February 26, 2008

Yet Another FAUX Nooze Push Poll: Bin Laden As A Registered Voter Edition

Just a fair and balanced survey question:

Who does Usama bin Laden want to be the next president? More people think the terrorist leader wants Obama to win (30 percent) than think he wants Clinton (22 percent) or McCain (10 percent). Another 18 percent says it doesn’t matter to bin Laden and 20 percent are unsure

February 4, 2008

Weapons of Mass Destruction Related Program Activities

Yep, our Waronterra has officially jumped the shark while getting it's head shaved in public:

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. - An 18-year-old Elizabethtown man is charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction and other offenses over a plastic egg explosion.

Police say he ignited a plastic egg filled with plastic air-gun pellets in a flea market, hitting at least five people and causing alarm. It happened Saturday afternoon at a Saturday's Market in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County.

Peggy Beckley, the vendor manager, says market employees chased the man into the parking lot and held him for police.

In addition to the weapon of mass destruction charge, the teen was charged with risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering another person, disorderly conduct and simple assault.

December 22, 2007

Cost For Eye-Rack, Afghanistan Surpass Vietnam

Had enough?

Congress' approval Wednesday of $70 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan mean the twin conflicts are now more costly to American taxpayers than the war in Vietnam.

According to a study by the Washington-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Congress has now approved nearly $700 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Using inflation-adjusted dollars, the total cost of those wars has now surpassed the total cost of the Vietnam war (which ran to $670 billion)," the group's Travis Sharp told OneWorld. "It's also more than seven times larger than the Persian Gulf War ($94 billion) and more than twice the cost of the Korean war ($295 billion)."

As a result of Wednesday's vote, Sharp said, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will become the second costliest conflict in American history, trailing only World War II.

October 24, 2007

WWIII Watch, Part III: Limited Incursion Edition

Here we go:

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Turkey bombed units of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and sent troops across the border in pursuit of the militants, a lawmaker of Turkey's governing party said today.

Turkish military jets and artillery pounded rebel positions inside the Kurdish-controlled region intermittently, said the lawmaker, who attended a briefing on the hostilities by government spokesman Cemil Cicek late yesterday in Ankara.

The army sent troops across the border with Iraq to hunt down PKK militants after 12 Turkish soldiers were killed by the group on Oct. 21 in Turkey, the official said. They later returned to the Turkish side of the border, he added.

Turkey's parliament on Oct. 17 passed a resolution authorizing the government to send troops into northern Iraq to attack PKK bases there. The U.S. opposes such action on concern it would destabilize the calmest part of Iraq.

October 23, 2007

WWIII Watch, Part II

Once again, the Israelis attacked Lebanon with U.S. backing for lesser reasons than this, and the U.S. attacked Eye-Rack for even less.

BAGHDAD - Turkey’s foreign minister rejected any cease-fire by Kurdish rebels Tuesday as he met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad to press them to crack down on the guerrillas. Turkish forces massed on the border and tensions rose over a threatened military incursion.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, himself a Kurd, said Iraq’s central government and authorities in its Kurdish autonomous region in the north would work together to deny the rebels freedom of movement, funds and representative offices. He said a high-level political and military delegation would travel soon to Turkey.

Iraqi officials have been saying that guerrillas with the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is known by its Kurdish acronym PKK, were based in inaccessible mountainous areas of northern Iraq.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said there are several ways to fight terrorism and Ankara would use them when appropriate. The buildup of troops along Turkey’s border with Iraq, meanwhile, continued with military helicopters airlifting commando units into the area overnight.

The mix of diplomatic and military activity followed Sunday’s rebel ambush near the Iraqi border that left 12 Turkish soldiers dead, 16 wounded and eight missing.

"We also don’t wish our historical and friendly ties with Iraq to be ruined because of a terrorist organization," Babacan said at a joint news conference after meeting with Zebari. "On the other hand, we are expecting support from international community and our neighbors in struggle against terrorism."

Babacan said rebel attacks this month alone left 42 people dead.

The Turkish government on Tuesday asked television and radio stations to curb broadcasts about Sunday’s ambush, saying they "have a negative impact on public order and people’s morale, spreading a flawed image of security forces," according to an official at the media watchdog. The official asked not to be named because she was not allowed to speak to the media.

Babacan, meanwhile, rejected any offer of a cease-fire by the PKK.

Cease-fires are "possible between states and regular forces," a stern-faced Babacan said. "The problem here is that we’re dealing with a terrorist organization."

The PKK has called on Turkey not to attack Iraq, claiming that a unilateral rebel cease-fire declared in June was still in place although it did not halt fighting.

"The position of the PKK is that we have agreed to a cease-fire but when we are attacked by the Turkish troops we will hit back," rebel spokesman Abdul-Rahman al-Chadarchi told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

He also confirmed that the rebels were holding eight Turkish soldiers captive and promised to treat them with respect, although he said it was "premature" to discuss conditions for their release.

"When they were attacking us, they were our enemies but now they are helpless captives whom we will take care of," al-Chadarchi said. "When the Turkish government asks for them, we can talk about conditions."

July 19, 2007

Washington Post Advocates Attacking Nuclear-Armed Pakistan

Needless to say, Katherine Grahm must be doing cartwheels in her grave:

If Pakistani forces cannot -- or will not -- eliminate the sanctuary, President Bush must order targeted strikes or covert actions by American forces, as he has done several times in recent years. Such actions run the risk of further destabilizing Pakistan. Yet those risks must be weighed against the consequences of another large-scale attack on U.S. soil. "Direct intervention against the sanctuary in Afghanistan apparently must have seemed . . . disproportionate to the threat," the Sept. 11 commission noted. The United States must not repeat that tragic misjudgment.

And here, folks, are my favorite remarks from the WP's own comment thread:

Once again. the Post reveals its warmongering point-of-view, and a childish understanding of foreign policy. Someone needs to give the Post an "Olmert Award" for pseudo-macho stupidity. With our recored of inept military action in the area, the most likely result will be a nuclear-armed Islamic state. That will have unthinkable effects on India and the region. Will US troops go in to try to grab the nukes? And if that fails? I suspect American aircraft carriers and other military assets are within range. Attacking ANOTHER Islamic state is probably the stupidest thing possible, although one can never underestimate the neocons.

I’m not really surprised that the Post’s editors are stupid enough, after everything we've seen, to suggest attacking a country armed with nuclear weapons.

I just cannot believe that that so many readers are falling for the same old tricks all over again.

Actually, scratch that. I do believe it. I never believed that most of my fellow commentators here really opposed the Iraq war in 2003. They just turned against it when they finally realised they were losing.

Now, Cheney is pushing for war against Iran, but others in the Administration resist. Yet they all agree it would be politically smart to stimulate a bit of US jingoism in time for the election campaign. They feel the urge to double down…why not compromise on Waziristan?

Given the time necessary to place troops and pump up the war fever, the drumbeat would have to start about now. Let the word go forth to the neoconservative outlets that sold the Iraq war. Just do what you did in 2002-3. The lemmings will us.

It is incredible that the Post can run this editorial and not once mention the impact the war in Iraq has had on our ability to conduct military operations in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Not only is it incredible, it is hypocritical for your editorial to run this editorial while backing Bush on Iraq. Sometimes I wonder if the editorial board reads the news stories that the Post runs.

What kind of nuts are you guys at the Post? Attack a nuclear nation? Overturn an unstable Pakistani government and perhaps turn it over to the supporters of al Qaeda? That's what's likely to happen if we start attacking inside Pakistan. My, wouldn't Qaeda love to have nukes for its terror operations! What is it about the Post and Bush that lead them into moves that empower our worst enemies?

Of course, if Pakistani terrorists nuked us, we'd nuke them back to the stone age. But is that a process we want to go through?

(via Kevin Drum)

July 12, 2007

When The Waronterra Fails

Seems that Al Qaeda has completely reconstituted itself thanx to its Musharraf-approved safe haven in Northern Waziristan.

U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the 2001 terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned.

The conclusion suggests that the group that launched the most devastating terror attack on the United States has been able to rebuild despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.

Still, numerous government officials say they know of no specific, credible threat of a new attack.

A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the new government threat assessment called it a stark appraisal that will be discussed at the White House on Thursday as part of a broader meeting on an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

The official and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the secret report remains classified.

Counterterrorism analysts produced the document, titled "Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West." The document pays special heed to the terror group's safe haven in Pakistan and makes a range of observations about the threat posed to the United States and its allies, officials said.

Al-Qaida is "considerably operationally stronger than a year ago" and has "regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001," the official said, paraphrasing the report's conclusions. "They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States."

The group also has created "the most robust training program since 2001, with an interest in using European operatives," the official quoted the report as saying.

At the same time, this official said, the report speaks of "significant gaps in intelligence" so U.S. authorities may be ignorant of potential or planned attacks.

June 28, 2007

New FAUX Nooze Push Poll

And the question du jour is: who do you trust more to wage a war between this country and Islamofascists, those Democrats or Republicans (because you know how all wars are partisan efforts):

If there is an all-out war between the United States and various radical Muslim groups worldwide, who would you rather have in charge — Democrats or Republicans?

Democrats 41%

Republicans 38%

Both the same(not listed) 9%

Don't know (not listed) 12%

Well, if Eye-Rack was any indication, what would you expect.

Update: WorstPresidentEver also falls to a new low of 31% in the same poll.

U.S. Deliberately Killed Children And Civilians

Because, just like the "Al-Qaeda types" who blew up the Mansour Hotel in Baghdad this week, they really wanted to go after "high value targets":

NEW YORK - The U.S. special operations forces attack June 17 that resulted in the death of seven Afghan children likely missed its primary target, U.S. officials tell NBC News.

Abu Laith al Libi — one of al-Qaida's top commanders — was the primary target of the attack against a compound in the Paktika province of eastern Afghanistan. According to several officials, and contrary to previous statements, the U.S. military knew there were children at the compound but considered Abu Laith of such high value it was worth the risk of potential collateral damage.

