Monday, March 31, 2008

New Hampshire meeting on 14th for impeachment vote on 16th: Please help!

Hi Impeachment People:

1) First, a message from Harold Burbank about organizing to get HR 24,
the bill to impeach Bush and Cheney, passed in the New Hampshire

2) Then a note from me about it.


1) Here's Harold:

"Ladies and Gentlemen:

New Hampshire State Representative Betty Hall, age 87, Brookline, NH, is
fighting to save the nation from the Bush-Cheney cabal and return us to
constitutional democracy, with her bill, HR 24, to the NH State House, to
impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. If passed on 4-16-08,
when it is scheduled for vote before the entire NH House, the bill will go
under state seal, without need of governor signature, to the US House for
review, demanding in the name of New Hampshire's people that Congress begin
impeachment hearings immediately for Bush-Cheney high crimes against the
Constitution, the American people, and humanity.

I am writing to you because I know that you are patriots. Betty Hall is
fighting for us, and more importantly, for our children, and theirs. Betty
needs our help. Accordingly, on Monday, 4-14-08, the New England
impeachment community has organized an HR 24 lobbying and rally forum,

Daniel Ellsberg, Vietnam War Era Icon, Who Saved
Countless US, Vietnamese and Other Lives By Releasing the Pentagon Papers

Ramsey Clark, Former US Attorney General Under President
Lyndon Johnson

Dr. Robert Bowman, Former Director of the "Star Wars"
Space Weapon Program, Now Its Most Ardent Critic

Other Renowned Public Fugures Committed to our
Constitution and Peace in Our World

When: Monday, April 14, 2008, 3 PM to 11 PM
Where: Capital Center for the Arts, 44 S, Main Street,
Concord, NH
Purpose: To lobby uncommitted NH lawmakers to vote for
HR 24, and to rally North East supporters of impeachment

All NH legislators will be invited to meet and greet our special guests from
3 to 6 PM. The public is invited too. You are invited, and encouraged to
bring your families and friends to meet Drs. Ellsberg and Bowman, Ramsey
Clark, and other writers, scholars, poets, actors, thinkers and activists
for impeachment. Starting at At 7 PM, there will be a "Rally for
Impeachment" in the main thater (1309 seats), when special guests will make
speeches, music will be played, and solidarity for impeachment to save the
nation and the planet will be enhanced.

We also need your financial support. Deeply dedicated activists have
generously underwritten this event. Some guests are appearing free of
We are seeking immediate donations to be sure that our funding is adequate,
and if possible, so that current underwriters can be reimbursed. A $10 fee
may be charged at the door for this purpose.

Please call or email me with questions: 860-693-2687,

NH and Betty Hall can change history on 4-16-08 by passing the first state
House Bush-Cheney bill of impeachment. I hope that you will all join us in
Concord on 4-14-08, or donate as you can to this necessary effort for our
children's futures.


Harold Burbank
For NH State Rep. Betty Hall, and her HR 24, a bill to impeach Bush-Cheney
for crimes against the Constitution and humanity

Attorney Harold H. Burbank, II
84 N. Mountain Rd.
Canton, CT 06019

2) Here's me:

"Getting an impeachment bill passed in New Hampshire is, so far, the
quickest route to impeachment we've got. Please help.

A number of people are making extraordinary efforts for this. Ramsey
Clark is in Nepal until April 12 observing the Nepalese elections.
He's flying back directly to Concord to speak at this meeting on the
14th—and has to cross 10 time zones. How many 80-year-olds do you know
who would do that to get to a meeting? Robert Bowman is coming up from
Florida. He has cancer. Daniel Ellsberg is 77 next Monday. None of
them has any obligation to do this; none of them is paid for their

Because there has been just two weeks' notice for the vote on April
16, the organizers of this event have had to rent an auditorium,
invite speakers, buy airline tickets for them, and contact media—all
out of their own pockets. Harold Burbank has had no time for his own
congressional campaign and not time to earn his living. Susan Serpa
herself took out a $6000 loan to be able to fund the necessities, and
it's not enough. On Tuesday she'll have to pay another $1500 to $3140
to secure the hall. Then the plane tickets will have to be purchased.

We have to chip in some money for it to happen; we can't leave her
with all the debt. We've got to find out how to get as many of New
Hampshire's 400 representatives into one room to hear the most
experienced, most responsible, and smartest people who can make the
compelling case for impeachment. Let the reps ask every question they
can imagine of the people who can give the best answers.

Please, let's do OUR part.

Send donations via PayPal to:
or mail check payable to N.E.I.C. at:
Northeast Impeachment Coalition
c/o Susan Serpa
10 Cascade Road
Worcester, MA 01602-4101

Richard Duffee

Thursday, March 20, 2008

We can help eliminate the "spoiler" problem: Instant runoff voting has a chance in Vermont!--and could HERE!

Hi Impeachment People and Greens:
If the Democrats--or the Republicans--want to call Nader or Greens or
Libertarians spoilers, it'e only because the Democrats and Republicans
want to exclude everybody else. The Democrats and Republicans clearly
have it in their power to eliminate the spoiler issue by adopting
Instant Runoff Voting--as the Vermont legislature has just done!

Susan Serpa passes this on from Tony Duncan and Move-on in Vermont.
This is the most open-minded action I've seen from Move-On, but I
don't know yet whether it is confined to Vermont. But if the Democrats
in Connecticut decide to do what Democrats in Vermont have done, there
will be no more reason for resentment of Ralph Nader, or the Greens,
or anyone who wants to vote for what they actually believe. Take a

Tony Duncan: "The below form Move-on is mainly targeted to Vermonters,
but I hope this helps the idea spread. We actually have a real chance
to make this happen. Instant runoff voting will revolutionize the
voting process in the US. I think this is probably the easiest most
important improvement we can make to democratic government.
Interestingly governor Douglas of Vermont, who wants to veto the bill
would not have become governor if it had been in place when he was
first elected. This is worth fighting for! Governor Jim Douglas

Basically instead of voting for one candidate, you vote for each
candidate in order of preference. This eliminates the "lesser of two
evils" choice that keeps people from voting for the candidate that
most closely represents their beliefs. t 3rd or 4rth party candidates
would not "take away" votes from the lesser of two evils. If someone
does not have a majority of votes as the #1 pick, then their #2 votes
are added to the total, and whoever gets to a majority first wins .

So if Nader, Ron Paul, Clinton and McCain are in the general election,
you could have Nader as your first pick, Hilllary, as your second,
Paul as your third. if Nader got 18% of the vote, Hillary got 34% Paul
12% and McCain 36% McCain would not win.. The vote would go to the #2
preference. So if Clinton got the majority of votes from the second
choice of Nader and Paul voters she would then win, even though McCain
was the initial highest vote getter. Nader would not be the "spoiler"
in this case. Nor would Paul. So people could vote their conscience
with a clear conscience and it would more accurately reflect the
actual support for each candidate

I have been supporting Instant runoff for more than 10 years and have
been amazed that it has taken so long to be really utilized, but it
threatens the two party system. One of the key dynamics that it
changes in elections is that it becomes important NOT to turn off
supporters of other candidates, and it tends to get candidates to talk
about how to solve problems.


(And what is a good citizen? Simply one who never says, does or thinks
anything that is unusual. Schools are maintained in order to bring this
uniformity up to the highest possible point. A school is a hopper into which
children are heaved while they are still young and tender; therein they are
pressed into certain standard shapes and covered from head to heels with
official rubber-stamps.
-H.L. Mencken)

On Mar 20, 2008, at 10:43 , Noah T. Winer, Political Action wrote:

Dear Vermont MoveOn member,

Vermont could become the first state in the nation to use instant runoff
voting to elect members of Congress. The state legislature just passed a
bill to use the innovative voting system which prevents "spoilers."1

Instant runoff voting means you don't have to vote for the lesser of two
evils--instead, you can rank the candidates in the order you like them
with no risk of "throwing away" your vote.

But Governor Jim Douglas has threatened to veto the bill. Only a public
outcry can stop him.

Can you urge Gov. Douglas to let Vermont use instant runoff voting?

Governor Jim Douglas

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

Two years ago, Burlington became the first city in the country to use
instant runoff voting to elect a mayor--and now 10 cities do the same.2
The system is tested and it works.

With instant runoff voting, you rank the candidates in the order you like
them. If your first choice doesn't make it, your vote goes to your second
choice instead of being thrown out. Say goodbye to "spoiler" candidates,
and say hello to electing the leaders with the most support from voters.

Instant runoff voting is endorsed by the League of Women Voters of
Vermont, the Vermont State Grange, the Vermont AFL-CIO, Common Cause
Vermont, and VPIRG. State leaders like Howard Dean, Secretary of State Deb
Markowitz, U.S. Representative Peter Welch, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders,
and past Secretary of State Don Hooper also support instant runoff

Instant runoff voting is a great way to demonstrate just how much support
there is for truly progressive candidates, even when they can't yet win a
majority. You could vote for the most progressive candidate without
helping your least favorite candidate get elected. You wouldn't need to
choose between voting for who you really support and voting for who has
the best chance of winning.

Please urge Gov. Douglas to let Vermont use instant runoff voting.

Governor Jim Douglas

Then, please report your call by clicking here:

Thank you for all you do.

--Noah, Adam G., Tanya, Justin, and the Political Action Team
Thursday, March 20th, 2008

P.S. To learn more about instant runoff voting, check out this animation
from our friends at FairVote:

1. "VT House approves instant runoff voting," Vermont Public Radio, March
13, 2008

2. "IRV a success in Burlington, VT," FairVote, March 13, 2006

"Instant Runoff Voting Wins Preliminary Approval," WCAX-TV, March 13, 2008

3. "Vermont Organizations Endorsing IRV," FairVote

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

LOADS OF DEMONSTRATIONS WEDNESDAY; Conservative Congressman Rohrabacher repudiates Bush

Dear Impeachment People and Greens:
A) Tomorrow is the FIFTH anniversary of our criminal invasion and
occupation of Iraq, so there are demonstrations all over the country.
You can get details on them from loads of websites: see "5" below. I'm
including cursory information on 4 fairly local ones: the first by COW
(Connecticut Opposes the War) in Hartford at 11:30 a.m.; the second by
COW in Bridgeport at 4 pm; the third by ANSWER at 4:30 in New Haven;
the fourth in White Plains at 4:30; the fifth at Mahattanville College
in Purchase, NY, at 7:15. There are also Move-on demonstrations and, I
believe, a lot of others. So I hope we can each find ONE.
B) Susan Serpa has forwarded an interesting long piece on a Republican
Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, who, in his own conservative way, is
fed up with the Bush Administration's obstructionism. This is exactly
the kind of movement of sentiment that spelled Nixon's doom—Nixon, you
may remember, handed in his resignation immediately after a talk with
Barry Goldwater.
So, hope you protest the occupation in some way tomorrow!

> HARTFORD, CT 06103
Connecticut Opposes the War
March 19th: the 5th anniversary of the War on Iraq ... from across the
state will be converging on Wesleyan University for the first COW
Student Conference. ... - 8k -
06604 We will protest at Chris Shays' office and throughout downtown
3) Act Now to Stop War & End Racism (ANSWER):
Protest on the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq invasion! March 15th and
March 19th ... New Haven, CT March & Rally Wednesday, March 19 Gather
4:30 pm ... - 32k -
4) From White Plains:


Wednesday, March 19TH 4:30 TO 6:30 PM.




Author of BLACKWATER ,The Rise of the

World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army

JEREMY SCAHILL, a Polk Award-winning investigative

Journalist is a frequent contributor to The Nation

Magazine and a correspondent for Democracy Now!

He has reported extensively from Iraq, the former

Yugoslavia and Nigeria. He is currently a Puffin

Foundation Writing Fellow at the Nation Institute.

Scahill and colleague, Amy Goodman, were co-recipients of the 1998 Polk
award for their radio documentary,

"Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship which
documented the Chevron Corp.'s

alleged role in the killing of two Nigerian environmental activists.


