Wednesday, March 31, 2004
A Year Later, Chimp_junta Admits "Friendly Fire" Killed 18 Marines In March '03
Iraqis Burn Hated Occupiers Corpses as QUAGMIRE Gets Deeper
Gene Lyons from Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2004
If nothing else, Bill Clinton definitely put the right man in charge of fighting al-Qa’ida. Evidently, the Bush administration once thought so, too. On the morning of 9/11, it was Richard Clarke who ran the White House Situation Room while almost everybody else ran for bomb shelters, and Air Force One flew hither and yon until conditions were safe enough for the president to return to Washington. During the most perilous day in recent American history, Clarke and several colleagues—who’d been war-gaming terrorist scenarios, drawing up disaster response protocols and warning a complacent White House that something terrible was about to happen—essentially became the U.S. government. They handled all communications, grounded civilian aircraft, closed the nation’s borders, shut down its ports and notified the nervous Russians that putting the U. S military on its highest state of alert in 30 years didn’t portend a nuclear attack. This is the guy Dick Cheney says was "out of the loop." He ought to know better than to trifle with Clarke. Intense and abrasive, he’s served four presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan, and has a reputation as a fierce bureaucratic infighter.
After resigning in frustration, Clarke clearly went to school on the Bush team, somewhat as he once studied Osama bin Laden. Understanding that George W. Bush’s main political asset was his carefully crafted image as a decisive leader in the "war on terror," Clarke watched the administration vilify one critic after another.
Everybody who questioned invading Iraq, a secular, oil-rich Arab police state, instead of fighting al-Qa’ida, a stateless band of religious fanatics, got it in the back: former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame, former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. All had their reputations tarnished, their honesty assailed, even their patriotism questioned. There are no facts in Bush World, only motives.
Knowing that his book, "Against All Enemies," would depict a White House that dismissed terrorism as a Clintonera obsession, reacted passively to warnings of an impending al-Qa’ida strike during the summer of 2001, then did precisely as bin Laden wished by attacking Iraq without finishing the job in Afghanistan, Clarke clearly anticipated the administration’s counterattack.
Over the past two weeks, he’s singlehandedly made the Bush White House look like chumps, anticipating their every move and outmaneuvering the GOP smear machine. Accustomed to bullying adversaries into silence, the White House has made one tactical blunder after another. The result has been a political disaster.
After Clarke’s book depicted Bush on Sept. 12, 2001, urging him to pin 9/11 on Saddam Hussein (the FBI and CIA fingered the hijackers as al-Qa’ida operatives almost immediately), an aide to Condi Rice told "60 Minutes" it never happened. Problem was, Clarke had witnesses. Evidently, the only party to the conversation who’d forgotten it was the president himself. The White House changed its story. Rice now alibis that Bush’s suspicions were justified.
Next, Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn, all but charged Clarke with perjury on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Frist asserted that earlier testimony he subsequently admitted not reading differed from what Clarke told the 9/11 Commission last week. Fine, Clarke responded on "Meet the Press." "I would welcome it being declassified," he said, "but not just a little line here or there. Let’s declassify all six hours of my testimony."
He challenged Rice to let her testimony before the 9/11 Commission be made public, too. Also his e-mails and memos to and from her office. Those would have the embarrassing effect of proving that the counter-terrorist policies the Bush White House adopted in September 2001 were virtually identical to strategies he’d developed at then-President Clinton’s urging.
Pressed by Tim Russert to justify portraying Clinton as far more responsive to the terrorist threat than Bush in his book, Clarke was characteristically blunt: "Well, he did something, and President Bush did nothing prior to Sept. 11." " Against All Enemies" pulls no punches. Clark candidly assesses the Monica Lewinsky scandal’s debilitating impact upon Clinton’s ability to fight al-Qa’ida. "Like most of his advisors," he writes, "I was beyond mad that the President had not shown enough discretion or selfcontrol, although... I was angrier, almost incredulous, that the bitterness of Clinton’s enemies knew no bounds, that they intended to hurt not just Clinton but the country by turning the President’s personal problem into a global, public circus for their own political ends." Each time Clinton struck al-Qa’idaor warned against terrorism, Republicans accused him of trying to divert attention from his sexual sins. So, yeah, Clarke has an ax to grind. He clearly believes Republicans put party over country during the Clinton years, and that the Bush White House is doing it again. And so far, he’s getting the best of the argument.
• Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient of the National Magazine Award.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Chimp_junta's New War: The War On Clarke
Monday, March 29, 2004
Richard Clarke. A Hero. A Whistleblower. A Man Under Attack. Will Chimp_junta answer accusations? No.
...An array of Bush administration officials, congressional Republican leaders and right-wing media pundits have denounced Clarke’s account, without providing any refutation of its factual content. Nor have they provided any explanation of why the former assistant to the president for counter-terrorism, a registered Republican, would seek to destroy Bush’s political credibility on the issue upon which the president has largely based his reelection campaign—his leadership in the “war on terror.”...
...The revelations of Richard Clarke provide further evidence that something far more sinister and ominous than incompetence or a failure to “connect the dots” was behind the government’s failure to prevent the worst terrorist attack in US history.
Saturday, March 27, 2004
Body Armor? Chimp_junta says FAGGET ABOUT IT!
Chimp_junta Sends Rice on Propaganda Safari--But Never Requires Her to Tell the Truth
Right Wing Smear Machine Goes After The Widows and Orphans First...
Clarke is The Biggest Threat To Chimp_junta--Because He Speaks Truth to Power
The Faith-Based Presidency. Or Why This Bastard Must Lie All the Time
Are Israelis and US Intelligence Creating Bombings in Iraq to Blame on "Insurgents?"
The Know-Nothing Presidency
Friday, March 26, 2004
Iraq's missing weapons--Bush and the media share an inside joke
By Bill Van Auken
26 March 2004
President George W. Bush was the star performer at the 60th annual Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner held in Washington, DC Thursday night.
Bush spent ten minutes doing a standup comic routine for the assembled officials and members of the media elite. The running gag centered on a slide show presentation of pictures of the US president in awkward poses—peering under a table, leaning to look out a window, etc.
To appreciative laughter and applause from the poodles of the Washington press corps, Bush accompanied the pictures with a narration that consisted of: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere...Nope, no weapons over there... Maybe under here.”
Such banter between the powerful and those who cover them in the media generally consists of inside jokes, and this was no exception. Just over a year ago, the Bush administration launched its unprovoked war against Iraq, claiming it was an act of self-defense against a supposedly imminent danger posed by a vast stockpile of “weapons of mass destruction” in the hands of Saddam Hussein.
The inside joke is that this was a bald-faced lie, and everyone at the black-tie media affair where Bush put on his routine knew it.
On March 19, 2003, Bush announced his war in a televised address to the American people, declaring: “Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”
One year later, it is universally acknowledged that there were no such weapons in Iraq. Whatever such arms the Saddam Hussein regime once obtained—in large measure thanks to the support of Washington and London—had been destroyed more than a decade earlier. The administration’s allegations of a Saddam Hussein-Al Qaeda connection were likewise exposed as spurious.
The administration had come to power—as an increasing number of ex-Bush aides are now admitting—with the intention of conquering Iraq and its vast oil reserves, and set about finding a pretext for carrying out a war of aggression.
The media willingly obliged by parroting the government’s charges and floating one false story after another, many of them based on the self-serving fabrications of Iraqi exiles. No serious attempt was made by any of the major media outlets to subject the administration’s claims about Iraqi WMD to critical scrutiny. Instead, both broadcast news and the print media functioned as semi-official organs of war propaganda.
That is why the tuxedoed correspondents and media personalities present for Bush’s performance could so easily share in the laughter.
The Democratic Party was also in on the joke from the outset. Leading Democratic politicians—including the party’s current presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts—assured with their votes that the administration received authorization for launching its war. Now Kerry claims he was “misled” and he had truly believed that the likes of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld would only choose war as a “last resort.” That perhaps is the greatest joke of all.
He and other Democrats have happily joined in the debate about “intelligence failures,” when they all were well aware the administration was lying and had decided to invade Iraq for reasons that had nothing to do with WMD.
Bush’s humor—according to numerous accounts of those who have endured him up close and personal—is not known to be good-natured. The president is a bully and a sadist. There is generally someone who feels the string of serving as the butt of his jokes.
At whose expense did he deliver his “funny” remarks about WMD?
The candidates are legion. There is first and foremost the people of Iraq. The phony US claims about weapons stockpiles were used to justify US aggression not just by the current administration, but its Democratic predecessor as well. They served as the principal pretext for maintaining a decade-long economic embargo that UN aid officials described as “genocidal.” The denial of essential food, medicines and supplies to maintain Iraq’s infrastructure is estimated to have cost 1 million lives, over half of them children.
Over the past year, the US war and occupation have killed and maimed tens of thousands more Iraqis and left the country in ruins.
Nearly 600 US soldiers have been killed in this war, while thousands more have returned from Iraq with grievous wounds, hundreds having lost arms, legs or eyes, while others have suffered brain injuries or severe psychological trauma. It seems doubtful that the families of these slain and wounded soldiers would find the president’s jokes all that amusing.
The day before Bush performed his comedy routine in Washington, Jill Kiehl attended a memorial service at a cemetery in Center Point, Texas, a town about 35 miles northwest of San Antonio. She was there with her ten-month-old son, Nathaniel, who was born seven weeks after his father, James Kiehl, was killed in Iraq. The 22-year-old soldier was one of the 11 members of the 507th Maintenance Company who lost their lives in an ambush after their convoy took a wrong turn in the southern Iraq city of Nassiriya. The incident was the bloodiest in the initial invasion and is largely remembered for the capture and then recovery of Jessica Lynch.
