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William Pitt Thanks Michael MooreEmployee Advocate – DukeEmployees.com – June 28, 2004
The article below was written by William Rivers Pitt. It was published by TruthOut.org on Friday 25 June 2004.
"The light at the end of the tunnel could be the bulb in a film projector." - Jeanette Castillo
Screens in Bartlett, Chattanooga, Jackson, Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee will be showing it. Screens in Layton and West Jordan, Utah will be showing it. If you find yourself in Leawood, Merriam, Shawnee or Wichita, Kansas, you can see it. The same goes for Centerville, Fairfax and Abington, Virginia. If you happen to be in Akron, Bexley, Dublin or Elyria, Ohio, you're all set. Hoover, Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama will not be left out.
Laramie, Wyoming? It's there. Bozeman, Montana? Indeed. Should you call home Grand Island, Lincoln or Omaha, Nebraska, you have not been forgotten. The largest mall in the country, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, will have it in its theater. If you are a soldier at Camp Lejune or Fort Bragg, about to be shipped to Iraq, you can see it in nearby Fayetteville, North Carolina.
These towns, large and small, along with towns large and small from sea to shining sea and straight through the American heartland, will begin screening Michael Moore's documentary, 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' beginning at 12:01a.m. Friday morning, the 25th of June, 2004. For the majority of people who will see this movie, in those towns large and small, the experience will be nothing short of a mind-bomb.
The Who once sang about how the hypnotized never lie, but as we have seen, people hypnotized by television and deliberately enforced fear can certainly support a war, and a President, which are fundamentally at odds with basic American decency. In fact, people hypnotized by television and deliberately enforced fear will feed themselves into the meat grinder with "God Bless America" on their lips.
Michael Moore's film will snap that hypnosis, but good. Those Americans who believed what their President told them because they saw it on the TV will, after less than two hours in their local theater, look at both their television and their President with doubt and loathing when they walk from the darkness into the bright light of day. There are millions of Americans who believed what they were told - about 9/11, about Iraq, about George W. Bush himself - who will come into that bright light with the realization that they have been lied to.
Speaking personally, none of the data in this film surprised me. Having spent every day of the last three years working to expose as many Americans as possible to the truth of the man they call President, Mr. Moore was unlikely to explode any shells across my bow. The connections between Bush, the Saudis, the Carlyle Group and the 9/11 attacks were there. The connections between Cheney and Halliburton were there. The connections between Enron, Unocal, natural gas pipelines, the war in Afghanistan and a little-known country called Turkmenistan were there. I enjoyed the fact that Moore showed off unredacted copies of Bush's military service record, allowing us to see the parts of those documents which had been blacked out. I found no fact, no assertion in this film to question or doubt. I have done my homework, and as was made painfully clear, Michael Moore did his.
Most Americans don't know about this stuff, and seeing it fully documented and meticulously researched on the big screen will be, to say the least, revelatory. Yes, Virginia, there are billions of dollars to be made off this Iraq war for Bush's friends. The second door on the left is the recruiting office. Sign on the line that is dotted, and be the first kid on your block to die for the benefit of Carlyle's stock options. Be sure to save your pennies beforehand, however, because the Army will dock your pay for the days you are dead. It's policy, you see.
Mr. Moore put two daggers into me with this film, the first of which had to do with American soldiers. Trooper after trooper spoke frankly for Moore's camera, condemning both the war and the people who thrust them into it. Several scenes graphically explained what happens to a soldier's body when it is caught in an explosion. The result is ruinous, and the cries of the wounded and the dying will ring in my ears forever.
The most wrenching scenes in the film center around a woman named Lila, who loves her country, loves her flag, and above all loves her children whom she actively persuaded to join the armed services. We learn that Lila has a son in Iraq, and because of that, she despises those protesting the invasion. We find out later that her son was killed in Karbala on April 2nd, when his Blackhawk helicopter was shot down. We watch her read her son's last letter home, in which he rages against Bush and the war. We last see Lila standing at the gates of the White House, tears boiling from her eyes, as she discovers her true enemy, the one who took her baby from her.
The other dagger Moore put into me came during his montage of the media coverage of the war. Journalist after journalist is shown rhapsodizing Bush, his administration and the war. Each and every one of them carried forth that which we now know to be bald-faced lies: That Iraq had WMDs, that Iraq was a threat, that we had to go, and that everything is fine. It was a slideshow of the nonsense Americans have been spoon-fed for far too long.
