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The Painful Collapse of Empire: How the ‘American Dream’ and American Exceptionalism Wreck Havoc on the World

We must tell the truth about the domination that is at the heart of the American Dream so that we may face the brokenness of our world.

by Robert Jensen

AlterNet.org

Whether celebrated or condemned, the American Dream endures, though always ambiguously. We are forever describing and defining, analyzing and assessing the concept, and with each attempt to clarify, the idea of an American Dream grows more incoherent yet more entrenched.

The literature of this dream analysis is virtually endless, as writers undertake the task of achieving, saving, chasing, restoring, protecting, confronting, pursuing, reviving, shaping, renewing, and challenging the American Dream. Other writers are busy devouring, recapturing, fulfilling, chasing, liberating, advertising, redesigning, rescuing, spreading, updating, inventing, reevaluating, financing, redefining, remembering, and expanding the American Dream. And let’s not forget those who are deepening, building, debating, burying, destroying, ruining, promoting, tracking, betraying, remaking, living, regulating, undermining, marketing, downsizing, and revitalizing the American Dream.

We are exhorted to awaken from, and face up to, the dream, as we explore the myths behind, crisis of, cracks in, decline of, and quest for the American Dream.

My favorite book title on the subject has to be  Andy Kaufman: Wrestling with the American Dream , which explores the comedian’s career “within a broader discussion of the ideology of the American Dream.” According to the book’s publisher, the author “brilliantly decodes Kaufman in a way that makes it possible to grasp his radical agenda beyond avant-garde theories of transgression. As an entertainer, Kaufman submerged his identity… Continue reading

House Passes Authority for Worldwide War

by Sam Milgrom, Washington Legislative Office of ACLU.org

The House just passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including a provision to authorize worldwide war, which has no expiration date and will allow this president — and any future president — to go to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. The new authorization wouldn’t even require the president to show any threat to the national security of the United States. The American military could become the world’s cop, and could be sent into harm’s way almost anywhere and everywhere around the globe.

 

Show Editor’s Note: »

Read details of this extremely important bill, H.R. 1540, at Thomas.gov with final vote results here. Bravo to Rep. Justin Amash (D, Mich) for introducing Amendment 327 to strike section 1034 of the bill, relating to the authorization for use of military force. Sadly, the amendment failed 187-234 (see roll call vote results). Rep. Jason Chaffetz (D., Utah) introduced an amendment requiring US ground troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and require the Secretary of Defense to submit a withdrawal plan to Congress within 60 days. It, too, failed, 123-294. List of all amendments and results here.

 
Before the vote, the House debated an amendment that would have struck the worldwide war provision. That amendment was introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives: Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.),… Continue reading

Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

23 May 2011
by Jeffrey Kaye
Truthout

Defense Intelligence Agency shieldA great deal of controversy has arisen about what was known about the movements and location of Osama bin Laden in the wake of his killing by US Special Forces on May 2 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Questions about what intelligence agencies knew or didn’t know about al-Qaeda activities go back some years, most prominently in the controversy over the existence of a joint US Special Forces Command and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) data mining effort known as “Able Danger.”

What hasn’t been discussed is a September 2008 Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general (IG) report, summarizing an investigation made in response to an accusation by a Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC) whistleblower, which indicated that a senior JFIC commander had halted actions tracking Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. JFIC is tasked with an intelligence mission in support of United States Joint Force Command (USJFCOM).

The report, titled “Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission,” was declassified last year, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists.

The whistleblower, who the IG report identified as a former JFIC employee represented only by his codename “IRON MAN,” claimed in letters written to both the DoD inspector general in May 2006 and, lacking any apparent action by the IG, to the Office of the National Director of Intelligence (ODNI) in October 2007, that JFIC had withheld operational information about al-Qaeda when queried in March 2002 about its activities by the DIA and higher command officials on behalf of the 9/11 Commission.…

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Boiling Frogs Exclusive: Intelligence and Law Enforcement Experts on Ever-Changing Bin Laden Death Script

Boilingfrogspost.com

Not All Sources and Experts Are Equal–Here Are some Real Ones!

directorThere are ‘experts’ views,’ and then there are experts’ views. There are ‘government sources,’ and then there are government sources. Not all experts are equal. And, not all sources are reliable. Am I talking in riddles? Of course not; give me a chance and I’ll explain.

