Thursday, October 20, 2005

Reflections on the Millions More Movement

My Reflections on the Millions More Movement

by Obadiah Holder
October 20, 2005
Special to
Photos courtesy of Obadiah Holder

I was reading someone’s views and perspectives of the movement held Saturday [October 15, 2005] celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March. The headline and the first subject was the thought that the author was at the Million More Picnic because so many people were sitting out in chairs eating and conversing.

Now, I am not writing to diss this person's point of view…just stating mine, I guess.

Anyway, at the march 10 years ago it was declared a day of absence. No buying, no work, etc. I went to the march and I observed the day of absence and it was tough. And also being that it was my first such event I didn’t have sense enough to bring a chair. So I got hungry, tired, and weak. By the time Farrakhan got on I was headed back to my group's staging point. I passed by a PACKED KFC and walked on by because I still observed the day of absence. While I walked I listened to the speech on the radio.

This time
the day of absence was the day before the march. I think it was great that way because the day of, you were free to go get something to eat if you didn’t have. And food is the key to your energy when you are about to be out from 7 or 8 am (many earlier…many later) till however late. If you stayed the whole time you were out there till about 7 or so. You need food.

It was totally common to see brothas in a cypher just sharing knowledge. Many elders had the ear of a group in conversation. Brothas held hands in circles of prayer. Just an overwhelming experience.

This time I heard the same things in the crowd. A man with the salt and pepper beard breaking it down to a younger cat about how he expects to be greeted and why he cant accept being greeted with “dawg” or “my boy” and slang of that nature. There was another man teaching a kid who was selling those little rubber band bracelets. He was telling him to hold his head up and look a person in the eye when he was doing business with people. I even saw a brother schooling this white guy about the issues ex-slaves faced when they were first freed.

These are just scenes I observed in passing. Or things I overheard from people near me. So yes. People were talking, and eating. Should we have stood at attention for 7 to 9 hours while waiting for our leader to appear? Dag, even the FOI [Fruit of Islam] were on rotation!

Well, this is kind of my reflections on the gathering on the 15th but I won’t do a news report cause you can read that on, CNN or something. What I DO want to do is hit on a few highlights as well as the key agenda that the minister proposed.

See, to me, last time (the first march) was different in that it did not lay out an agenda.
It was the black man's time to apologize, acknowledge his issues and pledge to address them so that we can be more productive etc, etc. “Now go home and be better men!” That’s the feel I got 10 years ago but that is what I expected and that is what I needed. This time there is an agenda for continued movement in many different directions!

Of course throughout the day the aftermath of Katrina was a target. Rightfully so, of course. There were moving words and songs from people who survived it. Al Sharpton had some poignant things to say about it. He just makes you feel like you in church whenever he gets going! And Wyclef took it to Carnivale with an energetic and refreshing, mostly freestyled performance. The Bush administration got an earful. Once again, rightfully so. So, yeah. Bush got bashed. Ain't nothing new. But a key point to it all is that most people concluded by placing a need on us as a collective to come together and move against such injustice.

–Side story: There were a lot of people passing out…stuff! Papers with some kinda info. You had to be selective of what you kept. Anyway there was a group of white people that I saw. And they had a poster that read “Wanted For Mass Murder” and it has what looks like mug shots of Pres Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Chaney, and someone I don’t know. Must be important though, to be included. And it says “The Bush regime is wanted for the murder of thousands of people in the New Orleans area.” I think their organization was called The World Cant Wait. They were really passionate about getting Bush out of office. But it was funny because at this big “black” event this group created a pretty big presence.

A key area that Minister Farrakhan emphasized was unifying. He used Katrina, as an example. Explaining that the more organized of a storm it became the stronger it got. The more organized and powerful it became the more respect it demanded because of the destruction it could do. He also told the story of a conversation that took place between someone in African American leadership (I can’t remember everything!) [A. Phillip Randolph] and Franklin D Roosevelt. Point of it being that this black leader was telling Roosevelt all the things that he “could do”. Things like anti lynching laws, etc. Roosevelt said that, yes, he could do all things, but then he challenged the black leader to make him. But the point that the minister made was that Roosevelt knew that if he were to come out all alone and for no apparent reason and started fighting “the good fight” then he would meet all kinds of opposition from Congress and everywhere else. But, as always, an organized representation from the dissatisfied party could be just cause for action.

But not only did he stress organization for the power of voicing ourselves collectively to government, but also so that we could build our own and have our own. He said that we should organize to change the reality.

Farrakhan’s plan was that several different ministries should be formed. First mentioned was a Ministry of Health and Human Service to “look after the health needs of black, brown, and poor people.” He said that Fidel Castro once offered hundreds of medical scholarships for people to come to
Cuba and learn medicine. The one stipulation was that they had to return to the states and aid those communities who really need it. That offer was rejected by the U.S.

He also proposed a Ministry of Agriculture saying that if blacks would grow their own food then it would stimulate our own economy because then we would have our own grocery stores, thus creating jobs. Farrakhan also talked about the foods that we eat now and how the food industry and the drug companies work together to aid in sickness with all the fatty foods produced and consumed. Then the pharmacies create a pill to sell and correct the problems. “If we keep our mouth in the kitchen of our enemy we will never have good health,” he said. He also let it be known that the Native American community is willing to lease land to the black community. Land that we could farm and make these things happen. This of course would take organization for such a course of action to be successful.

Other areas in which Farrakhan suggested ministries were:

Ministry of Education—to create a “new educational paradigm”

Ministry of Defense (of course)

Ministry of Art and Culture—to use the arts to not only entertain, but also to educate. Edutainment, if you will.

Ministry of Trade and Commerce—to open up trade and exchange with the Caribbean and Africa.

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Information—so that we could send OUR reporters to find the truth.

Ministry of Spirituality—to “transform our lives by transforming our minds.

Ministry of Science and Technology

Of course he stated the need for the funds to finance these ministries. Though he didn’t stress reparations a lot, he did say that we, as a people deserve reparations and that it would help in funding such an undertaking that he is proposing. But all of that still stems from our level of organization. “The more we organize, the more demands we can make.” He talked of having our own political party. He said it could be the POP—Party of the People.

These proposals, I see as reachable. I think that it will take more than just my lifetime but the foundation can be started now so that our children and their children can have a different world than we have had. I will be staying informed because I want to know how he plans to pull it off. He didn’t lay out the plan for making all of this happen. But I expect that he has a plan. I hope he didn’t put all that out there as empty words. Time will tell.

He did request that everyone go to and complete a registration form and enlist in a national skills bank so that peoples skills and locations can be gathered for future use. Also, for donations to a Katrina Fund and a fund that will be there in case of other disasters to our people we could donate to:

The Millions More Movement Disaster Relief Fund

PO Box 10680

Washington, DC 20020-9994

I invite you to watch the coverage at the MMM website. I also noticed that they have the footage on CSPAN’s website as well.

