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Tuesday, 31 August 2004
More spying...
From the NY Times:

"The Pentagon official under suspicion of turning over classified information to Israel began cooperating with federal agents several weeks ago and was preparing to lead the authorities to contacts inside the Israeli government when the case became publicly known last week, according to government officials."

[Isn't that convenient.]

Look at some of the people defending this guy...

"Friends of Franklin's, like Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, said the accusations against him were baseless."

Of course. Wasn't Mr. Ledeen an Iran/Contra conspirator, by the way?

This is the most amazing part of this whole thing. Are they a lobby group or a conduit for Israeli spying?

But the officials said there was evidence that he had turned the classified material over to officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group. Officials of the group are suspected of then passing the information to Israeli intelligence.
The lobbying group and Israel have denied that they engaged in any wrongdoing."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 2 September 2004 1:21 AM EDT
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Saturday, 28 August 2004
Our best ally spying against us??? Nonsense!
This is very interesting. That pesky Ofiice of Special Plans and William Luti (Ollie North on steroids) are in the news again. And this time it's the Iranians they have in their crosshairs.

Be sure to see the post below and a few further back about Israel's nuclear capablility and Jonathan Pollard's role in undermining our ability to track Israeli submarines which carry nuclear tipped missiles.

From the Washington Post:

The FBI is investigating a mid-level Pentagon official who specializes in Iranian affairs for allegedly passing classified information to Israel, and arrests in the case could come as early as next week, officials at the Pentagon and other government agencies said last night.

The name of the person under investigation was not officially released, but two sources identified him as Larry Franklin. He was described as a desk officer in the Pentagon's Near East and South Asia Bureau, one of six regional policy sections.

Franklin worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency before moving to the Pentagon's policy branch three years ago and is nearing retirement, the officials said. Franklin could not be located for comment last night.

...the case is likely to attract intense attention because the official being investigated works under William J. Luti, deputy undersecretary of defense for Near East and South Asian Affairs. Luti oversaw the Pentagon's "Office of Special Plans," which conducted some early policy work for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

That office is one of two Pentagon offices that Bush administration critics have claimed were set up by Defense Department hawks to bypass the CIA and other intelligence agencies, providing information that President Bush and others used to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.

The other office was run by a Luti superior, Douglas J. Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, and was known as the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group. Feith reports to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who in turn reports to Rumsfeld.

In addition to Franklin, the FBI investigation is focusing on at least two employees at AIPAC, the law enforcement official said.

Last night, AIPAC vigorously denied any wrongdoing and said it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

David Siegel, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, said: "We categorically deny these allegations. They are completely false and outrageous." [Yeah, right, just like the attack on the USS Liberty.]

Israel is a close ally of the United States, but espionage investigations here involving its government are not unprecedented. In 1987, a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, Jonathan J. Pollard, admitted to selling state secrets to Israel and was sentenced to life in prison.

Now, isn't this interesting...(Ahmad Chalabi (A suspected spy for Iran) and deja vu all over again.)

Franklin's name surfaced in news reports last year that disclosed he and another Pentagon specialist on the Persian Gulf region had met secretly with Manucher Ghorbanifar, (Didn't he meet with Richard Perle two years ago about fleecing some Saudi business men?) a discredited expatriate Iranian arms merchant who figured prominently in the Iran-contra scandal of the mid-1980s.

That meeting, according to Pentagon officials, took place in late 2001. It had been formally sanctioned by the U.S. government in response to an Iranian government offer to provide information relevant to the war on terrorism.

Franklin and the other Pentagon official, Harold Rhode, met with the Iranians over three days in Italy. Ghorbanifar attended these meetings. Rumsfeld has said that the information received at the meetings led nowhere. {You can take that to the bank. Rummy wouldnever "mistate" anything.)

By all rights this ought to blow up in their faces, especially the part about AIPAC, a PAC and a spy ring all in one, but it won't.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:59 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 31 August 2004 1:18 PM EDT
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Thursday, 26 August 2004
Is Iran next? (There are those green lights again.)
From the Asia Times:

The head of the political bureau of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said earlier this month that "the entire Zionist territory, including its nuclear faculties and atomic arsenal, are currently within range of Iran's advanced missiles".

Israel's chief of staff, General Moshe Ya'alon, said this week that Iran's nuclear development must be halted before it proceeds much further. He told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot that "Iran is striving for nuclear capability and I suggest that in this matter [Israel] not rely on others".

"The perception [in the US foreign-policy community] is that there is a possibility that the Bush administration may not be reelected, and in that case the Israelis could just go ahead and act and not worry about any political repercussions.

