Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson on Peddling Democracy

http://www.tomdispatch.com

After those weapons of mass destruction never appeared and Saddam's al-Qaeda connection proved but a figment of the overly vivid neocon (and Vice-Presidential) imagination, the Bush administration wheeled out the shiniest of American exports, democracy. It had worked for Ronald Reagan in Central America in the 1980s, why not in Iraq, too? Suddenly, actual democratic elections, which administration officials had headed off or tried to contain from the moment Baghdad fell, were de rigueur, the very essence of our mission in Iraq, the true reason that we Americans were placed on this Earth. Who even recalled (or now recalls) the tawdry history of the American occupation, of the way L. Paul Bremer, our hapless viceroy in Baghdad and his kleptomaniacal Coalition Provisional Authority, did everything in their power, including cancelling local elections, to ward off democracy or any significant expression of the popular will.

Sacramento Anti-War and Impeachment Rally

By Gary Zimmerman

Sacramento Rally April 29, 2006, by Gary Zimmerman  - 1  

(Sacramento, CA 4/29/2006) About 200 Sacramento progressives gathered at
10 a.m. outside the Sacramento Convention Center (13th & J Streets),

UC Berkeley Tries to Cancel Impeachment Rally

By David Swanson

The press advisory below describes an event that became a protest yesterday when the University of California tried to cancel it.

According to Geoffrey King, Co-Founder, Constitution Summer, http://www.constitutionsummer.org , "despite the fact that [we] followed all the proper procedures, the university saw fit to inform us at 4:30pm that they had cancelled our 5:00pm event. The university told us our event was cancelled due to 'staff shortages,' despite the fact that there were three student staff and two managers on duty. All of this happened when we inquired about why there was no microphone system set up. The university said it had sent an email cancelling the event that [we] didn't receive. [We] asked to speak to higher ups, were refused, and were confronted by the police, who told us we could have 'no amplified sound' and 'no sort of teach-in.' Luckily one of our speakers is a Yale Law grad and staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, so we made new signs announcing the cancellation of our event, and thus our teach-in became a demonstration in support of free speech rights. There is video of the exchange with the officer, and photos too, I believe. More later."

ABOVE THE LAW: Bush claims the right to spy on everything, including attorney-client conversations

CCR President Michael Ratner discusses the disclosure by the office of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the NSA domestic spying program may include spying on communications of attorneys with their clients. This article was originally published by Salon on March 31, 2006.

_________

It's hard to remember how shocked Americans used to be when their presidents broke the law. In a 55-page letter sent on March 24 the Senate Judiciary Committee, the office of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales brazenly asserted that President Bush had every right to secretly order the National Security Agency to engage in warrantless eavesdropping for what it called the "Terrorist Surveillance Program." On the last page, after he essentially refused to answer most of Congress' questions about the illegal program, which had been revealed in December ("It would be inappropriate to discuss in this setting the existence or nonexistence of specific intelligence activities"), Gonzales let slip a bombshell. "Although the Program does not specifically target the communications of attorneys or physicians," his office wrote, "calls from such sources would not be categorically excluded from interception."

Of Imperial Presidents and Congressional Cowards

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Now that Congress is back fromspring break and looking ahead to Memorial Day, July 4, the August recess and adjournment early in October for elections, perhaps it can take up this question.

Does President Bush have, or not have, the authority to take us to war with Iran? Because Bush and the War Party are surely behaving as though this were an executive decision alone.

Did She Say Too Much?

Time Magazine

This much is known: On April 20, career CIA analyst Mary McCarthy was fired from her job 10 days before retirement. McCarthy admitted to having undisclosed contact with reporters, and a CIA spokesperson says, without identifying McCarthy, that the fired CIA officer also admitted disclosing classified information to the media. Sources said this includes the Washington Post's Dana Priest, who had just won a Pulitzer Prize for writing that the CIA secretly detained terrorists in Eastern Europe who hadn't been charged with a crime. Beyond that, the case gets murky. Government sources tell TIME that McCarthy might have helped inform the prisons story. Through her attorney, she denies the allegation and denies that she leaked classified information about the detention program or any other topic. Although much remains unresolved, the McCarthy case has sparked heated debate, not least among current and former members of the intelligence community. Should CIA officers be fired for talking to reporters? Is leaking ever justified? And who decides? TIME asked four retired career CIA officials to weigh in.

Iran Threatens Israel if U.S. Attacks

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press

A top Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said Tuesday that Israel would be Iran's first retaliatory target in response to any U.S. attack.

"We have announced that whenever America does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel," the Iranian Student News Agency quoted Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani as saying.

