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Lets's talk about democracy
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Monday, 13 September 2004
There are mushroom clouds in North Korea
Lucky this didn't happen in Iraq, or we would have had to invade or something.

From the A.P.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the United States did not know what caused a mysterious huge blast in North Korea last week, but it was not a nuclear test.

[He knows all the tell-tale signs, too. Remember his presentation in front of the U.N. in 2003? He really knows his stuff.]

According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, a huge explosion rocked North Korea's northern inland province of Ryanggang last week, triggering a mushroom-shaped cloud near a secret underground military base. [No worries there.]

Powell also commented on a report in the New York Times that US officials had received conflicting intelligence reports in recent days indicating North Korea may be preparing to conduct its first nuclear weapon test.

"With respect to reports in the paper this morning that there is activity going on at a potential nuclear test site, we are monitoring this," Powell said.

"We have been watching it. We can't tell whether it's normal maintenance activity or something more. So it's inconclusive at this moment, but we continue to monitor these things very carefully," he said.

[Something tells me if there were an oil well anywhere around we'd be launching B-52s right now.]

Now, here is a voice you can trust:

[She's all about the mushroom clouds.]

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said the United States was seeking "further analysis" of what occurred in North Korea. [Wish we had done that in Iraq.]

"There are all kinds of reports and there are all kinds of assessments that are going on, maybe it was a fire of some kind, a forest fire (?) of some kind," she said. [A forest fire? Looks like they need the president's "healthy forest" initiative really bad.] "But we don't believe at this point that it was a nuclear event."

[All kinds of reports. Reports, reports, reports. She's always reading reports, like the one that said "Bin Laden determined to attack in America." Remember that one Condi?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:44 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 13 September 2004 2:52 PM EDT
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Sunday, 12 September 2004
We've got a plan? (It's all under control, really.)

The A.P.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents hammered central Baghdad on Sunday with one of their most intense mortar and rocket barrages ever in the heart of the capital, heralding a day of violence that left at least 25 people dead in the city as security appeared to spiral out of control.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that the U.S.-led coalition faces a "difficult time" in Iraq but said the United States has a plan to quash the insurgency and bring those areas under control in time for national elections in January.

The insurgency "will be brought under control," Powell said on NBC's "Meet The Press." "It's not an impossible task."

Powell did not elaborate on the plan for addressing the insurgency, but senior U.S. officials in Iraq have spoken of a multi-pronged strategy involving overtures to tribal leaders, economic incentives and the use of force as the best way to prevail against an evermore determined resistance.

{So what are they wating for?]

Rockets and mortars began raining down before dawn on the Green Zone, headquarters of the Iraqi government and its U.S. allies, and other parts of central Baghdad. As the shelling continued after sunrise, U.S. troops backed by armored vehicles moved into the streets searching for the attackers.

A Bradley fighting vehicle rushing down Haifa Street, a major traffic artery near the Green Zone, to assist a U.S. patrol disabled by a car bomb about 6:50 a.m., the U.S. military said. Two Bradley crewmen were wounded in the attack and four more were injured by grenade and small arms fire as they fled the vehicle, the military said.

Jubilant fighters, curiosity seekers and young boys swarmed around the burning vehicle, dancing, cheering and hurling firebombs. Several young men placed a black and yellow banner of Tawhid and Jihad in the barrel of the Bradley's main gun.

Fearing the crowd would loot the vehicle of weapons and ammunition, the Americans called for air support, and as U.S. Army helicopters flew over the burning Bradley "they received small-arms fire from the insurgents in vicinity of the vehicle," a military statement said.

The helicopters "fired upon the anti-Iraqi forces and the Bradley preventing the loss of sensitive equipment and weapons," the military said in a statement. "An unknown number of insurgents and Iraq civilians were wounded or killed in the incident," which is under investigation.

Health Ministry official Saad al-Amili said 13 people were killed and 61 wounded on Haifa street, though it was not clear how many were killed in the helicopter strike. Scattered shoes, pools of fresh blood and debris littered the street.

"We were standing near the destroyed vehicle when the helicopter started firing, so we rushed to safety in a nearby building," Alaa Hassan, 24, said from his hospital bed. "I went back to the scene to help the wounded people when the helicopter fired again and I was hit in the chest."

Another 12 people died and 41 injured Sunday in other violence across the city, al-Amili said.

Elsewhere, gunmen attacked a group of policemen in the northern city of Mosul, killing one and wounding seven, police said.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:47 PM EDT
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Thursday, 9 September 2004
Who's crying now?

