Author Topic: George Bush to leave a troubled legacy  (Read 54135 times)

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Offline 12Cib

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George Bush to leave a troubled legacy
« on: September 30, 2007, 02:18:03 pm »
Consider this: In 2000, when Bush took office, gold was $273 per ounce, oil was $22 per barrel and the euro was worth $.87 per dollar. Currently, gold is over $700 per ounce, oil is over $80 per barrel, and the euro is over $1.40 per dollar.

many articles here...

Offline Dig

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Re: Consider this: In 2000, when Bush took office, gold was $273 per ounce...
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2007, 05:14:51 pm »
That site is pretty good and warrants more to be published from it:

Congress Grants Fifth Increase In Public-Debt Ceiling Under Bush
Fifth Increase Under Bush, To $9.815 Trillion, Reflects Rising Costs of War in Iraq
WSJ | Sep 28, 2007

“This Act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President signs this Act the invisible government by the Money Power, proven to exist by the Money Trust Investigation, will be legalized. The new law will create inflation whenever the trusts want inflation. From now on depressions will be scientifically created.”
- Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr., 1913, on the Federal Reserve Act

WASHINGTON — The Senate gave final congressional approval to an $850 billion increase in the public debt, the fifth such adjustment under President Bush and one reflecting the rising costs of the war in Iraq. Adopted 53-42, the revised $9.815 trillion ceiling is intended to give the Treasury enough borrowing authority to manage through the end of Mr. Bush’s presidency and into 2009. It represents an almost $4 trillion increase from the statutory debt limit when Mr. Bush took office in 2001, and Democrats used the occasion to decry the administration’s fiscal policies even as their leaders felt compelled to back passage. “What we’re doing with our very high debt is essentially blowing out living standards,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.). With a new fiscal year beginning Monday, senators also approved and sent the White House a stopgap spending bill to keep the government operating through Nov. 16. Agreement also was reached to expedite passage of a major defense-authorization bill Monday. The debt-ceiling debate underscored the mounting budget tensions between the Democratic majority and Mr. Bush over domestic priorities. None of the annual spending bills for government agencies has been completed, and the backdrop last night was an impending veto fight over health insurance for the children of low-income families. That measure, approved 67-29, would add $35 billion in spending over five years and cover costs by raising federal tobacco taxes equivalent to an added 61 cents per pack of cigarettes. Eighteen Republicans joined in support, and Democrats said their “pay-as-you-go” budget approach was required to slow the buildup in public debt. When Mr. Bush took office in 2001, the debt limit stood at $5.95 trillion, a statutory ceiling that had remained since August 1997. By June 2002, a $450 billion increase was needed, and in 2003, 2004 and 2006, three increases added an average of about $855 billion each to finance government costs and wars overseas. The administration argues that its tax cuts have proved vital to sustaining the economy, and the U.S. has lived through periods when the government’s debt was far higher as a percentage of gross domestic product. But in 2001, debt was 57% of GDP compared with about 65% today. Overseas wars are clearly a factor, and just this week the Defense Department asked for about $190 billion to sustain military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008, a $25 billion, or 15%, increase over this year.

The Inflation Tax
All government spending represents a tax. The inflation tax, while largely ignored, hurts middle-class and low-income Americans the most. Simply put, printing money to pay for federal spending dilutes the value of the dollar, which causes higher prices for goods and services. Inflation may be an indirect tax, but it is very real- the individuals who suffer most from cost of living increases certainly pay a “tax.”

The Triumph of Structured Finance
Failing banks, toxic bonds and mortgage laundering
Consider this: In 2000, when Bush took office, gold was $273 per ounce, oil was $22 per barrel and the euro was worth $.87 per dollar. Currently, gold is over $700 per ounce, oil is over $80 per barrel, and the euro is nearly $1.40 per dollar. If Bernanke cuts rates, we’re likely to see oil at $125 per barrel by next spring.

American Economy: R.I.P.
The careers and financial prospects of many Americans were destroyed to achieve these lofty earnings for the few. Hubris prevents realization that Americans are losing their economic future along with their civil liberties and are on the verge of enserfment.

Chinese buying up new book about Rothschild banking conspiracy “Chinese buy into conspiracy theory”
Red Ice |September 26th, 2007 By Richard McGregor
The thing that most shocked him was his “discovery” that the Fed is a privately owned and run bank. The Battle of Waterloo. The deaths of six US presidents. The rise of Adolf Hitler. The deflation of the Japanese bubble economy, the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis and even environmental destruction in the developing world. In a new Chinese best-seller, Currency Wars , these disparate events spanning two centuries have a single root cause: the control of money issuance through history by the Rothschild banking dynasty. Even today, claims author Song Hongbing, the US Federal Reserve remains a puppet of private banks, which also ultimately owe their allegiance to the ubiquitous Rothschilds. Such an over-arching conspiracy theory might matter as little as the many fetid tracts that can still be found in the west about the “gnomes of Zurich” and Wall Street’s manipulation of global finance. But in China, which is in the midst of a lengthy debate about opening its financial system under US pressure, the book has become a surprise hit and is being read at senior levels of government and business. “Some senior heads of companies have been asking me if this is all true,” says Ha Jiming, the chief economist of China International Capital Corp, the largest local investment bank. The book also gives ammunition, however hay-wire, to many in China who argue that Beijing should resist pressure from the US and other countries to allow its currency, the renminbi, to appreciate. The book’s publisher, a unit of the state-owned CITIC group, said Currency Wars had sold nearly 200,000 copies, with an estimated 400,000 extra pirated copies in circulation as well. Mr Song, an information technology consultant and amateur historian who has lived in the US since 1994 and is now based in Washington, says his interest was sparked by trying to uncover what lay behind the Asian crisis in 1997. After he began blogging some of his findings, his friends suggested he find a publisher for a longer work. He professes himself surprised by the book’s success.

“I never imagined it could be so hot and that top leaders would be reading it,” he says during a book tour in Shanghai. “People in China are nervous about what’s going on in financial markets but they don’t know how to handle the real dangers. This book gives them some ideas.” The thing that most shocked him, he says, was his “discovery” that the Fed is a privately owned and run bank. “I just never imagined a central bank could be a private body,” he says. The Fed does describe itself “as an unusual mixture of public and private elements”. While its seven governors are all appointed by the US president, private banks do hold shares in its 12 regional reserve banks. But Mr Song ignores the government’s role and argues that the Fed’s key functions are ultimately controlled by five private banks, such as Citibank, all of which have maintained a “close relationship” with the Rothschilds. Mr Song is defensive about his focus on the Rothschilds and what the book depicts as their Jewish clannishness. “The Chinese people think that the Jews are smart and rich, so we should learn from them,” he says. “Even me, I think they are really smart, maybe the smartest people on earth.”

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, is not impressed. “The Chinese have the highest regard for what they see as Jewish intellectual and commercial acumen, with little or no concurrent culture of antisemitism. This claim, however, plays to the most discredited and outmoded canards surrounding Jews and their influence. That it should gain currency in the world’s most important emerging economy is a great concern.” The book has been ridiculed in internet postings in China, for exaggerating the lingering influence of the Rothschilds and being a re-write of existing conspiracy theories in the west. Mr Ha puts the book’s popularity down to the decade-long stagnation in Japan and the Asian financial crisis, which he says had a profound impact on many Chinese policymakers. Such officials remain deeply suspicious of advice from western countries to open up the financial system and float the currency. “They think it is just a new way of looting developing countries,” Mr Ha says. Mr Song himself has been commissioned to write a number of new books to capitalise on his success, on the yen, the euro and also on China’s financial system. But in conversation, he sounds hesitant about the line his future tomes might take. “This book may be totally wrong, so before the next one, I have to make sure my understanding is right,” he says. “Before this book, I was a nobody, so I could say anything I liked, but now the situation has changed.”
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline bigron

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Bush to leave a troubled legacy
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 07:31:22 am »

Bush to world: Up is down 

01/10/2007 02:02:00 PM GMT
 Though Bush violated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he still cites it as the foundation for his policies.

By Robert Parry

George W. Bush – who asserts his unlimited personal authority to kill, kidnap, torture and spy on anyone of his choosing anywhere in the world – opened his annual speech to the United Nations by hailing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Click here to see Bush's UN speech Part 1, Part 2)

The U.S. President pushed the envelope of the world’s credulity even further by citing the UN’s Universal Declaration of 1948 as justification for his “war on terror” and his draconian policies for eliminating “terrorists” or other threats to world order with little or no due process.

“Achieving the promise of the Declaration requires confronting long-term threats; it also requires answering the immediate needs of today,” including destruction of terrorist networks and “bringing to justice their operatives,” Bush said in his Sept. 25 address to the United Nations.

However, Bush’s vision of his near-divine right to smite whomever he judges to be a dangerous enemy flies in the face of the actual Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Indeed, Bush must assume that no one in the American press will bother to even check what those rights entail.

If U.S. journalists did pull up a copy of the Declaration, they would find that among its 30 proclaimed rights are these:

* “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

* “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

* “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”

* “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”

* “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”

* “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.”

* "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

* “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

* “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

Violated rights
Though Bush and his “war on terror” arguably have violated many if not all these rights, he still cites the Declaration as the foundation for his international policies – and remains confident that the U.S. press corps won’t challenge him.

Bush has never backed away from his assertion that he can designate anyone he wants an “enemy combatant” and have that person either executed on sight or locked up without charges indefinitely. Nor has he recanted on his claimed authority to subject detainees to harsh interrogation that much of the world regards as torture.

The evidence is now overwhelming that some detainees in CIA custody were subjected to simulated drowning known as “waterboarding” while others were stripped naked, beaten, soaked with cold water in frigid rooms, kept blindfolded for long periods, put into painful “stress positions” or subjected to sleep deprivation.

Under Bush’s orders, the CIA also has kidnapped suspected terrorists who were shipped via “extraordinary renditions” to countries that practice torture, including confining detainees in coffin-like boxes.

Contradicting the classic definition of inalienable rights – that is, the inherent right of everyone to possess certain fundamental protections under the law – Bush has flipped the concept, asserting his unilateral right to do whatever he wants to people he judges to be threats to “innocent” Americans or U.S. allies.

“When innocent people are trapped in a life of murder and fear, the Declaration is not being upheld,” Bush said.

Bush thus presents himself as the great protector of the innocents, meting out rough justice to evil-doers even if that means forgetting about due process and killing a lot of innocent bystanders along the way.

For instance, the President appears oblivious to the fact that his unprovoked invasion of Iraq in 2003 touched off violence that has claimed the lives of almost 4,000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, with some estimates exceeding one million.

In Bush’s view, he is always in right and his adversaries are either evil or woefully blind to the reality he sees. Bush looks at the world through his own powerful prism that turns everything upside down.

He is Bush the Beneficent, the all-wise defender of "universal rights," a man of peace and justice. He expects others to see things just as he does.

-- Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush , can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to


-- Middle East Online



Offline jbrid1138

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Re: Bush to world: Up is down !!!!
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 08:37:28 am »
When it comes to foreign relations -- and how well our government might manage the same --consider this:

“Most imports are from outside of the country”
-- George W. Bush

We refuse to let our knowlege, however limited, be informed by your ignorance, however vast.
-- David Ray Griffin

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
 -- James Madison (Fourth President USA 1809-1817)

Offline Dig

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Bush to leave a troubled legacy
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2007, 05:18:24 pm »
Feingold to Bush: Stop misleading Americans on interrogation policy
Published: Monday October 15, 2007

A Democratic senator well versed in US intelligence procedures has accused President Bush of "misleading" the American people about the harsh interrogation tactics the CIA uses against terror detainees. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote a letter to Bush urging the president to come clean with Congress and the public about the CIA's methods, which critics say amount to torture. "Your words and actions have prevented both Congress and the public from having the full, informed debate that this important topic deserves. ... Americans deserve more than misleading statements and euphemistic references to 'alternative interrogation techniuqes," Feingold wrote. Feingold's letter was in response to Bush's comments after the New York Times revealed this month that his administration "provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures." Speaking from the Oval Office on Oct. 5, the day after the Times story appeared, Bush repeated assertions that "this government does not torture people" and that interrogation techniques "have been fully disclosed to appropriate members of the United States Congress." Feingold took issue with Bush's full-disclosure claim. "This statement was misleading in at least three respects," the Wisconsin senator wrote. Feingold said the full Senate Intelligence Committee did not learn of the secret program for years after its implementation, and he accused the Bush administration of refusing to provide legal opinions on the program to the committee. "Third, and perhaps most importantly, your statement implied that members of Congress have consented or acquiesced to the program or the techniques," Feingold wrote. "As senior Administration officials are well aware, I have vigorously opposed the program, and continue to do so. The program is of highly questionable legality, it is inconsistent with our values as a nation, and it does not make our nation any safer."

