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9 years ago
Condi ... Beyond The 4th Grade
Rice-Stanford-Torture-2.jpg Rice-Stanford-Torture-3.jpg Rice-Stanford-Torture-4.jpg

Do you remember how Bush -- known for stumbling and stuttering for eight years -- was all-of-a-sudden so lucid (and furious) in his final press conference? Dropping your guard will do that.

So, what is the media doing amusing itself over a 4th-grader asking Condi Rice a waterboarding question when Stanford students had the practically historic confrontation with her at a dorm reception three days earlier? Watch the video taken at Stanford with an eye on Rice's body language. Whereas the Secretary of State, too, was always bumbling over herself to find the right "diplomatic" words, here -- with her guard down -- she is suddenly perfectly articulate, if also impressively contemptuousness (in this environment of otherwise higher learning).

The student behind her most likely can't see it, but I'd say his expression certainly registers the fist.

(screen shots from video by reynagarcia621/You Tube)

| Permalink | Comments (15) |

9 years ago
Condi Rice is an idiot, but the kids are all right.
9 years ago
Ann Talnaes commentary (animation)
9 years ago
Condi Rice Pulls A Nixon: When the President Does It, That Means It is Not Illegal

Host of The Young Turks

This is why I say these people don't understand the whole concept behind America. In our system of government, the president is not supposed to be above the law.

10 years ago
History is a Lousy Judge, Condoleezza

Screenwriter, playwright, and lyricist

An investigation of the Bush administration must be undertaken by the Justice Department and by the Congress, not for the sake of history, but for the sake of all of us living now.

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10 years ago

Katrina fried Rice - Condi tries to defend Bush's response to Katrina, but then Condi's no one to talk. (Be all that as it may, she might be right that his reasons for being so callous weren't so much a matter of ignoring their plight because they were black as ignoring their plight because they were likely Democratic voters in a state with a Democratic Governor.)

10 years ago
State Department staffers compare Rice to Wicked Witch of the West.introductory speech at the State Department this morning, Harper’s Scott Horton notes that last week several career State Department staffers compared former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz:

rice.jpgI met last week with a number of career State Department employees and was surprised when one said she was looking forward to the “Glinda Party” next week. I asked her: if Hillary was Glinda, the Good Witch of the South from the Wizard of Oz, did that make Condoleezza Rice the Wicked Witch of the West?

“You’re on to it,” she said. Another person pointed out to me that after Rice’s arrival in 2005 the tone of official State Department publications changed; they began to praise and glorify Rice. “No prior secretary,” said the twenty-year veteran, “did anything like this.”

Clinton was given what the LA Times dubbed a “celebrity welcome” this morning at the State Department.

10 years ago

Oddly enough, Condoleezza Rice indirectly argued that the United States is not a democratic, multiethnic state.

10 years ago
Rice says it is 'hard' for Israel to spare civilians in Gaza

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday "it's hard" for Israeli troops to shield civilians in Gaza because the area is so densely populated and Hamas uses people as human shields.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Condi. You only have a few days left on the job. How about shutting up and sparing the nation any further embarrassment.

Civilians would not be dying at all if Israel had not broken the cease fore back on November 5th.

Civilians would not be dying if Israel would give to the Palestinians that which Israel demands for itself, a right to exist and a state of their own.

10 years ago

Condoleezza Rice: "Well, you know that I'm going to have to object, because the United States has always kept to its international obligations, which include international obligations on the convention on torture. The United States, the president, was determined after Sept. 11 to do everything that was legal and within those obligations, international and domestic laws, to make sure that we prevented a follow-on attack. And information to prevent an attack is the long pole in the tent when you're dealing with terrorism. You can't wait until somebody's committed a crime and then go and punish them. ... [...] I was national security adviser, and, quite clearly, you would expect the policies of the United States to come through the National Security Council. But I absolutely was - believed and was told and continued to believe that we were doing so under our treaty obligations and under our domestic laws. And in those circumstances, I really do think that the president of the United States and those responsible, in positions of responsibility, have an obligation to try and protect the American people." (And some interesting diaries - check out the one on The Failure of the Great Globalist Vision.)

10 years ago
Rice: U.S. economy is ‘big and strong.’fundamentals of the U.S. economy are strong.” In an interview with BBC yesterday, Rice again made the same argument, saying that the economy is “big and strong”:

rice98.jpgRICE: But while the U.S. economy has slowed, it is still an innovative economy, a creative economy, the economy in which still more than one in every 10 patents in the world are done in a very small area in California. This is a big and strong economy. And I doubt very seriously that it’s going to be supplanted by any other economy in the world for a long, long time to come.

“[T]he nation is in recession. The recession is coast to coast,” said Mark Zandi of Moody’s today, noting that 27 states are in recession and another 14 are near recession.

10 years ago

Flight of the Diplomats
Midlevel foreign-service officers are fleeing the US State Department in droves. Guess who's taking their place?  —By Joshua Kurlantzick

10 years ago
Condi Rice admits that Senior Cabinet members held meetings in the White House to discuss torture

OK, it’s not like we didn’t know about it, but it’s still horrifying.

 video_wmv Download | Play video_mov Download | Play (h/t Heather)

Senior Bush administration officials held a series of meetings in the White House in 2002 and 2003 to discuss allowing the CIA to use harsh interrogation methods on Al Qaeda detainees, according to a written statement Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently provided to Senate investigators. Rice’s written response to investigators on the Senate Armed Services Committee marks the first time a high-ranking White House official has formally acknowledged the White House discussions, which led to the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other coercive methods…read on

Alex Gibney, the Academy Award winning director of  “Taxi to the Dark Side” discusses this revelation with Rachel Maddow.

