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Friday, 19 August 2005
Able Danger: the story that wouldn't die.
Topic: General News.

This Able Danger story just won’t go away because the right wing conspiracy nuts won’t let it go. I thought the statement last week by both 9/11 commission leaders that there was nothing to these allegations would pretty much do it, but no.

9/11 commissioner Thomas Kean’s solution to this ongoing non-story is to put the Able Danger ball into the pentagon’s court. Kean says the pentagon should investigate the credibility of Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer and the unnamed Navy officer who Curt Weldon says told him about Able Danger and report back to the commission. Up to now the pentagon has been reluctant to even admit Able Danger existed.

It will be interesting to see whether they come out with the real poop on Able Danger, which might also lead to more information about what these guys were really up to and what kind of data they were actually mining and who’s.

The AIPAC story:

The second highest-ranking US diplomat in Iraq has been named in an indictment against two former AIPAC employees accused of spying for Israel. David Satterfield has been identified as a US government official, or USGO-2, who revealed national security secrets to Steven Rosen who was a top lobbyist for AIPAC at the time. Even though Satterfield is not charged with anything, yet, he did give away secrets at two meetings with Rosen in 2002.

The NYT says, “Their meetings are listed as overt acts in a conspiracy to illegally communicate national defense secrets to a foreign government.” After a meeting on January 8, 2002 Rosen communicated what he had heard from USGO-2 to another official at AIPAC which the indictment says was “classified information.” Again on March 12, they talked about al-Qaeda. On March the 14th, Rosen “disclosed to an unidentified foreign official, FO-2,” the information he heard from USGO-2”

The indictment says besides Satterfield and Larry Franklin, already indicted, there were two other US officials that Rosen got secret information from. No one knows who these people are but one is called “DOD-B” (Feith? Wolfowitz?), and the other is USGO-1, who supposedly no longer works for the government.

More progress in Iraq:

This week, the US killed a number of Iraqis in a helicopter attack in Baghdad, 43 Iraqis waiting for buses to mainly Shiite destinations were killed in a triple car bombing at a bus terminal and at a hospital also in Baghdad, and four US soldiers were killed in an IED bombing yesterday in Samarra. More than 60 US troops have been killed in only 19 days of this month.

There still isn’t any sign that the delay in submitting the draft constitution to the National Assembly is going to make any difference in coming to an agreement on all the apparently intractable issues that have stymied the process thus far. The Kurds are sticking to their guns on their demand for autonomy and the de-Arabization of Kirkuk, and keeping their oil money. As for the Shiites, Ehsan Ahrari writes in the Asia Times Online that, “The leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdul Aziz Hakim, declared on Friday that, if the Kurds were to get their own federal state in the north, the Shi'ites should get theirs in the south.”

The Shiites fear the Sunnis and the Kurds teaming up to insist on a secular constitution. Ayatollah Ali Sistani is now behind the southern autonomy move because he wants the Koran to be not just a source of the law, but the actual law. “By having an autonomous region of their own, the Shi'ites are making sure that the primacy of Islam is guaranteed, at least in their region.”

All sides are playing a non sum game, which apparently hasn’t got through to W. who still thinks what he’s seeing here is “an example that difficult problems can be solved peacefully through debate.”

Judith S. Yaphe, a former CIA Iraq analyst at the National Defense University, is quoted in the WaPo as saying of this mess that, “We didn't calculate the depths of feeling in both the Kurdish and Shiite communities for a winner-take-all attitude.” A government official who wished to remain anonymous said, “We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic."

What’s the hurry?

What I don’t get is what the rush is to get this constitution done now. There is a raging insurgency going on inside the country, which neither the Iraqi “government” nor the US military can get a handle on and now there’s a developing sectarian war being waged by Shiite elements being armed and funded by Iran.

The theory is that as soon as the country has a constitution and there is another election in December, the insurgents will put down their weapons and we can pack up and leave. None of this is going to happen. The US is putting the horse before the cart, I think, because usually these sorts of political agreements are made after hostilities cease. How can any constitution be viable while the Kurds and Shiites are trying to carve up the country into their own little fiefdoms and several foreign armies are roaming around blowing things up?

Republicans feeling queasy about ‘06

The NYT writes that the Republicans are getting a little worried that all the bad news coming out of Iraq might have an impact on the ’06 elections here. It sure would be nice if Bush could trumpet the success of another “turning point” in Iraq, declare victory and draw down our presence over there before the mid-terms. Grover Norquist says, “If Iraq is in the rear view mirror in the ’06 election, the republicans will do fine. But if it’s still in the windshield, there are problems.”

In analyzing the situation Adam Nagourney and David Kirkpatrick write that some Republicans “suggested that the White House was not handling the issue adroitly, saying its insistence that the war was going well was counterproductive. ‘Any effort to explain Iraq as ‘we are on track and making progress,’ is nonsense,’ Newt Gingrich said. The left has a constant drumbeat that this is Vietnam and a bottomless pit. The daily and weekly casualties leave people feeling that things aren’t going well.”

Of course, his answer is that Bush should push the “blood, seat and toil” angle against “the irreconcilable wing of Islam.” (You mean, the “go out and shop” strategy hasn’t worked?)

Right wing shrews getting desperate.

This may be the Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin way of thinking, but its not going to wash this time. People are seeing a mother, Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son to this pointless war express her grief and outrage by camping outside the “Lazy W. Ranch” and demanding answers from the one who sent him to his death. The majority of Americans are getting sick and tired of the mounting casualties and even the bozos who supported the war because they thought gas for their Humvees would get cheaper are starting to say enough is enough.

The vicious attacks coming from the likes of Coulter on a woman who lost her son and then lost her marriage and now has to rush to her mother’s hospital bed after she suffered a stroke, is just beyond the pale to most people. The tide is turning on this issue and the tipping point is happening right on W.’s doorstep.

Early pull out is politically inevitable.
I predict no matter what happens with the Iraqi constitution the calls for withdrawal will soon become too loud for Bush to do anything else but pull out. Republican congressmen are already running away from W. as fast as they can because they’re afraid he’s going to drag them out of office.

There are notable exceptions, like Rick Santorum for instance. He apparently didn’t get the memo on the 7 Pennsylvania Guardsmen being killed in Iraq over the past week and the effect it’s having on politics in the state. Santorum’s token gay spokesman RobertTraynham read a statement by Santorum to the press responding to his likely opponent’s charge that he hasn’t taken the lead on raising questions about the war, “Doing what is best for this country is always good politics in terms of protecting us from evil dictators like Saddam Hussein.”

I hope he keeps that sort of rhetoric up because that’s just the sort of BS people are sick of hearing. Bringing up Saddam as a rationale for the war just reminds every one that there were no WMD.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:59 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005 4:24 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 17 August 2005
The polls have spoken.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

The FT reports a new poll conducted by Public Agenda, a nonprofit research group, to be released next month in Foreign Policy, says six in ten Americans believe the US “may not be meeting its goals in Iraq, and they hold the Bush Administration responsible."

The war is “the foreign policy issue that most clearly appears to have reached a tipping point,” says Daniel Yankelovich, the pollster and chairman of Public Agenda. “If the war in Iraq lingers, the stand off with Tehran lasts, and relations with Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria remain troubled, the next reading of [the index] could well reveal that the public now feels has crystallized into a demand for change in US foreign policy.”

Of course, as one would expect, the poll also found that among democrats, 77% were worried about the mounting casualties compared to only 33% of republicans, who apparently don’t care, as long as it’s not one of their kids getting killed.

Yankelovich attributes this lopsided result to the “concentration of white religious Protestants in the republican party.” [Howard Dean was right!] ‘After George Bush characterized the perpetrators as evil, his leadership began to look like a moral mission. His response resonated with the public at large, but particularly with its most religious segments.’ Or was that zealots?

Another example of our failed foreign policy and our new bastards in Mauritania:

Our foreign policy does seem to have some inconsistencies these days. Whereas we condemned the overthrow of Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya, our old bastard, by a coup last month, we’re now in talks with the new bastards, because State Department spokesman Adam Erili says, “The guys running the country right now are the guys we are dealing with.”

We’ve suspended our $500 million project to train and equip the Mauritanian military, but the FT says, “The gesture is seen as symbolic, as the government is made up of former officials under Mr. Taya, including the foreign minister who established ties with Israel in 1999.”

In other words, we can do business with these guys. So much for our outrage over the overthrow of the constitutional order! Is this what Condi means by supporting “democracy” over stability?

