"On Capitol Hill, the House Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas to four of the eight US attorneys who lost their jobs in a wave of dismissals from the Bush administration. The subpoenas come as part of an investigation into whether the attorneys were forced out for political reasons. The House move marks the Democrats’ first major use of their new subpoena authority. The four prosecutors have been called to appear before a hearing next Tuesday."
Prosecutors: Padilla Interrogation Video Lost
Meanwhile there is more news from the Jose Padilla hearings. Military prosecutors are claiming a video recording of Padilla’s last interrogation at a U.S. Navy brig in South Carolina -- has been lost. Defense lawyers had requested the video in an effort to prove Padilla’s harsh treatment and confinement has helped cause serious psychological damage making him unfit for trial. A judge rejected the defense argument on Wednesday. A trial is set to begin in two weeks.
* nyt ed:
"We would like to believe that the Bush administration has finally figured out how dangerous and counterproductive it is to hype intelligence — and that that’s why officials are admitting they’re not sure North Korea ever got very far with a secret uranium-based nuclear program. But we doubt it.
So we suspect that this week’s confessions of doubt about North Korea had less to do with a sudden burst of candor than the fact that Pyongyang has agreed to readmit nuclear inspectors — who probably won’t be able to find the active uranium enrichment program the administration has been alleging for more than four years. Add to that the White House’s eagerness for a diplomatic win in these bleak times — and its insistence that a nuclear deal cannot go ahead if the North is believed to be hiding things — and you understand why the White House might find this truth so convenient.
Let’s be clear. The North Koreans had and have an illicit nuclear arms program. They tested a device from their plutonium-based program last October. And Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has admitted that North Korea bought some 20 centrifuges — useful only for enriching uranium — from Abdul Qadeer Khan’s nuclear black market.
The problem is that the Bush administration eagerly spun those 20 centrifuges into an industrial-scale enrichment program, and then used it as an excuse to scuttle a Clinton-era deal to close down the North’s plutonium-based weapons program. Four years later, the North set off that test."
* wesley clark was on democracynow for an hour:
"About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” -- meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office -- “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”
AMY GOODMAN: General Clark, do you think Guantanamo Bay should be closed?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: If Congress cut off funds for the prison there, it would be closed. Should they?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think the first thing Congress should do is repeal the Military Commissions Act. I’m very disturbed that a number of people who are looking at the highest office in the land have supported an act which advertently or inadvertently authorizes the admission into evidence of information gained through torture. That's not the America that I believe in. And the America that I believe in doesn't detain people indefinitely without charges. So I’d start with the Military Commissions Act.
I mean, that was true with -- I mean, imagine us arming and creating the Mujahideen to keep the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Why would we think we could do that? But we did. And, you know, my lesson on it is, whenever you use force, there are unintended consequences, so you should use force as a last resort. Whether it's overt or covert, you pay enormous consequences for using force."