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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Sep 30th 2009, 11:58 AM
Due to some screw up by my health insurance provider (which I am trying to sort out), a bill was left unpaid and my account was turned over to a debt collector. I immediately paid the debt collector, but my concern now is that my credit card rates will go up. Has anybody else experienced this?
Read entry | Discuss (9 comments)
Posted by blackops in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Tue Jul 14th 2009, 01:40 PM
The Invasion of Iraq: Realism vs. Imperialism.
Copyright 2009 OnyxCollie


In March 2003, the United States launched an attack and invasion of the state of Iraq. The United States cited the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as justification for this action. Was Saddam really a threat to the national security, as members of the Bush Administration had claimed, or was the invasion a commercial venture for Big Oil and the defense industry? Hence the question: Was the invasion of Iraq an example of realism, or was it an example of capitalist imperialism? The significance of this question is that committing a nation to war should be to combat real and serious threats, not to increase profits for the private sector.

Theories of Realism

Realism revolves around national security. Threats to national security can come from rogue states, whose leaders may break from protocol to stockpile weapons of mass destruction, give them to non-state actors, and initiate a surprise attack. If such actions are imminent, a state could launch a preemptive strike to defend itself.

Hypothesis One: The United States invaded Iraq because Iraq was a threat to the national security of the United States.

Evidence to confirm this hypothesis will come from primary documents whenever possible, and supported by press reports from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others. Proof should demonstrate that Iraq was a clear threat to the United States.

“Behavior results form a process that involves, or functions as it entails, conscious choice.”(1) These choices are developed through a method by which the actor’s preferences are ordered and evaluated to determine which will provide the greatest utility and what course of action should then be taken to achieve them.(2) This is called rationality. These preferences, established and uniform, include a predilection for survival.(3)

For realism, a state’s national security is the highest priority. National security may involve defending against attackers or acquiring a needed natural resource. In foreign relations, ensuring the success of these choices often results in conflicts between opposing states over the balance of power. Power is, as Waltz suggests, “the capacity to produce an intended effect.”(4)

There are two schools of thought regarding distribution of power and war. Proponents of the balance-of-power theory believe that as the disparity between the distribution of power becomes more narrow, there is less likelihood for war.(5) It is assumed that if the disparity in distribution of power is narrow, there is little to gain from changing the status quo and thus no need to go to war. The proponents of the preponderance-of-power theory believe that as the disparity between the distribution of power increases, the stronger state has more leverage to obtain what it desires and there is less likelihood for war because the outcome of an attack initiated by the weaker state is already known.(6) It is to be noted for each theory that as the stronger state retains the upper hand, it may make ever-increasing demands upon the weaker state, which can ultimately lead to war.(7)

Players in this game of power follow a series of rules. Each player is aware of the rules and understands that the other players share their knowledge of the rules. This is called intelligence.(8) Before making a move, players make assumptions as to how other players will respond and consider how their opponent’s actions will affect their own utility and advancement in the game.(9) Waltz, quoting John McDonald, asserts, “Everybody’s strategy depends on everybody else’s.”(10) This is called interdependence.(11)

Players in the game may have knowledge of an opponent’s capabilities, i.e. the payoff minus the cost of fighting. This is called information.(12) There is complete information, where both sides are aware of the other’s capabilities, and incomplete information, where neither side is aware of the other’s capabilities. Incomplete information can lead to war because the state that favors status quo will not be sure what to offer the dissatisfied state. If it offers too little, the dissatisfied state will object and attack. If the satisfied state offers too much, it is left with little to compensate for the loss and may then consider the value of an attack.(13)

Previously stated, realism considers national security to be the highest priority. In a dominate-or-be-dominated world, states are not to be trusted, and in the anarchical international system a third-party arbiter is neither provided nor desired to resolve disputes. This is the “permissive cause” of war,(14) offering “more opportunities, inducements, and rationales for the abuse of power than for restraint.”(15)

Conquering foes and capturing the prizes of war are elemental aspects of realism. Acquiring new territory and natural resources can be significant contributions to national security. This is the “efficient cause” of war.(16) As the stakes in the game are incredibly high, a creed of “whatever it takes” is essential to be forearmed.(17)

Action taken is subject to international regimes, the “rules” of the balance of power game. Since there is no global policeman, what would happen if a player decides to break the rules? Opponents have two choices: they can continue to follow the rules, but do so at their own peril, as their responses will be limited and known while the violator’s will not, or they can abandon the moral high ground and fight dirty.(18) Both choices may have repercussions.

In realism, actions taken are “strictly business”. There are no “good” or “evil” states. States choose to take actions based on what they expect will provide them the greatest utility, always making sure their survival is the primary interest. Waltz suggests, “The struggle for power arises simply because men want things, not because there is some evil in their desires.”(19) Domination of the weaker and exploitation of resources satisfies a basic need for survival.(20)

It follows then, that if states choose to accept the consequences and divorce themselves from adherence to the rules, taking actions to provide themselves the greatest utility (or simply acting irrationally by some defect)(21), the result could be an attack against a state caught unaware, blindsided through deception and comforted in the false security provided by geography. Rather than wait for such an occurrence, a state could execute a preemptive strike in defense.(22)

Theories of Capitalist Imperialism

There are many theories that attempt to explain imperialism; Liberal, Marxian, and Sociological are but a few. One thing common to all of them (and absent from realism) is an economic variable. Realists disregard economics as the reason for imperialism. According to realists, the concerns of the state supersede the wants and needs of a particular class.(23) As the purpose of this essay is to determine whether the intention to invade Iraq was motivated by the tenets of realism or imperialism, concentration will first focus on identifying and finding supporting evidence of the inherent differences between realism and imperialism. Determining which imperialism theory may apply will be the subject of future research.

Capitalist imperialism is the violent takeover of states to obtain resources for the benefit of the private sector, often subjugating the government of the dominant state in the process. Imperialism exploits opportunities for private gain, yet it convinces the populace that it is for the general good of all.

Hypothesis Two: The United States invaded Iraq for the gain of the private sector.

Evidence to confirm this hypothesis will come from primary documents whenever possible, and supported by press reports from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others. Proof should demonstrate that Iraq’s resources were the reason for the invasion.

Menon and Oneal state that “Imperialism is simply the acquisition of benefits through power rather than free exchange.”(24) Who are the recipients of these benefits? It is the commercial and industrial forces who advocate capitalist imperialism’s expansion to new territories “... and, where possible, to control them to its own advantage by preponderating force, the ultimate expression of which is possession.”(25) Lenin declared that “A few hundred multi-millionaires and millionaires control the destiny of the world.”(26)

The Marxian view is that imperialism is a symptom of the economic force steering the state, pulling military, political, and religious elements in its wake.(27) Agreeing with Marx, Lenin suggests that imperialism is indicative of the “monopoly stage” of capitalism and will only disappear with the collapse of capitalism and the ushering in of the socialist revolution.(28) Schumpeter discloses that imperialism is “the sort of activity which feeds upon itself and is an end in itself, and which does not coincide with its professed aims.”(29)

In the corporate world, firms use rationality to model competition.(30) Exploiting opportunities may afford survival, while failure to act may lead to losses to competing firms or even graver consequences. Landes states that “(Imperialism is) the response to a common opportunity that consists simply in the disparity of power. Whenever and wherever such disparity has existed, people and groups have been ready to take advantage of it.”(31) Hobson contends that imperialism is the means to an end, by which firms seek out “investment opportunities” in territories taken by force.(32)

In foreign relations, opportunities are determined by the circumstances present. The theory of lateral pressure suggests that states cultivate capabilities by which they are able to obtain foreign resources.(33) These capabilities are limited by the checks implemented from “political choice and structural constraints relatively unamenable to manipulation.”(34) Contradicting Hobson, Schumpeter claims that socialist theories of imperialism rely too heavily on economics and fail to take into account other reasons for imperialism, such as national security, the view espoused by the realists, or that it may “simply serve the interests of those who govern.”(35) Even Waltz infers that the cause of war may be found domestically, in “the states themselves (since it is in the name of the state that the fighting is actually done.)”(36)

It is those who govern, partnered with titans of industry, suggests Schumpeter, who now make up the ruling class.(37) This belief is supported by socialists who see the ruling class as those in direct command of the government.(38) Menon and Oneal identify three domestic groups responsible for imperialism:

those motivated by the prospect of economic gain;
agents of the state- particularly those responsible for national security- who may see imperialism as a means of advancing their own careers;
and ideological, religious, or cultural groups who believe that expansion is desirable in principle or even inevitable.(39)

Capitalist societies oppose imperialism, asserts Schumpeter, and argues that to avoid the disdain society has for imperialism, “It must be cloaked in every sort of rationalization.”(40) From Schumpeter’s research a theory was derived that society’s impression of the motives for imperialism had descended from a ruthless time in history when “kill or be killed” was necessary for survival.(41) Schumpeter notes that these beliefs are fostered by the ruling class, which they find serves their needs.(42)

The bourgeoise class crafts a mythos of primal savagery and disseminates it to the other classes to encourage support for its agenda.(43) Addressing the necessity of an informed populace to prevent war, Miller proclaims that “Ignorance of the desires, aims, and characteristics of other peoples leads to fear and is consequently one of the primary causes of aggression.”(44) Waltz also acknowledges that war can be the result of a failure to properly educate the proletariat, “Their instincts are good, though their present gullibility may prompt them to follow false leaders.”(45) Yet Waltz, ever the realist, dismisses reason in favor of force.(46)

According to Gramsci, this ideology becomes the base from which politics and economics arise.(47) The “Gramscian Inversion” sets Marxism on its head. The state becomes the educator, a hegemonic force which constructs the views, ideals, and beliefs of the society it governs.(48) “The State is the entire complex of practical and theoretical activities with which the ruling class not only justifies and maintains its dominance, but manages to win the active consent of those over whom it rules.”(49)

The state professes an ideology that convinces the proletariat that it is operating in the interest of all.(50) Bergesen suggests that, “With the success of this belief comes the ability of that class to continue its privileged position while other classes consider this to be a state of affairs to which they can aspire.”(51) Quoting Bodin, Waltz suggests:

(T)he best way of preserving a state, and guaranteeing it against sedition, rebellion, and civil war is to keep the subjects in amity one with another, and to this end find an enemy against whom they can make common cause.(52)

Gilpin addresses the need for common cause by noting that “Nationalism, having attained its first objective in the form of national unity and independence, develops automatically into imperialism.”(53) And it is Waltz who observes that to set this belief system into motion, a profound and powerful catalyst is necessary: “In every social change... there is a relation between time and force. Generally speaking, the greater the force the more rapidly social change will occur.”(54)

Evidence for Realism

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, it was clear that the United States had a vulnerability that could be exploited by nefarious characters, in this case a group of non-state actors called Al Qaeda, who were harbored by the Taliban, a fundamentalist government in the state of Afghanistan. The failure to prevent this attack was a clarion call to rogue states that sought to find success in launching an offensive against the United States through cooperation with non-state actors. The state of Iraq, and its leader, Saddam Hussein, were considered such a possible threat, having in the past used chemical weapons against its own people and having been the reluctant subject of a disarmament campaign after the Gulf War in the early 1990’s.

