Saturday, July 30, 2005

Here Comes the Recessive UN Ambassador, the Epitome of the Mayberry Machiavellies

I am the WALRUS or Lewis Carroll=Nostradamus (none / 1)

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

My Name is John Bolton, and I'm Here to Stop The Diplomacy

Fri Jul 29th, 2005 at 20:27:32 PDT

It's been a long, winding road of "misstatements", forged intelligence, botched diplomacy, and spectacular tales of obsessive "kick-down" middle management vengeance, but it's looking like a recess appointment of John Bolton as America's U.N. Ambassador is likely to happen in the next few days. Current reports are citing officials inside the White House saying Bush wants to get it over with before he leaves for his summer vacation. (No, I'm not kidding. It's like he's a kid packing for camp or something.)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

If North Korean Terrorists Attack U.S., Cheney Will Nuke Iran

Justin Logan excerpts an article that's apparently in the print issue of The American Conservative:
The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Thanks to

Friday, July 22, 2005

Johnny Bolton & Judy Miller, Up in a Tree, L-E-A-K-I-N-G

SCOOP from

John Bolton Was Regular Source for Judith Miller WMD and National Security Reporting.

TWN has just learned from a highly placed source -- and in the right place to know -- that John Bolton was a regular source for Judith Miller's New York Times WMD and national security reports.

The source did not have any knowledge on whether Bolton was one of Miller's sources on the Valerie Plame story she was preparing, but argues that he was a regular source otherwise.

It's all "thickening."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Here's what one of the judges (4.00 / 5)

that ruled against Cooper and Miller wrote:

Applying this standard to the facts of this case, and considering first only the public record, I have no doubt that the leak at issue was a serious matter. Authorized "to investigate and prosecute violations of any federal criminal laws related to the underlying alleged unauthorized disclosure, as well as federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to intefere with, [Fitzegerald's] investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses..."

Concurring opinion of Judge Tatel, United States Court of Appeal, District of Columbia Circuit ruling against Miller in Cooper on February 15, 2005.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

When They Ask You Why We Died, Tell Them That Our Fathers Lied -- Rudyard Kipling

A variety of emotions wash over me as I reflect on our Iraq war: Disbelief at the length of time it took to call an insurgency by its name. Alarm at our continuing failure to promote at wartime speed the colonels and generals who have a talent for fighting it, while also failing to sweep aside those who do not. Incredulity at seeing decorations pinned on the chests and promotions on the shoulders of senior leaders -- both civilians and military -- who had the helm when things went badly wrong. Disdain for the general who thinks Job One is simply whacking the bad guys and who, ever conscious of public relations, cannot admit that American soldiers have tortured prisoners or, in panic, killed innocent civilians. Contempt for the ghoulish glee of some who think they were right in opposing the war, and for the blithe disregard of the bungles by some who think they were right in favoring it. A desire -- barely controlled -- to slap the highly educated fool who, having no soldier friends or family, once explained to me that mistakes happen in all wars, and that the casualties are not really all that high and that I really shouldn't get exercised about them.
The above is from an article by Eliot Cohen in the Washington Post today (7/10/05). Cohen, a military historian and a rabid neo-conservative, was one of the founding members of the Project for a New American Century and one of the architech's of their plan for Total US World Dominance, the plan which Bush and his top thugs have been trying to carry out, starting with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Funny, I guess when Cohen found out his soldier son was about to be shipped to Iraq to fight, he got a bit concerned about the incompetents who are running this war. He still supports the idea of invading Iraq, he's just critical of how it's being carried out.

If all their sons and daughters had to go to risk their lives in Iraq, this war would never have been started.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its order refusing to review the Federal District Court's orders to Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper to testify before the grand jury investigating the the illegal disclosure of an undercover CIA agent's identity, now known as the
"Plame" case.

Miller now faces jail if she persists in refusing to testify concerning information she presumbably received from Bush Administration operatives that former ambassador Joe Wilson's wife was an undercover CIA agent. Miller refused to testify on the grounds that, as a journalist, she was priviledged to refuse to disclose her sources.

