Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Janet's Conner

CLINTON VS. TERROR, REPUBLICANS VS. CLINTON



President Clinton led the fight against terrorism over strong opposition from Republicans in Congress and the pro-Republican Media. Here's a partial, yet incredibly long-list of accomplishments against terrorism for which the Clinton Administration gets almost no credit or even recognition. President Clinton:

---sent legislation to Congress to TIGHTEN AIRPORT SECURITY. (Remember, this is before 9/11) The legislation was defeated by the Republicans, because of opposition from the airlines.

---sent legislation to Congress to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF TERRORIST FUNDING. It was defeated by the Republicans in the Senate, because of opposition from banking interests.

---sent legislation to Congress to add tagents to explosives, to allow for BETTER TRACKING OF EXPLOSIVES USED BY TERRORISTS. It was defeated by the Republicans because of opposition from the NRA.

When Republicans couldn't prevent executive action, President Clinton:

---Developed the nation's first anti-terrorism policy, and appointed first national coordinator.

---Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up 12 U.S. jetliners simultaneously.

---Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up UN Headquarters.

---Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up FBI Headquarters.

---Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

---Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up Boston airport.

---Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up Lincoln and Holland Tunnels in N.Y.

---Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the George Washington Bridge.

---Stopped cold the planned attack to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Albania.

---Tried to kill Osama bin Laden and disrupt Al Qaeda through preemptive strikes (efforts denounced by the G.O.P.).

---Brought perpetrators of first World Trade Center bombing and CIA killings to justice.

---Did not blame Bush I Administration for first World Trade Center bombing even though it occured 38 days after they had left office. Instead, worked hard, even obsessively---and successfully---to stop future attacks.

---Named the Hart-Rudman commission to report on nature of terrorist threats and major steps to be taken to combat terrorism.

---Tripled the budget of the FBI for counterterrorism and doubled overall funding for counterterrorism.

---Detected and destroyed cells of Al Qaeda in over 20 countries.

---Created a national stockpile of drugs and vaccines including 40 million doses of smallpox vaccine.

---Robert Oakley, Reagan Counterterrorism Czar says of Clinton's efforts, "Overall, I give them very high marks" and "The only major criticism I have is the obsession with Osama."

---Paul Bremer, Bush's Administrator of Iraq disagrees slightly with Robert Oakley saying he believed the Clinton Administration "had correctly focused on bin Laden."

---Barton Gellman of the Washington Post put it best, "By any measure available, Clinton left office having given greater priority to terrorism than any other president before him" and was the "first administration to undertake a systematic anti-terrorist effort."

Here, in stark contrast, is part of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism record before September 11, 2001:

---Backed off Clinton Administration's anti-terrorism efforts.

---Shelved the Hart-Rudman report.

---Appointed new anti-terrorism task force under Dick Cheney. Group did not even meet before 9/11.

---Called for cuts in anti-terrorism efforts by the Dept. of Defense.

---Gave no priority to anti-terrorism efforts by Justice Dept.

---Ignored warnings from Sandy Berger, Louis Freeh, George Tennant, Paul Bremer, and Richard Clarke about the urgency of terrorist threats.

---Halted Predator drone tracking Osama bin Laden.

---Did nothing in wake of August 6 CIA report to president saying Al Qaeda attack by hijack of an airliner almost certain.

---Bush-knowing about the terrorists' plans to attack in America, warned that terrorists were in flight schools in U.S.---took a 4 week vacation.

---By failing to order any coordination of intelligence data, missed opportunity to stop the 9/11 plot as Clinton-Gore had stopped the millenium plots.

---Blamed President Clinton for 9/11.

Mike Hersh dot com
April 16, 2004

SENATOR BYRD CALLS FOR RUMSFELD'S RESIGNATION

2139385, Byrd Calls for Rumsfeld's Resignation

Posted by babylonsister on Thursday September 14, 2006

Dear Friend:

Earlier today I spoke on the Senate floor about the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the failure of our civilian leadership. I cannot remember a time in our history when our elected leaders have failed the people so completely, and yet, so far, are not held accountable for costly misjudgements and outright deceptions.

Many of our allies have left the field, recognizing the truth that the Administration fails to see: namely, we had the weapons to win the war, but not the wisdom to secure the peace.

Accountability is necessary, and the President should dismiss Donald Rumsfeld because he has made so many grievous errors in judgement on Iraq.

I would invite you to read the full text of this speech and I appreciate your continued support.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Byrd
United States Senator

And here's the speech

September 13, 2006
Byrd Calls for Rumsfeld's Resignation

Mr. President,

September 11 has come and gone, and as we remember those lost on that fateful day, and contemplate events since the horrific attack, one truth stands out.

