Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


It would be hard to find a more telling symbol of the contradictory nature of Saudi-American relations than Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudis' new ambassador to the United States. As head of Saudi intelligence from 1977 until Aug. 31, 2001, he personally managed Riyadh's relations with Osama bin Laden and Mullah Muhammad Omar of the Taliban. Anyone else who had dealings with even a small fraction of the notorious characters the prince has worked with over the years would never make it past the immigration counter at Dulles Airport, let alone to the most exclusive offices in Washington.

... at the very least, his appointment should stimulate serious discussion of the darker aspects of Saudi Arabia's historic relations with the world of Islamic extremists and terrorists. This is an issue that the Bush administration, like its predecessors, has been reluctant to confront. With Prince Turki as the official face of Saudi Arabia in Washington, the charade should at last be over.

Saudi Arabia is an unregenerate absolute monarchy whose kings and princes live lives of limitless luxury but are publicly dedicated to upholding and propagating the teachings of the puritanical and militantly intolerant Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam. It also happens to sit on top of vast petroleum reserves that the modern industrial world seems unable to learn to live without.

... What particularly frightened and galvanized Saudi Arabia's ruling Sunni royalty was the 1979 Shiite and republican revolution in Iran. Riyadh responded by subsidizing the export of its own Wahhabi brand of Sunni fundamentalism. Saudi billions poured into Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980's, financing local mujahedeen fighters and Arab adventurers, like Osama bin Laden, who flocked to join them. Saudi Arabia also financed hundreds of madrasas, or religious schools, that taught combative strains of Islam and sent graduates to Afghan training camps for instruction in armed jihad. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Riyadh started to view these foreign adventures as a useful safety valve for the increasingly independent and disillusioned Arab guerrilla veterans who might otherwise direct their energies and anger at the Western-allied Saudi royal regime. During these years, the Saudis also poured money into building a network of Wahhabi mosques, schools and bookstores in the impoverished Muslim suburbs of Western Europe.

Prince Turki's long tenure in the intelligence job abruptly ended less than two weeks before 9/11 under unexplained circumstances. Private lawsuits alleging links between Prince Turki and the 9/11 attacks have since been dismissed by an American court...

The New York Pravda goes on to opine that of course al-Faisal is completely Westernized, and so must have nothing to do with the cabal of Princes who carried out the 9/11/2001 attacks.

Him being the youngest son of King Faisal, and so most likely to end up with, you know, the shortest end of the stick. Relatively speaking, on the billion dollar scale, of course.

That wouldn't ever motivate Turki bin Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud to shake things up. Especially as head of Saudi Intelligence and contact of Osama himself.

Oh, one other nice thing about this Turki.

He was a buddy of Poppy Bu$h involved in the BCCI scam. You know, the one that young John Kerry exposed.

BCCI became the focus in 1991 of the world's worst financial scandal and what was called a "$20-billion-plus heist" (Beaty 1993). It was found by regulators in the United States and United Kingdom to be involved in money laundering, bribery, support of terrorism, arms trafficking, the sale of nuclear technologies, the commission and facilitation of tax evasion, smuggling, illegal immigration, and the illicit purchases of banks and real estate. The bank was found to be worthless, with at least $13 billion unaccounted for.

Investigators in the U.S. and UK revealed that BCCI had been organised to avoid centralized regulatory review and to commit fraud on a massive scale. The bank was found to have its own intelligence network, diplomatic corps, and shipping and commodities trading companies.

In Drugs, Oil and War, Peter Dale Scott wrote:

"BCCI's inside connection to the CIA appears to have been strengthened in 1976, when under CIA Director George Bush "the CIA strengthened its relationships with so-called friendly Arab intelligence agencies. One of the most important of these was Saudi Arabia's intelligence service [the Istakhbarat], run by Kamal Adham, Prince Turki [al-Faisal], Abdul-Raouf Khalil, all of whom were BCCI insiders."

Prince Turki was Osama bin Laden's friend and liaison for more than two decades. The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan was directed by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan's ISI, the CIA and oil interests (Unocal), and its fall (and 9/11) was directed by the same, and only after the Taliban regime refused to cooperate with larger interests.

Here are excerpts from Ahmed Rashid's Taliban, on Prince Turki:

"Bin Laden, Prince Turki and General [Hameed] Gul were to become firm friends and allies in a common cause."

"The ISI had long wanted Prince Turki Bin Faisal, the head of Istakhbarat, the Saudi Intelligence Service, to provide a Royal Prince to lead the Saudi contingent in order to show Muslims the commitment of the Royal Family to the jihad."

" ... the Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal, deferred Afghan policy to his younger brother, Prince Turki and Saudi intelligence."

...During Osama bin Laden's stay in a Dubai hospital,
after the 9/11/2001 attacks, mind you, he met with CIA agents as well as Prince Turki. The Guardian (11/1/01) reported that bin Laden met with:

" ... several members of his family and Saudi personalities, including Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence."

The Aristocrats

Over at Seeing the Forest they notice that Supreme Court nominee Roberts, like most people running things these days, is a multi millionaire.

Funny how that works.

I wonder if that includes his wife's fortune. After all, she's a private contractor.

Give it a read.

The Full Metal Jacket Energy Rant

The first posts here were concerning the abundance of marine bacteria producing methane and the fact that hydrocarbons are produced by biological sources.

Biotechnology already makes use of the genes of such bacteria, and using such organisms for energy production would be an intelligent application of biotechnology.

There are naturally a class of microorganisms that use photosynthesis to produce hydrogen, and their utilization would be a far cheaper and environmentally friendly source of hydrogen than the industrial processes advocated by Bu$hCo to enrich its backers like Halliburton.

There is no reason not to develop such alternative energy sources. These organisms could be easily and inexpensively used by any country in the world. Their availablilty would end the energy monopolies we have today.

There are political reasons why alternative energy production isn't being developed discussed here. The fall of fossil fuel availability over the next 50 years will consolidate world economic and political power in the hands of a minority as much of the world returns to a pre-industrial feudal state. The development of cheap energy even third world countries could use would disrupt the plans of those who want the chaos.

Cheap clean renewable energy derived from the sun by photosynthesis has the potential of producing enough energy to allow the expansion of humanity off of this world. It would not be controlled by just the American Department of Defense with the "guidance" of a certain private investment group. There would be less Star Wars and more Star Trek.

The best way to fight Bu$hCo is to change the territory it must try to control.

Just like the advent of microcomputers placed computing in the hands of everyone who wanted it and out of the control of the military industrial complex, the development of cheap alternative energy will transform this world for the better.

It will effectively disrupt the drive of the Company towards hegemony.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Plan on the Inevitable

Molly Ivins notices that Roberts fits right in the Bu$hCo team.

He's a liar.

Cornyn, who I would have sworn is not this stupid, apparently signed off on having the nominee "forget" he was a member of the Federalist Society, and Roberts obliged, which is strange considering his reputation for brilliance and a spectacular memory.

Turns out the guy is listed in the society's 1997-98 "Leadership Directory" as a member of its steering committee in Washington. How many steering committees have you been on that you've forgotten about?

The reason that matters is that the Federalist Society is the alpha-primo ultraconservative legal group in the whole country. Since we have only two years worth of Roberts' decisions on the bench (in itself unheard of for nominations to the Supremes), the information about how this society plans to steer the country can be very revealing of his positions.

So Roberts already looks disingenuous at best, and then the White House up and decides it's entirely too risky to let the public in on his record as a government lawyer and refuses to release documents requested...

The society is funded by millions of dollars from right-wing and libertarian foundations. It attempts to influence legal education and works with right-wing legal advocacy and litigation organizations.

Alfred Ross, of the Institute of Democracy Studies, explains that "through its own 15 practice groups, the society is busy developing new legal theories for every area of American jurisprudence, from civil rights law to national security law, international law, securities regulations law and so on. And if one goes through the publications of their practice groups, one can only gasp not only at the breadth of their agenda, but the extremism of their ideology."

The society has argued for the abolition of the Securities and Exchange Commission, severely limiting the Environmental Protection Agency, and rolling back gender equity laws (Title IX) and voting rights law. Its publications have criticized teaching evolution and attacked the principle of separation of church and state.

According to Ross, they recently launched a state judicial selection project to try to dominate the state, as well as federal, bench. This is all standard, ultra-right-wing claptrap. It's all about control.

If we can't shake loose the actual records on John Roberts, we certainly should pay attention to the group he's most identified with.

I get the distinct impression Molly Ivins is not as surprised as she acts.

There seems we've reached the point where everything coming out of Washington is suspect.

Jeff Wells captures the feeling :

It's difficult to watch the perpetual dashing of hope in America amongst those who still think politics matters, and that political action is sufficient to reverse America's fascist course. To them, it remains a race. C'mon gang - we can win this thing! But their opponent is more than a competitor: he is also the track official, and what a bloody-minded bastard he is. He has neither conscience nor fear of reprisal for tripping them up, tying together their shoelaces and moving the finish line. If he's seen to be running, it's simply to be seen. And so he's not even a true competitor, because there is no competition.

