Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bush's biggest fraud: the phony war on terrorism!

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

The Bush administration counts on Americans having short memories. Since the beginning of the year, the Bush administration has conducted a campaign of lies and misinformation about widespread domestic spying.
Bush has lied about it, denied, acknowledged it, and, most egregiously, Bush has said that if he orders it, it's legal.

Interestingly, none of the various cover stories are consistent with one another. How convenient for Bush should you forget one of his past lies!

But among the numerous and conflicting official cover stories is, not surprisingly, a most pernicious cover story: had there been an NSA domestic spying program in place prior to 911 the attacks might have been prevented. That is, of course, an outrageous, bald-faced lie. The attacks might have been prevented anyway!

Moreover, the measures Bush has taken since then have utterly failed to address the issue of terrorism. But while there has been no war on terrorism, Bush has made the world less safe by playing at war, rattling sabres, disrupting lives and threatening sovereignties. He is a sixty year old adolescent playing at war for ego and glory and the world is nearer to the nuclear brink because of it.

That Bush ignored numerous warnings is heavily documented. And there is yet another new story from AlterNet:

The 9/11 Story That Got Away

By Rory O'Connor and William Scott Malone, AlterNet. Posted May 18, 2006.
In 2001, an anonymous White House source leaked top-secret NSA intelligence to reporter Judith Miller that Al Qaida was planning a major attack on the United States. But the story never made it into the paper. ...
Back in the year 2004, Presidential advisor Richard Clarke was revealed by CBS News to have told Bush that there was no link between Iraq and the attacks of 911. Clarke's admonition had legs, even then. [See: Richard Clarke, in an exclusive interview on 60 Minutes] Saddam's was, after all, a secular regime! But Al Qaida —we were repeatedly told —consisted of raving, militant Islamic fanatics. Even then, Bush's cover story made no sense whatsoever, but even now, you will find among Bush's dwindling faithful a few die hard idiots who still spread the bunkum that Bush's attack on Iraq was but a part of the larger "war on terror".

It's all nonsense! Bush has never waged a "war on terrorism"! Afghanistan —where bin Laden was allowed to escape —was not it! And Iraq —which even Bush concedes had nothing to do with 911 —was not it!

Consider Bush's official conspiracy theory with respect to 911. It goes something like this. Bin Laden sits at the head of a vast and super secret world wide conspiracy the likes of which has not been seen since Smersh.  There are several things wrong with the official conspiracy theory but let's deal with the most obvious ones.
  • Bush ignored hard evidence from top intelligence officials between April and September of 2001 about an impending attacks on U.S. soil. Why? If Bush really wanted Bin Laden, he blew SEVERAL opportunities. One of them was in July, prior to 911. The Guardian and the French newspaper Le Figaro reported that bin Laden received dialysis treatment for a period of some 10 days at the American hospital in Dubai, and while there, he was visited by a local CIA agent. It was also about this time that U.S. State Department officials were threatening Afghanistan with carpet bombing if the Taliban didn't come to terms on the proposed Unocal pipeline across Afghanistan. Bush had other opportunities to seize bin Laden but didn't. See: Alexander Cockburn: Bush was offered bin Laden and Blew It.
  • Keep in mind, when the CIA was reported to have visited bin Laden in Dubai, 911 had not happened. But, already the Bush State Department was spoiling for war. All it needed was a pretext that the gullible American public would buy! It got it —conveniently, too conveniently —on 911!
Then there is the failed war against Iraq 

Even Bush concedes that Saddam had nothing to do with the events of 911! Then why does Bush continue to cite the war against Iraq as justification for a widespread domestic surveillance program?
Briefly, Bush lied to the nation and the world in order to begin the war on Iraq; "terrorism" had nothing whatsoever to do with it. It was about oil. There were, arguably, no "terrorists" in Iraq before the American attack and invasion and, if terrorists are there now, it's because they are not stupid.
Bush likes to say that we fight them there rather than here.

