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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt


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Saturday, July 09, 2005

London Attacks: Foreign Terrorist Responsible

The Telegraph reports:
The secret services, The Sunday Telegraph understands, picked up no intelligence that could have alerted them to the possibility of attacks on London. There was none of the "chatter" - information picked up by electronic surveillance - or suspicious financial transactions that have helped to thwart other planned attacks.

"We are convinced it is not a British-based cell," a senior Government source said. There was a strong possibility that the bombers came from Iraq and spent time in mainland Europe before entering Britain recently.

Birmingham, UK Evacuated

The BBC reports:
About 20,000 people have been evacuated from Birmingham city centre amid a security alert. West Midlands Police asked people to leave Broad Street, the main entertainment hub and two other areas. Some city homes were also evacuated.

No vehicles are being allowed past the inner ring road into the city centre. Police said they acted after receiving intelligence of an unspecified threat. They said a controlled explosion had been carried out earlier on a bus.
More information from West Midland Police:
At about 8.40 pm, in the light of further information, that message changed asking people to leave the inner ring road and the area around Broad Street was evacuated.
UPDATE: From the West Midland Police:
"We can now confirm the package which was found at the Travel Lodge in Birmingham city centre has the characteristics of a device but we are unable to go into further details until it has been examined and reviewed by the bomb squad."

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

In the wake of the attacks on our closest ally's capital, you would think George Bush would officially retire this line: "We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home."

Think again, he just said it today, only two days after the attacks.

Live From Baghdad!

It's Propaganda Week Live...
Talk show hosts participating in the “Voices of Soldiers” Truth Tour will broadcast live from the Middle East July 8-15 and get the real story of what’s going on in Iraq…straight from the soldiers themselves! Check back to this website often for broadcast schedules and personal diaries and pictures of their experiences direct from Baghdad!
Some remarks from the producers of the event, via Fox News:
"The war is being won, if not already won, I think," Patterson, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force, said. "[Iraq] is stabilized and we want the soldiers themselves to tell the story."

"We believe that the emphasis has been placed on the negative and if Americans knew what really was going on over there they would have an entirely different picture," said [Armstrong] Williams.
Hey Armstrong, how much did the White House pay you for this one?

Thanks to London H, for the link to the event.

London Attacks: The People Respond

Here is a sample of emails CNN posted, regarding the London attacks:
I am warmed to hear how Londoners are reacting to this sickening and totally cowardly act against innocents. I travel to London often and will continue to do so. It's too bad our President; George W. Bush doesn't view this as a wake-up to fight this evil rather than a war he started so far away from home. Steve Keezer, San Diego, California

I couldn't believe my ears when I heard President Bush speaking from the G8 summit about the London bombings and how he had spoken to the "security folks back home." I thought he was going to say that he'd told them to cooperate fully with UK security services. Instead we heard how he'd told Americans to be especially vigilant. As someone whose partner works two minutes from the site of the bus blast I was more concerned about the people in this country. It is further evidence of the callous self-interest that I've come to expect from this administration and, in particular, this president. I do not understand how things are ever going to change in the world if national self-interest is put before the collective greater good. Jo, London, UK

It is time for careful, determined and apolitical analysis of our president, George Bush, whose war in Iraq prevents us from fighting the war on terror. Connecting the two wars is false. How very sad. Lawrence Katz, Evansville, Indiana

As most of us would agree, fighting a terrorist is like fighting a dead man, or at least a man who doesn't care for his life. I live in India and have seen two major terrorism issues solved in my lifetime. One is the Sikh terrorism issue and other is the Assamese terrorism issue. Both were solved with a change of heart and by addressing the core concerns of terrorists. I think it is high time that Bush and Blair realize that it is useless to kill people in Iraq and Afghanistan and understand and accept the fact that "force cannot solve everything." Abhiram Modak, Pune, India
I assume the collection of emails that CNN received were vetted; they even stated "some of [the emails] have been edited". So at that note, I have to admit, I did some cherry-picking of my own.

At any rate, it is comforting to see that we are not alone in our dissent. With the attack of 9-11, the Bush Administration ironically received a blank check for their miserable failure in protecting our nation. Thankfully, that does not appear to be the case this time.

London: Second Terrorist Group Claims Responsibility

The Sofia News Agency reports:
Another terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the four blasts that shook London Thursday. The group published a statement in an Islamist website. Its name is the "Brigades of Abu Hafs al-Masri." Al-Masri is a leader closely connected to the terrorist organization Al-Quaeda, AFP reported. The same group accepted responsibility for the March attacks in Spanish capital Madrid, as well as for the military assault in Istanbul in 2003.
This is turning into some kind of dark comedy. The Bush Administration and its lap-dog media are desperately trying to relive the glory days of high approval ratings and the "rallying around the President", by turning up the volume on the fear machine, but the residents of London, are carrying on as usual, apparently unaffected by the attacks. And now we have another terrorist group coming forward to take credit for the carnage, which I suspect, is an effort to rally their own troops.

