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the cool fool
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Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 27,389
Loc: USA
Not scared yet?
    #2989611 - 08/11/04 04:31 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Not Scared Yet? Try Connecting These Dots
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Monday 09 August 2004

"Pre-election period...pre-election plot...pre-election threats:" These rolled off National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's lips no less than seven times yesterday on CNN's Late Edition as she discussed the likely timing of a terrorist attack. She stayed on message.

Dr. Rice said the government had actually "picked up discussion" relating to "trying to do something in the pre-election period," and added that information on the threat came from "active multiple sources."

I found myself wondering if those sources are any better than those cited by Attorney General John Ashcroft on May 26, when he launched this campaign, citing "credible intelligence from multiple sources that al-Qaeda plans an attack on the United States" before the November election. Ashcroft's warning came out of the blue, without the customary involvement of the directors of the C.I.A. and Department of Homeland Security (although the latter quickly fell in line).

In support of his warning, Ashcroft cited "an al-Qaeda spokesman," who the FBI later was embarrassed to admit is "The Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades." Sinister sounding though the name may be, this "group" is thought to consist of no more than one person with a fax machine, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official. That fax is notorious for claiming credit for all manner of death and destruction.

Are the recent warnings and heightened alerts legitimate or contrived? Is this yet another case of "intelligence" being conjured up to serve the political purposes of President Bush and his top advisers? The record of the past three years gives rise to the suspicion that this is precisely what is afoot.

Running Scared
While Iraq generally has moved off the front page, those paying attention to developments there have watched a transition from mayhem to bedlam in recent days. Worse still, the U.S. economy is again faltering as the election draws near.

Perhaps most worrisome of all from the administration's point of view are the fresh photos, film footage, and other reporting of torture in U.S.-run prisons in Iraq and elsewhere that will surface in the coming weeks. This round is said to include details of the rape and other abuse of some of the Iraqi women and the hundred or so children - some as young as 10 years old - held in jails like Abu Graib. U.S. Army Sergeant Samuel Provance, who was stationed there, has blown the whistle on the abuse of children as well as other prisoners. He recounted, for example, how interrogators soaked a 16-year-old, covered him in mud, and then used his suffering to break the youth's father, also a prisoner, during interrogation.

I suspect it is the further revelations of torture that worries the White House most. Adding to its woes, last week over a hundred lawyers, including seven past presidents of the American Bar Association and former FBI Director William Sessions, issued a statement strongly condemning the legal opinions of government attorneys holding that torture might be legally defensible. The lawyers called for an investigation regarding whether there is a connection between those legal opinions and the abuses at Abu Graib and elsewhere.

While Bush administration officials have tried to distance themselves from the opinions and claim that the president did not authorize the torture of suspected al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters, the photographic evidence speaks for itself. And neo-conservative William Kristol's bragging Sunday on ABC's This Week that this administration's interrogation techniques have been successful because they are "rougher than what John Kerry would approve of" does not help the administration's case.

With each new revelation of torture, the "few-bad-apples" explanation strains credulity closer to the breaking point. Nor can it be denied that the abuse took place on this administration's watch. Thus, there are likely to be increasing demands that the commander-in-chief - or at least his defense secretary - take responsibility. Where is it that the buck is supposed to stop?

Connecting Dots
What has all this to do with Condoleezza Rice's multiple mention of "pre-election threats?" Can these two dots be connected? I fear they can.

When John Ashcroft fired the opening shot in this campaign to raise the specter of a "pre-election" terrorist event, it seemed to me that the administration might be beginning to prepare the American people to accept postponement or cancellation of the November election as a reasonable option.

Tom Ridge's warning in early July that Osama bin Laden is "planning to disrupt the November elections" added to my concern, as did;

Word that Ridge has asked the Department of Justice to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit postponement of the election;
The request by the Director of the Election Assistance Commission for Ridge to provide "guidelines" for canceling or rescheduling the election in the event of a terror attack;
The matter-of-fact tone of a recent vote on CNN's website: "Should the United States postpone the election in the event of a terrorist attack?" That vote seems to have been greeted more by yawns than by any expression of outrage.
That the House of Representatives on July 22 passed a resolution by a 419-2 vote denying any agency or individual the authority to postpone a national election suggests that many in Congress are taking the various trial balloons and other hints seriously.

The Emperor's New Suit of Clothes
It seems a safe bet that President Bush is not sleeping as soundly as he did before the abuse of prisoners came to light. He may feel thoroughly exposed in the magic suit of sold him by Ashcroft's tailor/lawyers together with those working for White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, and may wish he had paid more attention to the strong cautions of Secretary of State Colin Powell against playing fast and loose with the Geneva Conventions on Prisoners of War.

