Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Welcome Departure of John Bolton

Have to agree with the first part. Bye-Bye Bolton.

However, I can't say that I am quite as optomistic as Steve about our foreign policy or international relations.

Still, really want to know why everyone is ssooo determined to let Junior off th hook. To read this article, one wouldn't be sure we even have a president.

I still remember Junior saying that he liked it when others "misunderestimated" him. In instances like the current one, I guess it would come in handy, for "plausible deniability" purposes.

Getting John Bolton Off of Bush's Payroll Correlates with Improved US Foreign Policy Gains

I agree with Scott Paul that John Bolton's co-mingling during his Bradley Prize acceptance speech of Senator Chris Dodd and and former Senator Lincoln Chafee with prominent citizens of Pyongyang, Havana, Damascus and Tehran was at first glance disconcerting.

But now that I've had the day to think about it, there are sensible "prominent citizens" in Havana who I recently met -- and with whom we should be charting new possibilities for US-Cuba relations. Bolton seems to relish the derision of broad swaths of people even when it undermines the interest of his own nation, President and fellow citizens.

I still remember John Bolton's shocking views on the moral inferiority of killed Lebanese innocents when compared to lost Israeli lives -- a passage in Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony that apparently got struck out at the last moment by some sensible, alert pragmatists in the State Department just before Bolton began reading his speech.

Then there are those citizens in Pyongyang, Damascus and Tehran. . .

Thanks to Condoleezza Rice's diplomatic team -- strengthened enormously by some key departures and addition of new talent -- we are talking to "prominent citizens" from all these cities.

It's useful to note that none of this would have been possible without the departure of John Bolton, followed by the exit of Robert Joseph -- who at least was honorable in his decision to resign because he couldn't support the direction of America's dealmaking with North Korea.

In contrast, John Bolton had to be pushed out and preempted by withholding Senate confirmation before he began his barrage of criticism against his fellow Bush administration colleagues and the President himself.

Condi Rice has a decent team today, and they are on a bit of a good roll. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns, Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, Legal Adviser John Bellinger -- and even Counselor Eliot Cohen (protecting her right flank from Cheney's minions) -- are all part of this leadership team and are making some important and constructive things happen on the world stage. There are clear, positive, tangible gains on a great number of complex diplomatic fronts.

Policy Planning Director Stephen Krasner has now officially departed for Stanford -- and "Acting Director Matthew Waxman" is in place.

Waxman is an ideas entrepreneur with character (he is one of the real insider heroes who while at DoD fought against the erosion of the Geneva Conventions on torture). He also gets strategy and knows that water wars, transnational disease transmission, environmental challenges posed by climate change dynamics, massive refugee crises, and other non-traditional problems must be dealt with as well as thinking through how a superpower manages its interests in a world where other superpowers -- and even not so super powers -- aren't the overriding security challenge.

State has yet to find the person that they would like to have as their own version of Andy Marshall, who heads "Net Assessments" at the Pentagon and who is brilliant, old, and sort of "yoda-like." In fact, he is nicknamed "Yoda".

But perhaps State should remove the "acting" from Matthew Waxman's title and roll the dice on someone who appears to many to be a 21st century "young Yoda." Waxman, who I have met on occasion, reminds me of a hybrid of strategic wunderkind Paul Nitze and Eisenhower acolyte Andy Goodpaster.

One senior State Department official believes that Condi Rice "wants a name" heading Policy Planning -- someone "with more stature." But this is a pivotal time in American history and foreign policy. Not a lot of what we did yesterday will be that helpful in thinking through what we need to do tomorrow. Everything needs to be rethought. Lots of "unthinkables" need to be worked on.

Fresh thinking and working to benchmark the complexities of deploying diplomacy as well as hard power in the 21st century are what a nimble mind like Waxman's may be better equipped to do than those who are regular Foreign Affairs groupies.

Hopefully this blog post won't sink Waxman's chances to succeed Krasner, but someone out in civil society had to point out that there is incredible talent embedded in our current government and that it has been the "big names" like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and John Bolton who have caused the worst problems for American foreign policy and who, in many cases, have taken the country in very troublesome directions.

It may be time to try something new.

Many of us would applaud it.
-- Steve Clemons

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Tenet Still Doesn't Get It.....

"If you can't say something positive about someone, don't say anything." This was drummed into me by my Irish grandmother and, as most of her admonishments, it has stood me in good stead. On occasion, though, it been a real bother - as when I felt called to comment on George Tenet's apologia, "In the Center of the Storm," coming to a bookstore near you tomorrow.

On the verge of despair, I ran into an old schoolmate of Tenet's from PS 94 in Little Neck, Queens, who told me that George was more handsome than his twin brother Billy, and that his outgoing nature and consummate political skill got him elected president of the student body.

Positive enough, Grandma? Now let me add this.

George Tenet's book shows that he remains, first and foremost, a politician - with no clue as to the proper role of intelligence work. He is unhappy about going down in history as "Slam Dunk Tenet." But, George protests, his famous remark to President Bush on December 21, 2002 was not meant to assure the president that available intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a "slam dunk." Rather he meant that the argument that Saddam Hussein had such weapons could be enhanced to slam-dunk status in order to sell war on Iraq. Those of you tuning in to CBS's "60 Minutes" tonight will hear Tenet explain what he meant when he uttered the words he now says everyone misunderstood or distorted in order to blame him for the Iraq war. What he says he meant was simply:

"We can put a better case together for a public case." (sic)

Tenet still doesn't get it. Those of us schooled in the craft and ethos of intelligence remain in wide-mouthed disbelief, perhaps best summed up by veteran operations officer Bob Baer's quip:
"So, it is better that the 'slam dunk' referred to the ease with which the war could be sold? I guess I missed that part of the National Security Act delineating the functions of the CIA - the part about CIA marketing a war. Guess that's why I never made it into senior management."

George's concern over being scapegoated is touching. But could he not have seen it coming? Not even when Rumsfeld asked him in the fall of 2002 (that is, before the war) whether he had put in a system to track how good the intelligence was compared with what would be found in Iraq?

The guys I know from Queens usually can tell when they're being set up. Maybe Tenet was naive enough to believe that the president, whom he describes as a "kindred soul," would protect him from thugs like Vice President Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, even when - as was inevitable - someone had to take the fall. Or did he perhaps actually believe the Cheney dictum that US forces would be greeted as liberators?

So now George is worried about his reputation. He tells "60 Minutes:"
"At the end of the day, the only thing you have ... is your reputation built on trust and your personal honor, and when you don't have that anymore, well, there you go."

I immediately thought back to former Secretary of State Colin Powell's response when he was asked if he regretted the lies he told at the UN on February 5, 2003. Powell said he regretted that speech because it was "a blot on my record."

So we've got ruined reputations and blots on records. Poor boys. What about the 3,344 American soldiers already killed in a war that could not have happened had not these poor fellows deliberately distorted the evidence and led the cheering for war? What about the more than 50,000 wounded, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis whose deaths can be attributed directly to the invasion and its aftermath? There are blots, and there are blots. Why is it that Tenet and Powell seem to inhabit a different planet?

Despite all this, they still have their defenders ... or at least Tenet does. (Powell's closest associate, Col. Larry Wilkerson, decided long ago to turn state's evidence and apologize for his and Powell's role in the intelligence fiasco, but Powell has tried to remain above the battle. He may, I suppose, be writing his own book to explain everything.)