After the Supreme Court rubber-stamped the coup of 2000, I heard "wait until '02!" After Wellstone was murdered and the black boxes began swallowing invisible votes, I heard "wait until '04!" And even before Ohio and the bizarre Skull and Bones shadowplay, I started hearing "wait until '06!" And I tell you, I just can't hear anymore.

Lewis Lapham wonders, in July's Harper's, "why so many people continue to insist that we're living in a democracy that somehow would have been recognizable to Franklin D Roosevelt or even to Richard M Nixon. The belief is bad for the health and mental stability." Perhaps if Kubler-Ross had been a political scientist she would have described it as the first stage of grief upon the death of a republic. Either that, or they are simply inattentive, and still don't know enough to be in denial.

Listen, America. I've been there. The bully won't let you win, even when you do, as you have a number of times now. As soon as you rise to his bogus challenge, you give up your power, and he's got you...

Time for a change in tactics.

The Biggest Die-Off Since the End of the Mesozoic

The variety of species in the world's oceans has dropped by as much as 50 percent in the past 50 years, according to a paper published today in the journal Science.

A combination of overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change has narrowed the range of fish across the globe, wrote biologists Boris Worm and Ransom A. Myers of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and three other scientists. In some areas, such as off northwest Australia where a wide variety of tuna and billfish used to thrive, diversity has declined precipitously...

Mass extinction? "Bring it on..."

All Your Skills Are Ours

It's official.

Individuals now have no control over where they work.

Microsoft (Quote, Chart) won a temporary restraining order to keep high-level search researcher Dr. Kai-Fu Lee from defecting to search rival Google (Quote, Chart).

The latest legal maneuver keeps Redmond's search trade secrets and China business strategy out of the hands of its rival -- for now.

On Wednesday, a King County Superior Court judge in Seattle ordered that Lee be enjoined from joining Google. The order said Dr. Lee was prohibited from taking a job that that might be "competitive with or engaging in any activities competitive with any product, service or project (including actual or demonstrably anticipated research or development)," according to the order by Judge Steven Gonzalez...

But you knew that already...


Some people in the Pentagon and the industry wonder if the F-35 will be the last manned fighter the U.S. will ever build. ...watch UCAVs [unmanned combat aerial vehicles, or killer drones] and the possibility for deploying a UCAV/manned combination (1 plane, 1 or more UCAVs).

...The backseater would fly a companion aircraft. That would increase the deliverable payload per sortie and give the manned craft the option of letting the UCAV do things that seemed unacceptably risky. You can think of other scenarios where this could be handy. It's a step beyond the idea of UCAV as a more capable UAV, operated by someone on the ground far away.

The technology is not there yet, but better UAV's (that automate more of the routine tasks for flying that pilots do almost without thinking) and code from gaming software make this a possibility. Think of it not as independent flying robots but a new kind of forward air control (and the military implications of game technology deserve its own entry)...

I would never think of this as an independent flying robot...

Friday, July 29, 2005

When You Own the Government, You Don't Need No Stinkin' Approval

Sources: White House Intends End Run Around Congress Next Week for Bolton Nomination

President Bush intends to announce next week that he is going around Congress to install embattled nominee John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, senior administration officials said Friday.

Bush has the power to fill vacancies without Senate approval while Congress is in recess. Under the Constitution, a recess appointment during the lawmakers' August break would last until the next session of Congress, which begins in January 2007.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the president had not made the announcement and Congress wasn't in recess yet, said Bush would exercise that authority before he leaves Washington on Tuesday for his ranch...

These are criminals we are dealing with.

Bu$hCo realizes if they back down, if they bow to the rule of law, they will all end up prosecuted. Their only chance now is to squeeze tighter. Oh, and incidently, if they squeeze tighter, they think they win.

Bolton will go to the UN.

Rove will not resign. Nor, if indicted, will he step down. Nor will the Supreme Court allow the indictment to stand.

Roberts will go to the Supreme Court, too.

I'd love to be proved wrong.

That "Should" Rip It- But Don't Count On It

Via the Guardian via Truthout:

State Dept. Now Says Bolton Interviewed
John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for UN ambassador, mistakenly told Congress he had not been interviewed or testified in any investigation over the past five years, the State Department said Thursday.

Bolton was interviewed by the State Department inspector general as part of a joint investigation with the Central Intelligence Agency into prewar Iraqi attempts to buy nuclear materials from Niger, State Department spokesman Noel Clay said.

The admission came hours after another State Department official said Bolton had correctly answered a Senate questionnaire when he wrote that he has not testified to a grand jury or been interviewed by investigators in any inquiry over the past five years.

The reversal followed persistent Democratic attempts to question Bolton's veracity just days before Bush may use his authority to make him United Nations ambassador after Congress adjourns for its summer recess. For months, Democrats have prevented the Senate from confirming the fiery conservative to the post...

Wonderful how much media play this has in America this morning. Or is it no wonder?

Amazingly, Joe Biden (D-MBNA) yesterday fired off a letter to Rice saying basically, look, we caught this guy with his pants down. One can imagine the fate of the luckless minion that informed her of this note.s

Or not so amazing. Remember this isn't simply a Wrepublican vs. Democrat (or in Biden's case, DINOcrat) issue. The split goes to the top of the Company board: Empire and Caliphate vs. broader business interests.

While there's some evidence Dominion benefits all the robber barons, hot shooting war to bring about Dominion benefits only a few.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

"We Got Your Energy Policy Right Here"

For the same reason the space program is doomed to oblivion under Bu$hCo, we might as well forget about alternative energy:

In a letter to Speaker Hastert, Rep. Waxman writes that after the energy legislation was closed to further amendment in the recently concluded conference, a $1.5 billion provision benefiting oil and gas companies, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas, was mysteriously inserted in the text.

The text of the letter is below:

The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives
H232 Capitol
Washington, DC 20515-6501

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I am writing to draw to your attention a provision in the Energy Conference Report that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. At its essence, this provision is a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas. The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure. Before the final energy legislation is brought to the House floor, this provision should be deleted.

The provision at issue is a 30-page subtitle called "Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources." This subtitle, which was taken from the House-passed energy bill, was mysteriously inserted in the final energy legislation after the legislation was closed to further amendment. The conferees were told that they would have the opportunity to consider and vote on the provisions in the conference report. But the subtitle was not included in the base text circulated to conferees, and it was never offered as an amendment.

Instead, the new subtitle first appeared in the text of the energy legislation only after Chairman Barton had gaveled the conference over. Obviously, it would be a serious abuse to secretly slip such a costly and controversial provision into the energy legislation.

On the merits, the subtitle is an indefensible giveaway to one of the most profitable industries in America. The provision establishes a $1.5 billion fund, up to $550 million of which would be dedicated direct spending, which is not subject to the normal congressional appropriations process. Although the name of the subtitle refers to "ultra-deepwater and unconventional natural gas," it appears that the $1.5 billion fund created by the subtitle can in fact be used for many oil and gas projects. According to the language of the subtitle, oil and gas companies can apply for funds for a wide variety of activities, including activities involving "innovative exploration and production techniques" or "enhanced recovery techniques." While oil and gas companies could be required to contribute to the costs of their projects, the subtitle expressly provides that the Department has discretion to reduce or eliminate any such contribution.

The subtitle appears to steer the administration of 75% of the $1.5 billion fund to a private consortium located in the district of Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Ordinarily, a large fund like this would be administered directly by the government. The subtitle, however, directs the Department to "contract with a corporation that is constructed as a consortium." The leading contender for this contract appears to be the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) consortium, housed in the Texas Energy Center in Sugar Land, Texas. Halliburton is a member of RPSEA and sits on the board, as does Marathon Oil Company. The subtitle provides that the consortium can keep up to 10% of the funds - in this case, over $100 million - in administrative expenses.

The subtitle further provides that members of the consortium, such as Halliburton and Marathon Oil, can receive awards from the over $1 billion fund administered by the consortium.

In short, the subtitle provides that taxpayers will hire a private consortium controlled by the oil and gas industry to hand out over $1 billion to oil and gas companies. There is no conceivable rationale for this extraordinary largess. The oil and gas industry is reporting record income and profits. According to one analyst, the net income of the top oil companies will total $230 billion in 2005. If Congress has an extra $1.5 billion to give away, the money should be used to help families struggling to pay for soaring gasoline prices - not to further enrich oil and gas companies that are rolling in profits.

In recent years, Congress has been repeatedly embarrassed by the mysterious insertion of provisions in omnibus legislation. Last year, for example, we learned only after House action that the 3,000 page, $388 billion omnibus spending bill allowed members and staff of the Appropriations Committee to examine the tax returns of ordinary Americans. We should not allow this to happen again. The Energy Conference Report should not be brought to the House floor until this objectionable provision is deleted and there is ample opportunity for members to read the legislation and delete any other problematic provisions.

Thank you for your attention to this problem.


Henry A. Waxman
Ranking Minority Member

cc: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

The plundering of the Treasury continues apace.

Thanks to Truthout for the heads up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Using Pork Barrel Engineering ManDated by Cracker Barrel Bureaucrat$

NASA grounds future shuttle flights
Foam insulation flew off fuel tank but did not hit Discovery

The shuttle Discovery, like Columbia, lost a large chunk of foam debris during liftoff that could have threatened the return of the seven astronauts, NASA said Wednesday.

