Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Will The WikiLeaks Saga End The Near 40 Year U.S. Involvement In Afghani Conflict? A Look At The Real Questions Assange Has Brought To The Table.

Is it a signal of the beginning of the end of direct U.S. war in Afghanistan? Is it really a new Pentagon Papers?

On July 31st, 2010, Frank Rich had an interesting op-ed in the New York Times titled, “Kiss This War Goodbye” concerning the recent WikiLeaks release of the Afghanistan war logs. Besides the obvious implications of his title, the reasoning of those implications are linked to the Pentagon Papers and the drawing down to the end of the Vietnam war. In expressing those feelings, he essentially wrote,

The only people that seem to be drawing parallels between Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks document dump are Ellsberg and Assange. The Pentagon Papers didn’t impact the Vietnam War as much as it did the press and the same scenario is likely concerning the WikiLeaks revelations. But the parallel is spot on in that they are narratives on downward trendlines in both wars.

The public is hardly interested anymore and according to a recent CBS News poll, nearly two-thirds think the war is going badly. Add in a Post-ABC News survey that found support of Obama’s handling of the war is at 45 percent with only 43 percent thinking the war is worth it.

It’s hard to argue with any of the op-ed. The information, despite massive enforced secrecy by the U.S. government and two Presidents, revealed precious little to informed people (Fox and right wing radio propaganda afficionados the exception) or to enemies. In fact, the only thing that sticks out is the narrative of nine years of the Afghanistan conflict. That narrative is, of course, one that the United States was just sitting here, uninvolved in Afghanistan and that Osama Bin Laden ordered an attack by plane hijack, on the United States because radical Muslims hated our “freedoms” and Christians and Jews. Since there are closer targets to Afghanistan, or Hamburg Germany where the largely Saudi Arabian contingent of hijackers left from, than the United States that do not have a military garrisoned in 135 countries across the globe and fit those categories, a logical mind would think that rationale a little weak. In fact, the CIA has a term for terrorism, which is “blowback”. But that can be forgiven given the premise of the op-ed that rings true.

As written previously at American Commentary Blog in December of 2009 titled, “Where The U.S. Military Meets Frankensten’s Monster At The Grave Yard Of Conquerors. Obama’s Afghan Decision.” the history and motives are much more involved and long.

As I wrote in 2008 at the DailyKos and the Democratic Underground in a piece titled, “Colonial Wars In A Postcolonial Era (Benazir Bhutto on Iraq)” the Taliban and the groups that ultimately formed al Queda are our “Frankenstein’s monster” by borrowing Benazir Bhutto’s quote

Post cold war imperial ambitions of the U.S. have pushed the Middle East and Central Asia into intolerable peril for these regions the U.S. desires to control for unmatched hegemony. Benazir Bhutto knowing the true nature of the mujahideen coalition even down to each leader of each group and what they were capable of, warned George H.W. Bush in June of 1989, “Mr. President, I fear we have created a Frankenstein that will come back to haunt us” according to her book. The United States, blinded by the Wolfowitz doctrine, has not seen the warning signs until too late. It did not see bin Laden’s rebellion among its jihad network.

and that we should understand the historical background of where we currently find ourselves

The road to 9/11 and its continued bloody aftermath began in earnest at the tail end of the Carter administration when the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI decided it would be a good idea to train and fund a coalition of groups of mujahideen rebels in Afghanistan to give the Soviet backed government of President Mohammed Najibullah more problems than it could handle. For the Pakistani military, the strategy was to provide itself with more reach and influence. For the United States, it was to create a Vietnam type of quagmire for the Soviet Union and its success began when the USSR invaded Afghanistan on Christmas Day, 1979. Ironically, this Soviet quagmire that ultimately led to the implosion of the USSR now threatens us with the same fate.

Of equally important background information is this from The Nation and it’s online blog from 2008 titled, “The Afghan Pipeline You Don’t Know About

Just as Americans were getting used to Big Oil and Iraq, they were hit with revelations on Afghanistan. Did anyone remember in 1999 Unocal providing an all expense paid trip for Taliban officials to the United States (including a trip to Mt. Rushmore) while negotiating a $1.9 billion pipeline bringing Turkmeni natural gas through Afghanistan to Pakistan? What about who was a special consultant to Unocal or the Karzai connection? How about George W. Bush’s neocon ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad being rumored as a future “Afghan” presidential candidate?

The pipeline negotiations broke down for good in August, 2001, one month before “well, you know”. Toronto’s Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin put it, “Washington was furious, leading to speculation it might take out the Taliban. After 9/11, the Taliban, with good reason, were removed — and pipeline planning continued with the Karzai government. U.S. forces installed bases near Kandahar, where the pipeline was to run. A key motivation for the pipeline was to block a competing bid involving Iran, a charter member of the ‘axis of evil.'”

Turns out in April (2008), Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India (TAPI) signed a Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement to build a US supported $7.6 billion pipeline. It would by-pass Iran and energy giant Russia carrying Turkmeni natural gas to Pakistan and India. Construction would begin in 2010 and go through Kandahar right through the heart of Taliban country (think of the additional troop request)

and this news item from the BBC in 2002 titled, “Afghan pipeline given go-ahead” . Also, the blog at The Nation online magazine went on to state Americans would not know these things unless they regularly scan news items from foreign press sources. The question is, is this still about al Queda and the right war (since the US’s own assessments are that there are maybe only about 100 persons connected to the al Queda groups left in Afghanistan) or is this just a continuation of the strategic game of the empire project concerning Central Asian oil and gas trade?

Recently, there has been some press about Pakistan’s ISI being involved with the Taliban and current insurgency. This has been well known by people in the know, especially given that the United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia created most of these groups and funded and trained many of them to drive out the Soviet Union. In fact, many sources had connected Pakistan’s ISI officials and the flow of money to 9/11 hijacker Atta. The religious radicalization of many of the groups and their recruits through those years was funded by U.S. taxpayers as revealed in a 2002 report titled “From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad” in the Washington Post including the textbooks for the religious schools. This was, of course, what the military industrial complex had decided to do in order to control the resources and the flow of oil and natural gas for multi-national corporations since the fall of the Soviet Union leaving many former soviet states in the region to U.S. hegemonic exploitation. There was not going to be a peace dividend following the cold war for the American people if the profiteers were to have their say and they had both political parties on board.

