Whiggate Update

Friday, August 19, 2005
  WHIG of the Week -- Andrew H. Card, Jr. , White House Chief of Staff and Product Marketing Expert

Andrew H. "Andy" Card, Jr., automobile industry lobbyist turned chief assistant to the CEO of BUSHCHENEYCo, Inc. (click for official bio here), could very well be remembered in the history texts and quotation anthologies of our future (assuming, optimists that we are, that we have a future) for two things: 1) the interruption of his boss's reading of My Pet Goat pictured to the right, and 2) the fact that he said to Elizabeth Bumiller of the New York Times that "you don't introduce new products in August." That quote certainly seems relevant to this blog, which is getting a slow start in its first summer month of operation, but still planning to get the term "Whiggate" injected into the political dialogue of the nation in September. The article that included Andy Card's famous nugget of marketing wisdom is also a good recap of the way the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) worked in July and August of 2002 to implement the objectives of the Downing Street Memo (DSM) in the cynical runup to September 11 and 12. Though WHIG wasn't mentioned by name in this front page article (the mention of the group still has yet to make its first appearance in the Times!), three of its other prominent members are mentioned (Rove, Hughes, and Rice) in this early report on the most cynical product launch of the 21st century.

Click here for the full text on SF Indymedia for free, or here if you want to pay to read the whole thing for a fee from the New York Times, or just keep scrolling down if you want to read a lenghy block from this key reference:
Saturday, September 7, 2002 Pg. A1, A6

By Elizabeth Bumiller

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 – White House officials said today that the administration was following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein.

The rollout of the strategy this week, they said, was planned long before President Bush’s vacation in Texas last month. It as not hastily concocted, they insisted, after some prominent Republicans began to raise doubts about moving against Mr. Hussein and administration officials made contradictory statements about the need for weapons inspectors in Iraq.

The White House decided, they said, that even with the appearance of disarray it was still more advantageous to wait until after Labor Day to launch their plan.

“From a marketing point of view,” said Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff who is coordinating the effort, “you don’t introduce new products in August.”

A centerpiece of the strategy, White House officials said, is to use Mr. Bush’s speech on Sept. 11 to help move Americans toward support of action against Iraq, which could come early next year.

“Everybody felt that was a moment that Americans wanted to hear from him,” said Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s chief political advisor. Sept. 11 will also be a time, Mr. Rove said, “to seize the moment to make clear what lies ahead.”

Toward that end, in June the White House picked Ellis Island in New York Harbor, not Governors Island, as the place where President Bush is to deliver his Sept. 11 address to the nation. Both spots were considered, White House advisors said, but the television camera angles were more spectacular from Ellis Island, where the Statue of Liberty will be seen aglow behind Mr. Bush.

“We had made a decision to that this would be a compelling story either place,” said Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. “We sent a team out to go look and they said, ‘This is a better shot,’ and we said O.K.”

In the same way, Mr. Bush’s Sept. 11 remarks, about 10 minutes in length, are to serve as the emotional precursor for a tougher speech about Iraq that the president is to deliver to the United Nations General Assembly the following day.
White House officials said they began planning more intensively for the Iraq rollout in July, even as Mr. Bush was busy responding to the summer’s corporate scandals. Advisors consulted the Congressional calendar to figure out the best time for Iraq hearings while Ms. Hughes, even as she was driving back to Texas, discussed with Mr. Bush the outlines of his Sept. 11 speech.

By August, with Congress out of town and the United Nations not convening until September, White House officials decided to wait out the month, even as final planning continued by phone between advisors in Washington and at Mr. Bush’s ranch in Texas.

“There was a deliberate sense that this was not the time to engage in his process,” Mr. Rove said. “The thought was in August the president is sort of on vacation.” [...]

"Sort of" like now, and every other August of his pampered life. Let's hope they don't have any new products planned for rollout in two weeks.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005
  Who is this "Senior Official Involved in Policy Since the 2003 Invasion"? Could s/he be a WHIG?
"U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq"
from The Washington Post, 14 Aug 05:
'What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground,' said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. 'We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning.'
Friday, August 12, 2005
  Think Progress lists 21 Administration officials implicated in the Plame leak --- Look at all those WHIGs!
Study and bookmark this database at http://www.thinkprogress.org/leak-scandal.