While there are no signs the piece of insulation damaged the spacecraft, NASA is grounding future shuttle flights until the hazard can be fixed.

“Call it luck or whatever, it didn’t harm the orbiter,” said shuttle program manager Bill Parsons. If the foam had broken away earlier in flight — when the atmosphere is thicker, increasing the acceleration and likelihood of impact — it could have caused catastrophic damage to Discovery...

Again, Bu$hCo demonstrates its willingness to use the lives of the most dedicated Americans like they were toilet paper. I hope they make it back down in one piece. I most sincerely hope the Wrepublicans aren't in control when the next manned moon or Mars mission is sent.

They'll never make it back alive with all the pork barrel engineering. If it's not Star Wars or a Kool DARPA toy, the man in charge of NASA now isn't interested in it. We're talking about a man who invested money for the CIA and headed the corporation that owns DynCorp before he became the head of NASA.

When NeoCon spooks get physical, they tend to ignore reality-based science in favor of their own political agenda- like Bu$hCo's current public relations blitz for it's new manned space policy.

Like Porter Goss in the CIA, Michael Griffin is turning NASA upside-down getting rid of competent professionals and replacing them with more right thinking people.

Of course, when 20 year old fuel gauges break down for "unknown" reasons, Michael Griffin's new professionals in charge don't let that stop them. They have a time table. While reality-based engineers are dealing with problems, they're making up whole new realities for the engineers to deal with.

Besides, Darth Rumsfeld has this thing about people who report failure.


¡El Gato Negro! knows a fool when he sees one.

A lot of noise is beginning to be made again about an alternative to the DINOcratic party.

Greens? As long as they're getting piles of money from Wrepublican sources, they might as well be DINOcrats. Or Wrepublicans.

As long as the only vision the Greens have is to return the world to a pre-industrial agrarian state, count me out. That's what the Dominionists want. A post-industrial world that looks like the Middle Ages is just fine for the feudal lord wanna-bes.

Greens think technology is only a tool for the robber barons. Technology is the hope of the human race as much as it has been the bane of the human race. Every one of us in the progressive blogsphere knows without it we might as well be living in a Christianized version of Shiite Iran.

Without modern technology, I would be dead. As would many beautiful people I know. Don't give me that midieval silliness.

Why do you think the Wrepublicans are so anti-science? Why do you think they want to bring down the Hubble, or that they won't run a space program for anything other than a pork barrel project? Why to you think they've eviscerated the mechanism for isolating new viruses and producing effective vaccines for everyone?

Show me a Green who's interested in the econonmy, or education, or fighting the social roots of poverty.

Show me a Green with a clue, show me a Green with a plan, and you have my vote.

Until then I vote Democrat, because I have no choice.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

There are Idiot$ in Charge of the DINOcrat Leadership Council

The only animal as stupid as a NeoCon is a NeoLiberal.

Witness, thanks to Atrios and Lambert.

Here's a novel idea: The war on terror should be, above all, a liberal's war.

Think about it: The jihadist campaign is not some generic explosion of terrorism, but rather a calculated attack on all that liberals hold dear: tolerance, diversity, women's rights, the fundamental freedoms and protections of democracy, even trade unionism. In short, liberal values. That's why the liberal left makes a profound mistake if it concedes this war to George W. Bush and the right...

No, you idiots. You don't make War on a tactic. You develop a counter tactic to make it ineffective. You don't just toss $500 billion and hundreds of thousands of troops at it blindly- no matter how happy it makes some of your richer campaign donors.

You don't fight terror by making more terrorists. You don't plow the field and sow the seed. You don't fight terror by supporting the people who finance the terror.

Digby says:

...I'm a baby boomer but I'm 48 and my formative political experience was probably Watergate, in which patriotism was shown to be a willingness to put the country above politics when the chips were down. Republicans Howard Baker and Barry Goldwater ranked as major patriots for me. Indeed, Watergate was one of those moments when I think the entire country was impressed (and surprised) by the incredible resiliency of its system of government and the integrity of men and women who rose to the occasion. To me patriotism isn't about fighting wars, it's about love of country.

People born in 1970 are now in their mid-30's. Are they scarred by their parents' youthful beliefs in "anti-patriotism?" Their formative political years were during the Reagan era, hardly a period of anti-americanism. Flag waving was a fetish.

My friends' mother is 80 years old. She's a child of the depression and she's a Democrat who was adamantly against the Iraq war. It had nothing to do with Vietnam; it was because she didn't believe in "wars of aggression." That was the reflexive foreign policy belief of cold war liberals who learned their lessons from the two world wars. I have another friend who is 22 and was against the war in Iraq because he believes it distracts from the War on terrorism. I was against it because I gravely mistrust the neocon vision of American global hegemony and I wanted them to do the minumum possible until we could get sane people in office to assess the threat properly. We are not all singing kumbaya from the 60's campus radical manual.

He talks about liberals (or maybe just the unbearable bi-coastal elites he describes in such loving detail) as if we are from Mars. I have no doubt that there are quite a few who really disdain the military and would be shocked to see one of their friends' children from the elite private school choosing to join the marines instead of going to an Ivy League College as expected. But really, can we call this a particularly Democratic or liberal response? Considering the remarkable problem the military is having with recruitment, I'd have to say it's a pretty common American response, rather than any comment on Democrats. It's not as if Republicans are all rushing out to join up either. If it's a lack of patriotism that's causing that reaction I think you would have to say that most Americans are unpatriotic.

He worries that the military itself is too Republican and laments that the Democrats are not better represented. His evidence is two polls which show that the majority of officers are Republicans. Can everyone see what might be wrong with that picture?

The salient point in all this is that there are no national Democrats who are anti- military and very, very few rank and file Democrats who are anti-military. Even the hated Michael Moore shows a tremendous affinity for the grunts in his movies in which he focuses on the sacrifices of working and middle class families who are being treated terribly by the government in thanks for their sacrifice. This thing that Marshall and his DLCers see is not anti-military; it's anti-Washington and that's not the same thing at all...

Furthermore, it's entirely possible that at least some Democrats realize that al Qaeda isn't something you can just "dismantle" with a ripping good show of military might because it's morphed into a constantly changing, moving concept, rather than a single entity you can "end." And while terrorism is scary and we need to do all we can to protect people from it, it is not any more threatening than Leonid Bresznev potentially getting into a pissing match or losing control of his military or any other thing that could have resulted in an accidental nuclear exchange during the cold war. We lived for many years under an unimaginable threat (still do, actually) and we managed to keep our heads for the most part and not turn ourselves inside out over it. This threat of terrorism is real and it's important, but we simply have to stop overreacting like we did with Iraq or we really are going to turn it into the existential threat these people seem to desire so fervently...

Being lectured all the time by effete DC Democrats on "patriotism" because I don't back their reflexively hawkish foreign policy is not only insulting it's dumb. It plays into stereotypes that only serve the Republicans by turning this into a dick measuring contest when we should be turning the conversation into who can get the job done. I would submit that if anyone's been traumatized by the Vietnam experience it's the tired Democratic national security hawks who are always rushing to support military action, no matter how insanely counterproductive, because some Republican somewhere might call him a pussy. They've been around since the 60's too. Hell, they've been around forever.

Could the real reason the Senator from MBNA and his friends in Ohio support the War Against Terra be because they love Daddy Warbucks?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Mars, Beotches

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House Friday overwhelmingly endorsed President Bush's vision to send man back to the moon and eventually on to Mars as it passed a bill to set NASA policy for the next two years.

The bill passed 383-15 after a collegial debate in which lawmakers stressed their commitment to not just Bush's ambitious space exploration plans but also to traditional NASA programs such as science and aeronautics.

There is some tension between Congress and the White House over the balance between Bush's vision for space exploration and other NASA initiatives. Originally, the measure would have shifted $1.3 billion in funds from exploration to other NASA programs. But after administration objections lawmakers added the money back to the budget for exploration during floor debate. That was done by adding to the bill's bottom line -- now at $34.7 billion -- not at the expense of science and aeronautics.

Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee said Bush's ambitious moon and Mars missions "should not be done by cannibalizing other NASA missions.''

The bill is the first NASA policy measure -- its budget is funded by a separate bill -- to pass the House in five years. It advanced as the space agency tries to rebound from the Columbia disaster in February 2003 with the launch of the space shuttle Discovery next Tuesday.

The measure permits but does not explicitly endorse retiring the space shuttle fleet by 2010, as the administration would like to do. It directs the agency to launch a new crew exploration vehicle -- which would lack the full capabilities of the shuttle but could travel to the International Space Station -- as close to 2010 as feasible.

NASA's plans call for a new vehicle to be ready by 2014, which unnerves lawmakers who do not want the United States to have to rely on other countries to catch a lift to the space station.

A companion Senate measure approved by the Commerce, Science and Transportation panel last month would bar NASA from retiring the shuttle before a replacement vehicle is ready.

