Wednesday, August 31, 2005

NYTimes editorial blasts W...

September 1, 2005
Waiting for a Leader

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.

We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril. Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout southern Mississippi. Drivers must be given confidence that gasoline will be available, and profiteering must be brought under control at a moment when television has been showing long lines at some pumps and spot prices approaching $4 a gallon have been reported.

Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.

While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?

It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily announced, America "will be a stronger place" for enduring this crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal.

Bush visit to SD Naval Hospital...

In a previous post there was mention of the draconian arrangements required to be made for Bush's visit to the Balboa Naval Hospital while he was in San Diego. I'd been looking, in among all the noise in the media about his speech at North Island in Coronado yesterday morn, for any mention whatsoever of the hospital visit. Finally found some:

Nothing until this morn. San Diego Union-Tribune did a major front page article on his speech at North Island NAS, and way down toward the end on page 10 inside, I find these two paragraphs:

"Before flying out of North Island yesterday, Bush paid a shorter-than-planned visit to the Naval Medical Center San Diego in Balboa Park.

"He awarded a Purple Heart to a wounded Navy corpsman and met with 10 Navy SEALs and 12 Marines wounded in Iraq."

And that was it. I certainly hope the sailors in his presence were, as ordered, "spiffy" enough.

Not about oil, BushCo said, but WMDs!

(an excerpt):

Bush: U.S. Must Protect Iraq From Terror
The Associated Press

CORONADO, Calif. - President Bush on Tuesday answered growing anti-war protests with a fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields that he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

Bush, standing against a backdrop of the imposing USS Ronald Reagan, the newest aircraft carrier in the Navy's fleet, said terrorists will be denied their goal.

"We will defeat the terrorists," Bush said. "We will build a free Iraq that will fight terrorists instead of giving them aid and sanctuary."

A one-time oilman, Bush has rejected charges that the war in Iraq is a struggle to control the nation's vast oil wealth. While Bush has avoided making links between the war and Iraq's oil reserves, the soaring cost of gasoline has focused attention on global petroleum sources.

Bush said the Iraqi oil industry, already suffering from sabotage and lost revenues, must not fall under the control of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida forces in Iraq led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. "They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition."

Well, well...who would have thought...

RIA Novosti:
US Offered USD 75 Million to Iraqi Sunnis for Signature under Constitution
30 August 2005 10:44
FOCUS News Agency Baghdad.

The United States have offered to Sunni representatives USD 75 Million to sign the draft Constitution of Iraq, RIA Novosti announced, citing information of source close to the Constitutional Committee of the country, published in the Saudi daily Al Vatan.

Don't rape, don't have to worry about it...

South Africa anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks
Wed Aug 31,11:46 AM ET

A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.

"Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time," Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex", a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.

Police statistics show more than 50,000 rapes are reported every year, while experts say the real figure could be four times that as they say most rapes of acquaintances or children are never reported.

Ehlers said the "rapex" hooks onto the rapist's skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators.

"He will obviously be too pre-occupied at this stage," she told reporters in Kleinmond, a small holiday village about 100km (60 miles) east of Cape Town. "I promise you he is going to be too sore. He will go straight to hospital."

The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said.
It also reduces the chances of a woman falling pregnant or contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from the attacker by acting in the same way as a female condom.
South Africa has more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country, with one in nine of its 45 million population infected.

Ehlers, who showed off a prototype on Wednesday, said women had tried it for comfort and it had been tested on a plastic male model but not yet on a live man. Production was planned to start next year.

But the "rapex" has raised fears amongst anti-rape activists that it could escalate violence against women.

"If a victim is wearing such a device it may enrage the attacker further and possibly result in more harm being caused," said Sam Waterhouse, advocacy co-ordinator for Rape Crisis.
Other critics say the condom is mediaeval and barbaric -- an accusation Ehlers says should be directed rather at the act of rape.

"This is not about vengeance ... but the deed, that is what I hate," she said.

Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited.

"Gives away..." Bribery? Or what?

U.S. gives away eight war jets to Pakistan, valued at millions apiece

The United States has given away eight of its long-range maritime patrol and anti-sub aircraft without charge to Pakistan's Navy, allowing it to more effectively engage in long-distance surveillance and fire Harpoon missiles at targets, the Indian-based Sify news service reported Wednesday.

The craft, new, are made by Lockheed Martin for $36 million apiece, making the gift a generous one indeed. The last Navy P-3 came off the production line at Lockheed in 1990.

"The P-3C Orion aircraft are being provided free-of-cost by the US Navy and the expenses for modification of aircraft avionics systems will be met mostly from the US military aid," a Pakistan Navy statement said in Islamabad on Wednesday.

According to the the Navy fact file, the long-range, anti-submarine warfare aircraft "evolved in the late 1990s and early 21st century to include surveillance of the battlespace, either at sea or over land. Its long range... has aided Operation Iraqi Freedom as it can view the battlespace and instantaneously provide that information to ground troops, especially U.S. Marines." It can remain aloft for up to 18 hours at a time.

Adds the Navy: "The P-3C has advanced submarine detection sensors such as directional frequency and ranging (DIFAR) sonobuoys and magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment. The avionics system is integrated by a general purpose digital computer that supports all of the tactical displays, monitors and automatically launches ordnance and provides flight information to the pilots. In addition, the system coordinates navigation information and accepts sensor data inputs for tactical display and storage. The P-3C can carry a mixed payload of weapons internally and on wing pylons."

Navy Background: "In February 1959, the Navy awarded Lockheed a contract to develop a replacement for the aging P2V Neptune. The P3V Orion, derived from Lockheed's successful L188 Electra airliner, entered the inventory in July 1962, and more than 30 years later it remains the Navy's sole land-based antisubmarine warfare aircraft."

Bush persuaded to fly over...Military on way...

Pentagon coordinating Katrina response

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
Last Updated 8:04 am PDT Wednesday, August 31, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) - From Navy ships and Army helicopters to the USNS Comfort hospital ship, the Pentagon is mobilizing possibly an unprecedented rescue-and-relief mission for areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Largely coordinated by the U.S. Northern Command, all of the military services are participating in what many say is the largest domestic disaster relief effort in years. The military is mainly providing search and rescue, medical help and supplies in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Wednesday morning, four Navy ships loaded with supplies - ranging from food and water to soap and medical supplies - were preparing to leave Virginia, and expect to arrive in the Gulf by the weekend, according to the Navy.

In addition, the hospital ship USNS Comfort was leaving Baltimore en route to the Gulf region and eight swift water rescue teams from California were on the way to Lafayette, La., to help pull stranded residents from their flooded homes and neighborhoods.

The Army and Air Force were also providing search and rescue helicopters, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was organizing what will be one of its largest response efforts in recent memory.
(an excerpt):

Bush views Katrina devastation from plane

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
Last Updated 11:48 am PDT Wednesday, August 31, 2005

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) - President Bush flew over areas of the Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricane Katrina after holding a video conference Wednesday with top aides to discuss federal relief efforts. "It's totally wiped out," he told aides at one point during the hastily-arranged inspection flight.

As he flew home to Washington, Bush prepared to meet with a White House task force on recovery efforts and make remarks later in the Rose Garden.

On his flight from Texas, Air Force One flew over New Orleans at about 2,500, and it descended even further, to about 1,700 feet, over Mississippi. The plane flew over New Orleans and saw the Superdome, downtown areas and outlying neighborhoods, then traveled along the coast to Mobile before turning north toward Washington.

Bush peered through a window from a couch where his security detail usually sits. Both of his fists were clenched and his face grim. White House spokesman Scott McClellan quoted Bush as saying, "It's devastating, it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground."

Among other things, the president saw an amusement park with the tops of wrecked rides protruding over bridges covered by water. McClellan said that after viewing one particularly hard hit coastal community, the president noted: "It's totally wiped out."

The spokesman, describing the rare scene aboard the president's plane, said that aides were with Bush, pointing out various sights and that the president was hearing commentary on what he was seeing.

"There wasn't a whole lot of conversation going on," McClellan said. "I think it's very sobering to see from the air. I think that at some point you're just kind of shaking your head in disbelief to see the destruction that has been done by this hurricane."

BushCo's greatest far...

Iraq's Fig Leaf Constitution
By Robert Scheer
The Los Angeles Times
Tuesday 30 August 2005

Who lost Iraq? Someday, as a fragmented Iraq spirals further into religious madness, terrorism and civil war, there will be a bipartisan inquiry into this blundering intrusion into another people's history.

The crucial question will be why a "preemptive" American invasion - which has led to the deaths of nearly 2,000 Americans, roughly 10 times as many Iraqis, the expenditure of about $200 billion and incalculable damage to the United States' global reputation - has had exactly the opposite effect predicted by its neoconservative sponsors. No amount of crowing over a fig leaf Iraqi constitution by President Bush can hide the fact that the hand of the region's autocrats, theocrats and terrorists is stronger than ever.

"The U.S. now has to recognize that [it] overthrew Saddam Hussein to replace him with a pro-Iranian state," said regional expert Peter W. Galbraith, the former U.S. ambassador to Croatia and an advisor to the Iraqi Kurds. And, he could have added, a pro-Iranian state that will be repressive and unstable.

