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Friday, 12 August 2005
Cindy Sheehan making Bush?s vacation anything but.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

President Bush yesterday said he felt for Sheehan and the mothers who have lost their sons, as he drove past them on his way to a fundraiser, but wouldn’t be pulling the troops out anytime soon. He said he had “thought long and hard about her position. I’ve heard her position from others: ‘Get out of Iraq now.’ And it would be a mistake for the security of this country.”

I think he ought to listen to what she actually is saying rather than listening to others. She says she wants answers from him about why her son died. You know, all that crazy talk about why W made up all that stuff about WMD to justify an invasion.

Sheehan says she wants him to stop using her son’s death “to justify more killing. The only way he can honor my son’s death is to bring the troops home.” No such luck, there is even talk of increasing troops levels in the “run up” to the constitutional referendum in October. .

[Note: five US troops have been killed in Afghanistan in the last week in the “run up” to the elections there.]

Of course, the right wing goon squad has come out in full force to attack Sheehan’s character. Kristinn Taylor of republic.com says Sheehan “has a political agenda that goes way beyond her son’s death in combat.” Whatever that means. A mother who has given the ultimate sacrifice to the country is now leading some sort of fifth column, to what end? These people have no shame. And what about Michelle Malkin who called Sheehan and the other mothers “grief pimps.” That’s really lovely.

That sort of low blow ought to really resonate with the families of the 42 troops who have died this month so far, especially in Columbus, Cleveland and Philadelphia. Calling mothers of dead soldiers names isn’t helping Bush’s cause. (Please, continue!)

The problem for these douche bags is they are losing the argument, and try as they might, they can’t fight a pissed off mom camped out in front of Bush’s vacation ranch. The advocates of war, pestilence and famine, are losing their appeal.

Bush’s war hits home:

Here in Philadelphia, my neighborhood is reeling from the loss of 3 National Guardsmen in a single attack in Beiji on Tuesday. 2 other local Guards men died last week. People in the Kensington neighborhood, where Sgt. Francis Straub, 24, lived, are not too happy about the war.

The Inquirer quotes one neighbor, Luz Gonzales, as saying; “We’re going to lose all our good men over there. Enough is enough. Kids are dying for what?” Dee McKendry says, “They shouldn’t be there. I’d like to see the president over there with a gun. Sorry, that’s the anger coming out in me.” Straub’s brother said, “they give you a flag and that’s an honor. My brother died an honorable death. But I don’t want a flag. I want my brother.” Quick Michelle, put these grief pimps in their place!

How does Bush explain to these grieving families and friends that we’re losing our best and bravest to protect people like Iraqi president Jalal Talibani who won’t even shake a woman’s hand because the Koran forbids it?

Or Ahmad Chalabi, who is teaming up with Muqtada al-Sadr, to enshrine Shiite oil rights in the Iraqi constitution? And you would sacrifice your loved ones for Kurdish autonomy and rule over Kirkuk, right?

But Bush says, don’t worry, “The important thing for the American people to know is we’re making progress.” (Sheehan really wants to talk to this guy?) Any talk about pulling out before the mission is accomplished (Again) “would betray the Iraqis.” Oh, yes, wouldn’t want to turn our backs on Abdul Aziz al Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq or His Hounarable Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani.

[Chicago Tribune]Besides, if we leave now, there’ll be a blood bath! So, the Baghdad morgue hit a new record of 1,100 corpses in July, up from 879 in June, but things could get worse, right? This isn’t even counting the bodies of those killed by suicide bombings. These are just the Iraqis killed by gunshots from Iraqi troops, US troops and other random causes. And this is just the Baghdad morgue. What about Mosul and Basra?

More on the Curt Weldon front.

[PI]It appears that the 9/11 commission did know of the intelligence on Mohamed Atta provided by the Special Operations team Able Danger but decided not to put it in its report on the 9/11 attacks because, according to Al Felzenberg, spokesperson for the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, the information didn’t match what the commission knew about Atta’s whereabouts at the time.

Why they said they didn’t know about Able Danger and Atta the other day is a bit confusing. Felzenberg says at a July 2004 meeting in Afghanistan the commission had been told of Able Danger but not about Atta. Now, they’re searching their records to see if they had been told about Atta.

In any case, the ruckus being stirred up by Weldon is really much to do about nothing. What difference would it have made whether the pentagon had told the FBI about Atta in 2000 or not? The FBI did know that there were young Muslims taking flight lessons around the country learning how to fly but not land; that should have been a pretty big tip off, but didn’t do anything about it. Who is to say they would have done any better with this information?

Rest assured this story isn’t going away, because there are two congressional commissions investigating this and now Senator Pat Roberts is getting involved. Roberts never one to miss an opportunity to get his face on the TV will no doubt milk this for all its worth.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:56 PM EDT
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Thursday, 11 August 2005
More Curt Weldon and Manucher Ghorbanifar news.
Topic: War on Terror

On Tuesday I wrote that Rep. Curt Weldon’s source for his wild assertions about the terrorist threat from Iran, codenamed “Ali,” was Manucher Ghorbanifar. Wrong! Laura Rozen and Jeet Heer write in The American Prospect, that “Ali” is actually a former Iranian minister of commerce under the Shah, Feidoun Mahdavi, who they quoted as saying, “I know Ghorbanifar and I am close with him, but I don’t want to be confused with him.” Sorry about that.

According to Weldon, he has met twice with the shadowy “Ali,” a long time associate of Ghorbanifar, in Paris and has maintained a correspondence with him.

Weldon’s new book, awkwardly titled, Countdown to terror: The top-secret information that could prevent the next terrorist attack on America how the CIA has ignored it, is based on information provided by “Ali.” Weldon the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee recently made another trip to Paris, this time with the Chairman of the committee, Peter Hoekstra (R. Mich.), presumably to meet with “Ali,” again.

