Sevens

On August 6, 2001, George W. Bush received the infamous PDB that he ignored, titled “bin-Laden Determined to Strike the U.S.”. Seven years later, the implications of ignoring the memo are larger than ever.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Seven years ago today, at the outset of a four week vacation in Crawford, George Bush received a Presidential Daily Briefing memo titled “bin-Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.“. He then proceeded to shoot a 7 on the first hole at his local golf course. The legacy media was dutifully impressed. (“Watch this drive.”)

During the first seven months of 2001, George Tenet was running around Washington, DC with his “hair on fire”, trying to get George Bush (or anyone in his administration) to listen to the intelligence chatter about a pending al-Qaeda strike. Richard Clarke documented Tenet’s head blaze, as did Andy Borowitz (a must-read if there ever was one).

On Sept. 11th, 2001, after George W. Bush was informed of the attacks on the World Trade Center, he sat reading a children’s book for another seven minutes.

Coincidence? You decide.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

White House Ordered Forgery of Saddam / al-Qaeda Link?

In a new book hitting the stores, Ron Suskind writes that, post-9/11, the White House directed the CIA to forge a letter from Saddam’s security minister to create the impression of a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Bush administration spokesperson Tony Fratto characterized Suskind’s claim as “absurd” – and interestingly enough, Fratto is right.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

File this under “just another outrage”. Well, maybe not. According to Politico, author Ron Suskind claims in a new book that’s hitting the stores:

…the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.

Suskind writes in “The Way of the World,” to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery – adamantly denied by the White House – was designed to portray a false link between Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war.

The author also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official “that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.” …

Normally, I’d just let such a report fall through the cracks of my mind (and ASZ). I mean, how many tell-all books have to be written to document the lies, secrecy and deceit that have become the legacy of George Bush’s presidency? There’s already a special library section dedicated to the genre, written by either former administration insiders (such as O’Neill, Clarke, and McClellan) or credible authors (like Suskind, Hersh, and Woodward), each of whom had unique access to the movers, shakers, and decision makers. So why am I picking on this particular instance? For instructional purposes.

Here’s how a “non-denial-denial” works:

The White House flatly denied Suskind’s account. Tony Fratto, deputy White House press secretary, told Politico: “The allegation that the White House directed anyone to forge a document from Habbush to Saddam is just absurd.” …

Damnation. Mr. Fratto is right. It is absurd. Which is why it’s probably true. Note that Fratto did not deny the allegation, only that it was absurd.

Absurd (–‰–™b-s–»rd’, -z–»rd’) adj: So senseless as to be laughable. Syn: foolish, harebrained, idiotic, imbecilic, insane, lunatic, mad, moronic, nonsensical, preposterous, silly, softheaded, tomfool, unearthly

Yep, I’d say that just about sums up the entire 7+ years of the Bush administration.

Our esteemed colleague Jill has more.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

Timelines, Pieces and Puzzles

Ever wonder how the largest scandals of the last 6 years fit together? Everything from the Niger forgeries to Larry Franklin are small parts of a much larger game that’s been afoot for the last decade or more. RawStory has put together a timeline, and a lenghty article connecting the dots.
It should come as no [...]


Commentary By: sukabi

Ever wonder how the largest scandals of the last 6 years fit together? Everything from the Niger forgeries to Larry Franklin are small parts of a much larger game that’s been afoot for the last decade or more. RawStory has put together a timeline, and a lenghty article connecting the dots.

It should come as no surprise that the prominent players in this game from the beginning have been Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith and that the country of most interest to them has been Iran.

Monday, January 29th, 2007 by sukabi |

Losing Cokie Roberts

When you’ve lost Cokie Roberts, who has been known to put the brown lipstick on her nose and go snorfling around the hindquarters of BushCo in search of approval, perhaps it’s time to pack it in before America wakes up:
Cheektowaga, N.Y.; Thibodaux, La.; Pflugerville, Texas; Presque Isle, Maine; Westerville, Ohio; Marysville, Wash.; Redding, Calif.; [...]


