Monday, April 30, 2007

A Surge Alone

In his January 10 speech announcing the so-called surge in Iraq, Bush noted that a boost in U.S. troops in and of itself would not lead to victory:

A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations. Ordinary Iraqi citizens must see that military operations are accompanied by visible improvements in their neighborhoods and communities....To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs.

Now let's turn to today's New York Times:

In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success--in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections--were no longer working properly.

The inspections ranged geographically from northern to southern Iraq and covered projects as varied as a maternity hospital, barracks for an Iraqi special forces unit and a power station for Baghdad International Airport.

At the airport, crucially important for the functioning of the country, inspectors found that while $11.8 million had been spent on new electrical generators, $8.6 million worth were no longer functioning.

At the maternity hospital, a rehabilitation project in the northern city of Erbil, an expensive incinerator for medical waste was padlocked--Iraqis at the hospital could not find the key when inspectors asked to see the equipment--and partly as a result, medical waste including syringes, used bandages and empty drug vials were clogging the sewage system and probably contaminating the water system.

The newly built water purification system was not functioning either.

And these were the successes.

IG officials were not able to examine a statistically significant sampling of projects because it's not safe enough for them to visit many of the projects. Yet the evaluation they conducted does prompt the question: how much of the nearly $30 billion spent by the Bush administration in Iraq on rebuilding has gone down a rathole? (Coming soon: Waxman committee hearings on this?)

The president sold his surge by saying it was part of a comprehensive strategy. In addition to the military effort, he said, there would be reconstruction, national reconciliation, and enhanced training of the Iraqi military. As noted in a post below, there's no enhanced training going on. And this IG report suggests reconstruction is a flop. What's left? The surge--meaning, the surge has become about the surge.

Posted by David Corn at April 30, 2007 12:54 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

All is not lost. Just a few more troops. We are turning a corner. It's just the bad press and liberal media. The problem is Iran, or Syria, or the damn democrats. Al Qaeda will take over the world.

Maybe if we build a fence around . . .



capt said...

Oh yeah, I should have included:

"Just wait until the democrats are in the majority - then you'll see"


(still looking for that party hat)


Robert S said...

Surge - Counter-Surge

Loud explosions rock Baghdad - witnesses
30 Apr 2007 18:20:59 GMT
Source: Reuters

BAGHDAD, April 30 (Reuters) - Up to a dozen loud explosions rocked central Baghdad after nightfall on Monday and smoke was seen rising from the Green Zone government compound, Reuters witnesses said.

The sound of sirens coming from the Green Zone could be heard across Baghdad after the blasts, which sounded like mortar bombs or rockets.

The vast Green Zone complex houses the U.S. and British embassies as well as Iraqi government buildings.

A U.S. military spokesman said he had no immediate information on the blasts. U.S. embassy officials could not be reached for comment.

Insurgents often fire mortars or rockets at the Green Zone, but they rarely cause casualties.

U.S. and Iraqi troops launched in February a major crackdown in the capital to rein in spiralling violence.


California Democratic Party Passes Resolution Demanding Impeachment of Bush and Cheney
David Swanson
April 30, 2007


Sparked by an insurgency among delegates, the California Democratic Party has taken an historic step forward on the issue of impeachment. In a resolution affirmed by the full state party convention Sunday, the Democrats called on the U.S. Congress to use its subpoena power to investigate misdeeds of President Bush and Vice President Cheney – and to hold the Administration accountable “with appropriate remedies and punishment, including impeachment.” The delegate insurgency was coordinated by Progressive Democrats of America and its allies.

While Speaker Pelosi had declared impeachment “off the table,” the Democratic Party rank-and-file has demonstrated its commitment to putting the issue “on” the table. And it’s no longer just the rank-and-file: Even among the members of the convention’s Resolutions Committee (appointed by the California Party chair), the impeachment resolution was the top vote-getter (tied with one other resolution).

