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Posts Tagged ‘Dick Cheney’

Should 9/11 suspects be tried in New York?

Posted by msrb on November 16, 2009

Quotes of the Day:

The Question:

Should the 9/11 suspects go on trial in New York?

Quotes and Comments:

  • “What the Obama administration is telling us loud and clear is that both in substance and reality the war on terror from their point of view is over,” Mr. Giuliani said on “Fox News Sunday.” “This seems to be an overconcern with the rights of terrorists and a lack of concern for the rights of the public.”

Why is Mr Giuliani so worried?

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Posted in 9/11, 9/11 suspects, 9/11 suspects NY trial, Barack Obama, Gitmo, Mitch McConnell | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dick Cheney’s War on America

Posted by msrb on July 13, 2009

submitted by a reader

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 »

Government Without Law

Posted by msrb on January 3, 2009

December 26, 2008

Government Without Law
By Ralph Nader

Over thirty years ago, a book came out titled “How the Government Breaks the Law, by Jethro K. Lieberman.” Even then it was old news and the examples cited seemed small compared to today’s chronic law-breakers in the White House and at many federal departments and agencies. Many recent books have been written on the expansive outlaw behavior of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Less attention has been devoted to the explosion of unauthorized actions by the Executive in recent years. What should be the most frequent question by reporters to government officials — namely, “By what authority are you acting?” – is the rarest of inquiries.

A two part series on Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. in the Washington Post by David Cho in late November brought this point out in a stunningly frank admission by the Corporate bailout czar himself.

Speaking of the takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as other megaseizures of failing Wall Street firms, Mr. Paulson expressed these anarchic words: “Even if you don’t have the authorities – and frankly I didn’t have the authorities for anything – if you take charge, people will follow.”

Whew! There you have it! He becomes the law and the law is what he says it is because no one – neither a rubber-stamping President, nor a supine Congress, nor any citizen, deprived of any standing to sue, is going or can do anything about it.

Reporter Cho goes on to write: “Senior government officials said Paulson helped craft rescue programs for financial firms, though he was not sure he had an unquestionable legal basis for the initiatives including the bailouts of the failing investment bank Bear Stearns in March and the wounded insurance giant American International Group (AIG) in September.”

Mr. Paulson went further. Playing Congress, he backed the Federal Reserve – already a government within a government funded by banks– to unprecedented unilateral expansion of its powers and its self-made assets. The Post reported that officials from the Treasury and the Fed “never knew whether they had the legal authority to interfere with the market for such derivatives but did so anyway because the opaque trading threatened the wider financial system.”

Unauthorized Executive Branch actions tend to be contagious. Noticing that the crisis left Wall Street on its knees and willing to unilaterally assume over $8 trillion in a variety of loan, subsidy and capital obligations, the Bush regime kept making more of its powers all by itself. Why not, they may have been thinking? Look what they’ve gotten away with in the areas of military and foreign policy actions.

Weekend gigantic corporate bailouts – a more recent one being the $300 billion plus assumption of Citigroup’s financial risks – engineered by Citigroup co-boss, Robert Rubin–were very secret affairs.

The more public grab of power was the $700 billion goliath to rescue the casino capitalists on Wall Street which was submitted in only 3 ½ pages of proposed legislation to Congress by Paulson and Ben Bernake, the Fed’s chairman in September.

This was too much for the ideologies of House Republicans who beat it on the first round. Even the spineless Democrats thought the requested authority was too much of a blank check. So what happened? Bush told Paulson to give various members of Congress “sweeteners” such as pork and tax breaks for favored lobbyists to get the required votes. Consequently, Paulson was granted staggering discretion to spend the $700 billion when, where and to whom he wanted under whatever conditions or no conditions at all. All in the name of socialism saving capitalism from massive collapse. Ironic.

Mr. Paulson came away from Capitol Hill with Congress in his hip pocket – not exactly what the framers of our Constitution had in mind in 1787.

Thus embolden, Paulson initiated a unilateral, administrative repeal of a Congressional enactment in the tax code – section 382 – to give the banks a huge windfall of about $140 billion. George K. Yin, former chief of staff of the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, rejected the legality of the Treasury Department’s decision. He told the Post: “I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no. They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed [and Reagan signed] as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks.”

Section 382 of the Tax code “sharply restricts a company from using the tax losses of a company it acquires to reduce its own tax liability,” according to the respected Citizens for Tax Justice.

The Treasury’s two-page notice generated a brief specialized display of outrage from members of the Tax writing committees in Congress and a hundred national, state and local organizations signed a joint letter to Congress demanding the legislators reverse the Treasury’ unauthorized edict.

So what did the House of Representatives do? It passed, later rejected by the Senate a provision in the auto bailout bill, a provision that would have extended the unauthorized Treasury ruling to the automobile industry!

What is going on here is a revolutionary coup d-etat of our legal system by executive branch diktats.

Is the organized legal profession through their bar associations in challenge mode? Are law professors churning over this mockery of the legislature and executive branch administrative law? Are conservative groups – always upset about judicial activism – going into high gear against the new monarchy in and around the White House in downtown Washington, D.C.? Are all those futurists worried enough about the trillions of debt dollars being piled on our children and grandchildren to protest and act? Not really.

Obviously, all this is a developing story. Stay tuned, unless you are willing to be turned out.

Posted in Congress, Federal Reserve, Henry M. Paulson, Wall Street | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Credibility

Posted by terres on November 12, 2008

submitted by a reader

Obama’s ‘street cred’ is way down in the negative territory, before he even starts the job!

Let’s stop beating about the Bush, AND have him indicted!

Obama’s ‘street cred’ is way down in the negative territory, in spite of being elected as the next US President. Some writers have gone as far as insulting the President-elect by calling him a shabbes goy because of his appointment of Rahm Israel Emanuel and other ‘Likudnik hawks,’ and his pledge of unconditional allegiance to Israel in a speech at the AIPAC conference during his ‘one-horse’ presidential election race.

There’s no easy way to wash off the stigma, if at all. However, the President-elect might find it hard to carry any degree of public trust during his term. And in a fast-changing world there are no guarantees. There’s always the possibility that he may not even finish his presidential term.

bush-obama-reuters
Obama Visiting Bush at the White House November 10, 2008. Photo: Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

Could Obama buy some credibility?

Perhaps. Ironically Barack Obama may be able to earn some credibility by doing nothing! That is by doing nothing to stop the war criminal George Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest of their gang being prosecuted for waging wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq and for committing the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity in the two countries.

And that includes holding back the presidential pardon for those war criminals.

The Obama Test

Here’s a test of Obama presidency, or the “Obama ‘Hope and Change’ Test.”

1. If within the first few months of Mr Obama’s term as President, Bush, Cheney and their gang have been successfully indicted for their war crimes,

AND

2. If by then President Obama does nothing to block the justice, including granting presidential pardons to the said war criminals,

Then, and only then, can citizens be assured that there is still some hope [sic] that the system could undergo a positive change!

Call Bush the ‘sacrificial lamb,’ if you like, but he must not be granted a presidential pardon!

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Posted in AIPAC, Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, sacrificial lamb, shabbes goy | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »