News Release Archive - 2006

Gates: Comments from Former CIA Analysts

Former CIA director Robert Gates’ confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. Several articles on Gates, featuring in-depth information about his background and suggested questions, are at Consortium News.

The following former CIA analysts are available for a limited number of interviews:

MELVIN A. GOODMAN
Now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, Goodman was with the CIA for 41 years, serving as a senior analyst and a division chief. He wrote a recent piece for the Baltimore Sun titled “Wrong Man to Replace Rumsfeld,” which stated: “Two previous presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, nominated Mr. Gates for the position of director of central intelligence. In 1987, Mr. Gates had to withdraw his name because a majority of Senate Intelligence Committee members did not believe his denials regarding prior knowledge of the Iran-contra scandal. The independent counsel in the Iran-contra investigation, Lawrence E. Walsh, shared their disbelief.

“In 1991, Mr. Gates was confirmed after receiving more than 30 negative votes, far more than any other nominee to the position of CIA director had garnered over nearly six decades. Key senators were convinced in 1991 that Mr. Gates had a major role in the politicization of intelligence on the Soviet Union, Central America and Southwest Asia. During his testimony, Mr. Gates, known for his outstanding memory, testified 33 times that he did not have any recollection of the facts of Iran-contra.

“Mr. Gates became the first career CIA analyst to take over the reins of the agency, ultimately doing more harm to the mission and mandate of the CIA’s intelligence directorate than any previous director — even his mentor, William J. Casey. His strong ideological agenda in support of the White House often led him down the wrong analytical road,causing him to be wrong about the central issues of the day involving the decline and fall of the Soviet Union and the impact of ethnic violence on regional conflicts.”
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RAY McGOVERN
McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990 and Robert Gates’branch chief in the early 1970s. McGovern now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern wrote a piece published in today’s Miami Herald titled “A CIA Insider’s Take on Gates,” in which he states: “In January 1995, Howard Teicher, who served on President Reagan’s National Security Council staff, submitted a sworn affidavit detailing the activities of Gates and his then-boss, CIA Director William Casey, in secretly providing arms to Iraq. This violated the Arms Export Control Act in two ways: ignoring the requirement to notify Congress; and providing arms to a state designated as a sponsor of terrorism.

“It gets worse. To grease the skids for this dubious adventure, Gates ordered his more malleable subordinates at the CIA to cook up intelligence reports to provide some comfort to Reagan in acquiescing to these activities. A National Intelligence Estimate of May 1985 predicted Soviet inroads in Iran if the United States did not reach out to ‘moderates’ within the Iranian leadership.

“In addition, Gates’ analysts were pressed to publish several reports beginning in late 1985 — as HAWK anti-aircraft missiles wended their way to Tehran — that Iranian-sponsored terrorism had ‘dropped off substantially.’ There was no persuasive evidence to support that judgment.

“As part of my official duties at the time, I took steps to make Gates aware of this a month before he wrote in articles in the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs magazine and our professional journal Studies in Intelligence that, ‘No CIA publication asserted these things.’ I then tried in vain to get him to correct the record.

“Since this episode casts serious doubt on Gates’ veracity, I felt a responsibility to bring it to the attention of the senators weighing Gates’ nomination to become CIA director in 1991. On Oct. 7, 1991, I swore in an affidavit laying out the facts and gave it to the Senate Intelligence Committee. I heard nothing.”
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DAVID MacMICHAEL
MacMichael, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, is also a member of the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He wrote the piece “The Insider: Gates to the Pentagon” on Nov. 14 in which he predicted: “The Democrats, of course,will demand, and get, something in return for their acquiescence [on the Gates nomination]. Most likely the bone thrown to them will be John Bolton, current interim holder of the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.” Today, Bolton resigned.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Baker-Hamilton Agenda: Damage Control?

ANDREW BACEVICH
Professor of history and international relations at Boston University, Bacevich recently wrote a piece in the Christian Science Monitor titled “Iraq Panel’s Real Agenda: Damage Control,” which commented about the Iraq Study Group: “Their purpose is twofold: first, to minimize Iraq’s impact on the prevailing foreign policy consensus with its vast ambitions and penchant for armed intervention abroad; and second, to quell any inclination of ordinary citizens to intrude into matters from which they have long been excluded. The ISG is antidemocratic. Its implicit message to Americans is this: We’ll handle things — now go back to holiday shopping.

