Archive for the ‘WMD fraud’ Category

Bush Should Stand Trial for Capital Crimes, War Crimes

September 6, 2007

Bush boasts “we’re kicking ass” in Iraq amid charges by Sydney Blumenthal that Bush knew Saddam had no WMD. In other words, Bush deliberately defrauded the troops, the nation, the Congress, the world.

Bush is now criminally culpable, subject to prosecution for every death on either side. Bush has committed capital crimes. Words do not describe the venal idiocy of this cretin so at ease with his disconnect with common sense and morality, so comfortable wallowing in the misery his lies have caused. Psychologists often use the term “lack of empathy” to describe this pathology. It is better known among the folk as “evil”!

Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction

Salon exclusive: Two former CIA officers say the president squelched top-secret intelligence, and a briefing by George Tenet, months before invading Iraq.

Sept. 6, 2007 | On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam’s inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.

Nor was the intelligence included in the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002, which stated categorically that Iraq possessed WMD. No one in Congress was aware of the secret intelligence that Saddam had no WMD as the House of Representatives and the Senate voted, a week after the submission of the NIE, on the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. The information, moreover, was not circulated within the CIA among those agents involved in operations to prove whether Saddam had WMD.

As Salon was breaking that exclusive, we learned elsewhere how Bush was yucking it up with another right wing seed pod –Australis’s PM, John Howard.

Today the US President will visit the National Maritime Museum to view the bell. It could be construed as an act of symmetry, given if Howard loses the election, this week would be the last time he and Bush see each other in their respective roles.

This was obviously apparent to Bush, who arrived in Australia in a chipper mood.

“We’re kicking ass,” he told Mark Vaile on the tarmac after the Deputy Prime Minister inquired politely of the President’s stopover in Iraq en route to Sydney.

By George: now it’s all the way with Howard J


Olbermann: “Everything you (Bush) have said is a deception”

The evidence that George W. Bush is a bald-faced liar comes from two former senior CIA officers who, Salon says, confirm the earlier CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview of Tyler Drumheller, the former CIA chief of clandestine operations for Europe. In the interview it was revealed that the CIA has received confirmation from Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister, that Saddam did not have WMD.

This is information that should have prevented Bush’s order to attack and invade Iraq. The Salon story details how Tenet informed Bush. The information was not shared with Colin Powell who made an infamous presentation to the UN, a presentation consisting of plagiairzed student papers and old, out of date, black and white satellite photos. For some nefarious reason, the intelligence “…was also never shared with the senior military” command who planned planning the invasion.

Instead, said the former officials, the information was distorted in a report written to fit the preconception that Saddam did have WMD programs. That false and restructured report was passed to Richard Dearlove, chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), who briefed Prime Minister Tony Blair on it as validation of the cause for war.

Salon

Salon points out that none of the Senators who voted for the invasion had been informed of the report. Clearly –they were deliberately misled by a liar who has since claimed to be above the law. This, in itself, is impeachable, a criminal fraud, an unconstitutional assault upon the separation of powers. It also makes of the entire war against Iraq, a war crime punishable by death by this nation’s own criminal codes.

� 2441. War crimes

(a) Offense.� Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.

–See: US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441

Pulling a deliberate fraud upon the people and their elected representatives in both houses of Congress is most certainly “high treason”.

Try Bush for war crimes, urges US combat veteran

Mark Dodd | September 05, 2007

GEORGE W. Bush should be tried as a war criminal for his role in launching the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the Howard Government is culpable for supporting him, a US anti-war activist claims.

The US President and John Howard were committed to a failing war that was being waged for oil and economic motives, former US marine and two-time combat tour veteran Matt Howard said in Sydney yesterday.

The anti-war movement was growing in the US, and veterans had a responsibility to tell the truth about what was happening in Iraq, Mr Howard, 26, told a news conference at the Alternative APEC Centre in Sydney’s Trades Hall.

The Prime Minister’s support for the war provided “political cover” to Mr Bush’s “dangerous political agenda”, said Matt Howard.

His message on behalf of the Iraq Veterans Against the War was timed to coincide with the arrival in Sydney of Mr Bush for the APEC summit.

Tactically, Australia’s 900-strong military contribution in Iraq was so small it made no difference compared with the 160,000 US troops there, but politically it was indispensable for the Bush White House, Matt Howard said.

“We’ve destroyed Iraq and it’s been done in our name, and the Australian Government is involved,” he said.

“In 2003, I illegally invaded Iraq. We left a swath of destruction all the way from Basra to Baghdad.”

Mr Bush should be tried for crimes against humanity over the killing of the tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children who were victims of the war, Mr Howard said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the Government was “entirely comfortable” with Britain’s decision to withdraw its troops from their base in the southern city of Basra and redeploy them in the nearby airport.

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How Power Without Responsibility Poses a Threat to the World

August 9, 2007

Following is the complete text of an excellent article by Aziz Huq for The Nation, reprinted by CBS News. The very crux of the following article is a theme sounded many times on this blog i.e, the mission of this administration “the transformation of limited government into a government that is not accountable to anyone.” There are two words to describe this. Dictatorship! Tyranny!

After enduring weeks of blistering criticism for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ inartful elisions about the National Security Agency (NSA) spying activities, the Bush administration has successfully forced on Congress a law that largely authorizes open-ended surveillance of Americans’ overseas phone calls and e-mails. How did they do it?

The Protect America Act of 2007 � the title alone ought to be warning that unsavory motives are at work � is the most recent example of the national security waltz, a three-step administration maneuver for taking defeat and turning it into victory.

The waltz starts with a defeat in the courts for administration actions � for example, the Supreme Court’s extension of the rule of law to the US military prison at Guant�namo in the 2004 case of Rasul v. Bush, or its striking down of the military commissions in 2006 in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The second step does not follow immediately. Rather, some months later, the administration suddenly announces that the ruling has created a security crisis and cries out for urgent remedial legislation. Then (and here’s the coup de gr�ce) the administration rams legislation through Congress � the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, or the Military Commissions Act of 2006 � that not only undoes the good court decision but also inflicts substantial damage to the infrastructure of accountability.

This time, the sordid dance began with a bad ruling for the government, a ruling that demands some context to be understood.

In January the administration suddenly announced that it was submitting the secretive NSA “terrorist surveillance program” to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC, a closed judicial process established by the 1978 FISA law to handle search warrants for foreign intelligence purposes. The move came as federal appellate courts in Ohio and California seemed on the cusp of ruling the NSA’s domestic surveillance efforts illegal as violations of FISA and possibly the Fourth Amendment. It seemed a way to forestall defeat in those cases.