Living without it over the next few months would be like going to a baseball game without a scorecard, or an opera without a libretto!
Thursday, August 11, 2005
  WHIG of the Week -- Stephen J. Hadley, National Security Advisor and member of the White House Iraq Group, meets with Cindy Sheehan
We summed up last week's WHIG of the week with the transcript of a conversation between Jim Wilkinson and a woman from Texas named Brenda in which all the White House Iraq Group talking points were ably parroted. This week our WHIG of the week was the presidential surrogate sent out to placate the woman who is being called "... the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement," by Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus. "She's tired, fed up and she's not going to take it anymore, and so now we stand with her." That quote comes from a story on CNN.com as does this summary of her meeting with Stephen J. "Steve" Hadley.

CNN.com - Soldier's mom protests near Bush's ranch - Aug 6, 2005
Sheehan, 48, didn't get to see Bush, but did talk about 45 minutes with national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin, who went out to hear her concerns.

Appreciative of their attention, yet undaunted, Sheehan said she planned to continue her roadside vigil, except for a few breaks, until she gets to talk to Bush. Her son, Casey, 24, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. He was an Army specialist, a Humvee mechanic.

"They (the advisers) said we are in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that the world's a better place with Saddam gone and that we're making the world a safer place with what we're doing over there," Sheehan said in a telephone interview after the meeting. [emphasis added]
Compare that summary of Whig Hadley's remarks above to Whig Wilkinson's remarks quoted last week.

Here's a short first-hand, and slightly more opinionated, account of the meeting taken from a post by TXSharon on Daily Kos:
Like something out of a movie, a caravan of suburbans, vans, and cars swooped upon us and with synchronized precision, SS agents got out of the vehicles and surrounded us. It was eerie, frightening, and thrilling! Two men who appeared quite important walked up to Cindy. Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs played good cop and sat on the pavement looking up at Cindy. Joseph W. Hagin, Deputy Chief of Staff was the bad cop so he sat in one of the chairs we had brought. They went through the same old trite bullshit party line spiel we have all heard a million times! The only problem is that Cindy is fully informed, intelligent, quick-witted, calm and focused, and disarming in her honesty and directness. Effortlessly, she made them look as foolish as they are!

Hadley reminded her that the Iraqis could now vote. She showed him Casey's pictures, told him that she had give birth to him after carrying him for nine months. That she had nursed him for over a year. She said a few more things about Casey then asked Hadley if he thought she had gone through all that so Iraqis could vote. She cried just a little and everyone was quite touched. We applauded for her several times during their meeting.
The Rosa Parks analogy might not be as farfetched as it first appears. Rosa Parks hasn't always been "ROSA PARKS." She wasn't always a heroine of American history. She was a woman who wanted to take a seat on the bus. She started her life as one of millions of African Americans subjected to apartheid regulations that many white Americans saw as reasonable, or at least traditional and acceptable. She never could have anticipated how she would become a symbol for millions because of her ability to show a clear injustice in simple terms. And the White House Iraq Group, with all its abilities to fix intelligence, stay on message, catapult propaganda, and create media echo chambers, may be no match for one mother who wants to know why her son died.

  A humorous metaphorical interpretation of the workings of the White House Iraq Group, or How Many Bushies Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?
This was in my e-mail this morning. For the purposes of Whiggate Update, we could just as well call it How Many WHIGs Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb, but to honor the initial creative vision of the original anonymous jokester, I'll just cut and paste it here without edits:

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed.

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed.

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb.

4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either responsible for changing the light bulb or for darkness.

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Haliburton for the new light bulb.

6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, throwing the switch that turns on a light illuminating a banner that reads " Lightbulb Change Accomplished", whether or not it has been changed.

7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally in the dark.

8. One to viciously smear #7.

9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light bulb changing policy all along.

