"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

GOP Propagandists Renew Efforts to Blame 9-11 on Clinton

The current debate over whether the findings of a Pentagon anti-terrorism task force had been given to the 9-11 commission has resulted in renewed attacks on Bill Clinton by Republican journalists and radio shock jocks. The new information does demonstrate that the Pentagon knew Mohammed Atta was a potential threat. Rush Limbauigh has jumped from this to claiming Clinton must also have known about Atta.

The Clinton Justice Department is being blamed for erecting a wall prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information with thge FBI. In fact, the Justice Department was enforcing legislation passed before Clinton entered the White House.

The second charge, made by a retired Pentagon anti-terrorism expert, was that Clinton only considered Al Qaeda as a criminal justice problem. In fact, Clinton sent teams to assassinate bin Laden, sought unsuccessfully on two occasions to get the Joint Chiefs to approve military action against Al Qaeda, and unsuccessfully attacked an Al Qaeda base with missiles. There were other military actions taken, including keeping missile subs in position to launch more attacks.

The third claim is that Sudan offered to turn ocver Bin Laden but that the Clinton administration was not interested. The only attack on the former president worth consideration appeared in Vanity Fair, where it was alleged that the Clinton administration refused to even consider a Sudanese offer to turn over Osama bin Laden and vital information. When the Sudanese government offered to turn over Bin Laden in 1996 , the FBI told the administration that it lacked evidence to indict him and the matter was dropped. At that time, Bin Laden was not seen as a major problem. Indeed, the American intelligence community only began to take him seriously in 1995. The magazine’s claim was vigorously denied by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other Clinton officials. They detailed repeated efforts to discuss Bin Laden with Sudan and obtain information. They denied blocking FBI efforts to deal separately with the Sudan. The Sudanese were anxious to improve their image if they could besmirch that of their American detractors in the process.

It is likely that the FBI was willing to assist in this process and that the State Department had been unwilling to let the bureau deal separately with the Sudanese. The original article left the impression that the administration had little interest in enlisting Sudanese cooperation, a claim that appears clearly false. The sources for the article were the Sudanese government and the first Bush administration’s ambassador to the Sudan. If the offers existed, they were made to the security apparatus and not to the State Department. It is clear that the Sudanese government has a long history of supporting terrorism and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Christians.

Lacking a full investigation, it comes down to who is most believable. The Clinton administration had no reason to trust the Sudanese because the CIA believed it had evidence that, with the help of Osama bin Laden, it was attempting to manufacture biochemical weapons.

The Clinton administration in 1998 had sent cruise missiles to destroy a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant were materials for chemical weapons were being manufactured. The television networks showed film clips of the movie "Wag the Dog" and conveyed the impression that the action was intended to divert attention from Clinton’s scandals. It was widely reported that the plant only made medicines and the belief was that the strike Clinton had carried out the attacks to distract people from his impeachment problems. However, most intelligence professionals did not criticize Clinton’s decision. In 2002, evidence was made public that the administration was correct in its initial assessment. The CIA later found the precursor of VX nerve gas outside the plant. The plant was owned by Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi and Khalid Bin Mahfouz. Al Amoudi was later accused of financing Al Qaeda, and bin Mahfouz is Osama bin Laden’s brother in law and had a number of business ties to the Bushes.

After the Khartoum bombing, the Clinton administration "actually waged a vigorous campaign against bin Laden…." and doubled the counterterrorism budget. It eventually kept two Los Angeles class submarines in the Persian Gulf for the purpose of launcing missiles against terrorists.

Marc Rich, whose treatment of Clinton has generally been balanced, has suggested that Clinton’s main failure in battling terrorism was for not firing Louis Freeh, whose bureaucratic and traditional style as director of the FBI was considered by Clinton advisors to be a major impediment to dealing with terrorists. Two National Security Council staffers who worked on counter-terrorism have noted that Freeh’s FBI refused to cooperate with the NSC in anti-terrorism efforts and would not pass on information it had. Freeh detested Clinton, was busy investigating him, and even refused to obey the directives of Attorney General Janet Reno. Yet the firing of Freeh would have been the occasion for an enormous political firestorm as the Right venerated him for his relentless and highly partisan pursuit of Clinton and his actions, which undercut Attorney General Janet Reno, whom the Right also detested.