A warning and a choice

A dire warning to the U.S., which is now following the footsteps of the now defunct U.S.S.R., came from former Soviet General Igor Rodionov in an article from 2009 titled “Veterans of Soviet war see same errors by US” by Charles Clover of the Financial Times where he said “they would come, the insurgency would leave, then we would leave, and they would return and it just went around in circles for 10 years”. He said “sending more troops is just going to mean more deaths.” Indeed, Afghanistan throughout history, has shed its would be conquerors. These lessons come amid the recent collapse of the U.S. economy under deregulation and the Bush tax cuts which have deprived the government of billions and if preserved will cost the budget $700 billion in the next decade while state budget cuts have further contracted economic activity. With current budget cuts including shutting down schools to shutting off street lights at night across America or breaking up roads to gravel to avoid the cost of repaving as revealed in pieces by Glenn Greenwald titled “What collapsing empire looks like” and Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman’s column called “America Goes Dark“, isn’t it time to shift away from tax cuts at the top and the massive spending on the American Security State and imperial priorities of this neocon empire to our millions of unemployed people in dire straits? Isn’t it time to put our priorities back on our people and their welfare before we suffer a fate like that of the Soviet collapse?


Velvet Revolution Lawyer Sends Letter To Maryland AG Requesting Prosecution of Breitbart, O’Keefe, And Giles For Violating Maryland’s Privacy Laws.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack apologizes to Shirley Sherrod for his giving creedance to Breitbart’s dishonest and racist tactics along with The Fox “News” Channel’s echo chamber that made her their latest scalp.

Kevin Zeese, an attorney for Velvet Revolution sent a letter early this month to Maryland state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and State’s Attorney Patricia Coats Jessamy asking them to prosecute James O’Keefe, Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart for violating Maryland’s Privacy Statute. It included the following,

Under Maryland’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, it is unlawful to tape record a conversation without the permission of all parties. See Bodoy v. North Arundel Hosp., 945 F. Supp. 890 (D. Md. 1996). Additionally, recording with criminal or tortuous purpose is illegal, regardless of consent. Disclosing the contents of intercepted communications with reason to know they were obtained unlawfully is a crime as well. Violations of the law are felonies punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years and a fine of not more than $10,000.

I also call upon your office to bring conspiracy charges against Andrew Breitbart for paying and directing O’Keefe and Giles and then directly carrying out the distribution of the illegally obtained tapes, also a felony under applicable Maryland law. Mr. Breitbart is the director of, an internet website that pushes far right propaganda and he has used the ACORN tapes as a fundraising tool for his operations.

We believe that the case for criminal prosecution has been made stronger by the release of four official reports on the criminal conduct of these three individuals, which I have linked below, and by the recent arrest of Mr. O’Keefe in Louisiana for his illegal entry into Senator Landrieu’s Senate Office in order to tamper with her telephone system. The House Judiciary Committee, the former Connecticut Attorney General, the California Attorney General and the General Accounting Office prepared these reports.

Each of these reports paints a damning picture of O’Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart, who went on a multi-state crime spree, invading the privacy of ACORN staffers nationwide, taping their conversations and then editing them to create the appearance of illegality and impropriety by ACORN/staffers. Each of these reports makes clear that neither ACORN nor its staffers committed crimes but that O’Keefe, Giles, and conspirator Breibart did. In fact, the California Attorney General granted O’Keefe and Giles immunity in exchange for the unedited copy of their illegal tape, which showed that the tape was intentionally edited to portray a harmful picture of ACORN.

Indeed, as reported here at American Commentary Blog back in January in a report titled,”While Karma Catches Up To Republican Brownshirt James O’Keefe And A Mentor, Propagandist Breitbart, Examination Of Fellow Thugs In The Landrieu Office Phone Tampering Attempt Turns Up Questionable Connections That Require Official Investigation.”, the growing body of lawsuits were beginning in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Also, the Landrieu break in was mentioned as well as questionable connections of O’Keefe’s Brownshirts he was partnered with. Robert Flannagan is the son of William Flanagan, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana and Stan Dai had a connection to the Director of National Intelligence. As reported by Lindsay Beyerstein at Alternet in “James Bond Wannabe Part of Right-Wing Plot To Tamper With Senator’s Phones“,

The circumstances of Dai’s arrest are difficult to square any theory that the men were just checking the protocols of Landrieu’s phone system. A federal law enforcement official told the Associated Press that one of the four suspects was arrested a few blocks away in a car with “a listening device that could pick up transmissions.” Another anonymous official told MSNBC that the man in the car was Stan Dai. It’s unclear why the listening device wasn’t mentioned in the affidavit. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Louisiana declined my request for further comment. …

In 2008, Dai served as associate director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University. The ICCAE is funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and charged with recruiting the next generation of spooks. A university official assured Laura Rozen of Politico that Dai was a civilian whose job with the university ended in 2008 when the grant money ran out.

Last June, Dai was a featured speaker on torture and terrorism at a “CIA Day” for students in the Junior Statesmen of America’s summer school. The mission of the Junior Statesmen, according to the organization’s Web site, “is to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society.” The students visited Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., and then returned to Georgetown for a series of lectures.

Dai was a speaker at a CIA program called “Annual Junior Statesman Summer School” as reported here and the brochure of the event showed some interesting things,

Let’s look at the brochure or packets from the CIA program at which Dai was a speaker called “Annual Junior Statesman Summer School” Speakers Program. It cites his occupation as “freelance consultant”. It lists his career history as a former Assistant Director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity Washington University, as serving as the Operations Officer of a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program, and also as an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies (a neoconservative think tank with ties to Richard Perle).

It should be noted that consultant is a common cover for covert agents as indicated in a recent interview by Valerie Plame Wilson though it could be legitimate.

