Legal Case Filed Against Four US Presidents And Four UK Prime Ministers For War Crimes

http://www.brusselstribunal.org

For Justice For Iraq: Legal Case Filed Against Four US Presidents And Four UK Prime Ministers For War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity And Genocide In Iraq

For immediate release
Date: 7 October 2009

MADRID: Today the Spanish Senate, acting to confirm a decision already taken under pressure from powerful governments accused of grave crimes, will limit Spain’s laws of universal jurisdiction. Yesterday, ahead of the change of law, a legal case was filed at the Audiencia Nacional against four United States presidents and four United Kingdom prime ministers for commissioning, condoning and/or perpetuating multiple war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Iraq.

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North Korea and Iran: So what does the West want? by William Bowles

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https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/

By William Bowles
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Creative-i
6 August 2009

Some while back (InI passim) I used to write regularly on the London Independent’s allegedly progressive take on events but after awhile I just got sick and tired of reading the damn thing. However, I’ve had a change of heart and decided to pick up the cudgel again. Why?

Well last night, I was watching Channel 4 News’ coverage of the return of the two US journalists to the US from North Korea and the carefully orchestrated ‘low key’ PR event, managed no doubt by Obama’s Twittering, Myspaced, Facebookie posse. But how can anything be low-key when exposed to the News Corporation’s gaze?

The entire thing looked like the final night of the Big Brother house replete with copious tears, and profuse thanks to BC etc. Hey look, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that they’ve returned safely (but really, what were the odds of two of the Empire’s finest doing twelve years hard labour?)

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Obama’s Passportgate: Historical Echo By Robert Parry

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Parry
consortiumnews.com
March 21, 2008

Five presidential elections ago, when another George Bush was in the White House and when Bill Clinton was the Democratic nominee, State Department officials conducted an improper search of Clinton’s passport files, an echo of the current case in which Barack Obama’s passport files were penetrated three times this year.

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Ron Paul on Impeachment of Cheney, Bush, Clinton (+ video)

Dandelion Salad

June 11, 2008: House votes to send impeachment resolution to Judiciary Committee and Paul voted with the Dems “aye”. ~ Lo

Statement Regarding Impeachment of Vice President Cheney

Ron Paul Speech to Congress

by Ron Paul
November 6, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I rise, reluctantly, in favor of the motion to table House Resolution 799, Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors, and in favor of referring that resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for full consideration. I voted to table this resolution not because I do not share the gentleman from Ohio’s desire to hold those responsible for the Iraqi debacle accountable; but rather, because I strongly believe that we must follow established protocol in matters of such importance. During my entire time in Congress, I have been outspoken in my opposition to war with Iraq and Iran. I have warned my colleagues and the administration against marching toward war in numerous speeches over the years, and I have voted against every appropriation to continue the war on Iraq.

I have always been strongly in favor of vigorous congressional oversight of the executive branch, and I have lamented our abrogation of these Constitutional obligations in recent times. I do believe, however, that this legislation should proceed through the House of Representatives following regular order, which would require investigation and hearings in the House Judiciary Committee before the resolution proceeds to the floor for a vote. This time-tested manner of moving impeachment legislation may slow the process, but in the long run it preserves liberty by ensuring that the House thoroughly deliberates on such weighty matters. In past impeachments of high officials, including those of Presidents Nixon and Clinton, the legislation had always gone through the proper committee with full investigation and accompanying committee report.

I noted with some dismay that many of my colleagues who have long supported the war changed their vote to oppose tabling the motion for purely political reasons. That move was a disrespectful to the Constitutional function of this body and I could not support such actions with my vote.

I was pleased that the House did vote in favor of sending this legislation to the Judiciary Committee, which essentially directs the committee to examine the issue more closely than it has done to this point.

h/t: nouMenon from a comment on this post:
Why Did Ron Paul Vote Against Impeachment? By Manila Ryce

***

Ron Paul…..Do You Support Impeachment?

TomSongs

I dialed up CSPAN and asked Republican 2008 Presidential Candidate Rep. Ron Paul (TX) if he supports the impeachment of George W. Bush.

Read the rest of the story at: http://www.tomsongs.com/tomsongshome/…

Added: March 13, 2007

***

For sake of Rule of Law, Congress must proceed

Only Clinton’s resignation should stop impeachment hearings

by Ron Paul
September 28, 1998

Despite partisan rancor and political positioning, no American should rejoice in the events which now grip our nation. In fact, this is indeed a solemn time for our country.

