Posts Tagged ‘Karl Rove’

George Bush’s former aide defends waterboarding of terrorism suspects

March 13, 2010

Karl Rove is proud that the US used water torture to break the will of prisoners and foil terror plots

Adam Gabbatt, The Gurdian/UK, March 12, 2010
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George Bush and Karl Rove embrace at the White House after Rove announced his resignation from the Bush administration in 2007. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A senior adviser to former US president George Bush has said he is proud that the country used waterboarding to elicit information from terrorism suspects.

Karl Rove, Bush’s chief political strategist for much of his presidency, defended the interrogation approach authorised during Bush’s tenure, saying he was “proud we used techniques that broke the will of these terrorists”.

Last year President Barack Obama banned waterboarding, stating: “I believe that waterboarding was torture and, whatever legal rationales were used, it was a mistake.”

Continues >>

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The Torture Presidency

December 15, 2008

By Scott Horton | Harper’s Magazine, Dec 13, 2008

President George W. Bush has launched “Operation Legacy,” which he placed in the hands of his ultimate advisor, indeed his “brain,” Karl Rove. Remember Rove? He’s the man who refused to testify under oath when summoned by Congress to do so and was recently identified in a Congressional report as the plotter behind the U.S. Attorneys scandal, among other trainwrecks. The Rove effort features a 2-page set of talking points which have been circulated to members of the administration’s team highlighting the supposedly major Bush accomplishments which have begun to fill the American media. They start with the contention that “Bush kept us safe” by preventing any further attack on American soil after 9/11. Really?

Let’s just take a look at some of that “deranged” criticism. Indeed, let’s start with the criticism from the man tapped by Bush’s fellow Republicans to succeed him, John McCain. This week the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a powerful report, released jointly by chair Carl Levin and ranking member John McCain, that received the unanimous support of its Democratic and Republican members. The report concluded that Donald Rumsfeld and other high-level officials of the administration consciously adopted a policy for the torture and abuse of prisoners held in the war on terror. It also found that they attempted to cover up their conduct by waging a P.R. campaign to put the blame on a group of young soldiers they called “rotten apples.” Lawyers figure prominently among the miscreants identified. Evidently the torture policy’s authors then enlisted ethics-challenged lawyers to craft memoranda designed to give torture “the appearance of legality” as part of a scheme to create the torture program despite internal opposition. A declassified summary of the report can be read here; the full report is filled with classified information and therefore has been submitted to the Department of Defense with a request that the materials be declassified for release. (Don’t expect that to happen before January 20, however).

This report sums up all you need to know about George W. Bush’s eight years of leadership. Karl Rove stresses that Bush has been a perfect moral example for young people in the country. The report tells us that when photos and other evidence of abuse first surfaced, the Bush Administration firmly denied any connection between their policies and the abuse, then attempted to scapegoat a group of more than a dozen young recruits (but not, of course, any of their supervising officers, who knew the details of the administration’s involvement and would have made things messy if disciplined). The report puts these actions in an unforgiving light:

The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.

But of course, Bush only turned to torture to keep America safe, right? Wrong. With the unanimous support of its 12 Republican members, the Committee concludes:

The administration’s policies concerning [torture] and the resulting controversies damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.

The report has some more bombshells in it waiting to emerge on declassification. It studies with some care the introduction of specific torture techniques, showing how they were reverse engineered from the SERE program—used to prepare American pilots to resist interrogation techniques used by the Soviets, North Koreans, Chinese and North Vietnamese. By “reverse engineering,” we mean it was adopting the techniques used by the nation’s Communist adversaries in prior generations. We have met the enemy, and he looks remarkably like George W. Bush.

And deep in its classified hold, the report looks into the use of psychotropic drugs which were, with Donald Rumsfeld’s approval, routinely administered to prisoners in order to facilitate their interrogation—in violation of international agreements and American criminal law.

