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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt


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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Downing Hits Main Street

Former supporters of the Iraq war now question it's validity; via Sarasota's Hearald Today...

The combination of the rising casualties, revelations like the so-called Downing Street memo and a growing perception that the war mission has become murkier has caused one-time war supporters and even strong proponents of the troops to question the wisdom of the mission. Attitudes here mirror some of what is reflected in recent national polls, which show declining support for the war.

The Bush administration is taking declining public support for the war as a warning that it must increase its communication about the reasons for the war and what it also considers reasons for optimism - with the White House pointing to the establishment of a new Iraqi government in the face of ongoing violence.

Evidence of that hope is not reflected in opinion polls. A New York Times/CBS News Poll released Friday showed only 37 percent said they approved of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq, down from 45 percent in February. Also last week, there was a bipartisan call in the House to set a deadline for troop withdrawals.

There are currently a dozen more of the same press release at various local papers.

Downing Street Media Blitz



Details over at Daily Kos

An Image of Democracy?

They say a picture is worth a thousands words...



Serveral members of Congress want to see the President, and they won't even be let past the fucking gates?

Fixing the Policy

White House spokesman Scott McClellan tried to dismiss the importance of the memo by saying "our focus is not on the past. It's on the future and working to make sure we succeed in Iraq". While the Bush administration would like others to not focus on the past, the past and the future are both very relevant. As the arguments concerning the illegal invasion of Iraq continue to be debated, the Bush administration have begun using exactly the same tactics again, only this time with Iran as the target.

There is no question that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" as the following extract from the memo below clearly shows...
There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

The lies have been exposed... how long will this stonewalling continue?

Bloggerific!

From the BBC News...

Since early May, left-leaning blogs have been trying to get mainstream media to pay attention to one - and now two - leaked secret memos from meetings that Prime Minister Tony Blair had with key cabinet members and intelligence figures in the summer before the war in Iraq.

Usually, the torrid pace of the 24-hour news cycle means that stories pass quickly in and out of the news listings, but not what has become known as the Downing Street memos. Bloggers, keen to keep the pressure on the Bush and Blair governments, have tried to keep the memos in the limelight and put pressure on the mainstream media. Based on bloggers linking to the Times, the story has rarely left the top five for much of the last month and a half.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sobering Advice from the Other Side

The Bayou Buzz in Louisiana chimes in on Downing Gate...

Democrats only hurt their own cause by talking about prison and impeachment. The American people are going to once again be disillusioned by such wild charges. Sensible Democrats can continue to raise questions about the war in Iraq and try to galvanize support of the American people for an end to our military presence in that country. Such an anti-Iraq position is now supported by a majority of Americans. In contrast, reasonable Americans will be disgusted by liberal activists calling for impeachment or even worse prison.
I don't know much about this publication, but it appears that they are heavily conservative. I hesitate to comment and post in agreement with their opinion, but I believe their point has some merit. Let me preface with the fact that I have been dissenting the Bush administration from their first days in office. I have been hoping for a possible impeachment since the lead up to the Iraq war. Yes, for those who were paying attention this was an obvious deception months before the first missiles were fired.

Now back to the central point of this post...

I believe the Buzz columnist is right. We need to slow down a little bit and think a few moves ahead; remember this is a game of chess, not checkers. We need to gently woo the American people to accept the hearings, impeachment, and possible prison sentences, in that order. If we come off to harsh and reactionary, we will be dismissed to the same media vacuum as Michael Moore, in the minds of the general public. That being said, I have a lot of respect for Moore; he exposes the crooks and liars for what they are, but his demeanor is a turn off for most... myself not included.

In contrast, I believe John Conyers is doing an outstanding job of delivering the charges; he is methodical and very well spoken, with a gentle demeanor. Conyers expertly crafts his message so his point is communicated and received with intended result. I have noticed in all of Conyers' recent interviews he carefully avoids the "I" word, even when asked directly. I believe impeachment is his ultimate intention for these proceedings, but he knows he needs to be tactful, to avoid potential media fallout.

Remember, we have the facts, the evidence, and the truth on our side, but we must sell the message to the masses in a manner that they will be most receptive to... slow and gentle, with plenty of lube.

Letters to the Editor

John Conyers gives the Wahington Post a well deserved bitch slap for their indignant coverage of the Downing Street Hearings...

