Mukasey testifies before the Senate Appropriations Ctte on FISA & 9/11

Dandelion Salad

selise

20080410-Senate-Appropriations-Mukasey

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More on Michael Mukasey’s false 9/11 and FISA claims

By Glenn Greenwald
SALON
April 11, 2008

(updated below)

The San Francisco Chronicle became one of the few media outlets to report on the multiple false claims about 9/11 and FISA in Michael Mukasey’s speech two weeks ago, as they adeptly summarized the key events in this article today. As the article, using the Lee Hamilton and other quotes reported here, put it: “It seemed like a sensational disclosure — a phone call that, if traced and monitored, could have allowed authorities to thwart the attacks — but it has proved difficult to verify.”

Also, Mukasey appeared yesterday before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee and was questioned on this matter by Pat Leahy:

On his third question, Leahy asked Mukasey to clarify a recent comment he made in San Francisco where he implied that the failure to listen in on a phone call from Afghanistan to the United States prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks had cost 3,000 lives.“Nobody else seems to know about this. Can you tell me what the circumstances were and why?” Leahy said.

“The phone call I referenced relates to an incoming call that is referred to in a letter in February of this year to House Intelligence Committee Chairman [Silvestre] Reyes [(D-Texas)] from Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and I,” Mukasey said.

“One thing I got wrong. It didn’t come from Afghanistan. I got the country wrong,” Mukasey continued without specifying the country where the call originated.

…continued

see

Mukasey Refuses to Say Yoo 4th Amendment Memo Withdrawn

The DOJ comments on the Mukasey controversy + The US establishment media in a nutshell

Lee Hamilton denies Michael Mukasey’s claim about 9/11 By Glenn Greenwald

Why doesn’t the 9/11 Commission know about Mukasey’s 9/11 story? By Glenn Greenwald

Mukasey-Michael

Mukasey Refuses to Say Yoo 4th Amendment Memo Withdrawn

Dandelion Salad

Veracifier

Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Senate Appropriations Committee, April 10, 2008

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Capital Crimes: Another Smoking Gun on Terror War Torture by Chris Floyd

The DOJ comments on the Mukasey controversy + The US establishment media in a nutshell

Lee Hamilton denies Michael Mukasey’s claim about 9/11 By Glenn Greenwald

Why doesn’t the 9/11 Commission know about Mukasey’s 9/11 story? By Glenn Greenwald

Lee Hamilton denies Michael Mukasey’s claim about 9/11 By Glenn Greenwald

Dandelion Salad

By Glenn Greenwald
SALON
April 9, 2008

I just received the following statement from the Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Rep. Lee Hamilton, in response to my inquiries last week (and numerous follow-up inquiries from readers here) about Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s claims about the 9/11 attack and, specifically, about Mukasey’s story that there was a pre-9/11 telephone call from an “Afghan safe house” into the U.S. that the Bush administration failed to intercept or investigate:

I am unfamiliar with the telephone call that Attorney General Mukasey cited in his appearance in San Francisco on March 27. The 9/11 Commission did not receive any information pertaining to its occurrence.

…continued

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The DOJ comments on the Mukasey controversy + The US establishment media in a nutshell

Why doesn’t the 9/11 Commission know about Mukasey’s 9/11 story? By Glenn Greenwald

The DOJ comments on the Mukasey controversy + The US establishment media in a nutshell

Dandelion Salad

By Glenn Greenwald
SALON
April 4, 2008

(updated below)

In response to the growing controversy over plainly misleading comments by Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week in San Francisco, and in response to the questions I submitted, the DOJ’s Peter Carr, its Principal Deputy Director of Public Affairs, sent me the following email:

In a question-and-answer session after his Commonwealth Club speech last week, Attorney General Mukasey referenced a call between an al Qaeda safe house and a person in the United States. The Attorney General has referred to this before, in the letter he sent with Director of National Intelligence McConnell to Chairman Reyes on February 22, 2008. In that letter, contained in this link [.pdf], the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence explained that:

“We have provided Congress with examples in which difficulties with collections under [Executive Order 12333] resulted in the Intelligence Community missing crucial information. For instance, one of the September 11 hijackers communicated with a known overseas terrorist facility while he was living in the United States. Because that collection was conducted under Executive Order 12333, the Intelligence Community could not identify the domestic end of the communication prior to September 11, 2001, when it could have stopped that attack. The failure to collect such communications was one of the central criticisms of the Congressional Joint Inquiry that looked into intelligence failures associated with the attacks of September 11. The bipartisan bill passed by the Senate would address such flaws in our capabilities that existed before the enactment of the Protect America Act and that are now resurfacing.”

This call is also referenced in the unclassified report of the congressional intelligence committees’ Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks.

…continued or Glenn Greenwald

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The U.S. establishment media in a nutshell

By Glenn Greenwald
SALON
April 5, 2008

(updated below)

In the past two weeks, the following events transpired. A Department of Justice memo, authored by John Yoo, was released which authorized torture and presidential lawbreaking. It was revealed that the Bush administration declared the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights to be inapplicable to “domestic military operations” within the U.S. The U.S. Attorney General appears to have fabricated a key event leading to the 9/11 attacks and made patently false statements about surveillance laws and related lawsuits. Barack Obama went bowling in Pennsylvania and had a low score.

Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

“Yoo and torture” – 102

“Mukasey and 9/11” — 73

“Yoo and Fourth Amendment” — 16

“Obama and bowling” — 1,043

“Obama and Wright” — More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)

“Obama and patriotism” – 1,607

“Clinton and Lewinsky” — 1,079

And as Eric Boehlert documents, even Iraq — that little five-year U.S. occupation with no end in sight — has been virtually written out of the media narrative in favor of mindless, stupid, vapid chatter of the type referenced above. “The Clintons are Rich!!!!” will undoubtedly soon be at the top of this heap within a matter of a day or two.

…continued or Glenn Greenwald

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Why doesn’t the 9/11 Commission know about Mukasey’s 9/11 story? By Glenn Greenwald

Olbermann: Vox Pop Pox + FISA Fables + Bushed! + Worst + Wal-Mart

Olbermann: Attorney General Mukasey & The New 911 Evidence (updated)

Olbermann: Sadr State of Affairs + Gore More Years? + Worst + Bushed! (9/11)

Attorney General Mukasey lies about 9/11 & international spying

The Constitution, John Yoo, and You

The Green Light: Attorney Philippe Sands Follows the Bush Admin Torture Trail

Why doesn’t the 9/11 Commission know about Mukasey’s 9/11 story? By Glenn Greenwald

Dandelion Salad

By Glenn Greenwald
After Downing Street
SALON
April 3, 2008

(Updated below with response from Philip Zelikow

Update II

Update III

Update IV – Chairman Conyers demands answers from Mukasey

Update V)

Last week, during a question-and-answer session following a speech he delivered in San Francisco, Attorney General Michael Mukasey revealed a startling and extremely newsworthy fact. As I wrote last Saturday, Mukasey claimed that, prior to 9/11, the Bush administration was aware of a telephone call being made by an Al Qaeda Terrorist from what he called a “safe house in Afghanistan” into the U.S., but failed to eavesdrop on that call. Some help is needed from readers here to generate the attention for this story that it requires.

