Friday, December 19, 2003
Dick Nixon Bin Laden?
- George W. Bush was elected President
- No one could have predicted 9-11
- The War is not about oil
- The contracts with Haliburton are apolitical
- Saddam and Osama are partners in terrorism
- This White House Administration is exceptionally forthcoming
- America is not, and never has been, a bully
- Iraq is not Vietnam
- Anti-war is really anti-troop
- The Patriot Act protects our freedoms
- Dissent is treason
Theaters Against War
(5-19-04)THAW's May Freedom Follies: Theaters Against War
IT'S HAPPENED BEFORE: A HISTORY OF U.S. MILITARY OCCUPATIONDate: Monday, May 24 7:30 p.m.
Location: The Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street off Seventh Avenue, Greenwich Village www.cherrylanetheatre.com
Trains: 1/9 to Christopher Street; A/C/E to West 4th StreetThis is a free event; donations are welcome.
Hosted by Noel Salzman and Sophia Skiles
”After every recent U.S. military intervention ... the Pentagon has left behind clusters of new bases in areas where it never before had a foothold. The new string of bases stretch from Bosnia, Kosovo and adjacent Balkan states, to Iraq and other Persian Gulf states, into Afghanistan and other Central Asian states. Together, they appear to form a new U.S. sphere of influence in the strategic 'middle ground' between the European Union and East Asia, and may well be intended to counteract the emergence of these global economic competitors. This over-extension of U.S. military power risks increasing regional resentments (already being seen in the 'Iraq for Iraqis' demonstrations) and 9/11-type 'blowback' attacks. The Romans similarly used their ability to project military might as a substitute for their inability to develop respectful economic relationships, only to see their empire fall at the hands of humiliated civilians.” Zoltan Grossman, Assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Fallujah, Vieques, Mindanao, Okinawa, Port-Au-Prince…The US currently has troops in roughly 70% of the world’s countries – not including the increasing use of sub-contractors and unclassified military operations. THAW responds to the escalation of violence, human rights abuses and the use of torture in Iraq with May's gathering of artistic forces to look at both the long, sordid history of U.S. military occupation, as well as to the growing tide of protest worldwide. From Wounded Knee to Abu Ghraib – with notable US clandestine sponsorships of puppet regimes and/or supplying of money and arms to wreak turmoil in East Timor, Chile, Palestine, Equador, just to name a few countries – the export of US-style democracy historically arrives through the use of devastating force.
This month THAW is thrilled to screen the work of Al-Rowwad Cultural and Theatre Training Center for Children in the Aida refugee camp located outside Bethlehem in Palestine. (http://alrowwad.virtualactivism.net) A beacon of dignity and hope, Al-Rowwad aims to give Palestinian children a way to resist peacefully through theater. This extraordinary organization was featured in American Theater magazine from July-August 2003 in journal entries from outstanding American playwrights Naomi Wallace, Kia Corthron, Robert O'Hara, Tony Kushner, and Betty Shamieh, each of whom visited the Center.
A scene from my play "The Rules of Embedment or Why Are We Back In Iraq?" will be included in the show, as a reading. Alex Emanuel will be back as embedded journalist Ted Wolf, and I will be portraying New York Magazine Editor Harold Reynolds. Thomas Abbey also returns as our "most excellent" director. Alex's band
|Read my Dreambook guestbook! Sign my Dreambook!|
Cheney For The Birds?
TERRY MORAN - Ahh, but there lies the conundrum. How to criticize but still retain access. I believe that if shite gets rough you might be forced to rely on the help of subjects that you may have just seen do bad things. Self-survival overrides any journalistic integrity you might possess.
Dick Cheney has been getting some heat (not enough) for his recent "turkey shoot" at someplace called the Rolling Rock Club in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Dick shot 70 out of 500 pheasants released for a morning hunt. How many shots did he fire, I wonder? One shot probably took out a handful since there were 500 to choose from.
Massachusettes Senator John Kerry, not my favorite Democratic candidate (I like Doc), showed his prowess in October by taking out two of the dirty flying bastards with just two shots. Kerry's spokesman, David Wade, had a funny thing to say about the vice president who only comes out of hiding to shoot birds or issue ducks for the Administration. "Something here doesn't add up. The Bush administration says the economy is improving, but their millionaire vice president has to hunt for his own food."
Concerned that Americans are not "scared shitless" enough, Homeland Security will be revamping the color code terror alert system. After months upon months of "highly sophisticated" intelligent polling, guessing and fingerpointing, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has discovered that a significant portion of Americans may or may not be colorblind. "Of course, none of us learned professionals could ever have anticipated this. But since we want to make sure everybody gets our message [Shut up and do as we say!] loud and clear in the near-future we ditched the colors, and will instead incorporate corporate icons that should be recognizable to the highest caliber. Besides, everybody loves "The Simpsons."
Instead of colors, all subsequent alerts will be identified with cartoon heads (appearing courtesy of Fox Television). Acting on the assumption that women are generally safer than men, threats will be ranked in the following low-to-high-alert-range: Maggie, Lisa, Marge, Bart and Homer. In other words, America experienced the Bart Stage last Christmas, but - God help us - if we ever reach Homer.
Project For A New Puritan Century
An early draft of Resident AWOLer's 2004 State of the Union address is alleged to have contained an additional 16 or so words, according to saucy sources:
"To help children make right choices, they need good examples. Superbowl half-time entertainers play such an important role in our society, but, unfortunately, some in Lalaland are not setting much of an example. The use of sexuality in sporting events, film, pop music, network programming, news shows, and - pretty much - any other broadcasts is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message -- that there are shortcuts to celebrity, and that texture or size is more important than tactility. So tonight I call on Puritans and federal marshalls to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of the slightest hint of sexuality now. Or the evildoers will have won!
