrorist attack by Iraq against the U.S. is low, and that the build-up to war might in fact unleash the horrors that Mr. Bus says he wishes to proevent.

The classified CIA assessment, which injects a new element into the debate on war or peace in the U.S. Congress, emerged in a letter sent by CIA Director George Tenet to Sen. Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on October 7th.

"Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW (chemical and biological weapons) against the United States," Mr. Tenet wrote. An attack on the U.S. might involve conventional weapons, he said, but Saddam Hussein could decide to assist Islamic terrorists in conducting a wMD (weapons of mass destrcution) attack.

The CIA assessment points to fundatmental divisions in the U.S. administration over the threat assessment from Iraq. In a speech to the nation on Monday, Mr. Bush said: Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists."

The CIA, at the urging of the Democrat-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee, also released the testimony of a senior intelligence witness at a closed hearing of the committee on October 2 which underlined its conclusions.

The unnamed witness said the probability of Iraq initiating an attack on America was "low" but the likelihood of Baghdad's use of chemical or biological weaopons if the U.S. initiated an attack was "pretty high."

The White House rushed to dispel the perception that Mr. Bush's policies were increasing the threat level to U.S. citizens. Mr. Tenet "did not say we're OK," White House spokesman Ari Fleisher said yesterday. "If Saddam Hussein holds a gun to someone's head, while he denies he even owns a gun, do you really want to take a chance that he'll never use it." He also questioned the accuracy of the assessment.

"Everybody agrees that guesses about the likelihood are just that, they are best estimates," he said. The CIA, on the defensive for intelligence failures since September 11th, did not want its warning of a pre-emptive strike by Iraq to go unheeded, observers said. Many former and current CIA officials are expressing concern that the agency is being heavily pressurised to tailor the White House case for military action.

"There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the CIA substantiate positions that have already been adopted by the administration," said Mr. Vincent M. Cannistraro, former head of counter-terrorism strategy at the CIA.

The ambiguity at the heart of the administration's strategy was picked up by Democratic Congressman Donald Payne of New Jeresy.

Mr. Tenet's suggestion that an attack on Iraq "could trigger the very things that our president has said that he is trying to prevent, the use of chemical or biological weapons," made the policy of a pre-emptive strike "troublesome," he said.

The CIA declassified other information backing up Mr. Bush's claim of ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda. There is "credible reporting" that the group's "leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire WMD capabilities," Mr. Tenet wrote in a letter to senators. He added that this, coupled with Iraq's increasing support to "extremist Palestinians," suggested Baghdad's links to terrorists would increase.

Congress is debating a resolution giving Mr. Bush authority to use military force to dismantle Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

The House is expected to pass the resolution this evening by about five to one, and the Senate by 70 of 100 votes, though the Senate vote may be delayed to next weeky by Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, who has threated a filibuster.

Mr. Bush is meanwhile delaying the production of a text for a new tough U.N. resolution on Iraq disarmament until Congress gives him authority to wage war. France want two resolutions, with the authority to use force of the U.N. Security Council conferred on Tuesday evening but the "the Americans didn't appear to have a negotiating mandate," said a diplomat after the meeting involving U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte and the mission heads for China, France, Russia and the U.K.

Interrogate Bush 

Appearing on the Donnybrook program tonight, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bill "Malibu" McClellan argued in favor of torturing prisoners of war.

Well, they've been torturing them for a couple years now, Malibu and they still caught Osama bin Laden. Must not be working. Maybe we just haven't caught the right terrorist yet. If we keep it up, we're bound to score sooner or later. How many Muslims are there on earth?

Malibu and the Bush Bund must be confusing the Fox network's action thriller 24 with the reality of intel work.

Wasted: The Cost of Bush's War in Greenbacks 

The cost of the war in Iraq now stands at an estimated $117 billion.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
April 16, 1953

Chirac Nixes Bush Bid for NATO Deployment in Iraq 

The Guardian of London reports that French President Jaques Chirac has rejected a call by U.S. President George W. Bush to deploy NATO troops in Iraq.

The discord followed the approval by the U.N. Security Council of the new government in Iraq. Chiraq, Bush and other leaders of the G8 group of leading industrial nations are meeting at Sea Island, Ga.

In nearby Savannah, Ga., 45 activist organizations opposed to G8 policies held a counter meeting.

[read more]

What'd I Say?  

Ray Charles died.

Kerry Leads Bush in LA Times Poll 

A Los Angeles Times poll released last night found that nearly 60 percent of the registered voters interviewed believe the nation is on the wrong track, the highest level a Times poll has recorded during Bush's term.

Kerry led Bush 51 percent to 44 percent, according to the poll, which was posted on the Times Web site Wednesday evening. With independent candidate Ralph Nader included, Kerry received 48 percent, Bush 42 percent and Nader 4 percent.

