plamegate, bully boy and iraq

Perhaps mainstream journalists have declared war on Fitzgerald over the past few weeks because so many of the country's top reporters have been hauled into court against their will by the special counsel to testify before a grand jury about their conversations with White House officials in the leak matter.
But that's no excuse for rewriting history and depriving the public of the truth.
Case in point: according to documents Fitzgerald obtained, the months that preceded the leak saw many unknown officials in the Office of the Vice President hatching a plan to strike back at Wilson, who at the time was urging journalists and lawmakers to hold the Bush administration accountable for using bogus intelligence to win support for a pre-emptive strike against Iraq.
The April 5 court filing says I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley were two of the key figures who were involved in conversations and meetings at Cheney's office in which White House officials discussed ways of striking back against Wilson's criticism of the administration's war effort. Karl Rove was also involved in the discussions.
The court document Fitzgerald filed in April did not name any other White House officials who were involved in the Wilson smear campaign, but it's well-known that Vice President Cheney, Libby and Rove led the effort. Rove told Novak that Plame worked at the CIA on July 8, 2003, the same day Armitage spoke to the columnist. Evidence has not been produced that proves Armitage spoke to Novak first.
Libby -- not Armitage -- spoke to Judith Miller on July 8, 2003, and told her about Plame's work at the CIA. Moreover, Rove -- not Armitage -- spoke to Matt Cooper of Time Magazine on July 11, 2003, and told him that Plame worked for the CIA. Libby was indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly deceiving FBI investigators and the grand jury about how he discovered Plame worked for the CIA and whether he shared that with reporters.

that's from jason leopold's 'Armitage Shmarmitage.' and on jason leopold, thanks to sherry for steering an article by him c.i.'s way while i was on vacation (and thanks to c.i. for linking to it). i like leopold and think a lot of people hopped on their huffy bikes re: him. i'm always happy to highlight him.

my thoughts on richard armitage? i think we're hearing a lot of hot air. i think the gang captured it well in 'Somebody's Lying' (the third estate sunday review). going by the public record, the story makes no sense and it appears armitage is pulling a george tenet (falling on his sword) for the administration.

they make a good point, this man was trusted with secrets. if he's a gossip (which always struck me as a weak attempt to excuse his actions in iran-contra), the way he and others now imply, he shouldn't have had any sort of security clearance. but i think it's all a lot of hot air where he's become the public fall guy (and it won't hurt him 1 bit - it didn't hurt tenet either).

and to portary him as 'a non partisan gun slinger' is just nonsense. he was a war hawk, a signer of the p.n.a.c. letter to bill clinton urging that saddam hussein be toppled.

so if he's going to fall on his sword, let's see him fall. that means no more government boards to serve on. if he can't be trusted with a secret about a c.i.a. agent identity, he should not be allowed to do anything for the federal government again. we can't have such a free wheeling gossip risking secrets, can we?

and remember, novak said two sources came to him. if you've fogotten that, you really need to read robert parry's 'How Obtuse Is the U.S. Press?:'

As we explain below, the evidence is overwhelming that the White House assault on Wilson was planned weeks before he published an Op-Ed on July 6, 2003, accusing Bush of twisting the yellowcake claim -- and that Bush's operatives responded by pointing journalists toward Plame's identity.
Indeed, the available evidence doesn't even fully support the contention that Novak first learned about Plame from his interview with Armitage on July 8, 2003. According to the Times' own reporting, Novak apparently had been primed to ask a question on this topic.
The Times buries this crucial point in its Sept. 2 story that questions whether Fitzgerald "properly exercised his prosecutorial discretion." In the last sentence of the 17th paragraph, the Times reports that Armitage disclosed Plame’s possible role in arranging Wilson’s Niger trip "in reply to a question."
In other words, Armitage didn’t just toss out Plame’s CIA connection as "gossip," as the Post editorial assumes. He apparently mentioned it in response to Novak's question about how the Niger trip had been arranged, which begs the additional question of who might have suggested that Novak ask that.
The distinction is important because other evidence indicates that Bush's aides were pushing reporters to ask about the circumstances behind the Niger trip, knowing that line of questioning would lead to Plame's identity.
For instance, Time magazine correspondent John Dickerson, who accompanied a presidential trip to Africa shortly after Wilson's article was published, said he was twice urged to pursue the seemingly insignificant question of who had been involved in arranging Wilson's trip.

do you wonder if gwen ifell feels as stupid as she made herself look when she called the outing of valerie plame 'a summer scandal'? in honor of the nit-wit (who home cooks for condi), read ava & c.i.'s hilarious 'TV: Washington Weak' which came about when fly boy was watching that stupid show and called ava and c.i. insisting that they watch it and review it. we got into iraq on lies and it was very important to the administration that any 1 challenging the lies be shut up. fortunately, the press can be very stupid (or 'obtuse' to use robert parry's kinder word) so it's not hard for the administration to continue the lies.

by the way, shame on lotta links for linking to wonkette today. mike may write about that. he was furious. wonketta, the cock tease of online 'journalism,' has been running a smear campaign on cindy sheehan.