10 years ago
Republican Source: Lesbian Rumors Ruined Condoleezza Rice's VP Chances
It was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, not Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, that was the first choice for Senator John McCain's female running mate, according to a mid-level member of the Republican National Committee.
10 years ago

Even under the low standards set by the Bush administration, this is remarkably obtuse.

"Russia is a state that is unfortunately using the one tool that it has always used whenever it wishes to deliver a message and that's its military power," Rice told reporters en route to an emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers set for Tuesday. "That's not the way to deal in the 21st century."

Maybe Condi could have mentioned that to her boss a few years ago and saved us a world of grief.

10 years ago
Russian Crisis Reveals Condi Rice as Worst Secretary of State Ever
Rice supposed to be an "expert" on Russia. But it is her Cold War mentality and extreme hawkishness that allowed her to rise through the ranks within the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

10 years ago
Here she comes to save the day! It’s Condi: Update: Truce Broken

Update: CNN is reporting that the truce has been broken. Not that Russia honored the first one anyway. Tanks are on the move. The Russia-Georgia conflict is getting worse.

Russia responded angrily to President Bush’s harsh words this morning about their handling of the situation in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where Russian and Georgian troops have been fighting since last week. “We understand that this current Georgian leadership is a special project of the United States, but one day the United States will have to choose between defending its prestige over a virtual project or real partnership which requires joint action,” Lavrov said.

While the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, was meeting at Meiendorf Castle with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, Lavrov minced no words in his criticism of Bush’s remarks, calling it the work of “bad speech writers.”

It looks like Bush has sent Condi Rice to play piano for Putin and look into his soul.

He announced that he will send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Paris and then Tblisi to help negotiate the peace plan and to show the administration’s “unwavering support” for the Georgian government.

“The United States stands with the democratically elected government of Georgia and insists that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected,” Bush said.

The pre-emptive doctrine via Bush and Cheney sure has been expanded in this instance.

(Read the rest of this story…

Filed Under: Condoleezza Rice
Tags: Conid Rice, Russia

10 years ago
Waxman Says U.S. Embassy in Albania Concealed Info About Arms Shipment

Was the State Department involved in a shoddy and potentially illegal ammo shipment that led to the arrest of a 22-year-old Miami arms dealer last week?

That's what Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) now says. The House oversight committee says it has evidence that the U.S. embassy in Albania helped Albanian officials keep the allegedly illegal shipment of Chinese-made ammunition to Afghanistan under wraps and then failed to disclose that information when Waxman's committee asked about it.

Last week we updated you about the arrest of Efraim Diveroliand three of his business partners with AEY Inc. Federal prosecutors say he violated the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which prohibits buying and selling weapons from certain countries, including China. The ammunition in question was obtained by AEY from an Albanian arms dealer.

Waxman's new-- and potentially explosive -- evidence stems from an interview by the oversight committee of Army Maj. Larry Harrison, the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Albania. Harrison told the committee about a previously undisclosed November meeting that included Albanian officials and U.S. Ambassador John Withers and others from the U.S. embassy in Tirana.

Waxman describes Harrison's account of the meeting in a letter today to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

According to Major Harrison, the Albanian Defense Minister, Fatmir Mediu, called him on November 19, 2007, to request an urgent meeting with the U.S. Ambassador to Albania, John L. Withers, II. Major Harrison stated during his interview that the Albanian Defense Minister was concerned that a New York Times reporter planned to inspect the facility at Rinas Airport in Tirana where AEY was conducting its operation to repackage Chinese ammunition before shipping it to Afghanistan, a process that included removing some ammunition from its original Chinese packaging. ...

As a result of discussions that went late into the night, the Albanian Defense Minister ordered one of his top generals to remove all evidence of Chinese packaging before the site was inspected the following day. Major Harrison told the Committee: "the Ambassador agreed that this would alleviate the suspicion of wrongdoing."

Back in April, after a front-page story about the 20-something arms dealers in the New York Times, Waxman asked the State Department for any information they had about the case. State officials responded with a memo noting only a few perfunctory meetings about the case.

But Waxman later obtained a draft of that State Department memo on which Harrison used the " track changes " function in Microsoft Word to suggest that reference to the November 2007 meeting be included. Harrison's draft included the following language:

"Do we mention the meeting at Steve's house on 19 November (present was Amb Withers, DCM Christina, RSO Patrick and ODC Chief Harrison) where the Amb recommended to the Minister to prevent the reporters form seeing the munitions at the airport on the following day and the Minister called MG Spahiu at approximately 23:00 to have all the ammunition removed from the airport by 0800 the next morning"

"Steve" is a reference to Stephen Cristina, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Albania. The changes suggested by Harrison were not included in the final draft of the memo that the State Department forwarded to Waxman's committee on April 9.

Waxman wrote in his letter to Rice:

The information obtained by the Committee raises serious issues. If the information is accurate, it appears that senior U. S. Embassy officials in Albania approved of the efforts of the Albanian Defense Minister to conceal evidence of illegal shipments of Chinese ammunition that are now the subject of a criminal indictment. It also appears that information about the incident was withheld from the Committee. It is hard to understand what rationale would justify these actions.

Waxman asked Rice to send several officials from the State Department to appear before the committee for "transcribed interviews."

10 years ago
Officer's CYA Memo: State Department Withheld Info From Congress

Maj. Larry Harrison told his military commanders back in April that State Department officials might be concealing information from Congress.

Harrison was working in the U.S.embassy at Tirana, Albania, when he saw the U.S. officials there help Albanian officials conceal the origin of a weapons shipment that might be illegal, he told House investigators.

When Congress started asking questions about the weapons deal, Harrison suggested that the embassy officials be upfront about the late-night meeting they had in November 2007 with the Albanian defense minister when they talked about how to repackage the Chinese ammo.

