Friday, July 29, 2005

Iraqi Police being trained by Americans in proper treatment of prisoners ...

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq police accused of torture
The return to torture and killing by the security forces is another embarrassment for the American and British governments, which have partly justified the invasion of Iraq on the grounds of ending the kind of abuses committed by Saddam Hussein's regime.
What is also a major concern is that the minority Sunni Muslim community who used to control Iraq believe they are now being deliberately targeted by the Shia-dominated police force.
The insurgency is led by militant Sunnis whereas the government is now led by the majority Shia.
In their brutal campaign of violence, the insurgents have focused their attacks on Shia and members of the Iraqi security forces in order to provoke sectarian conflict.
If the security forces respond with torture and extra-judicial killings, it could lead to exactly what the insurgents want - full-blown sectarian war.

Why I Am Not A Democrat.

"Liability Shield for Gunmakers Near Passage" Washington Post, 29 July 2005:
"Supporters believe they have the votes in the Senate to pass as early as today a bill making it virtually impossible for victims of gun violence to file civil suits against the industry -- a testimony to the political clout of gun manufacturers, which have become increasingly vulnerable to civil lawsuits in the District and several states. Twelve Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.), are joining with the Republicans to support the legislation."
My son, a Philadephia Eagles fan, just called because a player on his team was shot in Jeb Bush's gunnut paradise. Thank the mythical-bearded-father-of-jeebus-who-lives-in-the-clouds that he and/or his survivors, won't be able to sue a gun manufacturer.

WHIG of the Week -- Karen Hughes, our brand new Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Click here for the Buzzflash article:"Karen Hughes, Queen of the Spin-Doctors and Captain of the White House Smear Campaign", which has a short summary (with references) of her involvement in fulfilling the goals of the Downing Street Memo by helping to sell fixed Iraq intelligence and attacking war critics Richard Clarke and Joe Wilson.
But this week I guess we should wish her well in her new job. While fellow WHIGs Rove and Card and Libby and Hadley were getting raises this week, she was getting a new title:

Only two senators were in the room when Karen Hughes testified at her confirmation hearings. When it came time for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on her nomination yesterday, she was easily approved. And thus with no discussion and no debate, Hughes takes over the least noticed, least respected and possibly most important job in the State Department. Her formal title is undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs. In plain English, her job is to fight anti-Americanism, promote American culture and above all to do intellectual battle with the ideology of radical Islam, a set of beliefs so powerful that they can persuade middle-class, second-generation British Muslims to blow themselves up on buses and trains.
Presumably, President Bush selected Hughes for this task because she was very good at running his election campaigns. And indeed, in the testimony she gave last week to a nearly empty room, she sounded like she was still running an election campaign. ... (Anne Applebaum / Washington Post / 27 July 2005)

".... with no discussion and no debate ...." Thanks again Congress, for proving once more that it's not only the mainstream media that's at fault when it comes to sweeping the truth of our current crisis under the rug ...

crossposted at Whiggate Update


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Whiggate update. Is it possible that there were members of the White House Iraq Group working undercover in the press?

And is it possible that one of these outside, informal members of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) is already in jail for her key role in the fixing of intelligence and selling of the current quagmire to the American public?

from The Crisis Papers "Rove-Plame Scandal Leading to Deeper White House Horrors?" By Bernard Weiner, 19 July 2005:
"Why Judith Miller is not testifying apparently goes to the heart of Fitzgerald's case. There are reasonable grounds for wondering whether Miller might have been aiding, inadvertently or consciously, Rove and the rest of the WHIG to help move the country toward war with Iraq. For example, she may have been told by Administration officials about Plame and her CIA job, and helped spread that word to other journalists, who then contacted Rove and I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff. Cooper over the weekend revealed that it was Libby who was the second of the 'two senior administration officials' who leaked Plame's identity.

The New York Times already has apologized for running several of Miller's pre-Iraq War stories that were based on faulty weapons-of-mass-destruction intelligence; much of that concocted intel was provided by Ahmed Chalabi, the sleazy Iraqi exile leader who hitched his wagon to the Pentagon neo-cons to get his forces back into Iraq in the wake of a U.S. invasion. Those Miller stories helped provide the imprimatur of New York Times prestige that other media outlets then picked up on, helping create a nationwide zeitgeist of imminent threat from Iraq.