The Use Of Racism As A Political Tactic By The Right

Racism has been a tool for many governments throughout history for taking or holding power from the time of slavery, to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 20’s and 30’s up to today’s political tactics of the right in the United States. Since the Civil Rights Act was enacted by the Johnson administration, the Republicans under the Nixon administration developed what has come to be known as the Southern strategy to take advantage of white resentment. Since the age of Reagan and voo doo economics for the rich, multi-national corporations, and the military industrial complex, it has become worse. To vilify any of the people’s money going to the people for their benefit instead of everything for corporate interests, scapegoats have been needed. The have nots needed to be divided to vote against their interests and racism has provided the perfect weapon. And now that the Democrats elected Obama, the right has reached for old racist themes such as he is a socialist or Marxist (like they called Dr. Martin Luther King) though he has governed center to center right and the echoes of the racist “send them back to Africa” theme can be seen in the birther movement. The reappearance of dog whistles of the old south has opened the door for tools like Breitbart and he hasn’t disappointed. Add in the false race baiting stories generated by Fox “News” that has led to the destruction of ACORN, the bogus “New Black Panthers” story, the Van Jones firing, and now the firing of Shirley Sherrod, while dismantling the public square and attacking the themes of the 14th amendment, and has become way too obvious to deny or ignore. But Breitbart may have bitten off more than he can chew as Sherrod is contemplating whether or not to sue.

Disgusting Display

Two disgusting displays have emerged from this whole Sherrod affair. The first was done by Breitbart and Fox News (and subsequently on cue by “mainstream” reporting). In what can best be decribed as there is no low too low to go for the cause behavior, Breitbart edited a speech to the NAACP by Sherrod to make her out to be racist in her job with the Department of Agriculture when the speech was about overcoming the murder of her father by a white farmer and subsequent negative feelings to help a white farmer save his farm while working for a non profit organization before her job at the Department. She was glad she did because it wasn’t about race but about helping the poor. Breitbart’s vile and vicious artistry initially even fooled the NAACP as they condemned Sherrod before fact checking and then issuing a quick apology. The second disgusting display was Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s “quick response” firing of Sherrod without getting her side of the story, fact checking the claims, or facing her. This is following a pattern that has become all to familiar, which is tap dancing to right wing media like puppets on a string. That is because Obama’s administration is too populated by members of Will Marshall‘s DLC or “New Democrats“, the group of Democrats that are moderate conservatives (rebranded “centrists”) that have controlled the Democratic party policy since the 1980’s. They spend way too much time running away from the “L” word and dismissing fellow Democrats they view as “too liberal” as well as working to defeat “too progressive” or “liberal” branded legislation or amendments without examining the merits. The Democrats need “New Democrats” alright, the old ones that put right before wrong instead of political calculation before what is right. The right wing takes no prisoners and has named us that do not agree with their politics as enemies and unAmerican. There is no middle in their absolutism and eliminationism. This is a battle for survival.

Bush Brags About His War Crimes To Grand Rapids Michigan Crowd.

Meanwhile, CREW Sues Obama DOJ For Protecting Bush Administration Emails. It’s All About Yoo. Roberts Court Solidifies Injustice In Maher Arar Case.

In early June, former president George W. Bush channeled his former vice president Dick Cheney in bragging publicly over war crimes committed under their direction. At a speech and question and answer session at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids as reported by Ted Roelofs of The Grand Rapids Press in an article titled, ” ‘I’d do it again’ former President Bush tells Grand Rapids crowd about waterboarding terrorists

“Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” Bush said of the terrorist who master-minded the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. He said that event shaped his presidency and convinced him the nation was in a war against terror.

“I’d do it again to save lives.”

In a speech and question-and-answer session before the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Bush defended his decision to go to war in 2003 with Iraq.

“Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do and the world is a better place without him,” Bush said.

And why not? So far, they have been made immune from the rule of law, by Congress in its failures to inquire and impeach, the Obama administration and its Department of Justice blocking legal actions mainly through abuse of the state secrets privilege and its many defenses in court of Bush administration illegalities, and the Roberts Supreme Court that seems to have a disregard of both Constitution and legal precedents. Make no mistake, these are both Constitutional and codified crimes as well as internationally recognized crimes. Under the Constitution of the United States, the Geneva Convention is “the Supreme law of the Land” under Article Six, clause two. And from the U.S. Code: Title 18, 2441 War Crimes, you have

(c) Definition.— As used in this section the term “war crime” means any conduct—
(1) defined as a grave breach in any of the international conventions signed at Geneva 12 August 1949, or any protocol to such convention to which the United States is a party;
(2) prohibited by Article 23, 25, 27, or 28 of the Annex to the Hague Convention IV, Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, signed 18 October 1907;
(3) which constitutes a grave breach of common Article 3 (as defined in subsection (d)) when committed in the context of and in association with an armed conflict not of an international character; or
(4) of a person who, in relation to an armed conflict and contrary to the provisions of the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended at Geneva on 3 May 1996 (Protocol II as amended on 3 May 1996), when the United States is a party to such Protocol, willfully kills or causes serious injury to civilians.
(d) Common Article 3 Violations.— (1) Prohibited conduct.— In subsection (c)(3), the term “grave breach of common Article 3” means any conduct (such conduct constituting a grave breach of common Article 3 of the international conventions done at Geneva August 12, 1949), as follows:

(A) Torture.— The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control for the purpose of obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation, coercion, or any reason based on discrimination of any kind.

(B) Cruel or inhuman treatment.— The act of a person who commits, or conspires or attempts to commit, an act intended to inflict severe or serious physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions), including serious physical abuse, upon another within his custody or control.

(C) Performing biological experiments.— The act of a person who subjects, or conspires or attempts to subject, one or more persons within his custody or physical control to biological experiments without a legitimate medical or dental purpose and in so doing endangers the body or health of such person or persons.

(D) Murder.— The act of a person who intentionally kills, or conspires or attempts to kill, or kills whether intentionally or unintentionally in the course of committing any other offense under this subsection, one or more persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including those placed out of combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause.

(E) Mutilation or maiming.— The act of a person who intentionally injures, or conspires or attempts to injure, or injures whether intentionally or unintentionally in the course of committing any other offense under this subsection, one or more persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including those placed out of combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, by disfiguring the person or persons by any mutilation thereof or by permanently disabling any member, limb, or organ of his body, without any legitimate medical or dental purpose.

(F) Intentionally causing serious bodily injury.— The act of a person who intentionally causes, or conspires or attempts to cause, serious bodily injury to one or more persons, including lawful combatants, in violation of the law of war.

(G) Rape.— The act of a person who forcibly or with coercion or threat of force wrongfully invades, or conspires or attempts to invade, the body of a person by penetrating, however slightly, the anal or genital opening of the victim with any part of the body of the accused, or with any foreign object.

(H) Sexual assault or abuse.— The act of a person who forcibly or with coercion or threat of force engages, or conspires or attempts to engage, in sexual contact with one or more persons, or causes, or conspires or attempts to cause, one or more persons to engage in sexual contact.

(I) Taking hostages.— The act of a person who, having knowingly seized or detained one or more persons, threatens to kill, injure, or continue to detain such person or persons with the intent of compelling any nation, person other than the hostage, or group of persons to act or refrain from acting as an explicit or implicit condition for the safety or release of such person or persons.

The evidence that has come out from both Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Bagram Air Force Base, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, and the network of CIA black sites is that most, if not all of those things mentioned which constitutes war crimes has been violated. And to what both Bush and Cheney have bragged about in addition to all the evidence revealed, by law is unequivocally illegal and unequivocally criminal. There are no legal exceptions. It does not matter what a president calls those in custody, whether it be “illegal enemy combatants”, “terrorists”, or “bran muffins”. Any nation whose leaders espouse a fear of the rule of law has no intention of acting lawfully. So the flaunting of these illegalities is a mockery of stated laws, our Constitution, and the rule of law as it is to the pledge candidate Obama signed as a candidate in 2007 to the American Freedom Campaign which stated,

We are Americans, and in our America we do not torture, we do not imprison people without charge or legal recourse, allow our phones and emails to be tapped without a court order, and above all we do not give any President unchecked power. I pledge to fight to protect and defend the Constitution from assault by any President. The Constitution protects American Freedom. With checks and balances, and basic legal rights, it has prevented tyranny and safeguarded our liberty. Yet today, under the pretense of the “war on terror,” the White House is dismantling the Constitution, concentrating power in the President and undermining the rule of law. THIS IS UN-AMERICAN. I hereby join the American Freedom Campaign to educate my neighbors about the threat and urge my representatives to confront and correct these abuses of our America.

That campaign pledge has become just another broken campaign promise to throw on the growing pile along with a public option, open government, alternative energy in place of “drill baby drill”, etc., much like the oil piling up on our Gulf Coast beaches and forever staining the fabric of this nation, its laws, and integrity. Now the Obama administration owns these crimes as well as well as the unconstitutional powers asserted. Instead of its campaign slogan of “change”, it should have been “acquire”.

The Game Being Played

By mentioning only high profile detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, only waterboarding when it comes to torture, and Saddam Hussein when it comes to the attack and invasion of Iraq, what former president Bush is doing is pretending. He is pretending all persons taken into custody without trial and subjected to extreme measures were guilty of terrorism, that there has been a real legal debate as to whether waterboarding is torture, that torture yields actionable intelligence rather than propaganda and that the Iraq war was legal and justified. None of these things is true, but millions of Americans swear by them and have no pangs of conscience. Matthew Yglesias writing in the American Prospect in an article titled, “Do Conservatives Understand Torture?” after explaining torture is to produce coerced confessions for propaganda instead of useful or correct information put it,

This is why, despite the huffing and puffing, nobody on the right has produced any convincing evidence that the torture program has been, on net, useful. Torture fans sometimes claim that waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed helped disrupt a terrorism plot in Los Angeles, but it’s questionable whether the plot ever existed in the first place, and at any rate its disruption occurred before Mohammed was captured. We do know, however, that torture succeeded in getting Abu Zubaydah to tell the administration what it wanted to hear in order for it to make its case for invading Iraq and offer up bogus information about al-Qaeda ties to Saddam Hussein.

It would be surprising if widespread application of torture never produced any accurate information. On the contrary, a desperate torture victim is sure to say all kinds of things — true and false. Before Zubaydah hit on the story his interrogators wanted him to tell, after all, he almost surely tried out the truth, that he knew nothing of such ties. That truth-telling would, however, only be interpreted as resistance and met with additional torture. As a system, the main impact of torture is to provide confirmation for what one already thinks one knows, not to produce new, useful facts.

And in recounting the story of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, whose false tortured confession was used as basis for the war in Iraq and later was found dead in a Libyan prison, British journalist Andy Worthington wrote

In Egypt, he came up with the false allegation about connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein that was used by President Bush in a speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, just days before Congress voted on a resolution authorizing the President to go to war against Iraq, in which, referring to the supposed threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s regime, Bush said, “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.”

Four months later, on February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell made the same claim in his notorious speech to the UN Security Council, in an attempt to drum up support for the invasion. “I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al-Qaeda,” Powell said, adding, “Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story.” As a Newsweek report in 2007 explained, Powell did not identify al-Libi by name, but CIA officials – and a Senate Intelligence Committee report – later confirmed that he was referring to al-Libi.

Al-Libi recanted his story in February 2004, when he was returned to the CIA’s custody, and explained, as Newsweek described it, that he told his debriefers that “he initially told his interrogators that he ‘knew nothing’ about ties between Baghdad and Osama bin Laden and he ‘had difficulty even coming up with a story’ about a relationship between the two.” The Newsweek report explained that “his answers displeased his interrogators – who then apparently subjected him to the mock burial. As al-Libi recounted, he was stuffed into a box less than 20 inches high. When the box was opened 17 hours later, al-Libi said he was given one final opportunity to ‘tell the truth.’ He was knocked to the floor and ‘punched for 15 minutes.’ It was only then that, al-Libi said, he made up the story about Iraqi weapons training.”

Also, on questioning and speculating on the reported death by suicide in a Libyan jail by al-Libi, Worthington further wrote

The most important question that needs asking just now, of course, is whether it was possible for al-Libi to commit suicide in a Libyan jail, or whether he was murdered. I doubt that we will ever find out the truth, but whatever the case, the focus on his death should not rest solely on Libya, which only took possession of him after the US administration had made use of him to justify the invasion of Iraq

The use of false torture confessions, forged documents as was the case with the Niger yellow cake documents of the Valerie Plame Wilson outing affair in which the forgers were named in a report for the UK’s The Times by Michael Smith in 2006, which said,

According to the sources, an official investigation believes Adam Maiga Zakariaou, the consul, and Laura Montini, the ambassador’s assistant, known as La Signora, forged the papers for money.

and the Habbush letter forgery, and the creation of The Office of Special Plans to fix intelligence around policy, make for the Iraq war being a “war of aggression” which is considered the supreme war crime in international law and well as Nuremberg. In fact, a report by Michael Savage in the UK’s The Independent titled, “Blair warned in 2000 Iraq war was illegal“, it said in papers withheld in the Chilcot inquiry that an invasion of Iraq would be illegal and

The document also calls into question Mr Blair’s claim that using troops to bring down Saddam Hussein was only discussed after the 9/11 terror attacks on New York – and will increase pressure on the inquiry to call Mr Blair back to give further public evidence this summer.

