United States News Digest
Warner to Bush: Begin Troop Withdrawals from Iraq
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, gave a press conference today on the situation in Iraq, based on his recent visit there with committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). After endorsing and discussing the recent National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq and the importance of Iraqi political leaders forming a unity government before the Sept. 15 deadline for Gen. David Petraeus's report, Warner, a former Navy Secretary, offered a proposal to President Bush: On Sept. 15, the President, in consultation with his military commanders, should announce that he's decided to take the first step in a redeployment of U.S. forces. This would be a small group, Warner said, perhaps 5,000 of the 160,000 troops there, to be home by Christmas. The effects of this first redeployment should be evaluated and reported on, and if no problems result, the President could announce a second date for additional forces to leave.
Despite the mild nature of this rebuke to Bush's "stay the course" approach, Warner's statement is a significant blow to the White House's effort to herd Republican lawmakers into silence, until the issuance of the Sept. 15 Petraeus report.
Cheney Behind Administration Failure To Fight Terrorism
Aug. 23 (EIRNS)The release of a two-year-old CIA Inspector General's report from June 2005, commissioned by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and forced out into the open this week by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), who chairs the Intelligence Committee, has raised a renewed furor over who was asleep at the switch prior to 9/11the White House or the CIA.
The New York Times lead editorial, titled "The C.I.A. Report," calls the report "devastatingbut not because it showed that America's spies missed the rise of al-Qaeda. George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, rang the Qaeda alarm. He sent a memo to the entire intelligence community saying that he wanted no effort spared in the war with Osama bin Laden. He took on the president's closest advisers to agitate for a strike on a Qaeda base in Afghanistan." But, "this all happened under President Bill Clinton. When George W. Bush won the White House, Mr. Tenet seems to have shifted his priorities. The C.I.A. chief suddenly seemed consumed with hanging on to his job."
The full report has not been releasedonly an Executive Summary, which states definitively that Tenet was "ultimately responsible" for not devising a full strategic plan to eliminate al-Qaeda, and for not using all the possible resources of the intelligence community to accomplish this.
The report says that in 1998, under President Clinton, Tenet wrote a memo that declared, "We are at war," in the fight with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda," but did not pursue this outlook under Bush.
In fact, as EIR has reported, it was Dick Cheney who suppressed the fight against terrorism; Cheney was party to a special relationship with Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin-Sultan, whose payments to al-Qaeda-linked operatives were covered up in FBI and other investigations of 9/11. Cheney was put in chargeby President Bushof counter-terrorism, but essentially closed down vital inter-agency coordination in the Spring of 2001.
Ritter: Dems Could Win by Taking on Cheney
Aug. 22 (EIRNS)"The Vice President is the single greatest threat to American and international security in the world today," writes former U.S. Marine and arms inspector Scott Ritter, in TruthDig.com. "Cheney's office has made its impact felt on the policies of the United States of America as had no Vice President's office before him. Granted unprecedented oversight over national security and foreign policy by executive order in early 2001, many months prior to the terror attacks of 9/11, Cheney has single-handedly steered America away from being a nation among nations (albeit superior), operating (roughly) in accordance with the rule of law, and toward its present manifestation as the new Rome, a decadent imperial power bent on global domination whatever the cost...."
Ritter says that "America today is very much engaged in a life-or-death struggle against the forces of evil," adding: "The enemy resides not abroad, however, but at home, vested in the highest offices of the land. Neither Osama Bin Laden nor Saddam Hussein threatened the life blood of the United Statesthe Constitutionto the extent that Cheney has. Not Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Ho Chi Minh. Not since the American Civil War has there been a constitutional crisis of the magnitude that exists today ... courtesy of Dick Cheney."
Ritter says that the silence of Congress in the face of this crisis "is one of the great mysteries of our time," adding that, "In many ways, the leading Democrats, both those running for office and those currently holding office, are a far greater insult to American values than the conservative standard-bearers for the policies of Cheney." This is because hardly anyone takes seriously the rantings of what he calls the Hannity/Limbaugh/Coulter triad, of right-wing talking heads. "These Democrats, on the other hand, have mastered the art of compromise to the point that they stand for nothing at all...."
