Saturday, June 26, 2004
Citing legal precedent in the U.S. criminal justice system, the memo said that the following case would be accepted as legal treatment of a prisoner:
"The plaintiff was held for eight days in a filthy cell with drug dealers and an AIDS patient. He received no food, no blanket and no protection from other inmates. Prisoners murdered one another in front of the plaintiff. The court flatly rejected the plaintiffs claim that this constituted torture."
The White House is attempting to disassociate itself from the memo, the Times reports.
So if there wasn't a tie between Hussein's regime and al-Qaida before the U.S. invasion -- there is now.
Thirty-one more people were killed across Iraq today as the violence spreads.
from the Washington Post
... Though both groups are composed mostly of Sunni Muslims, Iraqis loyal to Hussein and his secular Baath Party tend to be political opposites of Zarqawi and al Qaeda, who advocate a worldwide Islamic holy war. But U.S. officials said they believe the groups apparently have begun to cooperate in an effort to derail the process of formally ending the U.S. occupation.
"It may be we are seeing these two groups converging," said a military official. "Zarqawi's network is growing. He is a guy who wants to go out and grab new business." ...
Thousands of people have turned out in central Dublin to protest against American policies on Iraq, as President George W Bush arrived in the west of Ireland for a summit with leaders of the European Union.
The International Gold Community
The Gold community centers around the use of GOLD (AUG) as a worldwide digital currency. The focal point of this community is presently e-Gold Limited which is the primary issuer of digital currency, although new competitors in the field such as GoldMoney.com and E-bullion.com are now offering gold digital currencies as well.
The foundational currencies to the Gold Economy are 100% backed by gold bars held in secure vaults in locations around the world, such as London, Zurich, and Dubai. Should any holder of a gold digital currency require their equivalent value of gold holdings, they are redeemable in actual gold bars or can be converted to national currencies by exchange agents.
The focus of the community is to conduct international commerce using a digital currency that has value to people of every nationality. No matter what language you speak, from the peaks of Nepal to downtown Manhattan, all cultures and tribes know in the depths of their being that gold is good, gold is beautiful, gold is enduring, and when it comes right down to it they will accept gold as money.
So I guess Hyde Park Holdings is just your everyday, run of the mill, Madison Avenue investment bank that has a penchant for Internet gold currency schemes. Sounds like a sweet deal to me, but unfortunately I have difficulty understanding the concept of Paypal.
Selected Entity Name: HYDE PARK HOLDINGS, INC.
Current Entity Name: HYDE PARK HOLDINGS, INC.
Initial DOS Filing Date: DECEMBER 09, 1985
County: NEW YORK
Jurisdiction: NEW YORK
Entity Type: DOMESTIC BUSINESS CORPORATION
Current Entity Status: ACTIVE
DOS Process (Address to which DOS will mail process if accepted on behalf of the entity)
C/O C T CORPORATION SYSTEM
111 EIGHTH AVENUE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10011
Chairman or Chief Executive Officer
595 MADISON AVENUE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10022
Principal Executive Office
HYDE PARK HOLDINGS, INC.
595 MADISON AVENUE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10022
C T CORPORATION SYSTEM
111 EIGHTH AVENUE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10011
The Iranians held up their end of the bargain, releasing the 53 hostages on the very hour that Reagan was inaugerated
Iran is now among the so-called Axis of Terror, according the the current President Bush. But one of the Bush administration's closest held Mideast assets, Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, is now suspected of spying for Iran.
Profits of War by Ari Ben-Menashe, Sheridan Square Press, 1992
"I was agreed that the Israelis would escort an Iranian official to the U.S. if Tehran agreed. The Iranians were desperate to try anything as long as they could receive arms from somewhere, so they agreed to send a representative. The American contingent said they would arrange an U.S. visa for the Iranian official in Germany, even though the State Department was not under their control.
We were told that the Americans would be represented at the Washington meeting by Robert McFarlane; Richard Allen; James Baker III, former campaign manager for George Bush; and Lawrence Silberman, a close friend of Bush's. The choices of McFarlane, Baker and Silberman were all understandable, considering their connections. But Allen was a mystery; he was a man with connections to the Carter administration. We did not know until McFarlane told Eitan, that Allen had a deal with the Reagan camp that assured him the position of national security adviser for Reagan. ...
As it turned out, James Baker did not attend the October 2 meeting held in the lobby of Washington's L'Enfant Plaza Hotel. But the other three were there. ..."
So what's the reaction? The warmongers trash the 9/11 Commission and Moore, of course. Shoot the messengers. Why not? Bush and the servile press are already responsible for killing a lot of other innocent people.
In lastest spin doctoring and damage control flurry, members of the America-can-do-no-wrong club have trotted out the name of terrorist Abu Nidal, a Palestinian terrorist and general bad character, but also an alleged double agent, who former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe says worked for the Mossad -- the Israeli intelligence agency. Menashe made the claim more than ten years ago in his book Profits of War. As a footnote, Nidal was assassinated by somebody in Baghdad shortly before the U.S. invasion began. Obviously, he knew too much.
The story says the investment firm of Hyde Park Holdings of New York had a stake in the new enterprise. Elsewhere on Internet, the head of Hyde Park Holdings is named as Clifford Press. The company has the same name as a Panamanian corporation that was used to funnel Saudi money as a part of the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. It is not known whether the two companies are in any way related.
But GoldMoney itself, in early 2001, was headquartered off-shore in the Bahamas.
The Independent story says that the U.S. Treasury Department, which includes the Internal Revenue Service, was concerned about GoldMoney and other similar operations in the Caribbean because they could easily be used to launder money.
from the Independent, June 24, 2001:
GoldMoney, backed by the New York investment group Hyde Park Holdings, is now just one of several groups that believe gold is the future of the internet. E-gold, based on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean claims to have $14 million worth of gold in circulation, and Virgin Islands-based Standard Reserve is equally bullish on its prospects. The idea of creating a global currency for the internet is not new. Cybercash, Digicash and Beenz all tried to set up digital money that could be used anywhere, but all three are now out of business. The founders of the various digital gold ventures argue that humans have used gold throughout the ages, and will turn to it in the new economy.
Shearman's specialties arm many, from intellectual property rights to oil and gas litigation in Africa, the Mideast and South America.
On the pro bono side, the firm represented 20 families who were victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Mainly, though, Shearman Sterling does a lot of corporate transactions all over the world, you know, a billion-dollar merger here, a billion there.
The law firm handles a lot of money laundering cases, too. In fact, Shearman & Sterling's web site boasts of recovering several hundred million dollars in the early 90s for foreign creditors of BCCI, the failed Pakistani-Saudi bank with CIA and mob ties.
WASHINGTON - The 9/11 commission is busy writing its final report, but is still investigating critical facts, including the conduct of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. NBC News has learned that the commission has interviewed two FBI officials who contradict sworn testimony by Ashcroft, about whether he brushed off terrorism warnings in the summer of 2001.
The United States has spent more than $126 billion on the war in Iraq, which will ultimately cost every American family an estimated $3,415, according to a new report by two thinktanks.
The report, published yesterday by the leftwing Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy in Focus also counts the human costs.
As of June 16, before yesterday's nationwide attacks, up to 11,317 Iraqi civilians and 6,370 Iraqi soldiers or insurgents had been killed, according to the report, which is titled Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of the Iraq War.
The death toll among coalition troops was 952 by the same date, of which 853 were American. Some 694, were killed after George Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1 last year. Between 50 and 90 civilian contractors and missionaries and 30 journalists have also been killed, the report says.