Feingold's full letter appears below:
Dear Mr. President:   On October 5, 2007, you spoke publicly about the CIA's detention and interrogation program, which I strongly oppose. In defending the program, you stated that "the techniques that we use have been fully disclosed to appropriate members of the United States Congress."  This statement was misleading in at least three respects.    First, despite your reference to information being "fully disclosed," most of the members of the full Senate Intelligence Committee were not briefed about the program until several years after the program was created. Second, your administration continues to refuse to provide any legal opinions about the program to the Committee.  Third, and perhaps most importantly, your statement implied that members of Congress have consented or acquiesced to the program or the techniques. As senior Administration officials are well aware, I have vigorously opposed the program, and continue to do so.  The program is of highly questionable legality, it is inconsistent with our values as a nation, and it does not make our nation any safer.  In fact, I believe that it may have the effect of exposing Americans- including military and other U.S. personnel to greater risk.  As I stated earlier this year, "detainees should never be interrogated except as authorized by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations."    I have detailed the bases for my strong objections to the CIA's program in classified correspondence, sent shortly after I was first briefed on it. More recently, I have stated my opposition publicly, although I am prohibited by classification rules from providing further details about my concerns in a public setting.   Your words and actions have prevented both Congress and the public from having the full, informed debate that this important topic deserves. The program should have been briefed to the full Senate Intelligence Committee at the outset, and the continued failure of your Administration to provide the Committee with any relevant Department of Justice legal opinions is entirely unjustified. Furthermore, while I strongly believe that the Army Field Manual should govern all interrogations, if you truly believed that the procedures authorized in that Manual were inadequate for certain terrorist suspects, you should have explained your position to Congress and the American people from the outset. I hope that you will finally provide that explanation now. Americans deserve more than misleading statements and euphemistic references to "alternative interrogation techniques."   The threat posed by al Qaeda and its affiliates is our top national security priority.  Like all Americans, I believe that suspected terrorists should be detained and questioned, but I must strongly oppose a program that is based on such questionable legal, moral and national security grounds.   Respectfully,   Russell D. Feingold U.S. Senator
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Joe(WI)

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Re: Feingold to Bush: Stop misleading Americans on interrogation policy
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2007, 06:58:25 pm »
Speaking from the Oval Office on Oct. 5, the day after the Times story appeared, Bush repeated assertions that "this government does not torture people" and that interrogation techniques "have been fully disclosed to appropriate members of the United States Congress." Feingold took issue with Bush's full-disclosure claim. "This statement was misleading in at least three respects," the Wisconsin senator wrote. Feingold said the full Senate Intelligence Committee did not learn of the secret program for years after its implementation, and he accused the Bush administration of refusing to provide legal opinions on the program to the committee.

Most people are NOT Senate Intelligence Committee members, so we have to believe what Bush says. Until Mr Feingold(I voted for him!) questions whether he wants to be hung out to dry for what said president has said Mr. Feingold approved. Methinks if he lives long and prospers, so much the better.
The number, 666, has been changed. The new number is, 999.

Offline Dig

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Bush to leave a troubled legacy
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2007, 12:07:54 pm »
Hillary's Bush Connection
Bush's mystery money man becomes Hillary's

The Clintons meet with the Bushes at the White House.

by RUSS BAKER and ADAM FEDERMAN Published in conjunction with The Nation

In the Clintons' pursuit of power, there is no such thing as a strange bedfellow. One recently exposed inamorata was Norman Hsu, the mysterious businessman from Hong Kong who brought in $850,000 to Hillary Clinton's campaign before being unmasked as a fugitive. Her campaign dismissed Hsu as someone who'd slipped through the cracks of an otherwise unimpeachable system for vetting donors, and perhaps he was. The same cannot be said for the notorious financier Alan Quasha, whose involvement with Clinton is at least as substantial--and still under wraps.

Political junkies will recall Quasha as the controversial figure who bailed out George W. Bush's failing oil company in 1986, folding Bush into his company, Harken Energy, thus setting him on the path to a lucrative and high-profile position as an owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, and the presidency. The persistently unprofitable Harken--many of whose board members, connected to powerful foreign interests and the intelligence community, nevertheless profited enormously--faced intense scrutiny in the early 1990s and again during Bush's first term.

Now Quasha is back--on the other side of the aisle. Operating below the radar, he entered Hillary Clinton's circle even before she declared her candidacy by quietly arranging for the hire of Clinton confidant and longtime Democratic Party money man Terry McAuliffe at one of his companies. During the interregnum between McAuliffe's chairmanship of the Democratic Party and the time he officially joined Clinton's campaign, Quasha's firm set McAuliffe up with a salary and opened a Washington office for him.

Just a few years earlier, McAuliffe had publicly criticized Bush for his financial dealings with Harken, disparaging the company's Enron-like accounting. Yet in 2005 McAuliffe accepted this cushy perch with Quasha's newly acquired investment firm, Carret Asset Management, and even brought along former Clinton White House business liaison Peter O'Keefe, who had been his senior aide at the Democratic National Committee. McAuliffe remained with the company until he became national chair of Hillary's presidential bid, and O'Keefe never left. McAuliffe's connection to Quasha has, until now, never been noted.

Another strong link between Quasha and Clinton is Quasha's business partner, Hassan Nemazee, a top Hillary fundraiser who was trotted out to defend her during the Hsu episode--in which the clothing manufacturer was unmasked as a swindler who seemingly funneled illegal contributions through "donors" of modest means.

In June, by liquidating a blind trust, the Clintons sought to distance themselves from any financial entanglements that might embarrass the campaign. Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson argued that the couple had gone "above and beyond" what was legally required "in order to avoid even the hint of a conflict of interest." But throughout their political careers, Bill and Hillary Clinton have repeatedly associated with people whose objectives seemed a million miles from "a place called Hope." Among these Alan Quasha and his menagerie--including Saudi frontmen, a foreign dictator, figures with intelligence ties and a maze of companies and offshore funds--stand out.

"That Hillary Clinton's campaign is involved with this particular cast of characters should give people pause," says John Moscow, a former Manhattan prosecutor. In the late 1980s and early '90s he led the investigation of the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) global financial empire--a bank whose prominent shareholders included members of the Harken board. "Too many of the same names from earlier troubling circumstances suggests a lack of control over who she is dealing with," says Moscow, "or a policy of dealing with anyone who can pay."

Ideology does not seem to be the principal issue driving either Quasha or Nemazee. Nemazee backed the likes of archconservative Republican senators Jesse Helms, Sam Brownback and Al D'Amato before moving aggressively into the Democratic camp. Quasha, frequently identified as a Republican fundraiser, gave to both Bush and Al Gore in 2000 and so far in the 2008 race has given to Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani as well as Democrats Barack Obama and Chris Dodd, in addition to Hillary Clinton. But Quasha's concerted efforts to get into Clinton's inner circle are reminiscent of his relationship with a pre-Governor Bush.

A student at Harvard's business school at the same time as Bush, Quasha was a little-known New York lawyer when he took over the small Abilene-based Harken Oil in 1983, using millions from offshore accounts held in the name of family members. Quasha's now-deceased father, Manila-based attorney William Quasha, was known for his close friendship with Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his ties to US intelligence; he was also a member of the "Eagles Club" of major GOP contributors.

In 1986 Alan Quasha embraced a struggling George W. Bush, rescuing his failing Spectrum 7 oil company, folding it into Harken Energy and providing Bush with a directorship, more than $600,000 in stock and options and a consulting contract initially valued at $80,000 a year (which was raised in 1989 to $120,000). The financial setup allowed Bush to devote most of his time to the presidential campaign of his father, a former CIA director who as Vice President was the Reagan Administration's overseer of a massive outsourcing of covert intelligence operations, and who had his own warm relationship with Marcos.

Harken's financials were famously complicated. Reporters from top publications like the Wall Street Journal, Time and Fortune went at Harken with zest, but they ultimately failed to unravel all its labyrinthine activities. In 2003 Harken was described in the trade publication Platts Energy Economist as "a toxic waste dump for bad deals, with a strong odor of US intelligence spookery and chicanery about it." Indeed, the company was kept afloat by an all-star cast of financiers with ties to BCCI, Saudi intelligence, the South African apartheid regime, Marcos and the Shah of Iran. The company perennially lost money for ordinary investors while benefiting insiders like Bush, Quasha and Nemazee. Indeed, Harken has lost money nearly every year since Bush's days there, piling up cumulative losses in the hundreds of millions.

Nevertheless, in 1990, when the Dallas Times Herald ranked Harken fifth on its list of worst-performing local firms, the tiny oil refiner beat out the giant exploration company Amoco for an offshore drilling contract in Bahrain that was potentially worth billions. As George W. Bush biographer Bill Minutaglio wrote, "Oil analysts were stunned that bottom-feeding Harken...could hook such a meaty international contract...not only hadn't Harken drilled overseas, it had never drilled in water. Speculation immediately surged that it was because Bahrain wanted to do business with the son of the U.S. president."

Bush appeared to benefit from insider trading when he sold two-thirds of his stock in Harken at a peak price after the Bahrain deal--and just before news emerged that the company had failed to find oil and its share price plummeted. He also failed to report his sale of company stock on time, leading many to believe that he had something to hide. Immediately after a 1991 Wall Street Journal article detailing Bush's involvement with Harken, the SEC launched an investigation, but unsurprisingly, with George H.W. Bush in the White House, it came to nothing. The Journal article speculated that there was more to the picture:

What does emerge is a complex pattern of personal and financial relationships behind Harken's sudden good fortune in the Middle East, raising the question of whether Bahrainis or others in the Middle East may have hoped to ingratiate themselves with the White House. Even more intriguing, there are numerous links among Harken, Bahrain and individuals close to the discredited Bank of Credit & Commerce International, a banking empire that used Mideast oil money to seek ties to political leaders in several countries.

Thanks to his income from Harken, Bush was able to become managing partner of the Texas Rangers--a glamorous and highly visible sinecure that would eventually earn him nearly $15 million and make him a credible front-runner for the Texas governorship. This rescue and makeover of a ne'er-do-well son was a key step in W.'s path to political power.

Quasha's Clinton play began in 2003, when he bought Carret Asset Management, a once-revered private equity investment firm that manages nearly $2 billion in assets. Its founder, Philip Carret, a Wall Street legend and hero of Warren Buffett, died in 1998; the firm was sold twice

before Quasha bought it for a song. Some were troubled when they learned the identity of the new owner. "I was horrified that he was going to hide behind my family's name," says Renee Carret, a longtime executive at the firm whose grandfather started the company in 1963. When Quasha took over, she resigned. "I just personally didn't want to be affiliated with him. There were too many questions that were left unanswered."

As his co-chair in the private firm, Quasha chose his old friend Nemazee, a fellow Harken investor. By the time of the Carret acquisition, Nemazee, a founding member of the Iranian-American Political Action Committee whose family was close with the late Shah of Iran, had become a significant fundraiser for the Clintons and the Democratic Party. In 1995 he raised money for the DNC. In 1998, in the midst of the Lewinsky affair, Nemazee collected $60,000 for Bill Clinton's legal defense fund in $10,000 increments from relatives and friends. Clinton subsequently nominated Nemazee as ambassador to Argentina but withdrew the nomination after an article in Forbes raised questions about Nemazee's business dealings in the 1980s and '90s--which noted that the American-born Nemazee magically became "Hispanic" by acquiring Venezuelan citizenship because of a requirement that certain California public pension funds be run by minorities.

Failure to be named ambassador did not, however, hamper Nemazee's rise within the Democratic Party. By 2004 he was New York finance chair for John Kerry's campaign, and in 2006 he served under Senator Chuck Schumer as the national finance chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)--a period during which the committee raised about $25 million more than its Republican counterpart. This past March Nemazee, at the behest of McAuliffe, threw a dinner for Hillary at Manhattan's swank Cipriani restaurant, which featured Bill Clinton and raised more than $500,000.

All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Re: Bush's mystery money man becomes Hillary's
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2007, 12:08:05 pm »
The exact nature of McAuliffe's duties at Carret is unclear, and Quasha, Carret and McAuliffe all declined to answer The Nation's questions on this matter. But McAuliffe seems to have served, at least occasionally, as a good will ambassador for Quasha's business operations. He brought Wang Tianyi, head of a formerly state-owned Chinese firm and a business associate of Quasha's, to meet with Bill Clinton. And Quasha has visited the ex-President at his Harlem office over the past several years, according to Joe Wozny, former president of a Carret affiliate. Wozny recalls that Quasha "was up there quite a few times, meeting with Bill Clinton." As for that Washington office, the Carret website says only that it specialized in providing "information regarding products and services for institutions."

But the office seems to have benefited McAuliffe--and Hillary Clinton. When McAuliffe stepped down as DNC chair in February 2005, he said he planned to hit the lecture circuit and spend more time with his family. He may have done both, but he did so as vice chair of Carret from the new company office on the seventh floor of the venerable McPherson Building, once the home of the John Kerry campaign and just off K Street's lobbyist gulch. Simon Rosenberg's New Democrat Network, where Mark Penn, chief pollster and strategist for Hillary's campaign, has served as a fellow, was housed next door to McAuliffe and O'Keefe.

While there, McAuliffe found time to pen his memoir, What a Party!, his paean to the Clintons and his role in raising record amounts of money for them and the party. Yet the memoir itself, for which he earned a seven-figure advance, makes no mention of Carret or his role as its vice chair.

Three people working in nearby suites said they remembered McAuliffe and O'Keefe working out of the office, but none of them remembered the Carret name. Nor did any of them have any idea what McAuliffe was doing as Quasha's vice chair. One person who visited McAuliffe in the suite recalled that he was working on his book but said he was unaware of the official function of the office. "Terry holds his cards pretty close on his business activities," he said.

According to another visitor, McAuliffe was using his time to lay the groundwork for Hillary's long-anticipated presidential bid. With McAuliffe leading Clinton's ravenous fundraising operation, the possibility that Carret's Washington office was opened up, at least in part, to serve just such a function is bolstered by the fact that Carret opened the office only after hiring McAuliffe--and closed it down once he left. During that period, though no Clinton campaign committee yet existed, there were signs that he was already operating on her behalf. In 2005 he appeared on CNN's Crossfire, where the former Democratic chief did not bother to feign neutrality in the primaries: "Personally, I hope she runs," he said. "We would be lucky if she did run, I'll tell you that." In 2006 he kept one foot in Clintondom as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization whose membership is primarily by invitation to elite business leaders. Wang, whose China International Industry and Commerce partnered with Carret soon after McAuliffe joined the company, was also named to the initiative in 2006.

