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There is no longer any serious doubt that Bush administration officials deceived us into war. The key question now is why so many influential people are in denial, unwilling to admit the obvious...But even people who aren't partisan Republicans shy away from confronting the administration's dishonest case for war, because they don't want to face the implications...
After all, suppose a politician - or a journalist - admits to himself that Mr. Bush bamboozled the nation into war. Well, launching a war on false pretenses is, to say the least a breach of trust. So if you admit to yourself that such a thing happened, you have a moral obligation to demand accountability - and to do so in the face not only of a powerful, ruthless political machine but in the face of a country not yet ready to believe that its leaders have exploited 9/11 for political gain. It's a scary prospect.
Yet, if we can't find people willing to take the risk - to face the truth and act on it - what will happen to our democracy?
Paul Krugman, The New York Times, June 24, 2003
Let's just suppose for a moment that George W. Bush was removed from the White House. Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Wolfowitz and Rove too. What would that leave us with? It would leave us stuck in hugely expensive, Vietnam-like guerrilla wars in
Iraqand Afghanistan. It would leave us with the Patriot Act, Homeland Security and Total Information Awareness snooping into every detail of our lives. It would leave us with a government in violation of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments to the Constitution. It would leave us with a massive cover-up of UScomplicity in the attacks of 9/11 that, if fully admitted, would show not intelligence "failures" but intelligence crimes, approved and ordered by the most powerful people in the country. It would leave us with a government that now has the power to compel mass vaccinations on pain of imprisonment or fine, and with no legal ability to sue the vaccine makers who killed our friends or our children. It would leave us with two and half million unemployed; the largest budget deficits in history; more than $3.3 trillion missing from the Department of Defense; and state and local governments broke to the point of having to cut back essential services like sewers, police, and fire. It would leave us with a federal government that had hit the debt ceiling and was unable to borrow any more money. And we would still be facing a looming natural gas crisis of unimagined proportions, and living on a planet that is slowly realizing that it is running out of oil with no "Plan B". Our airports however, would be very safe, and shares of Halliburton, Lockheed and DynCorp would be paying excellent dividends.
This is not good management.
Leaving all of these issues unaddressed is not good management either.
And this is why, as I will demonstrate in this article, the decision has already been made by corporate and financial powers to remove George W. Bush, whether he wants to leave or not, and whether he steals the next election or not. Before you start cheering, ask yourself three questions: "If there is someone or something that can decide that Bush will not return, nor remain for long, what is it? And if that thing is powerful enough to remove Bush, was it not also powerful enough to have put him there in the first place? And if that is the case, then isn't that what's really responsible for the state of things? George W. Bush is just a hired CEO who is about to be removed by the "Board of Directors". Who are they? Are they going to choose his replacement? Are you going to help them?
What can change this Board of Directors and the way the "Corporation" protects its interests? These are the only issues that matter.
So now the honest question about the 2004 Presidential campaign is, "What do you really want out of it?" Do you want the illusion that everything is a little better while it really gets worse? Or are you ready yet to roll up your sleeves and make some very unpleasant but necessary fixes?
The greatest test of the 2004 presidential election campaign is not with the candidates. It is with the people. There are strong signs that presidential election issues on the Democratic side are already being manipulated by corporate and financial interests. And some naïve and well-intentioned (and some not-so-naïve and not-so-well intentioned) activists are already playing right into the Board's hands. There are many disturbing signs that the only choice offered to the American people will be no choice at all. Under the psychological rationale, "This is the way it has to be done", campaign debates will likely address only half-truths and fail to come to grips with - or even acknowledge - the most important issues that I just described. In fact, only the least important issues will likely be addressed in campaign 2004 at the usual expense of future generations who are rapidly realizing that they are about to become the victims of the biggest Holocaust in mankind's history. The final platforms for Election 2004 will likely be manifestos of madness unless we dictate differently.
