Counterterrorism "expert" David Kilcullen discusses the rise of ISIS with historian Robert Manne. Kilcullen was a senior adviser to General David Petraeus in 2007 and 2008, when he helped to design and monitor the Iraq War troop "surge".
A never-before-released set of photos show the anxiety of the Bush administration as it reacted to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The documentarian Colette Neirouz Hanna, whose work with PBS has focused on the Bush administration, received the photos in response to a freedom of information request. They were taken by the vice-president’s staff photographer. The full set is on Flickr: 1, 2, 3, 4
(Lawrence) Ari Fleischer is the former White House Press Secretary for U.S. President George W. Bush, from January 2001 to July 2003. 13 years on from 9/11, Ari is tweeting the events of that day from his notes (start). [more inside]
“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction,” Cheney said. “There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.” Zinni, sitting right next to Cheney’s lectern, says he “literally bolted” when he heard the vice president’s comments. “In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD [weapons of mass destruction], through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program.” Rachel Maddow hosts Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War, a documentary special, based on the eponymous book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, that will air Monday, February 18 on MSNBC at 9 p.m.
Three days late, The War Nerd looks back on 9/11 and mourns.
Cartoonist Tim Kreider (previously, previously) of The Pain talks about the last decade, our "disastrous decline" and his latest book of cartoons and essays, Twilight Of The Assholes. Part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it.
"George W. Bush Knew Guantanamo Prisoners Were Innocent." In a signed declaration filed as part of a pending lawsuit on behalf of former Guantanamo Bay detainees and obtained by The Times, Lawrence Wilkerson, a high ranking aide to former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell, makes the stunning claim that: "George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror." (via)
Recently, Fmr. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was asked some pointed torture questions by two Stanford students after an informal reception in a dorm building (transcript). Did she unwittingly confess to a role in a criminal conspiracy? Signs point to yes. [more inside]
To celebrate the Inauguration, Ben and Jerry's has issued a new ice cream flavor, Yes, PeCan, with profits donated to the Common Cause Education Fund. There's a Reddit thread for suggestions for flavors commemorating Bush/Cheney. [more inside]
Farewell to All That An illuminating and depressing Oral History of the Bush White House from Vanity Fair
What killed Sgt. Gray? "He survived the war only to die at home. An exploration of his death and his combat unit's activities reveals what can happen to soldiers who feel the freedom -- or the pressure -- to do things in war they can't live with later." -- An American Radioworks documentary.
Presidential Crimes: Moving on is not an option. "In deciding about legal redress, we need to be clear about the large stakes in our decision. The very multiplicity of the apparent crimes, the sheer array of arguably broken laws, is dizzying. But that multiplicity must be faced, for in it we will see that what got in President Bush’s way was not any one law but the rule of law itself. It is the rule of law that has been put in jeopardy by a project of executive domination; it is the rule of law that will continue to be in peril; and it is only, therefore, by addressing the crimes through legal instruments—through a formal, legal arena, and not simply through the electoral repudiation of bad policy—that the grave and widespread damage stands a chance of being repaired."
"Only Nixon could go to China," and only ex-Republican ex-Senator Lincoln Chafee can explain how George W. Bush set out "to preempt the Congress... on every issue", "turned his back on (his) bedrock campaign pledges", and become simultaneously America's most powerful and least popular President (and why there could never be a "surely this..." moment). NOT just another OMGBUSH commentary, this should be required reading for anybody who honestly wants to know what went wrong.
“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas." A Vanity Fair reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes -- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense." Others say that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here and here.]
In honor of the 5-year anniversary of the Iraq War, PBS' Frontline presented a fantastic 2- part special on the issue this past Monday and Tuesday. It is now available in it's entirety online along with interview transcripts from senior officials, a video timeline of the war, and battlefield stories from soldiers. Bush's War
Patriots, countrymen, help out the American economy with Operation: Change For The Better.
shock doctrine at work
Fisk documents the dismantling of Iraqi culture - Klein exposes the history behind the destruction.
Fisk documents the dismantling of Iraqi culture - Klein exposes the history behind the destruction.
It's All Because. Have you ever had those days where you're wondering just why everything about your life is feeling like it's going down the toilet bowl? Oded Gross knows, and he will tell you all about it. In a song.
On June 13th Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., issued subpoenas to two former White House officials compelling them to provide testimony and related information as part of ongoing congressional investigations into the mass firings of well-performing federal prosecutors and the politicization of hiring and firing within the Department of Justice. Today is the deadline for handing over the requested information and the Whitehouse has stated that it will not be complying with the request.
congressman dennis kucinich has submitted a resolution to impeach VP Dick Cheney on charges of "high crimes and misdemeanors."
impeachy keen! learn why cleveland is the capital of polka, bowling and kielbasa.
