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Ear to the Ground

Truthdigger of the Day: Steve Almond

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Posted on May 14, 2006
Steve Almond
From austinchronicle.com

Steve Almond, who has resigned his post at Boston University over the bestowal of an honorary degree to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, wrote to the president of his college, “I am not writing this letter simply because of an objection to the war against Iraq. My concern is more fundamental. Simply put, Rice is a liar.”

Almond, an adjunct professor at Boston College, has resigned his post to protest the college’s choice of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker. “I cannot, in good conscience, exhort my students to pursue truth and knowledge, then collect a paycheck from an institution that displays such flagrant disregard for both,” he writes.

Imagine if Colin Powell or George Tenet had shown this kind of moral fortitude. There might not have been a war.


Boston Globe:

I am writing to resign my post as an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.

I am doing so—after five years at BC, and with tremendous regret—as a direct result of your decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at this year’s graduation.

Many members of the faculty and student body already have voiced their objection to the invitation, arguing that Rice’s actions as secretary of state are inconsistent with the broader humanistic values of the university and the Catholic and Jesuit traditions from which those values derive.

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By Georgia Peach, May 19, 2006 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This man (steve almond) is no hero - he is a national disgrace.  Simply another case of ignorance masquerading as intellecutalism.

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By Mike Corbeil, May 15, 2006 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Steve Almond’s likeness running for pres., it also crossed my mind that such character is desperately needed, but ... it might be dangerous for such a person, if they ever won.

However, my point for posting this additional note is to simply make sure my prior post is not misunderstood, the one mentioning war clouds, which of course many or most people wouldn’t believe anyway, in which case there’s no concern on my part.  I just don’t want to allow the brief description to be misunderstood as favourable for GWB et al and their hellbent agenda, for what was witnessed is quite to the contrary, polar opposite.  It’s damning for their agenda, not for it.  (Damning for “conquest and domination” ....)

Mike C.

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By Glen Camomile, May 15, 2006 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Damn!  Someone with the stones to speak simply and clearly.  Now if the Democratic Party could rise with such a clear voice, we might be able to salvage what’s left of this country.  This guy should run for President.  Nah, he’s too good for that.

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By Mike Corbeil, May 15, 2006 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

‘ModeratelyInterested’, wrote:

“Can holders of law degrees from BC sue the administration over this? After all, what will that diploma be worth after this?

OR maybe
The drooling darlings thought they were booking CONSTANCE Rice?”

Surely ‘NO’ is the answer to the first question, for, after all, BC’s doing just like GWB et al would want, and they’d be very displeased if Fr Leahy didn’t abide by the state’s will and way, rather than by God’s will and way.  So Leahy’s safe with respect to pleasing GWB et al, and therefore so is BC.

All we have to do is realise how much US judges have been doing NOT according to law and sound morals, but according to trashing law and rights, and in turn favouring Bush et al.

As for the second question,I don’t know any Constance Rice, but Condoleeza Rice as been very constant though, a constant LIAR, pathological liar.

I wonder if she still thinks or mistakes GWB for her husband.  Or did she get over that illusion or delusion?

Oh, “my God”, is she ever a SICK woman.

Mike Corbeil
Canadian-American-Canadian (history explains)

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By ModeratelyInterested, May 15, 2006 at 6:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can holders of law degrees from BC sue the administration over this? After all, what will that diploma be worth after this?

OR maybe
The drooling darlings thought they were booking CONSTANCE Rice?

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By Mike Corbeil, May 14, 2006 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m going to add a few “bits” more on what WTL provided on “Pre-9/11 Intel.”, his post at the very bottom of this page (at least was when I read it anyway).

*) Let us NOT forget SIBEL EDMONDS’ excellent, great work and whistleblowing!!!

*) Wasn’t it Ashcroft who had been reported to be flying around for his political work using leased charters, instead of the much less expensive and standard means, which I guess is commercial airlines?

I recall that one of the members of the Bush administration had been reported in that above manner, and that he had started this change to using leased charters as of around July 26, 2001.  And a bit that was added was that this change purortedly was due to warnings about potential terrorists hijacking commerical airlines to use them as missiles.

