Saturday, August 21, 2004



People recoil, proof stares us in the face every day.
Sat Aug 21, 2004 22:13;article=63463;title=APFN

People recoil at the suggestion but proof stares us in the face every day.


Hey Everyone,

We at last are starting to see the mainstream press do
some truth reporting!

They are starting to get it, maybe?
Here are a few good stories:

"The Plan"

Give thanks and send some praises to these guys for this story!!!

May the truths prevail before the chinga hits the fan.
Stay on the browbeating of the press to get them to
bring forth all truths!!!!







I Tried To Be Patriotic!


Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (50 U.S.C. 421 et seq.)
(governing disclosures that could expose confidential Government agents)

They knew Saddam and bin Laden were not collaborating.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004




Bush Zones Go National

by Jim Hightower

At the 2000 GOP nominating convention in Philadelphia, candidate Bush created a fenced-in, out-of-sight protest zone that could only hold barely 1,500 people at a time. So citizens who wished to give voice to their many grievances with the Powers That Be had to:
(1) Schedule their exercise of First Amendment rights with the decidedly unsympathetic authorities.
(2) Report like cattle to the protest pen at their designated time, and only in the numbers authorized.

(3) Then, under the recorded surveillance of the authorities, feel free to let loose with all the speech they could utter within their allotted minutes (although no one--not Bush, not convention delegates, not the preening members of Congress, not the limousine-gliding corporate sponsors and certainly not the mass media--would be anywhere nearby to hear a single word of what they had to say).
Imagine how proud the Founders would be of this interpretation of their revolutionary work. The Democrats, always willing to learn useful tricks from the opposition, created their own "free-speech zone" when they gathered in Los Angeles that year for their convention.
Once ensconced in the White House, the Bushites institutionalized the art of dissing dissent, routinely dispatching the Secret Service to order local police to set up FSZs to quarantine protesters wherever Bush goes. The embedded media trooping dutifully behind him almost never cover this fascinating and truly newsworthy phenomenon, instead focusing almost entirely on spoon-fed soundbites from the President's press office.
An independent libertarian writer, however, James Bovard, chronicled George's splendid isolation from citizen protest in last December's issue of The American Conservative ( He wrote about Bill Neel, a retired steelworker who dared to raise his humble head at a 2002 Labor Day picnic in Pittsburgh, where Bush had gone to be photographed with worker-type people. Bill definitely did not fit the message of the day, for this 65-year-old was sporting a sign that said: The Bush Family Must Surely Love the Poor, They Made so Many of Us.
Ouch! Negative! Not acceptable! Must go!
Bill was standing in a crowd of pro-Bush people who were standing along the street where Bush's motorcade would pass. The Bush backers had all sorts of Hooray George-type signs. Those were totally okey-dokey with the Secret Service, but Neel's...well, it simply had to be removed.
He was told by the Pittsburgh cops to depart to the designated FSZ, a ballpark encased in a chain-link fence a third of a mile from Bush's (and the media's) path. Bill, that rambunctious rebel, refused to budge. So they arrested him for disorderly conduct, dispatched him to the luxury of a Pittsburgh jail and confiscated his offending sign.
At Bill's trial, a Pittsburgh detective testified that the Secret Service had instructed local police to confine "people that were making a statement pretty much against the President and his views." The district court judge not only tossed out the silly charges against Neel but scolded the prosecution: "I believe this is America. Whatever happened to 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it'?"
This was no isolated incident. Bovard also takes us to St. Louis, where George appeared last year. About 150 sign-toting protesters were shunted off to a zone where they could not be seen from the street, and--get ready to spin in your grave, Jimmy Madison--the media were not allowed to talk to them, and protesters were not allowed out of the protest zone to talk to the media.
Now meet Brett Bursey. He committed the crime of holding up a No War for Oil sign when sensitive George visited Columbia, South Carolina, last year. Standing amid a sea of pro-Bush signs in a public area, Bursey was commanded by local police to remove himself forthwith to the FSZ half a mile away from the action, even though he was already two football fields from where Bush was to speak. No, said Brett. So, naturally, they arrested him. Asked why, the officer said, "It's the content of your sign that's the problem."


