of Being Lied to? Modern History You Can't Afford to
Part III: 2001-
by Maureen Farrell
"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
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."
In April and May, intelligence reports bearing the headlines, "Bin
Laden planning multiple operations," "Bin Laden network's plans advancing" and "Bin
Laden threats are real" are presented to President Bush.
German intelligence tells the CIA that Middle Eastern terrorists
for hijackings and plan on attacking American interests.
White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke gathers top
officials from a dozen federal agencies and tells them that "Something
really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's
going to happen soon."
A CIA intelligence report for President Bush reads, "The
attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S.
facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack
will occur with little or no warning."
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."
"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.
are not as well-prepared as we should be," vice chairman Lee
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.
Carlyle Group holds
its annual investor conference in Washington, DC. Former
Secretary of State James Baker and Shafiq
bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's brother, are in attendance. "The
gathering was the perfect metaphor for Washington's
strange affair with Saudi Arabia," author Robert Baer later writes.
Further evidence of this "strange affair" surfaces following the 9/11
attacks. In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, when the nation's
airspace is restricted, the White House allows airplanes to pick up
Saudi VIPS, including members
of the bin Laden family. And
when victims' families file a $1 trillion law suit against the Saudi
royal family, James
Baker's law firm represents the Saudis.
NPR's Congressional correspondent David Welna describes a conversation
he had during the evacuation of the Capital building. "I spoke with
Congressman Ike Skelton. . . who said that just recently the Director
of the CIA warned that there could be an attack -- an imminent attack
-- on the United States of this nature. So this
is not entirely unexpected," he
BBC later states that "the threat of an attack from within America
had been considered so small that the entire US mainland was being
defended by only 14 planes," with "just
four fighter pilots on alert covering the north eastern United States."
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.
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
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.
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 codename for a program which allegedly involves sexual humiliation
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
President Bush blocks access
to presidential records. Thomas
Blanton, the Executive Director of the National Security Archive,
later tells Bill Moyers that this is "the first time that vice presidents
have ever been given their own executive privilege, separate from the
president." The first vice president who gets to take advantage
of this privilege is George
H. W. Bush.
The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MEHPA), which was introduced
to governors of all 50 states in October, is revised, using language
less authoritarian. The
plan calls for forced
vaccinations and confiscation of citizen's real
estate, food and other assets without adequate compensation.
Ahmed Chalabi introduces an Iraqi exile named Curveball to
the Defense Intelligence Agency. "Keep
in mind the fact that this war's going to happen regardless of what
Curve Ball said or didn't say and that the Powers That Be probably
aren't terribly interested in whether
Curve Ball knows what he's talking about," a CIA official later
writes, in an e-mail published in Newsweek. In
Nov., 2005, the Los Angeles Times says that the U.S. fell
under Curveball's "spell," quoting German intelligence officials who
say that the Bush administration "repeatedly exaggerated
[Curveball's] claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq."
"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
White House counsel Alberto Gonzales writes a memo to President Bush,
advising him to declare Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters exempt from Geneva
Convention safeguards. Citing the War Crimes Act of 1996, which prohibits
Americans from committing "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions,
Gonzales warns that even top U.S.
officials could be susceptible to charges of war crimes without this exemption.
Former FEMA deputy director John Brinkerhoff writes a paper for the
Anser Institute for Homeland Security defending the Pentagon's desire
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.
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
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
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
as public policy" and, "articulate a philosophy of the presidency best described
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,"
The Office of Special Plans -- created in the days following Sept. 11 attacks
and later compared to a "shadow
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
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
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."
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
things like Posse Comitatus and other laws if we think it ties
our hands in protecting the American people," Eberhart says.
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.
After the 32 page Homeland Security Bill balloons to nearly 500 pages
overnight, and is railroaded through the Senate and Congress, it is signed
into law. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) says the bill "expands the federal police
state," Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) says it represents "the most severe
of the Freedom of Information Act" in 36 years.
"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." ~
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?"
The Army War College's strategic study on "Reconstructing Iraq" warns
against unseating Saddam without
a clear post-invasion plan. "Without an
overwhelming effort to prepare for occupation, the US may find itself in
a radically different world over the next few years, a world in which the
threat of Saddam Hussein seems like a pale shadow of new problems of America's
own making," the study says. In
2005, the Downing Street Memo confirms that there was "little discussion
in Washington of the aftermath
after military action," while
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, says that
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and "certain people in the Defense Department" were
responsible for the 'post invasion planning,' which, he says, "was as
inept and incompetent as perhaps any planning anyone has ever done."
Three weeks before the start of the war, Gen. Eric Shinseki testifies before
the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying that the U.S. will need several
hundred thousand troops to occupy post-invasion Iraq. Deputy Secretary of
Defense Paul Wolfowitz calls this estimate "wildly off the mark" and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld deems it "far
off the mark."
Veteran State Department official John Brady Kiesling resigns. "Our fervent
pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy
that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since
the days of Woodrow Wilson," he writes. "We have begun to dismantle the
largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has
ever known. Our current course will bring instability
and danger, not security."
Josh Marshall discloses the "startling amount of deception" in the neoconservatives'
plans for the Middle East -- with chaos
being the desired goal. Paul
Wolfowitz later admits that the WMD rationale was made for "bureaucratic
reasons" and was "the one reason everyone could agree on."
