BLACKJACK The Evil Nuclear Cartoon!

Roll Call: Children murdered by Israel

Roll Call: Children murdered by Israel

Al Jazeera has obtained the names of 210 of the young victims

Photo on right: Four-year-old shot: “I saw him [the solider] hiding next to the shop. I looked around for my mum, then he shot me. One bullet hit my hand and the other penetrated my stomach through my back.”

27/12/2008
Ibtihal Kechko Girl 10
Ahmed Riad Mohammed Al-Sinwar Boy 3
Ahmed Al-Homs Boy 18
Ahmed Rasmi Abu Jazar Boy 16
Ahmed Sameeh Al-Halabi Boy 18
Tamer Hassan Al-Akhrass Boy 5
Hassan Ali Al-Akhrass Boy 3
Haneen Wael Mohammed Daban Girl 15
Khaled Sami Al-Astal Boy 15
alaat Mokhless Bassal Boy 18
Aaed Imad Kheera Boy 14
Abdullah Al-Rayess Boy 17
Odai Hakeem Al-Mansi Boy 4
Allam Nehrou Idriss Boy 18
Ali Marwan Abu Rabih Boy 18
Anan Saber Atiyah Boy 13
Camelia Al-Bardini Girl 10
Lama Talal Hamdan Girl 10
Mohammed Jaber Howeij Boy 17
Nimr Mustafa Amoom Boy 10
29/12/2008
Ismail Talal Hamdan Boy 10
Ahmed Ziad Al-Absi Boy 14
Ahmed Youssef Khello Boy 18
Ikram Anwar Baaloosha Girl 14
Tahrier Anwar Baaloosha Girl 17
Jihad Saleh Ghobn Boy 10
Jawaher Anwar Baaloosha Girl 8
Dina Anwar Baaloosha Girl 7
Samar Anwar Baaloosha Girl 6
Shady Youssef Ghobn Boy 12
Sudqi Ziad Al-Absi Boy 3
Imad Nabeel Abou Khater Boy 16
Lina Anwar Baaloosha Girl 7
Mohammed Basseel Madi Boy 17
Mohammed Jalal Abou Tair Boy 18
Mohammed Ziad Al-Absi Boy 14
Mahmoud Nabeel Ghabayen Boy 15
Moaz Yasser Abou Tair Boy 6
Wissam Akram Eid Girl 14
30/12/2008
Haya Talal Hamdan Girl 8
31/12/2008
Ahmed Kanouh Boy 10
Ameen Al-Zarbatlee Boy 10
Mohammed Nafez Mohaissen Boy 10
Mustafa Abou Ghanimah Boy 16
Yehya Awnee Mohaissen Boy 10
Ossman Bin Zaid Nizar Rayyan Boy 3
Assaad Nizar Rayyan Boy 2
Moaz-Uldeen Allah Al-Nasla Boy 5
Aya Nizar Rayyan Girl 12
Halima Nizar Rayyan Girl 5
Reem Nizar Rayyan Boy 4
Aicha Nizar Rayyan Girl 3
Abdul Rahman Nizar Rayyan Boy 6
Abdul Qader Nizar Rayyan Boy 12
Oyoon Jihad Al-Nasla Girl 16
Mahmoud Mustafa Ashour Boy 13
Maryam Nizar Rayyan Girl 5

01/01/2009

Hamada Ibrahim Mousabbah Boy 10
Zeinab Nizar Rayyan Girl 12
Sujud Mahmoud Al-Derdesawi Girl 10
Abdul Sattar Waleed Al-Astal Boy 12
Abed Rabbo Iyyad Abed Rabbo Al-Astal Boy 10
Ghassan Nizar Rayyan Boy 15
Christine Wadih El-Turk Boy 6
Mohammed Mousabbah Boy 14
Mohammed Iyad Abed Rabbo Al-Astal Boy 13
Mahmoud Samsoom Boy 16
Ahmed Tobail Boy 16
Ahmed Sameeh Al-Kafarneh Boy 17
Hassan Hejjo Boy 14
Rajeh Ziadeh Boy 18
Shareef Abdul Mota Armeelat Boy 15
Mohammed Moussa Al-Silawi Boy 10
Mahmoud Majed Mahmoud Abou Nahel Boy 16
Mohannad Al-Tatnaneeh Boy 18
Hani Mohammed Al-Silawi Boy 10
01/01/2009
Ahmed Al-Meshharawi Boy 16
Ahmed Khodair Sobaih Boy 17
Ahmed Sameeh Al-Kafarneh Boy 18
Asraa Kossai Al-Habash Girl 10
Assad Khaled Al-Meshharawi Boy 17
Asmaa Ibrahim Afana Girl 12
Ismail Abdullah Abou Sneima Boy 4
Akram Ziad Al-Nemr Boy 18
Aya Ziad Al-Nemr Girl 8
Ahmed Mohammed Al-Adham Boy 1
Akram Ziad Al-Nemr Boy 13
Hamza Zuhair Tantish Boy 12
Khalil Mohammed Mokdad Boy 18
Ruba Mohammed Fadl Abou-Rass Girl 13
Ziad Mohammed Salma Abou Sneima Boy 9
Shaza Al-Abed Al-Habash Girl 16
Abed Ziad Al-Nemr Boy 12
Attia Rushdi Al-Khawli Boy 16
Luay Yahya Abou Haleema Boy 17
Mohammed Akram Abou Harbeed Boy 18
Mohammed Abed Berbekh Boy 18
Mohammed Faraj Hassouna Boy 16
Mahmoud Khalil Al-Mashharawi Boy 12
Mahmoud Zahir Tantish Boy 17
Mahmoud Sami Assliya Boy 3
Moussa Youssef Berbekh Boy 16
Wi’am Jamal Al-Kafarneh Girl 2
Wadih Ayman Omar Boy 4
Youssef Abed Berbekh Boy 10

05/01/2009

Ibrahim Rouhee Akl Boy 17
Ibrahim Abdullah Merjan Boy 13
Ahmed Attiyah Al-Semouni Boy 4
Aya Youssef Al-Defdah Girl 13
Aya Al-Sersawi Girl 5
Ahmed Amer Abou Eisha Boy 5
Ameen Attiyah Al-Semouni Boy 4
Hazem Alewa Boy 8
Khalil Mohammed Helless Boy 12
Diana Mosbah Saad Girl 17
Raya Al-Sersawi Girl 5
Rahma Mohammed Al-Semouni Girl 18
Ramadan Ali Felfel Boy 14
Rahaf Ahmed Saeed Al-Azaar Girl 4
Shahad Mohammed Hijjih Girl 3
Arafat Mohammed Abdul Dayem Boy 10
Omar Mahmoud Al-Baradei Boy 12
Ghaydaa Amer Abou Eisha Girl 6
Fathiyya Ayman Al-Dabari Girl 4
Faraj Ammar Al-Helou Boy 2
Moumen Alewah Boy 9
Moumen Mahmoud Talal Alaw Boy 10
Mohammed Amer Abu Eisha Boy 8
Mahmoud Mohammed Abu Kamar Boy 15
Marwan Hein Kodeih Girl 6
Montasser Alewah Boy 12
Naji Nidal Al-Hamlawi Boy 16
Nada Redwan Mardi Girl 5
Hanadi Bassem Khaleefa Girl 13

06/01/2009

Ibrahim Ahmed Maarouf Boy 14
Ahmed Shaher Khodeir Boy 14
Ismail Adnan Hweilah Boy 15
Aseel Moeen Deeb Boy 17
Adam Mamoun Al-Kurdee Boy 3
Alaa Iyad Al-Daya Girl 8
Areej Mohammed Al-Daya Girl 3 months
Amani Mohammed Al-Daya Girl 4
Baraa Ramez Al-Daya Girl 2
Bilal Hamza Obaid Boy 15
Thaer Shaker Karmout Boy 17
Hozaifa Jihad Al-Kahloot Boy 17
Khitam Iyad Al-Daya Girl 9
Rafik Abdul Basset Al-Khodari Boy 15
Raneen Abdullah saleh Girl 12
Zakariya Yahya Al-Taweel Boy 5
Sahar Hatem Dawood Girl 10
Salsabeel Ramez Al-Daya Girl 6 months
Sharafuldeen Iyad Al-Daya Boy 7
Doha Mohammed Al-Daya Girl 5
Ahed Iyad Kodas Boy 15
Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah Boy 10
Issam Sameer Deeb Boy 12
Alaa Ismail Ismail Boy 18
Ali Iyad Al-Daya Boy 10
Imad Abu Askar Boy 18
Filasteen Al-Daya Girl 5
Kamar Mohammed Al-Daya Boy 3
Lina Abdul Menem Hassan Girl 10
Unidentified Boy 9
Unidentified Boy 15
Mohammed Iyad Al-Daya Boy 6
Mohammed Bassem Shakoura Boy 10
Mohammed Bassem Eid Boy 18
Mohammed Deeb Boy 17
Mohammed Eid Boy 18
Mustafa Moeen Deeb Boy 12
Noor Moeen Deeb Boy 2
Youssef Saad Al-Kahloot Boy 17
Youssef Mohammed Al-Daya Boy 1

07/01/2009

Ibrahim Kamal Awaja Boy 9
Ahmed Jaber Howeij Boy 7
Ahmed Fawzi Labad Boy 18
Ayman Al-Bayed Boy 16
Amal Khaled Abed Rabbo Girl 3
Toufic Khaled Al-Khahloot Boy 10
Habeeb Khaled Al-Khahloot Boy 12
Houssam Raed Sobeh Boy 12
Hassan Rateb Semaan Boy 18
Hassan Ata Hassan Azzam Boy 2
Redwan Mohammed Ashoor Boy 10
Suad Khaled Abed Rabbo Girl 6
Samar Khaled Abed Rabbo Girl 2
Abdul Rahman Mohammmed Ashoor Boy 12
Fareed Ata Hassan Azzam Boy 13
Mohammed Khaled Al-Kahloot Boy 15
Mohammed Samir Hijji Boy 16
Mohammed Fareed Al-Maasawabi Boy 16
Mohammed Moeen Deeb Boy 17
Mohammed Nasseem Salama Saba Boy 16
Mahmoud Hameed Boy 17
Hamam Issa Boy 1