Five months later, Brett's trespassing charge was tossed on the rather obvious grounds that--yoo-hoo!--there's no such thing as a member of the public trespassing on public property at a public event. But John Ashcroft is oblivious to the obvious, so the Justice Department of the United States of America (represented in this case by--can you stand it?--US Attorney Strom Thurmond Jr.) inserted itself into this local misdemeanor case, charging our man Brett with a federal violation of "entering a restricted area around the president." Great Goofy in the Sky--he was 200 yards away, surrounded by cheering Bushcalytes who were also in the "restricted area."

Ashcroft/Thurmond/Bush attempted to deny Bursey's lawyers access to Secret Service documents setting forth official policy on who gets stopped for criticizing the President, where, when and why. But Bursey finally obtained the documents and posted them on the South Carolina Progressive Network website,; they reveal that what the Secret Service did goes against official policy.
Then there's the "Crawford Contretemps." In May of 2003 a troupe of about 100 antiwar Texans were on their way by car to George W's Little Ponderosa, located about five miles outside the tiny town of Crawford. To get to Bush's place, one drives through the town--but the traveling protesters were greeted by a police blockade. They got out of their cars to find out what was up, only to be told by Police Chief Donnie Tidmore that they were violating a town ordinance requiring a permit to protest within the city limits.
But wait, they said, we're on our way to Bush's ranchette--we have no intention of protesting here. Logic was a stranger that day in Crawford, however, and Chief Tidmore warned them that they had three minutes to turn around and go back from whence they came, or else they'd be considered a demonstration, and, he reminded them, they had no permit for that. (Tidmore later said that he actually gave them seven minutes to depart, in order to be "as fair as possible.")
Five of the group tried to talk sense with Tidmore, but that was not possible. Their reward for even trying was to be arrested for refusing to disperse and given a night in the nearby McLennan County jail. The chief said he could've just given them a ticket, but he judged that arresting them was the only way to get them to move, claiming that they were causing a danger because of the traffic.
This February, the five were brought to trial in Crawford. Their lawyer asked Tidmore if someone who simply wore a political button reading "Peace" could be found in violation of Crawford's ordinance against protesting without a permit. Yes, said the chief. "It could be a sign of demonstration."
The five were convicted.
The Bushites are using federal, state and local police to conduct an undeclared war against dissent, literally incarcerating Americans who publicly express their disagreements with him and his policies. The ACLU and others have now sued Bush's Secret Service for its ongoing pattern of repressing legitimate, made-in-America protest, citing cases in Arizona, California, Virginia, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas--and coming soon to a theater near you!
If incarceration is not enough to deter dissenters, how about some old-fashioned goon-squad tactics like infiltration and intimidation of protesters? In May of 2002 Ashcroft issued a decree terminating a quarter-century-old policy that bans FBI agents from spying on Americans in their political meetings and churches.
Not only were federal agents "freed" by Bush and his attack dog Ashcroft to violate the freedoms (assembly, speech, privacy) of any and all citizens, but they were encouraged to do so. This unleashing of the FBI was done in the name of combating foreign terrorists. The Bushites loudly scoffed at complaints that agents would also be used to spy on American citizens for political purposes having nothing to do with terrorism. While officials scoffed publicly, however, an internal FBI newsletter quietly encouraged agents to increase surveillance of antiwar groups, saying that there were "plenty of reasons" for doing so, "chief of which it will enhance the paranoia endemic in such circles and will further service to get the point across that there is an FBI agent behind every mailbox."