7:15 pm

Reid Castle, Manhattanville College

Purchase, NY


For info:

Contact the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action

(914) 323-7156
6) First sites called up by "fifth anniversary Iraq" Google search:
Anniversary Highlights Iraq War's Role in Campaign - New York Times -
816 related articles »
Protests set to mark fifth anniversary of Iraq war - San Jose Mercury
News - 14 related articles »

mcbrooklyn: 5th-Anniversary Iraq Protests in Brooklyn, Manhattan ...
Two local actions will be held March 19, the fifth anniversary of the
invasion of Iraq: Press Conference & Brooklyn Says No to War March and
Vigil, ...
- 114k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Peace activists mark 5th anniversary of Iraq war -
About 400 protesters marched through fresh, slushy snow to the State
House on Saturday, marking the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war and
calling for a ...
- Similar pages - Note this

VOA News - Iraq War at Crucial Junction on Fifth Anniversary
US military bracing for transition that will reduce combat power by
more than 20 percent by July, as surge forces President Bush deployed
last year end ... - 40k - Cached - Similar
pages - Note this

All Spin Zone » 5th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion — GOP Pundit ...
Iraq is important, and on the fifth anniversary of the Bush invasion
of the country, one might expect to see a GOP pundit using the word
"jihad. ...
- 57k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

LA Daily News: Podcasts | Thousands protest Iraq war for fifth ...
Thousands protest Iraq war for fifth anniversary. Published on
Saturday, March 15, 2008 By Brandon Lowrey. HOLLYWOOD - Five years
after the U.S. invasion of ...
- 45k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Protesters Mark 5th Anniversary Of Start Of Iraq War - News Story ...
WASHINGTON -- Antiwar protesters stage a series of demonstrations in
Washington to draw attention to the fifth anniversary of the start of
the Iraq War. - 3 hours ago -
Similar pages - Note this

Fifth anniversary: War in Iraq | | The News-Press
Fifth anniversary: War in Iraq | | The News-Press.
- 55k - 19 hours ago - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Churches prepare to mark fifth anniversary of Iraq invasion | Ekklesia
In the run up to the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq,
churches are reiterating their call for British troops to withdraw
from the country and will ... - 26k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Iraq war marks 5th anniversaryIraq war marks 5th anniversary
Mar. 9 - Phil Nesmith came away from Iraq with a certain clarity. He
had been an Army paratrooper, but now he was among the first group of
government ... - Similar
pages - Note this

Iraq War at Crucial Junction on Fifth Anniversary is the leading source for reliable WMD news and WMD
information, directed by John Pike.
- 22 hours ago - Similar pages - Note this

B)Susan Serpa forwards this:

"Toni Jean sent this to me. I checked it out. THIS IS WHAT WE'VE
BEEN WAITING FOR. Non-partisan support for impeachment.

Impeachment WILL happen when: (1) the people at large want it, and (2)
when it is generally considered a non-partisan act.

On Feb. 26th, a right-wing conservative Republican, Rep. Dana
Rohrabacher, CA railed against the Administration for a full hour.

CALL HIM ! ! ! FAX HIM, WRITE HIM!!! Tell him to sign on to HRes 799
and Wexler's petition.
Washington, D.C. Office
2300 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2415
Fax (202) 225-0145
District Office
101 Main Street, Suite 380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 960-6483
(310) 377-9493
Fax (714) 960-7806

He is ready to tip ! ! ! (but don't ruin it and talk about the war.
While he is vehemently against all the ways this Administration has
acted in contempt of Congress, he still supports the war.)"

Dana Rohrabacher
9th Term Republican Representative, California 46th District
Ranking Member of the International Organizations, Human Rights and
Oversight Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee,