Meanwhile, during McAuliffe's employment at Carret, Quasha himself donated large sums to the DSCC. He gave $26,700 in June 2006 and $25,000 that October and also personally contributed $4,600, the maximum allowed, to the Hillary Clinton presidential exploratory committee.

Since his start as a young fundraiser on Carter's 1980 re-election campaign, McAuliffe has consistently melded politics, policy and private enterprise. By the time he was 30, he had launched a dozen companies, his own law firm and numerous venture capital companies. Perhaps his most controversial association was with the telecommunications company Global Crossing, where McAuliffe managed to turn a $100,000 personal investment into an $18 million windfall. After McAuliffe sold his shares and got out, the company collapsed; nearly 10,000 employees lost their jobs, and investors lost $54 billion. McAuliffe defended the firm's top executives, who were close with both the Bushes and Clintons, but went on to attack President Bush for similar patterns at Harken.

At a DNC meeting in Las Vegas in 2002, McAuliffe spoke about the recent collapse of Enron and questioned whether Bush could "restore confidence to Wall Street when he has engaged in the same practices he condemns today," a reference to Bush's Harken profiteering. That same year, associates of McAuliffe, fronted by a fake grassroots organization, released an aggressive ad campaign seeking to highlight the Harken-Bush connection.

It is not surprising, then, to learn that neither McAuliffe's connection to Carret nor Quasha's role in the firm have been widely publicized. Carret employees said they were surprised that when Quasha acquired the prestigious firm he did not choose to publicize his coup, instead keeping it quiet. In fact, the company's website does not reveal his role as chair--or much of anything about the firm. The company's chief financial officer, Marco Vega, said he was unable to provide details on Quasha's role in the company, or even to confirm his current title.

The silence is deafening. Repeated requests for interviews on this topic were ignored or rebuffed by the offices of Hillary Clinton's campaign, Bill Clinton, Alan Quasha, Hassan Nemazee, Terry McAuliffe and Peter O'Keefe. McAuliffe's spokeswoman, Tracy Sefl, who works for the Clinton-connected communications firm the Glover Park Group but represents McAuliffe informally, said that McAuliffe would not grant an interview or respond to detailed e-mailed questions on these matters. Sefl minimized McAuliffe's involvement with the company, claiming he was only "an adviser to Carret--as he was to many other companies."

But a vice chair is much more than just an adviser, and Carret's opening an office off K Street was not a casual gesture. Notably, though the DC office was closed after McAuliffe left for Hillary's campaign, McAuliffe protégé O'Keefe has stayed on as Carret's managing director for marketing--providing Quasha with an ongoing pipeline to the Clinton operation.

With an international man of mystery like Quasha, it's nigh impossible to definitively identify his endgame. But one thing he seems to have a stake in is free rein for hedge funds--and preservation of the low rate at which their profits are taxed.

In 2005, while McAuliffe was on his payroll, Quasha traveled to Bermuda to speak at the MARHedge World Wealth Summit, which addressed the topic "Hedge Fund Management in a Perilous Investment Climate." McAuliffe, too, weighed in on the well-being of hedge funds as the featured speaker at a 2006 investors' conference of the Carret unit Brean Murray, Carret & Co., where, according to advance publicity material, he planned to address the "current political debate in Washington, DC and its impact on Wall Street and the status of potential further hedge fund regulation." Also indicative of an interest in influencing hedge fund policy is the presence on Carret's International Advisory Board of Philippa Malmgren, who served as George W. Bush's liaison to the financial markets, and who often speaks and writes on politics and policy related to hedge funds.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Hillary Clinton, whose daughter, Chelsea, works for a hedge fund run by a prominent Democratic donor--came in second only to Joe Lieberman in cash raised from hedge fund managers during the 2006 election cycle. She has belatedly and reluctantly joined other presidential candidates in calling for a change in the law so that fund managers would pay taxes at the same rate as everybody else. Clearly, her supporters among hedge fund figures have much to gain by electing a President who feels Wall Street's pain.

Whatever Carret's overall objectives, the company is on the march. "We've taken the Brean Murray and the Carret platforms and expanded them into China, India, Eastern Europe and Russia, and we will be doing so in Latin America as well," Nemazee said in a 2006 interview with Leaders magazine.

While Quasha & Co. keep an eye on hedge fund regulation, they also appear to be helping the repressive Chinese government keep an eye on its own people. Brean Murray, Carret recently acted as the sole placement agent in an $8 million deal with the Shenzhen-based China Security and Surveillance Technology. China Security won a contract last year from the quasi-governmental Shenzhen Cyber Café Association to install video monitoring systems for more than 1,000 local Internet cafes, popular outlets for criticism of the regime. A Brean Murray, Carret press release celebrates its cooperation with the clampdown: "the estimated 2.19 million registered entertainment halls in China must purchase video-monitoring systems covering entrances, exits and main corridors. The Company is actively pursuing similar opportunities within the other provinces of China."

Is there cause for concern over Alan Quasha's apparent efforts to gain influence with a potential President of the United States? Amazingly, to reassure the public on the integrity of its operation, the Clinton camp has rolled out none other than Quasha's business partner Hassan Nemazee. In an interview with the New York Times on the implications of the Hsu affair, Nemazee, who describes himself as an economic policy adviser to Hillary but was identified by the Times as a "fundraising bundler for Mrs. Clinton, as Mr. Hsu had been," declared, "The Clinton campaign has done as much if not more than any campaign to protect itself from situations such as this, and none of the other campaigns, other than hypocritically, can point a finger at the Clinton campaign on fundraising problems."
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline bigron

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Bush to leave a troubled legacy
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2007, 08:08:22 am »
Tomgram: Do We Already Have Our Pentagon Papers?

Bush's Pentagon Papers
The Urge to Confess
By Tom Engelhardt

They can't help themselves. They want to confess.

How else to explain the torture memorandums that continue to flow out of the inner sancta of this administration, the most recent of which were evidently leaked to the New York Times. Those two, from the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department, were written in 2005 and recommitted the administration to the torture techniques it had been pushing for years. As the Times noted, the first of those memorandums, from February of that year, was "an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency." The second "secret opinion" was issued as Congress moved to outlaw "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" treatment (not that such acts weren't already against U.S. and international law). It brazenly "declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard"; and, the Times assured us, "the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums."

All of these memorandums, in turn, were written years after John Yoo's infamous "torture memo" of August 2002 and a host of other grim documents on detention, torture, and interrogation had already been leaked to the public, along with graphic FBI emailed observations of torture and abuse at Guantanamo, those "screen savers" from Abu Ghraib, and so much other incriminating evidence. In other words, in early 2005 when that endorsement of "the harshest interrogation techniques" was being written, its authors could hardly have avoided knowing that it, too, would someday become part of the public record.

But, it seems, they couldn't help themselves. Torture, along with repetitious, pretzled "legal" justifications for doing so, were bones that administration officials -- from the President, Vice President, and Secretary of Defense on down -- just couldn't resist gnawing on again and again. So, what we're dealing with is an obsession, a fantasy of empowerment, utterly irrational in its intensity, that's gripped this administration. None of the predictable we're shocked! we're shocked! editorial responses to the Times latest revelations begin to account for this.

Torture as the Royal Road to Commander-in-Chief Power

So let's back up a moment and consider the nature of the torture controversy in these last years. In a sense, the Bush administration has confronted a strange policy conundrum. Its compulsive urge to possess the power to detain without oversight and to wield torture as a tool of interrogation has led it, however unexpectedly, into what can only be called a confessional stance. The result has been what it feared most: the creation of an exhausting, if not exhaustive, public record of the criminal inner thinking of the most secretive administration in our history.

Let's recall that, in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the administration's top officials had an overpowering urge to "take the gloves off" (instructions sent from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's office directly to the Afghan battlefield), to "unshackle" the CIA. They were in a rush to release a commander-in-chief "unitary executive," untrammeled by the restrictions they associated with the fall of President Richard Nixon and with the Watergate era. They wanted to abrogate the Geneva Conventions (parts of which Alberto Gonzales, then White House Council and companion-in-arms to the President, declared "quaint" and "obsolete" in 2002). They were eager to develop their own categories of imprisonment that freed them from all legal constraints, as well as their own secret, offshore prison system in which their power would be total. All of this went to the heart of their sense of entitlement, their belief that such powers were their political birthright. The last thing they wanted to do was have this all happen in secret and with full deniability. Thus, Guantanamo.

That prison complex was to be the public face of their right to do anything. Perched on an American base in Cuba just beyond the reach of The Law -- American-leased but not court-overseen soil -- the new prison was to be the proud symbol of their expansive power. It was also to be the public face of a new, secret regime of punishment that would quickly spread around the world -- into the torture chambers of despotic regimes in places like Egypt and Syria, onto American bases like the island fastness of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, onto U.S. Navy and other ships floating in who knew which waters, into the former prisons of the old Soviet Empire, and into a growing network of American detention centers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So, when those first shots of prisoners, in orange jumpsuits, manacled and blindfolded, entering Guantanamo were released, no one officially howled (though the grim, leaked shots of those prisoners being transported to Guantanamo were another matter). After all, they wanted the world to know just how powerful this administration was -- powerful enough to redefine the terms of detention, imprisonment, and interrogation to the point of committing acts that traditionally were abhorred and ruled illegal by humanity and by U.S. law (even if sometimes committed anyway).

Though certain administration officials undoubtedly believed that "harsh interrogation techniques" would produce reliable information, this can't account for the absolute fascination with torture that gripped them, as well as assorted pundits and talking heads (and then, through "24" and other TV shows and movies, Americans in general). In search of a world where they could do anything, they reached instinctively for torture as a symbol. After all, was there any more striking way to remove those "gloves" or "unshackle" a presidency? If you could stake a claim the right to torture, then you could stake a claim to do just about anything.

Think of it this way: If Freud believed that dreams were the royal road to the individual unconscious, then the top officials of the Bush administration believed torture to be the royal road to their ultimate dream of unconstrained power, what John Yoo in his "torture memo" referred to as "the Commander-in-Chief Power."

It was via Guantanamo that they meant to announce the arrival of this power on planet Earth. They were proud of it. And that prison complex was to function as their bragging rights. Their message was clear enough: In this world of ours, democracy would indeed run rampant and a vote of one would, in every case, be considered a majority.

The Crimes Are in the Definitions

This, then, was one form of confession -- a much desired one. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and their subordinates (with few exceptions) wished to affirm their position as directors of the planet's "sole superpower," intent as they were on creating a Pentagon-led Pax Americana abroad and a Rovian Pax Republicana at home. But there was another, seldom noted form of confession at work.

As if to fit their expansive sense of their own potential powers, it seems that these officials, and the corps of lawyers that accompanied them, had expansive, gnawing fears. Given this cast of characters, you can't talk about a collective "guilty conscience," but there was certainly an ongoing awareness that what they were doing contravened normal American and global standards of legality; that their acts, when it came to detention and torture, might be judged illegal; and that those who committed -- or ordered -- such acts might someday, somehow, actually be brought before a court of law to account for them. These fears, by the way, were usually pinned on low-level operatives and interrogators, who were indeed fearful of the obvious: that they had no legal leg to stand on when it came to kidnapping terror suspects, disappearing them, and subjecting them to a remarkably wide range of acts of torture and abuse, often in deadly combination over long periods of time.

Perhaps Bush's men (and women) feared that even a triumphantly successful commander-in-chief presidency might -- à la the Pinochet regime in Chile -- have its limits in time. Perhaps they simply sensed an essential contradiction that lay at the very heart of their position: The urge to take pride in their "accomplishments," to assert their powers, and to claim bragging rights for redefining what was legal could also be seen as the urge to confess (if matters took a wrong turn as, in the case of the Bush administration, they always have). And so, along with the pride, along with the kidnappings, the new-style imprisonment, the acts of torture (and, in some cases, murder), the pretzled documents began to pour out of the administration -- each a tortured extremity of bizarre legalisms (as with Yoo's August 2002 document, which essentially managed to reposition torture as something that existed mainly in the mind of, and could only be defined by, the torturer himself); each was but another example of legalisms following upon and directed by desire. (Yoo himself was reportedly known by Attorney General John Ashcroft as Dr. Yes, "for his seeming eagerness to give the White House whatever legal justifications it desired.") Each, in the end, might also be read as a confession of wrongdoing.

What made all this so strange was not just the "tortured" nature of the "torture memo" (just rejected by the new attorney general nominee as "worse than a sin, it was a mistake"), but the repetitious nature of these dismantling documents which, with the help of an army of leakers inside the government, have been making their way into public view for years. Or how about the strange situation of an American president, who has, in so many backhanded ways, admitted to being deeply involved in the issues of detainment and torture -- as, for instance, in a February 7, 2002 memorandum to his top officials in which he signed off on his power to "suspend [the] Geneva [Conventions] as between the United States and Afghanistan" (which he then declined to do "at this time") and his right to wipe out the Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War when it came to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. That document began with the following: "Our recent extensive discussions regarding the status of al Qaeda and Taliban detainees confirm…"

"Our recent extensive discussions…" You won't find that often in previous presidential documents about the abrogation of international and domestic law. It wasn't, of course, that the U.S. had never imprisoned anyone abroad and certainly not that the U.S. had never used torture abroad. Water-boarding, for instance, was first employed by U.S. soldiers in the Philippine Insurrection at the dawn of the previous century; torture was widely used and taught by CIA and other American operatives in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, and elsewhere. But American presidents didn't then see the bragging rights in such acts, any more than a previous American president would have sent his vice president to Capitol Hill to lobby openly for torture (however labeled). Past presidents held on to the considerable benefits of deniability (and perhaps the psychological benefits of not knowing too much themselves). They didn't regularly and repeatedly commit to paper their "extensive discussions" on distasteful and illegal subjects.