It is amazing to see such words of honesty coming from The New York Times as those of Paul Krugman. I am not referring to the recent scandals over falsified stories that brought down a reporter and two editors at the Times. That particular drama was overplayed by CNN, Fox and The Washington Post as punishment for the Times' opposition to the invasion of
Iraq. The most vicious dogs of war are sometimes armed with sharpened, saliva-drenched keyboards. No, Paul Krugman's words represent the essence of what From The Wilderness has stood for since its very first issue. Unless people find the will to address scandals, lies, and betrayals of trust that, by their very existence, reveal that the system itself is corrupt and that the people controlling it - both in government, and in America's corporations and financial institutions -- are criminals, there is no chance to make anything better, only an absolute certainty that things will get worse.
Already we can see the early signs of delusional and dishonest behavior that is being willingly embraced by equally delusional activists who have begun a sterile debate about which candidate to support and why it is better to become involved on the side of one Democratic Party candidate or another or why a vote for a Green Party candidate instead of a Democrat is tantamount to treason. The Republicans, of course, are sharpening up a campaign that will portray George W. Bush as the "Hero of 9/11", "The Protector of the American Economy", "The Savior of the Free World", "A Man Who Loves God", and "The Man Who Cut Taxes". Electroshock therapy might be useful for these people.
But is it any less warranted for people who believe that everything will be fine if there is better theme music in the background, while none of the real offenses of the past two years are addressed or undone?
Some on the Democratic side are already positioning themselves to co-opt and control what happened on 9/11 into a softer, less disturbing "Better this than nothing" strategy. This attitude, that the only thing that matters is finding an electable Democrat, is nothing more than a rearrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic. Has everyone suddenly forgotten that the 2000 election was stolen: first by using software and political machinery to disenfranchise tens of thousands of eligible voters, then by open interference at polling places, and finally by an absolutely illegal Supreme Court decision? Do these people believe that such a crime, absolutely successful the first time, will never be attempted again?
And has everyone also forgotten that in the 2002 midterm elections the proprietary voting software, in many cases owned by those affiliated with the Republican Party or - as in the case of Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska - the candidates themselves, has been ruled by the Supreme Court to be immune from public inspection. (Hagel won by a lopsided 83% majority). Throughout the
United Statesin 2002 there was abundant evidence that the so-called "solution" to hanging chads did nothing more than enshrine the ability to steal elections with immunity and also much less fuss afterwards? Who in their right mind would trust such a system? Why have none of the candidates mentioned it?
And, if all else fails, we can have more Wellstone plane crashes. It has worked with three Democratic Senate candidates in key races over the last thirty years. Maybe that's why no one in Congress is talking about the election process. Plane crashes are part of that process too.
This is the process in which some are urging us to place our trust? My publication, which recently ran a full-page ad in The Washington Post, and is about to unleash a national ad campaign, has already been unofficially approached by people from two Democratic challengers seeking an endorsement. I have made it clear that FTW will not endorse any candidate who does not make the life-and-death issues facing mankind his or her number-one priority and address them openly.
Is the 2004 election already being rolled, like soft cookie dough, away from the issues? Already there are signs that some candidates who speak the truth are having their campaigns infiltrated by expert managers who might dilute the message. There are signs that others, looked upon as likely winners with strong progressive credentials, may be nothing more than different dogs from the same kennel that brought us the Bush Wolf Pack.
But first let me convince you that the Bush management team is actually on its way out and that this is not a reason to breathe a sigh of relief. Don't get me wrong, I'll be glad to see the mean-spirited and dishonest bastards go. I'll also acknowledge their healthy severance package and I'll worry about the bastards that will likely replace them who might be much harder to identify.
There is only one difference between the evidence showing the Bush administration's criminal culpability in and foreknowledge of the attacks of 9/11, and the evidence showing that the administration deceived the American public about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Both sets of evidence are thoroughly documented. They are irrefutable and based upon government records and official statements and actions shown to be false, misleading or dishonest. And both sets of evidence are unimpeachable. The difference is that the evidence showing the Iraqi deception is being seriously and widely investigated by the mainstream press, and actively by an ever-increasing number of elected representatives. That's it.
It is the hard record of official statements made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell on
Iraqthat will sink the administration, either before or after the election. These guys are horrible managers and they have really botched things up, big time - exactly as I said they would. There is no amount of spin anywhere that can neutralize this record. As FTW predicted back in March, the biggest and most obvious criminal action of the administration, a knowing lie (one of many) used to deceive a nation into war, was the administration's assertion that Iraqhad reconstituted its nuclear weapons program and had recently attempted to purchase uranium from the African country of Niger.
