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Saturday, April 08, 2006

 

New Yorker: Bush plans to bomb Iran's nuke facility; his messianic vision; what is he smoking?

Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?

Seymour Hershby SEYMOUR M. HERSH, left --
Issue of 2006-04-17

-- Posted 2006-04-10

The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.

American and European intelligence agencies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), agree that Iran is intent on developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons. But there are widely differing estimates of how long that will take, and whether diplomacy, sanctions, or military action is the best way to prevent it. Iran insists that its research is for peaceful use only, in keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that it will not be delayed or deterred.

There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush's ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be "wiped off the map." Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. "That's the name they're using. They say, "Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?' "

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was "absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb" if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do "what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."

One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that "a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government." He added, "I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, 'What are they smoking?' "

The rationale for regime change was articulated in early March by Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert who is the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and who has been a supporter of President Bush. "So long as Iran has an Islamic republic, it will have a nuclear-weapons program, at least clandestinely," Clawson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 2nd. "The key issue, therefore, is: How long will the present Iranian regime last?"

When I spoke to Clawson, he emphasized that "this Administration is putting a lot of effort into diplomacy." However, he added, Iran had no choice other than to accede to America's demands or face a military attack. Clawson said that he fears that Ahmadinejad "sees the West as wimps and thinks we will eventually cave in. We have to be ready to deal with Iran if the crisis escalates." Clawson said that he would prefer to rely on sabotage and other clandestine activities, such as "industrial accidents." But, he said, it would be prudent to prepare for a wider war, "given the way the Iranians are acting. This is not like planning to invade Quebec."

One military planner told me that White House criticisms of Iran and the high tempo of planning and clandestine activities amount to a campaign of "coercion" aimed at Iran. "You have to be ready to go, and we'll see how they respond," the officer said. "You have to really show a threat in order to get Ahmadinejad to back down." He added, "People think Bush has been focussed on Saddam Hussein since 9/11," but, "in my view, if you had to name one nation that was his focus all the way along, it was Iran." (In response to detailed requests for comment, the White House said that it would not comment on military planning but added, "As the President has indicated, we are pursuing a diplomatic solution"; the Defense Department also said that Iran was being dealt with through "diplomatic channels" but wouldn't elaborate on that; the C.I.A. said that there were "inaccuracies" in this account but would not specify them.)

"This is much more than a nuclear issue," one high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna. "That's just a rallying point, and there is still time to fix it. But the Administration believes it cannot be fixed unless they control the hearts and minds of Iran. The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years."

A senior Pentagon adviser on the war on terror expressed a similar view. "This White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war," he said. The danger, he said, was that "it also reinforces the belief inside Iran that the only way to defend the country is to have a nuclear capability." A military conflict that destabilized the region could also increase the risk of terror: "Hezbollah comes into play," the adviser said, referring to the terror group that is considered one of the world's most successful, and which is now a Lebanese political party with strong ties to Iran. "And here comes Al Qaeda."

In recent weeks, the President has quietly initiated a series of talks on plans for Iran with a few key senators and members of Congress, including at least one Democrat. A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, who did not take part in the meetings but has discussed their content with his colleagues, told me that there had been "no formal briefings," because "they're reluctant to brief the minority. They're doing the Senate, somewhat selectively."

The House member said that no one in the meetings "is really objecting" to the talk of war. "The people they're briefing are the same ones who led the charge on Iraq. At most, questions are raised: How are you going to hit all the sites at once? How are you going to get deep enough?" (Iran is building facilities underground.) "There's no pressure from Congress" not to take military action, the House member added. "The only political pressure is from the guys who want to do it." Speaking of President Bush, the House member said, "The most worrisome thing is that this guy has a messianic vision."

Some operations, apparently aimed in part at intimidating Iran, are already under way. American Naval tactical aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions -- rapid ascending maneuvers known as "over the shoulder" bombing -- since last summer, the former official said, within range of Iranian coastal radars.

Full New Yorker article.


