Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Old Faithful, Brought to You By Viagra"

Washington, DC — In a quiet but far-reaching change, the National Park Service is poised to adopt a new policy of aggressively seeking corporate sponsorship of park projects and facilities. In return for financial sponsorships, the plan will give corporate donors naming rights, use of National Park symbols and personnel in advertising and much greater influence over park managers, according to public comments filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

“This starts a slow motion commercialization of the national park system,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “What will be allowed stops just short of licensing ads for ‘The Official Beer of Yosemite’ or ‘ Old Faithful, Brought to You by Viagara.’”

The Park Service has put forward a draft directive encouraging active pursuit of potential financial donors and repealing the agency’s current passive posture of merely accepting donations. Public comment on the plan closes this week. Interior Secretary Gale Norton has hailed the plan as an “exciting” new approach for broadening the funding base for national parks.

Park managers would be encouraged to offer packages that attract big corporate donors, including –

* Liberalized naming rights for trails, benches, rooms and other facilities (but not parks themselves), as well as display of logos and slogans on park literature, computer screens, and plaques;
* Exclusive media advertising rights to the official NPS Arrowhead symbol, the term “Proud Partner” of the National Park Service and the use of uniformed park employees in ads; and
* Flexibility to negotiate customized recognition deals that “meet the needs of individual donors.”

The plan jettisons bans against accepting or soliciting donations from vendors, concessionaires, permittees and others doing business with a park. Alcohol, tobacco and even gambling companies would also be eligible park sponsors. The only up-front review of major gifts would be a subjective “totality of circumstances” test applied by top officials to determine whether the donation is “appropriate.”...

You know, when I suggested this as an alternative to selling off the National Parks, I was just kidding. But they weren't.

Thanks to BuzzFlash for the heads up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Company Blogs

THE CIA now has its own bloggers. In a bow to the rise of internet-era secrets hidden in plain view, the agency has started hosting weblogs... It even has a blog on blogs, dedicated to finding useful information in the rapidly expanding milieu of online journals and weird electronic memorabilia on the net.

The blogs are posted on an unclassified, government-wide website, part of a rechristened CIA office for monitoring, translating and analysing publicly available information, called the DNI Open Source Centre. The centre, which made its debut this month, marks the latest wave of reorganisation in response to the failures of intelligence collection before the September 11, 2001, attacks...

And we wonder where our trolls come from.

On every major progressive blogsite I know of, you can find at least a few people who repeatedly come back repeating Dear Leader's talking points and trying to derail intelligent comments. The pattern of attack is almost identical. The writing styles are very similar. And often distinct handles are used, with messages being hammered in all day on multiple threads.

You don't see them here for a couple of reasons: one, I'm a very small fry in the bloggy sea and don't draw enough attention. Two, if you strike me as a troll, I delete you. Not very fair and balanced of me, but then, trolls aren't either.

I'm not saying the unwanted posters monopolizing threads are CIA. Most likely, not. Nor CSC/DynCorp. Nor Lockheed-Martin. Nor a host of others. But whoever they are, amateur TheoCons Witnessing their role models, RNC astro-turfers trying to spread their talking points, ignorant crackers eating cheetos in their mom's basement and reading Soldier of Fortune, or corporate toads trying to please a boss hog, there may be a few professionals lurking about, listening in, and taking notes.

Thanks to Defense Tech for the tip.

Revising Revisionists and the Revisions They Reveal

Did you know Dear Leader never linked Saddam and Al-Qaeda?

I heard it was on FOX, so it must be Fair and Balanced Truth.

Thanks and an extra box of choco rations to Woody for the tip.

Plausible Denial

Again let's look at the Sideshow where Carol gives an excellent summary of some interesting things in these interesting times.

The first I'd like to comment on is the increasing detachment of Dear Leader to the reality-based world around him.

Never Poppy's shining star of intellect, Junior learned a long time ago that it's better to wear a poker face, even when you're obviously covered in bovine fecal matter. Like I said last night: this is all a facade. If he admits there's a problem that Jeebus can't deal with, he has to deal with it. The chaos in Iraq- and in everything he touches- is part of his plan.

To try to remedy it would spoil it.

Along a similar vein is this little gem: the Supreme Court has ruled Sibel Edmonds can't tell us what she knows about the misdirection of the War on Terra after 9-11 towards Iraq, because to do so would compromise National Security. For Scalia's duck-hunting buddies at Cheneyburton anyway.

If you're unfamiliar with her story, check out her website here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Doublethink Prayer

Avedon Carol got it right at the Sideshow last week:

...It is true that Bush uses the word "democracy" and refers to God a lot, but there is no evidence that he has any interest in democracy or feels any fealty to a creator. He says a lot of things that aren't true, and as near as I can tell, these are among them. His most evident emphasis is on consolidating his own power and that of an unrestrained executive - transforming the office of the president into the power of a ruthless despot.

This is, of course, entirely counterproductive to democracy, and there is no paradox in exploiting the power of the idea of religion as a basis for the divine right of kings.

Since this is all quite obvious, it leads to a serious question about the degree to which being a part of the Washington blitherati erases such knowledge from people's minds and leads them to believe that the mere claims for a democratic agenda from someone who is clearly dictatorial represent reality just because he says so. Or whether they know that what they write is bunk, but that the job of "journalist" in Washington has now become much the same thing as Winston Smith's, re-writing reality to coincide with Big Brother's program.

Choco rations are improving all the time!

I've learned to love Dear Leader for the clarity he gives to my thinking.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Death Before Dishonor- Or After Whistleblowing?

Westhusing, 44, was no ordinary officer. He was one of the Army's leading scholars of military ethics, a full professor at West Point who volunteered to serve in Iraq to be able to better teach his students. He had a doctorate in philosophy; his dissertation was an extended meditation on the meaning of honor.

So it was only natural that Westhusing acted when he learned of possible corruption by U.S. contractors in Iraq. A few weeks before he died, Westhusing received an anonymous complaint that a private security company he oversaw had cheated the U.S. government and committed human rights violations. Westhusing confronted the contractor and reported the concerns to superiors, who launched an investigation.

In e-mails to his family, Westhusing seemed especially upset by one conclusion he had reached: that traditional military values such as duty, honor and country had been replaced by profit motives in Iraq, where the U.S. had come to rely heavily on contractors for jobs once done by the military.

His death stunned all who knew him. Colleagues and commanders wondered whether they had missed signs of depression. He had been losing weight and not sleeping well. But only a day before his death, Westhusing won praise from a senior officer for his progress in training Iraqi police.

His friends and family struggle with the idea that Westhusing could have killed himself. He was a loving father and husband and a devout Catholic. He was an extraordinary intellect and had mastered ancient Greek and Italian. He had less than a month before his return home. It seemed impossible that anything could crush the spirit of a man with such a powerful sense of right and wrong.

On the Internet and in conversations with one another, Westhusing's family and friends have questioned the military investigation...

It's a little hard to go along with the ethics of this.

The good Colonel may have been invited onward, or as the Company calls it, sanctioned with extreme prejudice, reality being a little different than the shiny clean world of Crusaders he would have made it.

Heyyy Big Brothers

Like Democratic Veteran says, this is some serious shit.

... The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago. The proposal, made by a presidential commission, would transform CIFA from an office that coordinates Pentagon security efforts -- including protecting military facilities from attack -- to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage.

The Pentagon has pushed legislation on Capitol Hill that would create an intelligence exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share information gathered about U.S. citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other intelligence agencies...

The measure, she said, "removes one of the few existing privacy protections against the creation of secret dossiers on Americans by government intelligence agencies." She said the Pentagon's "intelligence agencies are quietly expanding their domestic presence without any public debate."

It must be awfully hard work, trying to take over the world, much less a country of moonbats.

Now, having had my brushes with the Feds in the past, in different roles, I know that most of you boys and girls are basically good folks. Right stuff, and all that. And I know a lot of you are quietly taking advantage of your situation by doing a little housework on your own. You don't like it that creeps like the CSC crowd are doing what they're doing- what you're doing- and making so much more money at it.

All I'm saying is, when it finally hits the pot, remember who your homies are, and who's really making the trouble.

And remember you have to live with the consequences.

The Man Who Would Be CEO of the Corporate State of America

The Long March of Dick Cheney
By Sidney Blumenthal

For his entire career, he sought untrammeled power. The Bush presidency and 9/11 finally gave it to him - and he's not about to give it up...

The collapse of sections of the façade shielding Cheney from public view has not inhibited him. His former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, appears to be withholding information about the vice president's actions in the Plame affair from the special prosecutor. While Bush has declaimed, "We do not torture," Cheney lobbied the Senate to stop it from prohibiting torture...

Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal thwarted his designs for an unchecked imperial presidency. It was in that White House that Cheney gained his formative experience as the assistant to Nixon's counselor, Donald Rumsfeld. When Gerald Ford acceded to the presidency, he summoned Rumsfeld from his posting as NATO ambassador to become his chief of staff. Rumsfeld, in turn, brought back his former deputy, Cheney.

From Nixon, they learned the application of ruthlessness and the harsh lesson of failure. Under Ford, Rumsfeld designated Cheney as his surrogate on intelligence matters...

Rumsfeld and Cheney quickly gained control of the White House staff, edging out Ford's old aides. From this base, they waged bureaucratic war on Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger, a colossus of foreign policy, who occupied the posts of both secretary of state and national security advisor. Rumsfeld and Cheney were the right wing of the Ford administration, opposed to the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, and they operated by stealthy internal maneuver. The Secret Service gave Cheney the code name "Backseat."

In 1975, Rumsfeld and Cheney stage-managed a Cabinet purge called the "Halloween massacre" that made Rumsfeld secretary of defense and Cheney White House chief of staff. Kissinger, forced to surrender control of the National Security Council, angrily drafted a letter of resignation (which he never submitted). Rumsfeld and Cheney helped convince Ford, who faced a challenge for the Republican nomination from Ronald Reagan, that he needed to shore up his support on the right and that Rockefeller was a political liability. Rockefeller felt compelled to announce he would not be Ford's running mate. Upset at the end of his ambition, Rockefeller charged that Rumsfeld intended to become vice president himself. In fact, Rumsfeld had contemplated running for president in the future and undoubtedly would have accepted a vice presidential nod.

In the meantime, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld undermined the negotiations for a new Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty being conducted by Kissinger. Fighting off Reagan's attacks during the Republican primaries, Ford was pressured by Cheney to adopt his foreign policy views, which amounted to a self-repudiation. At the Republican Party Convention, acting as Ford's representative, Cheney engineered the adoption of Reagan's foreign policy plank in the platform. By doing so he preempted an open debate and split. Privately, Ford, Kissinger and Rockefeller were infuriated.

As part of the Halloween massacre Rumsfeld and Cheney pushed out CIA director William Colby and replaced him with George H.W. Bush, then the US plenipotentiary to China. The CIA had been uncooperative with the Rumsfeld/Cheney anti-détente campaign. Instead of producing intelligence reports simply showing an urgent Soviet military buildup, the CIA issued complex analyses that were filled with qualifications...

The new CIA director was prompted to authorize an alternative unit outside the CIA to challenge the agency's intelligence on Soviet intentions. Bush was more compliant in the political winds than his predecessor. Consisting of a host of conservatives, the unit was called Team B. A young aide from the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Paul Wolfowitz, was selected to represent Rumsfeld's interest and served as coauthor of Team B's report. The report was single-minded in its conclusion about the Soviet buildup and cleansed of contrary intelligence. It was fundamentally a political tool in the struggle for control of the Republican Party, intended to destroy détente and aimed particularly at Kissinger. Both Ford and Kissinger took pains to dismiss Team B and its effort. (Later, Team B's report was revealed to be wildly off the mark about the scope and capability of the Soviet military.)

With Ford's defeat, Team B became the kernel of the Committee on the Present Danger, a conservative group that attacked President Carter for weakness on the Soviet threat. The growing strength of the right thwarted ratification of SALT II, setting the stage for Reagan's nomination and election.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1978, Cheney became the Republican leader on the House Intelligence Committee, where he consistently fought congressional oversight and limits on presidential authority. When Congress investigated the Iran-Contra scandal (the creation of an illegal, privately funded, offshore US foreign policy initiative), Cheney was the crucial administration defender. At every turn, he blocked the Democrats and prevented them from questioning Vice President Bush. Under his leadership, not a single House Republican signed the special investigating committee's final report charging "secrecy, deception and disdain for law." Instead, the Republicans issued their own report claiming there had been no major wrongdoing.

The origin of Cheney's alliance with the neoconservatives goes back to his instrumental support for Team B. Upon being appointed secretary of defense by the elder Bush, he kept on Wolfowitz as undersecretary. And Wolfowitz kept on his deputy, his former student at the University of Chicago, Scooter Libby...

During the Gulf War, Secretary of Defense Cheney clashed with Gen. Colin Powell. At one point, he admonished Powell, who had been Reagan's national security advisor, "Colin, you're chairman of the Joint Chiefs ... so stick to military matters." During the run-up to the war, Cheney set up a secret unit in the Pentagon to develop an alternative war plan, his own version of Team B. "Set up a team, and don't tell Powell or anybody else," Cheney ordered Wolfowitz. The plan was called Operation Scorpion... After Operation Scorpion was rejected, Cheney urged Bush to go to war without congressional approval, a notion the elder Bush dismissed.

After the Gulf War victory, in 1992, Cheney approved a new "Defense Planning Guidance" advocating US unilateralism in the post-Cold War, a document whose final draft was written by Libby. Cheney assumed Republican rule for the indefinite future.

One week after Bill Clinton's inauguration, on Jan. 27, 1993, Cheney appeared on "Larry King Live," where he declared his interest in running for the presidency. "Obviously," he said, "it's something I'll take a look at ... Obviously, I've worked for three presidents and watched two others up close, and so it is an idea that has occurred to me." For two years, he quietly campaigned in Republican circles, but discovered little enthusiasm. He was less well known than he imagined and less magnetic in person than his former titles suggested. On Aug. 10, 1995, he held a news conference at the headquarters of the Halliburton Co. in Dallas, announcing he would become its chief executive officer. "When I made the decision earlier this year not to run for president, not to seek the White House, that really was a decision to wrap up my political career and move on to other things," he said.

Backseat and behind the curtain.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Old Times There Are Not Forgotten- Or Really Understood Either

We all owe our ancestors.

They walked the earth, and bore us, and raised us. To the best of their ability. Which often left something to be desired.

This post was started before Thanksgiving, and finished on the night I returned.

Nashville (outside the commercial idiocy) is still as beautiful in nature as ever. The Warner parks remain some of the nicest places I've ever run in. Green and yellow maple, mostly green hickory, yellow pin oak, just beginning to fall. Deer crashing through the woods. A taste of winter wind in the highland rim. Falcon in the sky, mockingbird in the tree, and cricket in the sunshine.

Almost everyone I saw in the parks there still had Kerry stickers on their cars. Outside West End and the Vanderbilt area, it is a red state. Of course, the newspapers reflect that totally. The main issue in America today, of course, to those drinking the red state Kool-Aid, is the loss of "Southern Identity". Demented nonsense. I love the land that is the Southern Appalachians, but I can not love an ethnic construct that would have most everyone living there minimally in fiefdom and possibly in slavery to an aristocratic monied few.

Oh, and by the way, did you know Alito's abortion stance is "tough to decipher"? If you have a hard time reading what he's written, that is. Can you say "burn the fornicators at the stake after you take their infants from them"? Do they lace their Kool-Aid with methanol to make themselves drunkenly blind?

Of course, my parents reflect the Southern disconnect with reality utterly. They're worried sick about what the Medicaid drug "benefit" restructuring is going to do to them. They loathe Bill Frist as much as I do- for different more personal reasons- although they'd vote for him or Dear Leader any day over any Democrat. They are confused by what is happening around them because their own lives don't reflect the happy pictures painted for them by their Leaders on TV.

They view their inadequacies as their own fault and not the product of the lies they've been sold.

And they are their own fault- but not the way they think they are.

Still, I owe them something. But my parents won't listen.

Still, I try to use them to teach a lesson to my own kids.

Appearances are deceptive: if you accept what you are told uncritically, you will be sold a lie.

Seems like a dream...

...Recent brain studies of people who are susceptible to suggestion indicate that when they act on the suggestions their brains show profound changes in how they process information. The suggestions, researchers report, literally change what people see, hear, feel and believe to be true.

The new experiments, which used brain imaging, found that people who were hypnotized "saw" colors where there were none. Others lost the ability to make simple decisions. Some people looked at common English words and thought that they were gibberish.

"The idea that perceptions can be manipulated by expectations" is fundamental to the study of cognition, said Michael I. Posner, an emeritus professor of neuroscience at the University of Oregon and expert on attention. "But now we're really getting at the mechanisms."...

... If the construction of reality has so much top-down processing, that would make sense of the powers of placebos (a sugar pill will make you feel better), nocebos (a witch doctor will make you ill), talk therapy and meditation. If the top is convinced, the bottom level of data will be overruled.

This brain structure would also explain hypnosis, which is all about creating such formidable top-down processing that suggestions overcome reality.

According to decades of research, 10 to 15 percent of adults are highly hypnotizable, said Dr. David Spiegel, a psychiatrist at Stanford who studies the clinical uses of hypnosis. Up to age 12, however, before top-down circuits mature, 80 to 85 percent of children are highly hypnotizable.

One adult in five is flat out resistant to hypnosis, Dr. Spiegel said. The rest are in between, he said...