Like I said, I think these are lofty goals but that they can be reached. I don’t know his plans for organization as of yet but I hope they are laid out soon. I don’t belong to any groups and have been pretty much a loner. But I am more than willing to join and work within an organization in order to build a better future for me and mines!

That’s about it, for now. I thank you for reading all this. Pass it along to anyone you think gives a damn.

Peace, Power, and Blessings!


“The success of our movement won’t come from our race or our numbers. But from the righteousness of our cause.” Jessie Jackson

Obadiah Holder is an IT professional from Nashville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

America's Ministry of Propaganda Exposed

By Gar Smith / The-Edge
November 7, 2003

A Strategy of Lies: How the White House Fed the Public a Steady Diet of Falsehoods

Colonel Sam Gardiner (USAF, Ret.) has identified 50 false news stories created and leaked by a secretive White House propaganda apparatus.
Bush administration officials are probably having second thoughts about their decision to play hardball with former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Joe Wilson is a contender. When you play hardball with Joe, you better be prepared to deal with some serious rebound.

After Wilson wrote a critically timed New York Times essay exposing as false George W. Bush's claim that Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger, high officials in the White House contacted several Washington reporters and leaked the news that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent.

Wilson isn't waiting for George W. Bush to hand over the perp. In mid-October, the former ambassador began passing copies of an embarrassing internal report to reporters across the US. The-Edge has received copies of this document.

The 56-page investigation was assembled by USAF Colonel (Ret.) Sam Gardiner. "Truth from These Podia: Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II" identifies more than 50 stories about the Iraq war that were faked by government propaganda artists in a covert campaign to "market" the military invasion of Iraq.

Gardiner has credentials. He has taught at the National War College, the Air War College and the Naval Warfare College and was a visiting scholar at the Swedish Defense College.

According to Gardiner, "It was not bad intelligence" that lead to the quagmire in Iraq, "It was an orchestrated effort [that] began before the war" that was designed to mislead the public and the world. Gardiner's research lead him to conclude that the US and Britain had conspired at the highest levels to plant "stories of strategic influence" that were known to be false.

The Times of London described the $200-million-plus US operation as a "meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress, and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein."

The multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign run out of the White House and Defense Department was, in Gardiner's final assessment "irresponsible in parts" and "might have been illegal."

"Washington and London did not trust the peoples of their democracies to come to the right decisions," Gardiner explains. Consequently, "Truth became a casualty. When truth is a casualty, democracy receives collateral damage." For the first time in US history, "we allowed strategic psychological operations to become part of public affairs... [W]hat has happened is that information warfare, strategic influence, [and] strategic psychological operations pushed their way into the important process of informing the peoples of our two democracies."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced plans to create an Office of Strategic Influence early in 2002. At the same time British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Strategy Director Alastair Campbell was setting up an identical operation in London.

As soon as Pvt. Jessica Lynch was airlifted from her hospital bed, the first call from her "rescue team" went, not to military officials but to Jim Wilkinson, the White House's top propaganda official stationed in Iraq.
White House critics were quick to recognize that "strategic influence" was a euphemism for disinformation. Rumsfeld had proposed establishing the country's first Ministry of Propaganda.

The criticism was so severe that the White House backed away from the plan. But on November 18, several months after the furor had died down, Rumsfeld arrogantly announced that he had not been deterred. "If you want to savage this thing, fine: I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done -- and I have."

Gardiner's dogged research identified a long list of stories that passed through Rumsfeld's propaganda mill. According to Gardiner, "there were over 50 stories manufactured or at least engineered that distorted the picture of Gulf II for the American and British people." Those stories include:

  • The link between terrorism, Iraq and 9/11
  • Iraqi agents meeting with 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta
  • Iraq's possession of chemical and biological weapons.
  • Iraq's purchase of nuclear materials from Niger.
  • Saddam Hussein's development of nuclear weapons.
  • Aluminum tubes for nuclear weapons
  • The existence of Iraqi drones, WMD cluster bombs and Scud missiles.
  • Iraq's threat to target the US with cyber warfare attacks.
  • The rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch.
  • The surrender of a 5,000-man Iraqi brigade.
  • Iraq executing Coalition POWs.
  • Iraqi soldiers dressing in US and UK uniforms to commit atrocities.
  • The exact location of WMD facilities
  • WMDs moved to Syria.

    Every one of these stories received extensive publicity and helped form indelible public impressions of the "enemy" and the progress of the invasion. Every one of these stories was false.

    "I know what I am suggesting is serious. I did not come to these conclusions lightly," Gardiner admits. "I'm not going to address why they did it. That's something I don't understand even after all the research." But the fact remained that "very bright and even well-intentioned officials found how to control the process of governance in ways never before possible."

    A Battle between Good and Evil
    Gardiner notes that cocked-up stories about Saddam's WMDs "was only a very small part of the strategic influence, information operations and marketing campaign conducted on both sides of the Atlantic."
    The "major thrust" of the campaign, Gardiner explains, was "to make a conflict with Iraq seem part of a struggle between good and evil. Terrorism is evil... we are the good guys.

    "The second thrust is what propaganda theorists would call the 'big lie.' The plan was to connect Iraq with the 9/11 attacks. Make the American people believe that Saddam Hussein was behind those attacks."

    The means for pushing the message involved: saturating the media with stories, 24/7; staying on message; staying ahead of the news cycle; managing expectations; and finally, being prepared to "use information to attack and punish critics."

    Audition in Afghanistan
    The techniques that proved so successful in Operation Iraqi Freedom were first tried out during the campaign to build public support for the US attack on Afghanistan.

    Rumsfeld hired Rendon Associates, a private PR firm that had been deeply involved in the first Gulf War. Founder John Rendon (who calls himself an "information warrior") proudly boasts that he was the one responsible for providing thousands of US flags for the Kuwaiti people to wave at TV cameras after their "liberation" from Iraqi troops in 1991.

    The White House Coalition Information Center was set up by Karen Hughes in November 2001. (In January 2003, the CIC was renamed the Office for Global Communications.) The CIC hit on a cynical plan to curry favor for its attack on Afghanistan by highlighting "the plight of women in Afghanistan." CIC's Jim Wilkinson later called the Afghan women campaign "the best thing we've done."

    Gardiner is quick with a correction. The campaign "was not about something they did. It was about a story they created... It was not a program with specific steps or funding to improve the conditions of women."

    The coordination between the propaganda engines of Washington and London even involved the respective First Wives. On November 17, 2001, Laura Bush issued a shocking statement: "Only the terrorists and the Taliban threaten to pull out women's fingernails for wearing nail polish." Three days later, a horrified Cherie Blaire told the London media, "In Afghanistan, if you wear nail polish, you could have your nails torn out."