But at the same time, it is an opportunity – regardless of position, persuasion or party – for we as a nation to reassert that we are a nation built upon the Rule of Law, and not the whims of men. That all people are held to the same standards under the law, and that laws and correct procedures are followed.

The president stands accused of several things, and what is on the forefront of public attention is the charge of perjury and obstruction of justice before a federal grand jury in regards to a civil case involving sexual harassment.

Under our Constitution, the House of Representatives is charged with investigating allegations against a sitting president or judge. While some may talk about whether or not an offense is “impeachable,” that is only so much political rhetoric. The Constitution only specifies that Congress can impeach a president for “high crimes” and “misdemeanors,” but the definitions of those words are left to Congress to determine – anything a sufficient number of Members of Congress find offensive can be cause for impeachment.

In recent weeks I have been asked many times what the timetable might be for impeachment. We now have a tentative outline.

Currently, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives is looking into the report issued by the Office of the Independent Prosecutor on charges that the president lied under oath.

According to Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), his committee will receive a full briefing on the evidence on October 1st or 2nd. Over the next three days, the full committee will debate the evidence. On either October 5 or 6, the committee will consider a resolution to begin an impeachment hearing.

The resolution would then go before the entire House for a vote within three days.

A simple majority of the House of Representatives is all that will be required to initiate impeachment hearings. Those hearings could begin immediately, or be held until early November, after the elections.

A big question will be whether or not the impeachment hearings will be limited solely to allegations that the president lied under oath, or if it will also include other charges. Those involve potentially treasonous activities in transferring advanced missile technology to the communist Chinese in exchange for campaign donations, as well as violations of peoples rights in the abuse of more than 1,000 confidential FBI files for partisan purposes. (By comparison, a man went to prison in the early 1970s for misuse of one FBI file.)

While one should never discount the importance of lying under oath, I am saddened that some congressional leaders have recently suggested hearings will not include these other, far more serious, allegations. Crimes against our Constitution must not be set aside for details of sexual escapades. I hope that after $40 million being spent on investigating these more serious charges of crimes against the Constitution, that the entirety of the hearings are not simply restricted to this matter of perjury.

Under our Constitution, in accordance with the Rule of Law, the hearings must be held as long as the allegations remain and the president is in office. Since the allegations are not going to go away, the only constitutionally and morally correct way for hearings to be stopped would be for the president to resign if he has indeed committed these crimes; knowledge certainly the president possesses.

Some claim this situation creates a “constitutional crisis” and an “embarrassment.” A crisis will develop only if we, as a nation, reject the Rule of Law, and embarrassment will result only if we forego constitutional hearings.

It is in times of stress that the quality of metal is tested. The same is true for a nation.

***

‘High crimes and misdemeanors’

Hearings must be held for sake of nation

by Ron Paul
September 7, 1998

“Impeach the president!” and “Clinton must resign!” are phrases which were once relegated to the back rooms of – to borrow a phrase from the First Lady – a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy.’ Today, those statements are being boldly proclaimed in public by many, even by those who otherwise have strongly supported this president.

Unfortunately, those calls are only now being made after our nation’s president has admitted to living a life more akin to an afternoon soap opera than the traditional values which so many in our nation hold dear. While there is a great deal of significance to the fact that the president has admitted to lying under oath in a judicial proceeding, I have not considered – nor do I now – this “scandal” worthy of the attention it has received in the light of so much else before us.

It might be more pressing if this were the only impropriety involving President Clinton; lying under oath, tampering with witnesses and the litany of related crimes alleged, are certainly worthy of trial under our system of government.

But allegations of bribery, treason and oppression of rights are far more serious.

Almost a year ago, long before our national obsession with the Bill-said/Monica-said affair began, Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia and I cosponsored legislation called an “Inquiry into Impeachment,” House Resolution 304.

I did so because credible allegations have been raised that this president has abused the power of his office, domestically and abroad.

Discussions of a powerful man using influence in an attempt to secure employment for his much-younger mistress, while disgraceful and shameful, pale in comparison to the abuse of power in accessing hundreds of confidential files on private citizens and political opponents. It is disturbing that under this president’s watch, at least 900 files from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, detailing the intimate details uncovered for security background checks, were found to have been illegally transferred to the White House.

If this president used his powerful position to illegally secure information regarding political detractors, then this president must be impeached.

The situation would be bad enough if the allegations were limited to internal, domestic politics. But even more frightening allegations exist.

