Sourcebook on 9/11 and its Aftermath
Bush Team Actions After 9/11
19 May 2008
Table of Contents
Bush on Conspiracy Theories
Where was Osama Bib Laden on 9/11?
Bush in Florida
Rumsfeld: A Missile Struck the Pentagon
Rumsfeld: Pennsylvania Plane “Shot Down”
Destruction of Evidence
Theft of Flight and Data Recorders
Bush Administration asks Congress to Limit Probe
CIA Director “Misspeaks”
Damaging CIA Report “Stalled”
Quick Passage of Airline Stabilization Bill
Administration Extends Executive Power
Programs for Citizen Surveillance and Intimidation
Harassment of NGOs
Grounds for the Declaration of Martial Law
Airlines and Others Sue FBI, CIA
War Critics Die
Is George Bush Using Cocaine, Alcohol and Prozac?
On September 11th, 2001, 4 events occurred within an hour and fifteen minutes of one another. The first event occurred at 8:45 eastern standard time when American Airlines flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
And then 18 minutes later at 9:03 eastern time United Airlines flight 175 slammed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
And then at 9:43 it was reported that American Airlines flight 77 had hit the pentagon.
And then finally, at 10:00 eastern time, United Airlines flight 93 crashed in Shanksville Pennsylvania. (Dave vonKleist in 9/11: In Plane Site.)
I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center. (National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice in Loose Change.)
There were lots of warnings. (Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld in Loose Change.)
No warnings. (Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in Loose Change.)
Your government failed you and I failed you. (White House adviser Richard Clarke in Loose Change.)
Bush on Conspiracy Theories
Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September 11, malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty. President George Bush in 9/11: In Plane Site. The Director’s Cut. http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-5386487651203625811.
Where was Osama Bib Laden on 9/11?
There is evidence that the whereabouts of Osama are known to the Bush Administration.
On September 10. 2001, “Enemy Number One” was in a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan, as confirmed by a report of Dan Rather, CBS News. (See our October 2003 article on this issue)
He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as George W’s speeches in the course of the last five years.
According to Dan Rather, CBS, Bin Laden was hospitalized in Rawalpindi. one day before the 9/11 attacks, on September 10, 2001.
“Pakistan. Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI) told CBS that bin Laden had received dialysis treatment in Rawalpindi, at Pak Army’s headquarters.
DAN RATHER, CBS ANCHOR: As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.
This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.
Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them. She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good.
“The military had him surrounded,” says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he says, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.” Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems. Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.
PETERSEN (on camera): Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.
(voice-over): But it was Pakistan’s President Musharraf who said in public what many suspected, that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death. His evidence, watching this most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don`t know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.
DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden`s health, I just am — don`t have any knowledge.
PETERSEN: The United States has no way of knowing who in Pakistan`s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Laden maybe up to the night before 9/11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the United States may not know if those same people might help him again perhaps to freedom.
Barry Petersen, CBS News, Islamabad.
(END VIDEOTAPE) END
(CBS News, 28 January 2002 emphasis added, the complete transcript of CBS reports is contained in annex to this article, Michel Cohossudovsky, “Where was Osama Bin Laden on September 11, 2001?” Global Research, 9 Sept. 2006, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20060909&articleId=3194.)
First of all, when we walked in the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. (President George Bush in video WTC Dust to Dust, downloaded fromhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VZESUXBHgU, 15 Aug. 2007.)
Could George Bush have seen on TV the footage of the first attack? No, he could not. The footage of the first attack only shows up on television the next day. (Barry Zweicker in Coincidences 9/11, Part 12. 1:37.)
Q: Why did the Secret Service allow Bush to complete his elementary school visit, apparently unconcerned about his safety or that of the schoolchildren?
A: Because they knew that Bush, Andrew Card, the school children, the school teacher, and the Secret Service themselves were completely safe, and not targets.
Bush’s location that morning was widely publicized. It is obvious he would have been a key terrorist target. (9/11Truth.org, Answers to 9/11 Families’ Questions, posted 20 July 2007 athttp://blogs.albawaba.com/post/2011/73057, downloaded August 6, 2007.)
People who have seen Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 know that President Bush was in a classroom in Sarasota when he was told that a second plane had struck the World Trade Center, a sign that the country was suffering an unprecedented terrorist attack. And yet the president just sat there. Many critics have asked why he did not immediately assume the role of commander-in-chief, but the more important question is why the highly trained Secret Service agents did not immediately rush him to safety. Bush’s location had been highly publicized. They should have worried that a hijacked airliner was bearing down on them at that very moment. And yet they allowed the president to remain at the school another half hour, thereby implying that they knew the president was not a target.
The 9/11 Commission’s only response was to report that “[t]he Secret Service told us they . . . did not think it imperative for [the President] to run out the door.” The Commissioners evidently accepted the implied suggestion that maintaining presidential decorum was more important than protecting the president’s life. The mainstream press has had no comment on this remarkable response to that remarkable incident. (Dr. David Ray Griffin, “9/11 and the Mainstream Press,” 9/11 Visibility Project, 29 July 2005, downloaded fromhttp://www.septembereleventh.org/newsarchive/2005-07-29-pressclub.php, 15 Aug. 2007.)
Charlie Sheen: Everybody is now familiar with the famous Andrew Card-Bush whisper at the Florida classroom…. If in fact he was being informed that the second plane had hit, America is under attack, right? isn’t he then putting everybody in his immediate circle at great risk? … It would seem to me that, upon the revelation of that news, … the Secret Service would grab the President and remove him as if he were on fire from that room. …
Alex Jones: George Bush, he just sits there, after he’s told the second plane has hit, for around 20 minutes and then kind of just ambles out, taking his time. Of course, some Secret Service did say let’s get him out, and then Card and others just said, no, we’re going to stay. I wonder what they knew.
You know, it’s funny. Jeb Bush declared martial law three days before too and that was kept kind of just a little bit quiet as well.
Sheen: Did Jeb Bush ever explain why?
Jones: He wouldn’t say why and Bush wouldn’t say why. They had massed 44,000 U.S.troops, about 18,000 British troops in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and had carrier groups about to launch their attacks on Afghanistan and he had that order signed on his desk just waiting two days before 9/11. That was incredibly convenient to have your whole military stacked up and ready to go into Afghanistan in something that took about six months to build up, I am told. …
Sheen: But lemme ask you this. In a statement that the President made following … I think it was a school kid that asked him, what did you think when the first plane hit, and he said something to the effect that I was watching it on TV like everybody else and I thought, Oh Gosh, that’s pilot error, correct?
Sheen: So I guess one of the perks of being President is you get access to TV channels that don’t exist in the known universe, correct?