“The evidence that’s starting to come out now feels like he (Bush) was misleading us,” Kiehl told reporters as she stood by her husband’s grave. “It’s almost as though he had things fixed so it would look like he needed to go to war.”
Describing herself as “bitter” about Bush’s decision to declare war on Iraq, she added: “It’s upsetting that he (Bush) would have lied to America to get what he wanted. In a way, it’s like he used people. That’s how I feel. I think the reasons for going over there were bogus and misleading.”
The vast majority of Americans would not have found Bush’s “comedy” routine entertaining. It took a special, fawning audience composed of those in the media who served as collaborators in the mass deception used to drag the American people into war.
For American working people who live well outside the incestuous loop of government officials and media figures represented at the Washington dinner, the launching of an illegal war on the basis of lies is a matter of deadly seriousness, and, in not a few cases, personal tragedy.
DOJ Asked FBI Translator To Change Pre 9-11 Transcripts to Cover Their Asses
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Why Would Anti-Terror Expert Dick Clarke Apologize so Profusely when Chimp_junta will not do so?
Howard Dean or Weepin' Joe? Who Really Won the Democratic Nomination?
Monday, March 22, 2004
Tell Truth About Chimp_Junta at Your Peril
Spain In the Aftermath: Chimp_junta Ass_Kissers Need Not Apply
Sunday, March 21, 2004
Environmental Groups Duck Illegal Immigration Disaster in California & Elsewhere
...Ben Zuckerman, a Harvard-educated UCLA professor of physics and astronomy, serves on the board of directors for both CAPS and the Sierra Club. "I have thought quantitatively through my whole career in the sciences, and I just look at the numbers, the extrapolations of the current trends, and they're just horrific both for the United States and for California," he says. Zuckerman advocates immigration reductions, but in doing so he takes pains to make clear that he doesn't speak for the Sierra Club, which officially abandoned that position in 1996. In the past decade, most other U.S. environmental groups have backed away from the issue as well—the "deafening silence," Zuckerman calls it. It's a paradoxical shift given that human population growth underlies virtually every environmental problem...
Democrats Don't Need to Hype Issues. Bush is Enough of a Crook That Honesty From Dems Will Cook his Ass.
The Bush 9-11 Coverup: How He is Getting Away with it
The (Convenient) Death of a patriot--a Man Who Fought Diebold Voting Machines--For a Paper Trail
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Rachel Corrie, Crushed By Israeli Bulldozer. Now Come the Dogs of Wall Street to Nip at Her Corpse
Friday, March 19, 2004
Who Stuck the Stiletto in Howard Dean's Back?
John Pilger: The crime committed in our name
US May Be Unloading Phony WMD's to Iraq: Who The Fuck Cares? Not Our Media.
Taken for a Ride: How Chimp_junta became a Dick-tator_ship
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Contempt for Congress (washingtonpost.com)
Three Years After 9-11 The Fibber Keeps His Job
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Forest Service hired PR firm to sell Chimp_junta Clear-Cut-Logging ("Healthy Forests") Plan to Disbelievers
China: Censorship stepped up to target blogging
Rep. Henry Waxman's just-released report Identifies 237 SPECIFIC LIES of Chimp_junt
On March 19, 2003, U.S. forces began military operations in Iraq. Addressing the nation about the purpose of the war on the day the bombing began, President Bush stated: “The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”
One year later, many doubts have been raised regarding the Administration’s assertions about the threat posed by Iraq. Prior to the war in Iraq, the President and his advisors repeatedly claimed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction that jeopardized the security of the United States. The failure to discover these weapons after the war has led to questions about whether the President and his advisors were candid in describing Iraq’s threat.
This database identifies 237 specific misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq made by these five officials in 125 public appearances in the time leading up to and after the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. The search options ... can be used to find statements by any combination of speaker, subject, keyword, or date.
Spain's Zapatero tells Chimp_junta to FUCK OFF
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
When Firefighters and "First Responders" Asked, Chimp_junta Said "Fuck You No One Home."
The Gadflyer:Getting Tough with the Right
Message to American "Journalists" and News Programs/Networks: WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU ANYMORE
Chimp_junta--Spinning Spanish Election and Running Scared
By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
16 March 2004
What goes up, sooner or later, comes down, and the downfall of the ruling centre-right party in Spain is further proof that George Bush is no exception to this immutable law of politics and of life.
Last year, almost everything went right for Mr Bush;not any longer. The failure to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the grim state of the jobs market in the United States and the unexpected aggressive performance of Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, have combined to push the President's approval rating down to 50 per cent. On top of this comes the stunning defeat for José Maria Aznar in Spain.
The repudiation by a major ally of Mr Bush's war in Iraq has come at the worst possible moment for him: just as the White House attempts to use the first anniversary of the invasion to justify its policies.
Spain, under its outgoing prime minister, was the third high-profile member of the so-called "coalition of the willing", after the Britain and the US. Mr Aznar took part in the tripartite eve-of-war Azores summit with Mr Bush and Tony Blair, while Spain was co-sponsor alongside the US and Britain of the failed Security Council resolution last March that would have put a United Nations imprimatur on the war.
Then, three days after the Madrid terrorist bombings for which Muslim groups increasingly appear responsible, Spain switched sides. The victory of the anti-war Socialist party in effect re-aligns Madrid with France and Germany, and leaves Italy and Poland, along with Britain, as the main European supporters of the war in Iraq.
Washington, meanwhile, must confront the grim fact that, for the first time, al-Qa'ida if it was behind the attacks has influenced, if not changed, the result of a democratic election in a major Western country.
Mr Bush called José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the incoming Prime Minister, yesterday to congratulate him, but there was no disguising the disappointment at the White House, for all its attempts to minimise the impact of what had happened. Two hours before the polls closed in Madrid, Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush's national security adviser, was on network television proclaiming her belief that "the Spanish people understand that they've had strong and good leadership in José Maria Aznar and his government".
Not only was that view quickly and harshly contradicted by the election result; so too was the Bush administration's assumption that a major terrorist attack in Europe would draw sceptical populations closer to Washington. In Spain, the opposite appears to have happened.
Spanish voters seem to have decided that being close to the US is a risky proposition. Some US officials said Mr Aznar's party may have paid the price for playing politics with the attacks by instantly and categorically blaming them on the more convenient target of the Basque organisation Eta, before the facts were known.
If his government had acknowledged from the outset that Islamic terrorism could also have been involved, the outcome might have been different, they said. But even that explanation may backfire against the White House, which for months has been facing accusations it manipulated pre-war data on Iraq's alleged WMD to justify a war which it was determined to wage whatever happened.
A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the intelligence failures, which is undergoing final editing, reportedly delivers a devastating verdict on the CIA's performance. Carl Levin, a Democratic member of the committee, said: "It's shocking. There has to be accountability."
The Spanish election outcome is a setback in domestic political terms too, as Mr Bush gears up for a re-election campaign that looks much trickier than it did a month ago. Most ominous of all, perhaps, is that the closely watched, "Is the country on the right track?" political barometer has shifted sharply against Mr Bush, with Americans saying by a 60 per cent to 39 per cent margin in a new Gallup poll yesterday that the US is headed in the wrong direction.
This finding came as the Bush administration was wheeling out every weapon of its own to present the Iraq war, on its first anniversary, as a success. The public relations blitz ranged from co-ordinated media appearances by Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, and other top officials to the presentation of evidence of the threat posed by Libya's erstwhile nuclear programme. It was abandoned, Washington contends, because Colonel Muammar Gaddafi concluded that, if he continued trying to develop a bomb, he would meet the same fate as Saddam Hussein.
This carefully marshalled case for the war is overshadowed by the events in Spain. Moreover, the White House PR offensive will be countered by demonstrations, culminating with what anti-war protest groups claim will be 200 events across the country on Saturday, the exact anniversary of the bombing raids on Baghdad that signalled the start of the war.
In a foretaste, peace activists and relatives of the 564 US troops who have died in Iraq held a vigil outside the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in northern Washington, before staging a silent protest in Lafayette Square, opposite the White House.
India: Work for American Banks & Computer Co.'s 90 hours/wk @$300...Love it Or Leave it!
Monday, March 15, 2004
The Damage Done--Photo Essay About Our War Heroes
The West was warned. Now it is paying the price of the 'war on terror'
By Robert Fisk
15 March 2004 "The Independent"
They had been warned. The Aznars and the Blairs and the Bushes had been told by those who were their allies - France and Germany and many others, not to mention the Arabs - that their crusade against al-Qa'ida could most cruelly rebound upon them. The Madrid bombings are not only a terrible revenge for Spain's participation in "part two" of the "war on terror" - the illegal invasion of Iraq - but a cruel and incrementally more painful attack on civilians by al-Qa'ida.
If America's neo-conservatives believe in the "war of civilisations", then so does al-Qa'ida: what other effect could the Madrid slaughter have in the West than to reinforce the notion - however preposterous historically - that Islam and the West were in conflict? Civilians are now to die in Europe as brutally as they have died in Bali and Tunisia and Istanbul and - let us, for a moment, see the world through another
prism - as they have been torn to pieces by our bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sources close to Osama bin Laden's organisation are puzzled about the strange message, supposedly from the attackers, which was printed in the Arabic language paper Al-Quds al-Arabi. It suggested that the initial response to Spain's involvement in Iraq was the attack on Italian troops in Kerbala - if real, it would surely have referred to the killing of seven Spanish intelligence officers near Hilla. Using a public statement to order its own "cells" to make more attacks does not show the
desperate discretion which al-Qa'ida normally shows in its communications.
