Yoo Refuses to Answer the Question…
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review , at BradBlog .
John Yoo and David Addington, the architects of Bush’s illegal torture policies, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today. The hearing included this frothy exchange between Yoo and the committee chairman, John Conyers (D-Mich.):
CONYERS : Could the President order a suspect buried alive?
YOO : Uh, Mr. Chairman, I don’t think I’ve ever given advice that the President could order someone buried alive…
CONYERS : I didn’t ask you if you ever gave him advice. I asked if you thought the President could order a suspect buried alive.
YOO : Well Chairman, my view right now is that I don’t think a President — no American President would ever have to order that or feel it necessary to order that.
CONYERS : I think we understand the games that are being played.
Yoo was serving in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003, when he wrote the infamous memo and contributed to the PATRIOT ACT. He is now a professor of law at UC Berkeley.
Addington is the chief of staff to Dick Cheney.…Continue reading
Corporate media colludes with democracy’s demise
By Bill Moyers
Without a free and independent press, this 250-year-old experiment in self-government will not make it. As journalism goes, so goes democracy.
I heard this story a long time ago, growing up in Choctaw County in Oklahoma before my family moved to Texas. A tribal elder was telling his grandson about the battle the old man was waging within himself. He said, “It is between two wolves, my son. One is an evil wolf: anger, envy, sorrow, greed, self-pity, guilt, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is the good wolf: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The boy took this in for a few minutes and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf won?”
The old Cherokee replied simply, “The one I feed.”
Democracy is that way. The wolf that wins is the one we feed. And in our society, media provides the fodder.
Our media institutions, deeply embedded in the power structures of society, are not providing the information that we need to make our democracy work. To put it another way, corporate media consolidation is a corrosive social force. It robs people of their voice in public affairs and pollutes the political culture. And it turns the debates about profound issues into a shouting match of polarized views promulgated by partisan apologists who trivialize democracy while refusing to speak the truth about how our country is being plundered.
Our dominant media… Continue reading
Israel Planning a September/October Surprise?
By Ray McGovern
International Clearing House — You say you expected more rhetoric than reality from Senators Obama and McCain yesterday in their speeches on Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, that’s certainly what you got.
What I find nonetheless amazing is how they, and the pundits, have taken such little notice of the dramatic change in the political landscape occasioned by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s bombshell on July 7 — his insistence on a “timetable” for withdrawal of US troops before any accord is reached on their staying past the turn of the year.
Responding to a question at his press conference yesterday, President George W. Bush showed that he was vaguely aware that the timetable is, as Robert Dreyfuss says (in Truthout, July 7), a “big deal.” Bush even alluded haltingly to the possibility of extending the UN mandate still further.
But it is far from clear that Maliki, who is under great domestic pressure, would be able to sell that to the various factions upon which he depends for support, much less to those which he must keep at bay. As Dreyfuss points out, Maliki and his Shiite allies are also under considerable pressure from Iran, which remains the chief ally of the ruling alliance of Shiites. Most important, Maliki is by no means in control of what happens next.
Here’s where it gets sticky. No one who knows about third rails in US politics would expect the candidates or the fawning corporate media (FCM) to address how those now running Israel are likely to be looking at the implications of a large US troop withdrawal from Iraq next year.…Continue reading
by Devlin Buckley
July 21, 2008
“In the United States of America there is a hidden government about which you know nothing.”
So begins a revealing television exposeé aired by CNN in 1991. The hour-long Special Assignment presented the findings of a yearlong CNN investigation into the ultra-secretive Continuity of Government (COG) program, commonly referred to as the “doomsday government” or the “shadow government”.
The COG program was originally designed in the 1950s to ensure the survival of the federal government in the event of a nuclear attack. The highly secretive emergency plans were substantially upgraded during the 1980s and have become a focus point of the current administration, particularly since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The COG program, which until recent years was believed to be reserved for nuclear disasters, was officially activated for the first time during the 9/11 attacks. The program, according to the most recent reports, was never completely shut down. Portions of the “shadow government” are presumably still operating to this day.
