July 27, 2007

Outsourced by R. J. Hillhouse

According to DemocracyNow, "Author [and blogger] R.J. Hillhouse caused a stir in Washington last month when she revealed more than 50 percent of the National Clandestine Service has been outsourced to private firms." She did a back-calculation based on information in the public domain. In her own words:
It was actually the journalist Tim Shorrock who first found that PowerPoint presentation and the slide that showed the 70% [of the US Intelligence budget is allocated to private contractors]. My contribution to it was recognizing that because, based of the information in it and in a hidden table in the presentation, it was possible to reverse-engineer the national intelligence budget, which appears that we’re really spending about $60 billion on intelligence each year, and out of that, $42 billion is going to private corporations.

I ran across Hillhouse's blog, The Spy Who Billed Me, when she posted a piece about Blackwater USA sponsoring NASCAR. Her niche? The outsourcing of intelligence gathering, processing, analyzing and presentation to our leaders. The word "yikes" comes to mind.

I generally read non-fiction, but was enticed to buy her book when she said, in the interview on DemocracyNow:

I found that there were things that could only be written about in fiction. It’s amazing for someone who has lived in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to find that in this country we’re in a similar place. In the repressive regimes, literature has often played the role of bringing things to light that could not otherwise be discussed. And I found that there are some things that are going on in the intelligence community or things that are going on with our government with relationships between corporate and government that it was only safe to discuss under the guise of fiction.

So, what are those things? As I read the book, I noted things that might be either "classified" or "insightful" information that is being "leaked" by Hillhouse's book. The one thing that doesn't come out as a quote, but does so in her book, is that a lot of Americans are killing other Americans in a Wild East sort of way. It makes one wonder about the "friendly" fire death of Pat Tillman.

Insightful Information:

(Explaining why an operative had distanced himself) "Around that time a couple of my teammate's wives and kids had suspicious accidents. There was a lot of talk of families being targeted. I couldn't risk that happening to you too." (We know the US has used the threat of harm towards family members during interrogations).

"Please don't tell me you're spying for the Pentagon. Those guys learned their tradecraft from Get Smart - it's a known fact." (True sentiments among intelligence circles?)

"... it was the sweet scent of life on the edge, the smell of money, the perfume of Iraq." (True sentiments among private contractors in Iraq.)

"Black Management (a competing contractor) is muscling in on our turf and we need to kick ass and get out of there before they show." (Money-driving turf wars among private contractors undermining unity of mission? Not that there aren't inter-service rivalries in the military).

"The last thing he wanted to do was take down some goat herder's mud shanty by mistake like another Rubicon Team had done a few nights ago." (Bad intelligence leading to killing civilians by private contractors).

"Rubicon snarfed up table scraps without even doing background checks. More than once he had heard troops bragging about the criminal records they had left behind, including a South African who boasted he was a bona fide war criminal." (Private contractors hiring anyone to fill the positions).

"He leaned against the SUV and popped a couple of Motrin - Grunt candy."

Speaking of contractor Rubicon moving in on their turf... a plausible, and revealing, hypothesis is posed: "Rubicon Solutions was trying to woo the CIA for another major no-bid contract."

Discovering what appeared to be an under cover operative mixed in among the Iraqi resistance, "Hunter wasn't sure who he worked for, but Hunter guessed the Other Government Agency - the CIA. He wasn't going to blow the spook's cover, not even with Stella [his close associate].

Skirting political pressure not to deploy more troops to Iraq, the Pentagon quietly increased the number of boots on the ground with soldiers from private military corporations.

Other companies were there claiming to work for the State Department, even though everyone knew there were no diplomats in Anbar.

CIA funds were being dumped into Rubicon to run it, but he still couldn't tell if the money was because it was a covert Agency project or because another rogue CIA case officer was setting up lucrative retirement plans with corporate America.

"Eliminate him yourself. Jesus, you've got more hunters on the payroll here than we do. Tell the guy's family he died killing terrorists and let them collect the death benefits." (Can you say "Pat Tillman"?)

(continuing) "No one will think twice about it, let alone call for an investigation. The family will probably be happy not to have to deal with Rambo coming home and fighting a war at the local 7-Eleven. The guys who succeed over here make lousy civilians and families know that."

A variant on a 'snow ball's chance in hell,' "A goat in an Afghan mujahedin camp had a better chance of dying a virgin."

"After they screwed us at Haditha, I'm happy to keep those CID turds from nosing around my camp." (Reflection of some Army officer's views on the Army Investigation Division).