June 17, 2005

Mr. Michael Abramowitz, National Editor
Mr. Michael Getler, Ombudsman
Mr. Dana Milbank
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20071

Dear Sirs:

I write to express my profound disappointment with Dana Milbank's June 17 report, "Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War," which purports to describe a Democratic hearing I chaired in the Capitol yesterday. In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war. The fact that this was the Post's only coverage of this event makes the journalistic shortcomings in this piece even more egregious.

In an inaccurate piece of reporting that typifies the article, Milbank implies that one of the obstacles the Members in the meeting have is that "only one" member has mentioned the Downing Street Minutes on the floor of either the House or Senate. This is not only incorrect but misleading. In fact, just yesterday, the Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, mentioned it on the Senate floor. Senator Boxer talked at some length about it at the recent confirmation hearing for the Ambassador to Iraq. The House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, recently signed on to my letter, along with 121 other Democrats asking for answers about the memo. This information is not difficult to find either. For example, the Reid speech was the subject of an AP wire service report posted on the Washington Post website with the headline "Democrats Cite Downing Street Memo in Bolton Fight". Other similar mistakes, mischaracterizations and cheap shots are littered throughout the article.

The article begins with an especially mean and nasty tone, claiming that House Democrats "pretended" a small conference was the Judiciary Committee hearing room and deriding the decor of the room. Milbank fails to share with his readers one essential fact: the reason the hearing was held in that room, an important piece of context. Despite the fact that a number of other suitable rooms were available in the Capitol and House office buildings, Republicans declined my request for each and every one of them. Milbank could have written about the perseverance of many of my colleagues in the face of such adverse circumstances, but declined to do so. Milbank also ignores the critical fact picked up by the AP, CNN and other newsletters that at the very moment the hearing was scheduled to begin, the Republican Leadership scheduled an almost unprecedented number of 11 consecutive floor votes, making it next to impossible for most Members to participate in the first hour and one half of the hearing.

In what can only be described as a deliberate effort to discredit the entire hearing, Milbank quotes one of the witnesses as making an anti-semitic assertion and further describes anti-semitic literature that was being handed out in the overflow room for the event. First, let me be clear: I consider myself to be friend and supporter of Israel and there were a number of other staunchly pro-Israel members who were in attendance at the hearing. I do not agree with, support, or condone any comments asserting Israeli control over U.S. policy, and I find any allegation that Israel is trying to dominate the world or had anything to do with the September 11 tragedy disgusting and offensive.

That said, to give such emphasis to 100 seconds of a 3 hour and five minute hearing that included the powerful and sad testimony (hardly mentioned by Milbank) of a woman who lost her son in the Iraq war and now feels lied to as a result of the Downing Street Minutes, is incredibly misleading. Many, many different pamphlets were being passed out at the overflow room, including pamphlets about getting out of the Iraq war and anti-Central American Free Trade Agreement, and it is puzzling why Milbank saw fit to only mention the one he did.

In a typically derisive and uninformed passage, Milbank makes much of other lawmakers calling me "Mr. Chairman" and says I liked it so much that I used "chairmanly phrases." Milbank may not know that I was the Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee from 1988 to 1994. By protocol and tradition in the House, once you have been a Chairman you are always referred to as such. Thus, there was nothing unusual about my being referred to as Mr. Chairman.

To administer his coup-de-grace, Milbank literally makes up another cheap shot that I "was having so much fun that [I] ignored aides' entreaties to end the session." This did not occur. None of my aides offered entreaties to end the session and I have no idea where Milbank gets that information. The hearing certainly ran longer than expected, but that was because so many Members of Congress persevered under very difficult circumstances to attend, and I thought - given that - the least I could do was allow them to say their piece. That is called courtesy, not "fun."

By the way, the "Downing Street Memo" is actually the minutes of a British cabinet meeting. In the meeting, British officials - having just met with their American counterparts - describe their discussions with such counterparts. I mention this because that basic piece of context, a simple description of the memo, is found nowhere in Milbank's article.

The fact that I and my fellow Democrats had to stuff a hearing into a room the size of a large closet to hold a hearing on an important issue shouldn't make us the object of ridicule. In my opinion, the ridicule should be placed in two places: first, at the feet of Republicans who are so afraid to discuss ideas and facts that they try to sabotage our efforts to do so; and second, on Dana Milbank and the Washington Post, who do not feel the need to give serious coverage on a serious hearing about a serious matter-whether more than 1700 Americans have died because of a deliberate lie. Milbank may disagree, but the Post certainly owed its readers some coverage of that viewpoint.

Sincerely,

John Conyers, Jr.

Online Poll at MSNBC

You know the drill, go vote.

Democracy in Action

Yesterday...

Members of Congress, front from left to right, Maxine Waters, Shelia Jackson Lee, John Conyers, and Barbara Lee, accompanied by aides, walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, towards the White House.



More photos are available over at Yahoo.

Googling for Impeachment

Looks like the Mainstream Media may be waking from its nap. Check out this Google search...

Isn't cute when they start to crawl? Let's hope they will stand up soon, and join the fight to take back America.

The Eagle Has Landed

It's official, the letter has been hand delivered to the President...
After the hearing, Conyers and other lawmakers went to Lafayette Park across from the White House for a rally organized by the coalition AfterDowningStreet.org. Conyers and half a dozen other lawmakers were stopped at the gates of the White House to hand-deliver the signatures of over 120 congressional Democrats and more than half a million citizens on petitions demanding a detailed response from the Bush administration to the Downing Street memo. Eventually, White House aides retrieved the petitions at the gate and took them into the West Wing.
Will there be an official response from the White House?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Go Vote at MSNBC

Go Vote at MSNBC

The Signed Letter

As I was searching for the latest information on the Downing Street Hearings, I came across this little gem... John Conyers' letter to the President with the Congressional signatures.

Here is the first page of signatures...

Distraction Du Jour

No mention yet of the Downing Street Hearings on the cable news. This is not a surprise by any means, but its still disheartening. The focus of all the talking heads now is a minor quake which occurred in sourthern California, which could have, but didn't cause a tsunami...

A moderate earthquake shook most of Southern California Thursday, startling people and knocking items off shelves, desks and walls, but there were no immediate reports of significant damage or injuries.

The 1:53 p.m. quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 and was centered three miles northeast of Yucaipa in San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. About 25 aftershocks followed in little over an hour, the strongest estimated at magnitude 3.5.

From the mouth of Jon Stewart, on Air America Radio's The O'Franken Factor April 7, 2004:

"If you've ever watched 6 year olds playing soccer, that's what the
mainstream media is like... someone kicks the ball and 100 kids chase after it hoping to be noticed, without a care as to what happens on the field."

Family Values?

Did anyone see porn star Mary Carey on Keith Olbermann last night? There was some tasty coverage of her visit to the President's fund raiser. You think I'm kidding... she was the guest of honor. Check out this video clip over at Crooks and Liars.

Kentucky Hearts Dick Cheney...

no more. It appears as though the tide is turning even in the conservative stronghold of Kentucky. Check out this snip from the Louisville Courier Journal...
If [Paris] Hilton needs other suggestions for a replacement, here are our nominees:
Dick Cheney - He's not doing much down there in the secret bunker, anyway, except negotiating oil deals. The veep could match Hilton snarl for snarl, even if he's a bit short in the flowing locks category.

Long Live the King

This is not good...
Republicans have officially started the the campaign to amend the Constitution by repealing the 22nd Amendment - the one that confines the President to two terms. If the Republicans hold their current strength, or increase it, in the 2006 Congressional elections, expect this measure to pass allowing Bush to remain President.
Read the proposed admendment over at the Library of Congress.

Is there anything these people will not try to remain in power? Today's Downing Street Hearings are now more important than ever. We must take back America, before it's too late.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Pre-Game Interview

I don't think we could ask for a better man than John Conyers to be heading up the charge on the Downing Street Minutes. I was a disappointed with the fact that Howard Dean has remained in the shadows on the issue, but the more I think about it, I believe it was a calculated decision by Dean to stay uninvolved. This is too important of an issue, to risk any possible media misstep, which could be potentially spun in such a way to discredit the whole movement. Then there was John Kerry, who made some promises a couple of weeks ago to take the issue to Washington. Thankfully that never happened, because we know how the media would spin Kerry's charge... a desperate attempt of a sore loser.

Fortunately we have a seasoned veteran of Congress without any apparent political ticks or blemishes. Not only is Conyers the ranking member of the Judiciary committee, he was also a member of the same committee during the Watergate hearings. He is calm, methodical, and very well spoken. Amy Goodman from Democracy Now, interviewed John Conyers earlier today; here is a snippet...
JOHN CONYERS: Miss Goodman, the problem with the media in the United States is that it's been intimidated, seduced, and in other words brought under the thrall of this administration like no other time in my 40-year experience here in Washington, D.C. It's incredible. Now, this news was perfectly available to any citizen, not only A.P. or any other media service. Recently, I held a forum with a dozen other members of Congress about bias in the media. This selectivity to protect the President and the administration at all costs, and hoping that these stories will go away.

