27 July 2005

How we will say thank you for their incredible loyalty and support throughout the work stoppage

The NHL is back in business after a divisive feud between owners and players resulted in a year long lockout, and the Phoenix Coyotes are lowering ticket prices to lure fans back to the Glendale Arena.
The Phoenix Coyotes announced today the team's season ticket pricing for the  2005-06 NHL season. The Coyotes have reduced ticket prices on nearly 15,000  seats in Glendale Arena ranging from 11 to 25 percent. The average ticket price  reduction is 12.8 percent.

The prices for top level, center ice seats appear to be most reasonable to me — $23 and $15 respectively, except for the first few rows which are $38.

New league rule changes will be in effect for the 2005-2006 season, in an effort to open up the game amd revitalize fan excitement over NHL action. Most significant of these are the removal of the red line for offsides passing and the introduction of a shootout to settle ties.

24 July 2005

Rove and Libby's defense against a possible conspiracy count in the prosecutor's eventual indictment

According to Lawrence O'Donnel, who writes on how Rove's attorney, Bob Luskin, is providing client sympathetic leaks to the press now.
In the 21 days since I broke the story that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source, Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, has been working the press everyday with a new defense angle that, once committed to print in Newsweek, the Washington Post or the New York Times, gets added to the Republican party's talking points on the scandal. Luskin's first response to my revelation was to say that, well, yes, Rove did talk to Cooper about Joe Wilson's wife but he did not "knowingly" disclose classified information -- knowingly being the essence of Rove's criminal defense (as I have previously discussed).

After getting a lot of embarrassing attention for trying to deny to the Washington Post that Rove was the person who finally gave Cooper a specific release to testify, Luskin has gone undercover and now rarely attaches his name to the defense briefs he dictates to reporters, all of whom would love to use a source other than Luskin but no one in the prosecutor's office is leaking, so they're stuck with Luskin. The Washington Post usually identifies him as a source familiar with Rove's grand jury testimony, but Luskin has managed to negotiate a more indirect label with the Times where he appears as a source who has "been briefed on the case." The Times always points out that the source is sympathetic to Rove. Today's Times piece says that Luskin's latest description about how Rove and Lewis Libby worked together (the prosecutor might say conspired) to respond to Joe Wilson's Op-Ed piece was leaked to the the Times "to demonstrate that Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby were not involved in an orchestrated scheme to discredit Mr. Wilson or disclose the undercover status of his wife, Valerie Wilson, but were intent on clarifying the use of intelligence in the president's [State of the Union] address."

Regardless of the outcome, it will indeed interesting grist to read when the special prosecutor spills all the details.

23 July 2005

Intelligence was manipulated, mangled, ignored, and analysts were harassed and bullied to present the false picture that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S.

That is the assessment of James Bamford, noted investigative journalist who's covered intelligence gathering for more than two decades in his book A Pretext for War. Every American should be outraged at how the Bush administration and the cabal of hawkish neoconservatives deceived and misrepresented intelligence in their quest for an already predetermined, preemptive war.
In talking with intelligence analysts and case officers, in the months leading up to the war none believed that Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. The most basic evidence was the fact that Iraq had never begun work on a long-range missile system (unlike Iran and North Korea), something that can be easily seen by imaging satellites space with a resolution down to the centimeter. And no country has ever built a warhead without simultaneously building a delivery system.

One CIA analyst from the Iraq Nonproliferation section told me that his boss once called his office together (about 50 people) and said, "You know what " if Bush wants to go to war, it's your job to give him a reason to do so." The former analyst added, "And I said, 'All right, it's time, it's time to go". And I just remember saying, 'This is something that the American public, if they ever knew, they would be outraged.'"

Congress was also lied to. Because Iraq had no long-range missiles, they were told in secret session that Iraq was planning to launch a series of unmanned drones loaded with chemical and biological agents against the East Coast of the U.S. Many members of Congress voted for the resolution exclusively because of that warning. It later turned out that not only did Iraq not have such warheads, the few drones they had were rudimentary, short range, and there was no way to launch them from sea off the East Coast in the first place. There were many such falsehoods.

In the first half of the book, Bamford gives a chronological view of events that lead up to the September 11, 2001 terrorist strike on World Trade Center towers and Pentagon. He details a intelligence community ill prepared to advise properly and/or take corrective action. Military and intelligence leaders were paralyzed, and were informed on events unraveling by the same medium as the general public — cable news networks. These agencies were structured for the cold war, and had been slow in changing to meet the requirements for threats in a new global age. Intercepts that could have alerted authorites sat untranslated, FBI reports of suspicious flight school students were ignored, and agencies were plagued by a dearth of language translators.

The ascent of George Tenet is covered, and his campaign to modernize the agency. Historically, the CIA is tied to foreign embassies — without that lifeline, they are blinded. Ironic, that just a few years earlier, the Afghanistan campaign to rid the country of Soviet rule was celebrated as an monumental intelligence community victory. But Tenet only has a grip on 15% of the nation's intelligence operations — Donald Rumsfled controls the other 85% and embarked on setting up additional groups to tell him what he wanted to hear.

Still, the latter third of Pretext for War is the alarming section, where the neconservative capture of foreign policy dictates is explained. How the original Iraq invasion was a plan for Israel and then prime minister Netanyahu rejected it. But immediately after taking office, the President's top national security advisors — Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser began pleading for an invasion of Iraq, eager to unravel their plans initially designed for Israel and Netanyahu. Having worked for conservative pro-Israeli think tanks before Bush came to office, these individuals appear to be more concerned with the Likud party of Israel as they urged the United States to pull out of peace negotiations with the Palestinians and made the case for preemptive war to "rollback" Arab neighbors, and insitute puppet leaders friendly to Israel. When 9/11 occurred, this was the "crisis can be opportunity" moment the bloodlust yearning neoconservatives salivated for, and instead of focusing on the aftermath of the attacks, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz wanted to invade Iraq, despite there being no evidence of Iraq's involvement.