Friday, April 07, 2006

 

Spier: The significance of Libby fingering Bush on leaks

by Bill Spier

Most of us who pursue this trail of deception by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld would find a dizzying cast of CIA, Defense and State Department offices with acronyms like WINPAC, DIA etc. But as you follow this big story of the leaked National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) -- which is what this story is really about, keep in mind these two main points:

1. The classified NIE had a KEY judgments section with regard to Hussein reconstituting WMD, and sections where different agencies and intelligence offices voiced their doubts about the Niger documents. Bush's State of the Union claim in 2003 that Hussein tried to procure yellowcake uranium from Niger was already discredited before he gave the address. The Niger dissenting opinions were not in the KEY judgments section.

2. The declassified portion of the NIE omitted the contrary opinions about the Niger Documents and what remained was the stuff that the White House wanted Americans to believe about Iraq and WMD. Libby fed this BS to syph Judith Miller. If the dissenting Niger opinions in the NIE had reached the press, it would have cast real doubt on all the claims Bush made to attack Iraq. It really would have cast Cheney as a liar.

So, here we have Libby testifying under oath that Bush -- through Cheney -- authorized the release of classified and cherrypicked NIE schuck and jive about aluminum tubes and other dual-use industrial products. Libby might have been trying to cover his backsides with this testimony. In reality though, it shows that Bush and Cheney wanted to keep the deception going (at huge human cost) and went about the job of discrediting Joe Wilson -- and outing a CIA agent. That's really illegal.

The "Niger Documents" were Cheney's way to provoke fear among gullible Americans. He buttressed his public remarks with the Niger deception. The Niger Documents were brought to us by Rumsfeld after being massaged by his gang of Likudniks in the Defense Department.

I wonder where Prosecutor Fitzgerald is going to take this investigation.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

 

AP: Libby fingers Bush on leaks - April 6

WASHINGTON (AP) Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff told prosecutors in the CIA leak case that President Bush authorized disclosure of intelligence information on Iraq, according to a new court filing.

 

AP: Gitmo prisoner arrested at age 15 demands halt to proceedings

By ANDREW SELSKY, Associated Press Writer -- Thursday, 3 minutes ago

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - An attorney defending a Canadian teenager accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan called for proceedings to be halted during a hearing punctuated by clashes over a lack of established rules for the military trials.

In this photograph of a drawing by AP sketch artist Janet Hamlin, reviewed by U.S. Military officials,  Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr , left, sits alongside his defense team, left to right, Muneer Ahmad, Rick Wilson, Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, and Army Capt. John Merriam, as Vokey addresses the robed presiding officer Marine Col. Robert Chester, during a hearing inside the Military Commission, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, Wednesday, April 5, 2006. Shouting and table banging punctuated the hearing for Khadr, a Canadian accused of killing an American soldier in Afhanistan, as the judge and a defense attorney clashed about rules for the proceedings. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)In this photograph of a drawing by AP sketch artist Janet Hamlin, reviewed by U.S. Military officials, Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr, left, sits alongside his defense team, left to right, Muneer Ahmad, Rick Wilson, Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, and Army Capt. John Merriam, as Vokey addresses the robed presiding officer Marine Col. Robert Chester, during a hearing inside the Military Commission, at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, Pool)

Army Capt. John Merriam, an attorney for 19-year-old Omar Khadr, asked the judge to suspend proceedings "until the government gets the rules together."

The judge, Marine Col. Robert S. Chester, said he would rule on the request after reading relevant material delivered by the defense.

Wednesday's hearing at the isolated U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was rattled by shouting and table-banging as Chester and another of Khadr's defense attorneys clashed over the lack of rules for the first military tribunals since the World War II era.

Early in the session, Khadr said he was boycotting the proceedings because he has been kept in solitary confinement since March 30. Chester berated the defense attorney, Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, for not having warned him earlier of the situation.

As the voices grew louder, Vokey banged his hand on a varnished wood table and shouted that he hadn't had an opportunity to alert the judge.

"Every time we come down here there is an incredible burden just to do my job," Vokey shouted. Chester then called a recess.