Indeed, Dick Cheney squared the circle by using Miller's stories as 'evidence' that even the hallowed New York Times had determined that Iraq had, or soon would have, nuclear weapons of mass destruction. [emphasis added]
The Times owes it to the nation to go far beyond apologizing for the fact that they were hijacked by WHIGs and Chalabi to sell the Iraq War with false intelligence. It needs to fully investigate and clearly tell the story of the White House Iraq Group. Their silence on this issue is more deafening than that of others. A search of their website today still shows zero hits for the phrase "White House Iraq Group". I'll keep checking and let you know on the big day when they finally catch up with the Washington Post (August 2003) and Newsday (March 2004).

crossposted at Whiggate Update

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Imagine the outcry if the Democrats or MoveOn or Michael Moore were to offer a cash reward leading the the indictment and conviction of Rove or Cheney - Chicago mayor subject of controversial reward offer - Jul 27, 2005: "The Cook County Republican Party is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an indictment and conviction of Mayor Richard M. Daley, whose administration has been buffeted by scandal...."
But they didn't mean it in a mean way, or a partisan way. They're just trying to perform a public service for the people of Illinois.
I'm not up on Chicago politics. I still think the current mayor's father was a prick based on my memory of the way he treated his Yippie visitors in 1968, but no political party should be putting a bounty on the head of one of their opponents. This sounds very much like my local New Jersey Republican Party, which, being similarly devoid of ideas (except to line the pockets of its corporate friends and sponsors), is screaming about nonexistent "scandals".
It is amazing that a party so afraid of leaks on a national level is trying to bribe (or create) leakers who have no interest in justice or the truth, but might be willing to share (or create) a story in order to be able to pay their rent.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The so-called "Global War on Terror®" is now the so-called "Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism®"

"U.S. Officials Retool Slogan for Terror War"
- 26 July 2005 - New York Times:
The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, senior administration and military officials said Monday.
In recent speeches and news conferences, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the nation's senior military officer have spoken of 'a global struggle against violent extremism' rather than 'the global war on terror,' which had been the catchphrase of choice. Administration officials say that phrase may have outlived its usefulness, because it focused attention solely, and incorrectly, on the military campaign.
Note how badly they want to control the language of the present apocalypse, and how supine we and our media sources of information have been in accepting their language. The international media almost always called attention to the abstract entity the Bush Administration up until recently called "the war on terror" by placing it in quotation marks or prefacing it with the "so-called" label that pointed out that wars on abstract concepts are doomed to fail. Note how when their language isn't working, they do not change their actions, they just change the phrase that has garnered unfavorable attention or poll numbers (Social Security Privatization anyone?). Or at least they try to. We can't let them. If they control the language (Death Tax, Partial Birth Abortion, Hillarycare), then we lose.
We need to control the language of the current scandal too. We can't let it be reduced to "Rovegate" or "Plamegate," because that story will end when Karl is frogmarched from the West Wing. "Iraqgate" belongs to Reagan and Bush Senior and their arming of Saddam, "Wargate" is too general (and probably a video game) .... I still like Whiggate, because I think that as soon as you start explaining who the WHIGs are (they make Nixon's Plumbers looks like penny-ante thieves in comparison), you've linked the aims of the Downing Street Memo, the White House Iraq Group's conspiracy to falsify the reasons for war, and the outing of Valerie Plame to cover up those falsifications, in one narrative. "Rovegate"suggests a deceptively simple isolated story, which ends when the long-awaited frogmarch finally takes place. Whiggate forces you to ask, Who's next? Card, Libby, Cheney ... ? It has the feel and power of Watergate to reach farther and farther up the ladder, with the end target being obvious. Also, we can make up t-shirts that say "W stands for Whiggate."
What do you think?
True Blue Liberal

Catapulting the Propaganda again - U.S. military admits error in news releases - Jul 25, 2005:
The U.S. military expressed regret Monday for issuing news releases about two separate attacks in Iraq that included almost identical quotes attributed to an unidentified Iraqi.
From July 24:
''The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,'' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified.
From July 13:
''The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,'' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. ''They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.''
The one-Iraqi-who-prefers-not-to-be-identified sure gets around, and sure sounds like he gets his talking points from Karl Rove. Although he should be reprimanded for forgetting to point out that "they hate our freedom".
But no one is stupid enough to believe a press release from Rumsfeld's Pentagon, are they? It should now be clear that they have all the credibility of Baghdad Bob (or any official department of war propaganda catapultation).
blue flightsuit
But don't worry, because soon we'll all join our
Dear Leader in proudly saying
"Mission Accomplished" and we'll thank him
for his wonderful prescience & shepherding skills.
Baa Baa.

Monday, July 25, 2005

"Here's the Church, Here's the Steeple, Open the Doors and See all the . . . .

. . . . Sheeple!"

The Culture Ghost makes the point in his most recent post that it's helpful when commenting on some of the less perceptive religious, political, and cultural opinions of our fellow citizens to have a picture of zombies or the undead on hand for illustrative purposes.
Might I make another suggestion?
Especially a flock of sheep behind a locked gate waiting for the arrival of their shepherd,
blue flightsuitwho will tell them where to go, and how to think.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Three cheers for the Downing Street Memo's third birthday!!

Little George Jr., saddled with the adulterer's sweater and megaphone and forced to play the role of school clown sez:

Hip Hip Hooray
(Please look the other way ..)
Yay Yay Yay
(..make the "Memo" go away)

Happy Birthday little Downing Street Memo, and thanks for all your help. We'll try to make you proud.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Richard "Dick" Cheney in Staten Island NY on Monday. Out of his secret bunker and bringing his special brand of fun to the blue states!