08/01/2009

Anas Arif Abou Baraka Boy 7
Ibrahim Akram Abou Dakkka Boy 12
Ibrahim Moeen Jiha Boy 15
Baraa Iyad Shalha Girl 6
Basma Yasser Al-Jeblawi Girl 5
Shahd Saad Abou Haleema Girl 15
Azmi Diab Boy 16
Mohammed Akram Abou Dakka Boy 14
Mohammed Hikmat Abou Haleema Boy 17
Ibrahim Moeen Jiha Boy 15
Matar Saad Abou Haleema Boy 17

09/01/2009

Ahmed Ibrahim Abou Kleik Boy 17
Ismail Ayman Yasseen Boy 18
Alaa Ahmed Jaber Girl 11
Baha-Uldeen Fayez Salha Girl 5
Rana Fayez Salha Girl 12
Rola Fayez Salha Girl 13
Diyaa-Uldeen Fayez Salah Boy 14
Ghanima Sultan Halawa Girl 11
Fatima Raed Jadullah Girl 10Mohammed Atef Abou Al-Hussna Boy 15

Bush-Cheney Deserve Censure for Declaring War Against The Constitution

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Before Inauguration Day, the 111th Congress should pass a forward-looking resolution censuring President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for executive aggrandizements or abuses that have reduced Congress to vassalage and shredded the rule of law. The resolution should express a congressional intent to prevent repetitions by the President-elect Barack Obama or his successors. The objective is not Bush-Cheney bashing, but to restore a republican form of government in which “We the People” are sovereign, and the president is checked and publicly scrutinized by Congress and the courts. The Bush-Cheney duumvirate won an undeclared war against the Constitution. Most troublesome, they captured the power to initiate war from a spineless Congress. The Founding Fathers were unanimous in denying the president that constitutional authority. They knew that presidents would chronically deceive Congress and concoct excuses for war to control public information, benefit political friends through government contracts, quell dissent, assert emergency powers and enjoy the intoxicating thrill of, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

By wielding the threat of international terrorism, the Bush-Cheney team put the nation on a permanent war footing – the first time in history that war has been undertaken against a tactic. They maintained that the entire post-9/11 world is an active battlefield where United States military force may be used to kill suspected members of al Qaeda irrespective of international boundaries.

They claimed executive privilege and state secrets to conduct secret government – thereby circumventing political and legal accountability. This included directives to former White House officials Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to flout congressional subpoenas for testimony. They detained hundreds of people (including American citizens) as enemy combatants without accusation or trial. They authorized torture (waterboarding and extraordinary rendition), abductions, secret prisons and illegal surveillance of American citizens.

US Military Defiant on Key Terms of Iraqi Pact

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

WASHINGTON – U.S. military leaders and Pentagon officials have made it clear through public statements and deliberately leaked stories in recent weeks that they plan to violate a central provision of the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement requiring the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities by mid-2009 by reclassifying combat troops as support troops.

The scheme to engage in chicanery in labeling U.S. troops represents both open defiance of an agreement which the U.S. military has never accepted and a way of blocking President-elect Barack Obama’s proposed plan for withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of his taking office.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/12/19

By redesignating tens of thousands of combat troops as support troops, those officials apparently hope to make it difficult, if not impossible, for Obama to insist on getting all combat troops of the country by mid-2010.

Cheney Throws Down Gauntlet, Defies Prosecution for War Crimes

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Dick Cheney has publicly confessed to ordering war crimes. Asked about waterboarding in an ABC News interview, Cheney replied, “I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared.” He also said he still believes waterboarding was an appropriate method to use on terrorism suspects. CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed that the agency waterboarded three Al Qaeda suspects in 2002 and 2003.

U.S. courts have long held that waterboarding, where water is poured into someone’s nose and mouth until he nearly drowns, constitutes torture. Our federal War Crimes Act defines torture as a war crime punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the victim dies.

Under the doctrine of command responsibility, enshrined in U.S. law, commanders all the way up the chain of command to the commander-in-chief can be held liable for war crimes if they knew or should have known their subordinates would commit them and they did nothing to stop or prevent it.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/12/19

New Evidence Contradicts White House Assertions on Uranium Claim

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

New Evidence Contradicts White House Assertions on Uranium Claim

By: House Oversight Committee

Dec. 18, 2008 – New evidence obtained by the Oversight Committee indicates that the CIA rejected White House efforts to insert the claim that Iraq sought uranium from Africa into two speeches by President Bush prior to the 2003 State of the Union address, contradicting assertions made to Congress by then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales on behalf of then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

MEMORANDUM

December 18, 2008

To: Members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Fr: Chairman Henry A. Waxman

Re: The President’s Claim that Iraq Sought Uranium from Niger

Next month, I will be leaving the Oversight Committee to chair the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Before I depart, I want to report to you on the most significant information I have learned from the Committee’s investigation into the basis for President Bush’s claim in his 2003 State of the Union address that “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

On January 6, 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales sent a letter on behalf of Condoleezza Rice, who was then the National Security Advisor, to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, writing that “Dr. Rice has asked me to respond” to questions raised by the Committee about the uranium claim. Mr. Gonzales informed the Committee that the CIA “orally cleared” the uranium claim “for use by the President” in both a September 12, 2002, speech to the United Nations and a September 26, 2002, speech in the White House Rose Garden.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence relied on these representations and adopted the White House’s statements almost verbatim in its 2004 Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq. As a result, the Senate report created the impression that the President’s use of the uranium claim in the State of the Union address could be blamed in large part on the CIA and its clearance of the claim in the earlier speeches.