Bamford shows how dubious claim after dubious claim was trotted out by the Bush administration to justify a preemptive war with Iraq. Every charge is proven false, or garnered from an unreliable source. A compliant, obedient press eagerly regurgitated the PR copy handed to it, and elevated a convicted embezzler, Ahmed Chalabi, whom the CIA discarded as incredulous years prior, to the front page of the New York Times. Obvious forgeries were floated as proof Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, yet the IAEA, ambassador Joseph Wilson, and after the invasion, the Iraq Survey Group all easily debunked this spurious claim. Other evidence referenced by the Bush administration was of equally suspicious quality — unnamed exiles belonging to Ahmed Chalabi's INC, and other fantastic, unreal accusations, uncollaborated and unsubstantiated.

The final chapter is a doozie, devoted to Colin Powell's UN Security Council speech, where Powell was cajoled into selling the invasion, despite his better judgement that the material in the script handed to him was blatantly false. Powell would argue for the removal of items, and those items would be then reinserted. He knew even as he spoke, the case was "anything but solid". But in fact, the cited evidence was all bad, largely supplied by Chalabi's team of con men. Sadly, the public was never told how weak and ambiguous the evidence was.

It was a triumph of the power of lies, not logic, in a massive disinformation campaign, abetted by a lazy and timid press.

21 July 2005

If this isn't illegal, maybe it should be

American technology firms like Microsoft, Cisco, and Yahoo help China suppress free speech and facilitate its operation of enforcing a repressive police state, including jailing of political dissidents.
Without question, China's Internet filtering regime is "the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world," in the words of a recent report by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The system involves the censorship of Web logs, search engines, chat rooms and e-mail by "thousands of public and private personnel." It also involves Microsoft Inc., as Chinese bloggers discovered last month. Since early June, Chinese bloggers who post messages containing a forbidden word -- "Dalai Lama," for example, or "democracy" -- receive a warning: "This message contains a banned expression, please delete." It seems Microsoft has altered the Chinese version of its blog tool, MSN Spaces, at the behest of Chinese government. Bill Gates, so eloquent on the subject of African poverty, is less worried about Chinese free speech.

But he isn't alone: Because Yahoo Inc. is one of several companies that have signed a "public pledge on self-discipline," a Yahoo search in China doesn't turn up all of the (politically sensitive) results. Cisco Systems Inc., another U.S. company, has also sold hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment to China, including technology that blocks traffic not only to banned Web sites, but even to particular pages within an otherwise accessible site.

Until now, most of these companies have defended themselves on the grounds that there are side benefits -- a Microsoft spokesman has said that "we're helping millions of people communicate, share stories, share photographs and build relationships" -- or on the grounds that they can't control technology anyway. A Cisco spokesman told me that this is the "same equipment technology that your local library uses to block pornography," and besides, "we're not doing anything illegal."

But as U.S. companies become more deeply involved in China, and as technology itself progresses, those lines may begin to sound weaker. Over the past couple of years, Harry Wu, a Chinese human rights activist and former political prisoner, has carefully tracked Western corporate cooperation with Chinese police and internal security, and in particular with a Chinese project called "Golden Shield," a high-tech surveillance system that has been under construction for the past five years. Although the company won't confirm it, Wu says, Cisco representatives in China have told him that the company has contracts to provide technology to the police departments of at least 31 provinces. Some of that technology may be similar to what the writer and former businessman Ethan Gutmann describes in his recent book, "Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal." Gutmann -- whose account is also bitterly disputed by Cisco ("He's getting a lot of press out of this," complained the spokesman) -- claims to have visited a Shanghai trade fair where Cisco was advertising its ability to "integrate judicial networks, border security, and vertical police networks" and more generally its willingness to build Golden Shield.

It really is an odd arrangement of affairs, where lobbyist entities have campaigned for laws favoring prosecution of those creating software that might be used for purposes of copyright infringment (and those laws have been upheld by the highest court in the nation), whereas, in a cruel twist, software companies can purposefully aid and abett a totalitarian regime in its efforts to clamp down freedom of expression. Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco, etc.… know full well how their product is to be used there, and employees and subcontractors are directly involved in implementing, installing and training activities. This is totally unlike the purchase of goods where the original manufacturer has no knowledge of whose hands the product fell into — sales of computer software and hardware (at corporate/government levels), are always accompanied by warranties, help desk support, training, service level agreements, licensing, etc.… It's a far cry from even a free software offering that the original developer has no contact with the user, and there is no pledge or guarantee on the functional status of the software product.

Historically, corporations like IBM have received a free pass for these brazen offenses when they knew full well the intent of the end user who purchased their product.

This is another perfect illustration of how capitalism and freedom are not mutually coupled, as some like to preach. Capitalism is amoral, only concerned with the flow of profits. Any blood that is spilled in the process is a troublesome detail to be swept aside, trivialized, or in many cases, covered up.

Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al Qaeda

Somehow, until today, I was completely unaware of this speech by former U.S. deputy attorney John Loftus. The author of The Secret War Against the Jews gives an interesting history of his work, first as a Nazi hunter, then leads up to his outing two professors at the University of South Florida as Islamic Jihad heads.
I learned that many of the Nazis that I had been assigned to prosecute were on the CIA payroll, but the CIA didn't know they were Nazis because the British Intelligence Service had lied to them. What the British Intelligence Service didn't know was that their liar was Kim Philby, the Soviet communist double agent -- a little scandal of the Cold War. But our State Department swept it all under the rug and allowed the Nazis to stay in America until I was stupid enough to go public with it.

