Sunday, August 28, 2005
Friday, August 12, 2005
I don't know about you readers, but I feel like the revelations about Able Danger have stirred a certain energy, anger, and analytical adrenalin in the blogosphere that we haven't seen since the Rather memos.Geraghty also lays out the dos and don'ts of our knowledge of Able Danger thus far; highly recommended...
The ad released this week by NARAL Pro-Choice America is a distressing exception [to the otherwise relative civility of the debate over the Roberts nomination]. Seizing on his role in a 1993 Supreme Court decision as a lawyer for the government, it graphically -- and wholly unfairly -- seeks to tar Judge Roberts with being an apologist for abortion clinic bombings.
In releasing the ad, Nancy Keenan, NARAL's president, said in a statement that she wanted "to be very clear that we are not suggesting Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence." That's funny, because the ad does precisely that. It opens with the scene of a bombed clinic -- a clinic attacked years after the case in question -- and then shows a victim of the bombing. An announcer intones that "Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber." It closes with the announcer telling viewers that "America can't afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans." A reasonable viewer can only conclude that Judge Roberts -- who served as deputy solicitor general in the administration of George H.W. Bush -- had somehow justified or defended a clinic bombing...
...NARAL is certainly within its rights to disagree with the position the government took in the case. But the impression it creates with this ad is not an argument but a smear-- a smear that will do less to discredit Judge Roberts than it will the organization that created it.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
In a statement today, the Home Office said that Charles Clarke, the home secretary, had written to Sheik Mohammed to tell him he no longer has the right to live in Britain. "The Home Secretary has issued an order revoking Omar Bakri Mohammed's indefinite leave to remain and to exclude him from the U. K. on the grounds that his presence is not conducive to the public good," the statement said.
The government's move came a day after it announced that it had seized and planned to deport Abu Qatada, another British-based cleric accused of fomenting violence against the West, along with nine other foreigners suspected of posing threats to national security.
Good for England, and good for the world. We need more clear, unequivocal actions of this sort...
Thursday, August 11, 2005
- Was the Atta connection left out because it interfered with the Commission's conclusions regarding Mohammed Atta's (alleged) trip to Prague to meet with Iraqis?
- Does Sandy Berger's inexcusable destruction of documents relate to Able Danger?
A quarter of a century has passed since 44 states said "No, thanks" to Jimmy Carter's offer to serve a second term, yet he still evidently thinks his loss is explained not by foreign policy debacles, such as invading Iran with eight helicopters, and a misery index -- inflation plus unemployment -- of 22, almost triple today's index.Ahh, that's satisfying stuff...
Two other sources appear to support the view that Wilson's wife suggested her husband's trip. One is a June 2003 memo by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). The other, which depends in good part on the INR document, is a statement of the views of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and two other Republican members. That statement was attached to the full committee report on its 2004 inquiry into the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.The Huffington Post's headline? CIA Officials, not Valerie Plame, Chose Ambassador Joe Wilson for Niger Trip.
The INR document's reference to the Wilson trip is contained in two sentences in a three-page memo on why the State Department disagreed with the idea that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa -- a view that would ultimately be endorsed after the Iraq invasion by the U.S. weapons hunter David Kay. The notes supporting those two sentences in the INR document say that the Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA was "apparently convened by [the former ambassador's] wife who had the idea to dispatch [him] to use his contacts to sort out the Iraq-Niger uranium issue," according to the Senate intelligence committee report. But one Senate Democratic staff member said, "That was speculation, that was not true."
The full Senate committee report says that CPD officials "could not recall how the office decided to contact" Wilson but that "interviews and documents indicate his wife suggested his name for the trip." The three Republican senators wrote that they were more certain: "The plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested by the former ambassador's wife, a CIA employee."
You know, it's one thing to be partisan, but time after time, Arianna's site puts up headlines that have little to do with, or are directly contradicted by, the stories they link to. Tabloids would ashamed of these tactics...regardless of whether Arianna's venture is a success or failure commercially, it is an embarrassment of major proportions, and should signal the end of Arianna's credibility.
The Rolling Stones' upcoming album contains a song seemingly critical of President Bush, but Mick Jagger denies it's directed at him, according to the syndicated TV show "Extra."
"It is not really aimed at anyone," Jagger said on the entertainment-news show's Wednesday edition. "It's not aimed, personally aimed, at President Bush. It wouldn't be called 'Sweet Neo Con' if it was."
The song is from the new album, "A Bigger Bang," set for release September 6.
There is no mention of Bush or Iraq. But it does refer to military contractor Halliburton, which was formerly run by Vice President Cheney and has been awarded key Iraq contracts, and the rising price of gasoline.
"How come you're so wrong? My sweet neo-con, where's the money gone, in the Pentagon," goes one refrain.
The song also includes the line: "It's liberty for all, democracy's our style, unless you are against us, then it's prison without trial."
"It is certainly very critical of certain policies of the administration, but so what! Lots of people are critical," Jagger told "Extra."
Mick, Mick, Mick...rule number one: when you're in a hole, quit digging...
If Bob Woodward is right, it will be The Old Man and the She in the 2008 showdown for the White House. Speaking in Colorado last night, the Washington Post journalist predicted that Vice President Dick Cheney and former First Lady Hillary Clinton would face off in the next election for president. Speaking as part of the Aspen Institute's McCloskey Speaker Series, Woodward explained why it is "highly likely" President Bush might implore Cheney to seek the Oval Office."He would be 67 if he ran and was elected," Woodward said, according to a Denver Post account. "Reagan was 69. Republicans always like the old warhorse….both parties like to nominate vice presidents. ... Cheney would do it, and I think it's highly likely, so stay tuned."The Old Man and the She? Ouch! I think Woodward is wrong, wrong, wrong on this one, and I see no reason to change the analysis I provided here, except to add the additional disadvantage that he would be closely associated with the Iraqi intelligence debacle, nor my odds. I'd vote for him, but I think a campaign would, literally, kill him...