Will the absurdity of this macabre theatre ever end?

Resolve, Rinse, and Repeat

Sorry George, but reality speaks louder than your words:
"The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is we will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them, we will bring them to justice, and at the same time, we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate."
We all now about your determined resolve... what about a plan... a resolution?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Iraq: The New Afghanistan

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari's spokesman Laith Kubba, acknowledges the current state of Iraq:
"Islamic extremists have been using Iraq as a planning center for attacks around the world since losing Afghanistan as their base in 2001. We don't know exactly who carried out these acts but it is clear that these networks used to be in Afghanistan and now they work in Iraq."

Rove's Looking Leaky

The Editor & Publisher reports:
Yesterday The New York Times reported that Cooper’s dramatic reprieve from jail, after his unnamed sourced freed him from their confidentiality agreement, came after he got a personal okay from Rove. At the same time, The Post reported that Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, denied that Rove had called him.

"Yesterday, however," Balz reports, "Luskin declined to comment on a New York Times report that the release came as a result of negotiations involving Rove's and Cooper's attorneys, nor would he speculate that Cooper was released from his pledge in some other fashion than a direct conversation with Rove. 'I'm not going to comment any further,' Luskin said."

Balz also noted that Luskin's previous confirmation that Rove had spoken to Cooper two years ago "appeared at odds with previous White House statements. In retrospect, however, these statements, which some interpreted as emphatic denials, were in fact carefully worded."

Christian Values?

The ignorance, hypocrisy, and hatred, that the religious wrong promotes is utterly appalling.

London: Explosive Devices Found

The Guardian reports:
Police denied that they had recovered any unexploded devices. But a source told The Guardian that three controlled explosions had been carried out on "suspect devices".

Furthermore Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of the CIA's counter-terrorism centre, told The Guardian that "two unexploded bombs" were recovered as well as "mechanical timing devices".
UPDATE: Keep an open mind with what the media is reporting; via H, a local poster from London...

The Media over here is a little more subtle then say fox news, however we have a system over here called the "D-Notice." A D-Notice can be put in effect by the government if they believe it is in our interest not to know. A-D Notice makes it a impossible for the Media to report on anything that the government deems to sensitive for our consumption. For more on D-Notices go to Wikipedia.

There is no doubt (considering what this tactic has been previously used for) that the concept of a suicide bomber on the underground would be covered by such a procedure.

As for what we are being told... same as you. A slow methodical walk towards the subconscious understanding that these devices were detectable and hence preventable.

It has to be timed devices, they like it when we live in fear (both the US and UK government seem to follow the doctrine of Machiavelli), but if the actions of our government has brought suicide bombers to our country, then that fear would be turned on those that brought such a drastic change in British terrorism.

But the whole point of such fear is to make sure we trust the government when they say we have to do this or that for our liberty.

Regardless of it is, or isn't suicide bombers... the conclusion will be that it wasn't, or if they have to conclude something, then it will be stated the suicide bomber was singular and only applies to the bus.

Rush Limbaugh: London, Get Over It

Can you imagine the feigned outrage on the right, if Howard Dean said this:

We have President Bush on tape, and we've got Brian Ross on Good Morning America today with the predictable liberal media spin that Al-Qaeda "has become much more skilled as urban warfare by training in Iraq." The unstated implication is that we are responsible for this attack because by engaging the terrorists in Iraq they have learned urban warfare, blah, blah, blah. We'll get to all that in due course. Speaking of the media, you know, I've been watching it all morning like everybody else has. Now, folks, this is going to be morbid. It's going to sound morbid to some of you. Those of you that are in the World War II generation or who have relatives that were will understand this. Those of you who have no connection to anything beyond say 1970 or 1960, you're not going to... Like Dick Durbin, I'm going to apologize in advance for hurting your feelings but I am not going to apologize for what I'm about to say. I'm watching the media today, and all I'm seeing is doom and gloom. I'm seeing hand-wringing anchors talking to hand-wringing terror experts; talking to hand-wringing reporters, talking about, "Oh how horrible! Oh, how terrible! Oh, this is just unbelievable! Oh, woe is us! Oh, what are we going to do!" and, frankly, it offended me. This is not the way to react. What is called for here is a controlled rage, not defeatism, and not pessimism, and not doom and gloomism, and not, "Oh, woe is us," and we don't need a bunch of people out there broadcasting all the oh-woe-is-us-negative aspects of this all day long because they're plainly visible.