Likewise, in May of last year, the Homeland Security Department waded butt-deep into the murky waters of political suppression, issuing a terrorist advisory to local law enforcement agencies. It urged all police officials to keep a hawk-eyed watch on any homelanders who [Warning: Do not read the rest of this sentence if it will shock you to learn that there are people like this in your country!] have "expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the US government."
MEMO TO TOM RIDGE, SECRETARY OF HSD: Sir, that's everyone. All 280 million of us, minus George Bush, you and the handful of others actually making the decisions. You've just branded every red-blooded American a terrorist. Maybe you should stick to playing with your color codes.
Last November, Ashcroft weighed back in with new federal guidelines allowing the FBI to make what amount to pre-emptive spying assaults on people. Much like the nifty Bush-Rumsfeld doctrine of attacking countries to pre-empt the possibility that maybe, someday, some way, those countries might pose a threat to the United States, the Bush-Ashcroft doctrine allows government gumshoes to spy on citizens and noncitizens alike without any indication that the spied-upon people are doing anything illegal. The executive directive gives the FBI authority to collect "information on individuals, groups, and organizations of possible investigative interest."
The language used by Ashcroft mouthpiece Mark Corallo to explain this directive is meant to be reassuring, but it is Orwell-level scary: What it means, says Corallo, is that agents "can do more research." "It emphasizes early intervention" and "allows them to be more proactive." Yeah, they get to do all that without opening a formal investigation (which sets limits on the snooping), much less bothering to get any court approval for their snooping. A proactive secret police is rarely a positive for people.
With the FBI on the loose, other police powers now feel free to join in the all-season sport of intimidating people. In Austin, even the Army was caught snooping on us. At a small University of Texas conference in February to discuss Islam in Muslim countries, two Army officers were discovered to be posing as participants. The next week two agents from the Army Intelligence and Security Command appeared on campus demanding a list of participants and trying to grill Sahar Aziz, the conference organizer. Alarmed by these intimidating tactics, Aziz got the help of a lawyer, and the local newspaper ran a story. The Army quickly went away--but a spokeswoman for the intelligence command refused even to confirm that the agents had been on campus, much less discuss why the US Army is involved in domestic surveillance and intimidation.
In California an antiwar group called Peace Fresno included in its ranks a nice young man named Aaron Stokes, who was always willing to be helpful. Unfortunately, Aaron died in a motorcycle wreck, and when his picture ran in the paper, Peace Fresno learned that he was really Aaron Kilner, a deputy with the sheriff's department. The sheriff said he could not discuss the specifics of Kilner's infiltration role, but that there was no formal investigation of Peace Fresno under way. He did insist, however, that there is potential for terrorism in Fresno County. "We believe that there is," the sheriff said ominously (and vaguely). "I'm not going to expand on it."
If the authorities think there is terrorist potential in Fresno (probably not real high on Osama's target list), then there is potential everywhere, and under the Bush regime, this is plenty enough reason for any and all police agencies to launch secret campaigns to infiltrate, investigate and intimidate any and all people and groups with politics that they find even mildly suspicious...or distasteful.

The attitude of police authorities was summed up by Mike van Winkle, a spokesperson for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (another spinoff of the Homeland Security Department--your tax dollars at work). After peaceful antiwar protesters in Oakland were gassed and shot by local police, van Winkle [Note: I do not make up these names] explained the prevailing thinking of America's new, vast network of antiterrorist forces:

You can make an easy kind of link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that protest. You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act. I've heard terrorism described as anything that is violent or has an economic impact. Terrorism isn't just bombs going off and killing people.


Conclusion: They knew they were misleading America.

Conclusion: They knew they were misleading America.

They Knew

by David Sirota and Christy Harvey
August 4, 2004

If desperation is ugly, then Washington, D.C. today is downright hideous.

As the 9/11 Commission recently reported, there was "no credible evidence" of a collaborative relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. Similarly, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. With U.S. casualties mounting in an election year, the White House is grasping at straws to avoid being held accountable for its dishonesty.

The whitewash already has started: In July, Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee released a controversial report blaming the CIA for the mess. The panel conveniently refuses to evaluate what the White House did with the information it was given or how the White House set up its own special team of Pentagon political appointees (called the Office of Special Plans) to circumvent well-established intelligence channels. And Vice President Dick Cheney continues to say without a shred of proof that there is "overwhelming evidence" justifying the administration's pre-war charges.

But as author Flannery O'Conner noted, "Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." That means no matter how much defensive spin spews from the White House, the Bush administration cannot escape the documented fact that it was clearly warned before the war that its rationale for invading Iraq was weak.

Top administration officials repeatedly ignored warnings that their assertions about Iraq's supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and connections to al Qaeda were overstated. In some cases, they were told their claims were wholly without merit, yet they went ahead and made them anyway. Even the Senate report admits that the White House "misrepresented" classified intelligence by eliminating references to contradictory assertions.

In short, they knew they were misleading America.

And they did not care.