Despite these problems, the Clinton administration prevented the millennium bombing of the Los Angeles airport and several related bomb plots. The administration actively sought ways to thwart Bin Laden, and Janet Reno attempted to assist John O’Neill, the most effective FBI counter-terrorist operative. However, he faced determined opposition at the highest levels of the FBI and was eventually forced to resign. William Danvers, a former special national security advisor to Clinton, answered the criticisms of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, an aid to Vice President Richard Cheney, who disparaged the Clinton administration’s accomplishments in combating terror. He noted that Clinton doubled the anti-terrorism budget and succeeded in thwarting expected millennium attacks. Those who first bombed the World Trade Center were also caught on Clinton’s watch. He seemed to confirm reports that the second Bush administration had reduced the anti-terrorism efforts they found in place.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


The title of this article may seem alarmist, but the facts more than support it. Andrew Bacevich, a scholar not known for liberalism, says the American political "system is fundamentally corrupt and functions in ways inconsistent with the spirit of democracy."

Over three years, six Indian tribes, on the advice of Tom DeLay’s friend Jack Abramoff, gave $66 million to public relations man Michael Scanlon, formerly DeLay’s director oc communications. Abramoff was recently indicted in connection with other matters, and it remains to be seen if the Bush Justice Department will use this opportunity to probe his relationship with members of Congress.As Elizabeth Drew wrotes, everything is for sale in Washington. A source close to lobbyists reports, "There are no restraints now; business groups and lobbyists are going crazy—they’re in every room on Capitol Hill writing legislation. You can’t move on the Hill without giving money."

Yet the corruption Bacevich mentions runs much deeper than influence peddling and lining pockets. It involves a fundamental disrespect for democratic values. It is not confined to politicians. The touching , unrepublican reverence ordinary citizens pay a wartime president is not healthy. It has made it possible for an administration to take the nation into war based upon fake intelligence. The veneration of military prowess and belief that things American are naturally superior to those of other nations makes it easy for a regime to hollow out democracy at home and abroad. The abuse of detainees –- even children!--on our network of prisons is partly based on this false sense of superiority and the idea that military goals justify a multitude of grievous sins.

Contempt for democratic values and our political system is displayed in so many of the actions of those in power. Those who believe that the press serves a vital, though informal role in our system are alarmed by the Bush administration’s successful efforts to discourage investigative journalism and make the press dependent upon it for information. However, many do not believe that journalists serve the republic as watchdogs.

We should all be able to agree on the sanctity of the legislative process and the need that all elected representatives have ample opportunity to express their views and participate actively in framing legislation. In recent years, the House of Representatives has held open votes for long periods until people could be bribed or intimidated into changing their votes. Recently, it was held open an hour beyond the limit; two years ago it was 3 hours. When Speaker Jim Wright exceeded the limit by 15 minutes, there were many expressions of outrage. Legislative procedures, especially in the House, have been changed to prevent the minority from effectively proposing legislation or participating in the legislative process.

It is now not uncommon to exclude minority party members from committee meetings and even conference committees. Lobbyists sometimes are permitted to attend meeting from which elected representatives are excluded.. Legislation supported by 40% of the members of a chamber is frequently considered even at the committee level. Speaker Hastert has announced a new and unprecedented rule that only significant legislation approved by the majority of the Republican caucus can reach the floor.

Important legislation favored by the majority party in the House is usually considered under rules that forbid amendments. Likewise, decision s about when legislation reaches the follow of the House are often made in the wee hours of the morning so that only one party knows when a bill will come up for a vote. When the Democrats had power, the occasionally prevented amendments, but todays abuses far exceed what could have been imagined even in the 1980s, when Speaker Tip O’Neill and the majority occasionally stepped over the line.

The hollowing out of democracy can seen in the way political demonstrators are handled these days. In the 2004 campaign, demonstrators were kept large distances away from George W. Bush, being rounded up and placed in so-called "free speech areas." Recently, a woman who had lost her son in Iraq was kept four and a half miles from the president’s Crawford, Texas ranch. What does this say about out belief in free expression? That fact that so few ordinary Americans seem perfectly willing to accept these practices suggest that they share their leaders’ contempt for democratic values.

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About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!