Just before the March 2003 Iraqi invasion in our two-part series titled The Perfect Storm we wrote:
There are serious signs of a major political revolt brewing in the
United States- one that could end the Bush Presidency - George W. Bush still has his finger on the trigger and he knows that his only hope for survival is to pull it. U.S.and British intelligence agencies are leaking documents left and right disputing White House "evidence" against Iraqthat has repeatedly been shown to be falsified, plagiarized and forged. Quiet meetings are being held in Washington between members of Congress and attorneys like Ramsey Clark discussing Bush's impeachment. Leaders of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as reported in a March 15 story in the International Herald Tribune have said, "All international institutions would suffer a loss of credibility if the one superpower appeared to be choosing which rules to obey and which to ignore." And a Rockefeller has called for an investigation of a Bush. On March 14, the Associated Press reported that W. Va. Senator Jay Rockefeller has asked the FBI to investigate forged documents which were presented first by Britainand then the United Statesshowing that Iraqhad been trying to purchase uranium from the African country of Nigerfor its weapons program. Of all the glaring falsehoods told by the administration, the fact that these forgeries were noted by a Rockefeller may make them the second-rate Watergate burglary of the 21st century...
There are few things more closely connected to or identified with Bush family power than globalization and the Rockefellers. He has most likely failed both of them and both have the power to remove him...
In the meantime, there are increasing signs that the
U.S.political and economic elites are laying the groundwork to make the Bush administration, specifically Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Perle and Wolfowitz, sacrificial scapegoats for a failed policy in time to consolidate post 9-11 gains, regroup and move forward.
That prophecy is coming true with a vengeance.
The Bush administration's gamble is that, because it can raise more money than all the Democratic challengers put together, it can still manage to re-elect itself in 2004. No doubt, the administration will put up a good fight. But an impeachment, long sought after by many - including University of Illinois law Professor Francis Boyle -- will be waiting after the second inauguration just as surely as it was for Richard Nixon in 1973.
My certainty is based upon a record that is utterly damning and penetrates to almost every assertion made by the Bush administration in its pursuit of Iraqi oil. Rather than digress into a lengthy discussion of the offenses let me refer the reader to two examples that exemplify how strong the case is and that it is being pursued.
Hard Work from the House
The legal groundwork for the Clinton impeachment of 1998-9 was laid out quietly over a period of many months. The same holds true now.
The foundation of the impeachment - or the scandal that will prompt a regime change - was laid in a March 17 letter written by California Congressman Henry Waxman who has been dogging the Bush administration on its violations of law since it took office. Waxman's first battle was over the refusal of the administration to release the mostly still-secret records of Vice President Cheney's 2001 Energy Task Force. It is there that some of the biggest secrets of 9/11 lay buried. With respect to the Iraqi invasion -- using the record of official statements made by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powel -- Waxman has already laid out and won the prima facie case that the administration has lied, deceived the public and broken the public trust. There can be no defense against this record once it gets into a legal proceeding.
To read the full text of Waxman's March letter please visit:
This web page details Waxman's meticulous compilation of evidence and - from a legal, as opposed to political standpoint - is no doubt the core of any future impeachment case against Bush. It is damning and Waxman has diligently continued to build, brick by brick, the wall into which the administration could soon crash. An important historical novelty here is that Waxman's compilation of irrefutable criminal activity also guarantees that if Bush goes, so do Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell. What then?
Rebellion From Inside the Beltway
On June 26, a twenty-seven-year CIA veteran analyst tied the pieces together and made it clear that, Bush is fighting a battle he cannot win. Just as it was with Nixon, the intelligence agencies have turned against him. Ray McGovern, affiliated with the watchdog group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), has been out front with criticisms of the Bush administration's abuse of intelligence procedures for some time. However, in his interview with William Rivers Pitt, writing for Truthout.org, McGovern took Waxman's work several steps further. He was also critical of CIA Director George Tenet's endorsements of intelligence abuses by Powell, Cheney and Bush, yet he did not mention that Tenet had left a paper record showing that the CIA had never trusted the forged
Nigerdocuments that the administration still - even after warnings -- sold to the public and to the world as authentic.