The Administration and Congressional Oversight Floor Speech

Washington, Feb 26 -
-- (House of Representatives - February 26, 2008)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of
January 18, 2007, the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) is
recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Madam Speaker , I come to the floor tonight with a
heavy heart. The nature of the allegations I make speaks poorly of
this administration. In my heart of hearts, I have always wanted this
administration to succeed, but the issue at hand is of such magnitude
that the American people need to know what is being done and what
precedents are being set.
In my tenure as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, both as chairman and ranking member of an investigative
subcommittee, I have witnessed firsthand behavior by the Bush
administration which I find deeply troubling.
The disdain and uncooperative nature that this administration has
shown toward Congress, including Republican Members, is so egregious
that I can no longer assume that it is simply bureaucratic
incompetence or isolated mistakes. Rather, I have come to the sad
conclusion that this administration has intentionally obstructed
Congress' rightful and constitutional duties.
Tonight I will discuss some serious examples of this administration's
contemptuous disregard for the authority delegated to Congress by the
Constitution. This bad attitude has consistently manifested itself in
a sophomoric resentment toward Congress' constitutional role as an
equal branch of government. The result has been an executive branch
too insecure to let Congress do its job, an executive branch that sees
Congress, even when Republicans held the majority, as a rival and a
spoiler, rather than as elected representatives of the American people
playing a rightful role in establishing policy for our great country.
Unfortunately, when the President of the United States rejects the
legitimacy of congressional prerogatives, there are serious
consequences. Tonight, I will provide examples of how this
administration for the past 7 years has undercut congressional
investigators, has lied to Members of Congress, and has forged ahead
with secret deals in spite of efforts and pleas by Congress to be
informed, if not involved.
In the last Congress, I was chairman of the Oversight and
Investigations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In
that capacity, I learned that in the time immediately leading up to
the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, convicted
Oklahoma City bomber and murderer Terry Nichols had been in Cebu City
in the Philippines. His stay in Cebu City coincided with another
visitor to that city, al Qaeda's terrorist leader Ramsey Yousef.
Interestingly, both Nichols and Yousef used similar bombs and methods
just 2 years apart to blow up two American targets. Yousef was the
mastermind of the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
Nichols was a coconspirator in the bombing of the Oklahoma City
Federal Building in 1995.
By the way, I would like to acknowledge that today happens to be the
15-year anniversary of that first devastating attack on the World
Trade Center.
These individuals, one American and one Arab, were responsible for
planning two of the most lethal terrorist attacks on our countrymen in
our history. We are to believe that by coincidence they ended up in an
off-the-beaten-track city in the Southern Philippines? One doesn't
have to be a conspiracy nut to understand that this coincidence is
certainly worth looking into.
I started an official congressional investigation sanctioned by Henry
Hyde, then the chairman of the International Relations Committee, to
see whether Terry Nichols or his accomplice, Timothy McVeigh, had
foreign help in their murderous terrorist bombing of the Alfred Murrah
Building in Oklahoma City.
In light of the fact that Terry Nichols and Ramsey Yousef were both in
Cebu City at the same time prior to hauntingly similar terrorist
attacks, it was no stretch for a congressional investigative committee
to be looking into this matter. However, the Bush administration felt
quite differently. To those I had to deal with, it was ``case closed,
don't bother us.'' They had looked into the matter, and Congress
should simply and blindly accept their conclusion that there was no
Nichols-Yousef connect ion. ``Don't bother us.'' This was at times
bureaucratic laziness, and at other times it was clearly based on a
disdain for congressional investigations and authority.
During my investigation, I secured Ramsey Yousef's cell phone records.
The records were part of the phone calls that he made when he was in
that New York City area in the months just prior to the bombing of the
World Trade Center in 1993.
The phone records show that Ramsey Yousef made at least two phone
calls to a row house in Queens, New York.
That row house was occupied by the cousin of Terry Nichols' Filipina
wife. Let me repeat that. The terrorist bomber of the first World
Trade Center attack, the nephew of al Qaeda 9/11 mastermind Khalid
Sheikh Mohammad, made phone calls to the same row house that was
occupied by Terry Nichols' cousins-in-law just 2 months before he
exploded t he bomb in the garage of the World Trade Center 15 years
ago. Another coincidence?
I gave this information to the Department of Justice and since that
time have repeatedly sought their help in investigating this matter.
Time after time, my requests have gone unanswered or have just been
flatly denied.
I also asked the Department of Justice on numerous occasions to help
me investigate the name Samir Khahil. This name is on a list of
unindicted co-conspirators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a
gain in connection with Ramsey Yousef.
It also is the name, by the way, of an Iraqi man in Oklahoma City who
at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing employed an Arab immigrant
who fits the description originally made by numerous witnesses as to
John Doe II.
This Oklahoma-based Iraqi lied, meaning the John Doe II look-alike,
lied to the investigators about his whereabouts at the time of the
Oklahoma City bombing, yet there was little if any follow-up on this
John Doe II look-alike. In fact, the FBI simply declared that John Doe
II never existed. The existence of John Doe II, let it be remembered,
was based on a sketch and sketches derived from witnesses on the scene
of the Oklahoma City bombing and the truck rental company in which
that bomb was placed on a truck from that truck rental company. Those
witnesses described a man who, as I say, looked very much like Samir
Khahil's employee.
Now, I have repeatedly asked the Department of Justice to tell me if
the Samir Khahil on the unindicted coconspirators list of the 1993
World Trade Center bombing is the same Samir Khahil who employed a man
originally identified as John Doe II, the bomber, the number two
bomber in the Oklahoma City bombing. The Justice Department's answer:
``It would be too burdensome to find out if it was the same man.''
Further, we asked help in finding the Arab immigrant who looked like
John Doe II and the man who was employed by Samir Khahil. We traced
him to Boston, but we have had no support or cooperation in finding
this v ery possible terrorist, or at least terrorist suspect. He may
well have been working at Boston's Logan Airport on 9/11/01, the day
that a plane took off from that airport and was hijacked and crashed
into the World Trade Center. Another weird coincidence to the Oklahoma
City bombing. Another coincidence, yes.
You don't have to be a conspiracy nut to believe that these things
should be investigated. Instead, there has been no follow-through, no
interest. The case is closed, forget it, both in terms of Samir Khahil
and his Iraqi employer and employee; and both of these people, of
course, reside in the United States right now.
That is just a small taste of the deplorable lack of cooperation for a
legitimate congressional investigation. And it was no fluke. I didn't
just happen to snag some uncooperative Federal employee. No, this is
the level of non-cooperation Congress has learned to expect from this
Yes, Departments and agencies do have limited resources, and I
understand that. I us ed to work in the executive branch. So, yes,
there may be some better uses for and some good uses for those limited
resources and better uses for their time and investigators, rather
than just following up on leads that are provided by Members of
You can hear someone explaining that. But the lack of cooperation that
we have had goes far beyond the fact that they are not going to give
their limited resources or even use some of their investigators to
track down what most of us would consider a very worthwhile lead,
especially considering that the terrorist that we are asking to look
into currently resides in the United States and may well have had
something to do with the bombing of the World Trade Center and the
bombing of the Oklahoma City building there.
But, again, a lot of my requests don't require a lot of time and
effort on the part of the executive branch, and I still have been
stonewalled. For the past year, for example, I have repeatedly
requested to interview the imprisoned terrorist Ramzi Yousef. He is in
Colorado and in strict lockup. He has been there for 10 years.
This would have taken no time and no resources from any executive
branch or Federal employee. None. This request is well within my
committee's jurisdiction as ranking member of the Investigative
Subcommittee of the House Foreign Aff airs Committee.
This request has been supported by the chairman of the Investigative
Subcommittee, the chairman of the full Foreign Affairs Committee, the
chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and the chairman of the
Intelligence Committee.
Such attention by Congress should be welcomed by this administration
and every administration. The legislative branch can help bring new
information to light and inform the public.
Nevertheless, the Department of Justice, consistent with its treatment
of congressional inquiries during the tenure of this President, has
dismissed this valid request. This request has been treated with what
can only be described as contempt and condescension.
The point is, unfortunately, that this rejectionist attitude is
typical. It is not that they don't have enough resources to help out,
to look into an easy matter to look into. It is just that they do not
want to cooperate with Congress, even when it's a Republican in
Congress, even when the Congress was controlled by a Republican
So, why would this administration obstruct congressional inquiries
such as this? Remember, Ramzi Yousef was the mastermind behind several
devastating terrorist attacks and plots against America. He led the
first murderous attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, as I say.
After fleeing to the Philippines, he and two other terrorists plotted
to kill thousands of Americans by blowing up 12 commercial airliners
over the Pacific at the same time. It was known as the Bojinka plot.
It was within 2 weeks of being executed when it was discovered and
thwarted by Philippine police.
Interestingly, the terrorist operation, the Bojinka plot, was to take
place about the same time as the Oklahoma City Federal building
bombing, perhaps on the same day. We don't know. Perhaps we should
know. Perhaps we should ask Ramzi Yousef about that.
Ramzi Yousef has been in Federal prison for over a decade. He is a
prisoner with a unique understanding of the al Qaeda terrorist
structure. He is the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind
of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
In 2006, when I was the chairman of the House Oversight Investigations
Subcommittee on the Foreign Affairs Committee, I was investigating
Yousef's movements and activities not only in the United States but in
the Philippines. I even traveled to the Philippines to question
authorities who had captured Yousef's roommate and coconspirator in
the Bojinka plot.
In spite of that fact and in spite of the fact that I was looking into
Yousef's terrorist activities and in spite of the fact that I had
obtained new information about Yousef's phone calls right here in the
United States and new information about his associates while he was in
the United States, the Department of Justice still dismisses the
effort and, more than that, they are obstructing a legitimate
congressional investigation, refusing to permit this elected Member of
Congress, a ranking member of a congressional investigating committee,
to interview a Federal prisoner. They refused access to Yousef
claiming that there is a ``ongoing investigation.''
This prisoner has been in jail for over 10 years. It is more likely
that what we have here is an ongoing coverup and not an ongoing
investigation. In fact, I have been told recently by a former member
of the Justice Department that they were told routinely simply to give
answers that there is an ongoing investigation even if no ongoing
investigation was underway, but simply using it as a phrase to dismiss
a request from Congress.
Well, this is outrageous, but it's typical of this administration.
This is a lot more than just a hurtful pride on my part of being
turned down.
This administration is setting a terrible precedent. What people have
to understand, when I am turned down like this, is when there is a
liberal Democrat in the White House, the President will have set that
Members of Congress can simply be dismissed, and that when they are
trying to do a congressional investigation need not be coo perated
with, in fact, can be obstructed. Is that the type of President that
we want? Is that acceptable? It shouldn't be acceptable to Democrats
and it shouldn't be acceptable to Republicans.
Doesn't Congress have a right to talk to Federal prisoners. Are these
the rules of engagement? Is it really the rules of engagement that we
want for our government that Members of Congress and the legislative
branch don't have a right to talk to Federal prisoners?
Well, that's apparently what the Bush administ ration is trying to
establish as the executive authority, as executive authority, the
right to deny congressional investigators access to Federal prisoners.
The danger of this should be easy to understand, both on my side of
the aisle, the Republican side, and the Democratic side of the aisle.
Again, the attitude, apparent in the treatment of this request, is not
an aberration or is it some sort of situation where this is not really
a representative way the President has acted with his authority. No, I
am afraid that's not the case.
This request was first made and denied when the Republicans controlled
the Congress and I was the chairman of the Investigative Subcommittee.
Now Congress has a Democrat majority. In my position as ranking member
of the International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight
Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have seen it
time and time again.
Our subcommittee chairman, BILL DELAHUNT from Massachusetts, read in
the newspaper that our President is negotiating a security agreement
with the Iraqi Prime Minister that will govern the future relationship
of our countries.
Now let me say that again. The Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee
on Foreign Affairs Committee is getting the information about a hugely
important foreign bilateral security agreement by reading the
newspaper. So, Chairman Delahunt conducted a hearing about the status
of such an agreement and invited the administration to send a witness
to testify before Congress.
How did the administration respond? They ignored the request. So the
hearing was held with a private panel of witnesses, and, yes, the
public has a right and an obligation to fully understand such
commitments that are being made by the President in our name.
In a democratic society, policy is made after having an open dialogue.
George Bush was elected President, not king.
In another attempt last month, our subcommittee held another hearing
on the Iraqi security agreement and, again, our panel invited and
pleaded with the administration to provide a witness. Their response?
Our subcommittee held another, a third hearing on this topic. Again,
our subcommittee invited the administration to attend and explain to
Congress what kind of commitment our government has agreed to with the
government of Iraq. Even our full committee chairman wrote letter s
asking for the administration to participate in the subcommittee
hearing. All the requests to the administration by our committee and
by the superiors in the full committee were ignored, except for one,
and, in one instance, where the contact was made, and I am sad to say
that once again this administration was less than honest on a matter
of national importance, Chairman Delahunt's subcommittee was told by a
White House staffer that the administration's unwillingness to
participate in hearings was because ``There is nothing to talk about
because we haven't put pen to paper'' on security, because they
haven't put the pen to paper on the security agreement, supposedly.
Well, when confronted with the fact that the New York Times had
written a story saying that a 17-page agreement was being passed
around, this White House staffer backtracked and quibbled.
This is unacceptable, it's dishonest, and it's typical. It's like
saying there is an ongoing investigation; don't discuss anything
anymore wit h me. There is nothing going on here.
Now, there is something going on, just as, instead of talking and
trying to negotiate about what type of spokesman we could have at a
hearing, instead, what we get is an undermining of the congressional
right to oversee for the foreign policy decisions of this
This stonewalling prevailed until a few weeks ago, when Condoleezza
Rice, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a person and a leader who I
deeply admire, testified at a hearing of the full International
Relations Committee.
When asked about this issue, about witnesses not showing up from the
State Department and this administration to explain to us in public
and to discuss in public these very important agreements that are
being negotiated with Iraq, she pledged at that time that there would
be future witnesses dealing with this Iraqi agreement.
At least Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, feels secure enough
in this administration to do what's right and to talk directly to Cong
ress and to send her people over to talk to us.
Unfortunately, we had to go all the way to the Secretary of State
before we could get anybody in this administration to participate. Let
me note, I am a supporter of the President's Iraqi policies. I have
been a supporter since day one. I supported the surge, and I am not in
favor of some of the propositions made by my friends on the other side
of the aisle, which I consider would be a precipitous leaving of Iraq
and would cause damage, I believe.
But that's not the point. The point is, Congress has a legitimate
oversight responsibility and that the President of the United States
should be discussing in public so that the public could understand why
policy is being made rather than trying to secretly arrange a policy
agreement and then surprise everybody, you know, as a done deal.
Sadly, this administration's antipathy to the constitutional
responsibilities of the legislative branch of government does not stop
and end with my efforts and those of my subc ommittee on
In October of last year, 22 of my colleagues and I wrote to the Acting
Attorney General, Peter Keisler, regarding the pending lie detector
test for former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.
Madam Speaker, I submit for the Record, a copy of a letter concerning
making that request of Acting Attorney General Peter Keisler.
October 10, 2007.
Mr. PETER D. KEISLER, Acting Attorney General,
Department of Justice,
Washington, DC.
In 2005, former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger pled
guilty to the mishandling and destruction of classified documents.
He admitted to entering the National Archives and unlawfully removing,
then subsequently destroying, classified documents dealing with
terroris t related issues. He removed the documents by stuffing them
down his pants and in his suit jacket, presumably with the intention
of getting rid of any damning evidence showing his involvement in the
failure of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to prevent
the Sept. 11th attacks prior to his testimony before the 911
Commission. These documents have never been recovered.
As part of a plea deal, Mr. Berger agreed to take a polygraph test to
be administered by the Department of Justice. It has been two years
since that agreement and Mr. Berger has yet to fulfill his obligation.
We are writing to officially request that as Attorney General you
direct the Department of Justice without any further delay to
administer a lie detector test to Mr. Berger and determine what
documents were stolen and how our National Security was compromised.
The Congress, and the American people, deserve to know the facts of
this crime and what Mr. Berger was covering up. Therefore we
respectfully request a dire ctive be issued by your office ordering
Mr. Berger to surrender to the Justice Department immediately and that
a polygraph test be administered forthwith.
Dana Rohrabacher,
Member of Congress.
In 2005, Sandy Berger pled guilty to the mishandling and destruction
of classified documents. He admitted that he unlawfully removed and
subsequently destroyed classified documents from the National
Archives. These documents dealt with the failure of our intelligence
agencies during the Clinton administration to prevent the horrendous
attacks on 9/11.
As part of his plea, Mr. Berger agreed to a lie detector test which
was given by the Department of Justice. This would determine what
documents had been stolen by Mr. Berger. We are still waiting for that
test to be administered.
As a member, as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, I was and still am rightfully concerned about the length of
time between his crime and the administration of his lie detector
So on October 10, 2007, I sent a letter, that letter signed by 22 of
my colleagues, asking the Department of Justice why the test had not
been administered.
On October 22, 2007, my office received a form letter acknowledging
the DOJ's receipt of our inquiry. It was signed with an illegible
signature. We have no idea who signed it. All we know is that he or
she penned it ``for'' next to a printed name Brian Benczkowski.
Principally, he is the principal Deputy Assistant Secretary General.
We were also given a tracking number so we could track any future
correspondence. In spite of that fact, we received a
computer-generated response and a tracking number to an official
congressional inquiry, okay, signed by 23 Members of Congress. We had
hoped that we would actually have an answer to our request and that
there would actually be a human being rather than a tracking number
that we could look to.
Well, we got our wish and we got a letter back. On January 24, 2008,
94 days after the letter, we received a response, and I submit the
response for the Record.
Washington, DC,
January 24, 2008.
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN ROHRBACHER: This is in response to your letter, dated
October 10, 2007, in which you requested that the Department of
Justice administer a polygraph examination to Mr. Samuel Berger, who
pleaded guilty in April 2005, to v iolations of federal law relating
to the removal of copies of classified documents from the National
We appreciate your interest and have enclosed a copy of our letter,
dated February 16, 2007, to the Honorable Henry A. Waxman, Chairman of
the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, advising him of our
views regarding the Minority Staff Report that was issued regarding
this matter. As stated in our response to Chairman Waxman, we believe
that there are no facts that would justify a polyg raph of Mr. Berger
at this time.
We are sending an identical response to the other Members who joined
in your letter to us. Please do not hesitate to contact this office if
you would like additional assistance regarding this or any other
Brian A. Benczkowski,
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
The letter was dismissive and said that the DOJ found no reason to
issue a polygraph test to Sandy Berger, and attached was an old letter
the DOJ had sent to Chairman Waxman of the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee almost a year before our correspondence.
The letter this time was signed by Brian Benczkowski.
Madam Speaker, I have been a Member of Congress for 19 years. I have
never seen such a pattern of blatant disregard and outright disdain
for Members of Congress. If Sandy Berger is not to be polygraphed to
verify the documents that were stolen from the Archives, we need to
know why such verification is not being done. This administration
wouldn't even give a respectable answer to the rightful inquiry of
Members of Congress of why we are not verifying through a polygraph
test what documents were stolen from the National Archives by the
former National Security Adviser.
On the one hand, this President believes he has a right to make
demands on us. The President said in his State of the Union ad dress
that Congress must act on certain issues. We must do as he wishes. We
must pass legislation he deems necessary. Yet while 23 Members of
Congress write his Justice Department a serious letter of inquiry
about a national security issue, we get a computer-generated form
letter and a copy of an old response to a different inquiry. The bad
attitude I am detailing is pervasive.
The handling of a proposed totalization agreement with Mexico is again
yet another example. The totalization agreements, and totalization
agreements are not necessarily a bad thing, they can serve a useful
function. Large corporations both in the United States and abroad
often assign people to work in an overseas office for several years.
During these years, employers are double taxed. They pay both Social
Security and the equivalent tax in their native countries. Allowing
the Social Security Administration and foreign agencies to give credit
under one system towards retirement makes sense if there are a limited
number of people involved and the people who are involved in this are
working here legally and temporarily. The concept itself is not
However, this is emphatically not the case with Mexico. We have
millions of Mexican citizens living illegally in the United States.
This is not a limited number of Swedish or Japanese executives who
will only work here for a number of years and then go home. Not only
are Mexicans not going to return to Mexico; the Mexican Government
encourages them to stay in the United States. Af ter all, if the U.S.
is going to pay for their health care, their education and now their
retirement, why should Mexico be bothered.
Knowing the volatility of the American people on both the Social
Security and illegal immigration issues, the totalization negotiations
with Mexico were kept totally under wraps. Now remember, these
negotiations with Mexico started in 2002 with a Republican-controlled
Congress. One would think that a Republican administration would at
the very least advise Congress, perhaps giving a status report,
concerning such diplomatic efforts as the totalization negotiations
with Mexico.
Well, Congress did not know the details until it hit the press. Worse,
these press releases on the agreement, put out by the administration,
were misleading and it appears that Congress was being misled as to
just what the administration had agreed to concerning Social Security
benefits for Mexican nationals illegally working in the United States.
Now, I have proposed legislation to ensure that no work done while
someone is in this country illegally should be counted towards a
Social Security benefit. The administration apparently agreed in the
totalization agreement negotiations that illegal aliens from Mexico
will be eligible for the same treatment under Social Security as U.S.
citizens without ever becoming a legal resident or citizen. It took a
long, drawn-out legal battle in the form of a Freedom of Information
lawsuit to get the details of this agreement from the administration.
Again, stonewalling and concealment, whether it deals with Iraq or
whether it deals with a totalization agreement dealing with Social
Security rights for the people from Mexico who come to our country
In both cases, regardless of how you feel about the Iraq policies or
Social Security for illegal immigrants into our country, the point is
we should not be keeping this debate secret. Congress has a right to
oversee such agreements, and we should have a public dialogue about
these types of decisions.
T his administration has, as I am pointing out, a history of
concealment and in some cases of distorting and actually not telling
us the truth about what is going on with these negotiations and
agreements that are happening behind closed doors.