From the Washington Post:

President Bush failed to carry out a direct order from his superior in the Texas Air National Guard in May 1972 to undertake a medical examination that was necessary for him to remain a qualified pilot, according to documents made public yesterday.
Documents obtained by the CBS News program "60 Minutes" shed new light on one of the most controversial episodes in Bush's military service, when he abruptly stopped flying and moved from Texas to Alabama to work on a political campaign.

The documents include a memo from Bush's squadron commander, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, ordering Bush "to be suspended from flight status for failure to perform" to U.S. Air Force and National Guard standards and failure to take his annual physical "as ordered."

The new documents surfaced as the Bush administration released for the first time the president's personal flight logs, which have been the focus of repeated archival searches and Freedom of Information Act requests dating to the 2000 presidential campaign.

The logs show that Bush stopped flying in April 1972 after accumulating more than 570 hours of flight time between 1969 and 1972, much of it on an F-102 interceptor jet.

director Dan Bartlett said "partisan Democrats" [That's rich] were "recycling the very same charges we hear every time President Bush runs for reelection" and added: "It is dirty politics." [They would know about that.] But he did not contest the authenticity of the documents, which could not be verified independently by The Washington Post. [Wonder why.]

In another "memo to file," dated Aug. 18, 1973, Killian complained that he was under pressure from his superior, Col. Walter B. "Buck" Staudt, to "sugar coat" Bush's officer evaluations. "I'm having trouble running interference and doing my job," he wrote in a memo titled "CYA." "I will not rate."

Staudt has insisted that he was not influenced by Bush's status as the son of George H.W. Bush (R), a Texas congressman in 1968 and later head of the CIA.

He has also rejected the assertion by former Texas lieutenant governor Ben Barnes (D) that Barnes intervened with the head of the Texas Air National Guard to secure a position for Bush there at the request of a Bush family friend. Barnes, who has raised money for Democrat John F. Kerry's presidential campaign, repeated the assertion last night on "60 Minutes."

The new commercial by Texans for Truth, to be aired on $110,000 worth of television time in battleground-state cities such as Harrisburg, Pa., and Columbus, Ohio, shows Bob Mintz, who served as a lieutenant in the Alabama Air National Guard at the same time Bush was supposed to be serving, speaking to the camera:

"I heard George W. Bush get up there and say, 'I served in the 187th Air National Guard in Montgomery, Alabama.'

I said, 'Really? That was my unit. And I don't remember seeing you there.' "

Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign, charged that Texans for Truth "is a front group for MoveOn.org that has spent tens of millions of dollars attacking the president. . . .

This is a smear group launching baseless attacks on behalf of John Kerry's campaign that will be rejected by the American people." [Just like Karl Rove, right?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:11 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 8 September 2004

Now, haven't we been hearing forever about how the president never conflated 9-11 with Iraq? That's certainly apparent from this press briefing with Scott (I'm more full of it than Ari Flischer was!)McClellan:

" Q Senator Kerry is calling it a tragic milestone, reaching 1,000 deaths in Iraq.

"MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we remember, honor and mourn the loss of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom. And we also remember those who lost their lives on September 11th. The best way to honor all those who have lost their life in the war on terrorism is to continue to wage a broad war and spread freedom throughout a dangerous part of the world so that we can transform that region of the world and make the world a safer place, and make America more secure.

"Q And you're convinced each one of those lives is worth it, Scott?

"MR. McCLELLAN: Each one -- well, let me say, when
I say we remember, honor, mourn the loss of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we do so for those in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also remember those who lost their lives on September 11th, nearly three years ago today. And that's why I said it's important that we continue to wage a broad war on terrorism and that we work to spread freedom throughout the Middle East and transform that region so that we defeat the ideologies of hatred and tyranny.

"Q But the question is, for -- each of those families lost someone, a loved one, and each one of those is worth it -- that's the question.

"MR. McCLELLAN: Mark, I think -- I think of the cost we paid on September 11th, and September 11th changed the equation, as you've heard the President say."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:59 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 9 September 2004 12:11 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 7 September 2004
Number 1000 just around the corner...
But don't worry, there were more civilians killed on 9-11, which unfortunatly had nothing to do with Iraq.

Doesn't make sense? Rummy will explain...

From Yahoo news:

In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said, that U.S. forces are soon "likely to suffer the 1,000th casualty at the hands of terrorists and extremists in Iraq."

He said that "combined with U.S. losses in other theaters in the global war on terror we have lost well more than 1,000 already" and said the "civilized world" passed that mark long ago, pointing to the Sept. 11 attacks and terror attacks elsewhere.