Far more pressing than the results of DNA tests on a cocktail dress are investigations into whether this president allowed highly-classified missile technology to be transferred to the communist Chinese government in exchange for campaign donations. The allegations and accompanying evidence are compelling, if not yet complete, to indicate that this has indeed been the case. Let us be clear about this: the government of China is not our ally, and in fact has nuclear missiles aimed at our cities. While we are “at peace,” we should be mindful that China is a foreign government with a system diametrically opposed to our own.

If this president not only broke the law by accepting donations from a potentially hostile foreign government, but proceeded to trade our nation’s military secrets as a “quid pro quo,” then this president must be impeached.

For far too long, Congress has abdicated its oversight responsibility to independent prosecutors. This Congress should begin proceedings to hear the facts behind these allegations, as the Inquiry legislation would require.

Congress must move forward now to secure the integrity of our system of justice, protect the liberties of our people, and to ensure our national security. But Congress must move forward with hearings for the sake of this president and the office he holds. If this president has done nothing meriting impeachment, public hearings will vindicate him and the sordid allegations – and purveyors of the falsehoods – will be revealed.

If, however, the allegations bear the weight of the evidence, then the man entrusted with the highest office in our land must be impeached. Should this be the case, it will be a difficult time for our nation, but it is far worse to allow transgressions against our sovereignty and liberty to go unpunished.

Impeach the president? For the sake of our nation, let us hold hearings and weigh the evidence; the allegations are simply too compelling.

see

Why Did Ron Paul Vote Against Impeachment? By Manila Ryce

Impeachment: A Message to Iowa Democrats (video; Kucinich)

Kucinich: I have 3-inch binder documenting Cheney’s crimes By David Edwards & Jason Rhyne (link)

Impeachment: What to do next (Action Alert; updated)

Rep. Wexler Will Urge the Judiciary Committee to Hold Immediate Hearings on Impeachment!!!

Bruce Fein on Impeachment (video link)

How Clinton Set the Stage for Bush By Mark H. Gaffney

Dandelion Salad

By Mark H. Gaffney
10/18/07 “
ICH

At the end of the Cold War the peoples of the earth shared a rare moment in human history. In fact, nothing like it had ever happened before. The United Sates stood alone as the lone planetary Superpower. The American star which had been rising since the second World War had now reached its zenith. For whatever reason, it seemed that destiny had selected the United States for a special role: to guide the community of nations into a period of unparalleled peace and prosperity. With the fading of East-West tensions this and much more seemed within reach. For a brief time it did appear that anything was possible. And why not? After all, the United States faced no serious military challenges. The US dollar was the favored currency in international exchange. In fact, it had been for decades. English was the lingua franca of science, diplomacy and commerce. Almost the entire world acknowledged US leadership. American culture was widely imitated. Together, this was unprecedented. Never had one nation, let alone a democracy, achieved such global influence. America had both the prestige and the power literally to shape the future of humanity.

Legacy of the Cold War

The world was desperate for a new vision. This was true for many reasons, but primarily because the titanic struggle between capitalism and socialism had been enormously destructive. The forty-five year Cold War had been waged on many fronts and in the most improbable places. It was an ideological war, not a clash of civilizations. As the vying spheres of influence ebbed and flowed across the continents, numerous nations were drawn in. Proxy wars raged along the tectonic margins and at the friction points where East and West collided. Neither side could defeat the other militarily without destroying itself, because the epic struggle was governed by a mad doctrine, Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). It was a fitting acronym for an insane time, and also a cruel paradox. For decades the world, rigged to a trip wire, could neither stand still nor move forward. The added rub, which I believe the world sensed intuitively, was that the precarious balance could not be sustained indefinitely. Of course, looking back it is now clear that that the Cold War itself, I mean the idea of the Cold War, was a carefully cultivated illusion: a false reality; but that is another story. Certainly the consequences were real enough. Citizens of the planet who lived through the period know what it means to live wedged between impossible alternatives–––the unthinkable on one hand and the unendurable on the other. Many were crushed beneath these wheels. Some nations were utterly destroyed, even beyond hope of recovery. The list of victims is long, and includes Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, East Timor, Ethiopia, Granada, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Laos, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Panama, Somalia, Sudan, and Viet Nam. No doubt, there are others…

Even as the Cold War trampled on the rights of indigenous people everywhere it despoiled the global environment. Toxic mayhem on a vast scale accompanied the nuclear arms race. Entire regions were affected and many were ruined or left permanently scarred. The open wounds from the heyday of uranium mining still deface the landscapes of the American southwest. As I write, Navaho children play on the tailing piles, amidst the radioactive dust, left behind by soul-less corporations that appeared on the scene, eager to make a fast buck, boomed briefly, then disappeared or were swallowed, in turn, by still larger corporations with even less of a conscience. Even worse scars can be found in the former Soviet republics where whole provinces were poisoned by catastrophic accidents at Sverdlovsk and Chernobyl, and entire districts, such as the Aral Sea region, were despoiled by central planning gone amok.