But in early summer, a FISC judge declined to approve part of the NSA’s activities. While the ruling remains classified, it apparently focused on communication that originated overseas but passed through telecom switches in the United States.

Modern telecommunications work by breaking communications into packets of data and routing them through a network of connected computers. Messages do not travel in a linear fashion: A message from Murmansk to Mali might be routed through California. Many of the largest switches routing international data are located in the United States. As USA Today reported in May 2006, the NSA is already tapping those switches. And since January, the government appears to have obtained “basket warrants,” allowing it to trawl this data freely, without any judicial or Congressional oversight.

It seems likely that the judge objected because the NSA was collecting calls that originated overseas but ended in the United States. The NSA can generally get a warrant for such communications � unless there is no evidence that the person under scrutiny is a terrorist. A broad-brush NSA surveillance program, especially one that generates its leads through data-mining, the science of extracting information from large databases, might have exactly this problem.

The second step in the waltz came several months later, with administration allies such as House minority leader John Boehner invoking the FISC ruling on Fox News as justification for a new law. As usual, the administration and its allies had no compunction about using classified information � such as the ruling � when it helped them politically. And as usual, the administration artfully concealed the full details of the ruling even while insisting on it as a spur to immediate action. By waiting for the last week of the Congressional session, the administration in effect cut off the possibility of meaningful debate.

The third step of the waltz has a grim familiarity about it: enactment of a law that is in no way limited to addressing the narrow “problem” created by the FISC ruling. Rather, the Protect America Act is a dramatic, across-the-board expansion of government authority to collect information without judicial oversight. Even though Democrats negotiated a deal with Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell that addressed solely the foreign-to-foreign “problem” created by the FISC ruling, the White House torpedoed that deal and won a far broader law.

To those who have followed this administration’s legal strategy closely, the outcome should be no surprise. The law’s most important effect is arguably not its expansion of raw surveillance power but the sloughing away of judicial or Congressional oversight. In the words of former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, the law provides “unlimited access to currently protected personal information that is already accessible through an oversight procedure.”

Like the Constitution’s Framers, this administration understands that power is accrued through the evisceration of checks and balances. Unlike that of the Framers, its mission is the transformation of limited government into a government that is not accountable to anyone.

On Monday, the administration defended the Protect America Act as a “narrow” fix and rejected accusations that it authorized a “driftnet.” To see how disingenuous these claims are requires some attention to the details of the legislation.

The key term in the Protect America Act is its licensing of “surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.” This language has a superficial reasonableness, since domestic surveillance has long been understood to raise the most troubling abuse concerns.

But the trouble with this language is that it permits freewheeling surveillance of Americans’ international calls and e-mails. The problem lies in the words “directed at.” Under this language, the NSA could decide to “direct” its surveillance at Peshawar, Pakistan � and seize all US calls going to and from there. It could focus on Amman, or Cairo, or London, or Paris, or Toronto. Simply put, the law is an open-ended invitation to collect Americans’ international calls and e-mails.

Further, the law does not limit the collection of international calls to security purposes: Rather, it seems the government can seize any international call or e-mail for any reason � even if it’s unrelated to security. Indeed, another provision of the law confirms that national security can be merely one of several purposes of an intelligence collection program. This point alone should sink the administration’s claim to be doing no more than technical fiddling. While the FISA law limited warrantless surveillance absolutely, this law licenses it, not only for national security purposes but also for whatever purpose the government sees fit.

Of further concern is the “reasonably believe” caveat. This means that so long as the NSA “reasonably” believes its antennas are trained overseas, wholly domestic calls can sometimes be collected. And since the NSA uses a filter to separate international calls from wholly domestic calls, it need only “reasonably believe” that it’s getting this right. It’s this new latitude for error that is troubling, especially because this isn’t an administration known for its care when the rights and lives of others are at stake. It remains deeply unclear how much domestic surveillance this allows.

The problems created by this loosening of standards are compounded by the risibly weak oversight procedures contained in the law. Rather than issuing individualized warrants, now the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General can certify yearlong programs for collecting international calls. The program as a whole is placed before the FISA court, which can only invalidate those procedures and claims that are “clearly erroneous.” The government thus has to meet an extraordinarily low standard, in a one-sided judicial procedure in which the court has no access to details of the program’s actual operation.

Congressional oversight is even more laughable. Attorney General Gonzales, that paragon of probity and full disclosure, is required to report not on the program’s overall operations but solely on “incidents of noncompliance.” Of course, given how weak the constraints imposed by the law are, self-reported noncompliance is likely to be minimal.

Finally, some advocates and legislators have taken comfort in the law’s six-month sunset provision. But this means that the act will be up for authorization in the middle of the presidential campaign, an environment in which the pressures to accede to administration demands will be even higher than usual. And the law doesn’t really sunset after six months: The provision is artfully drafted to allow the NSA to continue wielding its new surveillance powers for up to a year afterward.

The Protect America Act, in short, does not live up to its name: It does not enhance security-related surveillance powers. Rather, it allows the government to spy when there is no security justification. And it abandons all but the pretense of oversight. The result, as with so many of this administration’s ill-advised policies, is power without responsibility � and it is by now all too clear how wisely and carefully this administration wields power in the absence of accountability.

One coda to this story is worth adding. The Justice Department is unlikely to take action against Representative Boehner for his partisan invocation of classified information on network news. Newsweek reported this week that former Justice Department lawyer Thomas Tamm is being investigated apparently in connection to leaks of information about the NSA’s domestic surveillance. So goes Gonzales Justice: Politicized manipulation of classified information gets the green light, while hardworking career officials become targets for speaking out when they see the law being violated.

Power Without Responsibility, Aziz Huq, Reprinted by CBS with permission from The Nation.

There is increasing bi-partisan support for impeachment. Of course, impeachment must begin with both Bush and Cheney to be followed with a wholesale housecleaning of the most corrupt administration in American history.

Is that enough? No –unless Bush’s assault on the Constitution is undone, impeachment is a complete waste of time. Unless Congress reasserts its sole power and authority to wage war and unless Bush’s sorry rewrite of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is undone, impeachment will simply bestow dictatorship upon a successor. It’s not about Bush anymore; we all know him to be an evil fuck up! This is about the kind of nation we will have after Bush is brought to justice for capital crimes.

Rome failed to restore its lost republic. Will that be the story of the US?