Offline bigron

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Re: Bush's Pentagon Papers.......The Urge to Confess !! (PART 2)
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2007, 08:13:18 am »
Bush's Pentagon Papers   (PART 2)
The Urge to Confess
By Tom Engelhardt


Nor did they get up in public, against all news, all reason (but based on the fantastic redefinitions of torture created to fulfill a presidential desire to use "harsh interrogation techniques") to deny repeatedly that their administrations ever tortured. Here is an exchange on the subject from Bush's most recent press conference:

"Q What's your definition of the word ‘torture'?


"Q The word ‘torture.' What's your definition?

"THE PRESIDENT: That's defined in U.S. law, and we don't torture.

"Q Can you give me your version of it, sir?

"THE PRESIDENT: Whatever the law says."

After a while, this, too, becomes a form of confession -– that, among other things, the President has never rejected John Yoo's definition of torture in that 2002 memorandum. Combine that with the admission of "extensive discussions" on detention matters and, minimally, you have a President, who has proven himself deeply engaged in such subjects. A President who makes such no-torture claims repeatedly cannot also claim to be in the dark on the subject. In other words, you're already moving from the Clintonesque parsing of definitions ("It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is'") into unfathomable realms of presidential definitional darkness.

On the Record

Of course, plumbing the psychology of a single individual while in office -- of a President or a Vice President -- is a nearly impossible task. Plumbing the psychology of an administration? Who can do it? And yet, sometimes officials may essentially do it for you. They may leave bureaucratic clues everywhere and then, as if seized by an impulsion, return again and again to what can only be termed the scene of the crime. Documents they just couldn't not write. Acts they just couldn't not take. Think of these as the Freudian slips of officials under pressure. Think of them as small, repeated confessions granted under the interrogation of reality and history, under the fearful pressure of the future, and granted in the best way possible: willingly, without opposition, and not under torture.

Sometimes, it's just a matter of refocusing to see the documents, the statements, the acts for what they are. Such is the case with the torture memos that continue to emerge. Never has an administration -- and hardly has a torturing regime anywhere -- had so many of its secret documents aired while it was still in the act. Seldom has a ruling group made such an open case for its own crimes.

We're talking, of course, about the most secretive administration in American history -- so secretive, in fact, that Congressional representatives considering classified portions of an intelligence bill, have to go to "a secret, secure room in the Capitol, turn in their Blackberrys and cellphones, and read the document without help from any staff members." Such briefings are given to Congressional representatives, but under ground rules in which "participants are prohibited from future discussions of the information -- even if it is subsequently revealed in the media…" So representatives who are briefed are also effectively prohibited from discussing what they have learned in Congress.

And yet, none of this mattered when it came to the administration establishing its own record of illegality -- and exhibiting its own outsized fears of future prosecution. Let's just take one labor intensive -- and exceedingly strange, if now largely forgotten -- example of these fears in action. In 2002, a new tribunal, the International Criminal Court (ICC), was established in the Hague to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. "[T]hen-Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton nullified the U.S. signature on the International Criminal Court treaty one month into President Bush's first term" and Congress subsequently passed the American Servicemembers' Protection Act which prohibited "certain types of military aid to countries that have signed on to the International Criminal Court but have not signed a separate accord with the United States, called an Article 98 agreement." The Bush administration, opposed to international "fora" of all sorts, then proceeded to go individually, repeatedly, and over years, to more than 100 countries, demanding that the representatives of each sign such an agreement "not to surrender American citizens to the international court without the consent of officials in Washington."

In other words, they put the sort of effort that might normally have gone into establishing an international agreement into threatening weak countries with the loss of U.S. aid in order to give themselves -- and of course those lower-level soldiers and operatives on whom so much is blamed -- a free pass for crimes yet to be committed (but which they obviously felt they would commit). We're talking here about small, impoverished lands like Cambodia, still attempting to bring its own war criminals of the Pol Pot era to justice.

In the process of twisting arms, the administration suspended over $47 million in military aid "to 35 countries that ha[d] not signed deals to grant American soldiers immunity from prosecution for war crimes." In this attempt to get every country on the planet aboard the American no-war-crimes-prosecution train before it left the station, you can sense once again the administration's obsessional intensity on this subject (especially since experts agreed that the realistic possibility of the ICC bringing Americans up on war crimes was essentially nil).

The Bush administration regularly reached for its dictionaries to redefine reality, even before it reached for its guns. It not only wrote its own rules and its own "law," but when problems nonetheless emerged from its secret world of detention and pain and wouldn't go away -- at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere -- it proceeded to investigate itself with the expectable results. For Bush's officials, this should have seemed like a perfect way to maintain a no-fault system that would never reach up any chain of command. Indeed, as Mark Danner has commented, such practices plunged us into an age of "frozen scandals" in which, as with the latest torture memos, the shocked-shocked effect repeats itself but nothing follows. As he has written: "One of the most painful principles of our age is that scandals are doomed to be revealed -- and to remain stinking there before us, unexcised, unpunished, unfinished."

How true. And yet, looked at another way, the administration -- with outsized help from outraged government officials who knew crimes when they saw them and were willing to take chances to reveal them -- has already created a remarkable record of its own criminal activity, which can now be purchased in any bookstore in the land.

Back in the early fall of 2004, when the first collection of such documents arrived in the bookstores, Mark Danner's Torture and Truth, America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror, it was already more than 600 pages long. In early 2005, when Karen J. Greenberg, executive director of the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law, and Josh Dratel, the civilian defense attorney for Guantanamo detainee David Hicks, released their monumental The Torture Papers, The Road to Abu Ghraib, another collection of secret memoranda, official investigations of Abu Ghraib, and the like, it was already an oversized book of more than 1,200 pages -- a doorstopper large enough to keep a massive prison gate open. And, of course, even it couldn't hold all the documents. A later Greenberg book, The Torture Debate in America, for instance, has military documents not included in the first volume.

Then, there were the two-years worth of FBI memos and emails about Guantanamo that the ACLU pried loose from the government and released on line, also in 2005. This material was damning indeed, including direct reports from FBI agents witnessing -- and protesting as well as pointing fingers at -- military interrogators at the prison, as in an August 2, 2004 report that said: "On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water…Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more." Or a Jan. 21, 2004 email in which an FBI agent complained that the technique of a military interrogator impersonating an FBI agent "and all of those used in these scenarios, was approved by the DepSecDef," a reference to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz.

Other paperback volumes have also been published that include selections from these and other documents like Crimes of War: Iraq by Richard Falk, Irene Gendzier, and Robert Jay Lifton and In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond by Jeremy Brecher, Jill Cutler, and Brendan Smith. If all of these documents, including the latest ones evidently in the hands of the New York Times, were collected, you would have a little library of volumes -- all functionally confessional -- for a future prosecutor. (And there are undoubtedly scads more documents where these came from, including perhaps a John Yoo "torture memo," rumored to exist, that preceded the August 2002 one.)

What an archive, then, is already available in our world. It's as if, to offer a Vietnam comparison, the contents of The Pentagon Papers had simply slipped out into the light of day, one by one, without a Daniel Ellsberg in sight, without anyone quite realizing it had happened.

The urge of any criminal regime -- to ditch, burn, or destroy incriminating documents, or erase emails -- has, in a sense, already been obviated. So much of the Bush/Cheney "record" is on the record. As Karen J. Greenberg wrote, back in December 2006, "What more could a prosecutor want than a trail of implicit confessions, consistent with one another, increasingly brazen over time, and leading right into the Oval Office?"

Looking back on these last years, it turns out that the President, Vice President, their aides, and the other top officials of this administration were always in the confessional booth. There's no exit now.

Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's, is the co-founder of the American Empire Project. His book, The End of Victory Culture (University of Massachusetts Press), has just been thoroughly updated in a newly issued edition that deals with victory culture's crash-and-burn sequel in Iraq.

Copyright 2007 Tom Engelhardt

Offline Dig

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Bush to leave a troubled legacy
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2007, 07:09:14 pm »
General claims Bush gave 'marching orders' on aggressive interrogation at Guantanamo
Nick Juliano Published: Monday October 22, 2007

More than 100,000 pages of newly released government documents demonstrate how US military interrogators "abused, tortured or killed" scores of prisoners rounded up since Sept. 11, 2001, including some who were not even expected of having terrorist ties, according to a just-published book. In Administration of Torture, two American Civil Liberties Union attorneys detail the findings of a years-long investigation and court battle with the administration that resulted in the release of massive amounts of data on prisoner treatment and the deaths of US-held prisoners. "[T]he documents show unambiguously that the administration has adopted some of the methods of the most tyrannical regimes," write Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh. "Documents from Guantanamo describe prisoners shackled in excruciating 'stress positions,' held in freezing-cold cells, forcibly stripped, hooded, terrorized with military dogs, and deprived of human contact for months." Most of the documents on which Administration of Torture is based were obtained as a result of ongoing legal fights over a Freedom of Information Act request filed in October 2003 by the ACLU and other human rights and anti-war groups, the ACLU said in a news release. The documents show that prisoner abuse like that found at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was hardly the isolated incident that the Bush administration or US military claimed it was. By the time the prisoner abuse story broke in mid-2004 the Army knew of at least 62 other allegations of abuse at different prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, the authors report.

Drawing almost exclusively from the documents, the authors say there is a stark contrast between the public statements of President Bush and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the policies those and others in the administration were advocating behind the scenes. President Bush gave "marching orders" to Gen. Michael Dunlavey, who asked the Pentagon to approve harsher interrogation methods at Guantanamo, the general claims in documents reported in the book. The ACLU also found that an Army investigator reported Rumsfeld was "personally involved" in overseeing the interrogation of a Guantanamo prisoner Mohammed al Qahtani. The prisoner was forced to parade naked in front of female interrogators wearing women's underwear on his head and was led around on a leash while being forced to perform dog tricks. “It is imperative that senior officials who authorized, endorsed, or tolerated the abuse and torture of prisoners be held accountable," Jaffer and Singh write, "not only as a matter of elemental justice, but to ensure that the same crimes are not perpetrated again.”
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Re: Bush personally gave marching orders to TORTURE the Arab people
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2007, 03:20:53 am »




All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline EchelonMonitor

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Re: Bush wrote torture memo for Abu Graib
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2007, 05:00:22 am »
Yeah, that's why Bush was so desperate to get the Military Commissions Act passed before the elections last year--it gives him immunity from prosecution for ordering the torture.

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Bush Furthers Dictatorship Agenda
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2007, 07:00:11 am »
Bush Furthers Dictatorship Agenda
Lee Rogers

George W. Bush continues his quest to turn the President’s office into a full dictatorship. The Washington Post recently reported that due to Congress’s failure to approve specific pieces of legislation, Bush will use more executive orders over the upcoming months to get things done. Bush has already seized additional powers through a series of draconian laws like the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act as well as through the use of unconstitutional executive orders and directives like NSPD-51/HSPD-20 which gives Bush the power of a dictator in the case of a catastrophic emergency.

From the Washington Post:

The White House plans to try implementing as much new policy as it can by administrative order while stepping up its confrontational rhetoric with Congress after concluding that President Bush cannot do much business with the Democratic leadership, administration officials said.

According to those officials, Bush and his advisers blame Democrats for the holdup of Judge Michael B. Mukasey's nomination to be attorney general, the failure to pass any of the 12 annual spending bills, and what they see as their refusal to involve the White House in any meaningful negotiations over the stalemated children's health-care legislation.

White House aides say the only way Bush seems to be able to influence the process is by vetoing legislation or by issuing administrative orders, as he has in recent weeks on veterans' health care, air-traffic congestion, protecting endangered fish and immigration. They say they expect Bush to issue more of such orders in the next several months, even as he speaks out on the need to limit spending and resist any tax increases.

The Washington Post article refers to administrative orders that Bush will use to influence the political process. Upon researching these specific administrative orders, it is clear that they are referring to executive orders and use the term administrative orders to sound more politically correct and less alarming. They specifically cite a so called administrative order on endangered fish. That so called administrative order which can be viewed via this link is actually an executive order.

This report from the Washington Post is incredibly disturbing considering the previous history of this criminal administration seizing power through draconian laws, executive orders and more. The fact that White House aides are openly stating that they expect Bush to issue more executive orders in the next several months in an effort to influence the political process is completely insane and unconstitutional. It is a clear violation of the separation of powers and should be addressed by Congress immediately.

Unfortunately, we probably won’t see Congress do anything to stop Bush on his quest to become a dictator. In fact it appears as if Congress is on the same team as Bush after the House of Representatives passed HR 1955 which gives the government a blank check to classify anything including thought crimes as homegrown terrorism by a 404 to 6 margin. Congress has also done nothing to stop Bush's previous unconstitutional executive orders and directives, so expecting them to stop future Presidential edicts is nothing more than a pipe dream. If this type of thing continues, Bush could in fact become a dictator unless something is done immediately to impeach him and his criminal administration.

Offline bigron

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Re: Bush Furthers Dictatorship Agenda
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2007, 09:57:39 am »


Offline hyperqube

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Re: Bush Furthers Dictatorship Agenda
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2007, 10:25:53 am »
yup, that's what i've been saying. but this is all a setup for something even bigger than a mere dictatorship

Offline echoes

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Re: Bush Furthers Dictatorship Agenda
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2007, 11:00:43 am »

yeah, look at pakistan right now, its the model.

Offline bigron

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Re: Bush Furthers Dictatorship Agenda
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2007, 11:14:23 am »
will bet anything that Pakistans Present Martial Law has been orchestrated directly form the white house.

we will soon see what this all means as the chess game continues........