If you doubt this, Sidney Blumenthal's aggressive and effective actual journalism, as found in his most recent report titled 'Reality is Unraveling for Bush,' should help you along. "Most of the media was on the bandwagon or intimidated," writes Blumenthal. "Cheney himself called the president of the corporation that owned one of the networks to complain about an errant commentator. Political aides directed by Karl Rove ceaselessly called editors and producers with veiled threats about access that was not granted in any case. The press would not bite the hand that would not feed it."
With a single stroke, Michael Moore has undone three years of poor, slanted, biased, factually bereft, compromised television journalism. This, in the end, is the final greatness of 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' Not only will Americans get a sense of the depth of the deception they have endured, but 'journalists' all across the country will be forced to endure the humiliation they so richly deserve.
I was privileged to see this film in the company of three groups - Military Families Speak Out, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and Veterans for Peace - which have stood against this disastrous war from day one. Many in the theater had family in Iraq, or had lost family in Iraq, or had lost family on 9/11 and seen their beloved dead used as an excuse for unwarranted war, and there was not a dry eye in the house.
'Fahrenheit 9/11' is not a victory for anyone. We the People should have known better, We the People should have been given the facts before sending 851 of our children to die. We the People have been betrayed, by our leaders and by a media that profited, and profits still, from the daily sale of lies. This film drove that horrid fact home with a mallet, and it hurt.
I was reminded, as I filed out with this company of heroes, of a portion of Shakespeare's rendition of Henry's speech before Agincourt:
He that outlives this day and comes safe home,
Many of us were not hypnotized. Millions of us took to the streets in this country and around the world, to try and stop this madness before it was unleashed. The people in that theater with me had done this, had never stopped doing this, though their President and their media named them traitor. They were right. They were right. They were right.
Michael Moore has unleashed a wolf within Mr. Bush's fences. There is no getting around it. Perhaps, now that it is far too late, we as a nation will wake up. On the day of that awakening, those of us who never stopped standing, never stopped marching, learned to live without sleep, learned to live in a nation that scorned truth for televised fantasy, those patriots I was with tonight in that theater can pause for breath. We can sit upon the grass on a bright day, strip our sleeves, and show our scars.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and international bestseller of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You To Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.'
A Senator Spills the BeansEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – June 27, 2004
The article below was written by U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings. It was Originally published in The State on June 23, 2004.
By U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings
Peoples the world around have a history of culture and religion. In the Mideast, the religion is predominantly Muslim and the culture tribal. The Muslim religion is strong, i.e., those that don't conform are considered infidels; those of a tribal culture look for tribal leadership, not democracy. We liberated Kuwait, but it immediately rejected democracy.
In 1996, a task force was formed in Jerusalem including Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser. They submitted a plan for Israel to incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Clean Break. It proposed that negotiations with the Palestinians be cut off and, instead, the Mideast be made friendly to Israel by democratizing it. First Lebanon would be bombed, then Syria invaded on the pretext of weapons of mass destruction. Afterward, Saddam Hussein was to be removed in Iraq and replaced with a Hashemite ruler favorable to Israel.
The plan was rejected by Netanyahu, so Perle started working for a similar approach to the Mideast for the United States. Taking on the support of Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Cambone, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld et al., he enlisted the support of the Project for the New American Century.
The plan hit paydirt with the election of George W. Bush. Perle took on the Defense Policy Board. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith became one, two and three at the Defense Department, and Cheney as vice president took Scooter Libby and David Wurmser as his deputies. Clean Break was streamlined to go directly into Iraq.
Iraq, as a threat to the United States, was all contrived. Richard Clarke stated in his book, Against All Enemies, with John McLaughlin of the CIA confirming, that there was no evidence or intelligence of "Iraqi support for terrorism against the United States" from 1993 until 2003 when we invaded. The State Department on 9/11 had a list of 45 countries wherein al Qaeda was operating. While the United States was listed, it didn't list the country of Iraq.
President Bush must have known that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We have no al Qaeda, no weapons of mass destruction and no terrorism from Iraq; we were intentionally misled by the Bush administration. Which explains why President-elect Bush sought a briefing on Iraq from Defense Secretary William Cohen in January before taking the oath of office and why Iraq was the principal concern at his first National Security Council meeting - all before 9/11. When 9/11 occurred, we knew immediately that it was caused by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Within days we were not only going into Afghanistan, but President Bush was asking for a plan to invade Iraq - even though Iraq had no involvement.