In a separate USA Today/ CNN/Gallup Poll released last night, for the first time a majority of Americans said the US-led invasion of Iraq was a mistake. In all, 54% of those polled said the move was a mistake, compared to 41% three weeks ago.
"We are paying this enormously high price for failure," Phyllis Bennis, the report's lead author, said yesterday. "It's not as if we are becoming more safe. It's not as if we are bringing peace to Iraq or democracy to the Middle East."
The Times spells the besieged city west of Baghdad "Falluja," whereas, the AP tacks an h on the end, "Fallujah."
Readers of the Times, know discredited leader of the Iraqi National Congress as "Ahmad Chalabi;", AP refers to him as "Ahmed Chalabi."
The Times calls Osama bin Laden's organization "Al Qaeda," the AP spells it "al-Qaida."
This keeps a lot of copy editors at the wire desks around the world busy every day, supplying them with gainful employment. But if the major news organizations can't agree on how such household words are spelled, what else aren't they getting straight? It seems to me that the spelling battle is symbolic of the West's inability to assimilate Arabic language and culture. The longer the debate over how to identify the "adversary" continues, the longer it will take for this overall conflict to be resolved. Sounds to me like it's going to take a very, adversary long time.
With respect to Osama bin Laden's group, I've sided with AP simply because I often find the Times style bloated and pompous. Other stylists, who live and work beyond the influence of these two behemoths have shortened the term to simply "Qaeda," dropping the "Al-."
Regarding the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, I use the Time's spelling of Ahmad, Chalabi perhaps because my former editor's last name was Ahmed. Not being versed in Islamic names I based my decision somewhat intuitively on my limited personal experiences. So in my personal style book, Ahmed will remain a last name for now, though I'm sure it could in some instances be both.
In the anti-war novel Catch-22, for instance, there is an officer named Major Major Major. The first reference, of course, is the fictional Army Air Corps officer's military rank. In the novel, Major Major Major often shirks his command responsibilities by making himself scarce. For administrators to go AWOL, so to speak, is not necessarily a bad thing. When they do show up for work and make a decision is when workers should begin to fret. As a leader among men, Major Mayor Major understood this simple truth, and kept a work schedule that adhered to it. Major Major Major was hard to find at his desk. When he was in he was out, and when he was out he was in. In my experience as a reporter, I have found this to be true with most managers whether they be editors, from whom I took orders, or bureaucrats, to whom I asked questions. When they're in they're out and, ... well, you get the message, or their secretaries do.
Maybe a linguistic truce should be arranged and the English spellings of Arabic names standardized by a flip of the coin, or perhaps by a Google search, winner take all. But I'm relatively sure that finding a coalition of the willing to attack this wordy problem would be a difficult task. And if there is some brave soul, who is willing to form a committee, I suggest that they not try to reach Noam Chomsky, Bill Safire or other assorted wordsmiths, linguistic soothsayers and etymologists on any given Friday after lunch because undoubtedly if they're in they will be out and if they're out they will be in.
"Mr. Heller is in a board meeting upstairs, can I take a message, again? How do you spell your last name, please?"
from Saturday's Washington Post:
Officials in the State and Defense departments told senators yesterday that they know relatively little about the enemy in Iraq but they believe thousands of hidden fighters are more organized than previously thought and are likely to continue deadly attacks in coming weeks and months.
Admitting that U.S. officials have underestimated the insurgency, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage told the Senate Armed Services Committee that a series of attacks across Iraq in recent days indicate that the attackers have a "central nervous system" that is showing increased coordination and effectiveness. While the U.S. military expects heightened violence as Iraq approaches the transfer of limited power to an interim government next week, the sophistication of recent attacks has come as a bit of a surprise, according to testimony yesterday.
Armitage, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators that they continue to believe that the insurgency is made up of a small minority of extremists and former members of Saddam Hussein's government who are bent on disrupting the drive for democracy in Iraq. But what was previously envisioned as a faltering insurgency has evolved into a significant security problem and a largely unknown quantity.
"I don't think anyone in this administration yet can tell you with a great deal of accuracy who they are and how many they are," Armitage said, responding to concerns from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). Armitage said that attacks are probably the handiwork of former regime elements and those loyal to al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi. "I said one of our mistakes was that we didn't understand there was a central nervous system. Well, clearly there is." ...
The Defense Department under Donald Rumsfeld's leadership has failed to insure that those who are called to active duty don't lose their jobs while they are gone.
The Stars and Stripes reports on moves by Congress and at the state level to bring relief to military families scraping by to make ends meet.
U.S. officials say U.S. troops in Iraq will continue to have immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts until an elected government is in place.
I've been writing this blog for more than six months, but it's only within the last few weeks that I've had a glimmer of who drops by, however briefly, to peruse Media Mayhem. Thanks to a recently installed site meter I now know a little about whose checking in and when. You may also be interested in knowing who shares a mutual interest in this blog.
Within the last few weeks, I've gotten hits from the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Courts, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the House of Representatives.
The media lurkers have included Pulitzer Publishing, NBC, New Times and Lee Enterprises.
Between 60 to 65 percent of the hits come from the Central Time Zone in the U.S. The Eastern and Pacific Time Zones accounts for an average of five to 10 percent, respectively. Mountain Time average five percent or less. The rest of Media Mayhem's browsers are spread across an additional nine UTC time zones. There have been hits from all across Europe, including Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Norway.
In the Southern Hemisphere, Brazil and Australia have popped in. In Asia, Hong Kong and the Phillipines have dropped by. Media Mayhem has also been accessed from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Normally the hits peak in the early afternoon, with Tuesday usually being the most active day of the week. An after lunch audience browsing on company time, I suspect.
Well, I'm asking you to share a little of the wealth now. If each person who surfed over to Media Mayhem in last three weeks donated just one dollar, it would actually pay the rent and provide me a subsistence income. Part of the money would also go towards acquiring new computer equipment and a DSL connection. Blogging with a ten year old computer and a dial-up connection can be very, very tedious and time consuming.
I will continue to strive to improve my posting both in content and writing. Thanks for dropping by.
The Editor, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Friday, June 25, 2004
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is Rep. Porter J. Goss of Florida, who is rumored to be in line to take CIA Director George Tenet. Tenet announced his resignation last month and is due to leave office in July. Here's a excert to the Goss' trashing of Tenet's watch at the CIA, with a link to the full report.
In the following several pages, the Committee highlights
areas of concern that it believes must be addressed with a high
priority by the Director of Central Intelligence, (DCI) as the
leader of the Intelligence Community, if intelligence
sufficient to protect our national security is to be obtained
and provided to policy makers. The Committee places particular
emphasis on issues that impact the Intelligence Community as a
whole or that involve several various programs.
Global Human Intelligence Collection
All is not well in the world of clandestine human
intelligence collection (HUMINT). The DCI himself has stated
that five more years will be needed to build a viable HUMINT
capability. The Committee, in the strongest possible terms,
asserts that the Directorate of Operations (DO) needs fixing.
For too long the CIA has been ignoring its core mission
activities. There is a dysfunctional denial of any need for
corrective action. The CIA must collect against all types of
targets needed to gain the insights into plans and intentions
of our adversaries, be they terrorist, political, economic,
military, in nature. Countering the threat from terrorism is,
of course, and should be, at the top of CIA's list of
collection priorities, but the Central Intelligence Agency must
continue to be much more than just the ``Central
Counterterrorism Agency'' if America is to be truly secure,
prosperous, and free.
The Committee has placed in the classified annex of this
intelligence authorization its comprehensive analysis of what
specifically is not right with the way the Directorate of
Operations is being and has been managed. The Committee also
assesses that the consequences of continued CIA mismanagement
of the HUMINT mission are significant. Replete throughout this
analysis, which includes specific recommendations for
corrective action, are footnoted references to similar
criticisms made by this Committee in the classified annexes of
past intelligence authorization bills stretching back well
before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So, this is not new
territory for the Committee. CIA has officially registered its
strong objection to the Committee's exhaustively researched
conclusions, which were reached over the course of years of
close oversight and informed by hundreds of meetings and
continuous dialogue with experienced CIA field operatives and
Headquarters officials. That none of it could be made
unclassified is unfortunate.
The Committee respects the authority of the DCI to make
classification decisions and will, of course, abide by his
ruling in this matter. After years of trying to convince,
suggest, urge, entice, cajole, and pressure CIA to make wide-
reaching changes to the way it conducts its HUMINT mission,
however, CIA, in the Committee's view, continues down a road
leading over a proverbial cliff. The damage to the HUMINT
mission through its misallocation and redirection of resources,
poor prioritization of objectives, micromanagement of field
operations, and a continued political aversion to operational
risk is, in the Committee's judgment, significant and could
likely be long-lasting. Immediate and far-reaching changes can
still reverse some of the worst factors eroding its
capabilities, however. If the CIA continues to ignore the
experience of many of its best, brightest, and most experienced
officers, and continues to equate criticism from within and
without--especially from its oversight committees--as
commentary unworthy even of consideration, no matter how
constructive, informed, and well-meaning that criticism may be,
they do so at their peril. The DO will become nothing more than
a stilted bureaucracy incapable of even the slightest bit of
success. The nimble, flexible, core-mission oriented enterprise
the DO once was, is becoming just a fleeting memory. With each
passing day, it becomes harder to resurrect. The Committee
highlights, with concern, the fact that it only took a year or
two in the mid-1990's to decimate the capabilities of the CIA,
that we are now in the 8th year of rebuild, and still we are
more than 5 years away from being healthy. This is tragic. It
should never happen again.
The Committee believes that the DO's difficulties are
manifest in the discussion on Iraq's WMD. The analysts have
taken a significant amount of criticism on the issue. It is
imperative to point out, however, that the analysts do not
collect the information they analyze. They simply take what is
available and reach educated assessments. It is incumbent on
the DO and other areas of the IC collection community to gather
the information that will present a more complete picture.
There was an insufficiency of the right amount of information
available on this topic for the analysts. The U.S. cannot
afford to be in such a position.
The story, which was planted by anonymous insider sources, details how an Iraqi intelligence agent met with al-Qaida in Sudan in an attempt to forge an agreement to oppose the Saudi government, a mutual enemy. The document obtained by the Times in some circuitous fashion from "Americans in Iraq" shows that the cooperation was limited to rebroadcasting rants against the Saudis by a fundamentalist Islamic cleric.
Though it gave the story front page play, the Times was forced to qualify the significance of the report, which was originally bought by the Defense Department from the Iraqi National Congress, the exile organization headed by Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi is now suspected of spying for Iran.
His intelligence chief Amas Kareem Habib provided intelligence to the Pentagon that allegedly showed that Iraq was engaged in a weapons of mass destruction program. Moreover, Habib's intelligence also allegedly showed a close relationship between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida. The INC received $340,000 a month from the Pentagon. If that doesn't sound like a lot of money, consider that over the years, Chalabi's organization got $40 million.
Meanwhile, Boxwood Inc., a company set up in early 2003 by American Francis Brooke -- with Habib as a directo --, was receiving $25,000 a month from the State Department, which had set up a propaganda operation. As a result, the faulty information from Chalabi and Habib was published in the Times and Washington Post.
Today's lengthy Times story, which is based on information from Chalabi's now-discredited INC, jumps to page 12. Below the fold on page 12, there is a much smaller story about a speech given by former Vice President Al Gore yesterday in Washington.
Speaking before the American Constitution Society at Georgetown University, Gore attacked the Bush administration's record without mincing words:
"In the end, for this administration, it is all about power," Gore said. "This lie about the invented connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq was and is the key to justifying the current ongoing constitutional power grab by the president. So long as their big flamboyant lie remains an established fact in the public's mind, President Bush will be seen as justified in taking for himself the power to make war on his whim. ...
"They have such an overwhelming political interest in sustaining the belief in the minds of the American people that Hussein was in partnership with bin Laden that they dare not admit the truth lest they look like complete fools for launching our country into a reckless, discretionary war against a nation that posed no immediate threat to us whatsoever. ...
"If our honor as a nation is to be restored, it is not by allowing the mighty to shield themselves by bringing the law to bear against their pawns. It is by bringing the law to bear against the mighty themselves."
fact of fiction, it's a good read:
"... But the polls have Bush and Kerry in a statistical dead heat. How can you be so confident?"
"It's not just the polls, many of which are manipulated to make Bush seem more popular than he really is. It's the combination of exploding scandals, the increasing defections of so many of the GOP power elite -- along with more and more ordinary Republican voters -- and the desperation and utter lostness inside the Bush camp.
"Consider: In the past several months, they spend nearly $100 million on bashing Kerry. Doesn't work. They arrange the establishment of something resembling an interim government to 'hand off' to in Iraq. Doesn't help. The economy, in certain areas, is starting to do a little better. Doesn't matter. Put simply, the public has seen enough to make a final judgment on Bush -- and they've decided a big fat No."
"So Kerry will walk into the White House?"
"No," Shallow Throat replied, "'I'm-not-Bush' will walk into the Oval Office. Few voters give a rat's ass whether it's Kerry or McCain or the Pumpkin Fairy. All they care about is getting rid of this crowd of arrogant, bullyboy extremists that are ruining our country and endangering the job-security and well-being of so many American citizens.
"They realize that the current occupants of the White House are bringing ruin to our long-term national interests, are engaged in extremist experiments at home and abroad that tend to benefit the already well-off rather than the squeezed middle class, are spending us into massive deficits for as far into the future as the eye can see, are cutting popular social service programs because of the hundreds of billions of dollars going to imperial wars, are shredding our Constitutional guarantees of due process of law, are trying to set up a kind of legal dictatorship at the top, and on and on. In short, more and more Americans are willing, indeed eager, to get to November 2 and get these vicious, incompetent radicals out of the White House."
Rove's Desperate Strategy
"Well," I replied. "If that's true, and Karl Rove and his planners know that Bush is going to lose in a landslide in a fair election, what's to prevent them from all kinds of devilment and chicanery between now and November? You know what I mean: Purging the election rolls of more Democrat voters, especially minorities; encouraging fiddled-with software programs for the computer-voting machines in the toss-up states; starting another war in the Middle East, and/or looking the other way again as Al Qaida launches another major terrorist attack inside the U.S. -- you know, to try to obtain the rally-'round-the-President support in a time of fright and confusion."
"You've been doing your homework, I see," said ST, with a grin. "We can expect any or all of those, depending on how Rove and Cheney and the rest of the boys interpret their election prospects in the next several months. They're not without resources, you know. They probably can depend on the fundamentalist base staying with them through thin and through thin; no matter what the Bushies say or do, there's that solid 30-35% they can count on. Then they go for the electoral vote-rich states, sliming their opponent, advertising out the wazoo to tear him down with lies, inciting some dirty tricks, getting ready to exploit the major terrorist attack that is coming, probably in late-October, etc. -- and see if they can raise the Bush numbers just high enough to eke out enough victories to capture the presidency."