In that speech, Mukasey blamed FISA’s warrant requirement for the failure to eavesdrop on that call — an assertion which is, for multiple reasons that I detailed in that post, completely false. He then tearfully claimed that FISA therefore caused the deaths of “three thousand people who went to work that day.” For obvious reasons, the Attorney General’s FISA falsehoods themselves are extremely newsworthy, but it is the story he told about the pre-9/11-planning call from Afghanistan itself that is truly new, and truly extraordinary.

Critically, the 9/11 Commission Report — intended to be a comprehensive account of all relevant pre-9/11 activities — makes no mention whatsoever of the episode Mukasey described. What has been long publicly reported in great detail are multiple calls that were made between a global communications hub in Yemen and the U.S. — calls which the NSA did intercept without warrants (because, contrary to Mukasey’s lie, FISA does not and never did require a warrant for eavesdropping on foreign targets) but which, for some unknown reason, the NSA failed to share with the FBI and other agencies. But the critical pre-9/11 episode Mukasey described last week is nowhere to be found in the 9/11 Report or anywhere else. It just does not exist.

Yesterday, I contacted Lee Hamilton, the 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman, to ask him whether the Commission was ever told about Mukasey’s alleged Afghan Terrorist 9/11-planning telephone calls and/or the Bush administration’s failure/inability to eavesdrop on such calls. Hamilton refused to comment, first claiming that he was in meetings all day yesterday and had no time to talk to me. When asked if he would comment today or whenever he had time, he said he was not going to comment on this ever, since he had not read Mukasey’s speech. Calls to 9/11 Executive Director Philip Zelikow seeking comment were not returned and 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean could not yet be reached.

It’s unacceptable for Hamilton to refuse to comment on Mukasey’s claims. The whole purpose of the 9/11 Commission was to ensure that there was full-scale investigation and disclosure of all facts relevant to the 9/11 attacks, including the Government’s actions and inactions in preventing that attack from occurring.

If the Attorney General of the United States, out of the blue, makes an extraordinary and new assertion in a public speech about an easy opportunity the Bush administration had to detect those attacks — an opportunity he claims was lost because of eavesdropping laws — Hamilton ought to say whether the Commission was ever told about this incident and/or whether Mukasey is telling the truth. Preventing high government officials from lying about the 9/11 attacks or exposing concealment of key 9/11 facts is his obligation as Vice Chairman of the Commission. Some type of comment from 9/11 Commission officials on Mukasey’s claims is vital for generating further attention to this story and for compelling Mukasey to account for what he said.

Hamilton is currently the President and Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University. Please email him at the address below, politely set forth the extraordinary claims the Attorney General just made about the 9/11 attacks (with citations to media sources about the speech — including here, here, and here), and urge him to fulfill his obligation as 9/11 Commission Vice Chair by confirming whether Mukasey’s revelations are true and/or were disclosed to the Commission during its investigation: Lee.hamilton@wilsoncenter.org.

This isn’t just a matter of academic and historical interest about the 9/11 attacks, although it is that. One of two things almost certainly happened here, each of which is of great importance. Either Mukasey is lying about the 9/11 attacks in order to manipulate Americans into believing that FISA’s warrant requirements are what prevented discovery of the 9/11 attacks and caused 3,000 American deaths — a completely disgusting act by the Attorney General which obviously cannot be ignored. Or, Mukasey has just revealed the most damning fact yet about the Bush’s administration’s ability and failure to have prevented the attacks — facts that, until now, were apparently concealed from the 9/11 Commission and the public.

Since I wrote about this on Saturday, there has been some slowly evolving media attention paid to it. On Monday, I discussed the story on the radio with Rachel Maddow who, as always, grasped completely its importance. The following night, she was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, which had a lengthy and detailed segment, highlighting all of the right questions (video below). Raw Story compiled a very thorough article with the key facts, and the top Daily Kos post this morning does the same.

The great significance of this story — that Mukasey either completely fabricated a key 9/11 event or just revealed a heretofore unknown 9/11 bombshell — is self-evident and made clear by these growing accounts. Having Hamilton, Kean and/or Zelikow comment on the veracity of Mukasey’s claims about the 9/11 attacks — as they ought to do — is vital for advancing the story.

[see FISA Fables in the following post.]

Olbermann: Vox Pop Pox + FISA Fables + Bushed! + Worst + Wal-Mart

UPDATE: Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission Executive Director (and former Counselor to Condolleeza Rice), obviously has no idea what Mukasey is talking about, as he replies by email (ellipses in original):

Not sure of course what the AG had in mind, although the most important signals intelligence leads related to our report — that related to the Hazmi-Mihdhar issues of January 2000 or to al Qaeda activities or transits connected to Iran — was not of this character. If, as he says, the USG didn’t know where the call went in the US, neither did we. So unless we had some reason to link this information to the 9/11 story ….In general, as with several covert action issues for instance, the Commission sought (and succeeded) in publishing details about sensitive intelligence matters where the details were material to the investigative mandate in our law.

That’s polite Beltway talk for saying that nothing like what Mukasey described actually happened. Does anyone on TV other than Keith Olbermann care that the Attorney General of the United States just invented a critical episode about 9/11 that never actually happened — tearing up as he did it — in order to scare Americans into supporting the administration’s desired elimination of spying restrictions and blame FISA supporters for the 9/11 attacks? We still ought to hear from Hamilton and/or Kean.

UPDATE II: I’ll be on Rachel Maddow’s show at 7:30 p.m. EST today to discuss these developments. Local listings and live audio feed are here.

At Daily Kos, McJoan — who wrote about this matter today here — has written about it again, and included contact information for key members of Congress to demand that Mukasey be compelled to account for his 9/11 claims, preferably under oath.

The reason this story has the potential to be significant is because it’s easy to understand — Mukasey’s story is either true or false — and, more importantly, nothing like it happened. He can’t claim that he just misspoke or was confused because not only was there no such call from Afghanistan (at least according to everything that is known, including by the 9/11 Commission’s version), but FISA could never possibly have prevented interception of any calls remotely like the one Mukasey described.

He just made this up out of whole cloth in order to mislead Americans into supporting the administration’s efforts to eliminate spying safeguards and basic constitutional liberties and to stifle the pending surveillance lawsuits against telecoms. That isn’t hard for anyone — even including those who play the role of journalists on TV — to understand and convey.

Finally, numerous people have sent me their emails to Lee Hamilton, who still hasn’t commented or responded. If he doesn’t soon, I think mass (though civil) calling of his office will be in order. I don’t think he has the option of simply remaining quiet when the Attorney General makes a statement of this sort about the 9/11 attacks.

UPDATE III: With the help of readers, I was able to find and get in contact with Tom Kean’s office, who asked that an email be sent to him requesting comment. The email I sent is here, along with the email I sent to the DOJ (at their request) asking for comment from Mukasey.

Dan Gilmor of the Center for Citizen Media — affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University Law School — has posted a superb piece on this matter, focusing on what it reflects about establishment press behavior. The whole thing is worth reading (Correction: Center for Citizen Media is now affiliated with Arizona State University and Harvard’s Berkman Center, and no longer with Berkeley).