Caveat Emptor:

One of the most spectacular claims Weldon makes in his book is ‘Ali’s” May 2003 tip off that Iranian plotters had sent agents to fly a plane into the Seabrook nuclear power station in New Hampshire. In August 2003 the Canadian government arrested 19 Muslim men, an arrest that Weldon said at the time saved thousands of American lives. Later, the men were charged with simple immigration violations and deported. End of threat.

Before reading the representative’s book, you ought to know also that his main source for this clear and present danger says, “I will deny any quote. I gave information to Weldon from Ghorbanifar.” Ghobanifar is, of course, a proven liar. The man a former senior CIA agent said was “ a complete waste of my time and resources.” The CIA considered him a fabricator and issued a “burn notice” on “Gorba” in the eighties. (Stupid CIA! They did the same thing with Ahmad Chalabi and look how wrong they were!)

He was one of the main movers and shakers in the Iran/Contra affair convincing the ever gullible Michael Ledeen, a fellow Iran/Contra conspirator, that if the US and Israel gave weapons to Iran, he could convince the Iranian “moderates” to give up the embassy hostages.

Now, even Ollie North has said, “I knew him to be a liar.” Robert McFarlane, Reagan’s national security adviser, referred to him as, “one of the most despicable characters I have ever met.” So, despite the very able job Weldon is doing promoting his “expose” on the incompetence of the CIA (And his political career.), the information he’s peddling should be treated with extreme caution.

Ghorbanifar and Larry Franklin: where there’s smoke there’s fire?

In December of 2001, Ghorbanifar met in Rome with “two Farsi-speaking Pentagon officials, Defense Intelligence Agency Iran expert Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, both then working for Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith,” having convinced Michael Ledeen, who has strong connections at the pentagon and the White House, that he could produce “Iranian informants with crucial intelligence about an alleged Tehran-backed terrorist threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.” Regime change in Iran also came up.

The meetings came to nothing, in a strange bit of timing at about the same time that “Ghorba” became persona non-gratis in the US intelligence community, again, Ali started talking to Weldon.

Larry Franklin has since been charged with giving secret information regarding US policy on Iran to two AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman.

Robert Dreyfuss writes that the investigation into the Franklin case is really much larger than press reports let on. Apparently the case goes back more than 5 years to when, the indictment says, that on or "about April 1999 and continuing until on or about August 27, 2004’ Franklin, Rosen and Weissman ‘did unlawfully, knowingly and willfully conspire’ in criminal activity against the United States.”

The indictment says that Rosen and Weissman were introduced to Franklin when they "called a Department of Defense employee (DOD employee A) at the Pentagon and asked for the name of someone in OSD ISA [Office of the Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs] with an expertise on Iran." Could Harold Rhode, who helped Feith assemble the Office of Special Plans where Franklin worked, have been DOD employee A?

At the same time Rosen and Weissman were meeting repeatedly with “officials from a foreign government (Israel, though not named in the indictment), to provide them with classified information,” Franklin had also met with Ghorbanifar, who was interested in making up horror stories about the Iranians as well.

I think the conjunction of the neocons and Israel’s interest in promoting the idea of an Iranian threat and Ghobanifar’ past dealings with the Israelis during the Iran/Contra scandal and his connections to groups interested in putting another shah on the thrown, are too strange to be a coincidence.

Clearly, Israel was and is very interested in knowing about the thinking going on within the administration on Iran. Ghorbanifar was and is very interested in convincing certain impressionable and gullible officials in the pentagon, and congressmen, that Iran is a more immediate threat than Iraq ever was and, naturally, is willing to provide a whole host of nincompoops and liars to back it up, for a price.

And certain high level officials at the White House and at the pentagon have proven to big enough suckers to fall for it, too. Since they’re all convinced Iraq is a raging success, they’re likely to repeat their mistakes, but this time it could be much more spectacualr disaster.

Iran has ended its moratorium on uranium conversion and has broken the IAEA seals at Isfahan, which is now fully functional. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes Ghorbanifar’s, or ‘Ali’s,” wild stories to get traction in the media.

Also, just in time, the administration has John Bolton conveniently placed at the UN to start the ball rolling for sanctions and ultimately resolutions calling for military action. Rummy is already blaming them for the 14 marines who died last week, although why the Iranians would want to arm the Sunnis is still unexplained.

Never mind, what’s really important is getting everybody’s mind off of Iraq and the Gaza pullout and on to the real threat.

Extra note:

Note: Ghobanifar’s Saudi financier friend and Iran/Contra co-conspirator Adnan Khashoggi met with Saudi millionaire Harb Saleh al-Zuhair in France in January 2003 in order to get him on board to invest a million dollars into the infamous and influential neocon Richard Perle's homeland security firm. Perle denied the story, reported by Seymour Hersh and threatened to sue to sue. We’re still waiting.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:07 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 August 2005 3:27 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 10 August 2005
Turing the cornor in Iraq. Not.
Topic: Iraq

Things are moving according to plan in Iraq. Not the Bush administration's plan, but the Badr brigade's.

NYT:

"BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 9 - Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia."

The former mayor Alaa al-Tamimi, said from an undisclosed location that, "This is the new Iraq, they use force to achieve their goal."

"The group that ousted him insisted that it had the authority to assume control of Iraq's capital city and that Mr. Tamimi was in no danger. The man the group installed, Hussein al-Tahaan, is a member of the Badr Organization, the armed militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri."

Well, what do you know about that? Aren't they connected to Iran's mullahs?

AFP:

Rummy says the Iranians are not being helpful. "It is true that weapons clearly, unambiguously from Iran have been found in Iraq."

