Saturday, September 16, 2006

DeWalt gives impeachment lessons in D.C.

DeWalt gives impeachment lessons in D.C.
By Evan Lehmann / Brattleboro Reformer

WASHINGTON -- A Newfane selectman will coach activists visiting the nation's capital this weekend on how to impeach President Bush. Dan DeWalt, who made national headlines in March by introducing an impeachment resolution in a town meeting, will unveil hints to those wishing to do the same.

DeWalt's coaching will occur on the National Mall -- within sight of the congressional hearing rooms where articles of impeachment would be rendered.
"It's just like a mentorship for people who want to do this," said DeWalt, who was invited to participate in "Impeachment Sunday" by the event's organizers. "I'll mostly be curious just to see what kind of traffic we'll be getting from normal people."

DeWalt will take up shop in "Camp Democracy," the national offshoot of antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey," established near Bush's Texas ranch last summer.

DeWalt, saying some people in the Internet community of impeachment activists has labeled him "Mr. Impeachment," will pass along strategies that increase the likelihood of passing local impeachment resolutions.

For example, DeWalt suggests that impeachment enthusiasts attend local meetings in large numbers armed with as many petition signatures as possible.
DeWalt also has hints on how to get the attention of resistant lawmakers, something he experienced last spring: "Embarrass them," he said.

Holding press conferences in which activists read the names of soldiers killed in Iraq, he said, could get you five minutes with a senator or congressman.
"They don't like bad press," he said.


Terrorist-Harboring Related Program Activities

Tim Dickinson
Terrorist-Harboring Related Program Activities

"I never said there was an operational relationship." -- George W. Bush, denying he'd ever suggested Saddam and Zarqawi were in cahoots.

And here is the rest of it.


FCC ordered media study destroyed, lawyer says

USA Today
FCC ordered media study destroyed, lawyer says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.

The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. received a copy of the report "indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public," according to Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz.

Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that "every last piece" of the report be destroyed. "The whole project was just stopped — end of discussion," he said. Candeub was a lawyer in the FCC's Media Bureau at the time the report was written and communicated frequently with its authors, he said.

In a letter sent to Martin on Wednesday, Boxer said she was "dismayed that this report, which was done at taxpayer expense more than two years ago, and which concluded that localism is beneficial to the public, was shoved in a drawer."

In the letter, Boxer asked whether any other commissioners "past or present" knew of the report's existence and why it was never made public. She also asked whether it was "shelved because the outcome was not to the liking of some of the commissioners and/or any outside powerful interests?"

In a letter to Boxer on Thursday, Martin noted that he was not chairman at the time it was written, that he had not seen it before Tuesday's hearing, nor had any members of his staff or any other commissioners, past or present.

The chairman said it was unclear why the report was never released to the public, that he was attempting to determine why but that former FCC Chairman Michael Powell and senior management at the Media Bureau are no longer with the agency.

He also wrote that "the report appears to cover issues relevant to both our open localism proceeding and our recently commenced media ownership proceeding" and that it had been included in the record Tuesday. The inclusion makes the document available on the FCC's website.

The report, written by two economists in the FCC's Media Bureau, analyzed a database of 4,078 individual news stories broadcast in 1998. The broadcasts were obtained from Danilo Yanich, a professor and researcher at the University of Delaware, and were originally gathered by the Pew Foundation's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The analysis showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of "on-location" news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. It was part of a broader decision liberalizing ownership rules.

At that time, the agency pointed to evidence that "commonly owned television stations are more likely to carry local news than other stations."

When considering whether to loosen rules on media ownership, the agency is required to examine the impact on localism, competition and diversity. The FCC generally defines localism as the level of responsiveness of a station to the needs of its community.

The 2003 action sparked a backlash among the public and within Congress. In June 2004, a federal appeals court rejected the agency's reasoning on most of the rules and ordered it to try again. The debate has since been reopened, and the FCC has scheduled a public hearing on the matter in Los Angeles on Oct. 3.

The report was begun after then-Chairman Powell ordered the creation of a task force to study localism in broadcasting in August of 2003. Powell stepped down from the commission and was replaced by Martin in March 2005. Powell did not return a call seeking comment.

The authors of the report, Keith Brown and Peter Alexander, both declined to comment. Brown has left public service while Alexander is still at the FCC. Yanich confirmed the two men were the authors. Both have written extensively on media and telecommunications policy.

Yanich said the report was "extremely well done. It should have helped to inform policy."

Boxer's office said if she does not receive adequate answers to her questions, she will push for an investigation by the FCC inspector general.

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who along with fellow Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps voted against liberalizing the ownership rules, said he was unaware of the study's existence and said it was an outrage that it was "deep-sixed."

"It feels like we were cheated of getting the data," he said. "We need to know the facts."

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., also a member of the committee, sent a letter to Martin on Thursday asking that he "examine the circumstances surrounding the suppression of this report."


Bush: “I never said there was an operational relationship.”

( do we have an impeacable offense???

Think Progress

During today’s press conference, ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz asked Bush why he continues to say Saddam “had relations with Zarqawi,” despite the Senate Intelligence Report findings that Hussein “did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi.” Bush replied: “I never said there was an operational relationship.”

In fact, Bush has repeatedly asserted that Saddam “harbored” and “provided safe-haven” to Zarqawi:

BUSH: [Saddam] was a threat because he provided safe-haven for a terrorist like Zarqawi… [6/17/04]

BUSH: [Saddam] is a man who harbored terrorists - Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal, Zarqawi. [9/23/04]

BUSH: [Zarqawi’s] a man who was wounded in Afghanistan, received aid in Baghdad, ordered the killing of a U.S. citizen, USAID employee, was harbored in Iraq. [3/6/03]


MARTHA: Mr. President, you have said throughout the war in Iraq and building up to the war in Iraq that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein and Zarqawi and al Qaeda. A Senate Intelligence Committee report a few weeks ago said there was no link, no relationship, and that the CIA knew this and issued a report last fall. And yet a month ago, you were still saying there was a relationship. Why did you keep saying that? Why do you continue to say that? And do you still believe that?

BUSH: The point I was making to Ken Herman’s question was that Saddam Hussein was a state sponsor of terror, and that Mr. Zarqawi was in Iraq. He had been wounded in Afghanistan, had come to Iraq for treatment. He had ordered the killing of a U.S. citizen in Jordan. I never said there was an operational relationship.


Bush Rewrites History on Zarqawi Statements

Bush Rewrites History on Zarqawi Statements

During today’s press conference, ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz asked Bush why he continues to say Saddam “had relations with Zarqawi,” despite the Senate Intelligence Report findings that Hussein “did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi.” Bush replied: “I never said there was an operational relationship.” Watch it:

In fact, Bush has repeatedly asserted that Saddam “harbored” and “provided safe-haven” to Zarqawi:

BUSH: [Saddam] was a threat because he provided safe-haven for a terrorist like Zarqawi… [6/17/04]

BUSH: [Saddam] is a man who harbored terrorists - Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal, Zarqawi. [9/23/04]

BUSH: [Zarqawi’s] a man who was wounded in Afghanistan, received aid in Baghdad, ordered the killing of a U.S. citizen, USAID employee, was harbored in Iraq. [3/6/03]


MARTHA: Mr. President, you have said throughout the war in Iraq and building up to the war in Iraq that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein and Zarqawi and al Qaeda. A Senate Intelligence Committee report a few weeks ago said there was no link, no relationship, and that the CIA knew this and issued a report last fall. And yet a month ago, you were still saying there was a relationship. Why did you keep saying that? Why do you continue to say that? And do you still believe that?

BUSH: The point I was making to Ken Herman’s question was that Saddam Hussein was a state sponsor of terror, and that Mr. Zarqawi was in Iraq. He had been wounded in Afghanistan, had come to Iraq for treatment. He had ordered the killing of a U.S. citizen in Jordan. I never said there was an operational relationship.

Filed under: Iraq

Posted by Payson September 15, 2006 2:20 pm

Permalink | Comment (88)


The URI to TrackBack this entry is: 2006/ 09/ 15/ bush-zarqawi-iraq/ trackback/


what a fricken lie. and why do these folks keep denying the truth when in fact it can be proven. ummmmm, sociopaths?

Comment by bs — September 15, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

Yay…more fodder for Jon Stewart.

Somewhere along the line, the presidential shenanigans have lost their appeal…I think it was around January 20th, 2000.

Someone needs to go in armed with a soundboard of all the president’s statements, and just play them back to him when he attempts to deny them.

When is enough enough? When do we get our country back?

Comment by TripMaster Monkey — September 15, 2006 @ 2:33 pm

Why doesn’t someone point out that Saddam was trying to have Zarqawi arrested… BUSH KNEW THIS… and still he perpetuated the lie that Saddam was providing safe-haven for Zarqawi?

Comment by G.W.SuperChrist — September 15, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

*!@$#^ liar that Bush.

Comment by gmnotyet — September 15, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

He’s not lying. See, he never used the exact phrase “operational relationsihp” so everything is hunky dory (*wink*). He also never said Saddam and Zarqawi were “BFF”, “totally ccol with each other”, or that they were “homies” so he’s totally off the hook and it is everyone else’s fault for believing otherwise.