Remember Watergate. A little three-sentence blurb in The Washington Post far in the back part of the paper about a political burglary, and it had to grow from there. The administration has been stonewalling. Can you imagine that it started off with 89 members of Congress sending him a letter just asking him a few questions about the Downing Street memorandum, transcribed by British intelligence, and we got nothing?

Now we have over 500,000 American citizens now. It's incredible what's happened. The harder they try to keep this down, the more people become enraged, and they have joined us and we're going to be delivering petitions of these citizens that are saying, "Just speak to this question, Mr. President. How many Congressmen have to sign a letter to get you to respond to something as fundamentally important as this?"
Here is the rest of the transcript.

Over the Peak Oil

The Independent reports that oil production is falling fast in Britain's North Sea...
Britain suffered the steepest fall in oil production of any country last year, according to a report yesterday that will fuel fears of an end of the era of North Sea oil revenues.

BP, the global oil giant, said North Sea production fell by 10 per cent last year. The drop of 230,000 barrels a day was the biggest fall of any oil producing nation.

Its annual statistical survey also showed that the UK became a net importer of gas for the first time last year. Last year government figures showed the UK had fallen into an oil deficit for two months in the autumn for the first time since 1991.

Can't say I didn't see this coming, but sometimes it just isn't any consolation to be right.

Downing Street Hearing Moved to Capitol

On Thursday June 16, 2005, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Room HC-9 of the U.S. Capitol, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and other Congress Members will hold a hearing on the Downing Street Minutes and related evidence of efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

There will be a live audio stream of the hearings over at Pacifica Radio.

For more information, go to AfterDowningStreet.org.

Sowing the Seeds of Failure

Sounds like the Republican members of Congress are afraid they are going to reap Bush's harvest of failure in 2006 and beyond...
"There's just a general angst right now," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. "He's paying for his Iraq policy more now than he was before the election. People know we have to win, but they're not very happy about it. So he has a lot of problems and, frankly, nobody to blame them on.

Beyond Iraq, the economy has risen to the No. 1 concern of voters, according to at least one poll, and every survey shows a majority of voters disapproving of Bush's performance on that issue. His plans to overhaul Social Security have gotten no traction in Congress or with the general public.

The president proudly considers himself a politician who forges ahead, despite the obstacles, but some Republicans are worried that Bush's resolve could cost them control of Congress in 2006 or 2008.

They fear his advisers are ignoring the signs of voter discontent, moving too slowly to adjust their strategies to new realities. Some top Republicans also blame GOP congressional leaders for focusing on legislation that seems to help a select few while making no progress on issues that matter to many.
Of course, this will only be a problem for them outside of Ohio and Florida... they have those two in the bag.

Hundreds Protest in Pennsylvania

Looks like the time has come to get out the pitchforks and torches. Well, not quite yet, but the inertia has begun. The pendulum has certainly changed its course. Centre Daily Times reports hundreds of protesters gathered in University Park, Pennsylvania to greet the President with their shouts of contempt...

The silent protest became a chant at about 1:20 p.m., led by State College resident Tony Coray. As a few protesters beat drums, Corey began yelling "By the power, by the power, by the power of the people" and "Impeach."

Other protesters picked up the chant, although Centre County's Democratic Chairman Bob Shepherd, whose group was the umbrella organization for the protest, said his group didn't condone leaving the silent format. The same chant was repeated just before 2 pooh, again led by Corey shouting through a ballroom.

As Bush supporters passed by on their way to a hospitality tent nearby, protesters aimed shouts at them. "Your support kills people," one yelled. Another chimed in, "Stop the killing!" Others began chanting "Impeach."

"They call this the free speech zone," said Peter Morris, a retired Penn State professor who was holding a sign that read: "He Lies. They Die."

"It used to be that the whole country was a free speech zone."

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rumsfeld Dabbles in the Truth

This is London reports that Rumsfeld admits to the lack of progress in Iraq...
Iraq is "statistically" no safer now than it was at the end of the war, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has admitted. The insurgency has built since the Coalition took charge of the country, Mr Rumsfeld acknowledged.
He's telling the truth for once... did someone slip him some sodium pentathol?

