Shoe Bush? JANUARY 19th

Why Shoe Bush?

By David Swanson,

Our president stood in a nation he had illegally invaded and occupied, where his actions had caused over 1.2 million deaths, 5 million people forced out of their homes, millions more deprived of electricity or clean water and afraid to walk the streets. He stood smiling in a nation he had transformed into a living hell, a place where everyone had seen loved ones and neighbors killed. And when Muntadar Al-Zeidi threw two shoes at him, our president remarked “I don’t know what his beef is.”

But billions of people around the world believed that the pretended obliviousness of George W. Bush to the pain and suffering he was inflicting had gone on as long as they could stand if not much longer, and Al-Zeidi became a hero overnight. His two shoes punctured the Bush veil of separation, the distance Bush pretends to imagine exists between his decisions and the human limbs scattered in the sand of his colony. And while the U.S. media pretended to wonder whether the water torture was “really” torture, the United States and its puppet government in Iraq inflicted on Al-Zeidi one of the more commonly employed torture techniques of the Bush regime: they beat him and broke his bones.

In an ideal world, it would be enough to present the evidence of crimes for Bush, Cheney, and their criminal subordinates to be prosecuted and convicted. In this world, we’ve presented that evidence for years, and we are still in a climate in which Bush and Cheney blissfully admit their crimes, apparently believing that they render prosecution less likely by declaring their own crimes acceptable. While lies may take hold more easily the bigger they are, big lies also collapse quickly, as when a child points to a naked emperor, or a journalist throws his shoes.

We have a president-elect who can save himself from engaging in criminal wars and occupations, in torture and other war crimes, in warrantless spying and other violations of our Constitution, only by prosecuting the actions of his predecessor. Not to prosecute is itself a crime. If we are going to persuade the president elect, we must first persuade the U.S. media, and the U.S. media is not attracted by facts and information. The U.S. media is attracted by throwing shoes.

Bush’s last act is expected to be the unprecedented pardoning of crimes he authorized. This has never before been done, and to do so is to drop all claim to being a nation of laws. Thanks to the example set by Al-Zeidi, since emulated by people all over the world, we will know exactly how to make our response visible when those pardons come.

Join us at the White House at 11 a.m. on January 19th

Full calendar of events in DC in January

ABOUT THE SHOES FOR BUSH ACTION

On Monday, January 19th on President Bush’s last day in office, people will gather at 11:00am at a site near the White House (TBA) for what will be a cathartic action of hurling shoes at the White House. We will be acting in the spirit of Mutadhar Al-Zaidi, the journalist who threw his shoes at Bush during a press conference on behalf of the widows, orphans and all those killed in Iraq, and in solidarity with the Iraqi people as well as all of those who have suffered under the Bush regime.

To watch Bush leave office and not be held accountable for war crimes and impeachable offenses is like rubbing salt into the wound.

This action may not take away all of the pain suffered during the Bush regime but we will get satisfaction from the statement the act makes. The shoe hurling will be a historic marker. The visual of thousands of people hurling shoes at the White House as Bush leaves office will go around the globe and the people all over the world will let out a collective cheer. Please join us in being part of history!

If you will be in DC for the Inaugural, please bring an extra pair of shoes with you and join us! If possible collect shoes from your friends and meet us at 11:00 at a location to be announced. Please check back on this site.

Organizers are setting up SHOE COLLECTION HUBS and we need your assistance. Please volunteer to have your residence be a place for people to bring their shoes. Then people who are driving to DC can bring the shoes with them.
Please visit our SHOE COLLECTION HUB page on this web site.

OR you may mail your shoes to SHOES FOR BUSH
PO BOX (forthcoming) Kennebunk, ME  04043
There are no bomb sniffing dogs at our post office! Only a very annoyed post master.

We will be transporting your shoes in a U-Haul to DC.

Please consider writing a note to put in your shoes as we will be reading them at the assembly site. Artists—be creative make art with your shoes.

After the action all shoes will be donated to the needy in the Washington DC area.

SHOES FOR BUSH ACTION


Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Senate Report Links Bush to Detainee Homicides; Media Yawns

Cheney admits authorizing detainee’s torture

Why We Must Prosecute Bush And His Administration For War Crimes

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Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 7:25 am  Comments Off on Shoe Bush? JANUARY 19th  
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No Amnesty for Cheney , Say Torture Opponents


WASHINGTON

November 25 2008

Judging by the rare leaks from President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, investigations and prosecutions of high-level George W. Bush administration officials for torture and war crimes are a distant prospect. But likely or not, that won’t stop pundits from debating the question of whether those officials responsible should be held accountable.

Irrespective of whether Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld or others are dragged before juries, one glaring change seems absolutely certain: Obama stands unequivocally against torture, and the practice is likely to come to an end under his administration.

“Even though I’ve been disappointed in other presidents in the past, I do listen and I do believe Obama when he says we won’t torture. I think that’s crucial,” said Michael Ratner, the president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights.

But foreswearing controversial and harsh interrogation methods may not be enough to permanently reestablish the moral high ground that the Obama administration has promised to bring back to the U.S.’s interactions with the rest of the world.

If Obama doesn’t take on torture that occurred, as opposed to simply discontinuing the practice, the door may be left open for future administrations to resurrect the harshest of interrogation techniques, said Ratner at a recent forum at Georgetown University Law School.

“If Obama really wants to make sure we don’t torture, he has to launch a criminal investigation,” said Ratner, the author of “The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution in Book.”

He said that the targets of such an investigation would be the easily identifiable “key players” and “principals” in the Bush administration who hatched plans to allow and legally justify harsh interrogation methods that critics allege are torture, including the controversial “waterboarding” simulated drowning technique.

Those pursued, said Ratner, would include high-ranking administration officials such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and former Central Intelligence Agency chief George Tenet, as well as the legal team that drummed up what is now regarded as a sloppy legal justification for torture.

Key Bush administration lawyers involved in providing legal cover to harsh practices, including the roundly criticised “torture memo” from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), include former attorney general and earlier White House counsel Alberto Gonzales; Cheney’s chief of staff and former legal counsel to the vice president’s office David Addington; and the University of California, Berkeley law professor and former OLC lawyer John Yoo.

If the characters behind the questionable techniques are not held accountable for violating U.S. and international laws, said Ratner, presidents after Obama may simply say, “well, in the name of national security I can just redo what Obama just put in place. I can go torture again.”

Ratner also spoke to the concern that, from the view of the rest of the world, “to not do an investigation and prosecution gives the impression of impunity.”

But opposing Ratner on the dais, Stewart Taylor, Jr. argued that an investigation and prosecution were not appropriate.

“The people who are called ‘war criminals by [Ratner] and others do not think they acted with impunity,” said Taylor, a Brookings Institution fellow and frequent contributor to Newsweek and the National Journal.

In the Jul. 21 edition of Newsweek, Taylor called for Bush to preemptively pardon any administration official who could be held to account for torture or war crimes. Taylor’s rationale was that without fear of prosecution, a full and true account of what he called “dark deeds” could never come to light.

Furthermore, at the Georgetown Law event Taylor said investigation and eventual prosecution would “tear the country apart”.

That may be the thinking of Obama, who, in addition to hints he wouldn’t investigate Bush administration malfeasance, declared his intention to govern as a political reconciliation president in his election victory speech.

In Grant Park in Chicago on Nov. 4, Obama rehashed a quote from slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., but instead of rhetorically bending the “arc of history” towards “justice”, as King did, Obama called for it to be bent “toward the hope of a better day.”

But Ratner said that the country was already divided, and that divide is exactly what a future administration could politically exploit to reinstate torture. He said that Obama must close the divide and doing so is not rehashing the past.

“You’re making sure that in the future, we don’t torture again,” Ratner said. “This is not looking backwards.”

Another potential problem with investigation and prosecution, says Taylor, is that the Bush administration officials ostensibly had sought to find out whether the methods they were about to approve were justified, and, indeed, they were told they were in the legal clear.

“There is no evidence that high ranking officials acted with criminal intent,” he said. “They were relying in good faith on the advice of legal counsel.”

Taylor said that since the legal advice originated from the Department of Justice, it would be wrong for the same Justice Department to “turn around” and prosecute people for actions that its previous incarnation had explicitly told were legal.