News items from Bush’s repressive regime:

Kent officer tickets man for ‘Impeach Bush’ sign

That’s an outrage, of course. We have a right to carry any damn sign we please! But, I have long ago stopped trying to “cover” every outrage against the Bill of Rights, indeed, the very rule of law. Under Bush, they are legion. It is Bushco’s strategy to move against freedom on so many fronts, that it is beyond the ability of media or watchdogs to chronicle every outrage, every abuse, every subversion of law or the very rule of law itself.

Our Un-American Government

FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner discusses different definitions of what it means for a practice or belief to be “un-American,” as defined by American figures ranging from Joseph McCarthy to Bill O’Reilly to Donald Rumsfeld. Mariner notes that even after Rumsfeld described the torture perpetrated at Abu Ghraib as “un-American,” the U.S. has continued to condone torture. She argues that in the end, the term “un-American” should be defined in opposition to that which is best in American life — including our regard for human rights. She encourages readers to sign a pledge to this effect, opposing what, she argues, are truly un-American practices such as indefinite detention and other rights violations….

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May the enemies of Democracy tremble

August 8, 2007

Over the last several weeks, I have been honored to have been “tagged” for the Thinking Blogger Award by blogs Liberality, Hot Potato Mash, and Bluebloggin. The recognition of peers freely given is, in the words of Churchill, “no small thing” And, it is in that spirit, that the rules require that I pass on the honor. I am required to tag five “thinking blogger”. Having been tagged thrice, I suppose I can pass the award on to 15 outstanding blogs. To be honest, that has made the job a bit easier. Who could select only five from the following list? And I worry about the one’s I’ve omitted from the following.

According to the rules, I now must display the rules.

  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. [Having been tagged three times, I will tag five for each or a total of 15 blogs.]
  2. Link to this post so that people can find the exact origin of the meme.
  3. Optional: Proudly display the Thinking Blogger Award on your site with a link to the post that you wrote.

The envelope please! Here is my list of 15 blogs in no particular order:

  1. The Peace Tree – a veritable oasis of reason amid an irrational din. A recent excerpt:

    i think that it is mind boggling that in a country with less want than possibly any other country on the planet- that we should covet anything that anyone else has. much less blow up their families to get it. think about that for a moment

  2. 70 reasons to doubt -where Damien has compiled almost everything known about 911. This work of one man equals that of most think tanks. His knowledge is encyclopedic. A must visit.
  3. Intelligentaindigena Novajoservo – explores the plight of indigenous peoples all over the world. A recent post: Ward Churchill: An Indigenist activist willing to stand up for what is right.
  4. Bad Attitudes, by Jerome Doolittle, Chuck Dupree et al., epitomizes a blog of “thinking bloggers”. They bring to blogging some serious credentials and don’t need to be told who Richard Hofstadter is. Check them out for informed opinion.
  5. BeggarsCanBeChoosers.com is the work of professional, award-winning journalist Marc McDonald. A recent post, The Real Reason The Wingnuts Hate YearlyKos, exposes the hypocrisy of right wing propagandists like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.
  6. cannablog which recently made the point beside a reproduction of Guernica that Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole, but Colin Powell ….[read the post]
  7. Daveawayfromhome who writes eloquently of a loss felt by many:”For over two decades I’ve watched as America has slowly given itself over to the powers of Authority. America, the rebel nation, the home of rock-and-roll, somehow seems to have given up the urge to make it’s own choices.”
  8. Les Enrages. From this excerpt, a reminder “The heart is what counts here, for that�s where Liberty lives.” Until we get the bullet proof indictment that puts the Bush gang in a dank cell, that will do!
  9. News Sophisticate, lately, exposes Blackwater recruitment of its hired guns in Latin America. This is, of course, symptomatic of the fascist society that the US has become.
  10. Department of Homeland Conspiracy is new to my blogroll but putting issues even more bluntly: The United States of America is Dead
  11. Any blog that could write of George Tenet that he is “alleged to have assisted our nation” deserves recognition. A tag, therefore for Firedoglake.
  12. Freedom and Democracy are Dying, is the work of a “thinking blogger” from Canada who asks his neighbor: Why Does Saudi Arabia Need Military Aid? Indeed!
  13. Pensito Review is a mainstay, an essential resource that reduces global issues to their effects on you. An example: Global Warming Sucks!
  14. Vagabond Scholar –the work of a dedicated blogger who takes the time to tighten his prose while sharing videos of the Clancy Brothers. Don’t miss “Will You Go, Lassie, Go.”

If you are on the list, consider yourself “tagged”. So –those are the blogs I have tagged for the “Thinking Blogger Award”. Taken individually, each is treasure. Taken together –a force for freedom and good. May the enemies of Democracy tremble at their approach.



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The War Racket: How Americans Pay for Bush’s War Crimes at the Bank, the Pump, the Shop & the Graveside

July 28, 2007

Bush had hoped to pull off a quick victory cheap. But nothing worked out as hoped or planned. The American people are stuck with the tab, paying for the war with high hidden taxes, higher prices and American lives. The cost of Bush’s war crime has tripled since Bush declared the end of major combat operations. The American people are not safer for having sacrificed the lives of loved ones. The war on terrorism is either a criminal fraud or a miserable failure and I challenge my critics at the Heritage Foundation to debate me on that issue.

War is a racket fought by the masses for privileged elites, big corporations, and venal politicians like Bush. Bush’s quagmire is fought for the benefit of no-bid contractors like Halliburton and Blackwater and financed by America’s working poor and middle classes who pay for the war �with their lives abroad and with their jobs, their retirement prospects, and their access to health care at home. Bush’s base �the nation’s elite, his corporate sponsors, and the so-called defense industry �have paid nothing, risked nothing! Rather �they feed at the trough. The upper one percent of the population has gotten several tax cuts while the big oil companies report record profits rising concurrently with higher prices at the pump.

Just two days after 9/11, I learned from Congressional staffers that Republicans on Capitol Hill were already exploiting the atrocity, trying to use it to push through tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. … We now know that from the very beginning, the Bush administration and its allies in Congress saw the terrorist threat not as a problem to be solved, but as a political opportunity to be exploited. The story of the latest terror plot makes the administration�s fecklessness and cynicism on terrorism clearer than ever.

Hoping for Fear, by Paul Krugman, Using Fear Commentary, NY Times

There are big profits in the death business. Go to Texas and ask the CEO at DynCorp.

The war in Iraq has boosted DynCorp’s revenues, responsible for about $400 million of the company’s nearly $2 billion in sales. And while the company didn’t specify how much the effort has added to profits, there has certainly been an upside, Lagana said, although he added that profit margins are lower than in other private industry — often below 10 percent.