After 15 months, Iraq has yet to be secured. Its borders were left open after "mission accomplished," allowing terrorists throughout the Mideast to come join with the insurgents to reek havoc. As a result, our troops are hunkered down, going out to trouble spots and escorting convoys.
In the war against terrorism, we've given the terrorists a cause and created more terrorism. Even though Saddam is gone, the majority of the Iraqi people want us gone. We have proven ourselves "infidels." With more than 800 GIs killed, 5,000 maimed for life and a cost of $200 billion, come now the generals in command, both Richard Myers and John Abizaid, saying we can't win. Back home the cover of The New Republic magazine asks, "Were We Wrong?"
Walking guard duty tonight in Baghdad, a G.I. wonders why he should lose his life when his commander says he can't win and the people back home can't make up their mind. Unfortunately, the peoples of the world haven't changed their minds. They are still against us. Heretofore, the world looked to the United States to do the right thing.
No more. The United States has lost its moral authority.
One Thousand LobbyistsEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – June 24, 2004
What will 1,000 lobbyists buy? They will buy a disastrous Medicare Bill, according to a Public Citizen press release. Almost one thousand lobbyists were deployed by the drug and HMO industries. Special interests spent $141 million dollars in 2003 to push the bill through Congress. 431 “revolving door” lobbyists were hired, with connections to Congress and the White House.
Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch, said “The Medicare Modernization Act, a top priority of President Bush, promises to safeguard industry profits at the expense of America’s taxpayers. Considering the legion of lobbyists unleashed by pharmaceutical companies, HMOs and allied industry front groups, no wonder taxpayers ended up with a bill tailor-made to serve these special interests instead of senior citizens.”
Westar Energy Scandal Ethics ComplaintPublic Citizen – Press Release – June 16, 2004
Public Citizen Applauds Rep. Chris Bell for Tearing Down the Wall of Silence on Ethics Complaints in the House of Representatives
Ethics Committee Now Must Consider Year-Old Public Citizen Complaint Statement of Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen
(June 15, 2004) - Public Citizen applauds Rep. Chris Bell (D-Texas) for breaking the unspoken agreement among all members of the House of Representatives not to file complaints against each other on ethics violations, regardless how egregious. By acting, Rep. Bell becomes the first House member to tear down the wall of silence on ethics complaints that for years has shielded representatives from being held accountable for serious lapses in ethical behavior. It is all the more courageous given that the complaint was filed against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
One year ago, Public Citizen requested the House Ethics Committee and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the ethical conduct of the majority leader on one of the allegations made by Rep. Bell: the Westar Energy scandal.
Rep. Bell's action is a major accomplishment because it helps re-establish the enforcement of ethics in the House of Representatives. In the late 1990s, the House changed its rules on ethics procedures to prohibit any citizen or group outside the House to file an ethics complaint against a member of Congress. At the same time, members of the House unofficially agreed not to file any ethics complaints against each other. This effectively shut down the enforcement of ethics rules in the House.
Public Citizen's complaints to the ethics committee and the DOJ about the DeLay-Westar connection were based in part on internal corporate memos from Westar, in which Westar executives plotted a campaign-contribution-for-legislative-favors scheme. The memos showed that Reps. DeLay, Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), who were leading the writing of the energy bill, suggested to Westar's lobbyist a list of candidates to whom Westar should send campaign donations. In exchange, asserted one memo, we could "get a seat at the table." Overall, $63,000 in campaign contributions were made to these candidates, including a $25,000 soft money contribution to DeLay's leadership PAC (TRMPAC). In exchange, House officials inserted a special exemption for Westar from regulation under parts of the energy bill, potentially saving the company millions of dollars. The special exemption, which was quietly inserted into the energy bill that was in conference being negotiated by a House-Senate committee, was later dropped only after Westar came under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for corporate fraud.
Despite the clear smoking gun, Public Citizen's complaint went entirely unacknowledged by the House Ethics Committee and by the Department of Justice, and no investigation of the scandal was forthcoming.
Until today. Thanks for your courage Rep. Bell.
Public Citizen now urges Rep. Bell or any other House member to pursue an ethics complaint against Reps. Tauzin and Barton.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.