Once Congress and the public found out about the agreement in the
totalization agreement, a fire storm broke out not just about giving
illegals Social Security but about keeping it secret from Congress.
Yes, as I said, Congress, as well as America's seniors, have e very
right to know if the President of the United States is in the process
of signing an agreement to give Social Security benefits to illegal
immigrants. It is something we should discuss. It is not something
where the President should try to make an agreement behind closed
doors. In this case the administration is undermining the public's
right to know and the Congress is being left in the dark.
And please remember, the danger from this agreement is not past. Due
to the public outrage, it has b een put on the back burner, but the
President at any time can submit this agreement to Congress even if he
has not detailed it for us now so we can discuss it.
What I am describing is a pattern of arrogance and contempt, and that
is especially true not just with Social Security but with broader
issues relating to illegal immigration and on issues dealing with
The tragic case of wrongly imprisoned Border Patrol agents Ignacio
Ramos and Jose Compean exemplifies the worst aspects of this
administration's attitude problem, and will forever leave a black mark
on this administration.
President Bush has himself made decisions that directly led to the
ongoing tragedy which sees these two Border Patrol agents languishing
in solitary confinement; and that's where they are today, in solitary
confinement, being treated worse than we treat the terrorists in
Guantanamo. That is where we are now. That is what they have had to
endure in that solitary confinement for over a year.
Now, this is clearly a questionable case, but President Bush has
deliberately dug in his heels to protect his good friend and young
protege, the prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. Rather than
entertain the probability that a terrible injustice was in progress
and instruct the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland
Security to cooperate so Congress could get to the bottom of this
nightmare, this President has thumbed his nose at the congressional
concerns and initiated a policy of obstruction and denial in terms of
Ramos and Compean.
Since the Ramos and Compean case was brought to my attention in
September 2006, I have written over a dozen letters to this
administration requesting various documents regarding the harsh
prosecution of Ramos and Compean. I have been joined by several other
Members of Congress in this effort, including Congressmen POE,
CULBERSON, and MCCAUL. These three Members of Congress, in fact,
attended a briefing on Ramos and Compean's prosecution by the
Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office on
September 26, 2006.
In that briefing, serious questions were raised by these three Members
about the fundamental justification for this prosecution to begin
with. The President and his lap-dog prosecutors would like us to
believe that they have no discretion, but these Members of Congress
who have long histories in the law and in prosecution, they know. They
could see there was something wrong because we know that the actual
charges being brought against Ramos and Compean, and they were fully
aware of this because these Members of Congress, as I said, have a big
background in law, they knew that what charges were being brought were
totally at the discretion of the prosecutors. The prosecution's hands
were not tied.
What were the grounds for charging these men with crimes like
attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, the unlawful discharge
of a firearm during a crime of violence, and a Federal civil rights
These charges that could have put Ramos and Compean in prison for
10-20 years were totally at the discretion of the prosecution. Did
this fit the crime? If there was any crime at all that was committed,
why would they be charged with this overwhelming attack by the
prosecution knowing that by making these charges these men are going
to end up being put away for one or two decades of their life.
These two Border Patrol agents had wounded a fleeing illegal alien
drug smuggler who was escaping after assaulting one of the officers
who had intercepted the drug dealer during an attempt to bring $1
million worth of drugs into this country. Although they were never
intended by Congress to be applied in this way, the gun laws which
were applied by the prosecution, the gun law of mandatory prison
sentence, was applied to the law enforcement officers in this case,
and these law enforcement officers had made a split-second decision to
discharge their weapons. Is that right? Isn't there some question
about that, considering they threw the book at these guys?
The prosecutors knew that it was not the intent of Congress that they
should be charging law enforcement officers with split-second
decisions in the discharge of a weapon; but they threw the book at the
agents, including the charges that required tens of years of mandatory
imprisonment. Again, it was at their discretion that they made these
When Congressmen POE, CULBERSON, and MCCAUL asked why the most serious
charges that could be leveled at the Border Patrol agents were
initiated by the prosecutors, and why the prosecutors took the word of
the drug dealer that he had no weapon rather than the word of the law
enforcement officers, the DHS officials, briefing these Congressmen,
assured them that this was a legitimate and righteous prosecution.
These were, according to the DHS briefing given to these Members of
Congress, these were rogue cops. Ramos and Compean were rogue cops,
and the Congressmen were told they actually confessed that they knew
that the drug smuggler was unarmed and that the agents didn't really
feel threatened.
And the biggest lie of all, the Department of Homeland Security
briefer insisted that Ramos and Compean had told fellow officers the
day of the incident that they ``wanted to shoot a Mexican'' that day.
That charge raised eyebrows considering that the accused, Ignacio
Ramos and Jose Compean, are themselves Mexican Americans married to
Mexican American wives with Mexican American children. Sure, they just
go out and intentionally shoot some Mexicans that day. Sure.
This is what Members of Congress were told in an official briefing.
Asking for proof, the three Congressmen who were being briefed were
told that the charges were documented in the reports of the
investigative officers. The Department of Homeland Security briefer
promised to provide this proof that Ramos and Compean had actually
intended that day to go out and ``kill a Mexican.'' Of course, the
proof never came.
The Congressmen kept asking. Calls weren't returned. The Department of
Homeland Security stalled for 5 months. Members asked for copies of
the completed report of investigation which should have backed up the
alleged facts that were told to Members during the September 26
briefing to the Members of Congress.
Months passed, and nothing more. Just months passed. Nothing from the
Department of Homeland Security. Several letter s and public pressure
arose, and the Department of Homeland Security finally released a
redacted version of the official report of investigation in February
2007. And surprise, surprise, the alleged confession of Ramos and
Compean was nowhere to be found in that document. The documentation of
the charge that they had brazenly proclaimed their intent to kill a
Mexican was not there. But that charge was repeated over and over
How could this be? How could the Department of Homeland Security
official s, how could they assure Members this was a solid prosecution
and that evidence existed that Ramos and Compean were guilty and they
wanted to shoot a Mexican? These were flat out lies told to Members of
Congress who were being officially briefed by this administration.
During a Department of Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on
February 6, 2007, DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner was questioned
by Congressman Culberson about this issue. Under oath Skinner
acknowledged the information given to the Texas Congressman was in
fact false, but he smugly justified his blatant and willful lying by
calling it ``mischaracterization unfortunately repeated at the
briefing.'' No, Mr. Skinner, it was a lie, no matter how colorful the
Ollie North was prosecuted on a charge far less egregious than what
we're talking about now. Ollie North gave, or so it was alleged,
misinformation to congressional staffers who were not part of an
official briefing of Members of Congress; yet, he was prosecuted.
This administration ends up lying in a briefing to Congress and shrugs
it off. To this day, absolutely nothing has been done about this
crime. And yes, lying to Congress, especially about an issue of this
magnitude, is a crime.
Administration officials deliberately misled Members of Congress in
order to discourage them from pursuing the Ramos and Compean case, and
no one has been held accountable for this crime. The Ramos and Compean
case has stunk since day one. The President, instead of looking into
the matter, which he should have done, has dug in his heels,
permitting his appointees to slander these two agents.
Even worse, the President has personally made decisions that have
resulted in these two agents languishing in solitary confinement. They
are in solitary confinement because of decisions made directly by the
President of the United States. U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton publicly
labeled Ramos and Compean as corrupt; yet, again, when asked for some
sort of justification on this, what corruption charges were brought
against these people, there were no charges of corruption.
To say that this is a mean-spirited and vindictive prosecution is to
put it mildly. This case demonstrates why hearings are an integral
part of the check-and-balance system created by our Founding Fathers.
It is in this venue that the executive branch is held accountable for
their actions. Under oath, it was only when an administration official
was under oath that the lies about Ramos and Compean were admitted.
But this administration has decided to thumb its nose at that
obligation and has decided not to make its case under oath at a public
hearing and, instead, has actually said things, as I say, calling
Ramos and Compean corrupt in radio interviews and such.
Chairman WILLIAM DELAHUNT graciously approved my request to hold
hearings on the Ramos and Compean case. In doing so, an official
subcommittee investigation into the case in preparation for the
hearing was authorized. During the course of this investigation, the
resistance from the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and
State was consistent with the arrogance and obfuscation that flows
through this administration from the top down. Our hearing had to be
postponed for months because of the administration's refusal to
provide documents or to send the necessa ry witnesses to testify
before the subcommittee, citing that the committee did not have proper
jurisdiction; therefore, the U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, the
Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Skinner, or any of
his other investigators need not appear. That decision was clearly
made by the White House.
Our Government provided a flawed immunity agreement, free health care,
unconditional border crossing cards to an illegal alien criminal drug
smuggler in exchange for his testimony that sent Border Patrol Agents
Ramos and Compean to prison.
Our Government kept secrets from the jury that the drug dealer
intercepted by Ramos and Compean had hauled another shipment of drugs
across the border, this, while on a Government-issued border crossing
Clearly, this is well within the jurisdiction of an oversight
investigative committee responsible for overseeing relations with
other countries, including Mexico, and including international drug
smuggling. Clearly, the public has a right to kno w about these
This administration apparently believes there is no obligation to
answer questions in public and under oath about the actions or
policies of the administration. And in preparation for that hearing,
we made a request, and request after request, countless phone calls,
and even a freedom of information lawsuit by a watchdog group,
Judicial Watch, and the administration still refuses to release copies
of the border crossing cards that were issued to the drug smuggler in
this case. Of c ourse, they are claiming, when we make this request
about these cards issued to the drug smuggler that permitted him to
freely go across the border, they say that the drug smuggler is
protected under, get this, ``the privacy act.'' This is what the
Justice Department tells us.
I was instructed by the Justice Department to obtain a privacy waiver
in order that that information be released, a privacy waiver for an
illegal alien criminal. This is absurd and just another example of the
condescending and dis missive attitude. This type of obstructionism,
however, is the rule, not the exception, of this administration.
By the way, due to a bureaucratic fluke, the border crossing cards, we
actually got a hold of them, and this is how we have learned that this
person that was involved with the Ramos and Compean event actually
took a second shipment of drugs.
I submit for the Record the letters and copies of these exchanges with
the administration.
Washington, DC,
September 12, 2006.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales,
Department of Justice,
Washington, DC.
DEAR ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: We are writing to you as members of
Congress with deep concern over the Justice Department's wrongheaded
prosecution of two U.S. Bord er Patrol agents who were simply doing
their jobs to protect our homeland.
Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean should have been
commended by our government for their actions last year in attempting
to apprehend a Mexican drug smuggler who brought 743 pounds of
marijuana across our border. But because of an incomprehensible
prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office--including granting full
immunity to the smuggler so he could testify against our agents--these
men may soon receive 20-year prison sentences for firing shots at the
fleeing smuggler, who they believed carried a gun. The smuggler--who
received complete medical care at William Beaumont Army Medical Center
in El Paso, Texas--is now suing the Border Patrol for $5 million for
violating his civil rights!
The Justice Department's unjust prosecution does nothing but tie the
hands of our Border Patrol and prevent them from securing America
against a flood of illegal immigrants, drugs, counterfeit goods and
quite possibly, terrorists. This dem oralizing prosecution puts the
rights of illegal alien drug smugglers ahead of our homeland security
and undermines the critical mission of better enforcing our
immigration laws. The convictions against these agents demand
Due to significant concerns over the circumstances surrounding the
prosecution of Agents Ramos and Compean, the House Judiciary Committee
has already recognized the need for a thorough review of this case by
calling for Congressional hearings and an investigation of the Dep
artment of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, U.S.
Customs and Border Patrol and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Mr. Gonzales, we strongly urge the Department of Justice to postpone
the sentencing of Agents Ramos and Compean, and to reopen their case
for a fuller investigation of the facts.
Walter B. Jones, Tom Tancredo, Ted Poe, Charlie Norwood, Ernest
Istook, Dana Rohrabacher, Sue Myrick, Virginia Foxx, John Duncan,
Barbara Cubin, Jim Ryun, Virgil Goode, Ginny Brown-Wait e, Gary G.
Miller, Kenny Marchant, Ed Whitfield, Ed Rover, Dan Burton, Robin
Hayes, Henry Brown, John Campbell, Michael Bilirakis, Members of
Washington, DC, February 16, 2007.
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR CHAIRMAN WAXMAN: This letter responds to concerns expressed in
the January 9, 2006, Minority Staff Report, ``Sandy Berger's Theft of
Classified Documents: Unanswered Questions'' (``the Report''). The
Report alleges failures in the Department's handling of the Berger
investigation. We have reviewed the Report and respectfully disagree
with its characterization of the Department's investigation.
The Department's investigation began when we were first advised of
Berger's actions by the National Archives and Records Administration
Inspector General (IG) on October 15, 2003, almost two weeks after
Archives staff and agents of the IG had begun their own investigation
of the incident. The Department and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) devoted significant resources to the task,
including prosecutors and FBI Special Agents trained in the
investigation of national security cases. The FBI conducted over 50
interviews, made inspection s of the Archives facilities, and reviewed
thousands of pages of documents, in addition to other law enforcement
efforts. We examined Mr. Berger's conduct during all four of his
visits to the Archives.
The Report suggests that the Department did not inquire about Mr.
Berger's first two visits to the Archives, citing the IG's
recollection that the Department had informed the IG in April 2004
that the Department had not questioned Mr. Berger about his May 2002
and July 2003 visits. This suggestion appears to be based on a
misunderstanding of the sequence of the Department's investigation. As
of April 2004, the Department had not yet asked Mr. Berger any
questions, as he had not yet agreed to an interview. When the
Department did subsequently interview Mr. Berger, the Department
questioned him regarding all of his visits. Furthermore, the
Department questioned every witness with knowledge of Mr. Berger's
visits about all of his visits. Neither Mr. Berger nor any other
witness provided the Department with evidence that Mr. Berger had
taken any documents beyond the five referenced in the plea agreement.
In this, as in all criminal investigations, the Department's
obligation was to gather the available testimonial and documentary
evidence and then rigorously put that evidence to the test--often
pitting the memory of witnesses against the written record supplied by
the documents--in order to determine as accurate a picture as possible
of what transpired. In this case, as in others, some of the initial
allegations did not withstand further analysis.
For example, the Report suggests that the Department did not give
sufficient weight to the accounts of Mr. Berger's activities provided
by Archives staff, most notably the e-mail sent on September 2, 2003,
from Official A to Senior Official 1. In this e-mail, Official A
described an encounter with Mr. Berger that day in which he saw Mr.
Berger ``fiddling with something white which looked to be a piece of
paper or multiple pieces of paper'' down by his ankle. The Department
was fully aware of this e-mail, and knew that Berger had in fact
removed his notes and a document on the visit of September 2, 2003.
The e-mail was a significant piece of information that the Department
appropriately investigated.
The account described in the e-mail was evaluated in conjunction with
Official A's interview with the IG's agents on October 15, 2003,
conducted before the Department was involved in the case. The
recording and transcript of the interview with the IG's Agents were
reviewed in full in the course of our investigation. According to the
IG's recorded interview, Official A repeatedly stated that the
interaction was ``very quick'' and he could not be certain what he
saw. Further, Official A told the IG's Agents, ``I could not, um, you
know, swear that what I saw was documents, but it certainly unnerved
me enough.'' Later, Official A was asked by the IG's agents how he was
feeling and he responded, ``very unsettled. I mean, it's, it's
unsettled but at the same time I mean, n ot, not unsettled in the way
that I'm a hundred percent sure of what I've seen and, and I'm sick,
just like, did I see what, what I, you know possibly could ..... There
was a certain grey area in my mind and whether this was actually a
document, a piece of paper.''
When Official A was interviewed later by the FBI on October 17, 2003,
he once again expressed uncertainty about what he saw, diminishing
further the probative value of his e-mail. The e-mail, and Official
A's interviews with the IG's agents an d the FBI, had to be further
weighed against the evidence that after the e-mail was sent and after
Official A discussed with Senior Official 1 what he saw, Senior
Official 1 contacted a supervisor, but the Archives staff did not
confront Mr. Berger, did not search him, and did not contact any
security or law enforcement officials. In light of these additional
facts, the Report's suggestion that the Department somehow failed to
consider the full import of the e-mail and related information is
The Department's analysis of the other documentary and testimonial
evidence in this case was similarly thorough. And at the conclusion of
its extensive investigation, the Department secured a guilty plea from
Mr. Berger, pursuant to which he admitted to ``conceal[ing] and
remov[ing]'' five copies of classified documents from the Archives,
concealing them at his office, and ``cut[ting] three of the documents
into small pieces and discard[ing] them''--all in violation of 18
U.S.C. §1924. April 1, 2005 Factua l Basis for Plea at 2. The
Department stands by its investigation and believes that this
resolution was the best one possible in light of the available
The Report also suggests that, as a result of Mr. Berger's conduct,
the 9-11 Commission may have been deprived of the information
necessary to render its final report. The Departmen t, however, has no
evidence indicating that this suggestion is accurate. In the course of
its investigation, the Department interviewed numerous witnesses who
might have had knowledge of any missing items. None of these
witnesses, however, provided the Department with evidence that Mr.
Berger's conduct deprived the 9-11 Commission of information or
documents. Nor has the IG ever advised us--either at the time of our
investigation or at any time since--of any evidence that Mr. Berger
had taken any documents other than the five referenced in the plea
Thus, not the Department, the FBI, or the Archives IG has found any
evidence that Mr. Berger took any documents other than the five
referenced in the plea agreement. The Department's public statements
made after Mr. Berger's April 1, 2005, guilty plea reflected the
results of its extensive investigation into this matter, and were
based solely on the evidence gathered in that investigation and
contained in the detailed factual statement--the contents of which Mr.
Berger admitted as a condition of his plea agreement.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Mr. Berger must cooperate with
the Archives IG and make himself available for any cooperation with
the government. Indeed, on July 8, 2005, after the plea and prior to
sentencing, the IG, along with Department attorneys and FBI agents,
also questioned Mr. Berger. At this meeting, Mr. Berger was again
questioned about all of his visits to the Archives, including those
that occurred in May 2002 and July 2003. Again, Mr. Berger's answers
in this session were evaluated and compared to his previous answers
and the vast amount of evidence collected in the investigation.
In light of Mr. Berger's disclosures during an extensive interview in
March 2005 and his acceptance, as part of his guilty plea, of a
detailed factual basis for the charges against him, the judgment of
the Department and the FBI was not to administer a polygraph
examination to Mr. Berger. The Department is aware of no new facts
regarding th e law enforcement aspects of this investigation to
suggest that it should revisit that judgment.
In closing, I would like to emphasize that the Department's silence
with respect to certain other factual assertions and conclusions in
the Report should not be mistaken for agreement. Indeed, to cite but
one additional example, the Department disagrees with both the manner
in which certain of its employees were interviewed and the manner in
which their statements to Committee staff were presented in the Repo
rt. We nevertheless hope that this letter provides you assurance that
the Department takes investigations regarding the mishandling of
classified information and documents very seriously, and vigorously
investigates and prosecutes those who endanger our national security.
We appreciate your attention to this matter.
Richard A. Heating,
Acting Assistant Attorney General.
This is plea after plea from Members of Congress, I might add that
even a majority of Members of Congress have voted for and supported on
both sides of the aisle. Chairman Delahunt of our Investigative
Subcommittee knows that there's something wrong with this case. As I
say, it stinks and has stunk from the beginning.
We have asked for the President to intervene on behalf of Ramos and
Compean personally, either by pardoning or commuting their sentences.
These requ ests have been ignored over and over again. And last year,
I personally reached out to the President to take the pressure and
confrontation out of this issue. I suggested that the President direct
the Department of Justice to request that Ramos and Compean be
permitted to remain free on bond pending their appeal. Even common
criminals in our society are able to stay out pending appeal of a
And what was the response? The White House released a press release
the next day, it was issued the very n ext day, proclaiming that the
administration opposes letting Ramos and Compean out pending appeal
and that no special consideration would be granted to anyone.
Now, that's a lot of holier than thou rhetoric, okay? So no special
consideration was going to be given to anyone, much less these two
Border Patrol agents. Now, that sounds righteous, a position of not
making any exceptions, except, of course, for the fact that a short
time later, White House Aide Scooter Libby had his sentence commuted
by the Pr esident in a heartbeat.
For the record, I found out, and let me just note, I believe that
commuting Scooter Libby's sentence was justified. But it's totally
inconsistent with what we had been told of why Ramos and Compean
couldn't even be considered to let them out, even waiting, pending
Yeah, Scooter Libby got a raw deal. But the fact is that what's
happening, what we see is only members of the President's personal
clique get such consideration. It's clear, that's evident, and it's
It is truly with a heavy heart, Madam Speaker, that I stand here
reciting example after example of the maliciousness and condescending
attitude exhibited by this administration. It is a problem that's
flowing from the top.
When I hear my friends on the other side of the aisle accusing this
administration of stonewalling, of coverups, or thwarting
investigations, I sadly must concur with them. Even though I may
disagree with what the policy issue of the day is, I have to agree
that Congress is not being treated with respect and that the President
is engaged in obfuscating and in stonewalling of rightful requests by
this body.
This White House exemplifies needless hostility, turf jealousy, and
obstructionism. The American people should know it and should know
that these charges come not from a partisan Democrat, but from a
lifelong conservative Republican. I have worked in the White House. I
worked for 7 years as a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan, as much as people can disagree or agree with the
policies that he espoused, was a person who never acted arrogantly
towards others. He never, when he was giving State of the Union
messages, never used the word ``must,'' never made demands. And I
think that President Reagan would not feel comfortable with the type
of attitude that is exemplified in this administration. He, instead,
wanted to reach out to people and cooperate.
This administration seems to want to just bulldoze whoever gets in
their way and does not have the human concern for other people,
especially for people like Ramos and Compean, the little guys, that we
saw in Ronald Reagan, which made him so popular and successful.
I would ask that the rest of my remarks be put into the Record. Thank
you very much for permitting me this hour.
And to the American people, I say, carefully consider who our leaders
are going to be and carefully consider the issue of the day. We have a
wonderful democratic society. There's a balance of power here set up
by our Founding Fathers. And it's important, whether you're Republican
or Democrat, that we maintain this balance of an authority, the
legislative, executive, and judicial in this country, and we should
not be setting precedents that the President of the United States has
the lion's share of the power in this great democracy of ours. The
power is rested in these three branches and in the people themselves.