Chester said the issue of Khadr's solitary confinement would be addressed later in the week.

Khadr, who has a sparse beard and was dressed in a blue checked shirt, khaki pants and Reebok sneakers, remained in the courtroom as the pretrial hearing continued.

Late Wednesday, Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand issued a statement saying no detainees at Guantanamo Bay are put in solitary confinement but adding that detainees "in a pretrial status are separated" from the general population. Khadr was moved to a cell alone in a higher-security area for his own protection but still can see and talk to other inmates on his tier, Durand told The Associated Press.

Vokey and the judge also clashed about trial procedures to bring in a Canadian consulting attorney requested by the Toronto-born Khadr, who was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan.

Chester asked Vokey if he had filed a brief requesting a Canadian attorney as a consultant. Only lawyers who are U.S. citizens are permitted to directly participate. The judge then told Vokey that even if a brief was filed, he didn't know if he had the authority to allow a Canadian attorney into the courtroom.

"There are no rules here," Vokey retorted. "It seems kind of crazy, if the presiding officer doesn't have the authority to act on it, to go to the presiding officer."

In a separate hearing Tuesday, Chester refused to say if he would use international law, or military law or federal statutes as guidelines. The chief military prosecutor, Air Force Col. Morris Davis, later said the judge can use several standards of law "to provide a full and fair trial."

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

DemLog blogged the prior case here on Tuesday.

M.C.: What a farce! I wonder whether these military "judges" even have legal training, or are merely following orders from the commander in chief.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

 

AP: Grand jury to hear Black Congresswoman's assault charge; DeLay calls her arrogant racist

By LAURIE KELLMAN and MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer -- Wednesday, 50 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury will soon begin hearing evidence about Rep. Cynthia McKinney's run-in with a Capitol Police officer, a lawyer familiar with the case said late Wednesday.  The lawyer, who declined to be identified because of grand jury secrecy, confirmed that federal prosecutors had agreed to get involved in the case in which a black lawmaker is accused of striking a white officer after he tried to stop her from entering a House office building without going through a security checkpoint.

Rep. Cynthia McKinneyU.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said McKinney, left, turned the officer's failure to recognize her into a criminal matter when she failed to stop at his request, and then struck him.

"He reached out and grabbed her and she turned around and hit him," Gainer said on CNN. "Even the high and the haughty should be able to stop and say, 'I'm a congressman' and then everybody moves on."

"This is not about personality," added House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. "It's not about racial profiling. It's about making this place safer."

For her part, McKinney wasn't backing down from the argument. She charged anew that racism is behind what she said is a pattern of difficulty in clearing Hill security checkpoints.

"This has become much ado about hairdo," she said Wednesday on CBS' "The Early Show." McKinney, a Georgia Democrat, recently dropped her trademark cornrows in favor of a curly brown afro.

The police aren't the ones who are racist, one Republican said.  "Cynthia McKinney is a racist," Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends," a day after abandoning his reelection bid under a cloud of ethics charges. "She has a long history of racism. Everything is racism with her. This is incredible arrogance that sometimes hits these members of Congress, but especially Cynthia McKinney."

Last Wednesday's incident in a House office building has caused a commotion on Capitol Hill, where security in the era of terrorist threat is tighter than ever and where authorities had to order an evacuation just Monday because of a power outage.

Capitol Police have turned the case over to U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein, who must decide whether to clear the way for any charges against McKinney. An official in his office said no announcement was expected Wednesday.

McKinney has garnered little support among fellow Democrats in her feud with the Capitol police. No one in her party chose to join her at a news conference last Friday to discuss the situation.

Republicans, meanwhile, presented a resolution commending Capitol police for professionalism toward members of Congress and visitors — even though they "endure physical and verbal assaults in some extreme cases."

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


 

NYT: Kerry Op-Ed compares Vietnam, calls for Iraq pullout

Sen. John F. KerryOp-Ed Contributor, JOHN F. KERRY,* right, Published: April 5, 2006

Two Deadlines and an Exit

Washington -- We are now in the third war in Iraq in as many years. The first was against Saddam Hussein and his supposed weapons of mass destruction. The second was against terrorists whom, the administration said, it was better to fight over there than here. Now we find our troops in the middle of an escalating civil war.

Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion. We want democracy in Iraq, but Iraqis must want it as much as we do. Our valiant soldiers can't bring democracy to Iraq if Iraq's leaders are unwilling themselves to make the compromises that democracy requires.

As our generals have said, the war cannot be won militarily. It must be won politically. No American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi politicians refuse to resolve their ethnic and political differences.

So far, Iraqi leaders have responded only to deadlines — a deadline to transfer authority to a provisional government, and a deadline to hold three elections.

Now we must set another deadline to extricate our troops and get Iraq up on its own two feet. Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave.

If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end. Doing so will empower the new Iraqi leadership, put Iraqis in the position of running their own country and undermine support for the insurgency, which is fueled in large measure by the majority of Iraqis who want us to leave their country. Only troops essential to finishing the job of training Iraqi forces should remain.

For this transition to work, we must finally begin to engage in genuine diplomacy. We must immediately bring the leaders of the Iraqi factions together at a Dayton Accords-like summit meeting. In a neutral setting, Iraqis, working with our allies, the Arab League and the United Nations, would be compelled to reach a political agreement that includes security guarantees, the dismantling of the militias and shared goals for reconstruction.

To increase the pressure on Iraq's leaders, we must redeploy American forces to garrisoned status. Troops should be used for security backup, training and emergency response; we should leave routine patrols to Iraqi forces. Special operations against Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists in Iraq should be initiated only on hard intelligence leads.

We will defeat Al Qaeda faster when we stop serving as its best recruitment tool. Iraqis ultimately will not tolerate foreign jihadists on their soil, and the United States will be able to maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence with rapid response capacity. An exit from Iraq will also strengthen our hand in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat and allow us to repair the damage of repeated deployments, which flag officers believe has strained military readiness and morale.

For three years now, the administration has told us that terrible things will happen if we get tough with the Iraqis. In fact, terrible things are happening now because we haven't gotten tough enough. With two deadlines, we can change all that. We can put the American leadership on the side of our soldiers and push the Iraqi leadership to do what only it can do: build a democracy.

*John F. Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004.


If those links don't work, try our political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com.

 

Reuters: US uses front companies for "rendition"--Amnesty

LONDON (Reuters) - Human rights group Amnesty International accused the United States on Wednesday of using front companies to transfer individuals to countries where they have faced torture or ill-treatment.

The fresh charges come after months of allegations by campaigners who say the Central Intelligence Agency transports terrorism suspects outside normal legal channels to countries where they could be tortured under interrogation.

Washington says it does sometimes transfer suspects outside normal extradition procedures -- a practice known as rendition -- but denies sending them to countries that use torture. Amnesty said in a report it has records of nearly 1,000 flights directly linked to the CIA, mostly using European airspace, which were made by planes that appear to have been permanently operated by the CIA through front companies.

It also said it had records of about 600 other flights made by planes confirmed as having been used at least temporarily by the CIA. "The latest evidence shows how the U.S. administration is manipulating commercial arrangements in order to be able to transfer people in violation of international law," said Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan in a statement.
"It demonstrates the length to which the U.S. government will go to conceal these abductions."

Critics say it is difficult to prove what such flights were used for and point out that flights used by the CIA may have been simply carrying officials.

Amnesty said it has linked the aircraft to people who have been illegally transferred. It cites one plane known to have made over 100 stops at Guantanamo Bay. Another took suspect Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, to Egypt from Germany after he was caught in Italy, said the group.

Amnesty called on the aviation sector to take action to ensure companies do not lease their aircraft in circumstances where they may be used in renditions.

Source: Reuters.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

ABC: Tribunal Rules Questioned at Gitmo Hearing

Rules in Military Trials Questioned at Gitmo Hearing for a Suspected al-Qaida Member

By ANDREW SELSKY

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba Apr 4, 2006 (AP) -- Courtroom rules in military trials of terrorist suspects came into question Tuesday during a pretrial hearing for a suspected al-Qaida member charged in a March 2002 grenade attack that wounded three journalists in Afghanistan.