We have members of the popular media (mainstream and quasi-alternatives alike) ever anxious to market and disseminate government conspiracy and propaganda. They, members of the popular media, have their own rolodex of ‘experts’ and analysts, some on their payroll, to help them propagate the delivery and execution of government-given propaganda-conspiracy. The same principle applies to ‘sources.’ The popular media relies on their government sources who act as middle-men-government messengers who’ve been given a government written and approved script to be delivered; almost always anonymously. Well, this is exactly what we have been getting from our media, around the clock, since the announcement of the Bin Laden Death Operation: ever-changing government scripts, delivered mainly by anonymous government sources to the US media, and further embellished and expanded upon by government-connected experts and analysts on the payroll.

On the other hand, there are many independent real experts whose analyses and views you won’t, or rarely, get to hear or read about; at least not in the mainstream media or at quasi-alternative sites. And there are current and former government sources not tasked with messenger duties; many of whom… Continue reading

How Many SEALs Died?

by Paul Craig Roberts
May 17, 2011
VDARE.com

In a sensational and explosive TV report, the Pakistani News Agency has provided a live interview with an eye witness to the US attack on the alleged compound of Osama bin Laden. The eye witness, Mohammad Bashir, describes the event as it unfolded. Of the three helicopters, “there was only one that landed the men and came back to pick them up, but as he [the helicopter] was picking them up, it blew away and caught fire.” The witness says that there were no survivors, just dead bodies and pieces of bodies everywhere. “We saw the helicopter burning, we saw the dead bodies, then everything was removed and now there is nothing.”

I always wondered how a helicopter could crash, as the White House reported, without at least producing injuries. Yet, in the original White House story, the SEALs not only survived a 40-minute firefight with al Qaeda, “the most highly trained, most dangerous, most vicious killers on the planet,” without a scratch, but also survived a helicopter crash without a scratch.

The Pakistani news report is available on you tube. The Internet site, Veterans Today, posted a translation along with a video of the interview. Information Clearing House made
it available on May 17
.

If the interview is not a hoax and the translation is correct, we now know the answer to the unasked question: Why was there no White House ceremony with President Obama pinning medals all over the… Continue reading

Campaign ends torturous treatment of Bradley Manning

Supporters of accused WikiLeaks source vow to fight on for open trial and freedom

May 5, 2011
By the Bradley Manning Support Network
Published at Couragetoresist.org

Photo of Free Bradley Manning ProtestHundreds of thousands of individuals globally celebrate today the confirmation that their efforts to end the torturous pre-trial confinement conditions inflicted upon US Army PFC Bradley Manning have been successful. Manning’s lead defense attorney, David E. Coombs of Rhode Island, has personally verified that Manning is indeed being held in Medium Custody confinement at the Joint Regional Corrections Facility (JRCF) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as claimed by the Army last week.

“We won this battle because 600,000 individuals took the time to write letters and sign petitions, because thousands called the White House switchboard, because 300 of America’s top legal scholars decried Bradley’s pre-trial conditions as a clear violation of our Constitution’s 5th and 8th Amendments,” declared Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network. “We won this battle because over a hundred concerned citizens engaged in civil disobedience at the White House and at Quantico, and because our grassroots campaign shows no sign of slowing.”

These new conditions reflect a dramatic improvement for Manning following his transfer to Fort Leavenworth on April 20, 2011, after having suffered extreme solitary-like confinement at US Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. During the nine months at Quantico, Manning was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and was at times kept completely naked. These conditions were unique to Manning and were illegal under US… Continue reading

News: Bin Laden Dead, Buried at Sea

Obama: Osama bin Laden is dead

By Kase Wickman
RawStory.com

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the number one most-wanted fugitive for nearly a decade, was killed in Pakistan Sunday, the White House announced.

President Barack Obama made a live statement shortly after 11:30 p.m. from the East Room of the White House.

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children,” he began.

The U.S. received an intelligence lead last August about bin Laden’s whereabouts, Obama said, and that he had enough information by Sunday to launch a targeted military operation on the compound pinpointed as bin Laden’s location, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

“A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability,” Obama said. “No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

White House officials said that the operation was in cooperation with Pakistani authorities, and was carried out by Navy SEALs in helicopters who rehearsed the operation to avoid civilian casualties. Reportedly, one woman who was used as a human shield was killed.