“The group’s composition gives the game away. Chaired by James Baker, the famed political operative and former secretary of state, and Lee Hamilton, former congressman and fixture on various blue-ribbon commissions, it contains no one who could be even remotely described as entertaining unorthodox opinions or maverick tendencies.

“Instead, it consists of Beltway luminaries such as retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and lobbyist Vernon Jordan. No member is now an elected official. Neither do its ranks include any Iraq war veterans, family members of soldiers killed in Iraq, or anyone identified with the antiwar movement. None possesses specialized knowledge of Islam or the Middle East. Charging this crowd with assessing the Iraq war is like convening a committee of Roman Catholic bishops to investigate the church’s clergy sex-abuse scandal.”

Bacevich’s most recent book is The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War.
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ERIK LEAVER
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Leaver just wrote the piece “Think We’re Leaving Iraq? Not So Fast.” He said today: “As a result of political pressure from the White House, the Iraq Study Group’s report is not a reflection of the best minds of our nation on how to stop the killing and violence in Iraq and how to bring our troops home. Instead of taking the opportunity to produce a bold change of direction, the ISG’s ‘lowest common denominator’ approach will keep U.S. forces in Iraq for years to come without producing the political changes needed to stabilize Iraq.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Bush in Amman: Dividing Iraqis? Undermining Iraqi Democracy?

JAMES PETRAS
Professor emeritus at Binghamton University, Petras said today: “Bush seems intent on having al-Maliki form a coalition with different ethnic groups to divide the resistance and urging al-Maliki to actually increase the level of government violence. This would basically preserve the status quo — there are no new initiatives here. If anything, this is calculated to undermine any initiatives that might defuse the situation, whether they come from a country like Syria or from the Baker commission.” Petras is author of numerous books about world affairs including Empire or Republic? American Global Power and Domestic Decay and most recently The Power of Israel in the United States.
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KASRA MOFARAH
Based in Amman, Mofarah is with the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq.
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KATHY KELLY
Kelly will be going to Amman on Dec. 4; earlier this year she spent two months there, largely meeting with displaced Iraqis. A founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Kelly is the author of “Other Lands Have Dreams” and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She notes that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan just called for an international conference on Iraq. Many of Kelly’s writing are at the web page below.
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RAED JARRAR
Jarrar is Iraq Project director for Global Exchange. He met with Iraqi parliament members in Amman this August and has been in contact with them regularly. Jarrar said today: “In many respects, the divisions in Iraq are not religious, but political.

“The UN Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to extend the mandate of the occupation force in Iraq. The council acted very quickly in response to a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The U.S. and the U.K. rushed the vote through very early and only one day after consultations were held. The matter was not inscribed in the program of the council for this month, and many expected the vote to be held in early December.

“The Iraqi parliament was not informed about this [request] by al-Maliki. I talked to four Iraqi MPs today: a Sunni, a Shia, and two seculars, and all of them were totally shocked that al-Maliki bypassed the Iraqi parliament. The parliament, according to Dr. Jabir Habib (an Iraqi Shia MP close to the al-Sadr group), was supposed to vote on this in ten days. He said: ‘We spent the last months discussing the conditions we wanted to add to the mandate, and the majority of the parliament reached three major conditions.’

“Mr. Hasan al-Shammari (a Shia MP representing al-Fadila party) said: ‘We had a closed session two days ago and we were supposed to vote on the mandate after ten days. I can’t believe the mandate just passed without our knowledge.’ Dr. Hajim al-Hassani (a Sunni secular MP and the former speaker of the parliament) didn’t even know that the mandate passed yesterday: ‘If this was true, it is breaking the agreements we had with al-Maliki.’ Mr. al-Hassani added: ‘We were supposed to have a meeting with al-Maliki and other top officials in the parliament during the next couple of weeks to decide what to do with the mandate.’ Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq (a secular MP) said: ‘This is totally unexpected, it is another example of how the prime minister is not taking the parliament seriously.’