Think this is an exaggeration? Consider that arguably the most powerful Shiite political party and militia in today's Iraq, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and its affiliated paramilitary force, the Badr Brigade, was not only based in Iran but was set up by Washington's old arch-foe, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It also fought on the side of Iran in the Iran-Iraq war and was recognized by Tehran as the government in exile of Iraq.

Or that former exile Ahmad Chalabi is now one of Iraq's deputy prime ministers. The consummate political operator managed to maintain ties to Iran while gaining the devoted support of Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, charming and manipulating Beltway policymakers and leading U.S. journalists into believing that Iraq was armed with weapons of mass destruction.

Chalabi is thrilled with the draft constitution, which, if passed, will probably exponentially increase tension and violence between Sunnis and Shiites. "It is an excellent document," said Chalabi, who has been accused by U.S. intelligence of being a spy for Iran, where he keeps a vacation home.

What an absurd outcome for a war designed to create a compliant, unified and stable client state that would be pro-American, laissez-faire capitalist and unallied with the hated Iran. Of course, Bush tells us again, this is "progress" and "an inspiration." Yet his relentless spinning of manure into silk has worn thin on the American public and sent his approval ratings tumbling.

Even supporters of the war are starting to realize that rather than strengthening the United States' position in the world, the invasion and occupation have led to abject humiliation: from the Abu Ghraib scandal, to the guerrilla insurgency exposing the limits of military power, to an election in which "our guy" - Iyad Allawi - was defeated by radicals and religious extremists.

In a new low, the U.S. president felt obliged to call and plead with the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, Abdelaziz Hakim, to make concessions to gain Sunni support. Even worse, he was summarily rebuffed. Nevertheless, Bush had no choice but to eat crow and like it.

"This is a document of which the Iraqis, and the rest of the world, can be proud," he said Sunday, through what must have been gritted teeth. After all, this document includes such democratic gems as "Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation," and "No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam," as well as socialist-style pronouncements that work and a decent standard of living are a right guaranteed by the state. But the fact is, it could establish Khomeini's ghost as the patron saint of Iraq and Bush would have little choice but to endorse it.

Even many in his own party are rebelling. "I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur," said Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel last week, one of a growing number of Republicans who get that "we should start figuring out how we get out of there."

Not that our "what-me-worry?" president is the least bit troubled by all this adverse blowback from the huge, unnecessary gamble he took in invading the heart of the Arab and Muslim worlds. "What is important is that the Iraqis are now addressing these issues through debate and discussion, not at the barrel of a gun," Bush said.

Wrong again, George. It was the barrel of your gun that midwifed the new Iraq, which threatens to combine the instability of Lebanon with the religious fanaticism of Iran.

He speaks...better listen.

Ex-Counterterrorism Chief Cites Rise in Attacks
By Walter Pincus
The Washington Post
Wednesday 31 August 2005

Richard A. Clarke, the former head of counterterrorism in the White House under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, said yesterday that there were twice as many attacks outside Iraq in the three years after the 2001 attacks as in the three preceding years.

Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda group "are no longer the traditional leaders as they were in the 1990s," Clarke said, adding that the terrorist leader had been building ideological groups from Afghanistan before Sept. 11, 2001, and that they had grown in the past few years into 14 to 16 separate networks.

Clarke said that bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, exercise "symbolic control and provide broad-brush themes" and that most of the networks operate independently, but "there are some signs of cooperation among some."

Clarke, now a corporate security and counterterrorism consultant, delivered his assessment of al Qaeda and the jihadist threat at a news conference at the New America Foundation designed to focus attention on a bipartisan, two-day policy forum set for next week in Washington, titled "Terrorism, Security and America's Purpose."

Clarke left the Bush administration in 2003 and has since alleged the Bush White House reacted slowly to warnings of terrorist attacks in early 2001.

Yesterday, Clarke said that Iraq is drawing a relatively small number of foreign fighters who train there and return home, but "it is unclear to what extent they are drawn by the U.S. presence or how much the U.S. is a magnet." Overall, he said that "there are more people participating [in jihadist networks] outside Iraq because of the U.S. presence" in that country.

"Al Qaeda has morphed from a hierarchical structure to a [worldwide] movement," he said. The goal of some is to create regional theocracies, he said, while others just want to overthrow their own governments. "They share the view that the U.S. is the great Satan and propping up governments that suppress Muslims," he said.

Asked why he believes there has not been an attack inside the United States since those on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Clarke cited first the increased vigilance by the FBI and federal immigration authorities. "That conveyed a message that this was an unwelcoming climate," he said but quickly added, "It's not clear it won't happen here" again.

Another factor that so far may have prevented an al Qaeda attack here, Clarke said, is that bin Laden's group has traditionally relied on support from the indigenous population -- and, unlike Europe, the United States "has no internal, large, alienated Arab population."

Clarke took sharp issue with President Bush's repeated statements that by fighting terrorists abroad, the administration is preventing attacks in this country. "That is illogical on its face," Clarke said. Citing bombings in Madrid and London, Clarke said that "absolutely nothing prevents them from coming here."

Clarke criticized the Bush administration for what he characterized as a lack of specific goals and objectives for homeland security.

"There have been lots of starts," Clarke said, citing establishment of the Department of Homeland Security for one, but he said the government should do a better job of determining where money needs to be spent.

"We are probably safer when it comes to passenger aircraft," he said but added that not enough has been done to make ground transportation safe and that chemical plants represent particularly dangerous targets for terrorists.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Flooded South hurricane diseases...

From a writer who is also an RN:

With the summer heat and humidity along with all that water floating full of dead bodies of all sorts, the CDC is gonna have to act quick to contain diseases such as typhoid, West Nile, etc. But am not sure they have the equipment and/or funding to do all that needs doing. They run on a pretty tight budget and I don't know if they can access FEMA help or not in an emergency of this scale.

The Red Cross is sending record numbers of volunteers into Alabama and Mississippi right now, staging to serve meals and provide shelter but other RC volunteers as well as Louisiana National Guard (2/3 of the state's guards, 1/3 are in Iraq) will be wading in as soon as tomorrow ito start hooking floaters and getting them into temporary morgues. The water will be contaminated enough just with dead animals (4-legged).

If they can recover all the human bodies, it'll go far to contain the contamination and disease. What will be interesting is to see how much the present admin promises and how much it delivers (often not the same figure). Florida is the only state that seems to get all the help it needs, thanks to the family connections.

Horrible situation for the folks down there.

Data Mining agencies & ID protection:

August 30, 2005 : Business

Agencies' Data Lapses Found
From Associated Press

None of five federal agencies using electronic data mining to track terrorists, catch criminals or prevent fraud complied with all rules for gathering citizen information. As a result, they cannot ensure that individual privacy rights are appropriately protected, congressional investigators said Monday. The agencies' lapses either "increased the risk that personal information could be improperly exposed or altered" or "limited the ability of the public — including those individuals whose information was used — to participate in the management of that personal information," the Government Accountability Office said.

A study by the GAO, Congress' investigating arm, sampled five of the dozens of federal agencies that use computerized data analysis: the Agriculture Department, FBI, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and State Department. It evaluated whether one data mining activity in each agency complied with the Privacy Act, federal information security laws and government directives.

The ranking Democrat on the Senate government management subcommittee, Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii, who requested the study, said the findings represented "a troubling trend given the number of data mining activities in the federal government that use personal information."

In May 2004, a GAO survey found that federal agencies were using or planning 199 data mining projects, including 122 that used personal information, including credit reports, credit card transactions, student loan application data, bank account numbers and taxpayer identification numbers. The GAO found only three of the programs studied had prepared privacy impact assessments of their data programs, and none of those complied with all Office of Management and Budget guidance. The assessments describe how the data would be used and protected.

Helen Thomas says...

Democrats Still Backing Senseless War
By Helen Thomas
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Tuesday 30 August 2005

Washington - It's time for the Democratic Party to take a courageous stand and call for the withdrawal of troops from the senseless war in Iraq.

Its human cost and the billion-dollars-a-week tab in Iraq should give all Americans pause.

Would the Republicans have hesitated to challenge the Democrats if the shoe were on the other foot? Did the opposition party give President Clinton any slack while he was in office?

What is the logic of Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, Joseph Biden, D-Del., and other so-called moderate Democrats still backing the unprovoked war in Iraq when they know they were sold a bill of goods?

Furthermore, they are urging that more troops be sent to Iraq. And they are doing so at a time when the generals in Iraq are giving mixed signals. Some are talking about a draw-down of troops in a year, others in four years.

Are the Democratic leaders afraid to admit they were wrong? Does the credibility of the administration - and, therefore, the country - mean anything to them?

Both Clinton and Biden are presumed presidential contenders in 2008. That leaves Democratic voters - many of whom are anti-war - with no choice if either wins the party nomination.

Can Biden and Clinton give young men and women any valid reason why they should lay down their lives in a war that we didn't have to fight in the first place?

The fallback position apparently runs like this: "We're there and we have to stay there now. We can't cut and run."

I heard the same refrain during the dying days of the Vietnam War. And so did the moderate Democrats.

Whether viewed as a "mistake" or a "noble cause," the fact is that Vietnam survived and thrived after we departed. It is a participant in the global economy and fairly friendly to us.

I always thought the debacle in Vietnam and its aftermath had taught us a lesson. But apparently not.