Both House and Senate bills also endorse a servicing and repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Without such a mission, the Hubble will fail when its gyroscopes and batteries wear out in the next few years, but the agency has not announced whether to let the telescope fail or whether it will undertake a costly manned repair mission.

"Congress endorses the President's Vision for Space Exploration,'' said Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y. "The United States will work to return to the moon by 2020, and then will move on to other destinations.''

The full Senate has yet to act on the NASA measure.

Regardless of the ringing endorsement Friday, NASA must still compete with other agencies for its budget in the annual appropriations process, which moves on a separate track. That promises to make it difficult to fulfill all of the policy recommendations made by the House on Friday...

They're doing this by simply adding what should be done scientifically to what the boys at Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, and GE want to do to bring good things to their life.

People like Barney Frank say ...'"day after day ... we're told we can't do enough for housing and we can't do enough for health care.''

"This is a fundamental debate the country ought to have ... about whether or not to commit these untold billions ... at the expense of other important programs,''

So stop the War on Terra, Barney. Call For It Immediately. Get up and say it out loud. Stop the Treasury raid by Halliburton and friends. Break up the energy monopolies.

Break Al Qaeda at its source, its base of Saudi finance.

Give us an alternative to fossil fuels.

Yes, the Bu$hCo plan to Return to Space is inevitably another con job.

But no token opposition. Don't offer us homilies on what people need while you let the Masters of the Universe rip off the budget. Let's use science for what it's best at.

The creation of new technologies can drive economies.

If we only could find someone like Al Gore who turned the technology of the Internet from a DARPA toy into the base of the dot com boom of the '90s.

Are there any Democrats left, or are we left only with DINOcrats?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Get Your War On

Granny notes a few interesting items I feel worth reiterating.

Essentially we are already in a state of war with Iran.

The Islamic world already sees this.

Last winter the BBC echoed reports that the Special Forces are working within Iran.

So in essence, we're supporting a pro-Iranian Shiite majority government in Iraq, while planning war on Iran.

While a lot of progressives will condemn Bu$hCo for its manifest stupidity, let me suggest this bit of idiocy may be intentional.

The other piece of information from her site I'd like to share is this bit about a military drill off the coast of South Carolina in August. The focus of this drill is about the deployment of a nuclear weapon. Let's keep in mind that there's a recurring pattern of terrorist attacks while drills are taking place.

Let's keep our eyes open, be prepared, and not get fooled again.

Of Course There Are Other Uses

Will DOD Recall Pain Ray?

Last year, Noah wrote about a Defense Department nonlethal "pain ray" called the Active Denial System (ADS).

Now, British magazine New Scientist reveals that investigators testing the system are insisting tons of safety precautions that "raise concerns about how safe [ADS] would be if used in real crowd-control situations...

"The experimenters banned glasses and contact lenses to prevent possible eye damage to the subjects, and in the second and third tests removed any metallic objects such as coins and keys to stop hot spots being created on the skin. They also checked the volunteers' clothes for certain seams, buttons and zips which might also cause hot spots.

"The ADS weapon's beam causes pain within 2 to 3 seconds and it becomes intolerable after less than 5 seconds. People's reflex responses to the pain is expected to force them to move out of the beam before their skin can be burnt.

"But Neil Davison, co-ordinator of the non-lethal weapons research project at the University of Bradford in the UK, says controlling the amount of radiation received may not be that simple. 'How do you ensure that the dose doesn't cross the threshold for permanent damage?' he asks. 'What happens if someone in a crowd is unable, for whatever reason, to move away from the beam? Does the weapon cut out to prevent overexposure?'

"During the experiments, people playing rioters put up their hands when hit and were given a 15-second cooling-down period before being targeted again. One person suffered a burn in a previous test when the beam was accidentally used on the wrong power setting....."

What will the D. o'D. and the boys at the PentagramPentagon do?

They've spent all this money, and now they have a microwave ray weapon that might hurt or kill somebdy. Cook people at a distance. Invisible, with no giveaway report. If you made hand held pistol-sized emitters, that might even be used a weapon.

What will they possibly do with this?

Well, for one thing, you can bet the NRA will lobby for everyone's right to have one.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

...Police identified the man who was chased down in a subway and shot to death by plainclothes officers as a Brazilian and said Saturday they no longer believed he was tied to the recent terror bombings...

Friday's shooting before horrified commuters prompted criticism of police for overreacting and expressions of fear that Asians and Muslims would be targeted by a "trigger-happy culture" after two well-coordinated attacks in two weeks.

Police expressed regret for the death of the man at the Stockwell subway station, identified Saturday as Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Witnesses said he was wearing a heavy, padded coat when plainclothes police chased him into a subway car, pinned him to the ground and shot him about five times in the head and torso.

Hours after the shooting, Police Commissioner Ian Blair said the victim was "directly linked" to the investigations into attacks Thursday and July 7. In the latter, suicide bombings on trains and a bus killed 56 people, including four attackers...

"He was then followed by surveillance officers to the station. His clothing and his behavior at the station added to their suspicions," police said Friday.

But Saturday, a police official said on condition of anonymity that Menezes was "not believed to be connected in any way to any of the London bombings."

"For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets," a spokesman said on condition of anonymity, which is police policy...

Brazilian media reported that Menezes was an electrician who had been legally living and working in England for the past three years. He originally came from the small city of Gonzaga, some 500 miles northeast of Sao Paulo in the state of Minas Gerais.

"He spoke English very well, and had permission to study and work there," Menezes' cousin Maria Alves told the O Globo Online Web site from her home in Sao Paulo.

Menezes' family was Roman Catholic. When asked if he had become Muslim in Britain, Agostino Ferreira Rosa, a policeman in Gonzaga said: "According to his family, he had nothing to do with Muslims or Islamism. He was Catholic."

"There was no reason to think he was a terrorist," Menezes' grandmother, Zilda Ambrosia de Figueiredo, told the Globo TV late Saturday. "He was very easygoing and very communicative with everybody. It's terrible what they have done to him."


Patrick J. Fitzgerald finds that in John Bolton's perusal ("rifling" might be a better adjective) of NSA communications, Bolton discovered Valerie Plame was investigating WMD in Iraq and reporting there were none.

The Walrus had Rice send out a "classified" memo that all the Kool Kids saw, and immediately started talking about among themselves, and leaking to various Company disinformation agents (a.k.a. "journalists").

So a couple of dozen people were all talking, and breaking the law, and lying to everyone else, since they all stood to make billion$ off of this caper.

They figure they've got the Congress, the Courts, and the voting machine. Oh yeah, and the Mandate of the Dominion of Christ, but only Norquist takes that seriously...

Patrick J. Fitzgerald builds an airtight case, and prepares to release it in late September, before his mandate runs out. He fully realizes Congress will likely end his appointment in October, and although he is Republican at heart, the Bu$hCo syndicate is the biggest racket he's ever encountered, and by God this is the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance to make History.

However, in late August, terra'ists ignite a small nuke or a lot of C4 somewhere in America.

Code Red.

Immediately on its release, his report is "Classified", Fitzgerald is held in Protective Custody, and Homeland Security proceeds to arrest "rogue elements" in the Agency.

Including Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.

The Company consolidates itself, preparing for $elections 2006.

Fighting Hard for Fundamentalism

Back to the Future.

Assuming, of course, the future is the 19th century...

Billmon writes a good piece about how we've managed to serve up Iraq on a silver platter to the Iranian fundamentalists, as I noted here.

Billmon also lifts this passage from the print version of American Conservative (paleocons just don't trust electrons- you can see the article's title under the August 1 Table of Contents "News/Deep Background"):

The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.

Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States.

Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing -- that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack -- but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Bu$hCo is certainly not above setting up a polarizing situation in Iran, getting the Mullahs back into firm control, and then trying to Shock and Awe them into submission. Especially if they can divert attention from their Special Prosecutor problems at home. After all, Fitzgerald's hunting license expires in October, and you can bet whatever wants and warrants he decides to initiate will be taken with all appropriate seriousness by Justice.

Especially if there's a National Security situation at the same time.

Corrente notes a disinformational counterstrike against the Agency building. It's important to note that the CIA has been far from a monolithic entity since Bu$hie stole his election, and probably before that as well. For every honest operative trying to protect the national interests like Valerie Plame, you have obvious Company moles like Porter Goss working in the system.

Then you have Clinton appointees like Tenet was, who did his damn'dest to warn Bu$hCo about both Al Qaeda pre-911 and the fallacy of the Iraqi-WMD story. But after Big Time Dick's multiple visits in 2002 and early '03, Tenet became quite the Bu$hCo enabler.

I guess shares in Halliburton will do that to a man.

Still, despite the PentagramPentagon's assurances they can Shock and Awe their way back into control of the Iraqi-Irani situation, there are bound to be a few analysts that eschew the NeoCon cocaine-laced Kool-Aid. You can count on a few worried heads about the consequences of setting off nukes in the Middle East. You can count on Porter Goss watching these analysts closely, too.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The I of the Hurricane

Steve Clemmons at TWN:

SCOOP: John Bolton Was Regular Source for Judith Miller WMD and National Security Reporting

TWN has just learned from a highly placed source -- and in the right place to know -- that John Bolton was a regular source for Judith Miller's New York Times WMD and national security reports.