Referring to one way the CIA gets rid of unwanted operatives: "They would've fucked you good, left you alone, hanging in the cold on some mission, expecting an extraction that would never come. I've seen them do it to others."

"Come on. You know how the world works. If an Agency analyst betrays us, US courts try him for treason. If a case officer betrays us, we eliminate him."

"Oil here is a disaster. They're not back to prewar levels and if anyone tires to tell you they ar, they're lying."

The war had been good for business and the current drawdown of troops was a bonanza. Each soldier pulled out mean a vacuum that had to be filled. The Iraqis weren't up to the task and America was too deeply involved to roll over an allow room for al Qaeda to move in. Enter ... a list of private corporations.

Only families cared about dead contractors - Pentagon body counts didn't.

"Through most of the Bush administration, the CIA high command has been engaged in a bitter struggle with the Pentagon." CNN, September 27, 2004 as reported by Robert Novak

"This is a turf battle." said retired Army Col. W. Patrick Lang, former head of Middle Eastern affairs for the Defense Intelligence Agency. "All of this represents that clandestine human intelligence in the Department of Defense is a growth industry and that it is no longer regarding itself as under the control of the CIA." Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2005, as reported by Mark Mazzetti, and Greg Miller.

Rubicon [a US contractor] was probably torturing him right now.

"The bottom line is we're all operating outside of Iraqi law, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice doesn't apply to private security companies like us."

"The last thing we need is to pay for some creative legal work, set a precedent that somebody's law actually applies here in the Wild West and have it come back and bite us in the butt. Can you imagine the civil liability for property damage alone? [Our corporation] has taken out over five thousand insurgents and we all know the definition of an insurgent is pretty damn loose around here. It's more ore less anyone we take out. I don't even want to think about the wrongful death claims Iraqis could come after us with."

Head of a contractor speaking, "Sometimes I lie awake at night - you know Washington is a mercurial place. Sure, we're saving the president's ass in Iraq, but do you ever stop to think about what could happen if the other guys sweep in the next election?"

A contractor executive speaking to subordinates, "Tangos [insurgents] are sure busy tonight. Must've cashed another Saudi check. They always seem to shoot their wad on payday - I'm sure non of you can relate to that."

The contractor's spooks were coordinating with [another contractor], a British firm, to purchase signals intelligence on [a competitor contractor's] Iraq operations and they were also working with the American agencies, [contractor 4 and contractor 5], to see if they had any assets on the inside at [the competitor contractor] that could be purchased [turned].

The Agency didn't create sophisticated aliases in-house anymore, but outsourced them too a boutique firm called Abraxas.

"I know." "[the competitor contractor] has raked in over fifteen billion in Iraq contracts. That's a hell of a lot at staek, but you know, if peace breaks out and things settle down here, all that goes away. Maybe they're doing us all a big favor and making sure it doesn't."

In discussing the CIA's covert role, "Ah, if the Agency's no violating someone's human rights, they're not doing their job." (otherwise, someone else could do it overtly).

He [Bob Baer, former CIA case officer] says, "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them to Egypt."

"Try recruiting an agent when you can't go anywhere without have a platoon of security guards around you. Now if somehow you're lucky enough to snag one, you have to hand him off in a few weeks to some new guy fresh from Langley. And the agent's supposed to trust the stranger with his life. If I were an Iraqi, Id never spy for us. Splendid system."

"It was an Agency contract to take out one of their own before the KGB soften him up too much."

A French man responds to the quip, "I thought we were all friends." "We used to be. Then you started kidnapping innocent civilians and torturing them in your secret prisons. You start wars under the pretext of preventing Saddam from getting nuclear devices, even though you know he doesn't have them - because you manufactured the evidence. Now America and its corporations are addicted to the War on Terror like a user to heroin. Your president flouts your laws and constitution. And what do the American people do? They supersize another order of French fries."

Classified Information?:

"One of the Israelis who trained black units at Fort Bragg works for me out of Kandahar."

Ever since Rumsfeld had created Force Zulu [an intelligence and covert operations unit], a cold war had been raging between the two clandestine services [the other service being the CIA]. It wouldn't be the first time the CIA had sent someone to spy on a Zulu operator to make sure the Pentagon didn't beat them to any significant intel prize.

"You know I actually typed up a resignation letter the day I heard the President authorized Cambone and that born-again whack-job Boykin to round up a bunch of soldiers and start playing I Spy. I predicted this was going to happen - us tripping all over each other."