    Misleading via Innuendo
    Time and again, US reporters accepted the CIC news leaks without question. Among the many examples that Gardiner documented was the use of the "anthrax scare" to promote the administration's pre-existing plan to attack Iraq.

    In both the US and the UK, "intelligence sources" provided a steady diet of unsourced allegations to the media to suggest that Iraq and Al Qaeda terrorists were behind the deadly mailing of anthrax-laden letters.

    It wasn't until December 18, that the White House confessed that it was "increasingly looking like" the anthrax came from a US military installation. The news was released as a White House "paper" instead of as a more prominent White House "announcement." As a result, the idea that Iraq or Al Qaeda were behind the anthrax plot continued to persist. Gardiner believes this was an intentional part of the propaganda campaign. "If a story supports policy, even if incorrect, let it stay around."

    In a successful propaganda campaign, Gardiner wrote, "We would have expected to see the creation [of] stories to sell the policy; we would have expected to see the same stories used on both sides of the Atlantic. We saw both. The number of engineered or false stories from US and UK stories is long."

    The US and Britain: The Axis of Disinformation
    Before the coalition invasion began on March 20, 2003, Washington and London agreed to call their illegal pre-emptive military aggression an "armed conflict" and to always reference the Iraqi government as the "regime." Strategic communications managers in both capitols issued lists of "guidance" terms to be used in all official statements. London's 15 Psychological Operations Group paralleled Washington's Office of Global Communications.

    In a departure from long military tradition, the perception managers even took over the naming of the war. Military code names were originally chosen for reasons of security. In modern US warfare, however, military code names have become "part of the marketing." There was Operation Nobel Eagle, Operation Valiant Strike, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Uphold Democracy and, finally, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    The "Rescue" of Jessica Lynch
    The Pentagon's control over the news surrounding the capture and rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch receives a good deal of attention in Gardiner's report. "From the very beginning it was called an 'ambush'," Gardiner noted. But, he pointed out, "If you drive a convoy into enemy lines, turn around and drive back, it's not an ambush. Military officers who are very careful about how they talk about operations would normally not be sloppy about describing this kind of event," Gardiner complained. "This un-military kind of talk is one of the reasons I began doing this research."

    One of the things that struck Gardiner as revealing was the fact that, as Newsweek reported: "as soon as Lynch was in the air, [the Joint Operations Center] phoned Jim Wilkinson, the top civilian communications aide to CENTCOM Gen. Tommy Franks."

    It struck Gardiner as inexplicable that the first call after Lynch's rescue would go to the Director of Strategic Communications, the White House's top representative on the ground.

    On the morning of April 3, the Pentagon began leaking information on Lynch's rescue that sought to establish Lynch as "America's new Rambo." The Washington Post repeated the story it received from the Pentagon: that Lynch "sustained multiple gunshot wounds" and fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldier... firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition."

    Lynch's family confused the issue by telling the press that their daughter had not sustained any bullet wounds. Lynch's parents subsequently refused to talk to the press, explaining that they had been "told not to talk about it." (Weeks later, the truth emerged. Lynch was neither stabbed nor shot. She was apparently injured while falling from her vehicle.)

    Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers let the story stand during an April 3 press conference although both had been fully briefed on Lynch's true condition.

    "Again, we see the pattern," Gardiner observed. "When the story on the street supports the message, it will be left there by a non-answer. The message is more important than the truth. Even Central Command kept the story alive by not giving out details."

    Gardiner saw another break with procedure. The information on the rescue that was released to the Post "would have been very highly classified" and should have been closely guarded. Instead, it was used as a tool to market the war. "This was a major pattern from the beginning of the marketing campaign throughout the war," Gardiner wrote. "It was okay to release classified information if it supported the message."

    Gar Smith is Editor Emeritus of Earth Island Journal, Roving Editor at The-Edge ( and co-founder of Environmentalists Against War (

    For more information contact:
    Col. Sam Gardiner's entire 56-page report is available in six PDF files that can be accessed beginning with:

    On October 21, Col. Gardiner [10/21/03] was interviewed on the Paul Harris Radio Show on The Big 550 KTRS in St. Louis.
    The Real Audio interview (and another link to the PDF files) can be found here:

  • Woman Countersues RIAA for Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices

    by Ryan Paul

    There are two commodities that the RIAA has in great abundance: cash, and consumer resentment. Since the start of its concerted legal assault on digital media piracy, the RIAA has become a veritable pariah. Aggressive legal action against consumers doesn't exactly engender trust and respect, so it is no surprise that a casualty of the RIAA's war against piracy has decided to pursue retaliation. Tanya Anderson, a 42 year old disabled single mother from Oregon, has filed a countersuit against the RIAA, in which she claims that the organization engaged in numerous crimes, including fraud, deceptive business practices, and racketeering. In addition, she claims that RIAA has been "abusing the federal court judicial system for the purpose of waging a public relations and public threat campaign targeting digital file sharing activities."

    Anderson, who was accused of downloading gangster rap via the Kazaa file sharing network under the login gotenkito, claims that she has never engaged in piracy. According to Anderson, shortly after she received notice of the suit, she was contacted by the Settlement Support Center, which claimed that a company called MediaSentry illegally infiltrated her computer and found evidence of copyright infringement. Anderson, who has no interest in gangster rap, contested the accusation and even requested that the Settlement Support Center inspect her computer to verify her innocence.

    Brace yourselves, this is where it really starts to get freaky. In her countersuit, Anderson claims that the Settlement Support Center acknowledged the probability of her innocence, but informed her that should she refuse to settle, the RIAA would proceed with a suit in order to discourage others from attempting to defend themselves against unwarranted litigation.

    Lets have a look at the countersuit:

    Despite knowing that infringing activity was not observed, the record companies used the threat of expensive and intrusive litigation as a tool to coerce Ms. Andersen to pay many thousands of dollars for an obligation she did not owe. The record companies pursued their collection activities and this lawsuit for the primary purpose of threatening Ms. Andersen (and many others) as part of its public relations campaign targeting electronic file sharing.

    The record companies have falsely represented and pleaded that information obtained in this invasive and secret manner is proof of Ms. Andersen's alleged downloading and distribution of copyrighted audio recordings. Ms. Andersen never downloaded music but has been subjected to public derision and embarrassment

    If what she says is true, it means that the RIAA is using the threat of litigation to extort monolithic amounts of money from innocent consumers. The very prospect sends shivers down my spine, but is it true? Would the RIAA really attempt to defraud a disabled woman out of her meager social security income? If the RIAA does in fact perpetrate extortion on massive scale, it would constitute one of the most horrendous acts of large scale corporate fraud ever recorded and it would utterly annihilate the credibility of the politicians that have expressed support for the RIAA's anti-piracy efforts. Is the RIAA an evil empire driven by inhuman avarice, or is 42 year old Tanya Anderson a gangster rapping pirate in search of an easy way out?