Abdul Zahir did not enter a plea, but his U.S. military defense counsel almost immediately began asking the judge, Marine Col. Robert S. Chester, what laws he would follow in presiding over the trial. The Guantanamo Bay trials held inside a cinderblock building perched on a hill on this naval base are the first U.S. military tribunals since the World War II era.

Zahir appeared relaxed during the hearing on charges that include attacking civilians, aiding the enemy and conspiracy. He stood when the judge entered the room, unlike some other detainees in pretrial hearings.
Chester refused to be pinned down by the defense on the rules for the trial.

"We will look at military criminal law and federal criminal laws and procedures," he said.
But, when pressed by the defense attorney, Army Lt. Col. Thomas Bogar, the judge would not specify which set of laws would guide the trial.

The chief military prosecutor, who cannot be identified for security reasons, told a news conference later that the judge can choose from several standards of law "to provide a full and fair trial."

But the military commission failed to provide a Farsi interpreter for Zahir and did not provide him with the charge sheet in Farsi, Zahir's native language. Military Commission officials said they did not know why an interpreter was not available and that one should have been present for use by the prosecution.

Full ABC News story.


 

OpEdNews: Progressive editor threatened by Capitol Police

Rob Kallby Rob Kall -- left

I am not a violent person. I don't advocate any violent action. But I wonder how, in Iraq, people who support the US occupation government are killed in huge numbers, and yet, how here in the US, two disgusting traitors against democracy walk free, feeling safe and secure. I repeat. I do not advocate illegal actions of any kind, and never have... in my life. But these criminals-- Harris and Blackwell should be waking up in the middle of the night, worried that if they are not successful in stealing another election, they will be brought to trial. They should be looking over their shoulders, worried that...

this section of the article was removed after I got a call from a special agent of the capitol police regarding the verbiage that had been here. Appearently the agent was contacted by Katherine Harris's office. I have written about this conversation at length, here. The short story is that the words I used have been pulled because I don't want to encourage anyone who is mentally unstable or stupid to actually act on my imaginary story. My goal was to vividly describe the idea. Apparently, my message reached congresswoman Harris's office.
....getting ready to rectify the injustice they perpetrated. I just want them to worry about it.
 
Rob Kall's full "Black November" article.

 

AP: Genocide charges for gassing Kurds added to Saddam's case

By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer -- Tuesday, 19 minutes ago

Saddam HusseinBAGHDAD, Iraq - The Iraq tribunal announced new criminal charges against Saddam Hussein, left, and six others Tuesday, accusing them of genocide and crimes against humanity stemming from a 1980s crackdown against Kurds that included the gassing of thousands of civilians.

The move, tantamount to an indictment under the Iraqi legal system, paves the way for a second trial of the ousted ruler. Saddam already is being tried in the killings of more than 140 Shiites in a town north of Baghdad.

Under Iraqi law, the second trial could begin in at least 45 days.  Investigative judge Raid Juhi said the charges against Saddam and the others had been filed with another judge, who will review the evidence and order a trial date.

The new case involves Saddam's role in Operation Anfal, a three-phase move against Kurds in northern Iraq in the late 1980s. Anfal included the March 16 gas attack on the village of Halabja in which 5,000 people, including women and children, died.

Human rights groups consider the Halabja attack one of the gravest atrocities allegedly committed by Saddam's regime.  "These people were subjected to forced displacement and illegal detentions," Judge Juhi said. "They were placed in different detention centers. The villages were destroyed and burned. Homes and houses of worshippers and buildings of civilians were leveled without reason or a military requirement."

