Printed here in it's entirety..too funny to breathe, too true not to sob...if only W. could speak with such force...........T
Fighting words: Calling Galloway's Bluff. The Senate uncovers a smoking gun.
By Christopher Hitchens
Just before my last exchange with George Galloway, which occurred on the set of Bill Maher's show in Los Angeles in mid-September, I was approached by a representative of the program and asked if I planned to repeat my challenge to Galloway on air. That challenge—would he sign an affidavit saying that he had never discussed Oil-for-Food monies with Tariq Aziz?—I had already made on a public stage in New York. Maher's producers had been asked, obviously by a nervous Galloway, to find out whether I had brought such an affidavit along with me. I replied that this was not necessary, since his public denial to me was on the record and had been broadcast, and since it further confirmed the apparent perjury that he had committed in front of the U.S. Senate on May 17, 2005. I added that I wanted no further contact with Galloway until I could have the opportunity of reviewing his prison diaries.
That day has now been brought measurably closer by the publication of the report of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. This report, which comes with a vast archive of supporting material, was embargoed until 10 p.m. Monday and contains the "smoking gun" evidence that Galloway, along with his wife and his chief business associate, were consistent profiteers from Saddam Hussein's regime and its criminal exploitation of the "Oil for Food" program. In particular:
1) Between 1999 and 2003, Galloway personally solicited and received eight oil "allocations" totaling 23 million barrels, which went either to him or to a politicized "charity" of his named the Mariam Appeal.
2) In connection with just one of these allocations, Galloway's wife, Amineh Abu-Zayyad, received about $150,000 directly.
3) A minimum of $446,000 was directed to the Mariam Appeal, which campaigned against the very sanctions from which it was secretly benefiting.
4) Through the connections established by the Galloway and "Mariam" allocations, the Saddam Hussein regime was enabled to reap $1,642,000 in kickbacks or "surcharge" payments.
(For a highly readable explanation of how the Oil-for-Food racket actually worked, see the Adobe Acrobat file on the site www.hitchensweb.com prepared by my brilliant comrade Michael Weiss and distributed as a leaflet outside the debate in New York.)
These and other findings by the subcommittee, which appear to demonstrate beyond doubt that Galloway lied under oath, are supported by one witness in particular whose name will cause pain in the Galloway camp. This is Tariq Aziz, longtime henchman of Saddam Hussein and at different times the foreign minister and deputy prime minister of the Baathist dictatorship. Galloway has often referred in moist terms to his friend Aziz, and now this is his reward. I do not think—in case anyone tries such an innuendo—that there is the smallest possibility that Aziz's testimony was coerced. For one thing, he was confronted by Senate investigators who already knew a great deal of the story and who possessed authenticated documents from Iraqi ministries. For another, he continues, through his lawyers, to deny what is also certainly true, namely that he personally offered a $2 million bribe to Rolf Ekeus, then the head of the U.N. weapons inspectors.
The critical person in Galloway's fetid relationship with Saddam's regime was a Jordanian "businessman" named Fawaz Zureikat, who was involved in a vast range of middleman activities in Baghdad and is the chairman of Middle East Advanced Semiconductor Inc. It was never believable, as Galloway used to claim, that he could have been so uninformed about Zureikat's activities in breaching the U.N. oil embargo. This most probably means that what we now know is a fraction of what there is to be known. But what has been established is breathtaking enough. A member of the British Parliament was in receipt of serious money originating from a homicidal dictatorship. That money was supposed to have been used to ameliorate the suffering of Iraqis living under sanctions. It was instead diverted to the purposes of enriching Saddam's toadies and of helping them propagandize in favor of the regime whose crimes and aggressions had necessitated the sanctions and created the suffering in the first place. This is something more than mere "corruption." It is the cynical theft of food and medicine from the desperate to pay for the palaces of a psychopath.
Taken together with the scandal surrounding Benon Sevan, the U.N. official responsible for "running" the program, and with the recent arrest of Ambassador Jean-Bernard Mérimée (France's former U.N. envoy) in Paris, and with other evidence about pointing to big bribes paid to French and Russian politicians like Charles Pasqua and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, what we are looking at is a well-organized Baathist attempt to buy or influence the member states of the U.N. Security Council. One wonders how high this investigation will reach and how much it will eventually explain.