McGovern also let Tenet off the hook for the biggest crime of the administration, allowing and facilitating the attacks of 9/11, saying, "My analysis is that George Bush had no option but to keep George Tenet on as Director, because George Tenet had warned Bush repeatedly, for months and months before September 11, that something very bad was about to happen". Even still McGovern let the Bush administration know that its conduct before the attacks was a sword of Damocles hanging over Bush's head.
"On August 6, the title of the [Presidential] briefing was, ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the
US,' and that briefing had the word ‘Hijacking' in it. That's all I know about it, but that's quite enough. In September, Bush had to make a decision. Is it feasible to let go of Tenet, whose agency flubbed the dub on this one? And the answer was no, because Tenet knows too much about what Bush knew, and Bush didn't know what to do about it. That's the bottom line for me."
I disagree with McGovern---there is a record showing that the CIA knew about 9/11---but otherwise McGovern's analysis matched perfectly with FTW's of three months ago. Here are some excerpts:
In the coming weeks, we're going to be seeing folks coming out and coming forth with what they know, and it is going to be very embarrassing for the Bush administration.
To be quite complete on this, it encourages me that the analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency - who share this ethic of trying to tell the truth, even though they are under much greater pressure and have much less career protection because they work for Rumsfeld - to their great credit, in September of last year they put out a memo saying there is no reliable evidence to suggest that the Iraqis have biological or chemical weapons, or that they are producing them...
They looked around after Labor Day and said, "OK, if we're going to have this war, we really need to persuade Congress to vote for it. How are we going to do that? Well, let's do the al Qaeda-Iraq connection. That's the traumatic one. 9/11 is still a traumatic thing for most Americans. Let's do that."
But then they said, "Oh damn, those folks at CIA don't buy that, they say there's no evidence, and we can't bring them around. We've tried every which way and they won't relent. That won't work, because if we try that, Congress is going to have these CIA wimps come down, and the next day they'll undercut us. How about these chemical and biological weapons? We know they don't have any nuclear weapons, so how about the chemical and biological stuff? Well, damn. We have these other wimps at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and dammit, they won't come around either. They say there's no reliable evidence of that, so if we go up to Congress with that, the next day they'll call the DIA folks in, and the DIA folks will undercut us."
So they said, "What have we got? We've got those aluminum tubes!" The aluminum tubes, you will remember, were something that came out in late September, the 24th of September. The British and we front-paged it. These were aluminum tubes that were said by Condoleezza Rice as soon as the report came out to be only suitable for use in a nuclear application. This is hardware that they had the dimensions of. So they got that report, and the British played it up, and we played it up. It was front page in the New York Times. Condoleezza Rice said, "Ah ha! These aluminum tubes are suitable only for uranium-enrichment centrifuges."
Then they gave the tubes to the Department of Energy labs, and to a person, each one of those nuclear scientists and engineers said, "Well, if Iraq thinks it can use these dimensions and these specifications of aluminum tubes to build a nuclear program, let ‘em do it! Let ‘em do it. It'll never work, and we can't believe they are so stupid. These must be for conventional rockets."
And, of course, that's what they were for, and that's what the UN determined they were for. So, after Condoleezza Rice's initial foray into this scientific area, they knew that they couldn't make that stick, either. So what else did they have?
Well, somebody said, "How about those reports earlier this year that
Iraqwas trying to get Uranium from Niger? Yeah...that was pretty good." But of course if George Tenet were there, he would have said, "But we looked at the evidence, and they're forgeries, they stink to high heaven." So the question became, "How long would it take for someone to find out they were forgeries?" The answer was about a day or two. The next question was, "When do we have to show people this stuff?" The answer was that the IAEA had been after us for a couple of months now to give it to them, but we can probably put them off for three or four months.
So there it was. "What's the problem? We'll take these reports, we'll use them to brief Congress and to raise the specter of a mushroom cloud. You'll recall that the President on the 7th of October said, "Our smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." Condoleezza Rice said exactly the same thing the next day. Victoria Clarke said exactly the same thing on the 9th of October, and of course the vote came on the 11th of October...