"Osama bin Ladin's Successor. I've been hearing a lot about that lately. So did some al Qaeda lieutenants finally catch on you've been holding the fucker for years and seize the opportunity to take over the network?"

passing reference.... "... when you and I were undercover after those suitcase nukes in Turkmenistan?"

The operative wasn't officially read into the project, but he know that the CIA and Pentagon immediately took joint control of al Qaeda, feeding its lieutenants with useless orders which rendered the organization ineffective.

"Even though Pakistan is our good friend in the fight on terror, as far as I'm concerned Pakistani intelligence is the most functional part of al Qaeda."

"Their fingers are in everything," she said. "Don't you know the [competitor contractor] story? While Dick Cheney left Halliburton to run for VP, some execs split off and formed [competitor contractor] Group. The government throws nobid contracts at them all the time."

Together with her operators, she had raided apartment buildings with sarin and VX chemical weapons labs.

They apparently wanted information from him [an American], so that meant he probably had a few day, if not weeks, to live, but that was only a guess. Rubicon had the means to make anyone disappear - hell, they did it under government contract all the time.

A contractor subordinate reporting to the executive: "Things were hopping today along the Syrian border. It started in Tal Afar, then spilled over into the Syrian side. The first Rumor I heard was they thought they had al-Zahrani, then some of our guys came back with conflicting reports they'd nailed a French spy in Syria."

Discussing secret prisons, "You know that Halliburton built it back when Cheney was running the outfit?"

Speaking of secret prisons... "The Poles and Romanians kicked them out. The Supreme Court ruling extending the Geneva Convention to detainees really mucked things up."

"Hold on. The Agency's been scrabling to come up with a new way to keep control over prisoners and interrogations. Word is they've privatized."

"Remember the President's speech about how the CIA was no longer in the business of black sites? He was telling the truth, more or less. The CIA isn't doing it anymore - [the competitor contractor] is."

"That's the beauty of outsourcing: you can do whatever the fuck you want. You don't need a presidential finding because you're not the SOB doing it - the contractor is. Things go south, the contractor went too far. And god only knows if any laws apply to them. Geneva Conventions sure as hell don't. So much for the Supreme Court ruling. It's a beautiful workaround."

A CIA case officer speaks: "Lets be clear. When it comes to stopping terrorists, we're allies - the War on Terror is where we have differences." (Get it?)

July 26, 2007

Bush Continutiy of Government

The video below was passed to me with the following note:
Bush signs unconstitutional "power grab" presidential directives NSPD51 and HSPD20, giving him full-dictatorial powers in the event of a loosely defined "catastrophic emergency."

The directives define "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."

It also states, "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government." In other words, the president gave himself the sole power and duty to interpret the constitution anyway he chooses, and neither Congress nor the public shall be allowed to debate or disagree on such matters.

The deeper points of 1) the corporate media's failure and 2) this story being advanced by conservatives are interesting to me.

Clearly we need to regain control over the commercialized mass media. To do so, and to affect other deep social changes, the principled left and right will need to ally.

Bush Signs Unconstitutional Power Grab


July 25, 2007

Gonzales Has to Go

The Nation is crumbling under the weight of the outsourcing of jobs, which will never return, artificial bubble economics, which is devastating the personal finances of anyone not lucky enough to have "gotten in" before the bogus expansions, and corporate-enabled consolidation of wealth, which is widening the wealth gap and creating angst among the vast majority of Americans.

This is all to say nothing of the seething angst among the forgotten poor of our country. Many of them are turning to gangsterism, which is justified by gangsterism by corporate scams and the actions of Bush and his operatives, like Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The erosion of social morays among the dispossessed is justified, in part, as a reaction to the recent stealing of elections, which is being exposed by the revelations about Timothy Griffin's roles the 2000 and 2004 election voter suppression efforts by he Republican National Committee (RNC).

Despite the happy talk about how great the US economy is doing, it is fundamentally flawed, and subject to a serious pending correction; the economic statistics of Wall Street mask the more honest economic statistics of main street. It's time for Congress, both Democrat and Republican, to take the bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. This should start with doing what ever is necessary to initiate a legal investigation Gonzales and get an honest replacement. We cannot afford to have Gonzales at the helm of the Justice Department if or when our Nations hits troubled waters ahead.

Contact the Solicitor General, Paul Clement, and request an investigation. In particular, ask that Gonzales be investigated for perjury: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Update - August 27, 2007:

He's gone. Now it's time to follow up with criminal investigations.