But the arrests in Spain, the mobile phone calls, the sheer scale of the train bombings shows an al-Qa'ida as confident and ruthless as ever -and now resolved to attack in Europe. If the right foot fell in Istanbul and the left foot fell in Madrid, where, geographically, will the next right foot fall? We can take out an atlas and a ruler and work it out for ourselves.
I don't believe this is the Third World War. Nor is it a "war on terror". Nor is it a "war of civilisations". But our own leaders are wilfully leading us into a period of appalling suffering because they will not address the causes of injustice in the Islamic world.
Repeatedly, our leaders were told of the consequences of participation in America's Iraqi folly. They lied to us. They told us about weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist, about links between Iraq and 11 September 2001 that didn't exist. Now, trapped in Iraq, we are desperate to scuttle away, leaving behind us a half-trained force of collaboration police who will - supposedly - shed their blood for ours.
No, the murderers are the men who plant the bombs. The killers are those who kill - and that includes our pilots as well as their bombers. We don't want to kill civilians. But we know that our wars will do that, and death does not come more pleasantly, less painfully, because the victims are killed by the supposedly benevolent West rather than the supposedly cruel East. Now we are beginning to pay the price.
Did it really begin on 11 September 2001? No, it began long before. And no amount of weasel words, no amount of church warden sincerity can mask the degree to which we have been taken by our leaders into this insane conflict.
Copyright: The Independent. UK.
Filmmaker speaks about Guantanamo Bay and Aussie David Hicks, Jailed w/o Charges
Shameful Conditions at Guantanamo Bay for Prisoners Never Charged With Any Crime **UNAMERICAN ACTIVITIES BY CHIMP_JUNTA**
By Jamie Chapman
15 March 2004
A delegation of family members of European citizens being held in the American prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, traveled to the United States this week to publicize the detainees’ plight. Most of the approximately 650 captives have been held virtually incommunicado for two years or more, with no charges laid against them and no access to attorneys.
The relatives were accompanied by supporters, including prominent artists, who organized press conferences, including one following a march to the steps of the US Supreme Court in Washington DC, which is due to hear arguments on the legality of the Guantanamo detentions next month. They also conducted private visits with government officials and members of Congress, and held a public meeting on March 10 in New York City.
The US tour was organized by the recently founded Guantanamo Human Rights Commission (GHRC), based in Britain, with the co-sponsorship of the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Council of Churches, Amnesty International, and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which filed the case now before the Supreme Court.
Azmat Begg, father of British prisoner Moazzam Begg, delivered a letter to the White House about his son, stating, “He has [been] held captive for more than two years. In all this time, he has never been charged and tried. I do not ask for mercy, I ask for justice. Before mercy comes justice, and my son has been denied justice.”
The 36-year-old Moazzam was living with his wife and three children in Pakistan at the end of 2001 when he was rousted out of bed in the middle of the night, was forced into the trunk of a car and taken to a US detention center. He was later transferred to the notorious Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and ultimately sent to Guantanamo.
The elder Begg, a retired bank manager from Birmingham, England, told the New York meeting that he considered Moazzam the best of his five sons, because he was always seeking to help people in distress. He had gone to Afghanistan in June 2001, where he was helping to set up schools and drill water wells in remote villages. Presumably the US attack drove him across the border into Pakistan.
Azmat Begg said, “My son was not taken from the battlefield. Two Americans and two Pakistanis burst into his home and put him in the trunk of their car. His oldest daughter was eight. She understood something of what was going on, but the two younger ones were just terrified. Somehow Moazzam made a telephone call to me from the boot of the car. He said, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t worry about me.’ But he asked me to protect his wife and children.”
Azmat Begg told of receiving heavily censored letters sent from his son at Guantanamo, reporting that he had gone an entire year except for two weeks without seeing any natural light—not even the moon. Another letter stated, “I do not know what crime I am supposed to have committed. As a result, I am in a state of desperation and beginning to lose the fight against depression and hopelessness.”
The conditions of confinement in Guantanamo are designed to break the spirit of the prisoners, which is aimed at producing false confessions and guilty pleas. Azmat Begg and the other relatives are not asking for the unconditional release of their loved ones, but that they be returned to their home countries where, if there is evidence they have committed any crime, it can be heard in a proper court of law.
British Home Secretary David Blunkett scheduled a Washington visit at the same time as the GHRC tour. After the British government reached an agreement with the US that led to this week’s release of five British detainees, Blunkett claimed he would press for “a fair deal” for the four remaining UK citizens in Guantanamo. Before leaving, however, he told reporters that, rather than returning the prisoners to the UK for any trial, the evidence could best be tested in the US courts “in a way that it is very hard for us to do” because of “the way evidence was collected.” He was apparently referring to the illegal interrogations and lack of legal representation for over two years for those accused, which would make trials in Britain all but impossible.
The Blair government has been under considerable pressure to explain why it has been able to do so little to ensure due process for its citizens in Guantanamo Bay, even though its position as the most important US ally was supposed to give Britain special weight in its dealings with Washington. Moazzam Begg remains in Guantanamo, being one of the few singled out for trial by military tribunal, whose rules make it a kangaroo court.
Michael Ratner, president of the CCR, told the New York meeting that the timing of the release of the five British nationals served “to divert attention from what the Guantanamo Human Rights Commission is doing here.” He explained, “What’s happening in Guantanamo Bay is the first offshore concentration camp. The US is operating in an utterly lawless fashion, like a monarchy. For two and a half years, the prisoners have no lawyers and no family contact. This is our Devil’s Island. They think they can do anything they want.”
Ratner pointed to other locations, such as Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and US bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, where an unknown number of additional prisoners were being held incommunicado. He compared it to the disappearances carried out under General Augusto Pinochet in Chile. “It’s torturing the families,” he said.
Also participating on the US tour was Rabiye Kurnaz, whose 23-year-old son Murat (who was born in Germany but is a Turkish citizen due to the reactionary German laws of citizenship), has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. She has heard nothing of her son since receiving a postcard two years ago. “It’s very hard for me to stand this situation,” she said.
Her family attorney Bernhard Docke spoke at the New York meeting: “Everything is surreal. I don’t know my client. I cannot write, visit or contact him. Will it end tomorrow, or last a lifetime? This is like defending a phantom.” Docke continued, “German prosecutors say, ‘You can’t determine guilt without a fair trial.’ It is below the dignity of the United States, founded on the rule of law, to keep foreigners locked away in limbo. If there is any evidence, don’t you trust your courts? If there isn’t any evidence, why not let them go?”
The third relative participating on the tour was Aymen Sassi, a student from a suburb of the French city of Lyons. His older brother Nizar, 23, has been held captive by the Americans for 27 months. “That’s the length of time I haven’t seen my brother,” said Aymen. He was taking his parents’ place on the tour, since they were too ill to travel. “My father, his whole world collapsed when he heard the news” about Nizar being arrested, he said.
The French lawyer retained by the Sassi family, Jacques Dupres, also spoke about the difficulties trying to represent the Guantanamo detainees: “We don’t know why they are there. We don’t know when they were arrested or why. We cannot talk to them. I don’t know what I am supposed to do for them. The only rights we have here is to have no rights. The powers have decided that might makes right.”
In an earlier interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s The World Today, Dupres condemned the French government for being “quite indifferent about what’s happened in Guantanamo.”
The Bush administration has given a cold shoulder to the pleas of the Guantanamo relatives. National Security Council spokesman Scott McCormack said Monday about the detainees: “They’ve been designated as enemy combatants and are being treated consistent with international conventions and in a humane way.” In fact, the category “enemy combatant,” which has no definition in international law, was invented by the Bush administration in order to circumvent the established norms of the Geneva Conventions and other treaties.
Even the minimal demand of the parents to see their children has fallen on deaf ears.
ZIN DE DOKUMENTZ...VE CAN MAKE YOU ZIN DE DOKUMENTZ YOU LITTLE TERRORIST ARAB BASTARD
Three Britons released from Guantanamo Bay after two years of imprisonment have told of the conditions they endured as terror suspects.
The three - Ruhal Ahmed, 22, Asif Iqbal, 22, and Shafiq Rasul, 26, all from Tipton in the West Midlands - returned to Britain last week.
They had been captured in Afghanistan, suspected of links to the Taleban, and were taken to the US camp in Cuba.
The three told UK newspapers they were often beaten by US troops.
All the time I was kneeling with a guy standing on the backs of my legs and another holding a gun to my head
Ruhal Ahmed. Their claims of abuse come after similar descriptions by two other released Britons.
But US Secretary of State Colin Powell has dismissed claims of mistreatment, saying Americans "don't abuse people who are in our care".
Mr Iqbal said that while being held by US troops in Afghanistan they were made to kneel bent double, with their foreheads touching the ground.
"If your head wasn't touching the floor or you let it rise up a little they put their boots on the back of your neck and forced it down. We were kept like that for two or three hours."
Mr Rasul said he was also kicked, punched and knelt on by troops.
The Tipton men said they were repeatedly questioned by British and American interrogators.
They said they endured three months of solitary confinement in Camp Delta's isolation block last summer after they were wrongly identified by the Americans as having been pictured in a video tape of a meeting in Afghanistan between Osama bin Laden and the leader of the 11 September hijackers Mohamed Atta.
(It is not a resort area in Guantanamo Bay, but at the same time, we did not abuse the individuals who were down there ...Colin Powell )
Mr Ahmed said during an interrogation session in Afghanistan with an MI5 officer and another official who said he was from the Foreign Office, "all the time I was kneeling with a guy standing on the backs of my legs and another holding a gun to my head."
But Mr Powell, told ITV's Tonight: "We have watched Guantanamo Bay very carefully, knowing of the interest of a number of nations, including the United Kingdom, and knowing that we have responsibilities under the Geneva Convention, and because we are Americans, we don't abuse people who are in our care."