"Or," I popped in, "hope for a tie vote and another Supreme Court coup." ...
Ryan's decision comes in the wake of a sex scandal based on allegations made by ex-wife in divorce papers filed five years ago.
Jerry Ryan, a television actress, claimed that her husband had attempted to coerce her into having sex with him at sex clubs in New York and Paris.
Read an editorial from the Edwardsville Intelligencer.
The meeting resulted in an agreement by the Iraqi government to rebroadcast anti-Saudi propaganda by a fundamentalist Islamic cleric.
The document surfaced after the 9/11 Commission released an interim report last week saying there was no link between Saddam Hussein's regime and the al-Qaida terrorist network. Since then, President George W. Bush, and administration officials, most notably Vice President Dick Cheney, have attacked the finding, claiming that further evidence exists to substantiate the al-Qaida-Iraqi link. The administration used the alleged association as one of its reasons for invading Iraq last year.
At the end of the third paragraph in today's Times story it states, rather matter-of-factly: "There is no further evidence of collaboration."
Readers aren't clued into how the report was obtained until paragraph seven on the jump page, and even then it remains murky. It turns out that the Defense Department bought the report from the Iraqi National Congress.
According to the Times:
"...The Americans confirmed that they had obtained the document from the Iraqi National Congress, as part of a trove that the group gathered after the fall of Saddam Hussein's government last year. The Defense Intelligence Agency paid the Iraqi National Congress for documents and other information until recently, when the group and its leader, Ahmad Chalabi, fell out of favor in Washington.
Chalabi and his chief intelligence agent are now suspected of spying for Iran.
Interestingly, the Times only identifies the providers of the report as "Americans in Iraq." In another reference, sources are referred to as "American officials."
Not providing further attribution draws the already sketchy story into further question. Are the "Americans in Iraq" members of the military or the Coalition Provisional Authority or private contractors or public relations flacks for Ahmad Chalabi?
Only the New York Times knows.
Rep. Porter J. Goss,
a Bush crony in line to
become CIA director
Rep. Porter J. Goss, a Florida Republican, will be the new CIA director, according to news accounts.
Anonymous Bush administration officials leaked the decision to name Goss to the press late Thursday night.
Goss is a former CIA agent, having served with the agency for more than a decade, beginning in the late 1950s.
A report at the Conspiracy Planet web site indicates that Goss has close ties to the Bush family and played a role in the Iran-Contra scandal.
The word of Goss' presumed appointment to head the CIA came on the heels of a scathing report by the House Intelligence Committee that blames the agency for its lack of human intelligence sources, which led to the failures in Iraq. The report labels the agency's spy network "dysfunctional." Goss is the Republican chairman of the committee. In a blistering letter, outgoing CIA Director George Tenet responded by calling the charges "absurd."
The less-than-smooth transition at the agency appears to be a further sign that of conflict between the Bush administration and the intelligence establishment.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Vice President Dick Cheney:
"Go Fuck Yourself"
Cardinal reliever Steve Kline
flips manager Tony LaRussa
Donnybrook panelists discussed the crude behavior of Cardinal relief pitcher Steve Kline on tonight's show. On Wednesday night, Kline made an obscene gesture from the bullpen. It was directed at Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, who had decided not to call on Kline's services yet. Kline later closed the game for the Cards, pitching the last five outs. But the victory was overshadowed by his temper tantrum earlier in the game.
A Chicago television station caught Kline's outburst on camera and the story was reported on the sports pages of papers across the country.
On Thursday evening, LaRussa said: "There's a professional way to do it, to express yourself, and there's one that's not acceptable."
The Donnybrook kibitzers, with the exception of Ray Hartmann, thrashed Kline for his actions. They debated what kind of action should be taken against him. There was talk of a possible trade.
I believe even Hartmann agreed that Kline's behavior was inappropriate. I'm not sure I wasn't listening that closely. The point is the Donnybrook gang made a big deal out of the finger incident.
The show was barely over when I surfed over to Google News and read a story about Vice President Dick Cheney telling Sen. Patrick Leahy to "go fuck yourself" on the floor of the Senate.
I don't condone Kline's behavior, but I understand it. I'm sure I've done worse, but not in front of as many people. Beer bottlers and reporters, for that matter, are prone to use vulgar language on occasion. I see people flipping other people off all the time while they're driving. While hardly acceptable, using the obscene gesture seems to have become more common in our society. Kline represents the common man. He's a thirty-something-year-old professional athlete. Kids supposedly look up to him as a role model. But in fairness, he hasn't grown up yet himself. He's still playing ball.
Cheney's actions are less defensible. He's the second highest ranking official in the executive branch of the United States government. What he says behind closed doors is his business. But in public he represents the people of the United States whether they be Republican or Democrat.
His conduct earlier this week is inexcusable and it shows the contempt that he has for representative government. Does he expect the opposition party to not take issue with war profiteering of his old firm Halliburton? Would Cheney prefer we have no debate over public policy issues? Wouldn't it be easier to just do away with Congress?
The "go fuck yourself" attitude cropped up this year in the Missouri legislature, too, where the Republican majority heckled the governor during his State of the State address. One Republican lawmaker made the news for disrupting debates with farting sounds.
The level of disdain that the ruling political party has shown toward its opposition is unprecedented in modern American history.
When Kline blew his cool and gave his manager the finger, his team was threatened with a loss. Perhaps that is what is provoking the Republicans to act so badly, the threat of loss. On the national level they control both houses of Congress and the executive branch, but they're acting like losers. To push the sports cliches one step further: look at their track record.
The state and national budgets are spiraling into ever greater deficits. Millions of jobs have been lost. The United States is mired in an expensive war that is costing more lives every day. Gasoline prices are higher than they have ever been. Health care costs continue to skyrocket.
The response by the Republicans -- cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans. This economic policy has been a complete and utter failure.
A serious leadership vacuum exists in this country. The president is incapable of making the kinds of hard decisions that are necessary for the United States to recover. The Bush administration understands that its policies are ultimately responsible for the decline of the United States in numerous ways. Their reaction to this quagmire that they've created for all of us is to act like the bully in the school yard.
Cheney's behavior on the floor of the United States Senate is the most vile public display by a vice president in American history, but it pales in comparison to the policies of the Bush administration, which has created a terrorist war by its inept actions.
The money being misspent on reconstructing Iraq, after the U.S. destroyed the country, could have been better spent here at home both for security purposes and social programs.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, are we safer because of the Bush administration's actions or more vulnerable?
There is good reason to doubt whether the Bush-Cheney junta is competent enough to governor until the November elections. Cheney's fit doesn't bolster public confidence. Bush is already rumored to be suffering from delusions and paranoia.
The vice president's rant doesn't bode well for the near term. Expect more bombs to fall on Iraq, if the insurgency continues, as it almost certainly will. And the situation with Iran is getting dicier by the day.
Under these conditions, Cheney appears to be cracking up. His outburst is indicative of a man who is not up to the job.
As LaRussa said: "There's a professional way to do it, ... and
there's one that's not acceptable."
Cheney's comments to Sen. Leahy this week are not acceptable. This is not a game, Mr. Vice President. Your words won't be forgotten by Americans, who know that they have been betrayed.
No apology is expected nor is it necessary just leave Washington, D.C., and the sooner the better.
The cursing occurred in the Senate chamber, after a senatorial picture-taking session in which Cheney took part because of his dual-role as president of the Senate.
