Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Bush: Ultimatum, Schmultimatum
From my article at Raw Story, "Ex-Hussein political adviser claims Iraq accepted Bush's ultimatum before invasion":
Hossam Shaltout, a former political adviser to Saddam Hussein's son, said today that before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, Saddam expressed his intent to yield to all American demands, but that the Bush administration refused his offers, according to a press release on Yahoo News.
Shaltout is a Canadian citizen who claims he was beaten repeatedly by U.S. officers while in an Iraqi detention camp, under suspicion of once having been a "right hand man" for Saddam Hussein.....
Shaltout claims that in March of 2003, just as he was to read the Iraqi government's official reply to the Bush ultimatum on Al-Jazeera, the broadcast was interrupted and "the plug was pulled on the transmission." He also maintains that later, when the Americans arrived in Baghdad, he offered his assistance to U.S. military officials, but instead was arrested by Marines who went to his hotel suite and took his documents.
Left unmentioned in the press release are Shaltout's claims that he was tortured and abused during his imprisonment.
Full article at Raw Story.
GOP Jumps Shark But Who's Counting
Today's ridiculousness about a slight gaffe made by a Democratic Senator who once fought in a war, yet is not even running for re-election, is beyond belief.
Yes, indeed, the GOP jumped the shark today.
But their show isn't in any danger of being cancelled because there's a slim chance in Hell that this election will be any more fair than the ones that transpired over the last six years.
The personal, meaningless, non-political attacks from both sides over the last month or so, frankly, make me want to vomit.
One side is glad that their party is finally throwing dirt around, while the other side has ratcheted up the madness in order to "qualify" and "explain" the inevitable victorious results due to come which will not match any polling.
I apologize for contributing to this mess, even though I try to be as fair as I can be. But, yeah, this dirty campaign is all our own fault. We suck.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Hastert Saddened By Billmon's Blackface
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) released the following statement in response to a blog and photoshopped image created by Billmon at Whiskey Bar, regarding comments made by CNN's Wolf Blitzer directed at Lynne Cheney, who had questioned his patriotism:
I am saddened by the comments made today by a blogger working in clear concert with the Democrat (sic) Party. It is clear that Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha and Democrat (sic) leaders have adopted a policy of blogofascism. The Deaniacs kick back drinking Courvoisier, while their radical, pajama-bottomed co-conspirators hearken back to dark, disturbing, and better left forgotten practices from yesteryears in order to inject anachronistic, unwarranted and incredibly wacky charges of racism against whomever doesn't agree with their "cut and run" philosophies. To add insult to injury, this was done even though Wolf Blitzer is white.
At least fifty years ago, America as we knew it changed. The blackfaced minstrel act which once made us all laugh became politically incorrect, and great American entertainers like Al Jolson, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope wiped off their grease paint and did their best to get us all to forget. The googly-eyed, big-lipped, freakish Sambo character is not something that Americans want, desire or need to be reminded of. Democrats would have you believe that they use blackface as political satire, but Republicans know that Americans are not laughing anymore (see: box office failure of Spike Lee's Bamboozled).
Blackface has no place in American culture, whether used to make us laugh or even to make us think. All Americans should recognize that when the left use slavery iconography in their political attacks, what they are really saying is that they are the real racists. And their insistence on reminding us of America's few moments of historical weakness show and prove In Living Color that they really must hate this country.
Thanks to the work of Our valiant America-Frist forces of right, the latest work of the nutroots has been exposed, which will help to show Americans that if the GOP retains power then we can all continue to rest easier at night knowing that those Islamofascist terrorists who plot to kill us all can continue to navigate and negotiate in Pakistan, while the Bush Administration does little more than swat flies.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Hastert On Dems' Jay-Z leak
U.S. Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) today made the following statement regarding the suspected leak of another track from the upcoming Jay-Z album by Democrats on the House Select Committee on Intelligence:
America is fighting the Global War on Terror so that we can fight the enemy overseas instead of on American streets. Any leaks of classified information regarding Kingdom Come undermine our efforts and put our military personnel and intelligence officers at greater risk.
This week, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra took a very prudent step in response to the leak of the third Jay-Z track when he suspended a Democratic Committee staff member who may have played a role in this matter.
It is my hope that no one on the House Intelligence Committee chose to leak Jay-Z's "The Lost Ones" for political gain. I believe that Chairman Hoekstra has taken the right steps to properly investigate this matter to protect the integrity of classified information to protect American national security.
Kingdom Come is not due to be released until November 28, weeks after the midterm elections, and many GOP pollsters fear that the rumoured Jay-Z and Nas collaboration "Black Republican" may be leaked any day now, as some kind of "October surprise," even though that track may be off of Nas' Hip-Hop Is Dead, which won't be released until December 19.
According to Hova, "The Lost Ones" is "not a diss song, its just a real song" and you can hear it here.
It's November 11th as I write this, and based on my sitemeter I'm not the only one still fiending to hear "Black Republican" (hope it's as good as Minority Report).
Two bits from the "Rumors" section at AllHipHop.com:
The Nas / Jay-Z song is something that the fans anxiously await. Well, I have a bit of a preview on what this joint sounds like and Jay is getting a little militant. On the song, Jigga says, "Like a Black Republican/ Money I got comin in/ Can't turn my back on the hood/ Too much love for them." Oh, this is on the Nas album and it sort of makes Nas' album title paradoxical (you like that word). WHY? Because Hip-Hop can't possibly be dead with this album sounding the way it does!
Nas had a listening party last night and I'm hearing some pretty good things from the feedback I have gotten. I heard that Jay-Z was there, but they did the foulest thing ever. I heard that as Jay left the studio, they refused to let the revelers hear the Nas /Jay song "Black Republican." From what I was told, they teased the crowd by letting them hear the first few seconds of the song and then Jay-Z bounced.