UPDATE 2:01 p.m. central: Yet more from AJ here...
...At this point we ought to await a description of the one hour condensed briefing that, per Weldon, was given to Gen. Hugh Shelton in January 2001 - that would seem to represent a clear, contemporaneous version of the Able Danger product. It is still dimly possible that the Able Danger briefing given to the 9/11 Commission conflated the initial effort with some post-9/11 updating, and that the original Able Danger briefing either had no names, or too many names to have been useful. Very dimly possible.
But assuming for a moment that Weldon is holding aces, how monumental an intelligence debacle is this, and who will be blamed? The obvious whipping boys of summer would be Clinton/Berger/Gorelick, for fostering an overly legalistic approach to the War on Terror; Bush/Tenet/Rice for failing to draw this information from the system in the summer of 2001, when we were at a high terrorist threat level and Tenet's hair was on fire; and Gen. Hugh Shelton and the Pentagon. Gen. Shelton (ret.) was Chairman of the JCS in Jan 2001 - if he heard and downplayed the Able Danger briefing then, he and the Pentagon might prefer to see it buried now.
As to how significant an error this was - obviously, after the fact Mohammed Atta was very important. Although I assume Able Danger did not offer any specific projections about hijacking planes, if Atta had been put under closer surveillance, the 9/11 plot might have been disrupted. Still, a point to ponder - was Atta noted by Able Danger as a key Al Qaeda figure even in 2001, or was he just one name among fifty, or five hundred?
I suspect that Congressional hearings into this will be forthcoming.
While the Democrats play with the pretend scandal of the publicity hound Joe Wilson and his wife, a truly deadly scandal may have played out under the watch of the last Democratic President. More to come, no doubt...
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. once urged a previous nominee, Sandra Day O'Connor, not to tell members of Congress how she might vote in cases likely to come before the court.
In a memo written on the eve of O'Connor's Senate confirmation hearings in 1981, Roberts -- then a senior aide to the attorney general helping prepare her -- told her that answering such questions would create an "appearance of impropriety" because her answers might be seen as prejudicing the outcome of cases not yet argued before the court on which she would serve.
Sounds like good advice to me...
Meanwhile, in related Roberts News, the AP is reporting that the nominee once made bunny ears behind a grade school teacher, and, on three seperate occasions in 1982, secretly gave dinner table scraps to his then dog, Muffin...
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
At Americans for Freedom, jp is wondering if the Plame investigation is heading in another direction. Calling AJStrata, come in, AJ...
I'm calling it a night, but before I do, just a quick update. I have imported my Blogger posts into the WordPress blog, and imported the Haloscan comments, with the exception of the posts and comments from the last day or so, but you have to draw the line somewhere and just run with it, and I didn't want to suspend posting while the transition was going on. What's it mean? It means the hard work is done. Now I just need to finish up formatting, recreating the posts and comments since I imported, and just odds and ends like that (I think I lose the trackbacks, unfortunately...there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about that). Here's where I think I am...I should be ready to make the switch by the end of the weekend, if not before. Whoo-hooo! Getting very close now...
NEW YORKHopeful signs, but caution remains the watchword...
Apparently it's never to early to speculate on the 2008 race for the White House. Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last night had an "Indecision 2008" segment and Gallup just released a new survey on various trial heats. And guess what: Rudy Giulani is in the early lead in the Gallup gallop.
Its most recent survey in late July found the former New York mayor with the highest favorable rating among several top possible choices, at 64%, with Hillary Clinton clocking in at 53%, John McCain at 51% and Sen. John Kerry at just 42%.
Face to face, both Republicans (right now) top Clinton by the same margin, 50% to 45%, and trounce Kerry 54% to 41%.
One problem with Clinton: Her unfavorable rating, at 43%, is nearly twice as high as McCain's, and more than double that for Guiliani. Her favorable rating has remained pretty much at the same level, in the low 50s, for two years.
GOP loyalty for their candidates, at 87%, exceeds the Democrats' 80% level.
That's fine; to each his own. Once the taste is acquired, though, it's incredibly consuming. One is reminded of the famous Bill Graham tribute: 'They're not the best at what they do; they're the only ones who do what they do.' So it is with great pleasure that I give you this piece from the NY Sun, about famous conservative Deadheads Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson, and Deroy Murdock, and how it is that we conservatives could have such a great time in the midst of 40,000 hippies.
I can pretty much endorse the sentiment of the article. Besides the genuinely great music Garcia and gang put out on the best nights, there was a genuine love of the fans, and love between the fans, that was thrilling, comforting, and is greatly, greatly missed. RIP, you big ol' lug, and thanks for the memories...
W. can't get no satisfaction on Iraq.
There's an angry mother of a dead soldier camping outside his Crawford ranch, demanding to see a president who prefers his sympathy to be carefully choreographed.
A new CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans now think that going to war was a mistake and that the war has made the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism. So fighting them there means it's more likely we'll have to fight them here?
Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged yesterday that sophisticated bombs were streaming over the border from Iran to Iraq.
