"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Monday, June 30, 2008

News, Views and Democrats Confused

Iran-Contra's 'Lost Chapter'


By Robert Parry (A Special Report) June 30, 2008

As historians ponder George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency, they may wonder how Republicans perfected a propaganda system that could fool tens of millions of Americans, intimidate Democrats, and transform the vaunted Washington press corps from watchdogs to lapdogs.

To understand this extraordinary development, historians might want to look back at the 1980s and examine the Iran-Contra scandal’s “lost chapter,” a narrative describing how Ronald Reagan’s administration brought CIA tactics to bear domestically to reshape the way Americans perceived the world.

That chapter – which we are publishing here for the first time – was “lost” because Republicans on the congressional Iran-Contra investigation waged a rear-guard fight that traded elimination of the chapter’s key findings for the votes of three moderate GOP senators, giving the final report a patina of bipartisanship.

Under that compromise, a few segments of the draft chapter were inserted in the final report’s Executive Summary and in another section on White House private fundraising, but the chapter’s conclusions and its detailed account of how the “perception management” operation worked ended up on the editing room floor.

The American people thus were spared the chapter’s troubling finding: that the Reagan administration had built a domestic covert propaganda apparatus managed by a CIA propaganda and disinformation specialist working out of the National Security Council…..

It Was Oil, All Along

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
June 27, 2008

Oh, no, they told us, Iraq isn't a war about oil. That's cynical and simplistic, they said. It's about terror and al Qaeda and toppling a dictator and spreading democracy and protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction.

But one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire and ashes. And now the bottom line turns out to be....the bottom line. It is about oil.

Alan Greenspan said so last fall. The former chairman of the Federal Reserve, safely out of office, confessed in his memoir, “…Everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

He elaborated in an interview with the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, "If Saddam Hussein had been head of Iraq and there was no oil under those sands, our response to him would not have been as strong as it was in the first Gulf War."

Remember, also, that soon after the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, told the press that war was our only strategic choice.

“We had virtually no economic options with Iraq,” he explained, “because the country floats on a sea of oil.”…..

Defending the President as Tyrant

By Robert Parry
June 27, 2008

All over the world down through history, political leaders who have engaged in torture and other grotesque crimes of state have justified their actions as necessary to protect their governments or their people or themselves.

It was true when England’s King Edward I had William Wallace – “Braveheart” – drawn and quartered in 1305 for resisting the crown’s rule in Scotland, and a gruesome death was what King George III foresaw for America’s Founding Fathers in 1776 when they stood up to his abuses in the Colonies.

Kings and tyrants often inflicted special pain on people they viewed as challenging their authority and – at such times – they wiped away the rules of justice. But the United States was supposed to be different.

Indeed, reaction to tyrannical monarchs was what compelled the Founders to establish a government of laws, not men, based on “unalienable rights” for all mankind, including protection against arbitrary detention and prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Which is why it was stunning to watch the June 26 hearing before the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution as two representatives of George W. Bush’s presidency responded with disdain when pressed on the administration’s extraordinary vision of an all-powerful Executive operating without legal limits.

While Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington treated the committee Democrats with haughty contempt, former State Department lawyer John Yoo expressed the ultimate arrogance of power with his muddled responses and evasions of direct questions….

Bush 'Torture' Lawyers Duck Questions

By Jason Leopold
June 27, 2008

Mixing haughty disdain with semantic quibbling, two key legal architects behind George W. Bush’s “war on terror” tactics brushed aside congressional questions about how the administration fashioned its harsh interrogation policies that human rights experts say crossed the line into torture.

Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington also downplayed their roles in formulating the theories of presidential power that gave Bush wide latitude to order that detainees be subjected to painful treatment to break them down.

Yoo, who is now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, insisted that he only drafted the legal memos – from his post as a deputy in the Justice Department’s powerful Office of Legal Counsel – and that other officials decided what interrogation techniques were permissible.

“Decisions about interrogation methods at Guantanamo Bay were made by the Defense Department,” said Yoo in Thursday’s testimony before the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution.

But Yoo appears to have been splitting hairs. While it may be true that higher-ups in the Bush administration, including President Bush, had greater responsibility for approving the techniques, Yoo was not just the detached legal scholar that he portrayed at the hearing.

In his 2006 book, War by Other Means: An Insider’s Account on the War On Terror, he described his participation in meetings that helped develop the controversial policies for the treatment of detainees.

For instance, Yoo wrote about a trip he took to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with other senior administration officials to observe interrogations and to join in discussions about specific interrogation methods.

At Thursday’s hearing, Addington, who was Vice President Cheney’s legal counsel at the time of the administration’s internal torture debate, also disputed some of the press reports that depicted him as the mastermind behind Bush’s imperial presidency……

Top Dems Hand Bush Key Victories

By Jason Leopold
June 21, 2008

In November 2006 when Democrats won control of Congress for the first time in 12 years, Rep. Nancy Pelosi explained the significance behind the record voter turnout that helped shift the balance of power in Washington.