The war in Iraq has backfired, producing more results for terrorism, and deep divisions within our own country. It is a war we should never have begun. The detour from our attack on Bin Laden and his minions, hiding in the cracks and crevices of the rough terrain of Afghanastan, to the unwise and unprovoked attack on Iraq has been a disastrous one. Mr. Bush's war has damaged the country because he drove our blessed land into an unnecessary conflict, utterly misreading the consequences, with the result now being a daily display of America's vulnerabilities to those who wish us ill. The United States is a weaker power now, especially in the Middle East, but also in the court of world opinion. Where is the America of restraint, of peace and of inspiration to millions? Where is the America respected not only for her military might, but also for her powerful ideas and her reasonable diplomacy?

Our country may have deviated occasionally from its positive global image in the past, but Abu Ghraib, the body snatching for torture, euphemistically called rendition, Presidential directives which unilaterally alter conditions of the Geneva Convention---these are not the stuff of mere slight deviations from the America of peacefulness, fairness, and goodwill. These are major policy and attitudinal changes of Tsunami-sized proportions. Our friends shake their heads in disbelief. Our enemies nod wisely and claim they knew all the while. I cannot remember a time in our history when our elected leaders have failed the people so completely, and yet, so far, are not held accountable for costly misjudgements and outright deceptions.

Take our Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, for example. He misread the Iraqi situation entirely. He adamantly dismisses suggestions for a larger force in Iraq. He failed to object when the White House's Coalition Provisional Authority disbanded the Iraqi army, only to have them go underground nd provide the fodder for the insurgency. He insisted that the Iraqi people would view our soldiers as liberators not occupiers, and even failed to properly anticipate the equipment needs of our men and women in harm's way.

Secretary Rumsfeld continues to insist that we are not facing a civil war in Iraq despite convincing evidence to the contrary, and yet he sits comfortably in his office as the echo of his errors in judgement and strategy continues to cost thousands of lives.

Then there is President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. These men continue to try to make the American public swallow whole the line that the war in Iraq is the front line of a global war on terror, which must be continued at all costs. Stay the course, they say, despite three years of discouragingly little progress in Iraq. The body count is approaching 2,700 for our side, tens of thousands for the beleaguered Iraqi people, and billions of American tax dollars, of which an embarrassingly large chunk has been watsed by irresponsible contractors, and government officials who lack the proper respect for the public purse. Many of our allies have left the field, recognizing the truth that the Administration fails to see: namely, we had the weapons to win the war, but not the wisdom to secure the peace.

Yet, too many in the public are complacent about the numerous violations of their trust and the continuing loss of life in Iraq. Some of our citizens have apparently been convinced that it is unpatriotic to criticize one's country when that country is engaged in an armed conflict. In fact, in our land today, there is a troubling tolerance for government overreaching on fronts at home as well as abroad. This Administrtion has repeatedly used fear and flag-waving to blunt the traditional American insistence on the Bill of Rights, personal freedom of thought and action, privacy, and one's right to speak and write as one pleases. Such a cynical exercise on the part of high officials of our government is unconscionable. It is shameful behavior for which there is no excuse.

The Congress, under the control of the President's party has been submissive, a lap dog wagging its tail in appreciation of White House secrecy and deception. Even the vast majority of the opposition party has been too quiet for too long---unable to find its voice, stunted by the demand to "support the troops." We forget, too often, that there is a very real difference between support for the troops and support for an unnecessary war. The men and women of our military did not ask to go to those far away places, but they were willing. They answered their country's call. We have an obligation to support them, but we do not need to follow blindly the unthinking policies that keep them mired in the middle of a civil war.

The American public is our last best hope now. Our people must demand more from their representatives in the Congress and from their leaders in the White House. Donald Rumsfeld should be replaced by the President because he has made so many grievous errors in judgement on Iraq and because a new voice at the helm of the Dept of Defense could be a breath of fresh air for our policies in Iraq. His replacement would be good for our country. Yet even a sense of a Senate vote of "no confidence" in Mr. Rumsfeld's leadership has been blocked by the President's party in the Senate. Personal accountability has been long absent from this Administration, and this Senator would like to see it return.

One would hope that men and women who rise to positions of awesome responsibility would have the grace, dignity, and honor to know in their own hearts when a well-timed resignation would advance patriotic goals. But, too often, the selfish love of power or some misguided show of toughness wins the days to the detriment of our country's fortunes. Donald Rumsfeld ought to step down or his President ought to ask him to. There is too much at stake for any other course. Personally, I beleive the President is derelict in his duties when he does not ask for Mr. Rumsfeld's latchkey. The bungling and loss of life attendant to this tragic three-year long debacle in Iraq have hurt this country, its public image, and its ability to achieve numerous other national and international goals. This kind of dangerous ineptitude cannot be excused.

Now that oil supply is a favorite target for terrorists who have learned the joys of bombing pipelines, and listening to America bite its nails about the high cost of gasoline, while it laments its lack of foresight in developing alternative fuels.

Now, we have passed yet another anniversary of the bloody attacks which precipitated the disastrous situation in which our country finds itself today. Yet, while we mourn, there are hard truths to confront.

Our attention has been shifted, by design and deception, too quickly from the war in Afghanastan---a war that we needed to fight and win. Now the Taliban is on the rise in that country. Al Qaeda continues to find sanctuary in the mountains. Violence is on the rise, and peace and stability are in jeopardy.

North Korea, probably reacting to our doctrine of preemption and our newfound bellicosity, has increased its nuclear capability. Iran has been emboldened by our inability to stop the violence in Iraq, and by the lukewarm support we have garnered from traditional allies. Even the people of Turkey, one of the United States' staunchest allies with Turkey a member of NATO, and a model of secular Muslim democracy, have turned against us. A survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States indicates that Iran has become one of the most popular countries in Turkey, and that there is a growing willingness to identify with radical Islam. A display of ineptitude and spectacular miscalculation in Iraq has cost us dearly. Disenchantment at home with the dismal results in Iraq will have reverberations for years, much like the failure in Vietnam did in the 1960s.

President Bush insists that his war must go on. He defends warrantless wiretapping of our own citizens as essential to his cause, despite a court decision that the President has no such authority under our Constitution. He defends torture and rendition, and says that they have produced valuable evidence which has subverted several terror attacks on our country. But, his credibility is so damaged that it is difficult to believe him. He demands the authority to hold terror suspects indefinitely, and then try them using military tribunals which deny basic rights, also in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling. He seems convinced that he can "win" a global war on terror despite the demonstrated failure of his policies of unilateralism, militarism, overheated rhetoric, and a pathological dislike of diplomacy. It is up to the Congress to change course and to stop the heinous raiding of constitutionally protected liberties by a White House which does not fully appreciate the true meaning of the word freedom. I hope that we may find the courage.




Iraq: HALLIBURTON UNIT RISKED CIVILIAN LIVES, LAWSUITS SAY

September 15, 2006 (Bloomberg)---Halliburton Co. sent civilian drivers into combat zones to protect its military supply contract, according to lawsuits filed by families of employees killed or injured while driving trucks in Iraq.

By: Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Margaret Cronin Fisk

The families claim Halliburton's KBR Inc. unit, the largest U.S. military contractor in Iraq, sent unarmed civilians into active combat zones in 2004 knowing they would be attacked and possibly killed by Iraqis. The lawsuits were filed in federal court in Houston last year. Families of six civilians who were killed and another dozen who were injured in Iraqi convoy attacks in 2004 are seeking millions of dollars in damages.

"Management decided it would make them look good to be seen acting with the Army that day," said attorney Scott Allen of a deployment in April 2004. "Haliburton and KBR decided they were going to put their contract ahead of those men's lives."

Halliburton, the world's second-largest oilfied-services provider, is trying to put behind it the controversy stirred by KBR's Iraq work. Critics in Congress said KBR overcharged the government for food, transportation, fuel and other services in Iraq and alleged the unit got special treatment because Vice President Dick Cheney was the former chief executive officer of Halliburton. Halliburton plans to shed KBR through an initial public offering or a shareholder spinoff.

The families' claims are scheduled to be aired at a September 18 U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing, where Allen, a lawyer with Houston's Cruse, Scott, Henderson & Allen, and former Halliburton employees will testify. Halliburton and KBR deny any responsibility for the deaths and injuries, contending the U.S. military controlled all decisions governing the convoys. Attorneys for the families said internal company documents show KBR was in charge.


Halliburton Denies Allegations

"Halliburton and KBR deny any allegations of wrongdoing and fully intend to vigorously defend our position," company spokeswoman Melissa Norcross said in an e-mailed statement. "KBR's priority has always been the safety and security of its employees, regardless of where they work around the world."

Halliburton also contends the lawsuits are barred by federal law granting immunity to defense contractors whose employees are killed or injured while working in war zones.

