Monthly Archives: June 2005

No more delays: Resolution of Inquiry

Kevin Zeese and Ralph Nader write about The Growing Case for a Resolution of Inquiry:

Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution: “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

It is becoming more evident that an impeachment inquiry is needed to determine whether the United States was plunged into war with Iraq based on manipulated intelligence and false information. Thus far the President and Vice President have artfully dodged the central question: “Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction, Iraq’s involvement with Al Qaeda terrorism and the danger Iraq posed to the United States and its neighbors?”

With the release of the Downing Street Memo, the findings of the Iraq Commission and a review of intelligence findings prior to the invasion of Iraq a strong case can be made for taking the first step toward impeachment – a Resolution of Inquiry – beginning a formal inquiry by the U.S. House of Representatives as to whether the President and Vice President should be impeached.

Quite frankly I think it was fucking evident over two years ago. Impeach them and then try them for war crimes.

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In Support of a Resolution of Inquiry

Excellent: After Downing Street Dot Org – In Support of a Resolution of Inquiry.

I’m watching John Bonifaz, founder of the above site, on CSpan’s replay of today’s meeting on the DSM. Damn…. damn, damn. I’m glad this guy is on our side. Damn.

Update: I wanted to add a link to John Conyers Letter to Bush.
Conyers at the gate
Update 2: Wanted to add this photo of Rep. John Conyers delivering petitions to an unidentified aide at gate of the White House Thursday. Interesting photo… “the people” at the gate, the President hiding behind it. Perhaps I’m naive, perhaps I’m just being hopeful, but today seems to be a turning point. Of course impeachment should be just the tip of the iceberg. The majority of Congress and the corporate media happily went along for the ride and will continue to ignore and misdirect the public. As far as I’m concerned many of these supporting actors need to be removed of their jobs. CNN and FOX should have their corporate charters revoked.

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The International Criminal Court and Blair/Bush

Over at Informed Comment you’ll find excellent commentary by Amy Ross regarding the ICC and Blair/Bush:

“Regarding accountability and the ICC: It does seem that the Blair administration was much more cognizant of the potential conflict with the ICC. Indeed the prominent British human rights lawyer Cherie Booth (aka Mrs. Blair) wrote in an essay on the ICC in 2003 that “…it is of singular importance to note that no one– not even a serving head of state –will be able to claim immunity from the jurisdiction of the Court.” (in “from Nuremberg to The Hague: The Future of International Criminal Justice,” Philippe Sands editor.)

Britain’s House of Lords had previously asserted in the Pinochet case (1998) the lack of immunity for certain crimes under international law: the judges stressed that
accountability was ESPECIALLY important for state figures.

I do believe that Bush and other high-level administration officials will face a court someday, but I think it will be after 2009, and probably in a national court such as Brussels or Madrid (exercising universal jurisdiction) rather than the
ICC. . .

Re: the ICC and complementarity. In theory, since the British have a functioning judiciary, capable of handling investigations and prosecutions, the ICC can refrain from issuing an indictment of Blair EVEN IF there is evidence of crimes within its jurisdiction. The same should be true regarding the United States, even though the US is not a party to the treaty. As long as the US, (and Britian and Australia and Italy) demonstrates competency in regard to prosecuting and punishing crimes of international concern, the ICC is supposed to stay out of the way. However: if the US fails to investigate/prosecute (proves to be unable or unwilling’) than the ICC, and foreign courts, can assert jurisdiction. That’s why it is so important that we demand an investigation of Bush, now. If such a move is blocked, that opens up possiblities (later) in international arenas.

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The Downing Street Memo Resource Site

For those that want to know more, there is a site dedicated to The Downing Street Memo:

The Downing Street “Memo” is actually a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister’s meeting on July 23, 2002—a full eight months PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. The Times of London printed the text of this document on Sunday, May 1, 2005, but to date US media coverage has been limited. This site is intended to act as a resource for anyone who wants to understand the facts revealed in this document.

The contents of the memo are shocking. The minutes detail how our government did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations; how intelligence was “fixed” to sell the case for war to the American public; and how the Bush Administration’s public assurances of “war as a last resort” were at odds with their privately stated intentions.

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Bush and Blair War Games

Slowly the truth claws its way out of the deeply dug grave.

Juan Cole has an interesting post regarding yet another Bush/Blair/Iraq document being reported on by the London Times.

Bush and Blair Committed to War in April, 2002
Leaked Cabinet Briefing Shows British Knew War was Illegal

The London Times has dropped another bombshell document concerning the planning of the Iraq war in Washington and London.

The leaked Cabinet office briefing paper for the July 23, 2002, meeting of principals in London, the minutes of which have become notorious as the Downing Street Memo, contains key context for that memo. The briefing paper warns the British cabinet in essence that they are facing jail time because Blair promised Bush at Crawford in April, 2002, that he would go to war against Iraq with the Americans.