[read more]

Grave Mistake: Rove Plan to Use Reagan Image in Bush TV Ads Backfires 

Capitol Hill Blue reports today on a GOP criticized plan by President George W. Bush's political strategist Karl Rove to use the late Ronald Reagan's image in a TV ad campaign.

“They’re disgusting,” says one long-time Republican who participated in a focus group to preview the new television ads. “They dishonor the memory of Ronald Reagan and if President Bush allows these ads on the air I, for one, will not vote for him in November.”

[read more]

DOD Lists Charges Against Gitmo Prisoner 

From today's DOD's press release:

The Department of Defense announced today that three charges were approved against Guantanamo detainee David Hicks of Australia who will be tried by military commission.  The charges include: conspiracy to commit war crimes; attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent and aiding the enemy.  Hicks is the third Guantanamo detainee charged.

            Hicks is alleged to have attended a number of al Qaida terrorist training courses at various camps in Afghanistan, including an advanced course on surveillance, in which he conducted surveillance of the U.S. and British embassies in Kabul, Afghanistan.  It is also alleged that after viewing TV news coverage in Pakistan of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States, he returned to Afghanistan to rejoin his al Qaida associates to fight against U.S., British, Canadian, Australian, Afghan, and other coalititon forces.  It is alleged Hicks armed himself with an AK-47 automatic rifle, ammunition, and grenades to fight against coalition forces

[read more]

GE Leads the Pack in Government Fines 

The Project on Government Oversight lists the companies that have been most heavily fined for failure to uphold federal government contracts. General Electric, the owner of the NBC television network, is the number one offender, with nearly $1 billion in penalties accessed against it in the last decade.

[read more]

Center for Constitutional Rights Files Suit Against Titan and CACI 

Two U.S. corporations conspired with U.S. officials to humiliate, torture and abuse persons detained by U.S. authorities in Iraq according to a class action lawsuit filed June 9, 2004, by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker and Rhoads. The suit, filed in federal court in San Diego, names as defendants the Titan Corporation of San Diego, California and CACI International of Arlington, Virginia and its subsidiaries, and three individuals who work for the companies. It charges them with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and alleges that the companies engaged in a wide range of heinous and illegal acts in order to demonstrate their abilities to obtain intelligence from detainees, and thereby obtain more contracts from the government.

The lawsuit charges that three individual defendants, Stephen Stephanowicz and John Israel of CACI, Inc. and Adel Nahkla of Titan, directed and participated in illegal conduct at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.  Further it alleges that CACI International and Titan created a joint enterprise with a third party that became known as Team Titan.  The joint enterprise was hired by the U.S. to provide interrogation services in Iraq.

[read more]

Supremes Will Likely Rule Against Bush Wartime Powers 

Writing for Intel-Dump, Phil Carter predicts that the U.S. Supreme Court will later this month rule against the Bush administration in three cases related to it denial of due process to suspected "enemy combatants."

[read more]

Don't Mess With Texas: Houston Post Decries Bush Torture Policy 

The memos support the view that the prisoner abuses uncovered at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were not merely the grave mistakes of a few soldiers, but resulted from policies formed at the highest levels of government. They strengthen concerns about how detainees at Guantanamo and in Afghanistan are being treated.

[read more]

State Department Low-Balled Terror Estimate 

Los Angeles Times:

When the most recent "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report was issued April 29, senior Bush administration officials immediately hailed it as objective proof that they were winning the war on terrorism. The report is considered the authoritative yardstick of the prevalence of terrorist activity around the world.

"Indeed, you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight" against global terrorism, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage said during a celebratory rollout of the report.

But on Tuesday, State Department officials said they underreported the number of terrorist attacks in the tally for 2003, and added that they expected to release an updated version soon.

Several U.S. officials and terrorism experts familiar with that revision effort said the new report will show that the number of significant terrorist incidents increased last year, perhaps to its highest level in 20 years.

[read more]

A Legal Analysis of Bush's Torture Policy 

On pages 22-23 the Walker Working Group Report sets out a view of an unlimited Presidential power to do anything he wants with “enemy combatants”. The bill of rights is nowhere mentioned. There is no principle suggested which limits this purported authority to non-citizens, or to the battlefield. Under this reasoning, it would be perfectly proper to grab any one of us and torture us if the President determined that the war effort required it. I cannot exaggerate how pernicious this argument is, and how incompatible it is with a free society. The Constitution does not make the President a King. This memo does.

[read more]

Washington Post on the Bush Bund: "The Logic of Criminal Regimes" 

There is no justification, legal or moral, for the judgments made by Mr. Bush's political appointees at the Justice and Defense departments. Theirs is the logic of criminal regimes, of dictatorships around the world that sanction torture on grounds of "national security."