“According to most of the MPs who I talked to, it is unconstitutional to have the prime minister renewing the mandate without consulting the Iraqi parliament.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Police Brutality

DE LACY DAVIS
The founder and president of Black Cops Against Police Brutality and a 15-year veteran of the East Orange, N.J., police department, De Lacy Davis is a recently retired sergeant in the community services unit. He said today: “The New York and LA police departments unfortunately set the pattern for the country. What we see with the killing of Sean Bell is similar to the [1999] Amadou Diallo killing — a hail of bullets. And to say that one of the police involved is black misses the point: It’s about training policies that are cavalier with the lives of people of color and poor people.”
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VAN JONES
Jones is national executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. The Center’s projects include Bay Area PoliceWatch. Jones said today: “Since the Diallo killing there’s really been no discernible changes in oversight and practices, in spite of massive protests. Police don’t know that if you kill someone like this you could end up not just out of a job, but in jail.”
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MICAH SCHAFFER
Schaffer is director of the just-released movie “Death of Two Sons.” He said today of the film: “It’s about how we value black life less. It’s about the Diallo killing and the death of Jesse Thyne, a Peace Corps volunteer who was then living with the Diallo family in Guinea and attended Diallo’s funeral. Within a year he was brutally killed in a car accident in Guinea. The taxi driver responsible for his death spent three years in prison; Diallo’s killers walked free.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Behind the U.S. Jet Down in Iraq

AP is reporting: “A U.S. Air Force jet carrying one pilot crashed in Iraq on Monday, the military said.”

BEAU GROSSCUP
Author of the new book Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment, Grosscup is professor of international relations at California State University in Chico. He said today: “The silence over the Bush administration’s continuing use of air power in Iraq has finally been broken. Not by reports of daily bombing of urban and rural neighborhoods on so-called ‘dual use targets’ (including medical facilities and shopping malls) or the devastation to Iraqi civilian life and limb. No, it comes with the downing of a U.S. Air Force F-16CG fighter jet outside of Baghdad.

“A military source reported the jet was ‘flying on a low level “strafing run” — firing on targets on the ground at a low altitude.’ At this time the fate of the pilot remains unknown but is sure to be investigated and widely reported. Unfortunately the fate of the victims of this ‘strafing run’ and the thousands before and those sure to come will not be investigated nor reported. After all, official U.S. policy is ‘We don’t do body counts’ — unless they are North American.”
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MAURIZIO MASCIA
Currently in Amman, Jordan, Mascia is program manager for the Italian Consortium of Solidarity, which has contact people in Anbar province, where they provide humanitarian assistance.
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DAVID ENDERS
Author of the book Baghdad Bulletin: Dispatches on the American Occupation, Enders has spent more than 18 months in Iraq and has reported from the Middle East since 2003 for the Washington Times, The Nation, Mother Jones and Pacifica Radio.

Enders will be in Jordan beginning Dec. 2 and available for interviews regarding the general situation in the Middle East in the wake of Bush’s visit.

He said today: “The number of aircraft shot down compared to the number of daily overflights by helicopters and other aircraft suggest that for the most part, sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry eludes Iraqi fighters. Imagine if they were to obtain it.

“Whatever the cause, today’s crash should highlight the role of air power in the U.S. occupation. It is a necessity in a place where guerrillas have made roads extremely dangerous. Drones providing real-time aerial surveillance have been among the most effective tools in the U.S. arsenal. And finally, as U.S. troops continue to encounter resistance, air strikes continue to be a major facet of the fighting; however, they are the least-covered aspect of combat.

“This is, perhaps, in part because it is hard for journalists to visit the sites that have been bombed. It is hard to verify what’s been hit and whose story (the U.S. military invariably must be pushed to admit the possibility of civilian casualties) is correct. But CENTAF releases daily reports on its website. For instance, there were 30 missions flown over Iraq on Sunday, including some which involved the expenditure of heavy munitions, including missiles fired from an unmanned predator drone and air support for U.S. and Iraqi troops fighting guerrillas in western Iraq. This is not an unusual day for the use of U.S. air power in Iraq. So where’s the reporting?”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Lebanon: Behind the Assassination

CLOVIS MAKSOUD
Available for a limited number of interviews, Maksoud is a Lebanese national and former ambassador of the Arab League to the United Nations. He is currently director of the Center for the Global South at American University. Maksoud said today: “Such events are largely the product of a sectarian system in Lebanon. This system polarizes the political terrain especially when things are viewed through the prism of regional and international confrontations. All this prevents the formation of a unified Lebanon. Rational restraint is needed on the part of the political establishment now if a civil war is to be avoided.”

