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Lets's talk about democracy
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Friday, 29 July 2005
Rubber stamp congress rushes to the August recess.

Congress is busy wielding the rubber stamp before the August recess. CAFTA was passed, the highway bill is law with extra heapings of pork, and the nuclear industry is cracking out the bubbly because the energy bill is almost law.

Finally, a clean energy source, with a provision put in to prevent lawsuits in case something goes wrong and New York becomes uninhabitable or something like that. Where all the clean nuclear waste is going to go for 100,000 years or so, was not addressed in the bill. Future congresses on Mars can figure that one out.

Also, added in at the last minute was $11 billion for a deep sea-drilling plan that will benefit Halliburton, and strangely enough, a company in Tom DeLay’s home district. And PUHCA is history, so Warren Buffet can start cashing in, too. John Bolton will be the new UN ambassador by executive fiat right after congress leaves town, reports say, so, all in all, a very good session for the monied interests and the fat cats. For the rest us; not so much.

And don't forget the Gun Lobby! The WaPo: "The nation's gun lobby is close to realizing a long-sought goal of protecting firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held legally responsible for violent crimes committed with their handguns and automatic weapons. Supporters believe they have the votes in the Senate to pass as early as today a bill making it virtually impossible for victims of gun violence to file civil suits against the industry..."

Odds and ends:

The WaPo reports that as usual sanity is prevailing in the Israel as the deadline for the Gaza withdrawal approaches. Ariel Sharon is having a death curse put on him, the pulsa denura ! "According to participants, Sharon will be struck down by the Angels of Destruction in less than a month, or else the 20 men themselves will die." The Jerusalem Post writes though, that "While far-right activists may have instigated a pulsa denura (death curse) against Ariel Sharon, Dr. Dov Schwartz – a researcher at Bar-Ilan University's Talmud faculty – claims the prime minister can sleep soundly, assured that nothing will happen to him." Whew!

Pitching tents can be dangerous.

AP reports about 300 children were hospitalized at a Boy Scout jamboree in Bowling Green Va. The children were overcome with heat while awaiting George Bush who was coming to honor four Scout leaders who were killed by a power line while trying to pitch a tent. While the kids were waiting Bush apparently postponed the trip because of impending thunderstorms.

Update: Bush has again delayed his visit to Fort A.P Hill at the request of the Boy Scouts until Sunday.

Terrorist convicted. No really, there was an actual trial and everything.

AP: Ahmed Ressam, the man convicted of trying to blow up LAX was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Wednesday. The US district judge in the case, John C. Coughenour, had a message for Bush and CO. “We do not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny the defendant the right to council. The message from today’s sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart.” More judicial activism from the bench; put him on the list,

Small leader of small group in Philippines gets most powerful military’s undivided attention.

US and Philippine troops are once again trying to capture the leader of Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao. The US had offered a $500 million dollar reward for the capture of the elusive Khaddafy Janjalani. The US is apparently providing intelligence and communications support for the operation, but are not engaging in combat. (Just like our “advisors” in Vietnam didn’t engage in combat.) “An estimated 80 to 90 American personnel operate in the southern Philippines. Villagers and human rights officials have reported that American troops have engaged in combat operations, and former American soldiers now working under contract to the pentagon operate there.” Isn’t there something in the Philippine constitution about no US troops operating in the country? Mindanao was also the scene of hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths at the hands of US marines during the twenty year occupation.

We want you out!

Ibrahim al-Jaafari says, “the great desire of the Iraqi people is to see the coalition forces on their way out.” Boy, there’s gratitude for you! Gen. George Casey, the most senior commander of coalition forces in Iraq, said a large amount of troops might be pulled out early next year. Gen. John Vines said that “ four or five brigades” might be pulled out sometime next year. That’s 20,000 troops according to the report. Casey, always the optimist, in response to a question about a stalemate in Iraq, says “I wouldn't say that it's necessarily a stalemate," insurgencies need to progress to survive, and this insurgency is not progressing. There's been a change in tactics, to more violent, more visible attacks against civilians. That's a no-win strategy for the insurgents." In other words, they’re desperate, right? The work is hard, its hard work, but we’re making progress.

Rummy, made another “surprise visit” to Baghdad, after making a trip with a bag of money to several Central Asian nations. He said the Iraqis needed to get the constitution done. “It would be very harmful to the momentum that's necessary,” is they didn’t. “We have troops on the ground there. People get killed." (He’s actually noticed?) "We don't want any delays…they're simply going to have to make the compromises necessary and get on with it, that's what politics is about." (Except here in the US where it’s either the republican’s way or the highway.) So, he’s not concerned about the Kurds holding on to the peshmerga and taking over Kirkuk, Islamic law trumping all others, or the south breaking off into its own autonomous entity? Just get it done, “people get killed!”
Al-Jaafari says, "We do not want to be surprised by a withdrawal that is not in connection with our Iraqi timing.” I bet he doesn’t, but what does his “Iraqi timing” have to do with Scott McClellan’s “important mission that we need to complete?”

Judging by a new poll released recently I would say the American people think the “important mission” won’t be accomplished. AP: “By a 58 to 37 percent margin, Americans said their government would not be able to establish a democratic government in Iraq.” The blinders are finally coming off apparently because, “Fifty-one percent also believe the administration of US President George W. Bush deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the central premise for the 2003 US-led war on Iraq.” Well, you know that old adage; “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” You can fool 43% of them, though, the ones who “predict a victory.” I thought the Dolphins had a chance last year, too, but what are you going to do?

A report issued by the Council on Foreign Relations, written by Sandy Berger and that turncoat Brent Scowcroft, says the, “"The costs, human, military and economic, are high and continue to mount,” in Iraq. "A dramatic military victory has been overshadowed by chaos and bloodshed in the streets of Baghdad, difficulty in establishing security or providing essential services, and a deadly insurgency." Now they tell us! In Afghanistan as well, they paint a not so pretty picture. The “report said, the postwar period has been marked by inefficient operations and billions of dollars of wasted resources.”

The Guardian reports that the Brits are afraid the US will leave them holding the bag in Afghanistan after the September elections there. “British defense officials are concerned the US could prematurely declare "mission accomplished" once the national assembly and provincial council votes are over. The worry is that Pentagon pressure to cut US troop levels could leave Britain holding the baby when it assumes command of Nato's security assistance force next spring.” A report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, entitled Endgame or New Beginning? warns, ”International security forces will have a particularly crucial role before, during and after the elections ... The international community must not regard the polls simply as a convenient exit strategy.” Oh, that would never happen. We’ll leave on Afghani timing.

Things are going right to plan there as CTV reports:

“Hundreds of protesters chanting "Die America!'' and throwing stones tried to batter down a gate at the U.S. military's main Afghan base Tuesday, adding to anxieties in a country worried that fighting with insurgents could disrupt elections.

The rioting erupted just hours after an overnight battle in southern Afghanistan that a provincial governor said killed at least 50 suspected Taliban rebels and two Afghan soldiers.