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, issued in September 2002, stated “(T)he threat of retaliation is less likely to work against leaders of rogue states more willing to take risks, gambling with the lives of their people, and the wealth of their nations.”(55) It then noted that the legal rationale for a preemptive strike was dependent upon “the existence of an imminent threat”(56) and suggested “We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries.”(57)

If it is to be assumed that rogue nations would operate irrationally, risking their own survival to attack the United States, and that the legitimacy of a preemptive strike to defend national security is conditional upon an imminent threat, and that imminence is characterized by the capabilities and objectives of the perpetrator, then the claims of capabilities and objectives of Iraq as presented by the Bush Administration must be examined for validity.

On March 16, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform produced a document entitled Iraq on the Record for then-ranking member Rep. Henry Waxman. The document compiled statements made by five Bush Administration officials, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice. It found that out of 125 public appearances, the five officials made a total of 237 misleading statements regarding Iraq’s urgency as a threat, its nuclear capabilities, its chemical and biological warfare program, and its ties to Al Qaeda.(58) The misleading statements began on March 17, 2002 and continued through January 22, 2004, with 161 statements made prior to the invasion and 76 made after to justify the action.(59) The greatest number of misleading statements (64) occurred in the month before Congress voted to invade Iraq.(60)

Beginning with Iraq’s characterization as an urgent threat, on October 2, 2002, President Bush said, “the Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency. . . . (I)t has developed weapons of mass death.”(61) On August 26, 2002, Vice President Cheney stressed the need for immediate action, saying, “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us.”(62) On November 14, 2002, Secretary Rumsfeld offered this scenario:

Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years, or a week, or a month, and if Saddam Hussein were to take his weapons of mass destruction and transfer them, either use them himself, or transfer them to the Al-Qaeda, and somehow the Al-Qaeda were to engage in an attack on the United States, or an attack on U.S. forces overseas, with a weapon of mass destruction you’re not talking about 300, or 3,000 people potentially being killed, but 30,000, or 100,000 . . . human beings.(63)

Despite the certainty of the statements above regarding Iraq’s urgent threat, on February 5, 2004, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet stated that the intelligence community “never said there was an ‘imminent’ threat.”(64)

Of the 237 statements, 81 statements exaggerated Iraq’s nuclear capabilities.(65) Examples of these statements include President Bush’s January 28, 2003, State of the Union address, “the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”(66); and Vice President Cheney’s statement on September 8, 2002, that “we do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs . . . to build a nuclear weapon”(67); and the Vice President’s statement on March 16, 2003, that “we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons”(68)

Regarding Iraq’s nuclear capabilities, the 2006 report from the Senate Select Committe on Intelligence (SSCI) Postwar Findings About Iraq’s WMD Program and Links to Terrorism and How They Compare With Prewar Assessments revealed that the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) evaluation of Iraq’s activities did not equate to “a compelling case that Iraq is pursuing... an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons.”(69) Additionally, INR’s evaluation of the claims that Iraq tried to procure uranium from Africa were “highly dubious.”(70) In July 2004, SSCI released a report concluding “that the judgment in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program ‘was not supported by the intelligence.”(71)

Proceeding to Iraq’s biological weapons capabilities, in October 2002 President Bush said:

(W)e assess that most elements of Iraq’s BW program are larger and more advanced than before the Gulf War. We judge Iraq has some BW agent and is capable of quickly producing (in both mobile and fixed facilities) a variety of such agents, including anthrax. It can deliver these BW agents by bomb, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives.(72)

Yet only a month before, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) determined “There is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons or where Iraq has— or will — establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities.”(73) Furthermore, the 2004 SSCI report examined the NIE’s assessment that Iraq had biological weapons and determined the assessment had:

overstated what was known about Iraq’s biological weapons holdings, did not explain the uncertainties underlying the statement (“Baghdad has biological weapons”), and did not explain that the conclusion that Iraq had a mobile biological weapons program was largely based on the reporting from a single source.(74)

Advancing to Iraq’s ties to Al Qaeda, what officials in the Bush Administration said publicly did not match intelligence estimates. From the section marked “Confidence Levels for Selected Key Judgements in this Estimate” in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, a rating of “Low Confidence” was given to the suggestion of “Whether in desperation Saddam would share chemical or biological weapons with Al Qa’ida.”(75) Nevertheless, President Bush claimed an Iraq-Al Qaeda tie by saying that Saddam Hussein is “a threat because he is dealing with Al Qaida. . . . (A) true threat facing our country is that an Al Qaida-type network trained and armed by Saddam could attack America and not leave one fingerprint.”(76)

Evidence of Imperialism

As stated in the theory section, imperialism is the acquisition of benefits through force. Private and corporate interests seek opportunities to increase profits and may do so through subjugation of the government. Circumstances involving political structure and societal interests may limit actions available to accomplish this goal. However, with an institutionalized ideological program to shape a preferred perception among classes in addition to a significant catalyst, the resulting national unity can be applied to overcome obstacles leading to gratification.

In 1992, Paul Wolfowitz, then under secretary of defense for policy, bemoans the ending of the first Gulf War.(77) In response he drafts a document called the Defense Planning Guidance, advocating an intervention in Iraq to guarantee "access to vital raw material, primarily Persian Gulf oil" and suggesting preemptive strikes and unilateral action when “collective action cannot be orchestrated."(78) The document makes clear that one of the mission objectives will be “convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.”(79) The document was leaked to The New York Times and generated an uproar, resulting in a rewrite.(80)

In 1997, Wolfowitz resurfaced in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a think-tank chaired by William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and son of neoconservative Irving Kristol.(81) PNAC’s Statement of Principles laments the reduction of military spending after the end of the Cold War and suggests that if the United States wishes to remain a dominant force in the world, it must increase defense spending and the use of military interventions to secure vital interests.(82) Signatories to the Statement of Principles are Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.(83)

In September of 2000, PNAC releases a document titled Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Expounding on the designs in the Statement of Principles, the document calls for increasing defense spending to 3.5% to 3.8% of GDP.(84) The document notes the impediments to transform the military to meet the demands of the new century:

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor. Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions.(85)

During the first week of the Bush Administration, President Bush announced the formation of the National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG), a group of cabinet-level and senior administration officials to generate a national energy policy.(86) The NEPDG, chaired by Vice President Cheney, refused requests by the General Accounting Office to provide information.(87) What the GAO was able to discover was that “More than 80 DOE employees from eight departmental offices had direct input into the development of the National Energy Policy report, including science specialists and representatives with significant science expertise.”(88) The Washington Post reported that representatives from Chevron, Conoco Phillips, and Royal Dutch/ Shell among other oil companies met with the NEPDG and "’gave detailed energy policy recommendations’ to the task force.”(89)

Following the terrorist attacks of September 2001, Bush Administration officials incorporated moralistic terms when referring to Saddam Hussein. On the February 3, 2002 “Fox News Sunday” show, Madeline Albright’s comment about the “Axis of Evil” reference was discussed. Albright had objected to the reference, but Secretary Rice “disagreed, calling the move an excellent way for the U.S. to rally the world.” (90)


After examining the theories of realism and imperialism, it is apparent that the support for realism is slim, while the support for imperialism is great. The actions taken by the Bush Administration go far beyond poor intelligence. These actions were carried out with forethought. Considering the amount of blood and treasure lost in Iraq, one would hope for change. However, six years after the invasion, it seems like that is unlikely.


1 Monroe, K.R. & Maher, K.H. (1995). Psychology and rational actor theory. Political Psychology, 16 (1), p. 2.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.; Chatterjee, P. (1972). The classical balance of power theory. Journal of Peace Research, 9 (1), p. 52.
4 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 205.
5 Powell, R. (1996). Stability and the distribution of power. World Politics (48), p. 243.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Moorthy, K.S. (1985). Using game theory to model competition. Journal of Marketing Research, 22 (3), pp. 262-282.
9 Ibid.
10 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 201.
11 Moorthy, K.S. (1985). Using game theory to model competition. Journal of Marketing Research, 22 (3), pp. 262-282.
12 Ibid.
13 Powell, R. (1996). Stability and the distribution of power. World Politics (48), p. 250.
14 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 234
15 Waltz, K. (1979). Theory of international relations. New York: McGraw Hill, pp. 24-27; Wolfers, A. (1962). Discord and collaboration. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 44-45 and 82-83 as cited in Menon, J. & Oneal, J.R. (1986). Explaining imperialism: The state of the art as reflected in three theories. Polity, (19) 2, p. 180.

16 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 234
17 Ibid, p. 205.
18 Ibid.
19 Ibid, p. 34.
20 Menon, J. & Oneal, J.R. (1986). Explaining imperialism: The state of the art as reflected in three theories. Polity, (19) 2, p. 178.
21 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 24.
22 Ibid, p. 7.
23 Menon, J. & Oneal, J.R. (1986). Explaining imperialism: The state of the art as reflected in three theories. Polity, 19 (2), p. 181.
24 Menon, J. & Oneal, J.R. (1986). Explaining imperialism: The state of the art as reflected in three theories. Polity, 19 (2), p. 169, 170.
25 As Quoted in Angell, N. (1913). The Great Illusion, 4th ed. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, p. 171 as cited in Ibid, p. 170.
26 As Quoted in Lenin, V. (1916). Imperialism. Marxists Internet Archive, pp. 267-270 and p. 288 as cited in Ibid, p. 171.
27 Winslow, E.M. (1931). Marxian, liberal, and sociological theories of imperialism. The Journal of Political Economy, 39 (6), p. 715, 716.
28 Ibid, p. 731.
29 Ibid, p. 750.
30 Moorthy, K.S. (1985). Using game theory to model competition. Journal of Marketing Research, 22 (3), 262-282.
31 Landes, D. (1980). Some thoughts on the nature of economic imperialism. The war system: An interdisciplinary approach., ed. Falk and Kim, (pp. 395-396) as cited in Menon, J. & Oneal, J.R. (1986). Explaining imperialism: The state of the art as reflected in three theories. Polity, 19 (2), p. 179.