What do you do when you want to go public with a story like this one? You call up 60 Minutes. We had a great time. Mike Wallace gave me 30 minutes on his show. For a long time, it was the longest segment that 60 minutes ever did. When the episode about Nazis in America went on the air back in 1982, it caused a minor national uproar. Congress demanded hearings, Mike Wallace got the Emmy award, and my family got the death threats. It was a great trip.

Then a funny thing happened. Over the last 25 years, every retired spy in the U.S. and Canada and England all wanted me to be their lawyer, for free of course. So I had 500 clients, they paid me $1 apiece. So I am the worst paid lawyer in America, but among the better employed.

Here's how the story began. In the 1920's there was a young Egyptian named al Bana. And al Bana formed this nationalist group called the Muslim Brotherhood. Al Bana was a devout admirer of Adolph Hitler and wrote to him frequently. So persistent was he in his admiration of the new Nazi Party that in the 1930's, al Bana and the Muslim Brotherhood became a secret arm of Nazi Intelligence.

So basically, Al Qaeda is the evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is akin to Arab Nazis. And Western governments have employed and financed them to serve as assets to achieve geopolitical strategic goals, whether it was to serve in the "cold war" against the Soviets, or as a counter to Israel.

It's a fascinating read, you have to read it for yourself. I've not read The Secret War Against the Jews, but here's a snippet from a review of the book that bursts with much more startling, sensational details.

After World War II ended, and the dimensions of the Nazi Holocaust became clear, it was politically impossible for men like these to constrict immigration of the survivors to Palestine, and ultimately impossible for them to stop the formation of the state of Israel. They tried, as did their successors, but in a delicious irony, some of the very left-wing Jews they detested discovered these perfidious schemes with the help of the USSR's own intelligence agencies (Remember, the Soviets were the first to get to Berlin and they seized many Nazi intelligence documents, as well as many Nazi spies themselves). Also, Soviet intelligence had long used "fascist Jews" to penetrate the inner circles of the Third Reich and assist the USSR in its struggles on the Eastern Front. Many of these Jews were communist double agents, but others defected to Zionism after the war, and told Israeli founding fathers like David Ben-Gurion of secret deals between the British and the Americans, and the Nazis. The Zionists blackmailed Dulles's successor in Europe, James Jesus Angleton, to allow Jews to be smuggled into Palestine, and blackmailed the USSR (by threatening to disclose Soviet penetration of the CIA and MI6) so that anti-Semite Joseph Stalin actually supported the partition of Israel. That the nation-building Zionists played just as dirty as the communists and capitalists, the authors assert, is the reason that Israeli historians did not welcome the book's disclosures any more than the other duplicitous parties.

In the first days of Israeli statehood, survival was not assured. Arms from communist Czechoslovakia helped them win their first war with the surrounding Arabs. But the early Israeli leaders knew that they could not depend upon the USSR for continued support, so Ben-Gurion politically isolated the communists from his government and warned Angleton, now USA's intelligence officer for Israel, that Kim Philby (disgusted by his father's anti-British, pro-Nazi leanings, so much so that he himself became a traitor to the UK and a secret convert to communism, even as he rose in the ranks of British intelligence) was a Soviet mole inside MI-6. Angleton buried these warnings, because subsequent investigation of such charges would have revealed Angleton's and Dulles's financial collaborations with the Nazis.

During the Eisenhower era, John Foster Dulles became Secretary of State and brother Allen was appointed director of the CIA. Vice-President Richard Nixon encouraged the immigration to America of European ethnics, Eastern European ex-fascists, who were intended to counterbalance the consistently Democratic-voting American Jews. Allen Dulles betrayed both Britain and Israel in his push to secure American access to Saudi oil deposits through companies like Aramco. In fact, a revolving door between the intelligence community and the oil companies that allowed ex-spooks to become oil executives, dictated American Middle East policy, and contributed to Nixon's razor-thin loss to JFK in 1960. In 1967, while outwardly supporting Israel in its Six Day War against the united Arab armies, both the USA and the UK shared Israeli defense plans with Arab oil producers. This is why the Israelis knocked out the American surveillance ship the USS Liberty, though at the time all sides agreed it was an accident.

When Reagan was elected, a parallel to the Eisenhower years re-emerges. Vice-President Bush organized shadow intelligence operations out of his offices, the best established of these being the Iran/Contra arms deal. Bush dispatched CIA man Bill Buckely to Lebanon in a scheme to kidnap Arab terrorists. Instead, Buckley himself was seized and held hostage. Bush authorized a secret arms shipment to Iran, hoping Iranian pressure on terrorist groups it supported would get Buckley back. This shipment was unwittingly intercepted by Israel (with the help of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard), who thought the shipment was destined for the PLO. Bush was in a tight position, and subsequently hoodwinked Israeli intelligence to assist in this scheme a year later in 1985, and then deflected blame on them so he could preserve his political chances to become president. Just one more modern example where ill-advised and venal secret schemes make a mockery of the official history. Bush's intermeddling continued with secret arms sales to Iraq, then a punishing Gulf War against Iraq when Iraq became a bigger threat than its rival Iran.

No doubt that a great deal of Loftus sources are of the confidential "anonymous" variety, however, a good bit of his tale makes sense to me, given the volumes I've read on these historical matters. Like pieces in a puzzle, it puts into focus a fuzzy image, and further illustrates the diabolical nature of such covert intelligence operations. Agents acting without safeguards, checks, balances that inherently exist in structures of open government.