Associated Press, LARA JAKES JORDAN, July 25, 2007, Special prosecutor weighed for Gonzales

July 23, 2007

Housing Price Changes in Southern California

Between May 2006 and May 2007, the median* price of a home in Southern California has dropped by typically about 5%.

Town  May 2006  May 2007   Pct. Change
Camarillo  $686,000   $575,000   - 16.2
Fillmore  $565,000   $565,000     0.0
Moorpark  $610,000   $662,000     8.4
Oak View  $599,000   $561,000   - 6.3
Ojai  $640,000   $639,000   - 0.2
Oxnard  $595,000   $540,000   - 0.2
Port Hueneme  $378,500   $374,000   - 1.2
Santa Paula  $513,000   $496,000   - 3.5
Simi Valley  $588,000   $555,000   - 5.6
Thousand Oaks  $686,500   $687,500     0.1
Ventura  $601,000   $579,250   - 5.1
Ventura County  $625,000   $594,000   - 5.0

* The Median is the price for which half the homes cost more and half the homes cost less.

Source: California Economic Forecast and First American Real Estate Solutions.

July 19, 2007

Why Not a Golden Age?

butterfly sky photo field clouds
Do US corporations have to steal other's natural resources in order for artists, like the one above, to practice their craft? We should be having a golden age, but instead our corporate-government leaders insist on imperial pursuits that undermine our security.

In France, the government fears the people. Maybe it's time, here in the US, that we live up to the grade-school-taught meme "The People."

Photo Credit:


July 18, 2007

Intelligence Agencies Blame Bush for Increased Terrorist Threat

My first reaction to the new intelligence agency reports on Al-Qaida was to wonder if the findings are politicized by the Bush administration. Now I'm wondering if maybe they are politicized against the Bush administration.

Everyone is familiar with the politicization of intelligence leading up to the Iraq war; some call it an "intelligence failure," as if the information was wrong. No. Thanks to Richard Dryfuss, Karen Kwiatikowski and others, we know that Dick Cheney created a lie factory in the Pentagon that gave false intelligence to the establishment media, Congress and the American people.

Many may also be familiar with the case against former CIA Director, and current Defense Secretary, Robert Gates. During past Senate confirmation hearings, numerous intelligence analysts, such as Jennifer Glaudemans and Ray McGovern, spoke out against Gates due to their concerns about his politicization of intelligence.

But we also know that Bush and Cheney set up the CIA to take the blame for the administration's abuse of intelligence, calling it "intelligence failures." So, we know that the intelligence community has an axe to grind against Bush/Cheney. We might be seeing that happening today.

The retribution comes through in the following message from the intelligence agencies: Bush's war in Iraq is undermining National security by creating a terrorist training ground. With that in mind, read the following:

National Intelligence Council Chairman Thomas Fingar warned that the group's operatives in Iraq are getting portable, firsthand experience in covert communications, smuggling, improvised explosive devices, understanding U.S. military tactics and more.

Thomas Finger is still a new face, not even written up on Wikipedia as of the writing of this blog essay. Finger comes out of the US State Department intelligence department, one of the agencies that got it right before the Iraq war, but was shouted down. I'm guessing he's telling it straight.

Finger is not alone in broadcasting subtle public messages that point the blame towards Bush and Cheney:

Ted Gistaro, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, said al-Qaida in Iraq did not have any active cells when the U.S. invaded in March 2003. He said the watershed moment was when its now-deceased leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, declared his allegiance to bin Laden in an October 2004 Internet message.

The story of Zarqawi is interesting. Briefly, he was originally a small-time, locally-based operator. According to Zarqawi researcher, and economist, Loretta Napoleoni:

al-Zarqawi met Osama Bin Laden in 2000 in Kandahar, and it was a meeting in which he refused to join Al Qaeda because he could not share Osama Bin Laden's view of far-away enemy, i.e., the United States. He was very much focused on the existing Arab regimes, in particular Jordan.

Zarqawi ran a little training camp in Herat, but was forced to flee to Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdish secret service informed the US that Zarqawi was "Al Qaeda," which was false, but the Bush needed some kind of evidence of Iraqi wrong doing. Zarqawi became their tumped up link of Al Quaeda to Iraq. Bush proclaimed Zarqawi to be "number 2" in Al Qaeda, and the corporate media fell in line with the story.

