Archive for category Condolezza Rice
Ten years later, the facts are still coming out about the events of September 11, 2001. The first F-16s scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base were unarmed – the pilots knew the only way to stop a hijacked plane would be to crash into it. A little later, according to newly-released tapes, NORAD elected to ignore Vice President Cheney’s order to shoot down suspect aircraft.
The 9/11 Commission Report remains the best overall account of what happened during the attacks ten years ago. However, the vast majority of the 9/11 Commission’s investigative records remain sealed at the National Archives in Washington. About two-thirds of the material is still classified, years after the commission members wanted it released to the public. Included in the sealed archive is the complete transcript of the commission’s interview with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
While some people refer to “the official story” of the 9/11 attacks, there actually isn’t one. The closest the Bush administration ever came to issuing an official account was former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice’s testimony before the commission in April 2004. This was when Rice claimed, incredibly, that no-one “could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile.” Condi’s testimony basically amounted to a plea of incompetence on behalf of the U.S. government.
Robert Scheer points out that the 9/11 Commission was never able to definitively answer some of the the most important questions regarding the origin and motives of the 9/11 attackers. The truth might lead to a re-examination of U.S. foreign policy, and possibly embarrassment for some powerful people associated with bad decisions — both overt and covert.
The history of the 9/11 attacks is still being written. There is plenty we still don’t know. What we DO know: the last decade of war has caused lots of death and destruction, and the cost to U.S. taxpayers so far is $6.6 trillion in war funding plus another $580 billion for the Department of Homeland Security. We are left with a shameful legacy of war crimes, assassinations and torture, plus the loss of some of our constitutional rights, privacy, and freedom.
UPDATE: Krugman is Right: We Should Be Ashamed of What Happened after 9/11
UPDATE: Jane Stillwater: Honoring 9-11: Time to audit the CIA’s incestuous relationship with Al Qaeda [Note: I think Jane is asking the right questions, but I don't agree with all her answers]
UPDATE: Kevin Gosztola: Ten Years After 9/11, Aviation Security Still Hysterical. It’s a world ruled by fear and terror, we just live in it and have nothing to say.
UPDATE: U.S. Attack Threat Remains Uncorroborated. Or, “Osama bin Laden is dead, but you can’t have your rights back yet because we have some more fear mongering to do.”
UPDATE: Chris Hedges:
We do not grasp that Osama bin Laden’s twisted vision of a world of indiscriminate violence and terror has triumphed.
…We could have gone another route. We could have built on the profound sympathy and empathy that swept through the world following the attacks. The revulsion over the crimes that took place 10 years ago, including in the Muslim world, where I was working in the weeks and months after 9/11, was nearly universal. The attacks, if we had turned them over to intelligence agencies and diplomats, might have opened possibilities not of war and death but ultimately reconciliation and communication, of redressing the wrongs that we commit in the Middle East and that are committed by Israel with our blessing. It was a moment we squandered. Our brutality and triumphalism, the byproducts of nationalism and our infantile pride, revived the jihadist movement. We became the radical Islamist movement’s most effective recruiting tool. We descended to its barbarity. We became terrorists too. The sad legacy of 9/11 is that the assholes, on each side, won.
UPDATE: Former Senator Bob Graham Urges Obama to Reopen Investigation into Saudi Role in 9/11 Attacks (Note: Bob Graham is also peddling a novel).
UPDATE: Russ Baker: Newly-revealed evidence links the Saudi royal family to Saudis in South Florida, who reportedly had contact with the 9/11 hijackers before fleeing the US prior to the attacks.
[T]he FBI, for reasons unknown, failed to provide the information to Congressional 9/11 investigators or to the …9/11 Commission, and thus it has remained a secret for the past decade.
…The 9/11 Commission report “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials” financed Al Qaeda. But this carefully worded statement does not foreclose the possibility that members of the Saudi royal family personally provided financing, or that senior officials funded companies or outsiders that in turn provided financing.