For those that still want to be apologists over torture because “they are terrorists”, it should be noted that in a report by the Seton Hall School of Law on Guantanamo Detainees, it was determined that

1. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the detainees are not determined to have committed any
hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies.
2. Only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining
detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% are have no definitive
affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban.
3. The Government has detained numerous persons based on mere affiliations with a
large number of groups that in fact, are not on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist
watchlist. Moreover, the nexus between such a detainee and such organizations varies considerably.
Eight percent are detained because they are deemed “fighters for;” 30% considered “members of;” a
large majority – 60% — are detained merely because they are “associated with” a group or groups the
Government asserts are terrorist organizations. For 2% of the prisoners their nexus to any terrorist
group is unidentified.

and most certainly had no connection to the Hamburg cell responsible for the events of 9/11/2001. For those who are still apologists for the Iraq war, it should be mentioned that thousands of US service members died, estimates over 1 million civilians died as a result of the invasion and aftermath, and millions of civilians displaced.

Whenever a government conspires to large illegal acts, it usually tries to develop a facade of legality around those actions through the use of lawyers to provide “legal justifications” for those illegal activities. Two lawyers known to have drawn up the case for torture, rendition, and illegal torture prisons and illegal “preemptive war” were John Yoo and Judge Jay Bybee of the Bybee Torture Memo fame (then Assistant AG to White House Counsel). Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for failure to provide them with records relating to the missing Yoo emails requested following the DOJ investigation and report in the role of high ranking Office of Legal Counsel officials released in July 2009. In their press release of May 11th, 2010, it stated

In February 2010, DOJ made public a July 2009 report of its investigation into the roles of former high-ranking Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) officials John Yoo and Patrick Philbin in the drafting of OLC’s torture memos, which authorized the use of torture when interrogating detainees outside of the United States. The investigation was hampered by the fact that most of Mr. Yoo’s emails and many of Mr. Philbin’s had disappeared. CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on February 26, 2010 asking OLC to provide any guidance DOJ employees received regarding preservation of emails as well as any records showing there might have been problems with the storage or retention of emails in OLC. CREW sent a follow-up FOIA request on March 3, 2010 seeking copies of all existing emails sent to or from John Yoo, in an effort to ascertain the extent of the problem with his missing emails.

Although OLC initially agreed to expedite CREW’s request given public interest in the issue, to date OLC has produced only two documents setting forth the record keeping requirements to which Messrs. Yoo and Philbin were subject. DOJ has not provided any of the emails sent to or from Mr. Yoo. In addition, DOJ has not responded to the National Archives and Records Administration’s request that the department investigate and report back on whether the missing high-ranking OLC officials’ emails were destroyed in violation of the Federal Records Act, which mandates the preservation of such emails.

Yoo is notoriously known for such bogus legals arguments such as the president has the authority to torture children (as was reportedly done at Abu Ghraib) and crush their testicles or order the massacre of civilians. As reported by a Newsweek article titled, “Justice Official Clears Bush Lawyers in Torture Memo Probe” despite the precedent set at the Nuremberg trials

While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action—which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

And in addition to the Obama DOJ hiding behind legal technicalities in its abandonment of its constitutional duties to defend the laws and Constitution of the United States, the British High Court revealed in a ruling that the United States was guilty of torturing Binyam Mohamed (including mutilation of his genitalia with razor blades) before the Bybee memos were drawn up as a legal excuse to commit (or cover up) illegal acts. Yoo recently bragged in an op ed in the Wall Street Journal titled, “My Gift to the Obama Presidency

Barack Obama may not realize it, but I may have just helped save his presidency. How? By winning a drawn-out fight to protect his powers as commander in chief to wage war and keep Americans safe.

Completing the shameful full system failure of all branches of government in failing to uphold the laws and constitution of the United States, the Roberts Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal brought by Canadian-Syrian Maher Arar who was wrongly arrested in the US in 2002 and expelled to Syria where he was held and tortured for a year. In an op ed at The Huffington Post titled, “In Refusing to Hear My Case, The Supreme Court Has Put the World’s Peace and Order in Danger” Arar wrote,

Let me emphasize the fact that my case is not an isolated one. My case is unique in the sense that I was the only person who was rendered from US soil. But hundreds of other human beings have been rendered by the CIA and handed over to brutal regimes. No one knows how many of these people have died under torture or completely disappeared. Those of us who were lucky “survived” and were released, but now live with psychological and physical scars.

In times of turmoil and crisis, such as the ones we have been living since 9/11, the judicial system is supposed to do exactly the opposite of what it has done: it is supposed to stand up to the executive branch and make sure the constitution is respected. Unfortunately, the judicial system has abandoned its sacred role of ensuring that no one is above the law. In doing so it has given the executive branch the green light to continue abusing people’s basic human rights. As a result of this willful blindness, it has put the world’s peace and order in danger.

A lot of people had high hopes when Obama took his oath to uphold the Constitution. It later became clear that his administration was no better than that of his predecessor. Here we are, 18 months after he took office, and Guantánamo is still open, renditions are still being carried out and illegal assassinations by drone planes have increased tenfold. This latter tactic has claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians so far. One can only wonder what is next in the so-called “war on terror.”

Indeed, no citizen is safe from abuse of power whether a US citizen or as in Arar’s case, not one, when US officials are immune from the rule of law and all citizens are left without the protections the Constitution provides its citizens when neither it nor the rule of law is followed.

Another Court Jester For The King. Elena Kagan And The Imperial Continuum.

While Republicans may talk about their misgivings about Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and her “progressive” views and the vapid religious right insinuates she may be a lesbian (to stir up their bigots), the real questions and issues surrounding Kagan’s views come from “real” progressives or liberals. In fact, it might be that she fits just fine in the imperial Bush/Cheney view and legacy that the executive branch is above or beyond the law, Constitutional restaints, as well as any international laws or treaties ratified by the U.S.. Many liberals, Constitutional scholars, and civil libertarians are viewing her more with skepticism and disappointment since she is replacing Justice Stevens who stood up firmly for the Bill of Rights, Constitutional separation of powers, habeas corpus, and due process under the rule of law. This is especially true since she agreed with Bush/Cheney concepts (unAmerican by nature and legal tradition) concerning indefinite detention during her confirmation hearings as Solictor General. Add in her inexperience and lack of legal writings during the time many of our constitutional and legal precepts were shredded during the previous administration has many worried.