"The Central Proof" is betty's latest chapter so be sure to read it! be sure to read wally's 'THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY SAYS "MY BAD"!' and cedric's 'No Link' (joint post). why?

because in the middle of dirty depends month, it turns out bully boy's august 21st attempt to link saddam hussein and al-qaeda (only his most recent attempt) should blow up in his face. but for that to happen, people need to know what bully boy said on august 21st (it's in the snapshot i'll post below). make sure you know that he said it and this isn't a 'democrats are arguing ... but republicans say ...' he said it. he did it long after he knew better.

here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, September 8, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, bits of the long over due US Senate reporton the lies that led to war (they're calling it a look into the intell) are scattered like crumbs, US soldier Mark Wilkerson reflects on how he reached the decision not to take part in the illegal war, US soldier Darrell Anderson is reportedly headed back to the United States after attempts to be granted asylum in Canada,
and Australia's Bully Boy says Brendan Nelson is doing a "fantastic job."

In the United States,
AP was first out of the gate with: "A senate intelligence committee report says there's no evidence Saddam Hussein had a relationship with terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his al-Qaida associates before the Iraq war." CBS and AP quote US Senator John D. Rockefeller stating of the report: "Ultimately, I think you will find that administration officials made repeated prewar statements that were not supported by underlying intelligence" and that it shows "the administration pursued a deceptive strategy abusing intelligence reporting that the intelligence community had already warned was uncorroborated, unreliable and in some critical circumstances fabricated."

Reuters notes that US Senator Carl Levin has pointed to the Bully Boy's statement on August 21st and attempted (yet again) to make an unfounded link. Levin: "The president's statement, made just two weeks ago, is flat-out false."

Though the press wants to play Levin's statement as an allegation, public record shows
Bully Boy stated: "I square it because imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein, who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who had relations with Zarqawi." As Levin pointed out, that "is flat-out false."

The lies that led into illegal war. Yesterday,
AP notes, the Senate passed a spending measure to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with another $63 billion dollars.

As the cost in blood and currency continues to add up, more and more people turn against the illegal war. In the United States,
Byron Pitts (CBS) reported on the mood in Jacksonville, North Carolina and spoke with retired Marine Colonel Jim Van Riper who admits to vote for Bully Boy twice but intends to vote Democratic for the first time. Van Riper tells Pitts: "I've turn him [Bully Boy] off. I've tuned him out." The cost in blood? AFP notes the Baghdad morgue body count for August stands at 1,584. It also includes 2666 US troops who have died in Iraq since the start of the war, 118 British troops (that includes the one who died Thursday) and 115 "other" for a total of 2899.

Of the US fatality count,
Emil Guillermo (Asian Week) notes, "Ironically, of the Iraq war deaths, over 2,500 came after" Bully Boy's "declared on May 1, 2003, 'Mission Accomplished'."


CNN reports that, in Baghdad, a roadside bomb left six injured and killed three ("including a mother and child" among the dead) and that a US soldier died "south of Baghdad" from a roadside bomb. Reuters reports a car bomb in Baghdad that killed a police officer "and a bystander". Sami al-Jumaili (Reuters) reports the death of eight in Kerbala from mortars.


CNN reports that three people were shot dead in Baquba and a sunni tribal chief was shot dead in Hawija. Reuters identifies the man as Ibrahim al-Khalaf and notes that an Iraqi soldier was shot dead near Samarra (with two others wounded).


AFP reports six corpses were found in Baghdad ("tortured . . . shot to death"). Reuters reports the corpse of Haider Hamza was discovered "shot dead in front of his house" and that he had been "an interpreter working for Danish troops in Iraq".

AFP reports that Brigadier Muzher Kamel Mohammad ("head of the police force protecting Iraqi courts") was kidnapped in Baghdad. This as Reuters reports the US is clashing with people in Falluja and "U.S. troops used loudspeakers to demand people turn in 'insurgents' or face a 'large military operation'." Falluja. Again. As if November 2004 wasn't destructive enough. Hearts and minds, as Mark Wilkerson has noted, are not being won.

And the much touted non-handover? As
Jim Sciutto (ABC) notes: "Watching the headlines in the American media today, you might think the U.S. military handed over military control in Iraq to Iraqis. There was certainly a ceremony yesterday -- a handshake at a military base where Iraqi commanders took control of an Iraqi army division from coailtion commanders -- but the real story is the arithmetic. Yesterday's handover affects the tiny Iraqi navy and air force, with a few hundred folks in each, and a single Iraqi army division, the 8th Army with 5500 to 7000 troops. This means only about five percent the 115,000 regulars in the Iraqi army now take their cues from the Iraqi prime minister. The rest remain firmly under foreign control -- and so do the most dangerous areas of the country, such as Baghdad and the volatile Anbar province in the west. The 8th Army operates in the relatively small -- and relatively quiet -- Diwaniyeh province in southern Iraq."