Finally, this posting wouldn't be complete without a Bush-Nazi scandal reference.

19 July 2005

An astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover

11 former intelligence officers delivered this letter to Democrat and Republican leadership in the House and Senate and take umbrage with the official RNC talking points repeated ad nauseum across conservative media land.
These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who “work at a desk” in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.

While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the partisan attacks against Valerie Plame are sending a deeply discouraging message to the men and women who have agreed to work undercover for their nation’s security.

We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status and that our nation’s leaders, regardless of political party, have a duty to protect all intelligence officers. We believe it is appropriate for the President to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status. Such an act by the President would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated and would be consistent with his duties as the Commander-in-Chief.

We also believe it is important that Congress speak with one non-partisan voice on this issue. Intelligence officers should not be used as political footballs. In the case of Valerie Plame, she still works for the CIA and is not in a position to publicly defend her reputation and honor. We stand in her stead and ask that Republicans and Democrats honor her service to her country and stop the campaign of disparagement and innuendo aimed at discrediting Mrs. Wilson and her husband.

18 July 2005

Notorious Christian terrorist Eric Rudolph was sentenced to two life terms on Monday

Of course, you won't see that headline in American newspapers, in regard to the infamous abortion clinic/Atlanta Olympics bomber.
Other things you won't see in the American press about this story (satire alert):

Thomas Friedman will not write an op-ed for the New York Times about what is wrong with white southern Christian males that they keep producing these terrorists. He will also not ask why Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are not denouncing Eric Rudolph every day at the top of their lungs.

No reporter will interview frightened Iraqis about their fears at hearing that there are 138,000 armed Christians in their country belonging to the same faith as the bomber, Rudolph, some of them from his stomping grounds of Florida and North Carolina.

Daniel Pipes will not write a column for the New York Post suggesting that white southern Christians be put in internment camps until it can be determined why they keep producing terrorists and antisemites.

And so on.

Language usage is a powerful device, and while it is easily reasoned that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, here is a vivid example where the same vile perpetrator of religous homicidal rage is described in much different terms than others who've committed the same offenses in the corporate controlled right wing press.

16 July 2005

You don't have the right to point guns at people because of the color of their skin

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's call on this incident is the correct one.
What issue could unite Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio with the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of Latino activist groups? Surprisingly, it's Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' handling of the Patrick Haab case.

Haab held seven undocumented immigrants at gunpoint on April 10. When county sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene, they arrested both the aliens and Haab, charging Haab with assault with a deadly weapon.

In the following days, Haab gave several differing explanations for why he held the aliens at gunpoint. Sometimes, he claimed self-defense; other times, he claimed simply to have been enforcing the immigration laws.

Federal law clearly states that only a local, state or federal law enforcement officer may perform an arrest for the crime of smuggling aliens. Is it really OK for any individual to hold another at gunpoint, for a perceived infraction that does not have anything to do with self defense?

I think Mr. Thomas is playing politics here, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Rick Romley.

Take a look at a real asshole

A loser in North Union Township, PA.
A T-ball coach seeking to keep a player with a mental disability off the field allegedly asked another player to hurt the boy, state police said Friday.

The alleged incident happened June 27 at R.W. Clark Little League Field in North Union Township, Fayette County, police said.

During pre-game warmups, Mark Reed Downs Jr. offered one of his players $25 to hit the 8-year-old boy in the head with a baseball, according to a police news release.

What kind of country destroys the job market for its own citizens?

The United States, where firms have job listings that purposefully seek foreigners on non-immigrant visas as a employment prerequisite.
Gentle reader, when you read allegations that there is a shortage of engineers in America, necessitating the importation of foreigners to do the work, you are reading a bald faced lie. If there were a shortage of American engineers, employers would not word their job listings to read that no American need apply and that they are offering jobs only to foreigners holding work visas.

What kind of country gives preference to foreigners over its own engineering graduates?

Paul Craig Roberts notes the depressing job numbers contained in the June payroll jobs report in the top portion of the article.

14 July 2005

If only women's votes had been counted in the last two elections, Al Gore and John Kerry would have won hands down

A column on the dearth of women columnists but this blurb is indeed noteworthy.
As the right's mythmakers continue their assault on the so-called "left-wing media" — the attack on public broadcasting being only the most recent example — many media outlets have caved in to the pressure and redoubled their efforts to avoid that liberal taint. Consider this: On CNN and MSNBC, presumably the most liberal cable news channels, conservative commentators outnumbered liberals 10 to 1 (CNN) and 13 to 2 (MSNBC) during the Jan. 20 coverage of President Bush's inauguration.

And if adopting protective conservative coloring is the media's goal, then women might as well toss their keyboards out the window. That's because women aren't necessarily nicer, or less interested in science, or more interested in recipes than men, but we are more liberal. Study after study has documented a persistent "gender gap" in American politics. If only women's votes had been counted in the last two elections, Al Gore and John Kerry would have won hands down.

Liberal media bias my arse…

Bush Operative Commits Felony to Punish Whistleblower

That is what the headline should have read over the story Judy Miller didn't write after being whispered the Plame leak. Of course, she's not protecting a "source", she's protecting "access".
Judy, Karl Rove ain't no "source." A confidential source -- and I've worked with many -- is an insider ready to put himself on the line to blow the whistle on an official lie or hidden danger. I would protect a source's name with my life and fortune as would any journalist who's not a craven jerk (the Managing Editor of Time Magazine comes to mind).