It's like we don't need reporters standing in five inches of snow in the wintertime to tell us it's snowing. All we have to do is look out the window. But if you go back, if you go back to World War II, Britain got far worse than this. They were bombed daily by the Nazis. The only difference is they knew it was coming, and they were prepared for it, but look what happened. They rebuilt the country. These are tough people over there, just as we are tough people here. Here's the morbid part. I think will be morbid to some of you - and I'm really going to apologize if this offends you. You've got how many millions of people running through this transit system in rush hour in the United Kingdom, and what do we have? We have 33 dead and 150 seriously wounded. I wouldn't call this a successful terror attack. I wouldn't say these guys missed the boat. If I were the Brits I'd stand up and say, "You think this is going to deter us? You think this is going to stop us from being who we are? We've been through worse than this. We have dealt with worse than this, and we have triumphed over this. You think this is something? You think you've done something great today? You're nothing but a bunch of cowards. You don't have the guts to put on a uniform and attack us and tell us why. You have to put suicide bombs on some of your worthless members, send them on board a bus or hide out in some deep, dark subway tunnel and then blow up people. Well, we don't cower from cowards." Now, I would love seeing somebody say this today, instead of, "Oh, no! Oh, no! It happened again! It happened again! Oh, no! Are we next? What are we going to do, Mabel? Mabel! What...? Can the Supreme Court stop it? Is there anything Rehnquist can do?" Now, if this offends you, again, as Dick Durbin, I apologize for hurting your feelings. But I think I'm being pretty consistent in this, folks.

[snip]

Very powerful, excellent, and it was such a great contrast to what we were seeing in our own media this morning with the hand-wringing I was speaking about and the, "Oh, woe is us," and, "Oh, what did we do to cause this," and, "Oh, does this mean we're going to get hit?" and, oh, blah, blah, blah. It's like I said, 40 people dead, 150 seriously wounded, 1,000 wounded out of over a million people in that transit tube. It's not a successful terrorist attack, folks. They didn't succeed in doing anything.

The Man in the Mirror

Staggering hypocrisy, brought to you by Donald H. Rumsfeld: "If terrorists thought they could intimidate the people of a great nation during today's attacks in London, they picked the wrong people and the wrong nation."

Donald, isn't that what you did... when you decided to invade Iraq?

Sadism: The New Patriotism

Rural chicken-hawks use a local Independence Day parade as an opportunity to promote hate and fear:
The float, which won the prize for most patriotic unit in the northwestern Indiana town's parade, featured a man dressed as Uncle Sam holding a leash that bound the hands of a bearded man in a robe and turban. The robe was splattered with fake blood because it was a leftover Halloween costume, said Penny Kozinski of Supporters of the Military, which sponsored the display.
First place for patriotism... speaks volumes doesn't it?

CNN: Support the Stocks

In the wake of yesterday's death and destruction in London, CNN pleads their concern for what they hold dear, the bottom line:
The U.S. stock market took a measured approach to the apparent terrorist attacks in London Thursday - with the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P ending the trading day slightly higher after falling just under 1 percent in the morning. Long-term investors have good reason to keep cool heads as well. "If you have a long-term perspective, you don't react to every piece of news," said certified financial planner Mari Adam.

London: The Means of Attack

There is new evidence emerging, which suggest that the bombings in London were set off via timers:

The officials said that the three subway bombs appeared to have been detonated by timers, not cellphones or other remote triggers. The bombs on the trains were believed to be package bombs and are believed to have been left by the attackers who fled before they went off.

Blowback

Another cost of our unjustified war in Iraq...

Magnus Ranstorp, from the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at Saint Andrews University in Scotland, states:
"I think you can see that there is a connection, Britain has always been a strong supporter of the American 'war against terrorism' in Afghanistan as well. That helps make it a target. All of Europe is worried about what you can call the 'blowback' effect from Iraq. Some people are going to go to places like Afghanistan and Iraq and become radicalized, and might make that leap into terrorism which they might not have made otherwise."
...and Ronald Spiers, who served as a minister in London, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs and intelligence and research, and undersecretary of state for management, remarks:
"The stationing of forces in these areas means that attacks are likely to continue, so long as there are people who want to punish the West. The war in Iraq, remains a major cause of anti-American sentiment in the Middle East."
The experts agree, now let's get the hell out of Iraq, before there is more unnecessary carnage.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rumsfeld Responds to the London Attacks

Move along, nothing to see here...

America is not losing the war on terror, nor is the U.S. military stuck in a quagmire in Iraq as media reports have suggested, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said this week, speaking on two Midwestern radio talk shows.

"Any objective person who looks at this situation has to know that we're not losing," Rumsfeld said on "Hot Talk with Scott Hennen," on 970 WDAY in Fargo, N.D.

"We're not losing tactical battles; we're not losing strategic battles," he said. "The political process is going forward, which is a part of winning; the economic progress is going forward, which is a part of winning; the development of the Iraqi security forces are going forward, which is a part of winning."

Failing the War on Terror

Can the White House just admit it? Check out these statistics provided by the National Counterterrorism Center:
The U.S. government Tuesday increased its 2004 estimate of terrorist attacks worldwide to 3,192 from 651 after changing to a broader definition of terrorism. A new U.S. government web site set up to track terrorism incidents says the 2004 incidents left 28,433 people killed, wounded or kidnapped.
Note, these figures were released before today's terrorist attacks in London.