My Letter To The Village Voice
Re Cynthia Cotts's "Pomp or Protest" [Press Clips, March 3-9]: It's odd that so many government agencies foresee anger and anarchy on the streets during the imminent GOP occupation of our Democratic state. I could swear I heard Dick Cheney on a cable news network last week predicting that New Yorkers will greet conventioneers as liberators and welcome them with cheering crowds and fistfuls of flowers, but maybe I'm propagandistically confused. - Ron Brynaert
A great flash animation dealing with Selection 2000 (chads, Republican rioters and the evil witch Harris) can be found at: Eric Blumrich
Crucible of Terror
An extremely trustworthy high-placed Administration official assured a deaf, dumb and blind nation that there will be no reprisals fired upon the former Treasury Secretary Paul F. O'Neill for "talking all that crazy insurgent-like, bordering-on-seditious mumbo jumbo. Besides, he's already been fired." Just to be safe [and tricky] hundreds of Homeland officers have been pulled away from the war on terror in order to check the employment backgrounds of Mr. O'Neill's wife, neighbors, friends and all living blood relatives.
The former chairman of Alcoa (chief sponsor of Dubya's cabinet), who served in the Nixon and Ford [Kissinger] Administrations, recently told GI friendly Time, "In the 23 months I was there, I never saw anything that I would characterize as evidence of weapons of mass destruction [not including the depleted uranium munitions we used, of course]. There were allegations and assertions by people. But I've been around [realpolitik people like Henry] a hell of a long time, and I know the difference between evidence and assertions and illusions and conclusions that one could draw from a set of assumptions. I just hope I don't end up like David Kelly."
Also, in a related fantasy, The New York Times announced that it will not be publishing a book review section on Sundays anymore. A spokesperson that answered at a similiar telephone number explained that the grey lady is "simply not in the business of doing book reviews that may reflect badly on the current Administration. But if, say, Howard Dean wins the next election, you can bet your Pete-Rose-Ass that we'll be back."
Security of Homeland Secretary, Tom Ridge, may or may not have had the following to say to some sucker on an insecure secure line on a soccer field today. "Every stinking passenger on an incoming foreign aircraft should be viewed as a potentional terrorist. To best ensure conditional safety (and make it seem like we're doing something) we'd like to announce a foolproof method to identify terrorists. Assumptive intelligence suggests that almanac-toting terrorists may be in possession of super-sophisticated floatation devices. Therefore, from now on, all foreign aircraft wishing to land in the United States must undergo anti-terrorism pre-emptive security measures. Since it is far too complicated and kind-of-a-pain to properly secure American airport runways, foreign flights will be rerouted to alternative landing zones. Until further notice, those landing zones will be restricted to international waters. Common sense tells us that if everyone on the plane is drowned the threat of possible terrorism will be greatly diminished. Best of all there will be no harm and no fouls, since they're only foreigners."
Bush To Change Vacation Plans
In case you didn't know, if you type "miserable failure" into a search engine such as Yahoo or href="http://www.google.com">Google, then the first site that comes up is the biography for a certain non-August-working dude. Soon after word of this tron-foolery broke out, copycat dumbos worked it so that sites for Michael Moore and Senator Clinton rounded out the top five. I bring this up, partly, because I recently discovered (innocently and inadvertently...I swear) that my humble site is the number one recommended destination for people that want to know how big Brad Pitt's cocker spaniel is (more-or-less). Sorry to let any curious, wayward Pittster (Michael, too) fans down but I possess no inside khaki information. I thought he was marvelous in the movie "Seven" but I have no way of knowing his measure for measure (again, more-or-less).
Ultra-magnification of a document briefly shown in last Sunday's 60 Minutes reveals astonishing revelations (not, necessarily, related to the New Testament). While former Treasury Secretary Paul F. O'Neill gave his interview the cameras accidentally picked up a glimpse of a super-secret, F.N.C.E.O. (for neo-con eyes only) bulletin that may or may not be intended for a future threat matrix (reality or show). When viewed underwater with x-ray specs and 3-D glasses, the document obscurely details Resident Bush's plans for 2005, should he prevail, once again, in stopping the votes from being accurately counted in the 2004 election.
Because of recent events (and manipulations) Dubya will no longer be vacationing for the entire month of August. 43 with an asterisk intends to work (mostly) the whole month long. That way, Bushie will be able to spend the remaining eleven months of the year preparing for his space travels while Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfie run tings.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
How Much Bush Could A Bushupchuck?
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
How much bush could a bushupchuck upchuck if a bushupchuck could upchuck bush?
Theatre Banner Exchange
Kudos to Quentin Tarantino & Co. for awarding the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival (Palme d'Or best film award) to Michael Moore's latest documentary - Fahrenheit 9/11. While I doubt that it's a better film than Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai's entry, 2045, there's no doubt that it's more vital.
If you think something smells fishy about the Nick Berg Affair, then check out this link: Nick Berg Mystery Deepens
Check out this hilarious flash cartoon which incorporates bunnies into Kubrick's
All-American Allegiant Alleger
A neoconservative superhero with the ability to control all forms of media; the caped crusader in a trenchcoat preserves freedom and fights for American justice the Right way.
In 1992, Project 4A - The All American Allegiant Alleger - existed only in the depths of Karl Rove's fantasies, as he toiled for the re-election of G.H.W. Bush, and against the centrist try-to-be-impartial news Zeitgeist. Although getting the Media to append the word "gate" to anything remotely related to Democratic challenger Bill Clinton, his wife, and his home state of Arkansas was looked on as a remarkable feat, Karl wanted more. Shortly after being fired from the losing campaign for leaking information to columnist Robert Novak, the future junta-maker went into seclusion for a season to re-find his Mojo. Later, rejuvenated, he teamed up with a cabal of ex-Microsoft and ex-Nazi scientists to create the perfect candidate by combining a clone of the good-looking-if-not-so-smart Dan Quayle, the secreted brain of the political philosopher Leo Strauss (though he'd been dead for twenty years his brain had been cryogenically frozen), the sperm of Nobel Prize winner and noted ladies man Henry Kissinger, and the secreted sweat of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Project 4A (a.k.a. A.4 or Boris Karl) was initially conceived to replace Dan Quayle and to be appointed to the Presidency by the Supreme Court in 1996, but fate had other ideas. Try as they might, Karl and the ex-Microsofties and ex-Nazis couldn't bring their anti-Franken creature to life. In 1995, Project 4A (or A.A.A.A. or Dan Quail) was abandoned, though some of the data and research later proved instrumental in the remaking of the nothing-if-about-it, not-so-smart George Dubya Bush.