But Taylor’s point misses two issues: that the crimes were allegedly given a legal green light because of collusion with the White House, and that Ratner proposes to investigate those selfsame Justice officials who were involved in giving approval.

Despite referring to John Yoo as a “gonzo executive imperialist”, Taylor said that “those officials, like them or not, were honourably motivated” because they were “desperately afraid” of another terrorist attack.

Ratner insists that the officials, part of a “group, cabal or conspiracy”, may be culpable because they were “aiders and abetters”.

“[OLC] was not giving independent counsel,” insisted Ratner. “They were shaping memos to fit a policy that had already been determined.”

And while Taylor was quick to point out that many U.S. administrations had been accused of war crimes by various sources, Ratner replied that it was the first time that any administration had actually “assaulted the prohibition on torture”.

That could be one reason why, if the U.S. does not take care of its own house, Bush administration officials will likely be pursued on charges in Europe and elsewhere.

In international courts, said Ratner, those officials will not be able to hide behind the legal shields of internal government memos or executive decrees.

“They have no defence in international law,” he said. “They’re finished.”

Source

Bush trying to Avoid War Crimes Charges

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 10:04 pm  Comments Off on No Amnesty for Cheney , Say Torture Opponents  
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‘Bush, Cheney guilty of war crimes’

November 11 2008

Dick Cheney (L) and George W. Bush

Dozens of protesters have gathered outside the Department of Justice to urge indictment and trail of the US President and Vice President.

The activists and legal observers participating in the demonstrations wanted to deliver a letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, saying outgoing President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should be taken accountable for treason, murder, bribery and other high crimes.

“This is not about getting them out of office, that’s impeachment. This is about holding them accountable,” said David Swanson, the founder of After Downing Street (ADS).

On the way to the department, the crowd, however, was stopped by a low-level press secretary who pledged he would hand the letter over to the attorney general, Press TV correspondent Jahan Hafez reported.

“We really need to have a medium with him (Michael Mukasey) and we need him to agree to look into the crimes of the Bush administration which are many,” stressed Linda Letendre of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR).

As Justice Department officials passed the protesters, activists read off the names of those lost in the war.

Founder of After Downing Street (ADS) David Swanson

The protesters then lay on the ground to symbolize those who killed in the so-called war on terror.

“If in fact your elected officials are not held the same standard that the regular citizens are, then you don’t have the standard, you don’t have the rule of law,” one of the activists said.

“That’s extremely dangerous for everybody,” she warned.

“We are directly responsible for those and I would call them murders …Then you have another four million Iraqis who have been displaced from their homes and businesses and their children. There is cholera, there is no water, there is no electricity,” another protester lamented, referring to the dire consequences the Iraqi nation has been suffering after the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

“There is constant fear and it’s hard to sit still, knowing that we have done this and that we are allowing it to continue,” she added.

The anti-war community says that choosing a new commander-in-chief is not enough and it does not justify thousands of people who have died because of the policies of the Bush administration.

They say the real change comes about when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are indicated over war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Source

International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration


Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 5:49 am  Comments Off on ‘Bush, Cheney guilty of war crimes’  
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Should the US Experts be trusted?

November 12 2008

By Jeremy Gaunt and Alex Richardson

LONDON/SINGAPORE

A number of deals designed to cure the global financial crisis were in danger of unravelling on Wednesday, with losses mounting at banks and economies deteriorating.

The International Monetary Fund withheld official backing for a $6 billion (4 billion pounds) bailout plan for Iceland, the Financial Times reported, putting loans to the North Atlantic island nation at threat.

Some of banking giant Barclays’ biggest shareholders have threatened to vote against a planned 7 billion pound capital raising unless it improves the terms of the deal, British newspapers said.

The latter follows a row over the crisis-driven planned purchase of lender HBOS by Lloyds TSB with leading banking figures arguing a more competitive deal should be sought.

Aides to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, meanwhile, were playing down reports of tension with the Bush administration over help for the stricken car industry.

A feud within Japan’s cabinet over whether rich people should get payouts as part of a stimulus package looked set to be put aside after delaying the plan for weeks.

Questions are also beginning to be asked about just how much help governments can give.

“The U.S.’ financial resources are already stretched and a flood of news demands may overwhelm a government already staring down at a record budget deficit next year,” UBS economists said in a note.

Financial markets were rocked again under the combined pressure of a global economic downturn and the worst financial crisis in 80 years.

European shares rose 1.6 percent after losing more than 4 percent on Tuesday, reflecting the sharp volatility currently infecting investors.

There were more corporate profit warnings with General Motors shares falling on Tuesday to levels not seen since World War Two.

“Whether it’s economic indicators or company news, it’s just too awful,” said Takashi Ushio, head of the investment strategy division at Marusan Securities in Tokyo.

DECLINE AND FALL

The financial industry showed more pain with Dutch group ING posting its first-ever quarterly loss as impairments on stocks and bonds, counterparty losses and property writedowns ate into its income.

ING Group NV had projected the loss in October before agreeing to a 10 billion euros (8.2 billion pounds) cash injection by the Dutch government to shore up its core capital.

Its net loss for the third quarter was 478 million euros, after writedowns totalling 1.5 billion euros. ING posted a profit of 2.3 billion euros a year earlier.

Insurer Swiss Life said third-quarter premium volumes fell 11 percent to 3.075 billion Swiss francs (1.7 billion pounds) and warned it would not meet its full-year net profit guidance.

This came against a background of continuing decline in world economies.

China’s retail sales data on Wednesday pointed to slowing consumption and the World Bank said more countries were seeking its help. The head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Angel Gurria, said there was room for further interest rate cuts in the stagnating euro zone.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said global trade may drop next year for the first time in more than a quarter of a century as the worldwide credit crisis cuts into trade financing.

“It is our estimate that trade could actually fall, not grow more slowly or have growth fall, but actually fall next year, for the first time since 1982,” Zoellick said in an interview with Reuters ahead of a meeting of world leaders.

Zoellick said the bank expected its lending to increase to $35 billion this year from $13.5 billion last year, adding that countries such as Mexico, Indonesia and Colombia were tapping its contingency financing fund amid worries about access to credit.

Investors, meanwhile, were looking to a summit of world leaders in Washington on Saturday for solutions.

President-elect Obama, however, is steering clear of the meeting.

“I think he wants to have a free hand after the inauguration,” Dale said. “If he gets too closely associated with the summit, he might find himself associated with views with which he might not necessarily agree,” said Reginald Dale, a scholar at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

(Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Source


My rant for the day.

For all the Geniuses in the Financial Field, I really have to wonder if they know anything at all. They pretend to be such experts, but it seems they aren’t such geniuses.

This mess was created in the US, so their experts are not so brilliant. That speaks for itself.

Their advice should be scrutinized very carefully.

We should trust them because???????????? ,

Why so they can drag us into yet another one if their capitalistic nightmares.

Their rhetoric and propaganda is nauseating to say the least.

George Bush and all his so called advisors are not to be trusted.

Free Trade, deregulation, pandering to profiteering Corporations, listening to lobby groups and the cost of war have all played a great part to the demise of the US economy.

The so called experts fail to actually see the problem as a whole.

All countries around the world should be taking care of their people.

America is not the most wonderful place in the world.

They do not have the most intelligent people taking care of them.

They do not take care of their people. They just pretend a lot.

Over the years and observing the ups and downs of America and their leaders the two most intelligent people I have noted to date are Ron Paul and Barack Obama.

One of the notes I have taken on both of them is they actually seem to care about the people. When they speak they actually know what they are talking about.

That is special. Considering some of the slop we have had to listen to over the years.

When Bush or Cheney open their mouths, I want to scream at the stupidity of it all.

Hide under my bed in fear of yet another war.

Their wisdom is not wisdom at all it’s just full blown ignorance.

Their fear mongering and rhetoric should have been stopped years ago.

Instead everyone pandered to their garbage.

They turned America into the most hated nation in the world and with good reasons.

They threaten, course and lie. We are trapped on the planet with them until January 2009.

They should be in jail for crimes against humanity yet they are still allowed to run free and attempt to destroy what is left of the world with their so called expert advice.

Spare me the agony.