If it was indeed Ashcroft who was using the leased charters and for the reason stated in news reports, then this fits very well (not for him, but for investigative minds or workers) with what WTL posted on what Ashcroft later provided for claims.

*) The Vatican priest Fr Jean-Marie Benjamin had been warned by a tierce party, some Middle Eastern informer (if I recall that part correctly), warned about attacks planned on the US, and Fr Benjamin passed on this information to appropriate authorities right away.  His warning to the latter was five days prior to 9/11, and while it’s not long, inbetween, it was enough for the government to get security upped.

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/relrpt/stories/s787908.htm

http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/context.jsp?item=a090701wedding

“Days Before, Priest Predicted Plane Attacks on US: Says Organisation of Terrorist Groups Has Changed”, Sept. 16, 2001,

http://zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=9943

The zenit.org article apparently is the very original one, and is specifically about this warning.

As for the other two above links, if they don’t happen to load precisely where his warning is referred to, then simply search on ‘Benjamin’, say.

What he states strikes me in a very particular manner, for either 4 or 5 days prior to 9/11, I witnessed something of a very-very special order, and it did not indicate anything about the 9/11 attacks, but did forebode what ensured, the major move on Afghanistan, with carpet bombing being explicitly involved, and the notorious “hidden hand”, both of those having moved in rather perfect syncrhonisation, while everything else, in this otherwise totally natural environment or sphere stayed stable, stationary, and both carpet bomber and hand ceased movement simultaneously, with the hand fixed over the symbolised territory. (A matter that evidently did not involve only Afghanistan, as careful evaluation of all that’s happened since helps to make very clear.)  War clouds.

Yep, sounds nuts alright, but t’wasn’t.  (When first posted, a lengthy, detaile description in draft, first-draft form was posted at cbc.ca during late fall 2002, as part of my protest against war on Iraq, threats were plenty and strong, but hey, that was to be expected and therefore was no surprise.  It would’ve been surprising if no threats occurred, but at least many enough people welcomed the posting.)

Believe or not, t’is up to each.  Only ourselves, individual, can decide whether we believe or not.  (But, I know what to expect if anyone ever speaks of war clouds to me.)

It’s peculiar, how what I witness spoke of not 9/11 but of, especially anyway, what followed afterwards, and that is meant in juxtaposition to Fr Benjamin’s informer’s information provided, and that it appears to have been on the same day that he provided the warning, passing it on.  I can’t say precisely how many days prior, when I witnessed this event, but know that it was either four or five.  And, besides, what ensued after 9/11 was specifically related to that day’s attacks.

Fortunately, he did not receive that information through mystical order, for then I’d really be wondering about the author of his information, juxtaposed to, or vs, the one for what I saw.  Given he got the info. from another human, and with no mystical matter involved, then I will rest peacefully, in tranquility. 

(I also recall having read several years ago about a Texan lad who said that he had a premonition of a world war ahead, and I tried to do some Web searching to locate articles on this, while coming up with nothing.  He was right though, for we are in the midst of world war.  For those who don’t understand how that is the case, it’s not difficult to explain, but I don’t want to make this post especially long, so I won’t elaborate more than to simply say that all of the dots are present and only await being connected.  The dots, “data points” or simply data, it’s all out there and freely available through articles produced by many authors, and without them using their pieces in any manner that is “tied” to world war.  If we connect the dots though, then we can indeed see that we’re in the midst of a WW, again.  The dots are not all military-related, not even related to war in any militarised sense, for some, f.e., are simply about what’s going on economically on the international level.)

The sole fact of warring in Islam, as huge as Islam’s membership is, this alone constitutes WW, but we have much more for dots than this singular aspect.

Mike Corbeil
Canadian-American-Canadian (history explains it)

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By Tom, May 14, 2006 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I admire anyone who stands up like this for principle—so admirable!—but I’m not certain what precisely Prof. Almond has accomplished by resigning. True, he’s given the issue national attention, but resigning his post also means he won’t have the opportunity to influence B.C. students in the future (at least in the classroom). How sad.

Was it necessary for him to take such drastic action? Again, I admire the man for doing so—how many of us would have the courage to do the same?—but I can’t help feeling that his absence is a great loss for the campus, and that a different course of action might have been effective at both voicing his opposition and retaining his post. Rice will go to commencement, give her address, pick up her degree, and Prof. Almond will (sadly) be forgotten. Did he make the right decision? I’m interested to hear what others think.