The past two days have been particularly bloody for U.S. forces in Iraq, with 13 killed, including seven Marines slain by a suicide bombing north of Fallujah. A group linked to Jordanian-born militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attack in a Web statement Tuesday...

The countdown begins:

Besides the American killed in the Sadr City fighting, the five other U.S. deaths since midday Monday reported by the military included:
_ A soldier from the Army's 13th Corps Support Command was killed in a roadside bomb attack near Qayarrah, just north of Baghdad, at noon Monday.
_ A second soldier from the 13th Corps Support Command was killed by a roadside bomb late Monday.
_ A soldier with Task Force Baghdad died Monday from wounds sustained during an unspecified attack in Baghdad.
_ Another Task Force Baghdad soldier died early Tuesday from wounds sustained from a roadside bombing against his convoy a day earlier in Baghdad.
_ One soldier from the 89th Military Police Brigade was killed by small arms fire Tuesday in west Baghdad.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:06 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 9 September 2004 12:12 PM EDT
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Saturday, 4 September 2004
Chalabi...Chalabi...where have I heard that name before?

Excerpted from the Washington Post:

FBI counterintelligence investigators have in recent weeks questioned current and former U.S. officials about whether a small group of Iran specialists at the Pentagon and in Vice President Cheney's office may have been involved in passing classified information to an Iraqi politician or a U.S. lobbying group allied with Israel, according to sources familiar with or involved in the case.

The investigators have asked questions about personnel in the office of Pentagon Undersecretary for Policy Douglas J. Feith as well as members of the influential Defense Policy Board...

Investigators have specifically asked about a group of neoconservatives involved in defense issues, including Feith, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, Iraq and Iran specialist Harold Rhode and others at the Pentagon. FBI agents also have asked current and former officials about Richard Perle of the defense board and David Wurmser, an Iran specialist and principal deputy assistant for national security affairs in Cheney's office...

The initial interest was: Do you believe certain people would spy for Israel and pass secret information?" said one source interviewed by the FBI about the defense officials...

[Oh, Israel would never spy on us, we're such good friends.]

(The)investigation...dates back more than two years and includes diverse threads, U.S. officials and people close to the case said.

One aspect of the probe concerns AIPAC and another looks at whether intelligence on Iran ended up in the hands of Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi, a longtime Pentagon favorite once considered a possible replacement for Saddam Hussein.

Iran has been a particularly controversial issue within the Bush administration, which still does not have a formal policy more than 3 1/2 years after taking office.

A small group of Pentagon neoconservatives [Real men go to Tehran] opposed a draft directive because it did not support a change of governments in Tehran, which they advocated, current and former U.S. officials said.

The officials whose names came up during questioning have strong ties to Israel. They also share a long-standing position on Iran and other radical regimes. Wurmser, Feith and Perle were co-authors of a 1996 policy paper for then-Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." It called for removing Hussein from power in Iraq as part of a broad strategy to transform the region and remove radical regimes.

...officials also concede that Israel is one of the three countries most active in spying on the United States. Israel denies conducting espionage in the United States.

Noooooo!!!!!Anti-Semitic bastards!!!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 9:58 AM EDT
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Thursday, 2 September 2004
The Cabal.

The real Republican Party...from the NY Times (Again, sorry.)

Three times a year for 23 years, a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country have met behind closed doors at undisclosed locations for a confidential conference, the Council for National Policy, to strategize about how to turn the country to the right.
Details are closely guarded.

"The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before of after a meeting," a list of rules obtained by The New York Times advises the attendees.

The membership list is "strictly confidential." Guests may attend "only with the unanimous approval of the executive committee." In e-mail messages to one another, members are instructed not to refer to the organization by name, to protect against leaks.

This week, before the Republican convention, the members quietly convened in New York, holding their latest meeting almost in plain sight, at the Plaza Hotel, for what a participant called "a pep rally" to re-elect President Bush.

This week, as the Bush campaign seeks to rally Christian conservative leaders to send Republican voters to the polls, several Bush administration and campaign officials were on hand, according to an agenda obtained by The New York Times.

"The destiny of our nation is on the shoulders of the conservative movement," the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, told the gathering as he accepted its Thomas Jefferson award on Thursday, according to an attendee's notes.

The secrecy that surrounds the meeting and attendees like the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Phyllis Schlafly and the head of the National Rifle Association, among others, makes it a subject of suspicion, at least in the minds of the few liberals aware of it.

"The real crux of this is that these are the genuine leaders of the Republican Party, but they certainly aren't going to be visible on television next week," Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said.

