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Bob Woodward's new book attacks Bush's credibility
(Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, September 30, 2006)
The Bush administration has misled the American people about the level of violence in Iraq, where there is an attack by insurgent forces every 15 minutes, Bob Woodward, the investigative journalist, said yesterday. . . . In a new book, State of Denial, Woodward argues that the White House disregarded warnings from advisers in the autumn of 2003 that it needed thousands more troops to put down the insurgency. He says the administration continues to deny the gravity of the situation in Iraq because of Mr Bush's conviction that it was right to go to war. . . . "It's getting to the point now where there are 800-900 attacks a week. That's more than a hundred a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," . . . Woodward argues the administration routinely glosses over such news from the ground, as well as intelligence predicting further deterioration in Iraq, because they collide with Mr Bush's convictions. . . . The White House failed to act on a memo from Robert Blackwill, then the senior Iraqi adviser on the National Security Council, calling for 40,000 additional troops in Iraq, he writes. It is equally resistant to intelligence forecasts of worsening violence in the year ahead. . . . "The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better'," Woodward told CBS.
ALSO SEE: Bush 'concealing Iraq violence'
(Justin Webb, BBC News, September 29, 2006)
In a preview interview he also revealed that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has become a frequent adviser to President Bush. . . . one eye-catching and politically damaging claim that the true extent of the violence in Iraq is being hidden. . . . "Now, there's public and then there's private, but what do they do with the private - they stamp it secret. No-one's supposed to know," Mr Woodward said. . . . He added that the insurgents knew how effective they were - but the US public did not. . . . He's back. In fact Henry Kissinger is almost like a member of the family. If he is in town he can call up and if the President's free he will see him," Mr Woodward said. . . . He added that Mr Kissinger's message was that victory was the only meaningful exit strategy. . . . "So fascinating. Kissinger's fighting the Vietnam war again," Mr Woodward added.
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posted by Lorenzo 6:47 PM
Battle Cry For Billionaires, Broadcasters, and Bloggers
(Brent Budowsky, BuzzFlash, September 13, 2006)
For the first time in the history of our Republic, the coming election in November is nothing less than a national referendum, in which the American people will be voting whether to pursue, or prevent, the next dark and unalterable road to tragic and unwise war. . . . For the first time in the history of our Republic, a Congressional election is nothing less than a national referendum on whether America will, or will not, be governed as a vibrant two party nation, with three effective branches of government, as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. . . . We are up against mighty forces of power from a media machine that has been built for thirty years while our side has given close to zero. Not only the unprecedented apparatus of partisan Government media power. Not only supplicant television so extreme that even a publicly traded network, using publicly owned airwaves, promotes a propaganda film weeks before a historic election. . . . This is crystal clear: the President and his Administration have a war fever mentality that is unprecedented in American history. . . . Far too much attention is being given to the tactics, polemics, strategies and maneuverings of the election, and far too little attention to the enormous and potentially catastrophic stakes for America and the world, if we lose it. . . . One of the most ominous and alarming statistics in the history of the American Democracy is that close to half our people actually believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9-11. This is ghoulish proof of the power of the lie to overwhelm the truth. Stunning proof of the power of the right wing media machine and the total failure of every form of the media to inform the public. . . . If the Republicans maintain control of both Houses of Congress, there will be more winds of war, more distortions of intelligence, more creations of fear, more push for new war, and either pre-emptive military attack in advance of the inevitable approval of the Republican Congress, or a force fed resolution for war, given inevitable approval by the Republican Congress. . . . Understand: Karl Rove is the single most brilliant political strategist and operative of our generation, from either party, by far. I have seen him operate in Texas and nationally for well over a decade, and we should view him as a mortal political adversary with a vision of permanent one-party domination and a willingness to do ANYTHING to achieve it. But do not underestimate his brilliance or power. . . . What Rove is whispering in Republican ears today, is this: distance from the President as much as necessary before the election, so long as you are with him, after the election. . . . Therefore, the rally cry: it is time to move beyond our grievances to a new era of empowerment and to an unprecedented mobilization of progressives, moderates, independents to fight for and win a true revitalization of democracy in America, and a true revival of a two party system, with three branches of government. . . . Make no mistake about the importance of the Disney fight. They won a minor victory, reminding the Nation of Monica Lewinsky and repeating their attack points through a propaganda enterprise from a television network. It is profoundly dangerous, radical and ominous that a major network could so aggressively corrupt a moment as enormous as the five year commemoration of 9-11, with a propaganda film that used falsehoods to promote the attack talking points of a partisan party, literally quoting oppo research papers, at times verbatim. . . . The election that will determine war and peace, and the heart and soul of American democracy, is fast approaching. . . . An uprecedented barrage of attacks and smears, financed by the forces of the one party state and their Armada of media power, is on the brink of being launched. . . . The stakes are enormous and indescribable. The way to win is now clear. The mission is now certain. The strategy for victory is right before us, proven