Bob Kerrey Wipes Off Condi's Smirk But No Flies Fly Out
In case you missed it -- somehow -- Bob Kerrey wiped the floor with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice during Thursday's riveting 9-11 Commission hearing. Of course, the front page of Rupert Murdoch's New York Post declared, "The Lady is a Champ" and The New York Times barely covered this portion (although they both ridiculed Mr. Kerrey for referring to Condi as Dr. Clarke a few times). But you be the judge. Here's the gist of the testy exchange between Rice and Kerrey(which contained more than a few impeachable lies by Ms. Rice):
Kerrey - Let me ask a question that _ well, actually, let me say _ I can't pass this up. I know it'll take into my 10-minute time. But as somebody who supported the war in Iraq, I'm not going to get the national security adviser 30 feet away from me very often over the next 90 days, and I've got to tell you, I believe a number of things. I believe, first of all, that we underestimate that this war on terrorism is really a war against radical Islam. Terrorism is a tactic. It's not a war itself.
Secondly, let me say that I don't think we understand how the Muslim world views us, and I'm terribly worried that the military tactics in Iraq are going to do a number of things, and they're all bad. One is...
(APPLAUSE) No, please don't _ please do not do that. Do not applaud. I think we're going to end up with civil war if we continue down the military operation strategies that we have in place. I say that sincerely as someone that supported the war in the first place. Let me say, secondly, that I don't know how it could be otherwise, given the way that we're able to see these military operations, even the restrictions that are imposed upon the press, that this doesn't provide an opportunity for Al Qaida to have increasing success at recruiting people to attack the United States.
It worries me. And I wanted to make that declaration. You needn't comment on it, but as I said, I'm not going to have an opportunity to talk to you this closely. And I wanted to tell you that I think the military operations are dangerously off track. And it's largely a U.S. Army _ 125,000 out of 145,000 _ largely a Christian army in a Muslim nation. So I take that on board for what it's worth.
Let me ask you, first of all, a question that's been a concern for me from the first day I came on the commission, and that is the relationship of our executive director to you. Let me just ask you directly, and you can just give me _ keep it relatively short, but I wanted to get it on the record. Since he was an expert on terrorism, did you ask Philip Zelikow any questions about terrorism during transition, since he was the second person carded in the national security office and had considerable expertise?
RICE: Philip and I had numerous conversations about the issues that we were facing. Philip, as you know, had worked in the campaign and helped with the transition plans, so yes.
KERREY: Yes, you did talk to him about terrorism?
RICE: We talked _ Philip and I over a period of _ you know, we had worked closely together as academics...
KERREY: During the transition, did you instruct him to do anything on terrorism?
RICE: Oh, to do anything on terrorism?
RICE: To help us think about the structure of the terrorism _ Dick Clarke's operations, yes.
KERREY: You've used the phrase a number of times, and I'm hoping with my question to disabuse you of using it in the future. You said the president was tired of swatting flies.
KERREY: Can you tell me one example where the president swatted a fly when it came to Al Qaida prior to 9/11?
RICE: I think what the president was speaking to was...
KERREY: No, no. What fly had he swatted?
RICE: Well, the disruptions abroad was what he was really focusing on...
KERREY: No, no...
RICE: ... when the CIA would go after Abu Zubaydah...
KERREY: He hadn't swatted...
RICE: ... or go after this guy...
KERREY: Dr. Rice, we didn't...
RICE: That was what was meant.
KERREY: We only swatted a fly once on the 20th of August 1998. We didn't swat any flies afterwards. How the hell could he be tired?
RICE: We swatted at _ I think he felt that what the agency was doing was going after individual terrorists here and there, and that's what he meant by swatting flies. It was simply a figure of speech.
KERREY: Well, I think it's an unfortunate figure of speech because I think, especially after the attack on the Cole on the 12th of October, 2000, it would not have been swatting a fly. It would not have been _ we did not need to wait to get a strategic plan. Dick Clarke had in his memo on the 20th of January overt military operations. He turned that memo around in 24 hours, Dr. Clarke. There were a lot of plans in place in the Clinton administration _ military plans in the Clinton administration. In fact, since we're in the mood to declassify stuff, there was _ he included in his January 25th memo two appendices _ Appendix A: Strategy for the elimination of the jihadist threat of Al Qaida, Appendix B: Political military plan for Al Qaida. So I just _ why didn't we respond to the Cole?
RICE: Well, we...
KERREY: Why didn't we swat that fly?
RICE: I believe that there's a question of whether or not you respond in a tactical sense or whether you respond in a strategic sense; whether or not you decide that you're going to respond to every attack with minimal use of military force and go after every _ on a kind of tit-for-tat basis. By the way, in that memo, Dick Clarke talks about not doing this tit-for-tat, doing this on the time of our choosing. I'm aware, Mr. Kerrey, of a speech that you gave at that time that said that perhaps the best thing that we could do to respond to the Cole and to the memories was to do something about the threat of Saddam Hussein. That's a strategic view... (APPLAUSE) And we took a strategic view. We didn't take a tactical view. I mean, it was really _ quite frankly, I was blown away when I read the speech, because it's a brilliant speech. It talks about really...(LAUGHTER)... an asymmetric...
KERREY: I presume you read it in the last few days?
RICE: Oh no, I read it quite a bit before that. It's an asymmetric approach. Now, you can decide that every time Al Qaida...
KERREY: So you're saying that you didn't have a military response against the Cole because of my speech?
RICE: I'm saying, I'm saying...(LAUGHTER) No.
KERREY: That had I not given that speech you would have attacked them?
RICE: No, I'm just saying that I think it was a brilliant way to think about it.
KERREY: I think it's...
RICE: It was a way of thinking about it strategically, not tactically. But if I may answer the question that you've asked me. The issue of whether to respond _ or how to respond to the Cole _ I think Don Rumsfeld has also talked about this. Yes, the Cole had happened. We received, I think on January 25th, the same assessment _ or roughly the same assessment _ of who was responsible for the Cole that Sandy Berger talked to you about. It was preliminary. It was not clear. But that was not the reason that we felt that we did not want to, quote, respond to the Cole. We knew that the options that had been employed by the Clinton administration had been standoff options. The president had _ meaning missile strikes or perhaps bombers would have been possible, long-range bombers. Although getting in place the apparatus to use long-range bombers is even a matter of whether you have basing in the region.