UPDATE IV: House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, along with two Subcommittee Chairs, just sent a letter to Michael Mukasey demanding answers to all the right questions about his 9/11 claims as well as the bizarre (though unsurprising) reference in the Yoo Memorandum to the suspension of the Fourth Amendment inside the U.S. That letter will need to be followed up with action, but it’s a good start.

UPDATE V: The DOJ replies to my email referenced above, here.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Olbermann: Vox Pop Pox + FISA Fables + Bushed! + Worst + Wal-Mart

Olbermann: Attorney General Mukasey & The New 911 Evidence (updated)

Olbermann: Sadr State of Affairs + Gore More Years? + Worst + Bushed! (9/11)

Attorney General Mukasey lies about 9/11 & international spying

Telecom Immunity: Playing the “9/11 Card” … Again

Olbermann: Attorney General Mukasey & The New 911 Evidence (updated)

Dandelion Salad

Updated: April 2, 2008

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

APRIL 01, 2008

MSNBC Keith Olbermann

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Updated: April 2, 2008

Mukasey Hints US Had Attack Warning Before 9/11

By David Edwards and Muriel Kane
ICH
04/02/08 “Raw Story

When Attorney General Mukasey delivered a speech last week demanding that Congress grant the president warrantless eavesdropping powers and telecom immunity, the question and answer session afterwards included one extraordinary but little-noticed claim.

Mukasey argued that officials “shouldn’t need a warrant when somebody with a phone in Iraq picks up a phone and calls somebody in the United States because that’s the call that we may really want to know about. And before 9/11, that’s the call that we didn’t know about. We knew that there has been a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went.”

Blogger Glenn Greenwald picked up on Mukasey’s statement, suggesting, “If what Muskasey said this week is true — and that’s a big ‘if’ — his revelation about this Afghan call that the administration knew about but didn’t intercept really amounts to one of the most potent indictments yet about the Bush administration’s failure to detect the plot in action. Contrary to his false claims, FISA — for multiple reasons — did not prevent eavesdropping on that call.”

Keith Olbermann has now featured the story on MSNBC’s Countdown. “What?” Olbermann asked incredulously after quoting Mukasey. “The government knew about some phone call from a safe house in Afghanistan into the U.S. about 9/11? Before 9/11? … You didn’t do anything about it?”

“Either the attorney general just admitted that the government for which he works is guilty of malfeasant complicity in the 9/11 attacks,” Olbermann commented, “or he’s lying.”

“I’m betting on lying,” concluded Olbermann. “If not, somebody in Congress better put that man under oath right quick.”

After September 11, 2001, it was revealed that the CIA and FBI had intercepted a variety of messages including phrases such as “There is a big thing coming,” “They’re going to pay the price” and “We’re ready to go.” None of these messages gave specific details and none reached intelligence analysts until after the destruction of the World Trade Center.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Mukasey did not specify the call to which he referred. He also did not explain why the government, if it knew of telephone calls from suspected foreign terrorists, hadn’t sought a wiretapping warrant from a court established by Congress to authorize terrorist surveillance, or hadn’t monitored all such calls without a warrant for 72 hours as allowed by law. The Justice Department did not respond to a request for more information.”

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Attorney General Mukasey lies about 9/11 & international spying

Olbermann: Sadr State of Affairs + Gore More Years? + Worst + Bushed! (9/11)

Countdown: Mukasey’s FISA Fables – Lies or Admissions?

Attorney General Mukasey lies about 9/11 & international spying

Dandelion Salad

by Larry Chin
Global Research, March 31, 2008
Online Journal

In a recent speech at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, Attorney General Michael Mukasey defended the Bush-Cheney administration’s illegal domestic spying agenda by proclaiming that the 9/11 attacks could have been prevented if the government had been able to monitor overseas phone calls to the United States.

Like every other member of the Bush-Cheney administration, Mukasey is lying. Lying about the fact that the “war on terrorism” is a fabrication. Lying about the pervasive worldwide eavesdropping capabilities of US intelligence agencies. Lying about the fact that 9/11 was a long-planned Anglo-American false flag covert operation.

According to Mukasey’s spin on the now-classic 9/11 fiction, Bush-Cheney “knew there had been a call from some place that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went. We’ve got 3,000 people who went to work that day, and didn’t come home, to show for that.”

In typically wide-eyed fashion, the San Franciso Chronicle report proceeds to add more red herrings to the proceedings, noting that “Mukasey did not specify the call to which he referred. He also did not explain why the government, if it knew of telephone calls from suspected foreign terrorists, hadn’t sought a wiretapping warrant from a court established by the Congress to authorize terrorist surveillance, or hadn’t monitored all such calls without a warrant for 72 hours as allowed by law.”

Mukasey did not bother to mention any of these things, because he knows that the US government’s spying capabilities are overwhelming, and that their continuous (illegal) use trumps congressional oversight, and the law itself.

Investigators such as former NSA operative James Bamford (author of the expose of the NSA, Body of Secrets) and Mike Ruppert’s Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil have thoroughly detailed the pervasiveness and effectiveness of a wide range of spying and intelligence programs used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies. These include Echelon and PROMIS, which are used by operatives in criminal fashion, as ordered by high-level officials, specifically to get around all oversight.

As written by Ruppert: “Echelon is a highly secret technical intelligence gathering system used to monitor worldwide communications and coordinated in the U.S. by the National Security Agency. Participating countries, who eavesdrop on the citizens of the other member countries — to avoid civil restrictions preventing governments from spying on their own citizens — then pool and share their information. Participating countries include the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain and Germany. The eavesdropping covers both telephone and email communications.

“According to a Feb 13, 2001, UPI story detailing Echelon’s use against bin Laden and other terrorist organizations, ‘The targets of Echelon center on the penetration of the major components of most of the world’s telephone and telecommunications systems. This could cover conversations NSA targets. Also included are all the telexes carried over the world’s telecommunications networks, along with financial dealings: money transfers, airline destinations, stock information, data on demonstrations or international conferences and much more.’”

In Crossing the Rubicon, and in his many investigations for From The Wilderness, Mike Ruppert exposed the fact that intelligence agency penetration and foreknowledge leading up to 9/11 was complete: “Long before 9/11, US and foreign intelligence had achieved penetrations of al-Qaeda by human, signal and electronic intelligence,” and that “there was very little that al Qaeda did that the Bush administration and many other governments were not aware of.”

Furthermore, Ruppert noted that “based upon what is known about successful intelligence penetrations for years prior to the attacks of 9/11, Osama bin Laden could not have sneezed without the CIA or the NSA knowing about it.”

“Al-Qaeda,” an Anglo-American covert operation, was not only thoroughly penetrated, but guided and manipulated into fulfilling their roles.

As exposed by Michel Chossudovsky in his book, America’s “War on Terrorism”: “The foreknowledge issue is a red herring. The ‘Militant Islamic Network’ is a creation of the CIA. In standard CIA jargon, Al Qaeda is categorized as an ‘intelligence asset’ . . . support to terrorist organizations is an integral part of US foreign policy. Al Qaeda continues to participate in CIA covert operations in different parts of the world.”

