Wiki Actu en

December 10, 2014

Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation

Senate publish report on CIA torture and misinformation

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

United States
Related articles
Location of United States
USA orthographic.svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

The US Senate Report on CIA Detention Interrogation Program that details the use of torture during CIA detention and interrogation.

A report released by the US Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday concluded that the CIA misinformed the White House and Congress about its imprisonment and interrogation of suspected terrorists during the years after the September 11 attacks.

The committee released an executive summary yesterday ahead of its full 6,000-page report. The summary documented instances where detainees were kept awake for as long as a week and suggested that the agency had waterboarded more suspects than it previously disclosed.

The report also revealed that officials in the Bush administration were often told about these practices long after the fact. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell were not told of the CIA’s operations until a year after they had begun. President Bush was briefed in 2006, four years after the CIA commenced its “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” program.

The released documents refutes the effectiveness of the program and the accuracy of the information gathered. Previously, the Bush administration had defended its use, claiming that the intelligence garnered helped stop terrorist plots and capture al-Qaeda leadership, including Osama bin Laden. The executive summary examines case studies from the CIA’s internal records which the committee says disputes those defenses.

CIA Director John O. Brennan acknowledged many of the failures outlined by the committee, but also rebuked it for what he called an “incomplete and selective picture of what occurred.” Republican Senators have been critical of the report with Richard Burr calling it “a fiction”, and Marco Rubio stating that Senate Democrats published the report out of “partisan joy” with the intention of “trying to embarrass people in the Bush administration.”



Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

June 5, 2012

On the campaign trail, May 2012

On the campaign trail, May 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, May 2012

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The following is the seventh in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail, the leading candidates for the Americans Elect presidential nomination respond to a major announcement from that organization’s board of directors, two presidential candidates in favor of same-sex marriage react to President Barack Obama’s announcement of support for the practice, and Wikinews interviews the newly-selected Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee.

Summary

May began with the expected withdrawal of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who felt the continuation of his campaign to be fruitless. He endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, whom the press had already designated as the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee. Shortly thereafter, former candidate Rick Santorum also threw his support to Romney. Another former Republican candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, took a different path. He won the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party to continue his campaign into the general election. Congressman Ron Paul remained a candidate in the Republican race, but scaled back his campaign, announcing the suspension of active campaigning while still competing in state conventions to amass delegates.

Heavily circulated publicity photo of prison inmate Keith Russell Judd from March 15, 2008.
Image: Keith Russell Judd.

Romney swept the Republican primaries in West Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana, but President Obama had some difficulty in the Democratic primaries in the first two states. 41 percent of Democrats in West Virginia favored prison inmate Keith Russell Judd over the president and 21 percent in North Carolina voted uncommitted over Obama. North Carolina voters also passed an amendment defining marriage as an institution between a man and woman despite vice president Joe Biden’s vocal support for same-sex marriage prior to the vote. Biden’s statement and the North Carolina result prompted Obama to make an announcement. During an ABC News interview with Robin Roberts, Obama explained that his views had “evolved” and that he now supports same-sex marriage. Romney countered, responding that “marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.”

Obama’s primary difficulties continued later in May, as attorney John Wolfe, Jr. of Tennessee won 42 percent against him in the Arkansas primary, and as a similar margin of voters supported uncommitted over the president in Kentucky. Romney easily won the two states’ Republican contests, but later faced potential troubles of his own. The Washington Post published a lengthy article alleging that Romney bullied a student while in high school. Romney said he did not remember the episode and apologized for the “dumb things” he did in school. Subsequently, the alleged victim’s family disputed the story. Next, the Obama campaign attempted to make an issue of Romney’s venture capital activities as CEO of Bain Capital. Cory Booker, the Democratic Mayor of Newark, criticized this attempt, arguing on Meet the Press that advertisements against the firm left him “uncomfortable.” Booker later clarified that he supported and still intended to help re-elect Obama as president. In what Real Clear Politics described as an attempt to counter the attacks on Bain and highlight high unemployment as an issue, Romney predicted that if elected, unemployment would fall to six percent at the end of his first term. The Obama campaign and supporters said the announcement was nothing new since it simply mirrored the Congressional Budget Office‘s projections for 2016, regardless of who wins the election.

In late May, Romney won the endorsements of former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Rice’s immediate predecessor, General Colin Powell, who endorsed Obama in 2008, withheld an official endorsement, but like Obama, announced his support for same-sex marriage. In the final primary of the month, both Obama and Romney each handily won their respective party’s contest in Texas. As a result, Romney surpassed the required number of delegates to secure the Republican nomination and Obama faced his last contested primary on the Democratic side. However, the question of whether Obama’s nomination would be unanimous remained unanswered as lawsuits from Judd and Wolfe disputed the party’s decision to not award them delegates for which they qualified in the aforementioned West Virginia and Arkansas primaries.

Americans Elect makes major decision; leading candidates respond

Americans Elect, the non-profit organization that spent an estimated $35 million to attain ballot access in 29 states with hopes of nominating a bipartisan 2012 presidential ticket, decided in May to forego the 2012 presidential race. Via press release, the organization’s board announced that none of its candidates had met the minimum threshold, which required the accumulation of 10,000 pledged supporters for “experienced” candidates, and 50,000 supporters for other candidates, prior to the May 15 deadline. Though this decision drew criticism, the board claimed its actions were to maintain the integrity of the organization’s rules.

Americans Elect logo.
Image: Americans Elect.

As a result, candidates that actively sought the organization’s nomination including former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, activist Michealene Risley, and economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff were forced to reassess how to continue their campaigns.

Roemer, who led all candidates with 6,293 supporters, called the decision disappointing and commented that “Americans Elect’s procedure was ripe with difficulty related to access, validation and security.” Though he simultaneously sought the Reform Party’s nomination, Roemer ultimately decided that the party’s ballot access in four states was not enough, and suspended his campaign at the end of May.

Anderson, who finished second in supporters with 3,390, referred to the Americans Elect process as “discriminatory”, and announced his support for a movement within the organization, headed by delegate Andrew Evans, attempting to overturn the board’s decision. Meanwhile, Anderson removed all references to Americans Elect from the front page of his campaign website, and has focused his energies on the Justice Party, which he founded last year. It currently has ballot access in Mississippi and Utah. Anderson is also a candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party, which will appear on the California ballot.

Risley, who came in third with 2,351 supporters, argued that “people feel really used and manipulated” by Americans Elect. In a letter to the board, she wrote that the organization “will be stigmatized as the latest example of third party failure”, “Instead of being the prototype for high tech democracy”. Like Anderson, she supports the actions of Evans, and has even opened a petition for it on change.org. Since Risley is not competing for another party’s presidential nomination, this is now the crux of her campaign.

Kotlikoff, who finished fourth with 2,027 supporters, told Wikinews that he felt the Americans Elect board was more interested in attracting “big names” than focusing on the issues. He cited this as “the most disappointing aspect” of the decision, adding that “big names don’t necessarily equate to big ideas or good ideas for moving the country ahead. And all big names start small.” Like Roemer, Kotlikoff had decided to also seek the Reform Party nomination, and following the decision, choose to end his Reform Party bid and his presidential campaign as a whole. He opted instead to promote his “Purple Plan”, which combines elements of Republican and Democratic solutions to resolve political issues.


Two candidates react to President Obama’s same-sex marriage backing

After President Obama announced his personal support of same-sex marriage while maintaining it should be decided on a state-by-state basis, two candidates already supporting marriage equality reacted in two very different ways.

Republican Fred Karger, the first openly gay person to seek a major political party’s presidential nomination, sent an e-mail to supporters praising Obama for the announcement, saying that “he will be a great advocate as we do battle [against marriage definition propositions] in four states this November.” He added, “It’s nice to have another presidential candidate on board for full equality.”

Gary Johnson in December 2011.
Image: Gary Johnson.

Fred Karger in August 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, had an opposite interpretation of Obama’s announcement. He commented, “while I commend [Obama] for supporting the concept of gay marriage equality, I am profoundly disappointed in the President.” “Instead of insisting on equality as a U.S. Constitutional guarantee, the President has thrown this question back to the states.” Johnson speculated that Obama cared more about not alienating voters in the swing states of Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia, than supporting change on a federal level.

When approached with this view, Karger argued, “sure, [I] would rather [Obama] came out for a federal marriage solution…[but]” “just his coming out for marriage equality is the key.” Karger maintained that the issue would ultimately be decided in the courts rather than in Congress.

Karger is currently campaigning as an alternative to Mitt Romney in California ahead of that state’s June 5 GOP primary, while Johnson, whom Karger has described as a friend, is hoping to achieve ballot access in all 50 states to challenge President Obama and the Republican nominee in the general election.

The Libertarian Party’s newly-christened VP nominee discusses his role

After the Libertarian Party nominated former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson for president at May’s Libertarian National Convention, upon Johnson’s request, the party selected Judge Jim Gray of California for Vice President to complete the ticket.

Gray has worked as a judge since 1983 when Governor George Deukmejian appointed him to the Santa Ana Municipal Court in Orange County, California. Six years later he was appointed to the Superior Court of Orange County. His work in court earned him two “Judge of the Year” awards: first in 1992 from the Business Litigation Section of the Orange County Bar Association, and then in 1995 from the Orange County Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Judge Jim Gray.
Image: Jim Gray.

In addition to his work as a jurist, Gray has been involved in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and has advocated against the federal government’s prosecution of the War on Drugs. Moreover, Gray’s vice presidential campaign is not his first experience in politics. He ran for U.S. Congress as a Republican in 1998, and was the Libertarian Party’s 2004 nominee for U.S. Senate in California.

Johnson described him as “not only a highly-respected jurist, but he is also a proven leader on issues of concern to Americans – from drug policy to civil liberties to ethics. I am proud he is joining me to offer America a real choice in this election, and excited that his forceful and extremely credible voice will be a vital part of our campaign. Judge Gray is a reformer with the track record and credentials to prove it”.

Gray reserved some time to speak with Wikinews about his role as the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee, what he adds to the Johnson ticket, and what Johnson-Gray can do to better than the 0.4 percent former Congressman Bob Barr and businessman Wayne Allyn Root won as the 2008 representatives of the Libertarian Party.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your responsibilities as the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee?

Judge Gray: As the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, I am a team member under the leadership of our Presidential nominee, Governor Gary Johnson, as we campaign to restore Prosperity, Equal Opportunity and Liberty to the United States of America.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you complement Gary Johnson on the ticket?

Judge Gray: It is amazing. In 2010 I wrote a book entitled A Voter’s Handbook: Effective Solutions to America’s Problems (The Forum Press, 2010), which I never considered using in a political campaign. However, in looking at my documented views of our problems and solutions, they are almost completely consistent with those of Governor Johnson. But my background as a federal prosecutor, Navy JAG attorney, trial court judge and former Peace Corps Volunteer is quite different from Governor Johnson’s. Therefore I bring a balance and perspective to the ticket that no other vice presidential candidate will likely have.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow do you plan to achieve more electoral success than the 2008 Barr-Root campaign?

Judge Gray: Candidly, our strategy is to be polling at 15 percent or above at the end of this coming September. This will qualify us to be in the national presidential and vice presidential debates. If that occurs, all of the common wisdom will change. And during the convention … in Nevada Governor Johnson was polling at 7 percent. Now he is polling at 8 percent. I deeply believe that when the American people see and understand what Governor Johnson and I not only stand for, but what he has actually done while a sitting two-term governor for eight years, they will rally in droves to our campaign, because they will see the truth that the Republican and the Democratic candidates are almost parallel in the important issues which have led us into financial ruin and despair, and Governor Johnson stands out in front for positive change.



Related news

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 23, 2010

General Petraeus: Fight for Afghan town Marja is \’just the initial operation\’

General Petraeus: Fight for Afghan town Marja is ‘just the initial operation’

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Afghanistan
Related articles
Location of Afghanistan
Afghanistan (orthographic projection).svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command
Image: U.S. Army, SSG Lorie L. Jewell.

General David Petraeus, the U.S. general who oversees the war in Afghanistan, says the fight for the southern town of Marja — called Operation Moshtarak — is just the first operation in a long campaign.

Petraeus says the battle of Marja is just the beginning. “This is just the initial operation of what will be a 12- to 18-month campaign, as General [Stanley] McChrystal and his team have mapped it out,” he said.

During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Petraeus said the enemy is formidable. He did not predict how long the operation in Marja, a traditional Taliban stronghold, would continue. He said only that the fighting is tough. “When we go on the offensive, when we take away sanctuaries and safe havens from the Taliban and the other extremist elements that we and our Afghan and coalition partners are fighting in that country, they are going to fight back. And we are seeing that in Marjah. We will see that in other areas,” he said.

The general spoke from Tampa, Florida, where he heads the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

He noted the difficulties encountered in Iraq when former President George W. Bush sent in additional troops in what was called a “surge.” Petraeus was asked if, once again, Americans should prepare for significant losses. “They will be tough. They were tough in Iraq. Look, I have repeatedly said these types of efforts are hard and they are hard all the time. I do not use words like optimistic or pessimist. I use realist. And the reality is it is hard, but we are there for a very important reason and we cannot forget that,” he said.

So far, 12 NATO troops have died in the offensive. Three others were reported killed in separate, unrelated incidents in southern and eastern Afghanistan. Operation Moshtarak is the largest military action against insurgents since the War in Afghanistan began in 2001 by the United States invasion of the country.

Cquote1.svg They will be tough. They were tough in Iraq. […] I do not use words like optimistic or pessimist. I use realist. And the reality is it is hard, but we are there for a very important reason and we cannot forget that. Cquote2.svg

—General David Petraeus

Petraus was also asked about the military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which President Barack Obama has pledged to end. While refusing to comment directly on the policy, Petraus responded by saying stating that he hadn’t exerpeinced any problems with gays and lesbians in the military in the past. “I served, in fact, in combat with individuals who were gay and who were lesbian in combat situations and, frankly, you know, over time you said, ‘Hey, how’s this guy’s shooting?’ Or, ‘How is her analysis?’ or what have you,” he said.

The general also noted his opposition to torture saying, “Whenever we have, perhaps, taken expedient measures, they have turned around and bitten us in the backside.” He added, “We end up paying a price for it ultimately. Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are non-biodegradable. They don’t go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick.”

Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s Afghanistan strategy got a vote of confidence Sunday from retired General Colin Powell, who served as President Bush’s Secretary of State during his first term in office.

Powell said it is a good, comprehensive plan. But at the same time, he acknowledged he has concerns about whether or not the Afghan government can follow-up once the NATO operation pushes the Taliban out. “I hope their capability will increase. The Afghan National Army is improved but clearly not up to U.S. standards yet. And the police force – they have a lot to prove, they do not yet have the confidence of the people,” he said.

Powell was interviewed on the CBS television program Face the Nation.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 4, 2008

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, October 2008

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, October 2008

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
Wikinews Election 2008.svg
2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories
  • 9 March 2012: Super Tuesday 2012: ‘Joe the Plumber’ wins GOP congressional primary
  • 23 March 2010: Non-profit ACORN plans to shut down
  • 11 January 2010: US Senate Majority leader Harry Reid criticized over “Negro” comments
  • 22 July 2009: Former U.S. Presidential candidate Gene Amondson dies following a stroke
  • 22 January 2009: Photo source for Barack Obama presidential campaign “HOPE” poster discovered

October on the campaign trail presented the last chances for the campaigns to present their messages to the American people. A vice-presidential and two presidential debates were held, one of which added a new political lexicon, perhaps the closest thing to an October surprise. One candidate seemed to pull way ahead as early voting began in many states near the conclusion of the month.

Democrats

Obama-backer Colin Powell

  • At the beginning of the month, due to the continued economic crisis, Obama took a clear lead over McCain in opinion polling, leading by double-digits in many surveys. Obama maintained his lead throughout the month and mounted leads or stayed within the margin of error in some states won by Bush in 2004 including Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Missouri, Florida, Iowa and North Dakota.
  • Joe Biden debated Sarah Palin in St. Louis on October 3, in a forum moderated by Gwen Ifill. Biden issued very little criticism of Palin and remained subdued for much of the night, focusing mostly on foreign policy. Ifill became a subject of controversy before the debate, with commentators questioning her impartiality with the upcoming release of her book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.
  • On the campaign trail, prior to the third presidential debate, Obama was approached by plumber Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio. Joe asked Obama whether his taxes would be raised if he bought a plumbing company as he was planning to do. Obama stated that he didn’t “want to punish [his] success” but that “everyone who is behind him” should be given a “chance at success.” He later stated that he thought “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
  • Obama defended his tax plan during the third presidential debate with McCain while facing many McCain comments about “Joe the plumber.” He repeatedly stated that his tax plan would lower taxes for households making under US$200,000 a year, which he said made up 95% of Americans.
  • Former secretary of state Colin Powell made an across-party-lines endorsement, when he stated on Meet the Press that he was voting for Senator Barack Obama. Powell became the first former member of the Bush administration to formally endorse Obama and was closely followed by former press secretary Scott McClellan, who also endorsed the candidate.
Republicans

Holland, Ohio, the hometown of Joe the Plumber

  • At the vice-presidential debate, Sarah Palin became the first woman since the 1984 United States presidential election to participate in such an event. It was the most widely watched vice-presidential debate in history with an estimated 70 million viewers. During the debate Palin characterized herself as a “Washington outsider” who “may not answer the questions the way the moderator and you (Senator Biden) want to hear.” She focused mostly on energy policy during the debate.
  • The second presidential debate was held on October 7 and moderated by Tom Brokaw. During the debate McCain announced his support for a spending freeze of programs other than those for defense or veterans. When discussing energy policy, McCain famously referred to Obama as “that one.”
  • The McCain campaign launched a series of ads connecting Obama to former Weather Underground member William Ayers, who served on a board with Obama and held a venue at his home for the Senator when he began his political career. Palin accused Obama of “palling around with terrorists.” Some pundits saw the new strategy as a last ditch effort by the McCain campaign.
  • McCain’s campaign was compared to that of segregationist George Wallace’s by Congressman John Lewis, who commented that the campaign was “sowing the seeds of hatred and division.” Lewis pointed to McCain supporters who shouted obscenities about Barack Obama during a McCain rally, including one who reportedly yelled “kill him” when referring to Obama (a claim later refuted by the Secret Service). McCain discussed this during the third presidential debate, and asked Obama to repudiate the comments.
  • During the third presidential debate, McCain used the earlier discussion between Obama and Joe the Plumber as a tool to attack Obama on his tax policy. He strongly objected to Obama’s support for “spreading the wealth” which he likened to socialism. The debate led to a small comeback for McCain in opinion polling, cutting into Obama’s lead as the month came to a close.
Third parties
  • A third party debate scheduled for October 19 was cancelled after the candidates were unable to participate due to scheduling conflicts. Candidates Ralph Nader, Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney and Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin were supposed to debate but it eventually fell through.
  • Ralph Nader and Chuck Baldwin were able to participate in a third party presidential debate on October 23 in Washington. Each discussed their strong opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as their disapproval of the government’s bailout plan. Baldwin and Nader had some disagreement on abortion, with Nader standing pro-choice and Baldwin standing as pro-life. Nader emphasized the need to control the power of corporations over consumer’s lives and Baldwin stated that his number one priority as president would be to secure the borders.
  • On October 30, Nader and Baldwin participated in another third party debate. Libertarian party nominee Bob Barr joined the candidates for this debate. During the debate, the candidates railed against the two major parties with Ralph Nader complaining that they don’t like “competition.” Barr conveyed his frustration with the Justice Department for their failure to prosecute Wall Street corporate leaders. Baldwin expressed his fear for America’s future.



Related news

Sources

Editor’s note

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail… is a monthly article about the campaign events during the past month. The title is based on the series of articles written by journalist Hunter S. Thompson and compiled into a publication entitled Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 16, 2008

Wikinews interviews Brad Lord-Leutwyler, independent candidate for US President

Wikinews interviews Brad Lord-Leutwyler, independent candidate for US President

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
Wikinews Election 2008.svg
2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories

While nearly all cover of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, there are small political parties offering candidates, and those who choose to run without a party behind them, independents.

Wikinews is interviewing some of these citizens who are looking to become the 43rd person elected to serve their nation from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Our third interview is with Henderson, Nevada’s Brad Lord-Leutwyler, a professor of logic and critical thought at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Capitalisation and formatting is that of the candidate, not Wikinews.

Interview

Why do you want to be President?

I do not WANT to be the President. The major party candidates have two fatal flaws: They cannot “make change happen” because they will always have to fight the other party in congress, and they are all so indebted to their contributors that they are going to have to “pay back” the FIFTY to ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS they raised with special favors. OBAMA is guilty of doing it already, as are McCain and Clinton. NOT I. CHANGE WILL ONLY COME FROM AN INDEPENDENT PRESIDENT. Congress will KNOW that the People have had enough if I am sent to Washington, and they WILL make the change we demand for fear of WE THE PEOPLE voting them out of office too: they love their cushy jobs, and WE need to make them fearful of losing them.
I WILL END THE WAR
I WILL SECURE THE BORDER
I WILL WIPE OUT POVERTY
I WILL FIX THE EDUCATION CRISIS
I WILL GET UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE.

Have you ever run for political office before?

NO

Have you ever been a member of a political party, other than the one you’re currently in?

I AM NOT A MEMBER OF A PARTY NOW. I used to belong to the democratic and republican parties until BOTH of those parties put the interests of their party above that of the people.

Have you ever campaigned for another political candidate?

NO

What is your current job?

COLLEGE PROFESSOR -Teacher of Logic and critical thought at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

What skills or ideas do you bring from this position, or previous positions, that will benefit the Oval Office?

ALL OF OUR IDEAS ARE POSTED AT WWW.VOTEFORBRAD.COM. They are not designed to benefit the oval office. They are designed to benefit ALL AMERICANS.
Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Obviously, the next American President and his or her administration will face many diverse issues. But if you were to narrow identify the three most important issues, what would they be? How will you address these issues?

1) WAR/NATIONAL SECURITY- End it NOW. Bring the troops home. See WWW.VOTEFORBRAD.COM for details.
2) ECONOMY – Banks and financial/investment institutions have had the last seven years to prove how they will behave under relaxed regulation. They created the sub-prime debacle in the process. They cannot be trusted to act in a responsible manner which takes into account the best interest of the American people. Rather, they act in a greedy and selfish fashion. Theses key institutions need greater regulatory oversight. Also, government spending needs to be brought under control. Obama says that he will pay for his plans with the money he saves by ending the war. THIS IS A LIE! The war is funded by deficit spending. Stopping the war and then spending the money is STILL DEFICIT SPENDING.
3) POVERTY/EDUCATION – Education and poverty are intimately linked. Thomas Jefferson knew it. MLK knew it. I learned it from them. When you deny proper education, you create poverty, you weaken your economy, you weaken your defenses, you WEAKEN your nation. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND must be eliminated and replaced with an intelligent plan, not a specious, knee-jerk fool’s errand.

Campaigning for the American presidency is one of the most expensive exercises in the world. How do you deal with the cost and fundraising?

WE HAVE OVER 3,000,000 supporters and we have not spent a dime. Word of mouth on the internet is our primary way of promoting the campaign. IT IS OBSCENE to be spending 150 MILLION DOLLARS on a campaign. It is also irresponsible and immoral. I REFUSE to do it.

Do you have a running mate yet? Who are they? What are you/were you looking for in a running mate?

WE ARE DRAFTING GEN. COLIN POWELL AS OUR RUNNING MATE.

Can you win the 2008 Presidential election? Can any third party or independent candidate ever win?

ANY person can win the Presidency. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE need to take responsibility for their government, STOP FALLING FOR EMPTY SLOGANS and start THINKING about who they are voting for and why. As soon as Americans THINK about those issues, the major parties will be in serious trouble.

If you can’t make it into the Oval Office, who would you prefer seeing taking the presidency?