Dashed Hopes

By any measure, the toll of the Cold War was incalculable, and it’s no wonder that when the corrupt old Soviet state finally collapsed under its own weight the world’s response was: good riddance! The dismantling of the Iron Curtain was attended by joyous celebration across Europe. For a brief moment hope soared. In the US there was even talk of a peace dividend. Everywhere people dared to believe that the victory of the West presaged a new era of international cooperation, now desperately needed to address a long list of pressing problems, among them Third World poverty, overpopulation, the challenge of sustainable development, the energy crisis, AIDs, and the environment. Most importantly, at long last real progress toward nuclear disarmament seemed within reach. All eyes now turned to the West and especially to Washington for answers and for leadership. Yet, as I write in October 2007 it is painfully obvious, and has been for most of the presidency of George W. Bush, that the high hopes have been dashed. All that remains is the question: How and why did this happen? It is a difficult question, admittedly, but if we are to find our way back and regain a measure of hope, we must face it with brutal honesty.

Today, many Americans hold G. W. Bush personally responsible for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere that have brought about America’s increasing isolation in the world. Many also blame Bush for the general decline in our fortunes and for the dimming of hope. While I am no friend of the Bush administration, I do not entirely agree with this view, because I take issue with those who still naively believe in a partisan solution. The truth is more complex. In fact, the previous Democratic administration of William Jefferson Clinton bears a large measure of responsibility for the disasters that have befallen us. In many ways the Clinton White House set the stage for George W. Bush. Dr. Helen Caldicott, the tireless campaigner against nuclear oblivion, writes that she got the wake-up call about Clinton in 1999 when she was invited to attend a meeting in Florida about the weaponization of space. Caldicott was aghast as she listened to knowledgeable individuals describe US military planning, then current. Like many of us, she had trusted Bill Clinton, and had believed he was taking care of the nation’s business. Suddenly, Caldicott realized she had been living in a fool’s paradise. She writes:

“To my horror I found that seventy-five military industrial corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, TRW Aerojet, Hughes Space, Sparta Corp, and Vista Technologies had produced a Long Range Plan, written with the cooperation of the US Space Command, announcing a declaration of US space leadership and calling for the funding of defensive system and ‘a seamlessly integrated force of theatre land, sea, air and space capabilities through a world-wide global defense information network.’ The US Space Command would also ‘hold at risk’ a finite number of ‘high-value’ earth targets with near instantaneous force application–––the ability to kill from space…I also discovered that the much-vaunted missile defense system was to be closely integrated with the weaponization of space, and that all of the hardware and software would be made by the same firms, at the combined cost of hundreds of billions of dollars to the US taxpayers.”[1]

The plan envisaged “full spectrum dominance,” that is, US military domination of land, sea, air and space. Although US planners sought to portray this next generation of technological wizardry as defensive, in actuality, the planned systems, if implemented, amounted to a major break with the 1972 ABM Treaty, and with long-standing US commitments to maintain the peaceful status of outer space. The cold logic of dominance meant that the project was offensive in nature. But why? Exactly who was to be targeted? Which enemies? Remember, this was 1999. The Cold War had been over for some years. Both Russia and the US were then cooperating to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals. The START reductions were limited, to be sure, but the process was moving in the right direction and further reductions were possible. Obviously, the US military’s sweeping new plans for the domination of space threatened to undo all of this progress toward a more sane planet. It was obvious to Caldicott that a precious opportunity was in danger of being squandered, perhaps forever. The new space weapons threatened to trigger a new arms race and, very likely, another cycle of world conflict. Caldicott writes that she staggered home from the meeting determined “to become re-involved in educating the public about the impending catastrophe associated with the mad plans of the US Space Command and its associated corporations…”

The Critical Path: Swords into Plowshares

The point is that not even one of the new weapons systems being planned were needed. In fact, the grand plan for space, if implemented, would have benefited no one but a few arms manufacturers and, of course, the bankers who finance such deranged schemes–––all at immense cost to the US taxpayer. The plans were in direct conflict with then-current US foreign policies. The weaponization of space was diametrically opposed to the limited nuclear arms reductions then in progress, yet, was being presented as in the best interests of America: a case of mendacity so brazen one has to wonder how the selfish individuals who cooked it up could sleep at night.