Coming on the heels of mass actions and resolutions across the country in support of impeachment, and Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s introduction of Articles of Impeachment against Cheney, this action by the powerful California Democratic Party builds on the pro-impeachment momentum.

The resolution refers to Bush and Cheney having acted in a manner “subversive of the Constitution” by. . .

1) using false information to justify the invasion of Iraq

2) authorizing “the torture of prisoners of war”

3) “authorizing wiretaps on U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant”

4) “disclosing the name of an undercover CIA operative”

5) suspending “the historic Writ of Habeas Corpus by ordering the indefinite detention of so-called enemy combatants”

6) “signing statements used to ignore or circumvent portions of over 750 Congressional statutes”

The resolution ends by calling for “vigorous investigation” and “appropriate remedies and punishment, including impeachment.”

PDA Director Tim Carpenter said: “This was an example of the Party grassroots speaking its mind, and the Party officials responding to the call. This action represents the successful culmination of PDA’s one-month, eleven-city barnstorming tour across California – aimed at putting impeachment and ending the occupation of Iraq at the top of the Party’s agenda.”

Robert S said...

Duck and Cover
By William D. Hartung and Frida Berrigan
In These Times
Monday 30 April 2007

capt said...

Bush Sr. To Celebrate Rev. Sun Myung Moon—Again

Washington Dispatch: Ex-president’s keynote speech at Washington Times bash this month is latest link between Bush and Unification Church founder.


The Houston Chronicle in 2006 obtained evidence that Moon’s Washington Times Foundation had contributed $1 million to Bush’s presidential library using the Greater Houston Community Foundation as a conduit.

The deal came to light in a rather roundabout way. When he was asked if Moon’s $1 million went to the library, Jim McGrath, the family spokesman, told the Chronicle, "We’re in an uncomfortable position. … If a donor doesn’t want to be identified we need to honor their privacy." He was then asked whether the money was meant to suggest to the Bush family that the time was at hand for President George W. Bush to grant Moon a pardon for his 1982 conviction McGrath replied, "If that’s why he gave the grant, he’s throwing his money away. … That’s not the way the Bushes operate."

For the Washington Times extravaganza on May 17, Bush will appear in the National Building Museum’s monumental Great Hall. Moon, resplendent as always, will deliver the Founder’s Address.


*****end of clip*****

" That’s not the way the Bushes operate."

Sure, I am certain that much is true if only for the double-entendre.


capt said...

A genuine political sea change?


But the truth can only be concealed for so long, and sooner or later, it is going to be absolutely clear just how corrupt and radical the dominant political force governing the Bush administration really has been. In the world of crazed neoconservative radicals, Michael Ledeen is the Gold Standard for pure reality-detachment and a belief in deceiving the American public in order to manipulate their support for the neoconservative agenda, and yet there he was -- Michael Ledeen -- at the center of the cabal which was shaping foreign policy and the Iraq war, operating in secret even from our CIA Director.

Taken together, these two seemingly unconnected incidents reveal: (a) just how radical, extremist and dishonest are the people who have been running this country for the last six years, the whole Bush-led neoconservative Republican edifice loyally supported by most of the "conservative" movement, and (b) outside of the hard-core Bush followers and the stuck-in-2002 Beltway media establishment, there is a rapidly growing recognition of (a) in this country, which is beginning to engender a very potent sea change in political opinion and political power.

And most critically of all, the joint forces of the Beltway media and the right-wing machine have been almost completely impotent in trying to stem the tide. No matter what they do, public anger with the president, his party and the war just continues to grow.


*****end of clip*****

Even a small "sea change" would be welcome but I fear there will be no meaningful change unless we get the "c-notes" out of our system.


David B. Benson said...

capt --- 'c-notes'?

Robert S said...

Dr. B.

C for Century, or $100.00 USD, also known as Ben Franklins...

Gerald said...

Robert S. has been sharing some interesting articles that he has read.

