Tuesday, May 09, 2006

[september_eleven_vreeland] Digest Number 1353

There are 2 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. Bush at His Most Dangerous
From: "smacko" smacko9@comcast.net
2. I�d Like Political Enemies for $800, Alex
From: "norgesen" norgesen@yahoo.com


Message 1
From: "smacko" smacko9@comcast.net
Date: Mon May 8, 2006 4:48am(PDT)
Subject: Bush at His Most Dangerous

Ron Fullwood | Bush at His Most Dangerous, Scorching the Earth
This could be the most dangerous period of Bush's reign.
Ron Fullwood writes that the most dangerous period of Bush's reign has begun. "The carefully layered walls of Bush's bubble are closing in as the outer layers of purchased politicos are beginning to peel away, revealing the core ideologues of the cabal."



Message 2
From: "norgesen" norgesen@yahoo.com
Date: Mon May 8, 2006 10:08am(PDT)
Subject: I�d Like Political Enemies for $800, Alex

I�d Like Political Enemies for $800, Alex
By Christy Hardin Smith
Saturday, May 6th, 2006 at 8:25 am

Digby finds a telling quote (or lack thereof, to be accurate) from the National Press Club appearance by Cheney-promoted "front runner" Goss replacement candidate Gen. Michael Hayden:

Gen. Michael Hayden refused to answer question about spying on political enemies at National Press Club. At a public appearance, Bush�s pointman in the Office of National Intelligence was asked if the NSA was wiretapping Bush�s political enemies. When Hayden dodged the question, the questioner repeated, "No, I asked, are you targeting us and people who politically oppose the Bush government, the Bush administration? Not a fishing net, but are you targeting specifically political opponents of the Bush administration?" Hayden looked at the questioner, and after a silence called on a different questioner. (Hayden National Press Club remarks, 1/23/06)

Interesting, eh? THIS is the man that they are floating out as the heir apparent for the DCI job?

I don�t know about everyone else, but if Rover and the WH are working this hard to push some sort of internecine battle storyline between the Cheney and Negroponte camps and the CIA insider factions � you have to wonder just how much there is to the Dusty Foggo/Porter Goss poker and hooker escort extravaganza, don�t you? (See Jane�s excellent recap on this, if you have questions.) No one works the DC phones this hard unless they are trying to spin the story away from something else. And I say that something else isn�t just some late-night poker.

Still waiting for an answer on that "why an immediate resignation instead of several weeks notice in order for the President to name a successor and ensure a smooth transition" question? Big ego battle isn�t enough of a reason.

Looks like Tony Snow can expect a fun first day at the office. *snerk*

UPDATE: Mwahahaha. Dana Priest�s hyped article on Goss� firing by Negroponte because Bush was too much of a weenie to do it himself "resignation" was a bit of a letdown. But this cracked me up as a snarky inclusion:

Foreign intelligence heads, who used to spend hours with Goss�s predecessor, George J. Tenet, discussing strategy and tactics, are now more likely to meet with the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, whose position was created in the overhaul of U.S. intelligence agencies.

One senior European counterterrorism official, asked recently for his assessment of Goss�s leadership, responded by saying, "Who?"

Goss, then the Republican chairman of the House intelligence panel, was handpicked by the White House to purge what some in the administration viewed as a cabal of wily spies working to oppose administration policy in Iraq. "He came in to clean up without knowing what he was going to clean up," one former intelligence official said.

Goss�s counterinsurgency campaign was so crudely executed by his top lieutenants, some of them former congressional staffers, that they drove out senior and mid-level civil servants who were unwilling to accept the accusation that their actions were politically motivated, some intelligence officers and outside experts said.

"The agency was never at war with the White House," contended Gary Berntsen, a former operations officer and self-described Republican and Bush supporter who retired in June 2005. "Eighty-five percent of them are Republicans. The CIA was a convenient scapegoat."

I�d say Dana Priest and her sources are taking a bit of a vengeful whack at Goss on his way out the door. Mwee hee. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but sometimes a warm little appetizer can be pretty damn tasty.