The real reason the Bush administration isn’t so keen to go too hard on this new “government” is because of our anti-terror campaign in the Saharan area, oh yeah, and oil. The FT says, “ Analysts say US interests in sparsely populated Mauritania, which links the Arab Maghreb world to sub-Saharan west Africa, is partly motivated by strategic interests in the Gulf of Guinea, which is expected to supply about 25% of US oil imports in a decade.”

Some think our policies in this area are radicalizing the local population by providing money and high tech equipment and weapons which the autocratic governments we prop up then use crush their “Islamic” elements under the name of the war on terro.

Jeremy Keenan, an expert on Saharan affairs says,” The net effect is that the Sahara is a tinderbox, with new cross-cutting alliances being forged from Chad to the Atlantic, on the back of anti-American sentiment.”

More on religious zealots:

Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehan’s encampment outside of Bush’s ranch, was attacked by one of W.’s neighbors yesterday. Larry Northern was arrested for driving his pickup truck over the little white crosses baring the names of fallen soldiers that Sheehan had put up along the road to the ranch. Sheehan says he also fired a shotgun across the road from the camp. Now, that’s the way to honor our heroes!

Sheehan says she’ll be moving her show to the property of Fred Mattlage where there’s more parking and is a mile closer to Bush’s Ranch. You just knew the lunatics were going to start coming out of the woodwork sooner or later. It is Texas, for Christ sake!

I’m still trying to figure out which state is the most idiotic. Who will win: Florida or Texas?

Right now, they’re running neck and neck. Texas Rep. John Culbertson is calling for Americans from all over the US top come to Texas to join his proposed "Border Protection Corps," with their guns Unless you don’t have a gun, in which case one will be provided.), to protect our borders, where apparently there’s all out war going on.

He is particularly pissed off at Bush for not defending the country from terrorists who, according to him, are coming into the country every day disguised as Mexicans! I say the next step is to round up all the Mexicans just in case!

Culbertson is not the only republican frustrated with the White House and its lack of action. A lot of republican congressmen are mad at Bush for doing nothing about this infiltration of Arab-Mexicans. Bush has got a problem, though, because the party is trying to lure Latino voters away from the democrats, but they can’t do that while these lunatics are trying to seal off the border with armed vigilantes.

The Dumbshine state: Upcoming campaigns point to a big win for Florida.

Cruella De Vil, (A.k.a. Katherine Harris) is apparently determined to challenge Bill Nelson in 2006 for his senate seat. Harris says Nelson is a member of the “hard left” and has one of the most liberal voting records in congress. Yeah right, he’s a real Ted Kennedy! More like a typical Florida cracker who never saw a defense appropriation he didn’t like. Harris describes herself as “conservative but progressive” and “pro-business, pro-economy and pro-business.” Boy, she’s all over the place.

Recent polls show she’d lose to Nelson 38% to 50%. That’s even with Nelson’s 46% approval rating. Rest assured if she really does get the nomination, which the Republican Party is trying to prevent, there would be truck-loads of democratic money flowing into Florida to defeat her.

Also, running for governor is Charlie Crist, Florida's Attorney General, who is a born again, dyed in the wool, religious-nut. Now, if either one of these losers gets elected Florida will defiantly win the dumbest state award, hands down!

More on Able Danger.

We are just going round and round on this one. Now, Curt Weldon’s Navy officer has come out of the closet. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, is insisting that the Able Danger team was told by pentagon lawyers not to tell the FBI about the information they had gleaned from “data mining” about the 9/11 hijackers in 2000. “It was because the chain of command saying we’re not going to pass on information ---if something wrong, we’ll get blamed,” Shaffer says. Interestingly, the DOD hasn’t disputed what he’s saying. At this point, the 9/11 commission hasn’t commented on Shaffer’s latest move to identify himself in public. Stay tuned.

[Note: I conflated the Russian mini-sub crisis with the joint Chinese-Russian military exercises, which actually begin today. The sub had nothing to do with the exercises. Boy, check out Putin in the sailor's outfit. W. isn't the only one who wants to play big bully dress up.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:51 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 August 2005 11:51 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 16 August 2005
Moral Purity to return, Garrison Keillor to be burned at the stake.
Topic: General News.

The AP reports WUKY-FM, based in Lexington, KY has reversed its decision to cancel Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac." Seems there was some concern about his having used words such as, "breast," and using the term "get high." The outpouring of support for Keillor derailed the radio station's plans.