For George Galloway, however, the war would seem to be over. The evidence presented suggests that he lied in court when he sued the Daily Telegraph in London over similar allegations (and collected money for that, too). It suggests that he lied to the Senate under oath. And it suggests that he made a deceptive statement in the register of interests held by members of the British House of Commons. All in all, a bad week for him, especially coming as it does on the heels of the U.N. report on the murder of Rafik Hariri, which appears to pin the convict's badge on senior members of the Assad despotism in Damascus, Galloway's default patron after he lost his main ally in Baghdad.
Yet this is the man who received wall-to-wall good press for insulting the Senate subcommittee in May, and who was later the subject of a fawning puff piece in the New York Times, and who was lionized by the anti-war movement when he came on a mendacious and demagogic tour of the country last month. I wonder if any of those who furnished him a platform will now have the grace to admit that they were hosting a man who is not just a pimp for fascism but one of its prostitutes as well.
(Gotta remember that quote!......................T)
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Printed here in it's entirety..too funny to breathe, too true not to sob...if only W. could speak with such force...........T
Posted by Ted Pethick at 4:18 PM
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
...Sigh....I found this to be true as far back as my college days, at IU, in 1979.......T
One of the more appealing aspects about being on the Left is that you do not necessarily have to engage your opponents in debates over the truth or falsehood of their positions. You can simply dismiss your opponent as "anti."
Anti-worker: It all began with Marxism. If you opposed communism or socialism, you were not merely anti-communist or anti-socialist, you were anti-worker. This way of dismissing opponents of leftist ideas is now the norm. Anyone, including a Democrat, who raises objections to union control of state and local politics is labeled anti-worker: "anti-teacher," "anti-firefighter," "anti-nurse," etc. This is how the unions are fighting California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempts to rein in unauthorized union spending of members' dues to advance leftist political goals. He is depicted as an enemy of all these groups.
...Anti-peace: The very fact that anti-war and "peace" activists have labeled themselves "pro-peace" and "anti-war" renders their opponents vulnerable to charges of opposing peace and even loving war. Again, no intellectual argument is needed. According to much left-wing rhetoric, those who support the war in Iraq do not love peace. Of course, there was no peace in Iraq prior to the American deposing of Saddam Hussein, and there would be far more bloodshed if America now left Iraq. But it is far harder to engage those arguments than to label those who make them "anti-peace."
...The "anti" arguments are effective. Conservatives have to spend half their time explaining that they are not bad people before they can be heard. But the Left has paid a great price. Because they have come to rely so heavily on one-word dismissals of their opponents, they have few arguments.
Posted by Ted Pethick at 4:19 AM
Monday, October 24, 2005
It's clear to all that this is a fraudulent witch hunt. It's speaks volumes, however, of the power still held by the MSM..........................T
"WASHINGTON -- Last Wednesday afternoon after Tom DeLay's indictment was announced, the caterwauling began among House Republicans about their own decision of Jan. 3. By reinstating a rule that a party leader must resign if indicted, Republican House members complained, they had placed a gun in the hand of a Democratic district attorney frantic to use it."
...The decision to reinstate the resignation requirement was the subject of Wednesday's closed-door conference of House Republicans. Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana declared that the Jan. 3 decision had empowered Earle. He complained that moderate members of the conference had forced the reinstatement. Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida said it was like putting a red cape in front of a bull...
The party pressure on Earle to indict (Senator Kay Bailey) Hutchison was dwarfed by demands that he put DeLay in the dock. Texas Democratic politicians could not forgive DeLay for demolishing their last vestige of power in what has become a heavily Republican state: the gerrymandered congressional delegation. Earle impaneled five grand juries before finding a sixth to indict DeLay on a flimsy charge of conspiracy in financing his redistricting initiative. As recently as two weeks before the indictment, Earle was signaling that prosecution of DeLay was unlikely. According to Texas sources, Democratic leaders made clear this was simply unacceptable...
That most of Earle's prosecutorial targets have been Democrats does not mean he is a straight shooter. A majority consisted of routine cases, but the big ones were tainted by politics. Earle lost a 1985 case against State Attorney General Jim Mattox, a political rival who accused the DA of using the case as a "stepping stone." His 1992 prosecution that drove Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis out of public life was viewed in political circles as a hit job influenced by Gov. Ann Richards. Earle investigated but never brought an indictment against Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, who once called the prosecutor "a little boy playing with matches."