Others accused in the Anfal case include Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan Majid, or "Chemical Ali"; former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad; former intelligence chief Saber Abdul Aziz al-Douri; former Republican Guard commander Hussein al-Tirkiti; former Nineveh provincial Gov. Taher Tafwiq al-Ani; and former top military commander Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


 

AP: DeLay to resign from Congress - April 4

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent -- Tuesday, 36 minutes ago

DeLay, speaking to the Heritage Foundation last year in this file photoWASHINGTON - Succumbing to scandal, former Majority Leader Tom Delay, shown at right speaking to the Heritage Foundation last year in this file photo, intends to resign from Congress within weeks, closing out a career that blended unflinching conservatism with a bare-knuckled political style.

Republican officials said Monday night they expect the Texan to quit his seat later this spring. He was first elected in 1984, and conceded he faced a difficult race for re-election.

"He has served our nation with integrity and honor," said Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who succeeded DeLay in his leadership post earlier this year.

But Democrats said the developments marked more than the end to one man's career in Congress.

"Tom DeLay's decision to leave Congress is just the latest piece of evidence that the Republican Party is a party in disarray, a party out of ideas and out of energy," said Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

A formal announcement of DeLay's plans was expected Tuesday at a news conference in Houston.

DeLay has consistently denied all charges of wrongdoing, and he capped a triumph in a contested GOP primary earlier this year with a vow to win re-election.

In an interview Monday with The Galveston County Daily News in Texas, DeLay said his change of mind was based partly on a poll taken after the March Republican primary that showed him only narrowly ahead of Democrat Nick Lampson.

"Even though I thought I could win, it was a little too risky," the paper quoted him as saying.

In a separate interview with Time Magazine, DeLay says he plans to make his Virginia condominium his primary residence, a step that will disqualify him from the ballot in Texas and permit GOP officials there to field a replacement candidate. "I can do more on the outside of the House than I can on the inside right now. I want to continue to fight for the conservative cause. I want to continue to work for a Republican majority," DeLay told the magazine for its online edition.

It was not clear Monday night whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry would call a special election to fill out the unexpired portion of DeLay's term, or whether the seat would remain vacant until it is filled in November.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Marcus Comton
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

Monday, April 03, 2006

 

AP: Rice & Straw lobby Iraqis for strong leadership

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer -- Monday, 17 minutes ago

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, left, and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw speak at a joint press briefing Monday April 3, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq.  Straw and Rice both acknowledged that the Iraqis had made progress in building a democratic system after decades of Saddam Hussein's tyranny, economic sanctions and conflict but said  that it was now crucial that they move forward quickly to ensure the nominations of the senior positions.(AP Photo/Mohammed Hato)BAGHDAD, Iraq - Secretary of State Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, left, said Monday that while it is up to the Iraqi people to chose their own leaders, the international backers who have spent blood and money to end a dictatorship here have a right to expect that it will happen quickly.

Neither Rice nor Straw pointed to any specific accomplishment from a day and a half spent huddling with nearly all of Iraq's squabbling factions. But they said their message that Iraq must quickly form a government of national unity got through.

"We are entitled to say that whilst it is up to you, the Iraqis, to say who will fill these positions, someone must fill these positions and fill them quickly," Straw told reporters at a news conference.

"There is no doubt the political vacuum that is here at the moment is not assisting the security situation," Straw said.

Rice said the troubles in Iraq called for a strong leader who could help unify the people of this war-ravaged land.

But, she added, "It's not our job to say who that person ought to be."

Rice said the quick formation of a new government "is something that the international community has a right to expect."

"You cannot have a circumstance in which there is a political vacuum in a country like this that faces so much threat of violence," Rice said.

Full AP-Yahoo News story, posted by Marcus Comton. M.C.: What about Saddam Hussein? He kept them unified for 2 decades.

MComton@DemProg.us
political blog:
http://demlog.blogspot.com


 

AP: Iraq violence escalates - April 3

By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writer -- Monday, 10 minutes ago

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two car bombs exploded in Baghdad on Monday, killing a bystander and wounding half a dozen others. Gunmen shot down six people, including a child, in a market area of the southern city of Basra, police said.