Leahy has been among the Democrats in the Senate calling for an investigation into Halliburton's alleged war profiteering. The Houston-based company received a no-bid, multi-billion-dollar government contract for war-related services in Iraq before the U.S. invasion. Since then, the company has been charged with mishandling funds and overcharging the government tens of millions of dollars. Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton.
After Leahy said hello to Cheney, the vice president began ranting at him about the Halliburton allegations. Leahy responded that Republicans have been attacking Senate Democrats as anti-Catholic because of their opposition to anti-abortion judges nominted by President George W. Bush.
Cheney then told Leahy to either "fuck off" or "go fuck yourself," according to Reuters.
"I think he was just having a bad day," Leahy was quoted as saying on CNN.
Earlier Thursday, before word of the exchange spread, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, stood in the chamber and spoke of the need to improve civility with what he called the "politics of common ground."
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke may say he's non-partisan but his condemnation of Catholic politicians who favor abortion will only help split the Catholic vote in November and may very well result in the re-election of George W. Bush.
Bush, of course, is even more irrational, believing that he has been chosen by God to lead the United States in war against Muslim fanatics.
If everybody's got God on their side, what's all this fighting about?
John Gorenfeld writes about Moon at his blog:Where in Washington, D.C. is Sun Myung Moon?
from Washington Monthly, June 2004
By Nicholas Confessore
"... Brooks the Hack indulges in predictable--and frequently dishonest--caricatures of Democrats. He once wrote that "upscale areas everywhere" voted for Al Gore, even though a cursory check of census data reveals that seven of the 10 richest counties in America voted for George W. Bush in 2000. When it began to look like John Kerry would carry the Democratic banner in 2004, Brooks argued that the Democrats "won't nominate a guy unless his family had an upper-deck berth on the Mayflower"--this of a party whose last five nominees included a Georgia peanut farmer, a guy raised by a working-class single mom in Arkansas, and another born to Greek immigrants. Yet Brooks the Hack seems to revel in cheap shots, such as implying that the term "neocon" was anti-Semitic-- "con is short for 'conservative' and neo is short for 'Jewish'," he recently wrote in the Times. ..."
Fitzgerald is looking into a White House leaker who divulged the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent, to the conservative newspaper columnist Robert Novak last July.
Plame is the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an outspoken critic of Bush administration's claim that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.
Brooke, who has an intelligence background, worked for Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. After Chalabi's fall from power last month, Iraqi security forces and U.S. military raided his house and residence in Baghdad. Chalabi had been on the Pentagon payroll for years prior to his excommunication. He and his intelligence chief -- Amas Kareem Habib -- are now alleged to have been acting as spies for Iranian intelligence.
Levantine Holdings address is also listed as being in Washington D.C., according to a blog called War and Piece.
Levantine is listed as being located 2544 28th St. NW. The owner of that property is by Moshen A. Khalil, "et al."
Khalil is a director at the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the Global Information and Communication Technologies Department, which was formed out of the merging of the World Bank and IFC, according to War and Piece. Khalil oversees of all the World Bank Group’s activities in the area of telecommunications and information technologies world wide.
That court ruling will now be delayed until after the November election.
The president of Boxwood is listed as Francis Brooke, a former CIA contract employee now wanted in Iraq on obstruction of justice charges. Margaret Bartel, a director and registered agent for the company, has also been charged by Iraqi authorities with obstruction.
Brooke and Bartel, Boxwood's bookkeeper, are alleged to have impeded the search of Amhad Chalabi's residence in Baghdad last month. Iraqi security forces and U.S. military personnel raided Chalabi's home and offices, confiscating documents and computers.
U.S. officials now claims Chalabi's INC, which has over the years received $40 million from the American government, was engaged in espionage for the Iranian government. Chalabi's chief intelligence agent Amas Kareem Habib, a Shai Kurd, is suspected of passing sensitive U.S. intelligence to the Iranians and also feeding disinformation on Iraq's weapons program and the former regime's ties to al-Qaida to the Pentagon.
Amas Kareem, an individual with the same first and middle names as Amas Kareem Habib, is also listed as a director of Boxwood.
The false intelligence provided by Habib was used by the Bush administration to support its reasons for invading Iraq. The disinformation was subsequently published by 100 U.S. news outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post.
Brooke incorporated Boxwood Inc. on January 16, 2003, according to Virginia corporate records. In December 2003, the Virginia Corporation Commission rejected Boxwood's annual report because it failed to include a corporate address and was returned unsigned.
The records indicate that Los Angeles Times reporter Mark Madden checked the reason why the annual report was rejected on June 14.
Property records for the city of Alexandria, Va. indicate that the building where Boxwood had its offices is owned by Pamela Galadrial of Sacramento. The building has an assessed value of more than $400,000.
Galadrial is the author of an out-of-print spiritual book entitled "We Never Left the Garden," published in 1995 by Mt. Talac Press in Sacramento. She is a member of the Center for Creative Thought in Placerville, Calif. The church, which espouses a combination of Christian and Eastern teachings, is affiliated with the International New Thought Alliance, a non-denominational affiliation that includes the Unity and Divine Science sects.
Ahmad Chalabi chats with Deputy
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
Man in the middle unidentified.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul "Wolfie" Wolfowitz defended Ahmad Chalabi, saying that the defamed leader of th Iraqi National Congress provided credible intelligence that saved American lives during the Iraq war.
Wolfowitz did concede, however, that Chalabi's recent behavior is "puzzling."
Pressed by Democratic Rep. Ike Skeleton of Missouri on Chalabi's ties to Iran, Wolfowitz would only say that many Iraqi exiles had connections to Iran.
Curiouser and Curiouser: Report of Former CIA Asset's Affiliation Changes on This Side of the Atlantic
Brooke is wanted in Iraq for obstruction of justice for allegedly attempting to hinder a search of Ahmad Chalabi's residence in Baghdad last month. Brooke worked as an American handler for Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress, which received funding from the Pentagon.
Until last month, the INC received $340,000 monthly from the Defense Intelligence Agency. U.S. intelligence now suspects that Chalabi and his top spy, Amas Habib, handed over sensitive intelligence to Iran. In addition, Habib is suspected of handing fake intelligence to the Pentagon that supported the Bush adminstration's reasons for going to war against Iraq, including exaggerated claims of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein's links to al-Qaida.
A simple Google search connected BKSH to WPP,a company tied to Republican operative Charles R. Black Jr. Among WPP's clients is the notorious PR firm of Burson-Marsteller.
As reported on June 9 by Media Mayhem:
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.
None of this has been reported in the American press.
But within four days, of Media Mayhem citing Brooke's ties to BKSH, which was based on the Independent's, story, the Washington Post reported that Brooke's support of Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress was carried out by his Virginia-based company called Boxwood Inc. The Post reported that Boxwood received funding from the Pentagon. Among Boxwood's directors was Amas Habib, Chalibi's intelligence chief, who is now suspected of passing bogus information to the neo-cons at the Pentagon's Office of Special Planning.
Habib is reported to have been part of a State Department propaganda operation that disseminated what turned out to be disinformation on Iraq to the American media, including the New York Times and Washington Post, on the run-up to the war. OSP operative William J. Luti has been mentioned as meeting with Habib.
Chalabi, Habib and the INC appear to have influenced policy at the CIA, the State Department, Pentagon and the most likely the White House itself.
Did Brooke work for BKSH or Boxwood or the CIA or all three?
More important perhaps, Does this tangled intrigue have anything to do with CIA Director George Tenet's sudden resignation last month?