The Bush Administration has done little or nothing to improve the lives of the American people. They certainly are very adept at destruction not only of their own people but in destroying the rest of the world, whether is be through war of the financial blundering of this administration.

Their advice is not to be trusted. If they are such experts why is their country where it is today?

Their Health Care leaves a lot to be desired. It is horrible, costly and doesn’t serve the people only the profiteering, insurance companies.

Their wars are destroying millions of lives.

Their financial crisis is destroying the world.

Oh yes they are very cleaver indeed.

Their free trade agreements are more like give the profiteering, Corporations cheap, slave labour, massive profits and if they pollute no big deal. They want to take over the naturel resources of each and every country. They want to steal their water and privatize everything they can get their grubby hands on to the demise of the people in said country as well. Live becomes unaffordable for many and poverty rises as does the cost of living.

Privatization is just profiteering at the expense of people. Free Trade agreements drive farmers out of business as it does other homegrown businesses.

The Corporations move in and take over. This practice has to be addressed by all countries. Those who fight back are called evil among other things.

The American media more times then not jump on the propaganda band wagon.

Ensuring the American people never get the truth.

Universal Health Care is apparently a horrible thing in the US. Just ask any one.

Well the American people have been lied to for years over that one.

Michael Moore has tried to tell the Americans things could be different.

He had the guts to go up against the propaganda machine.

When one takes that one Example and really thinks about it that alone says a lot about the lies Americans have been told.

If America cared one iota about their citizens it would have given them Universal Health care years ago. Instead they were spoon fed propaganda and lies. Their media has played in great part a very large role in this and they of all should be telling the American people truth. That is apparently their job. Apparently they are not doing their job very well. .Instead they pander to the insurance companies. They pander to the Government officials who gets loads of money from insurance companies. How very disappointing it all is.

The Bush administration reminds me of a two year old temper tantrum throwing, brat that should be given a good sound spanking and have their privileges taken away.

If my child behaved in such a manner I would ground them for years.

Should they be trusted? They are like and infectious disease.  Spreading their illness world wide. Much like the plague.

Published in: on November 12, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Comments Off on Should the US Experts be trusted?  
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George Bush Will Soon Be Free To Do Just What He Wants

The raid on Syria is a dark portent. The current president has three long, unaccountable months to cement his legacy

By Jonathan Freedland

October 31, 2008

We are about to enter the twilight zone, that strange black hole in political time and space that appears no more than once every four years. It is known as the period of transition, and it starts a week from today, the time when the United States has not one president but two. One will be the president-elect, the other George Bush, in power for 12 more weeks in which he can do pretty much whatever he likes. Not only will he never again have to face voters, he won’t even have to worry about damaging the prospects of his own party and its standard bearer (as if he has not damaged those enough already). From November 5 to January 20, he will exercise the freest, most unaccountable form of power the democratic world has to offer.

How Bush might use it is a question that gained new force at the weekend, when US forces crossed the Iraqi border into Syria to kill Abu Ghadiya, a man they said had been funnelling “foreign fighters” allied to al-Qaida into Iraq. That American move has touched off a round of intense head-scratching around the world, as foreign ministers and analysts ask each other the time-honoured diplomatic query: what did they mean by that? To which they add the post-Nov 4 question: and what does it tell us about how Bush plans to use his final days in the White House?

You can choose from two versions. Call the first the “no big deal” theory. It holds that the Sunday raid was no more than standard operational procedure in the war on terror. Sure, it meant violating the sovereignty of an independent nation state, but that’s not so new: there was a similar incursion into Pakistan in September. Indeed, there may be more relevant precedents. A former official in the Bush administration confirmed to me yesterday that the US has lunged into Syrian territory several times before: it’s just that Damascus chose to keep quiet. In which case, the interesting question is why the Syrians went public this time.

In this “no big deal” version, Abu Ghadiya was simply too irresistible a high-value target to let slip away. “They saw something they wanted to hit and they hit it,” says one European diplomat resignedly. The most extreme version of this shoulder-shrugging account holds that the decision may not even have been taken at the political level, but in the field, by General David Petraeus. Not so implausible, since Bush in effect ceded command of the Iraq war to Petraeus a long while ago.

Nonsense, says the other school of thought. It is a massive deal to strike at a sovereign state in this way: in an earlier era, before 2001, we would have called it an act of war. Pakistan is no precedent, because in that case there was a degree of cooperation. Not now.

This was a deliberate act, calculated to send a series of messages. First, to the Syrians, reminding them who’s boss in the region and strong-arming them to do more to crack down on al-Qaida.

Second, to the Europeans who have been moving towards a rapprochement with Damascus. Nicolas Sarkozy may have invited President Assad to Paris and David Miliband may have been hosting the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Muallem, in London this very Monday, 24 hours after the raid – but no matter. Bush gets to remind both these uppity Europeans who’s in charge.

Third, the president could have been sending a message to his own administration. Perhaps this was a memo to his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who had dared meet Muallem at the UN just last month in a meeting that apparently she requested. If so, it would fit with the pattern of wildly mixed signals that has emanated from the administration in recent months. Two days before Rice sat down with Muallem, for instance, Bush had used his UN address to denounce Syria as a state sponsor of terror. Might Sunday’s raid have been the president’s attempt to reassert himself against a senior staff all but denuded of its hawks? Rumsfeld, Bolton and Wolfowitz are long gone; the more emollient Robert Gates is at defence, widely tipped to continue under a President Obama. In these last days, Dick Cheney has only himself for company.

However we are meant to read it, the attack on Syria looks a lot like a parting shot from Bush, an end-of-the-movie reminder of what this long and bloody saga has been about. A small operation, causing eight deaths, it nevertheless captures much of the Bush ethos that has ruled the globe these past eight years. It was unilateral; it trampled on state sovereignty; and it relied on force as a first, not last, resort. As a souvenir of the Bush era, it would be hard to top.

But it may not be the final act. For we have not yet entered the twilight zone proper. That will come only when polls close next Tuesday. When the transition begins, all kinds of surprises are possible.

Spool back 20 years, to the dying days of the Reagan administration. In January 1989, the president officially recognised the PLO as the representatives of the Palestinian people. It was a farewell gift to Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush: the old man took the flak so that the new president would not have to.

In December 1992, Bush himself proved rather less helpful to his replacement, saddling Bill Clinton with the deployment of US forces in Somalia, an episode whose humiliating conclusion badly hobbled Clinton thereafter.

Eight years ago, it was Clinton’s turn. He sweated until his final hours in office trying to close a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who seemed then to be just inches apart. The legacy was the Clinton parameters, still regarded as marking the basic contours of any future agreement for Israel-Palestine.

So what will emerge from the twilight of George W Bush? Most diplomats are bracing themselves. “They’re not going to sleep,” says one senior British official. The optimists hope for a repeat of Reagan and Clinton, something that helps Middle East peace. It’s true that Rice and Bush have been eager for a breakthrough, if only to have a presidential legacy untainted by Iraq. Perhaps Israel and the Palestinians might initial a provisional document, proof that their labours since Bush’s Annapolis summit of 2007 have not been entirely fruitless.

But the bad timing that has cursed the Middle East so often has struck once again. Israel is entering an interregnum of its own, following Tzipi Livni’s failure to form a coalition. It’s hard to believe an interim, caretaker administration could forge a peace deal.

That leaves other options. Bush could ape Reagan and decide to speak to Hamas. More likely would be a shift in policy that helps future peacemaking efforts: he might, for instance, declare that any changes to the 1967 borders must be equal, with Palestinians compensated inch for inch for any West Bank land conceded to Israel. Or he could look further afield in the region, contradicting himself and Sunday’s raid, by reaching out to Syria. Or, as some hawks fear, he could step up the tentative dialogue with Iran. A symbolic gesture would be to open a US visa section in Tehran.

Of course, Bush may be thinking of a parting gift more in keeping with the record of the last eight years. He and Cheney might decide, what the hell, we have one last chance to whack Iran – and let the new guy clear up the mess. Not likely, but possible. For in the twilight zone, anything can happen.