Fox News Responds to the London Attacks

Brit Hume: The other thing is, of course, people have you know, the market was down. It was down yesterday, and you know, you may have had some bargain-hunting going on. I mean, my first thought when I heard just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy."

Brian Kilmeade: First to the people of London, and now at the G8 summit, where their topic Number 1, believe it or not, was global warming, the second was African aid. And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened.

Our Fearless Leader Reacts

9/11/017/7/05

Justice for All

With the recent attacks in London, what ever chance of due process these suspected terrorist had, is gone:
U.S. military officials say five Americans are being held in Iraq under suspicion of terrorist activity. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to identify any of the detainees. But news reports said three of them are Iraqi-Americans, one is an Iranian-American and the fifth suspect is Jordanian-American.

Mr. Whitman said none of them have been charged with a crime and that there is no connection between the suspects. The Iranian-American has been identified by his family as Cyrus Kar of Los Angeles. His lawyers have sued the U.S. government in an effort to secure his release.
We should all heed the warning of Abraham Lincoln, "those who are willing to sacrifice freedom for security, ultimately will lose both", before it's to late.

Crank Up the Fear Machine!

Tony Blair's Statement

...from the G8 summit in Gleneagles:
I am just going to make a short statement to you on the terrible events that have happened in London earlier today, and I hope you understand that at the present time we are still trying to establish exactly what has happened, and there is a limit to what information I can give you, and I will simply try and tell you the information as best I can at the moment.

It is reasonably clear that there have been a series of terrorist attacks in London. There are obviously casualties, both people that have died and people seriously injured, and our thoughts and prayers of course are with the victims and their families.

It is my intention to leave the G8 within the next couple of hours and go down to London and get a report, face-to-face, with the police, and the emergency services and the Ministers that have been dealing with this, and then to return later this evening.

It is the will of all the leaders at the G8 however that the meeting should continue in my absence, that we should continue to discuss the issues that we were going to discuss, and reach the conclusions which we were going to reach. Each of the countries round that table have some experience of the effects of terrorism and all the leaders, as they will indicate a little bit later, share our complete resolution to defeat this terrorism.

It is particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, and the long term problems of climate change and the environment. Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack, or a series of terrorist attacks, it is also reasonably clear that it is designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G8. There will be time to talk later about this.

It is important however that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations throughout the world.

Repeating the Rhetoric

Tony Blair waste no time in using the attacks in London as an opportunity to stay on message, as he echoes Bush's war rally of last week:
"It's important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilized nations throughout the world."

Explosions in London

The BBC reports:
Several people have been injured and London's underground system closed following explosions at Liverpool Street Tube station. British Transport Police said power surges had caused explosions at Aldgate, Edgware Road, King's Cross, Old Street and Russell Square stations.



UPDATE, via UK's Daily Mail:
Al Qaeda terrorists have reportedly claimed responsibility for the London blasts on an Islamic website and said that "Britain is burning with fear". The unverified claim, made on the Al-Qal'ah - Fortress - internet site, was posted by a group calling themselves the Secret Organisation Group of Al Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe.
A log of eye witness accounts, can be found here.

Robert Novak...

why has he been immune from Fitzgerald's charges? It looks like I'm not alone in my ignorance.

Spoils of War

No end in site for the war... or profiteering:
The U.S. military has hired Halliburton Co. for nearly $5 billion in new work in Iraq under a logistics contract that has so far earned the Texas firm $9.1 billion, the Army said Wednesday.
...despite this:
In March, a former KBR employee and a Kuwaiti citizen were indicted on charges of defrauding the U.S. government of more than $3.5 million by inflating the cost of fuel tankers.

A top U.S. Army procurement official said last week that Halliburton's deals in Iraq were the worst example of contract abuse she had seen, a claim KBR rejected as "political rhetoric."

The Big Picture

There is an excellent timeline of the Plame Affair that starts from February of 2002, over at Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Fitzgerald's Briefing on Miller

It's a long winded read of legal jargon, but if you're still interested, you can find it here.

George Crashes His Bike... Again

Once again, bumbling Bush makes an ass out of himself; via CNN:
President Bush collided with a British police officer during a bike ride Wednesday evening, suffering scrapes on his hands and arms that required bandaging, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

The officer, from the Strethclyde Police Department in Scotland, was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. He was treated and released, after an evaluation revealed no fractures, McClellan said.
George Bush: No class, no shame.

Write Your Own Caption

Nice Try, Judy

Judith Miller attempts to spin her treasonous actions as martyrdom for the press:

"I have chronicled the dark side of the world, where the law is an arbitrary foil that serves the powerful," she said in court, Washington Post staff writer Carol Leonnig reported. "I also know that the freest and fairest societies are... those with a free press... publishing information the government does not want to reveal," Miller said.
Sorry Judy, but I believe the only person who may consider you a hero, is your insidious source. Let me remind you: you were a tool for the Bush Administration to oust the wife of a man who was causing them trouble, in regards to their "fixing of intelligence" in the lead up to the war, which you so enthusiastically supported. There are no martyrs here, only victims and traitors, and Judy, you're no victim.