[read more]

Aussie Prisoner Faces Charges 

Australian David Hicks, a prisoner at the U.S. concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba, has been charged by the U.S. and will face a military tribunal for his alleged spying for al-Qaida, the Associated Press reported today.

According to the wire service report:

... The Pentagon said Hicks took an "advanced course in surveillance" while training in Afghanistan, and that he conducted surveillance against the U.S. and British embassies in Kabul.

But Hicks' lawyer said those countries have not had functioning embassies in Afghanistan for many years, so it was not immediately clear if Hicks simply scouted the buildings that formerly served as the embassies.

Former cellmates of Hicks and the other Australian at Guantanamo, Mamdouh Habib, have alleged that both were beaten while in captivity.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said President Bush told him that allegations the two had been mistreated in U.S. custody were false but that Washington would investigate the claims. ...

[read more]

Wartime Economy: Austin Info Tech Firm's Clients Include Bush and Oil Cos.  

Clients of Catapult Systems, an Austin-based information technology firm, include leading Texas energy firms and George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.

Among the many services that Catapult offers is "business intelligence."

The list of Catapult clients includes: Anadarko, Aramco Services, Chevron, Duke Energy, Enron, Halliburton, Koch Industries, Natco Group, Pennz Energy, Shell Energy Services and Shell Trading (Coral Group).

Over the past year, the oil sector has pitched in to support the Bush administration's war in Iraq. Halliburton has received billions of dollars in government contracts. Less acknowledged is Natco Group, a Houston-based supplier, who offered the Army training in Midland, Texas last year.

[read more]

UN Stats Show Drastic Poppy Crop Increase Since U.S. Invasion 

An economic study prepared for the Afghan government by the United Nations shows poppy cultivation and opium production have increased drastically since the U.S. invasion in late 2001. Heroin manufacturing inside Afghanistan has also increased, the study says.

Prior to the invasion the annual poppy crop was estimated at 185 tons, due to a crackdown by the Taliban government. After the overthrow of the Taliban regime, yearly tonnage skyrocketed to more than 3,400 tons. Last year, the estimate increased again to 3,600 tons.

... The war economy mainly includes opium and poppy culture, which has been growing since the 1980s and is now prevalent in the South (Helmand), East (Nangarhar), and Northeast (Badakhshan).

While less than 3% of the area under cereal production is used for poppy (but a larger share of the irrigated area), the gross income generated at the farm level was more than US$ 1 billion in 2002 and, despite the January 2002 ban, stayed at this level in 2003. Net income for the farmers is certainly smaller, but the Afghan economy also benefits from the trade chain of opium (including the preparation of heroin, which increasingly occurs in country).

In total, it is estimated that in 2002 the drug economy generated as much as $2.5 billion (IMF, 2003). In 2003, some growth in volume was offset by lower prices, but the drug economy still would be equivalent to more than half of the official economy, or in other words some 40% of total (drug—inclusive) GDP. In 2003, UNODC estimated the number of families growing poppies at 264,000, which would be equivalent to about 7% of the population directly linked to poppy culture.

Table 5: Poppy Culture in Afghanistan

1994 3,416
1995 2,335
1996 2,248
1997 2,804
1998 2,693
1999 4,565
2000 3,276
2001 185
2002 3,422
2003 3,600

Market share
1994 61
1995 52
1996 52
1997 58
1998 62
1999 79
2000 70
2001 11
2002 74

Area with poppy
1994 71,470
1995 53,759
1996 56,824
1997 58,416
1998 63,674
1999 90,583
2000 82,171
2001 7,606
2002 74,045
2003 80,000
Share of world surface
1994 26
1995 22
1996 22
1997 23
1998 27
1999 42
2000 37
2001 5
2002 40

Source: UNODC (2003).

[read more]

Taliban Leader Banned Poppy Crop in July 2000 

"... (L)ast July (2000) the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, issued an extraordinary edict. It banned poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, calling the drug production un-Islamic. ..."

[read more]

Smack Pack: CIA, ISI Aided Heroin Trafficking in Afghanistan 

The Washington Post
May 13, 1990, Sunday

U.S. Declines to Probe Afghan Drug Trade;
Rebels, Pakistani Officers Implicated

James Rupert, Steve Coll

The U.S. government has for several years received, but declined to investigate, reports of heroin trafficking by some Afghan guerrillas and Pakistani military officers with whom it cooperates in the war against Soviet influence in Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials and Afghans.

Afghans, including mujaheddin guerrillas, have given U.S. officials firsthand accounts of heroin smuggling by commanders under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a guerrilla leader with close ties to the Pakistani military who until recently was the foreign minister of the guerrilla-declared, U.S.-backed Afghan Interim Government. Officers of Pakistan's military intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), protect and participate in the trafficking, according to the sources, who were interviewed in Pakistan and Washington.

