Sunday, December 04, 2005
BUSH: CORRUPTION PERSONIFIED
Business As Usual: Corrupt
By Michael Kinsley, Washington Post
"It used to be said that the moral arc of a Washington career could be divided into four parts: idealism, pragmatism, ambition and corruption. You arrive with a passion for a cause, determined to challenge the system. Then you learn to work for your cause within the system. Then rising in the system becomes your cause. Then, finally, you exploit the system -- your connections in it, and your understanding of it -- for personal profit.
And it remains true, sort of, but faster. More
PHOTO: Low job approval ratings continue to dog US President George W. Bush, pictured 02 December 2005, with three in five Americans saying they will choose someone 'completely different' when they next vote for president in 2008. (AFP/File/Jim Watson)
Following is just a sample, from recent headlines, of the ongoing corruption occurring under the watch of GWB:
IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION CORRUPTION
Probe examines rebuilding deals
By Farah Stockman, The Boston Globe
"Investigators in a widening corruption probe of reconstruction contracts in Iraq brought charges yesterday against an Army lieutenant colonel who is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for awarding lucrative contracts to a private contractor, and of stealing $100,000 from funds earmarked for Iraq reconstruction." More
PROPAGANDA OR JOURNALISTIC FRAUD?
The Real Price Of Propaganda
By Jonathan Alter for Newsweek
"This outsourcing of covert propaganda (everything is outsourced these days) tells us a lot about the two biggest stories around—the venality of Republican Washington and the colossal failure in Iraq—and how they're connected by a shadowy world of global public relations. We got into the war with the help of something called the Rendon Group, a secretive firm that won a huge government contract to "create the conditions for the removal of [Saddam] Hussein from power." (According to an article by James Bamford in last week's Rolling Stone, Rendon invented the "Iraqi National Congress" and put Judith Miller and other reporters in touch with their bum sources on WMD.) Now the PR pork scandal is moving to a different level. This year, the Pentagon granted three contractors $300 million over five years to offer "creative ideas" for psychological operations aimed at what the PR experts call "international perception management." That $300 million will buy a lot of Arabic press releases, but it's unavailable for, say, body armor." More:
It's Propaganda (Shock, Horror)!
By David Isenberg
"...[P]aying off the Iraqi media to run good news mirrors what the Bush administration has been doing at home.
For example, in the past year it was revealed that the Bush administration paid nearly a quarter of a million dollars to a prominent conservative commentator, Armstrong Williams, to promote a new education law that had been strongly supported by President George W Bush. The Education Department paid a public relations firm for a video that promoted the law and appeared as a news story, without making clear the reporter was hired as part of the deal.
Similarly, some-time reporter and $200-an-hour gay escort, James Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, violated a ban on "fake" news stories by reprinting White House news releases verbatim.
The gist of the latest story is that beginning this year as part of an information offensive in Iraq, the US military began secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the US mission in Iraq...." More
SEE ALSO: Senate Summons Pentagon to Explain Effort to Plant News Stories in Iraqi Media - New York Times
VIOLATIONS OF US AND UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWS
US civil rights group to sue CIA
"A US civil rights groups says it is taking the CIA to court to stop the transportation of terror suspects to countries outside US legal authority." More
PHOTO: (AFP) Reports claim al-Qaeda members are being held in clandestine jails.
Rights Group Lists 26 It Says U.S. Is Holding in Secret Abroad
By Ian Fisher
New York Times
"ROME, Dec. 1 - Human Rights Watch has released a list of 26 'ghost detainees' it says are being held incommunicado by the United States at secret foreign prisons.
Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst for the rights group, said the list was the most complete possible, based on news media reports and government documents, of the number of people arrested and held without due process outside the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The list, released late Wednesday, includes many of the top suspects arrested in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks, the bombing of the destroyer Cole in 2000 and the nightclubs in Bali in 2002.
'One thing I want to make clear is we are talking about some really bad guys,' Mr. Garlasco said. 'These are criminals who need to be brought to justice. One of our main problems with the U.S. is that justice is not being served by having these people held incognito.'" More.
GOVERNMENT SANCTIFIED TORTURE AND MURDER
Iraq's Death Squads
Editorial, The Washington Post
"OF ALL THE bloodshed in Iraq, none may be more disturbing than the campaign of torture and murder being conducted by U.S.-trained government police forces. Reports last week in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times chronicled how Iraqi Interior Ministry commando and police units have been infiltrated by two Shiite militias, which have been conducting ethnic cleansing and rounding up Sunnis suspected of supporting the insurgency. Hundreds of bodies have been appearing along roadsides and in garbage dumps, some with acid burns or with holes drilled in them. According to the searing account by Solomon Moore of the Los Angeles Times, "the Baghdad morgue reports that dozens of bodies arrive at the same time on a weekly basis, including scores of corpses with wrists bound by police handcuffs." The reports followed a raid two weeks ago by U.S. troops on a clandestine Baghdad prison run by the Interior Ministry, where some 170 men, most of them Sunni and most of them starved or tortured, were found....
...Worse, Mr. Rumsfeld maintained that 'the United States does not have a responsibility' to do anything about the crimes of the police forces it established and trained, other than 'report it.' Even the man he selected to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, could not support such an irresponsible position. Standing alongside Mr. Rumsfeld, he asserted that 'it is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it.'" More
Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake.
German Citizen Released After Months in 'Rendition'
By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
"...'They picked up the wrong people, who had no information. In many, many cases there was only some vague association' with terrorism, one CIA officer said.
While the CIA admitted to Germany's then-Interior Minister Otto Schily that it had made a mistake, it has labored to keep the specifics of Masri's case from becoming public. As a German prosecutor works to verify or debunk Masri's claims of kidnapping and torture, the part of the German government that was informed of his ordeal has remained publicly silent. Masri's attorneys say they intend to file a lawsuit in U.S. courts this week.
Masri was held for five months largely because the head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center's al Qaeda unit "believed he was someone else," one former CIA official said. 'She didn't really know. She just had a hunch.'" More
CORRUPT ESTABLISHMENT: LIES, LIES, AND MORE LIES
Embedded TIME Reporter: Bush Lied In Speech Yesterday About Iraqi Security Forces
By 'Think Progress' �
"Yesterday, President Bush claimed that Iraqi security forces “primarily led” the assault on the city of Tal Afar. Bush highlighted it as an “especially clear” sign of the progress Iraq security forces were making in Iraq....
TIME Magazine reporter Michael Ware, who is embedded with the U.S. troops in Iraq who participated in the Tal Afar battle, appeared on Anderson Cooper yesterday. He said Bush’s description was completely untrue:
'I was in that battle from the very beginning to the very end. I was with Iraqi units right there on the front line as they were battling with al Qaeda. They were not leading. They were being led by the U.S. green beret special forces with them....'" More
TO BE CONTINUED ...