Wednesday, July 09, 2003

According to the Dean Official Blog, Dr. Dean will resume his campaign for President tomorrow after taking a week off to be with his family and to get some rest. Good for him. He's been going gangbusters the last three months and he's got a long way to go until New Hampshire. To that end, Ho-Ho will be in NH Thursday.

Walter Pincus in todays Washington Post has some reaction from the Dems on Bushco's lies and distortions about the reason for war in Iraq:
"Knowing all that we know now, the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech," the White House statement said. In the speech, Bush was trying to make the case that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.

Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) called it a "very important admission," adding, "This ought to be reviewed very carefully. It ought to be the subject of careful scrutiny as well as some hearings."

The senior Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), said the administration's admission was not a revelation. "The whole world knew it was a fraud," Rockefeller said, adding that the current intelligence committee inquiry should determine how it got into the Bush speech. "Who decided this was something they could work with?" Rockefeller asked.

Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, yesterday questioned why, as late as the president's Jan. 28 speech, "policymakers were still using information which the intelligence community knew was almost certainly false."

Levin said he hoped the intelligence committee inquiry and one he is conducting with the Democratic staff of the armed services panel will explore why the CIA had kept what it knew buried "in the bowels of the agency," repeating a phrase used recently by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to explain why she did not know the information was incorrect.

Howard Dean's take:
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean said, "The credibility of the U.S. is a precious commodity. We should all be deeply dismayed that our nation was taken to war and our reputation in the world forever tainted by what appears to be the deliberate effort of this administration to mislead the American people, Congress and the United Nations."

The New York Times has more on that yellow cake stuff:
WASHINGTON, July 7 - The White House acknowledged for the first time today that President Bush was relying on incomplete and perhaps inaccurate information from American intelligence agencies when he declared, in his State of the Union speech, that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium from Africa.

The White House statement appeared to undercut one of the key pieces of evidence that President Bush and his aides had cited to back their claims made prior to launching an attack against Iraq in March that Mr. Hussein was "reconstituting" his nuclear weapons program. Those claims added urgency to the White House case that military action to depose Mr. Hussein needed to be taken quickly, and could not await further inspections of the country or additional resolutions at the United Nations.

The acknowledgment came after a day of questions and sometimes contradictory answers from White House officials about an article published on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times on Sunday by Joseph C. Wilson 4th, a former ambassador who was sent to Niger, in West Africa, last year to investigate reports of the attempted purchase. He reported back that the intelligence was likely fraudulent, a warning that White House officials say never reached them.

"There is other reporting to suggest that Iraq tried to obtain uranium from Africa," the statement said. "However, the information is not detailed or specific enough for us to be certain that attempts were in fact made."

In other words, said one senior official, "we couldn't prove it, and it might in fact be wrong."

It's bad enough that Bushco "exaggerated" the threat against this country, but these lies might now hamper our ability to really go after the REAL WMDs. Robert Scheer's take:
In a Washington Post interview, Wilson added, "It really comes down to the administration misrepresenting the facts on an issue that was a fundamental justification for going to war. It begs the question, what else are they lying about?" Those are the carefully chosen words of a 23-year career diplomat who, as the top U.S. official in Baghdad in 1990, was praised by then-President George H.W. Bush for his role as the last American to confront Hussein face to face after the dictator invaded Kuwait. In a cable to Baghdad, the president told Wilson: "What you are doing day in and day out under the most trying conditions is truly inspiring. Keep fighting the good fight."

As Wilson observed wryly, "I guess he didn't realize that one of these days I would carry that fight against his son's administration." And that fight remains the good fight. This is not some minor dispute over a footnote to history but rather raises the possibility of one of the most egregious misrepresentations by a U.S. administration. What could be more cynical and impeachable than fabricating a threat of rogue nations or terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons and using that to sell a war?

"There is no greater threat that we face as a nation," Wilson told NBC, "than the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of nonstate actors or international terrorists. And if we've prosecuted a war for reasons other than that, using weapons of mass destruction as cover for that, then I think we've done a great disservice to the weapons-of-mass-destruction threat."


The following story is a good example of a story being too good to be true: because it's false:

The deception may go farther than we now know. Here's what one insider has to say:
An intelligence consultant who was present at two White House briefings where the uranium report was discussed confirmed that the President was told the intelligence was questionable and that his national security advisors urged him not to include the claim in his State of the Union address.

"The report had already been discredited," said Terrance J. Wilkinson, a CIA advisor present at two White House briefings. "This point was clearly made when the President was in the room during at least two of the briefings."

Bush's response was anger, Wilkinson said.

"He said that if the current operatives working for the CIA couldn't prove the story was true, then the agency had better find some who could," Wilkinson said. "He said he knew the story was true and so would the world after American troops secured the country."

Wilkinson retired two months later but says he wrote "numerous memos" questioning the wisdom of using "intelligence information that we knew to be from dubious sources."

I'm usually pretty careful about where I get my stories for posting. Most of the time the pieces I post are from reputable newspapers or simply opinions from others much smarter than I am. The above story came from Capitol Hill Blue and it was first time I have ever seen, much less used, his stories. Well it seems that the CIA agent mentioned in this story, a "Terrance J. Wilkinson", was a con-man, but evidently a good one. The owner of CHB issued an explaination and an apology.

High Desert Skeptic also apologizes.

Oh but more insiders are starting to speak out:
Think about it. When was the last time we got a straight answer out of the Bush administration? When was the last time anyone with real power demanded answers from the folks in the White House? In the vacuum, we wind up getting answers like the one Don Rumsfeld delivered on February 12, 2002 when faced with pointed press questions about terrorism:

"As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."