    Anderson isn't the only one crying foul. Employees of Kim's Video and Music Store in New York claim that they were wrongfully arrested in June on bogus piracy charges when New York Police Department officials and RIAA representatives raided the store. Econoculture, a web site devoted to the defense of modern music culture, has a chilling article containing numerous allegations of egregiously unlawful behavior purportedly perpetrated by the RIAA and law enforcement agents.

    According to the article, the police officers may have confiscated CD-R discs legally produced and burned by independent artists, simply because the discs did not look like the legitimate, recorded CDs distributed by RIAA member companies:

    RIAA regional officer Kenneth Rivera, who worked as an undercover agent on the Kim's case, identified the store's mix tapes and CDs as piratical, testifying in an affidavit that they "listed unfamiliar company names, do not display the name of the owner of the copyright, have packaging inferior in quality when compared with legitimate discs," and because "many are recorded on CD-R media. Legitimate recordings released by RIAA member companies do not release their recording on CD-R format."

    Ironically, Rivera's breathless description of his pirate bounty sounds an awful lot like the run-of-the-mill product that any college band would put out as their own. The investigator obviously hasn't attended a basement show or visited a dance club in the last decade or two. One thing that readers can divine from his statement above is that he knows the CD-R format-the latest accessible recording tool-is allowing bands to bypass the label system altogether. That's a big no-no to RIAA's board of directors.

    If the article is to be believed, it indicates that, in an attempt to crush their only competitors, the RIAA uses law enforcement agencies to wrongfully arrest individuals that legally distribute content produced by independent musicians!

    The sheer depravity of it all inspires cynicism. If the RIAA is found guilty of fraud and extortion, I bet that SCO will sue them for infringement of a business methods patent.

    Dump the DOD Database

    by Rachel Neumann
    October 17, 2005

    If you're between 16 and 25 years-old, you've probably heard that the U.S. Army wants you, but did you know how bad? The Joint Advertising and Market Research Studies (JAMRS) Recruiting Database is a Department of Defense project that collects tons of previously private information from schools, Internet service providers, and private information collection agencies, and stores it in one place with the sole purprose of helping military recruiters.

    The database would contain Social Security Numbers, race, religion, income status, and educational information on up to 25 million people as young as 16 years old. According to Electronic Privacy Information Center, one of the hundred organizations opposing JAMRS, the database would be operated by a commercial data marketing company, and individuals would not be able to opt-out.

    The Dump the DOD Database Coalition is asking the Department of Defense to drop the database and is asking Congress to review whether the database is in violation of the Privacy Act.

    If you want to find out if you or your child is in this database, you can write a letter requesting access to your file under the Privacy Act. This letter must contain your full name, Social Security Number, date of birth, current address, and telephone number. Send your request to "The Department of Defense, Defense Human Resources Activity, c/o JAMRS, Direct Marketing Program Officer, Defense Human Resources Activity, 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 200, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1613.

    Of course, writing a letter to the Department of Defense requesting information is probably just anti-patriotic enough to get you listed on another database, the infamous "no-fly" list.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Focus of CIA Leak Probe Appears to Widen


    The New York Times reporter who went to jail to avoid testifying in the CIA leak case was quizzed by the special prosecutor again yesterday and has agreed to return to the grand jury today.

    Judith Miller's additional testimony comes as the endgame is intensifying in the legal chess match that threatens to damage the Bush administration.

    There are signs that prosecutors now are looking into contacts between administration officials and journalists that took place much earlier than previously thought. Earlier conversations are potentially significant, because that suggests the special prosecutor leading the investigation is exploring whether there was an effort within the administration at an early stage to develop and disseminate confidential information to the press that could undercut former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Central Intelligence Agency official Valerie Plame.

    Mr. Wilson had become a thorn in the Bush administration's side, as he sought to undermine the administration's claims that Iraq had sought to buy materials for building nuclear weapons from other countries, such as uranium "yellowcake" from Niger. Ultimately, his wife's name and identity were disclosed in a newspaper column, prompting the investigation into whether someone in the administration broke the law by revealing the identity of an undercover agent.

    Ms. Miller, the Times reporter, was interviewed again yesterday to discuss conversations she had with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. She testified on Sept. 30 before a grand jury about conversations she had with Mr. Libby in July 2003.

    [Patrick Fitzgerald]

    Since then, her lawyers have told Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the leak of the CIA agent's identity, that Ms. Miller's notes show that she also spoke with Mr. Libby in late June, information that was not previously given to the grand jury.

    Mr. Fitzgerald's pursuit now suggests he might be investigating not a narrow case on the leaking of the agent's name, but perhaps a broader conspiracy.

    Mr. Wilson's initial complaints were made privately to reporters. He went public in a July 6 op-ed in the New York Times and in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." After that, White House officials, who were attempting to discredit Mr. Wilson's claims, confirmed to some reporters that Mr. Wilson was married to a CIA official. Columnist Robert Novak published Mr. Wilson's wife's name and association with the agency in a column that suggested she had played a role in having him sent on a mission to Niger to investigate the administration's claims.

    Until now, Mr. Fitzgerald appeared to be focusing on conversations between White House officials such as Mr. Libby and Karl Rove, President Bush's senior political adviser, after Mr. Wilson wrote his op-ed. The defense by Republican operatives has been that White House officials didn't name Ms. Plame, and that any discussion of her was in response to reporters' questions about Mr. Wilson, the kind of casual banter that occurs between sources and reporters.

    Mr. Rove, who has already testified three times before the grand jury and was identified by a Time magazine reporter as a source for his story on Mr. Wilson, is expected to go back to the grand jury, potentially as early as today, to clarify earlier answers.

    Lawyers familiar with the investigation believe that at least part of the outcome likely hangs on the inner workings of what has been dubbed the White House Iraq Group. Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. Rove and Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion. The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to Mr. Wilson's claims.

    Given that the grand jury is set to expire on Oct. 28, it is possible charges in this case could come as early as next week. Former federal prosecutors say it is traditional not to wait for the last minute and run the risk of not having enough jurors to reach a quorum. There are 23 members of a grand jury, and 16 are needed for a quorum before any indictments could be voted on. This grand jury has traditionally met on Wednesdays and Fridays.

    Since Ms. Miller first testified to the grand jury on Sept. 30, she has not published an article about her conversations with Mr. Libby in the New York Times, though she has given interviews to the paper and other media outlets. She hasn't publicly disclosed what she told the prosecutor.

    In a memo to staffers yesterday, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller confirmed that Ms. Miller would return to the grand jury "to supplement her earlier testimony," and noted that this means Ms. Miller is "not yet clear of legal jeopardy."

    Mr. Keller had earlier said the paper would publish a full account of everything Ms. Miller knew, but her continuing legal exposure has prevented the Times from doing so. Mr. Keller said yesterday in his memo that once Ms. Miller's "obligations to the grand jury are fulfilled, we intend to write the most thorough story we can of her entanglement with the White House leak investigation."