And Syria is fuelling it, he told Sir David Frost in an interview for BBC2's Newsnight.

Ah, that's more like it... he's blaming it on Syria. Looks like they will be next in line after Iran.

Wisconsin Democrats Request Impeachment

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is calling for impeachment; via the Tenth Congressional District Democrats' homepage...

Saturday afternoon during their annual State Convention at the Park Plaza in downtown Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin adopted the following resolution:

CALLING ON THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO INITIATE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST PRESIDENT BUSH, VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY AND DEFENSE SECRETARY RUMSFELD FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS

WHEREAS, the Downing Street Memo shows that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld began planning and executing the war on Iraq before seeking Congressional and UN approval;

WHEREAS, UN weapons inspectors showed prior to the invasion that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, there is further mounting evidence that the Administration lied or misled about "mushroom clouds," "connections to 9/11," and "war as a last resort" as they sought UN, Congressional, and public approvals;

THEREFORE, RESOLVED, the DPW asks Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.

Wisconsin is the first state Democratic Party to have passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.

UPDATE: The Capital Times of Madison is covering the story as well...
Wisconsin Democrats are calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Loyalists at this weekend's state party convention in Oshkosh passed a resolution calling for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings against the three officials for their role in the war in Iraq.

The resolution contends that the administration "lied or misled" the United Nations, Congress, and the American public about the justification for the war. It cites the so-called "Downing Street memo" from British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government, as well as reports from U.N. weapons inspectors as evidence of widespread deception.
Who would have ever guessed, the call for impeachment would begin in the heartland?

Downing Street Hearings

On Thursday June 16, 2005, at 1:00 p.m. in the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C., Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and other Congress Members will hold a hearing on the Downing Street Minutes and related evidence of efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

The hearings are being held at the Democratic National Committee because the Republicans controlling the House Judiciary Committee refused to permit the ranking Democratic Member to use a room on the Hill.

Later on the same day at 5:00 p.m. ET in Lafayette Square Park, in front of the White House, a large rally will support Congressman Conyers who plans to deliver to the White House a letter addressed to President Bush and signed by over 500,000 Americans and at least 94 Congress Members. The letter asks the President to respond to questions raised by the Downing Street Minutes.

Among those speaking at the hearings will be: Joe Wilson, Former Ambassador and WMD Expert; Ray McGovern, 27-year CIA analyst who prepared regular Presidential briefings during the Reagan administration; Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen American soldier; John Bonifaz, renowned constitutional lawyer and co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org.

Among those speaking at the rally will be: Congressman Conyers and various other Congress Members, Cindy Sheehan of Gold Star Families for Peace, John Bonifaz of AfterDowningStreet.org, Ray McGovern former CIA analyst, Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange, Rev. Lennox Yearwood of Progressive Democrats of America, Stephen Cleghorn of Military Families Speak Out, Kevin Zeese, Director of Democracy Rising. More information, and flyers promoting the rally, are available.

Flyers to print, copy, and distribute widely.

Supporters of this campaign are independently organizing rallies on Thursday at locations around the country.

AfterDowningStreet.org is a rapidly growing coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war.

Go Defense!

For the Downing Street Minutes to have any impact on the hearts and minds of the American people, it must remain in heavy circulation, as long as possible in the Mainstream Media. For the most part, what I have seen in the lefty blogosphere, has been an offensive game, which is very important to make any progress... which we have. I don't believe there would be any coverage at all if the current swarm of liberal buzz didn't exist. But in order to maintain the progress we have made, we need to play a defensive game as well. Here's a sample of how the other side is spinning the issue. Read up...

Fox News:

"I suspect the more interesting story at this point, seeing it three weeks later, is who is behind the letter-writing campaign to push it in the media."

Several popular left-leaning blogs have taken up the cause to keep the story alive, encouraging readers to contact media outlets. A Web site, DowningStreetMemo.com, tells readers to contact the White House directly with complaints.

"This is a test of the left-wing blogosphere," said Jim Pinkerton, syndicated columnist and regular contributor to FOX News Watch, who pointed out that The Sunday Times article came out just before the British election and apparently had little effect on voters' decisions.