The president can take little consolation in Gonzales' reassurance that there is a "reasonable basis in law" that could provide a "solid defense," should an independent counsel at some point in the future attempt to prosecute him under the U.S. War Crimes Act of 1996 for exempting the Taliban and perhaps others from the protections of the Geneva Conventions, to which the War Crimes Act is inextricably tied.

Meaning? Meaning that if the president's numbers look no better in October than they do now, there will be particularly strong personal incentive on the part of the president, Rumsfeld, and Vice President Cheney to pull out all the stops in order to make four more years a sure thing. What seems increasingly clear is that putting off the election is under active consideration - a course more likely to be chosen to the extent it achieves status as just another option.

How Would Americans React?
On Friday I listened to a reporter asking a tourist in Washington, DC, whether he felt inconvenienced by all the blockages and barriers occasioned by the heightened alert. While the tourist acknowledged that the various barriers and inspections made it difficult to get from one place to another, he made his overall reaction quite clear: "Safety first! I don't want to see another 9/11. Whatever it takes!" I was struck a few hours later as I tuned into President Bush speaking at a campaign rally in Michigan: "I will never relent in defending America. Whatever it takes."

How prevalent this sentiment has become was brought home to me as Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) quizzed 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey (a former Democrat Senator from Nebraska) at a hearing last week on the commission's sweeping recommendation to centralize foreign and domestic intelligence under a new National Intelligence Director in the White House. Kerrey grew quite angry as Kucinich kept insisting on an answer to his question: "How do you protect civil liberties amid such a concentration of information and power?"

Kerrey protested that the terrorists give no priority to civil liberties. He went on to say that individual liberties must, in effect, be put on the back burner, while priority is given to combating terrorism. Whatever it takes.

Does this not speak volumes? Would Kerrey suggest that Americans act like the "good Germans" of the 1930s, and acquiesce in draconian steps like postponement or cancellation of the November election?

These are no small matters. It is high time to think them through.

Ray McGovern worked as a CIA analyst from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush.

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Ten ThousandThings

Registered: 11/02/03
Posts: 3,171
Loc: The Shining Void
Last seen: 9 years, 11 months
Re: Not scared yet? [Re: KingOftheThing]
    #2990648 - 08/11/04 12:20 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

:rolleyes: Perhaps you should consider the fact that a Presidential election might actually be a very opportune time for terrorists to attack.
Also consider that in reality nobody knows which way the public will really lean in the event of an attack; they may blame Bush or stand by him. I know plenty of people that would do both. The ambiguity of this situation means it would be a very risky and foolish move on the part of the Bush Administration to attempt to use a terrorist attack or threat as a means for a far-fetched political takeover.
You need to stop reading this paranoid garbage and get in touch with reality.

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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 1,583
Last seen: 4 years, 5 months
Re: Not scared yet? [Re: Divided_Sky]
    #2991771 - 08/11/04 05:18 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

im scared because i have no way of verifying wether or not elections were actually held..

sure ppl might vote..
but are they counted..
do they count towards anything..
how do you know?

they media could say whatever they like...

dont even wanna mention the electoral college/supreme court...

"You cannot trust in law, unless you can trust in people. If you can trust in people, you don't need law." -J. Mumma

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Registered: 05/07/04
Posts: 984
Loc: Inguland
Last seen: 6 years, 7 months
Re: Not scared yet? [Re: BleaK]
    #2991807 - 08/11/04 05:25 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

For that to work, a hell of a lot of people would have to be "in on it". It's insanely unlikely.

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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 1,583
Last seen: 4 years, 5 months
Re: Not scared yet? [Re: deafpanda]
    #2991820 - 08/11/04 05:27 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

what do you mean for it to work?

it does work.....

"You cannot trust in law, unless you can trust in people. If you can trust in people, you don't need law." -J. Mumma

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mndfrayze'speppet urme
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Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 5,498
Loc: oz
Re: Not scared yet? [Re: BleaK]
    #2992358 - 08/11/04 07:58 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

i have thought the same thing...how do I really know that votes are counted...

and the answer...I don't.

do I trust the system...nope

Annnnnnd I had a light saber and my friend was there and I said "you look like an indian" and he said "you look like satan" and he found a stick and a rock and he named the rock ooga booga and he named the stick Stick and we both thought that was pretty funny. We got eaten alive by mosquitos but didn't notice til the next day. I stepped on some glass while wading in the swamp and cut my foot open, didn't bother me til the next day either....yeah it was a good time, ended the night by buying some liquor for minors and drinking nips and going to he diner and eating chicken fingers, and then I went home and went to bed.---senior doobie

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