The source did not have any knowledge on whether Bolton was one of Miller's sources on the Valerie Plame story she was preparing, but argues that he was a regular source otherwise...

Thanks to Atrios. And in his comments...

Din't I tell Y'all? Fer what, three weeks???

Bolton's the guy at the center of it...

his (illegal, which nobody is saying) NSA intercept requests included spying on Wilson, which revealed Valerie Plame...

Good call.

Terror Futures

Grannyinsanity points to a realization by the cunning realist that ...temporary liquidity hit a multi-year high on July 5th, which was Tuesday, and it remained highly elevated on Wednesday and Thursday. And the second chart indicates that "securities lending"---another way for the Fed to create liquidity in the financial system---saw a huge spike on June 30th.

It is important to understand that the Federal Reserve does not make these charts available. It only provides the raw data on its operations, and leaves it to the public to calculate the actual amount of continuing liquidity from day to day. Financial professionals generally consider this "man behind the curtain" stuff. Those who are aware of it don't like to discuss it, because it implies that stocks rise and fall based on something other than fundamentals and their own acumen. You will almost never see this discussed in the mainstream financial media, for example. And that's just fine with the Fed.

I watch these charts every day as a function of my job, and have for many years. What appears above is extraordinary activity---particularly the size of the "temporary" pool, which the Fed almost doubled to $40 billion in just a few days leading up to last Tuesday, despite the fact that oil was trading over $60. And since all that money provided by the Fed can be leveraged, the effect on the financial markets is magnified.

Why the need for all that easy money all of a sudden? The Fed doesn't take this sort of action for no reason, particularly when the price of oil is already at an all-time high. It does so in response to circumstances it predicts will create a need for liquidity, or when it specifically wants to support the stock market as it did after 9/11.

The terrorist attacks in London took place on Thursday. The Fed dramatically increased the pool of liquidity available for stocks to a multi-year high 48 hours before that---an ideal amount of time for that liquidity to filter into the market---and kept it elevated for the next few days. And indeed, it worked. The stock market saw heavy buying right at the opening bell on Thursday and has shot straight up since then.

Why did the Fed do this? Was it just another coincidence in our financial markets that somehow managed to immediately precede a major geopolitical event?

One person can give us some answers easily and quickly: Alan Greenspan. Doesn't it behoove him to do so before he rides off into the sunset a few months from now?

The Cunning Realist is a conservative, finance oriented blogger, not a fringe element. There were big movements of capital before the London bombing, and there were bigger movements just before 9/11/2001. Somebody knew something was up.

Of course, they picked up on this immediately at Rigorous Intuition, where they've never met a conspiracy theory they didn't like. Including the ones where Dick Cheney is a puppet of occult Powers. No wonder kos wants to distance himself from the tinfoil hat crowd. No wonder Bu$hCo tries to equate them with UFOlogy, they're easy targets.

The thing is, sometimes the blips on the conspiracy theory radar really aren't airplanes. But they aren't flying saucers either. They're storms and turbulence caused by real weather that you should be on the lookout for.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Bill of Rights is a Terrible Thing to Lose

Societas via Billmon:

Karl Rove, for political revenge and to buttress a false case for war with Iraq, betrayed not merely the CIA but the American people. Whether Rove can be found technically guilty as a criminal under one narrowly defined law is besides the point. His actions amount to treason.

John Roberts, who might serve on the Supreme Court for the next thirty years, could roll back progress on concerns from women’s reproductive rights to corporate accountability. His nomination demands exacting scruntity.

But let’s have a moment of harsh honesty here...

This, as the saying goes, is a limited opportunity. Congress will vote to renew and possibly expand the Patriot Act today, tomorrow or early next week. This will all be over long before Roberts has a hearing, before Fitzgerald finishes his investigation.

If Congress renews or expands Section 215, as they seem intent on doing, you can kiss the 4th Amendment good-bye. (More details here and here). What two World Wars and a Civil War could not accomplish, al-Qaeda and the cowardly leadership of George Bush will.

Please e-mail and/or call Congress. Please spread the word. Protect the 4th Amendment and your other rights. We are in the final hours for the Patriot Act. Take a brief break from the Rove-Roberts controversies, just a few hours, and defend your rights as American citizens.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Joe Wilson's Wife was CIA, but John Roberts' Wife is Company

Sounds like Dread Justice Roberts might have an in on the world of private contractor-based intelligence.

Via rorschach via Margie Burns:

Yet another first for our boundary-breaching White House: for the first time in American history, we’re going to have a justice on the high court whose spouse facilitates financing and putting together global satellite systems.

Also, the company in which she is a partner, Shaw Pittman, emphasizes among other things its expertise in facilitating business in Iraq:

“We offer one-stop service to clients pursuing projects in Iraq, from solicitation and RFP counseling to working with key government and multilateral agencies, and from initially penetrating the Iraqi marketplace to final project implementation. Our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their fields, and at the cutting-edge in a variety of disciplines relevant to Iraq reconstruction. A number have served in senior government positions in key agencies – including the Departments of Transportation, Navy, Justice and Commerce, as well as the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank.”

Iraq has not yet been able to achieve an integrated communications service (many Iraqis don’t even have their electricity back, yet.) By numerous accounts, satellite communications/networks loom as a large unfilled need in Iraq. Jane Sullivan Roberts’ credentials are solid, and business-wise, her walk in life is largely helping clients put together and get financing for satellite systems, according to her company bio:

“Ms. Roberts practices with the firm’s communications and global sourcing groups, concentrating in representing clients in sophisticated transactions involving technology. She has extensive experience in representing clients in the buying and selling of space-related goods and services, including companies involved in the development of multi-billion dollar global and regional satellite systems. Ms. Roberts' experience also includes representing clients in information technology outsourcing transactions; software licensing, development, and maintenance contracts; and professional services arrangements. Prior to 1992, Ms. Roberts practiced litigation in a wide variety of matters before various courts and decision-making bodies, including large international commercial arbitrations involving nuclear power plants before the International Chamber of Commerce.”

Perhaps it will surprise few people that Shaw, Pittman, where Ms. Roberts is a partner, is offering its services for a newly privatized Iraq:

“Pillsbury’s Iraq Reconstruction Practice is mobilized to offer clients strategic legal advice in their postwar reconstruction efforts. Comprised of lawyers from several offices and backgrounds with relevant legal, industry and regional experience, the team is well poised to support virtually every endeavor in post-war Iraq, including:

· Infrastructure development, construction and procurement

· Intellectual property, technology and outsourcing services...

The company’s web site does not indicate that Ms. Roberts is on its Pillsbury Iraq Reconstruction Team. A call to the company to inquire whether she has yet had clients/projects in Iraq has not yet been returned. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the nominee husband’s numerous investments also include Shaw Pittman. One wonders whether a Justice Roberts would have to recuse himself on any cases involving Iraq, including cases about profiteering; procedure re “detainees” rounded up in Iraq; Iraq contract fraud; and/or regulatory or other violations by satellite systems companies that hired his wife’s firm or his wife herself.

Missing the Point

Molly Ivins on main$tream media myopia and Karl Rove:

...Actually, we are missing the point here. The point being that Joseph Wilson is merely one of the many people who provided one of the by now innumerable pieces of evidence that this administration lied about why we went to war in Iraq. When former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill wrote that Bush planned to invade Iraq from the day he took office, the administration went after O'Neill. When Richard Clarke disclosed that the Bushies wanted to use Sept. 11 to go after Saddam Hussein from Sept. 12 on, they went after Clarke. They went after Gen. Zinni, they went after Gen. Shinseki and everyone else who opposed the folly or told the truth about it. After they got done lying about weapons of mass destruction and about connections to Al Qaeda, they switched to the stomach-churning pretense that we had done it all for democracy. Urp.

We suffer the worst attack on this country since Pearl Harbor, and the Bush administration sends the FBI after the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU exists to protect every citizen's rights as defined in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States. The ACLU works solely through the legal system: It does not advocate violence, terrorism or any other damn thing except the Bill of Rights. Since when is that extremist? Why in the name of heaven are we wasting the FBI's time on this idiocy? I don't pretend to be an expert on counter-terrorism, but if it were up to me, I wouldn't start looking for the violence-prone in pacifist groups either. Your pacifists, you see -- oh, just look it up.

I know that sludge-for-brains like Bill O'Reilly attack the ACLU for being "un-American," but when Bill O'Reilly's constitutional rights are violated, the ACLU will stand up for him just like they did for Oliver North, Communists, the KKK, atheists, movement conservatives and everyone else they've defended over the years. The premise is easily understood: If the government can take away one person's rights, it can take away everyone's.

We are living in a time when our government is investigating an organization that stands for the highest and best American ideals. And claiming the mantle of patriotism while they are about it. This is cuckoo -- and such an idiotic waste of the FBI's time and the taxpayers' money that whoever thought up this idiocy should be fired yesterday.