Unfortunately, the last "Rumors" column mentioned that Nas' album might be delayed until past December 19. President Carter's latest is pretty damn good, but I sure hope he does right by Nas, Ghostface and Joe Budden.
This is for all the people coming here by Google "in search of."
The best I can offer is Nah Right, which has a link to "Black Republican" (or "Black Militant"). Unfortunately, two annoying DJs scream all over the track, but about two minutes in you can hear a good part of it. Damn, they sound great together...and unless there's more to the song, I'd say Nas walks away with the crown on this one.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Santorum, Snow, Corker, Allen & Rove
I had a bunch of Raw Story articles the last couple of days, so many that I'm too wiped out to do more now than provide links.
And here's a couple more from the last week that I wrote up for RAW which I forgot to link to here:
And a few more from weeks before when I was laptop-less:
Thursday, October 26, 2006
When Journalists Pull a MacManus
Polls tell us that Democrats are angrier and more likely to turn out than Republicans. (Actually, the poll question wording focuses more on enthusiasm about voting than about the likelihood of turning out). It is assumed that Republican turnout will be lighter and that many will cross over and vote for Democratic candidates. While this may be true, there are enough signs that Republicans who do plan to vote are just as angry as Democrats to make one a bit wary of these assumptions. Nationally, Democrats are angry first and foremost with President George W. Bush sitting in the White House, followed by the War in Iraq, then corruption. But Republicans are increasingly angry over their entire party being cast as “predators” due to the sins of former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley. They are also moved somewhat by the thought of Nancy Pelosi and other liberals in high leadership posts. For GOPers who may cross over to vote for Democrats or just take a pass and not vote in a congressional race at all, they are most disgusted with the failure of Congress to address immigration and to control spending. The question is how many of these voters will really stray from their party when it comes right down to casting a ballot. The most interesting unknown this election season is turnout among independent voters who tend to be young and tend not to vote in midterm elections. Yet to be discerned is the extent to which this year’s record negativity in ads and media coverage will prompt them to turn their backs on both parties and leave the election to the ardent partisans on both sides of the aisle.Shorter Susan MacManus: Democrats and Independents are not going to turn out. Republicans will get the vote out and win the midterms. The indications are that the Christian Right will stay home November 7. A Pew Research Center poll found Democrats more excited to vote than Republicans. To illustrate how bad things have gotten for Republicans; Democrats, in South Carolina, have raised more money for out-the-vote drives. With all this bad news for Republicans; why did MacManus view the GOP's chance through such rose-colored glasses. Because she is a professional Republican shrill. McManus has been appointed by Jeb Bush to his transition team, Florida Elections Commission and Governor's Council of Economic Advisors. Hey, no conflict of interest there. The problem is the media use her for fair and balanced analysis that is neither the former or latter. MacManus has also donated to the a Republican PAC. Bob Norman cited a A-list of Florida political reporters who don't cite that MacManus is a Bush crony. Buddy "I'm a Republican" Nevins, William March, and former Orlando Sentinel scribe Mark Silva are guilty of doing the MacManus. This opus co-written by March contained MacManus b.s. that's so strong that I had to hold my nose.
University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus said the issue can only help Republicans. Besides religious voters, she said, it will also affect a larger group, ``the married vote and family vote,'' and an underestimated voting group, the disabled. About 17 percent of Florida households include a disabled person, she said.The Pew Research Center, ABC News, and CBS News polls show the the majority of Americans were strongly against the Republicans handling of the Terri Schiavo matter. March told Bob Norman, "I agree that it's good to identify MacManus as a Bush appointee when writing about either Bush." March admitted to Norman that he knew MacManus has worked for Bush. The Columbia Jornalism Review made note of March's use of MacManus quotes. The Norman piece was written in 2004. March still failed to mention ManManus's Bush ties in his Terri Schiavo article. He may end up getting another dubious CJR mention, again. "I agree that it's good to identify MacManus as a Bush appointee when writing about either Bush." So do I. For future PR reference: when I say a reporter pulled a MacManus - that means citing a partisan as an unbiased pundit.
Bush Knowz History
President George Bush had this to say on Conservative Print Media Journalists Day:
That's what makes this more difficult – I don't know what Harry Truman was feeling like, or Franklin Roosevelt. But I do know – I'm sure there were moments of high frustration for them – but I do know that at Midway, they were eventually able to say two carriers were sunk and one was damaged. We don't get to say that.
Roosevelt didn't get to say that either, Mr. President, because we sank four Japanese carriers in the battle of Midway.
I learned that in grade school, but perhaps the president picked that up from a low budget movie about World War II he caught on the boob tube.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Republicans Bitten Back By Immigration Debate
The Latino backlash has grown so intense that one prominent, typically pro-Republican organization, the Latino Coalition, has endorsed Democrats in competitive races this year in Tennessee, Nebraska and New Jersey. The coalition is chaired by Hector Barreto, the former administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bush; its president is a former strategist for the Republican National Committee.This was a train wreck waiting to happen. Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away; Michelle Malkin was angered that protesters accused the Minutemen of being racist. Minutemen found James Chase has gone on record stating that members of the neo-Nazi have entered the ranks and that shifty handling of funds are taking place.
"… but then they (Gilchrist and Simcox) went to Washington and picked up the two DC crooks Mary Lewis and Connie Hair and the corruption machine was off and running."It appears the xenophobia business is good.
Minutemen 'expose' shadow gov't
From my article at Raw Story:
A major anti-immigration group is accusing the Bush Administration of creating a "shadow government," by "engaging in collaborative relations with Mexico and Canada outside the U.S. Constitution," RAW STORY has learned.