And the Rolling Stones have taken a rare break from sex odes to record an antiwar song called "Sweet Neo Con," chiding Condi Rice and Mr. Bush. "You call yourself a Christian; I call you a hypocrite," Mick Jagger sings.
Ummm...so how was that vacation, Maureen?...You don't seem very rested or relaxed...
If he did take kickbacks, it is still unclear whether the Iraqis thought they were bribing him, rewarding him for being on their side on many issues or simply yielding to his persistence. The report cites instances in which Mr. Sevan argued for easing constraints on Iraq and contends that he knew from personal experience that Iraq was imposing surcharges on recipients of oil allocations yet played down the problem. What's striking is how small-bore the corruption he is accused of looks against the backdrop of a $65 billion oil-for-food program.The Times Editorial Board (read: Gail Collins) expresses a continued, quite-unjustified faith in the man who should be stopping the buck:
The U.N. clearly needs management reform and closer monitoring to prevent corruption. But neither of these cases sheds much light on what sins, if any, can be attributed to Secretary General Kofi Annan, or on how Saddam Hussein was able to manipulate the program to gain perhaps $2 billion in illicit revenue. For that, we must await next month's report.
Or you could just read Claudia Rosett and find out what's really going on.
Contrast the attitude of the increasingly partisan Times with the well-reasoned, fact-facing response of the Washington Post:
...Mr. Annan's failure to understand that the oil-for-food program was corrupt at its heart -- or perhaps at its head, given the evidence about its director's behavior -- is disturbing. The oil-for-food program -- along with the other forms of sanctions-busting effectively condoned by the United States and others -- was designed to allow Saddam Hussein's government to enrich itself at the expense of Iraq's people. It was a deeply disturbing example of how the United Nations' humanitarian impulse can sometimes go badly wrong. As long as any part of the institution or its defenders continues to believe that the oil-for-food disaster was an insignificant affair dreamed up by U.S. lawmakers and their friends in the media, it's hard to see how any reform, however beautifully structured on paper, will achieve much in practice. Reform begins with an end to self-delusion.
It seems the Post is getting better in direct proportion to the Times getting worse...
How can so many people watch this as if they were spectators, handicapping and rating the successes and failures from some imagined position of neutrality? Do they suppose that a defeat in Iraq would be a defeat only for the Bush administration? The United States is awash in human rights groups, feminist organizations, ecological foundations, and committees for the rights of minorities. How come there is not a huge voluntary effort to help and to publicize the efforts to find the hundreds of thousands of "missing" Iraqis, to support Iraqi women's battle against fundamentalists, to assist in the recuperation of the marsh Arab wetlands, and to underwrite the struggle of the Kurds, the largest stateless people in the Middle East?I'm not holding my breath...but, as usual, the Hitch is absolutely right...
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
...The most searing moment, on a song called "Sweet Neo Con," isn't personal but political. "You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite/You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of s--t."'Sweet Neo Con'? Oh, how have the mighty fallen...it's a long way from 'What can a poor boy do / 'cept to sing for a rock'n'roll band/ 'cause a sleepy London town just ain't no place for a street fighting man' to tripe like that...
Chavez said late Monday that the U.S. government, which "won't stop caressing the idea of invading Cuba or invading Venezuela," should be warned of the consequences.Chavez, who maintains Ringo was the 'really talented Beatle', also spoke to the assembled students about his alliance with Santa Claus, saying his intelligence-gathering operations are second to none: "This guy, he sees you sleeping, awake, whatever - he's got the goods."...
"If someday they get the crazy idea of coming to invade us, we'll make them bite the dust defending the freedom of our land," Chavez said to applause.
He spoke during the opening ceremony of a world youth festival bringing together student delegations from across the world and convened under the slogan "Against Imperialism and War."
Chavez called the United States the "most savage, cruel and murderous empire that has existed in the history of the world."
[CAIR's national spokesman Ibrahim] Hooper is also on record claiming CAIR receives no "support from any overseas group or government." But land records revealed in the book "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" put the lie to that claim.Who else might be providing support to CAIR? Don't look to the organization istelf for transparency:
It turns out that an anti-Israeli foundation run by the crown prince of Dubai owns the very deed to CAIR's headquarters located almost in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. The foundation has held telethons to support families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
CAIR's funding for a campaign to place pro-Islamic texts in public libraries throughout the country has been identified as coming in part from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, a member of the extremist Wahhabi sect of Islam. Who else is funding CAIR? What are their backgrounds? What specifically is CAIR doing in exchange for the money?Still, this is all pretty mild so far. Aren't most Saudi royals Wahhabis? The deed owned by an anti-Israel foundation? Perhaps you're underwhelmed. How about we throw in some direct ties to Hamas?
One of those groups, CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, is among the most dangerous to American security. CAIR is an outgrowth of Hamas front group the Islamic Association of Palestine. Oliver "Buck" Revell was the FBI's associate director in charge of Investigative and Counter-Intelligence Operations from 1985 to 1991, in charge of all FBI terrorism investigations. "[The Islamic Association of Palestine] is an organization that has directly supported Hamas military goals," he told Capitol Hill newspaper, "The Hill." "It is a front organization for Hamas that engages in propaganda for Islamic militants. It has produced videotapes that are very hate-filled, full of vehement propaganda. It is an organization that has supported direct confrontation." It is also an organization that exists without impingement in Texas.
CAIR's founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, was IAP's public relations director ("Muslim-Americans in Mainstream America," The Link, February-March 2000). Islamic Association of Palestine's publications, including Muslim World Monitor - of which Awad was contributing editor - and Al-Zaitonah, frequently praise terrorist actions.