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Oh my......It's hit outa da ballpark here! This should serve to remind us, that once this "news cycle" has passed, the political and historic tides remain heavily in our favor...........T
The sinister character Noah Cross in the movie Chinatown memorably claimed that "Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough." Representative John Dingell of Michigan, unfortunately, disproves the maxim.
Rep. Dingell is soon to celebrate his 50th anniversary in Congress, a milestone even more striking when one considers that he succeeded his father in holding the seat. But to my intense sorrow, a man I once admired and liked has been dragged down by his party. Once an iconoclastic advocate for causes, like gun rights, dear to hearts of his constituents, he has been reduced to political hackery of the lowest sort. The arc of his career parallels the tragedy of the Democratic Party.
...Dingell's long career in the House square with the modus operandi of the Democratic Party: doing and saying anything in defense of anyone, no matter how criminal, for the sake of holding on to power, while simultaneously working to deny the most basic civil rights and privileges to those citizens whom they claim to defend. The present face of the Democratic Party is a sorry spectacle indeed and while it would have been difficult to say it just a few years ago, there is little to no difference today between the dean of the House and Howard Dean.
Posted by Ted Pethick at 3:43 AM
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
These next two columns represent a two pronged attack on America as an Idea, and as a society. They reveal treachery bordering on treason. Pleas read them, and you may never feel the same again..............T
"Most Americans feel a shiver when they hear 'The Star-Spangled Banner' played and reflect on the triumphs and tragedies that those serving under that flag have won and suffered over more than 200 years. You're part of something larger than yourself.
But not all of us cherish ties to past traditions. 'America's business, professional, intellectual and academic elites,' writes Samuel Huntington in his 2004 book, 'Who Are We?' have 'attitudes and behavior (that) contrast with the overwhelming patriotism and nationalistic identification with their country of the American public. ... They abandon commitment to their nation and their fellow citizens, and argue the moral superiority of identifying with humanity at large.' "
...This gap is something new in our history. Franklin Roosevelt spoke fluent French and German and worked to create the United Nations, but no one doubted that his allegiance was to America above all. Most Harvard professors in the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s felt a responsibility to help the United States prevail against its totalitarian enemies.
But in the later stages of the Vietnam War -- a war begun by elite liberals -- elites on campuses began taking an adversarial posture toward their own country. Later, with globalization, a transnational mindset grew among corporate and professional elites. Legal elites, too: Some Supreme Court justices have taken to citing foreign law as one basis for interpreting the U.S. Constitution.
... "A nation's morale and strength derive from a sense of the past," argues historian Wilfred McClay. Ties to those who came before -- whether in the military, in religion, in general patriotism -- provide a sense of purpose rooted in history and tested over time. Secular transnational elites are on their own, without a useful tradition, in constructing a morality to help them perform their duties.
Most Americans sense they need such ties to the past, to judge from the millions buying books about Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Jefferson and other Founding Fathers. We Americans are lucky to live in a country with a history full of noble ideas, great leaders and awe-inspiring accomplishments. Sadly, many of our elites want no part of it.
The "Last March of the Left and the MSM has begun. It's gonna get ugly. Fight fire with fire!.........T
Fall of 2005 will be remembered as a time when it became clear that a strategy of criminalization had been implemented to inflict defeat on conservatives.
...Why are conservative Republicans, who control the executive and legislative branches of government for the first time in living memory, so vulnerable to the phenomenon of criminalization? Is it simple payback for the impeachment of Bill Clinton? Or is it a reflection of some deep malady at the heart of American politics? If criminalization is seen to loom ahead for every conservative who begins successfully to act out his or her beliefs in government or politics, is the project of conservative reform sustainable?
We don't pretend to have all the answers, or a solid answer even to one of these questions. But it's a reasonable bet that the fall of 2005 will be remembered as a time when it became clear that a comprehensive strategy of criminalization had been implemented to inflict defeat on conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives. And it is clear that thinking through a response to this challenge is a task conservatives can no longer postpone
Friday, October 14, 2005
Wow!!! God above, how I wish this man had been elected to the Senate in 94. What a breath of fresh air he would be in that stale, corrupt Oligarchy!.....................T
"Freeh believes Clinton abused the office in numerous ways. 'Bill Clinton and his lawyers seemed to be inventing some new executive privilege every fifteen minutes or so,' he writes. Freeh also takes great exception with Clinton's use of the president's power to pardon.