But the embassy officials didn't take his advice. And it looks like Harrison sent a C-Y-A memo to his military bosses at European Command on April 16:

Although I provided input to the third question, the Political--Economic Officer, the Deputy Chief of Mission and the Ambassador did not accept my input. The answers were forwarded to the committee with my name on the memo as having cleared the memo, or in other words, approved the content.

I did not approve of the content of the answers and I am concerned that information may have been omitted relevant to the question.

The memo was disclosed today by Rep. Henry Waxman's oversight committee.

A spokesman for the State Department told me this morning said they were still reviewing Waxman's documents. We asked a Defense Department spokeswoman what European Command officials did with Harrison's memo. We'll let you know when we hear back from her.

10 years ago
Playwriting 101: The Condi Monologues

But these days we live in bad theater. The world is run by people who get away with doing all kinds of horrible things, who seamlessly morph into new characters, with even more fabulous careers.

Good monologue. Bad casting.

10 years ago

Provide Your Own Snark

Condi Rice gives her blessing to power-sharing pact with Hezbollah.

--Josh Marshall

10 years ago
Condi Rice: Back to the Future

If you try to square Rice's Marty McFly analysis in Foreign Affairs with the state of the world today, you end up with a catalog of faulty recommendations and squandered opportunities.

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10 years ago

NO THANKS, WE'VE GOT ONE ALREADY...A League of Democracies, that is.

John McCain and others frustrated by the need to do diplomacy and work with other countries keep putting forth the idea of a League of Democracies. That would be the guys in the white hats who would agree with the United States and offer up their armies when the United States wants to depose another dictator. Or cooperate in trade sanctions. Or something.

But it turns out that we have had The Community of Democracies since 2000. You haven't heard much about them, because they haven't done much.

The Department of State's website doesn't list the members, just mentions 100 nations and 140 nations that were invited to previous meetings. Accomplishments so far include missions to East Timor and Tblisi, Georgia. No mention of what the missions were for.

h/t to Thomas Carothers in a WaPo op-ed.

—Cheryl Rofer 10:29 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

10 years ago
Punxsutawney Condi - Wall Street Journal

10 years ago

Phony of the Day: Condoleezza Rice

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today on the crisis in Myanmar, calling on the government there to allow more foreign aid workers into the country:
"This is not a matter of politics, this is a matter of a humanitarian crisis and it should be a matter that the government of Burma wants to see its people receive the help that is available to them."
This, of course, is the same Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who refused to allow 1586 much-needed Cuban medical personnel into the United States when a hurricane ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the same Condoleezza Rice who spent her time shopping for shoes and attending Broadway plays while New Orleans was drowning. Condoleezza Rice no more cares about the fate of the people of Myanmar than she did about the people of New Orleans.

In reality, of course, with Rice and her colleagues it is all politics, and she only wants to use this occasion to score points against the government of Myanmar. Just for starters, if she actually wanted to have the government there listen to her, she might have tried using the name "Myanmar" instead of "Burma."

Perhaps Rice should offer the people of Myanmar the same advice she offered the people of New Orleans, in lieu of actual government aid: "The Lord is going to come on time -- if we just wait."

10 years ago

As part of its investigation of Special Counsel Scott Bloch, McClatchy reports that the FBI has subpoenaed records concerning Bloch's 2004 ethics probe of Rice, who was cleared of charges that she timed some of her trips to boost President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.

10 years ago

Secretary of State Rice is branded 'Phony of the Day' for calling on Myanmar to let in more foreign aid workers, after having turned down an offer from Cuba to send some 1,500 doctors to the U.S after Katrina.

10 years ago

nunnlugar-copy.gif Especially at a time when the recent release of photographs of Hiroshima’s aftermath by an unknown Japanese photographer reminds us anew that nuclear weapons are not intended for use on another state’s military, but its people.

“‘Everywhere you turn, you hear it,’ said Savannah businessman Ed Feiler.”

What, that Clinton will pull it out? That we’ll attack Iran? No, think local. Turns out that Georgians are speculating whether Sam Nunn, their Democratic senator for 25 years, will be invited to join a Barack Obama ticket. Full Story »

10 years ago
USA Has Mandela On Terrorist List

Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation "embarrassing," and ...
10 years ago

Condi got a shirt

“Condi Tried to Clinch Firm Arab Commitments on Iraq but All She Got was This Lousy T-Shirt” from the blogosphere’s number one expert on all things Condi, Princess Sparklepony.

10 years ago
Baghdad embassy lacks secure housing, may be delayed again

“The new U.S. Embassy complex does not have enough fortified living quarters for hundreds of diplomats and other workers, who must remain temporarily in trailers without special rooftop protection against mortars and rockets,” government officials told the AP today. The lack of housing may “further delay moving all personnel” into the embassy, already mired in construction delays, until next year. The issue has become increasingly relevant since Shi’ite militias “resumed steady attacks on the enclave in late March as part of backlash to an Iraqi-led crackdown.”

10 years ago
Rice Calls Sadr a “Coward”; Echoes Bush’s “Bring’em On”

circa 2003) by responding to Muqtada al-Sadr’s latest threat with an official “taunt” from the U.S. government:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as a coward on Sunday, hours after the radical leader threatened to declare war unless U.S. and Iraqi forces end a military crackdown on his followers. …(challenge to their honor,” and just when the surge was beginning to work so well.

Spencer Ackerman has more.

10 years ago
Take Action: Condi Must Go - Watch the Smoking Gun Video

Ask Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama to join us in calling on Secretary of State Rice to resign. America will not stand for a Secretary of State who approved torture and then misled Congress. We call on the Presidential candidates to ask Secretary of  . . .
10 years ago
State Department resisted bill lifting Mandela’s travel restrictions.

Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made headlines when she condemned the “embarrassing” U.S. travel restrictions on former South African President Nelson Mandela. “I really do hope we can remove these restrictions” on the African National Congress, said Rice. But as Vanity Fair reports, Rice’s State Department has repeatedly fought a bill that would remove the restrictions on Mandela:

condoleezza-rice.jpg To redress this injustice, Rep. Howard L. Berman (D—CA) introduced a bill last week that would lift all such travel restrictions on A.N.C. officials. […]

But a conversation VF Daily had with a Capitol Hill staffer familiar with the subject makes Rice’s statement seem either disingenuous or out of step with recent State Department policy. According to this source, the bill was drafted more than five years ago but was adamantly opposed by State and the Republican-controlled Congress. Lawyers at the State Department “fought it tooth and nail,” arguing that if the A.N.C. was removed from the list then other groups would want to be removed, too, the staffer said.

A State Department spokesman “said she was not aware of any past resistance to the bill and reinforced Rice’s recent statement.”


10 years ago
Sign Our Petition Demanding That Rice Resign:
Yesterday, ABC News reported that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chaired explicit White House discussions about which torture techniques should be used on prisoners
10 years ago
Condi Rice: Race Still An Issue Because Of U.S. "Birth Defect"

"Black Americans were a founding population," she said. "Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together — Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That's not a very pretty reality of our founding."
10 years ago

Condoleezza Rice: Never met a milestone she wasn’t willing to render meaningless

At The Washington Note yesterday, the estimable Steve Clemons wrote “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is speaking this morning to Grover Norquist’s weekly powerhouse gathering at Americans for Tax Reform of conservative associations, think tanks, and political operations.” What’s not business as usual about this?

It seems a major Republican operative told Clemons that it was an attempt to “secure her future in Republican politics and to position herself as a ‘otential’ VP candidate on the McCain ticket.” Full Story »

10 years ago
Cheney: staying in Iraq is like pardoning Nixon.

Recently, in an interview with ABC News, Vice President Cheney defended his administration’s refusal to heed the public’s desire to get out of Iraq. “I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls,” he said. The Washington Post notes that in a follow-up interview yesterday, Cheney compared decision-making on the Iraq war to President Gerald Ford’s unpopular decision to pardon Richard Nixon for the Watergate scandal:

Thirty years later, nearly everybody would say it is exactly the right thing to do, that if he’d paid attention at the time to the polls he never would have done that. But he demonstrated, I think, great courage and great foresight, and the country was better off for what Jerry Ford did that day. And 30 years later, everybody recognized it.

And I have the same strong conviction the issues we’re dealing with today — the global war on terror, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq – that all of the tough calls the president has had to make, that 30 years from now it will be clear that he made the right decisions, and that the effort we mounted was the right one, and that if we had listened to the polls, we would have gotten it wrong.


10 years ago

Contractor Named in Passport Breach

U.S. officials say two of the people who improperly accessed Barack Obama's passport files worked for the government contractor Stanley, Inc.

  • Obama: Still "Many Unanswered Questions"
  • Candidates' Passport Files Breached
  • Motives Behind Obama Passport Breach Unclear
  • State Dept. IG to Handle Investigation
  • Rice Apologizes to Obama Over Breach

  • 10 years ago
    McCain and Clinton’s passport files also breached.

    Yesterday, it was revealed that Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) passport files breached three times in the past three months. Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told “Sen. Hillary Clinton that the security of her passport file were breached in 2007.” In a State Department press briefing today, spokesman Sean McCormack said that Sen. John McCain’s passport info had also been accessed by one of the people who looked at Sen. Obama’s file.

    UpdateRep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent a letter to Rice today requesting the name of the companies that hired the contractors that breached the files.
    UpdateAccording to MSNBC's David Shuster, the employee who accessed both Obama and McCain's files was only suspended, not fired. Two other contractors were fired for accessing Obama's files.
    10 years ago
    Breaking News - 2 Fired Over Obama Passport File Breach

    Two contract employees of the State Department were fired and a third person was disciplined for accessing passport records of Sen. Barack Obama "without a need to do so," State Department officials confirmed to NBC
    10 years ago

    Condoleezza Rice: War Criminal

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified about the proposed fiscal year 2009 budget for foreign operations. The topics included foreign aid, foreign services personnel, increasing energy prices, Russia, and the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    However, it only took one sign behind her shoulder to get past all the spin.

    10 years ago
    Ms. Rice's Retreat

    The secretary of state, who once championed reform in Egypt, waives human rights restrictions on U.S. aid.
    11 years ago
    Condi Picks Her Crowd

    Abbas Rebuffs Call by Rice to Return to Talks (NYT)
    Outsmarting Versus Plain Smarting: or, Chin scratching after a hammering by Putin (BNN)

    (image: Pool photo by Abbas Momani. March 4, 2008.  Ramallah.  via

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    11 years ago
    Reporters no longer interested in traveling with Rice.

    In 2005, an “unprecedented 19 reporters” accompanied Condoleezza Rice on her first trip overseas as Secretary of State. Now, however, things have changed. The Washington Post reports that “vastly fewer reporters” joined Rice on her latest trip to the Middle East:

    The three wire services–Associated Press, Reuters and Agence-France Presse–are on board. Bloomberg News and National Public Radio took seats. But only three newspapers–The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Washington Times–are on the plane, down from the standard five. And the networks did not even bother to send a camera crew, let alone a correspondent.

    The media began losing interest in Rice last year. In mid-2007, every single major newspaper turned down an op-ed by Rice on Lebanon and in September, CBS and NBC declined a White House offer to have Rice appear on their Sunday shows.  4:10 pm | Comment (49)

    11 years ago
    Visas halted for Iraq and Afghan translators.

    The State Department has stopped processing visa applications from Iraqi and Afghan translators who have risked their lives assisting U.S. military units because “the current legal quota of 500 visas for the program this year is about to be reached.” A bill sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and signed by President Bush last month raised the quota for Iraqi translators to 5,000, but it has yet to be implemented.   February 29, 2008 3:00 pm | Comment (24)

    11 years ago
    Waxman: Baghdad embassy seeing ‘critical’ problems.