Source


Published in: on November 2, 2008 at 9:16 am  Comments Off on George Bush Will Soon Be Free To Do Just What He Wants  
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Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues


In recent presidential debates, Senator John McCain has said things like, “I know the veterans.  I know them well.  And, I know that they know that I’ll take care of them.”  It was stunning, because nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s something that our friend Charlie Fink even made an issue of in his new video at Lunatics and Liars.

A lot of you have asked VoteVets.org to explain why Senator McCain gets consistently low ratings from veterans groups.   Below is a full list of votes, statements, and positions of Senator McCain’s, which shows that Senator McCain has consistently bailed on troops and veterans.

It’s a very long, but comprehensive list.  I encourage you to take a look and pass it around.  An even more robust list, complete with video, can be found at VetVoice.com, as well.

Sincerely,

Brandon Friedman
Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran
Vice Chairman, VoteVets.org

Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues

· Veterans Groups Give McCain Failing Grades. In its most recent legislative ratings, the non-partisan Disabled American Veterans gave Sen. McCain a 20 percent rating for his voting record on veterans’ issues.  Similarly, the non-partisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a “D” grade for his poor voting record on veterans’ issues, including McCain’s votes against additional body armor for troops in combat and additional funding for PTSD and TBI screening and treatment.

· McCain Voted Against Increased Funding for Veterans’ Health Care. Although McCain told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans’ health care was his top domestic priority, he voted against increasing funding for veterans’ health care in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. (Greenville News, 12/12/2007; S.Amdt. 2745 to S.C.R. 95, Vote 40, 3/10/04; Senate S.C.R. 18, Vote 55, 3/16/05; S.Amdt. 3007 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 41, 3/14/06; H.R. 1591, Vote 126, 3/29/07)

· McCain Voted At Least 28 Times Against Veterans’ Benefits, Including Healthcare. Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 1987, McCain has voted at least 28 times against ensuring important benefits for America’s veterans, including providing adequate healthcare. (2006 Senate Vote #7, 41, 63, 67, 98, 222; 2005 Senate Votes #55, 89, 90, 251, 343; 2004 Senate Votes #40, 48, 145; 2003 Senate Votes #74, 81, 83; 1999 Senate Vote #328; 1998 Senate Vote #175; 1997 Senate Vote #168; 1996 Senate Votes #115, 275; 1995 Senate Votes #76, 226, 466; 1994 Senate Vote #306; 1992 Senate Vote #194; 1991 Senate Vote #259)

· McCain Voted Against Providing Automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Veterans. McCain voted against providing automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments for certain veterans’ benefits. (S. 869, Vote 259, 11/20/91)

· McCain Voted to Underfund Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted for an appropriations bill that underfunded the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development by $8.9 billion. (H.R. 2099, Vote 470, 9/27/95)

· McCain Voted Against a $13 Billion Increase in Funding for Veterans Programs. McCain voted against an amendment to increase spending on veterans programs by $13 billion. (S.C.R. 57, Vote 115, 5/16/96)

· McCain Voted Against $44.3 Billion for Veterans Programs. McCain was one of five senators to vote against a bill providing $44.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, plus funding for other federal agencies. (H.R. 2684, Vote 328, 10/15/99)

· McCain Voted Against $47 Billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain was one of eight senators to vote against a bill that provided $47 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. (H.R. 4635, Vote 272, 10/12/00)

· McCain Voted Against $51 Billion in Veterans Funding. McCain was one of five senators to vote against the bill and seven to vote against the conference report that provided $51.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as funding for the federal housing, environmental and emergency management agencies and NASA. (H.R. 2620, Vote 334, 11/8/01; Vote 269, 8/2/01)

· McCain Voted Against $122.7 Billion for Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted against an appropriations bill that included $122.7 billion in fiscal 2004 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies. (H.R. 2861, Vote 449, 11/12/03)

· McCain Opposed $500 Million for Counseling Services for Veterans with Mental Disorders. McCain voted against an amendment to appropriate $500 million annually from 2006-2010 for counseling, mental health and rehabilitation services for veterans diagnosed with mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. (S. 2020, S.Amdt. 2634, Vote 343, 11/17/05)

· McCain opposed an Assured Funding Stream for Veterans’ Health Care. McCain opposed providing an assured funding stream for veterans’ health care, taking into account annual changes in veterans’ population and inflation. (S.Amdt. 3141 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 63, 3/16/06)

· McCain Voted Against Adding More Than $400 Million for Veterans’ Care. McCain was one of 13 Republicans to vote against providing an additional $430 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for outpatient care and treatment for veterans. (S.Amdt. 3642 to H.R. 4939, Vote 98, 4/26/06)

· McCain Supported Outsourcing VA Jobs. McCain opposed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing jobs, many held by blue-collar veterans, without first giving the workers a chance to compete. (S.Amdt. 2673 to H.R. 2642, Vote 315, 9/6/07)

· McCain Opposed the 21st Century GI Bill Because It Was Too Generous. McCain did not vote on the GI Bill that will provide better educational opportunities to veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, paying full tuition at in-state schools and living expenses for those who have served at least three years since the 9/11 attacks. McCain said he opposes the bill because he thinks the generous benefits would “encourage more people to leave the military.” (S.Amdt. 4803 to H.R. 2642, Vote 137, 5/22/08; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 6/2/08; Boston Globe, 5/23/08; ABCNews.com, 5/26/08)

· Disabled American Veterans Legislative Director Said That McCain’s Proposal Would Increase Costs For Veterans Because His Plan Relies On Private Hospitals Which Are More Expensive and Which Could Also Lead To Further Rationing Of Care. “To help veterans who live far from VA hospitals or need specialized care the VA can’t provide, McCain proposed giving low-income veterans and those who incurred injury during their service a card they could use at private hospitals. The proposal is not an attempt to privatize the VA, as critics have alleged, but rather, an effort to improve care and access to it, he said. Joe Violanti, legislative director of the Disabled American Veterans, a nonpartisan organization, said the proposal would increase costs because private hospitals are more expensive. The increased cost could lead to further rationing of care, he said.” (Las Vegas Sun, 8/10/08)

Lack of Support for the Troops

· McCain co-sponsored the Use of Force Authorization. McCain supported the bill that gave President George W. Bush the green light–and a blank check–for going to war with Iraq. (SJ Res 46, 10/3/02)

· McCain Opposed Increasing Spending on TRICARE and Giving Greater Access to National Guard and Reservists. Although his campaign website devotes a large section to veterans issues, including expanding benefits for reservists and members of the National Guard, McCain voted against increasing spending on the TRICARE program by $20.3 billion over 10 years to give members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families greater access to the health care program. The increase would be offset by a reduction in tax cuts for the wealthy. (S.Amdt. 324 to S.C.R. 23, Vote 81, 3/25/03)

· McCain voted against holding Bush accountable for his actions in the war. McCain opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the development and use of intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. (S.Amdt. 1275 to H.R. 2658, Vote 284, 7/16/03)

· McCain voted Against Establishing a $1 Billion Trust Fund for Military Health Facilities. McCain voted against establishing a $1 billion trust fund to improve military health facilities by refusing to repeal tax cuts for those making more than $1 million a year. (S.Amdt. 2735 to S.Amdt. 2707 to H.R. 4297, Vote 7, 2/2/06)

· Senator McCain opposed efforts to end the overextension of the military–a policy that is having a devastating impact on our troops. McCain voted against requiring mandatory minimum downtime between tours of duty for troops serving in Iraq. (S.Amdt.. 2909 to S.Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 341, 9/19/07; S.Amdt. 2012 to S.Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 241, 7/11/07)

· McCain announced his willingness to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for decades–a statement sure to inflame Iraqis and endanger American troops. McCain: “Make it a hundred” years in Iraq and “that would be fine with me.” (Derry, New Hampshire Town Hall meeting, 1/3/08)

· McCain voted against a ban on waterboarding–a form of torture–in a move that could eventually endanger American troops. According to ThinkProgress, “the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill to the floor, which contained a provision from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) establishing one interrogation standard across the government. The bill requires the intelligence community to abide by the same standards as articulated in the Army Field Manual and bans waterboarding.”  McCain voted against the bill.  (H.R. 2082, Vote 22, 2/13/08)