Peace Action of Staten Island is inviting people in the New York area to join them this coming Monday as Vice President Dick Cheney speaks at a fundraising event for Rep. Vito Fossella. Here are the details: Monday, July 25th at 6 pm at the Excelsior Grand, 2380 Hylan Blvd. in New Dorp, Staten Island (if you are coming from the Staten Island Ferry, take the S78 bus to Otis Ave. and Hylan Blvd).

Here's the Resolution of Inquiry into Iraq War Planning introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee in advance of Downing Street Memo Day

Click here for full text & co-sponsors:Rep. Lee Introduces Resolution of Inquiry into Iraq War Planning |

Here's a highlight from the Resolution that seems clear and reasonable enough:
"... The President is requested to transmit to the House of Representatives all documents, including telephone and electronic mail records, logs, calendars, minutes, and memos, in the possession of the President relating to communications with officials of the United Kingdom from January 1, 2002, to October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq, including any discussions or communications between the President or other Administration officials and officials of the United Kingdom that occurred before the meeting on July 23, 2002, at 10 Downing Street in London, England, between Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom intelligence officer Richard Dearlove, and other national security officials of the Blair Administration"
Here's a link to the full document in beautiful, official, suitable-for-framing pdf format.
And I'd like to thank my Representative, Frank Pallone, for being one of the 26 original sponsors of this important Resolution. If your Representative hasn't signed on to support this Resolution yet, please contact him or her about it.

Whiggate Update. "Plamegate" began with the Downing Street Memo in July 2002, not with the leaking of Valerie Plame's name in July 2003

"For Two Aides in Leak Case, 2nd Issue Rises"
- New York Times - 22 July 2005:
"...A federal grand jury investigation is under way by a special counsel to determine whether someone illegally leaked the officer's identity and possibly into whether perjury or obstruction of justice occurred during the inquiry.
People who have been briefed on the case said the White House officials, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby, were helping prepare what became the administration's primary response to criticism that a flawed phrase about the nuclear materials in Africa had been in Mr. Bush's State of the Union address six months earlier.
They had exchanged e-mail correspondence and drafts of a proposed statement by George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, to explain how the disputed wording had gotten into the address. Mr. Rove, the president's political strategist, and Mr. Libby, the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, coordinated their efforts with Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, who was in turn consulting with Mr. Tenet.
At the same time, they were grappling with the fallout from an Op-Ed article on July 6, 2003, in The New York Times by Mr. Wilson, a former diplomat, in which he criticized the way the administration had used intelligence to support the claim in Mr. Bush's speech.... [emphasis of, and links to, WHIG member names added]
This scandal started at least three years ago with the meeting described in The Downing Street Memo at which the fixing of facts and intelligence about WMDs (especially nonexistent nuclear WMDs) was clearly discussed, not two years ago with the breaking of Valerie Plame's CIA cover by Republican scribe Robert Novak. It continued with the formation of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) in August 2002 to sell the War to the American people. Was the White House Iraq Group still in existence in July 2003? Was it still having meetings when Wilson's Op-Ed piece appeared in the Times to poke a hole in their fabric of lies? Or is it just coincidence that at least three known WHIGs coordinated the response to Wilson? Isn't it this group that will tie the goals discussed in The Downing Street Memo clearly to the means used by Rove and Libby (and others? Card, Fleisher, Bolton, Cheney, Rice ... ? ) in trying to discredit Ambassador Wilson? The Times is wrong in its headline on today's article to say that a "2nd Issue Arises" in the case of Rove and Libby. This is all part of the same simple sad story of a war based on deceit. This isn't just the story of Rovegate that will end with the long-awaited frogmarch. This isn't just the story of Plamegate that will end with the names of two leakers.
Whiggate anyone?
True Blue Liberal

will you be lucky one millionth visitor to "skippy the bush kangaroo"?

skippy the bush kangaroo's counter is at 998,801 as i type this. will you be the first of skippy's visitors in seven figures? will skippy give you a prize if you are? i don't know. all i know is that the kangaroo will pass the milestone today, and that you can help him do it (check back here in about ten years when I threaten to pass the same milestone).

Richard "Dick" Cheney in Princeton NJ at 4pm this afternoon to raise money for "Doug" Forrester. Welcome him with signs and songs and shouted "hellos"

There are links to the event here at Jon Corzine's campaign website, but "", the official website for New Jersey's Republican gubernatorial hopeful, has removed all references to the help that they are receiving from their good friends Dick Cheney and Karl Rove (who was in Rumson one month ago hanging out with his fat rich friends). If Forrester doesn't want his name linked with these malefactors, then maybe he should give their money back too, shouldn't he?

Let's put a spike in this graph today. Post early and often on the Downing Street Memo on this, the eve of the Memo's 3rd birthday.