The information the Oversight Committee has received casts serious doubt on the veracity of the representations that Mr. Gonzales made on behalf of Dr. Rice. Contrary to Mr. Gonzales’s assertions, the Committee has received evidence that the CIA objected to the uranium claim in both speeches, resulting in its deletion from the President’s remarks. In the case of the September 26, 2002, speech, the former Deputy Director of Intelligence at the CIA told the Committee that she personally warned Dr. Rice not to use the uranium claim.

The President’s September 12, 2002, speech to the United Nations contended that Iraq was in breach of United Nations sanctions. During an interview with the Committee, John Gibson, who served as Director of Speechwriting for Foreign Policy at the National Security Council (NSC), stated that he tried to insert the uranium claim into this speech at the request of Michael Gerson, chief White House speechwriter, and Robert Joseph, the Senior Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense at the NSC. According to Mr. Gibson, the CIA rejected the uranium claim because it was “not sufficiently reliable to include it in the speech.” Mr. Gibson stated that the CIA “didn’t give that blessing,” the “CIA was not willing to clear that language,” and “[a]t the end of the day, they did not clear it.”

On September 26, 2002, President Bush delivered remarks in the White House Rose Garden urging Congress to authorize the use of force in Iraq. During an interview with the Committee, Jami Miscik, the Deputy Director of Intelligence at the CIA, stated that NSC officials “wouldn’t take [the uranium claim] out of the speech.” As a result, she was asked to explain directly to Dr. Rice “the reasons why we didn’t think this was credible.” Ms. Miscik stated that “[i]t was clear that we had problems or we at the most fundamental level wouldn’t have been having the phone call at all.” According to Ms. Miscik, the CIA’s reasons for rejecting the uranium claim “had been conveyed to the NSC counterparts” before the call, and Dr. Rice was “getting on the phone call with that information.” Ms. Miscik told Dr. Rice personally that the CIA was “recommending that it be taken out.” She also said “[i]t turned out to be a relatively short phone call” because “we both knew what the issues were and therefore were able to get to a very easy resolution of it.”

During his interview with the Committee, Mr. Gibson was asked about the White House assertions that the CIA had cleared the inclusion of the uranium claim. He stated that the White House assertions were “incorrect.” He told the Committee that “the CIA had never cleared” the use of the uranium claim. During her interview with the Committee, Ms. Miscik made the same point, stating that the White House assertions were “not accurate” and “misleading.” She explained further: “We had not cleared on this speech until the discussion that Dr. Rice and I had.”

Unfortunately, Dr. Rice resisted efforts by the Committee to obtain her testimony about these matters. Thus, I am not able to report to you how she would explain the seeming contradictions between her statements and those of Mr. Gonzales on her behalf and the statements made to the Committee by senior CIA and NSC officials.

Background

On January 28, 2003, President Bush delivered his State of the Union address in which he made the case for going to war with Iraq. As part of his effort to justify his conclusion that war was necessary, President Bush stated that “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

On March 7, 2003, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reported to the U.N. Security Council:

Based on thorough analysis, the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that these documents – which formed the basis for reports of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger – are in fact not authentic. We have therefore concluded that these specific allegations are unfounded.

On March 17, 2003, two days before U.S. troops invaded Iraq, I wrote a letter to President Bush to express concern that “a key piece of evidence … cited regarding Iraq’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons is a hoax” and that “the Central Intelligence Agency questioned the veracity of the evidence at the same time [the President] and other Administration officials were citing it in public statements.”

On June 10, 2003, I wrote to Dr. Rice in her previous position as National Security Advisor to the President. In my letter, I asked her to explain how the uranium claim got into the State of the Union address and who in the Administration had information about the uranium intelligence. She never responded to this letter.

On July 6, 2003, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson made public the details of his trip to Africa and the questions he had raised about the uranium claim. Based on this additional information, I wrote to Dr. Rice again on July 29, 2003, with detailed questions about her knowledge about the uranium claim and how it became a key piece of evidence in the President’s justification for the Iraq War. She never responded to this letter.

When I became chair of the Oversight Committee, I wrote to Secretary Rice on March 12, 2007, requesting a response to my letters from June and July 2003. After receiving no response, I sent a letter to Secretary Rice on March 30, 2007, inviting her to testify before the Oversight Committee on April 18, 2007. When she failed to appear at the hearing, the Committee voted 21 to 10 to issue a subpoena for her testimony. On May 11, 2007, the Committee received a letter from the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs stating that Secretary Rice would be unable to attend the hearing. To accommodate her schedule, I postponed the hearing until June 19, 2007.

