Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush issued an order to the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, and his cabinet members that severely curtailed intelligence oversight by restricting classified information to just eight members of Congress.
"The only Members of Congress whom you or your expressly designated officers may brief regarding classified or sensitive law enforcement information," he writes, "are the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Intelligence Committees in the House and Senate."
By Francis Elliott, Raymond Whitaker and Kim Sengupta
The Independent (UK)
Britain has been dragged into the growing scandal of officially condoned killings in Iraq.
British-trained police operating in Basra have tortured at least two civilians to death with electric drills, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, admits that he knows of "alleged deaths in custody" and other "serious prisoner abuse" at al-Jamiyat police station, which was reopened by Britain after the war.
Militia-dominated police, who were recruited by Britain, are believed to have tortured at least two men to death in the station. Their bodies were later found with drill holes to their arms, legs and skulls.
By Frank Rich, The New York Times
If anyone needs further proof that we are racing for the exits in Iraq, just follow the bouncing ball that is Rick Santorum. A Republican leader in the Senate and a true-blue (or red) Iraq hawk, he has long slobbered over President Bush, much as Ed McMahon did over Johnny Carson. But when Mr. Bush went to Mr. Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania to give his Veterans Day speech smearing the war's critics as unpatriotic, the senator was M.I.A.
Mr. Santorum preferred to honor a previous engagement more than 100 miles away. There he told reporters for the first time that "maybe some blame" for the war's "less than optimal" progress belonged to the White House. This change of heart had nothing to do with looming revelations of how the new Iraqi "democracy" had instituted Saddam-style torture chambers. Or with the spiraling investigations into the whereabouts of nearly $9 billion in unaccounted-for taxpayers' money from the American occupation authority. Or with the latest spike in casualties. Mr. Santorum was instead contemplating his own incipient political obituary written the day before: a poll showing him 16 points down in his re-election race. No sooner did he stiff Mr. Bush in Pennsylvania than he did so again in Washington, voting with a 79-to-19 majority on a Senate resolution begging for an Iraq exit strategy. He was joined by all but one (Jon Kyl) of the 13 other Republican senators running for re-election next year. They desperately want to be able to tell their constituents that they were against the war after they were for it.
Union for Reform Judaism, Representing 1.5 Million People, Votes Against War in Iraq;
Resolution Calls for Exit Strategy and Specific Goals for Troop Withdrawal
HOUSTON -- Representatives of the 1.5 million Reform Jews in North America voted almost unanimously to call on the Bush Administration to immediately provide a clear exit strategy for the War in Iraq, with some troop withdrawal to begin after the December 15 elections.
More than 2,000 voting delegates from more than 500 congregations in all 50 states participated in the session at the Union for Reform Judaism's Biennial Convention, meeting in Houston Nov. 16-20.
By Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
Whatever impact the scandal surrounding the leak of
former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity ultimately
has on the Bush administration, it continues to spread
through the Washington press corps like a toxic plume.
As it does, it discredits not only individual reporters
and damages their news organizations but also an entire
style of reporting that has come to dominate the way
Americans are informed - or misinformed - concerning
their government's conduct.
This week's casualty was the Washington Post's Bob
Woodward, who, as it turns out, has concealed for 17
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
While it is altogether appropriate for Congress's attention to be riveted on the future and, specifically, on how to end the disaster in Iraq, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) continue to be asked about the past and how the George W. Bush administration was able to create/corrupt intelligence to convey a false picture of the need for war on Iraq in the first place.
Renewed, if short-lived, interest in this issue can be traced to Senator Harry Reid's demand on November 1 that Pat Roberts, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, make good on his promise to complete his investigation into this issue (the so-called "Phase 2" study that Democratic senator Jay Rockefeller acquiesced in postponing until after last year's election).
On November 18, Congressman John Murtha introduced H.J.Res. 73, a resolution that:
"The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.
"A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S. Marines shall be deployed in the region.
"The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy."
PDF of bill.
By Kevin Zeese, Democracy Rising
Now Rep. Pelosi Must Lead Democrats, Republicans Must Separate from Bush
For months, those of us who work Capitol Hill on the Iraq War have heard that Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the leader of the Democratic Party in the House, could not go further on anti-war efforts because the right flank of the Democratic Party was not speaking out against the war. We were always told the key Democrat to watch was Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) a national security Democrat who is the senior member of the Appropriations Committee and a leader on military policy who every week visits wounded service personnel at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington or at the Bethesda naval hospital in suburban Maryland.
BY TIMOTHY M. PHELPS, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, Newsday
WASHINGTON -- A full, open debate on Iraq erupted here last week for the first time since President George W. Bush took the country to war.
It was not pretty.
Democrats, constrained by a lack of good policy options and a fear of being portrayed as soft on national security, concentrated on attacking the Bush administration for allegedly manipulating intelligence about weapons of mass destruction.
The White House, faced with a crisis of rising U.S. casualties, dropping polls and the federal indictment of one of its key war advocates, responded by impugning the integrity of its critics.