32 Ibid, p. 171.
33 Ibid, p. 186.
34 Ibid, p. 187.
35 Ibid, p. 177.
36 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 81.
37 Winslow, E.M. (1931). Marxian, liberal, and sociological theories of imperialism. The Journal of Political Economy, 39 (6), p. 749.
38 Menon, J. & Oneal, J.R. (1986). Explaining imperialism: The state of the art as reflected in three theories. Polity,
19 (2), p. 180.
39 Ibid. p. 192.
40 Winslow, E.M. (1931). Marxian, liberal, and sociological theories of imperialism. The Journal of Political Economy, 39 (6), p. 752.
41 Ibid. p. 751.
42 Ibid.
43 Ibid.
44 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 48.
45 Ibid. p. 17.
46 Ibid. p. 120.
47 Bergesen, A. (1993). The rise of semiotic Marxism. Sociological Perspectives, 36 (1), p. 2.
48 Ibid. p. 3.
49 Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the prison notebooks. New York: International Publishers, p. 244 as cited in Ibid. p. 4.
50 Bergesen, A. (1993). The rise of semiotic Marxism. Sociological Perspectives, 36 (1), p. 4
51 Ibid.
52 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 81.
53 Gilpin, R. (1981). War and change in world politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 54 as cited in Menon, J. & Oneal, J.R. (1986). Explaining imperialism: The state of the art as reflected in three theories. Polity, 19 (2), p. 179.

54 Waltz, K. (1954). Man the state and war. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 58.
55 White House, National Security Strategy of the United States, September 2002, p. 15.
56 Ibid.
57 Ibid.
58 U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform- Minority Office, Iraq on the Record, p. i
59 Iraq on the Record, p. ii
60 Ibid.
61 White House, President, House Leadership Agree on Iraq Resolution (Oct. 2, 2002).
62 White House, Vice President Speaks at VFW 103rd National Convention (Aug. 26, 2002).
63 U.S. Department of Defense, Secretary Rumsfeld Live Interview with Infinity CBS Radio (Nov. 14, 2002).
64 Central Intelligence Agency, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet at Georgetown University (Feb. 5, 2004).
65 Iraq on the Record, p. ii
66 Ibid, p. iii
67 Ibid.
68 Ibid.
69 National Intelligence Estimate. (2002). Iraq’s continuing program for weapons of mass destruction, pp. 8, 9.
70 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. (2004). Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, S. Rept. 108-301, p. 53.
71 Ibid, p. 129
72 Committee staff notes of President’s NIE Summary dated October 1, 2002
73 Defense Intelligence Agency, Iraq — Key WMD Facilities — An Operational Support Study (Sept. 2002) (unclassified excerpts are available at

74 Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, Senate Select Committeeon Intelligence, S. Rept. 108-301, July 7, 2004, pp. 188-189

75 National Intelligence Council, Iraq’s Continuing Program for Weapons of Mass Destruction: Key Judgements (from October 2002 NIE) (declassified July 18, 2003), supra note 16.

76 White House, President Outlines Priorities (Nov. 7, 2002).
77 Cirincione, J. (n.d.). Origins of regime change in Iraq. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

78 Ibid.
79 Tyler, P. E. (1992, March 8). U.S. strategy plan calls for insuring no rivals develop a one-superpower world. The New York Times. Retrieved April 30 from

80 Cirincione, J. (n.d.). Origins of regime change in Iraq. Carnegie Proliferation Brief 6 (5)
81 Ibid.
82 Project for a New American Century. (1997, June 3). Statement of Principles. Retrieved September 28, 2006 from

83 Ibid.
84 Project for a New American Century. (2000). Rebuilding America’s Defenses, p. v. Retrieved September 28, 2006from

85 Ibid. p. 51
86 General Accounting Office. (2003). Energy task force: Process used to develop the national energy policy. GAO-03-894. Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office. p. 1.

87 Ibid.
88 Ibid. p. 14.
89 Milbank, D. & Blum, J. (2005, November 16). Document says oil chiefs met with Cheney task force. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 5, 2008 from

Angell, N. (1913). The Great Illusion, 4th ed. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Bergesen, A. (1993). The rise of semiotic Marxism. Sociological Perspectives, 36 (1), 1-22.

Central Intelligence Agency. (2004, Feb. 5). Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet at Georgetown University.

Chatterjee, P. (1972). The classical balance of power theory. Journal of Peace Research, 9 (1), 51-61.

Cirincione, J. (n.d.). Origins of regime change in Iraq. Carnegie Proliferation Brief 6 (5). Retrieved April 23, 2009 from

Committee staff notes of President’s NIE Summary dated October 1, 2002. Defense Intelligence Agency. (2002). Iraq — Key WMD Facilities — An Operational Support Study. Unclassified excerpts are available at

“Fox News Sunday.” (2002, 3 February). Interview with Tony Snow.

Gilpin, R. (1981). War and change in world politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the prison notebooks. New York: International Publishers.

Landes, D. (1980). Some thoughts on the nature of economic imperialism. The war system: An interdisciplinary approach., ed. Falk and Kim, 1-659.

Largio, D. M., (2004). Uncovering the rationales for the war on Iraq: The words of the Bush administration, Congress, and the media from September 12, 2001 to October 11, 2002. Thesis for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. 1-212.

Lenin, V. (1916). Imperialism. Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved April 13, 2009 from

Menon, J. & Oneal, J.R. (1986). Explaining imperialism: The state of the art as reflected in three theories. Polity, (19) 2, 169-193.

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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon May 18th 2009, 11:25 AM
does not a chess master make. It requires strategy, what this writer (and many others lack).

I just finished writing a paper for my international relations grad class. My topic was The Invasion of Iraq: Realism vs. Imperialism. Using political theories of realism and capitalist imperialism, I had to evaluate whether the invasion was for national security or if it was to benefit the private sector.

Realism failed. The threats the administration claimed were either exaggerated or false. And not by accident. The intelligence was funneled through the Office of the Director of Intelligence, where anything that did not fit was discarded. (A popular tactic of the Bush Administration- put a crony in a gatekeeper position.)

Plus, prewar assessments of Iraq and its neighbors that said invading Iraq would jeopardize America's security. These turned out to be true.

Couple this with the cost in blood and treasure, and it becomes clear invading Iraq has weakened national security.

But, hey. It was just a bad decision. Right? No.

Moving to capitalist imperialism, corporations look for opportunities to exploit to gain resources, territory, etc. That's what capitalism does. That's ALL it does. Wolfowitz's Defense Planning Guidance document called for invading Iraq to secure oil for America, unilaterally if necessary. PNAC's Statement of Principles and Rebuilding America's Defenses lamented the end of the Cold War and called for increasing the defense budget to meet the needs of the new century. Cheney's National Energy Plan Development Group (NEPDG) was created in Bush's first week in office. From what could be gathered (Cheney and the NEPDG refused to provide info the the General Accounting Office, resulting in a lawsuit that Cheney won. The cause was taking up by others. See the SCOTUS' Cheney v U.S. District Court, but the decision was the same.), the NEPDG met with oil executives who provided guidance.

There are structural and political constraints preventing that, however. It takes a significant force to quickly overcome these constraints. Nationalism after an attack develops into imperialism, and misperceptions generated by Pentagon pundits and spread by an eager media, along with religious overtones partnered with brute force (appealing to the religiously dogmatic/ authoritarian personality), suppressed these constraints. A mythos of "cold-blooded killers" who must be "smoked out of their holes" appealed to Americans (and benefited the ruling class.)

Wolfowitz became the president of the World Bank. What does the deputy Secretary of Defense know about helping poor people? Nothing, but that's not why he was there. Wolfowitz was good at finding corruption in countries looking for structural adjustments, but not so much in Iraq, where corruption was widespread. The Iraq Development Fund, handled by the World Bank, was where Halliburton, KBR, et al. got their funding. So, if Halliburton dragged it's feet on repairing oil meters, it was able to raise its contract price while billions of dollars in oil was disappearing.

But it's easier to dismiss people as conspiracy theorists rather than learn the strategy. And the conspirators know this. It makes their job easier.
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sun Jan 11th 2009, 05:35 PM
None Dare Call It Treason:
An Examination of Constitutional Checks and Balances During the Bush Administration
©2009 blackops

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
-PUBLIUS (James Madison), The Federalist No. 51

“As usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to.”
-John Locke, Second Treatise on Government

The framers of the United States Constitution anticipated battles over the balance of power, or game, and so designed the document to establish three branches of government, each with a grant of authority to provide a series of checks and balances upon the other. These checks and balances, or rules, prevent a disproportionate accumulation of power. Why is this necessary? It is necessary because human nature is self-interested and will seek that through which it can benefit.

Actions requiring the application of these checks and balances are not made in a vacuum; instead, these are choices, or moves, made by actors who understand the cost and benefits of their decisions and choose that which best serves their interests. Analyzing the possible outcomes of all the different moves allows for the formation of a strategy. This strategy is dependent upon expectations of an opponent’s moves according to the rules. The goal of this strategy is to control the balance of power, which Waltz (1954) describes as “the capacity to produce an intended effect” (p. 205).

This paper will examine the effectiveness of the Constitution to counter self-interested motivation. Specifically, it will apply two hypotheses to test the efficacy of checks and balances over the course of the present administration.

Hypothesis One: The rules regarding the power to appoint interim United States Attorneys been changed in ways to allow for partisan gain
Hypothesis Two: The changed rules have rendered ineffective the legislature’s powers to investigate.

This paper will use sources including the Constitution, Federalist Papers Nos. 51 and 77, multiple Supreme Court cases, essays on rational actor models and game theory, and news reports from The Washington Post and The New York Times to evaluate these hypotheses. It will first define the basic premises behind rational actor models and game theory. Following that, it will explain the rules that control the balance of power game. Next, it will describe the practices carried out by the current administration and the opposition party and assess the outcome.

Rational actor models and game theory, often used in economics, can be applied to explain the motivation and strategy behind politics. Monroe (1995) provides a synopsis of human behavior traits used in rational actor theory: Actors pursue goals to benefit their self-interest, and doing so involves a conscious choice, one that is based on preferences consistent with the best outcome, and this choice is made through a cost/benefit analysis. There can be multiple goals pursued in the game of obtaining power; however, one goal that is consistent is self-preservation (Waltz, 1954). In politics, self-preservation means election and reelection. Competition arises when actors with incongruous agendas are unable to collude and must vie for a shared market (Moorthy, 1985).

The choices made in this game are with done with an understanding of the consequences of both the initiator’s actions and the opponent’s moves. Moorthy (1985) refers to this as “interdependence” (p. 262). The actors in this game conduct their moves with an understanding of the rules and awareness that their opponents know the rules and expect all participants to follow suit (Moorthy, 1985). However, as the stakes in the game are so high, one actor may choose to ignore the rules to meet the goal. The opponent, lacking an understanding of the motivation for the dispensing of the rules, if he is even aware at all of the change, is at a great disadvantage and must alter his strategy accordingly to avoid an inevitable failure (Waltz, 1954). Opponents must consider then if it is better to adhere to the rules and risk losing, or abandon moral principles and forego following the rules to stay in the competition (Waltz, 1954).