I heard former Senator Gravel speak. He is interested in being president. His chances are the same as a snowball in hell but it is refreshing to hear his thoughts. Thank you, Senator Gravel! He said that anyone who voted for the war is unfit to be president. I concur totally!!!

David B. Benson said...

Robert S --- Thanks! :-)

Carey said...

Speaking of that fence Capt, what
gives with that? How can the U.S. dictate the building of such a monstrosity all by itself with the announced disapproval of the Iraq government?

Isn't this an outrageous situation? Where is the outcry? The U.S. is way overstepping its bounds. (Once again.)

capt said...

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge.' : Daniel J Boorstin:

One of the great things about America, one of the beauties of our country, is that when we see a young, innocent child blown up by an IED, we cry. President G. Bush Washington, D.C., Mar. 29, 2006

We support the election process, we support democracy, but that doesn't mean we have to support governments that get elected as a result of democracy. President G. Bush - Washington, D.C., Mar. 29, 2006

"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to stay, abstains from giving us worthy evidence of the fact" George Eliot:

" To be ignorant of one's ignorance is the malady of the ignorant" Amos Bronson Alcott:


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Carey said...

Excellent, excellent links Robt. S.

capt said...

C-notes! $$$$ RS is always on top of it!

The last refuge of failed policy and poor diplomacy is ALWAYS a fence. And the US acts as if we own the planet (always have - at least long before Dumya).

I always try to think through the shoe on the other foot thing. We (the USA) fail my test too often.

With all we spend and the time give - we could have solved world hunger or maybe cured AIDS or something.

We did win the war (years ago) it is the occupation we can never win. The insurgency will say they want us out and eventually we will leave - so it will always look like a win for the other side.

I say declare victory (call it peace with honor) and bring the troops home.


capt said...

Oh yeah,

Let effin Blackwater or CACI stop the civil war if they can.


capt said...

"Where is the outcry?"

WTF did post about outrage fatigue many moons ago. Now days I have become comfortably numb.


capt said...

Comfortably Numb

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone home?

Come on, now.
I hear youre feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain,
Get you on your feet again.

I need some information first.
Just the basic facts:
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ships smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I cant hear what youre sayin.
When I was a child I had a fever.
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I got that feeling once again.
I cant explain, you would not understand.
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

Just a little pinprick. [ping]
Therell be no more --aaaaaahhhhh!
But you may feel a little sick.

Can you stand up?
I do believe its working. good.
Thatll keep you going for the show.
Come on its time to go.

There is no pain, you are receding.
A distant ships smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I cant hear what youre sayin.
When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse,
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown, the dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.

~ Pink Floyd

micki said...

This is the video that and did not want you to see.
The on-camera interviewee -- the mother of a young recruit -- mentions aggressive recruiting tactics used by the U.S. military in targeting underage kids.
MoveOn and VoteVets rejected this video because they "felt uncomfortable" with this mother's comments about recruiting.

This is the video that MoveOn and VoteVets did not want you to see because they felt uncomfortable with this mom's comments about recruiting

Saladin said...

Keep it simple people, "We Are Never Leaving." What is it about this concept that is so hard to understand? How many military bases do we have in foreign countries today? Care to take a guess? Here's the deal, America is the boss, everyone else is nothing, period. The constitution is dead and George Washington was obviously an idiot, as was Jefferson and his idea of liberalism, it's all dead. It isn't coming back. The American empire will become extinct and the people will help this come to pass. So make sure and vote for the vetted choices, it will make it end all that much sooner.

capt said...

Ray McGovern: Cheney Had Niger Documents "Farmed Out"

Monday night on "Tucker," retired CIA officer and contributor Ray McGovern talks about George Tenet and the case that was made for WMD and Iraq. When Tucker turns the topic to the forged Niger documents, McGovern takes the discussion in a whole new direction. I don't think Tucker was ready for this…

Download (WMV)

Download (MOV)

Tucker:"That memo came from abroad."