For government contractors and other US-based businesses that are doing work in Iraq, the war there has continued to provide opportunity and benefits, although experts and companies alike say they are difficult to quantify. To be sure, security businesses, oil producers and defense contractors are among the biggest winners. Those who manufacture key products, from bulletproof vests to bullets themselves, and, more recently, those involved in reconstruction, have reaped the benefits, too.

Businesses find benefits, costs in war work

Over the longer term, however, the effects of Bush’s war against the people of Iraq war are only temporary, benefiting the entire economy only for a short period of time, the period of time in which the pump is primed. On the whole, the effect is minimal. Average Americans have not benefited from mass murder, torture, and other atrocities perpetrated by the “state”. As Economic Policy Institute economist Jared Bernstein noted, whatever economic stimulus war might have provided becomes increasingly less significant over time. Defense spending had a big effect on job growth in 2004, but its effect since that time is relatively small. Wealth, however ill-gotten does not trickle down.

The number of US troops in Iraq, put at 145,000, does not include more than 126,000 private contractors. Author Jeremy Schahill calls it �the world�s most powerful mercenary army.� But that is polite. They are, in fact, hired hit men financed, enabled and paid by the people of the United States whether they want to or not. Under Bush, the US taxpayer no longer has a say in how his/her money is spent.

Scahill and filmmaker Robert Greenwald have told the House Appropriations defense subcommittee that these so-called “contract workers”, these hired killers murder with impunity and undermine the better efforts of US command and control.

…contract workers have been involved in � but not punished for � numerous scandals during the Iraq war, the pair claimed. These contractors were among the interrogators and translators who tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, Greenwald said.

In one short period, senior military personnel documented 12 instances in which contract workers shot at Iraqi civilians, killing six, Scahill said, but no contractors were charged with crimes.

Contract employees were granted immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law by Paul Bremmer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority that ruled Iraq in 2003 and 2004, Scahill said. And they were not subject to US military law.

Truck drivers working for Halliburton routinely drove empty trucks across Iraq because the company is paid by the number of trips, not by the amount of cargo a truck carries, Greenwald said.

US House Panel Puts Iraq Contractor Abuse Claims �On the Record�

One of the more insidious falsehoods about Iraq has turned out to have been Bushco estimates of its cost. In 2002, George W. Bush himself predicted the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion �tops! To be expected �Bush was dead wrong. A report by the Democratic staff of the House Budget Committee now estimates that Bush’s war of aggression in Iraq could cost the US $646 billion by 2015 �depending on the scope and duration of operations. Nobel prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University, estimates the cost of the war from one trillion to two trillion dollars!

Ongoing operations in Iraq were estimated at $5.6 billion per month in 2005. And costs have surely risen since then as the intensity of fighing increases accompanied by significant losses of materiel and maintenance.

The Bill So Far: Congress has already approved four spending bills for Iraq with funds totaling $204.4 billion and is in the process of approving a �bridge fund� for $45.3 billion to cover operations until another supplemental spending package can be passed, most likely slated for Spring 2006. Broken down per person in the United States, the cost so far is $727, making the Iraq War the most expensive military effort in the last 60 years.

Long-term Impact on US Economy: In August 2005, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at current levels would nearly double the projected federal budget deficit over the next ten years. According to current estimates, during that time the cost of the Iraq War could exceed $700 billion.

Economic Impact on Military Families: Since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 210,000 of the National Guard�s 330,000 soldiers have been called up, with an average mobilization of 460 days. Government studies show that about half of all reservists and Guard members report a loss of income when they go on active duty�typically more than $4,000 a year. About 30,000 small business owners alone have been called to service and are especially likely to fall victim to the adverse economic effects of military deployment.

The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of War and the Case for Bringing Home the Troops, Institute for Policy Studies

The Bush administration has been able to keep the precise cost of the war a matter of guess work and estimates. But however much is wasted killing civilians in Iraq that is money that is not being spent educating Americans, providing for health care, fixing Social Security, rebuilding a deteriorating infrastructure, or addressing real threats to our environment.

However much has blown up in Iraq, it is lost forever to the victims of Bush’s incompetence in the face of Katrina. It is lost forever to those millions losing retirements to corporate mismanagement and greed. It is lost forever to those unable to pay the high costs of health care, education, transportation, housing, and getting enough to eat each day.

US Budget and Social Programs: The Administration�s FY 2006 budget, which does not include any funding for the Iraq War, takes a hard line with domestic spending� slashing or eliminating more than 150 federal programs. The $204.4 billion appropriated thus far for the war in Iraq could have purchased any of the following desperately needed services in our country: 46,458,805 uninsured people receiving health care or 3,545,016 elementary school teachers or 27,093,473 Head Start places for children or 1,841,833 affordable housing units or 24,072 new elementary schools or 39,665,748 scholarships for university students or 3,204,265 port container inspectors.

Social Costs to the Military/Troop Morale: As of May 2005, stop-loss orders are affecting 14,082 soldiers�almost 10 percent of the entire forces serving in Iraq with no end date set for the use of these orders. Long deployments and high levels of soldier�s stress extend to family life. In 2004, 3,325 Army officer�s marriages ended in divorce�up 78 percent from 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion and more than 3.5 times the number in 2000.

Costs to Veteran Health Care: The Veterans Affairs department projected that 23,553 veterans would return from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2005 and seek medical care. But in June 2005, the VA Secretary, Jim Nicholson, revised this number to 103,000. The miscalculation has led to a shortfall of $273 million in the VA budget for 2005 and may result in a loss of $2.6 billion in 2006.

Mental Health Costs: In July 2005 the Army�s surgeon general reported that 30 percent of US troops have developed stress-related mental health problems three to four months after coming home from the Iraq War. Because about 1 million American troops have served so far in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan some experts predict that the number eventually requiring mental health treatment could exceed 100,000.

The Iraq Quagmire: The Mounting Costs of War and the Case for Bringing Home the Troops, Institute for Policy Studies

Many delusions were promoted in order to commit this nation to aggressive war. In the short months after 9/11, Bush erected a strawman upon which to direct American frustration, anger, and vengeance �an �axis of evil� consisting of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. His intentions were made clear at the time. This “Axis of Evil” was responsible for world terrorism in general and our nation would wage war against it. Bush’s speech was most notable, however, for what he did not say. Bush did not tell the American people that he had no intention of paying for the war. He would leave the deficit to future administrations and generations. Rather than expect his privileged base to pony up, he would reward their loyalty with several tax cuts. Nor are sons of daughters of that base required to serve their nation militarily. Bush’s base gets a free ride as the rest of the nation bears the cost of war �in both lives and dollars.