As I’ve noted, the end of the Cold War presented America and the world with a golden opportunity to move in a new direction, a direction that was, in fact, essential for the survival of our planetary civilization. As a younger man I was an admirer of the late R. Buckminster Fuller. The inventor is probably best known for the geodesic dome, but Fuller also popularized the concept of the “critical path.”[2] It is an expression used by engineers and it means exactly what it suggests. The idea is that if we are to become sustainable on “spaceship earth” and avoid destroying our planetary home we must learn to live within the physical limitations or budget imposed by Nature. This, in turn, requires that we drastically reduce our human “footprint” by becoming much more efficient in the way we use energy and natural resources. Fuller was a firm believer in human ingenuity, and he often argued that our predicament called for a designer revolution on various levels, both economic and social. None of the steps in the critical path are optional, from the standpoint of survival. Taken together, they should be understood as the minimum requirements necessary for the long-term success of the human enterprise. While experts often disagree, at the end of the Cold War the single most urgent step was obvious, or should have been, to every thinking person; and this includes the newly elected President Bill Clinton, who entered the White House in 1992 on a wave of high hopes.

As the first US president to be inaugurated in the post-Cold War era, Bill Clinton’s number one priority should have been to meet with our Russian neighbors at an early date, and to negotiate with them a mutual halt in nuclear weapons production and research, as well as a rapid build-down of existing nuclear stockpiles and delivery systems. It was also imperative that Clinton give firm direction to the US military. The Pentagon had to be made to understand that because the Cold War was now thankfully over the nation must chart a new path, one that required the urgent redeployment of resources away from the nuclear arms race. A key part of this redirection would be the announcement of a vital new mission for the national weapons labs (Lawrence, Los Alamos, and Sandia). Henceforth, the labs would cease most weapons-related research/development and would redirect their considerable energies and talents in a positive direction, the new mission being a Manhattan-scale project to solve the nation’s energy problem. The goal would be to wean America from its unhealthy dependence on coal and foreign oil. Clinton would instruct the labs to engineer a phased transition toward abundant and clean energy alternatives at the earliest possible date; and to make it happen he would also press Congress to appropriate the needed funding. Efforts would focus on a range of promising technologies, but especially wind, solar, tidal, and hydrogen. Meanwhile, the nuclear establishment would be stripped of its vast subsidies. Although in a bye-gone era these were a sound idea, the nuclear establishment had produced no energy solutions, despite years of preferential treatment. Indeed, the vast monies lavished upon it had succeeded only in creating another bureaucratic dinosaur. In fact,the nuclear industry itself had become an impediment to change, because its enormous subsidies undermined healthy market forces. Henceforth, nuclear power would have to compete on a more equal playing field with other alternatives. Assisting market forces to operate would be essential to the transition to clean energy; and for this reason another goal would be to achieve the economies of scale necessary to bring down the costs of clean and renewable alternatives. The end result would be greatly enhanced national productivity, the creation of whole new sectors of the economy, boosted foreign earnings, and millions of high-paying new jobs here in the US. Resources would also be redirected to a long list of outstanding social and environmental problems. At the top of the latter list: the urgent clean-up of the toxic mess created by the nuclear establishment during a profligate half-century of out-of-control weapons development. This alone would cost an estimated $350 billion (in 1995 dollars, according to the Department of Energy [DoE]), a whopping figure that does not even include the costs associated with cleaning up the mess at the Hanford reservation, the Nevada Test Site, and the Savannah and Clinch nuclear facilities, all so contaminated that a solution may not even be feasible.

Some will argue that the above visionary plan was (and is) unrealistically utopian–––too much to expect of any US president, let alone the Clinton White House. But I take strong exception with this viewpoint, because in the 1990s the transition I have described was already within reach. Few major technological breakthroughs were needed. Many of the important alternatives were already “on the shelf” and could have been brought to maturity without undue economic strain. Some, no doubt, would have become mainstream long since but for bureaucratic inertia and because powerful vested interests have actively suppressed them–––interests, I should add, that have long sought to keep America addicted to oil. No, what was needed more than anything was genuine leadership in the Clinton White House, in order to beak through the inertial barriers and confront the vested interests. What is the role of a president, after all, if not to use the power of his office (the bully pulpit) to catalyze changes that are needed for the good of the nation? This is precisely why a president must stand above special interests. In the early years of his presidency Clinton did not lack for popular support. A solid majority of the American people elected Clinton because they wanted change; and they looked to him to make the tough decisions. This is not just my opinion. Other commentators have also pointed this out. Bill Clinton entered office with tremendous political capital, yet, incredibly, he never used it. The crucial factor was leadership, and he simply failed to deliver. There are various theories as to why. Dr. Caldicott’s frank assessment will make Democrats uncomfortable, but in my opinion it carries the ring of truth. Caldicott thinks Clinton lacked the necessary strength of character, and she has it right.

