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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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