It was only after the Bush administration artificially pumped up Zarqawi's public image as a major terrorist that Zarqawi was able to attract support in the Muslim world.[1] That is, Bush created Zarqawi as a bogeyman image, which enabled Zarqawi to attract the resources needed to become a real threat. Bush literally helped create Zarqawi, even if unintentionally.

All of this points to more evidence of the Iraq Effect. This is the notion that the Iraq war correlates with a 600 percent increase in terrorist attacks since the US invasion of Iraq. This is according to research by Paul Cruickshank, Fellow at New York University Law School’s Center on Law and Security.

Although Bush might think this intelligence report serves his need to ratchet up the fear factor for his benefit, I suspect the intelligence community is conducting a secondary information campaign to undermine Bush's credibility. It's pay-back time.


1. Democracy Nowm, June 8, 2006. Loretta Napoleoni, Italian economist and writer. She is the author of several books including "Insurgent Iraq: Al Zarqawi and the New Generation" and "Terror Incorporated: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks."

July 17, 2007

Peace Movement Strategy for September?

So, we hear today that
Bush paid a surprise visit to a gathering of GOP congressional staffers and White House aides trying to determine an effective strategy for communications about war policies.

Why am I not surprised that they met to talk about their propaganda strategy and not their foreign policy strategy? This is confirmed by the following:

One participant said the president told the staffers he would not rethink his Iraq policies until after a critical military assessment in September.

That's right, Bush isn't even going to think about policy strategies until September.

We're told, however, that his Joint Chiefs of Staff are thinking about options come September: More troops or the same level of troops.

It's only a matter of time until troops are scaled back and the US shifts to using more "air support." In fact, the later is already happening.

The escalation worries some about an increase in “collateral damage,” casualties among Iraqi civilians. [2]

As US troops withdraw, increased air power is almost inevitable. We have the experience of the Vietnam timeline to draw on.

The US peace movement has to sharpen its message and demand that such bombings not occur. In addition, we need to expose the giant military bases in Iraq and demand that they are closed; we don't simply want the Democrat's Republican-lite troop redeployment.

So, what's the Peace Movement's strategy for September 2007? A better question is, what's the August strategy?


1. Associated Press, Democrats push all-night debate on Iraq, ANNE FLAHERTY, July 17, 2007.

2. Associated Press, BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq, U.S. air power beefed up, used more in Iraq, July 15, 2007.

July 16, 2007

Message to Iraqi Soldiers Working with US

A message for those Iraqi soldiers in small US combat outposts, "your gun emplacement positions might be rigged with explosives."

Just another "reality" of war. Imagine what would happen if an insurgent infiltrated the Iraqi troops, and one of these infiltrators was manning a 50-caliber gun emplacement when the combat outpost came under attack? The insurgent could turn the gun on the outpost itself, wiping out a lot of US solders.

BUT, if the gun emplacement was rigged with explosives, the Americans could take it out. It could also be argued that the emplacement could be over-run, thereby justifying its rigging with explosives.

This scenario supposedly occurred in Vietnam. With Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch's honest talk about a possible Tet Offensive, this scenario is probably being played out in Iraq today.

I don't blame the American Soldiers who are simply trying to survive, nor should the Iraqi soldiers. They should blame George W. Bush who is guilty of crimes against peace:
To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

- Chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, Nuremberg.

As fifty US soldiers report in the Nation Magazine expose' entitled, The Other Iraq War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness, the US presence in Iraq is a major source of the conflict. They call on Congress to end the US occupation of Iraq. If this happens, the scenario of US troops feeling compelled to booby-trap their allies positions cannot happen.


The Nation, July 9, 2007, Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian, The Other Iraq War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness.

Time, July 16, 2007,MARK KUKIS, Fears of a Tet Offensive in Iraq.

Art Credit: Michael Bernstein, "The Sunny Pessimist Takes Cover from the Imperceptible" and Hudson Franklin gallery, 508 West 26th Street, New York. West Chelsea.

July 14, 2007

McCain Was Already Dead

The establishment media has now figured it out; John McCain's campaign is dead. Big news!

Campaign Manager Terry Nelson has also resigned. He should have been let go as soon as he started, or better yet, never have been hired by McCain. As Media Matters reported, way back in December 2006:
The media largely ignored the hiring of Terry Nelson to serve as campaign manager for John McCain's presumed bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, and with few exceptions, those that did report on Nelson's hiring have largely overlooked Nelson's connections to various Republican scandals.

Hmm... what scandals could they have been?

Nelson was responsible for a television advertisement attacking Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. that many criticized as racist.

