Bush Mulled Using Spyplane Painted In UN Colors To Provoke Iraq
In other news, a newly disclosed pre-war memo shows President Bush considered painting a US spyplane in the colors of the UN and flying it into Iraqi territory to provoke Saddam Hussein into war. The idea was discussed at a meeting held with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the White House on January 31st 2003 – well over a month before the US and Britain invaded Iraq. The memo also adds further credence to accusations the President was set on war regardless of UN authorization and weapons inspections. According to the memo, Bush said "the US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would: 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'.” The memo continues: “But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.'' The memo says Tony Blair agreed, but argued that "a second Security Council resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected, and international cover, including with the Arabs." The memo was first revealed in the book “Lawless World”, written by leading British human rights lawyer Philippe Sands.
Cheney, Libby Were Told Of Niger Doubts Before Plame Outing
Fitzgerald Says White House Has Deleted E-Mails From 2003
In related news, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating the outing of Plame’s identity, has revealed that several White House e-mails from around the time Plame was exposed have been erased. In a letter to Lewis Libby’s lawyers, Fitzgerald wrote: “We have learned that not all email of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system."
Bush To Ask Congress For $439 Billion Defense Budget
In other news, the Associated Press is reporting President Bush will ask Congress for a $439 billion defense budget next week -- a near 5 percent increase over this year. The total does not include the $120 billion dollars the Bush administration says it will spend on the ongoing military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Senate OKs $70B Tax Cut One Day After House Cuts Welfare, Health Funding
Meanwhile, the Senate passed a $70 billion dollar tax cut bill Thursday. The measure comes one day after the House sent President Bush a budget bill that slashes billions of dollars from health, welfare and education funding.
Ex-EPA Chief Criticized For Endangering Citizens Post-9/11
In other news, a federal judge blasted former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman Thursday for assuring Manhattan residents it was safe to return to their neighborhoods despite toxic air pollution shortly after the 9/11 attacks. U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts wrote: "No reasonable person would have thought that telling thousands of people that it was safe to return to lower Manhattan, while knowing that such return could pose long-term health risks and other dire consequences, was conduct sanctioned by our laws.” Judge Batts made the comments in a ruling allowing a class-action lawsuit against current and former EPA officials to proceed.
Venezuela Expels US Navy Attaché Over Alleged Spying
In Venezuela, a US navy attaché has been expelled for allegedly spying for the US government. President Hugo Chavez identified the attaché as Commander John Correa. Chavez accused Correa of setting the stage for a "Panama-type operation" – a reference to the 1989 US invasion that led to the arrest of Panama leader Manuel Noriega and thousands of deaths. The US government denied its military officials had engaged in espionage.
Rumsfeld Compares Chavez’s Election To Hitler’s
As Chavez was announcing the expulsion, two top US cabinet members were criticizing him in Washington. At a press luncheon, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: "You've got Chavez in Venezuela with a lot of oil money. He's a person who was elected legally just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally." On Capitol Hill, US National Intelligence Director John Negroponte warned against Chavez’s reelection, and said the Venezuelan leader is “seeking closer economic, military and diplomatic ties with Iran and North Korea."
World Can’t Wait Activist Interrupts Rumsfeld Speech
And at the same press event where Rumsfeld spoke, an anti-war activist interrupted his speech.
- World Can’t Wait’s Heather Hurwitz: "You have committed crimes against humanity and BushCommission.org and thousands are coming this weekend to drive you out of office, You and you whole administration. Step down Mr. Rumsfeld, Bush administration step down and take these programs with you. You are torturing people signing off on torture. It's happening. This world needs to wake up, stop this war, this criminal war."