Rather, Bush took the bait. The terrorists are most surely telling their own constituencies they are killing Americans in Iraq! But how many of what Bush calls "insurgents" are, in fact, terrorists? How many are simply Iraqis defending their own country against an illegal occupation by an aggressor? To that extent, they are protected by International Law. William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, put it this way to Parliament during Britain's occupation of the American colonies:
If I were an American as I am an Englishman, I would never lay down my arms! Never! Never! NEVER!
Now —about the real reasons for war against Iraq. Bush made promises to Dick Cheney's Halliburton, Condo Rice's Exxon-Mobil er al.  It was not promised to them that oil prices would go down upon the American seizure of control over Iraqi oil fields and production! Rather, prices would go up and with them, the profits of big oil. Now —isn't that precisely what has happened? Just keep this in mind: it's hard to go wrong when you realize that nothing that Bush has ever said about anything has ever been in anyway true.

I have reinforcements 

Wiretapping Wouldn't Have Prevented 9/11

History shows that it was secrecy and incompetence that helped the hijackers get on those planes.
The Republican senator tossed Gen. Michael Hayden a big, fat softball of a question: "Do you think that if you had this program [of wiretaps without warrants] in place before Sept. 11th you might have prevented it?"
Gen. Hayden jumped right on it. He said that yes, if he had his secret powers then that he has today, he could have stopped al Qaida's plot.
Then he said, there were two guys in San Diego …
He was referring to Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar. George Bush also talks about them when he wants to justify wiretaps without warrants. The truth is that Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar are the poster boys for missed opportunities. If the NSA, the CIA, the FBI and the White House had not screwed up so royally, mostly by cherishing their secrets, they would have had al Hasmi and al Mihdhar several times over. Here are the facts. ...

UN panel tells America to end torture and close Guantanamo

By Simon Freeman and agencies
A United Nations panel today made the strongest call yet on the United States to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and to disclose the locations of all of its rumoured secret prisons abroad.
The committee said it was "deeply concerned" that detainees were being held at the prison camp in Cuba for protracted periods without proper legal safeguards or reliable judicial justification.
The ten members of the UN Committee Against Torture also called upon President Bush to end the use of torture and cruel treatment in interrogation of detainees, citing sexual humiliation, mock drownings and the use of dogs to induce fear.
In a 11-page report published today, the panel urged the US to reveal the location of any of the secret prisons, believed to be in Egypt, Jordan and Eastern Europe, to which suspects are allegedly transported by special rendition for interview under conditions which violate human rights conventions. ...
Some essential resources:

Is America Becoming a Police State?

The price of perpetual war is a police state, one in which a permanent state of "emergency" – the threat of a terrorist attack – is utilized to break down institutional safeguards, the system of constitutional checks and balances, that protect us from dictatorship.

The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty

by James Madison
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . . [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .
[It should be well understood] that the powers proposed to be surrendered [by the Third Congress] to the Executive were those which the Constitution has most jealously appropriated to the Legislature. . . .

The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war . . . the power of raising armies . . . the power of creating offices. . . .

A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.

The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.

The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of commanding them, is intended to prevent the raising of armies for the sake of commanding them.

The separation of the power of creating offices from that of filling them, is an essential guard against the temptation to create offices for the sake of gratifying favourites or multiplying dependents.
James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. This is from Letters and Other Writings of James Madison.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Big Brother's Bad Timing

Until recently, George W. Bush could still bludgeon dissenters with the issue of terrorism. But it would appear that the days when Bush could use the issue of terrorism to strike ...uh...well terror into the very hearts of his critics are over! "Terrorism" now is just one more issue in which Bush is pulling up his rear. Jim Malone wrote recently:
In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, security emerged as perhaps the preeminent political issue in the country. But in recent years, some Americans have grown increasingly concerned that the emphasis on security has weakened civil liberties.

—Jim Malone, Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism

Clearly —many societies may be willing to trade some liberties for safety even in instances in which it may be ill-advised. The issues Malone addresses above are premised upon what had been —until recently —an unquestioned assumption: the authenticity of Bush's so-called war on terrorism.