    Write to John D. McKinnon at, Joe Hagan at and Anne Marie Squeo at

    Sunday, October 09, 2005

    Bush Will Veto Anti-Torture Law after Senate Revolt

    Bush Will Veto Anti-Torture Law after Senate Revolt
    By Francis Harris
    The Telegraph UK

    Friday 07 October 2005

    The Bush administration pledged yesterday to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an overwhelming and almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist congressmen.

    The mutiny was the latest setback for an administration facing an increasingly independent and bloody-minded legislature. But it also marked a key moment in Congress's campaign to curtail the huge powers it has granted the White House since 2001 in its war against terrorism.

    The late-night Senate vote saw the measure forbidding torture passed by 90 to nine, with most Republicans backing the measure. Most senators said the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and similar allegations at the Guantánamo Bay prison rendered the result a foregone conclusion.

    The administration's extraordinary isolation was underlined when the Senate Republican majority leader, Bill Frist, supported the amendment.

    The man behind the legislation, Republican Senator John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner in Vietnam, said the move was backed by American soldiers. His amendment would prohibit the "cruel, inhumane or degrading" treatment of prisoners in the custody of America's defense department.

    The vote was one of the largest and best supported congressional revolts during President George W Bush's five years in office and shocked the White House.

    "We have put out a Statement of Administration Policy saying that his advisers would recommend that he vetoes it if it contains such language," White House spokesman Scott McClellan warned yesterday.

    The administration said Congress was attempting to tie its hands in the war against terrorism.

    The veto would be Mr. Bush's first use of his most extreme legislative option. But senators pointed out that a presidential veto can be overturned by a two-thirds majority in both houses.

    For now the amendment's fate depends on negotiations between the Senate and the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, which is more loyal to the administration.

    But senators said they were confident that most of the language would survive and that the issue could pose an extremely awkward dilemma for the president.

    The amendment was attached to the $440 billion (£247 billion) defense-spending bill and if Mr. Bush vetoes the amendment, he would have to veto the entire bill.

    That would leave America's armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan short of cash as early as the middle of next month.

    Delphi's bankruptcy leads to predictable devastation

    Delphi's bankruptcy leads to predictable devastation

    Oct. 11, 2005 12:00 AM The "news from home" is not good. The weekend brought the bankruptcy court filing by Delphi, the giant auto-parts supplier that spun off a few years ago from General Motors Corp.

    The next steps were tragically predictable: Most of Delphi's U.S. factories will be closed or sold, and it may walk away from its pension obligations. The great fire sale of American industrial might, which took 100 years to build, continues.

    This is a familiar story: using bankruptcy court to stiff veteran employees and avoid responsibility for decades of management malpractice. The devastation will be incalculable in the Midwestern towns that were the heart of the American auto industry, places that are the old hometowns of many Arizonans. In addition to the potential loss of jobs and payrolls, communities also stand to lose taxes for schools and city services.

    These stories about the difference between Delphi's treatment of their blue-collar workers and their executives demonstrate a typical attitude that U.S. corporations have toward their employees: Execs are highly prized commodities who are given top-dollar for the promise of their loyalty; loyal workers are a liability or an expense. And this treatment is not reserved for hourly workers. Delphi recently cut healthcare benefits for its salaried retirees as well.

    Delphi execs get severance boost


    October 8, 2005

    With reports circulating that Delphi Corp. could file for bankruptcy as early as today, the company promised about 21 of its top executives Friday that they'd get more money if they are fired or laid off.

    The Troy-based maker of almost every part you'll find on a car, from brakes to satellite radio receivers, wants to encourage those leaders to stick with the company, even if it files for bankruptcy. Delphi is the nation's largest auto supplier and the fourth-largest company in Michigan.

    But the richer benefits for top executives were just another insult to many of the company's blue-collar workers, who found out Thursday that the company wants to cut their pay as much as 63% and reduce health care and retirement benefits.

    "They always take care of their own," said Randy Burley, 56, of Lockport, N.Y., who works at a Delphi radiator plant. "And people complain we make too much money."

    With it appearing more and more likely that Delphi will file for bankruptcy, investors fled the company's stock Friday, driving the price down 49% to close at $1.12 per share.

    Until Friday, severance packages for Delphi's white-collar employees were capped at 12 months of pay. But in a report to the federal agency that supervises publicly traded companies, Delphi said the top executives are now eligible for up to 18 months of pay and some of their regular bonus.

    That change does not apply to Robert S. (Steve) Miller, Delphi's chairman and chief executive, who works under an exclusive contract -- $1.5 million a year and a $3-million signing bonus -- he negotiated before joining the company earlier this year. But the changes were a result of a review of Delphi's compensation and benefit programs Miller initiated.

    The old separation policy "wasn't competitive" for the top executives, said company spokesperson Claudia Baucus. Delphi's top five executives, not including Miller, were paid between $800,000 and $1 million last year, she said.

    But Patrick Keenan, a law professor at the University of Detroit Mercy, said rich severance packages are difficult for workers to swallow when they are being asked to sacrifice for the company.

    "The idea is to keep the company's top executives, but there's something borderline immoral about these golden parachutes," he said.

    Delphi has struggled financially since being spun off from GM in 1999 for many reasons, including union contracts it carried over from the automaker that paid its factory employees far more than competing parts makers. Delphi lost money three of the past four years and another $741 million in just the first six months of this year.

    Miller was brought in to fix the company in June. He repeatedly has said Delphi would file for bankruptcy before the nation's bankruptcy laws change Oct. 17 if its unions did not accept substantial concessions and GM, which remains Delphi's biggest customer, did not provide financial assistance.

    The UAW hasn't agreed to Delphi's demands, which include cutting wages from $25-$27 an hour to $10-$12 an hour, closing or selling factories, fewer holidays, shorter vacations and higher health care premiums, according to newsletters sent to employees Thursday. One of those memos, from UAW Local 292 in Kokomo, Ind., said GM had not agreed to help Delphi and that "there are no discussions being held between GM and Delphi."

    By filing for bankruptcy, Delphi could use the court's broad powers to wipe out its debts, impose lower wages and benefits on workers, and force GM and other automakers to pay more for some of the parts they buy and pick up some of the cost for its retired workers.

    The goal would be to rebuild Delphi into a profitable company by making its costs and prices competitive with those of major rivals such as Lear Corp. and ArvinMeritor Inc.

    Friday afternoon, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger told Bloomberg News at a management conference at the University of Toledo that "we're willing to find a way to avoid the bankruptcy route."

    "If that's the route Delphi winds up going on, it's not because we haven't been willing to negotiate," Gettelfinger said.