Colin Powell.

What should the American people keep in mind, when heading to the polls this November?

Vote for the best candidate with the best team of thinkers. Republicans voted for Bush because they did not want Kerry, NOT because they loved Bush. Now, MOST republicans regret their choice. Democrats do the same thing. THE BEST CANDIDATE and team is found at WWW.VOTEFORBRAD.COM. If you vote with your BRAIN and NOT with irrational fear (i.e. “If I vote for Brad, I might be helping candidate XXX win.” is irrational, illogical and IS WHY WE ARE IN THE MESS WE ARE IN.



Bookmark-new.svg


External links

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 12, 2007

Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger on the Bush family feud, neoconservatives and the Christian right

Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger on the Bush family feud, neoconservatives and the Christian right

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Monday, November 12, 2007

Craig Unger: “In Spain my publisher, Planeta, is considered a center-right company and they made me the big book of their season. In Europe I am considered a straight-ahead reporter. In the United States I tend to be shunned by the mainstream media, almost completely, especially by the White House press corp.”
photo: David Shankbone

In a recent interview with the Dalai Lama’s Representative to the Americas, Tashi Wangdi, David Shankbone remarked to him that Americans have trouble relating to centuries-long conflicts that exist between peoples around the world, including those in Asia. Many Asian countries dislike each other tremendously, and the conflict over Tibet is just one enduring multi-national battle.

According to Vanity Fair contributing editor Craig Unger, it is not that Americans do not have these deep-seeded conflicts; it is that they do not remember them and thus have no context in which to see them as they resurface in our political culture.

On the same day he spoke to the Dalai Lama’s representative, Shankbone sat down with Unger, author of The New York Times best-seller House of Bush, House of Saud. In his new book, The Fall of the House of Bush, Unger attempts to fill in some of the blanks of an epochal narrative in American politics. Using a mix of painstaking research, interviews with cultural and political leaders and delving into previously classified records to come up with some overview of how America has arrived at this particular political moment.

To make sense of such complicated history, Unger draws upon three themes: He illustrates the conflict within the modern Republican Party via the oedipal conflict between George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. Things are not well within the House of Bush. Bush Jr. has not only shut out his father and his allies from his administration—something Bob Woodward discovered in his interviews with the President—but he also appointed many of his father’s bitterest enemies to key cabinet positions.

Unger’s second theme draws upon this Bush family feud: many of Bush Sr.’s foes happen to be leaders of the neoconservative movement, who had been working against the President’s father since the 1970’s. Back then the neoconservatives did not have a base of political support within the Republican Party, which brings Unger to his third theme: the marriage between the neoconservatives and the Christian right to create a formidable ideological block.

Unger is a Fellow at the Center for Law and Security at NYU’s School of Law. In addition to his work at Vanity Fair, he is a former editor-in-chief of Boston Magazine, and former Deputy Editor of the New York Observer. A journalist of the old school who believes in verifying his sources’ veracity, Unger illuminates the Republican Party’s ideological struggle between the old and the new and traces its history for those who do know it.

Unger disputes the recent assertion by The New York Times that these forces are dead; they are thriving. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Craig Unger about his book, The Fall of the House of Bush.

On the likelihood of an attack on Iran before the 2008 election

David Shankbone: Tim Wirth sent David Mixner this article by Jim Holt in the London Review of Books, and Mixner sent me a link to it. It posits that the Bush administration has all along planned on having a permanent military presence in Iraq. Have you seen it?

Craig Unger: I skimmed this and I know the thirty trillion dollar figure. What is astonishing about the neocons if you read them, is how little they mention oil. You can characterize their plans as strategic dominance in the Middle East for the United States and oil is obviously a part of that. I don’t know if Holt means it ironically or intentionally, but I think it is oversimplifying to say, “Oh, it’s exactly as they intended.” Although there are people like Michael Ledeen who say “Let’s turn it into a steaming cauldron”—those are his words.

According to Unger, Ron Paul is the only Republican candidate who would not attack Iran. “The neocons are in Giuliani’s camp, such as Norman Podhoretz and Daniel Pipes.”

I would never say things went exactly as planned. If you go back to the work of David Wurmser, for example, they really believed that a Shia like Chalabi would take over Iraq and be pro-west and recognize Israel. They talk about the Hashemite among the Shia in Iraq rising up and they hoped they would overthrow the mullahs in Iran. Obviously, that hasn’t happened.

DS: You’ve written that Iran is definitely on the agenda for a military strike by the Americans.

CU: Oh, absolutely. It’s possible it will occur under Bush, but if not and a Republican wins they will do it. The neocons are in Giuliani’s camp, such as Norman Podhoretz and Daniel Pipes.

DS: If the neconservatives succeed, two years into the future where will we be?

CU: The biggest single question is Iran. If we bomb Iran, they will immediately block the Persian Gulf. The Strait of Hormuz is only about thirty miles wide and forty percent of the world’s oil goes through there. Cruise missiles can easily hit Saudi oil facilities. Oil will shoot to $200, maybe $300 a barrel. At the pump it’s hard to calculate, but that would mean at $6 a gallon. We currently have minesweepers in the Gulf, which suggests we are right there for that possibility. That’s one of the scary things. But it unleashes uncontrollable forces. If you have the Saudis attacked by Iran you have the Sunni-Shia conflict erupting throughout the entire region. There’s an inverse correlation between the price of the dollar and oil, so as oil goes up, the dollar goes down. The dollar is already weak and would plummet accordingly, which would start a global recession. There would be a global oil war during a period where we may be approaching peak oil—I know that concept is controversial—but its also at a time when China’s energy needs are going through the roof; their imports are going up as much as forty percent a year. Their energy consumption is going through the roof, and the same with India. We used to be the lone huge consumer and it didn’t bother anyone, but now there are real rivals out there. And in geostrategic terms, we are getting in a weaker and weaker position. If you look at the costs of the Iraq War, 4,000 Americans dead, hundreds of thousand of Iraq dead, four million refugees, hundreds of billions of dollars spent; but in geostrategic terms we are weaker off, Israel is much weaker, and the only beneficiary has been Iran, whose GDP has gone through the roof because of the price of oil has gone from $22 to $98.

DS: Are there any Republican front-runners that would not undertake an assault on Iran?

CU: The only one is not a front-runner: Ron Paul. I don’t think there is a single Republican who has tried to discredit Bush’s policies. One of my concerns addressed in this book is I don’t want people to think, “Oh, the Bushs are gone, it’s all over.” No, no, no. We’re going to be paying for this for decades. The Christian right and the neocons: that is the Republican Party today. It transcends Bush. Bush became the vehicle through whom they carried out their policies.

DS: So it could have been anybody but they ingratiated themselves with Bush?

CU: He was an ideal vehicle. Partly he has a name that was identified with the old Republican establishment—

DS: And he wasn’t particularly well-informed, giving them an “in” to educate him?

CU: That’s for sure. A lot of voters thought they were getting his father. Wall Street Republicans thought of him as a moderate. He used terms like “ Compassionate Conservative” that were perceived as moderate. I have a chapter called “Dog Whistle Politics” where he’s speaking one language to the general public, and another to his base. So compassionate conservatism is precisely that. It really was a program for taking away the social safety net and giving it to right-wing churches. It was a movement that was about anything but a liberal safety net.

DS: Within the United States, what are the neoconservatives and Christian right concerned will happen that could scuttle their agenda?

CU: The Democrats winning, obviously, which is one reason they might bomb Iran before the election. That would change the dynamic of the entire election. I think there are two possibilities: are they going to do it before the next election? I don’t have the answer and I can’t predict it, but it would be a disaster. It would change the dynamics of the election that they are soft on terrorism, they want to throw Israel to Iran—

DS: Would that still work after all this time?

CU: The Zogby Poll just showed 52% of Americans think we should bomb Iran. The media has not improved at all since the Iraq War, and 90% of Americans were behind that. Part of the problem is that this jingoist stuff you might expect from Fox News, but when The New York Times becomes a mouthpiece for Dick Cheney, you then form a consensus in the national conversation and anyone critical is marginalized.