Yesterday on National Public Radio, Tenet's deputy and partner in crime, John McLaughlin, went to ludicrous lengths reciting a carefully prepared list of "all the things that the CIA got right," while conceding that it (not "we," mind you, but "it") performed "inadequately" in assessing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Picky, picky.

Defending Torture ... Again

Hewing to the George W. Bush dictum of "catapulting the propaganda" by endlessly repeating the same claim (the formula used so successfully by Joseph Goebbels), Tenet manages to tell "60 Minutes" five times in five consecutive sentences: "We don't torture people." Like President Bush, however, he then goes on to show why it has been absolutely necessary to torture people.

What do they take us for, fools?

And Tenet's claims of success in extracting information via torture are no more worthy of credulity than the rest of what he says.

His own credibility aside, Tenet has succeeded in destroying the asset without which an intelligence community cannot be effective. And that is serious. He seems blissfully oblivious to the damage he has done - aware only of the damage others have done to his "personal honor."

Lessons Learned

If any good can come out of the intelligence/policy debacle regarding Iraq, it would be the clear lesson that intelligence crafted to dovetail with the predilections of policymakers can bring disaster. The role that Tenet, McLaughlin and their small coterie of senior managers played as willing accomplices in the corruption of intelligence has made a mockery of the verse chiseled into the marble at the entrance to CIA headquarters: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Had Tenet been tenaciously honest, his analysts would have risen to the occasion. And there is a good chance that they could have helped prevent what the Nuremburg Tribunal called the "supreme international crime" - a war of aggression, and a war that Tenet and his subordinates knew had nothing to do with the "intelligence" adduced to "justify" it, as Tenet now admits in his book.

No director of the CIA should come from the ranks of congressional staff, since those staffers work in a politicized ambience antithetical to substantive intelligence work. Tenet is Exhibit A. Outside of intelligence circles, it was considered a good sign that, as a Congressional staffer, Tenet had been equally popular on either side of the aisle. But this raised a red flag for seasoned intelligence professionals.

As we had learned early in our careers, if you consistently tell it like it is, you are certain to make enemies. Those enjoying universal popularity are ipso facto suspect of perfecting the political art of compromise - shading this and shaving that. However useful this may be on the Hill, it sounds the death knell for intelligence analysis. Tenet also lacked experience in managing a large, complicated organization. Such experience is a sine qua non.

Finally, it is a mischievous myth that the CIA director must cultivate a close personal relationship with the president. Nor should he/she try to do so, for it is a net minus. The White House is not a fraternity house; mutual respect is far more important than camaraderie. A mature, self-confident president will respect an independent intelligence director. The latter must resist the temptation to be "part of the team" in the way the president's political advisers are part of the team. Overly close identification with "the team" can erode objectivity and cloud intelligence judgments. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, like Cheney a frequent visitor to CIA headquarters in 2002 to "help" with the analysis on Iraq, told the press that Tenet was "so grateful to the president [presumably for not firing him after September 11, 2001] that he would do anything for him." That attitude is the antithesis of what is needed in senior intelligence officers.

Much is at stake, and it will be an uphill battle to bring back honesty and professionalism to the analysis process and impede efforts to politicize the intelligence product. In an institution such as the CIA, significant, enduring improvement requires vision, courage and integrity at the top. It has been three decades since the CIA has been led by such a person.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. His responsibilities during his 27-year service as a CIA analyst included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President's Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

If Surge Fails, Watch Out For Iran.

Reporter: Fall 2007 could see an 'uptick' in US-Iran tensions
05/04/2007 @ 3:50 pm
Filed by Michael Roston

A top journalist tracking the dispute between Iran and the international community over its nuclear program has suggested in an interview published at the Harpers' website that an uptick in tensions between the US and Iran could emerge this fall.

"If by September the 'surge' is deemed to be ineffective, the Bush Administration may seek to blame Iran for its continuing difficulties," Laura Rozen, a top correspondent for the American Prospect and the Washington Monthly, told Harpers' Ken Silverstein. "So I would not be surprised later this fall to see an uptick in Iran-bashing from elements of the administration and associated constituencies trying to gin up confrontation."

Rozen was participating in an interview with Silverstein on the state of the Iranian dispute and US-Iran relations. She also noted that tensions were in check at the moment because currently "there's not a great desire at the State Department or the Pentagon for another war."

In the interview, Rozen also criticized the Bush administration for publicly announcing its intention of funding groups inside Iran that are critical of the current regime.

"Since the Bush Administration announced that it would fund opposition groups, the Iranian government has arrested intellectuals, writers, and activists who have participated in conferences abroad that were sponsored by private NGOs, and accused them of being involved in American-backed efforts to overthrow the regime," she argued. "The international consequences may not have been carefully thought out."

Rozen also accused advocates of funding Iranian opposition groups, such as the American Enterprise Institute's Michael Ledeen and Richard Perle, of using such efforts to catalyze military conflict with Iran.

"One wonders if those advocating for heavy Washington involvement see that strategy as a means of deepening U.S. involvement to a point that military confrontation ultimately becomes inevitable," she explained.

The full interview can be read at this link.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Here It Comes...What About Those Forged Niger Docs?

We don't trust what any Bushites says, unless they are under oath, and maybe not then.

Who can trust these people? This whole administration has been a lie fom day one; the very incarnation of deceit.

Rich: Is Condi hiding the smoking gun?
05/05/2007 @ 4:00 pm
Filed by RAW STORY

"George Tenet is just the latest to join this blame game," writes Frank Rich in his Sunday New York Times op-ed piece.

Three years ago it was General Tommy Franks laying the blame for the bungled Iraq war at the feet of Douglas Feith.

Last year it was "neocon cheerleader" Kenneth Adelman pointing the finger at Tenet, Franks and L. Paul Bremer.

Richard Perle called out Bush.

Ahmad Chalabi placed the burden on Paul Wolfowitz.

"And of course nearly everyone blames Rumsfeld," says Rich. "This would be a Three Stooges routine were there only three stooges."

But the highest level Bush confidant who was around when the war was being conceived, and is still on the payroll, is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Last week Rice made the rounds on the morning talk show circuit, just days after rebuffing a subpoena from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the intelligence that was used to make a case for war with Iraq.

"Rice was dispatched to three Sunday shows last weekend to bat away Tenet's book before '60 Minutes' broadcast its interview with him that night. But in each appearance her statements raised more questions than they answered," writes Rich.

"She was persistently at odds with the record, not just the record as spun by Tenet but also the public record. She must be held to a higher standard -- aka the truth -- before she too jumps ship."

For video of Rice's appearance on ABC's This Week, see RAW STORY's coverage here.

But dodging questions on morning talk shows is not where Rich thinks Rice should be talking.

"As long as U.S. troops are dying in Iraq, the secretary of state has an obligation to answer questions about how they got there and why they stay. If accountability is ever to begin, it would be best if those questions are answered not on '60 Minutes' but under oath," he concludes.

Excerpts follow:

On CBS' "Face the Nation," she claimed that intelligence errors before the war were "worldwide" even though the International Atomic Energy Agency's Mohamed ElBaradei publicly stated there was "no evidence" of an Iraqi nuclear program and even though Germany's intelligence service sent strenuous prewar warnings that the CIA's principal informant on Saddam's supposed biological weapons was a fraud.

Of the Sunday interviewers, it was George Stephanopoulos who went for the jugular by returning to that nonexistent uranium from Africa. He forced Rice to watch a clip of her appearance on his show in June 2003, when she claimed she did not know of any serious questions about the uranium evidence before the war.