Many misgivings by those concerned with the constitution, legal precedents, and the rule of law show that the possibility for a prolonged era of imperial presidencies may indeed lie ahead. There is this from Tony Mauro writing in the National Law Journal titled “Supreme Court Watchers Wonder: How Conservative Is Kagan?“,

Until then, the drumbeat of Kagan criticism may get louder as scrutiny of her brief record as solicitor general intensifies. Advocates for human rights and other liberal causes who are upset at the Obama administration for continuing Bush-era policies may take their frustration out on Kagan.

“From the perspective of those who have been advocating change from Bush policies, she has been a disappointment,” said Tina Foster of the International Justice Network, who argued against Kagan’s deputy Neal Katyal over detention policies in an appeal in January.

“She would spell very bad news” if she became a Supreme Court justice, said Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has long challenged Bush and now Obama detention policies. “We don’t see any basis to assume she does not embrace the Bush view of executive power.”

At the Electronic Frontier Foundation, senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston called the Obama administration’s stance on state secrets and national security wiretapping “a grave disappointment, particularly for those who took Obama’s promises seriously.” Bankston cautioned he is not certain how involved Kagan herself has been in the positions the department has taken on these issues.

And even Kagan’s own deputy Neal Kumar Katyal writing in the Yale Law Review titled “Internal Separation of Powers: Checking Today’s Most Dangerous Branch From Within” says

Elena Kagan’s recent defense of presidential administration concentrated on domestic policy, but her ideas suggest a criticism of the above proposals. She claims that presidential administration energizes a moribund bureaucracy:

“The need for an injection of energy and leadership becomes apparent, lest an inert bureaucracy encased in an inert political system grind inflexibly, in the face of new opportunities and challenges, toward (at best) irrelevance or (at worst) real harm. . . . This conclusion, of course, would be less sound to the extent that the political and administrative systems fail to impose adequate limits on the President’s exercise of administrative power. Then, the balance between friction and energy would tip toward the opposite extreme— away from the too broad curtailment of regulatory initiative to the too facile assertion of unilateral power. One reason not to fear this outcome relates to the President’s accountability to the public . . . .105”

But this view of the presidency, at least in the realm of foreign affairs, is as far from a description of contemporary reality as are Madison’s views, reprinted in the first paragraph of this Essay. Consider such claims in light of the facts that: (1) there is little public accountability when decisions are secret; (2) agency officials have been excluded from providing input on answers to key legal questions; (3) no neutral subordinate decision-maker exists; and (4) the administration has itself asserted that the brunt of these questions are beyond the purview of the courts altogether.

Michael Tomasky writing for the UK’s The Guardian titled “Elena Kagan” writes

One example: when she was being confirmed by the Senate for her current post, solicitor general, she defended the right of indefinite detention of terrorism suspects.

I think these things should be taken seriously. It follows a certain logic that she probably wouldn’t feel as free as John Paul Stevens did to offer striking dissents on such matters. Stevens was in his eighties and beyond caring what anybody thought of him. Kagan will want to be a force on the court, meaning (I’m just guessing here, but it makes sense if you read that Times profile) that she might want to be more of a conciliator, more of a power-player among the court’s nonet rather its thundering dissenting voice on these questions.

And finally there is this from the Heritage Foundation, a leading edge organization in the anti-democracy movement in the United States, from February 18th, 2009 in a piece on their blog titled “On Detainee Treatment, Sanity Still Prevailing at the White House

Last week we congratulated the Obama Administration for choosing the security of the American people over the bumper sticker slogans of the far left. Today, the New York Times details the Obama Administration’s continued prudence on some key national security issues:

During her confirmation hearing last week, Elena Kagan, the nominee for solicitor general, said that someone suspected of helping finance Al Qaeda should be subject to battlefield law — indefinite detention without a trial — even if he were captured in a place like the Philippines rather than in a physical battle zone.

Ms. Kagan’s support for an elastic interpretation of the “battlefield” amplified remarks that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made at his own confirmation hearing. And it dovetailed with a core Bush position. Civil liberties groups argue that people captured away from combat zones should go to prison only after trials.

In the shift from the 20th century to the 21st century, we have seen the United States go from world leader and its push as a nation of the rule of law at the Nuremberg Trials (thereby creating the Nuremburg Principles, the framework of current international law) to today’s international beligerent and the international barbaric disgrace of Guantanamo Bay, the prison at Bagram, and Abu Ghraib Prison. We have seen the state secrets privilege abused in denying victims of illegal torture their day in court, and to cover up high crimes of state as revealed in the case of Sibel Edmonds. Many of us sons and daughters of World War II veterans realize what separated us from the barbarian was the rule of law (not to create laws to subvert the rule of law). It is within this context many of us oppose Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. How much further can we slip from freedom’s gaze?

Corporate Whore Health Care Summit Locks Out Single Payer And Medicare For All Advocates.

As the so called “Health Care Summit” got underway between the “third way” Democrats and the status quo obstructionist Republicans defining the debate, Democratic representatives that supported real reform on behalf of the American people such as Anthony Weiner (D) NY, Dennis Kucinich (D) OH, and Peter Welch of Virginia requested the inclusion of physicians that advocate single payer (but were ignored) as these groups stayed at home. This on the heels of a year that showed America’s biggest insurers combined profits rose 56% in 2009 while covering 2.7 million less Americans. In this from “Big Insurance: Recession? What recession?” by J.G. Preston,

HCAN found the insurers increased profits while simultaneously insuring 2.7 million fewer people through private insurance. The report claims that is “part of the industry’s long-term shifting of responsibility for the care of millions of sick, older or lower-income customers to taxpayer-supported government health programs…State and federal programs have increasingly been hiring big insurers to manage their care.”

In these increased desperate times for millions of Americans who have to forsake coverage to eat, those in government deciding their fate have been deluged with money from those that profit from their misery. In a report from Capital Eye Blog at by Michael Beckel titled “Lobbyists Earn $1.3 Million Per Hour As Lawmakers Log Long Days“, it claims

Health-related lobbyists and lobbyists for business interests like the Chamber, for instance, earned more than $200,000 per hour that Congress was in session. Lobbyists for unions, meanwhile, took in $16,000 per hour that Congress was in session.