These artworks are produced under the Islamic Republic of Iran, by young artists educated in Iran's current numerous art schools. (Click on each to see a set of photos.) Do they need to be liberated by Bush and Cheney?
TPM's David Kurtz: I've gone from being open to the idea of an Imperial Vice Presidency to being convinced that historians will debate whether something approaching a Cheney-led coup d'etat has occurred, in which some of the powers of the Executive were extra-constitutionally usurped by the Office of the Vice President. More about the Vice President, Richard "Dick" Cheney.
Politics/PlameFilter: In opening arguments today in the Plame investigation perjury case against Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, the prosecutor portrayed Libby as an agent of a Cheney-driven media offensive. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came from Libby's attorney, who portrayed his client as a White House-chosen scapegoat for Karl Rove's misdeeds. A conservative reporter saw in Libby's emerging defense a "dramatic split inside the Bush White House." An MSNBC host asked whether this hullabaloo could lead to Cheney's resignation. Background on the case. Liveblogging of today's arguments from an anti-administration perspective.
This Is What Waterboarding Looks Like -- David Corn, co-author with Michael Isikoff of HUBRIS: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War, writes about what waterboarding is and what the torturer's tools look like. Back in the day, the Khmer Rouge, among other repressive regimes, used it. Interestingly, waterboarding typically isn't employed to gain useful information. No, this near-drowning technique is most useful for eliciting "confessions". Good times, good times. ( via reddit via Diggdot.us)
Cheney's Cheney and the Unitary Executive Theory. An excellent article from the New Yorker on the mysterious forces at work behind the Bush administration's expansion of executive powers.
Cheney Pushed U.S. to Widen Eavesdropping In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his top legal adviser argued that the National Security Agency should intercept purely domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages without warrants in the hunt for terrorists, according to two senior intelligence officials.
Hungry like the wolf. In his state-of-the-nation address, Vladamir Putin took a swipe at the Bush administration, saying that Russia should build "a strong, reliable home because we do see what's going on in the world. . . Comrade Wolf knows whom to eat. It's eating without listening to anyone. And by all appearances, it's not going to listen . . . Where is all this pathos about the need to fight for human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue their own interests? Here everything is possible. There are no limits."
Newsfilter: CIA director Porter Goss resigns. After taking some of the
fall heat for bad intelligence in the months before 9/11, Cheney's "cat's paw" finally gets out of the kitchen.
Intrigues at the White House: Andrew Card, Bush's longtime chief of staff -- the guy who briefly interrupted the President's reading of The Pet Goat one rough morning in 2001 and took heat for the Katrina and Dubai debacles -- is out, replaced by budget director "Yosh" Bolten, the one-time founder of a club called "Bikers for Bush." Meanwhile, is Rove rolling over for Patrick Fitzgerald, and if so, what's the angle?
Notice: henceforth, the Minister of War shall address the people only through the Ministry of Truth. The story-behind-the-story of the Vice President's hunting mishap is the denigration of the MSMTM as the traditional proxy of the public interest, says NYU journalism professor and media critic Jay Rosen. "It strikes me that the Corpus Christi Caller-Times is just as valid a news outlet as The New York Times is," Cheney told cherry-picked Fox "News" correspondent Brit Hume yesterday. GOP spokesperson Mary Matalin underlined the point by saying that Cheney considered holding a news conference, but that "would have meant a lot of grandstanding" by reporters; Donald Rumsfeld often goes even farther, claiming that terrorist organizations manipulate the American press directly through "media committees." Judging by the administration's contempt for the Fourth Estate, says Rosen, "The public visibility of the presidency itself is under revision. More of it lies in shadow all the time. Non-communication has become the standard procedure, not a breakdown in practice but the essence of it." Even arch-conservative pundits like George Will are starting to get nervous about the lack of check and balances under the current regime. There's no doubt that the White House press corps seems angrier these days -- but are they missing the bigger stories by focusing their wrath on Scott McClellan's birdshot spin?
What unites hardliners like Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh -- their uncompromisingly conservative take on politics? In a provocative blog post titled Do Bush followers have a political ideology?, Glenn Greenwald persuasively argues otherwise. He believes that the conservative movement -- traditionally against big government, excessive spending, and federal intrusion into the private lives of Americans -- has been hijacked by something much more dangerous: an authoritarian cult of personality, or as Greenwald puts it, "a form of highly emotional mass theater masquerading as political debate."
"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," writes former CIA official Paul Pillar, coordinator of U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until 2005, in an article soon to appear in Foreign Affairs, hardly a radical rag. More confirmation that Seymour Hersh was right about the administration "cherry-picking" intelligence to justify a foregone conclusion to go to war in Iraq.
Marine's One Finger Salute becomes an iconic image in the Iraqi War. Analysis and politics aside, this guy is one tough mother.
Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald says emails relevant to the Valerie Plame leak investigation have gone missing from the White House. "In an adundance of caution," Fitzgerald wrote [PDF] to "Scooter" Libby's lawyers on January 23, "we advise you that we have learned that not all email of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system." Might this help explain why Alberto Gonzales -- now the Attorney General, and lately so busy mustering arguments to assert that Bush's NSA domestic-spying program is "legal" -- waited 12 hours before instructing White House staff to preserve documents relevant to the leak investigation after telling Andrew Card about it? Shades of the late, great yoga instructor, Rose Mary Woods. [More on Plame here.]
What is the cost of the war on Iraq? [more inside]
Conyers Flies Paper Airplane into Whitehouse. Rep. John Conyers has submitted motions to censure Bush and Cheney, and to establish a select committee to investigate their offenses. He outlines the evidence in The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution, and Coverups in the Iraq War. (3.8MB pdf)
Bush Buzzword Bingo - If you can't stand listening to the president speak, try playing this game. Like the Thanksgiving version, you get a bingo card randomly printed with Bush's favorite buzzwords, bushisms and talking points. First to get five in a row gets bingo, but probably will just end up feeling bad about the world. For more bush/bushism fun, try the "Give Bush a Brain" game from egreetings. (see if you can beat my high score of 8)
Has the C.I.A. legally killed prisoners? Two years ago, Manadel al-Jamadi, a suspected Iraqi insurgent, walked into a Baghdad interrogation room. He was dead in 45 minutes, his head covered with a plastic bag, shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that led to his asphyxiation. U.S. authorities classified his death a homicide. His CIA interrogator has not been charged with a crime and continues to work for the agency. President Bush says "We do not torture." But if that’s true, then why is Vice President Cheney fighting to exempt CIA interrogators from a torture ban? And al-Jamadi? His case is stalled in the Alberto Gonzalez Justice Department, two years after soldiers posed for thumbs-up pictures next to his corpse.
Why outing Plame mattered. If you wonder what's really at stake behind all the media buzz around the Fitzgerald indictments, read this lengthy and cogent analysis by Stratfor's no-nonsense George Friedman. "Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a 'bodyguard of lies' -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities... The minimal story -- that they talked about Plame with a reporter -- is the end of the matter."
Did Dick make him do it? The Huffington Report claims that both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomsburg News are working on stories indicating that Vice President Dick Cheney is the target of the special prosecutor's investigation into Plamegate. George Stephanopoulos also recently claimed that a source close to the investigation told him that Cheney and Bush were involved in discussions on how to handle the Wilson affair that may have led to the leak. Meanwhile, Cheney's chief spokesman has left the country until October 26th, two days before the conclusion of the grand jury investigation.
The family trees of American politicians - There are those with very long blue blood pedigrees, and there are those with very short and unknown pedigrees. There are also some surprises, like a certain Democratic senator and possible '08 Veep pick being somewhat closely related to the current Veep, or that certain ex-mayors have family trees that were apparently a bit inbred back in the old country. Other fun tidbits: Newt Gingrich's father was illegitimate, John Kerry is related to the rabbi who created the Golem of Prague, Pat Buchanan is related to both FDR and Marilyn Manson, Wesley Clark's father was a Kohan, Martin Luther King was born Michael Louis King, and Gary Hart was born Gary Hartpence, which was in turn derived from an ancestor named James Eberhart Pence. (more non-politicians here)
Firms with White House ties get Katrina contracts Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root and Bechtel have been awarded no-bid contracts in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. There's also this.
Sellafield nuclear leak unreported for three months - The Cumbria, UK nuclear waste processing facility has been a constant source of worry and pollution since its inception. Security procedures were called "a bit of a joke" by safety technician Ron Hanas, who was fired for blowing the whistle on the accounting loss of over 30 kg of weapons-grade plutonium, noting as an aside that a section of a uranium fuel rod was found in a worker's desk drawer. Higher levels of plutonium are found in children's teeth as they live in closer proximity to the plant. It makes one think about the current energy policy being written behind closed doors, when the industry can't put basic safety systems in place.
Going for broke. With four days to go before the election, Bush-Cheney '04 finally pulled the last stop and started sending out anti-Kerry mailings using images of the burning World Trade Center. The ads are paid for and officially endorsed by Bush's campaign.
Hiring a private criminal defense lawyer --the legal implications and ramifications of our President's (and veep's) move--by John Dean
Cheney outlines Bush's vision of the war on terrorism in a January 14th speech, likening it to the Cold War in both scope and duration. Does this represent a change in tenor for the 2004 campaign and a move away from Reagan-esque sunny optimism that defined the 2000 run?
Astroturfing gone bad. Why aren't newspaper editors fighting this? They've seen it before. Its one thing to offer a press release and another to ask visitors of the Bush-Cheney website to mail their newspapers the same form letter.
the second most powerful man in the world, is the world a more or less safe place with this man (some would argue) in charge?
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