Game theory is often applied to international politics. Due to the gravity of the game, extreme measures such as the use of force cannot be ruled out as possible options (Waltz, 1954). War is not an uncommon option to obtain goals, but engaging in war is dependent upon the amount of power held by the players. Chatterjee (1972) explains that if one competitor has significantly more power than the opponent, it could make convincing threats against the opponent with no likelihood of engaging in war due to a predetermined outcome. The resulting aggregation of power through the elimination of opponents jeopardizes the entire game (Chatterjee, 1972).

Now that the principles behind the rational actor model and game theory have been discussed, the rules can be examined. As had been mentioned above, the Constitution was designed with three branches of government, each with the authority to provide a series of checks and balances to maintain equilibrium of power. These branches are separate entities, yet they intertwine in certain areas to establish a stronger government. It is the independence of these branches that provide the reinforcement. Where a uniformity of thought and desire may lead to corruption, independence acts as a counterbalance. This independence should extend to the departments within each branch as well. As Madison (1788) had written in The Federalist No. 51:

…it is evident that each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others.

This paper will now analyze how these checks and balances are used to maintain independence in the appointment process for U.S. Attorneys and interim U.S. Attorneys. The Appointments Clause in Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution states that:

The President shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

U.S. Attorneys are “officers” of the United States (Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 at 126 (1976)). U.S. Attorneys are subordinate to the Attorney General and are thus categorized as “inferior” officers (United States v. Gantt, 194 F.3d 987 at 999 (9th Cir. 1999)). The Attorney General sets the salaries for U.S. Attorneys, reassigns them to different cases at his discretion, and reimburses them for office expenses (id at 1000). The Attorney General’s authority over U.S. Attorneys is nearly complete, the one statutory limitation being the appointment (should Senate approval be granted) and removal power of U.S. Attorneys, a power that Congress chose to vest in the President (id at 1000).

U.S. Attorneys are “inferior” officers under the Appointments Clause and as such Congress may, at their discretion, choose to vest the power to appoint them in the President, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. The “excepting clause” was challenged in Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988). The Court affirmed that interbranch appointments were not unconstitutional (id at 673). The Court stated that while it was common and suitable to vest the power to appoint inferior officers in the departments in which they would serve, the Constitution made no requirement to do so (Morrison, 487 U.S. 654 at 674, quoting Ex parte Siebold, 100 U.S. 371 (1880)).

U.S.C. 28, § 541(b) states, “Each U.S. Attorney shall be appointed for a term of 4 years. On the expiration of his term, a U.S. Attorney shall continue to perform the duties of his office until his successor is appointed and qualified.” Should a U.S. Attorney’s position become vacant, an interim U.S. Attorney must be appointed. The judiciary had held the power to appoint interim U.S. Attorneys “since the Civil War” (Gantt, 194 F.3d at 997, 998). This changed in 1986 when Congress enacted § 546(d) of U.S.C. 28, authorizing the Attorney General to “’appoint a United States Attorney for the district in which the office is vacant’ for 120 days” (Gantt, 194 F. 3d at 998, quoting U.S.C. 28, § 546(d)). After 120 days, the district court was authorized to appoint an interim U.S. Attorney to serve in the district until President appointed a U.S. Attorney and received Senate confirmation (id).

In United States v. Hilario, 218 F.3d 19 (2000), the constitutionality of district courts to make interim U.S. Attorney appointments was challenged. It was determined that by appointing members of the Executive Branch who serve the Judicial Branch, “judges ensure not only the enforcement of the laws but also an effective adversarial process” (id at 21). Additionally, Judge Cerezo, citing Morrison 487 U.S. 654 at 676, declared that the Court had recognized no encroachment on executive powers nor did it find an “inherent incongruity about a court having the power to appoint prosecutorial officers” (id at 22).

Interbranch appointments of interim U.S. Attorneys established an appointee’s independence. Judges had no authority to supervise or remove interim U.S. Attorneys, nor could they influence an interim U.S. Attorney’s performance (id at 23). The President’s power to remove an interim U.S. Attorney or appoint a new U.S. Attorney remained (id). The Attorney General could also reassign the interim U.S. Attorney to a different case (id at 24). Interbranch appointments could not then be found to violate the doctrine of separation of powers.

Writing in Federalist No. 77, Alexander Hamilton (1788) advised against the vesting of appointments into the departments to which the appointee would serve, predicting such appointments would lead to governmental instability and exposure to executive influence. Independence of interim U.S. Attorneys from their appointers is necessary to maintain integrity and avoid coercion. As the Court had stated in Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78 at 88 (1935):

The United States Attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all, and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.

U.S. Attorneys are endowed with powers enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 547, which allow them to:

(1) Prosecute for all offenses against the United States; (2) prosecute or defend, for the government, all civil actions, suits, or proceedings in which the United States is concerned; (3) appear in behalf of the defendants in all civil actions, suits or proceedings pending district against collectors, or other officers of the revenue or customs for any act done by them or for the recovery of any money exacted by or paid to such officers, and by them paid into the Treasury; (4) institute and prosecute proceedings for the collection of fines, penalties, and forfeitures incurred for violation of any revenue law, unless satisfied upon investigation that justice does not require such proceedings; and (5) make such reports as the Attorney General shall direct.

Because of the power commanded by the position of U.S. Attorney, independence and neutrality are crucial to avoid abuse. Partisan influence, coercion, or rewards for favors can turn the office of U.S. Attorney into a dangerous weapon against citizens. The Court addressed the threat posed by compromised U.S. Attorneys in Berger 295 U.S. 78 at 88:

…While he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one. …Improper suggestions, insinuations, and, especially, assertions of personal knowledge are apt to carry much weight against the accused, when they should carry none.

Given the potential to damage lives, careers, and reputations, it is essential that safeguards be in place to prevent U.S. Attorneys from miscarrying justice.

With the establishment of the rules, this paper will now observe the moves of the competitors in the balance of power game. The first move was to change the rules. In spite of the long-accepted, constitutionally sound, independence-preserving method of appointing interim U.S. Attorneys, the appointment process was radically changed with the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2006. Removed was the interbranch appointment from the district court; the Attorney General could now make interim U.S. Attorney appointments. Also eliminated was the 120 day period that interim U.S. Attorneys could stay in office before a district court could appoint an interim U.S. Attorney to fill the vacancy. Interim U.S. Attorneys could now remain in office indefinitely, or until the President appointed a U.S. Attorney to the district. Interim U.S. Attorney appointments bypassed Senate confirmation, leaving the determination of qualification to the Justice Department.

The insertion of this new clause into the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act went unnoticed. Senators were at a loss to explain how the clause made its way into the bill. It was later determined that the Justice Department had requested Brett Tolman to insert the clause into the bill (Kiel, 2007). At the time the clause was inserted Mr. Tolman was a counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which is Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is a member. Sen. Specter responded to inquiries about his involvement with the clause by saying, “I do not slip things in” (Kiel, 2007, p. 1). According to Sen. Specter, the principal reason for the change was to resolve “separation of power issues” (Kiel, 2007, p. 2). The Senate voted to repeal the clause in February 2007 (P.L. 110-34, 2007). Mr. Tolman is now a U.S. Attorney for the state of Utah.

The changes came to light in December 2006 when eight U.S. Attorneys were forced to resign their posts, seven of them resigning on the same day (U.S. Dept. of Justice, 2008). One of the U.S. Attorneys was in the process of an investigation. Carol S. Lam had just successfully prosecuted congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-San Diego, CA) of accepting bribes in return for steering in excess of $70 million to two defense contractors (Pincus, 2006). Ms. Lam was forced to resign after indicting Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, the no. 3 man at the Central Intelligence Agency, who had connections to Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade, two men involved in the Cunningham scandal (Pincus, 2006). On February 19, 2008, Mr. Wilkes was convicted of bribery, conspiracy, and fraud and was sentenced to 12 years in prison (Eggen, 2008). Mr. Foggo was convicted of corruption on September 29, 2008 (Johnston, 2008).

The reason the government provided for Ms. Lam’s departure was that she refused to prosecute immigration cases (Steinhauer and Lipton, 2007). However, a review of court records spanning five years had shown Ms. Lam to be ranked among the top 10 of the 93 U.S. Attorneys for prosecutions and convictions, with immigration cases providing the bulk of her prosecutions (McCoy and Johnson, 2007).

U.S. Attorney Margaret Chiara was asked to resign in November 2006. Ms. Chiara claims to have been notified by the Justice Department to resign from her post in order to make way for “an individual they wanted to advance” (Lipton, 2007, p. 1). The Justice Department cited poor performance and low office moral as the reasons for her dismissal, yet Ms. Chiara said her office had increased felony convictions by 15 percent (Lipton, 2007). Recounting an email exchange with Michael Elston, the deputy attorney general’s chief of staff, Ms. Chiara said Mr. Elston had told her that she “erroneously assumed that good service guaranteed longevity” and that she and other U.S. Attorneys were “being asked for their resignations without good cause” (Lipton, 2007, p. 1).

U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins was forced to resign on December 20, 2006. Mr. Cummins’ replacement, Tim Griffin, was appointed to the position five days earlier (Arkansas Times, 2006). Mr. Griffin had previously worked for the Republican National Committee and had been an opposition researcher for presidential advisor Karl Rove (Satter, 2006).

U.S. Attorney John McKay was forced to resign on December 7, 2006. In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, McKay recounted a phone call he had received shortly after the November 2004 election from Ed Cassidy, then chief of staff to Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington) (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2007). Mr. McKay had said that the call was to inquire about an investigation into allegations of voter fraud in the close election win of Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire. Mr. McKay withheld any comments about the investigation and “told Cassidy he was sure the call was not intended to suggest that Hastings was calling for a federal investigation, because that would be improper” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2007, p. 1). The Republican National Committee and Gov. Gregoire’s opponent, Republican Dino Rossi, had brought a lawsuit forward to challenge the results of the election. Lacking evidence to support the claims of fraud, Judge John Bridges ruled against the plaintiffs (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2007).

Similar to Mr. McKay was the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Mr. Iglesias received calls at his home by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM). Mr. Iglesias testified before the Senate that the calls were to question the progress of an investigation of voter fraud in the upcoming election of Rep. Wilson. Mr. Iglesias said he was pressured to bring an indictment before the election. According to Mr. Iglesias:

I was at home. This was the only time I’d ever received a call from any member of Congress while at home during my tenure as United States Attorney for New Mexico. …I recognized the voice as being Senator Pete Domenici. And he wanted ask me about the matters of the corruption cases that had been widely reported in the local media. I said, “All right.” And he said, “Are these going to be filed before November?” And I said I didn’t think so, to which he replied, “I’m very sorry to hear that.” And then the line went dead (Iglesias, 2007, as cited in McKay, 2008, p. 282, 283).