Remember the scantily clad blond saying, whom Ford supposedly met at a Playboy party saying, "call me."?

Then, there was this one:

.... the indictments of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) on campaign finance-related charges alleged that Nelson was the conduit for money transferred through the Republican National Committee (RNC) between DeLay's political action committee and Republican Texas House of Representatives candidates.

Yes, that was a GOP operation, following DeLay's corrupt Congressional redistricting, that renders the US House of Representatives, and its actions, illegitimate 'til this day. Scary. An unraveling of civilized society.

Then there was Nelson's close association "the 2002 New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal." James Tobin was convicted in the following:

During Nelson's tenure as RNC deputy chief of staff, one of his subordinates, RNC New Hampshire political director James Tobin, conspired with several GOP operatives to obstruct the Democrats' get-out-the-vote effort in the state by jamming the phone lines they used on Election Day, November 5, 2002.

And Nelson rubbed elbows with another dirty dealer:

Nelson's consulting firm, Crosslink Strategy Group, counts Chris LaCivita among its employees. While working for a separate Republican strategy firm in 2004, LaCivita was a paid consultant and media adviser to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

In other words, it became clear that McCain was desperate when he hired this slimy character, Terry Nelwon, to run his campaign. Now the evidence is clear. McCain's campaign is dead.

Oh, yea. The fact that McCain hitched his wagon to Bush's war, careening off a cliff, didn't help either.

Update: March 4, 2008

After all of the other Republican candidates self destructed, or were exposed as wackos, John McClean is the only one left standing. Pathetic miracle.


Who is McCain campaign manager Terry Nelson? And will the media tell us? Media Matters, December, 13 2006.

July 13, 2007

State of Denial

OK. On the road. I'm supposed to enjoy myself, and not worry about things, like the Bush/Cheney theory of executive power... they have all the power, just like a monarchy.

So, yesterday, reading USAToday, I noticed they have someone to whom errors can be directed. I decided to contact him and ask about their punctuation of "USA Patriot Act." My concern? It's supposed to be an acronym for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001." As an acronym, the punctuation should be all capital letters:


This correct punctuation will help remind people that this law isn't about patriotism.

July 12, 2007

Preserve Right to Criminal Prosecution of Bush

For the next three weeks the blog takes to the road. Last time I did this I was exposed to the NYC Mentality.

OK. So there's a debate about the wisdom of impeaching Bush. I side with those who say Impeach Bush and Cheney to set the record straight for history, and to deter future Presidents from abusing power.

Despite Pelosi's "off-the-table" proclamation, the impeachment process is happening; that's because it is an organic process that unravels on it's own, just like the GOP support for the Iraq war is unraveling.

Politics is the art of the possible. The US House of Representatives should impeach Bush and Cheney with an explicit provision that the Senate need not act on the impeachment. This would avoid the question of double-jeopardy, thereby preserving the right to criminally prosecute Bush for capital offenses (See Update).

This is a win-win compromise for the progressive camps on both sides of the impeachment debate. It addresses the concerns of people like Senator Sherrod Brown who think Rove and others will exploit the situation by having the press say, "Give Democrats power, and see what they do with it? Spend time on vindictive acts rather than solving problems of the people."

The talk needs to turn to criminal prosecution of Bush Administration officials. Once we get Bush over the barrel, with capital punishment in play, then we can start talking about a grand compromise that will redistribute some of our stolen wealth.

July 9, 2007

Speak Out Against Abuse of State Secrets Privilege

As the attorney-client privilege unravels, the state secrets privilege tightens and the shining beacon of the republic grows dimmer.

Today we live in an Orwellian America where a three judge panel of the federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals says, on the one hand, you cannot challenge the government's use of warrantless searches unless you know they have used it in a way that harms you directly. On the other hand, the panel says, you cannot find out if the government has conducted a warrantless search due to the evidence being excluded from the legal process due to state secret privilege.

The 6th Circuit three-member panel has determined, in a vote of 2-to-1, that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cannot show that it, or its clients, have been harmed by the US Government's use of warrantless infringements on their 4th Amendment rights. The district court judge, Anna Diggs Taylor, found that the US Government had committed a violation of our Constitutional protections from infringements by the federal government. By my count, it's a tie, two federal judges against two federal judges.