Click here on the Truth Laid Bear topics page then click on the Downing Street Memo section.

Happy Birthday little Memo and thanks for providing a context with which to understand and explain the indefensible actions of Rove & Bush & Cheney & the WHIGs & other bellicose co-conspirators.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

"Iraqgate" is not an available name for the current scandal in Washington. It is already used for the illegal Reagan/Bush Sr. effort to arm Saddam

Click here for the 1995 report, "Iraqgate: Confession and Cover-Up," by Robert Parry. This short article is a great lesson in the way Washington and the press work together. In this case we had strong evidence of CIA wrongdoing (specifically using Teledyne and a Chilean arms supplier to give Saddam cluster bombs) under the direction of Reagan and Bush Sr., but that evidence was suppressed by a third President, Clinton, and the press ignored it in favor of the O.J. trial (shades of Michael Jackson overshadowing the Downing Street Memo?) I can't help quoting the last few paragraphs of the article:
[...] a New Yorker article [...] asserted that Vice President George Bush in 1986 urged Saddam Hussein to intensify his air war against Iran--in order to increase Iran's demand for U.S.- made anti-aircraft weapons. Appearing two weeks before the '92 election, the New Yorker article was attacked in the conservative press. On the Wall Street Journal's editorial page (10/28/94), Steven Emerson mocked the article as a "Byzantine conspiracy theory."
In one of those post-modern political moments, fictional reporters in the "Doonesbury" comic strip questioned Bush about the New Yorker story. But no real-life reporter covering the Bush campaign asked the president about his tactical air-war advice to Saddam. Now, however, Teicher has corroborated much of the Waas/Unger story.
Given the significance of the Teledyne trial and Teicher's affidavit in judging the actions and integrity of the Reagan/Bush and Clinton administrations, why the near-total press blackout?
Part of it is the power of "conventional wisdom"--Washington insiders have decided that Iraqgate didn't happen, so any evidence to the contrary doesn't register. Another reason might be the residual fear of conservative attacks against journalists who plumb the crimes of the Reagan/Bush era too deeply. It's easier to dismiss such issues as "ancient history"--a term that somehow doesn't get applied to stories about 15-year-old Arkansas land deals.
There's also the media's expectation of star-quality in the age of O.J. After all, the two Teledyne defendants were just anonymous mid-level corporate officials. And besides, the federal judiciary does not permit cameras into the courtrooms. [emphasis added]
It's interesting isn't it. There are a couple of things that I take out of this other than the fact that the Right always screams "conspiracy theory" when discovered, the media hasn't really changed, and the fact that "Iraqgate" as a term belongs to Saint Ronnie the Dim (but Bush The Younger is entitled to Rovegate, Plamegate, Whiggate and more to come).
1) As long as Left Blogostan has anything to say about it, "Washington Insiders" will no longer be able to unilaterally decide that something didn't happen. Look at the way they tried to decide that the Downing Street Memo hadn't surfaced.
2) The press must now start to harbor a residual fear of LIBERAL attacks against journalists who don't plumb the crimes of the Reagan/Bush/Bush era deeply enough.

A WHIGgate update. OK, so maybe this article doesn't use the WHIGgate tag, but it tells the same story of the Downing Street Memo in action.

"Rove-Plame Scandal Leads To Greater White House Horrors?", by Bernard Weiner - Democratic Underground, 19 July 2005:
It would appear that this scandal goes way beyond Karl Rove and who said what to whom when about Ms. Plame. It certainly is true, though, that turning over that slimy Rove-Plame rock was the way into the larger issues upon which Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and his grand jury apparently are focusing.
(Ain't it almost always so in Washington? The cover-up is always a greater problem for the perpetrators than the original crime, for inevitably even seamier scandals are unearthed one by one; see the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, Iran-Contra, et al. The moral lesson - admit your mistake early, bear the immediate hit, and move on unencumbered - rarely seems to "take" among politicians, of whatever party.)
What's being covered up in the Plame/Rove case seems to revolve around the Bush Administration's orchestrated propaganda campaign to justify its invasion of Iraq...
The WHIG [White House Iraq Group] played the public like masters, thanks in no doubt to their stooges and ideological supporters in the mainstream media, who joined in the fool-the-public campaign in major, influential ways. Those who chose not to play the deception game, such as Ambassador Wilson, they decided, would be made to pay the price for their perfidy - and the trash-Joe-Wilson campaign continues until this day. [...]
Read this whole Bernard Weiner article. Maybe I have a vested interest in the WHIGgate term, because I don't see any references to it predating my posting from last Tuesday, but I really don't care what this story ends up being called (though it needs to be something short and snappy) as long as it's clear that it is a story, and that the story only begins with Karl Rove, so I think that "Plamegate" or "Rovegate" suggests a short story with a clear ending when Rove is frogmarched from the West Wing. "Whig-gate" or "Iraq-gate" or "War-gate" suggest a much longer story with a much wider frame.
Those of us who are interested in telling this story of how the second US--Iraq war was sold on false pretenses need to understand (as much as possible without much help from the MSM) how the Downing Street Memo, the White House Iraq Group, and the smearing of Joe Wilson by WHIGs Libby and Rove are all part of the exact same narrative. Because, as WHIG founder Andrew Card confessed to the New York Times, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August.", we may not get attention for this big story of the Downing Street Memo In Action until the fall, or later, but we need to be ready when the media spotlight finally turns that way. In their case they didn't start selling their New Improved Iraq War until they could wrap themselves in 9/11 before the UN and cause maximum damage in the 2002 midterms. In our case, we need to use these dog days of summer to get these facts straight in our own minds because there are going to be concerted efforts on the other side to declare this story over every time there's one removal of an overzealous leaker from the Administration or one sealed grand jury report filed. This story doesn't end until the buck stops in Bush's Oval Office and Cheney's Secret Bunker.
To be continued . . .
True Blue Liberal