Offline Monk Of Truth X

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Re: Bush Furthers Dictatorship Agenda
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2007, 09:46:04 pm »
Why isn't congress stoppin this sucka dont they realize they have the power to stop him and they're absolutely not doin a damn thing to stop him. i just came to realize that nearly all the members of congress don't do jack s**t for us they're totally f****** useless the only thing they do is vote to raise their own pay....BUSH MUST BE STOPPED AT ALL COSTS.......... TIME TO STAND THE F**K UP AMERICA AND TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK FROM THE EVIL BUSH REGIME... >:( >:( >:(

Offline hyperqube

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Re: Bush Furthers Dictatorship Agenda
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2007, 12:50:38 am »
they ain't got the balls.  once the constitution is suspended, it's gonna be too late for them to do anything.

Offline bigron

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Bush's favorite lie !!!!!
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2007, 07:59:33 am »
Bush's favorite lie  !!!!!


By constant repetition, the U.S. president has transformed his lie into what passes for truth in modern American politics.

By Robert Parry

When cataloguing George W. Bush’s lies – even if you stick just to his fabrications about the Iraq War and the “war on terror” – there are so many to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favorite.

There’s the one about how before Sept. 11, 2001, Americans thought that “oceans protected us” – although perhaps not from Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads, which during the Cold War had school children hiding under desks and homeowners buying bomb shelters.

After taking office in January 2001, Bush was so confident about the protective oceans that he pushed aggressively for a "Star Wars" missile defense system.

Or there’s Bush’s oft-repeated claim that al-Qaeda terrorists are poised to dominate the world through a caliphate “stretching from Spain to Indonesia,” though in reality they are a bunch of crazed misfits forcibly exiled from their own countries and now living in caves along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

Bush also insists that Americans must heed what Osama bin Laden says, like when this homicidal maniac supposedly calls Iraq the “central front” in the “war on terror,” the American people must keep troops there indefinitely.

But it’s never explained why it makes sense for the United States to let bin Laden’s public declarations shape Washington’s policies.

There’s a chance, you see, that bin Laden is either completely nuts or perhaps clever enough to bait Bush into taking actions that actually help al-Qaeda, like getting the United States bogged down in Iraq, alienating the Muslim world and diverting military resources away from where bin Laden is hiding.

Indeed, the evidence from captured (internal rather than public) al-Qaeda communications indicates that bin Laden’s high command considers Afghanistan and Pakistan – not Iraq – their central front.

In 2005, for instance, one intercepted letter, purportedly written by al-Qaeda’s No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri, asked fighters in Iraq to send $100,000 to headquarters back on the Afghan-Pakistani border. If Bush were right – and al-Qaeda considered Iraq the “central front” – one might expect that the money would be going in the opposite direction.

Personal favorite
But my personal favorite Bush lie is when he insists that the United States invaded Iraq to enforce a United Nations resolution and that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein “chose war” by barring UN weapons inspectors.

Bush dusted off that old canard on Nov. 7 while standing next to French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a press conference at George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon in Virginia.

Responding to a question from a French journalist about Bush’s dispute with France over the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S. president said: “We had a difference of opinion with your great country over whether or not I should have used military force to enforce UN demands. … I just want to remind you that [UN Resolution] 1441 was supported by France and the United States, which clearly said to the dictator, you will disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. Now, I'm the kind of person that when somebody says something, I take them for their word.”

Bush has made this same false argument scores of times dating back to July 2003, several months after the invasion when it was becoming clear that Saddam Hussein had told the truth when his government reported to the UN in 2002 that Iraq’s WMD stockpiles had been eliminated.

Hussein also relented in fall 2002, allowing UN weapons inspectors to travel freely around Iraq checking out suspected WMD sites. The UN inspectors found nothing and reported growing Iraqi cooperation in the early months of 2003. In other words, Hussein was complying with Resolution 1441.

Nevertheless, Bush was determined to invade Iraq and tried to get the UN Security Council to go along. However, France and most other members of the Security Council rebuffed Bush and sought more time for the inspectors.

Then, in defiance of the UN – and in violation of the UN Charter which prohibits aggressive wars – Bush forced out the UN inspectors and launched his “shock and awe” assault. After a bloody three-week campaign, U.S.-led forces toppled Hussein’s government, but found no WMD caches.

Instead of admitting the obvious facts – that he had launched an unprovoked war on false pretenses – Bush rewrote the history. Starting at a White House press briefing on July 14, 2003, Bush began insisting that he had no choice but to invade Iraq because Hussein wouldn’t let the UN inspectors in.

Bush told reporters: “We gave him [Saddam Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”

Bush’s litany
Facing no contradiction from the White House press corps, Bush repeated this lie in varied forms over the next four-plus years as part of his litany defending the invasion.

On Jan. 27, 2004, for example, Bush said, “We went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution – 1441 – unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.”

As the years went by, Bush’s lie and its unchallenged retelling took on the color of truth.

At a March 21, 2006, news conference, Bush again blamed the war on Hussein’s defiance of UN demands for unfettered inspections.

“I was hoping to solve this [Iraq] problem diplomatically,” Bush said. “The world said, ‘Disarm, disclose or face serious consequences.’ … We worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny the inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did.”

At a press conference on May 24, 2007, Bush offered a short-hand version, even inviting the journalists to remember the invented history.

“As you might remember back then, we tried the diplomatic route: [UN Resolution] 1441 was a unanimous vote in the Security Council that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. So the choice was his [Hussein’s] to make. And he made a choice that has subsequently caused him to lose his life.”

Not only have Washington journalists stayed consistently silent in the face of this false history, some have even adopted Bush’s lie as their own. For instance, in a July 2004 interview, ABC’s veteran newsman Ted Koppel used it to explain why he – Koppel – thought the invasion of Iraq was justified.

“It did not make logical sense that Saddam Hussein, whose armies had been defeated once before by the United States and the Coalition, would be prepared to lose control over his country if all he had to do was say, ‘All right, UN, come on in, check it out,’” Koppel told Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now.”

Of course, Hussein did tell the UN to “come on in, check it out.” But that was in the real world, not in the faux reality that governs modern Washington.

Bush’s Iraq lies are now entering a new political generation, seeping into Campaign 2008. At the Republican debate on June 5, 2007, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defended Bush’s invasion on the grounds that Hussein refused to let UN weapons inspectors in to search for WMD.

If Saddam “had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors, and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction,” the war might have been averted, Romney said.

Not surprisingly, Romney’s false statement was no more challenged by the CNN debate moderators than Bush’s earlier versions had been. By constant repetition, Bush has transformed his lie into what passes for truth in modern American politics.

-- Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush , can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to


-- Middle East Online

Offline bigron

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Re: Bush's favorite lie !!!!!
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2007, 08:01:53 am »
 Bush’s Iraq lies are now entering a new political generation, seeping into Campaign 2008.

Visit :

Offline Dig

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Bush backpeddles on immigration
« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2007, 04:29:07 am »
Revised Rule for Employers That Hire Immigrants
By JULIA PRESTON Published: November 25, 2007

The Bush administration will suspend its legal defense of a new rule issued in August to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, conceding a hard-fought opening round in a court battle over a central measure in its strategy to curb illegal immigration, according to government papers filed late Friday in federal court. Instead, the administration plans to revise the rule to try to meet concerns raised by a federal judge and issue it again by late March, hoping to pass court scrutiny on the second try. The rule would have forced employers to fire workers within 90 days if their Social Security information could not be verified. The government’s proposal was a response to an indefinite delay to the rule ordered Oct. 10 by the judge, Charles R. Breyer of Federal District Court in San Francisco. Judge Breyer found that the government had failed to follow proper procedures in issuing the rule and that it should have completed a survey of its impact on small business.  He also found that the Social Security database the government would use to verify workers’ status was full of errors, so the rule could lead to the dismissal of many thousands of workers who were American citizens or legal immigrants.

In a four-page motion filed Friday, the government, without acknowledging any flaws in the original rule, asked Judge Breyer to suspend the case so the Department of Homeland Security could rewrite the rule and conduct the small-business survey, which it expects to do by March 24. The government said that it wanted to “prevent the waste of judicial resources” and that it was confident the amended rule would “fully address the court’s concerns.”  Homeland Security officials said they were not abandoning the rule and were still considering an appeal of Judge Breyer’s ruling. For now they are “planning to provide an answer to the small number of minor issues that the judge raised in his opinion,” Laura Keehner, a spokeswoman for the department, said.  The legal challenge was brought by an odd-fellow alliance of labor unions and business groups, including the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the San Francisco Labor Council as well as the United States Chamber of Commerce.  “It’s clear the government has given up defending an indefensible rule,” said Lucas Guttentag, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, another group bringing the lawsuit. “But now they’re hoping to rush through another half-baked rule without addressing the fundamental flaws. It’s like putting lipstick on Frankenstein.”

The rule laid out procedures for employers to follow after receiving a notice from the Social Security Administration, known as a no-match letter, advising that an employee’s identity information did not match the agency’s records.  The employer would have had to fire an employee who could not provide verifiable information within 90 days, or face the risk of prosecution for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. Those immigrants often present fake Social Security numbers when applying for jobs.  Judge Breyer also stopped Social Security from sending out about 141,000 no-match letters, covering more than eight million workers, which contained instructions from Homeland Security about the rule. Social Security sends the letters to clarify workers’ information so it can correctly credit taxes deducted from their wages.  Some businesses welcomed the rule because it clarified what they had to do to avoid immigration raids. But the labor unions cited a report from the inspector general of the Social Security Administration finding that 12.7 million of the records of United States citizens in the agency’s database contained errors that could lead to them being fired.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline sid

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Re: Bush backpeddles on immigration
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2007, 11:13:20 pm »
The Bush administration has no intention of enforcing immigration laws of any kind.

Bush lied when he took his oath of office swearing to enforce the laws of the land (execute the office of the President).

Offline Dig

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Bush to veto sweeping Defense Bill
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2007, 11:16:39 am »
Bush to veto sweeping defense policy bill
Posted 11m ago

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — President Bush plans to veto a sweeping defense policy bill on grounds that it would derail Iraq's efforts to rebuild its country, the White House said Friday. Bush's action, which apparently caught congressional leaders off guard, centers on one provision in the legislation dealing with Iraqi assets. The legislation would permit plaintiffs' lawyers immediately to freeze Iraqi funds and would expose Iraq to "massive liability in lawsuits concerning the misdeeds of the Saddam Hussein regime," said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel. "The new democratic government of Iraq, during this crucial period of reconstruction, cannot afford to have its funds entangled in such lawsuits in the United States," Stanzel said in a statement.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Re: BUSH to VETO $207 Billion Spending Bill ????
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2007, 11:21:52 am »
? ? I thought this was reported before Bhutto.  What are the differences with the bills?

Bush signs budget with Iraq funds
1 day ago

CRAWFORD, Texas (AFP) — US President George W. Bush signed Wednesday a $555 billion dollar catch-all budget bill for 2008 that includes $70 billion dollars for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars without any timeline for troop withdrawal. Bush had threatened the Democratic-controlled Congress with a veto for the bill if overall spending was much more than Bush had asked or if it contained targets for a troop pullout from Iraq. But the president said the bill funds the federal government "within the reasonable and responsible spending levels I proposed -- without raising taxes and without the most objectionable policy changes considered by the Congress."

'this law provides a down payment for the resources our troops need, without arbitrary timelines for withdrawal," said Bush, who signed the omnibus bill aboard Air Force One while flying to his Texas ranch for a year-end holiday. The bill provides funding for federal agencies during the fiscal year ending in late September and funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for part of the year. Bush, who had originally asked for 196 billion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan, urged Congress to "quickly take action next year to provide the remainder of the funding needed by our troops." The White House made its war funding request in February and the 2008 budget was supposed to pass in October, but the its approval was delayed by a struggle between the White House and Democrats over Iraq. Democrats, who took over the US Congress in November 2006 elections fueled by anger at the war in Iraq, tried without success to use their power of the purse to impose a timetable for withdrawal from the strife-torn country, where nearly 4,000 US troops have died since the March 2003 invasion. Under Bush's veto threats, the budget bill was finally approved before Christmas with a partial funding for the war and no timeline. While Bush approved the overall budget, he criticized the thousands of "earmarks" -- specific spending allocations for projects and programs favored by specific members of Congress, often for their home states and districts -- included in it. "I am disappointed in the way the Congress compiled this legislation, including abandoning the goal I set early this year to reduce the number and cost of earmarks by half," he said. "These projects are not funded through a merit-based process and provide a vehicle for wasteful government spending."
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Dig

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Re: Bush to veto sweeping Defense Bill
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2007, 11:41:53 am »
OK, I guess they are different bills:

Dems protest Bush's surprise veto of defense bill
December 28, 2007 Read More: Iraq

At the behest of the Iraqi government, President Bush will veto the annual defense authorization bill, saying an obscure provision in the legislation could make Iraqi assets held in U.S. banks vulnerable to lawsuits. The veto startled Democratic congressional leaders, who believe Bush is bowing to pressure from the Iraqi government over a technical provision in the bill. The veto was unexpected because there was no veto threat and the legislation passed both chambers of Congress overwhelmingly. Democratic leaders say the provision in question could easily be worked out, but in vetoing the massive defense policy bill, military pay raises may be on hold, as well as dozens of other programs. "We understand that the president is bowing to the demands of the Iraqi government, which is threatening to withdraw billions of dollars invested in U.S. banks if this bill is signed," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), in a joint statement. “The administration should have raised its objections earlier, when this issue could have been addressed without a veto." A White House spokesman said the veto would officially be delivered later today. At issue is a provision deep in the defense authorization bill, which would essentially allows people harmed by Saddam Hussein's regime to sue for damages. The Iraqi government believes such lawsuits could target up to $25 billion in Iraqi assets held in U.S. banks, even though congressional leaders dispute that. Iraq has threatened to pull all of its money out of the U.S. banking system if the provision remains in the bill.