Not all Democrats are so clueless. In an opinion article on Wednesday in The Washington Post, former Sen. Gary Hart, D-Col., wrote that "history will deal with George W. Bush and the neoconservatives who misled a mighty nation into a flawed war that is draining the finest military in the world ... diverting Guard and Reserve forces that should be on the front line of homeland defense, shredding international alliances that prevailed in two world wars and the Cold War ... and weakening America's national security."

But he is also tough on his own party and asks: "What will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all this goes on?"

Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., is proposing a total pullout of US troops by Dec. 31, 2006. Why wait a year?

Some Democrats think the party should simply take a back seat, bide its time and watch the administration defensively struggle for answers to Cindy Sheehan, the California mother who lost her son, Casey, in Iraq. Her vigil continues adjacent the president's Texas ranch.

Bush told the Veterans of Foreign War the United States will accept nothing less than "total victory over the terrorists and their hateful ideology."

His new argument is that anti-war protesters who want the troops brought home quickly "are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States."

Bush himself acknowledged there were no ties between the deposed dictator Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 commission concluded that there was no evidence of "a collaborative operational relationship" between Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network.

The US invasion of Iraq has changed that equation. The Iraqi resistance is being helped by outsiders - whether terrorists or sympathizers - who were not in Iraq before we attacked.

Did Bush think that at least some Iraqis would not stand and defend their country? Is patriotism simply a US phenomenon?

White House reporters have noted that in addressing military families, Bush is citing statistics on Americans killed in Iraq - a figure now approaching the 2,000 mark. But the candid test will be when he notes the numbers of Iraqis who have been killed since the United States invaded their country.

Democrats have gone about their lives after giving the president a blank check to do anything he thought was necessary. They think they have absolved themselves of responsibility. It's somebody else's war.

But they might find that if they don't get some backbone and take a stand soon, the voters might not be that forgiving.

Do unto others?

Operating Instructions
By Beth Shulman
Monday 29 August 2005

The temperature was 105 degrees on a California farm one day recently, but Salud Zamudio-Rodriguez's boss refused to let him take a rest from picking bell peppers and get out of the sun. Instead, he and the other migrant workers were ordered to double their speed to get the field picked clean that day. Soon, Zamudio-Rodriguez collapsed of heat exhaustion, and later he died.

Two other migrant farm workers died from heat exposure earlier this year, and as a result the California legislature is debating a bill that would require growers to add rest periods and shade to protect farm workers when temperatures exceed 95 degrees. But conservatives are opposing the measure as unnecessary interference with the market system. Have they no shame?

The idea that corporations should have total discretion in how to treat their workers is a growing and retrograde trend in America. Maryland Gov. Robert L. Erlich opposes legislation that would require organizations with more than 10,000 workers to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits or contribute the money to the state's health program for the poor. It is "bad policy ... that a state will dictate to businesses the type and level of health insurance," Erlich said.

Such views deny the reality of American economic life. First, it's a myth that we have any kind of free market. Government regulations already set principles that dictate who can do what to whom, and government enforces those principles through the courts. Laws of property, tort and contract are social creations enforced by government. As Franklin D. Roosevelt put it, "Economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings."

Second, corporations are also created by government. Their very existence is dependent on our laws, including their legal status as "persons." In exchange for the rights and privileges of personhood, American society has the right to hold corporations as accountable for their actions as ordinary citizens.

Third, and most important, it is the central role of government - and of the elected officials in it - to set rules we can all live by that are consistent with American values. Corporations are not elected. Their focus is on the bottom line. But as a society, as communities and individuals, we have different values. Just as other countries determine the rules under which multinational corporations must operate there, we have an obligation to determine such rules here.

The role of government is to promote the general welfare, and that includes leveling the economic playing field so corporations can compete on the basis of their productivity and creativity, not on who can impoverish the most workers. If we as a society don't determine the rules of their game, corporations will write their own. Do we really want to leave it up to Enron or Wal-Mart to determine whether work will provide the basics of a decent life?

Citizens had a role in determining that corporations could not compete by using child labor, or dumping environmental waste in rivers, or discriminating against certain groups, or paying wages below a certain level. We still have the obligation today to determine corporations' operating conditions. We can declare through our elected representatives that corporations must provide health insurance or pay into a state plan, provide a certain number of paid sick days or ensure that their workers are safe.

Today the state's role is even more critical, for corporations are pushing more and more risk onto the American labor force. Even at a time of record profits and productivity, job volatility is a significant problem for millions of American workers. Wages have stagnated, more than 44 million Americans live without health insurance, employer-provided traditional pension plans have dramatically declined, and jobholders get less and less time off. Work is providing fewer and fewer of the basic necessities that Americans have always assumed it would provide.

What happens when we don't set appropriate rules that safeguard ordinary Americans? We get more brutal cases like that of Zamudio-Rodriguez. It is the role of our society to set rules that ensure that workers are rewarded for their hard work and that corporations treat workers with dignity and respect - not to mention basic human decency.

Beth Shulman is the author of The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans (The New Press, 2003) and works with the Russell Sage Foundation's Future of Work and Social Inequality projects.

Nothing is EVER BushCo's fault...

From: ThinkProgress:

Bush Blames Carter, Reagan, Clinton for 9/11

As his poll numbers sink, Bush is getting desperate. From his address today in San Diego:
They looked at our response after the hostage crisis in Iran, the bombings of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa, and the attack on the USS Cole. They concluded that free societies lacked the courage and character to defend themselves against a determined enemy… After September the 11th, 2001, we’ve taught the terrorists a very different lesson: America will not run in defeat and we will not forget our responsibilities.

(Conveniently, Bush doesn’t mention any terrorist attack that occurred during his father’s administration.)

Once upon a time, the President didn’t believe in playing the blame game:
Well, the President is not one that focuses on blame or finger pointing. The President focuses on what we need to do to address challenges.
It appears that statement is inoperative.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Cowardly Bush in San Diego...

Consider this from a San Diego writer:

Here's a piece of info for you:

Navy hospital (Balboa) is closed tomorrow because Bush is speaking there and doesn't want there to be any chance of a protester. My mother is a patient and a volunteer and she was contacted and told that her appointment had been canceled and would be rescheduled later. The pharmacy is closed, the emergency room is closed. Even chemotherapy patients have to reschedule. In other words, civilian personnel and patients will not be allowed on base.

ALL civilian personnel and all patients except those in critical care are being sent home or told not to come in. The front gate is closed. Bush will fly in and out by helicopter so he won't see any protests at the gate either.

The remaining military personnel were told to show up looking very spiffy and to appear in the auditorium and to REMEMBER THEY WILL BE ON FILM. In other words, "if you want a career, and not to be sent to Iraq, cheer like hell!"

Remember when the Repubs carried on like stuck pigs when Clinton delayed a few airplanes unintentionally by getting a haircut? How do we tell the news media about this?
PS: Turned out NO planes were delayed, but Repubs ran that lie as hard as they could...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

No...voters are stupid..

...After all, voters voted and these stupid people now hold the presidency and all that goes with it. May be stupid, but they sure know how to lie and deceive.

"Eisenhower Said it Best: (and guess what? He was wrong.)

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954

A bit of conversation...

Texas Republican:

"How can you liberals be so blind to what Clinton did while in office. (Lying to Congress), but then what President hasn't lied about something? You will have to admit some of his personal life antics aren't exactly what one would expect in a Chief Executive. It did sort of detract from other things."

California Democrat:
Bill Clinton went to work every day carrying the weight of the free world on his shoulders. He never forgot why he was elected or who put him there, and he worked for the good of the American people--all the American people. Even when the special counsel was filing enough paper to fill the Grand Canyon, Clinton put his head down and left the court battles to his legal staff while he carried on the business of the American people.

We thrived under his leadership. People had jobs, a little bit of security, a lot of hope. Not only did our government have a surplus, but so did many families, enough so that discretionary spending wasn't just something economists talked about -- we could actually go to the malls and practice it. Businesses flourished. People were going and doing and buying.

Contrast that to what we have in office now. A president who doesn't know and doesn't care how he got there -- only that he carries the title and all the power. And while economists are warning that the mounting national debt is going to throw our economy for a loop sooner rather than later, and while the working poor in America are slowly going under inch by inch, and while good men and women are dying in an uncalled for foreign occupation, our present president berates people and situations right and left, bestows belittling nicknames on friend and foe alike, and takes off to the ranch every chance he gets to bike ride, play golf and cut brush, because it's important that his life have balance.

It's very hard to compare a redwood to a tumbleweed, the one being stately and looked up to while the other rolls whichever way the wind blows and is just sort of a prickly little mound that doesn't amount to much. And while the one has made much of retirement and used the time to travel the world and help people unable to help themselves, I can't imagine that the tumbleweed will do anything more than laze about playing golf or biking and collecting his retirement dollars. Once again, not amounting to much.

Personal lives aside, just who should Americans be prouder of?

Christian fundies plan takeover of S. Carolina...

August 28, 2005 : National News
E-mail story

Strategizing a Christian Coup d'Etat
A group of believers wants to establish Scriptures-based government one city and county at a time.
By Jenny Jarvie, Times Staff Writer

GREENVILLE, S.C. — It began, as many road trips do, with a stop at Wal-Mart to buy a portable DVD player.But Mario DiMartino was planning more than a weekend getaway. He, his wife and three children were embarking on a pilgrimage to South Carolina.