"US intelligence believes that a cache of newly manufactured Iranian bombs discovered about two weeks ago in northeastern Iraq came from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a US intelligence official told AFP."

Rummy says, "It's a problem for the Iraqi government. It's a problem for the coalition forces. It's a problem for the international community. And ultimately, it's a problem for Iran."

The question is, why would the Iranians be giving the Sunnis "shaped" bombs to kill American forces? Isn't it more likely they're giving these bombs to their cohorts, the Badr brigade? And shouldn't we be talking to His Hounarable Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani about this and also about why his people are goign around killing Sunnis left and right? 15 more bodies with their hands tied behind their back were found today, by the way.

It's a problem for Iran, it's a problem for Syria, but not for Sciri. or The Saudis for that matter.

Also, the Kurds have said through a spokesperson that Kurish autonomy in the North is non negotiable.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 7:09 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005 11:12 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 August 2005
Scientia Est Potenta
Topic: War on Terror
I don’t know what kind of kool-aid they’re drinking on the House Armed Services Committee, but someone ought to find out. Rep. Curt Weldon (R.Pa.), the vice-chairman, has come up with another whopper, which has been dutifully plastered on front pages around the country via the New York Times News Service. This time it’s not the imminent danger of nuclear annihilation from Iran based on the self serving stories of "Ali," aka. Manoucher Ghorbanifar, but instead it’s “Able Danger,” again.

This is a super secret military intelligence team that used “data mining” to supposedly identify Mohammad Atta and two other 9/11 hijackers in the summer of 2000.

A “former intelligence official” told Weldon that even though the “Able Danger” team had information that Atta and CO. were in al-Qaeda and here to attack the US, they did not share the info with the FBI because the men were on valid entry visas.

Not that it’s illegal for military intelligence personnel to investigate visa holders, but the Weldon thinks that the team felt constrained by US law, which prohibits the military from spying on Americans, from doing so. Obviously, we have to get rid of that hopelessly fossilized prohibition!

According to the Times story the unnamed “former intelligence official,” who is apparently Weldon’s sole source on this, does not want “to jeopardize political support and possible financing for future data mining operation by speaking publicly.” Really! Oddly enough, Weldon has been a long time advocate of the technique of “data-mining” and the intelligence official’s story dovetails just perfectly.

Weldon says that he didn’t realize the significance of this startling revelation, which he first heard of supposedly shortly after 9/11, until he was researching his book, which bases many of its wild and spurious conclusions on dubious sources, one of which is called “a waste of my time and resources,” by a former CIA official.

Weldon has informed the chairman of the Committee, Peter Hoekstra (R., Mich.), and now two congressional committees are burning up a load of taxpayer money investigating the story. Peter Hoekrta, you’ll remember, went to Paris with Weldon to investigate the story about the Iranian “threat,” recently, also at taxpayer expense.

Douglas Jehl writes that, “Col. Samuel Taylor, a spokesman for the militaries Special Operations Command, said no one at the command had any knowledge of Able Danger program, or its mission or findings.” That’s just the sort of thing you want to have rolling around the country, a rogue military intelligence unit that even its own headquarters doesn’t know anything about. A “highly compartmented program that only a small number of personnel” would ever know about. Sounds like a great idea.

Interestingly, the “Able Danger” team was based at Fort Belvoir, Va, working out of what is now known as the “Information Dominance Center.” Sounds kind of like Admiral Poindexter’s Total Information Awareness Office, which proved to be such a popular idea with the public, he was fired.

When is the media going to stop giving this bozo a free pass and start asking some real questions? Curt Weldon is a crackpot, yet they report his wild assertions like they really have merit. There is always the caveat added that the people he uses as sources are liars, for “balance,” but then the story goes on like it’s really worth the reporter’s or the reader’s time. Remember, Judith Miller and Ahmad Chalabi? Gosh, I wonder why so many people don’t trust the mainstream media?

Yellow Cake:

The Iranians have decided to pull out their vats of Yellow Cake and get baking at its Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan.

The IAEA is meeting today in emergency session to discuss what to do. This is what happens when you spend four years with no policy on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. The noecons wanted regime change and Colin Powell wanted engagement and the result was stalemate.

The US has now decided to help the Europeans with their negotiations but hasn’t really put its weight behind anything. So, the Iranians apparently think they’re in a pretty good position to push the envelope in the hopes of drawing the US out. Military options are few, despite Bush saying, “all options are on the table.” They’re gambling this is an empty threat.

They appear to be sitting pretty in the region right now. They’re making inroads in Iraq, Afghanistan is a basket case and Israel is in the middle of the Gaza pull out Plus, they have a very lucrative natural gas and pipeline deal with China and the Russians aren’t about to allow the US to do whatever they feel like doing on the Russia’s southern flank.

If the IAEA refers Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, the Russians and Chinese are sure to fight the idea. There is money to be made. A fight in the Security Council would also test the theory that John Bolton is a changed man.

The main bone of contention is that Iran feels they are the victims of a double standard. Bush just agreed to help India with their civilian nuclear program, even after they surprised every body with a nuclear test a few years back. The US is also seeking to build a new generation of nukes, so the rhetoric about limiting proliferation rings just slightly hollow.

[I'll have links up for the Weldon sotry tomorrow.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:24 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 August 2005 6:47 PM EDT
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Monday, 8 August 2005
More progress in Iraq.
Topic: General News.

The US military reported on Sunday three US troops were killed in Iraq over the weekend. 13 were injured in one attack. A Newsweek poll shows only 34% of Americans now support the war. 64% say the invasion has not made us safer, contradicting the BS flowing out of the White House for the past two years. Bush’s support has dipped, again, to 42%. Lucky for the brains trust in W’s circle, they don’t read polls.