    The U.S. embassy in Baghdad remains plagued by”major deficiencies in the infrastructure,” according to a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from the House Oversight Committee. The finding raises “questions” about the State Department’s December decision to certify that the embassy compound was “substantially complete.” Waxman plans to subpoena Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte if the department does not provide documents related to the embassy’s construction.  February 29, 2008 3:46 pm | Comment (26)

    11 years ago
    Couldn't Even Get The Imperial Palace Right

    It's really hard to comprehend it all...

    WASHINGTON — The State Department's new embassy construction chief has cancelled his predecessor's certification that the $740 million new U.S. embassy in Baghdad is "substantially completed" and begun a top-to-bottom review of the troubled project.

    The official, Richard Shinnick, said in an interview the State Department hopes that the sprawling embassy complex — originally scheduled to be completed last September — will be ready by March 31.


    McClatchy reported in January that the embassy's firefighting systems are defective and that Shinnick's predecessor, in a rush to declare the new embassy complex completed, had ignored the concerns of the State Department's professional fire experts.

    Rice Lies To Wexler About Making False Statements Before The Iraq War »
    11 years ago
    11 years ago

    Afghan peace comes at the point of a gun
    The mission in Afghanistan is not one of peacekeeping, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warns. It's about fighting extremism, and more troops are needed. At the same time, understaffed US military teams in eastern Afghanistan's violent Kunar province struggle to encourage "good governance" in the local administration. Many millions of dollars are being thrown at the problem, much of which disappears into a black hole. And indeed, many US soldiers would rather tout a gun than wrestle with nation-building. - Philip Smucker (Feb 7, '08)

    11 years ago
    Poe seeks meeting with Rice on KBR rape case.

    Frustrated with “unacceptable” written responses from the State Department regarding the gang rape in Iraq of one his constituents, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday asking her to “answer questions in person” about the high-profile case involving military contractor KBR. Declining to comment further about whether Rice would actually meet with Poe, State spokesperson Nicole Thompson only said “the secretary’s office will respond to the congressman.”  12:39 pm | Comment (15)

    11 years ago

    Shortly after ABC News reported on the rape of former Halliburton/KBR employee, Jamie Leigh Jones, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for answers. Her deadline of Dec. 21 passed with no reply. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) has also wrote to Rice on Jan. 3, telling her of the “lack of cooperation from her department.” No response yet.

    11 years ago
    Bush Administration Misses Deadline To Respond To KBR Rape Questions


    Last month, ABC News reported that a former Halliburton/KBR employee, Jamie Leigh Jones, had been gang-raped by her co-workers while working in Baghdad. She was then left by the company in a “shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water.”

    Shortly after the news broke, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “requesting details on how many Americans in Iraq had reported being sexually assaulted or abused, how they were investigated, and if any had been recommended for prosecution.” He gave the State Department a deadline of Dec. 21 to respond. Yet according to Nelson’s office, the senator has not yet received any response:

    He has not received a reply, a spokesman confirmed. … Nor has Nelson received replies from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates or Attorney General Michael Mukasey, to whom he also wrote asking for information and assistance, according to the lawmaker’s spokesman. […]

    Asked about missing that deadline, a State Department spokesman told ABC News, “If the senator has asked questions, I’m quite sure we will provide answers. But it’s not something I could discuss with you.”

    Former Halliburton/KBR employees have described an atmosphere of “rampant sexual harassment.” Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) has also confirmed that his office has heard from multiple other women who were victims of sexual assault while working for KBR in Iraq.

    The refusal of the Bush administration to respond to Nelson’s request mirrors its foot-dragging on Jones’s case over the past two years. Despite Poe’s involvement in the case, the Justice Department has refused to bring criminal charges against anyone, and it appears that no “federal agency [is] investigating the case.”

    Last month, the Justice Department also refused to send a representative to answer questions on the case before the House Judiciary Committee. “This is an absolute disgrace,” remarked chairman John Conyers (D-MI).

    Filed under: Iraq, Ethics

    Posted by Amanda at 11:15 am

    11 years ago
    Rice’s legacy

    In the NYT, Robert Dallek reviews Elisabeth Bumiller’s new book on Condoleezza Rice, “An American Life: A Biography.” One gets the sense the book probably won’t be too hard-hitting — Bumiller has a well-earned reputation for passivity, and Dallek notes the biography’s “above-the-battle tone” and refusal to “offer any decisive judgments on Ms. Rice’s performance.”

    Most notably, though, there was this gem:

    Ms. Bumiller says that if President Bush and Ms. Rice can produce a settlement in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians and an end to North Korea’s nuclear program, it would give them claims on success that would significantly improve their historical reputations.

    As Scott Lemieux responded, “And if I discover a way of powering cars entirely with oxygen, emitting a vapor that would result in the immediate killing of cockroaches and paralysis in the hands of every Hollywood producer about to sign a contract with Joel Schumacher and Uwe Boll, my reputation as a world-class scientist would be greatly enhanced.”

    Yglesias gets in on the fun, too: “By the same token, if earth’s yellow sun gave me the powers of a kryptonian, I’d be a super hero. If my blog had Engadget’s traffic, I’d be the most popular political blogger. If George Bush could breath underwater, he’d be a fish.”

    11 years ago



    New docs obtained by TPMmuckraker under a FOIA request show that the State Dept knew of Blackwater's fraudulent practices back in early 2005 but signed them up anyway.

    TPMmuckraker reporter Spencer Ackerman got hold of a pretty amazing stash of documents here. So we'll have more coming on this throughout the day and into next week.

    Stay Tuned.