There is no absolute privilege protecting journalists from disclosing their sources. It is only a "quasi-priviledge". Generally, in a routine civil case, to obtain testimony or evidence from a journalist who claims priviledge, the party requesting the journalist's evidence must show that either that the information sought cannot be obtained from any other source or that reasonable efforts to obtain the evidence elsewhere have been fruitless, further efforts would be unduly burdensome, and that the requested evidence is material to a substantial issue in dispute in the case.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has likely made the required representations to the trial court to justify calling Miller and Cooper as a witness; the details are unknown as his affidavit is sealed.

The Federal District judge ordered Miller to testify before the grand jury or he would put her in jail. She refused, claiming the journalists' priviledge and appealed his order to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals upheld his order and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the lower courts' decisions, leaving Miller to face jail unless she decides to testify.

This Special Prosecutor's case against Miller seems odd because Robert Novak, not Judith Miller, was the journalist who initially received the embargoed information on Wilson's wife. Novak, not Miller, is the one who wrote the nationally syndicated column which disclosed Plame's status as a CIA "operative", thus destroying her "cover".

Novak wrote the story by way of attacking Joe Wilson, demeaning him, and reducing his credibility by asserting that Wilson only got the Niger trip thanks to his wife who was a "CIA operative". He suggested that CIA agent Plame was guilty of nepotism for sending her ex-ambassador husband to Niger to investigate a putative uranium sale to Iraq.

("This Joe Wilson is just an unemployed has been who used his wife to get him a job. He's just living off of her. Don't believe anything he says about Niger or uranium. He's not a physicist, what does he know?" That was the song that Karl Rove composed, the anonymous "senior White House officials" put to music and gave to Novak to sing. Novak sang loud, but was way off tune.)

Ambassador Wilson, having once been a diplomat in Niger, knew all the key political and business folks there, and spoke fluent French, the lingua franca of Niger. Wilson, who had been honored by the first President George Bush for his heroism in protecting American citizens in Iraq at the onset of the first Iraq war and who was formerly the American Ambassador to the African state of Gabon, was willing to go to Niger for nothing, and was more than qualified for the assignment of tracking down whether or not yellow cake uranium had been sold to Saddam.

Wilson was not given any of the documents which supposedly proved that Saddam had bought uranium from Niger, but was told that they existed. The documents were later proved to be forgeries. Given his diplomatic knowledge of the country and his fluency in French, it is highly likely Wilson would have discovered that the documents were forgeries as soon as he read them, had he been given them to read. He wasn't.

Wilson's investigation in Niger revealed that the mining of uranium was under the strict control of a multi-national governmental consortium, not the Niger government. The consortium kept almost minute by minute track of all the uranium mined and where and how it was shipped out of Niger and delivered to its owners' countries. Iraq was not an owner nor a designated recipient.

All of the government and business officials Wilson spoke with denied that it would have been possible to sell Saddam uranium "under the counter", especially as Iraq was under strict UN sanctions and continuous US surveillance at the time. The then U.S. Ambassador to Niger, Barbro Fitzpatrick, had also investigated the uranium sales claims and reported to Washington that they were baseless. A U.S. General sent to Niger for the same purpose before Wilson's visit also concluded that the claim was false.

To top it all off, Wilson learned that Saddam already had an large supply of yellow cake uranium, purchased in the 1980's, and would not need to buy more.

Wilson received only expenses for the trip, no consultant fees, and five days schlepping around sub-Saharan Niger would not be most anyone's idea of a "plum" assignment; it was certainly not worthy of a nepotism charge. The CIA expressly denied that Valerie Plame Wilson had any authority in Wilson's selection for the Niger investigation.

When Wilson returned from Niger, he duly reported to the CIA that it was highly unlikely that Saddam had purchased any yellow cake uranium from Niger since the 1980's. He assumed his conclusions were then reported, as was normal protocol, to Vice President Cheney, the person who had asked the CIA for more information on the alleged Niger purchases in the first place.

Ambassador Wilson was shocked when he heard President Bush, in his State of the Union Address in January of 2003, announce that Britain had proof that Saddam had purchased uranium "from Africa". ("Be vague, no one will notice," Rove probably said.)

Weeks after Bush's speech, the International Atomic Energy Agency which had been requesting the documentation supporting the U.S.'s Niger purchase charge since December, 2002, was finally given the documents which purported to recite the uranium purchases.