Now, someone needs to ask him if he said “he provided safe-haven for a terrorist like Zarqawi”…….

Comment by gonzoknife — September 15, 2006 @ 2:42 pm

TripMaster Monkey,

I’ve been wondering the same thing.
The journalists know the question they’re going to ask; for crissake have a tape or at the very least a transcript available!

Why do they let this Admin. get away with blatantly lying to the American Public?

Comment by trueblue — September 15, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

Do you mean he has been lying to us all along?
Could someone clarify his statement(s)?

Comment by theswan — September 15, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

Methinks that it’s getting harder and harder to talk their way out of their lies.

I learned that lesson when I was a kid. Tell and lie and you almost inevitably had to tell a bunch more lies to cover the first lie.

Comment by margaret — September 15, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

I don’t believe the question was if there was an “operational relationship”. This is amazing. They push the fear then juggle the words when that falsehood is exposed and go merrily along like the gengerbread man. “I didn’t say that” is not a free pass. Game over.

Comment by hellinabucket — September 15, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

Look, you can’t have it both ways - when you say something, and it’s on record, you can’t just magically “un-say” it. How many times can the president claim to have it both ways and the so-called “reporters” let him get away with it?

Comment by Toonguy — September 15, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

I was looking for the quote from Clear and Present Danger when Harrison Ford confronted the President when he tried to pass the buck and say he didn’t know what had happened. Can’t find it. Something like “I won’t let you tarnish their memories by saying you had no idea what happened!”

But this one is almost better. For shame Mr Bush.

“(1) You are such a boy scout. You see everything in black and white. (2) No, no, no Mr Bush {Ritter}. Not black and white. Right and wrong.”

Comment by Tyler — September 15, 2006 @ 2:44 pm

But..but…but…he wasn’t lying. He said that Saddam provided safe haven to terrorists “like” Zarqawi. In the second statement, he said that Saddam harbored terrorists, then just rattled off a few names which had nothing to do with the original statement. See, you folks need to work harder at splitting hairs.

Comment by Seitz — September 15, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

We just heard the President of the United States refuse to obey the law and directly attack The Supreme Court of the United States, when he said “This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court’s ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention.”

We just heard the President of the United States ask what outrages upon human dignity meant, when he asked “And that Common Article 3 says that, you know, There will be no outrages upon human dignity. It’s like — it’s very vague. What does that mean, outrages upon human dignity?”

Any more questions?

Comment by leonard — September 15, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

“I never said there was an operational relationship….”

….and no one asked you if there was an ‘operational relationship’ Georgie.

Comment by Quadrajet — September 15, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

Bush also never said that Saddam was trying to obtain nuclear weapons. He was talking about “nukular weapons” :)

Comment by Count+Iblis — September 15, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

Can someone please ask him if being in the same country constitutes a relationship… if so maybe we need to investigate Bush’s relationship with the 911 hijackers!

Comment by G.W.SuperChrist — September 15, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

What Bush says and does is reminiscent of how the writer Mary McCarthy described th playwright Lillian Hellman: “Every word that comes out of her mouth is a lie, including the words ‘the” and “and.”

Comment by Erroll — September 15, 2006 @ 3:03 pm

All I can say is thank god for miracle of technology. Not only do we see the actual clips of the lies and misstatements, we have transcripts to verify them as well. Does he really believe that he is pulling one over on the people of this country? Not anytime soon and with technology. We can see the actual clip and see him for the liar that he is.

Comment by sunshine — September 15, 2006 @ 3:08 pm

I wonder what the Bush adim. has already done, he wants the law changed in quite a hurry. The 14 sent to Gitmo may have already been subjected to some of it. And why is the CIA hiring lawywers left and right?.

Comment by Pam in SC — September 15, 2006 @ 3:08 pm

Democratic President lies- Impeach
Republican President Lies-IOKIYAR

Comment by goose1 — September 15, 2006 @ 3:12 pm

They are puking on their own lies. If it were not so serious, it would almost be entertaining.

Comment by NoMoreBush — September 15, 2006 @ 3:13 pm

Bush lies even when he doesn’t have to. It’s good practice.

Comment by Solitaire — September 15, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

Bush rewrites history on everything regarding Iraq, so I am NOT surprised Dubya Dunce Decider Despot tries to change his prior statements on Zarqawi, who by the way was a CIA stooge creation!

Comment by Jay Randal — September 15, 2006 @ 3:14 pm


Comment by calguy — September 15, 2006 @ 3:16 pm

By the same logic, Bush had a relationship with the terrorists who struck on 9/11. After all, they were living in the United States, ergo Bush provided terrorists like the 9/11 hijackers a safe-haven; Bush harbored terrorists. Now, there might not have been an operational relationship….

Comment by Briseadh na Faire — September 15, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

You see - “harbor” is not spelled the same was as “operational” so God told Bush that this lie was OK.

Comment by pgl — September 15, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

My thoughts exactly, calguy.

Could it be that GWB has finally hit the slippery slope?

AND can we please not back off the guy?

Comment by Zooey — September 15, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

i hope the bushliar-criminal is in a public setting when his head explodes so we get to see what shit-for-brains looks like.

Comment by yowzer — September 15, 2006 @ 3:22 pm

putting bush out in public is an incrediably risky proposition. unka karl is clearly desparate.

Comment by pluege — September 15, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

I’d love to see an ad run continuously by the Democrats that simply shows Bush’s denial and then clips of him saying there was a connection (maybe with some Rice and Cheney clips thrown in for good measure).

The screen could then say: “Had enough? Vote Democrat.”

Comment by crickett — September 15, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

One possible reason for the President to hold onto this idea of ties between Iraq and Al Qiada is that there is no declaration of war only the AUMF.


(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

No connection means no authority to attack Iraq. Why isn’t this being pushed.

Comment by hellinabucket — September 15, 2006 @ 3:27 pm


I was just (in the bar at lunch) seeing the replays on CNN of the conference, thinking of Batman….”this town (country) needs an enema!!”

Funny (disgusting) how we can pull crap out of Hollywood to compare this mess to. Fitting, no doubt.

Comment by SouthPaw — September 15, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

Riddle me this….

Bush is exposed as a liar, admits to torture and secret prisons, admits to breaking the law, admits that Iraq had “nothing” to do with 9/11…… and his poll numbers go up because of the Repuglicans coming back to his side.

WTF? Are Repuglicans really that frigging stupid?

Comment by nanlichi — September 15, 2006 @ 3:30 pm

HEY! just in from mowing… randi has clips from this press con…
dubyas’ answer to a very good david gregory question is worth highlighting… he thinks the WHOLE WORLD ought to be able to torture… it’d be a better place… !!!

sorry to be yelling… this is a “melt down” for sure…

Comment by katy — September 15, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

hellina, good catch!

Comment by Briseadh+na+Faire — September 15, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

I think that it is ironic that the most significant early advances in magnetic recording technology occurred in Nazi Germany. My dad spent about six weeks in post-war Germany gathering up the technology for the feds. He had spoken German at home as a boy and was able to speak either native or English with the German engineers and physicists.

That technology has come back to haunt the Fascists here.

Comment by WaltTheMan — September 15, 2006 @ 3:41 pm

Per the Intelligence Committee Report:

The Intelligence Community used the term safehave to describe both active assistance to and passive acquiescence of al-Qa’ida operations.

The report finds that Saddam indeed provided a safehaven to Zarqawi and other terrorist networks.

Another thinkparanoid thread debunked.

Comment by Steed Lankershim — September 15, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

Bush baby looks angry in the TP pic, so watch out he might order an attack on Iran tomorrow to screw us all over in revenge! Dubya is going insane, so he is very dangerous unstable kook now!

Comment by Jay Randal — September 15, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

You are trying to make a news story out of something a politician said in 2003 and 2004? It is 2006, wake up. This isn’t news.

Comment by Roger_Roger — September 15, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

Of course it’s new double R. Just saying words doesn’t make it so. We are in the mess today because of what’s been said in 02,03 and 04. it’s called accountability you should try it some time

Comment by hellinabucket — September 15, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

You are right Roger_Roger, it’s not new news, it’s fact.

Comment by WaltTheMan — September 15, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

[Bush] “I never had relations with that terrorist!”

I hope it will be his final undoing.

Comment by Jesus+Christ+God+of+WAR — September 15, 2006 @ 4:25 pm

I love with this douche is caught in an outright lie - he just compounds it with another one. I think the media may finally be starting to get the message that if you’re aggressive with the chimp he’ll eventually run away and suck his thumb in the corner. And I don’t know about you guys, but that’d be good TV.
America’s Least Wanted

Comment by budpaul — September 15, 2006 @ 4:27 pm

The Intelligence Community used the term safehave to describe both active assistance to and passive acquiescence of al-Qa’ida operations.

The report finds that Saddam indeed provided a safehaven to Zarqawi and other terrorist networks.

Another thinkparanoid thread debunked.

Comment by Steed Lankershim —

“Passive acquiescence?” You mean, Zarqawi was in the Kurdish safe zone?

Another “debunking” that gets debunked! How it feel to be pantsed by your own strawman, Steed?

Comment by barfly — September 15, 2006 @ 4:30 pm

You want us to stop talking about ONGOING distortion from BushCo, but you can harp all you want about Clinton after all this time. I don’t think so!