    --Josh Marshall

    11 years ago
    Rice ‘Planted’ Question With ‘Friendly Journalist’ To ‘Help Erase’ Pre-Iraq War Legacy

    In 2003, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice helped push America into war with Iraq. She disregarded at least two CIA memos and a personal phone call from CIA Director George Tenet stating that the evidence behind Iraq’s uranium acquisition was weak. She infamously said, “[W]e don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

    In an interview with C-SPAN’s Washington Journal today, Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler, author of Confidante: Condoleezza Rice and the Creation of the Bush Legacy, revealed that after President Bush promoted her to Secretary of State, Rice mounted a “public relations” campaign to distance herself from the pre-war fiasco.

    As part of this PR campaign, she directed an aide to “plant a question” asking if she would run for President, in order to help “negate American memories of her very direct role” in invading Iraq:

    She had a very deliberative public relations strategy when she became Secretary of State to help erase the images of how ineffective she had been as National Security Adviser. And I describe how one of her aides even planted a question with a friendly journalist to ask whether she would be interested in running for president — to give her the aura of someone who might have presidential aspirations, make her seem more powerful than she was.

    And that all helped negate American memories over her very direct role in the invasion of Iraq.

    Watch it:

    In October, it was revealed that FEMA clumsily staged a “fake” press conference where agency employees posed as journalists. Condi, however, has fake press conferences down to a fine art.

    Digg It!

    Filed under: Administration

    Posted by Satyam November 30, 2007 3:07 pm

    11 years ago
    Registering My Dis-chord

    fawning piece about Condi Rice's love affair with the piano leading Saturday's is beyond comprehension.  As well, doesn't anybody get the parallel -- between her falling short in her aspiration to become a professional musician and the same exact circumstance regarding her ability to professionally conduct the affairs of state?

    I'm appalled.

    ...Meanwhile, I offer a few "comparable" images from Iraq:

    Iraqistan/War On Islam, Media Focus, WingNut Watch | Permalink

    11 years ago
    Does Condi Email? CREW Wants To Know.


    Earlier this year, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed technology and e-mails with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo. Rice indicated that the State Department has changed its policy regarding e-mail and blackberrys:

    QUESTION: So do you not take your blackberry when you go to China?

    SECRETARY RICE: The truth of the matter is I don’t have one. But I used to, but I don’t now.

    QUESTION: Is that because of security reasons?

    SECRETARY RICE: Well, they don’t let me play with almost anything technological now, Maria. Funny, but it seems they all want to do it for me. And it’s too bad because, you know, I love the internet, I love e-mail and –

    Who are “they”? What is the policy? And, why and when did the policy change? Given the major scandals surrounding the Bush administration involving e-mails, CREW wants to know. Last week, CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request “seeking documents stating the Department of State’s policies governing the Secretary of State’s methods of communicating via e-mail with audiences both internal and external to the U.S. government.”

    11 years ago
    State Department delays forcing diplomats to Iraq.

    Last month, the State Department announced that it would order “as many as 50 U.S. diplomats to take posts in Iraq next year” in “forced assignments.” The announcement was met with “anger and frustration” by several hundred diplomats, who likened the forced posting to a “potential death sentence.” Personnel were supposed to be chosen by today, but with 25 volunteers already approved in the positions, the department is now delaying the final selection until Friday.   3:29 pm | Comment (14)

    11 years ago
    Toronto Star, Canada
    Condi's Quasi Mia Culpa ...

    11 years ago
    Andy World - Rice: Now Is Time For Palestinian State
    Quoted from Voxant: The time has come for establishing a Palestinian state and it's in the interest of the U.S. to do so, U.S. Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said Monday in one of her most forceful statements yet on the issue. (Oct. 15)
    11 years ago
    State Department Hired Corrupt Contractor To Build U.S. Embassy In Iraq

    ricepoint.jpg The State Department has come under intense criticism recently for its lavish $592-million embassy in Iraq. The embassy complex will have a staff of 1,000 people and operating costs will total $1.2 billion a year.

    At a July hearing, the State Department official overseeing the construction assured Congress that the project was “on schedule and on budget” and bragged about the “extremely high quality of construction.” Yet the cost of the embassy is now expected to be $144 million more than projected and the opening of the embassy, set for September, has been delayed because of severe construction problems.

    Today, House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and raised concerns about the “substandard work” done by the prime contractor, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Company. Waxman’s investigation has uncovered not only poor workmanship — widespread defects in fire detection systems and electrical wiring — but also a past record of corruption that the State Deparment may have purposefully overlooked:

    The Kickback Scheme: Wadih El Absi, the managing Partner of First Kuwaiti, “personally engaged” in a $13-million kickback scheme with a major U.S. contractor in Iraq in 2003 “in order to obtain subcontracts.”

    Overcharges: Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) documents show that in 2005, First Kuwaiti may have overcharged the government on a subcontract to “provide living containers to the U.S. military.” DCAA found that First Kuwaiti was charging over 260 percent “the median cost charged by its supplier.”

    Waxman’s investigation underscores that the State Department’s inability to regulate Blackwater was not an isolated incident. As Waxman notes in his letter, “Based on the information the Committee has received, I do not understand why the State Department would rely upon First Kuwaiti to build the largest embassy in the world. … Increasingly, it appears that the State Department’s efforts in Iraq are in disarray.”

    Digg It!

    Filed under: Iraq, Ethics

    Posted by Amanda at 12:57 pm

    11 years ago
    State Tells Blackwater to Keep Quiet

    In a letter, an official warns the company not to say anything without authorization. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) points out that State has no authority to compel Blackwater to obstruct a congressional investigation.