But even that is superseded by what lies at the heart of Plamegate and that is lying in order to get this country into war. If the Washington press corps had a memory bank longer than 10 minutes, they could have exposed this years ago: the lies so often directly contradict one another. Before the war, the CIA was such a wussy organization it kept trying to downplay weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: After the war, it was all the CIA's fault, they had exaggerated the weapons of mass destruction. And so on and so on.

The trouble with piling lies on top of lies is that we can't even agree on facts anymore. I read the right-wing commentators, and it's not that we're not on the same page -- we're not even in the same library. They read the Downing Street memos and convince themselves they don't mean what they say. I really don't understand: Is it that hard to admit you're wrong when you're wrong? Is it that hard to admit that the invasion of Iraq has been a disaster? Isn't it self-evident?

If you support someone politically, you are not required to believe they are perfect. Did I think Bill Clinton had a sleazy affair while he was president? Yes. I just didn't care. I didn't think it had anything to do with the way he was running the country. You can't dismiss this. You can't not care about lies and war. Not if you care about American soldiers.


Five hundred billion dollars, two thousand American lives, twenty thousand American wounded, a hundred thousand secular Iraqi dead, and it comes down to this:

A working draft of Iraq's new constitution would cede a strong role to Islamic law and could sharply curb women's rights, particularly in personal matters like divorce and family inheritance.

The document's writers are also debating whether to drop or phase out a measure enshrined in the interim constitution, co-written last year by the Americans, requiring that women make up at least a quarter of the parliament.

The draft of a chapter of the new constitution obtained by The New York Times on Tuesday guarantees equal rights for women as long as those rights do not "violate Shariah," or Koranic law.

The Americans and secular Iraqis banished such explicit references to religious law from the interim constitution adopted early last year.

The draft chapter, circulated discreetly in recent days, has ignited outrage among women's groups, which held a protest on Tuesday morning in downtown Baghdad at the square where a statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down by American marines in April 2003.

One of the critical passages is in Article 14 of the chapter, a sweeping measure that would require court cases dealing with matters like marriage, divorce and inheritance to be judged according to the law practiced by the family's sect or religion.

Under that measure, Shiite women in Iraq, no matter what their age, generally could not marry without their families' permission. Under some interpretations of Shariah, men could attain a divorce simply by stating their intention three times in their wives' presence.

Article 14 would replace a body of Iraqi law that has for decades been considered one of the most progressive in the Middle East in protecting the rights of women, giving them the freedom to choose a husband and requiring divorce cases to be decided by a judge.

If adopted, the shift away from the more secular and egalitarian provisions of the interim constitution would be a major victory for Shiite clerics and religious politicians, who chafed at the Americans' insistence that Islam be designated in the interim constitution as just "a source" of legislation. Several writers of the new constitution say they intend, at the very least, to designate Islam as "a main source" of legislation...

It's pretty much what you'd expect from a bunch of Dominionists who like what the Wahhabi and Shiites do to "their" women.

It's like ¡El Gato Negro! said last night: Eet seems to me the language here, she ees confused, no?

thees ones who seek to treat women as pets, as property, they are no "Pro-Life". They are how-joo-say Anti-Woman.

I weel fight for women to be treated as people.

I, ¡El Gato Negro! am how-joo-say Pro-woman.

Absolutely agrrreed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Banality of Bu$hCo

U.S. President George W. Bush selected John G. Roberts Jr., a Washington federal appeals court judge with a limited public record on social issues, to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court...

Roberts is one of the country's most experienced Supreme Court practitioners. He argued 39 times at the high court on behalf of the U.S. government and private clients. He is a former law clerk to then-Justice William H. Rehnquist and former deputy solicitor general under the first President Bush.

One issue certain to be scrutinized is a brief he signed, while in the solicitor general's office, that included a footnote calling for the high court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that granted women a right to abortion.

As a private litigator, Roberts often served corporate clients, among them Toyota Motor Corp. and the American Gaming Association. Roberts also argued at a lower court for a group of states suing Microsoft Corp. for antitrust violations.

On the appeals court, Roberts has signaled he favors at least some limits on the power of Congress to regulate commerce. He voted to reconsider a three-judge panel's ruling that applied the Endangered Species Act...

Roberts last week joined a 3-0 opinion upholding the use of military tribunals to try terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba...

Liberal groups said they are concerned about Roberts's work in the Justice Department as deputy to Solicitor General Ken Starr.

He ``helped craft legal policies that sought to weaken school desegregation efforts, the reproductive rights of women, environmental protections, church-state separation and the voting rights of African Americans,'' said Nan Aron, head of the Alliance for Justice in Washington...

Roberts graduated from Harvard University with highest honors and Harvard Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Harvard Law Review, with high honors.

Another James Watt Christian, possibly:

Roberts has often, both in his public and private work, taken a position against government environmental regulation. Roberts argued against the private citizen's right to sue the federal government for violations of environmental regulations in Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation.

Roberts has also argued on behalf of the National Mining Association in support of the legality of mountaintop removal, in the case Bragg v. West Virginia Coal Association.

Think about it: the main$tream media would never have had the Rovefest last week if some faction of the Company wasn't a bit worried about the Dominionist pro-Apocalypse blather that the TheoCons are constantly foaming about.

A worried and fearful populace works harder, but the robber-barons realize too much Terra is bad for the biz.

So, a business-like younger Scalia with James Watt overtones. No flaming John Birch Theocrat (albeit a black woman) or John Bolton mad dog for Armageddon. The Company would approve. The Joe Biden DINOcrats won't freak.

And Bu$hCo gets control.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Google Bomb: "Rove" and "Treason"


...The Democrats should stop calling for Rove to resign and instead take a page from the GOP/Luntz playbook. Just keep saying Rove and treason together in as many possible media forums as possible. Everyone knows the Democrats want Rove to resign. That's not a message that gets embedded in the public mind. It's only a tactic that feeds into the Rove strategy of throwing up enough flak to confuse people and have the media report on this as a partisan fight, rather than an act of betraying the national security interests of the United States of America.

Rove's outing of Plame has made us all less safe, seriously less safe. Because she specialized in the tracking the illicit sales of Weapons of Mass Destruction. People's lives have been endangered as a result of the White House's betrayal...

Pre-emptive Fixing

If there were any Doubts, Seymour Hersch just settled them.

... By the late spring of 2004, according to officials in the State Department, Congress, and the United Nations, the Bush Administration was engaged in a debate over the very issue that Diamond had warned about: providing direct support to Allawi and other parties seen as close to the United States and hostile to Iran. Allawi, who had spent decades in exile and worked both for Saddam Hussein's Mukhabarat and for Western intelligence agencies, lacked strong popular appeal. The goal, according to several former intelligence and military officials, was not to achieve outright victory for Allawi-such an outcome would not be possible or credible, given the strength of the pro-Iranian Shiite religious parties-but to minimize the religious Shiites' political influence. The Administration hoped to keep Allawi as a major figure in a coalition government, and to do so his party needed a respectable share of the vote.

The main advocate for channelling aid to preferred parties was Thomas Warrick, a senior adviser on Iraq for the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, who was backed, in this debate, by his superiors and by the National Security Council. Warrick's plan involved using forty million dollars that had been appropriated for the election to covertly provide cell phones, vehicles, radios, security, administrative help, and cash to the parties the Administration favored. The State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor resisted this plan, and turned to three American non-governmental organizations that have for decades helped to organize and monitor elections around the world: the National Democratic Institute (N.D.I.), the International Republican Institute (I.R.I.), and the National Endowment for Democracy (N.E.D.)...

Over the summer and early fall of 2004, the N.G.O.s arranged meetings with several senior officials, including John Negroponte, who was then the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. A pattern developed, the participant in the discussions said. The N.G.O.s, he recounted, would say, "We're not going to work with this if there's people out there passing around money. We will not be part of any covert operation, and we need your word that the election will be open and transparent," and the officials would reassure them. Within weeks of a meeting, the N.G.O.s would "still hear word of a Track II-a covert group," the participant said. "The money was to be given to Allawi and others."...

"The goal was to level the playing field, and Allawi was not the sole playing field," he said. Warrick was not operating on his own, the State Department official said. "This issue went to high levels, and was approved"-within the State Department and by others in the Bush Administration, in the late spring of 2004. "A lot of people were involved in it and shared the idea," including, he claimed, some of the N.G.O. operatives working in Iraq. He added, "The story that should be written is why the neoconservatives and others in the U.S. government who were hostile to Iran had this blind spot when it came to the election"-that is, why they endorsed a process that, as Warrick and his colleagues saw it, would likely bring pro-Iranian parties to power.

In any case, the State Department official said, Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell, put an end to Warrick's efforts in the early fall. Armitage confirmed this, and told me that he believed that he was carrying out the President's wishes. "There was a question at a principals' meeting about whether we should try and change the vote," Armitage recalled, and the President said several times, "We will not put our thumb on the scale."

Nonetheless, in the same time period, former military and intelligence officials told me, the White House promulgated a highly classified Presidential "finding" authorizing the C.I.A. to provide money and other support covertly to political candidates in certain countries who, in the Administration's view, were seeking to spread democracy...