The other possibility is that, if the Bush administration is reelected, than it would in fact give a green light to the Israeli action against the Iranian nuclear facility.

But I have to emphasize that these are rumors that are circulating in Washington, and I am sure the Iranians have heard these rumors and are perhaps reacting to them."

[Oh yeah, only rumors...]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:38 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 August 2004 3:44 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 25 August 2004
Unmitigated race-baiting in Miami.
I like it! Let's get those abelas out to vote for Kerry!

From the Miami Herald:

Miami Republican who prodded President Bush to get tougher on Fidel Castro is one-upping the president: He's proposing to strip food stamps and health insurance from those who travel to the island.

Dubbed the ''Travel and Commerce with Terrorist Nations Act,'' a bill proposed by State Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami, would punish those who travel -- even legally -- to Cuba by cutting off access to Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance for a year.

Rivera said the legislation is aimed at stopping recent arrivals who come to the United States, apply for benefits and then travel back to visit Cuba.

Though such travel is legal, Rivera argues that the money spent on the island only helps prop up Cuban leader Castro.

''It's an issue of gratitude,'' Rivera said at a news conference Tuesday. ``People are sick and tired of people living here, taking advantage of taxpayer generosity and then providing financial support to the Castro regime by traveling back to the island.''

Under the bill, anyone who has lived in Florida for less than five years and travels to any country the U.S. Department of State lists as a sponsor of terrorism would be ineligible for state services for at least a year.

Besides Cuba, the countries include Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Sudan. Because direct charter flights from Florida to any of the other nations are essentially nonexistent, the bill ultimately applies only to Cuba."

[Sounds like the Republicans have given up on the Cuban vote and have decided to go for their neandrathal base full-bore.

No doubt, there will be many Cubans in Broward all for it. 'I used to be called "Castro's animal," but now I'm Bush's butt monkey.']

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:30 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 25 August 2004 10:37 AM EDT
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Let the whitewash begin!

From the Washington Post:

An Army investigation into the Abu Ghraib prison scandal has found that military police dogs were used to frighten detained Iraqi teenagers as part of a sadistic game, one of many details in the forthcoming report that were provoking expressions of concern and disgust among Army officers briefed on the findings.

Earlier reports and photographs from the prison have indicated that unmuzzled military police dogs were used to intimidate detainees at Abu Ghraib, something the dog handlers have told investigators was sanctioned by top military intelligence officers there. But the new report, according to Pentagon sources, will show that MPs were using their animals to make juveniles -- as young as 15 years old -- urinate on themselves as part of a competition

"There were two MP dog handlers who did use dogs to threaten kids detained at Abu Ghraib," said an Army officer familiar with the report, one of two investigations on detainee abuse scheduled for release this week. "It has nothing to do with interrogation. It was just them on their own being weird."

Speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report has not been released, other officials at the Pentagon said the investigation also acknowledges that military intelligence soldiers kept multiple detainees off the record books and hid them from international humanitarian organizations. The report also mentions substantiated claims that at least one male detainee was sodomized by one of his captors at Abu Ghraib, sources said.

[Not like any of this is anyting new:]

From Report Mainz:

"Between January and May of this year we've registered 107 children, during 19 visits in 6 different detention locations" the representative of the International Red Cross, Florian Westphal, told the TV station SWR's Magazine "Report Mainz". He noted that these were places of detention controlled by coalition troops. According to Westphal the number of children held captive could be even higher.

The TV Magazine also reported of evidence and eye witness reports according to which U.S. soldiers also abused children and youthful detainees. Samuel Provance, a staff sergeant stationed in the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison said that interrogating officers had pressured a 15 or 16 year old girl. Military police had only intervened when the girl was already half undressed. On another occasion, a 16 year old was soaked with water, driven through the cold, and then smeared with mud.

The general in charge of the Whitewash:

The commander of American forces in the Middle East asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this week to replace the general investigating suspected abuses by military intelligence soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison with a more senior officer, a step that would allow the inquiry to reach into the military's highest ranks in Iraq, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The request by the commander, Gen. John P. Abizaid, comes amid increasing criticism from lawmakers and some military officers that the half dozen investigations into detainee abuse at the prison may end up scapegoating a handful of enlisted soldiers and leaving many senior officers unaccountable.

General Abizaid's request, which defense officials said Mr. Rumsfeld would most likely approve, was set in motion in the last week when the current investigating officer, Maj. Gen. George R. Fay, told his superiors that he could not complete his inquiry without interviewing more senior-ranking officers, including Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq.