The report, even in its still-classified form, does not tell the whole story of what happened. It does not address the program administered by the CIA. And even with respect to the Department of Defense, the Committee and its investigators were effectively stonewalled by the United States Special Operations Command and its overlords in the Pentagon who failed to provide information about special rules of engagement introduced with the authority of Undersecretary of Defense Stephen Cambone that authorized the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held for intelligence interrogation in operations dating back to the earliest weeks of the “war on terror.”

The Levin-McCain Report, when fully declassified and circulated, will tell Americans a good deal about our history. It will help define what will become known as the “torture presidency” of George W. Bush. But it is also a remarkably incomplete document, testimony to the Bush Administration’s conscious policy of obfuscation, misdirection and deceit—its mockery of Congressional oversight, and its corruption of our Constitution and system of government. It gives us a clear lesson. As John McCain stated: “This must never be repeated. Never.”

President Obama

November 5, 2008

They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world. Though bombarded by a blizzard of last-minute negative advertising that should shame the Republican party, American voters held their nerve and elected Barack Obama as their new president to succeed George Bush. Elected him, what is more, by a clearer majority than one of those bitter narrow margins that marked the last two elections.

Having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in 2000 and 2004 it felt at times fated that the Democrats would somehow complete a hat-trick of failures on election day 2008. Instead, fuelled by unprecedented financial support, the key things went right for them yesterday, from the moment just after midnight when Dixville Notch voted 15 to six for Mr Obama (the first time the early-voting New Hampshire hamlet had gone for a Democrat in 40 years), through to the early Obama success last night in the prized swing state of Pennsylvania and on into the battleground areas of middle America.

In the last two presidential elections, the American people divided down the middle, producing a both a geographical and a demographic divide that seemed increasingly set in stone. Blue Democratic America consisted of the west and the east coasts plus the upper Midwest. Red Republican America covered the swaths in between. Women, minorities, the poor and the highly educated voted Democratic. Men, white people, the rich and the religious delivered for the Republicans. In the mind of Mr Bush’s strategist Karl Rove this division was the template of 21st century American politics, a base for a conservative counter-attack against 20th-century liberalism.

Rove’s America was not just turned on its head yesterday. It was broken up and recast in a very different mould. One of Mr Obama’s many achievements has been his refusal to accept the permanence of the blue-red divide. He has reached out across the divide to states and voters that the embattled Democratic party of the Reagan-Bush years had forgotten about, places like the South and the Rockies, voters like farmers and small business people.

With the Democrats powerfully consolidating their position in both houses of Congress yesterday, the shift was consolidated at state and district level. This marks the end of the conservative ascendancy of the past 30 years. Whether it now marks a new, sustained era of American liberalism of the sort which followed the election of 1932 must remain to be seen. What is not open to doubt is that Mr Obama’s win is a milestone in America’s racial and cultural evolution. It is 45 years since Martin Luther King, in the greatest of all late-20th century American speeches looked forward to the day when his children would not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Almost unbelievably, that dream has now become a reality in the shape of America’s first African-American leader and its first black first family. It is a day many thought they would never see. It is hard to know whether to weep or shout for joy now that it has arrived – probably both – but it is a lesson to the world.

Mr Obama will take office in January amid massive unrealisable expectations and facing a daunting list of problems – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the broken healthcare system, the spiralling federal budget and America’s profligate energy regime all prominent among them. Eclipsing them all, as Mr Obama has made clear in recent days, is the challenge of rebuilding the economy and the banking system. These, though, are issues for another day. Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America’s hope and, in no small way, ours too.

Time to quit Afghanistan

October 7, 2008

Eric Margolis | Edmonton Sun, Oct 5, 2008

At last, a faint glimmer of light at the end of the Afghan tunnel.

Last week, the U.S.-installed Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, revealed he had asked Saudi Arabia to broker peace talks with the alliance of tribal and political groups resisting western occupation collectively known as the Taliban.