Crowds gathered outside the White House and around the country after the speech, waving flags and singing the National Anthem. U.S. diplomatic centers are reportedly on high alert in… Continue reading

The Costs of War, and More from Congressional Research Service

April 29, 2011
Email from Federation of American Scientists’ “Secrecy news Blog”

As of March 2011, Congress had approved a total of more than $1.2 trillion
dollars for costs associated with the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other post-9/11
"war on terror" operations, the Congressional Research Service said
in its most recent update on the subject. See "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan,
and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11,"
March 29, 2011.

Other new or newly updated CRS reports include the following (all pdf).

"Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians," April 6,
2011.

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Terrorism Investigations,"
April 27, 2011.

"U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress,"
March 28, 2011.

"Sensitive Covert Action Notifications: Oversight Options for Congress,"
April 6, 2011.

"Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions,"
April 6, 2011.

Why the Planes Were Not Intercepted on 9/11: The Wall Street Lawyer and the Special Ops Hijack Coordinator

by Kevin Ryan
ULTruth.wordpress.com

Of the many unanswered questions about the attacks of September 11, one of the most important is: Why were none of the four planes intercepted? A rough answer is that the failure of the US air defenses can be traced to a number of factors and people. There were policy changes, facility changes, and personnel changes that had recently been made, and there were highly coincidental military exercises that were occurring on that day. But some of the most startling facts about the air defense failures have to do with the utter failure of communications between the agencies responsible for protecting the nation. At the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), two people stood out in this failed chain of communications. One was a lawyer on his first day at the job, and another was a Special Operations Commander who was never held responsible for his critical role, or even questioned about it.

The 9/11 Commission wrote in its report that — “On 9/11, the defense of U.S. airspace depended on close interaction between two federal agencies: the FAA and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).”[1]

According to the Commission, this interaction began with air traffic controllers (ATCs) at the relevant regional FAA control centers, which on 9/11 included Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. In the event of a hijacking, these ATCs were expected to “notify their supervisors, who in turn would inform management all the way up to FAA headquarters. Headquarters had a hijack coordinator, who was the director of the FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security or his or her designate.…

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WikiLeaks: The Guantánamo Files

by Andy Worthington
Published April 24, 2011
WikiLeaks.ch

On Sunday April 24, 2011 WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files from the
notorious Guantánamo Bay prison camp. The details for every detainee will be
released daily over the coming month.

WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Files on All Guantánamo Prisoners

PLEASE NOTE: This article has been published in languages other than English
at WikiLeaks, linked here.

In its latest release of classified US documents, WikiLeaks is shining the
light of truth on a notorious icon of the Bush administration’s “War on
Terror” — the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which opened on January
11, 2002, and remains open under President Obama, despite his promise to close
the much-criticized facility within a year of taking office.

In thousands of pages of documents dating from 2002 to 2008 and never seen
before by members of the public or the media, the cases of the majority of the
prisoners held at Guantánamo — 758 out of 779 in total — are described
in detail in memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo
Bay, to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.

These memoranda, which contain JTF-GTMO’s recommendations about whether the
prisoners in question should continue to be held, or should be released (transferred
to their home governments, or to other governments) contain a wealth of important
and previously undisclosed information, including health assessments, for example,
and, in the cases of the majority of the 171 prisoners who are still held, photos
(mostly for the… Continue reading

Military Tribunal May Hide 9/11 Motives

By Ray McGovern
April 6, 2011
Consortiumnews.com

The Obama administration’s decision to use a military tribunal rather than a federal criminal court to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others means the real motives behind the 9/11 attacks may remain obscure.

The Likud Lobby and their allied U.S. legislators can chalk up a significant victory for substantially shrinking any opportunity for the accused planners of 9/11 to tell their side of the story.

What? I sense some bristling. “Their side of the story?” Indeed! We’ve been told there is no “their side of the story.”

For years, President George W. Bush got away with offering up the risible explanation that they “hate our freedoms.” The stenographers of the White House press corps may have had to suppress smiles but silently swallowed the “they-hate-us-for-our-freedoms” rationale.

The only journalist I can recall stepping up and asking, in effect, “Come on; now really; it’s important; why do the really hate us” was the indomitable Helen Thomas.

In January 2010, just weeks after the “underpants bomber” tried to down an airliner over Detroit, President Barack Obama asked White House counter-terrorism guru, John Brennan, to field questions from the White House press.

Helen Thomas took the opportunity to ask why the would-be bomber did what he did. The exchange with Brennan is, hopefully, more instructive than it is depressing — highlighting a limited mindset still stuck in bromides.

