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Libby's Replacement Encourages Use of Torture
(David Underhill, Counterpunch, Januarn 20, 2005)
[David Addington was one of the] three lawyers [who] wrote or joined with Gonzales in creating the memos with the trickle-down torture effects. Addington is vice president Cheney's counsel [but will replace the newly indicted Libby as Cheney's chief of staff]. . . . This Gang of Three are the chief source of the legal arguments pronouncing the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of enemy prisoners "obsolete." They argued that "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment is not torture. Transient mental anguish does not count. Nor does mere bodily pain. True torture arrives only at the level of pain "of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury such as death or organ failure." And even then [according to Cheney's henchman] the damage must be "specifically intended" or no torture has occurred. At a White House meeting with Gonzales the pain quotient of various techniques was debated. Among other measures: slapping "just to shock someone with the physical impact," "waterboarding," and mock burial alive. . . . Inquisitors strip the trio naked, rip off their hoods and slap them across the facewith hard, percussive cracks again again blood and bits of chipped teeth seep from mouths. . . . "Is this torture yet?" the agents ask. . . . They strap the three to boards that pivot head-down into a trough of swill and excrementkeep them there until they are gagging and wild with panic of drowning lever them briefly up to airdown again . . . Torture yet? . . . Hoist them outdump them into a binstart shoveling dirt on themdeeply cover the legs firstthen torsothen . . . Torture yet? . . . In the absence of an affirmative response by the witnesses to these interrogatories the tribunal may infer a negative. . . . They are unearthed and hauled to a side of the Tortugon reserved for further "softening up" of witnesses. The agents bind them into painfully contorted "stress positions" and leave them there without food or water, perhaps for days awaiting recall for further testimony as the hearings progress. . . . "Think about this while you wait," says an inquisitor. "If we bring you back for more testing, no matter what we do it won't be torture. Unless, as you wrote, any damage done is 'specifically intended.' But we intend you no damage-up to and including death. Our only intent is gathering information." . . . Torture yet? . . . The voice recounts Rumsfeld's review and approval of various lists describing "aggressive" techniques that can be used on prisoners. . . . [According to Cheney's man] The president may approve any interrogation technique for the sake of national security. Neither treaties nor U.S. laws against torture can diminish the commander in chief's supreme authority to do whatever the country's safety requires. Therefore subordinates, acting on orders from superiors, may do anything-except what "goes so far as to be patently unlawful." But what could be unlawful if presidential authority trumps all law? The list of permissible methods becomes virtually infinite.

. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 10:09 AM

Thought for the day

Today is a sad day for America. When an indictment is delivered at the front door of the White House, the Office of the President is defiled. No citizen can take pleasure from that.
-- Joseph Wilson, commenting on the Libby indictment

Statement of Ambassador Joseph Wilson with Respect to the Indictment

(Read by his attorney Christopher Wolf at 3:00 p.m. - 10/28/05)

The five count indictment issued by the Grand Jury today is an important step in the criminal justice process that began more than two years ago. I commend Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald for his professionalism, for his diligence, and for his courage.

There will be many opportunities in the future to comment on the events that led to today's indictment. And, it appears that there will be further developments before the grand jury. Whatever the final outcome of the investigation and the prosecution, I continue to believe that revealing my wife Valerie's secret CIA identity was very wrong and harmful to our nation, and I feel that my family was attacked for my speaking the truth about the events that led our country to war. I look forward to exercising my rights as a citizen to speak about these matters in the future.

Today, however, is not the time to analyze or to debate. And it is certainly not a day to celebrate. Today is a sad day for America. When an indictment is delivered at the front door of the White House, the Office of the President is defiled. No citizen can take pleasure from that.

As this case proceeds, Valerie and I are confident that justice will be done. In the meantime, I have a request. While I may engage in public discourse, my wife and my family are private people. They did not choose to be brought into the public square, and they do not wish to be under the glare of camera. They are entitled to their privacy. This case is not about me or my family, no matter how others might try to make it so.

This case is about serious criminal charges that go to the heart of our democracy.

We, like all citizens, await the judgment of the jury in a court of law.