While the lack of investigations has prevented the United States from pursuing legal action against any such drug suspects, the administration has tried to combat the trade in other ways. In one sensitive effort, senior U.S. Embassy officials in Pakistan met last autumn with a powerful mujaheddin commander, Nassim Akhundzada, and persuaded him to halt opium production in his part of Afghanistan in exchange for U.S. consideration of development aid for the area. The commander, who cut cultivation of opium
poppies significantly, was assassinated in Pakistan last month. Publicly, the Bush administration has conceded only that some mujaheddin commanders individually may condone opium production and has denied involvement by the Afghan Interim Government. U.S. and ISI officials declined to comment publicly on allegations of trafficking by Pakistani military officers. A spokesman for Hekmatyar, Nawab Salim, denied involvement in drug trafficking
by his group or its commanders, over whom he said the leadership kept strict control.

Many reports of the heroin trade have been supplied by intelligence sources who are regarded by U.S. officials as generally reliable, and U.S. drug enforcement officials take the reports seriously.

Nevertheless, according to U.S. officials, the United States has failed to
investigate or take action against some of those suspected in part because of its desire not to offend a strategic ally, Pakistan's military establishment. Also, since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, U.S. narcotics policy in Afghanistan has been subordinated to the war against Soviet influence there, especially under the Reagan administration.

Despite years of rumors and reports about drug trafficking by mujaheddin and ISI, "there has been very little debate" on the issue among the executive agencies responsible for setting U.S. policy, said a U.S. official who, like most of those interviewed, requested anonymity. "It has been terribly frustrating for the Drug Enforcement Administration and others [concerned
about the heroin trade] to weave narcotics matters more closely into general policy" in Afghanistan, said a senior U.S. diplomat.

Afghans in Pakistan have given U.S. officials accounts of extensive heroin smuggling by commanders under Hekmatyar, who has received tens of millions of dollars in U.S. weapons and supplies over the years. ISI, which favors Hekmatyar over the other Afghan guerrilla leaders, has funneled the largest share of outside aid for the Afghans to Hekmatyar's Islamic Party.

According to these accounts, Hekmatyar commanders close to ISI run
laboratories in southwestern Pakistan, buying raw opium gum brought over the border from Afghanistan and cooking it down into morphine and then heroin. The heroin is smuggled out via Pakistani airports and ports -- mostly those of the city of Karachi -- or via an overland route through Iran to Turkey, the Balkans and Europe, the sources said.

ISI cooperates in heroin operations, according to the Afghan accounts given to U.S. officials.

In Pakistan's southwestern province, Baluchistan, the Pakistani military effectively shares authority with tribal leaders. ISI and army officers control the few passable roads across the border from Afghanistan, notably the roads leading to the town of Rabat, a drug smuggling center in the southwestern corner of Afghanistan bordering on Iran and Pakistan.

The army registers travelers and inspects cargoes traveling on such roads and controls the border areas where the laboratories are located. ISI runs mujaheddin training camps in the Koh-i-Soltan region, near where the laboratories are concentrated, the sources said.

Afghans who travel frequently in Nassim's territory in Helmand province and U.S. officials said Nassim sent most of his opium south to the laboratories in southwestern Pakistan, where the Pakistani army and tribal leaders share local authority.

One Afghan who said he had seen drug operations told of a Pakistani policeman friend who complained that army officers sometimes forced police to release Afghans involved in the heroin trade after their arrests on weapons or other charges. The source said he had given such accounts directly to U.S. officials.

Baluchistan's governor, Mohammad Akbar Khan Bugti, a tribal nationalist often at odds with the Pakistani army, said in an interview that frontier guards, army officers and ISI all were involved in heroin and hashish smuggling from Afghanistan. "They deliver drugs under their own bayonets," he said.

Bugti said corrupt military officers had tipped off heroin manufacturers near Koh-i-Soltan about a raid last year that was assisted by the U.S. DEA. The raid turned up only a kilogram of heroin (2.2 pounds) after reports that large-scale manufacturing was underway in the area.

ISI's spokesman declined to comment on charges of drug involvement by the agency.

In addition to the direct reports of ISI involvement, a general picture of the operation -- drawn from U.S. government reports and interviews with U.S. drug enforcement officials and Afghans -- raises the question of whether such large-scale heroin producers could thrive without the awareness or cooperation of ISI. In 1989, Afghanistan was second only to Myanmar (formerly Burma) as a producer of opium, growing 650 tons, nearly all of which was intended for heroin manufacturing, a State Department report said.