Conversely, of the U.S. Attorneys who were not fired, there were the “…80-85 percent, I would guess, who are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc.” (Sampson, 2005, p. 1), who have been the subject of allegations of political prosecutions. A report from Professors Emeritus Donald C. Shields and John F. Cragan of the University of Missouri and Illinois State University respectively, shows that of 375 elected officials investigated and/or indicted, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats. “U.S. Attorneys across the nation investigate seven times as many Democratic officials as they investigate Republican officials, a number that exceeds even the racial profiling of African Americans in traffic stops” (Shields & Cragan, 2007, p. 1).

A July 2008 Justice Department report indicated illegal hiring practices based on political or ideological affiliations for career positions. The report stated that more qualified candidates were passed over in favor of political cronies. From the report:

Elston said that Goodling made it clear to him that she did not want Democrats detailed to the ODAG because she had a ‘farm system’ approach to filling vacancies in the Department, and she wanted to ‘credential’ Republicans so that they could move on to higher positions. Elston also stated that there were some Republicans that Goodling did not want to hire as detailees because they were not ‘Republican enough’ (U.S. Department of Justice, 2008, pp. 47, 48).

Emails released by the Justice Department and interviews conducted by congressional investigations revealed involvement by White House officials Karl Rove and Harriet Miers in the firing of the U.S. Attorneys (Jordan, 2007; Eggen and Solomon, 2007). The White House refused to cooperate, citing blanket executive privilege claims (Leahy, 2007). The claims of executive privilege were made despite any communication with the President regarding the U.S. Attorney firings (Holman, 2007).

Sen. Patrick Leahy had asked the White House to provide documents and testimony regarding the U.S. Attorney firings. In response, Sen. Leahy was repeatedly offered “an unacceptable ‘take it or leave it’ offer of limited document availability and off-the-record, backroom interviews with no transcript, no oath, and no ability to follow up” (Leahy, 2007, p. 3). Further attempts to accommodate the White House by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Judiciary Committee were refused (Leahy, 2007).

Mr. Rove, Ms. Miers, and White House chief of staff Joshua Bolton were subpoenaed to appear before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees (Kane, 2007). In a letter to George Manning, legal counselor for Harriet Miers, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers threatened to use inherent contempt (Conyers & Sanchez, 2007). Inherent contempt is a procedure where:

The individual is brought before the House or Senate by the Sergeant-at-Arms, tried at the bar of the body, and can be imprisoned. The purpose of the imprisonment or other sanction may be either punitive or coercive. Thus, the witness can be imprisoned for a specified period of time as punishment, or for an indefinite period (but not, at least in the case of the House, beyond the adjournment of a session of the Congress) until he agrees to comply. (Kaiser, Oleszek, Halstead, Rosenberg & Tatelman, 2007, p. 37).

None of the subpoenaed officials appeared and were later found to be in contempt of Congress (Kane, 2008; Washington in Brief, 2008). No further criminal action was brought against Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolton. Citing a 1984 legal opinion, Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that the refusal to appear before Congress “did not constitute a crime” (Eggen, 2008, p. A02).

In conclusion, it is apparent that the White House (and the Republican National Committee by extension) had changed the rules to obtaining power. U.S. Attorneys who prosecute high-ranking government officials could be removed from office. U.S. Attorneys could be removed from office and replaced by partisan operatives. U.S. Attorneys who refuse to prosecute voter fraud cases in swing states due to flimsy evidence could be removed from office. Political prosecutions were conducted to influence elections. Illegal hiring practices ensured solidarity.

The Administration, having changed the rules (and abandoned others), was able to predict the moves of its opponent. The Democratically-controlled Congress adhered to its moral principles and was submissive in the face of a greater power. The Administration offered little to Congressional investigators, and later when it became apparent there would be no retaliation or consequences, gave nothing.

The Bush Administration has subjugated the Constitution in its quest for power and none dare call it treason.


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Eggen, D. (2008, March 1). Mukasey refuses to prosecute Bush aides. The Washington Post, p.

Eggen, D. & Solomon, J. (2007, March 13). Firings had genesis in White House. The
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Retrieved November 2, 2008, from

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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu Jun 19th 2008, 11:49 PM
FISA, Telecommunication Companies & The Bush Administration
2008© blackops. All rights reserved.

President Bush has announced that he would veto a bill that does not provide immunity for telecommunication companies that allowed the government to conduct electronic surveillance on its customers without a court order (Associated Press, 2008). Republican members of Congress have stated that telecommunication companies may refuse to cooperate if subjected to lawsuits.“’We cannot conduct foreign surveillance without them. But if we continue to subject them to billion-dollar lawsuits, we risk losing their cooperation in the future,’ said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.” (Associated Press, 2008). It must be asked then, if telecommunication companies allowed the government to conduct electronic surveillance in a way that is consistent with the law, why would they need immunity? There would be no fines. There would be no need for immunity. This leads to the following hypotheses:

H (0) Telecommunication companies, acting on behalf of the government, violated no laws.
H (1) Telecommunication companies, acting on behalf of the government, violated laws.

To determine which hypothesis is correct, this essay will examine the background on electronic surveillance through Supreme Court decisions and electronic surveillance laws. It will also examine the Bush Administration’s use of electronic surveillance through court documents, government documents, and news reports.


The Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), Justice Stewart makes it clear that the Fourth Amendment applies not only to tangible things, but to conversations as well (id at 353).

At issue in the case was the listening and recording of a phone call made from a phone booth in which betting information was transmitted across state lines in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1084. The surveillance was done from outside the phone booth and without a warrant. It was determined that recording conversations without physical intrusion is in violation of the Fourth Amendment (id).

In delivering the opinion of the Court, Justice Stewart declared that “…searches conducted outside the judicial process, without prior approval by judge or magistrate, are per se unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment – subject only to a few specifically established and well delineated exceptions.” (foot note omitted) (id at 357). The Government argued that an exception should be made to allow for surveillance without prior judicial approval. Citing Beck v. Ohio 379 U.S. 89, 96, Justice Stewart responded, “Omission of such authorization ‘bypasses the safeguards provided by an objective predetermination of probable cause, and substitutes instead the far less reliable procedure of an after-the-event justification for the… search, too likely to be subtly influenced by the familiar shortcomings of hindsight judgment.’” (id at 358). The Court overturned the conviction of the petitioner, obtained through improper procedures.

Addressing the need for authorizing wiretaps, Congress enacted the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. §§ 2510 et seq.) (Title III) allowing warrants for wiretaps for law enforcement purposes (Bazan & Elsea, 2006). Title III was primarily for domestic law enforcement, but did have a provision (18 U.S.C. § 2511(3)) for national security:

Nothing contained in this chapter or in section 605 of the Communications Act of 1934 (48 Stat. 1143; 47 U.S.C. 605) shall limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack or other hostile acts of a foreign power, to obtain foreign intelligence information deemed essential to the security of the United States, or to protect national security information against foreign intelligence activities. Nor shall anything contained in this chapter be deemed to limit the constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the United States against the overthrow of the Government by force or other unlawful means, or against any other clear and present danger to the structure or existence of the Government…

The government relied on § 2511(3) in United States v. United States Dist. Ct., 407 U.S. 297 (1972) to exempt itself from prior judicial approval, contending that “in excepting national security surveillances from the Act’s warrant requirement, Congress recognized the President’s authority to conduct such surveillances without prior judicial approval.” (id). In that case, three defendants were charged with conspiring to destroy, and one of them destroying, government property. The surveillance used to apprehend the defendants was conducted without a warrant, but an affidavit from the Attorney General had stated that he approved the wiretaps for the purpose of “gather intelligence information deemed necessary to protect the nation from attempts of domestic organizations to attack and subvert the existing structure of the Government.” (id).

Refuting the Government’s claim of authority, Justice Powell stated, “Section 2511(3) certainly confers no power… It merely provides that the Act shall not be interpreted to limit or disturb such power as the President may have under the Constitution. In short, Congress simply left presidential powers where it found them.” (id at 303).

Justice Powell noted the lack of evidence of involvement by a foreign power in the Attorney General’s affidavit (id at 308, 309). Operating under the pretense of protecting national security, Justice Powell warned, the Government may abuse its power by preventing political dissent:

The price of lawful public dissent must not be a dread of subjection to an unchecked surveillance power. Nor must the fear of unauthorized official eavesdropping deter vigorous citizen dissent and discussion of Government action in private conversation. For private dissent, no less than open public discourse, is essential to our free society (id at 314).

By taking upon itself the role of a “neutral and detached magistrate” in addition to investigator and prosecutor, Justice Powell cautioned, “Fourth Amendment freedoms cannot properly be guaranteed if domestic security surveillances may be conducted solely within the discretion of the Executive Branch.” (id at 317) adding “…unreviewed executive discretion may yield too readily to pressures to obtain incriminating evidence and overlook potential invasions of privacy and protected speech.” (id).

The Government argued that the requirement of prior judicial review to obtain a warrant

would create serious potential dangers to the national security and to the lives of informants and agents…Secrecy is the essential ingredient in intelligence gathering; requiring prior judicial authorization would create a greater ‘danger of leaks…because, in addition to the judge, you have the clerk, the stenographer and some other officer like a law assistant or bailiff who may be appraised of the nature’ of the surveillance (id at 319).

The Court refused this claim, stating that security concerns could be satisfied through proper administrative measures (id at 321).

The Court suggested Congress might consider creating legislation to apply to domestic security surveillance, recognizing that domestic intelligence gathering for national security may not be as precise as for standard law enforcement (id at 322). However, government interests and civil rights could be balanced with reasonable procedures (id at 323).

Following the revelation by the Church Committee of serious abuses of electronic surveillance for national security purposes, the Senate Judiciary Committee enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) (Bazan & Elsea, 2006). The bill was “designed … to curb the practice by which the Executive Branch may conduct warrantless electronic surveillance on its own unilateral determination that national security justifies it.” (Bazan & Elsea, 2006).. The Senate Judiciary Committee made clear the intent of Congress to accommodate the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power:

The basis for this legislation is the understanding – concurred in by the Attorney General – that even if the President has the “inherent” constitutional power to authorize warrantless surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, Congress has the power to regulate the exercise of this authority by legislating a reasonable warrant procedure governing foreign intelligence surveillance. (Bazan & Elsea, 2006).

Section 2511 of Title III was changed, removing the section pertaining to surveillance executed according to the “constitutional power of the President to take such measures as he deems necessary to protect the Nation against actual or potential attack” and inserted in its stead § 2511(2)(f), which made Title III and FISA the exclusive means to authorize electronic surveillance within the United States (Bazan & Elsea, 2006). This was done to “put[] to rest the notion that Congress recognizes an inherent Presidential power to conduct such surveillances in the United States outside of the procedures contained in chapters 119 and 120 .” (Bazan & Elsea, 2006, quoted from S. Rep. No. 95-604(I), at 63 (1978)).

