United States News Digest
Murtha Charges Coverup of Haditha Massacre
Haditha was murder and "the chain of command tried to stifle the story," charged Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa) in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America May 30. For more than two weeks, Murtha has been sounding the alarm about the November 2005 incident in the Sunni town of Haditha, where U.S. Marines reportedly killed 24 Iraqi civilians in cold blood, in revenge for a roadside bomb. Murtha had introduced emergency legislation last December calling for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
Murtha, who served in the Marines and the Marine Corps Reserves for 37 years, said that "it breaks my heart" to think that U.S. Marines would carry this out, but that this action was murder, and it cannot be condoned. He also said that the U.S. has "lost the hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people, and "80% of the Iraqis want us out of there."
Murtha also said that U.S. troops were acting under "tremendous stress," and ABC reported that several of the Marines under investigation had served two tours of duty in Iraq, and one was on his third.
Murtha added, "I will not excuse murder, and this is what happened. The investigation should have been over two or three weeks afterward, and it should have been made public and people should have been held responsible for it."
Albright Recommends Regime Change in Washington
In an interview published on June 1, by Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung daily, the former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, said that she, too, believes in an "essential role" of the U.S. in world affairs, but that President Bush has overdone it, that he has been too much of a missionaryat the expense of the American reputation in the world.
As for the Islam issue, Albright said that Islam as such is not a religion of war, but rather one of peace. Iranian President Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush is largely unbearable, Albright said, but there are also important things in it. Her advice to Bush: He ought not respond directly to the Iranian President, but rather, give an address to outline what the U.S. positions are. Otherwise, given that the U.S. has talked to people like Milosevic and Kim il-Sung, direct talks with the Iranian President should not be ruled out.
Emphasizing again that she thinks the U.S. does have a leading role in world affairs and needs to be strong, Albright said that the Bush Administration overdid it in Iraq, that the scandals around Abu Ghraib, and now Haditha, have damaged the U.S. reputation severely. "What would help would be a new leadership in the U.S.A, the admission of grave mistakes, an end to the war in Iraq, and a serious effort to have a better approach to other countries," Albright recommended (paraphrases from Albright are backtranslated from German).
Supreme Court Rules Against Public Employees
The Supreme Court, in an outrageous 5-4 ruling, says that public employees who make charges of official misconduct are not protected from government retaliation, the Washington Post reported May 31. Confirming Lyndon LaRouche's warning of the consequences of Congress's capitulation to the Samuel Alito confirmation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruledwith the Federalist Society faction in the majoritythat the First Amendment does not protect public employees who blow the whistle in the course of their official duties. According to Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, and Alito, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office had the right to "discipline" a prosecutor by demoting him after he wrote to supervisors charging that a sheriff's deputy had gotten a search warrant on false pretenses.
The ruling extends to all of the nation's public employees.
Ohio GOP Moneybags Guilty of Election Fraud
Tom Noe, a former coin dealer and one of 19 Ohio Bush-Cheney Pioneers (people who raise $100,000 or more for the campaign), pleaded guilty to illegally using friends and associates to funnel $45,400 to President Bush's reelection campaign, the Columbus Dispatch reported May 31. Noe, facing up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $950,000, had previously denied his guilt and was set for trial July 24, but decided to plead guilty to three Federal charges and hope for a reduced sentence for accepting responsibility. Noe still faces 53 state felony counts related to his handling of $50 million in rare coins and other items for the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation, with a state trial scheduled for Aug. 29.
General Campaigns To Drive Rumsfeld from Office
Major General John Batiste (ret.) is on a campaign to drive Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld out of office. Batiste, who resigned last year, after having spent a 12-month tour of duty in Iraq's Sunni Triangle, went public demanding Rumsfeld's ouster. Now, he has accelerated his drive against Rummy.
"I'm as mad as hell," he told London's Daily Telegraph May 28. "I'm not stopping. They can hand wave me off, dismiss me, but I'm coming back, again and again and again, until there is some accountability." Batiste said he had "growing support on both sides of the Congress." He is now charging that Rumsfeld went to war with too few troops, then refused to listen to commanders who demanded more. "There were insufficient troops on the ground by a factor of two-and-a-half to three," he said. Rumsfeld's "contemptuous, arrogant and dismissive attitude" led him to ignore competent military advice, said Batiste.
On the basis of his experience as the senior military aide to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Batiste stated: "You can't tell that man [Rumsfeld] anything because he knows it all."
Plan for New Destabilizing Missile Exposed
Plans for a new, non-nuclear version of the submarine-launched Trident II have been in the works since 2001, when it was "foreshadowed" in the Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review study, reported the New York Times on May 29. The task given to the Strategic Command was to develop a way to intervene, anywhere in the world, within one hour. What was developed was the idea of a new ICBM, armed with a non-nuclear payload. While this may not sound immediately threatening, the problem becomes one of distinguishing it from any other ICBM, which might be nuclear, a worry already expressed by the Russians. All sub-launched Tridents are currently armed with nuclear payloads, and the Pentagon's plan is to substitute two non-nuclear missiles out of the total of 24 on a sub.
Two former Defense Secretaries, James Schlesinger and Harold Brown, co-authored a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, urging Congress to support the system. So far, the Senate is stalling, demanding to know how these risks might be mitigated, while the House Armed Services Committee has cut most of the funds, and asked Secretary of State Rumsfeld to report on discussions of the topic with other nations.
Kerry Targets Swift Boat Liars
2004 Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry is compiling a dossier to refute every one of the charges made against him during the campaign by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against him during the campaign. The New York Times May 28 presented much of the evidence already compiled, including photographs and documents countering the Swift Boaters' accusations. Kerry has also signed forms authorizing the Navy to release his record, and hired a researcher to comb the Naval archives in Washington for further evidence.
In February 2005, Kerry's supporters formed their own group, the Patriot Project, to defend not just Kerry, but other veterans who take unpopular positions, particularly against the Iraq war. One of their first tasks was to visit newspaper editorial boards in defense of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa), who came under attack for his opposition to the Bush Administration's Iraq war.
The Swift Boat group is still active. Last fall, it gave $100,000 to a group that sued Kerry for allegedly interfering with the release of a film that was critical of him. Jerome Corsi, co-author of the Swift Boat veterans' book, Unfit for Command, is a proponent of launching an attack on Iran, and recently surfaced as an advocate of ethanol production as a new energy source.
Bush Heaps Praise on Truman
President Bush lauded Harry Truman as he gave the West Point Commencement address on May 27. Devoting a full ten paragraphs of his speech to Truman, whose name he invoked more than a dozen times, Bush compared the "imperial Communism" faced by Truman to the "terrorists" of today, as an enemies who share "a murderous ideology that despises freedom, crushes all dissent, has territorial ambitions, and pursues totalitarian aims."
"Fortunately, we had a President named Harry Truman," Bush began, describing as clear and bold Truman's "new doctrine of global intervention," authored by Winston Churchill, whom Truman brought to Fulton, Missouri, for the famous "Iron Curtain" speech that launched the Cold War. Bush described the war on terror as in its beginning stage, saying that it "began on my watch, but it's going to end on your [the West Point graduates'] watch."