Bush's timing is lousy. He waited until Iraq was already lost before declaring that he has the authority to monitor international phone conversations involving citizens or legal residents inside the United States. He waited until his failure to capture Bin Laden got headlines. He waited until a growing majority of Americans believe that he lied in order to start the war. It is questionable, indeed, to claim such powers in times of even real war —but Iraq, which had nothing to do with 911? Irag —in which no terrorists resided until Bush attacked and invaded?

Bush waited until his own poll numbers were in the toilet to announce that he would simply enforce those laws he likes and declare "unconstitutional" those he doesn't. 'Scuse me! Isn't that the job of the Supreme Court —however packed it may be these days?

Every totalitarian regime has cited war as justification for rescinding basic liberties and freedoms. That principle was already ancient by the time Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his armies. Cicero lamented, “Our beloved republic is gone forever.”

Much Later, James I of England and Ireland (James VI of Scotland) pioneered a similar principle —a "war on terrorism". Succeeding to the throne following the death of Elizabeth I, James had raised hopes for a cool Britannia in which Catholic and Protestant might "just get along". Elizabeth's promise that she had no desire to create windows into men's souls rang hollow amid the horrible executions of Edmund Campion and the poet Robert Southwell. Elizabeth maintained a perpetual state of fear exploited expertly by spymaster Sir Frances Walsingham.

Many threats against the Queen were real but in the tragic case of Mary, Queen of Scots, the line between terror and state-sponsored terrorism was blurred. Walsingham's network of spies most certainly entrapped Mary, Queen of Scots. Of course Mary coveted Elizabeth's throne —but merely coveting was not a crime. Walsingham would require an agent provocateur to lure Mary into the plot. That is among the real dangers of dictatorship. No one is safe.

James I, like George W. Bush more recently, claimed that God had revealed to him the details of what is now called the "Gunpowder Plot". Sure enough, there was presumably enough gunpowder to blow up Parliament and it was found just where God told James it would be. In a recent BBC series, Michael Woods reported that the gun powder was traced to the government's own stores. "We dinna need the Papists now!", James said. History's first "cool Britannia" came to end as a new era of government repression and surveillance began.

When memories of World War II were still fresh, George Orwell would write 1984 —a story set amid a totalitarian state in which the state spies on its own citizens and, in doing so, wields total control. The spying is justified because the state wages a perpetual war, which may or may not be real. Orwell's work is, of course, a damning indictment of totalitarianism but it could as easily be a blueprint for the designs of an unscrupulous dictator-wannabe!

Perhaps it was.

A valuable resource:
'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

America de-hypnotizes itself and the GOP runs scared

Bush is hanging on to majorities in only three of the so-called "Red" States. Clearly —the nation has turned against Bush and with him —the GOP. At least one article I encountered stated that people don't just dislike Bush —they hate him.

The Washington Post still puts Bush's approval rating at 33% but other polls, presumably more recent, put Bush in the upper 20's, his latest low in an overall downward trend. Given his no win position on every important issue and given the public's "wrong track, right track" responses, Bush has no where to go but ever downward.

Republican Leadership Approval Hits All-Time Low

By Richard Morin and Dan Balz

Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 16, 2006; 5:36 PM

Public confidence in Republican governance has plunged to the lowest levels of the Bush presidency, with Americans saying they now trust Democrats by wide margins to deal with Iraq, gasoline prices, immigration and more, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll that underscores the fragility of the GOP's grip on power six months before the midterm elections.

Dissatisfaction with the administration's policies in Iraq has overwhelmed other issues as the source of President Bush's and the Republican's problems. The survey suggests that this increasingly pessimistic mood about the direction of the country -- 69 percent said the nation is now off track -- as well as the Republican Party and congressional incumbents have dramatically improved the chances of Democrats to register significant gains in November.

Democrats are now favored to handle all 10 issues measured in the Post-ABC News poll. The survey also shows a clear majority of the public (56 percent) saying they would prefer to see Democrats in control of Congress after the November elections. Only a third want the GOP to remain in the majority. Nearly three times as many Americans say they will use the elections to express opposition to the president (30 percent) than to show support for him (12 percent)...
There is no good news for Bush on the horizon. Already, his deployment of National Guard to Southwest U.S. borders has earned for Bush and his gang the term "Mayberry Machievellis". Consistent with Bush's record, the move is seen to be mere PR. What, after all, are National Guard expected to do? Shoot people? Do we want a border war with Mexico aimed primarily at civilians?