Thomas: “Why do they want to do us harm? And what is the motivation?… Continue reading

Pentagon Papers Whistleblowers, Congressman Who Saved Headwaters Forest, and 9/11 Commissioners Themselves Call for a New 9/11 Investigation

Washingtonsblog.com

The two main players in releasing the Pentagon Papers were Daniel Ellsberg and United States Senator Mike Gravel.

Senator Gravel is the person who read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. This act made the papers public record, so that they could not be censored by the government. He was the only member of Congress courageous enough to do so.

Both Ellsberg and Gravel – like many other high-level former officials in the government and intelligence services (including many well-known whistleblowers) – support a new 9/11 investigation. Ellsberg says that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers“. (Here’s some of what that whistleblower says.) He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11.

And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that “very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been”, that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of those in office, and that there’s enough evidence to justify a new, “hard-hitting” investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this and this).

Gravel is now backing a California ballot initiative for a new 9/11 investigation. The text of the initiative is below.

The initiative would actually help support the 9/11 Commission and fulfill the desire of the 9/11… Continue reading

Were the Newburgh 4 Really Out to Blow Up Synagogues? A Defendant Finally Speaks Out

Was David Williams IV a terrorist? Or was he just out to make an easy score by scamming the government’s informant?

By Graham RaymanMarch 2 2011 VillageVoice.com

Image of Newburgh 4 behind bars

On March 24, David Williams IV and three other Newburgh, New York, men face possible life prison sentences for plotting to blow up two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and to shoot down military airplanes at Stewart Airport.

The Newburgh 4–ringleader James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams, and Laguerre Payen–were found guilty in a six-week trial based largely on the work of an FBI informant, Shahed Hussain, who posed as a wealthy Pakistani businessman with ties to an overseas terror group as part of an elaborate government sting operation.

The trial showed that Cromitie had made anti-Semitic and anti-American statements, that he concocted attack plans with Hussain, that the four defendants met to view an anti-aircraft missile, and that they planted what they had been told were bombs at two Riverdale synagogues on May 20, 2009.

The evidence, which included secretly taped conversations, painted a picture of four men who wanted to strike a blow for radical Islam. After the verdict, one juror told reporters, “We considered what they did a serious crime.”

Defense lawyers tried unsuccessfully to convince the jury that the government had actually entrapped the four, but none of the defendants testified on their own or gave interviews.

Photographs by J.B. Nicholas, Christopher Sadowski Splash news/News.com From left: James Cromitie, David Williams, Laguerre Payen, and Onta Williams.… Continue reading

Bradley Manning Now ‘Catatonic’; Obama ENOUGH!

March 7, 2011
by Ralph Lopez
War Is A Crime.org

As Obama’s crime of the destruction of Bradley Manning continues to unfold before our very eyes, Manning friend David House now tells us that over 8 months in isolation with movement and sleep restrictions placed on him have been having their intended effect. House has told MSNBC that by the end of January Manning appeared “catatonic” and that he had “severe problems communicating,” with it having taken House nearly 45 minutes on a recent visit to engage in any meaningful way (video below.) House said Manning’s demeanor was as “if he had just woken up and didn’t know what was going on  around him.” Manning was “utterly exhausted physically and mentally…it was difficult to have any kind of social engagement.”

Also, a full month after Congressman Dennis Kucinich formally requested a visit, the Army has stalled on the request.

All for the crime of reporting war crimes and criminal behavior even among the highest-ranking military officials in Iraq.

In 2005, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member [in Iraq], if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to try to stop it.”

Chase Mader writes in HuffPo that soon after deployment to Iraq, Manning:

“soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” — which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist.

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New Song from Truth Troubadour, Vic Sadot — ‘Courage to Resist’

February 26, 2011
Vic Sadot–Courage To Resist (5:21)

Courage To Resist, by Vic Sadot, is a tribute to GI Resistance and whistle-blowers
in 2011. The title is taken from the name of the civilian organization called
“Courage To Resist” that supports troops in service who become anti-war. The songwriter says “The song was inspired especially by Private Bradley Manning and Wikileaks for exposing the lies, war crimes, and cover-ups of the corporate
empire”.