Susan C. Serpa

Sunday, March 16, 2008

more Bush fraud; Spitzer & bank bailout; HR24 New Hampshire; Fallon; "Fortunate 400"; Chomsky on campaign

Hi Impeachment People and Greens:

1) Ayumi Temlock leads us to yet another story of the Bush regime's
2) Greg Palast explains how the $200 billion bail-out for predator
banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked. See below.
3) The Northeast Impeachment Coalition is looking for help with HR24
in New Hampshire: See below.
4) Admiral Fallon fired for preventing Bush & Cheney from pursuing
criminal aggression against Iran. See below.
5) The rich get richer while the poor get poorer for the rather
obvious reason that the rich steal from the poor. David Walsh of the
World Socialist Website reviews the Wall Street Journal's report on
"The Fortunate 400," the IRS report on the wealthiest, and information
on the super-wealthy world-wide. See below.
6) Amy Goodman interviews Noam Chomsky on the implications of
the presidential campaign. See below.

2) By Greg Palast
Reporting for Air America Radio's Clout
Listen to Palast on Clout at

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an 'escort' $4,300 in
a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush's new
Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing
over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there's a BIG difference.
The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush's man Bernanke was
using ours.

This week, Bernanke's Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a
selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee
these banks' mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was
an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought
two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood
in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers' bordello:
Eliot Spitzer.

Who are they kidding?Spitzer's lynching and the bankers' enriching are
intimately tied.

How? Follow the money.

The press has swallowed Wall Street's line that millions of US
families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they
couldn't afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey.
That's blaming the victim.

Here's what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new
species of loan became the norm, the 'sub-prime' mortgage and it's
variants including loans with teeny "introductory" interest rates.
From out of nowhere, a company called 'Countrywide' became America's
top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large
chuck of these 'sub-prime.'

Here's how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household
income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 a
month payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker
promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years.
But in two years, the promise ain't worth a can of spam and the
Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less
than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to
recover the "discount" they had for two years. Suddenly, payments
equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. Grinnings move into their Toyota.

Now, what kind of American is 'sub-prime.' Guess. No peeking. Here's a
hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given
sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned
borrowers aren't stupid - they had no choice. They were 'steered' as
it's called in the mortgage sharking business.

'Steering,' sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to
over-borrow, called 'fraudulent conveyance' or 'predatory lending'
under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days
(Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state
laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.

But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking
brethren were told to party hardy - it was OK now to steer'm, fake'm,
charge'm and take'm.

But there was this annoying party-pooper. The Attorney General of New
York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried

Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush's regulators
went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop
predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of
"federal pre-emption," Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce
their consumer protection laws.

Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer's
investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush's banking buddies
were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across
the nation using New York State laws.

Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory
enablers in the investment banking community. Behind Countrywide was
the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others
joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup's
Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this
through a bit of financial legerdemain called "securitization."

What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the
Grinnings, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into
"tranches" of bonds which were stamped "AAA" - top grade - by bond
rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe
investments to US school district pension funds and town governments
in Finland (really).

When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were
left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses.
Countrywide's top man, Angelo Mozilo, will 'earn' a $77 million
buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million - over half a
billion dollars - he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.

But there were rumblings that the party would soon be over. Angry
regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about
to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide's stock
was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf
sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.

Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle
Capital went bankrupt. Who? That's Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James
Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush,
the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and
presidents than you can count.

The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion
on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the public treasure -
and got to keep the Grinning's house. There was no 'quid' of a
foreclosure moratorium for the 'pro quo' of public bail-out. Not one
family was saved - but not one banker was left behind.

Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo's
Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their
company's stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.

And that very same day the bail-out was decided - what a coinkydink! -
the man called, 'The Sheriff of Wall Street' was cuffed. Spitzer was

Do I believe the banks called Justice and said, "Take him down today!"
Naw, that's not how the system works. But the big players knew that
unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil
the party. Headlines in the financial press - one was "Wall Street
Declares War on Spitzer" - made clear to Bush's enforcers at Justice
who their number one target should be. And it wasn't Bin Laden.