Republicans: The “I’ve got mine” Party
Republicans believe in THEM.
Democrats, believe in US.
Republicans: the ConServingTime Party
Democrats: If you love liberty, love a liberal
Conservatives start wars. Liberals finish them.

Comment by PatrioticLiberalChristian(PLC) — September 15, 2006 @ 4:31 pm

He lies and commit crimes in the name of United States.
We know he does this time and time again.
But no one is able or willing to stop him.

Where are our heros?
What happened to our “Land of the Brave???”
Yes, like every other nation state of present and past, we have appeasers and enablers abound.
One may argue we may have more of them than ever before in a single country.

Comment by napu — September 15, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

Goddamn, why can’t one member of the press, ONE TIME respond to one of Chimpy’s misdirections by saying clearly and loudly, “With all due respect, Mr. President, that WASN’T the question”?

That seems to me like it would be one GIANT step forward to restoring the nation we once knew.

Comment by KRank — September 15, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

You are trying to make a news story out of something a politician said in 2003 and 2004? It is 2006, wake up. This isn’t news.

Comment by Roger_Roger — September 15, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

Is this why we still have Bush and other criminals still in power?
Each time I see this type of comment, I lose hope for my country little more.

Comment by napu — September 15, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

When a lie from the lips of the “commander-in-chief” is exposed, and said lie was used as a basis (amongst other lies) to go to war with a country that was not a threat, then yes that is news.

His lies have caused needless deaths and have mortgaged the economic future of this country.

Comment by margaret — September 15, 2006 @ 4:39 pm

sorry, should have been “Home of the Brave”
Can’t even think straight anymore

Comment by napu — September 15, 2006 @ 4:39 pm

This is the rub… when they catch him trying
to rewrite history, they need to hit him right
then and there with the facts. Read back his
quotes to him and let him respond to THAT.

Comment by Bob Jones — September 15, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

Reporters need to start bringing portable AV units with the quotes in question cued-up and ready for playback. That way, next time one of these asshats denies he ever said it, they can play it right there. Gotcha maggot repuke!

Comment by eternal springs — September 15, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

“Read back his quotes to him and let him respond to THAT.”

That is all well and good BUT as we saw earlier in Bush’s response to Powell, Bush evades the question and produces strawman aurguments and baseless rhetoric AND I’m not sure anyone at a Bush question and answer period gets to do a follow up question. Rove has taught him well

Comment by Yikes — September 15, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

I saw the old clips of Dan Rather getting into it with Nixon. Even Nixon kept some level of composure and dealt with it, like a professional should. The exchanges were allowed to take place.

Shit nowadays if that happens the reporter would be fired the next day, and family would disappear. They are much more afraid to ask the tough questions, they know they will just be removed. If that isn’t moving away from a free country I don’t know what is.

Comment by ForTruth — September 15, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

And he doesn’t allow follow up questions. She sat down. I saw only Gregory persist for a follow up only to get another non-reply.
One day I expect to see W explode in rage at one of these press conferences. He is petulant, defiant, and arrogant. He cannot continue to defend his losing position. His contradictions and revisions are more numerous. He is cracking at the edges, and Humpty Dumpty is either going to have to take more meds or cease the pressers.

Comment by Marie — September 15, 2006 @ 4:59 pm

See- even if you kicked Bush in the Balls just to get some Satisfaction, it wouldn’t matter. After he got kicked in the balls and fell to his knees, the stars spinning around in his head would say above them “Mission Accomplished”- so whats the point unless we all get to kick bush in the balls.

Comment by ren — September 15, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi: wp-dyn/ content/ article/ 2006/ 04/ 09/ AR2006040900890.html?sub=AR

Comment by pnac911 — September 15, 2006 @ 5:07 pm


Comment by PatrioticLiberalChristian(PLC) — September 15, 2006 @ 5:13 pm

#58 ya, kick!

Comment by ren — September 15, 2006 @ 5:16 pm

Remember “Schoolhouse Rock” played on Saturday morinings during cartoons? We bought that tape for my 9 year old son, and I watched it with him, all the episodes are there. It was real nostalgic, but I noticed, some of that material would be considered leftist propaganda today, or even Anti-American.

The one that was most poingent (sp?) was the one about how we had a revolution, due to taxation without representation, and they throw the bucket on the king after the Boston Tea party. Run the British out, and we’re gonna have a president instead of a king.

“Rockin and a Rollin”
“Splishin and a splashin”
“Over the horizon what do I see”
“It looks like its goin to be, a free country”

I know its corny, but what would people say if that material was shown to kids nowadays? The concept of revolution and throwing out a King? Taxation with representation?

What have we become?

Comment by ForTruth — September 15, 2006 @ 5:17 pm

I support this blog. I believe Bush and his administration are incompetent.

But if we are going to make true progress, then we need to be judicious in our critique. In none of the three examples supplied by Payson does Bush ever claim that Saddam and Zarqawi had an operational relationship. Technically, there is no history being rewritten here. Naturally, however, there is a lack of total honesty.

Comment by W. Dylan — September 15, 2006 @ 5:21 pm

Yo #60! “School House Rock” was awsome! “I’m just a bill on a Capitol Hill” I miss that so much, do they have a DVD? Dont feel it’s corny, it was so cool, thats when people were actually progressive and so was ABC. Chin Up

Comment by ren — September 15, 2006 @ 5:22 pm


We got it on video tape, I don’t know if they have a DVD, it is really good stuff, I didn’t know how good I had it when I was a kid.

Comment by ForTruth — September 15, 2006 @ 5:31 pm

“The mutability of the past is the central tenet of Ingsoc. Past events, it is argued, have no objective existence, but survive only in written records and in human memories. The past is whatever the records and the memories agree upon. And since the Party is in full control of all records and in equally full control of the minds of its members, it follows that the past is whatever the Party chooses to make it. It also follows that though the past is alterable, it has never been altered in any specific instance. For when it has been recreated in whatever shape is needed at the moment, then this new version is the past, and no different past has ever existed.”

George Orwell, in the voice of Emmanuel Goldstein, 1984

Comment by redbone — September 15, 2006 @ 5:37 pm

Hey I got an idea, we have Bush sit down and watch “Schoolhouse Rock”.

It gives the basic fundamentals of government, the Constitution, our founding fathers, and some grammar to boot. Its put in a format with catchy songs, and cartoon depictions. I think that would be a perfect way to introduce George to America and how things work.

Comment by ForTruth — September 15, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

We have School House Rock in our house too - on DVD.
It was a great learning tool.

Comment by Marie — September 15, 2006 @ 5:40 pm

#63, hey truth! I just googled the school house rock series and found and bought the DVD set that had 40+ Songs on it for 14.00 so its out there on DVD. So thanks for the flashback.

Comment by ren — September 15, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

Ren you are entirely welcome, and thanks for the positive feedback.

Comment by ForTruth — September 15, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

W. Dylan
Bush’s use of “operational relationship” is his current phrase to try to parse the language and sidestep his responsibility for repeatedly, even in his 9-11-06 speech, to connect Iraq and the 9-11 attack. “Technically” takes a back-seat to reality, morality, and intentionality!

Comment by PatrioticLiberalChristian(PLC) — September 15, 2006 @ 5:56 pm

What’s your point, that Bush is a liar? Is lips were moving weren’t they?

Comment by Stram — September 15, 2006 @ 5:56 pm

What’s your point, that Bush is a liar? His lips were moving weren’t they?

Comment by Stram — September 15, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

What’s your point, that Bush is a liar? His lips were moving weren’t they?

Comment by Peg — September 15, 2006 @ 5:59 pm

#What’s your point, that Bush is a liar? Is lips were moving weren’t they?Comment by Stram — September 15, 2006 @ 5:56 pm
#What’s your point, that Bush is a liar? His lips were moving weren’t they?Comment by Stram — September 15, 2006 @ 5:57 pm
#What’s your point, that Bush is a liar? His lips were moving weren’t they?Comment by Peg — September 15, 2006 @ 5:59 pm
Is “Stram” also “Peg”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by ren — September 15, 2006 @ 6:11 pm

So Dubya’s a lying sack-o-shite. That so ooooolllllllllldddd news. Aren’t we missing a white woman somewhere?


Comment by Arne Langsetmo — September 15, 2006 @ 6:36 pm


You haven’t debunked anything. Zarqawi was in Baghdad.

The Committee concluded in 2004 that the CIA reasonably assessed that the al-Qa’ida or associated operatives were present in 2002 in Baghdad, and in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Iraq. The Committee noted that the CIA approached the issue of safehaven by describing the presence of al-Qa’ida and individuals associated with Ansar al-Islam-mainly the al-Zarqawi network-and explaining why the Iraqi regime likely knew of their presence in Baghdad and Kurdish areas.

Given the pervasive presence of Iraq’s security apparatus, it would be difficult for al-Qa’ida to maintain an active, long-term presence in Iraq without alerting the authorities or without at least their acquiescence.

Comment by Steed Lankershim — September 15, 2006 @ 6:46 pm

Steed Lankershim

And how long were the 9-11 hijackers in the U.S. planning (i.e. operating) and there presence known by U.S. agencies?