Those same officials now tell NBC News that although six sets of remains besides those of the seven children were recovered, it's not clear whether Abu Laith is among those killed.

I'm sure we'll just blame the kids for being "human shields".

June 27, 2007

Ann Coulter Makes A New Video

Digby watched Hardball with Ann Coulter so I don't have to, and really what she has to say about A-rabs is no different than what Bin Laden and his allies has to say about their chosen enemies:

"We need to be less concerned about civilian casualties...we bombed more people in Hamburg in two days ... I'd rather have their civilians die than our civilians... we should kill their people."

And why is she on Chis Matthew's show again? It's because she wrote some books.


June 25, 2007

America, Still A Nation Of Idiots

This is part of the reason why I don't trust the public NOT to turn against Democrats if and when they pull the plug on the war:

Even today, more than four years into the war in Iraq, as many as four in ten Americans (41 percent) still believe Saddam Hussein’s regime was directly involved in financing, planning or carrying out the terrorist attacks on 9/11, even though no evidence has surfaced to support a connection. A majority of Americans were similarly unable to pick Saudi Arabia in a multiple-choice question about the country where most of the 9/11 hijackers were born. Just 43 percent got it right — and a full 20 percent thought most came from Iraq.

As Steve Benen says, the number of people who thought Saddam was directly involved in the September 11 attacks has actually gone up in three years. So even though now most of the people think the war is wrong and unwinnable, how long do you think they are going to change their minds and blame the assortments of Democrats, liberals and dirty, fucking hippies for denying this great nation victory over the Arab scum?

June 22, 2007

Gitmo Metastasis

A lot of people seemed excited over the speculation that the Bushies will close down the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp - I mean prison. Any veteran watcher of the Worst Administration Ever would figure out their angle instead of granting kudos. Sadly, here they do not fail to disappoint. It turns out that if they do indeed close down that prison, they will simply expand their extrajudicial archipelago of prisons so that their actions will be more spread out and obscured:

(AP) WASHINGTON The United States is helping build a prison in Afghanistan to take some prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay, but the White House said Friday it is not meant as an alternative to the detainee facility in Cuba.

The Bush administration wants to close Guantanamo Bay and move its terror suspects to prisons elsewhere and senior officials have told The Associated Press a consensus is building among the president's top advisers on how to do it.

However, a scheduled high-level Friday meeting on the matter was canceled after AP reported on it and the White House said no decision is imminent -- while repeating President Bush's stated desire to shutter Guantanamo Bay.

"America does not have any intention of being the world's jailer," White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino told reporters. She noted that the United States has announced plans to release about 80 of some 375 detainees, and hopes to transfer several dozen Afghans back to Afghanistan in the near future.

Worst Of The Worst, Cont.

Bush is right, life would be a lot easier if you were a dictator. You can declare someone guilty without having to mess around with bullshit such as evidence, judicial review, due process, etc:

An Army officer with a key role in the U.S. military hearings at Guantanamo Bay says they relied on vague and incomplete intelligence and were pressured to declare detainees ``enemy combatants,'' often without any specific evidence.

His affidavit, released Friday, is the first criticism by a member of the military panels that determine whether detainees will continue to be held.

Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, a 26-year veteran of military intelligence who is an Army reserve officer and a California lawyer, said military prosecutors were provided with only ``generic'' material that didn't hold up to the most basic legal challenges.

Despite repeated requests, intelligence agencies arbitrarily refused to provide specific information that could have helped either side in the tribunals, according to Abraham, who said he served as a main liaison between the Combat Status Review Tribunals and those intelligence agencies.

``What were purported to be specific statements of fact lacked even the most fundamental earmarks of objectively credible evidence,'' Abraham said in the affidavit, filed in a Washington appeals court on behalf of a Kuwaiti detainee, Fawzi al-Odah, who is challenging his classification as an ``enemy combatant.''

The Pentagon had no immediate comment, but a spokesman said Defense Department officials were preparing a response to the affidavit.

(via ThinkProgess)

June 20, 2007

"Are Ya Gonna Convict Jack Bauer?"

That's the workings of the Great Legal Mind currently sitting on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia. Apparently, we now look to completely fictional and over-the top TV dramas that have lost audience share this season because of it's nonsensical story arcs in order to establish enduring constitutional principles:

Senior judges from North America and Europe were in the midst of a panel discussion about torture and terrorism law, when a Canadian judge's passing remark - "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra 'What would Jack Bauer do?' " - got the legal bulldog in Judge Scalia barking.

The conservative jurist stuck up for Agent Bauer, arguing that fictional or not, federal agents require latitude in times of great crisis. "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand.

"Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.

"So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes."

The other Canadian judges, in their own high-minded academic manner, told Scalia to go to hell, as they should. But why the hell is Scalia free to spout such nonsense in the first place? He and his kind can ever point to real-world situations where torture has saved people from an imminent threat, and since we are dealing with Islamic radicals, they would welcome such abuses - seeing it as the most holy martyrdom at the hands of their enemies. For the last time: torture doesn't work. The Abu Ghraib torture never helped us in Eye-Rack, torture is not helping us in Afghanistan, nor did it help in Vietnam or any other conflict. Our LACK of committing torure actually helped us defeat the Germans, whose squads would readily surrender to the Americans instead of to the Soviets whose prison camps they feared. So if Scalia thinks he's being a patriot, then he's dead wrong. He's just another man-child wanking off to cowboy movies.

I wonder how you can disbar a Supreme Court Justice?


We're in Eye-Rack so we can fight them over there so they won't fight us over here.

Apparently that's good enough for the bushbots, so the war without end or meaning continues. Yet ABC News learns that terrorists are still sending suicide bomb teams to several international locations, even to this country:

Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained by the Blotter on

Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an al Qaeda/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9.

A Pakistani journalist was invited to attend and take pictures as some 300 recruits, including boys as young as 12, were supposedly sent off on their suicide missions.

And take two guesses on how they are getting all these recruits:

The tape shows Taliban military commander Mansoor Dadullah, whose brother was killed by the U.S. last month, introducing and congratulating each team as they stood.

"These Americans, Canadians, British and Germans come here to Afghanistan from faraway places," Dadullah says on the tape. "Why shouldn't we go after them?"

Clash of civilizations indeed.

June 5, 2007

Charges Dismissed Against Former Child Soldier And Driver, Both Still In The Concentration Camp.

Worst of the worst indeed:

GUANT?NAMO BAY, Cuba, June 4 — The government’s new system for trying Guantánamo detainees was thrown into turmoil Monday, when military judges in separate decisions dismissed war crimes charges against two of the detainees.

The rulings, the latest legal setbacks for the government’s effort to bring war crimes charges against detainees, could stall the military’s prosecutions here.

The decisions did not turn on the guilt or innocence of the detainees, but rather made essentially the same determination that the military had not followed procedures to declare the detainees “unlawful enemy combatants,? which is required for the military commission to hear the cases.

Pentagon officials described the rulings as raising technical and semantic issues, and said that they were considering appeals. If appeals failed, they said, they could go through the process of redesignating the detainees.

But military lawyers said the rulings exposed a flaw that would affect every other potential war-crimes case here. And the rulings brought immediate calls, including from some on Capitol Hill, for Congress to re-examine the system it set up last year for military commission trials and, perhaps, to consider other changes in the legal treatment of Guantánamo detainees.

. . .The military judges said Congress authorized the bringing of war-crimes charges against detainees who had been declared by military tribunals to be “unlawful enemy combatants.? But they said the tribunals held at Guantánamo, known as combatant status review tribunals, or C.S.R.T.’s, had determined only that the detainees were enemy combatants, without making the added determination that their participation was “unlawful.?

The international law of war defines unlawful combatants as fighters who, for example, do not wear military uniforms and conceal their weapons.

Monday’s rulings came in the cases of the only Canadian detainee, Omar Ahmed Khadr, and a Yemeni detainee, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Mr. Hamdan’s appeal of a prior effort to prosecute him led to a Supreme Court decision last June in which the justices struck down the administration’s first system for war-crimes trials.

The military judge in Mr. Hamdan’s case, Capt. Keith Allred of the Navy, said the Pentagon had failed to obtain the necessary enemy combatant classification of Mr. Hamdan, who is accused of being the Qaeda driver for Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Hamdan’s longtime military lawyer, Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift said that, though his client was unlikely to obtain freedom because of the decision, “It was once again a victory for the rule of law.?

The judge in Mr. Khadr’s case, Peter E. Brownback III, an Army colonel, said since the detainee had not been declared an unlawful enemy combatant, the military court did not have jurisdiction over the case and the proceedings could not continue. “A person has a right to be tried only by a court which he knows has jurisdiction over him,? Judge Brownback said from the bench in the military courtroom here.

Mr. Khadr, who was 15 when he was captured in Afghanistan, is charged with killing an American soldier, spying, supporting terrorism and other charges.

May 28, 2007

ICE, ICE, Baby


An Iowa business owner shows his disapproval of the Department of Homeland Security Division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement during a raid.

Shocker o' the day: The Department of Homeland Security is more concerned about putting brown folks in cattle cars - I mean deporting them - than actually going after terra-ists:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Claims of terrorism represented less than 0.01 percent of charges filed in recent years in immigration courts by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a report issued Sunday by an independent research group.

This comes despite the fact the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that fighting terrorism is the central mission of DHS.

The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse said it analyzed millions of previously undisclosed records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act.

Of the 814,073 people charged by DHS in immigration courts during the past three years, 12 faced charges of terrorism, TRAC said.

Those 12 cases represent 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed.

"The DHS claims it is focused on terrorism. Well that's just not true," said David Burnham, a TRAC spokesman. "Either there's no terrorism, or they're terrible at catching them. Either way it's bad for all of us."