The song has two verses about Bradley Manning, Wikileaks, and the release of
a video showing US helicopter pilots joking about killing 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians.
Two of the murdered civilians were Reuters reporters. Two small children were
maimed in the bullet spraying. Nichol Mitchell was in Iraq when she became a
conscientious objector and refused to serve in the occupation. Marc Hall had
already served his enlistment time when the US Army ordered him to continue
in combat operations in Iraq by using “stop loss” legislation that
attempts to rescind the contract that an enlisted soldier made at the time of
enlistment in order to force him or her to remain in military service. The Courage
To Resist organization states, “According to the Pentagon, more than 120,000
soldiers have been affected by stop-loss since 2001″. Hall wrote an angry
hip hop song and posted it on the internet. The song made people all over the
world aware of the little known and reported use of the “stop loss draft”
to keep enlisted service men and women… Continue reading

Ray McGovern Bloodied at Clinton Talk

By Robert Parry
February 17, 2011
http://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/021711a.html

Sometimes the hypocrisy is just overwhelming. So, it probably shouldn’t surprise us that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would deliver a speech hailing the peaceful protests that changed Egypt while 71-year-old Ray McGovern was roughed up and dragged away for standing quietly in protest of her support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“So this is America,” said McGovern as he was hustled from the room by two security guards. “This is America.”

McGovern, a former Army intelligence officer and a 27-year veteran of the CIA, was wearing a “Veterans for Peace” t-shirt and, according to witnesses, was standing silently with his back to Secretary Clinton before he was set upon by the two agents who bruised, bloodied and handcuffed McGovern, a cancer survivor. [For video, see below.]

McGovern, who writes for Consortiumnews.com, has been detained at other events protesting both the illegality of U.S. wars and the hypocrisy of demanding accountability for others but not for senior U.S. officials implicated in war crimes, like the torture authorized by former President George W. Bush and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney.

For instance, last December, McGovern joined a Veterans for Peace protest at the White House, which he described in an article “Thoughts at the White House Fence.”

In the article, McGovern described thinking about “Casey Sheehan and 4,429 other U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, and the 491 U.S. troops killed this year in Afghanistan (bringing that total to 1,438). And their… Continue reading

Call to Action!

January 31, 2011

TO: Citizens of the World Working for Peace

ACTION NEEDED: Protest the Condemnation of Professor Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.

WHY: Professor Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, has demonstrated courage in saying that there are “gaps and contradictions” in the official account of 9/11. He has been “condemned” for such conservative statements about 9/11 by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Ambassador Susan Rice, and Ambassador Rice has called for his removal from his unpaid post at the U.N.

Professor Falk has been devoted to world peace during his lifetime, and he is arguably the world’s most qualified legal scholar in the Palestine-Israel issue in the UN where he is very much needed.

Write as a citizen (not part of a movement) to both U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to let them know you disapprove of their censoring statements to Professor Richard Falk, and that you call for an apology to him.

Five sample letters follow. Please do this as soon as you are able. Time is of the essence. And please forward to your peace and justice contacts and those working for peace for Palestinians and Israelis.

Link to Richard Falk’s blog on this issue: http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/?s=9%2F11+gaps&submit=Search

ADDRESSES for Ambassador Susan Rice:

Hon. Susan Rice U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations U.S. Mission to the United Nations 799 United Nations Plaza New York, NY… Continue reading

The Hornet’s Nest Kicked Back – A Review of Susan Lindauer’s Extreme Prejudice

by Michael Collins

Fiction delivers justice that reality rarely approaches. Victims en dure suffering and emerge as victors after overcoming incredible challenges. Stieg Larsson’s gripping Millennium Trilogy weaves a story of revenge and triumphs for Lizbeth Salander, locked away in a mental institution and sexually abused for years. When Salander got out and threatened to go public about a high level sexual exploitation ring, the perpetrators sought to lock her up again. In the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Salander found some justice. ( Image )

Susan Lindauer’s autobiography, Extreme Prejudice , tells a story with certain broad similarities. In her case, however, the hornet’s nest kicked back with a real vengeance. After over a decade as a U.S. intelligence asset, Lindauer was privy to information about pre war Iraq that threatened to serve up a huge embarrassment to the Bush-Cheney regime. She hand delivered a letter to senior Bush administration officials in hopes of averting what she predicted would be the inevitably tragic 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Those officials, unnamed in the indictment, were her second cousin, then White House chief of staff Andy Card, and Colin Powell.

After the invasion failed to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Lindauer went to Congress offering to testify about the quality of prewar intelligence. In early 2004, she met with staffers in the offices of Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (D-MS) in February 2004. Shortly after those visits and other offers… Continue reading