"In many ways that memo might prove all of the arguments the critics of the war have made," he added. "But the bulk of Americans don't agree, or don't seem that alarmed, so it is a power test to see if they can drive it back on the agenda."
Red State Blog:

After a long series of breathless pontifications from our friends on the left that the Downing Street Memo would provide the political impetus for impeachment proceedings against President Bush, a new memo has surfaced which detonates the claim that the decision to go to war was already made at the time the DSM was jotted down, and that pre-war intelligence was doctored to fit the already-crafted political decision of the Bush administration.

When the NYTimes starts tolling the bell for your conspiracy theory, it's probably time to let go. Will the far left actually let go? You'd have to ask Jeff Gannon.
National Review:

Dearlove's comments include the intriguing passage noted above, "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." To the president's critics, the meaning is clear; the WMD intelligence was being faked to support the rationale for intervention.

This passage needs some clarification. Maybe Rycroft or Dearlove could elaborate; by "fixed around" did they mean that intelligence was being falsified or that intelligence and information were being gathered to support the policy? There is nothing wrong with the latter it is the purpose of the intelligence community to provide the information decision-makers need, and the marshal their resources accordingly.

...

The section of the memo dealing with strategic planning, yes, that was worth keeping close hold on. But the speculations about the inner workings of the American government? Sounds like the same things one could have heard on any newscast. Looking at the document in context it is hard to see what the commotion is about. Most of what might be thought sensational has already been written about elsewhere, to little fanfare. The charge of intelligence fraud (if it is such a charge) has already been investigated and found baseless. And the allegations that the president had already decided to go to war and was thus deceiving the American people are personal opinions based on unsubstantiated impressions from unnamed sources.
Wiz Bang Blog:

The lying to Congress charges ignore the fact that the United States has been, in essence, at war with Iraq since the end of the first Gulf War. Military patrols of the "No Fly Zones" in Iraq had been ongoing for more than a decade with occasional flare-ups. If radar, missile systems, or hostile aircraft were detected they were destroyed. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations would have been derelict in their duties had they not planned for

Can you imagine the howls of the left if Saddam had been assassinated and the country plunged into genocidal civil war? They'd be blaming the President for failing to take action to stop destabilization of the Middle East. Frankly I'd be a little more impressed with the left had that scenario come to pass; at least they'd be staying true to Democrats traditional support for exporting freedom and ending the reign of oppressive, tyrannical despots.

We have gained a lot of yardage in the last few weeks... let's not fumble the ball in the end zone.

Prelude to War

Hear those drums? It's starting again...
Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who has been the subject of a worldwide manhunt since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, has been in and out of Iran several times over the past few years, said US Representative Curt Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican.

Bin Laden "has been in and out of Iran, and now we have military generals telling us that," Weldon told NBC's Meet the Press.

"Interestingly enough, the CIA totally refuted that when I first went to them. And by the way, the person who gave me this entire lead was a former Democrat member of Congress,"he said.
It looks like it's time to go win some hearts and minds in Iran.

1700



For what?

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Poor Troops

As if conditions in Iraq couldn't get any worse, it appears they have. Reuters is reporting growing tension and hostility between the troops and the contractors. Understandably, one particular area of contention is the gross difference in salaries...
One military contractor, Matt Raiche, a former US Marine himself, said the Marines seemed to be particularly upset at the contractors' working conditions and the pay they received.

"I never in my career have treated anybody so inhumane," one of the contractors, Rick Blanchard, a former Florida state trooper, wrote in an email quoted in the Los Angeles Times. "They treated us like insurgents, roughed us up, took photos, hazed [bullied] us, called us names."

Raiche said the Marines seemed resentful about the salaries contractors in Iraq are paid. "One Marine gets me on the ground and puts his knee in my back. Then I hear another Marine say, "How does it feel to make that contractor money now?' "
Support the troops? What the fuck. If this situation is not kept in check, it will eat at our military's morale like a cancer.

Hey Rumsfeld... you listening?

Cheney Hearts Guantanamo



Dick Cheney appears untroubled by the torture scandal. He said he was "offended" by Amnesty International's use of the term gulag, but he wasn't evidently offended by the practices that Amnesty was highlighting: the beatings, the hanging of people up by the ceiling, the sexual humiliation, the anal probes, or the forcing of detainees to lie in their own waste. And so he's in no hurry to shut Guantanamo down, despite the stain, perhaps indelible, that it's leaving on the U.S. reputation.
"Given the nature of the conflict that we're involved in, there would need to be some kind of a facility that would allow you to detain people who are enemy combatants," Cheney said in a question-and-answer session at a journalism awards ceremony.