As Michael Smith reports for the London Times, “regime change” is illegal in international law without a United Nations Security Council resolution or other recognized sanction (national self-defense, or rescuing a population from genocide, e.g.). Since the United Kingdom is signatory to the International Criminal Court, British officials could be brought up on charges for crimes like “Aggression.”

Smith quotes the briefing and then remarks on how it shows Bush and Blair to be lying when they invoke their approach to the UN as proof that they sought a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis…

The Cabinet briefing makes crystal clear that Blair had cast his lot in with Bush on an elective war against Iraq already in April, 2002:

“2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq’s WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.”

This passage is unambiguous and refutes the weird suggestion by Michael Kinsley that the Downing Street Memo did not establish that the Bush administration had committed to war by July, 2002.

The cabinet briefing, like Lord Goldsmith, is skeptical that any of the three legal grounds for war existed with regard to Iraq. Iraq was not an imminent threat to the US or the UK. Saddam’s regime was brutal, but its major killing sprees were in the past in 2002. And, the UNSC had not authorized a war against Iraq.

I found the passage on the information campaign chilling:

“20. Time will be required to prepare public opinion in the UK that it is necessary to take military action against Saddam Hussein. There would also need to be a substantial effort to secure the support of Parliament. An information campaign will be needed which has to be closely related to an overseas information campaign designed to influence Saddam Hussein, the Islamic World and the wider international community. This will need to give full coverage to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, including his WMD, and the legal justification for action. “

The polite diplomatic language hides the implications that there would be a global black psy-ops campaign in favor of the war, conducted from London. Since the rest of the briefing already admits that there was no legal justification for action, the proposal of an information campaign that would maintain that such a justification existed must be seen as deeply dishonest.

“Time will be required to prepare public opinion…” You have to love the way “democracy” works in the U.S. and U.K. What is absolutely absurd is the extent to which such psy-ops campaigns work on the public mind. The majority or near majority were very effectively manipulated and even today, as evidence of Bush/Blair web of lies becomes increasingly obvious, we see that their propaganda machine continues to distract, distort, and confuse the public.

Of course CNN and other major media outlets continue to ignore the details that form the infrastructure of lies used to create the war. Instead they devote a majority of their “news” coverage to distractions such as Michael Jackson and religious images seen in potato chips. Hint: something is very, very rotten in media-land.

Of course many of us know this and folks far more intelligent than I have written about the corporate media and its primary role in the state propaganda machine.

Update: The Washington Post has also posted a story on this. Better late than never I suppose. Let’s see if those dip shits at CNN or any of the other mainstream media cover it… and by cover it I mean really cover it. I won’t be holding my breath.

Update 2: As of this moment, here are the headlines on CNN.com… note, the only mention of the memo is that of an AP story that focuses on British doubt of the U.S. postwar plan. The most important content is virtually ignored.

Top headlines:
• 20 bodies found buried near Baghdad
• Report: British doubted U.S. postwar plan
• French journalist freed
• Philadelphia house fire kills 5 children | Video
• Syria rejects hit-list accusations
• Aruba judge keeps 3 young suspects in jail | Video | Map
• Dean renews attacks on Republicans | Video
• Bombs blasts ahead of Iranian election
• Mother feared family dog would attack son | Video
• SI.com: Tyson’s career likely over after loss
• Pink Floyd reuniting for Live 8

U.S. headlines:
• Arlene makes landfall
• Rice performs to help ailing singer
• Men take to trees for competition

World headlines:
• French journalist freed in Iraq
• Blair seeks support for G8 plans
• Four executed by Palestinian Authority

Politics headlines:
• Bush argues for Patriot Act
• Bush to promote domestic policies

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Casualties in Iraq

U.S. Military Deaths
First 14 months: 740
Second 14 months: 958
Source

U.S. Military Wounded
Official: 12,762
Est: 15,000 – 38,000
Source

Iraqi Civilian Deaths

22,191 – 25,178

“We are not a news organization ourselves and like everyone else can only base our information on what has been reported so far. What we are attempting to provide is a credible compilation of civilian deaths that have been reported by recognized sources. Our maximum therefore refers to reported deaths – which can only be a sample of true deaths unless one assumes that every civilian death has been reported. It is likely that many if not most civilian casualties will go unreported by the media. That is the sad nature of war.” –Iraq Body Count

Source
More…

According to last year’s Lancet study Iraqi civilian deaths may be near or beyond 100,000.

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The Downing Street Memo and Impeachment of George Bush

Okay, well, it seems this is the most attention we’ve seen yet on the issue of George Bush and the lies told by the White House to wage war against Iraq. The information is not really new though the current spotlight being shown upon the memo seems to be. Let’s hope it intensifies.