Sometime after last November's Presidential election, I was told by past and present intelligence and military officials, the Bush Administration decided to override Pelosi's objections and covertly intervene in the Iraqi election. A former national-security official told me that he had learned of the effort from "people who worked the beat"-those involved in the operation. It was necessary, he added, "because they couldn't afford to have a disaster."

A Pentagon consultant who deals with the senior military leadership acknowledged that the American authorities in Iraq "did an operation" to try to influence the results of the election. "They had to," he said. "They were trying to make a case that Allawi was popular, and he had no juice." A government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon's civilian leaders said, "We didn't want to take a chance."

I was informed by several former military and intelligence officials that the activities were kept, in part, "off the books"-they were conducted by retired C.I.A. officers and other non-government personnel, and used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress. Some in the White House and at the Pentagon believed that keeping an operation off the books eliminated the need to give a formal briefing to the relevant members of Congress and congressional intelligence committees, whose jurisdiction is limited, in their view, to officially sanctioned C.I.A. operations. (The Pentagon is known to be running clandestine operations today in North Africa and Central Asia with little or no official C.I.A. involvement.)

"The Administration wouldn't take the chance of doing it within the system," the former senior intelligence official said. "The genius of the operation lies in the behind-the-scenes operatives-we have hired hands that deal with this." He added that a number of military and intelligence officials were angered by the covert plans. Their feeling was "How could we take such a risk, when we didn't have to? The Shiites were going to win the election anyway."...

What Iraqi free elections?

Creating wars to profit themselves and their sugar daddies. Fixing "free" elections to play better here at home. What American free elections?

Of course it would be unthinkable that Bu$hCo would do the same here...

But fixing the Iraqi elections to keep the Iranians out? When the anti-Ba'ath majority is Shiite? Like Iran?

That worked really well, didn't it?

A quarter-century after Iraq's invasion of Iran launched the Middle East's bloodiest modern war, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari arrived in Tehran on Saturday for a three-day visit that officials on both sides said signals a new alliance that could change the religious and political balance of power in the region.

Jafari and more than 10 other Iraqi cabinet ministers are scheduled to work with their Iranian counterparts on closer security and economic cooperation, particularly on counterterrorism, control of their porous 900-mile frontier, and oil, gas and manufacturing deals. Jafari, a Shiite Muslim who spent almost a decade of exile in Iran while President Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq, is the first Iraqi head of government to visit Shiite-ruled Iran in more than a dozen years.

"This is a new chapter in relations with Iraq. In the future, we will witness a sharp change and promotion in relations," said Iran's first vice president, Mohammad Reza Aref, who met with Jafari after his arrival Saturday, the Associated Press reported. Jafari, in turn, said a bond with Iran was an "inseparable part of Iraq's foreign relations."

On Sunday, Jafari is scheduled to meet Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as outgoing President Mohammad Khatami and President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Iran, which President Bush dubbed one of three nations in an "axis of evil," has become Iraq's closest ally after the United States, and the countries' new relationship is a dramatic turnabout after decades of tension, highlighted by the 1980-88 war that resulted in more than a million casualties. It is a major shift even from the tentative ties established last year by the U.S.-appointed interim government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, which often charged that Iran was meddling in Iraq....

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Next Link in the Bu$hCo Chain

Follow the Uranium

...To see the main plot, you must sweep away the subplots, starting with the Cooper e-mail. It has been brandished as a smoking gun by Bush bashers and as exculpatory evidence by Bush backers (Mr. Rove, you see, was just trying to ensure that Time had its facts straight). But no one knows what this e-mail means unless it's set against the avalanche of other evidence, most of it secret, including what Mr. Rove said in three appearances before the grand jury. Therein lies the rub, or at least whatever case might be made for perjury.

Another bogus subplot, long popular on the left, has it that Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, gave Mr. Novak a free pass out of ideological comradeship. But Mr. Fitzgerald, both young (44) and ambitious, has no record of Starr- or Ashcroft-style partisanship (his contempt for the press notwithstanding) or known proclivity for committing career suicide. What's most likely is that Mr. Novak, more of a common coward than the prince of darkness he fashions himself to be, found a way to spill some beans and avoid Judy Miller's fate. That the investigation has dragged on so long anyway is another indication of the expanded reach of the prosecutorial web.

Apparently this is finally beginning to dawn on Mr. Bush's fiercest defenders and on Mr. Bush himself...Since then, White House surrogates have been desperately babbling talking points attacking Joseph Wilson as a partisan and a liar.

These attacks, too, are red herrings. Let me reiterate: This case is not about Joseph Wilson. He is, in Alfred Hitchcock's parlance, a MacGuffin, which, to quote the Oxford English Dictionary, is "a particular event, object, factor, etc., initially presented as being of great significance to the story, but often having little actual importance for the plot as it develops." Mr. Wilson, his mission to Niger to check out Saddam's supposed attempts to secure uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons and even his wife's outing have as much to do with the real story here as Janet Leigh's theft of office cash has to do with the mayhem that ensues at the Bates Motel in "Psycho."

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

It's Frank Rich at his best.

It signals a powerful faction of the Company tires of Bu$hCo, because the Company has a Managing Editor on the Board of the Times.

Cooper's piece today in Time is reproduced in its entirety at Truthout.

As I told the grand jury--and we went over this in microscopic, excruciating detail, which may someday prove relevant--I recall calling Rove from my office at TIME magazine through the White House switchboard and being transferred to his office. I believe a woman answered the phone and said words to the effect that Rove wasn't there or was busy before going on vacation. But then, I recall, she said something like, "Hang on," and I was transferred to him. I recall saying something like, "I'm writing about Wilson," before he interjected. "Don't get too far out on Wilson," he told me. I started taking notes on my computer, and while an e-mail I sent moments after the call has been leaked, my notes have not been.

The grand jury asked about one of the more interesting lines in that e-mail, in which I refer to my conversation with Rove as being on "double super secret background," a line that's raised a few eyebrows ever since it leaked into the public domain. I told the grand jury that the phrase is not a journalistic term of art but a reference to the film Animal House, in which John Belushi's wild Delta House fraternity is placed on "double secret probation." ("Super" was my own addition.) In fact, I told the grand jury, Rove told me the conversation was on "deep background." I explained to the grand jury that I take the term to mean that I can use the material but not quote it, and that I must keep the identity of my source confidential.

Rove went on to say that Wilson had not been sent to Niger by the director of the CIA and, I believe from my subsequent e-mails--although it's not in my notes--that Rove added that Dick Cheney didn't send him either. Indeed, the next day the Vice President's chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, told me Cheney had not been responsible for Wilson's mission.

Much of my grand jury session revolved around my notes and my e-mails. (Those e-mails and notes were given to the special counsel when Time Inc., over my objections, complied with a court order.) Owing to my typing, some words were a jumble. For instance, I wrote "don't get too war out on Wilson," when I clearly meant "far out." There were some words in my notes that I could not account for--at one point they read, "...notable..." I didn't know if that was Rove's word or mine, and one grand juror asked if it might mean "not able," as in "Wilson was not an able person." I said that was possible, but I just didn't recall that. The notes, and my subsequent e-mails, go on to indicate that Rove told me material was going to be declassified in the coming days that would cast doubt on Wilson's mission and his findings.

As for Wilson's wife, I told the grand jury I was certain that Rove never used her name and that, indeed, I did not learn her name until the following week, when I either saw it in Robert Novak's column or Googled her, I can't recall which. Rove did, however, clearly indicate that she worked at the "agency"--by that, I told the grand jury, I inferred that he obviously meant the CIA and not, say, the Environmental Protection Agency. Rove added that she worked on "WMD" (the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction) issues and that she was responsible for sending Wilson. This was the first time I had heard anything about Wilson's wife.

Rove never once indicated to me that she had any kind of covert status. I told the grand jury something else about my conversation with Rove. Although it's not reflected in my notes or subsequent e-mails, I have a distinct memory of Rove ending the call by saying, "I've already said too much." This could have meant he was worried about being indiscreet, or it could have meant he was late for a meeting or something else. I don't know, but that sign-off has been in my memory for two years.

So the chain continues on to the Office of the Vice President as Lewis Libby becomes the next focus of the investigation.

None of this crew seems inclined to do the Nixon thing and step down. Will Congress be inclined to Impeach? The one run by Tom DeLay's House and Frist's Senate? If they were, would it be possible that only Cheney gets slapped with Articles?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Building a Better Phaser

For you geeks out there, thanks to Defense Tech for the link.

...The main hitch early on was that ordinary lasers do too good a job at inducing ionization, which then makes the air opaque to the light beam. But more promising results have been achieved using lasers that emit extremely short pulses...

Just as Ackermann's paper was being published, an Arizona company named Ionatron demonstrated the use of laser-guided electric discharges in something it calls a "portal denial system," which can be set up in a corridor and switched on to prevent intruders from passing through. Three beams in this system create a virtual electric fence that spans the width of a hallway. Steve McCahon, Ionatron's executive vice president for technology and engineering, explains that the company's system demonstrated nonlethal levels of deterrence but "that doesn't mean you couldn't turn it up."