They knew Iraq posed no nuclear threat.

There is no doubt even though there was no proof of Iraq's complicity, the White House was focused on Iraq within hours of the 9/11 attacks. As CBS News reported, "barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq." Former Bush counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke recounted vividly how, just after the attack, President Bush pressured him to find an Iraqi connection. In many ways, this was no surprise—as former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and another administration official confirmed, the White House was actually looking for a way to invade Iraq well before the terrorist attacks.

But such an unprovoked invasion of a sovereign country required a public rationale. And so the Bush administration struck fear into the hearts of Americans about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD, starting with nuclear arms. In his first major address on the "Iraqi threat" in October 2002, President Bush invoked fiery images of mushroom clouds and mayhem, saying, "Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."

Yet, before that speech, the White House had intelligence calling this assertion into question. A 1997 report by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—the agency whose purpose is to prevent nuclear proliferation—stated there was no indication Iraq ever achieved nuclear capability or had any physical capacity for producing weapons-grade nuclear material in the near future.

In February 2001, the CIA delivered a report to the White House that said: "We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programs." The report was so definitive that Secretary of State Colin Powell said in a subsequent press conference, Saddam Hussein "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction."

Ten months before the president's speech, an intelligence review by CIA Director George Tenet contained not a single mention of an imminent nuclear threat—or capability—from Iraq. The CIA was backed up by Bush's own State Department: Around the time Bush gave his speech, the department's intelligence bureau said that evidence did not "add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what [we] consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquiring nuclear weapons."

Nonetheless, the administration continued to push forward. In March 2003, Cheney went on national television days before the war and claimed Iraq "has reconstituted nuclear weapons." He was echoed by State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, who told reporters of supposedly grave "concerns about Iraq's potential nuclear programs."

Even after the invasion, when troops failed to uncover any evidence of nuclear weapons, the White House refused to admit the truth. In July 2003, Condoleezza Rice told PBS's Gwen Ifill that the administration's nuclear assertions were "absolutely supportable." That same month, White House spokesman Scott McClellan insisted: "There's a lot of evidence showing that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."

They knew the aluminum tubes were not for nuclear weapons.

To back up claims that Iraq was actively trying to build nuclear weapons, the administration referred to Iraq's importation of aluminum tubes, which Bush officials said were for enriching uranium. In December 2002, Powell said, "Iraq has tried to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes which can be used to enrich uranium in centrifuges for a nuclear weapons program." Similarly, in his 2003 State of the Union address, Bush said Iraq "has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

But, in October 2002, well before these and other administration officials made this claim, two key agencies told the White House exactly the opposite. The State Department affirmed reports from Energy Department experts who concluded those tubes were ill-suited for any kind of uranium enrichment. And according to memos released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the State Department also warned Powell not to use the aluminum tubes hypothesis in the days before his February 2003 U.N. speech. He refused and used the aluminum tubes claim anyway.

The State Department's warnings were soon validated by the IAEA. In March 2003, the agency's director stated, "Iraq's efforts to import these aluminum tubes were not likely to be related" to nuclear weapons deployment.

Yet, this evidence did not stop the White House either. Pretending the administration never received any warnings at all, Rice claimed in July 2003 that "the consensus view" in the intelligence community was that the tubes "were suitable for use in centrifuges to spin material for nuclear weapons."

Today, experts agree the administration's aluminum tube claims were wholly without merit.

They knew the Iraq-uranium claims were not supported.

In one of the most famous statements about Iraq's supposed nuclear arsenals, Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The careful phrasing of this statement highlights how dishonest it was. By attributing the claim to an allied government, the White House made a powerful charge yet protected itself against any consequences should it be proved false. In fact, the president invoked the British because his own intelligence experts had earlier warned the White House not to make the claim at all.

In the fall of 2002, the CIA told administration officials not to include this uranium assertion in presidential speeches. Specifically, the agency sent two memos to the White House and Tenet personally called top national security officials imploring them not to use the claim. While the warnings forced the White House to remove a uranium reference from an October 2002 presidential address, they did not stop the charge from being included in the 2003 State of the Union.