Anglo-American involvement with “the terrorists,” and the Bush-Cheney administration’s role behind 9/11 are, of course, the focus of a gargantuan cover-up at the highest levels of world governments. “Al-Qaeda” is a perpetual covert operation, supported by a bipartisan consensus. (See “Who is Osama bin Laden?” and “Al-Qaeda: the database”.)

It is no surprise that Mukasey (who was installed specifically to continue Bush-Cheney’s torture, domestic spying and world war agendas) and other members of the Bush-Cheney criminal syndicate will never stop lying about the overwhelming and complete surveillance that agencies such as the CIA and NSA have enjoyed over the US population (and, indeed, the entire world, including pinpoint real-time penetration of terrorist and intelligence-supported “terrorist” groups) for decades.

Mukasey and others continue to wield the fear-based 9/11 fabrication to expand the endless “war on terrorism,” justify carrying out brutal criminal activities out in the open, and to fully install a “Homeland Security” police state within US borders.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Larry Chin, Online Journal, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8500

see

Olbermann: Sadr State of Affairs + Gore More Years? + Worst + Bushed! (9/11)

Countdown: Mukasey’s FISA Fables – Lies or Admissions?

Telecom Immunity: Playing the “9/11 Card” … Again

Dir C.I.A Gen Hayden on Torture & Iran’s nuclear program (videos)

The Torture Tape Cover-up: How High Does It Go? by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Bush invokes 9/11 to justify torture, domestic spying and war by Patrick Martin

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The Ant Man Exits: War Crime Accomplice Canned for Insufficient Groveling by Chris Floyd

Dandelion Salad

by Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque
Tuesday, 11 March 2008

If Admiral William Fallon really was the only man standing between us and a new war with Iran, as Esquire magazine claimed recently — well, he’s gone now.

Top U.S. Commander in Mideast to Retire Early (NYT)

As we noted here the other day, the magazine’s view of Fallon as some kind of secret peacenik was laughable: after all, Fallon, as head of U.S. Central Command, has been directing Bush’s murderous and illegal Terror War actions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia for the past year. Multitudes of innocent people have died in the imperial satrapy under his command. And while it’s true that he voiced some disagreement over the timing and tactics of the White House’s bellicose approach to Iran, he also made his true opinion of the possibility of an assault on Iran abundantly clear, telling Esquire: “These guys are ants. When the time comes, you crush them.”

But it seems that a minion’s willingness to commit war crimes to further America’s “full spectrum dominance” of the earth is not enough in eyes of the Dear Leader. There is now an elaborate system of ritual crawling and kowtowing that must be followed to the letter by imperial courtiers. A prime example of this has been the sight of “tough, independent-minded” Attorney General Michael Mukasey constantly twisting himself into circus-freak contortions in order to countenance the Leader’s policies of torture and executive tyranny.

…continued

h/t: Cem Ertür

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
see

Crushing the Ants: The Admiral and the Empire by Chris Floyd

New UN Sanctions Make US-Iran War More Likely

‘Fox’ Fallon Fired – And we’re f*cked… By Justin Raimondo

Why Fallon’s Resignation is Frightening (video)

Fears of strike on Iran rise as Admiral Fallon quits by Chris Stephen

6 Signs the U.S. May Be Headed for War in Iran by Terry Atlas

Defense Sec Gates Announces Resignation of Admiral Fallon + More on Fallon’s Resignation

How Republicans Created Executive Branch Hegemony By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
March 03, 2008

Having made the mistake of confirming Michael Mukasey as US Attorney General, the Democrats again find their efforts to hold Republican government officials accountable for illegal and unethical behavior stonewalled by the Department of Justice (sic) and blocked by the brownshirt tactics for which the Bush Regime is now infamous.

White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers were found in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas and refusing to cooperate with congressional committee investigations of the Bush Regime’s political firings of eight Republican US Attorneys. The eight fired US Attorneys declined to politicize their offices by investigating only Democratic officials and ruining their election chances with leaks from “investigations” designed to smear their reputations.

Moreover, the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney—indeed the entire administration—is by far the most powerful and necessary case for impeachment that has ever existed. By declaring Bush unimpeachable, Pelosi is giving away Congress’ only remaining power to prevent tyrannical rule by the executive branch. If Bush is above impeachment, every future president will be as well.

…continued

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Playing Politics With Intelligence By Dan Froomkin

Dandelion Salad

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, February 25, 2008

As President Bush and his aides reject the accusation that they are playing politics with matters of national intelligence, it’s worth noting that they have done precisely that many times.

Bush and his top associates have a tradition of selectively disclosing intelligence findings that serve their political agenda — while aggressively asserting the need to keep secret the information that would tend to discredit them. Think the run-up to war in Iraq. Think Valerie Plame. (See, for example, my March 31, 2006, column.)

…continued

Sibelgate: US officials visiting Turkey NOW by Virginia Simson

Dandelion Salad

Reposted with permission by the author.

by Virginia Simson
LadyBroadoak Visionary Planetary Healing Tutorial
Feb. 19, 2008

Sibelgate: US officials visiting Turkey NOW

Here we have a series of high-level visits between Turkish and US military forces before us this week. Very hard to detect just reading the mainstream news.

Continue reading

What Do We Stand For? By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
February 17, 2008

Americans traditionally thought of their country as a “city upon a hill,” a “light unto the world.” Today only the deluded think that. Polls show that the rest of the world regards the US and Israel as the two greatest threats to peace.

This is not surprising. In the words of Arthur Silber: “The Bush administration has announced to the world, and to all Americans, that this is what the United States now stands for: a vicious determination to dominate the world, criminal, genocidal wars of aggression, torture, and an increasingly brutal and brutalizing authoritarian state at home. That is what we stand for.”

Addressing his fellow Americans, Silber asks the paramount question, “Why do you support” [these horrors]?

His question goes to the heart of the matter. Do we Americans have any honor, any humanity, any integrity, any awareness of the crimes our government is committing in our name? Do we have a moral conscience?

How can a moral conscience be reconciled with our continuing to tolerate our government which has invaded two countries on the basis of lies and deception, destroyed their civilian infrastructures and murdered hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children?

The killing and occupation continue even though we now know that the invasions were based on lies and fabricated “evidence.” The entire world knows this. Yet, Americans continue to act as if the gratuitous invasions, the gratuitous killing, and the gratuitous destruction are justified. There is no end of it in sight.

If Americans have any honor, how can they betray their Founding Fathers, who gave them liberty, by tolerating a government that claims immunity to law and the Constitution and is erecting a police state in their midst?

Answers to these questions vary. Some reply that a fearful and deceived American public seeks safety from terrorists in government power.

Others answer that a majority of Americans finally understand the evil that Bush has set loose and tried to stop him by voting out the Republicans in November 2006 and putting the Democrats in control of Congress–all to no effect–and are now demoralized as neither party gives a hoot for public opinion or has a moral conscience.

The people ask over and over, “What can we do?”

Very little when the institutions put in place to protect the people from tyranny fail. In the US, the institutions have failed across the board.

The freedom and independence of the watchdog press was destroyed by the media concentration that was permitted by the Clinton administration and Congress. Americans who rely on traditional print and TV media simply have no idea what is afoot.

