PM Monday, November 7, 2005
President Bush was asked today: "Mr. President, there has been a bit of an international outcry over reports of secret U.S. prisons in Europe for terrorism suspects. Will you let the Red Cross have access to them? And do you agree with Vice President Cheney that the CIA should be exempt from legislation to ban torture?"
Bush replied: "...We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture...."
Tony Blair's full throated support of the US led to the PM failing to exert any leverage on the White House - UK support was simply taken for granted
Sir Christopher Meyer
Monday November 7, 2005
Hindsight usually follows failure. As I write, things looked bad in Iraq. At regular intervals over the last two years I have asked the same question of former colleagues in the British and American governments: in Iraq, is the glass half-empty or is it half-full? With one exception the answer has been "half-full". The exception was a trusted American friend and government official, who, after paying a recent visit to Iraq, returned to tell the White House: "We're fucked."
Audio of an interview with After Downing Street Co-Founder David Swanson:
The show is also on Talk Radio Today at: "Latest show"
From AmericanProgressAction.org (11/7/05):
Going beyond the argument that Iraq possessed weapons of mass
destruction, the Bush administration made a unique case on two specific
fronts to justify the war: the supposed connections to al Qaeda and the
Iraqi nuclear threat. The administration argued that the evidence in
these two areas amounted to a "grave and gathering threat"
in a "post-September 11th world."
On the eve of the Iraq war, Bush
said, "The danger is clear: Using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions
and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our
country, or any other." The imagery was clear: terrorists, such as
those that attacked on 9/11, could do far greater damage with nuclear
weapons, and the Iraqi regime was helping to make that scenario a
reality. In fact, the evidence behind the supposed Iraq/al Qaeda
connection and the evidence on the nuclear threat have turned out to be
the weakest links in the case for war.
Video Special | Bianca Jagger Speaks to t r u t h o u t
Human rights activist Bianca Jagger lays out the case against George Bush, and calls on the people to demand his resignation.
JAMES MUSUMECI, Concord - Letter
Congratulations to the Senate Democrats for opening up an investigation into the manipulative lead-up to the Iraq war. The claims of WMD and ties to al-Qaida were disproved before we went to war, and now public opinion widely understands this truth.
Even if we were concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, there were far greater humanitarian crises at the time of war than those in Iraq. So even the excuse of a humanitarian crisis is not credible.
After the release of the Downing Street memo and knowledge that the CIA leak case reached deep within the White House, it is time for a thorough investigation. Only by getting to the bottom of why intelligence was so badly used will we be able to restore our national pride and dignity at home and the trust and respect of the international community.
Thom Hartmann's "Independent Thinker" Book of the Month Review
"They Thought They Were Free" is an intensely personal book for me. Although I was born after Hitler was five years dead, the horrible dance between fascism and democracy has fascinated me since childhood. And, through a series of odd coincidences, my adult life has been heavily intertwined with those of both Nazis and the victims of Hitler's Nazis.
Throughout my life, I've had several close friends who lost family members in the Holocaust. I've spent a lot of time in Israel, sobbed at Yad Vashem, and my wife Louise and I played a role in two of our closest friends, Hal and Shelley Cohen, starting Orr Shalom, which is now one of the largest Jewish programs for abused children in Israel. Before I learned English as a baby I was speaking Yiddish, learned from our Holocaust-survivor neighbors in Detroit who cared for me when my parents worked, and so can today recite both Hebrew prayers and speak German with accents and inflections more characteristic of a first than a second language.
All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena risks losing its tax-exempt status because of a former rector's remarks in 2004.
By Patricia Ward Biederman and Jason Felch, Los Angeles Times
The Internal Revenue Service has warned one of Southern California's largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election.
Rector J. Edwin Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena told many congregants during morning services Sunday that a guest sermon by the church's former rector, the Rev. George F. Regas, on Oct. 31, 2004, had prompted a letter from the IRS.
Revolution #022, November 13, 2005, posted at revcom.us
Under siege in the form of a scandal that has so far led to the indictment of Vice President Cheney's right-hand man, and facing fire from both the public and ruling class critics over the war in Iraq, Bush set out to rally support for the "war on terror" in October. In similar speeches given to the National Endowment on Democracy and to military spouses, Bush demanded a retooled "war on terror" with no boundaries, no deadlines, and no limit to the sacrifices people will be called on to make.