Comment by PatrioticLiberalChristian(PLC) — September 15, 2006 @ 7:14 pm

Mohammed Atta was in the US - does that mean we harbored him?

Comment by Marie — September 15, 2006 @ 7:15 pm

Where’s the obvious follow-up question: Well, Mr. President, what kind of relationship WAS it?

Comment by Cowpunk — September 15, 2006 @ 7:25 pm

Bush can’t open his mouth without getting caught in one of his own lies. He’s easily the worst President this country has ever seen. And he has 2 more years of damage to do.

Comment by Darin — September 15, 2006 @ 7:45 pm


I guess you didn’t bother reading the Senate’s response to this propaganda you posted?

That the CIA groups that pushed this false theory did so without evidence?

And that the CIA groups that knew there was no connection weren’t part of the official briefings passed on to congress?

In otherwords, your right wing buddies fabricated reports - DOH!!!

Then again, reality has a liberal bias - so what options are left for you?

Lying is the only tool you extremist right wingers have for your agenda!!! ROTFL!!!

Comment by btruthful — September 15, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

“WTF? Are Repuglicans really that frigging stupid?”

Oh yea.

Comment by yowzer — September 15, 2006 @ 8:03 pm

the monkey finally understands.

Comment by CakeWalk My Ass — September 15, 2006 @ 9:01 pm

“Sadam did not…have…relations with that terrorist, Mr. Zarqawi.”

Comment by Hesiod — September 15, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

If Bush ever finds himself in the land of OZ, he should ask the wizard for a brain, a heart, and some courage.

Comment by neopro — September 15, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

Bush does live in OZ, he’s the chief flying monkey taking orders from cheney, the wicked witch.

Comment by buzzbomb — September 15, 2006 @ 10:23 pm

Where are all the trolls? U-Wrong-U, Mighty Aphrodummy or Mighty Aphrodykie (whatever), Exley, etc.

Comment by Mr. Evil — September 15, 2006 @ 10:29 pm

Mr. Evil, you know they can’t function without the talking points. Rove must be busy with Mehlman going over the…uh…budget? No, that isn’t it. Foreign policy? Nooooo. They must be going over gay rights…Somehow I think that is closer to the truth.

Comment by JPark — September 15, 2006 @ 11:02 pm

Here is Colin Powell at the UN on 2/5/03, promoting the upcoming Iraq war:

But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organisations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbours a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, an associated collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida lieutenants.

He used Zarqawi’s name more that 20 times in that speech, even though Zarqawi seems to have been in a part of the country that was controlled by the Kurds, not Saddam.

Also, Bush prevented the US military from taking Zarqawi out in 2002. (see this from WSJ, 10/25/04 and this from MSNBC)

Comment by pessimist — September 15, 2006 @ 11:26 pm


WSJ and Toensing: I Outed Plame (Here We Go Again)

Huffington Post
David Corn
WSJ and Toensing: I Outed Plame (Here We Go Again)

Throughout my years in Washington, I've debated a lot of conservatives and Republicans. There are some for which I have no regard. There are others whom--though I disagree with them on politics and policy--I've considered friendlies: not quite friends, but people who are smart and whose company I enjoy, who are fun to drink and argue with.

Among that group has been GOP lawyer Victoria Toensing. It certainly helped our relationship that years ago I was a friend of her daughter, a wonderful photojournalist. But I considered Toensing an intelligent and engaging lawyer, and we were able to hold civil conversations. I could even call her as a source--not that she ever provided any scoops.

So I am disheartened to see her embracing a rather idiotic conservative talking point and ignoring basic facts to tag me as the true culprit in the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson. It is an argument that defies logic and the record. But it is an accusation that pro-Bush spinners have used to defend the true leakers and columnist Bob Novak, the conveyor of the leak. By propounding this charge, Toensing leads me (regretfully) to believe that she cares more about scoring points than serving the truth. Here is what she wrote in today's Wall Street Journal:

The first journalist to reveal Ms. Plame was "covert" was David Corn, on July 16, 2003, two days after Mr. Novak's column. The latter never wrote, because he did not know and it was not so, that Ms. Plame was covert. However, Mr. Corn claimed Mr. Novak "outed" her as an "undercover CIA officer," querying whether Bush officials blew "the cover of a U.S. intelligence officer working covertly in...national security." Was Mr. Corn subpoenaed? Did Mr. Fitzgerald subpoena Mr. Wilson to attest he had never revealed his wife's employment to anyone? If he had done so, he might have learned Mr. Corn's source.

This is a canard that has been previously advanced by other conservatives--all to absolve Novak and the actual leakers (mainly Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, not Richard Armitage). And you see the suggestion: that Joe Wilson told me that his wife was an undercover CIA officer and that I then disclosed this information to the public. I've debunked this before. But for Toensing's benefit, I'll go through this again--though I doubt it will do much good.

Here's what Novak, citing "two senior administration officials," wrote on July 14, 2003:

[Joseph] Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.

Novak's column is syndicated and is posted on the web. This information appeared, I assume, in hundreds of places. Other nations and foreign intelligence services now knew that Valerie Wilson was a CIA operative. At this point, her cover--whatever it might have been--was blown to bits. The fact that Novak did not state she was a "covert" operative is utterly meaningless. (Does the CIA employ non-secret "operatives"?)

As is now known--thanks to Hubris, the new book by Michael Isikoff and me--Valerie Wilson had been chief of operations for the Joint Task Force on Iraq within the CIA's clandestine Directorate of Operations. She was working under nonofficial cover (a deep version of covert status), but she no longer needed this NOC status and was shifting to official cover (meaning she would pretend to be a government official--say, a State Department officer--but not a CIA employee). In short, she was indeed an "operative." She had traveled overseas in the previous two years to oversee and monitor operations aimed at gathering intelligence on Iraq's supposed WMD programs. Novak didn't have information on her specific job, but he came quite close with his generic description of her.

Two days after the Novak column appeared, I published an article that was the first piece to suggest that the leak to Novak could be evidence of a White House crime--that is, a possible violation of Intelligence Identities Protection Act. That law makes it a felony for a government official to disclose identifying information about an undercover intelligence officer (if that government official knows the officer is covert). In the piece, I did not state as a fact that Valerie Wilson was a "covert" officer or a CIA employee of any kind. I did not know. After all, I hadn't spoken to Armitage, Rove or Libby about it. In my piece, I merely speculated that she might be a NOC and explored the possible ramifications of this outing (if indeed she was a NOC).

The reasoning underlying my supposition that Valerie Wilson might be a NOC was simple. Before I wrote the article, I spoke to Joe Wilson. He would not confirm or deny that what Novak wrote was true. He would not say whether or not his wife worked at the CIA. Wilson noted that his wife was known to friends as an energy analyst for a private firm, and added, "I will not answer questions about my wife." I placed that quote in the piece.

In the article, I noted that if Novak had gotten it right and if Valerie Wilson was a CIA operative, she had to be a NOC. Why? CIA officers who have "official cover" (and who, by the way, are sill considered "covert") tell people they work for the Defense Department, the State Department or some other part of the government. CIA officers working under nonofficial cover tell friends, relatives, associates that they are businesspeople, writers, consultants, tour guides or whatever--anything but a government official. So a CIA officer who informed acquaintances that she worked for a private energy firm would have to be a NOC. It's elementary.

Consequently, I noted in the article that Valerie Wilson was "apparently" a NOC--that is, if she were a CIA officer at all. The piece noted that if she were not in the CIA, "then the White House has wrongly branded a a CIA officer." That line is proof that I was supposing, not reporting. Unlike Novak, I had no facts about Valerie Wilson's CIA employment to disclose.

Feel free to look at that original article. If you do so, you will be conducting research that Toensing seemingly did not. And you will see that the article did not "reveal" anything about Valerie Wilson's position at the CIA. It was not the product of any investigative work. It was a piece of analysis. Thus, there was no need for special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to come knocking on my door. He chased after the reporters who received the real leaks. But clearly he could tell I was not in that elite category. I was never subpoenaed.

Toensing is flat-out wrong--sloppy wrong. Any intelligent lawyer who bothered to peruse the piece I wrote could discern that I was engaging in a thought exercise, not an act of disclosure. Besides, how can you out a CIA operative who has already been identified as a CIA operative in newspapers across the country?

Why would Toensing disregard the obvious? That's for her to explain. But I do hope she is more careful with evidence when it comes to her legal work. And I'm sorry that we will likely not be enjoying each other's company any time soon.
This was also posted at For information on Hubris, click here.
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Related News Stories

* NY Observer: Media Has Missed The Point On New Information In The CIA Leak Case...
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Related Blog Posts

* David Corn: Armitage Confesses; Now What about Rove?
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Comments :
Victoria Toensing will be on CSPAN's Washington Journal at 8:30 tomorrow (Saturday) morning. We should all try to call in to set the record straight.

By: cynicalgirl on September 15, 2006 at 09:48pm
Flag: [abusive]
Toensing is a lying Republican bitch, and as such, doesn't need to actually research anything before she says or writes it.

By: TXfemmom on September 15, 2006 at 09:52pm
Flag: [abusive]
There are many leakers of the Plame CIA connection. To attack one and defend another serves what purpose. All the kings horses took part. Who gave the orders David, that is your task.