Mr Powell said it was "not in the American tradition to treat people in that manner" and the US had followed the Geneva Convention.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman told BBC News Online it was "looking into" the allegations and the UK had done "more than any other country" for the detainees' welfare.
For the flight from Afghanistan to Cuba, Mr Rasul said they had their heads shaved, body cavities searched, were dressed in orange overalls, given goggles and earmuffs, and chained.
"The only thing that relieved the sensory deprivation and occupied me for the 22-hour flight was that I was in serious pain," Mr Rasul told the Observer. "The guards told me to go to sleep but the belt was digging into me - when I finally got to Cuba I was bleeding. I lost feeling in my hands for the next six months."
He said initially he was scared of the interrogations, but changed his opinion when a young interrogator asked him: "If I wanted to get hold of surface-to-air missiles in Tipton, where would I go?"
"Towards the end the questions just seemed stupid," he said.
Mr Rasul said before they were released, the FBI tried to persuade the men to sign a form admitting links with terrorism. None of them did so. (ZIN DE DOKUMENTZ...VE CAN MAKE YOU ZIN DE DOKUMENTZ YOU LITTLE TERRORIST ARAB BASTARD)
The claims by the trio echo previous claims of poor treatment made by two other released Britons - Tarek Dergoul, 26, from east London, and Jamal Udeen, 37, from Manchester.
Four Britons remain at Guantanamo Bay: Feroz Abbasi, 23, from Croydon, south London, Moazzam Begg, 36, from Sparkhill, Birmingham; Martin Mubanga, 29, from north London, and Richard Belmar, 23, from Maida Vale, London.
Story from BBC NEWS:<---Link
Published: 2004/03/14 16:10:39 GMT
© BBC MMIV
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Chronicle: Insight: Portraits of Sacrifice--Photos of the Fallen Americans In Chimp_junta's Grab for Oil
You Gotta Love Her
...While most Americans, perhaps including that former Yale cheerleader and elusive National Guardsman George W. Bush and, I suspect, most Vietnam veterans, would like to forget the past, the Vietnam War is about to be relived this election season.
Senator John Kerry, a veteran of both the war and the antiwar movement, is causing this national Vietnam flashback. The right-wing attack dogs are on the hunt. Newt Gingrich calls Kerry an "antiwar Jane Fonda liberal," while Internet warriors post fabricated images of Kerry and Fonda at a 1971 antiwar rally. Welcome to dirty tricks in the age of Photoshop.
The attempted smearing of Kerry through the Fonda "connection" is a Republican attempt to suppress an honest reopening of our unfinished exploration of the Vietnam era.
Neoconservatives and the Pentagon have good reason to fear the return of the Vietnam Syndrome. The label intentionally suggests a disease, a weakening of the martial will, but the syndrome was actually a healthy American reaction to false White House promises of victory, the propping up of corrupt regimes, crony contracting and cover-ups of civilian casualties during the Vietnam War that are echoed today in the news from Baghdad. Young John Kerry's 1971 question--"How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a mistake?"--is more relevant than ever.
Ted Rall - FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE SHOCK JOCKS
The Censoring of Howard Stern
...We tell our kids that America learned from McCarthyism, but a new version of the Red Scare is being born in this new century. Powerbrokers connected to what Hillary Clinton clumsily called the "vast right-wing conspiracy"--the Bush-Cheney's neoconservative war profiteers, the Christian Right and their media allies at Fox News and Clear Channel Communications--operate out in the open. Their goal: to crush personalities whose influence and eloquence threatens their plan to recast the United States in their white, heterosexual, pro-business image.
Saturday, March 13, 2004
Coalition Forces (USA & GB) Unloading WMD in IRAQ!!!!!!!!!!!!
But we have learned that NO Trick is too Dirty for the Bush Family Crime Empire...Read this and YOU decide:
U.S. Unloading WMD in Iraq
TEHRAN (Mehr News Agency) – Over the past few days, in the wake of the bombings in Karbala and the ideological disputes that delayed the signing of Iraq’s interim constitution, there have been reports that U.S. forces have unloaded a large cargo of parts for constructing long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the southern ports of Iraq.
A reliable source from the Iraqi Governing Council, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Mehr News Agency that U.S. forces, with the help of British forces stationed in southern Iraq, had made extensive efforts to conceal their actions.
He added that the cargo was unloaded during the night as attention was still focused on the aftermath of the deadly bombings in Karbala and the signing of Iraq’s interim constitution.
The source said that in order to avoid suspicion, ordinary cargo ships were used to download the cargo, which consisted of weapons produced in the 1980s and 1990s.
He mentioned the fact that the United States had facilitated Iraq’s WMD program during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq and said that some of the weapons being downloaded are similar to those weapons, although international inspectors had announced Saddam Hussein’s Baath regime had destroyed all its WMD.
The source went on to say that the rest of the weapons were probably transferred in vans to an unknown location somewhere in the vicinity of Basra overnight.
“Most of these weapons are of Eastern European origin and some parts are from the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. The U.S. obtained them through confiscations during sales of banned arms over the past two decades,” he said.
This action comes as certain U.S. and Western officials have been pointing out the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been discovered in Iraq and the issue of Saddam’s trial begins to take center stage.
In addition, former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has emphasized that the U.S. and British intelligence agencies issued false reports on Iraq leading to the U.S. attack.
Meanwhile, the suspicious death of weapons inspector David Kelly is also an unresolved issue in Britain.
------Occupation Forces Official Claims to Have No Information About Transfer of WMD to Iraq -------
A security official for the coalition forces in Iraq said that he has not received any information about the unloading of weapons of mass destruction in ports in southern Iraq.
Shane Wolf told the Mehr News Agency that the occupation forces have received no reports on such events, but said he hoped that the coalition forces would find the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction one day.
Coalition forces and inspectors have so far been unable to find any Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. invaded Iraq under the pretext that Iraq possessed a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Feds want ability to install wiretaps on Internet
Molly Ivans: Texas' Well-Travelled Governor, Cap'n Goodhair and No School District Left Standing
AUSTIN, Texas -- Gosh, we are having such a swell time here in Texas. For starters, once again the speaker of the Texas House is under investigation by a grand jury. We're so proud. We have nothing against this guy personally, we're just rooting for an indictment as a matter of Texas tradition. This would make five out of the last six House speakers indicted for one thing or another, and you must admit, that's some record.
(As a matter of strict accuracy, I should note that there was one speaker in there who was not indicted, but rather was shot to death by his wife. However, she was indicted -- although not convicted, because in Texas we recognize public service when we see it.)
Also adding to the je ne sais quoi at the old corral is our only governor, Cap'n Goodhair Perry. Cap'n Goodhair, who is from Haskell and went to school at College Station -- both decidedly landlocked -- has shown an unexpectedly nautical flair of late. Combining his hitherto unknown passion for the briny deep with the exigencies of the school funding crisis, Cap'n Rick decided the thorny problem could best be resolved at sea. He decided to hold a seminar on school finance at Abaco, in the Bahamas, aboard a 54-foot yacht.
This "working retreat" over President's Day weekend was paid for by the governor's campaign and "private donations." Abaco is also noted for great bonefishing. Speaker Tom Craddick, who was unable to go because of recent neck surgery, didn't get the word about the "working" part, and his spokesman said: "He didn't feel like scuba diving with a neck brace. There isn't anything he could have done with that neck brace." Such as, for instance, discuss school financing.
Scouring the nation for the finest financial minds of his generation to go along on the retreat, Cap'n Goodhair took two major donors, James Leininger and James Nau, with wives, and Grover Norquist, the anti-tax nut from Washington. And there they sailed on the good ship "Voucher Plan."
Actually, I just made up the boat's name, but it seems apt, since Leininger is a passionate advocate of school vouchers and has given literally millions to state candidates in hopes of getting them to vote for that very thing. Brooke Rollins, head of the extremely right-wing Texas Public Policy Foundation, largely funded by Leininger, was also along.
Norquist is just the sailor you want in the crew when contemplating the disaster about to engulf the public schools. He is behind the national anti-tax movement, and 38 Texas Republican legislators have now signed his pledge to never, ever raise taxes, without exceptions, including for catastrophic emergencies. Norquist himself is a noted contributor to the sweet science of state governance, saying last year: "We are trying to change the tones in the state capitols and turn them toward bitter nastiness and partisanship. ... Bipartisanship is just another name for date rape."
Now, I don't want to be alarmist, but there is a new study out called "Voucher Veneer: the Deeper Agenda to Privatize Public Education" by People for the American Way. Unfortunately, all the authors had to do was read think-tank papers and policy proposals normally circulated only among the right wing to notice that vouchers are simply a stalking horse. Not that it takes a lot of insight to realize that a plan consisting of, "Let's take a lot of the tax money that goes to public schools and give it to private schools, instead," is not a plan designed to help public education.
Texas is the National Laboratory for Bad Government, and think what a splendid opportunity we now have to completely ruin our public schools by doing absolutely nothing. Our schools are funded by the Robin Hood plan adopted in 1993, which arrives at an approximate level of fairness between rich and poor districts by taking money from rich districts and giving them to poor ones.
Local property taxes have skyrocketed, while state lawmakers complacently brag they haven't raised taxes. The state's share of the cost of public education has dropped from 52 percent in 1980 to 38 percent today. The state, which has an infinitely larger lax base than local districts, may not have raised state taxes, but they have sure as a by-God raised your local taxes.