Execs Whine About Obeying LawEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – June 15, 2004
As you may have suspected, many executives love it when the law gives them a license to rob employees and the public. But when the law holds them accountable, these same executives scream and plead for mercy.
Consider the landmark Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The law was passed to hold executives accountable for their actions. It was passed because so many corporations were trampling over the law, in a feeding frenzy for more profits. Nothing was too outrageous. Nothing was too scandalous, if it brought in more money.
In the Financial Times, Adrian Michaels and Dan Roberts reported about the latest corporate whining about having to obey the law. It seems that the executives just don’t like it. They don’t like it one bit! A featured critic of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was John Thain, head of the New York Stock Exchange.
Just why are executives complaining about having to obey the law? They say that it is “too time-consuming and expensive.”
You have to admit, they do have a point. It is much more time consuming to make money honestly, rather than just stealing it. If executives are complaining about the act, it must be doing its job!
Executives had the same complaint when legislation was introduced to remedy cash balance pension plan abuse. Many executives took money from the employees’ retirement fund. They refused to reveal the exact methods used or how much retirement money each employee actually lost.
Legislation that would force corporations to tell employees how much retirement money they had lost would do nothing to correct the situation. But executives screamed and pleaded at the mere mention of such a law. Why? Because obeying this law would be “too time-consuming and expensive”! Never mind that these executives had enriched themselves, at the expense of employees, by obscene amounts. They did not even want to reveal how much money they had taken!
Democrat Senator Paul Sarbanes and Republican Congressman Michael Oxley do not feel much sympathy for the whining executives.
Mr. Sarbanes said "I think people should get with the program. We have got to clean up the situation…. You can't forget the downside and the costs [of fraud] that in effect triggered the whole [legislative] effort. You can't relegate that to the past."
Mr. Oxley said "They're whining two years too late. Where were they two years ago? All the CEOs were running for cover then. They were hiring lawyers and hunkering down… There is real change in boardrooms. We've broken the chain of this good old boys club."
‘Mr. Mercury’Employee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – June 10, 2004
DTE Energy attorney, Lee Zeugin, is known by lobbyists as “Mr. Mercury,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Mercury and a few other representatives of coal-burning utilities met with White House and EPA officials last November. The goal was to kill or cripple mercury emission standards. The group was wildly successful.
A week before the meeting, employees and family members of utilities and coal-mining companies donated over $90,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign. American Electric Power is the biggest mercury emitter. It kicked in $19,700 and sent its own lobbyist to the meeting.
The standards, to cut emissions by 90% by 2008, would affect 1,100 power plants. Not bad at all.
After all the industry lobbying, political contributions, and tinkering by the Bush administration, the standards were severely curtailed.
The revised standard will reduce emissions from coal-burning power plans by 70% by 2018!
Plus, a really polluting plant can buy “pollution credits” to make it all legal!
A realistic name for the weakened standards would have been the “Choke to Death on Mercury” legislation. The Bush administration named it the "Clear Skies" legislation!
To help grease the wheels, three people appointed to powerful environmental positions had strong ties to the energy industry.
Dismantled Health and Safety ProtectionsEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – June 1, 2004
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials have been resigning since G. W. Bush came to Washington. These people are now telling the reasons they could not work for the Bush administration, according to the Center for American Progress (CAP) and OccupationalHazards.com.
Former EPA Administrator Carol Browner and other former senior governmental officials blasted the Bush environment and workplace safety policies. CAP released a 145-page report titled "Special Interest Takeover: The Bush Administration and the Dismantling of Public Safeguards." It details how corporate interests are weakening regulations and distorting scientific findings.
John Podesta, president of CAP, said "The administration is littered with ex-lobbyists who are now writing the rules to benefit their former special-interest employers."
Former senior officials of OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the National Park Service have also blasted the Bush policies. They charge that political appointees are destroying the government's ability to protect the health and safety of workers and the public from corporate interests.
Peter Infante, former director of OSHA's office of health standards, said "They're not interested in protecting workers, they're protecting industry, so that's why I left."
Learning Too LateEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – June 1, 2004
United Kingdom’s Independent reported that G. W. Bush used last year’s West Point military academy ceremony to promote his doctrine of pre-emptive strikes. Bush and Rumsfeld wanted war and invaded Iraq without United Nations support.
They felt the war would be a cakewalk. Iraqi soldiers would throw down their arms and welcome the occupying Americans.
Only a year later, at the same ceremony, Rumsfeld does not seem as cocky as Bush did. He admits that America needs help from other countries to end the bloodshed in Iraq. It has cost Americans much blood and money for this administration to prove its ineptness. There never had to be any bloodshed in Iraq. The reasons for the war were as phony as this administration!
After the speech, about 100 protesters marched to the gates chanting: "Rumsfeld resign!"
To Tell the TruthNew York Times – by Paul Krugman – June 1, 2004
Published: May 28, 2004
Some news organizations, including The New York Times, are currently engaged in self-criticism over the run-up to the Iraq war. They are asking, as they should, why poorly documented claims of a dire threat received prominent, uncritical coverage, while contrary evidence was either ignored or played down.
But it's not just Iraq, and it's not just The Times. Many journalists seem to be having regrets about the broader context in which Iraq coverage was embedded: a climate in which the press wasn't willing to report negative information about George Bush.
People who get their news by skimming the front page, or by watching TV, must be feeling confused by the sudden change in Mr. Bush's character. For more than two years after 9/11, he was a straight shooter, all moral clarity and righteousness.
But now those people hear about a president who won't tell a straight story about why he took us to war in Iraq or how that war is going, who can't admit to and learn from mistakes, and who won't hold himself or anyone else accountable. What happened?
The answer, of course, is that the straight shooter never existed. He was a fictitious character that the press, for various reasons, presented as reality.
The truth is that the character flaws that currently have even conservative pundits fuming have been visible all along. Mr. Bush's problems with the truth have long been apparent to anyone willing to check his budget arithmetic. His inability to admit mistakes has also been obvious for a long time. I first wrote about Mr. Bush's "infallibility complex" more than two years ago, and I wasn't being original.
So why did the press credit Mr. Bush with virtues that reporters knew he didn't possess? One answer is misplaced patriotism. After 9/11 much of the press seemed to reach a collective decision that it was necessary, in the interests of national unity, to suppress criticism of the commander in chief.
Another answer is the tyranny of evenhandedness. Moderate and liberal journalists, both reporters and commentators, often bend over backward to say nice things about conservatives. Not long ago, many commentators who are now caustic Bush critics seemed desperate to differentiate themselves from "irrational Bush haters" who were neither haters nor irrational — and whose critiques look pretty mild in the light of recent revelations.
And some journalists just couldn't bring themselves to believe that the president of the United States was being dishonest about such grave matters.
Finally, let's not overlook the role of intimidation. After 9/11, if you were thinking of saying anything negative about the president, you had to be prepared for an avalanche of hate mail. You had to expect right-wing pundits and publications to do all they could to ruin your reputation, and you had to worry about being denied access to the sort of insider information that is the basis of many journalistic careers.
The Bush administration, knowing all this, played the press like a fiddle. But has that era come to an end?
A new Pew survey finds 55 percent of journalists in the national media believing that the press has not been critical enough of Mr. Bush, compared with only 8 percent who believe that it has been too critical. More important, journalists seem to be acting on that belief.
Amazing things have been happening lately. The usual suspects have tried to silence reporting about prison abuses by accusing critics of undermining the troops — but the reports keep coming. The attorney general has called yet another terror alert — but the press raised questions about why. (At a White House morning briefing, Terry Moran of ABC News actually said what many thought during other conveniently timed alerts: "There is a disturbing possibility that you are manipulating the American public in order to get a message out.")
It may not last. In July 2002, according to Dana Milbank of The Washington Post — who has tried, at great risk to his career, to offer a realistic picture of the Bush presidency — "the White House press corps showed its teeth" for the first time since 9/11. It didn't last: the administration beat the drums of war, and most of the press relapsed into docility.
But this time may be different. And if it is, Mr. Bush — who has always depended on that docility — may be in even more trouble than the latest polls suggest.
The Rumsfeld SolutionEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – May 25, 2004
Unlimited photographic evidence is available of prisoner abuse under the G. W. Bush Iraq occupation. It is hard to deny war crime evidence provided by the accused parties. But Donald Rumsfeld has a solution to the problem, according to The Business and AFP.
"Digital cameras, camcorders and mobile phones with cameras have been prohibited in military compounds in Iraq."
How will this stop abuse? It will not stop the abuse, but it will keep it covered up! G. W. Bush and Dick Cheney are two of the most secretive politicians in Washington. Rumsfeld will now join their ranks.