RICE: We knew that Osama Bin Laden had been, in something that was provided to me, bragging that he was going to withstand any response and then he was going to emerge and come out stronger.
KERREY: But you're figuring this out. You've got to give a very long answer.
RICE: We simply believed that the best approach was to put in place a plan that was going to eliminate this threat, not respond to an attack.
KERREY: Let me say, I think you would have come in there if you said, We screwed up. We made a lot of mistakes. You obviously don't want to use the M-word in here. And I would say fine, it's game, set, match. I understand that. But this strategic and tactical, I mean, I just _ it sounds like something from a seminar. It doesn't...
RICE: I do not believe to this day that it would have been a good thing to respond to the Cole, given the kinds of options that we were going to have. And with all due respect to Dick Clarke, if you're speaking about the Delenda plan, my understanding is that it was, A, never adopted, and that Dick Clarke himself has said that the military portion of this was not taken up by the Clinton administration.
KERREY: Let me move into another area.
RICE: So we were not presented _ I just want to be very clear on this, because it's been a source of controversy _ we were not presented with a plan.
KERREY: Well, that's not true. It is not...
RICE: We were not presented. We were presented with...
KERREY: I've heard you say that, Dr. Clarke, that 25 January, 2001, memo was declassified, I don't believe...
RICE: That January 25 memo has a series of actionable items having to do with Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance.
KERREY: Let me move to another area.
RICE: May I finish answering your question, though, because this is an important...
KERREY: I know it's important. Everything that's going on here is important. But I get 10 minutes.
RICE: But since we have a point of disagreement, I'd like to have a chance to address it.
KERREY: Well, no, no, actually, we have many points of disagreement, Dr. Clarke, but we'll have a chance to do in closed session. Please don't filibuster me. It's not fair. It is not fair. I have been polite. I have been courteous. It is not fair to me. (APPLAUSE) I understand that we have a disagreement.
RICE: Commissioner, I am here to answer questions. And you've asked me a question, and I'd like to have an opportunity to answer it. The fact is that what we were presented on January the 25th was a set of ideas and a paper, most of which was about what the Clinton administration had done and something called the Delenda plan which had been considered in 1998 and never adopted. We decided to take a different track.
RICE: We decided to put together a strategic approach to this that would get the regional powers _ the problem wasn't that you didn't have a good counterterrorism person. The problem was you didn't have an approach against Al Qaida because you didn't have an approach against Afghanistan. And you didn't have an approach against Afghanistan because you didn't have an approach against Pakistan. And until we could get that right, we didn't have a policy.
KERREY: Thank you for answering my question.
RICE: You're welcome.
KERREY: Let me ask you another question. Here's the problem that I have as I _ again, it's hindsight. I appreciate that. But here's the problem that a lot of people are having with this July 5th meeting. You and Andy Card meet with Dick Clarke in the morning. You say you have a meeting, he meets in the afternoon. It's July 5th. Kristen Breitweiser, who's a part of the families group, testified at the Joint Committee. She brings very painful testimony, I must say. But here's what Agent Kenneth Williams said five days later. He said that the FBI should investigate whether Al Qaida operatives are training at U.S. flight schools. He posited that Osama bin Laden followers might be trying to infiltrate the civil aviation system as pilots, security guards and other personnel. He recommended a national program to track suspicious flight schools. Now, one of the first things that I learned when I came into this town was the FBI and the CIA don't talk. I mean, I don't need a catastrophic event to know that the CIA and the FBI don't do a very good job of communicating. And the problem we've got with this and the Moussaoui facts, which were revealed on the 15th of August, all it had to do was to be put on Intelink. All it had to do is go out on Intelink, and the game's over. It ends. This conspiracy would have been rolled up.
KERREY: And so I...
RICE: Commissioner, with all due respect, I don't agree that we know that we had somehow a silver bullet here that was going to work. What we do know is that we did have a systemic problem, a structural problem between the FBI and the CIA. It was a long time in coming into being. It was there because there were legal impediments, as well as bureaucratic impediments. Those needed to be overcome. Obviously, the structure of the FBI that did not get information from the field offices up to FBI Central, in a way that FBI Central could react to the whole range of information reports, was a problem...
KERREY: But, Dr. Rice, everybody...
RICE: But the structure of the FBI, the restructuring of the FBI, was not going to be done in the 233 days in which we were in office...
KERREY: Dr. Rice, everybody who does national security in this town knows the FBI and the CIA don't talk. So if you have a meeting on the 5th of July, where you're trying to make certain that your domestic agencies are preparing a defense against a possible attack, you knew Al Qaida cells were in the United States, you've got to follow up.
KERRY: And the question is, what was your follow-up? What's the paper trail that shows that you and Andy Card followed up from this meeting, and...
RICE: I followed...
KERREY: ... made certain that the FBI and the CIA were talking?
RICE: I followed up with Dick Clarke, who had in his group, and with him, the key counterterrorism person for the FBI. You have to remember that Louis Freeh was, by this time, gone. And so, the chief counterterrorism person was the second _ Louis Freeh had left in late June. And so the chief counterterrorism person for the FBI was working these issues, was working with Dick Clarke. I talked to Dick Clarke about this all the time. But let's be very clear, the threat information that we were dealing with _ and when you have something that says, something very big may happen, you have no time, you have no place, you have no how, the ability to somehow respond to that threat is just not there. Now, you said...
KERREY: Dr. Clarke, in the spirit of further declassification...
RICE: Sir, with all...
KERREY: The spirit...
RICE: I don't think I look like Dick Clarke, but...(LAUGHTER)
KERREY: Dr. Rice, excuse me.
RICE: Thank you.
KEAN: This is the last question, Senator.
KERREY: Actually it won't be a question. In the spirit of further declassification, this is what the August 6th memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking. That's the language of the memo that was briefed to the president on the 6th of August.
RICE: And that was checked out and steps were taken through FAA circulars to warn of hijackings. But when you cannot tell people where a hijacking might occur, under what circumstances _ I can tell you that I think the best antidote to what happened in that regard would have been many years before to think about what you could do for instance to harden cockpits.