More than 250 tons of that opium -- nearly three times the amount produced in Mexico last year -- was grown in Helmand province, where Nassim was responsible for most of the production. Nassim was referred to locally as the "King of Heroin" after he fought a two-year war with one of Hekmatyar's commanders for control of the region's opium fields, according to Afghans and U.S. officials. He was associated with a mujaheddin faction opposed to Hekmatyar.

Some Afghans interviewed said they had told U.S. officials of drug
operations by Hekmatyar and agents of ISI, but said the officials seemed to ignore the information.

A U.S. official agreed that U.S. intelligence agencies and the State Department have avoided issues of corruption and drug operations -- especially where they appeared to implicate ISI. "I think that every year, when our intelligence priorities are formulated, that has been left aside," the official said.

U.S. officials acknowledged that the United States plays down reports of narcotics trafficking by ISI and the Afghan mujaheddin, saying this has been partly for lack of evidence and partly because of the political sensitivity of exposing illegal activities by allies of the U.S. effort to oust Afghanistan's Soviet-backed government. "You can't look at [the narcotics trafficking] in a vacuum separated from the overall policy," the official said.

Felix Jimenez, DEA's chief heroin investigator, praised the Pakistani government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for increasing drug seizures and cooperating with U.S. interdiction efforts. But while U.S. officials credited Bhutto with good intentions, they said she lacked either the political will or the means to confront powerful drug interests within the military and in the largely autonomous tribes of Pakistan's western border region.

Selig S. Harrison, a senior analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace in Washington, stressed that involvement in drug corruption extends beyond ISI and throughout the military structure, which rivals Bhutto for effective control in Pakistan. "You have about 10 Noriegas . . . very high up in the military," Harrison said, referring to the ousted Panamanian ruler, "and it's difficult to name names."

The United States has told the mujaheddin it will give no help to those who trade in drugs, but officials acknowledged that the United States has only limited control over arms distribution, which is handled by ISI and partly funded by Saudi Arabia.

Last fall, officials said, the administration tried to cut Afghan opium production by negotiating with Nassim. Senior embassy officials in Pakistan proposed the talks to Washington after Nassim offered to halt poppy farming in exchange for money.

"There was a debate with . . . by-the-book people" in Washington, the official said. Washington feared that the negotiations might be seen as a violation of Bush's 1988 campaign declaration that he would "never bargain with drug dealers on U.S. or foreign soil," a reference to dealings by previous administrations with Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega.

The embassy officials met three times with Nassim last fall to discuss poppy cultivation in his territory and turned down a request by Nassim for cash, reportedly as much as $ 2 million, in exchange for an effort to reduce opium production. The Americans told Nassim he had to prove his willingness to halt poppy production before any discussion of development aid for his area
could begin, officials said. While one official said the U.S. made a hard promise of development aid in exchange for a halt in poppy cultivation, others said the promise was simply to consider assistance via a U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) program. Nassim apparently held to his agreement to halt poppy production. Three monitoring teams sent to the region in January and February by AID reported poppy production substantially down. As a result, the price of heroin reportedly tripled in the Baluchistan border areas this spring.

Nassim's decision drastically reduced the amount of opium available to the Baluchistan heroin labs allegedly controlled by Hekmatyar's commanders, and some Afghans have speculated that Hekmatyar ordered Nassim killed as a way of protecting his operation. An Afghan arrested at the scene of the killing
has said he is affiliated with Hekmatyar, according to Afghans and U.S. sources. Others suggested that Nassim may have been killed in revenge for his military defeat of Hekmatyar's commanders in Helmand three years ago or for urging commanders in Afghanistan to break away from Pakistan-based leaders such as Hekmatyar.

With Nassim now dead, the Helmand opium valleys again are up for grabs. Afghans say the leading contenders are Nassim's brother, Mohammed Rasul, and commanders affiliated with Hekmatyar. Forces loyal to Rasul and Hekmatyar have clashed violently in recent weeks in southern Helmand, along the main opium routes, according to mujaheddin sources in Quetta, Pakistan.

Coll reported this story in Pakistan and Rupert in Washington.

ISI and CIA Assisted Bin Laden in the 80s 

September 26, 2001, Wednesday

The Assassins and Drug Dealers Now Helping U.S. Intelligence
By Rahul Bedi in New Delhi

Pakistan's shadowy intelligence service, one of the main sources of information for the US-led alliance against the Taliban regime, is widely associated with political assassinations, narcotics and the smuggling of nuclear and missile components - and backing fundamentalist Islamic movements.

Locally referred to as Pakistan's "secret army" and the "invisible
government", the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was founded soon after independence in 1948. Today it dominates the country's domestic and foreign policies. It is also responsible for manipulating the volatile religious elements, ethnic groups and political parties that are disliked by the army.