Then he came as close as any Sunday host ever has to calling a guest a liar.

"But that statement wasn't true," Stephanopoulos said.

Rice pleaded memory loss, but the facts remain.

She received a memo raising serious questions about the uranium in October 2002, three months before the president included the infamous 16 words on the subject in his State of the Union address. Her deputy, Stephen Hadley, received two memos as well as a phone call of warning from Tenet.


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Bushite/NeoCon War On Journalists

Is it hyperbole to say that the Bush Administration has gone to war against journalists?

No, we do not think so. But their war doesn't stop there. It is focused on anyone whom they believe is a threat to the "reality" they have tried to create.

Increasingly, this claim is a literal truth.

Those who would dismiss the claim should contemplate some hard facts from the real battlefields of the “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, over a hundred journalists have been killed – a multiple of the number who died in World War II – and a large part of that number fell to American arms. I don’t suggest that the U.S. soldiers intentionally targeted them; but it does appear that historical rules that shielded journalists on the battlefield have disappeared, and that this has led to deaths. And with respect to certain foreign press organizations, like al-Jazeera, intentional targeting is now documented.

Thousands of journalists have been arrested by U.S. forces, and a few hundred held for significant periods. Reports of beatings and abuse are fairly routine. Journalists who take pictures or shoot film that the Pentagon and White House don’t want seen on U.S. televisions suffer the worst – consider CBS cameraman Abdul Amir, held in prison for a year, or AP Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Bilal Hussein, now held for over a year – without charges.
In both Afghanistan and Iraq, journalists have had their photographs and film seized and destroyed by U.S. forces, acting on formal orders to interdict the transmission of film footage which would undermine the White House’s message.

This is not the way it once was. America’s historical attitude has been tolerant, reflecting the values of the First Amendment. Reporters may be irksome and inconvenient – they may get in the way of the message the Pentagon and the White House want to get out. But historically the United States has respected that they play a legitimate role – a role that takes them out on to the field of battle to perform a difficult and dangerous job.

Under the Bush Administration, and particularly under the Neocon idealists who have seized the machinery of war, the historical view has been warped and subverted and something quite sinister is emerging in its place.

The notion of “communications” plays a crucial role in the Department of Defense’s last Quadrennial Review. The focus of the discussion of communications is not signals or dealing with allies, but management of the media – and particularly of the media message concerning the conduct of the war beamed back home to the United States. In the view of Neocon theorists like Stephen Cambone and Douglas Feith, the media affords access by the “enemy” to the “soft underbelly of the democratic state.” The war effort can be undermined and the will of the people to fight can be eroded. To most Americans, this would be called “democratic process,” namely the right of the people to be freely informed and to decide to authorize or reject the conduct of war as a part of their essential franchise. But the Neocon theorist has been ever mindful of the “weaknesses” and “vulnerabilities” of democracy, and frankly never so enamored of democracy.
While working in Iraq last year, I was warned repeatedly that journalists were targeted and that documents existed establishing this. I was also warned that by defending journalists, I would myself become a target.

Even more chilling: in a series of speeches given across the country, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has assailed journalists and suggested that Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are successfully infiltrating media organizations and controlling their message.

Today some further documents have emerged which establish the official administration viewpoint: journalists are the enemy.

Paul McLeary at Columbia Journalism Review:

It looks like it's official: the United States Army thinks that American reporters are a threat to national security. Thanks to some great sleuthing by Wired's "Danger Room" blogger Noah Shachtman, the Army's new operational security guidelines (OPSEC) hit the Web in a big way yesterday, and the implications they have for reporters -- who are grouped in with drug cartels and Al Qaeda as security threats to be beaten back -- are staggering.

Make no mistake, this is a very big deal, and every American citizen, not just reporters and soldiers, needs to understand the implications of the Army's strict new policy, because it directly affects how citizens receive information about their armed forces: information that it has every right to get.

Shachtman reproduces a slide from the new "OPSEC in the Blogosphere," document, which lists and ranks "Categories of Threat." Under "traditional domestic threats" we find hackers and militia groups, while "non-traditional" threats include drug cartels, and -- yes -- the media.

Just to put that into some perspective, the foreign "non-traditional threats" are listed as warlords, and Al Qaeda. In other words, the Army has figuratively and literally put the media in the same box as Al Qaeda, warlords, and drug cartels.

The attitude that appears in these frames reflects the theory of total war. It’s a mindset I have come across many times in my career, in the former Soviet Union and in Communist China, for instance. And now: in training slides for the U.S. Army.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Looming Disaster May Prove Overwhelming For U.S.

The sad part is, we knew 35 years ago that the industrial age had put us at serious risk of damaging the planet.

Now, about all we can hope for, is to land as softly as possible, because we are sure as hell gonna hit bottom and, still, half the country doesn't want to hear it.

Now, we get to add obesity to the list.

Wonder how much of that obesity is stress related.....

Bill Clinton warns of looming disasters

Associated Press Writer
Fri May 4, 6:27 PM ET

Former President Bill Clinton said Friday that disasters such as worldwide famine and an obesity epidemic could destroy the U.S. health care system unless politicians begin to look ahead and cooperate.

Clinton, speaking at a forum sponsored by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, said governments fail to act even when disasters are anticipated because leaders are distracted by fulfilling campaign promises and scrambling to respond to immediate emergencies. Big-picture planning gets "crowded out," he said.

"This is coming," Clinton said. "And I know there is no great political constituency for it, but we can avert these disasters for not very much money if they can be put into the public debate and people understand clearly what's going to happen."

The Kennedy School is spending $1.5 million over two years to study why governments across the world have failed to act on threats such as heat waves and hurricanes, even when they know they are coming.

From looking back at Hurricane Katrina and forward to the absence of firm plans to cool the planet or stem malaria, some of the school's top researchers will study the roots of government inaction.

The studies will help Congress, presidential candidates and world leaders learn from past mistakes and prepare for future action, said Christopher Stone, a Kennedy School professor and head of the initiative.

The program was born in the botched response to Katrina — the hurricane that experts had warned for years would ravage New Orleans' inadequate levies and poorly sheltered coast.

From looking at the failures, the world can better prepare for future disasters, just as the architects of World War II righted the woeful preparation for World War I, Stone said.
"Each of these are threats that we know are going to happen. This is not like saying, 'What do we do if the president of China is kidnapped tomorrow,'" Stone said. "It's not even that there is really technical disagreement about these things. It's just a matter of figuring how we can get governments to act."

Clinton warned presidential candidates of both parties — a group that includes his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton — that it will be hard, and likely unpopular, to prepare for foreseeable disasters.

He said the next president should solve the "biggest, baddest problems"; take small action when the whole problem cannot be addressed; never appoint incompetent political allies to positions of disaster response; never let political ideology blur scientific evidence; and cooperate nationally and internationally.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

...And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Obama Has Been Threatened

Unfortunately, this was entirely predictable, just as the murder of Bobby Kennedy was predictable, though I was still young and idealistic enough in June, 1968 to be shocked when it happened, not to mention heartsick and bereft of much hope.

Of course, we have all learned alot since then.

I told a friend, when Obama's star began to rise, that I didn't know enough about him to be for or against him; that I only hoped that he wouldn't be killed.

Now, I can only hope that whatever is causing him to need secret service protection is just some cranky crackpot, who will soon be indentified.

If they start killing Democrats again, I doubt we will take it sitting down.

As I recall, the secret service is no gurantee of good health.