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Have the Conservatives noticed yet that their new guy John G. Roberts does not seem to fit their mold?

Where the f*** is his obligatory flag jewelry.

How the f*** are we supposed to know he's a Republican if he doesn't wear the Red White 'n' Blue® on his regulation dark lapel.

How dare he appear in an underdressed state even when he's appearing with The Fearless Leader in The White House?? These pictures are from yesterday during his introduction by el Presidente.

Does anyone have a picture of him in proper patriotic attire?

And shouldn't the justices of the Supreme Court have flags sewn onto the sleeves of their black robes?

Just Asking,
True Blue Liberal

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Some of us accept facts. Some of us live in a more malleable world where "facts" are "fixed" or "done"

The quote of the day from 18 July 2005 from (emphasis added):
PRESIDENT BUSH: We have a serious ongoing investigation here. (Laughter.) And it's being played out in the press. And I think it's best that people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. And I will do so, as well. I don't know all the facts. I want to know all the facts. The best place for the facts to be done is by somebody who's spending time investigating it. I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts, and if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.
Just another mindless ungrammatical nonsensical Bushism? Or in the Bush/Cheney White House are "facts" understood to be mere arbitrary constructs to be created and manipulated to fit the changing needs of an omnipotent spin machine?
Compare the similar treatment of "facts" in the Downing Street Memo of 23 July 2002 (with emphasis added):
Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister for pointing out the presidential grammatical "misstep" in yesterday's short meeting with the press.

The NRA should hold its convention in some state that actually voted for the Bushies. - "Assault weapons ban triggers NRA cancellation" - 19 July 2005. Columbus, Ohio is located in a "red state" on a technicality. Let the NRA conventioneers bring their assault weapons to Texas or Wyoming where their presence fits more closely with the philosophy of the natives and where they can ogle the lubricated barrels of each other's weapons without threat that the local constabulary will pry their semi-automatic rifles from their cold dead hands.

(There have been a lot of visitors to TBL lately, but very few of them have been commenting. Maybe THIS post will attract some comments. Gun Nuts -- yes, I mean you -- are psychologically incapable of keeping their mouths and keyboards quiet when they are told that they are using a .357 magnum to compensate for a lack of anatomical size elsewhere, or when the name of their God, Charlton Heston, is taken in vain. Charlton Heston couldn't even stop a gang of effete British apes from taking over the earth, so what good is he?)
Now let me have it,
True Blue Liberal

Monday, July 18, 2005

No. 10 Downing Street pre-emptively blocks a senior diplomat's book on Iraq that could help place The Downing Street Memo in its proper context

From The Observer | Politics | No 10 blocks envoy's book on Iraq:
"A controversial fly-on-the wall account of the Iraq war by one of Britain's most senior former diplomats has been blocked by Downing Street and the Foreign Office.

Publication of The Costs of War by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador to the UN during the build-up to the 2003 war and the Prime Minister's special envoy to Iraq in its aftermath, has been halted. In an extract seen by The Observer, Greenstock describes the American decision to go to war as 'politically illegitimate' and says that UN negotiations 'never rose over the level of awkward diversion for the US administration'.[ . . .]
Here's a repressive power of Tony Blair's I bet Bush envies. Bush has to rely on his blind faith in the fact that the American media will continue to ignore the question of war aims, and that American people will continue not to care how we were dragged into the current war. But what if Colin Powell finally decides to tell all? Until then ...
Remember Downing Street Memo day on June 23,
True Blue Liberal

Attention Brave Citizens of Rovemania: What Are Your Plans for Downing Street Memo Day, July 23?

Because some prominent internet service providers (notably Comcast) and spam blockers (Brightmail) have been "innocently" protecting us from many e-mails that contain the offensive term "", here is a link to events taking place on the third anniversary of the meeting whose minutes were recorded in The Downing Street Memo: "DSM Day - July 23, 2005 |". If you have your own blog, pass this link on, and mention it often between now and this Saturday.

