The real Dan Rather story


Richard Moore

Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 13:07:52 -0400
From: Greg Palast <•••@••.•••>

Dan crashes - Bush flies high

The power and the pay-off

By Greg Palast

They finally put Dan Rather out of his misery.  Today, CBS finally terminated 
him and sent him to the electronic glue factory -- all for reporting the truth.
But not all of it.

Rather's "unsubstantiated story of Bush's military service" (says USA Today) got
him canned.  Yet, all the poor man did was repeat a story we put on BBC 
Television a year earlier -- that Poppy Bush put in the fix to get his son out 
of 'Nam and into the Texas Air Guard, spending his war years guarding Houston 
from Viet Cong attack.

But Dan never reported this:  the documentation from inside the US Department of
Justice detailing the fix.  Why not?  Because it opened up a far more serious 
charge:  that those who kept Little George out of war's way ended up very well 
rewarded.  We ran that full story -- from the evidence of the fix to the 
evidence of the lucrative pay-backs -- on the world's biggest network, BBC, and 
we've never retracted a comma of it.  Nor, by the way, has the White House 
denied our accusations despite our repeated offers to respond.

George's slithering out of combat turned into big pay-days for those in on the 
fix and its cover-up:  Harriett Miers (remember her?), Karen Hughes and Texas 

For the complete story, read, "The Necklace-ing of Dan Rather" in Armed 
Madhouse.  See below for a piece of the puzzle.

The Necklace-ing of Dan Rather

[Excerpted from Armed Madhouse, the new book by Greg Palast - 
your copy here or from your local bookstore.]

You aren¹t stupid, they just talk to you that way. It¹s 2004. Falluja¹s on fire,
your pension¹s burning away, the last General Motors worker is turning out the 
lights in Detroit‹and the biggest issue of the election, aside from Christians 
who don¹t want homosexuals to have families, was whether some elderly news 
celebrity, Dan Rather, had besmirched the reputation of our President, a former 
Naval Aviator. They can¹t get you to ignore that man behind the curtain, 
Dorothy, unless there¹s a fascinating show on stage to distract you. And, for 
the final days of the presidential campaign, they gave us the lynching of Dan 

We know George Bush was a Naval Aviator because it says so right on his toy box.
Actually, he never was a Naval Aviator and never once landed a plane on the deck
of an aircraft carrier. During the Vietnam War, our future President flew in the
Texas Air National Guard protecting Houston from Viet Cong attack. Our President
obtained that job the same way he got the current one: The fix was in.

Congressman Poppy Bush, said Rather, put in the fix for his son, despite 
Junior¹s too-dumb-to-fly test scores, by putting in a call to the head of the 
Texas Air Guard via Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes. That¹s what Dan Rather 
reported on 60 Minutes, that Bush Jr. got the Texas top gun post, and thereby 
dodged the draft and the bullets of Vietnam. It was a hell of a scoop and his 
network rewarded him and his producer, Mary Mapes, by firing their sorry asses. 
That wasn¹t enough.

The president of CBS, Leslie Moonves, bullwhipped his network¹s stars and, with 
his own spit, polished the soiled war record of our President, declaring that 
Rather¹s producer: ...ignored information that cast doubt on the story she had 
set out to report‹that President Bush had received special treatment thirty 
years ago, getting to the Guard ahead of many other applicants.

Really? Well, Mr. Moonves, look at this evidence: ³His [George W. Bush¹s] dad 
called then­Lt. Gov. Barnes to ask for his help to get his son not just in the 
Guard, but to get one of the coveted pilot slots which were extremely hard to 
get. [Barnes, through a ³cut-out,² a third party,] contacted General Rose at the
Guard and took care of it.

George Bush was placed ahead of thousands of young men, some of whom died in 

This is from a letter which had remained locked for years in the file cabinets 
of the U.S. Justice Department prosecutor in Austin, Texas. How I got it does 
not matter. Our War President has not challenged authenticity. And its contents,
Mr. Moonves, were confirmed by the ³cut-out² himself, the man who made the call 
to the Texas Air Guard for young George. (Would the cut-out, a major figure in 
the Lone Star State, allow BBC to film his statement? He said, ³Do I look like 
the dumbest Texan on the prairie?²) But you knew that, if you¹re not American. 
At the Guardian and on BBC we also reported, before the presidential election, 
that Lt. Governor Barnes had put in the fix for George Jr. at the Air Guard. We 
reported that in 1999, before Bush¹s first run for office.