Not surprisingly, evidence soon emerged that forced the White House to admit the deception. In March 2003, IAEA Director Mohammed El Baradei said there was no proof Iraq had nuclear weapons and added "documents which formed the basis for [the White House's assertion] of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic." But when Cheney was asked about this a week later, he said, "Mr. El Baradei frankly is wrong."

Bush and Rice both tried to blame the CIA for the failure, saying the assertion "was cleared by the intelligence services." When the intelligence agency produced the memos it had sent to the White House on the subject, Rice didn't miss a beat, telling Meet The Press "it is quite possible that I didn't" read the memos at all—as if they were "optional" reading for the nation's top national security official on the eve of war. At about this time, some high-level administration official or officials leaked to the press that Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife was an undercover CIA agent—a move widely seen as an attempt by the administration to punish Wilson for his July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed that stated he had found no evidence of an Iraqi effort to purchase uranium from Niger.

In recent weeks, right-wing pundits have pointed to new evidence showing the Iraq uranium charge may have flirted with the truth at some point in the distant past. These White House hatchet men say the administration did not manipulate or cherry-pick intelligence. They also tout the recent British report (a.k.a. The Butler Report) as defending the president's uranium claim. Yet, if the White House did not cherry-pick or manipulate intelligence, why did the president trumpet U.S. intelligence from a foreign government while ignoring explicit warnings not to do so from his own? The record shows U.S. intelligence officials explicitly warned the White House that "the Brits have exaggerated this issue." Yet, the administration refused to listen. Even The Butler Report itself acknowledges the evidence is cloudy. As nonproliferation expert Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently pointed out, "The claim appears shaky at best—hardly the stuff that should make up presidential decisions."

But now, instead of contrition, Republicans are insisting the White House's uranium charge was accurate. Indeed, these apologists have no option but to try to distract public attention from the simple truth that not a shred of solid evidence exists to substantiate this key charge that fueled the push for war.

They knew there was no hard evidence of chemical or biological weapons

In September 2002, President Bush said Iraq "could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given." The next month, he delivered a major speech to "outline the Iraqi threat," just two days before a critical U.N. vote. In his address, he claimed without doubt that Iraq "possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons." He said that "Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons" and that the government was "concerned Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs for missions targeting the United States."

What he did not say was that the White House had been explicitly warned that these assertions were unproved.

As the Washington Post later reported, Bush "ignored the fact that U.S. intelligence mistrusted the source" of the 45-minute claim and, therefore, omitted it from its intelligence estimates. And Bush ignored the fact that the Defense Intelligence Agency previously submitted a report to the administration finding "no reliable information" to prove Iraq was producing or stockpiling chemical weapons. According to Newsweek, the conclusion was similar to the findings of a 1998 government commission on WMD chaired by Rumsfeld.

Bush also neglected to point out that in early October 2002, the administration's top military experts told the White House they "sharply disputed the notion that Iraq's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were being designed as attack weapons." Specifically, the Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center correctly showed the drones in question were too heavy to be used to deploy chemical/biological-weapons spray devices.

Regardless, the chemical/biological weapons claims from the administration continued to escalate. Powell told the United Nations on February 5, 2003, "There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more." As proof, he cited aerial images of a supposed decontamination vehicle circling a suspected weapons site.

According to newly released documents in the Senate Intelligence Committee report, Powell's own top intelligence experts told him not to make such claims about the photographs. They said the vehicles were likely water trucks. He ignored their warnings.

On March 6, 2003, just weeks before the invasion, the president went further than Powell. He claimed, "Iraqi operatives continue to hide biological and chemical agents."

To date, no chemical or biological weapons have been found in Iraq.

They knew Saddam and bin Laden were not collaborating.

In the summer of 2002, USA Today reported White House lawyers had concluded that establishing an Iraq-al Qaeda link would provide the legal cover at the United Nations for the administration to attack Iraq. Such a connection, no doubt, also would provide political capital at home. And so, by the fall of 2002, the Iraq-al Qaeda drumbeat began.

It started on September 25, 2002, when Bush said, "you can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam." This was news even to members of Bush's own political party who had access to classified intelligence. Just a month before, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "Saddam is not in league with al Qaeda … I have not seen any intelligence that would lead me to connect Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda.