At issue is the privilege of private attorney-client communications. If the US Government may intercept attorney-client communications, but doesn't have to reveal whether or not it is doing so, then we must assume that it is doing so in all cases. Not only does this undermine attorney-client confidentiallity, it undermines the legitimacy and stability of the entire democratic experiment. It will, by the natural doctrine of need, legitimize citizen-based counter-espionage directed at the federal government to determine if they are being spied upon. This decision, if it is allowed to stand, risks leading us down a very dark path.

CLICK HERE to Contact the US federal Court Public Affairs Office.
CLICK HERE to Contact the 6th District Court (Send an E-mail to the Library - Ask them to foward it to the Clerk).
Share your concerns. The judicial branch, not the executive branch, makes the decision on whether to grant the state secrets privilege.

If the United States government had an honest history in the use of state secrets privilege, citizens might have reason to give it the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, the 1953 legal case that solidified the doctrine of state secrets privilege was a fraud on the American people:

The privilege was first recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1953 decision, United States v. Reynolds (345 U.S. 1). A military airplane, a B-29 Superfortress bomber, crashed. The widows of three civilian crew members sought accident reports on the crash but were told that to release such details would threaten national security by revealing the bomber's top-secret mission. [1]

... in 2000, the accident reports were declassified and released, and it was found that the argument was fraudulent, and there was no secret information. The reports did, however, contain information about the poor state of condition of the aircraft itself, which would have been very compromising to the Air Force's case.

All hope is not lost. The 6th Circuit issue can be appealed to a larger panel of judges in the 6th Circuit (that is why pressure NOW is so important... see link above). In addition, similar cases are before the federal 9th Circuit Court, which is not bound by decisions of the 6th Circuit.


1. Read more about the State Secrets Doctrine.

July 7, 2007

Tell Bush What You Think about Libby

My message to George Bush on his commutation of Lewis "28301-016" Libby's sentence:

Mr. Bush:

Your action in commuting the sentence of Lewis Libby is at best a clear conflict of interest. At worse, it is criminal obstruction of justice.

Add your voice:

Contact the White House

July 6, 2007

GOP Support for War Crumbling

GOP support for Bush's Iraq war is crumbling, Associated Press.

Last week, GOP Senators Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said the U.S. should reduce its military presence in Iraq. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., had already said the same prior to that. Now Sen. Pete Domenici has withdrawn his support of President Bush's Iraq war policy and embraced a proposal to bring home most troops by March. They don't want to get caught in the pressure that the White House will mount this September.

I wouldn't be surprised if the GOP support for Bush and Cheney's jobs starts to crumble next, particularly after Olbermann's recent broad-side. It's time to hammer at the cracks developing in Bush and Cheney's armor.

Originally posted at: Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus

July 4, 2007

Sad 4th of July

It's a sad "independence" day when the President displays gross conflict of interest by commuting the sentence of a political operative who committed a treasonous act on his behalf. Keith Olbermann is correct to say that Bush's commutation of Libby's prison sentence is as shocking to the Nation as Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre. We're living a constitutional crisis.

Keith Olbermann Skewers President Bush

I read, in a coment on Mahablog, that Frank Zappa once said,

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.

My response to that is,

The laws are not randomly enforced. The enforcement, and Constitution for that matter, is tilted toward the US aristocracy that took control from the British aristocracy. It's not random. It's very intentional.

The impeachment process has started. The people are doing their part, and Congress is investigating.

More important will be the question of criminal prosecution of George W. Bush for numerous counts, including Crimes Against Peace

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

- Chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, Nuremberg.

Short of that, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, said on June 12, 2007 that there is no question that the warrantless wiretaping engaged in by the Bush Administration is a felony offense and that the President and Attorney General engaged in a criminal conspiracy worse than Watergate. (Source: David Swanson). Nadler calls for Bush's prosecution.

July 1, 2007

Abandon the Armored Vehicles!

In an article entitled, "Iraq ambush caps bloodiest months for US" Associated Press writer ROBERT H. REID reports:
A huge bomb explosion followed by a hail of gunfire and grenades killed five U.S. soldiers, the military said Friday. The attack climaxed the deadliest three-month period for the Americans since the war began.

He quantifies this, saying,

The toll for the past three months — 329 — made it the deadliest quarter for U.S. troops in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. That surpasses the 316 soldiers killed during November 2004 to January 2005.

The November 2004 to January 2005 date range includes the second battle of Fallujah.

Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., who heads U.S. forces in the Iraqi capital, reported that the ambush involved a very large, deeply buried bomb that is difficult or impossible to detect. As a result, AP writer Ried reports,

Such "deep buried bombs" have been especially effective against U.S. vehicles, including Humvees, Bradley fighting vehicles and Strykers, prompting commanders in some areas to shift to foot patrols to avoid losing so many soldiers in a single blast.