"I want to migrate and claim the gold of the Lord," said the 38-year-old oil company executive from Pennsylvania. "I want to replicate the statutes and the mores and the scriptures that the God of the Old Testament espoused to the world."

DiMartino, who drove here recently to look for a new home, is a member of Christian Exodus, a movement of politically active believers who hope to establish a government based upon Christian principles. At a time when evangelicals are exerting influence on the national political stage — having helped secure President Bush's reelection — Christian Exodus believes that people of faith have failed to assert their moral agenda: Abortion is legal. School prayer is banned. There are limits on public displays of the Ten Commandments. Gays and lesbians can marry in Massachusetts.

Christian Exodus activists plan to take control of sheriff's offices, city councils and school boards. Eventually, they say, they will control South Carolina. They will pass godly legislation, defying Supreme Court rulings on the separation of church and state.

"We're going to force a constitutional crisis," said Cory Burnell, 29, an investment advisor who founded the group in November 2003. "If necessary," he said, "we will secede from the union."

Burnell has not moved to South Carolina himself — he promised his wife that they would stay in Valley Springs, Calif., until the end of next year — but believes that his 950 supporters will rally to the cause. Five families have moved so far. Burnell said his inspiration came from the Free State Project, which in October 2003 appealed to libertarians to move to New Hampshire for limited government intervention, lower taxes and greater individual rights. By 2006, organizers had hoped to have 20,000 people committed to relocating to New Hampshire; so far, 6,600 have said they intended to make the move, and only 100 have done so.

Christian Exodus, Burnell predicted, will be more successful."There are more Christians than libertarians," he said. After scrutinizing electoral records, demographic trends and property prices, Christian Exodus members identified two upstate South Carolina counties — they will not officially say which ones — as prime for a conservative takeover. By September 2006, Burnell hopes to have 2,000 activists in one county and 500 in the other.

Frank and Tammy Janoski have settled into a five-bedroom house with white vinyl siding in a new subdivision in rural Spartanburg County. "This is where God wants us to be," he said. Janoski, 38, a self-employed computer engineer, had been contemplating moving from his deadline-oriented lifestyle in Bethlehem, Pa., to a more conservative region with cheaper housing and lower taxes when a church friend handed him a Christian Exodus flier. "What attracted me to the movement was the idea of calling back the country to a righteous standard," he said. His first six months in South Carolina have been idyllic, Janoski said. Not only do his neighbors wave as they pass by, but they also share most of his conservative Christian beliefs."If you're going to secede, this is the place to do it," he said. "A lot of the locals have that spirit."

Although Christian Exodus members are confident that they can capitalize on evangelical disillusionment with the Republican Party, local observers are skeptical. James Guth, a professor at Furman University in Greenville who studies the influence of religion on politics, does not think that Christian Exodus will be successful beyond a county level. "South Carolina is a state that is dominated by Republicans," he said. "Although there are people on the far right edge of the Republican Party … in general, the population is a big fan of Bush."

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, upstate South Carolina is the most conservative region of a conservative state: Bush won 58% of the South Carolina vote in 2004, and Greenville is home to Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist Christian college that until recently had banned interracial dating.

Cleatus Blackmon, treasurer and director of missions at the Greer Baptist Assn., which oversees 39 Baptist churches in Janoski's town, doubts that Christian Exodus' focus on taking over government bodies will appeal to the majority of the region's Christians."You don't find the word 'control' in the scriptures," he said. "The basic mission of the church is to proclaim God's redeeming love through the example of Jesus Christ."

But Christian Exodus activists insist that they will forge ahead, even if they end up polarizing the Christian community."We want to separate the wheat from the chaff," DiMartino said. "There's a lot of deception in the church. If the Republican Party says something, a lot of churches say it's gospel."

Despite its cynicism about the Republican Party, Christian Exodus plans to use the party's popularity to its advantage. Rather than running for office themselves, Christian Exodus activists hope to influence which Republican candidates win local primaries."All we have to do is put our guy on the ballot with an 'R' sign," Burnell said. "It could be a corpse and they'll vote for him."

Local Republicans, however, point out that they would never sit idly by while Christian Exodus took over." He talks about 2,000 activists, but I can easily get 4,000 activists," said Bob Taylor, a Republican Greenville County councilman and a dean at Bob Jones University. "There's incredible dedication to the [Republican] cause."While many South Carolinians may oppose abortion and gay marriage, Taylor said, few would support secession.

But DiMartino is not worried about the naysayers.When he explained Christian Exodus to the man who sold him his home in Pickens County, he said, the salesman gave him a high-five. DiMartino looks forward to living alongside Christians who want to put local government back in the hands of what, he believes, America was really founded for. "Whether it flies or not," he said, "is really in the Lord's hands."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Having served in Iraq....

From Independent Clearing House:

Fighting To Survive

Most people only see car bombs and explosions and American soldiers running frantically to contain "the situation" on a muted television screen, I see it in real life. I actually hear the booms and bangs of insurgent bombs, and the crackling of machine gun fire, and the hysterical shouting of frightened Iraqi civilians.

Report from Afghanistan...

From, an excerpt :

...The Naval Special Forces (NAVSOF) team that was involved in the operation in Kunar Province had been traveling throughout Afghanistan conducting apprehend or kill missions against Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. They had worked with us for two weeks, three weeks before the events on June 28. While working with our teams, they attempted to take out a high value Taliban target and missed him by hours. This operation was conducted in the Zerico Valley which has been one of our hot spots. We provided the outer ring security for the SEALs with Afghan National Army soldiers and ETTs while the SEALs conducted the compound assault. We missed the big target but did get some mid level guys so the mission was not a total bust. The NAVSOF guys are the best of thebest, not cocky simply professionals in every way, we call them operators.

On June 28 a four man SEAL reconnaissance team was trying to locate Taliban in the dense mountainous and forested area of the Kunar Province of Afghanistan. They were trying to identify routes that the bad guys use to enter from Pakistan. The targeting information would be used to direct U.S. and Afghanforces who would interdict and destroy those enemy forces. The SEALs were spotted and engaged by a large force of Taliban some where between 25-50 insurgents.

The Taliban who are still alive and fighting in Afghanistan are very good combatants. Unlike Iraq Arabs, they are not suicidal and they use good small unit tactics. The bad guys used Rocket Propel Grenades (RPGs), mortars and small arms to attack the SEALs. The team set up a 360 degree defense and called in Hornet Nest (troops in contact) back to their operational base. The command and control headquarters for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan moved a Predator unmanned drone over the battle location. The SEALs were located by the predator by their locator beacon and the infrared camera system of the drone. The headquarters could see that the TEAM was encircled by bad guys and that the enemy was too close to the SEALs to use Air force close air support. A weather front was rapidly coming into the area and the SEAL Commander a Lieutenant Commander ask permission to launch his quick reaction force to go rescue his men.

The commander of TF 160th (the Night Stalkers) agreed to fly the mission. The Night Stalkers are the Army's Special Operations air wing. They specialize in high risk insertion and extraction at night. It was not night fall yet and the command hesitated because sending the special operation birds into the area in the light was very risky. The Generals look at the screen that was giving a live feed of the fire fight, they saw that the SEALs were surrounded, they did not see a way for them to escape, a weather front was coming, it was dusk but not dark yet and time for the trapped men was running out.

Leadership requires having the guts to make a decision, based on analysis and forethought. You must totally recognize the risk and be ready to accept the results. The general in charge made the right call, he had to try to rescue the operators, we as American soldiers cannot leave our people on the battlefield, every Airman, Marine, Sailor, Coast Guardsmen and Soldier has to know that when you go down range and things go wrong keep fighting and help will come.

The decision was made, two CH 47 Pave Hawk helicopters headed toward the SEALs. The CH 47 is a large aircraft but it is fast for a helicopter, able to fly at 170 knots. The aircraft entered the mountains flying at 50 feet above the ground with 16 men aboard. All four SEALs were still alive and fighting an unbelievable battle. As the lead bird approached the landing zone they started to slow down and the air speed dropped under 100 Knots, another group of Taliban, not engaged in the initial firefight but in the area saw the aircraft and opened fire with small arms and RPG's. The lead aircraft was hit by a RPG but the aviator kept the bird in the air. They were in the mountains; therefore there was no clear place to land. He flew for about a mile and saw a ledge that he could try to put the bird down on. The CH 47 landed on the ledge hard, they almost made it. The hard landing and the palpitations of the rotors were too much for the small landing zone and weak ground. It was their time, the aircraft rolled off of the ledge on to its side and down the mountain into the valley below. 8 SEALs and 8 aviators from TF 160th were gone.

The other aircraft could not land in the hot landing zone and were called back. There was not enough time to try to secure the area because the weather front moved in and night fall fell. The SEALs kept fighting and used the cover of darkness to crawl out of the initial enemy lines. The SEALs were engaged again and had a running gun battle for over two hours. The SEAL that survived was knocked unconscious by a mortar round and found that he was alone when he woke up. Two of his team members were dead close by, and the last team member was missing. They had dropped all none essential gear during their escape therefore all contact with them was lost. Eventually the surviving SEAL ran into a villager who took him to his house. That shepherd, at great risk to himself, protected the SEAL until he could be moved six hours away to the nearest U.S. forces that the villager was aware of.

