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Saturday, Jul. 12, 2003 - 6:16 a.m.

News Update - More Lies, More Atrocities

It is my weekend to work again, so I am going to leave you with some interesting articles to read. If anything interesting comes up over the weekend, I will update the site. Otherwise, I will be back in full-swing Sunday night or Monday morning.

Bush Finds a Fall Guy

Bush and Rice say CIA Cleared Bush's State of the Union Speech
by Tom Raum

ENTEBBE, Uganda - President Bush said Friday that intelligence services cleared his State of the Union speech, which included a now-discredited allegation that Iraq was seeking to buy nuclear material from Africa.

Bush's national security adviser specifically pointed to the CIA and said it had vetted the speech. If CIA Director George Tenet had any misgivings about that sentence in the president's speech, ''he did not make them known'' to Bush or his staff, said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. (full article)

Tenet takes blame for uranium claim

WASHINGTON, July 11 — CIA Director George Tenet said Friday that he was responsible for President Bush’s false allegation in his State of the Union address that Baghdad was trying to buy uranium in Africa, a key part of Bush’s argument for military action in Iraq. (full article)

The Wall of Cards Is Tumbling Down

Bush team united Iraq front unravels

The familiar drip, drip, drip of a brewing political scandal echoes through the power centers of Washington and London these days as the Bush administration and the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair are pelted daily with increasingly pointed questions about the case they made for going to war against Iraq. The admission that the president made an apparently false allegation against Iraq in his State of the Union address was supposed to help put the issue to rest. Instead, it reopened fissures inside the administration and in Blair’s government over the validity of their case for war. (full article)

Bush's Approval Rating Drops Sharply
Public Increasingly Concerned About Casualties in Iraq

By Richard Morin and Claudia Deane

Public support for President Bush has dropped sharply amid growing concerns about mounting U.S. military casualties and doubts whether the war with Iraq was worth fighting, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Bush's overall job approval rating dropped to 59 percent, down nine points in the past 18 days. That decline exactly mirrored the slide in public support for Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq, which now stands at 58 percent.

And for the first time, slightly more than half the country--52 percent--believes there has been an "unacceptable" level of U.S. casualties in Iraq, up eight points in less than three weeks. (full article)

Blair Aides Don't Expect to Find Iraqi Weapons, Reports Say

LONDON, July 10 — Senior officials in Prime Minister Tony Blair's government say they no longer believe weapons of mass destruction will be uncovered in Iraq, British news organizations reported today.

Correspondents from the BBC and Reuters who cover 10 Downing Street said that unidentified officials were putting forward the argument that the weapons had indeed existed but that they were dismantled or hidden beyond discovery before allied troops entered Iraq in March. ( full article)

Other Breaking News

by Congressman Ron Paul

The modern-day, limited-government movement has been co-opted. The conservatives have failed in their effort to shrink the size of government. There has not been, nor will there soon be, a conservative revolution in Washington. Political party control of the federal government has changed, but the inexorable growth in the size and scope of government has continued unabated. The liberal arguments for limited government in personal affairs and foreign military adventurism were never seriously considered as part of this revolution.

Since the change of the political party in charge has not made a difference, who’s really in charge? If the particular party in power makes little difference, whose policy is it that permits expanded government programs, increased spending, huge deficits, nation building and the pervasive invasion of our privacy, with fewer Fourth Amendment protections than ever before? (full article)

[note: I am including the next article in full because the Washington Post has already archived it and I had to pay for access. Wouldn't want others to have to pay to read THIS!]

Robertson Defends Liberia's President
Other Evangelical Leaders Disagree

Alan Cooperman Washington Post Staff Writer
July 10, 2003; Page A19

Charles Taylor, the Liberian president who has been indicted by an international court for crimes against humanity, has few remaining supporters in the United States. But one prominent American who has stuck with the West African leader is religious broadcaster and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson.

In recent broadcasts of his cable TV show "The 700 Club," watched by an estimated 1 million households, Robertson has defended Taylor as a fellow Baptist and Liberia's "freely elected" leader. The "horrible bloodbath" taking place in Liberia, he has repeatedly said, is the fault of the State Department.

"So we're undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country. And how dare the president of the United States say to the duly elected president of another country, 'You've got to step down,' " Robertson said to his viewers on Monday.

What Robertson, 73, has not discussed in these broadcasts is his financial interest in Liberia. In an interview yesterday, he said he has "written off in my own mind" an $8 million investment in a gold mining venture that he made four years ago under an agreement with Taylor's government.

Yet, he added: "Hope springs eternal. Once the dust has cleared on this thing, chances are there will be some investors from someplace who want to invest. If I could find some people to sell it to, I'd be more than delighted."

Other Baptist and evangelical Christian leaders said they do not share either Robertson's support for Taylor or his criticism of President Bush's call for the Liberian leader to go into exile. "I would say that Pat Robertson is way out on his own, in a leaking life raft, on this one," said Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy arm.

Allen Hertzke, a professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma and the author of a forthcoming book on evangelicals and human rights, said many religious conservatives "will be horrified" by Robertson's stance. "His comments really feed into the media critique of Christian conservatives, that they are not sophisticated, they don't care about others, all they care about are Christians around the world -- when in fact that is a caricature of the faith-based human rights movement," Hertzke said.

In his broadcasts, Robertson has portrayed the Liberian civil war as primarily a fight between Christians and Muslims. Serge Duss, director of public policy for the international Christian relief group World Vision, called that a gross oversimplification.

World Vision and other Christian organizations lobbied successfully this year for legislation banning the importation into the United States of diamonds from war-torn African countries. Taylor has been indicted by a United Nations-established tribunal for allegedly backing militias -- funded largely by the sale of diamonds -- that raped and maimed civilians during the civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Robertson said in a telephone call yesterday that the indictment "is nonsense and should be quashed."

"I have never met Taylor in my life. I don't know what he has done or hasn't done. I do know he was elected by the people, and he has maintained a relatively stable government in Liberia; and they observe the rule of law; they have a working legislature; they have courts. And though he may have certain dictatorial powers, so do most leaders in Africa," Robertson said.

Taylor seized power in Liberia by force in 1989 and was elected president in a 1997 vote that some observers charged was fraudulent. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other groups have condemned his human rights record.

Robertson agreed that Taylor has "become such a lightning rod at this point" that he should leave office, but in an orderly transition accompanied by the insertion of U.S. peacekeepers. "Frankly, the president's call for Taylor to step down immediately is not wise, because if Taylor leaves immediately, the country will descend into chaos," he said.

A staunch supporter of Bush, Robertson said he believes the president is getting bad advice from the State Department. In a "700 Club" broadcast June 26, he said the State Department "tried as hard as they can to destabilize Liberia and to bring about the very outcome we're seeing now."

"They had no endgame; they have no plan of what to do; they only wanted to destroy the sitting president and his government," he added. "Liberia has been a predominantly a Christian country. And the United States State Department is paving the way for the Muslims to take over Liberia."

Robertson said yesterday that his investment in the Liberian gold mining company Freedom Gold was intended to help pay for humanitarian and evangelical efforts in the country. One event he helped fund was a three-day rally, called Liberia for Jesus, in February 2002. Taylor declared a national holiday and, according to news reports on Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, prostrated himself on the stage, saying: "I am not your president. Jesus is!"

"There are people who say that's phony baloney, but I thought it was sincere," Robertson said. "He definitely has Christian sentiments, although you hear of all these rumors that he's done this or done that."

Some Extra Goodies

The Following are blog sites you may find interesting:

Turning Tables
A Soldier's Blog from Iraq

Letters From Baghdad
a young woman started this blog consisting of letters from her boyfriend who is in Baghdad

Where Is Raed?
Salam Pax's blog from Iraq

Ishtar Talking
A young woman's blog from Basra; Salam Pax translating

the War in Context
an interesting news source site dealing with War issues

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~Did You Miss These?~

Just a Reminder - Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2003
Ravyne Is Moving - Friday, Oct. 17, 2003
The Mission - Sunday, Oct. 12, 2003
Siege Heil - Thursday, Oct. 09, 2003
Litany Of Lies - Wednesday, Oct. 08, 2003

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