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Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

President, Murderer, Lecturer, Author

Posted by terres on March 22, 2009

What Can Bush Teach Us?

by Ralph Nader

George W. Bush is hitting the lecture circuit. Represented by the Washington Speakers Bureau, Mr. Bush for a fee of at least $150,000 flew up to Calgary, Canada and spoke to a conservative business audience amidst street protests.

protest-bush-3As protesters outside carried signs urging Bush to be tried as a war criminal, the former president hinted that incarcerating and interrogating suspected terrorists without trial at Guantanamo was the right thing to do. Calgary Herald. Image may be subject to copyright.

He also has signed a book contract with Crown Publishers tentatively titled “Decision Points” about a dozen personal and presidential decisions ranging from giving up booze to choosing Dick Cheney to invading Iraq.

Now that he is becoming a lecturer and an author, why not also be a teacher? The 43rd president has much to teach Americans about how weak their democracy is—rights, institutions, processes and the sovereignty of the people.

His first lecture to students could be how he and Cheney violated, circumvented and trampled our Constitution. It was as if they replaced the opening preamble of “we, the people” with “we, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.”

Early in his Administration, Mr. Bush showed a determination to pick up on King George III and root himself in something called “the inherent powers of the Presidency,” often called the “unitary Presidency.” With that, King George IV was establishing his unilateral kingdom, though instead of invoking his divine right, his mantra was the “war on Terror.”

He became the most recidivist criminal president, the most variously impeachable president on a regular day-to-day basis in American history. Violating repeatedly our Constitution, laws and treaties, Mr. Bush warred, terrorized, tortured, imprisoned without charges, illegally snooped on masses of Americans and set a record for signing statements saying he “the decider” would determine which laws he signed he would obey and when. And that’s just what is public knowledge so far from a very secretive regime.

The ways this outlaw President devastated the rule of law has been well documented in many firsthand accounts of former members of his government in the military, intelligence, and diplomatic service. The lies and deceptions that took our country to war, with immense loss of life and limb, and turned the rights and lives of millions of families upside down have been the material of many books, public hearings and admissions. Even the conservative American Bar Association condemned the Bush White House three times for unconstitutional practices.

Mr. Bush taught us how cowardly the Congress could be in not defending its constitutional authorities and the crucial checks and balances to hold the White House accountable. He taught us the degree of abdication by the major opposition Democratic Party which allowed him and his ilk to do what they did and to leave office on January 20, 2009 without being subjected to impeachment and trial, without even being subjected to a Congressional censure resolution.

He taught us that the courts, with few exceptions, cannot be counted on to defend the constitution from the marauding President—avoiding doing so by excuses that these seizures of power are “political questions.” Sure, Bush going to war without a declaration of war is too political?  Tell that to Jefferson, Madison and other founding fathers who made a big matter out of taking away the war-making authority from any future would-be monarch and decisively repositing it with the Congress.

He taught us how easily you could fool, manipulate, delay or intimidate the mainstream media into becoming a cheerleader for war and a collaborator in covering up what a few intrepid reporters uncovered.

He showed that truth is indeed the first casualty of war and that lies have no consequences for him other than a 70% disapproval rating.

He did tell the truth, however, when he announced to a big business audience in Texas early in his first term that they were “his base.” Acting like a corporation masquerading as a human in the White House, Mr. Bush pursued policies unleashing the greed and control of Wall Street that tanked the economy and destroyed trillions of dollars of the people’s money in an orgy of reckless speculation.

bush-protest1
About 300 protesters greeted Bush with banners in Calgary, and attempted  to hamper his lecture. Photo
submitted by a reader, source unknown. Image may be subject to copyright.

As Jamal Simmons wrote recently, “Unlike the story of King Midas, everything Bush touched turned to coal.”

Mr. Bush threw the gauntlet down to 800,000 American lawyers and unlike the marching Pakistani lawyers, only a handful such as Michael Greco, Ramsay Clark, David Cole and Jonathan Turley took up his challenge. The vast majority of lawyers went about their own business, shrugging off what it means to be “officers of the court.”