While Title III dealt with electronic surveillance from a law enforcement standpoint, requiring a more stringent standard to meet Fourth Amendment guaranties, i.e. a showing of probable cause to believe that the target of the surveillance has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, the FISA standard is lower, requiring a showing of probable cause to believe that the target of the surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power (Bazan & Elsea, 2006). This requirement in FISA was removed briefly by the USA PATRIOT Act following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (Bazan & Elsea, 2006).

FISA provides a few exceptions to the warrant requirement to conduct electronic surveillance. 50 U.S.C. § 1802 provides for electronic surveillance of foreign powers without a court order upon Attorney General certification. (This certification, in writing and under oath, states that “the electronic surveillance is solely directed at means of communications used between or among foreign powers or on property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power where ‘there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party’ and minimization procedures are put in place.” (Bazan & Elsea, 2006). 50 U.S.C. § 1805(f) provides for emergency authorization of electronic surveillance for up to 72 hours while a warrant is being procured from a FISA court judge. 50 U.S.C. § 1811 provides for electronic surveillance without a court order for 15 days following a declaration of war by Congress. It is important to note that the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) issued by Congress after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 did not constitute a formal declaration of war.


While it would seem that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 would be the obvious place to start when discussing electronic surveillance under the Bush Administration, allegations made by former Qwest Communications International CEO Joseph P. Naccio and a statement made by Attorney General Michael Mukasey demand attention.


In May 2006, USA TODAY reported that the three telecommunication carriers, AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth had cooperated with the National Security Agency to secretly amass a database of phone call records of tens of millions of Americans (Cauley, 2006). The information was then analyzed to detect calling patterns in an effort to thwart terrorism. Following the reporting of this story, Mr. Nacchio’s attorney, Herbert Swan, released a statement that said the government had approached Qwest Communications to turn over customers’ calling records:

Mr. Nacchio made inquiry as to whether a warrant or other legal process had been secured in support of that request. When he learned that no such authority had been granted and that there was a disinclination on the part of authorities to use any legal process, including the Special Court which had been established to handle such matters, Mr. Nacchio concluded that these requests violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommunications Act. (Nakashima & Eggen, 2007).

Mr. Nacchio was convicted in April 2007 of 19 counts of insider trading, selling shares of Qwest stock before the value dropped.

In October 2007, The Rocky Mountain News, The Washington Post, and The New York Times reported that in court filings made by Mr. Naccio, the National Security Agency had approached Qwest Communications to turn over customer’s call records on February 27, 2001, nearly seven months before the terrorist attacks (Burnett & Smith, 2007, Nakashima & Eggen, 2007, Shane, 2007).

“’The Nacchio materials suggest that the NSA had sought telco cooperation even before 9/11 undermines the primary argument for letting the phone companies off the hook, which is the claim that they were simply acting in good faith after 9/11,’ said Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group.” (Vuong, 2007).

In return for cooperating, Mr. Naccio asserts, Qwest Communications would receive lucrative government contracts (Burnett & Smith, 2007, Nakashima & Eggen, 2007, Shane, 2007).

In a May 25, 2007 order, U.S. District Court Judge Edward W. Nottingham wrote that Nacchio has asserted that ‘Qwest entered into classified contracts valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, without a competitive bidding process and that in 2000 and 2001, he participated in discussion with high ranking representatives concerning the possibility of awarding additional contracts of a similar nature.’ He wrote, ‘Those discussions led him to believe that would award Qwest contracts valued at amounts that would more than offset the negative warnings he was receiving about Qwest’s financial prospects.’” Nakashima & Eggen, 2007.)

Mr. Naccio’s conviction, he contends, was retaliation for refusing to cooperate with the government (Burnett & Smith, 2007, Nakashima & Eggen, 2007, Shane, 2007).

U.S. District Judge Edward W. Nottingham would not permit the classified information about the contracts into the court, thereby sinking Mr. Nacchio’s retaliation defense (Burnett & Smith, 2007. In March 2008, a federal appeals court overturned the 19 insider trading convictions after concluding that the trial judge improperly excluded expert testimony that would have helped Mr. Nacchio advance his defense (Johnson, 2008).


On March 27, 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, speaking at the Commonwealth Club in defense of the Bush Administrations surveillance program and proposing changes to FISA, made the statement that before the 2001 terrorist attacks

“We knew that there had been a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went. You’ve got 3,000 people who went to work that day, and didn’t come home, to show for that.” (Egelko, 2008).

In a letter to Attorney General Mukasey from Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; and Rep. Bobby Scott, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security (hereinafter “Conyers Letter”), Rep. Conyers responds to Attorney General Mukasey’s statement:

This statement is very disturbing for several reasons. Initially, despite extensive inquiries after 9/11, I am aware of no previous reference, in the 9/11 Commission report or elsewhere, to a call from a known terrorist safe house in Afghanistan to the United States which, if it had been intercepted, could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. In addition, if the Administration had known of such communications from suspected terrorists, they could and should have been intercepted based on existing FISA law. For example, even assuming that a FISA warrant was required to intercept such calls, as of 9/11 FISA specifically authorized such surveillance on an emergency basis without a warrant for a 48 hour period. If such calls were known about and not intercepted, serious additional concerns would be raised about the government’s failure to take appropriate action before 9/11. (Conyers, Nadler, Scott, 2008).

In a statement provided to Glenn Greenwald (2008) at Salon, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, the vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, stated:

I am unfamiliar with the telephone call that Attorney General Michael Mukasey cited in his appearance in San Francisco on March 27. The 9/11 Commission did not receive any information pertaining to its occurrence.

Additionally, Greenwald (2008) provides an email response from Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission Executive Director (and former Counselor to Condolleeza Rice) (ellipses in original):

Not sure of course what the AG had in mind, although the most important signals intelligence leads related to our report -- that related to the Hazmi-Mihdhar issues of January 2000 or to al Qaeda activities or transits connected to Iran -- was not of this character. If, as he says, the USG didn't know where the call went in the US, neither did we. So unless we had some reason to link this information to the 9/11 story....

In general, as with several covert action issues for instance, the Commission sought (and succeeded) in publishing details about sensitive intelligence matters where the details were material to the investigative mandate in our law.

Greenwald (2008) offers two possible scenarios regarding Mukasey’s statement. Either

(1) The Bush Administration concealed this obviously vital episode from the 9/11 Commission and from everyone else, until Mukasey tearfully trotted it out last week; or
(2) Mukasey, the nation’s highest law enforcement officer, made this up in order to scare and manipulate Americans into believing that FISA and other surveillance safeguards caused the 9/11 attacks and therefore the Government should be given unchecked spying powers.


In the week after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress issued the AUMF, which authorized the President to

Use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons.

Former Senator and Senate majority leader Tom Daschle wrote about creating the AUMF in a December 23, 2005 Washington Post editorial:

On the evening of Sept. 12, 2001, the White House proposed that Congress authorize the use of military force to “deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States.” Believing the scope of this language was too broad and ill defined, Congress chose instead, on Sept. 14, to authorize “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons determines planned, authorized, committed or aided” the attacks of Sept. 11. With this language, Congress denied the president the more expansive authority he sought and insisted that his authority be used specifically against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

Just before the Senate acted on this compromise resolution, the White House sought one last change. Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words “in the United States and” after “appropriate force” in the agreed upon text. This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas—where we all understood he wanted authority to act—but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused. (Daschle, 2005).

The Bush Administration claims the AUMF supersedes FISA’s clause that makes it the exclusive means of authorizing surveillance except as authorized by statute. It is unclear how the AUMF, which makes no mention of surveillance, accomplishes that task (Bazan & Elsea, 2006). Furthermore, as Justice Jackson presented in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer 343 U.S. 579 (1952), "When the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb, for then he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter." In a letter from Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella to Chairman Roberts and Vice Chairman Rockefeller of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Chairman Hoekstra and Ranking Minority Member Harman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (hereinafter “OLA Letter”), Assistant Attorney General Moschella (2005) states:

The AUMF cannot be read to exclude this long-recognized and essential authority to conduct communications intelligence targeted at the enemy… Because communications intelligence activities constitute… a fundamental incident of waging war, the AUMF clearly and unmistakably authorizes such activities directed against communications of our enemy. Accordingly, the President’s “authority is at its maximum.”

Additionally, the OLA Letter states:

The AUMF clearly contemplates action within the United States.


The AUMF cannot be read as limited to authorizing the use of force against Afghanistan, as some have argued.

Those “some”, presumably, are the members of Congress.


The OLA Letter states:

The Supreme Court has said that warrants are generally required in the context of purely domestic threats, but it expressly distinguished foreign threats.” (Emphasis in original.)

The Conyers Letter notes that a March 2003 Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memorandum publicly released on April 1, 2008, contained a footnote that referenced a secret October 2001 OLC memorandum written by John Yoo, which “concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.” Despite Chairman Conyers’ request, the memorandum has not been released.

The Bush Administration contends it has authority to conduct warrantless surveillance in the United States under its Commander-in-Chief authority. In the OLA Letter, the Administration asserts:

This constitutional authority to order warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance within the United States, as all federal appellate courts, including at least four circuits, to have addressed the issue have concluded. See, e.g., In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717, 742 (FISA Ct. of Review 2002) (“ll the other courts to have decided the issue held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information…. We take for granted that the President does have that authority….”)

This is a misleading statement. The full quotes from
In re Sealed Case are

The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information (p. 48).


We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power. The question before us is the reverse, does FISA amplify the President’s power by providing a mechanism that at least approaches a classic warrant and which therefore supports the government’s contention that FISA searches are constitutionally reasonable. (Pp. 48, 49).

In the Truong case, the surveillance was done pre-FISA (629 F.2d 908 at 4). It is true that before FISA, courts had ruled that due to the complexity of conducting foreign intelligence gathering, the strict requirements necessary to obtain warrants under a law enforcement purpose would hamper the ability of the President. What In re Sealed Case illustrates is that FISA allows the President to conduct surveillance without the restrictions of a standard warrant for law enforcement purposes, but with the safeguards necessary to protect Fourth Amendment guaranties.


On March 6, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft issued a memorandum regarding new procedures to apply to foreign intelligence (FI) and foreign counterintelligence (FCI) investigations conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It proposed significant changes to FISA and allowed overlapping between intelligence officers and law enforcement officers:

Prior to the USA Patriot Act, FISA could be used only for the "primary purpose" of obtaining "foreign intelligence information." The term "foreign intelligence information" was and is defined to include information that is necessary, or relevant, to the ability of the United States to protect against foreign threats to national security, such as attack, sabotage, terrorism, or clandestine intelligence activities. See 50 U.S.C. § 1801(e)(1). Under the primary purpose standard, the government could have a significant law enforcement purpose for using FISA, but only if it was subordinate to a primary foreign intelligence purpose. The USA Patriot Act allows FISA to be used for "a significant purpose," rather than the primary purpose, of obtaining foreign intelligence information. Thus, it allows FISA to be used primarily for a law enforcement purpose, as long as a significant foreign intelligence purpose remains. See 50 U.S.C. §§ 1804(a)(7)(B), 1823(a)(7)(B).