Virtually within hours of receiving the documents, the IAEACommission established that they were forgeries, and very crude forgeries at that. The Niger official signing the documents had been out of office for several years before the sales documents purporting to bear his signature were supposedly signed. Several official names were misspelled as were a number of French words.

The documents had been given to the American embassy in Rome by an Italian journalist who had received them from an individual with past connections to the Italian equivalent of the American CIA. The journalist later learned that the Rome offices of the Niger embassy had been burgularized a few months before; nothing of value appeared to have been stolen. It is quite likely that what was stolen were some documents and the official Niger stationary used to forge the uranium sales documents.

At one point the Bush administration tried to blame the French for the forged documents. Totally unfair. If intensely francophone France had forged the documents, they would have spelled the French words right. Despite access to the most sophisticated document examination technology in the world, the Bush government has seemingly made no effort to trace the provenance of the forged documents.

For some unfortunate reason, Ambassador Wilson did not immediately inform the world that President Bush's allegations about Saddam having purchased uranium from Niger were false. The Iraq invasion was a fait accompli when he wrote an op ed article in the NY Times in early July of 2003, exposing the falsehood.

For some odd reason -- perhaps Bush, Rice and Rove were all suffering from jet lag that day -- the Bush administration actually admitted that they made a mistake by putting the " uranium was purchased from Africa" claim in the State of the Union speech. (Some unfortunate underling of the terrible triumverate probably got fired for accidentally telling the truth that day.)

The Bush administration, however inadvertently, publicly admitted their mistake, but were enraged at Wilson for revealing the fact that he had warned them about the falsity of the Niger uranium purchase claim at least a year before the President's 2003 State of the Union speech.

Wilson's NY Times article, "What I Didn't Find in Africa" of July 6, 2003, about his February, 2002 trip to Niger, also established that the U.S. ambassador to Niger, Fitzpatrick, had also previously warned Washington that the uranium claim was false. CIA director Tenet later revealed that he had personally warned Bush's national security staff to remove the reference to the uranium purchase from a Bush speech in October, 2002.

Bush operatives proceeded to denigrate Wilson and his qualifications for the Niger investigation, accusing him of being a liberal and a partisan Democrat, although he was on record as having made contributions to Republicans as well as Democrats. As a part of the orchestrated take down of Wilson, one or more Bush officials told journalist Robert Novak that Wilson's wife was a CIA "operative" who had gotten Wilson the job, an attempt to taint Wilson and his wife with a nepotism charge.

Novack, being the oily, Bush sycophant that he is, first tried to get the CIA to admit that Wilson's wife was the CIA operative who got Wilson the Niger job. His source in the CIA urged him not to publish Ms. Plame's CIA affiliation, but he ignored the warning, and laid the whole ugly smear out in his nationally syndicated column.

The disclosure of the identity of a undercover CIA agent by someone who was officially authorized to receive that information and who knew that the named individual was an undercover agent whose identity was being concealed by the government, is a felony under the Federal Intelligence Identities Protection Act, punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Some might call disclosure of an undercover agent's identity treason. (In fact, President Bush's father did call it treason. The senior Bush, a former CIA director, pushed for passage of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in response to ex-CIA agent Phillip Agee's 1975 book which intentionally disclosed the names of a number of active CIA agents.). Novak, however, likely could not be convicted under that statute because he was not someone who learned that information in an official, authorized capacity. He learned it from an official Bush administration leaker. It's the Bush leakers who could face the ten years in jail.

Novak was not the only journalist who was told about Valerie Plame Wilson's occupation. Karl Rove personally called at least one other journalist to spread the tale, saying that Wilson's wife "was fair game". That journalist immediately called Joe Wilson and told him what Rove had said, which prompted Wilson to say that he looked forward to seeing Karl Rove "being frog marched" out of the White House to jail.

While that might be an idyllic conclusion to the reign of Karl Rove in the Bush White House, there is a catch. If Karl Rove had told journalists that Wilson's wife was an undercover CIA agent after that information had already been published by Novak, then her identity was no longer secret and arguably he couldn't then be charged with unlawfully disclosing it. He certainly can be charged with being a scurrilous miscreant, but he wears that charge like a badge of honor.

Someone from the Bush administration called Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper and told them about Valerie Plame's occupation as well. Miller did not write a story about it,, but the issue of who called her and when is definitely of major importance in Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald's investigation. Cooper did write about it, but long after Novak's piece was published.