Crazed anti-Bush mother goes Waco:

Cindy Sheehan, a mother who lost her son in Iraq last April and blames Dubya for his death, has set up a tent outside the ranch in Waco and vows to stay there until he comes out to speak with her about her son’s death. Despite what Bush says about the families he’s talked to knowing their loved ones died for a noble cause, she feels that with all the death going on in Iraq he shouldn’t be taking a five-week vacation. Crazy woman! Remember what happened to the mother of the sailor who died on the Kursk in 2000? Better watch out!

From the Royal Navy with love:

Speaking of Russian naval know how, the seven sailors trapped in an AS-28 mini sub off the Pacific coast of Kamchatka have been rescued by a British remote controlled sub that cut them loose from fishing nets. I read initially they were caught on fishing nets, but then it was reported they were caught on underwater radio cables. British Royal Navy Commander Ian Riches said the sub was indeed tangled in fishing cables, so that clears up that mystery. Or does it? One wonders why, in the five years after the horrible tragedy of the Kursk disaster, the Russian navy hasn’t got any better at this. At least, they didn’t have to rely on us for the rescue. That must be some solace to the xenophobic goons in the Kremlin.

Space Shuttle saga continues:

The Discovery has been waved off from its landing in Florida because of bad weather. Who was the genius that thought Florida ever had good weather? It now appears the shuttle will land tomorrow in California. Cross your fingers, because there is a 1 in 52 chance of disaster. If I had a choice, I think I’d rather travel on a Russian submarine.

Energy Bill will end our dependence on foreign oil:

Not really, that’s White House bullshit. When the law passed in congress I wrote it was now law. That was wrong. I used to watch School House Rock, I know better. What I meant was that it was as good as law. Well, today it does become law as W leaves the ranch to go to New Mexico to sign it into law. Attention Exxon/Mobil, your government check is in the mail.

Conciliate closings:

The US state department announced that several conciliates in Saudi Arabia, including the US embassy in Riyadh, would be closed today and tomorrow based on certain credible threats which they declined to spell out. Are there any Saudi fanatics left in the Kingdom? I thought they were all in Iraq.

The US has also closed our conciliate a little closer to home in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where the police there are unable to stop a brutal and violent drug war which has been going on for more than a year. Hundreds of people have been assassinated and gun battles in broad daylight go on with no apparent attempt by Mexican authorities to do anything about it. The Mexican government is pretty torked off about it, but they simply have no control over the city, just a few miles from the US border.

Coddling religious fanatics: bad idea.

The chickens are coming home to roost in Israel. On August 4th an AWOL IDF soldier opened fire on a busload of Palestinians killing the driver and three passengers in the Israeli-Palestinian town of Shfaram. 13 others were injured. The local residents then proceeded to jump on to the bus and, judging by the stones found on the bus afterwards, stoned Pvt. Eden Natan-Zada, 19, to death.

Apparently, he was one of the extremists the Israeli security forces have been losing sleep over according to Micheal Matza of the Philadelphia Inquirer foriegn staff. “For months, top Israeli security forces have warned that Jewish extremists, desperate to sabotage Israel’s planned withdrawal of Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip, might attack Arabs or Muslim religious symbols.” [security officials had feared attack by jewish extremists]

The main worry is that the lunatics who still adhere to the teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane and their ilk might now try to do something crazy like attack the al-Aska mosque or the Dome of the Rock, with missiles or rockets or incite other violence that would prevent the withdrawal of the Gaza indefinitely.

By other violence, it must be assumed this means also killing Ariel Sharon, the settler’s erstwhile hero and champion, who has betrayed the settler cause, according to them.

Sharon called Natan-Zada a “blood thirsty Jewish terrorist.”Interesting choice of words, should the US now direct its anti-terror campaign against our own homegrown Jewish extremists? We are waging the “Global War Against Violent Extremism” after all; I should think some of these settler groups born in and funded from America might qualify.
Is it such a leap to think less peaceful groups, such as the JDL or Kahane Cai, who have been caught plotting bombings inside the US before might take action against the US government for supporting the Gaza pull out? Our blind and unwavering support for the government of Israel has come back to bite us in the past, it might again.

Netanyahu: new darling of nut jobs:

In regard to Arick Sharon being the former darling of the extreme lunatic fringe of Israeli politics, he is being challenged now by the presumptive new leader of the loonies, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has resigned from Sharon’s government in protest of the withdrawal from Gaza.

“Appeasement” to terrorism “doesn’t work,” he says. Neither does 30 years of occupation, but that’s another issue. Gaza is becoming a base for terror, “everyone sees that.” No doubt. “I am not willing to be part of a process that ignores reality and blindly proceeds to establish an Islamic terror base that will threaten the entire country.” Despite this fanatical boiler plate the Israeli cabinet voted 17-5 for the first stage of the Gaza pullout.

He’s obviously positioning him self within the Likud central committee to unseat Sharon, that appeasing peacenik, for another run at the Prime Minister’s job, perhaps in elections next spring.
With Netanyahu not only do you get a shameless political whore willing to get in bed with the most extreme religious nuts, but he’s a born again devotee of neo-liberal economics and is hell bent on ridding Israel of unions and socialism. (Except for the religious parties, they get all the government money they want.) If Brent Scowcroft thought Bush was wrapped around Sharon’s little finger, just wait.

Netanyahu visits Dupont Circle:

I have a very vivid recollection of Netanyahu showing up at the Washington Hilton for an AIPAC conference a few years back. He drew about 300 protesters who later clashed with pro-Israel demonstrators.