But the weasel who whispered "Valerie Plame" in Miller's ear was no source. Whether it was Karl Rove or some other Rove-tron inside the Bush regime (and no one outside Bush's band would have had this information), this was an official using his official info to commit a crime for the sole purpose of punishing a REAL whistleblower, Joseph Wilson, Plame's husband, for questioning our President's mythological premise for war in Iraq.

Access to official sources and celebratory praise has infected the ranks of the mainstream media.

The great poison in the corpus of American journalism is the lust for tidbits of supposedly "inside" information which is more often than not inside misinformation parading as hot news.

And thus we have Miller sucking on the steaming sewage pipe of White House lies about Iraq and spitting it out in the pages of The Times as "investigative reporting," for which The Times has apologized. Likewise, we had the embarrassment of Bob Woodward's special access to the Oval Office after the September 11 attacks when Woodward reported the exclusive news that the President was a flawless commander in chief in the war on terror -- for which Woodward has yet to apologize.

While reporting from the Potemkin village of decision-making set up for him at the White House, Woodward missed the real story that, in the words of the Downing Street memo, our leaders were losing track of Osama while they spent their time "fixing the intelligence" on Iraq. Even if Woodward learned of it, would he have reported it at the risk of losing his access to evil?

12 July 2005

Shame on those who continue to slander Joe Wilson while giving Bush and his pack of liars a pass

Larry Johnson, CIA classmate of Valerie Plame, pens a scathing rebuttal of the absurd disinformation campaign being conducted by the Republicans, still intent on smearing Joseph Wilson, and obsfucating the truth.
The lies by people like Victoria Toensing, Representative Peter King, and P. J. O'Rourke insist that Valerie was nothing, just a desk jockey.  Yet, until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world.  When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.

The Republicans now want to hide behind the legalism that "no laws were broken".  I don't know if a man made law was broken but an ethical and moral code was breached.  For the first time a group of partisan political operatives publically identified a CIA NOC.  They have set a precendent that the next group of political hacks may feel free to violate.

They try to hide behind the specious claim that Joe Wilson "lied".  Although Joe did not lie let's follow that reasoning to the logical conclusion.  Let's use the same standard for the Bush Administration.  Here are the facts.  Bush's lies have resulted in the deaths of almost 1800 American soldiers and the mutilation of 12,000.  Joe Wilson has not killed anyone.  He tried to prevent the needless death of Americans and the loss of American prestige in the world.

But don't take my word for it, read the biased Senate intelligence committee report.  Even though it was slanted to try to portray Joe in the worst possible light this fact emerges on page 52 of the report:  According to the US Ambassador to Niger (who was commenting on Joe's visit in February 2002), "Ambassador Wilson reached the same conclusion that the Embassy has reached that it was highly unlikely that anything between Iraq and Niger was going on."  Joe's findings were consistent with those of the Deputy Commander of the European Command, Major General Fulford.

On a related note, regarding PlameGate, has Robert Novak already spilled the beans to special prosecutor Fitzgerald?

Maybe it's time we paid attention

I don't understand why the Arizona Republic features as one of its offical bloggers, someone so bellicose and shrill as Greg Patterson. His recent rant on 'The Republic's' Paul Krugman, regarding a insightful column by Jon Talton on the impending global oil crisis, is another vivid example where logic and reason elude him, and instead, Patterson prefers to wade in a tide of irrational rhetoric and label lobbing. Now, I've taken Talton to task recently for a wishy washy piece on a topic that I am intimately experienced with, and furthermore, I dissected his text, point by point, and countered with empirical data. But Patterson simply tars Talton as "leftist ranter".

As this cited text clearly reveals, Patterson really needs to reread Talton's article, as he missed the gist of it.

Critics say that the war in Iraq has been a costly distraction from hunting down the terrorists, and it even may have become a recruiting center. But Iraq was never primarily about terror. It was about oil, although not the way conspiracy theorists believe.

That's straight out of the Michael Moore/Daily Kos playbook. What's it doing on the business pages?

What drew Patterson's ire? Perhaps it was the suggestion that the war in Iraq might have a little to do with securing a critical non-renewable resource that many authoritative experts believe will soon be in short supply and/or much more expensive to obtain.

That America is completely unprepared for what comes after the age of abundant, cheap oil is another subject. In the meantime, we will see an unprecedented worldwide competition for the remaining crude. The bid of China's CNOOC Ltd. for Unocal is only the opening volley. If the situation gets more desperate, the battles won't just be in the boardrooms.

Only in this context can we understand the Bush/Cheney plan to invade Iraq. Even if democracy and stability there were far-off possibilities, the United States could secure the lifeline of the modern world. As James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, puts it, "Iraq was supposed to be our police station in a strategically vital bad neighborhood."

See, it really has nothing to do with being a "leftie" or a "rightie", it's an acknowledgement of factors regarding supply and demand over a non-renewable resource. And I would put forth the proposition that demand for oil is highly inelastic.

Coincidentally, I also just completed reading James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency. It is a gripping read, and Kunstler sketches out the impending crisis in wake of the global oil production peak, which many notable authorities have pegged at some point between 2000 and 2008. This is the point at which we will have extracted half the oil that ever existed in the world.

Some factual tidbits:

  • Americans consume 20 million barrels of oil a day, which represents nearly a quarter of the world's 85 million barrel daily usage.
  • Worldwide oil discovery peaked in 1964.
  • Rate of worldwide oil use has run parallel to global population growth.
  • More than 60% of the remaining global oil endowment lies under the Middle East.
  • The U.S. passed peak oil in 1970, where annual production was over 10 million barrels a day — now it is at 5 million.
  • Ratio of energy expended in getting the oil out of the ground to the energy produced by that oil in the U.S. has fallen from 28:1 in 1916 to 2:1 in 2004 and will continue falling.