It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed
choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just
finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory

"Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers,
it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent
states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which
he federal government was turning a blind eye."

Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline, was the "Predator Lenders'
Partner in Crime." The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from
justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on
the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.

Spitzer wrote, "When history tells the story of the subprime lending
crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many
innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged

But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story - of
Bush and his bankers - will not be told by history at all - now that
the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.

A note on "Prosecutorial Indiscretion."

Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for
government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding
whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for airtime with 60
Minutes. I'm not allowed to tell you the prosecutor's name, but I want
to mention he was recently seen shouting, "Florida is Rudi country!
Florida is Rudi country!"

Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It's up
to something called "prosecutorial discretion."

Funny thing, this 'discretion.' For example, Senator David Vitter,
Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him
diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors
busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.

Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer - rarely done in these cases -
was made at the 'discretion' of Bush's Justice Department.

Or maybe we should say, 'indiscretion.'


Greg Palast, former investigator of financial fraud, is the author of
the New York Times bestsellers
Madhouse and <>The
Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

Hear The Palast Report weekly on
America Radio's Clout.

And next Wednesday March 19, join Palast and Clout host Richard Greene
on a dinner cruise on the Potomac River. For more information click

And this Sunday, at noon, on WABC-TV New York, catch Amy Goodman, Les
Payne and Greg Palast on Like It Is with Gil Noble.


3) The Northeast Impeachment Coalition is looking for help with HR24
in New Hampshire:
OK - it's time to begin - NOW!
We need CAPTAINS to recruit and lead our "foot soldiers" on passing
out the attached flyers asking NH residents to urge their reps to vote
YES on HR24 New Hampshire Petition to Impeach Bush and Cheney.

Susan Serpa
Northeast Impeachment Coalition

This is your time to shine you juicy peachy patriots - your moment in
history. You can tell your grandchildren that democracy was saved in
America because YOU tipped it - you led your team to inform the public
in NH that they were empowered to urge their state to pass impeaching
the fascists in the White House, therefore rescuing democracy for a
free society for future generations!

4) Admiral Fallon fired for preventing Bush & Cheney from pursuing
criminal aggression against Iran. See below.

Fallon's Greatest Secret Accomplishment
By JC Garrett: right wing watch 3-12-08, 9:41 am

After nearly a half century of service Admiral William J. Fallon
resigned Tuesday from his post as top U.S. military commander for the Middle
East because of growing publicity of his differences of opinion over Bush
Administration policy on Iran. Bush's beef with Fallon:

"He doesn't react like Pavlov's dog to inflammatory rhetoric from
inflammatory little men."

A Mar. 11 article in "Esquire" speculated on the longevity of Fallon's
career, asking

"How does Fallon get away with so brazenly challenging his commander
in chief?

The answer is that he might not get away with it for much longer.
President Bush is not accustomed to a subordinate who speaks his mind as
freely as Fallon does, and the president may have had enough."

How very "Nostradamus" of them.

However, their next prediction proved the absence of total
omnipotence, suggesting that Fallon might last until this summer when Bush
would replace him with a more deferential commander who would chase whatever
stick the neocons threw into Iran.

One can only hope that "Esquire's" third prediction proves them to be
charlatans and false prophets:

"If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and
vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of
this year and don't want a commander standing in their way."

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has tried to downplay the existence
of any disagreement, going so far as to declare, "I don't think there were
any differences at all."

Wanna know just how much "difference" there is between Fallon and the
Bush Admin's policy?

You may recall the very under-reported story about a B-52 bomber
carrying six live nuclear warheads across the country to Louisiana. It was
scheduled to continue to the Middle East after refueling. Fallon and a few
other sane Intel and Air Force officials found out and stopped it before it
could take off.

To put it politely, Fallon was royally perturbed.

When the incident was leaked to the press by high-level officials,
distinguished patriots all, concerned about the possibility of being dragged
into another aggressive, unprovoked war-- this time a nuclear one-- the
inconceivable explanation offered by the morons in charge was:

It was an accident.

The "Bent Spear" B-52 incident of August 30 was no accident. Live
nuclear warheads stored in impenetrable underground bunkers, at heavily
guarded sites do not "accidentally" attach themselves to cruise missiles,
drive themselves out on a fork truck, and jump into place on a bomber that
has for several years been prohibited from carrying nukes because the B-52
has been deemed too unsafe for that purpose.

The timeline tells the tale here. One week after the "accident", on
Sept. 5, the story was leaked to the Military Times. The next day, Sept. 6,
Israel bombed a compound in Syria that was rumored to be a "suspected
nuclear facility" where the Syrians were cooperating with North Korea on a
secret project that was partially funded by Iran.

How convenient that those three nations turned out to be the exact
ones in Bush's "Axis of Evil."

Asked about the incident, Bush refused to speak one word on the
subject. To this day, nobody in the administration has offered any
substantive information on the bombing of Syria.

Just before Fallon stopped the nuclear-armed bomber from delivering
its cargo, Robert Gates had matter-of-factly announced that the new National
Intelligence Estimate on Iran would not be released publicly. After Fallon
realized exactly how maniacal the Bush regime was, he and other military and
intel officers forced the release of the NIE, which said Iran had not had a
nuclear weapons program since 2003, and was unlikely to resume it. It
contradicted everything the White House had been selling.

How did they force Bush's compliance? They threatened to tell the
whole story to every reporter in Washington - that Bush was trying to sneak
nukes to the Middle East with the intent of bombing Iran's nuclear energy
plants at the same time Israel bombed Syria.

British intel sources say the Israeli attack on Syria was originally
intended to coincide with a U.S. attack on Iran. After the mutiny over
sending nuclear-armed missiles to the Middle East, Israel proceeded with its
attack on Syria.

Remember how passively Bush and Cheney took the disclosure of the NIE?
Normally, they would have shouted and wailed, aggressively attacking such a
repudiation of all the rhetoric they had been spouting for years. What
caused their uncharacteristic calm and deference when the NIE was first

They were scared. If the public discovered the extent and scope of
their plans, they might finally insist that Speaker Nancy Pelosi to return
the nourishing meal of impeachment to the table from which she swiped it,
thereby depriving the children of Democracy of the sustenance provided by
the Constitution. More than that, Bush and Cheney were afraid of going to
prison for their highly illegal trespasses. Fallon had their cajones in his
fists, and had convinced them that he would not hesitate to twist them off
if they continued to do everything possible to get us into a third idiotic

Remember just days after that NIE was made public, when Bush suggested
that other countries better fall in line if they were "interested in
avoiding World War III"?

That is exactly what Admiral Fallon helped to prevent.

Hopefully, his retirement will allow him the freedom to expose the
reckless insanity of the worst administration in the history of America.