McGovern:"Some of it came from abroad, but you know if you trace the memo back and see the characters who are involved, it's my appreciation that the memo leads right back to the doorstep of the Vice President of the United States."

Tucker: "So the Vice President you believe forged, now if the Vice President was behind that forgery, don't you think he would have done a better job?"

McGovern: "I don't think he and Lynn, you know, sat down and did it. I think they farmed it out to a cottage industry of former intelligence agents that did a rather amateurish job."

Who can forget McGovern punking Donald Rumsfeld in Atlanta almost one year ago to the day? The timing is astounding considering the reinvigorated debate about pre-war intelligence prompted by Tenet's new book; the same thing McGovern slams Rummy for.


*****end of clip*****

"Farmed out"? I am sure the only thing touchy enough for Busheney to "Farm out" would be some BS document. They would NEVER EVER think to "Farm out" an attack on our soil - they are clearly above that type of a thing and where on earth would Bush find some former intelligence agents, eh?


Robert S said...

Are You Kidding Me?
By Amy Branham
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor
Tuesday 01 May 2007

Laura Bush on "The Today Show" April 25, 2007:

Ann Curry: Do you know the American people are suffering ... watching [Iraq]?

Laura Bush: Oh, I know that very much, and, believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this. And certainly the commander-in-chief who has asked our military to go into harm's way.

AC: What do you think the American people need to know ...

LB: Well, I hope they do know the burden of worry that's on his shoulders every single day for our troops. And I think they do. I think if they don't, they're not seeing what the real responsibilities of our president are.

AC: It must be hard for you to watch him in this.

LB: It's hard. Of course, it's absolutely hard.

Believe me, Laura, there are many others who suffer more than you and your husband when they watch on TV the horrors of Iraq. I can name several people whom I know personally, myself included, who have suffered much more than you because of this war. You only have to watch it on TV when you choose to. You can turn it off and on at will and walk away from it. Thousands upon thousands of others, however, cannot.

Have you stayed up all night, walking the floors of your home, wondering about the last moments of your child's life? Have you had to sit back and watch as your daughters mourned their big brother, their only brother, who is now dead? Have you held and comforted your husband, whose heart has broken? Just tell me, how have you and the president suffered in all of this, tucked away safe and sound in your Ivory Tower?

What about the military families who send their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, moms and dads into battle over and over again? Have you suffered the way they have? Have you lost your job, your family? Have you or any member of your family come home maimed for life from the loss of limbs? Has any member of your family suffered from PTSD or suicidal thoughts? Have you sat up all night wondering if you will ever hear from your loved one again because you know they are in harm's way?

Let's talk about the soldiers who are not getting the supplies and equipment they need, but are doing their best every single day to do their jobs in an impossible situation - because your husband sent them to an ill-begotten, immoral and unjust war against a country and a people who did not attack us. They miss their homes, their families, their lives. And their lives will never be the same if they do come home unharmed. The men and women of our military have suffered much more than you and George.

Most of all, have you even given one ounce of thought to the people of Iraq? What about their suffering? How many tens of thousands of deaths have they suffered? How many of their homes have been destroyed? How many whole families have been killed?

I promise you, Laura, there is absolutely no way you and George have suffered even close to the suffering of the military families, the soldiers, the people of Iraq have suffered. You could not unless you sent one of your beloved children or other family members into the war. You are so far removed from it that I don't think you have the capacity for understanding what the true suffering of the war in Iraq is. Don't get me wrong; I believe that you, as a woman and a mother, probably do have some empathy for the suffering. But you do not understand. Not even close.

Please do not insult our intelligence and the sacrifice of the soldiers and their families or the people of Iraq with such comments again.

capt said...

JFK Murder Plot "Deathbed Confession" Aired On National Radio

Former CIA agent, Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt names the men who killed Kennedy

The "deathbed confession" audio tape in which former CIA agent and Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt admits he was approached to be part of a CIA assassination team to kill JFK was aired this weekend - an astounding development that has gone completely ignored by the establishment media.