Some of us don't get the mass hypnosis, either. The baloney detection kit Carl Sagan devised helps. As does knowing you live in a natural world with real explanations for everything.

You might bounce over to patriotboy's site, where he sets aside the satire and ties together some excellent recent posts by Digby, Billmon, and Sy Hersch. And the BBC's photographs of us using white phosphorous as a chemical weapon in broad daylight against unarmed civilians. Along with his own observations.

Even our Iraqi puppets want us out now.

Still, Dick Cheney inhabits a hall of mirrors, accusing people who accuse him of lying, of lying.

...Now you know it's a meaningless question
To ask if those stories are right
'Cause what matters most is the feeling
You get when you're hypnotized...

-Fleetwood Mac/ Bob Welch

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Aloha, National Parks

It was nice knowing you.

Bill Authorizes Private Purchase of Federal Land

DENVER, Nov. 19 - Private companies and individuals would be able to buy large tracts of federal land, from sagebrush basins to high-peak hiking trails around the West, under the terms of the spending bill passed Friday by a two-vote margin in the House of Representatives.

On the surface, the bill reads like the mundane nip and tuck of federal mining law its authors say it is. But lawyers who have parsed its language say the real beneficiaries could be real estate developers, whose business has become a more potent economic engine in the West than mining.

Under the existing law, a mining claim is the vehicle that allows for the extraction of so-called hard-rock metals like gold or silver.

Under the House bill passed Friday, for the first time in the history of the 133-year-old mining law individuals or companies can file and expand claims even if the land at the heart of a claim has already been stripped of its minerals or could never support a profitable mine. The measure would also lift an 11-year moratorium on the passing of claims into full ownership.

The provisions have struck fear through the West, from the resort areas of the Rockies like Aspen and Vail here in Colorado, to Park City in Utah, which are all laced with old mining claims. Critics say it could open the door for developers to use the claims to assemble large land parcels for projects like houses, hotels, ski resorts, spas or retirement communities.

And some experts on public land use say it is possible that energy companies could use the provision to buy land in the energy-rich fields of Wyoming and Montana on the pretext of mining, but then drill for oil and gas...

Goodbye Arctic Wildlife Refuge, but hey, why go so far afield.

Maybe we can get Verizon to sponsor the Grand "Can You Hear Me Now" Canyon?

Maybe Jack Daniels will sponsor the Great Smoky Mountains. Or DollyWood. Otherwise Halliburton gets it and all the coal, and it will soon be as flat as Toledo, Ohio all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Motivational Conditioning for Stereotyped Behavior

Everything that needs to be known is now known: The reasons the Bush Administration gave for the American war in Iraq were all falsehoods or deceptions, and every day the US occupation continues deepens the very problems it was supposed to solve...

The war has also become the single greatest threat to our national security. Its human and economic costs are spiraling out of control, with no end in sight. It has driven America's reputation in the world to a historic low point...

Americans are well on their way to a full appreciation of the dimensions of this debacle. In an October CBS news poll, 59 percent of citizens surveyed and 73 percent of Democrats now want an end to US military involvement in Iraq. But this growing majority has made its judgment with virtually no help from our nation's leaders. Most shameful has been the Democratic Party's failure to oppose the war. Indeed, support for it has been bipartisan...

...typical, however, are the other presidential hopefuls, Senators Hillary Clinton, Joseph Biden and Evan Bayh, who continue to huddle for cover in "the center." They offer little alternative to Bush's refrain "We must stay the course!" Nor do the party's Congressional leaders and its head, Howard Dean, once a leader of antiwar sentiment. Can such politicians, who cannot even follow a majority--in the Democratic Party, a large majority--really be considered leaders?

In fact they can not. But the fact is by all parameters in the Party they are, and people like Conyers, Waxman, and Boxer remain on the outside pulling the Democrats out of their folly. Recently this has shown signs of shifting but with the Republican majority united in Congress with the administration and the most powerful Democrats waffling, it would take only a small shift in the polls to silence the opposition leaders once more. Why is this?

The difficult truth is that the amount of money the people profitting off of Endless War can bring to the campaign dwarfs the amount the rest of us can bring bear on the issue.

This money can buy many things, and not just air time. Some ethical, many not. Which brings up the other ugly truth. When the game is rigged, the cheaters have a real advantage.

Despite what we tell the kids, the good guys do not always win. More typically the winners tell the story to make themselves sound good. If we really call ourselves the reality-based community we should face that.

I'm not saying we should develop our own dirty tricks brigade. You don't win playing the opponents game. You do it by changing the game altogether.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Like Herding Cats- Really Big Ones

The New World Order has run into some nasty bobcats who prefer their own world.
By Sheila Samples

"Preserving liberty may require the rule of a single leader -- a dictator -- willing to use those dreaded 'extraordinary measures,' which few know how, or are willing to employ." -- Michael Ledeen

...Since defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and vice president Dick Cheney teamed up to lead the charge to create a New World Order, the whole universe has become untidy. Very untidy. My friend Bernie says Dick and Rummy's big plan to take over the world by waging continuous war is kinda like baptizing a bobcat -- ain't gonna happen.

You can't hold him," Bernie said. "You can't turn him loose. All you can do is jump up and down and run around in circles with your hands around his neck and hope you can choke him to death before he tears you to pieces."

And that's just in Iraq. We've got miles to go before we sleep in a brand New World. There we are, sandwiched between a gigantic Iran and a tiny Syria, both of whom have been warned that they're next on George Bush's list of countries to receive his gift of freedom and democracy...

Bush doesn't respond well to warnings, threats, challenges, suggestions, or even questions. So, with more bobcats circling and all that blood splattering around, it's hard not to look back at the Old World Order with more than a bit of longing. But Bernie says it's too late for that. "The Old World is gone, and good riddance," he said. "It's a sore that began festering on Reagan's watch with behind-the-scenes atrocities, undercover drug trafficking, assassinations, death squads and the chipping away of the ethical foundation of our democracy. It's come to a head now, spewing out the same old Reagan-era mass murderers, and they don't intend to leave.

"This time around," Bernie said, "they're not working undercover. They've abandoned all pretense of morality. They're in our faces -- in every critical position in this government -- put in place to create the madness, cruelty, torture, and massive genocide that will form the foundation of their World. And destroy ours."

The New World Order looks good on paper, but it is based on the theory that leaders of nations throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East will recognize the futility of challenging the massive power of the US military and will passively hand over their resources, their treasures, their governments, their cultures and their gods, and will eagerly accept the gift of freedom and democracy that comes with US control.

The New Worlders -- Cheney, Michael Ledeen who, ironically, sits in the "Freedom" chair at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI); William Kristol, idiot "intellectual" editor of the rabid right-wing Weekly Standard; Paul Wolfowitz, author of the Iraq war who now heads the World Bank; and Lewis Libby, recently indicted in the Valerie Plame CIA Leak investigation, among others, built their "grand vision" on a revolutionary 24-page document, "Defense Strategy for the 1990s: The Regional Defense Strategy," penned by Cheney in January 1993, which outlined a new foreign policy of pre-emption in order to gain -- and maintain -- US global dominance.

Most Americans are familiar with the phrase, "New World Order." It's been out there for so long it's almost passe. Besides, what's wrong with being Number One? What's a few regime changes between friends? Few realize that the "noble" cause for which 2,080 Americans have lost their lives is nothing but maximation of profits --a war for global financial and military industrial domination...

the Bush administration and its complicit corporate media are using PSYCHO-OP with spectacular success against the American people by relying on fear to impel them to accept an increasingly fascist regime rather than physically beating them into submission.

We are entering a new world; one of informants and secret police and torture. It's a Machiavellian world where the end justifes the means. As Ledeen wrote in his 1999 book, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are as Timely and Important Today as Five Centuries Ago, "There are several circumstances in which good leaders are likely to have to enter into evil: whenever the very existence of the nation is threatened; when the state is first created or revolutionary change is to be accomplished; when removing an evil tyrant; and when the society becomes corrupt and must be restored to virtue..."

In Katherine Yurica's April 7, 2005 report, "Everything You Need to Know About Michael Ledeen," Yurica quotes Ledeen as he clearly lays out a roadmap denizens of the world will be compelled to follow in the new order. Ledeen, Karl Rove's full-time adviser and Pat Robertson's best friend, says the religion within that order will be that of evangelical Christianity.

"Good religion teaches men that politics is the most important enterprise in the eyes of God. Like Moses, Machiavelli wants the law of his state to be seen, and therefore obeyed, as divinely ordered," Ledeen wrote. "The combination of fear of God and fear of punishment -- duly carried out with good arms -- provides the necessary discipline for good government."

...We are the bobcats now. Cheney and Rumsfeld may ultimately force us into the madness of their world, but it will be after the race -- and then after the damndest fight they ever saw. Because in a sane world, only a crazy person would try to baptize a bobcat...