  • State Dept. Stonewalls on Iraq Corruption
  • VIDEO: Romney Campaign Keeping Blackwater Head On Team

    11 years ago
    Condi Coming Out? I say, No, No, No.
    What a day. I go out, meet a friend for lunch, come back and people are busy outing Condi Rice and her gal pal Randy Bean, who she owns a house with in California. (

    Um… I don’t want her. I don’t want her to be a lesbian. I can think of a lot of creepy people I’d rather deal with than Condi Rice.

    Now I know how gay men felt with Craig was outed. It’s awful to think someone imagines, “gay man” and has the image of Craig tapping his toes immediately come up. Condi Rice? Please, no.

    How about Martina Navratilova? Good image. Or Jodie Foster. Oops. She’s “not” a lesbian. Sorry. Heck, I can even deal with Mary Cheney more than I can deal with Condi Rice.

    At least Mary and her partner, Heather are out as lesbians. They may feel basic LGBT civil rights are an issue for the little people to deal with, but they aren’t pretending to be housemates or hide behind an assassination attempt- it was a long time ago, Jodie.

    While I have been an ardent supporter of Mike Rogers and his one man crusade to out all hypocritical politicians who live one life and vote- with angry indignation- another way, I don’t want Condi outed.

    I don’t want her. I don’t want anyone to think ‘lesbian’ and think of her. She might be a genius, she might be a gifted pianist, but she’s crafted, with our idiot president, one of the single worst set of foreign relation policies since Lindbergh’s anti-Semitic, isolationist policies in the early years of WWII.

    So as far as I’m concerned, she can stay in her closet, and I’ll personally hold the door shut. Because like walking in on your parents having sex, it’s an image I don’t want to have imbedded in my mind.
    11 years ago
    Secretary of State, Who Keeps Private Life Shrouded, Co-Owns Home With Female Filmmaker
    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice co-owned a home and shared a line of credit with another woman, according to Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler, who reveals the information in his new book
    Steve Clemons, who blogs at The Washington Note -- and who travels in high-level foreign policy circles -- told Raw Story that "Condoleeza Rice may or may not be gay but that she is in a relationship which legitimately raises these kinds of questions. Before he took office, the president and first lady had close relationships with a number of gay men, including Charles Francis, whose brother managed Bush's reelection campaign for Texas governor."
    11 years ago

    At the White House remembrance ceremony for 9/11 victims on Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s outfit was “almost perfect — except for that pesky leaf stuck in her hair. Fortunately, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Steve Johnson was there to clean up Condi’s hair. After all, any EPA employee is supposed to be good at cleaning things up.” See picture HERE.


    11 years ago
    Rice Orders Baghdad Embassy Posts Filled
    Seems that Condoleeza Rice feels the need to resort to direct orders so that the department's staff in Baghdad remains filled. Why are these orders necessary?
      They also come amid private accusations from some senior officials that Iraq war foes inside the State Department and its union have compromised staffing and operations at the embassy through either direct efforts or inaction.

    The union denies the charges, but they threaten to re-open wounds from the rancorous debate over the decision to topple Saddam Hussein that many diplomats questioned, and the initial plans for post-war construction, which largely ignored recommendations prepared by a special State Department task force...

    Officals familiar with the situation said Crocker was more importantly addressing concerns that Iraq policy is being obstructed by opponents of the war who have influence on staffing decisions.

    They cited numerous examples, including three involving qualified mid-level staffers and two involving more senior diplomats, who volunteered for Baghdad duty but whose appointments were delayed for months or discouraged at the expense of the embassy and its tasks.

    One senior State Department official described the resistance as "passive-aggressive," but said it was clearly related to differences over the Iraq war and at odds with the requirement for career diplomats to promote the policies of any administration for which they serve.

    Another said that in some cases there appeared to be active sabotage of Iraq staffing plans and claimed that the diplomats' union, the American Foreign Service Association, or AFSA, was interfering in the process by suggesting that Baghdad is too unsafe for civilian diplomats, many of whom are returning home with stress-related disorders.

    The official allowed that Iraq is an extremely dangerous hardship post with near daily insurgent mortar attacks on the fortified Green Zone where the embassy is located but accused AFSA and some in the State Department of attempting to hamper policy by advising Baghdad candidates not to go and warning of potential career damage.

    To say that not everyone is terribly happy with the State Department might be a bit of an understatement.
    11 years ago
    The Reluctant Diplomat

    From the outset of the Bush administration, the idea of bilateral talks with North Korea was considered folly. Well, guess what?

    11 years ago
    Rice hints at Libby pardon.

    Meeting with the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that Scooter Libby “served the country really well” and hinted that a presidential pardon was in order. “Asked for her views on a pardon, Rice demurred but then came to the strong defense of Libby, stating that he should be treated ‘in accordance’ with his public service.”  June 12, 2007 10:26 am | Comment (141)

    11 years ago

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sat down yesterday with the editors of the New York Daily News to discuss Iraq policy. She repeated most of the mantras we've come to expect from administration officials, including the obligatory sense of impatience.

    "[O]ur patience is not endless -- not just the patience of the American people but the patience of the administration.

    "They're hard issues, but they don't have the luxury, really, of time."

    Top administration officials, including the president, say stuff like this all the time. Iraqis need to get better, faster. Our patience is limited. Ours is not an open-ended commitment.

    The Bush gang really needs to change its rhetorical approach, because none of this makes any sense. Or more to the point, the rhetoric is entirely inconsistent with administration policy.

    Bush's approach to the war is predicated on the notion that our patience has to be endless. To do otherwise would be to leave before the job is done, which would mean, as the White House sees it, the decline of Western civilization. If our patience is limited, we might abandon Iraq, leaving terrorists to fill a power vacuum that will endanger the world.

    Rice added that Iraqis don't have the "luxury" of time. This echoes the recent comments of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who insisted, "The clock is ticking." This, too, sounds nice, but contradicts the war strategy. As the administration sees it, if Iraqis are given a finite amount of time, the "suiciders" and "dead-enders" will think we'll eventually leave, and they'll "wait us out."