The defense authorization bill is less well known military legislation because it does not appropriate the hundreds of billions for Pentagon affairs, but it is a critical annual bill because it provides the policy road map for the year and sets spending levels for the Pentagon. White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the disputed provision "would permit plaintiffs’ lawyers immediately to freeze Iraqi funds and would expose Iraq to massive liability in lawsuits concerning the misdeeds of the Saddam Hussein regime. The new democratic government of Iraq, during this crucial period of reconstruction, cannot afford to have its funds entangled in such lawsuits in the United States." What is so unusual about this veto is that the White House almost always telegraphs a veto threat while a bill is under consideration so that changes can be made to the legislation to avoid a veto. This defense bill passed the House 370-49 and cleared the Senate on a 90-3 vote. According to Democratic leadership aides, the Bush administration did not raise any objections about the section in question until after the bill was transmitted to the White House.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Kregener

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Re: Bush to veto sweeping Defense Bill
« Reply #27 on: December 28, 2007, 11:52:14 am »
This just in!

"Bush vetoes SOMETHING!"

Film at eleven...
Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to a hospital makes you a doctor.

Stop thinking in terms of left and right and start thinking in terms of right and wrong

Offline bigron

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Bush's best-laid plans !!
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2008, 06:24:06 am »
From the Los Angeles Times

Bush's best-laid plans

The Bhutto assassination demonstrates anew the folly of the administration's efforts to manage history.

By Andrew J. Bacevich

Viewed from a historian's perspective, the Bush administration since 9/11 has ransacked the past to conjure up comforting expectations for the future. President Bush excels in this exercise, expressing confidence that the "untamed fire of freedom" will one day soon "reach the darkest corners of our world." Yet as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto reminds us yet again, events refuse to play along. History remains stubbornly recalcitrant.

Bush would have us believe otherwise. History, he insists, "has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty." That direction, the president believes, tends toward peace, democracy and freedom for all humankind. America's purpose, assigned by the Author of Liberty, is to nudge history toward its intended destination. More immediately, America's ostensible aim since 9/11 has been to make the blessings of liberty available to the Islamic world. As democracy spreads there, the threat posed by terrorism will diminish. Such at least has been the assumption underlying Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the two wars begun on Bush's watch.

This strategy of militarized liberation has been fraught with contradictions, not the least of which has been the partnership forged between the United States and Pakistan. Bush has repeatedly declared Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf a valued and trusted ally. Since 9/11, the U.S. has provided Pakistan with at least $10 billion in aid, most of it going to the army. In hopes of ensuring Pakistani cooperation in the global war on terrorism, Washington has ignored that nation's record as perhaps the world's most egregious nuclear weapons proliferator.

Yet Musharraf has never shared Bush's professed commitment to democracy and freedom. A career soldier, Musharraf seized power in 1999 through a military coup. He is an authoritarian dictator who represents the interests of the Pakistani officer corps, distinguished less by any liberal inclinations than by its pronounced Islamist sympathies and a paranoid obsession with India. On Nov. 3, Musharraf declared a state of emergency, a pretext for jailing critics and getting rid of a troublesome Supreme Court. He ended the emergency on Dec. 15. Although Musharraf offers up occasional testimonials on behalf of democracy, they deserve to be taken about as seriously as Bush's calls for bipartisanship in Washington. It's cheap window dressing.

Still, as long as Musharraf appeared to be a stabilizing force and supportive of U.S. efforts to create a new Afghanistan, the Bush administration turned a blind eye to his anti-democratic tendencies. Not for the first time in U.S. history, ideals took a back seat to more pragmatic calculations. Washington talked democracy but opted in practice to support a strongman who promised order and cooperation against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, despite the fact that Pakistani assistance against the Islamic radicals operating within Pakistan was never more than spotty.,0,2710389.story?coll=la-home-center

During the last year, however, the strongman began to appear less strong. Only as Musharraf's power waned did the United States actively press Pakistan to get onboard the democratic bandwagon. First, the Bush administration promoted a bizarre power-sharing agreement between Musharraf and Bhutto. When that shotgun marriage failed, it insisted on elections as the way to shore up the government's legitimacy. Now an assassin has demolished these carefully laid plans, possibly thrusting Pakistan into unprecedented turmoil while leaving Bush tied to a partner who increasingly invites comparisons to the shah of Iran.

Faced with the prospect of "losing" Pakistan, what should the world's sole superpower do? Despite Musharraf's flaws, should Washington back him to the hilt as the only alternative to chaos? Or should Bush commit the United States without reservation to building a strong democracy in Pakistan?

To pose such questions is to presume that decisions made in Washington will decisively influence the course of events in Islamabad. Yet the lesson to be drawn from the developments of the last several days -- and from U.S. involvement in Pakistan over the course of decades -- suggests just the opposite: The United States has next to no ability to determine Pakistan's fate.

How the crisis touched off by Bhutto's assassination will end is impossible to predict, although the outcome is likely to be ugly. Yet this much we can say with confidence: That outcome won't be decided in the White House. Once again, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "events are in the saddle, and ride mankind," with those events reducing the most powerful man in the world to the status of spectator.

At the beginning of his second term, Bush spoke confidently of the United States sponsoring a global democratic revolution "with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." Ever since that hopeful moment, developments across the greater Middle East -- above all, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and on the West Bank -- have exposed the very real limits of U.S. wisdom and power.

Now the virtual impotence of the U.S. in the face of the crisis enveloping Pakistan -- along with its complicity in creating that crisis -- ought to discredit once and for all any notions of America fixing the world's ills.

Bush dreamed of managing history. It turns out that he cannot even manage Pakistan. Thus does the Author of Liberty mock the pretensions of those who presume to understand his intentions and to interpret his will.

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

Offline bigron

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Re: Bush's best-laid plans !!
« Reply #29 on: January 01, 2008, 06:28:50 am »
The Destabilization of Pakistan

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

do check the article for perfect maps illustrating situation!!!!!
Global Research, December 30, 2007

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has created conditions which contribute to the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation.

The process of US sponsored "regime change", which normally consists in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been broken. Discredited in the eyes of Pakistani public opinion, General Pervez Musharaf cannot remain in the seat of political power. But at the same time, the fake elections supported by the "international community" scheduled for January 2008, even if they were to be carried out, would not be accepted as legitimate, thereby creating a political impasse.

There are indications that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was anticipated by US officials:

"It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the “war on terrorism” across the region.

Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan's military...

The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place. (Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007)

Political Impasse

"Regime change" with a view to ensuring continuity under military rule is no longer the main thrust of US foreign policy. The regime of Pervez Musharraf cannot prevail. Washington's foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation.

A new political leadership is anticipated but in all likelihood it will take on a very different shape, in relation to previous US sponsored regimes. One can expect that Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of "decentralization", to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan's fragile federal structure.

The political impasse is deliberate. It is part of an evolving US foreign policy agenda, which favors disruption and disarray in the structures of the Pakistani State. Indirect rule by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus is to be replaced by more direct forms of US interference, including an expanded US military presence inside Pakistan.

This expanded military presence is also dictated by the Middle East-Central Asia geopolitical situation and Washington's ongoing plans to extend the Middle East war to a much broader area.

The US has several military bases in Pakistan. It controls the country's air space. According to a recent report: "U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units" (William Arkin, Washington Post, December 2007).

The official justification and pretext for an increased military presence in Pakistan is to extend the "war on terrorism". Concurrently, to justify its counterrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the "terrorists."

The Balkanization of Pakistan

Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan "in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan." (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005). According to the NIC-CIA,  Pakistan is slated to become a "failed state" by 2015, "as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons". (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005):

"Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the Central government's control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi," the former diplomat quoted the NIC-CIA report as saying.

Expressing apprehension, Hasan asked, "are our military rulers working on a similar agenda or something that has been laid out for them in the various assessment reports over the years by the National Intelligence Council in joint collaboration with CIA?" (Ibid)

Continuity, characterized by the dominant role of the Pakistani military and intelligence has been scrapped in favor of political breakup and balkanization.

According to the NIC-CIA scenario, which Washington intends to carry out: "Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction," (Ibid) . 
The US course consists in  fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran.

This US agenda for Pakistan is similar to that applied throughout the broader Middle East Central Asian region. US strategy, supported by covert intelligence operations, consists in triggering ethnic and religious strife, abetting and financing secessionist movements while also weakening the institutions of the central government.

The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan's Oil and Gas reserves

Pakistan's extensive oil and gas reserves, largely located in Balochistan province, as well as its pipeline corridors are considered strategic by the Anglo-American alliance, requiring the concurrent militarization of Pakistani territory.

Balochistan comprises more than 40 percent of Pakistan's land mass, possesses important reserves of oil and natural gas as well as extensive mineral resources.

The Iran-India pipeline corridor is slated to transit through Balochistan. Balochistan also possesses a deap sea port largely financed by China located at Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, not far from the Straits of Hormuz where 30 % of the world's daily oil supply moves by ship or pipeline. (Asia, 29 December 2007)

Pakistan has an estimated 25.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves of which 19 trillion are located in Balochistan. Among foreign oil and gas contractors in Balochistan are BP, Italy's ENI, Austria's OMV, and Australia's BHP. It is worth noting that Pakistan's State oil and gas companies, including PPL which has the largest stake in the Sui oil fields of Balochistan are up for privatization under IMF-World Bank supervision.

According to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Pakistan had proven oil reserves of 300 million barrels, most of which are located in Balochistan. Other estimates place Balochistan oil reserves at an estimated six trillion barrels of oil reserves both on-shore and off-shore (Environment News Service, 27 October 2006) .

Covert Support to Balochistan Separatists

Balochistan's strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US.

The Balochi national resistance movement dates back to the late 1940s, when Balochistan was invaded by Pakistan. In the current geopolitical context, the separatist movement is in the process of being hijacked by foreign powers.

British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Balochistan separatists (which from the outset have been repressed by Pakistan's military). In June 2006, Pakistan's Senate Committee on Defence accused British intelligence of "abetting the insurgency in the province bordering Iran" [Balochistan]..(Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). Ten British MPs were involved in a closed door session of the Senate Committe on  Defence regarding the alleged support of Britain's Secret Service to Balcoh separatists  (Ibid). 

It would appear that Britain and the US are supporting both sides. The US is providing American F-16 jets to Pakistan, which are being used to bomb Baloch villages in Balochistan. Meanwhile, British alleged covert support (according to the Pakistani by Senate Committee) contributes to weakening the central government.

The stated purpose of US counter-terrorism is to provide covert support as well as as training to "Liberation Armies" ultimately with a view to destabilizing sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon. 

The BLA bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo's KLA, which was financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA and Germany's Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND).

The BLA emerged shortly after the 1999 military coup. It has no tangible links to the Baloch resistance movement, which developed since the late 1940s. An aura of mystery surrounds the leadership of the BLA.


Baloch population in Pink: In Iran, Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan

Washington favors the creation of a "Greater Balochistan" which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan (See Map above), thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan.

"The US is using Balochi nationalism for staging an insurgency inside Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province. The 'war on terror' in Afghanistan gives a useful political backdrop for the ascendancy of Balochi militancy" (See Global Research, 6 March 2007).

Military scholar Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces Journal, suggests, in no uncertain terms that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of  a separate country: "Greater Balochistan" or "Free Balochistan" (see Map below). The latter would incorporate the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch  provinces into a single political entity.

In turn, according to Peters, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) should be incorporated into Afghanistan "because of its linguistic and ethnic affinity".

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO's Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, have  most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles. (See Mahdi D. Nazemroaya, Global Research, 18 November 2006)

"Lieutenant-Colonel Peters was last posted, before he retired to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the U.S. Defence Department, and has been one of the Pentagon’s foremost authors with numerous essays on strategy for military journals and U.S. foreign policy." (Ibid)

Map: click to enlarge

It is worth noting that secessionist tendencies are not limited to Balochistan. There are separatist groups in Sindh province, which are largely based on opposition to the Punjabi-dominated military regime of General Pervez Musharraf (For Further details see Selig Harrisson, Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006)

"Strong Economic Medicine": Weakening Pakistan's Central Government

Pakistan has a federal structure based on federal provincial transfers. Under a federal fiscal structure, the central government transfers financial resources to the provinces, with a view to supporting provincial based programs. When these transfers are frozen as occurred in Yugoslavia in January 1990, on orders of the IMF, the federal fiscal structure collapses:

"State revenues that should have gone as transfer payments to the republics [of the Yugoslav federation] went instead to service Belgrade's debt ... . The republics were largely left to their own devices. ... The budget cuts requiring the redirection of federal revenues towards debt servicing, were conducive to the suspension of transfer payments by Belgrade to the governments of the Republics and Autonomous Provinces.

In one fell swoop, the reformers had engineered the final collapse of Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure and mortally wounded its federal political institutions. By cutting the financial arteries between Belgrade and the republics, the reforms fueled secessionist tendencies that fed on economic factors as well as ethnic divisions, virtually ensuring the de facto secession of the republics. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, Global Research, Montreal, 2003, Chapter 17.)

It is by no means accidental that the 2005 National Intelligence Council- CIA report had predicted a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan pointing to the impacts of "economic mismanagement" as one of the causes of political break-up and balkanization.

"Economic mismanagement" is a term used by the Washington based international financial institutions to describe the chaos which results from not fully abiding by the IMF's Structural Adjustment Program. In actual fact, the "economic mismanagement" and chaos is the outcome of IMF-World Bank prescriptions, which invariably trigger hyperinflation and precipitate indebted countries into extreme poverty. 