By David Sirota
Way back in July, I speculated that Condoleezza Rice was most likely to be at the center of the Wilson/Plame leak. Now it seems like that speculation may, in fact, have been right on (see my original July article linked below). While she is denying her role - the fact that she feels compelled to offer a public defense today should tell us something: namely, the sharks are circling around her and her former deputy, Stephen Hadley.
If the Times of London today is right and Hadley was Woodward's direct source, that raises a very important question: was Hadley ordered to leak Plame's name to the press by his boss at the time, Condi Rice? Remember, as I wrote back in July, Wilson's New York Times op-ed was a direct indictment of Rice, meaning she had a personal motive. And it would be extremely hard to imagine Hadley acting alone with such a coordinated hit job on a CIA officer...Stay tuned.
By Armando, dailykos.com
The latest incarnation of the New McCarthyism, the ugly Duncan Hunter stunt - the so-called "Murtha" resolution - blew up in their face.
The NYTimes reported that:
"House Republicans are attempting to split the ranks of the Democrats tonight by offering a resolution to withdraw American troops from Iraq immediately."
The vote on the rule to bring the Fake Hunter Resolution to the floor for a vote passed 210-202, but every every Democratic representative who voted, voted against the rule and 5 Republicans joined the Democrats.
Obviously, the Republican attempt failed.
By David Swanson
A Washington Post editorial today completely misses the distinction that much of the public understands and cares passionately about, the distinction between someone telling reporters information to expose crimes and doing so at risk to their own careers (even if they have other motives like petty rivalries or dislike of the criminals), and - on the other hand - telling reporters information in order to punish whistleblowers for exposing the rationales for crimes as a pack of lies. You cannot use the same "principle" to protect whistleblowers AND to protect the criminals and their acts of retribution against whistleblowers...unless you're the Washington Post, which wrote:
By Elliott Minor, The Associated Press
Columbus, Ga. - Carlos Mauricio, a torture survivor from El Salvador, will be among the thousands who gather at Fort Benning's main gate this weekend to call for the closing of a military school they blame for human rights abuses in Latin America.
"I was blindfolded. I was badly, badly beaten," he said. "I was tortured for nine days. I was forced to listen to the screaming of all the people being given electroshock and women being raped."
Mauricio, a high school science teacher, traveled by minivan from his home in San Francisco to join the annual protest organized by School of the Americas Watch, a group that has waged a 15-year campaign to close Fort Benning's School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
Posted by: NonnyO at November 19, 2005 03:32 PM
Democracy Cell Project
(Editor's note: NonnyO simplified the vote and it's misinterpretation from yesterday's Republican ploy.)
The Republican alternative simply said: "It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."
Everything would hinge on the meaning of the word "deploy"/deployment (American Heritage Dictionary): Deploy: "To distribute (persons or forces) systematically or strategically." "To put into use or action." Knowing the meaning of the word deployment makes all the difference, because the Repub/NeoCon wording only means the US would cease sending more military personnel to Iraq. It doesn't say a bloody thing about bringing the ones who are already there home, or withdrawing from Iraq immediately or in the future; the way it's worded it only means we would cease sending more troops. The ones already there could be stationed there indefinitely, even if no more troops are sent (and it would mean no rotation of troops).
By Hornet, http://houseoflabor.tpmcafe.com
Did the White House plan to 'find' WMD in Iraq until Brewster-Jennings intercepted their shipment? Was that why Plame was in their crosshairs long before Wilson's editorial?
Buried in a TPM Nov 18 blog about what the WH was really thinking when it invaded Iraq, Joshua Micah Marshall writes "This even leads to a sort of inverted conspiracy theorizing when people ask, 'If he knew there was no WMD, why didn't they at least try to plant some to avoid the catastrophic embarrassment which ensued after the war....The real answer, I think, is as banal as it is devastating: I don't think they ever gave it much thought -- not in the sense of trying to get to the heart of the matter."
By Erik Eckholm, The New York Times
Pentagon investigators have referred allegations of abuse in how the Halliburton Company was awarded a contract for work in Iraq to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation, a Democratic senator who has been holding unofficial hearings on contract abuses in Iraq said yesterday in Washington.
The allegations mainly involve the Army's secret, noncompetitive awarding in 2003 of a multibillion dollar contract for oil field repairs in Iraq to Halliburton, a Texas-based company. The objections were raised publicly last year by Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, then the chief contracts monitor at the Army Corps of Engineers, the government agency that handled the contract and several others in Iraq.
Compiled by Aenet Rowa, Yokwe Online, August 23, 2005
On October 8 over 100 peace demonstrators met at the main gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base/ 3oth Space Wing Command in Santa Barbara county California to demand compliance with international law. As part of the Keep Space for Peace week the demonstrators joined other actions around the globe protesting the militarization of space and the deployment of Star Wars missile defense. Special guest speaker from No Nukes North Alaska, Stacey Fritz, explained how the deployment of Star Wars interceptors not only violates international treaties but is against a US law which requires that the system not be deployed until we have the consent of our allies and until it has been successfully tested. These criteria have not been met for interceptors at either Vandenberg or Fort Greely in Alaska.