"Defense contractors with employees in the battlefield do not have absolute immunity under any of the legal authorities cited by defendants in this case," said Christopher Yukins, law professor at George Washington University who reviewed the defendant's pleadings.


KBR's Iraq Contract

Halliburton's KBR unit was hired by the U.S. military to provide troop support, including preparing meals, washing clothes, transporting fuel and delivering mail. The U.S. Army said in July that it wouldn't renew the five-year contract and would put future troop service work up for bid later this year.

Shares of Houston-based Halliburton have risen nearly 200% since the start of the Iraq conflict in March 2003. The company's stock split this year. Shares fell 4 cents to $29.02 in New York Stock Exchange trading.

"I don't know if their image can get much more beat up," said Roger Read, an analyst at Natexis Bleichroeder Inc. in Houston. "I wouldn't look for this to have a significant impact on the share price."

The Halliburton spokewoman said 91 KBR employees and subcontractors have been killed while working in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanastan and almost 400 have been wounded. Desert Voice, a publication for coalition troops in the Middle East, said 16 KBR truck drivers died in Iraq between 2003 and 2004.


"Killing Zone"

Lawyers for the drivers claim that on April 8 and April 9, 2004, civilian fuel convoys were sent down highways the military had declared "closed" because of active combat conditions, KBR committed "homicide," lawyers for driver Steven Fisher said in a filing in federal court in Houston last month.

On April 9, 2004, Fisher and another worker, Reginald Lane, were driving KBR fuel trucks in 2 convoys traveling in different directions on Baghdad's "Sword" Highway. Each man's convoy was attacked by Iraq insurgents wielding rocket-fired grenades and machine guns in the same five-mile stretch where troops had fought for 2 days, according to court filings.

Several of the tanks exploded and the road became "a killing zone," according to Allen. KBR continued to send additional convoys down the highway, lawyers for victims claim. Fisher, 43, was killed and Lane, now 57, sustained massive brain damage. Lane's family is seeking $30M in medical costs, according to his attorney, Tommy Fibich of Fibich, Hampton & Leebron in Houston.

"My men weren't simply shot that day, they were slaughtered," Allen said. "For one of my clients, you could fit all we were able to find of him in a matchbox."


Aware of Danger

KBR was aware of the danger, the families argued in court filings. Internal e-mails between "Halliburton/KBR Theatre Transportation Mission Personnel confirm that defendants exercised and retained control over the convoys before, during and after the attacks of April 9, 2004," attorneys for Lane said in court papers filed last month. Most evidence, including the e-mails, has been sealed under a court order Haliburton requested.

"We know that at least 5, but probably 11 were "attacked" in that vicinity on April 8, 2004, Allen said in an interview. "So we know there were civilian death on this raod the day before, at or near the same location where our convoy was attacked on April 9. And we know that every single convoy KBR sent out on April 9 came under enemy attack. Every single one."


Following Orders

KBRs managers were required to follow military orders and send civilian convoys to deliver fuel to troops fighting enemy forces near Baghdad's airport in April and October of 2004, the company said on court filings. KBR could have faced "liability for breach of contract, fines and possible imprisonment" had it stopped the convoys, KBRs attorney James Hall of Jones Day in Houston said last month in a motion to dismiss Lane's lawsuit.

The company's contract, signed in December 2001, specifically forbids placing civilians in combat situations, attorney Fibish said in the drivers' August 4 response to Halliburton's motion to dismiss Lane's case.

The contract also states that "civilian contractor personnel shall not be supervised or directed by military of Dept. of the Army personnel," Fibich said, quoting from the contract.

Attorneys for the families said Halliburton and KBR committed fraud by misrepresenting the danger of the work in Iraq. The men were told their jobs in Iraq would be "100% safe," according to recruiting ads on the Strategic Comm Inc. Internet job site. The truck drivers' lawyers have filed with the court copies of recruiting ads, flyers and memos that Halliburton used to hire civilians for jobs in Iraq.


Not Worth Injury

"There is not one thing that we do that is worth injury to an employee," states a Jan. 22, 2003, memo from John Downey, a KBR unit manager in charge of the company's military support contract. "Each of you has my personal authority to stop any activity which you believe to be unsafe," Downey wrote in the memo, which was distributed to job recruits in 2004, according to court filings.

Halliburton didn't deceive anyone, Norcross said. "Not one of our employees leaves the United States for Iraq without thorough and repeated briefings on the dangers in Iraq," she said.

The lead lawsuit is Fisher v. Halliburton, No. H-05-1731, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston).

***These are some of the things that you don't hear about Iraq!