Jones: That’s right. He said, yah, I saw it on TV, the first plane hit, and I thought that guy has gotta be a terrible pilot. But then his spokesman, a day later, because the San Francisco Chronicle did the whole timeline, his spokesman said, no, he never saw that, he didn’t mean that. He wasn’t even aware that the first building had been hit when he went out to give the speech but then the Times of London and AP had photos of him watching the first tower smoking after it had been announced there in the Green Room so we also have a lot of lying going on. (Alex Jones and Charlie Sheen on radio athttp://prisonplanet.tv/audio/200306sheen.htm, downloaded 29 July 2007.)
Rumsfeld: A Missile Struck the Pentagon
Here we’re talking about plastic knives, and using an American Airlines flight filled with our citizens, and the missile to damage this building [the Pentagon], (1)and similar [inaudible] that damaged the World Trade Center. (From Parade Magazine as shown in the video Loose Change.)
(1) The official story was that an airplane, not a missile, hit the Pentagon.
Rumsfeld: Pennsylvania Plane “Shot Down”
Imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania, (1) and attacked the Pentagon …. (9/11 Conspiracy, downloaded fromhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFuUGEZ39g8&mode=related&search=, 1 August 2007.)
(1) The official story is that Flight 93 crashed into the ground as the passengers fought with the hujackers, not that Flight 93 was “shot down.”
Destruction of Evidence
Alex Jones: Well, they had armed guards over every piece of steel and put GPS equipment on each piece and if a guy pulled over to get a hamburger for ten minutes, he’d be fired and then criminally charged. That’s what they actually did. And they shipped it to China under guard.
Charlie Sheen: Yah, well, that bothers me because Giuliani as a former prosecutor knows the value of evidence preservation and crime-scene preservation. (Alex Jones and Charlie Sheen on radio athttp://prisonplanet.tv/audio/200306sheen.htm, downloaded 29 July 2007.)
Theft of Flight and Data Recorders
Alex Jones: What about fire fighters on record, major newspapers said they found three of the voice recorders, data recorders and then the FBI said don’t tell anybody about this and then shipped them off. (Alex Jones and Charlie Sheen on radio athttp://prisonplanet.tv/audio/200306sheen.htm, downloaded
29 July 2007.)
Bush Administration asks Congress to Limit Probe
WASHINGTON (CNN) –President Bush personally asked Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle Tuesday to limit the congressional investigation into the events of September 11, congressional and White House sources told CNN.
The request was made at a private meeting with congressional leaders Tuesday morning. Sources said Bush initiated the conversation.
He asked that only the House and Senate intelligence committees look into the potential breakdowns among federal agencies that could have allowed the terrorist attacks to occur, rather than a broader inquiry that some lawmakers have proposed, the sources said.
Tuesday’s discussion followed a rare call to Daschle from Vice President Dick Cheney last Friday to make the same request.
“The vice president expressed the concern that a review of what happened on September 11 would take resources and personnel away from the effort in the war on terrorism,” Daschle told reporters.
But, Daschle said, he has not agreed to limit the investigation.
“I acknowledged that concern, and it is for that reason that the Intelligence Committee is going to begin this effort, trying to limit the scope and the overall review of what happened,” said Daschle, D-South Dakota.
“But clearly, I think the American people are entitled to know what happened and why,” he said.
Cheney met last week in the Capitol with the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees and, according to a spokesman for Senate Intelligence Chairman Bob Graham, D-Florida, “agreed to cooperate with their effort.”
The heads of both intelligence committees have been meeting to map out a way to hold a bipartisan House-Senate investigation and hearings.
They were discussing how the inquiry would proceed, including what would be made public, what would remain classified, and how broad the probe would be.
Graham’s spokesman said the committees will review intelligence matters only.
“How ill prepared were we and why? We are looking towards the possibility of addressing systemic problems through legislation,” said spokesman Paul Anderson.
Some Democrats, such as Sens. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Robert Torricelli of New Jersey, have been calling for a broad inquiry looking at various federal government agencies beyond the intelligence community.
“We do not meet our responsibilities to the American people if we do not take an honest look at the federal government and all of its agencies and let the country know what went wrong,” Torricelli said.
“The best assurance that there’s not another terrorist attack on the United States is not simply to hire more federal agents or spend more money. It’s to take an honest look at what went wrong. Who or what failed? There’s an explanation owed to the American people,” he said.
Although the president and vice president told Daschle they were worried a wide-reaching inquiry could distract from the government’s war on terrorism, privately Democrats questioned why the White House feared a broader investigation to determine possible culpability. (“Bush asks Daschle to limit Sept. 11 probes,” CNN.com, 29 Jan. 2002, downloaded fromhttp://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/01/29/inv.terror.probe/, 7 Aug. 2007.)
CIA Director “Misspeaks”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — CIA Director George Tenet misspoke Wednesday when he told a federal panel reviewing the Sept. 11 attacks that he did not meet with President Bush in August 2001.
Under questioning by commissioner Tim Roemer, Tenet said he never spoke with Bush during the month before the attacks, a period marked by concern over possible terrorist strike.
“He was on vacation and I was here,” Tenet said, although he added that he could have picked up the phone and called the president at any time if he had felt the need to communicate with him.
In fact, Tenet flew to Texas to brief Bush on Aug. 17, 2001, and briefed the president again on Aug. 31 when Bush returned to Washington, a spokesman for Tenet said later in the day.
During the first eight days of September, Tenet briefed Bush at least six times, the spokesman said. (“Tenet misspoke about not meeting Bush in August 2001,” Associated Press, n.d., 2004., downloaded fromhttp://www.khou.com/sharedcontent/nationworld/washingtonprint/041404cckttwwashTenet911.1265794e4.html, 31 July 2007.)
Damaging CIA Report “Stalled”
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general’s office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
“It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed,” an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that “the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren’t interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward.”
When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. “We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report,” she said. “We are very concerned.”
According to the intelligence official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, release of the report, which represents an exhaustive 17-month investigation by an 11-member team within the agency, has been “stalled.” First by acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and now by Porter J. Goss, the former Republican House member (and chairman of the Intelligence Committee) who recently was appointed CIA chief by President Bush.
The official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept. 11 commission and Congress.
“What all the other reports on 9/11 did not do is point the finger at individuals, and give the how and what of their responsibility. This report does that,” said the intelligence official. “The report found very senior-level officials responsible.”
By law, the only legitimate reason the CIA director has for holding back such a report is national security. Yet neither Goss nor McLaughlin has invoked national security as an explanation for not delivering the report to Congress.
“It surely does not involve issues of national security,” said the intelligence official.
“The agency directorate is basically sitting on the report until after the election,” the official continued. “No previous director of CIA has ever tried to stop the inspector general from releasing a report to the Congress, in this case a report requested by Congress.”