But Army regulations prevent General Fay, a two-star general, from interviewing higher-ranking officers. So General Sanchez took the unusual step of asking to be removed as the reviewing authority for General Fay's report, and requesting that higher-ranking officers be appointed to conduct and review the investigation.

"General Sanchez did this to ensure that there was a complete, thorough and transparent investigation that leaves no doubt as to the veracity of its findings," said Bryan Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman.

[Yeah, right.]

Its the same old crap. Sanchez gets off, Rummy get's a pass, so what else is new?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:01 AM EDT
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Saturday, 21 August 2004
Winning hearts and minds, the crass political opportunist way.

From the BBC:

Iraq's successful Olympic football team has launched an outspoken attack on US President George W Bush.

Midfielder Salih Sadir said the team - which won its group stage in Greece - was angry it had been used in Mr Bush's re-election campaign ads.
One accused the US leader of committing "many crimes", and another said he would be fighting US troops if not for Athens.

Their comments were made in a US Sports Illustrated magazine interview.

Salih Sadir said he was angry at Mr Bush's campaign adverts showing pictures of the Afghan and Iraqi flags with the words: "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations - and two fewer terrorist regimes".

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," said the Iraqi player.
"He can find another way to advertise himself."
He called for US troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. "We don't wish for the presence of the Americans in our country. We want them to go away."

Another star player, 22-year-old Ahmed Manajid, asked: "How will [Mr Bush] meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes."

Mr Bush's spokesman defended the war on Iraq and the campaign adverts.

"The ad simply talks about President Bush's optimism and how democracy has triumphed over terror," he was quoted by the Press Association as saying.

"Twenty-five million people in Iraq are free as a result of the actions of the coalition."

[After all, who would know that better, the actual Iraqis themselves or some hack at the White House?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:16 AM EDT
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Thursday, 19 August 2004
Condi Rice; totally incompetent.

A former Bush administration official who led the fruitless postwar effort to find unconventional weapons in Iraq told Congress yesterday that the National Security Council, led by Condoleezza Rice, had botched intelligence information before the war and was "the dog that did not bark" with respect to the status of Iraq's weapons program

In uncharacteristically caustic remarks about his former colleagues, the weapons inspector, David Kay, said the security council had failed to protect President George W. Bush from faulty prewar intelligence and had left Secretary of State Colin Powell "hanging out in the wind" when he tried to gather intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs.

"Where was the NSC?" Kay asked, suggesting that the president had come to depend too heavily on information supplied by Rice, Bush's national security adviser, and that the president needed to reach out to others for national security information.

"Where was the National Security Council when, apparently, the president expressed his own doubt about the adequacy of the case concerning Iraq's WMD weapons that was made before him?" Kay asked.

"Why was the secretary of state sent to the CIA to personally vet the data that he was to take the Security Council in New York, and ultimately left to hang in the wind for data that was misleading and, in some cases, absolutely false and known by parts of the intelligence community to be false?" he continued. "Where was the NSC then?"

It's almost been a year. What has she done with the supposed "Iraqi Stabilization Task Force?"

(This from last October:)

"The White House, facing setbacks and growing casualties in Iraq, is asserting a larger role in overseeing reconstruction efforts and the tens of billions of dollars being spent by the United States.

The move is intended to "cut through some of the bureaucracy and the red tape" [Right!] in Washington and accelerate the work in Iraq, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday.

A classified memo distributed last week established the Iraq Stabilization Group within the White House under Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser to President Bush. Officials said creation of the group would give Rice authority to spur the bureaucracy and put more accountability in the White House.

"Condi's job, and Condi's team is going to make sure that the efforts are continued to be coordinated so that we continue to make progress," Bush said at an East Room news conference with the president of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki.

"And listen, we're making good progress in Iraq," the president said. "Sometimes it's hard to tell it when you listen to the filter (of critics). We're making good progress." [Suuuuure!}

And how about the " I misspoke " fiasco before testifying about planes being flown into buildings at the 9-11 commission hearings?

Or the "very important priciple" she was defending by not testifying and then testifying any way. How about the "16 words" in the State of the Union speech?

I want a job where no matter how badly I screw up I can't get fired.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:02 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 21 August 2004 11:23 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 17 August 2004
Republican dirty tricks and the new model J. Edgers

More election tricks in Florida:

State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.
The officers, from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which reports to Gov. Jeb Bush, say they are investigating allegations of voter fraud that came up during the Orlando mayoral election in March.

Officials refused to discuss details of the investigation, other than to say that absentee ballots are involved. They said they had no idea when the investigation might end, and acknowledged that it may continue right through the presidential election.