Barack Obama placed under Secret Service protection
from Alexander Mooney

(CNN) -- Illinois senator and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been placed under the protection of the U.S. Secret Service, the agency said Thursday. The Secret Service would not divulge the reason for the protection.

The organization said in a written statement that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, "after consultation with the congressional advisory committee, authorized the United States Secret Service to protect presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama.

"As a matter of procedure, we will not release any details of the deliberations of assessments that led to protection being initiated," the Secret Service statement said.

Chertoff works with a congressional panel including half a dozen members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Another Democratic presidential candidate, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, already has Secret Service protection because of her husband's presidency.

Full story

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Those Damnable Signing Statements!

In a Pulitzer Prize-winning article in the Boston Globe, Charlie Savage courageously published details of Bush's outrageous "signing statements" added to new legislation.

As you can see from the examples quoted from Savage's story(Boston Globe, April 30, 2007) below, the intention of each statement is to allow an "executive loophole" whereby "the W" can essentially ignore the effect of the legislation. In other words, Bush has been assuming the powers of a dictator, ruling by decree, under our noses.

This is quoted directly from Savage's story:

"Since taking office in 2001, President Bush has issued signing statements on more than 750 new laws, declaring that he has the power to set aside the laws when they conflict with his legal interpretation of the Constitution. The federal government is instructed to follow the statements when it enforces the laws.

Here are 10 examples and the dates Bush signed them:

March 9: Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.

Bush's signing statement: The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations.

Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.

Dec. 30: When requested, scientific information ''prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay."

Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.

Aug. 8: The Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its contractors may not fire or otherwise punish an employee whistle-blower who tells Congress about possible wrongdoing.

Bush's signing statement: The president or his appointees will determine whether employees of the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can give information to Congress.

Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.

Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."

Dec. 17: The new national intelligence director shall recruit and train women and minorities to be spies, analysts, and translators in order to ensure diversity in the intelligence community.

Bush's signing statement: The executive branch shall construe the law in a manner consistent with a constitutional clause guaranteeing ''equal protection" for all. (In 2003, the Bush administration argued against race-conscious affirmative-action programs in a Supreme Court case. The court rejected Bush's view.)

Oct. 29: Defense Department personnel are prohibited from interfering with the ability of military lawyers to give independent legal advice to their commanders.

Bush's signing statement: All military attorneys are bound to follow legal conclusions reached by the administration's lawyers in the Justice Department and the Pentagon when giving advice to their commanders.

Aug. 5: The military cannot add to its files any illegally gathered intelligence, including information obtained about Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches.

Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can tell the military whether or not it can use any specific piece of intelligence.

Nov. 6, 2003: US officials in Iraq cannot prevent an inspector general for the Coalition Provisional Authority from carrying out any investigation. The inspector general must tell Congress if officials refuse to cooperate with his inquiries.

Bush's signing statement: The inspector general ''shall refrain" from investigating anything involving sensitive plans, intelligence, national security, or anything already being investigated by the Pentagon. The inspector cannot tell Congress anything if the president decides that disclosing the information would impair foreign relations, national security, or executive branch operations.

Nov. 5, 2002: Creates an Institute of Education Sciences whose director may conduct and publish research ''without the approval of the secretary [of education] or any other office of the department."

Bush's signing statement: The president has the power to control the actions of all executive branch officials, so ''the director of the Institute of Education Sciences shall [be] subject to the supervision and direction of the secretary of education."


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Looks Like Rover Has Finally Stepped In It

Karl Rove's Coaching Session
By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Friday, May 4, 2007; 1:50 PM

Back on March 5, several top Justice Department officials were summoned for an emergency meeting at the White House. On the agenda: Going over "what we are going to say" about why eight U.S. attorneys had been summarily fired.

The reason for the urgency: principal associate deputy attorney general William Moschella was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee the next day.

Deputy White House counsel William Kelley sent an e-mail over to Justice early in the afternoon, saying that he had "been tasked" with pulling the meeting together, and that "we have to get this group together with some folks here asap."

The meeting was held at the White House later that day. And who did Kelley mean by "some folks here"? Well, among others, Karl Rove -- the White House's chief political operative, and the man who may very well have set the unprecedented dismissals in motion in the first place.

But after the coaching session, Moschella went out and told Congress that there was no significant White House involvement in the firings, as far as he knew.

Michael Isikoff writes in Newsweek: "Now some investigators are saying that Rove's attendance at the meeting shows that the president's chief political advisor may have been involved in an attempt to mislead Congress -- one more reason they are demanding to see his emails and force him to testify under oath. . . .

"Although the existence of the White House meeting had been previously disclosed by the Justice Department, Rove's attendance at the strategy session was not -- until both Moschella and deputy attorney general Paul McNulty talked about it in confidential testimony with congressional investigators last week. . . .

"According to McNulty's account, Rove came late to the meeting and left early. But while he was there he spoke up and echoed a point that was made by the other White House aides: The Justice Department needed to provide specific reasons why it terminated the eight prosecutors in order to rebut Democratic charges that the firings were politically motivated. The point Rove and other White House officials made is 'you all need to explain what you did and why you did it,' McNulty told the investigators.

"The problem, according to the Democratic aide, is that Rove and Kelley never told Moschella about the White House's own role in pushing to have some U.S. attorneys fired in the first place. Moschella followed the coaching by Rove and others -- and made no mention of White House involvement in the firings during his March 6, 2007 testimony to House Judiciary. 'They let Moschella come up here without telling him the full story,' said the Democratic staffer."

The White House response to the news? "'It's perfectly natural that he would be there,' said deputy press secretary Tony Fratto. Asked specifically whether Rove had withheld pertinent information to Moschella, and therefore participated in an attempt to mislead Congress, Fratto replied: 'The White House's role was very limited. I'm not commenting about any meetings."

Blogger Josh Marshall writes: "Remind me. Why do you need to 'agree on clear reasons why each prosecutor was fired' if the reasons were actually clear when you did the firing and if the reasons can be stated publicly? Think about it. Why do Rove and the other heavies from the White House need to tell these guys how important it is to get their stories straight? If I fire someone, I know why I fired them. I don't need to get my story straight unless the real reason can't be stated and I need to come up with a defensible and plausible alternative explanation."

There has already been some indication that administration officials were trying to avoid transparency on the matter. Indeed, it was that very same day, March 5, that Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos sent an e-mail to White House aides explaining one aspect of her communication plan: "We are trying to muddy the coverage up a bit by trying to put the focus on the process in which they were told."

And it's worth noting that to this day, neither the Justice Department nor the White House have gotten their stories straight on why the attorneys were fired. Another reminder of that came yesterday, when former deputy attorney general James Comey, a man widely perceived as having left the Justice Department with his integrity intact, appeared before a House panel.

Paul Kane blogs for with a comparison of what Moschella said about the individual firings on March 6 after being prepped by Rove et. al. -- and what Comey said.

Comey's View

Dan Eggen writes in The Washington Post about how Comey "lavished praise yesterday on most of the eight U.S. attorneys who were fired after he left the job, testifying that only one of them had serious performance problems."

Eggen writes that Comey's testimony "further undermines assertions by [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales and his aides that dissatisfaction with the prosecutors' work led to their dismissals. It also underscores the extent to which the firings, which originated in the White House, were handled outside the normal chain of command at Justice."

Marisa Taylor and Margaret Talev write for McClatchy Newspapers that Comey testified "that although it was his responsibility as the department's second-in-command to supervise the nation's top prosecutors, he was never told that the department and the White House had targeted some prosecutors for replacement.