Saint John Hunt, son of E. Howard Hunt, appeared on the nationally syndicated Coast to Coast AM radio show on Saturday night to discuss the revelations contained in the tape.

Hunt said that his father had mailed cassette the tape to him alone in January 2004 and asked that it be released after his death. The tape was originally 20 minutes long but was edited down to four and a half minutes for the Coast to Coast broadcast. Hunt promises that the whole tape will be uploaded soon at his website .

Click here to listen to a clip of the tape.

E. Howard Hunt names numerous individuals with both direct and indirect CIA connections as having played a role in the assassination of Kennedy, while describing himself as a "bench warmer" in the plot. Saint John Hunt agreed that the use of this term indicates that Hunt was willing to play a larger role in the murder conspiracy had he been required.
Hunt alleges on the tape that then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in the planning of the assassination and in the cover-up, stating that LBJ, "Had an almost maniacal urge to become president, he regarded JFK as an obstacle to achieving that."

Asked if his father followed the conspiracy theories into the Kennedy assassination, Saint John said the elder Hunt did follow the work of AJ Weberman, a New York freelance writer, who in the early 70's first accused Hunt of being one of three bums who were arrested in Dealy Plaza. The so-called bums were interrogated and later released by authorities shortly after the assassination. Weberman, one of the founders of the Youth International Party, the Vippies, published photographs of the tramps and found that two of them bore striking similarities to Hunt and Frank Sturgis , also named by Hunt in the tape as having been played a role in the assassination conspiracy.

Asked for his opinion as to whether his father was indeed one of the Dealy Plaza tramps, Saint John, in a stunning revelation, said one of the tramps indeed looked much like his father did in 1963.


*****end of clip*****

Speaking of "former intelligence agents"?

I remember some die-hard true believer asking "where are the death bed confessions?" with regard to 911. There will be many but we must wait until the former spooks are on their death beds. It might be a while.

I am sure, it is all just more misinformation, eh? The CIA and ex-spooks are expert at that.


Robert S said...

Happy May Day!

Joe Hill - Phil Ochs

Joe Hill come over from Sweden shores,
Looking for some work to do,
And the Statue of Liberty waved him by
As Joe come a sailing through, Joe Hill,
As Joe come a sailing through.

Oh his clothes were coarse and his hopes were high
As he headed for the promised land.
And it took a few weeks on the out-of-work streets
Before he began to understand,
Before he began to understand.

And Joe got hired by a Bowery bar,
Sweeping up the saloon.
As his rag would sail over the bar-room rail,
Sounded like he whistled on a tune,
You could almost hear him whistling on a tune.

And Joe rolled on from job to job,
From the docks to the railroad line.
And no matter how hungry the hand that wrote --
In his letters he was always doing fine,
In his letters he was always doing fine.

Oh, the years went by like the sun goin' down,
slowly turn the page.
And when Joe looked back at the sweat upon his tracks,
He had nothing to show but his age,
He had nothing to show but his age.

So he headed out for the California shore;
There things were just as bad.
So he joined the Industrial Workers of the World
'Cause the union was the only friend he had,
'Cause, The union was the only friend he had.

Now the strikes were bloody and the strikes were black,
as hard as they were long.
In the dark of night, Joe would stay awake and write;
In the morning he would raise them with a song,
In the morning he would raise them with a song.

And he wrote his words to the tunes of the day
To be passed along the union vine.
And the strikes were led and the songs were spread,
And Joe Hill was always on the line,
Yes, Joe Hill was always on the line.

Now in Salt Lake City, a murder was made;
There was hardly a clue to find.
Oh, the proof was poor, but the sheriff was sure
Joe was the killer of the crime,
That Joe was the killer of the crime.