UPDATE #2: In re-reading the Priest article, one thing did strike me near the end � the Rumsfeld/Negroponte struggle to the death-match for autonomy or control on the defense end of the intel services. When you couple that with the Cheney push for Hayden, does anyone else get the sense that Rummy may be winning that battle? And, given his stellar track record with Iraq planning, I�m not exactly feeling any safer in that context.



smiley says:

I�m sure this is destined for EPU, but needs to be said- Every time I hear or read John Negroponte�s name, I think of what he accomplised during his tenure as ambassador to Honduras in the early 80�s.
He supervised the CIA while they trained �Contra� death squads in Honduras to undermine the communist Sandanista government in neighboring El Salvador. The death squads kidnapped nuns and threw them of helicopters. Negroponte is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Do you remember the Iran/Contra scandal? Do you remember Negroponte�s role?

Negroponte is suspected by some commentators to have known of human rights abuses carried out by CIA-trained operatives in Honduras in the 1980s. Records also show that a special intelligence unit (commonly referred to as a �death squad�) of the Honduran armed forces, Battalion 3-16, trained by the CIA and the Argentine 601st Intelligence Battalion and Army Intelligence Service, kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people, including U.S. missionaries. Critics charge that Negroponte knew about these human rights violations and yet continued to collaborate with the Honduran military while lying to Congress.

In May 1982, a nun, Sister Laetitia Bordes, who had worked for ten years in El Salvador, went on a fact-finding delegation to Honduras to investigate the whereabouts of thirty Salvadoran nuns and women of faith who fled to Honduras in 1981 after Archbishop �scar Romero�s assassination. Negroponte claimed the embassy knew nothing about the nuns. However, in a 1996 interview with The Baltimore Sun, Negroponte�s predecessor, Jack Binns, said that a group of Salvadorans, among whom were the women Bordes had been looking for, were captured on April 22, 1981, and savagely tortured by the DNI, the Honduran Secret Police, and then later thrown out of helicopters alive.

In early 1984, two American mercenaries, Thomas Posey and Dana Parker, contacted Negroponte, stating they wanted to supply arms to the Contras after the U.S. Congress had banned further military aid. Documents show that Negroponte brought the two together with a contact in the Honduran armed forces. The operation was exposed nine months later, at which point the Reagan administration denied any U.S. involvement, despite Negroponte�s introductions of some of the individuals. Other documents detailed a plan of Negroponte and then-Vice President George H. W. Bush to funnel Contra aid money through the Honduran government. (from wikipedia, but Noam Chomsky has quite a bit to say about this also�)

I was a teenager during those years, and I went to a catholic church with a congregation made primarily of college students and their families. The priest there used to focus much attention on the plight of the Salvadoran people, and he left no doubts in my mind that their suffering was largely due to the actions of the American government (thank you, Ronnie, for all your hard work).anyhow. Father Grothwell used to talk a lot about the �School of the Americas� in Georgia, which is where the leaders of these Death Squads were trained� Of course it�s still active at Fort Benning, and imagine my surprise when I saw wahat techniques were taught there:

From a review at Amazon
The U.S. Army maintains a center at Fort Benning, Ga., formerly known as the School of the Americas. It has reportedly trained 60,000 South and Central American military elites since the end of WWII and reportedly counts among its graduates former dictators Manuel Noriega of Panama and Leopoldo Galtieri of Argentina. Curricular materials involving torture techniques were found at the school in the early �90s, resulting in a small scandal that apparently led to a name change (to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) and a fight over the school�s existence that continues. Though she doesn�t catch anyone learning about the various uses of nudity and black hoods, American University anthropologist Gill (Precarious Dependencies) was able to examine the school�s folkways and rhetoric, thanks to glasnost-like levels of administrative cooperation. Lessons in thinking in terms of how to �kill and maim� opposition and to �dehumanize� those who persist. Gill then traces the paths of various graduates of the school and links their activities directly to the torture and death of �Latin American peasants, workers, students [and] human rights activists��i.e., �opposition.�
Copyright � Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The rabbit hole is deep, my friends� and all of these bastards already have blood on their hands.


Modern Love: Hayden, Negroponte & Goss Spy A Scandal

Posted by Mash

The story goes like this: Negroponte is unhappy with Goss. Negroponte goes to Bush for help in getting rid of Goss. Bush approves. Goss is fired. Hayden is looked upon as a likely replacement. Bush will announce on Monday that Hayden is the new CIA Director.

That is the story that the major news outlets are peddling based on some high octane spin coming from the White House. Karl Rove must be losing what hair he has left burning the midnight oil.

