Friday, December 15, 2006

Evidence Emerges that Tony Blair Lied About WMD

The Independent is reporting today that the British government's "case for going to war in Iraq has been torn apart by the publication of previously suppressed evidence that Tony Blair lied over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction."

A devastating attack on Mr Blair's justification for military action by Carne Ross, Britain's key negotiator at the UN, has been kept under wraps until now because he was threatened with being charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In the testimony revealed today Mr Ross, 40, who helped negotiate several UN security resolutions on Iraq, makes it clear that Mr Blair must have known Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction. He said that during his posting to the UN, "at no time did HMG [Her Majesty's Government] assess that Iraq's WMD (or any other capability) posed a threat to the UK or its interests."

Read more here.

Al Gore Calls for Action on Global Warming

This message came through the listserv of the Progressive Democrats of America.
Dear PDA Friend,

I've been incredibly gratified by the response to An Inconvenient
Truth. I'm extremely proud of all the work the team put into the film
and it feels like it came at a crucial time. But now comes the hard
work. We have to take this message to Washington. And we can't do it
without you.

Yes, the new majority in Congress will be much more receptive on the
importance of global warming. That's the good news. But I know from
personal experience that the only thing that will make Washington really take
notice and do more than give lip service to the problem of global
warming is the prospect of millions of committed citizens taking
action. It's time to join together and make that happen. Can you

First, I'm asking folks to hold house parties
in thousands of homes across the nation, to show the film and spread
the word. We're doing the first wave on

Saturday, December 16. Can you host a party? Or attend a party that
one of your neighbors is hosting?

Second, I'm asking everybody, whether you attend a party or not, to
sign a postcard {} to your
representatives, so that I can take a million postcards and messages
to Washington in January and present them to the new Congress.

We have to build the political will to do what has to be done.
Luckily, in America, political will is a renewable resource.

Thank you,

Al Gore

Progressive Democrats of America

Administration Rejects Overtures to Iran and Syria, Bush's Response to Report Alarms Panelist

The Washington Post is reporting today that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has rejected the Iraq Study Group's recommendation that the U.S. seek the help of Syria and Iran in Iraq, saying the "compensation" required by any deal might be too high.
"If [Iran and Syria] have an interest in a stable Iraq, they will do it anyway," Rice said in a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post reporters and editors. She said she did not want to trade away Lebanese sovereignty to Syria or allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon as a price for peace in Iraq.

Rice also said there would be no retreat from the administration's push to promote democracy in the Middle East, a goal that was de-emphasized by the Iraq Study Group in its report last week but that Rice insisted was a "matter of strategic interest." She reiterated her commitment to pursuing peace between Palestinians and Israelis -- a new effort that President Bush announced in September but that has yielded little so far.

"Get ready. We are going to the Middle East a lot," Rice said. More here.

Meanwhile, Iraq Study Group panelist Leon Panetta is expressing alarm that the Bush administration is signalling that it may reject the panel's suggestions about diplomacy and withdrawing most US troops from Iraq by 2008.
Bush has even criticized the idea that the group was providing a "graceful exit" from the war -- which is what Panetta and other panel members figured Bush most wanted.

"I think he has been trapped by his own rhetoric," Panetta said in a telephone interview from his California office. Referring to a recent poll suggesting that 70 percent of those surveyed disapprove of Bush's handling of the war, Panetta said, "His ratings are so low now that he has got to do something to pull this country together."

But to those who know Bush best, the president's approach is not surprising. Bush's former chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr. , who was by Bush's side as he formulated many of his key decisions on the war, said Bush hears many opinions and thus believes that "his knowledge is more complete than anyone who is advising him." More here.

Peace Groups Mobilize for New Congress

With the new Democratic Congress coming in, and in the wake of the Iraq Study Group's report calling for a new "way forward" in Iraq, antiwar organizations are making plans for demonstrations in Washington, DC, and around the country calling for an immediate end to the war. United for Peace and Justice is calling on people to "Bring the Mandate for Peace to Washington DC on Jan. 27."
Tell the New Congress:
Act NOW to Bring the Troops Home!

Join United for Peace and Justice in a massive march on Washington, D.C., on Sat., January 27, to call on Congress to take immediate action to end the war.

On Election Day the voters delivered a dramatic, unmistakable mandate for peace. Now it's time for action. On January 27, 2007, we will converge from all around the country in Washington, D.C. to send a strong, clear message to Congress and the Bush Administration: The people of this country want the war and occupation in Iraq to end and we want the troops brought home now! More here.

Also, the ANSWER Coalition just announced plans for a march on the Pentagon on the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.
March on the Pentagon
Saturday, March 17, 2007

~ 40th anniversary of the historic 1967 march on the Pentagon ~
~ 4th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war ~

On March 17, 2007, the 4th anniversary of the start of the criminal invasion of Iraq, tens of thousands of people from around the country will descend on the Pentagon in a mass demonstration to demand: U.S. Out of Iraq Now! 2007 is the 40th anniversary of the historic 1967 anti-war march to the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. The message of the 1967 march was "From Protest to Resistance," and marked a turning point in the development of a countrywide mass movement. More here.

With the new political dynamic in Washington, it seems the peace movement is newly galvanized to increase the pressure to end the war. We'll see if that translates into large numbers of people in the streets.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Way Forward, a Look Back

The abrupt resignation of the Saudi ambassador to the United States and the postponement of George W. Bush’s new Iraq policy speech mark a troubling new chapter for a U.S. strategy for the Middle East that continues to spiral toward catastrophe.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to Washington and the former chief of Saudi intelligence, informed the State Department on Dec. 11 that he had resigned after only 15 months on the job and flew home.

The unceremonious departure was seen as another signal of Saudi anger over Bush’s regional policies. In that view, Turki’s resignation was akin to the recall of an ambassador between two hostile states, albeit softened by Turki’s insistence that he was leaving to spend more time with his family.

Read more.

Introducing Consortiumblog

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Leahy Outlines Agenda for Judiciary Committee

Senator Leahy (D-VT) gave an address yesterday regarding his priorities as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he calls Restoration, Repair and Renewal: restoring constitutional values and the rights of ordinary Americans, repairing a broken oversight process and the return of accountability, and renewing the public’s right to know. He started off his address with a strong condemnation of Congress.
In my 32 years since then in the Senate, I have never seen a Congress so willfully derelict in its duties as during this Administration. This has been an unfortunate chapter in Congress’s history, a time when our Constitution was under assault, when our legal and human rights were weakened, when our privacy and other freedoms were eroded. This election was an intervention. The American people rose up to take away Congress’s rubber stamp, and to demand a new direction with more accountability.

The Judiciary Committee will do its part, he said. Click here for the full address.