The TRAC analysis also found that DHS filed a minuscule number of what are called "national security" charges against people in the immigration courts. The report stated that 114, or 0.014 percent of the total of roughly 800,000 individuals charged were charged with national security violations.

TRAC reported more than 85 percent of the charges involved more common immigration violations such as not having a valid immigrant visa, overstaying a student visa or entering the United States without an inspection.

May 24, 2007

An Addendum To Previous Post

If Bin Laden was such a danger to us that we must continue wasting our resources babysitting a civil war in Eye-Rack, how come the chimp-in-chief ordered the CIA's Bin Laden Unit closed down around the time that original piece of intelligence was received?

WASHINGTON, July 3 — The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.

The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice "dead or alive."

The realignment reflects a view that Al Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, intelligence officials said, and a growing concern about Qaeda-inspired groups that have begun carrying out attacks independent of Mr. bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Yep, the exact opposite sentiment of Bin Laden still being a mastermind being peddled by the Bushies. Once again, WorstPresidentEver gets away with his lies because we have no liberal media with a sense of hisory.

May 23, 2007

We're Fighting Them Over There So They Can Attack Us Over Here

Can someone make sense of this latest scare-us-straight propaganda campaign brought to us by WorstPresidentEver?:

WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush, trying to defend his war strategy, declassified intelligence Tuesday that asserts Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terror cell to conduct attacks outside Iraq. The United States was to have been the top target.

Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser, said the intelligence bolsters the Bush administration's contention that al-Qaida wants to use Iraq as a staging area to launch terror attacks around the world, including the United States.

In January 2005, bin Laden tasked al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was in Iraq, to organize the cell, Townsend said. Al-Zarqawi, former leader of al-Qaida's Iraq operations, was killed there in June 2006 by a U.S. airstrike. "We know from the intelligence community that al-Zarqawi welcomed the tasking and claimed he already had some good proposals," Townsend said.

She said that in the spring of 2005, bin Laden instructed Hamza Rabia, a senior operative, to brief al-Zarqawi on al-Qaida planning to attack sites outside Iraq, including in the United States. She did not disclose where in the United States attacks were being plotted. Around the same time, Abu Fajah al-Libi, a senior al-Qaida manager, suggested that bin Laden send Rabia to Iraq to help al-Zarqawi plan the external operations, Townsend said.

It is unclear whether Rabia went to Iraq, she said.

And the next part is almost adorable:

She said the information was declassified because intelligence agencies have tracked all leads from the information.

Nope, it has nothing to do to boost Commander Guy's approval ratings above freezing point.

May 15, 2007

The Commander Guy Picks His War Czar

Folks, meet your new fall guy:


After a frustrating search for a new "war czar" to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ABC News has learned that President Bush has chosen the Pentagon's director of operations, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, for the role.

In the newly created position of assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan policy and implementation, Lute would have the power to direct the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies involved in the two conflicts.

Lute would report directly to the president and to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

April 28, 2007

Water Wet, Grass Green, Waronterra Makes More Terra. . .

Annual report on worldwide terrorism says that it has increased by 25 percent. Let's go to the tape:

WASHINGTON — A State Department report on terrorism due out next week will show a more than 25 percent increase in terror attacks worldwide in 2006 to over 14,000 -- almost all of it due to incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said Friday.

Based on data compiled by the U.S. intelligence community’s National Counterterrorism Center, the reports says there were 14,338 terror attacks last year, up 29 percent from 11,111 attacks in 2005. Forty-five percent of the attacks took place in Iraq.

Five U.S. officials with knowledge of the report agreed to discuss it on the condition they not be identified.

Worldwide, about 5,800 people were killed in terrorist attacks, also up from 2005. The figures for Iraq and elsewhere are limited to attacks on noncombatants, and do not include strikes against U.S. troops in Iraq. The annual report’s release comes in the midst of a bitter feud between the White House and Congress over funding for U.S. troops in Iraq, in which Democrats controlling both houses favor a deadline to begin a U.S. troop withdrawal.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her top aides had considered postponing or downplaying the release of this year’s edition, due to the extreme political sensitivities, several officials said. But ultimately, they decided to issue the report on or about the congressionally mandated deadline of Tuesday, the officials said.

April 18, 2007

They Knew

More evidence of Bush's fuckups before the 9-11 attack gave him a four-year shot in the arm:

PARIS (AP) - A French intelligence service learned as early as January 2001 that al-Qaida was working on a plot to hijack U.S. airliners, and it passed the information on to the CIA, a news report said Monday.

France's Le Monde newspaper said it had obtained 328 pages of classified documents on Osama bin Laden's terror network that were drawn up by the French foreign intelligence service, the DGSE, between July 2000 and October 2001.

The Defense Ministry didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Le Monde reported that the documents included a note dated Jan. 5, 2001, which said al-Qaida had been working on a hijacking plot for months. The intelligence note reported that bin Laden had attended a meeting in Afghanistan in October 2000, where a final decision to carry out the plot was taken, the newspaper said.

French intelligence officials apparently had no idea that al-Qaida was plotting to crash hijacked planes into buildings, as happened in the Sept. 11 attacks.

April 12, 2007

Silver Lining In Arab Profiling

Ezra Klein points us to a WSJ article (sub. required) in which Arab actors are a high commodity in this new era where them Mud-slims are the bad guys and we need the Jack Bauers in order to put some boots up their asses. I'll predict that someone in the reich-wing fever swamp will suggest that librul Hollywood is financing terra-ists, or something.

April 11, 2007

Al-Jazeera Banned In Afghanistan

Looks like our efforts in that country has produced another totalitarian Muslim state that rejects the press freedoms represented by that news station:

"The Afghan government ordered a TV station in the country to suspend broadcasts of all Al-Jazeera English language programs, the station's director said Tuesday.

"A statement from Lemar TV said the Ministry of Information and Culture, which oversees media in Afghanistan, did not provide reasons for the order. The station complied, but contested the order before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

"The director of the station said the ministry told the attorney general's office that Al-Jazeera is 'inflicting a killer blow to the cultural order and the legal authority of the government.' Ministry officials could not immediately be reached for comment."

Jesus, even Saddam Hussein allowed Al-Jazeera. Christ.

(via Brian Ulrich of American Footprints)

April 4, 2007

Where Medieval Rules Of Law Now Applies To Americans

A federal judge says evidence that is obtained through torture are now admissable in trying Jose Padilla:

MIAMI (Reuters) - Evidence from alleged al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla can be used against him at trial despite defense claims the American's arrest was based on information obtained through torture, a U.S. judge ruled on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke refused to reconsider a magistrate's ruling in
September to admit Padilla's statements to the FBI as evidence in his trial
starting on April 16 on charges of conspiring to aid Islamist extremists overseas.

Cooke said the defense failed to raise any new arguments.

The warrant the FBI used to arrest Padilla at Chicago's O'Hare airport in May 2002
was based in part on information provided by two prisoners held at the U.S. military
jail at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Abu Zubaydah and Binyam Muhammad, prosecutors
acknowledged in November


And you wonder why the Iranians went wild with the Brits before releasing them today. We just have no standing when pleading human rights with the rest of the world.

Another Victory In The WaronTerra

Send him off to Gitmo!

April 3, 2007 — - A middle school student who allegedly confronted a girl with a knife has become one of the youngest Americans ever charged with terrorism.

Late Monday, Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas officially charged the 14-year-old boy from Mesa, Ariz., with terrorism, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and carrying weapons on a school campus.

The alleged crimes took place two weeks ago when police say the boy, who is an eighth grader at Powell Junior High School, approached a girl with a knife as she walked home from school. The girl escaped and called police. When the boy failed to show up at school the next day, police visited his home.

They found a backpack full of weapons including a handgun and ammo, chains, and rope. Police said they want the boy to be tried as an adult.

The charge of terrorism includes "substantial interruption of a public facility or establishment with a deadly weapon," according to the county attorney's office.

Mesa Police say the youth admitted to planning to take his class hostage. The boy told police that he intended to kill the girl, whom he singled out at random, police spokeswoman Holly Hosac said.

Yes, what the kid did and was allegedly planning to do is serious, but it is not terrorism since it's a political tool used to achieve specific political ends. Unless this kid was planning on not releasing his hostages until the proletariat is fully represented in the parliament - or until this country worships Allah - this just doesn't qualify.

March 29, 2007

If You Don't Fight This War, Zarqawi Will Eat You In Your Sleep (Boogah! Boogah!)

John McCain just said this yesterday:

"The consequences of failure are catastrophic because if we come home, bin Laden and Zarqawi, they are going to follow us."

Jesus, even when we do kill the terra-ists they are still a threat. Not a nice endorsement to either wars, you blockhead.

via Atrios.

March 25, 2007

Zbigniew Brzezinski on the Waronterra

Jimmy Carter's former National Security Advisor is dumping on us Americans for being so scared of our own shadows over 19 madmen with boxcutters. I say "so what"? Us dirty fucking hippies have been saying the exact same thing almost immediately after the planes hit. I remember during that time that my biggest fear was not of an invading A-rab mob out to kill us all, but that this country would respond in the way we did respond - by making this much, much larger than a criminal act that should be prosecuted.

But let us not forget that Mr. Brzezinski was among those that first empowered those jihadists that targeted this country in the first place. Of course Bush and Clinton neglected to clean up Afghanistan after the Soviets left, leaving a broken country wracked in civil war until Islamic fundamentalists took over. It would be nice if his role was acknowledged.

March 21, 2007

Sahel In Somalia

More on the "success" of the U.S. backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia:

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - Insurgents dragged the corpses of two soldiers through the streets of the Somali capital and set the bodies on fire Wednesday after a fierce street battle killed at least seven people, witnesses and medical officials said.

An Associated Press photographer saw insurgents drag the bodies of one Ethiopian soldier and one Somali government soldier through the streets of northeastern Mogadishu and then set them on fire.

