Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal


Debris Falls Off Cheney
Scientists Study Videotape of Vice President Disintegrating

By: Andy Borowitz
Published: July 28, 2005 at 08:16

Government scientists were busily scrutinizing videotape of Vice President Dick Cheney today after debris appeared to fall off Mr. Cheney during a speech to a business group in Lansing, Michigan.

While Mr. Cheney's speech to the group appeared to go smoothly, only later did scientists notice that debris from the vice president appeared to fall from him as he wrapped up his address.

"We are examining the tape to determine the nature of the debris that fell from the vice president's surface," said scientist Kirk Belsher. "Hopefully these are non-essential parts of Dick Cheney that will have no significant impact on the rest of his mission."

Even as scientists studied the tape of Mr. Cheney's mysterious debris, news that parts of the vice president had disintegrated during a routine speech raised fresh concerns about the fitness of the nation's second most powerful man.

"Dick Cheney is usually stored in a secure, undisclosed location which is kept at a constant temperature of forty degrees Fahrenheit," said Dr. Ivan Loker of the University of Minnesota, who studies the nation's aging fleet of vice-presidents and cabinet members. "Every time they wheel him out into the atmosphere for a new mission, we all hold our breath."

For his part, scientist Belsher remained optimistic that the falling debris would turn out to be a false alarm: "The good news is, when debris falls off Dick Cheney, there's still plenty of Dick Cheney left."

Elsewhere, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said today that if dogs were used to intimidate prisoners at Abu Ghraib then the dogs would be court-martialed at once.


Cheney Plans to Nuke Iran

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command
(STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.


Cheney leading effort to thwart legislation on detainees

By Eric Schmitt The New York Times
MONDAY, JULY 25, 2005

WASHINGTON Vice President Dick Cheney is leading a high-level White House lobbying effort to block legislation offered by Republican senators that would regulate the detention, treatment and trials of detainees held by the U.S. military.

In an unusual, 30-minute private meeting on Capitol Hill on Thursday night, Cheney warned three senior Republican members of the Armed Services Committee that their proposed legislation would interfere with the president's authority and ability to protect Americans against terrorist attacks.

The legislation, which is still being drafted, includes provisions to bar the military from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross; prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees; and use only interrogation techniques authorized in a new army field manual.

The three Republicans are John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Warner of Virginia, the committee chairman.

They have complained that the Pentagon has failed to hold senior defense officials and military officers responsible for the abuses that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad, and at other detention centers in Iraq, Cuba, and Afghanistan.

The senators could attach their legislation to the $442 billion Pentagon authorization bill for the 2006 fiscal year, which is scheduled to be debated on the Senate floor this week. Senate Democrats, led by Carl Levin of Michigan and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, have said that they will offer a competing amendment to establish an independent commission, modeled after the 9/11 panel, to investigate detainee abuses and operations.

On Thursday, just before Cheney's meeting, White House officials warned in a bluntly worded statement that Senate approval of a Republican or Democratic amendment was likely to prompt Bush's top advisers to recommend that he veto the measure.

Cheney's meeting with the senators was first reported Saturday by The Washington Post.

A spokesman for Warner, John Ullyot, declined to comment on the senators' meeting with Cheney and said "the matter continues to be studied," adding that the Senate could vote on all or some of the provisions this week.

Cheney's involvement in the issue illustrates the White House's level of concern that the Republican bill could pass. Cheney is president of the Senate, and next to Bush, he is the administration's most potent lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

A senior Defense Department spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly about the matter, said Cheney took the administration's lead role because the issue cut across the jurisdictions of several federal agencies - and because he had long been the administration's chief defender of presidential prerogative.

According to Senate officials, McCain is considering introducing several amendments. One would prohibit the practice of seizing people and sending them abroad for interrogation. That practice has become the subject of mounting international criticism, as some of the countries involved are known to use torture. It has caused a deepening rift between the United States and some of its strongest allies.

Also, a McCain amendment would bar the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees in U.S. custody. This would effectively prohibit not only physical abuse but also practices like placing women's undergarments on the heads of young Muslim male prisoners in an effort to humiliate them.

Graham, who in the past few months has expressed some support for the idea of a wide-ranging independent commission to look into detainee abuses, is seeking to define the term "enemy combatant" for detention purposes, and to regulate the military tribunals to be held soon at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.