An Iraqi man looks out over a bloody puddle at the site of a car bomb Monday April 3, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq.  Two car bombs exploded in Baghdad on Monday, killing a bystander and wounding half a dozen others as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw urged Iraqi leaders to form a government as soon as possible to curb the bloodshed and rein in sectarian militias behind much of the country's violence.(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)An Iraqi man looks out over a bloody puddle at the site of a car bomb Monday in Baghdad, right, as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw urged Iraqi leaders to form a government as soon as possible to curb the bloodshed and rein in sectarian militias behind much of the country's violence. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims has escalated since the Feb. 22 bombing of an important Shiite shrine in Samarra.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.


Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
new email: LawMed@Haigler.Clearwire.net
or old: Dave@Haigler.Info
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info



If those links don't work, try our political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com.

 

Times: Leaked UK memo says Iraq inspired terrorist backlash

Iraq terror backlash in UK 'for years'

by David Leppard, of
London Times Online

SPY chiefs have warned UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, below left, that the war in Iraq has made Britain the target of a terror campaign by Al-Qaeda that will last "for many years to come."

Tony BlairA leaked top-secret memo from the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) says the war in Iraq has "exacerbated" the threat by radicalising British Muslims and attracting new recruits to anti-western terror attacks.

The four-page memo, entitled International Terrorism: Impact of Iraq, contradicts Blair's public assurances by concluding that the invasion of Iraq has fomented a jihad or holy war against Britain.

It states: "It has reinforced the determination of terrorists who were already committed to attacking the West and motivated others who were not."

It adds: "Iraq is likely to be an important motivating factor for some time to come in the radicalisation of British Muslims and for those extremists who view attacks against the UK as legitimate."

The memo was approved by Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, John Scarlett, the chief of MI6, and Sir David Pepper, head of GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping centre.

The leak of the JIC's official assessment -- marked "top secret" -- will alarm Blair as it appears to be directed at undermining the public statements in which he has denied that the war in Iraq has increased the terror threat from Al-Qaeda.

In a speech shortly after the London bombings last July, Blair blamed an "evil ideology", not the war, for motivating the suicide bombers. He said: "If it is Iraq that motivates them, why is the same ideology killing Iraqis by terror in defiance of an elected government?" In a separate speech he dismissed claims that the London attacks were sparked by Iraq, saying: "What they want us to do is to turn round and say, 'Oh it's all our fault'."

He added: "The people who are responsible for terrorist attacks are terrorists."

At the same time Charles Clarke, the home secretary, accused those who said that the attacks were caused by the war of "serious intellectual flabbiness".

The JIC report contradicts these ministerial statements. It says: "There is a clear consensus within the UK extremist community that Iraq is a legitimate jihad and should be supported. Iraq has re-energised and refocused a wide range of networks in the UK."

Written in April last year and circulated to Blair and other senior ministers before the July attacks, it says: "We judge that the conflict in Iraq has exacerbated the threat from international terrorism and will continue to have an impact in the long term. It has reinforced the determination of terrorists who were already committed to attacking the West and motivated others who were not."

The document says the war is providing an "additional motivation for attacks" against Britain; is "increasing Al-Qaeda's potential"; and "energising" terrorist networks engaged in holy war. Equally worrying, Iraq is being used as a "training ground and base" for terrorists to return to carry out attacks in Britain and elsewhere.

The JIC is the senior intelligence body in Britain and is responsible for issuing assessments of the gravity of threats to Britain's national security.

Full London Times Online story.


Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
new email:
LawMed@Haigler.Clearwire.net
or old:
Dave@Haigler.Info
lawfirm webpage:
www.haigler.info
political blog:
http://demlog.blogspot.com

Sunday, April 02, 2006

 

AP: Freed reporter reunited with family in Boston

By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer -- Sunday, 21 minutes ago

28-year-old U.S. journalist Jill Carroll walks away after she landed at the U.S. Airbase in Ramstein, southwestern Germany, Saturday, April 1, 2006. Carroll was a hostage in Iraq for 82 days and was released last Thursday. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)BOSTON - Journalist Jill Carroll, right, was back on U.S. soil Sunday, tearfully embracing her parents and twin sister after 82 days as a hostage in Iraq that she said gave her a deep appreciation for the myriad simple joys of freedom.