The most important and clear-cut scandal, of course, has to do with the forgery of those
Nigernuclear documents that were used as proof. The very cold calculation was that Congress could be deceived, we could have our war, we could win it, and then no one would care that part of the evidence for war was forged. That may still prove to be the case, but the most encouraging thing I've seen over the last four weeks now is that the USpress has sort of woken from its slumber and is interested. I've asked people in the press how they account for their lack of interest before the war, and now they seem to be interested. I guess the simple answer is that they don't like to be lied to...
I think the real difference is that no one knew, or very few people knew, before the war that there weren't any weapons of mass destruction in
Iraq. Now they know. It's an unavoidable fact. No one likes to be conned, no one likes to be lied to, and no one particularly likes that 190 USservicemen and women have been killed in this effort, not to mention the five or six thousand Iraqi civilians.
There's a difference in tone. If the press does not succumb to the argument put out by folks like Tom Friedman, who says it doesn't really matter that there are no weapons in Iraq, if it does become a quagmire which I believe it will be, and we have a few servicemen killed every week, then there is a prospect that the American people will wake up and say, "Tell me again why my son was killed? Why did we have to make this war on
So I do think that there is some hope now that the truth will come out. It won't come out through the Congressional committees. That's really a joke, a sick joke...
It doesn't take a crackerjack analyst. Take Pat Roberts, the Republican Senator from Kansas, who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. When the Niger forgery was unearthed and when Colin Powell admitted, well shucks, it was a forgery, Senator Jay Rockefeller, the ranking Democrat on that committee, went to Pat Roberts and said they really needed the FBI to take a look at this. After all, this was known to be a forgery and was still used on Congressmen and Senators. We'd better get the Bureau in on this. Pat Roberts said no, that would be inappropriate. So Rockefeller drafted his own letter, and went back to Roberts and said he was going to send the letter to FBI Director Mueller, and asked if Roberts would sign on to it. Roberts said no, that would be inappropriate...
What the FBI Director eventually got was a letter from one Minority member saying pretty please, would you maybe take a look at what happened here, because we think there may have been some skullduggery. The answer he got from the Bureau was a brush-off. Why do I mention all that? This is the same Pat Roberts who is going to lead the investigation into what happened with this issue.
All I'm saying is that you've got Porter Goss on the House side, you've got Pat Roberts on the Senate side, you've got John Warner who's a piece with Pat Roberts. I'm very reluctant to be so unequivocal, but in this case I can say nothing is going to come out of those hearings but a lot of smoke...
What I'm saying is that this needs to be investigated. We know that it was Dick Cheney who sent the former
USambassador to Nigerto investigate. We know he was told in early March of last year that the documents were forgeries. And yet these same documents were used in that application. That is something that needs to be uncovered. We need to pursue why the Vice President allowed that to happen. To have global reporters like Walter Pincus quoting senior administration officials that Vice President Cheney was not told by CIA about the findings of this former USambassador strains credulity well beyond the breaking point. Cheney commissioned this trip, and when the fellow came back, he said, "Don't tell me, I don't want to know what happened." That's just ridiculous.
I strongly recommend a full reading of the McGovern interview, which can be read at: http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/062603B.shtml .
McGovern's reference to Walter Pincus echoes an observation made by FTW in March:
FTW has previously noted strong signals in the form of published remarks by powerful figures such as Senator Jay Rockefeller and news stories by media powerhouses such as James Risen and Walter Pincus that quiet moves were underway to remove the Bush administration from power. In a harsh and stunning public statement to the BBC three days ago, former Bush I Secretary of State and Henry Kissinger business partner Lawrence Eagleburger smacked ol' "W" right between the eyes with a two-by-four.
The shocking April 14 Eagleburger statement revealed the depth of dissatisfaction in the real halls of power with the Bush team:
If George Bush [Jr.] decided he was going to turn the troops loose on
Syriaand Iranafter that he would last in office for about 15 minutes. In fact if President Bush were to try that now even I would think that he ought to be impeached. You can't get away with that sort of thing in this democracy.