Awad was the gentleman with the neatly trimmed beard, sitting a couple seats from Mrs. Bush at the president's big speech to Congress and standing next to Bush at several events, including the D.C. mosque and National Cathedral services. IAP and CAIR, according to Revell, had "intertwined membership" and CAIR used IAP propaganda materials.
Incidentally, Awad - for mysterious reasons - appears to have changed his name. On CAIR's 1994 IRS form 990, he is listed as "CAIR Executive Director Nehad A. Hammad." And then there is the similarity in staff.
Besides Awad, CAIR Director of Communications Ibrahim Hooper also worked for IAP. Rafeeq Jaber, IAP's current president, was a founding director of CAIR.
CAIR's funding comes from groups like the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. When it was founded in 1994, CAIR received its original $5,000 from HLF. Mohammed Nimer, director of CAIR's Research Center, was on the Board of United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), the strategic arm of Hamas in the U.S., according to the New York Times. It was founded by Mousa Abu Marzook, the political chief of Hamas and a well-known terrorist operative.
Awad, in the Muslim World Monitor, called the trial and conviction of the first World Trade Center (WTC) bombers, "a travesty of justice." He has openly expressed his support for terrorist groups, like Hamas. "I am in support of the Hamas movement," he said at a 1994 Barry University panel discussion, "The Road to Peace: The Challenge of the Middle East." He's also openly praised Ayatollah Khomeini. Remember him - the guy who directed the taking of U.S. hostages in Iran?
Hooper, echoing the Taliban government, has always refused to condemn Osama bin Laden. In a 1998 aol.com interview, after the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, Hooper said the bombings were a result of "misunderstanding of both sides." Today, he still will not condemn bin Laden, only the attacks on the WTC. Hooper also defended Arab Muslim Sudan's murder of over two million black Christian citizens and the slavery, rape and torture of millions more, dismissing it as "inter-tribal hostage-taking."
Given the above history, pardon me if I don't treat CAIR's concerns with enough, ahem, care...
"Enjoy your holiday... make it a long one".
The Deputy Prime Minister, on the second day of his annual holiday cover for Tony Blair, spoke out after it emerged that the preacher - who left Britain for Lebanon on Saturday - had informed reporters that he was merely taking a break.
Asked about the radical Islamist's suggestion that if he was not welcome in England he would not return, Mr Prescott told a news conference in London: "Good."
He was then asked whether Mr Bakri Mohammed was welcome here, and replied: "I don't think he is welcome by many people in this country, is he?
"But at the moment he has the right to come in and out. That is the circumstances at present and we have to change situations in this country by law. It's a democracy, not a dictatorship, for God's sake. I just say 'Enjoy your holiday, make it a long one.'"
The following statement illustrates why Prescott is glad to see Mohammed go:
In the telephone interview, Mr Bakri Mohammed said that he would return to Britain to clear his reputation, adding that he had never committed a crime. But the cleric reiterated his belief that it would be "against Islam" for him to inform the police of any terrorist attacks that he knew were being planned in Britain.
"I say publicly, Islam forbids me to report any Muslims, even if he is oppressive, you see, to the British police," he said. "Islam forbid me, that don't mean I know about crime."
Clearly, Blair's government has taken the gloves off, and that can only be a good thing...
Before stepping out onto the national stage, this Bush generation's ideas of incrementally smaller government proved popular with voters in two large states. George W. Bush defeated Democratic incumbent Ann Richards in 1994 to become governor of Texas and was re-elected in 1998. The Lone Star State is clearly among the most conservative in the country, but Gov. Bush helped turn what was once a reliably Democratic state into one where Republicans now dominate. Jeb, meanwhile, lost a hard-fought race for governor in Florida in 1994. But he came back four years later and was re-elected in 2002, despite the residual bitterness from the 2000 presidential election and the Democrats' decision to make his defeat a priority.Yes, well...that may have been true in Texas and Florida, but in Washington, Bush hasn't shown much inclination towards smaller government outside of Social Security reform, leading nicely into Miniter's next point:
Political symmetry also favors Jeb Bush. Even if President Bush manages to get some sort of private Social Security account this year, it's now becoming clear that the bulk of the reform is unlikely to come until after 2008. Bush 43 may succeed in establishing the principle of private accounts within the Social Security system, but it will likely be the next president (perhaps Bush 44) who will have the opportunity to steer the bulk of our payroll taxes into such accounts. Voters gave FDR four back-to-back terms. They may now conclude that replacing the New Deal with an Ownership Deal will take sending a Bush to the White House in three or four successive elections.
Remaking New Deal entitlements into assets individual Americans can own may become a powerful political philosophy that nudges into oblivion FDR's already dwindling coalition of union members and entitlement beneficiaries. Jeb Bush's close association to George W. would be an asset if voters embrace the Ownership Society. By 2008 we'll also likely have a national consensus on how well the democratic experiment is working in Iraq. If Americans continue to support spreading democracy as our best defense against international terrorism, Jeb's last name will also be an asset here as well. It all sounds a bit too rosy to me; I support Social Security privitization, and God knows, I support the Iraq War, but I don't think emphasizing either will be the road to success in 2008. Nor do I believe that the last name of Bush will be quite the asset Miniter thinks it is.
In other words, color me unconvinced and still of the opinion that Jeb remains a considerable long shot...
Monday, August 08, 2005
UPDATE 08/09/05 10:02 a.m. central: The MinuteMan pours a bit of water on the flames, suggesting we may be seeing a 'publicity leak' for an upcoming book...
UPDATE 08/09/05 3:47 p.m. central: Slate's Eric Umansky is very skeptical; Captain Ed says, fine, just don't let the skepticism run one way...
An excellent article in Commentary by Efraim Karsh provides much of the backstory of how Columbia University came to epitomize this unfortunate trend. A sample:
It is difficult to overstate the tenacity of the resulting infestation of Arab dogmatism in Middle East studies as a field. Over the last two decades, one would be hard-pressed to find books on the Arab-Israeli conflict issuing from Middle East-studies departments that present the Jewish state in a dispassionate, let alone a positive, light, and hardly any such items appear on course reading lists. Thus, at Columbia, the syllabus for Joseph Massad's fall 2004 survey course on the Middle East included, in addition to readings from the canonical Edward Said and the subtler Orientalist Albert Hourani, a single work on Israel: a three-decades-old screed by the French Marxist historian of Islam, Maxime Rodinson, whose title, Israel, a Colonial-Settler State?, says it all. Scholars daring to defy the general stigmatization of Israel have been attacked and marginalized.Highly recommended...
Some critics have accused the United Nations of squandering millions - and even billions - of dollars in its mismanagement of the program. Yet Volcker's team found that Sevan appeared to have received kickbacks of just $147,184 from December 1998 to January 2002.So over three years time, Sevan only took about the gross median income of a U.S. citizen per year on top of his six-figure salary, money that was intended to help poor Iraqis disadvantaged by sanctions. It was "just $147,184", you see. Notice also the implication that because Sevan is only a six-figure thief personally, that critics who have accused the program of billions in fraud are somehow proven wrong.
Of course, no one has ever stated that the corruption began and ended with Sevan, to my knowledge. I would be willing to wager that there are several dozen recipients of similar largess out there, at the bare minimum.
As an example of the laxness of the U.N.'s monetary controls, there is this, from the same article:
Meanwhile, a U.N. procurement official has been arrested after investigators found evidence he took nearly $1 million in illegal payments from the winners of $79 million in U.N. contracts, a senior U.N. official said Monday...And then there is this:
...investigators also found that he secretly tried to bribe a company called Societe Generale de Surveillance S.A., which was seeking an oil inspection contract under oil-for-food.
They said Yakovlev passed secret bidding information along to a friend in France, Yves Pintore, who then approached SGS to check if it would "work with" him and "influential people in the U.N. in New York."
Volcker's team found no evidence that the company agreed to the bribe. However, it noted that Pintore essentially agreed to its characterization of his involvement.
[The Interim Report] also found that two men helped Sevan: Fred Nadler, an AMEP director and brother-in-law of former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali; and Fakhry Abdelnour, the president of AMEP.
Volcker's team recommended that the United Nations assist in their possible prosecution as well.
Does anyone truly believe they were isolated occurrences? Isn't it far more likely that they are symptomatic of a program and an organization that are hotbeds of corruption, and that this is only the beginning? I know which possibility I'm betting on...
No fewer than three esteemed political reporters from The Washington Post were in the audience taking notes on a steamy Thursday afternoon at a forum called "Reflections of a Blogger," sponsored by the New Politics Institute, a progressive think tank...Three reporters - to cover the Kos? Creative thinker? Come on, Kos's popularity is due to one thing...he's carved out a niche as ground zero for Bush hatred. Moonbat Central, that's all it is...
...For Democrats desperate to find their way back to a winning coalition, Moulitsas, 33, has emerged as one of the most creative thinkers and activists in the progressive ranks.
Moulitsas is opposed to the Iraq war but says that isn't what drew him to Hackett. "It's not about ideology, pro-war, antiwar, it makes no difference," he insisted. "In the online world, we need Democrats to stand up, not be afraid of Republicans, not be afraid of the right-wing noise machine...We don't care about ideology. We care that you stand up for the party and don't run scared." He pointed out that bloggers backed Democrat Stephanie Herseth in South Dakota, who, he says, ran a Republican Lite campaign. "We're pragmatic," he says. If candidates aren't 100 percent on the environment or they're kind of iffy on choice, progressives should overlook these differences for what Moulitsas terms "the greater good," which is restoring the Democrats to a governing majority.Uh-huh...it would be hard to intentionally write a more dishonest paragraph than the one above. Pragmatic? Non-ideological? The Kos? The guy who calls Joe Lieberman a disloyal Democrat when he prefers to govern rather than toe the progressive line? The Kos who says Joe Biden is more fit to be president of MBNA than the United States (he may be right on that one)?
The simple equation is this: Progressive support=electoral defeat. It couldn't be any clearer. No Democrat will win the presidency who also has the support of the Daily Kos crowd - ever.
UPDATE 4:58 p.m. central: Many thanks to everyone's favorite elected blogger, John Behan, for the link...
Multiculturalism is based on the lie that all cultures are morally equal. In practice, that soon degenerates to: All cultures are morally equal, except ours, which is worse. But all cultures are not equal in respecting representative government, guaranteed liberties and the rule of law. And those things arose not simultaneously and in all cultures, but in certain specific times and places -- mostly in Britain and America, but also in various parts of Europe.Just so - respect for other cultures is a necessity, but we needn't elevate barbarism to the level of democracy.
...Most Americans know there is something special about our cultural heritage. While Harvard and Brown are replacing scholars of the founding period with those studying other things, book-buyers are snapping up first-rate histories of the Founders by David McCullough, Joseph Ellis and Ron Chernow.
Mutilculturalist intellectuals do not think our kind of society is worth defending. But millions here and increasing numbers in Britain and other countries know better.
[The United States] is [a] nation that acts for the common good in ways that were meticulously outlined by a radical liberal named Jesus.Linda Valdez assures us Jesus would be for universal health care, better wages, you know: the Democratic party line. A couple of questions for Ms. Valdez, since she's so sure Jesus would be a liberal:
- Would Jesus embrace the 'radical liberalism' that looks at His followers as inbred hicks and fights tooth and nail to remove religion from public life?
- Would Jesus be pro-choice?
Sunday, August 07, 2005
UPDATE 11:39 p.m. central: Good obituary from the NY Times here...
Even for someone who agreed with you about the war in Iraq and the deception perpetrated by our government to prepare us all for it - the latest stuff feels suspiciously close to treason. It is hard to know whether we should laugh at Galloway or hang him.My only quibble is the headline (which very well may not have been written by Liddle); 'almost treason' sounds like someone who's just not quite ready to state the clear implication of the evidence.
"I fully understand the pressure that you are under, and that there are those who are trying to destroy your reputation as well as my own, but sacrificing me for political expediency will never appease our critics or help you or the Organization," Sevan wrote.On this matter, Sevan is absolutely correct. It's good that he has resigned in shame, for corruption is inexcusable, but until Kofi steps up to the plate and accepts responsibility for his actions, the critics will absolutely not be appeased.
In the snow-draped mountains near Jalalabad in November 2001, as the Taliban collapsed and al Qaeda lost its Afghan sanctuary, Osama bin Laden biographer Hamid Mir watched "every second al Qaeda member carrying a laptop computer along with a Kalashnikov" as they prepared to scatter into hiding and exile. On the screens were photographs of Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta.The size of the problem is daunting:
The number of active jihadist-related Web sites has metastasized since Sept. 11, 2001. When Gabriel Weimann, a professor at the University of Haifa in Israel, began tracking terrorist-related Web sites eight years ago, he found 12; today, he tracks more than 4,500. Hundreds of them celebrate al Qaeda or its ideas, he said.Further proof, if it is needed, that Juan Cole is completely wrong in painting a picture of homegrown terrorism without any organizational connections.
The United Nations did not disclose the names of the contractors, the price, quantity, or quality of goods. The U.N. provided no public accounting for the billions in bank balances, the interest collected, the letters of credit amended or even the $1.4 billion cut of Saddam's oil sales collected by Annan's secretariat to run the program (from which the Volcker inquiry is now drawing its $34 million budget, for which there has also been no public accounting).I have only determined one thing the U.N. is good at; covering its own hindquarters...
With no socialism to provide international solidarity, good motives of tolerance and respect for other cultures have had the unintended consequence of leading a large part of post-modern liberal opinion into the position of 19th-century imperialists. It is presumptuous and oppressive to suggest that other cultures want the liberties we take for granted, their argument runs. So it may be, but believe that and the upshot is that democracy, feminism and human rights become good for whites but not for browns and brown-skinned people who contradict you are the tools of the neo-conservatives.That's admirably blunt, but pales next to the conclusion:
On the other hand when confronted with a movement of contemporary imperialism - Islamism wants an empire from the Philippines to Gibraltar - and which is tyrannical, homophobic, misogynist, racist and homicidal to boot, they feel it is valid because it is against Western culture. It expresses its feelings in a regrettably brutal manner perhaps, but that can't hide its authenticity.
...The London bombs have added a practical reason for breaking with the consensus: now they're trying to kill us. Even if people think that the Iraq war has made Britain a bigger target, they are still confronted with a fascistic cult of murder and self-murder which allows no compromise.Devestatingly accurate...
The thing to watch for with fellow travellers is what shocks them into pulling the emergency cord and jumping off the train. I know some will stay on to the terminus, and when the man with the rucksack explodes his bomb their dying words will be: 'It's not your fault. I blame Tony Blair.'
Saturday, August 06, 2005
That Galloway was a notorious apologist for Saddam Hussein is now widely known; that his financial interests lined up with Saddam's under the Oil-For-Food regime is, I suppose, a lucky coincidence. Galloway's toadying for Saddam included this remarkable tribute to the man who invaded Kuwait:
Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability - to Saddam in Baghdad, January 1994as well as this equally remarkable statement:
The state of Kuwait is "clearly a part of the greater Iraqi whole, stolen from the motherland by perfidious Albion."Thus does moral relativism show its true colors.
The coalition that sponsors Galloway (or is it vice versa?) is remarkable in its own right. On its website, RESPECT the Unity Coalition lets us in on the secret of its acronym:
Never mind the haziness of some of the items; the clarity of those remaining speaks volumes.
With the above as background, then, it is no surprise that Galloway and his supporters are defeatists in the War against Terror. What is surprising, shocking, and, dare I say, treasonous, is the outright wish for the defeat of one's own military. The following resolution was adopted by RESPECT in 2004:
Motion 1: War and Imperialism - National Executive Conference notes:What has Palestine to do with Iraq? Oh, right, the 'Jewish question'...
1. That the defeat of the US led occupation of Iraq is critical if the global economic and political offensive begun by the US state and its allies at the time of the first Gulf War is to be defeated.
2. That the resistance in Iraq is engaged in a battle to liberate the country. That resistance is composed of elements which are Islamic, nationalist and socialist. It is a national liberation movement.
3. That the anti-war movement has a crucial role to play in forcing the imperialist governments to leave Iraq.
6. That Islamophobia is central to the ideology of war in this era.
7. That attacks on civil liberties are the inevitable domestic counterpart of the "war on terror".
8. That much older questions of self-determination, for instance for Palestinians, Kurds and Kashmiris, are now bound up with the struggle against the new imperialism.
Of course, England is a partner in the War in Iraq, so if the above doesn't constitute treason, then I say we have set the bar too low. There is no phoney-baloney 'support the troops' nonsense here; no, Galloway is openly rooting for the 'resistance' to defeat (and presumably kill quite a few of) his fellow countrymen.
Do I go too far? Consider the following statements broadcast on Arab television following a trip to Syria by Galloway:
In his most inflammatory outburst yet on the invasion of Iraq, George Galloway has sought to justify lethal attacks on British troops on the grounds that the rebels "are defending all the people of the world from American hegemony"....May I be forgiven for wondering where Mr. Galloway's funding is currently coming from? Clearly, he is either on the payroll of some Arab terrorist apologist organization, think tank, or government, or he is clinically insane. Two further quotes from Galloway illustrate his complete and utter lack of concern for the truth and the victims of terror:
..."It is not the Muslims who are the terrorists," he said. "The biggest terrorists are Bush and Blair."...
...In a third section of the interview, this time carried on Syrian television, Mr Galloway appealed to the Arab world, drawing a parallel between Baghdad under coalition control and Jerusalem under Israeli control since the 1967 war.
"Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners: Jerusalem and Baghdad," he said. "The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help and the Arab world is silent. Some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters. Why? Because they are too weak and too corrupt to do anything about it."
Mr. Blair is using this crime and all these dead people as a justification for this absurd idea of a war on terrorism. "Terror" is a word... Terror is a tactic, it's not a strategy. The idea that Muslims have some kind of sickness in their bodies, which must be cured, which is the idea behind Bush, behind Mr. Blair, and behind Mr. Berlusconi's government in Italy - It must be resisted. It's not the Muslims who are sick. It's Bush and Blair and Berlusconi who are sick. It's not the Muslims who need to be cured. It's the imperialist countries that need to be cured.
Most of the children, most of the schools, most of the buses, were bombed by the United States. Let's keep this clearly in perspective: Most of the children who died in Iraq were killed by George Bush, not by Zarqawi. Most of the schools that were wrecked, buses that were bombed, hospitals that were destroyed, lives that were taken, were taken by George Bush, not by Zarqawi.Generally speaking, I try to avoid extremist rhetoric myself...but I will say in closing that statements far milder than those of Galloway have, at various points in history, resulted in prison sentences - or hangings.
For myself, I only have words at my disposal, and it is my distinct pleasure to metaphorically spit upon the recipient of our lastest award. May the day come when I can literally do so, as well...
UPDATE 08/06/05 9:36 a.m. central: Some thoughts in a similar vein from Austin Bay (hat tip to Michelle Malkin)...
UPDATE 08/08/05 12:39 p.m. central: Many thanks to the good Dr. Shackleford for the link...
Makes sense to me; after all, Novak, you, me, and the whole world know James Carville's a jerk; always has been, always will be...it was the Plame game, and that copy of Who's Who, that made the difference...
Why did it go down Thursday? Because on Monday, Aug. 1, Novak violated the terms of a professional stand-off that had been keeping him just this side of legitimate in the eyes of his colleagues in Washington journalism. He had previously said that, on the advice of his lawyer, he couldn't talk about the case, or answer any questions interviewers might put to him, until the prosecution had run its course.
But then he went ahead and talked about the case in Monday's Chicago Sun-Times column ("Ex-CIA official's remark is wrong") in which he disputed the account given by Bill Harlow, the official spokesman at the CIA whom Novak called for more information about Valerie Plame.
That was the fail safe conversation. That is where the system broke down. If Novak was going to be successfully warned off the naming of Plame, it was by Harlow as spokesman for the Agency, responding to the questions of a reporter with a story. Harlow told the Washington Post last week that he warned Novak in the strongest possible terms not to name Valerie Plame. He said he told Novak that his story was wrong, and would harm U.S. interests. Harlow said he told the federal grand jury the same thing.
Novak, in order to counter the suggestion that he had been properly warned but went ahead anyway - which he said would be "inexcusable for any journalist and particularly a veteran of 48 years in Washington" - decided to take up his pen. Ladies and gentlemen, he said, people have got to know whether their columnist is a crook. Or a jerk. Or a tool. Did I go ahead with the name of a CIA covert operative despite being warned? No, I did not.
Old Novak rules: sorry fellas, can't talk. New rules: Novak chooses when. When to take the Fifth on advice of counsel, when to ignore counsel and respond to the news with his own explanations of what happened to reveal Plame's name.
This, I believe, is the real cause of Thursday's break down of professional discipline on air. The legitimacy of Novak's exemption from questioning had collapsed earlier in the week. Ed Henry knew it and was ready with that news. Novak was not ready to receive it. So he invented an out.
August 6, 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima. The Atomic Bomb, which decimated the Japanese city and its people, was never used in combat again. This day is also the anniversary of another "bomb" that was dropped 4 years ago, this time into the lap of President Bush in the form of a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US." While on yet another extended vacation at his Crawford ranch, the President chose to neglect his duties as Commander in Chief by refusing to act decisively and immediately on this impending threat, leading to the worst terrorist attack in American history. These anniversaries remind us to learn from our past actions in order to ensure a safer more secure future.My God, what a fool! To draw a comparison between a vague memo, with no date and time, and the atomic bomb! To imply that Bush could have stopped 9/11! To give Clinton a clean pass for his failures in fighting terrorism! To suggest that, had Bush been in Washington, rather than Crawford, 9/11 might not have happened!
Most staggeringly idiotic of all, though, is this statement:
August 6, 2005 marks the 60th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima. The Atomic Bomb, which decimated the Japanese city and its people, was never used in combat again.That will certainly come as a surprise to the decendents of the survivors and casualties of Nagasaki...
Barbra, do us all a favor, and let the grownups talk now, okay? You run along, dear...
Now, I don't proselytize on this blog; I have my own ideas on faith, and as I've stated before, I'm a believer, though my own doctrine would be rejected by most of the world's churches, no doubt. I certainly respect your beliefs, including atheism.
The thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics - in physical laws - every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that ... Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff ... I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace.
I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.
...The secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah - or a complete nutcase. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched.
Regardless of your particular stance, though, isn't this just a breath of fresh air from a guy who makes untold millions playing rock'n'roll? John Lennon, great musician that he was, and God rest his soul, was a hero to the multitudes, but his message was squishy - all you need is love, give peace a chance, 'Imagine there's no heaven'. Not sure I can go on that journey with you, John.
Contrast with Bono - Sunday, Bloody Sunday; New Year's Day; Pride (In The Name Of Love); Where the Streets Have No Name. Bono's world is not a world of empty slogans and altruistic sentiments; it's a world with strife, war, disappointment, hunger, AIDS, betrayal, and broken hearts; it's a world that has no chance of redemption on its own terms; it's a world that requires mercy, not justice.
Needless to say, I find Bono one of the most interesting of celebrities in a world of quite uninteresting celebrities...
...[T]he El Dorado wasn't there; and the really big historical question is why it took the best minds of the West more than 50 years and countless lives to discover that elementary fact. This monumental self-hypnosis calls into question our collective ability to know; and when politicians and media talking heads speak with perfect assurance about "religions of peace" or alternatively, about a "death cult" with bloody borders, how certain are we that our epistemology is any better than that of the 20th century intellectuals?The above puts me in mind of North Korea: will we ever know the true story of what goes in that giant prison of a nation? When we do find out, will we be able to bear the shame? Will China? Many questions have I, but answers few...
Friday, August 05, 2005
Americans of the time hardly thought the Japanese populace to be entirely innocent. The Imperial Japanese army routinely butchered civilians abroad - some 10-15 million Chinese were eventually to perish - throughout the Pacific from the Philippines to Korea and Manchuria. Even by August 1945, the Japanese army was killing thousands of Asians each month. When earlier high-level bombing attacks with traditional explosives failed to cut off the fuel for this murderous military - industries were increasingly dispersed in smaller shops throughout civilian centers - Curtis LeMay unleashed napalm on the Japanese cities and eventually may have incinerated 500,000.My own initial in-depth reading on World War II was the aptly named Total War, a most valuable survey by Peter Calvocoressi that sadly seems to be out of print. The concept of total warfare is foreign to any American born after WWII. Never since, not even in Vietnam, have we faced a conflict that consumed the world so completely. Civilians were indeed seen as fair game - by the Allies no less than the Axis. Population centers were routinely targeted by both sides, and eventually, by the end of the war, it hardly mattered if any military installations were in the vicinity.
We can thank God and that much-heralded generation of heroes that we have not been in a similar situation since, and may we never be again. I don't condemn the decision of Truman, but neither do I celebrate it, and I shudder to think what it must have been like to be walking down the streets of Hiroshima that grim day. Robert Oppenheimer famously said, upon seeing the successful Trinity test in the New Mexico desert, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds". God have mercy on their souls, and ours...
UPDATE 08/06/05 10:46 a.m.: Arthur addresses his imminent departure here...
Today, Huff'N'Puff gives us the breathless headline "77% Of Americans Think Admin. Is Hiding Something Or Lying In Plame Investigation...". What is your initial thought when you see that headline? I'll tell you what mine was - "No way do 77% of Americans even know who Karl Rove is, much less what the Plame investigation is about".
And indeed, the underlying story puts the lie to Huff'n'Puff's deceitfulness. Let's look at what the poll really says:
THE PLAME INVESTIGATIONWell, clearly, something's amiss here. If 75% of Americans are undecided(???) or haven't heard of the Plame Leak, how can 77% think the Bush administration is hiding something or mostly lying?
Americans are skeptical about the Bush administration's behavior and public statements about the 2003 leak of the name of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters. Only 12 percent think the Bush administration is telling the entire truth about the matter; more than half - 55 percent - think the administration is mostly telling the truth but hiding something, and another 22 percent think it is lying.
REGARDING LEAK, BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS
Telling entire truth
Over half of Americans say they have heard or read at least some about this issue. Those who have heard or read a lot about the matter are more apt to think the administration was involved, and to view the administration's actions as part of a larger effort. Democrats (19 percent) are about as likely as Republicans (17 percent) to have heard or read a lot about the issue. Men are more apt than women to have heard a lot, as are those over age 45 and those with more education.
HEARD OR READ ABOUT POSSIBLE PLAME LEAK
We're given no additional information to reconcile this conflict, leaving me to believe one of two things: either the 77% figure refers to the subset who have heard of the scandal (this is definitely not the way it is worded in the article, however), or, more likely, people hear about a 'scandal' from the media, don't want to appear stupid, and take the implication that is handed to them on a platter.
In a world dominated by headlines about how Jennifer Aniston feels about her ex-boyfriend, though, I can assure you that Arianna's headline is not only wrong, but intentionally deceitful...