5) From the World Socialist Website:
America's "Fortunate 400" control vast wealth
By David Walsh
7 March 2008
The richest four hundred American taxpayers have amassed immense
wealth, and that amount is steadily increasing, according to figures
reported by the Wall Street Journal Wednesday.
The Journal piece and the latest celebration of the world's
billionaires carried out by Forbes magazine point to an increasingly
and malignantly polarized American and global social order, with
fabulous riches accumulated at one pole and widespread social
wretchedness at the other.
The data published in the Wall Street Journal article come from an
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) study of wealthy US taxpayers in 2005,
an update of a report conducted five years earlier. The study reveals
that the 400 super-rich—who represent approximately .0003 percent of
the nation's 134 million taxpayers—reported total income of $85.6
billion in 2005, an average of $213.9 million each.
To be a member of this exclusive crowd, "the Fortunate 400," as one
academic terms the group, an individual had to report an income of at
least $100.3 million in 2005, a sharp increase from the $74.5 million
such membership would have required only the year before.
The increase in the fortunes of the 400 wealthiest taxpayers over the
four years 2002-2005 was phenomenal. In 2002 the average income of the
400 was 'merely' $104.1 million, little more than the "entry level" in
2005. The 2002 total income of the group was $41.6 billion, less than
half the 2005 total.
The 400 wealthiest absorbed 1.15 percent of total national income in
2005 (in other words, three-millionths of the taxpaying population
took in an eighty-seventh of total income), an increase from 1.02
percent in 2004 and more than double the 0.49 percent in 1995. After
adjusting for inflation, the minimum income required for entry into
the club of 400 has tripled since 1992. This provides a snapshot of a
social process that has gone on uninterruptedly under both Democratic
and Republican administrations.
The Journal emphasizes that the figures "actually understate the group
of 400's remarkable performance." The IRS measured the 2005 earnings
by what is known as "adjusted gross income," and does not include
tax-exempt interest income from state and local government bonds. In
addition, adjusted gross income is only calculated after deducting for
various expenses, including moving, alimony and the self-employed
health insurance deduction.
The newspaper also notes, "The IRS relied only on what taxpayers
actually reported, without making any independent effort to estimate
unreported income."
The parasitic character of the wealth accumulation found expression in
the fact that a majority of the income accumulated by the super-rich
in 2005 came from capital gains—the amount by which the selling price
of an asset exceeds the purchase price. Presumably, much of this came
from the stock market boom.
The 400, according to the IRS, reported net capital gains in 2005 of
nearly $50 billion, an average of $125 million per tax return, or 58
percent of their total income.
The Bush tax cuts helped this group enrich itself to the tune of
billions of dollars. The individuals paid an average federal income
tax rate of 18.23 percent in 2005, an increase from 18.16 percent the
year prior, but otherwise a lower percentage than in any year since
1992. The richest 400 paid an average tax rate of 30 percent as
recently as 1995.
It is some measure of the social regression that has occurred in the
US that this tiny handful of obscenely wealthy individuals paid only
slightly more than the average income tax rate for all taxpayers in
2005, 12.6 percent.
The IRS study reveals that 322 of the 400 reported total salaries and
wages of $7.38 billion, or some $22 million per tax return. Three
hundred ninety three reported income from dividends, some $5.9
billion, an average of $15 million each.
The $85 billion in income reported by 400 US taxpayers in a single
year is equal to the entire amount that the Bush administration claims
it has committed to helping rebuild the Gulf Coast in the wake of
Hurricane Katrina, a disaster that devastated the lives of hundreds of
thousands. The income of this group in 2005 alone could pay off all
outstanding student loans in the US.
Over the last several decades, a transfer of vast amounts of wealth
has taken place in the US, to the benefit of the very rich. According
to Gregory D. Squires, professor of sociology and public policy and
public administration at George Washington University, Washington,
D.C., on the Economic Policy Institute web site, between 1967 and 2005
the share of income going to the top quintile of all households
increased from 43.6 percent to 50.4 percent, while the share going to
the bottom fifth fell from 4 percent to 3.4 percent. In 2004 those in
the top one percent experienced a 12.5 percent increase in their
incomes while everyone else, the other 99 percent of the population,
saw an increase of only 1.5 percent.
In January 2008 workers' real hourly and weekly earnings in the US
were both down by 1 percent from the year before.
The IRS figures for 2005, and there is every reason to believe the
process has continued unabated, reveal that the greatest increase in
wealth has occurred within a small layer, a tiny fraction of the
population. These are the people who "count" in America, the ones who
ultimately decide the economic fate of tens of millions, determine the
principal actions of the two big business parties and shape the
officially-sanctioned "public opinion" daily transmitted through the
airwaves and in countless newspaper columns and editorials.
The figures on the "Fortunate 400" shocked even quite respectable
members of the establishment. The Journal cited the comment of Michael
Graetz, a professor of law at Yale University and a Treasury
Department official under President George H. W. Bush: "Those numbers
are really stunning. One hundred million dollars is an enormous estate
to be accumulated over a lifetime, and not what we think of as one
year's income for anybody."
1,125 billionaires worldwide
Meanwhile the world's billionaires continue to grow fatter and fatter.
This year's crop of 1,125, according to Forbes, are worth a total of
$4.4 trillion among them, an increase of 26 percent from the year
before. On the annual list published a year ago, the magazine
calculated 946 billionaires, with combined income of $3.5 trillion.
The existence of this group of financial and corporate predators, who
cohabit the planet with some three billion human beings who survive
(or fail to) on less than $2 a day, is a symptom of a diseased and
doomed social order. In its usual manner, Forbes treated the cancerous
growth of personal wealth as the opportunity for a special kind of
celebrity watch.
Investor Warren Buffett displaced Microsoft's Bill Gates as the
world's richest individual, according to Forbes. Buffett was worth
some $62 billion as of February 11, an increase of $10 billion from a
year ago. Gates gained $2 billion in net worth during the past 12
months, but lost ground to Buffett as the result of his company's
recent unsolicited bid for Yahoo! Gates actually slipped to third
place, with $58 billion, falling behind Mexican telecom mogul Carlos
Slim Helu ($60 billion).
Reflecting the general drift of the US in the world economy, only four
of the world's 20 richest individuals were Americans, down from ten
only two years ago. India now claims four of the world's ten
wealthiest men and women. Russia, 16 years after the collapse of the
Soviet Union, is now home to 87 billionaires, second only to the US.
Germany comes in third, with 59 billionaires.
Of the 226 newcomers to the list, 77 come from the US, "half of whom
made their fortunes in finance and investments, including John Paulson
and Philip Falcone, both of whom became wealthy shorting subprime
In countries where millions go to sleep hungry every night, a handful
is enriching itself. According to Forbes' Luisa Kroll, "Another third
of the new billionaires comes from Russia (35), China (28) and India
(19). Two of the most noteworthy new entrants are South Africa's
Patrice Motsepe and Nigeria's Aliko Dangote, the first black Africans
to make their debut among the world's richest. Dangote is also the
first-ever Nigerian billionaire."
The social type is revealing. Of Motsepe, Forbes writes: "Over 15
years Motsepe, preaching free market capitalism, turned a low-level
mining services business into the country's first black-owned mining
company, African Rainbow Minerals, with 2007 revenue of $875 million.
Driven by the Asian commodities boom, ARM's share price has rocketed
in the past year from $12 to $24, pushing the value of Motsepe's net
worth to $2.4 billion."
The magazine feels obliged to acknowledge: "But for all the adulation,
in South Africa such success comes with a price: being labeled an
oligarch. Even many blacks have complained that the country's 1994
transformation from apartheid to democracy has benefited only the
elite few. The criticism stems from laws that require substantial
black ownership in certain industries, including mining. A handful of
politically connected individuals have grown enormously wealthy as a
result. One of Motsepe's sisters, Bridgette Radebe, who's married to
transport minister Jeffrey Radebe, heads a mining company and is said
to be among the wealthiest black women in the country."
Overall, Forbes notes that not all is "rosy," pointing out that
economic volatility "has been wreaking havoc on these fortunes on a
daily basis for months." Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing lost $5.5
billion of his net worth over a span of 37 days in January and
February. China's richest person, Yang Huiyan, lost some $10 billion
over the past year. Others fell off the list entirely, including
Lehman Brothers chief Richard Fuld and Bear Stearns ex-chief James
Cayne (who lost his job), "both victims of the world's credit crunch,"
and William Pulte of Pulte Homes, "whose stock collapsed along with
the housing market."
The various reports underscore the state of world capitalism in 2008:
unrestrained growth of social inequality, economic instability—and the
inevitability of social upheaval.
See Also:
Record Christmas bonuses on Wall Street
[27 December 2007]
Record inequality in the US: Billions for Wall Street bosses as
workers' share of income shrinks
[20 December 2007]
The filthy rich: Forbes lists America's top 400 for 2007
[27 November 2007]
6) Amy Goodman interviews Noam Chomsky on the implications of the
presidential campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will face off tonight in
their final debate before the crucial primaries in Ohio and Texas next
week. Over the past few days, the two Democratic candidates have
traded barbs over trade, foreign and domestic policies, as the
rhetoric from both campaigns heats up.
Since the presidential race began well over a year ago, Iraq has been
one of many topics of debate. However, the war has not been the
central issue of the campaign as it was in the midterm elections in
2006, and there are still more than 160,000 US troops deployed in
Iraq. Why is this?
That was the subject of a recent talk by Noam Chomsky. A professor of
linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for over a
half-century, Noam Chomsky is the author of scores of books on US
foreign policy. His most recent is called Failed States: The Abuse of
Power and the Assault on Democracy. We spend the rest of the hour with
Noam Chomsky. He recently spoke before a packed audience in
Massachussetts at an event sponsored by Bikes Not Bombs.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Not very long ago, as you all recall, it was taken for
granted that the Iraq war would be the central issue in the 2008
election, as it was in the midterm election two years ago. However,
it's virtually disappeared off the radar screen, which has solicited
some puzzlement among the punditry.
Actually, the reason is not very obscure. It was cogently explained
forty years ago, when the US invasion of South Vietnam was in its
fourth year and the surge of that day was about to add another 100,000
troops to the 175,000 already there, while South Vietnam was being
bombed to shreds at triple the level of the bombing of the north and
the war was expanding to the rest of Indochina. However, the war was
not going very well, so the former hawks were shifting towards doubts,
among them the distinguished historian Arthur Schlesinger, maybe the
most distinguished historian of his generation, a Kennedy adviser,
who—when he and Kennedy, other Kennedy liberals were beginning
to—reluctantly beginning to shift from a dedication to victory to a
more dovish position.
And Schlesinger explained the reasons. He explained that—I'll quote
him now—"Of course, we all pray that the hawks are right in thinking
that the surge of that day will work. And if it does, we may all be
saluting the wisdom and statesmanship of the American government in
winning a victory in a land that we have turned," he said, "to wreck
and ruin. But the surge probably won't work, at an acceptable cost to
us, so perhaps strategy should be rethought."
Well, the reasoning and the underlying attitudes carry over with
almost no change to the critical commentary on the US invasion of Iraq
today. And it is a land of wreck and ruin. You've already heard a few
words; I don't have to review the facts. The highly regarded British
polling agency, Oxford Research Bureau, has just updated its estimate
of deaths. Their new estimate a couple of days ago is 1.3 million.
That's excluding two of the most violent provinces, Karbala and Anbar.
On the side, it's kind of intriguing to observe the ferocity of the
debate over the actual number of deaths. There's an assumption on the
part of the hawks that if we only killed a couple hundred thousand
people, it would be OK, so we shouldn't accept the higher estimates.
You can go along with that if you like.
Uncontroversially, there are over two million displaced within Iraq.
Thanks to the generosity of Jordan and Syria, the millions of refugees
who have fled the wreckage of Iraq aren't totally wiped out. That
includes most of the professional classes. But that welcome is fading,
because Jordan and Syria receive no support from the perpetrators of
the crimes in Washington and London, and therefore they cannot accept
that huge burden for very long. It's going to leave those
two-and-a-half million refugees who fled in even more desperate
The sectarian warfare that was created by the invasion never—nothing
like that had ever existed before. That has devastated the country, as
you know. Much of the country has been subjected to quite brutal
ethnic cleansing and left in the hands of warlords and militias.
That's the primary thrust of the current counterinsurgency strategy
that's developed by the revered "Lord Petraeus," I guess we should
describe him, considering the way he's treated. He won his fame by
pacifying Mosul a couple of years ago. It's now the scene of some of
the most extreme violence in the country.
One of the most dedicated and informed journalists who has been
immersed in the ongoing tragedy, Nir Rosen, has just written an
epitaph entitled "The Death of Iraq" in the very mainstream and quite
important journal Current History. He writes that "Iraq has been
killed, never to rise again. The American occupation has been more
disastrous than that of the Mongols, who sacked Baghdad in the
thirteenth century," which has been the perception of many Iraqis, as
well. "Only fools talk of 'solutions' now," he went on. "There is no
solution. The only hope is that perhaps the damage can be contained."
But Iraq is, in fact, the marginal issue, and the reasons are the
traditional ones, the traditional reasoning and attitudes of the
liberal doves who all pray now, as they did forty years ago, that the
hawks will be right and that the US will win a victory in this land of
wreck and ruin. And they're either encouraged or silenced by the good
news about Iraq.
And there is good news. The US occupying army in Iraq—euphemistically
it's called the Multi-National Force–Iraq, because they have, I think,
three polls there somewhere—that the occupying army carries out
extensive studies of popular attitudes. It's an important part of
counterinsurgency or any form of domination. You want to know what
your subjects are thinking. And it released a report last December. It
was a study of focus groups, and it was uncharacteristically upbeat.
The report concluded—I'll quote it—that the survey of focus groups
"provides very strong evidence" that national reconciliation is
possible and anticipated, contrary to what's being claimed. The survey
found that a sense of "optimistic possibility permeated all focus
groups…and far more commonalities than differences are found among
these seemingly diverse groups of Iraqis" from all over the country
and all walks of life. This discovery of "shared beliefs" among Iraqis
throughout the country is "good news, according to a military analysis
of the results," Karen de Young reported in the Washington Post a
couple of weeks ago.
Well, the "shared beliefs" are identified in the report. I'll quote de
Young: "Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the US
military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among
them, and see the departure of [what they call] 'occupying forces' as
the key to national reconciliation." So those are the "shared
beliefs." According to the Iraqis then, there's hope of national
reconciliation if the invaders, who are responsible for the internal
violence and the other atrocities, if they withdraw and leave Iraq to
Iraqis. That's pretty much the same as what's been found in earlier
polls, so it's not all that surprising. Well, that's the good news:
"shared beliefs."
The report didn't mention some other good news, so I'll add it.
Iraqis, it appears, accept the highest values of Americans. That ought
to be good news. Specifically, they accept the principles of the
Nuremberg Tribunal that sentenced Nazi war criminals to hanging for
such crimes as supporting aggression and preemptive war. It was the
main charge against von Ribbentrop, for example, whose position was—in
the Nazi regime was that of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The
Tribunal defined aggression very straightforwardly: aggression, in its
words, is the "invasion of its armed forces" by one state "of the
territory of another state." That's simple. Obviously, the invasion of
Iraq and Afghanistan are textbook examples of aggression. And the
Tribunal, as I'm sure you know, went on to characterize aggression as
"the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes
in that it contains within itself all the accumulated evil of the
whole." So everything that follows from the aggression is part of the
evil of the aggression.
Well, the good news from the US military survey of focus groups is
that Iraqis do accept the Nuremberg principles. They understand that
sectarian violence and the other postwar horrors are contained within
the supreme international crime committed by the invaders. I think
they were not asked whether their acceptance of American values
extends to the conclusion of Justice Robert Jackson, chief prosecutor
for the United States at Nuremberg. He forcefully insisted that the
Tribunal would be mere farce if we do not apply the principles to
Well, needless to say, US opinion, shared with the West generally,
flatly rejects the lofty American values that were professed at
Nuremberg, indeed regards them as bordering on obscene, as you could
quickly discover if you try experimenting by suggesting that these
values should be observed, as Iraqis insist. It's an interesting
illustration of the reality, some of the reality, that lies behind the
famous "clash of civilizations." Maybe not exactly the way we like to
look at it.
There was a poll a few days ago, a really major poll, just released,
which found that 75 percent of Americans believe that US foreign
policy is driving the dissatisfaction with America abroad, and more
than 60 percent believe that dislike of American values and of the
American people are also to blame. Dissatisfaction is a kind of an
understatement. The United States has become increasingly the most
feared and often hated country in the world. Well, that perception is
in fact incorrect. It's fed by propaganda. There's very little dislike
of Americans in the world, shown by repeated polls, and the
dissatisfaction—that is, the hatred and the anger—they come from
acceptance of American values, not a rejection of them, and
recognition that they're rejected by the US government and by US
elites, which does lead to hatred and anger.
There's other "good news" that's been reported by General Petraeus and
Ambassador Ryan Crocker that was during the extravaganza that was
staged last September 11th. September 11th, you might ask why the
timing? Well, a cynic might imagine that the timing was intended to
insinuate the Bush-Cheney claims of links between Saddam Hussein and
Osama bin Laden. They can't come out and say it straight out, so
therefore you sort of insinuate it by devices like this. It's intended
to indicate, as they used to say outright but are now too embarrassed
to say, except maybe Cheney, that by committing the supreme
international crime, they were defending the world against terror,
which, in fact, increased sevenfold as a result of the invasion,
according to a recent analysis by terrorism specialists Peter Bergen
and Paul Cruickshank.
Petraeus and Crocker provided figures to explain the good news. The
figures they provided on September 11th showed that the Iraqi
government was greatly accelerating spending on reconstruction, which
is good news indeed and remained so until it was investigated by the
Government Accountability Office, which found that the actual figure
was one-sixth of what Petraeus and Crocker reported and, in fact, a 50
percent decline from the previous year.
Well, more good news is the decline in sectarian violence, that's
attributable in part to the murderous ethnic cleansing that Iraqis
blame on the invasion. The result of it is there are simply fewer
people to kill, so sectarian violence declines. It's also attributable
to the new counterinsurgency doctrine, Washington's decision to
support the tribal groups that had already organized to drive out
Iraqi al-Qaeda, to an increase in US troops, and to the decision of
the Sadr's Mahdi army to consolidate its gains to stop direct
fighting. And politically, that's what the press calls "halting
aggression" by the Mahdi army. Notice that only Iraqis can commit
aggression in Iraq, or Iranians, of course, but no one else.
Well, it's possible that Petraeus's strategy may approach the success
of the Russians in Chechnya, where—I'll quote the New York Times a
couple of weeks ago—Chechnya, the fighting is now "limited and
sporadic, and Grozny is in the midst of a building boom" after having
been reduced to rubble by the Russian attack. Well, maybe some day
Baghdad and Fallujah also will enjoy, to continue the quote,
"electricity restored in many neighborhoods, new businesses opening
and the city's main streets repaved," as in booming Grozny. Possible,
but dubious, in the light of the likely consequence of creating
warlord armies that may be the seeds of even greater sectarian
violence, adding to the "accumulated evil" of the aggression. Well, if
Russians share the beliefs and attitudes of elite liberal
intellectuals in the West, then they must be praising Putin's "wisdom
and statesmanship" for his achievements in Chechnya, formerly that
they had turned into a land of wreck and ruin and are now rebuilding.
Great achievement.
A few days ago, the New York Times—the military and Iraq expert of the
New York Times, Michael Gordon, wrote a comprehensive review,
first-page comprehensive review, of the options for Iraq that are
being faced by the candidates. And he went through them in detail,
described the pluses and minuses and so on, interviewing political
leaders, the candidates, experts, etc. There was one voice missing:
Iraqis. Their preference is not rejected; rather, it's not mentioned.
And it seems that there was no notice of that fact, which makes sense,
because it's typical. It makes sense on the tacit assumption that
underlies almost all discourse on international affairs. The tacit
assumption, without which none of it makes any sense, is that we own
the world. So, what does it matter what others think? They're
"unpeople," nice term invented by British diplomatic historian [Mark]
Curtis, based on a series of outstanding volumes on Britain's crimes
of empire—outstanding work, therefore deeply hidden. So there are the
"unpeople" out there, and then there are the owners—that's us—and we
don't have to listen to the "unpeople."