Cheney opposes anti-prisoner-abuse bill

July 23 (UPI) -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is reportedly helping the Bush administration block a bill prohibiting cruel treatment of military prisoners.

Cheney has been lobbying against the legislation that would bar the U.S. military from engaging in "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Cheney met this week with three senior Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reportedly telling them the legislation would interfere with the president's ability to protect the United States from terrorism.

Some GOP senators have publicly expressed frustration about what they consider the administration's failure to hold any senior military officials responsible for detainee abuse in Iraq or at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Post said.


Cheney And Plame

Ray McGovern
July 19, 2005

Ray McGovern works at Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. He had a 27-year career as an analyst at CIA and is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

In yesterday’s essay, Why Plame Matters , we suggested that the White House assault on the reputations of former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife had much to do with “the particular lie that Wilson exposed,” and we discussed the unusual role Vice President Dick Cheney played regarding the bogus “intelligence” about Iraq seeking to acquire uranium from Niger. Our Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) files provide contemporaneous insight into Cheney’s unusual involvement and throw light on continuing attempts to disguise it.

Continuing attempts? Investigative journalist Robert Parry, writing today for consortiumnews.com, notes that atop the Republican National Committee’s list of “Joe Wilson’s Top Ten Worst Inaccuracies and Misstatements” sits “Wilson insisted that the Vice President’s office sent him to Niger.” That’s not exactly what Wilson said, but let’s leave that point aside for the moment. What strikes me is the rather transparent two-year-old campaign to dissociate Cheney from L’Affaire Iraq-Niger.

On July 14, 2003, the day of Robert Novak’s opening salvo against the Wilsons, VIPS wrote a Memorandum for the President with two main sections: “The Forgery Flap,” and “The Vice President’s Role.” In that memo, we also made an important recommendation that appeared a bit extreme at the time, but it was already possible to discern what was going on:

We recommend that you call an abrupt halt to attempts to prove Vice President Cheney “not guilty.” His role has been so transparent that such attempts will only erode further your own credibility. Equally pernicious, from our perspective, is the likelihood that intelligence analysts will conclude that the way to success is to acquiesce in the cooking of their judgments, since those above them will not be held accountable. We strongly recommend that you ask for Cheney’s immediate resignation.

Protesting (or Protecting) Too Much

We were all children once. Remember how, when you and your peers got caught in some mischief, the ringleader had to be protected? “Who decided to do this terrible thing?” was often the question. “Not Dick (or Tom or Harry)” was often the instinctive, immediate answer. Remember how, as a parent, that made you really wonder about Dick (or Tom or Harry)?

In our memo of July 14, 2003, we warned President George W. Bush that the Iraq-seeking-uranium-in-Niger forgery was “a microcosm of a mischievous nexus of overarching problems” in his White House. We cited the remarks of then-presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer earlier that week, which (as noted above) set the tone for what has followed—right up to today. When asked about the forgery Fleischer noted—as if drawing on well-memorized talking points—that the vice president was not guilty of anything. (The denial was gratuitous; the question asked did not even mention the vice president’s possible role.) And the liturgy of absolution continued on July 11, 2003, when then-director of the CIA, George Tenet, did his awkward best to absolve the vice president of responsibility.

The “Particular Lie” and Forgery

We noted yesterday that the main motivation of the White House campaign to discredit the Wilsons had to do with “the particular lie that Joseph Wilson exposed and the essential role it played in the administration’s plans. The lie was that Iraq was on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons and that, despite Iraq’s inability to deliver such weapons on the U.S., this somehow posed a “grave and gathering” threat. The plans were to use that ominous specter to deceive Congress into approving war on Iraq. The problem was that not even the obsequious George Tenet could come up with evidence that could withstand close scrutiny.

This was a problem, especially since U.N. inspectors and U.S. intelligence knew that Iraq’s nuclear program had been destroyed after the Gulf War and there was no persuasive evidence that Baghdad was moving to reconstitute it. Even the intelligence imagery analysts, whom former CIA director John Deutch gave away to the Pentagon in 1996, could not come up with the evidence needed, despite very strong incentive to please their boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

What a welcome windfall, then, when a deus ex machina appeared in early 2002, in the form of a report alleging that Iraq was seeking uranium in the African country of Niger. Since Iraq had no other use for uranium, the White House spin machine went into high gear, playing up the report as proof that Baghdad was reconstituting its nuclear weapons development program. The intelligence analysts had to hold their noses—not only because of the dubious sourcing but because the substance of the report made little sense. They knew (and Wilson confirmed) that all the uranium mined in Niger is controlled by a French-led international consortium that exercises super-strict control over exports from Niger. It just couldn’t happen.