UPDATE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says that as an engineer he’s sure the twin towers were not brought down by jetliners.
U.S. Navy special forces and Marines on an 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat, conducting maritime interception operations in the northern Arabian Gulf. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Peterson)
The Jerusalem Post reports that the U.S. Navy intercepted an Iranian-owned merchant vessel last week in the Red Sea. This operation was one of a number of interceptions and searches being carried out on the basis of the memorandum of understanding signed between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on January 16, aimed at halting arms smuggling into Gaza. The Bush administration committed to helping Israel enforce a blockade of the Gaza Strip.
What possible justification is there for using American resources — the American military — to patrol the Red Sea in order to ensure that Gazans remain defenseless? That question is particularly pronounced given that the U.S. is already shoveling, and will continue to shovel, billions and billions of dollars to Israel in military and other aid. Why, on top of all of that, are increasingly scarce American resources, rather than Israeli resources, being used to bar Palestinians from obtaining weapons?
So here we are, directly involved in an armed conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, with no declaration of war or even a congressional authorization for the use of military force. Not to mention we’re increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran at the very moment when the Iranians are helping to keep the lid on Shiite insurgent activity in Iraq. Thank you, former President Bush. And wake up, President Obama– you’ve been punked.
UPDATE: President Obama, in an interview yesterday with al Arabiya television, said: “Americans are not your enemy… But ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words but by my actions and my administration’s actions.” So, what about the U.S. Navy blockading Gaza?
UPDATE: Amnesty International investigates the undisciplined behavior of Israeli troops who invaded the Gaza Strip. These are our allies in the new war Bush bequeathed to President Obama.
Chris Cobb-Smith, a military expert and part of Amnesty International’s team, was an officer in the British Army for almost 20 years. He said he was staggered by what he saw and by the behaviour and apparent lack of discipline of the Israeli soldiers. “Gazans have had their houses looted, vandalized and desecrated. As well, the Israeli soldiers have left behind not only mounds of litter and excrement but ammunition and other military equipment. It’s not the behaviour one would expect from a professional army,” he said.
In most cases, the families had fled or were expelled by the soldiers. In some cases, however, the soldiers prevented the families from leaving, using them as “human shields”.
UPDATE: Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the Red Sea interception but said the ship was searched with permission. “We were not authorized to seize the weapons or do anything like that.”
On the last day of the Bush presidency, let’s review the greatest shame of his regime.
It’s almost 11 minutes in length, but extremely important. We must never forget. Will these criminals ever face justice?
Readers, please add your own links and videos in the comments. There are just too many to even narrow them down to the most succinct.
Via Raw Story:
Outgoing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has acknowledged that she was responsible for the security failures that made possible the 9/11 attacks. However, she did so only fleetingly and in a backhanded manner before returning to justifications of her actions.
In a CNN “exit interview” with CNN’s Zain Verjee broadcast today, Rice conceded her failure as Bush’s National Security Advisor in 2001.
“The worst breach of national security in the history of the United States came under your watch,” Verjee persisted.
“Absolutely,” Rice agreed.
“Did you ever consider resigning?” asked Verjee. “Taking responsibility?”
“I do take responsibility,” Rice finally acknowledged, “but this was a systemic failure. … We, the administrations before us, had not thought of this as the kind of war against the terrorists that we were going to have to wage.”
Rice complained that nobody told her exactly “when, where, how” before the 9/11 attacks. In testimony before the 9/11 Commission, she said, “the use of airplanes as weapons actually was never briefed to us.”
Worst. National Security Advisor. Ever.
UPDATE: The House Government Oversight Committee has uncovered new information about Condi Rice’s involvement in the pre-invasion lying about Iraq’s WMD capabailities.
I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.
I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did appreciate a serious storm but these levees got breached and as a result much of New Orleans is flooded and now we’re having to deal with it…
I guess if I look back on it now, I don’t think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we have encountered [in Iraq].