Clinton’s Nuclear Policy Review: A Diminished Presidency?

Like other newly elected presidents, Bill Clinton soon ordered a policy review of US nuclear weapons doctrine. The review was of vital importance and required that Clinton become personally involved to insure its success. This also meant taking charge of the Pentagon as the commander-in-chief. Unfortunately, instead of asserting his authority, Clinton vacillated, as if he were unclear himself about priorities and objectives. The policy review was eventually delegated to mid-level officials who were easily outmaneuvered by hard-liners in the military. The generals opposed any changes in US nuclear policy and they ultimately won a decisive victory. This was a major defeat for Clinton, and one from which it seems he never recovered. Caldicott speculates that Clinton, thereafter, sought to compensate for his loss of standing by using military force abroad on more occasions than any president in two decades. She may be right. The point is that Clinton’s attempts to placate the Pentagon were no substitute for leadership. This probably explains why, even today, Clinton is widely viewed with contempt within the US armed services. Soldiers naturally respect strength and revile weakness.

Clinton’s diminished presidency did not become evident, however, for some years. Certainly none of this was immediately obvious. At the 1995 Nonproliferation Review (NPT) Conference the Clinton administration, to all appearances, achieved a major success by persuading a majority of nations to agree to an indefinite extension of the NPT. This success was probably due to Clinton’s vocal support for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and because the US delegation agreed to a list of noble principles reaffirming the US obligation under Article VI of the NPT to take steps in the near future toward complete disarmament. The world did not then know that Clinton was about to violate those same principles, by succumbing to a deal with hard-line elements within his own administration. This in itself is an indication of Clinton’s failed leadership, for only a weak president would ever agree to such a back-room deal. What was this deal? The US Department of Energy (DoE), representing the national weapons labs, agreed to back Clinton’s support of the Comprehensible Test Ban only if Clinton agreed to preserve the labs’ traditional role as nuclear overseers; which, of course, meant preserving the nuclear arsenal itself. And so was born the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, otherwise known as Manhattan II. Although its stated purpose seemed innocuous: to insure the safety and reliability of the US nuclear stockpile, in reality, the program would maintain various nuclear research and development programs at roughly Cold War levels for many years. Additionally, the package created new computational and simulation programs to compensate for the anticipated ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. It is known that nuclear research secretly continued at Los Alamos–––in violation of the NPT. This came to light in 1995 when Dr. Don Wolkerstorfer, a Los Alamos manager, mentioned a new bunker buster, the B-61-11, during a radio debate.[3] The B-61-11 is a variable-yield nuclear penetrator (maximum yield: 340 kilotons). The following year Department of Defense (DoD) spokesperson Kenneth Bacon revealed that other earth penetrators were also in the works. Bacon told reporters that “We are now working on a series of weapons, both nuclear and conventional, to deal with deeply buried targets.”[4] There were even indications that the labs were moving ahead on an even more ambitious effort to develop the next generation of nuclear weapons. On April 25, 1997, the physicist Hans Bethe, the most senior surviving scientist from the Manhattan Project, sent a letter to Clinton, a letter that one day may have historic significance. In it Bethe urged the president to halt research on new weapons designs, including a pure fusion bomb, long regarded as the nuclear Holy Grail. Bethe, who led the theoretical division at Los Alamos during the development of the Atomic Bomb, was long retired. Yet, he maintained contacts in the labs and was informed about the kind of research that was underway. Bethe informed Clinton that the US already possessed more than sufficient weapons for it security, and he urged that

“…the time has come for our Nation to declare that it is not working, in any way, to develop further weapons of mass destruction of any kind. In particular, this means not financing work looking toward the possibility of new designs for nuclear weapons. And it certainly means not working on new types of nuclear weapons, such as pure-fusion weapons.”[5]

Bethe deserved to be taken seriously. After all, he won the 1967 Nobel Prize in physics for describing the fusion process that drives the stars. In his letter Bethe further wrote that because “new types of weapons [i.e., a pure fusion bomb] would, in time, spread to others and present a threat to us, it is logical for us not to pioneer further in this field.” Although the great physicist affirmed his support for the stewardship program, he also cautioned that computational experiments could be used to design new categories of weapons, even in the absence of underground testing. For this reason Bethe urged Clinton not to fund such programs. Again, this was sage counsel. It is believed that Israel evaded international detection while clandestinely developing nuclear weapons by this very means, i.e., through the use of computational models and computer simulations. Israel, which has never signed the NPT, is known to have staged only a very few small nuclear tests, perhaps even as few as one.[6] Yet, Israel succeeded in developing a large and advanced nuclear arsenal. Six weeks later Bethe received a polite reply from Clinton, in which the president deftly side-stepped all of the main points Bethe had raised.