The Minuteman Project sent out a press release late Tuesday evening hyping their Web site, which is showcasing 1,000 documents allegedly obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) by World Net Daily columnist Jerome Corsi. Most widely known for his longtime attacks on Democratic Senator John Kerry's military record, Corsi also co-authored a book about the Minuteman "battle" to secure America's borders.....
A RAW STORY examination of documents related to the "steel strategy" as presented at the Minuteman Web site did not turn up anything untoward.
But Corsi maintains that the "documentation he received is missing key pieces."
Full article at Raw Story.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Pakistan Taliban Pact Part Deux
The latest in Taliban news...
Military blogger Bill Roggio on a new deal Pakistan is mulling with Taliban, Qaeda militants:
Today, the Gulf Times reports a deal with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Bajaur is coming – and right soon. “Maulana Faqir Mohamed, once most wanted cleric in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal region, and his fellow militants are likely to ink peace accord with the government after Eid al-Fitr, as the government has released all his relatives as a goodwill gesture,” according to the Gulf Times report. These are the nine “al-Qaeda suspects” we noted were released in last evening's report on the Taliban tax in Miramshah. “Besides Faqir Mohamed's brother (Maulana Gul Mohamed), those released were identified as Bahadur Khan, Habibullah, Bashirullah, Ziaul Haq, Jamal Syed, Nazimeen Khan and as mentioned the two clerics - Dr Ismail and Maulana Inayatur Rahman.”....
The Bajaur Accord will very likely mirror that of the Waziristan Accord, where the Pakistani military ceded control of the border crossing point, withdrew to garrison, surrendered control of the policing and administrative functions of government. Attacks in the Afghan border provinces on Paktia, Paktika, and Khost have increased threefold since the signing of the Waziristan Accords, as has the infiltration by al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters and suicide bombers.
Whether you're right, left or center, I highly recommend Roggio's almost-daily work on Pakistan's dealings with pro-Taliban militants.
From a scary AFP report:
Afghan militants are planning to launch deadly attacks on civilians in Europe in revenge for the 2001 invasion by United States-led forces, a Taliban commander said on Sky News television on Monday.
Mullah Mohammed Amin said resurgent militants had built up stockpiles of weapons and were bent on vengeance against "the foreign invaders".....
"The ordinary people of these countries are behind this - so we will not spare them. We will kill them and laugh over them like they are killing us and laughing at us."
Reuters reports on a NATO airstrike near the Pakistan border:
In the latest fighting, NATO said it killed five rebels in an air strike in Paktika province, bordering Pakistan, on Sunday.
Yep, that's all there was about that there.
A little bit more on the strike in this Kuwait News Agency Report:
Separately, NATO forces claimed killing five Taliban in an air raid in the same region. The strike, the third against Taliban insurgents in the previous four days, was carried out in Giyan district of the Paktika province. Two days back, Governor of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province Asadullah Khalid admitted the killing of nine civilians in such an attack.
The ISAF statement said the operation was conducted as part of the "Operation Mountain Fury", which is underway in the southeastern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan.
ISAF's Deputy Commanding General Operations Brigadier General James Terry said no civilian was killed or injured neither any civilian property was damaged in the precision bombing.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Fundamental Civil War
Axl said it best:
"Look at the shoes you're filling
Look at the blood we're spilling
Look at the world we're killing
The way we've always done before
Look at the doubt we've wallowed
Look at the leaders we've followed
Look at the lies we've swallowed
And I don't want to hear no more"
From the Times Online:
On talk shows yesterday senior Republicans for the first time said that Iraq was in a civil war.
Chuck Hagel, a Republican senator and Vietnam veteran who has long criticised the Administration over its conduct of the war, said: "The American people are no longer going to support a strategy that puts American troops in the middle of a civil war."
During an interview on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos that aired earlier today, President George Bush went further than just deny any civil war in Iraq:
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you don't think that Iraq is in the middle of a civil war...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... Right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But whatever you call it, aren't American men and women now dying to prevent Sunnis and Shiites from killing each other?
BUSH: No. George, I -- it's dangerous. And you're right, no matter what you call it.
The fundamental question is: Are we on our way to achieving a goal, which is an Iraq that can defend itself, sustain itself and govern itself and be an ally in the war on terror in the heart of the Middle East.
Stephanopoulos' question was the one that was fundamental, and the president refused to accept that US troops were being killed as a result of a civil war which he fundamentally was responsible for sparking in Iraq.
Bush's question-answer to the question was a case of fundamental revision.
Federal News Service left out a key word in their transcript today:
MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you think that Iraq is in the middle of a civil war right now.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Right. Right.
Silly me read that transcript first and thought that President Bush made a mistake and told the fundamental truth for once.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
suitcases of al-Qaeda funded heroin cash
It's great to see Ron back here, and he has done a lovely job refurbishing, don't you think?
And for some extra fun, a Daniel Ellsberg interview talking about suitcases of al-Qaeda funded heroin cash being delivered to Denny Hastert's home is here
Friday, October 20, 2006
Bush's 'Cold War 4 Dummies'
During a speech delivered at a National Republican Senatorial Committee reception, President George Bush suggested that a "philosophical shift" by the Democratic Party began in the Cold War era, stating that the party at that time gave up the war against communism and backed away from beliefs in "the power of liberty and freedom."
"It is interesting what's happened to the Democrat [sic] Party," said Bush. "You know, I'm reading a lot of history these days."....
Bush claimed that "at the height of the Cold War, a Democrat [sic] president told the country that America had gotten over, quote, 'inordinate fear of communism.'"