I was at my friend’s apartment on R Street NW and Connecticut Ave. just two blocks away from the big pow wow when all hell broke loose.
Hours before, enjoying a libation at the Child Herald, I had wondered why there were 3 metro buses full of riot police parked outside. Then I found out who was coming to the AIPAC conference.

Later, on the way to the apartment I noticed every car on a nearby street being towed and several helicopters hovering directly overhead. At my friends place we couldn’t even hear the TV from the noise. Even for DC this particular protest was a big deal. Even the Falun Gong people camped outside Hu Jintao’s hotel last year in Georgetown was a tea party compared to this.

AIPAC, Just a lobbying firm, really:

And what of AIPAC? Probably back when Netanyahu was at the Hilton Lawrence Franklin, who is charged with leaking information on a possible attack on Iran, was receiving an ‘at a boy’ from Netanyahu for all his good work spying for Israel. On August 5th AP reported that two former top officials of AIPAC had been indicted for “conspiring to disclose classified defense information,” by US Attorney Paul McNulty.

McNulty said Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman had crossed a “clear line [that] separates classified information from everything else.” Rosen and Weissman are being charged with aiding and abetting Franklin in passing along written classified information to persons not entitled to receive it. Rosen had been meeting with Israeli diplomats as far back as 1999.

One diplomat, Naor Gilon, has since been withdrawn from the US as “part of a normal diplomatic rotation,” according to the Israeli Embassy. Sure! These guys weren’t too swift about the spy biz, because Franklin was actually faxing classified information from the pentagon and didn’t stop giving it out to the press even after being interviewed by the FBI. Either that or they didn’t think they had anything to worry about because of the friendly climate in Bush’s Washington to Israel.

Brits gave Israel heavy water. Heavy, man.

And speaking of our nearest and dearest allies that never lie to us or spy on us: The BBC has uncovered documents that say the UK sold Israel heavy water in 1959 and 1960 to help them with their nuclear bomb program. AP: “In one of the documents, a British Foreign Office official cautioned against informing the US of the sale. ‘On the whole I would prefer NOT to mention this to the Americans,’ Foreign Office official Donald Cape wrote in an official paper at the time.” And they didn’t. They never told us they were building a bomb, but kept the requests for money coming. Poor defenseless Israel!

On the basis of Mordechai Vanunu’s revelations in the London Times of Israel’s nuclear bomb program at Dimona, “experts concluded that Israel has the sixth largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, consisting of hundreds of warheads.” And now they can deliver them anywhere in the world on their stealth submarines thanks to Jonathan Pollard, who didn’t spy either, by using converted cruise missiles that we sold them, and are now no doubt selling to India and Turkey. (And maybe China?)

In Memoriam:

Steven Vincent:

Vincent was kidnapped and killed doing his job in Basra Iraq on August 2nd. Alaa al-Baldawy and Hannah Allam write in the Inquirer that Foster’s Iraqi translator Nouriya Sayhoud al Khal, who was taken along with him in the kidnapping was shot at least twice in the chest and leg. Foster was a journalist, a writer and a blogger. At least, 65 Iraqi and foreign news workers have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the war.

No one knows why he was killed but the theory is that he was embarrassing the local militia, run by Muqtada al-Sadr, which has is suspected of being responsible for hundreds of kidnappings and murders of ex-Baathists since the beginning of the year.

You’ll remember that al-Sadr is wanted for murdering a rival cleric, led a bloody uprising against US occupation forces in April of 2004 and is a close and personal friend of Ahmad Chalabi.
The British who are in charge of that part of Iraq have apparently decided to hide behind their blast walls and wait for the order to withdraw.

[Hear an interview with Ann Miller on Radio Times today, which goes into the dangers journalists face around the world trying to do their jobs.]


Peter Jennings:

He died last night at the age of 67. This is a real shocker and a terrible shame. I guess the last thing he did before he announced he had lung cancer was the UFO thing. I thought it was very brave of him to do an entire special on the controversial subject, that is usually considered very silly, and treat it with such respect and seriousness. I don’t believe any of that crap but it was a very interesting program. I always liked him better than Brokaw, even though they both had weird speech impediments. (Yes, I’m saying a Canadian accent is a speech impediment. I kid, I kid.) In any case, he will be missed.

Robin Cook:

Cook also met an untimely demise this weekend while hiking in the Scottish Highlands. Cook very honorably resigned from Blair’s cabinet over what he felt was Blair’s unjustified and illegal decision to go to war in Iraq and became a very credible and vocal critic of Blair within his own party in parliament. Not that he was a pantywaist pacifist. He was very much behind the war in Kosovo, which was also considered outside the bounds of the established world order. I was very much behind the Kosovo war, too, but I also felt Cook was a little too eager to get on with it and was too bullying and pompous. I feel he made up for it, though, with his principled stand against Blair and Bush.

[I defiantly did not agree with the way the war was waged. Wesley Clark was just a little too cavalier with the high altitude bombing.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:18 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 August 2005 6:14 PM EDT
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Friday, 5 August 2005
"Intelligent Design" for real dummies.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

This past Monday president Bush told reporters he thought evolution and so called “intelligent design,” the fancy new name for creationism, should be taught together in science classes in public schools so “people can understand what the debate is about.” What debate? Science is the practical application of knowledge gained through observation and testing. The bible is a fairly tale written two thousand years ago by sun stroked whackos in the desert.

What does the bible say about electricity, cancer treatment, the Internet? No wonder India is taking all our high tech jobs away. American kids can’t even do multiplication anymore and now we’re outsourcing science education to them because our president believes in superstition and fairy tales.

Maybe, that explains the Space Shuttle.

