Accidental Treason by Democratic Congressmen

Mentor

Main Question or Discussion Point

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that a U.S. citizen working as a secret agent for Saddam Hussein organized and accompanied a congressional delegation trip to Iraq in 2002.

The trip was covertly funded by Iraq’s intelligence service, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

The October 2002 trip included three members of Congress, the indictment said. Between 1999 and 2002, the Michigan man had been providing the Iraqi intelligence service with strategic advice on getting Congress to lift sanctions against Iraq, the indictment added.

The members of Congress were innocent and unwitting victims of the scheme, according to officials familiar with the case.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/9228.html

Oops.

We'll see where this goes, but I expect they will be able to successfully disavow knowledge of the true source of the money, but the fact that they traveled with the spy could prove probematic. Nevertheless, they have exposed themselves as patsies/dupes for our enemy.

Related General Discussion News on Phys.org
Accidental Treason by Democratic Congressmen

Intentional treason by republican president.

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Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I don't see a case for treason, accidental (can there be such a thing as "accidental treason"?) or not, unless we also know that one or more of the three Congressmen did something to hurt US interests. What am I missing?

The guy who was indicted has been around a long time.

Lately he apparently has still been lobbying for coalitional-Tawafuq.

The Kurds are the most aggressive of the Iraqi religious and ethnic factions jockeying for influence over U.S. policy. The Iraqi Embassy represents the Shiite Muslim-dominated government. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a major Shiite party, also has a Washington representative, Karim al-Musawi. The largest political party representing minority Sunni Muslims, the coalition al-Tawafuq, has two lobbyists — Muthanna al-Hanooti and Mohammed Alomari, both of suburban Detroit.
A lot of people have apparently been lobbying for Iraqi groups and parties.

The Kurds have spent nearly $3 million on lobbying and public relations efforts here since 2003, including paying powerhouse Republican lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers nearly$1.7 million, according to Justice Department records. The Kurds' top lobbyist there is Ed Rogers, a former White House aide to former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush..

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2007-06-27-kurds-lobbying_N.htm

If Muthanna al-Hanooti openly or covertly worked for Iraq, where the hell was Homeland Security, the CIA and the FBI?

This 2002 incident has current politics written all over it.

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lisab
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/9228.html

Nevertheless, they have exposed themselves as patsies/dupes for our enemy.
Nope, but nice try. Conspiracy theories are not allowed here; see the guidelines.

His trip was vetted by the State Department (which was under Republican management at the time). It was initiated by a group of churches--Christian churches who apparently believe Jesus (aka The Prince of Peace...?) would have been opposed to war. Imagine that!

http://www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_032708WAB_mcdermott_iraq_trip_response_TP.7d24d1e.html [Broken]

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Nevertheless, they have exposed themselves as patsies/dupes for our enemy.
George W Bush?

Art
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0308/9228.html

Oops.

We'll see where this goes, but I expect they will be able to successfully disavow knowledge of the true source of the money, but the fact that they traveled with the spy could prove probematic. Nevertheless, they have exposed themselves as patsies/dupes for our enemy.
The article you reference doesn't mention treason, accidental or otherwise. Is this simply your own personal twist on it? Or do you have evidence the 3 congressmen 'accidently' levied war on the US or gave their enemies aid and comfort?

Mentor
I don't see a case for treason, accidental .... or not, unless we also know that one or more of the three Congressmen did something to hurt US interests. What am I missing?
They went to Iraq for the purpose of helping Iraq prevent the war by becoming a part of the Iraqi propaganda machine. They were tricked into being agents of the Iraqi intelligence service.
(can there be such a thing as "accidental treason"?)
I've never heard of it, but I don't see why there couldn't be, just as there are different degrees to murder. Treason is rarely punished in the US anyway, though.

So they are actually American Heroes?

I mean, they would have saved 4000 soldiers and counting, not to mention all the Iraqis that died, and all the money wasted.

Mentor
Nope, but nice try. Conspiracy theories are not allowed here; see the guidelines.
Did you happen to read the first sentence of the article you posted?

Mentor
The article you reference doesn't mention treason, accidental or otherwise. Is this simply your own personal twist on it?
I can't seem to find what the spy was charged with other than "conspiracy". I can't imagine it would be anything but treason, but I don't know.
Or do you have evidence the 3 congressmen 'accidently' levied war on the US or gave their enemies aid and comfort?
Yes: They were agents of the Iraqi government, attempting to undermine international efforts to keep Iraq disarmed after the Gulf War. It's right there in black and white in the article. It couldn't be clearer.

Mentor
So they are actually American Heroes?