On June 12, 2007, I wrote to inform Secretary Rice that the Committee would postpone her testimony “in order to allow additional time for the Committee to conduct interviews and review documents.” As I stated in that letter:

The Committee was conducting interviews and depositions of senior government officials with knowledge of prewar intelligence about Iraq’s nuclear program, including George Tenet, former Director of Central Intelligence; John McLaughlin, former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence; Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell; and Carl Ford, former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research. The Committee plans to conduct additional interviews over the coming weeks. In addition, the CIA and State Department have begun to provide important documents to the Committee.

The Committee continued its investigation, reviewing documents and interviewing officials from the CIA and NSC. On October 31, 2008, I wrote to the White House to request the production of information the White House had previously produced to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence relating to the uranium claim. On November 12, 2008, the White House produced a letter sent on January 6, 2004, from White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The United Nations Speech

On September 12, 2002, President Bush delivered a speech to the United Nations making the case that Iraq had violated United Nations sanctions by pursuing weapons of mass destruction. As part of the Committee’s investigation, staff conducted a two-part interview on August 2 and October 11, 2007, with John Gibson, who previously worked for Dr. Rice at the National Security Council as Director of Foreign Policy Speechwriting.

Mr. Gibson told the Committee that he was asked to draft the United Nations speech in order “to make the case that … Iraq is not in compliance with numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions and that the world community should not accept this noncompliance.”

According to Mr. Gibson, on September 11, 2002, the day before the speech, Michael Gerson, the chief White House speechwriter, and Robert Joseph, the Senior Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense at the National Security Council, approached him about including a reference to “evidence that purported to show that Iraq had attempted to purchase enriched uranium or uranium from an African country, Niger.”

Mr. Gibson explained that Mr. Joseph “came across” information about the uranium claim that he considered “interesting,” and as a result, “there became interest to put it in the speech.”

According to Mr. Gibson, he inserted the uranium claim into the speech and sent it to the CIA for review. Mr. Gibson told the Committee that while the CIA was reviewing the speech, there was further discussion at the White House regarding the uranium claim, but he emphasized that they were “still waiting for clearance” from the CIA and that “if the agency didn’t stand behind it, it would not be included.”

Mr. Gibson informed the Committee that the CIA rejected the inclusion of the claim in the President’s speech. He stated that Mr. Joseph “relayed to me that we’ve got to pull it, the agency is just not comfortable with it.” According to Mr. Gibson, Mr. Joseph stated that the CIA raised specific concerns that the uranium claim “was from a single foreign source” and “was not sufficiently reliable to include it in the speech.” The uranium claim was then removed and was not referenced by the President in the United Nations speech.

The account Mr. Gibson provided to the Oversight Committee directly contradicts the account the White House provided to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. On January 6, 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales wrote a letter to Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. According to this letter, the White House was asked to provide “examples of references to Iraq’s efforts to acquire uranium that was [sic] cleared by CIA for use in various Presidential remarks or White House communications.” Mr. Gonzales wrote:

Dr. Rice has asked me to respond to your letter dated October 30 requesting information that you believe is necessary to assist in your review of U.S intelligence on the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

With respect to the United Nations speech, Mr. Gonzales stated: “On September 11, 2002, CIA officials orally cleared [the uranium claim] for use by the President.” Mr. Gonzales also stated:

The language cleared by the CIA was identical to the language proposed for clearance by the White House staff, except that it appears that CIA may have suggested the addition of the words “up to” in the third sentence.

The report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence appears to have relied on this assertion and adopted it almost verbatim. The Senate report stated:

In a written response to questions from Committee staff, the White House said that on September 11, 2002, National Security Council (NSC) staff contacted the CIA to clear language for possible use in a statement for use by the President. The language cleared by the CIA … was identical to the text proposed by the White House except that the CIA had suggested added “up to” before 500 metric tons.

The Committee asked Mr. Gibson whether the assertions by the White House were accurate. In response, Mr. Gibson stated that they were “incorrect because it was my understanding that the CIA had never cleared” the language on the uranium claim. Mr. Gibson stated that the uranium claim “was not ultimately blessed” by the CIA “for inclusion in the speech.”

Mr. Gibson acknowledged that a lower-level CIA staffer without authority to clear the speech may have “suggested the inclusion of the words ‘up to’” as part of the process of getting “the language as clean and right as they could.” But Mr. Gibson stated that ultimately the CIA leadership “didn’t give that blessing,” the “CIA was not willing to clear that language,” and “[a]t the end of the day, they did not clear it.”

The Rose Garden Speech

On September 26, 2002, President Bush delivered remarks in the White House Rose Garden in an effort to persuade Congress to pass a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq. As part of the Committee’s investigation, staff conducted a two-part interview on June 14 and August 21, 2007, with Jami Miscik, the former Deputy Director of Intelligence for the CIA.