Rioting broke out in a crowd of more than 1,000 people who gathered to protest the detention of eight villagers at the base, where thousands of U.S. and other foreign soldiers live behind razor-wire fences and landmines left from Afghanistan's civil war.

Demonstrators hurled stones at a passing convoy of six U.S. military vehicles, smashing some windows. As soldiers inside the cars fired handguns in the air, the vehicles sped into the base and the protesters chased behind, trying to push down a metal gate guarded by Afghan troops.

The eight detained men were "suspected of planning and conducting attacks against U.S. and Afghan forces'' and had "materials used to make improvised explosive devices in their possession,'' the U.S. military said in a statement.

The demonstrators said they were angry that U.S. troops arrested the villagers late Monday without consulting local authorities.

‘We have supported the Americans for years. We should be treated with dignity,'' said Shah Aghar, 35. "They are arresting our people without the permission of the government. They are breaking into our houses and offending the people. We are very angry.'’”

Way to win hearts and minds. When are those elections again?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:41 PM EDT
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Thursday, 28 July 2005
PUHCA for dummies and elephants.
Topic: General News.

It appears congress in determined to repeat history by repealing Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) of 1935. This is part of Cheney's energy bill which also gives the nuclear industry of pass on accidents. But, regarding PUHCA, this is a law passed to prevent the shenanigans that went on during the twenties, best typified by Samuel Insull, when power companies merged into bigger and bigger entites and created pyramid schemes that ultimatly collapsed leaving investors broke and conumers with higher bills.

The republicans have long memories and they are hell bent on getting rid of all those "fossilized" laws from the New Deal that protect the general public at the expense of a few tycoons. To them the depression was the good old days, even if the country was on its knees; they were in power, which is all that matters. FDR messed that all up. Not only do they want to gut all the protections put into law by the New Deal, they want Roosevelt off the dime!

Billions of Dollars in Energy Investments Await PUHCA Repeal in Energy Bill:

This is how the Natural Gas Intelligence web site sees it:

"Berkshire-Hathaway has $15 billion burning a hole in its pocket to invest in the energy industry and there is $100 billion of other investors' money "waiting on the sidelines" to see if Congress passes a broad energy bill this year, which includes repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), MidAmerican's David Sokol told a natural gas strategy conference in Denver this week.

PUHCA, a fossilized law passed in 1935 which restricts investments of companies owning natural gas or electric utilities, has progressed "from nuisance to menace," said the Chairman of MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a Berkshire-Hathaway company. He called on Congress to move quickly to repeal PUHCA to open the field to non-traditional investors to "re-capitalize the industry."

Of course what don't want you to know is that this just makes what Enron did legal, basically.

Public Citizen reports from June 9 2005:

Dozens of Public Interest Organizations Urge Congress to Save Important Consumer Protection Act in Energy Bill

"Seventy-six national and state public interest organizations today urged Congress to save the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), which protects consumers from high prices and other abuses by electric utility and natural gas companies. In a letter to the U.S. Senate, the groups urged lawmakers to save PUHCA from repeal, which both the House and Senate energy bills are proposing to do.

In ??exchange?? for repealing this vital consumer protection statute, the Senate bill gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) limited additional jurisdiction over mergers, but that will not help consumers.

??Giving FERC more merger authority is meaningless,?? said Lynn Hargis, an attorney with Public Citizen. ??FERC has no structural or geographic limitations for utility mergers, which is essential for regulating the size and scope of utility holding companies and preventing the kind of abuses that led to the enactment of PUHCA in 1935.'"

What are these guys on drugs?

Warren Buffet needs to make money! This is a good thing! Katty bar the door!

"An uninhibited marketplace would give aggressive utilities a better chance at capturing new markets and increasing shareholder wealth, proponents of PUHCA reform say. All in all, estimates are that the industry must attract $150 billion in new capital over 20 years??something that can only happen with regulatory reform, they add. Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffet says that his company would invest as much as $15 billion in energy-related assets if PUHCA is repealed.

PUHCA imposes artificial constraints??constraints that were designed to promote policies that are not particularly relevant anymore, says Bill Harmon, with the Jones Day law firm in Chicago. Having investors with resources that are interested in long-term, sound business practices other things being equal is a good thing."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:59 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 26 July 2005
Media threat to war on terror and the democrats are butching up.
Topic: General News.

From the AP:

The Bush administration says a federal shield law for reporters “would create serious impediments to the (Justice) Department’s ability to effectively enforce the law and fight terrorism. “ Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified to the senate judiciary committee that the bill under discussion “would bar the government obtaining information about media sources---even in the most urgent of circumstances affecting the publics health or safety or national security.” What about the people’s right to know? Screw that! Apparently there’s no rush by the DOJ to find out who outed a CIA agent’s name, so forget the national security argument.

What Comey seems to be saying, I guess, is that the feds foresee a situation where a reporter is sitting on information about an imminent nuclear attack and won’t tell agents where its going to be. Look for this scenario next season on 24! William Safire, of all people, testified that the law was necessary to “prevent law enforcement from turning reporters into its agents. ‘Journalists are not the fingers at the end of the long arm of the law.’” Good for you Bill, nice to have you on our side. Commie bastard!

Barbara Boxer let the side down by arguing that Karl Rove’s outing of Valerie Plame is undermining the CIA’s efforts to hire more women. What? Boxer said, “Karl Rove and this administration sought to destroy Wilson’s wife. Now is that the way we treat women who risk their lives for their country?” (And again, I say, what?)

Positive news about suicide among the troops.

A not so new, but upbeat, report released by the pentagon finds 54% of US troops in Iraq suffer from low morale, but that’s down from 72% a year earlier. This is a positive sign? The report was dated Jan. 25 2005, but was released on July 20, according to the AP. 13% of troops screened positive for a mental health problem, compared with 18% a year earlier. “17% of soldiers said they had experienced moderate or severe stress or problems with alcohol, emotions or their families,” compared with 23% last year.

That’s great but; 13% with mental health problems is pretty high for a survey group of 138,000 isn’t it? I’m no statistician but I wouldn’t call this a positive sign---an improvement yes---and what happens to these people when they come back home? The army turns them over to the VA, which doesn’t even know how much money to ask congress for? ‘Did we say we needed $100 million? We meant $31.31 billion, sorry about that. There are a few extra hundred thousand troops we didn’t plan for. Our bad!’

The NRA blows up Columbus Ohio’s party plans!

AP reports the NRA won’t be holding its 2007 convention in Columbus Ohio because the City Council voted to pass a ban on assault weapons. ‘The party is canceled because last week your City Council unanimously voted to revoke the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens in Columbus banning perfectly legal firearms,’ NRA executive vice president Wayne Lapierre said.”