The story has been taking a slow boil for months now, ever since the end of the war. The justification for attacking Iraq, as presented by the administration, was that Saddam Hussein had thousands of tons of deadly weapons practically falling out of his ears. Day after day came the dire reports from Bush, from Cheney, from Rumsfeld, from Rice, from Powell before the United Nations, from dozens of hired administration guns who saturated the airwaves with stories of looming doom in the shadow of 9/11.

The weapons never showed up. Stories began to swirl about Vice President Cheney taking unprecedented trips to CIA headquarters for the purpose of leaning on the intelligence analysts so he would get the damning Iraq weapons reports the administration needed to justify combat. Stories began to swirl about obviously forged evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program that was deliberately used by Bush to justify war, despite the fact that everyone in the White House knew the evidence had been crudely faked. To counteract these stories, the Imperial Presidency laid blame for all of this on the CIA.

When I questioned McGovern on the impact these developments were having on the American intelligence community, McGovern made a prescient prediction:

"To the degree that esprit de corps exists, and I know it does among the folks we talk to, there is great, great turmoil there. In the coming weeks, we're going to be seeing folks coming out and coming forth with what they know, and it is going to be very embarrassing for the Bush administration."

Well, I'm sure that when Dubya gets back from Africa he'll, in his own special way, explain all this in a way that is clear and concise just like he did in Maryland a couple days ago when he was detailing his plan for reform of Head Start:
I appreciate the desire for flexibility, I support the governor's desire for flexibility so long as, one, federal monies going to the states are used only for Head Start. In other words, what we really don't want to do is say we're going to focus on Head Start, the Head Start money goes for, you know, the prison complex -- I know that won't happen with Governor Ehrlich, but there needs to be a guarantee that the federal money spent on Head Start, only go to Head Start. Secondly, states and local governments must put money into the program, which would lock in the Head Start money for Head Start. So, the flexibility given to the State would not allow the state's budget flexibility. Governors ought to have that flexibility to hope that Congress will provide that flexibility so that when the accountability systems kick in, fully kick in, that a governor can truthfully say, well, I've had the tools necessary to make sure the Head Start program fits into an overall comprehensive plan for literacy and math for every child in the state of Maryland, in Governor Ehrlich's case.

Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. President........

So while we're here wondering when the other shoe is going to drop, the Chimp-in-Chief has been knocking 'em dead down in Africa:
"We are very angry. We didn't even see him," said Fatou N'diaye, a necklace seller watching dignitaries file past to return to the mainland at the end of Bush's tour.

N'diaye and other residents of Goree, site of a famous slave trading station, said they had been taken to a football ground on the other side of the quaint island at 6 a.m. and told to wait there until Bush had departed, around midday.


"It's slavery all over again," fumed one father-of-four, who did not want to give his name. "It's humiliating. The island was deserted."

White House officials said the decision to remove the locals was taken by Senegalese authorities. But there was no doubt who the residents blamed.

"We never want to see him come here again," said N'diaye, hiking her loose gown onto her shoulders with a frown.

"When Clinton came, he shook hands, people danced," said former Mayor Urbain Alexandre Diagne.

And it's not just the locals on Goree Island that are unimpressed with Bushco:
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) - Rising anti-American sentiment fueled by discontent over the U.S.-led war in Iraq is casting a shadow over President Bush's visit to South Africa.
Scores of disgruntled South Africans have protested this week outside the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and the consulates in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

"The whole African tour is a diversion away from Iraq," said Shaheed Mahomed, the chairman of the Anti-War Coalition in Cape Town. "This do-gooder visit is in response to a new Vietnam syndrome rising, as more and more body bags go to the U.S."

Other protests by members of the governing African National Congress, the South African Communist Party, trade unions and civil society groups are planned during the visit that begins Tuesday night and ends Friday.

The growth of anti-American and anti-Bush sentiment in South Africa has been accelerated by recent criticism from former President Nelson Mandela.

"For anybody, especially the leader of a super state, to act outside the United Nations is something that must be condemned by everybody," Mandela said last month.

The Philidelphia Inquirer sees the mounting problems as "Whack-a-mole":
Uncomfortable facts about global warming pop up in an environmental report card. Whack!

Yellowstone National Park staffers tell a world treasures watchdog that the park is in trouble. Whack!

The Environmental Protection Agency discovers a senator's clean air bill is more effective than the President's. Whack!

But the moles are popping up faster than the Bush team can beat them back. Information is leaking out. A pattern of deception is emerging.

Despite their constant talk about "sound science," Bush administration officials keep manipulating or suppressing scientific information for political reasons. This censorship limits the ability of Congress and the American people to make informed public-policy choices. It needs to stop.

So, what's next for the Bush Admin? To get our minds off Iraq and WMDs what say we get back to provoking North Korea?
Australian and United States officials meeting in Brisbane next week will discuss an aggressive military operation to force down aircraft and board ships suspected of carrying prohibited weapons from North Korea, Iran, Syria and Libya.

"This is something very different from what we've done before," the US Under Secretary for Arms Control, John Bolton, said in Washington before leaving for the Brisbane meeting. "It's a much more robust approach to interrupting the flow of commerce in weapons of mass destruction."


The communist regime has reportedly said it will consider the interception of its ships an act of war. Mr Bolton dismissed this threat, saying: "The North Koreans are filled with bluster. We're not seeking to create provocation, we're seeking to solve the problem of WMD proliferation."

Mr Bolton said planes could be forced down to a "safe landing" and inspected on the ground. Asked what would happen if an aircraft refused to land, he said there were a number of options but using military aircraft to force it to land was one.

Now...go read The Daily Howler. That's an order......