I mean, they would have saved 4000 soldiers and counting, not to mention all the Iraqis that died, and all the money wasted.
By motivating our enemies, they cost lives. Propaganda is a powerful motivator. Such things are rarely punished, however, which is why Jane Fonda is still alive.

Note, I didn't say there was anything they could be punished for, much less that they should be. What they did was wrong, but falls into a crack that the law doesn't adequately cover.

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They weren't our enemies yet, and they flew there on Saddam's cost. What's the big deal?

And what is this "they cost lives" business? It's been 5 years and their motivation has gotten stronger the longer we have been there. If you think that talking to Saddam somehow made this worse then I don't know what to say, besides "I know why Bush got elected twice now."

lisab
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Did you happen to read the first sentence of the article you posted?

Did you read *beyond* the first sentence? Here's the fifth paragraph:

The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. None was charged and Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said investigators "have no information whatsoever" any of them knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.

Mentor
You didn't actually disagree with me in that post, lisa.

Yes, they weren't charged and they probably didn't know. Nevertheless, they were acting on behalf of the Iraqi intelligence service. They were unknowing partners in the conspiracy. That's the definition of "patsy".

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
They went to Iraq for the purpose of helping Iraq prevent the war by becoming a part of the Iraqi propaganda machine.
I don't see anything that says they purported to help Iraq, or that they intended to become a part of the Iraqi propaganda machine, as you've claimed.

They were tricked into being agents of the Iraqi intelligence service.
And how exactly did they function as agents of the IIS?

I've never heard of it, but I don't see why there couldn't be, just as there are different degrees to murder. Treason is rarely punished in the US anyway, though.
We can get to this later. Can we first establish what actions were by carried out by these people that would qualify them as acting against the interests of the US?

Mentor
They weren't our enemies yet, and they flew there on Saddam's cost. What's the big deal?
Do you understand why the guy who funded the trip was arrested?
And what is this "they cost lives" business? It's been 5 years and their motivation has gotten stronger the longer we have been there. If you think that talking to Saddam somehow made this worse then I don't know what to say, besides "I know why Bush got elected twice now."
You are saying you can't see how talking to Saddam Hussein and taking his side might have made him believe he could get away with certain things? At the time of this visit, Hussein was using the Oil for Food program as his own personal income. At the time, it wasn't Americans he was killing, it was Iraqis. This action was at least as harmful to them as to us.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
<semiglib>From what I've read so far, these guys should be commended. When the administration was bullying Congress into making a big mistake, these folks decided that it might be a good idea to do some checking on their own...and they didn't even use taxpayer money for it.

And if you really want to talk about treason, I know some Presidents that have installed dictators, bankrolled terrorist organizations and engaged in illegal arms trades with enemies.

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Mentor
I don't see anything that says they purported to help Iraq, or that they intended to become a part of the Iraqi propaganda machine, as you've claimed.
Sorry, it should be obvious, but that article makes only passing reference to the purpose of the trip (they were anti-war). The purpose of the trip was to make Saddam look good in order to persuade people to vote against the war. The were even criticized at the time for seeming to be speaking on behalf of Saddam. Here's another article that talks a little more about them:
The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution.....

Oklahoma Sen. Don Nickles, then the second-ranking Senate Republican, said the Democrats "sound somewhat like spokespersons for the Iraqi government." Seattle-area conservatives dubbed McDermott "Baghdad Jim" for the Iraq trip.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-03-27-iraq-trip_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip
And how exactly did they function as agents of the IIS?
The trip was paid for by the IIS, which means they were acting on the IIS's behalf.
We can get to this later. Can we first establish what actions were by carried out by these people that would qualify them as acting against the interests of the US?
Sure. Can we agree that:

1. Muthanna Al-Hanooti orchestrated a conspiracy (he was charged with it).
2. These congressmen were participants in that conspiracy.

Mentor
Here's a story from when they took the trip:
They have been called dupes of Saddam Hussein, at best. Their harsher critics have called them traitors.

But in their home districts, four Democratic members of the House appear to be suffering little political fallout from their visits to Iraq.

Reps. Jim McDermott of Seattle, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California were due to return Tuesday night after a visit organized by Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of Iraq. Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia was in Iraq earlier in a trip was sponsored by the San Francisco-based Institute for Public Accuracy, a consortium of policy researchers.

