NASDAQ Update: 4:20 AM NYC time, February 28th: Just a quick note to mark an important day, the end of an era, the death of an old bull market. Indeed, yesterday marked, with a grand finale that nobody could miss, the end of the 1,599-day (4.37-year), 1,423-point (128%) rally in the NASDAQ. A fine rally it has been, enriching many a needy investor, speculator, investment banker and trader. Alas…
NOTE: Of course I’m in favor of a more peaceful and terrorism-free world, but illegal wars, torture, profiteering etc. is not the way to get there. In fact, Bush’s methods do the opposite: They inspire, motivate and help recruit terrorists, making another major terrorist strike all the more likely. Thanks, Dubya, you’re doing a heckuva job! Now on to the article:
From the front page of the February 28, 2007, Washington Post:
New Light Shed on CIA’s ‘Black Site’ Prisons
By Dafna Linzer and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
On his last day in CIA custody, Marwan Jabour, an accused al-Qaeda paymaster, was stripped naked, seated in a chair and videotaped by agency officers. Afterward, he was shackled and blindfolded, headphones were put over his ears, and he was given an injection that made him groggy. Jabour, 30, was laid down in the back of a van, driven to an airstrip and put on a plane with at least one other prisoner.
From the February 22, 2007, New York Times:
Abu Ghraib and Its Multiple Failures
By ALESSANDRA STANLEY
The problem with the Fox thriller “24” is not that it justifies torture but that it fosters the illusion that the American government is good at it.The practices of Abu Ghraib suggest the opposite. The mystery of that shameful episode was not the cruelty of American troops assigned there. After the initial disbelief over the obscene snapshots, their smile-for-the-camera barbarity turned out to be another painful reminder that the banality of evil has no borders.
The real puzzle is why the administration, which argued that the war against terror required extreme interrogation techniques — the kind critics call torture — would then entrust such measures to untrained amateurs.
“Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” a documentary by Rory Kennedy on HBO tonight, looks up and down the chain of command to examine how and why the abuse took place. It is not a new line of inquiry; a 2005 PBS “Frontline” documentary went over the same ground and also concluded that responsibility for the excesses trickled upward all the way to Washington.
From the February 19, 2007, New York Times
Wrong Is Right
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Many people are perplexed by the uproar over Senator Hillary Clinton’s refusal to say, as former Senator John Edwards has, that she was wrong to vote for the Iraq war resolution. Why is it so important to admit past error? And yes, it was an error — she may not have intended to cast a vote for war, but the fact is the resolution did lead to war; she may not have believed that President Bush would abuse the power he was granted, but the fact is he did.
The answer can be summed up in two words: heckuva job. Or, if you want a longer version: Medals of Freedom to George Tenet, who said Saddam had W.M.D., Tommy Franks, who failed to secure Iraq, and Paul Bremer, who botched the occupation.
From the February 18, 2007, New York Times:
Oh What a Malleable War
By FRANK RICH
MAYBE the Bush White House can’t conduct a war, but no one has ever impugned its ability to lie about its conduct of a war. Now even that well-earned reputation for flawless fictionalizing is coming undone. Watching the administration try to get its story straight about Iran’s role in Iraq last week was like watching third graders try to sidestep blame for misbehaving while the substitute teacher was on a bathroom break. The team that once sold the country smoking guns in the shape of mushroom clouds has completely lost its mojo.
Surely these guys can do better than this. No sooner did unnamed military officials unveil their melodramatically secretive briefing in Baghdad last Sunday than Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, blew the whole charade. General Pace said he didn’t know about the briefing and couldn’t endorse its contention that the Iranian government’s highest echelons were complicit in anti-American hostilities in Iraq. Public-relations pandemonium ensued as Tony Snow, the State Department and finally the president tried to revise the story line on the fly. Back when Karl Rove ruled, everyone read verbatim from the same script. Last week’s frantic improvisations were vintage Scooter Libby, at best the ur-text for a future perjury trial.
