12 April, 2007

USA citizens -- MUST READ

Tired of Being Lied to? Modern History You Can't Afford to Ignore

Part 1 of a 3-Part Series

by Maureen Farrell

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

"The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." ~ Harry S. Truman

A couple years ago, historian Chalmers Johnson predicted that thanks to the "entrenched interests" of the military-industrial complex, the United States can look forward to a future of perpetual war, increased propaganda, fewer Constitutional rights, and a bloated executive branch. America, he warned, "will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787" unless there is a "revolutionary rehabilitation of American democracy."

The founding fathers were particularly sensitive to liberty's fleeting nature and power's corruptive tendencies. Thomas Jefferson said that "even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny," while James Madison warned that "If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." And at the close of the Constitutional Convention, when someone asked Ben Franklin what type of government the framers had drafted, he presciently replied, "A republic, if you can keep it."

But America's wisest leaders did not merely warn against the death of the republic, but about how and why its democratic principles would gradually wither away. "Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation [of power] first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence," Jefferson wrote in 1821. "We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few," Madison said in the New York Post.

Similar warnings were sounded by modern presidents. Franklin D Roosevelt said he didn't "want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of [World War II]," and Dwight D. Eisenhower warned that the military/industrial complex had the potential to "endanger our liberties or democratic processes."

By late 2005, when Andy Rooney played a segment of Eisenhower's speech on CBS' 60 Minutes, the implications were evident: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist," Eisenhower said in 1961. "Well, Ike was right. That's just what's happened," Rooney remarked.

Since our genocidal beginnings, there has always been a dark side to American history. Between slavery's shameful legacy, Abraham Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, and FDR's internment of Japanese Americans, democracy has not always been Priority One to its chosen guardians. But even so, something has shifted since Harry Truman declared war profiteering a form of treason.

"What has become of the American people that they permit the despicable practices of tyrants to be practiced in their name?" former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts recently asked. "The Bush administration is in violation of the US Constitution, the rule of law, the Geneva Convention, the Nuremberg Standard, and basic humanity. It is a gang of criminals," he wrote.

Former President Jimmy Carter also voiced concern. "Everywhere you go, people ask, "What has happened to the United States of America?" he said, referring to international reaction to America's evolving stance on human rights, the environment and the separation of church and state.

The most striking criticism has come from Bush administration exiles, however. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, recently offered a scathing critique, confirming reports that a "cabal" led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had "hijacked foreign policy" and that this cabal's "insular and secret workings" led to "decision-making one would associate more with a dictatorship than a democracy."

With government insiders now sounding such alarms, concerns cannot be attributed to the New World Order fringe. It's clear that something is amiss -- something that's eroding our character, our reputation and our values. How did this come about? Just how far have we strayed from our democratic ideals? Consider the following:

Part I -- 1937 - 1990

1937: A small company named Brown & Root (which will later become a division of Halliburton) calls upon Lyndon Johnson to procure $10 million in federal funding for the Mansfield Damn project. The freshman congressman eventually delivers the necessary authorization and funding for the project, which becomes the cornerstone of Brown and Root's financial empire. In turn, Herman Brown finances Johnson's political rise. "It was a totally corrupt relationship and it benefited both of them enormously. Brown & Root got rich, and Johnson got power and riches," LBJ biographer Ronnie Dugger later notes, adding that Johnson "wouldn't have been in the running without Brown & Root's money and airplanes."

In 2000, the Bush/Cheney campaign uses Halliburton's planes during the Florida recount, triggering a federal investigation. ''The Bush administration literally flew into power on Enron's and Halliburton's private jets," a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee charges.

1942: The New York Tribune features a front page story entitled "Hitler's Angel has $3 million in US bank," referring to Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen and his ties to Union Banking Corporation. Later that year, Union Bank official Prescott Bush, George W. Bush's grandfather, is charged with "Running Nazi front groups in the United States." Bush is elected to the U.S. Senate ten years later.

1944: Former Vice President Henry A. Wallace writes an Op-ed , discussing war profiteers who are "ruthless" in their "use of deceit or violence" to gain money and power -- pointing to those who "hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends." Newly discovered government documents prove that Prescott Bush's ties to the Nazis continued until as late as 1951, and that he and his cohorts "routinely attempted to conceal their activities from government investigators."

1945: World War II ends. Between 1945 and 1955, more than 700 Nazi scientists are smuggled into the U.S. In addition to providing the government with valuable science, "Operation Paperclip" eventually spawns more notorious programs like Operation ARTICHOKE (extreme interrogation and torture) and MK-ULTRA (mind control).

Eight years later, Dr. Frank Olson, an Army biochemist expert who runs the Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, (and has ties to Operation Paperclip) falls from a New York City hotel window. "The search for the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of Dr. Frank Olson begins in 1945, with the liberation of the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany," a German documentary later reports. In 1975, after the Rockefeller Commission unearths revelations about the CIA's role in Dr. Olson's death, his family is paid $750,000 restitution, though the government continues to hide the true nature of his work. Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are later implicated in the cover-up.

1947: The Central Intelligence Agency is created. Forty years later, Bill Moyers traces the advent of secretive and often grossly unethical practices to the National Security Act of 1947 -- exposing the government's "apparatus of secret power" and threats to the U.S. Constitution.

In the 1980s, Congressman Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld abscond annually to a remote location, partaking in "one of the most highly classified programs" of the era. At times the program disregards Constitutional protocol for presidential succession during a national crisis, instead using "a secret procedure for putting in place a new 'President' and his staff," while diminishing the role of the Speaker of the House and Congress. Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney routinely disappears to an undisclosed location and President George W. Bush initiates a shadow government in underground bunkers without informing Congress.

1950:

1951: Madison's Capital Times editor John Patrick Hunter takes to the streets with a petition, (which is actually the Declaration of Independence, along with portions of the Bill of Rights) and tries to get people to sign it. Only one in 112 does. The rest find it too subversive. More than fifty years later, Harper's editor Lewis H Lapham explains that America is "blessed with a bourgeoisie that will welcome fascism as gladly as it welcomes the rain in April and the sun in June."

1953: After Iran's Prime Minister Mossadegh nationalizes Iran's oil industry. Britain pushes the U.S. to mount a coup. The CIA, led by Teddy Roosevelt's grandson Kermit Roosevelt (and with the help of Norman Schwarzkopf's father) overthrows Mossadegh during Operation AJAX. "The crushing of Iran's first democratic government ushered in more than two decades of dictatorship under the shah, who relied heavily on US aid and arms," the Guardian later notes.

In 1957, the CIA creates SAVAK, the Shah of Iran's secret police force, which routinely relies on torture -- using the same interrogation techniques the CIA imported from the Nazis. Nearly half a century later, the world learns of the CIA's network of detainment facilities and American-sanctioned torture.