Pakistan has been subjected to the same deadly IMF "economic medicine" as Yugoslavia: In 1999, in the immediate wake of the coup d'Etat which brought General Pervez Musharaf to the helm of the military government, an IMF economic package, which included currency devaluation and drastic austerity measures, was imposed on Pakistan. Pakistan's external debt is of the order of US$40 billion. The IMF's  "debt reduction" under the package was conditional upon the sell-off to foreign capital of the most profitable State owned enterprises (including the oil and gas facilities in Balochistan) at rockbottom prices .

Musharaf's Finance Minister was chosen by Wall Street, which is not an unusual practice. The military rulers appointed at Wall Street's behest, a vice-president of Citigroup, Shaukat Aziz, who at the time was head of CitiGroup's Global Private Banking. (See, 30 October 1999). CitiGroup is among the largest commercial foreign banking institutions in Pakistan.

There are obvious similarities in the nature of US covert intelligence operations applied in country after country in different parts of the so-called "developing World".  These covert operation, including the organisation of military coups, are often synchronized with the imposition of IMF-World Bank macro-economic reforms. In this regard, Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure collapsed in 1990 leading to mass poverty and heightened ethnic and social divisions. The US and NATO sponsored "civil war" launched in mid-1991 consisted in coveting Islamic groups as well as channeling covert support to separatist paramilitary armies in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

A similar "civil war" scenario has been envisaged for Pakistan by the National Intelligence Council and the CIA:  From the point of view of US intelligence, which has a longstanding experience in abetting separatist "liberation armies", "Greater Albania" is to Kosovo what "Greater Balochistan" is to Pakistan's Southeastern Balochistan province. Similarly, the KLA is Washington's chosen model, to be replicated in Balochistan province.

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, no ordinary city. Rawalpindi is a military city host to the headquarters of the Pakistani Armed Forces and Military Intelligence (ISI). Ironically Bhutto was assassinated in an urban area tightly controlled and guarded by the military police and the country's elite forces. Rawalpindi  is swarming with ISI intelligence officials, which invariably infiltrate political rallies. Her assassination was not a haphazard event.

Without evidence, quoting Pakistan government sources, the Western media in chorus has highlighted the role of Al-Qaeda, while also focusing on the the possible involvement of the ISI. 

What these interpretations do not mention is that the ISI continues to play a key role in overseeing Al Qaeda on behalf of US intelligence. The press reports fail to mention two important and well documented facts:

1) the ISI maintains close ties to the CIA. The ISI  is virtually an appendage of the CIA.

2) Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA. The ISI provides covert support to Al Qaeda, acting on behalf of US intelligence. 

The involvement of either Al Qaeda and/or the ISI would suggest that US intelligence was cognizant and/or implicated in the assassination plot.

Offline DCUBED

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Bush delivers arms sale to Saudi Arabia
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2008, 01:35:53 pm »

Bush delivers arms sale to Saudi Arabia

 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - President Bush, on his first visit to this oil-rich kingdom, delivered a major arms sale Monday to a key ally in a region where the U.S. casts neighboring Iran as a menace to stability.

Bush's talks with Saudi King Abdullah, which began over dinner and were continuing with late-night meetings, also were expected to cover peace between Israelis and Palestinians and democracy in the Middle East.

Coinciding with Bush's trip, the Bush administration in Washington notified Congress on Monday that it will offer Saudi Arabia the chance to buy sophisticated Joint Direct Attack Munitions — or "smart bomb" — technology and related equipment, the State Department said. The administration envisions the transfer of 900 of the precision-guided bomb kits, worth $123 million, that would give the kingdom's armed forces highly accurate targeting abilities.

The proposed deal follows notification of five other packages to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, bringing to $11.5 billion the amount of advanced U.S. weaponry, including Patriot missiles, that the administration has announced it will provide to friendly Arab nations, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. Administration officials say the total amount of eventual sales as part of the Gulf Security Dialogue is estimated at $20 billion, a figure subject to actual purchases.

The arms packages are an important part of the U.S. strategy to bolster the defenses of oil-producing Gulf nations, such as Saudi Arabia, against threats from Iran. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, which have majority Sunni Muslim populations, harbor deep suspicions about Shiite Iran's apparent designs to establish itself as a major power.

Congress already has been briefed on all the packages, which also include the sale of the Navy's Littoral Combat system. Lawmakers mostly see the deals as critical to maintaining relations with war-on-terror allies. Some are opposed to the JDAMs portion out of concern that it gives Saudi Arabia the ability to attack Israel, but are unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority needed, within an allowed 30-day period, to block the sales.

The administration has assured lawmakers in closed briefings in recent months that there would be proper restrictions on the JDAMs sales to ensure they would not threaten to Israel. Israel, which has been sold JDAMs technology by the U.S. as well, also has said it does not oppose the deal.

As for the topic of rising oil prices, Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley would only say "we'll have to see" when asked whether Bush would raise the issue with the king. The Saudis are responsible for almost one-third of OPEC's total output.

Another item for discussion could be the democratic principles Bush has promoted during his trip. While Abdullah has tried to push some reforms on education and women's rights and there have been limited municipal council elections, the king has been cautious and limited in his efforts. He apparently has been hampered by others in the royal family worried that fast changes could upset the country's conservative clerics and citizens.

After arriving Monday afternoon in Riyadh from Dubai, Bush expected to hear Abdullah urge him to keep up the pressure on Israel to halt settlements in Palestinian territories. The administration was able to persuade the Saudis to participate in the U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Md., in November.

Bush enjoyed a warm embrace from Abdullah. He was staying a night at the monarch's ranch — a rare show of hospitality to a visiting dignitary that reflects Bush's hosting of Abdullah twice at his own ranch in Crawford, Texas.

And the king greeted Bush at the base of the steps of Air Force One — a gesture the president never affords foreign leaders visiting the U.S. A band played each country's national anthem as the leaders walked on a red carpet behind a high-stepping uniformed officer carrying a gold sword.

After dinner in the King's Palace, Bush and Abdullah walked through a large central atrium and picked up cups of Arabic coffee to take into their meetings. Sitting side by side in chairs, Abdullah presented Bush with a gold necklace adorned with a large medallion — the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit, the country's highest honor, named after the founder of the modern Saudi state.

The award was placed around Bush's neck and the two exchanged the region's traditional double kiss. "I am honored," Bush said.

The hospitality masked Bush's deep unpopularity among ordinary Saudis.

A recent poll conducted for Terror Free Tomorrow, a bipartisan group whose goal is undermining world support for terrorism, found only 12 percent here view Bush positively — lower than Iran's president or even al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden — and more think warmly toward Iran than America. Top among the reasons are the chaos in Iraq that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and the widespread Arab feeling that the United States is biased toward Israel and not serious in seeking Mideast peace.

A rare cold front brought clouds and rain to Riyadh for the visit. Tight security was evident: Hundreds of police cars have deployed along major roads and sharpshooters are on some rooftops. In one neighborhood, police using loudspeakers demanded that cars be removed from some streets as two helicopters hovered overhead.

Earlier in Dubai, Bush got a flavor of the cosmopolitan banking and business hub, whose glass skyscrapers and booming construction have turned it into the capital of Middle East hustle. The soaring Persian Gulf city-state was Bush's second stop in the seven-state United Arab Emirates federation. On the first, in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, he delivered a gentle lecture on democracy to authoritarian Arab allies and attended an opulent picnic at a desert horse camp.

Bush engaged in a day of cultural diplomacy in Dubai. He stopped at the historic home of the city-state's former ruler, now a museum, where a group of girls performed to Arabic music.He had lunch on cushions set in a circle with students of the Dubai School of Government. And he attended a gathering of a young leaders' group, in a conference room atop one of Dubai's signature buildings, the luxury hotel Burj Al Arab that is shaped like a tall ship sail.

Dubai is caught in the middle of the West's efforts to crack down on business in and out of Iran to protest its nuclear ambitions. Dubai, with a powerful Iranian business community, is eager to maintain its lucrative financial ties with Tehran, but wary of angering the United States and the United Nations.
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”  - Arthur Conan Doyle

"The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists." J. Edgar Hoover

Offline jannerbob

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Re: Bush delivers arms sale to Saudi Arabia
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2008, 02:30:12 pm »
So Bush sells smart bomb technology to Saudi Arabia today.Sarkozy sold nucleur technology to the UAE yesterday.All the while the Taliban are killing soldiers in Afghanistan.Only three countries in the world recognized the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan.Yes you guessed it,Saudi,UAE and Pakistan.There is also the fact that 80% of suicide bombers in Iraq come from Saudi.Heres the good bit"we have got to bomb Iran".It all makes perfect sense!.

Offline Brendan

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Saudi king to host Bush at desert playground
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2008, 08:35:13 pm »

Saudi king to host Bush at desert playground By Matt Spetalnick

1 hour, 29 minutes ago
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah hosts George W. Bush at his desert playground on Tuesday when the U.S. president will get a taste of how the royals live in the world's richest oil-producing monarchy.

Setting aside serious talk of Middle East peace, Iranian challenges and controversial arms deals that dominated day one of his visit, Bush will trade in his business suit for more casual attire and stay the night at the sprawling tent-like structure with walls made of silk.

Even the Arabian stallions the king raises at his Al Janadriyah "horse farm" near Riyadh lead lives of luxury. They are kept in climate-controlled, air-conditioned stables and are treated to aqua-therapy.

The special hospitality is for a U.S. president who hosted Abdullah as crown prince in Crawford, Texas, in 2002 and 2005.

When Bush walked arm-in-arm with Abdullah at his ranch nearly three years ago, oil cost $54 a barrel, a level the Saudi government admitted then was "clearly too high."

Oil is now hovering near $100 a barrel and many Americans are griping about their tax dollars helping to underwrite the defense of wealthy Gulf allies, so the issue may come up again.


Bush will spend Tuesday sightseeing, meeting Saudi entrepreneurs and visiting with U.S. embassy staff, and he has already given his royal host good reason to be pleased.

Trying to counter Iran's growing military clout in the region, Bush made clear on Monday his commitment to go ahead with a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

Just hours after his arrival in Riyadh, the U.S. administration said it notified Congress of its intention to offer the Saudis a package of advanced weaponry as part of a multibillion-dollar deal with Gulf Arab allies.

The deal, covering 900 precision-guided bomb kits worth about $120 million, has raised concerns in Israel and its U.S. supporters about the military balance of power in the region.

The sale is part of Bush's effort to persuade Saudi Arabia to help contain Iran, a strident U.S. foe.

Bush also wants Saudi Arabia to cajole other Arab states into bolstering the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that he hopes, in the face of deep skepticism, will yield a final deal before he leaves office in January 2009.

Mindful of Saudi Arabia's strategic importance, Bush has avoided direct criticism of its human rights record during his trip. His last stop will be Egypt on Wednesday before heading home to Washington.

Abdullah is viewed by many Saudis as a supporter of modest reform including letting women drive. Diplomats say his room for maneuver is limited by clerics and senior royalty.

The Saudi government has been a close U.S. ally since the 1950s although relations hit a low after the September 11 attacks of 2001 when 15 Saudis were among 19 suicide-plane hijackers.

The Bush administration has praised the Saudis for battling al Qaeda-inspired insurgents, though some democracy activists say the security crackdown has been used as an excuse to smother a nascent reform movement.

(Additional reporting by Andrew Hammond; editing by Robert Woodward)


Offline bigron

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No Sunshine For Bush In Mideast
« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2008, 07:09:30 am »
No Sunshine For Bush In Mideast

LEON HADAR,0,2380219.story

January 17, 2008

Some U.S. presidents facing political and economic problems at home seemed to have embraced the political dictum, "If it rains in the Midwest, seek the sunshine in the Middle East." Hence in June 1974, as he was drowning politically and personally in scandals that would lead eventually to a humiliating resignation from office, President Richard Nixon took a triumphant seven-day trip to four Arab states and Israel where, as Time put it, "the huzzas and the hosannas fell like sweet rain."

President Bill Clinton, who was also beset by scandals in the last years of his term, was eager to salvage his legacy as a statesman by inviting the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to Camp David in July 2000 to negotiate a historic peace accord.

But neither Nixon nor Clinton could warm the political weather in Washington.

President George W. Bush seems to dismiss the lessons learned by his predecessors, fulfilling Santayana's prophecy that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Bush continues to suffer low approval ratings, and there's little hope that the televised images of his weeklong trip to the Middle East will rescue his legacy.

Bush's Mideast tour is dominated by the grand geopolitical design du jour for the region now that the U.S. March to Freedom has been halted by free elections that brought radical Islamic movements to power in Iraq and Palestine: The threat of the rising power of radical Shiite Iran would supposedly make possible a "strategic consensus" between Israel and the moderate Arab-Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan and create incentives for Israel and Palestine to make peace.

Not unlike the earlier Bush administration's fantasy of establishing a liberated Iraq as a democratic model for the rest of the Middle East, the current strategy is based on illusions. The Arab-Sunni regimes recognize that it was the U.S. ousting of Saddam Hussein and the ensuing mess in Iraq that helped shift the balance of power in the Persian Gulf toward Iran, and that Washington lacks the means to reverse the situation. That explains the recent moves by Arab Gulf states and Egypt toward detente with Iran, demonstrated by the surprising visit of Iran's top national security adviser, Ali Larijani, to Egypt and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's attendance at the 28th annual summit of the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council.

At the same time, it's the accepted wisdom in the Middle East that the gap between the Israelis and the Palestinians over core existential issues (Jerusalem, Jewish settlements, Arab refugees) is not bridgeable at this time, and that much of what the Bush administration continues to spin as the re-energized "peace process" is nothing more than a series of photo-ops staged in Annapolis, Jerusalem and Ramallah.