Taliban leader Mullah Omar quickly rejected Karzai’s offer and claimed the U.S. was headed toward the same kind of catastrophic defeat in Afghanistan that the Soviet Union met. The ongoing financial panic in North America lent a certain credence to his words.

Meanwhile, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, urgently called for at least 10,000 more troops but, significantly, also proposed political talks with the Taliban. U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan are increasingly on the defensive, hard pressed to defend vulnerable supply lines in spite of massive fire power and total control of the air.

I recently asked Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s former senior adviser, how this seemingly impossible war could be won. His eyes dancing with imperial hubris, Rove replied, “More Predators (missile armed drones) and helicopters!” Which reminded me of poet Hilaire Belloc’s wonderful line about British imperialism, “Whatever happens/we have got/the Maxim gun (machine gun)/and they have not.”

Though Karzai’s olive branch was rejected, the fact he made it public is very important. By doing so, he broke the simple-minded western taboo against negotiations with the Taliban and its allies.

DRUG FIGHTERS

The Taliban was founded as an Islamic religious movement dedicated to fighting communism and the drug trade. It received U.S. funding until May 2001. But western war propaganda has so demonized the Taliban that few politicians have the courage to propose the obvious and inevitable: A negotiated settlement to this pointless seven-year war. Even NATO’s secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said the war could only be ended by negotiations, not military means.

The Taliban and its allies are mostly Pashtuns (or Pathans), who comprise half of Afghanistan’s population. They have been largely excluded from political power by the U.S.-backed Kabul regime, which relies on Tajik and Uzbek ethnic minorities, chiefs of the old Afghan Communist Party, and the nation’s leading drug lords.

Canada, which lacks funds for modern medical care, has spent a staggering $22 billion to support its little war against the Pashtun tribes. It’s a war which Canada’s defence minister actually claimed is necessary so that Canadian delegates would be “taken seriously” at international meetings. A better path to credibility might be to not plagiarize from other right wing leader’s speeches.

Ottawa and Washington should listen to Karzai who, despite being a U.S.-installed “asset,” is also a decent man who cares about his nation. In fact, Ottawa should remember Canada’s venerable position as an international peacemaker, a role that has made it one of the world’s most respected nations.

Mr. Harper’s role model, George W. Bush, is probably the most disliked man on earth and certainly America’s worst president in history, who has led his nation from disaster to calamity. Only 22% of Americans support Bush. Half of them believe Elvis is still alive.

The Taliban are not “terrorists.” The movement had nothing to do with 9/11 though it did shelter Osama bin Laden, a national hero of the war against the Soviets. Only a handful of al-Qaida are left in Afghanistan.

The current war is not really about al-Qaida and “terrorism,” but about opening a secure corridor through Pashtun tribal territory to export the oil and gas riches of the Caspian Basin to the West. Canada and the rest of NATO have no business being pipeline protection troops. Canada’s military intervention in Afghanistan has jeopardized its national security by putting it on the map as an anti-Muslim nation joined at the hip with Bush and his ruinous policies.

As the great Benjamin Franklin said, “there is no good war, and no bad peace.”

I hope Ottawa will have the courage to admit it was wrong about Afghanistan and bring its troops home — now.

Christian Fundamentalism Permeats the Republican Party: Sarah Palin’s links to the Christian Right

September 13, 2008
Global Research, September 13, 2008

Some days ago, most Americans had never heard of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Now, following her Vice Presidential acceptance speech, viewed live by more than 40 million people, Palin is viewed favorably by 58% of American voters according to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey. The self-described ‘hockey mom’’s poll ratings, if they are to be believed, are that of a rock superstar who is rated now higher than either McCain or Democrat Obama. The same Bush-Cheney propaganda apparatus that made the nation believe that Saddam Hussein was the new Hitler and that Georgia was a helpless victim of ruthless Russian aggression after 8.8.08 in Georgia is clearly behind one of the most impressive media propaganda efforts in recent history—the effort to package Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska for less than 19 months, to be the American dream candidate. Her religious roots are something she has been deliberately vague about. It’s worth a closer look.