This history behind the Bush family feud

DS: Is there a movement within the Republican Party that is working against the fundamentalism in the party?

CU: I frame it in an almost oedipal way—the first chapter is called “Oedipus Tex”—and they have lost. It was Bush Sr. and his best friend Scowcroft against Bush Jr. On the surface there were no words between them; they would play horseshoes and talk nice about their houses and Midland.

DS: Bob Woodward was astonished when Bush Jr. told him he had not spoken to Bush Sr. about the Iraq War at all. Do you come across what is behind that?

“[I]n 1994 you had George W. and Jeb running for governor of Texas and Florida, respectively, and exactly the reverse happened of what people expected: that George would lose and Jeb would win. The opposite happened.”

CU: First, George W. Bush was not the favorite son by a long-shot. Jeb was, and even Neil was ahead of them. But in 1994 you had George W. and Jeb running for governor of Texas and Florida, respectively, and exactly the reverse happened of what people expected: that George would lose and Jeb would win. The opposite happened. In 1998, George wins reelection and suddenly he’s a two-term governor of a very visible state who has positioned himself for the Presidency. He knows nothing about foreign policy. He had only left the country one time, which was to visit his daughter in Italy. He had no curiosity about the world. Bush Sr. decides they have to educate him about it, so they bring in Prince Bandar and Condi Rice and begin a series of seminars. They are thinking the old guard—by that I mean Brent Scowcroft, Condi Rice, James Baker,Colin Powell—will take charge; that is not what happens at all. In late 1998 the neocons quickly move in, and you have Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Elliott Abrams making semi-secret trips down to Texas.

DS: That was to educate Bush? The Daily Show did this piece where they did a debate splicing Texas Governor Bush’s views of what he said when he was governor versus what he has said as President, and they are polar opposites. When he was governor he was saying we can’t go out nation-building.

CU: Right. If you carefully, carefully examine what is happening, Richard Perle comes back from one of those trips and tells a breakfast meeting in 1999 that Bush is going to carry out their plan to overturn Saddam. Bush himself says it in the fall of 1999 and says, “I’m going to take him out.” Afterwards people call him on it and ask, “You’re going to take out Saddam?” and he gets criticized for it mercilessly. He backs down and says, ‘No, no, I mean take out the weapons of mass destruction.” He backs off and attacks Gore as you say, and says we are not going to do nation-building instead. But he’s had these private conversations; Stephen Hadley tells these private fundraisers that Bush’s first priority is going to be to overthrow Saddam. This is in early 2000. I paid a lot of attention to the period just after the election was settled. Some fascinating things happen—I wrote about this as a Salon expert; it’s a Wolfowitz story—the neocons realize if they want to carry out the Iraq War, they need to control the intelligence apparatus. The perfect way to do this is to make Paul Wolfowitz the head of the CIA.

DS: What was the problem with the intelligence apparatus at that time that the neocons needed to take control of it?

CU: If you go back all the way to the mid-1970s, the neocons were distorting intelligence even back then. They had an operation known as Team B. From there I start tracing five neocons who are on the staff of Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson. He was a muscular Democrat. He was strong on labor, but a hard-line Cold Warrior who wanted to roll back the Soviet Union. The neocons grew out of that. His hero is Albert Wohlstetter, who was one of the models for Dr. Strangelove. 1976 is the era of détente, and the neocons hate this; they fear losing their favorite enemy, the Soviet Union. They are saying the CIA is coming up with much too rosy of predictions and they don’t believe the intelligence. Who takes over the CIA at this point? George H.W. Bush. They decide they have to go to battle against him and they form what is known as Team B, which starts an “alternative intelligence assessment.” It effectively says the CIA is all wrong and that we have to redo their intelligence. But Team B’s estimates were completely inaccurate. I go into considerable detail of how they vastly, vastly overestimated the power of the Soviet Union.

DS: How did they bring Team B into the present?

CU: What you see back then are events that prefigure the Iraq War to an enormous extent. The key operatives in the White House then are the youngest Chief of Staff in the history of the United States, Dick Cheney; and the youngest Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. They are siding with Team B. Here you have thirty years ago the beginning of this alliance between Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Richard Perle.

Bush appoints his father’s enemies to his Cabinet

DS: So Rumsfeld and Cheney are not seen as old Bush Sr. people.

CU: Rumsfeld is probably the bitterest, bitterest enemy of George H.W. Bush ever.

DS: Weren’t they considered part of the realpolitik school?

CU: Cheney was, but not Rumsfeld. And Cheney was Rumsfeld’s protégé.

DS: What effect did it have on Bush Sr. that some of his bitterest foes were assuming positions in his son’s administration?

CU: He is famously nonresponsive on this, but James Baker spoke out. What you see going on in December 2000 is that Bush Jr.’s team had decided on Indiana Senator Dan Coats for Secretary of Defense.

DS: I remember that mentioned.

CU: It was because he was against gays in the military. What better qualification could one possibly have, right? They first appoint Colin Powell as Secretary of State, and he has a press conference with Bush in which Powell is so dazzling that Cheney freaks out and says, “My God, Dan Coats will never be able to stand up to him!” They need somebody more powerful. They call in Donald Rumsfeld and James Baker warns Bush, “You know what this guy did to your father.” Rumsfeld had sabotaged Bush Sr. again and again and again. Bush had been considered a likely choice for Vice President under Gerald Ford instead of Nelson Rockefeller, and Rumsfeld kept him off the ticket.

DS: Why was there a dispute between Rumsfeld and Bush Sr.?

CU: It was ambition. Rumsfeld had Presidential ambitions himself.

Paul Wolfowitz and the Office of Special Plans

According to Unger’s sources, Paul Wolfowitz’s affair with Shaha Ali Riza (above) scuttled plans to make him the Director of the CIA.

DS: Coming back to current times, what continues to transpire in the formation of Bush Jr.’s 2000 cabinet?

CU: They want to appoint Wolfowitz head of the CIA. Well, there’s a problem: he is dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and he is allegedly caught having an affair with a female staff member. He’s also allegedly having another extramarital relationship with another woman who had become more famous, Shaha Ali Riza.

DS: I believe Riza was called Wolfowitz’s “neoconcubine” by his critics.

CU: Yes. To him, that relationship was the romantic embodiment of the neocon venture: he’s a secular Jew; she’s a secular Muslim. He parades her on his arm at all the neocon events that season. There’s one person who doesn’t like this situation: Clare Wolfowitz, his wife of thirty years and mother of his three children. She’s not happy.

DS: What does Mrs. Wolfowitz do about his extramarital affairs?

CU: She’s writes a letter to George W. Bush saying, ‘You can’t possibly make my husband head of the CIA because he’s a security risk,’—she has not commented on this, by the way—that ‘he’s a security risk not just because he has undisclosed relationships, but because one of them is with a foreign national, Shaha Ali Riza.’ This alleged letter I’m told was intercepted by Scooter Libby, who is Wolfowitz’s protégé at Yale and is to become Chief of Staff to Dick Cheney. They are now very wary of putting Wolfowitz up for Congressional hearings; this could be a mess! Instead, they call in Donald Rumsfeld and they see that if they are going to handle intelligence they are going to do it through the Defense Department. This is where the Office of Special Plans gets created.

DS: So they decide to redo the entire intelligence apparatus for Wolfowitz?

CU: This is an alternative national security apparatus. We spend $40 billion a year on intelligence and a great power has to have accurate intelligence. So they put up disinformation pipelines to have the intelligence they want to back up their policies.

DS: What was the CIA’s reaction to this?

CU: They awaken to it bit by bit by bit. The people in the CIA who were aware of it became incredibly angry and there were battles and some people who have spoken out about it are former CIA officials and defense intelligence people. Patrick Lang, Ray McGovern, Melvin Goodman, Philip Giraldi, and so on. I ended up with around ten people like that on the record. The Defense Department was going ballistic. Rumsfeld and Cheney, in a stroke of bureaucratic brilliance, devise this way to hijack for the executive branch the whole national security apparatus. They now can stop the bureaucracy when they want to, grease the wheels when they want to; for example, they put in Josh Bolton as under Secretary of State, who acts as a spy watching Colin Powell.