None of this should surprise us given the Bush administration’s great determination since 9/11 to resist any serious investigation into how the security of this nation was so easily breached. In Bush’s much ballyhooed war on terror, ignorance has been bliss.
The president fought against the creation of the Sept. 11 commission, for example, agreeing only after enormous political pressure was applied by a grass-roots movement led by the families of those slain.
And then Bush refused to testify to the commission under oath, or on the record. Instead he deigned only to chat with the commission members, with Vice President Dick Cheney present, in a White House meeting in which commission members were not allowed to take notes. All in all, strange behavior for a man who seeks reelection to the top office in the land based on his handling of the so-called war on terror.
In September, the New York Times reported that several family members met with Goss privately to demand the release of the CIA inspector general’s report. “Three thousand people were killed on 9/11, and no one has been held accountable,” 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser told the paper.
The failure to furnish the report to Congress, said Harman, “fuels the perception that no one is being held accountable. It is unacceptable that we don’t have [the report]; it not only disrespects Congress but it disrespects the American people.”
The stonewalling by the Bush administration and the failure of Congress to gain release of the report have, said the intelligence source, “led the management of the CIA to believe it can engage in a cover-up with impunity. Unless the public demands an accounting, the administration and CIA’s leadership will have won and the nation will have lost.” (Robert Scheer, “the 9/11 Secret in the CIA’s Back Pocket,” L.A. Times, 19 October 2004.)
Q: Why has Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator who claims to have knowledge of advance warnings, been publicly silenced with a gag order requested by Attorney General Ashcroft and granted by a Bush-appointed judge?
A: Sibel Edmonds was a skilled FBI translator who uncovered numerous transactions in the extensive advance planning that was necessary to execute 9/11. Ms. Edmonds’ testimony would incriminate a great number of Congressmen and other high-ranking officials in a variety of crimes. (9/11Truth.org, Answers to 9/11 Families’ Questions, posted 20 July 2007 athttp://blogs.albawaba.com/post/2011/73057, downloaded August 6, 2007.)
Quick Passage of Airline Stabilization Bill
CNN: What emotions do you experience now having witnessed the tragic events of September 11?
Mary Schiavo: It is so unnecessary and so sad. On this one, everybody gets smarter, but the airlines and FAA get smarter, too. What upset me the most was that the second half of the airline stabilization bill, which passed [the week after the September 11 attacks] before anybody knew what hit them, really does strip the victims of a tremendous number of rights. There is no discovery. Their own personal insurance goes to obviate the airline liability, which is absolutely unconstitutional and will be challenged.
CNN: How do you explain the Washington politicians going along with it?
MS: The emotion of the moment and well-placed contributions. You also have the fact that the airlines have admitted now that as soon as this happened, they took to trolling the halls of Congress to get through their protective packages and obviously there was nobody up there to speak for the dead. Years down the pike, this will be a shameful couple weeks in American legal history. (“ PART ONE: THE SYSTEM. Mary Schiavo: September 11 was failure of government,” CNN.com, 2003? Downloaded fromhttp://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/flight.risk/stories/part1.schiavo.access.html, 31 July 2007.)
Administration Extends Executive Power
We [have] been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way. What they have done is neutralize the C.I.A. because there were people there inside — the real goal of what Goss has done was not attack the operational people, but the intelligence people. There were people — serious senior analysts who disagree with the White House, with Cheney, basically, that’s what I mean by White House, and Rumsfeld on a lot of issues, as somebody said, the goal in the last month has been to separate the apostates from the true believers. That’s what’s happening. The real target has been “diminish the agency.” I’m writing about all of this soon, so I don’t want to overdo it, but there’s been a tremendous sea change in the government. A concentration of power. (Seymour Hersh, “We’ve been taken over by a cult,” Democracy Now!, 26 Jan. 2005, downloaded fromhttp://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/01/26/1450204, 12 Aug. 2007.)
The Bush administration said Monday the constitutionality of its warrantless electronic eavesdropping program cannot be challenged.
The government is taking that position in seeking the dismissal of federal court lawsuits against the government and AT&T over its alleged involvement in the once-secret surveillance program adopted after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The strategy was first recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in a McCarthy-era lawsuit. It has been increasingly invoked in a bid to shield the government from legal scrutiny.
Two senior Justice Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in a teleconference with reporters, reiterated the administration’s position that it was invoking the so-called “state secrets privilege” in arguing that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals must dismiss the cases because they threaten to expose information authorities say is essential to the nation’s security.
“The case cannot be litigated in light of the national security interest involved,” one official said.
The officials spoke on the condition that their names would not be published because, they said, it was the government’s protocol not to comment on pending litigation.
The Bush administration has invoked the state secrets defense often, from spy cases and patent disputes to employment discrimination litigation.
Still, two judges have ruled recently that the defense does not apply in two lawsuits challenging Bush’s surveillance program. President Bush acknowledged in 2005 that the government was eavesdropping without warrants on communications in the United States as long as one of the parties to the communication was suspected of terrorism and outside the United States.
On Wednesday, the government will urge the San Francisco-based appeals court to dismiss the case on grounds that the case could expose state secrets, the justice department officials said.
“In our view, those claims should always be dismissed,” a senior administration official said. “A year from now, a director of national intelligence, looking at all of the same information, may not make the same determination.”
The official added: “These are legal principals not simply being made up by the executive.”
The officials also said that the lawsuits should also be tossed because the plaintiffs have no direct proof they were spied on.
“We cannot confirm or deny whether or not that’s true,” one of the officials said.
Earlier this month, Congress sanctioned warrantless eavesdropping with new legislation, which is also under attack on allegations such electronic surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirements. The new law requires that at least one of the parties to the communication be outside of the United States and associated with terrorism. (David Kravetz, “Bush Administration Says Warrantless Eavesdropping Cannot Be Questioned,” Wired Blog Network, 13 August 2007, downloaded from http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/08/bush-administ-1.html, 15 Aug. 2007.)
Administration officials argued yesterday that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases, such as the prosecutor firings, in which the president has declared that testimony or documents are protected from release by executive privilege. Officials pointed to a Justice Department legal opinion during the Reagan administration, which made the same argument in a case that was never resolved by the courts.
“A U.S. attorney would not be permitted to bring contempt charges or convene a grand jury in an executive privilege case,” said a senior official, who said his remarks reflect a consensus within the administration. “And a U.S. attorney wouldn’t be permitted to argue against the reasoned legal opinion that the Justice Department provided. No one should expect that to happen.”
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, added: “It has long been understood that, in circumstances like these, the constitutional prerogatives of the president would make it a futile and purely political act for Congress to refer contempt citations to U.S. attorneys.”
Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University who has written a book on executive-privilege issues, called the administration’s stance “astonishing.”
