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Those Missing Taguba Pages

More Dirty Tricks in TortureGate

by KURT NIMMO

It sure is curious how documents entering the Bush Machine exit with blank pages. It happened with Iraq’s 11,800-page dossier on weapons and now it has happened again with the report on prison abuse produced by Major General Antonio M. Taguba.

"The copy [the Senate Armed Services Committee] got after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s testimony on May 7 was a thick document with 106 annexes, and it was quickly arranged into separate binders. Only later did the committee stack up all the pages, compare them with a ream of 6,000 blank pages and decide that at least 2,000 pages were missing," reports Time Magazine.

If indeed the Bushites filched the pages it would hardly be surprising or unusual. This is a criminal administration at ease with deception and thievery. Lies, dirty tricks, and theft are their modus operandi — from the 2000 election onward.

Obviously, the pages in question are not missing because they contain embarrassing nudie shots of the Bush twins. The pages are missing because there is ample evidence of Bush administration complicity in the torture of Iraqi detainees.

"Interviews and government documents obtained by The New Yorker and Newsweek show that the very highest levels of the Bush administration — including President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld — set up programs designed to extract more information out of detainees by circumventing international laws banning torture. Moreover, they were fully conscious that in doing so they were violating US and international law and leaving themselves open to prosecution for war crimes," writes Alex Lefebvre.

Seymour Hersh’s article The Gray Zone reveals how the Bushites set up torture mills after September 11, 2001. From the very outset of the so-called war on terror the Bush administration and the Pentagon neocons have conspired to violate international law.

"If the government is not handed over to the Iraqis, if Osama Bin Laden is not arrested and if torture photos keep coming in, Bush will lose the election," predicts Joseph Napolitan, a former political adviser to John F. Kennedy.

Napolitan would be correct under normal conditions. However, since Bush stole the 2000 election, conditions have been anything but normal. Is it outrageous to believe Bush will steal it again or contrive a situation where the American people believe they have no choice but to hand him the election? Bush’s only option may be to demand a rally.

"Even though Bush II will lose the popular vote in the US presidential election of 2004, his electoral college victory seems assured. With Republican party governors firmly in charge of Florida, California, Texas and New York, and supported by a whopping Bush campaign war chest approaching $200 million, dubious electronic voting schemes courtesy of Diebold, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors (<http://www.blackboxvoting.com>), it seems certain that Bush will make it back to the Oval Office through the back door that is the Electoral College," writes John Stanton. "And if not the Electoral College then by benefit of a rebel attack on US soil which kills thousands of Americans and leads to the suspension of the US Constitution."

Stanton’s mention of a "rebel attack" on the US during or prior to the election is not the fictional meandering of a conspiracy theorist. Condi Rice talked about just such a possibility recently. "I think that we do have to take very seriously the thought that the terrorists might have learned, we hope, the wrong lesson from Spain," Rice told Fox News Sunday. And then there is the "nightmare scenario" floated by the White House. "We assume an attack will happen leading up to the election," a senior official told US News & World Report.

David Rothkopf, former Clintonite, made similar observations. "Recently, I co-chaired a meeting hosted by CNBC of more than 200 senior business and government executives, many of whom are specialists in security and terrorism related issues," Rothkopf wrote in a Washington Post op-ed piece. "Almost three-quarters of them said it was likely the United States would see a major terrorist strike before the end of 2004."

Bush and Crew believe the Taguba report is little more than a troublesome public relations problem. It will not be allowed to get in the way of the neocon plan to attack the Arab Middle East and cripple Islam. Four more years will give the Pentagon neocons time to set up bases in Iraq — these "enduring camps" are in the process of construction (as Christine Spolar wrote the Chicago Tribune) — and devise pretexts to invade Syria and Iran.

"Pentagon hardliners are drawing up plans to invade Iran once Iraq and its oil are ‘liberated.’ They hope civil war will erupt in Iran, which is riven by bitterly hostile factions, after which a <pro-U.S>. regime will take power. If this does not occur, then Iraq-based U.S. forces will be ideally positioned to attack Iran. Or, they could just as well move west and invade Syria, another of Israel’s most bitter enemies," Eric Margolis wrote in November, 2002. "Israel’s Likudniks thirst for revenge against Syria — and also Iran — for supporting Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, which drove Israeli forces from Lebanon."

None of this should be particularly surprising. It’s all spelled out in A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, written by Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, Jonathan Torop, David Wurmser and Meyrav Wurmser way back in 1996 for then-incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "It provides an early window into some of the current administration’s thinking. For one, it predicted that toppling the Hussein regime could be the beginning of a larger rollback of autocratic, terrorist-supporting states such as Syria and Iran, blamed for supporting Hezbollah guerrillas operating in southern Lebanon and accused of terrorism against Israel and the United States," reported the Boston Globe last August.

But it’s not simply Hezbollah or the mullahs in Iran. It’s the whole neoliberal global game plan — or rather the neocon take on it — that’s at stake if Bush is shown the door in November.

Team Bush will do whatever it takes to get Dubya reinstalled in the White House, even if it means the installation process — some of us still refer to it as democracy — is circumvented entirely. Treason concerns them little.

As Joe Nichols writes in Asia Times Online, the central issues beyond Israeli dominance in the Middle East are "oil, the prospects for privatizing the region, derailing any possibilities for a common currency among Arab nations, the position of the dollar in petroleum markets and for the central reserves in Asia, and the balance of trade between the US and the nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries." These issues are so important to our rulers they will not allow an election to get in the way.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon rolled out glib excuses for the crucial pages missing from the Taguba report. "If there is some shortfall in what was provided, it was an oversight," explained Pentagon spokesman Larry Dirita.

Sure it was, Larry. And so was the bogus report that Saddam had acquired uranium from Niger, a crudely fabricated lie Bush pawned off on the United Nations and the world in order to invade Iraq and kill 10,000 innocent civilians. Bush has amassed a pile of lies as of yet unanswered for — the aluminum tubes, the WMD trailers, the fictious links between al-Qaeda and Saddam, misrepresentations concerning weapons inspections and the International Atomic Energy report alleging that Iraq was "six months away" from developing a nuclear weapon. All clear-cut lies. Is there any reason to believe the curious disappearance of pages from the Taguba will be any different? Is it foolish to believe the election is so hallowed Karl Rove and his dirty tricksters will not subvert it, especially now that Bush is running neck and neck with that other neolib, John Kerry?

Is it possible the Bush neocons in the Pentagon will stage a terrorist attack as the election approaches, or take advantage of a terrorist "event" in order to steal the election?

Considering the pathological lies and dirty tricks of this administration — lies and dirty tricks resulting in war crimes and arrogant disregard for international law — a "nightmare scenario" cannot be ruled out.

In fact, as continuous scandals and evidence of misdeeds pile up on Bush’s doorstep — and as an inevitable result he falls behind in the polls — the American people should expect nothing less than dirty tricks.

Question is, will they sheepishly accept it?

Or will enough finally be enough?

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/blogger.html . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books.

He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com