Justice for Miers

But there¹s much, much more to the story than Rather had cojones to report. 
Barnes had two tasks‹one, to get little George into the Air Guard and the other 
was to shut up about it. Keep it quiet. Barnes¹s good deeds and long silence 
were, indeed, well rewarded.

Barnes, who left office under a cloud of impropriety, stayed on in Austin as a 
big-fee lobbyist. And the biggest fee he received, maybe the biggest ever in the
history of the lobbying art, was at least $23 million for representing a company
called GTech when it got the contract to operate the Texas lottery. GTech¹s 
creepy ways of doing business caught up with it in 1997, when, after 
questionable payments to the Texas lottery director¹s boyfriend were exposed, 
GTech lost its contract by order of the new, uncorrupted, lottery director. The 
lottery work was put up for bid and GTech¹s replacement chosen.

But then something quite extraordinary happened: The new state lottery director 
was fired, the bids tossed out and GTech given back the lottery work‹no bidding 
required. The governor at the time: George W. Bush. Now, let¹s go back to the 
letter buried at the U.S. Attorney¹s Office in Austin: Governor Bush through 
[another cut-out] made a deal with Ben Barnes not to re-bid because Barnes could
confirm that Bush had lied during the ¹94 campaign. During that campaign [for 
Governor of Texas], Bush was asked if his father...had helped him get in the 
National Guard. Bush said no he had not, but the fact is his dad called then­Lt.
Gov. Barnes.... Silence has a price and Barnes, the letter says, got his: safety
for his client GTech, with whom he maintained hidden ties. I can¹t imagine that 
Barnes would make such a raw demand on Bush.

But the war hero Governor¹s team made damn sure that no harm came to Barnes and 
his business associates. The Governor talked to the chair of the lottery two 
days later and she then agreed to support letting GTech keep the contract 
without a bid. Did Governor Bush put in the fix for GTech as alleged?

I wasn¹t on the phone when he spoke to the lottery board Chairwoman. Maybe they 
talked about their newfound faith in the Lord, which they both discovered 
together at the same time. The Chairwoman? Harriet Miers. We don¹t know if Miers
gave the overpriced GTech its contract back to help the governor keep his Air 
Guard secret a secret or simply because she liked GTech¹s record of high costs 
and corruption.

In 2005, George W. Bush¹s attempted appointment of Miers to the United States 
Supreme Court surprised the U.S. media and even the President¹s own supporters. 
But I wasn¹t surprised at all.

Silence of the Media Lambs

In 2004, he knew exactly what would happen when he finally asked those 
questions. He had already delivered his own eulogy.

On June 6, 2002 on the program I report for, BBC Newsnight, Rather said:

³It's an obscene comparison but there was a time in South Africa when people 
would put flaming tyres around people's necks if they dissented. In some ways, 
the fear is that you will be neck-laced here, you will have a flaming tyre of 
lack of patriotism put around your neck. It's that fear that keeps journalists 
from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore-in on 
the tough questions so often. Again, I'm humbled to say I do not except myself 
from this criticism.²

The lynching of Dan Rather is a cautionary tale of how news is made in the 
USA‹and unmade‹and topics permissible during an election. The story that cannot 
be reported is not about George Bush¹s special treatment but about the special 
treatment of the specially privileged.

The real story, for me, is that Little George was just one of a dozen privileged
princelings saved from the dangers of their powerful daddies¹ wars. Barnes did 
not give help to Bushes only. The man who actually made the call to the Air 
Guard for Little George at Barnes¹s request also confirmed that at Barnes¹ 
request, he also put in the fix for sons of Democratic big-wigs, Governor John 
Connally and Congressman, later Senator, Lloyd Bentsen.

Vietnam was one front in a class war, and only one class was sent to fight it. I
don¹t blame Congressmen Bush Sr. or Bentsen for keeping their sons out of 
Vietnam. I do blame them for sending other men¹s sons in their place.

Read the entire story, "The Necklace-ing of Dan Rather," in Armed Madhouse.

Greg Palast is the author of the new book, Armed Madhouse: Who's Afraid of Osama
Wolf?, China Floats Bush Sinks, The Scheme to Steal '08, No Child's Behind Left,
and Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War.  
your copy today or get it from your local book store.

To read, watch, and listen to this report and others go to 
(The BBC Newsnight video of Dan Rather will be available shortly at 

Escaping the Matrix website
cyberjournal website  
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives      
  cyberjournal forum  
  Achieving real democracy
  for readers of ETM  
  Community Empowerment
  Blogger made easy