Cooper, who works for Time Magazine. has likely been taken off the hook of the testifying dilemna, by Time, Inc., which has announced that Time will turn Cooper's notes and his editor's notes over to the grand jury. Time, Inc. believes that turning over the notes will absolve Cooper from having to testify.

Judith Miller's employer, the New York Times, on the other hand, has announced that it will defend Miller's privilege against disclosure, at least for the time being.

This is not a very strong case for defending the journalist's privilege as the act of disclosing the information to Miller is potentially a felony. If she was an actual witness to a felony or has evidence of one, her information is not priviledged. It may be that Fitzpatrick is no longer looking for proof of the disclosure, but for evidence that one or more witnesses lied when questioned by his investigators or the grand jury. Her information could yield evidence of perjury or an obstruction of justice, even if the violation of the Intelligence Identities Act cannot be proved. (Ask Martha Stewart about the downside of lying to a federal investigator, the only safe way to talk to a federal investigator is to say nothing at all -- just mime your name and home address and keep smiling.)

It's curious that Miller, who dutifully published every lying word which flowed from exiled Iraqi Ahmed Chalabi's lips about the phony existence and locations of all Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction , did not choose to publish the information she received from the Plame informant. (Good heavens, did Miller actually try to confirm the verisimilitude of her informant and fail? Or was she simply extending professional courtesy to Plame, fearing that she herself might one day be outed at the Times as an undercover agent for the Project for a New American Century's neo-conservative cabal?)

The federal District Court judge will likely give Miller the opportunity to change her mind and decide to testify before actually locking her, but she can always get out. This will be a civil (and dignified, no doubt) contempt proceeding.

In civil contempt, the recalcitrant contemnor is seen as "having the key to her jail cell in her own pocket". She can get herself out of jail by agreeing to testify. Once she testifies fully and honestly, she is free, no criminal conviction attaches. Usually, she can only be held in jail for the duration of the term of the grand jury before which she refused to testify. But the prosecutor may then convene a new grand jury, subpoena her again, and if she refuses to testify, its back to jail for the term of the second grand jury, etc.

Of course, if she lies and is proven to have lied, she can be convicted of perjury. If she steadfastly refuses to testify, it is possible that the prosecutor could bring obstruction of justice charges, but he would have have to prove that a crime took place and that she witnessed it or had material evidence concerning its commission which she refused to disclose. That could be difficult to prove if her evidence is the only proof of a crime and she chooses jail rather than testifying.

The federal judge hearing the contempt case has said that Judith Miller can be jailed for up to 120 days unless she uses her key to the jail cell and agrees to testify.

The nice thing about Judith Miller's civil contempt proceeding is that, to the best of my research, a civil contempt proceeding does not constitute "an offense against the United States" and thus cannot be the subject of a presidential pardon or commutation. No criminal conviction or determinate sentence results from a civil contempt order. While Tom Delay and the Republican Schiavoites have threatened to defund the courts they don't like and to restrict the jurisdiction of others, they haven't dared to actually try it yet.

The contempt powers of a court are such a fundamental part of judicial authority, that any attempt at a presidential "cancellation" of a civil contempt proceeding would likely cause a unified and overwhelming uprising of the federal bench.. Imagine hundreds of those normally austere, black robed federal judges staging a mass march on the White House to arrest the president. Indeed, President Bush might find himself in jail for criminal contempt-- with a long determinate sentence -- if he tries it.

Of course, Bush can always order Attorney General Gonzales to fire Prosectutor Fitzpatrick. That happened once before, it was called the Saturday Night Massacre. Nixon lost quite a few troops in that fight.

The disclosure of Plame's identity and the name of the "cover" energy corporation for which she was "employed" was not merely a technical criminal act, it may have gotten people Plame was working with jailed or even killed.

Minimally, everyone else working for her outed energy company will hence forward be tagged as CIA staff. Their future careers as undercover agents are likely destroyed.