Oh no, the party is canceled! And I just had my bazooka polished! City councilman Michael Mentel theorized the NRA knew the city was considering the ban and is just taking advantage of the publicity this will generate, not to mention the money. I can just see the emails now…”Columbus bans AK-47s: criminals run wild, elk moving to area to escape legitimate and legal gun possession and safe hunting! Tuck in love gift immediately!!!!” Why would the NRA want to go to a town that hadn’t recently had a machine gun massacre anyway? Looks like having a seat in the White House isn’t all its cracked up to be after all.

How stupid are the democrats and do I see a Bill Frist presidency in the future?

Wow, Columbus is the place to be. The democrats are having a party too, too. Steven Thomas of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s national staff writes that Democrats are “stung by criticism that their party offers no policy options for moderate voters,” so they are having a two day pow-wow of “centrist Democrats” who are proposing a “broad agenda on national security, family values, health care, tax reform, and managing the federal government.” What are these proposals and what do they have to do with the party? Good question. The Democratic Leadership Council, whatever that is, is stressing security and social issues. Whatever!

This is just my initial impression based on very little information, but if these are the proposals: “growing the military by 100,000 troops, allowing military recruiters unrestricted access to college campuses, and banning the marketing of violent material to children, ” I would say these “centrist” Democrats will help Bill Frist get into office in 2008.

Dems getting tough:

Al From and his buddy Bruce Reed, two jackasses I’ve never heard of and who would never want to hear from me, say of the proposals for national security, “It’s a toughness issue. We have to prove we’re willing to pull the trigger.” Pull the trigger? Did Mr. From miss the news about the NRA convention? (Sounds pretty tough, though.)

Everybody knows FDR was a real panty waiste when it came to war. He actually put his three sons on the line to serve in combat, whereas I doubt Mr. From and Reed will be urging congressional Democrats to offer up their elite offspring for “the duties of freedom.”

Dems want your children!

(What is the “centrist” policy on unrestricted recruiting in low-income high schools in rural and urban areas, by the way? They’re probably for it.) From’s theory is, “More than helping recruitment, the move could help the party shed its image as anti-military.” So the real point of all this saber rattling is to make the party look more macho?

The “anti-military” image has more to do with republican propaganda than Democratic pacifism but it appears From and Reed are really just trying to compare penis sizes with Karl Rove. Besides, anyone who can avoid military service will, just look at the example of Bill Clinton. They know this, which is why this is not a serious proposal.

What about the protecting children from the marketing of violent products proposal? Why are they still listening to Lieberman? He lost! Remember, “Sore loser man?” And why shouldn’t we be exposing children to violence early on, if we expect them to sign up for military service and help out with the Reed/From plan for the 100,000 more troops goal? Especially since “Iraq isn’t the last war we’re going to have to fight.” (Strong words there, from the guys who won’t have to fight.)

Dems want republicans, not panty waist dems.

What these proposals are more likely to do is drive away the very people the Democrats desperately need to reinvigorate the party. I still maintain, if the party hadn’t pulled the rug out from under Howard Dean after the “yell” he still could have won. Attaching their star to John Kerry was the kiss of death. Love him or hate him, Howard Dean was the candidate who could’ve beat Bush.

Showing the “yell” over and over again on the late night shows was free advertising! My God, what is wrong with the people who run this party? And Howard Dean is about a million times smarter than Kerry or Bush. Karl Rove isn’t a genius as much as the powers-that-be making the decisions in the party, are morons!

More pointless proposals:

Other proposals include cutting oil imports by 25% by 2025. I won’t even dignify that with a response.
To cut the federal budget these interlopers propose “cutting congressional and non-defense government staff by 10%, reducing the number of consultants used by government by 150,000, and cutting “pork barrel” highway projects by 50%.” Nothing about repealing Bush’s tax cuts or ending corporate welfare? None of this is going to happen in a million years, and even if it did it wouldn’t help to alleviate the budget deficit or the current account deficit.

What about fee trade? CAFTA man, that’s the ticket for “centrist” Democrats.These people are idiots! What we really need is a massive public works project to rebuild our infrastructure because the race is on, between Russia and us, to see whose infrastructure falls apart first. But who cares? The Democrats are doing their best to prove they have no business in power. The party needs a major enema and I can think of no one better to begin with than Alan From and Bruce (What kind of macho name is that?) Reed!

Odds and ends:

The remaining Sunni members of the constitutional council have returned to work after the Shiites agreed to give them the same amount of bodyguards the rest of them have. That would be 15 per member.

Tony Blair says the British government is “desperately sorry” for the killing of an innocent man. But it was entirely the terrorist’s fault. Muslims are a little concerned that the UK police are taking lessons from the Israeli police and perhaps feel this whole thing is a bit of overkill. Not exactly the way to reach out to the disaffected Muslim youth, by aping the Israelis. Speaking of which, the police shot Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, eight times, not five as had been previously reported.

The Egyptians are seeking nine Pakistanis in connection with the Sharm El Sheik bombings. Pervez Musharaf is having difficulties explaining why all these Pakistanis keep popping up all over the place in terrorist investigations around the world. One the one hand he doesn’t like the extremist groups in his country who are out to get him, but he does want to look the other way when certain groups in Indian controlled Kashmir blow things up.

Unfortunately, these groups are all interconnected and they all hate the Americans and the Israelis. The harder he cracks down the more they are all going to identify him as a friend of the Americans and the more precarious his position becomes. If he doesn’t crack down, the Americans will begin to see him as something less than a friend, and you can already feel another “shift” toward India coming up, so he’s in a tight spot.

Too bad he wiped out his moderate political opposition after the coup. He could probably really use the help of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif right about now. He’s got no one else to deal with now, except the nuts.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:36 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 28 July 2005 12:04 PM EDT
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Monday, 25 July 2005
Al-Qaeda?s global franchising in full swing:
Topic: War on Terror

I’m still reluctant to comment on what’s going on in the UK right now, because it’s so laden with speculation and propaganda, but I’m really intrigued by the constantly unfolding situation there. Every time you read the news there’s another even more bizarre twist.

My impression of the British security services was that they had things pretty much together when it came to dealing with terrorism, from their experiences with the IRA and their more enlightened stance towards their Muslim population, but it now appears that who ever these people are who are perpetrating these attacks, they really have the police on the ropes. Come to think of it, if you look back at the British Empire’s history in South Asia and its involvement in “the great game” over the past century or so, there is probably no country the extremists know better than the UK.

I always thought the British were our saner cousins that we could rely on not to fly off the handle when our government went crazy, but now, I don’t know what to think. A day after the mercifully bungled rerun attacks on three Underground trains and a bus, a fleeing suspect, who looked Asian according to eyewitnesses, was chased into a train car by armed British police officers, knocked down and then shot five times in the head.

According to the metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, the suspect was “directly linked to the ongoing and expanding anti-terrorist operation.” The next day: not so much. In fact, the man was a Brazilian electrician who had absolutely nothing to do with the London bombings. In an interview yesterday Blair apologized for the shooting but blamed it on the bombers. “I think it is important to recognize that…the underlying causes of this are not a police action or a police policy or procedures but actually the fact that we have terrorists using suicide as a weapon on the streets of London…that is the context in which we’re operating.”