To no surprise, the day after Bush's statement, USA Today reported several intelligence experts "expressed skepticism" about the claim, with a Pentagon official calling the president's assertion an "exaggeration." No matter, Bush ignored these concerns and that day described Saddam Hussein as "a man who loves to link up with al Qaeda." Meanwhile, Rumsfeld held a press conference trumpeting "bulletproof" evidence of a connection—a sentiment echoed by Rice and White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. And while the New York Times noted, "the officials offered no details to back up the assertions," Rumsfeld nonetheless insisted his claims were "accurate and not debatable."

Within days, the accusations became more than just "debatable"; they were debunked. German Defense Minister Peter Stuck said the day after Rumsfeld's press conference that his country "was not aware of any connection" between Iraq and al Qaeda's efforts to acquire chemical weapons. The Orlando Sentinel reported that terrorism expert Peter Bergen—one of the few to actually interview Osama bin Laden—said the connection between Iraq and al Qaeda are minimal. In October 2002, Knight Ridder reported, "a growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats in [Bush's] own government privately have deep misgivings" about the Iraq-al Qaeda claims. The experts charged that administration hawks "exaggerated evidence." A senior U.S. official told the Philadelphia Inquirer that intelligence analysts "contest the administration's suggestion of a major link between Iraq and al Qaeda."

While this evidence forced British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other allies to refrain from playing up an Iraq-al Qaeda connection, the Bush administration refused to be deterred by facts.

On November 1, 2002, President Bush claimed, "We know [Iraq has] got ties with al Qaeda." Four days later, Europe's top terrorism investigator Jean-Louis Bruguiere reported: "We have found no evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda. … If there were such links, we would have found them. But we have found no serious connections whatsoever." British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose country was helping build the case for war, admitted, "What I'm asked is if I've seen any evidence of [Iraq-al Qaeda connections]. And the answer is: ‘I haven't.' "

Soon, an avalanche of evidence appeared indicating the White House was deliberately misleading America. In January 2003, intelligence officials told the Los Angeles Times that they were "puzzled by the administration's new push" to create the perception of an Iraq-al Qaeda connection and said the intelligence community has "discounted—if not dismissed—information believed to point to possible links between Iraq and al Qaeda." One intelligence official said, "There isn't a factual basis" for the administration's conspiracy theory about the so-called connection.

On the morning of February 5, 2003, the same day Powell delivered his U.N. speech, British intelligence leaked a comprehensive report finding no substantial links between Iraq and al Qaeda. The BBC reported that British intelligence officials maintained "any fledgling relationship [between Iraq and al Qaeda] foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideologies." Powell, nonetheless, stood before the United Nations and claimed there was a "sinister nexus between Iraq and the al Qaeda." A month later, Rice backed him up, saying al Qaeda "clearly has had links to the Iraqis." And in his March 17, 2003, speech on the eve of war, Bush justified the invasion by citing the fully discredited Iraq-al Qaeda link.

When the war commenced, the house of cards came down. In June 2003, the chairman of the U.N. group that monitors al Qaeda told reporters his team found no evidence linking the terrorist group to Iraq. In July 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported the bipartisan congressional report analyzing September 11 "undercut Bush administration claims before the war that Hussein had links to al Qaeda." Meanwhile, the New York Times reported, "Coalition forces have not brought to light any significant evidence demonstrating the bond between Iraq and al Qaeda." In August 2003, three former Bush administration officials came forward to admit pre-war evidence tying al Qaeda to Iraq "was tenuous, exaggerated, and often at odds with the conclusions of key intelligence agencies."

Yet, the White House insisted on maintaining the deception. In the fall of 2003, President Bush said, "There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties." And Cheney claimed Iraq "had an established relationship to al Qaeda." When the media finally began demanding proof for all the allegations, Powell offered a glimmer of contrition. In January 2004, he conceded that there was no "smoking gun" to prove the claim. His admission was soon followed by a March 2004 Knight Ridder report that quoted administration officials conceding "there never was any evidence that Hussein's secular police state and Osama bin Laden's Islamic terror network were in league."

But Powell's statement was the exception, not the norm. The White House still refuses to acknowledge wrongdoing, and instead resorts to the classic two-step feint, citing sources but conveniently refusing to acknowledge those sources' critical faults.