The Military's Silent Mutiny - A "Full Scale Rebellion"
In his interview with Pitt, retired CIA analyst McGovern hinted at what appears to be a growing but quiet dissent within the ranks of the
USmilitary at the totalitarian management style of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the fact that the administration seems unconcerned with the facts. He said:
To be quite complete on this, it encourages me that the analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency - who share this ethic of trying to tell the truth, even though they are under much greater pressure and have much less career protection because they work for Rumsfeld - to their great credit, in September of last year they put out a memo saying there is no reliable evidence to suggest that the Iraqis have biological or chemical weapons, or that they are producing them.
Indeed the multitude of leaks of intelligence estimates, reports, memos and other records from within the military and intelligence communities suggests a deep dissatisfaction with the Bush regime. But perhaps nothing is as telling as a recent report from Washington journalist and frequent FTW contributor Wayne Madsen who is also a former US Naval officer and a veteran of the National Security Agency.
In a recent article for the Online Journal (www.onlinejournal.com ) Madsen noted,
Other effects of Weaponsgate are already apparent. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the majordomo of the neocons within the Pentagon, cannot find anyone to take the place of outgoing Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki. General Tommy Franks and Shinseki's vice chief, General John "Jack" Keane, want no part of the job. After winning a lightning war against
Iraq, Franks suddenly announced his retirement. He and Keane witnessed how Rumsfeld and his coterie of advisers and consultants, who never once lifted a weapon in the defense of their country, constantly ignored and publicly abused Shinseki. Army Secretary and retired General Tom White resigned after a number of clashes with Rumsfeld and his cabal.
Curious as to whether this indicated a no-confidence vote in the Bush administration by career, professional military officers I e-mailed Madsen and asked for further comment.
His reply was straight to the point.
Senior Pentagon officers have told me that Rumsfeld and his political advisers take no criticism from the military or the career civil servants, to complain publicly though is to sign a death warrant for your career. The "cabal" as they call themselves are extremely vindictive but there remains a full-scale rebellion within the Pentagon, especially the Defense Intelligence Agency, as well as the CIA and State over the cooking of the books on the non-existent Iraqi WMDs. The people who have been dissed by Rumsfeld and his gang know WMDs are their weak point and even Richard Perle is worried that the wheels are coming off their charade.
As casualties continue to mount in the worsening guerrilla war in Iraq, and as growing casualties in Afghanistan are beginning to attract notice, it is a certainty that career military leaders are going to become more restive as they watch their troops die in attacks that remind us all of Vietnam and as the world continues to disintegrate. The power of the military, rarely discussed in the news media, is substantial. And if the military has no confidence in the White House, it will shake both Washington and Wall Street to the core. Without the military, Wall Street cannot function. This is especially true as conflicts continue to erupt all over Africa and instability mounts in
Iranand Saudi Arabia. That instability was created by an administration that is increasingly demonstrating zero management competence.
THE MEDIA MASSES - THE MIGHTY WURLITZER PLAYS
Not since the Watergate scandal of 1972-4 has a crescendo of press stories been more carefully crafted. And it is because of this that we can see many historical connections to Watergate - a coup that took down a President who believed he was invincible.
A Media Sampling
What follows is a partial list of recent articles, reports, letters and editorials in the mainstream press focusing on the administration's fraudulent case for the invasion of
June 6 - In a story published at the hugely influential FindLaw.com, former Nixon counsel John Dean - the witness who broke Watergate wide open - publishes a lengthy article comparing the current scandal to Watergate. He states bluntly, "If Bush has taken Congress and the nation into war based on bogus information, he is cooked."
June 12 - Follow up letter by Henry Waxman to Condoleezza Rice asking why he has received no response to previous inquiries;
June 13 - US News and World Report states that in November 2002 "the Defense Intelligence Agency issued a report stating that there was ‘no reliable information' showing that
Iraqwas actually producing or stockpiling chemical weapons."
June 15 - Retired NATO Commander Wesley Clark tells Meet the Press that the administration had asked him to talk about Iraqi weapons and that he refused because there was no evidence supporting the claim;
June 18 - USA Today quotes former CIA Director, Admiral Stansfield Turner as saying that the administration stretched the facts on
June 18 - The Associated Press quotes Democratic candidates John Kerry and Howard Dean as saying that the administration has misled Americans.
June 19 - The Los Angeles Times calls for open hearings on the Iraqi evidence;
June 20 - The Boston Globe runs a widely reprinted Op-Ed by Derrick Jackson saying that without WMDs Iraq must be about oil.