In a classic example of British understatement, the FT writes in Saturday’s edition that the police admitting that they shot an individual dead, who was found subsequently not to be a suspect in the bombings, could be, “potentially hugely controversial.” Interestingly, they also write that the police have been given “secret new shoot to kill guidelines against suspected terrorists in recent weeks…the guidelines were secretly developed in consultation with other police forces including Israel, Russia, and the U.S.”

So, in other words, the UK government is sanctioning targeted assassinations? I’m not sure this new “shoot to kill” policy will make the British Muslim community any less apprehensive. A Pakistani man has been beaten to death and a convenience store in Leeds was burned down just to name a few of the hundreds of anti-Muslim incidents reported since the bombings on 7/7. Now, the police are shooting Asian looking people and asking questions later. [Listen to Steven Beard’s story on Market Place about Leeds, for more background on the poor economic conditions of British Muslims in Leeds.]

The war goes global:

Not that the improving situation in Iraq isn’t putting the terrorists to flight, but at 1:30 Saturday morning in Egypt, two truck bombs and a bomb in a suit case went off in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheik, killing at least 88 people. Al-Qaeda took credit for the bombings, but there is always the possibility the attackers were of domestic origin. Typically, the Egyptians immediately rounded up over 70 “suspects” for “questioning” but have yet to find three men they now believe may be involved. I’m surprised they have enough room in their prisons, already so full with all of our rendered suspects.

The Pakistanis are also dutifully rounding up a large number of “suspects” who are supposedly connected to the London bombings and have enacted a new law requiring Madrassas to register with the government by the end of the year. Very impressive! I’m sure this ham handed crackdown will have the whole terrorism thing wrapped up pretty quick.

If only we knew which side Pervez Musharraf is on. Seems he’s having a little problem reconciling his new anti-terror stance with all the groups he and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have been coddling for the past few decades, when they were Pakistan’s convenient cats paws in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

While the security forces are frantically searching in Lahore for all the usual suspects, in South Waziristan, Syed Saleem Shahzad at Asia Times Online reports various extremists organizations, formed into cells, kept small for security and safety reasons, have been forming since 2003. There, thousands of young men from around the world are being trained and then sent out to wage jihad around the world.

These “organizations include Kurds, Arabs, Pakistanis and Afghans committed to fighting against the US and its allies all over the world, by any means.”

Remember Iraq, the front line of the war on terror, but not linked at all to the attacks in UK.?

Over the weekend all the news was dominated by the terror attacks in Egypt and England. Iraq disappeared right off the front page, but the carnage continued unabated. Two hundred Iraqis have been killed in numerous attacks over the past week or so. On Sunday alone 22 Iraqis were killed and 30 wounded from an attack on a Baghdad police station and a Shiite charity. 36 American troops have also died so far this month.

A top Sunni politician, Saleh al-Mutlak, who is involved in the writing of the Iraqi constitution and is a member of the Sunni organization Iraqi Committee for National Dialogue, is accusing the Shiite dominated security forces of killing two Sunnis, Mijbil al-sheikh and Dhamin Hussein, also involved in the constitution writing, who were shot on July 19. Since the shootings the Sunnis have pulled out of the process. The Badr Brigade is the most likely suspect but al-Mutlak does not want to “use names.”

Link? What link?

The idea that the London bombings had anything to do with the invasion of Iraq is, of course, nonsense, right? England’s prestigious foreign policy think tank, Chatham House, issued a report last week criticizing the British government’s policy of sticking with the U.S. in Iraq. The war, they say, has diverted the country’s resources from defending its self from terrorist attacks. The report says the “situation over Iraq” had given Osama Bin Laden aid and comfort by helping al-Qaeda with its “propaganda, recruitment and fund raising.” British foreign secretary Jack Straw is outraged! “I am astonished that Chatham House is now saying that we should not have stood with shoulder to shoulder with our long standing allies in the United States”

That’s not what he said before the war:

Well, in fact, Jack Straw himself told Blair in 2002 going along with the U.S in its plans for invading Iraq would present risks for “both for you and for the Government,” according to one of the secret memos released recently. Before Blair met with Bush at his ranch in Waco in the spring of that year Straw wrote that, "The rewards from your visit to Crawford will be few.” In another memo Straw says, “We have also to answer the big question -- what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole on this than on anything."

The Liberal Democrat leader in England’s parliament, Charles Kennedy, has said Tony Blair shouldn’t be surprised if the public linked the bombings with the war in Iraq. The FT writes,” Mr. Kennedy said in a speech in London that the war and the mismanagement of the occupation had “fueled the conditions in which terrorism flourishes.

The Lib Dem leader pointed out that Mr. Blair had been warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee, the body that gathers together intelligence assessments from various UK agencies, that the war was likely to increase the terrorist threat.” A large majority of British citizens think the bombings and Iraq are connected as well. (But they’re all wrong!)

And so apparently does Osama bin Laden. The idea that these terrorists are just cold- blooded killers and they do what they do because they “hate freedom” is an oversimplification of the situation. Ralph M. Coury a professor of history at Fairfield University in England writes, in a letter to the editor in the FT, that we should take bin Laden at his word. He quotes bin Laden as saying,” contrary to what Bush says and claims---that we hate freedom---let him tell us why we don’t attack Sweden. We fight you because we are free and we don’t put up with transgressions…any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked” (October 29 2004)”

Bin Laden’s political themes he argues “reflect a rational political calculus and include arguments that secular radicals might embrace…bin Laden’s statements reveals that he has placed far more emphasis on and why specific acts of western aggression must be fought than he has on any divinely sanctioned civilisational conflicts.”

Coury writes, “I am not seeking to justify the killing of civilians. I simply wish to argue that the motivations of bin Laden and many other Jihadists are eminently political. Their actions are not the products of a mentality “that sees mass murder as an existential act.” They are no more pure killers than Madeleine Albright, former US secretary of state, who claimed the death of Iraqi children as a result of sanctions was “worth it,” or present members of the Bush administration who seem indifferent to the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians as a result of their invasion.”

Iraqis and Afghanis link up:

Syed Saleem Shahzad writes in his article in Asia Times that “members of the Iraqi resistance, comprising mostly Ba'athists who have melted into various Islamic groups in Iraq, and Taliban and al-Qaeda members of the Afghan resistance met several months ago in Baghdad, where they reconfirmed strategies for their common goals.” These goals include taking the fight to “the home countries of the invading forces,” of both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The evidence is pretty overwhelming that this is a global Jihad at this point and until we understand what it is these people are really after, I don’t see how we can defeat them. That’s not to say we should “surrender” but how can we fight an enemy we don’t know? Didn’t Rommel say, “Know your enemy?” Ignoring what their leaders are saying and simply dismissing it as Islamic rhetoric is a dangerous conceit we cannot afford.