Provenance and likelihood be damned. The White House now had a “report” that could be used effectively with Congress, and Tenet could be counted on to keep his nose-holding professionals out of sight. The Iraq-seeking-uranium-from-Africa canard assumed such prominent importance to the administration’s case that it simply could not be dropped altogether—either in Washington or in London. Accordingly, none of us in VIPS were in the least surprised to learn recently of the line taken by Karl Rove with Time reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003. In an email that Cooper sent his bosses at Time , Rove insisted that Wilson’s findings on Niger-Iraq were flawed. According to Cooper, Rove “implied strongly there’s still plenty to implicate Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium from Niger.” That was false. Neither British nor U.S. intelligence has come up with anything to throw the slightest doubt on Wilson’s conclusions.

Who Did It?

Who authored the forgery remains a mystery, but one that Congress has avoided trying to solve, even though many have expressed outrage at having been snookered into voting for war. Senate intelligence committee chair Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has demonstrated a curious lack of curiosity. Nothing that ranking minority member Jay Rockefeller could do would persuade Roberts to ask the FBI to investigate.

Those searching for answers are reduced to asking the obvious: Cui bono? Who stood to benefit from such a forgery? A no-brainer—those lusting for war on Iraq. And who might that be? Look up the “neocon” writings on the website of the Project for the New American Century . There you will find information on people like Michael Ledeen, “Freedom Analyst” at the American Enterprise Institute and a key strategist among “neoconservative” hawks in and out of the Bush administration. Applauding the invasion of Iraq, Ledeen asserted at the very start that the war could not be contained, and that “it may turn out to be a war to remake the world.”

Beyond his geopolitical punditry, Ledeen’s career shows he is well-accustomed to rogue operations. A longtime Washington operative, he was fired as a “consultant” for the National Security Council under President Ronald Reagan for running fool’s errands for Oliver North during the Iran-Contra subterfuge. One of Ledeen’s Iran-Contra partners in crime, so to speak, was Elliot Abrams. Abrams was convicted of lying to Congress about Iran-Contra. He was pardoned before jail time, however, by George H. W. Bush and is now George W. Bush’s deputy national security adviser. Ledeen continues to enjoy entree into the office of the vice president, as well as to his friend Abrams.

During a radio interview with Ian Masters on April 3, 2005, former CIA operative Vincent Cannistraro charged that the Iraq-Niger documents were forged in the United States. Drawing on earlier speculation regarding who forged the documents, Masters asked, “If I were to say the name Michael Ledeen to you, what would you say?” Cannistraro replied, “You’re very close.”

Ledeen has denied having anything to do with the forgery. Yet the company he keeps with other prominent Iran-Contra convictees/pardonees/intelligence contractors suggests otherwise. Another intriguing straw in the wind is Ledeen’s long association with Italian intelligence, which, according to most accounts, played a role in disseminating the forged documents. If Ledeen and his associates were involved, this might also help explain the amateurishness of the forged documents. They would have sorely missed the institutional expertise formerly at their beck and call.

The Cover-up

It is a safe bet that Joseph Wilson suspected this kind of skullduggery. He nevertheless played it straight. After hearing the bogus Iraq-story repeated in the January 28, 2003, State of the Union speech and ascertaining that it was based on little more than the original report, Wilson began to approach administration officials suggesting that they retract the story or he would in conscience be compelled to make public what had happened. He was told, in effect, Go public; who will believe you? So he did. Astonishingly, the administration and the domesticated press have partially succeeded in making Wilson’s credibility the issue—witness, for example, the frontal assault last weekend by fast-talking, no-holds-barred Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman.

Joseph Wilson had been around long enough to know what to expect. Moreover, the White House apparently made it very clear that they would make him pay if he went public. Just three weeks before The New York Times published Wilson’s op-ed “What I Did Not Find in Africa,” he and I shared keynoting duties at a conference on Iraq. Wilson told me then that he was about to publish, adding “They are going to come after me big-time. I don’t know exactly how, but they are going to do it.”

It has now become clear that Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was as active as Rove in spreading the word about the Wilsons when the story broke in July 2003. Surprise, surprise.