Thank you.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 2:08 PM

Propaganda Master for Iraq War Is Indicted for Lying
(Congressman Dennis Kucinich, October 28, 2005)
These indictments are not about a single aide, it is about an Administration that went to any length to "sell" the war in Iraq and mislead the public.

From day one, this Administration has misled the public and the Congress, manipulated intelligence, and sought to quell dissent by all means necessary when it has comes to the war in Iraq. Now, a senior aide to the President and the Vice President is charged with lying to a federal grand jury and federal investigators.

The President must come clean with the American public. Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, it was not involved in the attacks on our country on 9/11, and before the war it was not aligned with Al-Qaeda. . . .

Many questions remain, and Congress must demand accountability. The American public still does not know who forged the Niger documents and who leaked the name of an undercover CIA operative.

Libby was a senior aide to both the President and Vice President. He also was a principal in the White House Iraq Group (WHIG)), a group comprised of the President and Vice President's top aides that was instrumental in selling the Administration's case for war.

The buck does not stop with an aide.
Those responsible for this colossal foreign policy misdeed must be held accountable to the American public, to the Congress and to courts of law.

[NOTE: On October 20th, Kucinich introduced a Resolution of Inquiry to demand the White House turn over all white papers, minutes, notes, emails or other communications kept by the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) to the Congress.

A Resolution of Inquiry is a rare House procedure used to obtain documents from the Executive Branch. Under House rules, Kucinich's resolution is referred to committee, and action must be taken in committee within 14 legislative days.

. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:46 PM

Cheney cabal hijacked US foreign policy
(Edward Alden, Financial Times, October 20 2005)
Vice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government's foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday. . . . In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: "What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. . . . "Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences." . . . Mr Wilkerson said such secret decision-making was responsible for mistakes such as the long refusal to engage with North Korea or to back European efforts on Iran. . . . It also resulted in bitter battles in the administration among those excluded from the decisions. . . . "If you're not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran." . . . Mr Wilkerson said his decision to go public had led to a personal falling out with Mr Powell, whom he served for 16 years at the Pentagon and the State Department. . . . Among his other charges: -- The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was "a concrete example" of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. "You don't have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you've condoned it." . . . -- Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was "part of the problem". Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, "she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president". . . . -- The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr Wilkerson claimed, "start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel".
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 6:19 AM

CIA in turmoil as resignations continue
(Dafna Linzer, Washington Post, October 18 ,2005)
At least a dozen senior officials -- several of whom were promoted under Goss -- have resigned, retired early or requested reassignment. The directorate's second-in-command walked out of Langley last month and then told senators in a closed-door hearing that he had lost confidence in Goss's leadership. . . . The turmoil has left some employees shaken and has prompted former colleagues in Congress to question how Goss intends to improve the agency's capabilities and restore morale.
. . . But the Senate intelligence committee, which generally took testimony once a year from Goss's predecessors, has invited him for an unusual closed-door hearing today. Senators, according to their staff, intend to ask the former congressman from Florida to explain why the CIA is bleeding talent at a time of war, and to answer charges that the agency is adrift. . . . "Hundreds of years of leadership and experience has walked out the door in the last year," said Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), "and more senior people are making critical career decisions as we speak." . . . Some of the struggles that have dominated Goss's first year stem from a massive reorganization that stripped the CIA of its leadership role in the intelligence community and made it subservient to a new director of national intelligence. Congress ordered the shake-up after several public investigations blamed the CIA for failing to detect the 9/11 plot and erring in assessments of Iraq's weapons. The probes crippled morale inside the deeply secretive agency. . . . Shortly before he was nominated for the job, Goss co-authored a scathing indictment of the agency and its popular director, George Tenet. In a letter to the agency in May 2004, Goss and several congressional colleagues focused particular wrath on the clandestine service and human intelligence. . . . But the days of an all-powerful CIA director who reports exclusively to the president are over. Goss no longer has daily access to the Oval Office -- Negroponte is now responsible for briefing the president -- and Goss must coordinate all decisions with Negroponte's office. . . . In one of his first moves, Goss eliminated a daily 5 p.m. meeting on terrorism, attended by dozens of specialist inside the agency to better coordinate information on al Qaeda. Instead, he asked to be briefed on the subject three times a week in a more intimate setting. . . . For Goss, the new format worked better, but the abrupt change stirred dissent and suspicion in the agency. . . . A work trip to picturesque Slovenia had similar consequences. The trip raised eyebrows, from the spy division to the legal department, officials said, because Goss, an avid organic farmer, arranged for one meeting to take place at a local organic farm. . . . In March, Goss complained during a speech that his job was overwhelming and that he was surprised by the number of hours it demanded. "The White House wasn't amused by that," one intelligence community official said. Then in June, Goss told Time magazine that he had "an excellent idea" where Osama bin Laden was but that the United States could not get him because of diplomatic sensitivities. This time, the White House and the State Department publicly disputed the remarks. . . . In a now-infamous e-mail to overseas station chiefs, Goss said appointments with visiting intelligence chiefs should be arranged for Tuesdays or Thursdays. . . . When Goss arrived at the CIA in September 2004 with four GOP aides from Capitol Hill in tow, he was accused of bringing a Republican agenda to an agency that has long sought to distance itself from partisan politics. Personality clashes erupted between his staff and career officials, leading to two high-profile resignations in the clandestine service within six weeks. . . . In the clandestine service alone, known as the "Directorate of Operations," Goss has lost one director, two deputy directors, and at least a dozen department heads, station chiefs and division directors -- many with the key language skills and experience he has said the agency needs. . . . "He obviously has a problem with the D.O.," said one ally in the intelligence community who spoke on the condition of anonymity. . . . Some officials resigned in frustration with Goss or his staff; others took early retirement or arranged transfers out of the CIA. Robert Richer, the No. 2 official in the D.O., announced his resignation last month, then shared his concerns about Goss with the Senate intelligence panel. . . . Shortly afterward, the head of the European division, whose key and undercover role includes overseeing the hunt for al Qaeda on the continent, surprised his staff by announcing his own departure.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 12:06 PM

