Archive for December 3rd, 2007

anthony @ 19:50 GMT, updated 21:45 GMT

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb.

The conclusions of the new assessment are likely to reshape the final year of the Bush administration, which has made halting Iran’s nuclear program a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”

Iran is continuing to produce enriched uranium, a program that the Tehran government has said is designed for civilian purposes. The new estimate says that enrichment program could still provide Iran with enough raw material to produce a nuclear weapon sometime by the middle of next decade, a timetable essentially unchanged from previous estimates.

But the new estimate declares with “high confidence” that a military-run Iranian program intended to transform that raw material into a nuclear weapon has been shut down since 2003, and also says with high confidence that the halt “was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure.”


Text: Key Judgments of National Intelligence Estimate (pdf)
Statement by the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (pdf)
Text: White House Response


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by GEF @ 11:08 AM MST

I said it before Justice Peeps, FITZ(Fitzgerald) holds the key! – GEF 🙂

White House Obstructing Plame Investigation

December 3, 2007 11:11 AM

The Bush Administration is actively blocking Congress’ investigation into the outing of once-covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, according to House Oversight Committee chairman Henry Waxman.

In a letter sent today to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Waxman notes that White House objections are preventing Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald from disclosing key information to investigating officials. Among the documents being withheld are interviews taken from White House officers during Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leak of Plame’s identity.

“Over the summer, Mr. Fitzgerald agreed to provide relevant documents to the Committee, including records of interviews with senior White House officials. Unfortunately, the White House has been blocking Mr. Fitzgerald from providing key documents to the Committee,” Waxman writes to newly appointed Mukasey. “I ask that you personally look into this matter and authorize the production of the documents to the Committee without any further delay.”

Waxman’s letter provides one of the first tests for Mukasey, who stressed during his confirmation hearings that he would operate independently from White House directive. The letter also provides greater insight into the extent of collaboration between Fitzgerald and the oversight committee.

Read the full letter here. Emptywheel has more here.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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by GEF @ 09:58 AM MST


Dollar peg puts Qatar summit in spotlight

By Andrew England in Doha and Simeon Kerr in Dubai

Published: December 2 2007 17:20 | Last updated: December 2 2007 17:20

When the six leaders of the Gulf Co-operation Council member states open their normally unspectacular annual summit in Qatar on Monday, the attention of many in the financial world will be guaranteed.

The ostensible purpose of the meeting in Doha is to discuss plans for monetary union by 2010. But after weeks of heated debate, markets will be studying the minutiae of the GCC leaders’ words for any hint of whether key members of the organisation, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will retain long-standing pegs to the weak US dollar or look to revalue their currencies.

“This is perhaps the most anticipated meeting this year in the region,” says Mushtaq Khan, economist at Citibank. “So many statements have been made over the past couple of weeks which have really increased the tempo and the market’s expectation that something is likely to happen.”


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MSNBC Special: White House in Crisis!!

by GEF @ 7:08 AM MST

MSNBC Special: White House in Crisis!!

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An Old Face Resurfaces

Sudhan @12:00 CET


The Bush administration has offered the former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz a new public service position.

By Michael Isikoff | NEWSWEEK

Dec 10, 2007 Issue

Don’t ever say the Bush administration doesn’t take care of its own. Nearly three years after Paul Wolfowitz resigned as deputy Defense secretary and six months after his stormy departure as president of the World Bank—amid allegations that he improperly awarded a raise to his girlfriend—he’s in line to return to public service. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has offered Wolfowitz, a prime architect of the Iraq War, a position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, a prestigious State Department panel, according to two department sources who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters. The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classified intelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD issues and other matters. “We think he is well suited and will do an excellent job,” said one senior official.

Keep reading . . .

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Sudhan @11:20 CET

By Robert Parry, Consortium News. Posted November 26, 2007.

For decades, the Bush family has operated above the law, using powerful connections to brush aside evidence that would put lesser Americans in the slammer.

In the history of the American Republic, perhaps no political family has been more protected from scandal than the Bushes.

When the Bushes are involved in dirty deals or even criminal activity, standards of evidence change. Instead of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” that would lock up an average citizen, the evidence must be perfect.

If there’s any doubt at all, the Bushes must be presumed innocent. Even when their guilt is obvious to anyone with an ounce of common sense, it’s their accusers and those who dare investigate who get the worst of it. Their motives are challenged and their own shortcomings are cast in the harshest possible light.

For decades — arguably going back generations — the Bushes have been protected by their unique position straddling two centers of national power, the family’s blueblood Eastern Establishment ties and the Texas oil crowd with strong links to the Republican Right. [For details on this family phenomenon, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

This reality was underscored again by how major news outlets and the right-wing press reacted to a new piece of evidence implicating George W. Bush in a criminal cover-up in the “Plame-gate” scandal.

Though the evidence is now overwhelming that President Bush was part of a White House cabal that leaked Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity as a covert CIA officer and then covered up the facts, major newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, continue to pooh-pooh this extraordinary scandal.

Keep reading . . .

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America’s day of reckoning is at hand

anthony @ 07:40 GMT

Paul Craig Roberts | Online Journal | Tuesday November 27, 2007

Pat Buchanan is too patriotic to come right out and say it, but the message of his new book, Day of Reckoning, is that America as we have known her is finished. Moreover, Naomi Wolf agrees with him. These two writers of different political persuasions arrive at America’s demise from different directions.

Buchanan explains how hubris, ideology, and greed have torn America apart. A neoconservative cabal with an alien agenda captured the Bush administration and committed American blood, energy, and money to aggression against Muslim countries in the Middle East, while permitting America’s domestic borders to be overrun by immigrants and exporting the jobs that had made the US an opportunity society. War and offshoring have taken a savage economic toll while open borders and diversity have created social and political division.

In her new book, End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, Wolf explains America’s demise in terms of the erosion of freedoms. She writes that the 10 classic steps that are used to close open societies are currently being taken in the US. Martial law is only a declaration away.

The Bush administration responded to September 11 by initiating military aggression in the Middle East and by using fear and the “war on terror” to implement police state measures at home with legislation, presidential directives, and executive orders.

Overnight the US became a tyranny in which people could be arrested and incarcerated on the basis of unsubstantiated accusation. Both US citizens and non-citizens were denied habeas corpus, due process, and access to attorneys and courts. Congress gave Bush legislation establishing military tribunals, the procedures of which permit people to be condemned to death on the basis of secret evidence, hearsay, and confessions extracted by torture. Nothing of the like has ever been seen before in the US. (more…)

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