George's ventriloquist gets his dummy to say, "The What Street Memo?" has a page about the July 23rd Town Hall Event here: "July 23 NYC: Torture and Lies - Who Is Accountable?"
I'm especially glad that Congressman Conyers is explicitly linking Rovegate to the Downing Street Memo. A push on the DSM now from those of us in the liberal blogosphere can help to connect the two and frame the issue of Karl Rove's exposure of Valerie Plame as part of the larger pattern to discredit all intelligence (like Joe Wilson's factfinding trip to Niger) that did not fit their preordained march to war. DSM Day should not distract from the push to expose Rove's crimes and an examination of Karl Rove's prominent role in selling the war through the White House Iraq Group (WHIG); attention to the Downing Street Memo at this time should simply help more people connect the dots of this story of the illegal and immoral march to a war of choice, rather than focussing only on the distracting legalistic details of "who told who what when about Valerie Plame, and whether or not she was mentioned by name".
Happy DSM Day,

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You don't have to wait until 2006 to show what you think about Rovian political tactics. Karl Rove is hard at work in NJ in 2005.

Karl Rove has personally visited the wealthy Republican enclave of Rumson, New Jersey within the past month to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the campaign of millionaire GOP (rhymes with slop) gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester. If you find it unseemly that Doug should be financing his negative campaign against Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jon Corzine with money from a man who would expose a CIA agent to further his current boss's war plans, then please sign this petition asking "that Doug Forrester give back the money that Karl Rove raised for him, or explain why he condones Rove’s actions. Potentially criminal behavior compromising national security should never be endorsed by any political candidate. New Jersey deserves better."
Thanks to Blanton's and Ashton's for the link to the petition. The GOP is already making the 2005 race for Governor of New Jersey a national effort. Please think about doing what you can to embarrass them even if you're not lucky enough to live in the Garden State.

Look who wants to be the next Joe Lieberman, Guardian Of America's Youth Against Popular Culture

BBC NEWS | 14 July 2005 | Clinton wades into GTA sex storm:
As well as seeking to find out who put the content in the game, Senator Clinton wants the FTC to find out if the game has been given the wrong rating by the ESRB.
Senator Clinton also wants to find out if game stores are doing enough to stop minors getting hold of the game.
With all the crimes and violence coming out of the Bush Administration, she's worried about Grand Theft Auto? Well, if it's games you're after, then worry about this obscene, free, government-sponsored video game Senator Clinton. Worry about whether we're doing enough to stop the US Army from getting hold of minors with sleazy dishonest sales pitches.

"Abu Ghraib Tactics Were First Used at Guantanamo" Washington Post / A new ribbon magnet for your SUV "Support the Troops but Fuck the Generals"

Cuff him Dan-O!
Here are the first and last paragraphs of an article you should read in full here: "Abu Ghraib Tactics Were First Used at Guantanamo" / Washington Post / 14 July 2005:
Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The techniques, approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for use in interrogating Mohamed Qahtani [...] were used at Guantanamo Bay in late 2002 as part of a special interrogation plan aimed at breaking down the silent detainee.
[... the important middle of the article gives more details, shows how the techniques migrated from Gitmo to Iraq, and tells how generals protected generals in the military "investigation" of this systematic and systemic torture ...]
Some Republicans [...] said the alleged abuses occurred in just a small fraction of cases. They noted that there have been 24,000 interrogations at Guantanamo Bay and highlighted recent improvements at the facility. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) called the Guantanamo abuse relatively 'minor incidents' that should not be a matter of national interest.[ about INTERnational interest. Nuremberg Trials anyone?]
Look, just because Senator Pat Roberts, Republican from the flatlands, regularly wears women's underwear on his head and a dog leash around his neck while playing with his herd of snarling Dobermans, that doesn't mean the rest of us consider this government-sanctioned mistreatment of prisoners "minor" or "American" or "human". Amnesty International didn't go far enough in its condemnations. There are some generals and "intelligence" officers and analysts and interrogators and at least one cabinet member who need to be taking the place of Lynndie England and Charles Graner (whose only deviation from accepted operating procedures appears to have been the use of a digital camera) before the bar of justice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

WHIGgate. Is the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) the key piece of connective tissue for connecting the Rove/Plame story to the Downing Street Memo?

There's been some worry expressed among those trying to keep the Downing Street Memo in the public eye that the Karl Rove story will distract the mainstream media just as it was starting to show some interest. But read this recent interview from Citizens for Legitimate Government: Joseph Wilson on Bush Crowd: "A Real Threat to Our Republic." This interview with Valerie Plame's husband seems like an important piece of the puzzle because it connects, by name, the Downing Street Memo, with its insistence on "fixing the intelligence" to fit preordained war plans, with the outing of his wife because Wilson's intelligence and analysis didn't fit the "intelligence" they needed about Iraq's nuclear intentions and capabilities. But, even better, it extends the story into the White House Iraq Group (WHIGgate anyone?).
I wrote in my book that there was a conspiracy in the White House to find out everything they could about me and then use it against me. I think the logical place to look for the conspiracy is in the White House Iraq group (WHIG) which included Rove, Scooter Libby, Karen Hughes, Ari Fleischer and others. I don’t know who among them might have been the leaker or authorized the leak.