In a way, although the Mideast excursions by Nixon and Clinton may not have improved their political standing at home, they were hailed in the Middle East for their diplomacy. Nixon helped negotiate the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Egypt after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and bring Cairo from the Soviet into the American fold. And Clinton has remained a popular figure in both Israel and the Arab world, where he is recalled as an "honest broker" of Mideast peace.

But President Bush's failed policies in the region — in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine — have turned him into one of the most despised figures in the Middle East and brought American prestige in the Arab and Muslim worlds to an all-time low. And in fact, the outcomes of Bush's Middle East policies are responsible in part for his unpopularity among Americans.

It's doubtful that the sun will shine again on Bush any time soon — in either Mideast or Midwest.

Leon Hadar is a research fellow in foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute and a former U.N. bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post. This was distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Copyright © 2008, The Hartford Courant


Offline larsonstdoc

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Re: No Sunshine For Bush In Mideast
« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2008, 09:07:15 am »

         Bush 43 is an unpopular man everywhere.  That is good for Americans because even though the people in the Middle East have been fighting for 1000's of years THEY ARE SICK AND TIRED OF BUSH AND THEY ARE SICK AND TIRED OF WAR!  The MSM tells us that he could not sign on many countries for a war with Iran.  Let's hope so!

Offline bigron

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The political bankruptcy of George W. Bush
« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2008, 06:59:45 am »
The political bankruptcy of George W. Bush 

19/01/2008 11:02:00 PM GMT
 The Presidency of the U.S. is a position of immense power, even when the office is tarnished and debased.

By Patrick Seale

The Presidency of the United States of America is a position of immense power, even when the office is tarnished and debased, as it has been by its present occupant.

George W. Bush’s recent Middle East tour was a unique opportunity -- very probably his last -- to restore his country’s prestige and his own reputation by making a decisive contribution to regional peace and security.

But Bush threw it away with the stubborn wrong-headedness which has been the hallmark of his two terms in office.

In the Gulf, he delivered the wrong message about Iran, sharpening rather than easing regional tensions. In Israel and the Palestinian territories, his message was muddled and muted, when it should have been clear and strong. It is highly doubtful that he has advanced the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The United States is up to its neck in Middle East conflicts. It is hated and challenged as no external power has been in modern times. Its blunders, brutalities and bias have triggered a world-wide insurgency, which it is struggling ineffectually to put down, under the false banner of the ‘Global War on Terror’.

Only by the successful resolution of Middle East conflicts can the insurgency against America be tamed. These conflicts are essentially political. They cannot be resolved by military means alone. Relying on force tends to make them worse. Finding political solutions to them has become a matter of urgent national importance for the United States itself -- and for the many hapless victims of its policies.

One would have supposed that Bush, in his week-long visit to the region, would have spared no effort to propose detailed and balanced solutions to these conflicts, backed by America’s incomparable leverage. But Bush did no such thing.

In the Gulf, he had a great opportunity to change course. He could have proposed a policy of engagement and dialogue with Iran -- without lowering America’s guard or compromising its policy of containment of the Islamic Republic. Such a gesture would have been warmly welcomed by the local States, and would have greatly contributed to détente in the vital Gulf region.

It would also have been in line with the findings of America’s own Intelligence Agencies, which recently concluded that Iran had put an end to its military nuclear programme in 2003. It would have strengthened the efforts of Muhammad al-Baradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency chief, to unveil Iran’s nuclear activities.

Instead, Bush repeated his hollow slogan that Iran is "the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism" and that "its actions threaten the security of nations everywhere." No sensible person believes this -- and certainly none in the Gulf. It is a slogan that can all too easily be turned against the United States itself. (See video: Bush targets Iran on Mid-East tour)

In the minds of the locals, the United States – and not Iran -- is the aggressive intruder in the Gulf. It is the United States -- and not Iran -- which has smashed Iraq, releasing sectarian Sunni-Shia demons and overturning the regional balance of power.

The Gulf States want to live at peace with Iran and to trade with it, as they have done for centuries. Many of the leading merchant families in the Arab Gulf states are of Iranian origin. There are half a million Iranians living in Dubai and 25 daily flights between Dubai and Iran. Dubai and Abu Dhabi trade hugely with Iran and have enjoyed a massive influx of Iranian capital.

Bush’s attempts to pressure the Gulf States into severing their trade and financial ties with Iran is both unwelcome and unrealistic. It is not a message the Gulf States want to hear -- even if they are too polite to say so.

The Gulf Cooperation Council invited Iran’s President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to its summit meeting in December and Saudi Arabia invited him to attend the recent Hajj. These are not the actions of leaders who share Bush’s hysterical views.

Bush was as lamentable in Israel and the Palestinian Territories as he was in the Gulf. Everyone knows that, if left to themselves, Israel and the Palestinians will never make peace. The reason is simple. As the stronger party, Israel sees no immediate need for peace. More land is what it wants.

But its continuing land grab on the West Bank condemns it to an uncertain future in an angry and vengeful region, deals a severe blow to America’s relations with Arabs and Muslims, and rules out the possibility of the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Yet the creation of such a state is the only guarantee of Israel’s own long-term security.

Only an American president has the power to say stop. Only an American President can say to Israel: "Content yourself with your 1967 borders. Share Jerusalem with the Palestinians. Put an end once and for all to your relentless occupation and settlement. Negotiate an immediate long-term truce with both Hamas and Hizballah, together with an exchange of prisoners.

"Above all, seize with both hands the offer of peace and normal relations which the entire Arab world has offered you, once you give up your 1967 conquests. This is what your great ally wants -- and what you must do before I, George W Bush, leave office."

He might have added: "Look, I’m coming back in May, for Israel’s 60th anniversary. I want all the one hundred illegal outposts dismantled by then, so that we can get down to rolling back the settlements and drawing the final borders of Israel and Palestine."

If Bush had had the courage to speak out firmly -- and had he spelled out the penalties of non-implementation -- he would have transformed his own and America’s image. He would not have won the Nobel Prize -- the Iraqi catastrophe rules that out -- but he might yet have entered the history books as a peace-maker rather than as a blundering war-monger.

But what did Bush actually say on his visit to Israel? It was up to the Israelis and the Palestinians, he said, to bring answers to the key questions of the statute of Jerusalem, borders and the return of refugees. People must understand that "America cannot dictate the terms of what a (Palestinian) state will look like."

This was a tragic abdication of American power.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to kill Palestinians on a daily basis, without a hint of reproof from Washington. In 2007, Israel killed 373 Palestinians, of whom 53 were children and 131 civilian bystanders. In that same year, Palestinians killed 13 Israelis -- six soldiers and seven civilians. These figures are provided by B’tselem, Israel’s human rights organization. 2007, it says, was a good year, because in 2006 Israel killed 657 Palestinians.

Gaza remains starved and besieged. Hardly anyone can go in or out. On the West Bank, 459 checkpoints and 102 army posts make Palestinian life intolerable. 300 kilometres of roads, forbidden to Palestinians, are for the exclusive use of Israeli settlers, of whom there are now over 450,000 on the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem. How long can this go on?

-- Patrick Seale is a leading British writer on the Middle East, and the author of The Struggle for Syria; also, Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East; and Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire.

Copyright © 2008 Patrick Seale

-- Middle East Online


Offline larsonstdoc

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Re: The political bankruptcy of George W. Bush
« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2008, 08:24:08 am »

   The bottom line- Bush/Cheney want another war and no one else does except the  Zionists of Israel.  Bush wants peace in Gaza and war with Iran.  It is absolutely absurd!!

Offline bigron

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One Bush Left Behind
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2008, 06:24:24 am »
One Bush Left Behind

By Greg Palast

30/01/08 "ICH" -- - -Here’s your question, class:

In his State of the Union, the President asked Congress for $300 million for poor kids in the inner city. As there are, officially, 15 million children in America living in poverty, how much is that per child? Correct! $20.

Here’s your second question. The President also demanded that Congress extend his tax cuts. The cost: $4.3 trillion over ten years. The big recipients are millionaires. And the number of millionaires happens, not coincidentally, to equal the number of poor kids, roughly 15 million of them. OK class: what is the cost of the tax cut per millionaire? That’s right, Richie, $287,000 apiece.

Mr. Bush said, “In neighborhoods across our country, there are boys and girls with dreams. And a decent education is their only hope of achieving them.”

So how much educational dreaming will $20 buy?

-George Bush’s alma mater, Phillips Andover Academy, tells us their annual tuition is $37,200. The $20 “Pell Grant for Kids,” as the White House calls it, will buy a poor kid about 35 minutes of this educational dream. So they’ll have to wake up quickly.

-$20 won’t cover the cost of the final book in the Harry Potter series.

If you can’t buy a book nor pay tuition with a sawbuck, what exactly can a poor kid buy with $20 in urban America? The Palast Investigative Team donned baseball caps and big pants and discovered we could obtain what local citizens call a “rock” of crack cocaine. For $20, we were guaranteed we could fulfill any kid’s dream for at least 15 minutes.

Now we could see the incontrovertible logic in what appeared to be quixotic ravings by the President about free trade with Colombia, Pell Grant for Kids and the surge in Iraq. In Iraq, General Petraeus tells us we must continue to feed in troops for another ten years. There is no way the military can recruit these freedom fighters unless our lower income youth are high, hooked and desperate. Don’t say, ‘crack vials,’ they’re, ‘Democracy Rocks’!

The plan would have been clearer if Mr. Bush had kept in his speech the line from his original draft which read, “I have ordered 30,000 additional troops to Iraq this year – and I am proud to say my military-age kids are not among them.”

Of course, there’s an effective alternative to Mr. Bush’s plan – which won’t cost a penny more. Simply turn it upside down. Let’s give each millionaire in America a $20 bill, and every poor child $287,000.

And, there’s an added benefit to this alternative. Had we turned Mr. Bush and his plan upside down, he could have spoken to Congress from his heart.

-For more on Bush and education read "No Child's Behind Left" in Armed Madhouse excerpted here.
-Also read Palast's take on the 2007 State of the Union here.

Offline bigron

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Re: One Bush Left Behind
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2008, 06:27:44 am »
An Excess of Civility


By James Rothenberg

30/01/08 "ICH" -- - The President gave his State of the Union address. It was a model affair, magnificent in the practiced art of decorum fitting an advanced nation. A set play in one act. The stage empty of meaning and mystery. A refined audience confident of its indispensability, and nothing more.     


Bodies could be seen popping up and down like buoys responding to waves of platitudes. Up and down is acceptable, always. Out of place, never.


Civility masks possibility. Every inspiring accomplishment of this human species has resulted from an audacious act. Uniformity is a convenient organizational principle, but it surrenders to its own limits. Make the best of it for now, it announces. But there are too many nows for the impatient.


The talk is of there being too much partisanship. That the country is becoming too divisive. (For its own good? Maybe.) When one side is killing, there is only one good side to be on.


Where are we killing, you say? Outright killing?


You don’t know? It’s been on the news.


“Proud to be an American” needs a because after it. Because without the because what are we talking about but our own self worth? Sometimes even with it.


The audience was filled with proud Americans, too fine and proper to react to assaults on reason, on conscience. On a single matter alone, Iraq, there was ample reason to disturb this too peaceful place.


“The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic had happened. Those who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead saw tens of thousands of American forces flowing into their country.” (On the recent “surge” of American forces into Iraq)


These words were uttered by Bush with a marked degree of solemnity. Nobody laughed, even if they got the joke.


There might have been some Iraqis who were worried about being abandoned, but it is hardly accurate to associate them over-broadly with “the Iraqi people”. The people with a reason to be worried about being abandoned are largely collaborators.


Asked how much confidence they had in US and UK occupation forces in a BBC, ABC, and NHK poll of September 2007, some Iraqis did say they had a great deal of confidence – four percent. Another eleven percent had quite a lot of confidence.


As to the rest of the Iraqi people, fifty-eight percent had none at all, and twenty-seven percent had not very much.


Answering directly to Bush’s strange notion about Iraqis being worried of being abandoned by America, more Iraqis wanted US and other Coalition forces to leave immediately than even to wait until their security is restored, an indication of how worried they are. Thirty-four percent said remain until security is restored. Forty-seven percent said leave now.


How many support the Bush, and Clinton, and Obama, and McCain, position, remain longer but leave eventually? Two percent. And their unstated position, never leave? Zero.


Let it be noted that the play closed in predictable fashion:


“God bless America.” (Applause.) 


James Rothenberg - [email protected]

Offline bigron

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Re: One Bush Left Behind
« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2008, 06:29:38 am »
Bush Issues Signing Statement On Defense Act, Waiving Ban On Permanent Bases In Iraq

 President Bush yesterday signed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act after initially rejecting Congress’s first version because it would have allegedly opened the Iraqi government to “expensive lawsuits.”

Even though he forced Congress to change its original bill, Bush’s signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law “could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations.” CQ reports on the provisions Bush plans to disregard:

One such provision sets up a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another expands protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors. A third requires that U.S. intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents. And a fourth bars funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq’s oil money.

In his “Memorandum of Justification” for the waiver, Bush cited his Nov. 26 “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship” between Iraq and the United States. This agreement has been aggressively opposed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress as not only unprecedented, but also potentially unconstitutional because it was enacted without the agreement of the legislation branch.

Today on CNN, Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-MA) voiced concern that this declaration may indefinitely commit U.S. troops to fighting Iraq’s civil wars:

Involved in those declaration of principles, there is an implicit potential for the United States military forces, years from now, being involved in a full-blown civil war in Iraq. And I don’t believe that’s where the American people want us and I don’t think that’s in the best interest of our national security.

Earlier this month, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced legislation requiring the Bush administration “to consult with Congress before moving forward with any agreement that could lead to long term security arrangements and other major economic and political commitments.”

Throughout his presidency, Bush has issued more than 151 signing statements challenging 1149 provisions of laws.