    GM is obligated to cover some costs for retired Delphi workers if the supplier files for bankruptcy. That agreement could cost GM anywhere from $2 billion to $8 billion by various estimates.

    However, GM has an agreement that gives it a general, unsecured claim on Delphi's assets in bankruptcy. That could lead to GM being one of the owners of a new Delphi Corp. after it emerged from bankruptcy, according to bankruptcy experts and a GM executive who asked not to be identified by name because of the sensitivity of the situation.

    Contact MARK PHELAN at 313-222-6731 or Free Press business writer Jason Roberson contributed to this report.

    THE WORKERS: Take a 63% cut in pay? First reaction is anger



    October 8, 2005

    Delphi Corp. union workers across the country grappled Friday with how they would make ends meet if their employer, the nation's largest auto parts supplier, followed through on pay cuts of up to 63% to reduce costs and avoid filing for bankruptcy.

    A 56-year-old Lockport, N.Y., man is considering hitting the open road again, driving a truck. A 70-year-old Livonia wife of a retired Delphi worker questions whether she'll be able to emotionally support her husband. A 55-year-old Flint worker and mother of a 13-year-old confessed she has no Plan B if her wages are cut.

    Union flyers surfaced Thursday saying Delphi has demanded as much as a 63% wage cut, to $10 an hour, and for workers to pay 27% of their health-care costs, versus 7% currently. Pensions could be halved. Delphi has said it will have to file for bankruptcy protection by Oct. 17 if it doesn't get concessions from its unions and financial assistance from its former parent company, General Motors Corp.

    Making matters worse, Friday's news of increased severance packages for Delphi's top 21 executives, whose pay is as much as $1 million a year, caused workers like Randy Burley, 56, of Lockport, N.Y. to curse.

    "And people complain we make too much money," said Burley, whose plant in Lockport makes radiators. "Well listen, we get paid for the (expletive) we have to put up with."

    Burley, a former truck driver who turned in his keys five years ago for a more stable job at Delphi, said if Delphi makes the proposed cuts he would "dust off the license and get back on the road."

    Alice Wheeler, 55, a 32-year Delphi employee with a 13-year-old son, said her family is heavily dependent on her income.

    Wheeler called the proposed cuts "scary, very scary," adding that she is willing to bend on vacation days and health plan co-pays, but "leave my money and my pension alone."

    Retirement at risk

    Judith Konarski, 70, has endured her husband's Delphi work-related stories for 35 years. Richard Konarski, 72, brought home rumors of layoffs, cutbacks and management struggles before retiring in the mid-1980s. At the time, Delphi was still part of GM.

    "We're interested in all of this because we figure eventually they are going to come down on retirees," she said.

    Janine Krasicky, 37, of Ferndale knows firsthand the anxiety of the Delphi workers. She was laid off twice, first in 2001 and then in 2003, from companies that made robots for the manufacturing industry. The second layoff cost her a $70,000-a-year marketing job.

    The experience was unsettling, Krasicky said. The government paid her a small monthly unemployment check and she picked up a few projects for additional income. After the first layoff, she also started cutting back on expenses.

    "When something like that happens to you, you realize how much frivolous time is spent shopping and buying lattes," Krasicky said.

    After about six months of interviewing for jobs, including positions at Delphi, she decided to start her own marketing and public relations firm, J9 Media Solutions LLC, where she's now making more than she did before the layoff.

    Displaced workers have to be creative in piecing together a career, Krasicky said.

    "You really should look to do what you love to do," Krasicky said. "You can't harbor too much ill will. It's not going to do you any good. You have to move forward."

    At McLouth Steel in Trenton in the 1980s, workers took pay cuts of 35% or more during the 1980s.

    And 55-year-old Cleofus Wilson, known as Blue by his friends, remembers trying to juggle his family's bills.

    "It was a rough situation," Wilson said. He cut back wherever he could.

    "You didn't travel as much. You didn't go on vacations," said Wilson, who was a union representative for the United Steelworkers Local 2659. He left McLouth after a disability in 1990. McLouth closed in 1996.

    If Delphi gets such drastic cuts, he said, workers will definitely need to control their costs.

    "It'll be one of the tightest budgets you ever put yourself on," Wilson said.

    An emergency plan

    Financial advisers and counselors say planning and determination can get people through a tough spot.

    Ideally, workers should have enough money to cover three to six months of expenses. If they don't, they might have to take some unconventional measures to get by.

    The tried-and-true financial advice is never to borrow from a 401(k) plan and to keep setting aside money for retirement. But what do you do if you're suddenly taking home a Wendy's-size paycheck after years of making GM-size wages?

    Reality check: If it comes to deciding between contributing to the 401(k) or paying the mortgage, you'd better opt to pay that mortgage and take money out of the 401(k), even if it means paying a tax penalty.

    "If people need to suspend contributing to their 401(k), that's understandable," said David Kudla, chief executive and investment strategist for Mainstay Capital Management in Grand Blanc, which advises Delphi workers and others on their 401(k) plans.

    "At the end of the day, you've got to do what you've got to do."

    Tom Hakim, with Hakim Financial Inc. in Mt. Clemens, agreed that tapping a 401(k) is a last resort but might be necessary during a layoff or drastic wage cut.

    What's important is getting past the initial anger at the company, Hakim said. Don't make decisions until you have a clear head, he said.

    "Go though the emotions," he said. "Be mad at your boss and everyone on the planet and then step out of the fishbowl. Let's sit down and make a plan."

    If people take action, they will get through the difficulties, said Wendy Karougian-Moore, a psychotherapist with the Westside Counseling Center in Southfield.

    The financial problems will cause stress in the family, she said. People should talk about the problems and seek therapy if the stress gets overwhelming, Karougian-Moore said.

    They should expect to spend six to eight months looking for another job, but shouldn't get discouraged, she said. Keep interviewing. Consider other careers or educational opportunities to do something different.

    "It's tough but you have to have faith," Karougian-Moore said. "It's really important for people to know that this is not going to be forever."

    Contact JASON ROBERSON at 313-222-8763 or Free Press business writer Susan Tompor contributed to this report.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Scooter-gate: A criminal conspiracy

    October 3, 2005

    by Justin Raimondo

    It isn't generally known that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff – now revealed as New York Times reporter Judith Miller's source in the Plame affair – is a novelist, as well as a policymaker. Aside from being a co-author of the Bush administration's narrative of "weapons of mass destruction" and Iraq's alleged links to al-Qaeda – a story that turned out to be a fable – he is also the author of The Apprentice, published in 1996, a novel set against the backdrop of the Russo-Japanese war. Unlike Lynne Cheney and Richard Perle, whose literary efforts in this vein have garnered less than stellar reviews, Libby appears to have some genuine talent as a fabulist. "As a work of prose, The Apprentice is easily the best of all neoconservative novels ever written," writes the journalist Jeet Heer, adding: "A dismal compliment, you could say, given the competition. Still, Libby has written a strong first novel that convincingly re-creates an exotic world." Since becoming the vice president's chief adviser and confidante, however, Libby has had little time to indulge his artistic imagination. In a profile of Libby published in the National Journal at the beginning of Bush's first term, he said:

    "I try to stay up somewhat with fiction. I am looking forward to writing again some day. But the job is pretty demanding, and I haven't been progressing very far on the next novel."