I have one major problem with this story line. The problem is that Porter Goss dropped everything on Friday and ran to the White House with virtually no notice to quit. That is simply not done when you are the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the middle of an intelligence driven War on Terror. His hasty exit has left the CIA in turmoil. If he was pushed out as a result of a power struggle the Administration would have had a successor at the ready to smooth the transition. Not having a successor ready is either monumentally irresponsible or an indication of a scandal that is big enough that all other considerations seemed not to matter to Goss and the President.

Adding fuel to the fire, asked about his resignation Porter Goss was decidedly unhelpful:

Porter Goss said Saturday that his surprise resignation as CIA director is "just one of those mysteries," offering no other explanation for his sudden departure after almost two years on the job.

It looks like Porter Goss is not on board with the program. Look for Goss to sing like a canary in the near future.

We are also to believe that John Negroponte was involved in a power struggle with Goss. To buy into this spin, we would have to believe that Mr. Negroponte takes his job seriously. Unfortunately, Mr. Negroponte is so engaged in his job as the Director of National Intelligence that he spends three hours of his busy workday relaxing at a ritzy private club:

On many a workday lunchtime, the nominal boss of U.S. intelligence, John D. Negroponte, can be found at a private club in downtown Washington, getting a massage, taking a swim, and having lunch, followed by a good cigar and a perusal of the daily papers in the club�s library.

�He spends three hours there [every] Monday through Friday,� gripes a senior counterterrorism official, noting that the former ambassador has a security detail sitting outside all that time in chase cars. Others say they�ve seen the Director of National Intelligence at the University Club, a 100-year-old mansion-like redoubt of dark oak panels and high ceilings a few blocks from the White House, only �several� times a week.

But there seems to be a new, relaxed John Negroponte. And some close observers think they know why.

He�s figured out the job. Which is to say, he really doesn�t have much control over the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

It does not appear that Negroponte was struggling with much of anything let alone struggling with the Director of the CIA.

If there was a power struggle, it might have been between the Defense Department and the CIA. The Defense Department appears to be usurping most of the intelligence budget and activities from the CIA. Mr. Negroponte is a hapless bystander in this power struggle as the following exchange with Senator Diane Feinstein illustrates:

�We appointed you to be the person to (run) all intelligence,� Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., lectured Negroponte at a Feb. 28 hearing of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. (CQ Transcripts: Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing, Feb. 28, 2006)

Feinstein asked Negroponte about �recent media reports [that] have spotlighted a number of activities that appear to be related to intelligence collection or covert action, but that well may be outside of the official intelligence community�s channels.

�For example,� Feinstein continued, �military databases of suspicious activity reports . . . by the (domestic military) counterintelligence field activity, or CIFA; and, secondly, a Pentagon program to secretly pay Iraqi newspapers to run pro-American articles.

�Were these activities subject to your approval and oversight?�

Negroponte�s answer was short-circuited by an unidentified voice, according to the CQ transcript, quite possibly his deputy, former Air Force general and NSA chief Michael Hayden.

�Ma�am, I don�t believe that either of those activities would fall into Mr. Negroponte�s area. They are Department of Defense programs, I believe.�

�Now, let me raise this problem then,� Feinstein continued.

�Now, I know how tough it is. But if you didn�t know and you didn�t give a go-ahead [to domestic military spying], it indicates to me that, for 85 percent of the budget, which is defense-related, that you�re not going to have the controls that you should have,� Feinstein said.

�You want to comment?�

Negroponte, who not long ago in Baghdad was dismissing senior military officers with the wave of his hand, had to be feeling an acute wave of heartburn.

The Director of National Intelligence was forced to concede that the U.S. intelligence activities Feinstein was asking him about had �not risen to the level of my office.� In any event, they came �under the direction of the undersecretary of defense for intelligence� � a pipsqueak, relatively speaking.

Negroponte said he �understood� that the Pentagon was doing an internal review of spying programs because of a congressional uproar.

�But will you get the results of that review?� Feinstein asked.

�Yes,� promised Negroponte, dismissed like a schoolboy, �I will get those results.�

Enter General Michael Hayden. He apparently is the forerunner to be the new CIA Director. If he is nominated it will be a victory for Dick Cheney and will further diminish the power of the CIA vis-�-vis the Defense Department. Michael Hayden after all is Dick Cheney�s go to guy for warrant-less eavesdropping. The former Director of the National Security Agency was the implementer and chief public defender of the Administration�s warrant-less domestic spying program. General "Bill of Rights" Hayden of course famously excised the "probable cause" clause from the Fourth Amendment:

QUESTION: Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder. I�d like to stay on the same issue, and that had to do with the standard by which you use to target your wiretaps. I�m no lawyer, but my understanding is that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American�s right against unlawful searches and seizures. Do you use �

GEN. HAYDEN: No, actually � the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure.