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter did use that phrase in a commencement speech, but it appears to have been a criticism of extremism taken out of context by Bush.
"Being confident of our own future, we are now free of that inordinate fear of communism which once led us to embrace any dictator who joined us in that fear," Carter said. "I’m glad that that’s being changed."
(hat tip to the Raw Story reader who left the comment that I stole for the title to this post)
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Israel-Turkey & Neocon nuclear agenda
Ron is still away, I see. I imagine that he has probably put his forehead through what's left of his keyboard by now.
If you found my recent posts here interesting (the interview with Mathieu Verboud), yuo can find Part Four here. It's called "Israel-Turkey & Neocon nuclear agenda" which will probably give you some indication as to the content.
Also, I have a new post over at wotisitgood4 about the fact that Sibel Edmonds' corrupt boss at the FBI translation unit is now basically the only gatekeeper between the FBI agents and all Arabic speaking terrorists - if that stuff interests you.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
What is Known About Mark Foley's Visit to the Pages' Dorm
Yesterday morning, the ethics panel spent more than an hour with Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). She is among the members of the House Page Board who were not alerted about the e-mails sent to the Louisiana youth. "I'm a member of the Page Board who was not informed of the e-mail messages that were sent," Capito told reporters as she left the session. She and another Page Board member -- Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich.) -- have said that they should have been informed and consulted. Democrats say an inquiry into early concerns about Foley might have uncovered his objectionable communications, which had been whispered about in some circles of former pages.Ted Van Der Meid and Mike Stokke saw the same email that the St. Petersburg Times sat on. Tom Reynolds, the Chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee, knew about the emails. Rodney Alexander went to Reynolds instead of congressional members running the page program. That is not how things should be ethically done. Unless, politics comes first. Reynolds personally asked Foley to seek re-election.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Ron is still laptop-less - so here's something you might be interested in. Following up on my previous post, here is the next part of my interview with Mathieu Verboud, co-director of a new film about Sibel Edmonds and her case called Kill The Messenger (you can see the trailer etc at that link)---------------------------------------------------
But she has enemies. Enemies she can’t name, or only by saying "U.S officials"
These officials are no ordinary people. Their story is not limited to their connection to Sibel, far far from it! First, for decades now, they have been open agents of influence for the state of Israel. On many occasions, both Perle and Feith (not to mention their like-minded friends Harold Rhode, Michael Ledeen, Stephen Bryen) have been investigated by the FBI for passing secret information to Israeli officials. And none of what I tell you is secret, it’s been public record for… what… over three decades! The FBI started wiretapping Perle in 1970… Feith got caught in 1982.
How often did we hear, when talking to people about Perle and Feith, that besides their blind allegiance to the cause of the Israeli settlers, these two guys are in it for the money? Constantly.
They have a long story that goes far beyond the scope of this discussion. But their most significant feature is of course their vision of international relations. They always call for unbridled use of war to clear a path for U.S interests. At all cost. At all times. All targets are welcome: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, why not France… Feith is the first high-ranking official in U.S history to have systematically opposed all kind of arms control. All in the name of freedom! They don’t care if that means putting U.S national security at risk.
Perle and his clique have shaped, many now say ‘hijacked’, U.S foreign policy when they were in government but also when they were out of government. Under Clinton, many of these Necons were recruited by major U.S weapons corporations, which means they were never far from Pentagon policy makers. So these modern day ‘doctor Strangelove’ are amazingly powerful - to the point that this has become now a major concern even for traditional supporters of Israel in government agencies, like the Pentagon, the FBI or the CIA. The war in Iraq has been a catalyst for that, if not a wake up call. It's about time!
Someday, someone will write a book about Richard Perle’s story – One thing is sure: this man likes waging his own jihads using other people's blood. Very similar to the Iranian government, ready to fight Israel in Lebanon to the last drop of Lebanese blood - but never their own blood!
These people live in a world of proxy wars – a world where they control things from behind the scenes, but where no strings are attached to the deals they cut because they ultimately just put their influence on the line when others spill their blood, ultimately to make them richer and mightier.
Luke Ryland: These are the kind of people that Sibel has faced since September 2001. Do you have people in the film who talk specifically about them and their activities?
MV: Yes. In the film, we expand on these notions with ex-CIA officer Philip Giraldi, who recently wrote a very interesting article about Sibel. He has suspicions that Douglas Feith and Richard Perle may have helped, or been instrumental, in establishing false end-user-certificates that enabled weapons to be sent over to the Chechen guerillas - many of them being very closely linked to Al-Qaeda.
Of course, Giraldi touches also on Perle and Feith’s connections in Israel and Turkey, their links to Israeli and U.S defense contractors, including major ones (Feith was a consultant for Northrop Grumman), always playing both sides of the fence, dealing with a variety of dubious characters across the globe.
Those who know Sibel’s case will add Turkish generals, NATO officials, and most probably the Turkish mafia to this picture gallery.
This should not sound like a surprise. How many times did we find Neocon fingerprints on dirty policies with Central Asia, on this legendary Silk Road that has now become the Eldorado for jihad, US Army wargames, CIA’s secret prisons, oil, gas, weapons, heroin trade, arms trafficking, nuclear black market, high technology transfers, mafia activities…? All too often!
And Sibel’s enemies have such a direct access to policymakers that you wonder at times whether they are not part of a ‘shadow government’.
