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FBI opens criminal investigation of Bush in CIA leak
(Terence Hunt, Associated Press, September 30, 2003)
The FBI began a full-scale criminal investigation Tuesday into whether White House officials illegally leaked the identity of an undercover CIA officer, and President Bush ordered his staff to cooperate with the first major probe of his administration. . . . The Justice Department alerted the White House late Monday of the decision to move from a preliminary inquiry into a full investigation, a step rarely taken with complaints involving leaks of classified information. . . . The investigation is aimed at finding who leaked the name of the CIA operative, possibly in an attempt to punish the officer's husband, who had accused the administration of manipulating intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq. . . . the investigation was an embarrassing development for a president who promised to bring integrity and leadership to the White House after years of Republican criticism of the Clinton administration. . . . On Capitol Hill, Democrats pressed their case for a special counsel, saying Attorney General John Ashcroft had an obvious conflict of interest. . . . "We don't have confidence in John Ashcroft ... and we know without a doubt that somebody broke the federal law," Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle said. Ashcroft has not ruled out appointing a special counsel, leaving the possibility open, a senior law enforcement official said. . . . Ashcroft, at a news conference, said the CIA also had been instructed to tell employees to preserve relevant information. . . . Wilson said Monday, referring to the leaking of his wife's name, that people in whom he has confidence have "indicated to me that he (Rove), at a minimum, condoned it and certainly did nothing to put a stop to it for a week after it was out there." . . . The focus on Rove brought an odd twist to Bush's travels. When the president boarded Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, he walked up the steps and waved -- and not a single camera followed. He looked momentarily perplexed. All lenses were trained on Rove at the bottom of the steps.
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posted by Lorenzo 2:19 PM
Tax Cuts Lead to Largest Deficit Ever in Complete Reversal of Bush's Prediction
(The Daily Mis-Lead, September 30, 2003)
Despite President Bush's assurance in 2001 that his tax cuts "could happen without fear of budget deficit, even if the economy softens," the estimated $455 billion budget deficit this fiscal year will be the highest in U. S. history. . . . In the President's 2002 State of the Union message he tried to shift blame onto Congress, saying "our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term so long as Congress restrains spending," but earlier this month he admitted his tax cuts account for 25% of the deficit. . . . the Bush tax cuts will pass an extraordinary hardship onto the next generation that faces paying a minimum of $43 trillion in Social Security and Medicare benefits to Baby Boomers. Even if the government limited itself to paying only for retirement benefits, health benefits and interest on the national debt, federal taxes would still have to be raised by 70 percent - permanently - to meet those obligations.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:53 PM
Job Losses at Level of Great Depression Contradict President Bush's Wishful Predictions
(Misleader.org, September 29, 2003)
Instead of creating 510,000 jobs in 2003, as President Bush predicted, the Republican-led economy has suffered a net loss of 473,000 jobs so far this year. . . . The President sold his tax package last spring as a mechanism to create jobs, saying, "[T]he best way to create demand for goods and services is to let people have more of their own money . . . that's why tax relief is important in the year 2003 . . . [T]hat's what the whole purpose of the package is, to create the conditions for job growth." . . . His promises haven't borne out, but the President has tried to ignore the reality, claiming most recently two weeks ago in Michigan, "I'm sure the numbers are beginning to look better." . . . So far, however, economic growth has not translated into jobs. In the past 22 months just over one million Americans have lost their job. Added to the 1.78 million lost jobs during the seven-month recession, the period represents the largest sustained loss of jobs since the Great Depression.
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posted by Lorenzo 10:54 AM
White House Probed Over Leak of CIA Agent's Name
(Randall Pinkston, CBS News, September 28, 2003)
The Justice Department is investigating whether to launch a criminal probe of the White House after the CIA complained someone there may have leaked the classified identity of an agency operative . . . If the allegations are true - whoever is responsible for the leak could be headed to jail - for ten years. . . . The president's national security advisor, Condoleeza Rice, issued the latest White House denial that senior administration officials had blown the cover of a CIA operative. . . . In a July article, syndicated columnist Robert Novak said two senior administration officials gave him the agent's name. But a new report reveals the leak may have been more extensive. . . . A senior administration official told the Washington Post that before Novak�s column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson�s wife. . . . The senior official said he or she came forward to the Post because the leaks were �wrong and a huge miscalculation, because they were irrelevant and did nothing to diminish Wilson�s credibility.� . . . Former CIA analyst Raymond McGovern is out raged. �People frequently die from revelations like this,� he says. �We don�t know what will happen in this case and I suppose it will come out in the end.� . . . The alleged motive for outing the agent, may have been revenge against her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson had just published an article detailing his warnings to the administration that there was no concrete evidence that Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger. . . . �Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge,� the senior official told the Washington Post. . . . Wilson says, �For an administration that came to Washington promising to restore honor and dignity to the White House, this kind of low blow, even in a bare knuckled town like Washington, was neither honorable nor dignified.� . . . Wilson has publicly suggested Bush advisor Karl Rove broke his wife�s cover.
