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Saturday, 2 October 2004
You're free to go (to Saudi Arabia) continued.

There's a hitch in the Esam Hamdi story.

(Man, you know we're seriously riding off the rails when the Saudis are questioning our methods of due process.)

NY Times:

Saudi officials, clearly irritated, said they found the monitoring provision of Mr. Hamdi's release agreement unreasonable.

They also noted that the supervision duties, which entail ensuring that Mr. Hamdi does not leave the country for five years, were imposed upon Saudi Arabia even though no Saudi officials were involved in the negotiations.

"I don't know why we should have to baby-sit him," said a senior Saudi official, who asked to remain unnamed because of the diplomatic implications of the issue.

Last June, the Supreme Court, in a rebuke of Bush administration policy, ruled that Mr. Hamdi could not be held incommunicado and that he could challenge his detention before a judge. Soon afterward, rather than give him a day in court, the government began negotiating his release.

"Mr. Hamdi has been in U.S. custody for three years, and if they had charges against him, then they would have charged him in the U.S.," said Nail al-Jubeir, spokesman for the Saudi embassy. "We have not seen any evidence that he violated the law."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 8:54 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Friday, 1 October 2004

Gen. Abazaid says the Iraqi insurgents "haven't won a single engagement with American forces." Of course, neither did the Viet Cong, so I'm not quite sure what point he's trying to make there. [Battles, wars, strategy, tactics, who knows? Just a bunch of buzz words. Freedom is on the march. (Fuhrer, Italy is on the march!)]

I guess the troops can come home now right? They haven't lost a single battle after all...

According to the president when asked in the debatelast night when the troops would be coming home

"And so the best indication about when we can bring our troops home -- which I really want to do, but I don't want to do so for the sake of bringing them home [Parish the thought!]; I want to do so because we've achieved an objective -- is to see the Iraqis perform and to see the Iraqis step up and take responsibility.

I had the honor of visiting with Prime Minister Allawi. He's a strong, courageous leader. He believes in the freedom of the Iraqi people.

He doesn't want U.S. leadership, however, to send mixed signals, to not stand with the Iraqi people.

He believes, like I believe, that the Iraqis are ready to fight for their own freedom. {Looks like a lot of them already are, but against us.]

You know, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. [Like on 9-11 and WMD?] And the enemy only has to be right once to hurt us.

There's a lot of good people working hard.[Math is hard! Quoth Barbie.]

And so, the answer to your question is: When our general is on the ground and Ambassador Negroponte tells me that Iraq is ready to defend herself from these terrorists, that elections will have been held by then, that their stability and that they're on their way to, you know, a nation that's free; that's when. [So, Negroponte will decide. See, its out of Bush's hands!]

What about those WMD?

"My opponent looked at the same intelligence I looked at and declared in 2002 that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat."

You mean the intelligence Colin Powel said was bogus today?

"The only thing [the only thing?] where we got it wrong and where our presentation did not hold up was the actual stockpiles," Powell said. [Oh, those... And to palm tree] "We've seen nothing to suggest that he had actual stockpiles. That was not right."

He added, "As we've gone back and looked through the intelligence, there are indications that we had bad sourcing that we should have caught. For that I am disappointed and regret that that information was not correct." [Ooopse!]

Miscalculations? (Why didn't they stand up and let us shoot them?)

LEHRER: New question, Mr. President, two minutes. You have said there was a, quote, "miscalculation," of what the conditions would be in post-war Iraq. What was the miscalculation, and how did it happen?

BUSH: No, what I said was that, because we achieved such a rapid victory, more of the Saddam loyalists were around. I mean, we thought we'd whip more of them going in.

BUSH: But because Tommy Franks did such a great job in planning the operation, we moved rapidly, and a lot of the Baathists and Saddam loyalists laid down their arms and disappeared. I thought they would stay and fight, but they didn't. [ D'oh! ]

And now we're fighting them now. And it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens [FOX?] how hard it is. But it's necessary work.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:37 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 October 2004 4:28 PM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Indian givers!
This is an amazing story. Besides the obvious idiocy of the entire thing what's intersting is who these guys had as firends...all the usual suspects

Washington Post:

Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations executive Michael Scanlon formed a secret partnership that corruptly influenced Indian tribal elections in order to bilk tribes that operate gambling casinos out of more than $66 million in fees, lawmakers charged yesterday during an unusual Senate committee hearing.