"Comey's successor, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, told congressional investigators last week that he, too, was kept in the dark about the White House's role in the firings.
"Comey's and McNulty's accounts further undermine claims by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other department officials the prosecutors were fired for professional, not political, reasons."

David Johnston writes in the New York Times: "Mr. Comey testified a day after Justice Department officials said the agency had opened an internal inquiry into whether Monica M. Goodling, a former senior aide to Mr. Gonzales, had sought to screen applicants for jobs as career prosecutors to determine their political loyalty to the Bush administration.

"In his testimony, Mr. Comey said that the accusation, if true, would be a severe blow to the department.

"'That is the most, in my view, the most serious thing I have heard come up in this entire controversy,' Mr. Comey said. 'If that was going on, that strikes at the core of what the Department of Justice is. You just cannot do that. You can't hire assistant United States attorneys based on political affiliation. It deprives the department of its lifeblood, which is the ability to stand up and have juries of all stripes believe what you say and have sheriffs and judges and jailers -- the people we deal with -- trust the Department of Justice.'

"And Then There Were Nine?

Adam Cohen writes in a New York Times opinion piece: "There is yet another United States attorney whose abrupt departure from office is raising questions: Debra Wong Yang of Los Angeles. Ms. Yang was not fired, as eight other prosecutors were, but she resigned under circumstances that raise serious questions, starting with whether she was pushed out to disrupt her investigation of one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress. . . .

"Ms. Yang was investigating Jerry Lewis, who was chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. . . .

"Ms. Yang says she left for personal reasons, but there is growing evidence that the White House was intent on removing her. Kyle Sampson, the Justice Department staff member in charge of the firings, told investigators last month in still-secret testimony that Harriet Miers, the White House counsel at the time, had asked him more than once about Ms. Yang. He testified, according to Congressional sources, that as late as mid-September, Ms. Miers wanted to know whether Ms. Yang could be made to resign. Mr. Sampson reportedly recalled that Ms. Miers was focused on just two United States attorneys: Ms. Yang and Bud Cummins, the Arkansas prosecutor who was later fired to make room for Tim Griffin, a Republican political operative and Karl Rove protoge?.

"It is hard to see what put Ms. Yang on the White House list other than her investigation of Mr. Lewis, which threatened to pull in well-connected lobbyists, military contractors and Republican contributors. . . .

"Congress is conducting closed-door interviews with Justice Department officials. That is important, but hardly enough. It is looking more and more as if the United States attorney dismissals were managed out of the White House. The way to put to rest the questions about Ms. Yang's suspicious departure, and the firings of the other prosecutors, is to require that Ms. Miers, Mr. Rove and other White House officials tell what they know, in public and under oath.

Or Maybe Ten?

Frank Morris reports for NPR: "The Justice Department's push to remove U.S. attorneys in 2006 might have been larger than the eight cases that have been discussed in Congress. Other U.S. attorneys' names were on a list the agency compiled in January 2006 -- the prosecutor who replaced one of them was the first to be named under the Patriot Act.

"One of the federal prosecutors on the list was U.S. Attorney for Western Missouri Todd Graves. Graves resigned last year, before the forced dismissals took place. He left several months after refusing to sign off on a voter-registration lawsuit that was filed against the state of Missouri by an acting assistant attorney general, Bradley Schlozman.

"Less than two weeks later, Schlozman was installed to replace Graves under a Patriot Act provision allowing President Bush to place Schlozman in the job without Senate confirmation."
Greg Gordon writes for McClatchy Newspapers: "Before the 2006 mid-term elections, Republicans in Missouri talked a lot about voter fraud.

"They filed voter-registration lawsuits, passed a law in Jefferson City requiring voters to show ID cards and fretted that dead people might vote.

"Even White House political guru Karl Rove weighed in, telling a talk-show host a couple of days before the election that he had just visited Missouri, where GOP strategists said they were 'well aware of' the threat of voter fraud.

"The threat to the integrity of the election was seen as so grave that Bradley Schlozman, the acting chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and later the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, wielded the power of the federal government to protect the ballot.

Now, disclosures in the wake of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys have led to allegations that that Republican campaign was not as it appeared.

"The preoccupation with Missouri was part of a wider effort in several states, critics charge, aimed at protecting the GOP hold on Congress by dampening Democratic turnout. That effort included purges of names from lists of registered voters and tight policing of get-out-the-vote drives by Democrats.

"The Bush administration denies those claims. But they've gotten traction recently because three of the U.S. attorneys ousted by the Justice Department say they lost their jobs because they failed to prove voter fraud allegations."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Friday, May 04, 2007

Cheney Believes "Suicide Bombers" Are On Drugs.

Cheney the brains behind the boy king?

Not quite.

There is something that George Tenet forgot to put in his book. During one CIA briefing for Vice President Dick Cheney on suicide bombings in Iraq just after the U.S. occupation, Cheney was confused as to the reason why people would blow themselves up with bombs. According to our Langley sources, the CIA briefer went into an explanation of Islamic extremists who believe that martyrdom in a Jihad instantly puts them into an exalted status in an after-life paradise. Cheney, however, was having nothing of it. He repeatedly insisted that the suicide bombers in Iraq must be "on drugs" or "hypnotized."

The CIA briefer got the impression that Cheney did not believe there was any significant religious angle to the violence in Iraq.

(He probably wants to find out which drugs, so he can give them to our troops)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

GOP Victim Culture

Neo-cons and "smear campaigns."

Although neo-cons have no problem smearing their opponents, they have real problems when they believe they are being "smeared."

Scandal-plagued World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz claims he and his gal pal are victims of a smear campaign. It does not matter that Wolfowitz has engaged in unethical practices as World Bank President.

Now Arizona Republican Representative Rick Renzi, under an FBI investigation for dubious land deals, claims he is the victim of a Justice Department "smear campaign."

Former Florida Republic Representative Mark Foley claimed that the release of salacious e-mails he sent to underage male congressional pages was part of a "smear campaign" by his political opponent.

Katherine Harris, the former Florida Secretary of State and Congresswoman claims to have been the victim of a Democratic "smear campaign." Arch neo-con Richard Perle consistently uses the term "vicious smear campaign" when his name pops up in some negative regard. Exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, wanted by Moscow for fraud, claims he is the victim of a Kremlin-orchestrated "smear campaign."

The same right-wing mind sets that have brought this country political witch hunts, purges, and "swift boating" now claim to be the victims of "smear campaigns."

File that in the irony category!

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Are The Polls Taken Now, Really That Important?

The people who generally decide the really important elections in this country are not paying that much attention to the early posturing of candidates for '08.

Those people would be the small "i" independents.

Here are some quotes I have heard from those folks:

I don't care if I ever hear the words Clinton or Bush again in this lifetime.

I think Hillary would make a fine Majority leader in the Senate, but not the presidency.

We'll wait until we hear from New Yorkers before we decide anything about Rudy, and from what we have heard so far, he's nuts. But, then so is McCain.

Romney needs to get a name. I can't bring myself to vote for someone named Mit. What's his wife named? Muffy, Buffy or Fluffy?

The Republican Party ought to be put on suspension, like a NCAA team that's caught cheating.

Seems to me we ought to be more focused on making sure this election is clean, fair and well attended, at the moment, rather than who the final candidates will be. We need to get rid of those damn machines. It's a little early in the game.