· McCain Also Supported Outsourcing at Walter Reed. McCain opposed an amendment to prevent the outsourcing of 350 federal employee jobs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center–outsourcing that contributed to the scandalous treatment of veterans at Walter Reed that McCain called a “disgrace.” (S.Amdt. 4895 to H.R. 5631, Vote 234, 9/6/06; Speech to VFW in Kansas City, Mo., 4/4/08)

· Senator McCain has consistently opposed any plan to withdraw troops from Iraq–a policy that has directly weakened American efforts in Afghanistan. Senator McCain repeatedly voted against a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. (S.Amdt. 3876 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #438, 12/18/07; S.Amdt. 3875 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #437, 12/18/07; S.Amdt.3164 to H.R. 3222, Vote #362, 10/3/07; S.Amdt. 2898 to S. Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #346, 9/21/07; S. Amdt. 2924 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R.1585, Vote #345, 9/21/07; S.Amdt.2 087 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #252, 7/18/07; S.Amdt. 643 to H.R. 1591, Vote #116, 3/27/07; S.Amdt. 4320 to S. 2766, Vote #182, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766, Vote #181, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 2519 to S.1042, Vote #322, 11/15/05)

· McCain said it’s “not too important” when U.S. troops leave Iraq. This exchange occurred on NBC’s Today Show with Matt Lauer:

LAUER: If it’s working, senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?
McCAIN: No, but that’s not too important.

(NBC, Today Show, 6/11/08)

Cheerleading for War with Iraq–While Afghanistan was Unfinished

· McCain suggested that the war in Iraq could be won with a “smaller” force. “But the fact is I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past. But I don’t believe it’s going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991.” (CBS News, Face the Nation, 9/15/02)

· McCain said winning the war would be “easy.” “I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” (CNN, 9/24/02)

· McCain also said the actual fighting in Iraq would be easy. “We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad.  We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.” (CNN, 9/29/02)

· Continuing his pattern, McCain also said on MSNBC that we would win the war in Iraq “easily.” “But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” (MSNBC, 1/22/03)

· McCain argued Saddam was “a threat of the first order.” Senator McCain said that a policy of containing Iraq to blunt its weapons of mass destruction program is “unsustainable, ineffective, unworkable and dangerous.” McCain: “I believe Iraq is a threat of the first order, and only a change of regime will make Iraq a state that does not threaten us and others, and where liberated people assume the rights and responsibilities of freedom.” (Speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, 2/13/03)

· McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s rationale for going to war. McCain: “We’re going to win this victory. Tragically, we will lose American lives. But it will be brief.  We’re going to find massive evidence of weapons of mass destruction . . . It’s going to send the message throughout the Middle East that democracy can take hold in the Middle East.” (Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 2/21/03)

· “But I believe, Katie, that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” (NBC, 3/20/03)

· March 2003: “I believe that this conflict is still going to be relatively short.” (NBC, Meet the Press, 3/30/03)

· McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s talking points that the U.S. would only be in Iraq for a short time. McCain: “It’s clear that the end is very much in sight . . . It won’t be long . . . it’ll be a fairly short period of time.” (ABC, 4/9/03)

Staunch Defense of the Iraq Invasion

· McCain maintained that the war was a good idea and that George W. Bush deserved “admiration.” At the 2004 Republican National Convention, McCain, focusing on the war in Iraq, said that while weapons of mass destruction were not found, Saddam once had them and “he would have acquired them again.” McCain said the mission in Iraq “gave hope to people long oppressed” and it was “necessary, achievable and noble.” McCain: “For his determination to undertake it, and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.” (Speech, Republican National Convention, 8/31/04)

· Senator McCain: “The war, the invasion was not a mistake. (Meet the Press, 1/6/08)

· McCain said the war in Iraq was “worth” it. Asked if the war was a good idea worth the price in blood and treasure, McCain: “It was worth getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He had used weapons of mass destruction, and it’s clear that he was hell-bent on acquiring them.” (Republican Debate, 1/24/08)

Dangerous Lack of Foreign Policy Knowledge

· When questioned about Osama bin Laden after the 1998 U.S. missile strikes in Afghanistan, McCain surmised that the terrorist leader wasn’t as “bad” as “depicted.” “You could say, Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that’s depicted?  Most of us have never heard of him before.” (Interview with Mother Jones magazine, 11/1998)

· McCain was unaware of previous Sunni-Shia violence before the Iraq War. “There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias. So I think they can probably get along.” (MSNBC, Hardball, 4/23/03)

· McCain said our military could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan. While giving a speech, McCain was asked about Afghanistan and replied, “I am concerned about it, but I’m not as concerned as I am about Iraq today, obviously, or I’d be talking about Afghanistan.  But I believe that if Karzai can make the progress that he is making, that in the long term, we may muddle through in Afghanistan.” (Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, 11/5/03)

· McCain stated that Sunni al Qaeda was “supported” by the Shia Iranians. (2/2008)

· McCain again confused Sunni Muslim al Qaeda operatives with Shi’a Muslim insurgents. The Washington Post reported of McCain: “He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

“Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives ‘taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.’

“Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was ‘common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.’” (Press conference, Amman, Jordan, 3/18/2008)

· Yet again, McCain demonstrated that he didn’t know whether al Qaeda was a Sunni or Shiite organization. While questioning General David Petraeus during a Senate hearing, the following exchange occurred:

MCCAIN: Do you still view al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?
PETRAEUS: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was say 15 months ago.
MCCAIN: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shi’ites overall?
PETREAUS: No.
MCCAIN: Or Sunnis or anybody else.

(Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 4/8/08)

· McCain incorrectly thought General David Petraeus was in charge of Afghanistan. The Army Times reported: “Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

‘I would not do that unless Gen. (David) Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that,’ McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

“Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision. Testifying last week before four congressional committees, including the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain is the ranking Republican, Petraeus said the decision about whether troops could be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan was not his responsibility because his portfolio is limited to the multi-national force in Iraq.” (Annual meeting of the Associated Press, 4/14/08)

· McCain credited the “surge” for the “Anbar Awakening”–even though the Anbar Awakening preceded the surge by nearly a year. (7/22/08)

· John McCain has also recently demonstrated either serious knowledge gaps in terms of foreign policy, or mounting confusion, when discussing an array of other countries:

Spain: McCain refused to commit to meeting with the president of Spain, a NATO ally, after becoming confused about America’s relationship with Spain, its leader, and, possibly, exactly where Spain is located. (9/17/08)


Czech Republic and Slovakia: McCain referred to the two countries using the name “Czechoslovakia” several times–despite the fact that Czechoslakia split apart and hasn’t existed since 1993. (
7/15/08; (7/14/08))


Venezuela: McCain said that Venezuela was a Middle Eastern country. (
9/30/08)

This man it seems would not protect our men and women who risk their lives every day.

Know who your voting for.  I would never vote for this man. I love my troops too much to leave them in his hands. The majority of the money in 612 billion budget for defense goes to contractors etc. The majority goes to the profiteers of war and there are many.

Not for the troops or the veterans. Very little actually is used to take care of them.

One can decide what they will but, always consider the running record of any candidate.

McCain’s record in this area is rather bleak. One would think of all the people, he would understand, the needs of these ones the most. But he doesn’t.

If he can’t fathom the needs of troops and veterans, I am afraid he would never be able to lead the American people into a new and brighter future. But that’s just my opinion.

Would you want the lives of you children, brothers, sisters, uncle, aunts, families or friends left in his hands?

That is the ultimate question we all have to ask ourselves.

Anyone who has had an adversarial relationship with John McCain will tell you that there are few with less self-control than the senator from Arizona. Many have questioned his ability to maintain a clear head in a time of crisis. For those of us who have seen these sparks of insanity from McCain, we know all too well that what lies beneath is something dark, ominous and certainly not presidential. John McCain makes reference to his service to our great nation by almost daily reminding us of his five and a half year captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. Yet few have been able to look beyond McCain, the POW, to examine his political record, as if it were taboo somehow to be critical of a former prisoner of war. But what about this former prisoner of war and his criticism of the very same people who fought to bring him home from the dark dank cell he likes to remind us about so much? – The POW/MIA Families of those less fortunate than McCain, those who still have yet to be returned to the soil they gave their lives for.