"General Manager Tom Goddell, said there were no listener complaints, but station officials had worried about recent moves by the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on language it considered obscene." Great, talk about self censorship run amok!

Yes, now that the FCC has hired renouned concerned mother Penny Nance, I'd be worried too. Media Week reports, that she has been a "special advisor in the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis," but the FCC won't say for how long. Its news to us.

Apparently, the FCC has hired Ms. Nance to help the governement "bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy."

Maybe Nance and her compariots in the White House would feel more comfortable in Iran. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to bring back "Moral Purity" to Iran, after all. Sounds like there's no wardrobe malfunctions going on over there. No ankle or elbow showing over there either.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:04 PM EDT
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Monday, 15 August 2005
General told to knock it off.
Topic: General News.

A few days ago there was news that a four star general had been cashiered. I thought, gosh, this probably has something to do with some sort of prisoner abuse scandal, right? Forget that, no general officer ever gets fired for that. No, what we have here a case of adultery!

General Kevin P. Byrnes has been relieved of his duties at the Army Training and Doctrine Command because he was having an affair with a civilian, even though he’s been separated from his wife since 2004. (His mistake was taking so long to get divorced.) “He was told to knock it off, and he ignored it and continued the affair,” says a senior army official. Byrnes is a highly decorated officer and was about to retire.

Obviously, having a consensual, adult relationship is an offence sufficiently egregious enough that it must be dealt with severely. Byrnes might even face a court martial. Marching boldly into the 19th century, the Army’s Manual on Court Martial describes adultery as “unacceptable conduct” and----this is the best part---the Uniform Code of Military Justice considers those who do it to be “bringing discredit on the military.” [NYT]

In contrast to Byrnes, General John Abizaid, who let troops under his command get out of control at Abu Ghraib, gets a pass.

So what that his soldiers stacked naked prisoners into pyramids, walked them around on leashes, and attacked them with police dogs? At least he wasn’t sticking his pen in the company ink. Some people actually think he should be held responsible. Poppycock! It’s not like Abu Ghraib has damaged the Muslim world’s impression of the US Army or brought dishonor upon the Institution. Heaven’s to Betsy, no! How was he supposed to what was going on? He was only in command!

I worked with a reservist MP, who was in Iraq from the beginning of the war up to 2004 just before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. He said everybody he knew was taking pictures of Iraqis in various degrading poses under their control and bragging about hitting prisoners with rifle butts etc. A lowly sergeant in a Virginia reserve unit knew about this, but the commanding general didn’t. That’s pretty impressive.

You know, it was just a bunch of young recruits running amok, their officers were oblivious. The military, after all, is pretty much a group of individuals free-lancing. Haven’t you heard the slogan, “Army Of One?” No one is accountable. If this is really what’s going on over there, we’ve got bigger problems than just degraded equipment and inadequate armor.

Speaking of the Guard and Reserve:

32 Guardsmen have died in Iraq in the first ten days of this month. There is a mounting concern among communities around the country that their local firemen and police officers and husbands and fathers are being sacrificed because units of the active service are getting better training and equipment.

My friend in the reserve said he got his flak jacket at the beginning of the war but didn’t receive the armor plates that go inside the jacket for almost six months into his deployment. That’s just one case, right?

Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, questions pentagon spokesperson Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke’s contention that the military will “not deploy a soldier, sailor, or Marine who is not fully trained and prepared for the mission.” (My friend must have the one who fell through the cracks.) O’Hanlon says, “It is hard to believe that most reservists in Iraq are really as strong as active duty troops, especially when they first arrive in country.”

But, you can believe the pentagon, they’ve been absolutely correct about every aspect of the Iraq war so far. Don’t believe some academic egghead. Remember, Rummy said before the war that it would “last six days, six weeks, I doubt six months.” He was right on, except for the six days, six weeks, no more than six months part. Of course, he also knew exactly were the WMD was, south, west, east and north somewhat of Baghdad. Need I say more?

By the way, Rummy is hosting a parade to honor those who died on 9/11. The marchers will go from the Pentagon to the National Mall where they will rock out to Clint Black, to show their support for the war in Iraq, which has nothing to do with 9/11, but has more targets to bomb than Afghanistan does. Next is the plan to reenact the battle of Kolberg using 20,000 US troops as extras!

We don’t the read polls. The president is busy doing the people’s business. (Because the business of America; is business.)