Commentary By: Brendan Skwire

When you’ve lost Cokie Roberts, who has been known to put the brown lipstick on her nose and go snorfling around the hindquarters of BushCo in search of approval, perhaps it’s time to pack it in before America wakes up:

Cheektowaga, N.Y.; Thibodaux, La.; Pflugerville, Texas; Presque Isle, Maine; Westerville, Ohio; Marysville, Wash.; Redding, Calif.; Stokesdale, N.C.; Bapchule, Ariz.; Oxford, Ala. These are the hometowns of 10 American troops killed recently in Iraq, 10 of almost 3,000 fatalities. And there will be many more. The good folks of Pflugerville and Westerville and Marysville no longer believe their sons and daughters are dying for a good reason, but President Bush seems in no mood to hear them.

Yes, he fired Donald Rumsfeld. And yes, he will announce next year “a new way forward.” But listen carefully. It’s clear the president is not really interested in a “new way” at all. He still firmly believes that his old way is right, that the war was justified, that “victory” is the only way to keep Stokesdale safe.

His own words reflect no doubt or regret: “Iraq is a central component of defeating the extremists who want to establish a safe haven in the Middle East, extremists who would use their safe haven from which to attack the United States. This is really the calling of our time, that is, to defeat the extremists and radicals.”

But the president has not only lost the “battle for hearts and minds” across the Arab world, he’s lost it across the United States. The people of Bapchule and Oxford no longer believe his words or trust his judgment. Virtually everything he ever said to them about the war – from “Mission Accomplished” to “absolutely, we’re winning” – has been wrong.

Ouch. And it just gets worse.

Yet beyond the smackdowns and snark, there is one paragraph that is more interestimg than the rest. It is the closing paragraph, marked by the kind of ambiguity that is irresistible to a literary critic like me.

The nation is facing an enormous tragedy. Bush can’t or won’t leave Iraq, but staying means Pflugerville will keep burying its children. Only a new president will be able to stop the dying. (emphasis mine)

“Only a new president”? Is the Cokester talking about two years from now? Or is she making a subtle imperative statement?

Update: Apparently Bob Barr’s out too…

Monday, December 18th, 2006 by Brendan Skwire |

Al-Jazeeragate: The End of the Begining of the End?

Once again, I acknowledge that this story has received very little play in the U.S. corporate media. However, I don’t think anyone should discount the shitstorm that this is causing, both with our allies overseas (UK), and in the Arab world. Scottie Boy can characterize the charges as “absurd”, and not worthy of [...]

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Once again, I acknowledge that this story has received very little play in the U.S. corporate media. However, I don’t think anyone should discount the shitstorm that this is causing, both with our allies overseas (UK), and in the Arab world. Scottie Boy can characterize the charges as “absurd”, and not worthy of comment, but rest assured that George Bush’s apparent desire to bomb Arab news network Al-Jazeera’s headquarters in Qatar is big news everywhere else in the world but the U.S.

Here’s some links worthy of your attention:

So What Have They Got To Hide? (from Sunday’s UK The Independent)
PM on the defensive over Official Secrets Act trial
Al-Jazeera boss demands to see –bomb’ memo
Rumsfeld”s Al-Jazeera outburst
Bush could face war crimes charges
The leak that revealed Bush’s deep obsession with al-Jazeera
Al Jazeera boss lashes out at US

And, from the U.S. corporate media enablers? The usual chirping crickets.

Saturday, November 26th, 2005 by Richard Blair |

October, 2001: Earliest Documentation on Iraq War Planning?

This afternoon, the National Security Archives at George Washington University released some stunning documents, that seem to further corroborate the Downing Street Minutes, as well as buttress the argument that there was precious little post-war planning in the rush to topple Saddam. Among them is this State Department powerpoint slide:

Digest the date in the [...]