'I look back now on the 177 pardons and commutations Clinton issued as his final act of office, and I'm still stunned by the fact that neither the FBI nor the attorney general of the Department of Justice was ever consulted about a single one of them ... Just as he had tainted the concept of executive privilege through his frequent and inventive use of it, so Clinton now tainted the old and honorable tradition of presidential mercy by his inability to rein in his own instincts, by his penchant for excess.'
Freeh says he stayed on as FBI Director longer than he might have because he didn't want Clinton to name his successor. He says he came to that conclusion after the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia in 1996, which killed 19 U.S. servicemen. In order to investigate, the bureau needed Saudi cooperation to get to the right witnesses. But only a personal request from Clinton to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah would make it happen.
'Bill Clinton briefly raised the subject only to tell the crown prince that he certainly understood the Saudi's reluctance to cooperate. Then,' according to Freeh, 'he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the still-to-be-built Clinton presidential library.'
Then six weeks after the bombing, Freeh reports that evidence was gathered that 'showed almost beyond a doubt that the Khobar Tower attacks had been sanctioned, funded and directed by senior officials of the government of Iran.' The evidence was taken to Clinton's national security advisor Sandy Berger, and upon reviewing it asked Freeh, "Who knows about this?" Instead of acting upon what had been learned, Freeh says, Berger devised a plan to prevent the evidence from leaking out.
Despite this wholesale indictment, the so-called mainstream media is not listening. If they are not attacking Freeh, they are ignoring him. But the public isn't. Sales of Freeh's book are brisk. The store at which my copy was purchased had dozens of copies already reserved and eager readers standing in line. Readers won't even have to finish the first chapter before they realize that a presidential legacy is a terrible thing to waste.
Posted by Ted Pethick at 3:31 PM
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Ouch.....but think about it! It fits like a glove....................T
WASHINGTON -- To the excitement of all Washington, the hullabaloo over President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet E. (and you can be sure the Senate Judiciary Committee will get to the bottom of this mysterious "E" in due course) Miers builds, picking up wails and execrations daily. What makes the excitement so irresistible is that conservatives have now joined with liberals in fuming over the president's judicial nominee. Well, as the philosopher Samuel Goldwyn was wont to say, "include me out." This hullabaloo is but another piece of evidence in support of my long held view that the greatest unsung force in history is boredom. Yes, the rise and fall of nations, the comings and goings of eminences and fads, can be attributed to the seven deadly sins, to mere chance, or to a potentate dallying too long over lunch. But more often than the historians would have us know mere boredom has been the yeast for great events. At some point in every president's life, especially as his presidency ages, he finds himself in a sticky wicket because the politically engaged have become bored.
...On the face of it none of this will happen. The conservatives have every right to be disappointed that a seasoned conservative of superlative intellect was not nominated by the president. But they are not going to throw the nominating process into chaos or rather into the control of primitive partisans such as Senator Patrick Leahy.
Washington's yearning for excitement is what actuates this hullabaloo. It also actuates the press's incessant coverage of it. This town is easily bored and boredom often sets in motion some of history's most frivolous events. Think back. Was it not general boredom that accounted for the election of Bill Clinton over the perfectly normal President George H. W. Bush?
Posted by Ted Pethick at 4:41 AM
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Posted by Ted Pethick at 2:25 PM
Chillingly lays out the goals and strategy of the Islamo-Fascist movement. These facts cannot be contested. Any reasonable person cannot dispute the motives of our enemy, and hence, the critical importance of our mission in Iraq. Their goal is an Islamic Empire stretching from Indonesia to Spain, and eventually to include North America. Sound familiar, Trotskyites?!....................T
Al Qaeda's top deputy urged the leader of his Iraq branch in July to prepare for the inevitable U.S. withdrawal by carrying out political as well as military actions...Invoking the specter of the United States abruptly abandoning Iraq as it did to Vietnam, Zawahiri counseled immediate political action: "We must take the initiative and impose a fait accompli upon our enemies, instead of the enemy imposing one on us."