Just five months later, in November 1997, Clinton issued a presidential directive, PDD-60, formalizing the outcome of his nuclear policy review. Most of the document remained classified, but more than enough was released to serve notice to the world that the United States had now become a far greater threat to the nonproliferation treaty than any terrorist or rogue state.[7] Clinton’s directive flew squarely in the face of the noble principles he had agreed to at the 1995 NPT conference. The directive reaffirmed the logic of the Cold War and announced a cornucopia of new spending to be showered upon the nuclear establishment over the next two decades. The directive announced that the US would maintain the status quo, that is, the Cold War triad of nuclear forces (i.e., bombers, ICBMs and submarines) as well as the hair-trigger launch-on-warning posture. The US insisted upon the right to nuclear first-use and even the right to use nukes against non-nuclear states that might somehow threaten US “interests.” These shocking revelations were unprecedented. The US also rejected a Russian proposal for deeper cuts in the number of strategic warheads. Instead, the US would move ahead with plans to upgrade the US Trident missile force and the B-2 bomber. The US would also resume production of plutonium pits, which are the fissile cores used in nuclear weapons. The directive reaffirmed the new emphasis on sub-critical testing and advanced computer modeling procedures: the very thing that Hans Bethe had cautioned against. Additionally, the US announced that it would resume production of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen used in thermonuclear weapons. The stated purpose was to provide additional supplies for the stewardship program. Because tritium has a half-life of twelve years, the tritium gas used in nuclear weapons decays and periodically must be replenished. Even so, the explanation was dubious, since tritium can be scavenged from deactivated weapons and recycled. Given even modest reductions in the size of the US nuclear force, in 1997 there was at least a thirty-year supply for the stewardship program.[8] This hinted that Hans Bethe was correct and the US was already secretly developing the next generation of nukes. As if all of this were not enough, the directive also announced that the US would complete construction of a brand new National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore laboratory, where the world’s most powerful lasers would be used to study nuclear fusion–––another clue.

These policies had been decided with no public debate or consultations with Congress. Ten years later, it appears that Clinton had made a bargain with the devil. He may have acted in the mistaken belief that the much-anticipated ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban by the US Senate would provide him some flexibility, allowing him to later rescind at least some of the newly announced policies. As we know, of course, in 1998 the Republican-controlled Senate rejected the Test Ban, dealing Clinton a stinging defeat. Obviously, Clinton’s attempts to placate the militarists in his administration backfired, with the tragic result of locking the US into a Cold War posture for many years to come, even though the Cold War was long over. All of which raises serious questions about Bill Clinton’s style of leadership, or lack thereof. But his character issues were not limited to placating generals. The more fundamental problem is that he chose to serve a small group of rich and powerful men, instead of serving the nation.

Clinton’s Expansion of NATO

For many years, during the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was the first line of defense against a possible Soviet attack on Western Europe. But when the old Soviet state collapsed in the late 1980s during the presidency of Mikhail Gorbachev, NATO’s original purpose also ceased to exist. Later, when the Berlin wall came down, President George Bush Sr. assured Gorbachev that the US would not expand NATO into eastern Europe, if Russia did not oppose the reunification of Germany. The agreement was mutually beneficial, and Russia was true to its word. However, during his second term in the White House Clinton reneged on Bush’s promise by proposing to admit eastern European nations to the NATO alliance, starting with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, went on tour promoting the new plan. She argued that NATO expansion was a good idea because it would stabilize central Europe politically and economically. Thoughtful critics, however, such as former Senator Sam Nunn (R-GA), a long-time expert on US nuclear policy, pointed out that because Moscow would naturally view the eastward expansion of NATO as a threat to its national security, the probable consequence would be exactly the opposite. Clinton’s plan would destabilize Europe, stall progress toward arms reductions, and over the long term might even lead to a new Cold War. The critics also warned that the US taxpayer would pick up much of the tab for NATO expansion to the tune of many billions of dollars, most of which would end up in the bank accounts of various arms merchants. Yet, in 1998, with almost no debate the US Congress closed ranks behind Clinton and voted to support NATO expansion.