If wars are not paid for upfront, they are paid for in the form of higher interest rates, prices, and lives. Wealth does not trickle down. But the effects of a falling dollar is felt by everyone. The exponential rise of wage and income inequality began with a vengeance in the Reagan 80’s, most closely associated with the Reagan tax cut of 1982. Only the top 20 percent of the population benefited. Wage/income disparities have increased since then with only a short respite during Clinton’s second term. The current trend began before a great wave of technical change and a computer revolution �none of which has benefited working Americans. Indeed, if you work for a living you have paid and continue to pay for Bush’s war of aggression while Bush’s base gets preferential treatment!

It is no coincidence that as prices increase, so, too, the national deficit. American credit abroad is dodgy. As the dollar continues to slide on world exchanges, not only gasoline prices increase but also prices of imported goods. Bush had said that he favors a strong dollar but, in fact, his administration has let the dollar slide, a cynical ploy designed to finance the Iraq folly upon the backs of working Americans. That it provides a moderate relief to US exporters is a bad trade off. What �other than death, torture and destruction �do we export these days?

Like Bush’s mythical “Axis of Evil” the idea that a nation can wage a free war is an evil GOP fairy tale. Wars are always paid for, if not now, later, and in ways you won’t like.

An update:

A pipeline shuts down in Alaska. Equipment failures disrupt air travel in Los Angeles. Electricity runs short at a spy agency in Maryland.

None of these recent events resulted from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, but they may as well have, some homeland security experts say. They worry that too little attention is paid to how fast the country’s basic operating systems are deteriorating.

“When I see events like these, I become concerned that we’ve lost focus on the core operational functionality of the nation’s infrastructure and are becoming a fragile nation, which is just as bad � if not worse � as being an insecure nation,” said Christian Beckner, a Washington analyst who runs the respected Web site Homeland Security Watch (www.christianbeckner.com).

The American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation “D” for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem.

“I thought [Hurricane] Katrina was a hell of a wake-up call, but people are missing the alarm,” said Casey Dinges, the society’s managing director of external affairs.

British oil company BP announced this month that severe corrosion would close its Alaska pipelines for extensive repairs. Analysts say this may sideline some 200,000 barrels a day of production for several months.

Then an instrument landing system that guides arriving planes onto a runway at Los Angeles International Airport failed for the second time in a week, delaying flights.

Those incidents followed reports that the National Security Agency (NSA), the intelligence world’s electronic eavesdropping arm, is consuming so much electricity at its headquarters outside Washington that it is in danger of exceeding its power supply.

“If a terrorist group were able to knock the NSA offline, or disrupt one of the nation’s busiest airports, or shut down the most important oil pipeline in the nation, the impact would be perceived as devastating,” Beckner said. “And yet we’ve essentially let these things happen � or almost happen � to ourselves.”

The Commission on Public Infrastructure at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, said in a recent report that facilities are deteriorating “at an alarming rate.” …

Chuck McCutcheon, Newhouse News Service, Experts warn US is coming apart at the seams; becoming third world

Bush Plans Dictatorship

    “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”

    George W. Bush

Bush uttered those very unfunny words on December 18, 2000. On that day the president-elect went to capitol hill to meet with Congressional leaders and emerged from the meeting flipping them and the American people this rhetorical bird.

The president is making good on those words and there hasn’t been a peep out of Congress or the press. In a document released on May 9, 2007 entitled “National Continuity Policy,” Bush makes good on his sick fantasy. In case of �any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function� Bush will control the entire US government, not just the federal branch.

It isn’t really surprising. Bush decides who is an enemy combatant, a person without legal rights, and who should be spied upon.

If ever there was a moment for conspiracy theories, this is it. Will there be a phony terror attack, or a declaration of war against Iran? We don’t know what the trigger will be but it is time to be afraid.

Actually it is time for impeachment. Bush’s unpopularity makes him particularly dangerous. So does the acquiescence of the media and the silence of the Democrats. State legislatures have the right to begin the impeachment process but they have been smacked down by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

We are screwed. The phrase may be inelegant, but it says it all. Maybe we will all end up in Guantanamo. Who knows? The National Continuity Policy contains “classified continuity annexes.” WTF!? As I said, we are screwed.

Indeed, Bush has arrogated unto himself the power to interpret the Constitution. I suppose he can now just dismiss the Supreme Court. Already he claims the authority to re-write laws passed by Congress and denies Congress the authority to subpoena witnesses

It defines a �catastrophic emergency� as �any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.�

Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency

And this just in from Bluebloggin’.

US Department of Interior Investigates Bush

Posted by nytexan on July 27th, 2007

How many investigations can one administration have? I suppose if you�re Bush and Cheney and you completely ignore laws, you could technically be investigated every month. Well this time it�s the US Department of Interior going after them for the Endangered Species Act.

Mother Jones

  • Two government entities are investigating the Bush administration over the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Christian Science Monitor reports the US Interior Department is reviewing the scientific integrity of decisions made by a political appointee, Julie MacDonald, who recently resigned under fire. Fish and Wildlife Service employees complained that MacDonald bullied, insulted, and harassed the professional staff to alter their biological reporting. The inspector noted that although she has no formal educational background in biology, she nevertheless labored long and hard editing, commenting on, and reshaping the endangered species program�s scientific reports from the field. Last week Fish and Wildlife announced that eight decisions MacDonald made under the ESA would be examined for scientific and legal discrepancies.

Legal discrepancies seem to be the standard operating procedure for the Bush administration.

Bush has a habit of putting incompetent people to oversee and bully scientist. This is exactly what Bush did with the national weather scientist so global warming would be watered down.

  • Meanwhile Congress is investigating evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney interfered with decisions involving water in California and Oregon resulting in a mass kill of Klamath River salmon, including threatened species. As the CSM reports, both episodes illustrate the Bush administration�s resistance to the law. Earlier, the Washington Post ran the story of Cheney�s personal interference in the water decision that killed the salmon in 2002:
  • In Oregon, a battleground state that the Bush-Cheney ticket had lost by less than half of 1 percent, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of fish was at stake. Law and science seemed to be on the side of the fish. Then the vice president stepped in. First Cheney looked for a way around the law, aides said. Next he set in motion a process to challenge the science protecting the fish, according to a former Oregon congressman who lobbied for the farmers.

An update on Bush’s transparent attempts to undermine US obligations with regard to the Geneva Convention.