And Prof. Almond ... you’ve earned my respect for your courage and commitment.

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By Mace Price, May 14, 2006 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WTL has obviously done his homework, and even if facts are un-Patrotic. Allow me to add this conveniently forgotten one to his well thought out-documented list, and comment that in terms of predictions? The flashbulbs started going off in my thick head the night of 31 Oct 1999, when the first deranged Islamist with a pilot’s licence plunged Egyptian Air Flight 990 [Boeing Triple 7 heavy] into the Atlantic…But our prescient and erudite leadership didn’t have much to say in regards to such a epiphany as I recall; and I have tendency to recall Goddamn well. You go ahead and ask any of ‘em some questions about that stunt WTL—And watch the eyes start shifting and the tap dancing begin. As for George Tenant and Colin Powell? The Romans felt that “No one ever became a villain at once”...But then again, they didn’t know this bunch.

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By PamAlonia McCrary, May 14, 2006 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Steve Almond,

You’re a true patriot.  Hopefully you will make up your loss of income by accepting public speaking tours.  We need such a strong, clear voice as yours.  My gosh, I bow to you, sir.

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By c woof, May 14, 2006 at 11:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“08 May 2001

Text: Cheney to Oversee Domestic Counterterrorism Efforts

(President announces new homeland defense initiative)

President Bush May 8 directed Vice President Dick Cheney to coordinate development of U.S. government initiatives to combat terrorist attacks on the United States.

Bush also directed the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish an Office of National Preparedness that will coordinate an integrated and comprehensive federal response to weapons of mass destruction (WMD)—biological, chemical or nuclear—used in an attack on the United States.

Cheney will lead a new task force to address terrorist threats and will report to Congress by October 1, after a review by the National Security Council.”

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/05/20010508.html

No meetings were held.

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By wtl, May 14, 2006 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

jeez - sorry! shouldn’t hit return instead of tab. My link didn’t work, maybe due to the extra space. I’ll try again:

http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=40520

OK, this one seems to work (but it did the first time, too, and then a space appeared…)

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By C Quil, May 14, 2006 at 9:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Congratulations, Professor Almond.
You’ve done an amazing thing.

“The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

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By WTL, May 14, 2006 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To get specific, from http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=40520:

Pre-9/11 Intelligence

CLAIM: “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 5/16/02
FACT: On August 6, 2001, the President personally “received a one-and-a-half page briefing advising him that Osama bin Laden was capable of a major strike against the US, and that the plot could include the hijacking of an American airplane.” In July 2001, the Administration was also told that terrorists had explored using airplanes as missiles. [Source: NBC, 9/10/02; LA Times, 9/27/01]
CLAIM: In May 2002, Rice held a press conference to defend the Administration from new revelations that the President had been explicitly warned about an al Qaeda threat to airlines in August 2001. She “suggested that Bush had requested the briefing because of his keen concern about elevated terrorist threat levels that summer.” [Source: Washington Post, 3/25/04]
FACT: According to the CIA, the briefing “was not requested by President Bush.” As commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste disclosed, “the CIA informed the panel that the author of the briefing does not recall such a request from Bush and that the idea to compile the briefing came from within the CIA.” [Source: Washington Post, 3/25/04]
CLAIM: “In June and July when the threat spikes were so high…we were at battle stations.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT: “Documents indicate that before Sept. 11, Ashcroft did not give terrorism top billing in his strategic plans for the Justice Department, which includes the FBI. A draft of Ashcroft’s ‘Strategic Plan’ from Aug. 9, 2001, does not put fighting terrorism as one of the department’s seven goals, ranking it as a sub-goal beneath gun violence and drugs. By contrast, in April 2000, Ashcroft’s predecessor, Janet Reno, called terrorism ‘the most challenging threat in the criminal justice area.’” Meanwhile, the Bush Administration decided to terminate “a highly classified program to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States.” [Source: Washington Post, 3/22/04; Newsweek, 3/21/04]
CLAIM: “The fact of the matter is [that] the administration focused on this before 9/11.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT: President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s counterterrorism task force, which was created in May, never convened one single meeting. The President himself admitted that “I didn’t feel the sense of urgency” about terrorism before 9/11. [Source: Washington Post, 1/20/02; Bob Woodward’s “Bush at War”]
CLAIM: “Our [pre-9/11 NSPD] plan called for military options to attack al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets—taking the fight to the enemy where he lived.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT:  9/11 Commissioner Gorelick: “There is nothing in the NSPD that came out that we could find that had an invasion plan, a military plan.” Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage: “Right.” Gorelick: “Is it true, as Dr. Rice said, ‘Our plan called for military options to attack Al Qaida and Taliban leadership’?” Armitage: “No, I think that was amended after the horror of 9/11.” [Source: 9/11 Commission testimony, 3/24/04]
Condi Rice on Pre-9/11 Counterterrorism Funding