This cannot continue. Over half of the school districts are already within 1 percent of the top tax rate allowed by state law. They can raise local taxes no further. They are cutting programs, and firing teachers and administrators. More and more are applying for waivers to get their districts exempted from the state requirements that there be no more than 22 pupils per teacher in the first elementary grades, and that was the great triumph of years of school reform efforts. As we have all learned over the long struggle to improve the schools, smaller class size is the one improvement we know works no mater what the other variables are.
We need at least $10 billion in new taxes to fix this without harming the schools. The alternative is a $2 billion fix patch on the old system that will further decay the schools. So, attention all Americans, the case study beings, right here in Texas, home of so much bad public policy: how to destroy the public schools.
Gov. Goodhair is also showing an unexpected flair for international diplomacy and is now rectifying our long neglect of the important area of Italo-Texan relations. Previous governors have been direly remiss, so Cap'n Goodhair is off on a 10-day "working trip" to Italy. These "working trips" must be taking a terrible toll on the poor man. Besides, when George W. Bush became president, all those snotty Easterners made fun of him for being such a yay-hoo that he'd never even been abroad. They won't be able to say that about President Goodhair.
To find out more about Molly Ivins and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2004 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
America Still Losing at Least One Soldier a Day in Iraq. Where's the Press? Where's the OUTRAGE??
Chimp_junta's Xtian Ideology Shuts Down Most Important Scientific Instrument of Mankind
By Patrick Martin
13 March 2004
In what can only be described as an act of cultural vandalism, the Bush administration has decided to halt scheduled maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope—perhaps the most important scientific instrument in the history of mankind—and allow it to shut down as early as 2006.
NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe confirmed the decision in remarks to reporters at NASA headquarters March 11, after the release of a letter from Admiral Harold Gehman, chairman of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which took no clear position on whether the resumption of space shuttle flights next year would make it possible to service the orbiting telescope.
Gehman’s letter to Senator Barbara Mikulski (Democrat of Maryland), did not come down for or against a mission to Hubble, noting that the mission “increases the risk” to the shuttle, but suggesting that “only a deep and rich study of the entire gain/risk equation can answer the question of whether an extension of the life of the wonderful Hubble telescope is worth the risks involved, and that is beyond the scope of this letter.”
O’Keefe reiterated a decision originally announced January 16, two days after Bush’s speech proposing that the US space program refocus on manned missions to the Moon and Mars over the next several decades. A planned December 2003 maintenance visit to Hubble was canceled as a result of the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia disaster, but a new NASA schedule had reset the mission to Hubble for 2006, a year after the proposed resumption of shuttle flights.
While O’Keefe left open a little room to maneuver, in the face of mounting protests from the scientific community, he suggested that only “new ideas” such as the development of robotic spacecraft that could carry out the routine maintenance work now performed by astronauts would make it possible to save the Hubble. “Letting it go dark” is “the most unpopular decision I could have made,” he admitted, but he added, “I don’t expect the facts to change.”
The Hubble, launched in 1990, has been the greatest achievement of the otherwise troubled NASA space shuttle program. The huge observatory was placed in orbit by a shuttle, and then successfully repaired in 1993 by shuttle astronauts who were able to correct flaws in its optical systems. Since then, Hubble has provided an unprecedented quality and quantity of data on astronomical objects ranging from comets to the furthest reaches of space.
The space telescope has a planned life of 20 years, after which it was to be replaced by a new and more powerful orbiting observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, now set for launching in 2011—also via space shuttle. This planned lifespan, however, assumes that astronauts regularly service Hubble, replacing batteries and gyroscopes as they wear out. Without this maintenance, Hubble will likely cease operating in late 2007 or early 2008, according to officials at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) in Baltimore, which operates the observatory under contract from NASA. There is a significant chance that shutdown could take place even earlier, some time in 2006, if one of the three gyroscopes stops functioning.
O’Keefe said that he canceled the mission purely out of concern for the safety of shuttle astronauts who would be performing the maintenance. He claimed that a visit to Hubble would violate the conditions for the planned resumption of space shuttle flights. All new launches are to place the shuttle in orbit to dock with the International Space Station, giving the astronauts a safe haven and access to another return vehicle if there is a recurrence of the damage to heat-shield tiles which is believed to be the cause of the Columbia disaster.
NASA’s announcement produced an uproar among scientists and space enthusiasts. Bruce Margon, associate director for science at STSI, told the Washington Post: “The overwhelming amount of general public comment we’ve gotten is just sort of shock. ‘If it’s working,’ people ask, ‘how can you possibly shut it off?’ I have to say I don’t have an answer to that.”
Engineers at the Johnson Space Center criticized O’Keefe’s decision in reports that were subsequently leaked to the media and posted on the Internet. They argued that there was no difference, from the standpoint of safety, between a mission to the space station and a mission to Hubble. On March 3 they were joined by eight congressmen—six Democrats and two Republicans—who introduced a resolution urging NASA to refer the Hubble decision to an independent panel of experts.
Engineers, scientists and former astronauts have all expressed the concern that the cancellation of Hubble is based on financial concerns, because of budgetary constraints imposed on NASA by the Bush administration, not safety. NASA has been ordered to shift most of its budget to the preparation of future manned missions, while pulling the plug on many planned unmanned missions whose purpose is purely scientific.
The Hubble Space Telescope was the realization of a longstanding effort by astronomers to place a telescope in orbit, free of the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere. Placed in a stable orbit more than 350 miles above the Earth, Hubble has carried out more detailed and comprehensive observation of the cosmos than all previous Earth-bound telescopes combined.
It is impossible to adequately summarize here the new knowledge obtained through Hubble over the past decade. But a few of its most notable accomplishments include:
* dating the age of the Big Bang, the origin of the current stage of the universe, to 14 billion years ago;
* observing quasars and confirming they are the nuclei of distant galaxies;
* proving the existence of black holes billion times the mass of the sun;
* confirming the existence of “dark matter” and “dark energy,” which are fundamental to current concepts in cosmology.
The latest Hubble triumph was announced March 9, as scientists at STSI and several universities said they used two Hubble instruments, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS), to locate the oldest stars and galaxies ever observed, formed only 300 million years after the Big Bang.
The so-called Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) is an image of area of the sky containing as many as 10,000 galaxies in the constellation Fornax, just below Orion, which required more than one million seconds of combined exposure on the two instruments. The light captured is extremely old, dating back to more than 13.7 billion years, 95 percent of the way back to the Big Bang. It is also extremely faint, representing only one photon a minute.
While budgetary constraints may have contributed to the perverse decision to allow Hubble to shut down, there are undoubtedly politico-religious issues involved as well. Pure scientific research, especially that which focuses on investigating the material origins of the universe, is not a high priority with the right-wing ideologues the Bush administration.
Bush’s social base includes a large number of Christian fundamentalists who, if not exactly flat-earthers, are certainly Biblical literalists who espouse the view that God created the universe in seven days, and who date this creation, using Genesis and other texts, to about 4,000 BC. For such people, scientific investigation into billions of years of cosmological development is as alien as Darwin’s theory of evolution, a constant target of the Christian right.
As for the alleged budgetary issues—this in an administration that dismisses a $521 billion deficit as of no great moment!—it should be pointed out that on March 9, the White House released a report touting as a great achievement the awarding of $1.1 billion in federal grants to religious organizations during fiscal 2003. Most of these grants were for social services provided by religious groups, which accounted for a staggering 24 percent of all grants provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Scrapping Bush’s “faith-based” initiative, a billion-dollar slush fund for the religious right, would pay for refurbishing the Hubble Space Telescope several times over.
Friday, March 12, 2004
RePiGlikEns Decide To Shut Off Democratic Ads, Statements, TV, Anything, as They Spend $200 Million on Same Media To Get Their BFCE*
Steven Rosenfeld is a senior editor for TomPaine.com.
As the television advertising wars of 2004 begin, a full-throttle confrontation is brewing that could defang the Democrats. The GOP's plan is simple: block their most vocal critics' big sources of advertising dollars and then monopolize the microphone.
In early March, the Republican National Committee sent threatening letters to 250 television stations, urging them not to run MoveOn.org's ads. This past week, the Bush campaigned joined party operatives in an attempt to alter the fine print of election law to ban big donations to groups like MoveOn.org and other Democratic activist groups.
When Republicans run scared, they usually justify whatever it takes to win while accusing their opponents of hypocrisy, even if they've used or continue to utilize the very tactics they're criticizing. Nowhere is this more evident than in the effort to clamp down on the Democrats' so-called 527 committees. The committees are named after a section in the tax code that quickly became the loophole du jour following the passage of the 2002 McCain-Feingold law.
When the reform law, most of which was upheld by the Supreme Court, prevented political parties from raising six-figure "soft money" dollars, campaign strategists turned to the arcane 527s committees to raise big money. Money raised through 527s can be used to run political ads, so long those ads aren't "coordinated" with the parties.
So Democratic 527s are sprouting up all over the Beltway. Harold Ickes, the former White House deputy chief of staff for President Clinton, and Jim Jordan, who until last fall managed Sen. John Kerry's campaign, created the Media Fund. Ellen Malcolm, who founded the pro-choice EMILY's List, joined former AFL-CIO political director Steve Rosenthal to create Americans Coming Together (ACT), which receives substantial funding from George Soros. According to the March 10 New York Times, the Media Fund and ACT together have commitments of $70 million, in contrast to the Bush campaign's $100 million-plus war chest.
That's why the GOP has cried "foul." But Republicans, of course, have their own 527 committees. In fact, they helped pioneer the use of such "independent" committees when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich used GOPAC in 1994 to support dozens of Republican House candidates. During its heyday, GOPAC reeled in top-dollar donations from Republican financiers, evaded the Federal Election Commission, and then helped deliver the first GOP House majority in decades. A more recent example of this tactic is House Majority Leader Tom Delay's use of a children's charity to launder donations and conceal donor identities for this summer's Republican Party convention.