"We did a preliminary inquiry into those allegations and then we concluded that there was enough evidence to follow through with a full criminal investigation," said Geo Morales, a spokesman for the Department of Law Enforcement.

The state police officers, armed and in plain clothes, have questioned dozens of voters in their homes. Some of those questioned have been volunteers in get-out-the-vote campaigns.

I asked Mr. Morales in a telephone conversation to tell me what criminal activity had taken place.

"I can't talk about that," he said.

I asked if all the people interrogated were black.

"Well, mainly it was a black neighborhood we were looking at - yes,'' he said.

Picking on Hippies:

The FBI has been questioning political demonstrators across the United States, and in rare cases even subpoenaing them, in an aggressive effort to forestall what officials say could be violent and disruptive protests at the Republican National Convention in New York. FBI officials are urging agents to canvass their communities for information about planned disruptions aimed at the convention and other coming political events, and they say they have developed a list of people who they think may have information about possible violence.

They say the inquiries, which began last month before the Democratic convention in Boston, are focused solely on possible crimes, not dissent, at major political events. But some people contacted by the FBI say that they are mystified by the bureau's interest and that they felt harassed by questions about their political plans. "The message

I took from it," said Sarah Bardwell, 21, an intern with a Denver antiwar group, who was visited by six investigators a few weeks ago, "was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that 'hey, we're watching you."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:08 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 17 August 2004 2:12 PM EDT
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Saturday, 7 August 2004
Iraqi prison abuse.
From today's Oregonian

Ordered to just walk away
Saturday, August 07, 2004

BAGHDAD - The national guardsman peering through the long-range scope of his rifle was startled by what he saw unfolding in the walled compound below.

From his post several stories above ground level, he watched as men in plainclothes beat blind folded and bound prisoners in the enclosed grounds of the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

He immediately radioed for help. Soon after, a team of Oregon Army National Guard soldiers swept into the yard and found dozens of Iraqi detainees who said they had been beaten, starved and deprived of water for three days.

In a nearby building, the soldiers counted dozens more prisoners and what appeared to be torture devices - metal rods, rubber hoses, electrical wires and bottles of chemicals. Many of the Iraqis, including one identified as a 14-year-old boy, had fresh welts and bruises across their back and legs.

The soldiers disarmed the Iraqi jailers, moved the prisoners into the shade, released their handcuffs and administered first aid. Lt. Col. Daniel Hendrickson of Albany, Ore., the highest ranking American at the scene, radioed for instructions.

But in a move that frustrated and infuriated the guardsmen, Hendrickson's superior officers told him to return the prisoners to their abusers and immediately withdraw. It was June 29 - Iraq's first official day as a sovereign country since the U.S. invasion.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 7:00 PM EDT
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Thursday, 5 August 2004
Planes used as missiles? Who knew?
From the Asia Times

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation's own September 11 whistleblower has done it again, this time taking aim at the 9-11 Commission itself.

Sibel Edmonds, an FBI translator who has in effect been silenced by the bureau and the US Justice Department, said in an open letter to commission chairman Thomas Kean that the FBI had suffered from a litany of errors and cover-ups of those errors, which had been reported to the 9-11 Commission by Edmonds and others, yet the commission report "contains zero information regarding these systemic problems that led us to our failure in preventing the [September 11, 2001] terrorist attacks".

"In your report, there are no references to individuals responsible for hindering past and current investigations, or those who are willing to compromise our security and our lives for their career advancement and security," wrote Edmonds, a 33-year-old Turkish-American whose services as a translator were terminated by the FBI after she claimed vast wrongdoing within the bureau's translation unit.

Edmonds' open letter, while skirting around certain issues that she is prohibited by gag orders from revealing, is chilling in its revelations that, contrary to public claims by the administration of President George W Bush, the FBI was in possession months before September 2001 of intelligence that Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization was planning a major attack on the United States, using airplanes as a weapon...

But while Edmonds' letter delivered a cascade of specific allegations, perhaps the most explosive charge she makes concerns information the bureau was said to have received four months prior to September 2001, information warning of the September 11 plan. While both President Bush and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice have repeatedly denied that there was any indication that airplanes would be used as a terror weapon, Edmonds revealed that in April 2001 the bureau had information that bin Laden was "planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting four to five major cities"; "the attack was going to involve airplanes"; some of those involved were already "in the United States"; and the attack would be "in a few months". Edmonds states that the information came from "a long-term FBI informant/asset" and that it was sent to the "special agent in charge of counter-terrorism" in Washington. She also charges that after September 11 "the agents and translators were told to 'keep quiet' regarding this issue".

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:16 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 5 August 2004 4:24 PM EDT
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