1954

1961

  • President Eisenhower delivers his farewell address, warning of the military/industrial complex and the potential for a "disastrous rise of misplaced power." Former GOP strategist Kevin Phillips later chronicles how Bush dynasty founders George H. Walker and Samuel Prescott Bush were "present at the emergence of what became the U.S. military-industrial complex, in which the Bush family has been enmeshed ever since."
  • The Bay of Pigs invasion, the covert paramilitary operation meant to overthrow Fidel Castro's government ends in disaster. Journalist Joseph McBride later suggests that George H. W. Bush's Zapata Offshore Oil Company was a front for this and other CIA operations. Code-named Operation Zapata, the Bay of Pigs is planned and orchestrated by several alumni of Yale's Skull and Bones secret society -- which boasts three generations of Bushes as members. (Even though a Nov. 1963 memo states that "Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency" is briefed by J. Edgar Hoover on "the post-assassination reaction of Cuban exiles in Miami" following the Kennedy assassination, the CIA denies Bush's involvement with the agency until he becomes its head in 1976).

1962

  • Operation Northwoods, the Pentagon's plan to kill innocent Americans and blame Fidel Castro as a pretext for war against Cuba is presented to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba. . . Casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation," the document reads. All Joint Chiefs of Staff sign off on the plan, but it's nixed by the civilian leadership. "The whole point of a democracy is to have leaders responding to the public will," author James Bamford tells ABC News in May, 2001, "and here this is the complete reverse, the military trying to trick the American people into a war that they want but that nobody else wants."
  • Brown & Root, which will later become Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), is acquired by Halliburton.

1963

  • The CIA, in collusion with the Baath party, conducts its first "regime change" in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein is reportedly involved in this coup to overthrow Iraq's leader Abdel Karim Kassem.
  • John F. Kennedy and Robert McNamara discuss withdrawing 1,000 troops from Vietnam and ending U.S. involvement by 1965; Kennedy arranges to meet with Cuban officials to discuss normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba; The U.S. backs a coup against South Vietnam's leader, Ngo Dinh Diem, who is murdered on Nov. 2.
  • John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Nearly four decades later, scientists prove, with 96.3 percent certainty, that there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll. Journalists eventually chronicle ways the government used the media to manipulate and dupe the public -- with the New York Times shilling for the Warren Commission and Life buying the Zapruder film hours after the assassination -- and locking it away until 1975 with the publisher's expressed desire to "withhold it from public viewing." In 2004, prominent authors demand that 'the CIA come clean on JFK assassination.'
  • Lyndon Johnson takes office and Republicans in Congress soon wonder if Brown & Root's new government contacts aren't connected to its political contributions to the new president. The company eventually becomes part of a consortium which wins a $380 million contract to build bases, hospitals and airports for the U.S. Navy in South Vietnam. During America's War on Terror, the Halliburton subsidiary has similar luck in Afghanistan and Iraq.

1964: After the American destroyer the USS Maddox is reportedly attacked in the Gulf Of Tonkin, the Senate approves the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving President Johnson the authority to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaks the Pentagon Papers to the press, proving that the pretext for this escalation was based upon distortions. Before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ellsberg asks government officials who know that the Bush administration is deceiving the public to come clean and reiterates his plea in 2004: "Do what I wish I had done in 1964: go to the press, to Congress, and document your claims," he writes.

Senator Robert Byrd, in opposition to the resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq, compares the current crisis to the one lawmakers faced in 1964. "This is the Tonkin Gulf resolution all over again," he says in Oct. 2002. "Let us not give this president or any president unchecked power. Remember the Constitution."

1965: The government secretly releases Bacillus globigii at the National Airport and Greyhound bus terminal in Washington, DC.; One year later, military researchers break bacteria-filled light bulbs onto tracks in subway stations in New York City.

1967

  • The General Accounting Office faults "Vietnam Builders" Brown & Root for accounting lapses; protesters target Brown & Root as a symbol of the "military-industrial complex." Decades later, historians cite parallels between Halliburton's hefty Iraq contracts and Vietnam-era controversies, including "allegations of overcharging, sweetheart contracts from the White House and war profiteering." In 2004, former Army Corps of Engineers contract officer Bunnatine Greenhouse charges that the Pentagon is improperly awarding no-bid contracts to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, which is already under investigation for overcharging the government.
  • President Johnson gives speech after speech, saying that America's security and freedom depend on a U.S. victory in Vietnam. Comparing the Vietnamese struggle to the one faced by post-colonial Americans and assuring American mothers that their sons are dying for a noble cause, Johnson also promises, "We shall stay the course." LBJ's words are later echoed in President George W. Bush's defense of the war in Iraq.
  • President Johnson establishes the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, assisted by an Army task force, planning to use military force to squelch civil disturbances. On May 4, 1970, four students are killed at Kent State University when the Ohio National Guard fires at unarmed protesters.

1968: Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy are assassinated. The Democratic National convention in Chicago is marked by riots.

1970: After a coup brings CIA-backed Lon Nol to power in Cambodia, the formerly neutral country is dragged into the war in Vietnam. Support for the Khmer Rouge, which was marginal before Nixon widens the war, grows, and the Khmer Rouge takes power in 1975, leading to Cambodia's infamous killing fields. "Few Americans realize that close to two million people died. . . and that the United States helped bring about the crisis that lead to the Khmer Rouge takeover," CBS later reports. Thirty-five years later, in an article entitled, "Cambodia All Over Again?" Conn Hallinan suggests that the U.S. is setting the stage to extend the war with Iraq into Syria -- a country we are already "unofficially at war with."

1971

  • The "Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI" releases secret files on the FBI's domestic counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO, to the press, revealing that ordinary citizens had been FBI targets, as had Albert Einstein, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Martin Luther King, John Lennon and Elvis Presley. Though Senator Frank Church later vows that "never again will an agency of the government be permitted to conduct a secret war against those citizens it considers a threat to the established order," in 2002, the New York Times reports that the FBI has "nearly unbridled power to poke into the affairs of anyone in the United States, even when there is no evidence of illegal activity." A year later, FBI Intelligence Bulletin no. 89 is sent to police departments, revealing that the federal government is advocating that local authorities spy on U.S. citizens. When the Atlanta Police Department acknowledges that it routinely places antiwar protesters under surveillance, Georgia Rep. Nan Orrock tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "This harkens back to some very dark times in our nation's history."
  • Sen. Sam Ervin's Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights uncovers a military intelligence surveillance system used against thousands of American citizens, and stumbles upon Operation Garden Plot, the United States Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2. The plan gives federal forces power to "put down" "disruptive elements" and calls for "deadly force to be used against any extremist or dissident perpetrating any and all forms of civil disorder." In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, soldiers are instructed to "shoot to kill" looters in New Orleans.

1972

  • The Tuskegee experiment, in which black men were purposely infected with syphilis without their knowledge (and then left untreated to study the results), finally comes to an end. "The United States Government did something that was wrong, deeply, profoundly, morally wrong," President Bill Clinton later says. "It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens."
  • A break-in at the Watergate Hotel marks the beginning of a drama that will last for more than two years, culminating in Richard Nixon's resignation. In his book, The Ends of Power, former Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman charges that the CIA scrubbed its involvement in both Watergate and John F. Kennedy's murder and that the Nixon tapes hold hidden clues. Nixon's references to the "Bay of Pigs," he says, actually refer to the JFK assassination, while references to "the Cubans" pertain to the Watergate burglars. While such assertions are impossible to prove, in one tape, President Nixon calls the Warren Commission's report, "the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetuated."