AS’AD ABUKHALIL
AbuKhalil is author of several books on the Mideast including Historical Dictionary of Lebanon.
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REINOUD LEENDERS
Currently in Lebanon, Leenders is assistant professor of political science at the University of Amsterdam and was an analyst with the International Crisis Group based in Beirut.
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RANIA MASRI
Masri is currently in Lebanon working as assistant director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Balamand in northern Lebanon. She said today: “It’s very simplistic to just call Pierre Gemayel a Christian leader. He was in the right-wing Christian Phalange party. It is one of the smaller parties in the so-called March 14 coalition which is pro-Hariri and pro-U.S. government. That movement is in competition with the coalition between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement, which actually has the largest Christian following. That coalition supports Emile Lahoud, the president of Lebanon [a Christian] — who has said the pro-Hariri, pro-U.S. cabinet is now constitutionally questionable. So there are Christians and Muslims of all sects on both sides.

“It’s also extremely simplistic to immediately blame Syria. The one person who we know bears some responsibility is the interior minister who failed to give proper warning or protection — and he is part of the March 14 coalition.

“Bush says he backs democracy in Lebanon and then singles out specific leaders for support, like prime minister Siniora, as if they embody democracy — which Siniora doesn’t.”
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CIA Findings on Iran

The Bush administration has denounced Seymour Hersh’s latest piece, The Next Act: Is a damaged administration less likely to attack Iran, or more?

In the article, Hersh writes: “The Administration’s planning for a military attack on Iran was made far more complicated earlier this fall by a highly classified draft assessment by the CIA challenging the White House’s assumptions about how close Iran might be to building a nuclear bomb. The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear-weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

The following are available for interviews:

DAVID MacMICHAEL
MacMichael, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, is a member of the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which scrutinized Bush administration claims regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction beginning in 2002. MacMichael wrote the article “Crisis Over Iran — Can It Be Defused?”
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ROSTAM POURZAL
Pourzal is president of the U.S. branch of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. He is co-author of the recent piece “Don’t Iraq Iran.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Pelosi: Image vs. Record

TIM REDMOND
Executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Redmond has been tracking Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s career for over a decade. He recently wrote the article “Pelosi is not one of us,” in which he stated: “Pelosi is by no means a San Francisco liberal. She’s a Washington insider, a born and bred politician who cares more about power and money than she does about any particular ideology.

“I’m glad the Democrats are in charge, and Pelosi deserves tremendous credit for making that happen. But she’s not about to push any kind of ambitious left-wing political or cultural agenda.

“Just look at her record. Pelosi was weak on the war and late in opposing it. She was the author of the bill that gave that well-known pauper George Lucas the lucrative contract to build a commercial office building in a national park. She worked with Republicans such as Don Fisher of the Gap on the Presidio privatization and set a precedent for the National Park System that the most rabid antigovernment conservatives can love.

“Just this week Bloomberg News reported that Pelosi is working with Silicon Valley venture capital firms to weaken the post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley law, which mandates strict accounting procedures for publicly held corporations.

“And just a couple of weeks before the election, she told 60 Minutes that same-sex marriage is ‘not an issue that we’re fighting about here.’ …

“She’s pretty much stopped representing San Francisco. On issue after issue, her constituents are way to the left of her. This fall she didn’t even bother to show up in the district (except to extract money for Democratic congressional campaigns around the country). She spent election night in Washington.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Bush Administration and Legal Accountability

ELIZABETH DE LA VEGA
Elizabeth de la Vega served as a federal prosecutor in Minneapolis and San Jose for 20 years. She is author of the new book U.S. v. George W. Bush et. al.

She said today: “Over half the people in the United States believe that the president misled the country into a war that has left 2,800 U.S. soldiers dead, over half a million Iraqis dead and countless Iraqis homeless. Analyzed in light of longstanding principles of criminal law, there is, indeed, overwhelming evidence — a quantum that far exceeds the standard of probable cause — that shows that the president, the vice president, and their senior aides have perpetrated a massive fraud upon the people of the United States. They deceived American citizens and Congress, not only about the grounds for an invasion of Iraq, but also the likely cost of the war, the likely length and consequences of the war, and even the timing of their decision to invade.

“Given the magnitude of this fraud — it is far more serious in scope and effect than the Enron fraud — we cannot simply shrug our shoulders and walk away. It is Congress’ constitutional obligation to conduct oversight of the executive branch and they appear to be poised now, finally, to do just that by conducting hearings.

“But imagine if the Justice Department lawyers assigned to handle the Enron case had announced, on the day they received their assignment, that ‘indictment was off the table.’ The public would have been outraged, and rightly so, by the declaration of a preordained conclusion to the investigation.