The oil scares of the seventies were offset by Alaskan and North Sea fields that came online just in time to grant an illusory reprieve. They were the last great strikes of the oil age. And worse, they permitted a complacency to settle in, and Americans blame energy woes on greedy oil companies, blithely unaware of the impending doom that lies ahead. President Carter warned Americans, but he was ridiculed. George "Poppy" Bush and Dick Cheny have both stated how the American way of life is non-negotiable.

Kunstler argues that alternative fuel solutions won't rescue us, that none offer the same energy invested to energy returned ratio as has been the case in our past one hundred years of cheap oil. And half of our 20 million barrel daily consumption in the U.S. is devoted to gasoline for our vehicles. Nuclear and coal may provide electricity but replacing our network of gasoline distribution and voluminous pool of cars and trucks is simply not feasible, at least by any technology presently in existence. More important, and a realization that took me aback, is that just about all of our economy is constructed on the precipice of affordable petroleum. We've built our homes in the suburbs and exurbs, and drive great distances to work and recreation points. Even much of the alternative fuel hoopla discounts the truth that it's even dependent upon cheap oil to manufacture the new parts.

Everything in our economy revolves around petroleum products. Our food is delivered in trucks across great distances. Farming is the province of factory style operations, with petroleum a part of every phase, from fertilizers to pesticides to powering of tools and implements to process and distribute food. Wal-Mart is filled to the brim with products made of cheap plastic, all made possible by the presence of abundant petroleum. As it costs more to obtain oil, the ripple effects through the economy will be ghastly. Our march to globalism is fueled by affordable oil, and as demand escalates over a diminishing supply (or more costly), things can unravel quickly.

The final two chapters are Kunstler's weakest, where he plots out how life will be in the "Long Emergency". Corporate entites will go the route of the dinosaur, while local based food production and commerce must emerge. Certain regions of the country will have better prospects than others. The desert west and Sunbelt are tagged as problematic, due to inherent environmental problems (i.e., growing food in a desert) and by the chronological truth of taking root in the post automobile era, unlike cities in the Northeast that were built on rivers or in proximity to productive farmland. Kunstler dips dangerously into generalizations and stereotypes on the Sunbelt — where he cites the "Cracker culture", fundamentalist haven, and abundance of firearms in the South. All signs that may lead to resurfacing of racial strife. Worse, it is speculated that nation rulers may employ biological mass murder by designer diseases to deal with population masses unsupportable by a post-oil paradigm.

I must confess that reading this book really startled me, and I don't even completely buy into Kunstler's assessment. Still, his portrayal of how blinded we are and how we don't wish to embrace reality, preferring to believe the best, no matter the truth, is spot on. He holds particular scorn for our automobile-centric society that in his view, has crushed the soul and spirit of communities. It cuts off the young and old, relegates many to unhealthy sedentary lifestyles, imposes a wasteful mode of consumption and disconnects our citizens from civic life. Kunstler is a remarkable writer — I've gazed at paragraphs he's produced, in marvel of the manner he constructed the written words. Even if I totally disagreed with his premise, I would still eagerly read his polemic.

If you'd like a little taste of Kunstler's writing, here's an article adapted from The Long Emergency. And you can keep up to date with his latest rants on his blog.
» read more

11 July 2005

It’s the occupation, not the fundamentalism

University of Chicago Associate Professor Robert Pape has conducted an exhaustive survey of terrorist suicide bombings and presents his findings in a new book titled Dying to Win. Pape's findings contradict beliefs held by the general public and run counter to announcements from our government experts.
Over the past two years, I have collected the first complete database of every suicide-terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. This research is conducted not only in English but also in native-language sources—Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and others—so that we can gather information not only from newspapers but also from products from the terrorist community. The terrorists are often quite proud of what they do in their local communities, and they produce albums and all kinds of other information that can be very helpful to understand suicide-terrorist attacks.

This wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating suicide terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think. The world leader in suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign—over 95 percent of all the incidents—has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.

Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.

9 July 2005

If the deal is not allowed, it sends a message to Chinese companies and perhaps they might start looking for other ways, other markets to do business with

Get Used to It: China's bid to take over Unocal is just the start of its plans for acquisitions
Demands that corporate America bolt its doors in the wake of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation's (CNOOC's) unsolicited offer to purchase the energy giant Unocal Corp. are being closely watched here. Many Chinese say the U.S. reaction will send an irrefutable message about whether Washington is more interested in its commitment to free trade or in containing the growing might of China, a country President Bush has labeled a "strategic competitor."

8 July 2005


In the letters to the editor section of today's Arizona Republic, Scott Anderson of Green Valley takes syndicated columnist Richard Cohen to task for comparing Bush's invasion of Iraq to the nation's Vietnam experience. Whether or not the Iraq/Vietnam analogy is apropos, is not why I highlight this text. Instead, I wish to address the continued denial of administration apologists on the matter of alleged Al-Qaida links to Saddam Hussien, even after the administration itself backed away from such claims.
The assertion that Saddam had no connection to al-Qaida suggests that he was unaware of the al-Qaida training camps in his country, which I consider preposterous, and that he was unaware of the al-Qaida members who resided in Iraq and received medical treatment in Iraq. It just doesn't fly.

True, members of the Bush administration have soft pedaled the Hussien/bin Laden connection, consistently peppering 9/11 into dialog over the Iraq quagmire today, and slip barbs in here and there, even while when publicly called on those statements, retreat and confess there existed no such collaboration.

