Monday, April 16, 2007

Deleting Democracy?

I take no credit for today’s post. My friend Ken in California is responsible for the hard work and extensive research, the outcome of which reveals a history of the Bush Administration’s willful and systematic attempts to undermine the democratic process in this country.

Oh, by the way, down here in Texas our Legislature is hard at work trying to figure out how to suppress the voting rights of the poor, minorities and the elderly. LS

From Ken:


Two University of Minnesota professors have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats

American Progress Action


Bush's US Attorney Steven Biskupic just got a conviction of a Wisconsin state employee named Georgia Thompson. The same publication as above notes that.

Last week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Thompson was wrongly convicted of making sure a state travel contract went to a firm linked to Gov. Jim Doyle's re-election campaign and freed her from an Illinois prison. The federal judges, acting with "unusual speed," "assailed the government's case" and said that Biskupic's evidence was "beyond thin."

Josh Marshall's video narrative of this nasty tale can be found at:
Talking Points Memo

Finally, Ken also found this extraordinary piece on written by Mr. Glenn Greenwald. Mr. Greenwald documents the Bush Administration’s historic trail of losing, destroying and deleting official documents since 2000. LS

Such a sad thing. Every time the GOP and the Bush administration could exonerate themselves from all that criminality we've come to expect from them, the documentation that would prove their innocence --- vanishes like magic!! –K

Source: 4/12/07. Mr. Glenn Greenwald “The Bush administration's terrible luck with finding documents”


I feel -- in this vaguely intuitive sort of way -- as though there is some kind of a pattern buried within this set of facts, but as much as I search, I just can't quite figure out what it might be:

New York Times.,

Political advisers to President Bush may have improperly used their Republican National Committee e-mail accounts to conduct official government business, and some communications that are required to be preserved under federal law may be lost as a result, White House officials said Wednesday. . .
As a result, Mr. Stanzel said, "some official e-mails have potentially been lost." He said Mr. Bush had told the White House counsel's office "to do everything practical to retrieve potentially lost messages."

The Politico, March 24, 2007:

In DOJ documents that were publicly posted by the House Judiciary Committee, there is a gap from mid-November to early December in e-mails and other memos, which was a critical period as the White House and Justice Department reviewed, then approved, which U.S. attorneys would be fired while also developing a political and communications strategy for countering any fallout from the firings.

Newsweek, February 28, 2007:

A federal judge ruled today that suspected Al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla is mentally competent. . . . But the ruling by U.S. Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami leaves open what may be more intriguing questions than those surrounding the defendant's mental health: what happened to a crucial video recording of Padilla being interrogated in a U.S. military brig that has mysteriously disappeared?

The disclosure that the Pentagon had lost a potentially important piece of evidence in one of the U.S. government's highest-profile terrorism cases was met with claims of incredulity by some defense lawyers and human-rights groups monitoring the case. "This is the kind of thing you hear when you're litigating cases in Egypt or Morocco or Karachi," said John Sifton, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch, one of a number of groups that has criticized the U.S. government's treatment of Padilla. "It is simply not credible that they would have lost this tape. The administration has shown repeatedly they are more interested in covering up abuses than getting to the bottom of whether people were abused."

Alicia Valle, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami, said in an e-mail to NEWSWEEK that the missing DVD was "of the last interrogation of Padilla while in military custody." She further added that a lawyer for DIA had advised the court "that an exhaustive search was conducted but the [DVD] could not be located."

NPR, June 24, 2004:

Key documents are missing from the batch of newly declassified documents the White House released this week on its policies on torture and the treatment of prisoners, critics say. Absent are any memos to and from the FBI and CIA and any documents dated after April 2003. No documents address the State Department's concern over the Bush administration's interpretation of the Geneva Conventions.

USA Today, May 24, 2004:

The Pentagon sought Sunday to explain why some 2,000 pages were missing from a congressional copy of a classified report detailing the alleged acts of abuse by soldiers against Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison. . . . .
[Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita] was responding to a Time magazine report Sunday that about 2,000 of the report's 6,000 pages submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee were missing. The report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba consists of a declassified summary and about 6,000 pages of classified annexes, including statements from witnesses, prison guards and military intelligence officials.

Associated Press, September 5, 2004:

Documents that should have been written to explain gaps in President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service are missing from the military records released about his service in 1972 and 1973, according to regulations and outside experts.
For example, Air National Guard regulations at the time required commanders to write an investigative report for the Air Force when Bush missed his annual medical exam in 1972. The regulations also required commanders to confirm in writing that Bush received counseling after missing five months of drills.

No such records have been made public and the government told The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that it has released all records it can find.

And that is to say nothing of all of the extraordinary and unprecedented steps taken by the administration to justify the concealment of documents and other information -- efforts which, when successful, have made it unnecessary to claim that the documents were lost. But don't worry; it's all to protect us, all for our own good. There is simply no reason for us to know what our Leaders are doing.

UPDATE: Newsweek, March 1, 2006:

[Federal Emergency Management Agency Michael] Brown's comments about the president surfaced in a transcript of an Aug. 29, 2005, videoconference call produced by Bush administration officials today after they initially told Congress that no such document existed. . . .

Administration and congressional officials said that the administration provided congressional investigators earlier this year with official transcripts of the daily noon FEMA conference calls conducted before, during and after Katrina. But the administration initially told Congress that the transcript for the Aug. 29 call -- the call congressional investigators were most curious about, given that it occurred as the hurricane was actually battering the Gulf Coast—did not exist, with officials initially telling Capitol Hill that someone at FEMA or Homeland Security forgot to push the button on a tape recorder.
"Everybody has been looking for that transcript," former FEMA chief Michael Brown said Wednesday.

A White House official unexpectedly e-mailed the transcript to NEWSWEEK earlier today Wednesday morning -- initially without explaining that it was the missing transcript. Two officials familiar with congressional investigations said that the document was turned over to Capitol Hill investigators Tuesday night. Administration officials told both Congress and NEWSWEEK that FEMA officials in Atlanta had taped the Aug. 29 conference call by aiming a video camera at a TV screen rather than following the usual recording procedure. The videotape was subsequently discovered and transcribed.

While the newly discovered transcript does provide new evidence of initial presidential engagement in the Katrina crisis and of conflicting information about the state of New Orleans levees on Aug. 29, it also exposes some contradictions in previous administration explanations about the role of the White House and top officials in handling the crisis.

I suppose the defense for Bush followers who want to claim that all of this is completely innocent is "extreme ineptitude."

The entire article can be read on the

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