More ominously, there is talk of using "drones" to patrol the U.S./Mexican border. Where will that slippery slope take us? Will drones one day patrol our deteriorating neighborhoods, namely, the ones made poorer by GOP economic policies? Imagine drones patrolling inner cities in search of "drug dealers" or "terrorists" —"terrorists" being whomever disagrees with the Bush or the GOP!

Another issue has figured most prominently in Bush's precipitous downfall: Iraq. Iraq is the tragic story of a country in which hundreds of thousands of civilians died so that Bush —equipped with an obviously phony cod piece —could look "good" landing on an aircraft carrier.

The pulling down of Saddam's statue —now exposed to have been a planned photo-op —was the last good news to come out of Iraq. No good news can ever be expected from that tragic part of the world as long as the U.S. remains there to make "terrorism" worse by inspiring increased resistance to Bush's illegal occupation of that sovereign nation. One wonders: instead of attacking Iraq which had nothing to do with 911, why didn't Bush go after Bin Laden? But, as Alexander Cockburn correctly writes: Bush was offered Bin Laden and Blew It.

According to OpEd News people's poll, Bush is whipped on all the big issues.
2nd OpEdNews/Zogby People's Poll; Censure, Bush Lies, Stolen Election, Nuking Iran, Impeaching Cheney, PA Senate Race

One of the most interesting findings is the fact that some old news is comming back to haunt Bush. That is the opinion of a majority of viewers of every news network except fox: The 2004 Election Was Stolen.

It's not just the fact that the war against Iraq is going badly that is hurting Bush. 52% polled by OpEd News say Bush LIED in order to justify the war.

A growing number of Americans —now up to 50% —are beginning to question Bush's "official conspiracy theory" about the events of 911. This group is clearly unhappy with the lack of investigation and/or Bush efforts to block investigations following the tragic events. This group favors a new investigation.

Additional resources:
'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission


The quiet before a constitutional storm

Things are eerily quiet amid speculation that the White House may have hoaxed Jason Leopold with regard to the Karl Rove indictment story. I still expect a Rove indictment; Leopold will be vindicated. Obviously, Fitzgerald is not done. This is, after all, a man who differs 180 degrees from the loudmouth demagogue: Kenneth Starr.[ See: Jason Leopold update on Rove Indictment Story ]

In the meantime, I found this in the archives —a blockbuster that has been all but forgotten.

Source to Stephanopoulos: President Bush Directly Involved In Leak Scandal

Near the end of a round table discussion on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this bomb:

Definitely a political problem but I wonder, George Will, do you think it’s a manageable one for the White House especially if we don’t know whether Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments but if he is able to show as a source close to this told me this week, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions.

This would explain why Bush spent more than an hour answering questions from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. It would also fundamentally change the dynamics of the scandal.

President Bush could no longer claim he was merely a bystander who wants to “get to the bottom of it.” As Stephanopoulos notes, if Bush played a direct role it could make this scandal completely unmanageable.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the video.
One is tempted to speculate that Fitzgerald may be playing for the trifecta: indictments against Rove, Cheney, and Bush himself.

It would be nothing short of a judicial coup d'etat! Truly historic. Here's a timely update from Savant at

The Perfect Political Storm: Bush-Cheney On The Brink Of Implosion

As the Abramoff, DeLay and Cunningham scandals grind on and the body count of disgraced or indicted Bushites grows, the White House understands that the moment of truth is at hand. They face problems from all directions now. Before Katrina, Bush still held the high ground on those most important of all issues for a President, basic trust and credibility. With every new scandal and all the many examples of incompetence and bad public policy, Bush’s approval ratings have sunk to even lower than the most pessimistic pundits predicted last fall. For the last 2 months the President has been in “free fall.” The immigration speech didn’t help him.