10. And finally one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
  It's not too early to start promoting the events of September 24-26 in DC. If Cindy can go to Crawford in summer, we can march on the Mall in the fall
Around other blogs on this, Cindy Sheehan, week, I've seen some commenters questioning what they can do to support her, or to show their opposition to the war that killed her son (and the sons and daughters of many other American, British, Polish, Iraqi, Romanian ... mothers). Someone even mentioned the possibility of organizing a massive march on Washington, as if they didn't know that this one is already in the advanced planning stages .
This march against the war has been in the preparation stages by United for Peace and Justice for awhile, but the word doesn't seem to be spreading quickly enough.
This group did a wonderful job on the major marches in New York City right before the current war began on February 15, 2003 in the neighborhood of the UN, and a month later, after the war began, marching from Herald Square to Washington Square Park. Hundreds of thousands of us have wonderful memories of both those days (even if we were ignored by the media, and by a President who called us a focus group unworthy of his attention).
Even if you can't make it yourself, you can help them spread the word on your blogs and webpages and emails. There are banners here. Please consider adding one to your sidebar for the next month and a half.

crossposted from True Blue Liberal blog
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
  Aluminum tubes, Judith Miller, and the White House Iraq Group's successful creation of a media echo chamber (& a war that has killed 1,825 Americans)
I don't want to give you long excerpts to excuse you from reading this whole article by James Moore from The Huffington Post, "Judy and the Little Tubes of Terror", but I can't resist giving you a couple of paragraphs as an appetizer.
The timing was a thing of pure political beauty. President George W. Bush was only a few days away from speaking to the United Nations’ General Assembly about Iraq’s renewed efforts to acquire banned weaponry. And, in a month, the president was going to Congress to seek a resolution approving of a war against Iraq. A Sunday morning story, September 8, 2002, in the New York Times made the U.N. speech and the congressional debate much easier for the White House.
Under the headline, “Threats and Responses: The Iraqis; U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts,” a 3603 word story by Michael R. Gordon and Judith Miller detailed the administration’s case against Saddam Hussein related to weapons of mass destruction. America was about to be scared. Citing “administration officials,” “Iraqi defectors,” and “intelligence sources,” Gordon and Miller wrote that Iraq had attempted to buy the type of aluminum tubes needed for the construction of a gas centrifuge to develop nuclear materials.
To create the beginnings of war hysteria and nuclear phobia, the White House Iraq Group had planned to immediately execute a tactic that created a media echo chamber. The same Sunday morning that the tubes story was splattered on the front page of the Times, the Bush administration dispatched the vice president, the national security advisor, and the secretary of state, to elevate the buzz on the network talk shows. A false story had been planted, was given credibility by a leading publication, and then the people who benefited from the one-sided information appeared on national television to corroborate the value of their bad evidence. [...]
Please read it all! I'm also adding this article as a reference to the sidebar of Whiggate Update because it's such a great summary of how this Group operated.

But why hasn't Judith Miller's Liberal Paper of Record, as an atonement for its indispensible role as a dupe or an accomplice in the actions of the White House Iraq Group's echo chamber, yet mentioned the White House Iraq Group or WHIG even once? Does the lack of a single hit on their Website of Record mean that the White House Iraq Group never really existed? Doesn't it deserve at least a few drops of ink after all the WHIG lies about aluminum tubes that the Grey Lady was duped into printing? We'll keep checking, and we'll update you the minute they finally break their silence about their former employers.