Dehghani, a top commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, also said Israel was not prepared to go war against Iran.

Protest of Military Hardware Set for National Mall on Saturday, May 6 at Noon, in Washington DC

Here's something you can do to vent your disgust for the rabid militarization that is sweeping our country..

Join local peace activists from the DC Antiwar Network (DAWN) and Peace Action Montgomery at the mall entrance to the Smithsonian Metro at noon, Saturday, May 6 when the pentagon will cover the mall with military hardware.

That orgy of self-promotion by the war machine, euphemistically known as "Public Service Recognition Week" is almost upon us! This is a week in which "public servants" (many of them in uniform and brandishing weapons) invade the mall with tanks and helicopters to the "oohs" and "aahs" of wide-eyed tourists. Children climb on tanks and play with real weaponry. The Army's Recruiting Truck allows kids to shoot simulated M-16's. It's an abomination and it'll take place this year on the National Mall, in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, from May 1st to May 7th.

Secret Service to Release Logs on Abramoff Visits

The Associated Press

Washington - The Secret Service has agreed to turn over White House visitor logs that will show how often convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff met with Bush administration officials - and with whom he met.

U.S. District Judge John Garrett Penn last Tuesday approved an agreement between the Secret Service and Judicial Watch, a public interest group, that requires the agency to produce records of Abramoff's visits from Jan. 1, 2001, to the present.

Three Democrats Slam President Over Defying Statutes

By Charlie Savage, Boston Globe

They say he cannot claim powers above the law.

Washington - Three leading Democratic senators blasted President Bush yesterday for having claimed he has the authority to defy more than 750 statutes enacted since he took office, saying that the president's legal theories are wrong and that he must obey the law.

"We're a government of laws, not men," Senate minority leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said in a statement. "It is not for George W. Bush to disregard the Constitution and decide that he is above the law."

Why Impeachment?

by Kagro X, www.dailykos.com

Thanks to the fantastic reporting of Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe, Daily Kos readers, Americans in general, and our representatives in Congress are now perhaps more aware of the scope and danger of the Bush administration's use of signing statements to nullify duly enacted legislation.

As Savage informs us:

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Where to Protest Peacefully

Tuesday, May 2, 2006 (Note: All times are local)
NEW* BUSH in Washington, DC: POTUS meets with the "Big Five" GOP
Senate and House leaders at 1:45 PM. [First Read, MSNBC.com, 05/02/06]

NEW* HUCKABEE in New York, NY: Governor Huckabee speaks to The
Advertising Council's Board of Directors about his NGA Chairman's
"Healthy America," at 9:00 AM. [The Note, ABCNews.com, 05/02/06]

NEW MEHLMAN in Washington, DC: RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman makes remarks

What Did You Do in the War, Grandma?

By CLYDE HABERMAN
http://select.nytimes.com/2006/04/21/nyregion/21nyc.html

NO ageism is intended, but we're willing to lay heavy
odds that it has been a long while since the Manhattan
district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, found someone
older than he is to take to court.

Betty Coqui Brassell, 76, one of the defendants in the
Granny Peace Brigade, returning to Manhattan Criminal
Court Thursday after lunch.

Siena Research Institute: Bush Presidency Is A Failure

http://www.ostroyreport.blogspot.com/#5206

With President Bush's approval rating at 33% it comes as no surprise that his presidency, if it were to end today, would be viewed by political historians as a failure, according to a new survey by the Siena College Research Institute (SRI). In its expert opinion poll, SRI said 8 out of 10 history and political science professors put Bush's ranking at "below average" or "failure," with over two-thirds saying there's little chance for him to improve his rating.

Mark Danner un-Fixes the 'Facts' That Took Us Down the Road to War in Iraq

A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW

What is the subject of the [Downing Street] memo? It is that during at least eight months before the war, what was being publicly reported about what the Administration was doing ... was in large part a fraud. ... If you are a paper of record, having reported that fraud for eight months, the memo is not going to be an easy thing for you to cope with.

Video of Delivery of Vermont Impeachment Resolutions to Speaker Dennis Hastert's Office on May 1, 2006

By Chris Belcher

FLASH

Film features Ellen Tenney and Julia DeWalt. MORE INFO

Impeachment proclamation unanimously adopted by the CA Dem Party

The California Democratic Party calls for the immediate investigation of the President and Vice President of the United States for committing the following alleged acts:

Misleading Congress and the American public about an unproven and unrealized threat to national security by Iraq in order to justify war thereby violating the federal anti-conspiracy statute and the False Statement Accountability Act.