Abramoff, appearing under subpoena before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, endured blistering attacks from senator after senator, turning aside all questions by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Scanlon dodged U.S. marshals who attempted to serve him with a subpoena compelling him to appear, according to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who with the panel's chairman, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), has been leading the seven-month investigation into Abramoff's and Scanlon's activities.

Nighthorse Campbell said the documentary trail developed by the committee, including the e-mails released yesterday, tell a story of unbounded greed. He said he believes Abramoff privately showed bigotry and contempt for tribal officials who were awarding him and Scanlon multimillion-dollar contracts, referring to them as "idiots" and "troglodytes."

"Do you refer to all your clients as 'morons'?" he demanded of Abramoff. The witness, flanked by lawyer Abbe D. Lowell, looked abashed but did not answer, citing his right against self-incrimination.

The activities of Abramoff, once a powerful lobbyist with extensive ties to Republican leaders, and Scanlon, a former spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Tex.), are also being investigated by a federal grand jury in Washington.

Lawmakers yesterday cited the pair's e-mail traffic, which the panel subpoenaed from Greenberg Traurig, where Abramoff was head of government relations until March, when he quit under pressure.

When Scanlon complained on March 5, 2003, about an Agua Caliente tribal member, Abramoff counseled: "I think the key thing to remember with all these clients is that they are annoying, but that the annoying losers are the only ones which have this kind of money and part with it so quickly."

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) strained to find words to describe the e-mails and other evidence, calling the two men's activities "a cesspool of greed, a disgusting pattern, certainly, of moral corruption, possibly of criminal corruption. . . . a pathetic, disgusting example of greed run amok."

"I think all of us know this is the most extraordinary pattern of abuse to come before this committee in the 18 years I've served here," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who described the pair's conduct as "scuzzy" and "outrageous."

Further from the NY Times:

Documents cited...that the men dropped the names of high-powered Congressional leaders like Mr. DeLay to help persuade the tribes to contribute large sums to Republican organizations like Americans for Tax Reform [AKA: Grover Norquist.], as well as to obscure groups like the Capital Athletic Foundation, a Washington group that Mr. Abramoff controlled.

Mr. Campbell said the six tribes - the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw, the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of California, the Tigua Indians of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo of El Paso and the Pueblo Sandia Tribe of New Mexico, all of which operate or want to operate casinos - paid Mr. Scanlon more than $66 million, with more than $21 million of it going to Mr. Abramoff.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who is expected to continue hearings when he replaces Mr. Campbell as chairman next year, compared the actions of Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon to those of others who have taken advantage of Indians over generations and said, "What sets this tale apart, what makes it truly extraordinary, is the extent and degree of the apparent exploitation and deceit."

Mr. McCain referred to e-mail messages between the men that he said reflected manipulation of the tribes, including one effort that led to a contribution of $25,000 to a research group controlled by Mr. Scanlon.

Mr. McCain said the group was headed by "two of Mr. Scanlon's beach buddies, one a yoga instructor, the other a lifeguard."
Some messages referred to tribal leaders as "morons," "idiots," "troglodytes," "monkeys" and other derogatory names, Mr. Campbell said.

In his first question to Mr. Abramoff, Mr. Campbell asked, "Why would you want to work for people you have that much contempt for?"

Two tribal leaders followed Mr. Abramoff to the witness table. Richard M. Milanovich, chairman of the Agua Caliente band, and Bernie Sprague, subchief of the Saginaw Chippewa, told the panel that Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon had inserted themselves in tribal elections by currying favor with candidates who later voted to award them contracts. The leaders said they had been powerless to oppose the contracts because the two had secured support from a majority of leaders.

"There is not a word in my language that is strong enough to describe what these people have done to my tribe," Mr. Sprague told the panel.





Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:24 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 1 October 2004 3:25 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 29 September 2004
Tony B-liar
BBC:
A senior Italian politician says he believes a ransom of $1m or more was paid for the release of two female Italian aid workers kidnapped in Iraq.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said no money was paid. [Let's see how many more Italian hostages get taken.]

But Gustavo Selva, head of the Italian parliament's foreign affairs committee, said the denial was purely "official".

Meanwhile, British hostage Ken Bigley has appeared in a new video aired by Arabic TV channel Al-Jazeera, accusing Tony Blair of ignoring his plight.

Squatting down in a cage and dressed in an orange jumpsuit, Mr Bigley said his captors did not want to kill him, and he accused the UK prime minister of "lying".

Blair to the rescue:
BBC:

...He doesn't care about me. I'm just one person," Mr Bigley said.

Leader of the House of Commons Peter Hain told BBC News Interactive he could "not imagine the horror" that Ken Bigley and his family were experiencing.