The GOP's tactics to clamp down on 527s are shrewd. At first, a previously unknown Republican 527 called Americans for a Better Country asked the FEC to clarify if it could collect the kind of money Democrats were getting from people like Soros. The FEC took the bait and last month said it would examine such donations, causing real consternation in Democratic circles.
Then, on March 9, the Bush campaign filed papers with the FEC, charging that the big donations to Harold Ickes' Media Group were the same as the "soft money" donations to political parties that were banned under the McCain-Feingold law.
In a classic Washington political utterance -- part threat, part principle -- Bradley Smith, the Republican chairman of the FEC, and Ellen Weintraub, the Democratic vice-chair, co-wrote a commentary published in the March 1 edition of Roll Call, a Capitol Hill journal, sounding this warning: "We fear the  debate has been staged by partisans with short-term time horizons. We suggest that their apparent preference -- do what you can by whatever means at hand -- is no way to regulate politics."
This statement of high-minded principle may seem like an oasis in the realpolitik swamp that is, and has been, federal elections for decades. And, indeed, Weintraub moderated that view at a Senate Rules Committee hearing on 527s on March 10, saying, "I will not be rushed to make hasty decisions, with far-reaching implications, at the behest of those who see in our hurried action their short-term political gain."
Some campaign finance reformers have suggested that 527s need to be dealt with. But they argue, as Weintraub has indicated, that it's unfair to change campaign rules in midstream. That's why, for instance, McCain-Feingold didn't take effect until after the 2002 election cycle. The president's supporters, however, say this issue cannot wait.
But in the idealistic eddy that is the professional world of campaign finance reformer -- and occasionally the FEC -- the rules of the game can be changed, even in the middle of the most contentious of elections, if the guiding principle is significant enough. Those seeking new FEC rules on donations to 527s say such a moment is at hand, arguing big donations made to influence federal elections have been banned since 1974 and that prohibition has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
In an ironic footnote to the 527 fight, partisan Democrats are fuming that their Republican rivals have been helped by some of their own, notably a cadre of politically liberal, long-time reformers led by Fred Wertheimer, the eminence grise of Washington's campaign finance world. In fact, the small universe of professional campaign finance reformers and election lawyers who helped draft the McCain-Feingold bill and successfully defend it before the Supreme Court is now divided.
Then there are the self-proclaimed political pragmatists who claim that the emergence of 527 committees underscores the futility of trying to regulate big money in big elections because both sides will do whatever it takes to raise as much money as possible.
Either way, the FEC is expected to rule on this 527 funding issue this spring. Political observers and election lawyers all say the panel has a "full range of options" before it, suggesting there will be some new regulations forthcoming.
Conservative pundits, such as editors at The Weekly Standard, are of course enjoying the spectacle. But there's much more at stake than an insider spat in campaign reform circles. If the GOP prevails -- which is likely -- and Democrats cannot raise the money to compete with the president's ads on television, then the FEC would be intervening in a presidential race on a magnitude approaching the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore.
Stay tuned. Because the political winds are blowing hard.
*Bush Family Crime Empire
News Headlines Carry Right-Wing Stamp--The Lady Was Just SCARED. But the Anti Choice Force goes NUTZ!
Thursday, March 11, 2004
The NEW Pentagon Papers
created a special office to manipulate intelligence data on Iraq and WMDs.
It's written by Karen Kwiatkowski, a military officer who watched this
unit at work, telling us the inside story in her own words.
Click here to read the full story:
The Salon story makes it even clearer than before that the Bush
administration deliberately misled us in the run-up to the war in Iraq a year
ago. The problem was not bad intelligence -- it was deliberate
distortion of the facts.
It's Congress' duty to hold President Bush accountable for misleading
us. Please call your Senators and Representative now.
CAMPAIGN 2004: SIX THINGS JOHN KERRY NEEDS TO DO TO WIN IN NOVEMBER
Dear Senator Kerry,
Congratulations on becoming the de facto nominee. Now the White House is gunning for you and party hacks are deafening you with advice. Take a deep breath and tune them out. Here is a simple six-point plan for becoming the 44th president of the United States.
One. You may share JFK's initials, but you need to campaign with RFK's passion. The night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, you were on a ship coming home from Vietnam. And you have often talked about his legacy on the campaign trail, about politics as something more than "the art of the probable — tinkering around the edges without any greater vision." Ushering Bush out of the White House will take more than a critique, however masterful, of his failed policies — and more than a new-and-improved Medicare plan. It will take a bold moral vision of what America can be. As Bobby Kennedy often said, "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?'"
Two. Don't pick a VP by looking at the map. Pick someone who can help you bring soul back to American politics and appeal not just to our self-interest but to our better instincts. In other words, do not pick Evan Bayh.
Three. Don't fall back on the tried-and-untrue swing voter strategy that has led to the prolonged identity crisis of the Democratic Party. Fifty percent of eligible voters did not vote in 2000. Speak to them — to the young, to the poor, to single women. Speak to those who have given up on our democracy, who are struggling without health care, without decent schools, without jobs. The dithering poltroons offering you focus group-tested advice on how to triangulate your way to victory won't like it. But you'll feel better about yourself, and you'll win.
Four. Don't run away from your voting record. Don't run away, as you did in the New York debate, from being called a liberal. Embrace it, and define it as the foundation of the great breakthroughs in American history. The Emancipation Proclamation. The 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. The New Deal, which put ordinary people back to work when the private sector couldn't. Social Security. Medicare. The Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Clean Air Act of 1970. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These are all milestones in our journey toward a just society. They all represent values — liberal values — held dear by most Americans. You can be the president who leads us to the next breakthrough after years of consolidation, stagnation and — under George Bush — regression.
Five. Remember: He who controls the language defines the political debate. Bush Republicans' control of certain magical words, starting with "responsibility," has been a key to their success. You need to take back "responsibility" from the grossly irresponsible GOP. It wants the nation to believe we can carry the burden of a worldwide war on terror and the Iraqi occupation while giving the top hats a multitrillion dollar tax cut and the drug companies a huge new prescription drug benefit without cost containment. We can't, of course, and you need to make sure Americans realize that before they vote in November.
Six. Strike a new bargain with the American people. Tell them, "Let's put an end to the tyranny of low expectations. You can expect a lot more of me, and I will ask a lot more of you." President Bush has used Sept. 11 to divide us — and as a handy visual for his new campaign ads. Imagine how different our country would be if he had used it instead to call on the American people not to go shopping but to commit themselves to a large, collective purpose. Believe in us enough to ask us to confront both the horrors wrought by terrorists and the horrors wrought by random violence in our inner cities, and by woefully inadequate health care, education and housing. Believe in us enough to ask us to share in the sacrifices necessary to build a country of real opportunity for all and a sturdy social safety net. The values and spirit that emerged on Sept. 11 — generosity, selflessness, courage — are still very much part of who we are. After years of being pandered to and lied to, we are longing for a leader who will speak straight to us and challenge us to live up to those intangible qualities that make our nation great.
You can be that leader, but only if you ignore all those who tell you that's not the way you win elections. Indeed, that's the only way you'll win this one.
Pentagon finance manager resigns with $Trillion Dollars Missing
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Gene Lyons: Practical Imagery
Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004
" When the facts change, I change my mind—what do you do, sir?"—John Maynard Keynes
History records that George W. Bush became a "rancher" in 1999, buying a spread outside Crawford, Texas, shortly before announcing his presidential candidacy. Before acquiring the place, with its oddly immobile round bales, Bush showed no interest in country life. On working ranches, most of the hay has been fed to cows by March; on Rancho Bush, it provides a picturesque backdrop for TV correspondents. This president rides golf carts, not quarter horses. When they say he’s "clearing brush" by hand in the August heat, my guess is he’s watching baseball on satellite TV. Either way, it’s a good bet that those cows he patted at that Houston rodeo were the first he’s touched since attending the same event during the 2000 campaign.
He’s a Texas cliche, an urban millionaire who buys livestock to certify his authenticity. If Martha Stewart had grown up in Dallas, she’d market designer branding irons, and Bush would buy them. That said, cowboy imagery has been politically useful to Bush and could prove so again, unless presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry learns to counter it.
In the iconography of the Hollywood cowboy movie, real men are real simple. Guys who give complicated explanations are womanish, indecisive and untrustworthy. Making a virtue of necessity, Bush plays the straight-talking man of action to great effect. It’s basically how he gets away with so many falsehoods without being seen as deceptive.
Never mind that better westerns like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and Clint Eastwood’s "Unforgiven" have played against this stereotype for a generation. Or that Kerry is an authentic war hero running against a guy who plays one on TV. As an Eastern intellectual who talks like a book, Kerry risks coming off like Jimmy Stewart to Bush’s John Wayne in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence."
Kerry shouldn’t underestimate Bush. Inarticulate at times, he delivers scripted lines with great conviction. He’s got a particular knack for sarcastic putdowns. Having reportedly resented people like Kerry—sons of privilege whose achievements match their pedigreessince his own New England prep school days, Bush effectively mocked his rival in remarks at a Dallas fund-raiser widely replayed on TV. "The [Democratic] candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions," Bush said with a smirk. "For tax cuts and against them, for NAFTA and against NAFTA, for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act, in favor of liberating Iraq and opposed to it. And that’s just one senator from Massachusetts."
OK, so two of Bush’s four examples are brazenly false. Kerry voted against Bush’s millions-for-millionaires tax cuts, correctly predicting that they would blow a hole in the federal budget. And "liberating Iraq" never came up for a vote. It became Bush’s fallback position after Saddam Hussein’s "weapons of mass destruction" turned out to be figments of neo-conservative imagination.