Afro-American Anger against Washington Mounts
(Pascal Riche, Liberation, 17 October 2005)
The controversial* Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, won his bet: to demonstrate that the spirit of the Million Man March, which brought close to a million Black people to Washington in 1995, is still alive and to refill his organization's coffers. Saturday, in a county fair atmosphere (hip-hop, prayers and beach umbrellas), tens of thousands of demonstrators came together for the day on the Mall, the immense esplanade at the heart of the American capital, to remind the nation of the daily problems of millions of Blacks, but also to flay the authorities over the fiasco that followed Hurricane Katrina. "I'm convinced that if the people who were on the roofs [in New Orleans] had had blond hair, blue eyes, and white skin, things would have been done faster. We accuse America of criminal negligence!" blasted Farrakhan in a speech over an hour and a quarter long. . . . For once, Farrakhan had succeeded in gaining the support of the big American Black organizations, such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, founded by Martin Luther King. The principal Black Christian leaders - Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - took their turn at the podium, as did some hip-hop stars - Russell Simmons and Kanye West. . . . All the speakers called attention to the gap that still exists in the United States between Whites and Blacks (about 14% of the population). The poverty rate among Blacks has reached 25%, or double the national average. One out of five has no health insurance. Among black men aged 25 to 29, one out of eight is in prison. The unemployment rate among Blacks is 9.4%, or double that of Whites. Since 2000, average purchasing power of Afro-Americans is in decline. . . . Standing, they follow the speeches on one of the giant screens set up. Most of the speakers refrain from attacking the Bush administration directly, preferring to concentrate their blows against a "system" that, according to them, remains impregnated with racism. The opposition to Bush, in any case, goes without saying: according to a poll conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal after Katrina, only 2% of American Blacks still have a favorable opinion of their President, versus 12% some weeks before.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 5:23 PM

Cheney May Be Entangled in CIA Leak Investigation
Richard Keil, bloomberg.com, October 17, 2005)
A special counsel is focusing on whether Vice President Dick Cheney played a role in leaking a covert CIA agent's name, according to people familiar with the probe that already threatens top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. The special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, has questioned current and former officials of President George W. Bush's administration about whether Cheney was involved in an effort to discredit the agent's husband, Iraq war critic and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, according to the people. In an interview yesterday, [Joseph] Wilson said that once the criminal questions are settled, he and his wife may file a civil lawsuit against Bush, Cheney and others seeking damages for the alleged harm done to Plame's career. If they do so, the current state of the law makes it likely that the suit will be allowed to proceed -- and Bush and Cheney will face questioning under oath -- while they are in office. The reason for that is a unanimous 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against then- President Bill Clinton could go forward immediately, a decision that was hailed by conservatives at the time.
[COMMENT : You just have to love how some things have this cosmic serendipity, like Ouroborus. Just how loudly will the Conservatives howl if this comes down? This will definitely be worth the watching...but that's just this old curmudgeon's opinion...]
. . . Read more!

