Want to End the War? Ask for Investigations!
Sun Jan 14, 2007 02:02

Want to End the War? Ask for Investigations!
Submitted by davidswanson on Sat, 2006-11-18 01:20.

Here's a one-page info sheet to use in lobbying your Congress Member and Senators.

Room and Phone Numbers for 110th Congress

More about Congress.

Here's more information:

Public awareness of the lies that led to the war and the crimes committed during the war helps build public demand for the troops to come home. Not every committee in Congress can work fulltime on simply ending the war: a legislative process that must be pursued but which will be uphill and subject to veto or signing statement. Many committees in the House and Senate, without taking any energy away from ending the war, can finally conduct the investigations that have gone undone for 6 years, exposing evidence that could very well lead to criminal, civil, or political accountability, as well as pressure to end the war and precedent to help prevent the next war.

Polls: majority of public wants investigation of war lies.

Ask your Representative and Senators to conduct investigations.

Our top priorities for Congressional investigations:
1-Misuse of intelligence leading up to the war.
2-Waste, fraud, misuse of funds, including in launching the war in secret, including in construction of permanent bases
3-War crimes, extraordinary rendition, torture

Nancy Pelosi has announced the creation of a Select Intelligence Oversight Panel composed of members of the House Intelligence and Appropriations committees and working within the House Appropriations Committee to oversee spending on intelligence.

Other committees:


Intelligence - Silvestre Reyes
Pre-war and post-war intelligence on WMD and Iraq-Al Qaeda links. We need an investigation of the Bush Administration's misleading us into the war and continuing to lie after the invasion. Such an investigation should seek documents including:
• the complete 2002 National Intelligence Estimate;
• the records of National Security Council meetings on Jan. 30, Feb. 1, and March 16, 2001;
• the records of Cheney's energy meetings;
• the CIA's Senior Executive Memorandum of January 12, 2002 on Hussein Kamel;
• the records of Bush's late July, 2002, budget discussions on Iraq with Nicholas Calio;
• the records of the July 20, 2002, U.S.-U.K. intelligence conference at CIA headquarters;
• the October, 2002, one-page NIE summary described by Murray Waas and discussing aluminum tubes;
• the January, 2003, National Intelligence Council memo on Niger described by the Washington Post;
• the records of CIA plans to create pretext for war: DB/Anabasis, authorized by Bush on Feb. 16, 2002;
• the U.S. records of the January 31, 2003, Bush-Blair meeting at the White House;
• the British and possible U.S. records of early 2003 conversations between Jack Straw and Colin Powell described by Philippe Sands;
• the complaint filed by a CIA agent in Doe v. Goss claiming he'd been punished for providing unwelcome intelligence;
• the records of the White House Iraq Group's work of marketing the war to the American public;
• the memo in which Bush proposes bombing al Jazeera.

Judiciary - John Conyers
Extraordinary rendition and torture (unless Intelligence is doing this)

Appropriations - David Obey
Misappropriation of funds to begin the war in Iraq prior to Congressional approval

Subcommittee - John Murtha
All of our priority investigations (unless being done elsewhere)

Government Reform - Henry Waxman
Waste and fraud in war appropriations

Government Reform Subcommittee on Domestic Affairs - Dennis Kucinich

Armed Services - Ike Skelton
Permanent bases and war crimes, including the use of illegal weapons and the targeting of civilians, journalists, and hospitals.

Armed Services SubCommittee on Terrorism - Marty Meehan
SubCommittee on Oversight and Investigations - possibly Marty Meehan
Permanent bases and war crimes, including the use of illegal weapons and the targeting of civilians, journalists, and hospitals.

Veteran's Affairs - Bob Filner
Depleted uranium (if not being done elsewhere)


Intelligence - John Rockefeller
Same as House Intelligence above.

Judiciary - Pat Leahy
Extraordinary rendition and torture (unless Intelligence or Armed Services is doing this)
Waste and fraud in war appropriations (unless being done elsewhere)

Appropriations - Robert Byrd
Misappropriation of funds to prepare for Iraq invasion
Waste and fraud in war appropriations (unless other Senate committees are doing this and/or Waxman is taking lead)

Armed Services - Carl Levin
Extraordinary rendition and torture
Permanent bases
War crimes, including the use of illegal weapons and the targeting of civilians, journalists, and hospitals.
Office of Special Plans (unless Intelligence is doing this)
All of our priority investigations (unless being done elsewhere)
Office of Special Plans (unless Intelligence is doing this)



When discussing investigations of Iraq during early January meetings with Congress, these should be our goals. They're simple for now; things will become more complicated as investigations get started.

1. Learn current thinking of House leadership and committee chairs

As far as anyone can determine, Pelosi, Reid and the committee chairs do want to conduct serious investigations on Iraq. But to date they've made few concrete plans on how to do so—frustrating but understandable given that they have their hands full with the transition and their 100 hours agenda.

However, Democrats expect this to change soon, with Pelosi and Reid setting priorities this month. During the meetings we should ask these questions:

• Do they plan to investigate every aspect of Iraq? Most importantly, will they examine not just the conduct of the war but the lead-up to war, including the misuse of intelligence?

• Most issues could fall under the jurisdiction of several committees. Have they made any decisions on how to structure investigations? (E.g., subcommittees of the House International Relations Committee and the House Armed Services Committee plan to conduct joint hearings on the training of Iraqi troops.) How will the House and Senate coordinate their actions?

2. Establish relationships with the relevant staff

The investigations will be ongoing throughout 2007 and into 2008. We want to lay the groundwork for working with the relevant staff over the long term. We should:

• Make clear our interest in complete, serious investigations that go wherever the evidence leads. Make sure the staff is aware that polling over the past several years, up to and including a few weeks ago, has shown a majority of Americans want such investigations on Iraq, including on the pre-war intelligence.

• If members sit on relevant committees (see below), learn who on the committee staff and member staff can be our contact person going forward; just one person in each office is enough for now.

• Emphasize our willingness to support what they're doing. Staff members are overwhelmed with responsibilities. We should be clear that we're eager to do whatever makes it easier for them to conduct real investigations. This includes media activism (getting the word out in their districts and nationally about what they're doing) and anything else that's helpful.


Note that chairs seem to be decided, but for new members committee assignments have not all been made.


Intelligence; Silvestre Reyes

Judiciary; John Conyers

Appropriations; David Obey
Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense; John Murtha

Government Reform; Henry Waxman
Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security Emerging Threats and International Relations; Dennis Kucinich

Armed Services; Ike Skelton
Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee; Marty Meehan

Veteran's Affairs; Bob Filner


Intelligence; John Rockefeller

Judiciary; Pat Leahy

Appropriations; Robert Byrd

Armed Services; Carl Levin


1. Misuse of intelligence before and during war

The story of previous investigations into prewar intelligence is complicated but important to understand when discussing it with Hill staff.

The Bush administration and House and Senate Republicans have consistently stonewalled any serious investigation into the administration's prewar claims. It's true that two reports have been issued: one in June, 2004, by the Senate Intelligence Committee under Republican Senator Pat Roberts, and one in March, 2005, by the "WMD Commission" appointed by Bush. Both investigations concluded the administration had not pressured the intelligence agencies. Republicans (and much of the media) have repeatedly claimed the administration has thereby been exonerated.

However, both reports were specifically designed to exclude the most important question: did the administration honestly present in public what they were being told by the intelligence agencies in private? As the WMD Commission itself put it, Bush "did not authorize us to investigate how policymakers used the intelligence they received from the Intelligence Community."

Thus, almost four years since the war began—and despite the fact polls show a continuing desire for it on the part of Americans—there has been no genuine investigation into what happened.

It's unclear how the Democrats now plan to proceed. Pat Roberts promised in early 2004 that the Senate Intelligence Committee would release a so-called "Phase II" report that investigated the administration's claims. This never happened. Harry Reid has said the Senate Intelligence Committee, now chaired by Jay Rockefeller, will complete Phase II.

We should urge the Democrats to do one of two things. They should either (1) make Phase II the focus of a broad, deep investigation, using the subpoena power they now possess to delve into the administration's malfeasance; or (2) make Phase II part of a larger investigation, perhaps by both the House and Senate in collaboration. What they should be strongly encouraged to avoid is simply issuing the Phase II report quickly, based on the investigation carried out while the Republicans were in power. Republicans would then portray this as the final word on the subject, and the stonewall would be complete.