One example. In 2000, the newly-elected House Speaker Dennis Hastert (a man we know is involved in Sibel’s case for having allegedly accepted Turkish bribes in the late 90’s) needed a senior foreign policy adviser. Who got the job ? Nancy Dorn, a top lobbyist for the government of Azerbaijan (a ‘Turkic’ country). This created enormous embarrassment up on the Hill. A former Reagan and Bush administration official, Nancy Dorn had also represented the government of Pakistan as well as Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, a controversial Hong Kong company closely tied to Red China. Hutchinson Wampoa whose interests in Panama sparked a loud and nasty round of conservative hand-wringing about a Chinese attempt to take control of the Panama Canal! Hutchison Whampoa Ltd’s owner, Li Ka-Shing was a shareholder of the BCCI, a bank closed in 1991 after a $12-billion bankruptcy scandal. The BCCI, whose director was Saudi banker Khalid Bin Mahfouz, had funneled money to Islamist charities and also to the Pakistan’s nuclear program. By the way, Khalid Bin Mahfouz’s sister married Usama Bin Laden…
LR: Wow - Hastert, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Red China, BCCI, Bin Laden, the Islamic bomb… !
MV: (laughs)… the story is not over. In 2003, Hutchison got interested in the buyout of Global Crossings, a U.S telecom giant and also a Pentagon contractor. Guess who Global Crossing retained as a consultant to help overcome the Pentagon’s resistance to the company's proposed sale to a Red China proxy? The then chairman of Pentagon’s advisory Defense Policy Board: Richard Perle himself.
OK, let’s add Perle to this funny picture…. the story is not over yet.
During the 90’s, Loral, a U.S manufacturer of satellite and military electronic systems, was under State Department and Pentagon scrutiny for leaks of embargoed technology to China…. At the time, space systems, satellites, missile technology, avionics were highly ‘sensitive’ stuff… and a major source of interest for Turkey (already a good client of Loral) and Israel, these two countries being, as you know, compulsive buyers of U.S hi-tech weaponry.
During that decade, the State Department, the CIA and the DIA had already compiled evidence that Israel had violated US export regulations by transferring missile, laser and aircraft technology to China, with official reports dating back the pattern to 1983! During the Gulf War in 1991, U.S troops found that Iraqi tanks were equipped with U.S technology illegally obtained by Israel, then sold to China who eventually sold it to the Iraqi.
Coming back to Loral. Who did Loral retain in 1998 then in 2001 to help settle its dispute with the Pentagon and the State Department? Douglas Feith, always an ardent supporter of ambitious missile defense systems, and Richard Perle.
Wherever they are, these people always end up in a situation of conflict of interest. When it too obvious that they look like the fox in a henhouse, they still have the possibility of planting their friends in the right spots.
LR: Like the Dickersons?
MV: (laughs)… Right! Let me give you an unbelievable example of that. In 2000, in the last months of the Clinton Administration, a panel was established by Congress in order to counter "back door" technology leaks to China. This ‘China Commission’ had already established Israel as a supplier to Beijing of radar systems, optical & telecom equipment, drones & flight simulators. OK, guess who was appointed in 2001 to this China Commission, with the support of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz ? An ex-assistant to Richard Perle by the name of Stephen Bryen. Bryen was this ex Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer who had to resign in 1979 after he was overheard in a DC hotel offering confidential documents to top Israeli military officials! Now guess who brought ‘Bryen the fox’ into the hen house by appointing him? Speaker Dennis Hastert!
This story is still not over!
Guess who else is a member of this China Commission? Michael Ledeen, a long-time friend of Perle and Feith! A man with an impeccable record! In an excellent article ("Serving two Flags" Counterpunch, February 2004), author Stephen Green states that Ledeen, hired by Perle in 1983 as a Pentagon consultant on terrorism, had his security clearances downgraded from Top Secret-SCI to Secret, after one of his bosses, Noel Koch, the Principal Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, had urged the FBI to investigate him for passing classified materials to a foreign country, believed to be Israel. Ledeen was also a key player in the Iran-Contra affair too. After 9/11, while Feith and Perle were pushing for war against Iraq, Ledeen was pushing for another simultaneous war against Iran. History repeats itself!
For some reason, many within this Neocon mafia are Jewish. And this, we have to say, raises all sorts of concerns. Mainly because these people’s behaviors help fuel a growing anti-Jewish sentiment everywhere in the world and that’s not good news. So much so that today many Israeli observers believe that the Neocons have become detrimental to Israel’s interests.
Again, there's a major piece of history to be written here and it so happens that Sibel Edmonds is entangled in this web. As Christopher Deliso says, Sibel by herself is a connecting dot to many things. She is the missing piece that helps assemble (or understand) almost the whole puzzle. We agree. She's amazing, and what she knows but cannot tell (because of the gag order on her) is amazing too!
LR: Her story is amazing, indeed. When I'm trying to understand this whole story, I struggle to get my head around which part of the story is ideological, if any, and which elements are about pure financial greed - particularly with respect to Israel, for example.
MV: Well, you’d better be talented if you are really greedy, because cash is not going to pop up like this. You have to make things work, you have to grease the machine. So, let’s say Richard Perle is extremely talented. He has always suceeded in preserving his private business interests, even when he was in government. He has his priorities straight. He is a good mechanic!
LR: Right - do you see that there's much ideology on the Turkish front? Or is the Turkey scenario just a useful platform to sell arms, or to move heroin etc?
MV: If we put together all the evidence we have in Sibel’s case, many roads lead to Turkey obviously – wiretaps targets are Turkish, those who wanted to recruit Sibel are linked to Turkish interests, U.S officials allegedly involved in arms trafficking are connected to Turkey, but the question is 'which Turkey?'
In Turkey, you have the army, the MIT (intelligence service), connected in countless ways with the warlords, the baba families (drug barons), the extreme right… you also have the Kurds. You have many players in Turkey! And all these people play with weapons, narcs, money.