In a previous generation we went to the moon on rubber bands and bailing wire. Now, with all our high tech know how and gadgetry we’re sending up an almost forty year old space truck to pick up garbage.We do space walks to pull bits of “gap fillers” out of the damn thing so it won’t fall apart on the way back. MIR is starting to make the shuttle look like the star ship Enterprise compared to the shuttle. When did we become the Soviets?

Speaking of good-old Russian know how:

Currently they are having another submarine crisis. It appears that in the middle of their war games in the Pacific with their good friends the Chinese, they have lost a mini sub, ironically used for undersea rescues. It is tangled in fishing nets and the lives of 7 sailors are at risk. Judging from the Russian Navy’s reaction to the Kursk disaster, their chances are not good.

Speaking of NASA again:

[NYT]The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, a group pushing school boards around the country to teach their version of science (In an objective and secular manner, of course.), says they have proof, provided by NASA, that the earth stood still supporting the biblical story of the sun standing still in the story of Joshua. Now, that’s the kind of science I can wrap my head around.

While you were away:

While Bush was busy making sure his friends are getting their government checks and his religiously fanatic fellow travelers were taking over the public educational system, 21 marines died in two days of fighting in al-Anbar province on Wednesday. 14 alone died in one IED attack on an amphibious troop carrier in Haditha.

The forty-year-old Vietnam era craft known as an AAV, is made of light weight aluminum and obviously was not designed for the type of war being waged in Iraq. The underpowered boat had had armor added but not underneath, which made it a sitting duck. It’s the best the marines have, though, because of a lack of funding for a better more modern type of craft. The fact that the pentagon is using a boat to fight a desert war, really says it all.

Does anyone besides me note the similarity between Vladimir Putin continuing his Black Sea vacation during the Kursk sinking and W’s ranch vacation even as over 30 troops have been killed in less than a week? He spent $70,000 of taxpayer money to make an emergency flight to DC to save the “life” of Terry Schiavo by signing a bill he could have easily signed at the ranch, but this time he doesn’t see any urgency in going back to the office to find out what the hell is going wrong in Iraq?

I hope the families and friends of those kids from Ohio appreciate the president taking the weekend off in their honor.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:14 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 August 2005 7:40 PM EDT
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Thursday, 4 August 2005
Bring 'em on.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

The WaPo says George Bush is on his 321st day of vacation since he became president. This is his 49th trip to the ranch. He surpasses the formally thought to be laziest president ever, Ronald Reagan. "Reagan spent all or part of 335 days in Santa Barbara over his eight-year presidency -- a total that Bush will surpass this month in Crawford with 3 1/2 years left in his second term.

Never fear, our couragous leader is still doing stuff. The Post says, "Bush will not return to the White House until after Labor Day, but his staff has peppered his schedule with events to dispel any impression that he is not on duty." Lots of events, that's real hard president work boys and girls.

Scott McClellan says, "Spending time outside of Washington always gives the president a fresh perspective of what's on the minds of the American people."

This is the problem right there. He thinks talking to the of Waco Texas, the former neighbors of the Branch Davidians, is a good way to find out what's on the Amnerican people's minds? This explains the comments on "Intelligent design."

Too bad the guys in Iraq don't get as much vacation time. While 44 US troopshave died since July the 24, this guy is off playing golf and hosting "events." I say to that sand trap, "bring 'em on!"

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:18 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 3 August 2005
correction

Publishers note: It happens only rarely, but sometimes I commit horrible atrocities against the English language. So, I apologize for my poor spelling and hope yoiu can bare with it.

Also, occasionally, I make a really bad mistatement of facts. Not on purpose, but through lack of time to make sure everything is correct.

ON the first I said prince "Naif" was the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Not correct. Turns our his real name is Prince Nayef.

The real new crown prince is the defense minister Prince Sultan, 77. I think. I heard it on ther BBC.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 7:34 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 2 August 2005
Spy fired for questioning WMD evidence. Go figure!
Topic: General News.

In yesterday’s NYT James Risen reports, an unnamed CIA veteran of twenty years has filed a suit in Federal court in New York alleging the CIA was informed in the spring of 2001 by an informant that Iraq had given up its quest for nuclear weapons and that, the agency “did not share the information with other agencies or with senior policy makers.” The informant claimed Iraq’s uranium enrichment program had ended years before and the “centrifuge components from the scuttled program were available for examination and even sale.”

The agent’s suit claims he was cashiered for “questioning the agencies assumptions on a series of weapons related matters.” Big surprise there!

North Korean nukes:

From the NY Times (July 28th), an article says US negotiators showed their North Korean counterparts evidence that the hermit kingdom had “secretly obtained uranium enrichment technology from a founder of Pakistan’s nuclear program, two administration officials said.”

This would be the infamous A.Q.Khan, the man who is suspected of spreading around the nuclear wealth to many sketchy regimes around the world. Since the Pakistanis won’t allow the US to interview him, no one knows for sure who exactly got his technology or how much.

The point of this apparently is to pressure the North Koreans to come clean on a suspected second nuke program that they have admitted but now deny having. Chief negotiator Christopher Hill, who is doing a much better job than John Bolton on this issue, is getting down to brass tacks with the North Koreans, now that it appears the administration has decided to drop the macho crap.

Saudi Nukes??

Speaking of Pakistan: Pervez Musharraf is in Riyadh today for the funeral of King Fahd. The Saudis have been very, very, good to Pakistan all these years. Lots of cash, lots of Pakistani workers taken in to clean the royal families homes and take out their trash. Something tells me Saudi money went through Pakistan on its way to Afghanistan during the Russian occupation, too. oh, and the Taliban.

The madrassas we are hearing so much about these days are funded by the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, thank you very much, so who’s to say A.Q. Khan didn’t help them out with a little nuclear know-how? The Saudis have Iran to worry about and Israel too; they’ve got the cash, maybe this is why Musharraf won’t allow the CIA to interview Khan?

