United States News Digest
Cheney, Addington Behind Reauthorization of Torture
Oct. 4 (EIRNS)Within months of the 2004 "lawyers' revolt" in the U.S. Department of Justice, and the DOJ's repudiation of the infamous "Bybee Memo" which had authorized what any reasonable person would consider torture, Justice Department officials, operating under the sway of Dick Cheney and his lawyer David Addington, secretly re-approved "the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency," the New York Times reports in a blockbuster article today.
The new, February 2005 legal opinion "provided explicit authorization," reports the Times, "to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning, and frigid temperatures."
The methods that were secretly re-authorized by the Bush-Cheney Administration, according to the Times account, were part of a program that was hastily put together in 2002, and had never before been authorized by the United States. "With virtually no experience in interrogations," recounts the Times, "the CIA had constructed its program in a few harried months by consulting Egyptian and Saudi intelligence officials and copying Soviet interrogation methods long used in training American servicemen to withstand capture."
EIRNS has been advised by multiple sources that the use of such methods was opposed from the beginning by the military officer corps and also by most experienced CIA officers.
The policies were forced through, according to the Times (and many other accounts) by a group of White House and Justice Department lawyers dominated by Addington. In June 2004, after the Abu Ghraib atrocities had become public, the Bybee memo was withdrawn by the conservative head of the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), Jack Goldsmithwho had also concluded that the Adminstration's warrantless wiretap program was illegal. Goldsmith resigned from the DOJ shortly thereafter, in a maneuver intended to make sure that his withdrawal of the Bybee memo would stick.
In February 2005, Alberto Gonzales took over as Attorney General, and put in Steven Bradbury, a Federalist Society activist, as head of the OLC. When at the White House, Gonzales "seldom resisted pressure" from Cheney and Addington, reports the Times, and this continued when Gonzales became Attorney General.
Within a short time, the secret torture re-authorization was issued by Gonzales and Bradbury, over the fierce opposition of then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey, described as one of the few Administration lawyers willing to take on Addington.
Bush's Health-Care Plan: 'No Child Left Alive'
Oct. 4 (EIRNS)Yesterday, George W. Bush threw 6.6 million American childrenpoor childrenoff the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIPS), a program enacted ten years ago as part of the so-called welfare "reform." Now, in the midst of the biggest financial crisis in the post-war era, Bush has cancelled health coverage for poor children by vetoing a bipartisan compromise bill that would have continued the coverage for these children, and would have added 4 million more uninsured children, whose families do not have health coverage on their jobs.
According to the Sacramento Bee, "The Senate has enough votes to override a Bush veto. In the House, 220 Democrats and 45 Republicans voted for the bill," but 291 House votes are needed to over-ride Bush's veto.
More Evidence of Democratic Leadership Corruption
Oct. 2 (EIRNS)An investigation by the organization Truthout has confirmed what Lyndon LaRouche said shortly after the November 2006 elections which turned control of both the Senate and the House over to the Democrats: The victory could have been much bigger. Investigative reporter Matt Renner and the Truthout staff have now done their own investigation, focussing on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), headed by Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, and have presented four case studies which demonstrate that Emanuel, an appointee of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), acted to thwart activist anti-war candidates in favor of more conservative Democrats, candidates who were much less accountable to the citizenry.
Quoting from the report: "Thirteen of the Democratic members of the House [that Emanuel helped elect] in 2006 joined The Blue Dog Coalition; a group that, according to its spokesperson, has no official stance on withdrawal from Iraq or the president's warrantless wiretapping program... 30 out of 47 of the Blue Dog members broke with the majority of Democrats and cast votes in favor of the recent Protect America Act, a bill that greatly expanded the power of the executive branch to spy on Americans. The caucus also broke with the majority of Democrats when 40 of the Blue Dog members voted to continue funding the occupation of Iraq without a timetable for withdrawal...."
'Revolution in Military Affairs,' Not Blackwater, Is Real Problem
Oct. 4 (EIRNS)Blackwater is not the problem; it's much, much bigger than that. In a recent EIR exposé of British mercenaries and gun-running in Africa linked to the dirty operations of the Britain's BAE Systems, and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Lyndon LaRouche identified this swamp as "a no-man's land, ... a world in which the hand which loads the sniper's rifle denies any culpability for the eye which aims at the target, or the finger that pulls the trigger." The current round of investigations, including those in Congress of the trigger-happy mercenaries known as Blackwater, is of the same character.
LaRouche PAC warned in an April 2006 mass pamphlet, "Halliburton's War," that mercenary death squads are the intentional policy of the Dick Cheney/Donald Rumsfeld "Revolution in Military Affairs."
So, on Oct. 2, Erik Prince, the founder and CEO of Blackwater, testified for four hours at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Operations, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). The same day, Salon.com published reporter Ben Van Heuvelen's outline of the ties between Blackwater and the Bush-Cheney Administration; including part of Jeremy Scahill's 2007 book, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Both document Prince's ties to the Christian fundamentalist fascists and neo-conservatives that make up the support for the Dick Cheney/George Shultz war party.
Challenged by reports on its abuses, Blackwater employed Alexander Strategy Group to run its public relations, until that lobbying firm the main agency of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (R-Tex.) "K Street Project"closed its doors with DeLay's indictment and Jack Abramoff's imprisonment in 2006.
Radical Fundies Threaten To Split GOP; Will Romney Benefit?
Oct. 1 (EIRNS)A group of "religious right" fundamentalists and others, meeting separately during the Sept. 29-30 weekend gathering of the secretive Council for National Policy, is threatening to split from the Republican Party and to back a third-party candidate, if Rudolph Giuliani gets the GOP nomination. According to the New York Times and other publications, this is a grouping of about 50 right-wingers of both the secular and religious stripe, such as James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Richard Viguerie. These so-called "Christian conservatives" complain that Giuliani is too liberal for them on social issues such as abortion. (However, as the Los Angeles Times points out, many religious conservatives are willing to overlook their disagreements with Giuliani on social issues, because they agree with his major focus on terrorism.)
Lyndon LaRouche commented that these threats against a GOP nomination of Giuliani, are likely to benefit another GOP candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who profiles himself as promoting so-called "family values." Romney, along with Dick Cheney, addressed the CNP conference, and, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune, both Romney and Cheney were warmly received.