Political competition failed when the opposition party became a “me-too” party. The Democrats even confirmed as attorney general Michael Mukasey, an authoritarian who refuses to condemn torture and whose rulings as a federal judge undermined habeas corpus. Such a person is now the highest law enforcement officer in the United States.

The judicial system failed when federal judges ruled that “state secrets” and “national security” are more important than government accountability and the rule of law.

The separation of powers failed when Congress acquiesced to the executive branch’s claims of primary power and independence from statutory law and the Constitution.

It failed again when the Democrats refused to impeach Bush and Cheney, the two greatest criminals in American political history.

Without the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, America can never recover. The precedents for unaccountable government established by the Bush administration are too great, their damage too lasting. Without impeachment, America will continue to sink into dictatorship in which criticism of the government and appeals to the Constitution are criminalized. We are closer to executive rule than many people know.

Silber reminds us that America once had leaders, such as Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed and Senator Robert M. LaFollette Sr., who valued the principles upon which America was based more than they valued their political careers. Perhaps Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are of this ilk, but America has fallen so low that people who stand on principle today are marginalized. They cannot become Speaker of the House or a leader in the Senate.

Today Congress is almost as superfluous as the Roman Senate under the Caesars. On February 13 the US Senate barely passed a bill banning torture, and the White House promptly announced that President Bush would veto it.

Torture is now the American way. The US Senate was only able to muster 51 votes against torture, an indication that almost a majority of US Senators support torture.

Bush says that his administration does not torture. So why veto a bill prohibiting torture? Bush seems proud to present America to the world as a torturer.

After years of lying to Americans and the rest of the world that Guantanamo prison contained 774 of “the world’s most dangerous terrorists,” the Bush regime is bringing 6 of its victims to trial. The vast majority of the 774 detainees have been quietly released. The US government stole years of life from hundreds of ordinary people who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were captured by warlords and sold to the stupid Americans as “terrorists.” Needing terrorists to keep the farce going, the US government dropped leaflets in Afghanistan offering $25,000 a head for “terrorists.” Kidnappings ensued until the US government had purchased enough “terrorists” to validate the “terrorist threat.”

The six that the US is bringing to “trial” include two child soldiers for the Taliban and a car pool driver who allegedly drove bin Laden.

The Taliban did not attack the US. The child soldiers were fighting in an Afghan civil war. The US attacked the Taliban. How does that make Taliban soldiers terrorists who should be locked up and abused in Gitmo and brought before a kangaroo military tribunal? If a terrorist hires a driver or a taxi, does that make the driver a terrorist? What about the pilots of the airliners who brought the alleged 9/11 terrorists to the US? Are they guilty, too?

The Gitmo trials are show trials. Their only purpose is to create the precedent that the executive branch can ignore the US court system and try people in the same manner that innocent people were tried in Stalinist Russia and Gestapo Germany. If the Bush regime had any real evidence against the Gitmo detainees, it would have no need for its kangaroo military tribunal.

If any more proof is needed that Bush has no case against any of the Gitmo detainees, the following AP News report, February 14, 2008, should suffice: “The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to limit judges’ authority to scrutinize evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay.”

The reason Bush doesn’t want judges to see the evidence is that there is no evidence except a few confessions obtained by torture. In the American system of justice, confession obtained by torture is self-incrimination and is impermissible evidence under the US Constitution.

Andy Worthington’s book, The Guantanamo Files, and his online articles make it perfectly clear that the “dangerous terrorists” claim of the Bush administration is just another hoax perpetrated on the inattentive American public.

Recently the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity issued a report that documents the fact that Bush administration officials made 935 false statements about Iraq to the American people in order to deceive them into going along with Bush’s invasion. In recent testimony before Congress, Bush’s Secretary of State and former National Security Advisor, Condi Rice, was asked by Rep. Robert Wexler about the 56 false statements she made.

Rice replied: “I take my integrity very seriously and I did not at any time make a statement that I knew to be false.” Rice blamed “the intelligence assessments” which “were wrong.”

Another Rice lie, like those mushroom clouds that were going to go up over American cities if we didn’t invade Iraq. The weapon inspectors told the Bush administration that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, as Scott Ritter has reminded us over and over. Every knowledgeable person in the country knew there were no weapons. As the leaked Downing Street memo confirms, the head of British intelligence told the UK cabinet that the Bush administration had already decided to invade Iraq and was making up the intelligence to justify the invasion.

But let’s assume that Rice was fooled by faulty intelligence. If she had any integrity she would have resigned. In the days when American government officials had integrity, they would have resigned in shame from such a disastrous war and terrible destruction based on their mistake. But Condi Rice, like all the Bush (and Clinton) operatives, is too full of American self-righteousness and ambition to have any remorse about her mistake. Condi can still look herself in the mirror despite one million Iraqis dying from her mistake and several million more being homeless refugees, just as Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, can still look herself in the mirror despite sharing responsibility for 500,000 dead Iraqi children.

There is no one in the Bush administration with enough integrity to resign. It is a government devoid of truth, morality, decency and honor. The Bush administration is a blight upon America and upon the world.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Condoleezza Rice: Liar, Secretary of State, War Criminal Part 2

Injustice at Guantanamo: Torture Evidence & the Military Commissions Act by Prof. Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, February 15, 2008
Jurist

The Bush administration has announced its intention to try six alleged al Qaeda members at Guantánamo under the Military Commissions Act. That Act forbids the admission of evidence extracted by torture, although it permits evidence obtained by cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment if it was secured before December 30, 2005. Thus, the administration would be forbidden from relying on evidence obtained by waterboarding, if waterboarding constitutes torture.

That’s one reason Attorney General Michael Mukasey refuses to admit waterboarding is torture. The other is that torture is considered a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act. Mukasey would be calling Dick Cheney a war criminal if the former admitted waterboarding is torture. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, has said on National Public Radio that the policies that led to the torture and abuse of prisoners emanated from the Vice President’s office.

The federal government is working overtime to try and clean up the legal mess made by the use of illegal interrogation methods. In a thinly-veiled attempt to sanitize the Guantánamo trials, the Department of Justice and the Pentagon instituted an extensive program to re-interview the prisoners who have undergone abusive interrogations, this time with “clean teams.” For example, if a prisoner implicated one of the defendants during an interrogation using waterboarding, the government will now re-interrogate that prisoner without waterboarding and get the same information. Then they will say the information was secured humanely. This attempt to wipe the slate clean is a farce and a sham.

In Brady v. Maryland, the US Supreme Court held that a prosecutor has a duty to give criminal defendants all evidence that might tend to exonerate them. Yet the CIA admitted destroying several hundred hours of videotapes depicting interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Ramin al-Nashiri, which likely included waterboarding. The administration claims Abu Zubaydah led them to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the defendants facing trial in the military commissions. So the government has destroyed potentially exonerating evidence. Moreover, the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” are classified so they can be kept secret from the defendants, and CIA agents cannot be compelled to testify or produce evidence of torture.