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Noam Chomsky speaking in Arlington,
Massachusetts. We'll come back to that speech in a minute here on
Democracy Now! And you can get a copy of this speech at Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: We return to Professor Noam Chomsky, teaches linguistics
at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for over half-a-century. Noam
Chomsky is the author of more than a hundred books on US foreign
policy. He was speaking before a packed audience in Arlington,
NOAM CHOMSKY: Last month, Panama declared a Day of Mourning to
commemorate the US invasion—that's under George Bush no. 1—that killed
thousands of poor Panamanians when the US bombed the El Chorillo slums
and other poor areas, so Panamanian human rights organizations claim.
We don't actually know, because we never count our crimes. Victors
don't do that; only the defeated. It aroused no interest here; there's
barely a mention of the Day of Mourning. And there's also no interest
in the fact that Bush 1's invasion of Panama was a clear case of
aggression, to which the Nuremberg principles apply, and it was
apparently more deadly, in fact possibly much more deadly, than Saddam
Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, happened a few months later. But it
makes sense that there would be no interest in that, because we own
the world, and Saddam didn't, so the acts are quite different.
It's also of no interest that, at that time of the time of Saddam's
invasion of Kuwait, the greatest fear in Washington was that Saddam
would imitate what the United States had just done in Panama, namely
install a client government and then leave. That's the main reason why
Washington blocked diplomacy in quite interesting ways, with almost
complete media cooperation. There's actually one exception in the US
media. But none of this gets any commentary. However, it does merit a
lead story a few days later, when the Panamanian National Assembly was
opened by President Pedro Gonzalez, who's charged by Washington with
killing two American soldiers during a protest against President Bush
no.1, against his visit two years after the invasion. The charges were
dismissed by Panamanian courts, but they're upheld by the owner of the
world, so he can't travel, and that got a story.
Well, to take just one last illustration of the depth of the imperial
mentality, New York Times correspondent Elaine Sciolino, veteran
correspondent, writes that "Iran's intransigence [about nuclear
enrichment] appears to be defeating attempts by the rest of the world
to curtail Tehran's nuclear ambitions." Well, the phrase "the rest of
the world" is an interesting one. The rest of the world happens to
exclude the vast majority of the world, namely the non-aligned
movement, which forcefully endorses Iran's right to enrich uranium in
accordance with the rights granted by its being a signatory to the
Non-Proliferation Treaty. But they're not part of the world, even
though they're the large majority, because they don't reflexively
accept US orders, and commentary like that is unremarkable and
unnoticed. You're part of the world if you do what we say, obviously.
Otherwise, you're "unpeople."
Well, we might, since we're on Iran, might tarry for a moment and ask
whether there's any solution to the US-Iran confrontation over nuclear
weapons, which is extremely dangerous. Here's one idea. First point,
Iran should be permitted to develop nuclear energy, but not nuclear
weapons, as the Non-Proliferation Treaty determines.
Second point is that there should be a nuclear weapons-free zone in
the entire region, Iran to Israel, including any US forces that are
present there. Actually, though it's never reported, the United States
is committed to that position. When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, it
appealed to a UN resolution, Resolution 687, which called upon Iraq to
eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. That was the flimsy legal
principle invoked to justify the invasion. And if you look at
Resolution 687, you discover that one of its provisions is that the US
and other powers must work to develop a nuclear weapons-free zone in
the Middle East, including that entire region. So we're committed to
it, and that's the second element of this proposal.
The third element of the proposal is that the United States should
accept the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a position which happens to be
supported by 82 percent of Americans, namely that it should accept the
requirement, in fact the legal requirement, as the World Court
determined, to move to make good-faith efforts to eliminate nuclear
weapons altogether.
And a fourth proposal is that the US should turn to diplomacy, and it
should end any threats against Iran. The threats are themselves
crimes. They're in violation of the UN Charter, which bars the threat
or use of force.
Well, of course, these four proposals—again, Iran should have nuclear
energy, but not nuclear weapons; there should be a weapons-free zone
throughout the region; the US should accept the Non-Proliferation
Treaty; there should be a turn to diplomacy and an end to
threats—these are almost unmentionable in the United States. Not a
single candidate would endorse any part of them, and they're never
discussed, and so on.
However, the proposals are not original. They happen to be the
position of the overwhelming majority of the American population. And
interestingly, that's also true in Iran; roughly the same overwhelming
majority accepts all of these proposals. But that's—the results come
from the world's most prestigious polling agency, but not reported, as
far as I could discover, and certainly not considered. If they were
ever mentioned, they would be dismissed with the phrase "politically
impossible," which is probably correct. It's only the position of the
large majority of the population, kind of like national healthcare,
but not of the people that count. So there are plenty of "unpeople"
here, too—in fact, the large majority. Americans share this property
of being "unpeople" with most of the rest of the world. In fact, if
the United States and Iran were functioning, not merely formal,
democracies, then this dangerous crisis might be readily resolved by a
functioning democracy—I mean, one in which public opinion plays some
role in determining policy, rather than being excluded—in fact,
unmentioned, because, after all, they're "unpeople."
Well, while we're on Iran, I guess I might as well turn to the third
member of the famous Axis of Evil: North Korea. There is an official
story—read it right now—is that the official story is this, that after
having been compelled to accept an agreement on dismantling its
nuclear weapons and the facilities, after having been compelled to
agree to that, North Korea is again trying to evade its commitments in
its usual devious way. So the New York Times headline on this ten days
ago reads "The United States Sees Stalling by North Korea on Nuclear
Pact." And the article then details the charges of how North Korea is
not going through with its responsibility. It's not releasing
information that it's promised to release. If you read the story to
the last paragraph—and that's always a good idea; that's where the
interesting news usually is when you read a news story—but if you
manage to get to the last paragraph, you discover that it's the United
States that has backed down on the pledges made in the agreement. The
United States had promised to provide a million tons of fuel and—
What do I do? I couldn't see you. I'm sorry.
MODERATOR: Ten minutes.
NOAM CHOMSKY: I should hurry up? Yeah, OK. Alright, just start
screaming at me if I go on too long.
The US just refused to supply it. It's refused only—it's supplied only
85 percent of the fuel that it promised, and it was supposed to
improve diplomatic relations, of course not doing that. Well, that's
quite normal.
If you want to find out what's going on in the US-North Korea nuclear
standoff, it's better—you have to go to the specialist literature,
which is uniform on it, nothing hidden, and in fact sort of sneaks out
into small print in the press reports, as I mentioned. What you find
is that North—I mean, North Korea may be the most hideous state in the
world, but that's not the point here. Its position has been pretty
pragmatic. It's kind of tit-for-tat. The United States gets more
aggressive, they get more aggressive. The United States moves towards
diplomacy and negotiations, they do the same.
So when President Bush came in, there was an agreement—it was called
the Framework Agreement that had been established in 1994—and neither
the US nor North Korea was quite living up to it. But it was more or
less functioning. At that time, North Korea, under the Framework
Agreement, had stopped any testing of long-range missiles. It had
maybe one or two bombs worth of plutonium, and it was verifiably not
making more. Now, that was when George Bush entered the scene. And now
it has eight to ten bombs, long-range missiles, and it's developing
And there's a reason. The Bush regime immediately moved to a very
aggressive stance. The Axis of Evil speech was one example.
Intelligence was released claiming that North Korea was carrying
out—was cheating, had clandestine programs. It's rather interesting
that these intelligence reports, five years later, have been quietly
rescinded as probably inadequate. The reason presumably is that if an
agreement is reached, there will be inspectors in North Korea, and
they'll find that this intelligence had as much validity as the claims
about Iraq, so they're being withdrawn. Well, North Korea responded to
all of this by ratcheting up its missile and weapons development.
In September 2005, under pressure, the United States did agree to
negotiations, and there was an outcome. September 2005, North Korea
agreed to abandon—quoting— "all nuclear weapons and existing weapons
programs" and to allow international inspection. That would be in
return for international aid, mainly from the United States, and a
non-aggression pledge from the US and an agreement that the two
sides—I'm quoting—would "respect each other's sovereignty, exist
peacefully together and take steps to normalize relations."
Well, the United States, the Bush administration, had an instant
reaction. It instantly renewed the threat of force. It froze North
Korean funds in foreign banks. It disbanded the consortium that was
supposed meet to provide North Korea with a light-water reactor. So
North Korea returned to its weapons and missile development, carried
out a weapons test, and confrontation escalated. Well, again, under
international pressure and with its foreign policy collapsing,
Washington returned to negotiations. That led to an agreement, which
Washington is now scuttling.
There's an earlier history, an interesting one. You recall a couple of
weeks ago, there was a mysterious Israeli bombing in northern Syria,
never explained, but it a sort of hinted that this had something to do
with Syria building nuclear facilities with the help of North Korea.
Pretty unlikely, but whether it's true or not, there's an interesting
background, which wasn't mentioned. In 1993, Israel and North Korea
were on the verge of an agreement, in which Israel would recognize
North Korea and in return North Korea would agree to terminate any
weapons-related—missile, nuclear, other—any weapons-related activity
in the Middle East. That would have been an enormous boon to Israel's
security. But the owner of the world stepped in. Clinton ordered them
to refuse. Of course, you have to listen to the master's voice. So
that ended that. And it may be that there are North Korean activities
in the Middle East that we don't know about.
Well, let me finally return to the first member of the Axis of Evil:
Iraq. Washington does have expectations, and they're explicit. There
are outlined in a Declaration of Principles that was agreed upon, if
you can call it that, between the United States and the US-backed,
US-installed Iraqi government, a government under military occupation.
The two of them issued the Declaration of Principles. It allows US
forces to remain indefinitely in Iraq in order to "deter foreign
aggression"—well, the only aggression in sight is from the United
States, but that's not aggression, by definition—and also to
facilitate and encourage "the flow of foreign investments [to] Iraq,
especially American investments." I'm quoting. That's an unusually
brazen expression of imperial will.
In fact, it was heightened a few days ago, when George Bush issued
another one of his signing statements declaring that he will reject
crucial provisions of congressional legislation that he had just
signed, including the provision that forbids spending taxpayer
money—I'm quoting—"to establish any military installation or base for
the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of [United
States} Armed Forces in Iraq" or "to exercise [United States] control
of the oil resources of Iraq." OK? Shortly after, the New York Times
reported that Washington "insists"—if you own the world, you
insist—"insists that the Baghdad government give the United States
broad authority to conduct combat operations," a demand that "faces a
potential buzz saw of opposition from Iraq, with its…deep
sensitivities about being seen as a dependent state." It's supposed to
be more third world irrationality.
So, in brief, the United States is now insisting that Iraq must agree
to allow permanent US military installations, provide the United—grant
the United States the right to conduct combat operations freely, and
to guarantee US control over the oil resources of Iraq. OK? It's all
very explicit, on the table. It's kind of interesting that these
reports do not elicit any reflection on the reasons why the United
States invaded Iraq. You've heard those reasons offered, but they were
dismissed with ridicule. Now they're openly conceded to be accurate,
but not eliciting any retraction or even any reflection.
Well, there's a lot more to say about good news, but I was told to
shut up, so I will just say that thinking about these things really
does give some insight into the famous "clash of civilizations" and
its actual substance, topics that really ought to be foremost in our
minds, I believe. Thanks.
AMY GOODMAN: Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He's taught there for over
half-a-century. He was speaking in Arlington, Massachusetts at an
event sponsored by Bikes Not Bombs.