This short video shows my daughter, Carly, reading her poem "A Nation Rocked to Sleep" at Casey's memorial at Arlington West, Santa Barbara, on April 03. 2005. The memorial was also for Sgt. Mike Mitchell who was killed in the same ambush Casey was killed in. His family has become close with our family.
My three children, Carly, Andy, and Janey are all featured.
It is a brilliant short piece by my good friends Peter Dudar and Sally Marr who made the movie Arlington West.
Love the proud mama,
November 19, 2005
The Green Table
Karen, Democracy Cell Project
In 1932, the ballet choreographer Kurt Jooss created a piece called “The Green Table.
By Philip Sherwell in Washington, Telegraph News
The top American commander in Iraq has been privately rebuked by the Bush administration for openly discussing plans to reduce troop levels there next year, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.
President George W Bush personally intervened last week to play down as "speculation" all talk of troop pull-outs because he fears that even discussing options for an "exit strategy" implies weakening resolve.
John Kerry on ABC says to bring the troops home!
Sussel, After Downing Street.org
Former Presidential nominee John Kerry spoke with Dianne Saywer on abc news. During this interview, he defended Congressman Murtha and defended the peace movement. He demanded that a minimum of 20, 000 to 50,000 troops be sent home immediately.
Furthermore, he held the President accountable for sending the troops to war unprotected and still not protecting the troops to this current day. Yes...he even called the President's actions, "Incompetent!"
By Eric Schmitt, The New York Times
Washington - Republicans and Democrats shouted, howled and slung insults on the House floor on Friday as a debate over whether to withdraw American troops from Iraq descended into a fury over President Bush's handling of the war and a leading Democrat's call to bring the troops home.
The battle boiled over when Representative Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican who is the most junior member of the House, told of a phone call she had just received from a Marine colonel back home.
"He asked me to send Congress a message: stay the course," Ms. Schmidt said. "He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message: that cowards cut and run, Marines never do."
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press
The Republican-controlled House spurned calls for an immediate pullout of troops from Iraq in a vote hastily arranged by the GOP that Democrats vociferously denounced as politically motivated…
Republicans hoped to place Democrats in an unappealing position — either supporting a withdrawal that critics said would be precipitous or opposing it and angering voters who want an end to the conflict. They also hoped the vote could restore GOP momentum on an issue — the war — that has seen plummeting public support in recent weeks.
Democrats said it was a sham and quickly decided to vote against the resolution in an attempt to drain it of significance.
President refuses to support torture ban
Guest blogged by David Edwards, BradBlog.com
President Bush took a few questions while speaking today in Panama.
While campaigning in October of 2000, Bush said "We will ask not only what is legal but what is right. Not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves." Today Bush was asked if he had upheld this promise to the American people. Instead of offering a straightforward answer, the president stonewalled with the familiar "We are cooperating with the investigation..." deflection.
Bush was also asked if the Red Cross would be allowed to inspect the "secret prisons" which have been recently reported in the Washington Post and other publications. While the president didn't answer this question directly, he took the opportunity to strongly imply that he supported torture as long as it was conducted via legal methods and loopholes. He seemed to give the impression that torture was necessary tool when used to protect the American people.
Contact: Brendan Daly or Jennifer Crider, 202-226-7616, both of the Office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; Web: http://democraticleader.house.gov/
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today spoke late this evening in strong opposition to a sham Republican proposal to smear Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, who has proposed immediate redeployment of troops from Iraq. Below are Pelosi's remarks on the House floor and a video link:
"Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise as the proud representative of the city of San Francisco in the Congress of the United States. In Northern California, we treat our veterans with respect. But Mr. Murtha is not being treated as a distinguished veteran with respect here.
By Mike Hersh, Progressive Democrats of America
I’m still trying to get my mind around what happened on the House Floor today. The very short version is this: Members of Congress debated Iraq policy in the Peoples’ House for the first time since Bush took us into war. That doesn’t begin to describe the bizarre and frenzied circumstances under which this too-short and long overdue debate unfolded.
Consider the proximate cause of this impromptu debate: the poignant and courageous statements of Rep. John P. Murtha (D - 12 Pennsylvania). When Congressman Murtha spoke the same words as PDA and other anti-war leaders, the Republican spin machine kicked into overdrive. It’s rare to see such a colossal political miscalculation. The GOP attacks on Murtha quickly spun out of control, because of who he is. From his website: “U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha has dedicated his life to serving his country both in the military and in the halls of Congress. He had a long and distinguished 37-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring from the Marine Corps Reserve as a colonel in 1990….
VIDEO: Schmidt’s Shame
LINK TO ORIGINAL
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) today on the House floor, speaking about Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), a decorated former Marine:
Yesterday I stood at Arlington National Cemetery attending the funeral of a young marine in my district. He believed in what we were doing is the right thing and had the courage to lay his life on the line to do it. A few minutes ago I received a call from Colonel Danny Bubp, Ohio Representative from the 88th district in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message: Stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, that cowards cut and run, Marines never do. Danny and the rest of America and the world want the assurance from this body – that we will see this through.