Joe raised his hands but they shot him down,
he had nothing but guilt to give.
"It's a doctor I need," and they left him to bleed;
He made it 'cause he had the will to live,
Yes, he made it 'cause he had the will to live.

Then the trial was held in a building of wood,
And there the killer would be named.
And the days weighed more than the cold copper ore
'Cause he feared that he was being framed,
Cause he found out that he was being framed.

Oh, strange are the ways of western law,
Strange are the ways of fate.
For the government crawled to the mine owner's call
That the judge was appointed by the state,
Yes, The judge was appointed by the state.

Oh, Utah justice can be had,
But not for a union man.
And Joe was warned by summer early morn
That there'd be one less singer in the land,
There'd be one less singer in the land.

Now William Spry was Governor Spry,
And a life was his to hold.
On the last appeal fell a governor's tear;
May the lord have mercy on your soul,
May the lord have mercy on your soul.

Even President Wilson held up the day,
But even he would fail.
For nobody heard the soul-searching words
Of the soul in the Salt Lake City jail,
Of the soul in the Salt Lake City jail.

For thirty-six years he lived out his days,
And he more than played his part.
For his songs that he made, he was carefully paid
With a rifle bullet buried in his heart,
With a rifle bullet buried in his heart.

Yes, they lined Joe Hill up against the wall,
Blindfold over his eyes.
It's the life of a rebel that he chose to live,
It's the death of a rebel that he died,
It's the death of a rebel that he died.

Now some say Joe was guilty as charged,
And some say he wasn't even there.
And I guess nobody will ever know
'Cause the court records all disappeared,
'Cause the court records all disappeared.

Say wherever you go in this fair land,
In every union hall,
In the dusty dark these words are marked
In between all the cracks upon the wall,
In between all the cracks upon the wall.

It's the very last line that Joe Hill wrote
When he knew that his days were through:
"Boys, this is my last and final will --
Good luck to all of you,
Good luck to all of you."

capt said...

Betrayal Accomplished

Jonathan Powers remembers well President Bush’s infamous speech four years ago today in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln.

At the time, Powers was a captain in the 1st Armored Division and was preparing for a deployment to Baghdad. "I was a believer," he told me during a brief conversation Monday. "I thought we were going there to defend a nation. I thought we were going there to free an oppressed people. And we had that opportunity in the summer in 2003. We had Baghdad secured. We drove around the streets without doors on our Humvees. We ate dinners in Iraqi homes.

"But because of the failure in the administration to plan for the reconstruction, that is when things began to fall apart."

It was that falling apart that disillusioned Powers and prompted him to join demonstrators in front of the White House on Monday to call for President Bush to sign, rather than veto, the Iraq war bill that was being sent to him by Congress today. That bill would more than meet President Bush’s funding request for the war effort, but would also mandate the orderly withdrawal of troops supported by a majority of the American public.

Powers spoke briefly but passionately in front of a small crowd of demonstrators about his disillusionment as a veteran who spent 15 months in Baghdad. He spoke of how when he arrived in the Iraqi capital, he saw that his fellow soldiers did not have adequate body armor, and than much of what had been promised to Iraqis as part of the reconstruction effort had either been not delivered or ended up being spoils for American contractors.

"I felt betrayed. I felt as a soldier I had faith in the leadership that had sent me there, and that by betraying us, by not taking care of the plan, it hurt our efforts," he said.

Powers, who is now a leader of, said that "on the fourth anniversary of the day that he betrayed so many American soldiers and so many Iraqi people by not planning for what was ahead," Bush should do the right thing by signing the Iraq supplemental.

But Bush has made it clear that he will not, and so remains stubbornly on a course of continued betrayal of the Americans soldiers and reckless endangerment of America’s security.


Robert S said...

It was thirty years ago, tonight, and that's me in the 4rth row on the left...

Enjoy, for those so inclined...