During her interview, Ms. Miscik informed the Committee that there was a dispute between the National Security Council and the CIA about whether to include the uranium claim in the speech. Ms. Miscik told the Committee that CIA staff “needed my help” because officials who worked for Dr. Rice at the NSC “wouldn’t take [the uranium claim] out of the speech.” According to Ms. Miscik, the CIA officials asked her to call Dr. Rice directly to explain “the reasons why we didn’t think this was credible.” Ms. Miscik explained that these CIA officials were “really wanting this information not to be used, because we didn’t think it was credible.”

Ms. Miscik acknowledged that it would “not be typical” for the Deputy Director of Intelligence to call the National Security Advisor to remove a line from the President’s draft speech, but that it became necessary because Dr. Rice’s staff continued to resist the CIA’s requests to remove the claim. According to Ms. Miscik, “It was clear that we had problems or we at the most fundamental level wouldn’t have been having the phone call at all.”

Ms. Miscik told the Committee that she prepared for her call with Dr. Rice by familiarizing herself with the reasons the CIA was requesting the claim be removed from the President’s speech. According to Ms. Miscik, those reasons included the fact that Iraq already had stockpiles of uranium and would not need to acquire yellowcake; that the uranium mines in Niger were “run by” the French; and that that some of these mines were “underwater.”

Ms. Miscik stated that she spoke with Dr. Rice directly over the telephone on September 24, 2002. Ms. Miscik explained that the CIA’s reasons for requesting that the removal of the uranium claim “had been conveyed to the NSC counterparts” before the call began and that she and Dr. Rice “were getting on the phone call with that information.” According to Ms. Miscik, it was clear to her during the call that the CIA’s concerns already “had been discussed on both sides.”

Ms. Miscik stated that Dr. Rice began the conversation by stating, “I understand we have an issue on the speech.” Ms. Miscik then relayed to Dr. Rice that the CIA had “concerns” about including the uranium claim in the President’s speech and that the CIA was “recommending that it be taken out.”

Ms. Miscik informed the Committee that “[i]t turned out to be a relatively short phone call.” As she told the Committee, “we both knew what the issues were and therefore were able to get to a very easy resolution of it.” At the end of the call, Ms. Miscik explained, “I think she just then said, well, why don’t we just remove the sentences? And I said, that would be fine. And that’s what happened.” When the President delivered the Rose Garden speech, he did not reference the uranium claim.

The account Ms. Miscik provided to the Oversight Committee directly contradicts the account the White House provided to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Writing on Dr. Rice’s behalf on January 6, 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales addressed the uranium claim in the Rose Garden speech. He asserted: “On September 24, 2002, CIA officials orally cleared the [uranium claim] for use by the President.” Mr. Gonzales wrote:

The language cleared by CIA was identical to the language proposed for clearance by White House staff, except that it appears that CIA may have suggested that the second sentence read “in the process” rather than “of the process.”

Again, the Senate report appears to have adopted the White House assertion. The report states:

In response to questions from Committee staff, the White House said that on September 24, 2002, NSC staff contacted the CIA to clear another statement for use by the President. … The CIA cleared the language, but suggested that “of the process” be changed to “in the process.”

When the Committee asked Ms. Miscik whether the White House assertions were correct, she responded that they were “not accurate” and agreed that they were in fact “misleading” because they stated that the CIA had cleared the uranium claim. According to Ms. Miscik:

We had not cleared on this speech until the discussion that Dr. Rice and I had. And when she said that the information could be removed, at that point we then cleared on the remainder of the speech.

The Cincinnati Speech

On October 7, 2002, President Bush delivered a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio, discussing the case for war against Iraq. White House officials have conceded previously that during the process of vetting this speech, the CIA warned Dr. Rice and her staff at the National Security Council on multiple occasions to remove the uranium claim.

The report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence appears to accurately report these warnings, including (1) a memorandum sent on October 5, 2002, to Dr. Rice’s deputy, Stephen Hadley, (2) a second memorandum sent on October 6, 2007, to the White House, and (3) a personal telephone call from CIA Director George Tenet to Mr. Hadley directing him to remove the claim.

On June 5, 2007, the Committee conducted a deposition of George Tenet, the former Director of Central Intelligence. In his deposition, Mr. Tenet provided new details about the explicit nature of these warnings. According to Mr. Tenet, his staff at the CIA approached him and asked him to intervene. They stated:

[W]e need to get this stuff out. We don’t believe this. We need to get it out of the speech. It’s not coming out. Can you call Mr. Hadley?

Mr. Tenet explained that he called Mr. Hadley to direct him to remove the language. He told the Committee:

[S]taff came down to say there was specific language that they wanted out and, essentially, I called Mr. Hadley up. It was a very short conversation. And I said Steve, take it out. We don’t want the President to be a fact witness on this issue.”

Mr. Tenet stated further: “The facts, I told him, were too much in doubt.”

According to Mr. Tenet, the President’s speech in Cincinnati did not include the uranium claim because the CIA had explicitly informed the White House that it was not cleared for a Presidential speech. Mr. Tenet stated: “We sent two memos to Mr. Hadley saying, this is why you don’t let the President say this in Cincinnati.”

Conclusion

One of the President’s core arguments for going to war against Iraq was that Saddam Hussein was seeking to build nuclear weapons. We now know that one of the pillars of this argument was illegitimate. For more than five years, I have been seeking answers to basic questions about why the President made a false assertion about such a fundamental matter.