1973: Congress passes the War Powers Act, which is soon ignored by presidents of both parties. "We've turned the war powers of the United States over to, well we are never really sure who, or what they're doing, or what it costs, or who is paying for it," Bill Moyers laments in 1987. "The one thing that we are sure of is that this largely secret global war carried on with less and less accountability to democratic institutions, has become a way of life. And now we are faced with a question brand new in our history. Can we have the permanent warfare state and democracy too?"

Sept. 11: A U.S.-led coup topples Chile's democratically-elected leader, Salvador Allende, and installs military dictator Augusto Pinochet. "Like Caesar peering into the colonies from distant Rome, Nixon said the choice of government by the Chileans was unacceptable to the president of the United States," Sen. Church later says. "The attitude in the White House seemed to be, "If in the wake of Vietnam I can no longer send in the Marines, then I will send in the CIA."

1974: Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney urge President Ford to veto the Freedom of Information Act, which they believe will weaken the executive branch. Congress overrides Ford's veto.

1975

  • A Harper's Magazine article entitled "Seizing Arab Oil" becomes the first in a series of articles about the U.S. government's dream of eventually taking control of Middle East oil. Nearly thirty years later, Mother Jones reminds readers that the same strategists who worked in the Ford administration are now "firmly in control of the White House." In April, 2001, months before the Sept. 11 attacks, James Baker III submits a report to Vice President Dick Cheney, recommending that the U.S. consider a "military" option in dealing with Iraq. The report states that 'the United States remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma', with one of the 'consequences' being a 'need for military intervention'.
  • Journalists investigate Operation Cable Splicer, a subplan of Operation Garden Plot, designed to control civilian populations and take over state and local governments. Nine years later, the Rex-84 "readiness exercise" program is conducted by 34 federal departments and agencies. Reportedly established to control illegal aliens crossing the Mexican/U.S. border, the exercise tests military readiness to round up and detain citizens in case of massive civil unrest. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, (and after mercenaries are brought in to patrol the streets of New Orleans) President Bush says, "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces." "This is how repressive governments operate -- mixing inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies," Josh Marshall responds. "You don't repair disorganized or incompetent government by granting it more power. You fix it by making it more organized and more competent."
  • Sen. Frank Church's Committee to Study Government Operations sheds light on media manipulation, government-sanctioned civil rights abuses and the CIA's Mafia connections. The committee also learns of the CIA's "Executive Action," unit and the "Health Alteration Committee," dealing with assassinations.
  • A small group of conservatives, who call themselves the "cabal" advocate a more hawkish foreign policy. Among them is Richard Perle, who finds an ally in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Robert Novak is an invaluable conduit between administration insiders and U.S. citizens.

1976: President Gerald Ford issues an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. agencies. After a failed 2002 coup to overthrow Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is linked to the Bush administration, TV evangelist Pat Robertson suggests that the U.S. should murder Chavez. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war," Robertson says, adding, "I don't think any oil shipments will stop." In Oct. 2005, Chavez says the U.S. is planning to invade Venezuela.

1977: In a Rolling Stone article, Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein estimates that "400 American journalists [have] been tied to the CIA at one point or another," -- with the New York Times being one of the CIA's prime collaborators. (The Times counters, saying that the number is closer to 800).

In 2002, disinformation printed on the front page of the New York Times is repeated by Bush administration officials on Sunday morning talk shows, helping to market the impending war in Iraq. Judith Miller, co-author of the piece, later becomes a story unto herself, when her "mysterious security clearance," and ties to Plamegate, and John Bolton raise eyebrows. A colleague depicts Miller as an "advocate," whose work is "little more than dictation from government sources. . .filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies."

While the government reportedly ends its disinformation program following the publication of Bernstein's article, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, news that one of the terrorist's passports is miraculously found amongst the rubble at ground zero is reported and repeated, with some "lucky finds" bringing to mind former CIA director William Colby's boast that "the Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any major significance in the major media."

In 2005, the General Accounting Office finds that the Bush administration violated the law by engaging in "covert propaganda" within the U.S. As former Vice President Henry Wallace once wrote: "With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public."

1977-1984: The U.S. government backs "nationalist" forces in El Salvador, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands, including American nuns who are raped, mutilated and murdered by El Salvador's death squads. In 2005, Newsweek reports that the Pentagon is considering a plan to resurrect "a still-secret strategy" from this era to use against insurgents in Iraq.

1979

Osama bin Laden leaves Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet's in Afghanistan. He eventually receives funding and training through the CIA.

On Jan. 16, the Shah of Iran, who's been in power since the U.S.-led coup in 1953, flees Iran after months of violent protests against him. The exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns on Feb. 1, and takes over Iran within days. In November, Islamic revolutionaries take more than 60 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

1980: Dismissing televised speculation on a Ronald Reagan/Gerald Ford co-presidency, Ronald Reagan makes a late-night dash to the Republican National Convention to announce that George. H.W. Bush will be his running mate. Though Bush denies meeting Iranian officials in Paris to delay the release of America's remaining 52 hostages during President Jimmy Carter's term, the Iran hostage situation is resolved the day Reagan is sworn in.

1981: Mark Hinkley attempts to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, 69 days after the new president is sworn in. In a bizarre footnote, UPI, the Houston Post, the Associated Press, and NBC's John Chancellor report that Hinkley's brother Scott was to dine with Vice President George H. W. Bush's son Neil the night of the shooting.

1983

  • The U.S. invades Grenada. "The reason we gave for the intervention [in Grenada] -- American medical students there--was phony but the reaction of the American people was absolutely and overwhelmingly favorable," Irving Kristol later explains. "They had no idea what was going on, but they backed the president. They always will."
  • Special envoy Donald Rumsfeld meets with Saddam Hussein. In 1984, the U.S. formerly restores relations with Iraq, after secretly supporting Saddam Hussein with military aid and intelligence for years.

1984: In a televised speech, Ronald Reagan asks Americans to support freedom fighters in Nicaragua. Two years later, the administration admits it illegally sold weapons to Iran to fund Nicaraguan Contras.

1987

1988: The Reagan era comes to a close. When George W. Bush's administration later compares itself to the Reagan administration, Ronald Reagan, Jr. objects. "Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the '80s," he says. "But the overall thrust of this administration is not my father's -- these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive, and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."

1989: The US invades Panama, overthrowing its dictator, General Manuel Noriega, a former CIA asset.

1990: Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait.