The administration’s statement is a dramatic attempt to seize the upper hand in an escalating constitutional battle with Congress, which has been trying for months, without success, to compel White House officials to testify and to turn over documents about their roles in the prosecutor firings last year. The Justice Department and White House in recent weeks have been discussing when and how to disclose the stance, and the official said he decided yesterday that it was time to highlight it.
Yesterday, a House Judiciary subcommittee voted to lay the groundwork for contempt proceedings against White House chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten, following a similar decision last week against former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers.
The administration has not directly informed Congress of its view. A spokeswoman for Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the Judiciary Committee’s chairman, declined to comment . But other leading Democrats attacked the argument.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) called it “an outrageous abuse of executive privilege” and said: “The White House must stop stonewalling and start being accountable to Congress and the American people. No one, including the president, is above the law.”
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) said the administration is “hastening a constitutional crisis,” and Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) said the position “makes a mockery of the ideal that no one is above the law.”
Waxman added: “I suppose the next step would be just disbanding the Justice Department.”
Under long-established procedures and laws, the House and Senate can each pursue two kinds of criminal contempt proceedings, and the Senate also has a civil contempt option. The first, called statutory contempt, has been the avenue most frequently pursued in modern times, and is the one that requires a referral to the U.S. attorney in the District.
Both chambers also have an “inherent contempt” power, allowing either body to hold its own trials and even jail those found in defiance of Congress. Although widely used during the 19th century, the power has not been invoked since 1934 and Democratic lawmakers have not displayed an appetite for reviving the practice.
In defending its argument, administration officials point to a 1984 opinion by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, headed at the time by Theodore B. Olson, a prominent conservative lawyer who was solicitor general from 2001 to 2004. The opinion centered on a contempt citation issued by the House for Anne Gorsuch Burford, then administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
It concluded: “The President, through a United States Attorney, need not, indeed may not, prosecute criminally a subordinate for asserting on his behalf a claim of executive privilege. Nor could the Legislative Branch or the courts require or implement the prosecution of such an individual.”
In the Burford case, which involved spending on the Superfund program, the White House filed a federal lawsuit to block Congress’s contempt action. The conflict subsided when Burford turned over documents to Congress.
The Bush administration has not previously signaled it would forbid a U.S. attorney from pursuing a contempt case in relation to the prosecutor firings. But officials at Justice and elsewhere say it has long held that Congress cannot force such action.
David B. Rifkin, who worked in the Justice Department and White House counsel’s office under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, praised the position and said it is consistent with the idea of a “unitary executive.” In practical terms, he said, “U.S. attorneys are emanations of a president’s will.” And in constitutional terms, he said, “the president has decided, by virtue of invoking executive privilege, that is the correct policy for the entire executive branch.”
But Stanley Brand, who was the Democratic House counsel during the Burford case, said the administration’s legal view “turns the constitutional enforcement process on its head. They are saying they will always place a claim of presidential privilege without any judicial determination above a congressional demand for evidence — without any basis in law.” Brand said the position is essentially telling Congress: “Because we control the enforcement process, we are going to thumb our nose at you.”
Rozell, the George Mason professor and authority on executive privilege, said the administration’s stance “is almost Nixonian in its scope and breadth of interpreting its power. Congress has no recourse at all, in the president’s view. . . . It’s allowing the executive to define the scope and limits of its own powers.” (Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein, “Broader Privilege Claimed in Firings,” Washington Post, 20 July 2007.)
The White House invoked executive privilege yesterday in withholding subpoenaed documents on fired U.S. attorneys out of confidence that it can prevail in court and weather a political storm by blaming Congress for overreaching, administration officials said.
White House counsel Fred F. Fielding said in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate and House judiciary committees that President Bush will not make available the requested documents or permit testimony by two former senior aides about White House and Justice Department calculations in the firing of nine federal prosecutors.
Striking a theme used by other presidents being investigated by Congress, Fielding wrote that Bush is taking the position to preserve what he termed a “bedrock Presidential prerogative: for the President to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice” from top aides.
Advisers would be “reluctant to communicate openly and honestly” if they feared being dragged before Congress to testify or provide documents of their deliberations, he wrote.
Coming on the same day the Senate torpedoed Bush’s immigration plan, Fielding’s letter and the White House’s statements threatened to worsen the already strained relations between the administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress, which has launched aggressive investigations aimed at exposing White House wrongdoing.
The statements from all sides yesterday called to mind the harsh rhetoric in Washington heard at the height of the Watergate scandal.
“This is a further shift by the Bush administration into Nixonian stonewalling and more evidence of their disdain for our system of checks and balances,” said Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Increasingly, the president and vice president feel they are above the law.”
The White House’s action yesterday did not address the separate Senate subpoenas this week for documents related to the National Security Agency‘s warrantless wiretapping program. If Congress insists on those subpoenas, a senior administration official said, “we will have to deal with that. . . . I am not going to speculate at this point.”
Even as Fielding’s letter landed on Capitol Hill, the White House launched a campaign to portray the key issue as being congressional Democrats’ obsession with attacking the president and his advisers, rather than addressing problems such as immigration and health care. Press secretary Tony Snow told reporters traveling on Air Force One that the subpoenas “may explain why this is the least popular Congress in decades, because you do have what appears to be a strategy of destruction rather than cooperation.”
Democrats have charged that the administration’s decision last year to fire nine U.S. attorney was tainted by politics, and they have called for Attorney General Alberto S. Gonzales to resign for providing shifting explanations of key events. In seeking documents related to White House involvement, Democrats appear to be gunning in particular for top White House political adviser Karl Rove. E-mails released so far suggest some involvement by his aides but offer only a murky picture of his own role.
Bush has offered to make Rove and other senior aides, including former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers, available for private interviews, but he has refused to allow a transcript to be made of those sessions and said they could not be conducted under oath.
That stance has been unacceptable to Democratic majorities of the House and Senate Judiciary committees. The Senate panel subpoenaed former White House political director Sara M. Taylor and its House counterpart subpoenaed Miers, who broached the idea of firing all U.S. attorneys after the 2004 election. Both committees have also demanded relevant documents about the associated White House deliberations.
Yesterday was the deadline for turning over the documents, and White House officials and lawmakers said efforts to achieve a compromise had stalled.
“Negotiations are not taking place, and the counsel’s letter is an invitation to resume negotiations,” said a senior administration official who provided a background briefing for reporters.
But it was unclear yesterday what there is to negotiate. Bush was described as dug in on the principle at stake, and lawyers familiar with his strong views about presidential powers speculated that he would fight more vigorously than his predecessors to keep Congress from obtaining what it wants.
The White House said yesterday’s decision was the second time this president has invoked executive privilege. The first came in 2001, when Bush spurned a congressional subpoena requesting certain documents prepared for Attorney General Janet Reno during the Clinton administration.