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posted by Lorenzo 5:01 PM
Bush Losing Ground in Polls ... his lowest rating ever
(Peter S. Canellos, The Boston Globe, September 24, 2003)
For the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, Bush seemed to be in a crisis that was purely political, and largely of his own making. . . . Yesterday, the Gallup Poll announced that Bush's approval ratings had sunk to their lowest point in his presidency, 50 percent, while the Pew Research Center released a poll showing that 59 percent of Americans oppose the $87 billion request. . . . More worrisome for Bush, 57 percent in the Pew poll said they were willing to freeze Bush's tax cuts rather than sacrifice any domestic programs to foot the Iraq bill. . . . when Bush addressed the nation two weeks ago, explaining that Iraq was now the "central front" in the war on terrorism and that $87 billion would be needed in the next year to continue the job, public support started to waver. . . . "The public's skepticism about what's happening in Iraq was building very gradually and very diffusely," said Ralph Whitehead Jr., professor of journalism at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. "Without realizing it, Bush's proposal for the $87 billion probably crystallized public opinion on Iraq." . . . The Gallup Poll suggested that the nation was almost evenly divided on whether it was worth going to war at all, with 50 percent saying yes and 48 percent saying no. That's a drop of 8 percentage points in two weeks. The Pew poll suggested that the public was more concerned about spending money to rebuild the country than maintaining a military presence, with 63 percent opposing any removal of troops. . . . But by finally putting a price tag on the cost of the war, the administration seems to have invited voters to compare it with other priorities, such as prescription-drug benefits. Indeed, every pet cause -- from housing to deficit reduction -- can be seen as being crowded out by Iraqi concerns. . . . The administration had hoped to leaven its Iraq funding request with increased contributions from other countries.
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posted by Lorenzo 4:23 PM
Time for a New Patriotism?
There's nothing worse than this "new patriotism" that is so popular today. A false patriotism. Blind patriotism. Britney Spears sums it up nicely: �I think we should just trust the president in every decision he makes,� she told CNN, �and we should just support that, and be faithful in what happens.� Millions of people, most of them Republicans, define themselves politically and define others patriotically by adherence to that simple Spears standard.
It makes me sick! True loyalty to country is about more than saluting or waving a flag. I hated Bill Clinton's symbolism and lack of substance. I hate it with the Republicans too. The truth doesn't matter -- all that matters is that we're pretending to be "patriotic."
The Jessica Lynch story is a perfect example of this patriotism. All that matters is the mythos and faked perception. No one cares about the real truth. History books don't care either. Jessica can't remember what happened, so she "writes" a book about what happened. How crazy is that? Oh, never underestimate the power of the TV image. We were all so excited and proud watching those suspenseful scenes of her rescue on the TV news. But, how much of it is true and how much of it was manufactured?
The media doesn't rely on first-hand reports. They do not rely on anything as dangerous as honesty. They rely, simply, on PR. We believe the TV images of the bogus "rescue" at the expense of common sense because we are a nation drunk on the idea that the U.S. can do no wrong and TV would never lie. After all, who wants to see burning babies and crying mothers and hot screaming death on prime time? Show me Old Glory waving in slo-mo!
The Big Lie Of Jessica Lynch
A $1 mil book deal and zero memory of any "rescue"
Hey, remember that dramatic CNN footage of that big statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled by U.S. forces in that Baghdad square a few months back, during the "war"? Remember how powerfully symbolic it was supposed to be?
Remember, later, seeing the wide-angle shot on the Internet, the one of all the U.S. tanks surrounding the square and the whole bogus setup of how they staged the event, complete with a big crane and some strong cable and strategically positioned "citizens" cheering their "liberation" as the statue fell, as just off camera, a handful of genuine Iraqis loitered nearby, looking confused and bored?
Remember how you felt then? The Jessica Lynch story is just like that, only worse.
These are the things that put it all in perspective, and make you realize what the Pentagon and the military hawks really value. These are the things that make you realize, goddammit, here I am working every day and struggling to make ends meet in struggling economy and all I really needed to do all along to make a million bucks is stage some sort of bogus wartime heroics and sell it to a war-numbed American populace for $24.95 in hardback, and, boom, Range Rover City.
Jessica Lynch. You know the one. The sweet, American-pie 19-year-old soldier and kindergarten-teacher wanna-be whose army squad took a wrong turn in Iraq and was, apparently, ambushed.