I guess that in the case of Turkey, we should speak more of strategy than of ideology. Maybe selling arms, moving heroin are just means to an end, the end being maybe increased power or increased political leverage.
And this is where Israel comes in…
NEXT UP: The Israel-Turkey connection…
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Who helped Pakistan get the bomb?
While Ron is away lamenting life without a laptop, I thought I'd follow-up on his great recent work on Pakistan. I recently interviewed Mathieu Verboud, co-director of a new film about Sibel Edmonds and her case called Kill The Messenger (you can see the trailer etc at that link)
This is Part Two of the interview (see Part One) where we discuss Pakistan's friends and supporters during the time they were building their nuclear program.
Mathieu Verboud: …. There is a great book by George Crile called "Charlie Wilson's War" which describes the situation at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The story takes place in the early 1980’s, the time of the first dealings between a whole generation of right-wingers in power in Washington and the Islamic world. Dick Cheney was then Secretary of Defense with people like Steven Hadley and Perle under him, among others. Back then, U.S policy was clear: Pakistan was a vital ally in the war against the Soviet in Afghanistan. An ally that needed to be ‘preserved’ at all costs – have you read the book ?
Luke Ryland: No I haven't read the book - but I know a little about Charlie Wilson. He is now Pakistan's Number One lobbyist.
MV: At the time of 9/11, at least, he was. I guess he is retired now.
The book describes in great details the saga of this Texan congressman, an eccentric who decided to make a crusade out of helping the Afghan jihad against the Soviets. The first modern jihad. And Congressman Wilson had the means to his end. Since 1976, he was a key member of the House Appropriations Committee, a very select committee busy managing federal funds for Defense worth hundreds of billions of dollars! Because of his position, Wilson could start his own ‘parallel diplomacy’. He became personal friend to the Pakistani strong man : general Zia ul Haq. Wilson had also been a long-time supporter of Israel (he once described himself as an ‘Israeli commando’ in the U.S Congress) and soon became a personal friend of Zvi Rafiah, an Israeli embassy official Wilson himself thought was a Mossad agent.
An otherwise well-known pattern (back-door diplomacy) arises here and this is where the story start to connect to what we witness today in the backdrop of Sibel’s case.
Wilson probed the Israelis about his plans in Afghanistan, asking them if they would agree to devise anti-aircraft weapons for the Mujahideens. The Israelis agreed but what impressed the CIA the most at the time was that the Pakistanis quietly accepted the Israeli offer, saying: "OK. Allah sure has his own peculiar ways of helping us".
At the time, Pakistan was, as I said, a U.S ally but it was also a very strict Islamic country with nuclear ambitions. In the 80’s, Pakistan was flooded with U.S weapons for the jihad but it also organized the biggest nuclear proliferation network ever: the now famous AQ Khan network. The Saudis funded both programs : weapons for the jihad, and money for the nuclear buildup.
At the time, the idea of an 'Islamic Bomb' was a red flag in the U.S but not a big one. The hot-spot then was Nicaragua, and the Reagan administration was busy countering the devastating impact of the Iran Contra Gate, a scandal in many ways bigger than Watergate. All this helped ‘sanctuarize’ the Pakistan issue, meaning Pakistan was ‘untouchable’, if not a ‘holy’ cause.
Among other things, the book documents the fact that Israel was once willing to give military support to an Islamic country openly in quest of the ultimate weapon. And Israel played the Pakistani card early on. Again, this isn't just‘informal talk’ between enemies here, this is policy! A major policy decision! The Israelis were helping the Pakistanis!
Of course, the public is never informed nor aware of how dice roll behind the scene. At the end of the day, the U.S did fund the first modern jihad and did turn a blind eye to the Islamic Bomb, cajoling people who were later to attack them, in September 2001.
Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is a good example of that. Pakistan’s darling, this uncompromising fundamentalist was also a ruthless killer described by the Red Army as a depraved fanatic who used to skin captured Russians alive. According to the Afghans themsleves, Hekmatyar and his radical fundamentalist organization, Hezb-i-Islami, were also busy assassinating moderate Afghans. Jihad through terror. Jihad for power! In 1990, Hekmatyar, the largest recipient of CIA weapons during the Afghan war, turned his back on the U.S and publicly condoned Iraq’s invasion of Kuwaitt. In the aftermath of 9/11, the CIA even launched a satellite-guided missile in a attempt to kill him as part of the war on terror. In this case, and many others, the lesson is clear: the CIA had backed (and equipped) the wrong horse!
This U.S-Pakistan alliance in the 1980s was just a disaster waiting to happen. Throughout the 80’s, Pakistan feared that the minute the Soviets left Kabul, the U.S would abandon Pakistan in their confrontation with India. From their own perspective, this was not just a paranoid assumption. They knew all too well history and the natural arrogance of a superpower towards ‘client states’, particularly where they are not useful any more. And their prophecy proved correct…
With the Russians gone, sanctions were soon imposed by the U.S on Pakistan and all military and economic assistance was cut off. In 1990, a nuclear war was avoided at the very last minute between Pakistan and India (CIA itself said this was far bigger a crisis than the missile crisis in Cuba back in the 60’s). During this crisis, the U.S took a neutral stance, which was a wise decision by the way, but for the Pakistanis, it was all too obvious, Washington was not a reliable ally anymore. Later on, the Clinton administration placed Pakistan on the list of state sponsors of terrorism for its support of Kashmiri freedom fighters. In the Pakistani military, resentment towards the U.S went over the top. Afghan warlords went along with them. The ‘American friends’ had become the enemy.