With no evidence, it is a lot easier to just deny, deny, deny.
Fahrenheit 9/11 Wins Top AwardEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – May 23, 2004
AFP reported that Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" won the top prize at the Cannes film festival, in France. The film blasts Bush for attacking and occupying Iraq. Mr. Moore received a long standing ovation.
This is the first documentary to win the Palme d'Or in the award's 29-year history!
Mr. Moore dedicated the trophy to his daughter and "to all the children in America, and in Iraq and around the world who have suffered from our actions."
The Medicare Bill Hard SellEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – May 22, 2004
The Bush administration has been running roughshod over most federal agencies. Bush has appointed his toadies to run them. Most of them now cater to corporations, at the expense of the citizens. But there is at least one federal agency that Bush does not have under his thumb.
The New York Times reported that the General Accounting Office (GAO) said that the Bush administration violated federal law with its Medicare "covert propaganda" campaign.
Television viewers would see the videos in a newscast and be led to "believe that the information came from a nongovernment source or neutral party." The “newscasters” were actually paid actors trying to sell the Medicare bill blunder!
The GAO said that part of the videos were a "story package." This package ran afoul of laws that prohibit the use of taxpayer money for propaganda.
The GAO said "the video news releases did not alert viewers that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was the source." Not only that, but "some news organizations indicated that they misread the label or they mistook the story package as an independent journalist news story."
In addition to viewers being duped into believing they were watching actual newscasts, the information was flawed by "notable omissions and weaknesses."
When the public has to be “sold” on how great a government program is, rest assured that it is not so great!
‘There's Definitely a Cover-up’Employee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – May 19, 2004
G. W. Bush is noted for ruling over his administration with an iron hand. Total loyalty is demanded. Everyone must stick to the script. But many in the administration have had enough and are singing loudly. A little more truth comes out almost every day. Bush must feel like the little Dutch boy, trying to plug dozens of leaks in the dike, with his fingers. When enough water flows, it will wash away concrete and steel.
ABC television and AFP reported that the latest person to come clean is a member of military intelligence. Sergeant Samuel Provance alleges the army tried to cover up Iraqi prisoner abuse. He said that dozens of soldiers were involved in prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.
Sergeant Provance told World News Tonight "There's definitely a cover-up. People are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet."
ABC said the soldier was ordered by his commanders not to give the interview. But there has already been too much secrecy in this administration. It is time for the whole truth to come out. Sergeant Provance gave the interview anyway!
Sergeant Provance said "What I was surprised at was the silence. The collective silence by so many people that had to be involved, that had to have seen something or heard something…"Anything (the MPs) were to do legally or otherwise, they were to take those commands from the interrogators. One interrogator told me about how commonly the detainees were stripped naked, and in some occasions, wearing women's underwear… If it's your job to strip people naked, yell at them, scream at them, humiliate them, it's not going to be too hard to move from that to another level."
If someone does not want an investigation to find anything, it is not hard to arrange, just appoint someone who will squelch it. Donald Rumsfeld kept talking about the “Fay Investigation,” at his Senate hearing. But Sergeant Provance said that Major General George Fay seemed to discourage him from testifying, and was not interested in what the interrogators did.
The sergeant is getting an education on how the system really works. He said "I feel like I'm being punished for being honest… You know, it was almost as if I actually felt if all my statements were shredded and I said, like most everybody else, 'I didn't hear anything, I didn't see anything. I don't know what you're talking about,' then my life would be just fine right now."
Utility Industry Influence ProbeEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – May 18, 2004
Federal agencies are “kinder and gentler” these days – to corporations, that is. Under the Bush administration, agencies are rolling back all public protections, to enhance corporate profits. The public health and prosperity will suffer, but it all balances out. As citizens lose well being, pensions, and health care, corporations stand to rake in extra billions of dollars.
Not everyone is content to merely watch this wealth shift take place. The Associated Press reported that seven senators are concerned that the electric utility industry had too much influence in the weakening of pollution rules. The inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency is investigating lobbying influence on mercury emission standards at coal-burning power plants.
The senators cited "undue influence" and "apparent serious irregularities" by the utility industry in formulating the proposed rule. They also mentioned "strong evidence that EPA career staff members were directed by political appointees not to follow the normal regulatory development procedures, and that the affected industry had an undue influence over the entire process."