A report just released by Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research reveals more than 24,000 interrogations have been conducted at Guantánamo since 2002 and every interrogation was videotaped. Many of these interrogations were abusive. “One Government document, for instance, reports detainee treatment so violent as to “shake the camera in the interrogation room” and “cause severe internal injury,” the report says.

The Military Commissions Act contains other provisions that deny the defendants basic due process. It allows a trial to continue in the absence of the accused, places the power to appoint judges in the hands of the Secretary of Defense, permits the introduction of hearsay and evidence obtained without a warrant, and denies the accused the right to see all of the evidence against him. Defense attorneys are not allowed to meet their clients without governmental monitoring, and all of their notes and mail must be handed over to the military.

Will the U.S. Supreme Court be able to rectify the situation of abusive interrogations if and when a case comes before it? Not if Justice Antonin Scalia has his way. Once again, Scalia is acting as a loyal foot soldier in the President’s “war on terror.” In a BBC interview that aired this week, Scalia defended the use of torture to extract information from prisoners in some cases.

Scalia’s remarks mean he has prejudged the issues in future cases in which the Constitution might dictate the suppression of evidence because of illegal police interrogation techniques, or the right to compensation of a person whose civil rights have been violated. Justice Scalia should recuse himself from any case that presents these issues.

Bush is meanwhile threatening to veto a bill Congress passed that would forbid the CIA from subjecting prisoners to interrogation techniques banned by the U.S. Army Field Manual. John McCain, the tortured POW who led the charge in 2005 against cruel treatment, has now hitched his wagon to Bush’s star. Presidential candidate McCain voted to allow the CIA to continue to ply its cruelty.

When Bush vetoes the bill, Congress should stand firm for the rule of law and basic standards of human decency and override his veto. Dick Cheney and other officials who participated in formulating the abusive interrogation policies should be investigated under the U.S. War Crimes Act. And the Democratic-controlled Congress should repeal the Military Commissions Act that Bush rammed through the Republican-controlled Congress.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic : Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her articles are archived at http://www.marjoriecohn.com/

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Marjorie Cohn, Jurist, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8090

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Habeas Corpus/HR 6166/Military Commissions Act/MCA

Waterboarding for God and Country By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
10/02/08 “ICH

After one spends 45 years in Washington, high farce does not normally throw one off balance. I found the past few days, however, an acid test of my equilibrium.

I missed the National Prayer Breakfast—for the 45th time in a row. But, as I drove to work I listened with rapt attention as President George W. Bush gave his insights on prayer:

“When we lift our hearts to God, we’re all equal in his sight. We’re all equally precious…In prayer we grow in mercy and compassion…. When we answer God’s call to love a neighbor as ourselves, we enter into a deeper friendship with our fellow man — and a deeper relationship with our eternal Father.”

Vice President Dick Cheney skipped Thursday’s prayer breakfast in order to put the final touches on the speech he gave later that morning to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Perhaps he felt he needed some extra time to devise careful words to extol “the interrogation program run by the CIA…a tougher program for tougher customers, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11,” without conceding that the program has involved torture.

But there was a touch of defensiveness in Cheney’s remarks, as he saw fit repeatedly to reassure his audience yesterday that America is a “decent” country.

After all, CIA Director Michael Hayden had confirmed publicly on Tuesday that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and two other “high-value” detainees had been waterboarded in 2002-2003, though Hayden added that the technique has since been discontinued.

An extreme form of interrogation going back at least as far as the Spanish Inquisition, waterboarding has been condemned as torture by just about everyone—except the hired legal hands of the Bush administration.

On Wednesday President Bush’s spokesman Tony Fratto revealed that the White House reserves the right to approve waterboarding again, “depending on the circumstances.” Fratto matter-of-factly described the process still followed by the Bush administration to approve torture—er; I mean, “enhanced interrogation techniques” like waterboarding:

“The process includes the director of the Central Intelligence Agency bringing the proposal to the attorney general, where the review would be conducted to determine if the plan would be legal and effective. At that point, the proposal would go to the president. The president would listen to the determination of his advisers and make a decision.”


Dissing Congress

Cheney’s task of reassuring us about our “decency” was made no easier Thursday, when Attorney General Michael Mukasey stonewalled questions from the hapless John Conyers, titular chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Conyers tried, and failed, to get straight answers from Mukasey on torture.

Conyers referred to Hayden’s admission about waterboarding and branded the practice “odious.” But Mukasey seemed to take perverse delight in “dissing” Conyers, as the expression goes in inner city Washington. Sadly, the tired chairman took the disrespect stoically.

He did summon the courage to ask Attorney General Mukasey directly, “Are you ready to start a criminal investigation into whether this confirmed use of waterboarding by U.S. agents was illegal?”

“No, I am not,” Mukasey answered.

Mukasey claimed “waterboarding was found to be permissible under the law as it existed” in the years immediately after 9/11; thus, the Justice Department could not investigate someone for doing something the department had declared legal. Got that?

Mukasey explained:

“That would mean the same department that authorized the program would now consider prosecuting somebody who followed that advice.”

Oddly, Mukasey himself is on record saying waterboarding would be torture if applied to him. And Michael McConnell, Director of National Intelligence, was even more explicit in taking the same line in an interview with Lawrence Wright of New Yorker magazine. McConnell told Wright that, for him:

“Waterboarding would be excruciating. If I had water draining into my nose, oh God, I just can’t imagine how painful! Whether it’s torture by anybody else’s definition, for me it would be torture.”

Okay, it would be torture if done to you, Mike; how about if done to others? Sadly, McConnell, too, missed the prayer breakfast and the president’s moving reminder that we are called “to love a neighbor as ourselves.” Is there an exception, perhaps, for detainees?

Cat Out of Bag

When torture first came up during his interview with the New Yorker, McConnell was more circumspect, repeating the obligatory bromide “We don’t torture,” as former CIA Director George Tenet did in five consecutive sentences while hawking his memoir on 60 Minutes on April 29, 2007. As McConnell grew more relaxed, however, he let slip the rationale for Mukasey’s effrontery and the administration’s refusal to admit that waterboarding is torture. For anyone paying attention, that rationale has long been a no-brainer. But here is McConnell inadvertently articulating it:

“If it is ever determined to be torture, there will be a huge penalty to be paid for anyone engaging in it.”

Like death. Even Alberto Gonzales could grasp this at the outset. That explains the overly clever, lawyerly wording in the Jan. 25, 2002 memorandum for the president drafted by the vice president’s lawyer, David Addington, but signed by Gonzales. Addington/Gonzales argued that the president’s determination that the Geneva agreements on prisoners of war do not apply to al-Qaeda and the Taliban:

“Substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 2441)…enacted in 1996…

“Punishments for violations of Section 2441include the death penalty…

“[I]t is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441. Your determination would create a reasonable basis in law that Section 2441 does not apply, which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution.”
MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT, January 25, 2002, p. 2

Mike McConnell needs to get his own lawyers to bring him up to date on all this. For that memorandum was quickly followed by an action memorandum signed by George W. Bush on Feb. 7, 2002. The president’s memo incorporated the exact wording of Addington/Gonzales’ bottom line; to wit, the U.S. would “treat the detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of [Geneva]. (emphasis added)

That provided the loophole through which then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then-CIA director George Tenet and their subordinates drove the Mack truck of torture. Even the Bush-administration-friendly editorial page of the Washington Post saw fit on Friday to declare torture “illegal in all instances,” adding that “waterboarding is, and always has been, torture.”