Modelled on Savak, the Iranian security agency and, like it, trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the SDECE, France's external intelligence service, the ISI "ran" the mujahideen in their decade-long fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. According to Brig Mohammad Yousaf, who headed the ISI's Afghan Bureau for four years until 1987, the counter-intelligence agency funnelled US money and weapons to the mujahideen to minister the "time-honoured guerrilla tactic of death by a thousand cuts" on the Soviet "Bear" that collapsed soon after it was driven from Afghanistan in 1989. The brigadier said: "It was the only way to defeat a superpower on the battlefield with ill-disciplined, ill-trained tribesmen whose only asset was an unconquerable fighting spirit welded to a warrior tradition."

Brig Yousef was writing in The Bear Trap, the book that succeeding Pakistani administrations have tried to ban because it detailed the ISI's methods.

In the early 1990s the ISI provided logistic and military support for the Taliban, which emerged from Pakistani madrassahs (Muslim seminaries), and helped it to seize power in Kabul five years ago.

Thereafter, it maintained a "formidable" presence across Afghanistan, helping the Taliban, who are mostly Pathans, to consolidate their hold over the country. The tactics used included bribery and raids that wiped out entire villages of different ethnic tribes.

It is the knowledge gained of the Taliban into which the US is tapping before it launches punitive raids against Kabul, military officials said.

Intelligence sources said that the ISI-CIA collaboration in the 1980s assisted Osama bin Laden, as well as Mir Aimal Kansi, who assassinated two CIA officers outside their office in Langley, Virginia, in 1993, and Ramzi Yousef. Yousef and his accomplices were involved in the failed bomb attack on the World Trade Centre in New York five years later.

The intelligence link-up also helped powerful international drug smugglers.

Opium cultivation and heroin production in Pakistan's northern tribal belt and adjoining Afghanistan was a vital offshoot of the ISI-CIA co-operation. It succeeded in turning some of the Soviet troops into addicts.

Heroin sales in Europe and the US, carried out through an elaborate web of deception, transport networks, couriers and pay-offs, offset the cost of the decade-long "unholy war" in Afghanistan. An intelligence officer said: "The heroin dollars contributed largely to bolstering the Pakistani economy and
its nuclear programme, and enabled the ISI to sponsor its covert operations in Afghanistan and northern India's disputed Kashmir state."

In the 1970s the ISI established a division to procure nuclear and missile technology for the military from abroad, especially China and North Korea. They also smuggled in crucial nuclear components and know-how from Europe.

A director general, always an army officer of the rank of lieutenant general, heads the ISI. Its current head, Lt Gen Mahmood Ahmed, is assisted by three major generals heading the agency's political, external and administrative divisions.

At the behest of Gen Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, the ISI's internal political division is believed to have assassinated Shah Nawaz Bhutto, a brother of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He was poisoned on the French Riviera in 1985.

The ISI reportedly wanted to intimidate Ms Bhutto so that she would not return to Pakistan to direct the multi-party movement for the restoration of democracy. She returned home, only to be toppled by a political movement fostered by the ISI soon after she became prime minister in 1988.

The main concern for Gen Pervaiz Musharraf, the current leader of Pakistan, is that the ISI's loyalties may still lie more with the Taliban than with its own government and its new American "partner".

Legalized Torture 

Excerpted from the March 6, 2003 Working Group Report on Detainee Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism Assessment of Legal, Historical Policy and Operational Considerations:

"It is a defense to any offense that the accused was acting pursuant to orders unless the accused knew the orders to be unlawful or a person of ordinary sense and understanding would have known that orders to be unlawful. An act performed purusant to a lawful order is justified. An act performed pursuant to an unlawful order is excused unless the accused knew it to be unlawful or a person of ordinary sense and understanding would have known the order to be unlaw.

Inference of lawfulness An order requiring the performance of a military duty or act may be lawful and it is disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate.

In sum, the defense of superior orders will generally be available for U.S. Armed Forces personell engaged in exceptional interrogations except where the conduct goes so far as to be patently unlawful. ...

Just as statutes that order the President to conduct warfare in a certain manner or for specific goals would be unconstitutional, so too are laws that seek to prevent the President from gaining intelligence believed necessary to prevent attack upon the United States.

As this authority is inherent in the President, exercise of it by subordinates would be best if it can be shown to have been derived from the President's authority through Presidential directive or other writing.

20 (footnote) We note that this view is consistent with that of the Department of Justice. ...

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

August 2002 DOJ Memo 

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the Justice Department advised the White House that torture was appropriate against suspected al-Qaida members:

Wednesday 09 June 2004

Aide says President set guidelines for interrogations, not specific techniques.