LABOR ANTIWAR VIDEO INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY

The creators of "Meeting Face to Face: The Iraq-U.S. Labor
Solidarity Tour"--a documentary following Iraqi trade unionists as
they meet with U.S. workers and activists to share their
perspective on the war and occupation--are looking for an intern to
help publicize and distribute the film.

Responsibilities include arranging screenings, reviews, and web
links for the documentary. Outreach will be tailored toward labor,

36 US House Reps Want Bush Impeachment Probe

By Matthew Cardinale, Editor and National Correspondent, Atlanta Progressive News (May 01, 2006), http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com

(APN) ATLANTA -- 36 US House Representatives have signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors of H. Res 635, which would create a Select Committee to look into the grounds for recommending President Bush’s impeachment, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

The two latest co-sponsors, as of Friday, were US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) and US Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA).

The Untold Story of Israel's Bomb

By Avner Cohen and William Burr
Washington Post, April 30, 2006; Page B01

On Sept. 9, 1969, a big brown envelope was delivered to the Oval Office on behalf of CIA Director Richard M. Helms. On it he had written, "For and to be opened only by: The President, The White House." The precise contents of the envelope are still unknown, but it was the latest intelligence on one of Washington's most secretive foreign policy matters: Israel's nuclear program. The material was so sensitive that the nation's spymaster was unwilling to share it with anybody but President Richard M. Nixon himself.

Evidence of Fraud Found by Iraq Audit

A watchdog agency sees poor oversight in a defunct U.S. program to let private firms train Iraqis to guard oil and power infrastructure.
By T. Christian Miller, LA Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — An American initiative to use private security companies to protect Iraq's oil and power infrastructure collapsed amid reports of possible fraud, missing weapons and destroyed documents, according to a federal audit released Saturday.

Billions Wasted in Iraq, Says US Audit

Published on Monday, May 1, 2006 by the Guardian / UK
· Projects behind schedule despite massive outlay
· Roadside bomb kills 3 contractors, wounds 2
by Ewen MacAskill

A US congressional inspection team set up to monitor reconstruction in Iraq today publishes a scathing report of failures by contractors, mainly from the US, to carry out projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Stark Calls for an End to the Iraq War

CONTACT: Congressman Pete Stark
Yoni Cohen, Stark (202) 225-3202

Three years later, mission not accomplished

WASHINGTON - May 1 - U.S. Representative Pete Stark (D-Fremont), a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus, issued the following statement on the third anniversary of President Bush’s aircraft carrier landing and “Mission Accomplished” address.

“Mr. President, you and your administration lost the war in Iraq,” said Representative Stark. “In the three years since you declared major combat operations to have ended, more than 2,250 American soldiers have died unnecessary deaths. Rather than facilitate a lasting peace, the American occupation has led Iraq into civil war. At a cost of nearly $10 billion a month, the American presence continues to embolden our enemies and weaken our friends.”

After hyping Iraqi nuclear threat in 2002-03, conservative media now doing the same with Iranian nuclear program

Media Matters for America

Summary: On the third anniversary of President Bush's premature declaration of victory in Iraq, Media Matters has compiled examples of media that sounded alarms over Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction capabilities now sounding similar alarms over Iran.
In recent months, Media Matters for America has noted numerous instances in which conservative commentators and media sources have hyped Iran's progress in developing a nuclear capability and have made assertions that contradict the public estimates provided by the United States intelligence community and independent experts. Many of these same commentators similarly touted Iraq's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons in 2002 and early 2003 while making the case for war. On the third anniversary of President Bush's premature declaration of victory in Iraq, Media Matters has compiled examples of media that sounded alarms over Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction capabilities now sounding similar alarms over Iran:

Bitter Sweet Honey for Iraq's Disadvantaged

From: Mathaba

The sweetness of the change in Iraq is getting bitter - it is a bitter honey according to Dr Bayan Alaraj, whose charity World Wide Welfare is helping orphans and refugees who have returned home.

In 1982 one of Dr Bayan Alaraji’s patients told her that Saddam's regime was plotting the execution of her husband’s Alhakim family. The news prompted her to escape to Britain with her husband and two children. Today World Wide Welfare, the charity which Dr Alaraji set up to help Iraqis who fled to Iran after the 1991 uprising is assisting orphans and the needy in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, Karbalaa&Basra. Attempts to work in Baghdad were also started, but had to be abandoned because of the security situation.

Speaking Events

January 10 and 11:
Events in Washington DC to present a petition telling president elect to end wars:
https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12501

January 20-21 Occupy the Inauguration
 
January 29 David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.
 
February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.
 
April 21-23 UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va.

April 29 possible multi-issue protest in DC.

Find Events Here.

 

 

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