By: fourex on September 15, 2006 at 10:52pm
Flag: [abusive]
How does it feel when your book inspires
David Broder to call for apologies to
Karl Rove? Good repositioning on Vicki,
though. Brent Budowsky

By: brentb on September 15, 2006 at 11:01pm
Flag: [abusive]
... I used to consider Ms. Toensing a fairly intelligent woman, but her latest role as Bu$hCo. apologist just ended that! Following Bu$hs latest talking point, perhaps we just need to TORTURE Victoria into confessing to her duplicity! WHAT Geneva Convention, Vicky - there is NO such thing, remember?!? ;) ...

By: CynAnne on September 15, 2006 at 11:24pm
Flag: [abusive]
How does it feel when your book inspires
David Broder to call for apologies to
Karl Rove? Good repositioning on Vicki,
though. Brent Budowsky
By: brentb on September 15, 2006 at 11:01pm

Apologies from who? No one who has seen all the available evidence would possibly have any inclination to 'apologize' to Rove. A suggestion to do that from David Broeder would be a joke, regardless of where his 'inspiration' comes from.

By: proudtobelib on September 16, 2006 at 12:14am
Flag: [abusive]
Not spending anytime time with V. Toensing ........Sounds like a dream come true to me. She is a hag for Bushco and her husband likes to watch I think....that is V doin W real good!

By: wsayscoupgood on September 16, 2006 at 12:21am
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Bush Threatens to Halt CIA Program if Congress Passes Rival Proposal
GOP Infighting on Detainees Intensifies
Bush Threatens to Halt CIA Program if Congress Passes Rival Proposal
By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer

President Bush warned defiant Republican senators yesterday that he will close down a CIA interrogation program that he credited with thwarting terrorist attacks if they pass a proposal regulating detention of enemy combatants, escalating a politically charged battle that has exposed divisions within his party.

An irritated Bush, raising his voice and gesturing sharply at a Rose Garden news conference, excoriated legislation passed by a Senate panel Thursday that is intended to conform U.S. detainee practices with the Geneva Conventions. Bush insisted on legislation more specifically defining what is banned so intelligence officers would not worry about being charged with war crimes.

"The professionals will not step up unless there's clarity in the law," Bush said. "So Congress has got a decision to make: Do you want the program to go forward or not? I strongly recommend that this program go forward in order for us to be able to protect America."

The president's threat to end the interrogation program seemed to make little impression on the Republican dissidents who have balked at his interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), two of four Republicans who voted against Bush's position on Thursday, again rejected his logic after the news conference, and a fifth Republican senator, Olympia J. Snowe (Maine), joined the rebellion against the president.

"Weakening the Geneva protections is not only unnecessary, but would set an example to other countries, with less respect for basic human rights, that they could issue their own legislative 'reinterpretations,' " McCain said in a written statement. "This puts our military personnel and others directly at risk in this and future wars."

The dispute over how the United States conducts its ongoing battle with international terrorists dominated a question-and-answer session with the president that touched on a variety of high-profile issues 53 days before the midterm elections. Bush lashed out at the United Nations for not moving more aggressively to stop genocide in Darfur, rejected what he called the "urban myth" that his administration has lost focus on finding Osama bin Laden, and acknowledged that spiraling violence in Iraq has frustrated his hopes to begin bringing U.S. troops home this year.

At a time when Bush hoped to be drawing distinctions with Democrats, though, he spent most of the conference arguing with fellow Republicans. As Congress tries to wrap up business to go home and campaign, Bush is pressing for legislation endorsing his leadership against terrorism, including warrantless surveillance of overseas telephone calls, military commissions to try enemy combatants and expansive rules permitting tough interrogations.

The most explosive debate centers on how the Geneva Conventions should apply to U.S. intelligence officers, who captured, held and questioned terrorism suspects in secret overseas CIA prisons for years until the last 14 detainees were transferred recently into military custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Supreme Court ruled in June that U.S. detainees fall under the Geneva Conventions, which require that wartime captives be "treated humanely" and ban "outrages upon personal dignity." Bush wants legislation interpreting the conventions as barring "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment, adopting language from a McCain-sponsored law on prisoners signed last year. The broader "personal dignity" phrases, he argues, are so vague that they leave interrogators open to prosecution for a wide variety of techniques.

McCain, Graham and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) have rejected the Bush approach as too narrow and as an invitation to other countries, including Iran, Syria and North Korea, to reinterpret the Geneva rules as they see fit if they ever hold U.S. soldiers. "What is being billed as 'clarifying' our treaty obligations will be seen as 'withdrawing' from the treaty obligations," Graham said. "It will set precedent which could come back to haunt us."

Another dispute centers on trials for terrorism suspects, who in the Bush proposal could under some circumstances be barred from the proceedings and not allowed to view classified evidence against them. The Republican legislation, passed by Warner's committee 15 to 9 on Thursday, would make it more difficult to introduce secret evidence.

Joining McCain and the other Republicans this week was former secretary of state Colin L. Powell, who wrote in a letter that reinterpreting the Geneva Conventions would encourage other countries to "doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."

Bush bristled at the criticism from his former top diplomat yesterday, calling it "flawed logic" and accusing Powell of equating U.S. tactics with those of terrorists, even though Powell's letter made no such comparison. "It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children," Bush said.

He likewise rejected the argument that nations such as Iran and North Korea would cite U.S. precedent in reinterpreting Geneva rules. "If the nations such as those you named adopted the standards within the Detainee Detention Act," Bush said, meaning the model for his preferred legislation, "the world would be better."

Asked twice if he would veto the McCain-backed bill, Bush avoided answering directly but repeated 11 times in the course of an hour that intelligence officials would not "go forward" with their interrogation program. "Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al-Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland," he said.

In a nod to the harsh campaign rhetoric flying around Washington, Bush disavowed a statement by House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who suggested this week that Democrats care more about protecting terrorists than protecting Americans. "I wouldn't have exactly put it that way," Bush said. "But I do believe there's a difference of attitude."

Democrats, who have largely sat on the sidelines as Bush and Republicans battled this week, seized on the president's remarks yesterday. "Instead of picking fights with Colin Powell, John McCain and other military experts, President Bush should change course, do what the American people expect and finally give them the real security they deserve," said Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.).

Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) called for a Judiciary Committee investigation into whether military judge advocates general were pressured into writing a letter this week saying they "do not object" to two sensitive parts of the administration's legislation.

Officials who attended the meeting in question, in the office of Pentagon general counsel William J. Haynes II on Wednesday, said there was no pressure on the military lawyers to produce the letter, describing a robust discussion about how to word its contents. The lawyers initially drafted a letter saying they "support" the two sections but later settled on saying they "do not object" to them.

"None of us would have signed anything if we had not believed it and absolutely agreed with it," Col. Ronald M. Reed, counsel to the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said yesterday. "The discussion was nothing out of the ordinary."

But late yesterday, Maj. Gen. Scott C. Black, the Army's judge advocate general, sent a new letter to McCain and other senators, saying "further redefinition" of the conventions "is unnecessary and could be seen as a weakening of our treaty obligations, rather than a reinforcement of the standards of treatment."

Staff writers Charles Babington and Josh White contributed to this report.


Senate probes clash over CIA reports on Iraq arms

Senate probes clash over CIA reports on Iraq arms
By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate panel has begun an inquiry to determine what a top official in Saddam Hussein's government told the CIA about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in late 2002 as the Bush administration made its case for war.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said in a September 8 report that it launched the investigation after the CIA's former chief of European clandestine operations appeared on the CBS' "60 Minutes" news magazine in April. The official, Tyler Drumheller, told CBS that the Iraqi government source had said Iraq had no active unconventional weapons program.

Drumheller's disclosure contradicted spy agency documents quoting the same Iraqi source as saying Saddam did have such programs, according to an addendum to the Senate report written by three Republican senators including chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas.

"We have differing interpretations, and I think mine's right," Drumheller, who has already testified on the matter before the committee, told Reuters on Friday. Drumheller is preparing to publish a book about his 26-year career that will include material on Iraq and the U.S. war on terrorism.

The Iraqi official, identified by CBS as former Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, also told the CIA that Iraq considered al Qaeda a longtime enemy and had "no past, current or anticipated future contact" with Osama bin Laden, the senators said.

The CIA did not pass that along to policymakers, the senators said. Nor was it disseminated to intelligence analysts. That was because CIA officials concluded the Iraqi official's comments on al Qaeda were nothing new, the senators said.

The CIA gained access to the source in Saddam's inner circle in September 2002, as President George W. Bush warned Americans that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction posed an imminent threat and that Saddam had ties to the al Qaeda network responsible for the September 11 attacks.

The United States invaded Iraq six months later. But U.S. troops have found no such weapons there. The Senate report, echoing earlier findings by the September 11 commission, also concludes that Saddam Hussein had no relationship with al Qaeda.

Drumheller's televised comments lent support to allegations that the administration focused on intelligence which backed its case for war with Iraq while ignoring contradictory reports.

But in the Senate report, which compares prewar Iraq intelligence with postwar findings, the Republican senators said a CIA operations cable and an intelligence report to high-level policymakers both contradict Drumheller.

"The committee has not completed its inquiry," Roberts said in an additional views addendum co-authored with Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. All three are staunch White House allies.