posted by An Old Curmudgeon 4:57 PM

Apocalypse Soon Says Former U.S. Defense Chief
(Robert S McNamara, Foreign Policy, May/June 2005)
Robert McNamara is worried. He knows how close we've come. His counsel helped the Kennedy administration avert nuclear catastrophe during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, he believes the United States must no longer rely on nuclear weapons as a foreign-policy tool. To do so is immoral, illegal, and dreadfully dangerous.

It is time -- well past time, in my view -- for the United States to cease its Cold War-style reliance on nuclear weapons as a foreign-policy tool. At the risk of appearing simplistic and provocative, I would characterize current U.S. nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, and dreadfully dangerous. The risk of an accidental or inadvertent nuclear launch is unacceptably high. Far from reducing these risks, the Bush administration has signaled that it is committed to keeping the U.S. nuclear arsenal as a mainstay of its military power -- a commitment that is simultaneously eroding the international norms that have limited the spread of nuclear weapons and fissile materials for 50 years. Much of the current U.S. nuclear policy has been in place since before I was secretary of defense, and it has only grown more dangerous and diplomatically destructive in the intervening years. . . . How destructive are these weapons? The average U.S. warhead has a destructive power 20 times that of the Hiroshima bomb. Of the 8,000 active or operational U.S. warheads, 2,000 are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched on 15 minutes' warning. How are these weapons to be used? The United States has never endorsed the policy of "no first use," not during my seven years as secretary or since. We have been and remain prepared to initiate the use of nuclear weapons -- by the decision of one person, the president—against either a nuclear or nonnuclear enemy whenever we believe it is in our interest to do so. . . . The whole situation seems so bizarre as to be beyond belief. On any given day, as we go about our business, the president is prepared to make a decision within 20 minutes that could launch one of the most devastating weapons in the world. To declare war requires an act of congress, but to launch a nuclear holocaust requires 20 minutes' deliberation by the president and his advisors. But that is what we have lived with for 40 years. . . . If the United States continues its current nuclear stance, over time, substantial proliferation of nuclear weapons will almost surely follow. Some, or all, of such nations as Egypt, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Taiwan will very likely initiate nuclear weapons programs, increasing both the risk of use of the weapons and the diversion of weapons and fissile materials into the hands of rogue states or terrorists. Diplomats and intelligence agencies believe Osama bin Laden has made several attempts to acquire nuclear weapons or fissile materials. It has been widely reported that Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, former director of Pakistan’s nuclear reactor complex, met with bin Laden several times. Were al Qaeda to acquire fissile materials, especially enriched uranium, its ability to produce nuclear weapons would be great. The knowledge of how to construct a simple gun-type nuclear device, like the one we dropped on Hiroshima, is now widespread. Experts have little doubt that terrorists could construct such a primitive device if they acquired the requisite enriched uranium material. Indeed, just last summer, at a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry said, "I have never been more fearful of a nuclear detonation than now. . .There is a greater than 50 percent probability of a nuclear strike on U.S. targets within a decade." I share his fears. . . . A Moment of Decision . . . We are at a critical moment in human history -- perhaps not as dramatic as that of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but a moment no less crucial. Neither the Bush administration, the congress, the American people, nor the people of other nations have debated the merits of alternative, long-range nuclear weapons policies for their countries or the world. They have not examined the military utility of the weapons; the risk of inadvertent or accidental use; the moral and legal considerations relating to the use or threat of use of the weapons; or the impact of current policies on proliferation. Such debates are long overdue. If they are held, I believe they will conclude, as have I and an increasing number of senior military leaders, politicians, and civilian security experts: We must move promptly toward the elimination -- or near elimination -- of all nuclear weapons. For many, there is a strong temptation to cling to the strategies of the past 40 years. But to do so would be a serious mistake leading to unacceptable risks for all nations.
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 4:53 PM