    Put it this way: it's not helpful for Rice to suggest time is of the essence when the rest of the administration is talking about the "Korean model" in which the U.S. will maintain a presence in Iraq for the next five decades.

    -- Steve Benen
    11 years ago

    Let's look back to Jan. 11, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sat at the witness table in Hearing Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building explaining why "those who talk about engagement with Syria and Iran" are all wet. "That's not diplomacy -- that's extortion," she said.

    The administration has already reversed course on its policy towards Syria, with Rice having engaged in direct, bilateral talks with Syria' foreign minister a few weeks ago. But direct discussions with Iran were always considered far more controversial. As far as the Bush gang is concerned, Iran needs to be isolated, not engaged. To talk to Iran is to "reward bad behavior." We've gone a quarter-century without talking to Iran, and Bush wasn't about to strike up a conversation, especially given the Ahmadinejad regime.

    At least, that was the policy.

    U.S. diplomats said Monday's scheduled talks with Iran will be limited to discussions about Iraq's security, and not about the unresolved issues of detained Americans in Iran or the country's nuclear program.

    The meeting in Baghdad will be the first public and formal meeting between U.S. and Iranian representatives since the United States cut off diplomatic relations 27 years ago.

    "The issue at hand in the meeting between [U.S. Ambassador to Iraq] Ryan Crocker and the Iranian representative ... is going to be focused on Iraq and stabilizing Iraq," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said last week.

    I don't disagree with the diplomatic decision, but it's worth noting that after years of saying talks with Iran would be reckless and irresponsible, the Bush gang is grudgingly accepting the reality that Dems have been pushing for quite a while.

    Would it be rude to point out how often this has happened of late? Dems said Bush should talk directly to Syria; Bush said Dems were weak to even suggest it; and Bush eventually came around. Dems said Bush should talk to North Korea and use Clinton's Agreed Framework as a model for negotiations; Bush said this was out of the question; and Bush eventually came around. Dems said Bush should increase the size of the U.S. military; Bush said this was unnecessary; and Bush eventually came around.

    And Dems said Bush should engage Iran in direct talks, particularly on Iraq. It took a while, but the president came around on this, too.

    For years, all we've heard from the right is that Bush is a bold visionary when it comes to foreign policy, and Dems are weak and clueless. And yet, here we are, watching the White House embrace the Dems' approach on most of the nation's major foreign policy challenges.

    Now, if Bush could just bring himself to accept the Democratic line on Iraq, too, we'd really see some progress.

    -- Steve Benen
    11 years ago

    * Condi Rice told Charlie Rose last night: “[O]ur friends in the [Middle East] need to know and the Iraqis need to know that we are not looking to leave Iraq.” “Ever?” Rose asked. Rice responded, “We are not going to leave an Iraq that is not capable of defending itself and with a foundation for future reconciliation.” Is that really the message? I thought we wanted Iraq to know that we are looking to leave Iraq, and will just as soon as possible.

    11 years ago
    After State Department Attacked Pelosi, Rice To Meet With Syrian Leader

    Word of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) bipartisan delegation to Syria was first made public on March 30 during a State Department press briefing.

    Spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters, “In our view, it’s not the right time to have those sort of high-profile visitors to Syria… [W]e don’t think it would be appropriate for high-level visitors, even those from the Congress, to pay a visit to Syria right now.”

    Apparently, one month later, the time is right to meet with Syrian officials:

    A senior Iraqi official and a senior Arab diplomat say Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Egypt on Thursday or Friday.

    It would be Rice’s first meeting with a Syrian foreign minister since she took over at the State Department in 2005, adding potentially significant bilateral talks to a regional session meant to help stabilize Iraq.

    As Carpetbagger notes, “Literally just one month ago, the Bush administration said U.S. officials should not have contact with the Syrian government.” Vice President Cheney called Pelosi’s effort “bad behavior.” President Bush said Pelosi’s delegation was “counterproductive.” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino suggested Pelosi was visiting to “have a photo opportunity and have tea” with Syria’s prime minister.

    The supreme irony: two weeks ago, President Bush reportedly pulled Pelosi aside after a meeting and “told her he did not criticize her recent trip to Syria.” Bush told Pelosi “in an unsolicited comment that it was actually the State Department that criticized her.”

    Digg It!

    Filed under: International Relations

    Posted by Nico at 11:34 am

    11 years ago
    Time Is Up On Rice’s ‘Two To Three Month’ Window For Escalation worked too aggressively to combat violent Shiite militias.”

    – According to a recent poll, Maliki inspires confidence in 72 percent of Shiites, but just eight percent of Sunnis.

    – “The UN has sharply criticised the Iraqi government’s human rights record, in the two months since a security plan was launched in the capital, Baghdad. The UN mission for Iraq said Iraqi authorities had failed to guarantee the basic rights of about 3,000 people they had detained in the operations.”

    – In its April 26 Iraq Index, the Brookings Institution found “no progress thus far” on four of Rice’s benchmarks: establishing new election laws, scheduling provincial elections, disbanding militias, or putting together a plan for national reconciliation.

    Even though the Iraqi government has been largely unsuccessful in meeting its political benchmarks, the Bush administration refuses to change its plan in Iraq. Yesterday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Rice said that the administration opposes imposing any “so-called consequences” on Maliki’s government “for missing the benchmarks,” and plans to veto any bill that does so.

    Digg It!

    Full transcript:  expand post »

    Condi's Biggest Fib this weekend?
    11 years ago

    What was Condi's biggest fib on the Sunday shows this weekend? Nothing to do with "slam dunk." We tell you in today's episode of TPMtv ...

    Update: For a summary of today's episode, click here.

    CondoLIEzza Rice, State Department, (2)
    11 years ago

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