Recent efforts to reform and expand the emergency protocols, according to the best available reports, have been led by Vice President Dick Cheney, who played a major role in the COG program during the Reagan Administration.
The underground program is historically run out of the office of the Vice President through a clandestine agency, identified by CNN as the National Program Office (NPO).
In 1991, CNN found the Continuity of Government program and National Program Office to be rife with waste, fraud, and abuse.…Continue reading
* 7/7 London bombings mastermind Haroon Rashid Aswat was alleged to be an informer by a counterterrorism expert in 2005, and the British authorities certainly showed a surprising lack of interest in him during his career
* Lead 7/7 London bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan was monitored by the British security services
* Details of calls by Flight 93 passenger Tom Burnett
* Vice President Cheney’s demands for alterations to 9/11 Commission report
* Progress of the Washington’s Post investigation
* Dick Cheney’s first hiring to work in the executive branch
* Nixon’s mental health, according to Barry Goldwater
* The Reagan Doctrine, its originator’s visit to a Nazi cemetery and jokes about bombing the Soviet Union
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July 24, 2008
Kucinich, Barr, Bugliosi among those testifying
The House Judiciary Committee has released a witness list for its hearing to examine “the imperial presidency” of George W. Bush.
Testifying Friday morning will be Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has introduced several resolutions calling for President Bush’s and Vice President Dick Cheney’s impeachment; former Rep. Bob Barr, the Libertarian presidential candidate who led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998; Vincent Bugliosi, author of the just-released book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder; and 10 other current and former members of Congress, constitutional experts and human rights activists.
The hearing, which was announced last week, seems to be the one Judiciary Chairman John Conyers promised to Kucinich after he introduced his second impeachment resolution aimed at Bush earlier this month. Any action on Kucinich’s articles of impeachment still seems unlikely, but the Ohio Democrat has previously said he just wants to be able to present his case.
Late Thursday afternoon, the committee released the full witness list, broken down into two panels.
The Honorable Dennis Kucinich, Representative from Ohio
The Honorable Maurice Hinchey, Representative from New York
The Honorable Walter Jones, Representative from North Carolina
The Honorable Brad Miller, Representative from North Carolina
The Honorable Elizabeth Holtzman, Former Representative from
The Honorable Bob Barr, Former Representative from Georgia,
2008 Libertarian Nominee for President
The Honorable Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson, Founder and President, High Roads for Human Rights
Stephen Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University School of Law
Bruce Fein, Associate Deputy Attorney General, 1981-82, Chairman, American Freedom Agenda
Vincent Bugliosi, Author and former Los Angeles County Prosecutor
Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh — a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker — revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke war with Iran.
In Hersh’s most recent article, he reports that this meeting occurred in the wake of the overblown incident in the Strait of Hormuz, when a U.S. carrier almost shot at a few small Iranian speedboats. The “meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. ‘The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,'” according to one of Hersh’s sources.
During the journalism conference event, I asked Hersh specifically about this meeting and if he could elaborate on what occurred. Hersh explained that, during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them. This idea, intended to provoke an Iran war, was ultimately rejected:
… Continue reading
HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.
Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans.
By Paul Craig Roberts
August 5, 2008
In last weekend’s edition of CounterPunch,
Alexander Cockburn updates the ongoing persecution of Sami Al-Arian by federal
prosecutors. Al-Arian was a Florida university professor of computer science
who was ensnared by the Bush Regime’s need to produce “terrorists”
in order to keep Americans fearful and, thereby, amenable to the Bush Regime’s
assault on US civil liberties.
The charges against Al-Arian were rejected by a jury, but the Bush Regime could
not accept the obvious defeat. If Al-Arian was not a terrorist, then other of
the Bush Regime’s fabricated cases might fall apart, too.