Fascist Republicans Approve Oil Company Land Grab
(H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press, 10/07/2005)
The House narrowly approved a Republican-crafted energy bill Friday aimed at encouraging construction of new refineries, although opponents said it would do nothing to ease energy prices while handing unneeded benefits to a profit-rich oil industry. . . . The vote, which was supposed to be taken in five minutes, lasted more than 40 minutes as GOP leaders searched for the last two votes they needed to get the bill approved. They buttonholed lawmakers for last-minute lobbying as Democrats complained loudly that the vote should be closed. Finally two GOP lawmakers switched from "no" to "yes," giving the bill's supporters the margin of victory. . . . "Is this the House of a Banana Republic?" Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., shouted at one point, expressing his frustration about the GOP holdup of the final tally. . . . No Democrats voted for the legislation. . . . But opponents said the legislation fails to address the rising cost of natural gas - which will cause heating costs to soar this winter - or deal with high prices motorists are paying at the pump. Instead, they argued, it will allow the oil industry to avoid environmental rules and force states and communities to accept refineries they don't want. . . . "Using Hurricane Katrina as their excuses the Republicans are again pushing their special interest agenda," said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, including "all the special favors to the industry that were too extreme" for Congress last summer when it passed energy legislation. . . . The bill also would limit to six the different blends of gasoline and diesel fuel that refiners would be required to produce, reversing a trend of using so-called "boutique" fuels to satisfy clean air demands. State officials complained the provision could limit states' ability to implement federal clean air requirements. . . . "The bill weakens state and federal environmental standards ... and gives a break to wealthy oil companies while doing little or nothing to affect oil prices," complained Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., one of 13 Republicans who voted against the measure. . . . With prices soaring, "oil companies now have all the profits and incentives they need to build new refineries" without government help, he maintained. . . . Attempts to add requirements that automakers increase vehicle fuel economy and a measure aimed at producing more natural gas were thwarted by GOP leaders who strictly limited the ability of lawmakers to amend the bill. . . . Among the groups trying to kill the bill were the National League of Cities, nine state attorneys general, most environmental organizations and groups representing state officials in charge of implementing federal clean air requirements. They said the bill would hinder their ability to ensure clean and healthy air.

[Also see Lorenzo's comments about this un-American activity: Fascists Take Over Congress, Rules of Order Thrown Out]
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 1:01 PM

Man bites hurricane

They were poor. They lived in homes that, to some Americans, would appear no more than shacks. They've suffered discrimination at the hands of their fellow Americans. And when the hurricane came, it seemed to veer out of its way, just to hit them.

So why didn't hundreds of Cajuns from western Louisiana appear on my TV screen recently, complaining that George W. Bush doesn't like them, demanding $200 billion of my tax dollars or blaming the bad weather on Halliburton?

Rita hit "low income" communities on the west side of Louisiana. The education levels were similar to the Ninth Ward, too. Whites? Not exactly...the dark-skinned natives of Cajun country, whose heritage is a genetic gumbo of Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and American Indians.

But while the people of New Orleans were panicking and complaining (not to mention stealing, shooting and stabbing) days after the storm, the Cajuns of western Louisiana were out in their boats, looking for lost neighbors and rescuing strangers off rooftops.

It wasn't just because Gov. Blanco wasn't involved -- it was because almost NO government is involved in these folks' daily lives. The people of rural Louisiana grow up with the assumption that their survival in this world of woe is their responsibility. Unlike far too many people in New Orleans, "low income" isn't an excuse to the working families in rural Louisiana. It's just a condition to be dealt with. They live their lives as though they own them, unlike those government-dependent "victims" who live as though life is something the state provides for them and is responsible to maintain.

Hurricane Rita may have hit western Louisiana harder than Katrina hit New Orleans, but Rita met folks made of sterner stuff than you'll find in the Ninth Ward. Here's how one Washington Post story described the scene just hours after Rita made landfall near Intracoastal City, a "city" that in many senses barely exists:

"The only people who can get here are the sturdiest of sorts, a small armada of Cajuns with pretty French names and sunburned skin and don't-mess-with-me bravado. The bayous were full of them Saturday, gliding high and quick in airboats, and so was the Vermilion River, where they were spinning steering wheels on fast Boston Whalers and kicking up wakes in flat-bottomed, aluminum boats. They did not wait for the president or FEMA or anyone else to tell them that there were people out there -- out there and desperate, on rooftops...