    The disclosure that the Justice Department advised the White House in 2002 that the torture of al Qaeda terrorist suspects might be legally defensible has focused new attention on the role President Bush played in setting the rules for interrogations in the war on terrorism.

    White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday that Bush set broad guidelines, rather than dealing with specific techniques. "While we will seek to gather intelligence from al Qaeda terrorists who seek to inflict mass harm on the American people, the president expects that we do so in a way that is consistent with our laws," McClellan said.

    White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales said in a May 21 interview with The Washington Post: "Anytime a discussion came up about interrogations with the president, . . . the directive was, 'Make sure it is lawful. Make sure it meets all of our obligations under the Constitution, U.S. federal statutes and applicable treaties.' "

    An Aug. 1, 2002, memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, addressed to Gonzales, said that torturing suspected al Qaeda members abroad "may be justified" and that international laws against torture "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogation" conducted against suspected terrorists.

    The document provided legal guidance for the CIA, which crafted new, more aggressive techniques for its operatives in the field. McClellan called the memo a historic or scholarly review of laws and conventions concerning torture. "The memo was not prepared to provide advice on specific methods or techniques," he said. "It was analytical."

    Attorney General John D. Ashcroft yesterday refused senators' requests to make public the memo, which is not classified, and would not discuss any possible involvement of the president.

    In the view expressed by the Justice Department memo, which differs from the view of the Army, physical torture "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." For a cruel or inhuman psychological technique to rise to the level of mental torture, the Justice Department argued, the psychological harm must last "months or even years."

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Abu Ghraib Interrogator Alleges White House Knew of Torture 

From today's Washington Post:

Wednesday 09 June 2004

Staff Requested Data from Abu Ghraib, Probers Told

The head of the interrogation center at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq told an Army investigator in February that he understood some of the information being collected from prisoners there had been requested by "White House staff," according to an account of his statement obtained by The Washington Post.

    Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, an Army reservist who took control of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center on Sept. 17, 2003, said a superior military intelligence officer told him the requested information concerned "any anti-coalition issues, foreign fighters, and terrorist issues."

    The Army investigator, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, asked Jordan whether it concerned "sensitive issues," and Jordan said, "Very sensitive. Yes, sir," according to the account, which was provided by a government official.

    The reference by Jordan to a White House link with the military's scandal-plagued intelligence-gathering effort at the prison was not explored further by Taguba, whose primary goal at that time was to assess the scope of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. The White House was unable to provide an immediate explanation.

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The Smoking Footnote: Ashcroft Advised Bush to Sign Directive on Torture  

A footnote in the leaked draft report by the Bush administration working group, which was comprised of civilian and military lawyers, indicates that the Justice Department advised President George W. Bush to sign a directive or other writing that approved the use of torture.

The March 6, 2003 Bush administration report on torture policy contains the following passage:

"Just as statutes that order the President to conduct warfare in a certain manner or for specific goals would be unconstitutional, so too are laws taht seek to prevent the President from gaining intelligence he believes necessary to prevent attack upon the United States.

"As this authority is inherent in the President, exerecise of it by subordinates would be best if it can be shown to have been derived from the President's authority through Presidential directive or other writing."

But the footnote to this passage is perhaps even more telling:

"We note that this view is consistent with that of the Department of Justice."

The footnote denotes that the Justice Department, headed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, advised the same measure that the working group recommended -- that President Bush sign a directive or other writing approving the use of torture.

At yesterday's Senate Judiciary hearing, Ashcroft refused to hand over to the committee the requested memos, including the March 6, 2003 draft. Ashcroft gave Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois the following reason for not honoring the committee's request:

"I am refusing to disclose these memos because I believe it is essential to the operation of the executive branch that the president have the opportunity to get information from his attorney general that is confidential."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democratic Judiciary Committee member, has alleged a cover up by Ashcroft for not turning over the memos.

The footnote in the March 6, 2003 memo suggests that Leahy's charge may well be true. The "information" that Ashcroft gave the president, according to the footnote, is that Bush should sign a directive or other writing approving the use of torture.

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Haas Mulls Mayoral Bid 

St. Louis school board member and Riverfront Times advice columnist Bill Haas is mulling over throwing his hat in the ring for mayor. He is set to announce his intentions tomorrow, June 10, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Church off Hamilton.

Welcome to Spook World: The New Homeland Security Rackets 

The new homeland security rackets are a bi-partisan growth industry.

This week the London Independent reported that former CIA asset Francis Brooke, who is wanted by the Iraqi police, works for BKSH & Associates. BKSH, as it turns out, is an arm of a media and public relations consulting firm called WPP, a company tied to Republican operative Charles R. Black Jr. Among WPP's clients is the notorious PR firm of Burson-Marsteller.

Last year, WPP and Stonebridge International LLC formed a joint venture -- Civitas Group LLC -- to go after lucrative homeland security contracts.