In any case, a new poll finds 59% of Americans think Bush is doing a rotten job of handling the war. Only 38% now support the W.’s handling of the situation. 50% think all that “progress” we’re making over there is just a desert mirage. Considering the fact that 2/3s of Americans think the war is making us less safe, only 12% think we should just pull out right now. The common opinion seems to be that we just can’t leave now, because all these deaths will have been for nothing.

The truth is, this war is and has been totally meaningless. It was conceived in a lie, it never had anything to do with 9/11 and it hasn’t made us any less vulnerable to another attack. No matter how long we continue to bang our heads against this brick wall, it won’t justify the 1,846 deaths that it has caused. The only way to honor those who have sacrificed everything for their country is to save the soldiers still over there by bringing them back here and holding those responsible for all this death and misery accountable.

Another turning point:

As I write this, the Iraqi constitution is still up in the air. Even if the Iraqis actually do present a draft version today, there is no guarantee that either the Sunnis, or the Kurds won’t kill it in a referendum in October over disputes about religion and regional concerns. Among all the hot button issues like federalism and oil money is another very important concern that hasn’t made it into the mainstream media here. Tribalism. Along with religion, the tribal aspect of Iraqi society is crucial.

This important getting-to-know-you moment happened for the Army in Fallujah in April 2003 when soldiers fired on a group of unarmed protesters, killing 19 of them. The Army soon found themselves having to pay blood money to keep Fallujah’s tribes from trying to kill our soldiers in revenge, which is obligatory when another tribe kills one of its members.

Two years later, powerful tribal leaders, who are also in the national assembly, are trying to get tribal codes enshrined in the constitution. The FT writes this would mean the “legitimizing of a traditional system of dispute resolution.”

Such anachronisms as: ‘nahi in which a woman’s paternal cousin can marry her, and kill anyone else who does so—or fasl settlements, in which transgressing tribes offer their daughters to aggrieved tribes, who can either marry them or take them as servant girls,” would become the law of the land. [Maybe, Bush could make the insurgents sweet by giving up the twins?]

Tribes also take an indulgent view on ‘honor killings,’ which is what I thought we were fighting to get rid of in Afghanistan. It’ll be interesting to see if this gets into the final version of the constitution and how the Bush administration will spin it if it does. [Note: the delivery of the constitution has been delayed.]

Another reason Bush should fire Karl Rove:

Not for the obvious reasons, the Plame leak, but for the tone-deaf handling Cindy Sheehan’s Crawford vigil. Here’s a forty something mother who’s son was killed in Iraq asking the president who sent him there to explain his death to her. Instead of just talking to her and defusing the situation, he speaks to her through the press and then zips past her in his tinted windowed SUV on the way to a $2 million fundraiser!

Oh, and by the way, he has now become the most rested president in history, surpassing even Ronald Reagan for vacation time. Is the Turd Blossom on vacation, too? (Where’s Karen Hughes when you need her?) Meanwhile, six more US troops were killed in Iraq over the weekend. Every day he ignores the grieving mother camped out on his doorstep, is another day the American people are reminded he’s on vacation as the casualties continue to mount.

Curt Weldon dissed by 9/11 commission:

WaPo:: 9/11 “Commission leaders Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton said in a joint statement that panel staff members has found no documents or other witnesses to back up claims by a US Navy officer, who told the commission staff in July 2004 that he recalled seeing Atta’s name and photograph on a chart prepared by another officer…’none of the documents turned over to the commission mention Mohmad Atta or any of the future hijackers.’”

Curt Weldon, despite this embarrassing rebuff, says, “I will continue to push for a full accounting of the historical record,” even if doesn’t exist. The “Able Danger” data mining project, run out of the Army’s Special Operations command, according to Weldon’s “source, ‘ identified three of the 9/11 hijackers as living in Brooklyn in 1999 or 2000.

Unfortunately, Atta didn’t enter the country until 2001. Weldon arguing for his full accounting of the historical record says, “Able Danger isn’t about dates and times “ (What do dates and times have to do with history?), it’s about, “linkages and associations of individuals identified with direct links to al-Qaeda.”

Right, but he wasn’t in the US, never mind Brooklyn; so, what the hell are you talking about Curt? The commission statement went on to say that the Navy officer’s “account was not sufficiently reliable to warrant revising the report [On 9/11] or further investigation.” The same might be said Weldon’s super Sybil Manchir Ghobanifar.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 6:32 PM EDT
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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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