Finally, does all of this relate to an internal battle between Bush administration ideolouges and career military and intelligence officals who oppose the administration's policies?
Looks like a coup to me.
More interesting is the possibility that Habib was passing faulty intelligence from Iran to the U.S. to lure the war hawks at the Pentagon into taking out Saddam Hussein's regime. The Iran-Iraq hostilities are based on Islamic religious differences. Iran's Shia-controlled government opposed the Hussein regime, which favored Iraq's Sunni minority.
Chalabi's INC is known to have coordinated a disinformation campaign with the Pentagon that claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein's regime had aided al-Qaida's terrorist efforts.
from the London Guardian, May 26:
... "It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."
Larry Johnson, a former senior counter-terrorist official at the state department, said: "When the story ultimately comes out we'll see that Iran has run one of the most masterful intelligence operations in history. They persuaded the US and Britain to dispose of its greatest enemy." ...
An intelligence source in Washington said the CIA confirmed its long-held suspicions when it discovered that a piece of information from an electronic communications intercept by the National Security Agency had ended up in Iranian hands. The information was so sensitive that its circulation had been restricted to a handful of officials.
"This was 'sensitive compartmented information' - SCI - and it was tracked right back to the Iranians through Aras Habib," the intelligence source said.
Mr Habib, a Shia Kurd who is being sought by Iraqi police since a raid on INC headquarters last week, has been Mr Chalabi's righthand man for more than a decade. He ran a Pentagon-funded intelligence collection program in the run-up to the invasion and put US officials in touch with Iraqi defectors who made claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.
Those claims helped make the case for war but have since proved groundless, and US intelligence agencies are now scrambling to determine whether false information was passed to the US with Iranian connivance.
An intelligence source in Washington said the FBI investigation into the affair would begin with Mr Chalabi's 'handlers' in the Pentagon, who include William Luti, the former head of the office of special plans, and his immediate superior, Douglas Feith, the under secretary of Defense for policy.
There is no evidence that they were the source of the leaks. Other INC supporters at the Pentagon may have given away classified information in an attempt to give Mr Chalabi an advantage in the struggle for power surrounding the transfer of sovereignty to an Iraqi government on June 30.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
February 5, 2003
"... Iraq has ties to al Qaeda - Powell repeats earlier claims that Saddam Hussein's government has ties to al-Qaeda. Powell focuses on the cases of the militant Islamic group Ansar-al-Islam and Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian, who had received medical treatment in Baghdad during the summer of 2002(see Late 2001-May 2002). [The White House, 2/6/03] However, just days before Powell's speech (before the U.N.), US and British intelligence officials—speaking on condition of anonymity—told the press that the administration's allegations of Iraqi-al-Qaeda ties were based on information provided by Kurdish groups, who, as enemies of Ansar-al-Islam, should not be considered reliable. Furthermore, these sources unequivocally stated that intelligence analysts on both sides of the Atlantic remained unconvinced of the purported links between Iraq and al-Qaeda (see February 3-4, 2003). [Independent, 2/3/03; Telegraph, 2/4/03] Senior US officials will admit to the New York Times and Washington Post after the presentation that the administration was not claiming that Saddam Hussein is “exercising operational control” of al-Qaeda. [New York Times, 2/6/03b; Washington Post, 2/7/03 Sources: Unnamed senior US State Department officials, Unnamed senior US officials] ..."
Abu Musab Zarqawi is a Jordanian born leader of Ansar-al-Islam. Although he is an ally of al-Qaida, Ansar-al-Islam operates independently. Ansar-al-Islam is not al-Qaida, but chances are Zarqawi would have more in common with al-Qaida than Saddam Hussein. Ansar-al-Islam is based in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq in an area, which preceding the U.S. invasion, was virtually autonomous from the Baghdad regime.
Payvand's Iran News
first appeared in the May 2004 issue of Iran Focus, published by Menas Associates of the United Kingdom
... The CIA asserts that it has “hard evidence” that Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran. The accusations hold too that Habib, a Shia Kurd, was all along a paid Iranian agent who passed intelligence in both directions.
Habib, who is being sought by Iraqi police, has been Chalabi’s right-hand man for more than a decade. Apparently, he was in charge of a Pentagon-funded intelligence collection programme in the run-up to the attacks on Iraq. The Baghdad headquarters of Chalabi has been raided. Now Chalabi’s lawyers have written to Paul Bremer, the US administrator of Iraq, condemning the raid and demanding financial restitution. ...
(The following is an analysis of the foreign policy implications of the Chalabi flap.)
First, the question of hard line or soft line in US foreign policy is not specific to party politics. There are Democrat politicians who are as tough on US foreign affairs as current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Pentagon hawks such as Paul Wolfowitz served under Democrat President Jimmy Carter. Also, neo-cons Henry Jackson and Richard Perle were Democrats. In other words, there has been a hardline mindset all along among Democrats since the late 1970s.
The Democrat administration of Bill Clinton also embarked on the Pentagon’s hawkish new Defense Planning Guidance that Zalmey Khalilzad (an originally Pashtun American, hostile to the Islamic Republic) had prepared under Wolfowitz in 1992. Moreover, it was the Clinton administration that distanced itself from the UN and the concept of collective security, which eventually led to the military intervention in Somalia in 1993, and also in Kosovo, without UN approval. Hence, the attitude of a Democrat administration under John Kerry, if he is elected, will very much depend on the line-up of his team, which is still unclear.
Secondly, since 11 September, it has become very difficult to draw a clear line between foreign policy objectives of even the most dovish of Democrats and the most hawkish of the Republicans. The central objective is national security and combating terrorism, which both Democrats and Republicans relate to Iran.
The difference will merely lie in the strategies used to deal with the perceived problem. Hence, Democrats might change the “regime change” discourse against Iran but will definitely not give any concessions before Washington’s requirements are met by Iran. Under the current domestic political realities, it is highly unlikely that Iran will address US concerns. Even if there was a will among some Iranian conservatives to cooperate with Washington, the domestic situation in Iran would not allow such a détente with the US. ...
Okay, this sentence caught my eye:
Apparently, he (Aras Karim Habib) was in charge of a Pentagon-funded intelligence collection programme in the run-up to the attacks on Iraq.
The "intelligence collection programme" sounds alot like the State Department-sponsored "information collection programme" of Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. The Defense Intelligence Agency was paying the INC more than $300,000 a month until May of this year. And the State Department was using the INC's "information collection program" to disseminate propaganda in the U.S. media, which included claims that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed weapons of mass destruction. Why is Aras Karim Habib wanted by Iraqi authorities now? Is it murder or robbery or both? The Iraqis don't want him on an espionage charge that's what the U.S. wants him for. The FBI is supposedly interviewing people at the Pentagon about the intelligence that Chalibi leaked to Iranians because he allegedly got it from a Defense Department official. What the hell is going on here? Iran is an enemy of Iraq. So it would be in Iran's interest for the U.S. to take out Iraq. Or would it? Something is stinking in Arlington, Va. and we can smell all the way out here in the Midwest.
According to Iraq Revenue Watch:
"... The money will come out of the Development Fund for Iraq, the main repository for Iraqi oil revenues. But a number of the expenditures the Program Review Board approved will go toward sectors for which Congress has already allocated American tax dollars. This includes $500 million earmarked for Iraqi security forces, even though Congress allocated $3.2 billion for the same purpose. Likewise, the Program Review Board approved $315 million for the electricity sector despite a $5.5 billion U.S. appropriation for the same sector. And $460 million, on top of the $1.7 billion allocated by Congress, is set to go to Iraq's oil industry. ...