The Act also expressly authorizes intelligence officers who are using FISA to "consult" with federal law enforcement officers to "coordinate efforts to investigate or protect against" foreign threats to national security. Under this authority, intelligence and law enforcement officers may exchange a full range of information and advice concerning such efforts in FI or FCI investigations, including information and advice designed to preserve or enhance the possibility of a criminal prosecution. The USA Patriot Act provides that such consultation between intelligence and law enforcement officers "shall not" preclude the government's certification of a significant foreign intelligence purpose or the issuance of a FISA warrant. See 50 U.S.C. §§ 1806(k), 1825(k).

These procedures were changed or rejected by the FISA court and its opinion was publicly released in August 2002.


The In re Sealed Case 310 F.3d 717, 742 was the appeal to the FISA court’s opinion of Attorney General Ashcroft’s memorandum. The FISA Court of Review found that the FISA court had overstepped the separation of powers by making changes to the procedures. However, “it made clear that the government can only break down barriers between the FBI and local criminal authorities with respect to crimes that are related to foreign intelligence—not ordinary, garden-variety crimes. As the Court of Review noted, ‘the FISA process cannot be used as a device to investigate wholly unrelated ordinary crimes’” (Emphasis added) (Ramasastry, 2002).


After examining the background on electronic surveillance and the current administration’s use of electronic surveillance, it is apparent that telecommunication companies acting on behalf of the Bush Administration have violated the law. Even more so, did the Bush Administration violate the will of Congress and the judgment of the Court. This criminal behavior may be the most serious threat to democracy this republic has ever faced.
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Sat Aug 04th 2007, 01:03 AM
Bushco was chomping at the bit to get this eavesdropping bill passed before Congress went on vacation. The reich wing noise machine was summoned to the White House for a special meeting. Was it to make sure that everyone is united in their message, identifying (labeling) the Other (Iran/Al Qaeda/whomever) as the perpetrators and blaming Democrats for failing to provide the administration the tools necessary to prevent the attack? The pieces have been put in place:

The Military Commissions Act
The John Warner War Authorization Act
Presidential Directive 51
The recent directives regarding those who "undermine" the war effort

There are also some recent "coincidences" that appear more sinister when looking at the big picture:

Michael Moore, summoned for his visit to Cuba. (You may laugh this off, but if Michael Moore spent money there, the penalties are severe. Spending money in Cuba is a violation of the Trading with the Enemy Act; and violators are theoretically subject to criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and ten years in prison.) That would effectively silence a strong oppositional voice, don't you think?

Loose Change producer Korey Rowe, who was recently arrested under a claim he had deserted the military. He has since been released. I'm sure this was just an honest mistake.

Is this 9/11 Part II about to happen? If this can't be stopped, how can it be marginalized? Those with greatest access to the media (govt. & military officials) will be first to label terrorists. The Internet is the last true free press, but it is unlikely to have escaped some provision put in place to affect that as well.
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Apr 09th 2007, 03:21 AM
I believe the anthrax attacks were a continuation of the shock and awe campaign launched by the administration on 9/11. Why do I believe this?

Who was a victim of the anthrax attacks?

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle

Sen. Daschle was the first speedbump in the path of the 9/11 blitz. Daschle refused bushco's expansive language to stop terrorism (warrantless wiretaps of US citizens), instead narrowing it to those who committed 9/11. Just as the AUMF was to be voted on, the WH called to have the words "in the United States and" inserted, allowing them to use in the United States the powers granted in the AUMF. From The Washington Post, December 23, 2005:

On the evening of Sept. 12, 2001, the White House proposed that Congress authorize the use of military force to "deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States." Believing the scope of this language was too broad and ill defined, Congress chose instead, on Sept. 14, to authorize "all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons determines planned, authorized, committed or aided" the attacks of Sept. 11. With this language, Congress denied the president the more expansive authority he sought and insisted that his authority be used specifically against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

Just before the Senate acted on this compromise resolution, the White House sought one last change. Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words "in the United States and" after "appropriate force" in the agreed-upon text. This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas -- where we all understood he wanted authority to act -- but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused.

On September 18th, 2001, an Al-Qaeda/9-11 specific AUMF is passed, minus bushco's desired warrantless wiretaps (explains Chimpy's sudden lack of interest in bin Laden just six months later). On October 15, 2001, Sen. Daschle is sent weapons-grade anthrax.

Additionally, Sen. Leahy was sent anthrax. On Tuesday, June 22, 2004, Sen. Leahy is told to "fuck yourself" on the floor of the Senate by none other than dick cheney. Apparently, terrorists and cheney think alike. It should be no surprise they concur, given dick's interest in terrorism.

"The fact of the matter is I see part of my job is to think about the unthinkable, to focus upon what, in fact, the terrorists may have in store for us, and make sure..."
-Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, Sept. 10, 2006.

Let's take a look at the letters sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy. The first line is "You can not stop us." While being interviewed on the talk shows after the '06 election, I recall cheney saying something along the lines of "They can't stop us." in regards to the Dem's hold on Congress and the prospect of war with Iran.

Who else was sent anthrax?

Tom Brokaw

I don't know of any connection between Brokaw and bushco, but he appears (as per the Plame leak) to have not been one of the WH's preferred mouthpieces (i.e. Matthews, Russert) for moving information.

Anybody else? Yes. American Media, which publishes The Enquirer, and The New York Post. The connection is obvious. From The Enquirer, August 7, 2001.

Bob Stevens, photo editor for The Sun, dies of anthrax exposure. From NEWSWEEK, October 8, 2001:

NEWSWEEK has learned that the FBI is aggressively trying to locate a summer intern from nearby Florida Atlantic University in connection with the investigation. The intern, who sources said came from a Middle Eastern country, had sent an e-mail to all employees that a top American Media official described as “peculiar.” The e-mail thanked company employees for the help he gave them, but then contained language suggesting that he wasn’t saying “goodbye.” Another company official recalled the email as having “a sense of foreboding” and referring to a “surprise” or “something that he left behind.” Said the official, “it was weird.”

Sources at American Media said the FBI has asked company employees about any “enemies” the company or its papers might have. Given the content of the weekly tabloids, “that list would go on forever,” joked one employee. Alarmed workers say they are urgently trying to recall receiving suspicious or unusual letters and packages. Several are focusing on a letter that arrived at the company about a week before the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. It was described by sources as a “weird love letter to Jennifer Lopez”—similar, outwardly, to the types of mail the tabloids often get. But inside the oddly-worded letter was what was described as a “soapy, powdery substance” and in the pile of that a cheap Star of David charm. The letter, per routine, was taken in by the joint mailroom of the company. Employees said the letter was handled both by Stevens and Blanco.

A Middle Eastern intern (From a Florida university, no less. Lots of crazy shit down in Florida...), the Star of David, J-Lo, and weapons-grade anthrax. Yeah, that sounds right.

From The New York Post:

Odd that bin Laden is on the cover. This happened prior to 9/11. Douche bag Jonah Goldberg whined about it on June 1, 2001.

So, where did the anthrax come from? Our own US military:

Dr. Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois at Champaign believes it was scientists at the army's Ft. Detrick, MD., bioterrorism lab who perpetrated the attack. The scientists would require special "moonsuits" to safely process the anthrax.

Boyle, who drafted the US Biological Weapons Convention of 1989 enacted by Congress, said destruction of the Ames anthrax "appears to be a cover-up orchestrated by the FBI."


Boyle, a leading American authority on international law, said after the attacks he contacted senior FBI official Marion "Spike" Bowman, who handles counter-terrorism issues, and provided him with the names of the scientists working with anthrax. Boyle told Bowman the Ft. Detrick scientists were not to be trusted.

In addition to then destroying the anthrax, the FBI "retained every independent life-scientist it could locate as part of its fictitious investigation, and then swore them all to secrecy so that they cannot publicly comment on the investigation or give their expert opinion," Boyle said.

Boyle pointed out that Bowman is the same FBI agent "who played a pivotal role in suppressing evidence which in turn prevented the issuance of a search warrant for the computer of Zacarias Moussaoui, the alleged 20th Al Qaeda hijacker on 11 September 2001, which might otherwise have led to foreknowledge and therefore prevention of those terrorist attacks in the first place."

Huh. How 'bout that? If only Marion "Spike" Bowman had listened to Special Agent Harry Samit when he tried 70 times to get a warrant to search Moussaoui's computer.

Dr. Stephen Hatfill was targeted as a "person of interest" by the Justice Department (Hey, weren't they in the news recently?) and his career was ruined. He recently settled his $10 million libel lawsuit against Vanity Fair and Reader's Digest.

So, the worst bioterrorism attack against the United States is "forgotten" whenever the administration claims "No attacks since 9/11." Coincidence?


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Posted by blackops in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Mar 19th 2007, 05:18 PM
But I believe all has been planned far in advance. Bushco made such a stink about WMD in Iraq because they planned on putting them there. Textbook interventionist liberalism: Accuse Iraq, plant WMD, invade, overthrow, and it's all gravy after that. Saddam's gone, W's a hero, and the oil will flow like wine. Too bad for them that something went wrong, somebody found out, and it all went to hell. Unfortunately, the story's already been written, the framework's been laid, and Bushco has since been ignoring reality to support their fabricated fantasy. This administration takes no chance on an action without knowing the benefit. And IMO, the attacks on habeas corpus and posse comitatus were not without an expected benefit. I only hope the Dems can throw a wrench in the works to prevent this from happening.

And if I had to guess (BASED ON NOTHING BUT PURE SPECULATION), I would say July 11. If nothing happens, I owe you a beer.
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon Mar 19th 2007, 02:10 PM
"You don't introduce new products in the summer." Isn't that what KKKarl said about the Iraq war?

Chimpy and his minions like to reveal bits of their evil plots to stroke their egos. From viewing their actions and reading their words, I'm guessing (If you happen to be reading, Agent Mike, I have no knowledge of this actually happening.) we'll have a terrorist attack in July that will be blamed on Iran. This way Bushco can use its new powers to control the National Guard and round up people without having to bother with that pesky habeas corpus. If you've got the authority, better use it before you lose it right? Didn't Kyle Sampson say just as much regarding the provision in the Patriot Act?