The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter (Pa.), who has sided with Democrats through most of the investigation into the U.S. attorneys’ removal, said he thought Democrats should take Bush’s offer of untranscribed interviews.
“If it’s the president’s way or some other way two years from now, I’ll take the president’s way,” Specter told reporters, warning that a legal fight for the subpoenaed documents would prove so protracted that it could outlast Bush’s remaining 1 1/2 years in office.
Although the senior administration official said the White House is confident its position is sound, constitutional scholars cautioned that this area of law is so unsettled that it is impossible to predict the outcome if the matter ends up in court.
Cass R. Sunstein, a liberal-leaning law professor at the University of Chicago, called the White House’s arguments, set forth in a letter to Bush from Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, “more than respectable.” But Sunstein said many of Clement’s points fall within “a constitutional gap” on which the Supreme Court has not ruled.
A key question, Sunstein said, is whether executive privilege covers only a president, as the Supreme Court ruled in a 1974 case that required President Richard M. Nixon to turn over private tape recordings during the Watergate investigation. Since then, Sunstein said, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled in a Clinton-era case that documents involving White House aides may also be protected, although the high court has not considered that question. (Michael Abramowitz and Amy Goldstein, “Bush claims executive privilege on subpoenas,” Washington Post, 29 June 2007.)
The White House released it on May 9.
Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.
The subject of the document is entitled “National Continuity Policy.”
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 U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.”
This couldmean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include “localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.”
The document emphasizes the need to ensure “the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government,” it states.
The document waves at the need to work closely with the other two branches, saying there will be “a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government.” But this effort will be “coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers.”
Among the efforts coordinated by the President would be ensuring the capability of the three branches of government to “provide for orderly succession” and “appropriate transition of leadership.”
The document designates a National Continuity Coordinator, who would be the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
Currently holding that post is Frances Fragos Townsend.
She is required to develop a National Continuity Implementation Plan and submit it within 90 days.
As part of that plan, she is not only to devise procedures for the Executive Branch but also give guidance to “state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure.”
The secretary of Homeland Security is also directed to develop planning guidance for “private sector critical infrastructure owners and operators,” as well as state, local, territorial, and tribal governments.
The document gives the Vice President a role in implementing the provisions of the contingency plans. (“Bush Proclaims Himself King,” Progressive.org, 30 May 2007, downloaded fromhttp://www.thetip.org/art_Bush_Proclaims_Himself_King1407_icle.html, 7 Aug. 2007.)
Programs for Citizen Surveillance and Intimidation
The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government’s abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States.
The 227-183 vote, which followed the Senate’s approval Friday, sends the bill to Bush for his signature.
Late Saturday, Bush said, “The Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, has assured me that this bill gives him what he needs to continue to protect the country, and therefore I will sign this legislation as soon as it gets to my desk.”
The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency’s ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving foreign nationals “reasonably believed to be outside the United States.” Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or Congress.
The bill updates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. It gives the government leeway to intercept, without warrants, communications between foreigners that are routed through equipment in United States, provided that “foreign intelligence information” is at stake. Bush describes the effort as an anti-terrorist program, but the bill is not limited to terror suspects and could have wider applications, some lawmakers said.
The government long has had substantial powers to intercept purely foreign communications that don’t touch U.S. soil.
If a U.S. resident becomes the chief target of surveillance, the government would have to obtain a warrant from the special FISA court.
Congressional Democrats won a few concessions in negotiations earlier in the week. New wiretaps must be approved by the director of national intelligence and the attorney general, not just the attorney general. Congress has battled with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on several issues, and some Democrats have accused him of perjury.
The new law also will expire in six months unless Congress renews it. The administration wanted the changes to be permanent.
Many congressional Democrats wanted tighter restrictions on government surveillance, but yielded in the face of Bush’s veto threats and the impending August recess.
“This bill would grant the attorney general the ability to wiretap anybody, any place, any time without court review, without any checks and balances,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., during the debate preceding the vote. “I think this unwarranted, unprecedented measure would simply eviscerate the 4th Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
Republicans disputed her description. “It does nothing to tear up the Constitution,” said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif.
If an American’s communications are swept up in surveillance of a foreigner, he said, “we go through a process called minimization” and get rid of the records unless there is reason to suspect the American is a threat.
The administration began pressing for changes to the law after a recent ruling by the FISA court. That decision barred the government from eavesdropping without warrants on foreign suspects whose messages were being routed through U.S. communications carriers, including Internet sites. (Charles Babington, “Congress caves to Bush on spy program: Hose Vote will let the President Spy at Will,” 5 Aug. 2007, Capital Hill Blue, downloaded fromhttp://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/3083, 7 Aug. 2007.)
One of the things we are doing is developing all sorts of technology, not to spy on the Russians, not to spy on the Chinese, not to spy on Osama bin Laden, but to control the American people. We have satellites. Are they monitoring what’s going on in Russia or China today or are they watching what’s going on in the United States? We have a program known as Echelon, where they listen to every telephone call, every e-mail, record every fax here in the United States, and all of this is done by computers. All of these messages are kept indefinitely on computer disks. What the American people must understand is that the massive amounts of the money we are spending on defense is not to protect America, but ultimately to be used to control the American population as we move from freedom to fascism. (Dr. Stan Monteith Physician, Author, Talk Radio Host on video One Nation Under Seige.)
My dad was a professional soldier and my grandfather was a professional cop. And they were not the same job. I never, once in my life, heard my dad say anything other than if you asked him what his job was he would tell you he was a professional killer. His job was to kill enemies of the United States. Police officers do not swear to kill anyone. They swear to protect and defend. They are not the same job. When the department of Justice and the Department of Defense merged in 1998, it’s in their joint technology report, that they basically, that police and soldiers basically do the same job now. Under the legislation in 1994, the Violent Crime Act of 1994, a lot of the new programs were embedded inside that legislation that authorized the distribution of technology and equipment that was left over from the cold war. They got permission to start sharing it with the local police in the late ‘90’s. The American police are working in two joint programs, one with former KGB agents and Israeli Mossad. They are going back and forth to Israel. JINSA is sponsoring some of the trips. They are calling Israel the “Harvard of Anti-Terrorism” and training American police how to assassinate potential terrorists by shooting them in the head rather than in the chest, as American cops were formerly trained. So, most all of the training, now, it seems to me to be between the police and the army, has blended to the point where I don’t think that there is a difference anymore. I think that it’s all in name, really. (Niki Raapana, Author, 2020: Our Global Future in video One Nation Under Seige.)
The US Government can monitor all internet activity and phone conversations of any person, anywhere, any time. Law enforcement officers have the legal authority to break into your home and conduct sneak-and-peak searches of your belongings. They can do this at any time, without your knowledge and without your consent, and they can do this without the need for probable cause and without a search warrant. … US Citizens may be incarcerated indefinitely, without charges ever being filed, without access to an attorney, without access to the courts, without a phone call, and completely without due process. (William Lewis, maker of One Nation Under Seige, in video.)