What I'm looking for is authenticity, and I don't mean an authentic sociopath or pathological liar. I want to see a little passion in this election. Our nation is in ruins, Democracy is dead and the rest of the world hates our guts. We are finsihed as a power with any moral authority in the world. Why is there not more honest discussion about that, and what we can do to turn things around.

I would really like to know the kind of people these candidates would surround themselves with, should they be elected. No more Cabals!

I would like to see multiple political parties, within the next few years, and serious campaign reform, like public funding. We will never have a Democracy until we get the money out of politics.

Leading presidential candidates stumble in polls
May 3, 2007

Horserace Journalism:

It's been a rough month for some of the presidential front-runners in Iowa, according to new polls of the caucus contests.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Edwards saw their support drop. So did Republicans Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Among the leading contenders, only Democrat Barack Obama made gains.

Republican Mitt Romney, who has been running a good campaign in Iowa, has inched into the top tier of his party's candidates by finishing third. Potential candidate Fred Thompson is close behind.

Both parties also saw an increase in the number of undecided caucus-goers and some of the second-tier candidates making gains.

Add all this up, and it seems activists in both parties either have trouble with the leading contenders or are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the races (which they can do, since there are still eight months before they vote).

The polls of likely Republican and Democratic caucus-goers were taken by the American Research Group of Manchester, N.H. The surveys, which were taken April 27 to 30, polled 600 likely caucus-goers in each party and have a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

On the Democratic side, something's clearly not working for Clinton in Iowa. She's lost a third of her support in a month, falling from 34 percent to 23 percent in the poll.

This drop may reflect Democratic concerns about her electability in the general election or the faux rural accent she's been heard to use around heartland audiences.

It's not hard to find Iowa Democrats who'll say something like, "I like Hillary Clinton, but I don't think she can win." And many on the left are upset with her support for the Iraq war and her refusal to apologize for it.

National polls show she evokes unfavorable reactions from large groups of voters, and this makes it difficult for her to find new supporters.

Edwards dropped 6 points in a month where much of the news about him was the revelation he paid $400 for a haircut. That, plus the large new home he is building, undercuts the po' boy image he wants to have.The good news for Edwards is that he's back to his old status as the front-runner in Iowa, although it was a strange way to get there. Clinton dropped 11 points and Edwards dropped only 6, a shuffle that leaves him 4 points ahead of her - which is an insignificant lead in a poll with a 4 percentage-point margin of error.

Obama has picked up 3 points to cement his third-place position in the race, though he's still not where he was in February, when he was at 23 percent.

On the Republican side, the bloom is off the Giuliani rose in the state. Like Clinton, he's lost about a third of his support in a month.

For some time, GOP experts have said that once social conservatives figure out he's not so conservative on their issues, his support will sag, so maybe that's happening.

Giuliani could counter by rallying moderate Republicans, but Hizzoner just hasn't worked Iowa the way McCain and Romney have. If he wants to do well here, he needs to connect better and put more time and staff into the state - just as they have.

McCain has emerged as the GOP leader, but, like Edwards on the Democratic side, it's largely because some New Yorker stumbled.The interesting candidate in the GOP race remains the non-candidate, Fred Thompson. The former U.S. senator and actor was at 12 percent a month ago and is at 13 percent today. That's impressive considering he's not campaigned in Iowa.

DAVID YEPSEN can be reached at or (515) 284-8545.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

Clinton Determined Not To Have To Clean Up After Junior

Can anyone blame her?

As she said, she is in to win. What she, apparently, does not want to win is Junior's and Vice's Mess-O-Potamia.

If only Junior's own parents had made him clean up his own messes, we might not be in hell now.

What is news to us, is that she voted for an amendment to the original War Resolution, that would have limited Junior's misadventure to a year, before it would have had to be reviewed again, by Congress.

Would that have been a year from the time of the Resolution, or from the time the war actually began?

This is significant, because had the war resolution been reviewed in March of 2004, the excuses for the war, given by the administration, at the time Congress voted to give Dipwad the authority to take military action, as a last resort, would have been accomplished.

By that time, no WMD had been found and never would be, because Saddam didn't have anything more dangerous than stuff I have in my garden shed. Both of Saddam's crazy sons were dead and Saddam has been caught.

Mission Accomplished. Right?

Clinton seeks new Iraq war vote
By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer
Thu May 3, 7:46 PM ET

Presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday sought to force another showdown with President Bush — and her Democratic rivals — over the Iraq war.

Sens. Clinton, D-N.Y., and Robert Byrd (news, bio, voting record), D-W.Va., announced they would introduce legislation that would require the president to seek a reauthorization from Congress to extend the military effort in Iraq beyond October 11, 2007.

"If the president will not bring himself to accept reality, it is time for Congress to bring reality to him," Clinton said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The two senators have not decided how they will seek to force a vote on the measure — whether through an amendment, a stand-alone bill, or a spending bill.

Her tough talk also contained a veiled jab at rival John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator who has been outspoken in criticizing his own vote and that of other lawmakers in 2002 authorizing the war.

Clinton noted on Thursday that in 2002 she had also voted for an amendment offered by Byrd that would have limited the war authorization to one year. The measure was defeated, and Edwards voted against it.

"I supported the Byrd amendment on Oct 10, 2002 which would have limited the original authorization to one year and I believe a full reconsideration of the terms and conditions of that authorization is overdue," she said.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino derided the proposal and attributed it to posturing for Democratic primary voters.

"Here we go again. The Senate is trying another way to put a surrender date on the calendar. Welcome to politics '08-style," Perino said.

The Democrats are not the first to suggest Congress vote whether to reauthorize the war. Sen. John Warner (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., the former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, floated the possibility months ago, but it has gone nowhere.

Clinton's position on the Iraq war has been a subject of constant debate among Democrats as they weigh the candidates seeking the presidential nomination. She voted to authorize the war, but has long criticized the Bush administration's handling of the conflict. While others have called for an immediate withdrawal, Clinton has favored redeploying troops out of Iraq within 90 days.

She also supports a goal of removing all combat troops except those needed for residual missions by March 2008.

Edwards urged Congress to pass again a bill Bush just vetoed that would have begun troop withdrawals in October.

"Congress should stand its ground and not back down to him. They should send him the same bill he just vetoed, one that supports our troops, ends the war, and brings them home," he said.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said of the Byrd-Clinton plan: "While I applaud this effort, sadly, it will not change the president's course in Iraq."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

...And Back To The Cunningham Scandal and The CIA

Jeebus, there have been so many scandals and corruption revealed lately, we had almost forgotten about these asshats.

CIA former No.3 man asks for separate trial

Attorneys for the CIA's former No. 3 official have asked a San Diego federal court judge to sever his case from that of his childhood friend, Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes, and to transfer their client's legal proceedings to Washington.

Kyle "Dusty" Foggo and Wilkes were indicted by a San Diego federal grand jury in February on charges of fraud, conspiracy and illegal money transfers -- charges that stem from the investigation that sent former 50th Congressional District Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham to prison in early 2006.

Foggo, who grew up with Wilkes in the San Diego area, allegedly used his position to funnel lucrative government contracts to Wilkes and supply inside information to help him land millions of dollars in defense business for his Poway-based ADCS Inc., according to the indictment.

In addition to the indictment against Wilkes and Foggo, a separate indictment filed against Wilkes charges him with bribing Cunningham with lavish vacations, money and evenings with prostitutes to win lucrative defense contracts.