Since his return from Hanoi, McCain has …

~Ignored pleas of POW/MIA Family Members for his political influence in the overall POW/MIA Issue as well as with their individual cases

~Verbally abused POW/MIA Family Members in public and private

~Attempted to negatively influence those who testified before the 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs

~Diminished legislation that gave oversight and protection to the families

~Dismantled protection to any future servicemen that go missing.

Source

Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm  Comments Off on Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues  
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CIA Torture Tactics Endorsed in Secret Memos


Waterboarding got nod from White House

By Joby Warrick

The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency’s use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects — documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.

The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents. Although Justice Department lawyers, beginning in 2002, had signed off on the agency’s interrogation methods, senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing.

The memos were the first — and, for years, the only — tangible expressions of the administration’s consent for the CIA’s use of harsh measures to extract information from captured al-Qaeda leaders, the sources said. As early as the spring of 2002, several White House officials, including then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney, were given individual briefings by Tenet and his deputies, the officials said. Rice, in a statement to congressional investigators last month, confirmed the briefings and acknowledged that the CIA director had pressed the White House for “policy approval.”

Worried about lack of paper trail
The repeated requests for a paper trail reflected growing worries within the CIA that the administration might later distance itself from key decisions about the handling of captured al-Qaeda leaders, former intelligence officials said. The concerns grew more pronounced after the revelations of mistreatment of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and further still as tensions grew between the administration and its intelligence advisers over the conduct of the Iraq war.

“It came up in the daily meetings. We heard it from our field officers,” said a former senior intelligence official familiar with the events. “We were already worried that we” were going to be blamed.

A. John Radsan, a lawyer in the CIA general counsel’s office until 2004, remembered the discussions but did not personally view the memos the agency received in response to its concerns. “The question was whether we had enough ‘top cover,’ ” Radsan said.

Tenet first pressed the White House for written approval in June 2003, during a meeting with members of the National Security Council, including Rice, the officials said. Days later, he got what he wanted: a brief memo conveying the administration’s approval for the CIA’s interrogation methods, the officials said.

Administration officials confirmed the existence of the memos, but neither they nor former intelligence officers would describe their contents in detail because they remain classified. The sources all spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not cleared to discuss the events.

The second request from Tenet, in June 2004, reflected growing worries among agency officials who had just witnessed the public outcry over the Abu Ghraib scandal. Officials who held senior posts at the time also spoke of deteriorating relations between the CIA and the White House over the war in Iraq — a rift that prompted some to believe that the agency needed even more explicit proof of the administration’s support.

“The CIA by this time is using the word ‘insurgency’ to describe the Iraq conflict, so the White House is viewing the agency with suspicion,” said a second former senior intelligence official.

As recently as last month, the administration had never publicly acknowledged that its policymakers knew about the specific techniques, such as waterboarding, that the agency used against high-ranking terrorism suspects. In her unprecedented account to lawmakers last month, Rice, now secretary of state, portrayed the White House as initially uneasy about a controversial CIA plan for interrogating top al-Qaeda suspects.

After learning about waterboarding and similar tactics in early 2002, several White House officials questioned whether such harsh measures were “effective and necessary . . . and lawful,” Rice said. Her concerns led to an investigation by the Justice Department’s criminal division into whether the techniques were legal.

Misgivings apparently overcome
But whatever misgivings existed that spring were apparently overcome. Former and current CIA officials say no such reservations were voiced in their presence.

In interviews, the officials recounted a series of private briefings about the program with members of the administration’s security team, including Rice and Cheney, followed by more formal meetings before a larger group including then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, then-White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. None of the officials recalled President Bush being present at any of the discussions.

Several of the key meetings have been previously described in news articles and books, but Rice last month became the first Cabinet-level official to publicly confirm the White House’s awareness of the program in its earliest phases. In written responses to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rice said Tenet’s description of the agency’s interrogation methods prompted her to investigate further to see whether the program violated U.S. laws or international treaties, according to her written responses, dated Sept. 12 and released late last month.

“I asked that . . . Ashcroft personally advise the NSC principles whether the program was lawful,” Rice wrote.

‘CIA had the White House boxed in’
Current and former intelligence officials familiar with the briefings described Tenet as supportive of enhanced interrogation techniques, which the officials said were developed by CIA officers after the agency’s first high-level captive, al-Qaeda operative Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, better known as Abu Zubaida, refused to cooperate with interrogators.

“The CIA believed then, and now, that the program was useful and helped save lives,” said a former senior intelligence official knowledgeable about the events. “But in the agency’s view, it was like this: ‘We don’t want to continue unless you tell us in writing that it’s not only legal but is the policy of the administration.’ “

One administration official familiar with the meetings said the CIA made such a convincing case that no one questioned whether the methods were necessary to prevent further terrorist attacks.

“The CIA had the White House boxed in,” said the official. “They were saying, ‘It’s the only way to get the information we needed, and — by the way — we think there’s another attack coming up.’ It left the principals in an extremely difficult position and put the decision-making on a very fast track.”

But others who were present said Tenet seemed more interested in protecting his subordinates than in selling the administration on a policy that administration lawyers had already authorized.

“The suggestion that someone from CIA came in and browbeat everybody is ridiculous,” said one former agency official familiar with the meeting. “The CIA understood that it was controversial and would be widely criticized if it became public,” the official said of the interrogation program. “But given the tenor of the times and the belief that more attacks were coming, they felt they had to do what they could to stop the attack.”

Anxiety
The CIA’s anxiety was partly fueled by the lack of explicit presidential authorization for the interrogation program. A secret White House “memorandum of notification” signed by Bush on Sept. 15, 2001, gave the agency broad authority to wage war against al-Qaeda, including killing and capturing its members. But it did not spell out how captives should be handled during interrogation.

But by the time the CIA requested written approval of its policy, in June 2003, the population of its secret prisons had grown from one to nine, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged principal architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Three of the detainees had been subjected to waterboarding, which involves strapping a prisoner to a board, covering his face and pouring water over his nose and mouth to simulate drowning.

By the spring of 2004, the concerns among agency officials had multiplied, in part because of shifting views among administration lawyers about what acts might constitute torture, leading Tenet to ask a second time for written confirmation from the White House. This time the reaction was far more reserved, recalled two former intelligence officials.

“The Justice Department in particular was resistant,” said one former intelligence official who participated in the discussions. “They said it doesn’t need to be in writing.”

Tenet and his deputies made their case in yet another briefing before the White House national security team in June 2004. It was to be one of the last such meetings for Tenet, who had already announced plans to step down as CIA director. Author Jane Mayer, who described the briefing in her recent book, “The Dark Side,” said the graphic accounts of interrogation appeared to make some participants uncomfortable. “History will not judge us kindly,” Mayer quoted Ashcroft as saying.

Participants in the meeting did not recall whether a vote was taken. Several weeks passed, and Tenet left the agency without receiving a formal response.

Finally, in mid-July, a memo was forwarded to the CIA reaffirming the administration’s backing for the interrogation program. Tenet had acquired the statement of support he sought.

Source

This was also Done.

Maher Arar is a 34-year-old wireless technology consultant. He was born in Syria and came to Canada with his family at the age of 17. He became a Canadian citizen in 1991. On Sept. 26, 2002, while in transit in New York’s JFK airport when returning home from a vacation, Arar was detained by US officials and interrogated about alleged links to al-Qaeda. Twelve days later, he was chained, shackled and flown to Syria, where he was held in a tiny “grave-like” cell for ten months and ten days before he was moved to a better cell in a different prison. In Syria, he was beaten, tortured and forced to make a false confession.

During his imprisonment, Arar’s wife, Monia Mazigh, campaigned relentlessly on his behalf until he was returned to Canada in October 2003. On Jan. 28, 2004, under pressure from Canadian human rights organizations and a growing number of citizens, the Government of Canada announced a Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar.

On September 18, 2006, the Commissioner of the Inquiry, Justice Dennis O’Connor, cleared Arar of all terrorism allegations, stating he was “able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada.” To read the Commissioner’s report, including his findings on the actions of Canadian officials, please visit the Arar Commission’s website or click here.

You can read the chronolgy of events that led to Maher’s arrest, deportation and return in pdf format here.
You can read Maher’s statement during the press conference held on November 4, 2003 in pdf format here.
You can watch a short video about what happened to Maher here.