As the President’s National Security Advisor at the time, Condoleezza Rice asserted publicly that she knew nothing about any doubts the CIA had raised about this claim prior to the 2003 State of the Union address. And former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales asserted to the Senate – on her behalf – that the CIA approved the use of the claim in several presidential speeches.

The Committee has obtained evidence that just the opposite is true. Officials who were directly involved at both the National Security Council and the CIA have reported to the Committee that the CIA rejected the use of the uranium claim in all three of the President’s speeches before the State of the Union address in which its use was considered. One of these officials also told the Committee that she spoke with Dr. Rice personally about this issue and that Dr. Rice was fully aware of the CIA’s warnings to stop using the claim.

http://yubanet.com/usa/New-Evidence-Contradicts-White-House-Assertions-on-Uranium-Claim.php

In fact, there is now evidence that at least four top officials at the National Security Council – Dr. Rice; Stephen Hadley, Deputy National Security Advisor; Robert Joseph, Senior Director for Proliferation Strategy, Counterproliferation, and Homeland Defense; and John Gibson, Director of Foreign Policy Speechwriting – had been warned by the CIA to stop using the uranium claim.

This evidence would appear to raise serious questions about the veracity of the assertions that Mr. Gonzales made to Congress on behalf of Dr. Rice about a key part of the President’s case for going to war in Iraq.

Iranian Leaders Debate Obama’s Policy Freedom

Iranian Leaders Debate Obama’s Policy Freedom

by Gareth Porter

TEHRAN – Iranian national security officials and political leaders have been carrying out an internal debate over how much freedom President-elect Barack Obama will have to change US policy toward Iran, and those who have argued that he will not be able to do so have gained the upper hand since Obama’s announcement of his national security team, interviews with Iranian officials and their advisers reveal.

The outcome of that debate, which is very sensitive to signals from Obama and his national security team, could be a key factor in how far Iran goes in indicating its own willingness to make concessions to Washington next year.

Two different views of Obama and his administration’s likely policy toward Iran emerged within the regime in the first weeks after his election, according to the officials interviewed in Tehran. One interpretation was that Obama’s election is the result of a fundamental shift in US politics and offers an opportunity for Iran to find a way out of its decades-long conflict with the United States.

The other view sees Obama as subject to the control of powerful forces – especially the pro-Israel lobby – that are inherently hostile to Iran. That interpretation implies that Iran should make no conciliatory move toward the Obama administration.

Both groups appear to agree that Obama’s victory reflects political demands for change in the United States, and that his administration’s policy will be subject to structural constraints. The difference between them lies in the emphasis placed on the two factors in US politics and policymaking toward Iran.

However, Obama’s choice of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state has strengthened the conviction of pessimists and has raised doubts among those holding a more optimistic view, according to officials familiar with the debate.

Hamid Reza Dehghani, director for the Persian Gulf and the Middle East at the Institute for Political and International Studies, a think tank for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, described the two contrasting interpretations of Obama’s election held by officials and analysts.

One explanation, according to Dehghani, was that Obama won the White House “because of his good campaigning”, meaning that he was chosen because he was responsive to the demands of the electorate. The other explanation, said Dehghani, is that “those behind the scenes who make presidents and make policies – the puppeteers – decided, and only changed their puppet.”

Dehghani suggested that each of these interpretations implies a distinct Iranian stance toward the Obama administration. “If he has made himself and was really elected by the people, we should wait and see about his changes,” said Dehghani, “but if he is pushed by power centers, it is already clearly decided.”

Ali Akbar Rezaei, the newly-appointed director-general of the Ministry’s Department of North and Central American Affairs, confirmed the internal debate on Obama in an interview with IPS, observing, “There is no single view of Obama.”

Rezaei said he believes Obama’s election is the result of “a very serious demand of Americans for change”. But he also acknowledged the “influence of interest groups, mainly the Zionist lobby”, on US policies, calling it “a kind of systemic and structural influence on US policy through institutionalized channels”.

Rezaei said he believes it would be premature to make a final judgment on Obama, in line with the “wait and see” orientation of the more hopeful interpretation. He made it clear, however, that Obama’s national security team – and especially the choice of Clinton – has “disappointed” those who have held out hope for change in US policies.

Rezaei portrayed the optimists as beginning to tilt toward the more pessimistic view of Obama. The Clinton nomination suggests that the “lobbies are proving to be more powerful than Obama had imagined”. That in turn means that Obama “would not have freedom of action,” he said.

“One point of hope is that Obama will be the key person in foreign policy, and that [Clinton] will implement it,” said Rezaei. But he added that this scenario was “very unlikely”, and that in light of the appointments Obama had just announced, “We are very unlikely to see changes” in US policy toward Iran.

Reports of the debate have been picked up by political analysts and political party leaders. Amir Mohebbian, who has been political editor of the conservative Resalat newspaper and a supporter of Ahmadinejad in the past, said he was aware of the split within the Iranian regime over Obama. Some think Obama’s victory was a response to changes in the US electorate, he said, but after the election, such “optimistic ideas” were “dismissed”.