The full list of WHIG members is very heavy with people with ZERO intelligence background but lots of experience in political spinning and dirty tricks. This Washington Post article from August 10, 2003 seems like a good place to start digging.
'Educating the Public'
Systematic coordination began in August [2002, right after the DSM was written], when Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. formed the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, to set strategy for each stage of the confrontation with Baghdad. A senior official who participated in its work called it "an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities."
In an interview with the New York Times published Sept. 6, Card did not mention the WHIG but hinted at its mission. "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," he said.
The group met weekly in the Situation Room. Among the regular participants were Karl Rove, the president's senior political adviser; communications strategists Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin and James R. Wilkinson; legislative liaison Nicholas E. Calio; and policy advisers led by Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, along with I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.
The first days of September would bring some of the most important decisions of the prewar period: what to demand of the United Nations in the president's Sept. 12 address to the General Assembly, when to take the issue to Congress, and how to frame the conflict with Iraq in the midterm election campaign that began in earnest after Labor Day.
A "strategic communications" task force under the WHIG began to plan speeches and white papers. There were many themes in the coming weeks, but Iraq's nuclear menace was among the most prominent.
'A Mushroom Cloud'
The day after publication of Card's marketing remark, Bush and nearly all his top advisers began to talk about the dangers of an Iraqi nuclear bomb. . . .
The story of Rove (or other WHIGs) outing Plame is the story of the Downing Street Memo in action. Period. Come on Boys and Girls of the press, Scott McClellan is not going to answer any questions about Karl Rove, so ask him about WHIG! See if you can get him on the record!
Just a suggestion,
True Blue Liberal

Addendum, 13 July, 8:30am: Here's a quick link to a reference page on the White House Iraq Group, with further links to information about all its members.
Addendum, 26 July, 10:50am: The link to the Washington Post story isn't working up above and it doesn't show up with a search of their site, but Truthout has the text posted here.


Blood in the Water, a primary-source document on the continuing shark attacks of the summer of 2005 --- "Great Summer Beach Reading!" sez TBL

Click here, print this out, and read it at the local beach or pool and feel free to laugh and cringe at the good parts. Everyone loves a good story about the circling and feeding frenzies of the sharks when there's blood in the water.

Following the blueprint laid out for such things in the early seventies, once the sharks finish with devouring of the contents of Karl Rove's malodorous skin, the next target needs to be Spiro "Ted" Agnew ... sorry, I mean Richard "Dick" Cheney.

Most of the questions about Rove were answered with the same "ongoing investigation" boilerplate ("I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked relating to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing"), but one question about Karl Rove was answered in yesterday's press briefing:

Q One follow-up. Considering the widespread interest and the absolutely frantic Democrat reaction to Karl Rove's excellent speech to conservatives last month, does the President hope that Karl will give a lot more speeches?

MR. McCLELLAN: He continues to give speeches. He was traveling this weekend talking about the importance of strengthening Social Security. And he has continued to go out and give speeches.

Here's my question. How did Jeff Gannon get back into the press pool?? He'd better watch out swimming in that bloody water or the sharks will get him too!

Do I need to point out that I'm rootin' for the sharks?
True Blue Liberal

Monday, July 11, 2005

McClellan finds himself suddenly speechless when asked about the pudgy pasty-faced red-state Rasputin behind our Terror Czar (aka Commander-in-Chief)

"White House Won't Comment on Rove"
- New York Times
- 11 July 2005:
''The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium,'' McClellan said said in response to a barrage of questions about Rove and the previous White House denials.

''I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said,'' McClellan said. ''And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time.'' He said the appropriate time would be when the investigation is completed [and the evil little troll who spreads fear through the government and its embedded media stenographers is safely stored away in some Federal Country Club for Republican and Other White Collar "Criminals"].