Mass-murdering ex-bomber pilot Senator John McCain, who has complained that Bush isn't selling the "war on terror" properly, applauded this speech for telling people that the forces the U.S. is fighting in Iraq "are the same guys who would be in New York if we don't win in Iraq."
By: Feinstein Office
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), a fellow member on the Committee, today to urge that the panel complete its long delayed investigation into the possible misuse of intelligence to boost the case for war in Iraq.
The three Democrats also sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) documenting the lack of progress in the investigation and urging that the Committee "keep its pledge to the Senate and the American people and answer the difficult yet necessary questions about the production and use of our pre-war intelligence."
No Evidence of Pressure on Iraq Data, Senator Says
By ERIC LICHTBLAU, New York Times
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 - With Democrats stepping up their attacks over prewar intelligence on Iraq, the Republican leader of the Senate Intelligence Committee said on Sunday that the panel's initial work had found no evidence of "political manipulation or pressure" in the use of such intelligence.
This week the committee expects to begin circulating among its members draft reports on the question of whether the administration manipulated or distorted intelligence on Iraq in making its case for war, said the chairman, Pat Roberts of Kansas.
The Bush-Cheney Ethics Refresher Course
By David Swanson
Apparently the new "ethics refresher course" at the White House is going to focus on reminding White House staff that classified information is not supposed to be told to reporters.
Ethics Part 2, to be taught in the Spring, will delve into the appropriateness of endangering the life of a woman and her colleagues because you're pissed off at her husband.
Those who opt for Graduate Level ethics refreshment will study the question of whether anger is justifiable if the object of that anger is guilty only of exposing you as a fraud and a liar.
By David Sirota
The Philadelphia Inquirer's top political reporter, Dick Polman, has an interesting piece today about how more Democrats are (finally) admitting they were wrong in supporting the Iraq War, and that they were misled by the Bush administration (that piece is attached). In the piece, I make the argument - much like I made earlier this week - that Democrats can hammer the administration for deliberately misleading the country about intelligence about Iraq's WMD - or lack thereof.
Yet, as usual, the inside-the-beltway strategist/pundit crowd is saying that's not possible.
PHOTO: John Bonifaz, Co-Founder of After Downing Street, and Rep. Jim McGovern
By Progressive Democrats of America
The 18th Century home of Dierdre and Cristobal Bonifaz on Maple Street in Conway was the settling November 5th for their son John Bonifaz’s announcement that he would explore a 2006 run for Secretary of the Commonwealth. About 60 friends, neighbors, and relatives were on hand.
Asked why he would seek the secretary post, he pointed out that it is a role which matches the efforts in which he has been involved for a number of years. Mr. Bonifaz was counsel to parties in the 2004 recount effort in Ohio, after which he testified before Congress. He expressed interest in serious campaign finance reform and restoration of public financing of elections in Massachusetts, which had overwhelming public support but was then eliminated by the legislature. He is mindful of the critical electoral role Secretary Katherine Harris played in Florida, as well as that of Secretary Kevin Blackwell in Ohio in 2004.
By Steve Bhaerman
The Republican Party has righteously painted itself as the “party with convictions,
By Eli Stephens
Left I on the News
There are still a remarkable number of people who maintain illusions in Gen.
Colin Powell, and believe he was really a "good guy" who tried his best to
moderate the evil nature of the Bush administration but failed. As part of
that, they actually give credence to Powell's recent "mea a little bit
culpa" speech in which Powell asserted that his February, 2003 speech to the
U.N. was now "painful" for him and a permanent "blot" on his record. Of
course he hid behind the claim of having "been misled about the accuracy of
VIDEO SPECIAL: t r u t h o u t's Sari Gelzer reports from San Franciso's "The World Can't Wait" demonstration. Thousands took to the streets and heard speeches from Cindy Sheehan and others. TO was also in Los Angeles to view reports from both actions go to
By Frank Rich, The New York Times
It would be a compelling story," Patrick Fitzgerald said of the narrative Scooter Libby used to allegedly mislead investigators in the Valerie Wilson leak case, "if only it were true."
"Compelling" is higher praise than any Mr. Libby received for his one work of published fiction, a 1996 novel of "murder, passion and heart-stopping chases through the snow" called "The Apprentice." If you read the indictment, you'll see why he merits the critical upgrade. The intricate tale he told the F.B.I. and the grand jury - with its endlessly clever contradictions of his White House colleagues' testimony - is compelling even without the sex and the snow.