QUESTION: But the �

GEN. HAYDEN: That�s what it says.

QUESTION: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.

GEN. HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

QUESTION: But does it not say probable �

GEN. HAYDEN: No. The amendment says �

QUESTION: The court standard, the legal standard �

GEN. HAYDEN: � unreasonable search and seizure.

QUESTION: The legal standard is probable cause, General. You used the terms just a few minutes ago, "We reasonably believe." And a FISA court, my understanding is, would not give you a warrant if you went before them and say "we reasonably believe"; you have to go to the FISA court, or the attorney general has to go to the FISA court and say, "we have probable cause." And so what many people believe � and I�d like you to respond to this � is that what you�ve actually done is crafted a detour around the FISA court by creating a new standard of "reasonably believe" in place in probable cause because the FISA court will not give you a warrant based on reasonable belief, you have to show probable cause. Could you respond to that, please?

GEN. HAYDEN: Sure. I didn�t craft the authorization. I am responding to a lawful order. All right? The attorney general has averred to the lawfulness of the order.

Just to be very clear � and believe me, if there�s any amendment to the Constitution that employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it�s the Fourth. And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. And so what you�ve raised to me � and I�m not a lawyer, and don�t want to become one � what you�ve raised to me is, in terms of quoting the Fourth Amendment, is an issue of the Constitution. The constitutional standard is "reasonable." And we believe � I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we�re doing is reasonable.

He is just the guy we need to head our spy agency.

Michael Hayden, the Defense Department and Dick Cheney (even perhaps Negroponte) may be jockeying to take advantage of the power struggle caused by Goss�s departure but it is not plausible to conclude that they were the primary cause of his departure. The New York Daily News asserts today that its "all about the Duke Cunningham scandal" (better known as Hookergate). The Wall Street journal also reports that Goss�s number 3, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, may be under federal criminal investigation for his involvement in Hookergate. Josh Marshall widens the net by looking at possible misdeeds at the DHS related to Hookergate contracting. No one however has yet connected Porter Goss directly to the scandal. The involvement of Foggo with Hookergate does not explain the abruptness of the Goss exit. Something else must have spooked Goss. Whatever caused his sudden flight probably involves him directly, not tangentially.

There is way too much smoke here for there not to be fire. There is much original reporting to do here. I trust that our worthy investigative reporters will leave no stone unturned to unearth the roots of this scandal. The Nixon Watergate scandal started with a third rate burglary. The reality challenged G. Gordon Liddy has always claimed that the real story involved hookers. Mr. Liddy may finally get his wish in that the new Watergate scandal is starting with hookers. Where it leads is anyone�s guess. However, it does promise to be a hot summer in Washington.



My Favorite Moment as President�
By Christy Hardin Smith @ 11:30 am

Gee, this Presidential-ating is hard work. Especially when you�re a record-breaking President (record-breaking for number of vacation days in while being President, that is).

But this one just made me shake my head this morning. Let�s call it What I Did on My Bazillionth Vacation Day in Office:

U.S. President George W. Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.

"You know, I�ve experienced many great moments and it�s hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

So, let me get this straight. The man has been President for five freaking years. And the thing that he thinks is his best moment in office as President of the US of A is catching a big fish in his lake.



Gone Fishing

President Bush has had a fantastic 5 years as the President of the United States. He has learned many things, met many interesting people, visited with many friends, and had a whale of a time. There have been many highs and lows. But, overall it�s been great fun.

Asked what his worst moment as President was, Mr. Bush pointed to the infamous "My Pet Goat" moment (or 7 minutes):

"In such a situation it takes a while before one understands what is happening," Bush said. "I would say that this was the hardest moment, once I had the real picture before my eyes."

Asked what his best moment as President was, Mr. Bush finally settled on fishing:

"You know, I�ve experienced many great moments and it�s hard to name the best," Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake," he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

Clearly Mr. Bush loves fishing. Who wouldn�t? It�s not as if one has to stop living just because the country is at war. But it occurred to me that Mr. Bush might have missed a lot of things that have happened in this great big world while he was out fishing. So, as a public service I compiled some things he may have missed into the video below:



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