In the midst of stifling heat, Iraq--and even the Bush regime--are in danger of being flooded.
The Iraq debacle has just gotten a dam site worse, with the deaths of 14 Marines and their interpreter, blown up while trying to protect a key region of western Iraq from being swamped by the Euphrates River.
Peter Slevin of the Washington Post captured the grief of Ohioans--these Marines were based there--but for the full picture, read his colleague Ellen Knickmeyer's brilliant May 12 story on an earlier tragedy that befell "Lucky Lima." (Knickmeyer also wrote this morning's main story on the new bombing.)
More than two years after the unjustified U.S. invasion, this chaotic war has completed a full loop.
On April 1, 2003, before the U.S. even conquered Baghdad, Army rangers captured the crucial Haditha Dam, 150 miles northwest of Baghdad. Here's why it's crucial: The dam supplies hydroelectric power--one-third of the country's entire power output, in fact. Fearing that Saddam Hussein's forces would sabotage the dam, causing not only a major, permanent power outage but also a historic flood, the U.S. quickly seized the area.
Now, we can't hold it. And that puts not only Iraqis, our troops, and our whole scheme in danger--more importantly to the Bush regime, the GOP could even be threatened in Ohio in next year's congressional elections.
The above is from "The Bush Beat" by Ward Harkavy (The Village Voice) and Brad e-mailed to note it.
Cedric e-mails to note A Voice from the Wilderness' "Karl Rove, Michael Ledeen Spies Procured Forged Niger Documents" (Colorado Indymedia) which addresses the forged Niger document:
At night, between the first and second of the January 2001, a mysterious thief came to the embassy of Niger in Rome and into the residence of the counselor in charge. It turned out that some letterhead and seals (see photocopy) came up missing.
Then, late in 2001 Martino received a telephone call from a former colleague at SISMI, who informed him that his source, the "lady" at the Nigerien embassy, was in possession of documents that might be of interest to him. “I met her and she gave me documents,” Martino later told the Sunday Times (London). “SISMI wanted me to pass on the documents but they didn't want anyone to know they had been involved.” Martino thus received half a dozen letters and other documents between Niger and Iraqi officials negotiating a sale of 500 tons of uranium oxide.
Martino passed the dossier on to the French secret service, who had paid for it, and anyone else he could sell it to, practically hawking it on the sidewalks like a newsboy.
It was a forgery, and very amateurish, not likely produced through official channels by any state intelligence agency with their vast resources. However, it soon became important as the Bush administration, in its first year (2001), ramped up its public relations campaign for war.
Michael Ledeen organized a meeting in Rome to gather evidence to support the planned war. Remember, Martino obtained the Niger forgeries about this time -- possibly a littler sooner, possibly a little later. Present at the meeting were:
1. Michael Ledeen, Karl Rove's foreign policy advisor and organizer of the meeting
2. Nicolo Pollari, head of the the Italian equivalent of the CIA, the SISMI
3. Italy's Minister of Defense, Antonio Martino (no relation apparently to the spy Rocco Martino), Pollari's boss
4. Larry Franklin, an American who presently is being prosecuted in the US for giving classified information to an Israeli front group, AIPC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) -- which some would call "spying," even though he has not been charged with espionage
5. Harold Rhode: member of Dick Cheney's Office of Special Plans, protege of Ledeen, go-between with Iraqi exile and CIA asset (at the time) Ahmed Chalabi.
Ledeen already had a longstanding friendship with Francesco Pazienza, an Italian felon and forger who had been kicked out of the official Italian intelligence organization SISMI but who had found a new home in the renegade intelligence agency P-2 (Propaganda Due). Pazienza apparently was not present but definitely was known to Italian intelligence agents, including Rocco Martino, as well as to Ledeen.
Ledeen also was a personal friend of Pollari, who, like Ledeen, is a master of the card game bridge (Ledeen writes columns on it). There are close ties between Pollari's official intelligence organization, SISMI, and Pazienza's unnofficial one, P-2. In fact, P-2 recruits from SISMI.
Somehow, through the efforts of the people at Ledeen's meeting, plus Rocco Martino and Francesco Pazienza, the Bush administration soon had its causus belli, the forged letters on the sale of uranium by Niger to Iraq.
Rove, Ledeen, and Bush obtained this historic false information through very irregular means, and this means should be the subject of a Congressional investigation, perhaps in the next Congress. Also, to preserve the rule of law in the United States, the FBI and US attorneys should ascertain how these people and others used unofficial channels to obtain a false causus belli. The Constitution will mean little if the president and his cronies can get away with sneaking around using common criminals, false information, and clandestine foreign alliances to fabricate a case for war that they couldn't obtain through legal channels -- their own CIA and State Department.
Brady e-mails to note Sofia Jarrin-Thomas' "To Impeach or Not to Impeach" (Boston Indymedia):
On July 31, 2005, a forum on the Downing Street Memos, leaked documents that indicate the Bush administration misled the public about reasons for going to war in Iraq, took place at Arlington Street Church.
Co-sponsored by several local organizations such as Brookline PeaceWorks, Boston Mobilization, Progressive Democrats of America, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, among others; the forum was just one of 300 events across the nation planned to discuss the possible consequences of the leaked documents. Invited speakers were there to inform the community of the events that led to and will possibly follow the leaking of the Downing Street Memos, but at the heart of the gathering, a debate ensued among speakers whether the impeachment of President George W. Bush--if and when the reasons for going to war in Iraq are indeed deemed illegal--should even be up for discussion in Congress.
State Representative Gloria Fox, Congressman Barney Frank, and John Bonifaz, attorney and co-founder of the national campaign, AfterDowningStreet.org, that has called on a full congressional investigation into the memos, took turns at the microphone to debate whether to impeach or not to impeach is a question worthy of discussion by our elected officials.
The Downing Street Memos are a collection of seven documents leaked to the press on May 1st and days ensuing, containing minutes from meetings between March and July 2002, and involving high-ranking British officials. The minutes show almost one year before the US declared war on Iraq, the Bush administration knew the case for going to war was thin, and that the “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” to remove Saddam through military action.
Furthermore, the meeting minutes show that the Bush administration “had made up his mind to take military action” and that the three legal bases for invasion--self defense, humanitarian intervention, and UN Security Council authorization--were not available to them. The case for war, therefore, was fixed around terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, none of which were ever found on Iraqi soil.
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