June 22 - The Observer (
UK) quotes Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow, retired General William Nash saying that the administration has distorted intelligence.
June 22 - Washington Times/UPI correspondent Arnaud de Borchgrave raises serious questions about the administration's conduct.
June 22 - The Washington Post, a front-page major story by Walter Pincus.
June 24 - The Christian Science Monitor runs an editorial titled, "Bush Credibility Gap - a Slow, Quiet Crumble".
June 25 - The New York Times, James Risen and Douglas Jehl report that a top State Department expert has told Congress he was pressed by the White House to distort evidence.
June 25 - Newsweek correspondent Michael Isikoff in a lengthy article titled "Distorted Intelligence" reveals that intelligence documents from
Germany(in Newsweek's possession) and Qatarblow distinct holes in the administration's claims of an Iraq-Al Qaeda alliance. This constitutes a clear message to Bush that the media case against the administration is tight.
June 29 - Denver Post Columnist Diane Carman publishes a column titled, "Scandal Lurks in the Shadow of Iraq Evidence".
June 29 - Time Magazine publishes a story titled "Who Lost the WMD?" that summarized many of the major points of the scandal including direct interference with CIA analysis by Dick Cheney during "working visits" to CIA headquarters. It contains the telling statement, "And as Bush's allies and enemies alike on Capitol Hill begin to pick apart some 19 volumes of prewar intelligence and examine them one document at a time, the cohesive Bush team is starting to come apart."
But who (and what) is the media serving?
Of all of these stories, it is the June 22 front-page Washington Post story by Walter Pincus that tells me that Bush is cooked. Pincus is a CIA mouthpiece who wrote a 1967 column titled, "How I traveled the world on a CIA stipend." He was the major damage control spokesman when Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Webb's 1996 stories blew the lid off of CIA connections to Contra-connected cocaine being smuggled into Los Angeles. If any journalist is a weathervane for the tides of political fortune in a scandal like this it is Pincus. His role, though likely to be shared with other press organizations, will be the same as Woodward and Bernstein's in Watergate.
In that article, titled, "Report Cast Doubt on Iraq- Al Qaeda Connection" Pincus created a virtual airtight separation of the CIA from the White House. It was, in effect, a warning to Bush that if he sought an escape by blaming the Agency, it would backfire. He wrote:
In a nationally televised address last October in which he sought to rally congressional support for a resolution authorizing war against Iraq, President Bush declared that the government of Saddam Hussein posed an immediate threat to the United States by outlining what he said was evidence pointing to its ongoing ties with al Qaeda.
A still-classified national intelligence report circulating within the Bush administration at the time, however, portrayed a far less clear picture about the link between
Iraqand al Qaeda than the one presented by the president, according to U.S.intelligence analysts and congressional sources who have read the report.
The National Intelligence Estimate on
Iraq, which represented the consensus of the U.S.intelligence community, contained cautionary language about Iraq's connections with al Qaeda and warnings about the reliability of conflicting reports by Iraqi defectors and captured al Qaeda members about the ties, the sources said...
Similar questions have been raised about Bush's statement in his State of the Union address last January that the British had reported Iraq was attempting to buy uranium in Africa, which the president used to back up his assertion that Iraq had a reconstituted nuclear weapons program. In that case, senior
U.S.officials said, the CIA 10 months earlier sent a former senior American diplomat to visit Nigerwho reported that country's officials said they had not made any agreement to aid the sale of uranium to Iraqand indicated documents alleging that were forged. Details of that CIA Niger inquiry were not shared with the White House, although the agency succeeded in deleting that allegation from other administration statements...
The presidential address crystallized the assertion that had been made by senior administration officials for months that the combination of
Iraq's chemical and biological weapons and a terrorist organization, such as al Qaeda, committed to attacking the United Statesposed a grave and imminent threat. Within four days, the House and Senate overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution granting the president authority to go to war.
The handling of intelligence on Iraq's banned weapons programs and its links to al Qaeda has come under increased scrutiny on Capitol Hill, with some leading Democrats charging that the administration exaggerated the case against Hussein by publicizing intelligence that supported its policy and keeping contradictory information under wraps. The House intelligence committee opened a closed-door review into the matter last week; its Senate counterpart is planning similar hearings. The Senate Armed Services Committee is also investigating the issue...