Waterboarding has been condemned as torture for a very long time. After WW-II Japanese soldiers were hanged for the “war crime” of waterboarding American soldiers.

Patriots and Prophets

Patriots and prophets have made it clear from our earliest days that such abuse has no place in America.

Virginia’s Patrick Henry insisted passionately that “the rack and the screw,” as he put it, were barbaric practices that had to be left behind in the Old World, or we are “lost and undone.” Attorney General Mukasey, for his part, recently refused to say whether he considers the rack and the screw forms of torture, dismissing the question as hypothetical.

As for prophets, George Hunzinger of Princeton Theological Seminary has awakened enough religious folks to form the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, a coalition of 130 religious organizations from left to right on the political spectrum. Hunzinger puts it succinctly: “To acknowledge that waterboarding is torture is like conceding that the sun rises in the east,” adding:

“All the dissembling in high places that makes these shocking abuses possible must be brought to an end. But they will undoubtedly continue unless those responsible for them are held accountable…. A special counsel is an essential first step.”

Sadly, Hunzinger and his associates have been unable to overcome the pious complacency of the vast majority of institutional churches, synagogues, and mosques in this country and their reluctance to exercise moral leadership.

How It Looks From Outside

Sometimes it takes a truth-telling outsider to throw light on our moral failures.

South African Methodist Bishop Peter Storey, erstwhile chaplain to Nelson Madela in prison and longtime outspoken opponent of apartheid, has this to say to those clergy who might be moved to preach more than platitudes:

“We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white, and blue myth. You have to expose and confront the great disconnect between the kindness, compassion, and caring of most American people and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly or indirectly, by the poor of the earth. You have to help good people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them.

“All around the world there are those who long to see your human goodness translated into a different, more compassionate way of relating with the rest of this bleeding planet.”

Mukasey’s thumbing his nose at Conyers’ committee yesterday was simply the most recent display of contempt for Congress on the part of the Bush administration. The Founders expected our representatives in Congress to be taken seriously by the executive branch, and expected that Members of Congress would hold senior executives accountable—to the point of impeaching them, when necessary, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

That used to worry those officials and put a brake on more outlandish behavior. Not any more.

No Worries, George

One reads George Tenet’s memoirs with some nostalgia for the days of a modicum of congressional oversight, and with a strong sense of irony—as he confesses concern that Congress might one day hold him and others accountable for taking liberties with national and international law.

It seems likely that then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and David Addington counseled Tenet that his concerns were quaint and obsolete and, alas, they may have been right, the way things have been going. But Tenet apparently entertained lingering misgivings—perhaps even qualms of conscience.

In the immediate post-9/11 period, Tenet says he told the president “our only real ally” on the Afghan border was Uzbekistan, “where we had established important intelligence-collection capabilities.” We now know from UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray that those “collection capabilities” included the most primitive methods of torture, including boiling alleged “terrorists” alive.

Tenet adds that he stressed the importance of being able to detain unilaterally al-Qaeda operatives around the world. His worries shine through the rather telling sentences that follow:

“We were asking for and we would be given as many authorities as CIA ever had. Things could blow up. People, me among them, could end up spending some of the worst days of our lives justifying before congressional overseers our new freedom to act.” At the Center of the Storm, p. 177-178

Tenet need not have worried. He would be shielded from accountability by a timid Congress as well as an arrogant White House able to arrogate unprecedented power to itself and to shield those it wished to protect.

Setting the Tone

It was President George W. Bush who set the tone from the outset. After his address to the nation on the evening of 9/11, he assembled his top national security aides in the White House bunker—the easier, perhaps, to foster a bunker mentality. Among them was counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, who quoted the president in his memoir:

“I want you to understand that we are at war and we will stay at war until this is done. Nothing else matters. Everything is available for the pursuit of this war. Any barriers in your way, they’re gone. Any money you need, you have it. This is our only agenda…

“I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.” Against All Enemies, Free Press, 2004

Clarke, of course, took his book’s title from the oath of office we all swore as military officers and/or senior government officials: “To defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

John Ashcroft, head of the Department of Justice at the time, fell in lockstep with the thrust of the president’s comment dismissing any concern with international law—or, as would quickly be seen, domestic law, as well. With the enthusiastic assistance of David Addington, the affable Ashcroft assembled a cabal of Mafia-like lawyers whose imaginative legal opinions on torture, warrantless eavesdropping, and other abuses mark them forever as “domestic enemies” of the Constitution.

Add Mukasey to this distinguished roster.

Torture: the Hallmark

What is not widely known is that Justice Department-approved torture was first applied on an American citizen, John Walker Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan in late November 2001. The White House and corporate press immediately sensationalized Lindh as “the American Taliban.”

Jesselyn Radack, a conscientious legal advisor in the Justice Department’s Professional Responsibility Advisory Office, which gives ethics advice to Department attorneys, insisted that Lindh be advised of his rights before any interrogation. Instead, he was tortured mercilessly during the first few days of his internment and denied medical care.

Lindh had had the foolishness and bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; i. e., in a large group of prisoners rounded up by CIA and Army paramilitary forces—too large a group, it turned out.

A spontaneous uprising took place, and CIA paramilitary officer Johnny “Mike” Spann, who had questioned Lindh just minutes before, was shot dead. Outraged, Spann’s colleagues applied “frontier justice,” totally ignoring the Constitutional cautions of Ms. Radack.

The Department of Justice moved quickly to fire Radack for her principled stand. But she had the presence of mind to save emails providing chapter and verse of the difficult exchanges in which she had insisted on respect for Lindh’s rights as an American citizen. Newsweek carried the story briefly, but neither Congress nor anyone else in the media showed much interest.

Radack’s book recounting this experience, The Canary in the Coalmine: Blowing the Whistle in the Case of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh, is available on line at: http://www.patriotictruthteller.net/.

Against this backdrop, together with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, Patrick Henry’s warning remains a challenge for our time: Are we “lost and undone?” I think not; but we had better get it together soon, for, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., cautioned, “There is such a thing as too late.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He was an Army intelligence officer before joining the CIA where he had a 27-year career as an analyst. He is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

A shorter version of this article appeared on Consortiumnews.com.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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American Psycho: An Elite Exposed in an Exit Speech by Chris Floyd

Ron Paul speech at CPAC 02.07.08 (videos)

Is Michael Mukasey Prioritizing the Harassment & Imprisonment of Journalists? By Glenn Greenwald

Dandelion Salad

By Glenn Greenwald
After Downing Street
www.Salon.com
Sun, 2008-02-03

Ever since the President’s illegal warrantless eavesdropping program was revealed by the New York Times‘ Jim Risen and Eric Lichtblau back in December, 2005, there has been a faction of neoconservatives and other extremists on the Right calling for the NYT reporters and editors to be criminally prosecuted — led by the likes of Bill Kristol (now of the NYT), Bill Bennett (of CNN), Commentary Magazine and many others. In May, 2006, Alberto Gonzales went on ABC News and revealed that the DOJ had commenced a criminal investigation into the leak, and then “raised the possibility [] that New York Times journalists could be prosecuted for publishing classified information.”