Are guns next? According to the boldly written claim on its Web site, "Ionatron intends to use our compact, non-lethal LIPC [laser-induced plasma-channel] technology to replace guns as the weapon of choice in close-range defense." McCahon confirms that "the thrust is extending range." Exactly how much range Ionatron has been able to achieve with such a weapon is being kept secret. And it's unclear whether the sophisticated lasers needed could ever be made very small. Still, it seems reasonable to anticipate that in the not-so-distant future, military or law-enforcement officers might be caught uttering the phrase "phasers on stun" in all seriousness.

Similar physical principles are behind a second Star Trek-like technology now coming into use, something called the "plasma window," which is the brainchild of Ady Hershcovitch, a physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Hershcovitch conceived of the plasma window to serve in electron-beam welding, a technique used to fashion metal welds that are narrower and deeper than what can be accomplished with conventional tools.

The chief drawback of this technique is that the electrons used for welding must be accelerated in a vacuum (just like, for example, the electrons that light up the front of a television picture tube). Hence the objects being welded together must normally be placed within a sealed chamber from which the air has been extracted. With that constraint, one cannot make welds to, say, the deck of a battleship. Even for small work pieces, pumping down the vacuum chamber each time an object is inserted is time-consuming, making this form of welding rather costly.

To get around this difficulty, some have tried a variation of electron-beam welding that has the electrons accelerated in vacuum but the welding done at atmospheric pressure. Such systems rely on bulky, energy-hungry vacuum pumps to maintain the pressure differential between the source of electrons and the work piece. So they are awkward and costly to operate. What is more, the electron beam has a troubling tendency to spread out once it passes into the air, negating the fundamental advantage of electron-beam welding in the first place. Last May, Hershcovitch and colleagues at Acceleron, a company in Connecticut licensing his invention, described in the journal Physics of Plasmas how to sidestep these problems, making electron-beam welding that much more practical.

The trick is to send the electrons out of the welder through a window that is made up of nothing more than an electric discharge channeled through a length of ionized gas—that is, a plasma. The temperature of the plasma is searing (about 15,000 kelvins), so it can counterbalance atmospheric pressure even though its density is only two percent of normal air. The low-density plasma offers little resistance to speeding electrons passing through it, making it the perfect window for an electron-beam welder...

Perfect sense to me: if a sustained pulse increases the opacity of the air to the synchronized photons, simply use a train of millisecond pulse/ recovery cycles. There's probably an optimal number of cycles depending on the atmospheric conditions, too.

Of course if this was a .mil site it'd be classified. Academics talk about things, though. But even if they didn't, anybody going to the private contractor's site could figure out what was going on- or buy into it.

Peeling the Onion

The people behind the White House Iraq Group, thanks to a post from the farmer:

The publication of her maiden name not only endangered Valerie Wilson, but also blew the cover of a CIA front and imperiled anyone she might have come in contact with during her stint overseas. This isn't just a matter of of violating a statute that, at most, entails a 10-year jail sentence and a fine – this is a question of possible espionage.

What also seems fairly clear is that Karl Rove would not have had direct knowledge of Plame-Wilson's covert activities on behalf of the CIA, and that only a very few people high up in the national security bureaucracy had the clearance to get access to her name. So who was it? If Rove leaked to Novak, and half a dozen Washington reporters, then who leaked to the leakers?

This isn't about Rove.

It's about a cabal of war hawks inside the administration who passed on this information to others without telling them about Plame-Wilson's deep cover status, perhaps suggesting that she was just an analyst working at a desk rather than a covert operative involved in a vitally important overseas operation, the knowledge of which was highly compartmentalized and only dispensed on a need-to-know basis. When
What if Karl Rove isn't guilty of knowingly leaking Valerie Plame's name as a covert CIA agent involved in nuclear proliferation issues? What if Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, is correct when he says that he's been assured by prosecutors that his client is not a target of the ongoing investigation into Plame-gate? I'm going to swim against the tide, here, and against the expectations of my readers, by suggesting that this investigation isn't about Rove – and, furthermore, that Rove is a victim, in an important sense, someone who was used and abused by the real culprits. And who are these mysterious culprits? We'll get to that in a moment, but first some background…

One thing that has always struck me as odd about this whole affair – and I wasn't the only one – is a seemingly minor detail: why did Novak's original column, which started all this brouhaha, identify Valerie Plame by her maiden name? After all, most married women – even in this era of Women's Liberation – defer to the tradition of taking their husband's name, but I have to admit that, even after wondering about it for a brief moment, I shrugged and moved on. As it turns out, however, this is an important detail, because now we have Rove's lawyer saying that he at no time gave out Valerie Plame's name: but if Rove identified her as Joe Wilson's wife, what the heck is the difference?

The difference is that, as Valerie Plame, Mrs. Wilson was affiliated with a CIA front company, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, engaged in tracking and stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons. As soon as her name was made public, the implications for U.S. national security amounted to a grave breach – far more of a crime than merely violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which has only had a single prosecution since its passage in 1982...

Rove and his shills blabbed to reporters and anyone who would listen, they didn't realize that they were aiding and abetting an elaborate ploy to stick it to the CIA.

Seen against the backdrop of the fierce intra-bureaucratic war that broke out in the administration in the run-up to the Iraq war – with the CIA and the mainline intelligence and diplomatic communities pitted against civilian neoconservatives in the upper echelons of the Pentagon and the Office of the Vice President – the outing of Plame and her colleagues amounts to an act of espionage committed out of a desire to exact revenge. The leakers meant to retaliate not just against Joe Wilson, through his wife, but against the "old guard" that was resisting the campaign to lie us into war. When the CIA wouldn't go along with the neocon program and "spice up" their analyses with Ahmed Chalabi's tall tales and the outright forgery of the Niger uranium documents, the War Party struck back at them with the sort of viciousness for which the neocons are rightly renowned.

The neocons had a fix on their target; now the question was how to get someone else to pull the trigger. The leakers, in order to protect themselves, "laundered" the leak through journalists (Judith Miller, one of their favorite conduits) and Bush operatives – Rove.
After the War Party met in solemn conclave, and the command went out from Cheney: "Bring me the head of Joe Wilson!", there was only one logical place for Cheney's minions to go. Who in the administration would've had access to the specific information regarding Plame-Wilson's role in a deep-cover CIA operation involving nuclear proliferation? Why, the man who was the State Department deputy secretary in charge of "weapons of mass destruction" – the somewhat irritable if not downright reckless John Bolton, would-be ambassador to the UN, who played a central role in promulgating the Niger Uranium Myth.

Conveniently, two of Bolton's assistants, David Wurmser and John Hannah, also worked in Cheney's office. A story by UPI's Richard Sale, published last year, points at Cheney's office and specifically at Hannah as having played a key role in all this:

"Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said.

"According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, were the two Cheney employees. 'We believe that Hannah was the major player in this,' one federal law-enforcement officer said. … The strategy of the FBI is to make clear to Hannah 'that he faces a real possibility of doing jail time' as a way to pressure him to name superiors, one federal law-enforcement official said."

Hannah is Cheney's Middle East policy point-man, and before that was director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). Middle East expert Juan Cole shines his reportorial flashlight on what's under that particular rock:

"Libby and Hannah form part of a 13-man vice presidential advisory team, sort of a veep NSC [National Security Council], which helps underpin Cheney's dominance in the US foreign policy area. Hannah is a neoconservative and old cold warrior who is really more of a Soviet expert than a Middle East expert. But in the 90s he for a while headed up the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a think tank that represents the interests of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). Hannah is said to have been behind Cheney's and consequently Bush's support for refusing to deal with Yasser Arafat. But he was also deeply involved in getting up the Iraq war.…"

The AIPAC connection should raise a red flag: AIPAC is already at the center of a case involving espionage conducted by Israel against the United States, with Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin indicted [.pdf] for passing classified information on to longtime AIPAC leader Steve Rosen and his aide Keith Weissman, with an Israeli embassy official, chief political officer Naor Gilon, directly involved. In both cases, which involve the unlawful dissemination of sensitive U.S. secrets, the defense is claiming that "everyone does it" and that the classified information they're accused of leaking – or, in AIPAC's case, directly handing over to the Israeli government – is supposedly "common knowledge."

Treason is nothing to these people, because their real allegiance is not to the U.S., but to their own cause, which is perpetual war. Libby and Hannah were the enforcers who made sure that the lies put out by this administration to bamboozle us into war with Iraq were strictly adhered to within the government. Libby was a frequent visitor over at CIA headquarters, along with his boss, and, as Juan Cole writes:

"[H]annah had fingers in all three rotten pies from which the worst intel came – Sharon's office in Israel, the Pentagon Office of Special Plans (for which Hannah served as a liaison to Cheney), and fraudster Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress. Hannah had probably been the one who fed Cheney the Niger uranium story, triggering a Cheney request to the CIA to verify it and thence Joe Wilson's trip to Niamey in spring of 2002, where he found the story to be an absurd falsehood on the face of it."...

Read it all and follow the links.

It's not about Iraq, or Israel, or Saudi Arabia.

It's about a network of corporations propagating war as the Golden Path.