As one of the bodies was still burning, women wearing head scarves and long, loose dresses picked up stones and pounded it as a handful of young men looked on.

Ethiopia sent soldiers into Somalia in December to help defeat an Islamic movement that threatened to destroy Somalia's internationally recognized government. While the Islamic forces no longer hold territory, they have started an insurgency to overthrow the government and drive out the Ethiopian troops.

Well, to be honest, I kinda doubted that this was to be coming, since they signed a sham peace agreement and all.

Oh yeah, in case you are wondering, sahel is an Iraqi word, meaning literally "dragging a body through the streets." That's what the Americans did to Saddam's statue, that's what the Iraqis in Fallujah did to those contractors the month when everything went to hell (April 2004), and that's what the Somalians did to those that invade their country, American or otherwise.

March 16, 2007

Reverse Midas Touch In Somalia

Eric Martin of American Footprints provides a much needed update on the "success" enjoyed by the Ethiopian Army last year in routing the Islamic Courts government that was set up in Somalia. In short, despite all the rhetoric saying otherwise, an insurgency has taken hold that is giving the Ethiopians a headache. Any moron with a fifth-grade education can make that prediction. That the "peace treaty" was a delaying tactic so the militants can organize against the invaders. But of course we are not dealing with morons.

We are dealing with conservatives.

Khalid Sheik Muhammed: Stonecutter

I'm going to shamelessly copy Attaturk's post entirely because, in light of this story, it's just too goddamn funny:


(sung in the tune of "We Do" from the The Simpsons episode "Homer the Great")

Who controls the British crown?
Who keeps the metric system down?
I do! I do!

Who leaves Atlantis off the maps?
Who keeps the Martians under wraps?
I do! I do!

Who holds back the electric car?
Who makes Steve Gutenberg a star?
I do! I do!

Who robs cavefish of their sight?
Who rigs every Oscar night?
I do! I do!

Bwaahahahaa, ahem, oh yeah. Because of the fact that we tortured Khalid Sheik Muhammed, I'm inclined to believe any such "confessions" are bullshit and further demonstrate the need for uncoerced testimony in open court.

March 9, 2007

How Convenient

The Pentagon just happened to "lose" a videotape showing Jose Padilla's interrogation, the contents which might prove why Padilla is mistrustful of authority figures like his lawyers. Who else wants to call "bullshit" on this?

A videotape showing Pentagon officials' final interrogation of al-Qaida suspect Jose Padilla is missing, raising questions about whether federal prosecutors have lost other recordings and evidence in the case.

The tape is classified, but Padilla's attorneys said they believe something happened
during that interrogation that could explain why Padilla does not trust them and
suspects they are government agents.

Padilla attorney Anthony Natale said in court papers that the March 2, 2004,
interrogation at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., could contain information the
government conveyed to Padilla that "directly impacts upon his relationship with
his attorneys."

Prosecutors and the Pentagon have said they cannot find the tape despite an
intensive search.

"The Wire" Already Did This Story

I'm not sure why a potentially new scandal involving the abuse of Patriot Act provisions by the FBI is even making the news just now. The third season of the critically acclaimed HBO show, "The Wire" already had that in their storyline when the local police were frustrated in tracking phone calls of a drug dealer:

Lieutenant Cedric Daniels: (to FBI Agent Terrence Fitzhugh) How did you get around the wiretap laws? Agent Fitzhugh: What's Stringer's given name? Lieutenant Daniels: Uh, Russel Bell, why? Agent Fitzhugh: Well, for the time being, his momma named him "Ahmed".

March 8, 2007

Drawing Blood From Stones

The Center for American Progress has a new report out that states that seventy-two percent of Army divisions have been deployed to Eye-Rack or Afghanistan more than once. In total, 420,000 out of 1.4 million military personnel have been deployed to Eye-Rack/Afghanistan more than once. People like to pretend they can keep this up, but with the equipment shortages, the lack of training, and the strain being put on military families, they are just dreaming.

March 1, 2007

"I F**cked Up, I Trusted Me"

Kevin Drum points us to another mea culpa by a former war supporter, i.e. warblogger. Sure, some of us bleeding heart types might be inclined to forgive him, The Grand Moff Texan has been so embittered by the devastation and carnage caused by such blinding imperialist arrogance to give these pant-pissing mushheads any kind of pass. His cynical takedown of that apology is pretty long, but this comment struck me as the ultimate truth in this so-called Clash of Civilizations:

You were alienated from the people who maintained the same standards of civilization that you pretend to be defending. You were dragged along by the same kind of religious zealots and ideological absolutists you see as a threat, but only when they're Muslims.

You think you are confronting a fundamentalist threat from outside your civilization, but I've been confronted with a fundamentalist threat inside my civilization since I was born. That's why I know better than to fear the former and serve the latter.

Our fundamentalists differ from their fundamentalists only in that ours have killed more people.


February 27, 2007

Cheney Not A Casualty In The Waronterra

Are we still winning?

A suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan Tuesday during a visit by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, killing up to 23 people and wounding 20 more.

The Taliban claimed responsibility and said Cheney was the target.

Talking to reporters later, Cheney said he heard "a loud boom" and was informed by Secret Service agents that there had been an explosion.

Apparently there was an underground bunker where Cheney was kept snug after the terra-ists tried getting to him.

February 22, 2007

"We Must Fight Them Over There. . ."

Mother Jones has a major new issue out where they examine the Eye-Rack war, it's factions and it's effects. If there's one thing anyone should take out of it, it is that the Eye-Rack war did nothing about worldwide terrorism. In fact, if anything, it only made it much, much worse.


Of course, Eye-Rack and Afghanistan are both jihadistans of terrorism, a militant's practice ground for waging war on crusaders, Jews and apostates, so they don't count. The rest of the world, however, still experienced a 35 percent rise in attacks and a 12 percent rise in fatalities from those attacks.

If that weren't enough, it turns out the Bushies are lying about their effectiveness in waging their waronterra (PDF):

Nearly all of the terrorism-related statistics reported by the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI from the September 11 attacks until early 2005 had some inaccuracies, the department's inspector general said on Tuesday.

. . .The report found that only two out of 26 statistics were accurate after reviewing the number of terrorism convictions in the 2003 and 2004 financial years, the number of convictions or guilty pleas from September 11, 2001, through February 3, 2005, and the number of terrorist threats tracked by the FBI in 2003 and 2004.

"We found many cases involving offenses such as immigration violations, marriage fraud, or drug trafficking where department officials provided no evidence to link the subject of the case to terrorist activity," the report said.

Keeping us safe from terra-ists? Hell, they can't even tell the goddamn truth about it.

February 19, 2007

Guess Who's Back

The New York Times has a feature about Bush's failed Waronterra:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 — Senior leaders of Al Qaeda operating from Pakistan have re-established significant control over their once-battered worldwide terror network and over the past year have set up a band of training camps in the tribal regions near the Afghan border, according to American intelligence and counterterrorism officials.

American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan. Until recently, the Bush administration had described Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri as detached from their followers and cut off from operational control of Al Qaeda.

The United States has also identified several new Qaeda compounds in North Waziristan, including one that officials said might be training operatives for strikes against targets beyond Afghanistan.

American analysts said recent intelligence showed that the compounds functioned under a loose command structure and were operated by groups of Arab, Pakistani and Afghan militants allied with Al Qaeda. They receive guidance from their commanders and Mr. Zawahri, the analysts said. Mr. bin Laden, who has long played less of an operational role, appears to have little direct involvement.

Officials said the training camps had yet to reach the size and level of sophistication of the Qaeda camps established in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. But groups of 10 to 20 men are being trained at the camps, the officials said, and the Qaeda infrastructure in the region is gradually becoming more mature.

. . .Since 2001, members of various militant groups in Pakistan have increased their cooperation with one another in the tribal areas, according to American analysts.

The analysts said that North Waziristan became a hub of militant activity last year, after President Musharraf negotiated a treaty with tribal leaders in the area. He pledged to pull troops back to barracks in the area in exchange for tribal leaders’ ending support for cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, but officials in Washington and Islamabad conceded that the agreement had been a failure.

During a news conference days before last November’s elections, President Bush said of the campaign against Al Qaeda: “Absolutely, we’re winning. Al Qaeda is on the run.?

But in a speech several days ago, Mr. Bush painted a more sober picture of Al Qaeda’s current strength, especially inside Pakistan.

“Taliban and Al Qaeda figures do hide in remote regions of Pakistan,? Mr. Bush said. “This is wild country; this is wilder than the Wild West. And these folks hide and recruit and launch attacks.?

Officials said that both American and foreign intelligence services had collected evidence leading them to conclude that at least one of the camps in Pakistan might be training operatives capable of striking Western targets. A particular concern is that the camps are frequented by British citizens of Pakistani descent who travel to Pakistan on British passports.

In a speech in November, the director general of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, said that terrorist plots in Britain “often have links back to Al Qaeda in Pakistan.? She said that “through those links, Al Qaeda gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here on an extensive and growing scale.?

If only we took this operation as seriously as Bosnia. . .

February 13, 2007

West Point Dean To 24 Creator Joel Surnow: "Stop It."

Apparently anticipating a recent report that says that torture doesn't work and interrogators are too influenced by torture scenes presented in the popular media (i.e. 24) Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan and four others went to meet with the producers of 24 in November in order to tell them to quit using that fanciful shortcut that never works in real life to resolve crises, or if they have to, show the consequences of such actions:

"People watch the shows, and then walk into the interrogation booths and do the same things they've just seen," said Tony Lagouranis, who was a U.S. Army interrogator in Iraq and attended the meeting.

"The kids see it, and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about '24'?" Finnegan said.

. . .Joe Navarro, an FBI interrogation expert who was at the meeting, said he wouldn't want anyone like Bauer on his team. "Only a psychopath can torture and be unaffected," he said. "You don't want people like that in your organization. They are untrustworthy, and tend to have grotesque other problems."