"The C.N.P. members are not going to be visible next week," he said. "But they are very much on the minds of George W. Bush and Karl Rove every week of the year, because these are the real powers in the party."

Over the years, the council has become a staging ground for conservative efforts to make the Republican Party more socially conservative. Ms. Schlafly, who helped build a grass-roots network to fight for socially conservative positions in the party, is a longstanding member.

The membership list this year was a who's who of evangelical Protestant conservatives and their allies, including Dr. Dobson, Mr. Weyrich, Holland H. Coors of the beer dynasty; Wayne LaPierre of the National Riffle Association, Richard A. Viguerie of American Target Advertising, Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Committee and Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.

[Who is this guy, Rasputin? He's everywhere.]

On Wednesday, members had a dinner in the Rainbow Room, where William F. Buckley Jr. of the National Review was a special guest. At 10 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, members had "prayer sessions" in the Rose Room at the hotel.
[Let's Partay!]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:49 AM EDT
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Real men want to go to Tehran.

The Plot Thickens.

This administrations policy on Iran is nonexistent. No wonder the Israelis are thinking of taking matters into their own hands. I don't think we have ever had such a bunch of nincompoops in control of our foreign and defense policies in our entire history.

From the NY Times::

The Pentagon's policy office, where a lower-level analyst is under suspicion of passing secrets to Israel, was deeply involved in deliberations over how the United States should deal with Iran, its conservative Islamic government and its nuclear weapons ambitions - all issues of intense concern to Israel as well.

The analyst, Lawrence A. Franklin, a Farsi-speaking specialist on Iran in the office, participated in a secret outreach meeting with an Iranian opposition figure, had access to classified intelligence about Iran's nuclear program and was one of many officials involved in drafting a top-secret presidential order on Iran

Israeli officials were intently interested in both Washington's policy debates and in the intelligence about the progress Iran is making in its nuclear program, a former Bush administration official said.

Israeli officials have made it clear, a former senior American diplomat said recently, that if Iran passes some undefined "red lines" in its nuclear program, Israel will consider attacking the sites, much as it attacked Iraq's main nuclear plant 23 years ago.

"What the Israelis really want," the former diplomat said, "is as much detail as they can get about how close the Iranians are getting."

[I bet they do. But we don't know our asses from our elbows, why are they spying on us?]

For more than a year, a major debate over Iran policy has divided the administration. Hard-liners at the Pentagon, including some in the policy office, and, to some extent, in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, have advocated a policy of threatening confrontation with the government in Tehran, and supporting opposition groups and student demonstrations, government officials said.

[Because that policy worked so well in the long run after the coup we engineered in the 50's.]

In a debate last year involving the fate of an Iranian opposition group that is based in Iraq, Mr. Feith's office has been described by some Bush administration officials as playing an instrumental role in calling for reconsideration of American policy toward the organization.

The group, the Mujahedeen Khalq, maintained heavily armed camps in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but has been listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization since the late 1990's. In the Iraq war last year, American aircraft bombed the group's camps.

Ultimately, the group signed a cease-fire agreement with American military forces in which its members were disarmed. State Department officials said in May 2003 that the question of whether to disarm the Mujahedeen Khalq had been the subject of sharp debate among Pentagon officials.

Some administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have gone further, saying that civilians at the Pentagon within Mr. Feith's office had suggested dropping the terrorist designation from the group, and using its members as a lever to maintain pressure on Iraq. But Mr. Feith has called that characterization incorrect.

[I'm so sure. Do these guys ever learn their lessons? Can you say Afghanistan and Osama?]

The meetings were brokered by Michael Ledeen, a conservative scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who had played a role in the Iran-contra affair in the Reagan administration. Along with Mr. Ledeen, Mr. Franklin and Mr. Rhode met with Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian who was an arms deal middleman in the Iran-contra affair.

Beginning in 2001, the meetings were intended to put the administration in closer contact with Iranian dissidents who claimed to have valuable information about Iran, Iraq and terrorist activity in Afghanistan. The dissidents also said they could help track down Mr. Hussein's fortune hidden in international banks.

Although top Pentagon officials approved the first meeting, Mr. Ghorbanifar's involvement subsequently raised concern within the administration because it evoked memories of Iran-contra and questions about whether the Pentagon was engaging in rogue covert operations. In the 1980's, Mr. Ghorbanifar was labeled a "fabricator" by the C.I.A.

[Again, ever hear of a guy named Ahmad Chalabi?]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:27 AM EDT
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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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