The loss of the operators really broke the hearts of all us deployed down range. Losing men of that quality and dedication is bad enough one at a time,but to lose so many, so fast was hard to comprehend. But after the shock had worn off and we got the true story of what happen we took solace. You see every one did what they supposed to on that day, the SEAL recon team kept fighting, the SEAL commander went to get his shipmates, the Night Stalkers volunteered to fly in to harms way to rescue their brothers in arms and the generals had the guts to make the right decision. That is all you can ask for out here...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Poison 'em all. What the hell....

Radioactive Wounds of War

Tests on returning troops suggest serious health consequences of depleted uranium use in Iraq. In the current wars in Afghanistan and, especially, Iraq, DU has become the weapon of choice, even though studies in the mid-90's concluded there was no safe way to use DU as weapons.


1)CIA 2)More nukes

From Secrecy News:


The text of a speech given by Director of Central IntelligencePorter Goss at his first meeting with CIA employees last September was finally approved for public release by the CIA last month, and disclosed this week.To the untrained eye, the speech appears to be an awkward attempt by the new Director to establish rapport with a suspicious audience, filled out by page after page of hollow rhetoric.

"My plan is very simple. It's for a dedicated focus on Mission, Capabilities, and Success," DCI (now DCIA) Goss said. But the Washington Post, which independently obtained the text of the speech last October, said then that it "offers the most extensive insight into [Goss's] plans for the agency since he took over and all but shut down CIA communications with the public." (WP, 10/22/04).

A copy of the newly released September 24, 2004 speech to CIA employees is available here:

"I know that everything I say, or don't say, today is going to be interpreted in a lot of ways," Mr. Goss said ambiguously.
Upon reviewing 1.3 million pages of declassified records at the National Archives earlier this year, Energy Department officials found 76 pages of classified nuclear weapons-related information that were inadvertently released, according to a new report to Congress.

As in similar surveys in the past, most of the inadvertently released classified records concerned historical nuclear weapons storage locations or stockpile quantities -- information that does not represent a current proliferation hazard. However, some of the records also included unspecified weapons design information.

See "Seventeenth Report on Inadvertent Releases of Restricted Data and Formerly Restricted Data under Executive Order 12958," DOE Report to Congress, May 2005 (declassified version, August 2005):


Nuke protection at home...

From Secrecy News:


In a characteristically unilateral action, the Bush Administration last April used a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) to establish the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) within theDepartment of Homeland Security, the purpose of which is to coordinate the detection of nuclear materials for illicit use.

But Congress, expressing dissatisfaction with the President's unilateral move, sharply reduced proposed funding for the newOffice."On April 15, 2005, the President signed a joint presidential directive establishing the office, NSPD-43 / HSPD-14, 'Domestic Nuclear Detection'," said DNDO Acting Director Vayl Oxford in testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee on June 21.This was the first public acknowledgment that the DNDO had been established by means of a national security presidential directive.(Noted by Jeffrey Lewis of

The full text of NSPD 43 has not been publicly disclosed, but a copy of the associated fact sheet may be found here:

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees criticized the way in which the DNDO had been established and both cut $100 million from the Office's proposed $227 million budget for 2006. Creation of the DNDO is an example "of action being taken before thoughtful planning despite the seriousness of the problems being addressed," the Senate Appropriations Committee averred (Sen. Report109-83). "Hasty solutions are fostering an apparent false sense of security." "The Committee strongly agrees with the importance of improving nuclear detection capabilities and coordination, but is troubled by the manner in which this initiative has been handled."Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) complained about the "lack of consultation on the proposed reorganization," and itemized his specific concerns in a 9 page letter to the Department of HomelandSecurity on June 10. See:

The White House largely dismissed the congressional criticism and complained in a July 11 statement that "making a large portion ofDNDO funds contingent upon further congressional review may delay improvements in the Nation's capability to defend against catastrophic threats."

"This initiative is a top priority of the Administration," the White House said.

Let's hear what Gen Clark says...

General Clark will be appearing this Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press with Tim Russert to discuss the war in Iraq and the success strategy he outlined in today's Washington Post op-ed.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

BushCo must STOP torturing people!!!

From the TomDispatch:

Greenberg on Why U.S. Military Lawyers Opposed Torture

Extraordinary renditions, torture, abuse, humiliation, detention without charge or end, an obsession with protecting American officials (and military men) from future foreign or domestic criminal charges for their acts -- these are the cornerstones of foreign policy under George Bush, and they have produced horror stories galore. His is a presidency that has made the beautiful speech about the spreading of freedom and human rights just the sunny-side up version of the infliction of pain, the double standard, and the detention center.

There is, not surprisingly, no accurate count of those held by this administration without charge or recourse. Perhaps 15,000 prisoners are at present incarcerated by the American military in Iraq; 505 in Guantanamo; untold numbers are shuttled in and out of various forward military bases and detention centers in Afghanistan (which has become something like a giant Central Asian Guantanamo for detainees from all over the world); scores of "ghost detainees" are in ghost prisons at unknown places around the globe (including, possibly, on U.S. Navy warships, on the American-controlled island of Diego Garcia, and in the prisons of various allies, especially those known to have a propensity for using torture themselves); and a few are in military brigs here in the U.S. Of this large group of detainees, most without rights of any sort, many beyond the reach of the world or of anyone who has ever known or cared for them, significant numbers are -- as has been seen in case after case -- innocent men (or women, or, in some cases, children) who were simply swept up in the hysteria of the Bush administration's "war on terror" and the actual wars and occupations that followed.

To take but one example, at Camp Bucca in Iraq, where prisoners are kept by the U.S. military for a year on average, Steve Fainaru and Anthony Shadid of the Washington Post reported the following:

"Many of the freed detainees express bewilderment at why they were held; even the U.S. commander who oversees Bucca, Col. Austin Schmidt, 55, of Fairfax, estimated that one in four prisoners ‘perhaps were just snagged in a dragnet-type operation' or were victims of personal vendettas. ‘This is like Chicago in the '30s: You don't like somebody, you drop a dime on them,' Schmidt said. ‘And by the time the Iraqi court system figures it out, they go home. But it takes a while.'"

Others have offered far higher estimates of the numbers of such detainees; but whatever the number, multiplied globally, it adds up to a lot of angry, resentful people (and families and friends and associates). Alienating the world has, however, been something of a sub-specialty of the Bush administration. Almost alone among those they did not alienate were, until recently, a bare majority of the American people -- all they needed to do what they wanted to do. With that support, they have been unfazed not just by moral arguments against the use of torture and detention without end, but by practical arguments against them as well. As Karen J. Greenberg, co-editor of The Torture Papers, indicates below, we now know that such arguments were made quite forcefully by a range of military lawyers back in 2003 when the details of administration torture policies were just being hammered out. These lawyers pointed out (though to no purpose at the time) that torture is a surefire way, in the long run, to create the very atmosphere within which terrorist groups can recruit and thrive.

Some thought has, at least, been given to the tortured in the last couple of years; little, however, has been given to the torturers. It is often argued, for instance, that torture produces unreliable information for all the obvious reasons; mostly because sooner or later people will say what's necessary to make it stop. No one ever mentions that torturers are unlikely themselves to be reliable or that their sense of the world and its boundaries is simply not to be trusted. After all, one of the hallmarks of torture is that it takes not just the tortured but the torturer beyond all normal bounds and into another psychic universe where perverse fantasies of every sort are likely to run wild. The very position of interrogator in a situation where a prisoner is without rights and in a detention without end is likely to lead to mirror-fantasies of power beyond all bounds.

Here, for instance, is a description offered by Benyam Mohammed, an Ethiopian who was kidnapped in a CIA extraordinary-rendition operation, passed through the prisons of Pakistan, Morocco, and our Afghan detention centers (and claimed he was tortured in all three places) before landing in Guantanamo. According to his lawyer, "he is being held without charges. Mohammed's remarks to the lawyer do not allege physical torture there. But he said one interrogator, who said his name was Matthew, screamed in his ear: ‘I am GOD here! I can do whatever I want with you. Don't think you're safe here.'"

Though the threat was undoubtedly made to terrify the prisoner, it also reflects a potential psychological reality for anyone under such boundary-less conditions. But who would trust a man who believes himself in any sense to be God to offer reliable or well considered information? Who would want a corps of such disturbed human beings, trained in the ghost world of our mini-gulag abroad, to return home -– as they certainly will?

The hallmarks of the Bush administration have been lack of accountability, lack of responsibility, lack of shame, and an urge for destruction. Unfortunately, when it comes to torture, pundits and public alike, largely through fear and the feeling of being in a new and unknown situation after September 11, 2001, have generally gone along for the ride. Tom

The Achilles Heel of Torture
What the JAG Memos Tell us
Karen J. Greenberg

Last month, Americans were given a new and persuasive reason for objecting to the use of torture as a tool in administration policy; namely, its potentially harmful impact on any viable counterterrorism strategy that values information as essential in combating Islamic fundamentalist terror. This strategic concern was raised in a set of memos released by the government in its latest "dump" of documents into the public arena.

Since the spring of 2004, the government has been making public previously classified documents nearly weekly, often in response to Freedom of Information Act law suits (though the numbers of newly classified documents are increasing at a rate that more than nullifies any sense of transparency such releases might suggest). Many of these memos have been about torture -- whether to use it; how to use it; and, most of all, how to protect government agents and agencies against prosecution for using it. Among these documents have been memos from the Judge Advocate General's Corps (or JAG), written by military lawyers from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines, and these constitute a welcome oasis of sanity in a desert of compliance with the government's decision to use torture as a weapon in its "war on terror."