As I discuss in some detail in my soon-to-be-released book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order, one of the most significant transformations of American domestic politics over the past three decades since the early 1970’s, when George H.W. Bush was head of the CIA, has been the deliberate manipulation of significant segments of the population, most of them undoubtedly sincere believing people, around the ideology of ‘born-again’ evangelical Christian Fundamentalism to create something known as the Christian Right. Within the broad spectrum of fundamentalist denominations there are some currents which are particularly alarming. Sarah Palin comes out of such a milieu.

The phenomenon of the rapid spread within the United States since the 1980’s of evangelical Pentecostalism is a political phenomenon which has become so influential that the two elections of George W. Bush as well as countless races for Senate or Congress often depend on the backing or lack of it from the organized Religious Right.

The spawning of some Christian Right sects also creates an ideology to drive the shock troops willing to literally ‘die for Christ’ in places such as Iraq or Afghanistan, Iran or elsewhere that the Pentagon needs their services. That ideology has been used to build a fanatical activist base within the Republican Party which backs a right-wing domestic agenda and a military foreign policy that sees Islam or other suitable opponents of the US power elite as Satanism incarnate. How does Sarah Palin fit into this?

The CNP: manipulating religion to political ends

Many of the religious evangelical groups in America are coordinated top-down by a secretive organization called the Committee on National Policy. Former close Bush adviser, Rev. Ted Haggard, was a member of the Committee on National Policy until a sex and drugs scandal forced him out in late 2006.

Haggard was Pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs described as the ‘evangelical Vatican,’ and was head of the National Association of Evangelicals. Ted Haggard was also a member of a highly significant and little-understood sect known as Joel’s Army or the Manifest Sons of God, the same circles which spawned Sarah Palin.

Another noteworthy member of the CNP as was Grover Nyquist, the man once described as the ‘Field Marshall of the Bush Plan.’

The CNP, created in the early 1980’s during the Reagan era, is the nexus for several odd and quite powerful organizations. It was described by ABC’s Marc J. Ambinder as ‘the conservative version of the Council on Foreign Relations.’ CNP Members include names such as General John Singlaub, shipping magnate J. Peter Grace, Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt, Edwin J. Feulner Jr of the right-wing Heritage Foundation, Rev. Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Jerry Falwell, Tim LaHaye and most of the prominent names in the Christian Right around Bush. It has included prominent politicians including Senator Trent Lott, Senator Don Nickles, former Attorney General Ed Meese, Col. Oliver North of Iran-Contra fame, and Right-wing philanthropist Else Prince, mother of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater the controversial private security firm.1

CNP members have also included not only the Rev. Sun Myung Moon Unification Church, definitely a bizarre formation whose founder openly states that he is superior to Christ. The CNP as well reportedly includes the Church of Scientology.2

CNP member and GOP strategist, Gary Bauer, links both. Bauer’s Family Research Council was a signatory of the Scientology Pledge to remove psychology from California schools and replace it with L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics. Bauer was also a speaker at Sun Myung Moon’s Family Federation for World Peace and Unification Conference in 1996.

Religious researchers Paul and Phillip Collins describe the CNP as follows: ‘The CNP appears to be a creation of factions of the power elite designed to mobilize well-meaning Christians to unwittingly support elite initiatives. The CNP could also be considered a project in religious engineering that empties Christianity of its metaphysical substance and re-conceptualizes many of its principles and concepts according to the socially and politically expedient designs of the elite. These contentions are supported by the fact that many CNP members are also members of other organizations and/or criminal enterprises that are tied directly to the power elite.’3

In order to shape public debate over the course of national military and foreign as well as domestic policy, the US establishment had to create mass-based organizations to manipulate public opinion in ways contrary to the self-interest of the majority of the American people. The Committee on National Policy was formed to be a central part of this mass manipulation.