To date in the war on terrorism, including the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and all U.S. military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq, America’s losses total about 2 percent of the forces we lost in World War II and less than 7 percent of those killed in Vietnam. Yet we did not find it necessary to compromise our honor or abandon our commitment to the rule of law to defeat Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, or to resist communist aggression in Indochina. On the contrary, in Vietnam — where we both proudly served twice — America voluntarily extended the protections of the full Geneva Convention on prisoners of war to Viet Cong guerrillas who, like al-Qaeda, did not even arguably qualify for such protections.

The Geneva Conventions provide important protections to our own military forces when we send them into harm’s way. Our troops deserve those protections, and we betray their interests when we gratuitously “interpret” key provisions of the conventions in a manner likely to undermine their effectiveness. Policymakers should also keep in mind that violations of Common Article 3 are “war crimes” for which everyone involved — potentially up to and including the president of the United States — may be tried in any of the other 193 countries that are parties to the conventions.

–P.X. Kelley and Robert F. Turner, War Crimes and the White House

Tipped off by Fuzzflash, I post the following video experience. Just as it is impossible to make meaningful statements about a syntax from within a syntax, we may find it impossible to make statements about our own culture. Perhaps the Ancient Mayans have shown us a non-verbal truth from outside our paradigm. The “text” is by William Borroughs but the video was produced and added by one who uses the label, Karma, who writes”

This is a tribute to both William Burroughs and Hiroshima. Its a video I have been wanting to put together for some time now and release on the day of concern.

61 Years ago to day Hiroshima felt the atom split in anger. Today lets remember both Hiroshima Nagasaki which followed on the 9th August 1945. Lets hope the lion never rages again.


Ah Pook The Destroyer

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The Pure Pork Gravy Train: How the Government Robs the Social Security Trust Fund and Gives it to the Military/Industrial Complex

July 22, 2007

A "Bellyful" of Right Wing Oil Frauds, War Crimes and High Treason

July 21, 2007

A GOP chorus warns of impending attacks on US citizens, a rogue "President" claims he has the authority to wage war on US citizens. Connect the dots!

July 18, 2007

It’s time to connect the dots. Is George W. Bush looking for an opportunity to invoke National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51? This directive places all governmental powers in Bush’s hands should “predictions” by Chertoff, Ron Paul et al come to pass.

A single phrase –unitary executive –makes of George W. Bush an absolute dictator in the event of a “national emergency”, say, a terrorist attack which only GOPPERS have, of late, been predicting amid much salivation and thinly disguised glee.

This extremist, radical right wing interpretation of the powers of the presidency makes of a dumbass an absolute dictator! It should alarm you that this concept is championed by the conservative Federalist Society. It puts into Bush’s hands all the powers of the Presidency, the legislature and, most significantly, the judiciary. The law becomes what Bush says it is. Terrorism is what Bush says it is. Let me make this clear: you will no longer have the right to plead not guilty to any crime should Bush decide that you are a “terrorist”.

Given the “noise”, the flack, the numerous oddly placed predictions and gut feelings, I believe that this criminal administration is at work planning the absolute dictatorship that George W. Bush so obviously covets and has so obviously planned since stealing his first election.

This would be a whole lot easier if this was a dictatorship…heh heh heh …so long as I’m the dictator!

–George W. Bush

Recently –A flurry of ominous, numerous warnings about imminent terrorist attacks by al Qaeda on US soil and, at the same time, we get irrefutable confirmation of my thesis: terrorism is always worse during GOP administrations even as Bush claims the authority to wage war on US citizens! I have the FBI stats to prove my case and, most recently, a US State Department report that worldwide terrorism is up 30% since Bush attacked Iraq.

Paul Craig Roberts: A Wake-up Call

This is a wake-up call that we are about to have another 9/11-WMD experience. The wake-up call is unlikely to be effective, because the American attitude toward government changed fundamentally seventy-odd years ago. Prior to the 1930s, Americans were suspicious of government, but with the arrival of the Great Depression, Tojo, and Hitler, President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced Americans that government existed to protect them from rapacious private interests and foreign threats. Today, Americans are more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to government than they are to family members, friends, and those who would warn them about the government�s protection….

The latest warning is from the State Department.

ABC News: Secret Document: US Fears Terror ‘Spectacular’ Planned

Significantly, ABC reports states that the “reports” resemble “warnings and intelligence” received by the Bush administration just before 911.

Rick Santorum predicts some unfortunate events will give Americans a very different view of this war

Yesterday, on the Hugh Hewitt show, former PA Senator Rick Santorum made references to learning the lessons of 9-11 and the recent ‘attacks’ in England. Then when asked by Hewitt whether he felt the leading Republican Presidential candidates were speaking with enough “seriousness” about the war, Santorum proceeded to say that a lot was going to change in the next year.

And yet another:

‘something’s in the works’ to trigger a police state

Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday July 19, 2007

Thom Hartmann began his program on Thursday by reading from a new Executive Order which allows the government to seize the assets of anyone who interferes with its Iraq policies.

He then introduced old-line conservative Paul Craig Roberts — a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan who has recently become known for his strong opposition to the Bush administration and the Iraq War — by quoting the “strong words” which open Roberts’ latest column: “Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran.”

“I don’t actually think they’re very strong,” said Roberts of his words. “I get a lot of flak that they’re understated and the situation is worse than I say. … When Bush exercises this authority [under the new Executive Order] … there’s no check to it. It doesn’t have to be ratified by Congress. The people who bear the brunt of these dictatorial police state actions have no recourse to the judiciary. So it really is a form of total, absolute, one-man rule. … The American people don’t really understand the danger that they face.” …

The old 911 magic may be gone forever as a method of pulling Bush’s sorry fat out of the fire. I would hope that the planners of state sponsored terrorism would keep that fact in mind. It is because Bush has never been more reviled and less popular that he is coiled to strike back at a people whom he says he has a right war against i.e. the American people.

It was in those early days of Bush’s failed occupancy, as you may recall, that Bush boasted: “Lucky me! I just won the trifecta”. 911 propelled Bush to the heights of public approval amid promises that he would smoke out Bin Laden and bring him to justice. He would treat the nations who nurture terrorism as terrorists themselves. Empty promises from a proven liar! Bush did none of those things. It was all empty GOP rhetoric that must not work again.

[See: the FBI has recently stated that there was never hard evidence that Bin Laden had anything to do with the events of 911 anyway; Google search: NO HARD EVIDENCE] We should also add that there is also no hard evidence whatsoever in support of Bush’s official conspiracy theories of 911.