What happened to Maher Arar was horrifying.

Bush said repeatedly they didn’t torture people.  They also new where to send someone to, to get the torturing done for them as well.  Of course we now, know the Bush administration did torture people.

Bush lied. If he lied about that. One has to wonder what else he lied about?

There is a bit of a list at the bottom.


Steering Committee To Seek Prosecution of Bush For War Crimes

October 14 2008

Massachusetts law school Dean Lawrence Velvel will chair a Steering Committee to pursue the prosecution for war crimes of President Bush and culpable high-ranking aides after they leave office Jan. 20th.

The Steering Committee was organized following a conference of leading legal authorities and scholars from the U.S. and abroad convened by Velvel on Sept. 13-14 in Andover, Mass., titled “The Justice Robert Jackson Conference On Planning For The Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals.”

“If Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and others are not prosecuted,” Velvel said, “the future could be threatened by additional examples of Executive lawlessness by leaders who need fear no personal consequences for their actions, including more illegal wars such as Iraq.”

Besides Velvel, members of the Steering Committee include:

Ben Davis, a law Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law, where he teaches Public International Law and International Business Transactions. He is the author of numerous articles on international and related domestic law.

Marjorie Cohn, a law Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif., and President of the National Lawyers Guild.

Chris Pyle, a Professor at Mount Holyoke College, where he teaches Constitutional law, Civil Liberties, Rights of Privacy, American Politics and American Political Thought, and is the author of many books and articles.

Elaine Scarry, the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University, and winner of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism.

Peter Weiss, vice president of the Center For Constitutional Rights, of New York City, which was recently involved with war crimes complaints filed in Germany and Japan against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others.

David Swanson, author, activist and founder of AfterDowningStreet.org/CensureBush.org coalition, of Charlottesville, Va.

Kristina Borjesson, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years and editor of two recent books on the media.

Colleen Costello, Staff Attorney of Human Rights, USA, of Washington, D.C., and coordinator of its efforts involving torture by the American government.

Valeria Gheorghiu, attorney for Workers’ Rights Law Center.

Andy Worthington of Redress, a British historian and journalist and author of books dealing with human rights violations.

Initial actions considered by the Steering Committee, Velvel said, are as follows:

# Seeking prosecutions of high level officials, including George Bush, for the crimes they committed.

# Seeking disbarment of lawyers who were complicitous in facilitating torture.

# Seeking termination from faculty positions of high officials who were complicitous in torture.

# Issuing a recent statement saying any attempt by Bush to pardon himself and aides for war crimes prior to leaving office will result in efforts to obtain impeachment even after they leave office.

# Convening a major conference on the state secret and executive privilege doctrines, which have been pushed to record levels during the Bush administration.

# Designation of an Information Repository Coordinator to gather in one place all available information involving the Bush Administration’s war crimes.

# Possible impeachment of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee for co-authoring the infamous “torture memo.”

Source

List of a few Lies:

1. Bush: “We went into Russia, we said, ‘Here’s some IMF money,’ and it ended up in Viktor Chernomyrdin’s pocket and others.”

Fact: “Bush appears to have tangled up whispers about possible wrongdoing by Chernomyrdin — who co-chaired a commission with Gore on U.S.-Russian relations — with other unrelated allegations concerning the diversion of International Monetary Fund money. While there has been speculation that Chernomyrdin profited from his relationship with Gazprom, a big Russian energy concern, there have been no allegations that he stole IMF money.” Washingon Post, 10/12/00

2. Bush: “We got one [a hate crime law] in Texas, and guess what? The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what’s going to happen to them? They’re going to be put to death … It’s going to be hard to punish them any worse after they get put to death….We’re happy with our laws on our books.”

Fact: “The three were convicted under Texas’ capital murder statute…The state has a hate crime statute, but it is vague.” LA Times, 10/12/00.
“The original Texas hate-crimes bill, signed into law by Democrat Ann Richards, boosted penalties for crimes motivated by bigotry. As Gore correctly noted, Bush maneuvered to make sure a new hate-crimes law related to the Byrd killing did not make it to his desk. The new bill would have included homosexuals among the groups covered, which would have been anathema to social conservatives in the state.” Washington Post, 10/12/00

3. Bush: bragged that in Texas he was signing up children for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as “fast as any other state.”

Fact: “As governor he fought to unsuccessfully to limit access to the program. He would have limited its coverage to children with family incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level, though federal law permitted up to 200 percent. The practical effect of Bush’s efforts would have been to exclude 200,000 of the 500,000 possible enrollees.” Washington Post, 10/12/00

4. Bush: “He [Gore] is for registration of guns.”

Fact: “Gore actually favors licensing for new handgun purchasers but nothing as vast as registering all guns.” Salon, 10/12/00

5. Bush: Said he found Gore’s tendency to exaggerate “an issue in trying to defend my tax relief package. There was some exaggeration about the numbers” in the first debate.

Fact: “No, there wasn’t, and Bush himself acknowledged that the next day on ABC’s Good Morning America when Charlie Gibson pinned him on it.” Salon, 10/12/00

6. Bush: “I felt during his debate with Senator [Bill] Bradley saying he [Gore] authored the EITC [earned-income tax credit] when it didn’t happen.”

Fact: “Actually, Gore had claimed to have authored an ‘expansion of the earned-income tax credit,’ which he did in 1991.” Salon, 10/12/00

7. Fact: Gore noted that Texas “ranks 49th out of the 50 states in healthcare in children with healthcare, 49th for women with healthcare and 50th for families with healthcare”

Bush: “You can quote all the numbers you want but I’m telling you we care about our people in Texas. We spent a lot of money to make sure people get healthcare in the state of Texas.”

8. Fact: Gore said, “I’m no expert on the Texas procedures, but what my friends there tell me is that the governor opposed a measure put forward by Democrats in the Legislature to expand the number of children that would be covered … And instead [he] directed the money toward a tax cut, a significant part of which went to wealthy interests.”

Bush: “If he’s trying to allege I’m a hardhearted person and don’t care about children, he’s absolutely wrong.”

9. Bush: “The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what’s going to happen to them? They’ll be put to death. A jury found them guilty.”

Fact: Two of the three are being put to death. The other was given life. Bush Watch, 10/12/00

10. Bush: said he favored “equal” rights for gays and lesbians, but not “special” rights.

Fact: “Bush has supported a Texas law that allows the state to take adopted children from gay and lesbian couples to place the kids with straight couples.” Salon, 10/12/00.
“Bush supports hate crime protections for other minorities! So Bush doesn’t believe that gays should have the same ‘special’ rights in this regard as blacks, Jews, Wiccans and others. Employment discrimination? Again, Bush supports those rights for other Americans, but not gays. Military service? Bush again supports the right to military service for all qualified people–as long as they don’t tell anyone they’re gay. Marriage? How on earth is that a special right when every heterosexual in America already has it? But again, Bush thinks it should be out-of-bounds for gays. What else is there? The right to privacy? Nuh-huh. Bush supports a gays-only sodomy law in his own state that criminalizes consensual sex in private between two homosexuals.” New Republic, 10/13/00

11. Bush. “We ought to do everything we can to end racial profiling.”

Fact: The Texas Department of Public Safety has just this year begun keeping detailed information about the race and sex of all people stopped by its troopers, the sixth year Bush has been in office. Salon, 10/12/00

12. Bush got caught not giving the full story on Texas air pollution laws. He was correct in saying the 1999 utility deregulation bill he signed into law had mandatory emissions standards.

Fact: “What was missing, as Gore’s campaign pointed out, was that many more non-utility industrial plants are not mandated to reduce air quality. The issue is an important one because Texas ranks near the bottom in air-quality standards. Bush instead approved a voluntary program allowing grandfathered oil, coal, and other industrial plants to cut down on pollution.” Boston Globe, 10/12/00

13. Bush: About the Balkans, “I think it ought to be one of our priorities to work with our European friends to convince them to put troops on the ground.”

Fact: “European forces already make up a large majority of the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Kosovo.” Washington Post, 10/12/00

14. Bush: “One of the problems we have in the military is we’re in a lot of places around the world” and cited Haiti as an example.

