April 14, 2006

note: I will be leaving town in the morning and will resume posting photos and information on a daily basis starting a week from this Sunday (April 23, 2006).

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The Leak and the 'Truth'
DAVID CORN

"I wanted people to see the truth."

That's how George W. Bush explained his decision to authorize the selective dissemination of portions of a classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq's WMD in the summer of 2003, when the main rationale for his war in Iraq was unraveling. But this was no exercise in full disclosure. It was a political operation. With former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and others raising questions about Bush's overstatement of the prewar intelligence--none of the promised unconventional weapons, after three months, having been found--the Bush gang was beginning to worry. News reports at the time were carrying leaks from unnamed intelligence officials indicating that the President and his team had hyped the WMD threat. And a much noticed Wilson op-ed in the New York Times had made it seem that the White House had used one charge--that Saddam Hussein had been uranium shopping in Iraq--after the Administration had reason to know it was bunk.

So it was fight-back time. That meant discrediting Wilson as a critic. Top White House aides Karl Rove and Scooter Libby told reporters that Wilson's wife was in the CIA and had been responsible for sending him to Niger to check out the report that Baghdad had acquired uranium there--a report based on sloppy forgeries that was easy to rebut. Their point was to make Wilson's mission seem like a silly junket born of nepotism, which it wasn't. (Wilson, an Africa expert with knowledge of the uranium industry, was qualified for the task.) But in this frenzy to undercut Joe Wilson, Rove disclosed Valerie Wilson's CIA employment--which was classified information--to conservative columnist Bob Novak, who then outed her in print as a CIA operative. Libby passed the information on her CIA connection to two reporters, Time magazine's Matt Cooper and the Times's Judith Miller. more...

April 13, 2006

Please sign MoveOn.org's petition against nuclear attack and then alert your friends, family and colleagues by asking them to sign the petition. http://political.moveon.org/dontnukeiran/

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...and there's a link to send a similar message to Bush and Cheney at the end of the following article:
Don't Attack Iran
By Cindy Sheehan    

 Fresh from a resounding victory in Iraq, George Bush swaggered onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and boldly and confidently declared victory. It was a pretty war, it was a clean war, it looked stunning in all of its shock and awe. Wow, never was there such a swift and amazing American victory and it all looked so damn glamorous on CNN!

    As fake as his codpiece was, so was his "cakewalk" of an invasion. Over two thousand dead soldiers, billions of wasted dollars, and thousands of maimed young people later, with innocent Iraqis dead by the hundreds of thousands and still no consistent electricity or clean water in their country, this swaggering imbecile of a "leaker in chief" has the nerve to be trying to sell all of us on a new war in Iran.

Do the warped neo-cons with their puppet president think that we are all stupid? Fool us once, shame on us, fool us ... well, we just can't be fooled again.

"But our objective is to prevent them from having a nuclear weapon." (GWB on Iran, 4/10/06, at Johns Hopkins University.) So, let me get this straight, in order to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear, or "nucular" weapons, we will use tactical nuclear weapons on them! The continued hypocrisy of this regime is absolutely breathtaking!

---snip---
Please go to "Don't Attack Iran" and sign the petition to our "fearless with other people's lives" leaders and tell them that you do not support an attack on Iran. We members of Gold Star Families for Peace, Code Pink Women for Peace, Traprock Peace Center, AfterDowningStreet.org, Democrat.com, Progressive Democrats of America, The Velvet Revolution, and Global Exchange urge you to sign the petition prohibiting our leaders from committing more war crimes and crimes against humanity in our names. We must loudly repudiate the crimes, lest we be accused of them also.   

  We cannot allow an attack on Iran. We must restore sanity to our country, if it's not too late already. more...

April 12, 2006

Shock Knockin‚
Opposition to gruesome war coverage shows weak beliefs, not stomachs.
by Evan George

I like shock. Horror movies make me bubble up with nervous, almost joyous laughter. I have a powerful love/hate relationship with roller coasters, and a large collection of Marilyn Manson records. Nevertheless, when I pulled the morning paper out of its dewy plastic bag last Sunday, the large, above-the-fold picture on the front-page sucked the air out of me.

It was a bloody pulp of a face, one eye swollen shut, accordion tubes galore, and a mouth that looked like a gaping, rotten crater. On first glimpse it wasn‚t the type of mug that evokes empathy, sympathy, or anything really besides sheer terrorųand absolute revulsion. To be honest, I had to stare at it a second, read the caption, process what the horror was exactly before I could react in any sensible way.

I take it a number of L.A. Times readers had a similar experience. But judging by their letters, they stopped short of a reasonable conclusion and listened to their „blood‚n‚gutsš gut reaction. Here‚s one readers‚ response, printed in the „Lettersš of the Opinion section [April 4, 2006]:
My two small children screamed and cried. Why? They saw the horrific, wholly gratuitous photo of the injured soldier on the front page of your April 2 paper. Your partisan tolerance has now become insufferable.