Bush, former American Caesar tore the pretense off our democratic pretensions. By not holding him and his top collaborators responsible for violating the constitutional, criminal and civil laws of the land, those persons, entrusted with their observance, took a holiday. These outrageous practices—still unchecked—are becoming institutionalized as illustrated in the several (but not all) ways that President Obama is continuing Bush’s legacy of license.

Democracies when they are eroded must show resiliency to recover and strengthen what was lost by way of freedom and justice. Otherwise the erosions fester and deepen. Who, you might ask, must be the tribunes of such resiliency? You will not find them now in officialdom.

The wise early twentieth century judge, Learned Hand, gave us the compass. He wrote these words: “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.”

End.

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Posted in Congress, King George III, King Midas, unitary Presidency, war on terror | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: “Wake Up America!”

Posted by terres on August 28, 2008

Don’t you just wish Kucinich was an independent candidate?

“Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neo-con artists seized the economy and have added $4 trillion of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil, and twice what we paid for health care.”

“Did the Democrats miss something along the way from the only man with the courage to introduce a resolution in June to impeach President George W. Bush and whose speech reminded those gathered who their fight actually was with?”

Must Watch Video: Click here!

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Out Damn Blot: A Letter to Colin Powell

Posted by terres on August 18, 2008

By Ray McGovern
August 15, 2008

Source: Consortium News

Dear Colin,

You have said you regret the “blot” on your record caused by your parroting spurious intelligence at the U.N. to justify war on Iraq. On the chance you may not have noticed, I write to point out that you now have a unique opportunity to do some rehab on your reputation.

If you were blindsided, well, here’s an opportunity to try to wipe off some of the blot. There is no need for you to end up like Lady Macbeth, wandering around aimlessly muttering, Out damn spot…or blot.

It has always strained credulity, at least as far as I was concerned, to accept the notion that naiveté prevented you from seeing through the game Vice President Dick Cheney and then-CIA Director George Tenet were playing on Iraq.

And I was particularly suspicious when you chose to ignore the strong dissents of your own State Department intelligence analysts who, as you know, turned out to be far more on target than counterparts in more servile agencies.

It was equally difficult for me to believe that you thought that, by insisting that shameless George Tenet sit behind you on camera, you could ensure a modicum of truth in your speech before the U.N. Security Council. You were far savvier than that.

That is certainly the impression I got from our every-other-morning conversations in the mid-80s, before I went in to brief the President’s Daily Brief to your boss, then-Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, one-on-one.

I saw the street smarts you displayed then. The savvy was familiar to me. I concluded that it came, in part, from the two decades you and I spent growing up in the same neighborhood at the same time in the Bronx.

On those Bronx streets, rough as they were, there was also a strong sense of what was honorable -honorable even among thieves and liars, you might say. And we had words, which I will not repeat here, for sycophants, pimps, and cowards.

Your U.N. speech of Feb. 5, 2003 left me speechless, so to speak – largely because of the measure of respect I had had for you before then.

Outrage is too tame a word for what quickly became my reaction and that of my colleagues in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), as we watched you perform before the Security Council less than six weeks before the unnecessary, illegal attack on Iraq.

The purpose – as well as the speciousness – of your address were all too transparent and, in a same-day commentary, we VIPS warned President George W. Bush that, if he attacked Iraq, “the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

That’s history. Or, as investigative reporter Ron Suskind would say, “It’s all on the record.”

You have not yet summoned the courage to admit it, but I think I know you well enough to believe you have a Lady Macbeth-type conscience problem that goes far beyond the spot on your record.

With 4,141 American soldiers – not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens – dead, and over 30,000 GIs badly wounded, how could you not?

What Did You Know…and When?

Here is what could be good news for you, Colin.

Information that has come to light over the past two years or so could wipe some of the blot fouling your record. It all depends, I guess, on how truthful you are prepared to be now.