However, he said "it was not possible to accede to the demands of hostage-takers because that will encourage them to keep doing it to other British citizens". [As if they can stop them from taking more regardless.]

Blair says the war was justified, so he has to keep justifying it over and over because no one seems to believe him. In this case repeating a lie long enough doesn't make it so.

The biggest whopper in an interview with the BBCwas this one, worthy of Rumsfeld:

"The action in Iraq had led to Libya winding up its weapons programme, and meant there was a "better chance of getting Iran and North Korea into compliance than we have ever had", he said."

Yeah sure, that'll be happening. You can see North Korea is just shaking in their boots. Iran is buckling. And Moammar promises not to plot any more assignation attempts after he kills Crown Prince Abdullah.]


Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:45 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 29 September 2004 11:47 AM EDT
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Monday, 27 September 2004
Big bully on the block...

Syria May Be Subject to Attack, Israeli Deputy Minister Says

Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Syria may be subject to Israeli strikes to prevent terrorist attacks against Israel, Deputy Defense Minister Zeev Boim said, calling the neighboring country an ``innkeeper'' for terrorists.

Boim spoke a day after a car bomb in Damascus killed a top leader in the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union. Syria blamed Israel for the killing and said it bore responsibility for the consequences, AFP reported, citing unidentified officials in Damascus.

``Syria is acting as an innkeeper giving shelter to terrorist headquarters,'' Boim said in an interview with Israel Radio. ``As a result Syria isn't immune to any operations we take to prevent terror attacks.''

[Hey, preemption, everybody's doing it!]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:55 PM EDT
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Oil Weh!

Financial Times:

Crude futures hit fresh record highs on Monday amid concerns of supply disruptions in Nigeria, where rebels are threatening an uprising in the oil-producing region.

The latest ethnic unrest in Nigeria comes as oil markets are already concerned about supply issues in Iraq and Russia.

"While such periodic unrest has become somewhat common, the disturbance comes atop already heightened concerns about supply availability headed towards the northern hemisphere winter," said Michael Rothman, chief energy strategist at Merrill Lynch.

Royal Dutch/Shell Group said it had shut up to 40,000 barrels per day of oil production for security reasons. Shell last week evacuated 235 staff from two oilfields as government troops launched raids on nearby communities to track down militants.

Shell's output loss follows a 10 per cent drop in Nigerian output last month. Edmund Daukoru, presidential adviser on petroleum, told Reuters that Nigeria had reduced supply to base capacity of 2.25m b/d. Nigeria had been pumping at full capacity of 2.5m b/d until July to take advantage of record high oil prices, but analysts said the output surge took a heavy toll on ageing oil infrastructure.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:27 PM EDT
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Powell and Rumsfeld. Frick and Frack.

WASHINGTON (AFP) -

US Secretary of State Colin Powell warned that the insurgency in Iraq was "getting worse" and could hinder the organization of Iraqi elections planned for January.

Yes, it's getting worse," Powell told ABC television.

"And the reason it's getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the election. They do not want the Iraqi people to vote for their own leaders in a free, democratic elections." [Neither does Florida.]

"Right now our goal is, and I think it's an achievable goal, is to have full, free and fair elections across the whole country." [Dude, that's some awesome weed!]

The top US military commander in the region, General John Abizaid also cautioned that "we will fight our way through elections" in Iraq, and that he could not predict that the entire country would be able to vote.

Powell told CNN that: "There will be polling stations that are shot at. There will be insurgents who will still be out there who will try to keep people from voting.

"I think what we have to keep shooting for [Literally?], and what is achievable, is to give everybody the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election, to make the election fully credible, and something that will stand the test of the international community's examination," he said.

Reality Check:
(Washington Post)

Attacks over the past two weeks have killed more than 250 Iraqis and 29 U.S. military personnel, according to figures released by Iraq's Health Ministry and the Pentagon.

A sampling of daily reports produced during that period by Kroll Security International for the U.S. Agency for International Development shows that such attacks typically number about 70 each day. In contrast, 40 to 50 hostile incidents occurred daily during the weeks preceding the handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government on June 28, according to military officials.

Reports covering seven days in a recent 10-day period depict a nation racked by all manner of insurgent violence, from complex ambushes involving 30 guerrillas north of Baghdad on Monday to children tossing molotov cocktails at a U.S. Army patrol in the capital's Sadr City slum on Wednesday.

On maps included in the reports, red circles denoting attacks surround nearly every major city in central, western and northern Iraq, except for Kurdish-controlled areas in the far north. Cities in the Shiite Muslim-dominated south, including several that had undergone a period of relative calm in recent months, also have been hit with near-daily attacks.