Another reader put it this way:
Was it necessary to use that graphic image to convey the point of your story? I believe that most rational, thinking Americans understand that there are terrible losses of life and injuries in this war.

Now, it‚s not these readers‚ obvious support of the war that makes them idiots per se; it‚s their remarkably irrational analysis of the pictures, what they mean, and what they clearly don‚t mean. Theirs is a classic, reactionary mistake in logic. Let‚s take it nice and slow for those particular readers (do we even have any of those readers?).

The War in Iraq, as a current eventųsomething that is happening right now, just somewhere elseųdoesn‚t really beg for the justification of covering it. It involves major foreign policy issues, has inspired international debate, involves large U.S. military deploymentųand therefore affects the lives of a number of Americans. It‚s basically got what we might call „news-worthinessš written all over it, and has for three years. more...

April 11, 2006

'L'etat, C'est Moi'
Bush Declares Himself Above the Law -- Has the First American Dictatorship Already Arrived?
by Geov Parrish  

In 2003, while pledging to fire anyone in his administration found to have leaked the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Wilson to journalists, President George Bush intoned that he did not know of "anybody in my administration who leaked classified information."

Well.

Pick your favorite Bush quote on this topic; there are countless good ones, now that we learn that former Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, when forced by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to testify under oath to save his own skin, fingered both Bush and his former boss, Dick Cheney. Libby testified that they both authorized the leaking of classified National Intelligence Estimate information on Iraq in July 2003 in order to defend the administration's decision to unilaterally invade Iraq. A president who has ordered the launching of widespread investigations to find leakers in the CIA and State Department, including the polygraphing of scores of intelligence professionals, the man who wants the NSA spying and CIA gulag whistleblowers prosecuted, is himself a leaker. And the same testimony revealed that Bush was aware at every step of the way of the ongoing campaign to publicly smear Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, covert CIA operative Valerie Wilson. Pick your sanctimonious Bush statements about that, too.

What. A. Freaking. Hypocrite. more...

April 10, 2006

THE IRAN PLANS
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH
Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?

The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.

American and European intelligence agencies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), agree that Iran is intent on developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons. But there are widely differing estimates of how long that will take, and whether diplomacy, sanctions, or military action is the best way to prevent it. Iran insists that its research is for peaceful use only, in keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that it will not be delayed or deterred.

There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush‚s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Iran‚s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be „wiped off the map.š Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. „That‚s the name they‚re using. They say, őWill Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?‚ š

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was „absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bombš if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do „what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,š and „that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.š more...

April 9, 2006

The War Gets More Grim Every Day
Three Years After They Toppled Saddam's Statue
By PATRICK COCKBURN

A cruel and bloody civil war has started in Baghdad. A trio of suicide bombers disguised as women, explosives strapped to their bodies hidden by long black cloaks, killed 74 people and wounded over on Friday when they blew themselves up in a Shi'ite mosque in the capital.

One bomber came through the women's security checkpoint at the Buratha mosque in northern Baghdad and detonated explosives just as worshippers were leaving at the end of Friday prayers. Two other bombers then took advantage of the confusion to blow themselves up a few seconds later killing survivors who were trying to escape from the mosque.

The savage attack, the worst for months, came almost exactly on the third anniversary of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by American and British armies on April 9, 2003. The war was portrayed at the time as freeing Iraqis from fear but Iraqi officials have told me that at least 100 people are being killed in and around Baghdad every day. more...

April 8, 2006

The Danger of Hugo Chávez's Successful Socialism
by Ted Rall  

When the hated despots of nations like Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan loot their countries' treasuries, transfer their oil wealth to personal Swiss bank accounts and use the rest to finance (in the House of Saud's case) terrorist extremists, American politicians praise them as trusted friends and allies. But when a democratically elected populist president uses Venezuela's oil profits to lift poor people out of poverty, they accuse him of pandering.

As the United States and Europe continue their shift toward a Darwinomic model where rapacious corporations accrue bigger and bigger profits while workers become poorer and poorer, the socialist economic model espoused by President Hugo Chávez has become wildly popular among Latin Americans tired of watching corrupt right-wing leaders enrich themselves at their expense. Left-of-center governments have recently won power in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Chávez's uncompromising rhetoric matches his politics, but what's really driving the American government and its corporate masters crazy is that he has the cash to back it up.

In their desperate frenzy to destroy Chávez, state-controlled media is resorting to some of the most transparently and hilariously hypocritical talking points ever. In the April 4th New York Times Juan Forero repeated the trope that Chávez's use of oil revenues is unfair--even cheating somehow: "With Venezuela's oil revenues rising 32 percent last year," the paper exclaimed, "Mr. Chávez has been subsidizing samba parades in Brazil, eye surgery for poor Mexicans and even heating fuel for poor families from Maine to the Bronx to Philadelphia. By some estimates, the spending now surpasses the nearly $2 billion Washington allocates to pay for development programs and the drug war in western South America." more...
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