In peace news,
Diana Welch (Austin Chronicle News) reviews the case of war resister Mark Wilkerson noting his disillusionment ("When we went, our general mission was to win the hearts and minds of the people. But when I got there, and I saw the people and how we were treating them, I thought, 'We're doing exactly the opposite'."), his awakening (finding out who was profitting -- "certain individuals were making on this war, how much money the corporations like Halliburton were making"), having his conscientious objector application rejected as he was called up for another tour of duty, and then deciding to check himself out. Alan Gionet (CBS4) reports that Rebecca Barker, Matt Wilkerson's mother, stated, "I think the public is looking at anyone who goes AWOL as cowards and it goes much deeper than that." Welch notes that Wilkerson could face a special court-martial (if found guilty, one year sentence is the maximum) or a general one (which would led to seven years if found guilty). Gionet reports: "Wilkerson is confined to base while his unit faces what could be its third deployment."

Phinjo Gombu (Toronto Star) reports that war resister Darrell Anderson will be leaving Canada and returning to the US, according to his mother Anita Anderson. This should take place during the last weekend of September and he will be met at the border by peace activists and Vietnam veterans as well as by Jim Fennerty, his attorney. "If he is not arrested immediately, Anderson plans to travel to Fort Knox in Kentucky to turn himself in. It is one of the two army bases where deserters are kept while the army decides whether to court-martial or discharge a soldier."

In Washington, DC
Camp Democracy continues through September 21st. It is free and open to the public. Today's events focused on labor issues. Saturday, September 9th, many events will be taking place and among those speaking will be Antonia Juhasz (The BU$H Agenda), Ray McGovern and Bill Moyers. The events will kick off at 9:00 a.m. in preparation of the 9:30 a.m. march around the Capitol Building "To remember the fallen and remind Congress and the public of the human cost of the War on and Occupation of Iraq." Sunday, September 10th will feature Juhasz, Ann Wright, Raed Jarrar and others. A complete schedule can be found here.

And beginning September 21st (International Peace Day), via
United for Peace & Justice:

It's time to answer fear with courage, to step out of our personal comfort zones and take bold action to end the Iraq War.
Join us in a week of nonviolent action, including civil disobedience, from September 21-28, and in pressuring pro-war politicians all this fall through the Voters for Peace pledge.
In Australia, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson continues to be a subject of discussion over his role as self-designated media spokesperson for the April 21st Baghdad death of Jake Kovco.
First into the fray was prime minister John Howard who has "full confience" in Brendan Nelson. Of course he also claims to have "full confidence" in Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston whose testimony directly contradicts Nelson. And it's also true that Howard is the Bully Boy down under. So no one really cares what he says as he speaks from both sides of his mouth except possibly for this statement which has strong echoes of "Heck of a job, Brownie" -- from ABC's The World Today, Howard: "Dr Nelson is doing a fantastic job." Fantastic of a job, Brendie!

For those who missed it,
yesterday Houston told the hearing that he had repeatedly warned Nelson not to speak to the press because the events of Jake Kovco's death were not clear. Or as WA Business News sums it up: "Defence force chief Angus Houston has directly contradicted the Defence Minister's statement to police about private Jake Kovco's death, saying Brendan Nelson ignored repeated warnings not to speculate about the shooting."

Samantha Hawley summarizes (on ABC's PM) thusly: In a witten submission to the Military Board of Inquiry, Dr Nelson says it was Air Chief Marshal Houston who told him that Jake Kovco had been handling his loaded weapon in some way when it discharged. But Angus Houston directly contradicts that claim. In his own submission, the Defence Force Chief indicates he repeatedly urged the minister against speculating about the cause of death, saying it appeared to have been a tragic accident but this would need to be confirmed by the Board of Inquiry."

We turn to this statement from
April 27, 2006: "Of course we are, and I'm personally, very angry about it. I'm very disappointed. The inquiry and the investigation will get to the bottom of it. But I just ask Australians, it's very easy to criticise Defence. It's a large organization. It does wonderful things for Australians and for people in times of trouble, but don't just, I just say to Australians, don't just take a free kick here."

A free kick? Hasn't Brendan Nelson earned it? The statement above was when he went to the press to announce that Jake Kovco's coffin had returned home but not his body. It's been one mix up after another. Put yourself in the Kovco family's place, think of all the mix ups/screw ups Nelson's overseen and been responsible for and wonder if Brendan Nelson is the poor-put-upon he'd like to paint himself or someone performing their job very poorly.