DS: Was Powell aware of this?

CU: Yes, and he didn’t act. He could easily have fired Bolton. He failed to act.

DS: Why?

CU: He has to answer for that and in the end it was moral cowardice or weakness. The State Department has its own intelligence apparatus, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and they were finding fault again and again with the intelligence that was coming out of the new Pentagon unit. INR wanted to discredit Curveball, for instance; they wanted to discredit the aluminum tubes and the Niger documents. So Bolton and his people forbade INR director Greg Thielmann from attending various key meetings. Now you would think Powell would have stood up for his own intelligence unit, but he did not. When it came to the week before the United Nations meeting in which he made his speech, Colin Powell could have had his people there. He did call them to go over the material somewhat, but they were not present to argue out these points of conflict, and as a result, Cheney’s information got in. When they were preparing for the UN meeting, all the intelligence data came from Cheney’s office and not from the CIA.

What the neoconservatives want

DS: What is the end goal with all of these machinations?

CU: You can see it in the neocon foreign policy papers that they have been writing as early as 1992. The first one was a Defense Department policy guidance paper. Cheney was Defense Secretary and he had under him Wolfowitz, Khalizad and Feith, key neocons who helped formulate this policy, which was considered so radical that Bush Sr. rejected it out of hand. Then you see duplicity on Cheney’s part: publicly he sides with Bush Sr. and Scowcroft , who were very very deliberate. One of the most important foreign policy decisions they made was to not topple Saddam. They had a REAL coalition—unlike the one we have today—of thirty-four countries, eight of which were Arab who supported us throwing Saddam out of Kuwait. They decided, and it was very deliberate, that if they went after Saddam and continued on to Baghdad they would ruin their coalition, alienate their Arab partners, and be mired in a quagmire forever.

DS: Saddam was so unpopular in the region; how did they foresee they would ruin the coalition if they rid Iraq of a very brutal dictator?

CU: American troops occupying an Arab country is a real, real problem, especially in view of Israel. Notice they kept Israel out of it; they were not part of that coalition. They handled it with certain dexterity and were much tougher on Israel, who was unhappy to some extent. This is where you see enormous bifurcation. Out of this comes the effort to sabotage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The term “a clean break” comes out of a very important neocon policy paper called “A Clean Break from the Land for Peace Process.” It means they are throwing that out, which is very interesting because that was official American policy, it was the Oslo policy, and it was even Israeli policy at that point.

DS: It still is.

CU: Theoretically, but they have sabotaged it so badly. Netanyahu did not make good on a lot of the promises…

DS: Arafat didn’t—

CU: Arafat backed out.

DS: So what is the end goal?

CU: It’s a strategic vision of the Middle East.

DS: To control it?

CU: Yes, and they saw Iraq becoming at worst something like Jordan, which is a Hashemite Kingdom that is pro-west and reasonably nice to Israel. We’d have military bases there and we’d have oil deals. Iraq would be a beachhead from which we could go on to Iran. And Iran is a great prize. In 1996 Netanyahu comes to Washington, he’s presented with the Clean Break policy by Richard Perle, and a couple of days later he makes an address before a joint session of Congress and borrows from A Clean Break, but he adds a new country and says ‘the most important country in the region is Iran.’

DS: Was that a surprise?

CU: What’s interesting is that you start to hear the terms “Democracy in the Middle East” and “Democratization” and what you realize is that it’s not about democratization at all, it’s about strategic dominance of the region, and that’s what their policy has been about.

The Christian right and the neoconservatives

DS: In your book you talk about a confluence of social forces. You have the Christian right and you have the neoconservatives, who came together to assist each other in their agendas.

CU: Absolutely. This goes way, way back.

DS: To the 1970s?

CU: Certainly to the 1970’s. The Christian right is part of the DNA of America. I go back to English Puritanism, and you see John Winthrop in the 1630’s saying, “We are starting a shining city on a hill.” Shining city on a hill means we’re the New Jerusalem, we’re the new Zion. America is the Promised Land. What we do is ordained by God. This is Christian Zionism. It is a phrase that has never appeared in the New York Times, but it is an incredibly powerful force that is operative today. It has been picked up by the Christian right and unites them with Israel. It brings together the Christian right, the neocons and the Israeli right: Likud and Benyamin Netanyahu.
You see it come alive in the seventies. Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the first non-Labor Prime Minister in Israel, called Jerry Falwell realizing that America is only 2.5% Jewish and they need a broader base. About 30% of America is evangelical. If you read the Bible, the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis where God says to , “ I give to you this land between the Euphrates and the Nile.” If you believe in biblical inerrancy, as evangelicals do, then you have to believe, “I shall bless those who bless thee; I shall curse those who curse thee.” That’s in Genesis, and I talked to Falwell and a lot of evangelicals. I traveled undercover with Tim LeHay.

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who is a Christian Zionist: “God appeared to Abram and said, ‘I am giving you this land — the West Bank.’ This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.”

DS: Did they openly talk to you about these things?

CU: Yes, this alliance is not a secret. What I do in the book is reframe the entire paradigm. Everyone talks about “Islam vs. The West” and I say that no, it’s fundamentalism—and by that I mean Christian and Jewish fundamentalism, not just Islamic—against the modern, post-Enlightenment world, and it happens that our government is on the wrong side. We are carrying out a fundamentalist foreign policy.

DS: How did the neoconservatives and Christian right come together?

CU: They play very different roles. The neocons are an ideological vanguard and the Christian right is a mass electoral base. You have a couple hundred thousand pastors who can bring them together. The role is the way the unions used to be for the Democratic Party, for example. You had Netanyahu calling Jerry Falwell, which I told you about. You also have people like Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein who formed the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He has worked with a lot of the evangelicals. It has been fostered by the Israeli right and the neocons. I asked Michael Ledeen why he was on the 700 Club and he said, “It’s just we like to promote our views.” People like Gary Bauer have participated in a lot of these policy discussions. You have people like Tom DeLay proclaiming himself as a Christian Zionist openly, or Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma. They would say it’s not a political issue whether Israel should have this land, that it’s a biblical certainty. This has to happen.

DS: It would seemingly take a lot of collusion between them. How does it work?

CU: The Christian right are not policy-makers in general, though there is a Council for National Policy. Falwell told me it’s an umbrella group overseeing all these evangelical groups. It has four or five hundred members and I list some. They are the big honchos of the Christian right, and within that is a smaller group called The Arlington Group, which has about fifty people. They were in regular contact with Karl Rove on a regular basis.

DS: Bush is convinced this is all God’s will?

CU: I go back to the Puritans for a reason because we are the new Zion and what we do is God’s will. I have a very interesting quote by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, an Orthodox rabbi who met with Bush. He says that Bush believes God has a mission for America and, “In that belief he is no different from the Founders who actually saw themselves replaying the Israelites crossing the Red Sea…” When he speaks of the “Founders” he is not talking of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine; he is talking about Cotton Mather and John Winthrop. When you got to Liberty University you see the halls have portraits of the great Puritans as precursors of the evangelicals. Yes, I believe that Bush thinks what he has done has been ordained by God. He’s smart enough not to talk about it in those terms.

xt">Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist Christians

DS: You have a chapter about the assassination of Yitzak Rabin; how did that advance the neoconservative agenda?

CU: It’s one of the least understood events in contemporary history and it is really important in terms of our policy today. Yes, it was done by this one right-wing Israeli, but it was ordained by Orthodox rabbis because Rabin was backing the land-for-peace process. It’s parallel to the Sadat assassination by Islamic fundamentalists. Rabin was breaking Halakhic law by supporting land for peace because it is divinely-ordained land.

DS: Are the Israeli ot">Orthodox Jin touch with the Christian right in the United States?

CU: Completely. And the neocons are a secular version of that, and you see it start coming together, and Netanyahu becomes one of the great backers of an alliance with the Christian right. Michael Ledeen is going on Pat Roberton’s 700 Club shows. You start to have this weaving together.

DS: What does the Christian right have to gain from this?

CU: It’s theological.

DS: The End of Days?