"I finally feel like I am alive again. I feel so good," Carroll said. "To be able to step outside anytime, to feel the sun directly on your face -- to see the whole sky. These are luxuries that we just don't appreciate every day."

The 28-year-old Christian Science Monitor reporter arrived at Boston's Logan International Airport just after noon, and was quickly driven away in a police-escorted limousine to the newspaper's headquarters.

She didn't step out into public view, but reports on the Monitor's Web site, along with photos, showed a joyful and tearful reunion with her parents and twin sister.

Carroll has said her kidnappers confined her to a small, soundproof room with frosted windows before she was released Thursday after nearly three months in captivity.

She was seized Jan. 7 in one of Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods, near where a Sunni Arab official had agreed to meet her for an interview that never took place. The gunmen who abducted her killed her Iraqi translator.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
new email: LawMed@Haigler.Clearwire.net
or old: Dave@Haigler.Info
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

WaPo: Attacking Iran May Trigger Terrorism

U.S. Experts Wary of Military Action Over Nuclear Program

By Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writer -- Sunday, April 2, 2006; Page A01

As tensions increase between the United States and Iran, U.S. intelligence and terrorism experts say they believe Iran would respond to U.S. military strikes on its nuclear sites by deploying its intelligence operatives and Hezbollah teams to carry out terrorist attacks worldwide.

Official photo of Henry A. Crumpton, Coordinator for CounterterrorismThe Iranian government views the Islamic Jihad, the name of Hezbollah's terrorist organization, "as an extension of their state. . . . operational teams could be deployed without a long period of preparation," said Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, left, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism.

Iran would mount attacks against U.S. targets inside Iraq, where Iranian intelligence agents are already plentiful, predicted these experts. There is also a growing consensus that Iran's agents would target civilians in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, they said.

U.S. officials would not discuss what evidence they have indicating Iran would undertake terrorist action, but the matter "is consuming a lot of time" throughout the U.S. intelligence apparatus, one senior official said. "It's a huge issue," another said.

Citing prohibitions against discussing classified information, U.S. intelligence officials declined to say whether they have detected preparatory measures, such as increased surveillance, counter-surveillance or message traffic, on the part of Iran's foreign-based intelligence operatives.

But terrorism experts considered Iranian-backed or controlled groups -- namely the country's Ministry of Intelligence and Security operatives, its Revolutionary Guards and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah -- to be better organized, trained and equipped than the al-Qaeda network that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Full Washington Post story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
new email:
LawMed@Haigler.Clearwire.net
or old: Dave@Haigler.Info
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

 

DH: Abilene Dems pick up trash

Becky & Stan picking up trashAbilene, April 2 -- Saturday morning Taylor County Democrats were out in force at I-20 Exit 277 north of the Flying J picking up their 2 miles of trash.  Becky Haigler & Stan Treanor, right, are shown doing their thing.  It is a tribute to their self-actualized status that their headgear are not fashion statements.  (Click on any picture to enlarge.)
 
The nasty rumor that we go out there solely to eat was vigorously denied by county chair Dave Haigler.  "That is another Republican lie," Haigler said, "to round out their lies on tort reform, abortion, and Iraq." 
 
Dems picnic at Flyng J after trash pickupDemocrats enjoying the picnic after the trash pickup are shown at left.  "However, the eating wasn't too bad," Club President Roger Spier said.  "We have Harold Christian of Harold's BBQ to thank for the food left over from the county convention last weekend." 
 
DH w muffler & bags of trash"It's amazing what some people will throw away," Haigler said.  "Here's a perfectly good muffler someone threw away (shown at right, next to all the bags of trash we picked up).  I may buy me a pickup to go with this muffler.  Can't let something like that go to waste." 
 
"Actually, that's him sucking in his gut," Becky said.  "A few seconds longer and he'd have passed out."
 
"Whatever!  Can't let a good story go to waste either," Dave said. 
 
Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
new email: LawMed@Haigler.Clearwire.net
or old: Dave@Haigler.Info
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info

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