Part II -- 1990- 2000

by Maureen Farrell

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
~ Albert Einstein

"Be loyal to your country always, and to the government only when it deserves it."
~
Mark Twain

1990

  • In Sept.1990, five months after Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait, the White House claims that satellite images prove that Iraqi troops are gathering at the Saudi border. The St. Petersburg Times acquires two commercial Soviet satellite images from the same vicinity, during the same time period, and discovers miles of empty desert. "It was a pretty serious fib," journalist Jean Heller says. "That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn't exist."
  • After Hill & Knowlton, a public relations firm with ties to George H.W. Bush, is hired by the Citizens for a Free Kuwait to sell the looming war in Iraq, the perfect pitch comes in the form of an attractive young woman who tells a Congressional committee that she saw Iraqi soldiers take 15 Kuwaiti babies out of incubators only to leave them "on the cold floor to die." The woman is later revealed to be the 15-year-old daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the U.S.-- and hospital employees contend that the incubator incident never happened. Even so, President George H. W. Bush repeats the story several times during the lead-up to war, convincing lawmakers to authorize the use of force against Iraq. In 2002, as America teeters on the brink of yet another Gulf war, experts question senior officials' claims. "These are all the same people who were running [the war propaganda] more than 10 years ago," author John MacArthur says. "They'll make up just about anything ... to get their way." In an assessment later confirmed by the Downing Street memo, former US Rep. Lee Hamilton tells the Christian Science Monitor, "My concern in these situations, always, is that the intelligence that you get is driven by the policy, rather than the policy being driven by the intelligence."
1991
  • Five days after Congress authorizes the use of force in Iraq, the Gulf War begins. On Feb. 28, a cease-fire is declared and the Bush administration decides on a containment strategy that includes sanctions, U.N. inspections and no-fly zones. Richard Perle, William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz and other neoconservatives are not happy about the decision to keep Saddam Hussein in power, however, and six years later, Kristol co-founds the Washington-basked think tank, Project for the New American Century. (PNAC) Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz are listed among PNAC's supporters.
  • The Rendon Group is hired by the CIA to help "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power." Previously paid $100,000 a month by the Citizens for a Free Kuwait to help market the war, by the time the Gulf War ends, "perception management" expert John Rendon becomes, as James Bamford puts it, "Washington's leading salesman for regime change." In time, Rendon assembles the Iraqi National Congress, helps install Ahmed Chalabi as its leader, and becomes the INC's lead advisor and media guru, with considerable help from New York Times journalist Judith Miller. Between 2000 and 2004, the Pentagon awards the Rendon Group at least thirty-five contracts worth millions -- including a hefty contract three weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks.
1992

1993

1994
  • A memo leaked from the Director of Resource Management for the Department of the Army discusses plans to "establish civilian prison camps on [military] installations," with Rep. Henry Gonzalez later admitting that there are "standby provisions" and "statutory emergency plans. . . whereby you could, in the name of stopping terrorism, apprehend, invoke the military, and arrest Americans and hold them in detention camps." Following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Sydney Morning Herald investigates these plans and author James Mann discloses a top secret program which could circumvent the Constitution in case of a national crisis. A Washington state county commissioner later says he has copy of documents indicating that his county has been pegged as a potential "concentration camp" location.
  • During the "Republican Revolution," the GOP wins back control of Congress after 40 years. Predicated upon a promise to fight against "government that is too big, too intrusive, and too easy with the public's money," the movement fails to deliver. By 2005, true conservatives rail against the Bush administration's "big government" policies.

1995: The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is bombed, 168 people are killed. Timothy McVeigh is later found guilty and executed. In April, 2005, in response to persistent rumors that Iraq was behind the Oklahoma City bombing, FOX News anchor John Gibson speculates that McVeigh was wrongly executed, and that Bush invaded Iraq because he realized "that Iraq was behind a lot of the attacks on the U.S. and it was time for it to stop." Aside from mentioning a book by Jayna Davis and a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma bombing victims' family members, Gibson offers no proof that Iraq was behind "a lot of the attacks." Others on FOX also cover this story, but when Stanley Hilton, a former aid to Sen. Bob Dole, files a $7 billion class action suit against top government officials on behalf of Sept 11 family members, he and his "ridiculous lawsuit" are attacked on FOX's Hannity and Colmes.

1996

  • In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Congress passes the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, the first of three pieces of controversial anti-terrorism pieces of legislation which trouble civil libertarians. In response to this legislation, the Nation calls President Bill Clinton a "serial violator of the Bill of Rights."
  • Pakistani terrorist Abdul Hakim Murad tells U.S. federal agents that he was learning to fly a plane so that he could crash into CIA headquarters.
  • The Pentagon releases training manuals from the U.S. Army School of Americas (SOA) located in Fort Benning, Georgia. SOA alumni (including Manuel Noriega) are schooled in execution and torture, and participate in some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America. Though the name of the school is later changed, the "terrorist training" remains the same -- with SOA graduates reportedly fighting in the "dirty war" in Colombia.
  • The cover of the Dec. 1 edition of Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard declares, "Saddam Must Go: A How-to Guide" and contains articles written by Zalmay M. Khalilzad (who later becomes White House envoy to the Iraqi opposition) and Paul Wolfowitz.

