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Archive for June 20th, 2008

By- Suzie-Q @ 4:35 PM MST

Dem Rep. calls for impeachment at McClellan testimony: video

Raw Story

David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Friday June 20, 2008

MORE: McClellan testifies to House Judiciary Committee.

After questioning former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee Friday, a Democratic congressman called for impeachment proceedings to be initiated.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) said that he believed McClellan’s testimony implicated both Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush as the only two administration sources who could have leaked the identity of former CIA covert operative Valerie Plame-Wilson.

“The president and vice president have denied ordering this illegal leak, but logic and the chain of command dictates that it must have been one of them,” said Wexler. “Mr. McClellan, in your book, you state that you cannot believe President Bush authorized the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s status as a covert agent. … Who does that leave us? The vice president.”

“He is someone that keeps things pretty close to the vest, to say the least,” replied McClellan.

“There’s a lot of suspicion there, because there’s questions that have never been answered, despite the fact that we said we would address these issues.” McClellan added. Asked Wexler, “So this suspicion leads you to believe that Vice President Cheney could have authorized Mr. Libby’s leak?” McClellan replied, “I can’t rule it out.”

“We know that the vice president wrote a note where he starts to write and then crosses out the fact that the president himself asked Mr. Libby to stick his neck into a meat grinder to protect the administration,” said Wexler. “It’s clear to me that Mr. Cheney is the only one left — the only likely suspect — to have ordered the leak. If Mr. Cheney really thought Libby was innocent, then Mr. Cheney’s note would have said, ‘We need to protect this man, who has done nothing wrong.'”

Wexler closed by thundering: “The vice president’s own hand betrays him, and Libby, and implicates the President of the United States. These facts in your testimony, Mr. McClellan, are more than enough, in my view, to open up impeachment hearings.”

This video is from CNN.com, broadcast June 20, 2008.

WATCH THE VIDEO

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Big Changes Coming….

GEF @ 4:38 PM MST

Outgoing Bank of England deputy governor Sir John Gieve has added his voice to warnings over the economy and said the next year was “not going to be comfortable for anybody”.

Sir John, who has resigned as deputy governor in charge of financial stability, told business leaders the current climate was the “most challenging” faced by the Bank in 11 years of independence.

He said: “The next year is not going to be comfortable for anyone and we already hear calls to change the system, the target, and our focus on inflation.

“But the new framework and the independence of the Bank was designed for difficult times as well as for plain sailing.”

His comments follow bleak economic warnings from Chancellor Alistair Darling and Bank Governor Mervyn King in their Mansion House speeches to the City this week after inflation soared to 3.3 per cent in May, fuelled by spiralling oil, food and household energy bills.

Sir John was due to serve until 2011, but will step down next year after reforms to banking laws have been introduced in the wake of the Northern Rock crisis.

These give the Bank of England statutory responsibility for financial stability as well as powers to deal with failing banks.

Meanwhile, the Bank’s chief economist, Charles Bean, was also confirmed as a deputy governor yesterday.

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Evening Jukebox… Wrap It Up

By- Suzie-Q @ 4:30 PM MST

Fabulous Thunderbirds- Wrap It Up

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GEF @ 3:58 PM MST

R.I.P TO THE US CONSTITUTION

HOUSE passes new Steny Hoyer/FISA bill

(h/t Heather)

The vote just went down. As expected, the House passed the disgraceful Steny Hoyer led capitulation bill passed 293-129 I believe…It now goes to the Senate to debate next week.

What this bill means to the Telecoms: The lawsuits they face could be dismissed by a court if the Telecoms proved that they had received directives from the administration that said warrantless wiretapping was legal. They already have that evidence so basically they have been give immunity against all lawsuits with this bill.

Please keep donating to our Blue America FISA page. We will not sit back idly…We’ve raised another 30K since last night.
—-

Let’s thank Steny Hoyer for this shall we…

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Sudhan @23:35 CET

John Nichols | The Nation, June 20, 2008

Former White House spokesman Scott McClellan told Congress Friday that the Bush-Cheney Administration continues to conceal information about abuses of power committed to punish former Ambassador Joe Wilson for challenging the President’s storyline with regard to the “need” to invade and occupy Iraq.

“This matter continues to be investigated by Congress because of what the White House has chosen to conceal from the public,” McClellan told the House Judiciary Committee. “Despite assurances that the administration would discuss the matter once the special counsel had completed his work, the White House has sought to avoid public scrutiny and accountability.”