With hindsight, the critics were correct. Despite claims by the Clinton administration to the contrary, the expansion of NATO into eastern Europe was not in the best interests of the United States, nor in the best interests of Europe. At the time, the relatively poor nations of eastern Europe did not have money to waste on arms. Their top priority was to rebuild their infrastructure after the disaster of communism, and to improve the lives of their people. Of course, Washington promised that in return for purchasing our weapons the US would support their entry in the European Union (EU), which most of western Europe opposed at the time. Yet, this was an illusion, since their purchase of large quantities of US weapons actually slowed their economic recovery, and this more than anything delayed their entry into the European Union. No, the primary beneficiaries of NATO expansion were the US arms makers and their financial backers on Wall Street. All of whom saw in the break-up of the former Soviet bloc an opportunity to enrich themselves. A scurrilous lot, they can only be compared with the wave of carpetbaggers who infested the southern states after the American Civil War, for the purpose of exploiting the defeated Confederacy. The US arms industry, the world’s largest, spent millions successfully lobbying the US Congress and the Clinton administration to expand NATO, and subsequently they cashed-in on this vast new arms bazaar. As early as 1995 Clinton had telegraphed his obeisance to these same powerful interests when he issued presidential directive 41, which announced that arms sales were essential for preserving US jobs. The directive instructed US diplomats to get busy and boost foreign sales of US-made weapons for the good of the economy. Obviously, Clinton found it easier to maintain the status quo, however perilous, rather than use the considerable power of his office to change that reality and move the nation away from the weapons economy built up during the Cold War. When Moscow protested the expansion of NATO Clinton brushed aside Russia’s security concerns with practiced aplomb. The president insisted that NATO was a force for stability, and his casual demeanor seemed to make light of this quaint idea that NATO might somehow threaten the Russians. How absurd!

Today, of course, as George W. Bush prepares to install an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system in Poland and a new ABM radar site in the Czech Republic, on Russia’s doorstep, and as we hover on the brink of world war, it is perfectly clear that Moscow’s concerns were well-founded. The issue is why our former president, a Rhodes scholar, was purblind to the fact, ten years ago. The truth is that Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO was never about the stability of Europe. It was never about US or global security. It was always about one thing: the sale of weapons for profit. All of this becomes more obvious as the world situation deteriorates, yet, the Democratic candidates in the presidential marathon apparently still don’t get it. As far as I can tell, they have been conspicuously silent about Clinton’s failed NATO policy. Which I take as a sober commentary on our deaf and dumb political culture. Someone needs to corner Hillary and ask her this pointed question, on camera: Why did your husband put the interests of the weapons manufacturers and bankers above the interests of our nation and our planet? Why, Hillary? Because there is no doubt that Bill’s NATO policy set the stage for the disasters that have overtaken us. Perhaps the real issue is whether Hillary, or any of the Democratic front-runners, have the integrity and courage to answer a simple question.

Mark H. Gaffney’s latest book, Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes, was a finalist for the 2004 Narcissus Book Award. Mark can be reached for comment at markhgaffney@earthlink.net Check out Mark’s web site www.GnosticSecrets.com


[1] Helen Caldicott and Craig Eisendrath, War in Heaven: The Arms Race and Outer Space, The New Press, New York, 2007, p. ix; also see Helen Caldicott, The New Nuclear Danger, The New Press, New York, 2004.

[2] Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path, St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 1982.

[3] Broadcast by radio station KSFR in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on July 18, 1995. For more details about the B-61-11 go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B61_nuclear_bomb

[4] Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), DoD News Briefing, Tuesday April 23, 1996.

[5] The text of Bethe’s letter, and Clinton’s reply, have been posted by the Federation of American Scientists. http://www.fas.org/bethecr#letter

[6] Mark Gaffney, Dimona: The Third Temple?, Amana Books, Brattleboro, 1989, chapters 4 and 5.

[7] For an excellent discussion of PDD-60 see Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll, USN (ret), “The NPT Review — Last Chance?”, The Defense Monitor, Vol. XXIX, No. 3, 2000. Posted at http://www.cdi.org/dm/2000/issue3/NPT.html

[8] Kenneth D. Bergeron, Tritium On Ice, MIT Press, 2002. Also see Charles D. Ferguson’s review in the March/April 2003 issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, (vol. 59, no. 02) pp. 70-72.

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