Welp, Joel Surnow, the series right-wing producer, remains unconvinced that torture is a failed policy whose only end is to create republics of fear ruled by depraved maniacs:

The show's co-creator and executive director, Joel Surnow, 52, a self-described "right-wing nut," seemed stunned by the complaints, but gave no hint that the torture scenes would be toned down - or shown not to work. "We've had all of these torture experts come by recently, and they say, 'You don't realize how many people are affected by this. Be careful,'" Surnow conceded. "But I don't believe that."

Eh, who can blame him. Apparently he only giving the people what they want.

February 3, 2007

Meanwhile, In That Other War. . .

It's gonna be a hot year:

Hundreds of Taliban militants overran a southern Afghan town that British troops left after a contentious peace agreement in October, destroying the government center and temporarily holding elders hostage, officials and residents said Friday.

The assault, days after a Taliban commander was killed outside the town of Musa Qala, raises doubts about the future of the peace deal, which has been criticized by some Western officials as a NATO retreat in hostile Taliban territory.

Two residents of Musa Qala estimated that between 200 and 300 Taliban fighters had overtaken the town. They said the fighters took weapons from the police on Wednesday and destroyed the town's government center late Thursday.

Col. Tom Collins, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said an "unknown number" of militants had entered Musa Qala. He said late Friday that no NATO-led forces were in the town.

January 25, 2007

Glenn Kessler And The Washington Post Calls Bullshit On Bush

Imagine that, a reporter that compares Bush's public statements with actual facts on the ground:

In his State of the Union address last night, President Bush presented an arguably misleading and often flawed description of "the enemy" that the United States faces overseas, lumping together disparate groups with opposing ideologies to suggest that they have a single-minded focus in attacking the United States.

Under Bush's rubric, a country such as Iran -- which enjoys diplomatic representation and billions of dollars in trade with major European countries -- is lumped together with al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat," Bush said, referring to the different branches of the Muslim religion.

Similarly, Bush asserted that Shia Hezbollah, which has won seats in the Lebanese government, is a terrorist group "second only to al-Qaeda in the American lives it has taken." Bush is referring to attacks nearly a quarter-century ago on a U.S. embassy and a Marine barracks when the United States intervened in Lebanon's civil war by shelling Hezbollah strongholds. Hezbollah has evolved into primarily an anti-Israeli militant organization -- it fought a war with Israel last summer -- but the European Union does not list it as a terrorist organization.

At one point, Bush catalogued what he described as advances in the quest for freedom in the Middle East during 2005 -- such as the departure of Syrian troops from Lebanon and elections in Iraq. Then, Bush asserted, "a thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics and in 2006 they struck back." But his description of the actions of "the enemy" tried to tie together a series of diplomatic and military setbacks that had virtually no connection to one another, from an attack on a Sunni mosque in Iraq to the assassination of Maronite Lebanese political figure.

Read the whole thing, including the debunking of Bush's upbeat claims about job performances and budget deficits. But the real crime is his lumping together Shiite extremists with Al Qaeda, and it is doing nothing but pissing off the people we are supposed to be supporting:

Iraqi Shi'ite officials on Wednesday dismissed as "ridiculous" U.S. President George W. Bush's comment that Shi'ite militants were as big a danger to the United States as Sunni al Qaeda.

. . .An official from a top Shi'ite party in Iraq said Washington would lose focus in fighting terrorism if it decided to open up a new front against Shi'ite militias.

"Comparing Shi'ite militias to al Qaeda is ridiculous. They are protecting their own communities after a three-year onslaught by terrorists and only a few outlaws take revenge. How are the militias a threat to the United States?" he said.

"The only solution is to give the government control of its own forces," said the official, who declined to be identified.

That's the Uniter, uniting everybody against us.

Surge Protection

Remember the infantry batallion that was pulled from Afghanistan in order to support WorstPresidentEver's Surge? Well guess how they are going to cover their ass on that. That's right, screwing over more soldiers looking to come home:

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has decided to extend the combat tour of 3,200 soldiers from a 10th Mountain Division brigade in Afghanistan for four months in hopes of quelling the violence.

The decision comes a week after Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with commanders in Afghanistan and heard a request for more troops.

Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, at first asked for about 1,200 troops. Gates said he was "strongly inclined" to meet the commander's request but wanted to consider other options before deciding how many to hold over.

Ben Abel, a spokesman for Fort Drum, N.Y., where the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division is based, confirmed that Gates had decided to extend the brigade's tour.

January 23, 2007

Torture Doesn't Work And We Do Not Live In 24's World - That Is All

Arthur Silber highlights a new study by the Intelligence Science Board telling us that there is no evidence that the "controversial interrogation approaches" (aka torture) used by the WorstPresidentEver's fight against the terra-ists actually work, and that some of the techniques have actually hindered our efforts.

Even worse, the "painful and coersive techinques" that are used were not founded on experience or knowledge that it would get results, but were either made up on the fly with the interrogators using their captives as human guinea pigs, or they were influenced by the examples presented by popular culture, especially the FOX show 24. Silber of course uses this as further evidence of the corrosive effect that show has had on our nation:

You need not wonder any longer why I have written about the great evil conveyed by 24, although I admit that even I was not prepared to find confirmation on this point in precisely this form.

. . .So there you have it: a series like 24, with its genuinely monstrous messages, serves as the basis for national policy, and as the "justification" for the systematic use of torture.

I honestly do not know how to express my profound revulsion in response to this latest story. So I will simply say that I am truly at a loss for words, and end this entry here.

But for some perverted reason, I still watch it and get a kick out of the show. Just last week a suitcase nuclear bomb exploded in an LA suburb, a situation which is at the height of absurdity. We can only see how this season will turn out. Hell, even the producers don't have a clue how the season will end, which just lends to the general craziness of the show and its utter unpredictability. Will it top the arrest and prosecution of the President of the United States last season? We'll see.

January 17, 2007

Abu Gonzalez Blinks

Guess the Bushelvikis decided that spying on Americans without warrants isn't a good idea after all:

The Justice Department announced today that the National Security Agency's controversial warrantless surveillance program has been placed under the authority of a secret surveillance court, marking an abrupt change in approach by the Bush administration after more than a year of heated debate.

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said that orders issued on Jan. 10 by an unidentified judge puts the NSA program under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret panel that oversees most intelligence surveillance in the United States.

Gonzales also wrote that the current NSA program will effectively be abandoned after its current authorization expires in favor of the new approach.

The change marks a dramatic turn of events for the Justice Department, which has strenuously argued for more than a year that the NSA spying program was legal and that the foreign intelligence court was poorly suited to oversee the program, as many lawmakers had advocated.

Of course, we can't be confident that they are sincere about their changes until we know all the details, but I hope the Conventional Wisdom doesn't ignore the fact that they've announced this change only after the Democrats took control of Congress.

January 8, 2007

Where They Are Getting The Troops

It's not enough that Bush has to fuck up Eye-Rack beyond all recognition, now he has to toom Afghanistan to distaster as well. The Baltimore Sun reports that even though the troop level in Afghanistan is too small to effectively combat the resurgent Taliban rebels, and the commanders on the ground there saying they need additional troops, the War President who listens and responds to his generals decides to pull one Army battalion in order to provide enough troops for his Eye-Rack escalation:

The accelerating war here and the critical need for troops vastly complicate the crumbling security picture across the region - from Afghanistan, where the United States chose to strike back after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, to Iraq, where American troops have been unable in almost four years of fighting to establish basic security and quell a bloody sectarian war.

As a last-ditch effort, President Bush is expected to announce this week the dispatch of thousands of additional troops to Iraq as a stopgap measure, an order that Pentagon officials say would strain the Army and Marine Corps as they struggle to man both wars.

Already, a U.S. Army infantry battalion fighting in a critical area of eastern Afghanistan is due to be withdrawn within weeks in order to deploy to Iraq.

According to Army Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Tata and other senior U.S. commanders here, that will happen just as the Taliban is expected to unleash a major campaign to cut the vital road between Kabul and Kandahar. The official said the Taliban intend to seize Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city and the place where the group was organized in the 1990s.

"We anticipate significant events there next spring," said Tata.

As Atrios would say, thanks Oh Wise Men of Washington.

January 3, 2007

Worst Of The Worst

So Jose Padilla has been declared an enemy combatant and forced into abuses and isolation that has resulted in mental damage and all for what? Seven wiretapped phone calls, none of which involved any terra-ist plots:

Tens of thousands of conversations were recorded. Some 230 phone calls form the core of the government’s case, including 21 that make reference to Mr. Padilla, prosecutors said. But Mr. Padilla’s voice is heard on only seven calls. And on those seven, which The Times obtained from a participant in the case, Mr. Padilla does not discuss violent plots.

That's the hallmark of the Bush administration, a national disgrace.

Thomas Jefferson: Terra-ist Sympathizer

Keith Ellison is making new waves by using the Koran previously owned by Thomas Jefferson himself in the private swearing-in ceremony, thereby unleashing new symbolisms into this Republican-manufactured "controversy". But don't worry, the wingnuts have a new answer to counter the fact that one of our founding fathers do not mind having the terra-ist handbook in his own personal library:

The Bashaw of Tripoli’s justification for war on American trading ships in the Mediterranean two hundred years ago, according to Thomas Jefferson, was that “it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.? By all means let Keith Ellison swear in using Jefferson's Koran, maybe afterwards he can look up the passages that discuss smiting the infidels at the neck and make great slaughter among them. Probably underlined.

These lizard brains have no compunction, do they?

via Daily Kos.

December 26, 2006

Are You Happy Now?

You got your revenge on the A-rabs, any A-rabs, and we've paid double. Once again, I hope all the morans are fucking satisfied.

U.S. Deaths in Iraq Exceed 9-11 Count

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U.S. military death toll in Iraq has reached 2,974, one more than the number of deaths in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, according to an Associated Press count on Tuesday.