That would have made a difference. We weren't going to harden cockpits in the three months that we had a threat spike. The really difficult thing for all of us, and I'm sure for those who came before us as well as for those of us who are here, is that the structural and systematic changes that needed to be made _ not on July 5th or not on June 25th or not on January 1st _ those structures and those changes needed to be made a long time ago so that the country was in fact hardened against the kind of threat that we faced on September 11th. The problem was that for a country that had not been attacked on its territory in a major way in almost 200 years, there were a lot of structural impediments to those kinds of attacks.
RICE: Those changes should have been made over a long period of time. I fully agree with you that, in hindsight, now looking back, there are many things structurally that were out of kilter. And one reason that we're here is to look at what was out of kilter structurally, to look at needed to be done, to look at what we already have done, and to see what more we need to do. But I think it is really quite unfair to suggest that something that was a threat spike in June or July gave you the kind of opportunity to make the changes in air security that could have been _ that needed to be made.
Bush Fucking Knew
Monday, December 15, 2003
Liberal Radio! At Last!
(3-31-04)Air America Radio launched today at noon [WLIB 1190 AM in New York] after a furious block of political songs that included Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On", Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up", The Beastie Boys' "In A World Gone Mad" and -- most fittingly -- Gill Scott Heron's "Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Saturday Night Live veteran Al Franken started things off with the premiere broadcast of The O'Franken Factor, in which he castigated Bill O'Reilly and his fellow Foxers for trying to disallow satire. He also noted that during seven years of Bush family rule not one new job had been created [statistically] and that if Bushies led us in the prehistoric age we'd all still be "hunters and gatherers." Mr. Franken played it straight for most of the first hour before blending in more comedy. He claimed that Governor Arnold was set to sit next to Laura Bush, at Dubya's last State of the Union misaddress, but was JanetJacksoned because an aide feared that the networks might cut to him whenever "steroids or abstinence" were mentioned. Even his co-host, Katherine Lanpher, at first, wasn't sure if Mr. Franken was joking or not. It was at such moments - the juxtaposition of the factual and facetious - that the show really sparkled. Hopefully, future broadcasts will retain this flavor, even if - consequently - a few water cooler conversations get it twisted.Listen to the live broadcast:www.airamericaradio.com
Neocon Embedder: Judith Miller
(3-25-04)It's bad enough that The New York Times tried to bury the Richard A. Clarke story (his 60 Minutes interview about his forthcoming book, "Against All Enemies") on page 18 of Monday's edition but did they have to assign Judith Miller to the story? Ever since Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post (and others) wrote about Ms. Miller's chronic use of Ahmad Chalabi as an unnamed source for her numerous "Iraq had deadly WMD" hackjobs for the Bush Administration, her byline has rarely appeared. She only seems to write about events that duly concern her such as the anthrax attacks (she was either a victim of the mailer or of a copycat in December of 2001...and The Times has never been very clear about the entire incident...Ms. Miller claimed in interviews elsewhere that the mailer mentioned J-Lo just like the Florida letter and a plot to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago...) and Iraq's alleged ties to Al Qaeda.
In 1990 Judith Miller co-wrote a book, "Saddam Hussein and the crisis in the gulf" with Laurie Mylroie, who later wrote "The War Against America" which attempts to draw a connection between Saddam and the first World Trade Center Bombing. Since Mr. Clarke has mainly spoken out about the Bush Administration's obsession with Iraq instead of Al Qaeda, it seems odd that the Times would choose a journalist who subscribes to the same theories.
Judith Miller is also responsible for giving us the aluminum tubes story that was discredited by Joe Wilson (and led to Robert Novak's outing of Wilson's wife as a CIA agent) and the lie that Fort Dietrick was not involved in the manufacturing of any chemical weapons. She also had a correspondence with Dr. Kelly on the day that he died (supposedly by suicide). She's also falsely accused ex-weapons inspector Scott Ritter of accepting Iraqi financing for his recent documentary. Along with Ms. Mylroie, Judith Miller also belongs to the repugnant Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum and (at the time their book was released) she was a fellow at the Bradley Foundation, which is tied to Bill Kristol's Project for a New American Century.
www.nationalreview.com: "Mylroie's latest book, Bush vs. the Beltway: How the CIA and the State Department Tried to Stop the War on Terror, was just released. As the two-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approached, Mylroie talked to NRO about Bush vs. the Beltway and the war on terror. (Mylroie can be reached at email@example.com.)Kathryn Jean Lopez: Who is the "Beltway" that Bush is battling against? Who's on the Bush side? Laurie Mylroie: The Beltway is first the bureaucracies, above all the CIA and State Department, which developed a certain perspective on Iraq and on terrorism during the Clinton years — namely that "containment" addressed the danger Iraq posed and that Iraq was not involved in terrorism. The Beltway also includes much of the media, as well as many Democrats. The Pentagon is on Bush's side, along with Congressional Republicans and the conservative media, generally. That would leave the president outnumbered — except he has the support of the majority of the American people, who basically understand why we went to war.Above all, the decision for war with Iraq was right; it was very courageous and it was absolutely necessary. Iraq was involved with al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks — which is what nearly 70 percent of the American public believes. Iraq's involvement in terrorism, along with its weapons, particularly its biological-weapons program, made war necessary.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
(3-24-04)Before Sept. 11, Unshared Clues and Unshaped Policy , Barton Gellman, Washington Post, May 17, 2002: “‘Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon,’ the government's top counterterrorism official, Richard Clarke, told the assembled group [July 5, 2001], according to two of those present. The group included the Federal Aviation Administration, along with the Coast Guard, FBI, Secret Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service. Clarke directed every counterterrorist office to cancel vacations, defer nonvital travel, put off scheduled exercises and place domestic rapid-response teams on much shorter alert.”
THE COUNTER-TERRORIST, Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, Issue of January 14, 2002:Meanwhile, intelligence had been streaming in concerning a likely Al Qaeda attack. "It all came together in the third week in June," Clarke said. "The C.I.A.'s view was that a major terrorist attack was coming in the next several weeks." On July 5th, Clarke summoned all the domestic security agencies—the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard, Customs, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the F.B.I.—and told them to increase their security in light of an impending attack.
While thumbing through Moonie journalist Rowan Scarborough's "Rumsfeld's War - The Untold Story of America's Anti-Terrorist Commander," I came across this interesting sentence: "CIA-produced reports contained excerpts of intercepted conversations, the latest bin Laden sightings, and even the opinions of an Australian psychic." Shades of Stephen King's "The Dead Zone." I wonder if this unnamed psychic carries the same weight in regards to HUMINT(human intelligence) as the "ex-Iraqi exile" Mr. Ahmed Chalabi.
In my search for the psychic source, Psychicpeople.com provided this lead: "Lady Gabrielle, renown Australian Medium and Clairvoyant, experienced with Ouija Board, Psychometry, photograph readings, a genuine Master of Tarot reading, and an intuitive Medium and Clairvoyant as well as a Platform Medium. She combines many years of formal training in University with several degrees in Women's Studies and Family Studies. She is a highly experienced skilled counselor in human relationships, with her amazing insight into Tarot and contact with Spirit. Lady Gabrielle has read for the elite in Western Australian society, for high profile corporate Lawyers, Multi millionaires and socialites, and some of the richest tycoons in Australia. She has appeared in many newspapers, magazines, television interviews as well as radio celebrity appearances. Lady Gabrielle is a gentle caring sensitive lady, who is married with four children and understands the loss of people close to you, especially with children and close family members. She is experienced in Grief and Loss and works through contact with Spirit from those who have passed and wish to make contact with their loved ones. Lady Gabrielle has worked successfully as a Psychic Detective with Police in Australia and America and has also assisted with criminal investigations in England. Lady Gabrielle has an amazing accuracy on world events and forewarned the passing of Lady Diana, as well as the attacks on America from terrorism, the war against terrorism, the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and many more events which came to pass accurately as she had foretold. Lady Gabrielle is able to assist with all facets of life including love, career, relationships, trauma, grief and loss. Her accuracy has brought the attention of the world media to her doorstep on several occasions. Her desire is simple, to share her gifts with those who truly deserve better in life. Lady Gabrielle is ethical and accurate with all her readings and is available to help you with any issues."
Saturday, December 13, 2003
My O'Franken Factor Feed
(4-13-04)I spent close to two hours, today, on hold, waiting to talk with Al Franken & Katherine Lanpher on Air America Radio's "The O'Franken Factor." Unfortunately, with fifteen minutes left in the show, I clipped the receiver with my ear and disconnected myself (not the first time I've clumsily done this), so I never got a chance to go on air. At the very least, I was able to listen in on a static-free broadcast (for once) over the phone. At one point, while waiting, I had to run to the bathroom (all-the-while, frantically hoping, that I wouldn't go live to "parts-of-America" in mid-stream). Earlier, Al had asked his audience to call in with questions to ask Dubya during the evening's prime-time press conference. He also wanted us to provide nicknames for the President to call us when picked (in Ron Suskind's "The Price of Loyalty" former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill [a.k.a Pablo and Big O] denounces this as a schoolyard bully's tactic). I chose "Pretzel-head" because I figured my questions might make him choke. The question I would have asked: "Why can't you get your story straight about your actions on September 11th, 2001? You've told different stories on different occasions. Specifically, when and where, did you first see video of the first plane striking the World Trade Center on 9-11?"
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Act II Scene 1
(The setting is the Marine Officer Training School at Quantico, Virginia. The left half of the stage is set up as a classroom, the other side is impossible to make out. All the lights are off as a slide show on biological and chemical weapons is in session. SIX JOURNALISTS, including TED and ONE FEMALE - each in desert camouflage fatigues - are listening to a lecture in progress by the decorated Lieutenant Colonel, TAYLOR.)
(TAYLOR stands behind an impressive looking podium that is micro-phoned for sound though the classroom itself is small. The room seems to have employed the same interior director who helped design the CENTCOM media room in Qatar.)
(The journalists sit with their backs to the audience, but the room is set at a slight angle. TED is seated in the most left seat in the corner. To TAYLOR's left and right, standing guard are two MARINES, both African American, as still as statues with their eyes focussed dead ahead.)
TAYLOR - That's what a smallpox victim looks like without the benefit of Nuclear Biological Chemical protective gear and without the Center of Disease Control recommended inoculations for the theater. LIGHTS!
(The room lights back up but the slide of the smallpox victim remains on display until the end of the scene)
TAYLOR - Before I take us to the next stage in this arena, I'd like to introduce you all to a deputy from OASD (PA), the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. One of the inaugural architects of the Embed Program, he's the guy to thank for allowing you this unprecedented opportunity of a lifetime. Please join me in a salute for a true patriot, Mr. Adam Walters.
(WALTERS enters, dressed in desert camouflage fatigues, and stiffly takes his place to the left of the Lt. Colonel at the podium. TAYLOR doesn't actually give up the podium and remains at front and center.)
WALTERS - Good morning, future embeds. I trust that the slideshow has succeeded in adducing your undivided attention. Have no fears, Lieutenant Colonel Billy Taylor will soon instruct you on how you can safely avoid such a horrifying fate. But I want to take this brief moment in time to more fully explain the neat little program we have here to you.
(TAYLOR nods his head vigorously in approval.)
WALTERS - Embed. Embedded. Embedding.
(WALTERS pauses as if he were turning to the next page in a script)
WALTERS - You've heard the word embed an awful lot over the past few days, but there is no better word to describe this organism, so forgive me if I insist on continuing to stubbornly deploy it. The word "embed“ is defined in Webster's Dictionary "as to enclose closely or to make something an integral part of surrounding matter." Such as the sweet pulp that embeds a plum's seeds or a diamond embedded in a wedding ring.
WALTERS - For our purposes, embedding means living, eating, sleeping, working, travelling and daily breathing with the unit that you become attached to. I call it embedding for life.
(TAYLOR wraps his right hand around WALTERS and clasps his right shoulder.)
WALTERS - In order for our aggressive and ambitious program to efficiently work and for you to achieve maximization of opportunity we must insist on a demanding degree of discipline within the system. No prior Administration has ever been so forthcoming. This will be the most minimally restrictive access that has ever been granted.