And some of her comrades were killed and she was taken prisoner, full of stab wounds and bullet holes, and she was whisked off to a ragged Iraqi hospital and held for eight days by vicious Iraqi guards and ostensibly abused, and later supposedly "rescued" in the most daring and macho made-for-TV moment of the war by elite teams of hunky U.S. Army Rangers and U.S. Navy SEALs. Wow.
Except that maybe it never really happened that way. Except that Lynch herself doesn't remember a single thing and all the nurses and doctors and eyewitnesses on the scene say the Iraqi fedayeen guards had fled the day before the "rescue," and there was no danger whatsoever, no resistance of any kind, the U.S. forces could just walk right in, and they knew it.
And the hospital doors were wide open, and the nurses and doctors had gone out of their way to provide decent care for our precious Jessica, considering the circumstances, and doctors even tried to return Lynch to U.S. forces themselves.
And despite U.S. claims, Lynch had no knife wounds or bullet holes at all, just a few broken bones, and the dramatic and violent "rescue" was really just inane and silly and entirely faked and yet America bought it, hook, line and Rumsfeld, because it was on TV.
And now, here we are. Jessica and disgraced N.Y. Times reporter Rick "Oh my God do I need a gig" Bragg just inked a $1 million book deal to tell her nonstory, titled "I'm a Soldier Too: The Jessica Lynch Story," not "Oh My God You Are Such a Sucker for Buying This Book I Mean Wow."
Because this is how we fabricate our history. This is how we spin our patriotism, how we bake our jingoistic cake, the Lynch tale the most apt and definitive myth of the war so far.
Because Jessica's story, much like WMDs and Saddam's nukes and biotoxins and Orange Alerts and our imminently prosperous economy and Jenna Bush's ostensible prowess with a beer bong, does not rely on truths. We do not rely on first-hand reports. We do not rely on anything so piffling and small and dangerous as honesty.
We rely, simply, on PR. We believe the TV images of the bogus "rescue" at the expense of common sense because we are a nation drunk on the idea that the U.S. can do no wrong and TV would never lie.
And goddammit if Hannity and Rush and O'Reilly say it happened like that, it must be true, and damn you America-hating libs for daring to question the integrity of our armed forces when they are out there right now protecting us from, uh, what was it again? Higher gas prices? Israel's scorn? Dick Cheney's pallid sneer? Something like that.
Look, there is no war without spin. There is no war without outright lying to the populace, without trying to coerce a wary nation into supporting our unprovoked savagery by way of Hollywood-style set pieces performed specifically to deflect attention from the brutality and the decapitated children and the still-dying U.S. soldiers and the burning bodies by the side of the road.
This is nothing shocking. This is nothing even remotely unusual or uncommon. The fabric of war consists not of gallant battles fought by hardy soldiers for some noble collective good yay yay go team, but of manufactured tales of valiant brotherhood and purebred heroism designed to make the vile pill slightly less bitter.
War is, of course, vicious and primitive and disgustingly violent and not the slightest bit gallant, and America has rarely been more thuggish in its short history than when we annihilated Iraq this past year, the world's greatest bloated superpower hammering down on a nearly defenseless, piss-poor nation in the name of, well, petrochemical rights and strategic political positioning. It's not a war, it's a gang beating. Uncle Sam wants you.
And, hence, we need the sugar. We desperately need the sweet, teary-eyed images of flags and salutes and stunning "rescues" to make it all go down smoothly, to suppress the collective recoil, the national gag reflex. After all, who wants to see burning babies and crying mothers and hot screaming death on prime time? Show me Old Glory waving in slo-mo! Ahh, that's better.
We need, in short, pretty 19-year-old memory-impaired soldier girls being rescued by manly SEALs wearing bitchin' night-vision goggles and yelling "Go! Go! Go!" with lots of explosions and helicopters and maybe a cameo by Bruce Willis looking squinty and tough, with the Pentagon cameras rolling and everyone's adrenaline pumping like at a horse race, except for maybe the baffled Iraqi hospital personnel who were calmly taking care of Ms. Lynch when the U.S. storm troopers swooped in and knocked them down.
Of course, this isn't about Jessica herself at all. She has served her country bravely and is probably very sweet and childishly articulate and is just in it for the quick wad of cash, and what the hell she doesn't remember a damn thing about the rescue anyway, which makes her the perfect one to write a whole book about it, with Bragg along to, ahem, "fill in the blanks." Ain't that America.
And we can just imagine how the Pentagon brass doubtlessly winked at Jessie and said hey sweetie, you go girl, take the book deal, and the movie deal, and the commemorative plates by the Franklin Mint, it would be good for the country if you go along with the ruse, there there now, that's a good little soldier.
Jessica Lynch is but a puppet, a toy, a convenient TV-ready canvass onto which we can project our impotent myths of patriotism and war, spit forth by the BushCo military machine to ease America's pain, to assuage that increasingly nagging fear that we have committed this horrible thing, this irreversible atrocity.