December 12, 2006

I Can't Stand It

I just can't stand it.

I'd comment on this, but for the bile forming in the back of my throat:

Rumsfeld: ‘It Is Not A War on Terror’ In a new interview posted on, conservative columnist Cal Thomas asks outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “With what you know now, what might you have done differently in Iraq?? Rumsfeld offers a remarkable response:
I don’t think I would have called it the war on terror. I don’t mean to be critical of those who have. Certainly, I have used the phrase frequently. Why do I say that? Because the word ‘war’ conjures up World War II more than it does the Cold War. It creates a level of expectation of victory and an ending within 30 or 60 minutes of a soap opera. It isn’t going to happen that way. Furthermore, it is not a ‘war on terror.’ Terror is a weapon of choice for extremists who are trying to destabilize regimes and (through) a small group of clerics, impose their dark vision on all the people they can control. So ‘war on terror’ is a problem for me.

December 9, 2006

One Friedman Left In Afghanistan

I think we made a movie in the late 80's about this celebrating this type of quagmire happening - although back then the islamofashishehshes were the freedom fighters and the Soviets were the infidels deserving their costly disaster:

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — The conflict in Afghanistan has entered a dangerous phase, and the next three to six months could prove crucial in determining whether the United States and its NATO partners can suppress a revitalized enemy — or will be dragged into another drawn-out and costly fight with an Islamic insurgency, according to senior military and security officials and diplomats.

"I think we are approaching a tipping point, perhaps early in the new year," said a Western diplomat in the region, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

Popular support for the central government is faltering, and Western military allies are deeply divided over how best to combat the insurgency.

On the other side of the fight, the Taliban has regained the strength to dominate large swaths of Afghanistan; government control is tenuous at best in at least 20% of the country, according to several Western diplomats and Afghan officials.

Militants have built a network of bases in the tribal hinterlands that straddle the frontier with Pakistan. Over the last year, a growing number of mobile encampments on the Afghan side of the border have given the insurgents greater self-sufficiency, military officials say, although the guerrillas still draw heavily on logistical support and weaponry funneled from the Pakistani side.

"They can come and go pretty much undetected," acknowledged U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael T. Harrison Sr., who is overseeing the training and equipping of the struggling Afghan national army.

Observers point to an inexorable upward trend in violence that includes suicide attacks, roadside bombs and border clashes. "We have a bona fide war going on," Harrison said.

A widely cited recent report by the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board, a panel of Afghan and foreign officials, said such attacks had increased fourfold from last year, killing at least 3,700 people so far in 2006.

What? You mean spending 25 times less per capita on Afghanistan than in Bosnia WON'T defeat the Taliban? And deploying 1/50th of the troops sent to Bosnia doesn't help either? And creating an Afghan military whose soldiers gets paid less than a Taliban is ass-ignorant at best? Well shit on me and call me a sundae!

December 5, 2006

The $125 Million Kangaroo Court

Well, the newly elected Democrats have their first test in saving our republic from WorstPresidentEver. Apparently man-or-monkey wants to build an institution completely outside our justice system of which to play judge, jury and executioner for all the "worst of the worst" terra-ists they have holed up in Guantanamo Bay. Prioblem is, they are going to do it without congressional approval, basically making this taxation without representation:

The Pentagon is invoking emergency authority to fast-track funding of a comprehensive war-crimes court compound at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to a letter to Congress obtained by The Miami Herald.

Department of Defense spokesmen would not say when -- if ever -- the Pentagon had last invoked similar authority.

Nor would they specify which military construction already approved by Congress would be frozen to fund the courtroom project, which could cost as much as $125 million, according to U.S. government documents.

But, in a Nov. 17 letter to several Republican and Democratic senators and House members, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England explains the unusual move this way:

``Due to national security implications and extreme urgency, emergency construction was authorized pursuant to Section 2808 of title 10, United States Code.''

Congressional staff members say the price tag and the funding mechanism have stirred protests among key members of Congress with fiscal and operational oversight of the Department of Defense.

The Pentagon wants to build, in three months, a mini-city on an abandoned airfield to stage the trials -- two new courtrooms with space for two more, dining, housing and work space for up to 1,200 military and civilians working at the trials, and media, conference and classified information centers.

Mark my words. If Democrats allow this to happen, I will never vote for a Democrat ever again.

November 28, 2006

Get Em From Eye-Rack, Moron

WorstPresidentEver grovels before NATO asking for more troops before Afghanistan becomes as much of an obvious fuckup as Eye-Rack:

RIGA (Reuters) - President Bush appealed to NATO allies on Tuesday to provide more troops with fewer national restrictions for the alliance's most dangerous mission in Afghanistan, hours before a summit of allied leaders.

"To succeed in Afghanistan, NATO allies must provide the forces NATO military commanders require," Bush told a joint news conference with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Tallinn on his way to the NATO meeting in neighboring Latvia.

"Like Estonia, member nations must accept difficult assignments if we expect to be successful," he said in a veiled reference to numerous so-called national caveats that restrict where, when and how allies' troops can be used.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a security conference in Riga it was unacceptable that allied forces in southern Afghanistan, the main battleground with resurgent Taliban fighters, were 20 percent below the required strength.

No Bush, this is a failure other people AREN'T going to bail you out of.

November 21, 2006

Another Victory Against Oceania

Remember the time when we experience such a rash of radical Muslims hijacking American aircrafts? Those diaperheads simply gave us no choice BUT to profile every single one of their asses and take them off flights;

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) -- US Airways said Tuesday it is investigating the removal of six Muslim imams who were passengers on a Monday flight heading to Phoenix, Arizona.

The clerics, who had been in Minnesota for a national imams conference, were guilty of nothing more than "flying while Muslim," according to a national Muslim advocacy group.

The alert was raised after the men performed their normal evening prayers in the airport terminal before boarding Flight 300. (Watch how one of the men was treated at a US Airways desk Video)

A passenger who had seen them pray passed a note expressing concern to a flight attendant, US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Rader told The Associated Press.

The passenger thought the imams -- who were speaking in Arabic and English -- had made anti-U.S. statements before boarding and "made similar statements while boarding," said Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

Once on board, Knocke said, the six split up into groups of two and did not sit in their assigned seats.

US Airways had the imams removed from the plane, and according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, the airline denied the clerics access to another flight and did not assist them in obtaining tickets on another carrier.

"This discrimination should not stand," said Nihad Awad, the council's executive director. "We call on religious communities, civil rights movements and other people to stand up and speak up."

He said the group was getting more reports of 'flying while Muslim' and racial profiling incidents across the country.

"We are concerned that crew members, passengers and security personnel may have succumbed to fear and prejudice based on stereotyping of Muslims and Islam," Awad said in an earlier press release calling for an investigation.

US Airways pledged a thorough probe.

Yeah, how many of the 9-11 terrorists drew attention to themselves by praying before a flight? Anyways, they always say that profiling is necessary, unless it applies to whites. That is why even though whites, by far, have higher rates of drunk driving than any other racial group, they will never be profiled for that reason. But for powerless minorities, it's perfectly okay.

November 3, 2006

The Other Shoe Drops

You know how we liberals whined about how our recent codification of torture, removing habeus corpus, indefinite detention and kangaroo courts will put Americans abroad at risk to those countries that might see a green light to abuse them as they please? Well, now we have a test case:

Vietnam charges 3 U.S. citizens with "terrorism"

02 Nov 2006 20:03:42 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Grant McCool

HANOI, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Seven people, including three Vietnamese-born
U.S. citizens, will be prosecuted on charges of plotting violence against
Vietnam's communist government, officials said on Thursday.

The prosecutor included charges against a U.S. citizen whose 13-month-long
detention has drawn attention in the United States before a Nov. 17-20 visit
to Vietnam by President George W. Bush.

. . .The statement linked the seven to a Vietnamese-born resident of the United
States, Nguyen Huu Chanh, who was suspected of plotting to bomb Vietnam
embassies in recent years.

May God have mercy on them.

October 27, 2006

So This Is How Fascism Looks Like (Oprah Edition)

Just now on Oprah, where she is interviewing Falafel-boy Bill O'Reilly, Bill-O just defended the use of torture, specifically waterboarding, in that it should be used to save lives, citing the "fact" that waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed lead to the breakup of terror plots. First of all, the terror plots O'Leilly was referring to included the plan to blow up the Library Tower in Los Angeles. The Bushies claimed to have disrupted that plot in 2002. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured in 2003, so whatever information he gave on that plot was probably redundant. Second of all, waterboarding Al-Qaeda operatives gave us bogus information that directly led to the Eye-Rack shitmire.

But all that didn't matter. The soccer-mom hens that make up Oprah's studio audience clapped and cheered O'Loofah's courageous stance in favor of torture. That moment sent chills down my spine. If the supposedly moderate audience that watches Oprah supports that type of war crime, what hope is left for this country?

October 26, 2006

Cheney: Waterboarding Is Not Torture

That recently enacted Military Commissions Act is really something. It says that it doesn't allow torture, but it lets the Bush administration define what torture is. Keep in mind that these are the same monsters who said what happened in Abu Ghraib isn't torture, that wrote a memo saying anything short of organ failure isn't torture, and now Darth Cheny has emphatically stated that waterboarding, or as the brownshirt radio host who he did the interview with has called "dunk in water," is not torture:

Cheney confirms that detainees were subjected to water-boarding

By Jonathan S. Landay
McClatchy Newspapers
Posted on Wed, Oct. 25, 2006

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called "water-boarding," which creates a sensation of drowning.

Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn't regard water-boarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said at one point in an interview.

Cheney's comments, in a White House interview on Tuesday with a conservative radio talk show host, appeared to reflect the Bush administration's view that the president has the constitutional power to do whatever he deems necessary to fight terrorism.