(WALTERS pauses dramatically.)
WALTERS - Our strategic objectives are, firstly, to strengthen Military/Media relations, secondly, to build up trust, and thirdly, to further the basics of reporting. Last, but far from leastly, our goal is for you civilians to gain familiarity with SOP - an acronym that stands for Standard Operating Procedure - so that in the event of rapidly approaching hostilities none of you endanger our mission.
(TAYLOR pulls his hand back and doesn't shy from frowning at the bureaucrat's definition of the Military acronym.)
WALTERS - I call it embedding for life because to make the most of this, I think, requires a long-term commitment and it shouldn't really matter if the hypothetical war lasts two weeks, two months or two years. (pauses for effect) We are committed to allowing you to become an integral part of a unit. You'll ship out with your team whether by sea or land or air.
WALTERS - You'll be in a perpetual state of close-quarters. Each member of the unit linked together composes a support system. You'll be there beside the men during any eventual skirmishes or battles. You'll march on whatever-the-hell capital we happen to march in with them. And if you wish to further remain with your unit, even better. You can join them on the long way home and return back with them to whichever base from which they've originated. We'd love for you to also come home and cover the soldiers of your unit in the inevitable victory parades. Our greatest wish is that you last throughout the duration. That's what I meant by embeds for life.
(TAYLOR winks with his right eye.)
WALTERS - Now if you for some reason decide to make the decision that your unit no longer interests you or you somehow deem your access insufficient, why then of course you may opt for retrogression. But consequently there are no guarantees that you'll be blessed with another unit. Of course some units will get to see heavy combat. Some will move towards the unnamed capital. Some will be patrolling bridges over the river Euphrates. Others might only be in charge of protecting the supply lines. But I just want to put it out there to you that the worst thing in the world that you could do is to sell short any particular embedded opportunities. At first, what you might not deem sufficiently newsworthy, looking back may wind up having played a key role in the actual overall operation. Although, I positively assure you that our units will all play key roles in the coming victory.
(WALTERS lifts his right arm high.)
WALTERS - Our soldiers will prevail not by the strength of their weapons but by their sense of mission and by their consciousness of the justness of their cause.
(WALTERS lowers his arm and smiles broadly.)
WALTERS - For the record, for consideration, and please, especially for my dependent family's sake, I never named any bodies of water in specificity.
(The JOURNALISTS all laugh.)
WALTERS - I'm glad to see that I haven't killed you with boredom. Now, thankfully, I'll be returning you to the safe hands of Lieutenant Colonel Billy Taylor. Thank you, good day and God bless. All of us are praying every man makes it back home alive.
(WALTERS exits the stage as the JOURNALISTS reward him with a hearty round of applause)
TAYLOR - And now...
(TAYLOR smirks as he glances, conspiratorially, at the two MARINES, who retain their icy postures without so much as a blink.)
TAYLOR - We come to my favorite portion of the session.
(TAYLOR adapts a wide grin)
TAYLOR - The part where we get to gas you!
(The JOURNALISTS chuckle nervously. TED runs his fingers along the back of his head with his right hand.)
TAYLOR - Before we introduce you to the Confidence Chamber, you’ll have to acquaint yourself with the necessary safety equipment and learn how to properly utilize it, as it might one day save your life. CORPORAL!
(The CORPORAL – an African American woman in her early twenties – enters the classroom from stage left, carrying a large box in her hands. The CORPORAL opens the box and extracts seven gas masks, then slowly, yet methodically, distributes each to the JOURNALISTS and TAYLOR. When finished, the CORPORAL stands at attention and holds a salute for the colonel to properly dismiss her. TAYLOR swiftly returns the salute, allowing the CORPORAL to exit the classroom back the way she came.)
TAYLOR - I’ve already stressed to you the importance of NBC – Nuclear Biological Chemical protective gear. The suit fits snugly in a vacuum-sealed pouch attached to your hips and can be donned in seconds flat, if need be the case. Don’t worry. You won’t have to search for a phone booth to change into.
(The JOURNALISTS chuckle.)
TAYLOR - NBC’s offer twenty-four hour protection in a contaminated environment and will standardly retain their protective qualities for 45 days in a clean environment. When worn, the jacket-and-pants suit surrounds the soldier with a layer of microscopic carbon spheres that filter out toxic chemical agents such as VX or mustard gas. Before reporting in for future engagements we recommend that you receive your CDC recommended inoculations, which we will also cover. We’ll be in touch with each of your respective news bureau chiefs so you’ll know where to go. Don’t go off on your own and get your shots because, trust me, we bought the best medicine in the market for you. In addition, each of you will be furnished, free on temporary loan from the Pentagon…
(TAYLOR holds his mask high in the air for all to see.)
TAYLOR - The trusty M40 Field Mask. It is a state of the art safety device able to withstand all known noxious vapors. The M40 offers full respiratory system, eye and face protection. It contains a silicon rubber face piece with an internal peripheral face seal and a binocular rigid lens system.
(TAYLOR pulls back the mask’s strap.)
TAYLOR - The M40’s strap stretches around your head and it’s been calibrated to fit even the swollen heads of the Media Elite. (pauses) That was a joke. You each have permission to smile. If you don’t, though, then it’s an order.
(The JOURNALISTS, at best, titter.)
TAYLOR - Forgive me for my folksiness. (pauses) It’s time for everyone to don the masks.
(The JOURNALISTS do as told. TAYLOR continues displaying his mask but doesn’t put it on himself.)
TAYLOR - You are about to learn what the Marines refer to as the MOPP, short for Mission Oriented Protective Posture. Number One, the top priority is to certify that you have a sufficient amount of suction in play. The mask must be tightly locked in place so that it is airtight. (pauses) Otherwise the M40 will be unable to fulfill its commissioned function and. as a result you will wrongly blame the manufacturer or a certain personable colonel for your untimely checkout. It is vital that you develop confidence in all equipment outfitted by the Services. That way you don’t become a burden to your units and a flea on your commanding officer’s unit. Now, take off the masks.
(The JOURNALISTS comply but emit slight gasps.)
TAYLOR - I must confirm that there is nothing untoward about the controlled atmosphere of this classroom so try your best to refrain from gasping or wheezing at this juncture.