"All of the information about this case so far indicates that the information from this source was that Iraq did have WMD programs," they wrote.

Drumheller said Saddam had no fissile material for bomb-making and that chemical munitions posed little danger because they had been dispersed in small numbers to political leaders across the country.

"There was no prospect of an immediate attack from any kind of weapon like this," he said.

The Iraqi official had told the CIA the only weapons program not fully active was a biological weapons program he described as amateur, the senators said in the report.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Behold the Republican playbook: Frightening voters and demonizing Dem leader Nancy Pelosi.

Piñata Strategy
Behold the Republican playbook: Frightening voters and demonizing Dem leader Nancy Pelosi.
By Howard Fineman

Sept. 13, 2006 - The Republican message for this fall’s election season turns Franklin Roosevelt’s famous statement on its head: fear is good, or at least it’s a strategy. They want the electorate to be afraid, very afraid—of the terrorists, of course, but also of an elegantly dressed woman from San Francisco.

Democratic operatives have been warning Rep. Nancy Pelosi for months that she needs to prepare for what Karl Rove and the GOP have in store: an all out, coast-to-coast assault.

As the Democratic leader in line to be speaker if her party wins control of the House, Republicans see Pelosi as the piñata of politics in 2006.

Six years into the Bush presidency, GOP operatives in essence are conceding the obvious: voters are angry about Iraq, the economy, immigration and incompetence.

Republicans worry about voters such as Eric Albino, a 29-year-old construction worker I met in New York the other day at the site of Ground Zero. He had been a Bush supporter, but turned against him because of the war in Iraq. “He’s doing what he can to the best of his ability,” Albino said sympathetically, “but he should have left Saddam alone.” We are less safe as a result, he said.

Rather than spend a lot of time and money defending their record to voters such as Albino, the Rovepublicans will try to scare him into sticking with them—or at least staying away from the polls altogether. The way to do that, they have decided, is to scare him silly about what the Democrats would do with control of Congress.

They want to use Pelosi to give their vision of nightmare a face and name and history.

It’s a page from an old GOP playbook. In 1984, the Democrats held their convention in San Francisco; Republicans renominated Ronald Reagan in Dallas. It was the dawn of the Red State-Blue State, cultural/political divide we see today. Democrats made history, nominating the first woman—Geraldine Ferraro—for vice president. “Independent” GOP groups swarmed into San Francisco, and onto the airwaves, to denounce the Democrats for their liberal stands on abortion, gay rights, taxes and so on. Reagan won 49 states.

The epithet “San Francisco Democrat” had power then, and for years thereafter. Does it still?

We’re about to find out. The product of a middle-class family, reared in Baltimore as the daughter of the city’s mayor, Pelosi by background is no flower child. But she does represent a capital of Blue State America. She has a liberal voting record and she is perhaps the most influential congressional critic of the Iraq war.

Pelosi's friend and ally, Rep. John Murtha, got all the ink, but it was Pelosi who gave him his platform in the caucus. Pelosi is personally wealthy; her husband, Paul Pelosi, is a successful Bay Area businessman.

The GOP has “tested” her image in focus groups and polls. She has become a favorite villain of conservative talk radio, which sometimes dwell on her attire and looks. Female Democratic strategists I know fret about this, even as they are outraged at what they see as the sexism of it. They admire her sense of style, but they do worry that she looks too sophisticated, too Nob Hill. “She dresses too ‘rich',” one said to me. No one would accuse Denny Hastert of that.

As for her stand on the issues, it is incontrovertibly true that she represents one of the most liberal congressional districts in the country. “That’s who she is,” said a top Democratic operative. “The problem with refuting that attack is that it’s true.”

Other insiders worry about gay-rights: the notion that the Democrats are too responsive to gay demands for equal treatment. That was GOP’s underlying message 22 years ago, when the term “San Francisco Democrat” first gained currency. It will be subtext—or the overt text—in the campaign this fall.

"They are going to try to turn Pelosi into the Newt Gingrich of our day," said Mark Penn, a leading Democratic pollster. "But I don't think it's going to work. First, she's not that well known. Second, it could work the other way. People want accountability. They want George Bush held to account. Pelosi isn't running for president, she's running for a Congress that will take on the president."

Will voters in, say, eastern Pennsylvania (where there are four House seats up for grabs) care about who Rep. Nancy Pelosi is in November, and what she might say and do as speaker? It seems unlikely, but it’s only mid-September.



Tony Snow and Press Spar: 'Torture' For All of Them

Editor and Publisher
Tony Snow and Press Spar: 'Torture' For All of Them
By E&P Staff

NEW YORK Tony Snow conducted one of his most fascinating briefings today in his relatively short time as White House press secretary.

Most of it had to do with the administration's attempt to redefine -- or as it claims, simply make clearer -- certain key parts of the Geneva Convention's rules on torture and interrogation. In the course of it, Snow charged that former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had just written a letter critical of this move, was "confused" about the matter, and several key GOP senators, including John McCain, similarly not on the right path.

It seemed reasonable enough -- if one can ignore the fact that the Geneva prohibitions have lasted almost 60 years without others feeling a crying need to clarify or re-define them, perhaps because doing so, critics charge, opens it up for everyone else, including some really bad guys, to come up with their own standards, endangering our captured soldiers.

Snow said the issue had never "come up" before. Does this mean we never tried to raise the questions before because we had never felt an urge to torture previously? Or what?

Here are some excerpts.


Q The critics of this, Republicans that you've talked about, think that you are seeking to alter Article III, because you are, in effect, lowering the standards of Article III by the elimination of this language.

MR. SNOW: No, it's a straw man. As a matter of fact, what we're trying to do is we're trying to reach out and work with them to come up with the issues. ...

Q Right. But in your attempt to redefine it --

MR. SNOW: No, it's to define it.

Q Well, right, but that's your interpretation of it. But you're defining it in a way that does not address "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating --

MR. SNOW: Sure, it does.

Q -- and degrading treatment" because you find that to be vague?

MR. SNOW: No, all of it is vague, and therefore, what you do is you try to provide some clarity by saying, here are the subset of behaviors that we think fall under those terms.

I think we're talking past each other here --

Q You claim -- all right, I'll restate the question. You claim that you are not redefining --

MR. SNOW: Right. Look at this --

Q -- Article III. Everyone who opposes you on this, from Secretary Powell, to Senator Warner, to Senator Graham, to Senator McCain, says, in effect, you are trying to redefine it by excluding language you consider vague that they think is actually important.

MR. SNOW: No, no, no -- oh, thank you, thank you. No, no, that's -- okay, thank you. No, we're not excluding it. We're defining what that language means, so, heart be still. No, the fact is the language is vague, and so nobody knows exactly what would be prohibited or not prohibited under it.

And we're saying, no, here are the things that ought to be prohibited under it. And that's an important point, and I'm glad you asked, because I didn't quite understand. We're saying that the language is vague, and therefore you define it by putting together the proper framework for saying, I'm sorry, if you do this, you're guilty of cruel and inhumane treatment -- or cruel and degrading treatment. You are in violation of Common Article III if you do the following, and the following are the things that are specified in the Detainee Treatment Act. ...

Q I'm asking you if you want to replace the --

MR. SNOW: Okay, well, that's what we're trying to do -- we're not trying to replace. The fact is these terms for the purposes of enactment and implementation, for the purposes of the people who are out in the field trying to do interrogation, it has absolutely no meat on the bones. There is no specification of which methods are legal and which are not, which approaches are, which are not, what activities would constitute cruel and inhumane or degrading treatment and which would not. What we're trying to say is, no, guys, we'll tell you what is, and we'll do it in the context of a law that you've already passed and is already operative.

Q Does that not invite other countries to do the same, to have other interpretations of Article III?

MR. SNOW: What it allows every country to do is to have an interpretation. Our European allies don't have an interpretation.

Q And your critics say that's bad for U.S. troops if you allow those kinds of interpretations.

MR. SNOW: No, I think just the opposite. As a matter of fact, the five guys who are Judge Advocates General right now say we need it. The people who interpret the law, the people who serve as the chief legal officers within the Pentagon themselves say we need it. ..

Q Tony, I'm confused. Everybody I talked to today on the Hill says, look, you've had the Geneva Conventions in place since 1947. This isn't the Migratory Birds Treaty we're talking about. This is the Geneva Conventions.

MR. SNOW: Right.

Q And it's a very simple argument. We don't want to talk about the definition of amend or change, but that it stands on its own as written, hasn't been tinkered with since 1947, doesn't need to be tinkered with now. So if that seems to be the position from a former JAG and a former POW and a former Secretary of the Navy, where's the room to work anything out?

MR. SNOW: Well, I think there is. For instance, in 1987, we didn't know what the Genocide Convention said, so we passed a law to deal with it.

Q Not the Geneva Conventions.

MR. SNOW: It appears. Yes, the Geneva Convention.

Q But not Article -- it has nothing with this specific article --

MR. SNOW: Well, that's because Common Article III had never been construed as applying to any conflict in which the United States had ever been a party. And furthermore, it has not been construed as applying to conflicts for the most part that afflicted any of our allies, to which they've been a party. It is something that they had never had to think about, and for which there was not a substantial and settled body of law that would define what the terms mean. And this is a key point. Nobody has defined in law what the terms mean. And we think it's important not only that we define what the terms mean, but that our -- the people who are working for us, either as soldiers in the field, or those who are doing the questioning for the CIA, they have to know that it passes constitutional muster, and it is defined and approved as abiding by our international treaty obligations.