By DOUGLAS JEHL, New York Times
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 - A high Qaeda official in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.
The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda's work with illicit weapons.
By Timothy Karr
Kenneth Tomlinson and Karl Rove’s newest troubles raise more questions than they answer. Central to Tomlinson’s tampering with PBS and NPR programming is the issue of authority: Were his efforts to spin media in favor of the White House directed from within the Bush administration itself? Were they legal? And if not, should investigators start sniffing around the West Wing?
... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Movies and Dreams...
My parents, like many Iraqis of their generation and educational background, discouraged too much tv. When E. and I were younger, they were vigilant about the type of shows and movies we were allowed to watch. They didn’t like for us to be exposed to propaganda- Arab or Western- and any programs containing excessive violence, foul language or sexual content were prohibited. On the other hand, all types of books were encouraged. I grew up reading books by authors ranging from Jane Austen to John LeCarre, from Emily Bronte to Maxim Gorky to Simone de Beauvoir… nothing was ever off-limits.
The Sunday Times (UK)
TONY BLAIR is set to face an unprecedented parliamentary inquiry into his conduct in the run-up to the Iraq war.
A coalition of Tory and Labour MPs is to table a motion to set up a Commons committee to examine “the conduct of ministers
The Council of Europe has demanded an investigation into claims the US ran secret jails for terror suspects.
The human rights watchdog called the claims "extremely worrying" and said such prisons would constitute a serious human rights violation.
A US newspaper said such prisons were set up in eight countries - some of them unnamed Eastern European states.
"It is essential that these allegations be thoroughly investigated," said Human Rights Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles.
"Such practices would constitute a serious human rights violation, and further proof of the crisis of values that the use of certain methods in the fight against terrorism is proving," he was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
Catch Dick Durbin taking on Pat Roberts on Face the Nation today.
By Barbra Streisand
If there was ever a time in history to impeach a President of the United States, it would be now. In my opinion, it is two years too late. We should have done this before the election to spare the country the misjudgment, the incompetence and the malfeasance of this administration. Let us remember that UN weapons inspectors asked for more time to search Iraq for WMDs. Two months into their search, the Director General of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that he found no evidence that Iraq had revived its nuclear weapons program since its elimination in the 1990s. And Saddam Hussein had begun to comply with the administration's demands. Why would you invade a country if there was still a chance for peace? Shouldn't war be an absolute last resort? We went to war because we were misled. And we should be angry because of the 2,000 American soldiers and the 200 armed coalition forces that have died. We should be livid because of the 15,000 American soldiers that have been horribly maimed and wounded. We should be disgusted because of the 30,000 innocent Iraqi civilians that have been killed and the 20,000 that are wounded after administration officials claimed that the US was going to liberate the Iraqi people.
Editor and Publisher
By E&P Staff
NEW YORK Ever since the Democrats briefly closed the U.S. Senate from view earlier this week, to protest alleged Republican foot-dragging in probing Bush administration pre-war manipulation of intelligence, the press has been asking: So what new evidence do the Democrats have in this matter?
Tomorrow, The New York Times starts to answer the question, with reporter Doug Jehl disclosing the contents of a newly declassified memo apparently passed to him by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
It shows that an al-Qaeda official in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to this Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002.
Ewen MacAskill and Julian Glover
Britain's former ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, delivers a damaging critique of Tony Blair's approach to the war in Iraq in an interview in the Guardian today.
Sir Christopher, who had a ringside seat in the decision-making that led to the war, unfavourably contrasts Mr Blair with the boldness and attention to detail of Margaret Thatcher. He says Lady Thatcher took pride in knowing more detail than her officials. "That is why it was terrifying to be summoned into her presence because if you did not know your stuff, she would expose you. There was never that danger with Tony Blair."
By DAVID ESPO and LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writers
Vice President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions to a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, according to participants in a closed-door session.
Cheney told his audience the United States doesn't engage in torture, these participants added, even though he said the administration needed an exemption from any legislation banning "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment in case the president decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.
Bush's approval rating has fallen to 35. Maybe America is starting to realize that secret prisons and endless war aren't really the best government we can possibly hope for.
Dick Cheney, in the same poll, has a 19 percent approval rating.
That's two points less popular than cheating on your spouse and seven points behind corporal punishment in schools (scroll down).
That's down in what can be politely called lunatic territory. As I've been pointing out for years, twenty or thirty percent of Americans believe any insane thing you can imagine.