In a report from The Center for Public Integrity, it concluded that,

A Center for Public Integrity analysis of Senate lobbying disclosure forms shows that more than 1,750 companies and organizations hired about 4,525 lobbyists — eight for each member of Congress — to influence health reform bills in 2009.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has pushed the deficient Senate version of reform without a robust public option to contain costs. Commenting on the Obama approach, Doctors that are members of Physicians for a National Health Program said,

“For example, the president’s proposal would ship hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the private health insurance industry in the form of subsidies,” Young said. “And to help finance this, it would impose a new tax on health benefits of workers, especially those in high-cost states.

“Its individual mandate would force millions of middle-income uninsured Americans to buy insurers’ skimpy products – insurance policies full of gaps like ever-rising co-pays, deductibles and premiums. Such policies already leave middle-class American families vulnerable to economic hardship and medical bankruptcy in the event of a serious illness like cancer,” continued Young, citing a recent study.

In the meanwhile, the health insurance industry controls both sides of the argument, those from the corporatist Democrats who want their campaign largess and the Republicans that seek to block any progress for their profitable status quo while even proposing throwing fixed income seniors to the wolves through privatizing medicare as evidenced in a piece written by Peter Stone at the National Journal’s Under the Influence titled, “Health Insurers Funded Chamber Attack Ads” which reports,

Just as dealings with the Obama administration and congressional Democrats soured last summer, six of the nation’s biggest health insurers began quietly pumping big money into third-party television ads aimed at killing or significantly modifying the major health reform bills moving through Congress.

That money, between $10 million and $20 million, came from Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group and Wellpoint, according to two health care lobbyists familiar with the transactions. The companies are all members of the powerful trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans.

The funds were solicited by AHIP and funneled to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help underwrite tens of millions of dollars of television ads by two business coalitions set up and subsidized by the chamber. Each insurer kicked in at least $1 million and some gave multimillion-dollar donations.

Representative Anthony Weiner summed up the situation on “the summit” while live blogging as it occurred by saying,

3:14 PM

The discussion has lost its mojo here. When you are saying “CBO” more than three times per speaker, they should turn off the cameras.

Let’s remember the choices here. Rep. Ryan and his party want to END Medicare completely. President Obama wants to lengthen its life.

Me? I want Medicare for all Americans. If I was in the room I’d be advocating for replacing private health insurance and its 30% overhead with Medicare’s 1.05%

Me too Rep. Weiner, but I’m just a citizen and I do not have the money to buy votes like our newest persons, corporations, do.

Team Canada Fan Mocks Americans After Team USA's hockey team defeated Canada in preliminary
Team Canada hockey fan mocks Americans after Team USA defeated Canada in a preliminary round game

Nobel Prize Economist Paul Krugman Proclaims Obama Liquidates Himself.

On his blog, economist Paul Krugman laments Obama’s Republican styled decisions concerning the economy and the frustration shows. He says,

It’s bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. Jonathan Zasloff writes that Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with “the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon” (Mellon was Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, who according to Hoover told him to “liquidate the workers, liquidate the farmers, purge the rottenness”.)

and also adds,

And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, “I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.”

Krugman joins many progressives who thought Obama might be different.

Reindeer Games

January 10, 2010 5 comments

The ginned up theme of “terrorism” again started raising its ugly deceptive head to the gullible American masses by politicians and the “media” over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. It’s not that terrorism isn’t real but that terrorism again is being used to cover US foreign policy intentions and to restoke the profitable police state and its contracts and to keep Constitutional law and protections at bay. I suppose it is fitting given this decade of deceit is coming to an end and violators of law such as Cheney would like to keep the status quo going as well as Republican politicians (with notable exceptions) use of it to scare their mindless minions into giving them the reins of power again. Afterall, this decade has been a cornucopia of deceit and intrigue involving false flag operations and betrayal and a willing media circus of lies complete with plants and government propaganda operations. With the latest round of terrorism soundbites raining in on our TV networks due to the underwear bomber, do we want to reenter the madness of it’s color coded madness and possible permanent loss of habeas corpus and loss of Constitutional freedom? Could it be that someone does and the train won’t leave the madness behind? Let’s take a look at the underwear bomber situation and see if it is conspiracy.

Michael Collins has come out with interesting takes and comments on the political theatre playing out before our eyes in a piece titled, “Conspiracy or cock up?” White House reaction to ersatz bomber. Let’s see how it played out and the back and forth that occured on MSNBC’s Countdown and what Richard Wolffe may have been saying. Here follows Collin’s observations on it:

The underpants bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is a curious terrorist. He became disillusioned with his privileged life as the son of a bank chairman and member of the Nigerian elite, it would seem. Rather than pursuing his studies in London, he retreated to Yemen to learn the ways of al Qaeda inspired terrorism.

Farouk was so indiscreet that his father reported him to the U.S. Embassy as a potential terrorist in November. A month later, he managed to get on a jumbo jet headed for Detroit to complete a terror mission. Despite his training in engineering at the prestigious London School of Economics, Farouk failed in his mission. He couldn’t mix his explosives to achieve the desired effect. He apparently forgot to detonate the explosive device in mid flight, waiting until just before landing in Detroit to start his task. He retrieved and set off the chemicals to create the explosion in full view of passengers.

What kind of terrorist is this? He doesn’t know when, how or where to conduct his criminal enterprise.

Is this the best al Qaeda can do?

Is this the justification to for a media manufactured scare-a-thon about the danger Farouk poses to our “freedoms?”

Or is this guy some sort of ringer in yet another moronic master plan ?

Pardon my cynicism about the perpetual power structure but there is a spectacular history of lying by those in power to further their own endeavors: Operation Northwoods; the Gulf of Tonkin incident; the perjured testimony about babies thrown out of incubators used to justify Gulf War I; the lies about WMD before Gulf War II; and so forth.

Few are willing to discuss deep conspiracies either as a real phenomena or as an influence on our nation’s history. The inquiring mind that wanders into that minefield is labeled a “conspiracy theorist” and shoved to the sidelines of public discourse.

But Judith Miller changed all that. She was the ultimate bogus conspiracy theorist who was endorsed and headlined by the New York Times. Who could tell bigger lies better than Miller.