President Bush warns the Mexican government that there will be a "certain
sense of discipline" if it doesn't support the U.S. position on Iraq
and a leaked secret document shows that the U.S. plans to bug
key UN security council member's phones and e-mails. Despite
UN refuses to legitimize Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Rand Beers, the National Security Council's senior director for combating
terrorism, resigns. "The administration wasn't matching its deeds to its
words in the war on terrorism," he later asserts. "They're
making us less secure, not more secure."
Operation Iraqi Freedom begins on March
20, 2003. "An
illegitimate war, a country in defiance of the UN. That was supposed to
be Iraq's role in this drama. Instead, it seems to be the U.S. part," asserts
Canada's Globe and Mail. "With each passing day, the U.S.-led
coalition of the willing. . . looks more like the coalition of the bribed
and the kicking
and screaming." The
coalition weakens in 2005, when Italy,
and other US allies begin pulling
troops from Iraq.
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
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: PresidentBush makes a speech in honor
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
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
Responding to the insurgency in Iraq, President Bush says, "Bring
'em on." By
late 2005, more than 2,100 soldiers are killed in the war in Iraq
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."
"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
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
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
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
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."
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.
Nick Berg, an American who often worked on a tower near Iraq's infamous
Abu Ghraib prison, is beheaded on tape. The video
raises more questions than
The Sept. 11 Commission issues
and is criticized for downplaying
the roles played by Pakistan and
for omitting information regarding "Able Danger" -- a counterterrorism
unit that existed from 1999 until it was "unceremoniously
axed" in Feb. 2001.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer later says that "there was a significant
amount of information that was totally deleted or not provided to the
9/11 commissioners" and
shares the frustration he felt at not being able to share information
with the FBI -- especially since he knew that four of the hijackers,
Mohammed Atta, were
in America a year before the attacks. (It's
still unclear, however, how, without this information, the FBI knew exactly
which ATM machine in Portland Maine would reap a
picture of Atta on 9/11.). Sept. 11 widow Kristen Breitweiser later
calls the 9/11 report "utterly
James Ridgeway, author of The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11:
What the 9/11 Commission Report Failed to Tell Us, compares
Patrick Fitzgerald's Plamegate investigation to its 9/11 counterpart
-- saying that while Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame have the satisfaction
Scooter Libby "under indictment and out of a job " there "is no such
whiff of justice" for the Sept.
11 victims and their families.
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.
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
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
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.
President Bush provides a tape of himself, sitting in the White House,
commenting on his impending victory on election night - even though no sitting
president has ever addressed the nation while polls were still open. The
Bush family filmed
a similar made-for-TV moment in 2000, when they promised
that Florida would go to George W. Bush.
House Democrats ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate
voting machine irregularities. The GAO issues its report in 2005, finding
that concerns about electronic voting machines are valid -- with votes
being lost and miscounted during recent elections. Rep.
John Conyers also examines "What
Went Wrong in Ohio."
2005"Nations, like individuals, are punished
transgressions." ~ Ulysses S. Grant
February: An article by Deon Roberts bemoans the fact that
expenditures for hurricane and flood protection projects in New Orleans have
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."
The Downing Street Memo is
leaked to the Times of London. One month later, Congressional
Democrats hold an informal
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
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."
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.
After admitting that he did
not realize that thousands of people were stranded at the New Orleans
convention center without food or water (though it had been reported on
all US television stations), FEMA Director Michael
Brown resigns -- while staying on the government's
Brown's e-mails are leaked to the press, the public gets a better understanding
of the "fashion god" Bush applauded for doing a "heck of a job." 'Can
I quit now?' Brown asks as Katrina batters New Orleans.
The military conducts a highly classified "Granite Shadow demonstration" in
Washington, DC. --raising more red flag regarding the "military's
extra-legal powers" and the end of Posse Comitatus.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Pentagon develops plans to give
the military a larger role in responding to "catastrophic" events within
the U.S. -- even though such action is illegal
under Posse Comitatus.
Captain Ian Fishback, the decorated West Point graduate who testified
to the inhumane treatment of detainees before and after Abu Ghraib, is sequestered
and interrogated at Fort Bragg, along with fellow whistle-blowers. "If
we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those
ideals were never really in our possession," Fishback writes to Sen. John
McCain, adding, "I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest
part of the
idea that is 'America.'"
President Bush announces that the U.S. military may be used to
enforce quarantines if there is an outbreak of Bird Flu. Dr.
Irwin Redlener, associate Dean of Columbia University's School of Public
Health for Disaster Preparedness, calls Bush's plan an "extraordinarily draconian
measure" and says "the translation of this is martial
law in the United States."
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
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
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
"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.
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
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
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
Bay of Pigs, outsourced the invasion to J. Walter Thompson's public
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
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
the goddess of revenge, the punisher of pride and arrogance, and the United
is on course for a
rendezvous with her."
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
transparency from our leaders? "When people think of fascism, they imagine
rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they
see is the economic and political process that leads
to the nightmare," Paul Bigioni recently wrote.
a walk though America's recent history (Part
in light of the founders' many
yourself: Isn't it careless to assume it can't