In open view, the US Department of Justice (sic) proceeded to trash every known
ethical rule of prosecution. I don’t need to repeat the facts, as they
are covered by Cockburn’s articles and in The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
Instead, I want to point out another meaning of the Al-Arian case. The Justice
(sic) Department itself knows that it is persecuting a totally innocent person
for reasons of a political agenda–the need to convince gullible Americans of
an ongoing terrorist threat. The existence of this threat is used to justify
the Bush Regime’s adoption of police state measures, such as spying on
Americans without warrants, arresting them without charges, and refusing to
let go of them when they are cleared by juries.
Sami Al-Arian is a fabricated terrorist created by federal prosecutors and
judges in behalf of an undeclared agenda. The Al-Arian case proves that terrorists
are in short… Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. Paul, Minnesota — August 12, 2008 — Impeach for Peace (IfP), along with others looking to demonstrate at the Republican National Convention (RNC), filed a lawsuit Friday with the help of the ACLU of Minnesota in Ramsey County District Court demanding our right to free speech. Plaintiffs include: Jodin Morey and Mikael Rudolph of Impeach for Peace, Colleen and Ross Rowley, and Ron Deharporte.
Impeach for Peace is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization based in Minnesota with chapters in twelve states throughout the country working to achieve the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and holding them and future elected officials fully accountable under the Rule of Law.
The RNC is having their election year convention in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center. During this event, the St. Paul Police have decided to relegate most speech activities in what they call the ‘Primary Event Area’ to an inadequate ‘Designated Public Assembly Area’ or free speech zone. The ‘Primary Event Area’ remains to be fully defined by the police, making it impossible for people to know where in St. Paul they can exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. At the convention, members of congress, mayors, governors, the President and Vice-President of the United States are expected to be in attendance. This provides IfP and other potential demonstrators with a unique opportunity to express their political messages to these governmental officials.
The lawsuit alleges that the St. Paul City Council and police have created guidelines for the RNC which restrict free speech to areas that are “inadequate and unacceptably small.”
The ACLU also alleges that the City Council/Police denied IfP their due process rights as stipulated in the Minnesota State Constitution by failing to give notice of their plans regarding free speech restrictions, which would have allowed for public comment and a public hearing.…Continue reading
August 15, 2008
You may have noticed that lately I’ve been making movies that “force” people to go to www.historycommons.org (www.cooperativeresearch.org). I’m hoping people will see just how important a tool it can be.
Please support www.historycommons.org. They have been invaluable to me, and hopefully will be for you as well.
by Jason Leopold
August 21, 2008
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has asked current and former White House aides and ex-CIA officials to respond to questions about an alleged scheme to create a bogus letter in late 2003 linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda.
In sending the interview requests Wednesday, Conyers is following up on a disputed story in journalist Ron Suskind’s new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, which includes an account of how the mysterious letter originated.
The book cites statements from former CIA associate deputy director of operations Rob Richer and John Maguire, the former chief of the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group/Near East Division, as indicating that the White House ordered the CIA to produce the bogus letter to retroactively justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
Richer and Maguire gave Suskind on-the-record interviews, which the author recorded, discussing the reasons the letter was created and saying that it likely emanated from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. Both men have since recanted their statements.
Conyers, who has held periodic hearings on abuses of power by George W. Bush’s administration, sent letters to former CIA Director George Tenet; the CIA’s former executive director A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard; Cheney’s former chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby; and John Hannah, another Cheney assistant — as well as to Richer and Maguire.
“I am writing to follow up on recent serious allegations regarding the creation… Continue reading
By Tod Fletcher
September 11, 2008
In THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED , David Ray Griffin provides a brilliant and much-needed companion to his path-breaking and movement-building book on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor (NPH; 2004). Now, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of those horrific events, Griffin surveys in detail all the main lines of evidence against the official account of 9/11 to have emerged during the last four years. THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED (NPHR) has been designed as volume 2 of a two-volume set with NPH as volume 1; together they provide a thorough and up-to-date case against the official conspiracy theory (they can be bought separately, of course).
