Thursday, April 06, 2006

This HAS to do it -- BUSH OUTTED AT LAST??

Just opened email to check on something, and this 47-minute-old news was up on Yahoo.

Man, this has to send shockwaves to change the tide --

  • Bush Outted At Last? AP story!
  • Papers: Cheney Aide Says Bush OK'd Leak

    By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
    47 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney's former top
    aide told prosecutors that President Bush authorized a
    leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq,
    according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the
    CIA leak case.

    The filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald also
    describes Cheney involvement in I. Lewis Libby's
    communications with the press.

    There was no indication in the filing that either Bush
    or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame's
    CIA identity. But it points to Cheney as one of the
    originators of the idea that Plame could be used to
    discredit her husband, Bush administration critic
    Joseph Wilson.

    Before his indictment, Libby testified to the grand
    jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him
    to pass on prewar intelligence on Iraq and that it was
    Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers
    say. According to the documents, the authorization led
    to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and
    New York Times reporter Judith Miller. In that
    meeting, Libby made reference to the fact that
    Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

    According to Fitzgerald's court filing, Cheney, in
    conversation with Libby, raised the question of
    whether a CIA-sponsored trip by Wilson "was legitimate
    or whether it was in effect a junket set up by Mr.
    Wilson's wife."

    The disclosure in documents filed Wednesday means that
    the president and the vice president put Libby in play
    as a secret provider of information to reporters about
    prewar intelligence on Iraq.

    Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said Thursday
    the White House would have no comment on the ongoing
    investigation. At a congressional hearing, Attorney
    General Alberto Gonzales said the president has the
    "inherent authority to decide who should have
    classified information."

    Libby is asking for voluminous amounts of classified
    information from the government in order to defend
    himself against five counts of perjury, obstruction
    and lying to the FBI in the Plame affair.

    He is accused of making false statements about how he
    learned of Plame's CIA employment and what he told
    reporters about it.

    Bush's political foes jumped on the revelation about
    Libby's testimony.

    "The fact that the president was willing to reveal
    classified information for political gain and put the
    interests of his political party ahead of America's
    security shows that he can no longer be trusted to
    keep America safe," Democratic National Committee
    Chairman Howard Dean said.

    Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "The more we hear,
    the more it is clear this goes way beyond Scooter
    Libby. At the very least, President Bush and Vice
    President Cheney should fully inform the American
    people of any role in allowing classified information
    to be leaked."

    Libby's testimony indicates both the president and the
    vice president authorized leaks. Bush and Cheney both
    have long said they abhor that practice, so much so
    that the administration has put in motion criminal
    investigations to hunt down leakers.

    The most recent instance is the administration's
    launching of a probe into who disclosed to The New
    York Times the existence of the warrantless domestic
    surveillance program.

    The authorization involving intelligence information
    came as the Bush administration faced mounting
    criticism about its failure to find weapons of mass
    destruction in Iraq, the main reason the president and
    his aides had given for going to war.

    Libby's participation in a critical conversation with
    Miller on July 8, 2003 "occurred only after the vice
    president advised defendant that the president
    specifically had authorized defendant to disclose
    certain information in the National Intelligence
    Estimate," the papers by Special Counsel Patrick
    Fitzgerald stated. The filing did not specify the
    "certain information."

    "Defendant testified that the circumstances of his
    conversation with reporter Miller — getting approval
    from the president through the vice president to
    discuss material that would be classified but for that
    approval — were unique in his recollection," the
    papers added.

    Plame's husband, a former U.S. ambassador, said the
    administration had twisted prewar intelligence to
    exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass

    After Wilson publicly attacked the administration on
    Iraq on July 6, 2003, "Vice President Cheney,
    defendant's immediate superior, expressed concerns to
    defendant regarding whether Mr. Wilson's trip was
    legitimate or whether it was in effect a junket set up
    by Mr. Wilson's wife," the papers said.

    After a 2002 CIA-sponsored trip to Africa, Wilson said
    he had concluded that Iraq did not have an agreement
    to acquire uranium yellowcake from Niger.

    Libby spoke to Miller on July 8, 2003, and
    Fitzgerald's filing identifies Cheney as being
    instrumental in having Libby speak again four days
    later to Miller as well as to Time magazine reporter
    Matt Cooper regarding Wilson. In all three
    conversations, Libby told the reporters about Wilson's
    wife, both Miller and Cooper have testified.

    Her CIA status was publicly disclosed by conservative
    columnist Robert Novak eight days after her husband
    accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar
    intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from
    weapons of mass destruction.

    Libby says he needs extensive classified files from
    the government to demonstrate that Plame's CIA
    connection was a peripheral matter that he never
    focused on, and that the role of Wilson's wife was a
    small piece in a building public controversy over the
    failure to find WMD in Iraq.

    Fitzgerald said in the new court filing that Libby's
    requests for information go too far and the prosecutor
    cited Libby's own statements to investigators in an
    attempt to limit the amount of information the
    government must turn over to Cheney's former chief of
    staff for his criminal defense.

    The court filing was first disclosed by The New York
    The WRIF is Online - The White River Film Festival -- And: All Kinds of Wednesday Stuff, No Nonsense

    Morning, all -- for a number of months now, a group of dedicated filmmakers, artists, writers, teachers, activists and film lovers (including yours truly) have been busy screening, selecting, and bringing to fruition the White River Junction, VT Independent Film Festival. As of today, the website is up and running --
  • WRIF White River Independent Film Festival Site
  • -- sporting writeups by yours truly.

    This festival brings a pretty amazing selection of films and filmmakers to the area the final weekend of this month. I won't be there (Marj and I will be elsewhere), but filmmakers like Nora Jacobson, Matt Bucy and many others will be -- including the directors, producers, and writers of a number of the films showcased in the festival. All the details await you at the website -- check it out, and if you've needed one more reason to come to White River Jct. other than the Center for Cartoon Studies, this may be it.

    I've a number favorites among the films, but the key one I brought to the table is Coke Sam's incredible "lost movie" Existo, which I'll talk about at length here later in the month. Here's my writeup, just to whet your appetite:

    EXISTO (THE FORBIDDEN MOVIE) (1999) This antic, inflamatory satire of the ongoing US culture wars is unlike any movie ever made. Fusing the anarchic impulses of John Waters (Existo is arguably a companion to Cecil B. DeMented -- and its superior in every way) and Trey Parker & Matt Stone (South Park, Team America, etc.), Existo lands as savvy and savagely funny a musical bullseye against mainstream values as any the Parker/Stone team have scored. In a not-too-distant future when art is outlawed by America’s fundamentalist Christian government, Existo (Bruce Arntson, who also co-scripted and scored the film) and Maxine (Jackie Welch) return to the underground guerilla performance art outpost of their glory days. Despite his addled brain and unbrideled libido (“Spin the Bishop!”), Existo rouses the group’s ‘art assaults’ on conformity & complacency even as an embedded ally of the repressive conservative gov’t undermines Existo’s resurrection.

    An outrageous Millennial ‘midnight movie’ musical from the Nashville-based creators behind the popular Ernest phenomenon of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Director Coke Sams was key to Ernest’s multimedia incarnations from the 1981 launch (via commercials & TV spots) to the breakthrough hit Ernest Goes to Camp (1987), helming Ernest Goes to School (1994) before moving on. Coke’s co-conspirators are veterans of the Ernest troupe, from brassy Jackie Welch to vet character actor Gailard Sartain (who debuted [on the big screen] as the Big Bopper in The Buddy Holly Story in 1978): Bruce Arntson created Existo for the popular TV show Hey Vern, It’s Ernest (1988), and the late Jim Varney (Ernest himself) appears in his final screen role as a diehard guerilla artists. Don’t let the Ernest connection mislead you into thinking Existo isn’t the sharp, subversive, hilarious cinematic political antitoxin it is. Nothing you have ever heard or seen will prepare you for -- EXISTO! [NOTE: Be sure to stay through the credits to enjoy the concluding musical number!]

    “If you have to go out and you see art, do not -- I repeat, do not -- try to interpret it yourself. Call 911 and let the Art Squad defuse it.” (- Gov’t PSA in EXISTO)


    Incredibly, the Amnesty International report issued this week on CIA "extraordinary rendition" practices and the ongoing US kidnapping and imprisonment of targetted 'detainees' hasn't galvanized much attention here in the US -- or so it seems. The increasing abuse of assumed Presidential "executive power" to incarcerate individuals sans due process of any kind on unchallengable, unquestionable premises and make people simply disappear for years on end should be setting off shockwaves to dwarf the recent public protests against pending immigration laws -- but we aren't seeing any such outrage.

    In the meantime, the UK is facing the issue in a far more responsible manner. Earlier this year, heated Parliamentary debate in the direct wake of the London subway bombings over whether suspects can be detained without formal charges for more than 14 days prompted intense discussion of the powers of the British police and government -- the very debate we in the US never, ever had. Now that we're seeing the Supreme Court refuse to hear a case involving a US citizen seized from a US airport to be imprisoned for years now without due process of any kind, it seems more significant than ever before that the international community is scrutinizing the abuses of the US "War on Terror". Britain's Defense Secretary recently suggested revision of the Geneva Conventions, setting standards for conduct during times of war (including the treatment of prisoners and protection of civilians and journalists, and treaty bans on torture, rape, mutilation, slavery, genocide, etc.) -- even 'faux' wars like our national war on a tactic, "The War on Terror." This is an ongoing story, but there's a decent summary online at
  • British Secretary Wants Geneva Convention Reviewed

  • More later today...