Because of the notoriety of that case and the news media's continuing discussion of the two cases, Foggo's attorneys have asked Judge Larry Alan Burns to sever Foggo's case from that of Wilkes."Mr. Foggo is not charged with bribery or with any conduct relating to Mr. Cunningham and is not implicated in any way in the often-reported 'debauchery' or 'prostitution' acts," wrote Foggo attorney Mark J. MacDougall in an April 18 motion.

Among other reasons MacDougall gave for requesting the severance and transfer were:

Foggo's family lives in the Washington area;
most of the witnesses for the government and defense live in the same vicinity;
many of the alleged acts occurred in Eastern Virginia; and
many of the records in the case are classified and are housed in the Washington area.

Reached by phone in his Washington office Wednesday, MacDougall said he would have no comment.

In other news related to the cases, a real estate auction of Brent Wilkes' home in a Poway gated community was called off Wednesday for unspecified reasons.Wilkes has suffered a series of financial blows in recent months. First, the tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts that he obtained, allegedly with Cunningham's help, dried up in the aftermath of the government investigation into the former congressman.

Owing hundreds of thousands in back property taxes and with mounting legal expenses, he later sold the building to a Rancho Bernardo company for an undisclosed price.

Over the last several weeks, Wilkes' attorney had repeatedly asked for an extension for the deadline for him to post a $2 million bond in order to remain free pending the outcome of his case.

Paperwork filed with the court April 27 shows that a married couple named Larry and Joyce Wilkes were putting up their San Diego home as a guarantee that Wilkes would show up in court for his hearings. It was not clear Wednesday whether the couple is related to Brent Wilkes.-- Contact staff writer William Finn Bennett at (760) 740-5426 or

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

GOP Voter Fraud Accusations: 2006

This isn't just a matter of voter disenfranchisement, though that would be bad enough, it is also misdirection.


2006 Missouri's election was ground zero for GOP

By Greg Gordon
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Accusations about voter fraud seemed to fly from every direction in Missouri before last fall's elections. State and national Republicans leaders fretted that dead people might vote or that some live people might vote more than once.

The threat to the integrity of the election was seen as so grave that Bradley Schlozman, the acting chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and later the U.S. attorney in Kansas City, twice wielded the power of the federal government to try to protect the balloting.

The Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly also stepped into action.

Now, six months after freshman Missouri Sen. Jim Talent's defeat handed Democrats control of the U.S. Senate, disclosures in the wake of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys show that that Republican campaign to protect the balloting was not as it appeared. No significant voter fraud was ever proved.

The preoccupation with ballot fraud in Missouri was part of a wider national effort that critics charge was aimed at protecting the Republican majority in Congress by dampening Democratic turnout. That effort included stiffer voter-identification requirements, wholesale purges of names from lists of registered voters and tight policing of liberal get-out-the-vote drives.

Bush administration officials deny those claims. But they've gotten traction in recent weeks because three of the U.S. attorneys ousted by the Justice Department charge that they lost their jobs because they failed to prove Republican allegations of voter fraud. They say their inquiries found little evidence to support the claims.

Few have endorsed the strategy of pursuing allegations of voter fraud with more enthusiasm than White House political guru Karl Rove. And nowhere has the plan been more apparent than in Missouri.

Before last fall's election:

-Schlozman, while he was acting civil rights chief, authorized a suit accusing the state of failing to eliminate legions of ineligible people from lists of registered voters. A federal judge tossed out the suit this April 13, saying Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan couldn't police local registration rolls and noting that the government had produced no evidence of fraud.
-The Missouri General Assembly - with the White House's help - narrowly passed a law requiring voters to show photo identification cards, which Carnahan estimated would disenfranchise 200,000 voters. The state Supreme Court voided the law as unconstitutional before the election.

-Two weeks before the election, the St. Louis Board of Elections sent letters threatening to disqualify 5,000 newly registered minority voters if they failed to verify their identities promptly, a move - instigated by a Republican appointee - that may have violated federal law.

After an outcry, the board rescinded the threat.

-Five days before the election, Schlozman, then interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, announced indictments of four voter-registration workers for a Democratic-leaning group on charges of submitting phony applications, despite a Justice Department policy discouraging such action close to an election.

-In an interview with conservative talk-show host Hugh Hewitt a couple of days before the election, Rove said he'd just visited Missouri and had met with Republican strategists who "are well aware of" the threat of voter fraud. He said the party had "a large number of lawyers that are standing by, trained and ready to intervene" to keep the election clean.

Missouri Republicans have railed about alleged voter fraud ever since President Bush narrowly won the White House in the chaotic 2000 election and Missouri Republican Sen. John Ashcroft lost to a dead man, the late Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan, whose name stayed on the ballot weeks after he died in a plane crash.

Joining the push to contain "voter fraud" were Sen. Christopher Bond, R-Mo., who charged that votes by dogs and dead people had defeated Ashcroft, Missouri Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, whose stinging allegations of fraud were later debunked, and St. Louis lawyer Mark "Thor" Hearne, national counsel to Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, who set up a nonprofit group to publicize allegations of voter fraud.

Many Democrats contend that the efforts amount to a voter-suppression campaign.

"The real problem has never been vote fraud," said Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo. "It's access to the polls. In the last 50 years, no one in Missouri has been prosecuted for impersonating someone else at the polls. But thousands of eligible voters have been denied their constitutional rights. . . . It's sickening."

However, Jessica Robinson, a spokeswoman for Blunt, said a report he'd authored in 2001 as secretary of state "documented credible instances of fraud." She said Blunt wanted the legislature to take another shot at passing a photo ID bill as "a reasonable step . . . to help stamp out" such abuse.

The Republican-dominated legislature is considering the bill again this year, along with a resolution asking voters to pass a constitutional amendment so the measure can withstand court challenges.

In a separate assessment of alleged voter fraud in Missouri, Lorraine Minnite, a Barnard College professor, found scant evidence of it. The study was undertaken for the nonpartisan policy-research group Demos, which despite its name isn't affiliated with the Democratic Party.
Minnite, who's writing a book on the issue of voter fraud, said successful drives to register poor people and minorities in recent years had threatened to "tip the balance of power" to Democrats, so it was understandable that the Republican Party would seek restrictions that "disproportionately hinder the opposition."

It's difficult to capture the emotional debate over the issue of voter fraud in Missouri without considering the Election Day tumult in St. Louis on Nov. 7, 2000. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of voters were turned away because their names weren't on official lists, and many of them converged on the city's election board seeking assistance.

Responding to the bedlam, Democrats won an emergency court order that kept some polls open beyond their scheduled 7 p.m. closings. That outraged Republicans, and Hearne, the Bush campaign lawyer, in turn won an emergency appeals-court ruling that shut the polls within an hour.

In the ensuing days, Bond blamed Ashcroft's defeat on "a criminal enterprise."

The following summer, then-Secretary of State Blunt alleged in a 47-page investigative report that the use of affidavits to allow more than 1,000 "improper ballots . . . compels the conclusion that there was in St. Louis an organized and successful effort to generate improper votes in large numbers."

But an investigation by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, launched before Ashcroft settled in as U.S. attorney general in 2001, found the reverse. In a 2002 court settlement with the department's Voting Rights Section, St. Louis election officials acknowledged that they'd improperly purged some 50,000 names from voter lists before the 2000 elections and had failed as required by federal law to notify those people properly that they'd been placed on inactive status. No one knows how many eligible voters were denied their right to cast ballots.
Missouri's Rep. Clay charged in a recent interview that Blunt's report was an attempt "to violate the voting rights of certain Missourians."