Griffin has already published four other books that provide in-depth analysis of most of the evidence to have emerged since 2004. NPHR’s main purpose is to provide an easily accessible survey of all of the new evidence, so that it is now possible for a beginner to the subject (including journalists and members of Congress) to master its enormous complexity simply by reading two books. NPHR is structured identically to NPH; each chapter in NPHR comments and builds on the corresponding chapter in NPH. Much of the content is entirely new; there are many facts and analyses in NPHR which Griffin presents for the first time, and which literally make the book an up-to-the-minute statement of the case.
In the Preface, Griffin explains why he undertook to “update” The New Pearl Harbor . In the Introduction he… Continue reading
Live Broadcast — 2 Day Conference — All Day Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13-14th
Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 13-14th
6am Pacific – 9am Eastern – 13:00 GMT
LIVE 2 DAY CONFERENCE direct from Andover, Mass.
A two-day conference on obtaining prosecutions of high level
American war criminals will open September 13th, in Andover, Mass. The conference
will explore the legal grounds for, and plan for, obtaining prosecutions of
President Bush and top officials of his Administration for war crimes.
In the tradition of America’s Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials
after World War II, Justice Robert Jackson, the Conference’s purpose is “to
hold high U.S. officials accountable in courts of law and, if guilt is found,
to obtain appropriate punishments. Otherwise,” said the Conference’s convener,
Lawrence Velvel, “the future will be threatened by additional examples
of Executive lawlessness by leaders who need fear no personal consequences”
for their actions, leading to the “possibility of more Viet Nams, more
Iraqs, and more repression.”
Velvel emphasized: “This is intended to be a planning conference, one at
which plans will be laid, and necessary organizational structures will be set
up, to seek prosecutions to determine guilt and, if guilt is found, appropriate
Attendees will hear from prominent authorities on international law, criminal
prosecutions, and constitutional rights who are determined to give meaning to
Justice Jackson’s words: “The common sense… Continue reading
by Stephen C. Webster
Saturday, September 13, 2008
PROGRAM WILL RETURN SUNDAY, 9 A.M. Eastern
Saturday morning, the dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will convene a two day planning session with a single focus: To arrest, put to trial and carry out sentence on criminals in the Bush Administration.
The conference, arranged by Lawrence Vevel, cofounder of the Andover school, will focus on which of Bush’s officials and members of Congress could be charged with war crimes. The plan also calls for “necessary organizational structures” to be established, with the purpose of pursuing the guilty “to the ends of the Earth.”
“For Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Yoo to spend years in jail or go to the gallows for their crimes would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders,” Velvel said in a media advisory.
“He is a former drunk, was a serial failure in business who had to repeatedly be bailed out by daddy’s friends and wanna-be-friends, was unable to speak articulately despite the finest education(s) that money and influence can buy, has a dislike of reading, so that 100-page memos have to be boiled down to one page for him, is heedless of facts and evidence, and appears not even to know the meaning of truth,” said Vevel.…Continue reading
by Bill Simpich tr u t h o u t | Report
The Congressional anthrax hearings of September 16-17 revealed that public pressure is keeping the doors open in the anthrax case. FBI Director Robert Mueller promised that the FBI will provide their evidence to a panel of experts for scientific evaluation. The battle will now turn to the independence of this panel, and whether “all evidence” or merely “scientific evidence” will be under review.
During the hearings, Mueller found himself under fire by Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman John Conyers for not having answers to their questions. Republican Arlen Specter was furious at Mueller for his unwillingness to assure them that Congress would have a role in determining the panel’s composition.
Meanwhile, new evidence shows just how deeply wrong ABC and Washington Post reporters have been over the years on their coverage of the anthrax attacks. They can’t have it both ways: Either they made repeated “mistakes” by relying on their sources, or several people deliberately lied in order to advance war on Iraq.
