None of this should come as any surprise to anyone unless you’ve been asleep for the last seven years (or in a coma..)

via: Raw Story

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration’s position that the world community viewed Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.

“The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world,” Stanzel said.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

Continue reading

Hamas blows a gaping hole into Israel’s Gaza policy.

Israel considers the border between Gaza and Egypt as the main conduit to smuggle arms into the gaza strip. Arms, there’s no denying this, which will be used against Israeli interests. The Hamas has now destroyed the border fence and thousands of Palestinians are crossing the border into Egypt. Hamas is denying that blowing up the fence is their work, but news from the area strongly suggest that this is indeed the case and has been planned for a long time.

But a Hamas border guard interviewed by The Times at the border today admitted that the Islamist group was responsible and had been involved for months in slicing through the heavy metal wall using oxy-acetylene cutting torches.

That meant that when the explosive charges were set off in 17 different locations after midnight last night the 40ft wall came tumbling down, leaving it lying like a broken concertina down the middle of no-man’s land as an estimated 350,000 Gazans flooded into Egypt.

Israel has urgently requested from Egypt to restore the sealing off of Gaza, but Egypt rightly said the people in Gaza were in a dire humanitarian situation and it will not hinder Palestinians to cross the border as long as this humanitarian situation persists.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassam Zaki said his nation

“is opening up its arms to its brethren on the Palestinian side.”

He said, “As long as this is a humanitarian crisis, they’re going to be able to cross to get their needs. We are not opening the Rafah crossing just for everybody to cross — we’re opening it because it’s a very dire humanitarian situation.”

The humanitarian situation in Gaza has become unbearable since Israel has decided to seal off Gaza in an attempt to stop the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.  This has led to food and energy shortages, which mostly affected ordinary citizens. The only power factory in Gaza had to be shut down two days ago due to fuel shortages. Israel has lifted  some of the measures lately, because rocket attacks seem to have gone down. The UN relief works agency among others condemned Israels actions.

This situation comes only days before the final Winograd report is due, which is all about the bungling of the last Lebanon war. And shortly after the right wing Yisrael Beitenu party left Olmert’s coalition government. For Ehud Olmert the timeframe of his political survival looks increasingly like a manageable amount of time.

Buzzflash “Wings of Justice Award” ~ Sibel Edmonds

via: BuzzFlash

The first thing you need to know about Sibel Edmonds is that she has been under a gag order by the Department of Justice for five years. The second thing you should know is that she worked for a time as a FBI translator of Turkish intercepts. The third thing that you need to know is that she claims to have uncovered a covert network of senior American officials who transferred nuclear secrets to third parties.

Edmonds has had closed-door hearings before Congress, but her testimony has apparently been dropped like a hot potato. So it took of all newspapers — one owned by Rupert Murdoch in London — to reveal the extent of Edmonds’ allegations in an article, “For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets“, and to further uncover that the FBI appears to be lying about the existence of a key piece of evidence that might corroborate Edmonds, in an article subtitled, “The FBI has been accused of covering up a file detailing government dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.”

It is hard to distill the importance of what Edmonds is alleging, except to say that, if true, the American government has been allowing the transfer of nuclear secrets that endanger our national security, particularly as it related to the information obtained by the father of the Pakistani bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan. There is also a tantalizing potential tie into another reason why Valerie Plame may have been outed by the Bush Administration.

The BuzzFlash reader who nominated Sibel Edmonds praised her, “Because she is risking her life, her safety, her entire reputation, and her future for the national security and integrity of this country trying to get her story out to the media so that Congress will finally have to act on the corruption and criminal actions taking place at the highest levels of our government that have and continue to put our country at risk. It was incredibly brave of her to speak out through the UK Sunday Times yesterday. Now we’ll see if anything is done to start investigations and clean house.”

In a recent commentary on Bradblog.com, the heroic Vietnam-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg noted: “For the last two weeks — one could say, for years — the major American media have been guilty of ignoring entirely the allegations of the courageous and highly credible source Sibel Edmonds, quoted in the London Times on January 6, 2008 in a front-page story that was front-page news in much of the rest of the world but was not reported in a single American newspaper or network. It is up to readers to demand that this culpable silent treatment end.”

Surely, Sibel Edmonds deserves to be heard. She accidentally ventured into an area of clandestine operations that literally may put her life at risk, and yet only overseas papers take her claims seriously.

