United States News Digest
Pentagon Iraq Study a 'Mission Impossible'
There are three options being studied by the Pentagon to resolve the Bush Administration's Iraq debacle, according military author Tom Ricks writing in the Nov. 20, Washington Post: They are summarized in jock-jargon as "Go Big," "Go Long," and "Go Home." Go Big, i.e., increasing the troops to 300-400,000 for a massive counterinsurgency effort, is out of the question because there are not enough U.S. troops. "Go Home," a "swift" U.S. withdrawal, was thought to lead to even worse bloodshed and civil war. This leaves only "Go Long" (i.e. stay the course), which Ricks calls "a hybrid" of the first two, by adding about 20-30,000 U.S. forces to rapidly train and "stand up" an Iraqi military.
But, whatever the intentions, Lyndon LaRouche made it clear: Nothing is going to work because the central issue is that Bush and Cheney are still running the show. As long as they are commanding the situation, Iraq remains a disaster.
The review group under Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace (USMC) is headed by three colonels: H.R. McMaster and Peter Mansoor of the Army, and Thomas C. Greenwood of the Marines. McMaster, the author of a post-Vietnam classic, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam, commanded one of the only short-term successes in IraqTal Afar. In Dereliction, McMasters went after the political failure in Washington, naming then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, in the Vietnam War. But, apparently, the current Pentagon review will not touch the similar situation around the Iraq War.
Pelosi Announces Democratic Forum on Iraq
Incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) announced that House Democrats will hold a "Democratic forum" on the Iraq War on Dec. 5. But her "new" forum has some old hands. Her office's press release says: "Dr. Zbigniew Bzezinski, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and Major General John Batiste will join current and new members of the Democratic Caucus in discussing options for a way forward in Iraq." The release concludes, "We know that 'stay the course' is not working," and that the "American people have clearly called for a New Direction in Iraq."
Rumsfeld Authorized Abu Ghraib Abuses
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski (ret.), who ran the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003 and early 2004, told Spain's El Pais newspaper Nov. 25 that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorized the mistreatment of detainees held at the prison. She said she saw a memo signed by Rumsfeld which detailed the harsh interrogation techniques. "The handwritten signature was above his name, and in the same handwriting in the margin was written 'Make sure this is accomplished.' The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably.... Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques," she said, according to El Pais.
She also charged that Rumsfeld authorized the Army to violate the Geneva Conventions by not registering some prisoners, noting one particular case that she raised with Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who was then commander of all U.S. forces in Iraq. "I know this happened on various occasions," she said.
Karpinski has said that she is ready to testify against Rumsfeld if a suit filed by civil rights groups in Germany leads to a full investigation.
Bush-Cheney NSA Spy Program Back on the Agenda
Despite the uproar that ensued when the Bush Administration's domestic spying program was exposed one year ago, nothing has actually been decided about it one way or the other, according to a front-page New York Times article Nov. 25. The program has continued without interruption since that time.
At the center of the drama has been Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa), who initially denounced the program when it was exposed, as an "inappropriate" usurpation of Presidential power that "can't be condoned." He signed on to a bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) that would have effectively banned the program. Then, under pressure from the White House, he wrote his own bill that would have brought the program to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court to test its constitutionality, for which he was promptly hammered by Democrats and editorial writers for giving away too much to the White House.
According to the Times, he has changed course yet again, submitting a bill in November, that would require warrants for eavesdropping on communications going out of, but not into, the U.S., and putting the whole issue on a fast track to the Supreme Court.
While there is almost no chance that any substantive legislation will be passed before the lame-duck session concludes in December, Democrats are expressing interest in doing something next year. "There is bipartisan interest in seeing whether the Administration's claims that the program can't comply with FISA are indeed so," said an aide to incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). "We were legislating on an issue where the full parameters were not known or well understood."
Democrats To Probe DoJ's Civil Rights Division
Following a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in mid-Novemberthe first since 2002on the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Senate Democrats promised to impose intense oversight on that Division, the Boston Globe reported Nov. 17. Under the Bush-Cheney Administration, the Civil Rights Division has abandoned its traditional role of enforcing civil rights and specifically the Voting Rights Act, instead, becoming an instrument for voter suppression. A recent Boston Globe study showed politicization of the hiring process for Division attorneys under this administration: New hires were less likely to have a civil rights background, and more likely to have conservative political credentials, such as membership in the right-wing Federalist Society.
When asked about voter suppression and vote fraud at his Nov. 16 webcast, Lyndon LaRouche demanded aggressive prosecution of these election crimes, declaring that this is a national emergency, and calling for expedited procedures to clean the mess up.
Janet Reno Joins Suit vs. Cheney Anti-Terrorism Law
In a highly irregular move, former Attorney General Janet Reno has joined with eight former Justice Department officials from the Clinton and Reagan eras, to file papers targetting the recently passed "anti-terrorism" law, AP reported Nov. 21. They say the law sets a dangerous precedent, by allowing the administration to declare detainees "enemy combatants," thereby stripping them of their habeas corpus rights under the Constitution. "The existing criminal justice system is more than up to the task of prosecuting and bringing to justice [terrorists]," says the complaint, "without sacrificing any of the rights and protections that have been the hallmarks of the American legal system for more than 200 years." The attorneys speculate that this tactic would be used in cases where "it would be too difficult to obtain a conviction," or when "a motion to suppress evidence would raise embarrassing facts about the government's conduct," and perhaps other reasons. This, in turn, would open the door to undermining other defendant rights, including "the defendant's right to counsel and the government's obligation to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
The specific case at issue concerns Qatari student Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who has been held for the last five years at a naval base in South Carolina, and is accused of being a "sleeper agent" for al-Qaeda.
Are the 'Spoonbenders' Back in the Mind-Control Business?
Recall the EIR articles in late 2005 that revealed that it was Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who had covered upin 1975, when they ran the Gerald Ford White House staffthe use of mind control drugs in the torture of prisoners, and in the death of U.S. intelligence community scientist Frank Olson?
That sordid story is still not fully told, and recent events in the alleged mind-control-drug torture of U.S. citizen and "enemy combatant" prisoner Jose Padilla, could open the door to looking at that, and other cases, again. Padilla's attorneys charge that he was given drugs, including PCP and LSD, and was tortured with other methods.
A Nov. 20 Washington Post article, "Some Believe 'Truth Serums' Will Come Back," by David Brown, suggests that the notorious "MK-ULTRA" LSD and mind-control experiments which originated with London's Tavistock Institute, are back. Brown writes that a leading figure in a recent "truth serum" experiment, neuroscientist Paul J. Zak from the Leo Strauss stronghold in California's Claremont University, recently briefed the Pentagon on his truth serum study done in Switzerland.
Brown writes: "In a study published last year, Michael Kosfeld and Markus Heinrichs of the University of Zurich set up an experiment examining oxytocin's effects on trust.
"Paul J. Zak, a neuroscientist at Claremont Graduate University in California, helped supervise the Swiss experiment. He later went to a meeting called by DARPA and presented the findings. When he was finished, a military scientist asked him: 'How do I use this stuff tomorrow?'
"Zak said he dodged the question. He observed that classic interrogation techniques, in which one person acts as the 'good cop' and creates a bond with the prisoner, probably already makes use of the brain's own oxytocin. He added that, 'we are just showing you the neurophysiology behind it.'"