First brought to public attention in Senate debate on July 25, 2005, these JAG memos have seen the light thanks to a request from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. They were written in February 2003 as recommendations to a Pentagon working group on "interrogation policy."

Collectively, they express a clear opposition to the use of the sorts of harsh interrogation techniques that White House lawyers had not only recommended but declared legally viable. Indeed, by August of 2002, lawyers for the administration had infamously suggested, as a basis for reducing legal culpability for the mistreatment of detainees, that the definition of torture itself be narrowed to include only ""[p]hysical pain …equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

The JAG memos, on the other hand, warned that abusive interrogation techniques -- contrary to the advice administration lawyers were generating – might well be found illegal in courts of law: As one put it, "Our domestic courts may well disagree with [the administration's lawyers'] interpretation of the law." The courts, the JAG memos warned, might find that the use of torture, however redefined by the administration, violated not just international law, but domestic criminal law and the laws of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well.

These memos have earned praise from critics of the Bush administration and its war on terror, who have been pleased to discover strong organizational resistance to administration policy within the military. But the terms of the disagreement have been little explored. It's not just the fact of the dissent that is noteworthy, but its nature; for these documents provide us with something other than the usual notes of protest against torture that critics of the administration are wont to express. The JAG criticism is not so much moral as strategic. What the JAG lawyers suggest -- and it is a position no less significant today than when it was shaped in 2003 -- is that a policy of torture is sure to constitute a fatal flaw in any war against jihadi terror.

Prior to the release of these JAG memos, what opposition to torture we knew about within the administration almost invariably stood upon a concern for rights and legality. Secretary of State Colin Powell, William Taft IV, the Legal Advisor to the Department of State, and others reasoned, without much success, against policies which could lay the groundwork for abusive treatment. They cited the possible illegality of such acts under domestic law; the importance of maintaining the high moral ground as a mark of American national identity; the protection of human rights worldwide; the potentially dangerous repercussions that might come from alienating our allies; and the endangerment of our citizens and our troops in a world in which reciprocity in the decent treatment of prisoners might no longer be honored.

The JAG memos restate these arguments, but they also plunge into new critical territory. In a February 27, 2003 memo summarizing the problems the JAG lawyers had with the Pentagon's working group proposal, for instance, Kevin M. Sandkuhler, Brigadier General for the Marine Corps, wrote the following: "The authorization of aggressive counter-resistance techniques by service members will adversely impact …Human Intelligence Exploitation and Surrender of Foreign Enemy Forces, and Cooperation and Support of Friendly Nations." Put simply, Sandkuhler was saying that the systematic practice of torture threatened to impede the collection of useful information and so had the potential to deliver a harmful blow to the U.S. war against jihadi terrorism.

If, as both administration officials and their critics agree, information is crucial in preventing terrorist attacks, then the practice of torture needs rethinking on purely strategic grounds. There are two reasons for this. The first, cited commonly by critics as well as in the JAG memos, is simply that, on an individual level, torture is "of questionable practical value in obtaining reliable information." The "ticking bomb" scenario -- you have two hours to foil a plot to blow up part of New York City and a single man with crucial information in your hands -- has yet to find its way into reality (though Fox Broadcasting's show "24" may have convinced the television-watching population otherwise); nor has the government ever made the claim that they have gathered crucial or even valuable, otherwise unknown or unattainable evidence, from the detainees at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib by such methods. And information obtained through torture is notorious for its unreliability.

Prior to the release of these memos, the second reason has been absent from official documents and most public consideration of the use of torture as policy. As the JAG memos make clear, sooner or later torture seems invariably to become a matter of the public record and, when it does, as with the release of the photos from Abu Ghraib or accounts of torture at Guantanamo, it understandably alienates a rich and unsurpassable source of information -- Muslim communities around the world. As the police in Great Britain and various other European countries will tell you, the apprehension of jihadi terrorists relies heavily not on coercion, but on informants who willingly provide information either for political, ideological, or personal reasons.

Connections to Muslim communities must be based on trust, and such trust is obviously less likely to exist if the threat of detention with torture and without trial is a cornerstone of U.S. policy. It is not a question of Muslims around the world hating Americans, but of Muslims wanting to work with an administration whose policies are built on torture and detention without end or recourse. Underlying any policy of torture in present circumstances, as the writers of the JAG memos recognized even in 2003, is the assumption that it is not worth our while to build real bridges to Muslims (rather than the cosmetic ones envisioned by Karen Hughes, the President's favorite advisor and new undersecretary of state for public diplomacy).

As the military lawyers realized two years ago, the Bush administration's recourse to torture policies was a sign that its officials neither trusted, nor put much faith in what once would have been considered basic American values; nor believed our policies to be attractive when compared to the hatred that bonds Islamic fundamentalists together. Just as the JAGs sensed it would, this has proved a losing assumption -- and torture the Achilles heel of administration policy -- based on an exceedingly short-sighted concept of national security.

The inverse relationship between success in fighting terrorist enemies and the practice of torture has yet to be sufficiently appreciated either by critics of the administration's torture policy or by counterterrorist policymakers. Those who defend torture policies insist that opposition to torture, the preference for human rights instead of what they see as realpolitik, is but another example of weak-kneed liberals clinging to straws as compatriots are beheaded, of amnesia over the almost 3,000 who died on September 11th, 2001, and of an overall lack of respect for fighting an effective war against enemies who refuse to play by civilized rules. But they are mistaken, as the Sandkuhler memo -- which opposed torture as much on strategic grounds as moral or constitutional ones --- made clear two years ago.

After the bloody, cruel and dehumanizing events of World War Two, General Dwight D. Eisenhower surveyed the plusses and minuses of America's engagement with evil. According to Eisenhower, the fact that the US military was known not to abuse prisoners contributed greatly to hastening the end of the war in the European theater; Nazis were willing to turn themselves in to the Allied forces and brought with them information that played an important role in ending the war.

Washington should take note. If their "war on terror" will indeed last decades, as many administration members and supporters claim, then wouldn't it be better not to shut the door on those Muslims who know that terrorism in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists will harm us all?

Karen J. Greenberg is the Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law and the co-editor of The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib as well as editor of two forthcoming books, Al Qaeda Now, Understanding Today's Terrorists and The Torture Debate in America.
Copyright 2005 Karen J. Greenberg

So trashing Weldon didn't work!

Senate May Hold Hearings on Able Danger, Info-Sharing
Thursday, August 25, 2005

WASHINGTON — Aides to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (search), R-Pa., are actively discussing scheduling a hearing on "Able Danger" and the larger issue of information-sharing between the Pentagon and the FBI, FOX News has confirmed.

Able Danger (search) is the code name for a military-intelligence unit that apparently learned a year before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that lead hijacker Mohamed Atta (search) and other terrorists were already in the United States.

One of the central Able Danger claims — that military lawyers blocked the sharing of the Atta information from the FBI in the late summer and early fall of 2000 — will be a focus of the committee if a hearing takes place, FOX News has confirmed.

Though no date has been set for any hearings, Specter sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday asking the agency to provide to the committee "all information and documents it has in connection with Able Danger, Lt. Colonel Anthony Shaffer, Captain Scott Philpott or any other persons having any connections with Project Able Danger, including, but not limited to, e-mail communication, notes, phone message slips, memos or any other supporting documentation."

Specter also asked Mueller to make available FBI agent Xanthig Mangum to meet with his staff. Mangum is reported to have corresponded in 2000 with Shaffer, who helped run Able Danger's mission and has offered to testify on its findings, about scheduling a meeting between Able Danger and FBI staffs. No meeting ever took place.

Shaffer, Philpott and another analyst involved with Able Danger have recently gone public with their findings, saying they were discouraged from looking further into Atta, and their attempts to share their information with the FBI were thwarted because Atta was a legal foreign visitor at the time.

"This story needs to be told. The American people need to be told what could have been done to prevent 3,000 people from losing their lives," said Rep. Curt Weldon (search), R-Pa.
Weldon drew attention to Able Danger by speaking about it on the House floor and publicly calling for the Sept. 11 commission to explain why the intelligence information wasn't detailed in its final report.

Shaffer and Philpott claim that in October 2003 they told commission staffers of the presence of Al Qaeda operatives in the United States in 2000.
The Pentagon has been looking into what it knew and when it knew it, but spokesman Larry DiRita on Monday said defense officials have not been able to verify the Able Danger claims so far.

"There appear to be more memories than there is information to substantiate those memories. We're reviewing the matter carefully, but thus far have not found what it is these handful of individuals seem to remember. At a certain point, we'll decide we have looked long enough and welcome anyone else coming forward with additional information," the Pentagon said in a statement.

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Thursday that the department has interviewed both Shaffer and Philpott as part of its investigation.

But Weldon on Thursday urged the Pentagon not to issue any more statements on Able Danger until its findings are complete.

Weldon said in a statement that doing so "might give the unfortunate impression that its results are predetermined."

The congressman said he spoke to DiRita on Wednesday and that "he was backpedaling left and right," claiming he was misquoted about the status of the search.