Two weeks ago, McDermott won 77 percent of the vote in the state's open primary from his liberal Seattle constituency. After the visit to Baghdad, columnist George Will called him a "useful idiot" for Saddam.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,64595,00.html

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Mentor
Here's a classic quote:
“If being used means that we’re highlighting the suffering of Iraqi children, or any children, then yes, we don’t mind being used.” – Rep. James McDermott, D-WA, on his 2002 trip to Iraq, financed by Saddam Hussein.
:rofl::rofl::rofl:

And more:
When pressed about believing the promises of a murderous international pariah, McDermott said, “I think you have to take the Iraqis at their face value,” but he offered no such quarter to the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military. “I think the president would mislead the American people,” he declared.

On the eve of the war, three sitting U.S. Congressmen treated Saddam Hussein as President Bush’s moral superior.

The Iraqi media multiplied the propaganda value of their visit. The Iraq Satellite Channel reported that the three were scheduled to “visit hospitals to see the suffering caused by the unjust embargo.” Yet the three expressed no regrets for acting as Saddam’s stooges. ....

Second, what the Left will obscure is the irrefutable fact that their prior knowledge is immaterial. The three knew beforehand that they were traveling to the capital of a nation, which had for years regularly fired on U.S. aircraft, as part of a tightly controlled tour of a dictatorship on the brink of defying its way into full-blown war with their constituents. And they shilled for the man who authorized the torture of rape of his children as though he had only their best interests at heart and as though he were prevented from expressing his immense love for his people only by heartless Republicans. After all, they deny health care to Americans; why wouldn’t they deny it to Iraqis?

In other words, when Third World dictators need someone to run interference, they know who to contact: leftist Democrats.

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Mentor
EVEN BEFORE the Baghdad boys left Iraq, media outlets throughout the Middle East gleefully highlighted divisions in the U.S. government and the travels by the 'antiwar' congressmen. The Iraq Daily, for example, published by Saddam's Ministry of Information, printed daily updates of the trip and posted them in English on their website.

For example, a September 30 report says, 'the members of the U.S. Congress delegation has underlined that this visit aims to get acquainted with the truth of Iraq's people sufferings due to ongoing embargo which caused shortage in food and medicine for all Iraqi people.'
http://www.dakotavoice.com/2008/03/we-dont-mind-being-used.html

We now know, of course, that the trip was paid for by money looted from the oil for food program. These Congressmen were part of the cause of the suffering they were there to observe!

Mentor
As the U.S. prepared for war in October 2002, Washington state's Jim McDermott flew to Iraq on a Saddam-praising junket with fellow Democrats Mike Thompson of California and David Bonior of Michigan. Rather than support the U.S., they condemned U.N. sanctions, vouched for Saddam's probity and publicly declared America's democratically elected president a liar.

None of it had anything to do with the congressmen's claimed concern for Iraqi children, but it did undermine the U.S. alliance-building effort. And by coincidence, it was exactly what Saddam wanted.

Now we learn the junket was just as it seemed at the time — a Saddam-paid propaganda production, starring three U.S. dupes. The congressmen say they had no idea, but they should have known and must be aware that people will seek to manipulate politicians.
http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1501&status=article&id=291509341189954 [Broken]

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Mentor
The three - and their other colleagues - knew precisely what kind of individual and regime they were dealing with. They knew that their trip was intended to ultimately assist Hussein by going against their American President. No more talk of somehow being able to do things counter to the President of the United States without those actions simultaneously being of benefit to the enemy, be it Hussein, Bashar Assad and his Syrian regime or Ahmadinejad and the rest of the Iranian regime.

One cannot claim to be wise in the ways of nuance - if any of these elected officials’ words and actions are to be interpreted as routinely transmitted - and then turn around and claim ignorance to the fact that the Iraqi regime was all for what they were doing. For it to the point of making their trip happen, such a media coup it was for the self-professed enemy of America.

The same applies to elected officials (and any others) who insist on ‘diplomatic’ junkets to have tea with the dictatorial leaders of states whom the official US policy includes no diplomatic ties. The congressional trip to Syria to meet with Bashar Assad is another prime example.

No excuses. None. You know what you were/are doing. Don’t act surprised when you learn their intelligence services are busy arranging and facilitating your aid to them.

It is one thing to disagree with one’s president and his policies. It’s also one thing to have internal and public debate - even heated and passionate. But it is another to travel to the home of the enemy - regardless the course of action you argue for at home - and surrender a media and propaganda coup to those who are our enemies.

There is responsible dissent and conduct and there is irresponsible dissent and conduct. Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA), and former Representative David E. Bonior (D-MI) either did not know the difference or did not care.

If these three are shocked at the revelations about their irresponsible dissent and conduct, they are either disingenuous or far too naive to be embarking on international diplomatic junkets rubbing elbows with the enemies of America.

Neither is acceptable. At all.