"London bombs need calm response" from the BBC's John Simpson. "There are no short cuts to proper justice ... "

Please read this column from John Simpson, the BBC World Affairs Editor, in light of Karl Rove's famous statement contrasting American Conservatives' lust for war and revenge versus Liberals' desire for legal justice and understanding: BBC NEWS | 11 July 2005 | "London bombs need calm response". After describing London's reaction to the most recent bombings, he discusses the wrong way to respond to political violence:
. . . The first British response to IRA violence was the worst. The IRA was identified as an enemy which had to be destroyed.
In 1972, the British Army fired into the crowd at a big demonstration in the city of Derry, killing 14 innocent people.
There were undercover killings of IRA volunteers later, and a team of three IRA people were summarily executed when they were caught on an operation in Gibraltar.
All these things did was to convince many people in Northern Ireland that the British Government operated on the same low moral level as the IRA itself.
Fortunately, there was another strategy as well; and this one worked. It was to treat political violence like any other crime.
Painstaking police work caught the people who set the bombs; and when, in fits of panic and dishonesty, the wrong people were arrested and jailed, it was necessary to right the wrongs publicly - no matter how painful and damaging the results might be.
There are no short cuts to proper justice, just as there are no short cuts to decent government.
Slowly, people throughout Ireland realised that the IRA, and the Protestant militia groups which had grown up in imitation of them, had nothing to offer but violence and chaos. It was the effective end of the IRA.
Countering political violence isn't easy. It takes rigid self-discipline on the part of government and people. And it takes a degree of proportion and self-awareness too. Thursday was a terrible day for London; yet we mustn't forget that much the same number of people died that day in Iraq, and no one dedicated acres of newsprint to them.
We must hunt the bombers down, because they have committed a vicious crime against society. But we mustn't throw away the calm and self-possession which every decent society needs. It's not weakness; it's our greatest strength.
At least the British goverment, in their earlier iron- and hamfisted overreaction to the IRA, actually committed its mistakes in Ireland. Our current conservative government left the Saudi Arabian home of our attackers intact and invaded a nation that had nothing at all to do with the crimes of September 11, 2001, using September 11, 2001 as its implicit rationale. Even though the Blair government was stupid enough to follow Bush into Iraq, I don't think we'll see them invading Syria or Iran with a battle cry of "Remember 7.7.2005!".

I guess it's a good thing for McClellan and Rove (and too bad for the rest of us) that they weren't under oath when they answered these questions!

Click Here for Billmon's "Vouching for Karl" on This Modern World where the relevant lies and denials are quoted (with links) in chronological order.
More of Billmon on the pudgy Rasputin's outing of Valerie Plame here at The Whiskey Bar.

Stating the obvious

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Friday, July 08, 2005

... fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and .... naughties? Can't our powerful leaders and media tell us what to call this awful decade?

It's not just the English language that's having this problem. I ran across an article in German this afternoon: "(K)ein Name für diese Dekade," in SPIEGEL ONLINE. Do we have to wait for VH1 to start running its nostagia shows about this decade's pop stars in 2010 before there's a general consensus on what to call this decade of war and incipient fascism (and the coming sixties-like backlash against them)? Here are some suggestions published in January 2000, but none seem to have stuck even though we're more than five years past the big millenium fireworks displays. Do you have a label you use for the current decade without feeling self-conscious when using it? I'm just curious, because I don't. (And will the "Teens" begin in 2010? Or will we have to wait until 2013?)

[update @ 2:24pm: Wikipedia's artice on the current decade lists more possible names, but points out that this span of ten years "lacks an accepted name". I'm going to cast my vote for The Naughties, and I think it will take hold once these neo-Sixties finally get up a head of steam. After all, even The Sixties didn't really get started until 1967.]

Thursday, July 07, 2005

regarding this morning's bombings in London . . .

<< ... the truth is that every morning war is declared anew. Thus those who wish to continue it are as guilty as those who started it, perhaps more so, for the latter may not perhaps have foreseen the full horror of it. >>

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Eyes of a Weasel

Do you honestly believe this man would have any trouble exposing one CIA agent in order to help sell his boss's war?
blue karl

See the latest Conyers letter to the White House here.

Here's proof that 18- to 22-year-old Republican interns Support Our Troops® with more than just lapel flags and the magnetic yellow ribbons!

Click here: village voice > news > This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow

The Runaway Bride® might be fast out of the gate, but she doesn't have the stamina or endurance of the Downing Street Memo

Anyone who visited True Blue Liberal last month saw that I was haphazardly tracking three search terms on I made my first check on June 2 simply to dramatize the point that the mainstream media were totally ignoring the issues of war and peace raised by the Downing Street Memo in favor of trivial entertainment, but the trend of increased media interest was surprisingly positive all month long. This morning I logged on (after a few days of computer neglect) and saw that a seemingly impossible milestone was passed.
Here are the results from 8:00 am edt on 7/6/05 compared to my first check at 8:15 am edt on 6/2/05:

"Downing Street Memo" -- 2,310 hits (UP since last check and rising consistently from 288 hits on June 2nd).
"Runaway Bride" -- 1,630 hits (DOWN precipitously from 5,260 hits on 6/2, and continuing its dramatic fall, which can't be good news at all for all those Runaway Bride® book deals, fashion dolls, and made for Lifetime movies).
"Michael Jackson" -- 20,800 hits (DOWN from 21,400 hits on 6/2, and way down from a peak close to 50,000 right after his trial) .

Hey Kids! Take heart from this classic variation on the tortoise and the hare fable. We should be proud of our part in keeping this story alive.