What are we to make of Homeland Security Chief getting a “gut feeling” that the US will be attacked “this summer” because, as he says of al Qaeda “Summertime seems to be appealing to them”? What a very odd thing to say!

Chertoff bases warning of terror risk on ‘gut feeling’

Homeland chief says he’s offering an assessment, not a prediction
By E.A. TORRIEROMcClatchy-Tribune

CHICAGO � Fearing complacency among the American people over possible terror threats, US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in Chicago on Tuesday that the nation faces a heightened chance of an attack this summer.

“I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk,” Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board in an unusually blunt and frank assessment of America’s terror threat level.

“Summertime seems to be appealing to them,” he said of al-Qaeda. “We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities.”

Wait a minute! Didn’t the liars of the Bush administration continue to deny that there were warnings until they were forced to admit and release the August PDB [President’s Daily Briefing] entitled Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the US”? To this day, we would not have known about that briefing if the liars of the Bush administration had not been forced to cough it up by the 911 Commission.

I am highly suspicious of Chertoff’s timing coming as it does when the Bush administration is the only entity to benefit from such an attack, when Bush has claimed that he has the authority to wage war on US citizens, when Bush seems itching to sign Directive 51 which makes him an absolute dictator.

Assume for a moment that al Qaeda is involved in some way with the misnamed “insurgency” in Iraq. What would it have to gain by attacking the US now when the US is bogged down in a killing field. Such an attack makes no sense. Bona fide terrorists have Bush where “they” want him –bogged down in swamp just as the French cavalry was bogged down at Agincourt and, later, at Crecy.

Chertoff’s remarks also remind one of the Anthrax attacks on Congressional Democrats. As you may recall, Sens Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy were “obstructing” the passage of Bush’s “Patriot” Act which would give him near dictatorial powers. In the current case, Chertoff himself criticized Congress’ recent failure to pass an immigration bill. He claims it has negative repercussions for homeland security and will lead to continued federal crackdowns on illegal immigrants.

Coupled with a warning from the “gut”, it all sounds like a threat to the very rule of law!

Chertoff alone might not be taken seriously but for two ominous factors:

  • He speaks for an administration that cannot be otherwise believed.
  • His “gut feeling” comes closely just days before a similar warning by an eminent Republican seeking the Oval Office, Congressman Ron Paul.

Ron Paul warns of a staged terror attack

Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, said the country is in “great danger” of the US government staging a terrorist attack or a Gulf of Tonkin style provocation, as the war in Iraq continues to deteriorate.

The Texas congressman offered no specifics nor mentioned President Bush by name, but he clearly insinuated that the administration would not be above staging an incident to revive flagging support.

“We’re in danger in many ways,” Paul said on the Alex Jones radio show. “The attack on our civil liberties here at home, the foreign policy that’s in shambles and our obligations overseas and commitment which endangers our troops and our national defense.”

Paul was asked to respond to comments by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan that the US is in danger of a staged terror attack or a provocation of an enemy similar to the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 before the Vietnam War.

During the radio interview, Paul said the government was conducting “an orchestrated effort to blame the Iranians for everything that has gone wrong in Iraq.”

Amid this abnormally high level of GOP faux hysteria, we get proof that terrorism is always worse under GOP regimes and even more so because of Bush’s quagmire in Iraq.

US State Department admits: Terrorist attacks have increased 29%

An increase of almost 30 percent is reported worldwide since 2006. US officials say the increase is due to growing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq –two nations attacked by Bush who claimed he was waging a war on terrorism.

Thanks to the GOP, US claims to empire ring hollow. Ronald Reagan’s was a failed regime which “tripled the national deficit and doubled the bureaucracy. The US has been a debtor nation since. Thanks to Ronald Reagan’s, the US no longer leads the world in automotive or steel manufacture. Reagan waged a war on porn but another on labor itself. The porn war he lost, the war on labor, he won. He hollowed out the nation’s industrial base at a time of conspicuous consumption the likes of which the world had not seen since the last days of the Roman Empire. And, like Rome, the gaudy spectable was confined to the uppper one percent of the nation. If the GOP elite consumes like there is no tomorrow, there may, indeed, be no tommorrow.

Surviving with an internationally propped up dollar, the GOP exports the only thing its good at: industrialized murder on a scale not seen since Adolph Hitler partnered with I.G. Farben and Prescott Bush, the Shrub’s grandfather.

I believe in freedom of speech and the right to dissent. But the GOP has repeatedly crossed the line between politics and organized crime, between protest and assault and battery. There is probable cause to investigate the GOP leadership. It is no longer a political party; it’s a crime syndicate. There is reason to believe that his criminal organization is up to something that will make the Florida election theft look like a high school prank, though it was, in fact, a felony described by US Criminal Codes. It’s called “seditious conspiracy“.

I am increasingly concerned that a desperate Bush, a desperate GOP will attack US citizens and blame an increase in terrorism clearly caused by GOP imperialism, stupidity, incompetence and just ordinary run-o-the-mill treachery! I am not alone in my concern. Just recently, GOP Presidential hopeful Ron Paul, with whom I have very little in common politically, fears the government itself will strike US citizens and blame terrorists.

Report warns of Iraq-based terrorist strike in US

WASHINGTON � Al Qaeda is still plotting a major attack on the United States and will “probably” use its Iraqi affiliate, a combat-tested terrorist group that sprang up after the 2003 US-led invasion, to carry it out, a new US intelligence report warned Tuesday.

The National Intelligence Estimate made it clear that Osama bin Laden’s militant Islamic network, bolstered by the Iraq war and growing anti-US anger in the Muslim world, remains a potent danger nearly six years after President Bush launched his “Global War on Terror” in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The United States faces “a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years,” said the NIE, an authoritative analysis representing the consensus of all 16 US intelligence agencies.

Who is going to believe that prostrate Iraq, occupied by the world’s “lone superpower” is going to mount an attack against the US unassisted by the liar George W. Bush? Certainly, we must put the previous story in context, beside the statements made recently by a candidate for the office of President:

Secret Document: US Fears Terror ‘Spectacular’ Planned

A secret US law enforcement report, prepared for the Department of Homeland Security, warns that al Qaeda is planning a terror “spectacular” this summer, according to a senior official with access to the document.

“This is reminiscent of the warnings and intelligence we were getting in the summer of 2001,” the official told ABCNews.com.

US officials have kept the information secret, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said today on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that the United States did not have “have any specific credible evidence that there’s an attack focused on the United States at this point.”

Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff declined to comment specifically on the report today, but said “everything that we get is shared virtually instantaneously with our counterparts in Britain and vice versa.”