(The JOURNALISTS cease all breathing sounds.)
TAYLOR - Unless, of course, one of your comrades has exuded WMD from his…(scans the faces in his audience.)…or her respective posterior’s aperture.
(This time, all the JOURNALISTS share a hearty laugh.)
TAYLOR - Great. In the past you may have derogated Military Intelligence to an oxymoron but now, at least, you’ve learned that it’s not devoid of mirth.
(The JOURNALISTS are enjoying themselves. TAYLOR reaches into his pocket, extracts a military stopwatch, then displays its face to his students.)
TAYLOR - Now that you’ve all familiarized yourself with the recommended procedure for properly utilizing your M40 field masks, it is time to apply your knowledge to applicable use. When the appropriate order is issued…
(TAYLOR stops for a second to eye the only female in the room)
TAYLOR - Don’t worry your pretty little heads. The appropriate order will be intelligible to the meanest capacity. Then you must immediately equip your masks…(pauses) Within the space of nine seconds. Why nine?
(TAYLOR stares directly at TED before providing his own answer.)
TAYLOR - Because at ten, you’re dead and that sucks to high heaven.
(The JOURNALISTS eat up the gallows humor. TAYLOR holds the stopwatch high in the air with his finger on the trigger.)
TAYLOR - Ready…Set…(at the top of his lungs) GAS! GAS! GAS!
(The JOURNALISTS frantically attempt to equip their masks.)
TAYLOR - Eight…night…ten. You’re all as good as fucking dead.
(All the while chuckling, the JOURNALISTS disengage their masks. They eagerly await the next alert so they can prove their worth.)
TAYLOR - (at the top of his lungs) GAS! GAS! GAS!
(This time the JOURNALISTS improve their times.)
TAYLOR - Eight…nine…much better…(at the top of his lungs) GAS! GAS! GAS!
(The JOURNALISTS finish with seconds to spare.)
TAYLOR - Excellent job, squad. Now we’ll see how you fare in the Confidence Chamber.
TAYLOR - (at the top of his lungs) EVERYONE STAND UP AND LINE UP SINGLE FILE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROOM! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! FACE YOUR COMMANDING OFFICER!
(The JOURNALISTS follow orders like well-trained Marines. MARINE #1 marches to the rear of the line and MARINE #2 heads the front. TAYLOR marches authoritatively until he reaches MARINE #2.)
TAYLOR - (at the top of his lungs) ABOUT FACE! MARCH! LEFT! RIGHT! LEFT! RIGHT! LEFT! LEFT! RIGHT! LEFT!
(TAYLOR leads his troops out of the classroom and to the still darkened right area of the stage.)
TAYLOR - (at the top of his lungs) HALT! REMAIN AT ATTENTION! AT EASE!
(EVERYONE stands and patiently waits.)
TAYLOR - (spoken like a game show host) Boys and girls, welcome to the Confidence Chamber.
(TAYLOR flicks a switch to turn on a pair of naked light bulbs that barely illuminate a cinderblock room with a low ceiling. The front of the room is composed see-through glass. There is a long wooden bench situated at the rear of the chamber. Ominous looking hoses, whose nozzles are pointing upwards, and snake along the cinderblock walls of the room. There is a desk located outside the chamber, in front of the glass, that holds on its top a telephone and a switch, both painted red.)
TAYLOR - Inside the chamber you will be subjected to C5 Gas. C5 Gas is merely a non-toxic chemical agent generally used for crowd control, whose most hazardous effect would be a bad case of the runs. Of course, in the battlefield, the weapons you face will probably not be so benign.
(The CORPORAL races back on to the stage and approaches TAYLOR. She doesn’t say a word, but TAYLOR nods at her presence.)
TAYLOR - Squad, you must excuse me for a moment. An urgent matter is awaiting my engagement. Kindly remain at attention until I return.
(TAYLOR exits stage right with the CORPORAL in tow.)
(One of the JOURNALISTS turns to TED behind him to tell him something. But MARINE #1 grabs him and pushes him back around. Everyone stands and waits for TAYLOR to return, staring at the gas chamber. The wait lasts at least two minutes.)
(TAYLOR returns onstage from the right side, taking his sweet time.)
TAYLOR - I’m sorry about that but I just had to go telephone an officer and his beautiful young wife and inform them why he has to ship-out in two days. That’s the second toughest job I have.
(TAYLOR lets this soak in on the JOURNALISTS, who have been affected by his words.)
TAYLOR - (at the top of his lungs) MARINES! ACT LIKE SAILORS AND UNSEAL THE HATCH!
(The MARINES open the door to the chamber.)
TAYLOR - Make your way inside, and commandeer a seat, ladies – whoops - I guess that’s not a disparaging term for all of you.
(The JOURNALISTS enter the chamber and take seats on the wooden bench.)
TAYLOR - By now, you know the drill, about how to react to the alert. But this time, after you’ve worn your mask for sixty seconds I want you to break the seal of your masks and suck in a few vapors of the non-toxic C5 Gas, then quickly reseal your masks. This exercise will impart to you the awesome power of your M40 field mask.
(The MARINES seal the chamber shut. TAYLOR picks up the phone and holds it to his mouth.)
TAYLOR - (at the top of his lungs) GAS! GAS! GAS!
(The Confidence Chamber instantly fills with gas creating a heavy cloud in which nothing can be seen, at first. Then the smoke clears and the JOURNALISTS, one-by-one, remove their masks and struggle to breathe. They each reseal their masks, which work perfectly, to their evident relief. The gas and leftover smoke is then sucked up the hoses.)
(MARINE #1 unseals the chamber and, one at a time each JOURNALIST emerges from within and doffs their mask. On each of their faces a cheek-to-cheek smile is embedded.)
TAYLOR - Excellent job, troop, I’m mighty impressed. But there’s no fooling a United States Marine Lieutenant Colonel. I bet you know-it-alls assumed the masks wouldn’t work. But it worked for even the Arabic fellow we hosted from Al Jazeera.
(The JOURNALISTS laugh.)
TAYLOR - Hoo-ah!
(The LIGHTS GO OUT and the CURTAIN FALLS DOWN.)