Questions about the reliability of the intelligence that Bush cited in his Cincinnati address were raised shortly after the speech by ranking Democrats on the Senate intelligence and armed services panel. They pressed the CIA to declassify more of the 90-page National Intelligence Estimate than a 28-page "white paper" on
Iraqdistributed on Capitol Hill on Oct. 4.
In one of the more notable statements made by the president, Bush said that "
Iraqcould decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists," and added: "Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack Americawithout leaving any fingerprints."
Bush did not indicate that the consensus of
U.S.intelligence analysts was that Hussein would launch a terrorist attack against the United Statesonly if he thought he could not stop the United Statesfrom invading Iraq. The intelligence report had said that the Iraqi president might decide to give chemical or biological agents to terrorists, such as al Qaeda, for use against the United Statesonly as a "last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him." And it said this would be an "extreme step" by Hussein...
These conclusions in the report were contained in a letter CIA Director George J. Tenet sent to Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), then the chairman of the Senate intelligence panel, the day of Bush's speech.
While Bush also spoke of Iraq and al Qaeda having had "high-level contacts that go back a decade," the president did not say -- as the classified intelligence report asserted -- that the contacts occurred in the early 1990s, when Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader, was living in Sudan and his organization was in its infancy. At the time, the report said, bin Laden and Hussein were united primarily by their common hostility to the Saudi Arabian monarchy, according to sources. Bush also did not refer to the report's conclusion that those early contacts had not led to any known continuing high-level relationships between the Iraqi government and al Qaeda, the sources said.
On Oct. 4, three days before the president's speech, at the urging of members of Congress, the CIA released its declassified excerpts from the intelligence report as a "white paper" on
Iraq's weapons programs and al Qaeda links...
"Senator Graham felt that they declassified only things that supported their position and left classified what did not support that policy," said Bob Philippone, Graham's deputy chief of staff. Graham, now a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, opposed the war resolution.
When the white paper appeared, Graham and Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.), an intelligence panel member and at that time chairman of the Armed Services Committee, asked to have additional portions of the intelligence estimate as well as portions of the testimony at the Oct. 2 hearing made public.
On the day of Bush's speech, Tenet sent a letter to Graham with some of the additional information. The letter drew attention because it seemed to contradict Bush's statements that Hussein would give weapons to al Qaeda.
Tenet released a statement on Oct. 8 that said, "There is no inconsistency between our view of Saddam's growing threat and the view as expressed by the president in his speech." He went on to say, however, that the chance that the Iraqi leader would turn weapons over to al Qaeda was "low, in part because it would constitute an admission that he possesses" weapons of mass destruction.
On Oct. 9, the CIA sent a letter to Graham and Levin informing them that no additional portions of the intelligence report would be made public...
Why would Tenet refuse to declassify additional portions of the report? Because, as I am sure he will ultimately testify, he was ordered not to by President Bush himself. That would close the case for obstruction of justice in a manner similar to the way that Richard Nixon's coup de grace was an 18-minute gap on a tape recording of Oval Office deliberations. That would follow the pattern set in the joint 9/11 intelligence hearings when Staff Director Eleanor Hill objected to the fact that - even though some of it was already a matter of public record and previously documented in FTW's 9/11 reporting - the CIA had classified details as to what information about impending attacks the President had received before the attacks.
Just as with Watergate, every time the administration wiggles now, it will only be drawing the noose tighter. And this is what the "Board of Directors" intends. The Bush administration will be controlled as it is being eased out. Business and finance cannot afford any more militarism and this is all that the Neocons know.
The biggest challenge for those who run the country---who select, remove and replace presidents---will be to oust the Bush administration and yet keep the darkest secrets of 9/11 from being publicly acknowledged.
It will be my biggest challenge to see to it that they fail.
Coming in Part II - What is the real state of the world and why is it necessary for the Board to remove the Neocons? Why doesn't the administration just plant the WMD evidence to get off the hook? At this critical juncture, which of the critical issues facing
Americahave the Democratic challengers really addressed and are there warning signs of infiltration and manipulation? Have any suspicious characters turned up in any of the campaigns?
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