Fact: “Though approximately 20,000 U.S. troops went to Haiti in 1994, as of late August this year, there were only 109 U.S. troops in Haiti and most were rotating through as part of an exercise.” Washington Post, 10/12/00

15. Bush: “I don’t think we ought to be selling guns to people who shouldn’t have them. That’s why I support instant background checks at gun shows. One of the reasons we have an instant background check is so that we instantly know whether or not someone should have a gun or not.”

Fact: “Bush overstates the effectiveness of instant background checks for people trying to buy guns … The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 3 that during Bush’s term as governor, Texas granted licenses for carrying concealed guns to hundreds of people with criminal records and histories of drug problems, violence or psychological disorders.” Washington Post, 10/12/00
“He didn’t mention that Texas failed to perform full background checks on 407 people who had prior criminal convictions but were granted concealed handgun licenses under a law he signed in 1995. Of those, 71 had convictions that should have excluded them from having a concealed gun permit, the Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledged.” AP, 10/12/00

16. Bush:”Said the number of Texans without health insurance had declined while the number in the United States had risen.”

Fact: ” A new Census Bureau report says the number of uninsured Americans declined last year for the first time since statistics were kept in 1987. About 42.5 million people, or 15.5 percent of the population, lacked insurance in 1999, compared with 44.2 million, or 16.3 percent, in 1998, the agency reported. Texas ranked next-to-last in the nation last year with 23.3 percent of its residents uninsured. But that was an improvement from 1998, when it ranked 50th at 24.5 percent.” AP, 10/12/00

17. Bush: “Some of the scientists, I believe, Mr. Vice President, haven’t they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming?”

Fact: “Bush’s dismissive comments about global warming could bolster the charge that he and fellow oilman Dick Cheney are in the pocket of the oil industry, which likewise pooh-poohs the issue. [While] there is no consensus about the impact of global warming, … most scientists agree that humans are contributing to the rising global temperature. ‘Most climate experts are certain that global warming is real and that it threatens ecology and human prosperity, and a growing number say it is well under way,’ wrote New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin.” Salon, 10/13/00

18. Bush: When Jim Lehrer asked Bush if he approved of the U.S. intervention in Lebanon during the Reagan years, Bush answered a quick “yes” and moved on.

Fact: “Lebanon was a disaster in the history of American foreign affairs. Next to Iran-Contra, it was the Reagan administration’s greatest overseas fiasco. Quoting from the Encyclopedia of the American Presidency: ‘[In 1983] Reagan stumbled into a disastrous intervention in the Middle East when he sent U.S. Marines into Lebanon on an ill-defined mission as part of an international peacekeeping force.’ In December, according to Reagan biographer Edmund Morris, ‘two days before Christmas, a Pentagon commission of inquiry into the Beirut barracks bombing humiliated [Secretary of State] Shultz [who had backed the intervention], and embarrassed Reagan, by concluding that the dead Marines had been victims of a myopic Middle Eastern policy.'” tompaine.com, 10/11/00

19. Bush: “I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO and bombing Serbia. I supported him when they did so.”

Fact: The bombing of Serbia began on March 24, 1999, and Bush did not express even measured support until April 8, 1999 — nearly two weeks later. Prior to April 8, 1999, every comment by Bush about the bombing was non-committal. Finally, he offered a measured endorsement: “It’s important for the United States to be slow to engage the military, but once the military is engaged, it must be engaged with one thing in mind, and that is victory,” he said after being pressed by reporters. A Houston Chronicle story documented the Governor’s statements on the crisis and reported that “Bush has been widely criticized for being slow to adopt a position on Kosovo and then for making vague statements on the subject.” Houston Chronicle, 4/9/99

20. Bush: Discussing International Loans: “And there’s some pretty egregious examples recently, one being Russia where we had IMF loans that ended up in the pockets of a lot of powerful people and didn’t help the nation.”

Fact: Bush’s own vice presidential candidate, Dick Cheney, lobbied for U.S.-backed loan to Russia that helped his own company. “Halliburton Co. lobbied for and received $ 292 million in loan guarantees to develop one of the world’s largest oil fields in Russia. Cheney said: ‘This is exactly the type of project we should be encouraging if Russia is to succeed in reforming its economy … We at Halliburton appreciate the support of the Export-Import Bank and look forward to beginning work on this important project..” PR Newswire 4/6/2000.
The State Department, armed with a CIA report detailing corruption by Halliburton’s Russian partner, invoked a seldom-used prerogative and ordered suspension of the loan. The loan guarantee “ran counter to America’s ‘national interest,” the State Department ruled. New Republic, 8/7/00

21. Bush “There’s a lot of talk about trigger locks being on guns sold in the future. I support that.”

Fact: When asked in 1999, if he was in support of mandatory safety locks, Bush said, ” No, I’m not, I’m for voluntary safety locks on guns.” In March of 2000, Bush said he would not push for trigger lock legislation, but would sign it if it passed [Washington Post, 3/3/00;ABC, Good Morning America, 5/10/99]. When Bush was asked, “when two bills were introduced in the Texas legislature to require the sale of child safety locks with newly purchased handguns, and you never addressed the issue with the legislature, and both bills died. If you support it, why did that happen?” Bush said, “Because those bills had no votes in committee.” When asked again if he supported the bills, Bush said, “I wasn’t even aware of those bills because they never even got out of committee.” NBC, Today Show, 5/12/00

22. Bush: “Africa is important and we’ve got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade.” Fact “While Africa may be important, it doesn’t fit into the national strategic interests, as far as I can see them,” Bush said earlier. When he was asked for his vision of the U.S. national interests, he named every continent except Africa. According to Time magazine, “[Bush] focused exclusively on big ticket issues … Huge chunks of the globe — Africa and Latin America, for example — were not addressed at all.” Time, 12/6/99; PBS News Hour, 2/16/00; Toronto Star, 2/16/00

23. Bush: “There’s only been one governor ever elected to back-to-back four year terms and that was me.”

Fact: The governors who served two consecutive four-year terms (meeting Bush’s statement criteria are): Coke R. Stevenson (2 consecutive 4-year terms) August 4, 1941-January 21, 1947. Allan Shivers (2 consecutive four-year terms) July 11, 1949-January 15, 1957. Price Daniel (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 15, 1957-January 15, 1963. John Connally (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 15, 1963-January 21, 1969. Dolph Briscoe (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 16, 1973-January 16, 1979. George W. Bush (2 consecutive four-year terms) January 17, 1995 to present. Source: Texas State Libraries and Archives Commission.

24. Bush: “We spend $4.7 billion a year on the uninsured in the state of Texas.”

Fact: The state of Texas came up with less than $1B for this purpose. $3.5 came from local governments, private providers, and charities, $198M from the federal government, and just less than $1B from Texas state agencies. Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

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Bush-Cheney Administration Lies About Iraq

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

– Dick Cheney, August 26 2002

“Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.”

– George W. Bush, September 12 2002

“If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world.”

– Ari Fleischer, December 2 2002

“We know for a fact that there are weapons there.”

– Ari Fleischer, January 9 2003

“Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent.”

– George W. Bush, State of the Union address, January 28 2003

“We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.”

– Colin Powell, February 5 2003

“We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons.”

– George Bush, February 8 2003

“Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”

– George Bush, March 17 2003

“Well, there is no question that we have evidence and information that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical particularly . . . all this will be made clear in the course of the operation, for whatever duration it takes.”

– Ari Fleischer, March 21 2003

“There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them.”

– Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22 2003

“We know where they are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.”

– Donald Rumsfeld, March 30 2003.

“Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.”

– Bush in October 2002.

“Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.”

– Bush in January 2003 State of the Union address.

“Iraq has also provided Al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training.”

– Bush in February 2003.

“sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda terrorist network.”

Powell in his U.N. speech prior to the Iraq War.

“We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda.”

Bush in May 2003.

Stated that the Iraqis were “providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the Al Qaeda organization.”

– Cheney in September 2003.

“Saddam had an established relationship with Al Qaeda, providing training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons, gases, making conventional weapons.”

– Cheney in October 2003.

…….

Cheney said Saddam “had long established ties with Al Qaeda.”

– June 14, 2004.

Bush said, “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and Al Qaeda, because there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda.”

– June 17, 2004.

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