1) (On an infant’s shirt): Already smarter than Bush.
2) 1/20/09: End of an Error
3) That’s OK, I Wasn’t Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
4) Let’s Fix Democracy in This Country First
5) Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
(click through to read the rest)
Lead story on today’s CNN.com home page:
Top general casts doubt on Tehran’s link to Iraq militias
• Joint Chiefs chairman: Iran government link to Iraq munitions not apparent
• Gen. Peter Pace does say explosives manufactured in Iran
• Pace’s comments appear to contradict claims by Bush administration
• White House spokesman says Quds force is Iran’s link to weapons in Iraq
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace appeared Tuesday to question Bush administration assertions that the Iranian government is supplying weapons to Shiite militant groups in Iraq.
From the February 10, 2007, New York Times:
The Build-a-War Workshop
It took far too long, but a report by the Pentagon inspector general has finally confirmed that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s do-it-yourself intelligence office cooked up a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to help justify an unjustifiable war.
Putin: U.S. pushing others into nuclear ambitions
Story Highlights• Putin blasts United States for “almost uncontained” use of force in the world
• Criticism comes during security conference in Germany
• Sen. McCain calls speech most aggressive since Cold War
• Official White House response muted
MUNICH, Germany (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday blamed U.S. policy for inciting other countries to seek nuclear weapons to defend themselves from an “almost uncontained use of military force.”
The stinging attack underscored growing tensions between Washington and Moscow.
“Unilateral, illegitimate actions have not solved a single problem, they have become a hotbed of further conflicts,” Putin said at the Munich Conference on Security Policy, an annual forum attracting senior officials from around the world.
February 1 2007: 9:07 AM EST
Exxon Mobil sets annual profit record
NEW YORK (Reuters) — Exxon Mobil Corp. posted the largest annual profit in U.S. history Thursday, even though fourth-quarter earnings fell on lower natural gas prices and shrinking gasoline margins.
Libby Trial Leads to Cheney Arrest
by Dood Abides
Washington, DC (UPSI) – Early this morning, Vice President Dick Cheney was taken into custody by federal marshals from an undisclosed location in Washington. The vice president was apparently taken into custody under orders from federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald as a result of recent disclosures during the trial of Cheney’s former assistant, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Libby is currently on trial for charges of perjury in regards to the investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Cheney also has only been charged with perjury at this point.
Libby trial shows an insular, backbiting Washington
By Greg Miller
Times Staff Writer
February 1, 2007
WASHINGTON — With the Bush administration taking a pounding over erroneous prewar claims about Iraq in the summer of 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff consulted his office’s top communications advisor on how to strike back.
As they talked by phone, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby scribbled down a series of Machiavellian suggestions from Cheney’s then-communications guru, Mary Matalin: What to do about MSNBC talk show host Chris Matthews and his steady barrage of Iraq war criticism? “Call Tim,” Libby wrote, referring to Tim Russert of NBC News. “He hates Chris.”
What to make of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had emerged that summer to challenge the veracity of one of the administration’s most alarming claims about Saddam Hussein’s regime? “Wilson is a snake,” Libby transcribed.
And how best to use the power of the White House to beat back the attacks? The president “should wave his wand,” Matalin advised, and quickly declassify portions of intelligence reports that backed up the White House case for war.
Bush Is Not Above the Law
By JAMES BAMFORD
LAST August, a federal judge found that the president of the United States broke the law, committed a serious felony and violated the Constitution. Had the president been an ordinary citizen — someone charged with bank robbery or income tax evasion — the wheels of justice would have immediately begun to turn. The F.B.I. would have conducted an investigation, a United States attorney’s office would have impaneled a grand jury and charges would have been brought.
But under the Bush Justice Department, no F.B.I. agents were ever dispatched to padlock White House files or knock on doors and no federal prosecutors ever opened a case.