Speaking under oath, the longtime aide to President Bush seemed at times to dumb down his testimony, softening points made in his explosive book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.

In the book and in interviews promoting it, McClellan suggested that key players in the White House — including political czar Karl Rove, vice presidential chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Vice President Dick Cheney — had at critical points in 2003 lied to him (or, at the least, conspired to keep him in the dark) about their involvement in the leaking information about the fact that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a CIA covert operative.

Continued . . .

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U.S. says exercise by Israel seemed directed at Iran

Sudhan @20:00 CET

By Michael R. Gordon and Erich Schmitt | International Herald Tribune, June 20, 2008

Washington: Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

The exercise also included Israeli helicopters that could be used to rescue downed pilots. The helicopters and refueling tankers flew more than 900 miles, which is about the same distance between Israel and Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, American officials said.

Israeli officials declined to discuss the details of the exercise. A spokesman for the Israeli military would say only that the country’s air force “regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel.”

But the scope of the Israeli exercise virtually guaranteed that it would be noticed by American and other foreign intelligence agencies. A senior Pentagon official who has been briefed on the exercise, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the political delicacy of the matter, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”

Several American officials said they did not believe that the Israeli government had concluded that it must attack Iran and did not think that such a strike was imminent.

Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister who is now a deputy prime minister, warned in a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that Israel might have no choice but to attack. “If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack,” Mofaz said in the interview published on June 6, the day after the unpublicized exercise ended. “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable.”

But Mofaz was criticized by other Israeli politicians as seeking to enhance his own standing as questions mount about whether the embattled Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, can hang on to power.

Israeli officials have told their American counterparts that Mofaz’s statement does not represent official policy. But American officials were also told that Israel had prepared plans for striking nuclear targets in Iran and could carry them out if needed.

Iran has shown signs that it is taking the Israeli warnings seriously, by beefing up its air defenses in recent weeks, including increasing air patrols. In one instance, Iran scrambled F-4 jets to double-check an Iraqi civilian flight from Baghdad to Tehran.

“They are clearly nervous about this and have their air defense on guard,” a Bush administration official said of the Iranians.

Any Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities would confront a number of challenges. Many American experts say they believe that such an attack could delay but not eliminate Iran’s nuclear program. Much of the program’s infrastructure is buried under earth and concrete and installed in long tunnels or hallways, making precise targeting difficult. There is also concern that not all of the facilities have been detected. To inflict maximum damage, multiple attacks might be necessary, which many analysts say is beyond Israel’s ability at this time.

Continued . . .

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By- Suzie-Q @ 8:30 AM MST

Ex-State Dept. official: Hundreds of detainees died in U.S. custody, at least 25 murdered.»

Think Progress

By Think Progress on Jun 18th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

At today’s House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights hearing on torture, Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, told Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody, with up to 27 of these declared homicides:

NADLER: Your testimony said 100 detainees have died in detention; do you believe the 25 of those were in effect murdered?

WILKERSON: Mr. Chairman, I think the number’s actually higher than that now. Last time I checked it was 108.

VIDEO



A February 2006 Human Rights First report found that although hundreds of people in U.S. custody had died and eight people were tortured to death, only 12 deaths had “resulted in punishment of any kind for any U.S. official.”

Transcript:

NADLER: Colonel Wilkerson, in your prepared testimony, you write that “as I compiled my dossier for Secretary Powell, and as I did further research, and as my views grew firmer and firmer I had to reread that memo (of February 7, 2002), “I needed to balance in my own mind the overwhelming evidence that my own government had sanctioned abuse and torture, which at its worse had led to the murder of 25 detainees and at least 100 detainee deaths. We have murder at least 25 people in detention. That was the clear low point [lower end of the range] of the evidence.” Your testimony said 100 detainees have died in detention; do you believe the 25 of those were in effect murdered?

WILKERSON: Mr. Chairman, I think the number’s actually higher than that now. Last time I checked it was 108, and the total number that were declared homicides by the military services, or by the CIA, or others doing investigations, CID, and so forth — was 25, 26, 27.

NADLER: Were declared homicides?

WILKERSON: Right, starting as early as December 2001 in Afghanistan.

NADLER: And these were homicides committed by people engaged in interrogations?

WILKERSON: Or in guarding prisoners, or something like that. People who were in detention.

NADLER: They were in detention, not trying to escape or anything, declared homicides by our own authorities.

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