28 senators call for formal Halliburton inquiry

Twenty eight Democratic U.S. Senators, led by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), are calling for a formal Department of Defense investigation into what they described as “alarming” reports of fraudulent, wasteful and abusive practices by Halliburton in providing food to U.S. troops in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

In May, despite concerns by the Army's own auditors about billing practices, the firm received a $72.2 million performance bonuses for its work in Iraq. The bonus was the largest ever received by the firm.

Halliburton has billed the government more than $10.5 billion to date under a contract to provide aid for the military in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The Democrats' release, issued by Sen. Dorgan, follows.

In a letter to Rumsfeld released Wednesday, the Senators cited testimony received at a Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) hearing Dorgan chaired June 27, at which a range of abuses by Halliburton were cited, including:

• Serving food to American troops that was outdated by as much as a year or contaminated by bullets and shrapnel. When the food’s condition was called to the attention of Halliburton supervisors, witnesses said, workers were instructed to use it anyway.

• Serving 10,000 meals but deliberately billing the government for at least 20,000 meals, every day at one dining hall, at one base.

• Instructions from Halliburton managers that workers were not to speak to government auditors

“We trust you will find this testimony as alarming as we do,” the Senators wrote. “The testimony demands an immediate and full investigation.”

Witness Rory Mayberry, a former food production manager at Halliburton subsidiary KBR, testified that troops were given food that had expired as much as a year earlier. He described a scene in which, after a convoy was ambushed, he and other employees were instructed to remove the bullets and shrapnel from the food supplies and serve them to U.S. soldiers.

Halliburton also charged the U.S. government for tens of thousands of meals that were never served. Mayberry testified that Halliburton managers instructed employees not to speak to government auditors, and punished those who did by sending them to more dangerous camps.

“Our troops deserve to eat their dinner without worrying it is spoiled or contaminated with bits of shrapnel,” Dorgan said. “Halliburton was given a sweetheart deal here, and they’ve done nothing but take advantage of it. I implore Mr. Rumsfeld to look into this matter immediately.”

Senators signing the letter, in addition to Dorgan included: Carl Levin (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Max Baucus (D-MT), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Jim Jeffords (I-VT), John Corzine (D-NJ), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Mark Dayton (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Charles Schumer (D-NY).


Under threat of subpoena,
Pentagon surrenders Halliburton documents

WASHINGTON, July 7 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- The Pentagon has begun submitting documents to a congressional subcommittee investigating Halliburton's scandal-plagued Iraqi oil contract, The Hill newspaper reported today. The contract, valued at $7 billion, was awarded to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary in 2003 without competition.

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, intended to subpoena the Pentagon if the Bush administration refused to surrender the documents.

A subcommittee aide told The Hill that Pentagon officials intend to make more documents public in the near future.

The documents were released only after subcommittee Chairman Shays complained that the Pentagon was redacting (concealing) internal military audits that criticized Halliburton's work in Iraq, including audits criticizing Halliburton's overcharges of U.S. taxpayers.

At the request of Halliburton, the Pentagon redacted portions of one audit that showed Halliburton overcharged U.S. taxpayers by $200 million.

"The redactions have violated the commitment to transparency and regretfully -- very regretfully -- make it appear [the Pentagon] has something to hide," Shays said at a hearing last week. "This undermines our international standing and, even more seriously, harms our efforts in Iraq."

Military auditors recently disclosed that Halliburton so far has $1.4 billion in questioned and unsupported costs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Auditors also found that $8.8 billion in Iraqi oil money managed by U.S. officials in the first 15 months of the war cannot be accounted for. Stuart Bowen, the inspector general for the U.S. Coalition in Iraq, said "there was no assurance that [the $8.8 billion in] funds were used for the purposes mandated...."

The ranking member of the subcommittee, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), lambasted Congress for ignoring the "missing" $8.8 billion while spending months investigating the $10 billion fraud that took place under the United Nations oil-for-food program. "Here, we have a matter that is within the sole control of Congress, the scandalous mismanagement [by] the U.S. of Iraqis' financial resources," Kucinich said. "Through systematic mismanagement, a lack of transparency, the U.S. occupation of Iraq has discredited the United States and I feel has brought shame on our nation," he said.

At the hearing, military auditors disclosed that the U.S. coalition in Iraq had paid a salary to 8,026 Iraqi protective guards at one ministry, but that only 602 guards actually existed. At another ministry, 1,471 guards were on the payroll, but only 642 guards were verified.