"There's something very sinister going on here that really troubles me," Weldon told FOX News on Thursday, blasting the Sept. 11 commission (search) for not taking the claims more seriously. He said some panel members were trying to smear Shaffer and Able Danger.

"What's the Sept. 11 commission got to hide?" Weldon asked. "The commission is trying to spin this because they're embarrassed about what's coming out. In two weeks with two staffers, I've uncovered more in this regard than they did with 80 staffers and $15 million of taxpayer money."

Sept. 11 commission Chairman Thomas Kean recently told FOX News that the panel is waiting for a response from the Pentagon. Until then, the commission has stood by its work, maintaining that no documents they received from the military backed up the Atta claims.

Weldon added that at least five people on the federal payroll will testify under oath about the validity of the Able Danger intelligence.

According to Weldon, the FBI in September 2000 set up meetings with special operations officers on three separate occasions to transfer the Atta and Al Qaeda (search) information, but the transfers never took place.

Weldon said not only was Specter planning hearings on Able Danger, but that he also spoke with House Speaker Dennis Hastert about focusing more attention on the matter.

"When this is over, the Sept. 11 commission is going to have egg all over their face," he said.

FOX News' Catherine Herridge, Molly Hooper and Liza Porteus contributed to this report.

Good reading on the way...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:

Fiction: General/Other:
Jack Whyte's KNIGHTS OF THE BLACK AND WHITE: The Templar Trilogy, telling the story of the Knights Templar from the founding of the order, to their years as the world's richest and most powerful entity, to their violent destruction, and their rebirth in exile and diaspora, to Rachel Kahan at Putnam, by Russell Galen at Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency (US). Danny Baror handles foreign rights.

Shira Nayman's untitled novel and short story collection, about the experiences of children of Holocaust survivors, to Alexis Gargagliano at Scribner, by Aaron Priest at the Aaron Priest Agency (world English).

Film critic Sara Voorhees's THE ÉCLAIR AFFAIR, about a struggling journalist covering the Cannes Film Festival who discovers that the French Riviera may hold more secrets for her than just celebrity scandals, to Marysue Rucci at Simon & Schuster, by Bess Reed at Regal Literary (world English)

Screenwriter and performer Robert Loehr's debut THE CHESS MACHINE, an historical novel set in the eighteenth century, about the inventor of a machine that would defeat all chess players, also featuring "a dwarf, a pair of aristocratic siblings, a beautiful housemaid and a cheeky boy in a series of murders, a wonderful love story, a great roof top chase and even an orgy," to Scott Moyers at Penguin Press and UK colleague Juliet Annan at Fig Tree, at auction, by Tanja Howarth on behalf of Piper Verlag, which publishes this month (world English). French rights to Laffont in a pre-empt, and Dutch rights to Karakter.

Lolita Files's CHILD OF GOD, to rapper Kanye West, in a good deal, by Steve Fisher at APA, on behalf of Elaine Koster

Joe R. Lansdale's A FINE DARK LINE, about a boy "consumed by the contents of an old tin box that carries the secrets of a small town's past," to Traveling Light producer Adam Friedman, who will also direct.

Stuart F. Tower's 1904 historical novel of Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe THE WAYFARERS, to W.Q.G. - Film, a joint venture between Quintus Films BV of Amsterdam, Genius Films of Romania, and The Wayfarers in Florida, on behalf of The Lighthouse Press.
Jeff Abbott's forthcoming thriller PANIC, about a documentary film-maker who discovers his entire life has been a carefully constructed lie, pursued by a ruthless organization of killers, searching for the truth about who he really is, to Brendan Deneen at The Weinstein Company, by Holly Frederick at Curtis Brown.

Dawn Prince-Hughes's PASSING AS HUMAN, an exploration of our society's focus on what is considered normal and abnormal human behavior, to Shaye Areheart and Kim Meisner at Harmony, by Jenny Bent at Trident Media Group.

Zachary Shore's new book BLUNDER: Why We Risk Everything with Destructive Decision-Making, which answers how and why the rigid ways in which people approach and solve problems on the basis of pre-conceived notions and preset patterns of thought can lead to catastrophic judgment calls on a national scale, shatter corporate competitiveness, and sabotage personal relationships, to Kathy Belden at Bloomsbury, for publication in Spring 2007, by Will Lippincott at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin.

Toby Faber's FATAL EGGS: The extraordinary creations of Carl Gustavovitch Faberge, the story of Faberge's Imperial Easter eggs, a tale of greed, tragedy, and devotion which mirrors the history of twentieth century Russia, to Susanna Porter at Random House, by Zoe Pagnamenta at PFD New York (US)

Steven Fraser's A HISTORY OF THE GILDED AGE, to Lara Heimert at Basic, in a pre-empt, by Sandra Dijkstra at the Sandra Dijkstra Agency (world)
Christopher de Bellaigue's book on one of the great crossroads of the Middle East, Kurdistan, by Inigo Thomas at Penguin Press, in a very nice deal, by David Godwin of David Godwin Associates.

Journalist James Kynge's CHINA SHAKES THE WORLD, detailing China's breakneck metamorphosis from a famine-ridden, semi-medieval state into a global economic superpower, with particular attention to the internal weaknesses, to Webster Younce at Houghton Mifflin, for publication in Fall 2006, by George Lucas at Inkwell Management, on behalf of Felicity Bryan at Felicity Bryan.

Writer for Eric Boehlert's LAPDOGS: How the Press Laid Down for the Bush White House, an account of how the media has failed to do its job as it has covered George W. Bush as governor of Texas, as the 2000 Republican candidate, and as a wartime president, to Dominick Anfuso at Free Press, by Richard Abate at ICM (NA).

Rob the Bouncer's CLUBLIFE: Behind the Velvet Rope, based on the blog that has been featured in Gawker and Newsweek, exploring the nightclub subculture from the point of view of a New York City bouncer, to Mauro DiPreta at Harper, by Eileen Cope at Trident Media Group (world).

Putting Plame case together...

Go to for the rest of this front page story today:

A CIA Cover Blown, a White House Exposed
By Tom Hamburger and Sonni Efron
Los Angeles Times
Thursday 25 August 2005

Washington - Toward the end of a steamy summer week in 2003, reporters were peppering the White House with phone calls and e-mails, looking for someone to defend the administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
About to emerge as a key critic was Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who asserted that the administration had manipulated intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion.
At the White House, there wasn't much interest in responding to critics like Wilson that Fourth of July weekend. The communications staff faced more pressing concerns - the president's imminent trip to Africa, growing questions about the war and declining ratings in public opinion polls.
Wilson's accusations were based on an investigation he undertook for the CIA. But he was seen inside the White House as a "showboater" whose stature didn't warrant a high-level administration response. "Let him spout off solo on a holiday weekend," one White House official recalled saying. "Few will listen."
In fact, millions were riveted that Sunday as Wilson - on NBC's "Meet the Press" and in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post - accused the administration of ignoring intelligence that didn't support its rationale for war.
Underestimating the impact of Wilson's allegations was one in a series of misjudgments by White House officials.
(cont at )

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Here's how GOP steals 2006

Reviving Jim Crow?
By David J. Becker
The Washington Post
Monday 22 August 2005

Any day now the Justice Department will render judgment on one of the single most discriminatory pieces of voting legislation of recent years: a Georgia state law requiring voters to present one of only six forms of photo identification before they can exercise their right to vote. Before enforcing this statute, Georgia must get Justice Department approval by proving that the law will not put minority voters in a worse position than they were in before the requirement was instituted.

The facts surrounding Georgia's voter identification requirement cannot be disputed. Virtually every black legislator opposes the legislation, and most black lawmakers staged a walkout to protest its passage. Every major civil rights and minority advocacy group, including the NAACP, and many legal scholars, oppose the restriction; several have submitted comments to the Justice Department for consideration.

Additionally, it is surprisingly difficult to obtain a photo ID in Georgia. Though the state has 159 counties, there are only 56 places in which residents can obtain a driver's license, and not one is within the city limits of Atlanta or within the six counties that have the highest percentage of blacks.

There is also considerable evidence that photo ID requirements have a disproportionately negative impact on blacks and other minorities. The Justice Department found as recently as a decade ago that blacks in Louisiana were four to five times less likely than whites to have photo IDs.

Studies in other states indicate similar disparities. Consequently, the Michigan attorney general deemed a less restrictive voter identification bill unconstitutional, and the Federal Election Commission reported that photo identification requirements impose an undue and potentially discriminatory burden on citizens exercising their right to vote. Indeed, the Justice Department rejected a less restrictive Louisiana law in 1994 and 1995.

The law's proponents claim that it will help protect against voter fraud, but there appears to be no evidence to support this claim. Georgians already have to show one of 17 forms of ID to prove that they are who they say they are when they vote. Georgia's chief elections official, Secretary of State Cathy Cox, has said that not one instance of voter fraud relating to impersonation at the polls has been documented during her tenure.

Furthermore, while purporting to combat fraud, the Georgia law expressly excludes absentee ballots from the ID requirement. While all the evidence indicates that minorities are far less likely to vote absentee than whites, absentee balloting is the only form of voting in which there is documented fraud in Georgia. The exclusion of absentee ballots from the identification requirement raises serious questions about whether the anti-fraud justification for the law is purely pre-textual.