The U.S. Army, senior Republican lawmakers, human rights experts and many experts on the laws of war, however, consider water-boarding cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that's banned by U.S. law and by international treaties that prohibit torture. Some intelligence professionals argue that it often provides false or misleading information because many subjects will tell their interrogators what they think they want to hear to make the water-boarding stop.

. . .In the interview on Tuesday, Scott Hennen of WDAY Radio in Fargo, N.D., told Cheney that listeners had asked him to "let the vice president know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives."

"Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?" Hennen said.

"I do agree," Cheney replied, according to a transcript of the interview released Wednesday. "And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high-value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation."

Cheney added that Mohammed had provided "enormously valuable information about how many (al-Qaida members) there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth. We've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that."

"Would you agree that a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" asked Hennen.

"It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the vice president `for torture.' We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in," Cheney replied. "We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that."

Whoever said it is right. When fascism emerges in this country, it will come festooned with crosses and American flags.

October 20, 2006

Wow, Couldn't Have Seen This Coming

When Chairman Bush starts rounding up American citizens after declaring them "enemy combatants" THEN will we wake up?

Court Told It Lacks Power in Detainee Cases

By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 20, 2006; A18

Moving quickly to implement the bill signed by President Bush this week that authorizes military trials of enemy combatants, the administration has formally notified the U.S. District Court here that it no longer has jurisdiction to consider hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

In a notice dated Wednesday, the Justice Department listed 196 pending habeas cases, some of which cover groups of detainees. The new Military Commissions Act (MCA), it said, provides that "no court, justice, or judge" can consider those petitions or other actions related to treatment or imprisonment filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future.

Beyond those already imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay or elsewhere, the law applies to all non-U.S. citizens, including permanent U.S. residents.

via the Echaton

September 28, 2006

Habeus Corpus, American Moral Hegemony, RIP (1776-2006)

Kangaroo Court legislation passes Senate 65-34 (Olympia Snowe abstained)

You remember the U.S. pilots that were shot down by the Chinese early in the Bush presidency? If they are shot down now, the Chinese will have every excuse to not hand them over and torture them as they like.

September 27, 2006

Poll: Bush Blamed More For Bin Laden's Freedom

haw haw.gif

Heh, despite the mighty reich-wing wurlitzer's attempt to hang the failure of capturing Bin Laden around Bill Clinton's neck, most people still blame WorstPresidentEver than Clinton for the fact that Bin Laden is roaming around free, as they should:

PRINCETON, NJ -- The recent firestorm over former President Bill Clinton's culpability for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was fueled on Tuesday when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice contrasted President Bush's efforts to pursue al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with Clinton's efforts. Clinton has strongly denied various suggestions that his administration missed key opportunities to kill bin Laden and left the Bush administration without a comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy. However, Bush -- whom Clinton says did nothing about al-Qaeda for the first eight months of his presidency -- has the bigger image problem with Americans on the issue.

According to a recent Gallup Panel survey, the American public puts the primary blame on Bush rather than Clinton for the fact that bin Laden has not been captured. A majority of Americans say Bush is more to blame (53%), compared with 36% blaming Clinton.

Why should this be an issue anyways? When Clinton tried to get Bin Laden, it was "Wag the Dog" all the time. When Bush was given all the tools and all the support he needed, left and right, he still fucks it up and gives a Medal of Freedom to his fuckup general Tommy Franks. The 36% who still blame Clinton for Bin Laden's freedom are just the conservative base who enable's Bush every step of the way.

Continue reading "Poll: Bush Blamed More For Bin Laden's Freedom" »

September 25, 2006

Welcome To Jihadistan

Newweek International has a major story on Bush's spetacular failure that is going on in Afghanistan:

The Rise of Jihadistan Five years after the Afghan invasion, the Taliban are fighting back hard, carving out a sanctuary where they—and Al Qaeda's leaders—can operate freely.

By Ron Moreau, Sami Yousafzai and Michael Hirsh

Oct. 2, 2006 issue - You don't have to drive very far from Kabul these days to find the Taliban. In Ghazni province's Andar district, just over a two-hour trip from the capital on the main southern highway, a thin young man, dressed in brown and wearing a white prayer cap, stands by the roadside waiting for two NEWSWEEK correspondents. It is midday on the central Afghan plains, far from the jihadist-infested mountains to the east and west. Without speaking, the sentinel guides his visitors along a sandy horse trail toward a mud-brick village within sight of the highway. As they get closer a young Taliban fighter carrying a walkie-talkie and an AK-47 rifle pops out from behind a tree. He is manning an improvised explosive device, he explains, in case Afghan or U.S. troops try to enter the village.

Continue reading "Welcome To Jihadistan" »

May 15, 2006

"We Know Who You're Calling"

I didn't know ABC News was a international terrorist organization:

Federal Source to ABC News: We Know Who You're Calling May 15, 2006 10:33 AM

Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report:

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we (Brian Ross and Richard Esposito) call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

So the media meritrixes kiss Bush's ass for nigh unto five years and all it got to show for it is the removal of their civil liberties? Maybe it's time for them to cut the crap and start doing some actual reporting on these criminals.

Remission Accomplished

About that other "good war" we also have going on:

Taliban Justice Returns to Afghanistan May 15, 2006 10:26 AM

Rahimullah Yusufzai Reports:

For the first time since losing power in December 2001, the Taliban has publicly executed a convicted murderer. Speaking from an undisclosed location, a Taliban spokesman told ABC News that the condemned murderer was executed in the presence of a large number of people in the town of Gizab in the Urozgan province. The prisoner was killed by gunshots fired by a relative of his victim.

. . .The spokesman said the execution shows the level of Taliban control in Urozgan. There the Taliban has the power to arrest and try criminals and publicly implement decisions of its Shariah courts.

Can WorstPresidentEver do anything right?

April 11, 2006

Israel "Doesn't Want, Doesn't Support, Doesn't Accept" Purple Fingers

Once again, Israel continues the policies that have placed Hamas in power in the first place:

Olmert: No ties with Hamas-led Authority By Aluf Benn and Arnon Regular Israel will cut off ties with the Palestinian Authority, view it as a "hostile" entity and act to prevent Hamas from becoming an established government, Prime Minister-designate Ehud Olmert said yesterday.

Olmert also decided that Israel will refuse to hold official meetings with any public figures from abroad who meet with Hamas officials. This move is a renewal of the boycott Israel imposed on officials who met with the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

Olmert said Israel viewed the Palestinians as "one authority, and not as having two heads," but would refrain from a "personal disqualification" of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Olmert's statements came during a special session he convened in the wake of the swearing-in of the Hamas government, led by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The decisions made at the meeting will soon be presented to the cabinet for approval. . .

In an effort to prevent a crisis, international aid would go to the Palestinian population without the intervention of the government services under Hamas' jurisdiction, perhaps by going through the authorities under Abbas' control, the official added. In addition, humanitarian aid would be able to pass through the checkpoints on the Gaza border, "subject to security considerations."

I wonder how the already violently resentful Palestinian population will feel being totally enslaved and dependent on the Israelis. They will probably react in the same way once they find out that the Israelis are going to unilaterally redraw the borders.

April 3, 2006

President Officially Crowned As Dictator

Thanks to the increasingly supine and irrelevant Supreme Court:

Court sidesteps war powers challenge In 6-3 vote, justices won't review appeal of ex-'enemy combatant' From Bill Mears CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A divided Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a U.S. citizen held until recently as an "enemy combatant" without traditional legal rights.

The case goes to the heart of the president's executive authority against global terrorism.

But justices, in a 6-3 vote, sidestepped that issue, agreeing with the government that it was moot because Jose Padilla now faces criminal charges in Florida.

The court's denial of jurisdiction was a victory for the Bush administration, which had suffered a series of legal setbacks over its anti-terror policies.

One justice noted that Padilla's appeal was "hypothetical" at this stage since he is no longer in military custody.

The court's refusal to consider the matter further had been debated internally by the justices for weeks. . .

Ginsberg, Souter, Breyer dissent
In a brief dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, "Nothing the government has yet done purports to retract the assertion of executive power Padilla protests." Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer also would have accepted the case for review.

It takes at least four justices to accept cases for review, meaning oral arguments are held and written opinions are usually issued.

Padilla's attorney, Donna Newman, expressed disappointment. "We believe those constitutional issues should have been resolved by the Supreme Court, and we're not alone on that," she said. "But they have spoken, and there is nothing else we can do."

March 21, 2006

"You Can't Distinguish Between Al-Qaeda And Saddam Ahmadinejad"

This steaming pile of liquid coprolite sounds sadly familiar to what the Worst President Ever said in the run-up to the Iraq War.

Some U.S. Officials Fear Iran Is Helping Al Qaeda They say intelligence suggests that the regime lets key figures plot. But the picture is cloudy. By Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writer March 21, 2006

WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence officials, already focused on Iran's potential for building nuclear weapons, are struggling to solve a more immediate mystery: the murky relationship between the new Tehran leadership and the contingent of Al Qaeda leaders residing in the country.

Some officials, citing evidence from highly classified satellite feeds and electronic eavesdropping, believe the Iranian regime is playing host to much of Al Qaeda's remaining brain trust and allowing the senior operatives freedom to communicate and help plan the terrorist network's operations.

And they suggest that recently elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be forging an alliance with Al Qaeda operatives as a way to expand Iran's influence or, at a minimum, that he is looking the other way as Al Qaeda leaders in his country collaborate with their counterparts elsewhere.

"Iran is becoming more and more radicalized and more willing to turn a blind eye to the Al Qaeda presence there," a U.S. counter-terrorism official said.

The article was careful in juxaposing these charges to the ones made three years ago regarding Iraq, and in reporting that other officials believe that a Shiite government would ever cooperate with an ultraorthodox Hanbalist Sunni organization that regards Shiites as apostates, but still they made this into a major story. Shame on them.