CU: Yes, Christ will not return until that land is given back to the Jews. I try to draw this in the book. People try to talk about the Culture Wars, Red State/Blue State. But no, it’s much deeper than that. It goes back to the founding of America and the Puritans, really. I thought I grew up in a country that put a man on the moon, unraveled the human genome, that discovered DNA and invented the iPod, but no. No western country believes so strongly in Creationism and that the world was born 6,000 years ago; that evolution is wrong. This war is deep and profound and what’s happened now is the government is run by people who believe in dictating our policies based upon the Bible.

DS: This is so much material to be covered in just one book.

CU: Yes, because you can see it in the judiciary. So many students come from Pat Robertson’s law school—

DS: They have a model of the Supreme Court for arguing these fights.

CU: Right. So many of the people in the White House come from Patrick Henry College. It used to be you went to the Ivy League. Now they have people who are homeschooled by evangelicals because they didn’t want them to be poisoned by the secular public school system.

DS: Our society has always been complicated, but there are so many layers to this complex onion of a social movement that it must have been a challenge to articulate it in your book. We hold a lot of myths about our history.

CU: This book goes from biblical times to English Puritanism to espionage and intelligence battles at Langley to the Likudniks in Israel to the assassination of Rabin to the Deep South and the Bible Belt today. You do see the same themes again and again. I tried to do a narrative with three narrative lines: The rise of the neocons in the 1970’s; the rise of the Christian right, which goes back to Biblical times through English Puritanism and the founding of America to becoming a powerful force in American politics and taking over the government because they have a leader who is now President of the United States. It’s important to understand that the Christian right thinks of Bush as a leader, or they have. Although he certainly has lost credibility, the Christian right is not dead at all. I would take issue with The New York Times in their cover story a week or so ago where they proclaim the death of the Christian right, which they do that same story time and again.

DS: Exactly, they recycle the same thematic stories over and over and that one has been written before.

CU: Right. I also try to weave it through the father-son battle. Although I have written critically of Bush Sr. in the past, he certainly is within the framework of the post-Enlightenment reason and reality-based world. There is this quiet sub-rosa battle in which he uses intermediaries in the book like Scowcroft. If there’s a tragic hero in the book, it’s Scowcroft, who is in a very delicate position because he doesn’t want to jeopardize his close friendship with Bush Sr.

DS: But Scowcroft is loathed by George W.’s administration for coming out against his foreign policy.

CU: Right, and now Scowcroft speaks out early and often. He’ll see what’s happening and does what he can, but ultimately he fails.

DS: What does Bush Sr. think or say about Scowcroft’s public statements?

CU: They are still friends. He rarely comments on them, and he doesn’t like to be called out about it. There have been a couple of incidents that I open the book with, statements by Bush Jr. that have been perceived as digs at his father, such as saying “We don’t want to cut and run again.”

DS: Why would Bush Sr. not feel he has a moral obligation to the nation to make his feelings known to his son instead of keeping quiet and not speaking up?

CU: I’m wary of psychoanalyzing him, but I believe they don’t discuss it. He’s come fot"> several times and said, “Look, why don’t you talk to Scowcroft or James Baker” and he kind of leaves it at that. The Iraq Study Group report did have some earmarks of anger venting . Scowcroft actually goes to Egypt and Saudi Arabia to get their support of the Iraq Study Group plan. He also goes to Condi Rice, who is the last person from that world who seems to have real access to Bush, and talks to her about it. She seems to sign on and at one point she says something like, “Well, when do you think we should do this?” and Scowcroft says, “Not we, you.” She never really does anything; she never stands up. She has become an enabler for the neocons such as Wolfowitz, who have convinced Bush to believe that we have to democratize the entire Middle East, topple Saddam, and only then can we deal with the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Of course, that’s absolutely disastrous.

DS: The neoconservative’s policies are so high-risk and there are so many things that could make it go even more wrong. Grover Norquist came out and said that nothing the supporters of the war said would happen with Iraq has happened, and that everything the critics said would happen has happened. If Mubarak suddenly dies in Egypt and that country erupts into a civil war, which is a scenario that is often discussed as likely, that would implode the region even further. How do they account for all these risks they are laying in the lap of the United States?

CU: I’m not sure I have a good answer for that, but I can say they are REAL ideologues. It’s wot"> going back to their history and a lot of this stuff is toxic, third-rail stuff. David Brooks attacked me as a conspiracy nut. The point isn’t that the neocons had this weird Communist conspiracy or anything like that, but that they were trained ideologues and trained in ideological battles and sectarian disputes. They purge people who disagree with them and work in an echo-chamber environment where they don’t admit any facts that contradict their preconceived ideas. You see them operate as this ideological cadre. They purged people in the State Department who were part of the Rementalcrowd, and I go into that. They’ve had the same ideas for thirty years.

On the press

DS: What sort of reaction do you get to your work?

CU: That’s a good question. The reaction to my previous book was actually terrific, but it’s interesting the patterns. In Europe—England, Spain, The Netherlands—it was terrific and I am thought of as a reasoned Centrist. I am not thought of as particularly left-wing in any way.

German artitalThomas Demand speaking with Craig Unger about The Fall of the House of Bush.
photo: David Shankbone

DS: You painstakingly researched this—

CU: I have over 2,000 footnotes there. So in Spain my publisher, Planeta, is considered a center-right company and they made me the big book of their season. In Europe I am considered a straight-ahead reporter. In the United States I tend to be shunned by the mainstream media, almost completely, especially by the White House press corp.

DS: Who have lost almost all credibility with the public…

CU: But they are still there.

DS: We’re stuck with them.

CU: Right, but they haven’t changed, so I will get almost nothing from them. This includes the supposedly liberal New York Times. I deal with the press to a fair extent in the book; not as much as I would like because that’s a whole interview in itself.

DS: I interviewed Gay Talese, who had nothing but contempt for the Washington press corps. He feels they should be broken up and dispersed around the country to report on the federal government. Report on Washington from Denver, from Austin…national reporting from the states.

CU: It’s shocking the difference between the British and the Americans. The huge part of it is the addiction to access. It’s opportunism—

DS: You get to go to a party; you get to ride in Air Force One—

CU: Right! “I want that interview with Donald Rumsfeld so I’m not going to do anything to alienate him by writing a story that is critical of him.” And when you get that story you end up writing exactly what he tells you and it ain’t the truth.

DS: Just to be able to say, “I interviewed Donald Rumsfeld.”

CU: Right, you get front page and it helps you within your newspaper. You’re considered a star at whatever publication there is. That’s how the phony stories of WMDs got in The New York Times and other publications. More than ideology, it was opportunism, careerism on the part of the reporters.

DS: Talese also said that the press is as much responsible for getting us into this war as are the people running it.

CU: Part of what I did with this book is I am explicitly critical of the American press corp., which has done a dreadful job of covering these issues. That in and of itself means they are less likely to cover you. If you look at the national conversation it has a narrative. The only place you can go to find an alternative narrative is Jon Stewart or Colbert or Keith Olberman. But there’s almost nothing in the tradition of the old Walter Cronkite reporting. It barely exists. The other alternative voices are the international press, and the blogs.



External links

Source

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.


Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

December 4, 2006

Kofi Annan: Iraq situation much worse than civil war

Kofi Annan: Iraq situation much worse than civil war

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Pending changes are displayed on this pageUnchecked
Jump to: navigation, search

Monday, December 4, 2006

Kofi Annan

In an interview with BBC’s Lyse Doucet, retiring Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, confessed to sadness at being unable to prevent the war against Iraq. He said that although Saddam Hussein had been a brutal dictator, at least there had been peace in the streets and people were secure in their everyday lives. Saying the war had caused “killing and bitterness”, he said that the situation is now “much worse than a civil war”.

Mr Annan’s comments provoked the anger of Iraq’s national security adviser, Mouwaffaq al-Rubaie, who said he was shocked by what Kofi Annan had said and, in turn, he accused the United Nations of failing in its duty to the Iraqi people.

Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Defence Secretary and one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq by USA and Britain, admitted in a secret memorandum that the strategy in Iraq is not working properly. Just two weeks before his resignation he advocated a change in policy saying “Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough”.

Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, who heads up the study group commissioned by the President to advise on the situation in Iraq referred to Iraq as being “a helluva mess”. On Wednesday, Colin Powell, former Secretary of State who was in post at the time of the invasion of Iraq, told a conference in the United Arab Emirates that Iraq was in a state of civil war. This was an opinion expressed in March by former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi.

Related news

  • “Rumsfeld Memo Recognizes Need for ‘Major Adjustment’ in Iraq” — Wikinews, December 3, 2006

Sources



Bookmark-new.svg

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

June 25, 2006

Ex CIA aide: Tenet misled Powell on evidence for mobile labs

Ex CIA aide: Tenet misled Powell on evidence for mobile labs

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, June 25, 2006

George Tenet

Former CIA Director George Tenet and Deputy Director, John E. McLaughlin lied to then Secretary of State Colin Powell about the depth of evidence regarding mobile chemical weapons labs built by Iraq for germ warfare, according to a story published today in the Washington Post.

In their briefings to Powell on Feb. 4, 2003, one day before the secretary’s United Nations speech, Tenet and McLaughlin told Powell the evidence on the mobile labs was exceptionally strong, based on multiple sources whose stories were independently corroborated. According ex-CIA officer Tyler Drumheller, McLaughlin knew this was not true. A few days earlier, Tyler says, McLaughlin became alarmed at discovering there was only one tangible source of information on the labs. Tenet’s knowledge on lab intelligence is not well known, except that he strongly supported the veracity of reports on chemical weapons labs.

In a late-night check of the facts, the night before Powell’s speech, Tenet called CIA officer Tyler Drumheller. When the subject of the mobile labs came up, Drumheller told Tenet about the unreliability of the information, but Tenet seemed distracted and tired and told him not to worry.

Tenet and McLaughlin both deny the account given by Drumheller. McLaughlin says he cannot remember anyone making the problem clear to him prior to the UN speech. Drumheller says he had spelled out the problem to McLaughlin, in an ad-hoc meeting held in McLaughlin’s office with one other person present. Tenet responded to questions on this story by providing the Washington Post with a statement he had given in response to the Silberman-Robb Commission, in which he said he didn’t learn of the problems with Curveball until much later. He did not recall talking to Drumheller about Curveball, and said it was “simply wrong” for anyone to imply that he knew about the problems with Curveball’s credibility.

From the statements made, one can conclude that either Drumheller is lying or Tenet and McLaughlin told Powell they had more evidence on the chemical weapons labs than they actually did have.

Related news

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq
  • “U.S. claims of Iraqi bioweapons labs contradicted in classified Pentagon report filed on 27 May 2003” — Wikinews, April 15, 2006

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

April 15, 2006

U.S. claims of Iraqi bioweapons labs contradicted in classified Pentagon report filed on 27 May 2003

U.S. claims of Iraqi bioweapons labs contradicted in classified Pentagon report filed on 27 May 2003

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Saturday, April 15, 2006

In an article published on Wednesday by The Washington Post, reporter Joby Warrick alleged that the Bush administration and the CIA “possessed powerful evidence” that contradicted assertions made by President Bush one month after the Iraqi war began, where trailers found in Iraq were said to have been mobile biological weapons labs.

On May 27, 2003, President Bush made public statements on these trailers by asserting that “We have found the weapons of mass destruction,” which coincided with the CIA publishing a whitepaper that detailed how the trailers were allegedly used to produce biological weapons.

Warrick’s news report revealed that evidence exists to support that two days before the presidential statements were made and the CIA whitepaper was published, that a fact-finding group reached an opposite conclusion.

The group was comprised of U.S. and British civilian experts that investigated the labs and concluded unanimously that they had nothing to do with biological weapons production. They relayed their results back to Washington, where Warrick said in the front page Washington Post article that the newspaper interviewed six of the nine group members.

According to The Washington Post, this preliminary report was followed up with a detailed 122 page final report three weeks later, titled “Final Technical Engineering Exploitation Report on Iraqi Suspected Biological Weapons-Associated Trailers.” The report remains classified to this date.

Rendering of alleged mobile bioweapons labs used by Colin Powell in his Security Council speech

Reuters reported that an unnamed U.S. official confirmed the existence of the field report filed on May 27, 2003, and said that the field report had not been evaluated at the time of Bush’s statement. “You don’t change a report that has been coordinated in the (intelligence) community based on a field report,” he reportedly said. The Bush administration continued to make claims about having found mobile biological weapons facilities throughout 2003.

On June 8, 2003, an unnamed senior CIA official stood by the interpretation that the trailers were mobile bioweapons labs saying “It is what we think it is, to the best of our knowledge”.

Then Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed in June 2003 that “confidence level is increasing” that the trailers were intended for biological weapons production.

White House speaker Scott McClellan said on July 16, 2003, that “We’ve seen some of the evidence of his weapons of mass destruction program through two mobile biological weapon labs that have been discovered.”

Vice President Dick Cheney claimed in September 2003 that the trailers were “mobile biological facilities”. Then CIA director George Tenet claimed in a speech on February 5, 2004, that the trailers “could be made to work” as biological weapons labs.

The alleged existence of mobile biological weapons laboratories was one of the cornerstones in Colin Powell’s presentation in front of the United Nations to make the case for war on February 5, 2003. Much of the information came from an Iraqi defector dubbed Curveball who was an asset of the German BND. The credibility of this source was disputed by the BND.

The Iraq Survey Group reported in September 2004 that the trailers were “impractical” for biological agent production and “almost certainly” designed and built for the generation of hydrogen. Asked about the prospects to turn the trailers into biological weapons labs, Rod Barton, a member of the Iraq Survey Group, said “It would be easier to start all over with just a bucket”.

The Washington Post cites unnamed sources among officials and members of the initial survey group as claiming that the original classified report from May 27, 2003 and the classified final report three weeks later came to the same conclusions as the unclassified findings of the Iraqi Survey Group.

Scott Ritter, former United Nations weapons inspector

Scott Ritter, a former United Nations weapons inspector, wrote September 8, 2003: “However, it now is clear that these so- called labs were nothing more than hydrogen generation units based upon British technology acquired by Iraq in the 1980s, used to fill weather balloons in support of conventional artillery operations, and have absolutely no application for the production of biological agents.”

Scott McClellan. White House Press Secretary

In the April 12, 2006 press conference, Scott McClellan said “I will point out that the reporting I saw this morning was simply reckless and it was irresponsible. The lead in The Washington Post left the impression for the reader that the President was saying something he knew at the time not to be true. … The President’s statements were based on the joint assessment of the CIA and DIA that was publicly released the day before [the President made his statements].”

He did not answer repeated questions whether the President knew of the secret report at the time he was asserting that “we found biological laboratories” on May 29, 2005. When asked why the secret report was not made public earlier McClellan responded by saying that “it takes a substantial amount of time to coordinate and run through a declassification process”.

Related News

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

December 25, 2005

Cheney-Rumsfeld \”Cabal\” alleged in the USA

Cheney-Rumsfeld “Cabal” alleged in the USA

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Pending changes are displayed on this pageUnchecked
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who was Colin Powell’s chief-of-staff, is attracting news headlines around the globe [1] by publicly accusing members of the Bush administration. He said in a speech at the New America Foundation: “What I saw was a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.”

Regarding Karen Hughes’s attempts to improve the country’s image abroad? “It’s hard to sell [manure],” Wilkerson said. “If you’re unilaterally declaring Kyoto dead, if you’re declaring the Geneva Conventions not operative, if you’re doing a host of things that the world doesn’t agree with you on and you’re doing it blatantly and in their face, without grace, then you’ve got to pay the consequences” said the man who was chief of staff at the State Department until early 2005.

Wilkerson also described President Bush’s behavior as “cowboyism” and Condoleezza Rice as “extremely weak.”

The colonel described Colin Powell as “the world’s most loyal soldier,” but said he felt his loyalty belongs not to the administration, but to the country.

An email allegedly from Powell told Wilkerson: “Don’t characterize my loyalty.”

Related document

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress