I hope for a Merry Fitzmas; a peace vigil on the bridge

I'll try to make it out to the peace vigil on the Lake Street bridge, tonight at 7 PM. This seems like a gratifying moment to the anti-war, anti-Bush set, but it's no so fucking pleasant if your family or friends are over there, or injured, or dead. This is a hell of a lot worse than Watergate.

LibertyThink (because who else will encourage cognitive liberty in an age of statist propaganda?):

On the 12th day of Fitzmas Fitzgerald gave to me...

Twelve traitors hanging, eleven warrants serving, ten resignations, nine Bushbots spinning, eight gays a-outing, seven rats a-squealing, six spooks a-spying, five indictments, four neo-cons, three high crimes, two Plame leaks and one heroic grand jury


CBS’ JOHN ROBERTS: Lawyers familiar with the case think Wednesday is when special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will make known his decision, and that there will be indictments. Supporters say Rove and the vice president’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, are in legal jeopardy. But they insisted today the two are secondary players, that it was an unidentified Mr. X who actually gave the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame to reporters. Fitzgerald knows who Mr. X is, they say, and if he isn’t indicted, there’s no way Rove or Libby should be. But charges may not focus on the leak at all. Obstruction of justice or perjury are real possibilities. Did Rove or Libby change statements made under oath? Did they deliberately leave critical facts out of their testimony or did they honestly forget? Some Republicans urged Rove to step down if indicted. Not a happy prospect for president Bush.

Any guesses on the identity of Mr. X?

UPDATE: This bit from the CBS segment is also interesting –

SCHIEFFER: John, I am very interested in Mr. X. Is there any clue or hint as to whether he be - maybe someone who outranks Libby and Rove or would he be a lower-ranking official?

ROBERTS: The best guess is that Mr. X, even though his name is not known and some people are just speculating on who he might be or she might be, is somebody who is actually outside the White House, and in that case would be of a lower rank that both Rove and Libby.

It has been a long time coming to this point -- a great many people have been waiting to see if all the efforts to expose this monstrous thing will pay off. It gets down to that murky intersection of policy, politics and intelligence work. I'm a young guy so I haven't seen that many scandals go down in Washington, but this one has had all the elements slowly cooking for a long time. I don't really know what I can add to the cacophony of leaks and counterleaks, artfully constructed blogger timelines, posturing Washington establishment liberals and shrieking neo-cons, bemoaning this sad, sad 'criminalization of politics.' But I'll probably try. Even Alec Baldwin is on the train these days.

Well guys, you shouldn't have invaded that country based on fake intelligence, and you shouldn't have broken the law to crush honest people that tried to stand against the lies. And also you shouldn't have let Ahmed Chalabi get away with selling so many national secrets to Iran.

Paralleling the politicial scandal, corruption runs throughout the military system now. The Abu Ghraib Brigadier General Janis Karpinski gave a weird interview with Alex Jones in which she alleged that orders for torture came down from the top, with teams of private contractors working under their own command in Abu Ghraib. She believes that she's been made the Fall Guy in the scandal, and she doesn't intend to shut up about it.

Such a situation illustrates why the Bush Administration was never able to purge any of these incompetent neo-cons, despite their continuous and ever-expanding mistakes about the war. To cast any of them out (say, Wurmser or Hannah, for example), they would publicly turn on the Administration, exposing the whole rotten core, the once-esoteric truth that this war was sold on nothing but a bunch of hustled lies. If they were to sing about the Office of Special Plans and the White House Iraq Group, like Karpinsky wants to sing about super-torture now, it would have shattered the whole artificial mythos of the war.

Fortunately, we happened to get a special prosecutor willing to shake them loose by force.

It's widely expected that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald will issue indictments for Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, at a minimum, for their roles in the Valerie Plame case and subsequent shady cover-up. The LA Times reported that he is still sifting through Rove's role in this. But the Italians are definitely getting tangled up now, as well:

As anticipation swirled in Washington of potential indictments — and what it would mean for a Bush administration already beset by low approval ratings, the Iraq war and an embattled Supreme Court nomination — a related controversy was brewing in Italy over how the Niger allegations made their way into the intelligence stream.

Italian parliamentary officials announced Tuesday that the head of Italy's military secret service, the SISMI intelligence agency, would be questioned next month over allegations that his agency gave the disputed documents to the United States and Britain, according to an Associated Press report. A spokeswoman said Nicolo Pollari, the agency director, asked to be questioned after reports this week in Italy's La Republica newspaper claiming that SISMI sent the CIA and U.S. and British officials information that it knew to be forged.

The newspaper reported that Pollari met at the White House on Sept. 9, 2002 with then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. The Niger claims surfaced shortly thereafter. A spokesman for Hadley, now the national security advisor, confirmed that the meeting took place, but declined to say what was discussed.

For more on the Italian angle coming out yesterday, see these English translations, which talk about the Office of Special Plans, Michael Ledeen and the whole bit! (Parts 1 and 2) (some more fun background on Michael Ledeen from DailyKos diarist Pen)

But if the case branches further into the actual forgeries themselves, it's possible that an entire pillar of pro-war ideology will be vaporized as the American public learns what some of us sensed a long time ago -- that the war was fundamentally a fraud perpetrated on the American public, using the most shameless methods of disinformation and propaganda -- psychological warfare, of a sort -- against our country. Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com said that someone from the CIA let him know that Fitzgerald was on the Italian track:

Even as the FBI was following the trail of the forgers, the Italians were looking into the matter from their end. A parliamentary committee was charged with investigating, and they issued a heavily redacted report: now, I am told by a former CIA operations officer, the report has aroused some interest on this side of the Atlantic. According to a source in the Italian embassy, Patrick J. "Bulldog" Fitzgerald asked for and "has finally been given a full copy of the Italian parliamentary oversight report on the forged Niger uranium document," the former CIA officer tells me:

"Previous versions of the report were redacted and had all the names removed, though it was possible to guess who was involved. This version names Michael Ledeen as the conduit for the report and indicates that former CIA officers Duane Clarridge and Alan Wolf were the principal forgers. All three had business interests with Chalabi."

... my source tells me that "Fitzgerald asked the Italians if he could share the report with Paul McNulty," the prosecutor in the AIPAC case.

.... Before Fitzgerald is done, we'll see the warlords of Washington hauled before a court of the people. We'll hear the whole sordid story of how a band of exiles, at least two foreign intelligence agencies, and a cabal of neoconservatives inside the Pentagon and the vice president's office bamboozled Congress and the American people into going to war. As the indictments come down, so will the elaborate narrative so carefully constructed by the War Party in the run-up to war be exposed as a tissue of fabrication, forgery, and fraud.

Cheney was certainly at the core of it, and the Times article on Tuesday, "Cheney Told Aide of CIA Officer, Lawyers Report," certainly has damaged him (lots of commentary on this -- although why was he told in the first place?). Cheney's actions to prop up the constructed nuclear threat have been well-documented by now (I'd recommend IPS's Jim Lobe's work on the Cheney Nuclear Drumbeat as a good place to start). He has certainly now been caught in lies about whether he knew Wilson at all.

KRT: "CIA leak illustrates selective use of intelligence on Iraq". Newsweek: "Prelude to a leak." The Raw Story | Cheney aide passed Plame's name to Libby, Hadley, those close to leak investigation say.

A roundup: There is pretty much an infinite vortex of noise right now, so much spin that the world is getting wobbly. Or maybe they're just all on acid. Either way, here I will put some bits that reflect a certain angle of things. Eh. Who even knows where the bar is anymore?

Arianna summarizes how it's a worse Gate than Watergate. Her little icon pisses me off.

Steve Clemons says:

Indictments Coming Tomorrow; Targets Received Letters Today

An uber-insider source has just reported the following to TWN (since confirmed by another independent source):

1. 1-5 indictments are being issued. The source feels that it will be towards the higher end.

2. The targets of indictment have already received their letters.

3. The indictments will be sealed indictments and "filed" tomorrow.

4. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday.

The shoe is dropping.

There were very harsh words from one of Colin Powell's former aides at the State Department, Lawrence Wilkerson, who finally came around to call out what he called the 'cabal':

In President Bush's first term, some of the most important decisions about U.S. national security -- including vital decisions about postwar Iraq -- were made by a secretive, little-known cabal. It was made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

When I first discussed this group in a speech last week at the New America Foundation in Washington, my comments caused a significant stir because I had been chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell between 2002 and 2005.

But it's absolutely true. I believe that the decisions of this cabal were sometimes made with the full and witting support of the president and sometimes with something less. More often than not, then-national security advisor Condoleezza Rice was simply steamrolled by this cabal.

Its insular and secret workings were efficient and swift — not unlike the decision-making one would associate more with a dictatorship than a democracy. This furtive process was camouflaged neatly by the dysfunction and inefficiency of the formal decision-making process, where decisions, if they were reached at all, had to wend their way through the bureaucracy, with its dissenters, obstructionists and "guardians of the turf."

But the secret process was ultimately a failure. It produced a series of disastrous decisions and virtually ensured that the agencies charged with implementing them would not or could not execute them well.

Although of course others say "where the hell were you guys like a year ago?!" There has been a back-and-forth between Miller and Keller. Niall Ferguson comments that it's going to be a Hurricane in DC. Newsweek has finally gotten around to telling its part of the real story.

Firedoglake is just having a hell of a time. Let's note the classic Mother Jones piece "The Lie Factory" from January 2004. Turns out they were pretty much right. This graphic was sweet too.

Combat boots Miller. What a strange figure.

Well I've got my popcorn and my Summit Oktoberfest. Come tomorrow, we shall toast the Beginning of the End of the Empire. And for that, I can finally sleep soundly, because we might just finally turn the corner.

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