In an extremely broad executive order issued on July 17, President Bush authorized the Treasury Department to freeze the property of anyone determined to be hindering US actions in Iraq and the stability of the US-backed regime in Baghdad. The wording is vague enough to encompass not only those resisting the occupation directly, but also US citizens involved in antiwar activity.
The executive order, issued under the headline, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq,” cites powers granted to the President under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 (IEEPA). That act was originally intended to regulate the power of the US president to declare trade embargos on other countries. Beginning with the Clinton administration, powers under IEEPA have been expanded to include blocking financial assets of individuals targeted by the US, including “designated terrorists” and “designated terrorist organizations.”
The July 17 order is more broadly written than previous orders. It begins with the declaration that there is an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.”
Following from this declaration, the order grants the government the authority to block “all property and interests in property” of “any person” determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, “to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of (a) threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq; or (b) undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.”
The inclusion in this group of those who “pose a significant risk of committing” acts of violence is particularly significant. It is left to the government to decide who poses such a risk. What is meant by “economic reconstruction and political reform” is also ambiguous. “Economic reconstruction” is no doubt meant to include, among other things, the determination by the US to push through a law opening up Iraqi oil fields to the exploitation of US companies.
Also threatened with having their property frozen are all those who are determined “to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technical support for, or goods or services in support of, such an act or acts of violence or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.”
In other words, it is not just those who commit or pose a risk of committing acts of violence that can have their assets frozen, but also anyone who is determined to have supported such a person in some way. This includes anyone who is found to be “owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.”
Who might fall under this extremely broad category? “Goods or services in support of” a person accused of destabilizing Iraq could include everyone from the barber, the doctor, or the lawyer defending his client against the imposition of the order.
Moreover, the term “person” is defined to include any “entity”—that is, any “partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization.” Therefore, any individual, party or organization, including an antiwar organization, that is determined either to pose a threat of carrying out an act of violence in Iraq, or is determined to be in one way or another “supporting” another individual, party or organization that poses such a threat, could have their assets blocked.
The order would also prohibit any individual under the jurisdiction of the US from donating funds to, or receiving funds from, any individual or organization that is subject to the order. Under the IEEPA statute, a person violating the order could be subject to up to 10 years in jail, and tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
There has been very little comment or media focus on the order. When probed, however, the Bush administration has insisted that it is intended to cover a narrow range of individuals in Iraq. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said, “What this is really aimed at is insurgents and those who come across the border” of Iraq.
Picking up on this line, an AP story from July 17 said that the order is “a new tool … aimed at putting a financial squeeze on people who run networks that recruit and send would-be terrorists into Iraq.”
This is a completely false presentation, however. First, the order is not limited to “would-be terrorists” in Iraq and surrounding countries, but applies to anyone who is determined by the US government to be working to destabilize the US-backed puppet regime and oppose the occupation.
Second, as Washington Post columnist Walter Pincus noted in a July 23 column, “the text of the order, if interpreted broadly, could cast a far bigger net to include not just those who commit violent acts or pose the risk of doing so in Iraq, but also third parties—such as US citizens in this country—who knowingly or unknowingly aid or encourage such people.”
Indeed, the only reference to US citizens in the order is intended to specifically deny any additional rights. It holds that for anyone “who might have a constitutional presence in the United States … prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render these measures ineffectual,” and that therefore no prior notice is required.
The July 17 executive order is the latest in a series of orders intended to block financial assets as part of operations in Iraq. These are all based on a state of national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 on May 22, 2003. The IEEPA can be invoked only with the declaration of a national emergency under the National Emergency Act of 1976. The main function of order 13303, however, was to protect US contractors and oil companies working in Iraq. (See“Bush grants permanent legal immunity to US corporations looting Iraqi oil”)
This order was subsequently expanded. EO 13315 (August 28, 2003) was issued to allow the Secretary of the Treasury to seize the assets of former members of the Saddam Hussein regime and their family members. EO 13364 (November 29, 2004) expanded the scope of the declared national emergency to include “the extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” posed by any judicial processes against the Central Bank of Iraq.
These orders are part of a broader attempt to target anyone providing “material support” to alleged terrorists or Iraqi insurgents.
A similar executive order passed shortly after September 11, 2001 applied very broadly to anyone determined by the president to be “specially designated global terrorists” or to be supporting or “otherwise associated” with terrorist individuals or organizations. In November 2006, a federal judge in Los Angeles struck down the order in a case brought by the Humanitarian Law Association and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The judge ruled that the order was unconstitutionally vague because it gives the president “unfettered discretion” and because someone may be “subject to designation under the President’s authority for any reason, including for … associating with anyone listed” as a terrorist. The case is still under litigation and appeal.
A similar power is included in the “material support” statute, which dates back to 1994, but was broadened by a section of the USA Patriot Act. The law makes it a crime to provide “material support” to organizations declared to be terrorist.
Shane Kadidal, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights who represents plaintiffs challenging these provisions, told the WSWS that they give the president broad discretion not only to determine what organizations and individuals are covered, but also what defines “material support.”
“A crime of association” has been created, Kadidal said, “and all these statutes are worded very broadly.” The measures can criminalize such actions as providing humanitarian goods and services.
Kadidal called attention to the section of the July 17 executive order that prohibits individuals from receiving funds from designated organizations. “Obviously this has nothing to do with cutting off resources to the group in question,” he sad. “It is an attempt to block free association.” (Joe Kay, “Bush orders seizure of assets from those threatening Iraq ‘stabilization efforts,’” Global Research, 25 July 2007; originally printed on the World Socialist Web Site.)
Harassment of NGOs
The Bush administration plans to screen thousands of people who work with charities and nonprofit organizations that receiveU.S. Agency for International Development funds to ensure they are not connected with individuals or groups associated with terrorism, according to a recent Federal Register notice.
The plan would require the organizations to give the government detailed information about key personnel, including phone numbers, birth dates and e-mail addresses. But the government plans to shroud its use of that information in secrecy and does not intend to tell groups deemed unacceptable why they are rejected.
The plan has aroused concern and debate among some of the larger U.S. charitable organizations and recipients of AID funding. Officials of InterAction, representing 165 foreign aid groups, said last week that the plan would impose undue burdens and has no statutory basis. The organization requested that it be withdrawn.
“We don’t know who will do the vetting, what the standards are and whether we could answer any allegation,” said an executive for a major nongovernmental organization that would be subject to the new requirements and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to harm his organization’s relations with the government.