Iraqi constitution: rush job.

The US wants Iraq to get on with it so we can leave. All those contentious issues like Kirkuk and the regional-versus-central-control of-oil-profits can wait. The NY Times writes many Iraqi leaders have been alienated by the American pressure to get it done and “warn that the country’s differences can be set aside only at great peril. ‘The Americans are the ones who want to have this done quickly,’ said Mahmood Othman, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi National Assembly and a member of the constitutional drafting committee. ‘And they are doing it so they can begin to implement their exit strategy.’” The Kurds say if their concerns are not addressed the Kurdish people will use their numbers to nullify the constitution in the referendum, which requires a two-thirds vote.

The Arabs on the other hand have problems with what the country will be called. Some committee members want to call it the “Federal Islamic Republic,” while the Kurds oppose a name that is religious in nature. And the Arabs are not prepared to discuss the reversal of Saddam’s “Arabization” of Kirkuk in the constitution, another Kurdish demand.

Ahmad Chalabi:

Ahmad Chalabi on the other hand is fine with chaos as long as he’s making money. His convoy was attacked on Saturday, the same day 5 US soldiers were killed, but he escaped with the loss of a body-guard. Hannah Allam in the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Chalabi after being dumped by the Americans and having his house wrecked by Iraqi security forces has “emerged more powerful than ever:"

From his deputy premier's seat in the elected Iraqi government, Chalabi, 60, oversees Iraq's vast oil resources as chairman of the energy council. He presides over a board that regulates multimillion-dollar rebuilding contracts. He commands the controversial purge of former Baath Party members from government posts and the Iraqi Special Tribunal prosecuting Saddam Hussein. Until an oil minister was named, Chalabi held that job, too.

One of his top aides, Entifadh Qanbar, is headed for a plum job at the Iraqi Embassy in Washington. Chalabi's Harvard-educated nephew is the finance minister; rebel Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is an ally."

He might be the Shiite strong man we’ve been looking for all along.

Bush treatens veto for defense bill.

As important as it was to pass the Gun shield law and pay off the energy industries with gobs of taxpayer money, what didn’t get accomplish before congress went home was the defense appropriation bill. Seems that darn John McCain is at it again.

He wants a provision put into the bill that would outlaw cruel and inhuman treatment by US troops in our various prisons around the world. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and John Warner of Virginia are also along for the ride. Obviously, they are all dangerous liberals who must be stopped.

The law McCain is pushing for would also limit interrogation techniques to those spelled out in a new Army field manual. Along with these senators many former military officers and JAGs support the move. They feel that the lack of guidance in the law so far has led to abuses and undermines our moral authority and endangers our troops who might find themselves as POWs in a future war. Now, who knows more about being a POW? John McCain and his black baby or George W Bush? Bring ‘em on!

The administration argues these amendments to the defense bill will interfere with their ability to fight the “global struggle against violent extremism.” The president has threatened to veto the defense bill if these amendments are attached. I’d like to see that. ‘Sorry guys, after my month long vacation on my ranch in Waco I’m back to veto a bill that will provide for your equipment and ammo.’

Abuse of detainees! Rigged tribunals! Monstrous lies!

NYT has obtained emails from two senior military prosecutors written last year, prosecutors not defense attorneys, involved in the war crimes trails set up by the administration in Guantanamo that say the system is rigged. They allege, “The trail system had been secretly arranged to improve the chance of conviction and to deprive defendants of material that could prove their innocence.”

"Among the striking statements in the prosecutors' messages was an assertion by one that the chief prosecutor had told his subordinates that the members of the military commission that would try the first four defendants would be "handpicked" to ensure that all would be convicted.

The same officer, Capt. John Carr of the Air Force, also said in his message that he had been told that any exculpatory evidence - information that could help the detainees mount a defense in their cases - would probably exist only in the 10 percent of documents being withheld by the Central Intelligence Agency for security reasons."

Oh, who care, they're all terrorits right? or are they "global strugglers?"

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:41 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005 7:25 PM EDT
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Monday, 1 August 2005
Congress isn't ashamed of itself!
Topic: General News.

Well, it’s August 1st and you know what that means. W is off to Texas for “several weeks” to, according to Scott McClellan, “shed the coat and tie” and get in a few holes of golf.

Not so quick, Dubya’, there’s that John Bolton recess appointment to get done first. After all, Condi says she’s doing a lot of work getting ready for those big “high-level meetings” at the UN in September aimed at “refreshing” the world body and “we need our permanent representative.” How permanent he is going to be is up for debate. Christopher Dodd called him damaged goods and even Trent Lott thinks a recess appointment is “a little bit of a thumbing of the nose” at the senate and will, “cause you more problems down the road.”

Then there’s the Joseph Biden letter asking Condi to explain why Bolton “forgot” to tell the senate that he had been interviewed by an inspector general regarding the erroneous claims about Saddam and the Niger “yellow cake.” This might turn out to be a real short stay. One wonders what the administration is thinking here.

It’s pretty amazing that people so high up in the government have the memories of earthworms but can still manage to hold these high positions. Not that anybody at the UN is going to take this guy seriously, anyway. Condi has already said he will be kept on a tight leash, a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one, so what is he going to get accomplished, besides alienating our allies and making the listeners of Rush Limbaugh happy? (Warning: may cause anal leakage.)

A lot did get accomplished in the congress just before the recess. $14.5 billion in tax cuts for the energy industry companies, including tax payer subsidies for the nuclear industry; a $286 billion highway bill where all the congressmen got their pork; a gun “shield” law, and an overwhelming two vote win for CAFTA. They all must be very satisfied they did such good work for the American people.