One thing is certain: If this law is approved, it will be more difficult for minorities to vote in Georgia - the home of John Lewis and Martin Luther King Jr. - than in any other state.

In addition, federal support for Georgia's restrictions would probably open the floodgates for similar discriminatory laws in other jurisdictions.

Indiana recently passed such a law, as has Wisconsin (though Wisconsin's Democratic governor vetoed the legislation), and it's likely that legislatures in Florida, Texas, South Carolina, South Dakota and other Republican-controlled states are watching to see what the Justice Department will do. We'll soon discover whether the Justice Department accepts its role as the last line of defense for minority voter rights or becomes the very instrument for the suppression of those rights.

The writer is a voting rights attorney and election consultant, and a former trial attorney in the Justice Department's Voting Section.

An Officer & a Gentlewoman....

Abu Ghraib General Lambastes Bush Administration
By Marjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t Report
Wednesday 24 August 2005

I had been hesitant to speak out before because this Administration is so vindictive. But now I will ... Anybody who confronts this Administration or Rumsfeld or the Pentagon with a true assessment, they find themselves either out of a job, out of their positions, fired, relieved or chastised. Their career comes to an end. -- Janis Karpinski, interview with Marjorie Cohn, August 3, 2005

Army Reserve Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was in charge of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq when the now famous torture photographs were taken in fall of 2003. She was reprimanded and demoted to Colonel for her failure to properly supervise the prison guards. Karpinski is the highest ranking officer to be sanctioned for the mistreatment of prisoners. On August 3, 2005, I interviewed Janis Karpinski. In the most comprehensive public statement she has made to date, Karpinski deconstructs the entire United States military operation in Iraq with some astonishing revelations.

When Karpinski got to Abu Ghraib, "there was a completely different story than what we were being told in the United States. It was out of control. There weren't enough soldiers. Nobody had the right equipment. They were driving around in unarmored vehicles, some of them without doors ... So, knowing that they were ill-equipped and ill-prepared, they pushed them out anyway, because those two three-stars wanted their fifteen minutes of fame, I suppose."

Karpinski said that General Shinseki briefed Rumsfeld that "he can't win this war, if they insist on invading Iraq, he can't win this war with less than 300,000 soldiers." Rumsfeld reportedly ordered Shinseki to go back and find a way to do this with 125,000 to 130,000, but Shinseki came back and said they couldn't do the job with that number. "What did Rumsfeld do?" Karpinski asked rhetorically. "If you can't agree with me, I'm going to find somebody who can. He made Shinseki a lame duck, for all practical purposes, and brought in Schoomaker. And Schoomaker got it. He said, 'Oh yes sir, we can do this with 125,000.'"

Karpinski says she did not know about the torture occurring in Cellblocks 1-A and 1-B at Abu Ghraib because it took place at night. She didn't live at Abu Ghraib, and nobody was permitted to travel at night due to the dangerous road conditions. The first she heard about the torture was on January 12, 2004. She was never allowed to speak to the people who had worked on the night shift. She "was told by Colonel Warren, the JAG officer for General Sanchez, that they weren't assigned to me, that they were not under my control, and I really had no right to see them."

When Karpinski inquired, "What's this about photographs?" the sergeant replied, "Ma'am, we've heard something about photographs, but I have no idea. Nobody has any details, and Ma'am, if anybody knows, nobody is talking." When Karpinski asked to see the log books, the sergeant told her that the Criminal Investigation Division had taken everything except for something on a pole outside the little office they were using.

"It was a memorandum signed by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, authorizing a short list, maybe 6 or 8 techniques: use of dogs; stress positions; loud music; deprivation of food; keeping the lights on, those kinds of things," Karpinski said. "And then a handwritten message over to the side that appeared to be the same handwriting as the signature, and that signature was Secretary Rumsfeld's. And it said, 'Make sure this happens' with two exclamation points. And that was the only thing they had. Everything else had been confiscated."

Karpinski tried to get information, but "nobody knew anything, nobody - at least, that's what they were claiming. The Company Commander, Captain Reese, was tearful in my office and repeatedly told me he knew nothing about it, knew nothing about it," Karpinski said. But in a later plea bargain he entered into after the Taguba Report came out, "Captain Reese said that not only did he know about it, but he was told not to report it to his chain of command, and he was told that by Colonel Pappas. And he claimed that he saw General Sanchez out there on several occasions witnessing the torture of some of the security detainees."

The first time Karpinski got any clarification about the photographs was January 23, 2004. The criminal investigator, Colonel Marcelo, came into Karpinski's office and showed her the pictures. "When I saw the pictures I was floored," Karpinski said. "Really, the world was spinning out of control when I saw those pictures, because it was so far beyond and outside of what I imagined. I thought that maybe some soldiers had taken some pictures of prisoners behind barbed wire or in their cell or something like that. I couldn't imagine anything like what I saw in those photographs."

Marcelo told her, "Ma'am, I'm supposed to tell you after you see the photographs that General Sanchez wants to see you in his office." So Karpinski went over to see Sanchez. She said that "before I even saw the photographs, I was preparing words to say in a press conference - to be up front, to be honest about this, that an investigation is ongoing and there are some allegations of detainee abuse."

But Sanchez told Karpinski, "'No, absolutely not. You are not to discuss this with anyone.' And I should have known then," she said, "and I know that Sanchez was hopeful for a four-star promotion even then, in January of 2004. And I thought it had probably most to do with the election coming up in November 2004, and that this could really move the Administration out of the White House if it was exploited. So naively, I just thought, you know, they're going to let this investigation go and they're going to handle it the way it should be handled."

Karpinski said, however, "The truth has been uncovered, but it's been suffocated and it has not been released with the results of the investigation." She added, "McClellan and Rumsfeld can get up on their high horse and say that there've been no fewer than 15 investigations that were conducted. But every one of those investigations is under the control of the Secretary of Defense. And every one of those investigations is run and led by a person who can lose their job under Rumsfeld's fist."

"We're never going to know the truth until they do an independent commission or look into this independently," Karpinski maintains. "This is about instructions delivered with full authority and knowledge of the Secretary of Defense and probably Cheney. I don't know if the President was involved or not. I don't care. All I know is, those instructions were communicated from the Secretary of Defense's office, from the Pentagon, through Cambone, through Miller, to Abu Ghraib."

Karpinski describes what happened when General Geoffrey Miller arrived at Abu Ghraib: "The most pronounced difference was when Miller came to visit. He came right after Rumsfeld's visit ... And he said that he was going to use a template from Guantánamo Bay to 'Gitm-oize' the operations out at Abu Ghraib."

"These torture techniques were being implemented and used down at Guantánamo Bay and, of course, now we have lots of statements that say they were used in Afghanistan as well," Karpinski said. Although Miller has sworn he was just an "advisor," Miller told Karpinski he wanted Abu Ghraib. Karpinski replied, "Abu Ghraib is not mine to give to you. It belongs to Ambassador Bremer. It is going to be turned over to the Iraqis." Miller replied, "No it is not. I want that facility and Rick Sanchez said I can have any facility I want." Karpinski said, "Miller obviously had the full authority of somebody, you know, likely Cambone or Rumsfeld in Washington, DC."

Miller's representative, General Fast, turned the prison over to the Military Intelligence brigade for complete command and control, Karpinski said. "There was no coordination with me or Colonel Pappas. There was no discussion about chain of command."

Abu Ghraib housed primarily Iraqi criminals. Although many of the "security detainees" were kept at Abu Ghraib, most of the interrogations took place at a higher-value detention facility in Baghdad, according to Karpinski.

The Army discriminates against the reservists in general, and female officers in particular, Karpinski said. "It's really a good old boys' network," she said. "Come hell or high water, they're going to maintain the status quo." While she was made the scapegoat for the torture at Abu Ghraib, Karpinski said, no one above her in the chain of command has been reprimanded.

Karpinski reveals that there was "no sustainment plan" because "there were a lot of contractors - US contractors exclusively - who realized they could make a lot of money in Iraq." At the Coalition Provisional Authority, Karpinski "saw corruption like I've never seen before - millions of dollars just being pocketed by contractors. Everything was on a cash basis at that time," she said. "You take a request down - literally, you take a request to the Finance Office. If the Pay Officer recognized your face and you were asking for $450,000 to pay a contractor for work, they would pay you in cash: $450,000. Out of control."

Speaking about the war, Karpinski said, "Iraq was a huge country, and when you have people largely saying now, 'He may have been a dictator, but we were better under Saddam,' this Administration needs to take notice. And at some point you have to say, 'Stop the train, because it's completely derailed. How do we fix it?' But in an effort to do that, you have to admit that you made a few mistakes, and this Administration is not willing to admit any mistakes whatsoever."

Janis Karpinski is no longer in the military. She is writing a book that will be published by Miramax in November. In April, she received a form letter from the Chief of the Army Reserves, "warning me - warning me - about speaking about Abu Ghraib, and that everything was still under investigation." She then got "a letter saying that he understands that I'm writing a book and I should submit the transcript for review."

"And my lawyer responded simply by telling him that I was a private citizen and I don't fall under the same requirements, which he had to acknowledge, because that's true. I'm not ignorant, and I'm not going to reveal any classified information in anything I write," Karpinski said, "but I don't need to, because the truth is the truth, and it doesn't have to be classified. It is definitely staggering, but the truth is the truth."