The war will start in the fall. We already have ships in the area, a Navy admiral as CENTCOM commander, and a rewrite of the policy of engagement allowing attacks on Iranians. What else would one expect?
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Fri Sep 15th 2006, 02:30 AM
With Bushco spinning like crazy to secure the tools of their trade (ie. domestic surveillance, military tribunals), I have to ask, To what end do they (and those who come after) hope to bring this state? An absolute hegemony using spying, torture, and kangaroo courts against all citizens, domestic and foreign, that do not serve to the benefit of the state? Nazi Germany/Stalinist Russia redux for the 21st century? States that boast torture, prisons, spying, and searches don't usually take the concerns of its citizens to heart. States that do so only seek to increase their power, destroying all who stand in their way. Would not this also be the inevitable final destination of the US? In the recent weeks, the concept of Nazism has been expressed openly in the mainstream by, in a somewhat surprisingly frank moment, Bushco. Now, it had been generally verboten to make comparisons to Hitler. The heinous crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi's are so severe, that to make serious comparisons to contemporary figures would only serve as an indictment against the nations of the world to never allow such an atrocity to happen again. And it is true, there currently are no concentration camps with ovens blazing. But while I share this sentiment, I would not compare Chimpy to Hitler for that reason: Compared to cruel, soulless efficiency of the Nazis, Bushco is a total failure. His replacement, however, has already been chosen. I do not believe those who designed this will concede and relinquish their plans. They will do whatever is necessary to achieve their goal. If an immediate reversal of direction does not occur, this nation is doomed.
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Posted by blackops in Latest Breaking News
Fri Mar 17th 2006, 11:24 AM
From Wikipedia

The dichotomy paradox
"You cannot even start."
"That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal." (Aristotle Physics VI , 239b10)
Suppose Homer wants to catch a stationary bus. Before he can get there, he must get halfway there. Before he can get halfway there, he must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a fourth, he must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on.

This description requires one to travel an infinite number of finite distances, which Zeno argues would take an infinite time -- which is to say, it can never be completed. This sequence also presents a second problem in that it contains no first distance to run, for any possible first distance could be divided in half, and hence would not be first after all. Hence, the trip cannot even be begun. The paradoxical conclusion then would be that travel over any finite distance can neither be completed nor begun, and so all motion must be an illusion.
This argument is called the Dichotomy because it involves repeatedly splitting a distance into two parts. It contains some of the same elements as the Achilles and the Tortoise paradox, but with a more apparent conclusion of motionlessness. It is also known as the Race Course paradox.

I was explaining to a rocket scientist friend this idea I had gotten while working on an art project using only black and white, absolutes. During my work on the project, I was thinking about being required by my art teacher to draw from memory. I was not too keen on drawing from memory; 1.) because I'm not that good, and 2.) because there were so many details I couldn't remember. (During class, I would sneak my camera out and take a picture.) But even with digital photography, there are details that are lost. Despite the absolutes of ones and zeroes, it was still not an accurate representation of what was there. I started thinking about other absolutes, the big bang and the end of the universe, life and death. How long does it take to die? Will there be a moment, infinitely small, where someone is between the living and the dead? My rocket scientist friend told me about Zeno's Paradoxes. I was so blown away by the concept, it was all I could think about for a week.

Here is the paper I wrote on my project:

The Space Between is an exploration of kinetic energy and passage of time conveyed through the synergistic relation of value range, grouping strategies, balance conditions, and continuity and dissolution of line. The following images provide visual codes, interpreted by the viewer, to describe “movement”. While the code is innately interpreted, the syntax needs explanation.
There are only two values in the images, black and white. However, some pieces appear to be neither black nor white, but a value of grey. The pieces look grey because of grouping strategies that the viewer uses to organize information. Defining the object from its background, or figure/ground, is created this way.
Clusters of small white dots on a black background are grouped together by proximity to create the illusion of a value of grey. Depending on the amount of dots and their proximity to each other, the pieces can appear to look lighter or darker. The same conditions apply to black dots on a white background.
These values of grey give the impression of distance. Lighter objects appear to be in the foreground while darker ones recede. The opposite can also be true depending on how figure/ground was established.
Arrangement of these values in the visual field creates balance conditions that lead the viewer to follow a course set by the grouping strategies. This project uses four balance conditions: Symmetrical, an equal balance; Asymmetrical, an unequal balance; Radial, a gradation of value beginning at the corner and center with the emphasis of moving both directions simultaneously; and Crystallographic, an alternating “checkerboard” pattern where the gradation in one set of steps will run in one direction while the opposite gradation will run in the inverse.
Finally, continuity and dissolution of edge will allow the original mark, or unit form, to simultaneously move between figure/ground. As the viewer determines continuity of edge, the object will rise to the foreground. When there is dissolution of edge, the object will sink into the background.
By using the code described, the visual images in this project create an implied passage of state between two absolutes. Only black and white are present, yet there appears to grey. The images are stationary, yet there appears to be movement. Yes. No. On. Off. Ones and zeros. Being and not being. There is a space, a moment, where and when they are neither. What has happened ten seconds ago is as irretrievable as something that happened ten years past. What will happen in the future is equally distant. A ball hangs from a string. The ball is lowered to half its distance from the ground. If the distance from the ground is continually divided in half, how can the ball ever reach the ground? Yet it does. There is a transition where object becomes background and background becomes object, a land of ghosts that lies somewhere in the space between.
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Thu Mar 16th 2006, 02:06 AM
It will only undermine your argument. (I've been considering scrapping my poster idea entirely.) My significant other is a university speech communication professor, wise in the ways of rhetoric, and she nixed my idea from the start. Hitler is such an extreme figure, it will cause you to lose credibility. However, a simple "poisoning of the well", while incredibly lame, is unfortunately effective. As weak as it is for repubs to use "Dems are soft on ___" without addressing the point of any issue, they put us at a disadvantage of having to reestablish credibility while debating the argument.

In my political science class, there's a Kool-Aid swilling idiot who went before the class to explain "why it was 'good' for America that Bush was wiretapping terrorists." "He's saving lives," he said. Doesn't matter that he missed the point that it's being done illegally and he can't provide an example of the program's effectiveness, the simple, albeit ridiculous, talking points proved to work on his easily-manipulated mind.
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Mar 14th 2006, 01:05 PM
I'm sending off my FOIA request today. No point in persuading my POS senator, Mike DeWine. I did send him my thoughts, though:

Thank you, Senator, for shredding our Constitution in
support of your party and your King. Why should that
"goddamned piece of paper" stop the pResident of the
United States from illegally spying on Americans?
Best be rid of it. Best be rid of the checks and
balances included in said piece of paper, as well.
Those vestiges of federalism are mere clutter along
the path towards the New Monarchy.

Congress, in its current state, serves no purpose.
Your party has made its existence redundant. Will you
be granted a place in the King's court? 55 jesters
seems excessive, but the Republican party no longer
finds meaning in the word "conservative", does it?



Probably not the best idea to call someone who is pushing to legalize unconstitutional wiretaps a traitor but, fuck that. This is America, and I shouldn't have to worry that my government is illegally spying on me.
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Tue Feb 28th 2006, 09:39 PM
using a persuasive argument, for my poli-sci class. I decide to do it on the NSA wiretaps. The class was asked to write a paragraph describing our paper and to turn it in. I write this:

President George W. Bush claims the September 2001 congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force in response to the 9/11 attacks allows the administration to electronically eavesdrop, through warrantless NSA wiretaps, on American citizens. This claim of executive authority overrides the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or FISA, which requires judicial authorization for domestic electronic surveillance and physical searches of persons engaged in espionage or terrorist activities. It also appears to violate Amendment IV of the U.S. Constitution. President Bush says it is legal. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says it is legal. Others disagree. Due to current opposition by a Republican-held Senate to a congressional probe and by proposals to enact legislation to legalize the eavesdropping, the true legality of this issue may never be known. This essay will attempt to prove that President Bush, through his domestic spying program, is acting illegally at the expense of the civil rights of American citizens as prescribed by the Constitution.

This should be easy, I think. I turn in my paragraph, start my research and quickly compile 68 sources.

Today, I go to class and receive my paragraph back. The class is instructed to *Surprise!* write our term papers using the other side of the argument.

Sonofabitch. I voice my disapproval with the teaching assistant. "There's no way I can write 7-9 pages on how it is legal for Bush to spy on Americans without warrants. The Bush administration has yet to even prove this. The Democrats have said that Gonzales has offered the 'the feeblest of arguments.' Terra! Terra! Terra! 9/11 changed everything is only going to take up one line."

"Can I make it a satire, because any argument I make is only going to be logical to a Kool Aid swilling idiot."

No, I am told.

I am pissed.
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Posted by blackops in General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007)
Sun Feb 19th 2006, 12:52 PM
I shudder at the thought. In fact, I consider them to be state-sponsored terrorists. From an essay I had written:


Attacks carried out by non-state actors, rather than state-sponsored terrorism, receive the media spotlight. “World attention often seems to focus only on individual perpetrated and ideologically motivated acts of terror-violence while other terror-inspiring common crimes and brutal acts of state-sponsored terror-violence go unnoticed” (Bassiouni, 1981, p. 2).

There is great concern now of the United States’ involvement of CIA secret prisons, “black sites”, in foreign countries. Defense of U.S. rendition policies by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney’s push for an exemption for the CIA regarding torture are causing concern among EU officials. “…It may be more advantageous at times for the purposes of terrorism from above to reduce media exposure of repressive violence. In the case of the serous state-sponsored violations of human rights, such as torture, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, the state may well use all of its powers to prevent the dissemination of such news” (Bassiouni, 1981, p. 15).

Recently, Britain invoked the Official Secrets Act against the Daily Mirror, prohibiting them from releasing any information pertaining to President George W. Bush’s meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair, where Bush allegedly discussed bombing Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera (Reuters, 2005)


Now, is the DoD proceeding slowly with the release of female detainees found to be innocent? Probably. There was a thread here a while back about insurgents' wives being held in retaliation for attacks. I also question who these Iraqi officials are. Are they Sunni, Shi'ite, Kurd? The article does not mention. Do we know if they have ties to the terrorists? No. I am suspicious of the motivations of everyone involved in this, aside from Jill Carroll herself.

What I first posted was my frustration with those people who think the state actually cares about them. When Bush gives his stump speeches and brings out his Human Interest Story Designed to Manipulate You Emotionally (Thank you, TDS), do you really believe he cares about what Joe Sixpack thinks when he makes decisions for a super power? I get so annoyed by those who say, "Well, he seems like a nice guy you could have a beer with." He's not going to have a beer with you. He's not going to go to your local tavern, order fried mushrooms, and talk about your bathroom remodeling project. He has nothing in common with ordinary citizens. He doesn't care about you, or your problems. HE'S THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, for chrissake. (God, it hurts to type that.) Did the U.S. do anything to save Daniel Pearl? No. What about the guy who worked on Blackhawk helicopters? His head was liberated from his body, I believe. If there is nothing in it for the state (oil, American embassy), your country will not save you.

Edit for typo.
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