Read Robert Pape’s Op-Ed on the real motivations of al-Qaeda, where he cites documents laying out the strategy behind the Spanish train bombings in March of last year, four months before the attacks actually took place.

Not ready, unwilling and unable:

Eric Schmitt writes in the New York Times on Thursday that a pentagon assessment of Iraq’s security forces found that, “About half of Iraq's new police battalions are still being established and cannot conduct operations, while the other half of the police units and two-thirds of the new army battalions are only "partially capable" of carrying out counterinsurgency missions, and only with American help.”

Never deterred by the untidiness of reality, Rummy said at a press conference on Wednesday that people shouldn’t be looking at the effectiveness Iraq’s security forces too closely because, “It's not for us to tell the other side, the enemy, the terrorists, that this Iraqi unit has this capability, and that Iraqi unit has this capability. The idea of discussing weaknesses, if you will, strengths and weaknesses of 'this unit has a poor chain of command,' or 'these forces are not as effective because their morale's down' - I mean, that would be mindless to put that kind of information out."

Somehow, I think the insurgents probably have a better idea of the state of Iraq’s military capability than probably even the U.S. military does.

The only ones being kept out of the loop on the pathetic state of affairs in Iraq are the American people. And members of congress, of course, who are brain dead. Just keep the checks coming and Billy Tauzen says its time for your medication.

Note: ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said a "broken" Al-Qaeda in his country could not have directed the bomb blasts in Egypt and London and called the terror network a global "phenomenon".

"It has no command structure originating from Pakistan and conveying messages to the whole world to do this act and do that act under total coordination of some commander."

"It is a phenomenon where everyone has started calling himself Al-Qaeda, whether he has done it in London or Sharm el-Sheikh," he said referring to recent deadly bomb blasts in the British capital and the Egyptian Red Sea resort."

[I apologize for not providing links to FT stories, but I don't have an acount. I have to read it the old fashioned way, by getting it at the news stand.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:18 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 July 2005 7:08 PM EDT
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Thursday, 21 July 2005
More bombings in London.
Topic: General News.

More bombings in London today. Thankfully no one was hurt. It appears these might have been some sort of copycat attack because the explosions were caused by detonators not bombs and several people were seens running from the scene after throwing rucksacks. This doesn't appear to be quite as sophisticated as the bombings two weeks ago. Time will tell.

First things first:

A reader of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes to the editor that the paper is showing its liberal bias by where it places “positive reports” about president Bush. He notes that a piece reporting that no torture had been found at Gitmo was on page 6 and another story about the lower deficit projection was on page 8! Well, I’m not going to wait a minute longer or bury these stories on my blog. No siree…

The story about Gitmo was from July 14th and began like this:

“Military investigators examining alleged abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say they found treatment such as forcing a terror suspect to behave like a dog. But they say they found no evidence that there was torture or that senior leaders imposed faulty interrogation policies.”

Good news! The military investigated itself, once again, and found nothing! Just because they made one prisoner “dance with a male interrogator,” and “subjected him to strip searches with no security value, threatened him with dogs, forced him to stand naked in front of women, and forced him on a leash, to act like a dog,” I don’t see the issue. Donald Rumsfeld walks around with a dog leash on 8 hours a day, why can’t a suspected terrorist?

On the deficit [Steep drop in deficit projected] the story goes like this:

The annual White House midyear budget report projects this year’s deficit will drop to $333 billion. That’s $79 billion below last year’s record red link and $100 billion less than earlier estimates…Despite the improvement, the deficit picture remains far worse than when Bush took office in 2001, when the White House and congressional forecasters projected cumulative surpluses of $5.6 trillion over the subsequent decade.”

Did this guy actually read these articles? These are positive reports?

It’s settled:

Thousands of settler activists camped out in Kfar Maimon have given up and are going home in the face stiff resistance from the 20,000 police and soldiers preventing them from reaching their goal of Gush Katif. What I find interesting about this whole deal is, the entire time the settlers, and a couple former chief rabbis, have been calling for members of the IDF to disobey their orders. In fact, about 9 soldiers did quit and a couple even made their way into Gaza to resist with the settlers there. A common sign being carried by the settlers said,” Disobey orders. What will you tell your grandchildren?”

Now, imagine peace protesters here, or a preacher or priest, calling for U.S. troops to desert. I can’t imagine it. Of course, Pat Robertson can say a nuclear device should be dropped on Foggy Bottom, but that’s okay, he’s a friend of the president’s. Erik Rudolf and go around bombing abortion clinics, but he’s not a terrorist, he’s got God on his side. Things are different for them that got religion.

The stupidest congress ever!

Rep. Curt Weldon (R. PA) met last week in Paris with an Iranian exile; Feridoun Mahdavi (A.k.a. “Ali.”), who the CIA says is a fabricator and a liar. Don’t confuse the representative with the facts though; he’s got religion too. Also along for the trip, at tax payers expense, was Peter Hoeskstra (R. Michigan) Weldon’s colleague and chairman of the house intelligence committee (Now there’s a real oxymoron.). According to the Inquirer "Mahdavi is a longtime associate of Iranian arms merchant Manucher Ghorbanifar." You remember good old Gorba, the gun dealer in the Iran/Contra affair? He "has had two CIA "burn notices" issued on him, meaning agency officers are not to deal with him." Seems rep. Welden is trying to get a war started in Persia and he's found his own Ahmad Chalabi. (How stupid are these guys?)

At first the CIA said the evidence Chalabi was pushing on Iraq's WMD was dubious, so they were wrong about that. Then when no WMD was found, they got it wrong by not knowing there wasn't any. So now when they say of Ali, "It is... likely that, as a former official during the Shah's era, [Mahdavi] seeks to influence the U.S. government to overthrow the current Iranian government," in a ltter to Weldon last year, they are most assuredly wrong. Iran is about to attack us, why won't anyone listen?

Bomb Mecca?

Curt Weldon is either really stupid or just amazingly gullible, but there’s no question what rep.Tom Tancredo (R. Col.) is…

Last Friday when asked by a talk show host how the U.S should respond if extremists struck several of its cities with nuclear weapons.

“Well, what if you said something like---this happens in the United States, we are determined that it is the result of extremists, fundamentalists Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sights,”

“You’re talking about bombing Mecca,” Pat Cooper, WFLA radio, asks.

“Yeah.” Tancredo

Asked to explain his statements:

"I hope we can think of things that actually will prevent an event of that nature…From my point of view there’s a lot that can be done…I don’t want to inflame this issue.” Too late, jerk.

Condi says, "stop touching our press."


DARFUR, Sudan, July 21 -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanded and received an apology Thursday after Sudanese security guards manhandled staff members and press accompanying her on her journey to the country.

The incidents occurred while Rice was meeting with Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir. Sudanese officials shoved U.S. journalists away from the Bashir meeting, grabbed a tape from a reporter and slammed the wooden doors to his palace in their faces.