Thursday, August 04, 2005
  WHIG of the Week -- James R. "Jim" Wilkinson, Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications and Presidential Propaganda Catapulter
In the earliest versions of the Gilligan's Island theme song, the Professor and Mary Ann are dismissed in the phrase "... and the rest"; in any list of the members of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), two names, Nicholas E. Calio and James R. Wilkinson, fade against the prominence of Rove, Rice, Card, Hughes, and Matalin. Maybe I was too hasty in replacing their names with an et al. in the sidebar of Whiggate Update. Maybe their days of fame are still to come.
Our WHIG of the Week shows his qualifications as a team player in this Bullet Point Answer to a Bullet Point "Question" about Iraq during James R. "Jim" Wilkinson's "Ask the White House" session of February 6, 2004:
Brenda, from Fort Worth, Tx writes:
Something to ponder... Osama Bin Laden attacked the United States and killed many innocent victims on 911 without the use of weapons of mass destruction or chemical warfare.
That act cost the United States and it's citizens billions of dollars, not to mention the families that lost loved ones on that horrible day.
With that memory, how can Americans be upset with President Bush's decision to pursue Saddam Hussain? September 11 proved to Americans that it does not take weapons of mass destruction or chemical warfare to cripple the United States.
Mr. Hussain has the proven ability to gather forces to pursue deadly interests in the United States and has continued to be a threat to our safety.
I commend Mr. Bush's decision to pursue and capture Mr. Hussain.
I am anxious to see the day that Bin Laden is brought to justice. Until then, it is nice to know that we finally have a president that is making a positive impact on the safety of the United States.
Blessings, Brenda Lungrin

Jim Wilkinson
Brenda, thanks for your question[sic].
As President Bush said after September 11, the war on terror is a different kind of war against a different kind of enemy. And as the President said today, he will not take risks with the lives and security of the American people by assuming the goodwill of dictators.
The decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision. September 11 taught us that we must confront threats to our Nation before it is too late.
Saddam repeatedly defied the international community -- ignoring the demand of the United Nations and 17 UN resolutions.
He had large quantities of WMD that he failed to account for.
Saddam stonewalled inspectors, played cat and mouse games with the UN, and then threw the inspectors out of Iraq.
Saddam used WMD on his own people and against his neighbors.
Saddam was a threat to the stability of the region, and a threat to his neighbors.
War was President Bush's last option. That's why he exhausted diplomatic options, to include giving Saddam Hussein one more warning, and yet another UN resolution. Given this final chance, Saddam chose defiance, and he chose war.
Saddam Hussein and his regime were a threat to our nation, and our nation is safer with his regime out of power and with Saddam sitting in a jail cell.
Removing his regime was the right decision then, and it is the right decision now.

It was their story in September of 2002 when they launched their new product (and only the WHIGs and their bosses knew for sure that they were lying), and it was their story in February 2004, even after everyone but "Brenda" from "Fort Worth" knew they were telling untruths. Big lies and corporate PowerPoint presentations require constant repetition ("Saddam stonewalled inspectors..", "He had a large quantity of WMD...","...our nation is safer with his regime out of power... ", "War was President Bush's last option.") and you have to give Jim Wilkinson a lot of credit for repeating these points as single-mindedly as his simple-minded boss who told us in a moment of candor, "... you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." Jim is a very consistent team player for the WHIGs. This particular "question" and answer is an archetype of all the public WHIG statements about the invasion of Iraq (wouldn't you love to know what they were saying in private? We know Patrick Fitzgerald would).
Here are a couple of actual questions. How much longer will the American people consent to being treated like idiots? Or can they continue to treat us like idiots as long as they want ... as long as they can keep us scared?
Just asking,
True Blue Liberal

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
  The Raw Story Interview in which Ambassador Wilson ties the White House Iraq Group to the Plame leak and false intelligence about Iraq
The Raw Story Interview with Ambassador Joseph Wilson is worth reading in full, but here's the exchange most applicable to the purpose of this blog, linking the White House Iraq Group to fixing of intelligence mentioned in the Downing Street Memo, and to the criminal public exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson (in order to discredit the evidence that Ambassador Wilson found in Africa that cast doubt on their mushroom cloud fairy tales):
Ambassador Wilson:"...a meeting was held - sometime in March of 2003 - in the offices of the Vice President at which it was decided to do a "work up" on me. A work up means to run an intel op to glean all the information you can about me. My understanding is that at a minimum, [Cheney's chief of staff] Scooter Libby was at this meeting.
But in retrospect looking at this, the natural group [of people] who would meet to discuss something like this would be the White House Iraq Group (WHIG).