Hey, cheer up... maybe Karl will come visit you soon.

Suspicious Behavior

Is Judith Miller refusing to testify for reasons other than protecting her source?
Left-wing writer John Pilger claims the heroic Kelly was "the antithesis of those [in government], who have shown themselves to be the agents of a dangerous, rampant foreign power". If this is true, why does Kelly appear to have been a close acquaintance of Judith Miller of the New York Times - the most vitriolic pro-war journalist, whose shrill articles about Saddam and his WMD have recently become the subject of ridicule?

Shortly after Kelly's death, it emerged that his final email was to Miller. This is the one in which he referred to "many dark actors playing games", words that Miller first quoted in an article for the NYT and which quickly spread around the world. The submission of Kelly's emails as evidence to the Hutton Inquiry this week reveals the rest of his message to Miller, in which he refers to her as Judy and says "Thanks for your support. I appreciate your friendship at this time."

Why was Miller a member of Kelly's fan club? Miller is one of the most arch pro-war journalists; she has published numerous articles for the NYT over the past two years claiming that Saddam was developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. For some of these reports, Miller appears to have relied on highly dubious sources. In May 2003, it was revealed that one of her anonymous Iraqi sources, who she admits provided most of the frontpage exclusives on WMD, was none other than Ahmad Chalabi - the Washington stooge who heads the CIA-backed Iraqi National Congress, and who has lived in the West for the past 45 years before returning to postwar Iraq in April 2003.
They report, you decide.

Judith Gets Jailed

Via Yahoo News:
A federal judge on Wednesday jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to divulge her source to a grand jury investigating the Bush administration's leak of an undercover CIA operative's name.

"There is still a realistic possibility that confinement might cause her to testify," U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said.

Miller stood up, hugged her lawyer and was escorted from the courtroom.

One Down, One to Go

Via Bloomberg:
Time correspondent Matthew Cooper agreed to testify after the U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected his argument that reporters are protected by the Constitution's First Amendment free-press guarantee, AP said. A second reporter, Judith Miller of the New York Times, faces a possible jail sentence.
...and the New York Times:
Cooper took the podium in the court and told the judge, "Last night I hugged my son good-bye and told him it might be a long time before I see him again."

"I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions" for not testifying, Cooper said. But he told the judge that not long before his early afternoon appearance, he had received "in somewhat dramatic fashion" a direct personal communication from his source freeing him from his commitment to keep the source's identity secret.
Why did Rove suddenly release Cooper of his commitment to confidentiality? What is he hiding up his sweaty sleeve?

Stay tuned.

Scooter to the Rescue

Has Scooter Libby been ordered to take the fall for Karl Rove?
Cooper has already identified one of his sources, I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby freed Cooper from his promise of confidentiality.

Write Your Own Caption

Plame Investigation Shifts

In an interview on News Night with Aaron Brown, political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell states that the Plame case has shifted from a leak, to a perjury investigation. Here is the full transcript of the exchange:

BROWN: Nobody wants to give anything up here. Here's - Mr. Rove's lawyer said a couple of things that are interesting, if you really sit down and parse them. He said that Mr. Rove is not a target of the investigation, and he has said that Mr. Rove, while having - he did, in fact, talk to Mr. Cooper, never knowingly, underscore knowingly here, revealed any classified information. I think the knowingly is important under the law, right?

O'DONNELL: Yes, it is. The law that governs this secrecy requires certain things in order to commit the crime. You have to, first of all, be an authorized person. You have to have a security clearance that authorizes you to know that someone is a covert agent. It's not at all clear, parenthetically, that Karl Rove had that kind of clearance and was an authorized person. Therefore, whatever he said, if not an authorized person, could not be a crime.

The other part is, even if you are an authorized person, you have to know that she is a covert agent. You then have to know that the CIA is taking what the law calls "affirmative measures" to hide her relationship to the CIA. You have to know both of those things in order to commit the crime.

And then, thirdly, she has to actually be a covert agent, and the law itself, not the CIA, defines what that is. The law has very strict requirements to fit the covert agent elements, including having an overseas posting in the last five years. It's very specific. And it's not clear to me that Valerie Plame fits the statutory definition of covert agent that could create the crime in the first place.

BROWN: Now, here's what's not clear to me. There are a couple of things. Is it clear that this is now about who leaked to whomever? To Novak or Cooper or Miller or anybody? Or is this now a perjury investigation?

O'DONNELL: We are probably beyond the leak investigation and on to the perjury investigation.

BROWN: Then it doesn't matter if it was knowingly, whether it was a covert agent, whether it was any of that nonsense?

O'DONNELL: Yes, all those things matter in order to get us past the security violation. Those are the elements that would have - if they line up the way I suggest they might, which is it may be that Plame is not a covert agent, that's what would eliminate the crime in the first instance. And then what you're left with is a perjury investigation.