Imagine that, the rag tag Iraqi insurgents have succeeded in forcing US troops to abandon the "security" of their armored vehicles and take to foot.

Think of it. US tax payers invest huge sums into these vehicles and their use is rendered a security risk by some irregular rebels. "Don't drive those vehicles around, you might get a bunch of guys killed." Sheeeit. That's pathetic. Reminds me of the American Revolution, except this time the Americans are the Red Coats.

Costs per Vehicle:

Humvee: The cost of an armored Humvee, built from scratch, is $150,000.[1]

Stryker: The Average acquisition cost per Stryker vehicle:
November 2000 (original estimate): $3.34 million
December 2003: $4.13 million. [2]

Bradley Fighting Vehicle: Average cost each about $3.2 million [3]

When the military has to abandon it vehicles, it seems like another sign of US impotence. I'm reminded of a profound observation by James K. Galbraith in Mother Jones Magazine. He says,

Bush and Cheney have done more than bungle a war and damage the Army. They have destroyed the foundation of the post-Cold War world security system, which was the accepted authority of American military power. That reputation is now gone. [4]


1. "Frantically, the Army tries to armor Humvees", MSNBC, Michael Moran, April 15, 2004. Surely the cost is higher now, and ... it's better not to use them, lest you get nailed by a "deeply buried bomb."

2. US General Accounting Office, August, 2004.
GAO report number GAO-04-925 entitled 'Military Transformation: Fielding of Army's Stryker Vehicles Is Well Under Way, but Expectations for Their Transportability by C-130 Aircraft Need to Be Clarified' which was released on August 12, 2004.

3. Federation of American Scientists, Bradley Fighing Vehicle.

4. Mother Jones Magazine, "Quitting Iraq won't undo the the war’s damage to U.S. security.", James K. Galbraith. March/April 2006.

Iraq for Sale and the US Powder Keg

I've owned Robert Greenwald's "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers"[1] for half a year. I finally watched it last night having resisted so long because I knew it would be a bummer. Actually, it was energizing in the sense that anger induces motivation.

The movie Sicko, by Michael Moore, thoroughly discredits the US health care system. It also exposes deep and wide corruption that is enriching an elite minority. That same establishment has cornered the US defense and security industries. US government officials are implicated and enriching themselves upon retirement from high office. The Democratic and Republican parties are corrupted by the wealth and power that has been consolidated via government largess.

Our hope lies in common people of all political persuasions who are harmed, even killed, by this corruption. There are more of us than the elite minority, and we live in a democracy where majority rules... at least the majority is supposed to rule.

The US political system that has enabled this corruption has lost nearly all legitimacy. You can be sure that the establishment knows this. In response, the power elite is establishing new laws that anticipate the need to clamp down on domestic dissent in the future. That impending need is summed up in the last segment of the film Iraq for Sale in which a relative of a former Blackwater employee says:
You know, I love my Country.I stand behind it. I'm concerned now in a way that I've probably never been concerned before, because I don't like what I'm seeing. America has become a powder keg I think, and it's just waiting for a match.

Michael Moore explains that the French people actually exercise democracy because they are well organized. He observes a difference in our countries; in the US, the people are afraid of their government. In France, the government is afraid of the people. [2]

The people who have the money, the people making the profit, have a lot of power and a lot of money, and a lot of influence. And, so I think it will really take something big, a big movement here in the United States

The myth of the US democracy is being exposed as a fraud.

How many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free
How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

- Joan Baez

People now "see" and are grappling with what to do about the fact that American Revolution replaced the British aristocracy with an American aristocracy. The answer lies in one word, "organize."

Click Here for an "Action Guide" associated with Greenwald's film and links to organizations working for positive change. An "action" example of many is provided immediately below:

Take Action (Just one Example):

Army investigations implicated employees from Titan and CACI in the abuses of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. To date, only one civilian contractor has faced charges. Write to the U.S. Department of Justice to act immediately to investigate and prosecute all cases of human rights abuses by civilian and corporate actors operating with seeming impunity in the “war on terror”. You can also write to the companies, like Titan, to express your concern over their human rights policies and practices. For both actions, go to Amnesty USA Action.


1. Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, by Robert Greenwald.

2. PBS "NOW" with David Brancaccio, Michael Moore, on French vs Americans, June 29, 2007.