March 19, 2006

Wow, I Sure Feel Safe

After five years of fearmongering, this is what we got to show for it:

Airline screeners fail government bomb tests 21 airports nationwide don’t detect bomb-making materials

By Lisa Myers, Rich Gardella & the NBC Investigative Unit
NBC News
Updated: 1:53 p.m. ET March 17, 2006

WASHINGTON - Imagine an explosion strong enough to blow a car's trunk apart, caused by a bomb inside a passenger plane. Government sources tell NBC News that federal investigators recently were able to carry materials needed to make a similar homemade bomb through security screening at 21 airports.

In all 21 airports tested, no machine, no swab, no screener anywhere stopped the bomb materials from getting through. Even when investigators deliberately triggered extra screening of bags, no one discovered the materials.

NBC News briefed former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, chairman of the 9/11 commission, on the results.

"I'm appalled," he said. "I'm dismayed and, yes, to a degree, it does surprise me. Because I thought the Department of Homeland Security was making some progress on this, and evidently they're not."

Investigators for the Government Accountability Office conducted the tests between October and January, at the request of Congress. The goal was to determine how vulnerable U.S. airlines are to a suicide bomber using cheap, readily available materials.

Investigators found recipes for homemade bombs from easily available public sources and bought the necessary chemicals and other materials over the counter. For security reasons, NBC News will not reveal any of the ingredients or the airports tested. The report itself is classified. But Lee Hamilton, the vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, says the fact that so many airports failed this test is a hugely important story that the American traveler is entitled to know.

NBC News asked a bomb technician to gather the same materials and assemble an explosive device to determine its power. The materials for the bomb that exploded a car's trunk fit in the palm of one hand. NBC News showed the results to Leo West, a former FBI bomb expert.

"Potentially, an explosion of that type could lead to the destruction of the aircraft," said West.

The Transportation Security Administration would not comment on the tests Thursday (NOTE: The TSA did comment Friday. To read that story, click here), but issued a statement to NBC News, saying "detecting explosive materials and IEDs at the checkpoint is TSA's top priority." The agency also said screeners are now receiving added training to help identify these materials.

That’s not soon enough for Tom Kean.

"They need to do it yesterday," Kean said, "because we haven’t got time."

Given hardened cockpit doors and other improvements, experts say explosives now are the gravest threat posed by terrorists in the sky.

Lisa Myers is NBC's senior investigative correspondent.

Can't these morons do ANYTHING right?

Yosemite Sam Yells "Boogah! Boogah!"

The unelected embarrassment of an ambassador to the UN Josh Bolton is now comparing the "threat" coming from Iran to 9/11. Do these people have any shame at all?

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, on Wednesday compared the threat from Iran's nuclear programs to the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.

"Just like September 11, only with nuclear weapons this time, that's the threat. I think that is the threat," Bolton told ABC News' Nightline program.

"I think it's just facing reality. It's not a happy reality, but it's reality and if you don't deal with it, it will become even more unpleasant."

Bolton ratcheted up the rhetoric as the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council failed again to reach agreement on how to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions after a fifth round of negotiations.

March 18, 2006

The New Afghanistan: Now WITHOUT Stadium Beheadings

This is the fruit of WorstPresidentInTheWorld's efforts in "liberating" Afghanistan?

Afghan Man Faces Execution After Converting to Christianity By Benjamin Sand Kabul 18 March 2006

An Afghan man who recently admitted he converted to Christianity faces the death penalty under the country's strict Islamic legal system. The trial is a critical test of Afghanistan's new constitution and democratic government.

The case is attracting widespread attention in Afghanistan, where local media are closely monitoring the landmark proceedings.

Abdul Rahman, 40, was arrested last month, accused of converting to Christianity.

Under Afghanistan's new constitution, minority religious rights are protected but Muslims are still subject to strict Islamic laws.

And so, officially, Muslim-born Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and not for practicing Christianity.

Appearing in court earlier this week Rahman insisted he should not be considered an infidel, but admitted he is a Christian.

He says he still believes in the almighty Allah, but cannot say for sure who God really is. "I am," he says, "a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ."

Rahman reportedly converted more than 16 years ago after spending time working in Germany.

Officials say his family, who remain observant Muslims, turned him over to the authorities.

On Thursday the prosecution told the court Rahman has rejected numerous offers to embrace Islam.

Prosecuting attorney Abdul Wasi told the judge that the punishment should fit the crime.

He says Rahman is a traitor to Islam and is like a cancer inside Afghanistan. Under Islamic law and under the Afghan constitution, he says, the defendant should be executed.

The court has ordered a delay in the proceedings to give Rahman time to hire an attorney.

Under Afghan law, once a verdict is given, the case can be appealed twice to higher courts.

This is the first case in which the defendant has admitted to converting and is refusing to back down, even while facing the death penalty.

If convicted, the case could ultimately force President Hamid Karzai's direct intervention.

The president would have to sign the papers authorizing Rahman's execution, a move that could jeopardize Mr. Karzai's standing with human rights groups and Western governments.

So far, President Karzai has not commented on the case.

But political analysts here in Kabul say he will be under significant pressure from the country's hard-line religious groups to make an example of Rahman.

Hmm, looks like Babs and Karen Hughes didn't give them a stern enough talking to.

How Are Republicans Tough On National Security

Tough enough to deny funding for port security, apparently.

So these morons would like a war to prevent a nooklular Iran, but can't give 2 squirts of piss about protecting our own country? If we had an opposition party, Republicanism would have been a dead letter a long time ago.

Via Kevin Drum

March 13, 2006

Why Does The Guy I Just Poisoned Look So Sick?

Some Republicans are just so appalled that fear of A-rabs would torpedo the Dubai ports deal:

GOP lawmakers: Fear fueled ports criticism
United Arab Emirates
Associated Press Writer

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Four U.S. legislators visiting this city at the heart of a collapsed ports management deal stressed Sunday the United Arab Emirates remained one of America's strongest allies in the fight against terrorism.

The deal gave the Emirates-based Dubai Ports World control of six U.S. ports, but an uproar from the American public and Congress pushed DP World to withdraw.

The lawmakers, all Republicans from Georgia, said the controversy over the ports deal was largely a result of lack of knowledge about the transaction, and political expedience.

. . .Isakson, Sen. Saxby Chambliss and congressmen Phil Gingrey and John Linder agreed the Emirates would remain a strong ally.

"Our countries have been friends and will continue to be friends," Chambliss told The Associated Press after meeting with executives from Dubai Ports World and Emirates Vice President Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

Publicly, some U.S. officials said they had security concerns over having foreign companies control American ports. A Sunday editorial in one of the Emirates' leading English-language dailies accused the United States of racism and double standards.

"Other foreign-owned companies run U.S. ports _ but they were not Arab. That is the message. And we got it," said the Gulf News editorial.

Linder said the use of fear tactics by some politicians to garner support was key in provoking the uproar.

"The American people thought it was a bad deal because they have been made to fear it. The Democrats jumped on it a couple weeks ago because we're in a political season, and Republicans responded to try and outdo them," Linder said.

So Democrats were the ones who have been exploiting and fanning xenophobia against Arabs? I must have missed the part where they ran a campaign ad comparing their opponent to Osama bin Laden or where they said to arrest every Muslim that enters Georgia.

March 3, 2006

"We Don't Torture"

Remember how that lovable maverick John McCain boldly introduced legislation banning torture and inhumane treatment of detainees held by this country, which was then overwhelmingly approve by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by the President? Well, looks like the Bushies are insisting on a loophole:

Bush administration lawyers, fighting a claim of torture by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, yesterday argued that the new law that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody does not apply to people held at the military prison.

In federal court yesterday and in legal filings, Justice Department lawyers contended that a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, cannot use legislation drafted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to challenge treatment that the detainee's lawyers described as "systematic torture."

Government lawyers have argued that another portion of that same law, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, removes general access to U.S. courts for all Guantanamo Bay captives. Therefore, they said, Mohammed Bawazir, a Yemeni national held since May 2002, cannot claim protection under the anti-torture provisions.

And it looks like the Bush bastards just might get away with it too:

"Unfortunately, I think the government's right; it's a correct reading of the law," said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "The law says you can't torture detainees at Guantanamo, but it also says you can't enforce that law in the courts."

I could say Congress should do something like this, except Congress is led by a bunch of rightwing Bush enablers and that legislation is just a stunt by McCain to look "moderate" when he's anything but. At least we now have the Bushies on record saying that they do torture and there is nothing that the victims can do about it.

February 26, 2006

It's Time To Shut Down Guantanamo Bay

This is from the must-read February 3rd piece in the National Journal

Some of the men Rumsfeld described -- the terrorists, the trainers, the financiers, and the battlefield captures -- are indeed at Guantanamo. But National Journal's detailed review of government files on 132 prisoners who have asked the courts for help, and a thorough reading of heavily censored transcripts from the Combatant Status Review Tribunals conducted in Guantanamo for 314 prisoners, didn't turn up very many of them. Most of the "enemy combatants" held at Guantanamo -- for four years now -- are simply not the worst of the worst of the terrorist world.

Many of them are not accused of hostilities against the United States or its allies. Most, when captured, were innocent of any terrorist activity, were Taliban foot soldiers at worst, and were often far less than that. And some, perhaps many, are guilty only of being foreigners in Afghanistan or Pakistan at the wrong time. And much of the evidence -- even the classified evidence -- gathered by the Defense Department against these men is flimsy, second-, third-, fourth- or 12th-hand. It's based largely on admissions by the detainees themselves or on coerced, or worse, interrogations of their fellow inmates, some of whom have been proved to be liars.

The most telling conclusion of the piece is that fewer than 20 percent of the prisoners in Guantanamo have ever been Al-Quaeda members. The most infuriating is that at least 8 prisoners in Guantanamo have been cleared of any association with Al-Qaeda or of any ill intent against any Americans, yet are still held indefinitely in that pit.

Continue reading "It's Time To Shut Down Guantanamo Bay" »