Much of the new data comes from former CIA officials who, ironically, have sought to assuage their own consciences by doing talk therapy with authors like Sidney Blumenthal and Ron Suskind.

At first blush, these revelations seem so outlandish that they themselves strain credulity. But they stand up to close scrutiny far better than what you presented in your U.N. speech, for example.

If you now depend on the fawning corporate media (FCM) for your information, you will have missed this very significant, two-pronged story.

In brief, with the help of Allied intelligence services, the CIA recruited your Iraqi counterpart, Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister, Naji Sabri, and Tahir Jalil Habbush, the chief of Iraqi intelligence. They were cajoled into remaining in place while giving us critical intelligence well before the war – actually, well before your speech laying the groundwork for war.

In other words, at a time when Saddam Hussein believed that Sabri and Habbush were working for him, we had “turned” them. They were working for us, and much of the information they provided had been evaluated and verified.

Most important, each independently affirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, information that should have prevented you from making a fool of yourself before the U.N. Security Council.

The Iraqi Foreign Minister

The FCM gave almost no coverage (surprise, surprise!) to the reporting from Naji Sabri, which continues to be pretty much lost in the woodwork.

In case you missed it, we now know from former CIA officials that his information on the absence of WMD was concealed from Congress, from our senior military, and from intelligence analysts – including those working on the infamous National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1, 2002.

That NIE, titled “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for WMD,” was the one specifically designed to mislead Congress into authorizing the president to make war on Iraq.

One question is whether it is true that Sabri’s reporting was also concealed from you.

Tyler Drumheller, at the time a division chief in CIA’s clandestine service, was the first to tell the story of Naji Sabri, who is now living a comfortable retirement in Qatar. On CBS’s “60 Minutes” on April 23, 2006, Drumheller disclosed that the CIA had received documentary evidence from Sabri that Iraq had no WMD.

Drumheller added, “We continued to validate him the whole way through.”

Then two other former CIA officers confirmed this account to author Sidney Blumenthal, adding that George Tenet briefed this information to President George W. Bush on Sept. 18, 2002, and that Bush dismissed the information as worthless.

Wait. It gets worse. The two former CIA officers told Blumenthal that someone in the agency rewrote the report from Sabri to indicate that Saddam Hussein was “aggressively and covertly developing” nuclear weapons and already had chemical and biological weapons.

That altered report was shown to the likes of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was “duped,” according to one of the CIA officers.

Worse still, the former CIA officials reported that George Tenet never shared the unadulterated information from the Iraqi foreign minister with you, the Secretary of State and Naji Sabri’s counterpart. Again, whether that is true is a very large outstanding question.

The Chief of Iraqi Intelligence

Again, Colin, I am assuming you take your information from the FCM, so let me brief you, as in the old days, on what else has popped up over the past couple of weeks.

Two other CIA clandestine service officers have told author Ron Suskind that Iraqi intelligence chief Habbush had become one of our secret sources on Iraq, beginning in January 2003.

I hope you are sitting down, Colin, because Habbush also told us Iraq had no WMD. One of the helpful insights he passed along to us was that Saddam Hussein had decided that some ambiguity on the WMD issue would help prevent his main enemy, Iran, from thinking of Iraq as a toothless tiger.

Habbush, part of Saddam’s inner circle, had direct access to this kind of information. But when President Bush was first told of Habbush’s report that there were no WMD in Iraq, Suskind’s sources say the president reacted by saying, “Well, why don’t you tell him to give us something we can use to make our case?”

Apparently, Habbush was unable or unwilling to oblige by changing his story.

Nevertheless, later in 2003, when it became clear that he had been telling the unwelcome truth, Habbush was helped to resettle in Jordan and given $5 million to keep his mouth shut.

Suskind also reveals that in the fall of 2003, Habbush was asked to earn his keep by participating in a keystone-cops-type forgery aimed at “proving” that Saddam Hussein did, after all, have a direct hand in the tragedy of 9/11.