'I got out of the sheriff's office in about 20 seconds,' said Steve Artee, as his son, Chris, made a hard, boat-tilting turn on the swollen Vermilion. 'They just took my cell phone number, and I was gone. That's because Kathleen Blanco wasn't involved.'"

Now, anyone who hates Blanco and bureaucrats can't be all bad. But I don't agree with Mr. Artee that the people of Vermilion Parish behaved more responsibly or showed more strength of character because Gov. Blanco didn't have their parish on her speed dial. I believe the people of western Louisiana behaved better because they are, in fact, better people.

The failure revealed by Hurricane Katrina was not a failure of government, at least, not any more than government always fails. The failure in New Orleans was a failure of character. Corrupt people electing corrupt politicians who gave millions in tax dollars to corrupt cronies to either mis-construct vital levees or to spend the money on entirely useless pork projects. Then, when disaster struck, these same people -- living a Faustian deal of votes for tax-funded handouts -- were utterly lost when those corrupt government officials headed for high ground without them.

As John Fund of the Wall Street Journal wrote: "In just the past generation, the Pelican State has had a governor, an attorney general, three successive insurance commissioners, a congressman, a federal judge, a state Senate president and a swarm of local officials convicted. Last year, three top officials at Louisiana's Office of Emergency Preparedness were indicted.... Just this summer, associates of former [New Orleans] mayor Marc Morial were indicted for alleged kickbacks involving public contracts. Last month the FBI raided the home and car of Rep. William Jefferson as part of a probe into allegations he had misused his office."

Not to mention the widespread looting by the citizens of New Orleans themselves, which included televised looting by police officers, too. The chief administrative officer for Kenner, LA, was just busted for pilfering food, drinks, chainsaws and roof tarps from New Orleans and stashing them in his suburban home.

Hey -- stay classy, New Orleans!

Then came Hurricane Rita, Katrina's ugly sister, to wreak similar havoc just a few hundred miles to the west. The communities affected were, on the surface, similar as well: Abbeville or Cameron, LA were "low income" communities.
. . . Read more!

posted by Hal 10:14 PM

Miers Briefed Bush on Famous Bin Laden Memo
(Editor and Publisher, 04 October 2005)
On its front page Tuesday, The New York Times published a photo of new US Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers going over a briefing paper with President George W. Bush at his Crawford ranch "in August 2001," the caption reads. . . . USA Today and the Boston Globe carried the photo labeled simply "2001," but many other newspapers ran the picture in print or on the Web with a more precise date: Aug. 6, 2001. . . . Does that date sound familiar? Indeed, that was the date, a little over a month before 9/11, that President Bush was briefed on the now-famous "PDB" that declared that Osama Bin Laden was "determined" to attack the US homeland, perhaps with hijacked planes. But does that mean that Miers had anything to do with that briefing? . . . As it turns out, yes, according to Tuesday's Los Angeles Times. An article by Richard A. Serrano and Scott Gold observes that early in the Bush presidency "Miers assumed such an insider role that in 2001 it was she who handed Bush the crucial 'presidential daily briefing' hinting at terrorist plots against America just a month before the Sept. 11 attacks." . . . So the Aug. 6 photo may show this historic moment, though quite possibly not. In any case, some newspapers failed to include the exact date with the widely used Miers photo today. A New York Times spokesman told E&P: "The wording of the caption occurred in the course of routine editing and has no broader significance." . . . The photo that ran in so many papers and on their Web sites originally came from the White House but was moved by the Associated Press, clearly marked as an "Aug. 6, 2001" file photo. It shows Miers with a document or documents in her right hand, as her left hand points to something in another paper balanced on the president's right leg. Two others in the background are Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin and Steve Biegun of the national security staff. . . . The PDB was headed "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US," and notes, among other things, FBI information indicating "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks."
. . . Read more!

posted by Lorenzo 5:46 PM

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