Juan Cole has several posts on the topic recently: The Downing Street Memo and “Fixing Around”

At least one commentator has been quoted in the press as questioning what British Intelligence chief Richard Dearlove meant in the Downing Street Memo by the phrase “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” The full passage reads, “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

He also credits his readers for drawing attention to the Piles of Smoking Guns :

Kind readers have drawn my attention to other leaked documents on the British side that lend support to the implications of the Downing Street memo, which alleges that Bush had decided on a war against Iraq by summer, 2004 and would fix the intelligence around the policy.

The document shows that Wolfowitz knew very well that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were not a presssing issue. The Defense Department consistently pretended otherwise in 2002 and 2003.

A good overview of the record of Iraq decision-making as revealed in leaked British memos is at the BBC Panorama site.

Sure would be nice to see an impeachment come out of this. I’m not holding my breath but hey while I’m engaged in a bit of wishful thinking, hows about a nice long prison term for this sick bunch of lying war criminals… and war profiteers too are they not? Yeah, we need a spotlight alright.

Memo in html via Scoop and as a an index page of pdf files.

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How much Oil are you eating?

Ianqui over at the Oil Drum provides a nice introduction to Our oil-laden food chain:

Just to get started, according to this estimate, the food production system uses 17% of all of the fossil fuel consumed in the US.

When it comes to diet and oil I have two suggestions. First, I’d like to encourage folks to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet. Second, start a garden and grow as much food as you can for yourself. Adopt these two and you will be happier and healthier.

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Clueless about our energy crisis

James Kunstler continues to write the most cutting and accurate articles regarding oil and world energy. Here are a few choice nuggets from his most recent, Still Clueless:

Cluelessness over the the world energy / economic predicament fogs the public discussion more than ever as we approach summer. The New York Times ran a big story in the Sunday news section about India’s soaring energy needs and its future plans (“Hunger For Energy Transforms How India Operates”). India is the world’s fifth leading energy user. Dig this: they import 70 percent of their oil. India’s government predicts that the country will have to import 85 percent of its oil two decades from now.

So what’s India’s plan? According to Energy Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, the solution is “to persuade China to cooperate rather than compete.” Okay, and your bargaining chip would be. . .? Also consider this: The US, Japan, Europe and China will all have to import more than three quarters of their oil supplies. Does this suggest that the world is going to remain an orderly place?

The Times story about all this is so devoid of critical analysis that it appears to have been written by an 11-year-old child.

Here in the States, the price of a barrel of oil is back over $55 and we are only one week into the summer vacation driving season. President Bush is running a scam on the public by pretending to push Congress to act on an energy bill that offers nothing to realistically address the nation’s oil addiction and, especially, its car dependency. He doesn’t dare, I suppose, because he must know that the American economy is about little more than car dependency. But just watch: as the price for a barrel of oil heads north past $60, Bush’s abject leadership failure will become self-evident and the public mood will appear to shift overnight. The oval office will become a very lonely place indeed by this coming fall, and its occupant will have three long and terrible years left to suffer there.

I’m not sure what amazes me more: that George Bush was re-elected rather than impeached or that we are this far into the energy crisis with so little public discussion on the matter. This should be top of the agenda folks. It’s as though we trust that by ignoring it the problem will go away and that will not happen. Nope. We’re setting ourselves up for a big fall. We’ll see soon enough.

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Bush is a Sith Lord

Over at CounterPunch Paul Craig Roberts asks: Is Bush a Sith Lord? The answer, of course, is yes. I’ve wanted to write something like this for a long while. No need since Roberts has done such a fine job. Officially the U.S. claims to be a democratic republic but in truth, with each passing day the U.S. solidifies its position as an Empire. Roberts writes:

The current episode of Star Wars is dynamite for the duplicitous Bush administration. Palpatine, a Sith Lord masquerading as a galactic Republican, becomes Chancellor of the Galatic Republic through deception. Palpatine uses wars that he instigates to elevate security over the power of the Senate and to become dictator.

evil-empire2

In a moment of triumph, Palpatine tells the Senate: “In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society.” The senators respond with sustained cheering and applause. Padme says, “So this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.”

Sith lords use the powers of the dark side of the force. Jedi knights use the power of the good side. The Jedi are selfless and use their incredible powers to protect the Republic. Sith are evil and crave absolute power.

Palpatine, who is really Darth Sidious, manipulates the Senate and enlists the Jedi Council’s patriotism to “defend” the Republic against a “separatist” army that he secretly directs. The purpose of the orchestrated war is to erode liberty in the name of security. The naïve Jedi catch on too late and are decimated. The Republic falls.

Bush’s “war against terrorism” is no less orchestrated than Palpatine’s war and has led to the same result: a society dominated by security concerns.

The top secret British government memo that was leaked to the London Times proves beyond all doubt that Bush invaded Iraq for none of the changing reasons that he has given a too-trusting public. Bush did not invade Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction or because he wanted to bring democracy to Iraq.

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