The evidence of that is in the prosecutor's own pleadings. Every brief the prosecutor has filed all the way up to the Supreme Court represents to the court that, this is a quote, "the focus of the investigation has shifted." We all know what the initial focus was. The initial focus was this security leak. If it has shifted, what would it have shifted to? They usually shift to perjury investigations.

BROWN: You are a guy that has hung around Washington a long time, knows Washington. Don't you think the president would have called Karl Rove up and said, Karl, look, there's a lot of pressure to get a special prosecutor on this. We could be in kind of deep trouble if you had anything to do with it, so you best tell me now.

O'DONNELL: I think the president wouldn't do that. This is the kind of knowledge that a president doesn't want to have. The president called for a special prosecutor to do that investigation for him. You can't find any examples of presidents, when an investigative question arises in the White House, summoning people in and trying to be the prosecutor themselves. I would be very surprised if this president did that.

BROWN: Ten seconds. Do you think Karl Rove's going down on this?

O'DONNELL: I think Karl Rove is in a position where he may lose his job, but it is hard for me to see where the crime would be for Karl Rove. I think he's too smart for perjury and I don't think he's actually qualified to have committed the original crime.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Plame Linked to Downing Street?

Economaniac at DailyKos, speculates that there may be a connection discovered in the reporters' testimonies:
What did they tell Fitzgerald's investigators? What was their Grand Jury testimony. Bet it was pretty hard to come up with a consistent story that wasn't a political disaster. How many lied?

What started as a potential case of intentionally leaking the identity of an agent has now become about perjury and obstruction of justice in an attempt to conceal White House involvement in fixing the intelligence that led to war. Cooper and Miller were all over the prewar intelligence beat, so they become keys to understanding how the White House went from propagandists fighting CIA skeptics over WMD to triumphal victors haranguing their doubters to well meaning victims of bad intelligence. The Plame disclosure happened right in the middle of the transformation, which means that it draws attention to both the WH role in the fixing of intelligence and its efforts to deny that role.

Fitzgerald needs the reporters to contradict whatever whitewash the WH has come up with for this mess. Its not just the identity of the source, it is what the WH was saying and when that will show that they lied to Fitzgerald and the Grand Jury to cover up their manipulation of and lying about prewar intelligence. This is what happens when the administration's Orwellian alteration of history occurs in a venue where lying is a crime and providing talking points is conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The Plame Blame Game

The federal prosecutor investigating the leak of the undercover CIA officer demands the reporters' testimonies:

A Time magazine reporter still must testify before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday, though Time has surrendered e-mails and other documents sought in the probe. Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald urged a federal judge to send Time reporter Matt Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller to jail if they continue to refuse to reveal their sources.

No mention of Karl Rove... looks like the focus is turning on the receivers of the leak rather than the actual leak; another fine display of the Bush Administration's control over our spineless media.

UPDATE: When I first posted this at 4:33, the timestamp on the AP article was 4:22 and there was no mention of Karl Rove. I just went back to the same AP link, it was updated at 5:13, with some references to Rove added at the end of the piece:
Among the witnesses Fitzgerald's investigators have questioned are President Bush; Vice President Dick Cheney; Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove; Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby; and former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, who is now the attorney general.

In a recent interview, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, acknowledged that Rove and Cooper spoke between the time that Wilson publicly criticized Bush and when Novak wrote his column outing Plame's identity. But Luskin said Rove did not disclose Plame's identity to Cooper or to anyone else.

Luskin refused to reveal what was said in the conversation, and Luskin said prosecutors had asked Rove and his lawyer not to discuss the matter. Luskin added that prosecutors have assured Rove many times that he is not a target in the investigation.
Did the AP writer discover my post that linked to his article, and then add the additional comments regarding Karl Rove, because of my "spineless media" remark? I can only speculate, but fascinating none the less.

Bush Sends a Message to the Wingnuts

Shut the fuck up:
President Bush said Monday that special-interest groups running TV ads and mobilizing supporters for a fight over his choice of a successor to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor should "tone down the heated rhetoric."
On a related note, it appears as though the feigned outrage from the far right is a Rovian attempt to make Alberto Gonzales appear as a moderate Supreme Court nominee.

Angry Activist Librarians

If your trying to restrict the flow of information, don't mess with them...
[Zoia] Horn spends her time speaking against the Patriot Act, which she believes usurps intellectual freedom and targets dissenting voices. Horn said that the Patriot Act provides "those in power with the tools they need."

In Horn's opinion, the most offensive part of the Patriot Act is Section 215, which pertains to libraries and librarians. Section 215 requires libraries to divulge their patrons’ checkout records without their patrons' consent. Prior to the Patriot Act, the government needed a warrant and probable cause to access such information.

Horn, who immigrated to North America from Russia in 1926, drew parallels between the Patriot Act and the tactics of Nazis and Stalinists.

