Cheney Watch Update

Monday, September 22, 2008 4:49 AM

Most American still do not make the connection between the Iraq war and Israel, which is to say, the connection between the launching of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and the U.S. "Israel Lobby". The thought police and the two major American political parties have been able to keep the lid on that scandal. Aside from PM Ariel Sharon and Likud leader "Bibi" Netanyahu, working through their agents in Washington and New York, the person most responsible for carrying out the criminal Iraq fiasco is Dick Cheney. The key to everything is Dick Cheney. Everything runs through Cheney. G.W. Bush was a spokesperson and a straw man. 

In 2000, Bush Jr. was roughly similar to Sarah Palin as we find her today. An airhead. A good talker. A know-nothing. A fabulist. Former Secretary of State, George Schultz, was called in to sit down with Bush Jr. and see if he could be programed and educated in foreign affairs. The dauphin was able to wing it, but he needed Cheney to govern. Cheney has been in charge ever since. Of everything. The article below concerns Cheney's working papers while in office. If we could figure out from these documents what was going on behind the scenes, we would know where most of the bodies are buried.

Eight months into their first term in office, after outsourcing U.S. Mideast policy to celebrated war criminal Ariel Sharon, Cheney and Bush got hit with 9/11, which terrorist atrocity was an Arab Islamist payback for the Clinton years and the phony Oslo "peace process". That attack, about which the Mossad almost certainly had prior knowledge, begat not just the Iraq war. The attack was the proximate cause of artificially low U.S. interest rates, which lasted ever since. Now comes the subprime financial meltdown, a delayed blowback from 9/11 and "Operation Iraqi Freedom". For the latter angle, see the article in The Australian of February 2008, below the Cheney article in the Washington Post of yesterday. In retrospect,  the combination of the Iraq war and low interest rates have been lethal to the American economy. A sort of one-two-punch.


Cheney Is Told to Keep Official Records [The Washington Post]

Judge's Order Responds to Suit Filed by 

Open-Government Advocates, Historians

By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer // Sunday, September 21, 2008 

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction yesterday ordering Vice President Cheney and the National Archives to preserve all of his official records.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's order came in response to a lawsuit filed this month by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The group, joined by several historians and open-government advocates, warned that Cheney might destroy or withhold important documents as the Bush administration winds down if he interprets the Presidential Records Act of 1978 as applying to only some of his official papers.

That, in turn, could deprive historians and the general public of valuable records that illustrate Cheney's role in forming U.S. policy over the past 7 1/2 years, they argued. He is widely considered to be the most influential vice president in history.

Kollar-Kotelly, who was appointed by President Clinton, issued her order despite assertions from Cheney's representatives that he was preserving all the records he is required to under the 1978 law.

"It's a pretty strong opinion," said Anne Weismann, chief counsel for the watchdog group. "They will be prevented from destroying anything. It basically means they have to preserve everything in the broadest possible interpretation of what the law requires -- not their narrow interpretation."

A spokesman for Cheney said the vice president's office will not comment on pending litigation.

Open-government advocates are nervous about the fate of Cheney's papers, because the vice president has long resisted revealing any aspect of the inner workings of his office. He has, for example, shielded information such as the names of industry executives who advised his energy task force, his travel costs and details, and Secret Service logs of visitors to his office and residence. Cheney also has argued that he is not part of the executive branch.

In court filings, Claire M. O'Donnell, Cheney's deputy chief of staff, offered a narrower definition of vice presidential records than the one in the law. She wrote that the statute applied to records relating to the "constitutional, statutory or other official or ceremonial duties" of the vice president that fall within "the category of functions of the Vice President specially assigned to the Vice President by the President in the discharge of executive duties and responsibilities" or "the category of the functions of the Vice President as President of the Senate."

But that definition excludes many records, including those relating to Cheney's work on the National Security Council and those where he acted without instructions from the president, such as his efforts to win reauthorization of a top-secret warrantless wiretapping program, the plaintiffs argued.

Kollar-Kotelly agreed and ordered all records preserved until the court can sort out the legal arguments on both sides before the presidential transition in January.

"Those unprotected documents could be transferred to other entities, destroyed, or not preserved, and if any of these events occur, the damage is inherently irreparable; once documentary material is gone, it cannot be retrieved," the judge wrote in her 22-page order.



Iraq war "caused slowdown in the US"

Peter Wilson, Europe correspondent | February 28, 2008 

[The Australian ]

THE Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. The former World Bank vice-president yesterday said the war had, so far, cost the US something like $US 3trillion ($3.3 trillion) compared with the $US 50-$US 60-billion predicted in 2003.

Australia also faced a real bill much greater than the $2.2 billion in military spending reported last week by Australian Defence Force chief Angus Houston, Professor Stiglitz said, pointing to higher oil prices and other indirect costs of the wars.

Professor Stiglitz told the Chatham House think tank in London that the Bush White House was currently estimating the cost of the war at about $US 500 billion, but that figure massively understated things such as the medical and welfare costs of US military servicemen. The war was now the second-most expensive in US history after World War II and the second-longest after Vietnam, he said.

The spending on Iraq was a hidden cause of the current credit crunch because the US central bank responded to the massive financial drain of the war by flooding the American economy with cheap credit. "The regulators were looking the other way and money was being lent to anybody this side of a life-support system," he said.

That led to a housing bubble and a consumption boom, and the fallout was plunging the US economy into recession and saddling the next US president with the biggest budget deficit in history, he said.

Professor Stiglitz, an academic at the Columbia Business School and a former economic adviser to president Bill Clinton, said a further $US 500 billion was going to be spent on the fighting in the next two years and that could have been used more effectively to improve the security and quality of life of Americans and the rest of the world.

The money being spent on the war each week would be enough to wipe out illiteracy around the world, he said. Just a few days' funding would be enough to provide health insurance for US children who were not covered, he said.

The public had been encouraged by the White House to ignore the costs of the war because of the belief that the war would somehow pay for itself or be paid for by Iraqi oil or US allies. "When the Bush administration went to war in Iraq it obviously didn't focus very much on the cost. Larry Lindsey, the chief economic adviser, said the cost was going to be between $US 100billion and $US 200 billion - and for that slight moment of quasi-honesty he was fired.

"(Then defence secretary Donald) Rumsfeld responded and said 'baloney', and the number the administration came up with was $US50 to $US60 billion. We have calculated that the cost was more like $US3 trillion. "Three trillion is a very conservative number, the true costs are likely to be much larger than that. "Five years after the war, the US was still spending about $US 50billion every three months on direct military costs, he said.

Professor Stiglitz and another Clinton administration economist, Linda Bilmes, have produced a book, The Three Trillion Dollar War, pulling together their research on the true cost of the war, which does not include the cost to Iraq.

One of the greatest discrepancies is that the official figures do not include the long-term healthcare and social benefits for injured servicemen, who are surviving previously fatal attacks because of improved body armour. "The ratio of injuries to fatalities in a normal war is 2:1. In this war they admitted to 7:1 but a true number is (something) like 15:1. "Some 100,000 servicemen have been diagnosed with serious psychological problems and the soldiers doing the most tours of duty have not yet returned.

Professor Stiglitz attributed to the Iraq war $US 5-$US 10 of the almost $US 80-a-barrel increase in oil prices since the start of the war, adding that it would have been reasonable to attribute more than $US 35 of that rise to the war.

He said the British bill for its role in the war was about 20 times the pound stg. 1billion ($2.1 billion) that former prime minister Tony Blair estimated before the war.

The British Government was yesterday ordered to release details of its planning for the war, when the country's Information Commissioner backed a Freedom of Information request for the minutes of two cabinet meetings in the days before the war.

Commissioner Richard Thomas said that because of the importance of the decision to go to war, the public interest in disclosing the minutes outweighed the public interest in withholding the information.