In short, Jessica's myth helps numb the idea that we have removed a pip-squeak, nonthreatening tyrant from power and left behind a reeking miasma of violence and bloodshed and thousands of dead citizens, more rabid anti-U.S. sentiment and mistrust and global instability than Saddam (or Osama) could've ever dreamed.
And little Ms. Lynch, she is America's new doll. She is our little G.I. Jessica, all safe and clean in her homecoming fatigues, her imaginary story ready to grace the nightstands of the happily gullible across America.
Because really, why bother with all that icky messy nonfiction, all that violent unsavory fact, when straight fiction is so much more, you know, patriotic?
. . . Read more!
posted by Hal 3:30 PM
Karl Rove Accused of Treason!
(Al Martin, Rense.com, September 3, 2003)
Ambassador Joseph Wilson has been turning up the heat in this situation. He revealed on Friday August 29 in a symposium in Washington the person in the Bush administration, who had leaked it out to the Washington Post that Wilson's wife is a CIA agent of 26 years. As a consequence of this leak, her entire team of overseas assets were liquidated. . . . The leaker, it turns out, was none other than the notorious Karl H. Rove, Bush's so-called White House advisor. Ambassador Wilson identified him as Karl Roverer, with the umlaut over the "o." . . . According to reliable sources, as well as our own Al Martin Raw.com investigation, Karl Rove is, in fact, the grandson of Karl Heinz Roverer, the gauleiter of Mecklenburg, who was also a partner and senior engineer of Roverer Sud-Deutche Ingenieurb�ro AG. They built Birchenau, the concentration camp in Nazi Germany. . . . So Karl Rove has been identified as the leaker responsible for the deaths of more than 70 CIA assets overseas . . . Wilson has announced that he will have his private attorneys petition the Department of Justice demanding that Roverer a/k/a Karl Rove be prosecuted under the 1982 Intelligence Identity Protection Act . This law specifically supposed to prevent what has happened in this case and that is the Bush administration attempting to retaliate against a senior government official who tells the truth about that administration by revealing the identities of intelligence members within their own families. . . . The law carries an automatic mandatory 10 years to life imprisonment as punishment. . . . And where would Rove go? Karl Rove, it should be noted, is a dual citizen of the United States and Germany. Because of his position he has special diplomatic status. The idea is that if its absolutely necessary he could go to Switzerland where he couldn't be extradited. . . . This is very explosive and what makes it so explosive is that this Intelligence Identity Act, if it can be proved, and Rove can be successfully prosecuted and if Rove reveals that the president George Bush told him to institute this leak, then the President's automatic shield of immunity is removed and the president himself can be prosecuted for murder if any deaths of any US intelligence agents or assets resulted from the leak. . . . Was Rove really the source of the leak? The investigation held thus far by the State Department's Internal Security (ISD) has stated that Rove did indeed leak the information out about the Ambassador's wife, CIA agent Valerie Wilson, to the Washington Post. Apparently they have an affidavit from the reporter he leaked it to. . . . The way the Bush Regime is trying to quash it is to slow it way down by exerting so much pressure against Pro-Bush Media. Please note that you have not heard one word about this on CNN or MSNBC or Fox News And not one word about this on ABC, CBS, or NBC. . . . The Bush Administration has let it be known to the Democratic National Committee that any Democrat who tries to push this will find press coverage severely limited. . . . this is a story, which should be more widely known, since the treatment of Ambassador Wilson and his family (not to mention the US intelligence assets who were liquidated overseas) is certainly one of the most egregious abuses of power yet perpetrated by the Bush administration.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 11:20 AM
Rumsfeld, Army Leaders in Discord
(Robert Schlesinger, Boston Globe, 01 September 2003)
Rumsfeld and the Army leadership have clashed on issues ranging from the number of troops in Iraq to the size of the overall force needed to defend America. . . . Rumsfeld's critics say the skirmishing is taking a toll on the Army, with casualties that include the loss of a prized weapons system last year, the resignation of Army Secretary Thomas White last spring, and, in recent weeks, the retirement of four top generals, with more expected in the coming months. . . . "I widely hear the comparison to McNamara, normally with the caveat that he's much worse than McNamara," the general said. . . . The rupture between Rumsfeld and his top Army generals stems from a combustible combination of clashing personalities and policy differences. . . . when Shinseki testified earlier this year before a congressional panel that securing postwar Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of troops, Pentagon leaders publicly called his estimate "wildly off the mark." The absence of anyone from the Office of the Secretary of Defense at Shinseki's June retirement was widely noticed. . . . Most recently, a handful of Army three-star generals retired, prompting speculation that Rumsfeld was conducting a purge. . . . "It's a major purge. Blood is flowing out of the Pentagon," said David Hackworth, a retired Army colonel who writes a syndicated column.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:33 PM