"Do you remember the Gestapo in Germany? They had a group of people in neighborhoods in charge of spying," Horn said, a reference to the Terrorism Information Prevention System.

Biting Off More Than We Can Chew

This message brought to you by General Obvious:
Concerns that the concentration of troops and weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan was limiting the Pentagon's ability to deal with other potential armed conflicts was brought to light by Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a classified risk assessment to Congress this spring.

Write Your Own Caption

Preparing for Disappointment

Britain's Treasury Chief, Gordon Brown, sets expectations for the G8 aid package to Africa:
"I know that... you will tell us we've got to do more. I know that what you will say is that what we can achieve is perhaps not good enough, but we have got to bring the whole of the world together. What Britain says is one thing, what we can persuade the rest of the world to do together is what we will get as the outcome of Gleneagles."

Global Approval Ratings

In response to the question raised in the last post, they can't get much worse... I hope.

Winning Hearts and Minds II

Afghanistan's Chief of Staff, Jawed Ludin, responds to the U.S. killing of 17 civilians:
"The president is extremely saddened and disturbed. There is no way ... the killing of civilians can be justified. ... It's the terrorists we are fighting. It's not our people who should suffer."
Could our image in the world get any worse these days?

More information on the backstory can be found here.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Hunt for Osama

Sounds like the Keystone Kops might be getting closer...
Something is going on in Kashmir as US coalition forces in Afghanistan zeroes in on Osama Bin Laden. There are indications that Kashmir militants are getting ready to protect an Islamic stalwart in recent days breaking the silence of terrorism and militancy in recent days. Some international think tanks now believe that Bin Laden has escaped now into porous part of Kashmir especially close to the Line of Control (LOC) where American military or any other forces may not so easily venture.
Why don't they just ask Porter Goss to show the way?

World Tribunal on Iraq

From the WTI site, the Preliminary Declaration of the Jury of Conscience:

In February 2003, weeks before war was declared on Iraq, millions of people protested in the streets of the world. That call went unheeded. No international institution had the courage or conscience to stand up to the aggression of the US and UK governments. No one could stop them. It is two years later now. Iraq has been invaded, occupied, and devastated. The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all. We the people of conscience decided to stand up. We formed the World Tribunal on Iraq, to demand justice and a peaceful future.

The legitimacy of the World Tribunal on Iraq is located in the collective conscience of humanity. This, the Istanbul session, was the culmination of a series of 20 hearings held in different cities of the world focusing on the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

We the Jury of Conscience, from 10 different countries, met in Istanbul. We heard 54 testimonies from a panel of advocates and witnesses who came from across the world, including from Iraq, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The World Tribunal on Iraq met in Istanbul from 24-26th of June 2005. The principal objective of the WTI is to tell the truth about the Iraq war as clearly as possible, and to draw conclusions that underscore the accountability of those responsible and underline the significance of justice for the Iraqi people.

Read the rest here.

Rove Gets Reamed

Rove gets rightfully slammed for his treasonous actions, by Ted Rall, a political cartoonist; here is a snippet, via Yahoo News...
If Newsweek's report is accurate, Karl Rove is more morally repugnant and more anti-American than Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, after all, has no affiliation with, and therefore no presumed loyalty to, the United States. Rove, on the other hand, is a U.S. citizen and, as deputy White House chief of staff, a high-ranking official of the U.S. government sworn to uphold and defend our nation, its laws and its interests. Yet he sold out America just to get even with Joe Wilson.

Osama bin Laden, conversely, is loyal to his cause. He has never exposed an Al Qaeda agent's identity to the media.

"[Knowingly revealing Plame's name and undercover status to the media]...is a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and is punishable by as much as ten years in prison," notes the Washington Post. Unmasking an intelligent agent during a time of war, however, surely rises to giving aid and comfort to America's enemies--treason. Treason is punishable by execution under the United States Code.

Rove's [Pipe Dream] Defense

Is this their best defense?
Luskin then launched what sounds like an I-did-not-inhale defense. He told Newsweek that his client "never knowingly disclosed classified information." Knowingly. That is the most important word Luskin said in what has now become his public version of the Rove defense.

Not coincidentally, the word 'knowing' is the most important word in the controlling statute ( U.S. Code: Title 50: Section 421). To violate the law, Rove had to tell Cooper about a covert agent "knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States."

So, Rove's defense now hangs on one word - he "never knowingly disclosed classified information." Does that mean Rove simply didn't know Valerie Plame was a covert agent? Or does it just mean that Rove did not know that the CIA was "taking affirmative measures" to hide her identity?
I must say, I am cautiously optimistic that this may have some dire consequences for Rove as well as the rest of the Bush Administration. Couple Rove's treasonous act with the Downing Street minutes, and we may have the winning combination to take back America.

Media for the Masses

No new shark tales, pedophile pop stars, or missing brides, so this will suffice for the news of the day for the truly informed.

Oh [insert deity of your choice], please help us; make it stop...

Perspective

George Bush made the following remark at the West Virginia University this afternoon: "They continue to kill in hope they will break the resolve of the American people but they will fail."

Hypothetically speaking, how is the above statement any different than this one: "They continue to kill in hope they will break the resolve of the Iraqi people but they will fail."

Trolling for Troops

George Bush spent this afternoon at the West Virginia University campus speaking to an "audience of a couple thousand people [which] was restricted to ticket-holders who gave him an enthusiastic welcome", in what looks to be an appeal to patriotism, in an effort to acquire some new recruits:
"As we celebrate the Fourth of July, we rededicate ourselves to the ideals that inspired our founders. During that hot summer in Philadelphia more than 200 years ago, from our desperate fight for independence to the darkest days of a civil war, to the hard-fought battles of the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve, or our way."

"But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths. We know that the freedom we defend is meant for all men and women, and for all times. And we know that when the work is hard, the proper response is not retreat. It is courage."
Doesn't George know that young chickenhawks, while great war-mongers, rarely actually serve. One would think he would know better, having been one himself.

Remembering Our Revolution

The meaning behind the day...

Preparing for More War

For the first time in over a decade, Arlington undergoes a major expansion:
Arlington National Cemetery is adding 26,000 graves to the roughly 215,000 already in place on the sweeping lawns across the Potomac River from the nation's capital. An additional 77,000 remains are in columbariums, tombs for urns with cremated remains.

The spin is that the additional graves are needed for the aging WWII veteran population... I am sure that's part it, but I think most of us know who a good majority of the future residents will be.

Winning Hearts and Minds...

one mosque at a time:

"Seventeen civilians were killed during the bombing, including women and children," Kunar Gov. Asadullah Wafa told The Associated Press after leaving a mosque in the capital, Kabul.

The Midas Touch

Have you noticed how everything the Bush Administration touches turns to gold?
Iraq has lost about $11.35 billion because of damage to oil sector infrastructure and lost revenue since petroleum exports resumed after the U.S.-led invasion two years ago, an Iraqi oil ministry spokesman said Sunday.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Goading for War

The Bush Administration is accusing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's new President elect, of taking American hostages in 1979 when radical students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. They also alleged that he was involved in the 1989 slaying of a Kurdish leader and two associates in Vienna. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi responds to the charges:
"The charges are so evidently false that they don't deserve an answer. It's clear that it's mere lies. Europeans should show their political maturity and not intertwine their interests with those of the Americans. They are advised to seriously avoid interference in this issue. We advise the Europeans not to fall into the trap of the Zionist media."
Mr. Blair, I believe these remarks was intended specifically for you.

Write Your Own Caption

Meet the New Osama



Since we have apparently given up on catching Osama bin Laden, I guess we'll call this guy al-Qaida's leader...

Security forces killed al-Qaida's leader in Saudi Arabia, who topped the nation's list of most-wanted militants, during a fierce gun battle Sunday, an Interior Ministry official said. Younis Mohammed Ibrahim al-Hayari, a Moroccan, was killed during a dawn raid by security forces on an area in the capital where suspected militants were hiding, the official was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency as saying.

So Many Secrets

What do they have to hide?

Off the AP Wire: Driven largely by ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the federal government reports that the number of documents being classified jumped 10 percent last year to 15.6 million. The numbers come from the Information Security Oversight Office in its latest annual report to the president. Meanwhile, the number of pages that the government declassified continued to drop. Last year, 28.4 million pages were declassified, a 34 percent drop from the previous year.

The full report is available at the FAS site.

Patriot [Detention] Act

The New York Civil Liberties Union is working with the ACLU in calling for the release of an American citizen from military detention where he's been held as an "enemy combatant" for 3 years...
On May 8, 2002, Jose Padilla, who is a US citizen, flew on a commercial airline from Pakistan to Chicago's O'Hare Airport where he was arrested by FBI agents executing a material witness arrest warrant. Padilla was then transferred to New York by FBI agents and housed in the Metropolitan Correctional Center's maximum security wing, under the control of the Bureau of Prisons and the United States Marshal Service for approximately one month. On Sunday, June 9, 2002, two days before a scheduled conference on Padilla's motion to vacate the material witness arrest warrant, the government informed the District Court that the President had issued an order designating Padilla an "enemy combatant," transferring his custody to the Secretary of Defense.
To getter a better scope of who could suffer a similar fate as Padilla, read Congress's definition of an "enemy combatant":
The term "enemy combatant" has historically referred to all of the citizens of a state with which the Nation is at war, and who are members of the armed force of that enemy state. Enemy combatants in the present conflict, however, come from many nations, wear no uniforms, and use unconventional weapons. Enemy combatants in the war on terrorism are not defined by simple, readily apparent criteria, such as citizenship or military uniform. And the power to name a citizen as an "enemy combatant" is therefore extraordinarily broad.
Welcome to George [Bush's] 1984.







Take what you want, leave what you don't.

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