“We should be equally outraged — and many American citizens are — by the newly elected Democratic majority’s arbitrary announcement that ‘impeachment is off the table.’ Congress needs to do its job, conduct the long-overdue hearings into the conduct of the executive branch and let the chips fall where they may.”
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ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN
Holtzman has been a Congresswoman and the district attorney of Brooklyn; she was a member of the House panel that impeached Richard Nixon. Holtzman is co-author with Cynthia L. Cooper of the new book The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens. Her most recent articles are “Calling Nancy Pelosi: The People’s Case for Impeaching Bush” and “Breathing the ‘I’ Word.”
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MARJORIE COHN
AP is reporting: “Lawyers for inmates of Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay filed a lawsuit in Germany Tuesday against outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, hoping his resignation and testimony from a former general will help prosecute him for war crimes.”

Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, is president of the National Lawyers Guild, one of the plaintiffs in the case. She is author of the forthcoming book Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. Her latest piece is “The War Crimes Case Against Donald Rumsfeld.”

Detailed information about the case is available from the Center for Constitutional Rights.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Hawk Slated to Chair International Relations

Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) is the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee and is reportedly slated to chair the committee in the next Congress. His foreign-policy views are widely deplored by antiwar analysts. For several articles about and by Lantos, see: Peninsula Peace and Justice Center.

PAUL GEORGE
George is director of the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center. (Much of the Center’s membership lives in the congressional district of Rep. Lantos.) George said today: “Labor likes Tom Lantos. Environmentalists like Tom Lantos. In fact, quite a number of liberals and the majority of the voters in his district like — or tolerate — Tom Lantos.

“Peace activists really can’t stand the guy. Lantos isn’t just a Democrat who voted for the Iraq war, he was one of its co-authors. …

“Lantos has never met a war he didn’t like. His unblinking defense of Israeli policy gives him tunnel vision with the rest of the Middle East. That’s a potent combination of volatile materials.

“When he takes over as Chair of the House International Relations Committee, Lantos won’t be a ‘stay the course’ kind of fellow. I’m afraid he’ll be more ‘let’s hit Iran.'” Early this year, Lantos wrote the article “Now or Never to Prevent a Nuclear-Armed Iran.”

George added: “Even if the Democrats are sincere in their vows to change Iraq policy, they’ll find Lantos won’t be just a bump in the road. They’re going to run into a wall.”

JOHN R. MACARTHUR
Author of the book Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War, MacArthur said today: “Lantos played a major role in one of the most outrageous episodes in U.S. foreign policy. As chair of the Human Rights Caucus in 1990, he oversaw the ‘testimony’ of a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who claimed that she witnessed Iraqi soldiers pulling babies out of incubators and leaving them to die after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. What Lantos knew at the time, but didn’t share with the public, is that the girl, known only as ‘Nayira,’ was in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S., Saud Nasir al-Sabah.

“Lantos basically turned over the Human Rights Caucus — which he had set up for junkets — into a front for Hill and Knowlton — the PR firm the Kuwaiti government had hired on the advice of the White House. When you called up the Human Rights Caucus Foundation, you got the offices of Hill and Knowlton. The Kuwaitis even ended up donating $50,000 as thanks to the Foundation.”
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STEPHEN ZUNES
Zunes is Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy In Focus Project. He said today: “Through his chairmanship of the Human Rights Caucus on Capitol Hill, Tom Lantos has steered their advocacy towards countries the U.S. government opposes while covering up for human rights abuses by U.S. allies. He has co-authored legislation with House Republican leaders directly challenging findings by Amnesty International and other reputable human rights groups regarding Israeli violations of international humanitarian law and has denounced the United Nations and the International Court of Justice for their defense of the Fourth Geneva Conventions.” Zunes wrote the article “Congress Attacks Human Rights” and is professor of politics at the University of San Francisco.
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MIKE CAGGIANO
President of Peace Action of San Mateo County, in the district represented by Lantos, Caggiano said today: “Lantos was the floor manager for the ‘Patriot’ Act for Bush, and then later supported modifications along with his party’s position. He beat the drums incessantly for the Iraq war until its failure and the entire Democratic Party turned against its present conduct. … He was a backer of the School of the Americas until … progressive groups put enough pressure on him to moderate that. Other than that you couldn’t find a more liberal Democrat. His record on environment, women’s rights, labor issues is excellent. But his position would be on the International Relations Committee where his neo-con look-alike behavior is hard to miss.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167