Things didn't heat up again until 2005, when Schlozman authorized a Justice Department suit naming the newly elected Missouri secretary of state - the daughter of the late governor - as the defendant. It alleged that her office had failed to make a "reasonable effort" to remove ineligible people from local voter-registration rolls.

A federal judge dismissed the suit last month, saying the government had provided no evidence of fraud.

Speaking on behalf of Schlozman, who's now with the Justice Department's Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, agency spokesman Dean Boyd said: "We are disappointed with the court ruling."
Separately, Hearne helped establish the nonprofit American Center for Voting Rights in February 2005, which issued lengthy reports alleging voter fraud in states across the country, including Missouri. One director of the supposedly nonpartisan group was Brian Lunde, a former executive director of the Democratic National Committee who switched his allegiance in 2000 and headed Democrats for Bush in 2004.

Barnard's Minnite said the center's summary on Missouri consisted of "a litany of overblown allegations of fraud appearing in newspapers, most of which turn out to be minor problems or no problem at all."

Republican state Sen. Delbert Scott of Lowry, Mo., chief sponsor of the photo-ID bill last year, said Hearne had helped draft it and served as a key adviser.

Hearne didn't respond to several requests for comment. His organization closed down its Internet site in March and has disappeared from view.

Last fall, with Missouri's new voter-ID law thrown out by the court, allegations of fraud arose over registration drives among Democratic-leaning minorities in St. Louis and Kansas City by the Democratic-leaning Association of Community Organizations for Reform (ACORN).
Brian Mellor, a Boston lawyer for ACORN, said many of the accusations surrounded the submission of duplicate or multiple registration forms for the same voters. Such duplication would be caught by election officials and wouldn't enable anyone to vote twice, he said.

But officials at St. Louis' Board of Elections took the unusual step of alerting the FBI to those and other irregularities, Mellor said, and he wound up turning over copies of 40,000 St. Louis-area registration forms to bureau agents.

Facing the FBI scrutiny, Mellor said, ACORN reviewed its forms in Kansas City and found several with similar handwriting, suggesting that they were bogus. He said the group turned over evidence involving four workers to a county prosecutor in mid-October.

That same month, at the initiative of a Republican appointee, the St. Louis Board of Elections sent letters warning 5,000 people who'd registered through ACORN that their voting status was in question. They were given one week to return signed copies of the letter and confirm personal identifying information or they'd lose their registration status.

ACORN attorneys charged that the notice "appears to be an unlawful attempt to suppress and intimidate voters of color." The board sent another mailing withdrawing the threat.
Meanwhile, the evidence against the four ACORN workers ended up with the FBI.

Five days before the election, U.S. Attorney Schlozman got another voter-fraud headline, announcing the indictments of the four workers. The indictments charged that six applications that ACORN had submitted were fraudulent.

"ACORN abhors fraud," Mellor said. He said the timing of the indictments seemed to be aimed at hurting Democrats.

Justice Department spokesman Boyd said the policy that prosecutors "refrain from any conduct which has the possibility of affecting the election" didn't bar pre-election indictments and was intended to ensure that investigators didn't intimidate voters during an election. Boyd said officials in the department’s Public Integrity Section approved the indictments.

But Joseph Rich, who headed the department's Voting Rights Section from 1999 to 2005, said the timing of the indictments "flies in the face of long-standing policy. . . . There was no need to bring cases on the eve of the election."

McClatchy Newspapers correspondent Margaret Talev contributed to this report.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free

The Bushies and The Moonies

More Moon Money Flows to Bush Family
By Larry Zilliox
Thu May 03, 2007 at 08:37:29 PM EST
topic: Unification Church

We are honored to welcome Larry Zilliox as a guest front pager. He is the president of Investigative Research Specialists, a private investigation company based in Bristow, Virginia. He has done extensive research on the Moon empire, following the money trail through public records and other sources. -- FC

As followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon pray for a presidential pardon for their aging Messiah's felony tax-fraud conviction in the 1980s, the latest tax filing of the Washington Times Foundation has become available. The return covers the months from April 2005 through March 2006 and shows a $100,000 contribution from the foundation to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

The Washington Times was founded by Moon and has been subsidized by Moon-controlled interests.

The only larger donation made by the foundation in that year was to another entity closely associated with Moon, the American Family Coalition, Inc. which received $219,000.

Funding for the Washington Times Foundation comes primarily from the mysterious International Peace Foundation (IPF). The source of the funds IPF donated to the Washington Times Foundation are not known and most likely are untraceable because IPF does not appear to be a legally incorporated entity. The IPF address listed in the Washington Times Foundation tax return is the Unification Movement-owned building at 7777 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church Virginia. A check of the Internal Revenue Service online directory of organizations recognized as exempt failed to find a listing for IPF. A check of GuideStar database of non-profit organizations also found no listing.

IPF was originally incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1988. A check of the District of Columbia online corporate registrations web page shows the status of IPF as "Revoked." District of Columbia corporate records identify Moon's long time right-hand man Bo Hi Pak as an original officer of the organization. Pak has a history of leading many Moon connected businesses and non-profit organizations in the Washington, DC area. One of the oldest organizations with which Pak is associated is the Korean Cultural Freedom Foundation. Pak, serving as Chairman, mismanaged the organization so badly it fell victim to one of the largest Nigerian Fraud Scams in US history. In 2001 and 2002 the Korean Cultural Freedom Foundation reported in it's IRS Form 990 tax return that it had lost nearly $3,000,000 to scammers.

In Virginia, where the Washington Times Foundation tax form lists IPF's current address, the Virginia State Corporation Commission records show the status for IPF as revoked in 2004. The Commission's online database of corporate registrations indicates the online record details for the entity have been purged from their system as of 12/31/2004.

This revelation of money donated to a charity associated with the Bush family is just the latest in a string of donations and payments dating back more than ten years. George H. W. Bush has had a long association with Moon going back to just after he left office. In September 1995 Bush and his wife gave a number of speeches in Asia for the Women's Federation for World Peace an organization headed by Moon's wife Hak Ja Han Moon. In November 1996 Bush spoke in Buenos Aires at a banquet honoring the opening of Moon's South American newspaper Tiempos del Mundo Bush refused to disclose how much he was paid for his Moon-sponsored speaking tour.

In 2003 the Washington Times Foundation funneled a $1,000,000 donation to the Bush Presidential Library through the Greater Houston Community Foundation. In 2005 the Moon sponsored Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace made a donation of $1,000,000, it's largest donation of the year, to the senior Bush's Points of Light Foundation for Hurricane Katrina relief.

The Bush 2005 Inaugural Committee received the maximum $250,000 donation from Moon's Washington Television Center the entity that owns the large office building at 650 Massachusetts Avenue in the District of Columbia. In December 2005 the President's younger brother, Neil, was spotted touring Taiwan and the Philippines with Moon. Less than a year later Business Week published an article titled "No Bush Left Behind" profiling Neil Bush's company Ignite!, Inc. The company sells a high tech teaching aid called "Curriculum on Wheels" or COWs.

The article states "A foundation linked to the controversial Reverend Sun Myung Moon has donated $1 million for a COWs research project in Washington ( D.C.)-area schools."

From non-profit tax returns and media reports we see that at least $3,335,000 has flowed from the Unification Movement to Bush family members or charities since George W. Bush has taken office.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. The Lantern has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is The Lantern endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

....And The Truth Shall Set Us Free