After June 30, the U.N., which is charged with overseeing Iraq's oil revenues, will have no way of auditing the books because the CPA will have been disbanded.
United Nations-mandated auditors criticized the U.S. occupation authority for the way it has spent more than $11bn in Iraqi oil revenues and say they have faced "resistance" from occupation officials.
In an interim report, obtained by the Financial Times, KPMG says the Development Fund for Iraq, managed by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority and channels oil revenue into reconstruction projects, is "open to fraudulent acts".
"The CPA does not have effective controls over the ministries' spending of their individually allocated budgets, whether the funds are direct from the CPA or via the ministry of finance", auditors said.
The findings come after U.S. complaints about the UN's administration of the oil-for-food programme under Saddam Hussein.
According to the CPA, the Development Fund for Iraq has taken in $20.2bn since last May and has disbursed $11.3bn, with $4.6bn left in outstanding commitments.
One adviser to a member of the recently disbanded Iraqi Governing Council said the report raised the fear that no audit of the CPA's work would ever be completed. "If the auditors don't finish by June 30, they never will, because the CPA staff are going home," he said. "I lament the lack of transparency and lack of involvement by Iraqis."
US-led authorities in Baghdad are to be sharply criticised in an upcoming UN audit over their use of Iraqi oil revenues, it was reported today. A leaked copy of an interim report by financial advisers KPMG into the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which collects and spends oil money, has revealed loose book-keeping and "resistance" to scrutiny among Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) staff.
The Financial Times, which obtained a copy of the report, said the auditors judged the fund to be "open to fraudulent acts".
"The CPA does not have effective controls over the ministries' spending of their individually allocated budgets, whether the funds are direct from the CPA or via the ministry of finance," it quoted the report as saying.
[related story from Oil and Gas Journal]
Two Arizonans filed suit today against Ralph Nader, detailing a challenge to the validity of Nader's candidacy and putting into jeopardy an effort, aided by Republicans, to get Nader onto the Arizona ballot. The counts listed in the suit include Nader's attempt to name a 'placeholder' Vice Presidential candidate as well as the more than 15,000 collected signatures that were found to be invalid. A comprehensive analysis of those signatures which could be found in local voter files showed that close to half of the signatures collected came from Republicans.
"There has been widespread reporting that Republicans financed the efforts to get Nader onto the Arizona ballot. They failed miserably," said Jim Pederson, Arizona Democratic Party Chair.
Welcome to the club Mr. Mears. Better late than never.
John Judis of Talking Points Memo assesses Bremer's reign over the cradle of civilization and concludes that the neo-con's obsession with privatizing the Iraqi economy was, to put it mildly, daft:
"... Bremer saw privatization as part of the broader conservative economic agenda that Reagan had endorsed in the 1980s. It would include supply-side tax cuts and elimination of import duties. And he proceeded to get his way. In September 2003--against the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention that require occupying powers to respect existing laws -- Bremer got the Iraqi Governing Council to issue an order privatizing state companies and abrogating Iraqi laws that prohibited private ownership of "national" resources and the "basic means of production." Later, he also got his way on taxes and import duties. ..."
Before the trial could start a juror asked to be removed, saying he could not be impartial because his brother flies covert operations into the Middle East for the CIA.
The defense counsel then requested a mistrial, which was denied.
THE COURT: Juror No. 13, please have a seat.
Mr. Fletcher indicated there is something that you wanted to
bring to my attention. And whenever I talk to a juror I always
have the lawyers present.
A JUROR: The main issue that has influenced me, I would say, is hearing on May 22 at a family gathering that my older brother, who works for a freight airline, he told me on the side that he is flying into Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar on a regular basis, sometimes secretly and sometimes at night. He is also flying into Entebbe in Africa for the CIA. Fast forwarding that, it was not in the questionnaire. I think the questionnaire was way before May 22. When you asked the other day, has anything changed, this was in the back of my mind. The previous questions were, could I overlook certain things like the 9/11 event and being impartial and I said then yes the other day. When you asked again, which was just yesterday, had anything changed, I did not bring it up. Once I was selected and seated in the jury area, I realized that I could not be impartial at that time. I was looking at the prosecutors thinking, I'm on the same side and that thought has stayed with me more since then. If things hadn't changed radically in Saudi Arabia in the last week or so
with the Johnson incident, I think I would not be as shaking as
I find myself now. But I also have to say that I thought since
then they had said all American business-related trips were no
longer going to Saudi Arabia. I did call my brother last night. I did not mention specifically the case. I said I had to know if he is still traveling, and he is.
THE COURT: You have not discussed this with any of the other jurors, have you?
A JUROR: No.
THE COURT: Could you step outside.
Filed in federal court in New York, where The AP is headquartered, the lawsuit seeks access to a copy of Bush's microfilmed personnel file from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin.
The White House says the government has already released all the records of Bush's military service.
Controversy surrounds Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard because it is unclear from the record what duties he performed for the military when he was working on the political campaign of a U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama.
There are questions as to whether the file provided to the news media earlier this year is complete, says the lawsuit, adding that these questions could possibly be answered by reviewing a copy of the microfilm of Bush's personnel file in the Texas archives.
Patriot Act - provisional but enduring online data surveillance became legal in the United States on 24 October 2001, when the House of Representatives adopted an act to Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism - the USA-Patriot Act. Passed by an overwhelming majority in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks, it confirmed the authority already given to the FBI to install surveillance software known as Carnivore on ISP servers in order to monitor e-mail messages and store records of Internet activity by people suspected of contacts with a foreign power. Only the permission of a special secret court is required. The act also expanded the kind of information a prosecutor can request from an ISP without a judge's permission and invited ISPs to freely hand over to the authorities data unrelated to content, such as records of websites visited.
A congressional amendment to the Patriot Act increased the FBI's powers even further at the end of November 2003, allowing it to use National Security Letters (NSL) to demand personal data about Internet users from ISPs and websites without judicial control. It also eliminated a provision requiring the FBI to submit an annual report to congress on NSL use. As some senators commented when the amendment was voted, giving government agencies increased authority of this kind skews the balance of power between US institutions.
The Patriot Act was supposed to expire in 2005 but, calling it "vital," President George W. Bush asked congress to make it permanent in January 2004. Civil liberties groups immediately objected, pointing out that the act had already given rise to many abuses in its provisional form. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused Bush of playing on Americans' fears in order to justify extending this anti-terrorist law.
In other words, the government was funding a covert disinformation campaign to help build support for it's plans to invade Iraq. Futhermore, according to the Center for Cooperative Research, the Senate Appropriations Committee was made aware of the program, which was linked to the Pentagon's Office of Special Planning through William J. Luti and John Hannah, a national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney.
INC's State Department sponsored propaganda operation was known as the "Information Collection Program."
According to the Center for Cooperative Research:
June 26, 2002
Entifadh Qunbar, a lobbyist for the Iraqi National Congress (INC), sends a memo to the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in which he provides information about a State Department-funded intelligence program, known as the “information-collection program,” run by the INC. Qunbar, who says he is the overall manager of the group, states in the memo that under the program, “defectors, reports and raw intelligence are cultivated and analyzed,” and “the results are reported through the INC newspaper (Al Mutamar), the Arabic and Western media and to appropriate governmental, nongovernmental and international agencies.” Information is also passed on to William Luti, who will later run the Office of Special Plans (see September 2002), and John Hannah, a senior national-security aide on Cheney's staff, who Qunbar describes as the “principal point of contact.” [Newsweek, 12/15/03; New York Times, 2/12/04 Sources: Memo]
The memo provides a description of some of the people involved in the group and their activities. It says that the analytical group includes five analysts with a background in Iraq's military, Iraq's intelligence services and human rights. One person, a consultant, monitors the Iraqi government's alleged efforts to develop banned weapons. The five analysts process information and write reports, which are sent to Al Mutamar, the INC's newspaper, as well as the US government and many mainstream news organizations.