by our ad hoc army of media and communication that won the battle of ideas in the discredited docu-smear by Disney. . . . What I urge, propose, implore and call for is an urgent summit of the financial leaders of the Democratic and progressive community, supported by President Clinton, President Carter, and Vice-President Gore to finance an emergency infusion of $25 million into Air America, the progressive blogoshere, and African American, Hispanic and Labor groups to combine a massive communications assault with a massive voting power assault for the closing weeks of this historic campaign. . . . It is time to man the barricades, with a sense of urgency and passion, with an immediacy and power equal to the magnitude of the forces we are up against, the unprecedented attack that is hours from beginning, and the extreme consequences of two more years of one party rule. . . . It is time to cut the cards, cut the crap, cut through the niceties, and play to win. . . . To the wealthiest 500 Democrats in the land: we the people of the United States are issuing a rally cry for you to join us, and any one of you has the power, by standing with us, to change the course of history. . . . Their machine is thirty years in the making, with countless billions behind them. Ours is new, almost unsupported by the money on our side but armed for battle, empowered by our numbers, driven by our convictions, suited up for combat, strengthened by our idealism, lifted by our passion, and ready to win. . . . Join us, and the Armada of one party rule will be defeated by the real voices, of the real America. . . . Brent Budowsky
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posted by Lorenzo 4:15 PM
Air Force wants to test weapons on U.S. demonstrators
(CNN.com, September 12, 2006)
Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday. . . . The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne. . . . "If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne." (Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press." . . . The Air Force has paid for research into nonlethal weapons . . . Nonlethal weapons generally can weaken people if they are hit with the beam. Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that also can be effective in disabling some electronic devices. . . . Wynne also said the Air Force, which is already chopping 40,000 active duty, civilian and reserves jobs, is now struggling to find new ways to slash about $1.8 billion from its budget to cover costs from the latest round of base closings. . . . He said he can't cut more people, and it would not be wise to take funding from military programs that are needed to protect the country. But he said he also incurs resistance when he tries to save money on operations and maintenance by retiring aging aircraft. . . . "We're finding out that those are, unfortunately, prized possessions of some congressional districts," said Wynne, adding that the Air Force will have to "take some appetite suppressant pills." He said he has asked employees to look for efficiencies in their offices. . . . The base closings initially were expected to create savings by reducing Air Force infrastructure by 24 percent.
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posted by Lorenzo 6:52 AM
Bush Says John Lennon Is Still a Security Threat
(Jon Wiener, Los Angeles Times, September 10, 2006)
The case of John Lennon's FBI files illustrates the federal government's obsession with secrecy, which it justifies with appeals to national security. . . . Lennon's story, told in the documentary "The U.S. vs. John Lennon," opening this week in Los Angeles, revolves around his plans to help register young people to vote in the 1972 presidential election, when President Nixon was running for reelection and the war in Vietnam was the issue of the day. Lennon wanted to organize a national concert tour that would combine rock music with antiwar protests and voter registration. Nixon found out about the plan, and the White House began deportation proceedings against Lennon. . . . It worked: Lennon never did the tour, and Nixon was reelected. . . . Along the way, the FBI spied on and harassed Lennon — and kept detailed files of its work. The bulk of them were released in 1997 under the Freedom of Information Act after 15 years of litigation. I was the plaintiff. . . . But the agency continues to withhold 10 documents in Lennon's FBI file on grounds that they contain "national security information provided by a foreign government." The name of the foreign government remains classified, though it's probably not Afghanistan. The FBI has argued that "disclosure of this information could reasonably be expected to cause damage to the national security, as it would reveal a foreign government and information provided in confidence by that government." . . . The Freedom of Information Act is necessary because Democrats and Republicans alike have secrets they want to keep — secrets about corruption and the abuse of power. But now the White House wants to shield information from with a new rationale for secrecy — protecting the homeland from terrorists. . . . The administration acknowledges that it has dramatically increased the number of documents classified "confidential," "secret" or "top secret." Between the time Bush took office in 2001 and 2004, the most recent year for which figures are available, that number has nearly doubled. In 2004 alone, 80 federal agencies deemed 15.6 million documents off-limits. And that figure doesn't include documents withheld by Vice President Dick Cheney, who refuses to report to the National Archives the number of documents his office classifies even though Bush's executive order requires him to do so. Cheney claims his office is exempt. . . . The administration's frenzy on secrets has led to documents being reclassified after having been in the public domain for decades — for example, the number of bombers and missiles the U.S. had in 1971. The same year that the FBI began its surveillance of Lennon, Nixon's secretary of Defense testified before Congress and displayed a chart showing the U.S. had 30 strategic bomber squadrons and 54 Titan and 1,000 Minuteman nuclear missiles. . . . Thirty-five years later, Bush officials blacked out that information in the public version of the secretary of Defense's 1971 report, claiming it is now a national security secret. About 55,000 pages of previously declassified material in the National Archives were edited this way, mostly by the Air Force and CIA.
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posted by Lorenzo 6:10 AM