    It could be that Libby will have plenty of time to work on his next novel in the very near future – that is, if federal prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has anything to say about it. A stretch in prison could very well give Libby the space to hone his literary talent and fulfill his promise as the foremost neocon novelist – a possibility that seems increasingly likely.

    Now that Libby has been identified as Ms. Miller's source, the focus in the investigation into who "outed" CIA agent Valerie Plame has shifted from Miller and Bush adviser Karl Rove to one of the most powerful men in Washington: "Libby Is to Cheney What Cheney Is to Bush," as a recent Washington Post headline put it. "Plame-gate" – always a bit of an awkward phrase, and not that descriptive, in any case – has now become Scooter-gate, which, you'll have to agree, is a much more mellifluous and catchy all-purpose rubric for Fitzgerald's ever widening investigation, which now seems to be reaching its dramatic climax.

    In a denouement worthy of a good novel, prosecutor Fitzgerald is getting ready to wind up his probe and either decline to press any charges – unlikely, but within the realm of the remotely possible – or start issuing indictments. If the latter, then the indictments are likely to fly fast and furious, as this widely discussed clip from a Washington Post story would indicate:

    "A new theory about Fitzgerald's aim has emerged in recent weeks from two lawyers who have had extensive conversations with the prosecutor while representing witnesses in the case. They surmise that Fitzgerald is considering whether he can bring charges of a criminal conspiracy perpetrated by a group of senior Bush administration officials. Under this legal tactic, Fitzgerald would attempt to establish that at least two or more officials agreed to take affirmative steps to discredit and retaliate against Wilson and leak sensitive government information about his wife. To prove a criminal conspiracy, the actions need not have been criminal, but conspirators must have had a criminal purpose."

    "A criminal conspiracy" – but what was its purpose? Aside from sliming former U.S. diplomat Joseph C. Wilson, who had the temerity to debunk the most egregious of the administration's tall tales of Iraqi WMD, and outing his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent, that is.

    The characters in this Washington drama share a single characteristic, and it isn't just that they all appear to be inveterate liars: the major players in this case were part of the campaign of deception that lured us into Iraq and dropped us into the middle of a maelstrom from which there seems to be no escape. Ms. Miller's "reporting" on Iraq's alleged WMD required a retraction and apology from the editors of the New York Times: it appears she was using the front page of that venerable paper to broadcast the same sort of propaganda one might expect in the pages of the New York Postor the Weekly Standard.

    Scooter was at the epicenter of this threatening storm of misinformation, which eventually reached Katrina-esque proportions in its intensity: he and his boss were pushing hard on the CIA to come up with the evidence of Saddam's WMD in order to justify an invasion. They both personally visited CIA analysts at Langley and berated them for not coming up with the goods; when the spooks demurred, they did an end-run around the intelligence community, setting up what Mother Jones magazine has called "the lie factory."

    This is the criminal conspiracy Fitzgerald has set about uncovering. It isn't about Karl Rove, as I said months ago; it isn't about a possible violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, as I maintained from the beginning. It's about how a small group of government officials, in tandem with their overseasallies, engaged in a criminal conspiracy to falsify "intelligence" – and, in the process, lie the nation into war.

    The event that ostensibly precipitated Fitzgerald's probe – the publication of Valerie Plame's name in a column by Robert Novak published in the Chicago Sun-Times – has garnered the lion's share of media attention, but Fitzgerald's concerns appear to have extended way beyond this starting point. As the Washington Postreported back in July:

    "Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked not only about how CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was leaked but also how the administration went about shifting responsibility from the White House to the CIA for having included 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union address about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Africa, an assertion that was later disputed."

    From the possible violation of a law that had only been successfully prosecuted on a single occasion, and for which the penalty is a few years in the hoosegow and a hefty but payable fine, the investigation morphed into a probe of one of the most baffling mysteries of recent times: how did the White House fall for the Niger uranium forgeries, crude fabrications of documents that purported to show Saddam's Iraq was trying to procure fissionable uranium – yellowcake – from the African nation of Niger? It only took the International Atomic Energy Agency a few hours with Google to debunk this "evidence" of Iraq's efforts to build nukes, yet somehow the infamous16 words pinpointing "Africa" as the site of Iraq's supposed violation made it into the president's 2003 State of the Union address. Who snookered the White House?

    The idea that a special prosecutor was appointed, and an 18-month investigation launched, solely because Joe Wilson's wife was out of a job never made much sense. The outing of a CIA agent was only the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, the latest in a series of incidents that underscored a gaping hole in our national security defenses. The outing of Plame – an act of utter disdain for the country, and provocative in itself – provided investigators, already hot on the trail of possible treason in high places, with an opening to make their inquiry public. "Bulldog" Fitzgerald had a bone to pick with the neocons, and once he got his teeth into it he wasn't going to let go.

    Many are wondering why Miller went to jail rather than utilize the waiver Libby's lawyer now says was given her months ago. The reason is because Floyd Abrams, her lawyer, insisted on gaining a key concession from Fitzgerald: that he would limit his questioning to Miller's conversations with Libby.

    This narrowing condition was essential if Miller was going to continue to protect her other friends. Miller was at the center of the propaganda campaign that suckered us into war. As the War Party's major megaphone in the American media, retailing the tall tales spun by the INC and the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, Miller is a fitting martyr for the neocon cause: self-promoting, shameless, and an accomplished liar on a grand scale, she masquerades as the upholder of freedom – the "freedom" of journalists to protect government insiders engaged in criminal actions that can only be described as treasonous.

    Even more self-consciously grandiose than Miller, however, we have Libby's letter to her, in which he says how much he "misses" her reporting – yeah, I'll bet! – and reiterates what we all know by now: that the waiver to testify was given to her long ago, and she simply chose not to cooperate unless certain other conditions were met. Libby concludes his missive on a distinctly odd note:

    "You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover – Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work – and life. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers."

    If we think of the criminal conspiracy targeted by Fitzgerald as a grove of aspens, then, yes, the neocons turn in clusters, all right, because their roots connect them: the neocon network in Washington is deeply rooted in the national security bureaucracy. Libby was brought to Washington in 1981 by former deputy secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, now head of the World Bank, then working at the State Department; Libby had been one of his students at Yale. During the Clinton interregnum, Libby had his hands full being Marc Rich's lawyer and writing The Apprentice. In 1989, Wolfowitz brought him back to government service, this time at the Pentagon. He became a central figure in the neoconservative Project for a New American Century, and co-authored, with Wolfowitz, a policy memo charting a post-Cold War foreign policy and defense stance positing American hegemony on every continent and broaching, for the first time, the policy of preemptive aggression that is today enshrined in the Bush Doctrine.