For instance, Cheney began pointing reporters to an article in the right-wing Weekly Standard as the "best source" of evidence backing the Saddam-al Qaeda claim, even though the Pentagon had previously discredited the story. Similarly, in June, the Republican's media spin machine came to the aid of the White House and promoted a New York Times article about a document showing failed efforts by bin Laden to work with Iraq in the mid-'90s against Saudi Arabia. Not surprisingly, the spinners did not mention the article's key finding—a Pentagon task force found that the document "described no formal alliance being reached between Mr. bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence."

When the 9/11 Commission found "no credible evidence" of a collaborative relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, the White House denials came as no surprise. Cheney defiantly claimed there was "overwhelming evidence" of a link, provided no evidence, and then berated the media and the commission for having the nerve to report the obvious. Bush did not feel the need to justify his distortions, saying after the report came out, "The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda."

That was the perfect answer from an administration that never lets the factual record impinge on what it says to the American public.

They knew there was no Prague meeting.

One of the key pillars of the Iraq-al Qaeda myth was a White House-backed story claiming 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi spy in April 2001. The tale originally came from a lone Czech informant who said he saw the terrorist in Prague at the time. White House hawks, eager to link al Qaeda with Saddam, did not wait to verify the story, and instead immediately used it to punch up arguments for a preemptive attack on Iraq. On November 14, 2001, Cheney claimed Atta was "in Prague in April of this year, as well as earlier." On December 9, 2001, he went further, claiming without proof that the Atta meeting was "pretty well confirmed."

Nine days later, the Czech government reported there was no evidence that Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague. Czech Police Chief Jiri Kolar said there were no documents showing Atta had been in Prague that entire year, and Czech officials told Newsweek that the uncorroborated witness who perpetuated the story should have been viewed with more skepticism.

By the spring of 2002, major news publications such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, Newsweek and Time were running stories calling the "Prague connection" an "embarrassing" mistake and stating that, according to European officials, the intelligence supporting the claim was "somewhere between ‘slim' and ‘none'." The stories also quoted administration officials and CIA and FBI analysts saying that on closer scrutiny, "there was no evidence Atta left or returned to the United State at the time he was supposed to be in Prague." Even FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, a Bush political appointee, admitted in April 2002, "We ran down literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record we could get our hands on, from flight reservations to car rentals to bank accounts," but found nothing.

But that was not good enough for the administration, which instead of letting the story go, began trying to manipulate intelligence to turn fantasy into reality. In August 2002, when FBI case officers told Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz that there was no Atta meeting, Newsweek reported Wolfowitz "vigorously challenged them." Wolfowitz wanted the FBI to endorse claims that Atta and the Iraqi spy had met. FBI counterterrorism chief Pat D'Amuro refused.

In September 2002, the CIA handed Cheney a classified intelligence assessment that cast specific, serious doubt on whether the Atta meeting ever occurred. Yet, that same month, Richard Perle, then chairman of the Bush's Defense Policy Board, said, "Muhammad Atta met [a secret collaborator of Saddam Hussein] prior to September 11. We have proof of that, and we are sure he wasn't just there for a holiday." In the same breath, Perle openly admitted, "The meeting is one of the motives for an American attack on Iraq."

By the winter of 2002, even America's allies were telling the administration to relent: In November, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he had seen no evidence of a meeting in Prague between Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent.

But it did not stop. In September 2003, on "Meet the Press," Cheney dredged up the story again, saying, "With respect to 9/11, of course, we've had the story that's been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohammed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack." He provided no new evidence, opted not to mention that the Czechs long ago had withdrawn the allegations, and ignored new evidence that showed the story was likely untrue.

Even today, with all of the intelligence firmly against him, Cheney remains unrepentant. Asked in June about whether the meeting had occurred, he admitted, "That's never been proven." Then he added, "It's never been refuted." When CNBC's Gloria Borger asked about his initial claim that the meeting was "pretty well confirmed," Cheney snapped, "No, I never said that. I never said that. Absolutely not."

His actual words in December 2001: "It's been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service."

In other words, Cheney hit a new low. He resorted not only to lying about the story, but lying about lying about the story.

Conclusion: They knew they were misleading America.