1997

1998

  • PNAC writes a letter to President Bill Clinton and Republican leaders in Congress asking for "the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power." Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton, William Kristol, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Armitage and eleven others sign the memo.
  • President Clinton contemplates action against Iraq, but Republican Senator Arlen Specter reminds him to respect the Constitution. "Bomber and missile strikes constitute acts of war," he writes in a letter to the president. "Only Congress has the constitutional prerogative to authorize war." In 2002, White House lawyers contend that President Bush can preemptively attack Iraq without Congressional approval.
  • Paul Wolfowitz testifies before Congress, urging it to pass the Iraqi Liberation Act. Help the Iraqi people "remove him [Saddam Hussein] from power," Wolfowitz says, denying that the use of American force would be necessary. "The estimate that it would take a major invasion with U.S. ground forced seriously overestimates Saddam Hussein," he says. Later that year, President Bill Clinton signs the Act into law.
  • U.S. intelligence reports that Osama bin Laden's "next operation could possibly involve flying an aircraft loaded with explosives into a U.S. airport and detonating it" with a second report explicitly warning against attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
  • At a gathering at the Cato Institute, Dick Cheney underscores his distaste for sanctions against Iraq, Iran, Libya and other oil-rich countries. "The good Lord didn't see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratic regimes friendly to the United States," he says. Though Cheney later calls Iran "the worlds' leading exporter of terror," as CEO and chairman of Halliburton, he lobbies to have economic sanctions against Tehran lifted.
  • "George H.W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft co-author A World Transformed -- portions of which appear in Time under the heading, "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam." Saying that a "march into Baghdad" would force soldiers "to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war," which "could only plunge that part of the world into ever greater instability," Bush also says that if coalition forces had unseated Saddam, "the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."
  • President Clinton orders a strike against Iraq, saying that "Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons." Scott Ritter later tells Buzzflash that by 1996-1997, "Iraq had been fundamentally disarmed, meaning that there was no chance of viable weapons of mass destruction existing in Iraq."
1999
2000
  • British intelligence warns U.S. intelligence agencies of a plot to hijack airplanes and crash them into buildings.
  • The 2000 GOP platform calls for "the removal of Saddam Hussein" as a way to promote "peace and stability in the Persian Gulf," and wags a finger at the Clinton administration for failing to coddle Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. In time, Chalabi's disinformation worms its way into the New York Times and into the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans. Though Chalabi supplies false intelligence to the U.S. and is later accused of passing off top secret information to Iran, he is welcomed with open arms by Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials in 2005.
  • Candidate George W. Bush makes a speech at Bob Jones University -- raising questions concerning just how "compassionate" he truly is; Questions regarding George W. Bush's National Guard's service arise and persist.
  • During the 2000 presidential campaign, Cheney admits that though Halliburton conducted business with Iran and Libya, he held a "firm policy" against dealing with Iraq. In June, 2001, however, the Washington Post reports that "Halliburton held stakes in two firms that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq while Cheney was chairman and chief executive officer of the Dallas-based company."
  • PNAC publishes "Rebuilding America's Defenses," outlining several "core missions" for the U.S. military, including to "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars." This aggressive foreign policy will take years to come to fruition, unless, as the reports states, there is "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor." Thomas Freeman later explores how the neconservatives used 9/11 to advance their agenda. "Those people had an idea to sell when September 11 came, and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. . .I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened," he says. Former Middle East envoy General Anthony Zinni tells 60 Minutes that "everybody I talk to in Washington has known and fully knows what their agenda was and what they were trying to do."
  • The USS Cole is bombed in Yemen, in an attack masterminded by Osama bin Laden. Seventeen sailors are killed.
  • After George W. Bush's brother assures him he's won Florida and his cousin declares him the winner on national TV, the 2000 presidential election raises serious questions about the health of our republic. The election is marked by scrubbed voter rolls, millions of lost votes and out-and-out thuggery.
  • The Washington Post reports that "Something very strange happened on election night" in Volusia County, FL. Al Gore, it seems, was leading George W. Bush 83,000 votes to 62,000 at one point, but a half hour later, "Gore's count had dropped by 16,000 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate had picked up 10,000--all because of a single precinct with only 600 voters." America gets its first whiff of e-voting election fraud.
  • Journalist Greg Palast uncovers the shameful Database Technologies voter roll purge in Florida, but the New York Times refuses to carry the story. A little more than three years later, when it's too late to do anything about it, the paper admits that something's rotten in the state of Florida. "In 2000, the American public saw in Katherine Harris's massive purge eligible voters in Florida, how easy it is for registered voters to lose their rights by bureaucratic fiat," the Times reports.
  • The U.S. government publishes a 90 page study regarding Gulf War veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness and "concludes that stress is likely a primary cause of illness in at least some Gulf War veterans." Veteran groups suspect a cover-up, with many experts believing that depleted uranium, which is used in US munitions, is the culprit. Dr. Doug Rokke, who headed the DU clean-up program for the U.S. Army in Iraq, speaks out against its use, despite repeated warnings by US military officials and subsequent threats and harassment.
  • Al Gore concedes the presidential election after the Supreme Court installs George W. Bush President of the United States. Unsettling questions regarding the future of American democracy arise. "The people have not been heard. They will not be heard. And each of those uncounted ballots is a cry of reproach against the act of judicial arrogance that has now forever silenced them," Salon.com laments.
End of Part II of a 3-Part Series.

Part III: 2001- 2005

by Maureen Farrell

2001

"All men having power ought to be mistrusted." ~James Madison

January: Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, co-chairs of the U.S. Commission on National Security, brief Bush administration officials on the looming terror threat. On Sept. 12, 2001, Hart tells Salon that Congress appeared to be ready to act on the commission's recommendations, but Bush said, "'Please wait, we're going to turn this over to the vice president. We believe FEMA is competent to coordinate this effort." The Sept. 11 Commission's recommendations are similarly ignored. "God help us if we have another attack," chairman Thomas Kean says more than four years later, after the government fails to implement many of the recommendations made in July, 2004.

February: During a visit to Cairo, Colin Powell admits that Saddam Hussein "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction" and is "unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."

April

June July

August

  • On August 6, President Bush receives a President's Daily Brief headlined "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." By this time, he, Dick Cheney, and other top officials have already seen several such warnings.
  • In late summer 2001, Jordan intelligence intercepts a message stating that a major attack (code-named Big Wedding) is being planned inside the US and that aircraft will be used. The message is forwarded to U.S. authorities.
  • Suspected "20th hijacker" Zacharias Moussaoui is arrested. An FBI agent later testifies that weeks before Sept. 11, he warned the Secret Service that terrorists might hijack a plane and "hit the nation's capital."
September
  • "Hart predicts terrorist attacks on America," Montreal newspapers declare, referring to Sen. Gary Hart's repeated warnings that "the terrorists are coming." On Sept. 6, Hart meets with Condoleezza Rice, reportedly telling her, "Get going on homeland security, you don't have all the time in the world." In 2005, Sept. 11 commissioners adopt Hart's former role. "We believe that another attack will occur. It's not a question of if. We are not as well-prepared as we should be," vice chairman Lee Hamilton says.
  • The National Security Agency intercepts two messages on Sept. 10. "Tomorrow is zero hour," reads one. "The match begins tomorrow," says the other. NSA does not translate the messages until Sept. 12.
  • Pentagon officials cancel travel plans for Sept. 11. As Newsweek reports, "On Sept. 10, Newsweek has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns." That same day, California mayor Willie Brown receives a similar warning.
September 11 Mid-September to September 30
  • The Project for a New American Century signs an open letter to George W. Bush, pushing him to attack Iraq and possibly Iran and Syria -- a country we're already "unofficially at war with" in 2005.
  • Anthrax-laced letters are mailed to newsrooms and to two U. S. Senate offices. Five people are killed. After it is disclosed that White House staffers began taking the antibiotic Cipro on Sept. 11 (a week before the first anthrax attack), Judicial Watch chairman Larry Klayman wants to know why.
  • The Associated Press reports that one of the terrorist's passports is miraculously found amongst the rubble at ground zero and recycles the story three years later. On the first anniversary of Sept. 11, an ATM card belonging to one of the passengers on American Airlines Flight 11 is found at ground zero and sent to his parents. "How could a plastic card survive the fire of the terrorist attack of the Black Tuesday on the USA?" they ask, thinking it a sign from heaven.
  • Ten days after 9/11, during a highly classified briefing, President Bush is told that there is no credible evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the terror attacks. The State Department later pinpoints countries where al-Qaeda is known to operate. Iraq is not listed among them.
  • Two weeks after Sept. 11, a secret memo written by Justice Department John Yoo concludes that there are "no limits" to the president's war-making authority and that Bush can "preemptively" attack terrorist groups or countries supporting such groups, even if they have no ties to the 9/11 attacks. "I was dumbfounded by the way the Bush Administration pushed aside the Constitution to launch their war on terrorism," Sam Dash later tells John Dean.
  • Three weeks after Sept. 11, the Pentagon sets up the top secret Office of Strategic Influence -- an operation designed to plant disinformation in the media. Though the program is later scrapped, reports that the U.S. military is "covertly" paying the Iraqi press to run "news" stories favorable to the US mission in Iraq surface in 2005. "Here we are trying to create the principles of democracy in Iraq. Every speech we give in that country is about democracy. And we're breaking all the first principles of democracy when we're doing it," a Pentagon says regarding the planting of propaganda.
October
  • The War on Terror begins on Oct. 7, 2001, with the first strikes in Afghanistan. Though President Bush vows to capture Osama bin Laden "dead or alive," bin Laden's significance is downplayed after he reportedly escapes through the mountains at Tora Bora in late November.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, the head of Pakistan's intelligence service (ISI), has been fired after being connected to a $100,000 payment wired to Mohamed Atta -- reportedly to help fund the Sept. 11 terror attacks. WSJ's Bernard-Henri Levy later speculates that reporter Daniel Pearl was murdered by the ISI after getting too close to the truth about its ties to al-Qaeda and investigative journalist Gerald Posner addresses possible links between Osama bin Laden, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia -- with many believing that the 28 pages censored from Washington's official report on 9/11 refer, as Newsweek later explains, to "connections between high-level Saudi princes and associates of the hijackers."
  • Copper Green, the codename for a program which allegedly involves sexual humiliation and extreme interrogation of detainees, is initiated in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. Journalist Seymour Hersh later reports that the directive was approved by Donald Rumsfeld, while Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, says that Dick Cheney was also involved. "The secretary of defense under cover of the vice president's office. . . began to authorize procedures within the armed forces that led to what we've seen," Wilkerson tells NPR, referring to subsequent abuse scandals.
  • The Patriot Act is railroaded through Congress and the Senate, without the benefit of committee hearings or extended debate, shortly after Democratic legislators are targeted in yet-to-be solved anthrax attacks. Four years later, early concerns about abuses are realized, with the FBI once again spying on ordinary Americans. Though the Act contains a "sunset clause," in July, 2005, Congress votes to renew the provisions set to expire.