In number and scope, the attacks compiled in the Kroll reports suggest a broad and intensifying campaign of insurgent violence that contrasts sharply with assessments by Bush administration officials and Iraq's interim prime minister that the instability is contained to small pockets of the country.

Allawi told Washington Post reporters and editors on Friday that "for now the only place which is not really that safe is Fallujah, downtown Fallujah. The rest, there are varying degrees. Some -- most -- of the provinces are really quite safe."

"People are very naive if they think Baghdad is safe," said Falah Ahmed, 26, a cigarette vendor in center city. A nearby tailor, Hisham Nuaimi, 52, said Allawi "is either deceiving himself or the Americans."

"What do you call a city with a car bomb every day?" he said. "Is this the security they are achieving?"

There also has been an unusual spike in the number of attacks to the north of the capital. More attacks have been reported in the northern cities of Mosul, Samarra and Tikrit over the past two weeks than in Fallujah and Ramadi, two areas of frequent fighting in Anbar.

Military officials contend, however, that does not mean the restive areas west of Baghdad -- the area known as the Sunni Triangle -- are no longer insurgent strongholds. The likely explanation, the officials said, is that U.S. Marines stationed in Anbar have sharply reduced their patrolling, making them less vulnerable to roadside attacks. But that strategy, officials say, has allowed insurgent cells to expand in the province.

"There are fewer attacks here because we're out on the road less," an officer at the Marine headquarters near Fallujah said on condition of anonymity. "But you shouldn't conclude from that that things are any safer."

In his remarks Thursday, Allawi did not specify the three provinces he deemed insecure, nor did he specify what he meant when he contended that violence in those provinces had been limited to "certain pockets."

But since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Baghdad and three of the country's largest and most populous provinces -- Anbar in the west, Salahuddin to the north and Babil to the south -- have been the principal hotbeds of insurgent violence.

And according to the Kroll reports, recent violence appears to have been widespread rather than limited. On Wednesday, for instance, attacks in Salahuddin province occurred in Taji, Balad, Tikrit, Samarra, Baiji, Thuliyah and Dujayl -- the seven largest population centers in the area.

[Don't read this, you're giving aid and comfort to the enemy.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:25 PM EDT
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Friday, 24 September 2004
Mr Allawi goes to Washington. (Sue Niederer gets the gallows.)
Rumsfeld on a perfect world:

"Let's say you tried to have an election, and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country, but some places you couldn't because the violence was too great," Mr. Rumsfeld said at a hearing on Capitol Hill. "Well, that's so be it. Nothing's perfect in life."

Ayad Allawi thinks a few provinces short here or there is just dandy too:

In 15 out of 18 Iraqi provinces, the security situation is good for elections to be held tomorrow. (From the press conference with Bush.)

[Dr. Allawi's optimism was at odds with the private view of some of Mr. Bush's senior advisers, who have said in recent days that the American military's main problem is that it is not full control of Baghdad. NY Times.]

The Deptuy Secretary of State Armitage is pissing on the parade. Don't worry be happy!(Isn't the State Dept. running the show over there now, by the way? Where is Colin Powell anyway?)

The No. 2 official at the State Department said Friday that the elections planned for January in Iraq must be "open to all citizens," contradicting Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld who has suggested that voting might not be possible in the more-violent areas.

We're going to have an election that is free and open and that has to be open to all citizens. It's got to be our best effort to get it into troubled areas as well," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told a House committee Friday, after being asked about Rumsfeld's words.

Armitage told reporters after the hearing that: "We absolutely want to hold them in all parts of Iraq." Asked if partial elections were under consideration, he said: "No. Not now. Not that I know of."

Don't be a spoiled sport says W:(See press conference link.)

"I saw a poll that said the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than here in America," Mr. Bush said, chuckling. "It's pretty darn strong. I mean, the people see a better future." [So, does that mean Americans are more pessimistic about their future than the Iraqis are. Oh Boy!]

Allawi Voting for Bush: (From the Boston Globe.)

WASHINGTON -- Apart from the heavy Iraqi accent, he sounded almost like a Republican official introducing President Bush at a campaign stop. But as interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of Iraq toured the diplomatic circuit in Washington yesterday, praising Bush for ''standing firm" in the war on terror and admonishing Senator John F. Kerry as a ''doubter," he took on a far more significant role in the presidential campaign than any American partisan ever could.