    While Libby is a towering aspen, whose fall will make a rather loud noise, others in the same stand have already met a similar fate, and what we have here is a sort of domino effect. John Hannah, Cheney's special assistant for Middle East affairs, was fingered early on in this investigation. Last year, Richard Sale of UPI reported a rare leak from the investigators:

    "'We believe that Hannah was the major player in this,' one federal law-enforcement officer said. Calls to the vice president's office were not returned, nor did Hannah and Libby return calls. The strategy of the FBI is to make clear to Hannah 'that he faces a real possibility of doing jail time' as a way to pressure him to name superiors, one federal law-enforcement official said."

    Hannah has an interesting background. In the early 1990s, he served as head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank associated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). As Middle East scholar Juan Cole pointed out, Hannah was a key figure in the intelligence-manipulation effort that legitimized phony "evidence" of Iraq's WMD cooked up by the fraudster Ahmed Chalabi. Hannah, like the other aspens in the grove, turned with the rest of the cluster when it came to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East:

    "The WINEP pro-Likud network, which includes Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith in the Pentagon as well as Libby and Hannah at Cheney's office, has virtually dictated Bush administration Middle East policy. Wilson's debunking of one of its central claims might well have led Cheney to fire Hannah or to disregard his opinion. The WINEP crowd takes no prisoners and is very determined, over decades, to get its way. (Josh Marshall notes that they are already trying to protect Hannah with denials he could possibly have been involved, presumably meaning that they would be willing to throw Libby to the dogs.) Wilson had to be punished, from their point of view, and if possible marginalized, to protect Hannah's position."

    Hannah may have thrown Libby to the dogs, just to save his own skin. This wouldn't be any more surprising than the actions of former Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, who will plead guilty to spying for Israel in return for leniency in sentencing – and for testifying against his handlers, Steve Rosen, who for 20 years served as AIPAC's foreign policy director, and Keith Weissman, AIPAC's top Iran specialist. Rosen and Weissman pumped Franklin for classified information and handed it over to Israeli "diplomats" stationed in Washington. The trial is scheduled for January.

    While Hannah, the former director of AIPAC's think tank, was deeply involved in exposing a vitally important U.S. intelligence asset – Plame worked undercover in the CIA's WMD-nonproliferation unit – AIPAC officials Rosen and Weissman were sneaking around Washington, meeting Franklin in train stations and handing over U.S. secrets to Israeli spies. If we put Franklin's shenanigans [.pdf] with the AIPAC duo and the Israelis on a timeline, we see that this breach in our security occurred during roughly the same period as those involving the Niger uranium deception and the Plame matter:

    • Jan. 28, 2003 - The president utters those fateful 16 words.
    • Feb. 12 - Franklin met with Rosen and Weissman and revealed classified information relating to a certain "Middle Eastern country." (The Franklin-AIPAC-Mossad relationship, although first broached in 2002, only culminated in a personal meeting early in the next year.)
    • March 7 - Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the IAEA, announces that the Niger uranium documents are forgeries.
    • March 10 - The treasonous trio met again, this time outside Union Station in Washington, and then proceeded to several restaurants, changing their venue frequently to avoid detection and ending their meeting in an empty restaurant.
    • March 13 - Franklin met with an Israeli official, when he revealed yet more classified information about internal U.S. government deliberations concerning a certain Middle Eastern country. Throughout the month, Franklin fed his AIPAC handlers classified documents, faxing them in some instances, while Rosen and Weissman relayed the information to the Israelis, and to certain favored members of the media.
    • June 26 - Franklin met with Rosen and Weissman and communicated classified information on possible attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq by pro-Iranian elements.
    • June 30 - The bonding rituals of spies: Weissman and Franklin attended a baseball game. On that day, also, Franklin was finally confronted by the FBI with his treason: the indictment states that "on or about" that date he "possessed" classified – "Top Secret and Secret" – materials in his Kearneysville, W.V., residence. Franklin was, in short, caught red-handed, and was "turned" – that is, he agreed to cooperate with the investigation and provide evidence against his AIPAC handlers.
    • July 6 - Wilson's New York Times op-ed piece, "What I Didn't Find In Africa," is published.
    • July 9 - Franklin, no doubt wearing a wire, met with Weissman, and more national defense information was turned over.
    • July 9 - Judith Miller discusses the Plame affair with Libby.
    • July 12 or 13 - Miller again discusses Plame with Libby.
    • July 14 - Novak outs Valerie Plame in his Sun-Times column.
    • July 21 - Franklin again met with Weissman, and turned over information that he said was "highly classified" concerning a foreign government's covert actions in Iraq, warning Weissman not to use it because he could "get into trouble." That same day, Weissman related the information to Rosen, and the two of them went to their Israeli bosses with the goods.
    • Aug. 3 - The FBI finally moved in on Franklin and Rosen, who denied everything – and continued to leak U.S. secrets to the media on at least one occasion.
    • Aug. 27 - The FBI interviewed Rosen again, and he still denied everything, whereupon AIPAC's chief Washington lobbyist contacted his Israeli handler and told him that he had "a very serious matter" he needed to discuss, but couldn't do it over the phone.

    As the FBI reviewed Franklin's conversations with Rosen, Weissman, and the Israelis, the totality of what had happened to U.S. national security, in light of the Plame affair, had to have dawned on them. Many of the key individuals involved, in the vice president's office and the Defense Department's policy section (where Franklin worked), had intimate links with Israel, specifically the radical Likud Party policies favored by the neoconservatives. Outing Plame was only a measure of the ruthlessness of this cabal: Franklin's betrayal showed that they were not above espionage. The U.S. government, after years of tolerating a fifth column in Washington, was finally moved to crack down.

    Now that our attention is focused on Libby, the real outlines of the scandal that will envelop this administration are becoming clearer by the day. Scooter-gate isn't about revenge, although that's part of it; it isn't about intra-bureaucratic infighting, although that certainly played a role; and it sure isn't about Karl Rove, as the chattering classes were convinced only a few weeks ago. It is about how a band of ruthless ideologueslied us into war – and betrayed their country in the process. It's about a criminal conspiracy finally felled by its own hubris. And, unfortunately for the defendants, it's about espionage.

    Who knows how many neocons will be caught up in Fitzgerald's net? Scooter, Hannah, maybe even John Bolton – as I predicted a few months ago – and any number of smaller fry will face their moment of truth in the dock.

    As I wrote last year, this is the War Party's Waterloo. So get out the popcorn and the chips-and-dip, pull up a chair, and let the show trial begin!

    –Justin Raimondo

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