It has been reported that Plame's undercover work was in the area of stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. President Bush told us that stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was so vital to American security that we had to invade Iraq to stop Saddam from giving his weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

In taking their petulent revenge against Ambassador Wilson for pulling the covers on their phoney "Saddam bought uranium from Niger" claim, Bush administration officials destroyed an intelligence operation that may have been critical to U.S. security. I think that qualifies as treason, but Bush was insufficiently worried about have a traitor among his senior officials that he didn't even bother to conduct his own investigation to identify those responsible for the illegal disclosures. So we are all left to guess -- until Miller and Cooper relent --as to who the culprits could be.

Some say that an Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (officially tasked with trying to halt the proliferation of nuclear weapons) might be a prime candidate. He certainly could have known that Plame was an undercover CIA agent working on WMD proliferation issues. His first deputy was actually still working for the CIA while he worked for the under secretary at the State Department.

Or could it be the guy who got the head of the UN's Chemical Weapons commission fired because he wanted to send his inspectors to Iraq in 2002 to check for chemical weapons? He couldn't allow that, the chemical inspectors might have found no chemical weapons in Iraq, and that would have thrown a monkey wrench in Bush's plan to invade Iraq because it had chemical weapons.

Or maybe it's the same guy who tried to get the head of the Atomic Energy Inspection Agency fired? After all, the AEIA's nuclear weapons inspectors dared to say that there weren't any nuclear weapons in Iraq. That did not exactly comport with Bush's justification for invading Iraq because it had nuclear weapons that it was about to give to Al Qaeda terrorists.

Or maybe it was guy who tried to get the CIA analyst fired for disagreeing with his factually unsupported charges that Cuba was rife with biological and chemical weapons which it intended to use against the U.S.?

Or maybe it was the guy who chased the female AID worker around the hotel and kept pounding on her door because she criticized the company he worked for? Then he falsely told her co-workers that she was about to get charged with fraud for mismanaging project money? Would a guy that crazy out a CIA agent for spite?

Or maybe it was the guy who refused to allow the Justice Department lawyer to take maternity leave when her baby was born?

Or maybe it was the under secretary guy from the State Department who was both a bully and a sycophant, one who reportedly "kissed up and kicked down" much like his life-long friend, Robert Novak, who "sucks up and smears down".

If it was that under secretary John Bolton guy, the one who President Bush nominated for the Ambassadorship to the United Nations, it would be nice to know that before he gets there.

If he gets there, the UN better keep demolition experts on duty as security guards 24/7. If Bolton gets pissed at somebody high up in the UN, he's liable to blow up the top ten floors of the UN building. That would be "no loss" according to Bolton.

Do you suppose that President Bush actually nominated a guy who committed treason to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations? It's definitely possible. I guess that after a president has committed treason himself by taking his country into an illegal war based on deliberate lies, placing a traitorous co-conspirator at the UN seems like a pretty minor play.

I used to think that no president could be more criminal than Nixon. He bombed two countries we weren't at war with and orchestrated surveillance burglaries at the psychiatrists' offices and that of Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate, the word which became synonymous with political corruption. But, considering what Bush has managed to accomplish in corrupt in less than five years, I was wrong. Nixon's crimes were definitely bush league compared to Bush.

With apologies to Judith Miller, it is certainly time for the fat lady to sing.


"outing" of CIA operative Plame by Bush administration officials in retailiation for her husband's NY Times article contesting Bush's allegation that Iraq had been trying to purchase uranium from Niger

Thank Goodness for Krugman and Herbert at the NY Times

Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert's honest and accurate descriptions of the American debacle in Iraq almost make up for the duplicity of Judith Miller's front page war mongering for the Bush Administration by channeling the trickster exile, Chalabi.

Krugman (NY Times, 7/1/05) is right, the sooner US troops leave Iraq, the fewer terrorists will be created and trained. The Al Qaeda kidnappers of two French journalists told them before their release that Al Qaeda was voting Bush-Cheney in 2004. Al Qaeda knew that, with Bush in office, they would never need to give out $40,000 bonuses to get their new recruits.

The sooner US troops leave Iraq, the sooner that devastated country will be able to repair their electrical, water and sewerage systems without getting shot or blown up in the process.

Iraq cannot resurrect the hundred thousand or more civilians killed in Bush's illegal war, but perhaps they could then be given a decent burial.

A fitting memorial gift to their dead would be Articles of impeachment and Senate removal of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Hopefully that would save lives in Syria and Iran too, which seem to be the new targets of choice of the neo-conservative oil robbers.