Ungrateful? In a way! The CIA secret war in Afghanistan has been the biggest covert operation ever mounted by the agency. They started in 1980 with 5 miserable million dollars and ended up with 1,2 billions dollars (Saudi Arabia paying half of it) some six, seven years later! The CIA had never witnessed anything like this. The irony is that because the CIA operations with Pakistan wereclandestine, the Afghans never knew the weapons they used were shipped from the U.S. To the Afghans, as George Crile writes, "the miracle victory against the Soviets was all the work of Allah." Crile adds: "Having brought down one superpower, they could just as easily take on another."
LR: But there were still links between Americans and Pakistan, right?
MV: You’re right. Experts on terrorism would agree that yes, there was indeed a shift in U.S policy regarding Pakistan in the 90’s because of its support of jihad… but, and this is a major ‘but’ here… the shift was at least 'ambiguous'. Because of its oil interests in Central Asia, the U.S still had to cajole Pakistan in a way. So again, Washington turned a blind eye this time to the rise of the Taliban (a Pakistani creation) and its alliance with the emerging jihadist network, Al-Qaeda, a group which enjoyed support from some good friends of the U.S: Saudi Arabia.
In other words, the U.S could (and should!) have done more against the Islamic threat in the 90’s but for the fundamentalists in Pakistan, the little they did was already too much to bear. The U.S fell into the classic double bind: whatever they did, Pakistan would feel betrayed. The road to 9/11 was opened…
Let’s never forget that many of the 9/11 conspirators spent time in Pakistan and Afghanistan… Let's not forget either that Pakistan has helped Iran’s nuclear program since 1987!
OK now that we’ve found the smoking gun that lead to the attacks on the U.S, what’s the connection to Sibel ? Well, there’s one and it is big…
MV: Well first, without 9/11, Sibel would not have been hired by the FBI. She would not have found out about ‘certain’ things. Things that we more or less understand now, because of her fight. And what we understand is that these ‘certain’ things have some connections with the smoking gun I just mentioned. In the dangerous games that led to 9/11, you don’t only find bearded jihadists confronting the U.S, you also find many ‘other players’ : allied countries, foreign military establishments or institutions like NATO, business interests, and all of this produces its fair share of unexpected alliances and criminal activities. This is the legacy of the Sibel Edmonds case for the historians who try to understand the ‘why and how’ of the biggest ever terrorist operation that was 9/11.
And obviously, the first ‘other player’ we found while investigating Sibel’s case was Turkey. What we bring in the film is the ‘Turkish side’ to the story. To be very clear, the ‘Turkish side’ is Turkey’s involvement in nuclear black market, as one of many factors that led to 9/11. And Turkey’s involvement in nuclear black market, as a reason for these FBI investigations to which Sibel was associated as a language specialist for the FBI.
LR: OK, how much do we know about Turkey’s involvement in nuclear black market?
MV: Well… Turkey helped the Pakistani nuclear program since the very beginning. That’s not very well known. AQ Khan’s efforts were made possible because of the U.S but also because of Turkey, a NATO ally. Nuclear proliferation experts like David Albright, Joe Trento and Dave Armstrong testify to that in the film.
A 1997 report by the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (www.ccnr.org) indicates that the first allegation of a Turkey/Pakistan nuclear connection was in 1981. At first, it started small. The US administration protested a $30,000 shipment of "inverters" from a Turkish textiles firm to Pakistan, allegedly for use in the Pakistani uranium enrichment program. Relations between Turkey and Pakistan became increasingly close after the military coup in Turkey in 1980. Turkish President/General Kenan Evren, and Pakistani President/General Zia ul-Haq exchanged a series of official visits that only ended with Zia's 1988 death in a plane crash.
Concerns about Turkey's potential involvement in nuclear weapons proliferation continued in the 1990’s. In 1992, Senator John Glenn and other US congressmen accused Turkey of supplying sensitive technology to Pakistan in order to aid in that country's acquisition of uranium enrichment technology. In 1995, the Greek government repeated concerns about "nuclear cooperation between Ankara and Islamabad... and reports that Turkey might try to acquire nuclear weapons material and technology and recruit nuclear scientists from the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union."
Of course, others players helped Pakistan : China, Saudi Arabia, Libya, but these are not NATO allies. European go-betweens played a major role too in the Pakistani procurement program. Firms in South East Asia contributed high-tech equipment to the enterprise, in some cases without knowing it. As the outgoing network grew, Dubaï became a hub for the network’s operations. Throughout that period, Turkey and South Africa served as intermediate trans-shipping points for items acquired from the United States. Turkey has its share of crooked intermediaries too. In 2004, after the first international police raid on the AQ Khan network, several Turkish businessmen were arrested for aiding Pakistan and selling dual-use goods to Libya. They manufactured components needed in the gas centrifuge uranium enrichment process, in particular electronic components for him. These people were old acquaintances of AQ Khan. Their illegal business had been going on for years.
LR: OK, now that we know that two NATO members (the U.S and Turkey) helped Pakistan in this critical period (the 80’s and, in the case of Turkey, the 90’s), were Turkey and the US working together here? Is that where Sibel comes in?
MV: Well, it happens that, back in the 80’s, some of the Reaganites mentioned earlier had strong connections in Turkey, most notably Richard Perle and Douglas Feith. At the time, Perle was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, a job that dealt with nuclear weapons issues worldwide, and the monitoring of U.S. defense technology exports. Perle hired a ‘newcomer’ - Doug Feith, a guy just six years out of law school with only two years of experience in defense issues. Both men left the Pentagon at the end of the 80’s but returned in office after George W. Bush got elected.
OK, now what kind of 'Turkish connections' did these individuals have in the 80s? Well, we know almost nothing but the little we knew sounds odd. Let me quote a March 2003 article by Jeff Koopersmith in the American Politics Journal called "Dead Man Walking": "After his stretch with President Reagan, Perle became a highly paid lobbyist for Turkey and, working alongside Israel, purportedly killed a Senate resolution in 1989 blaming Turkey for the Armenian Genocide." Exactly the same kind of situation we had in 2000, when the Turkish lobby in the U.S managed to get a similar resolution killed again, thanks to Bill Clinton and House Speaker Dennis Hastert. In Hastert's case, the FBI has wiretaps pointing to bribery - What happened in 1989? Did we have the same situation? I don’t know.
This is a big picture. But what’s the connection to Sibel? Is there any overlap?
Well, (laughs)… what do you find when investigating Sibel’s case? Nuclear black market, Turkish officials connected to high U.S officials, some at the Pentagon, others at the State Department or up on Capitol Hill.
LR: It does sound familiar!
MV: Of course. And what does it tell us ? Well it does tell us something : Sibel’s case fits in a bigger picture and this picture is ghastly ! And the more we learnt about her case, the more it ‘synchronised’ with the bigger picture. It is terrifying! We are not facing a smoking gun but a smoking ‘bomb’, if such an expression exists! And Sibel is the detonator.
But she has enemies. Enemies she can’t name, or only by saying "U.S officials"
NEXT UP: Perle’s world…
Saturday, October 07, 2006
'Why are we here?'
From NBC News:
The U.S. Cavalry's Crazy Horse, 3rd Platoon ventures out into Southern Baghdad, where the enemy is invisible, Iraqi allies untrustworthy, and where American troops increasingly ask themselves if this is their fight anymore. And who is the enemy?....
The troops say it's frustrating not to trust their Iraqi counterparts. Do soldiers here ever ask themselves, "Why are we here? Is this our war anymore?"
"Oh yes, all the time. I ask myself that a lot, too," says Spc. Vernon Roberson of 1-14 Cavalry. "We've been here for so long and we've done so much, but it's just so far we can go."
(Note: Sorry, a dead laptop has impeded my bloggery the last week, hopefully I'll be able to update more frequently ASAP)
Monday, October 02, 2006
Did Foley break Florida laws?
Excerpts from a Raw Story article that I worked on with Brian Beutler called "Foley IM's appear to be 3rd degree felony:"
A passing statement in an instant message conversation with a teenage page might provide investigators with a damning piece of evidence suggesting criminal behavior in the case of former congressman Mark Foley, RAW STORY has learned.....
However, by acknowledging his Pensacola, FL location, Foley may have offered evidence of his violation of Florida state law Statute 847.0135, which says:
"Any person who knowingly utilizes a computer on-line service, Internet service, or local bulletin board service to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, a child or another person believed by the person to be a child--commits a felony of the third degree."
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Advisor denies Bush in 'state of denial'
From my article at Raw Story, President's Advisor denies Bush in 'state of denial;' Woodward didn't 'connect his own dots':
On a Sunday morning talk show, one of the president's closest advisors, Dan Bartlett, denied that Bush was in a "state of denial," and suggested that investigative journalist Bob Woodward "had already formulated some conclusions even before the interviewing began."
Appearing on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Bartlett also said that he had spoken to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier that morning about a reported "impending terrorist attack" warning she allegedly "brushed off" two months before the 9/11 attacks. Rice told Bartlett that the account by former CIA director George Tenet in Woodward's book was a "very, grossly misaccurate characterization of the meeting they had."
Stephanopoulos noted that Bartlett had endorsed Woodward's previous book, Plan of Attack, then said, "I take it you're not going to do that with State of Denial."
"Well, George, it is a book that we participated at various levels within the administration, both in the White House and other parts of the administration and the Department of Defense, and State," Bartlett responded. "But I must say, George, I think as we worked with Bob on this project from the very outset it was unfortunate that we felt he had already formulated some conclusions even before the interviewing began."....
"You're saying that Bob Woodward, been around Washington for an awful long time, went into this with an agenda and basically wasn't an honest reporter," said Stephanopoulos.
Bartlett said that he wasn't calling Woodward's honesty into question, and he refused to use "biased" to describe the Pulitzer-winning journalist, but insisted that he didn't "connect his own dots" in the book.
Before my head is bitten off, let me note that "misaccurate" is Bartlett's mistake, not mine.
Also, my article about the Rice/Tenet July 10, 2001 meeting has been updated:
Saturday night at Think Progress, former Counsel to the 9/11 Commission Peter Rundlet guest-blogged a post called "Bush Officials May Have Covered Up Rice-Tenet Meeting From 9/11 Commission."....
Rundlet suggests that the "withholding of information" from the Commission may constitute a crime, and scoffs at Cofer's excuse in Woodward's book.
"Was it covered up?" asks Rundlet. "It is hard to come to a different conclusion."....
"Very possibly, someone committed a crime," Rundlet concludes. "And worst of all, they failed to stop the plot."....
In the latest edition in its "Setting the Record Straight" series which uses official statements and media accounts it favors to counter articles in the press or Democratic arguments, the White House lists "Five Key Myths in Woodward's Book." The first "Setting the Record Straight" posted in February of 2005 took on a Washington Post article which reported that a Bush plan would result in participants forfeiting part of their retirement account profits, an assertion the White House blasted as "flat wrong."
To counter the third "myth," the White House presents the "fact" that "according to State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, the recollections portrayed by Woodward do not reflect Tenet and Black's 9/11 Commission Testimony," then quotes from another Times article written by Sanger.
(Note: I haven't given up the Musharraf watch, but I've been forced to use an old, crappy computer because my laptop is in the shop, so, as always, Bill Roggio's blog is the best place to go for Pakistan updates)