Kerry explains his October 2002 vote giving Bush something he already had, the option to use force in Iraq (the U.S. bombed Saddam regularly under Bill Clinton) as a response to the president’s vow to build an international coalition, respect the U. N. arms inspection process and make war the last resort—promises he says Bush broke.
What Kerry can’t say, of course, is that to the degree his Iraq vote reflected political calculation, Bush made it so: scheduling a war vote before a congressional election, as his father refused to do in 1990.
The other two charges are almost as phony. Kerry doesn’t want to repeal NAFTA. He wants the U.S. to enforce environmental and worker safety rules, which trade rivals gain a competitive advantage by ignoring. As for the Patriot Act, with its problem with Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure, Kerry explains his vote as an emergency response to 9/11.
For Kerry and others, what made parts of the Patriot Act supportable was a "sunset clause" limiting its duration to three years, forcing Congress to revisit its most troubling aspects, such as secret searches. Bush now portrays that review as unpatriotic.
The White House pulled a similar bait-and-switch with tax cuts, getting them enacted by affixing expiration dates it now calls tax increases. But see, even a terse refutation of Bush’s charge that Kerry is an unprincipled flip-flopper takes quite a few words. To win, Kerry can’t simply defend himself. He must take the offensive. Writing in Slate, fellow Texan Will Saletan argues that the bait-and-switch argument—Kerry calls Bush "the biggest say-one-thing, do-another" president ever—won’t cut it. People don’t believe that cowboys lie. Instead, he argues that Bush’s real weakness is his near-theological certitude, his bull-headed inability to admit error, perceive contrary facts or change his mind. Having got the herd moving in the wrong direction, he’s too stubborn to turn around.
Personally, I’m not sure about the argument, but I do love the metaphor.
• Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient
of the National Magazine Award
Bush Wants Us to Judge His "Leadership (??)"
A leader marches to the sound of the guns. George Washington, Robert E. Lee or Napoleon would have done that. Rudy Giuliani did do that. After the first plane struck the Twin Towers, he went immediately to the World Trade Center and helped supervise emergency efforts there. But what exactly did George W. Bush do?
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Democrats Will Beat Bush Like a Bad Piece of Meat
Hans Blix Tells Aussie PM to Grow a Spine
Britain: "Just Let 'em Starve to Death." Welcome to Scotland...Bring your Tourist Dollar$
Leno on Bush
Tuesday, March 9, 2004; 5:20 AM
Comedian commentary on the campaign:
"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno":
"President Bush has unveiled his first campaign commercial focusing on his accomplishments. That's why it's only a 60 second spot."
"President Bush has just one question for the American voters: Is the rich person you're working for better off now than they were 4 years ago?"
"Bye-bye Aristide,Chavez you're next!": Venezuela: Right-wing opposition clamours for another US-backed coup
Monday, March 08, 2004
Under Cover Of Darkness--Chimp_junta Returns Dead War Heroes To Their Families
One does not need to be a historian to know that the image of dead Americans, returning day after day in body bags, helped turn America against the war in Vietnam. This administration has gone to great lengths to prevent a repeat by keeping images of lifeless and broken bodies away from the cameras and the consciousness of the American people. Mr. Bush has not yet attended a single funeral for anyone killed in Iraq—not a single one. Spain and Italy held state funerals for their countrymen who died in Iraq, but the Bush administration's policy for our own war dead is to hide them.
TOMPAINE.com - Hiding War's Toll
Beware the Bushwomen
Beware the Bushwomen
Stinking Gopper Dirty Tricks and Lies Machine Goes After Kerry with Open Throttle No Holds Barred Scum Tactics
...Partisan TV pundits like Sean Hannity quickly echoed these charges: "He's voting against every major weapons system we now use in our military," Hannity told his Fox News audience (3/1/04). Hannity's participation in the RNC's attack was perhaps to be expected, but he was not the only media figure to simply pass on the Republican allegations without examination. CNN anchor Judy Woodruff (2/25/04) framed the issue this way in an interview with Rep. Norm Dicks (D.-Wash.): "The Republicans list something like 13 different weapons systems that they say the record shows Senator Kerry voted against. The Patriot missile, the B-1 bomber, the Trident missile and on and on and on."
Embarrassingly, Dicks had to explain to Woodruff that most of the weapons "votes" weren't individual votes at all, but a single vote on the Pentagon's 1991 appropriations bill. Woodruff responded with surprise to this information: "Are you saying that all these weapons systems were part of one defense appropriations bill in 1991?"
But Woodruff wasn't alone. Appearing on CNN (2/3/04), Bush-Cheney campaign strategist Ralph Reed explained to anchor Wolf Blitzer that Kerry's record was one of "voting to dismantle 27 weapons systems, including the MX missile, the Pershing missile, the B-1, the B-2 stealth bomber, the F-16 fighter jet, the F-15 fighter jet, cutting another 18 programs, slashing intelligence spend by $2.85 billion, and voting to freeze defense spending for seven years." Blitzer responded by pointing out to guest Ann Lewis of the Democratic National Committee, "I think it's fair to say, Ann, that there's been some opposition research done."
For many reporters, the charges against Kerry's record were recorded as just part of the back-and-forth of a campaign: Fox News Channel's Carl Cameron (2/27/04) explained: "With the GOP attacking John Kerry's votes to cut defense over the years, the Democratic front-runner, once again, counter-attacked what he calls the president's 'mishandling' of the war on terror."
Associated Press reporter Nedra Pickler (2/27/04) noted that "the Bush campaign has criticized Kerry in recent days for voting against some increases in defense spending and military weapons programs during his 19-year congressional career. Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot said Kerry's policies would weaken the country's ability to win the war on terror."
NBC anchor Tom Brokaw (3/2/04, MSNBC) also seemed to accept the charges at face value, noticing that "the vice president just today was talking about his votes against the CIA budget, for example, intelligence budgets and also weapons systems. Isn't he [Kerry] going to be very vulnerable come the fall when national security is such a big issue in this country?
One of the few reporters to take a serious look at the RNC's list-- on which 10 of the 13 items refer to the single 1991 vote-- was Slate's Fred Kaplan (2/25/04). Kaplan noted that 16 senators, including five Republicans, voted against the bill. Kaplan concluded that the claim against Kerry "reeks of rank dishonesty."
King George, Cock of the Walk Thru Ground Zero's Ashes and Body Parts, Says NO to Extra Time with 9-11 Investigators. WHY? What is he Hiding?
By Patrick Martin
8 March 2004
President Bush has undoubtedly spent far more time filming campaign commercials exploiting the September 11 terrorist attacks than he will devote to answering questions posed by the independent commission investigating the attacks. His cover-up of the facts surrounding the events of 9/11 is a major factor behind the outraged reaction to the first Bush campaign commercials on the part of many family members of victims of the attacks in New York and Washington.
The initial commercials were broadcast Thursday in several states expected to be closely contested in the November election. Three of the four commercials show the ruins of one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, while two show firefighters carrying flag-draped remains from “Ground Zero.” All of the ads seek to capitalize on the tragedy by suggesting that Bush’s response demonstrated leadership.
One group of families of victims killed at the World Trade Center joined with New York City firefighters to protest the use of 9/11 imagery in the campaign ads, and called on the Bush campaign to stop broadcasting the commercials.
A statement posted on the web site of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows quoted several family members and firefighters opposing the Bush ads. Andrew Rice, whose brother died in the World Trade Center, said, “To use these images of a scene of destruction and murder in a political campaign is inappropriate at best, and politicians from across the spectrum should know that there is bipartisan opposition among 9/11 families to this type of offensive exploitation.”
Colleen Kelly, whose brother, William Kelly, Jr., died at the World Trade Center, said, “I am afraid these ads, and others to follow, will be part of an ugly political jousting match between candidates, where one side attacks the other as somehow indifferent to the horrors of the day.” Kelly has been active in antiwar activities, traveling to Iraq early in 2003 to show her opposition to the impending US invasion, and to declare that the war did not represent a legitimate response to the September 11 attacks.
Tim Ryan, a firefighter stationed in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, said, “As a firefighter who spent months at Ground Zero, it’s deeply offensive to see the Bush campaign use these images to capitalize on the greatest American tragedy of our time.”
Kelly Campbell, co-director of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, said that there was sharply divided opinion among relatives of victims. “There’s no consensus around this, but for the most part 9/11 families are very sensitive to someone using images of our loved ones’ death for their own ends,” she said. “And that’s what’s pretty blatantly happening here.”
Several survivors of September 11 victims were caustic in their comments to the press about Bush. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband Ronald died at the World Trade Center, said, “It’s offensive that he would have the audacity to use 9/11 in a political campaign.” Lorie Van Auken, 48, of New Jersey, who lost her husband in the attacks, said, “Everybody’s outraged that I’ve spoken to, completely outraged.” Ron Willett, whose 29-year-old son John Charles was killed at the World Trade Center, told Reuters he was so upset, “I would vote for Saddam Hussein before I would vote for Bush.”
Officials in both the White House and the Bush re-election campaign defended the ads and declared that none of them would be pulled from the airwaves in response to protests from the September 11 families. A bevy of Republican Party spokesmen went on television interview programs Sunday to justify the advertising campaign.
Bush himself responded to questions about the controversy, telling reporters Saturday that he would not withdraw the ads. “ First of all, I will continue to speak about the effects of 9/11 on our country and my presidency,” Bush said. “How this administration handled that day, as well as the war on terror, is worthy of discussion,” he added. “And I look forward to discussing that with the American people.”