The Global Health Council, an international membership alliance of public health professionals in more than 100 countries, yesterday described the plan as “a sweeping information-gathering and recordkeeping measure that would impose a high administrative burden.”
The Federal Register notice said the program could involve 2,000 respondents and “will become effective on August 27,” the last day that public comments about it are to be submitted. Harry Edwards, a spokesman for USAID, said yesterday that the agency may not stick to that starting date, but he said the agency would not discuss the origins or any details of the program until the comment period concludes.
The program is described in the notice as the Partner Vetting System. It demands for the first time that nongovernmental organizations file information with the government on each officer, board member and key employee and those associated with an application for AID funds or managing a project when funded.
The information is to include name, address, date and place of birth, citizenship, Social Security and passport numbers, sex, and profession or other employment data. The data collected “will be used to conduct national security screening” to ensure these persons have no connection to entities or individuals “associated with terrorism” or “deemed to be a risk to national security,” according to the notice.
Such screening normally involves sending the data to theFBI and other police and intelligence agencies to see if negative information surfaces.
The new system would also require that the groups turn over the individuals’ telephone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses, another indication that those numbers would be checked against data collected as part of a terrorist screening program run by the U.S. intelligence community.
Until now, under an earlier Bush administration initiative, nongovernmental organizations had been required to check their own employees and then certify to AID that they were certain no one was associated with individuals or groups that appeared on applicable governmental terrorist listings.
The far broader proposed vetting program would involve U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies and could result in the denial of applications for funding. But AID is also seeking to withhold any of its findings from disclosure because the decision would be based on “classified and sensitive law enforcement and intelligence information,” according to a second Federal Register notice seeking exemption for the program from the Privacy Act.
“USAID cannot confirm or deny whether an individual ‘passed’ or ‘failed’ screening,” the notice says, to protect “counterterrorism and counterintelligence missions as well as the personal safety of those involved in counterterrorism investigations.”
According to the federal notice, the new system has its roots in a 2003 congressional amendment, attached to the foreign operations appropriations bill, that required the secretary of state to “take all appropriate steps” to ensure that U.S. funds involved in theWest Bank andGaza Strip program do not reach any person or group that is known or “there is reason to believe advocates, plans, sponsors, engages in or has engaged in terrorist activities.”
A 2005Government Accountability Office study of the West Bank and Gaza assistance program found inconsistencies in its implementation, particularly with AID’s scrutiny of sub-awardees and consulting agreements. AID’s office there responded by collecting more complete biographical data and verifying information provided by awardees.
AID officials told the GAO that six organizations that had been cleared to receive U.S. assistance were later found to have possible links to terrorists, includingHamas. One group never received any funds, three of the projects had already been finished, one contract was canceled, and the remaining one was cleared to continue after further investigation.
Samuel A. Worthington, InterAction’s president, wrote AID last week requesting that the new vetting system — known as PVS — be withdrawn and urging a dialogue about it. In a telephone interview yesterday, Worthington said, “We had been aware internal discussions about PVS were underway, but when we asked we were told that AID had to talk to everyone or to no one.”
Worthington, who is also chief executive officer of Plan USA, a 62-country, child-focused development organization with an annual budget of more than $530 million, said that “USAID has not demonstrated a need for such a system.” He also said that there is no statutory basis for the program and that it would place a major burden on nongovernmental organizations whose workforces include as many as 20,000 employees. (Walter Pincus, “Foreign Aid Groups Face Terror Screens,” Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2007.)
More recently, [American Enterprise Institute] has emerged as one of the leading architects of theBush administration‘s foreign policy. AEI rents office space to theProject for the New American Century, one of the leading voices that pushed the Bush administration’s plan for “regime change” throughwar in Iraq. AEI reps have also aggressively denied that the war has anything to do with oil. (“American Enterprise Institute,” SourceWatch.http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Enterprise_Institute.)
In June 2003, AEI and another right-wing group, theFederalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, launched a new websiteNGOWatch.org/NGOwatch.org to expose the funding, operations and agendas of internationalNGOs, and particularly their alleged efforts to constrain US freedom of action in international affairs and influence the behavior of corporations abroad. AEI states that “The extraordinary growth of advocacy NGOs in liberal democracies has the potential to undermine the sovereignty of constitutional democracies, as well as the effectiveness of credible NGOs.” Ralph Nader responds with “What they are condemning, with vague, ironic regulatory nostrums proposed against dissenting citizen groups, is democracy itself.” (“American Enterprise Institute,” SourceWatch.http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Enterprise_Institute.)
We are absolutely violating our own laws on Posse Comitatus, because the federalized military is not, I say again is not, authorized, under Posse Comitatus, to do civilian police work. But we’re doing it. And were doing it in a way that says, oh well, we must because that’s the only way we’ll get the job done right now. But no one, no one, no one in Congress has raised a hand and said, “Should we authorize that? Should we allow that?” Is that the direction this country is going? That we’re going to have martial law because of a hurricane? (Major General Albert Stubblebine, U.S. Army (ret) in video One Nation Under Seige.)
Grounds for the Declaration of Martial Law
Back during the Reagan administration, George Herbert Walker Bush was primarily in charge of and Colonel Oliver North was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, as it came to be known, North issued some plans for the military takeover of the United States for martial law and among the things they said that they would activate martial law against were, one would be a nuclear war, which is somewhat understandable, but also wide-spread dissent of a US invasion abroad. So, according to plans laid back in the ‘80’s, if enough people said they were against the war, then they could declare martial law. (Jim Marrs, Journalist and Author of Rule by Secrecy in video One Nation Under Seige.)
Airlines and Others Sue FBI, CIA
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Airline manufacturer Boeing Co. (BA), major airlines and several airport operators sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday in a bid to question current and former agency employees in connection with negligence litigation over the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.
In separate lawsuits, the airlines and others are challenging decisions by the FBI and the CIA that prevent them from conducting depositions of those employees.
The airlines include AMR Corp.’s (AMR) American Airlines, UAL Corp.’s (UAUA) United Airlines, US Airways Group Inc. (LCC), Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL) and AirTran Holdings Inc. (AAI).
The Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan International Airport in Boston, and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, which operates Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., also are plaintiffs in the lawsuits.
The lawsuits, filed in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, are related to ongoing negligence litigation over the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
In the FBI lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking to conduct depositions of: Scott Billings, a FBI special agent formerly assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force; Erik T. Rigler, a former FBI special agent; Michael Rolince, a FBI section chief for International Terrorism Operations Section from 1998 to 2002; Coleen M. Rowley, a former FBI special agent and Minneapolis Chief Division Counsel; and Harry Samit, a FBI special agent assigned to the Minneapolis Field office and Joint Terrorism Task Force in August and September 2001.
The agents were involved in FBI investigations of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda and its operatives before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the complaint.