Top Aides Reportedly Set Sights on Wilson
Rove and Cheney chief of staff were intent on discrediting CIA agent's husband, prosecutors have been told.

By Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten, Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — Top aides to President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were intensely focused on discrediting former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in the days after he wrote an op-ed article for the New York Times suggesting the administration manipulated intelligence to justify going to war in Iraq, federal investigators have been told.

Prosecutors investigating whether administration officials illegally leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, a CIA officer who had worked undercover, have been told that Bush's top political strategist, Karl Rove, and Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, were especially intent on undercutting Wilson's credibility, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

Karl Rove

"Scooter" Libby

Although lower-level White House staffers typically handle most contacts with the media, Rove and Libby began personally communicating with reporters about Wilson, prosecutors were told.

A source directly familiar with information provided to prosecutors said Rove's interest was so strong that it prompted questions in the White House. When asked at one point why he was pursuing the diplomat so aggressively, Rove reportedly responded: "He's a Democrat." Rove then cited Wilson's campaign donations, which leaned toward Democrats, the person familiar with the case said.

The disclosures about the officials' roles illustrate White House concern about Wilson's July 6, 2003, article, which challenged the administration's assertion that Iraq had sought to purchase nuclear materials. Wilson's article appeared as Rove and other Bush aides were preparing the 2004 reelection campaign strategy, which was built largely around the president's response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

It is not surprising that White House officials would be upset by an attack like Wilson's or seek to respond aggressively. But special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is examining whether they or others crossed the legal line by improperly disclosing classified information, or whether they perjured themselves in testifying later about their actions. Both Rove and Libby have testified.

News of the high-level interest in discrediting Wilson comes as White House defenders, most notably officials at the Republican National Committee, argue that Rove has been vindicated of suspicion that he was a primary source of the leak. Knowingly revealing the identity of a covert operative is a federal crime.

Regardless of Rove's legal liability, the description of his role runs contrary to earlier White House statements that Rove and Libby were not involved in the unmasking of Wilson's wife, and it suggests they were part of a campaign to discredit Wilson.

Wilson, a career Foreign Service officer who served in Iraq and several African nations, was sent by the CIA in 2002 to investigate whether Iraq had attempted to purchase nuclear materials from Niger. His New York Times article declaring that he had found no credible evidence of such an attempt despite the administration's continued claims that there had been one unleashed charges from White House officials that he was a partisan.

White House officials contended that he had wrongly indicated that he was sent on his mission by Cheney. In fact, Wilson had said in the article that the trip was inspired by questions raised by Cheney's office.

Eight days after Wilson's article was published, a syndicated column by Robert Novak questioned the credibility of Wilson's trip, suggesting that it had been arranged with the help of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, at the CIA.

Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, has cited recent news reports that Rove heard about Wilson's wife from reporters and that he was not an original source. Those reports said that Rove in fact sought to dissuade Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper — one of the journalists with whom he discussed Wilson's wife — from writing a piece about Wilson's charge.

"Based on the information that has come out over the last several days, the one thing that's absolutely clear is that Karl was not the source for the leak and there's no basis for any additional speculation," Luskin said.

A White House spokesman, David Almacy, declined to comment Sunday. "This is an ongoing investigation, and we will be happy to talk about this once it is completed, but not until then," he said.

Prosecutors' intense questioning of witnesses about Rove and Libby casts doubt on assertions that the president's longtime political guru was not — at least at some point — in Fitzgerald's sights.

Fitzgerald is expected to conclude his investigation this year with a detailed report.

Bush said he would fire anyone responsible for any illegal leaks. Democrats have called on Bush to fire Rove, now a deputy White House chief of staff, or at least to revoke Rove's security clearance.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Rove and the White House deserved credit for cooperating with Fitzgerald. "Cooperate, cooperate, cooperate" was the policy, said Mehlman, who once was Rove's deputy at the White House.

Cooper, who testified last week before Fitzgerald's grand jury concerning his conversations with White House officials about Wilson, confirmed Sunday that prosecutors showed intense interest in the roles played by Rove and Libby in discussing Wilson's wife.

In an article in the latest issue of Time magazine titled "What I Told the Grand Jury," Cooper writes that the grand jurors investigated his interactions with Rove in "microscopic, excruciating detail."