The senators wrote: "If true, these are sure signs of a regulatory process gone awry."
The senators said White House officials apparently "systematically went through the proposed rule and edited it to weaken scientific evidence demonstrating the health risks of mercury exposure."
Allegations were made of excessive influence from industry lobbyists and even White House tinkering with the process.
It is high time that somebody noticed! V. P. Dick Cheney is still fighting the disclosure of industry influence on the energy bill from 2001!
Death Penalty for War CrimesEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – May 18, 2004
Newsweek reported that the Bush administration received fair warning of possible prosecution for war crimes over two years ago. The White House's top lawyer provided the warning because of the of new and unorthodox measures employed.
Michael Isikoff, investigative correspondent, revealed that this information is on a White House memo, and is backed up by interviews with participants. On January 25, 2002, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales urged G. W. Bush to declare the Afghanistan war exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.
G. W. Bush was warned that the 1996 War Crimes Act bans Americans, including "U.S. officials," from committing "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions. The law has teeth; punishments "include the death penalty.”
The Geneva Conventions specifically outlaws "outrages upon personal dignity" and "inhuman treatment" of prisoners.
The Chronicle, United Kingdom, reported that Tony Blair is facing accusations of war crimes. MP George Galloway wants to prosecute Prime Minister Tony Blair and other Government figures for war crimes.
Just Trust UsNew York Times – by Paul Krugman – May 12, 2004
(5/11/04) - Didn't you know, in your gut, that something like Abu Ghraib would eventually come to light?
When the world first learned about the abuse of prisoners, President Bush said that it "does not reflect the nature of the American people." He's right, of course: a great majority of Americans are decent and good. But so are a great majority of people everywhere. If America's record is better than that of most countries — and it is — it's because of our system: our tradition of openness, and checks and balances.
Yet Mr. Bush, despite all his talk of good and evil, doesn't believe in that system. From the day his administration took office, its slogan has been "just trust us." No administration since Nixon has been so insistent that it has the right to operate without oversight or accountability, and no administration since Nixon has shown itself to be so little deserving of that trust. Out of a misplaced sense of patriotism, Congress has deferred to the administration's demands. Sooner or later, a moral catastrophe was inevitable.
Just trust us, John Ashcroft said, as he demanded that Congress pass the Patriot Act, no questions asked. After two and a half years, during which he arrested and secretly detained more than a thousand people, Mr. Ashcroft has yet to convict any actual terrorists. (Look at the actual trials of what Dahlia Lithwick of Slate calls "disaffected bozos who watch cheesy training videos," and you'll see what I mean.)
Just trust us, George Bush said, as he insisted that Iraq, which hadn't attacked us and posed no obvious threat, was the place to go in the war on terror. When we got there, we found no weapons of mass destruction and no new evidence of links to Al Qaeda.
Just trust us, Paul Bremer said, as he took over in Iraq. What is the legal basis for Mr. Bremer's authority? You may imagine that the Coalition Provisional Authority is an arm of the government, subject to U.S. law. But it turns out that no law or presidential directive has ever established the authority's status. Mr. Bremer, as far as we can tell, answers to nobody except Mr. Bush, which makes Iraq a sort of personal fief. In that fief, there has been nothing that Americans would recognize as the rule of law. For example, Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon's erstwhile favorite, was allowed to gain control of Saddam's files — the better to blackmail his potential rivals.
And finally: Just trust us, Donald Rumsfeld said early in 2002, when he declared that "enemy combatants" — a term that turned out to mean anyone, including American citizens, the administration chose to so designate — don't have rights under the Geneva Convention. Now people around the world talk of an "American gulag," and Seymour Hersh is exposing My Lai all over again.
Did top officials order the use of torture? It depends on the meaning of the words "order" and "torture." Last August Mr. Rumsfeld's top intelligence official sent Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the Guantánamo prison, to Iraq. General Miller recommended that the guards help interrogators, including private contractors, by handling prisoners in a way that "sets the conditions" for "successful interrogation and exploitation." What did he and his superiors think would happen?
To their credit, some supporters of the administration are speaking out. "This is about system failure," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. But do Mr. Graham, John McCain and other appalled lawmakers understand their own role in that failure? By deferring to the administration at every step, by blocking every effort to make officials accountable, they set the nation up for this disaster. You can't prevent any serious inquiry into why George Bush led us to war to eliminate W.M.D. that didn't exist and to punish Saddam for imaginary ties to Al Qaeda, then express shock when Mr. Bush's administration fails to follow the rules on other matters.