The reason nobody talked about this from 1948 is, it hadn't come up. And there are times -- you'll be surprised to know --

Q There's been a lot of wars.

MR. SNOW: But, you know what, Helen, it didn't apply to most of those wars. It didn't apply to most of those wars which is why people have not asked the questions.

Q This seems -- hang on a second -- this seems to be --

MR. SNOW: Well, and let me just make the point here, the predicate of your question was, it had been sitting around and everybody knew what the meaning was, and the fact is, nobody knew what the meaning was.

Q That's not my reading of it. That's what's coming off of the Hill, so if this sounds eminently reasonable, what you're explaining --

MR. SNOW: Yes.

Q And so you have these guys with a little bit of experience and certainly their own perspectives that have been developed by very direct experience with this stuff, they're saying, you know what, not so reasonable; we don't need to do this.

MR. SNOW: Well, again, I think it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think people are still talking about it.

Q Why use U.S. law when this is an international convention, international document --

MR. SNOW: Because -- precisely because you do -- I think if you put before the American public: do you want international tribunals that do not acknowledge U.S. law and are not answerable to U.S. citizens to define what may happen to U.S. citizens, I think they would find that unreasonable and unjust. What we do try to do is take a look in observing our treaty obligations where there is settled law, and in this particular case there is no settled law. And I would refer you, for the more nuanced portions of your questions, to the lawyers who can go through chapter and verse.

Q But I find it kind of odd that you keep talking about you're following international law, but you want to interject where it comes -- where it suits you to follow your own law?

MR. SNOW: No, no. There is no clarity on these phrases. We're not interjecting --

Q But you have the people to go through --

MR. SNOW: Will you please -- so what you're saying is, at a time like this -- will you please show me the statute that lays out precisely what these terms mean? I'd be interested in seeing it?


Q What are other countries to make of the U.S., as you put it, adding definition to the Geneva Convention? Is the U.S., in effect, saying, all the rest of you do this, too -- adversaries and friends, alike?

MR. SNOW: Look, I think this is something that we'd be -- we would not be frightened if adversaries did this. We would not be at all frightened if they did this.

I think there's a perception going around that this is going to condone and counsel all sorts of horrible treatment. It's not. And therefore, if we allow -- if we set a standard to treaty obligations that in the past have been vague -- and again, we did it with genocide; we did it with other things. This is not unusual. And I think what we're doing is setting a standard for clarity and transparency, because we do want people to know what the rules are, and the people we especially want to know what the rules are are our people going out in the field who are going to be charged with trying to bring back information and save American lives. We want it to be legal. We want it to be constitutional. We want it to be consistent with Common Article III.

E&P Staff

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Atta in Prague: The story that the ‘intelligence community’ doesn’t want you to hear.

Atta in Prague
The story that the ‘intelligence community’ doesn’t want you to hear.
By Mark Hosenball

Sept. 13, 2006 - The claim that terrorist leader Mohamed Atta met in Prague with an Iraqi spy a few months before 9/11 was never substantiated, but that didn’t stop the White House from trying to insert the allegation in presidential speeches, according to classified documents.

Cryptic references to the White House efforts are contained in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report released last Friday that debunked purported links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. However, attempts by committee Democrats to make public a more explicit account of White House interest in the anecdote were thwarted when the “intelligence community” refused to declassify a CIA cable that lays out the controversy, according to congressional sources. Democrats charged in a written statement that intelligence officials had failed to demonstrate “that disclosing the [cable] ... would reveal sources and methods or otherwise harm national security.” The Democrats also complained that officials' refusal to declassify the cable “represents an improper use of classification authority by the intelligence community to shield the White House.”

According to two sources familiar with the blacked-out portions of the Senate report that discuss the CIA cable's contents, the document indicates that White House officials had proposed mentioning the supposed Atta-Prague meeting in a Bush speech scheduled for March 14, 2003. Originated by Czech intelligence shortly after 9/11, the tendentious claim was that in April 2001, Atta, the 9/11 hijack leader, had met in Prague with the local station chief for Iraqi intelligence. The sources said that upon learning of the proposed White House speech, the CIA station in Prague sent back a cable explaining in detail why the agency believed the anecdote was ill-founded.

According to one of the sources familiar with the Senate report's censored portions, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject, the tone of the CIA cable was “strident” and expressed dismay that the White House was trying to shoehorn the Atta anecdote into the Bush speech to be delivered only days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The source said the cable also suggested that policymakers had tried to insert the same anecdote into other speeches by top administration officials.

A second source familiar with the Senate report, however, maintained that it could be read as routine give-and-take between policymakers asking legitimate questions about intelligence reporting and field operatives giving respectful responses. Both sources familiar with the report acknowledge that there is no proof the White House saw the cable, and thus it is unclear whether the CIA document had any bearing on the fact that Bush never mentioned the Atta anecdote in a speech. One of the sources said that some GOP senators on the Intelligence Committee felt the CIA cable issue should be omitted entirely from the Senate report because there was no proof the cable had influenced the White House.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano says the agency “cooperated closely with the committee as it prepared its report. Mindful of the vital oversight role that Congress plays—and the important issues it was reviewing in this case—the agency provided the committee with classified material that typically does not leave our headquarters. And we agreed to the vast majority of the committee's declassification requests. When CIA did not agree to a specific public release, its case was based on current intelligence equities and a desire to preserve the candor essential to good internal discussion of complex issues. It's simply wrong to suggest the goal was to protect the White House.” A White House spokesman had no comment.

Uncensored portions of the Senate report say that by January 2003, the CIA had issued two assessments questioning whether the Prague meeting occurred. In these assessments, the agency said that neither it nor the FBI were able to confirm the meeting happened.

A former senior intelligence official who was in active service at the time confirmed to NEWSWEEK that the White House on multiple occasions had proposed inserting the Atta-in-Prague anecdote in speeches by both the president and Vice President Dick Cheney. The official said that the CIA usually objected to the White House proposals. Although Bush never mentioned the Atta anecdote, Cheney referred to it on several occasions—most recently in a TV appearance last weekend on NBC’s “Meet the Press” during which he conceded that the claim that Atta had a pre-9/11 meeting with an Iraqi spook had never been confirmed.

After the Czech intelligence report first surfaced, it became a holy grail for Bush administration hard-liners seeking evidence to justify a possible U.S. war in Iraq. Cheney and his aides in particular badgered intelligence officials for evidence confirming the Prague meeting and for other proof connecting Saddam to 9/11 and Al Qaeda, according to several former intelligence officials. As my NEWSWEEK colleague Michael Isikoff and his coauthor David Corn report in their new book “Hubris,” some top Pentagon and White House conservatives, including former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, were admirers of Laurie Mylroie, an eccentric author and academic who theorized that Saddam’s intelligence apparatus, rather than Osama bin Laden, was directing Al Qaeda attacks. While the administration, and particularly Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, put a lot of effort into trying to confirm Mylroie’s claims, they were never substantiated.

In uncensored comments attached to Friday’s Senate Intelligence Committee report, Democrats explicitly charge that the administration bullied and harangued intelligence agencies to come up with evidence linking Saddam to Al Qaeda. “This pressure took the form of policymakers repetitively tasking analysts to review, reconsider and revise their analytical judgments,” the Democrats allege. In support of this claim, the Democrats cite a July 2003 paper on Iraq in which the CIA itself said that “Requests for reporting and analysis of [Iraq’s link to Al Qaeda] were steady and heavy in the period leading up to the war, creating significant pressure on the Intelligence Community to find evidence that supported a connection.”

Democrats also publicly report that an internal CIA watchdog known as the “politicization ombudsman” had looked into complaints that the administration was pressuring intelligence analysts to come up with intelligence connecting Saddam to Al Qaeda. According to the Democrats, the ombudsman told committee investigators that he felt the “hammering” that intelligence analysts got from administration policymakers on Iraq intelligence was, in the Democrats’ language, “harder than he had previously witnessed in his 32-year career” at the CIA. The Democrats also report that former CIA chief George Tenet told the committee that analysts had felt pressured by policymakers and that “The issue where there was intense focus and questioning where the analysts felt pressure was Iraq and Al Qaeda.” A White House official noted that investigations by the 9/11 Commission and the commission headed by Judge Lawrence Silberman, which investigated WMD threats, did not substantiate suggestions that the CIA or other intelligence analysts had been pressured over Iraq.

According to a chronology included by Democrats in their appendix to the Senate report, Cheney alluded to the purported Atta-in-Prague meeting at least three times between 9/11 and a year later, and Condoleezza Rice, then the national-security adviser, alluded to it cryptically right before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In December 2001, Cheney had claimed: “It’s been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.”

On TV last Sunday, however, Cheney said: “We’ve never been able to confirm any connection between Iraq and 9/11.”

Host Tim Russert then asked him: “And the meeting with Atta did not occur?”