In his March 17, 2003 address preparing America for the Iraq invasion, President Bush stated unequivocally that there was an Iraq-al Qaeda nexus and that there was "no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

In the context of what we now know the White House knew at the time, Bush was deliberately dishonest. The intelligence community repeatedly told the White House there were many deep cracks in its case for war. The president's willingness to ignore such warnings and make these unequivocal statements proves the administration was intentionally painting a black-and-white picture when it knew the facts merited only gray at best.

That has meant severe consequences for all Americans. Financially, U.S. taxpayers have shelled out more than $166 billion for the Iraq war, and more will soon be needed. Geopolitically, our country is more isolated from allies than ever, with anti-Americanism on the rise throughout the globe.

And we are less secure. A recent U.S. Army War College report says "the invasion of Iraq was a diversion from the more narrow focus on defeating al Qaeda." U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi put it this way: "The war in Iraq was useless, it caused more problems than it solved, and it brought in terrorism."

These statements are borne out by the facts: The International Institute of Strategic Studies in London reports al Qaeda is now 18,000 strong, with many new recruits joining as a result of the war in Iraq. Not coincidentally, the White House recently said the American homeland faces an imminent threat of a terrorist attack from a still-active al Qaeda operation in Afghanistan. Yet, the administration actually moved special forces out of Afghanistan in 2002 to prepare for an invasion of Iraq. Because of this, we face the absurd situation whereby we have no more than 20,000 troops in Afghanistan hunting down those who directly threaten us, yet have 140,000 troops in Iraq—a country that was not a serious menace before invasion.

Of course, it is those troops who have it the worst. Our men and women in uniform are bogged down in a quagmire, forced to lay down life and limb for a lie.

To be sure, neoconservative pundits and Bush administration hawks will continue to blame anyone but the White House for these deceptions. They also will say intelligence gave a bit of credence to some of the pre-war claims, and that is certainly true.

But nothing can negate the clear proof that President Bush and other administration official officials vastly overstated the intelligence they were given. They engaged in a calculated and well-coordinated effort to turn a war of choice in Iraq into a perceived war of imminent necessity.

And we are all left paying the price.

David Sirota, who writes the "Truth & Consequences" column in In These Times, is director of strategic communications for the Center for American Progress. Christy Harvey is deputy director of strategic communications for the Center for American Progress.





".... a network of net-worker's...."

I was born an American. I live as an American; I shall die an American; and I intend to perform the duties incumbent upon me in that character to the end of my career. I mean to do this with absolute disregard to personal consequences. What are the personal consequences?

What is the individual man with all the good or evil that may betide him, in comparison with the good and evil which may befall a great country, and in the midst of great transactions which concern that country's fate? Let the consequences be what they will, I am careless, No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall, in the defense of the liberties and Constitution of his country.

...Daniel Webster


Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982

Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982
(50 U.S.C. 421 et seq.)
(governing disclosures that could expose confidential Government agents)




The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11

The Coincidence Theorist's Guide to 9/11
I posted an earlier version of this last week at Democratic Underground. I've added a number of more entries, and links for all.

Happy coincidenting!

That governments have permitted terrorist acts against their own people, and have even themselves been perpetrators in order to find strategic advantage is quite likely true, but this is the United States we're talking about.

That intelligence agencies, financiers, terrorists and narco-criminals have a long history together is well established, but the Nugan Hand Bank, BCCI, Banco Ambrosiano, the P2 Lodge, the CIA/Mafia anti-Castro/Kennedy alliance, Iran/Contra and the rest were a long time ago, so there’s no need to rehash all that. That was then, this is now!

That Jonathan Bush’s Riggs Bank has been found guilty of laundering terrorist funds and fined a US-record $25 million must embarrass his nephew George, but it's still no justification for leaping to paranoid conclusions.

American Patriot Friends Network a/k/a American Patriot Fax Network was founded Feb. 21, 1993. We started with faxing daily reports from the Weaver-Harris trials. Then on Feb. 28 1993, The BATF launched Operation Showtime - "The Siege on the Branch Davidians". From this point, it's been the Death of Vince Foster, the Oklahoma Bombing, TWA-800, The Train Deaths, Bio-War, on and on. We are not anti-government, we are anti-corrupt-government.
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