Even Democratic staffers may not be aware of the extent to which Bush officials lied about they knew; as bad as the administration has looked in most media portrayals, the truth is certainly much worse. Among the many issues that any real investigation would examine are:

• Statements by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and the CIA that Hussein Kamel, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, said Iraq still had WMD after he defected in 1995. In fact, Kamel said Iraq had nothing.
• Extensive evidence of pressure on intelligence agencies, including a lawsuit filed by a CIA agent claiming he'd been punished for providing unwelcome intelligence on Iraq
• The one-page National Intelligence Summary prepared for Bush, proving Bush knew about the internal dispute about whether intercepted aluminum tubes actually were intended for a nuclear program
• The many direct contradictions between Powell's U.N. testimony and what he was told by the State Department intelligence staff—including Powell's fabrication of evidence
• Government plans to create a pretext for war, including the CIA's operation DB/Anabasis

2. Waste, fraud, and misuse of funds, including in launching the war in secret and construction of permanent bases

Waste and fraud in Iraq is an enormous subject. In the House the chairmen of the Appropriations Committee (David Obey), Government Reform (Henry Waxman) and Armed Services (Ike Skelton) have all indicated they want to investigate what's happened. Subcommittee chairman such as Murtha have said the same.

For the most part this is a politically appealing subject for Democrats, and it's likely they'll move forward with lots of energy. However, there are some important areas that are more sensitive and they may need encouragement to go after. These include:

• Bush's misuse of over $2 billion in the summer of 2002 to prepare for the invasion of Iraq. First reported in Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack and later confirmed by the Congressional Research Service, Bush took money appropriated by Congress for Afghanistan and other programs and—with no Congressional notification—used it to build airfields in Qatar, etc. This is a blatant violation of Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution ("No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law") and arguably an impeachable offense if the Democrats were so inclined.

• Permanent bases. In October of 2006, both houses of Congress passed a bill with an amendment forbidding the use of funds to continue building permanent bases in Iraq. However, according to the most recent reporting (in the American Prospect), the Army is building four huge super bases in different regions of Iraq, with "absolutely no public scrutiny." The Pentagon plans to occupy the bases indefinitely, and is building an extensive communication system to link them to each other and to bases in Qatar and Afghanistan. When were these bases first approved? Why are they still being built illegally?

• Iraq's oil. The recent Iraq Study Group report called on the administration to "assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise." In other words, Iraq's oil would be privatized—returning the country's main industry to the state in which it existed before it was nationalized in 1972. Until then it had been controlled by Shell, Mobil, Standard Oil and British Petroleum.

3. War crimes, extraordinary rendition, torture

Investigations into extraordinary rendition and torture—in Iraq and elsewhere—will likely be led by Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy has already indicated he's willing to do what's necessary to investigate these issues, including subpoenaing administration records. In particular Leahy plans to procure a 2002 memo written by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, believed to list approved interrogation techniques.

It's less clear who if anyone will push for investigations into war crimes conducted in Iraq. The Bush administration has been concerned since 9/11 that administration officials might be at risk of prosecution under the 1996 U.S. War Crimes Act. An early 2002 memo by Alberto Gonzales recommended that Bush take steps to prevent this, such as declaring that members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban were not covered by the Geneva Conventions. These strategies appear to have been used in Iraq as well, with Iraqis reportedly moved out of the country in secret without notifying the Red Cross.

Actions such as these might be investigated by the Judiciary Committee as part of its examination of rendition and torture. Meanwhile, other possible war crimes—such as the Haditha massacre—would likely fall under the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate. Still others, such as the use of depleted uranium, could plausibly be investigated by many committees (including Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs), so that if one committee declines to examine what occurred, others may be persuaded to do so.

This, in addition to the clear political sensitivity of anything involving war crimes, means it's difficult to predict how Congress will handle this tangle of issues. We'll have to press them to learn what they're willing to focus on. We want to see investigations into the targeting of civilians and hospitals, ambulances and journalists, the use of cluster bombs, napalm, DU, and other weapons.
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Yes, We need investigation
Submitted by sammy13 on Sat, 2006-11-18 05:56.

Hossam Shaltout
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