The problem with Psy-Ops and creating your own reality is that sooner or later your fantasy takes over.

Options on the Flat Earth

One of the biggest crimes of the neo feudal society we're redeveloping is the way it severely limits the options of young people.

Control is so much easier when we're channeled.

Nowhere is that clearer than in the military and its' glorification.

Our society offers young men only two badges of masculine success: money or violence, or preferably--as the title of 50 Cent's new movie Get Rich or Die Tryin' suggests--some combination of both. No wonder then that a young man with limited prospects would seek a shortcut to manhood in the military. It becomes almost inevitable when even failing in college isn't one of the options on the table...

The antiwar left's well-founded argument about the connection between class and military recruiting does not acknowledge the other, equally compelling reason why young men sucuumb to the military's allure. These boys enlist for the same reason their peers join street gangs: for the heady cocktail of violence, intense camraderie and sexual aggression that makes them feel like a man. From a poor inner city kid's point of view, there isn't that much difference between becoming a jarhead or a gang member; it's a matter of ducking bullets in the Sunni Triangle or in your backyard. More importantly, fighting in Iraq may actually be the safer option...

In rewriting Swofford's memoir as a "coming of age" story, Mendes instead reiterates the Hollywood fantasy of war as a male rite of passage. The intimate relationship between masculinity and violence runs deep in our culture, and war is merely one of its many manifestations. There is nothing more dangerous than an insecure nineteen-year old with a gun, be it on the battlefield or the streets of Oakland. The more important question then is whether we can imagine a world that offers him a different path to manhood.

It's a requisite of Empire.

A place for every man, and every man in his place.

There goes half your right to know

We never even noticed, did we?

The Environmental Protection Agency would sharply curtail public reporting of releases of toxic chemicals into the environment under a proposal published in the Federal Register on October 4.

The EPA's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which was created in the wake of the 1984 Bhopal disaster in India, is a landmark achievement of the community "right to know" movement that pressed for improved public reporting of toxic chemical hazards.

It has functioned successfully for nearly two decades, leading to significant reductions in releases of toxic chemicals.

But now EPA proposes to drastically reduce the data collected and reported in the Toxic Release Inventory, beginning with a move to eliminate the current annual reporting requirement in favor of reporting every other year...

Other changes to the threshold for reporting, he said, would mean that "pollution information from almost 4,000 facilities would essentially disappear."

In its October 4 Federal Register notice, the EPA said these changes are needed "to reduce the reporting burden associated with TRI reporting requirements."

Critical background on the EPA proposal may be found in this Action Alert from OMB Watch:


The web site of the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory Program is here:


Yes, but look how beautiful our minds will be!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Company Intelligence

Privatization is the Republican answer to everything including the War on Terra.

Of course, that means privatization is the criminal terrorist's method of choice to steal your identity. ChoicePoint had that happen through no fault of their own. Just ask 'em. So of course, to whom do the FBI and the D.o'D. want to subcontract their data mining for your identity?

Choicepoint. Of course, who else? Who is better qualified? And why would you possibly want to aid the terra'ists by looking for some one else? It's almost like suggesting we could have done better than give out no-bid contracts to Halliburton in Iraq. Or after Katrina, right here at home.

And why anyone else? After all, they're so close to the good ol' boys and girls of the Republican Party. Close enough to give them lists of people to scrub from voter roles- whether they deserved it or not.

Close enough, they originally planned, to plan to get DNA samples- and identities- for everyone in the United States.

Not that they would abuse such information- but who would halt free enterprise?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Disinformation Throat

Atrios points to the main$tream media spin on Bob Woodward's testimony that he learned of Plame pre-Libby and casually two years ago. Steve Clemons has the details, and dismisses it as vanity. I wonder...

Woodward seems to relish dropping this bombshell, but it's curious to note there is a good question as to its' timing. And exactly who it is being dropped on. Woodward has been trying to muddy the waters for some time now, trying support (without overtly doing so) Libby's position that the leak came from journalists first.

W. Mark Felt "came out" as Deep Throat. A fitting role perhaps for someone who looked on J. Edgar Hoover as a mentor? I'm using that as a pun in more ways than one: Felt seems to be one who would fall on his own sword for the Company's good- particularly if there was a neat profit to be made. Woodward certainly has been a Company man since 2000. Of course, Woodward acknowledged Felt as his source.

Big Time Dick seems to be the target of Fitzgerald's investigation, and certainly the process of elimination implicates him. Some rumors suggest otherwise. But was Woodward's source concerning the identity of Valerie Plame the real Deep Throat? Or Felt? Or someone else? Someone who was privy to the inner workings of both the Company and the Agency- and gets briefed on a daily basis?

Let's reiterate here: what's working against Dear Leader now is only in part the progressives and the Democrats. What's working against Dear Leader often doesn't mind the idea of Hegemony. It just doesn't appreciate the arbitrary Rule of Commander Cuckoobananas.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Puppeteer Sung Under Duress

Pitt gets it exactly right:

... The decision by Bush and his administration to use wildly questionable sources in order to scare the American people into supporting the war has been a great aid and comfort to those who now kill American soldiers so far from home. Take, for example, the use by Bush and his people of the information provided by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (whose name, loosely translated, means "I've been a shaky alibi"). Al-Libi told his interrogators that al Qaeda was all over the place in Iraq before the war. A multitude of intelligence officials, including the folks at the Defense Intelligence Agency, warned that al-Libi was lying through his teeth. It turns out, in the end, that he was; he recanted all of his testimony in 2004. Yet even with these warnings, Bush & Co. used his words to justify their war.

Now here's a good question: why would al-Libi lie about an al Qaeda presence in Iraq? Could it be that he did so in order to provide Bush with justification for an attack? Could it be that al-Libi and his masters wanted Bush to invade Iraq, so bin Laden could get his international rallying cry while simultaneously disposing of Saddam Hussein, whom bin Laden hated and despised?

In other words, did Bush do exactly, precisely what Osama bin Laden wanted him to?

The decision by Bush to chuck up this invasion and occupation has made the United States wildly vulnerable. The US military is in horrible shape; recruitment is down to historic lows, veterans whose wisdom and expertise are necessary for the care and maintenance of the line are refusing to re-enlist, and the Treasury has been utterly looted. There are enemies of this country out there, and there are threats of dire consequence. The damage done to our fighting men and women, to the military institutions that protect us, has left us dangerously unable to respond should one of those enemies choose to make a move.

Finally, Bush's close and cuddly friendship with the House of Saud has been an incredible aid and comfort to terrorists throughout the world. Saudi Arabia, with its vast revenues and its Wahabbist extremism, is the birthing bed of international terrorism. Yet nary a word is whispered about this, because the House of Saud and the House of Bush have been umbilically connected for decades. Our worst enemies, our deadliest foes, the enablers of those who would kill and maim among our soldiers and civilians, have an open invitation to dinner at the White House every time they decide to go to Washington.

But that's just business, right?

George Washington once said, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were Treated and Appreciated by their nation." Defenders of the Bush administration can argue that war critics are harming our troops until their faces turn blue. The real harm being done to our troops, the real aid and comfort being provided to the enemy, is not coming from the Democratic party or from the activist street. It is coming from the very men and women who hide behind the troops, who use such rhetoric to deflect the consequences of their folly...

Incidently, al-Libi gave up this information while being tortured by the CIA.

This is exactly why torture does not work as an interrogation technique despite what Dear Leader and his Big Time Dick think.

You can make anyone say anything you want to hear under torture, and people being tortured have an even greater motivation to mislead their abusers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Squabbling Over the Empire

Here we are in the second half of Dear Leader's eight year term. The Congress is the Company's. The Judiciary is an arm of the American Enterprise Institute for all practical purposes.

The Republican hold on the main$tream media, from The New York Pravda to the latest on PBS is absolute.

But the nearer their destination, the more it's slip sliding away.

It may have been when Colin Powell realized there's a limit to what the non-reality based are prepared to plan for and no limit to the loyal troops they're prepared to sacrifice. Including the Secretary of State.

It may have started when Dear Leader tried to talk some Company concern into losing money in the vacuum of his Social Security non-plan.

It may have been when Trent Lott's house got blown over three Gulf States last summer, and he couldn't get any hired help in to rebuild it.

It may have been when he Meirs nomination died a death of a thousand cuts from the very Senators Dear Leader had appointed to administer his political capital.

But last week, they couldn't pass their own budget.

And this week, according one of the biggest Republican propaganda organs in the country, The Washington Times, Dear Leader is getting a little paranoid:

President Bush feels betrayed by several of his most senior aides and advisors and has severely restricted access to the Oval Office, administration sources say. The president's reclusiveness in the face of relentless public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr. Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity...

[Thanks to Atrios for the tip.]

From the subscribers only part of the article:

The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions.

Dear Leader and Poppy not speaking?

