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Posts Tagged ‘Bush administration’

Dick Cheney’s War on America

Posted by msrb on July 13, 2009

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Dick Cheney and the CIA always operated above and beyond the law!

From the  testimony of former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta before the 9/11 Commission on May 23, 2003 concerning American Airlines Flight 77 and the actions of Vice President Richard Cheney on the morning of September 11, 2001  …

dick cheney
Richard B. Cheney: The Mastermind of 9/11 attacks on America.

MR. MINETA:

No, I was not. I was made aware of it during the time that the airplane coming into the Pentagon. There was a young man who had come in and said to the vice president, “The plane is 50 miles out. The plane is 30 miles out.” And when it got down to, “The plane is 10 miles out,” the young man also said to the vice president, “Do the orders still stand?” And the vice president turned and whipped his neck around and said, “Of course the orders still stand. Have you heard anything to the contrary?”  [Source: Journal of 9/11 Studies]

The following is an account of how the former Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director George J. Tenet ran a private and  secret intelligence program in the US.

Report: Cheney ordered CIA to hide info from Congress

By Scott Shane  – The New York Times

The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with knowledge of the matter said Saturday.

The report that Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.

Panetta, who ended the program when he learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.

Efforts to reach Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.

The question of how completely the CIA informed Congress about sensitive programs has been hotly disputed by Democrats and Republicans since May, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the agency of failing to reveal in 2002 that it was waterboarding a terrorism suspect, an allegation Panetta denied.

The law requires the president to ensure the intelligence committees “are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity.” But the language of the statute, the amended National Security Act of 1947, leaves some leeway for judgment, saying such briefings should be conducted “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.”

Not “fully operational”

In addition, for covert-action programs, a particularly secret category in which the role of the United States is hidden, the law says briefings can be limited to the so-called Gang of Eight, consisting of the Republican and Democratic leaders of both houses of Congress and of their intelligence committees.

Democrats in Congress, who contend the covert action provision was abused to cover up programs under Bush, are seeking to change the law to permit the full committees to be briefed on more matters.

President Obama, however, has threatened to veto the intelligence authorization bill if the changes go too far.

A spokesman for the intelligence agency, Paul Gimigliano, declined Saturday to comment on the report of Cheney’s role.

“It’s not agency practice to discuss what may or may not have been said in a classified briefing,” Gimigliano said. “When a CIA unit brought this matter to Director Panetta’s attention, it was with the recommendation that it be shared appropriately with Congress. That was also his view, and he took swift, decisive action to put it into effect.”

Bill Harlow, a spokesman for George Tenet, who was director of central intelligence when the unidentified program began, declined to comment Saturday, noting the program remains classified.

Intelligence and congressional officials have said the unidentified program did not involve the CIA interrogation program and did not involve domestic intelligence activities.

They have said the program was started by the counterterrorism center at the CIA shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but never became fully operational, involving planning and some training that took place sporadically from 2001 until this year.

“Because this program never went fully operational and hadn’t been briefed as Panetta thought it should have been, his decision to kill it was neither difficult nor controversial,” one intelligence official, who would speak about the classified program only on condition of anonymity. “That’s worth remembering amid all the drama.”

Members of Congress have differed on the significance of the program, whose details remain secret. Most of those interviewed, however, have said that it was an important activity they felt should have been disclosed.

Secret program

In the eight years of his vice presidency, Cheney was the Bush administration’s most vehement defender of the secrecy of government activities, particularly in the intelligence arena. He went to the Supreme Court to keep secret the advisers to his task force on energy and won.

A report released on Friday by the inspectors general of five agencies about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program makes clear Cheney’s former chief of staff, David Addington, had to approve every government official who was told about the program. The report said “the exceptionally compartmented nature of the program” frustrated FBI agents who were assigned to follow up on tips it turned up.

High-level NSA officials who were responsible for ensuring the surveillance program was legal, including the agency’s inspector general and general counsel, were not permitted by Cheney’s office to read the Justice Department opinion that found the eavesdropping legal, several officials said.

Addington could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Questions over the adequacy and truthfulness of the CIA’s briefings for Congress date back to the creation of the intelligence oversight committees in the 1970s after disclosures of agency assassination and mind-control programs and other abuses. But complaints increased in the Bush years, when the CIA and other intelligence agencies took the major role in pursuing al-Qaida.

The use of harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, for instance, was first described to a handful of lawmakers in September 2002.

Pelosi and CIA officials have disagreed about what she was told, but in any case, the briefing occurred after a terrorism suspect, Abu Zubaydah, had been waterboarded 83 times.

Investigation

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a member of the House intelligence committee, wrote Friday to the chairman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, to demand an investigation of the unidentified program and why Congress was not told of it. Aides said Reyes was reviewing the matter.