In the meantime, the story of Cheney’s involvement in the outing of Valerie Plame has become stranger and more interesting. Evidence subpoenaed by Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, shows that Cheney wrote cryptic notes on Joseph Wilson’s NYTimes op-ed; asking, “who sent him to Niger?” Was Cheney telling Libby to discredit and “get” Wilson? Or, were his comments just a representation of the Vice President’s random curiosity? In any event, Cheney is now in the position of becoming a key witness in the Libby case. That development means that the case will almost certainly be settled with some kind of plea bargain after the coming November election. Neither Libby nor the White House wants to force Cheney to testify under oath in a criminal trial. It’s the “under oath” part that is problematic for the Vice President: Cheney’s regard for the truth is not the stuff of legend! NO ONE wants him to have to testify in open court.

Then there is Iraq. Everyday is another horror. Everyday more Iraqis die. Everyday more American soldiers and civilian contractors die. There appears to be no path to peace. Add to this mess, the President’s immigration proposal to use the already frazzled and stretched National Guard as a kind of militant logistical force on the border with Mexico, and you have a very grim prospect for increasing the administration’s popularity. Finally, the conduct of foreign policy with Iran is a joke. Unfortunately, it is a dangerous joke. Bill Maher got it right last Friday when he said: “The best thing Bush can do is go to his ranch and stay there. I’d sum it up this way ... Please President Bush, just don’t touch anything!” ...
Some additional resources:
'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators

Jason Leopold, writing in reports that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than half the day Friday with attorneys for Karl Rove. During the meeting, he served the attorneys with indictments charging Rove with perjury and lying to investigators in connection with the famous leak that "outed" CIA NOC, Valerie Plame. Fizgerald has given Rove 24 hours to get his affairs in order —presumably before arrest.

According to various sources, the charges against Rove will include perjury and lying to investigators about " and when Rove discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative". The charges are expected to deal with whether or not Rove shared that information with reporters, in effect, blowing Plame's CIA cover. The entire scandal has often been referred to as "treasongate".

Leopold cites sources close to the as saying that Fitzgerald is likely to add obstruction of justice —a more serious charge —to the list of crimes attributed to Rove.

Stay tuned. Rove will sing like a canary. He may even say that he was authorized to leak Plame's name by Bush himself. Bush may even claim that if he authorizes it, it's legal.

With any luck, Bush himself will be indicted. With a bit more luck, we will eventually learn of a conspiracy —cooked up in the White House —to commit treason by subverting the CIA and undermining our national security. Contrary to GOP kool-aid, Plame was a NOC. Outing her for political revenge subverts national security. I submit to this forum that not even the President has that kind of authority. The deliberate subversion of national security, i.e. endangering the lives of American citizens for political revenge, is treason —even if the President does it, even if the President tells himself that's its OK. We don't work for Bush; Bush works for US.

The Bush administration's handling of this case is especially egregious in that Plame would never have been "outed" had not her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson, told the truth about the lies Bush told to get us into the quagmire in Iraq.

Europeans and the rest of the world "saw through" Bush from the get go. Americans however, hyponotized by the events of 911, have been longer seeing through the facade of fraud, lies, incompetence, criminality, and now —the very real possibility that a conspiracy to betray the nation was cooked up inside the White House itself.

Bush is increasingly isolated; the following by Mike Whitney in the Italian website, uruknet, has summed it all up succinctly:

Mike Whitney: Starting over when Bush is gone

Big Brother Bush has finally descended into the hell of public scorn and degradation. The once-mighty George 2, the "War President", who towered over the global landscape after 9-11, has slumped into disrepute with the popularity-meter resting on empty.

Oh dear.

There’s no place to hide now. 6 years of demagoguery and deception have smashed the Orwellian façade and fueled the public rage. The country is on tender-hooks; one paltry incident away from a citizen revolt and massive political upheaval.

Don’t believe it? The fury of the masses is silently brewing just below the surface. The specter of violence is quite real.

Bush’s popularity is now somewhere below Nixon’s and just above venereal disease; the perfect spot for a draft-dodging poseur whose bravado cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis. ...

'Toons by Dante Lee; use only with permission