Raw Story: Right, and the group includes Karl Rove as part of that main group of six.

Wilson: Yes, that would include Rove. I believe it is Rove, Karen Hughes, Libby, and others.

Raw Story: Also: Andrew Card, Mary Matlin and James Wilkinson as well as others who advised then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy Stephen Hadley.

Wilson: That would be the natural group because they were constituted to spin the war, so they would be naturally the ones to try to deflect criticism. Now, some of those people would have very high security clearances....

Please read the whole interview between Larisa Alexandrovna and Joseph Wilson, because it reinforces a simple chronology of the events, and raises new questions about the possible roles of others, namely Judith Miller and John Bolton, in this affair.

Monday, August 01, 2005
  Another Hughes/Plame/WHIG article from March 2004
Click here for a short Salon article from 29 March 2004 about our WHIG of the week and the links between the White House Iraq Group member Karen Hughes, the Fitzgerald subpoena of WHIG records, and the outing of Valerie Plame.
And as long as we're giving updates, we should point out the the words "White House Iraq Group" still elicit zero hits at the "liberal" New York Times website. We'll keep checking.

[update 8/2/05 @ 4:00pm: The link to the Salon article seems to be dead and I can't find an alternative link to it at the moment. WTF is the story with key WHIG documents going missing? The Washington Post article of 8/10/2003 comes and goes too, but the link to its Truthout copy seems to be stable.
update 8/3/05 @ 8:00am: The Salon links up above have been updated.]
formerly WHIGGATE.org
The White House Iraq Group (WHIG), with members Rove, Card, Rice, Libby, Matalin, Hughes, Hadley et al., is the group that sold us the Iraq War with false information, and tried to silence one prominent critic by exposing a CIA agent's identity.
WHIGGATE is the scandal that will bring [or should have brought] down the Bush/Cheney Administration.
WHIGGATE UPDATE is a clearing house for information about this group and its activities.



White House Iraq Group on Wikipedia
White House Iraq Group on SourceWatch
WHIG Timeline at Democrats.org
Patrick Fitzgerald's official website
Pentagon Iraq Group (PIG) a.k.a. OSP
21 Plame suspects on Think Progress
Key Washington Post article 10 Aug 03
CBS on the WHIG subpoena of 22 Jan 04
First appearance of "WHIGgate" 12 Jul 05
The Crisis Papers of 19 Jul 05
Judy & Tubes of Terror Moore 3 Aug 05
Raw Story WHIG/Cheney links 12 Oct 05
Rich on WHIG in the NY Times 16 Oct 05
Kucinich Resolution of Inquiry 20 Oct 05
Libby Indictment 28 Oct 05
Rall "Bigger Than Watergate" 1 Nov 05
Snake Oil Merchants at tvnewslies.org
Articles of Impeachment 10 Jun 08


Karl Rove
Who's Who in Washington Post
SourceWatch Biography
Andrew H. Card
WHIG of the Week entry on WU
Official White House Biography
SourceWatch Biography
I. Lewis Libby
Official White House Biography
SourceWatch Biography
PDF of Libby Indictment 28 Oct 05
Karen Hughes
WHIG of the Week entry on WU
Official State Department Biography
BuzzFlash Article
SourceWatch Biography
Mary Matalin
Biography at American President.org
SourceWatch Biography
James R. Wilkinson
WHIG of the Week entry on WU
Official White House Biography
SourceWatch Biography
Nicholas E. Calio
WHIG of the Week entry on WU
Official CitiGroup Biography
SourceWatch Biography
Stephen J. Hadley
WHIG of the Week entry on WU
Official White House Biography
SourceWatch Biography
Condoleezza Rice
Official White House Biography
Official State Department Biography
SourceWatch Biography
Scott McClellan
Scott's WHIG of the Week entry on WU

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According to the results of free non-scientific online tests, TBL found that he was "Existentialist", "Communist", and "A Grammar God," i.e., if he were a short wall-eyed Frenchman rather than a 6'3" blond American, he would be constantly mistaken for Jean-Paul Sartre!

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