“People voted for change and they voted for Democrats who will take our country in a new direction,” Pelosi said during a victory speech in San Francisco on Nov. 8, 2006.

But Pelosi, who became House Speaker, never managed to exact the change she promised, culminating in what some progressives have termed the “twin sell-outs” of this past week.

House Democratic leaders gave the Bush administration sweeping new domestic spying powers (including immunization of telecom companies that participated in possibly illegal surveillance of American citizens) and agreed to further fund the occupation of Iraq with a promise to the White House that the final bill would not include benchmarks or timetables for withdrawal.

The Senate is expected to vote on both bills next week with the apparent Democratic hope that the divisive issues won’t pop up during the presidential campaign in the fall. President Bush said he will sign both pieces of legislation when they reach his desk…..

Democrats Legalize Bush's Crimes

By Robert Parry
June 20, 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that a key positive feature of the new wiretap “compromise” is that the bill reaffirms that the President must follow the law, even though the same bill virtually assures that no one will be held accountable for George W. Bush's violation of the earlier spying law.

In other words, in the guise of rejecting Bush’s theories of an all-powerful presidency that is above the law, the Democratic leadership cleared the way for the President and his collaborators to evade punishment for defying the law.

So, why should anyone assume that the new legislative edict demanding that the President obey the law will get any more respect than the old one, which established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 as the “exclusive” means for authorizing electronic spying?

It wasn’t that Bush and his team didn’t understand the old law’s language; they simply believed they could violate the law without consequence, under the radical theory that at a time of war – even one as vaguely defined as the “war on terror” – the President’s powers trump all laws as well as the constitutional rights of citizens.

Essentially, Bush was betting that even if his warrantless wiretap program was disclosed – as it was in December 2005 – that he could trust his Republican congressional allies to protect him and could count on most Democrats not to have the guts to challenge him.

His bet proved to be a smart one. After the New York Times revealed the warrantless wiretaps 2½ years ago, Congress took no steps to hold Bush accountable. Before the 2006 elections, Pelosi declared that Bush’s impeachment was “off the table.”

Then, on the eve of the August 2007 recess, the Democratic-controlled Congress was stampeded into passing the “Protect America Act,” which effectively legalized what Bush had already done and expanded his spying powers even more……

The Latest “Maverick Liberal”, Steny Hoyer, Bravely Dared To Fall On The Sword Before His Peers To Get Democrats To Embrace Telecom Immunity

Thank Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi, Their (So-Called) “New Democratic Congress, And Of COURSE, The Republicans For Expanding The Powers Of The Executive Branch And The Exponential Growth Of Our Oligarchical Police State In General.

Wiretapping by your phone company is just A-Okay. That is, as long as their huge teams of lawers agree to do so just because the illegal order to comply comes on a piece of paper with a huge “Love, Dubya” is displayed prominently at the bottom of it. At least, that’s what the gutless, so-called, “New Democratic Congress”, led by the latest “Johnny Come Lately” of the “Maverick Liberal” crowd, House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer says.

“Hey, we can’t blame these helpless, clueless telecoms!”, said our so-called “representatives”. “They, and their huge teams of lawyers didn’t realize they were breaking the law by just trying to hook Brutha Bush and Shotgun Cheney UP when they sent a note telling them they thought it might be possible your Aunt Lizzy and Uncle Billy-Bob were them terr’ist-types, so let ‘em off’n the hook!”, screamed Steny Hoyer and co-hort, Nancy Pelosi, then BANG — the deal was DONE. Completely unconstitutional, of course — but DONE…

First, let’s look at the right-wing Politico recap — some “snips”:

How Hoyer got the deal done…..

Netroots Group Raises $300,000 for Campaign Against Hoyer And FISA Rewrite

Steny Hoyer FISA Ad To Run in Washington Post

Blue America PAC, a liberal online group, has raised more than $310,000 to oppose the rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and to target House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

"After [former Rep.] Dick [Gephardt] (D-Mo.), former Democratic House Leader, betrayed the majority of House Democrats and plotted with [President] Bush, [Vice President] Cheney and some Blue Dogs to thwart the will of the majority and rubber stamp Bush’s decision to attack and occupy Iraq, he was forced out of his role as Democratic Leader," writes the liberal group on its ActBlue fundraising page. "Steny Hoyer deserves the exact same fate."

The group, which includes blogger Glenn Greenwald, has already run ads opposing Hoyer and Blue Dog Democrats who supported versions of FISA that included retroactive immunity for telecom companies that participated in the White House domestic wiretapping program.

Below is a newspaper ad paid for by Blue America that goes after Hoyer. The group is also looking at running ads against Reps. Chris Carney (D-Pa.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.), who also supported versions of FISA with telecom immunity.

Hey, Here’s A Great Idea! Let’s Elect A Man To The Presidency Who Admits He Can’t Remember The Last Time He Had To Level Himself To Pumping His Own Gasoline! John McBush III


The GTL™ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.