''When political leaders sound the sirens of defeatism in the face of terrorism," Allawi said, standing next to Bush in the White House Rose Garden, ''it only encourages more violence."

And if the Allawi speech was not actually written by the Bush team, it was soon incorporated into the Republican message. By the time Cheney appeared at a campaign rally in St. Joseph, Mo., yesterday afternoon, Allawi -- and the dispute with Kerry over conditions in Iraq -- had already become a part of the vice president's remarks.

''I must say I was appalled at the complete lack of respect Senator Kerry showed for this man of courage," Cheney said, drawing boos from the audience, ''when he rushed to hold a press conference and attack the prime minister, a man America must stand beside to defeat the terrorists.

''John Kerry is trying to tear down all the good that has been accomplished," he said. [That shouldn't take long, should it?]

[Traitor! Take him out and shoot him!]

Speaking of which...Sue Niederer

This from our crazy right wing friends at the Federal Review, always good for a laugh.

Liberals, and their willing allies in the media, were aghast when the "grieving mother" of a soldier killed in Iraq was arrested for disrupting a New Jersey appearance by First Lady Laura Bush last week.

For example, columnist Jimmy Breslin bemoaned, "they whisked her out of the place and arrested her for using free speech." CBS News, that bastion of accuracy, declared her a "Grieving Mom."

Now, however, it turns out that the woman, Sue Niederer of Hopewell, N.J., may have been more of a threat than the media portrayed her.

WNBC news is reporting that the Secret Service in investigating Niederer for threatening to shoot President Bush last May:

In portions an interview posted online in May on the Web site Counterpunch.org, Niederer said she wanted to "rip the president's head off" and "shoot him in the groined area."
As WNBC notes, "It is a federal crime to threaten to kill the president."

With the Secret Service involved, Niederer now claims that she did not mean it when she threatened the president.

However, given that threats to shoot the president were made, no one should be surprised, or disturbed, that Niederer was taken away from the First Lady as soon as possible.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:17 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 24 September 2004 3:15 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 23 September 2004
Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax.

It turns out the two very dangerous doctors with the funny names were about to be released anyway, but since we don't negotiate with hostage takers (except for that Iran/Contra thing and good ol' Moammar)two American's got beheaded and a Brit's life is on the line.

The Iraqi "interim" govt. seems to want to let them go but as a "sovereign" country they need the U.S. army's okay for some reason...

From the NY Times:

Throughout this latest hostage crisis, the American military has said it is holding only two women:

Rihab Rashid Taha, a scientist known as Dr. Germ for her work on an anthrax program, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a biotech researcher known as Mrs. Anthrax.

A senior military officer said on Wednesday that a review board of the multinational forces had recommended two weeks ago that Ms. Taha be released, along with 13 other prominent security prisoners.

Those cases were then turned over to the Iraqi government, which the board's decision, the officer said. The prisoners are awaiting final word from the office of Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, he added.

Ms. Taha and the other 13 prisoners will probably be released within a couple of weeks, the officer said.

As for Ms. Ammash, the Iraqi government asked before the hostages were taken that she be freed on humanitarian grounds, he said. She will have to go through the entire review process, he said, and the final arbiter in her case will be the Defense Department rather than General Casey's office, because she is among the 55 Iraqis on the Pentagon's "deck of cards" most-wanted list.

American and Iraqi officials did not disclose that
Ms. Taha was close to being released - and that the review process might start soon for Ms. Ammash
- until questioned by journalists on Wednesday. This in turn raised the question of why they did not disclose earlier the probable impending release of Mrs. Taha on the chance that such an announcement might prompt Mr. Zarqawi to show mercy to his hostages.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:52 PM EDT
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You're free to go (to Saudi Arabia.)

According to AFP "The United States announced that Yasser Esam Hamdi, who has been kept in isolation as part of the war on terror for almost three years, would be sent back to Saudi Arabia where he was raised and stripped of his US nationality."

The Justice Dept. says, "As we have repeatedly stated, the United States has no interest in detaining enemy combatants beyond the point that they pose a threat to the US and our allies."

They couldn't prove after 3 years that this guy should have been held so long in the first place, even the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against the government, and now he has to give up his citizenship?

(What's with the stripping the citizenship thing anyway? They act like its some slick lawyer trick to keep terroroists from getting the noose or something.)

Boy, that really says something when you'd rather go to Saudi Arabia than stay in the U.S. Eventhough the U.S. has told the Saudis they really had no evidence against this guy that he did anything wrong, I'm sure they'll be understanding and just torture him a little bit.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:31 AM EDT
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