At one point, NBC's Andrea Mitchell attempted to ask a question about the killing of innocent civilians in Sudan and was physically pulled away and told there were no questions allowed.

Angered U.S. reporters responded that the press corps with Rice as a "free press," but were told by a Bashir aide that "it's not a free press here."

What we will do for a little oil. Nice people we're dealing with over there. Perhaps, Condi should have brought some of Bashir's good friends at the CIA along, maybe she would have been treated better.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:07 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 July 2005 3:37 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 20 July 2005
Rick Santorum and animal sex.
Topic: General News.

President Bush has apparently picked a nominee for the Supreme Court no one on the left has ever heard of.It will probably take a few days to digest this pick but I know one thing about him already. John Roberts ruled on the DC court of appeals that a little girl who was arrested by the DC police for eating a french fry on the Metro didn't have her fourth or fifth amendment rights violated. Oh, and he also wrote in 1991 that Roe v. Wade "was wrongly decided and should be overruled." But he says he was only advocating for his client, who happened to be the government. If that wasn't enough, Rick Santorum thinks he's great, which should tell you something.

Speaking of Rick Santorum:

In case you didn't catch this one, Robert L. Traynham, a senior spokesman for Santorum, is gay! This apparently was brought to light by Santorum's soon to be opponent in the up coming senate elections in Pennsylvania. Santorum is outraged that, "my staffs' personal lives are considered fair game by partisans looking for arguments to bolster my opponent's campaign." One might ask if there is any bestiality going on behind the scenes in the senator's office. Because, after all, you let one of them in and, "you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:03 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 July 2005 11:22 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 19 July 2005
Docotrs on strike in Baghdad.
Topic: Iraq

In a further sign of progress in Iraq the AP reported yesterday that “Iraqis have begun barricading themselves in their homes and forming neighborhood militias in an effort to fend off relentless suicide attacks.” The plans of the interior and defense ministries to impose security in Iraq have failed, " Khudair al-Khuzai told his colleagues in the Iraqi parliament yesterday. "We need to bring back popular militias." A member of the main Shiite bloc, Sheikh Jalal-el-din al-Sagheer, was quoted in the story by Luke Baker as saying, "The multinational forces have to take responsibility for the bloodshed.” What planet is this guy living on?

In another sign that things are going in the right direction Reuters reports "More than two dozen doctors walked out of one of Baghdad's busiest hospitals on Tuesday to protest what they said was abuse by Iraqi soldiers, leaving about 100 patients to fend for themselves in chaotic wards." The trouble apparently started when Iraqi security forces barged into Yarmouk hospital's woman's wing and started looking around. The news piece says that, "some say the country's new security forces are too aggressive, randomly rounding up suspects and abusing them during detentions." Imagine that! However, "the government says security forces are under strict orders to respect human rights." Whew! For a minute there I thought we might have a problem.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:07 PM EDT
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Monday, 18 July 2005
Invasion interuptus?
Topic: Iraq

Today British defense minister John Reid announced the U.K. would be pulling some of their troops out of Iraq. After denying all last week that any plan was afoot to bug out, now the story is they are actually going to leave. Not that this was any secret, on July 13 the FT quoted a senior western diplomat as saying the British would lead the pull out of foreign forces from Iraq beginning next year, in close coordination with the U.S., of course. The diplomat said the “Reid memo's projection that both U.S. and British troop strength could be cut by half might be optimistic but not unrealistic. The FT says, “The proposed timeline assumed that ‘everything went right’ with Iraq’s constitutional referendum and next parliamentary elections…’” This all hinges on “the strength of Iraqi security forces and their ability to take over” the diplomat said.

Somehow, I doubt it. Judging by what’ s going on with the rampant abductions of Sunnis--- whose bodies are soon found with bullets in the back of their heads---by Iraq’s “security forces” I’d say no matter what’s going on Rummy and Co. will find some excuse to pull out. The commanders on the ground are inclined to take this slowly whereas the political leadership at the pentagon is slightly more eager for an early exit. I’m sure there’s a lot of urgency in getting our military the hell out of there while we still have one. But are they really going to pull out? Perish the thought that the occupiers have any imperial ambitions, but…

I just happened to run across a WaPo from October 27 2003 the other day and the there was the usual front page story about, this time, three police stations in Baghdad and the offices of the International Red Cross having been bombed killing 35, on the first day of that year’s Ramadan, no less. President Bush meeting that day with L. Paul Bremer at the White House was quoted as saying of the attackers, they weren’t calling them the insurgents back then, “The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react...because they can’t stand the thought of a free society.” (I’ve never heard that before!)

The Post article writes that Rummy, General Myers and Bremer (Timelines and benchmarks!) were urgently brainstorming their strategy of turning over “security missions to Iraqis soldiers and police forces as quickly as possible.” (Any time now…) It seems the military believed “insurgencies like the one in Iraq coalesce into larger rebellions if allowed to fester. Adding to the need for rapid action, a senior U.S. military official involved in Iraq strategy said yesterday that the pentagon expects to significantly pare its presence in Iraq when major troop rotations come in February. “The feeling is, get it done while we have the assets available, the official said.”

Well, it’s two years later and we’re hearing the same thing but the situation is much worse, so is this just a smoke screen or what? If we “pare down” our forces to 66,000, the number stated in the Reid memo, then what does that mean tactically? The forces we have there now are just barely able to protect themselves, never mind the Iraqi government. Maybe, that is what all that permanent base building is all about. We can’t hold ground we’ve taken with 138,000 troops, as Kenneth Pollack pointed out at a Senate Armed Services committee hearing today, so are we going to garrison our troops on the British imperial model and rely on air power to support the likes of the Badr Brigade and other the Iraqi “security forces” instead?

Flash back:

to the good old days when car bombs came only every other day, not in multiples of ten every day.

Here’s a breakdown of various attacks from Aug 7 to Oct. 26 2003 provided by the October 27th edition of the WaPo:

Aug. 7: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside Jordanian Embassy/ 17 killed
Aug 19: Baghdad/ Truck bomb at U.N. headquarters/ 23 killed
Aug 29: Najaf/ Car bomb outside Imam Ali Mosque/ 90 killed
Sep. 2: Baghdad/ Car bomb at police headquarters/ 1 killed
Sep. 9: Irbil/ Car bomb at office used by U.S. officials/ 1 killed
Sep. 22: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside at checkpoint outside U.N. headquarters/ 2 Killed
Oct. 9: Baghdad/ Car bomb at police station in Sadr City district/ 10 killed
Oct. 12: Baghdad/ Car bomb outside Baghdad hotel/ 8 killed
Oct. 26: Baghdad/ Rocket attack on al- Rashid hotel/ Paul Wolfowitz was staying at the hotel that morning/ 1 Killed

Besides the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted, the 1,765 U.S. troops dead, the over 35,000 wounded, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed, and let’s not forget the millions lost in graft and Halliburton’s “profits,” what is to be accomplished between now and the beginning of next year that we haven’t already accomplished? We’ve already seen the results of the forming of the Iraqi government, what’s going to happen when they write a constitution?