Commentary By: Richard Blair

This afternoon, the National Security Archives at George Washington University released some stunning documents, that seem to further corroborate the Downing Street Minutes, as well as buttress the argument that there was precious little post-war planning in the rush to topple Saddam. Among them is this State Department powerpoint slide:

Digest the date in the first bullet point for a moment. 10/2001 – barely one month after the events of September 11th, when all efforts of the U.S. government should have been focused completely, and without hesitation, on finding Osama “Who?” Bin Laden.

Here’s a full list of the document dump today by the National Security Archive:
(more…)

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005 by Richard Blair |

Sir Jeremy Seeks Absolution

The Downing Street Memo might be receiving some serious backup shortly.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock was the U.K. Ambassador to the United Nations at the time the war in Iraq was launched in 2003. After the fall of Baghdad, he was Tony Blair’s envoy in Iraq during the days of Proconsul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority. [...]

Commentary By: Richard Blair

The Downing Street Memo might be receiving some serious backup shortly.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock was the U.K. Ambassador to the United Nations at the time the war in Iraq was launched in 2003. After the fall of Baghdad, he was Tony Blair’s envoy in Iraq during the days of Proconsul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority. And he has written what is apparently a scathing book on the subject.

In a story published in the Sunday Observer, Greenstock is quoted as saying:

  • The American decision to go to war was “politically illegitimate”
  • UN negotiations “never rose over the level of awkward diversion for the US administration”
  • The opportunities of the post-conflict period were “dissipated in poor policy analysis and narrow-minded execution”


(more…)

Saturday, July 16th, 2005 by Richard Blair |

DSM Reaction Or Just Plain Fed Up?

So is this latest Zogby poll a result of the Downing Street Minutes, or is the country finally waking up to what a failure this administration has been?
President Bush”s televised address to the nation produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to [...]


Commentary By: sukabi

So is this latest Zogby poll a result of the Downing Street Minutes, or is the country finally waking up to what a failure this administration has been?

President Bush”s televised address to the nation produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%, in the latest Zogby International poll. And, in a sign of continuing polarization, more than two-in-five voters (42%) say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq. ..

And in an effort to continue this progress and pry the truth out of the administration 52 House members file FOIA request seeking documents related to Downing Street minutes

Representative John Conyers, Jr., (D-MI) House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, along with 51 other Members today submitted a broad and comprehensive FOIA request to the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State seeking any and all documents and materials concerning the Downing Street Minutes and the lead up to the Iraq war, RAW STORY has learned.


In addition, the Members also formally requested that the House Committees on Judiciary, Armed Services, International Relations, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence commence hearings on the Downing Street Minutes.

Thursday, June 30th, 2005 by sukabi |

Downing Street Memo: Anatomy of a Coverup

From longtime ASZ reader Uncle $cam, with a big tip of the ASZ chapeau:
This needs to get out there!
TRUTH REVEALED: The New York Times is a Master at Deception
A brilliant article by Sanjoy Mahajan in ZNET analyzes with crystalline clarity and exposes the shameless cover-up tactics used by The New York Times when dealing [...]

Commentary By: Richard Blair

From longtime ASZ reader Uncle $cam, with a big tip of the ASZ chapeau:

This needs to get out there!

TRUTH REVEALED: The New York Times is a Master at Deception

A brilliant article by Sanjoy Mahajan in ZNET analyzes with crystalline clarity and exposes the shameless cover-up tactics used by The New York Times when dealing with the Downing Street Memos (minutes) and briefings.

In Mahajan’s words:

The NYT articles – masterpieces of delay, indirection, distraction, fake rebuttals, and elegant omission – keep readers ignorant of the lies and the lying liars who tell them. No wonder so many Americans still support this gangster war.

Sanjoy Mahajan’s Anatomy of a Coverup may be found here

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005 by Richard Blair |