As the families of the September 11 victims know quite well, the Bush administration has actually done everything possible to avoid any accounting for its actions during the period leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as Bush’s own conduct on the day of the attacks.
One parent of a World Trade Center victim touched on this contradiction while responding to the televised statement of Bush campaign spokeswoman Karen Hughes, who described the 911-themed ads as “tasteful” and non-exploitative.
“My son was murdered on September 11,” said Bob McIlvaine, whose son, Bobby, was working at the Twin Towers. “To argue that using footage of the wreckage of the towers to further someone’s political career is ‘tasteful’ really needs to be rejected outright, and I condemn it. Instead of playing on people’s emotions with images of that day, the President would do right to cooperate more with the independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks so we can learn the truth about what happened on that day and why.”
The White House for many months opposed the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the September 11 attacks. When it could no longer withstand the pressure of the families, it named former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to head the panel, putting an expert in cover-ups in charge of the investigation. Kissinger, however, was compelled to resign because of his close business ties with Saudi Arabian and other Mideast clients, and former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, a Republican, replaced him.
Despite efforts by Kean and his Democratic vice chairman, former congressman Lee Hamilton, to accommodate the White House, there have been a series of bitter disputes between the commission and the Bush administration, which has refused to turn over documents or make witnesses available.
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States was originally scheduled to deliver a public report by May 27 of this year, but in the face of stalling tactics by the administration, the panel requested more time. Leading Republicans opposed this request, trying to force the commission to drop its probe of some of the most contentious issues and file a report that would whitewash the administration’s performance.
After protracted wrangling, in which House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert threatened to block any extension, the commission and the administration ultimately agreed to a deadline of July 26.
The political considerations involved in this wrangling are demonstrated by the fact that July 26 is the first day of the Democratic National Convention. Bush campaign officials are concerned that the commission’s report, which they expect will cast a harsh light on the administration’s performance before and during September 11, be released well before the fall election campaign. Alternatively, Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman proposed to extend the deadline to early next year, well after the election.
More important than the deadline has been the conflict over whether Bush, Cheney and other top officials are to testify in person before the commission, for how long, and whether that testimony would be public. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice refused to testify in public, while the White House proposed the questioning of Bush and Cheney be limited to one hour apiece, in private, with only two members of the panel, Kean and Hamilton, permitted to participate.
Administration negotiators have treated the commission as though it were an independent counsel investigating criminal behavior by the White House, insisting on the narrowest possible access to the president and vice president. This despite the fact that Bush appointed all of its members, who are divided equally between Republicans and Democrats, with the Democrats selected entirely from conservative elements who uncritically endorse the “war on terror” and supported the invasion of Iraq.
Timothy McVeigh, Sole Bomber or Part of Right Wing Conspiracy Hidden by FBI, Bush and Ashcroft?
Did the FBI conceal wider right-wing involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing?
By Joanne Laurier
8 March 2004
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been forced to reopen its investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing amid claims that the federal police agency suppressed information pointing to wider right-wing terrorist involvement. The Associated Press (AP) revealed last week that FBI agents destroyed evidence pointing to the possibility that bomber Timothy McVeigh, eventually executed for the crime, may have been assisted by a group of white supremacist bank robbers.
The revelation raises further questions about the federal government’s ongoing efforts to conceal the activities of right-wing extremists from the American public.
The AP revealed that the Justice Department withheld evidence at McVeigh’s 1997 trial, including documents showing that the Aryan Republican Army [ARA] bank robbers possessed explosive blasting caps similar to those stolen by McVeigh, as well as a driver’s license bearing the name of a man robbed to help fund the Oklahoma bombing plot. The evidence was never shared with Oklahoma City investigators or McVeigh’s defense attorneys. The government’s official version of the bombing asserted that only two individuals were involved, McVeigh and a former army buddy, Terry Nichols.
Why did FBI agents investigating the ARA fail to alert the Oklahoma City investigators of a possible link between McVeigh and the white supremacists?
Danny Coulson, the FBI agent in charge of the Oklahoma City bomb site, said: “There are some unanswered questions here. A lot of things happened that were inappropriate. I think it needs to be reopened, but I don’t think it should be reopened by the FBI. It needs to be a special investigator, a lawyer, totally independent. He needs to have subpoena power and the ability to use a grand jury.”
The April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building killed 168 people. McVeigh was executed for the crime in 2001. Ironically, the Oklahoma trial of McVeigh’s co-defendant, Terry Nichols—on state charges that could carry the death penalty—was set to begin just as the revelations of FBI evidence tampering surfaced.
McVeigh’s ex-lawyer stated that the documentation obtained by AP is the strongest to date to support his long-standing contention that the bombing may have involved more people than McVeigh and Nichols. Attorney Stephen Jones said: “I think these pieces close the circle, and they clearly show the bombing conspiracy consisted probably of 10 conspirators. They [government officials] simply turned their backs on a group of people for which there is credible evidence suggesting they were involved in the murder of 160 people.”
Peter Langan, a member of the Aryan Republican Army, told the AP that he planned to testify at Nichols’ trial. He disclosed that federal prosecutors several years ago had offered, and then withdrew, a plea bargain for information about the bombing. Langan, who is serving life sentences for a 1990s robbery spree, stated that the gang “had some liability problems as it related to Oklahoma City.”
When another gang member, Mark Thomas, was indicted in January 1997, he told reporters that at least one gang member was involved in the bombing. FBI agents dropped the inquiry into a link between McVeigh and the ARA after Thomas and other members were captured in 1996 and 1997, claiming that the white supremacists had denied involvement in the bombing and had provided alibis. However, FBI documents show that the ARA suspects were still in the Oklahoma area after they claimed to have left it.
Dan Defenbaugh, the now-retired chief of the FBI McVeigh investigation, said his investigators were never told about the blasting caps, the license or the alibi discrepancies.
Death row inmate David Paul Hammer has written a book due out this month detailing his conversations with McVeigh inside prison. He alleges that he was told by McVeigh that the white supremacists had assisted in the bombing.
The execution of McVeigh was delayed in May 2001 following the revelation that the FBI had withheld thousands of pages of documents from his defense team. The execution proceeded after Attorney General John Ashcroft, President George W. Bush, and FBI Director Louis Freeh insisted that there was nothing in the documents that could affect McVeigh’s legal position.
A WSWS article posted on May 26, 2001, entitled, “Why the government’s rush to execute Timothy McVeigh?” stated: “The withheld evidence might also contain information damaging to the FBI or other government agencies. There is good reason to suspect that FBI informants knew more about the bombing and the events leading up to it than has been revealed. It is well known that the FBI has many informants in the militia movement, among gun lobbyists, the Christian right, the Ku Klux Klan and other racist and extreme-right groups. There is a long history of FBI collusion in right-wing violence.”
The FBI’s destruction and suppression of evidence surrounding the Oklahoma bombing highlights the glaring contradiction between the Bush administration’s pursuit of the so-called “war on terror” and its indifference to the activities of right-wing, home-grown terrorists. A pattern of covering up crimes that cannot be blamed on Islamic or foreign groups has been established by the Bush administration and its media apologists since the 2001 anthrax attacks on Congress, and continues with the recent ricin assault on Senate offices and the White House.
The insistence by the highest levels of government that McVeigh acted alone in the Oklahoma bombing is motivated, in part, by the need to conceal the close ties between numerous political figures at the federal, state and local level with the Christian right, militia groups and racist and anti-Semitic organizations. In particular, Republican Party senators, congressmen and local politicians have actively solicited support and funds from some of these fascistic outfits.
One can establish as a general rule that the degree to which the government and media downplay a given terrorist act reveals the extent to which they either know or suspect the crime has been committed by right-wing, domestic terrorists.
Jannie Coverdale, who lost two grandchildren in the Oklahoma bombing, spoke with the WSWS about the recent accusations of FBI wrongdoing.
“I lost my grandsons, Erin, 2, and Elijah, 5, in the bombing of the federal building. I worked in the county assessor’s office, and the federal building, which had an excellent day care, was only a block-and-a-half away. The boys loved it.
“I don’t believe Timothy McVeigh acted by himself. Over 50 witnesses came forward at the time to talk to FBI agents and the news media who had seen McVeigh in the Ryder truck in various places around the city before the bombing and he was never alone. Nobody believes the lone bomber theory.
“The FBI will not do a credible job in this investigation any more than they did during the original investigation. Since the beginning, I have asked a lot of questions. I went the US Attorney’s office asking a lot of questions and was told that if I attended the trials of McVeigh and Nichols my questions would be answered. I gave up everything and went to Denver. I learned nothing, but had more questions when the Nichols trial was over.
“No matter what the FBI says, there is no way I will ever believe that McVeigh acted alone. I’ve always wondered about his connection to the bank robbers of that supremacist group from Elohim City [Oklahoma]. After the Nichols trial I was given the phone number of a policeman who told me that the FBI had an informer who bungled the job of deactivating the bomb. The sting operation to prevent the bombing was screwed up and the FBI is covering up their mistake. They played with lives and lost.
“I don’t trust the government anymore. I don’t trust the FBI or the ATF [Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms]. The FBI is supposed to reopen the files and reinvestigate. I wonder who’s going to investigate the investigators?
“The families of the survivors of the bombing are having a hard time both financially and emotionally. We never received any compensation. We were told that the families of September 11 were the victims of international terrorism so they were compensated. But we were the victims of American terrorists, so we would receive nothing.
“I believe the government is involved because in these terrorist attacks, people are getting away with too much. Just like when the Klan would get away with crimes over and over again. They were protected. And then you look at who is in office and begin to realize that the Iraq war was not necessary. But Iraq is backfiring on the government. Maybe some things will backfire here too.”