In the CIA lawsuit, they are seeking to depose a former deputy chief of the CIA’s Osama Bin Laden unit code-named “John” and a FBI special agent assigned to that unit code-named “Mary.” They are believed to have information regarding two of the hijackers who carried out the attacks, according to the complaint.
Special Agent Richard Kolko, a FBI spokesman in Washington, said he wasn’t aware of the lawsuits and the FBI wouldn’t comment on ongoing litigation.
A call to the CIA’s public affairs office in Langley, Va., wasn’t immediately returned late Tuesday. (Chad Bray, “Airlines, Others Sue FBI, CIA To Depose Agents In 9-11 Cases,” CNNmoney.com, 7 August 2007, downloaded fromhttp://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200708071753DOWJONESDJONLINE000638_FORTUNE5.htm. 7 Aug. 2007.)
War Critics Die
By the way, speaking of taking us all for stupid, how many people think that the death of three enlisted men in a truck crash in Iraq yesterday–three enlisted men who happen to have been among the seven who wrote a powerful op-ed article only a week ago in the New York Times calling the war a failure and saying the solution is for American troops to go home–was an “accident”?
At the time their piece was published, one of the seven had already been injured in the head by a sniper bullet. Now only three of the original brave seven remain alive and healthy.
The mother of one of the dead soldiers is demanding a full and open investigation into their bizarre deaths. Congress must join in that demand.
Sure, coincidences happen, but this is powerful strange. Half a million or more Americans in uniform have passed through the hell of Iraq and only some 4000 have been killed. That’s roughly 0.8 percent. So you have a 0.8 percent chance of being killed in Iraq, and here we have three guys killed, all of whom had the courage to very publicly criticize the war.
At the very least, somebody needs to check who sent them out on that last mission together, and follow that order right up the chain of command.
As the paper that published their article, the New York Times really has an obligation to chase this story down to the bitter end. (Dave Lindorff, “ Mysterious Deaths of War Critics,” OpEdNews, 14 Sept. 2007, downloaded fromhttp://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_dave_lin_070914_how_stupid_does_bush.htm, 14 Sept. 2007.)
Is George Bush Using Cocaine, Alcohol and Prozac?
Secret Service members attached to White House domestic security, FBI and CIA agents, and written national security field reports all confirm that President Bush has been using drugs which could be affecting his performance as the nation’s war-time commander-in-chief.
Multiple federal agents having direct knowledge and access to Bush’s medical records say the President has switched from using Ritalin to taking Prozac while also succumbing to periodic alcoholic binges which have led to tirades and explosive personal conduct among White House aides, absent required random drug testing of all public employees and elected officials.
Federal law enforcement agents have at different times witnessed President Bush doing lines of cocaine in the early morning hours at the White House and drinking straight shots of whiskey in the evening hours on other occasions, according to U.S. intelligence sources who confirm multiple stories appearing in the tabloid press which say the First Lady is assigned to “keep an eye on him.”
Bush’s alleged conduct raises serious questions as to what effect the chemicals are having on his oval office decision-making, and why Democrats and Republicans facing coming voter backlash—while undoubtedly having heard the whispers—are failing to call for the release of Bush’s medical records for bipartisan congressional scrutiny.
Legislators have also failed to ask Bush to submit to drug-testing when they required President Clinton to submit to similar tests to confirm a match of his DNA with spots found on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress—a matter of far less consequence to U.S. national security than the effects of Mr. Bush’s alleged ongoing chemical dependency.
Having observed the President smirk and laugh when discussing the war or other serious matters of state at press conferences, the White House press corps has thus far refused to muster the courage to ask whether Bush will have himself tested for drugs or whether he considers himself above the law compared to all other federal employees.
U.S. intelligence sources having direct contact with White House domestic security told TomFlocco.com that multiple federal agents would be willing to testify before a grand jury if subpoenaed regarding what they have seen and heard pertaining to Mr. Bush’s drug and alcohol usage.
Secret Service and intelligence officials are reportedly concerned about public safety while Mr. Bush has access to nuclear weapons without being subject to random drug testing to determine how the addictions are affecting his ability to govern.
Bush’s doses of Ritalin and Prozac are reportedly administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician; and medical journals say they can impair the President’s mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis.
Medical reports also say that mixing cocaine with alcohol produces a substance in the blood called “cocaethylene” which can be more toxic to the body than the cocaine itself.
Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On The Couch—Inside The Mind Of The President, told The National Enquirer: “I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great.” (Tom Flocco, “Secret Service, U.S. intel say Bush uses cocaine, Prozac, alcohol,” TomFlocco.Com, 17 Nov. 2005, downloaded fromhttp://tomflocco.com/fs/SecretServIntelSay.htm, 7 August 2007.)
I.e., the 43rd President = George W. Bush.
President George W. Bush’s paranoid megalomania is so rampant that close friends and supporters worry about the man’s sanity and fear he has lost his tenuous grip on reality.
Bush, whose arrogant stubbornness knows no bounds, is so wrapped up in his obsession with being President and “commander-in-chief” that his behavior shocks his most ardent supporters.
Writes syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer:
Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated “I am the president!” He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of “our country’s destiny.”
Arnaud de Borchgrave, the rabid Bush supporter who edits the right-wing Washington Times and runs what is left of United Press International, also reports on the meeting:
The self-described “Decider” is the antithesis of self-doubt. Like an old seadog, he relishes the idea of plowing into rough seas.
When a recent visitor asked him what assurance he could give about his successor in 2009, President Bush replied, “we’ll fix it so he’ll be locked in.” The visitor left perplexed and wondered whether that might mean the U.S. would be in a wider war in the region by then. In any event, it didn’t sound like twilight time for Mr. Bush.
A Texan friend of longstanding called on him recently and confided to his Washington hosts that Mr. Bush had said three times, bringing a clenched fist to his chest, “I’m the president.” Reminding visiting political opponents of this would be normal, but the close friend said he was a taken aback a bit as he had never before seen Mr. Bush in this mode.
What these close friends see is a madman on the edge, a delusional paranoid whose brain is fried by too many years of hard drinking and probably too much cocaine up his nose.
Compared to Bush, Richard M. Nixon appears sane and stone cold sober. Hell, history will probably cast legendary drunk Ulysses S. Grant as a President more in control of himself.
Not only is he wrapped up in the aura of “I’m the President,” but he is now determined that anyone who follows him will have to live with his legacy of lies, deceit and despair – his failed war in Iraq, his cancer on “our country’s destiny.”
The fate of this nation – and indeed the fate of the world – may well depend on the deranged mind of a truly insane President of the United States. (Doug Thompson, “’I’m the President’: Bush’s Growing Madness Shocks even his Friends,” Capital Hill Blue, 1 June 2007, downloaded fromhttp://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont/node/2618, 7 Aug. 2007.)