CLAIM: “The president increased counterterrorism funding several-fold” before 9/11. – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/24/04
FACT: According to internal government documents, the first full Bush budget for FY2003 “did not endorse F.B.I. requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts and 54 additional translators” and “proposed a $65 million cut for the program that gives state and local counterterrorism grants.” Newsweek noted the Administration “vetoed a request to divert $800 million from missile defense into counterterrorism.” [Source: New York Times, 2/28/04; Newsweek, 5/27/02]
Richard Clarke’s Concerns

CLAIM: “Richard Clarke had plenty of opportunities to tell us in the administration that he thought the war on terrorism was moving in the wrong direction and he chose not to.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT: Clarke sent a memo to Rice principals on 1/24/01 marked “urgent” asking for a Cabinet-level meeting to deal with an impending al Qaeda attack. The White House acknowledges this, but says “principals did not need to have a formal meeting to discuss the threat.” No meeting occurred until one week before 9/11. [Source: CBS 60 Minutes, 3/24/04; White House Press Release, 3/21/04
CLAIM: “No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT: “On January 25th, 2001, Clarke forwarded his December 2000 strategy paper and a copy of his 1998 Delenda plan to the new national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.” – 9/11 Commission staff report, 3/24/04
Response to 9/11

CLAIM: “The president launched an aggressive response after 9/11.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT: “In the early days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush White House cut by nearly two-thirds an emergency request for counterterrorism funds by the FBI, an internal administration budget document shows. The papers show that Ashcroft ranked counterterrorism efforts as a lower priority than his predecessor did, and that he resisted FBI requests for more counterterrorism funding before and immediately after the attacks.” [Source: Washington Post, 3/22/04]
9/11 and Iraq Invasion Plans

CLAIM: “Not a single National Security Council principal at that meeting recommended to the president going after Iraq. The president thought about it. The next day he told me Iraq is to the side.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT: According to the Washington Post, “six days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush signed a 2-and-a-half-page document marked ‘TOP SECRET’” that “directed the Pentagon to begin planning military options for an invasion of Iraq.” This is corroborated by a CBS News, which reported on 9/4/02 that five hours after the 9/11 attacks, “Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq.” [Source: Washington Post, 1/12/03. CBS News, 9/4/02]
Iraq and WMD

CLAIM: “It’s not as if anybody believes that Saddam Hussein was without weapons of mass destruction.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/18/04
FACT: The Bush Administration’s top weapons inspector David Kay “resigned his post in January, saying he did not believe banned stockpiles existed before the invasion” and has urged the Bush Administration to “come clean” about misleading America about the WMD threat. [Source: Chicago Tribune, 3/24/04; UK Guardian, 3/3/04]
9/11-al Qaeda-Iraq Link

CLAIM: “The president returned to the White House and called me in and said, I’ve learned from George Tenet that there is no evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.” – National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, 3/22/04
FACT: If this is true, then why did the President and Vice President repeatedly claim Saddam Hussein was directly connected to 9/11? President Bush sent a letter to Congress on 3/19/03 saying that the Iraq war was permitted specifically under legislation that authorized force against “nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11.” Similarly, Vice President Cheney said on 9/14/03 that “It is not surprising that people make that connection” between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks, and said “we don’t know” if there is a connection. [Source: BBC, 9/14/03]

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