That was one of the more revealing steps ever taken by Bush’s DOJ under Gonzales: the administration violated multiple federal laws for years in spying on Americans, blocked all efforts to investigate what they did or subject it to the rule of law, but then decided that the only real criminals were those who alerted the nation to their lawbreaking — whistleblowers and journalists alike. Even Gonzales’ public musing about criminal prosecutions could have had a devastating effect — if you’re a whistleblower or journalist who uncovers secret government lawbreaking, you’re obviously going to think twice (at least) before bringing it to light, given the public threats by the Attorney General to criminally prosecute those who do.

Eighteen months have passed since Gonzales’ threats, and while there have been some signs that the investigation continues — former DOJ official Jack Goldsmith, for instance, described how he was accosted and handed a Subpoena by FBI agents in the middle of Harvard Square, demanding to know what he knew about the NSA leak — there had no further public evidence that the DOJ intended to pursue Risen and Lichtblau. Until now.

Yesterday, the NYT reported that Jim Risen was served with a grand jury Subpoena, compelling him to disclose the identity of the confidential source(s) for disclosures in his 2006 book, State of War. The Subpoena seeks disclosure of Risen’s sources not for the NSA program (for which he and Lichtblau won a Pulitzer Prize), but rather, for Risen’s reporting on CIA efforts to infiltrate Iran’s nuclear program. Nonetheless, Risen’s work on State of War is what led to his discovery that the Bush administration was illegally spying on Americans without the warrants required by law.

The issuance of a grand jury Subpoena to a reporter seeking the disclosure of confidential sources is one of the most serious steps the DOJ can take. If the reporter refuses to disclose his source(s) — as reporters feel duty-bound to do, and, independently, as their future ability to uncover government secrets requires — the reporter can be held in contempt and consigned to prison (Risen has indicated he will not comply). Judy Miller’s refusal to disclose her sources in the Libby case, in response to a grand jury Subpoena, is what led to her imprisonment for 85 days, until she finally relented and revealed her sources. Had she not done so, she could have (and likely would have) remained imprisoned indefinitely.

Risen’s book, State of War, was published in early January, 2006 — more than two years ago. Why is it now, suddenly, that he is being subpoenaed to reveal his sources?

Issuing a Subpoena to a journalist poses such serious First Amendment threats that the DOJ has promulgated guidelines for what must occur in order for that to happen. Pursuant to Section III(A)(2)(l) of those guidelines — “Subpoenas to the Media”:

If the investigation involves media news gathering functions, the staff should first attempt to obtain the necessary information from non-media sources before considering subpoenaing members of the news media. If these attempts are unsuccessful and news media sources are the only reasonable sources of the relevant information, the staff should attempt to negotiate with the news media member or organization to obtain the information voluntarily. If such negotiations fail, the staff must seek the express approval of the Attorney General before issuing a subpoena.

Although one can’t say for certain, it seems rather likely that what has led to the issuance of this grand jury Subpoena to Risen is that Michael Mukasey has apparently decided to make criminal investigations of such leaks one of his top priorities, and is prepared for a massive First Amendment fight with Risen and his publisher, Simon & Schuster, which likely will include a willingness to imprison Risen if he fails to comply — just as the Neoconservative Right, still seething over Risen’s role in exposing the President’s NSA lawbreaking, has been demanding for some time.

One of the leading theorists of the “Imprison-the-NYT” movement has been Gabriel Schoenfeld of Norm Podhoretz’s Commentary Magazine. He wrote a widely-cited article back in March, 2006 arguing that Risen, Lichtblau and even NYT Editor Bill Keller should all be criminally prosecuted under the Espionage Act and other statutes for publishing the NSA story:

The real question that an intrepid prosecutor in the Justice Department should be asking is whether, in the aftermath of September 11, we as a nation can afford to permit the reporters and editors of a great newspaper to become the unelected authority that determines for all of us what is a legitimate secret and what is not. Like the Constitution itself, the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of the press are not a suicide pact. The laws governing what the Times has done are perfectly clear; will they be enforced?

On his Commentary blog yesterday, Schoenfeld gloated about the Subpoena to Risen and suggested a possible connection to not only Risen’s work on the NSA story, but also Schoenfeld’s own agitating for the imprisonment of these journalists. Schoenfeld wrote (referring to himself in the third person by the name of his blog, “Connecting the Dots”):

Finally, action. A federal prosecutor has issued a subpoena to James Risen of the New York Times, one of two reporters at the paper who compromised the National Security Agency’s (NSA) Terrorist Surveillance Program in December 1995 (sic). . . .

Why is this investigation proceeding now? Connecting the Dots has no inside information. But Connecting the Dots was seated at the same table as Michael Mukasey and his wife at two dinners in the last three years, back when the future Attorney General was still a mere federal judge. The leaks in the New York Times did not come up for discussion, but Mukasey made plain he was a close reader of COMMENTARY.

Did he read a certain article in COMMENTARY entitled Has the New York Times Violated the Espionage Act? That’s a question James Risen — and Bill Keller, too — should be thinking about.

It’s entirely unsurprising that Michael Mukasey sat socially with our nation’s most extremist neoconservatives and declared himself a “close reader of COMMENTARY.” After all, before his nomination was formally announced, the White House chose Bill Kristol to announce his selection and, in a lengthy article, to vouch to conservatives for what a fine AG Mukasey would make.

Mukasey was a long-time supporter of the neocons’ favorite candidate, Rudy Giuliani and, prior to becoming Attorney General, was part of the Giuliani campaign. And it was Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer — both with neoconservative leanings (war supporters both, among other things) — who jointly enabled Mukasey’s confirmation by becoming the only Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote in his favor.

Although there are still facts missing — such as whether this Subpoena was actually approved by Mukasey rather than Gonzales — it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the Grand Jury Subpoena was done at least with Mukasey’s assent. It seems rather clearly to signify the intent of his Justice Department to more aggressively pursue reporters who disclose information embarrassing to the President.

It’s hard to overstate how threatening this behavior is. The Bush administration has erected an unprecedented wall of secrecy around everything it does. Beyond illegal spying, if one looks at the instances where we learned of lawbreaking and other forms of lawless radicalism — CIA black sites, rendition programs, torture, Abu Ghraib, pre-war distortion of intelligence, destruction of CIA torture videos — it is, in every case, the by-product of two forces: government whistleblowers and reporters willing to expose it.

Grand Jury Subpoenas such as the one issued to Risen have as their principal purpose shutting off that avenue of learning about government wrongdoing — the sole remaining avenue for a country plagued by a supine, slothful, vapid press and an indescribably submissive Congress. Mukasey has quickly demonstrated that he has no interest in investigating and pursuing lawbreaking by high government officials, but now, he (or at least the DOJ he leads) seems to be demonstrating something even worse: a burgeoning interest in investigating and pursuing those who expose such governmental lawbreaking and turning those whistleblowers and investigative journalists into criminals.

Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book “How Would a Patriot Act?,” a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, “A Tragic Legacy“, examines the Bush legacy.

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