Bernanke also admitted that the effects of the mortgage meltdown and subsequent credit crunch were more widespread than he had anticipated.
“In particular, the further tightening of credit conditions, if sustained, would increase the risk that the current weakness in housing could be deeper or more prolonged than previously expected, with possible adverse effects on consumer spending and the economy more generally,” Bernanke said.
Of course, any intelligent person could have foreseen all of these catastrophes, and many, many people did. Bush ignored the warnings. For example, financial experts have been telling us for years that our whole economy was being propped up by a housing bubble. Bush administration bungling has led to yet another trillion-dollar fiasco.
The U.S. economy faces its worst crisis since the 1930s, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Expectations for a quick end to the crisis are fading fast. “I think it’s going to last a lot longer than perhaps we would have anticipated,” Anne Mulcahy, chief executive of Xerox Corp., said Wednesday.
UPDATE: From Think Progress– Bush Compares The Financial Crisis He Created To The Terrorist Attacks He Never Saw Coming. “The current financial crisis is a direct result of Bushonomics and should not be dismissed as just another unanticipated tragedy.”
UPDATE: Remember “The Ownership Society”? In 2004, Bush was so proud of the sub-prime mortgage housing bubble that he campaigned on it as the middle class went into debt up to their eyeballs.
UPDATE: Did The Onion get it right in 2001 or what? Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over.’
UPDATE: I really thought the Bush administration was doing their best to make sure the credit collapse wouldn’t happen until after they left office. Well, that didn’t work. So they are doing what they always do, telling us that their “solution” to the fiasco they led the country into is the only option and must be implemented immediately, and without any debate. This is not the first time they’ve pulled this, as Glenn Greenwald notes. Why do the Democrats go along with it?
Condi Rice has agreed to a troop withdrawal timetable to end the occupation of Iraq.
The cowardly defeatocrats and cut ‘n’ runners have kicked ass. Declaring that the deal means “the left won the Iraq debate,” Spencer Ackerman notes that the withdrawal plan is nearly identical to the plan offered by the Center for American Progress.
The withdrawal timetable that they labeled “a surrender date” a little over a year ago is now Bush administration policy. Let’s say it again with feeling: WITHDRAWAL TIMETABLE.
Oh. My. God.
What will John McCain say? Via Think Progress:
– “If you pass a resolution…that dictates withdrawal and a time for withdrawal, all you’re doing is telling the enemy, ‘hang on, we’re leaving.’” [March 2007]
– “If you set a date for withdrawal, then the consequences of failure are catastrophic.” [8/20/07] (YouTube link)
– “An artificial timetable based on political expediency would have led to disaster and could still turn success into defeat.” [7/19/08]
– “They’ll come home with honor. And it won’t be just at a set timetable.” [7/22/08]
McCain repeatedly has rebuked Obama on Iraq. Campaigning Wednesday in New Mexico, he said Obama “has made it clear he values withdrawal from Iraq above victory in Iraq.”
Yesterday, Senator Obama said, “They are working on a plan that looks, lo and behold, like the plan that I’ve been advocating. I will encourage the administration to move forward with it.”
Matt Yglesias identifies the big winner from this deal:
[T]his is undoubtedly a triumph for Nouri al-Maliki. He’s managed to continue securing the short-term security benefits of an American military presence, but now without bearing the costs of being a supporter of an unpopular long-term presence. And beyond that, Maliki’s now succeeded through politics at doing what al-Sadr and various Sunni resistance groups couldn’t achieve through force of arms — he’s made the Americans promise to go!
And that’s not all. To sweeten the deal, Maliki gets almost $11 billion in U.S. weapon systems, including 140 Abrams tanks, hundreds of other armored vehicles and 24 attack helicopters. That might be enough to send the Peshmerga packing and get control of Kirkuk.