Game on- January 4th

On January 4, 2010, Keith Olbermann ran a segment on Countdown that featured our curious terrorist and the apparatus that somehow missed him despite his concerned father’s pleadings. After the setup, current insider in chief and apparent White House spokesman, Richard Wolffe emerged. He provided some remarkable information from inside the White House deliberations.

“It’s clear the president is still deeply concerned and troubled and even angry at the intelligence lapses. They see this more as an intelligence lapse more than a situation of airport security faults. Why didn’t the centralized system of intelligence after 911, why didn’t it work.” Richard Wolffe, January 4

Wolffe then asked and answered this question:

“Is this conspiracy or cock up?”

“It seems that the president is leaning very much toward this as a systemic failure by individuals who maybe had an alternative agenda.” Wolffe

“An alternative agenda”– what could that mean?

On the 4th, the answer to the question, “why didn’t it work” was clearly on the side of the “alternative agenda” explanation. This was extraordinary.

Olbermann was like a dog on point with this question.

“… you suggested in there that the administration is looking into perhaps mixed motives or misplaced priorities. … Are people thought to have been deliberately withholding information so the dots cant’ be connected?” Keith Olbermann

Wolffe didn’t waiver and indicated that there was something seriously wrong with the intelligence process, particularly concerning the November intelligence gathered from Farouk’s father. Watch the segment starting at 3:50 and decide for yourself.

January 4th Countdown, Richard Wolffe at 3:50

Were we on the verge of finally having someone or some faction held accountable for insulting the citizens of this country with ridiculous excuses to expand this or that war or surveillance program, deny yet more rights,and impose even greater surveillance? Not quite.

Game off (or is it) – January 5

By the very next day, Wolffe was back with Olbermann to revise the view from the White House.

“It’s closer to the cock-up rather than the conspiracy I was talking about.” Richard Wolffe

The president’s view had changed after his all hands meeting on the 4th . It was really just a screw up (cock up). There was to be “no finger pointing” and the administration would be focus on preventing future such episodes

January 5th Countdown, Richard Wolffe at 4:00

The denial of the original speculation by Wolffe lost credibility the more he expanded on his message, as I understand him. He says:

“I wasn’t talking about, as some online commentators have interpreted it, a political plot to embarrass the president by allowing civilians to die. This really gets to the heart of intent versus pure accident. An intent can be non malicious, it can be … a failure to cooperate, it can be a lack of confidence in the system. Which the president has concluded that’s where he’s at. Richard Wolffe, January 5

It’s difficult to understand how failing to report the father’s warnings about his son, warnings that proved highly accurate, can be without malice. Even if we rule out malice, it is impossible to argue that this failure to inform was anything other than gross negligence.

Collins continues by providing opinion by Obama critic Webster Tarpley,

What’s going on?

It’s important to understand that on January 4, a preferred spokesman for the White House, Richard Wolffe, told us that the president was leaning toward a conspiracy of malefactors who “maybe” let it happen, namely the Farouk mission. The motive for their “alternative agenda” was never explicated but it was clearly there, in living color commentary.

There has been little cogent speculation on what all this means. One unlikely source emerged in the president’s corner (and rightly so if he’s correct) was long time Obama critic Webster Tarpley. He noted:

“Wolffe offered two possible explanations cited by his White House sources for the intentional sabotage of security procedures, resulting in yet another egregious failure to connect the dots. The first was a “turf war” inside the intelligence community, with one agency seeking to hoard information and deny it to others. The second was the desire to ‘embarrass’ some leading figures, presumably referring to partisan animus or other resentments against Obama and his top appointees.” Webster Tarpley, January 4

And also,

Tarpley went on to provide a third possibility:

“But Obama and his advisors should be urged to consider a third explanation far more plausible than either of these. This third explanation would include the desire of a rogue network inside the US government to unleash a new wave of Islamophobic hysteria to rehabilitate the discredited ‘global war on terror’ strategy in a new and more sophisticated form, while imposing a new round of outrageous and degrading search procedures at airports (such as the full body scanners peddled by the venal Michael Chertoff) to soften up the American people for heightened totalitarian control and political repression. All of this, moreover, in ways that will be politically harmful to Obama.” Tarpley

and ends it this way,

The failure to enter the information into usable intelligence systems would seem to have alternative explanations. It could have been the CIA as a unit that did it, as Wolffe stated as though it was fact. Or it could have been rogue elements within the intelligence community doing this, with malicious intent or deliberate negligence, to achieve the ends suggested by Tarpley or broader analysis.

By tagging the CIA, the president via Richard Wolffe, finessed the real question: Are there those in the government who deliberately allowed an obvious terrorist, an incompetent one at that, to slip through the system and, as a result, revive the entire apparatus of anti terrorism based on one obviously incompetent individual?

Maybe President Obama dropped his deliberative style and turned on a dime from Monday to Tuesday.
Maybe you can fail to enter the name of an obvious risk for terrorism without any malice.
Maybe the president caved after taking a bold stance in defense of sanity.

Or maybe he’s made his point for now and is regrouping to clean house.

Or maybe the huge error of failing to enter the name was just a “screw up.”

And maybe there really were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as Judith Miller and the New York Times promised based on their stellar sources.

Before we march down the road to ratify the permanent loss of habeas corpus and other vital rights; before we spend even more money on making travel truly unbearable; and, before we finally lose the best elements of our society due to one incompetent terrorist, maybe we should get the entire truth behind the fascinating revelations of Richard Wolffe. One can only hope./i]


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Further thought on this issue is how the media and certain politicians have made all terrorism into “al Queda” and the repeated imagery of highly sophisticated terror network instead of the reality that “al Queda” was originally an CIA term meaning the database of different terrorist groups and names. A database that can be used if someone wanted to engage in shotgun destabilization of a country for instance that could provide a pretext for military action or overthrow. And are we to believe that a bumbling Nigerian engineering student who set his underwear ablaze after safely arriving at his destination is somehow related to the bomber in Afghanistan that gained the trust of the CIA before detonating an explosive among them killing members? It can also be used politically as a pretext for removing Constitutionally provided civil liberties. Or it could be used to change the rules of engagement to something foreign and unAmerican away from the precedents set forth in the past such as principles of the rule of law set forth at Nuremberg and set the stage for what is normally considered crimes such as preventive war or torture camps outside the rule of law. Where do we go from here?