"The Democrats need to stand for something," Ritter continues. "Cheney has provided the sort of political ammunition that would enable them to fight, and win, a constitutional battle over the heart of America, the kind of defining struggle which I believe the vast majority of Americans would rally around...."
"'Bush's Brain' [Rove] may be gone, but his 'Soul' [Cheney] lives on," Ritter concludes. "It is high time all of America put Dick Cheney fully in the spotlight of collective accountability, purging our nation of this scourge which has harmed us in so many ways. If there is any case for impeachment to be made against any member of the Bush administration today, it can be made against a Vice President who has shamed our nation, destroyed our moral standing, and broken our laws."
Incoming JCS Chief Given Access to Chinese Navy
WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (EIRNS)Adm. Mike Mullen, in a press conference following a week-long visit to China, stated that he had been given "unprecedented access to the Chinese Navy." Mullen, the incoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also indicated that there were "several firsts" in his visit. "The relationship between the two [U.S. and Chinese] navies is most important," Mullen said, adding that he had had the opportunity of "spending quality time with the leadership of the Chinese Navy." In his press conference, Mullen also said that "the growth of Chinese military power" was "its own business." and that the U.S.A. would not support Taiwan's independence, reiterating consistent U.S. policy. Although he made the visit in his capacity as Chief of Naval Operations, the fact that he will be taking over the top military post soon, gives the visit added significance.
Leahy: Cheney Blocked FISA Bill Agreement
Aug. 20 (EIRNS)It was Dick Cheney who blocked an agreement between Senate Democrats and the intelligence community on a new wiretapping bill, and now Cheney is blocking compliance with a Senate subpoena, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee charged today.
In a press conference, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) described the negotiations that took place before the August Congressional recess, in which Leahy, Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), and Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairmen of the Senate Judiciary, Intelligence, and Armed Services Committees respectively, had made a recommendation for a "fix" for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), that would be acceptable to the intelligence community.
Then, "there was somebody told from the Vice President's office, 'No, they don't want that,'" Leahy revealed, and Cheney got a bill which allowed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to override the FISA court.
The occasion for Leahy's press conference was that, once again, the Administration has missed the deadline for compliance with subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee (which was approved on a bipartisan, 13-3 vote) for documents concerning the legal basis for the warrantless wiretapping program.
The only response today, according to Leahy, came from Cheney's office, which identified certain Presidential and Justice Department documents which might be responsive to the subpoena, but which Cheney is withholding, claiming they would be covered by Executive privilege. There is no question that the White House and Cheney "are in contempt of the valid order of the Congress," Leahy charged.
And in that letter, Leahy pointed out, Cheney again claimed that his office is not part of the Executive Office of the President. "So it's some kind of fourth branch of government," Leahy remarked.
Leahy also pointed out that, when Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) was chairing the Judiciary Committee, and was seeking information on the wiretap program, Cheney had told GOP Senators that they couldn't issue subpoenas! "Not quite sure that's my understanding of the Separation of Powers," Leahy mused.
LaRouche: 'The Target Is the Internal Stability of China'
Aug. 20 (EIRNS)Responding to the recent anti-China legislation being pulled together by Democratic Senators Charles Schumer of New York and Max Baucus of Montana, aimed at forcing an up-valuation of the Chinese currency, Lyndon LaRouche recently pointed to the "made in London" character of the legislation.
"Chuck Schumer is not a bad guy," LaRouche said, "but the policy coming from London [which he is expressing] is to get China.... Schumer just doesn't understand economics," LaRouche added. "The real target is the internal stability of China. If you want to start something, set fire to the place. It's a provocation." This was also connected to the reactionary Ishiwara faction in Japan, he explained, those who still "can't get over what they didn't get" because of their defeat during World War II.