Via Think Progress: Today marks seven years since the day President Bush received a President’s Daily Brief entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” (PDF) What did Bush do? He stayed on vacation the rest of August.
The Bush administration finally scheduled a long-delayed meeting to discuss al Qaeda with Richard Clarke–on September 10, 2001. The next day, Bush read The Pet Goat while New York and Washington burned.
According to the 9/11 Commission report:
— [President Bush] did not recall discussing the August 6 report with the Attorney General or whether Rice had done so. [p. 260]
— We have found no indication of any further discussion before September 11 among the President and his top advisers of the possibility of a threat of an al Qaeda attack in the United States. DCI Tenet visited President Bush in Crawford, Texas, on August 17 and participated in the PDB briefings of the President between August 31 (after the President had returned to Washington) and September 10. But Tenet does not recall any discussions with the President of the domestic threat during this period. [p. 262]
Today, 2,557 days later, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are winning the war in Afghanistan and are still determined to strike in the U.S. at a time and place of their choosing.
Worst President Ever.
The House of Representatives usually takes Fridays off, but the leadership considers the impeachment of President George W. Bush to be such a high priority that the Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing is scheduled for Friday, July 25. /snark
Except that Chairman John Conyers isn’t calling it an impeachment hearing, despite the fact that this hearing is the result of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s H.R. 1345 being referred to the Judiciary Committee in a House vote last week, and H.R. 1345 is actually an article of impeachment. Instead, it was first billed as “Hearing on the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush” and is now on the calendar as “Hearing on Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.”
This hearing is supposed to be about this article of impeachment: “Deceiving Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq WMDs to fraudulently obtain support for an Authorization of the Use of Military Force against Iraq.” No witness list has been published yet, however the Salt Lake Tribune tells us that former Mayor Rocky Anderson has been invited to testify. I don’t want to complain about Rocky, he’s a good attorney and knows how to lay out a case for the jury, but what does he know first-hand?
Secretary of State Colin Powell telling the UN Security Council about alleged Iraqi WMDs
There are better witnesses available, with first-hand information to offer the committee. I have a few suggestions, you can add your ideas in the comments…
1. George Tenet was the Director of Central Intelligence and headed the CIA in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. On Sept. 18, 2002, Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.
2. Colin Powell was the Secretary of State, and presented the Bush administration’s argument about Iraq’s alleged WMDs to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003. Powell now calls the UN presentation the worst moment of his career. All of the so-called evidence in the presentation later proved to be misleading or entirely fabricated.
3. Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA covert operations in Europe. According to Drumheller, the CIA, with the help of a friendly intelligence service, recruited Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in Europe during the late summer of 2002. Sabri told the CIA in September that Saddam had no major active weapons of mass destruction programs.
4. Some members of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), the committee responsible for putting out the Bush administration’s arguments for invading Iraq. It was Michael Gerson, working with WHIG, who coined the phrase, “the smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” WHIG included:
Andrew Card, White House Chief of Staff and head of the WHIG
Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bush
Karen Hughes, counselor to President Bush
Mary Matalin, political strategist on the staff of Vice President Cheney
James R. Wilkinson, Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications
Nicholas E. Calio, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs
Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor)
Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor (Hadley took the blame for President Bush’s false claim about Iraqi uranium in the January 28, 2003 State of the Union Address)
I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney and Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs
Michael Gerson, President Bush’s chief speechwriter
Rendon Group, a public relations firm headed by John Rendon
Scott McClellan, White House Deputy Press Secretary
5. Scott Ritter, United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Ritter publicly argued that Iraq possessed no significant weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).
UPDATE: Ralph Nader sent a letter to Rep. Conyers to complain about not being invited to testify. The letter mentions that Friday’s witness list includes Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Presidential candidate Bob Barr, Bruce Fein and John Dean in addition to Rocky Anderson. Kucinich has hinted that an “unidentified government official of a U.S. ally” may be testifying.