Meanwhile, Abu Ghraib will remain in use, under its new commander: General Miller of Guantánamo. Donald Rumsfeld has "accepted responsibility" — an action that apparently does not mean paying any price at all. And Dick Cheney says, "Don Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had. . . . People should get off his case and let him do his job." In other words: Just trust us.
Red Cross Disputes Bush, RumsfeldEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – May 11, 2004
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has disputed the Bush/Rumsfeld “few bad apples” claim, according to The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. ICRC released a 24-page report that stated the Iraqi prisoner abuse was "not individual acts."
As many as 90 percent of Iraqi detainees were arrested by mistake. Some were held in solitary confinement for months.
ICRC delegates witnessed U.S. military intelligence officers mistreating prisoners under interrogation at Abu Ghraib. Allegations of abuse have also been documented at 10 other detention facilities.
The report stated: "Arresting authorities entered houses usually after dark, breaking down doors, waking up residents roughly, yelling orders, forcing family members into one room under military guard while searching the rest of the house and further breaking doors, cabinets and other property."
More from the report: "Sometimes they arrested all adult males present in a house, including elderly, handicapped or sick people. Treatment often included pushing people around, insulting, taking aim with rifles, punching and kicking and striking with rifles."
The Red Cross has been trying to get these abuses stopped since March, 2003, with little success. After 60 Minutes II broke the story to the public, G. W. Bush and Rumsfeld have taken notice of the situation. They would have been content to have ignored the situation for all time, but it is hard to ignore an anvil dropped on one’s head.
The normal response to such a scandal would be to categorically deny all charges. But this is difficult to do when there is photographic evidence abundantly available. What’s worse, the evidence was gathered by the perpetrators!
It was clearly time for the old “few bad apples” and the “I didn’t know” approach. But the Red Cross promptly blew these flimsy explanations out of the water.
In a sense, the “few bad apples” explanation is valid. The most rotten of these bad apples are G. W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney. They are the top three promoters of this illegal war.
At last, the true “evildoers” have been exposed.
The Rumsfeld Senate HearingEmployee Advocate – www.DukeEmployees.com – May 10, 2004
If CBS had not broken the story of Iraqi prisoner abuse, you can be assured the story would have been suppressed by the Bush administration. This most secretive administration does not like to deal with facts that does not promote its agenda. Now that the story is out, everyone is taking a sudden interest in it, including: Donald Rumsfeld, Congress, and G. W. Bush. Even the shadowy Dick Cheney has emerged from the woodwork.
Rumsfeld made an apology and accepted full responsibility at a Senate hearing on Friday. It was a good start, but it was as far as he went. The rest of the time was spent parsing words and evading questions.
“Loser” Lieberman is always in character as a total buffoon. He loudly ranted that no one ever apologized for the 9/11 attacks. He added a few words to the end of his tirade, to try to dress it up. But, the implication was clear that since the 9/11 attacks he feels the U. S. has a right to do anything it wants to any other country. He was echoing the G. W. Bush mantra. Never mind that the Iraqi people had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack.
Elisabeth Dole has been a rubberstamp for Bush since day one. She ran out most of her time pontificating, and then tossed an easy question to Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld is no doubt most sorry that the information got out to the public. He repeatedly said that the report was secret. That the report and photos got out is also the major concern of G. W. Bush and Congress. Everyone complained that they did not know about this soon enough. It is so difficult to get a cover story together at the last moment!
G. W. Bush and Rumsfeld have predictably tried the “few bad apples” excuse to explain away the abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war. Human rights groups have rejected this ploy, according to NewsDay.
Pierre Kraehenbuehl, Red Cross operations director, said the details were reported to U.S. military and civilian officials in Iraq "on several occasions, orally and in writing, throughout 2003…Our findings do not allow to conclude that what we were dealing with here in the case of Abu Ghraib were isolated acts ... What we have described amounts to a pattern and a broad system."
Alex Arriaga, Amnesty International government relations director, said that the Bush administration stonewalled all of the agency’s concerns about prisoner abuse.
Rumsfeld warned that there is even worse evidence of Iraqi prisoner abuse. He is worried that this information will be made public. Roaches always hate it when someone turns on the light.