We’ve heard this business about us leaving before, so is it for real this time or is there perhaps an escalation in the offing? History has shown with this war that the most insane ideas usually get the most serious hearing and go ahead from this administration. Former General Barry McCaffrey advocates increased troops levels to end this insurgency once and for all. I would go further and suggest a thorough carpet-bombing of the VC bases in Cambodia and a continued air campaign against the Ho Chi Min trail. In fact, to really show those damn terrorists, basing a large contingent of Marines in a valley and drawing the VC to them might just do the trick. Why don’t they ever listen to General McCaffrey?

Karl Rove, friend to the press.

Matt Cooper told Tim Russert on Sunday that he talked not only to Karl Rove about Valerie Plame but also talked to Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby. There has been a lot of smoke and fog coming from sources “that did not wish to be named” about what Rove actually told Cooper and Novak that make Rove sound like he was Mr. Good Guy trying to point the press in the right direction on the Wilson trip to Niger. According to one anonymous source Rove didn’t actually say Plame was in the CIA or anything at all, he just confirmed it when asked. He learned about her from the reporters! Sure! So, then who actually told the reporters if not him? Libby? Gosh, I’m so confused. Rove’s lawyer insists Rove is not the target of Fitzgerald’s investigation, but he doesn’t say whether Boy Genius is being investigated for perjury. Let’s ask Scott McClellan!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 6:06 PM EDT
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Thursday, 14 July 2005
Time to go.
Topic: Iraq

Iraqi government spokesman Laith Kubba has said the pullout of American forces would “lead to disaster. There would be a bloodbath.” (As if there isn’t one going on already.) PM Ibrahim al Jaafari has said “when we reach the ability to depend on ourselves for security, then the Americans can leave.” The U.S. and British officials have pooh-poohed the revelation of a memo outlining a timeline for withdrawal before the end of the year. We won’t stand down until the Iraqis can stand up.

Now, comes news deputy secretary of State Robert Zoellick paid a “surprise” visit to the Green Zone and out of this visit apparently has come a plan for U.S. forces to withdraw from “selected” cities very soon. "We can begin with the process of withdrawing multinational forces from these cities to outside the city as a first step that encourages setting a timetable for the withdrawal process," he said. Hmmm…sounds like the part of the secret memo that says, "Emerging U.S. plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006." Looks like Zoellick read the Iraqis the riot act. We’re going to declare victory and pull out the majority of the troops, but leave a garrison contingent to watch over the oil, while turning a blind eye to the Iraqis dealing with their Sunni problem. (With our money and equipment.)

That little systematic torture problem is being worked on. The New York Times quotes one senior American officer as saying they have urged the Iraqis to clean up their act, “But in the end, this is an Iraqi war, and the Iraqis will fight it in their own way." I would say they’re ready to defend themselves. They’ve got the random round up, electro shock, outrageously pointless torture thing down cold. One of the various security forces that roam around the country killing Sunnis yanked 10 of them out of a hospital last week and locked them in a van for four hours in temperatures of over 100 degrees where they eventually suffocated. Rest assured, they were terrorists.

Note: Iran has now denied they are going to provide training for Iraqi troops but will donate $1 million to the Iraqi Defense Ministry. No strings attached, I’m sure. They’re ready; let’s get out!

AP reports:

"Between Jan. 1 and June 30, 1,594 civilians were killed, according to the Ministry of Health. Civilians often bear the brunt of car bombings and suicide attacks.

By contrast, 895 security forces — 275 Iraqi soldiers and 620 police — were killed in bombings, assassinations or armed clashes with insurgents, according to figures from the interior and defense ministries.

The number of insurgents killed during that six-month period was 781, the government said.

According to an AP count, more than 1,600 people have been killed in violence since April 28, when Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari announced his Shiite-led government in a country trying to crush an insurgency whose foundation is made up of Sunnis."

Also, the WaPo writes that "11 Sunni Muslim men were found dead hours after being arrested by Iraqi police, according to the head of the government agency that administers Sunni religious affairs." And very tragically yesterday more than a dozen children were killed in a suicide attack on U.S. troops handing out candy. This is just a horrble mess we're in and one can only hope those responsible for getting us into this will be held accountable at some point or another. But, as president Bush once famously said, things aren't "black and white" in accounting.

Rove’s stonewall.
(The problem with never being able to tell the truth.)

The White House is still stonewalling on the Plame investigation and Scott McClellan continues to take a beating from the press who are now all worked up about being lied to. Not that they ever were before. I heard Dana Milbank saying that this time Scott had really told a “whopper” and this is why the press corps. is so exercised. Lying about the reasons to start a war apparently doesn’t get the blood flowing like a good old fashioned inside the beltway scandal.

Rove’s lawyer says poor Karl is “in a no-win position. If he doesn't talk he subjects himself to criticisms like we're hearing from the Democrats on why he won't come forward and talk about his role. But if he does . . . he runs the risk of being accused of not cooperating with the investigation." That sounds just like the line of defense Jack Abramoff’s lawyer is using, doesn’t it? I’m sure Karl would love to come out and explain to the American people how he told Matt Cooper that Joseph Wilson’s wife was at the CIA, but didn’t tell him her name. He would probably even want to talk about what he meant by saying Wilson’s wife “was fair game.” But, gosh, he just can’t. You’d think the president at least would like to say something other than “stay the course.”

London update.

I theorized that the London bombers must have had something to do with the Iraqi contingent of al-Qaeda, but now it appears they were home grown and at least two of them might have been in Pakistan training camps at one point. Their motives remain unknown. There's so much propaganda swirling around this story right now, I think I'll just leave it alone until things shake about a little more.

Cross dressing doesn't cross the line?

From another WaPo article, on the other war we're in...

"Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The techniques, approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for use in interrogating Mohamed Qahtani -- the alleged "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- were used at Guantanamo Bay in late 2002 as part of a special interrogation plan aimed at breaking down the silent detainee."

Investigators said the technics were "creative" and "aggressive" but "did not cross the line into torture."

What's really creative is all the spin coming out of the pentagon on this issue. I mean, they're in a tropical paradise. They get food! They're getting hot action from female interagators...What eles do you want?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:44 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 12 July 2005
Karl Rove getting ready for frogmarch?
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Oh, this is sweet! Scott McClellan is not saying a word about the Plame case but is leaving it to Karl Rove’s lawyer. (He usually has such an endless line of bullshit!) So, the White House doesn’t have a thing to say about the revelation in Newsweek that Rove spoke to Matt Cooper three days before Novak’s article. "I think the way to be most helpful is to not get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation." Right! McClellan didn’t seem to have any problem denying Rove was the source of the leak for the past two years and smearing Joseph Wilson at ever opportunity, but now…what’s happened? Do I sense of whiff of political scandal the likes of which we haven’t seen since Whitewater? Even with a solid majority in the house and senate, I smell fear. This drags on too long and it might become an issue in the ’06 midterms. (Don’t even mention Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay!)