In his recent book Taking Heat, former White House secretary Ari Fleischer wrote that Bush was more shook up by the anthrax attacks than by any other event. White House officials repeatedly pressed Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by al-Qaeda or Iraq. After days of provocative statements designed to scare the American people, Cheney himself believed that he had been exposed to anthrax. Although the test… Continue reading
This is a news item pertaining to the Complete 911 Timeline investigative project, one of several grassroots investigations being hosted on the History Commons website. The
data published as part of this investigation has been collected, organized, and published by members of the public who are registered users of this website.
9/28/2008: Pentagon on 9/11, Shoe Bombing, Bin Laden in the Soviet-Afghan War and More – Additions as of September 28, 2008
This week, a massive amount of new entries have been added to the timeline, dealing with a whole range of different issues. We will start with the day of 9/11, in particular the Pentagon, which a fire chief warned could be a target nearly 20 minutes before it was hit. The attack itself created confusion by setting off 300 fire alarms, although some medical workers thought the ensuing evacuation was a drill. After wandering about outside the building, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld refused to follow the established emergency plan and evacuate, instead sending deputy Paul Wolfowitz to an alternate military command center, where the computers and communication systems did not work.
The first fighter was seen arriving over the Pentagon at around 10:40 a.m., the FAA sent the White House incorrect details of the hijacked planes in the early afternoon, and astronauts viewed the devastation in New York from space. Meanwhile, the FBI established a command post near the Pentagon and limited the evidence that needed to be photographed there.
The… Continue reading
October 6, 2008
by Tom Burghardt
Ten months before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved an updated version of the U.S. Army’s secret operational Continuity of Government (COG) plans.
A draft document published by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks entitled, “Army Regulation 500-3, Emergency Employment of Army and Other Resources. Army Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program,” dated 19 January 2001, spells out changes in Army doctrine.
Issued by Headquarters, Department of the Army and signed off by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Secretary of the Army, the document is affixed with a warning: “Destruction Notice: Destroy by any method that will prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document.” The restricted document as published by Wikileaks states:
History. This regulation is a revision of the original regulation that was effective on 10 July 1989. Since that time, no changes have been published to amend the original.
Summary. This regulation on the Army Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program has been revised to update Army COOP policy and extend the requirement for all-hazards COOP planning to all Army organizations. Classified information contained in the 1989 version of this AR has been removed and placed in a classified HQDA Operations Plan (OPLAN).
Applicability. This regulation applies to the Active Army, the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), and when federalized to the Army National Guard (ARNG). In the event of conflict between this regulation and approved OSD or JCS publications, the provisions of the latter will… Continue reading
Andrew J. Bacevich
As campaign ads urge voters to consider who will be a better “Commander in Chief,” Andrew J. Bacevich — Professor of International Relations at Boston University, retired Army colonel, and West Point graduate — joins Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL to encourage viewers to take a step back and connect the dots between U.S. foreign policy, consumerism, politics, and militarism.
Bacevich begins his new book, THE LIMITS OF POWER: THE END OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM, with an epigraph taken from the Bible: “Put thine house in order.” Bacevich explained his choice to Bill Moyers:
I’ve been troubled by the course of U.S. foreign policy for a long, long time. And I wrote the book in order to sort out my own thinking about where our basic problems lay. And I really reached the conclusion that our biggest problems are within.
I think there’s a tendency in the part of policy makers — and probably a tendency in the part of many Americans — to think that the problems we face are problems that are out there somewhere beyond our borders, and that if we can fix those problems, then we’ll be able to continue the American way of life as it has long existed. I think it’s fundamentally wrong. Our major problems are here at home.
Bacevich sees three crises looming in the United States today, as he explains in the introduction to THE LIMITS OF POWER.
… Continue reading
The United States today finds itself threatened by three interlocking crises. The first of these crises is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military.