This crude forgery was not unlike the one that originally gave us the yarn about yellowcake uranium going from Niger to Iraq.

You will hardly be surprised to hear there is evidence, much of it circumstantial, that Vice President Dick Cheney was the intellectual author of both incredibly inept forgery operations.

Sorry to have to bring this up, but there is something else about Habbush that you need to know. He had actually been in charge of overseeing what was left of the Iraqi biological weapons program after the 1991 Gulf War, and reported that it was stopped in 1996.

Sabri vs. Curveball

Before the attack on Iraq, Tenet’s deputy, John McLaughlin, was repeatedly briefed on Sabri’s information, but complained that it was at variance with “our best source” – a reference to the infamous “Curveball,” the con-man whom German intelligence had warned the CIA not to take seriously.

You may recall hearing that on the evening before your U.N. speech, Drumheller warned Tenet not to use the information from Curveball on mobile biological weapons laboratories; Tenet gave Drumheller the brush-off.

The CIA artists’ renderings of those laboratories, to which you called such prominent attention during your speech, were spiffy, but bore no relationship to reality. Tenet and McLaughlin knew this almost as well as Sabri and Habbush did.

“We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and rails,” you will recall telling the world. Later, you lamented publicly that you had not been warned about Curveball either.

McLaughlin seemed to confirm that this was so, in an interview with the Washington Post in 2006: “If someone had made those doubts clear to me, I would not have permitted the reporting to be used in Secretary Powell’s speech.”

This is highly disingenuous, even by McLaughlin’s and Tenet’s standards, since they had deliberately chosen to ignore Drumheller’s warning. I know Drumheller; he is a far better bet for truthfulness that the other two.

Outright Lies

Although I am against the death penalty, I can sympathize with the vehement reaction of normally taciturn Carl Ford, head of State Department intelligence at the time. Ford has revealed that both Tenet and McLaughlin went to extraordinary lengths, and even took a personal hand in trying to salvage some credibility for the notorious Curveball.

In an interview for Hubris, a book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Carl Ford spared no words, asserting that Tenet’s and McLaughlin’s analysis “was not just wrong, they lied…they should have been shot.”

Though I’ve been around a while, I am not the best judge of character, Colin, and perhaps I am being too credulous in giving you the benefit of the doubt concerning what you knew – or didn’t. It could be, I suppose, that you were fully briefed on Naji Sabri, Habbush, Curveball, and all the rest of it, and have been able to orchestrate plausible denial.

If that is the case, I suppose it would seem safer to you to let sleeping dogs lie.

If, on the other hand, what my former colleagues say about your having been fenced off from this key intelligence is true, your reaction seems a bit … how shall I describe it? … understated.

Perhaps you are too long gone from the Bronx. Back there, back then, letting folks use you and make a fool of you without any response was just not done.

It was the equivalent to running away when someone was messing with your sister. And letting oneself be bullied always set a bad precedent, affirming for the bullies that they can push people around – especially understated ones – and risk nothing.

In sum, the CIA had both the Iraqi foreign minister and the Iraqi intelligence chief “turned” and reporting to us in the months before the war (in Naji Sabri’s case) and the weeks before your U.N. speech (in the case of Tahir Jalil Habbush).

Both were part of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle; both reported that there were no weapons of mass destruction.

But this was not what the president wanted to hear, so Tenet put the kibosh on Habbush and put Sabri on a cutter to Qatar.

So Here’s Your Opportunity

Either you knew about Sabri, Habbush and Curveball, or you did not. If you knew, I suppose you will keep hunkering down, licking your blot, and hoping that plausible denial will continue to work for you.

If you were kept in the dark, though, I would think you would want to raise holy hell – if not to hold accountable those of your former superiors and colleagues responsible for the carnage of the past five years, then at least to try to wipe the “blot” off your record.

Granted, it probably strikes you as a highly unwelcome choice – whether to appear complicit or naïve. Here’s an idea. Why not just tell the truth?