Especially, Don Young, the sole representative from Alaska who got a $200 million bridge and $3 m. for a documentary on infrastructure advancements in his home state. John McCain, always the voice of reason, and the father of a black baby, said the highway bill is “terrifying in its fiscal consequences and disappointing for the lack of financial discipline.” President Bush said the bill would,” strengthen and modernize the transportation networks vital to America’s continued economic growth.” Of course, if you keep in mind that the spin coming from the White House is always the exact opposite of the truth, then these bills are billion dollar boondoggles.

Don’t forget the Gun Bill:

Senator Larry Craig (R. Idaho.) want us to know that, “this bill says ‘go after the criminal, don’t go after the law abiding gun manufacturer or the law abiding gun seller.’”

Yeah, that’s what I get from this. All those frivolous lawsuits by gun violence victims, is threatening the industry. And just because that kind of rhetoric sounds exactly like an NRA talking point, it doesn’t not mean the senator is in anyone’s pocket. After all, what would we do if there were no gun manufacturers? Think about it! Democrats, as usual, tried to obstruct the bill by attempting to put provisions in that would do things like ban “cop-killer” bullets, but luckily the republicans easily blocked them.

The LA Times wrote that “stocks for some gun makers rose Friday as it became clear that supporters of the legislation would defeat amendments by gun control advocates to allow lawsuits on behalf of children and law-enforcement officers harmed by firearms.” Screw kids and cops! This is about making money. Go back to Boston Teddy and molest some more kids with your liberal catholic priest friends!

The CAFTA 15

The NY Times thinks applause is in order for the “CAFTA 15,” the brave democrats who went along with 202 republicans to vote for “free trade.” Those democrats “chose principle over politics” in defying their party leaders, says the Times editorial board.

Yeah, right, very principled. I’m sure the goodies they were promised in the transportation bill had nothing to do with it. The republicans who voted for the bill, were principled too, even the ones who had to be brought along kicking and screaming. Jim Kolbe said the house leadership would “twist some republican arms until they break in a thousand pieces,”to get this done. This proves, along with the two votes to spare, that this bill is the right thing to do. The bill’s effect on our exports will be about equal the total global exports of New Jersey. WOW!

Kids left alone in immigration raid.

Now that more manufacturing jobs will be headed south, perhaps the flow of illegal immigrants from Central America will be stemmed. Then things like this won’t happen:

AP reports that in Arkadelphia Ark. “about 30 children, some as young as 3 months old, were left without their parents after immigration agents raided a poultry plant and took the parents away to face possible deportation.” The mayor of Arkadelphia said,” A lot of those families had kids in daycare in different places, and they didn’t know why mommy and daddy didn’t come pick them up.”

In a raid on Petit Jane Poultry 119 people were picked up. The majority, were from Mexico but two were from Honduras, one was from El Salvador, and one was from Guatemala. Now, they can go home, sans offspring, and get great new jobs thanks to the CAFTA 15!

In today’s news:

King Fahd is dead, long live King Abdullah. King Fahd, was the one who invited the Americans into the kingdom, which has lead to some much trouble for us. Prince Naif, the Saudi interior minister, now becomes the Crown Prince, and his best buddies the Whabbis become even more powerful.

Speaking of Saudi Arabia, reports out today say a suspect in the bungled 7/21 bombings in London who is under arrest in Italy, Osman Hussein, called Saudi Arabia before he was arrested last Friday.

Hussein has been talking the ears off Italian interrogators. (Maybe, we should render our terror suspects to Italy from now on!) He has reportedly said the attack was conducted out of anger over the invasion of Iraq. NO, NO, it’s because you hate us! The 7/7 bombers were mainly from Pakistan, but the 7/21 bombers are almost all from East Africa; this points to the global nature of the fight we’re in here.

K-2, Brute?

Uzbekistan has given Rummy 180 days to get take our airbase at Karshi-Khanabad and shove it. The Uzbeks were apparently torked off about a plan by the UN to fly refugees out of Kyrgyzstan who had escaped the Andijon massacre, to Europe. Many of these have arrived in Romania and will stay there for 6 months before moving on to the US and Canada.

Plus, the US has called for an independent investigation into the massacre. For once we’re doing the right thing. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if we could get the hell out of Afghanistan. Maybe, it’s not such a big deal for the pentagon. As I noted on Friday, the Brits are worried they might be left “holding the baby” next year.

In a related story regarding Afghanistan:

AP: “thousands of rockets, mortars, and anti-aircraft ammunition have been seized in Ghanzi province in central Afghanistan, the largest cache of weapons found in months, a government spokesman said yesterday.”

The theory is that these arms are being stockpiled to disrupt the September legislative elections. Of course, these large seizures might also be an indication of even larger stockpiles that won’t be found. You know the old adage; that is if you find one roach that means there’s a thousand more behind the wall.

Staying in the region, Pervez Musharraf says 600 suspects have been detained in a crackdown on extremists in Pakistan. This is his way of showing the west that he’s really trying to do something. How many of those 600 are really guilty of anything? I doubt his security forces are that good.

Musharraf has also vowed to expel the 14,000 remaining foreign students of madrassas suspected of being incubators for terrorists that then leave to wage jihad. So what? He might want to ask the Saudis to stop funding these madrassas; that might help. And the fighting in Kashmir is continuing apace, no change there. Where are those groups getting their support?

India

In India, another terrorist, this time a Hindi, is back in the courts. Lal Krishna Advani, the president of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), former deputy prime minister, appeared in court in Uttar Pradesh on charges of inciting a Hindu mob to demolish the mosque in Ayodhya in 1992. The destruction of the mosque led to the deaths of thousands of Muslims.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:09 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005 11:19 AM EDT
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