Dear Leader being soothed by She of the Beautiful Mind?

Little Boot had best not get into any small airplanes serviced only by his Praetorians.

cuckoo bananas

Is it Dear Leader? Or his Puppet Master? His Sith Lord? Or his Big Time Dick?

And do they have a Plan?

Whatever the real plans of the NeoCons, TheoCons, and RethugliCons, there seem to be some really odd things about how they're structured. Maybe it's only the human tendency to recognize patterns in random data that makes it seem so.

[I'd advise you to check out that site soon: it won't be there long.

That's part of a pattern, too, isn't it?]

But maybe the random and oddball part of the data's not so random, either.

Always remember: it's not what you know, it's what those who would rule you believe.

High Standards

VATNAJÖKULL GLACIER, ICELAND—In an emergency session Tuesday, members of the Supreme Metal Council strongly condemned the increasing use of the metal hand sign in lay society, claiming that its meaning has become perverted by overuse...

...Formed in 1972 and comprising 12 of the most revered leaders of the metal community, the council meets annually in its majestic hall atop Vatnajökull, Iceland's largest glacier, to discuss metal affairs. The SMC convened for a special session after Nikki Sixx, Overlord Of Glam Metal Affairs, was sent hard photographic evidence of metal-sign abuse across the nation. Sixx's fellow high priests said they were "shocked," calling it "one of the most serious affronts to metal's integrity since the rise of rap-metal in the late 1990s."

"I remember a time not long ago when the Devil Horns were reserved for only the most righteous of person, deed, or riff," Grand Elder Lemmy Kilmister said. "To see someone throwing the horns to his mate at the launderette because the clothes dryer came to a full stop just as he finished reading his copy of Circus... It breaks my heart."

Nodding in silent agreement were council members Adalwolfa, a curvaceous Frank Frazetta-drawn Teutonic she-warrior magically brought to life by the council, and the spirit of slain Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.


"This man here, who invokes the sign merely to indicate his joy that his microwave popcorn is done: He is not metal," Sixx said. "We have it on good authority that he prefers the music of Tim McGraw and that the magic word of 'Zoso' has never passed his lips." ...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Stormy Weather

Having almost bottomed out on the 11 year solar cycle, but still with glaciers melting worldwide and record minima of ice at the poles, and the promise of warmer weather ahead, NASA has decided it might just be wise to look a little more carefully at the Sun.

With the opposition to pure science this Administration has, one can only imagine what was said to whom to get them to allow something intelligent in space for a change.

War by Proxy

What happens when your polls are in free fall and nobody wants to play War with you?

Why, you play with your puppets.

Terra for the Birds

NEW YORK (Fortune) - The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.

Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.

The forms don't reveal the exact number of shares Rumsfeld owns, but in the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47. That's made the Pentagon chief, already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer...

"Vaccines? We don' need no steenkin' vaccines..." -Darth Rumsfeld, your Protector.

Having a Body in the USA

To be examined, that is.

In English Common Law habeas corpus is the name of several writs which may be issued by a judge ordering a prisoner to be brought before the court. More commonly, the name refers to a specific writ known in full as habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, a prerogative writ ordering that a prisoner be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not he is being imprisoned lawfully.

The words habeas corpus ad subjiciendum are Latin for "You (shall) have/hold the body to be subjected to (examination)", and are taken from the opening words of the writ in medieval times. Other habeas corpus writs also existed, e.g. habeas corpus ad testificandum ("You (shall) have/hold the body to bear witness", for the production of a prisoner to give evidence in court...

This procedure, part of English common law, was considered important enough to be specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, which says, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." (Article One, section nine).

The "constitutional" writ of habeas corpus, which was originally understood to apply to the actions of the executive branch of the federal government, and not to the states, and then only to the jurisdiction of the court, should be distinguished from what can be called "statutory" habeas corpus. Congress granted all federal courts jurisdiction under title 28, section 2254 of the United States Code to issue writs of habeas corpus to release state prisoners from custody when held unlawfully. A similar provision, 28 U.S.C., section 2255, provides analogous relief to federal prisoners...

This is essentially your right to a trial by jury.

It's no news that "we've" suspended this right for the War on Terra.

What may be news to you is that the Party is talking about suspending that right for everybody.

No Habeas for Them, No Habeas for Us

Tinkering with habeas corpus is a dangerous thing. Today, Sen. Lindsay Graham and his fellow Senators told you they are only restricting habeas rights of enemy combatants, i.e., foreigners. But on November 16, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a second hearing on S. 1088 (pdf), a bill that would gut habeas corpus rights for Americans...

Which is exactly everything I've come to expect from the best the United States Senate and the United States Government have to offer us.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Good Riddance to the Constitution in Exile

Stephen Kaus points to Jesse Jackson's excellent takedown of Scalito, a man who gives a whole new meaning to the term "activist judge".

In particular he examines the scions of Bork and their desire to return to the "Constitution in Exile".

This is a nice way of saying they'd like to trash the New Deal and everything that keeps Dominionism and the Antebellum way of life from returning with its psychotic delusions again to America.

Why are so many of these smiling NeoCon wingnutcases defending the Constitution in Exile concept from the University of Chicago?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Medal of Freedom for Andy Griffith

Et alia, setting a whole new standard for the word "freedom".

Meanwhile in the across-the-board cuts that the D.o'D. has to do to let Congress appear like it's actually doing something, the Missile Defense Agency is going to cut out its' space-based program.

But it does retain its' really intimidating name and contractual payments to the aerospace industry will proceed as normal.

In his own cost cutting efforts, Dear Leader promises to keep expensive armor out of the Hummers used by the D.o'D. in Iraq and recycles an old speech for Veteran's Day.

On the other hand, Russia, China, and India are working up their space programs, with moonbases planned within the next ten years or so, to relieve us of the strain of actually having the most advanced technology in the world.

Here in the home of a thousand points of light, Ayatollah Robertson is doing his best to help with their efforts and promises death and destruction in a fatwah to school boards that actually prefer to teach science in science classes. Not to be out done, Pope Ratso sets the Church back a couple of more decades by reversing John-Paul nuanced stance on evolution and has never really liked the Copernican model of the solar system either. The Board of Education of the state of Kansas has complied by allowing the flat-earthers into the classoom.

A Medal of Freedom for Andy Griffith, indeed.

Friday, November 11, 2005

...It Depends on What the Meaning of "People" Is

I can't get over this feeling of unreality, that I am actually sitting here writing about our country having a gulag of secret prisons in which it tortures people. I have loved America all my life, even though I have often disagreed with the government. But this seems to me so preposterous, so monstrous. My mind is a little bent and my heart is a little broken this morning.

Maybe I should try to get a grip -- after all, it's just this one administration that I had more cause than most to realize was full of inadequate people going in. And even at that, it seems to be mostly Vice President Cheney. And after all, we were badly frightened by 9-11, which was a horrible event. "Only" nine senators voted against the prohibition of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under custody or control the United States." Nine out of 100. Should we be proud? Should we cry?

"We do not torture," said our pitifully inarticulate president, straining through emphasis and repetition to erase the obvious.

A string of prisons in Eastern Europe in which suspects are held and tortured indefinitely, without trial, without lawyers, without the right to confront their accusers, without knowing the evidence or the charges against them, if any. Forever. It's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Another secret prison in the midst of a military camp on an island run by an infamous dictator. Prisoner without a name, cell without a number.

Who are we? What have we become? The shining city on a hill, the beacon and bastion of refuge and freedom, a country born amidst the most magnificent ideals of freedom and justice, the greatest political heritage ever given to any people anywhere.

I am baffled by these "arguments": But we're talking about really awful people, cries the harassed press secretary. People like X and Y and Z (after a time, one forgets all the names of the No. 2's after bin Laden we have captured). The SS and the Gestapo and the KVD weren't all that nice, either.

Then I hear the familiar tinniness of the fake machismo I know so well from George W. Bush and all the other frat boys who never went to Vietnam and never got over the guilt.

"Sometimes you gotta play rough," said Dick Cheney. No shit, Dick? Now why don't you tell that to John McCain?

I have known George W. Bush since we were both in high school -- we have dozens of mutual friends. I have written two books about him and so have interviewed many dozens more who know him well in one way or another. Spare me the tough talk. He didn't play football -- he was a cheerleader. "He is really competitive," said one friend. "You wouldn't believe how tough he is on a tennis court!" Just cut the macho crap -- I don't want to hear it.

If you are dead to all sense of morality (please let me not go off on the stinking sanctimony of this crowd), let us still reason together on the famous American common ground of practicality. Torture. Does. Not. Work.

Torture does not work. Ask the United States military. Ask the Israelis.

There seems to be some fantastic scenario floating around -- if Osama bin Laden had an atomic bomb hidden in a locker at Grand Central Station, and it was due to go off in 12 hours, and we had him in prison ... I seem to have missed some important television program on this theme. I am told it was fiction, but it must have been really scary -- it certainly seems to have unbalanced the minds of some of our fellow citizens.

Torture does not work. It is not productive. It does not yield important, timely information. That is in the movies. This is reality.

I grew up with all this pathetic Texas tough: Everybody here knows you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs; and this ain't beanbag; and I'll knock your jaw so far back, you'll scratch your throat with your front teeth; and I'm gonna cloud up and rain all over you; and I'm gonna open me a can of whup-ass ...

And that'll show 'em, won't it? Take some miserable human being alone and helpless in a cell, completely under your control, and torture him. Boy, that is some kind of manly, ain't it?

"The CIA is holding an unknown number of prisoners in secret detention centers abroad. In violation of the Geneva Conventions, it has refused to register those detainees with the International Red Cross or to allow visits by its inspectors. Its prisoners have 'disappeared,' like the victims of some dictatorships." -- The Washington Post.

Why did we bother to beat the Soviet Union if we were just going to become it? Shame. Shame. Shame.

-Molly Ivins, November 10, 2005.

Molly obviously didn't notice that torture makes a profit for the Corporations with the Right Stuff.

Who are these people, assuming they are in fact human?

Dozens of people converged this summer in the high desert town of El Paso, Texas, en route to spending six months in Iraqi prisons. They were going not as prisoners, but as their interrogators, walking a legalistic tightrope stretched across the Geneva Conventions. Just for signing up, they got a $2,000 check from a company that is rapidly becoming one of the key employers in the world of intelligence: Lockheed Martin, the world's biggest military company, based in Bethesda, Maryland...

Known in the intelligence community as "97 Echoes" (97E is the official classification number for the interrogator course taught at military colleges including Fort Huachuca, Arizona), these contractors will work side-by-side with military interrogators conducting question-and-answer sessions using 17 officially sanctioned techniques, ranging from "love of comrades" to "fear up harsh." Their subjects will be the tens of thousands of men thrown into United States-run military jails on suspicion of links to terrorism.

The rules that govern all interrogators, both contract and military, are currently open to broad interpretation. Today there is much legal wrangling about where to draw the line between harsh treatment and torture. An amendment to the latest military spending bill introduced by Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, explicitly bars the use of torture on anyone in Unites States custody. His amendment was recently approved by a 90 to 9 votes in the United States Senate and is currently being negotiated in "conference" by both Houses of Congress this week before going to President Bush. McCain is fighting off Vice President Dick Cheney's suggestion that Central Intelligence Agency counter-terrorism agents working overseas be exempted from the torture ban...

Jobs for this new breed of interrogators typically begin with a phone call or email to retired Lieutenant Colonel Marc Michaelis, in the quaint old flour milling town of Ellicott City, on the banks of the Patapsco River in Maryland, about an hour's drive from Washington DC.

Michaelis, who is the main point of contact for new interrogators, came to Lockheed in February after it acquired his former employer Sytex in a $462 million takeover. Sytex was founded 1988 by Sydney Martin, a management graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who dabbles in collecting old Danish and Irish coins. In its first year, the Pennsylvania-based company earned $1,500. By 2004, according to Congressional Quarterly, Sytex was providing "personnel and technology solutions to government customers including the Pentagon's Northern Command, the Army's Intelligence and Security Command, and the Department of Homeland Security." Its revenues had reached $425 million.

The bottom line was undoubtedly improved by the boom in hiring contract interrogators that began just weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Armed with new Pentagon contracts, Michaelis advertised job openings for 120 new "intelligence analysts" ranging from Arab linguists to counterintelligence and information warfare specialists. The private contractors would work at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and at the United States Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida.

At the same time, Lockheed Martin, then a completely different company, was also interested in entering this lucrative new business of intelligence contracting. It bought up Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a small company with a General Services Administration (GSA) technology contract issued in Kansas City, Missouri. In November 2002, Lockheed used GSA to employ private interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The contract was then transferred to a Department of Interior office in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

The issue of private contractors in interrogation did not come to light until mid-2004, when a military investigation revealed that several interrogators at the Abu Ghraib prison were civilian employees of CACI. The contract to the Virginia-based company was also issued by the Department of Interior's Sierra Vista, Arizona office, located a stone's throw from the headquarters of the Army's main interrogation school.

(CACI did not actually bid on the original contract, but like Lockheed in Guantanamo, it had bought another company--Premier Technology Group-which did. The Fairfax, Virginia-based firm provided interrogators to the Pentagon in August 2003 under a GSA contract for information technology services.)...

It also emerged that no one knew what laws applied to private contractors who engaged in torture in Iraq or whether they were in fact accountable to any legal authority or disciplinary procedures. When the media began to question the role of the private contractors and the legality of their presence under unrelated information technology contracts from non-military agencies, the Pentagon swiftly issued sole-source ("no bid") military contracts to CACI and Lockheed...

That CACI contract expired at the end of September this year. But before the company opted not to renew its contract, the company was already working with Sytex as a sub-contractor to supply new personnel to interrogate prisoners.

No new contractor in either Iraq or Afghanistan has been made officially announced to date, but Major Matthew McLaughlin, a spokesperson for United States Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, told CorpWatch: "The Army is the executive agent for contracting all interrogator type services for the Department of Defense. They work their contracts (writ large) from an office which operates out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia."

Sytex, and thus Lockheed after the takeover, appears to have subsequently emerged as one of the biggest recruiters of private interrogators. In June alone, Sytex advertised for 11 new interrogators for Iraq, and in July the company sought 23 interrogators for Afghanistan. It has also been seeking experienced report writers and program managers who have worked in military interrogations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, former Yugoslavia, or the Persian Gulf War.

Ads on several websites frequented by current and former military personnel offered a $70,000 to $90,000 salary, a $2,000 sign-up bonus, $1,000 for a mid-tour break, and a $2,000 bonus for completing the normal six month deployment. Those returning for a second tour get double bonuses at the beginning and end of their stints. In return, the employees are expected to work as necessary-- up to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. (The companies, however, get to bill the military up to $200 an hour for this work, according to Cherif Bassiouni, the former United Nations Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan.)

"Sytex is one of our best customers," says Bill Golden, a former military intelligence analyst with 20 years Army experience, who now runs IntelligenceCareers.com, one of the biggest intelligence employment websites in the business. "They are the main company hiring 97E workers today."

Golden attributes the current boom in private contract interrogators to poor military planning over the last decade. "The military worked as hard as it could to create a brain drain by moving qualified intelligence people into other jobs, who then quit. As a result by September 11, 2001, there was no one left who had a clue. Now they are rushing to catch up and create 9,000 new specialists, but it takes at least five years to become really experienced. What we have now is a nursery full of babies in the army."

Yet even by 2003, just 237 new interrogators were graduated from the intelligence school at Fort Huachuca. Today, a Virginia-based company, Anteon, has contracted with the base to provide private instructors to increase the number of qualified interrogators completing intelligence courses to 1,000 a year in 2006. (See related article)

The scope of contracts for companies like Anteon and Sytex are difficult to determine because they have never been made public. Asked about the details of the interrogation contracts, Lockheed declined to comment. Joseph Wagovich, a spokesman for the company's information technology division that includes Sytex, initially told CorpWatch that the company had only a minor role in the interrogation business and that the company had wrapped up its interrogation contract on Guantanamo. But he confirmed that Lockheed was still supplying other kinds of "intelligence analysts" on the Cuban base.

Sytex itself also likes to keep a low profile. "Most of the law enforcement organizations, as well as the other surreptitious organizations we may be supporting, would just as soon not see their names in print," Ralph Palmieri Junior, the company's Chief Operating Officer told Congressional Quarterly in 2004.

Running the United States?

Even without all the specifics, it is clear that Lockheed is supplying the U.S. war in Iraq with a vast range of both personnel and materiel. In addition providing interrogators, it is currently seeking retired Army majors or lieutenant colonels to develop short- and long-range planning at the biggest U.S. base in Iraq: Camp Anaconda, in Balad, northern Iraq. Also being courted for work in Iraq are "red switch" experts to run the military's secure communications systems.

On the materiel side, Lockheed's Keyhole and Lacrosse satellites beam images from the war back to the military; its U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, F-16, F/A-22 jet fighters, and F-117 stealth attack fighters were used to "shock and awe" the Iraqis at the start of the US invasion; and ground troops employed its Hellfire air-to-ground missiles and the Javelin portable missiles in the invasion of Fallujah last year.

The company's reach and influence go far beyond the military. A New York Times profile of the company in 2004 opened with the sentence: "Lockheed Martin doesn't run the United States. But it does help run a breathtakingly big part of it."

"Over the last decade, Lockheed, the nation's largest military contractor, has built a formidable information-technology empire that now stretches from the Pentagon to the Post Office. It sorts your mail and totals your taxes. It cuts Social Security checks and counts the United States census. It runs space flights and monitors air traffic. To make all that happen, Lockheed writes more computer code than Microsoft" writes Tim Weiner.

The national security reporter for the New York Times explains how Lockheed gets its business: "Men who have worked, lobbied and lawyered for Lockheed hold the posts of secretary of the Navy, secretary of transportation, director of the national nuclear weapons complex, and director of the national spy satellite agency."

Thanks once more to Truthout for the links.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More evidence there's Something new on board...

...making nuclear missiles obsolete:

U.S. Declares Massive HEU Elimination Over Decades

By David Ruppe
Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON — The United States is planning to eliminate 200 metric tons of highly enriched uranium from its nuclear weapons stockpile, converting most of it into fuel for the U.S. Navy, a senior government official said yesterday (see GSN, April 5).

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the material would be freed up as a result of a Bush administration decision in May to cut the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, unofficially estimated at about 10,000 warheads, by nearly half.

“That decision enables us to dispose of a significant amount of weapons-grade nuclear material,” he said here during the Carnegie International Nonproliferation Conference.

The 200 metric tons of highly enriched uranium is the equivalent of 8,000 nuclear warheads, he said. There was no immediate explanation for how the administration would obtain that much material as it does not appear to be eliminating that 8,000 warheads.

Bodman said 160 metric tons of the uranium would be put to use in powering U.S. Navy nuclear ships and submarines...

Mentioned here yesterday: a new laser weapon system to be installed for field testing in a 747 this year that can burn a basketball sized whole through steel plating hundreds of miles away.

Which ought to be enough theoretically to make missiles obsolete. Which is a good thing, especially if everybody builds these kinds of lasers. Just letting other nations know we have them will be enough to get everybody started. A single contemporary tactical nuke could do things to a city most people can't imagine.

The total elimination of nuclear weapons may not ever happen, but every one we get rid of improves the long term chances for Civilization on this planet.

They have a term for this

...as Billmon aptly points out.

Last year, U.S. intelligence agencies and military planners received instructions to prepare up-to-date target lists for Syria and to increase their preparations for potential military operations against Damascus.

According to internal intelligence documents and discussions with military officers involved in the planning, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa was directed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to prepare a "strategic concept" for Syria, the first step in creation of a full fledged war plan.

The planning process, according to the internal documents, includes courses of action for cross border operations to seal the Syrian-Iraqi border and destroy safe havens supporting the Iraqi insurgency, attacks on Syrian weapons of mass destruction infrastructure supporting the development of biological and chemical weapons, and attacks on the regime of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

William M. Arkin
Wag the Damascus?
November 7, 2005

You can find the terms here:

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

Crimes against peace: (i.) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii.) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

International Law Commission of the U.N.
Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal

The term is war crimes and with any luck we will see Rumsfeld, Cheney, and maybe even Dear Leader on trial for them someday.

Negroponte has probably already shredded any trail he has, though...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Darth Rumsfled Gets His Beam On

Laser defense tests quite encouraging
Missile defense system seen as improving
By Jim Skeen, Staff Writer

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE - After a year of ground tests, a laser weapon is approaching performance levels capable of destroying an enemy missile in flight, defense officials said.

If the military can get the weapon to work well enough for service, it will be installed into a highly modified Boeing 747-400 freighter. The laser would then be tested against actual missiles.

"Our goal is shoot down a boosting ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean in late 2008," said Air Force Col. John Daniels, program director. "The missile will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base into the Pacific Test Range, where we will engage it."

The Missile Defense Agency's Airborne Laser program is testing its chemical oxygen iodine laser at a laboratory at Edwards.

"The goal, which we hope to achieve by the end of 2005, is to consistently reach long-duration, full-power firing," Daniels said. "I can't give you exact figures, but it will be sufficient to destroy a missile from hundreds of miles away."

Program officials envision future Airborne Laser aircraft patrolling in pairs at more than 40,000 feet and inside friendly territory, scanning the horizon for missiles.

When a missile is detected, a set of lasers will track and illuminate it, and computers will measure the distance and calculate its course and direction.

A second high-energy laser, fired in a three- to five-second burst through the nose turret mounted on the 747, will destroy the missile. The laser is comprised of six modules, each weighing 4,500 pounds and about the size of a sport utility vehicle turned on its end.

The beam will heat an area about the diameter of a basketball on the missile's relatively fragile fuel-tank casing. The laser will weaken metal already under high pressure from the ignited rocket fuel.

The aircraft that will carry the test laser completed a series of flight tests at Edwards in July and is now in Wichita, Kan., undergoing modifications to its aft section to prepare it for the installation. The beginning of the laser installation is more than a year away, since the modules have to be dismantled and removed from the laboratory at Edwards.

The illuminator lasers also are being installed in Wichita. Those lasers will be tested on the ground and in the air before the aircraft returns to Edwards, Daniels said.

"In 2008 we will be flight testing the entire weapon system," Daniels said.

And together we will bring Order to the Galaxy...

Thanks to Defense Tech for the link.

Torture? Heavens No! Don't Trouble My Beautiful Mind! Chemical Pogrom? Well...

Via Correntwire via Nur al-Cubicle:

We are using chemical weapons in Iraq on civilians.

The Italian program here.

The story given here.

And although now the D.o'D.'s trying to insist they didn't do it, they have embedded reporters bragging back in April '04 about "Shake n' Bake" with white phosphorous explosive rounds at Fallujah.

If you don't want to be labeled a baby killer, maybe you shouldn't kill babies.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Forcing an End to the Endless War

What if they held a War and nobody came?

More than 2,000 US soldiers have now died in the Iraq war. Polls show more than half of Americans are in favor of withdrawal of at least some troops from Iraq. Yet, Congress has done little to make that a reality.

A bipartisan bill demanding an exit strategy remains stalled in committee. Last week, former presidential candidate John Kerry -- whose position on troops has shifted more than the desert sands -- issued only a tepid call for a withdrawal of 20,000 troops by Christmas. At least that's better than most of the Democrats' so-called leaders: Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Harry Reid and Howard Dean have been silent on the issue. It is little wonder, then, that the Pentagon recently "temporarily" increased the number of troops in Iraq from 138,000 to 160,000.

Fed up by the inaction of politicians on both sides of the aisle, a new group is bypassing Congress to take the issue directly to the voters. Calling itself HomeFromIraqNow.org, it is sponsoring a binding initiative in Massachusetts to stop future deployment of National Guard troops overseas. If passed, it will prevent the governor from allowing troops to be called up without a specific law passed by the state legislature -- at the same time urging the governor to use all possible means to bring home those troops already outside the country. If successful in Massachusetts, HomeFromIraqNow.org hopes to repeat the feat in some of the other 23 states that allow citizen petitions, creating nothing short of a national referendum on the war itself...

Latest Bulletin from the Education President

PANAMA CITY, Panama - President Bush on Monday vigorously defended U.S. interrogation of suspected terrorists after the public disclosure of secret CIA prisoner camps in eastern European countries. “We do not torture,” he declared...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Data mining 30,000 databases a year...

FBI mines records of ordinary Americans
Under Patriot Act, feds probe lives of residents not alleged to be terrorists
By Barton Gellman
The Washington Post
Updated: 1:04 a.m. ET Nov. 6, 2005

The FBI came calling in Windsor, Conn., this summer with a document marked for delivery by hand. On Matianuk Avenue, across from the tennis courts, two special agents found their man. They gave George Christian the letter, which warned him to tell no one, ever, what it said.

Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away. Christian, who manages digital records for three dozen Connecticut libraries, said in an affidavit that he configures his system for privacy. But the vendors of the software he operates said their databases can reveal the Web sites that visitors browse, the e-mail accounts they open and the books they borrow.

Christian refused to hand over those records, and his employer, Library Connection Inc., filed suit for the right to protest the FBI demand in public. The Washington Post established their identities -- still under seal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit -- by comparing unsealed portions of the file with public records and information gleaned from people who had no knowledge of the FBI demand.

Steep rise in ‘national security letters’
The Connecticut case affords a rare glimpse of an exponentially growing practice of domestic surveillance under the USA Patriot Act, which marked its fourth anniversary on Oct. 26. "National security letters," created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.

Records archived, shared
The burgeoning use of national security letters coincides with an unannounced decision to deposit all the information they yield into government data banks -- and to share those private records widely, in the federal government and beyond. In late 2003, the Bush administration reversed a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed. Late last month, President Bush signed Executive Order 13388, expanding access to those files for "state, local and tribal" governments and for "appropriate private sector entities," which are not defined.

National security letters offer a case study of the impact of the Patriot Act outside the spotlight of political debate. Drafted in haste after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the law's 132 pages wrought scores of changes in the landscape of intelligence and law enforcement. Many received far more attention than the amendments to a seemingly pedestrian power to review "transactional records." But few if any other provisions touch as many ordinary Americans without their knowledge.