If House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers is any guide, Congress seems quite taken with the explosive revelations in Ron Suskind’s book “The Way of the World.”

On Thursday, Conyers joined Suskind on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now,” and declared that he is “the third day into the most critical investigation of the entire Bush administration.” (He clearly was referring to the Suskind revelations.)

Conyers emphasized that, even though Congress is in recess, “We’re starting our work, and … I’m calling everyone back. We’ve got a huge amount of work to engage in.”

At the same time, though, Conyers said he is “maybe the most frustrated person attempting to exercise the oversight responsibilities that I have on Judiciary.”

A good deal of his frustration comes from stonewalling by the Bush/Cheney administration, which will surely cite national security or executive privilege to justify withholding any damaging information.

Bush Visits CIA

It was, no doubt, pure coincidence that President Bush made a highly unusual visit to CIA headquarters, also on Thursday, before leaving for Crawford on vacation.

The official line is that he wanted an update on the situation in Georgia and the Russian role there, but Bush did not need to go to Langley for that

Rather, given the record of the past seven years, it is reasonable to suggest that he also wanted to assure malleable Mike Hayden, the CIA director, and his minions that they will be protected if they continue to stiff-arm appropriate congressional committees, denying them the information they need for a successful investigation.

Pardons dangled as hush money? Not so bizarre at all.

Some will recall that George H.W. Bush, just before leaving the White House, pardoned one of your former bosses, Casper Weinberger, who had been indicted and was about to go to trial for lying about his role in the Iran-Contra fiasco.

If past is precedent, sad to say, Conyers is not likely to get to first base, UNLESS he can get knowledgeable witnesses to come forward.

On Thursday he did not rule out a suggestion that Habbush be asked to come before Congress to testify, but the CIA can easily thwart that kind of thing – or delay it indefinitely.

In any case, your own credibility, though damaged, has got to be greater than Habbush’s.

Let me suggest that you offer yourself as a witness to help clear the air on these very important issues. This would seem the responsible, patriotic thing to do in the circumstances and could also have the salutary effect of beginning the atonement process for that day of infamy at the Security Council.

If we hear no peep out of you in the coming weeks, we shall not be able to escape concluding one of two things:

(1) That, as was the case with the White House Situation Room sessions on torture, you were a willing participant in suppressing/falsifying key intelligence on Iraq; or

(2) That you lack the courage to expose the scoundrels who betrayed not only you, but also that segment of our country and our world that still puts a premium on truth telling and the law.

Think about it.

With all due respect,

Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year career in CIA’s analysis ranks, he chaired National Intelligence Estimates and briefed the President’s Daily Brief to the most senior national security officials. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Posted in Baghdad, GENOCIDE, George W Butcher of Baghdad, human rights, Iraq, Israel, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Prosecute George W. Bush for Mass Murder!

Posted by terres on June 14, 2008

Our special thanks to Ken for bringing this book to our attention:

The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

A book by Vincent Bugliosi

Excerpts

The Legal Framework for the Prosecution

With respect to the position I take about the crimes of George Bush, I want to state at the outset that my motivation is not political. Although I’ve been a longtime Democrat (primarily because, unless there is some very compelling reason to be otherwise, I am always for “the little guy”), my political orientation is not rigid. More

Palpable Anger

My anger over the war in Iraq, some will say, is palpable in the pages of this book. If I sound too angry for some, what should I be greatly angry about — that a referee gave what I thought was a bad call to my hometown football, basketball, or baseball team, and it may have cost them the game? I don’t think so. More

Bush’s Reaction to War

How has George Bush reacted to the hell he created in Iraq, to the thousands of lives that have been lost in the war, and to the enormous and endless suffering that the survivors of the victims — their loved ones — have had to endure? More

Bugliosi v. Bush

With the literally hundreds of prosecutors out there and the powerful evidence of guilt I’ve set out, it’s hard to believe there’s not at least one prosecutor, maybe more, courageous enough to say this is America, and in America no man is above the law. More

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