For her courage and tenacity, BuzzFlash honors Sibel Edmonds with this week’s Wings of Justice Award.

I am posting this because it is one of our Critters who nominated Sibel Edmonds. I am glad Sibel is getting more exposure and recognition for her courage.

Contempt citations on hold as Dems, Bush craft stimulus plan

So, I guess they can’t walk and chew gum at the same time..

From Raw Story:

Last week it was “pretty certain” that House Democrats would quickly move forward with contempt citations against two Bush administration figures who were stonewalling Congress. Then the economy started circling the drain.

The planned citations now appear to be on hold as Congress and the White House work on a bipartisan economic stimulus package, the central tenet of which involves cutting virtually everyone an $800 check.

Democratic leaders and aides tell The Politico that pursuing the contempt citations in conjunction with the stimulus package would “step on their message” of bipartisanship.

The contempt citations against former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff Josh Bolten were approved by the House Judiciary Committee in July after the two ignored subpoenas requiring their testimony on the US Attorney firing scandal.

Continue reading..

I am going to ask an outrageous question here..

I want to know if Congress’s inability (or unwillingness) to deal with these citations of Contempt, their unwillingness to hold anyone to account for the outing of Valerie Plame, their unwillingness to move forward on the investigation for impeachment hearings for either Dick Cheney or George W. Bush, and their unwillingness to do anything with the information that they received from Sibel Edmonds in closed session (years ago now), has anything to do with the information that Sibel Edmonds holds in her head (including names of past and current members of Congress) that she is being prevented from sharing or testifying to… (currently Sibel is the most gagged person in history – why?).

Are members of Congress who may be complicit in this, as well as members of this administration and our State Department, watching each others’ backs (or being kept in line with that information of complicity) as they all continue to stall and drag their feet? Does Sibel hold the key? Are all these stories related?

And what makes the entire MSM deadly silent on this story – the most explosive story with the most far-reaching implications resulting in the greatest threat to our national security this nation may have ever known..? Thank God the Sunday Times has the courage to print it (with their most recent followup article), and people like Daniel Ellsberg have the courage to speak out. Thank God for blogs like BradBlog and Luke Ryland who have diligently stayed with her story since the beginning.

Perhaps there is still hope of the truth find its way to the light of day, regardless of the mammoth efforts to keep it concealed (to protect those who would put the national security of this nation at risk in order to put themselves and their interests first.)

In the meantime, it looks like it will be up to the people of this nation to spread this story ourselves, and press for action now!

Found in Translation

FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds spills her secrets.

by Philip Giraldi
via: The American Conservative

Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington’s highest levels—sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage. She may be a first-rate fabulist, but Edmonds’s account is full of dates, places, and names. And if she is to be believed, a treasonous plot to embed moles in American military and nuclear installations and pass sensitive intelligence to Israeli, Pakistani, and Turkish sources was facilitated by figures in the upper echelons of the State and Defense Departments. Her charges could be easily confirmed or dismissed if classified government documents were made available to investigators.

But Congress has refused to act, and the Justice Department has shrouded Edmonds’s case in the state-secrets privilege, a rarely used measure so sweeping that it precludes even a closed hearing attended only by officials with top-secret security clearances. According to the Department of Justice, such an investigation “could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the foreign policy and national security of the United States.”

After five years of thwarted legal challenges and fruitless attempts to launch a congressional investigation, Sibel Edmonds is telling her story, though her defiance could land her in jail. After reading its November piece about Louai al-Sakka, an al-Qaeda terrorist who trained 9/11 hijackers in Turkey, Edmonds approached the Sunday Times of London. On Jan. 6, the Times, a Murdoch-owned paper that does not normally encourage exposés damaging to the Bush administration, featured a long article. The news quickly spread around the world, with follow-ups appearing in Israel, Europe, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Japan—but not in the United States.

Read entire article.
(Philip Giraldi, a former CIA Officer, is a partner in Cannistraro Associates, an international security consultancy.)

This is one of the best articles I have read on this yet.

Don’t forget to read the piece from Daniel Ellsberg, (the legendary ‘Pentagon Papers’ whistleblower) as well.

UPDATE: I just found this opinion piece from the Portland Oregonian: Sandra Duffy: Journalism’s first loyalty is to citizens. Duffy points out the role of the journalist, and asks in the case of Sibel Edmonds, where are they??