What got me thinkin' about those days, was the A.J Weberman reference in the JFK assassination piece. I met A.J. (also known for Dylan Garbology) at the Yippie HQ on Mott St. in I'd guess it was '76...

capt said...


Kewl daddio!



Robert S said...

Alberto Gonzales' safety net
Confirmation hearings for his successor could spawn criminal investigations of the White House.
By Elizabeth Holtzman,

ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN, a former Democratic congresswoman from New York, is the coauthor of "The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens."
May 1, 2007

NO MATTER how many members of Congress lose confidence in Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush is unlikely to let him go. If Gonzales resigns, the vacancy must be filled by a new presidential nominee, and the last thing the White House wants is a confirmation hearing.

Already, the Senate is outlining conditions for confirming a Gonzales successor. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has said that his panel would not hold confirmation hearings unless Karl Rove and other White House aides testify about the firing of U.S. attorneys to clarify whether "the White House has interfered with prosecution."

All this is reminiscent of the Watergate scandal. In 1973, as the coverup was unraveling, the Senate imposed a condition on the confirmation of President Nixon's nominee for attorney general, Elliot Richardson. Richardson's predecessor had resigned because of Watergate troubles. Concerned that the Justice Department would not get at the truth, the Senate insisted that Richardson would name a special prosecutor to investigate Watergate. Richardson duly appointed Archibald Cox.

The rest is history.


Robert S said...

Colombian prosecutor probing U.S. firms
By TOBY MUSE, Associated Press Writer Mon Apr 30, 11:53 AM ET

BOGOTA, Colombia - Colombia's chief prosecutor stood between the white plastic-sheathed remains of two dismembered teenage sisters. On the rust-colored dirt around him lay remains of nearly 60 newly unearthed victims of paramilitary death squads.

Not just their killers but those who bankrolled them must be brought to justice, Mario Iguaran told reporters last week at the mass grave in the country's eastern plains.

"You can clearly see that they didn't pay for security, but for blood," Iguaran said.

He spoke ahead of a trip to Washington this week to seek aid for his overburdened office and help obtain evidence against U.S.-based multinationals he's investigating for allegedly financing the paramilitaries.

Iguaran meets with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday and Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record) of Vermont, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday. With both, he is sure to talk about Chiquita Brands and the Alabama-based coal company Drummond Co. Inc.

Thousands of Colombians disappeared in the past decade, most victims of right-wing militias that emerged in the 1980s to fight leftist rebel groups.

The paramilitaries quickly evolved into mafias, enriching themselves through cocaine trafficking, theft and extortion in large chunks of the country, particularly the Caribbean coast. Large landowners, politicians and corporations bankrolled the militias to expand their holdings, while police and military officers turned a blind eye.

President Alvaro Uribe, a firm U.S. ally, has cracked down hard on the left-wing guerrillas, while negotiating a peace pact with the paramilitaries in 2003. Ex-paramilitary fighters seeking to benefit from reduced sentences under a government amnesty have led authorities to clandestine graves in vast areas they once controlled.

With thousands of victims still to be unearthed, Iguaran is now going after the businesses that he alleges helped pay the bills.

Fruit giant Chiquita agreed in March to pay $25 million to settle with the U.S.
Department of Justice after acknowledging that its Colombian subsidiary, Banadex, secretly funneled $1.7 million to the death squads operating in zones where it had banana plantations.

In 2001, a Banadex ship was used to unload 3,000 rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition for the paramilitaries. At the time, the paramilitaries were consolidating control of the Uraba banana region through massacres and assassinations. Chiquita later sold Banadex but still buys Colombian bananas.



To be fair, the article does go on to say that Chiquita argues that the money was extorted from them. To also be fair, the article does not mention that Chiquita used to go by the name, United Fruit Co.

Robert S said...

Why there was no exit plan
Lewis Seiler, Dan Hamburg
Monday, April 30, 2007

capt said...


"Aspects of this history could easily repeat themselves"

Beautiful visions of future past? (passed?)


capt said...

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