The Committee on National Policy is a vital link between multi-billion dollar defense contractors, Washington lobbyists like the convicted felon and Republican fundraiser, Jack Abramoff, and the Christian Right. It’s at the heart of a new axis between right-wing military politics, support for the Pentagon war agenda globally and the neo-conservative political control of much of US foreign and defense policy.

The CNP has been at the center of Karl Rove’s carefully-constructed Bush political machine. Tom Delay and dozens of top Bush Administration Republicans are or had been members of the CNP. Few details about the organization are leaked to the public. As secretive as the Bilderberg Group if not more so, the CNP releases no press statements, meets in secret and never reveals names of its members willingly.

The elite circles behind the Bush Presidency have crafted an extremely powerful political machine using the forces and energies of the Christian Right and millions of American Christians unaware of the darker manipulations. Is Sarah Palin a part of such darker manipulations?

Continued . . .

Are You Ready For Nuclear War?

August 20, 2008

By Dr Paul Craig Roberts |Information Clearing House, August 19, 2008

Pervez Musharraf, the puppet installed by the US to rule Pakistan in the interest of US hegemony, resigned August 18 to avoid impeachment. Karl Rove and the Diebold electronic voting machines were unable to control the result of the last election in Pakistan, the result of which gave Pakistanis a bigger voice in their government than America’s.

It was obvious to anyone with any sense–which excludes the entire Bush Regime and almost all of the “foreign policy community”–that the illegal and gratuitous US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israel’s 2006 bombing of Lebanon civilians with US blessing, would result in the overthrow of America’s Pakistani puppet.

The imbecilic Bush Regime ensured Musharraf’s overthrow by pressuring their puppet to conduct military operations against tribesmen in Pakistani border areas, whose loyalties were to fellow Muslims and not to American hegemony. When Musharraf’s military operations didn’t produce the desired result, the idiotic Americans began conducting their own military operations within Pakistan with bombs and missiles. This finished off Musharraf.

When the Bush Regime began its wars in the Middle East, I predicted, correctly, that Musharraf would be one victim. The American puppets in Egypt and Jordan may be the next to go.

Back during the Nixon years, my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, Warren Nutter, was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. One day in his Pentagon office I asked him how the US government got foreign governments to do what the US wanted. “Money,” he replied.

“You mean foreign aid?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, “we just buy the leaders with money.”

It wasn’t a policy he had implemented. He inherited it and, although the policy rankled with him, he could do nothing about it. Nutter believed in persuasion and that if you could not persuade people, you did not have a policy.

Nutter did not mean merely third world potentates were bought. He meant the leaders of England, France, Germany, Italy, all the allies everywhere were bought and paid for.

They were allies because they were paid. Consider Tony Blair. Blair’s own head of British intelligence told him that the Americans were fabricating the evidence to justify their already planned attack on Iraq. This was fine with Blair, and you can see why with his multi- million dollar payoff once he was out of office.

The American-educated thug, Saakashkvili the War Criminal, who is president of Georgia, was installed by the US taxpayer funded National Endowment for Democracy, a neocon operation whose purpose is to ring Russia with US military bases, so that America can exert hegemony over Russia.

Every agreement that President Reagan made with Mikhail Gorbachev has been broken by Reagan’s successors. Reagan’s was the last American government whose foreign policy was not made by the Isreali-allied neoconservatives. During the Reagan years, the neocons made several runs at it, but each ended in disaster for Reagan, and he eventually drove the modern day French Jacobins from his government.

Even the anti-Soviet Committee on the Present Danger regarded the neocons as dangerous lunatics. I remember the meeting when a member tried to bring the neocons into the committee, and old line American establishment representatives, such as former Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon, hit the roof.