Senior FBI officials acknowledged in interviews that the proliferation of national security letters results primarily from the bureau's new authority to collect intimate facts about people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. Criticized for failure to detect the Sept. 11 plot, the bureau now casts a much wider net, using national security letters to generate leads as well as to pursue them. Casual or unwitting contact with a suspect -- a single telephone call, for example -- may attract the attention of investigators and subject a person to scrutiny about which he never learns.

Following digital bread crumbs
A national security letter cannot be used to authorize eavesdropping or to read the contents of e-mail. But it does permit investigators to trace revealing paths through the private affairs of a modern digital citizen. The records it yields describe where a person makes and spends money, with whom he lives and lived before, how much he gambles, what he buys online, what he pawns and borrows, where he travels, how he invests, what he searches for and reads on the Web, and who telephones or e-mails him at home and at work.

As it wrote the Patriot Act four years ago, Congress bought time and leverage for oversight by placing an expiration date on 16 provisions. The changes involving national security letters were not among them. In fact, as the Dec. 31 deadline approaches and Congress prepares to renew or make permanent the expiring provisions, House and Senate conferees are poised again to amplify the FBI's power to compel the secret surrender of private records.

The House and Senate have voted to make noncompliance with a national security letter a criminal offense. The House would also impose a prison term for breach of secrecy.

Like many Patriot Act provisions, the ones involving national security letters have been debated in largely abstract terms. The Justice Department has offered Congress no concrete information, even in classified form, save for a partial count of the number of letters delivered. The statistics do not cover all forms of national security letters or all U.S. agencies making use of them.

"The beef with the NSLs is that they don't have even a pretense of judicial or impartial scrutiny," said former representative Robert L. Barr Jr. (Ga.), who finds himself allied with the American Civil Liberties Union after a career as prosecutor, CIA analyst and conservative GOP stalwart. "There's no checks and balances whatever on them. It is simply some bureaucrat's decision that they want information, and they can basically just go and get it."

Friday, November 04, 2005


So says John Dean:

...when one studies the indictment, and carefully reads the transcript of the press conference, it appears Libby's saga may be only Act Two in a three-act play. And in my view, the person who should be tossing and turning at night, in anticipation of the last act, is the Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney.

The Indictment: Invoking the Espionage Act Unnecessarily

Typically, federal criminal indictments are absolutely bare bones. Just enough to inform a defendant of the charges against him.

For example, the United States Attorney's Manual, which Fitzgerald said he was following, notes that under the Sixth Amendment an accused must "be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation." And Rule 7(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure requires that, "The indictment . . . be a plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged." That is all.

Federal prosecutors excel at these "plain, concise and definite" statement indictments - drawing on form books and institutional experience in drafting them. Thus, the typical federal indictment is the quintessence of pith: as short and to the point as the circumstances will permit.

Again, Libby is charged with having perjured himself, made false statements, and obstructed justice by lying to FBI agents and the grand jury. A bare-bones indictment would address only these alleged crimes.

But this indictment went much further - delving into a statute under which Libby is not charged.

Count One, paragraph 1(b) is particularly revealing. Its first sentence establishes that Libby had security clearances giving him access to classified information. Then 1(b) goes on to state: "As a person with such clearances, LIBBY was obligated by applicable laws and regulations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order 12958 (as modified by Executive Order13292), not to disclose classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information, and otherwise to exercise proper care to safeguard classified information against unauthorized disclosure." (The section also goes on to stress that Libby executed, on January 23, 2001, an agreement indicating understanding that he was receiving classified information, the disclosure of which could bring penalties.)

What is Title 18, United States Code, Section 793? It's the Espionage Act -- a broad, longstanding part of the criminal code.

The Espionage Act criminalizes, among other things, the willful - or grossly negligent -- communication of national-defense related information that "the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation." It also criminalizes conspiring to violate this anti-disclosure provision

But Libby isn't charged with espionage. He's charged with lying to our government and thereby obstructing justice. So what's going on? Why is Fitzgerald referencing the Espionage Act?

The press conference added some clarity on this point.

Libby's Obstruction Has Blocked An Espionage Act Charge

The Special Counsel was asked, "If Mr. Libby had testified truthfully, would he be being charged in this crime today?" His response was more oblique than most.

In answering, he pointed out that "if national defense information which is involved because [of Plame's] affiliation with the CIA, whether or not she was covert, was classified, if that was intentionally transmitted, that would violate the statute known as Section 793, which is the Espionage Act." (Emphasis added). (As noted above, gross negligence would also suffice.)

But, as Fitzgerald also noted at his press conference, great care needs to be taken in applying the Espionage Act: "So there are people," he said, "who argue that you should never use that statute because it would become like the [British] Official Secrets Act. I don't buy that theory, but I do know you should be very careful in applying that law because there are a lot of interests that could be implicated in making sure that you picked the right case to charge that statute."

His further example was also revealing. "Let's not presume that Mr. Libby is guilty. But let's assume, for the moment, that the allegations in the indictment are true. If that is true, you cannot figure out the right judgment to make, whether or not you should charge someone with a serious national security crime or walk away from it or recommend any other course of action, if you don't know the truth.... If he had told the truth, we would have made the judgment based upon those facts...." (Emphases added.)

Finally, he added. "We have not charged him with [that] crime. I'm not making an allegation that he violated [the Espionage Act]. What I'm simply saying is one of the harms in obstruction is that you don't have a clear view of what should be done. And that's why people ought to walk in, go into the grand jury, you're going to take an oath, tell us the who, what, when, where and why -- straight." (Emphasis added)

In short, because Libby has lied, and apparently stuck to his lie, Fitzgerald is unable to build a case against him or anyone else under Section 793, a provision which he is willing to invoke, albeit with care.

And who is most vulnerable under the Espionage Act? Dick Cheney - as I will explain.

Libby Is The Firewall Protecting Vice President Cheney

The Libby indictment asserts that "[o]n or about June 12, 2003 Libby was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. Libby understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA."

In short, Cheney provided the classified information to Libby - who then told the press. Anyone who works in national security matters knows that the Counterproliferation Division is part of the Directorate of Operations -- the covert side of the CIA, where most everything and everyone are classified.

According to Fitzgerald, Libby admits he learned the information from Cheney at the time specified in the indictment. But, according to Fitzgerald, Libby also maintained - in speaking to both FBI agents and the grand jury - that Cheney's disclosure played no role whatsoever in Libby's disclosure to the media.

Or as Fitzgerald noted at his press conference, Libby said, "he had learned from the vice president earlier in June 2003 information about Wilson's wife, but he had forgotten it, and that when he learned the information from [the reporter] Mr. [Tim] Russert during this phone call he learned it as if it were new."

So, in Fitzgerald's words, Libby's story was that when Libby "passed the information on to reporters Cooper and Miller late in the week, he passed it on thinking it was just information he received from reporters; that he told reporters that, in fact, he didn't even know if it were true. He was just passing gossip from one reporter to another at the long end of a chain of phone calls."

This story is, of course, a lie, but it was a clever one on Libby's part.

It protects Cheney because it suggests that Cheney's disclosure to Libby was causally separate from Libby's later, potentially Espionage-Act-violating disclosure to the press. Thus, it also denies any possible conspiracy between Cheney and Libby.

And it protects Libby himself - by suggesting that since he believed he was getting information from reporters, not indirectly from the CIA, he may not have had have the state of mind necessary to violate the Espionage Act.

Thus, from the outset of the investigation, Libby has been Dick Cheney's firewall. And it appears that Fitzgerald is actively trying to penetrate that firewall.

What Is Likely To Occur Next?

It has been reported that Libby's attorney tried to work out a plea deal. But Fitzgerald insisted on jail time, so Libby refused to make a deal. It appears that only Libby, in addition to Cheney, knows what Cheney knew, and when he knew, and why he knew, and what he did with his knowledge.

Fitzgerald has clearly thrown a stacked indictment at Libby, laying it on him as heavy as the law and propriety permits. He has taken one continuous false statement, out of several hours of interrogation, and made it into a five-count indictment. It appears he is trying to flip Libby - that is, to get him to testify against Cheney -- and not without good reason. Cheney is the big fish in this case.

Will Libby flip? Unlikely. Neither Cheney nor Libby (I believe) will be so foolish as to crack a deal. And Libby probably (and no doubt correctly) assumes that Cheney - a former boss with whom he has a close relationship -- will (at the right time and place) help Libby out, either with a pardon or financially, if necessary. Libby's goal, meanwhile, will be to stall going to trial as long as possible, so as not to hurt Republicans' showing in the 2006 elections.

So if Libby can take the heat for a time, he and his former boss (and friend) may get through this. But should Republicans lose control of the Senate (where they are blocking all oversight of this administration), I predict Cheney will resign "for health reasons."