In fact, he said, "if we didn't have that facility at Guantanamo to undertake this activity, we'd have to have it someplace else, because they're a vital source of intelligence information."
We can only hope that justice will some how prevail, with these shameful human beings removed from public office in shackles, and sent off to their own prison camps.

Hometown Hero?

One might think, but it's not looking that way lately. It appears as though the tide is turning even in George's home town. Crawford's local paper, The Lone Star Iconoclast's online edition contains two less than flattering articles on the President and his administration. One covers the Downing Street Minutes...
Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of House Judiciary Committee, and other Democratic members will hold on Thursday, June 16, a Democratic hearing to hear testimony concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the efforts to cook the books on pre-war intelligence.

On May 1, a Sunday London Times article disclosed the details of a classified memo, also known as the Downing Street Minutes, recounting the minutes of a July 2002 meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair that describes an American President already committed to going to war in the summer of 2002, despite contrary assertions to the public and the Congress. The minutes also describe apparent efforts by the Administration to manipulate intelligence data to justify the war.
and the other highlights the plummeting ratings...
People in America are not pleased with their leadership at the White House or in Congress, according to a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press by Ipsos. According to the poll, Bush's approval rating is at 43 percent, with Congress at 31 percent, the lowest levels yet for the survey that started in December 2003. The AP poll also showed that only about a third of adults (35 percent) thought the country was heading in the right direction, with 41 percent saying they supported Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, the lowest ranking yet. Bush's handling of domestic issues also ranked low, in the high 30s and low 40s, according to the poll which was taken June 6-8.
Looks like even the people of Crawford, Texas our beginning to distance themselves from the unpopular leader.

Six Smoking Bullets

What appears to be scanned versions of the leaked British Cabinet briefing documents, can be downloaded from Cryptome. I cannot verify the authenticity at this point, but the story goes that the New Zealand publication Scoop has published what purports to be the original transcripts of the memos. A more thorough analysis of the documents' authenticity can be found over at Cryptome as well.

We report, you decide.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Other Shoe Drops on Downing Street

The evidence continues to stack against the White House's claims that they were keeping all options on the table in the handling of Iraq as a possible threat. The London Times recently revealed a British Cabinet Office document from July of 2002, that is yet another smoking gun. Here are some key statements contained within:
The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.

When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.

Although no political decisions have been taken, US military planners have drafted options for the US Government to undertake an invasion of Iraq. In a 'Running Start', military action could begin as early as November of this year, with no overt military build-up. Air strikes and support for opposition groups in Iraq would lead initially to small-scale land operations, with further land forces deploying sequentially, ultimately overwhelming Iraqi forces and leading to the collapse of the Iraqi regime.

U.S. views of international law vary from that of the UK and the international community. Regime change per se is not a proper basis for military action under international law. But regime change could result from action that is otherwise lawful. We would regard the use of force against Iraq, or any other state, as lawful if exercised in the right of individual or collective self-defense, if carried out to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, or authorized by the UN Security Council
Compare and contrast this to the President's statements at a Press Conference in March of 2002:

"In regards to Iraq, we're doing just that. Every world leader that comes to see me, I explain our concerns about a nation which is not conforming to agreements that it made in the past; a nation which has gassed her people in the past; a nation which has weapons of mass destruction and apparently is not afraid to use them.

And so one of the, what the Vice President is doing is he's reminding people about this danger, and that we need to work in concert to confront this danger. Again, all options are on the table, and, but one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction. They've agreed not to have those weapons; they ought to conform to their agreement, comply with their agreement."

The White House and British Cabinet both acknowledged the invasion's lack of justification, as well as it's illegality. But despite these facts, the administration had apparently made up their minds to go to war, even while declaring to Congress that they were seeking other possible resolutions. Is this grounds for impeachment? Absolutely... if the government still abides by the Constitution.

Bush on Social Security

An oldie, but goody, because in my line of work you gotta keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kinda catapult the propaganda...

Terry Hunt: Mr. President, a majority of Americans disapprove of your handling of Social Security, rising gas prices and the economy. Are you frustrated by that and by the fact that you're having trouble gaining traction on your agenda in a Republican-controlled Congress?
George Bush: Polls? You know, if a President tries to govern based upon polls, you're kind of like a dog chasing your tail. I don't think you can make good, sound decisions based upon polls. And I don't think the American people want a President who relies upon polls and focus groups to make decisions for the American people.

Time Press Conference, White House, Apr. 28, 2005







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