The Committee on the Present Danger regarded the neocons as crazy people who would get America into a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The neocons hated President Reagan, because he ended the cold war with diplomacy, when they desired a military victory over the Soviet Union.

Deprived of this, the neocons now want victory over Russia.

Today, Reagan is gone. The Republican Establishment is gone. There are no conservative power centers, only neoconservative power centers closely allied with Israel, which uses the billions of dollars funneled into Israeli coffers by US taxpayers to influence US elections and foreign policy.

The Republican candidate for president is a warmonger. There are no checks remaining in the Republican Party on the neocons’ proclivity for war. What Republican constituencies oppose war? Can anyone name one?

The Democrats are not much better, but they have some constituencies that are not enamored of war in order to establish US world hegemony. The Rapture Evangelicals, who fervently desire Armageddon, are not Democrats; nor are the brainwashed Brownshirts desperate to vent their frustrations by striking at someone, somewhere, anywhere.

I get emails from these Brownshirts and attest that their hate-filled ignorance is extraordinary. They are all Republicans, and yet they think they are conservatives. They have no idea who I am, but since I criticize the Bush Regime and America’s belligerent foreign policy, they think I am a “liberal commie pinko.”

The only literate sentence this legion of imbeciles has ever managed is: “If you hate America so much, why don’t you move to Cuba!”

Such is the current state of a Reagan political appointee in today’s Republican Party. He is a “liberal commie pinko” who should move to Cuba.

The Republicans will get us into more wars. Indeed, they live for war. McCain is preaching war for 100 years. For these warmongers, it is like cheering for your home team. Win at all costs. They get a vicarious pleasure out of war. If the US has to tell lies in order to attack countries, what’s wrong with that? “If we don’t kill them over there, they will kill us over here.”

The mindlessness is total.

Nothing real issues from the American media. The media is about demonizing Russia and Iran, about the vice presidential choices as if it matters, about whether Obama being on vacation let McCain score too many points.

The mindlessness of the news reflects the mindlessness of the government, for which it is a spokesperson.

The American media does not serve American democracy or American interests. It serves the few people who exercise power.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the US and Israel made a run at controlling Russia and the former constituent parts of its empire. For awhile the US and Israel succeeded, but Putin put a stop to it.

Recognizing that the US had no intention of keeping any of the agreements it had made with Gorbachev, Putin directed the Russian military budget to upgrading the Russian nuclear deterrent. Consequently, the Russian army and air force lack the smart weapons and electronics of the US military.

When the Russian army went into Georgia to rescue the Russians in South Ossetia from the destruction being inflicted upon them by the American puppet Saakashvili, the Russians made it clear that if they were opposed by American troops with smart weapons, they would deal with the threat with tactical nuclear weapons.

The Americans were the first to announce preemptive nuclear attack as their permissible war doctrine. Now the Russians have announced the tactical use of nuclear weapons as their response to American smart weapons.

It is obvious that American foreign policy, with is goal of ringing Russia with US military bases, is leading directly to nuclear war. Every American needs to realize this fact. The US government’s insane hegemonic foreign policy is a direct threat to life on the planet.

Russia has made no threats against America. The post-Soviet Russian government has sought to cooperate with the US and Europe. Russia has made it clear over and over that it is prepared to obey international law and treaties. It is the Americans who have thrown international law and treaties into the trash can, not the Russians.

In order to keep the billions of dollars in profits flowing to its contributors in the US military-security complex, the Bush Regime has rekindled the cold war. As American living standards decline and the prospects for university graduates deteriorate, “our” leaders in Washington commit us to a hundred years of war.

If you desire to be poor, oppressed, and eventually vaporized in a nuclear war, vote Republican.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is a former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, a 16-year columnist for Business Week, and a columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service and Creator’s Syndicate in Los Angeles. He has held numerous university professorships, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the President of France and the US Treasury’s Silver Medal for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of US economic policy.”


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