Cheney replied: “We don’t know. I mean, we’ve never been able to, to, to link it, and the FBI and CIA have worked it aggressively. I would say, at this point, nobody has been able to confirm …”

According to former senior intelligence officials, when the White House sent to the CIA its first proposed version of the now-famous United Nations speech by Secretary of State Colin Powell outlining the U.S. case against Saddam, the 48-page draft—which the officials say they believe was largely written by Scooter Libby—included prominent references to the Atta-in-Prague anecdote. Powell’s chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, told a hearing organized by congressional Democrats earlier this year that one of the most dramatic moments in the preparation for the speech occurred in Tenet’s conference room at CIA headquarters. Powell was reading through the speech as part of a final rehearsal before leaving for New York. According to Wilkerson’s account, as Powell proceeded, Stephen Hadley, then the deputy national-security adviser (who is now the national-security adviser) asked what happened to the Atta-in-Prague story, which Powell had omitted. According to Wilkerson, Powell replied, “We took it out, and it’s staying out.”

According to portions of the new Senate report that were not censored, the anecdote about Atta meeting Ahmed al-Ani, the Iraqi intelligence station chief, in Prague originated with a “single source” for Czech intelligence. Investigations by the CIA and FBI determined that in the years before 9/11, Atta had indeed visited Prague on at least two occasions. But according to a July 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency paper quoted in the Senate report, investigators trying to substantiate the single-source claim about Atta’s 2001 Prague meeting found “no photographic, immigration or other documentary evidence” to back it up. Investigations by the FBI and CIA also turned up evidence that Atta was in the United States on days shortly before and shortly after the alleged Prague meeting. The CIA also turned up information indicating that for most of the day the alleged meeting occurred, Atta’s alleged Iraqi interlocutor, al-Ani, was not even in Prague but rather was visiting a city about 60-90 minutes away. Al-Ani also denied to U.S. interrogators after the U.S. invasion of Iraq that he had ever met with Atta in Prague, or anywhere else.

Even after most career intelligence operatives and analysts had begun to doubt the credibility of the Atta-in-Prague story, some administration hard-liners still were touting it as a possible Saddam-9/11 smoking gun and scrounging around for scraps of corroboration. In a secret briefing prepared for delivery to White House officials including Hadley and Libby in September 2002, officials working for Douglas Feith, then the hard-line head of the Pentagon’s policy development branch, included a special slide about the purported meeting that included an allegation that “several workers at Prague Airport identified Atta following 9/11 and remember him traveling with his brother Farhan Atta.” When earlier versions of the same briefing were presented to CIA officials and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, however, the Prague slide was not included. Several former intelligence officials who worked directly on investigations of Saddam’s alleged Al Qaeda ties said that they had never heard of the allegation about Atta’s brother, even though defense officials claimed this had been reported through normal intelligence channels. In a footnote to their new book, Isikoff and Corn report that Atta had two sisters, but no brother.

While some senators did dispute whether references to the censored CIA cable about Atta in Prague should be included in their new report, all but one Republican member of the Intelligence Committee voted to endorse the more sweeping conclusions comparing pre-war and postwar intelligence findings about Saddam and Al Qaeda. Among the findings: Saddam’s dealings with Al Qaeda were tentative and wary rather than collaborative, and Saddam’s intelligence service once warned him that the United States might try to make up or exploit any Iraqi links to Al Qaeda for propaganda purposes.

In a section of the Senate report that is not questioned by administration supporters on the committee, investigators also produce strong new evidence undermining a key section of Powell’s U.N. speech, in which the secretary of State claimed that the presence in Baghdad, during the spring and summer of 2002, of alleged Al Qaeda associate Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi demonstrated evidence of a possible relationship between Saddam’s government and Al Qaeda. The new Senate report says that after the U.S. invasion, American personnel in Baghdad discovered evidence that Saddam’s government considered Zarqawi an outlaw and made unsuccessful efforts to track him down and capture him. Postwar investigations turned up no evidence Saddam’s government ever had friendly dealings with Zarqawi, who later gained worldwide notoriety as the beheader of U.S. hostages and self-proclaimed leader of jihadi forces in post-Saddam Iraq.



Judge tells Saddam: "You are not a dictator"

Judge tells Saddam: "You are not a dictator"
By Ibon Villelabeitia

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The judge in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial said on Thursday he did not think the ousted Iraqi leader was a "dictator", prompting a spokesman for the U.S.-sponsored court to defend its impartiality.

Abdulla al-Amiri made his comments one day after prosecutors demanded his resignation, complaining that he was too soft on Saddam, who had threatened to "crush the heads" of his accusers. They also complained he let Saddam make long speeches in court.

Questioning a Kurdish farmer who testified he had secured a face-to-face audience with Saddam in 1988 and begged him to spare the lives of his wife and seven children, the former president said: "If I'm a dictator, why did you come to see me?"

Amiri, who has compared his approach to the trial as that of a referee seeking "fairness", then addressed Saddam politely, saying: "You are not a dictator. It is the people who surround a man who make him a dictator". He did not elaborate.

Visibly pleased, Saddam uttered a respectful "Thank you" and then regained his seat in the Baghdad courtroom.

Iraqi High Tribunal chief investigator and spokesman Raed Juhi sought during a news conference later to distance the court, set up by U.S. occupying forces, from Amiri's comment.

"The court will continue with its neutrality and its course. The judge is only human," Juhi said.

"At the end, the judge will decide guilty or not guilty based on the evidence. This has no effect on the case."

Saddam and six former commanders face capital charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their role in the 1988 Anfal campaign prosecutors say left 182,000 Iraqi Kurds dead or missing. Saddam and his cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majeed, known as "Chemical Ali", also face genocide charges.

Part of the prosecution case is expected to rest on how far Saddam was directly responsible for the actions of his troops.

Amiri, who is a member of the majority Shi'ite community which along with ethnic Kurds suffered widely under Saddam's Sunni-led rule, was not available for comment after the trial.


Earlier, farmer Abdulla Mohammad Hussain told the court how a furious Saddam shouted "Shut up and get out!" when he pleaded for the release of his family, including a 40-day-old daughter, who were rounded up in their village in northern Kurdistan.

"He told me to approach him and I begged him for their lives," he said, recounting a visit to one of Saddam's palaces in dramatic testimony during the fourth hearing this week of a trial that began last month.

Saddam, who has defended his policies of crushing Kurdish rebels fighting alongside Shi'ite Iran during the final years of the Iraq-Iran war, said he did not remember ever seeing the witness, who described himself as illiterate.

"Do you have a receipt that you saw me? The Presidential Palace always issued receipts to those who came to visit me?" Saddam asked of the alleged incident 18 years ago.

"No. You took the receipt away from me when I saw you," said Hussain, who is in his mid-50s and wore a traditional headdress.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.

The initial phase of the trial has featured a litany of often harrowing testimony from Kurdish survivors. Saddam is also awaiting a verdict in a first, separate, trial for crimes against humanity over the deaths of 148 Shi'ite men.


Ohio congressman agrees to plead guilty in graft case

Ohio congressman agrees to plead guilty in graft case
By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges in the political corruption investigation involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Ney, who has previously denied any wrongdoing, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 and dropped out of the re-election race last month after questions about his links to Abramoff.

He would be the first member of Congress to plead guilty in the Justice Department's investigation of Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty and admitted he gave lawmakers Super Bowl tickets, travel junkets and other gifts to win legislative favors for his lobbying clients.

As news of Ney's intended guilty plea broke late Thursday, Ohio Republicans picked state Sen. Joy Padgett in a special primary to replace Ney on the ballot -- a move the party said boosts their chance of holding the seat in November elections.

Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, pleaded guilty in May and agreed to cooperate in the investigation. Volz left Ney's office in 2002 to join Abramoff's lobbying firm.

The source said Ney has agreed to plead guilty to charges that include conspiracy and making false statements. Ney has signed the plea agreement, but it has yet to be filed in federal court, the source said.

The plea agreement was expected to be filed and made public on Friday, the source said. It was unclear when Ney would appear in court to enter the guilty plea. The source said Ney was likely to have to serve some time in prison.

Former Republican House leader Tom DeLay, once one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, resigned after becoming embroiled in the Abramoff scandal. Two of his former aides have pleaded guilty. DeLay has denied any wrongdoing.

The Abramoff scandal and other corruption cases have hurt Republicans as they seek to keep control of Congress in the November elections. Abramoff, a former top Washington lobbyist, had close ties to congressional leaders, especially Republicans.

The Abramoff investigation also resulted in the conviction in June of former Bush administration official David Safavian, who was found guilty of lying and obstructing justice.

The New York Times, quoting people with detailed knowledge of the investigation, said Ney had entered an in-patient rehabilitation facility recently for treatment of alcoholism.

Volz admitted that while working for Ney he accepted trips, frequent restaurant meals, drinks and entertainment. Volz, Ney and others performed official acts motivated in part by the gifts, prosecutors said.

As a lobbyist working in Abramoff's firm, Volz admitted that he took part in a conspiracy to give various items to Ney.

Among them were an all-expenses-paid golf trip to Scotland in 2002, a trip to Lake George in New York in 2003, regular food and drinks at Abramoff's restaurants and tickets to sporting events and concerts.

In exchange, Ney agreed to support and pass legislation, to support or oppose actions taken by government agencies and departments and to assist Abramoff in getting additional clients, prosecutors said.