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This isn't a free country if there isn't an opposition. The Democratic Party isn't it, and the "free press" isn't it, so it has to be us.


Coleen Rowley should be FBI Director!

June 3, 2002

On ABC TV just now, Attorney General Ashcroft was twice asked whether agent Coleen Riley would be retaliated against for informing the public about the FBI central office's mishandling of the Moussauoi affair. All Ashcroft could say, even when the question was repeated, was that she would not be fired.

The website (see below) which provided me with this information (since I am too sensitive to watch even a little tiny bit of TV) pointed out that Ashcroft pocket option trading twice refused to say in so many words that Rowley would not be retaliated against at all. And based on what he said and what he didn't say, it's fair to assume that Rowley's FBI career from here on out will not be much fun.

But neither the TV questioners nor the website asked the most obvious question. Why wasn't the FBI central office agent who impeded Rowley's investigation fired, and why wasn't Rowley given his job? There's nothing extreme about this proposal.  In a well-run, entrepreneurial, lean and mean, Republican-type organization, employees who don't do their jobs are fired, and employees who do their jobs especially well are promoted. And as far as that goes, why not go for it whole hog, and name her the head of the FBI in place of Mueller?

Ashcroft should have jumped at the chance to support Rowley -- and promoting her would have been the best way to do that. When he fell into line with the rest of the FBI establishment with his weak, meaningless, heavily-fudged support, it showed in no uncertain terms that for him the Republican anti-government, anti-bureaucratic, "let's get the job done" schtick is just a big lie. When Ashcroft was outside the bureaucracy, he spouted the usual anti-bureaucratic cliches. Now that he's the head of it, he's shifted gears and is saying the same mealy-mouthed things that the other bureaucrats are saying.

Of course, there's more to it than that. The Bush administration just plain doesn't want us to talk about the antecedents of the 9/11 attack. And there are good reasons why they don't.

Source:: American Politics Journal, Pundit Pap

"Sam pressed him instead on bureaucratic blunders, mentioning Coleen Rowley's letter that was highly critical of the bureau and Mueller himself, and segued to Sens. Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley calling for a guarantee that she will not be a victim of retaliation.

Here is where Ashcroft did some of the most transparent and obvious pocket option weasel-wording we've seen in months on pundit TV: he first said Mueller had publicly thanked and commended Rowley, adding that "she is not to be fired."

So, asked Sam again, there will be no retaliation? Ashcroft again said she won't be dismissed.

Not fired, not dismissed. Translation: we have not ruled out demotion, transfer to some ugly backwater, harassment, or other retaliation for daring to expose the systemic rot Freeh helped fester in the agency. How dare that mere woman embarrass us! Oh, no, she won't be fired, we'll just make her work experience a living hell."


June 2, 2002:

Preemptive unilateral war against 60 nations planned (speech at West Point):

"[Bush] said that not only will the United States impose preemptive, unilateral military force when and where it chooses, but the nation will also punish those who engage in terror and aggression and will work to impose a universal moral clarity between good and evil."

Margolis: Bush's ineptness contributed to India/Pakistan crisis: "However, Washington's clumsy policies have played a key role in the current crisis, as this column warned last fall when the US signed an 'anti- terrorist' pact with India. Delhi took the agreement to be carte blanche to go after Pakistan. By foolishly branding Kashmir separatists as 'Islamic terrorists,' the Bush Administration inadvertently pocket option demo trading encouraged India to follow the US example in Afghanistan by striking at 'terrorist' bases inside Pakistani Kashmir. Now, to India's understandable fury, the White House is furious back-peddling and calling on Delhi for 'restraint,' something it certainly failed to show in Afghanistan."

Liberals are too god damn nice. Just like basketball -- maybe it shouldn't be a full-contact sport, but it is now and you can't win any other way

"Anyone watching Fox News Sunday can see it clearly. The conservatives spin and push right-wing ideas hard, while the "liberals" there to provide "balance" don't push left-wing ideas at all."

David Corn: Mueller as scapegoat

"Yet only Mueller is feeling the heat. Not George Tenet, not Donald Rumsfeld. And for his princely efforts, Mueller could see his position at the FBI undermined. As New York Times reporter David Johnston noted, "Mueller's candor may come at a cost in his support among rank-and-file agents. Some senior officials at FBI headquarters are said by associates to be increasingly unnerved, fearful that Mr. Mueller will not protect them as lawmakers demand that someone at the bureau take a fall for the mistakes of last summer." Johnston noted that Mueller’s "unsettled standing" at the FBI "can be measured in large and small ways. One sign is the reemergence of an old Justice Department nickname for Mr. Mueller ... 'Bobby Three Sticks,' a reference to the 'III' he uses at the end of his name."

We can't let Bush off the hook on 9/11

So far George W. Bush has gotten off almost scot free on the 9/11 issue. We need to fight that.

The 9/11 investigation seems to be going to the same place that the Enron investigation and the stolen election investigation went. For good reasons and bad, the Democratic leadership cannot be expected to take the lead on any of these, so it's up to rank and file citizens to carry the ball. We're starting with two and a half strikes on us. Not only the Republicans but also the media are going to squeal like stuck pigs if we even peep a peep, and half the Democratic party seems to think that the path to success lies in sitting quietly and not being noticed. (See this on the hysterical response to a few very mild and sensible Democratic questions about 9-11). My opinion is that you can't win if you don't play.

So far all that has happened is that Ashcroft has "untied the hands" of the intelligence services by removing all restrictions (imposed by liberals, of course) on domestic intelligence-gathering (also here). There will probably also be a reorganization of the FBI, and one poor fool in the FBI central office (so far unnamed) will be allowed to twist in the wind. (The self-confessed liberal Nicholas Kristoff already has pled guilty, so the whole thing can now be blamed on his sorry liberal ass. Kristoff also admitted to being a liberal not long ago when he said that child labor isn't really all that bad. I'd hate to hear what he says when he's being conservative).

What we see in the papers right now looks like an internal dispute within the intelligence services, and within the right wing; and while that might not be good for Bush, it's unlikely to be good for us either. So far this issue has been a disaster -- all we have to show for it is Ashcroft's executive order.

Oh, and did I mention that it's all really Clinton's fault?

Well, let's look at what actually happened. The hijackers were mostly Saudis and Osama Bin Laden was financed mostly by Saudis. The Bush family and the Saudis (including the Bin Laden family) have been friendly for decades. The CIA was working with Osama Bin Laden as late as 1997 (Bin Laden's assassination attempt on Qaddafi). Th US was negotiating with the Taliban right up until early September 2001. (Documentation: Arbusto/Bush/Bin Laden, Carlyle/Bush/Bin Laden, Bush, Bin Laden, and the Taliban before 9/11, Pre 9/11 story on Bin Laden's planned suicide attack (early 2001) AND Bin Laden investment in Bush's Arbusto firm, Articles on Bin Laden: the Forbidden Truth, Review of Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth).

Why were all the Bin Ladens in the U.S. allowed to leave immediately after 9/11 without being questioned? Before 9-11, why did the Bush administration call the FBI off the Saudis? Why was Daschle pressured not to investigate? Why did Ashcroft give such a low priority to counter-terrorism, even while he was unwilling to fly commercial aircraft? (See also this). The specifics of the 9/11 attack were unknown, but already on July 5 the administration knew something was up.

And just in case you were wondering: no, the CIA didn't do it. Nor the Mossad. And Bush wasn't on the phone with Osama on Sept. 10. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about a massive policy failure and a lot of unanswered questions about the Bush administration's relationship to the Saudis and the Taliban.

The 9/11 attack was not the surprise Bush pretended it was. We should get to the bottom of this.

Coleen Rowley's letter (from Minneapolis) to the FBI Chief

From her letter: "Also intertwined with my reluctance in this case to accept the "20-20 hindsight" rationale is first-hand knowledge that I have of statements made on September 11th, after the first attacks on the World Trade Center had already occurred, made telephonically by the FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) who was the one most involved in the Moussaoui matter and who, up to that point, seemed to have been consistently, almost deliberately thwarting the Minneapolis FBI agents' efforts (see number 5). Even after the attacks had begun, the SSA in question was still attempting to block the search of Moussaoui's computer, characterizing the World Trade Center attacks as a mere coincidence with Misseapolis' [sic] prior suspicions about Moussaoui."

Even more 9/11 links

Dasquie and Brisard's book on the origins of the American Afghan war can be pre-ordered now (published by Nation Books)! A must read!


Wretched Piece by Michael Kelly:

"Old, old, old. Tired, tired, tired."

Oregonian, May 29

"You can take seriously, or pretend to take seriously, the likes of Chomsky -- or the likes of Gephardt -- when you can afford to. But that sort of thing is a frivolity, of a grim sort, for a frivolous time".

Kelly's point seems to be that, since we're going to be permanently at war from here on out, the President is beyond criticism and older people with pre-9/11 points of view should just shut up. He heaps abuse on Gephard, the New York Review of Books and everyone who writes for it (probably a bit of envy there), Chomsky and his kind, and two token Republicans who everyone hates (Armey and someone else). The idea that this fat-cheeked, owlish forty-something is going to lead a youth movement is ludicrous, but he seems to be planning to try.

As in most spin and smear pieces, the real theme is buried. What Kelly is trying to do in this otherwise amazingly content-free rant is to identify Rep. Gephard and anyone else who asks any questions with Noam Chomsky. Recent revelations about pre-9/11 intelligence failures seem like they might hurt the President, so Kelly wants to cut off the questioning.

Previously Kelly has had the brass to enlist George Orwell in his campaign to reduce the range of permissible public discussion. Now he seems to be saying that Congress is no longer needed, and that Bush should be allowed to govern by himself.

"And we must lead....We have a president who seems to understand this, which is helpful. We have a people who seem to understand it too, which is essential." Considering Kelly's slams on even the Republicans in Congress, this sounds far too much like the corporatist Maximum Leader, with his direct bond to The People. Kelly is nothing if not Orwellian.

Write the Oregonian

Watergate's John Dean on George W. Bush

John Dean, one of the Watergate crooks who came clean (and gave testimony which helped drive Nixon from office), is now a respected legal scholar writing for Findlaw. He has a lot to say about George W. Bush, none of it good. Dean, whose politics are moderate-to-conservative, knocks down many of the Bush administration's talking points, especially on Enron.

Krugman: "True Blue Americans"

Venomous attacks on "blue" Americans (Democrats, mostly from coastal states) as unpatriotic are rampant in the rightwing media, and are creeping into the mainstream. Paul Krugman has a thing or two to say about this, and I amplify it.

"Certainly the heartland has no claim to superiority when it comes to family values. If anything, the red states do a bit worse than the blue states when you look at indicators of individual responsibility and commitment to family. Children in red states are more likely to be born to teenagers or unmarried mothers — in 1999, 33.7 percent of babies in red states were born out of wedlock, versus 32.5 percent in blue states. National divorce statistics are spotty, but per capita there were 60 percent more divorces in Montana than in New Jersey.

And the red states have special trouble with the Sixth Commandment: the murder rate was 7.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in the red states, compared with 6.1 in the blue states, and 4.1 in New Jersey."



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