Friday, December 12, 2014

The Liars We Chose

Carl Levin, D-MI, has scheduled a speech on the floor of the Senate, on the occasion of receiving a letter from CIA director Brennan, finally releasing only a small part of a classified cable from pre- Iraq invasion days; the declassification and release of which Levin has been demanding for years:

... On March 6, 2003, just two weeks before U.S. troops would cross the Iraqi border, President Bush held a prime-time televised press conference. In that press conference he mentioned the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks eight times, often in the same breath as Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. There was a concerted campaign on the part of the Bush administration to connect Iraq in the public mind with the horror of the Sept. 11 attacks. That campaign succeeded. According to public polls in the week before the Iraq war, half or more of Americans believed Saddam was directly involved in the attacks. One poll taken in September 2003, six months after we invaded Iraq, found that nearly 70 percent of Americans believed it likely that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. Americans who believed in a link between Iraq and 9/11 overwhelmingly supported the idea of invading Iraq. Of course, connections between Saddam and 9/11 or al Qaeda were fiction. 
America’s intelligence community was pressed to participate in the administration’s media campaign. Just a week after the President’s prime-time press conference, on March 13, 2003, CIA field staff sent a cable to CIA headquarters, responding to a request for information about a report that Mohammad Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackings, had met in 2001 with an Iraqi intelligence official in the Czech capital of Prague. In stark terms, this CIA cable from the field warned against U.S. government officials citing the report of the alleged Prague meeting. 
Yet the notion of such a meeting was a centerpiece of the administration’s campaign to create an impression in the public mind that Saddam was in league with the al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. On multiple occasions, including national television appearances, Vice President Dick Cheney cited reports of the meeting, at one point calling it “pretty well confirmed.” Officials from Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, who set up a sort of rogue intelligence analysis operation, briefed senior officials with a presentation citing the Prague meeting as a “known contact” between Iraq and al Qaida.
Far from “pretty well confirmed,” there was almost no evidence that such a meeting took place. Just a single unsubstantiated report, from a single source, and a mountain of information indicating there was no such meeting, including the fact that travel and other records indicated that Atta was almost certainly in the United States at the time of the purported meeting in Prague.
Yet Vice President Cheney’s reckless statements continued, even as evidence mounted that there was no Prague meeting. ... 
The Vice President made those statements in the face of a then-classified June 2002 CIA assessment that said the alleged meeting was “not verified,” called the information about it “contradictory,” and described assessments of Iraqi cooperation with al Qaida terror plots as “speculative.” The Vice President made those statements in the face of a July 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency analysis, which reported that there was no evidence that Atta was in the Czech Republic at the time. He made those statements despite a Defense Intelligence Agency memorandum in August 2002 rejecting the claims by a rogue intelligence analysis shop at the Pentagon that the meeting was an example of a “known contact” between Iraq and al Qaida...
Lying us into a war, committing war crimes, by definition, with his torture program, and lying about that, too. To this day. Deliberately deceiving the American people who, trained by the right-wing scream machine to be unable to separate fact from fiction, bought it like a post-Christmas gift wrap sale.

This isn't really new, of course; the falsehoods have been talked about (a little) where newspeople still exist. But the brazenness seems to have escaped people's notice. After all, this is America, where democracy flourishes and a well-informed electorate demands much of its leaders; especially truth. Right? Right? Anyone? Any teabaggers out there

There's lots more in the speech. And yet Dick Cheney remains a favored guest on right-wing TV and radio, gets thousands for speaking to conservative groups. When he should be in jail. And, unless he lied to Bush the way he lied to the rest of us, his puppet should be in the cell next door. Of this there's no doubt: Hearing all that's in the speech (assuming they look elsewhere than Fox "News") people will rise up as surely as Alaskan waters, and demand appropriate punishment. Call for his head. Get him off the stage and, once and for all, out of government, off our TVs. Send bad Mr Levin back to Michigan, and hang his ass. (Hey, isn't Levin a Jewish name?)

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