Stonebridge is headed by Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, the Clinton administration's national security advisor.

The adviory board includes former Republican Sen. Warren Rudman and veteran national security expert Richard A. Clarke, whose recently published book was critical of the Bush administration's national security strategy.

Clarke's company Good Harbor Consulting is also tied to the Civitas Group.

That Brooke, Chalabi's American aide, was working for BKSH suggests the Iraqi's fall from grace at the Pentagon has something to do with his dealings with these free-lance, private-sector, spook-for-hire operations.

Is the tail wagging the dog?

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Bush Torture Policy Violated Army Guidelines 

From yesterday's Washington Post

In the 2002 memo, written for the CIA and addressed to White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, the Justice Department defined torture in a much narrower way, for example, than does the U.S. Army, which has historically carried out most wartime interrogations.

In the Justice Department's view -- contained in a 50-page document signed by Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee and obtained by The Washington Post -- inflicting moderate or fleeting pain does not necessarily constitute torture. Torture, the memo says, "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

By contrast, the Army's Field Manual 34-52, titled "Intelligence Interrogations," sets more restrictive rules. For example, the Army prohibits pain induced by chemicals or bondage; forcing an individual to stand, sit or kneel in abnormal positions for prolonged periods of time; and food deprivation. Under mental torture, the Army prohibits mock executions, sleep deprivation and chemically induced psychosis.

Human rights groups expressed dismay at the Justice Department's legal reasoning yesterday.

"It is by leaps and bounds the worst thing I've seen since this whole Abu Ghraib scandal broke," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "It appears that what they were contemplating was the commission of war crimes and looking for ways to avoid legal accountability. The effect is to throw out years of military doctrine and standards on interrogations."

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American Aide to Chalabi Wanted by Iraqi Police 

Former CIA Spy Now Works for Republican Operative;
Oil-for-Food Report Hacked and Destroyed, Chalabi Analyst Charges Bush with Dirty Tricks Campaign.

The London Independent reports that Francis Brooke, an aide to Ahmad Chalabi, has been charged by Iraqi police with obstructing their raid on Chalibi's home last month.

In a related development, a British consultant working on a Chalabi-favored investigation of the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal, alleged that his computer files had been destroyed, delaying the release of an explosive report that links the Bush administration to the corruption.

Chalabi, who heads the Iraqi National Congress, was formerly on the payroll of the Pentagon until he fell out of favor last month. The U.S. now blames him for providing Iraqi informants who gave false information supporting the premise that Saddam Hussein's regime had weapons of mass destruction. More recently, Chalabi has been accused by the U.S. of leaking intelligence to Iran.

Brooke, Chalabi's American aide since 1990, has fled Iraq and returned to the United States. The Indepedent reports that Brooke was formerly paid for his pro-Chalabi work by the CIA and more lately has been employed by "BKSH and Associates," a company run by Republican operative Charlie Black.

According to the Independent

... Mr Brooke, who is an evangelical Christian, has worked with Mr Chalabi since 1990 - first as a consultant paid by the CIA and most recently as a consultant for BKSH and Associates, a company run by Charlie Black, a Republican Party veteran.

Reports from Iran suggest that Mr Brooke acted as an intermediary between Washington and Teheran, passing letters between the two governments, which do not have bilateral relations.

Yesterday, Mr Brooke could not be reached for comment, although a colleague in Baghdad said that the arrest warrant was part of a politically-motivated campaign to discredit Mr Chalabi and his followers.

Mr Brooke has boasted of engineering the war on Iraq by providing America the evidence it was seeking on weapons of mass destruction. "I'm a smart man," he told The New Yorker magazine last week. "I saw what they wanted, and I adapted my strategy."

Among the records held by Mr Chalabi in his Baghdad headquarters - which were stripped during a raid last month - he claimed to have material relating to the scandal-hit oil-for-food programme run by the United Nations during Saddam's rule.

Last night, it emerged that on the same day as the raid, computer files belonging to the British consultant investigating the oil-for-food scandal were destroyed by hackers and a back-up databank in his Baghdad office wiped out.

Claude Hankes Drielsma, a British businessman and long-time acquaintance of Mr Chalabi, accused America and Britain of mounting a "dirty tricks" campaign to obstruct his inquiry.

"I think you have to expect this to happen with events of the magnitude of those we are dealing with," he said.

His report on oil-for-food, written for the international accounting company KPMG, was due to be released in three weeks but its publication has been delayed for at least three months, he said.

"This report would have been even more damning than anticipated. This would not sit comfortably with the political agenda in Washington or London.

"I believe that what Washington wants is to keep the lid on things until after the presidential election. The White House believes that the report will be detrimental to President Bush's re-election campaign."

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