...Zawahiri urged Zarqawi in the letter to change that formula and refocus on politics. When the United States leaves, al Qaeda must be ready to claim as much territory politically in the inevitable void that will arise, he writes. Zawahiri called that stage the setting up of an "emirate," in as much of Sunni-dominated Iraq as possible, to be followed by the longer-term goal of a "caliphate," reuniting the historical Islamic empire centered in modern-day Egypt, Lebanon and Israel.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Posted by Ted Pethick at 9:22 PM
Thursday, October 06, 2005
This excerpt says it all. Imagine, if you will. After what Clinton was able to do to Ken Starr, what they would do to Ronnie Earle if the tables were turned. We need to fight back aggressively........T
The abuses of power in the Tom DeLay case should offend Democrats and Republicans alike.
"If there is one thing liberals and conservatives ought to be able to agree on, it is this: Ronnie Earle, district attorney of Travis County, Texas, has no business wielding the enormous powers of prosecution.
One thing is sure, though, and it ought to make anyone who cares about basic fairness angry. The investigation of DeLay, a matter of national gravity is being pursued with shocking ethical bankruptcy by the district attorney -- by Ronnie Earle
And Ronnie Earle has flouted it in embarrassing, mind-numbingly brazen ways.
As Byron York has been reporting on NRO (see here, here, and here), Earle has partnered up with producers making a movie, called The Big Buy, about his Ahab's pursuit of DeLay. A movie about a real investigation? Giving filmmakers access to investigative information while a secret grand-jury probe is underway? Allowing them to know who is being investigated and why? To view proposed indictments even before the grand jury does? Allowing them into the sanctuary of the grand jury room, and actually to film grand jurors themselves? Creating a powerful incentive -- in conflict with the duty of evenhandedness -- to bring charges on flimsy evidence? For a prosecutor, these aren't just major lapses. They are firing offenses. For prosecutors such as those I worked with over the years, from across the political spectrum, I daresay they'd be thought firing-squad offenses.
Attending partisan fundraisers in order to speak openly about an ongoing grand jury investigation against an uncharged public official. As a moneymaking vehicle.
Penning a nakedly partisan op-ed (in the New York Times on November 23, 2004) about the political fallout of his grand-jury investigation of DeLay, then uncharged.
Settling cases by squeezing businesses to make hefty financial contributions to pet personal causes in exchange for exercising the public's power to dismiss charges.
Secretly shopping for new grand juries when, despite the incalculable advantages the prosecution has in that forum, the earlier grand jurors have found the case too weak to indict.
Ignoring the commission by members of his own party of the same conduct that he seeks to brand felonious when engaged in by members of the other party.
Such actions and tactics are reprehensible. They constitute inexcusably dishonorable behavior on the part of a public servant, regardless of whether the persons and entities investigated were in the wrong. They warrant universal censure.
If Congressman DeLay did something illegal, he, like anyone else, should be called to account. But he, like anyone else, is entitled to procedural fairness, including a prosecutor who not only is, but also appears to be, fair and impartial.
Ronnie Earle is not that prosecutor. He has disgraced his profession, and done grievous disservice to thousands of federal, state, and local government attorneys. Prosecutors of all persuasions whose common bond is a good faith commitment to the rules -- but who will now bear the burden of suspicions fostered by Earle's excesses.
The burden, but not the cost. That will be borne by the public."
-- Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
Posted by Ted Pethick at 6:18 PM
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Easy now, breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out....there, that's better!....T
President Bush is a politician trained in strategic thinking at Harvard Business School, and schooled in tactics by experience and advice, including the experience and advice of his father, whose most lasting political mistake was the nomination of David Souter. The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court shows that he has learned his lessons well. Regrettably, a large contingent of conservative commentators does not yet grasp the strategy and tactics at work in this excellent nomination.
There is a doom-and-gloom element on the Right which is just waiting to be betrayed, convinced that their hardy band of true believers will lose by treachery those victories to which justice entitles them. They are stuck in the decades-long tragic phase of conservative politics, when country club Republicans inevitably sold out the faith in order to gain acceptability in the Beltway media and social circuit. Many on the right already are upset with the President already over his deficit spending, and his continued attempts to elevate the tone of politics in Washington in the face of ongoing verbal abuse by Democrats and their media allies. They misinterpret his missing verbal combativeness as weakness.
There is also a palpable hunger for a struggle to the death with hated and verbally facile liberals like Senator Chuck Schumer. Having seen that a brilliant conservative legal thinker with impeccable elite credentials can humble the most officious voices of the Judiciary Committee, they demand a replay.
Posted by Ted Pethick at 2:40 PM