If war is waged on US citizens this summer, it will be because a delusional, rogue “President” has arrogated unto himself the “authority” to do it.

Do you really think that this megalomaniacal egoist of no talent and less intelligence is kidding?

Do you really think the GOP has mounted a full court press because they have seen the errors of their evil ways and are demanding that the US give Iraq back to the Iraqis?

Do you really think that the GOP having gambled sold their souls and gambled their entire lives by throwing in with a war criminal will go quietly into that good night amid the emerging truth about how the GOP conspired with Bush and big oil to trash the Constitution and the rule of law?

Do you really believe that the GOP will suddenly embrace the light when all is dark and getting darker?

As Mr “T” used to say: “I pity the fool….”

Conspiracy To Defraud the United States

Misrepresenting the Truth in Order to Sell a War is A �High Crime�

by Elizabeth de la Vega

Elizabeth de la Vega is a former federal prosecutor with more than twenty years of experience. During her tenure, she was a member of the Organized Crime Strike Force and Chief of the San Jose Branch of the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. Her pieces have appeared in The Nation, the Los Angeles Times and Salon.

The U.S. Constitution provides for impeachment of any President or Vice President who commits �high crimes and misdemeanors.� This applies to any serious abuses of power, whether or not they are actually crimes, but President Bush and Vice President Cheney have clearly committed numerous specific federal crimes while in office. This article focuses on a Conspiracy to Defraud the United States (a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371).

What is a conspiracy to defraud the United States?

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States is a specific federal crime prohibited by Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Put simply, it is an agreement to use deceit and misrepresentation to �obstruct or impair� the normal functioning of government. It has been charged numerous times, including against defendants in the Watergate case and the Iran/contra scandal.

How do you prove a criminal conspiracy?

A criminal conspiracy is defined in the law as simply an agreement to commit a crime, but you don�t have to show that people wrote out an agreement or even explicitly said, �let�s do this criminal act�� Conspiracies are proved by evidence of what people do and say, both publicly and behind the scenes.

Isn�t that �circumstantial evidence?�

Yes it is and, as judges tell juries in courtrooms around the country every day, circumstantial evidence is just as important as direct evidence.

What does it mean �to defraud?�

To defraud means to attempt to influence people to go along with your proposal by using deceit. The attempt does not actually have to succeed. The crime is complete once a person uses misrepresentation with the intent to provide a false picture. �Fraud� includes deliberate misrepresentations, outright lies, half-truths and statements made with reckless disregard for the truth. Bush and Cheney used all of these methods to convince the public and Congress to agree to their plan to invade Iraq.

What are some examples of Bush�s and Cheney�s misrepresentations?

Bush, Cheney and their top aides made hundreds of misrepresentations to deceitfully convince people to accept their plan. Here are a few examples:

  1. Deliberate Misrepresentation- The linking of Iraq and 9/11

    A deliberate misrepresentation is a statement or set of statements that might not be false in and of themselves, but are presented so as to give a false impression. In the case of the Bush/Cheney conspiracy to defraud, the best example of this is their repeated linking of Saddam or Iraq to the �lessons of 9/11.� The Bush administration used this device so often that it�s clear that it was a calculated and deliberate effort to provide a false impression that the two were linked — even though, as Bush has admitted, they knew there was no link. It is no defense to a charge of fraud based on deliberate misrepresentation that the person�s statement was not literally false.

  2. Outright Lie- �Saddam wouldn�t let the inspectors in.�

    Before the war, and as recently as March 21, 2006, President Bush said we invaded Iraq because �Saddam would not let the UN inspectors in.� That is an outright lie. The UN inspectors reported to the Security Council on March 7, 2003 that, although the process was not perfect, Saddam Hussein was cooperating with the inspections, the UN team thought the process was working, and they wanted to complete it. President Bush told the UN inspectors to leave within 48 hours on March 16, 2003.

  3. Half-truth- �Saddam�s son-in-law told us about biological and chemical Weapons.�

    One of the half-truths most often repeated by Cheney, in particular, was that �we� (the U.S.) knew there were biological and chemical weapons, because Saddam�s son-in-law, Kamel Hussein, told U.S. agents about them when he defected. Apart from the fact that Kamel made these statements in 1995, so they proved nothing about the existence of weapons in 2003, Cheney only told half the story. The other half was that Kamel had said that they had destroyed the weapons, a fact confirmed by U.N. and U.S. inspectors.

  4. Reckless Disregard – �Iraq is a Grave and Gathering Danger�

    In criminal law, statements made with reckless disregard as to whether they are true or false are considered fraudulent. In other words, the law imposes a duty upon people who are trying to influence others to make important life decisions — such as investments, large purchases, medical decisions, or, of course, agreeing to a war — to make assertions only if they are actually backed up by facts, especially when the people speaking are seen as authority figures, such as the President and Vice President. So every time Bush and Cheney made statements such as �Iraq is a grave and gathering danger� or �We know there are weapons of mass destruction,� they were speaking with reckless disregard for the truth. If they had done their due diligence and examined the reports of our own intelligence community, they would have known that these statements were seriously in question, if not outright false. If they did not complete any due diligence before making the statements, they were speaking with reckless disregard for the truth. Either way it�s fraud.

Does it Matter Whether Bush and Cheney actually believed there were WMD?

No, in criminal law it is not a defense to fraud that a person subjectively, that is, in his own mind, believed that the scheme would all work out, if he makes fraudulent misrepresentations in order to get people to go along with it. In other words, you can�t trick people into going along with your ideas, just because you think the ideas are good.

How was government �impaired and obstructed?�

Bush and Cheney�s fraudulent misrepresentations about the true state of affairs in Iraq was designed to convince the public to believe that Iraq presented an imminent threat. They needed to convince the public that there was a dire emergency in order to convince Congress to authorize funds for the war. This scheme of misrepresentation obstructed the workings of government in a critical way — it caused the most serious of governmental decisions to be made upon false information.

Doesn�t Congress have an obligation to question the president?

Congress does have an obligation to question the president, but that is a political issue. Congress� inadequate response to the president�s fraud does not get the Bush administration off the hook for purposes of deciding whether they committed a crime. Courts always tell juries that persons charged with fraud cannot claim that their victims were too gullible, or should have known better.

See Also

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Why Conservatives Hate America

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Bush Cornered –Cannot Stay, Cannot Pull Out of Iraq

July 14, 2007

Bush War Crimes Death Toll Up to One Million

July 11, 2007

Lessons Bush Learned from Hitler

July 7, 2007