But, wait! Rove told Cooper it was Joseph Wilson’s wife, but didn’t name her; so, it’s all- good. Sound a bit like “slick Willy” all over again? Gosh, I wonder how long it would take Cooper, or anyone else, to find out, who was married to Joseph Wilson? Notice the equivocal language in Josh White’s, of the Washington Post, article:

“Rove apparently told Cooper that it was ‘Wilson’s wife at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip.’” (To Niger.) Is the mighty Post shaking in their boots? ‘Don’t mess with Rove, he’ll kill you!’ According to Rove’s lawyer, this little bit of info was not in regard to the Wilson question but was “ at the end of a conversation about a different issue.” Sure. It’s not at all possible that Rove knew Valerie Plame was an agent at the CIA, is it? How would he have found out? For sure it wasn’t a deliberate outing, because he was just shucking-the-shit with a bunch of Washington correspondents, he couldn’t have known they’d publish this very combustible information, which might lead to her covert career coming to an end, could he? No! P. J. O’ Rourke pretty much summed it up when he opined that sitting at a desk job wasn’t very covert. Well said! After all, the people she had dealt with over the years, in the not very important job of spying on weapon proliferating states, wouldn’t be immediately held under suspicion of being American spies, right? She’s just sitting there typing.

McClellan said in 2003:

"The president has set high standards, the highest of standards, for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." So, if it's true, which it is, Bush will fire Rove, right? Nope!

Crime scene? I think not!

Yesterday Sir Ian Blair, London police commissioner, said of the 7/7 bombings that they were the “biggest crime scene in English history.” Last Friday he said it was a “huge police operation.” Is this guy a wimp, or what? While the republicans would be preparing for war, the Brits want to “prepare indictments.” While the Brits are saying, “we must understand our enemies” Karl Rove is saying, “We will defeat our enemies.” So chuck the investigation, you don’t need who did it or how they did it or why, Sir Ian, just pull out the world map, find a suitable target with minimal defenses and maybe some oil, and bombs away!

Did I hear president Bush saying the perpetrators should be brought to justice? That was back in England, though. He must have been playing to the domestic crowd, that won’t get much play back in the good ol’ U S of A. Now, he’s talking renewal of all the 16 Patriot Act provisions that just last week even the house was thinking of flushing. They even want a few more new things, including an “administrative supeona” which the FBI can issue to itself, without a judge, and go right into medical files, business records, you name it. Why, all of a sudden? Because of the London attacks of course! The 9/11 thing kind of fell flat on its face last time he used it as an excuse to “stay the course” at Ft. Bragg, so now it’s 7/7.

And, naturally, since the bombings, it has become painfully clear we have to stay in Iraq ad infinitum. We have to fight them there so we won’t have to here. Wait, they did hit here, well over there, but you know what I mean, so why are we there? The FT reported this past Saturday that, “ The MoD is to stick to plans based around a gradual withdrawal (from Iraq) over the next 18 months and a big deployment to Afghanistan.” This was before the release of the leaked MoD memo written by John Reid saying there is a “strong U.S. military desire for significant force reductions to bring relief to overall U.S. commitment levels.” (I bet there is.) They’re thinking of going from 138,000 to 66,000 by next year. Right now, they can’t even think about saying that because that would be playing into the hands of the terrorists.

What do they want anyway? Robert A. Pape had a very interesting Op-Ed in the Times on Saturday. He writes, “The overwhelming number of attackers (terrorists) are citizens of Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries in which the United States has stationed troops since 1990…rather than from those the State Department considers “state sponsors of terrorism” like Iran, Libya, Sudan and Iraq.” Apparently, the main impetus for al-Qaeda and their ilk is to get us out of the Muslim world, period. He cites an al-Qaeda planning document from a radical web site found by Norwegian police in December 2003 saying that 9/11 style attacks on the U.S. were not the way to go anymore, but rather, writes Pape, “ it would be more effective to attack America’s European allies, thus coercing them to withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and increasing economic and military burdens that the United States would have to bear.” Silvio Berlesconi, by the way, says the London attacks won’t make him speed up the withdrawal of Italians troops from Iraq planned for September. Very macho! The Italian people, however, must be feeling pretty nervous right now.

After predicting that the outcome of an attack before the Spanish elections in March of 2004 would lead to a Socialist victory and the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, months before it happened, the document goes on to say, “we emphasize that the withdrawal of Spanish or Italian forces from Iraq would put huge pressure on the British presence, a pressure Tony Blair might not be able to withstand, and hence the dominos tiles would fall.”

The FT writes that the talk of withdrawal right now in Whitehall is off the table. “Blair cannot afford to change his foreign policy at the moment. The prime minister feels he has no choice but to stick to his position.” He’s kind of a hostage to his Iraq policy right now, in other words.

Charles Clark, the British Home secretary, said these attacks had nothing to do with British policy in Iraq and pointed out that the U.S. wasn’t in Iraq before 9/11. Remaining in denial is a recipe for more disaster. Please note, that we were in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and in other Muslim countries before 9/11.

The brains behind al-Qaeda don’t seem to be trying too hard to conceal what their strategy is and we know what their tactics are, so it would seem the best thing for us to do would be to get out of Iraq. Right now we’re going bankrupt, economically and diplomatically, losing thousands of good people and at the same time giving them fertile ground for recruitment and an excellent training base. They’ve shown they can rapidly adapt to our counter measures and are now exporting their expertise to Afghanistan, (And who knows where in the future) where we’re starting to lose troops in larger numbers than at any time since 2001, many to IEDs.

The pentagon is rethinking its tried and true “two-war model” and coming to the conclusion that being bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan is limiting our ability to deal with other more conventional threats. Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, was quoted in an article by Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt as saying, “what we need for conventional victory is different from what we need for fighting insurgents, and fighting insurgents has relatively little connection to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, we can’t afford it all.” So, we have to make a decision about whether we’re more worried about North Korea, Iran and China, or Jalal Talibani and Ahmad Chalabi slicing up Iraq into their own personal fiefdoms, because once we leave Iraq, all those Saudi Jihadi types are going to go home.

Maybe that’s the thinking at the White House. Keep the pressure off the Saudi royal family by luring all their suicide bombers to Iraq.

Scott Speicher again!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that a "new Navy review of efforts to determine the fate of missing pilot Capt. Michael Scott Speicher is recommending that the U.S. government undertake an intensified search in Iraq and that his status be affirmed as 'missing-captured.'" [AP] As I have written at length, Bill Nelson, senator of Florida, has this crusade going on and it won't end. Just read what I wrote and you'll see how absurd this whole thing is.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:54 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 July 2005 7:30 PM EDT
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