Pessimists, said Mohebbian, considered Obama as “no different from [defeated Republican candidate John] McCain” and perhaps even “worse than McCain because at least McCain was frank about his policy.”

Mohebbian offered his own variant of the pessimistic interpretation of Obama. “I think the difference between Bush and Obama is that Bush said carrot and stick, whereas Obama says bigger stick and bigger carrot,” he said.

Hamidreza Taraghi, deputy director for international affairs for the Islamic Coalition party (Motalafeh), which represents interests of the merchants of Tehran’s bazaar, voiced the pessimistic view of Obama in an interview with IPS. “In our view Obama is indebted to wealthy Jewish organizations in the US who financed his campaign,” said Taraghi.

Obama was “willing to reduce tensions,” he said, but can’t do so, because “Zionist lobbies would prevent it.”

The differences over Obama appear to coincide with a split within the Iranian regime over whether Iran should make any concessions in order to begin negotiations. The ultimate decisions on negotiations with the United States will be made by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who seeks consensus among top Iranian officials and his own advisers on matters of natural security, according to Iranian officials and analysts.

There were indications of sharp disagreement among leading officials and advisers to Khamenei last summer over how Iran should respond to an initiative by EU foreign affairs commissioner Javier Solana for a freeze on further sanctions by the Security Council in return for an Iranian freeze on the level of uranium enrichment. The Solana proposal was aimed at facilitating a six-week period of substantive negotiations between Iran and five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany (P5+1).

One of Khamenei’s closest foreign policy advisers, Ali Akbar Velyati, who was foreign minister when Khamenei was president in the early 1980s, publicly supported the Solana initiative, and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also came out publicly for entering into negotiations with the P5+1.

But in the end, the decision was made not to support the proposal, evidently reflecting the views of some other senior national security officials and perhaps conservative clerics. Now the Obama administration’s early signals appear to have tilted the post-election debate over negotiations in favor of those who doubt Obama’s ability to deliver a change in US policy.

*Gareth Porter, an investigative journalist and historian specializing in US national security policy, has just completed a 12-day visit to Tehran to find out how Iranian officials, analysts and political figures view possible negotiations between the Obama administration and Iran. This is the first of a five-part series of articles.

realtipof5434http://www.antiwar.com/porter/?articleid=13885

Plans mooted for uranium studies at US institutes

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

The University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources has launched a proposal to set up a new uranium research centre, while the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech is to be commissioned to conduct a study into the likely impact of uranium mining in the state.

Mark Northam, Director, School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming, has presented a proposal for the establishment of an inter-departmental research centre to develop improved technologies and processes for the uranium in-situ leach (ISL) extraction industry. The main focus of the research centre would be to work towards improved uranium recovery rates and groundwater management and restoration, a key consideration in the ISL technique which works by pumping an acidic or alkaline solution directly into sandstone-hosted uranium deposits to dissolve the uranium, which is then processed to extract the uranium. The centre would also support teaching in undergraduate degree programmes, contributing to the education of the next generation of uranium and nuclear industry engineers and scientists. Research in the areas of field design, fluid management, extraction process improvement, and sensor development could also help to reduce the overall cost of uranium recovery, according to the proposal.

Wyoming is home to the Smith Ranch-Highland ISL project, which produced 2.0 million pounds U3O8 in 2007, nearly half of the USA’s total uranium production. A new ISL facility at Moore Ranch is due to start up in 2010, and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) expects to receive at least 15 applications for new facilities, including in-situ operations and conventional mills, over the next three years.

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/ENF-Plans_mooted_for_uranium_studies_at_US_institutes-0112087.html

Veterans Occupy National Archives Building

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Washington Nov- 15, 2008 – On Saturday, November 15, at 8:00 am, at the National Archives Building on Connecticut Ave., eight military veterans and a military mother climbed a 9-foot retaining fence and occupied a ninety-foot high scaffolding to raise two 450 square foot banners stating, “DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!” and “WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.” The same message will also be displayed at demonstrations in Santa Monica and Long Beach, California on Saturday.

Members of Veterans for Peace (VFP) chose the Archives for their nonviolent protest because it is symbolic of their military oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” In September they occupied the Archives for 24 hours, and plan to stay longer this time.

“The offenses of Bush, Cheney, and their accomplices are appalling,” said Kim Carlyle, a VFP member and Army veteran- “Their misdeeds have killed or maimed more than a million people – American soldiers, innocent civilian children, women, and men- They have displaced almost five million people, with millions seeking refuge in other countries. Their total disregard for international agreements has severely tarnished the reputation of America in the world. Their unlawful wars have squandered billions of dollars that could have bolstered a troubled economy.”

http://yubanet.com/usa/Veterans-Occupy-National-Archives-Building.php

Bob Dylan – Masters Of War

Please read  & watch article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Today was the day that the war to end all wars ended on November 11 1918. As we all know that war is alive and well. I made this video to Bob Dylan’s Masters Of War in the hope that we all realize how pointless WAR is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muQRIUVd6Aw&eurl=http://www.boingboing.net/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.