Before dissecting the charges that did surface in the pre-invasion frenzy, it should be noted that any study of geopolitics in this world region would reveal that Saddam Hussien was a bitter enemy of Osama bin Laden, and that there is nothing that bin Laden could have hoped for more than the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. To despose of a secular dictator ruling over a Muslim holy land rich with oil resources, and to put that nation into play for fundamentalists who vie to create the ultimate universal Islamic Nation state.

First off, the official 9/11 congressional inquiry found no link between Al-Qaida and Iraq:

The report of the joint congressional inquiry into the suicide hijackings on Sept. 11, 2001, to be published Thursday, reveals U.S. intelligence had no evidence that the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks, or that it had supported al-Qaida, United Press International has learned.

Second, most of the allegations regarding a Saddam/Al-Qaida link were rooted in dubious claims by an exile group led by Ahmad Chalabi, convicted swindler and intelligence asset that's played multiple sides.

The former Iraqi exile group that gave the Bush administration exaggerated and fabricated intelligence on Iraq also fed much of the same information to leading newspapers, news agencies and magazines in the United States, Britain and Australia.

Feeding the information to the news media, as well as to selected administration officials and members of Congress, helped foster an impression that there were multiple sources of intelligence on Iraq's illicit weapons programs and links to bin Laden.

In fact, many of the allegations came from the same half-dozen defectors, weren't confirmed by other intelligence and were hotly disputed by intelligence professionals at the CIA, the Defense Department and the State Department.

But the propaganda campaign wasn't just confined to a small group of self serving Iraqi exiles, as Colonel Sam Gardiner detailed in his treatise Truth from These Podia: Summary of a Study of Strategic Influence, Perception Management, Strategic Information Warfare and Strategic Psychological Operations in Gulf II.

My research suggests there were over 50 stories manufactured or at least engineered that distorted the picture of Gulf II for the American and British people. I'll cover most in this report. At the end, I will also describe some stories that seem as if they were part of the strategic influence campaign although the evidence is only circumstantial.

To call these people nauseating is an insult to nausea

Fox News with their cynical, greedy and disgusting outlook on the world in wake of the horrific London bombing yesterday.
That's right - his first thought after hearing about the awful terrorist attack in London today wasn't "how tragic," or "let's say a prayer for the dead," or "how can I help the victims" - his first thought was, there was a terrorist attack, how can I personally profit off it? In fact, his impulse to use the bloodshed to make himself money was so intense, he actually voiced it on national television (FYI - in case you'd like to voice your displeasure, Brit's email address is and his office number is 202-824-6300).

Of course, this was only the worst example from Fox. Earlier in the day, Fox reporter Brian Kilmeade seemed to cheer on the attack because he said "it works to our advantage." Meanwhile, Fox's Stuart Varney was genuinely excited that the attack will mean other progressive issues will now be knocked out of the public debate. "It takes global warming off the front burner," Varney frothed. "It takes African aid off the front burner. It sticks terrorism and the fight on the war on terror, right up front all over again."

7 July 2005

Clearly we've had considerable success in the past using closed-circuit television footage to trace the movements of people involved

Given the ubiquitous preponderance of cameras in Britian, in lieu of the horrific bombing in London today, will cameras help catch the bombers?
Closed-circuit TV cameras track people in the British capital almost everywhere they go. Now, those recordings could help police determine who staged Thursday's bloody subway and bus explosions.

More than 6,000 cameras monitor the Underground subway network and 1,800 watch the city's train stations. Cameras also have been installed on some London buses.

Condolences to those affected by this savage act of wanton violence.

I cannot believe, however, that such evidence of the bombing has not been recorded, given the prevalence of cameras throughout the area. But, typically, the output of these implemented systems is for "official eyes only", and such secrecy and lack of transparency, I contend, is counterproductive. If all our eyes can be cast on subjects in a public setting, then there is nothing to fear. Otherwise, it is indeed a machination of "Big Brother".

5 July 2005

Besmirch everyone EXCEPT the criminals

A reality check is sorely needed for KFYI 550 AM radio host Tom Liddy, son of convicted felon and alleged wannabe Nixon enemies assassin, G. Gordon, known best for his crimes against the U.S. Constitution. The younger Liddy still seems to harbor quite a grudge against Mark Felt and Bob Woodward for spilling the beans on the Nixon conspiracy which resulted in a prison sentence for his father, and that along with his penchant for water carrying for the Republican party has him spinning the Valerie Plame story in an incredulous fashion. Funny, though, how he never does seem to mention his family link to a legendary Consitutional crisis, instead, preferring to spew venom at Felt's whistleblowing.

But, first, let's go back to special prosecutor Fitzgerald and the business of who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Mr. Liddy gave quite a spiel on Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame hated Bush and wanted Kerry to win the election, and that nothing they had to say on the matter of Iraq and WMD could be taken as credible. But Liddy omits this essential truth:

You have to remember what l'affaire Plame is all about: at some point in the run-up to war, forged documents purporting to show Iraq's efforts to procure uranium from Niger turned up in the U.S. intelligence stream and made their way to Washington, where they turned up at the White House and wormed their way into the 2003 State of the Union address in the form of the by-now-infamous "16 words."

Liddy had me howling when he seem to bubble over in praise of NY Times Judith Miller, who is facing a jail sentence for not revealing her source for a Valerie Plame story she did not publish. Liddy's adulation was for her cheerleading pieces in the pre-invasion frenzy, where she ran news stories that were cooked up by another felon and notable international swindler, Ahmed Chalabi.