November

December 2002

"Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war but as an act of self-defense against a homicidal maniac." ~George Orwell

January

February
  • Former FEMA deputy director John Brinkerhoff writes a paper for the Anser Institute for Homeland Security defending the Pentagon's desire to deploy troops on American streets.
  • The Counterintelligence Field Activity Agency (CIFA) is created by the Pentagon. In 2005, the White House pushes for broader powers for CIFA -- including authorizing it to engage in domestic surveillance. "We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America. This is a huge leap without even a [congressional] hearing," Sen. Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says.
March: A full year before the start of the war in Iraq, former U.N. official Denis Halliday asserts that "Saddam Hussein is not a threat to the U.S." and that "the whole weapons inspection issue is really just a ruse." When Scott Ritter later makes similar claims, he is accused of drinking Saddam Hussein's Kool-Aid.

May: Veteran FBI agent Colleen Rowley sends a 13 page "whistle blower" letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller describing how FBI officials thwarted an investigation into Zacarias Moussaoui. FBI officials who undermined investigations into Zacarias Moussaoui's computer are later promoted and rewarded.

July

  • Peter Kirsanow, a Bush appointee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, warns that should America be attacked again, the public will clamor for Arab-Americans to be placed in internment camps.
  • British national security aide Matthew Rycroft meets with Tony Blair and several advisers, writing what will later be referred to as the Downing Street Memo. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," the memo reads.
August: Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee writes a memo, citing William Rehnquist's defense of Nixon's 1970 foray into Cambodia as a precedent for loosening restrictions on torture. The Nation later reports on how this and other memos "facilitate torture as public policy" and, "articulate a philosophy of the presidency best described as authoritarian."

September

  • The Bush administration begins to ardently push for war with Iraq, with Bush's Chief of Staff Andrew Card explaining why they waited until September. "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August," he says
  • The Office of Special Plans -- created in the days following Sept. 11 attacks and later compared to a "shadow government" -- begins to rival the C.I.A. and the D.I.A. as the President's main source of intelligence on Iraq. Former Pentagon employee Karen Kwiatkowski later chronicles the rise of the OSP -- speaking out against what she refers to as the "neoconservative coup, a hijacking of the Pentagon." Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, a former Bush administration insider, confirms that a secretive "cabal" led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "hijacked foreign policy" and partook in "decision-making one would associate more with a dictatorship than a democracy."
  • President Bush asserts that Iraq is 'six months away' from building a nuclear weapon" ("I don't know what more evidence we need," he says); One month later, he makes a list of false claims, including the assertion that "Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases." Declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document later prove that the Bush administration knew this information was less than credible.
  • A story by Judith Miller indicating that Saddam Hussein is seeking high strength aluminum tubes to develop a nuclear bomb runs on the front page of the New York Times. This disinformation is cited by Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice on the Sept 8, 2002 Sunday morning talk shows, with Rice telling CNN, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Miller's ties to Bush administration neoconservatives and Iraqi National Congress head Ahmed Chalabi later raise eyebrows, with author James Bamford asserting that Miller "had been a trusted outlet for the INC's anti-Saddam propaganda for years." A memo from a former colleague describes Miller as "an advocate," whose work "is little more than dictation from government sources . . . filled with unproven assertions and factual inaccuracies."
  • President Bush releases the "National Security Strategy of the United States," and officially unveils the doctrine of preemption, borrowing heavily from the Project for a New American Century's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" and by proxy, the Wolfowitz Doctrine.
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution discloses America's hidden plan for Iraq, including plans for "permanent military bases." Though Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld denies such claims, reports later reveal that the U.S. is building "giant new bases in Iraq."
October
  • The US military creates a Northern Command to assist in homeland defense. Gen. Ralph Eberhart, the NORAD commander in charge of air defense on Sept. 11, is later named by George W. Bush to serve at its head. "We should always be reviewing things like Posse Comitatus and other laws if we think it ties our hands in protecting the American people," Eberhart says.
  • Former CIA counterintelligence chief Vincent Cannistraro tells the Guardian that "cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements" and that "CIA assessments are being put aside by the Defense department in favor of intelligence they are getting from various Iraqi exiles." Between Chalabi's faulty intelligence, Curveball's questionable influence, Dick Cheney's CIA "visits" and the batch of fibs being concocted at the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, it's difficult to believe that Mr. Cheney is truly outraged when he later describes accusations that the Bush administration misled the public as "dishonest," "reprehensible" and "not legitimate".
  • Congress authorizes the use of force against Iraq. "I am very disturbed by President Bush's determination that the threat from Iraq is so severe and so immediate that we must rush to a military solution. I do not see it that way," Senator Jim Jeffords says. Jeffords is one of only 23 Senators voting against the Iraq resolution.
  • Senator Paul Wellstone is killed in a plane crash. Though his amendment preventing companies using overseas tax shelters from getting homeland security contracts passes the Senate "seemingly unanimously on voice votes," the amendment is later gutted from the final homeland security legislation.
November

December

2003

"America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War." ~ John LeCarre.

January

  • The Economist reports that "American intelligence agents have been torturing terrorist suspects, or engaging in practices pretty close to torture." In Nov. 2005, the publication lambastes the Bush administration for its hypocrisy and deceit on the torture issue. "To add a note of farce to the tragedy, the administration has had to explain that the CIA is not torturing prisoners at its secret prisons in Asia and Eastern Europe -- though of course it cannot confirm that such prisons exist," the magazine says.
  • Bush delivers his State of the Union with those infamous "16 words" claiming that Iraq is attempting to purchase uranium from Niger. Bush's claim about Saddam's "high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production" is also included, even though it too has already been debunked.
  • Richard Clarke resigns and later vents his frustrations to Larry King. Citing President Bush's confession to Bob Woodward that he "didn't feel a sense of urgency" regarding terrorism, Clarke asks, "Well, how can you not feel a sense of urgency when George Tenet is telling you in daily briefings, day after day, that a major al Qaeda attack is coming?"
February March April May
  • The Los Angeles Times speaks out against U.S. detention policies, comparing Uncle Sam's network of secret prisons to a "gulag." Newsday, the Seattle Times and other media outlets also use the "g" word in subsequent op-eds. In 2005, Amnesty International's secretary general Irene Khan issues a press statement, announcing that the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo "has become the gulag of our times." This charge is accompanied by allegations of "ghost detentions," which Khan says do not merely evoke "images of" Stalin's camps, but actually "bring back" the "practice of 'disappearances' so popular with Latin American dictators in the past."
  • George Bush lands on the USS Lincoln, with a "Mission Accomplished" banner in the background. Conservatives lambaste Democrats for making fools of themselves in their criticism of Mr. Bush in his flight suit -- with some braying about the "victorious" commander-in-chief's manly attributes.
June: President Bush makes a speech in honor of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims. "I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture," he says. More than two years later, after Bush asserts "We do not torture," people can't believe their ears. "Fine," Kevin Drum responds. "Then shut down the black sites, tell Dick Cheney to stop lobbying against the McCain amendment, and allow the Red Cross unfettered access to prisoners in our custody."

July

August: Iran-contra figure John Poindexter, chosen to head the Pentagon's controversial Total Information Awareness Program, resigns amidst controversy concerning plans to develop an online futures market for predicting terrorist attacks.

November: Gen. Tommy Franks warns that if terrorists unleash "a weapon of mass destruction. . . somewhere in the Western world" it may "begin to militarize our country" and "unravel the fabric of our Constitution."

2004

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. " ~ George Orwell

January

  • The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concludes that the Bush administration "systematically misrepresented" the threat from Iraq's weapons programs. Former senior US weapons inspector David Kay says major stockpiles of WMD probably didn't exist in Iraq.
  • Military analyst David Segal says that the volunteer army is "stretched too thin" and "closer to being broken today than ever before in its 30-year history." One year later, the Project for a New American Century writes a letter to Congress, citing a statement by the chief of the Army Reserve, that "overuse" in Iraq and Afghanistan could be leading to a "broken force." PNAC says that we "are close to exhausting current U.S. ground forces" and that Congress needs to act. Many see this as a call for a return of the draft. By the close of 2005, however, Rep. John Murtha calls for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq --saying that the Army is "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth."
  • A study from RABA Technologies finds that Diebold voting machines have security problems that could allow for the manipulation of elections.

February: On Feb. 26, Major General Antonio Taguba publishes his internal Army report regarding charges of abuse by U.S. military personal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. These findings are later made public when photos depicting instances of abuse appear in the media. Additional Abu Ghraib photos reportedly show American soldiers raping a female prisoner, videotaping Iraqi guards raping young boys, and beating a prisoner almost to death. The military initially tries to pass the scandal off as the actions of a "few bad apples," but as Seymour Hersh later writes: "The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld."

March

  • Mother Jones predicts that Ohio will be the #1 election day hotspot to watch. "Ohio could become as decisive this year as Florida was four years ago," the magazine says.
  • After the Federal Marriage Amendment banning gay marriage is defeated, House leaders cite an obscure provision of the U.S. Constitution (Article III, Section 2) and vote to pass the Marriage Protection Act, a bill which will prevent the Supreme Court from considering the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The New York Times calls its "a radical assault on the Constitution" and Atlanta Journal Constitution's Jay Bookman calls it "a power grab of breathtaking consequences."

April: During the 2004 election primaries, the Associated Press reports that e-voting failures have "shaken confidence in the technology installed at thousands of precincts" -- with as many as 20 states introducing legislation calling for paper receipts on voting machines.

May:

July August September: Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who also happens to be co-chair of the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, blocks new voter registration in his state.

October

  • Just months after Nicholas Kristof writes back to back articles on the possibility of "an American Hiroshima," the International Atomic Energy Agency tells the UN that equipment which could be used to make a nuclear bomb has disappeared from Iraq. The equipment, which had been part of Saddam Hussein's nuclear bomb program before the first Gulf War (and had been under the IAEA's watch since 1991), is reportedly dismantled and carted away during Operation Iraqi Freedom. "It's equipment that is very specialized, very hard to come by, that's tightly controlled, so it could be very helpful for [those] seeking to build weapons," proliferation expert Jon Wolfsthal tells Christian Science Monitor. "It's very troubling that any of this stuff should be unprotected, let alone go missing," he says.
  • In the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, Seymour Hersh reports that U.S. has been "disappearing" people since December, 2001 and in 2005, the Washington Post confirms that the CIA is using a Soviet-era compound to interrogate captives. "The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba" the Post reports.
  • Greg Palast reports on the GOP's confidential "caging lists" -- "rosters of thousands of minority voters targeted to prevent them from voting on election day."
November 2005 "Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions." ~ Ulysses S. Grant January

February: An article by Deon Roberts bemoans the fact that expenditures for hurricane and flood protection projects in New Orleans have been reduced by 44.2 percent since 2001. When President Bush later says that "nobody could anticipate a breach of the levee," after Hurricane Katrina, the Baltimore Sun cites research studies and articles by the Scientific American, National Geographic and Louisiana journalists who have been "doing precisely that for decades," and says that Bush "should be laughed out of town as an impostor."

March: Lawmakers introduce the Constitutional Restoration Act of 2005 which states that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over "any matter" regarding public officials who acknowledge "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government."

May: The Downing Street Memo is leaked to the Times of London. One month later, Congressional Democrats hold an informal hearing, trying to draw attention to accusations that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" during the lead up to the war in Iraq. Revisionists later cite Bill Clinton's Iraqi Liberation Act as proof that the "official policy" of the US was set in 1998, failing to mention that the goal, as Paul Wolfowitz testified, was to "help the Iraqi people liberate themselves." In marked contrast to mushroom cloud claims made before the Iraq invasion, Wolfowitz also tells Congress that "Saddam is in a position of great weakness."

July: Vice President Cheney visits key Republicans, lobbying them to reject John McCain's amendment preventing the cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

August

  • President Bush bypasses the Senate and appoints John Bolton Ambassador to the UN, despite that fact that Bolton's appointment has been blocked for months by Senators demanding that the Bush administration release classified pertaining to Bolton's past, including, as the Guardian puts it, "claims that he tried to manipulate US intelligence to support his hawkish views."
  • Four years after signing their first "friendship treaty" in more than half a century, Russia and China conduct their first joint military exercises. Two months later, a security bloc led by both countries calls for the U.S.to set a deadline for the withdrawal of its troops from Central Asia.
  • Bunnatine Greenhouse, an Army Corps of Engineers officer who was openly critical of the Pentagon's decision to award Halliburton no-bid contracts is demoted.
  • Hurricane Katrina is met with a disastrous response. Newsweek later explores the underlying dysfunction that plagues the Bush presidency, in an attempt to answer how "the president of the United States could have even less 'situational awareness' . . . than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century." Though pundits start blaming local and state authorities, FEMA reportedly turns away generators, trailer trucks of water and gallons of diesel fuel, while urging first responders not to respond.
September October

November

  • A UN audit reports that the U.S. should repay up to $208 million to Iraq for contract work assigned to Kellogg, Brown and Root, recalling a similar controversy from 1967, when the General Accounting Office faulted "Vietnam Builders" Brown & Root for accounting lapses amid "allegations of overcharging, sweetheart contracts from the White House and war profiteering."
  • Ohio's 2005 election raises eyebrows once again, as polls on certain referendums do not match the reality in the ballot box. Journalist Robert C. Koehler, one of the few high profile journalists to question the 2004 election, blasts the mainstream media for refusing to adequately address voting irregularities. "Hmm, we have widespread confusion in the voting process, a recent GAO report that cites many glaring insecurities in e-voting, and our own polls indicating big victories that turn into big defeats," he writes. "Could it be ...? Nah! What are we thinking? This is the world's greatest democracy. Relax."
  • The US Senate votes 49 to 42 to overturn the US Supreme Court's 2004 ruling that allows prisoners held at Guantanamo to challenge their detentions. "U.S. Can Confine Citizens Without Charges, Court Rules," announces the Washington Post. "The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist," Winston Churchill said, more than a half a century ago -- describing practices currently supported by American lawmakers.
  • "Reporters Without Borders" publishes its annual worldwide press freedom index, showing that the U.S. ranks 44th in freedom of the press -- down from 22nd place the previous year and 17th place in 2002.
  • Admiral Stansfield Turner, a former CIA director, blasts the Bush administration's policies. "I am embarrassed that the USA has a vice president for torture," he says. "I think it is just reprehensible." Stansfield apparently missed the chapter in CIA history where the agency imported extreme interrogation methods from the Nazis - a secret Dick Cheney once reportedly tried to cover up.
  • US hawks continue to speak out against the war -- with Rep. John Murtha comparing our current situation in Iraq to the one America faced in Vietnam in 1963.
December

JIM BAMFORD:. . . The entire lead-up to the Iraq war was created by a propaganda company, by a public relations company, the Rendon Group. It was the Rendon Group, a private public relations company in the U.S. that created the INC, the Iraqi National Congress, that helped put Chalabi in there, that funneled CIA money into the INC.
MATTHEWS: Was the Rendon -- I know Rendon from campaigns past, but he worked with Carter and all. But let me ask you this. Is Rendon involved in influencing American media opinion, or is it always domestic -- over there, I mean, Iraqi opinion?
BAMFORD: Well, it's international opinion, but the thing is there's no firewall between international communications and U.S. that connect Europe to the United States or up there in the Internet.

Bamford later puts this in an historical context...

MATTHEWS: So what did the Rendon Group and the INC people do?
BAMFORD: Well, they were the ones who created this opposition for us, for the opposite, Saddam Hussein. It's sort of like if the Kennedy administration during Bay of Pigs, outsourced the invasion to J. Walter Thompson's public relations company.

  • The Sept. 11 Commission issues a report card, grading the federal government's performance on measures to make America safer. Uncle Sam receives more Ds and Fs than As and Bs. "While the terrorists are learning and adapting, our government is still moving at a crawl," says former Governor Tom Kean. "Four years after 9/11, we are not as safe as we could be, and that's simply not acceptable." Former commissioner Jamie Gorlick also weighs in. "You remember the sense of urgency that we all felt in the summer of 2004. The interest has faded," she says. "You could see that in the aftermath of Katrina. We assumed that our government would be able to do what it needed to do and it didn't do it."

So, there you have it. The good news, however, is that despite government distortions and PR campaigns, polls show that the majority of Americans are finally waking up to some uncomfortable truths about the war in Iraq and the people who misled us into it. And as America's founders so rightly understood, the country's citizens, armed with the truth, are the best defense against a government run amok. "The U.S. still has a strong civil society that could, at least in theory, overcome the entrenched interests of the armed forces and the military-industrial complex," historian Chalmers Johnson wrote. "I fear, however, that the U.S. has indeed crossed the Rubicon and that there is no way to restore Constitutional government short of a revolutionary rehabilitation of American democracy. Without root and branch reform, Nemesis awaits. She is the goddess of revenge, the punisher of pride and arrogance, and the United States is on course for a rendezvous with her."

What will it take for us to again equate Truth and Justice with the American Way? And worse yet, what will happen if we don't start demanding more accountability and transparency from our leaders? "When people think of fascism, they imagine rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don't see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare," Paul Bigioni recently wrote.

Take a walk though America's recent history (Part I and Part II) in light of the founders' many warnings and ask yourself: Isn't it careless to assume it can't happen here?



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posted by u2r2h at Thursday, April 12, 2007

3 Comments:

Anonymous Sam said...

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Fri Apr 13, 11:15:00 am UTC  
Blogger Ronni said...

I can. It may take me a while. I've linked this entry at my blog. Click on my name. If you don't want me to do that, I'll take it down, but I think it's a reference that should be read by everyone.

Thanks.

Wed Apr 18, 02:40:00 pm UTC  
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Hello and thanks for reading this post!

The issue of taxes has never been easy on mankind. As you know, the resource collected from the public through taxation is always greater than the amount which can be used by the government. The difference is called compliance cost, and includes for example the labor cost and other expenses incurred in complying with tax laws and rules. This has repercussions on different aspects of taxation, from personal income taxes to payroll taxes.

One of the most interesting things related to taxes are the proportional, progressive, and regressive taxation systems. This is an area where a property tax attorney would tell you that a progressive tax is a tax imposed so that the tax rate increases as the amount to which the rate is applied increases. The opposite of a progressive tax is a regressive tax, where the tax rate decreases as the amount to which the rate is applied increases. In between is a proportional tax, where the tax rate is fixed as the amount to which the rate is applied increases. Progressive taxes reduce the tax incidence of people with smaller incomes, as they shift the incidence disproportionately to those with higher incomes. Regressive taxes reduce the tax incidence of people with higher incomes, as they shift the incidence disproportionately to those with smaller incomes.

For more financial details you are more than welcome to visit my blog where you will also find out more about Dallas tax attorneys, Seattle tax attorneys, Houston attorneys, Boston tax attorneys, Las Vegas tax attorneys and San Francisco tax attorneys

Best regards,

Michael Stevenson
All Tax Questions Website

Sat Apr 28, 07:53:00 am UTC  

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