Qunbar says that the information-collection program issued 30 reports between August 2001 and June 2002, which were sent to Al Mutamar. His memo also indicates the group published 28 private reports in collaboration with the INC's headquarters in London.
The memo reveals that between October 2001 and May 2002, information provided by the INC was cited in more than 100 articles published by a variety of English-language news publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker, CNN, Fox News, and several others. [New York Times, 2/12/04 Sources: Memo]
People and organizations involved: Dick Cheney, Entifadh Qunbar, Iraqi National Congress (INC), Memo
Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin
Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, is a decorated and twice-wounded veteran of covert military operations.
The former Delta Force commander is also a lay preacher who appeared in dress uniform and polished jump boots before a camp meeting in Oregon to decree that radical Islamists hated the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan." ...
Boykin preached before a revival in Oklahoma that president Bush was not elected but "appointed by God" and "in the White House today because of a miracle."
Gen. Boykin is a trained assassin.
Stephen Cambone, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's manservant, first got caught in the headlights as part of the congressional inquiry into the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Grilled by a few senators on May 11, 2004, Cambone defended both Rumsfeld and Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy. Cambone's evaded answering whether the Geneva Conventions were applicable to intelligence gathering in Iraq and his stonewalling on the military interrogations techniques put him at odds with the U.S. Maj. Antonio Taguba, the Army general who first investigated abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.
Douglas Feith, the current undersecretary of defense for policy, is the third-ranking civilian at the Pentagon, after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
A strong backer of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, Feith has been over his head in the activities of two controversial Pentagon operations --the Defense Policy Board, whose former head Richard Perle resigned after concerns arose about conflicts of interest between his board duties and business dealings, and the Office of Special Plans, which cooked the books on intelligence about Iraq to support the Bush Bund's policies.
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, previously worked in the Pentagon with Feith, Shulsky and the boys at the Office of Special Planning. Before that Scooter was a senior partner of the Washington office of the international law firm of Dechert, Price & Rhoads. He also served as the Legal Advisor to the House of Representatives' Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China, commonly known as the 'Cox Committee.'
Scooter has held a variety of positions at the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Defense. His previous government position was Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Scooter is a graduate of Yale University and received his J.D. from Columbia.
He worked in the Defense Department during George Bush Sr.'s presidency, and is a particular friend and confidant of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
Libby was a founding member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and he was one of the participants in the PNAC's 2000 report Rebuilding America's Defenses - Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century, along with Paul Wolfowitz, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Gary Schmitt and others. ...
Libby is on the board of the Rand Corporation, which has many contacts with the Pentagon. He owns shares in armaments companies and has oil interests, including Northrop Grumman, the Defense contractor, which has an active presence in the Defense Policy Board of the Pentagon.
Libby's reputation has been tainted by his having been chief Defense counsel to Marc Rich, who had faced federal charges of evading more than $48 million in taxes, fraud and taking part in illegal oil deals with Iran. Libby became embroiled in the controversy over Marc Rich's being pardoned by President Bill Clinton just before he left office.
William J. Luti
William J. Luti, the dodgy deputy undersecretary of defense and gung-ho supporter of the war in Iraq, became a household word in early 2003 after the New Yorker's Sy Hersh wrote about Luti's intelligence work in the Office of Special Planning, a covert Pentagon outfit whose players included Douglas Feith and Abram Shulsky. According to Hersh, Luti and his OSP comrades were manipulated intelligence on Iraq that would support the administration's arguments for going to war.
Richard Perle, aka the "Prince of Darkness" because of his hardline anti-communist stance in Reagan's Defense Department, is the neo-cons' most notorious scumbag. When the New Yorker's Sy Hersh documented Perle's business dealings in the Middle East on behalf of the venture capital firm Trireme, Perle threatened to sue the journalist, saying that he was the "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist."
Hersh's article detailed conflicts of interest resulting from Perle's dual role as chairman of the Defense Policy Board and as a partner for Trireme, a company that invests in homeland security and defense-related industries. Hersh told how Perle met with Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi arms dealer, and another Saudi businessman in early 2003. Sources interviewed by Hersh, including Khashoggi, indicated that Perle and Trireme seemed to be sending the message that in return for Saudi investment backing, the "Chairman" would use his Pentagon ties to influence U.S. policy.
After the Hersh story ran, columnist Maureen Dowd and others documented Perle's relationship to Global Crossings, a bankrupt communications giant and defense contractor seeking Pentagon permission to be sold to the Asian company Hutchinson Wampoa (the same Hutchinson Wampoa whose interests in Panama sparked a loud and nasty round of conservative hand-wringing about a Chinese attempt to take control of the Panama Canal). Perle denied any wrongdoing,but admitted through his attorney that he was hired by Global Crossings to consult with a reluctant Defense Department about the deal.
In late March 2003, Perle announced his resignation as chairman of the Defense Policy Board.
Regarded as a chief architect of the war in Iraq, Perle has long supported the work of a number of right wing think tanks and advocacy groups, including the Committee on the Present Danger, the Project for the New American Century, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute, and the Center for Security Policy.
Abram "Abe" Shulsky
Abram "Abe" Shulsky," a student of Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago and intelligence expert associated with the Project for the New American Century, was a key player in the Office of Special Plans, a covert outfit in the Pentagon that doctored intelligence to fit the Bush Bund's arguments for going to war.
Leo Strauss, the mentor of Shulsky, Wolfowtiz and others at the University of Chicago. Author Shadia Drury says Strauss' view was that a political aristocracy must necessarily manipulate the masses for their own good. The Straussian worldview, says Drury, asserts that “perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical because they need to be led, and they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them.”
Paul "Wolfie" Wolfowitz
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the top Pentagon plumber and chief architect of the Iraq quagmire, is a Reagan-era cold warrior who in between stints at the Pentagon served as Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University. ...
From 1989 to 1993, Dr. Wolfowitz served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in charge of the 700-person defense policy team that was responsible to Secretary Dick Cheney for matters concerning strategy, plans, and policy. During this period Wolfowitz and his staff had major responsibilities for the reshaping of strategy and force posture at the end of the Cold War.
Under his leadership, he played a major role in reviewing war plans for the Gulf War, and developing and executing plans.
Source: Right Web
The guidelines specifically say that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to "unlawful combatants," but that interrogators should, nonetheless, consider the applicable portions of the treaties before applying the interrogation technique that will violate the treaty if it is applied. More doublespeak.
According to the guidelines:
" ... Although the provision of Geneva are not applicable to the interrogation of unlawful combatants, consideration should be given to these views prior to application of the technique. ..."
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
A Feb. 7, 2002, directive released today by the White House shows that President George W. Bush disregarded the Geneva Conventions at the same time that he said the U.S. would honor them. Here's part of the memo:
I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the world because among other reasons al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party (nation state) to Geneva. ...
I hereby reaffirm the order previously issued by the Secretary of Defense to the U.S. Armed Forces requiring that the detainees be treated humanely and to the extent appropriated and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva. ...
(To see the memo click on Link below)