…Judith Miller, the reporter who wrote or co-wrote four of the six articles singled out as flawed. Miller often didn't let her readers know that she was relying on the Pentagon's pet Iraqi exile, Ahmad Chalabi.

Tardy by more than a year, the semi-mea-culpa article by the Times editors — while failing to provide any forthright explanation of Chalabi's role as a chronic source for Miller's prewar stories — appeared a week after the U.S. government turned definitively and publicly against its exile ally Chalabi. Only then were the top New York Times editors willing to turn definitively and publicly against key Times stories spun by the Chalabi-Miller duo.

Liddy blasted Plame as a infidel who hated George W. Bush and desired for John Kerry to win 2004 election. That's odd, since Wilson's op-ed piece was published way back before Kerry got the nomination. And it has been illustrated that any opposition to the neoconservative war plans was quashed, and that the Bush administration desired only to fix the intelligence to suit the policy, as the Downing Street memos have now collaborated. Others have given testimony on how the neoconservatives have carried out a takeover campaign in military intelligence and CIA ranks. Here is what investigative journalist, Jamres Bamford, who's covered intelligence gathering in the United States for more than two decades, says on the matter:

Intelligence was manipulated, mangled, ignored, and analysts were harassed and bullied to present the false picture that Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S. In talking with intelligence analysts and case officers, in the months leading up to the war none believed that Iraq posed a threat to the U.S. The most basic evidence was the fact that Iraq had never begun work on a long-range missile system (unlike Iran and North Korea), something that can be easily seen by imaging satellites space with a resolution down to the centimeter. And no country has ever built a warhead without simultaneously building a delivery system.

One CIA analyst from the Iraq Nonproliferation section told me that his boss once called his office together (about 50 people) and said, "You know what – if Bush wants to go to war, it's your job to give him a reason to do so." The former analyst added, "And I said, 'All right, it's time, it's time to go… And I just remember saying, 'This is something that the American public, if they ever knew, they would be outraged.'"

Callers to the Liddy radio program chimed in that they thought a Democrat was behind the leak, but to Liddy's credit, he wagered that their assessment was incorrect. Liddy then allotted some time to defend Robert Novak, who was the one who outed Plame, dancing around the logic that Novak must have came to agreeable terms with special prosecutor Fitzgerald.

Tom, here's a cluebone for you — there's a difference between a case of whistleblower like Mark Felt exposing malfeasance involving presidential crimes against the Constitution, as opposed to a journalist protecting the identity of a suspect who committed a gross act of treason for a solely political partisan purpose. A journalist, when all the details are revealed, may have participated in the act of wrongdoing. On the other hand, it may be an intentional distortion on your part, given your partisan perch and emotional rage over the criminal prosecution of your father.

Meanwhile, Karl Rove continues to duck behind his lawyer as MSNBC Analyst/McLaughlin Group panelist Lawrence O'Donnell poses some questions to Rove, attempting to poke a hole through the Clintonian legalese.

The price of keeping the community safe far outweighs civil liberty issues

Police installed video surveillance cameras around town and saw Chicago's murder rate fall to its lowest level in four decades.
The city is employing new technology that recognizes the sound of a gunshot within a two-block radius, pinpoints the source, turns a surveillance camera toward the shooter and places a 911 call.

Welcome to crime-fighting in the 21st century.

"Instead of just having eyes, you have the advantage of both eyes and ears," said Bryan Baker, chief executive of Safety Dynamics LLC, the company in suburban Oak Brook that makes the systems.

The technology isn't just gaining favor in Chicago, where 30 of the devices have already been installed in high-crime neighborhoods alongside video surveillance cameras. Baker says dozens more installations will follow.

Soon, all public space will be monitored by cameras. And increasingly, the monitoring of these cameras will be automated.

2 July 2005

Rove Blew CIA Agent's Cover

The outing of Valerie Plame was done by that vile, chickenhawk, Nixonian dirty trickster, US President George W. Bush's senior advisor and deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove.
I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's emails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.

McLaughlin is seen in some markets on Friday night, so some websites have picked it up, including Drudge, but I don't expect it to have much impact because McLaughlin is not considered a news show and it will be pre-empted in the big markets on Sunday because of tennis.

Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow.

Rove has a history of "fighting dirty". It will be interesting to see how this latest development is spun by the Kool-Aid drinkers…

And he just got back into his car and floored it

A VP for one of the nation's most prominent conservative think tanks reportedly shoves a 105 pound female ballet dancer to the ground in case of road rage.
But then the silver-haired, retired Navy lieutenant got out of his car, approached the red-headed ballet dancer riding a bike and allegedly shoved her to the ground, authorities said. He got back into his car and, as bystanders followed him, drove down the block to his nearby office, the bicyclist said.

The man was identified as Ted E. Schelenski, 64, vice president for finance and operations at the Heritage Foundation, a think tank that promotes conservative policies. He pleaded not guilty this week to a charge of simple assault.

Just another prominent conservative bully, nothing to see here, move along…

1 July 2005

Real storyline of "Big Money" vs. "Ordinary Americans"

Reporters seem to prefer the fake storyline of "conservative" vs. "liberal", but even the selection of a Supreme Court replacement justice is going to boil down to a preference for a "corporate hack" that favors "big money".
Now it's true - the media will make this whole story about the Religious Right vs. Evil Secular Liberals. But behind the curtains in a dark little peep-show-like room, Corporate America will be busy lubing up the process and panting with glee as they take over our judiciary.

Surprised that this is what's really going on? Think I am making this up? Not so - read Big Business's paper of record, the Wall Street Journal, to get the real story. There you will find a story about how Corporate America is already scheming.