“There’s been a history of difficulty in getting the CIA to tell us what they should,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma. “We will absolutely be held accountable for anything the agency does.”

Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the committee’s top Republican, said he would not judge the agency harshly in the case of the unidentified program because it was not fully operational. But he said that, in general, the agency has not been as forthcoming as the law requires.

“We have to pull the information out of them to get what we need,” Hoekstra said.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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Posted in attack on America, cheney plot, George Tenet, Leon Panetta, Nancy Pelosi, National Security Act of 194 | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

The US Mood: Gloomy

Posted by msrb on October 15, 2008

[Surprise, Surprise!] The Public Has NO faith in U.S. Institutions

“People feel like nothing in the country is working—the president, Congress, corporations.”

The global economic crisis has shattered the public’s faith in U.S. institutions, and dampened their confidence about the future, according to a new Reuters/Zogby poll.

The Reuters/Zogby Index, a measure of “the mood of the country,” fell to 89.7 in October from 96.3 percent in September, when 7 of the 10 indicators of “public opinion used in the index dropped.”


[Swapping Dirty Jokes!]
President George W. Bush and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi share a toast at the official dinner honoring Berlusconi at the White House in Washington October 13, 2008.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque. Image may be subject to copyright.

President [sic] George W. Bush’s job performance rating nosedived to a record low of 21 percent and the approval rating for U.S. Congress fell to 10 percent, near its all-time low.

“It’s a double-whammy—people are concerned about today and they are worried about tomorrow,” said pollster John Zogby, who likened the public mood to the early years of the Great Depression.

“It is safe to say this is the worst crisis in confidence in this country since 1932,” Zogby said. “People feel like nothing in the country is working—the president, Congress, corporations.”

Only 18 percent of the Americans believe the country is on the right track (down from 25 percent last month).

Approval ratings for the Bush administration’s foreign and economic policy nosedived to 7 percent (from 13 percent). More …

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Posted in foreign and economic policy, foreign threats, government, personal finances, politics | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Who Needs Corporations?

Posted by msrb on September 24, 2008

Wall Street Bailout: A Terminal Moral Hazard!

The proposed bailout of Wall Street is nothing short of rewarding a gang of thieves for robbing the bank.

Edward S. Herman, a professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania, said today:

“Essentially, the Bush administration plan is Wall Street bailing itself out with taxpayers’ money, after Wall Street had failed to carry out its financial functions with efficiency and integrity, and with the bailout organized by one of its own (Paulson) who had resisted all reforms that might have prevented the crisis. This amounts to a hard-to-beat conflict-of-interest program.

The victims of the financial crisis get nothing in this bailout, the taxpayers get no stake or payback in exchange for their $700 billion payout, and the difficulty in evaluating the purchased assets by a broken regulatory system makes it likely that the folks who are responsible for and have profited from this crisis may be able to squeeze a further windfall out of the buyout process.”

Herman has authored books including “Triumph of the Market” and “Corporate Control, Corporate Power.”

Herman’s esays can be downloaded here: Coldtype and The Threat of Globalization

The Absurd Premise of Corporate Personhood

Lewis Pitts, a public interest lawyer in North Carolina and a member of the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy, said today:

“It is striking that nearly $800 billion can be magically produced to bail out financial institutions when for years we’ve heard there isn’t enough money for universal health care, fully funded, quality public schools, to fully fund current promises of services to children such as foster care, special education or mental health treatment. The problem is far deeper than needing more regulation of corporations and the economy. The recent past tells us the bailouts will simply prop things up to allow a return to deregulated, profits-before-people policies that cause human misery for most people and huge wealth for a few.  Look who the regulators will be: types like Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson, who are true-believers in free market fundamentalism except when government bailout is needed to prop up key financial institutions. What this crisis moment should open up for debate is the need for real democratic decision-making and planning of the economy so the interests of the majority are served. This historic moment begs us to question the basic premise of capitalism that as John Maynard Keynes once said ‘is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all.’

“One absurd premise of today’s capitalism is the notion of corporate personhood, the present legal concept that a corporation is a ‘person’ with constitutional rights that can be wielded against real human beings and defeat their democratically enacted laws designed to protect life and nature from corporate harm. Corporate regulation and government intervention in the market and economy are crucial. However, having Foxes, like Bernanke and Paulson, guarding the Henhouse will never provide the systemic, democratic changes needed. Now is the time we must re-think the notion of democracy, civil and economic, and whether we even have an approximation of government of the People, by the People, and for the People. These are the real homeland security issues.”

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Posted in Bernanke, Corporate Personhood, financial meltdown, Paulson, POCLAD | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »